View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lila Rose: The case against Planned Parenthood

Why I Quit the Democratic Party

The Democrats used as bit of shenanigans to KEEP abortion in a House health care reform bill.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee July 30 rejected an amendment to a bill that would have prohibited any mandated abortion coverage, except in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening danger to the mother.

After approving it.

Republicans Joseph R. Pitts (Pennsylvania) and Roy Blunt (Missouri), and Democrat Bart Stupak (Michigan), introduced a one paragraph amendment to the America's Affordable Health Choices Act that read, "No provision of this act ... shall impose, or shall be construed to impose, any requirement for coverage of abortion, or access to abortion, or to authorize or permit the recommendation for, or imposition of, any such requirement," except in limited circumstances, the amendment said.

Initially, the committee approved the amendment 31-27.

A partial victory for our side (it still contained a few circumstances under which abortion would be allowed). It was nice to see a Democrat as one of the sponsors.

Perhaps realizing they had slipped up, chairman Henry Waxmen, a California Democrat, managed to get the amendment up for a revote. A Democrat changed his vote and another who had not voted previously - maybe a panicky call went out? - voted "no," so in the end it lost 29-30.

I was a Democrat for most of my adult life, but I quit after realizing that the party was moving deeper into support of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and more. Now I'm just a pro-life independent.

Eggs For Sale - O Brave New World!

Never underestimate the perversity of the anti-life crowd - or the power of money.

In New York women will soon be able to donate their eggs.

That's right, their eggs.

Those eggs might be used to help get other people pregnant, but they might also be used for embryonic stem cell research.

And the "donors" will be able to get reimbursement of up to $10,000 — paid for by taxpayers.

This is no joke. This is not Swiftian satire. This is news.

The board that oversees funding of the state's stem cell research voted to make New York the only state that allows taxpayer dollars to be used to pay for women to donate their eggs strictly for stem cell research.

State health officials argue that it is necessary to compensate women for the burden, discomfort and expense related to the donation process so that suitable eggs can be found for stem cell research.

Mind you, this is also a state that is running a deficit. It's a way to spend money we don't have.

And you know what's going to happen. Women desperate for money will to take risks with their health to donate. Poor women. The unemployed. Young women trying to make ends meet.

Never mind that embryonic stem cell is not producing results - while adult stem cell research is. Never mind that it will lead to the deaths of those unborn children.

Just dangle that money out there.

My money.

Just as they want to use my money to help pay for abortions under some of the national health reform proposals.

The vote was almost unanimous. There was one "No."

Father Thomas Berg, a priest in the Archdiocese of New York who sits on the board, voted against the compensation policy.

Good for him.

He reportedly said he opposed using taxpayer money to entice vulnerable women to donate their eggs for what he called speculative research.

"We have to understand that this is aimed at a bigger project of using embryonic human life as raw material for research," he said.

So when do we take the next step and allow the poor to sell body parts?

Cash for kidneys!

Lucre for livers!

Moolah for marrow!

Funds for flesh!

Come on, you can get by with one eye!

What a sad world.

Bad Haiku Friday 2: Beer

Archie Bunker said,
"You don't buy beer. You rent it."
White House beer summit

Bad Haiku Friday: Our Garden

another rain storm -
this year's garden features
mud and drowned plants

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Archbishop O'Brien: No to nuclear deterrence

An archbishop who was a chaplain in Vietnam and was later the archbishop of the the U.S military ordinate said at a conference in Omaha - organized by the US Strategic Command in Nebraska - that nuclear deterrence is not a morally acceptable option for national defense.

Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore said he was not denigrating military service, but he contended that all reasonable people should agree that the abolition of nuclear weapons is a desirable goal.

“In 2009, it’s even clearer that nuclear deterrence cannot be a long-term solution for peace,” he said.

He said it was morally wrong for the United States and other nations to continue a policy in which one country holds on to nuclear weapons because other countries hold on to theirs.

Archbishop O'Brien called for American political leaders to take the lead in an effort to reduce and eventually destroy all nuclear weapons world-wide.

“The path to zero will be long and treacherous,” he said Bellevue’s Offutt Air Force Base. But “abolishing nuclear weapons is not partisan ... it’s an issue of fundamental moral values that should unite people.”

He was speaking at a conference organized by General Kevin Chiton, who heads the US Strategic Command in Nebraska. The general said that he had sought the archbishop's contribution because he "didn't want to invite a monotone choir."

Given his background, Archbishop O'Brien obviously has credibility. I admire the fact that he spoke up. I also applaud General Chiton for having him speak.

I agree with him. We do need to eliminate nuclear weapons - though doing so will not be easy given world conditions. I believe the use of nuclear weapons in any way that strikes large numbers of non-combatants - such as in the targeting of cities or of targets in cities - is immoral.

You can find more coverage here (secular) and here (CNS).

Intimations of Mortality

About five years ago during an ice storm that knocked out our power I bought a generator. I later had the basement rewired so we can plug it in directly and keep the furnace, sump pump and refrigerator going.

I hadn't fired up the generator since that storm. I haven't changed the oil in all that time. It's probably all gummed up. I don't want to risk trying to start it and ruining it. Not being mechanical, I decided to take it in to a shop to have it cleaned and checked just in case we need it.

I backed the car up to the garage to load it into the trunk.

I couldn't lift the generator in.

I could get it off the ground, but raise it a couple of feet? No way. I tried again, but I could feel my 54-year-old lower back saying, "Remember the time you threw me out and we suffered for weeks? We're getting there again."

I pushed the generator back into the garage.

Now somehow five years ago I managed to get it out of my trunk and into the garage. Did I have help? I don't recall. Or did I have enough umph to get it out of the trunk and onto the ground all by myself back then?

Yeah, it's easier to get it down than it is to lift, but still, I felt helpless. And a bit older.

I'll need to get help. I don't like asking for help. A lesson in humility.

A troubling spin on health care reform

"The death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities."

That's just one statement contained in a troubling op-ed in the New York Times, "Why We Must Ration Health Care," by Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton

The article posits that one way to ration health care is to make use of "quality-adjusted life-year" as a unit of measuring whether it is cost effective to provide or continue to provide health care.

"This is the basis of the quality-adjusted life-year, or QALY, a unit designed to enable us to compare the benefits achieved by different forms of health care. The QALY has been used by economists working in health care for more than 30 years to compare the cost-effectiveness of a wide variety of medical procedures and, in some countries, as part of the process of deciding which medical treatments will be paid for with public money. If a reformed U.S. health care system explicitly accepted rationing, as I have argued it should, QALYs could play a similar role in the U.S."

Take the teen vs. 85-year old. Rather than judging health care based on the number of lives saved, Singer says another more valid way to measure is "life years."

