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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I'm Not Saying My Endorsement Had Anything to Do With It

The other day I put up a post explaining Why I Am Supporting Doug Hoffman for Congress in New York. It was reported earlier today that his RINO opponant Dede Scozzafava has quit the special election in New York after an independent pollster found her badly trailing both Douglas Hoffman and Democrat Bob Owens. (Breaking: Scozzafava quits after Siena poll; Update: Hoffman campaign asking for endorsement?) It is now likely that Doug Hoffman will take the lead & win the election thus sending a clear message that the Republican leaders cannot take us Pro-lifers & conservative voters for granted.
I also have to add that while politics is not the start or end of putting an end to abortion, as Christians we do have a moral responsibility to work to elect Pro-life candidates. Our trust & our reliance is ultimately on God. But that doesn't absolve us from doing what He expects of us.
Added 1 Nov 2009, 12:15 am
This is also a victory for the Susan B. Anthony List Fund over NARAL. NARAL Pro-Choice New York threw itself behind Scozzafava with a mail campaign last Thursday. (NARAL Supports GOP Candidate in Fight for NY23 Against Surging Pro-Life Independent) They also started a get out the vote campaign. It looks like their efforts were for naught. Thank God!
The Susan B. Anthony List has issued a statement applauding her courage to do the right thing. It went on to say "Now it's time for the GOP to step up.
On behalf of conservative voters, activists, and volunteers across the district, I call on the national GOP to finally throw its full support and resources behind Doug Hoffman for Congress. A Hoffman victory is within sight
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) which made the mistake of supporting her has has released a joint statement -- co-signed by Sessions, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) -- backing Hoffman. It is done in a way that they avoid admitting their mistake while saying why she was wrong in the 1st place.
As I said, maybe the RNC & NRCC will stop trying to be Democrats Lite & support Pro-life & true fiscal conservatives for office.
On a smaller scale, a similar thing is happenning over in Illinois where a blogger friend of mine, Paul Mitchell, is running against the Republican incumbant in the Feb 2010 Republican Primary for Illinois House seat 62. (Support A Real Pro-Life, Pro-Marriage Conservative Republican ) More on him in a future post. But I will put in a plug for you to donate to his campaign.

Halloween at the Obama Residence - 2009 Edition

Time for an Exorcist in DC??? Paging Fr. Euteneuer!!!!!


Isn't This What Jesus Said???

"The most important consequence of marriage is, that the husband and the wife become in law only one person... Upon this principle of union, almost all the other legal consequences of marriage depend. This principle, sublime and refined, deserves to be viewed and examined on every side."
--James Wilson, Of the Natural Rights of Individuals, 1792

Some Thoughts on Vampires

Pelosi's Nightmare on Capitol Hill

Pelosi Spooked by Pro-Life Amendments
Forget those long weeks at home facing angry constituents. Hill leaders have asked both chambers to postpone their Veterans' Day vacation and stick around to work overtime on the health care debate. While the House will be in session, it won't be considering amendments. Our sources on both sides of the aisle believe that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will close off debate on health care reform because she's terrified that representatives will offer amendments prohibiting federal funding of abortion.
Her fear is a legitimate one. It stems from the very real possibility that an amendment banning taxpayer-funded abortion would actually pass, thanks in part to pro-life members of Pelosi's own party. The Speaker knows the current bill would pay for abortion coverage, and she wants to keep it that way. "We haven't even gone into the procedure as to what will be on the floor," she said, "if there even are any amendments on the floor."
Lately, Pelosi's party has not only allowed the amendment process--but exploited it. Just last week, Democrats were more than willing to pile on, even when it meant including non-germane policies like "hate crimes" in the defense authorization bill. If the Speaker insists on clamping down debate, it could prove disastrous. People are already whispering that House leaders don't have the votes they need to pass the government takeover option. And ignoring the democratic process won't win over any more.
Of course, the real irony is that this is exactly the kind of repression that Rep. Pelosi condemned when Democrats were in the minority. Flashback to 2006 when the House leader published a campaign document called, A New Direction for America. In it, she criticizes the majority for its "incivility." The GOP, Pelosi writes, has "silenced Democrats and choked off thoughtful debate." She goes on to say that the majority ought to let the minority offer meaningful amendments to important bills. "When we are shut out, they are shutting out the great diversity of America," she said in an interview. "[W]e want to set a higher standard."
How? "Bills should generally come to the floor under a procedure that allows open, full, and fair debate consisting of a full amendment process that grants the Minority the right to offer its alternatives..." Now that Nancy Pelosi is holding the reins to the largest domestic policy debate in decades, where is all of the collaboration she promised? Maybe it's time for Pelosi to take her own advice and govern with a respect "for the great diversity of America."


American Life League Raises Some Important Points About USCCB Directive Against ObamaCare

Washington, D.C. (29 October 2009) – American Life League’s Judie Brown, a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, issued the following statement on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ national campaign mobilizing every parish to oppose abortion in health care reform and demand conscience protections for health care workers.
“We applaud the USCCB’s unprecedented action in its national campaign to mobilize parishes against the current versions of the health care bill. It has taken an important first step in activating Catholics to take back our health care system and our country from the radical pro-aborts in the legislature and sometimes even in the pulpits.
"We proudly stand with the USCCB in its statement: 'Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them.'
"But we remind the USCCB that Catholics cannot stop at opposing abortion and demanding conscience protection. Where is the USCCB on the health care reform bills’ potential to fund Planned Parenthood, to use our tax dollars to indoctrinate children with sex education in schools, to fund euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, human embryonic stem cell research, contraception and health care rationing?
"All of these things are present in all of the current versions of the health care bill. None of these are acceptable according to Catholic teaching. All Catholics are duty bound to reject 'health care reform' if it contains any of the above grievous offenses against human life and personhood.
"Catholics need to know why, at every level, these proposals are fraught with death and destruction of the soul.
"Finally, Catholics need to know that the USCCB, acting of itself, carries no authority to instruct the bishops on the governance of their flocks. It is imperative that each and every bishop make a public statement condemning these health care proposals until they exclude any provisions for:
- abortion
- human embryonic stem cell research
- contraceptives
- rationed care
- in vitro fertilization
- euthanasia
- sex education in schools
"The God-given personhood of all human beings will be recognized in the United States the moment the united, individual U.S. Catholic bishops boldly proclaim and fight for the unchanging doctrines of the Faith."
American Life Leage was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942. .
Catholic Online: Bishops Call for Unprecedented, Massive Catholic Opposition to Abortion in Current Health Care Reform (29 October 2009)
Catholic News Agency: Texas Catholic bishops: Current health care bill fails to protect all human life (28 October 2009)

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A History of All Hallows Even

The Real Story!
Father Augustine Thompson, O.P.,

We’ve all heard the allegations. Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped Church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on Oct. 31 — as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Feast of All Saints or "All Hallows" falls on Nov. 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to Nov. 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland. The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, "All Hallows Even" or "Hallowe’en." In those days, Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.

