Friday, February 29, 2008

Stem-cell Update

The last issue of "Catholic San Francisco" our Archdiocesan newspaper had an atrociously ill-informed article (PDF: 8MB) about embryonic stem-cell research, and the Catholic arguments against it.

This week, in the "Letters" section, two extremely well informed Catholics set the record straight. We reproduce their letters here in full.

"I am writing to express profound disappointment with the Feb. 15 front-page article regarding the stem cell conference at Dominican College.

First, the article itself is ideologically biased from the perspective of embryonic stem cell advocates. Frankly, it read like a promotion of the Institute of Regenerative Medicine; the Institute was put in place by Proposition 71, against which the California Catholic Conference of Bishops (including the San Francisco Archdiocese) campaigned tirelessly in the 2004 election.

Second, it was devoid of the Church’s well reasoned moral argument against destroying nascent human life for the purpose of furthering scientific technology.

In short, we oppose feeding off of (i.e. killing) our young to prolong our own existence. The existence ordained by God to new life is not ours for the foraging. The unborn, regardless of their point in the gestational path, are not fodder for the petri dishes of scientists who want to be their own gods. (Interestingly, the article was revealing about the real objective of scientists who are obsessed with embryonic stem cell research; they want to be able to create life, to be their own gods; cures are ancillary to the process.)

Third, the article was also devoid of scientific facts about embryonic stem cell research, namely that this research holds no promise for anyone who is alive today. The research is so problematic and unpromising that no venture capitalists will fund it, thus the push for taxpayer funding. Also, over 73 diseases are being treated with adult stem cell therapies. Adult stem cell research is wildly successful yet does not require the destruction of human life. In fact, every time we hear about a success in stem cell research, it is an adult stem cell therapy. Where was this fact in the article?

Finally, where was the Church’s counter-point in this article? Why was Vicki Evans, Respect Life coordinator for the Archdiocese, who is very well versed on the topic, not interviewed? As a person who has worked hard (as a volunteer on behalf of the Church) to dispel the propaganda put forth by scientism and the mainstream media about the scientifically inaccurate “virtues” of embryonic stem cell research, this article was a slap in the face. I look forward to a correction in the upcoming Catholic San Francisco.

Dolores Meehan
San Francisco


I don’t know if I am more disappointed with Dominican University of California (self-described as a “university of Catholic heritage” in San Rafael) that held a conference showcasing people involved with destruction of human life and cloning for scientific research, or with the ethically neutral reporting of it in Catholic San Francisco (Feb. 15).

The article unwittingly makes a case for continued destruction of human life in its most vulnerable stage – a stage of life that every human person goes through without exception.

At one point, seven paragraphs in a row supported the need for experimentation and destruction of human embryonic life followed by a weak mention of Catholic teaching about human life qualified by “Catholic natural lawthinking argues . . .” and “Catholic thinkers urge scientists to use adult sources . . ..” There is nothing to think about. It is a matter of understanding the magisterium.

It is a scientific fact that from the moment of conception, there is a unique unrepeatable human life, genetically different from his or her parents – yes, “his” or “her”, not “its”. Every human life has equal value and dignity whether strong or weak, able or disabled, conscious or unconscious, embryo or elderly. Why? Because God creates each in his image and likeness.

In addition, there was the unanswered quote from a secular “bioethicist” who said, “You have big people who are here with their diseases, and then you have . . . embryos”. “. . . [The embryo] is not self-conscious.” It might have been nice to mention it is a matter of social justice that “big people” take care of little people. They don’t kill them for private interests because they are weak and are not conscious. Domination of the poor, weak and vulnerable by the wealthy, strong and powerful is always wrong.

The article wrongly leaves the impression that stem cells generated from human eggs are ethical as long as embryos are not involved. Harvesting human eggs is a dangerous and painful process. It is an assault on the dignity of women, particularly poor women, too easily coerced into selling their eggs and jeopardizing their health. Women in the third world would be the most vulnerable, but then we have these “big people” – rich and powerful.

It is sad that some of the best-informed people in the country on this subject sit right down the hall from Catholic San Francisco in the chancery office, and were apparently not consulted. In addition, there are many competent and well-informed laity, religious and clergy in our Archdiocese who could have contributed a rebuttal from a Catholic perspective. The misunderstandings in the article demonstrate how complex the issues are regarding ethical and unethical stem cell research. Ethical alternatives have provided cures and treatments for almost 80 diseases compared to none from the unethical research. Catholic citizens who want to do the right thing are desperate for help in understanding the truth and what is at stake. This article did not help fill that need.

Bill May
Chairman, Catholics for the Common Good
San Francisco

Call to Action

The goals of this organization are spelled out in their charter. "Officers of the Church have the right to teach on matters both of private and public morality only after wide consultation with the faithful prior to the formulation.”

"All Catholics have the right to expect that Church documents and materials will avoid sexist language, and that symbols and imagery of God will not be exclusively masculine."

"All Catholics have the right to a voice in all decisions that affect them, including the choosing of their leaders."

