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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What Were They Thinking? Dexter's Laboratory Edition

By now I think everybody is aware of the big scare in Boston that turbned out to be nothing more than a promo for new episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force which is a part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The whole thing broke while I was doing my laundry Wed afternoon & so I got to see alive view on FoxNews of the whole early part of the mess.
Now, I have nothing against the whole idea of the type of promo being done. My question is this: Didn't anyone think to get permission from someone in city hall before putting those things on public property?, Any of the cities?, & why did it take so long for any of them to be noticed?
Thank God it wasn't a test for a future attack. Thank God it wasn't, as Shepard Smith said, a diversionary tactic. & thank God it didn't divert emergency personel or create a problem for an ambulance getting through on time. The most positive thing I can say is that it shows that Boston has a good system set up to deal with potential terrorist attacks.
The mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, is right to demand restitution & look into all legal avenues to do so. Turner Broadcasting Co, Cartoon Network's parent company, was right to apologize. But they (& its parent company Time Warner) should jump ahead of the gun & start working with Boston to pay them back without having to go to court. What will probably happen, though, is that the 2 men arrested, Peter Berdovsky & Sean Stevens, the men hired by the marketing company to put the signs up in Boston, will be the only ones to pay. The marketing company lawyers will find a way to pass the buck to Cartoon Network. Cartoon Network, et al, will have lawyers that claim that they were mislead by the advertising company. Peter Berdovsky & Sean Stevens will probably go to jail. & the news coverage of the whole fiasco has given the show a lot more publicity with the demographic it seeks then the signs ever would have in the 1st place.

Arrest Made After 'Suspicious Packages' Paralyzed Boston as Part of Cartoon Network Marketing Campaign

Suspects Refuse to Answer Questions on Botched 'Aqua Teen' Marketing Scheme

Tucson Diocese to Bishop Gumbleton: Thou Shalt Not Speak on Catholic Property

It is rare that a diocese will not allow a bishop from another diocese the right to speak at an event in their diocese. In fact it is an almost automatic courtesy to do so. But when you have a bishop who wants to speak on Church property to a group that is opposed to Church teachings & the Bishop of the diocese wants to uphold the Church's teaching then for once the answer is no.
The Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson, AZ has told Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton that he cannot sanction his visit since he will be speaking to the local chapter of Call to Action. According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star Bishop Kicanas said no to the visit because the group "takes positions that are contrary to church teachings. For that reason, the group's messages cannot be promoted on church property." It also reports that Bishop Kicanas sent a letter to Bishop Gumbleton explaining his reasons. In it he "made it clear that Gumbleton will not be in Tucson at the invitation of the local diocese."
Unfortunately, Bishop Gumbleton & Call to Action don't get the message. They have arranged to have the meeting at First Christian Church in Tucson. But that the bishop is still going ahead isn't surprizing. This is far from his 1st attack on the orthodox teachings of the Catholic Church. & he is the darling of many of this groups that call for changes on the Church's teachings about homosexuality, clebacy, etc.
If you remember, Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln, NE issued an excommunication for anyone who belongs to Call to Action in his diocese. The excommunication was appealed to Rome & upheld. & now another Bishop is taking a stand saying that this group is wrong to oppose Church teachings. Let's hope & pray that this is a sign of a trend in the right direction for our American Bishops.
UPDATE 4 February 2007, 1:40 AM CST: According to a report from Catholic World News Bishop Gumbleton has cancelled his appearance at the Call to Action meeting. Naturally, Call to Action spokesmen have claimed that Bishop Gumbleton was silenced. In other words, the spin has begun. It is clear from the original story that he wasn't silenced. He was just told by Bishop Kicanas that the standard protocols wouldn't be applied as that would mean at least tacit approval of Call to Action. Bishop Gumbleton was not stopped from coming if he wanted to. Nor was he silenced. & THAT"S THE TRUTH!!!!! But since when have groups like Call to Action let the truth stand in the way of a good heresy?

Ultimate Bible Quiz?

I don't know if I'd say it was ultimate. I thought the questions were almost too easy. But it does have some funny wrong answers.

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Where was C-SPAN When We Needed Them?

This Day in History

30 January 1798
The first brawl in the U.S. House of Representatives was witnessed by legislators. Congressmen Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold duked it out right there on the House floor. The spat occurred when Lyon spit in Griswold’s face.
This sure makes things seem a lot duller in Congress these days, doesn't it?
On a different note:
Happy 64th Birthday
Davey (David Allen) Johnson!!!!!
(Former NY Mets Manager 1984-1990, 1986 team won the World Series)

Wanted for Reckless Drving at Warp Speed

Reports are coming in that the Andromeda Galaxy, aka M31 aka NGC 224, was seen leaving the scene of an accident & is wanted for questioning. Investigators report finding a trail of stars & debris left near the scene of the crash. Witnesses report that it was seen heading towards the Milky Way Galaxy & was expected to arrive there in a few billion years. Residents are warned to keep out an eye for Andromeda & report any sightings to authorities. Andromedia is often seen with his associate known only as M32 aka NGC 221. They are unsure if M31 is armed but urge caution to not try & stop the renegade galaxy by yourself. According to authorities several witnesses including the Triangulum Galaxy (M33, NGC 598), the Pisces Dwarf (LGS 3, PGC3792) & M110 who sometimes goes by the name of NGC 205 identified Andromedia as the culprit.
Sounds like a great story line used in the film noir genre. Or something from a tabloid newspaper. Definitely not scientific fact. Actually, even though I played it up to sound like that, scientists have recently reported discovering evidence that the Andromeda Galaxy has at some time in its ancient past collided with another galaxy. This crash is supposed to have helped give Andromeda its current shape.
According to a report on "Astronomers using the DEIMOS spectrograph on the Keck II Telescope in Hawaii determined this by surveying Andromeda, our galaxy's nearest large galactic neighbor, and discovered a trail of stars which they believe were part of a different galaxy that merged with Andromeda some 700 million years ago.
The findings support previous computer simulations of a dwarf galaxy merging with Andromedaand could help astronomers calculate Andromeda’s total mass, a slippery value that, once arrived at, could help shed light on the elusive dark matter that pervades the universe."
These findings were presented by Karoline Gilbert, a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle earlierin January of this year.
"The discovered tidal debris features are almost an exact match with the features predicted in the computer simulations, Gilbert said. This implies that this new stellar stream and the giant southern stream, as well as the other stellar features reproduced in the simulations, came from the same parent galaxy.
Because they are moving together, astronomers can use the stars in the tidal debris to measure the strength of gravity around the Andromeda galaxy, said Mark Fardal of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who created the computer models.
Gilbert’s discovery of a new tidal debris feature, combined with velocity measurements of the other related tidal debris, will provide observations necessary to measure how much dark matter is in Andromeda, he said, and how it is distributed."
Though the Andromeda Galaxy is about 2.2-2.5 million light-years from the Milky Way Galaxy (our home), it IS heading this way. (1 light-year is about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion kilometers) It is travelling this way at about 310,000 miles per hour (500,000 kph). ETA is about 3 billion years from now. So even that part of the opening is based on fact. Even though that event is so far off, scientists are already doing computer simulations to guess what will happen when they do collide.
The good news, on its 1st pass Andromeda may not actually collide with our galaxy, but eventually the 2 galaxies will merge. According to a e-mail interview with John Dubinksi, an astronomy professor at University of Toronto who has developed a model: "While a collision appears inevitable, astronomers admit that the sideways motion of Andromeda -- the galaxy’s speed perpendicular to its forward path toward the Milky Way -- could affect the encounter’s timing, but it has yet to be measured precisely. Dubinksi used an estimate of 12.4 miles per second (20 km per second) for his collision model.
'Even if the galaxies have a wider passage on the first pass, if they are on a bound orbit they are destined to merge eventually,' Dubinski said. "If not on the first flyby, then within the second or third pass over the next 10 billion years, he added.
The clincher is gravity. Even if there’s enough space between the Milky Way and Andromeda to simply brush past each other at spiral arm’s length, their mutual gravity will ultimately win out, drawing the two galaxies together on successive flybys.' " So, it looks like we aren't off the hook.
& just so you don't think my openning bit was way out there (pun intended) here is a quote from that same article from Joshua Barnes of the University of Hawaii who has done some work investigating another galactic crash: "Simulating colliding galaxies is a bit like investigating a car crash," Barnes says. "Suppose you had no witnesses, just a couple of wrecked cars. You might try different test crashes, varying things like speed and angle of impact, until you found a way to get the same damage as the original collision. That's basically what we did."
Stay tuned for further reports! Film at 11 (10 pm Central)!
Original articles:


