Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Monday, August 27, 2012

"My body, my choice"?

Photo: When you put it like this, it really makes the liberal left hypocrisy pretty blatant.

I had linked to the above cartoon on my Facebook page. Being that our friends are typically of accord with us on hot button issues, most people responded positively.

However one friend, a homosexual man I've known since we acted together as part of the Drama department in high school and who I love dearly, responded by opining:

"The mother's get the choice to.........the country has nothing to do with the abortion......much like this cartoon should be aborted for it's lack of truth."

There was so much that could be dissected here, but I thought I'd go for the most egregious canard of all: That abortion is permissible because it's simply about a woman doing to her body what she wants.

It's as if she was clipping her toenails, getting a piercing or tattoo, dying her hair, ingesting huge quantities of alcohol, willfully engaging in genital mutilation surgery, cutting herself, clipping off one of her fingers or toes, engaging in S&M, or any number of other activities.

These all do entail what a woman does to/with her own body. That is not the case with abortion, however, as I wrote my interlocutor:

"John! Why does a mother of an unborn human being get to decide that she gets to kill that person? I defy you to find an embryology textbook that says that a fertlized ovum is anything but a human being. If so, then it is its own person, with all the inalienable rights due to persons. Nothing can take that away.

The womb is only that person's temporary home, not its permanent residence. Indeed, all of human life is a progression [I should have wrote "a spectrum"]. It starts at conception, it ends, ideally, in natural death. To consider this person a non-person is exactly what the Nazis wanted to do with Jews, gypsies, certain types of Christians (most particularly ultramontane Catholics), Jehovah's Witnesses, and, oh yes, homosexuals. It's exactly what the slaveholders and others did in countenancing the Dred Scott decision. Bottom line: An abortion is not a woman doing what she wants with her own body. It's her doing what she wants, most often, to not suffer the result of her own poor decisions. Why should a child have to die, though, because the mother wants to finish her education or because it would harm her career? And what's wrong with adoption? Finally ...

"What facts does the cartoon get wrong? The President has said those exact words (I happen to agree with him, btw). And our country does allow babies who exist through no fault of their own to be aborted. Dispute that, please. Furthermore, Pelosi's attitude is that attitude in that, ultimately, as a powerful lawmaker, she must accept and on some level condone abortion. Otherwise, why does she do nothing to stop this horrible crime that results in over 1 million horrendous deaths per year (don't believe me, Google "abortion procedures")?

"One last thing: What if they found a "same sex attraction" gene, John?

I'll give you the answer. Dr. Jerome Lejeune discovered the Trisonomy 23 (i.e., Down's Syndrome) gene, and this pro-life scientist's achievement is now used to abort 90% of in utero DS babies. What if that ersatz homosexual gene was known back in 1967 and abortion were legal or someone's parents highly motivated to ensure that their child not be a homosexual child? I would have been doing something else other than making an argument for the last 15-25 minutes."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Being a liberal must mean something different these days

For my liberal Democrat friends who think the President is doing the right thing re: the HHS mandate, please consider the following from one of your own: “Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” Robert F. Kennedy

Word to the wise re: Telemarketing scams

Just read this great suggestion: "If you get a call from a number you absolutely don't recognize. DON'T ANSWER...period. Again, don't pick up unless you recognize the number. I find this method decreases the calls over time & then they stop. I heard there is even calls that come in to find out what time a day someone is home and what age or gender answers. Don't answer. If it is a person or business that needs to get you they will leave a  message or send you mail. Whether it is crime, scams, sales, or surverys...who needs it! You increase the cycle when you answer."

Another day, another great review

CNS picked up a review of the latest book, which means it has a good chance of being in every diocesan newspaper in the country, not to mention on their website. Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New review of "Saint Who?"

Totally kind review of my book. Thanks to Patrice Fagnant, whom I do not know, but to whom I am grateful.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bullet movie reviews

Barefoot in the Park with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Made in 1967, the movie has lost none of the hilarity and universality that made it such a hit 45 years ago. Anyone who's ever been married will probably be able to relate.

Sadly only available on instant streaming via Netflix at this time is the well-worth-seeing Castaway on the Moon. This South Korean comedy is about a man with enormous financial debt. Believing he has no other way out, he throws himself from a bridge crossing the Han River in Seoul. Instead of his dying, the current takes him to an uninhabited island in the middle of the waterway.