"If a teenager can be expected to live another 70 years, saving her life counts as a gain of 70 life-years, whereas if a person of 85 can be expected to live another 5 years, then saving the 85-year-old will count as a gain of only 5 life-years. That suggests that saving one teenager is equivalent to saving 14 85-year-olds."

He also makes some observations about health care for the handicapped.

"If most would prefer, say, 10 years as a quadriplegic to 4 years of nondisabled life, but would choose 6 years of nondisabled life over 10 with quadriplegia, but have difficulty deciding between 5 years of nondisabled life or 10 years with quadriplegia, then they are, in effect, assessing life with quadriplegia as half as good as nondisabled life."

I don't know if Singer has had any input into the efforts to reform health care down in Washington, but he is certainly the kind of academic that the Obama administration seems to like to tap. As it is, there are several different proposals floating around. But I strongly suspect that there are some folks down there who share some of his ideas (think of Nancy Pelosi's remark - I'm paraphrasing - that aborting the poor and unhealthy can save money).

Singer's essay is more nuanced that these excerpts reveal - so I suggest you go read the whole thing. And he is right, this sort of evaluating health care is already going on. But the thrust of it is still disturbing, especially as we consider government involvement in health care..

The Catholic Key blog has some analysis.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mitt Romney - I believe abortion should be legal

What does Romney really believe? Does it depend on what the audience wants to hear?

(A nod to Patrick Madrid.)

40 Days For Life - Fall Campaign

I received word that we will be doing another 40 Days for Life campaign this Fall. The national dates are September 23 to November 1, so I assume those will be the local dates.

Last fall's campaign in Rochester saved lives.

There's an informational meeting Tuesday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Focus Pregnancy Help Center at 86 University Ave.

The campaign is prayerful and peaceful (unless pro-choicers show up - they tend to be noisy and use crude language). You sign up for shifts at your convenience with the hope that we will have enough praying people to keep a 24-hour presence outside Planned Parenthood.

It does not involve shouting, confronting, shoving dead baby pictures in people's faces. It's about prayer.

It would be great if we could have even more people involved this time around. If you are Rochester-area reader of this blog, please consider joining us even for just one shift.

A Pro-Life Success Story

From Mary of Rochester's Focus Pregnancy Help Center (just down the street from Planned Parenthood):

A baby was saved last Thursday!!! The mother was at Planned Parenthood & we told her the truth & talked with her for awhile & we gave her lots of information. She drove away very happy & was thanking us many times over, as she was leaving the parking lot. Please keep 'C' in your prayers. Thank you Jesus for saving this precious baby!!
God bless,

The Center, like so many others, offers not only counseling to help talk women out of killing their babies, but also support through the pregnancy and beyond, and contact with a network of other resources to help the women and children.

An Obama song: No disrespect intended

With a nod to Orthometer


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Liberal Columnist Praises Huckabee

"Ex-Gov. and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's talk show on Fox. Have you seen that thing? It's so bizarre it's incredibly entertaining. Watching Huckabee interview Dan Rather was great television, if you could get past the scary feeling that you'd dropped through a cosmic worm hole and turned up in a parallel universe. And there's no better place to see your favorite old-time musicians. Where else would you see Neil Sedaka perform these days? Or hear the band Yes performing "Owner of a Lonely Heart?" You won't see that on "Good Morning America."

Fact is, I've become very fond of Huckabee since the presidential primary. He's funny, and earnest, and he talks about conservative politics and values in ways that make sense. If the GOP is really looking for future leaders who can draw voters from middle-of-the-road America, they ought to be thinking about Mike Huckabee. The man is so likeable that the writer of an article about him in Esquire said that "he's so damn folksy and self-deprecating that the liberal media (i.e., me) just want to hug him." Someone like that is a force to be reckoned with."

- from a column by Greg Bean

Mass for Life

There's a Mass for Life at 6:30 tonight at Focus Pregnancy Help Center, 86 University Avenue. Father Walter Cushing will be the celebrant. Food and refreshments will follow.

Sadly, I will probably not be able to make it (family).

I've also heard that we may have another 40 Days for Life effort this fall. I would love to see expanded involvement from Catholic parishes and groups in this prayerful, positive effort. I would also love to see Bishop Clark and other diocesan officials getting involved.

Maggie and Ma

I picked up Maggie's ashes yesterday and brought them home. She is on a bookcase now. I don't know what I will do with them yet. I keep looking in her corner, keep thinking "Save a bit for the dog" each time I eat, keep listening for her in the morning. It will fade in time, but I will always miss her.

On a positive note, my mother-in-law (above with Maggie) is back home after her stroke and weeks in the hospital. She still needs 24-hour support, so my wife has spent a few nights over there. But "Ma" is recovering and doing well.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Myth of Overpopulation

I've heard some of these arguments before.

I've long believed the issue is not overpopulation. It's a combination of things, including the the misuse of resources. We could produce enough food to feed the people of the world, but the quest for profits leads to the raising of cash crops rather than food crops. In some regions, for example, the farms (owned by the wealthy and large corporations) grow sugar to feed the sweet toothes of first world people instead of growing food to feed their own people. I saw this first-hand in Haiti.

Possible Health Care Reform Implication?

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Critical Mass: Dorian Gray

Catholic rock. Hold up your candles!


Mea Culpa Before The Crucifix

Dear Lord,
Help me always to remember
that each time I speak in anger
each time I respond with sarcasm
each time I judge another's heart and mind
each time I emphasize other's blemishes
I drive the nails deeper
into Your Holy Flesh
I press the thorns
further into Your Holy Head
I add another burden
for You to bear
upon the Cross.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fighting Back! (United Breaks Guitars)

As the owner of a Taylor, I shuddered!

Very clever - though I'm still trying to figure out the sombreros!

Gates Clustering: Part 2

The Gates/Chili clustering plan was officially unveiled at church this morning. It was as internet leaks said: St. Theodore's and St. Pius will remain as individual parishes for now, and St. Helen's, St. Jude's and Holy Ghost will cluster as of next June with two priests: A pastor and a parochial vicar.

Father spoke briefly about it at the announcements, and I also nosed around (the reporter in me) after Mass.

The vote on the committee for the plan was unanimous, so representatives from all the parishes apparently bought into it.

But will Father Mike and Father Eloo - pastor of St. Jude's and administrator of St. Helen's respectively - be the two priests in the cluster?

First, the two positions will be open for applicants, so they could choose not to apply, or someone else may apply and be picked over them (though, pastorally, I think that would make little sense).

Further, Father Eloo is not incardinated in our diocese. He is still officially a priest of a Kenyan diocese. He could request to be incardinated and then he could be assigned to the cluster, but he could just as easily not apply to be so. After all, the U.S. is not his home. Maybe he has ties in Kenya to draw him back. If he is not incardinated, his home diocese could also just call him back to Kenya at some point.