In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in Southern France, added a celebration on Nov. 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory? What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland, at least, all the dead came to be remembered — even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the Church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday centers around dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague — the Black Death — and she lost about half her population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife. More Masses were said on All Souls’ Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality.

We know these representations as the "Dance Macabre" or "Dance of Death," which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people — popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc. — into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls’ Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life. But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on hell gave the French masquerades and even more macabre twist.

But, as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did "trick or treat" come in?

"Trick or treat" is perhaps the oddest and most American addition to Halloween, and is the unwilling contribution of English Catholics.

During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights. They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes. It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred.

Occasionally, English Catholics resisted, sometimes foolishly. One of the most foolish acts of resistance was a plot to blow up the Protestant King James I and his Parliament with gunpowder. This was supposed to trigger a Catholic uprising against their oppressors. The ill-conceived Gunpowder Plot was foiled on Nov. 5, 1605, when the man guarding the gunpowder, a reckless convert named Guy Fawkes, was captured and arrested. He was hanged; the plot fizzled.

Nov. 5, Guy Fawkes’ Day, became a great celebration in England, and so it remains. During the penal periods, bands of revelers would put on masks and visit local Catholics in the dead of night, demanding beer and cakes for their celebration: trick or treat!

Guy Fawkes’ Day arrived in the American colonies with the first English settlers. But, buy the time of the American Revolution, old King James and Guy Fawkes had pretty much been forgotten. Trick or treat, though, was too much fun to give up, so eventually it moved to Oct. 31, the day of the Irish-French masquerade. And in America, trick or treat wasn’t limited to Catholics.

The mixture of various immigrant traditions we know as Halloween had become a fixture in the Unites States by the early 1800s. To this day, it remains unknown in Europe, even in the countries from which some of the customs originated.

But what about witches? Well, they are one of the last additions. The greeting card industry added them in the late 1800s. Halloween was already "ghoulish," so why not give witches a place on greeting cards? The Halloween card failed (although it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity), but the witches stayed. So, too, in the late 1800s, ill-informed folklorists introduced the jack-o’-lantern. They thought that Halloween was druidic and pagan in origin. Lamps made from turnips (not pumpkins) had been part of ancient Celtic harvest festivals, so they were translated to the American Halloween celebration.

The next time someone claims that Halloween is a cruel trick to lure your children into devil worship, I suggest you tell them the real origin of All Hallows Even and invite them to discover its Christian significance, along with the two greater and more important Catholic festivals that follow it.

Trick or Trick/? ObamaCare is No Treat

The 1 Costume Guarenteed to Scare Congress

Hope Your Halloween Isn't This Scary

Friday, October 30, 2009

Why I Am Supporting Doug Hoffman for Congress in New York

OK, I know that I don't usually endorse candidates, esp from another state. But this is an exceptional case, given the battle about health care reform going on right now in Congress.

A little background: New York's 23rd Congressional District was recently vacated when John M. McHugh became the new secretary of the Army. Instead of nominating a solid Pro-life Republican, the local Republican party nominated Assembly member Dede Scozzafava. Some conservatives balked, objecting that her positions (on gay marriage, abortion and spending) are too liberal. She is a supporter of gay marriage as well as abortion. 1 of those who wasn't happy with this betrayal was Doug Hoffman. He decided to do something about it & sought the Conservative party nomination.

That decision has drawn national attention. Some people have attacked him for creating a situation where a safe Republican seat would go to a Democrat. However there are many of us who feel that her stands make her a Democrat in everything but name only. & that a message has to be sent to not only the state of New York, but the national party that we aren't gonna take it any more. We want candidates who will stand up for the right values, family, protecting life from the 1st moment of life & fiscal as well as moral responsibility. What is going on in NY isn't a fluke. It is going on elsewhere across the USA as well.

Among those endorsing him are the NY Post. Thier explanation for why they did: "That's because the Republican candidate in that race, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, is the product of an obscenely corrupt political bargain by GOP bosses that sells out their party -- and New Yorkers generally.
Because of that, and because so many of her positions ill-serve the interests of New York and the nation, The Post today endorses businessman Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party nominee
. " (Read this endorsement at

A poll was released earlier this week by the Club for Growth. It shows Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman surging into the lead in the special election in New York's 23rd Congressional District.

The poll of 300 likely voters was conducted Oct. 24-25 It shows Hoffman at 31.3%, Democrat Bill Owens at 27%, Republican Dede Scozzafava at 19.7% @ 22% undecided. (The poll's margin of error is plus/minus 5.66%. No information was provided about any of the candidates prior to the ballot question.)

He has received endorsements from Fred Thompson, Dick Armey, Steve Forbes, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum & Congressman Steve King from Iowa. he has received endorsements form many other organizations that are fiscally conservative as well as those that support protecting the 2nd Amendment. But more importantly are the Pro-life endorsements he has received. Concerned Women, Eagle Forum, Catholic Families for America PAC & the Susan B. Anthony List.

Going into the last few days both volunteers & money is needed to ensure victory. You can donate on his website or through the Susan B. Anthony List. & if you are free this weekend you can do volunteer work as well, Thomas Peters from American Papist can connect anyone who is free this weekend with pro-life, pro-family organizations on the ground up there who can pay for travel, lodging and daily expenses. Please email him at "thomas dot americanpapist dot com" if you are interested or know someone who might be interested.

& yes, I have donated myself, something I rarely do for elections that don't involve me directly. This is a very important election. & a message has to be sent that Pro-life is the only acceptable stand in Health Care. This is 1 way to do it.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan Takes on the Old Grey Lady

Give this man a red hat. Kudos to Archbishop Dolan for taking on the NY Times. I am not at all surprized at the cowardice of the Times editorial staff. After all, to publish this would offend most of the few readers they have left. & if they lost their anti-Catholic readers (many of them Catholic in Name Only) then they wouldn't have any subscribers at all.
October 29, 2009
The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.
By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series! Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.
It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”
If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:
- On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”
Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found
here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as the New York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.
- On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.
- Five days later, October 21, the Times gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.
- Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.
True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.

I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday. Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally?
The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.
I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.
Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.

Too Little Too Late??

While I applaud this statement I have to wonder how much good it will do. I suspect a few Bishops will not even tell their priests to put it in their bulletins. & even in some of those dioceses where the Bishop does, I suspect some priests will not listen, knowing there will be no consequences. I think the Pro-life Secretariat is aware of that as well & is doing an end run arround those Bishops who would bury this by sending it directly to as many parishes as it can. & it is putting those Bishops in a position of looking bad if they respond like this letter sdays they might. " If your Arch/bishop is not in agreement with disseminating the bulletin insert, you will be hearing from his office immediately."
Also, given the track record of the USCCB & many individual Bishops in the past, it is doubtful that many Catholic In Name Only members of Congress will take this seriously either.
This is great & it is needed. But I have to ask, would we even need to do this if more Bishops had been stronger in their advocacy of electing Pro-life canidates as well as going after CINOs elected officials who support abortion?