"All Catholics, regardless of canonical status (lay or clerical), sex or sexual orientation, have the right to exercise all ministries in the Church for which they are adequately prepared, according to the needs and with the approval of the community."

This blatant call for women's ordination is repeated in Article 26: "All Catholic women have an equal right with men to the resources and the exercise of all the powers of the Church."

They want to be the ones who ultimately hold power at the top. For example, they want their own Supreme Tribunal whose job would be to hear cases charging illegal or unconstitutional actions.

At a Call to Action conference, attendees were asked by a journalist what motivates them and why they don't just leave the Church if they dislike it so much. A typical response revealed the true reason dissenters stay in the Church and are trying so hard to change it:"The Church has absolutely no right to make us feel guilty about activities that our consciences tell us are moral."

You see, they know that if they leave the Church, they will be nothing special-just another gaggle of splinter groups in the great world supermarket of churches. But like parasites, they seek to drain the "host" of its vitality for their own purposes. Also like parasites, the dissenters have gradually burrowed their way into the very structure of the Church. (Adapted from an article by Karl Keating.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Walk for Life West Coast Video

The folks over at Walk for Life West Coast have posted some great new links with video and pictures of the 2008 "Walk".

This EWTN "Life on the Rock" video is my current favorite.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Safe Sex?

The 400 women nationwide, who have filed lawsuits against the Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Co, maker of the birth control patch Ortho Evra, have learned that safe sex isn’t so safe when blood clots and other health problems result from the use of the patch.

Women, stop playing Russian roulette.

"The Human Experience"

Speaking of life, death, and the destiny of man, Marcel over at Aggie Catholics has seen and reviewed "The Human Experience," the new movie by Grassroots Films, makers of "Fishers of Men" and "God in the Streets of New York." We posted about this film some time back. From Marcel's review:

"The makers of this film have done us all a favor. They have made a pro-life film, without ever talking about abortion, euthanasia or other pro-life issues. It is pro-life because it is pro-human. They have made a pro-Christ film without explicitly talking about Him. This is the kind of movie that can move anyone who sees it."

Please go to his site and read the whole review. The trailer for "The Human Experience" can be viewed there as well.

h/t Curt Jester.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Life vs Death

Jennifer F. said in response to our recent posting on National Condom Week:

“It is just stunning to what extent the concept of abstinence has been swept under the rug in the younger generations. If you have any interest, I wrote here about how the lies of contraceptive culture led me (and so many other people of my generation) to accept abortion.”

Her story is well worth reading.


Political action buzz words today are “change” and “hope,” as we hear them repeated over and over. Clarion calls for a brave new world!”

Change is going to do it; hope is the answer!”

But for the life of me, I can not figure out what is being proclaimed. That seems to make no difference. The crowds at these rallies shriek approval and faint for joy. I pray we find out what we are hoping for and what changes actually will follow before Election Day.

We better pray that we get better than the leadership which looms on the horizon.But there is an antidote to the emptiness of these political rallies, and the consequences thereof.The Holy Father has expressed it often, but more recently in his Ash Wednesday words. (Quoted from Whispers in the Loggia)

Prayer, "the engine of the world" and the first weapon for winning the battle against evil, together with penance and fasting, characterize the period of Lent, which is "a providential occasion for making our hope more vibrant and firm." This is also accomplished through suffering, which opens the way to participating in the consolation of God....

Prayer, in the words of the pope, "nourishes hope, because nothing expresses the reality of God in our lives better than prayer with faith. Even in the solitude of the harshest trials, nothing and no one can prevent me from turning to the Father 'in the secret' of my heart, where He alone 'sees', as Jesus says in the Gospel (cf. Mt. 6:4,6,18)"

Lord, Save our country!

USF Homosexual Activism Update II

Life in SF, or what our friends over at USF refer to as "the Gay Rome."*

A little while back we blogged about Fr. James Keenan, the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco's Summer 2008 "Scholar in Residence." We noted his testimony, on Catholic grounds, against a defense of marriage proposal in Massachusetts.

Today in the Denver Catholic Register, George Weigel explores this and other troubling issues facing the new Father General of the Jesuits:

"What will Father Nicolas do about Jesuits who are manifestly not obedient to the Pope or to the teaching authority of the Church? Take, for example, the case of Father James Keenan, S.J., of Boston College. Several years ago, Father Keenan testified before the Massachusetts Legislature, arguing that the principles of Catholic social doctrine did not merely tolerate “gay marriage,” they demanded it. That position is manifestly not “in communion” with the teaching of popes past and present on the nature of marriage; now what? "

You can read about Fr. Keenan at USF here. You'll find his entry right below the section about USF's March 10 "Human Rights Film Festival." One of the feautured films:

"FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (USA, 2007, dir. Daniel Karslake)98 minutes, DVD, English. Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate? Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Seattle International Film Festival, Dan Karslake's provocative, entertaining documentary brilliantly reconciles homosexuality and Biblical scripture, and in the process reveals that Church-sanctioned anti-gay bias is based almost solely upon a significant (and often malicious) misinterpretation of the Bible."

h/t Diogenes.

