Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fr. Frank Pavone - Why I'm Voting Pro-Life, and Motivated

This is Fr. Frank Pavone's (Priests for Life) latest column Why I'm Voting Pro-Life, and Motivated:
Election Day is approaching, and I’m motivated to vote and to influence many other votes. I’m motivated because voting is part of what I need to do to fulfill my life’s dream – a dream shared by many others – that abortion, the biggest holocaust the human family has ever known, will cease.

Some, even in the Church, don’t seem to get the fact that there’s no problem in society bigger than abortion. But then again, when it’s constantly celebrated by many others as a Constitutional right, and when we don’t read the descriptions or see the pictures, it’s easy for abortion’s horror to escape us.

I’m motivated to vote, not because one election will end abortion, and certainly not because I expect our elected officials to be perfect or to do my work for me. The People of God have to do the work of ending abortion – providing alternatives, educating minds, changing hearts, changing laws. But part of that work is electing the people who will pose the least obstacle to that mission. We don’t elect people to do our work for us, but rather people who will let us do our own work. So often it’s a choice between those who will do the least damage, or permit the fewer numbers of abortions. It may be a choice between those willing to permit all abortions or those willing at least to draw some lines at where it should stop. I’d rather have the line-drawers, because when it comes time for the lines to become laws, at least they won’t stand in the way. I don’t look for the perfect candidate, but when I have a choice between a mess and a messier mess, I choose the mess.

I’m motivated, because we’ve made progress. We have two solid new Justices on the Supreme Court who don’t believe in inventing new rights from “penumbras” – and just like in 2004, the Supreme Court is at stake again. If there’s a vacancy in the next two years, the President needs a Senate that will confirm good Justices. We have lots of other new federal judges, who understand the limits of judicial authority. And we have new laws that bring us closer to the protection of the unborn, like the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the first ban on an abortion procedure since Roe vs. Wade, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

So now it’s a numbers game. We have to spend our time and energy not convincing the one stubborn person, but reminding the many who will listen, if we simply nudge them a little and tell them who the best candidates are. We should go for the “low-hanging fruit,” those easiest to mobilize. And we should vote early. Many states allow voting before Election Day. Let’s get others to vote early, so that unforeseen circumstances don’t stop them from voting later.

The polls don’t determine elections; the people who show up at the polling places do. Let’s bring them out!

More Resources to Help You Vote Pro-Life

I just got an e-mail with some great info from Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. It has a candidate quide page with links to a variety of state candidates & ballot issues.
Also some videos made by Fr. Frank Pavone are now available on YouTube that can be shared with family & friends:
Election 2006 - a 5 minute video with a short summary of various things you can do (can only provide link
Christian Duty - a 30 second summary of why you should vote
Voting Duty - 30 second statment encouraging you to vote
No Seperation of Church & State - a 30 second statement on the truth about the myth of the seperation of church & state
Government Purpose - 30 second explanation of the basis for government's existence
Government Involvement - 30 second response to those who say government shouldn't be involved in abortion
Father Pavone also had a sample e-mail to show how to share these videos with friends:
Dear Friend,
I want to share a special election video with you. The following links to an election related video featuring Fr. Frank Pavone.
"Christians aren't second class citizens, we aren't supposed to just sit on the sidelines and watch somebody else elect the people who will make the laws by which we will all have to abide. Help get this message to friends and family by sending them one or all of these links." - Fr. Frank Pavone
Thank You,
(your name)

REMEMBER: There is only 1 week until the election

1 Week to the Election

It is 1 week until people go to the polls to elect 1/3 of the US Senators. all members of the House of Representatives many governors, representatives to state legislatures, & other local officials. It is important that the right people are elected. Those people are those who will work to build the Culture of Life. If you haven't done so yet check out where your local candidates stand on the life issues.
An excellent guide for discerning the correct candidates is found in a booklet that is put out by Catholic Answers: Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics. Another excellent guide is put out by Priests for Life: Voting With A Clear Conscience. There is another book put out by Human Life International: The Five Issues That Matter Most. (This book is not available on line but can be ordered on-line from HLI.) This book goes into a deeper look at what has been called the 5 Non-Negotiable Issues. The authors include Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer & Fr. Tadeusz Pacholczk, Ph.D.
1. Abortion
2. Euthanasia (mercy killing, assisted suicide)
3. Embryonic & Fetal Stem Cell Research
4. Human Cloning
5. Homosexual "Marriage" (recognition of homsexual unions as on a par with marriage)
Finding out where these candidates is easier if they are incumbants. But there are ways to gather info on those who aren't. Check out their websites. See what they say. But be sure they give specifics. Some candidates will say they are pro-life but go on to say elsewhere that they will uphold current laws. A good sign is who has endorsed them. If they are endorsed by groups like The National (or your state) Right to Life PAC then you can feel safe in voting for them. On the otherhand if they are endorsed by groups like NARAL or Planned Parenthood then run the other way, fast.
The ideal would be if someone is totally on the right side of the issues. Unfortunately this isn't always possible. In that case you need to vote for the candidate that will do the "least harm". For example, 1 candidate will not outlaw any form of abortion while the other will support banning abortion in most cases except the health of the mother. In this case, to quote from the Voter's Guide, "(W)e are to choose the best option, the one that promotes the greatest good & entails the least evil." Here the 1 that would accept some limits is the better choice. As Fr. Pavone puts it: "(Y)ou would not be choosing evil. Why? Because in choosing to limit an evil, you are choosing a good."
As Fr. Pavone also points out, party does matter. Neither of the 2 major parties perfectly reflects the teachings of the Church. But, you need to look at which party's platform lines up better with the above 5 issues. Why? Because the fact is, that if that party is in power in the Congress or state legislature, it will be easier to get the right laws out of committee & brought up for a vote & passage. That party is also more likely to support & approve the nomination of pro-life judges. The Republican Party platform has opposed abortion since the 1970s. The Democratic platform supports abortion on demand.
I would recommend that you read both of the above books available on line. Also check out what is avaiable at Priests for Life's Election Action Center for more information.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you & other voters. Pray that pro-life officials will be elected.Pray for those issues on various state ballots. Esp pray for the defeat of Amendment 2 in Missouri which would enshrine the legalization of cloning in the state constitution (people will vote no) & that the attempts to overthrow S. Dakota's law banning abortion will fail (a yes vote will uphold the ban). Pray for the passage of Measure 43 in Oregon & Proposition 85 in California that will enact parental notification laws in those states.
If you are not registered to vote & still can, register to vote. If you are registered, be informed. Many groups like National Right to Life PAC have guides available to help you in voting for the right candidates. Support those candidates. This can include financial support, yard signs, bumper stickers & working on their campaigns. & encourage your family &friends to vote for them also.
Some day each of us will stand before God & face our final judgement. Jesus will look at what we did for the least. This will include the unborn. Each of us will be accountable for our actions, this includes our voting record. I don't know about you, but I want to be able to stand before God & say I did my best to bring about the Culture of Life.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy 271st Birthday President Adams

