Sunday, May 31, 2009

Infamous Late-Term Abortionist Murdered

The infamous late-term abortionist, George Tiller, was murdered this morning inside the lobby of a Lutheran Church in Kansas. As someone who considers himself 100% pro-life, this news is sad and troubling to me. Those who are truly pro-life would never advocate such violence against anybody regardless of their ethical or political positions. With this in mind, I did have some immediate thoughts when I first heard this news.

First thought: Oh no, pro-life advocates will be persecuted unfairly because of this. I am certain that pro-abortion advocates will use this as an example of domestic terrorism. In fact, pro-abortion groups are already calling on Obama to come down on pro-lifers despite the fact that several pro-life groups have already come out quick and vocally denounced the murder. Pro-abortion groups will blame pro-life advocates for this murder despite the fact that nobody knows at this time who shot Tiller or why he was shot. This generalization is just one way that pro-abortion crowd can distort the real issue of abortion. It is very possible that this murderer, described as a white man, was the father of a late-term aborted child. This does not justify the act, but it brings me to the second thought that crossed my mind when I heard this news.

Second thought: George Tiller killed hundreds of babies. This man was a mass serial killer. He was one of the very few who would do late-term abortions. This was a very evil man. Again, I'm not condoning his murder, only stating some facts. Pro-abortions are appalled at the news of his death, but why were they not equally appalled at the each and every death at the hands of Tiller? His death is unfortunate, but equally unfortunate are the hundreds of lives that he took through the abortions he performed.

George Tiller is dead. He will no longer perform abortions. The first fact is an unfortunate one, the second fact should be a comforting fact. My fear is that this murder will be a rallying cry for the pro-abortion supporters, who have seen a recent surge in pro-life advocates. People are out in public evangelizing and teaching the truth about abortion. It is evil. It is an intrinsic evil. We should be equally appalled when a single baby is aborted as we are when a person gets murdered. As a society, we still don't treat individuals equally. Perhaps this is because we don't usually see the abortions, or perhaps some still rationalize that abortion doesn't kill a person, or perhaps this is because many are simply ignorant on the issue. Murder and violence is not what the pro-life movement is about. The person responsible for the murder should be caught and sentenced to prison for his act. His act is unacceptable. I just hope that all pro-life advocates don't get labeled as terrorists because of this. I continue to pray that hearts and minds change. God bless!

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Call to Union

There have been a lot of issues to discuss lately. One of the big news stories recently from the Catholic perspective involves that of priestly celibacy and God’s desire for union with us and our desire for union with Him and others. I have written about priestly celibacy before, but I’d like to go into further depth on the Catholic understanding of priestly celibacy and the idea of union for two reasons: to address the controversy surrounding the ex-Catholic priest from Miami who has left the Catholic Church and is now engaged; and because this very issue is a topic in my reflections on the Theology of the Body. Certainly the media will take this controversy as an opportunity to question the Catholic discipline on priestly celibacy. I have some very interesting statistics and thoughts in response to the not so surprising reaction of mass media surrounding this issue. I will discuss all these things in a follow up post in the next couple days.

However, this post is all about a triumph story; a story that will go down in the annals of time, a story that will bring a smile to anyone’s face, a story about curiosity, determination, love and a desire for union! This blog is affecting lives people! When I started this blog, my goal was to affect at least one person’s life. Perhaps that has happened; perhaps it’s too early to know for sure, but regardless I was really excited when I heard about this story. Although my blog was not directly involved, it may have played a role indirectly in the union of two people. I will let my cousin Dan tell the story in his own words. Thanks for sharing Dan!

Hey Mike, I don't think you know anything about this, but if you don't you will soon. So here's the story in all its ridiculousness:

I was reading your blog about a month and a half ago as I do so periodically and I randomly clicked one of the links on the side, not knowing what it was. It turns out it was for a Catholic dating website. I was about to navigate away when I saw a picture of this girl on the site and I was like "what the heck" and clicked it, read her profile, and thought "this is a girl I would really be interested in getting to know." But the site was expensive so I did some internet sleuthing and found the same girl on a different Catholic dating website that was cheaper. I told myself what the heck, subscribed, contacted this girl and promptly got shot down. So I find myself subscribed to this site feeling like a total idiot and I'm like "well here goes nothing" and I proceed to get shot down for the next few weeks by several different girls until this one responded and we kept talking. That was four weeks ago and I just got back from an awesome weekend with her in St. Louis (where she lives). I attached a picture. Anyways, we're dating now and I'm sure the story will spread like wildfire, so I thought you should hear it firsthand from me! : )
God Bless,


P.S. I really enjoy your blog and it has often led to me stop and think. Keep up the great work!

