Saturday, December 28, 2013

AB Cordileone to Introduce Benedict XVI Institute on Epiphany Sunday

Great news from the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco!

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will celebrate Epiphany Vespers and introduce the Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship on Sunday January 5:

Epiphany Vespers with Archbishop Cordileone
January 5, 2014 (4PM)
St Sebastian’s Catholic Church
373 Bon Air Rd, Greenbrae, CA 94904-1709

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will introduce the new Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship. Fr. Samuel F. Weber, OSB will give a talk on the spirituality of chant. Afterwards, we will celebrate vespers with the Archbishop. Refreshments will be provided.

For the latest updates, visit:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Equality at the Expense of Sanity: Women in the USMC Can't Do Pull-ups so USMC Changes Rules

From CNSNews:

Female Marines Not Required to do One Pull-Up

"Females in the Marine Corps currently are not required to do even a single pull-up, and a deadline mandating that by Jan. 1, 2014, they be able to do at least 3 pull-ups as part of their training has been delayed for at least a year, the Corps quietly announced on social media....

Currently, “women aren’t able to make the minimum standard of three pull-ups,” Marine spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan told Fifty-five percent of female recruits tested at the end of boot camp were unable to do three pull-ups (1 percent of male recruits also failed)...."

Emphasis added. At the end of USMC boot camp they can't do three pull-ups. That's amazing. I'm 56 and can do eight pull-ups, and could do plenty more with a little practice.

"Pull-ups have been used to test Marines’ upper body strength for over 40 years. The ability to pull-up one’s own body weight over a bar shows the upper body strength that, in combat, is needed to lift fallen comrades, pull one’s self over a wall, and carry heavy munitions. Combat Marines also carry a pack that weighs around 90 pounds, with gunners carrying an additional 50 or 60 pounds."

Again, emphasis added. I've spoken with Marines. They know the rules for women in the Corps are absurd and very dangerous.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

May you have a blessed Christmas, and may Mary, Help of Christians be your guide throughout the New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

USF’s Privett Compares “Vagina Monologues” to “Grammar School Christmas Pageant”

Departing President Gives Farewell Interview

The winter 2013 issue of USF Magazine, the magazine of the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, profiled the school’s departing President, Fr. Stephen A. Privett. The interview began:

“USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J., believes the time has come for new leadership at the university. Now in his 14th year as president—one of the longest tenures in USF history—he has formally announced that he will not renew his contract. This decision is not a surprise. When he renewed his contract in 2009, the USF Board of Trustees reluctantly agreed that his third five-year term would also be his last. The board has launched a search for Fr. Privett’s successor. Fr. Privett is a man of conviction, and he says what he thinks. That was on full display in his three-hour interview with USF Magazine.”

The laudatory interview mentioned almost none of the things that readers of the Cardinal Newman Society, LifeSiteNews, or California Catholic Daily would associate with Fr. Privett’s name. An exception was a question about “The Vagina Monologues.” When asked “Why does USF stage the Vagina Monologues when other Catholic universities have banned it?” Privett began his response: “As I tell our students, the Vagina Monologues has all the appeal of the annual grammar school Christmas pageant. It’s the same old thing year after year….”

Privett’s comparison of sixth graders singing Silent Night to a play which includes an approving scene of a teenager being sexually abused by an adult can be interpreted in one of three ways.

If we take him seriously, Privett either means he finds a play which approves of teenagers being sexually abused by adults as cute as sixth graders singing Silent Night. Alternatively, it can mean that he finds sixth graders singing Silent Night as disgusting as a play which approves of teenagers being sexually abused by adults.

The third possibility is that he is speaking ironically. In that case, it’s the response of a jaded sophisticate, way too hip and morally blasé to understand why either Eve Ensler or faithful Catholics would take “The Vagina Monologues” seriously, let alone why anyone at all might take a “grammar school Christmas pageant” seriously. He is not concerned with the content of “The Vagina Monologues” nor of a grammar school Christmas pageant but only that it’s “the same old thing year after year….”

The comment crystallizes Fr. Privett’s enfeebled sense of morality. It is a fitting coda to his Presidency.

The article also included a timeline of USF events during his presidency that either the interviewer or Privett thought important. The timeline did not include the closing of the school’s graduate program in Theology; the disemboweling of the school’s St. Ignatius Institute; the appointment as Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies an open homosexual who left the Catholic Church to be ordained priest in a “Catholic” church not in communion with Rome; or the appointment of an open homosexual as Executive Director of University Ministry. It also did not list the hosting of any number of speakers, conferences, and guests, far too many to name here, who hold and promote positions in direct opposition to the Catholic faith, nor did it indicate that on at least two occasions speakers/groups were hosted in direct opposition to the wishes of then-Archbishop George Niederauer.

The search for a new President of the Jesuit University is underway. Those interested may visit: The webpage also accepts nominations for the position.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"You don’t get to pretend to enter into a gay 'marriage' and go on running a Catholic High School"

In Truth and Lies, Nature and Convention: The Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage, professor Jon Corvino, a supporter of same-sex "marriage" wrote: "Whichever side prevails in this debate, the other’s views will be marginalized. There’s no getting around that."

Which brings us to Archbishop Peter J. Sartain of Seattle, God bless him, who realizes what it takes to protect the faith today. A vice-principal at one of Seattle's archdiocesan high schools, is pretending to "marry" another man. In accordance with archdiocesan rules, that is grounds for dismissal. Needless to say, anti-Catholics are upset about this. Mark Shea, who lives in that archdiocese (and whose words we use as the title of this blog post) writes:

Your prayers for our Abp Sartain and the Seattle Archdiocese would be appreciated

"He’s a very good man and a very good bishop and he’s stuck with the crappy, thankless job of having to say to Seattle-style Catholics who see no conflict between the Faith and gay “marriage” that there is in fact such a conflict and you don’t get to pretend to enter into a gay “marriage” and go on running a Catholic High School. Seattle media and a large portion of his flock will treat him like an ogre. A real shame since he’s, you know, right."

One way to help the Archbishop is through the Archdiocesan Crozier Society. They describe themselves "Catholic leaders from around the archdiocese who support the Archbishop, and help fund seminarian formation." Here's a link to their donations page.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

More Homoactivist Totalitarianism: Phil Robertson

Many times on A Shepherds Voice we have documented the totalitarian nature of the homosexualist movement. The latest: Phil Robertson, of the TV show "Duck Dynasty" which is on the A&E cable channel, has been suspended from the show for stating his opinion that homosexual acts are sinful.

The outpouring of support for Mr. Robertson has been tremendous--as of this writing a Facebook page supporting him has received more than 1.2 million "likes." In addition to the everyday people who have liked the Facebook page, prominent people have supported Mr. Robertson. Among them is feminist Camille Paglia, who said:

“To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades,” Paglia said. “This is the whole legacy of free speech 1960’s that have been lost by my own party.”

