Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Vortex - The Notre Dame 88

Notre Dame is not a Catholic university but only one in name only.  Notre dame is NOT faithful to the Church's teachings.  This college needs to be stripped of it's Catholic status.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eliminating Abortion: Is Incremental or Unconditional Surrender the Best Approach?

I think everyone who is pro-life can agree that we don't want to see even one more abortion take place.  Which approach do you think is better --  a person who is rigid, and is going for the whole enchilada versus the other person whose end goal is the same but is willing to accept a compromise to get 1/2 of the enchilada and is able to prevent a great number of unborn babies from being aborted while the other is largely unsuccessful in preventing abortions because of his/her rigidity?  Wanting to end abortions immediately is a noble cause but not realistic.  How many people do you think could be persuaded to support a law which outlawed all abortions without any exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or the danger to the life of the mother?  Then, think again... how many people do you think would support a ban on abortion with allowing for exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother?  I think there would be a substantial difference between the two.

Dr. Gerard M. Nadal makes a good case for the incremental approach.  You can see his arguments here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading The Popes: John XXIII's Mater et Magistra On The Economy

On the issue of the economy today there are many people in America that fill the vacuum of the various political theories, across the political spectrum - we have those who are libertarian or leaning libertarian, socialists, communists, capitalists or free-market supporters, conservatives, liberals, and those that even fall somewhere in the middle of those political beliefs. Recently tensions have been running high between unions, businesses, and other citizens concerning the various clash of opinions on whether or not the unions are in fact a burden on both the State and its citizens, particularly with regards to how much tax is appropriate for a taxpayer to be required to pay to support the wage of a union member. In the Papal document Mater Et Magister Pope John XXIII refers to Rerum Novarum a papal encyclical by Pope Leo XIII and says:

" As is well-known, the outlook that prevailed on economic matters was for the most part a purely naturalistic one, which denied any correlation between economics and morality. Personal gain was considered the only valid motive for economic activity. In business the main operative principle was that of free and unrestricted competition. Interest on capital, prices--whether of goods or of services--profits and wages, were to be determined by the purely mechanical application of the laws of the market place. Every precaution was to be taken to prevent the civil authority from intervening in any way in economic matters. The status of trade unions varied in different countries. They were either forbidden, tolerated, or recognized as having private legal personality only."

Today are unions merely tolerated here in the U.S.? Or does their standard of pay either fall in line with or exceed that of similar private sector jobs? Does the U.S. citizen pay taxes (generally speaking, minus the exception of the most recent bailouts) towards what a private sector employee earns? No. But each of us does pay a tax which goes toward supporting the pensions, health benefits, and salaries of both public sector union members and other public sector employees. Are these public sector employees putting too much of a burden on the State and forcing the average citizen to pay excessive taxes? My answer is yes. The unions and other public sector jobs today have more of a responsibility to garner the citizens' approval as to whether their wages are too high or too low or are earning a decent wage or not. Today do we forbid the unions existence? Or the right to peacefully assemble? Do we have unions who are merely tolerated? No. No. No. I am not quite sure why there is a problem with unions only having private legal personality.

Today union members are far better off than many who hold compatible private sector jobs. The outcry from the public which demanded a decent living and decent working conditions that occurred during the late 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century were appropriate for that time when there were no laws in place to protect either the worker or a safe work environment but today there are laws in place protecting public unions wages and the conditions of the work environment so when people protest in the streets acting like irrational children, acting like they are being persecuted or mistreated in some way while demanding that they should be paid more and compensated with more benefits than employees who hold similar private sector jobs today is deceptive, absurd, unfounded and illegitimate. The way that some public sector union employees are forcing other citizens to contribute more money than they themselves do towards their own health insurance benefits which burdens both the State and the citizens at a time when our debt and deficits are at an all-time high in this country is unbelievable and unconscionable to me.