Dan has been assigned as a platoon leader at Ft. Campbell. He will be deployed to Afghanistan in April of next year. Please keep Dan and all our military in your thoughts and prayers. Dan, thank you so much for all that you do and will continue to do for the defense of our country and freedom. Your dedication and tremendous sacrifices are commendable and inspirational. I hope you continue to visit my blog and that it might help strengthen you in your faith. Thanks again for sharing your story with me. God bless!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Taking Up Our Cross

In the gospels we read where Jesus tells us to take up our cross and follow Him. What does it mean to take up our cross? Most of us think of the symbolic meaning of taking up our cross as the burdens we have to carry in our lives. While taking up our cross does require us to humbly accept our daily burdens and responsibilities, Jesus is asking much more from us. When Jesus says that we must take up our cross, He is telling us that we must be willing to follow Him unto death. He is commanding us to die to self. These words are hard for us to hear and even harder to live by.

Our individualist society is continuously encouraging us to chase those things that offer instant self gratification. This kind of lifestyle and way of thinking never leads to fulfillment because it never provides lasting peace. It may be a medicine for our desires, but it is not a cure. The reason is because God made us to be in union with Him and with others. When our objectives are solely based on our own personal goals or gratification, we sometimes lose a sense of belonging and fulfillment. We like to share our experiences, our successes and our failures with others. When we take up our cross, we not only carry our own daily burdens but also those of others. In reflecting on our mission to take up our cross, I'm reminded of the prayer of St. Francis. We are to live to console not to be consoled, to love not to be loved, and to die so that we are born to eternal life. When we think of death, we usually think only in terms of a bodily death, but when we take up our cross we also die to self. We abandon our selfish instincts and live a selfless life, a life of service to God and one another.

Jesus lived a life of service and self sacrifice. Any time we make a choice in life we are sacrificing something. The idea of sacrifice is to deny oneself for the glory of God whether that be abstaining from meat on Fridays or doing works of charity. When we understand the meaning of self sacrifice and service we will discover love and recognize a true feeling of happiness and peace.

I have a much better idea of what it means to take up my cross now that I am a father. When I was single, I only had to take care of myself. I was living for myself and simply tried to please God. Once I married my wife, I also had to live for my wife. Now I must also live for my daughter. My life has changed dramatically in what seems like such a short time. Sometimes I think about how my life was less complicated and easier. Things may have been easier and less complicated, but they were not better. Just because something is easy doesn't mean it is good, and in fact it is often the things that are the most difficult that are the most rewarding. Being a father is not as easy as I thought it would be and I know my wife is struggling with her new role as a mother. Babies don't come with manuals and so we are both learning how to take care of our baby Julie.

The stress can sometimes become overwhelming, especially for mom. Much of my stress comes from a sense of helplessness. I want to help as much as I can, but there is only so much that I can do. I must go to work to provide for the family and yet I want to ease my wife's burdens by helping take care of the baby and home duties. I want to take care of my baby Julie, but I also have the responsibility to take care of my wife. When I think of the stress we incur, I am also reminded that Jesus also experienced stress. He was so intensely stressed before His passion that He actually sweat blood. Our stresses seem light when compared with the stress Jesus was under. We think that our cross is difficult to bear, but he carried the burdens of ALL people and he did it with ultimate love. He is our perfect example.

It is important to realize that it is not sinful to experience stress, but when we do experience stress we should be careful not to fall into despair. Sometimes we are not in complete control of our emotions. My wife has just experienced a huge lifestyle change and she also has to deal with major bodily changes. I will never know what it feels like to deliver a baby. I will never be able to breast feed my children. That role is reserved for mothers. Mothers have such a special bond with their children. It takes a very special person to be a mother and my wife is an exceptional person. It saddens me deeply to see her sad and struggling with the stress that inevitably comes with the birth of a baby. I will never have to sacrifice for my daughter as much as my wife has to sacrifice now. This is hard for me to accept. I want to give everything I can to my wife and daughter. I love them so much.

I ask that you please pray for me and my family. Pray that we will be mentally and physically strong in difficult times. May we always remember Jesus' call for us to live a selfless and sacrificial life. May we take up our cross and follow Him. Thanks and God bless!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Reflections

This morning I attended mass. The mass was held at the beautiful prayer garden on the grounds of my parish at St. Michael. It was a beautiful ceremony. I hope that there will be more opportunities to have mass service in the prayer garden. I am going to borrow some of Father Larry's talking points in his homily as material for reflections.

Today we celebrate Memorial Day. Today we remember the sacrifices of those who have served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces. Today we remember those who have paid the ultimate price and lost their lives in defense of our country. Today we are reminded of the great evil that is war. Today we give thanks for our freedom, a freedom which many people even today do not enjoy.

