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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kagan: Her Abortion Distortion Became Gospel

During the debate in the 1990s over partial birth abortion - and in the years since as the grisly procedure is still discussed - a report by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has been used to provide scientific support for the procedure.

The report contains the following statement:

“An intact D&X [the medical term for the procedure], however, may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.”

The problem is that the original report did NOT contain that language. It was added at the suggestion of then Clinton White House staff member Elena Kagan the current Supreme Court nominee.

The initial report said ghat the select ACOG panel “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”

ACOG shared the draft with the White House, and Kagan said in internal memos that the the report would be a "disaster" as it was worded.

She then wrote the sentence cited above and sent it to ACOG, where the executive board (and not the select panel)inserted it verbatim into the final statement.

So that wording was not based on actual scientific evidence. It was created by a political operative who may be our next Supreme Court Justice.

As with so much involving support for abortion, the statement was based less on "scientific" evidence than it is on a politically motivated fabrication.

In other words, a lie.

(See reporting on this at the National Review).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Helpless - Neil Young - a song to play

I've been working on exercising my voice this summer - singing and playing for 45 minutes to an hour each day to build up endurance (I hope to get it up to closer to the 1 1/2-2 hour range each day).

This is one of the songs I've been playing.

Dad Life (parody rap)

Mother-in-law: Cancer

About two weeks ago my mother-in-law fell. She could not get up for more than an hour, and called family. They helped her up, but she was having a rough time walking or standing. After a couple of days of it not getting better, we took her to the emergency department at a local hospital. They admitted her for observation.

Initially, it was thought she needed more physical therapy (she'd had a stroke last year). Then suddenly, one doctor decided to release her - without consulting the family, without contacting the social worker at her senior complex.

Four hours later, we had her back in emergency. She still could not walk or even pivot on he bad leg.

Finally, they did more extensive tests. They found that she'd had another stroke - as my wife and father-in-law had suspected all along - and that she had a blood clot that had lodged in her lung.

They also tested her because of some bleeding.

Yesterday, they found she has colon cancer.

My wife is beside herself.

Surgery is needed. I don't know when it will take place.

Please keep her, my wife, and my father-in-law in your prayers.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The slug chronicles (72)

a slug among weeds
believes all of our actions
have consequences

Mommy Rhapsody ( Queen parody)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

RUR - The Play I'm In

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The slug chronicles (68)

a slug among weeds
doesn't wait for the weekend
to enjoy his life

Another report suggesting an abortion/breast cancer link

Yet another report is suggesting there is a link between having an abortion and increased chances of later developing breast cancer.

An abortion can triple a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in later life, researchers say.

A team of scientists made the claim while carrying out research into how breastfeeding can protect women from developing the killer disease.

While concluding that breastfeeding offered significant protection from cancer, they also noted that the highest reported risk factor in developing the disease was abortion.

Other factors included the onset of the menopause and smoking.

The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, are the latest research to show a link between abortion and breast cancer. ...

Read more:

The article goes on to point out that others deny such links ... but study after study suggests there are such links. My hope is that eventually the weight of evidence will finally convince even abortion supporters that there's something to this link.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Archbishop Dolan: Among the burdens priests face

"I love my brother priests. ... Those who are my age and older have seen the priesthood go from a position of influence and prestige to one of derision and decline. ... The hard right attacks them for being modernists; the way out left dismisses them as oppressive patriarchs. ... Liturgical and catechetical vigilantes from both wings are ready to nail them after each Mass or homily."

-Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Doers of The Word

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Archbishop Dolan Preaches and Concelebrates

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan joined Bishop Matthew Clark at Sacred Heart Cathedral today for a Mass to celebrate the Feast of St. John Fisher, the patron of the Diocese of Rochester, and to honor priests marking their 25th and 50th anniversaries.

Archbishop Dolan concelebrated and preached.
The Archbishop offered sincere praise for Bishop Clark, and delivered an inspiring homily on the priesthood. One of his key points was that priests are called to give of themselves fully - to be "broken" just as Jesus was, and just as what happens to the Body of Christ at Mass. As part of the homily he told about a priest who due to a debilitating illness nearly fell while celebrating Mass, but continued, clinging to the altar.

That's a message to all priests: No matter how broken, keep going and cling to the altar.
Archbishop Dolan is a good preacher. I hope he comes back - I'd love to hear him again.