Today is the 271st birthday of John Adams, 2nd President of the USA. Without his efforts the 2nd Continental Congress would never have declared independence. Last July I wrote 2 articles that featured him, 1 was a short bio, John Adams, the 2nd was about the Declaration of Independence & his role in it, Continental Congress declares independence. So, today, rather than repeat what I said before I will share some quotes from his writings to give you an insight into the workings of his mind. (There are many sources on the web for his quotes, but 1 of the best is the Massachusetts Historical Society's site Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. This site has not only the quotes but copies of the actual documents to view. Another is a Yale website John Adams Papers that features writings from his presidential years. A 3rd good source is Wikiquote - John Adams. I also used Mark's Quotes - John Adams)
John Adams would call his wife Abigail Smith Adams his dearest friend. He was seperated from her more than he ever wished from about 1775 t0 1784. She was his greatest advisor, his foil at times &, without her love, support & encouragement he would have never accomplished all he did. She was the 2nd 1st Lady.
On Government:
"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other. " Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts - 11 October 1798
"We ought to consider what is the end of government before we determine which is the best form. Upon this point all speculative politicians will agree that the happiness of society is the end of government, as all divines and moral philosophers will agree that the happiness of the individual is the end of man....All sober inquirers after truth, ancient and modern, pagan and Christian, have declared that the happiness of man, as well as his dignity, consists in virtue. " The Foundation of Government A letter to George Wythe - April 1776
"Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for liberty, but it is religion and morality alone, which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free Constitution is pure virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People in a greater Measure than they have it now, they may change their rulers and the forms of government, but they will not obtain a lasting liberty." letter to Zabdiel Adams - 21 June 1776
“The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity…I will avow that I believed and now believe that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and the attributes of God.” Letter to Thomas Jefferson - 28 June 1813
On the Declaration of Independence:
"Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony "that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do." You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell'd Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man. A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days." Letter to Abigail Adams pg 2- 3 July 1776
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. -- I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. -- Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. " 2nd Letter to Abigail Adams pg 3 - 3 July 1776
About the Presidents to follow him in living in the Presidential Mansion (White House):
"I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof." Letter to Abigail Adams pg 2 - 2 November 1800
On Being President:
"No man who ever held the office of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it. He will make one man ungrateful, and a hundred men his enemies, for every office he can bestow." Letter to Josiah Quincy about his son John Quincy being elected president - 14 February 1825
On Raising His Children:
"Cultivate their Minds, inspire their little Hearts, raise their Wishes. Fix their Attention upon great and glorious Objects, root out every little Thing, weed out every Meanness, make them great and manly. Teach them to scorn Injustice, Ingratitude, Cowardice, and Falshood. Let them revere nothing but Religion, Morality and Liberty." Letter to Abigail Adams pg 3 - 15 April 1776
"I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Painting and Poetry Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine" Letter to Abigail Adams pg 2 - 12 May 1780 (Paris)
Other Quotes:
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence" Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials - December 1770
"Abuse of words has been the great instrument of sophistry and chicanery, of party, faction, and division of society." Letter to J.H. Tiffany - 31 March 1819


Friday, October 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Lady Liberty!!!!!

Sat 28 Oct marks the 120th Anniversary of the dedication of The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World). It was intended to be a gift from the people of France to celebrate the Centenial of the Declaration of Independence. A committee under the leadership of Édouard René Lefèvre de Laboulaye. They chose Frederic Auguste Bartholdi as sculptor. The structure to support the exterior of the statue was designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. The Statue was errected on was was originally Bedloes Island & is now known as Liberty Island. It is next to Ellis Island where most immigrants coming from Europe arrived from 1892-1954. Both The Statue of Liberty National Monument & Ellis Island National Monument are under the care of the National Park System. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation is set up to help restore & preserve them.
The Statue is full of symbolism. The torch is obviously the light of liberty being held up for all the world to see to light the way to freedom. The 7 rays of the diadem represent the 7 continents where liberty's light is ment to shine. At her feet are the broken shackles of tyranny. & the tablet is inscribed with the date 4 JULY MDCCLXXVI, the date of the Declaration of Independence.
I view the Statue as the most beautiful woman here on Earth. That is because she symbolizes the God given gift of freedom. She is a reminder of what my Granfather Giovanni Stasi & the other Italiano neighbors & relatives came to America for. She symbolizes their hopes & dreams & the opportunities for them to come true.
The meaning of the Statue to myself & countless others is best expressed by this poem written by Emma Lazarus. It was written for a contest to raise money for the pedestal. There is a bronze plaque with the poem on a wall of the Statues's base.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. " Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
"The New Colossus" 1883
Over the years there have been various salutes to the Statue. In 1985 when she was undergoing restoration Ken Burns did a PBS special fittingly called The Statue of Liberty. There was also an album of music called They Come to America that was released to raise funds for the restoration. In the 70s Schoolhouse Rock did a segment called The Great American Melting Pot that was about the immigration experience with "Lovely Lady Liberty & her book of recipes". Books have been written about her story. She has been lauded in song. She has been used as a prop in movies & in advertising. She has been parodied. & still her light shines, even when we have't appreciated it as we should.
Here is a neat video of that has the Statue singing the National Anthem:
Here is another song in her honor: Lady Liberty Anthem:
Happy Birthday Lovely Lady Liberty. May we never forget what you stand for, Liberty & Freedom for all. May we defend everyone's right to that liberty from conception to natural death. For when we don't stand up & defend it for the least we risk loosing it for all. Lord, grant this prayer!


Michael J. Fox proves Ann Coulter Right

Some months ago in her latest book Godless, Ann Coulter pointed out the Democratic strategy of using victims to get out their message so that they can accuse those opposing their stand of being uncaring & cruel. The messenger is supposed to make the message immune from criticism. This is a victim, debabte ended. The latest example of that are the Michael J. Fox ads supporting certain candidates for election. The most prominant was the 1 he did for Clare McCaskill who is running for the US Senate from Missouri. If you remember Missouri is also the battleground for that so-called cloning ban Amendment 2 that actually codifies the right to clone in the state constitution. (He has also done similar ads for Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, US Senate in Maryland candidate, and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.)

Unfotunately the ad contains some outright lies & mistruths. To hear Mr. Fox, electing John Talent & voting down the amendment is tantamount to putting an end to all stem cell research in Missouri taking away hope for anyone suffering from Parkinson's Disease for there ever being a cure. & that there are no treatments out there right now. The truth is that Jim Talent does support stem cell research, adult stem cell. Another truth is the fact there is a treatment using adult stem cells to help slow down the ravages of Parkinson's. Don't believe it?, just ask Dennis Turner. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's. In 1991 the tremors became extreme. He also lost all use of his right arm. He was treated using his own stem cells & for 5 yrs was without tremors. No he wasn't cured the tremors have returned. In testimony before a US Senate Committee he said: "I have no doubt that because of this treatment I’ve enjoyed five years of quality life that I feared had passed me by.”

Meanwhile the results of a recent study done using stem cells from aborted fetuses has disasterous results. According to a report in The NY Times the treatment failed to improve the condition for any of the subjects. & for about 15% of the subjects the article states: "the cells apparently grew too well, churning out so much of a chemical that controls movement that the patients writhed and jerked uncontrollably." This is similar to the results of taking a too high dosage of the medicine that is used to control the tremors. But unlike the overdose effects, there is no wearing off of the effects. They continued on. & they are described in the article as "nightmarish". this is how Dr. Paul E. Greene, a researcher in the trials describes the effects : ''They chew constantly, their fingers go up and down, their wrists flex and distend, the patients writhe and twist, jerk their heads, fling their arms about. One man was so badly affected that he could no longer eat and had to use a feeding tube." They have suspended the research.

As an interesting aside, Mr. Fox has a website for his Parkinson's Foundation. It makes no mention of this research on his news page. Why does he feel the need to give false hope? & where is the news about the treatments that are working? Why is he denying Parkinson's sufferers real hope?

Here is the ad ran in Missouri. I must warn you that it may be a bit shocking to see the damage the disease has done to Mr. Fox. (According to Mr. Fox it is worse than usual due to an overdose of his medicine. Compared to those 15% in the "promising" study he is fortunate. He can control the dosage & control the tremors.)

He is right about 1 thing though, what happens in Missouri will affect millions, millions of unborn who are killed in the name of research.

Meanwhile a group of pro-life actors & athletes have put together an ad that responds to the above ad. It includes JIm Caviezel, Patricia Heaton, Cards pitcher Jeff Suppan & Kurt Warner. It presents as best they can in a 1 minute ad a summary of the truth about Amendment 2 & the type of stem cell research that is working.