From: Tom Grenchik, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities
To: Diocesan Pro-Life Directors & State Catholic Conference Director
Re: URGENT: Nationwide USCCB Bulletin Insert on Health Care Reform
Attached [see below], please find an Urgent Memorandum highlighting USCCB plans and requests for diocesan and parish based activation on health care reform.
The President of the Conference and the Chairmen of the three major USCCB committees engaged in health care reform have written all the bishops and asked that the attached USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert on health care reform be printed or hand-stuffed in every parish bulletin and/or distributed in pews or at church entrances as soon as possible.
Congressional votes may take place as soon as early November. If your Arch/bishop is not in agreement with disseminating the bulletin insert, you will be hearing from his office immediately. You may wish to check with his office ASAP to see how you may be of assistance in distributing the Bulletin Insert, far and wide.Tomorrow, the USCCB will be e-mailing these same materials to a large number of parishes across the country, already on a USCCB contact list. The parish list is incomplete, so we will still have to rely on diocesan e-mail systems to reach EVERY parish. Thank you for your great help with this. Also included are suggested Pulpit Announcements and a Prayer Petition.
There is also a copy of a newly-released ad for the Catholic press, which may be printed as flyers for the vestibule or copied on the flip-side of the Bulletin Insert. The flyer/ad directs readers to where they may send their pre-written e-mails to Congress through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center. If you wish to sponsor the ad in your local Catholic paper and need a different size, please contact Deirdre McQuade at
Please encourage parishioners to pray for this effort as well. More information can be found at
Thank you for your urgent actions and prayers on behalf of this nationwide effort! With this email are four attached documents - print these out, share them and take action:
HC Cover Note to Leaders, Final.doc (a digital version of the email above)
HC Bulletin Insert 10-23-09 Final.pdf (the one-stop nationwide parish bulletin insert) BELOW
HC Pulpit Announcement & Prayer, Final 1.doc (a how-to for distributing the materials)
HC Ad Saving_Lives_Flyer_FINAL.pdf (a flyer to be placed on bulletin boards, etc.)
Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding & Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform
Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation on the House and Senate floors.
Genuine health care reform should protect the life and dignity of all people from the moment of conception until natural death. The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committeeapproved bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them.
Our nation is at a crossroads. Policies adopted in health care reform will have an impact for good or ill for years to come. None of the bills retains longstanding current policies against abortion funding or abortion coverage mandates, and none fully protects conscience rights in health care.
As the U.S. bishops’ letter of October 8 states:
No one should be required to pay for or participate in abortion. It is essential that the legislation clearly apply to this new program longstanding and widely supported federal restrictions on abortion funding and mandates, and protections for rights of conscience. No current bill meets this test…. If acceptable language in these areas cannot be found, we will have to oppose the health care bill vigorously.”
For the full text of this letter and more information on proposed legislation and the bishops’ advocacy for authentic health care reform, visit:
Congressional leaders are attempting to put together final bills for floor consideration. Please contact your Representative and Senators today and urge them to fix these bills with the pro-life amendments noted below. Otherwise much needed health care reform will have to be opposed. Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them.
ACTION: Contact Members through e-mail, phone calls or FAX letters.
To send a pre-written, instant e-mail to Congress go to
 Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
 Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at &
“During floor debate on the health care reform bill, please support an amendment to incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights.
If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”
“Please support the Stupak Amendment that addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion funding and conscience rights in the health care reform bill. Help ensure that the Rule for the bill allows a vote on this amendment. If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed.”
WHEN: Both House and Senate are preparing for floor votes now. Act today! Thank you!


Will Health Care Reform Make Planned Parenthood a Government Agency?

Washington, D.C. (27 October 2009) – The Senate version of America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 may transform the nation’s largest abortion chain into a quasi-government entity for sex education.Section 1803, page 503, creates a National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Resource Center and states:
The Secretary shall award a grant to a nationally recognized, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that meets the requirements described in clause (ii) to establish and operate a national teen pregnancy prevention resource center (in this subparagraph referred to as the ‘Resource Center’) to carry out the purpose and activities described in clause (iii). (emphasis added)According to the requirements found in clause (ii):
The organization has demonstrated experience working with and providing assistance to a broad range of individuals and entities to reduce teen pregnancy. The organization is research-based and has comprehensive knowledge and data about teen pregnancy prevention strategies.According to Rita Diller, national director for STOP Planned Parenthood, there is only one “nationally recognized” organization that fits the bill – Planned Parenthood.“This dangerous provision to the Senate health care bill could give Planned Parenthood, already under investigation for tax fraud and concealing child rape, quasi-government status and even more influence over our kids,” Diller said.Section 1803 also creates a “Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training” program (i.e., sex education), which grants at least $250,000 to each state to educate adolescents on "both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and STDs."
American Life League’s Michael Hichborn has a full analysis of this and the many other dangerous provisions included in the health care bill in his upcoming Report on America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009.
American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to natural death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.
American Life League: ALL Report with Michael Hichborn

More here: Obamacare to put Planned Parenthood in charge?


Vanity of Vanities: Attempting to Build a Fountain of Youth Using Aborted Fetuses

Vanity is considered a form of pride, 1 of the 7 deadly sins. This takes it to a whole new level. Vanity is self-idolotry, thus a sin against the 1st Commandment banning other gods (idols). By using aborted fetal cell lines you can add "Thou Shalt Not Kill" to the commandments broken. In Orthodox church theology, vanity is one of eight sinful and diabolical passions. Again this takes it to a whole new level. This is just another proof that the roots of the "culture of death" are demonic in origin. & that what is being built is a fountain of death, not a fountain of life.
(Read Neocutis' repsonse below & why what they claim is not true. It will help anyone who feels led to write Neocutis with more information showing them you won't buy into their lies.)
(Tennessee) Children of God for Life announced today that Neocutis, a bio-pharmaceutical company focused on dermatology and skin care is using aborted fetal cell lines to produce several of their anti-aging skin creams.
“It is absolutely deplorable that Neocutis would resort to exploiting the remains of a deliberately slaughtered baby for nothing other than pure vanity and financial gain,, stated Executive Director Debi Vinnedge. “There is simply no moral justification for this.”
For years Children of God for Life has been a watchdog on pharmaceutical companies using aborted fetal cell lines in medical products and they have received thousands of inquiries from the public on the use of aborted fetal material in cosmetics.
Until now, this was the first time they have encountered any company bold enough to put the information right on their own website and product literature. A quick investigation into the science behind the products revealed the shameless data.
Neocutis’ key ingredient known as “Processed Skin Proteins” was developed at the University of Luasanne from the skin tissue of a 14-week gestation electively-aborted male baby donated by the University Hospital in Switzerland. Subsequently, a working cell bank was established, containing several billion cultured skin cells to produce the human growth factor needed to restore aging skin.
The list of products using the cell line include: Bio-Gel, Journee, Bio-Serum, Prevedem, Bio Restorative Skin Cream and Lumiere. But Vinnedge is calling for a full boycott of all Neocutis products, regardless of their source.
“There is absolutely no reason to use aborted babies for such selfish motives,” Vinnedge said. “It is anti-life, anti-woman and counter-productive as Neocutis is about to find out!”
Children of God for Life is calling on rival cosmetic companies to take advantage of some free advertising by their company.
“We know there are companies using moral sources for collagen and skin proteins. We intend to publicly promote these other cosmetic companies competing with Neocutis that are willing to step forward and contact us.”
Meanwhile Vinnedge advises women who are using Neocutis products to throw them in the garbage and to contact the company to express their concerns.
In addition she advised, “Contact some of these competing companies and ask them to verify their products are morally produced. If they are willing to commit to it in writing, they will get our endorsement.”
Contact Neocutis:
Neocutis Inc.
3053 Fillmore Street # 140
San Francisco CA 94123
Phone: 1-866-636-2884