As we reflect on this freedom, a freedom God yearns for all people, we reflect on how freedom is lost and why freedom is not guaranteed to all people. Our country's veterans and the men and woman currently serving in our military forces are responsible for protecting our country and for protecting the freedoms we are guaranteed in our country. Ironically even the United States, a country founded on the Christian principals, we can not guarantee the most basic and fundamental right of life. We are currently engaged in a war against terrorism. The justification of the war has been the defense of our country and the promotion of freedom for countries in the Middle East that don't recognize certain basic freedoms we enjoy in America. These are noble aspirations, but war is and should be the absolute final option after all other options are exhausted. We should ask ourselves if all other options had been exhausted, and we should also ask ourselves if we can truly promote freedom in another country when we can't even promote and protect the freedom of our own people in this country.

War is an absolute tragedy. God is certainly sorrowed to see all this fighting and war in the world. God yearns for us to discover peace and we can only find that peace through Him. We can only discover peace in our world when our world accepts and promotes the freedom of all people. Unfortunately, even those who fight under the name of freedom, often deny their very own of the freedom every life deserves. Are we really promoting freedom when we fund abortions oversees? Abortion is the exact opposite of freedom. It is not promoting choice it is suppressing choice. Abortion is a grave intrinsic evil, but there are many other intrinsic evils prevalent in our day. These evils of abortion and embryonic stem cell research are prevalent in our very country. Why are these obvious violations of freedom occurring in our country?

I think the root cause of these great evils, the civil rights issue of our time, is that of moral relativism and lust. Our current president, government, and hundreds of thousands of citizens in this country believe that truth is something that cannot be known. They believe that truth is relative and that each person has the "right" to decide what is right and wrong for themselves. The problem with this is that it leads to totalitarian rule. Truth lies in whoever has power. This is happening right now in our country. It should not come to a surprise to us. Pope John Paul II and Blessed Mother Theresa predicted this would happen over a decade ago. They had the foresight and knowledge that when any segment of society is denied basic freedoms, we all lose freedom. They recognized that the greatest threat to peace was not nuclear warfare, but the acceptance of abortion. If the most innocent among us are not guaranteed the most basic and first fundamental right of life, none of us are truly free. We are already seeing innocent people being arrested and ridiculed for standing up for the freedom and lives of millions of unborn.

We live in a culture that promotes promiscuous activity. Our culture embraces unchaste relationships and denies the existence and reality of truth. We are so confused as a culture that we have to have a debate on whether or not people of the same sex should be allowed to marry. This obvious misunderstanding of marriage is a reflection of our culture's lack of knowledge or denial of God's plan for marriage and family life. It is a denial of the meaning of the body and the meaning a true love. Our culture embraces lust and often times tries to convince us that lust is actually love when in fact it is the exact opposite. Lust is a taking for oneself whereas love is a giving of oneself. Our culture encourages us to do whatever makes us feel good for ourselves. Our culture is all about the individual. Our culture teaches us that sex is love when in fact it is God who is love. The conjugal act is an act of love because it is a complete giving of oneself to another. This act becomes an act of lust when it is not free, total, faithful and fruitful. If any or all of these things are absent from the act, it is not a true act of love. Until our culture comes to the realization that contraception and our unchaste practices lead to lust and not true love, we will continue to see attacks on our freedom. Many believe that living an unchaste life sets us free, when in reality it suppresses freedom. Living an unchaste life does not make us happy but only fuels the fire of our lust. When we live an unchaste life, we are not fulfilled and in fact we become very unhappy. Often our answer is to seek even more self pleasure, which only deepens our lustful passions and takes us further and further away from the true love which all of us desire.

I believe that moral relativism and our culture's confusion about the meaning of true love are the two most dangerous issues of our time. Abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and many other evils are the result of these two underlying problems. My mission is to promote the truth and dispel the evil myths of moral relativism and lust. We can only truly be free when all people are guaranteed the freedom and right to life. We can not protect that which we do not possess. While we are blessed to have many freedoms in this county, our county is not truly the land of the free. We live in a country and on an earth where peace is not a reality because freedom for all is not guaranteed. When freedom for all is guaranteed and truth is realized, then and only then will we have peace. Until that time, which we won't likely realize in our lifetime, we must protect the freedoms we currently do have and always promote complete freedom for all.

It is because of this confused world that we must have a military. I can't imagine being faced with the obligation to shoot another person even if this action is made in self defense. These soldiers are faced with tough, life altering decisions each day. I pray for each one of them on this day that they never forget the reason they are on the battlefield. May they know our profound respect and gratitude for the sacrifices they make on our behalf. May they not be troubled when they must make tough decisions in order to protect and save the lives of the innocent. I pray that God protect our military from all mental and physical harm and that they may come home to their families safe and soon. I pray for a quick end to the war and that through God's grace that all may come to realize complete and true freedom and discover peace and truth. I am dedicated to spreading this message of faith, family, freedom, justice, life, marriage, peace and truth. I ask you all to say a quick prayer for our veterans and military today. May we never forget the sacrifices they make and may we never forget the greatest sacrifice of all. Jesus showed us how to love completely and gave his very life for ourselves. May we never forget this great sacrifice and example of love. He asked for nothing and gave everything. May we do the same. God bless!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Best "Human" Picture of the Year