"It is furthermore the duty of the State to ensure that terms of employment are regulated in accordance with justice and equity, and to safeguard the human dignity of workers by making sure that they are not required to work in an environment which may prove harmful to their material and spiritual interests."

While nothing is ever foolproof from error I believe that this has largely been achieved in our country.

"They concern first of all the question of work, which must be regarded not merely as a commodity, but as a specifically human activity. In the majority of cases a man's work is his sole means of livelihood. Its remuneration, therefore, cannot be made to depend on the state of the market. It must be determined by the laws of justice and equity. Any other procedure would be a clear violation of justice, even supposing the contract of work to have been freely entered into by both parties.

"Secondly, private ownership of property, including that of productive goods, is a natural right which the State cannot suppress. But it naturally entails a social obligation as well. It is a right which must be exercised not only for one's own personal benefit but also for the benefit of others."

Is work becoming a rare commodity nowadays? There are more people than ever in our history reliant on the government for some type of benefit, whether it be welfare, food stamps or medicaid. Since Barack Obama took office in 2009 the number of recipients receiving food stamps has more than doubled and under Obama's budget for 2011 will increase spending on the welfare programs by 42% over President Bush's last year in office, with Obama's budget to spend $1.43 trillion on the medicare and medicaid programs. There is a difference between assisting someone in financial need and aiding their irresponsible lifestyles or behavior. This to me seems like Obama & Company are treating jobs for citizens as a commodity, while doing all the wrong things to spur growth and create jobs then saying it is a moral duty for the "rich" to pay even more taxes than the huge amount they already do to support his welfare state recipients. Obama and the rest of the progressives are making individuals and families dependent on the government which is in my opinion at least as bad, if not worse, than one's livelihood being dependent on the state of the market.

Pope John XXIII rightly points out that "it is advisable for the contract to be modified so that 'wage-earners and other employees participate in the ownership or the management, or in some way share in the profits.'"

This would be an example of where distributism comes into play. This is a third type of economic philosophy - Catholic Social Teaching - which was formulated by such thinkers as G.K. Chesterton and Hilair Belloc. I think instituting the principles of this philosophy in our society would help to alleviate many problems which crony capitalism has caused in our society today.

"According to distributism, the ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (plutarchic capitalism). A summary of distributism is found in Chesterton's statement: 'Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.'

"Essentially, distributism distinguishes itself by its distribution of property (not to be confused with redistribution of capital that would be carried out by most socialist plans of governance). While socialism allows no individuals to own productive property (it all being under state, community, or workers' control, with exceptions such as mutualism), distributism itself seeks to ensure that most people will become owners of productive property. As Belloc stated, the distributive state (that is, the state which has implemented distributism) contains "an agglomeration of families of varying wealth, but by far the greater number of owners of the means of production.'This broader distribution does not extend to all property, but only to productive property; that is, that property which produces wealth, namely, the things needed for man to survive. It includes land, tools, etc.'" - Wikipedia article on distributism

"Pope Pius XI further emphasized the fundamental opposition between Communism and Christianity, and made it clear that no Catholic could subscribe even to moderate Socialism. The reason is that Socialism is founded on a doctrine of human society which is bounded by time and takes no account of any objective other than that of material well-being. Since, therefore, it proposes a form of social organization which aims solely at production, it places too severe a restraint on human liberty, at the same time flouting the true notion of social authority."

I am in full agreement with both Pope John XXIII and Pope Pius XI on the matter of Socialism and Communism, that both political philosophies "places too severe a restraint on human liberty."

"Of special doctrinal and practical importance is his [that is, Pius XI's] affirmation that 'if the social and individual character of work be overlooked, it can be neither justly valued nor equitably recompensed.'In determining wages, therefore, justice demands that account be taken not only of the needs of the individual workers and their families, but also of the financial state of the business concern for which they work and of 'the economic welfare of the whole people.'

Unions today are not taking into account the needs of other workers and their families or the financial burden they have on businesses today. The Unions, union bosses, and many union members feel entitled to whatever amount of money and benefits regardless of how it affects anyone else.