At first he tries desperately to escape the island. However, after several funny failed attempts, he decides to make the best of it, and after a while even decides this is where he'd like to stay.

Meanwhile, a recluse woman living in her parents' apartment, whose photographs of the moon are her only connection with the world outside her bedroom door or window, accidentally notices our castaway one night. From there, the two find several humorous and creative ways of communicating. Will he get off the island? Will she stop living inside her bedroom's four walls (and using her closet and bubble wrap inside a box for a bed)? Will the two wounded souls meet? The answers are pretty obvious, but how the two characters get there isn't, and that's what makes this film so much fun.

Not so much fun is The Red Chapel. This documentary deals with two Danish comedians who work as a team and travel to North Korea as part of a cultural exchange. Both men were both born in South Korea and adopted as babes. One self-identifies as a "spastic," and he is the main ... maybe even only ... reason to watch the film. The guy's honesty and observations are just so funny (so are, occasionally, his comedic partner's).

His manager and the documentary's producer, on the other hand, eventually comes across as pathetic as he slavishly plays the game put before him by his North Korean hosts. In the end he claims to have uncovered the evil of the regime, but how? With some stock footage of North Korean starving children? With his allowing some regime culture aparatchik to pretty much neuter the duo's act and planned performance? By participating in an anti-US parade (wearing a Mao suit, no less), giving a quasi-Fascist salute, and exclaiming anti-American slogans ("I have to do this," he says. "We have to do this. Just go along." Note: This is a paraphrase of what he says, but I judge it to be a chillingly accurate one.)?

The only thing that comes across as evil is the example he gives of what happens when you don't stand up to evil or bullying or the like when confronted by such phenomena. He repeatedly caves, throwing his talent under the bus in the process. The spastic partner's words of disappointment toward the end of the film are very telling, but one wonders if this man gets it.

The North Koreans? The one we see the most is the regime's host/watchdog, a very sympathetic lady. While her calling the spastic comedian her "son" is, as he puts it, a little creepy, she comes across, at least, as quite sincere. I found myself thinking, "If I ever made it to the DPRK and had to have an official minder following me everywhere, I would want her." (I've actually found myself thinking that about several of the regime-appointed hosts I've seen in various and better executed documentaries on travelling to North Korea.)

Also disappointing was the documentary, The Eye of Vichy. However, I'm to blame for that disappointment. I was expecting a typical documentary with interviews and such. Instead, it shows Vichy France (the name given to the Nazi-collaborationist government headed by Field Marshall Philippe Petain during World War II after Germany conquered the French) as the Vichy propagandists tried to portray it. So it's really should have been called Looking at World War II Through the Eyes of the Vichy Collaborators with the Nazis. It's interesting as far as that goes, but it leaves unanswered so many questions that I and other history buffs have. As just one example, how could a war hero like Petain so brutally betray his nation and his fellow countrymen?

Finally, don't miss John Rabe. This film is a really well done tale of a German man who saved some 200,000 Chinese from being massacred by the Japanese during WWII. You could call him the Oscar Schindler (as in Schindler's List) of China. Really, don't miss this one.

Saints News for June

The Dogs of God Have Another Blessed

On June 3, 2012, the Church beatified the late Dominican priest Jean-Joseph “JJ” Lataste. Father was born in 1832 to a good Christian mother and a dad who was an atheist. From a very early age, he wanted to be a priest, but he just couldn’t let himself be convinced he was worthy.

            So he went off to college, graduated in 1850, and lived at home for a year. Then from 1851-57, he was a public employee. And it was during this time that he became very active in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which was founded by his good friend, Bl. Henri Lacordaire, and it was this service to the poor that reawakened in him his burning desire to be a priest.

Therefore, he entered the Dominicans in November 1857 and, despite a few setbacks, received Holy Orders on May 10, 1862, at nearly 30 years old.

At first, he was just your normal, new zealous priest. He worked hard to give inspirational sermons, did penance for sinners, spent time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, etc.

