“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Catholic Case Against Obamacare

I have frequently thought on many issues that the Democratic Party provides the "wrong answers to the right questions." How can we provide better assistance to the poor? How can we make sure workers are treated fairly? How can we help women with unwanted pregnancies? How can we give everyone access to needed health care...

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have told us, everyone deserves medical care, and it is a noble end goal. My own bishop, William Murphy, penned a letter to US Senate Committee on Finance on behalf of the USCCB citing:

"The moral measure of any health-care reform proposal is whether it offers affordable and accessible health care to all, beginning with those most in need…"

In noting this, it is still my opinion, and I do not speak for the Magisterium, that the Catholic position should be AGAINST the President’s Health Care Initiative. There is a grave devil in the details of his plan. The devil is RATIONING.

This concern is so front-and-center, that the Fourth Estate is even shining the spotlight on it. The Wall St. Journal reported from Obama’s town hall meeting this week. A concerned citizen brought up a very real-world, tangible family experience she had and asked Obama if the same respect of life would be given under his plan:

"At one point in the town hall, broadcast from the East Room by ABC news, a woman named Jane Sturm told the story of her 105-year-old mother, who, at 100, was told by an arrhythmia specialist that she was too old for a pacemaker. She ended up getting a second option, and the operation, for which Ms. Sturm credits her survival.

"Look, the first thing for all of us to understand that is we actually have some -- some choices to make about how we want to deal with our own end-of-life care," Mr. Obama replied. After discussing ways "we as a culture and as a society [can start] to make better decisions within our own families and for ourselves," he continued that in general "at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what? Maybe this isn't going to help. Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."

What Mr. Obama is describing is his preferred health-care future. If or when the Administration's speculative cost-cutting measures under universal health care fail to produce savings, government will start explicitly limiting patient access to treatments and services regarded as too expensive. Democrats deny this eventuality, but health planners will have no choice, given that the current entitlement system is already barreling toward insolvency without adding millions of new people to the federal balance sheet."

So basically if someone is 65 years old and is diagnosed with a cancer that has a high mortality rate; here is your Advil according to our President.

With this statement, there is the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one will mention. They will dance all around it, but not land on it. Obama’s health care plan will make a clear distinction between two classes of people. Those who are worthy of health care treatment, and those who are not.

Mike Kinsley, who was the original liberal-defending host of CNN’s Crossfire, also sees this reality in The Washington Post:

"But that doesn't mean rationing will be easy to avoid. Statistics on life expectancy or infant mortality are averages. The easiest way to raise your averages -- maybe even the best way, if we're being honest -- is to concentrate on the general level of care and not to squander a lot on long-odds cases. But if the long-odds case is you or a family member, you may well feel differently.

...Here is a handy-dandy way to determine whether the failure to order some exam or treatment constitutes rationing: If the patient were the president, would he get it? If he'd get it and you wouldn't, it's rationing."

Even super-liberal Mike Kinsley knows what is coming.

Now, back to my Catholic case against the President’s Health Care Plan. The danger, as mentioned, is setting up two classes of people. Some of the darkest chapters of world history began with this premise and resulted in genocide. This is not hyperbole.

If we, as a society, determine that someone who is possibly treatable does not warrant life-saving or life-extending care because of their demographics or situation- just pain medication - the next logical, expedient, cost-savings and obvious secular step is saying why should this person suffer with absolutely no hope. It’s pointless. We should put them out of their misery. Euthanasia is the demonic offspring to the rationed health care that Obama speaks of. This is my grave concern and should be yours.

The immediate front lines of this second class of people, and starting point, will be the handicapped, the elderly, the terminally and chronically ill and less-than-perfect newborns.

This is why His Excellency Bishop Murphy then follows the above statement in his letter to our government with:

"All people need and should have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they can afford, and this should not depend on their stage of life, where or whether they or their parents work, how much they earn, or where they live or where they come from,"

Obama’s Health Care Plan is in direct conflict with this second statement and therefore, in my opinion, can not be supported by Catholics. There are other, better solutions out there that do not lead to this culture-of-death end, literally.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Blessed Mother: The Ark of the New Covenant

Today is the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist.

My favorite story involving this saint happened when the Blessed Mother traveled to visit her expecting cousin, Elisabeth. Elisabeth's child, John the Baptist, leaped in uetero upon being in the presence of the Christ child in Mary’s womb.