Here is an interesting anti-Amendment 2 video put out by a young (apparent) Missouri voter. He has a sample ballot that he reads from :

I know that by now some people will accuse me of not caring about someone who is suffering from a horrible disease. Not true. It broke my heart to see him suffering. I want a cure. I also want a cure for diabetes. Esp since I am a diabetic myself. So, I guess those who would want to attack me for "attacking" Michael J. Fox can't or they would be hypocrites by their own standards. The messenger, Michael J. Fox or myself isn't what matters. What matters are the facts. & if they are wrong, no messenger can make it right. Or immune from criticism.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Weird Al!

Weird Al Yankovic is celebrating his 47th Birthday today. For those of you who are unfamiliar with him, he is probably 1 of today's greatest musical parodyists arround. & the best, IMHO, since Spike Jones.
Here is a (sort of) Bio of the great man. Ladies & Gentlemen I give you
So, Weird Al, in your own words, tell us about your younger days:

(Party like its 1699!)

Study Shows That Embryonic Stem Cells Might Cause Brain Tumors

For those who have spoken out on the evil of embryonic stem cells research this news adds support to the list of reasons to be opposed to it. An article put out by Reuters news service tells of a study published in Nature Medicine that talks of a study done with human embryonic stem cells to treat Parkinson's Disease. These stem cells were treated to make them differentiate into brain cells. They were then injected into the brains of rats who were suffering from a similar disease. While the cells appeared to work at 1st, they began to show areas "of dividing cells that had the potential to give rise to tumors." The rats were killed before it could be seen that tumors were forming. Yet the researchers wants to go on to do trials with humans. With appropriate "cautions" of course.
The trouble with that is that you can't just kill a human being like you can a rat. OOPS!!!, I forgot, you can if that person is an embryo or fetus. & the question I have to ask is what do they consider appropriate?
The article goes on to admit: "Scientists have long feared that human embryonic stem cells could turn into tumors, because of their pliability" Yet, it seems that all I ever hear from those supporting this time of research is that it is this very pliability that offers hope that isn't there in adult stem cells. That they can do so straight faced knowing the truth is amazing. It is also surprizing that the article admitting the potential problems with tumors as well as that scientists have these concerns is surprizing. & then goes on to talk about this being 1 of the concerns of opponants of embryonic stem cell research. The article gives ammo to those who promote adult stem cell research. & support for their concerns.
The reason I say it is amazing is that they even admit to the potential problems. To hear those who support embryonic stem cell research all you ever hear is what I said before, embryonic research is the only hope. They also like to paint those of us who oppose embryonic research as being against all research. That is not true & they know it. As I have already pointed out since when has the truth stopped them from telling a plausable lie to get what they want. I don't think I have to expound on how those actions are morally & ethicly flawed. As are those of the Parkinson's researchers who want to continue their research on humans.
On Mon 16 Oct the Democratic & Republican candidates for the governor of Iowa met in a debate televised on KWQC (there is a link with the article to watch the entire debate). The question of stem cell research came up. In his response to the question Secretary of State Chet Culver (D) totally ignored the successes & said that by banning embryonic stem cell research we were denying people the "hope & opportunity to Iowans" for cures. It sounded to me more like the only person in denial was him. He came accross with a smug look on his face that I guess was supposed to make you think he knew what he was talking about. Maybe he better read an report written by David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Appendix K, Adult Stem Cells. It is from Monitoring Stem Cell Research: A Report of the President's Council on Bioethics (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2004) pp 309-346
In his rebuttal Congressman Jim Nussle (R) answered: "I support stem cell research. But I don't support stem cell research on embryos. There are no facts to support the notion that stem cell research on embryos are developing the therapies of the future." He went on to point out the successes using adult stem cells. (Depending on the source there are from 70 to 80 or more successful treatments out there. Some will provide the evidence of peer review.) He mentioned 2 specific areas where adult stem cell reseach has been successful that are "providing hope, not false hope". Congressman Nussle called for Iowa to develop a "Culture of Life".
This segment of their debate clearly shows the difference between those who are pro-life & those who buy into the culture of death. The culture of death will ignore any facts to the contrary of their positions. They claim to offer hope but only empty promises & death. Pro-life offers true hope for life at all stages. That is why Pro-lifers support adult stem cell research. It works, it offers true hope & it isn't done at the expense of other human beings loosing their lives as fetal & embryonic stem cell research does.
People need to be informed about where those who are running for office stand, federal, state & local, on abortion & fetal stem cell research. Depending on who you vote for you can either advance the culture of death of the Culture of Life. Get informed & vote for those who will best advance the Culture of Life.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Truth about Amendement 2 in Missouri: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

On 7 Nov the citizens of Missouri are being asked to vote on an amendment to the state constitution. The amendment is being tauted as a ban on cloning & setting limits on stem cell research, i.e. banning fetal stem cell research. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many people have been mislead into supporting in because they have been told this lie.
A group, Missourians Against Human Cloning (MAHC) has been set up to get the truth out & to prevent it from being passed. Their mission statement says: "MAHC is a coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting ethical science, advancing realistic medical treatments with adult stem cells and opposing the practice of cloning human beings for research purposes."
On their website they look at the ballot language to show what it says about the full amendment & what it means. They do have the full text of Amendment 2 available on their site so that a person can see what it really says. (Something that would raise a flag with me if I wasn't previously aware of this amendment from various news sources is the fact that the amendment is 5 pages long. That is more the length of a piece of legislation, not a constitutional amendment.) The amendment is a piece of legalese written by lawyers from the biotech companies that would benefit from the amendment (another red flag). It is over 2100 words long & affects 45 different sections of the Missouri Constitution.
1 of the most Orwellian bits of sophistry they use is to say it bans cloning when all it does is redefine it. They call it "Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer" & say it isn't cloning. The problem is that it is cloning. That is the proceedure used to clone Dolly the sheep. Talk about a wolf in sheep's clothing. This claim is a prime example of that figuratively & literally. The group 2 has an explanation of the deceptive wording about cloning & what it really means.
In addition to actually allowing cloning, this pernicious amendment claims to ban the buying & selling of human eggs. But it allows the women to be paid for donating them. If that isn't buying & selling? It also creates legal protection for the researchers & guarantees state funds to let them do their abominations.
I have been hearing a lot about this amendment from various sources. The latest was Fri nite's The World Over on EWTN (It will be rebroadcast Mon 23 Oct at 9:00 am & 10:00pm CDT & Tue 24 Oct at Noon CDT.) 1 of the guests was a spokesperson for MAHC, Cathy Ruse. Another guest was the Most Reverend Robert W. Finn, Bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph MO Diocese. The diocese is working with MAHC & has a link on their website to MAHC's.
Another outspoken critic of Amendment 2 is Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO. Since 22 Sept Archbisop Burke's weekly column has focused on this issue. He has also started a rosary crusade to safeguard embryonic human life and prevent human cloning. He has been joined in this by Bishop Finn as well as the other Missouri Bishops, Bishop Leibrecht of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, and Bishop Gaydos of the Jefferson City Diocese.
As I said many have been mislead about this issue, including many pro-life people. If you are from Missouri you need to vote against Amendment 2. If you know someonf from Missouri you need to tell them why it is wrong. & we all need to pray for the truth to get out there as well as pray, esp the rosary, that it will fail.
We also need to be aware of what is going on in the elections in our own area of the countery. We need to vote for pro-life candidates. candidates who will support adult & plancental stem cell research while banning fetal stem cell research as well as cloning & abortion. We need to educate ourselves about the life issues. (The pro-life links at the right will be the best sources we can find.) Our country is at a crossroads. We are on the path of a culture of death. We can stay silent, not vote or vote for the wrong people. Then someday soon we will reap the fruit of this culture of death. Or we can pray, speak out, work for pro-life candidates, maybe even run if so called. There is still time for us to turn arround & build the Culture of Life God desires us to build. The choice is ours.