The situation also allows us to highlight another of the lies homosexual activists have to tell to support their irrational position. Mr. Chad Griffin, president of The Human Rights Campaign said:

"Phil Robertson's remarks are not consistent with the values of our faith communities or the scientific findings of leading medical organizations," president Chad Griffin said in a statement. "We know that being gay is not a choice someone makes, and that to suggest otherwise can be incredibly harmful.

That's empirically untrue, as the number of ex-same sex attracted persons proves. Even the homosexualist  OUT magazine has an article about Charline de Blasio, the black wife of new NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio titled "When Bill de Blasio's wife was a lesbian." Mrs. de Blasio is no longer a lesbian, or in the more elastic terminology of today, no longer "identifies" as a lesbian.

She is still, however, as photographs show, black. That's not something one "identifies" as. It's just an observable, unchangeable fact. It demonstrates the fallacy of homosexual activists' attempt to co-opt the civil rights struggle of African Americans.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

John Podesta's Blood Libel: Democrat Compares Republicans to "Jonestown"

On Tuesday, John Podesta, a senior advisor to President Obama compared his political adversaries to Jim Jones, founder of the People's Temple.USA Today reported:

 "(in an article)... by Politico Magazine, Podesta is quoted comparing Republicans to the infamous cult led by Jim Jones, who was responsible for the 1978 cyanide poisoning of more than 900 of his followers in Guyana.

"They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress," said Podesta of what Obama's White House team faces. Jonestown was the informal name of the settlement founded by Jones and his American followers.

On Wednesday, Podesta apologized for his impolitic comment.

'In an old interview, my snark got in front of my judgment. I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected.'"

As a native San Franciscan, I am quite familiar with the People's Temple. More than that, for a year, I attended Opportunity High, a public "alternative" high school, whose faculty were quite friendly to Jim Jones. A couple of years after I left, a large number of People's Temple children enrolled at Opportunity. A number of these young people were among the hundreds dead in Jonestown. A book has been written about the Opportunity High/Jim Jones connection by Opportunity teachers Judy Bebelaar and Ron Cabral. I remember both teachers well. Here's a timeline accompanying the book, called "And Then They Were Gone."

California Democrats would like everyone to forget their ties to Jim Jones and the People's Temple. Why let them rewirite history? Here's a short lesson:

San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, Democrat, Jim Jones, Lt. Governor Mervyn Dymally, Democrat.

California Speaker of the Assembly (later San Francisco Mayor) Willie Brown, Democrat, at left.
Jim Jones is at far right.

California Governor Jerry Brown, Democrat, and Jim Jones,

Again, Mayor George Moscone, Democrat, with Jones.

Letter from "gay saint" Supervisor Harvey Milk, a Democrat, in support of Jones.

First Lady Rosalyn Carter (center), wife of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, with Jones (right).

We have written about this before, here.

Monday, December 16, 2013

16th Century Nativity Scene Features People With Down Syndrome

This is from a post by Erna Albertz, writing at the Riftom website.

"In 1515 the painting 'The Adoration of the Christ Child,' was created by a follower of the Dutch painter Jan Joest of Kalkar. A close look at the artwork reveals two characters who appear to have Down syndrome. One a shepherd–looking down at the scene from behind a post at the center of the painting–and the other an angel standing beside the mother Mary, these two participants in the nativity are situated in what would seem to be places of honor. Because the painter is unknown, his motive for placing them there can only be surmised. He may have had a child with Down syndrome or simply known individuals with the condition. At that time, the syndrome also may not have been formally diagnosed as it is today. What seems beyond doubt is that he felt they belonged there, in the midst of the holy scene."

Ms. Albertz is not the first observer to note the presence of people with Down Syndrome in the painting--in responding to a comment to her article, she notes some scholars had written about it in 2003. 

What a lovely Christmas picture by the unknown artist!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Church Fifth Column Rewrites Vatican Family "Survey" for own Agenda

This article, to which we contributed, appeared in today's California Catholic Daily.
Vatican survey used as propaganda tool
LGBT efforts to skew results

The November 28, 2013 issue of San Francisco’s homosexualist Bay Area Reporter published an article titled “Vatican asks Catholics for views on marriage.”
The BAR article began “In yet another indication of a changing Catholic Church, the Vatican is asking members of the laity their views on marriage and family life – and a whole lot more.
“News of Pope Francis’s wish to hear from the faithful on a variety of topics – including same-sex marriage, contraception, cohabitation, divorce, and remarriage – broke in a recent story in the National Catholic Reporter.
From coast to coast, reaction from LGBTs is “uniformly positive…”
The Vatican document Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context  of Evangelization begins: “The mission of preaching the Gospel to all creation, entrusted directly by the Lord to his disciples, has continued in the Church throughout history. The social and spiritual crisis, so evident in today’s world, is becoming a pastoral challenge in the Church’s evangelizing mission concerning the family, the vital building-block of society and the ecclesial community. Never before has proclaiming the Gospel on the Family in this context been more urgent and necessary. The importance of the subject is reflected in the fact that the Holy Father has decided to call for a Synod of Bishops, which is to have a two-staged itinerary: firstly, an extraordinary general assembly in 2014, intended to define the status quaestionis and to collect the bishops’ experiences and proposals in proclaiming and living the Gospel of the Family in a credible manner; and secondly, an ordinary general assembly in 2015 to seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.”

At the bottom of the document is a series of questions that “allows the particular churches to participate actively in the preparation of the extraordinary synod.” Certain Catholics have apparently taken “active participation” to mean rewriting the survey for use in furthering their political agenda within the Church. Anti-family groups have issued their version of the survey and will forward the results to Rome. The group includes Call to Action, New Ways Ministry, DignityUSA, Roman Catholic Womenpriests, and others. These groups’ survey can be accessed through the National Catholic Reporter. The introduction reads:  “As organizations committed to ensuring that all Catholics have a voice in Church governance and policy, we want to make sure that you have a chance to have your voice heard on these important matters. In order to do that, we have developed an online survey that reflects the original intent of the survey sent by Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri for you to complete. Questions marked with * have been added for additional information, and were not part of the original bishops’ survey.”
That the anti-family survey “reflects the original intent” is not true. This survey was far more interested in controlling the response than was the Vatican document. The Vatican document had no “multiple choice” answers–Catholics could respond in any way they liked.  By contrast, 23 of the 49 questions in the Call to Action survey have multiple-choice answers, followed by a ‘comment” field. Multiple-choice surveys, which restrict the range of possible responses, are a well-understood instrument for producing prefab results.
In the Vatican document, question 8a reads: “Jesus Christ reveals the mystery and vocation of the human person. How can the family be a privileged place for this to happen?”  No such question appears in the anti-family survey. In fact, neither the words “Jesus” nor “Christ” appear in this survey.
Here’s an example where the LGBT survey did not use an asterisk—indicating they did not consider it an “added” question. Question 5b in the Vatican document reads: “What is the attitude of the local and particular churches towards both the state as the promoter of civil unions between persons of the same sex and the people involved in this type of union?” Survey takers were invited to respond in any way they liked. But in the CTA survey the same question (#30) was presented as: “What is the attitude of the following towards marriage equality?”  “The following” were then disaggregated answer categories. The first three (of six) answer categories were: “Attitude of my diocese toward marriage equality,” then “Attitude of my parish toward marriage equality,” then “Attitude of my small faith community toward marriage equality.” The multiple-choice responses were: “Hostile and Condemning”; “Negative”; “Neutral/NA”; “Somewhat supportive”; or “Highly supportive”.
In the first three answer categories, although the question itself was deliberately spun, there was a logical relation to the question. The answer categories simply investigated the question at diocesan, parish, and small faith group levels. But in the second set of three answer categories new factors are introduced that have nothing to do with marriage, or even same-sex “marriage,” at all. The next three answer categories to the same question “What is the attitude of the following towards marriage equality?” were: “Attitude of my diocese toward same-sex couples” then “Attitude of my parish toward same sex couples in a committed partnership” then “Attitude of my small faith community toward same sex couples in a committed partnership.”  Those three categories of persons are not found in the Vatican’s question, which concerned people in same-sex civil unions. They aren’t even found in Call to Action’s own question “What is the attitude of the following towards marriage equality?” In a serious survey those questions would be seen as senseless, but this pro-homosexual survey is designed as a propaganda tool.