*For the origin of "the gay Rome" tag, listen to this q & a from the USF "Queer Perspectives" seminar, held at, where else, Most Holy Redeemer.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Senator Sam Brownback Warns

It appears more and more likely that Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President. Charisma and eloquence are nice qualities to possess, but this is not a man who is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Look at some of his positions:

--Earlier this week, Obama voted against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This would severely undermine our intelligence gathering capabilities in the war against radical Islamic extremists.

--Obama has voted against a bill protecting homeowners from being sued by burglars they shoot in their own homes.

--Obama would implement the largest tax increase in American history - by not making the Republican tax cuts permanent.

--Obama has voted against Illinois's version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This act is designed to protect those babies who survive an attempted abortion.

The first of these four makes our homeland weaker. The second makes our Constitution weaker. The third, our economy weaker. And the fourth makes us all weaker. I don't know about you, but I will not stand idly by and watch this man and his radical leftist agenda get elected to our highest office. Let's just say that when Hillary Clinton is the more conservative Democrat, we should all be afraid!

Just as dangerous are the Democratic members of the House and Senate who agree with him. Teddy Kennedy is the Chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Barbara Boxer is the Chairman of the Senate Environment Committee. Barney Frank is Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. And Charlie Rangel is writing our tax code as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Folsom Street Fair Honored in Catholic Church

Yep, you read that right.

Just when we think we've reached the nadir, they dig deeper....

At the "Inter-Club Fund's" 42nd Annual Awards Dinner last Saturday at Most Holy Redeemer, the award for "Best Street Event--FOLSOM STREET FAIR"

And the winner of the "Entertainer of the Year"award was transvestite "Donna Sachet," shown here at a Catholic Charities CYO Fundraiser:

Sachet is on the right, above. That's open lesbian Nanette Lee Miller on the left, Treasurer and Officer of the Board of Directors at Catholic Charities CYO, who also happens to be (surprise surprise) a parishioner of Most Holy Redeemer and a Member of the Most Holy Redeeemer

Quite a little party we've got going on in this Archdiocese...

Posted by Gibbons

Monday, February 18, 2008

Most Holy Redeemer Update

Sorry about the obscenity, but this story must be told.

The "Inter-Club Fund" held its annual Awards Dinner at Ellard Hall in Most Holy Redeemer Church last Saturday, February 16. They have held their awards dinners at MHR in the years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, & 2008.

The photo below is of one of the "Alameda County Leather Corps 'Monks'" at the "Golden Gate Guards 2000 "Run." Both groups are members of the "Inter-Club Fund."

For photos of these awards dinners, go here first, then here to see 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007.

It is unbelievable that such an organization would be allowed to hold its events in the hall of a Catholic Church.

The "Inter-Club Fund" is an organzation made up of seven member clubs:

The Alameda County Leather Corps, and here. One of their "monks" is shown in the picture above.

The Defenders (an Affiliate of "Dignity USA" who call themselves a "Catholic leather club.")

The Golden Gate Guards, go here first, then here and here. The picture above was taken at their 2000 "run."

Did the Archdiocese know about this event? If not, why not?

The MHR/Inter-Club Fund relationship has been known for a long time. The February 16, 2008 Awards Dinner has been publicized for months.

If they did know about it, why did they let it happen?

At many of the previous "Inter-Club Fund" Awards dinners, Assemblyman Mark Leno was in attendance. Not sure if he was there on Saturday. Mark Leno annualy sponsors legislation to legalize same-sex "marriage" in California. That's a "non-negotiable" issuse for Catholics. At MHR its probably "non-negotiable" too. From the other side.

Posted by Gibbons

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Folsom Street Fair Update II

Many thanks to our friends over at California Catholic Daily for their article on our post about the Folsom Street Fair.

Our original post is here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Iraq Hero

Wouldn't it be fitting if this went completely around the world!..... Here’s a story and an Iraq picture of John Gebhardt, sent to be by a good friend.

John’s wife, Mindy, said that this little girl's entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head...but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John's hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.

He is a real Star of the war, and represents what America is trying to do.This, my friends, is worth sharing with the WORLD! Go for it!! You'll never see things like this in the news. Please keep this going. Nothing will happen if you don't, but the American public needs to see pictures like this and needs to realize that what we're doing over there is making a difference. Even if it is just one little girl at a time.

