Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Fr. Count!

Fr. Count and friends at the Columbus Day Bazaar

Last week our dear Fr. Austin Conterno turned 92, God Bless him! He is the eldest of our priests here at Saints Peter and Paul, and you better believe he is still working. A true Son of Don Bosco.

Happy Birthday, Fr. Count, ad multos annos!

Posted by Gibbons (while Fr. John is on retreat).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Good News (I guess)!

San Francisco Catholics who were dismayed to learn that our local Catholic Charities is helping same-sex couple to adopt children will be relieved to learn that Catholic Charities actually accepts no money from the Catholic Church.

At least, that's according to this article in the "Bay Area Reporter" whose motto is "Serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual, & transgender communities since 1971."

Then what were all those second collections about? And where does one apply for a refund?

Hat tip: Uncle Di.

Posted by Gibbons (while Fr. John is on retreat).

Around the Catholic Web . . .

Amy over at "Open Book" has a beautiful post: "Religion: a Test of Faith"

A sample:

"Christians as individuals betray Christ on a daily basis. Christian institutions do, as well, in small and great ways . . . This is not (as long time readers know) to suggest quiescence or acceptance of sin. It's simply to acknowledge a reality that is as old as the first Pope, huddled in the courtyard, denying Christ by the light of a fire. "

Read the whole thing.

And Quintero over at "LA Catholic" has a beauty, too: "Journalist Chris Weinkopf's Beauriful Tribute to Catholic Priests."

A sample:

"As for the rest of us, with so many bad priests garnering so much attention at the moment, I'd like to say a special thanks to the many, many, good priests who selflessly give of themselves to serve others. The ones who spent their weekends bringing Holy Communion to the sick and dying in hospitals, or sitting in hot confessionals ministering to their flocks; the ones who bring credit to the Church and to God."

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Gibbons (while Fr. John is on retreat).

Good Book

If you are looking for a good book to strengthen your life as Catholic, I suggest you read Thomas Howard’s “On Being Catholic.” Ignatius Press, 1-800-651- 1531. (265 pgs $14.95)

It’s in paperback form and easy to read. Written by a converted fundamentalist, the sixteen chapters will enlighten you as to what “being Catholic” means. What does the Unity of the Church mean? What about the Mass, the Blessed Mother, Catholics and Freedom, etc.

Most of us cradle Catholic think we know our faith, but it is always good to rethink our position and not be enslaved by the danger of traditions lost and devotions forgotten.

Too many Catholics are confused about their faith and need a voice to help them articulate what they have had in their heart for many years but are often at a loss to put into words.

We must spread that God-given faith we have received in baptism.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Just a thought for the day:

Many folks want to serve God, but only as advisors.

And another thought:

It is easier to preach ten sermons than it is to live one.

Now I am going on retreat for the next week.

As I listen to the ten sermons, have a little prayer that I take advice from God, rather that try to give it to Him.

And that I can live the sermons preached.

You are all remembered in my prayers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Anything for a Vote

Too many Catholic politicians want it both ways: the Church should stay out of politics and the Church should support their key issues.

14 Catholic Democrats, who joined together to criticize Pope Benedict's statement that pro-abortion politicians should not receive Communion now urged the bishops to increase their involvement in efforts to end the war in Iraq. The letter was written by Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, for the 14 Catholic politicians.

Strange that these politicians would turn to the Church to support an end of the war in Iraq, certainly a moot moral principle at this time, and not accept a clear moral teaching of the Church regarding abortion.

There remains my quandary: Why would politicians want to be called Catholic, when they criticize the Holy Father, support abortion and then seek the help of the UCCB to promote their political agenda?

Easy answer: anything for a vote.

Bishops, don’t be used

Count Your Blessings

• If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive the week.

• If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people around the world.

• If you attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, or torture of death, you are more blessed than almost three billion people in the world.

• If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

• If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish some place, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

• If your parents are still married and alive, you are very rare, even in the United States.

• If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority of us can, but most do not.

• If you can read this message, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read anything at all.

• When you compare our day to day problems with bigger problems around the world our troubles may not seem so large.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

IVF & the Wages of Sin

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is to help adults become mothers, fathers. But what about the babies? Should they not have a right to a mother and father who genetically conceived them?

I fear the sins of the fathers will be borne by the children. I do believe that the wages of sin is death. And there is a lot of “sin” connected with IVF. You cannot fool Mother Nature. You may deceive her for the time being, but as the clock ticks doom will follow.

