Monday, December 31, 2007

Life in San Francisco...

...or, in what our friends over at USF refer to as "the gay Rome."

Here's a letter, by one of our neighbors, sent to the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, about a "medical" marijuana dispensary that's around the corner from SS. Peter and Paul:

"Only in San Francisco, a city that already has a bad rap for being family-unfriendly, would you hear a member of the Board of Appeals tell the parents of North Beach that if they don't like a pot dealer in their neighborhood they should move. This comment was made by Vice President Michael Garcia at the Wednesday (December 19) evening Board of Appeals hearing on the Medical Cannabis Dispensary (MCD) at 722 Columbus Avenue in North Beach."

Despite the overwhelming neighborhood opposition to this business, (it's a block away from Saints Peter and Paul Church and School and the Salesian Boys' and Girls' Club and a block away from the North Beach playground) this tiny establishment has the dough to stretch this appeals process out as long as possible, while they rake in more. And they have big time legal talent: former SF District Attorney Terence Hallinan is representing them. I've never seen anybody go in there who looked sick, but I have seen scary looking guys come out and get into shiny new Mercedes...

Now the Vice-President of the Board of Appeals tells North Beach parents: if you don't like it, move!

Where's our Mayor, Gavin Newsom, who has vowed to make San Francisco "family friendly"? No comment. He's busy. But he had time to declare February 23, 2007 "Colt Studio Day (Colt Studio produces homosexual pornography) and he had time to issue a commendatory proclamation welcoming the 2007 Folsom Street Fair. Just another day in SF...

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy New Year

There are reasons why we must think twice before we think something is crazy or unattainable. Those who have no faith in people or ideas could change their lives, if they only knew the truth. If only we could learn the lessons of evil and good and indifferance from our actions and ideas and seize the good opportunities...

Consider these questions and the answers.

"Who in their right mind would ever need more than 640k of ram!?"
-- Bill Gates, 1981
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
-- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year."
-- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
"But what ... is it (the microchip) good for?"
-- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968,
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
-- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
--Western Union internal memo, 1876.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio- 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."
-- A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

USF Homosexual Activism Update

Update: California Catholic Daily covers the story.

Look who's the 2008 "Scholar in Residence" at the University of San Francisco: Fr. James Keenan, SJ, from Boston College.

Remember him? He's the guy who spoke before the Massachusetts Legislature on April 28, 2003, and recommended, as a matter of Catholic Moral Theology, a vote against H. 3190 (which would have defined marriage as Massachusetts as between one man and one woman):

"I am here today to testify against H. 3190 because it is contrary to Catholic teaching on social justice."

You can read his entire statement here on (always gives one such a feeling of security when a priest is cited approvingly on a homosexual activist website!) With the only thing standing between California and court/special interest imposed same sex "marriage" being the Governor's veto, one wonders why a Catholic University would appoint such a man.

But then, why be shocked, or even surprised? It's USF!

Remember Fr. Jim Bretzke, USF's co-chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies commenting on Archbishops Niederauer's mistakenly giving communion to the two "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" at Most Holy Redeemer back in October? Quote ....."Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense."

Or Fr. Donal Godfrey, SJ, author of "Gays and Grays" and now, of all things, Executive Director of Campus Ministry at USF:

“I believe in other words, that the gospel must always be inculturated into every culture, and this must include gay culture.” ("Gays & Grays" p138) and “The Catholic Church is not a credible moral voice within the gay community.” ("Gays & Grays" p153).

Or the President of USF himself, Fr. Stephen J. Privett:

"A student talked about the difficulties he faced in coming to grips with his own homosexual orientation. He feared the rejection of family members and the ridicule of friends. He had to be as he was created to be by a loving God. He came out. It is not easy for him. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.” –Baccalaureate Homily, May 2, 2003.

Quite the little operation they've got going on up there...

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Politically Correct Christmas

To avoid offending anybody, the school dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son's school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non memorable songs such as "Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman" and--this is a real song--"Suzy Snowflake," all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology. (Dave Barry in his "Notes on Western Civilization" Chicago Tribune Magazine, July 28, 1991)

When will we stand up and throw out this nonsense?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Follow the Star

Christmas brings children to the foreground no doubt because of the birthday of the world’s greatest Child.

That ordinary children can be saints, even canonized, we learned from St. Dominic Savio, the youngest non-martyr ever canonized. He was fourteen when he died. Sanctity, even heroic sanctity is possible in the very young.

A new example has been presented to the world in the person of Antonietta Meo. She was five months shy of seven, when she died of bone cancer in 1937.

Just this month documentation of her heroic virtues was promulgated by the Congregation for Saints' Causes. (

The Holy Father recalled how during her brief life she "showed special faith, hope and charity" and he presented her as a model for young people. He affirmed that "her existence, so simple and yet so important, shows that sanctity is for all ages: for little children and for young people, for adults and the elderly."

The Pontiff continued: "She traveled quickly down the 'highway' that leads to Jesus [...] who is, in fact, the true 'path' that leads to the Father, and to his and our definitive home that is heaven.
"Jesus is the way that leads to true life, the life that never ends. It is often a steep and narrow way but, if one allows oneself to be attracted by him, it is always stupendous, like a mountain path: The higher one climbs, the easier it becomes to gaze down upon new panoramas, ever more beautiful and vast. The journey is tiring but we are not alone. [...] What is important is not to lose our way, not to miss the path, otherwise we risk falling into an abyss or getting lost in the woods."

"Dear friends," Benedict XVI added, "God made himself man to show us the way. Indeed, by becoming a child he made himself the 'way,' also for young people like you: He was like you; he was your age."

The Pope concluded, expressing his hope that Catholic Action might "walk jointly and briskly along the path of Christ, bearing witness, in the Church and in society, to the fact that this is a beautiful path. It is true that it requires commitment, but it leads to true joy."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Amorality…the Fourth Theological Virtue?

In San Francisco, amorality, under the guise of tolerance, has been elevated to the level of a political principle. In some parts of the Archdiocese, apparently, it's been elevated to the level of a virtue. At least that's the Good News according to Fr. Donal Godfrey and Mr. Maurice Healy (spokesman for the Archdiocese of San Francisco). In part two of the KCBS documentary "Keeping the Faith" both men trashed concerned Catholics who have exposed the corruption at Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco. Their thesis seems to be: Never judge anyone, it’ll get you into heaven! After all, Jesus said so!

Fr. Godfrey is of course no surprise, but Mr. Healy's statements show how the Archdiocese continues to paint itself into a corner. Instead of cleaning house, they attack the messengers. To be fair, it’s difficult to see what other option they have (once you rule out facing the truth). Well, I'll point another finger....

What you see here (Caution: usual MHR obscenity alert) are the "Alameda County Leather Club 'Monks'” at the “Golden Gate Guards” 2000 Run. The Alameda County Leather Corps and the Golden Gate Guards are two of seven organizations that make up the “Inter-Club Fund.” (others include the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Dykes on Bikes, and the Defenders, an affiliate of Dignity USA).

The “Inter-Club Fund” are frequent and welcome guests at Most Holy Redeemer. They’ve held their annual awards dinner there in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2007, and they are scheduled to hold their awards dinner again at Most Holy Redeemer on February 16, 2008.

Are there any Catholics NOT outraged that a group like this is a welcomed annual vistor in a Catholic Church?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, December 17, 2007

KCBS Interview: Most Holy Redeemer and Archbishop Niederauer

KCBS radio has quite a nice story on the ongoing scandal that is Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco. Of course, the issue gained international prominence when Archbishop George Niederauer mistakenly gave communion to the two Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence back on October 7. From the story:

"The controversy has pulled back the curtain on a deep division within the Roman Catholic Church that leads from the Bay Area all the way to Rome . . . Listen to KCBS reporter Doug Sovern's documentary on KCBS 740AM at 9:30am, 4:30pm, and 9:30pm on December 17th and 18th."

All times are PST. Part one of the on-air broadcast can be played from the page linked to above; part two airs tomorrow. One very good result of the publicity mentioned in the story is the cancelleation of the Golden Gate Guards Anniversary Parties which had been held annualy at MHR. To see what went on at these events, in the hall of a Catholic Church, visit Quamdiu Domine.

Congratulations to Quamdiu Domine and the St. Joseph's Men's group for doing so much to expose this scandal.

We've commented extensively on MHR. Some previous posts are here, here, here, here, and here.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Will Canada be our future?

Maybe, if we don't stand up. From LifeSite News

Catholic Activist "Banned for life" From Publicly Criticising Homosexuality
Saskatchewan Court Upholds Human Rights Commission Ruling

By Hilary WhiteREGINA, Saskatchewan, December 13, 2007 ( - The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission's decision to impose a "lifetime" ban on a local Catholic's freedom to publicly criticise homosexuality, was upheld this week in its entirety by Saskatchewan Court of Queens Bench.