" It should be stated at the outset that in the economic order first place must be given to the personal initiative of private citizens working either as individuals or in association with each other in various ways for the furtherance of common interests.
But--for reasons explained by Our predecessors--the civil power must also have a hand in the economy. It has to promote production in a way best calculated to achieve social progress and the well-being of all citizens."

Today, it would seem that in America the civil power has much more than a hand in economic affairs, but in fact have both hands, both feet, arms, and legs involved in our economy.

"And in this work of directing, stimulating, co-ordinating, supplying and integrating, its guiding principle must be the 'principle of subsidiary function' formulated by Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno, 'This is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, unshaken and unchangeable. . . Just as it is wrong to withdraw from the individual and commit to a community what private enterprise and industry can accomplish, so too it is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of right order, for a larger and higher association to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower societies. Of its very nature the true aim of all social activity should be to help members of the social body, but never to destroy or absorb them.'"

The federal government has become a huge albatross held over the heads of Americans today. The social philosophy of subsidiarity is one method that needs to be applied in order to save our economy from collapse. The federal government is putting undue fiscal burdens on the states.

"But however extensive and far-reaching the influence of the State on the economy may be, it must never be exerted to the extent of depriving the individual citizen of his freedom of action. It must rather augment his freedom while effectively guaranteeing the protection of his essential personal rights. Among these is a man's right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family. Hence every economic system must permit and facilitate the free development of productive activity."

The number of recipients receiving food stamps has more than doubled since Bush left office and now it is reported that 43.6 million Americans are now receiving food stamps today. President Obama has increased spending on welfare programs by 42 percent over President Bush's last year in office. The promoters of a welfare state or the welfare state mentality are not promoting the human dignity of the person and freedom of the person by allowing persons to be dependent on the State but in fact are doing the opposite by promoting this dependency mentality. Progressives are enabling the person to avoid fulfilling his "right and duty to be primarily responsible for his own upkeep and that of his family." This quite frankly is irresponsible on so many fronts.

"Experience has shown that where personal initiative is lacking, political tyranny ensues and, in addition, economic stagnation in the production of a wide range of consumer goods and of services of the material and spiritual order--those, namely, which are in a great measure dependent upon the exercise and stimulus of individual creative talent.

Political tyranny and the lack of personal initiative go hand in hand. If one is not going to be rewarded for one's initiative when that produces success or even penalized by the State why would someone continue on this path of displaying personal initiative?

"Where, on the other hand, the good offices of the State are lacking or deficient, incurable disorder ensues: in particular, the unscrupulous exploitation of the weak by the strong. For men of this stamp are always in evidence, and, like cockle among the wheat, thrive in every land."

In America I think we have a case of the weak being exploited by the State to further a tyrannical political agenda. But I am also of the opinion that there are those in corporate America who are in some ways exploiting the weak or those less fortunate.

"In a system of taxation based on justice and equity it is fundamental that the burdens be proportioned to the capacity of the people contributing."

"As it affects the less developed countries, the problem is stated thus: The resources of modern hygiene and medicine will very shortly bring about a notable decrease in the mortality rate, especially among infants, while the birth rate--which in such countries is unusually high--will tend to remain more or less constant, at least for a considerable period. The excess of births over deaths will therefore show a steep rise, whereas there will be no corresponding increase in the productive efficiency of the economy. Accordingly, the standard of living in these poorer countries cannot possibly improve. It must surely worsen, even to the point of extreme hardship. Hence there are those who hold the opinion that, in order to prevent a serious crisis from developing, the conception and birth of children should be secretly avoided, or, in any event, curbed in some way."

Was Pope John XXIII writing under divine inspiration? Today progressives are propagating that births should be avoided in third world countries to solve the problem of hunger and extreme hardship. It is amazing and sad that his predictions became a reality.