Father John Flynn, L.C. writes an article in Zenit, JULY 23, 2007 ( dealing with invitro fertilization. He remarks that last year a total of 6,174 women in this age group (40 to 45) had fertility treatment, compared with just 596 in 1991. It’s frightening to think where that is going exponentially!

As demand for in vitro fertilization continues to rise, so too are concerns over the clinics and consequences for families. A leading British expert recently had harsh words for the industry, whose methods have long been criticized by the Church.

Strange situations are evolving…. The Canadian newspaper the Ottawa Citizen reported April 18 the case of Melanie Boivin, who donated some of her ova to her daughter, Flavie.The daughter, aged 7, is sterile due to a genetic condition. The article commented that if Flavie eventually decides to use the ova and becomes pregnant, she will give birth to her genetic sister and Melanie Boivin will simultaneously become mother and grandmother.

Money is no deterrent. A surrogate mother in the United States would cost a couple anything up to $50,000.

Clinics are also starting to offer treatments aimed at the homosexual community. The Los Angeles-based The Fertility Institutes has launched a program for homosexual men who want to become parents, Reuters reported March 14.

Two dads, no mom. Two moms, no dad. Pity the offspring.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

God save our Border

It seems to me that one of the most horrendous miscarriages of justice is the case of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean now serving 11 to 12 years in federal prison for the shooting of known drug dealer Osbaldo Aldrete-Davila of Mexico.

It appears that our government wants to make a statement to our Border Police to lay off drug smugglers and let the illegals flow in—drugs and all.

Why would two patrolmen be sentenced so severely for doing their job?

Several of our lawmakers claimed the Justice Department and prosecutor Johnny Sutton did not appropriately handle the case. And evidence seems to bear up the claim.
Even though the convicted tried to cover up the truth of the case, the smuggler, the drug trafficker, was granted full immunity to testify against them. And the testimony was false. Osbaldo was fleeing and he was not shot in the rear buttock as testified. He was shot in the side of the rear buttock which meant that he had to be turning to face the guards, as he was fleeing, and, according to the guards’ testimony pointed a gun at them.

That the jury would believe the testimony of a known smuggler over the border guard speaks of the system that denied evidence to the jury and gave credence to the criminal..That this criminal would be granted free transit to the US speaks of deep problems for our border security.

No wonder Bush enjoys such low approval ratings. He supports foreign criminals over our guards. God help us! .

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We Answer Back!

Last week, we linked to a bunch of letters (including one by a Catholic priest!) in the San Francisco Chronicle attacking Fr. John for having the temerity to publicly assert Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

Fr. John's letter was prompted by this article in the Chronicle, published the day before the "Gay Pride" parade.

This week, we answer back!

Update: Thanks to Quintero, at "LA Catholic" for covering this!

Posted by Gibbons.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Dignity or Courage?

DignityUSA, the nation's largest advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics held a national convention in Austin, Texas this month. They had some good things to say but found the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Guidelines were deeply flawed. A revision of the theology of sexuality must be revised, they claimed.

The Bishops must acknowledge that many intimate relationships express unitive love, even in the absence of possible procreation. This must be affirmed as an expression of divine love, say the promoters of DignityUSA, and they continue:

"The Church has long acknowledged that one of the primary functions of the sexual relationship within marriage is the unitive function, which facilitates the development of a bond of love and intimacy between partners. Furthermore, the Church sanctions marriage between men and women who have no possibility of procreating, whether by reason of age or infertility. Sexually intimate relationships between same-gender couples must be affirmed as having the same potential for holiness as those between opposite-gender married couples.”

With this proclamation I must admit to losing respect for DignityUSA. Intimate sex between couples, male or female, is sinful if the couple is not married.

That’s why I propose Courage as a program for homosexuals.

My friend, the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York, knew that the individual dealing with same-sex attractions truly needed to experience the freedom of interior chastity and in that freedom find the steps necessary to living a fully Christian life in communion with God and others. He was concerned that many would not find this path and would be constantly trying to get their needs met in ways that ultimately do not satisfy the desires of the heart. Knowing of Fr. John Harvey's extensive ministry experience in this field, he invited him to come to his Archdiocese. With the help of the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., and others, Fr. Harvey began the Courage Apostolate in September, 1980.

With the endorsement of the Holy See, Courage now has more than 110 Chapters and contact people world-wide, over 1500 persons participating in its ListServs, and hundreds of persons per week receiving assistance from the main office and website. It has become a mainstream Catholic Apostolate helping thousands of men and women find peace through fellowship, prayer, and the Sacraments.