Many biblical scholars tie this story to King David’s experience with being exposed to the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament. For example, here are some passages from 2 Samuel 6:

A) 6:9 says, "And David was afraid of the LORD that day, and said, How shall the ark of the LORD come to me?"
B) 6:16 states, "And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD;"
C) 6:11 adds, "And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months:"

Now lets parallel St. Luke’s account of Mary visiting Elisabeth with the accounts of 2 Samuel:

A) 1:43 Elisabeth says. "And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"
B) 1:41 "And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb."
C) 1:56 "And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house."

What St. Luke is saying is that just as the Ark of the Covenant served as the holding place of God’s initial promise (The 10 Commandments) with the Israelites in the Old Testament, the Virgin Mother served as the Ark (meaning shelter or refuge) of the New Covenant holding God’s fulfillment of His new and everlasting Covenant within her.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Barack Obama: Approval Diving; Deficit Rising

Last week quietly Barack Obama’s approval rating dropped below 60% in Gallup. We all know what President Obama has done to the deficit in these last 5 months, but let’s look at his Gallup approval ratings from the time of his Inauguration until now:

January 21: 68% Approve; 12% Disapprove, 20% Undecided
June 17: 57% Approve; 35% Disapprove; 8% Undecided

So 11% of all those polled who approved of Obama at his Inauguration have stopped drinking the Kool-Aid and now disapprove. Likewise, 12% of those polled (or a 60% majority of all those who were undecided) went from being undecided to now disapproving of the job Obama is doing.

Here is what is happening. Gallup a week back stated that only 45% approve of how Obama is handling the deficit. The disdain for his policies is catching up to his engaging celebrity persona. It takes America some time to realize what is happening. His numbers will continue to descend unless he does something about all this spending.

Two political analysts, whom I greatly respect their insight, offered eerily the same opinion on Obama. They each said on separate interviews that in the beginning they believed Obama did not realize the consequence of his actions - all this spending - and what it would do to the future of America. But now they have both come to believe that Obama knows exactly what he is doing and wants to push America past the point of no return. He wants to load us up on so much debt that our income tax rates will have to be raised to 40% to cover just the interest on the deficit and with this increased money the government will ‘provide’ for all of our needs, aka… European Socialism.

Let me make a point to illustrate the validity of these opinions.

Last week, Obama gave partners to gays access to Social Security benefits. I read a report a year ago that stated covering homosexual partners in the Social Security system will move up the program’s insolvency 5 years. So this program will be bankrupted 5 years earlier by this presidential action.

Interestingly enough, last week President Obama used rhetoric to keep the status quo "Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell" policy of the U.S. Armed Forces:

"White House officials said the same-sex benefits changes are not designed to be a gradual step toward military acceptance of overturning “don’t ask, don’t tell” but are instead a move to recruit and retain top talent into government jobs."

Now do partners of gays deserve to uphold their "civil rights" with access to Social Security benefits and those in the Armed Forces not deserve the "civil rights" of being allowed to express who they really are? A little inconsistent, don’t you think? No, not really… here is the answer: Obama’s first action of opening up Social Security will bankrupt America quicker where the second has no fiscal consideration tied to it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The 2009 Barack Obama World Apology Tour

The 2009 Obama Apology Tour rolls on. He never met a corner of the world that didn’t deserve an offered apology on how disgusting America’s history and actions have been.

It would not surprise me if he apologized for American tanks trespassing while they liberate 5 Nazi concentration camps in 1945. One of these was Buchenwald in Germany. Obama should know this, as his great-uncle was one of the GI’s who liberated sections of this camp, although it was not a significant achievement enough for him to get his family history right, as he told America while seeking the Presidency that his uncle liberated Auschwitz.

The President’s uncle, Charles Payne, was quote in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine:

"I was quite surprised when the whole thing came up and Barack talked about my war experiences in Nazi Germany. We had never talked about that before," Payne said. "Of course it came out immediately that he was wrong since there are enough people in America who know that Auschwitz is in the East and that the camp was liberated by the Red Army."

…Asked if Obama would be traveling in his footsteps, Payne said: "I don't buy that. ... This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I'm sure, but for political reasons."

I, likewise, am wondering if President Obama will apologize for the commandeering of graves to bury 125,000 U.S. soldiers across the world as they liberated not only countries but continents.

He should also apologize for the lack of colonialization in the American heart. We are the only superpower in the history of man that have conquered and secured lands with our own blood only to return these lands to their people. France, Germany, Japan, Iraq, Kuwait, Italy, etc… should all have the American Flag flying over them. Such a shameful chapter of our country.

