Saturday, January 30, 2010
Pro-abortion groups are pressuring CBS to drop the ad.
Catholicvote.org has set up a user-friendly page for just this purpose. It can be found here.
Friday, January 29, 2010
While I was a student at Notre Dame our paths never crossed, but, after graduation, I became a fan of his fiction writing, especially his mysteries set on Notre Dame's campus. I also appreciated his outspoken defense of Notre Dame's Catholic identity, particularly in the aftermath of last Spring's commencement scandal.
The essay titled "Is Obama Worth a Mass?" that Prof. McInerny posted at The Catholic Thing (an excellent website) in response to the news that President Obama would be giving Notre Dame's 2009 commencement address is a must read and can be found here.
A man of many talents, Prof. McInerny will be missed.
First Things has posted a nice tribute. Below are a couple excerpts.
...Ralph excelled in so many spheres and combined so many virtues in his person that it is difficult to know where to begin in recounting his noteworthy achievements. He was a philosopher (author of more than two dozen scholarly books, he gave the prestigious Gifford Lectures in 1999–2000), a translator (he translated the texts of Aquinas for Penguin Classics), a critically acclaimed and popular novelist (author of a number of mystery series, including the popular Father Dowling series that became a television series), a public intellectual (he appeared on William F. Buckley's Firing Line), and was a member of President George W. Bush's Committee on the Arts and Humanities), a journalist (with Michael Novak, he founded Crisis, a journal of lay Catholic opinion), and a published poet. In the midst of all this activity, Ralph was remarkably generous with his time and his help, especially for his students, in whose families he expressed an avid interest...Excerpt 2:
...Ralph’s life and career will always be enmeshed with the university he loved, Our Lady’s University. He was of course deeply chagrined at the direction of the University. Of course, the concerns about Notre Dame’s Catholic identity have become very public in the past few years with the administration’s decisions to elevate the tawdry Vagina Monologues to the status of great art and to award an honorary doctorate of laws to a pro-abortion president. Before all that, Ralph objected to the premature firing of Coach Tyrone Willingham, in an New York Times op-ed piece “The Firing Irish,” and to the unseemly image of a president and priest chasing down potential coaches on airport tarmacs in the dead of night. Even prior to that, Ralph objected to hiring practices that focused exclusively on “academic” criteria and rendered irrelevant knowledge of, and sympathy for, the Catholic faith and intellectual tradition. For Ralph, the accelerating abandonment of things Catholic at Notre Dame was the direct result of a craven quest for success understood in conventional, and often quite secular, terms...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Check out the trailer below. It's pretty neat.
Father Barron's multimedia ministry/website, Word on Fire, can be found here.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Now, I would like to turn my attention to my favorite post of the year, titled: "41st Anniversary of Humanae Vitae."
This post, which provided my personal reflections on Pope Paul VI's controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae, is reprinted in its entirety below.
My Favorite Post of 2009 (reprinted in its entirety):
Natural Family Planning Week ends appropriately today on the 41st anniversary of Humanae Vitae (On Human Life), the prophetic encyclical of Paul VI which reaffirmed the Catholic Church's opposition to artificial contraception.
...Marriage, then, is far from being the effect of chance or the result of the blind evolution of natural forces. It is in reality the wise and provident institution of God the Creator, whose purpose was to effect in man His loving design. As a consequence, husband and wife, through that mutual gift of themselves, which is specific and exclusive to them alone, develop that union of two persons in which they perfect one another, cooperating with God in the generation and rearing of new lives...
...It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.
Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.
Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare"....
On Artificial Contraception:
...Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection...
It would be an understatement to say the encyclical was controversial when it was released.
Pope Paul was ridiculed by many. Proponents of artificial contraception argued that widespread use of contraception would strengthen and solidify family life by easing the burden of unwanted children, would dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the need for abortion, and would liberate women so they could become equal partners to men.
However, looking out at the cultural wreckage and family dysfunction of our society, Pope Paul has been proven right in the end. He predicted widespread use of artificial contraception would lead to:
1. "...Increased marital infidelity..."
2. "...General lowering of moral standards.."