Further Information is published at the following links:

Dear Readers:Below is the shocking response received from Neocutis President, Mark Lemko to one concerned woman who wrote to ask them about their use of aborted fetal material. My comments to correct his patently false statements follow the email but I am sure you will be able to figure out quickly as you read this that these people have no shame, no morals, no souls.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mark Lemko <>
Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 4:36 PM
Dear L. Hall:
erhaps a simple response is the best. We believe we are the victims of vicious and damaging misinformation.
We feel that we are in complete compliance with the laws of God and the laws of man.We were not involved with the acquisition of the original sample of fetal tissue.
However, we know the sample was obtained in a legally, morally, ethically and medically correct manner. None of our products contain any of the original fetal cells or tissue. None of our products contain aborted babies. Our lysate is prepared from cultured fibroblasts that have never been part of a fetus.
We are not abortionists nor do we condone voluntary or procured abortion and as such have a clear mind that we have not committed or are complicit in an evil act.
Mark J. Lemko
The Facts
1) The only ones here who are victims are the aborted babies and the women who have been shamelessly exploited and duped! The information we have provided is straight from Neocutis' own words, from the NIH, PubMed and Science publications.
2) No one who exploits and uses another human being for profit is within any laws of God or man. Are we to believe that God condones using the remains of butchered children to make some woman look more youthful? He can't be serious.
3) They most certainly were involved with the acquisition of the original sample of fetal tissue. You see, Neocutis is - again in their own words: "a spin-off from the Medical School of the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland" - where the original abortion was done.
4) There is nothing in the harvesting of aborted baby body parts that is moral or ethical. Legal, perhaps. Medically correct? You mean of course that the abortion was done in a manner that would ensure the fetus was delivered intact for research purposes. Can't do that with a saline abortion or a D&E method. But prostaglandin abortions cause the woman to go into mini-labor and pass the intact baby. So yes, they did their abortion in a manner that was medically correct for what they needed.
5) How stupid does this person think we are? Does he truly believe we are going to open a jar of one of their skin creams and find fetal tissue and aborted babies in there? Their lysates he mentions, however, are most certainly part of the aborted baby. Here is how the product was developed - again - in their own words:
A cell bank was established starting with a single skin biopsy of fetal skin tissue. The cell bank is stored frozen in liquid nitrogen and can be kept for many years, thereby providing a sustained supply of cells for PSP® production over decades. PSP® (Processed Skin Cell Proteins) is obtained after cell lysis of cultured skin cells originating from this cell bank
Neocutis Bio-restorative Skin Cream with PSP™ (a proprietary cosmetic ingredient developed at the University of Lausanne) is the only product containing the specific natural human growth factors and cytokines associated with natural bio-restoration of the skin. The unique formulation of PSP™ provides skin with the optimal balance of skin nutrients helping to preserve or restore skin when stressed.
In order to produce PSP®, frozen cells from one or several ampoules of the Working Cell Bank are thawed, transferred into appropriate cell culture vessels and then expanded under standard cell culture condition respecting stringent manufacturing procedures. Thereby, cells from one Working Cell Bank ampoule are multiplied to yield several billion cells (Figure 2). These cells are then harvested, carefully washed and prepared for cell disruption. Cell disruption or lysis is realized by several freeze-thaw cycles and allows obtaining a mixture comprising skin cell proteins, called PSP® or ‘Processed Skin Cell Proteins’. Freeze-thawing is a relatively gentle process [22] and allows the production of a naturally balanced mixture of skin cell proteins present in the cells at the moment of cell disruption. (end of quote)If the lysates did not contain those original intact human fetal skin cell qualities and proteins, they would be worthless!
6) They may not believe that they are guilty of complicity in an immoral act, but the Vatican most certainly does:

From Dignitas Personae (Pope Benedict XVI December 2008)The use of human “biological material” of illicit origin

34. For scientific research and for the production of vaccines or other products, cell lines are at times used which are the result of an illicit intervention against the life or physical integrity of a human being. The connection to the unjust act may be either mediate or immediate, since it is generally a question of cells which reproduce easily and abundantly.

This “material” is sometimes made available commercially or distributed freely to research centers by governmental agencies having this function under the law. All of this gives rise to various ethical problems with regard to cooperation in evil and with regard to scandal. It is fitting therefore to formulate general principles on the basis of which people of good conscience can evaluate and resolve situations in which they may possibly be involved on account of their professional activity.

It needs to be remembered above all that the category of abortion “is to be applied also to the recent forms of intervention on human embryos which, although carried out for purposes legitimate in themselves, inevitably involve the killing of those embryos. This is the case with experimentation on embryos, which is becoming increasingly widespread in the field of biomedical research and is legally permitted in some countries… [T]he use of human embryos or fetuses as an object of experimentation constitutes a crime against their dignity as human beings who have a right to the same respect owed to a child once born, just as to every person”.54 These forms of experimentation always constitute a grave moral disorder.55

35. A different situation is created when researchers use “biological material” of illicit origin which has been produced apart from their research center or which has been obtained commercially. The Instruction Donum vitae formulated the general principle which must be observed in these cases: “The corpses of human embryos and fetuses, whether they have been deliberately aborted or not, must be respected just as the remains of other human beings. In particular, they cannot be subjected to mutilation or to autopsies if their death has not yet been verified and without the consent of the parents or of the mother. Furthermore, the moral requirements must be safeguarded that there be no complicity in deliberate abortion and that the risk of scandal be avoided”.56

In this regard, the criterion of independence as it has been formulated by some ethics committees is not sufficient. According to this criterion, the use of “biological material” of illicit origin would be ethically permissible provided there is a clear separation between those who, on the one hand, produce, freeze and cause the death of embryos and, on the other, the researchers involved in scientific experimentation. The criterion of independence is not sufficient to avoid a contradiction in the attitude of the person who says that he does not approve of the injustice perpetrated by others, but at the same time accepts for his own work the “biological material” which the others have obtained by means of that injustice. When the illicit action is endorsed by the laws which regulate healthcare and scientific research, it is necessary to distance oneself from the evil aspects of that system in order not to give the impression of a certain toleration or tacit acceptance of actions which are gravely unjust.57 Any appearance of acceptance would in fact contribute to the growing indifference to, if not the approval of, such actions in certain medical and political circles.