The Soviets deserve much less guilt considering how they rose their flags over their bounty after WWII, while we gave the French back their country. How irresponsible of us not to fly the star spangled banner on the Eiffel Tower. I mean, they dislike us enough as it is routed in the underlying realization that their sovereignty is a byproduct of American strength and benevolence. We should offer apologies for this uncomfortable French feeling.

OK, enough with the sarcasm. Pat Buchanan hits the nail on the head better than I do:

"As for Barack, he behaves on the world stage like some Ivy League kid ashamed of the people he came from, letting one and all on campus know that he is nothing like his benighted family with its sordid history…

Obama is the anti-Reagan. Where Reagan ever spoke of the greatness and glory of America, her history and heroes, her capacity to make the world all over again, Obama is like a dismal parson, forever reminding us — and everyone within earshot — of our own and our fathers’ sins.

Obama is not only demoralizing Middle America, he is driving away the God-and-country patriots who are sick of hearing this rot from professors and journalists, and prefer not to hear it from their president. He is ceding moral high ground to regimes and nations that do not deserve it.

If Obama believes he can build himself up by tearing America down, he is mistaken. Cynical foreigners will view it with snickering contempt, patriotic Americans with disgust. What kind of leader is it who talks down his own country on foreign soil?

...Obama, however — like some Hollywood actress seeking sympathy and public approbation with her tell-all biography detailing how she was abused by her father — trolls for popularity with America’s adversaries by reciting for the benefit of the world all the sins his country has allegedly committed.

When did this become the duty of the president of the United States?"

November 4, 2008, Pat.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Best of VCR: The Feast Day of St. Anthony

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, one of the most popular and venerated saints in the Roman Catholic Church. Just in case you think you are familiar with this great saint, here are some facts about this saint that you may not know:

1) St. Anthony was not Italian. He was Portuguese, born in Lisbon (1195), and was given the baptismal name of Ferdinand.

2) He was given the title "Malleus Hereticorum", the "Hammer of Heretics", because of his ability to preach the gospel with zeal and defend the faith against all of the contemporary heretics. One day, after preaching to a group of heretics in Remini, Italy, and realizing his words were not landing, he led them to the shore. Turning to the river he shouted, "From the moment in which you proved yourselves to be unworthy of the Word of the Lord, look, I turn to the fish, to further confound your disbelief". Legend has it that hoards of fish came to the edge of the water, lifted their heads out of the water and to listened to him attentively, stunning and embarrassing the heretics.

3) While preaching in France one year on Holy Thursday, the saint remembered he had to sing a lesson at the Divine Office back at his monastery. To handle this dilema he bi-located (appearing two places at once - a gift some saints have while living). He sang with the friars at the monastery in Italy and continued to preached his sermon in France simultaneously.

4) More than six hundred years before the Immaculate Conception became Catholic dogma by Pius IX, St. Anthony recognized it by saying, "The Glorious Virgin did not have a stain in her birth because she was sanctified in her mother's womb and safeguarded there by angels."

5) He was the second fastest canonization in history, declared a saint only 352 days (under one year) after his death by Pope Gregory IX. (The fastest canonization in Church history was St. Peter of Verona; 337 days after being martyred.)

6) In 1263, when his body was exhumed, his tongue was found to be perfectly in tact and not decomposed - also known as incorrupt. Upon seeing this, St. Bonaventure prayed aloud: "O blessed tongue, you have always praised the Lord and led others to praise him! Now we can clearly see how great indeed have been your merits before God!"

St. Anthony, Hammer of Heretics, Pray For Us.

"He, Who is the beginning and the end, the ruler of the angels, made Himself obedient to human creatures. The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this? Let the philosopher no longer disdain from listening to the common laborer; the wise, to the simple; the educated, to the illiterate; a child of a prince, to a peasant." - St. Anthony of Padua

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Holy Spirit: The Lord, The Giver of Life

Many years back, my mother expressed to me that the sin of abortion was a direct affront to the Holy Spirit. I never really classified it as such in my head, but I should have easily made the connection considering in the Creed each Sunday we state he is, "the Lord, the giver of life…"

Considering this, I ask how many times have we asked for forgiveness for our country’s Culture of Death from the Holy Spirit, and do we even consider how necessary this is? We all know we should stay on God the Father’s good side, and seek His forgiveness, considering his stern role detailed in the Old Testament. Not too many of His enemies were left standing. Likewise it is easy to identify Christ as a Redeemer and worthy of our pleas for forgiveness. "Redeemer" is a known title of His, and the priest in the confessional takes on the role of Christ. Two-thirds of the Trinity lend themselves easily to an act of contrition, but do we ever plead for forgiveness to the Holy Spirit?