3. "...a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and... reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires..."
Can anyone deny that all these predictions have come true?
What have been the "fruits" of artificial contraception?
- Half of marriages end in divorce
- almost half of today's babies are born out of wedlock
- 50 million abortions have been procured in the US alone over the last 30 years
- The spread of sexual disease is rampant
- "hooking up" and "friends with benefits" have replaced romance and courtship
- a popular culture rooted in the debasement, objectification, and sexual exploitation of women (have you looked at the magazines in the checkout line lately)?
This cultural wreckage is the real legacy of the widespread use of artificial contraception.
Yet, the proponents artificial birth control ridicule abstinence and argue that even more birth control is the solution to all these problems.
But, under their approach, what does a young person today have to look forward to?
- Having to "protect" themselves from their partner? How did we get to a point where we have to "protect" ourselves during an act that is supposed to be beautiful and intimate?
- Having their hearts broken over and over? And all the cynicism that results?
- As a young man, being told by society that the value and measure of a man is in the sexual conquest of women.
- As a young woman, being told by society that the value and measure of a woman is in her physical appearance, immodestly displayed.
- Having to grapple with lifelong sexual diseases (including possibility of infertility)?
- Taking an act that is meant to be beautiful, special, and UNIQUE to one's relationship with one's spouse, and turning it into something common and casual that is shared with many?
- Being in a position where one of life's greatest joys, the conception of a child, is feared and viewed as a catastrophe?
- "Living together" without commitment which studies have shown decreases their prospects for a successful marriage later on?
Why would anyone wish this lifestyle on their children?
Note: You may also be interested in my previous post explaining why Pope Benedict was right when he said recently that condoms are not the answer to the AIDS crisis in Africa.
Humane Vitae - Full text is here.
My previous posts for Natural Family Planning Week:
Dr. Janet Smith's Contraception, Why Not the most persuasive presentation of the Church's teaching on artificial contraception I have come across. Contraception, Why Not? is available for FREE here in CD format. I highly recommend it.
NOTE: Here are some additional posts from 2009 that I really like:
1. A Must Read Article: "Liberal academic Edward Green: the Pope is right about Aids and condoms"
2. Grassroots Films: Ordination 2009
3. My Favorite Video About the Priesthood ("Fishers of Men")
4. The National Catholic Register Interviews "Chicago's Catholic Cartoonist"
5. My series of posts on Climate Change
6. Woodstock - Forty Year Anniversary - The Real American Heroes Were Not in New York, But in Vietnam
7. Why Do People Support Abortion?
8. Catholic Ob-Gyn Discusses His Pro-life Medical Practice
9. The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College
10. National Guard Recruiting Ad - Citizen Soldiers
11. Trace Atkins and the West Point Glee Club perform "Til The Last Shot's Fired"
12. National Natural Family Planning Awareness Week: July 19-25, 2009
Monday, January 25, 2010
Photo and photo caption: LifeSiteNews.com
I went to the March for Life rally Friday on the Mall expecting to write about its irrelevance. Isn't it quaint, I thought, that these abortion protesters show up each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, even though the decision still stands after 37 years. What's more, with a Democrat in the White House likely to appoint justices who support abortion rights, surely the Supreme Court isn't going to overturn Roe in the foreseeable future.
How wrong I was. The antiabortion movement feels it's gaining strength, even if it's not yet ready to predict ultimate triumph, and Roe supporters (including me) are justifiably nervous.
As always, we in Washington enjoy an up-close view of the health of various causes because of the city's role as the nation's most important setting for political demonstrations. In this case, I was especially struck by the large number of young people among the tens of thousands at the march. It suggests that the battle over abortion will endure for a long time to come.
"We are the pro-life generation," said signs carried by the crowd, about half its members appearing to be younger than 30. There were numerous large groups of teenagers, many bused in by Roman Catholic schools and youth groups. They and their adult leaders said the youths were taught from an early age to oppose abortion.