The picture below is the winning picture for Best "Human" Picture on the Internet in 2008. Awesome picture.
Good news on the life front. Several recent polls are showing a shift in this country toward pro-life views. For the first time in a long, long time a majority of Americans consider themselves pro-life. While it is sad that there are still about 49% who lean pro-choice in the abortion issue, there are indications that the number is reducing. I went to the abortion mill again this Saturday morning. St. Michael's brought 7 people which was a pretty good showing. Along with me were the usual group; Pam, Katherine, and Kelly. Katherine's husband Jason joined today as well as another Knights of Columbus member who brought his teenage daughter. It was awesome. We think at least 2 lives might have been saved, many more hearts and lives were touched by our presence and prayers, and some of the women who had abortions received consolation and help from our sidewalk counselors. God is good. Have a great holiday weekend. God bless!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Comprehensive Analysis of Obama's Notre Dame Speech

I watched the entire 30 minute speech Obama gave to the graduates of Notre Dame last Sunday. As you all know, his invitation and award of an honorary degree by the Catholic University was highly controversial. I have posted several posts in protest of the actions of Notre Dame President Jenkins to invite and honor Obama. There was certainly a lot of tension in and around the ceremony. I was pleasantly surprised at the news coverage of the event. While I still disagree with Notre Dame's decision, I do think that some great good could come out of this controversy primarily because it raised the issue of abortion and became the news story of the day. I believe that if we talk more and more about the issue, eventually the truth will prevail. I would like to comment on several quotes Obama made yesterday. I don’t want to take any of his comments out of context, so you can read the entire speech in the link below.
His entire speech can be found here.

"Now this excites me. I want to congratulate the winners of this year's tournament, a team by the name of "Hallelujah Holla Back." Well done. Though I have to say, I am personally disappointed that the "Barack O'Ballers" didn't pull it out. Next year, if you need a 6-foot, 2-inch forward with a decent jumper, you know where I live."
Wisely, Obama started off his speech with some humor to lighten the tension. I must admit that Obama does have a pretty good sense of humor and seems like a nice guy. He is an extremely smart speaker. He knows how to captivate his audience and using some humor was a good tactic to win over the crowd. The crowd certainly was overwhelmingly supportive of the president. Their frequent and loud applause was both surprising and more than a little disturbing. Did they realize they were applauding the most pro-abortion president in American history?

“I also want to congratulate the Class of 2009 for all your accomplishments. And since this is Notre Dame ... (Speech is interrupted by anti-abortion protesters.)
We're fine, everybody. We're following Brennans adage that we don’t do things easily. We're not going to shy away from things that are uncomfortable sometimes.”
President Obama handled the interruptions and protest very well. I’m not saying I disagree with the protests, but Obama was not fazed by the distractions and in some ways they helped Obama’s speech. The majority of the crowd was vocal in disapproval of the protests. Maybe some were upset that there was so much controversy around their graduation, a time that is supposed to be joyful, but they should thank President Jenkins for all the controversy surrounding the graduation; he knew there would be controversy when he invited and honored Obama. The protester could be heard clearly. He said, “Abortion is murder. Stop killing babies.” It’s hard to argue that message. It was sad that students at Notre Dame would boo such comments. I hope Obama is true to his word that he will not shy away from things that are uncomfortable at times, because this issue of abortion is not going to go away.

“Our very survival has never required greater cooperation and greater understanding among all people from all places than at this moment in history.”

What about the survival of the most innocent unborn children?

“The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm.”

My first thought is who would know more about protecting our country, the soldier who is out on the battlefield or the lawyer who can sit in a court room and talk your ear off but has never seen enemy combat? The lawyer and the soldier may love their country equally, but that does not mean that they have equal knowledge on every issue. Just as the lawyer does not have as much knowledge about national security and war, I would not expect the soldier to know the inner workings of the law. We can respect that everyone has an opinion, but we must not accept that everyone’s opinion has equal weight due to a difference in knowledge about the issue. When speaking on faith issues, the bishop of your diocese is the teacher on faith issues. If an individual lay person or politician outside of the church has an opinion on faith issues, their opinion does not carry the same weight as that of the bishop.

“The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts.”

How can you successfully fight an issue when your beliefs and lifestyle contribute to the very issue itself? We can all agree that a cure for HIV/AIDS is desirable, but how does the gay activist suggest we cure this disease? Seriously, what is their answer and solution to the problem? I know that many think that the widespread distribution of condoms and contraceptives is the answer; it’s not. When we encourage the use of contraceptives for those in Africa for example, we are encouraging promiscuity. The lifestyle of the gay activist and others who live a promiscuous life live a lifestyle that is not only morally wrong and sinful, but they also live a lifestyle that leads to the acquiring and spreading of HIV/AIDS.

“Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.”