METS Lose! : (

The NLCS is over after 7 games. It was a good series with nothing sure until the last out. So it is all over for another year. Unfortunately, in the end the METS lost. I will admit that I am disappointed with the final outcome. But, I am not complaining. It turned out to be a better season than I expected early on. Both the METS & the TWINS made the playoffs. & neither the Yankees or the Braves are in the series. That makes me happy. Unfortunately, the Cards are in it. But, it could always be worse. I could be a Cubs fan.*
Here is how it all ended:

*Anyone who doesn't understand this go back & check the history of the Cubs/Wrigley Field curse & when was the last time the Cubs were in the World Series.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

300 Million & Counting

It's as official as anything can get when estimating the US population. According to the Census Bureau, we have the 300 millionth person as of 6:46 am CDT. Or, as is often the case with the bureaucracy, did we reach it a long time ago? (See the FoxNews article I linked to for the explanation.

Whenever, get ready for the latest batch of moonbat Malthusian doomsday prophets to come out as they have since Malthus came out with his wacko theory in 1798. I supposed you could say someday they will be right, but I doubt it since his assumptions about what we can do to meet the food needs of the entire population are based on the methods of his era. Modern methods are now able to produce more than enough for the entire population for decades if not centuries to come. & by then I am sure we will come up with something else. After all, God has blessed us with the knowledge to do what it takes to so far prove him wrong.
& since his theory has been used to justify euthenasia, abortion & population control, it is clearly flawed. You can always tell the quality of a theory by the company it keeps. & much of Mathus' theory's buddies are clearly from a place much warmer that Heaven.

The Greatest Italiano-American Hero

Last Sunday 15 October 2006 would have been the 110th birthday of the person who, more than anyone else, was (& still is) my #1 hero. This person is my Grandfather John (Giovanni) Stasi. He came to the USA from Longobucco, IT with his brother, Joe (Guiseppe). At the time Italia was facing another war & they had already lost an older brother in a previous war. The family raised sheep & were better off then some. But, they also knew that America offered better hope financially for them & the rest of the family.
They left from the port of Napoli on the Adriatic. The passage cost 100 Lire. Like so many they landed at Ellis Island. They arrived on 18 Feb 1914. Like so many records at Ellis Island his had its mistakes. It shows him as 18 even though he had only turned 17 4 months earlier. They eventually arrived in Oelwein, IA where they knew Francisco Aiello. He had arrived in 1909 & was working for the Chicago Great Western Railroad (CGW) in Oelwein. Grandpa himself eventually got a job at the CGW. After he got his US citizenship he was drafted in the army for WWI. He never went overseas like his brother. Instead he trained soldiers for the Calvary.
After the war he married Racheal Aiello. They had 3 children 2 daughters & a son. He worked at a variety of jobs. For a while they lived in Council Bluffs where he worked for Nabisco. But after the Missouri flooded my Nonna insisted they move back to Oelwein. There he worked again for the CGW until back problems forced him to retire. Nonna died in 1952 so I never met her. But Great Grandpa Frank lived to be 94 & was still getting arround pretty well until his last injury.
All that should make him a hero. But there is more. Fr the 1st 10 yrs of my life my Dad was away in the Air force serving our country & doing what he needed to do to provide for his family. He only came home for 2 weeks at Christmas. We lived with Grandpa. So, all the things that a father was supposed to do, my Grandpa stepped in & did. The memory that summarizes his love is when he tried to show me how to ride a bike without training wheels. I was 5 yrs old. He had taken the training wheels off & got on the bike to show me how easy it was. Easy yes, if the bike is the right size. But it was obviously too small for him he fell & broke his left arm. That showed me the kind of sacrifice you make for someone you love.
In his later years Grandpa was known for his garden & his roses. He would often go downtown & bring a rose for the waitress at the coffee shop where he would meet his friends. Grandpa was also a great story teller. My 1 regret is that I didn't record those stories. Fortunately, in 1878 a UNI graduate student, Thomas M. Shaw, was working on his masters thesis. His area of study was Italian immigration. So, he interviewed the Italian immigrants of the Oelwein, IA area. The resultant opus was titled Oelwein's Italian neighborhoods : Italian-Americans of Oelwein, Iowa, 1901 to the present. Many of Grandpa's true stories are preserved in it, along with pictures of the Italian neighborhood & people that I knew growing up.
The proudest moment of my life was when I graduated from college. Not because of what I accomplished, but because of what he accomplished. I was his 1st grandchild to graduate from college. He could barely sign his name, I had a college degree. I was there because of the hard work & sacrifices he made in coming to America & building the life he did. That degree was as much his as it was mine, if not more so.
Grandpa died on 29 Sept 1984. It was hard to let go. But, I told God that I wouldn't hold on. I knew he was ready to go to his reward. & I know that he is in heaven. As I was sitting at his bedside holding his hand, I remembered the bicycle incident. I literally saw his soul leave him as he was dying. There were 3 things I was able to do after his death that were my final thanks. The 1st was planning the funeral Mass. For that I chose a different 1st reading than used at most funerals. It was Genesis 12:1-8, the story of Abraham's journey from Haran to Canaan. I felt it exactly caught why Grandpa did what he did in coming to Oelwein, & Fr. Blocklinger caught it perfectly in his homily. The 2nd was buying the memorial flag for the Avenue of Flags at the cemetary. The 3rd was a memorial Mass 5 yrs later.
I still miss him. There are times when I wish I had him here to talk to, to look to for encouragement & guidance. I don't. He is in heaven. But, he is still taking care of me. I know he is praying for me. & for that I will ever thank God.
Ciao Nonno. Ti voglio bene.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Its Official: North America has 2 new Saints