I got to meet him briefly after Mass (people were thronging around him). I got him to sign one of his books, and joked with him that out of respect for him, I did not wear my Red Sox cap (he's a Yankee fan by adoption). He joked back that if I had worn it I would have needed absolution.

I also got to say hello to Bishop Clark, a few priest and deacon friends, and even a fellow Secular Franciscan. And I enjoyed the music - and Bishop Clark singing the Eucharistic Prayer.

The slug chronicles (66)

a slug among weeds
in often motivated
by indifference

Monday, June 21, 2010

Former Abortion Advocate: We Lied

I had read or heard much of this before, but I recently stumbled across an article quoting Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of the pro-abortion group NARAL, who later became pro life and an outspoken critic of abortion.

One of the things he has consistently said is that in the quest to get unlimited abortion legal and to keep it legal, abortion advocates have consistently lied. (I remember that during the partial -birth abortion debate, one of the spokespeople for the pro-abortion groups also admitted that they lied.)

Nathanson pointed out that abortion advocates purposely created slogans to appeal to people.

"Women must have control over their own bodies."
"Safe and legal abortion is every woman's right."
"Who decides? You decide!"
"Freedom of choice -- a basic American right."

"I remember laughing when we made those slogans up," Nathanson said. "We were looking for some sexy, catchy slogans to capture public opinion. They were very cynical slogans then, just as all of these slogans today are very, very cynical."

"In 1968 I met Lawrence Lader. Lader had just finished a book called Abortion, and in it had made the audacious demand that abortion should be legalized throughout the country. I had just finished a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and was impressed with the number of women who were coming into our clinics, wards and hospitals suffering from illegal, infected, botched abortions."

"Lader and I were perfect for each other. We sat down and plotted out the organization now known as NARAL. With Betty Friedan, we set up this organization and began working on the strategy."

"We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one. Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls."

In other words, they lied.

"We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60 percent of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie.

Admitting to lying.

"Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S."

Fabricating. In other words, they lied.

"The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000."

"Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public."

Sounds familiar. Propaganda 101 - lie.

"The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law."

Again, they intentionally lied.

"Another myth we fed to the public through the media was that legalizing abortion would only mean that the abortions taking place illegally would then be done legally. In fact, of course, abortion is now being used as a primary method of birth control in the U.S. and the annual number of abortions has increased by 1,500 percent since legalization."

Myth. A synonym for "lie."

The target was New York, which had had a law outlawing abortion on its books for 140- years.

"In two years of work, we at NARAL struck that law down. We lobbied the legislature, we captured the media, we spent money on public relations. … Our first year's budget was $7,500. Of that, $5,000 was allotted to a public relations firm to persuade the media of the correctness of our position. That was in 1969."

And four years later, the abortion plague spread across American with Roe v. Wade.

Oh, by the way, Norma McCorvey (whom I interviewed back when I was a reporter), who was Jane Roe, later became a pro-lifer herself and admitted that in her original suit that went to the Supreme Court ... she had lied.

Legal abortion is based on lies. It is sustained by lies.

And we all know who the Father of Lies is.

The slug chronicles (65)

a slug among weeds
daubs on some humility
because it looks good

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The slug chronicles (Father's Day)

a slug among weeds
knows fatherhood is more than
just biology

Happy Father's Day

This is my first Father's Day since Dad went Home.

It seems stange not going up to the home to play cards with him or talk to him any more. But I also know that he wanted to be with Mom, and the last years were a struggle for him.

Thanks Dad, for so many things.

Put in a good word for me with the Boss!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mass for Vocations

Now that I'm on summer break, I can make daily Mass at my parish. Last year I used to be one of the readers. On Thursday, one of the regulars asked if I'd like to do it again this summer. I said fine, and volunteered for Fridays.

Then I looked at Friday's reading. Long - and full of names I wasn't certain how to pronounce. Jehoiada. Ahaziah. Athalia. Jehosheba.

I went home, looked them up, practiced, showed up Friday, nervous that I'd slip up (I even wrote out pronunciation crib notes) - and discovered Father had changed the readings! (Phew).

He had decided to celebrate a Mass for Vocations.