Obama is being ambiguous and deceptive when he mentions those who speak out against stem cell research. The Catholic Church and pro-life advocates are not against all stem cell research, but embryonic stem cell research which destroys life. Protecting of innocent human life is always admirable and critical, but the decision to fund embryonic stem cell research is neither admirable nor justified. While I can and do empathize with parents of a child with juvenile diabetes, and I realize that often their intentions to do what is best for their child is admirable, the fact remains that embryonic stem cell research destroys a human life. Also, the facts indicate that embryonic stem cell research has provided no recorded medical treatments. On the other hand, several advances have been made and medical treatments have been found through adult stem cell research, which does not destroy human life. Why encourage the destruction of life when funding could otherwise be spent on adult stem cell research which has actually proven to lead to medical treatments? Even if embryonic stem cell research could provide some medical treatment, it would not be justifiable to destroy the innocent human life even if it may lead to a cure of another. Evil means is never justified by a desirable end. The underlying problem with this issue is that of fertility clinics and the practice of in vitro fertilization. You can find a previous post about embryonic stem cell research here.

“How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?”

People often use name calling such as “demonizing” to attack or belittle others and their opinions. I think this is exactly what Obama is doing here with this comment while at the same time he appears to come off as congenial with those he disagrees with. To be fair, he is right that we should not demonize others. When we see sin, it can sometimes be hard for us to separate the sinner from the sin. I have a hard time of this myself. We should not demonize others, but we must not be afraid to admonish the sin. In fact, we have a responsibility to speak out against sinful ways. Obama’s words are particularly troubling because they are so convincing to those who don’t closely examine his actions and his tactics. He suggests that we all just get along, but that is not what we are called to do. We are responsible for evangelizing others and protecting and spreading the truth. There is such a thing as truth, and to deny that there are some very basic truths revealed by God is irresponsible and even sinful. We do not create our own personal truths which are separate from other individual’s ideas of truth. This sort of moral relativism waters down or completely ignores the truth and is one of the greatest and most prevalent evils of our time. Moral relativism poisons our society and destroys hearts, minds and souls. We must always try to separate actions from people. We should be able to accept the sinner, after all we are all sinners, but we absolutely must reject the sin. Sometimes the sinner does not want to hear that he or she is living in sin. Sometimes the sinner is upset when confronted with the truth. We must not abandon truth so as to pander to the feeling of sinners. We must proclaim the truth to sinners so that they might be converted. Archbishop Gomez of San Antonio talks more about this issue using much more eloquent words than myself. I encourage you again to read the article if you haven't already, because he hits the nail on the head.

"I didn't change my underlying position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my Web site."

This comment was made after telling a story about how one of his supporters who happened to be pro-life commented negatively about something that was written on his campaign website regarding pro-life advocates. The fact of the matter is that Obama is a strong abortion advocate. He believes women should be able to abort and kill their own babies in practically any case. It is easy to change words, especially if it is politically expedient, but it is much more difficult to change your actions. Actions speak much louder than words, and Obama's actions time and again reflect his radical anti-life positions. It is very unlikely that we will be able to convert president Obama, but we must continue to pray for him and all abortion advocates; pray that with the grace of God through the Holy Spirit their hearts and minds might be converted.

"Let's make adoption more available."

Why encourage adoption if there is nothing wrong with abortion? Think about it. It doesn't make sense. I think president Obama is speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He has no intention of making adoption more available. Look at his actions.

"Let's provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term."

We should be able to hold president Obama to his word. There is an excellent bill, the Pregnant Women Support Act, which is being introduced by pro-life democrat Robert Casey. The Pregnant Women Support Act has been backed by the USCCB, and is a bill that both sides of the abortion issue should overwhelmingly support. Who could not support a bill providing assistance to pregnant women? Maybe Planned Parenthood since it would damage their abortion business… Please contact your representatives in support of this bill.

"Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women."

This appears to be in response to the controversy surrounding the Provider Conscience Clause. I have spoken about this extensively in a previous post here.

"I was not raised in a particularly religious household… I was drawn to be in the church. It was through this service that I was brought to Christ."

It should be pointed out that Obama is not Catholic. In fact, there is some question whether or not he is even a Christian. His comments here are a little misleading. He was led to a church whose pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, holds some extremely radical views. No one really knows president Obama's religious beliefs, I don't know if even Obama himself knows, but he certainly holds several beliefs contrary to the Catholic Church and the vast majority of Christian denominational churches.

"It's beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us. And those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own."

These words are actually very true. I agree completely with what he says here, but again it must be understood in the proper context. Faith may admit occasional doubt and be accepting that some things are a mystery, but faith is also acceptance of truth. If we truly have faith in God, we will not fear standing up for the truth. We know that all things, even the end of abortion, are possible with God.