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

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

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.

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

HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.

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

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

INCENSE: Holy Smoke!

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

JONAH: The original "Jaws" story.

JUSTICE: When kids have kids of their own.

KYRIE ELEISON: The only Greek words that most Catholics can recognize besides gyros and baklava.

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

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO. Holiday travel has always been rough.

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

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

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

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

TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.

USHERS: The only people in the parish who don't know the seating capacity of a pew.

SECRET HOT LINE number direct to the Holy Spirit" that only Catholics know -- "Et cum spiri - 2 -2 -0"

Please do not spread this list around. One never knows when Elizabeth I will resume her activities.

Thanks to an anonymous friend of Dad29 who sent it to him originally!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Do Ya' Think?

Sometimes there is a little bit of humor, even in the worst of disasters. That is true about the disaster that was the campaign visit to Iowa by Sen. Hillary Clinton to Iowa this weekend. (Like I said about the horserace starting. . .)
In Davenport a man asked her how she would deal with dictators, she replied: "The question is: We face a lot of dangers in the world and, in the gentleman's words, we face a lot of evil men, and what in my background equips me to deal with evil & bad men?" This was followed by about 31 seconds of silence from her.
When questioned later by reporters as to whether or not she was refering to America's potential future 1st adulterer (GOD FORBID!) she said: "Oh, c'mon, I don't think anybody thought that."
Get real Hillary, who else could you have been refering to? I know he was the 1st thing I thought when I heard what you said on Fox News' Fox & Friends this morning.
UPDATE (4:06 am 30 January 2007): On Monday's Special Report with Britt Hume, Reporter Mara Eliason admitted that she, for 1, believes Hilary when she says she wasn't refering to Slick Willie in her joke. That makes 1 out of how many?

New Horizons Spacecraft: 1st Stop Jupiter

A year ago NASA launched the New Horizons probe towards Pluto. At the time Pluto was still classified as a planet. Since then the International Astronomical Union voted in a controvertial decision to demote Pluto from a planet to a new class called dwarf planets.

That hasn't stopped the New Horizons Spacecraft from its journey. In fact the spacecraft is about to go into high gear, FULL SPEED AHEAD mode. On 28 February it will make its closest approach to Jupiter. It will use Jupiter's gravity as an accelotator to add 9,000 miles (14,484 kilometers) per hour to its velocity. This will enable it to arrive at Pluto in July 2015.
& like the typical tourist New Horizons will take plenty of pictures & gather other souvenirs while traveling through the Jovian system.
In fact Jupiter will be the 1st big test of New Horizons abilities. According to a NASA news release the flyby will "(P)ut the probe's systems and seven science instruments through the paces of more than 700 observations of Jupiter and its four largest moons. The planned observations from January through June include scans of Jupiter's turbulent, stormy atmosphere; a detailed survey of its ring system; and a detailed study of Jupiter's moons.
The spacecraft also will take the first-ever trip down the long "tail" of Jupiter's magnetosphere, a wide stream of charged particles that extends tens of millions of miles beyond the planet, and the first close-up look at the "Little Red Spot," a nascent storm south of Jupiter's famous Great Red Spot. "
The release also goes on to say: "Much of the data from the Jupiter flyby will not be sent back to Earth until after the spacecraft's closest approach to the planet. New Horizons' main priority during the Jupiter close approach phase is to observe the planet and store data on its recorders before orienting its main antenna to transmit information home beginning in early March."
"Our highest priority is to get the spacecraft safely through the gravity assist and on its way to Pluto," says New Horizons Principal Investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo. "We also have an incredible opportunity to conduct a real-world encounter stress test to wring out our procedures and techniques, and to collect some valuable science data."
After leaving the Jovian system it will travel for 8 years until it reaches Pluto. There it will "conduct a five-month-long study of Pluto and its three moons in 2015. Scientific research will include studying the global geology, mapping surface compositions and temperatures, and examining Pluto's atmospheric composition and structure."
After that it will continue through the Kuiper Belt. Depending on circumstances a "potential extended mission would conduct similar studies of one or more smaller worlds in the Kuiper Belt, the region of ancient, rocky, icy planetary building blocks far beyond Neptune's orbit." This portion of the mission is expected to last from 2016 to 2020.
The spacecraft's instruments were selected to ask such questions as: "What is its atmosphere made of, and how does it behave? What does the surface of Pluto look like? Are there big geological structures? How do particles ejected from the sun (known as the solar wind) interact with Pluto's atmosphere?" The spacecraft will communicate with Earth through NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN).
According to NASA the spacecraft is 5.55 Astronomical Units (AU) from Earth, .32 AU from Jupiter & 26.64 AU from Pluto. One AU is the average distance between the Sun and Earth, about 93 million miles or 149.6 million kilometers.
As an aside, I am happy that they are finally getting to Pluto. There were plans to do this from the time of the Voyager missions. Unfortunately, the mission kept getting delayed. I also reccomend checking out the hyperlinks to find out more about the mission.
Photo:Pluto (L) & Charon NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's European Space Agency's Faint Object Camera

If San Tomaso Aquino Was Alive Today.