Second, once the three parishes are clustered, the pattern in previous clusterings has been for the parishes to merge into one parish. A cluster can only have three parishes maximum, but if they merge into one parish with three worship sites, then they could have a fourth worship site as well. Thus St. Theodore's or St. Pius could come into the mix in a few years.

The plan still has to be finalized and submitted to the diocese, and Bishop Clark has to approve it. There are still other circumstances that could interfere as well. But at least we have an idea where things are going at this point.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

They Like Mike (Huckabee)

The results of a Washington Post poll:

27. (ASKED OF REPUBLICANS AND GOP-LEANING INDEPENDENTS) If the 2012 Republican presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, and the candidates were (READ LIST) for whom would you vote?

Mike Huckabee 26%
Mitt Romney 21%
Sarah Palin 19%
Newt Gingrich 10%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Jeb Bush 3%
Haley Barbour 1%
Bobby Jindal (vol.) 2%
Charlie Crist (vol.) *

It's only 2009, but Huckabee is slowly beginning to edge ahead in some polls.

A recent poll also had him closer than any other Republican to Obama in a head-to-head race, trailing 48-42. Last month he trailed by seven points. Edging closer.


Good Thing Professor Gates Wasn't in New Jersey

BOONTON, N.J. -Police in northern New Jersey needed pepper spray to thwart a groundhog on the attack.

Boonton resident Alex Scott told police the rodent chased him when he entered his garage and tried to get his truck. Police Sgt. Mike Danyo and Officer Paul Ryan said the groundhog went on the attack when they arrived.

Police said Danyo tripped and fell. His partner sprayed pepper spray into the groundhog's face, giving the officers time to snare it.

The animal was euthanized and its remains will be shipped to the state health department for rabies testing.

So you think you can marry?

Hey, it was non-Catholic, so they can get away with it. And some of them are better dancers than some liturgical stompers I've seen!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bad Haiku Friday: Vocal Camp Dilemma

vocal camp advice
leads to a difficult choice:
coffee, or singing?

Obama "Apologizes"

I'm pretty critical of President Obama, especially when it comes to his abortion policies, but today he did something honorable.

Earlier in the week he stepped into a situation involving the arrest of a friend. Obama bad-mouthed the police department, and implied racism was involved.

Today, he apologized (sort of).

The President made a surprise appearance at the daily White House briefing and said that he “could have calibrated” his words more carefully. And he described the incident as "a teachable moment."

Obama had earlier called the police officer and spoken with him for five minutes.

According to a New York Times report, "Mr. Obama did not use the word “apology,” but aides said that was the sentiment conveyed during his phone call with Sergeant Crowley."

Good for him.

Clustering in Gates Begins

This weekend, the group planning for the five Gates/Chili parishes will release a preliminary proposal for three parishes to cluster - St. Jude's, St. Helen's and Holy Ghost - next June. St. Theodore's (my Parish) and St. Pius will remain as stand-alones for now.

The clustered parishes will apparently be served by a pastor and a parochial vicar. It would make sense if Father Mike Schramel at St. Jude's be the pastor, and Father Eloo Nwosu, the pastoral administrator over at St. Helen's, be the parochial vicar. We'll see if that is the case. Of course, something could intrude to interfere, like the death of a pastor somewhere else.

The plan makes sense. Holy Ghost's pastor is retiring next year, so that parish was the logical one to be part of a cluster. St. Helen's is a small parish so it too was a logical parish to include. Putting St. Theodore's into a cluster of St. Theodore's, St. Helen's and Holy Ghost would have stretched things out. But who knows, things could change.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Defund Planned Parenthood

Congressman Mike Pence has the right idea.

The Indiana Congressman has filed an amendment which would deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood - the billion dollar abortion business - through Title X Family Planning.

Congressman Pence observed that Planned Parenthood performed more than 305,000 abortions last year. And, he said, it received nearly $350 million of federal taxpayer money from 2007 to 2008.

Further, the pointed to state investigations into cases of Planned Parenthood staffers apparently encouraging underage girls to lie about their ages to avoid mandatory state reporting laws on statutory rape. (Ah, Lila Rose!)

I don't know if he can get this through even to a vote - Planned Parenthood and its cohorts have lots of say and sway and cash to toss at politicians. But maybe we can get them to waste their money in fighting to keep their pipeline open. That might mean maybe a few more clinics will have to cut hours, close or not open - and thus that more lives will be saved.

Forced to Assist in Abortion - Health Care's Future?

A Catholic nurse in New York who had made her objections to abortion known when she was hired was told to assist in an abortion or face charges of “insubordination and patient abandonment,” which could result in disciplinary action and the possible loss of her job and nursing license.

Catholic News Agency has the story.

She could have just refused, but it's tough to make such a difficult decision so suddenly and under such pressure. I pray that I would have had the strength to refuse, but I am not her shoes.

The hospital is being sued.

If health care reform gets through without exemptions for abortion, will there be more medical personnel forced to face such choices?

Obama admits he's maybe a "little biased"

"Well, I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts. ... Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact."

President Obama's maybe "a little biased" comment on the arrest of a friend.

So he did not have all the facts, but he still felt moved to comment? To the media?

Sort of like his pronouncements concerning abortion.

Oh well, you know what white cops are like, right?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Yesterday, it was Maggie.

Today or tomorrow it will be Scooter.

Scooter was a stray my wife took in. He's about 16. His kidneys have been failing, his teeth giving out. At the last vet visit we were told we could try an expensive operation, but that the operation might not work, and he might even die during it.

Or we could let him go.

At his age, we opted for letting him go.

We almost took him in last week. But with my mother-in-law still in the hospital for a stroke, and with my wife leaving for a conference, we put it off. Since Scooter is my wife's, I left the decision to her.

Last night after I came home from voice camp, still thinking of Maggie, I noticed blood in Scooter's water dish. He's bleeding from his mouth. He hasn't been eating. He's stopped even lapping up milk. I spoke with my wife briefly last last night and told her what I thought. After I got off the phone, Scooter came out of the corner where he has been sleeping and hiding, jumped awkwardly up on the couch, and lay with his head on my lap for a few minutes. Then he went back to his corner. He's still bleeding.

I'm waiting for my wife to call at her lunch break. Do I take Scooter in this afternoon, or wait until she gets back? It's her call.

Whatever her decision, by Friday I will be petless for the first time since I was 10.

As for Scooter, he's a beautiful cat. When we first took him in my wife assumed he was a girl and called him Princess. Then we took him to the vet, who informed us Scooter was no princess.