On Sunday 15 October 2006 Papa Benedetto officially declared that there are now 4 more saints officially recognized by the Catholic Church. Two of those are from North America. 1 of them is Mother Théodore Guérin founder of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN. The 2nd is Bishop Rafael Guízar y Valencia, Bishop of Veracruz, Mexico. Each of these saints went through hardships, struggles & suffering, but felt it was worth it because they were doing it for the glory of their Lord & Savior Jesus.
St Theodore Guerin was born on 2 Oct 1798 in Etables-sur-Mer in Brittany, France. Remember, this was the era of the French Revolution & Napolian's rule. From an early age she knew that she was called to the religious life. But, because her father was murdered by bandits when she was 15. So for nearly 10 years she had to help her mother care for the home & a younger sister. Shortly before she turned 25 her mother gave her permission to join a religious order. She joined the Sisters of Providence of Ruillé-sur-Loir. The order was a teaching order that also cared for the sick poor. There she was known as Sr. St. Theodore.
In 1826 she became the superior of St. Aubin Parish at Rennes. This area was still suffering from the aftermath of the French Revolution. There was devestating poverty & a huge number of unchurched. Under Sr. St. Theodore this began to change. It was slow, but the children bacame disciplined & learned the faith. In 1834 she was made the superior of Soulaines in the Diocese of Angers. There she not only gained recognition for her skills as a teacher, her work with the poor saw her learning the basics of medicine so that she could care for them.
In 1839 the Bishop Simon Gabriel Bruté of Vincennes, IN sent Rev. Celestine de la Hailandière to France. He was there to find a religious order to serve the huge number of immigrants arriving in Indiana. While there the bishop died & Fr. de la Hailandière was appointed as his successor. The Superior General of the Sisters of Providence, Mother Mary Lecor, as Sr. St. Theodore to lead a group of 5 sisters to America. After a period of prayer & discernment she agreed. On 12 July 1840 they left for America. After a difficult sea voyage & a just as difficult journey by land, they evntually arrived in St. Mary-of-the-Woods on 22 Oct 1840. They arrived to find there were already 4 new postulants waiting. the 1st school was open in 1841 & 2 more in 1842. All was not easy. This was a period of strong anti-Catholicism. & in addition to persecution & prejudice they faced illness starvation & many other trials.
By her death on 14 May 1856 the order had schools throughout Indiana, 67 professed members, 9 novices and 7 postulants. Her obituary in the Cincinnati Catholic Telegraph and Advocate had this to say: "This woman, distinguished by her eminent virtues, governed the community of which she was the superior from its commencement, to the time of her death, a period of nearly sixteen years. Being a perfect religious herself, and endowed with mental qualities of a high order, she was peculiarly fitted to fill the duties which Providence assigned her.
Not only her Sisters are bereaved by her death, but all those who knew her excellence and the amount of good she did, join in lamenting that she should have been removed from the sphere of her usefulness. To judge from the celestial expression of her countenance as she lay in death, there is every reason to believe that she has already taken her abode among the Saints in Heaven, enjoying the munificence of God, who rewards His servants 'according to their works."
She was declared a blessed by Pope John Paul the Great in October of 1988.
The 2nd saint is Bishop Rafael Guízar y Valencia. He was born 26 Apr 1878 in Cotija, Michoacan MX. He was 1 of 11 children. His mother died when he was 9. In 1896 he entered major seminary & was ordained at aged 23 for the diocese of Zamora. In 1903 he founded the Congregation of Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope. In 1905 he was named spiritual director for the diocesan major seminary. Throughout his career he was always promoting love of the Eucharist & the Blessed Virgin Mary. He also began 3 schools with family money, 1 for girls & 2 for boys. In 1911 he began a newspaper. It was soon closed by the revolutionary movement. He was also forced to disband the Congregation he founded. From then on he experienced persecution. He often had to disguise himself. Eventually he ended up in the southern part of the USA. In 1915 he went to Guatemalia where he went arround conducting missions. he eventually went to Cuba to do the same. While there on 1 Aug 1919 he was elected Bishop of Veracruz-Jalapa MX. On 9 Jan 1920 he took posession of his diocese.
He spent the 1st 2 years as bishop getting to know about & minister to the spiritual & physical needs of his flock. But, the persecution of the Catholic Church continued to get worse. In 1921 he renovated an old seminary to start 1 back up for his diocese. But, he was soon forced to shut it down. So he clandestinely moved it to Mexico City where it operated for the next 15 years. On 16 August 1923 he joined Knights of Columbus (KCs) Council 2311 in Jalapa. A new persecution of Catholics under Mexican President Plutarco Calles in 1927 forced him to flee Mexico & couldn't return until 1929. Part of why he was able to return was the result of the KCs lobbying the US government to intervene in the situation. In 1931 Governor Tejada of Veracruz tried to put limits on the number of priests in the area. When the Bishop opposed him, the governor ordered that he be shot on sight. Bishop Guízar marched up to the governors office. The governor realized that making him a martyr would only create an uprising in the area so he canceled the death order. In fact he spent about 9 years of ministry as bishop either fleeing or in exile.
While in Cordoba in December of 1937 he suffered a heart attack. From then on he was bedridden. He died 6 June 1938 in Mexico City. He was beatified 29 Jan 1995 by Pope John Paul the Great. Papa Benedetto signed the decree approving the 2nd miracle to pave the way for his canonization.
Too often here in the USA we hear that becoming a Christian means that everything will go smoothly. That you will never suffer. & often it seems that becoming Christian is a get rich scheme. None of this is true. Sometimes people do prosper, making money & have things appear to go smooth. But the truth is Chritianity is a call to die to self. With the attacks of the faith from so many sources today it seems more like we are returning to the days of persecution like in Rome in the 1st-4th Century or Vietnam, China Japan, or Uganda in recent centuries. These saints are a sign that the struggles, no matter how hard can be over come by trusting in Jesus to pour out His Spirit to help you every day to do what you are called to do. St. Rafael is a sign to us that we may need to be willing to lay down our lives for the faith. They are truly saints for our time.
There were 2 others declared saints on Sunday. The 3rd is Rosa Venerini (1656-1728), foundress of the Congregation of the "Maestre Pie Venerini". Her whole life was focused on dying to self & surrendering to the will of God. “I feel so nailed to the Will of God that nothing else matters, neither death nor life. I want what He wants; I want to serve Him as much as pleases Him and no more”.
The 4th saint is Fr. Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923), founder of the Institute of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts. Papa Benedetto said of him in the canonization Mass homily: "a priest with a great heart, nourished through constant prayer and Eucharistic adoration; he was above all a witness to and servant of charity which he displayed magnificently in serving the poor, especially the deaf, to whom he dedicated himself entirely."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

US Air Force Heartland of America Band

Sat nite, 14 Oct, at 7 pm the United States Air Force Heartland of America Band Concert Band performed at the Loras College Fieldhouse in Dubuque. The band was under the command of Lt Col A. Phillip White. They gave what I felt was an excellent 2 hr performance.
The 1st half of the program was your typical concert performance. It consisted of a blend of classical & popular music. After the introduction of the band it naturally began with the National Anthem. The concert proper began with Shostakovich's Festive Overture. I am sure it will come as no surprize to hear that a piece by John Philip Sousa, The Gallent Seventh, was included. 2 other pieces performed were Dance of the Southern Lights by Eric Roberts & On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss by David Holsinger. The Southern Lights piece featured an excellent solo performance by SrA Melissa Blizzard.
But 2 pieces in particular set a theme of sorts that could be considered a salute to New York City. It also served as a musical memorial to those whose lives were lost in the attack of 9-11. The 1st piece came midway through the set. It was Johan De Meij's Symphny #2, The Big Apple, 1st Movement Skyline. This piece catches not only the skyline, but what could be described as the heartbeat of downtown Manhatten on a busy day. The 2nd piece which closed out the 1st half of the program was Suite from West Side Story, Leonard Bernstein. The vocals were performed by TSgt Ken Maxwell (tenor) & SSgt Krista Joyce (mezzo-soprano).
After a 15 minute intermission came what I consider to be both a musically entertaining piece as well as an enjoyable history lesson about the US Air Force. For those who are unaware, the USAF actually began as a part of the Army. It became a seperate branch of the armed forced on 18 Sept 1947 as a result of the National Security Act of 1947.
The piece was titled Here I Am . . . Send Me ~A Salute to Our Combat Airmen~. For each period of the USAF history that it looked at it used music, pictures & film, as well as letters & journals (real & imaginary, which it makes clear when they are this) of service men & women. Some parts were serious, some humorous. But, it caught the heart of what the USAF is. I know that some people would say that something like this glorifies war. I would disagree. It shows people who are called to do a job, that at times is ugly, but is often needed so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in the USA. It does a great job of telling what we as a country owe to the men & women who have served in the Air Force.
It begins in 1943 at a base in wartime England. (I am not sure if it was the same place where my Dad, who was in the USAF for 22 yrs, was stationed during the war.) Then it went on to what might be 1 of the Air Force's greatest moments, the Berlin Airlift. Next it went on to the Korean War. The music to set the tone was the main theme from M*A*S*H. While it wasn't from that era because of the movie & TV show it does symbolize that period for most of us. Then onto Vietnam (my Dad was there in 62.) using the Rolling Stones' song Paint It Black. (I found it interesting as well as a bit ironic that they would use 2 songs that could be considered anti-war.) 1 of the focuses was on the work that women did as a part of the USAF to care for those who were wounded & dying. They also dealt with the Hanoi Hilton & the horror that it was. Then there was the post war air lift of the prisoners of war. & the airlift of all those S Vietnamese orphans to the USA that provided them with a much better life then they would have ever had under the communist rule that Vietnam has had for the past 30 yrs. Next came the Cold War yrs. This was followed by The Persian Gulf War, Desert Storm which was literally won by the Air Force. On to Bosnia & ending with what is now going on in the War on Terror.
I know that part of the reason for the USAF Band is as a recruiting tool. I have no problem with that. The Air Force plays an important role in the defense of the USA. & as you may have already figured out, to some extent I consider myself an Air Force brat. I only saw my dad for 2 weeks at Christmas (Thanksgiving in 61 since Dad was going to Vietnam for a yr.) for the 1st 10 yrs of my life. He spent most of that time at Pease AFB in New Hampshire. So, even though I didn't spend any time in service I see that I did my part by the sacrifice of not having my Dad at home. So, the USAF does have a special place in my heart.
The Concert Band does an excellent job as an ambassador for the USAF. Too often, esp after the Vietnam War our military has been put down & berated rather than appreciated for what they do. I wish that we didn't need a military. Unfortunately, do to humanity's sinful nature, a fruit of Original Sin, we need a group who is willing to stand up & see that our basic human rights under natural law are protected. Until Jesus returns we will need them. Menawhile, thanks to all for what you have done/are doing to preserve liberty & justice for all.