At times, the objection is raised that the above-mentioned considerations would mean that people of good conscience involved in research would have the duty to oppose actively all the illicit actions that take place in the field of medicine, thus excessively broadening their ethical responsibility. In reality, the duty to avoid cooperation in evil and scandal relates to their ordinary professional activities, which they must pursue in a just manner and by means of which they must give witness to the value of life by their opposition to gravely unjust laws.

Therefore, it needs to be stated that there is a duty to refuse to use such “biological material” even when there is no close connection between the researcher and the actions of those who performed the artificial fertilization or the abortion, or when there was no prior agreement with the centers in which the artificial fertilization took place. This duty springs from the necessity to remove oneself, within the area of one’s own research, from a gravely unjust legal situation and to affirm with clarity the value of human life.

You see Mr. Lemko -There is no "simple response" when it involves profiteering from the destruction of another human being!

Planned Parenthood Promotes Sexual Wrongs NOT Sexual Rights

CAUTION: Some of the things PP is promoting are downright disgusting. Basicly PP is willing to sacrifice our children's safety from rapists & molestors in order to further their agenda. But that isn't surprizing given that they view our children as either potential victims to be murdered by them before birth, or a source of revenue by convincing them to have unlimited sex, getting pregnant & providing them another source for income by performing abortions on our already victimized children.

Read American Life League's entire analysis here: Self-Centered Slavery: IPPF’s Declaration on "Sexual Rights"


Happy 274th Bithday President John Adams!!!

"They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men."
--John Adams, Novanglus No. 7, 1775
"But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
--John Adams

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Archbishop Chaput: "God Will Demand an Accounting" for Our Moral Indifference

by Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
A number of my friends have children with disabilities. Their problems range from cerebral palsy to Turner's syndrome to Trisomy 18, which is extremely serious. But I want to focus on one fairly common genetic disability to make my point. I'm referring to Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome.

You may already know that Down is not a disease. It's a genetic disorder with a variety of symptoms. Therapy can ease the burden of those symptoms, but Down syndrome is permanent. There's no cure. People with Down syndrome have mild to moderate developmental delays. They have low to middling cognitive function. They also tend to have a uniquely Down syndrome "look" -- a flat facial profile, almond-shaped eyes, a small nose, short neck, thick stature and a small mouth which often causes the tongue to protrude and interferes with clear speech. People with Down syndrome also tend to have low muscle tone. This can affect their posture, breathing and speech.

Currently about 5,000 children with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. They join a national Down syndrome population of roughly 400,000 persons. But that population may soon dwindle. And the reason why it may decline illustrates, in a vivid way, a struggle within the American soul. That struggle will shape the character of our society in the decades to come.

Prenatal testing can now detect up to 95 percent of pregnancies with a strong risk of Down syndrome. The tests aren't conclusive. They can't give a firm yes or no. But they're pretty good. And the results of those tests are brutally practical. Studies show that more than 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome now get terminated in the womb. They're killed because of a flaw in one of their chromosomes -- a flaw that's neither fatal nor contagious, but merely undesirable.

The older a woman gets, the higher her risk of bearing a child with Down syndrome. And so, in medical offices around the country, pregnant women now hear from doctors or genetic counselors that their baby has "an increased likelihood" of Down syndrome based on one or more prenatal tests. Some doctors deliver this information with sensitivity and great support for the woman. But, as my friends know from experience, too many others seem more concerned about avoiding lawsuits, or managing costs, or even, in a few ugly cases, cleaning up the gene pool.

We're witnessing a kind of schizophrenia in our culture's conscience. In Britain, the Guardian newspaper recently ran an article lamenting the faultiness of some of the prenatal tests that screen for Down syndrome. Women who receive positive results, the article noted, often demand an additional test, amniocentesis, which has a greater risk of miscarriage. Doctors in the story complained about the high number of false positives for Down syndrome. "The result of [these false positives] is that babies are dying completely unnecessarily," one med school professor said. "It's scandalous and disgraceful... and causing the death of normal babies." Those words sound almost humane -- until we realize that, at least for the med school professor, killing "abnormal" babies like those with Down syndrome is perfectly acceptable.

In practice, medical professionals can now steer an expectant mother toward abortion simply by hinting at a list of the child's possible defects. And the most debased thing about that kind of pressure is that doctors know better than anyone else how vulnerable a woman can be in hearing potentially tragic news about her unborn baby.

I'm not suggesting that doctors should hold back vital knowledge from parents. Nor should they paint an implausibly upbeat picture of life with a child who has a disability. Facts and resources are crucial in helping adult persons prepare themselves for difficult challenges. But doctors, genetic counselors, and med school professors should have on staff -- or at least on speed dial -- experts of a different sort.

Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective. Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential. They've seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits -- often miraculous -- of parental love and faith. Expectant parents deserve to know that a child with Down syndrome can love, laugh, learn, work, feel hope and excitement, make friends, and create joy for others. These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect. They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally.

Raising a child with Down syndrome can be hard. Parents grow up very fast. None of my friends who has a daughter or son with a serious disability is melodramatic, or self-conscious, or even especially pious about it. They speak about their special child with an unsentimental realism. It's a realism flowing out of love -- real love, the kind that courses its way through fear and suffering to a decision, finally, to surround the child with their heart and trust in the goodness of God. And that decision to trust, of course, demands not just real love, but also real courage.

The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is never between some imaginary perfection or imperfection. None of us is perfect. No child is perfect. The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is between love and unlove; between courage and cowardice; between trust and fear. That's the choice we face when it happens in our personal experience. And that's the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not.

Nearly 50 percent of babies with Down syndrome are born with some sort of heart defect. Most have a lifelong set of health challenges. Some of them are serious. Government help is a mixed bag. Public policy is uneven. Some cities and states, like New York, provide generous aid to the disabled and their families. In many other jurisdictions, though, a bad economy has forced budget cuts. Services for the disabled -- who often lack the resources, voting power and lobbyists to defend their interests -- have shrunk. In still other places, the law mandates good support and care, but lawmakers neglect their funding obligations, and no one holds them accountable. The vulgar economic fact about the disabled is that, in purely utilitarian terms, they rarely seem worth the investment.

That's the bad news. But there's also good news. Ironically, for those persons with Down syndrome who do make it out of the womb, life is better than at any time in our nation's history. A baby with Down syndrome born in 1944, the year of my own birth, could expect to live about 25 years. Many spent their entire lives mothballed in public institutions. Today, people with Down syndrome routinely survive into their 50s and 60s. Most can enjoy happy, productive lives. Most live with their families or share group homes with modified supervision and some measure of personal autonomy. Many hold steady jobs in the workplace. Some marry. A few have even attended college. Federal law mandates a free and appropriate education for children with special needs through the age of 21. Social Security provides modest monthly support for persons with Down syndrome and other severe disabilities from age 18 throughout their lives. These are huge blessings.