"Besides, the resources which God in His goodness and wisdom has implanted in Nature are well-nigh inexhaustible, and He has at the same time given man the intelligence to discover ways and means of exploiting these resources for his own advantage and his own livelihood. Hence, the real solution of the problem is not to be found in expedients which offend against the divinely established moral order and which attack human life at its very source, but in a renewed scientific and technical effort on man's part to deepen and extend his dominion over Nature. The progress of science and technology that has already been achieved opens up almost limitless horizons in this field."

"As for the problems which face the poorer nations in various parts of the world, We realize, of course, that these are very real. They are caused, more often than not, by a deficient economic and social organization, which does not offer living conditions proportionate to the increase in population. They are caused, also, by the lack of effective solidarity among such peoples."

"We must solemnly proclaim that human life is transmitted by means of the family, and the family is based upon a marriage which is one and indissoluble and, with respect to Christians, raised to the dignity of a sacrament. The transmission of human life is the result of a personal and conscious act, and, as such, is subject to the all-holy, inviolable and immutable laws of God, which no man may ignore or disobey. He is not therefore permitted to use certain ways and means which are allowable in the propagation of plant and animal life."

"Human life is sacred--all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God. Those who violate His laws not only offend the divine majesty and degrade themselves and humanity, they also sap the vitality of the political community of which they are members."







Here are some closing remarks from Pope John XXIII:

"It has been claimed that in an era of scientific and technical triumphs such as ours man can well afford to rely on his own powers, and construct a very good civilization without God. But the truth is that these very advances in science and technology frequently involve the whole human race in such difficulties as can only be solved in the light of a sincere faith in God, the Creator and Ruler of man and his world."

"We most earnestly beg all Our sons the world over, clergy and laity, to be deeply conscious of the dignity, the nobility, which is theirs through being grafted on to Christ as shoots on a vine: "I am the vine; you the branches." They are thus called to a share in His own divine life; and since they are united in mind and spirit with the divine Redeemer even when they are engaged in the affairs of the world, their work becomes a continuation of His work, penetrated with redemptive power. "He that abideth in men, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit."

"Thus is man's work exalted and ennobled--so highly exalted that it leads to his own personal perfection of soul, and helps to extend to others the fruits of Redemption, all over the world. It becomes a means whereby the Christian way of life can leaven this civilization in which we live and work--leaven it with the ferment of the Gospel."

Crossposted at Catholibertarian  

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pictures from the Byzantine Catholic Prayer Service and the National March for Life in Canada

Here are some pictures from both the Byzantine Catholic Prayer Service and the National March for Life in Canada. The blog Crime Against Humanity has more pictures and videos here

H/T to Crime Against Humanity for the pics

Friday, May 13, 2011

Social Justice, Population Control and Fighting the Myth Which Progressives Perpetuate

This is weird.  As I was about to post a video by ALL it said that "it was pulled by the user".  I wonder for what reason the video was pulled?  It was about how Catholic social justice has been corrupted by certain people who are progressives.  And how these progressives are advocating for population control.  This is true so this leaves me puzzled, wondering why this video was taken down.

Here is a summary from LifeSiteNews:

In a video released today, American Life League, the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life group, has called for a complete investigation of Catholic social justice organizations for embracing population control advocate Dr. Jeffrey Sachs.
Entitled “Aborting Poverty”, the investigative video outlines Dr. Jeffrey Sachs’ history of population control as the primary means for ending poverty.  According to the video, Dr. Sachs, a professor of economics at Columbia University, has said one of the best ways to fight poverty rates is to reduce population growth and fertility rates with voluntary birth control, sterilizations, and abortion.