Sunday, 28 January, was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (Tomaso Aquino). He was 1 of the greatest philosophers & theologians in the Catholic Church. The influence of his writings is felt throughout the Church & far beyond. So important was what he wrote that he has been named a Doctor of the Church. St. Thomas is known as the Angelic Doctor. He was Born at Rocca Secca in the Kingdom of Naples, 1225 or 1227; died at Fossa Nuova, 7 March, 1274.

St. Thomas' greatest work, & 1 that any amateur or professional philosopher or theologian needs must be familiar with, is the Summa Theologica. Throughout the years I have come across many great humorous take-offs on his method of philosophical debate (which was nothing more than the accepted form of the time). They have dealt with such burning issues as Proving the Existance of Santa Claus & Is God Made of Soap? Thanks to Dad29 I now have the answers to 2 more burning issues, Does the cheese stand alone? & Whether borogroves are all mimsy? Read on to find out:

Does the cheese stand alone?

It seems that the cheese does not stand alone:
Objection 1: There are many dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cream, half and half and the like. In the natural world, all stand together with the cheese in the dairy isle and freezer section, therefore the cheese does not stand alone.
Objection 2: The tradition handed down by the FDA has always grouped cheese with other dairy products and as leading to your daily dairy intake. As such, the cheese does not stand alone.
Objection 3: It is not in the nature of cheese to stand as it has no legs or any other standing apparatus and since, as the Philosopher says, “nature is a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest” (Physics I, ii), nothing can do what is not in its nature. Thus the cheese does not stand alone because it cannot stand at all.
Objection 4: It is said that “milk does a body good” and therefore is great. Therefore the cheese does not stand alone, but with the milk.
Objection 5: In the Holy Land per se, also known as Wisconsin or Land that is inherently Holy, cheese is not the only object of fame. For Wisconsin is also known for polka, toilets, tamales, fireworks, and bubblers. The cheese must, then, stand with all of these and not alone.
On the contrary: The Poet says, “Hi-ho the derry-o, the cheese stands alone.”
I answer that: The cheese stands alone in two ways. Firstly, among dairy products it is the most pungent and therefore the most easily identifiable by smell and taste. It is also the most carefully crafted of all dairy products as well as the most diverse in kind. As what is most important is given the most attention, the cheese is unique among dairy products and stands alone as one.
Secondly, cheese by its very nature is holy. Some cheeses have a greater actuality of their holiness, such as Edamer or Swiss. (Note that this is why the Swiss Guards are only allowed into the Vatican after consuming exorbitant amounts of Swiss cheese.) Other cheeses have a lesser actuality, such as Cheddar or Brie. Nevertheless, this holiness is possessed by each cheese essentially regardless of its actuality. As such, cheese is necessarily holy, unlike other foods, and therefore stands alone.
Reply Objection 1: The word ‘alone’ can be used in two different senses; the first existing individually and in solitude, the second existing in a class of its own above all else to which it is compared. The Poet uses ‘alone’ in the latter sense while the objection applies to the former.
Reply Objection 2: There are two types of grouping, metaphysical and effectual. Metaphysical groups mark out something regarding what it is while effectual groups mark out something according to the result it produces. The FDA’s grouping is an effectual one as it means that all those in its group result in a healthy body. However, thee cheese stands alone metaphysically.Moreover, there are two types of tradition, for tradition depends upon authority. A contingent tradition is dependent on a temporal authority, while a universal tradition does not. The FDA is a temporal authority, has a contingent tradition, and therefore can not speak on the metaphysical matters at hand.
Reply Objection 3: The word ‘stand’ can not only be used properly, i.e. by the means of legs, but also analogically, i.e. “I should stand up to him” or “Stand proud”. Regarding the cheese, stand is used analogically and therefore does not require legs or any physical organ of standing.
Reply Objection 4: It is also said, “Behold the power of cheese.” Cheese has a power that strikes fear into the hearts of men. As fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit, cheese has a greater power than milk and stands above it and alone.
Reply Objection 5: Cheese is not native to Wisconsin, nor is it found only in Wisconsin as it is commonly found in France, Italy and the like. As such, it is not associated with Wisconsin per se but per accidens. Hence it is only accidentally associated with bubblers, polka, etc. So it does not stand with them per se but per accidens. Thus, the cheese stands alone per se.

Whether borogroves are all mimsy

Objection 1. It would seem that borogroves are not all mimsy. For to say that one thing is all or entirely another is to say that the idea of the first thing is entirely contained in the idea of the second. But mimsiness is, as the Philosopher states (Organon), an accident, while a borogrove is a substance. And no substance can be an accident. Therefore borogroves cannot be all mimsy.
Objection 2. Further, borogroves are subject to change, which implies that either their mimsiness changes, in which case as its mimsy diminishes a borogrove cannot be all mimsy, that is to say, the perfection of mimsiness; or that something other than their mimsiness changes, in which case it is manifest that the borogrove is not entirely mimsy.
On the contrary, Lewis Carroll states, "All mimsy were the borogroves."
I answer that, to say that borogroves are all mimsy can be understood in three ways. First, in the sense that borogroves belong to mimsy as a species to a genus. Second, that borogroves always possess complete mimsy. Third, that under certain circumstances borogroves possess complete mimsy, and it is in this third sense that we understand the borogroves to be all mimsy.
Reply to Objection 1. This is the first sense, of relating species to genus, and this is not the sense intended.
Reply to Objection 2. This is the second sense, but that this is not the sense intended is shown by Lewis Carrol's observation that "'Twas brillig," implying that, if 'twasn't brillig, the borogroves would not necessarily be all mimsy.

Image credits:
1st: Depiction of St. Thomas Aquinas from the Demidoff Altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli.
2nd: St. Thomas Aquinas by Fra Angelico.

Presidential Poll

Saturday I put up a poll to see how much support the various potential Republican candidates for president had. In the last 2 days I have seen a hugh swell of support for Chuck Hagel only. I am really curious as to WHY? Please let me know. Thanks!
(Note: I reserve the right to not publish any response I find offensive or obscene. This IS MY BLOG, I have that right!)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dear Name by Joe Green *

* Caro Nome by Giuseppe Verdi

Who says that opera has to be dull & boring?