"People our age are going to be the ones to change, to be the future leaders," said Lauren Powers, 16, who came with a group from an all-girls Catholic school in Milwaukee... Continued
H/T Jill Stanek
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The second through fifth most popular posts:
2. Bill Dempsey, Notre Dame Class of 1952, responds to Fr. Jenkins
3. Political Cartoon: Health Care Reform and Abortion
4. Correspondence: A Letter to Notre Dame
5. An Open Letter from Charles Rice to Fr. Jenkins
Most popular post of 2009:
Unlike Chris Matthews, Bill O'Reilly is respectful and lets the Bishop speak.
Oakland A's minor leaguer gives up baseball to pursue priesthood. A neat story.
From CBS Sports:
As a top prospect for the Oakland Atletics outfielder Grant Desme might've gotten the call every minor leaguer wants this spring.
Instead, he believed he had another, higher calling.
Desme announced Friday that he was leaving baseball to enter the priesthood, walking away after a breakout season in which he became MVP of the Arizona Fall League.
"I was doing well at ball. But I really had to get down to the bottom of things," the 23-year-old Desme said. "I wasn't at peace with where I was at."
A lifelong Catholic, Desme thought about becoming a priest for about a year and a half. He kept his path quiet within the sports world, and he startled the A's on Thursday night when he told them he planned to enter a seminary this summer.
General manager Billy Beane "was understanding and supportive," Desme said, but the decision "sort of knocked him off his horse." After the talk, Desme felt "a great amount of peace."
"I love the game, but I aspire to higher things," he said. "I know I have no regrets."
In a statement, Beane said: "We respect Grant's decision and wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors."
Athletes and the priesthood have overlapped, albeit rarely.
Al Travers, who gave up 24 runs during a one-game career for a makeshift Detroit Tigers team in 1912, became a Catholic priest. More recently, Chase Hilgenbrinck of the New England Revolution left Major League Soccer in 2008 to enter a seminary.
Desme spoke on a conference call for about 10 minutes in a quiet, even tone, hardly sounding like many gung-ho, on-the-rise ballplayers. As for his success in the minors, he said "all of it is very undeserving."
The Athletics picked Desme in the second round of the 2007 amateur draft and he was starting to blossom. He was the only player in the entire minors with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases last season.
Desme batted .288 with 31 homers, 89 RBI and 40 steals in 131 games at Class A Kane County and high Class A Stockton last year. He hit .315 with a league-leading 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 27 games this fall in Arizona, a league filled with young talent.
Desme went into the AFL championship game well aware it might be the last time he ever played. "There was no sad feeling," he said. He homered and struck out twice, which "defines my career a bit."
The Big West Player of the Year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Desme was ranked as Oakland's No. 8 prospect by Baseball America. There was speculation the Athletics might invite Desme to big league spring training next month.
Rather, Desme intends to enter a seminary in Silverado, Calif., in August. He said abbey members didn't seem surprised someone who would "define myself as a baseball player" was changing his life so dramatically.
Desme said he didn't consider pursuing his spiritual studies while also trying to play ball. His family backed his decision and he said the positive reaction to his future goal - the surprising news spread quickly over the Internet - was "inspiring."
"It's about a 10-year process," he said. "I desire and hope I become a priest." In a way, he added, it's like "re-entering the minor leagues."
Desme's first two years in the minors were beset by shoulder and wrist problems. He said his days off the field gave him time to think about what was most important to him, to read and study the Bible and to talk to teammates about his faith.In retrospect, he said, those injuries were "the biggest blessings God ever gave me."
Monday, January 11, 2010
Part 1 (The Introduction) appears below along with links to parts 2-9.
Part 2 - Location
Part 3 - Academics
Part 4 - Junior Semester in Rome
Part 5 - Spiritual Life
Part 6 - Culture
Part 7 - Athletics
Part 8 - Library
Part 9 - Closing
Note: A free DVD copy of this video can be obtained from the Christendom College Admissions Office by calling 800.877.5456 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christendom College is endorsed by the Cardinal Newman Society's The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
From Britain's The Daily Mail:
The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.
Their predictions – based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 – and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this.
The scientists’ predictions also undermine the standard climate computer models, which assert that the warming of the Earth since 1900 has been driven solely by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and will continue as long as carbon dioxide levels rise.