James Gates U. S. Navy

Friday, February 15, 2008

Reality of Sin & the Sacrament of Penance

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 15, 2008 ( Following a Lenten tradition, Benedict XVI met Feb. 7 with parish priests and clergy of the Diocese of Rome. During the meeting, the participants asked the Pope questions. Here is a translation of the fifth question and the Holy Father's answer.ZENIT began this series of questions-and-answers Monday.* * *

Father Pietro Riggi, Salesian of Borgo Ragazzi Don Bosco:

Holy Father, I work in an oratory and in a center for minors who are at risk. I want to ask you: On March 25, 2007 you gave an informal speech, lamenting that today the “Last Things” are little spoken of. […] Without these essential parts of the Creed, does it not seem to you that the logical system that brings us to see Christ’s redemption crumbles? Without sin, not speaking of hell, Christ’s redemption is diminished too. Does it not seem to you that with the loss of the sense of sin the salvific, sacramental figure itself of the priest, who has the power to absolve and celebrate in the name of Christ, is also lost?Today, unfortunately, we priests as well, when the Gospel speaks of hell, we avoid the Gospel itself. It is not spoken of. Or we do not know how to talk about paradise. We do not know how to talk about eternal life. We risk giving the faith a dimension that is only horizontal or rather detached, the horizontal from the vertical. And this is beginning to disappear unfortunately from the catechesis for the kids, but also from the parishes, in the foundational structures. […]I also wanted to point out that the Virgin Mary was not afraid to speak to the children of Fatima, who, incidentally, were of catechism age: 7, 9 and 12. And we so many times instead leave this out. Can you tell us something more about this?

Benedict XVI:

You rightly spoke of fundamental themes of the faith, which unfortunately rarely appear in our preaching. In the encyclical “Spe Salvi” I wanted to speak indeed also of the last judgment, of judgment in general, and in this context of purgatory, hell and paradise as well. I think that we are all still struck by the Marxist objection, according to which the Christians spoke only about the beyond and neglected this world. So, we want to show that we are really working for this world and we are not people who talk about distant realities that do not help this world. Now, although it is right to show that Christians work for this world -- and we are all called to work to truly make this world a city for God and of God -- we must not forget the other dimension. If we do not take it into account, we do not work well for this world. Showing this was one of the fundamental purposes for me writing the encyclical. When one does not know God’s judgment, one does not know the possibility of hell, of radical and definitive failure of life, one does not know the possibility and the necessity of purification. Then man does not work well for the world because in the end he loses the criteria, he no longer knows himself, not knowing God, and he destroys the world. All of the great ideologies promised: We will take things in hand, we will no longer neglect the world, we will create a new, just, correct, fraternal world. Instead they destroyed the world. We see it with Nazism, we it also with communism -- they promised to construct the world as it should have been, and instead, they destroyed the world.

In the "ad limina" visits of the bishops from ex-communist countries I always see how in those lands not only the planet, ecology, was destroyed, but above all, and worse, souls. Rediscovering the truly human conscience, illumined by the presence of God, is the first task in rebuilding the earth. This is the common experience of those countries. The rebuilding of the earth, respecting the cry of suffering of this planet, can only happen by rediscovering God in the soul, with eyes open to God.

So, you are right: We must speak of all this out of responsibility for the world, for the men who live today. We must also speak precisely of sin as the possibility of destroying ourselves and so also of other parts of the earth. In the encyclical I tried to show that indeed the last judgment of God guarantees justice. We all want a just world. But we cannot repair all of the destruction of the past, all the people who were unjustly tormented and killed. Only God himself can create justice, which must be justice for all, for the dead too. And as Adorno, a great Marxist, says, only the resurrection of the flesh -- which he holds to be an illusion -- could create justice. We believe in this resurrection of the flesh, in which not all will be equal.Today we are used to thinking: What is sin? God is great, he knows us, so sin will not count, in the end God will be good to all. It is a beautiful hope. But there is justice and there is true guilt. Those who have destroyed man and the earth cannot immediately sit at table with God together with their victims. God creates justice. We must keep this in mind. For this reason it seemed important to me also to write this text on purgatory, which for me is such an obvious truth, so evident and also so necessary and consoling that it cannot be left out.I tried to say: Perhaps there are not many who are destroyed in this way, who are forever incurable, who have no element on which God’s love can rest, who do not have a minimal capacity to love in them. This would be hell. On the other hand, there are certainly few -- or, in any case, not many -- who are so pure that they can immediately enter into communion with God. Many of us hope that there is something that can be healed in us, that there is a final will to serve God and serve men, to live according to God. But there are many, many wounds, much filth. We need to be prepared, to be purified. This is our hope: Even with such filth in our souls, in the end the Lord gives us the possibility, he finally cleanses us with his goodness that comes from his cross. In this way he makes us capable of living eternally for him.Thus, paradise is hope, it is justice finally realized. And it also gives us the criteria for living, so that this time can be paradise in some way, a first light of paradise. Where men live according to these criteria, a little bit of paradise appears in this world, and this is visible. It also seems to me a demonstration of the truth of the faith, of the necessity of following the road of the commandments, which we must talk about more. These are truly road signs and they show us how to live well, how to choose life. For this reason we must also speak of sin and of the sacrament of forgiveness and reconciliation. A man who is sincere knows that he is guilty, that he must begin again, that he must be purified. And this is the marvelous reality that the Lord gives us: There is a possibility of renewal, of being new. The Lord begins with us again and in this way we also can begin again with the others in our life.