Scooter did like to run around, so his name became obvious. He was the king of the house. If you sat down, your lap was his bed. The tables and counters were his pathways, no matter how much we tried to chase him off. He was forever trying to escape outside - I have scars on my arm from one time when I tried to stop him. In the morning, he would breath on my face to make sure I got up to feed him. Maggie, a gentle soul even though she was more than 7 times Scooter's weight, always deferred to him.

I guess in falling yesterday Maggie deferred to Scooter one final time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Maggie: 1994-2009

I had to take Maggie to the vet's today. She fell, and could not get up.

I rescued her from the City Pound back in 1995. She was already about a year old; that makes her 15. Not bad for a dog her size (75 lbs in her prime).

She had hip dysplasia - common in Shepherds - so we knew it was coming soon. The last few months she was falling a lot, but always managed to get back up or to be able to stand after a little help. Not today.

Just before she fell, I'd brushed her, trimmed a couple of her nails, and let her finish off some ice cream. Our last moments together before the fall were good.

I will miss her.

More St. Padre Pio Chapel Art

Here's some home religious art as well.

Vocal camp notes

I attended my first session at the Diocesan vocal camp last night. I attended a session on vocal health - with my allergies and asthma, always an issue - and with a vocal trainer.

Among the things I learned:

Coffee, and other caffeinated beverages, are bad for your voice. (I'm an 8-10 cup a day coffee drinker and regualrly slurp down diet cola!)

Cough drops are not good for your voice either.

Coughing and clearing your throat repeatedly damage your vocal chords (see note on allergies above!)

Good things to do:

Drink luke warm water when singing.

Breathe steam (careful not to burn!), and it's a good idea to do so before you sing.

Hard candies rather than cough drops to help keep throat lubricated.

And from my vocal coach:

Smile when I sing, especially on joyful songs.

Be clearer on my consonants. Make my d's sound like d's and not t's.

More tonight. A workshop on warm ups and exercises.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Secular Franciscan Profession Role

We held our annual Secular Franciscan picnic yesterday. The Good-Looking-One accompanied me. She has mentioned interest in the Secular Franciscans herself - but it's unclear if it's just talk, or she really is. I don't push it.

One topic of discussion was the profession next month. Marty, who coordinates things, asked if I would be willing to do the prayers of the faithful. I said I'd be happy to, jokingly adding, as long as they were canonically correct (they had been talking about what was the correct way to word such prayers).

A little later out of the blue he asked I I would take the pictures for the profession as well.

That was a surprise. I'm an adequate photographer, but never thought of myself as someone to take pictures of important events. I will do my best. I hope God will keep me in focus!

My own formation will begin in September. At the moment I'm still a class of one. Maybe some of my local readers would be interested?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pro-Abortion Catholic Senator Cites NARAL

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who describes herself as Catholic, is in the midst of trying to gain support for reelection. She recently listed some of the endorsements she's received.

She noted that she's been endorsed by "more that dozen labor unions and progressive organizations, from NARAL ..."

NARAL is an extremist pro-abortion organization. Anyone receiving their endorsement is immediately discredited, but for a Catholic politician to cite such an endorsement is offensive.

Friday, July 17, 2009

St. Padre Pio Statues - and Concert

The St. Padre Pio Chapel is home to a number of statues.
I took pictures of a few of them.

One statue of Mary (above) was actually being discarded by a parish because the statue was too "old-fashioned," but it got rescued by a lay person who repaired the statue and donated it to the Chapel.

By the way, the St. Padre Pio Institute of Rochester has scheduled a concert by the The Father Beatini Choir in Concert at 7:30 at the Chapel tonight (Friday).

The Chapel is located at 141 Frank DiMino Way, which is off Manitou Road in the Town of Gates, a suburb of Rochester.

It's free and you get a chance to see the beautiful chapel and all of its statues.

Keep Abortion Out of Health Care Reform

The Obama Administration is trying to bull rush through health care reform.

There are many arguments for and against government involvement in health care, and, to be honest, I lean toward some form of government care, BUT the current packages being considered include mandated abortion coverage. The bills, if they get through, would do many of the things the Freedom Of Choice Act would have done.

It's not clear that a large-scale health care bill will get through - folks on both sides of the aisle are questioning the cost, for example - but that does not mean we should just rely on that belief. Some naysayers said we should not have gotten all worked up over FOCA because it was not going to go through, but I'm convinced that the strong opposition helped to make sure that it did not get through.

So, whatever your view on health care reform it's vital that it not include abortion mandates.

The National Right to Life Committee is urging people to e-mail their Senators and Congressional Representatives. Go to their website and they have a form letter. You just have to fill in a few details, and you can even modify the letter, and they it will be sent to the right people automatically.

If we flood our representatives in Washington with e-mails, it might get them to support modifying any health care bill that does get through for a vote.

Bad Haiku Friday: Broken Tooth

broken tooth fits
my body's trend of late -
middle-aged blues

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book `em

Brother Charles over at A Minor Friar wrote about "Catholic Conflicts." He suggested that when dealing with conflicts over issues involving interpretation of Church teachings and the "liberal" vs. "conservative" dichotomies it's a good idea to have the good references available. He mentioned the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a collection of church documents, and the Code of Canon Law.

I had a catechism. I usually went online for the Code and to search for documents.

But I'm a book person. I like having hard copies.

Now it just so happens the Good-Looking-One had given me a gift certificate at the Catholic bookstore (she knows me). So I went over yesterday and picked up a copy of the Code, and The Christian Faith in the Doctrinal Document of the Catholic Church (edited by Jacques Dupuis).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

One Word Meme

I received this challenge over at A Bit of the Blarney. (Go there for the music!)

>> Copy and change the answers to suit you and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers. Be sure to tag the person who sent it to you!

1. Where is your cell phone? None

2. Your hair? Gray

3. Your mother? Jean

4. Your father? Everett

5. Your favorite food? Popcorn

6. Your dream last night? Claustrophobic

7. Your favorite drink? Coffee

8. Your dream/goal? Santa

9. What room you are in? Office

10. Your hobby? Guitar

11. Your fear? Caves

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Adirondacks

13. Where were you last night? Driving

14. Something that you aren’t? Humble

15. Muffins? Corn

16. Wish list item? Cottage

17. Where you grew up? Geneva

18. Last thing you did? Shop

19. What are you wearing? Glasses

20. Your TV? Off

21. Your pets? Two

22. Friends? Away

23. Your life? Evolving

24. Your mood? Peaceful

25. Missing someone? Yes

26. Car? Malibu

27. Something you’re not wearing? Tie

28. Your favorite store? Book

29. Your favorite color? Green

30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday

31. Last time you cried? Mass

32. Who will resend this? You

33. One place that I go to over and over? Chapel

34. One person who emails me regularly? Chris

35. My favorite place to eat? Abe's

I tag no one in particular. If you feel so moved, give it a try. One word answers can sometimes be tough.