I beg our bishops to distance themselves from DigntyUSA and to promote the program that supports chastity: Courage.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Los Angeles has a Gay & Lesbian Film Festival going on now and ending on July 23. It showcases a five film series called “Queers in Christ.”

Some gays, especially in the media in this case, are desperate to find approval for sexual acts that are clearly condemned by Scripture and by the Catholic Church. They want to prove that God says it’s OK. Unfortunately some churchmen concur and try to change the Christian understanding of homosexuality.

The battle is on and ever more articulate and the gay lobby won’t give up. Don’t be deceived by these films, which touch the heart. Hollywood knows how to do it!

I am called intolerant and judgmental, but I insist again that homosexual inclinations are not evil, nor are the persons who experience them. I also insist that chastity has a place also in married life. To demand tolerance does not change an evil into a good. Then again, it's God's judgment that matters not mine or anyone else's.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Natural Law

A reader asked what I meant by “natural law.” I’m with St. Thomas: the natural law is "nothing else than the rational creature's participation in the eternal law" (I-II, Q. xciv). The eternal law is God's wisdom, inasmuch as it is the directive norm of all movement and action.

Natural law theory eventually gave rise to a concept of "natural rights." This natural rights theory provided a philosophical basis for both the American and French revolutions. Thomas Jefferson used the natural law theory to justify his trinity of "inalienable rights" which were stated in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Since law must always be some dictate of reason, natural law also will be some dictate of reason. In fact, it is law discovered by human reason. Our normal and natural grasp of the natural law is effected by reason, that is, by the thinking mind, and in this service reason is sometimes called "conscience."

The "norm" of morality is the natural law as applied by conscience. We can say that the natural law is the disposition of things as known by our human reason and to which we must conform ourselves if we are to realize our proper end or "good" as human beings.

Here’s a souce: Dr. Dolhenty's Recommended Bookshelf For Natural Law Theory

Monday, July 16, 2007

Abstinence Programs Work

Jason Evert, an international chastity speaker, author and full-time apologist for Catholic Answers, was quoted in a recent article as disagreeing with a recent study that found abstinence-education programs "don't work.”

The study purported to show that such programs should not be funded because they did not work, but the study that was made is deeply flawed for at least these six reasons:

First, the students in the study were between the ages of nine and 11, which is hardly the age at which young people understand the relevance of an abstinence message.

Second, the study had no high school component, and the students had no follow-up to the program…

Third, the researchers did not evaluate a comparable sexual education program in order to compare the findings.

Fourth, the majority of the students were poor African American children from broken families. Such youth are considered high risk for early sexual activity. Therefore, their behaviors are not representative of most young people.

Fifth, the sample of four schools studied represents less than 1% of the more than 900 abstinence programs that receive federal funding.

Sixth, the abstinence programs that were studied have already been revised and updated. Therefore, any conclusions drawn from them are outdated.

Abstinence programs do save many from unwanted pregnancies and sexual diseases, and we should not be duped by false studies that make an opposite statement.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

What Bible are they reading from?

Posted by Gibbons:

They printed a nice picture of Fr. John in the San Francisco Chronicle today, right next to a bunch of letters attacking him for upholding Catholic teaching.

It's because of his July 7 letter to the editor, reproduced below, which was in response to this article on June 23.

Father John responds

Editor -- Your evident support of Father Rich Danyluk and the letters you selected to support him, show how poorly understood is the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding the gay lifestyle (Letters, "Father Rich,'' June 30).

Yes, Father Rich, the good news of the Gospel is for everybody. Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal William Levada and myself, with a multitude of priests, love homosexuals.

Father Rich certainly knows the difference between sin and sinner. He and we love the sinner, we are also called, after the example of Christ Himself, to hate the sin, as clearly declared in that book which Father Rich held up for applause of his congregation.

Would the "true embodying of Jesus Christ" according to letter-writer Dennis Parks, demand that we accept perverse actions that mimic marital love and end in so many venereal diseases?

Sodomy may be legal, but for Christians it is still a sinful action.

San Francisco

Unfortunately, the nice picture does not come up on the web. We'll keep you posted!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Goodbye & Hello

As of Friday the 13th my new address is

Salesian High Scool
2851 Salesian Ave,
Richmond, CA 94804
My phone 510 434 4433

The school, now a thriving co-ed Catholic High School, was once a junior seminary, which I atended in the 1930's. It's a great school in a parklike setting.