This aspect of renewal, of restitution of our being after so many mistakes, after so many sins, is the great promise, the great gift that the Church offers, and what, for example, psychotherapy cannot offer. Psychotherapy is so widespread today and it is also necessary in the face of so many destroyed and gravely wounded psyches. But psychotherapy’s possibilities are very limited: It can only try a little to re-establish balance in an unbalanced soul. But it cannot give a true renewal, an overcoming of these grave maladies of the soul. And for this reason it always remains provisional and never definitive.The sacrament of penance gives us the occasion to renew ourselves completely with the power of God -- “Ego te absolvo” -- which is possible because Christ took these sins, these faults upon himself. It seems that today indeed this is a great necessity. We can be healed again. Souls that are wounded and sick -- as is the experience of all -- need not only advice but true renewal, which can come only from the power of God, the power of crucified love. It seems to me that this is the great nexus of mysteries that are truly inscribed in our life. We ourselves must meditate on them again and in this way bring them again to our people.[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

National Condom Week

According to the National Condom Week web site, the safe-sex celebration began on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley has since “grown into a educational event for high schools, colleges, family planning organizations The New Jersey-based American Social Health Association has recognized National Condom Week and has issued a poster (in English and Spanish) advertising it.

According to a Feb. 1 posting on the association’s web site, “It’s desirable for young people to delay sexual activity until they’re physically and emotionally ready, and preferably are in stable and loving relationships.” Still, since “nearly half of all teens have had sex by the time they leave high school … youth need the facts on how to protect themselves.” The article notes that “the evidence is overwhelming that among those who are sexually active, consistent and correct condom use greatly reduces the risk of contracting infections like HIV, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea.”

They need to know to protect themselves? Abstain!

How foolish are our educators of youth when they allow such celebrations to be promoted on their campus! It’s like promoting Russian roulette. Most of the time when you pull the trigger the chamber will have no bullet. But that next time?

Condoms make for safe sex—most of the time. But unless they are safe all the time, they are not safe. Venereal disease is spreading rapidly among the young. Condoms do not protect against many “social” diseases. And what about condoms that sometimes fail?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Planned Parenthood wishes you...

...a Happy Valentines Day:

"Chocolates, hearts, flowers...and condoms. Must be Valentine's Day! Okay, so a condom isn't a part of everyone's Valentine's Day. But since the condom first hit the world many thousands of years ago, it has protected millions of people from infection and prevented untold numbers of unintended pregnancies. Not too bad, eh? And Valentine's Day is the first day of National Condom Week, so it's a great time to remind family, friends, and romantic partners about just how fantastic condoms are."

A friend of ours forwarded us the above email from Planned Parenthood. She commented:

"Planned Parenthood offers sooooooooooo much to women - don't they. What a sweet sentiment for St. Valentine's Day - 'I love you honey but put this on because I know that you are probably as cheap as I am and have slept with scores of women. Could you pass me a chocolate? BTW - should we go to a movie tonight or the talk on STDs?'"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kudos to the Archbishop

SAN ANTONIO, Texas, FEB. 13, 2008 ( The archbishop of San Antonio said he was "surprised" to hear that a local Catholic university will be the spot for a campaign rally for Senator Hilary Clinton, whose records he says are not consistent with Church teaching.Archbishop José Gomez said this today in a press statement ahead of Clinton's scheduled campaign rally at St. Mary's University this evening.

Clinton, a longtime supporter of abortion rights, is holding the event as part of her bid for the White House.In an official message from the communications office of the archdiocese, Archbishop Gomez said, "I was surprised to learn of Senator Hillary Clinton’s appearance at St. Mary’s University. I was neither advised nor consulted by the university before the decision was made to have Senator Clinton speak at the university."The prelate affirmed: "Catholic institutions are obliged to teach and promote Catholic values in all instances.

This is especially important when people look to our Catholic universities and colleges to provide leadership and clarity to the often complicated and conflicting political discourse."It is clear that the records of Senator Clinton and some of the other candidates for president on important life issues are not consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church."

In the message that drew the support of Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo and Bishop Thomas Flanagan, retired auxiliary bishop of San Antonio, Archbishop Gomez stated clearly, "It is not my intention to tell people for whom to vote.""However," he continued, "I encourage Catholics to understand the teachings of the Church on the broad spectrum of public issues that are of great concern today."The 56-year-old archbishop recalled a 2004 document from the U.S. episcopal conference that "affirmed that when dealing with political candidates and public office holders, 'The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.'"

Archbishop Gomez acknowledged that a disclaimer from St. Mary's said the institution "as a Catholic tax-exempt university," does not "endorse political candidates or their positions on issues and acknowledges the fundamental differences between those of the presidential candidates and the Catholic Church."But the San Antonio archbishop affirmed, "Our Catholic institutions must promote the clear understanding of our deep moral convictions on an issue like abortion, an act that the Church calls 'an unspeakable crime' and a non-negotiable issue."

Folsom Street Fair Update

Life in San Francisco........or in what our friends over at USF fondly refer to as "the gay Rome." *

Planning for the 2008 "Folsom Street fair" has already begun. As is easily learned, (go here, CAUTION: typical San Francisco obscenity alert) activities at the fair are in violation of Section 314 of the California State Penal Code and Article 240, Section 2, of the San Francisco Municipal Police Code.