Bill Whatcott, a licensed practical nurse who lives in Saskatchewan, is a campaigner against the homosexual political movement that is sweeping the Canadian legal system. In 2006, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) ordered Whatcott to pay $17,500 Cn. to four complainants who complained that their "feelings" and "self-respect" were "injured" by Whatcott's pamphlets denouncing the "gay lifestyle" as immoral and dangerous.

Does anyone doubt that this is what the "gay activists" will do in this country, if they have the chance? (See the previous post).

Not to mention pro-"choicers." See this post, on the Oakland "bubble ordinance"

And "Walk for Life West Coast" has a page describing the ordinance, and how you can oppose it. Go here. But you must act now! The Oakland City Council meets to Tuesday, December 18.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brotherly Love? has a story that is upsetting my Christmas cheer. When it’s time to remember the Gift the Father is offering us, and happily celebrating family, friends, loving and caring….my heart goes out to the Boy Scouts of the City of Brotherly Love.

Their home which they built and deeded to Philadelphia in 1929, their headquarters and playground which was promised them rent free in perpetuity has now been offered them for $200,000 a year! Pay up or get out by June!

Philadelphia has certainly benefited from the thousands of young people who have followed the scout code these past years. How can the City be so ungrateful? The answer is painfully simple: the homosexual lobby!

Scouts must change their rules and allow avowed homosexuals in their ranks as members and leaders—or lose their right to use the Beaux Arts premises deeded to the City by the Scouts themselves. Is moral law to be taxed at $200,000 per year?

An editorial which appeared in the on line edition of the Investor’s Business Daily has this observation: “Isn’t it hypocritical, though, to be intolerant in the name of tolerance, to say that it is wrong to disapprove of the lifestyle of others but OK to condemn the religious and moral beliefs of others? "

Can we all condemn that hypocrisy?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rest In Peace!

Cardinal Alfons Maria Stickler, Salesian, died yesterday in the Vatican.
He was 97, and was made a bishop in 1983. He was Vatican Librarian.

I had the good fortune to have him as my professor of Canon Law when he taught at the Salesian University in Turin, Italy, which takes us back to 1946-50, before he moved to the Vatican.

He was chosen as a Cardinal in 1985.

I considered him a beloved professor and good friend and visited him several times at the Vatican, and accompanied him on one of his California trips, when he brought some art from the Vatican library for a local exhibition.

Pray for his happy repose.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And why we love Fr. Euteneuer!

More "Golden Compass," more plain English!

"The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International, (HLI) today called on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to fire Harry Forbes, director of the Office for Film and Broadcasting of the Conference, for his positive reviews of immoral or anti-Catholic films on the Conference’s Catholic News Service (CNS).

Father Euteneuer said, “I refuse to believe that Harry Forbes, who gave such glowing remarks to the homosexual promo film Brokeback Mountain and the atheist indoctrination flick The Golden Compass, speaks in the name of our bishops. An employee who shames our bishops with reviews of this sort should be fired."

Read the whole thing.

Why we love Bishop Chaput...

He speaks plain English! From his review of "The Golden Compass":

"No matter how one looks at it, “The Golden Compass” is a bad film. There’s just no nicer way to say it."

Read the whole thing.

Faith Moves Mountains

A story sent me by a good friend was taken from the Letters from Readers section of the Jacksonville Times-Union.

It’s a story of a mother who repeatedly was urged to abort the baby she was carrying, because “that child in her womb was irreversibly damaged.”

But the woman put her faith in God; remained hopeful and trusted that everything would turn out well.

Pam Tebow “is a hero to me; her son is a hero to many in our country. Last Saturday, her son, Tim Tebow, won the Heisman Trophy."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You're Pro-Choice? Then why restrict speech?

Back in November, we commented on the outrageous "Bubble Ordinance" legislation being proposed in Oakland. This ordinance is a direct assault on free speech, under the guise of "protecting" women.

There is now a very clear and comprehensive webpage describing the ordinance, what it is and what it is not, along with action steps you can take.

This ridiculous bill would actually criminalize handing out leaflets on the street! Please check this page out, and make your voices heard!

Catholic Radio comes to the Bay Area!

Immaculate Heart Radio has just started broadcasting in our area. It will bring the very best of Catholic programming to the radios of over 8 million people from San Jose to Santa Rosa and beyond.

You can find it at 1260 on your AM dial.

Be sure to tune in!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mary Shot

Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican offered this account of a new exhibit in Washington.

Yesterday a Russian Orthodox icon of Mary and the Child Jesus went on display in the Memorial Hall of the Roman Catholic Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The icon, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding her son, Jesus, has 13 bullet holes in it. (The bullets are still there, imbedded in the thick wood of the 19th-century icon. The icon is a 19th-century copy of the famous 16th-century icon of Kazan which Pope John Paul II kept for many years in his apartment in Rome, and which was finally returned to Russia on August 28, 2004.)

Several of the bullet holes are in a straight line across the chest of the Virgin Mary, where a blast from a machine-gun evidently strafed the icon with a burst of gunfire.Mary's face is untouched. But her body, had it been a real body, would have been torn apart and killed by those bullets. There are also bullet wounds in the image of her son, Jesus, as he sits in her arms.

Strikingly, the icon has been transported from Russia to be put on display this Advent in Washington as the centerpiece in an extraordinary, moving exhibition on the revival of faith in Russia.

"Before the Russian Revolution in 1917, there were more icons and churches dedicated to Mary in Russia than in any other country in the world," said Father Victor Potapov, a Russian Orthodox priest who is rector of the Russian Orthodox Church of St. John the Baptist in Washington, during a brief ceremony at 10:30 am to open the exhibit. "Russia in those years, for that reason, was sometimes called 'The House of Mary.'"

Potapov said that more Christian martyrs suffered imprisonment and death under anti-Christian regimes during the 20th century than during the entire three centuries of persecution that the early Church suffered under the Roman Empire. "More Christians died during 70 years of Communism than during 300 years under the Roman," Potapov said. "But the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the faith. And Christian faith is being renewed today in Russia."

Will Catholics Vote Like Catholics in 2008?

Here’s a message from Karl Keating Catholic Answers Action, 2020 Gillespie Way, El Cajon, California 92020 USA Phone: 1-800-890-0461 Fax: 619-387-0042:

If ever there were a time when America needed our now-famous Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics . . . that time is now. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the 2008 elections could determine the moral fate of our entire nation. Key Moral Issues for Catholics.

As you know, the Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics is the definitive voter’s guide for explaining the Catholic position on the “five non-negotiables” . . . Abortion-Euthanasia-Embryonic Stem Cell Research-Human Cloning-Homosexual “Marriage”

These are the most critical moral issues of our time. They represent everything that’s wrong in America (and the world) today—because they’re the key tenets of the “culture of death” versus the “Gospel of Life.” If we lose on these issues, we lose everything. The problem is, they’re all being decided right now in the political arena—by people who have no clue what they’re voting on or how their vote will affect the future of our country. That’s particularly true for the average Catholic in the United States.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Catholics are the most wrong-headed voters in America.” They typically vote for candidates who oppose Catholic teaching on the five non-negotiables. Often it’s because those candidates belong to a particular party that Catholics vote for out of habit. Or, more and more, the candidates themselves are Catholic—but their voting records and their political stances fly in the face of Catholic moral teaching.

Friday, December 7, 2007

How safe?

Sen. Barbara Boxer has introduced a bill requiring federal government to promote use of emergency contraception. (California Catholic Daily)

The bill, S. 2108, titled the “Emergency Contraception Education Act of 2007,” was formally introduced on Sept. 27. It was read twice on the floor of the Senate, then referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where it remains today

Co-sponsors of the bill, in addition to Boxer, include senators Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Patty Murray, D-WA, Max Baucus, D-MT, Maria Cantwell, D-WA, Christopher Dodd, D-CT, Daniel Inouye, D-HI, John Kerry, D-MA, and Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ.

The bill requires that the material developed by the Centers for Disease Control state that emergency contraception is safe and effective --- and easy to obtain. The idea of emergency contraception—or a morning-after pill—is based on a theory. Under this theory, if a woman has sexual intercourse and fears she may be pregnant, she can take large doses of birth control pills. If in fact the woman is pregnant when she takes these birth control pills, the high dosage could act to kill her preborn child—a living human being. The only "emergency" in this case is the woman's fear of being pregnant.

The pill is widely used and makes millions of dollars for the manufacturer. It has been declared safe, but here are some of the side effects:
breast tenderness
ectopic pregnancy (can be life threatening)
blood clot formation

Emergency contraception also offers no protection against sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS.

There are no long term studies to show whether women will be permanently damaged, or risk such diseases as cancer, from these chemicals being given in such high doses.

"Do Whatever He Tells You"

A very nice article this morning at the "Catholic Education Resource Center."

"Mary’s command to the servants at Cana — 'Do whatever he tells you' (Jn. 2:5) — represents her last recorded words in the Bible. And they serve as much more than an exhortation to obedience.