Please also read these excellent articles related to the Notre Dame controversy:

Archbishop Gomez of San Antonio

Archbishop Chaput of Denver
Bishop Finn of Kansas City
George Weigel
Father Frank Pavone

God bless!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama To Eliminate Funding For Abstinence Education

This is an issue that I am extremely passionate about. As you have read my previous posts, you will notice that a major focus on my perspective on life is centered around the issue of abortion. While that is an obvious focus because it is the very denial of life and is an intrinsic evil that is always sinful, I may even be more passionate about the cultural influences that lead to an acceptance of abortion. I believe strongly that there are several issues that may have a less obvious negative effect on our souls than abortion, but may be an even bigger issue because they affect a much greater number of people. These issues include a misunderstanding of the family, human body, and sexuality; all of which are related to abortion. If we can discover and understand these issues which lead to abortion and other anti-life thought, maybe we can reverse the course we are currently headed in and promote a culture of life by addressing these issues which have transformed and clouded our minds. The purpose of evangelization is to save souls, and I believe that more souls are being lost from a misunderstanding of the family and sexuality than anything else. If just one person reads my posts and comes to realize the true Christian meaning of the human body and sexuality, the importance and true meaning of family, and Jesus' message of hope and real love; praise God!

In a move that cannot be seen as a surprise considering his extensive pro-abortion record, President Obama plans to eliminate federal funding for abstinence education despite an increase in funding for "comprehensive" sex education. So what exactly does "comprehensive" sex education mean? In short, it promotes the use of contraception and diminishes the value of abstinence education. In place of federal funds previously reserved for abstinence education, Obama in his massive spending bill will throw $178 Million of taxpayer money into a "Prevent Teen Pregnancy" initiative. President Obama justifies this decision by saying that abstinence education does not resonate with teens and that this "comprehensive" sex education will reduce teen pregnancies. He believes that educating youth about contraception methods and providing them easy access to contraception will reduce "unintended" pregnancies and thus reduce abortions. I say that this is what he believes because I'm giving President Obama the benefit of the doubt that he really does want to reduce abortions, something of which I'm not completely convinced. This issue of this so called "comprehensive" sexual education is one issue that I'm very passionately opposed to, and I believe that it will only lead to more abortions and a brainwashing of our youth. It will further deteriorate the morality in this county and lead us down a very dangerous path. Let me explain a little further what this decision will mean and why it is so outrageous in my eyes.

I use quotations around "comprehensive" sex education because it is not truly comprehensive. While this "comprehensive" sex education may briefly mention abstinence, the overwhelming focus in these "comprehensive" sex education classes is contraception. Do not let the word "comprehensive" confuse you into thinking that these classes embrace all methods equally. Abstinence, the only 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy, is nothing but a mere footnote in this "comprehensive" sex education. In fact, Obama doesn't want abstinence to even be a footnote in some of his sex education initiatives. "In Obama's FY 2010 Proposed Budget, the president calls for at least $164 million in funding for contraceptive-only education. The money includes competitive grants, research, evaluation and authorization for $50 million in new mandatory condom grants to states, tribes and territories" (CNA). Contraception-only education ignores completely the most effective, morally responsible way to avoid pregnancy: abstinence. What are we teaching our youth when we ignore or just briefly mention abstinence in our sexual education classes?

President Obama is constantly saying that he agrees with pro-life advocates in their desire to reduce abortions, but that he simply disagrees with us on how to reduce abortions. His method is to throw as much money and resources into contraception education and "family planning" organizations such as Planned Parenthood. He believes that this will reduce "unintended" or "unwanted" pregnancies. Not only is this method for reducing pregnancies morally unacceptable, but it is very ineffective. What President Obama and supporters of his contraception-only education ignore is the link between contraception and abortion. It should be obvious. All we have to do is examine Planned Parenthood and what they are all about. They are in business to provide contraception and to perform abortions. When a young woman walks into a Planned Parenthood, they are not advised about the great value of abstinence, but rather advised to use contraception. Planned Parenthood also performs abortions. Think about that for just one second. If contraception is supposed to reduce abortions, why does Planned Parenthood perform abortions? There is an obvious conflict of interests. Planned Parenthood is in the contraception AND abortion business. Simply looking at the business side of the organization, what since would it make to offer two completely contradictory services? It doesn't make since. So why would Planned Parenthood offer both services? Because contraception actually leads to more abortions and furthers their abortion business! Think about it folks! Don't be blinded by words like "family planning" and "comprehensive" sex education. These initiatives are the opposite of what they are supposed to actually represent. Obama's real intention is not to reduce teen pregnancies but to reduce births. There is a very real difference between the two. Contraception is a method to prevent pregnancy. Abortion is the termination of pregnancy. Obama supports both contraception and abortion. Both contraception and abortion are a denial of sexual responsibility. We are teaching our youth that sexual responsibility lies in using proper contraceptive techniques as opposed to being responsible for their actions and their sexual desires. We are placing responsibility on the wrong thing. We are showing a lack of faith in our youth when we accept that they can not be responsible for their own bodies.