20 Year High in U.S. Vocations! Thank you JP2 & Pope Emeritus Benedict!

The Wall Street Journal interviews Christopher White, author of "Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops is Revitalizing the Catholic Church" about the wonderful number of vocations in the Church. Let's hope the trend continues under Pope Francis!

 You can watch the video below. Hat tip Fr. Z.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Some “Obsession” required: Hispanic abortion rate shows more episcopal leadership needed

On September 19, 2013, the New York Times reported that Pope Francis, the first Hispanic Pope, had said “that the church had grown 'obsessed' with abortion.” On December 4, 2013 Life News reported on the latest abortion statistics from the Center for Disease Control. The article began with “good” news—3% fewer children were killed in 2010 than were in 2009, but noted the astronomical rates in the Black and Hispanic communities:

"The new report from the Centers for Disease Control had good numbers across the nation when it came to abortion — with abortions declining three percent in 2010 after a five percent decrease in 2009. But they also contained shocking figures showing abortion targets blacks and Hispanics.

The CDC Abortion Surveillance Report dated November 29, 2013 reveals that in 2010, 56.7% of abortions reported to the CDC nationwide were done on Hispanic and Black women.

According to the report, there were 415,479 abortions for known ethnicity reported for selected states in 2010 and 153,045 (or 36.8 percent) were non-Hispanic white babies, 148,261 (or 35.7 percent) were non-Hispanic black babies, 87,240 (or 21.0 percent) were Hispanic babies, and 26,933 (or 6.5 percent) were babies of other races or ethnicities.”

According to the 2010 census, Hispanics comprise 16.3% of the U.S. population. The 21% of US abortions that are Hispanic babies thus significantly exceeds the Hispanic percentage of the population. Since most Hispanics identify as Catholic, this indicates a serious lack of catechesis. In the African-American community, which has been targeted by Planned Parenthood from that organization’s beginning, Protestant clergy such as California’s own Pastor Walter Hoye and the Reverend Clenard Childress of New Jersey have devoted their lives to fighting the nightmarish rate of black abortion. As the same trends are now afflicting the Hispanic communities, equivalent leadership in that community is needed.

One does not need to look far to see Hispanic Catholic clergy whose available resources (except for courage and determination) dwarf those of men like Hoye and Childress. I refer to the Hispanic Bishops. In California such men include the newly-elected leader of the California Catholic Conference, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento; Bishop Rutilio del Riego of San Bernardino; and above all, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, by far the largest Catholic Archdiocese in the country. There is no question about these Bishops’ pro-life beliefs: they have led pro-life vigils, attended 40 Days For Life events, and del Riego and Soto have been annual attendees at San Francisco’s Walk for Life West Coast. But as the numbers of Hispanic babies being killed shows, a far more systematic, day-to-day, and inflexible approach is needed, and needed now. Planned Parenthood, for one, is not waiting. According to the U.S. Census, San Francisco's population in 1990 was 10.9% African Americans and 13.3% Hispanic. By 2010 those numbers had shifted to 6.1% African American and 15.1% Hispanic. In 2011 Planned Parenthood Golden closed their abortion business on Eddy Street, right on the edge of one of the largest concentration of African Americans in the city and re-opened on Valencia Street, right on the edge of the largest concentration of Hispanics in the city.

“Obsession” over abortion is mandatory. If one accepts the Catholic teaching that murder is wrong, coupled with the scientific fact that each human life begins at conception, to not be “obsessed” at legal abortion is to be irrational, immoral, and anti-Christian.

Friday, December 6, 2013

CDC: 62% of Men Who Know They're HIV Positive Have Unprotected Anal Intercourse

From CNSNews comes the latest "contribution of the LGBT movement to American Society," to paraphrase State Senator Mark Leno. The article misuses language, unfortuately--"anal sex" is an oxymoron, and sodomy is not sex any more than masturbation is sex.

"Sixty-two percent of American men who know they are HIV positive continue to have unprotected anal sex, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

This data, which was published Friday, came from the federal government's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System.

The percentage of self-aware HIV-positive men who engage in unprotected anal sex has been increasing, according to the CDC. In 2005, 55 percent did so. In 2008, 57 percent did so. And, in 2011, 62 percent did so.

'Unprotected anal sex is a high-risk practice for HIV infection, with receptive anal sex having the highest risk,' said the CDC report. 'Unprotected anal sex also places MSM at risk for other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea.'"

In 2010, we wrote:

"Since 1980, over 18,866 people in San Francisco have died from AIDS...Of the over 18,000 deaths, 17,035 were of same-sex attracted men (14,125 men who have “sex” with men; 2,869 men who have “sex” with men who were also intravenous drug users). 15,330 of those who died were under 50 years old...In March, 2010 the Center for Disease Control reported that in the United States men who have “sex” with men are 44 times more likely to contract HIV than are other men. They are also the only risk group among whom HIV infection rates are increasing. This is neither random nor a chastisement from God. It is the clearly demonstrable result of specific behavior. In his important 1997 book "Sexual Ecology: Aids and the Destiny of Gay Men" activist Gabriel Rotello writes "For various reasons we are, in effect, defending the behaviors that are killing us."

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NEW Walk for Life West Coast Video!

Get ready! The Walk for Life West Coast is on January 25, 2014! Below are excerpts from the latest press release, and the Walk's 2014 promo video. Of course, Fr. Malloy was the chaplain of the Walk from its inception until his death. He's working even harder for the littlest among us from Heaven!

Dynamic new video celebrates 10th Anniversary of the Walk for Life West Coast in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, December 2, 2013 – A powerful new video chronicles the growth, determination, joy, and energy of the second biggest pro-life event in the United Sates: the Walk for Life West Coast.