And, just as some people resent the imperfection, the inconvenience and the expense of persons with disabilities, others see in them an invitation to be healed of their own sins and failures by learning how to love.

About 200 families in this country are now waiting to adopt children with Down syndrome. Many of these families already have, or know, a child with special needs. They believe in the spirit of these beautiful children, because they've seen it firsthand. A Maryland-based organization, Reece's Rainbow, helps arrange international adoptions of children with Down syndrome. The late Eunice Shriver spent much of her life working to advance the dignity of children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Last September, the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation committed $34 million to the University of Colorado to focus on improving the medical conditions faced by those with Down syndrome. And many businesses, all over the country, now welcome workers with Down syndrome. Parents of these special employees say that having a job, however tedious, and earning a pay check, however small, gives their children pride and purpose. These things are more precious than gold.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer once wrote that, "A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives." Every child with Down syndrome, every adult with special needs; in fact, every unwanted unborn child, every person who is poor, weak, abandoned or homeless -- each one of these persons is an icon of God's face and a vessel of his love. How we treat these persons -- whether we revere them and welcome them, or throw them away in distaste -- shows what we really believe about human dignity, both as individuals and as a nation.

The American Jesuit scholar Father John Courtney Murray once said that "Anyone who really believes in God must set God, and the truth of God, above all other considerations."

Here's what that means. Catholic public officials who take God seriously cannot support laws that attack human dignity without lying to themselves, misleading others and abusing the faith of their fellow Catholics. God will demand an accounting. Catholic doctors who take God seriously cannot do procedures, prescribe drugs or support health policies that attack the sanctity of unborn children or the elderly; or that undermine the dignity of human sexuality and the family. God will demand an accounting. And Catholic citizens who take God seriously cannot claim to love their Church, and then ignore her counsel on vital public issues that shape our nation's life. God will demand an accounting. As individuals, we can claim to be or believe whatever we want. We can posture, and rationalize our choices, and make alibis with each other all day long -- but no excuse for our lack of honesty and zeal will work with the God who made us. God knows our hearts better than we do. If we don't conform our hearts and actions to the faith we claim to believe, we're only fooling ourselves.

We live in a culture where our marketers and entertainment media compulsively mislead us about the sustainability of youth; the indignity of old age; the avoidance of suffering; the denial of death; the meaning of real beauty; the impermanence of every human love; the dysfunctions of children and family; the silliness of virtue; and the cynicism of religious faith. It's a culture of fantasy, selfishness and illness that we've brought upon ourselves. And we've done it by misusing the freedom that other -- and greater -- generations than our own worked for, bled for and bequeathed to our safe-keeping.

What have we done with that freedom? In whose service do we use it now?

John Courtney Murray is most often remembered for his work at Vatican II on the issue of religious liberty, and for his great defense of American democracy in his book, We Hold These Truths. Murray believed deeply in the ideas and moral principles of the American experiment. He saw in the roots of the American Revolution the unique conditions for a mature people to exercise their freedom through intelligent public discourse, mutual cooperation and laws inspired by right moral character. He argued that -- at its best -- American democracy is not only compatible with the Catholic faith, but congenial to it.

But he had a caveat. It's the caveat George Washington implied in his Farewell Address, and Charles Carroll -- the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence -- mentions in his own writings. In order to work, America depends as a nation on a moral people shaped by their religious faith, and in a particular way, by the Christian faith. Without that living faith, animating its people and informing its public life, America becomes something alien and hostile to the very ideals it was founded on.

This is why the same Father Murray who revered the best ideals of the American experiment could also write that "Our American culture, as it exists, is actually the quintessence of all that is decadent in the culture of the Western Christian world. It would seem to be erected on the triple denial that has corrupted Western culture at its roots: the denial of metaphysical reality, of the primacy of the spiritual over the material, [and] of the social over the individual . . . Its most striking characteristic is its profound materialism . . . It has given citizens everything to live for and nothing to die for. And its achievement may be summed up thus: It has gained a continent and lost its own soul."

Those who serve in the medical profession have a sacred vocation. That vocation of healing comes from Jesus Christ himself. I don't mean just curing people's aches and pains, although physical healing is so very important. I mean the kind of healing that comes when a suffering person is understood and loved, and knows that she's understood and loved. That requires a different kind of medicine. The medicine of patience. The medicine of listening. The medicine of respect.

Over the years, I've learned that when God takes something away from a person, he gives back some other gift that's equally precious. Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, is a friend of mine. Rick has always been Catholic, and always prolife. But it's one thing to argue in Congress for the sanctity of life. It's another to prove it by your actions under pressure. Last year Rick's wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter named Bella. Bella has Trisomy 18. Against the odds, that little girl is still alive and still growing. And she's surrounded by a family devoted to loving her, 24 hours a day.

Rick and his wife have no illusions about the prospects for their daughter. No one "recovers" from Trisomy 18. But he said to me once that each day he has with Bella makes him a little bit more of a "whole person." It's one of God's ironies that the suffering imperfection brings, can perfect us in the vocation of love. Rick's daughter is an education in the dignity of every human life; a tutor in the meaning of love -- and not just for themselves, but for me as their friend, and for dozens of other people who encounter the Santorum family every week. Another friend of mine has a son with Down syndrome, and she calls him a "sniffer of souls." He may have an IQ of 47, and he'll never read The Brothers Karamazov, but he has a piercingly quick sense of the heart of the people he meets. He knows when he's loved -- and he knows when he's not. Ultimately, we're all like her son. We hunger for people to confirm that we have meaning by showing us love. We need that love. And we suffer when that love is withheld.

The task of the Catholic working in medicine is this: Be the best doctors, nurses and medical professionals you can be. Your skill gives glory to God. But be the best Catholics you can be first. Pour your love for Jesus Christ into the healing you do for every person you serve. By your words and by your actions, be a witness to your colleagues. Speak up for what you believe. Love the Church. Defend her teaching. Trust in God. Believe in the Gospel. And don't be afraid. Fear is beneath your dignity as sons and daughters of the God of life.

Changing the course of American culture seems like such a huge task. But St. Paul felt exactly the same way. Redeeming and converting a civilization has already been done once. It can be done again. But we need to understand that God is calling you and me to do it. He chose us. He calls us. He's waiting, and now we need to answer him.

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop of Denver. This article is adapted from remarks he delivered to the Phoenix Catholic Physician's Guild on October 16, 2009.