Jesus taught us the true meaning of the body, a teaching of respect and of love. While it is possible for a couple to use contraception out of love for one another, it is far more often that the use of contraception is a way for one or both of the individuals to use the other person as an object of desire. When one reduces another to an object of desire, where is there love? If God is love and the conjugal act is an act of love, why does our culture encourage contraceptive measures that take God out of the act and deny the procreative aspect of the conjugal act? Jesus appeals to the heart. He knows the true intention of all our actions and we will be judged on what is in our hearts, not based on what the world sees or thinks. I will discuss this more in my next reflection on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

President Obama will be receiving an honorary degree and speaking to the graduating class at Notre Dame this weekend despite great and vocal disapproval from over 70 bishops and 360,000 Catholics who signed a letter of protest at President of Notre Dame, Father Jenkins, ignored the advice of his own local bishop and is threatening the very catholic identity of Notre Dame. Join me in prayer this weekend for the conversion of Presidents Jenkins and Obama, as well as all those in leadership who have mislead others concerning family and life issues. My prayer is that all Catholics and Christians of all denominations will one day unite behind Jesus' great messages of hope, life and love. May these divisions that separate us from each other and from God vanish and may our faith in God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) unite us. Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama ND Invite: Debate Heats Up

Go Bill Donohue! The other guy, Robert Boston, is a pro-abortion, former Catholic who quite frankly is a jerk. Judge for yourself.

Fox News Story

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Follow Papal Visit To Holy Land

There are a couple ways that you can follow Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Holy Land. You can watch on EWTN TV or EWTN Online. You can also follow the trip through Catholic News Agency's (CNA) Twitter updates. This is historic because it is Pope Benedict XVI's first visit to the Holy Land as pope.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer

President Obama will not be participating in the National Day of Prayer, something that former President Bush always recognized, but is anybody really surprised about this taking into account Obama's record? Today is known as a National Day of Prayer. Let us focus even harder today on prayer. Perhaps it would be a good idea to follow the advice of Archbishop Chaput and set aside one night a week as a night of prayer. As much time as we spend watching tv, surfing the internet, playing with our electronic gadgets, we could be served well to set all those things aside for just one night a week and focus on bible study and prayer. I think this is a great idea. Start today, the National Day of Prayer.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Angels and Demons – Should You Watch It?

For those of you who don’t know, Angels and Demons is the sequel to the controversial and popular movie and book The Da Vinci Code, written by Dan Brown. Angels and Demons will open in theaters May 15, 2009. I will readily admit that I have not read these books, but they are wildly popular for their page-turning and mysterious elements. I did watch The Da Vinci Code and thought it was a terrible movie, both in content and in quality, and watching it was a complete waste of my time. So why are Dan Brown’s books and movies so controversial?
These books and movies are controversial, because they present numerous lies about the Catholic Church and Christian beliefs by way of historical fiction story telling. Dan Brown is a master at weaving fictional information with some factual background. Historical fiction can be particular dangerous because people are generally gullible and uninformed in their faith, or in the case of non-Catholics, the faith of others. The fear is that numerous people will watch this movie or read this book and believe that the Catholic Church is an evil institution or that Christianity in general is just a big conspiracy. While conspiracy theories make for interesting mysteries, they most often times don’t represent factual information.