With thanks to Victor Borge (that great Dane) who was able to make classical music both fun & interesting! You are missed!

Post-Abortion Healing

A lot of my blogging is about what to do to make people aware of the horrors of abortion. Most of the time I focus on the fact that it is a human being being murdered. Sometimes I have focused on being politically active. This post is going to focus on the emtional damage done to the people who have been involved in an abortion & some places to get the healing needed.
The truth is, there is more than1 victim in an abortion. The child who was aborted is the 1 everyone obviously thinks of. & I will be honest, up to a year ago that was my main focus. I never really thought much about the other victims. Then I decided to take the speaker training class offered by DBQ Co. Right to Life. In looking over the possible topics, the 1 that caought my eye was the 1 about the psychological damage done to women. So, for my 1st short talk I did some research on it. After that talk I had to decide what to do for my full presentation. I was thinking about continuing on that subject. Then 1 night I had on Defending Life with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life on EWTN. They were talking about the emotional & psychological damage done not only to women, but also to men involved in an abortion. As I looked into it, I realized how little was said about the harm abortion does to the fathers of those aborted & how important it was to get that message out.
I also learned a few other facts that didn't surprize me so much as anger me. 1 of those facts is that abortion providers like Planned Parenthood (PP) greatly downplay or outright deny the existence of the problem. & even more disgusting was the fact that the American Psychologcal Association (ASA) deny its existance. This group is supposed to exist to help people who have emotional problems get well, not deny them help.
This problem does have a name, Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome (PAS) or Trauma. & despite what PP & ASA say, it does exist. There have been several studies to see if it exists. & while more of them have focused on the existence of the syndrome in women who've had an abortion, there have been several that have looked at its existence in men who have been involved in an abortion. & despite the claims of the nay-sayers, most of studies have been done using the right proceedures. (The latest MSM smear-job was done last week by the NY Times Magazine in an article entitled Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome?)

PAS includes a wide variety of symptoms. They can include the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Guilt and shame
  • Grief (mild to profound)
  • Depression (sometimes to the point of suicidal thoughts and attempts)
  • A sense of alienation from family and friends
  • A feeling of being 'numb,' not able to feel joy from activities that used to be pleasurable
  • Anger
  • Problems bonding with her other children
  • Isolating self from others to avoid discussing the abortion experience with them
  • Sleep disorders
  • Fear that God will punish him or her for their involvement
A person call feel all or some of these problems. They can show up at different times. If you are someone who has been involved in an abortion or know someone who has been & are suffering from PAS there is help. The groups listed below can provide you with the resources to get the help, forgiveness & healing needed.
PAS doesn't discriminate, it affects women or men, rich or poor black or white. Many people are speaking out about how abortion has hurt them. Silent No More is leading the way with a campaign to get the word out that there is hope. Many people who have been hurt by abortion are speaking out. People like Sharon OsboUrne, Jennifer O'Neill, Dr. Alveda King (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s niece), Jonathan Flora (writer/director A Distant Thunder) & many others are saying there is healing for the hurt.
God wants anyone who has been hurt to be healed. These groups provide it. Support their efforts, spread the word.

Six Habits of Highly Effective Dioceses

The 28 January- 3 February 2007 issue of the National Catholic Register has a very interesting article about what makes an excellent Catholic Diocese. While it focuses on the success in attracting vocations to the priesthood, the habits also point to a diocese who's bishop stands up for the orthodox teachings of the Catholic Church. In otherwords, a shepherd who takes his responsibilities, & his faith, seriously.
Here are the habits & some excerpts from the article:
1. Is the Eucharist the center of vocation efforts?
"Eucharistic adoration is especially effective because it draws sharp attention to the great gift that makes the priesthood so extraordinary and so needed — we have the priesthood to thank for God’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. And the dynamic of silent Eucharistic adoration inevitably leads to the question, 'What do you want me to do, Lord?' "
2. Is the diocese unabashed about personally inviting men to be priests?
"A U.S. bishops survey found that 78% of those being ordained said they were initially invited by a priest to consider the priesthood. Very few men were drawn to the priesthood by ads alone."
3. Is the seminary faithful to the magisterium of the Church?
"The seminaries that are booming, like Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md., St. Vincent in Latrobe, Pa., and St. Gregory the Great in Seward, Neb., are ones with a reputation for being faithful to the magisterium."
4. Are there many strong and faithful families to draw from?
"There are beautiful exceptions, but the rule is that priests come from committed Catholic families in which the father is an active player in the family’s faith.

These families are most common, we found, in places like the South and the Midwest, where the faith is relatively new and isn’t taken for granted, or is actually under attack. "
5. Do young men know and interact with priests?
"The priest’s life is largely a mystery to young men. Unless they meet and interact with priests — at parish functions, but also at dinner with their families — it may never occur to many young men that the priesthood is a life that would appeal to them. . . . .
For many priests, serving at the altar was the first place they first came to know men who had been called and understood what the call entailed. Parishes should make sure that boys feel welcome at the altar, and that altar serving isn’t, in effect, girls-only."
6. Did young people in the area go to World Youth Day?
"The World Youth Day factor is very real. Many men in seminary trace their enthusiasm back to a World Youth Day. These events give young people with high ideals a chance to see that the Church will allow them to have a big, positive impact on the world — one that lasts for eternity."

1 of the things mentioned in the part about Eucharistic Adoration is a website,, an apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi at the service of vocations for the Universal Church. They are promoting a "traveling monstrance". This monstrance is 1 of 6 blessed on 24 November 2004. 1 monstrance was sent to each of the 6 inhabited continents (Antarctica was onviously exempted) to "be used to promote the Adoration for Vocations effort worldwide."
It is important for each of us to pray for vocations to the priesthood, deaconate & religious life. It is also important that each of us prays daily for the Pope & our own bishop as well as our priests, deacons & religious.
Six Habits of Highly Effective Dioceses

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just Say Yes?

Sometimes I think some people shouldn't be allowed to play with toys. Welcome to the BIZZARO World version of the Reagans:

Apparently someone took the old President Ron & Nancy Reagan "Just Say No!" video they made & did a little creative editing. What makes it funny, despite the poor quality, is that you just know that this wouldn't happen in the real world. Or would it?

Who's Who for the 2008 Republican Presidential Race

Here is a list of definite & potential Republican Candidates for the 2008 Presidential race. Those that have web pages for their campaign are linked.