Not only were the readings easier, but he preached a nice, short vocations homily describing how when he was in grade school a Sister had kept on encouraging his to consider the priesthood - and even set up an appointment with the pastor for him.

He used his own story to urge us all to reach out and encourage young men and women to consider vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and to keep on encouraging them.


I kidded him after Mass that that Sister would probably be waiting for him and would be one of the first persons to greet him at the Pearly Gates.

Anyway, anyone out there ever thought of a vocation to the priesthood or religious life? Let me know and I'll keep you in my prayers.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Watching me watching you

Posted by Picasa
This white squirrel visited our yard for a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Pill Kills

So many people looked at the Pill as a harmless easy way to avoid pregnancy (forget the moral issues that arise due its helping to encourage sex outside of marriage). More and more evidence is saying that it's not harmless.

A Billion for Abortions - Paid By Us

According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), between 2002 and 2009 have given abortion advocacy organizations more than a billion dollars - possibly even more.

A Life Site News report lists some of the figures revealed a press conference Wednesday:

Advocates for Youth: $8.7 million (2002-2009)
the Guttmacher Institute: $12.7 million (2002-2008)
International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF): $93.8 million (2002-2009)
Planned Parenthood Federation of America: $657.1 million (2002-2008)
Population Council of the United States: $284.3 million (2002-2008)
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS): $1.6 million (2002-2009).

These are groups that promote, refer to, or provide abortions.

With our money.

Even when the money does not directly pay for abortion, it helps to create the facilities, buy the equipment, pay the staff, and frees up other funds to help pay for abortion.

At the press conference, Lila Rose of Live Action, who has performed stings on Planned Parenthood facilities, said that beyond abortion, Planned Parenthood deserves to be defunded for its repeated willingness to break state laws designed to protect young girls from sexual predators.

Posing as a 13, 14, and 15-year-old girl pregnant by a sexual predator boyfriend, Rose said she has witnessed “Disturbing results in clinic after clinic – on tape – that Planned Parenthood doesn’t care how old the sex predator is, who the sex predator is, that the sex predator can pay for the abortion, and that the parents won’t have to find out. The girl can lie about his age or her age on the paperwork.

“This has been documented throughout the country, in state after state, in clinic after clinic. This alone is reason not to give federal funding to Planned Parenthood,” she said.

Rose highlighted the fact that some state legislatures have defunded Planned Parenthood for violating their laws, adding, “The federal government should be as well.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bishop Olmsted unfairly attacked; ALL responds

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix informed Sister Margaret McBride - who, as the head of the ethics committee for St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center had personally authorized the abortion of an 11-week pre-term baby - that her actions incurred automatic excommunication. He did not excommunicate her - it was automatic. Yet he has come under attack.

The American Life League responds:



Archbishop Dolan Coming to Rochester

New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan will be the homilist at a 10:30 a.m. Mass June 22, 2010, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester.

Bishop Matthew H. Clark invited him to the Mass, which will honor St. John Fisher, the patron saint of the Diocese of Rochester, on his feast day. The Mass will also honor the service of our 25- and 50-year priest jubilarians, and will be the culmination of the Year for Priests.

All are welcome to attend.

The Good Looking One and I hope to attend - if we can get in! I have read two of the Archbishop's books, and liked them. And I admire his honesty and openness to confronting the culture.

The slug chronicles (60)

a slug among weeds
has days when he's so joyful
he just has to sing

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rock of Faith - The Photo

Our parish is putting together a directory. Here's the photo of Rock of Faith for it (minus one vocalist, Micayla Greco, who couldn't make it).

Bishop Clark on Vocations (again)

More from Bishop Clark on vocations.

I hope the efforts will bear fruit for the Diocese of Rochester.

Bishop Clark Promoting the Priesthood

It's three years old - but still remains true.

St. Francis on "weeds"

"And they ought to rejoice when they converse with mean and despised persons, with the poor and the weak, with the infirm and lepers, and with those who beg in the streets." - From the Earlier Rule of St. Francis.

Thus "Brother Ass" calls for Franciscans to go among the "weeds" of the world.

Labels: ,

The slug chronicles (59)

a slug among weeds
thinks God welcomes both Latin
and vernacular

Monday, June 14, 2010

The slug chronicles (58)

a slug among weeds
greets mockery and insults
with deep gratitude

St. Anthony - a day late, but great!