Dr. Sachs is head of the Earth Institute and the Millennium Project.  ALL’s concern is that in recent years, Sachs has also been lauded and commended by the U.S. Roundtable Association for Diocesan Social Action (http://www.catholicroundtable.org/), which includes partnerships with Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In 2002, the USCCB invited Sachs to speak at “Humanizing the Global Economy.” He was invited in 2006 to keynote the USCCB-sponsored “Point 7 Now” conference.  In 2005, the president of Catholic Relief Services wrote a book review of Sachs’ “The End of Poverty,” calling it a “must read.”  In that book, Sachs argues population control through “reproductive services” and artificial contraception is central to reducing poverty.
“Sachs’ unapologetic promotion of abortion and population control has no place in Catholic social justice,” said Michael Hichborn, host of the American Life League Report.

“These theories define children as causing poverty rather than as victims of it. Killing the preborn to reduce poverty does not promote prosperity; it perverts the human person into livestock to be properly managed.”
ALL has sent “Aborting Poverty” to the bishop of every diocese in the country.

“The social justice movement in the Catholic Church is being co-opted and corrupted into secular humanism.  This is just the tip of the iceberg,” concluded Hichborn. “The Church must investigate, remove misdirected individuals from positions of authority, and make certain that supposed ‘Catholic’ organizations carry out the true principles of Catholicism.”

American Life League will issue an “explosive” 100 page investigative report on Church social justice funds going to anti-Catholic organizations in the immediate future.

“Until these professional Catholics stop collaborating with and promoting ideologues who undermine the Church’s work for the gospel of life, we will continue to flounder, more babies will die, and more souls will be lost,” concludes Hichborn. “It’s time that the Catholic Church thoroughly investigated the activities of these Catholic social justice organizations.”

This has me wondering did ALL ruffle a few feathers? Why are the bishops in the USCCB associating themselves with this guy Sachs who clearly is causing scandal to the Church by distorting the teachings on social justice? 

Then here we have the UN calling for population control measures to reduce poverty even though there has been a dramatic decline in birth rates in quite a few countries.  What the UN fails to realize is that the rapid decline in the birth rate since after the 60's is proving harder and harder for the working population to be able to support the ever growing number of retirees.  

"Russia is not the only country with a fertility rate that is below replacement. Most of Europe is suffering from this demographic crisis. Italy, Spain, Germany, and Portugal and others had fertility rates close to 1.4 children per woman from 2005 to 2010.[6] Furthermore, worldwide fertility rates have dropped by nearly 50% since 1950.[7]" 

The population is continuing to rise because there were high birthrates in the 1950’s and 1960’s and people are living longer than ever before because of advances in medical technology and food production. However, the future of these countries will be determined by coming generations.
Countries with birthrates that are significantly below replacement rate face the challenge of decreased workforce, decreased consumption, and decreased ability to defend their borders. The impact of years of “population control” propaganda and abortion, on the world’s fertility has been devastating. Instead of continuing down that path, the United Nations should take a leaf out of Russia’s book and try to think of ways to strengthen the family and increase fertility worldwide.
Archbishop Chullikatt responds to the UN's call for population control: 
Unfortunately many discussions in the present day continue to be led by a false notion that, in the context of population growth, the very act of giving life is something to be feared rather than affirmed. Such thinking is based on a radical individualism which sees human reproduction as a commodity that must be regulated and improved in order to encourage greater market efficiency and development. How can such a view be consistent with the objectives of the United Nations? Put most candidly, it cannot.
This flawed understanding leads to the distorted view that population growth, especially among the poor, must be decreased in order to address poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition. It is also based upon the consistently disproven theory that population increase will devastate the environment, lead to global competition and confrontation for resources and undermine the ability of women to interact fully with society. These apprehensions contribute to the advancement of forms of reproductive technology which denigrate the nature of human sexuality. The combination of these misconceptions have led some national governments to adopt laws and policies which discourage parents from exercising their fundamental and non-derogable right to have children free of coercion and which even make it illegal for mothers to give birth in some cases or for a child to have one’s own brothers and sisters.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Parents Need To Be *There* For Gender-Confused Kids

Parents need to be understanding of kids who experience gender confusion and support their kids in the body they have or in the gender they were born with in this world. Parents should not help them to transform from the gender in which God created them as to a different gender where doctors misuse their abilities/talents to play God and experiment with children's gender identity because of inadequacies - normal inadequacies - that youth feel while growing up from a preteen into adulthood .  Parents should be supportive of their children and help them to work through their gender issues, not exacerbate them by undermining and questioning whether they're the correct gender or not. In my opinion there is no legitimate reason to change a person's identity and hormone makeup due to persons having confusion with their gender.  This only damages their psyche worse.