What Vatican II Actually Said About Abortion & Artificial Birth Control

& it sure isn't what the "Spirit of Vatican II" worshippers promote. (emphasis mine)

"51. This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain. But where the intimacy of married life is broken off, its faithfulness can sometimes be imperiled and its quality of fruitfulness ruined, for then the upbringing of the children and the courage to accept new ones are both endangered.
To these problems there are those who presume to offer dishonorable solutions indeed; they do not recoil even from the taking of life. But the Church issues the reminder that a true contradiction cannot exist between the divine laws pertaining to the transmission of life and those pertaining to authentic conjugal love.
For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. The sexual characteristics of man and the human faculty of reproduction wonderfully exceed the dispositions of lower forms of life. Hence the acts themselves which are proper to conjugal love and which are exercised in accord with genuine human dignity must be honored with great reverence. Hence when there is question of harmonizing conjugal love with the responsible transmission of life, the moral aspects of any procedure does not depend solely on sincere intentions or on an evaluation of motives, but must be determined by objective standards. These, based on the nature of the human person and his acts, preserve the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love. Such a goal cannot be achieved unless the virtue of conjugal chastity is sincerely practiced. Relying on these principles, sons of the Church may not undertake methods of birth control which are found blameworthy by the teaching authority of the Church in its unfolding of the divine law.(14)
All should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of men
- Gaudium et Spes
In other words, neither is ever acceptable, never were, never will be.
'Footnote 14. Cf. Pius XI, encyclical letter Casti Connubii: AAS 22 (1930): Denz.-Schoen. 3716-3718, Pius XII, Allocutio Conventui Unionis Italicae inter Obstetrices, Oct. 29, 1951: AAS 43 (1951), pp. 835-854, Paul VI, address to a group of cardinals, June 23 1964: AAS 56 (1964), pp. 581-589. Certain questions which need further and more careful investigation have been handed over, at the command of the Supreme Pontiff, to a commission for the study of population, family, and births, in order that, after it fulfills its function, the Supreme Pontiff may pass judgment. With the doctrine of the magisterium in this state, this holy synod does not intend to propose immediately concrete solutions.'
& Pope Paul VI's judgement resulted in Humanae Vitae , an encyclical that was in keeping with both the letter & the true Spirit of Vatican II.

Dr. Johnny Hunter, DD on 21st Century Black Genocide

2009 Christmas Culture War Has Begun

WARREN, Michigan, October 26, 2009 ( - The Christmas culture wars for 2009 have now begun and ground zero is the Detroit suburb of Warren, which for 63 years has hosted a privately maintained nativity scene set at the crossroads of the city.
The Nativity display had been maintained by Warren city resident John Satawa and his family for most of the municipality's history until the Macomb County Road Commission this year ordered the display removed because it "clearly displays a religious message" in violation of the "separation of church and state."
The Road Commission had informed Satawa of its decision upon receiving a letter in December 2008 from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, which purported to act on behalf of a complainant in the city of 134,000 residents, saying the display violated the Constitution.
However, on Friday the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Satawa against the Road Commission, arguing that its decision violates the Establishment Clause by disfavoring religion.
Satawa's legal counsel hopes to obtain a court order permitting the nativity display along with a declaratory judgment that the Road Commission's actions were unconstitutional.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, said that militant atheists attempt to do through the courts what the Taliban by force had done to Afghanistan: removing all the symbols of the country's national heritage.
Thompson added that nowhere in the US Constitution appears the phrase "separation of church and state"; nevertheless, every Christmas those words become a "means of intimidating municipalities and schools into removing expressions celebrating Christmas, a National Holiday."
"Their goal is to cleanse our public square of all Christian symbols. However, the grand purpose of our Founding Fathers and the First Amendment was to protect religion, not eliminate it."
The nativity crèche dates from 1945, just five years after the incorporation of the Village of Warren, which then boasted 582 inhabitants. The statues at the time were originally donated to the newly formed St. Anne's Church, but as they were too large, the idea was formed to make them part of an outdoor crèche on the median of Chicago and Mound streets.
"The United States Supreme Court has long held that all public streets, which includes public medians, are held in the public trust and are properly considered traditional public forums for private speech," said Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling the matter. "Moreover, the Supreme Court has also stated that 'private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression.'"
"Consequently, by restricting speech because it is religious expression, the Road Commission is imposing a content-based restriction on private speech in a traditional public forum in clear violation of the Constitution."
The lawsuit maintains that the Road Commission's content-based restriction on Satawa's private religious expression violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment. The lawsuit also alleges that the Road Commissions' policy decision violates the Establishment Clause by disfavoring religion.
The case is assigned to the court of U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen, Chief Judge of the Eastern District of Michigan.
See the complaint filed by Thomas More Law Center here.
See the Freedom From Religion Letter here.

What The Secular Media Doesn't Get About the Recent Vatican/Anglican Announcement