Below is a copy of a letter sent to Mr. Paul Pelosi, Jr., President of the San Francisco Commission on the Environment, which funded the fair to the tune of $19,000. A similar letter was sent to Ms. Kary Schulman, Director of "Grants for the Arts" which funded the fair in the amount of $22,000. Since the guidelines of both organizations specify compliance with state and local law as a prerequisite for receiveing funding, we contend that both organizations are in violation of their own rules when they fund the "Folsom Street Fair." Both letters were CC'd to San Francisco politcal and religious leaders.

To date the only responses to either letter have been from the Very Reverend Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, and from Director Schulman. We thank them for their responses. Both shared our concerns. Ms. Schulman maintained it was a law enforcement issue. She's right, of course, but in our opinion, by conceding the law enforcement issue, she was also conceding the point that her organization should not be using taxpayer dollars to fund the event. The illegal behavior at the fair is not the work of a few bad apples--it is the whole point of the fair, including exhibitors.

November 14, 2007

Mr. Paul Pelosi, President
Commission on the Environment
11 Grove Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

SUBJECT: “Zero Waste Grant” for the Folsom Street Fair.

Dear President Pelosi,

On May 23, 2006 the San Francisco Department of the Environment awarded a “Zero Waste” Grant in the amount of $19,000 to “Folsom Street Events,” the producers of the Folsom Street Fair. Numerous activities that take place every year at the Folsom Street Fair (see enclosed photographs) are in violation of Section 314 of the California State Penal Code and Article 240, Section 2, of the San Francisco Municipal Police Code (see attached). It is common knowledge in San Francisco that such acts take place every year at the Fair, and it is reasonable to conclude that such acts will occur again in 2008.

I draw your attention to the following, from the “Introduction” to the San Francisco Department of the Environment’s “Grantees’ Operating Procedures Manual, Program Year 2006”:

“Non-profit organizations receiving grant awards from the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) are required to establish and maintain internal control designed to reasonably ensure compliance with federal, state and local laws, regulations and program requirements.”

I also draw your attention to the following, from the “San Francisco Sample Grant Agreement” posted on the “Zero Waste” page of the San Francisco Department of the Environment’s website:

ARTICLE 11 EVENTS OF DEFAULT AND REMEDIES 11.1 Events of Default. The occurrence of any one or more of the following events shall constitute an "Event of Default" under this Agreement:

Article 11, Section C : (c) Failure to Comply with Applicable Laws. Grantee fails to perform or breaches any of the terms or provisions of Article 16.

Article 16. section 16 Compliance with Other Laws. Without limiting the scope of any of the preceding sections of this Article 16, Grantee shall keep itself fully informed of City’s Charter, codes, ordinances and regulations and all state, and federal laws, rules and regulations affecting the performance of this Agreement and shall at all times comply with such Charter codes, ordinances, and regulations rules and laws.

As stated above, and evidenced by the provided photographs, certain activities that are encouraged and that annually take place at the Folsom Street Fair put the Fair in clear violation of Section 314 of the State Penal Code and Article 240, Section 2, of the San Francisco Police Code. Therefore, I contend that Folsom Street Events, and the Folsom Street Fair have placed themselves in Default of their Grant Agreement, according to Article 11, Section C; and Article 16, Section 16, of the Grant Agreement. I respectfully ask that the Members of the Commission on the Environment, and the San Francisco Department of the Environment obey the terms set forth in their own Grant Agreement, and refuse to consider any grant applications from Folsom Street Events, or any other organization representing the Folsom Street Fair, for a period of two years, covering the fairs of 2008 and 2009. If, at the Fairs in these two years, activities in violation of the cited statutes no longer occur, then, in 2009, grants to the Fair can be reconsidered. The courtesy of a response is requested.


Gibbons J. Cooney
San Francisco CA

Cc: The Honorable Gavin Newsom, Mayor, City of San Francisco
Ms. Kamala Harris, District Attorney, City and County of San Francisco
Mr. Edward M. Harrington, Controller, City and County of San Francisco
Mr. Scott N. Schools, United States Attorney, United States District Court, Northern District of California
Chief Heather Fong, San Francisco Police Department
The Right Reverend Benjamin, Bishop of San Francisco and the West; Holy Trinity (Orthodox) Cathedral, San Francisco
Very Reverend Alan Jones, Dean, Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
Most Reverend George Niederauer; Archbishop of San Francisco

Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, D.D., PhD., Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco

*For the origin of "the gay Rome" tag, listen to this q & a from the USF "Queer Perspectives" seminar, held at, where else, Most Holy Redeemer.

Posted by Gibbons

Monday, February 11, 2008

God Bless our Bishops...

Very nice to see the US Catholic Bishop's Committee on Doctrine moving their conference away from the University of Notre Dame in protest of the University's presentation of the notorious "Vagina Monologues." The full story is here.

One hopes the Bishops Committee's action will inspire their brother Bishops across the country. Unfortunately, right here in San Francisco, or in what our friends over at USF refer to as "the gay Rome"* the "Vagina Monologues" was presented this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at, you guessed it, the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco.