They echo the Old Testament spousal covenant of love between Yahweh, the divine Bridegroom, and Israel, His bride."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spe Salvi

The Holy Father has issued today his promised letter SPE SALVI - SAVED BY HOPE
It’s a wonderful document and here is a beautiful example he gives in the introduction:

The example of a saint of our time can to some degree help us understand what it means to have a real encounter with this God for the first time. I am thinking of the African Josephine Bakhita, canonized by Pope John Paul II. She was born around 1869-she herself did not know the precise date-in Darfur in Sudan.

At the age of nine, she was kidnapped by slave-traders, beaten till she bled, and sold five times in the slave-markets of Sudan. Eventually she found herself working as a slave for the mother and the wife of a general, and there she was flogged every day till she bled; as a result of this she bore 144 scars throughout her life.

Finally, in 1882, she was bought by an Italian merchant for the Italian consul Callisto Legnani, who returned to Italy as the Mahdists advanced. Here, after the terrifying "masters" who had owned her up to that point, Bakhita came to know a totally different kind of "master"-in Venetian dialect, which she was now learning, she used the name "paron" for the living God, the God of Jesus Christ. Up to that time she had known only masters who despised and maltreated her, or at best considered her a useful slave.

Now, however, she heard that there is a "paron" above all masters, the Lord of all lords, and that this Lord is good, goodness in person. She came to know that this Lord even knew her, that he had created her-that he actually loved her. She too was loved, and by none other than the supreme "Paron", before whom all other masters are themselves no more than lowly servants. She was known and loved and she was awaited. What is more, this master had himself accepted the destiny of being flogged and now he was waiting for her "at the Father's right hand".

Now she had "hope" -no longer simply the modest hope of finding masters who would be less cruel, but the great hope: "I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me-I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good." Through the knowledge of this hope she was "redeemed", no longer a slave, but a free child of God.

She understood what Paul meant when he reminded the Ephesians that previously they were without hope and without God in the world-without hope because without God. Hence, when she was about to be taken back to Sudan, Bakhita refused; she did not wish to be separated again from her "Paron". On 9 January 1890, she was baptized and confirmed and received her first Holy Communion from the hands of the Patriarch of Venice.

On 8 December 1896, in Verona, she took her vows in the Congregation of the Canossian Sisters and from that time onwards, besides her work in the sacristy and in the porter's lodge at the convent, she made several journeys round Italy in order to promote the missions: the liberation that she had received through her encounter with the God of Jesus Christ, she felt she had to extend, it had to be handed on to others, to the greatest possible number of people. The hope born in her which had "redeemed" her she could not keep to herself; this hope had to reach many, to reach everybody.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Abortion's Third Party

The first US conference to focus on the effects of abortion on men concluded today at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.

I remember at our San Fancisco Walk for Life where men had signs expressing regret for lost fatherhood. The conference focused on this theme.

Vickie Thorn, the executive director of NOPARH and founder of Project Rachel for post-abortive women observed:

"The model to help men with post-abortion healing has to be different than for women.”

She said that grieving men can't be forgotten, "After all, it takes two parents.
Men have a different way of dealing with these issues. While with women, the emphasis is on talking and crying, men have different ways to deal with their grief. "

"There is grief for the child but many times it focuses more on the loss within himself, that he didn't make the transition into fatherhood."

The two-day conference, featured experts, including therapists, from a variety of backgrounds and countries, speaking about men's healing process after abortion; abortion's effects on men's spirituality; fatherhood and abortion; and why men who have been involved in abortion come for help.

Henry Hyde Died Today

God bless him! He was a champion pro-life politician. Pray for his soul.

Choosing not to seek re-electiion last year, he had been chairman of the House Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001 and served as the lead House manager during Clinton's impeachment trial.

He sponsored the Hyde Amendment, which withdrew federal funding for abortions since its first passage in 1976.

Earlier in November, Hyde was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Promoting legal murder

The Oakland City Council will meet next week and consider passing an “8 foot bubble ordinance.”

If the law passes, and it probably will in this liberal land of ours, there will be this latest effort to protect abortion services.

This law, among other things, will:

Ensure safe and unimpeded access to reproductive health care facilities …
Within 100 feet of the entrance, will prohibit approaching within eight feet any person or motor vehicle seeking to enter the facility, without the consent of the person or vehicle occupant, for the purpose of interfering, harassing, injuring, or intimidating the person or vehicle occupant.

The new ordinance will stifle the efforts of pro-life groups from presenting information verbally or otherwise to anyone near the abortion facility under penalty of jail for a year and/or a $2,000 fine.

This is a diabolic effort to stop anyone from deterring a person entering the clinic for a proposed abortion. It impinges on our freedom and right to disseminate valuable information that saves lives.

Visit the November 27 issue: of "California Catholic Daily" for the list of council members who should be contacted to protest this violation of freedom of expression.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Eucharistic Key

Our Salesian Superior General, Pascual Chavez, has written a masterful letter on the Eucharist. I would like to quote one short passage of his lengthy document which echoes the “Theology of the Body” of Pope John Paul II.

“The human being is called to fulfill himself in love and this in the form of self-giving, implies the total giving of the body. The usual form this self-giving takes is in the 'language” of sex.' In this the body is the protagonist, although there is always the hidden danger that this does not imply the total giving of the person. In this case it would become a lie, given that of its nature it is self-giving, that is, exclusive and total. Sexual donation however is not the only way of giving one’s body as an expression of love. In Jesus we find the eucharistic self-giving as the most profound expression of love, since here the body is the sign and instrument of the donation of the person, the true protagonist of love. In addition it is not limited in its extent; it is ‘for all.’ Jesus does not live his love and the donation of himself in a ‘sexual key’, he lives it in a Eucharistic key.

"Thus for consecrated persons, the special way in which we are living to the full our love and the consequent self- giving implies that we abstain from giving or body and our affection to one single person, so as to give ourselves totally to everyone. Without doubt, here too, we can run a parallel risk to that of sexual giving. There it is possible to give one’s body without giving oneself. Here it is possible for there to be false giving of oneself without that total giving of one’s body, without that :”using up and wearing out” also physically, that is the genuine and essential expression of a love lived in a Eucharist key.”

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Flowers of Our Age

This week our Salesian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone sponsored "La Luce Dei Bambini” (The Light of the Children) concert in Paul VI Hall marking the U.N. Universal Children's Day.The concert raised money to provide the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome with a specialized digital angiograph machine, valued at almost three million dollars.

Words of the Papal Secretary of State were on the program: “To whom will we entrust our future? What world does even just one child deserve? Something very profound is at stake, that is, how do we understand, in the final analysis, human beings: as an unlimited egoism or as a bestowed freedom that calls to a communion of love and the liberty of sharing.

And even though the “culture of egoism” advances, the cardinal wrote, “there exists also those who welcome children joyfully, blessing heaven and smiling at each gift of God. There are those who also open their heart and welcome children marked by pain and handicaps and become a family to them: These are the deeds of this time, they are the flowers of our age."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

and may God watch over our men and women overseas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Told you so...

Childish, we know, but since before the passage of Proposition 71 in California we have been beating the drum for adult and cord blood stem-cells, which have been curing people right and left, and opposing immoral embryonic stem-cell research, which has yet to cure a single person.

Well, over the last few days, it seems the scientific establishment has finally decided that adult stem-cells are the way to go. One great opponent of embryonic stem-cell research, Mr. Wesley Smith, has a comprehensive article on the subject today. And he reminds us that it is President George W. Bush who has held the line against embryonic stem cell research by limiting funding, as best he could, in the face of enormous opposition:

"But what really got under “the scientists” skin was the clarion moral message sent by the president: It is wrong to treat nascent human life as a mere natural resource to be sown, reaped, and consumed."

God Bless President Bush, and all who helped in this battle. And may God continue to guide our good scientists, who are achieving such wondrous results using ethical methods!

UPDATE: Wesley Smith is covering the developments extensively on his blog "Secondhand Smoke" And Joseph Bottom over at First Things speculates on the how the hype that surrounded embryonic stem-cells from the very beginning, right up until now, in the face of all the scientific evidence to the contrary, was nothing more than a justification for abortion:

"I have long suspected that science, in the context of the editorial page of the New York Times, was simply a stalking-horse for something else. In fact, for two something-elses: a chance to discredit America’s religious believers and an opportunity to put yet another hedge around the legalization of abortion. After all, if our very health depends on the death of embryos, and we live in a culture that routinely destroys early human life in the laboratory, no grounds could exist for objecting to abortion."


Monday, November 19, 2007

Clarity from Archbishop Nienstedt

Archbishop John Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St.Paul was both applauded and criticized when he wrote an article last week that clearly stated Church teaching on homosexuality. His article was provoked by an attempted address by homosexualist activists in one of his parishes. Among other things, he said:

"Those who actively encourage or promote homosexual acts or such activity within a homosexual lifestyle formally cooperate in a grave evil and, if they do so knowingly and willingly, are guilty of mortal sin. They have broken communion with the church and are prohibited from receiving holy Communion until they have had a conversion of heart, expressed sorrow for their action and received sacramental absolution from a priest."