By Hilary White
ROME, October 26, 2009 ( - By focusing on the issue of married clergy in the Catholic Church, the secular media has got the thin end of the story of last week's offer of reunion from the Vatican to "traditionalist" Anglicans. The more interesting story, says Fr. Philip Powell, a Dominican priest based in Rome and a former Episcopalian, is the "huge cultural shift" in the Anglican Church that it presages.
Fr. Powell gave his analysis of the move in an interview with LSN, saying that despite accusations from the left and from some quarters of the Anglican Communion, it was not an opportunistic grab for numbers by the Vatican preying upon the Anglican Churches. The decision, he said, is purely a matter of pastoral concern and a provision for people in real spiritual "distress."
"It was a request that has been made twice now by the traditional Anglican community in England and Australia and this is a very pastoral response," said Fr. Powell, a popular clerical Catholic blogger and a graduate student in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
"Cardinal Levada said it best, this is not an initiative on the part of the Holy Father; it's a response."
"The Holy Father is doing what pastors do," said Fr. Powell. "When people reach out to them and say, 'We are distressed about our faith, about our spiritual lives, about our relationships with God and we think that we're in trouble,' pastors, shepherds, help."
"I can't imagine that Pope Benedict thinks this is a political thing," he continued. "It's going to be interpreted that way regardless of what he does but I just don't believe that Benedict is being political in the secular sense."
Although Vatican officials did not confirm this, it is widely understood that the decision to allow groups of Anglicans to come into communion with Rome was made in direct response to requests by the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), an Australian based group of some 400,000 lay and clerical members who adhere to traditional moral and doctrinal teachings of classical, biblical Christianity.
But, Powell said, while the numbers will not be much of a statistical change for the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church, they do represent a "significant" portion of the still practicing Anglicans in the western world.
The removal to Rome of those Anglicans in the Communion who had been fighting for a more traditionally Christian ethos "presages a huge cultural shift in the Anglican Church," he said. It will push the mainstream of Anglicanism in the west further out onto their liberal doctrinal limb. And it will likely push the existing Anglican factions further apart and contribute to the final break-up of the Communion between the liberal west and the conservative evangelical Africa and Asia.
Fr. Powell said, "These are voices that are going to be taken out of the Anglican debates that have been going on. They're not going to be showing up to Lambeth or the synods or parish councils. They're not going to be there now to slow things down."
What will be left for the "liberal" establishment to do after they have won the doctrinal war remains to be seen. "I was an American Episcopalian for years and you reach a point where there's nothing left to surrender," Fr. Powell said. The radical pro-gay, pro-abortion left in the Anglican Church has, he said, identified themselves as the oppressed class fighting injustice who have "identified themselves so entirely with being in opposition to hierarchy, that they don't know what else to do anymore."
"You're so radically inclusive and open and free that there's no barrier left to break down. And if that's been your whole project for thirty years, what have you got left to do?"
"They don't know how to operate any more other than being in opposition."
Sandro Magister, the noted Vatican expert and Italian journalist, wrote last week that the move indicates a shift towards tradition in the Catholic Church, with Pope Benedict gathering in as many as possible who hold traditional doctrinal positions, and earning himself the nickname "Pope of Unity" in the process. While talks with the Orthodox Churches of the east remain slow, doctrinal discussions began this week with the formerly excommunicated bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, a traditionalist Catholic group that broke away from the Vatican after the liturgical changes of the 1960s.
Powell also noted the irony of the situation of the traditionalist Anglicans, who are being accused of being "bigots and homophobes and sexists" by the left, whose mantra all these years has been "tolerance."
"This is the same group of people who elevated tolerance of difference to a dogma. Except you can't differ on these issues. You have people in the Church now who are saying, 'Look, you left wing folks are now the establishment, and now we're the ones pushing difference and you're the ones pushing back'.
"They don't use the word 'heretic' any more; it's 'homophobe and sexist' now."
But Powell made the point that although the invitation has been opened, it is not necessarily going to be easy for some Anglicans to move forward. What is not being talked about, he said, is the Catholic requirement of full assent to all the Church's doctrines from those coming in, including those of papal infallibility, a major sticking point for many in Anglicanism, which five hundred years ago broke with Rome over papal authority.
Those who come over to Rome, Fr. Powell said, will have to understand that they are not going to be Anglicans under the pope. "Simply because they're getting a parallel jurisdiction, doesn't mean they get to pick and choose between doctrines. They become Roman Catholics."
Over the weekend, John Hind, the Anglican bishop of Chichester in south east England and one of the leading traditionalists in the Church of England, announced he would be seriously contemplating taking up Benedict's offer. Hind is a leading traditionalist in the Church of England and was one of the 'rebel' bishops who signed a letter against the appointment of the self-confessed active homosexual, Dr. Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading in 2003.
Hind, who is married with three children, said he would be "happy" to be "reordained" as a Catholic priest and said that this would depend on his "previous ministry being recognized" by Rome. Fr. Powell pointed to this kind of response as an indication of possible difficulties ahead.
With Anglican clergy who might be putting themselves forward as candidates for the "personal ordinariates" offered under the new provisions, Fr. Powell said, "We're really going to have to make sure that they understand they're not remaining Anglican clergy under the Holy Father. They're becoming Roman Catholic bishops. Roman Catholic priests. That means holding to teaching and preaching what the Church teaches and preaches."
Contrary to other complaints from the Catholic left that the Vatican's decision has put and end to the decades of "ecumenical dialogue," Fr. Powell said, from the Catholic point of view, "the point of ecumenism is to bring people back into the Church."
"I know of no document that says the purpose of ecumenical dialogue is to change Church doctrine in order to make people feel comfortable enough to come back.
"This is not about diluting papal infallibility or the teaching on contraceptives or divorce so that Methodists or Buddhists or whatever, feel comfortable about coming into the Church."

The Dangers of an Insurance Mandate

How an Insurance Mandate Could Leave Many Worse Off

Written by Tyler Cowen
Monday, 26 October 2009 09:19
From the NY Times:
Americans seem to like the idea of broadening health insurance coverage, but they may not want to be forced to buy it. With health care costs high and rising, such government mandates would make many people worse off.
The proposals now before Congress would require just about everyone to buy health insurance or to get it through their employers -- which would generally result in lower wages. In other words, millions of people would be compelled to spend lots of money on something they previously did not want, at least not at prevailing prices.
Estimates of this burden vary, but for a family of four it could range up to $14,000 a year over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Right now, many Americans take the gamble of going without insurance, just as many of us take our chances with how much we drive or how little we exercise.
The paradox is this: Reform advocates start with anecdotes about the underprivileged who are uninsured, then turn around and propose something that would hurt at least some members of that group.
To ease the burdens of the insurance mandate, the reform proposals call for varying levels of subsidy. In some versions, such as the current Senate bill, subsidies are handed out to families with incomes as high as $88,000 a year. How long will it be before just about everyone wants further assistance, and this new form of entitlement spending spins out of control? It’s possible to lower insurance subsidies, but then the insurance mandate would impose a bigger burden on the people we are trying to help.A subtler problem is what economists call “implicit marginal tax rates.”
The fiscal reality is that not all income groups can receive equal subsidies; as a family earns more, its subsidy would probably decrease, eventually falling to zero. But then we are taking money away from the poor as they climb into higher income categories. This is a disincentive to earn more, and the strength of the disincentive increases with our initial generosity. For many people, the health insurance aid would phase out when food stamps, housing vouchers and the earned income tax credit also end and the personal income tax kicks in.
This structure of incentives would likely discourage many parents from earning a better life for their children. Congress could tweak the subsidies so they don’t phase out so quickly, but then we’re back to very high fiscal costs and subsidies for many families in the higher income classes.
Defenders of a broad health insurance mandate argue that it will lower average costs in the health care market. The claim is that many of the uninsured are young, healthy or both, and that bringing them into the insurance pool might lower average premiums by spreading risk across low-cost groups. Yet Massachusetts has had a health insurance mandate for several years and this cost-saving mechanism does not appear to be kicking in.
At this point, it seems more plausible that the cost of health insurance will keep rising, just as the costs of health care services have continued to climb. The upshot is that the burdens of mandatory purchase, the subsidy costs and the associated implicit marginal tax rates will all increase, eventually to the point of unsustainability.
A further problem is “mandate creep,” which we’ve seen at the state level, as groups lobby for various types of coverage — whether for acupuncture, alcoholism and fertility treatments, for example, or for chiropractor services or marriage counseling.
There are now about 1,500 insurance mandates among the various states, and hundreds of others are under consideration. The dynamic at work here is that the affected groups have a big incentive to push for mandates, while most other people are unaware of the specific issues and don’t become involved.
Because mandates don’t stay modest for long, health insurance would become all the more expensive. The Obama administration’s cost estimates haven’t considered these longer-run “political economy” issues.
IF there is a problem with mandates, why do they seem to work in countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands? One answer is that mandates are more effective when health care cost inflation is under control, and both of those countries fare better at technocracy than the larger, less tightly ordered United States.
And mandates also fare better in those nations because of their greater equality of incomes. In other words, it’s less of a stretch to offer poorer people coverage that is roughly comparable to that of the wealthy.
If anything, however, European mandates will face growing problems, as health care cost inflation is spreading globally.
We’re often told that America should copy the health care institutions of Western Europe. Yet we’re failing to copy the single most important lesson from those systems — namely, to put cost control first. Instead, we’re putting our foot on the gas pedal and ratcheting up the fiscal pressures on the system, in the hope that someday, somehow, it will all work out.
As it stands, we’re on the verge of enacting a policy that is due to explode, penalizing many of the very people that it was ostensibly designed to help.Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

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