A limerick

There once was a blogging progressive
who judged conservatives too aggressive.
He went on the attack
and they fired back -
isn't Screwtape's scheming impressive?

Oh Yeah?

I'm not a conservative, I'm a Catholic.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Maria, I just met a ... barber named Maria

I'm going to a wedding this Saturday, so I decided to stop by my barber's to get neatened up.

I walked in -- and there was a woman barber.

I remembered back in June my barber saying he was going to train someone or bring someone in part-time so that he could eventually retire, so I asked if she was in training there.

Nope. She's the new owner. He retired suddenly.


I asked her name. Maria.

As she trimmed, we talked. She'd had a shop up in Greece, but had to move due to new ownership of the building she was in. Consequently, she bought my barber's business.

She's already expanding his hours - he was a Kodak retiree who worked shorter hours. She does not have that pension to help out, so she needs to increase business.

I suggested she contact the local paper. A woman barber - that's maybe different enough to get a human interest story. I know I've never had a woman barber before.

She did a nice job, by the way. I'll go back - if she can keep it going.

If you live in the Gates area, head over to the Westgate Plaza on Howard Road. The barbershop is around the far side, kind of hidden away (not good for business). Give her a chance.

Too bad I don't blog for Gates any more.

Huckabee: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Czar

Thoughtful, and humorous.

2012 can't come soon enough!


A comment

I was reading an interesting post over at Journey to a New Pentecost ("Some Thoughts About Bishop Clark’s Dispirited “State of the Diocese of Rochester” Address")

I tried to post a comment - a couple of times, but the site was refusing for some reason (said I had to be logged in even though I was logged in!).

Anyway, go read the post, and here's the comment I tried to post.

The diocese is guided by good men and women, but too many of them are stuck in an older (70s/80s) intellectual mindset. The mind is important, but so is the heart - and that gets forgotten. Even the Spirit Alive program was more intellectual than spiritual.

Where is there growth in this country? Where the population is growing - true - but also where some of the old practices, the traditional devotions, are still observed. Places where the bishop is out there in the streets with the average people.

A case in point: The Padre Pio Chapel in Gates. It's a private chapel, and look what's there. Statues. At least one of Mary that was tossed by a parish because it was too old-fashioned. The diocese should embrace the chapel. Allow more Masses. Have the Bishop stop by to lead a service. That chapel is where a number of more "traditional" people gather to pray. They are not intellectual. They like the "smells and bells."

March with the ecumenical groups, yes. But also the pro-lifers. The Hispanics. The Bishop of Buffalo is joining with Catholic radio and Father Corapi to celebrate August 15: Will the Diocese of Rochester be represented? It should be.

Imagine what the reaction would be if Bishop Clark showed up at St. Stans to celebrate a Tridentine Mass some Sunday!

In Our Prayers

I was at Mass this morning. A woman who is a regular - a cornerstone of the parish really - was not there. I know she is in the hospital for surgery today (she had stopped by our pew on Sunday and asked my wife to pray for her).

I said a prayer for her.

But there are so many others out there who may not be as well known, who may not tell others what is going on, who may not have anyone to pray for them, but who just as desperately need our prayers.

I could pray all day and it would not be enough to cover them all!

Dear Lord, I place them in your hands.

Pro-Choice Violence: Vandalism

A pro-life center that provides free pregnancy tests, maternity and baby clothes, and classes was targeted by vandals last week in Eugene, Oregon.

Someone spray painted the phrases "kill us now", "give us your eggs", "freedom", and a swastika on the windows at the front of the Lane Pregnancy Support Center on 13th Avenue in Eugene.

The vandalism occurred late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Lane Pregnancy Support Center is a non-profit, privately funded pro-life community outreach serving over 300 clients each month.

A police spokesperson told the local newspaper that officials are looking for tips on the person or people involved in the vandalism.

Maybe it was just dumb teenagers. Maybe it was pro-choice activists. Whatever the case, it was clearly from a pro-choice point of view, and pro-lifers were targeted once again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Michelle Obama: In the clutches of rumors

While some on the internet have been buzzing about President Obama allegedly ogling a young woman's derriere (if you see the full clip, it's clear he wasn't), others have been checking out Michelle Obama's accessories. (Hey, keep it clean!).

Specifically, a "clutch." My mother used to called it a purse or handbag, but I'm a fashion oaf, so I won't argue about what to call the bag. (I'm referring to the item in question, not the holder).

Anyway ...

While in Russia, Mrs. BO was clutching this clutch, and the company that apparently makes such clutches clutched at some free publicity.

The Italian luxury goods manufacturer VBH boasted that MO was carrying one of their $5,950 alligator manila clutches.

The White House immediately corrected VBH saying it was an $875 VBH patent leather clutch.

Phew. And here we were all worried that as unemployment increases and companies go bankrupt she was carrying something extravagant.

Mind you, even the "cheap" bag, er, clutch, cost more than my monthly mortgage payment. More than some people in the world - didn't they go to Africa later? - earn in a year. More than John Edwards spends on a haircut.

So let's leave poor Mrs. BO alone for this one. Besides, she now has to contend with all those rumors about another little Obama on the way - or with exercising off the bump some sharp-eyed rumor-mongers claim they can see.

Maybe she should just carry a bigger clutch.

Abortion: Nothing new under the sun

15 Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 "When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, she shall live." 17 But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. 18 So the king of Egypt called the midwives, and said to them, "Why have you done this, and let the male children live?" 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, "Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and are delivered before the midwife comes to them." 20 So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and grew very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, "Every son that is born to the Hebrews* you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live." Exodus 1: 15-22 (RSV CE)

At Mass this morning the first reading was from Exodus. I was struck by something: What Pharaoh was doing was what is being done today. There's nothing new under the sun. So I went home and looked at the full section.

I thought of abortion. In some nations, they are aborting not boys, though, but girls. But it's the same idea. Kill the gender you do not want.

Of course, you could extend it. Abort the children with traits you don't want, or who lack the traits you want, for example.

So Pharaoh was ordering what so many pro-abortion folks are allowing (and in some cases, for which they are even calling). It was even a notion brought up by Margaret Sanger and cited by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg: Kill the undesirables.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Fr. Corapi to host local live call-ins

Father John Corapi is scheduled to be the main speaker at an August 15 conference in Buffalo to mark the 10th anniversary of Catholic radio locally - and in anticipation of that event he will host a live call-in radio show four consecutive Wednesdays.

The shows will run from 5 to 6 p.m. on July 15, 22 and 29 and Aug. 5 on WHIC 1460-AM here in Rochester and on 101.7-FM. in Buffalo.