The video opens with footage from 2005, when 7,000 pro-lifers, opposed by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors of the city of San Francisco, faced down volatile protesters and took to the city’s streets in a peaceful march for the littlest among us. Thus the Walk for Life West Coast was born. This powerful new video shows how the Walk has grown each year, ending with footage from 2013, when over 50,000 men, women, and children, joined by the Papal Nuncio, carried the pro-life message from the Civic Center, down Market Street to the Bay. Since its founding in 2005, the Walk for Life West Coast, now one of the largest annual events in San Francisco, has become a regular feature of the City’s life.

As the 10th anniversary approaches, West Coast pro-lifers are energized and making plans for the 10th Annual Walk for Life West Coast at San Francisco’s Civic Center on January 25, 2014. The 2014 Walk promises a bigger, more dynamic, and grassroots event that will make manifest an increasingly obvious truth: America is becoming more pro-life...

The Walk for Life West Coast is gearing up for some vibrant speakers this year, including:

Shari Rigby, actress in the film October Baby, who will share her powerful testimony of post-abortion healing

Grace Dulaney, founder of the Agnus Dei Foundation, who will share her personal experience with adoption and the work she is doing to help women who choose adoption

Monica Snyder, a representative of Secular Pro-Life, a group that seeks to unite all pro-lifers regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof

Rev. Clenard Childress, founder and director of, a website designed to reach the African-American Community with the truth about abortion

The Silent No More Post-Abortion Awareness Campaign, an important part of the Walk since its founding, will once again offer a program of testimony from abortion survivors and post-abortion healing prior to the rally. At this rally and through the Walk itself, participants are eager to respond to the call of Pope Francis, “We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound.”

Founded in 2005 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area residents, the Walk for Life West Coast’s mission is to change the perceptions of a society that thinks abortion is an answer. Walk participants are expected from throughout the Bay Area and across the United States and Canada.

More details and the most up-to-date information about the walk is available at:

To set up an interview with any of the Walk for Life West Coast’s
dynamic speakers or event organizers, please contact:

Rose Trabbic, Publicist, Walk for Life West Coast, or (239)867-4180

Adult Stem-Cell UPDATE: Adult Stem-Cells Transformed into Functional Lung Cells!

It's been one of our mantras here at A Shepherd's Voice since Fr. Malloy, the Church and others opposed California's Proposition 71 in 2004: Are California voters having second thoughts yet about shelling out $3 billion + for immoral & unproven embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to show a single cure, while adult stem cells are curing people left and right?

This is from Stem Cells Freak, a website devoted to  stem-cell news:

"Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center announced today that they have succeeded in transforming human induced pluripotent stem cells into functional lung and airway cells.

The advance, has significant potential for modeling lung disease, screening drugs, studying human lung development, and, ultimately, generating lung tissue for transplantation.

"Researchers have had relative success in turning human stem cells into heart cells, pancreatic beta cells, intestinal cells, liver cells, and nerve cells, raising all sorts of possibilities for regenerative medicine. Now, we are finally able to make lung and airway cells.
This is important because lung transplants have a particularly poor prognosis. Although any clinical application is still many years away, we can begin thinking about making autologous lung transplants -- that is, transplants that use a patient's own skin cells to generate functional lung tissue.", said study leader Hans-Willem Snoeck, MD, PhD (above, left), professor of medicine (in microbiology & immunology) and affiliated with the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology and the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative."

God bless all scientists who are ethically doing so much to better the human condition!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pope Francis on an Ethical Approach to Economics

In the first Apostolic Exhortation of his Pontificate, “Evangelii Gaudium” (Joy of the Gospel), Pope Francis writes about a just economy. His thoughts included this:

“54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about great­er justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. ..” Emphases added.

I think that is correct, and well in line with what previous Popes have said, especially with the qualification "inevitably" properly understood. But what do we do about it? The Holy Father, quite rightly, does not offer specifics. Four sections later he writes

“58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determi­nation and an eye to the future, while not ignor­ing, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of econom­ics and finance to an ethical approach which fa­vours human beings.”

Certainly. But the practical question of how we get to this “ethical approach” remains. The Holy Father is “urging…political leaders… to face this challenge.” That the state should guard the interests of the people is correct. But how do you do that without unfettering the government? Who guards the guardians? Let’s remember the Holy Fathers warning against having “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic (read: political) power.” It’s the oldest conundrum in political philosophy: Who fetters the fetterers?

The scandal of “capitalism” is that, economically, it seems to work. An economic system that encourages men to look after number one, has managed, in spite of itself, to produce a surplus of goods. That these goods are not always distributed justly is another question—and it is the one that concerns the Holy Father--but the surplus is created. One problem, for a Christian, is that an economic system that encourages men to look after number one is quite likely to encourage behaviors that can prevent people from going to Heaven. And the related conundrum for the Church is: an economic system that is quite likely to prevent at least some people from going to Heaven also seems to be the best available means for enacting the “preferential option for the poor”—if by that is meant moving the poor out of material poverty. Before you can give to the poor, you need to have something to give. Despite what the Holy Father wrote, the argument that a “capitalist” economy produces more and better goods than a “socialist” economy seems to me to be empirically verifiable. “Capitalism” although with the enormous glaring flaw just described, seems to work, economically, while “Socialism,” beautifully moral in principle, does not. There is also no evidence that socialism, theoretically moral though it may be, produces more morally upright people. To believe so, to paraphrase the Holy Father, would require “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic (read: political) power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic (read: political) system.” The crimes of socialist regimes when in power: the U.S.S.R., China, the Third Reich, Cambodia are to well known to need repeating.

Towards the beginning of his essay on Charles Dickens, George Orwell writes “…Nadezhda Krupskaya, in her little book on Lenin, relates that towards the end of his life Lenin went to see a dramatized version of The Cricket on the Hearth, and found Dickens's 'middle-class sentimentality' so intolerable that he walked out in the middle of a scene.” A little further on, Orwell gives a hint as to why a man like Lenin would find Dickens intolerable “The truth is that Dickens's criticism of society is almost exclusively moral. Hence the utter lack of any constructive suggestion anywhere in his work. He attacks the law, parliamentary government, the educational system and so forth, without ever clearly suggesting what he would put in their places…There is no clear sign that he wants the existing order to be overthrown, or that he believes it would make very much difference if it WERE overthrown. For in reality his target is not so much society as 'human nature'. It would be difficult to point anywhere in his books to a passage suggesting that the economic system is wrong AS A SYSTEM. Nowhere, for instance, does he make any attack on private enterprise or private property… His whole 'message' is one that at first glance looks like an enormous platitude: If men would behave decently the world would be decent.” Emphases in the original.