I went to morning Mass today and got a surprise.

Yesterday was the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, but since it fell on a Sunday the Feast was superseded. So they decided to mark the day at this morning's Mass.

Several ladies dressed in Franciscan robes processed with a decorated statue of St. Anthony - lilies in hand. Father preached about him, and at the end of Mass they distributed bread in his honor. I got two small loaves - one for me and one for the Good Looking One.

Thank you Lord.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Birthdays That Ate Gates

It was a birthday over a week ago, then the Good-Looking-One's this past week. The in-laws a are coming over today to mark both days - so another excuse to celebrate.

Here's the poem I scribbled for GLO's day:

They’re dancing down in Delhi,
And Frolicking in Fiji,
Singing out in Singapore,
And boogying in Bali,
Partying in Pago Pago,
And toasting in Timbuktu.
Yes, the whole world's wishing
A happy birthday to you!


Another Andrew Cuomo Red Flag

I've already voiced concerns about Andrew Cuomo and his positions on some issues - such as abortion - that are at variance with the teachings of the Catholic Church to which he is described as belonging.

This morning, I discovered another issue.

At length, an essentially upbeat AP news story printed in our local daily described how the divorced Catholic Cuomo is living with his girlfriend, with his three teenage daughters joining them. The story contained questions about protocol, whether Cuomo and his girlfriend would move into the executive mansion together, and a listing of some other politicians in similar relationships. There was no discussion of morality, no questions posed to religious leaders, etc. It was all so matter-of-fact.

If Cuomo were not a public figure, his private life would be his business (though, spiritually, it does affect all of us, and certainly his daughters). And God knows, we have all sinned. But most of us keep our sins to ourselves. We have a sense of shame about it (even if we don't admit the shame openly).

He has chosen to be a public figure, however, and to publicly flaunt morality and the teachings of his Church.

Let's be blunt here: What they are doing is a grave sin. At the least is it fornication. If he did not get an annulment, it is adultery.

As a public figure, he is setting a terrible example for his daughters, the people of this state - and for the nation.

And if he fails to follow clear moral rules of his Church, how can we be certain his behaviour in office will follow the rules?

The annual summer goals post

It's that time of year again.

School is over (as of last Friday), and I have 1o weeks before I see the smiling faces of my fellow teachers again. 70 days.

Time for a list of things to do in that time.

1. Finish the second coat of paint on our remodeled bedroom (got the first coat done in the fall).

2. Prepare and stain the front stockade fence.

3. Replace the broken staves on the back stockade fence (falling tree limb did some in).

4. Put together two bookcases in one of the now vacated bedrooms upstairs, get the books and cleaned out of the open area where everything has been stacked/piled/dropped, and set up a small office in the bedroom.

5. Get Dad's estate settled and his bills paid (a delay due to a distant relative has forced us to go to court to officially get me appointed executor).

6. Work on the novel. My goal last summer was 10,000 words. I failed miserably (about 2,500). How about 5,000 for this summer?

7. Lose weight. (Again) 20 pounds?

8. Get my prayer life back on keel.

9. Read a few good books and recharge my batteries. It's been a rough year personally and at work, so I am mentally/emotionally drained.

Lots to do. 70 days, eh? Too much time for procrastinating!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The slug chronicles (55)

a slug among weeds
finds Ayn Rand's books often leave
a bad aftertaste

Books - A Philadelphia Catholic, Sophia House, and Zombies

Even in a busy life, there's always time for prayer - and reading.

The prayer ... well I'll talk about that elsewhere.

But as for the reading, I've been continuing my goal of reading Catholic fiction to help inspire me spiritually and artistically.

I recently finished A Philadelphia Catholic in King James's Court by Martin de Porres Kennedy.

It billed as the first ever apologetics novel - perhaps a bit of hyperbole, as I suspect there have been such novels before. But it is clearly apologetic in nature. It is also a book that I enjoyed.

It's the story of a young Michael O'Shea who suffers the tragic death of his father. The family decides to go stay for the summer on the Kentucky farm of his mother's brother - a fundamentalism (but good-hearted - he's no villain) Protestant minister who has hopes of saving his nephew and the other members of his sister's family from their papist ways. There ensues much debating and quoting of the Bible to support Catholic teachings - but done in a way that's not dull or dry.

I recommend the book.