Here is an article from Mercatornet called Gender-confused kids need parents who think straight:

I am not making this up.

Twelve-year-old children in the United Kingdomwho feel confused about their gender now can opt to receive puberty-blocking drugs while they make up their minds whether to be male or female.

The hormone blockers inhibit development of sex characteristics, such as facial hair in boys and full breasts in girls. A child who later opts for a sex-change operation, the thinking goes, will have fewer “parts” in need of changing.
Gender-confused teens 16 and over already have access to the medication. But this latest decision by the U.K. ethics board allows younger children, even 12 year-olds, to receive the hormone blockers. Stipulations: the children must give “formal consent” and their parents must affirm their “full support” for the decision.

Why would any straight-thinking parent purposely “stunt” their child’s normal, healthy, sexual development so they can switch genders more easily later on?
Well, they wouldn’t.

From the first sonogram or moment of birth, parents everywhere delight in knowing whether they have a girl or a boy—a son or a daughter. The baby’s body reveals an unequivocal truth about who that child is--male or female. And a young child’s confused protests to the contrary can’t change that.
The reality of male-female sexuality becomes an inconvenient truth, however, to agenda-driven LGBT-types. They reject the “gender-binary” mindset, positing instead a sliding scale, a gender spectrum, with each of us eventually choosing our own comfortable spot.

And if that comfortable, self-identified place happens to contradict bodily reality? According to the gender-bending folks, it’s the person’s body that’s out of whack, not the person’s self-perception. And this is the fiction they sell to teens, parents,teachers, doctors and counselors.
That is why a 12 year-old boy who decides that he doesn’t quite feel like a male can instruct willing docs in the U.K. to halt his body’s developing masculinity.  

Instead of trying to clear up the poor lad’s confusion--teaching his parents to affirm his biological sex while counseling him towards self-acceptance--the “gender identity” evangelists prefer to validate his confusion.

In the process, they thwart his body’s normal sexual development in anticipation of pumping him with female hormones a few years later. (And once he takes cross-sex hormones, he will become irreversibly sterile—the same fate suffered by girls who “become” male.)
Just think--all this before he is even legally old enough to swig a beer.

The parents and doctors involved in this outrageous practice seem more confused than the poor children themselves. In the adults’ minds, pressing pause on the puberty button “gives us a window to explore together that they [the kids] are definitely making the right decision” to select a different gender, says Dr. Polly Carmichael, director of the lone clinic that treats gender identity disorder in the UK.

This medical madness may be new to the British side of the pond, but it’s old hat in the US, where one pediatrician routinely sends confused children speeding down the transgender chute.

Does Evil Exist?

Pope Benedict in Aquileia says "We need Christians convinced and convincing"

Friday, May 6, 2011

There Be Dragons and Opus Dei

When the wartime epic "There Be Dragons" opens in theaters today, it will cap a remarkable evolution in the popular representation of Opus Dei, the conservative Catholic society whose founder, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, is the hero of the new film.

Set during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, when Escrivá was a young man (he died in 1975 and was canonized Saint Josemaría in 2002), "There Be Dragons" was conceived by Roland Joffé, the Oscar-nominated English director and self-described "wobbly agnostic," who is hardly one to carry water for a group like Opus Dei. But Mr. Joffé offers a human and sympathetic portrait of Escrivá and, by extension, of Opus Dei. CONTINUED  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Article Hits the Nail On The Head

This article hits the nail on the head with regards to how hard it is for faithful Catholics to deal with the cross of infertility.  My heart aches so that someday my husband and I may be blessed with a child.  We pray and leave it in God's hands but it is so hard for us...