Pages later, after describing the horrors of industrial age England, Orwell writes that there is always a new tyrant waiting to take over from the old tyrant, and comes to the conclusion “The central problem–how to prevent power from being abused–remains unsolved. Dickens, who had not the vision to see that private property is an obstructive nuisance, had the vision to see that. 'If men would behave decently the world would be decent' is not such a platitude as it sounds.’” Emphasis added.

So we’re back to where we started, where Plato started where Juvenal started: How do we get men to behave decently without exchanging one set of fetters for another, fetters more permanent because claiming justification and the right to use force from the will of the people. There is not a systemic solution to this, not a capitalist solution, not a socialist solution, because it is a problem at the level of the person. Engaging that problem, the problem of you and me, is exactly the job of the Church.

Croatia Defends Marriage: "I think children should grow up in a family that has a mother and father"

Common sense from Croatia! They voted to inscribe natural marriage in their constitution. From Reuters:

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croats voted overwhelmingly in favour of defining marriage in the constitution as a "union of man and woman" on Sunday, a move initiated by Roman Catholic groups but criticised by opponents as discrimination against homosexuals.

Almost 66 percent of those who voted in the referendum in the new European Union member endorsed the initiative, launched by the Catholic group "In the Name of the Family", according to preliminary results on Sunday night. Turnout was 37 percent.

The group had gathered over 740,000 signatures in support of the referendum, forcing parliament to call the vote.

The Social Democrat-led government disagreed with the referendum's demand, but the outcome was no surprise in a morally conservative country where 90 percent of the population of 4.4 million say they are Catholic.

The Church wholeheartedly backed the initiative, which sought to define marriage in the constitution rather than law so that its status can only be changed by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

"I am happy because, from now on, no future government will be able to legalise gay marriages," said Zeljka Markic, leader of "In the Name of the Family".

Ballet dancer Sanja Grgic said: "I have nothing against gay people, I have many gay friends, but I voted in favour because I think children should grow up in a family that has a mother and a father..."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life"

In the first Apostolic Exhortation of his Pontificate, “Evangelii Gaudium” (Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis writes about abortion:

"Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenceless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this. Frequently, as a way of ridiculing the Church’s effort to defend their lives, attempts are made to present her position as ideological, obscurantist and conservative. Yet this defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right. It involves the conviction that a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of development. Human beings are ends in themselves and never a means of resolving other problems. Once this conviction disappears, so do solid and lasting foundations for the defence of human rights, which would always be subject to the passing whims of the powers that be. Reason alone is sufficient to recognize the inviolable value of each single human life, but if we also look at the issue from the standpoint of faith, “every violation of the personal dignity of the human being cries out in vengeance to God and is an offence against the creator of the individual”.

Precisely because this involves the internal consistency of our message about the value of the human person, the Church cannot be expected to change her position on this question. I want to be completely honest in this regard. This is not something subject to alleged reforms or “modernizations”. It is not “progressive” to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life. On the other hand, it is also true that we have done little to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution to their profound anguish, especially when the life developing within them is the result of rape or a situation of extreme poverty. Who can remain unmoved before such painful situations?"

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bishop Paprocki's Supplication and Exorcism in reparation for the sin of same-sex "marriage"

John White, over at CatholicVote has a series of excerpts from the homily given by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield this past Wednesday. Bishop Paprocki began:

"We are gathered here today in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for a special Holy Hour before the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to participate in "Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage." I wish to preface my reflections by saying that I am conducting this prayer service and am speaking to you now with great reluctance. I did not seek to enter any controversy and I don't relish being part of one. But I have given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer, which has led me to the conviction that God is calling me to speak out and conduct these prayers."

The homily is so good (as Mr. White says) that one might as well just excerpt the whole thing. I do note His Excellency makes the same point we made here on November 14, where we highlighted the identical positions of Pope Francis and Archbishop Cordileone, that same-sex "marriage" comes from the devil:

"The deception of the Devil in same-sex marriage may be understood by recalling the words of Pope Francis when he faced a similar situation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010. Regarding the proposed redefinition of civil marriage in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote on June 22, 2010, 'The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy. . . . Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.' The Pope’s reference to the 'father of lies' comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as 'a liar and the father of lies.' So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex 'marriage' comes from the devil and should be condemned as such."

But there is much, much more:

"Same-sex marriage is contrary to the plan of God, as described in the Bible, when Jesus cites the Book of Genesis in asking the Pharisees, 'Have you not read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female and declared, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, and the two shall become as one?' Thus they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, let no man separate what God has joined.'

Since the legal redefinition of marriage is contrary to God's plan, those who contract civil same-sex marriage are culpable of serious sin. Politicians responsible for enacting civil same-sex marriage legislation are morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin. We must pray for forgiveness of these sins and deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our Church. The Church stands ready to extend God's mercy to those who confess their sins with true repentance and a firm purpose of amendment in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

His Excellency's closing paragraphs show the love of the Church for all her children, including her same-sex attracted children, as well as reminding all of us, same-sex attracted Christians included, that we will have to carry our individual crosses:

We must also affirm the teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual persons 'must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.' The Church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion, offering assistance through support groups such as the Courage Apostolate to live in accord with the virtue of chastity. Indeed, all people all called to chastity, which for a man and woman united in matrimony means for the husband and wife to be faithful to each other.

In conclusion, I quote from a homily given in the second century: 'Let me say also that when we are given a warning and corrected for doing something wrong, we should not be so foolish as to take offense and be angry. There are times when we are unconscious of the sins we commit because our hearts are fickle, lacking in faith. Futile desires becloud our minds. We need to pull ourselves up, therefore, because our very salvation is at stake. Those who keep God's commandments will have reason to rejoice. For a short time in this world they may have to suffer, but they will rise again and their reward will endure for ever. No one who holds God in reverence should grieve over the hardships of this present time, for a time of blessedness awaits him. He will live again in heaven in the company of all those who have gone before him; for all eternity he will rejoice, never to know sorrow again.'

May God give us this grace. Amen.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Homosexualist Cultural Imperialism

We have been pointing out the international nature of the homosexualist movement at A Shepherd's Voice for a while. Here's an excerpt from our September 9, 2013 column Rainbow Flags and the Russian Anti-Propaganda Law:

"It is thought-provoking to see, for instance, on the 3000 block of Pacific Avenue, a large rainbow flag flying just a few doors down from where the Egyptian flag flies in front of the Egyptian Consulate. Ditto for the 3500 block of Clay Street where the Korean flag flies in front of the Korean Consulate and four doors away one sees a large rainbow flag flying in front of a large lavender-colored house. Flags are a public assertion of loyalty. This juxtaposition of flags expressing loyalty to a nation flying next to flags expressing loyalty to a group with similar sexual proclivities should provoke anyone to stop and think about what that means for a society."

On the same subject, we had not seen this, another hard-hitting column by Robert Oscar Lopez in Public Discourse. Here are some excerpts:

Speaking before the United Nations earlier this month—bragging about American leadership in a global movement to normalize homosexuality, same-sex marriage, artificial reproductive technology, and cross-dressing—John Kerry revealed the deep pockets and loaded guns that the world’s only superpower can count on to bring such ideas to nations that have religious or cultural objections...
"...In many cases, these less-wealthy nations, such as India, Ghana, and Mexico, are being asked simultaneously to abandon their religious or cultural views of family life and to provide surrogate mothers to the growing market of homosexual couples looking to acquire children.