If you want to ask him a questions during those shows, call 1-877-511-5483 during the listed times. You can also tune into the show online at

Holy Family Communications, which runs both stations, is hosting the Aug. 15 conference, titled "Lord and Giver of Life: The Person and the Power of the Holy Spirit," to celebrate its 10th anniversary. HFC has recruited 80 priests to assist Buffalo Bishop Edward U. Kmiec as he celebrates Mass during the conference. The conference will take place at Buffalo's HFC Arena.

Fr. Corapi was been forced to curtail his public speaking events due to illness, and this conference is the only one scheduled for him so far this year.

At the conference, Father Corapi will give four presentations, titled "Theology of the Person and Power of the Holy Spirit," "The Gift Who Contains All Gifts," "The Holy Spirit is Given to Those Who Obey," and "The Spirit We Have Been Given is No Cowardly Spirit."

At last report, more than 10,000 people from 45 states as well as Canada, Australia and the Philippines already have purchased tickets for the conference.

Tickets to the conference are still available. You purchase them by calling 1-888-223-6000 or visiting

For more information about travel arrangements, call 1-888-716-8541.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

More American than Catholic

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has a piece in Newsweek, "Why Barack Obama represents American Catholics better than the pope does."

In it, she examines the ways some American Catholics stray from Church teachings on such issues as homosexual marriage, contraception, abortion, and women's ordination.

A key passage is:

In truth, though, Obama's pragmatic approach to divisive policy (his notion that we should acknowledge the good faith underlying opposing viewpoints) and his social-justice agenda reflect the views of American Catholic laity much more closely than those vocal bishops and pro-life activists. When Obama meets the pope tomorrow, they'll politely disagree about reproductive freedoms and homosexuality, but Catholics back home won't care, because they know Obama's on their side. In fact, Obama's agenda is closer to their views than even the pope's.

She cites polls to show that Catholics here differ with the Church on a number of issues, and, of course, if it's popular, it must be right, right? And she argues that in the Church, authority - not truth or love - has prevailed.

She is right - many American Catholics have chosen to stray from the Church and many do agree more with Obama than with the Church.

But in her arguments she herself is neglecting truth. What she is doing is promoting an old error.

She is setting up popular support for behaviors as a way to judge beliefs and actions rather than judging them by the underlying truths. Popular support for actions is not a valid way to judge. At various times in our past it was popular to support slavery, or child labor, or genocide, but that did not make such actions morally right. Just popular or acceptable

Further, she is promoting nationalism over faith. The Catholics in the U.S. she is talking about are more American than Catholic. In the past, people have argued for being more Roman, or more English, or more French, or more German , or more whatever nationality than being Catholic. They chose nation over faith. It's more pragmatic. That's what the followers of Henry VIII argued, for example. It also helps you to advance socially, politically, and economically.

But saints choose faith over nationality. Many of them died rather than settle for what she is promoting. At the least, many of them failed to advance in the ways the world judges success.

All Townsend is doing is stating an old heresy with new trappings. American trappings.

The choice she is promoting seems to be: Be an American first, and a Catholic second.

As for me, I'm not a saint, but I am a Catholic first.

Beatles, Barnes and Barnes, and Green Acres!

Fish Heads - eat them up, yum

Ever wonder what happened to Billy Mumy (Will Robinson of Lost in Space, and one of the aliens on Babylon 5)? He was a musicain, too (played with America), and was part of "Barnes and Barnes" the group responsible for the classic "Fish Heads. Two versions: Just the song (above), and the video (below).

My favorite verse:

Roly poly fish heads are never seen
Drinking cappucino in Italian resturants,
With oriental women, yeah

Pro-life trend continues

Yet another poll reveals that Americans are becoming increasingly pro-life.

A Knights of Columbus/Marist Institute poll shows that approximately 49 percent of Americans now describe themselves as pro-life - up from 44 percent since last October - and that 60 percent think abortion should be legal only in a few circumstances or not at all.

The poll results are based on a telephone survey of 1,223 Americans in May 2009 and claims a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.

Practicing Catholics were 67 percent pro-life, compared to 59 percent in 2008. However, pro-life non-practicing Catholics declined from 29 percent to 23 percent.

About 42 percent of poll respondents said abortion should be illegal in most circumstances, while 18 percent said it should be illegal in all circumstances (I'd part of that 18 percent group). 23 percent said abortion should be legal in all circumstances, while 17 percent believed it should be legal in most circumstances.

While 60 percent favored banning abortion in all or many circumstances, another 26 percent thought it should be allowed only in the first three months of pregnancy.

Under Roe, Dow and and related Supreme Court rulings, abortion in the U.S. is almost is permitted throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

Another interesting result is that while the pro-aborts try to deny or conceal that abortion harms women, the surveyed people are not buying it. Around 53 percent of respondents said an abortion does more harm than good to a woman in the long run, while only 26 percent felt it improves a woman’s life.

Almost 80 percent of Americans believed health care workers should not be required to perform an abortion if it conflicts with their personal values. I hope President Obama is listening.

In May, a Gallup poll reported that a majority of U.S. respondents described themselves as pro-life.

While these polls reveal a trend toward a more pro-life position, the nation is still split over the issue. We have more work to do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pro-Choice Violence: Alleged hit and run

At a Rockford, Illinois, abortion facility an employee allegedly struck with his car a homeless man praying with pro-life protesters Wednesday, and drove away, according to witnesses at the scene.

The vehicle reportedly struck Scott Griffin on Wednesday as it drove into the driveway of the abortion facility, where pro-lifers say workers frequently drive recklessly in an apparent attempt to intimidate those praying and handing out pro-life literature.

"The dark colored SUV the clinic worker was driving hit Scott Griffin with the mirror on the passenger side so hard the mirror was slammed back into the vehicle and Mr. Griffin was stunned and bruised," Rockford pro-life veteran Kevin Rilott said.

"After the clinic worker hit him she didn't slow down or stop to see how he was - she just kept going."

Another witness, George Lambert, said the female clinic worker "really nailed the guy hard - I couldn't believe she didn't even stop to see how he was."

City Attorney Kerry Partridge refused to comment on whether any suspects had been questioned or charged, saying only that the case is still under investigation.


Bad Haiku Friday - Claustrophobic

fat claustrophobic
drives a sub-compact -
masochistic too


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ginsburg: Roe to rid us of "populations we don't want too many of"

In an interview in the New York Times Magazine, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg made some interesting admissions.

In response to one question, she indicated that her understanding of Roe was that it was to help address concerns about "population growth" - abortion as birth control? - and "particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."

Wow, echoes of Margaret Sanger and the eugenics movement. Whom would these populations be? African Americans? Hispanics? Catholics? The poor? People with disabilities?