We can hear the cries of "homophobia" and "exclusion" already. But the Archbishop is applying the same standard that applies to any and all sinners. People with agendas accuse the Church of "excluding" same-sex attracted people, but the real exclusion comes when, out of political correctness, we ignore their sins. They are then being excluded from the experience that is universal among Catholics in all times and places: the struggle for conversion.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Adult Stem-Cell, etc. etc. etc.........

Great news just keep on coming. From MSNBC:

"WICHITA, Kansas, Nov. 16, 2007 - A Wichita doctor has found that adult stem cells can be harvested from a woman's menstrual fluid and developed into nine different types of human tissue...Dr. Meng of the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International made the discovery. His findings show the adult stem cells harvested from the fluid can be developed into tissues such as heart, lung, liver, bone, and others.

"If there is a part of the heart that is damaged, that is dead, you can inject some of the stem cell, which will repair the damaged part," Dr. Xialong Meng, researcher, said. "Then you have whole new heart again."

Remind us again why California voters spent $3billion+ for immoral human-life destroying embryonic stem-cell research that has yet to produce a single cure while adult stems-cells are curing people left and right.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Adult Stem-Cell Update

When California taxpayers were suckered into shelling out $3billion+ for Proposition 71, they were told it would place the state at the forefront of the "Stem-Cell Revolution." Well, apparently not.

This week Professor Ian Wilmut, who created Dolly the cloned sheep, shocked the scientific world by his decision to abandon cloning, and instead concentrate on new techniques where stem-cells are created from human skin cells. It should be noted that Professor Wilmot has no ethical objection to using embryonic stem-cells--he just thinks there are better ways to reach the goal.

The Guardian reports: "The news will come as a blow to scientists who believe that the use of embryos to create stem cells is the best way to develop treatments for serious medical conditions such as stroke, heart disease and Parkinson's disease.Unlike current stem cell research, the new method does not require the use of human embryos, which has caused controversy in the past decade. Full details of the new technique have not yet been unveiled but Wilmut described it as "extremely exciting and astonishing."

This is a big story, and has also been covered by the Telegraph, The Associated Press, and the BBC, among others.

Update: And the satirical site Scrappleface has fun with the story: Dolly Dad Dumps Cloning, Doesn't Discourage Democrats

“There’s no reason to give up on the search for miracles,” said Rep. Pelosi, “Now is the time to redouble our efforts to increase the value of human life by spurring a vibrant after-market for embryonic byproducts. America should lead the world in this growth industry.”

h/t "Regular Guy"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fr. Frank Pavone on "Faithful Citizenship"

Fr. Frank Pavone of "Priests for Life" comments on the Bishops' document on "Faithful Citizenship."

The full document can be found here.

Be Not Afraid!

Years ago, Fr. John Courtney Murray said we should not worry so much about anti-Christian books and movies and instead start promoting serious pro-Christian books and movies. And, thanks be to God, let's look at what our young people are producing!

We've had "The Passion of the Christ," we have "Bella" and now, from "Grassroots Films" the producers of the award winning "Fishers of Men," we have "The Human Experience."

Play the trailer below . . .

...then go to visit Thomas Peters at American Papist who has a fine long post on this subject.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cardinal O'Malley at the conference...

American Papist reports:

O'Malley uses "scandal" to describe Catholics voting for pro-choice politicians, while Lori suggests jumping through hoops

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, saying the Democratic Party has been persistently hostile to opponents of abortion rights, asserted yesterday that the support of many Catholics for Democratic candidates "borders on scandal."

Good Bishops are...

. . . popping up everywhere!

(Joseph) Kurtz, who was installed as the Archdiocese of Louisville's leader in August, stood and knelt while facing the EMW Women's Surgical Center at Second and Market streets for nearly 1½ hours. He spoke only when he gave a blessing that ended the gathering.

"There was a great sense, I believe, of civility and yet the courage to speak out on the convictions on behalf of the sanctity of life," Kurtz said afterward.

Read the whole thing.

h/t Quintero at LA Catholic

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More from the Conference...

Salvation? Souls? Now you're talking!

From Amy Wellborn:

"I have work to do, so I shouldn’t have really clicked on EWTN’s live feed of the USCCB. Because I did, and instead of the boring stuff I expected to hear, I catch Bishop Aquila of Fargo exhorting the body, in the discussion on the Faithful Citizenship document to replace language referring to “spiritual well-being” with “salvation”. Why? He says simply because it is the language of the Church and when one chooses intrinsic evil, such a choice does impact the state of one’s soul."

Archbishop Chaput Gets Down to it (II)

John Allen: What do you think it (a ‘proportionate reason’ [to vote for a pro-choice candidate]? ) means?

Archbishop Chaput: As you know, I have written a book [on faith and politics], and in it I write that it means a reason we could confidently explain to the Lord Jesus and the victims of abortion when we meet them at the end of our lives, and we will meet them.

The entire interview can be read here.

h/t Curt Jester.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blessed Ceferino, Pray for Us

Last Sunday the Pope, after leading the midday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, greeted the pilgrims from Argentina and the Salesians present at the audience. He spoke of the beatification ceremony of Ceferino Namuncura’ which was to take place a short time later in Argentina by the Pope's secretary of state, Salesian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Blessed Ceferino (1886-1905) was a student of the Salesian Society in Argentina, and a Mapuche. The Mapuche are the indigenous inhabitants of southern and central Chile and southern Argentina. His father was chief of the tribe.

Benedict XVI said: "We give thanks to the Lord for the extraordinary testimony of this young 19-year-old student, who, inspired by his devotion for the Eucharist and love for Christ, wanted to be a Salesian and a priest to show his fellow Mapuche the path to heaven."

"It is the first time that a beatification is done, not in a great city, but in a small village, though it is great for this crowd of Ceferino's friends," Cardinal Bertone said in the homily. This ceremony "means remembering and appreciating the deepest and oldest traditions of the Mapuche people, brave and indomitable…let it help us to discover the fruitfulness of the Gospel that never destroys authentic values found in a culture, but rather assumes them, purifying and perfecting them."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Shepherd's Voice, Indeed.

If you look at the "Always Worth a Visit" links on the right of this blog, you will see the name of His Excellency Raymond Burke, Archbishop of St. Louis.

Here's another example of the good Archbishop shepherding his flock.

Uncle Di says "Archbishop Burke makes it clear that he cannot fail to speak out, because his silence would be dereliction of his duty as spiritual leader."

It's really that simple.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

True Religion

Here are some notes from the writing of Card Ratzinger and Benedict XVI:

If a religion teaches a way of life that is not righteous, it cannot be a true religion. Only when man has lost sight of the ability to know what is good and what is true, then all offers of salvation become the same. If we do not have any standards of right living, then all religions are the same.

If the standards for right living are relativized, man remains trapped inside religions. Again, this demonstrates that religious relativism is founded on philosophical relativism. Cardinal Ratzinger points out that St. Paul (Romans 2:14ff) does not say that non-Christians will be saved by following their religion, but by following natural religion.

We have to always bear in mind that also the reverse influence is true as well: Religious pluralism in turn produces philosophical relativism. In fact, Benedict XVI reminded us that "The convergence of differences must not convey an impression of surrendering to that relativism which denies the meaning of truth itself and the possibility of attaining it."

If it is possible to criticize religions starting from the reasons of man, then it must also be possible to criticize them starting from the reasons of man in society, that is from a public religion. Then it becomes clear that not all religions are equally respectful of the good of man in society. It is also clear that the political power that seeks to organize society according to reason not only cannot relate to all religions in the same way, but should also cherish its obligations to the true religion. Of course, if the political power is based on the relativistic democracy, it will not feel any obligation in this regard.

Relativism, in fact, can only express a procedural public reason. When the truth is replaced by the decision of the majority, culture is set against truth. The relativistic presumption leads to the tearing up of people's spiritual roots and the destruction of the network of social relationships

Friday, November 9, 2007

Are We Ready?

Here are some of the things that Karl Keating (Catholic Answers) has to say about our coming attractions:

If ever there were a time when America needed our now-famous Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics . . . that time is now.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that the 2008 elections could determine the moral fate of our entire nation. Think about it: The fight for the U.S. Supreme Court—and the fate of Roe v. Wade—is up for grabs. That is, whoever gets to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice will also be deciding whether or not the Court overturns that shameful case which has resulted in the murder of 45 million children.

Right now, the Court is split right down the middle, and the next president will pick the justice that decides whether Roe remains the law of the land. What’s more, the homosexual “marriage” movement is charging full speed ahead, with more and more states ready to legalize this abomination.

The embryonic stem cell research industry is also moving boldly ahead—despite the fact that adult stem cells are much more beneficial than the fashionable (and still unproven) embryonic stem cell therapies. Likewise, the human cloning crowd is making rapid advances by using deceptive terminology to get human cloning legalized . . . as well as funded by your tax dollars.