In crude terms, male-male couples that want children are looking to control a dependent without having to support the child’s biological mother beyond birth.

As I have learned quite well, the word “slavery” is incendiary to homosexuals who feel they are simply trying to found loving families. Still, international gay surrogacy involves predominantly wealthy and white men from powerful countries buying babies from poor women of color and taking them away forever. If you buy a human being, what is this if not an echo of the world’s wretched history of human bondage?

Forcing other countries to redefine their heritage, legacy, familial support systems, religions, moralities, and role models, then implying to them that it is okay to sell their children to American homosexual couples in a brave new world is . . . well, not exactly what most rioters had in mind when they fought with police in front of the Stonewall Inn.

We have not done enough to warn people in vulnerable countries—not only in Latin America, but everywhere in the world—about a globalist ideology that is rising to immense power in the twenty-first century, based on breaking down mores and social relationships that evolved from reliable gender definitions. The LGBT lobby is encouraging homosexual men to take children away from mothers of the Third World, and then leaving the surrogate mothers to perish once the initial fee is paid."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pope Francis, Archbishop Cordileone, and Michael Sean Winters

 National Catholic Reporter blogger deliberately misinforms

On Monday, November 11, at the General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco spoke to the press. His Excellency chairs the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. His Excellency lamented the recent Supreme Court decision on DOMA, and its lack of a decision on the Proposition 8 case. About Proposition 8 he noted the abdication of responsibility, when it suits them, by public officials charged with enforcing laws: "Increasingly we are witnessing public officials placing their opinions over the laws they are charged to Defend…In the area of marriage this has happened in a striking way with DOMA, Proposition 8, and in other jurisdictions with respect to marriage laws."

The Archbishop’s statement provoked a response by Michael Sean Winters, of the National Catholic Reporter. Mr. Winters wrote:

“The Church is a big ship, and she does not turn quickly. So, perhaps it would be expecting too much for the bishops to get with a new program too quickly. This morning, Archbishop Vigano said, "he [the pope] made a special point of saying that he wants 'pastoral' bishops, not bishops who profess or follow a particular ideology." Now, I am listening to Archbishop Sal Cordileone discuss the "defense of marriage. It is not clear to me why the archbishop thinks it is vital that photography studios be able to discriminate against gay couples. His reading of the politicallandscape if even more strange. +Cordileone is still at the barricades in the culture wars. This summer the pope, when asked about a gay monsignor, said, ‘who am I to judge?’ This was widely reported. Apparently, albeit unreported, the Holy Father intended to leave judgment to +Cordileone.”

Since the subject under discussion was same-sex “marriage” it might first be instructive to compare the positions of Archbishop Cordileone and the Holy Father on the issue. In 2009, Archbishop Cordileone told the East Bay Express:

"The ultimate attack of the Evil One is the attack on marriage," he said. "If you take marriage apart, everything comes unraveled. It's been frayed at the edges, and now moving more and more toward the center. But you take marriage out, it all comes unraveled. It all comes tumbling down. And again, the evangelicals, they understand that. They understand this is an attack of the Evil One at the core institution."

The next year, 2010, when faced with a similar situation, legislation for same-sex “marriage” in Argentina, the Holy Father, then-Cardinal Bergoglio, said:

“Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Far from being at odds, it sounds like Cardinal Bergoglio was channeling the recent statement of Bishop Cordileone. In fact, both prelates were repeating the teaching of the Church.

Mr. Winters then offers the conventional and deliberate misunderstanding of the Pope’s “Airplane Statement.” He writes “This summer the pope, when asked about a gay monsignor, said, ‘who am I to judge?’”

That is a deliberate misunderstanding, and it is stupid, because the Pope’s words are easily found. The Holy Father was answering a question from journalist Inez Scamparini, about Monsignor Battista Ricca. The Holy Father discussed Ricca, and then said:

“ spoke about the gay lobby. So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with “gay” on it. They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying ... wait a moment, how does it say it ... it says: “no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society”. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem.”

Mr. Winters ignores, to the point of deception, a number of things in this statement. He writes that the Holy Father says “who am I to judge?” when the actual sentence reads “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” First, that “if” is a very big “if.” Second, the Holy Father is discussing a “someone,” a particular person, and, in the previous sentence specifically says “you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good.” Third, the “gay lobby” that the Holy Father was condemning—judging--obviously includes those who would lobby for same-sex “marriage”—precisely the issue Archbishop Cordileone was addressing. Simply put, the Holy Father’s “Airplane Statement” not only does not contradict the Archbishop’s position, it validates it.

It is revealing that Mr. Winters, and others, seek to deliberately misunderstand what the Pope was so obviously saying. They are deliberately fooling themselves and seeking to fool others. It indicates they don’t care about what he actually said, only about how they can spin it to push a particular agenda. On a deeper level it indicates that they don’t believe reality is important, but only that what people think about reality is important.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mainsteam Media=Democratic Lapdogs

Some years back the famous libertarian blogger Glenn Reynolds observed (I'm quoting from memory) that if you care about a free press, you should always vote Republican, because the mainstream media is so committed to the Democratic Party they will not do their jobs when a Democratic administration is in power.

The nightmare of Obamacare (following the nightmare of Benghazi and the nightmare of the IRS's deliberate and selective targeting of conservative, pro-life and Tea Party groups) bears this out. You don't need to censor the press, when they are willing to your bidding for free.

The Obamacare disaster, in which millions of Americans have lost their health care insurance as a result of government action, is, in my opinion, one of the biggest stories of our lifetimes. Millions of Americans have had their health insurance cancelled. The number may go as high as 52 million.This should be the lead story every day in every press outlet in the country. Michael Goodwin of the New York Post took the New York Times to task for this on Sunday, November 10:

New York Times' Obama cheerleading harms the nation

"As watchdogs became lapdogs, the presidential bubble grew impenetrable, isolating him from ordinary Americans and the trickle-down pain of his policies.

From the broadcast networks to MSNBC and most large papers, Obama got the benefit of every doubt. The double standards were a daily disgrace so routine, they mostly provoked a shrug instead of outrage.

Mr. Goodwin continues (although I think he is being way to generous to the press--imagine if Obamacare had happened, for instance, under the last President Bush):

"The ObamaCare debacle is the exception that proves the rule.  Wall-to-wall complaints are forcing the media to report that the law’s Web site is a lemon and that its rules are causing millions of people to lose insurance plans they liked.

The mainstream media is acting only because the story is too big to ignore. Had it been mildly skeptical sooner, it could have exposed the law’s destructive rules and prevented the disaster."

The Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell was even harsher on the mainstream media's coverage of the Benghazi disaster, where four Americans, including our Ambassador to Libya, were murdered. Mr. Caddell thinks the bias is specifically for President Obama, rather than for Democrats in general:

Dem Pollster Pat Caddell: MSM is Threatening Future of Country

“First of all, we’ve had 9 days of lies…If a president of either party…had had a terrorist incident and gotten on an airplane [after remarks] and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified…it should have been, should have been, the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all. Nothing will be said. [...] It is [unacceptable] to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know. [The MSM] has made themselves the enemy of the American people. It is a threat to the very future of the country; we’ve crossed a new and frightening line on the slippery slope, and it needs to be talked about.”

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pope Francis: Same-Sex "Marriage" is "A 'move' from the father of lies"

We know Pope Francis's stance on same-sex "marriage." Here is his 2010 statement opposing the bill that would make same-sex "marriage" and adoption legal in Argentina:

"In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family…At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

Cardinal Bergoglio continued: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

We bring this up to expose the lies that the supporters of counterfeit "marriage" tell. The Illinois Legislature just legalized counterfeit marriage in their state, and some of them are attempting to justify their votes by citing Pope Francis's off the cuff statements. From the Chicago Tribune:

"Advocates soon received additional help from Pope Francis, who warned that the Catholic Church could lose its way by focusing too much on social stances, including opposition to homosexuality.

"If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?" Francis said in July.

The comments sparked a wave of soul-searching by several Catholic lawmakers who had battled to reconcile their religious beliefs with their sworn duty to represent their constituents who were increasingly supportive of gay rights even as Cardinal Francis George remained opposed.

"As a Catholic follower of Jesus and the pope, Pope Francis, I am clear that our Catholic religious doctrine has at its core love, compassion and justice for all people," said Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, a Democrat from Aurora who voted for the bill after spending much of the summer undecided.

So they deliberately twist the Pope's message of love for of all people into support for same-sex "marriage"--despite the fact that the Holy Father said:

 "At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts.”

Cardinal Bergoglio continued: “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God.”


Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Roots of the Obamacare Debacle

So many social problems are rooted in our culture's current unwillingness to accept truth exists outside of human thoughts and desires.On April 1, 2011 we posted about a then-recent column by Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami (now in the running to be the next President of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops). His Excellency observed:

"In our nation's culture wars, the two sides are fighting about the understanding of man and his relationship to truth and reality. One side — and today, "gay marriage" is its poster child — holds that anyone can essentially create his or her own reality. This side holds for a radical autonomy by which truth is determined not by the nature of things, but by one's own individual will. The other side holds men and women are not self-creators, but creatures. Truth is not constructed, but received and thus must reflect the reality of things. Or, as the Book of Genesis says: "Male and female, He (God) created them." (Genesis 1:27)."

The Archbishop's observation is being understood by more and more people. Over the last few days the Obamacare debacle has brought it home, as these three recent columns show. In the column Barack Obama's Narrative Illusions, Andrew Klavan describes a previous column he wrote, but which various editors declined:

"It was based on Obama’s answer to the usual campaign question: “Why do you want to be president?” His answer, which I can no longer find to quote verbatim, had to do with how inspiring it would be to black children to see him sworn in on Inauguration Day.

That, I wrote at the time, is not a reason to be president. It’s a reason to play the president, as an actor plays a role. In this long-ago unpublished op-ed, I used my novelistic x-ray vision to look into the then-candidate’s soul and point out that this was not a man who actually wanted to do — or was even capable of doing — the work of a chief executive. He just thought it would be an all around Good Thing if he could live out his fantasy of being in that part.

It is now apparent to any honest observer that Obama is a rank incompetent too arrogant and foolish to alter his political philosophy even after reality has proven it false. As his record at the time of his original candidacy should have warned us, he has no business in the Oval Office. He simply isn’t up for the job.

And what is extra tragicomical about Obama’s spectacular failure is that so many of the journalists who cover him are ALSO content to have him play rather than be the president — just as they themselves are content to play at heroically helping the poor and minorities even as their left-wing policies make the poor even poorer and the marginalized more marginalized still.

The reason for this is that both Obama and many of our journalists were trained in the post-modern academy where they were taught that there is no such thing as moral truth but only culturally inculcated narratives. In such a world, the moral narrative that can be drummed into the head of the populace is the truth that wins. Convincing people that a good has been achieved is the same as achieving it."

In his column, Mr. Klavan points to a recent column by Roger Simon which addresses the same point. Mr. Simon's column is called God, Lies, and Obama. He writes, in part:

"Americans are far from strangers to presidential lying. Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon excelled at it. Both, however, were liars of what we could call self-defense....

Barack Obama is another matter. His lies are not mainly for self-defense (although Benghazi has elements of that). They are lies of ideological volition. He lies to get his way. And he does it so well, with so much seeming earnestness — as in his umpteen (and continuing!) pronouncements that no one would lose their health insurance or personal physician from Obamacare, when, it’s now clear, he knew all the while this was utterly false — that his behavior appears almost sociopathic.

In other words, to Obama these are not really lies, because he has no values, religious or otherwise, that make them so. This is more than just the prototypical Marxist ends justifying the means...
He never had a moral basis for honesty. Lying, from the Choom Gang through Reverend Wright and beyond, was his lifestyle. And he had the consolation that he was lying for a better good. No one ever told him otherwise. If that goes on for long enough, you lose contact with truth. It becomes almost a non-existent phenomenon, an irrelevancy."

And Daniel Greenfield, writing about the Obamacare catastrophe in the column Government is Magic:

"Our modernity is style rather than substance. It's Obama grinning. It's the right font. It's the right joke. It's that sense that X knows what he's doing because he presents it the right way. There's nothing particularly modern about that…, like ObamaCare, was going to work because it was 'good'. Its goodness was by some measure other than result. It was morally good. It was progressive. And so the deity of liberal causes, perhaps Karl Marx or Progressia, the Goddess of Soup and Economic Dysfunction, would see to it that it would work…"

May our culture wake up before it is too late. May the Church continue to be a beacon to those looking for truth!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Belgium Debates Whether to Euthanize Children

An all too believable article from the the Washington Post:

"Should children have the right to ask for their own deaths?

In Belgium, where euthanasia is now legal for people over the age of 18, the government is considering extending it to children — something that no other country has done. The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.

Advocates argue that euthanasia for children, with the consent of their parents, is necessary to give families an option in a desperately painful situation. But opponents have questioned whether children can reasonably decide to end their own lives.

Belgium is already a euthanasia pioneer; it legalized the practice for adults in 2002. In the last decade, the number of reported cases per year has risen from 235 deaths in 2003 to 1,432 in 2012, the last year for which statistics are available. Doctors typically give patients a powerful sedative before injecting another drug to stop their heart.

Only a few countries have legalized euthanasia or anything approaching it.