  1. Samuel Dale (Sam) Brownback, US Senator from Kansas
  2. John Cox Illinois
  3. James S. (Jim) Gilmore III (unofficial site), former governor of Virginia
  4. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives from Georgia
  5. Rudolph William Louis (Rudy) Giuliani III, former mayor of New York City, NY
  6. Charles Timothy (Chuck) Hagel (unofficial site), US Senator from Nebraska
  7. Michael Dale (Mike) Huckabee, Governor of Arkansas
  8. Duncan Lee Hunter, US House of Representatives from California
  9. John Sidney McCain III, US Senator from Arizona
  10. Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul, US House of Representatives from Texas
  11. George Elmer Pataki, former governor of New York
  12. Michael Richard (Mike) Pence, US House of Representatives from Indiana
  13. Willard Mitt Romney, former governor of Massechusetts
  14. Michael Savage (radio show website), talk radio host
  15. Michael Charles Smith, Oregon
  16. Richard Michael Smith, Texas
  17. Thomas Gerard (Tom) Tancredo, US House of Representatives from Colorado
  18. Tommy George Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin

Those who were possibilities & have said no to a run in 2008 (OK, I included a couple of these in my poll to see how strong their appeal is.):

  1. George Felix Allen, former US Senator from Virginia
  2. John Ellis (Jeb) Bush , former Governor of Florida
  3. US Vice President Richard Bruce (Dick) Cheney
  4. William Harrison (Bill) Frist, former US Senate Majority Leader (from Tennessee)
  5. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
  6. Governor Marshall Clement (Mark) Sanford, South Carolina
  7. Richard John (Rick) Santorum, former US Senator from Pennsylvania

Someone I wish would run:

  1. Julius Caesar (J.C.) Watts former member US House of Representatives from Oklahoma

UPDATED 5 February 2007: Added Michael (Mike) Huckabee's & Richard Michael Smith's official websites & James Gilmore unofficial website.

UPDATED 6 February 2007: Added Michael Savage to list as he has announced he is considering a run.

Friday, January 26, 2007

& They'rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre OOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While there were a few preliminary visits last year by some potential Republican presidential candidates, as far as I am concerned the 2008 Iowa Republican Caucus horserace got its DBQ kickoff tonite (26 Jan 2007) with a visit by Gov. Mitt Romney.
There was a meet & greet with complimentary hors d'oeuvres for Governor Romney at 5:30 pm at the Best Western Midway Hotel. There were about 200 people there for the event plus several representatives of the national media including Time Magazine & ABC News. & of course the DBQ Telegraph-Herald was there also.
After working the room for a while he got up to the podium & gave a short speech. He talked about his background starting in Michigan. He went on to talk about some of his experiences in taking over the running of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT. (IOC 2002 Olympics site) Then he shared some of his experiences as governor of Massechusetts including getting his health care plan passed. He went on to share a little of why he is running for governor.
Here is my take about what he said.
1st of all he is an excellent speaker. & that is a big plus. He comes across as very sincere. he is a strong family man, another plus.
As a big fan of the Olympics movement I was very impressed with how he took over & saved the 2002 Olympics from disaster. His telling of Derek Parra's experience as 1 of those carrying in the flag from 9-11 was esp moving.
Talking about his experiences as governor he was right in saying that when writing the Massechusetts constitution John Adams never intended it to give marriage rights to gay couples. But he wasn't as strong in doing all he could while still governor to get it changed. He glossed over that fact. I was impressed by his references to President John & Abigail Adams because President Adams is 1 of my heroes. He also made it sound like he has been strongly pro-life. Unfortunately his record belies this. I know that people can change on this & that he could be serious about being pro-lie. But, as a friend said afterwards, is he serious, or has he changed his position simply to get elected? & that is a question I still have.
Of what is considered the top tier of Republicans, he is the 1 that is closest to where I am at. As I said, his handling of the Olympics is a big plus for me, as was being a Republican getting elected as governor of Massachusetts. & unlike a certain other Democratic Massachusetts governor who ran for president, he is familiar with the greatest son of Massachusetts & a hero of mine, President John Adams. I don't ever remember Dukakis quoting him for anything. At this point he will have to do more to convince me he is strongly Pro-Life. For that reason, Sam Brownback is still my frontrunner at this time.
As an aside, if Romney does get it, someone had a great suggestion that would help ease the Pro-Life concerns immensely, Brownback for VP.
(I plan on reporting & commenting on as many of the events for all the Republican candidates that I can make leading up to the 14 Jan 2008 Iowa Caucuses.)

5th Annual National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day - 2007

Thursday I got the latest issue of American Life League's (ALL) Celebrate Life. On the back cover was an ad about the 2007 National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day.

What is this day & how can you participate in it?

The day is the last Tuesday of April that has been specifically set aside for everyone who is Pro-Life to make a unified statement about the scourge that is abortion. Everyone who can is asked to wear a T-shirt with a Pro-Life message that day. Why wear 1? "More than 3,500 babies are surgically aborted every day in America, and thousands more die by chemical abortions. We cannot just sit by and be silent. Wearing a pro-life shirt will open eyes, spark discussion, and save lives. It’s effective, easy, and something that even the meekest of persons can do to take a stand." It is as simple as that.

OK, but I don't have a Pro-Life T-shirt. No, problem. ALL puts out a special 2007 T-shirt that you can order for the low price of $6 (+ S&H) each. This year's shirt is pictured above. They come in Adult sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL & Youth M & L. There are 2 ways you can order the shirt. You can call their toll free #: 866-LET-LIVE (538-5483).

The other way to order the shirt is to go to the ALL Pro-Life Store website. They also have a wide selection of clothing, bumper stickers, accessories, & publications that you can order.

If you are a student at a public high school that desn't have a uniform/dress code that bans all t-shirts then you cannot be prevented from wearing the shirt by your principal. In 1969 the US Supreme Court, in the case of Tinker v The Des Moines Community School District (393 U.S. 503, 506), ruled that a student doesn't lose the right to free speech when he or she enters a school building. The Thomas More Center for Law & Justice has prepared a letter that you can print out to present to your principal if you run into a problem. ALL has a page with more info on dealing with HARRASSMENT including who to contact at ALL & the Thomas More Center, as well as inf on how to get this out to the media.

So join me in wearing a shirt on 24 April 2007. I have already made my pledge to participate & have ordered my shirt. Challenge your family & friends to do the same. (Check here to see what else you can do to promote the day.)

We all need to speak out.

As Edmund Burke said: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Here is a chanch to do something.

This would explain a lot

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Dictatorship of Choice

This week's Spirit & Life Column by Fr. Thomas J. Euteneuer (Human Life International) really gets to the heart of how the culture of death operates to oppose the Culture of Life. So here it is in its entirety:
Merck’s lucrative HPV vaccine is now being proposed as mandatory by twelve states for girls 11 years old and above. Yes, the word is mandatory. Remember that the culture of death is not a benign dictator: it becomes a tyrant as soon as it is able to enforce its will. Cynically, the whole premise of the culture of death is “freedom of choice,” but if Merck and the CDC have their way soon we will be bulldozing chemicals into little girls’ bodies for no other reason than that their parents’ generation has deprived them of a choice. Those who say that they don’t want to force their morality on others are now having others’ immorality forced upon them.