This week is Infertility Awareness Week. According to the CDC, over 2 million married women in America are currently experiencing infertility. This is a deeply painful experience for any couple, but faithful Catholics face unique challenges in this department—yet in all the discussions about Natural Family Planning and how and when to avoid pregnancy, the struggles of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not able to achieve pregnancy often get overlooked. So this week I spent some time chatting with friends who are facing infertility, including a woman whom I’ll call “A.,” who chronicles her journey online at This Cross I Embrace. They shared some of the challenges unique to being Catholic and infertile:
Temptation to Use Illicit Treatments: In modern culture, the words “infertility” and “in-vitro fertilization” go hand-in-hand. Even though IVF doesn’t always succeed, and often costs tens of thousands of dollars when it does, the success rates are high enough that it’s widely touted as a solution that is likely to give couples the children they so desperately desire. This is a source of temptation for the women I talked to, even though they understand and agree with Church teaching against IVF on an intellectual level. “I would never do it, but it’s like a punch in the gut when other women go to the IVF clinic and are then planning baby showers seven months later,” one friend said. Added to this, there can also be tremendous pressure from family members who don’t understand Church teaching and see IVF as a path to having grandchildren or nieces and nephews.
Loneliness: Catholics who face infertility often find themselves in a social no-man’s land. In terms of day-to-day lifestyle, they have little in common with fellow Catholics who have kids, and often find that friends with children are so busy that it’s hard to make plans with them. Sometimes it’s possible to find community among fellow Christians who are infertile, but tensions inevitably arise over differing views about IVF and other reproductive technology. Other childless couples tend to be much younger. “The main people you can really relate to are other infertile Catholics who are faithful to Church teaching, and they are few and far between,” one friend told me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blessed John Paul II Beatified Today May 1, 2011

This is a special day for two reasons - (1) Today is my birthday. Wow! I can't believe I'm turning 34 today.  God has blessed me with a wonderful husband, great family and friends and with a renewed Faith. (2) Today Pope John Paul II is being beatified today.  The Catholic Church is to declare Pope John Paul II "Blessed" today which is a step on the way to becoming a saint. It is kinda cool, awesome, and I am honored to share my birthday with a very special event which honors such a great, inspirational, spiritual, faith-filled person such as Pope John Paul II.  Then, in addition to all that wonderfulness it is also Divine Mercy Sunday.  Here is the background of the Divine Mercy devotion.  Here is some information on the Feast of Mercy.  
I found this article via Gateway Pundit 
Pope John Paul II called upon the young, and all of us, to build a “Culture of Life” with tremendous hope. He said, “Have no fear. The outcome of the battle for life is already decided … You too must feel the full urgency of the task … Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life. …This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops.”
Father Frank Pavone helps us to understand why Pope John Paul II was and is so beloved and revered.
On Sunday, May 1 the Catholic Church declares Pope John Paul II to be “Blessed,” a step on the way to being declared a saint. This is done not as a judgment on the effectiveness or influence of his pontificate, nor on the depth of his knowledge of theology, but rather on his fidelity in living the Christian virtues.
The Church says, in other words, “If you want to follow Christ, look to John Paul II as an example.”
Each person whom the Church beatifies or canonizes, moreover, has his or her special theme, some aspect of discipleship that marks his or her life. For Pope John Paul II, it is the theme of pro-life. Not only was this a theme he spoke and acted upon continuously, but he gave the Church and the world a new way of understanding and practicing it.
This pope did not simply repeat the longstanding teaching of the Church that abortion is wrong. He did not simply hand down dogmas about what we can and cannot do, and how we are supposed to live up to the principles and the commandments, such as “Thou shalt not kill.”
John Paul II was able to join traditional, objective thought with the patterns of modern thought in what came to be known as his “personalism.” He focused on the dignity, the uniqueness, of each individual human person and affirmed their subjective insights and experiences. He taught that in each person we have a unique and unrepeatable being. And that uniqueness is precisely a reflection, or image, of God himself. Here is where the two worlds merge. Individual experience is not crushed, lost, or absorbed by the recognition that there is a God who has revealed universal moral norms. On the contrary, when God reveals himself to us in Jesus Christ, he reveals us to ourselves. 
The whole post is here.