Don’t think the euthanasia movement has disappeared, either. If its proponents get their way, thousands of elderly, disabled, and hospitalized citizens in this country could be put to death. Compassionately, of course.

Key Moral Issues for Catholics
“Five non-negotiables” . . . • Abortion • Euthanasia • Embryonic Stem Cell Research • Human Cloning • Homosexual “Marriage”

These are the most critical moral issues of our time. They represent everything that’s wrong in America (and the world) today—because they’re the key tenets of the “culture of death” versus the “Gospel of Life.”

If we lose on these issues, we lose everything. The problem is, they’re all being decided right now in the political arena—by people who have no clue what they’re voting on or how their vote will affect the future of our country.

That’s particularly true for the average Catholic in the United States. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Catholics are the most wrong-headed voters in America.” They typically vote for candidates who oppose Catholic teaching on the five non-negotiables. Often it’s because those candidates belong to a particular party that Catholics vote for out of habit. Or, more and more, the candidates themselves are Catholic—but their voting records and their political stances fly in the face of Catholic moral teaching.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Fr. Euteneuer gets it...

We've probably all heard of the showboating proclamation by Fr. Tom Brennan, SJ, on November 4. Fr. Brennan used the occasion of Mass to "come out" to his parishioners about his homosexuality. In response, Fr. Tom Euteneuer penned this open letter. Some excerpts are below, but be sure to read the whole thing.

"Dear Father Brennan,

Faithful Catholics are so accustomed to being scandalized by Jesuit priests and universities these days that your public announcement of your same sex attraction during the Mass last Sunday does not really surprise any of us....

First of all, Holy Mass is not a forum for your self-expression. You chose the sacred liturgy and the pulpit, reserved for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the launching pad for your personal testament to homosexuality, when by your own admission this was hardly a secret to anyone....

When even a celibate priest chooses to go public about his homosexual identity as an expression of "diversity" or "pride," the faithful are rightfully confused and scandalized. Not only do you owe them an apology, you owe them a better example of priesthood. They deserve a priest who is clear about the Church's teaching on homosexual acts and who teaches it unambiguously. They need a priest who personally witnesses the same teaching without feeling the need to make statements about himself or inserting ideology into the Gospel. If you do not clearly witness the Church's teaching about your own vocation, how can you teach others to be faithful to theirs?"

Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us, pray for your sons!

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

On the Other Hand....

New Jersey VOTERS showed some sense. They decisively turned down "Public Question 2" which would have allocated $450 million in taxpayer dollars for unproven and immoral embryonic stem-cell research, which has yet to show a single cure, while adult & cord-blood stem cells have already treated 73 serious medical conditions. Ring a bell, California voters?

Congratulations to "New Jersey Right to Life" for this victory, which was won despite the fact that Governor Jon Corzine poured $200,000 of his own money toward supporting the bond issue. (By the way, don't buy into the argument it was all about money. The voters did approve $200 million in bonds for "open space.")

Not a Simple Pill reports: the state of New Jersey has enacted a law requiring pharmacists to dispense abortifacient pills, even if doing so violates their consciences.

Father Thomas Euteneuer, the president of Human Life International, countered: "When a state rejects the protection of individual consciences, that state loses its soul."

Meantime the San Jose Mercury-News has advised its slightly more than 230,000 daily subscribers to ignore the Holy Father’s recent exhortation that pharmacists be allowed to follow their consciences when it comes to dispensing drugs that induce abortion or are used for euthanasia.

Sad so say: The sponsor of the New Jersey Bill, Senator Joseph Vitale, did not know, or did not care to relate. what research is showing: “the morning-after- pill puts women at risk of cardiac arrest, internal bleeding and other dangers to life.

Not only is the fetus being murdered, the woman herself is in grave danger. Russian roulette seems to be a close companion of RU486.

Abortion kills. The pill can kill the mother, too.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Adult/Cord Blood Stem-Cell Update

Stem cells used for severe skin disease

The UPI reports: "MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. medical researchers have performed the first systemic therapy to treat a severe genetic skin disease. (A systemic therapy is one that treats the entire body, not a localized area)

"University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital physicians reported performing the first bone marrow and cord blood transplant to treat recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, or RDEB."

The patient suffering from this disease is an 18 month old boy. The article describes RDEB:

"Children with the disease lack a protein that anchors skin to the body, resulting in fragile skin that sloughs off with little movement or friction. The 18-month-old boy who was transplanted has the most severe form of RDEB, which also causes skin to slough off on the inside of the body and is nearly always fatal."

Researchers from the University of Minnesoata and Columbia University have already corrected this disease in a mouse, using bone marrow.

"They then determined which human adult stem cells would give rise to the development of type VII collagen -- the protein RDEB victims lack.The boy received both umbilical cord blood and bone marrow from a perfectly matched sibling. Doctors anticipate being able to judge whether the treatment was successful by early next year."

Pray God the treatment works! and God bless our wonderful doctors/scientists who are doing so much in an ethically and morally sound way.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fishers of Men....Wow!!

Some of you may have already seen the fantastic 18-minute video called "Fishers of Men," that is part of a vocations effort by the USCCB.

I hadn't seen it until today. It practically brought me to tears.

Go here for some information about the video.

H/T Ironic Catholic

Posted by Gibbons

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Archbishop Chaput Gets Down to it...

...and challenges us to do the same.

The following are excerpts from his October 26 address at St. John's University Law School in New York City.

"People often say we're living at a "post-Christian" moment. That's supposed to describe the fact that Western nations have abandoned or greatly downplayed their Christian heritage in recent decades. But our "post-Christian" moment actually looks a lot like the pre-Christian moment. The signs of our times in the developed nations -- morally, intellectually, spiritually and even demographically -- are uncomfortably similar to the signs in the world at the time of the Incarnation....

(Baylor University scholar Rodney) Stark shows that one of the key areas in which Christians rejected the culture around them was marriage and the family. From the start, to be a Christian meant believing that sex and marriage were sacred. From the start, to be a Christian meant rejecting abortion, infanticide, birth control, divorce, homosexual activity and marital infidelity -- all those things widely practiced by their Roman neighbors...

The early Church had no debates over politicians and communion. There wasn't any need. No persons who tolerated or promoted abortion would have dared to approach the Eucharistic table, let alone dared to call themselves true Christians. "

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ethical Blind Spots

Here is an article which will make you realize how easily we can be fooled by the "authorities" in our lives. It was written by Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, published in the Arlington Catholic Herald, and the Catholic Educators Resource Center, forwarded to me by a dear friend.

When I traveled to Auschwitz a few years ago, one question played over and over in my mind: did they know?

Did the German people know what was happening in this camp near their own border, in their own occupied territories? With the trains coming and going year after year, with the long lines of prisoners and the billowing smokestacks, did they just turn a blind eye to the atrocities? Had they become desensitized to the point that they could no longer see the carefully choreographed death operations nearby?

Some concentration camps, like the one in Dachau, were set in comfortable suburbs right inside Germany itself and the townsfolk could stroll past them during their daily routine. The grass in those suburbs continued to grow as green as anywhere else, young people got married, babies were born, men went to work and life went on.

Walking through a place like Dachau or Auschwitz, one wonders: could it ever happen again? Could a similar scenario play out today in middle-class America? Most would instinctively say "no" — after all, we live in a more enlightened time and culture. A more perceptive eye, however, can discern troubling parallels. Nowhere are these parallels more evident than in the bioethical issues of our day. Our society, in fact, faces virtually the same temptation that Germany did: the temptation to normalize certain well-scripted death operations in the midst of polite society.

If we look within our own culture and within our own time, we will see that suction machines have replaced smokestacks, and that fertility clinics and women's health centers have replaced the barbed wire. Unborn humans and embryonic children are now dispatched with the same desensitized ease as camp inhabitants once were, and never a word is mentioned in respectable society. Our great universities, which need to serve as a moral voice, remain mute or even foster such evil, as does the press, and few dare mention the pall of death that quietly permeates the air.

We need look no further than the Planned Parenthood clinics which are dotted across our country. Future generations are likely to be appalled by the statistics: nearly 2 million deaths per year. They are sure to wonder about a people that ended the lives of their own children at the rate of 1 every 23 seconds through elective abortion. They are sure to ask, "how could they?" and, "did they know?"We need look no further than the fertility clinics present in every major American city. Future generations are sure to be scandalized by the numbers: in vitro fertilization making hundreds of thousands of embryonic humans, to be chilled in liquid nitrogen and turned into, in the words of one commentator, "kidsicles." They are sure to deplore the many other human embryos treated as objects, discarded as medical waste, poured down the sink or experimented upon and strip-mined for their embryonic stem cells.

There is a certain banality about evil. It doesn't necessarily present itself in a monstrous or dramatic way. It can take the shape of simple conformity to what everyone else is doing, to what the leadership says is right, to what the neighbors are doing. The gradual encroachment of evil in our lives can be something we might not even notice because we are not paying attention; it can be something barely on the periphery of our consciousness.