I miss the hustle and bustle of North Beach and the great friends and family I left across the Bay. However, the peace and quiet of the surroundings allow recuperation time for body and soul, for which I must be thankful.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Same Sex "Marriage" Emergency!

They're at it again, and Bill May, of Catholics for the Common Good, is on the case.

Proponents of same-sex "marriage" will not quit until they have overturned the will of the people of California and destroyed marriage. We must act before July 23!

"SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 10, 2007-- AB 43, a bill legalizing marriage between two persons of the same sex, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-2 vote. See how the Committee members voted. The bill passed the Assembly in June on a 42-34 vote.

The bill will now be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 23.

In 2000, California voters passed the California Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 22, by an overwhelming 61.4% to define marriage as between a man and a woman. It is the very language of this initiative that the legislature is proposing to change.

The bill changes the current legal definition of marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman" by removing the words "a man and a woman" and substituting them with " two persons". Any other gender specific references in the bill are made gender neutral, to allow the legal recognition of same-sex marriages. "

Stop this disgracful attempt to destroy marriage and to overturn the 61.4% majority of California voters!

If you live in California, please contact your State Senator and ask him/her to vote NO on AB 43. Click here to find your Senator.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Subsists In"

As usual, the secular media confuses the issue and makes the Catholic Church looks rather arrogant and intolerant. I refer to the “subsist” argument now touted on numerous news stories and blogs. (see

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith clarifies, in the form of five questions, what the Second Vatican Council meant by the term "subsists in" with regard to the nature of the Catholic Church.

The responses affirm that the "Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change" Catholic doctrine on the Church, but rather "it developed, deepened and more fully explained it."

The doctrinal congregation explains in the clarification: "Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church and instituted it as a 'visible and spiritual community,' that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.

The responses say that "it is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them."

The expression "subsists in" was adopted, instead of simply the word "is,"
because it indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church.
It “brings out more clearly the fact that there are 'numerous elements of sanctification and of truth' which are found outside her structure, but which 'as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel toward Catholic unity.'"

Christian communities born out of the 16th-century Reformation are not given the title Church, the document explains, because these communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Money and the Kingdom

“Money is the root of all evil,” a pastor of years gone by often said, “but give me some of that root!”

As I leave by pastoral duties at SS Peter & Paul in San Francisco for a new assignment, I cannot but review my tenure in the City. I have heard many good things reported, for which I am deeply grateful. For the negatives I apologize and ask for prayers.

A good deal of money was spent in the renovations of our church. And while I tried not to make too bold a pitch, I did initiate several drives to get the work done and paid for. I did hear a few complaints, but thank God for the great generosity that allowed us to do make many improvements.

Money is the subject that Jesus talked about more often than any other subject, except the Kingdom of God itself. The Kingdom of God (or Rule of God) is the reality of his loving presence in every area of your life, making it possible for you to come alive. Your willingness to live under the Rule of God makes it possible for you to be a sensitive, feeling, laughing, crying, loving person in the fullest sense of what it means to be human. That is Jesus number one subject.

But number two is money and possessions. Prayer is important, of course. But Jesus talked more about money than prayer. Our sexuality is important and a real problem in our time. But Jesus talked more about money than He did about sexuality.

Why did He talk about money so much? Because He was perfectly aware of how important it is to us and how reluctant we are to place it under the Rule of God.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Old Mass is Back

I just read the long awaited Motu Proprio of Benedict XVI and his accompanying letter which was issued yesterday, July 7.

Benedict is a great teacher and his writings offer an example to teachers who struggle with explanations, illustrations and clarifications of thought and expression. I am sure his Motu Proprio will be discussed and argued and condemned and praised from all sides, and not without negative input. He courageously published it after much consultation and with many prayers.

He encourages “where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962.”

And the warning is there: “If a group of lay faithful… has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission ‘Ecclesia Dei.’

“We order that everything We have established with these Apostolic Letters issued as Motu Proprio be considered as ‘established and decreed’, and to be observed from 14 September of this year, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.”

The Holy Father wrote an accompanying letter to the Bishops to allay their fears and misconceptions. He mentioned:

“In the first place, there is the fear that the document detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council, one of whose essential decisions – the liturgical reform – is being called into question. This fear is unfounded. In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were "two Rites". Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.

“In the second place, the fear was expressed in discussions about the awaited Motu Proprio, that the possibility of a wider use of the 1962 Missal would lead to disarray or even divisions within parish communities. This fear also strikes me as quite unfounded. The use of the old Missal presupposes a certain degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language; neither of these is found very often…”

Red Herrings

People have accused me of being too “political.” The controversy has centered around my “mutterings” on homosexuality and abortion.