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.

She also aparently believes that you can't be "a woman of means" without killing one's babies?

Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

So one path to becoming a woman of means is to make sure you don't have those inconvenient children holding you back?

Well, at least she's honest.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Canadian PM: Ignorance of/disrespect for Catholic teachings

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a major faux pas.

At a funeral, he took the Host - verboten for non-Catholics to do - and walked away without eating it.

A spokesman said he later consumed it - and did not just stick it in his pocket, as some folks alleged. He should not have received anyway.

Perhaps he was ignorant of what he was doing. After all, Protestant churches often don't have rules about Communion, and many Catholics ignore the very clear Catholic rules. But still - an apology is in order. And in the future, he should not stick out his hand to take a Host.

Pope: Respect for the environment - and persons

From Charity in Truth:

51. The way humanity treats the environment influences the way it treats itself, and vice versa. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences122. What is needed is an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new life-styles “in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments”123. Every violation of solidarity and civic friendship harms the environment, just as environmental deterioration in turn upsets relations in society. Nature, especially in our time, is so integrated into the dynamics of society and culture that by now it hardly constitutes an independent variable. Desertification and the decline in productivity in some agricultural areas are also the result of impoverishment and underdevelopment among their inhabitants. When incentives are offered for their economic and cultural development, nature itself is protected. Moreover, how many natural resources are squandered by wars! Peace in and among peoples would also provide greater protection for nature. The hoarding of resources, especially water, can generate serious conflicts among the peoples involved. Peaceful agreement about the use of resources can protect nature and, at the same time, the well-being of the societies concerned. ...

I think St. Francis would smile.

If lunatics ran the world (oh, wait!)

I got up early this morning. The dog woke me, and given her precarious health and, um, "control" issues, when I hear her moving about I get up immediately to let her out. Just in case.

I made some coffee and sat to read the paper. Michael Jackson. New York's dysfunctional Senate. A local trade scandal ensnaring the GOP. The Rochester City Council NOT voting on a construction/renovation project that's been dragging on for years. Palin's resignation. The Mets losing. Again.


I flicked on the television. One of the movie channels had on King of Hearts, an anti-war French film from 1966 in which the inmates of an insane asylum take over a town in WWI, and they seem more sane than the armies fighting the war.

I always liked the movie.

It seemed an appropriate film to watch with all that's going on.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Encyclical Highlights Social Justice-Life Links

Pope Benedict XVI has released his new encyclical, Caritas in veritate (Charity in truth). I've only begun to glance at it, but one thing I like is that he links life issues and social ethics issues. The economy is linked to life issues. Care for the poor is linked to life issues. Economic development is linked to life issues.

One section grabbed my attention early on:

28. One of the most striking aspects of development in the present day is the important question of respect for life, which cannot in any way be detached from questions concerning the development of peoples. It is an aspect which has acquired increasing prominence in recent times, obliging us to broaden our concept of poverty[66] and underdevelopment to include questions connected with the acceptance of life, especially in cases where it is impeded in a variety of ways.

Not only does the situation of poverty still provoke high rates of infant mortality in many regions, but some parts of the world still experience practices of demographic control, on the part of governments that often promote contraception and even go so far as to impose abortion. In economically developed countries, legislation contrary to life is very widespread, and it has already shaped moral attitudes and praxis, contributing to the spread of an anti-birth mentality; frequent attempts are made to export this mentality to other States as if it were a form of cultural progress.

Some non-governmental Organizations work actively to spread abortion, at times promoting the practice of sterilization in poor countries, in some cases not even informing the women concerned. Moreover, there is reason to suspect that development aid is sometimes linked to specific health-care policies which de facto involve the imposition of strong birth control measures. Further grounds for concern are laws permitting euthanasia as well as pressure from lobby groups, nationally and internationally, in favour of its juridical recognition.

Openness to life is at the centre of true development. When a society moves towards the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man's true good. If personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away[67]. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fibre and makes people capable of mutual help. By cultivating openness to life, wealthy peoples can better understand the needs of poor ones, they can avoid employing huge economic and intellectual resources to satisfy the selfish desires of their own citizens, and instead, they can promote virtuous action within the perspective of production that is morally sound and marked by solidarity, respecting the fundamental right to life of every people and every individual.

I can see clear condemnation of various anti-life initiatives put forward by international agencies - such as Planned Parenthood - and, of course, the Obama administration.

At the same time, the encyclical raises issues that sometimes get overlooked, including care for resources and the environment, globalization, gross inequalities between the wealthiest and the poorest (nations, and individuals), social justice, and more.

More to read!

Monday, July 06, 2009

RPH - Rosaries Per Hour ...

I had to go out to the school today to take care of some business.

On the way back, I said a rosary - the drive is about the right length of time.

But as I prayed, it occurred to me there was an added benefit beyond what one might normally expect from reciting a rosary.

When it comes to driving, I am a grumbler. Unkind thought keep popping in my head when I encounter drivers who are too slow, too aggressive, too careless. I want to honk my horn, or fire some imaginary laser at them!

But today as I drove and prayed it dawned on me: How can I dwell on such thoughts as I pray?

The rosary just might make me a more civil driver.

Happy Fourth (okay, I'm late)

Ah, culture.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pro-Choice Violence: Threatening with a Gun

Another incident of threatened violence against a pro-lifer.

Outside a Phoenix Planned Parenthood abortion center on Wednesday an Arizona man pulled a gun on a pro-life advocate who handed him a brochure with information on alternatives to abortion.

Phoenix police Lt. Larry T. Jacobs said in a television interview that the man had just dropped off his girlfriend for an abortion at Planned Parenthood - the billion-dollar abortion business - when the pro-life advocate handed the man the brochure. The man pulled out a gun and pointed it at the woman for a few seconds, then got in his vehicle and drove off.

The pro-lifer wrote down the gunman's license plate and report it to authorities. Police eventually arrested the alleged defendant.

The woman says she was only trying to help the man consider other options.

Maybe because of media distortions about "violent pro-lifers" the man felt threatened. Or maybe he was embarrassed, ashamed or feeling guilty about what he was doing. Only he - and God - knows.


Fatima Shrine Visit

The Good-Looking-One and I went off to the Fatima Shrine near Buffalo yesterday.

They are renovating, so some areas were closed off.

But it was still good to stroll the grounds, stop by familiar statues, say a few prayers. I bought a second finger rosary for my morning walks (I keep the other one in the car).

On the way home we stopped by Ridge Road Station - with one of the world's largest collection of Christmas- and Santa-related items (ah), then at a favorite diner for a veggie burger and onion rings. Mmm.

Sounds like a hot date? For us, it was a wonderful day.