Is this how Heaven will be?

Heaven according to The Simpsons:

The Schism of Lourdes? 1573?

I'll admit that the theology, & the history, is a wee bit innacurate. But it does show 1 thing correctly, il pranzo Italiano. Actually, that dinner is a lot like how I believe the Wedding Feast of the Lamb will be like. Plenty of pasta (lasagne, ravioli, rigatoni, ziti, e così via), braccioli, canolli, agnello, vitello, polpette, funghi, pita fritta, dolce. . . & that is just for starters. I could go on & on. Naturalmente, there will be plenty of different types of vino Italiano (made by Jesus just like at Cana). & the after dinner caffè will be laced with Annisette. & of course some biscotti.
The dancing will definitely be a tarantella!
Now, that is cielo, la vita dolce! (& an offer that you can't refuse! Capice?)
: )

Friday, October 13, 2006

Alan Keyes on the "Sanctity of Life"

On Sunday 8 Oct 2006 The World Apostolate of Fatima, U.S.A. sponsered an event called One World Praying for Life & Peace. This event took place at their shrine in Asbury, NJ. The purpose of the event was 1st & foremost to gather a group of people there as well as worldwide to pray for an end to abortion. But it was also an opportunity to hear some speakers on the importance of defending the unborn. 1 of the speakers was a young lady by the name of Gianna Jensen. She has an unique story. She is a survivor of an abortion. Her very presence is a testimony to what we would have been robbed of if the abortion had been successful, as well as a reminder of how many talented & gifted people abortion robbed us of.
1 of the main speakers was Alan Keyes Ph.D. Ambassador Keyes ran for President of the USA in 1996 & again in 2000. I 1st met him her in Dubuque during his 96 campaign. He impressed me greatly, esp with his understanding of the foundation of of country. He saw the seminal document of our country wasn't the Constitution but the Declaration of Independence. & that without understanding the principles contained in it we can't truly understand the constitution. At both the 96 & 2000 precinct caucuses I was a supporter for his candadicy. Naturally, it goes without saying that he is very strongly pro-life. That comes from the same reasons that I have. 1st of all from his deep held Roman Catholic Faith that teaches of the sactity of life. The other comes from the basis of the Declaration of Independence & thus the way our Constitution is supposed to function, natural law. The Constitution is ment to protect our "Unalienable Rights" mentioned in the Declaration, 1 of which is the right to life.
Dr. Keyes' talk was on the Worldwide Sanctity of Life. The talk was not a simple call to work for ending abortion, it was a challenge for us to look at our own lives & to be sure we are in a right relation with God. He talked about God's call to us. God is speaking His Word to us. We are to respect that word that He speaks in & through every life that is created.
But in our world today, we are turning our backs on that reality, because we want to define everything in our own terms--and if you can't touch it, see it, taste it, use it, then it doesn't exist. We wish to turn our backs on the wonders of the invisible God."
To restore respect for life we "must reclaim our awe before that invisible majesty, that concept of God that reminds us that even in the things that seem to us small and undetectable, yet there may reside the awesome power that has made the whole universe, that has set the stars in their place and the planets in their courses, that has raised up the mountains, and that commands the universe."
Each time we see a infant "we are actually confronting the will of Almighty God." & it is a challenge to us "that child--its cries in the night, its needs--represents to us an obligation to respect the word that God has spoken in the child's life."
Dr. Keyes went out to show how this is based in Scripture: "Before I formed thee, I knew thee." (Jeremiah 1:5) He goes on to point out that this is the true moment of conception for each & every human being. Our point of conception is when we were conceived in the Mind of God. "He prepares His manuscript in secret. He only publishes it in the womb."
He goes on to talk about the creation of man, "Male and female, He created them. In the image and likeness of God created He them." (Genesis 1:27) "Adam was an unfinished work. Humanity was not complete. . . . Through the creation of Eve, we come into that form that allows us truly to reflect the full and wholesome power of Almighty God: the power to bring life to life. . . . He built into us His own capacity to love and share the gift of life."
He then went on to call us back to understanding of the "significance of that male-female distinction" When we loose or forget this understanding "We begin the process that leads to murder in the womb and in the world when we turn our back on that understanding of ourselves which God wanted us never to forget." Simply, "He made us in His image." He goes on to show the consequences when Adam & Eve forgot that & then on how that still goes on to this day. We need to begin again to recognize that, as it says in the Bible, we are made in the image & likeness of God.
"See, I think that's the meaning of the pro-life movement, in all the forms that it takes. It's not a movement just about being against this evil and that evil. It comes from a heart that recognizes evil because it is in love with God, in love with His truth, in love with the generosity that He has shown to each and every one of us."
He goes on with a challenge to combat this evil. We start with prayer, but we don't stop there. He challenges us to check in our own lives if the things we are following up with the right actions in our lives.
"We pray to God for peace. Do we ask ourselves if we, ourselves, are the source of that peace?We pray to God for mercy and for love and compassion. Do we ask ourselves if we are the hand of compassion, the voice of compassion, the word of compassion to another in need?We pray to God for justice. Do we ask ourselves if we are the instruments of His equity, His fairness, His respect for the human whole?"
That involves involvement politically. "(T)hat the choice you make becomes the choices of your country; that the conscience you show becomes the conscience of your country; that the love you exhibit becomes the possibility of love in your community.That is not a form of government, that's a way of life!
That is not a form of government, that's a truth of our faith."
"We need to understand that as we come together today to lift up to God words of prayer, we must resolve to become the deeds of prayer, to make those words flesh, to offer ourselves to be His tools, to be His mouth, to be His courage in this world, showing forth in this darkness the light that He would share and that we pray to Him to share with all of humankind."
We need to be willing to put our lives on the line, figuratively & literally if needed. He points out that 1 of the ways we do this is when we reject the promises made by those promoting things like embryonic stem cell research. "And if we just kill this innocent life over here, if we just do that thing that God says is an abomination, then we can have all those wonderful things that they promise." He challenges us to follow Jesus' example. He rejected the empty promises of Satan. He points out how the promises these people make are just as empty.
Then he goes on to point out the call that each of us as followers of Christ have. It is a call we need to respond to & live out in the face of opposition. He goes on to point out that it will take courage to do that. But we can draw on the source of courage as we turn to God in prayer, seeking His strength, " to pray with the steps we take, to pray with the words of witness that we speak when it matters, and to do so with the courage that comes from knowing that beyond our crucifixion will come the resurrection of God's eternal life for us.
With that confidence, can we fail?
I think not.In that confidence can we live? With great abundance.
For, the life that is lived in the courage that disregards the one who can only kill our bodies, that remembers the one who can offer us ever-renewing life, that life is lived with the courage that will be rewarded, not by our own fruitfulness, but by the fruitfulness of our Lord--and then He'll be there at the end.
For, the life that is lived in the courage that disregards the one who can only kill our bodies, that remembers the one who can offer us ever-renewing life, that life is lived with the courage that will be rewarded, not by our own fruitfulness, but by the fruitfulness of our Lord--and then He'll be there at the end.
At what seems to us to be the end, we will find that darkness is light, we will find in that seeming loneliness His hand, and we'll feel it, and He'll lift us up, and we will know that we're not alone. And we'll hear Him talking, and not to us. He will introduce us, I think, by name--by a name that we may not recognize, because we haven't heard it before--by the true name, the name by which God calls us to Himself. And we will hear that name spoken by the voice of our Lord, and He will say to His Father, "This is the one I told you about. She is my sister. This is the one who fed me and clothed me, who fought for me and lifted me up, who opened my prison, unshackled my heart and helped me along the way. And he is my brother. And, Father, they have come home."
And home we shall truly know--not because we have been rich and powerful, not because we have won elections and presided over mighty businesses, but simply, as Mother Theresa reminded us, because in the ways we can, we have been faithful to the Lord. And in that faithfulness shall come the reward that cannot die, because it lives with God forever."
Are you up to the challenge?
Am I?
A difficult question & 1 I cannot answer just once for all time. It is a question I will have to answer again & again. Each of us will as we daily take up our cross & follow in the footsteps of Christ. May God grant us by the power of His Holy Spirit the grace to always respond to the challenge as He would have us.
A discussion of what Dr. Keyes had to say in this talk can be found at the RenewAmerica Forum: Procreation and the sanctity of life October 8, 2006 (This has a link to both an audio stream & video stream of the talk)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