*For the origin of "the gay Rome" tag, listen to this q & a from the USF "Queer Perspectives" seminar, held at, where else, Most Holy Redeemer.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Wait a minute, I thought this was a free country; does that not apply to the Marine recruiters also?

Berkeley pretends to be a progressive city, open to all kinds of thought and discourse. Completely non-judgmental when it comes to alternative lifestyles, ethnicities, religious faiths, and diversity of opinion, but the opinion must be liberal or it is not welcome.

Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!

Marine Corps Recruiting Office is not welcome here, says the City Council, by a vote of 8 to 1. So the Council says it believes in peace, but keep away any peace enforcers, who wear soldier's uniforms. What sense does that make? Nonsense!

No one is forcing the citizens of Berkley to enlist. But are they not free to be invited to do so, if they wish? Planned Parenthood can open offices in Berkeley, but soldiers are not allowed. When will they ever learn right from wrong?

Friday, February 8, 2008

UK -- Infanticide

A government report in the UK has revealed that babies who survive abortions are refused medical treatment and often left to die. According to Lifesite News, at least 66 infants survived abortions in one year alone. Thirty-three of the survivors lived for an hour while one struggled for life for 10 hours.

The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) report shows that once a child slated for death by abortion is born alive, no medical help is offered. However, guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggested to doctors that babies over 22 weeks old who survive abortion be killed by lethal injection.

The CEMACH Perinatal Mortality report, which gathered its data from hospitals in England and Wales during 2005, reveals that 16 babies who survived abortion were born after 22 weeks old. The remaining 50 were under that age. This is the first acknowledgement by the government that the surviving children are left to die, although it is not the first report in the UK.

In 2005, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published the findings of Dr. Shantala Vadeyar, a researcher at Manchester's St. Mary's Hospital, who said that children as young as 18 weeks had been known to survive for a time outside the womb after attempted abortions.

The issue of babies surviving abortion in countries where the practice is legal has been addressed in the United States. In 2002, the bill was passed in Congress: any infant fully born, who shows signs of life, is to be considered a human person entitled to the full protection of the law. It was signed into law by President Bush after legislators heard testimony of children being left to die in abortion facilities. Senator Barack. Obama voted against the bill and supported death to the babies!
"Let Your Little One Live" Offers Powerful Message
Play Songs
"Let Your Little One Live" Tammy Pierce
"Let Your Little One Live" Eric Smyth
Note: See copyright restrictions below
There is new pro-life country music song, "Let Your Little One Live", that humanizes the pre-born child in a very powerful way.
It was written by Eric Smyth, an aspiring singer/Nashville songwriter/dentist who resides in the Chicago area and writes inspirational, patriotic, and country songs. This song is a gift that Eric wishes to share with the Respect Life movement.
"Let Your Little One Live" brings home the reality of abortion and will help discourage people who may be contemplating it now or in the future.
It will evoke powerful emotions in people who have lost a child to abortion. These men and women are suffering greatly. It is important to support them with compassion, and assure them of God's love and mercy. Referrals to resources, such as Project Rachael, are critical to assist with healing.
The song provides encouragement to sidewalk counselors for the important work they do to save lives, and to spare men and women from the suffering and trauma that follows abortion. It is also an inspiration to every person working to change the culture, and end public policies that promote and facilitate abortion.
There are two versions of the song, one sung by Eric Smyth and the other by Tammy Pierce.
Tammy Pierce is a professional singer from Nashville, Tennessee. She started her career at 19 when she toured the world with Kenny Rogers as his duet partner. On top of developing her professional career as a solo artist, she is working with many of the top country writers in Nashville in promoting their work.
"Let Your Little One Live" Copyright2007 Eric Smyth. All rights reserved. Use, duplication or transmittal by any means is prohibited, without prior written permission. Permission can be obtained only by contacting Eric Smyth

Stand with Children

Speaking of Catholics for the Common Good, they are working on a new educational campaign with our California State Council of the Knights of Columbus.

It is the "Stand with Children" project:

"Do you stand with the common interest of every child without exception in having a married mother or father?

Or do you stand with the private interests of a small group of adults who want to redefine marriage and family in ways that would deprive children of what they need and desire?

Marriage and family are issues of social justice - justice for the child and for the family as the foundation of social justice - the first school of love, peace and justice"

Protection of the family is one of the "non-negotiables" the Holy Father mentioned (see post below). It seems to be our historic task here in California. Go to the Stand with Children page.

"Let Your Little One Live"

We've all been encouraged by the increase in life affirming art, in all media, that has been created lately. Of course there was, "Bella" & "Juno," and soon, the "Cinema Vita Film Festival"

Now, our friend Bill May, over at Catholics for the Common Good has posted a link to a very good country-music song called "Let Your Little One Live." Check it out here.

Milk Day

Mark Leno, San Francisco’s gift to our State Assembly, announced that he plans to introduce a measure that would establish Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22, as a non-fiscal state holiday.