It would be a mistake to dismiss the possible damage movies like The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons might have on our culture. It might also be a mistake to make a huge issue out of these movies. When the Da Vinci Code movie came out, the Vatican was very vocal in its objection for the movie. While the Vatican has every right be outraged at the misrepresentations and lies, their response may have actually led to more publicity for the movie they were arguing against. In their vocal defiance, more people actually watched because they wanted to see for themselves what all the fuss is about. The Vatican is taking a different, much less vocal, approach with Angels and Demons. I think this is a wise approach and it appears the director of the movie, Ron Howard, knows that controversy is good for the box office. He is trying to pick a fight with the Vatican because he was not able to shoot some scenes he wanted to shoot. Poor Opie Taylor! Another reason why I believe that not making a huge vocal outcry against this movie is a good idea is because the movie is a fictional story. The Vatican knows this and all good Christians know this, but the ignorant may not know that it is fiction. By making a big fuss about the obvious myths presented in these movies, it in some ways brings more attention to the myths themselves. This could lead to people questioning their faith. Examining our faith is healthy, but when we question our faith based on reading or watching of fictitious work people can easily be misled by their own minds. Sometimes we need to protect ourself from oneself. We do not create truth, we can only discover truth through following Jesus and his teachings. When we fill our minds with false information, it is possible that the truth will eventually escape us.
Dan Brown’s books and Ron Howard’s representation of Browns books in his movies are openly sacrilegious and slanderous. Howard has said publicly that these movies are not an attack on the Catholic Church and could be enjoyed by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He could be right that the movie could be enjoyable for some, but there is no question that they are a direct attack on the Church even if it is acknowledged that the information contained in the movies is false. Imagine if you will we take what is happening here and apply it to a different situation. Recently there has been a great scare caused by a virus called the swine flu. Although it has been determined that this virus is not passed through food, say that a journalist writes a sarcastic article in the paper that if you eat roast beef you are 10 times more likely to get swine flu and that Arby’s stores should stop selling Roast Beef for 1 year. Those people who know that swine flu is not passed through food consumption will probably shrug this off and catch the sarcastic humor, but there will be people who read that article and take it literally. Even though it is obvious to many that the article was sarcastic and not based on fact, the result is that Arby’s will probably see a reduction in the number of customers. Is Arby’s not then negatively affected by this? Very much so. This may not have been the greatest anaology, but attacks on the church, whether they be incredibly unbelievable or not, will have a negative affect on the church. There will be some people who buy into the lies. How then can we support such sacrilegious and slanderous works?
The only way we can defeat this anti-Christian culture, this culture of greed and of death, is to educate the people in the true faith. We must educate those inside the Church just as much as we have to educate those outside the church. In many instances, those outside the church know more about the Christian faith than those in the church. This must change. We must be educated in our faith and then we must evangelize. Once we are educated in our faith, we can be confident in defending our faith from attacks on our faith. We also must guard against apathy. The media tries to downplay important life and religious issues, but will blow up stories that suit their agenda. Bishop Wenski of Orlando Florida, who led a mass of reparation this past weekend for Notre Dame’s invite and honoring of President Obama, spoke wise words in his homily which I believe apply to this situation of media influence on our culture. He said that we should not just be IN the world, nor should we be OF this world, but we should be FOR this world. If we are simply living in this world, we are oblivious of our surroundings and the effect both negative and positive that we can and should have on the world. If we are of this world, we are living our lives simply to gain wealth, power and prestige. We are trying to impress people and we fail to live for God and for our eternal destination in Heaven. However, if we live for this world, we are living a life of service to others and in so doing we are living a life pleasing to God. Jesus lived a life of service to others, and so must we live our lives. By evangelizing and spreading the word of God, we are living for this world, not in or of this world. We should keep this in mind in everything we do.

So am I telling you that you absolutely should not watch Angels and Demons? No. However, I would ask that you ask yourself how and why you are spending your time. How will taking the time to watch this movie make you a better person? We all have hobbies and pleasures that we enjoy, but we must evaluate how those hobbies and pleasures effect our lives. We should also analyze the information we are taking in and evaluate whether or not this knowledge will help us become a better person or if it will lead us and others astray. So should you watch Angels and Demons? I guess that's a question each individual has to answer for themselves. As for myself, I will pass.

Julie is doing well. Mom and dad are starting to figure out how to be good parents. It certainly is easier now than it was a week or two ago. Thanks again for everyone who has supported us and I have a greater respect now for my parents and all parents than I ever had before. Spend a quick minute tonight and pray for all parents, especially new and young parents. Thanks and God bless!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Paddy Kelly - Pray, Pray, Pray

Paddy Kelly grew up having all the possessions he could want. He was rich and famous even as a teenager, but he was still not happy. He thought about ending his life, but he had a conversion. He began questioning the meaning of life and fell in love with the church. He is now a seminarian. His music is madly popular in Europe. Now his lyrics are very Catholic as can be heard in his music video for Pray, Pray, Pray. His life is just another example of how worldly things don't make us happy. I hope that his music will evangelize many and his story will inspire those who have lost hope and joy in their lives. Hope and joy can be found in Jesus Christ. All who come to this realization are happy. God bless!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thank You!!!

Julie is two weeks old today, and it has been a really crazy two weeks. Shelly and I never realized all that was involved in being parents. Being a good dad has been the most difficult thing I've ever had to try to do and be. At times during the last couple weeks, Shelly and I have felt overwhelmed. We even began to question whether we made a good decision to start a family. Were we too young and could we handle this? I feel a little guilty for even thinking these things, but when you only get a couple hours of sleep a night sometimes those thoughts enter your head. We have been blessed with family and friends that have helped greatly in the last two weeks. I will not try to list everyone who helped, but I'm thankful for everyone who did anything to help out. I'm thankful for the cards, food, cleaning, visits, thoughts and prayers. Sometimes just the little things can be such a huge help. It was so wonderful to get to see my parents (and Andrew) for a couple days. Dad (or should I say Grandpa) was a huge help around the house. I had fun working with him and our frequent visits to home depot. Grandma was dead tired, but she took care of Julie at night (along with grandpa) and was a huge help. I just wish they didn't have to go home. I've missed all my family so much and I love you all. The in-laws were a great help as well. My brother Steve sent flowers which was very thoughtful, I know Shelly appreciated it. So many others - we are so thankful. Thank you and God bless!

Baby Jule just exploded in her pants. Got to go change a diaper... Life is never going to be the same.