BOGO*, An Interesting Way to Support Adult Stem Cell Research

*Buy 1 Give 1

Do you enjoy a good Italiano table wine? Do you oppose embryonic stem cell research? Are you angry that many groups support embryonic stem cell research which has had no success in over 20 yrs of research while refusing to support adult stem cell research, WHICH HAS HAD SUCCESSFUL RESULTS? Would you like to help support adult stem cell research?
Well, have I got a deal for you! With an order from BOGO you can help support adult stem cell research, help educate a friend about adult stem cell research & have a good inexpensive Italiano wine with your meal. & do it for only $29.45?
What is BOGO & why are they making this offer?
BOGO is the brainchild of Bill Schneeberger. Mr. Schneeberger is an old hand at the wine distribution business & a man who is serious about his Catholic faith. As such his is pro-life. As he was involved in the wine business he became aware of cause-marketing in the form of the pink ribbon breast cancer awareness labels. Knowing a good idea when he saw one, he decided to get into it himself. In his own words: "I read Life is a Blessing, A Biography of Jerome Lejeune. Lejeune was a highly regarded geneticist who discovered the causes of symptoms such as Down’s Syndrome. He was a brilliant man and 100% pro-life. It was this book on Dr. Lejeune, my strong faith, and my love for the unborn, God’s tiniest children, that led me to join “Do No Harm: The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics” ( When I realized that no one was really going to bat for these tiny frozen embryos that would be used for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, I was convinced I needed to commit my project to supporting Adult Stem Cell Research and working for a culture of life."
Shortly thereafter he met Stefano Sgarzi at a food & wine show in New York City. He was the owner of Cantine Sgarzi Luigi S.R.L., an Italian winery Mr. Schneeberger considers world-class. Meeting another man with a faith as strong as his own, he knew he found the perfect supplier for the wine he sought to market: "With three generations of family wine making behind him, he could guarantee style, quality and integrity. In short, it was a perfect fit"
The twin pack idea came about as a way to easily explain the issue. As he explains: " I designed BOGO Wines™ to be sold only in an engaging, colorful twin pack that describes the quality of the wines, recommended food pairings and according to Dr. Jack Wilkie of the Life Issues Institute, “explains simply and succinctly the benefits of Adult Stem Cell Research.” The idea is that you will drink one bottle of BOGO and share the other bottle in the twin pack with someone who has not heard of the beauty of ASCR."
He went on to design & trademark the distictive two hearts logo. His hope was that the logo would become "the cause-marketing symbol (just like that pink ribbon) for this life-giving research." As a Catholic he was familiar with the symbolism of the two hearts, the Sacred Heart of Jesus & the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Thus he was able to honor his love for them. But he has come to see it as meaning more than that. "Through the insights of others, it has come to mean even more! Some say it is the heart of the embryo and the heart of the adult stem cell donor joined together as all human life. There are those who have felt it represents the heart of the adult donor reaching out to help the patient, and still others interpret it as the two loving hearts of those sharing BOGO. My favorite has to be this meaning: you don’t have to stop one heart to help another." (Taken from The Story of Buy-One-Give-One)
They have already given over $10,000 in product & money. For each case of wine sold he donates $2 to adult stem cell research. There are 2 orginizations that this funding goes to.
1 is The Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. They have 1 goal, a cure for Parkinson's Disease. The Foundation was started by Monsignor Thomas Hartman. About 5 yrs ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's. He told his parish about it in November 2003. He started the Foundation January 2004. The purpose of the foundation is to: "provide grants for the newest and most innovative scientific projects which offer the best hope for the advancement and development of a cure." Based on what they have heard from scientists & public testimony to Congress by the National Institutes of Health, they see this being accomplished in 10 yrs if the funding is there. Money for research is important, but they don't see that research alone as the answer. They "believe that we will find the cure through a combination of prayer and science."
They are firmly opposed to fetal/embryonic stem cell research. Fr. Tom says that he "was encouraged recently by a scientist who felt that a cure will come from the adult stem cells taken from our own bodies." How is this to be done? Fr. Tom says: "I believe that we are in a new frontier, and because of that we need to listen to science to know what we can do and we need to listen to the Church to learn what we ought to do. For that reason, the Thomas Hartman Foundation for Parkinson’s Research will fund the best scientific projects with the best chance of finding a cure while also adhering to the Church’s teachings."
The 2nd group is commonly known as The Will Ambler Project. The official name is SCI Research Advancement 501c3. (SCI stands for spinal cord injury.) They describe themselves as: "a group of paras and quads that are funding our own research team to bring spinal cord regeneration to humans ASAP. " Their research project focuses on "non-embryonic / non-fetal stem cell treatments to repair spinal cord injury" Will Ambler suffered injury to his spinal cord as a result of 1992 motorcycle accident. He found that those who were working with fetal tissue were constantly making promises for treatment but never following through. He eventually came in contact with Dr. Michel F. Levesque, MD, the Director of the Cedars-Sinai Neurofunctional Surgery Centre. He later came in contact with Dr. Jean Peduzzi, Ph.D., University of Alabama. Birmingham. They are currently conducting various experiments with rats & hope to be able to begin human clinic trials soon.
Their project "is an extremely focused approach to evaluate several treatments of the spinal cord injury using two different models of spinal cord injury, removal of a segment of the spinal cord and chronically injured (weight drop or cut) spinal cord." To accomplish this they are doing 2 projects. The 1st project focuses on reconstruction of the acutely injured spinal cord. The focus of the 2nd project is reconstruction of the chronically injured spinal cord. (More detail about the groups & their projects can be found by clicking on their links.)
Their is 1 other way in which BOGO is helping pro-life orginizations. They can sign up for an affiliate program that allows the group to put up a hotlink banner on their website. Any resulting sales net the group 7% of the dollar amount of that sale.
BOGO currently offers 3 wines for sale. They are a red, 2003 BOGO Rosso Puglia, IGT Italy (40% Sangiovese and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon), a white, 2004 Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT (100% Pinot Grigio), Italy & a rose, 2004 Rosato Puglia IGT, Italy. IGT stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica. It is 1 of the 4 designations used for Italian wines. It is used for a wine that is from a specific zone in Italy & of a higher quality than the vino da tavola, but does not fall under 1 of the more strict Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) & Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) appelations. While of equal or greater quality than the DOC & DOCG wines they are not made from the traditional types of grapes or they are made by a non-traditional process.
I have not tried the wines. I just discovered the company from an article in Americal Life League's Celebrate Life. But the American Wine Society reviewer, Judith Majher, has given them a positive review. But, being a stong advocate of anything that supports pro-life research, esp since many corporations give huge amounts to groups like Planned Parenthood or orginizations that support fetal stem cell research I felt this was a corporation that deserved to have attention drawn to it. (The fact that the wines are Italiano & I am proud of my Italiano heritage didn't hurt either. & I am firmly in the camp of those who urge moderation in alcohol consumption.)
Psalm 104:14-15 says: "You bring bread from the earth, and wine to gladden our hearts." For those pro-lifers who can & do drink wine here is a wine that will truly gladden your heart.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Baseball Playoffs - METS WIN :) TWINS Loose :(