The majority of those who collaborated with some of history's most terrible crimes and falsehoods need not be cast as inhuman monsters; instead, they were often like us. They were capable of giving and receiving sympathy and love; they could have beautiful feelings and noble ideals; heroism, loyalty, family and culture could all co-exist with almost unbelievable evil.During the Nazi years, there often were no momentous decisions to be made for or against evil. People were concerned with their daily affairs, and on that level, Nazism seemed good: it seemed to bring prosperity, it made things work, it allowed people to feel good about themselves and their country.

The moral issues — the ones that we now see as having been central — were carefully avoided.When the full horror of Nazism was revealed at the end of the war, the German people responded, "we didn't know." When a local townsperson was asked whether he knew what was going on in the camp, he gave a more complete answer. "Yes, we knew something was up, but we didn't talk about it, we didn't want to know too much."

Primo Levi, a writer and a survivor of Auschwitz, described the German ethical blind spot this way:"In spite of the varied possibilities for information, most Germans didn't know because they didn't want to know. Because, indeed they wanted not to know. … Those who knew did not talk; those who did not know did not ask questions; those who did ask questions received no answers. In this way the typical German citizen won and defended his ignorance, which seemed to him sufficient justification of his adherence to Nazism. Shutting his mouth, his eyes and his ears, he built for himself the illusion of not knowing, hence not being an accomplice to the things taking place in front of his door."

Martin Luther King Jr. used to say that what pained him the most was the silence of the good. Albert Einstein, who fled Germany when Hitler came to power, articulated the same sentiment in an interview for Time magazine on Dec. 23, 1940. He stressed that sometimes it was only the Church and religion that could challenge the status quo as evil made inroads into a society:"Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany I looked for the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom. But they, like the universities were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I had never any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom."

The courageous, even daring question we must ask is, "what is our own response to the evil around us?"

Fr. Pacholczyk earned his doctorate in neuroscience from Yale and did post-doctoral work at Harvard. He is a priest of the diocese of Fall River, Mass., and serves as the director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Saints

This week marked the beatification of 498 Spanish martyrs, victims of religious persecution in the 1930s. It “is a testament of their virtue and faith, not a political statement,” said Father Juan Antonio Martínez Camino, secretary-general of the Spanish bishops' conference and director of the conference's office for saints' causes.

Of the newly beatified, 63 were members of the Salesian Society. The Salesian Superior General, Fr. Pascual Chavez, remarked with “profound gratitude to God and fraternal joy, we celebrate the beatification, so long desired, of the martyrs from the former Spanish provinces of Betica and Celtica. Their colleagues from the Tarragona province were beatified six years ago. They remind us that faithfulness to God can require a supreme act of love, to give up one’s life for one’s friend, and assures us that even in this trial God is faithful to those who love him to the end.”

On Monday, October 29, in St. Peter’s Basilica, there was a Mass of Thanksgiving.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, secretary of state, presided at the Mass, along with numerous Spanish bishops, and priests and superiors from the orders and congregations of the new blesseds.

Cardinal Bertone recalled the message given by the martyrs: “Through their own example,” he said, “they left us a will and testament that at times we are afraid to open. But if we are attentive, their lives speak to us of faith, of strength, of generous courage, of burning love, in the face of a culture that is trying to isolate or diminish the moral and human.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"I'm living saved my life."

Great column by Paul Long of the Michigan Catholic Conference on Adult Stem-Cell Treatments today.

Quote: "Carron Marrow, a 58-year-old mother of two from Alabama, who, after receiving adult stem cell treatments following a heart attack, stated: "I don't understand why we have this huge political mess going on about stem cells. I'm living proof that adult stem cells work far better than embryonic. I'm here to say: 'It saved my life.' "

And for a list of conditions treated by adult/cord blood stem cell vs. a those treated by embryonic stem cell "progress" go here.

Remind us again why California taxpayers shelled out $3billion+ for immoral unethical embryo destroying research that has yet to show a single cure, while adult & cord blood stem cells are curing people left and right?

Pro-Life Film Festival in SF

The Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Oakland and Ignatius Press, is inaugurating it's First Annual "Cinema Vita Film Festival."

The first Cinema Vita Festival will take place March 7, 2008. Submissions are currently being sought.

For submission guidelines and other information about the festival, go here.

That's Tolerance

Here are some excerpts from an article (Imposing Tolerance) by Fr. John Flynn, L.C. quoted in Monday’s edition of

State laws on homosexuality are increasingly creating conflicts for Christians who wish to follow their conscience. In recent days, news came from England of a Christian couple who face being forced to give up their role as foster parents because they were not prepared to promote homosexuality…

An article published the same day by the Daily Mail newspaper added that the new laws are part of the Equality Act 2006, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal. The change comes at a time when the Daily Mail said there is a critical shortage of foster parents, with an additional 8,000 needed….

The Daily Mail also warned that the new law will have widespread consequences. For example, a Christian printer will not be able to refuse producing material promoting homosexuality, and churches will not be allowed to refuse to rent out conference centers or parish halls to homosexual groups …

Then there was the case earlier this year in New Zealand, where a homosexual Iranian won asylum while another Iranian, a Christian, was denied the same status. According to a Feb. 9 report by the New Zealand Herald, the Refugee Status Appeals Authority allowed Ahmad Tahooni to stay, even though in his original appeal he had claimed asylum on political and not sexual grounds….Meanwhile, Thomas Yadegary, also Iranian, converted to Catholicism after arriving in New Zealand in 1994. He was arrested in November 2004 and his application for refugee status was rejected. Yadegary argued that Muslims who convert to Christianity face a potential death penalty in Iran…

That’s tolerance??

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Most Holy Redeemer: Good News!

It's often said that light is the best disinfectant.

That certainly seems to be true with the firestorm ignited by Archbishop Niederauer's inadvertantly giving communion to the two "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" at MHR on October 7.

Reading my "Catholic San Francisco" newspaper this week, I couldn't avoid noticing how many "Letters to the Editor" (unsurprisingly, almost the entire letters section was given over to this subject) faulted those who publicized the sacrilege, instead of those who committed and abetted it.

But the now-famous video has already apparently had one excellent result: the s/m motorcycle club, the "Golden Gate Guards," have abruptly moved their scheduled November 17 Anniversary Party from Most Holy Redeemer to another location. Since every one of the "Golden Gate Guards" Anniversary Parties dating back to December 1, 2001 have been held at Most Holy Redeemer, and the "Golden Gate Guards" events calendar was changed on October 12, right after that video hit the web, a little cause and effect seems to be in operation.

Go to for links to a website (be sure to visit the site's entry page prior to clicking on the links) that hosts photos of some of the Golden Gate Guards Anniversary Parties held at MHR, and tell me it's not a good thing that such an event is no longer being held in a Catholic parish!

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Free Speech

The American Center for Law and Justice sent me this notice, which should be known to all who treasure freedom of speech in the USA:

AmericansLiberals on Capitol Hill are getting nervous. They're desperately trying to silence the voice of their opposition.In fact, they'd like to replace freedom of speech with just that:SILENCE. And you and I are not only witnesses to their desperation ... we could be victims of it as well.

As we move into this critical year leading up to the national elections, the liberal faction of Congress is looking for any way possible to stifle the opposition and suppress opposing views.

Their answer? The so-called ''Fairness Doctrine.''

Our response? The Broadcaster Freedom Act.

Trying to reinstate the ''Fairness Doctrine'' (a regulatory policy which mandates that broadcasters provide equal coverage of controversial topics) is a slap in the face of our constitutional right to guaranteed free speech. It would stifle religious and conservative programming and force the liberal agenda back into the marketplace. But even more outrageous is the current attack brought by some in leadership in the House of Representatives - led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. House Speaker

Nancy Pelosi, along with other liberals, refuses to even bring the Broadcaster Freedom Act, a very deserving bill, to the floor for a vote. It's is an offensive show of power ... an attempt to strong arm left-wing liberalism into the laws of our land. The Broadcaster Freedom Act is an important piece of legislation that the ACLJ fully supports. It would strike down the Fairness Doctrine - and prohibit the FCC or any future President from attempts to resurrect it.

But Congressmen Mike Pence and Greg Walden aren't about to let these political games threaten your constitutional rights. They have instituted a procedure in the House known as a ''Discharge Petition.'' If they can get 218 member signatures on it, the leadership will be forced to schedule the bill for a floor vote. We must send a strong and united message to Speaker Pelosi and House liberals: As citizens of the United States of America, we fully expect our elected leaders to uphold and protect free speech. Do not allow a liberal faction of Congress to dangerously promote their agenda - unopposed.

Add your voice to this critical campaign and stand with the ACLJ in support of the Broadcaster Freedom Act ... and YOUR right to free speech!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Problem is not the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence...'s Most Holy Redeemer Parish, and the failure to exercise rightful authority by the successive Bishops of San Francisco. By now we have all seen the video of Archbishop Niederauer giving communion to the two SPI's on October 7.