Pope: Dissidents are Childish

Pope Benedict XVI closed the Year of St. Paul earlier in the week using the words of St. Paul to comment on those who disagree with Church teachings.

Citing Paul's letter to the Ephesians (4:14), the Pope said Paul meant Christians should not remain "children at the mercy of the waves, transported here and there by every wind of doctrine."

"Paul wants the Christian faith have a 'responsible', an 'adult faith," the pope explained.

"The word 'adult faith' has in recent decades become a popular slogan. It is often used to refer to the attitude of those who no longer adhere to the Church and her pastors, but choose for themselves what they want to believe and not believe - a kind of do-it-yourself faith."

Here's some words some local folks might want to heed: "Speaking against the Magisterium of the Church is presented as courageous. In reality, however, it does not take courage for this, since you can always be sure of audience applause."

Hmmm. I can think of a few such audiences locally.

"Rather it takes courage to adhere to the faith of the Church, even if it contradicts the 'scheme' of the contemporary world," the Pope said. "It is this non-conformism of the faith that Paul calls an 'adult faith.'"

When it comes to giving examples of "adult faith," he cited, "to commit to the inviolability of human life from the very beginning, thus radically opposing the principle of violence, in defense of the most defenseless humans." And, "to recognize marriage between a man and a woman for life as a law of the Creator, restored again by Christ."

According to the Pope, for Paul, "following the prevailing winds and currents of the day is childish."

Huckabee on Palin

Governor Mike Huckabee was very positive, thoughtful and gracious in his assessment of Sarah Palin and her decision to resign. In the second section, he notes some of the things he and Palin have in common on the issues.

I think she has hurt her chances for 2012, and maybe for good. But then, after Nixon's press conference after the 1962 governor's race, who could have predicted he'd win in 1968?

I think some of Palin's supporters might give Huckabee a look now.

Labels: ,

Friday, July 03, 2009

Bad Haiku Friday

loud atv
up and down, up and down street -
9-1-1, hello ...


Pro-Choice Violence: ALL and "Hate Speech"


Pro-Choice Violence: Recorded Threats

Here's a sampling of e-mail threats received by an Operation Rescue office since the murder of Dr. Tiller. Some are by pro-choicers. Some might just be by nutters. Some might be from a combination of the two.

From: Sarah Marcos

I'm trying to find out if anyone is collecting to hire attorneys and slash the hell out of your sick, psychopathic, fake-religious bulls***.


I would like to donate my gun up your a** and pull the trigger this is to your f****** radical terrorist people make your country sick!!!!!

From: Tony

Time to start killing bible-thumping morons. If only YOUR parents had believed in abortion. F*** you & your dumb-a** god.

From: Elaine Carey


From: Zuri Dawg

Let those that have sinned cast bullets towards you idiots as well.

From: Ann Roach

Since you and your followers promote the killing of doctors who carry out abortions, I think it's time for those of us who respect a woman's right to control her own reproduction to promote a little terrorism of our own. So watch out, keep looking over your shoulders, who knows who may be behind you?

From: Steven Frankel

I eagerly await the day that I see your blood on someone's hands. You freaken fraud piece of s***!!! Go to hell you child diddling motherf*****"

I edited the above comments with ***, and took off the e-mail addresses that were included in the original story. You can hear actual comments here (caution, they are unedited and some are quite foul) plus a video of vandalism at a pro-life office.

30 pieces of silver

Douglas Kmiec is finally getting his reward for supporting President Obama despite the President's radical position on abortion: He's been nominated to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta.

Kmiec, a Catholic law professor who describes himself as "pro-life", backed Obama during the 2008 election - drawing fire from fellow Catholics and pro-lifers. He claimed that Obama's policies would reduce abortions, even though Obama's record had been to support unrestricted abortion, and even the killing of aborted children born alive.

Despite Kmiec's optimism (or self-delusion?), the Obama administration has been pushing a pro-abortion agenda. The latest move was Tuesday's proposal that tax-payer monies be used to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

According to the Obama Administration ...

Can you say ... Swine Flu?

I got an e-mail yesterday from the mother of one of the Rock of Faith singers (and flute player): Her daughter has Swine Flu. It was diagnosed Monday.

Let's see, we played on Sunday, which means I was around the daughter for more than an hour.

I awoke this morning, coughing, congested (I have asthma), and achy. I took my temperature a couple of times between noon and now. I'm bouncing between 95.7 and 100.2.


I popped a couple of Tylenol. I'll take my temperature again later.

Good thing I'm out of school.


Praying for a Congressman - and Life

My Congressman is Eric Massa. He's a Catholic. He's also pro-choice and pro-embryonic stem cell research.

There's an organization called One Nation Under God that's started a Prayer Campaign for Conversion of Catholic Politicians.

They have a list of Catholic politicians, their pro-life voting records, and how much money they have accepted from pro-abortion groups.

You can offer up a Mass, a decade of the rosary, or more for them.

"Each month, will present your offerings in a spiritual bouquet to each politician and their corresponding bishop."

I registered to pray for Congressman Massa. Today I sent him an e-mail:

Please know that you are in my prayers as a fellow Catholic. This week alone I offered up a Mass and a rosary for you.

I pray that you will heed the teachings of the Church as you propose and vote on legislation.

If we can get enough people praying for - and contacting - their Catholic elected officials in positive ways, perhaps some of these officials will indeed have a change of heart and support the Church's positions on these life issues - and put their faith above their political careers and worldly success.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Planned Parenthhood closes six Texas clinics

According to news accounts, Planned Parenthood closed its six El Paso, Texas, clinics on June 26.

Analinda Moreno, interim executive director of the clinics, said money trouble led to the shutdown.

This is a step in the right direction.

First, we must make sure adequate REAL health care is in place for women, then we need to pray and work to make sure Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation close - unless they change their death-dealing ways.

One way is to cut off their money - which means getting the government to stop giving them our tax dollars.


Franken: The Joke's On Us

We now have a professional comedian in the Senate - as opposed to the amateur comedians already there. Of course, some of them are unintentionally funnier than he ever was.

Obama insults people of faith (what else is new)

At a “LGBT Pride” reception at the White House Monday, President Barack "Show Me the Money" Obama described opponents of homosexual political issues as holding fast to “worn arguments and old attitudes.”

What, arguments about the sacredness of marriage? The Natural Order? Natural Law? Chastity? Sin? The Bible?

In playing up to the homosexual community (and their deep pockets), Obama once again revealed his attitude toward people who hold traditional religious beliefs. No wonder he can't find a church for his family: They haven't found one yet that allows them to believe what they want.

Meanwhile, now that we've ended Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Pride Month, I wonder if he's trying to come up with another group to honor with a month. Let's see, who else has lots of money to support him? How about Pro-Abortion, Pro-Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Eugenicists Month?