I take comfort in the company of the good Cardinal O'Brien of Edinburgh. Scotland, ( who had some pointed observations on what he called 'abortion debate.'

He called 'Red herrings' the diversionary tactics to bury the message that life has value and added that rarely is there involved any actual discussion about the realities of abortion.He said in Scotland "we kill the equivalent of a classroom full of school children every day."

He admitted that "the language I used was strong," but added that he did so "because it is true.”Addressing critics who accused him of entering into a political debate, the cardinal said: "I did enter into a debate, which has, wrongly in my view, come to be viewed as political.

"Abortion is neither political nor medical, though clearly it has implications in these spheres. It is about morality and the destruction of human life. The debate should not be dominated by our political elites or medical professionals, by religious leaders or pressure groups, but should be open to all."

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Blessed Namuncurà

The Salesian News Service from Rome has sent us the following:

Yesterday, in the course of an audience granted to Cardinal J.A. Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, Pope Benedict XVI signed the Decree regarding the miracle of healing attributed to the intercession of Venerable Zeffirino Namuncurà (+1905), a young lay man, past pupil of the Salesians of Don Bosco.

With great joy the Salesian Family is preparing for the Liturgical ceremony for the beatification, planned to be held in Argentina on November 11, 2007.

Salesian Cardinal John Cagliero brought the young Zeffirino to Turin to Don Rua. Zeffirino, who was only 19 when he died was a pupil of the Salesians in Argentina. The Salesians have been waiting for this honor to be given to Zeffirino for a long time. Now we have another young person to join St. Dominic Savio (1842-1857), Blessed Laura Vicuña (1891-1904), Blessed Franciszek Kesy (1920-1943), Blessed Edward Klinik 1919-1942), Blessed Jarogniew Wojciechowski (1922-1942), Blessed Czeslaw Jozwiak (1919-1942), and Blessed Edward Kazmierski (1919-1942).

The mission of the Salesians is to make holiness accessible to young people and to themselves.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Church in China

Our Salesian Cardinal Zen, Archbishop of Hong Kong and a good friend of mine, visited SS Peter & Paul Parish last month and spoke of the letter that was soon to be issued concerning the Chinese question.

The long awaited message finally was published and our Cardinal had this to say last week:

“Pope Benedict XVI has addressed a letter to the bishops, priests, religious and faithful in China as he had promised to do last January….The motive is, as is obvious, that that community has experienced so much tribulation in the last decades, that the Holy Father wants to show special concern for those his children and give them some guidelines in this seemingly crucial moment, so that they might free themselves from their unfortunate predicament.”
One of our readers asked if the pope was caving in to the Chinese Catholic dissidents.
But here is what the Archbishop said:
“After a cursory vision of the rather long letter, I would like to share with the media my one impression and two hopes.

”The impression. I admire the precious balance achieved by the Holy Father between his passion for the truth and his love for his children. Only an outstanding theologian and a tender father could satisfy at the same time the demands of the truth and the kindness toward people. Blessed be God for having given us such a leader!

”On hope. The doctrine painstakingly explained by Benedict XVI, is nothing but the most traditional and universally accepted Catholic principles, belonging to the religious field, with no secret political agenda, even less with an intention of attacking anybody. My hope is that the leaders of our country would read the Pope's letter from this perspective and understand the true unchangeable nature of the Catholic Church.

”A second hope. The voice of our bishops and priests in China is often prevented from reaching our leaders; now that the letter of the Pope is in the hands of our leaders, our bishops and priests can thus refer to it directly as a common starting point for dialogue.

”The Pope insists that bishops are the leaders of the Church and they are not to be separated from the Roman Pontiff. My hope is that our bishops and priests stand united with the Holy Father. Let our Church in China be truly the Catholic Church recognized and respected by the rest of the world, and let it bring honor and glory to our country on the stage of the universal Church.”

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I just read California Catholic Daily’s article “How is the Holy Spirit like fragrance?”

It was a report on Thomas Zanzig’s address to Catholic educators in Los Angeles on June 22nd. Zanzig works for the Silver Burdette Gin religious publishers. Their web site offers sample strategies from the Zanzig-edited Adult Faith Formation Strategies.