But the latest revelation from is in some ways even more shocking. The Church was hosting meetings of "leather (read S/M)" motorcycle clubs for over six years, and a photographer who chronicles such things was there taking photos. Remember, the things you see are taking place on church property.

The SPI's attending Mass could have been shrugged off as a one-time event (though obviously it wasn't) where everybody was caught by surprise, even though some parishioners are obviously familiar with and welcoming to, the SPI's. But these latest pictures show what was considered to be completely acceptable behavior taking place on Church property over at least the past six years. What the hell is our Archdiocese going to do about this?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Safety Zones

Tonight the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee will discuss a plan to establish “medical safety zones at abortion clinics.” The plan is to put an eight foot “safety bubble” around those coming to seek abortions.

Perish the thought that anyone would get close enough to someone seeking an abortion in order to save them from murdering the infant in their womb!

It’s being called an unnecessary intrusion in freedom of speech by ant abortion activists who seek to hand out literature. Those coming to the clinic are often ignorant of the total implications of what they are planning to do and have been dissuaded by the literature given them.

One escort at several Oakland clinics has said that the ordinance is “essential to women who are scared away from getting access to reproductive health care…This is a public safety issue. It provides a respect zone.”

Public safety? Not for the safety of the baby in the womb!
Respect zone? Where’s the respect for the baby in the womb!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Save the Children

There is an enlightening article by Paul Kengor on the Clintons and their abortion advocacy. His book God and Hillary Clinton, is published by HarperCollins.
The Clinton's God - National Catholic Resister:

“Hilary “scores a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee. While, like Bill, she is willing to compromise on numerous political issues, she will not budge on abortion. It is neither uncharitable nor inaccurate — nor name calling — to say that on the subject of abortion Hillary Clinton is fanatical.

“There is no issue that impassions her more. She has not changed her position on any meaningful life issue, from federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research to banning partial-birth abortions to supporting funding for ultrasound machines to backing legislation to protect babies injured in the womb by outside parties.

“But here is maybe the saddest part of her intransigence: As a lifelong committed Methodist, Hillary sees no contradiction in supporting abortion. Quite the contrary, she points to her church’s leadership as a source of guidance. …

“No president did as much to advance legalized abortion as Bill Clinton, who is now poised to be exceeded in that capacity only by his spouse, who has an exceedingly good chance of becoming our next president, and no doubt will be the Democratic Party’s nominee for 2008.”

"The Culmination of Years of Dissent"

More on Most Holy Redeemer and the Archbishop:

Diogenes offers a thought experiment.

And at Spero News Joni Durling makes the same points we've been making here, and here.

"This is not some new problem that suddenly appeared on October 6 (sic), 2007. This is the culmination of years of dissent in the parish of Most Holy Redeemer.
Archbishop Niederauer has missed the golden opportunity to educate
the laity of his diocese regarding the teachings of the Church on homosexuality."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stem-Cell Update!

A while back, Fr. Malloy posted to a Zenit story about the Michigan Catholic Conference's very impressive new statewide stem-cell educational program.

Now the Conference's package is online. It is a fantastic resource that addresses basic questions such as "What is a stem-cell?" and also the differences between adult/cord-blood stem-cells and embryonic stem cells. It lists the various conditions treated by adult/cord blood stem-cells (lots) vs. those conditions treated by embryonic stem-cells (zero). Theres is also video and an excellent brochure clearly outling church teaching on the subject. And for those who want to pursue the subject more deeply, there is a 16 page guide to peer-reviewed literature on the subject.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

MHR: Outrage is not "Overblown", it's Overdue.

Given what goes on regularly at Most Holy Redeemer parish, one can understand Fr. Steven Meriwether's complaint that the outrage over Archbishop Niederauer giving communion to the two SPI's as "overblown."

After all, as has reported: Just a week before the Archbishop's visit, the parish had hosted a drag queen beauty pageant, with no objection from the Archdiocese.

And on June 24, MHR made its annual appearance at the Gay Pride parade, with no objection from the Archdiocese.

And on April 29, MHR hosted a "Gay Service" broadcast worldwide on the BBC, with no objection from the Archdiocese.

And on February 17, MHR hosted "Awards Night" for the "Inter-Club Fund" a leather (read S/M) motorcycle club, who are big fans of that foretaste of hell, the Folsom Street Fair, with no objection from the Archdiocese.

And on Jaunary 27, the members of the MHR Young Adult Group were presented as debutantes at the "SF Transgender Cotillion" with no objection from the Archdiocese.

And this was just in 2007!

Yes, given the tolerance of these activities, it's no wonder Fr. Meriwther is surprised that a little thing like giving the Holy Eucharistic to church-mocking transvestites might be considered out-of-bounds. Apparently, nobody ever told him there were any bounds.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Thursday, October 18, 2007

When all else fails, blame the messenger....

seems to be the latest take from our Archdiocese on the Archbishop Niederauer/ Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence/ Most Holy Redeemer event.

One question: the Archbishop celebrates Mass every Sunday at the Cathedral. If the SPI's "wanted an opportunity to welcome the Archbishop to San Francisco" as they claim, why did they wait 18 months until the day he celebrated Mass at Most Holy Redeemer?


Diogenes & American Papist weigh in.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

See, We Told You So.....

Not 48 hours ago we mentioned the relationship between Most Holy Redeemer Church and the University of San Francisco, specifically the appointment of Fr. Donal Godfrey, SJ, (who wrote an approving book about MHR: see here and here) to the position of Executive Director of Campus Ministry at USF.

As if on cue, the Jesuits chime in on the scandal of Archbishop Niederauer's giving communion to two members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. From this morning's San Francisco Chronicle:

"The general sacramental principle is that you don't deny the sacrament to someone who requests it," said the Rev. Jim Bretzke, professor of moral theology at University of San Francisco, a Jesuit Catholic university....."Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense."

Fr. Bretzke is the co-chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at USF. He's also on the Advisory Board of the Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought, who sponsored the "Queer Perspectives" seminar last February at Most Holy Redeemer.

"Over-accessorizing and poor taste in makeup is not an excommunicable offense." If I were a Catholic parent spending $25K per year to send my Catholic son or daughter to an ostensibly Catholic University, I'd expect this issue to be taken a little more seriously.

Update: Lifesite News & Curt Jester are on the case.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Calfornia & Sex-Ed

The California Catholic Daily, an on-line publication, has this revealing article on the consequences of our sex-ed public school policy :

How does Planned Parenthood explain this?
Rate of sexually-transmitted diseases soars among young Californians

A study published last month in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion reports that in 2005 there were 1.1 million new cases of sexually-transmitted infections among young people in California. The 1.1 million figure is ten times higher than previously believed, and it means that in the 15-24 age group, diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV and HIV now infect almost one out of every four young Californians. Is this because of a lack of sex-ed in the public schools? Apparently not. According to Chris Weinkopf, editorial-page editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, the California Department of Education reports that "96 percent of California school districts provide comprehensive sexual health education" and all California schools have been required to teach HIV/AIDS prevention education since 1992. Can we blame the abstinence-only programs promoted by the Bush administration? Not in California.

Weinkopf notes that state law prohibits 'abstinence-only' education in the public schools. In addition, California may be the only state in the country that has refused to accept millions of federal dollars for abstinence education. "This [soaring rate of sexually-transmitted infections] is no surprise," said Linda Klepacki, sexual health analyst for Focus on the Family Action in an online press release. "California has insisted on teaching contraceptive-based sex education in their schools all along. They expect teens to be sexually active. They don’t raise the health standard to abstinence…

It's clear California supports sexually active teens, and STI rates will naturally explode with these policies." Another factor in the out-of-control disease rates among California children and young adults may be the introduction of the “morning-after” pill. According to testimony offered to the FDA in 2004, sexually-transmitted infections soared in the British Isles when “Plan B” (the morning-after pill) was made available without prescription in 2000. Ignoring the warning signals from the UK, California subsequently became one of the first states to permit the sale of Plan B over-the-counter without an age limit. (Compiled testimony of Wendy Wright, Carole Denner, and Jill Stanek, "The Morning-After Pill: An Ill Wind This Way Blows.")

The new study on sexually-transmitted infections among young people in California was completed by the Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development at the Public Health Institute in Oakland. Study author Dr. Petra Jerman told Medical News Today that the statistics revealed an epidemic of which, like an iceberg, only a small part is visible. The authors acknowledged that their figures are underestimated because of incomplete screening of sexually active young people, and failure to confirm the effectiveness of treatment through follow-up testing. Ed Thomas of added another dimension to this distressing picture by reporting that a striking increase in suicide rates among people ages 10 to 24 has been confirmed by recently released statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control .