But then he found out about the women inmates. Back then, being a male prisoner was bad enough, but a female one? Why, women were supposed to be virtuous. As a result, they were shunned and ignored. His heart broke for them, and so he would give them retreats, and he could see the fruit his love bore in their lives.

Little by little, the women would gain their release, and he asked them if they would like to help him join a religious congregation, which was to be a part of the Dominicans. And so this is how the Sisters of Bethany came to be founded in 1866.

A sickly man all his life, Bl. “JJ” got really sick in late 1868, and he died on March 10, 1869. He is buried at the Sisters convent at Montferrand-le-Chateau, France.

Three new US Venerables

Many have heard that Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been declared “venerable,” but so have two other Americans.

The most recognizable is Bishop Frederic Baraga, who is best known as the “Snow Shoe Priest” because he served as bishop of what is now northern Michigan, including the Upper Peninsula, and back then, with no roads and often frozen water ways, he had to travel on snowshoes.

            The other is Sr. Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, an American native of Bayonne, NJ, and a sister of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth. The daughter of Slovak immigrants, she went to college, graduated with honors as a literature major and taught before entering her order. She continued to teach even after entering the order, and even gave spiritual conferences, but became ill and died at age 26.

Cause of Australian woman, who was India’s first nun doctor, opened in Bangalore

The archdiocese of Bangalore, India, has opened the beatification cause of India’s first woman doctor nun, who was actually Australian. Sr. Mary Glowrey, a Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Sister, was born in the city of Victoria in 1887, and attended the University of Melbourne, where she received the highest marks in her surgery courses.

Arriving in India in 1920, the archbishop of Madras put her straight to work as a medical missionary. She founded the Catholic Hospital Association of India in 1943 so that Catholic teaching would be respected in the practice of medicine. That organization is now one of the world’s largest NGOs. Sr. Mary inspired the founding of the founding of India’s first Catholic medical school. According to one news source, she treated 100,000 patients each year.

Cause Opens for First Opus Dei Female Numerary

The papal prelature of Opus Dei has opened the cause for movement’s first female numerary, Dora del Hoyo. She began her labors for the Work in the early 1940s, when she served on the domestic staff at an Opus Dei-run female student residence in Madrid, which is how she met St. Josemaria Escriva.

In 1946, she became the movement’s first “numerary assistant,” and her job was to take care of various Opus Dei centers’ domestic duties. Later that year, St. Josemaria asked her to move to Rome to be his coworker in building up the order throughout the world. She lived in Rome until she passed in 2004. She is best remembered for not drawing attention to herself and yet being someone whom everyone loved and felt drawn to because of her humility, love, and faith. It is said she treated everyone like family.

Chilean engineer’s cause moves to the Vatican

A Chilean engineer and Schöenstatt movement member is having his cause for beatification investigated by a group of Vatican theologians.

His name was Mario Hiriart, and although family was not devout, a Schöenstatt priest helped him not only take his faith more seriously, but to try and answer the question, “How do we renew the world in Christ?”

This idea so captivated him that he became a consecrated layman of the Brothers of Mary, which belongs to the Schöenstatt movement.

After college, Mario worked as an engineer for an elite Chilean development company. But he discerned he’d be most effective in renewing society for Christ by teaching university students than by working in an office, and so he became a professor at the Catholic University of Chile. Ironically, his being so hell-bent on holiness for youth caused discord even within Schöenstatt.

Therefore in 1964 at age 33, he traveled to Milwaukee, to meet with Schöenstatt founder Fr. Joseph Kentenich. Along the way, doctors diagnosed him with stomach cancer. He died the day after meeting with Father.

“The Return of Saint Oda”

A really interesting article on the return of a saint to the calendar after she had been taken off.  

First Indian laymen set on the road to canonization

And, finally, on the next-to-last day of the month, Pope Benedict placed two Indian laymen on the road to canonization.

He did this by first recognizing 18th century Hindu convert Devasahayam Pillai as a martyr. The Church claims he was martyred because he would not revert to Hinduism. Some historians say this is baseless, however. On the other hand, a blind Hindu boy received his sight after having a vision of Mr. Pillai. In any event, this recognition means he now becomes known as Bl. Devasahayam. He is the first Indian lay blessed.