Treating the “Mission of Jesus,” the strategies speak only of addressing poverty, healing broken hearts, freeing the oppressed and those in prison, and comforting those who mourn -- presented in a manner to elicit clarifying responses from participants. Personal faith sharing seems central, with some Church teachings introduced in the course of the faith formation experience. Gimmicks, too, are encouraged -- such as simmering potpourri and asking, “How is the Holy Spirit like the fragrance.

We are encouraged to move from “knowledge about” to “relationship with” and from “understanding for the sake of belonging to action, service and witness for the sake of justice, peace and ecological survival.”

Yes, justice and peace and ecology are important issues, but a faith based mainly on these, with less emphasis on the teachings of the Church and personal sanctity is not going to lead to the Truth and the Life. I would not trust the above approach in my adult formation program.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Roots for Sale

A recent add offering up to $6,000 for human eggs, is unbelievable. Cryobanks’s services are flourishing and the price is gong to be heavy—especially for the babies that are brought into the world in this fashion.

Father John Flynn, Rome, wrote an article last year pointing out the increasing number of children wondering who their father might be. Some countries allow men to be anonymous sperm donors for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) programs, thus depriving the resulting children from even knowing who their father is.

An eloquent example of the anguish this causes was the case of Katrina Clark. The Washington Post told the story of the undergraduate student at Gallaudet University, who described how at 18 years of age, "I haven't known half my origins." Clark was conceived by means of an unknown sperm donor, when her mother was 32 and afraid she might otherwise not have a family. But, as Clark explained, the debate over IVF tends to concentrate on the adults, with sympathy toward those who are trying to have children. Many of the resulting children, however, suffer from emotional problems.

"It's hypocritical of parents and medical professionals to assume that biological roots won't matter to the 'products' of the cryobanks' service, when the longing for a biological relationship is what brings customers to the banks in the first place," she explained. Clark's investigations led to her recently discovering her father, but many other IVF kids are not so fortunate.

Further complications due to donor anonymity were the subject of an article in the Australian newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. Describing the situation in the United States, the article told of Justin Senk of Colorado, who discovered at age 15 that he had been conceived by means of donor sperm.

Senk's subsequent research turned up the disturbing fact that he had four brothers and sisters living within a 25-kilometer radius -- for a total of five children born to three mothers who had fertility treatment at the same clinic. The father's identity remains unknown. Another case came to light in Virginia, where 11 women have children conceived from one man's sperm. For one mother, Michelle Jorgenson, the site enabled her to discover that in addition to her daughter Cheyenne the same donor had fathered another six offspring; two of them suffer from autism, with another two show signs of a sensory disorder.

Not knowing one's father stirs up enough problems. Most of the children who are searching for their fathers at least grew up in a family with a father present, even if he was not their biological parent. Increasingly, however, there is pressure to allow IVF treatments for single women. Such ways of conceiving are not ethical.

"Techniques that entail the dissociation of husband and wife ... are gravely immoral," states No. 2376 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. "These techniques ... infringe the child's right to be born of a father and mother known to him and bound to each other by marriage." A child is a gift, explains No. 2378, and "may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged 'right to a child' would lead." Precepts increasingly ignored, with unfortunate consequences for growing numbers of children.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Same Sex "Marriage" Alert!

They're at it again. Remember Massachusetts!

Bill May, from "Catholics for the Common Good" reports:

"SACRAMENTO, California, June 29, 2007-- AB 43, a bill legalizing marriage between two persons of the same sex, passed the Assembly on June 4, on a 42-34 vote. The bill is now in the Senate and will be heard by the Judiciary Committee on July 10.

In 2000, California voters passed the California Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 22, by an overwhelming 61.4% to define marriage as between a man and a woman. It is the very language of this initiative that the legislature is proposing to change."

Read the whole thing, and see the Take Action suggestions at the CCG page.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Instruct and Warn

“Obstinately” pro abortion Catholic politicians, after being duly instructed and warned “must” be denied Communion.

The large number of “Catholic” politicians who vote for the culture of death can not claim to lack due instructions as to where the Church stands on the question of abortion.

As to the warning clause, I would pray that our bishops get together and speak with a united front, and enforce the teaching received from the Holy Office.

Simple enough: Catholic politicians who support abortion are no longer Catholic; they excommunicate themselves.

Our Salesian Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez, of Honduras, stated it well:
“We are talking about a person who has broken off a branch of the tree of life of the Church, a dry branch that has lost its vital sap and is doing something that is a lie. One who is against life and is clearly opposed to the message of Our Lord Jesus, as is an abortion supporter, cannot be in communion with Holy Mother the Church.”