So In addition to Columbus, Martin Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez Days, California next year may have another holiday – Harvey Milk Day. What a model for our California youth!

It is meant to honor the first homosexual activist who held an important position with political power, when elected in 1977, as a supervisor in San Francisco.

It will certainly promote homosexuality, always under the guise of tolerance and understanding--this travesty of morality and good family living!

Lenten practice suggestion: Let Sacramento know you are not interested in that memorial day.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hail Mary!

It was a great super bowl game this year and the spectacular pass caught by David Tyree will go down in football history as one of the greatest catches of all time, along with Boston College Doug Fluties’ famous “Hail Mary” Pass. Faith can move mountains. Can it also help complete passes?

Did you know the term “Hail Mary” in reference to crucial passes is attributed to Roger Staubach? Staubach’s Catholic faith was evident in one of the best plays in NFL history. In a 1975 playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings, he threw a 50-yard bomb to receiver Drew Pearson in the final seconds to win the game, 17-14. Interviewed after the game, Staubach joked that he had said a Hail Mary just before he threw the ball.

Acknowledgment: Gerald Korson a freelance editor and writer and a former editor of Our Sunday Visitor

Political & Moral Non-Negotiables

In this election year it will be good to remind ourselves of those issues that are "non-negotiable." From the Holy Father's speech to the European Peoples Party on March 30, 2006:

"As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. Among these the following emerge clearly today:

- protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;

- recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family - as a union between a man and a woman based on marriage - and its defence from attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different forms of union which in reality harm it and contribute to its destabilization, obscuring its particular character and its irreplaceable social role;

- the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.

These principles are not truths of faith, even though they receive further light and confirmation from faith; they are inscribed in human nature itself and therefore they are common to all humanity. The Church’s action in promoting them is therefore not confessional in character, but is addressed to all people, prescinding from any religious affiliation they may have. On the contrary, such action is all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, because this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, a grave wound inflicted onto justice itself."

H/T Roman Catholic Blog.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Internet Prayer

We need all the help we can get. The internet is a mixed blessing--much good and much evil therein. It is a good idea for us to say...

A prayer before connecting to the internet
— Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Some years ago there was much chat about having St. Isidore of Seville (+636) proposed as the patron saint of the internet. I was asked to write a prayer people could recite before using the internet. It seemed to me that that was a good idea. I wrote the prayer in Latin and submitted it, with a translation into English, to a bishop who gave it his approval.

Please know that I am quite happy for people to use this prayer. I kindly ask that you give attribution. Also, if you would like to offer a translation into another language, please send it. I am waiting for a translation in Tamil right now.


Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image
and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Father Z Blog

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


One more intention for our lenten prayers:

There are more people in slavery today than in any time in recorded history!

Some official estimates say that 27 million people live in slavery worldwide today. Ten million are in India alone.

Slavery today, usually called “human trafficking,” refers to the buying and selling of human beings (including children) for the profit of other people. Victims of trafficking are usually recruited with promises, transported to another place, and then exploited. Oftentimes, victims are threatened with harm either to themselves or to their families if they try to run away. Typically they have no money, no official papers, and do not speak the local language. Most of the victims of trafficking are women or girls, many of whom are forced into slave labor, prostitution, or forced marriages.

Debt slavery (Also called bonded labor): occurs when someone takes a loan of money (often in a family emergency) in exchange for a guarantee to work for a period of time. The work is for long hours, every day, but the loan takes years to pay off or can never be paid off entirely. This is a common form of slavery in India.

Early/forced marriage: women and girls married without their consent and forced into lives of slavery.

Forced labor: Victims are offered paying jobs and then put into conditions of slavery instead.

Child labor: Children 8-17 are forced to work 12- to 18-hour days with little or no compensation.

Sex slavery: Unfortunately, this is the most common form of slavery today. The victims are sold into prostitution. The victims are often young girls aged 14-18. Today’s culture of impurity and sexual obsession has created an atmosphere where this type of abuse is growing.

Combatant slavery: The victims, often children, are forced into an army and made to kill.

(From Our Faith in Action, a program for parishes, schools and youth groups. Call 888 881 0729)

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Here are some insights picked up from a friend who ought to know. They can teach us something?

For Catholic Eyes Only

This information is for Catholics only. It must not be divulged to non-Catholics. The less they know about our rituals and code words, the better off they are.

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.

HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.

HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation's range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

INCENSE: Holy Smoke!

JESUITS: An order of priests known for their ability to find colleges with good basketball teams.

JONAH: The original 'Jaws' story.

JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.

KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava. (For you non-Catholics it means Lord have mercy.)

MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO. (The Bible's way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)

PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel, and stand.

TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.USHERS: The only people in the parish who don't know the seating capacity of a pew.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Don Bosco

February 1 is our day to pray for all deceased members of the Salesian Family.

Please add your prayers, too.

They are greatly appreciated and guaranteed to bring blessings on your family!

As we have rejoiced once more on the feast day of St. John Bosco-1/31/08 -we have prayed for all members who have come in contact with the Sons and Daughters of this great family.

St. John Bosco,
Pray for us.