The Washington Post has a slideshow of pics on the life of John Paul II. You can see them here.

Raymond L. Flynn explains how Pope John Paul II changed his life.

George Weigel on Remembering Pope John Paul II :

Strange as it may seem, I've been vaguely worried about today's beatification of a man with whom I was in close conversation for over a decade and to the writing of whose biography I dedicated 15 years of my own life.
My worries don't have to do with allegations of a "rushed" beatification process - the process has been a thorough one, and the official judgment is the same as the judgment of the people of the Church.
I'm also unconcerned about the fretting of ultra-traditionalists for whom John Paul II was a failure because he didn't restore the French monarchy, impose the Tridentine Mass on the entire Church, and issue thundering anathemas against theologians and wayward politicians. (See the "beatification catechism"below for my responses to the objections most frequently raised by John Paul's critics.)
No, my worries have to do with our losing touch with the qualities of the man himself.
When the Church puts the title "Blessed" or "Saint" on someone, the person so honoured often drifts away into a realm of the unapproachably good. We lose the sense that the saints are people just-like-us, who, by the grace of God, lived lives of heroic virtue: a truth of the faith of which John Paul II never ceased to remind us.
So what would I have us remember and hold fast to about John Paul II?
First, I hope we remember that everything he did was the accomplishment of a radically converted Christian disciple. His resistance to the Nazi occupation of Poland; his abandonment of his youthful plans in order to enter an underground seminary; his dynamic ministry in Krakow as priest and bishop; his philosophical and literary work; his efforts at Vatican II; his epic pontificate and its teaching; his role in the collapse of European communism and in the defence of the universality of human rights - all of this flowed from his radical conversion to Christ.
Why is this important to stress? Because it's his connection to the rest of us. There are over a billion Catholics on this planet; very few of us will enjoy the range of intellectual, spiritual, literary, athletic and linguistic gifts that God gave Karol Wojtyla. Because of our baptism, though, all of us share with him the possibility of being radically converted Christian disciples.
All of us can be Christ's evangelical witnesses in our families, our work, our neighbourhoods. All of us can live as though the truth John Paul II taught - that Jesus Christ is the answer to the question that is every human life - is at the very epicentre of our own lives.
The second thing I hope the Church holds onto, as it enrols John Paul II among the blessed, is the significance of the date of his beatification: Divine Mercy Sunday. John Paul's fondness for the Divine Mercy devotion, and his designation of the Octave of Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday, struck some as a Polish imposition on a universal Church. Those who thought this were mistaken.
John Paul II had an acute sense of the gaping holes that had been torn in the moral and spiritual fabric of humanity by the murderous cruelties of the 20th century. A century that began with a robust human confidence in the future had ended with a thick fog of cynicism hanging over the western world.
As he wrote in his striking 2003 apostolic exhortation, "The Church in Europe," Christianity's historic heartland (and, by extension, the entire western world) was beset by guilt over what it had done in two world wars and the Cold War, at Auschwitz and in the Gulag, through the Ukrainian hunger famine and the communist persecution of the Church. But having abandoned the God of the Bible, it had nowhere to turn to confess this guilt, seek absolution, and find forgiveness. 
That, John Paul II was convinced, was why the face of the merciful Father had been turned toward the world now. The insight came from Poland; the need was universal. That was why he created "Divine Mercy Sunday." That is why we should remember that he was beatified on that day.  CONTINUED

JPII Helped People To Not Be Afraid To be Called Christian