I have written before that this is not an innocuous little program to protect girls from disease. It is the newest program of fear-mongering that manipulates baby-boomer and Gen X mothers to “protect” their pre-adolescent kids from what they themselves know to be the ravages of the culture of sexual promiscuity. It leaves virtually no room for the moral approach of chastity before and during marriage and in fact denigrates that approach as unrealistic. While there are many reasons why this vaccine should be opposed and rejected, I object most strongly to its capacity to degrade human and sexual relations under the guise of real-world protection.

How is a mother to explain this intrusion to her child? She may tell her girl that the chicken pox vaccine is necessary because even casual contact with other kids may infect her. But if the daughter asks the mother why she needs to get three shots for the HPV vaccine, mom would have to explain it in some disingenuous or crude way: “Well, honey, you may someday have sex with someone who has this disease, and you have to be safe.” The reactions from the child may range from embarrassment to shock to horror. If mother says, “Your future husband may have this disease…,” she will also have to explain why the girl would even want to marry someone with a disease and whether or not Daddy had that disease when she married him. Any way you slice it this shot is degrading to kids’ relationships with their parents, their purity, and the sense of wonder that they should have toward the beauty of human sexuality.

And that’s the point. The culture of death, like every despotic regime, enters into God’s realm with haughty pretense and sullies it. It eventually establishes itself inside the temple as its own authority and mandates a new law contrary to both spirit and nature. Last time I checked, the Scriptures still say that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:9), but the CDC is rapidly squatting on another’s property and soon will claim total ownership of the temple if these HPV vaccine “mandates” are any way indicative of the future.

If parents want to assure that God’s plan of sexual purity will set the agenda for their kids’ future marriages and families, now is the time to change their culture. The only real response to these intrusions of the culture of death is to reject them and all their works and all their empty promises. We have to get and keep the tainted culture out of us and stop pretending that it is the “real world.” Pre-adolescent girls getting expensive shots to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases is not “real,” it’s perverse. Creating a culture of life and purity will in no way be without its sacrifices—even heroic ones—but if our children’s and family’s integrity is not worth the sacrifice, what is?

One final question that has been asked by many and needs a clear answer: Would it be immoral for someone to take or administer this vaccine? No. The HPV vaccine is not made from aborted fetal cell lines and is not in itself an immoral substance. The Church is not in the business of manipulating consciences to make a point about the culture of death. The Church’s point is that the real manipulators are sitting in the CDC and state legislatures and school boards, and we should insist upon our freedom from their unwarranted intrusions into God’s temple.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International

News Flash: Despite What Planned Parenthood Says America is NOT as pro-abortion as they claim!

A new poll by CBS News that is sure to be downplayed as flawed or ignored by the pro-murder abortion supporters like Planned Parenthood & NOW (National Orginization of Women) has just come out showing that the majority of Americans want abortion severely limited or banned completely.
According to a report on's website the CBS poll found that "47 percent of Americans want to prohibit all or most abortions and 16 percent want them to be greatly restricted.
About 30 percent of those polled want to limit abortions to the very rare cases of rape, incest or life of the mother and another 12 percent want abortions allowed only in when the pregnancy threatens the mother's life. Another 5 percent said abortions should always be illegal.

Just 31 percent of the public wants to permit abortion in all cases."
The poll was taken from 18-21 January 2007 & was close to the results of a Jan 2006 poll. That poll showed that "51 percent want all or most abortions illegal and just 29 percent wanting them allowed in all cases."
While it may seem that the numbers have taken a step back from a year ago, it isn't as bad as it looks. The margin of error is + or - 3% for both polls. & there are other factors that could affect the results.
The plain facts are that despite what the pro-abortion side claims, this country does not support the unlimited access to abortion that they espouse. Not even 1/3 of the country wants it always allowed. & almost 2/3 of the polulation wants at least some limits upto a complete ban. It also shows that we who are pro-life still have a long way to go in getting people to see & understand the truth about why abortion is wrong.
Abortion and Birth Control @ PollingReport.Com

President Bush's Address to the 2007 March for Life Participants

Washington DC, Monday, 22 January 2007, 12:07 P.M. EST Address made via a phone call.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Nellie, thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much, Nellie.
And I want to thank everybody there for taking part in today's March for Life. I appreciate so very much the devotion to such an honorable cause, and the good work everyone is doing to defend life.
And, Nellie, it's good to hear your voice again, and I thank you very much for giving me a chance to visit with you and the crowd that is assembled there on the Mall. (Applause.)
It is important for all Americans to remember that our Declaration ofIndependence states that every person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (Applause.) It also states that these rights come from our Creator, and that governments are formed to secure these rights for all their citizens. And we believe every human life has value, and we pray for the day when every child is welcome in life and protected into law. (Applause.)
Nellie, I want to thank you very much, and the members of Congress there who have worked hard to make progress toward this goal over the last six years. I want the folks assembled there to know that we're making progress. We promoted adoption, support parental notification laws, ended federal funding for abortions overseas, and are funding crisis pregnancy programs. (Applause.) I had the privilege of signing legislation that extends legal protection to children who are born, despite abortion attempts, allows prosecutors to charge those who harm or kill a pregnant woman with harming or killing her unborn child, as well. (Applause.) I signed into law a ban on the cruel practice of partial-birth abortions, and we will vigorously defend that law in the courts.
Nellie, what I'm saying is, is that we're building a culture of life here. And I want to thank you and everybody assembled for helping. We are a caring nation, and our values should also guide us on how we harness the gifts of science. New medical breakthroughs bring the hope of cures for terrible diseases and treatments that can improve the lives of millions. Our challenge is to make sure that science serves the cause o humanity instead of the other way around. (Applause.)
Last summer I vetoed a bill that would support the taking of innocent life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others, and I have made itclear to the Congress we must pursue medical advances in the name of life, not at the expense of it. (Applause.)
As we move forward, we've all got to remember that a true culture of life cannot be built by changing laws alone. We've all got to work hard to change hearts. We will find areas where we can agree and, at the same time, work to persuade more of our fellow citizens to join this great cause. The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. And so I say, go forth with confidence that a cause rooted in human dignity and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens cannot fail.
Again, Nellie, thank you very much. I appreciate your dedication to this important cause. I send my thanks to all there on the Mall. I ask for God's blessings on your work, and that God continue to bless our country.(Applause.)
Thank you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Happy 66th Neil