They say that their research shows that much of the warming was caused by oceanic cycles when they were in a ‘warm mode’ as opposed to the present ‘cold mode’.
This challenge to the widespread view that the planet is on the brink of an irreversible catastrophe is all the greater because the scientists could never be described as global warming ‘deniers’ or sceptics.
However, both main British political parties continue to insist that the world is facing imminent disaster without drastic cuts in CO2.
This image of the UK taken from NASA's multi-national Terra satellite on Thursday shows the extent of the freezing weather
This image of the UK taken from NASA's multi-national Terra satellite on Thursday shows the extent of the freezing weather
Last week, as Britain froze, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband maintained in a parliamentary answer that the science of global warming was ‘settled’.
Among the most prominent of the scientists is Professor Mojib Latif, a leading member of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been pushing the issue of man-made global warming on to the international political agenda since it was formed 22 years ago.
Prof Latif, who leads a research team at the renowned Leibniz Institute at Germany’s Kiel University, has developed new methods for measuring ocean temperatures 3,000ft beneath the surface, where the cooling and warming cycles start.
He and his colleagues predicted the new cooling trend in a paper published in 2008 and warned of it again at an IPCC conference in Geneva last September.
Last night he told The Mail on Sunday: ‘A significant share of the warming we saw from 1980 to 2000 and at earlier periods in the 20th Century was due to these cycles – perhaps as much as 50 per cent.
'They have now gone into reverse, so winters like this one will become much more likely. Summers will also probably be cooler, and all this may well last two decades or longer.
‘The extreme retreats that we have seen in glaciers and sea ice will come to a halt. For the time being, global warming has paused, and there may well be some cooling’...Continued
Monday, January 4, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
A thoughtful reflection for the occasion by Kathryn Jean Lopez:
The image is of a young woman in her bedroom. If you can tell from a portrait that a young woman is beautiful and pure, through and through, you can see it here. She looks like someone you’d want to know, at any time of your life. Young children would be drawn to her. If you’re college-age, she looks like someone you’d want to be friends with. This is the woman the guy who knows what’s good for him is going to want to ultimately settle down with. If you’re the parent of a college-age child, this is exactly who you want your child to hang around with – and would benefit yourself from having around. She’s unassuming, human in real and recognizable ways, complete with some rumpled bed sheets. She sits open and honest and listening and ready to begin the rest of her life in this moment, which could really be any moment.
She isn’t just any young woman. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Portrayed by the most luminous light is the angel Gabriel.
Our calls may not seem as dramatic as being asked to be the mother of the Savior of the World – but then again, they do often seem that way. And they seem that way because they are. Our calls are about good and evil, about our personal participation in Salvation History. About bringing Christ to our neighbor, at our office, in our homes. Yes, this is the greatest drama there is.
The image is fresh in my mind, as we encounter Mary at the start of the New Year with her Solemnity today. I saw it a few months ago at the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. It’s an 1898 painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner, one that the university’s new, young president, Fr. James Shea, made the graphical image of his inaugural events. And what better image to put up, front and center, on a Catholic university campus? Alone with her Lord, she is asked to do something life- and world-changing. Alone with the Lord, she’s asked to trust in Him.
And with her “freedom of choice” she says “yes.”
Discussing the image, Father Shea explained: “The angel did not say, ‘I will help you to achieve your dreams.’ The angel, in very few words, told her the truth. . .the truth about herself, the purpose of her life, the world in which she lived, the God who had set His heart upon her. And just then, when no one was looking, the whole world started over again.”
What person, especially a young person, doesn’t crave truth? And yet so often our culture, our universities – even our Catholic universities – are skirting that perpetual question, maybe bending over backward to avoid the glorious, eternal-life-saving reality that such a thing exists and is the reason for our being. A campus isn’t populated with young people who are going to be asked to give birth to the savior of the world, but they are called to live differently than Cosmo and FHM and postmodernism tell them they’re supposed to. And the Catholic campus exists to show them the way to do so. Continued at The Catholic Thing
Photo Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art via ExplorePAhistory.com