In the Netherlands, euthanasia is legal under specific circumstances and for children over the age of 12 with parental consent. (There is an understanding that infants, too, can be euthanized, and that doctors will not be prosecuted if they act appropriately.) Elsewhere in Europe, euthanasia is only legal in Luxembourg. Assisted suicide, where doctors help patients to die but do not actively kill them, is allowed in Switzerland."

And the justification is (what else) the elevation of equality above all other considerations:

John Harris, a professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester. “It’s unfair to provide euthanasia differentially to some citizens and not to others (children) if the need is equal.”

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The IRS Scandal is Getting Much Less Coverage than it Deserves

For our Republic to survive, governmental agencies like the IRS--especially the IRS--must be strictly non-partisan. The political hamstringing of groups opposed to the Democratic Party by the IRS is a far greater scandal than the NSA's spying.  But you would not know that from the mainstream media, which, like the IRS is acting as an arm of the Democratic Party, and consequently has given little coverage to the scandal. But the alternative media is covering the story. For instance, the TaxProf blog, run by Professor Paul Caron of the Pepperdine University School of Law, has daily updates.

This is from the Washington Examiner:

IRS' Lois Lerner Gave Confidential Tea Party Tax Info to FEC, Violating Law

"The Internal Revenue Service shared highly confidential tax information of several Tea Party groups in the IRS scandal with the Federal Election Commission, a clear violation of federal law, according to newly obtained emails.

The public watchdog group Judicial Watch told Secrets Thursday that it was former scandal boss Lois Lerner who shared the information on groups including the American Future Fund and the American Issues Project.

The emails obtained by Judicial Watch show that the IRS, which was considering the tax status of the groups, gave the FEC the tax returns of the groups, including income, expenditures and staff pay. The emails also revealed the exact working of the prying political questions the IRS wanted the groups to reveal, such as their goals and the requests for brochures and ads...."

And let's not forget that an IRS agent leaked the confidential donor list of the National Orgainzation for Marriage during the 2012 election to NOM's opponents, the misnamed "Human Rights Campaign." Eliana Johnson writes in yesterday's National Review:

"In testimony before Congress, NOM chairman John Eastman accused the IRS of publicizing the list 'to facilitate the intimidation of donors.' He talks of a “campaign of harassment and intimidation” against the organization’s financial backers that has included boycotts of their business, physical assault, and the vandalizing of private property.

Now, he tells me, 'A number of donors are concerned about their names being disclosed.' He said in his testimony that the harassment 'has now pervaded across the nation every time our donor list is disclosed to the point that our donors tell us ‘We are fearful of giving money to you to help support the cause that we believe in because our businesses and our family are at risk.’”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Obamacare Begins, But Disaster has Only Begun

Even the mass media, who are nothing more than shills for the Democratic Party, are being forced to report the truth. This is from NBC, but the news is just about everywhere of course:

Obama Admin. knew millions could not keep their health insurance

By Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye
NBC News

"President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience ‘sticker shock.’”...

This is just the beginning. Higher prices and less choice (which go together) are here. Those, in addition to lower quality and the much-derided "death panels" are coming unless Obamacare is repealed. A hallmark of socialism: it is offered as giving everybody everything. As Pogo the Possum said "All is equal. All is starvin'." Obamacare was offered as giving everybody insurance. The reality is people are losing their insurance. It's just the beginning.

The American people were, and are, against Obamacare. They are wiser than their "representatives" who, as in any corrupt government, will take care of themselves.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some Clarity on the Common Good: Bishop McElroy and Archbishop Chaput

In the October 21 issue of America magazine, our good Auxiliary Bishop Robert McElroy had an article called A Church for the Poor. His Excellency, did not, in my opinion, sufficiently explain why abortion stands apart from other lesser, although critically important, issues. That's not to say he does not unequivocally and completely condemn it.
The meat of the problem with His Excellency's article seems to me to be in this paragraph:
"It is crucial to fully recognize the nature of intrinsic evil and its relationship to the common good. In recent years, however, some arguments have been broadly advanced in Catholic political conversation proposing that issues pertaining to intrinsically evil acts automatically have priority in the public order over all other issues of grave evil, like poverty, war, unjust immigration laws and the lack of restorative justice in the criminal justice system. This has the effect of labeling these other crucial issues of Catholic social teaching “optional” in the minds of many Catholics."
Let's break that down.
His Excellency's first sentence: "It is crucial to fully recognize the nature of intrinsic evil and its relationship to the common good" is of course correct. But there is no definition of or elaboration on that relationship in the article, despite the fact that Bishop McElroy calls it "crucial."
The second sentence reads: "In recent years, however, some arguments have been broadly advanced in Catholic political conversation proposing that issues pertaining to intrinsically evil acts automatically have priority in the public order over all other issues of grave evil, like poverty, war, unjust immigration laws and the lack of restorative justice in the criminal justice system." As will be shown, arguments that "intrinsically evil acts"--particularly abortion--do "automatically have priority in the public order" are correct. Read in the light of his next sentence, it is clear Bishop McElroy does not agree with the "arguments broadly advanced" he describes.  But it is still his failure to define what constitutes the "crucial" relationship "of intrinsic evil"--again, particularly abortion--"to the common good" which prevents any light being shed on whether the "arguments broadly advanced" are correct or incorrect. 
In the third sentence, His Excellency writes "This has the effect of labeling these other crucial issues of Catholic social teaching 'optional' in the minds of many Catholics." Nowhere in the article does he offer any evidence for this claim. He simply says it, then moves on. But more importantly, once again, His Excellency does not address whether the "arguments broadly advanced" are correct or not (that would require his defining of what constitutes the "crucial"  relationship "of intrinsic evil and its relationship to the common good"). His concern here is what effect such arguments will have on those who hear them. 
In a fortunate example of synchronicity, a good corrective is at hand. In his weekly message of October 18, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, quoting from the 15 year-old pastoral letter of the U.S. Bishops called Living the Gospel of Life, crisply clarifies the issue. He (or they) gives a definition of the "crucial"  relationship "of intrinsic evil and its relationship to the common good":
"Exactly 15 years ago this fall, America’s bishops issued a pastoral letter called Living the Gospel of Life. Even today, with the passage of time, this remains no ordinary Church text. I believed then, and I believe now, that it’s the best document ever issued by the U.S. bishops on the priorities of Catholic engagement in our nation’s public life. In writing it, the bishops sought to apply Pope John Paul II’s great encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”) to the American situation. The heart of their statement, paragraph No. 23, stresses that:

'Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life.

'But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ — the living house of God — then these latter issues fall logically into place as the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right — the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.'

This is why the right to life is not merely one among many urgent issues, but rather the foundational one. It provides the cornerstone for a whole architecture of human dignity."
Emphasis added. That's exactly right. An illustrative echo can be found in the unalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. All are valuable, but there is a hierarchy in reality in what those words describe. You can't have liberty unless you already have life. And you can't pursue happiness unless you already have life + liberty. That's the crucial and full recognition "of the nature of intrinsic evil and its relationship to the common good" which Bishop McElroy talks about but does not define.