Well for my teams the 1st round of play offs is over. Sadly the TWINS lost the series. (But the good news in the AL for me is that the Yankees are also out of it.) Here is the ignominious last moment of the 3rd game in Oakland:
Meanwhile onto the good news: In a 3 game sweep
It began thus on 4 Oct at Shea:
& ended like this:

5 Oct saw this happy ending:

Then onto Oakland & this result on 7 Oct:
All I have to add as they prepare to face the Cards is this:
(OK, a little cheesy, but so what?)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Our Lady of the Rosary

On Sun 7 Oct 1571 there was a sea battle at the straits by the port city of Lepanto between the Turkish fleet of 208 galleys and 66 small ships & the combined Papal, Spanish, Venetian, and Genoese fleets (total size similar to Turkish fleet) under the command of Don John of Austria. This is considered the last great sea battle using oared ships. While the battle was going on Pope St. Pius V called people to pray at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore & throughout Rome. People gathered together to pray the Rosary. Others prayed in processions thrughout the city. When the battle was over the Christian fleet had lost 17 ships and 7500 men but 15 Turkish ships were sunk and 177 taken, from 20,000 to 30,000 men disabled, and from 12,000 to 15,000 Christian rowers, slaves on the Turkish galleys, were delivered. The Turkish fleet was defeated. The Pope was in a working session with the Cardinals when he had a vision of the victory. He stopped work, openned a window, looked to the sky & shouted out: ""A truce to business; our great task at present is to thank God for the victory which He has just given the Christian army". " When official word came to him, he burst into tears of joy.
In thanksgiving to God for the victory won, he istituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. The title was later changed to that of Our Lady of the Rosary.

This feast is a reminder of the power of prayer. I know there are some that would doubt this & say that the Rosary isn't authentic Christian prayer & it proves nothing. I disagree. The Rosary is definitely a Christ-centered, Scripturally based prayer.

1st of all, lets look at the various prayers used in the Rosary. The openning prayer is the Apostles' Creed. This prayer is a statement of the basics of the Christian faith. This prayer is used by Catholics, Orthodox & Protestant Christians. Next is the Lord's Prayer or Our Father. Everyone knows this is taken from Matthew 6:9-13. Then there is the Hail Mary. The 1st half of this prayer is taken from Luke 1:28, 42. So, we are praying Scripture. the 2nd half of the prayer is simply asking a Saint in heaven to pray for us. This is no different than you asking a fellow Christian here on Earth (also called saints in Scripture) to pray for us. Remeber, St Paul often asked the saints he wrote to in his various Epistles to pray for him. The Glory Be is a old form of prayer called a doxology, a prayer that gives praise & glory to God. Doxologies are found at the end of each of the 5 books that make up the book of Psalms, esp Psalm 150 which is a doxology.

Now, lets look at the various mysteries that are meditated on while praying the Rosary. (All I am going to do is list the mystery & the Scripture reference(s) for it.


  1. Annunciation to Mary by Gabriel - Luke 1:26-38
  2. Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth - Luke 1:39-56
  3. Nativity of Jesus - Luke 2:1-21, Matthew 2:1-11
  4. Presentation of Jesus in the Temple - Luke 2:22-39
  5. Finding of Jesus in the Temple - Luke 2:41-51


  1. Jesus' Baptism by John - Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:29-34
  2. Jesus changes water to wine - John 2:1-11
  3. Proclaiming of the Gospel by Jesus - Luke 4:43 (desribing most of what is in Gospels)
  4. Transfiguration of Jesus - Matthew 17:1-6, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36, 2 Peter 1:16-18
  5. Eucharist is instituted - Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26


  1. Agony in the Garden - Matthew 26:36-45, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46
  2. Jesus is scourged - Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19:1
  3. Jesus is crowned with thorns - Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, John 19:2
  4. Jesus carries His Cross - Matthew 27:31-32, Mark 15:20-22, Luke 23:25-33, John 19:16-17
  5. Jesus' Crucifixion/Death - Matthew 27:33-54, Mark 15:22-41, Luke 23:33-48, John 19:18-38


  1. Resurrection - Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18
  2. Ascension - Mark 16:16-19, Luke 24:50-53 Acts of the Apostles 1:1-9
  3. Descent of the Holy Spirit on Mary & Apostles - Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4
  4. Assumption of Mary* - Genesis 5:24, 2 Kings 1:1-11
  5. Coronation of Mary# - Revelation 12:1, 4:4,10, 2:10, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4

* Scripture doesn't say Mary was assumed body & soul into Heaven. But, it does give 2 precidents in the stories of Enoch & Elijah being taken up body & soul. & remeber this was before Jesus died on the Cross. Heaven was still closed to humans. So, it would seem that God was allowing the fruits of what was yet to happen in terms of human time to be applied to them. (Thus also giving a Scriptural precedent for the dogma of Mary's Immaculate Conception.)

# Throughout the history of the Church from the 1st centuries, Christian writers have seen the woman of Rev 12 as being Mary. It shows her with a crown. That aside these other readings all refer to the saints in heaven receiving a crown. That would include Mary.

These last 2 mysteries are also a foreshadowing of what lies in store for all of us who make it to Heaven. Mary's Assumption, her Coronation, our bodily resurrection & our crowns are all a fruit of what Jesus did on the Cross. They are a sign of what the Holy Spirit can & will do through us if we let Him. They are our reward for living out John 3:16.

St. Bernard gave a homily challenging all Christians to meditate on the truths of what God did through Jesus. He said: "And so the idea of peace came down to do the work of peace: The Word was made flesh and even now dwells among us. It is by faith that he dwells in our hearts, in our memory, our intellect and penetrates even into our imagination. What concept could man have of God if he did not first fashion an image of him in his heart? By nature incomprehensible and inaccessible, he was invisible and unthinkable, but now he wished to be understood, to be seen and thought of.But how, you ask, was this done? He lay in a manger and rested on a virgin’s breast, preached on a mountain, and spent the night in prayer. He hung on a cross, grew pale in death, and roamed free among the dead and ruled over those in hell. He rose again on the third day, and showed the apostles the wounds of the nails, the signs of victory; and finally in their presence he ascended to the sanctuary of heaven.

How can we not contemplate this story in truth, piety and holiness? Whatever of all this I consider, it is God I am considering; in all this he is my God. I have said it is wise to meditate on these truths, and I have thought it right to recall the abundant sweetness, given by the fruits of this priestly root; and Mary, drawing abundantly from heaven, has caused this sweetness to overflow for us"

This homily is the 2nd reading for the Latin Rite Office of Readings for this feast. As I said, it calls us to contempate & meditate on what God did. Praying the Rosary is a great way to do this. Headlines

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Get this widget!
Visit the Widget Gallery