I believe that the steadfast changing of hearts in the abortion debate has been the working of the Holy Spirit. His gifts and tools are at the epicenter of this battle, and perfectly designed for the battle.

Have you ever been completely flustered on how you see the issue of Abortion so clearly and others can’t find their way to a truthful conclusion based in reality? Thank the Holy Spirit, He is working inside of you. As St. Jean Vianney said,

"The Holy Spirit is light and strength. He teaches us to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and between good and evil. Like glasses that magnify objects, the Holy Spirit shows us good and evil on a large scale. With the Holy Spirit we see everything in its true proportions; we see the greatness of the least actions done for God, and the greatness of the least faults. As a watchmaker with his glasses distinguishes the most minute wheels of a watch, so we, with the light of the Holy Ghost, distinguish all the details of our poor life. Then the smallest imperfections appear very great, the least sins inspire us with horror…"

And what about the burning desire inside you that leads you to an action working towards the end of abortion? That is also the Holy Spirit working in you.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen stated that when receiving the Spirit in the sacrament of Confirmation, it urges you, "to fight …against the three great enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil."

Sheen continues:

"…in Confirmation, the Christian is marked with power and boldness on the forehead [with the sign of the cross], so that neither fear nor false modesty will deter him from the public confession of Christ. Cattle are often branded with the owner's name; …Plutarch states it was a custom to brand cattle that were destined for sacrifice, as a sign that they were set apart for something sacred. … On the last day, the elect will be sealed on their foreheads in the name of the Lamb and of His Father, to protect them from destruction (Apoc. 7:3). Confirmation, then, is the sealing of a person in the army of the Lord…"

So the Holy Spirit sharpens our perceptions to reality, good and evil, and strengthens our fortitudes for actions based on this reality. The epicenter of the workings of the Pro-Life cause.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Favorite Quote from a Specific Saint

With all the talk and secular praise of the term "common ground" lately, here is my one of my favorite quotes from St. Josemaria Escriva:

"To compromise is a sure sign of not possessing the truth. When a man gives way in matters of ideals, of honour or of Faith, that man is a man without ideals, without honour and without Faith." - The Way, #394"

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Best of VCR: Conquering Addiction

Originally posted on June 24, 2008:

In this month’s Faith and Family magazine, there is a feature where readers tell how they avoid unhealthy eating. There was a brief suggestion from a mother that supplied all the answer this section needed. She said that when tempted to have a fattening dessert, she offers it up to God as a sacrifice for her intentions for her children. I have never met this woman, but I need to know no more of her to know her soul and what kind of mother she is.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen gave words of wisdom in one of his lectures on the conquering of addiction. He said, paraphrasing, to overcome any addiction, you must "force it" out of your psyche by replacing it with something just as consuming. Such words of wisdom and no psychiatrist payment needed.

This woman's offering up a desired want for the prayerful intention of her children meant more to her than the pleasure that a dessert would bring. Her love for her children conquered and "forced out" her temptation to eat.

In this Sheen counseling lies the reason why so many diets fail. The dieter starts with the best intentions in the first of the month, but the uncontrollable craving to eat remains and is allowed to run freely within their psyche unchecked. Nothing has forced this addiction out. It is patiently lurking in the wings and waiting to arise and conquer again.

One of my heroes of this world, Msgr. James McDonald - now rector of Long Island’s seminary - once addressed the addiction of alcohol in a Sunday homily. He passionately and in a booming voice told the congregation, "Don’t tell me you can’t put down that drink when Christ thirsted for you on the cross!" Msgr. McDonald was coming at the same angle as Archbishop Sheen. Your love of Christ and gratitude of his suffering can push out that addiction.

My grandfather was a very good man but an alcoholic. He never harmed anyone but was his own worse enemy with his drinking problem. When my siblings and I were very small children, my father told my grandfather that we could not ride in his car, spend time with him, because of my father’s obvious concerns. As the story goes after this difficult conversation, my grandfather quit cold turkey. Not one more drop. His love for his grandchildren was more consuming than his drinking problem. The last few years of his life were spent sober, and this is how he went home to God.