Today is the 66th birthday of 1 of my top 3 all-time favorite singer composers out there, Neil Diamond. & he's still going. Here are some samples of the great variety of things he's done over the years (including a video made to my all time #1 favorite:
Solitary Man
I AM the Lion
I Am...I Said
Coming to America
I Haven't Played This Song in Years
I'm On To You
& here are ads for a couple of his albums:
Greatest Hits (1980)
12 Songs

Monday, January 22, 2007

Random Thoughts - 60s Flashback Edition

Sun nite on KGRR 97.3 FM the song 2 Hangmen by Mason Proffit came on. As I was listening to it I couldn't help but think how much things have changed. The 1 & only time I heard it back when it 1st came out was on KUNI-FM's alternative rock program late 1 nite. It wasn't until many years later after KGRR came on the air that I heard it again & found out who had recorded it. Obviously, the song made an impression on me.
The basic gist of the song is that is protesting the attempts of the US Government (LBJ & Nixon era) to silence protestors against the Vietnam War. A hangman has seen to many things done in the name of laws that weren't right that he finally spoke up. So they arrest him & try him & sentance him to death. However the hangman they sent for doesn't go along & ends up being hung himself.
I couldn't help but think how much things have changed. Back then it was the left that was protesting things & the government was trying to silence them. Nowadays it is the left that is trying to silence us who are defending life. They try, as the song says, to silence us for "FOR BELIEVING THINGS THAT DIDN’T FIT THE LAWS THEY’D SET ASIDE." Things like the sanctity of life & using fetal/embryonic stem cells is wrong.
2 prime examples of this is the recent article in the NY Time's Magazine, Is There a Post-Abortion Syndrome? (more on this in another post) & making it sound like those opposing embryonic/fetal stem cell research are opposed to all stem cell research. Then there is the biggest 1 of all from last Fall's election, Michael J. Fox's work in Missouri for the constitutional ammendment that legalized cloning etc in the name of stem cell research. This was, as I pointed out, a prime example of Ann Coulter's point about silencing opposition using victims.
Anyway, here are the lyrics to the song (I hilited the most pertinent lines):
© Terry Talbot
(From the lyrics page of the Mason Proffit website. Used under the fair use doctrine. All rights reserved to copyright owner.)
ASIDE: This song was alternative back then. It seems so mainstream now, esp in comparison to what is labeled alternative these days. Also in researching the lyrics I learned something else about the group I didn't know, Terry Talbot is John Michael Talbot's brother.

DBQ Walk for Life 2007

As I said the other day in my post about events this weekend marking the anniversary of that infamnia in 1973 when the US Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide, 1 of the events scheduled was the 22nd DBQ Walk for Life put on by DBQ Co. Right to Life. Here is my report on what happenned.
The Walk began with a rally at the gazebo in Washington Square in downtown DBQ. It was very cold but sunny as everyone gathered for the start of the event at 10:30 am. It looked to me like there were about 150-200 people of all ages gathered there.
We were welcomed by Steve Fuerst who had orginized this year's event. It naturally began with prayer. Then Mr. Fuerst explained why we were there. "We want to voice our opinions, to speak up for the children who don't have a voice," he said. "We want to make whatever effect we can make locally."
The 1st speaker was the president of Wahlert Catholic High School's Respect Life Club Amanda Carew. She spoke about how important it was to keep speaking up even though it seems we aren't being listenned to. "We stand here with one influential message and many resilient voices." She also spoke of the negative physical & emotional effects that abortion has on those involved.
Another speaker was Fr. James Parker, Parochial Administrator of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, E. DBQ, IL. "Everyone has to get it back into their minds and into their hearts the value of life," said Fr. Parker. "Life that is so valuable that our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross." He also spoke out about how Sen Harkin, Sen Obama & any other politician who supports abortion "has no business governing." He also called to task those judges who supported abortion as well as any ministers who claimed to be Christian & were pro-abortion.
After the speakers finished, posters with pro-life messages were handed out. Lead by members of the Mime for Life group & the KCs everyone began the walk toward the DBQ Co. Courthouse. Those who wanted to gathered at the back of the march & were lead by Fr. Parker in praying The Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. After arriving at the courthouse the walk continued on to the Knights of Columbus Hall. There those who wanted to could enjoy a chili luncheon put on by the Loras College Right to Life group to raise money to send members to the DC March for Life.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Day of Prayer and Penance for Life

January 22, 2007
In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.
General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2007

A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

America was founded on the principle that we are all endowed by our Creator with the right to life and that every individual has dignity and worth. National Sanctity of Human Life Day helps foster a culture of life and reinforces our commitment to building a compassionate society that respects the value of every human being.

Among the most basic duties of Government is to defend the unalienable right to life, and my Administration is committed to protecting our society's most vulnerable members. We are vigorously promoting parental notification laws, adoption, abstinence education, crisis pregnancy programs, and the vital work of faith-based groups. Through the "Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002," the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003," and the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004," we are helping to make our country a more hopeful place.

One of our society's challenges today is to harness the power of science to ease human suffering without sanctioning practices that violate the dignity of human life. With the right policies, we can continue to achieve scientific progress while living up to our ethical and moral responsibilities.

National Sanctity of Human Life Day serves as a reminder that we must value human life in all forms, not just those considered healthy, wanted, or convenient. Together, we can work toward a day when the dignity and humanity of every person is respected.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 21, 2007, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.


Ambivalence and Resolve About Roe

By Richard John Neuhaus
Friday, January 19th 2007, 4:22 PM

The most consequential cultural and political event in American history in the past half century was the Roe v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973. An argument can be made that it is rivaled by September 11, but that fateful day did not result in the deep realignment of religious, cultural, and political dynamics resulting from the Supreme Court’s ukase, which established an unlimited abortion license that wiped from the books of all fifty states any legal protection of unborn children. It is not true that, as Justice Ruth Ginsburg and others have contended, Roe v. Wade simply speeded up what was already happening in the states. On the contrary, the country was, with the exception of a few states, moving in a pro-life direction (although the term pro-life was not in general use at the time). See, for instance, Russell Hittinger’s October 1994 First Things essay, “Abortion Before Roe.”

This Monday marks the thirty-fourth anniversary of Roe v. Wade. On January 23, 1973, the New York Times reported that the Court had “settled” the dispute over abortion. Thirty-four years later, there is no more intensely contested issue in our public life. This is in itself a powerful tribute to pro-life conviction and determination. When Roe v. Wade came down, it was cheered by every major opinion-making institution in the country—the mainstream media, the prestige academy, the legal establishment, the medical establishment, the philanthropic world, and all the major religious institutions, except one.