Evidently, Benedict also took the unusual step of personally naming Puthenparampil Thommachan a Servant of God. Mr. Thommachan was a husband and father of three and is known, according to the UCAN news agency, “for popularizing the Franciscan Third Order in the state of Kerala. He began leading a life of piety at the age of 28 and gathered a group of lay people who prayed for sinners and engaged in charitable works. He died in 1907 at the age 72.” For his efforts, he is called the pride of Kerala and “Kerala Assisi.”

Saints News for July

Anti-mob priest declared “Blessed”

Benedict XVI has declared Fr. Giuseppe “Pino” Puglisi a martyr, and because of that he is automatically declared “Blessed.”

He was a Sicilian priest who stood up to the mafia and lost his life in 1993 because of it. His mission field was the Brancaccio section of Palermo, which the Mafia runs. Fr. Puglisi spent a lot of time working with youth to show them why they shouldn’t associate with the mob. He obviously was having some effect because two local mob capi (or captains) didn’t just send someone to murder Father, they went and did it themselves. Both are now serving life sentences. During his murder trial, one of them said that the priest died with a smile on his face saying, “I expected this.”

Lost in the shuffle of Sheen

When the Pope declared Archbishop Fulton Sheen “venerable,” lost in all the flurry of attention this received was the fact that His Holiness also gave another American the same status.

Mother Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory founded the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. This is an order she founded to minister to Christ in the person of the elderly.

She was born in Ireland, raised in Scotland, and at age 19, then-Brigid Teresa McCrory joined the Little Sisters of the Poor. After her Profession, her order sent her to the Bronx, where she became the superior in 1927.

Her order wanted her to do things the European way, but she quickly saw that this wouldn’t work, because, well, the Bronx wasn’t European. America needed something American. So she went to Cardinal Patrick Hayes and asked him for his advice, and he totally agreed with her. But he also challenged her, because while New York had several orders that served the poor, it had none that focused specifically on the aged, and these folks had so many pressing needs. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)

Thus her inspiration to found Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. She died in 1984 and to be declared venerable merely 28 years later ain’t too shabby.

First Opus Dei bishop declared “Venerable”

The Holy Father also recently declared the heroic virtue of the late Bishop Alvaro del Portillo, who was the first Opus Dei prelate and Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva’s first successor. He was born in 1914 and received Holy Orders at age 30 in 1944, the same year he received his PhD because of his thesis on the early exploration of California’s coast.

By the time of his death 18 years ago in 1994, Opus Dei had expanded in 20 new countries under his leadership.

Past popes possibly up for beatification in the Year of Faith

Everythingis evidently in place for the beatifications of both Pope Paul VI and his successor John Paul I. If Benedict XVI beatifies them in this Year of Faith, it will be the first time in history that a pope has beatified his three immediate predecessors or three preceding popes, period.

While both have miracles awaiting review, with John Paul I, the Vatican would really have to fast track things because the positio—the mountain of paperwork that lays out the case for why someone should receive beatification—has only recently been delivered to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican’s office in charge of reviewing sainthood causes. However, you can imagine how that wouldn’t thrill those sainthood causes that already have their positios in the pipeline.

It’s not the same situation with Paul VI, since his cause already has submitted its positio. The alleged miracle attributed to his intercession and which awaits verification involves the healing of a baby who was still in the womb.   

Second miracle for Bl. John Paul II?

If a second miracle attributed to Bl. John Paul II is approved, and Pope Benedict canonizes his former boss, it may be the first time in history that a pontiff not only beatified a predecessor but canonized him, as well. It certainly would be the first time someone did this with their immediate predecessor.  

The miracle allegedly happened to Marco “Fidel” Rojas, a Columbian politician, who, after suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease for five years, finally couldn’t stand the pain any longer. He evidently had met Bl. John Paul after Mass while in Rome once, so he asked his “friend” to come and heal him and to put his hands on Mr. Rojas’ head.  

The next morning, this man found himself completely cured of the disease. He is so grateful, he plans to pay back the former pontiff by spreading devotion to him.  

Worth Knowing More About

We’ve already reported on this, but to learn more about the truly remarkable Dr. Jerome Lejeune, founder of the gene that causes Down’s Syndrome, founding president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, friend of John Paul II, and the father of modern genetics, see this relatively new article here.