At the same time, says Thomas, UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Miriam Grossman is convinced that promiscuity is the root cause of much depression. Dr. Grossman argues that the promiscuity-depression-suicide link is being ignored by doctors who fail to caution students against the documented self-destructive dangers rampant in the university’s sexual “hook-up” culture.

Monday, October 15, 2007

They're Not Sorry....Part II

...because they don't think they've done anything wrong. That's why Most Holy Redeemer in San Francisco was willing to give space in their October 14 bulletin to a "Sister of Perpetual Indulgence" thanking the parish for the lovely welcome back on October 7, despite the nationwide scandal caused by Archbishop Niederauer giving Communion to two members of the SPI. As we argued back on August 27, 2007, in the post "MHR and How it Got That way" , where we reviewed of Fr. Donal Godfrey's history of Most Holy Redeemer:

"Relentlessly and beyond doubt, (Fr. Godfrey's book "Gays and Grays") shows that the authentic community-forming experience at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco is not Catholicism, but homosexuality. Existentially, Most Holy Redeemer is not a Catholic parish. It is not a Christian parish. It is a gay parish."


"...such events (i.e., the Archbishop giving Communion to the SPI) will not be experienced by the parishioners as blasphemous, because they validate the community-forming experience."

and, we argued:

"The fault lies squarely with the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which, as detailed in Fr. Godfrey’s book, allowed a Catholic parish to turn into an heretical spiritual institution."

It's important to note that Fr. Godfrey's book views the corruption of MHR with a mostly approving eye. He is, of course, the same priest, who celebrated the "gay service" at MHR earlier this year. It is equally important to note that, with full knowledge of Fr. Godfrey's background, on August 1, 2007 he was appointed the Executive Director of Campus Ministry at the University of San Francisco. has more on the USF/MHR connection.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

How Tolerant and Compassionate Was Jesus?

Tolerance is a word that has bugged me for a long time and I have written and preached about it often. I received this article from a good friend and it expresses my opinion (and the Church’s) beautifully:

Are You Compassionate? By Abbot Joseph

(Abbot Joseph, a monk for 22 years, has for the past five years been the Abbot of Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Redwood Valley, California, a Byzantine-rite monastery in the Ukrainian Catholic Church.)

I have nothing but compassion for people who misuse the term "compassion." This does not mean that I tolerate such misuse in the least, as you will see. One of the most beautiful divine qualities, in which we are invited to share -- "Be compassionate as my Father is compassionate" (Lk. 6:36) -- is all too often twisted into something that is tantamount to offering people a license to sin. "Compassion," in modern parlance, means something like universal tolerance with a dose of sentimentality, which turns a blind eye to evil. In the Byzantine tradition, Christ is often called "The Lover of Mankind" and "The Compassionate One." But He is never referred to as "The Tolerant One," and with good reason.

There are different ways to express compassion, based on the need of those to whom we show mercy. To show compassion to the hungry is to give them food; to show compassion to the homeless and unemployed is to help them find housing and work. If you wish to be compassionate to the sick or elderly, comfort and assist them. But if you want to be like Jesus in showing compassion to sinners, invite them to repent.

Christ came into the world to save sinners. He didn't come to make sinners feel good about themselves or to instruct us on how to blur the distinction between good and evil, based on current trends or personal preference. Some people attempt to justify their (or society's) wrongdoing by saying, for example, that Jesus refused to condemn the woman caught in adultery and that He spent much of His time eating and drinking with sinners. They don't seem to be willing or able to understand why He did that.

Jesus' words to the adulterous woman, "Neither do I condemn you" (Jn. 8:11), are filled with forgiveness, not tolerance. She knew her own sin, and He knew that she did, whereas the would-be stone-throwers weren't reflecting upon theirs. So Jesus had to deal with them first. But after He forgave the woman, notice that Jesus did not say, "Go, follow your feelings, celebrate diversity, and try not to hurt anyone." He said, "Go, and sin no more." To the paralytic, He added a further warning: "Sin no more, lest something worse befall you" (Jn. 5:14). Compassion does not equal tolerance, especially where sin is concerned. If compassion, like genuine love, is not rooted in truth, it is at best misguided emotion and at worst a refusal to enlighten a soul in danger of damnation.

As for being found in the company of sinners, Jesus also gave His reason for that: Sick people need a physician. He ate with sinners, not to approve their lifestyle, but to call them to repentance (Lk. 5:29-32). Jesus knew, and the Church has always known -- until relatively recently, it seems -- that the salvation of souls is the most urgent and essential task that can be undertaken on earth. Therefore, compassion is expressed most perfectly by whatever one does for the eternal benefit of others. The most genuine love is concern for their salvation. Does it occur to anyone that Jesus was being compassionate to the money-changers by casting them out of the temple, or to the Pharisees by His fiery denunciations of their hypocrisy? Everything He said or did was an expression of divine love and compassion, with the goal of leading people to everlasting life in Heaven. If people are unaware that their behavior is sinful, we must make them aware of it -- not to hurt, but to heal; not to condemn, but to save.

Sometimes compassion is equated with a sort of nebulous, ineffectual "kindness," one that ends up refusing to let someone know that his soul is in danger. God's kindness is different: "Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4). We are not being compassionate if we allow friends or loved ones to walk the broad path to perdition simply because we are too "kind" to upset them by attempting to awaken their consciences. Today's "kind and compassionate" people say that God loves us as we are, but I once heard a wise and necessary addition to that statement: "but He loves us too much to let us stay the way we are."

A number of years ago, a man who was a caregiver for AIDS patients (he was affiliated with a religious order) visited our monastery. In the course of our conversation I innocently asked him -- not realizing at the time how inflammatory a question this was -- if he encouraged the patients to reconcile with God before they died. His face acquired a horrified expression and he exclaimed: "Oh, no! We believe in a nonjudgmental God!" Is it compassionate to deny a sinner a last chance to repent? Is it compassionate thereby to consign him to Hell, with the kindly look on your face the last thing he sees? That is the devil's "compassion," not the Lord's.

The Lord's compassion, however, goes beyond calling sinners to repentance. We have to be careful not to fall into pharisaical self-righteousness by limiting our relationship with public sinners to a perfunctory, even haughty: "You need to repent!" To be compassionate is to be at the service of others' repentance. Jesus went to the Cross to prove the genuineness of His love for sinners and desire for our salvation. "By this we know love, that He laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 Jn. 3:16). This does not mean that we literally have to die for sinners -- the only One who could effectively do that has done it -- but it does mean that we have to pray fervently and make sacrifices for others, to speak the truth in love, making whatever practical efforts we can to contribute to the Church's work of saving souls, that is, of leading souls to the Savior. To paraphrase the Apostle John, let us not be compassionate only in word, but in deed and in truth.

In clerical circles, there's another similarly abused word: "pastoral." It seems that almost any manifest disregard for Church teachings is practiced for "pastoral" reasons. This usually includes tolerance of abortion, homosexual behavior, artificial contraception, or invalid marriages. How is it pastoral for a shepherd to encourage his sheep to walk into the mouth of the wolf? How are we being sensitive and caring by numbing consciences that will be rudely awakened -- all too late -- on Judgment Day? What kind of physician of souls will offer a temporary palliative when the cure is available? Come on, doc, don't spare us the pain of the needle if the medicine is going to save our lives!

To speak the truth and to call sinners to repentance does not mean, however, to be hard-hearted, unfeeling, or unmoved by the real suffering and struggles of those who are in some kind of moral dilemma or state of sin. To be compassionate is also to listen, to "suffer with," and to carry them in loving prayer to God. But it is not compassionate merely to leave it at that, especially if simply being with others gives them the impression that they need not repent. Repentance requires an inner awakening, an understanding of the state of one's soul, and a desire to do something about it. It is neither regret without amendment nor a ritual sterilized by routine. One must be willing to hear the word of the Lord and respond to it. Repentance is a redirection of our intentions, a change of heart, expressed by a change of behavior. But this will never happen with an "I'm OK, you're OK" approach.

Nothing is impossible with God -- not even fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church! But it will cost much. Eternal salvation is not a minor issue, and Christ warned us that the way is narrow and difficult. Ultimately, however, nothing else really matters. If you lose your soul, you lose everything. Salvation is worth the price of faithfulness to the word of God. True compassion is encouragement to pay it.

It matters what we believe and how we behave. The stakes are high in this adventure called human life. Truth is not relative and Hell is not merely a myth or a useful scare tactic for Christian schoolteachers. Aberrant behavior must not be elevated to an unalienable right, and personal opinions must not be put on a par with divine revelation. Don't be so "kind" as to keep silent while others enshrine sin as an acceptable alternative to righteousness.

So you see why I have compassion for those who abuse the term "compassion," especially if they do so for "pastoral" reasons. I'm calling them to repentance. I'm concerned not only for their souls, but also -- and especially -- for those whom they mislead, whom they lull into spiritual somnolence. If any souls are lost, let it be only because they remained hardened in willful rejection of God until death -- not because some "compassionate" person convinced them that they had no need to repent