Among the religious institutions of national influence, the Catholic Church stood alone in protesting the immediate evil and long-term implications of Roe v. Wade. Although it is largely forgotten today, evangelical Protestantism was in support of Roe v. Wade. Years after the decision, the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant association in the country, was passing resolutions in favor of a woman’s “right to choose.” (See Timothy George’s 2005 Erasmus Lecture, “Evangelicals and Others,” reprinted in the February 2006 issue of First Things.) Evangelicals viewed the protection of the unborn as a “Catholic issue,” and anti-Catholicism in evangelicalism was much stronger than it is today.

Thanks to the indefatigable labors of Francis Schaeffer, importantly assisted by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, evangelicalism was in the late 1970s being brought around to understand the evil of the abortion license and what it portended for the future defense of the dignity of the human person. Today evangelicals and Catholics stand solidly together, but by no means alone, in the defense of innocent human life, as witness, for instance, the recent statement of Evangelicals and Catholics Together, “That They May Have Life.”

In the January issue of First Things, I used the occasion of a remarkable article by historian George McKenna to offer an extended review of the ways in which the Catholic bishops have over the years led, and failed to lead, in the defense of the unborn. That reflection documents how—contrary to reasonable expectations as late as the early 1970s—the Democratic party became the pro-abortion party and the Republicans became the pro-life party in our national politics. Crucial to that change was the no doubt well-intended but disastrous effort, led by the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, to make abortion but one issue among others in a “seamless garment” of moral concerns. The goal of “contextualizing” the abortion question resulted, also for many Catholics, in the relativizing of the abortion question.

Nonetheless, by the 1990s the bishops were regaining their nerve and their footing. In 1998 they published a magnificent statement, “Living the Gospel of Life,” underscoring the truth that, while the house of human dignity, like any house, has many parts, the foundation is the right to life, without which the house collapses. (See the analysis in “How We Got to Where We Are,” Public Square, January.) Many bishops, perhaps most bishops, have in recent years been forthright, persistent, and persuasive in their public advocacy of what John Paul II taught the world to call “the culture of life.”

On the other hand, many Catholics, including clergy and laity, say they have been confused, even scandalized, by the apparent ambivalence of some bishops. Amy Welborn at Open Book has given expression to this concern in connection with the non-response of Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s highlighting of her Catholic credentials. I will return to that below.

At the time of the 2004 election, there were intense divisions among the bishops about how to respond to Catholic politicians who claimed that their Catholic allegiance was not compromised by their persistent support of the abortion license. The attention was focused on presidential candidate John Kerry, but of course there were many other Catholic politicians similarly situated. What the bishops like to think of as their fraternal solidarity was badly shaken when it appeared that, in the meeting of the bishops’ conference, Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, then archbishop of Washington, misrepresented to them a communication from then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI). As it turned out, Ratzinger had said that, when all pastoral efforts of persuasion failed, it would be appropriate to advise those who publicly and persistently reject the Church’s teaching that they should refrain from Communion and, if they still refused to do so, to deny them Communion.

The bishops resolved to prepare a pastoral statement on these difficult questions, and the statement was adopted at last November’s meeting of the conference. It is titled “On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist.” The wise decision was made not to single out politicians or public figures but to re-catechize, or catechize for the first time, all Catholics on the Church’s teaching. But, of course, politicians and other public figures are clearly included in the directives set forth.

The statement says, among other things: “In order to receive Holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the Church. . . . If a Catholic in his or her personal or professional life were knowingly and obstinately to reject the defined doctrines of the Church or knowingly and obstinately to repudiate her definitive teaching on moral issues, he or she would seriously diminish his or her communion with the Church. Reception of Holy Communion in such a situation would not accord with the nature of the eucharistic celebration, so that he or she should refrain.”

The statement goes on to address the question of public scandal. “To give scandal means more than to cause other people to be shocked or upset by what one does. Rather, one’s action leads someone else to sin.” The statement then quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Anyone who uses the power at his disposal in such a way that it leads others to do wrong becomes guilty of scandal and responsible for the evil that he has directly or indirectly encouraged.”

Which brings us to two recent incidents that have caused deep consternation among many faithful Catholics. When the aforementioned Nancy Pelosi orchestrated a four-day gala in Washington celebrating her familial, ethnic, and—very explicitly—Catholic identity, people were alert to what would be said by the new archbishop of Washington, Donald Wuerl. He said nothing. Part of the festivities was a Mass at Trinity College, a Catholic institution in Washington. The celebrant of the Mass was Father Robert Drinan, a Jesuit who, more than any other single figure, has been influential in tutoring Catholic politicians on the acceptability of rejecting the Church’s teaching on the defense of innocent human life. Asked by a reporter, Archbishop Wuerl responded that Fr. Drinan has “faculties” in Washington, meaning he is authorized to celebrate the sacraments. That was it.

Also recently, Edward Cardinal Egan of New York gave a rare television interview in which he was persistently asked whether the pro-abortion position of Catholic politicians, notably Rudolph Giuliani and outgoing governor George Pataki, posed a problem for him. He just as persistently said he refused to be drawn into politics and answered, “They are my friends.” But of course he was making a statement of momentous political consequence, in that he seemed to be saying, as far as he is concerned, that the Church has no problem with pro-abortion politicians. It is understandable that Catholics and others have drawn the conclusion that, for both Wuerl and Egan, bishops of the two most prominent sees in the country, rejecting the Church’s teaching on the human dignity of the unborn child is not a big deal.

Note that the politicians in question in these instances are not struggling with the moral questions involved or trying to reconcile their position with the Church’s teaching. At least there is no public evidence of such struggle, nor any suggestion by the bishops that their longstanding and adamant support for the unlimited abortion license should be a matter of concern.

And so the story told by George McKenna of ambivalent Catholic leadership in advancing the culture of life continues to be ambivalent. Nonetheless, and as mentioned before, there are many other bishops who continue to be consistent, courageous, and pastorally persuasive in their public witness. I would mention, for instance, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver and Archbishop John Myers of Newark, except that I wouldn’t want to leave out the many others.

Thirty-four years after the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, the pro-life movement is solid and growing, and increasingly composed of the successor generation, as will no doubt again be evident in the annual January 22 march in Washington. The pro-life movement of the twentieth century laid the groundwork for the pro-life movement of the twenty-first century; the contention for the culture of life will continue until Our Lord returns in glory. Today there are additional issues posed by biotechnology, such as embryonic stem cell research, the selling of embryos, fetal farming, and cloning. The culture of death is relentless but not unstoppable. The sign of its being arrested, if not defeated, will be the reversal or judicial shelving of Roe v. Wade. Headlines

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