We are all imperfect people, with shortcomings and addictions. How much progress would we make towards Divine Grace if those parents with addictions (alcoholism, smoking, drugs, sex, anger-management, gambling, over-eating, shopping, gossiping, etc...) offered their pain in denying their personal addiction up to God with the specific intention that Christ would protect their children in the future from acquiring the same addiction? How could the loving heart of Christ not accept an offering so beautiful, noble and selfless? How could we not eventually succeed in conquering any addiction through this act of love?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

George Tiller: The Acid Test for the Sanctity of Life

In 2001, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II wrote the President of the United States asking him to spare the life of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. McVeigh’s domestic terrorism crime, that he received a due-process sentencing for, took the lives of 168 innocent people. McVeigh’s act of domestic terrorism left pre-schooler’s unmatched shoes strewed throughout the concrete rubble of the collapsed federal building. McVeigh was unrepentant and hardened all the way through his eventual execution not showing the slightest sign of remorse.

Timothy McVeigh was the acid test for the sanctity of life. A life with apparently no sanctity. This horrible mass murderer still possessed the precious gift of life, the gift on the Holy Spirit, and this gift deserved to be protected. Thus the Vatican request.

As we are proponents and protectors of the Culture of Life, we must thoroughly denounce the murder of George Tiller.

As well, George Tiller was also an acid test for the sanctity of life. A man who performed 60,000 abortions in total, many times on viable children whose lives were ended literally by Tiller’s hands crushing their developed skulls or puncturing the nape of their neck to suction out their brains. He left a host of victims, alive and dead, in his wake such as Christin Gilbert.

If Tiller's life had value and deserved protection, then it reinforces that all life has value, which is the core principle and dedication of Our Cause. Our human instinct of disdain must acquiesce to the Divine revelation of sacredness.

Robert P. George, a professor at Princeton, has summed it up most succinctly and accurately:

"Whoever murdered George Tiller has done a gravely wicked thing. The evil of this action is in no way diminished by the blood George Tiller had on his own hands. No private individual had the right to execute judgment against him. We are a nation of laws. Lawless violence breeds only more lawless violence. Rightly or wrongly, George Tilller was acquitted by a jury of his peers. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord." For the sake of justice and right, the perpetrator of this evil deed must be prosecuted, convicted, and punished. By word and deed, let us teach that violence against abortionists is not the answer to the violence of abortion. Every human life is precious. George Tiller's life was precious. We do not teach the wrongness of taking human life by wrongfully taking a human life. Let our "weapons" in the fight to defend the lives of abortion's tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit."

Htip to Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" for George quote

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Gift of Down Syndrome

Dr. Sandra Ryeom and colleagues at Children's Hospital Boston discovered that at least two proteins found in the extra 21 chromosome of Down syndrome could be instrumental in fighting Cancer.

As people with Down syndrome rarely get diseases linked to the overgrowth of blood vessels, such as cancer, when evaluating tumors grown with Down syndrome cells Dr. Ryeom and her team found that these cells resulted in the growth of fewer blood vessels than tumors grown with normal stem cells.

WedMD quotes the study:

"It is, perhaps, inspiring that the Down syndrome population provides us with new insight into mechanisms that regulate cancer growth and, by so doing, identifies potential targets for tumor prevention and therapy," Ryeom and colleagues conclude."

In an always-disturbing statistic, moreover in light of this story, Physicians for Life quotes that "Recent US studies have indicated that when Down syndrome is diagnosed prenatally, 84% to 91% of those babies will be killed by abortion."

This mortality schedule details how overwhelming this PfL stat is. You have a better chance of survival being diagnosed with 40 out the 42 cancers listed on this schedule than being a Down syndrome child in utero.

The PfL web site also quotes that the Down syndrome abortion rate is up to 94% in England which is aligned, for all intent and purposes, with the mortality rates with the other two cancers on the schedule, pancreatic and liver. So in England it is a better situation for you to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer than to be a Down syndrome baby in utero. With the pancreatic cancer you will have an equal rate of survival and almost always a longer lifespan.

It is such a chilling irony that a segment of the population that could possibly improve the above mentioned mortality schedule is being targeted for such a mass holocaust. Society in our infinite, secular wisdom is destroying our solutions.

However, at the same time it is so very uplifting that this small segment of the population that is seen as less than human and worthless to many may hold a major key to the salvation to the whole of society, forcing secular society to take an another objective look at their value.

How foolish have we become not setting a place at the human table for everyone?