For my birthday, my youngest daughter, knowing my fondness for haiku (even bad haiku) and my sense of humor, got me Zombie Haiku by Ryan Mecum.

It's twisted, sick, and full of terrible haiku. I loved it. Come on, who can't get a chuckle out of ditties like:

Little old ladies
speed away in their wheelchairs,
frightened meals on wheels

Blood is really warm.
It's like drinking hot chocolate
but with more screaming.

Okay, maybe only slightly off-kilter folks will get a chuckle.

Clearly not to everyone's taste. But a great gift for me.

Finally, I've begun reading Michael O'Brien's Sophia House - a prequel to Father Elijah: an Apocalypse.

I have always enjoyed O'Brien's work; I even got to interview him once back when I was a reporter. So I'm looking forward to lots of good reading.

Friday, June 11, 2010

How about some Arlo - and the Beatles?

The slug chronicles (54)

a slug among weeds
graduated years ago
but he's still learning

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Thirsting: In the Name of the Father

Not everyone's musical taste, but The Thirsting sure rocks for Jesus!

The slug chronicles (53)

a slug among weeds
will sing harmony when he
doesn't know the tune

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Ths slug chronicles (52)

a slug among weeds
frequently offers wisdom
no one understands

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The slug chronicles (51)

a slug among weeds
suspects that those who laugh last
didn't get the joke

Monday, June 07, 2010

The slug chronicles (50)

a slug among weeds
tries to keep each day holy -
each is a Sabbath

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Pro-life Undercover Stings

On our local Catholic radio station (Station of the Cross - WHIC), there was a rebroadcast of an open line show with a priest responding to questions. One caller called in with a question about what sounded like a Live Action sting - a person posing as a pregnant 14-year-old going to a clinic in an attempt to expose the clinic.

The priest said he thought that was wrong - that they were using deception, and that Christians should not use something wrong to fight evil. He said we should be open in our opposition. ( A paraphrase of his response).

It got me thinking. I see his point, but I disagree.

The abortion industry, and Planned Parenthood especially, use deception and propaganda to dupe the media and the public. They do this to sanitize the evil they do, and to keep support so they get funding. In addition, some of these clinics break the law in what they do (as these undercover operations have revealed.) Their deception and illegal acts have been acknowledged and documented, including by some former abortion advocates and industry workers.

Live Action is simply using an accepted journalistic practice to help expose what is going on. Reporters have carried out such undercover operations for years - operations that have exposed many evils. Moreover, undercover operations are regularly used by police agencies to help expose and prevent criminal activity - ranging from selling drugs to terrorism.

If Planned Parenthood and the other members of the abortion industry were not engaging in the kind of deception they are, then such undercover operations would cease as there would be nothing to reveal.

The slug chronicles (49)

a slug among weeds
doesn’t care to know more about
willful ignorance

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The slug chronicles (48)

a slug among weeds
thinks slugs and weeds both have their
aesthetic value

Friday, June 04, 2010

Yep, another birthday down the tubes

The slug chronicles (47)

a slug among weeds
is another year older
but still no wiser

The slug chronicles (46)

a slug among weeds
firmly believes when he dies
he’ll be going home

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The slug chronicles (45)

a slug among weeds
considered celibacy
until he met her

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Bishop Clark on two Rochester church closings

Bishop Matthew Clark was briefly interviewed by a local television station (WHEC) about the closing of two parishes - St. Salomes and St. Thomas the Apostle - and the consolidating of the remaining parishes in Irondequoit into one parish.

The closings, particularly of St. Thomas, have drawn some protests and angry responses, and many people are expressing hurt and loss.

Asked about that pain, Bishop Clark said, "It always distresses me when things I do or approve cause other people distress or pain. Of course it does. But I think all of us through our lives learn to cope with change and pain. And this is one place where we have to do it together, so yes, absolutely."

He is also reported as saying of the reorganizations of the Irondequoit parishes, "Recognizing that no solution is perfect I encourage people to give it a try. Part of our faith tradition is that life comes out of dying."

He is right, but I suspect right now those words will not be comforting to those who are grieving. I am praying for them - and him.

The slug chronicles (44)

a slug among weeds
believes love can heal even
lack of charity

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The slug chronicles (43)

a slug among weeds
is not prone to jealousy
but does feel pity