Monday, March 30, 2009

"Neither Do I Condemn You"

In today's Gospel, we read the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).

For many reasons, this is one of my favorite Gospel stories. One thing I find amazing about it is that it almost didn't make it into the Bible. In fact, before the Bible was assembled the way it is today, some versions of John's Gospel didn't include this story.

St. Augustine says (cf. De coniugiis adulterinis, 2, 6) that many early Christians were afraid of keeping this story in John's Gospel since it showed Jesus as being so merciful that they thought it might lead people to think that the reality of sin wasn't as big of a deal as the Church made it out to be.

Apparently, the Holy Spirit wasn't concerned about this, since He made sure the story was kept in there.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Baby Update

The due date for our baby is coming soon.

Officially, it's April 24, but two of our kids have been born at 37 weeks and two at 39, so it will likely be sooner than that.

We're hoping the baby waits to be born until at least April 3. That way, we'll be able to have a home birth, as we've done with our last two.

Otherwise we'll have to give birth at a hospital — please God, no — in which case they'll probably make us do something stupid like give the baby a bath right away.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NEJM Op-Ed to Pro-Life Doctors: Drop Dead

Medicine needs to embrace a brand of professionalism that demands less self-interest, not more. Conscientious objection makes sense with conscription, but it is worrisome when professionals who freely chose their field parse care and withhold information that patients need. As the gatekeepers to medicine, physicians and other health care providers have an obligation to choose specialties that are not moral minefields for them. Qualms about abortion, sterilization, and birth control? Do not practice women's health.

Because, you know, it's all about "choice".

[HT: JivinJ]

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some People Aren't Too Happy

Not surprisingly, we've seen a big spike in incoming e-mails at work the past few days. Many have been supportive; others...well, not so much.

A little while ago, one such message came in — anonymously, natch, as per usual with hate mail — that said the following, in all caps, bold, and 36-point typeface:

From: <>
Date: Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 11:07 AM
Subject: Notre Dame


My first thought upon seeing this was how astonishingly fast our unnamed correspondent managed to prove Anderson’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law (also known as the reductio ad pedophilium):

“It would go something like this: ‘As a debate involving the Catholic Church (either a discussion about the Church specifically, or a discussion in which the Church is taking a position) grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning the sex scandal approaches one.’

“And then there’s its corollary: ‘Once such reference to the Scandal is made, whoever mentioned the Scandal has automatically “lost” whatever debate was in progress…’”

I also pointed out to this person that if he has knowledge of any child rapists currently being protected by a church, he'd better call the police immediately and report it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The 29th Anniversary of the Murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero

On this day in 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in San Salvador, El Salvador.

I've had a special admiration for Archbishop Romero ever since I first saw the eponymous film about his life (and death). My admiration for him grew significantly when Jocelyn and I visited his tomb and the chapel where he was murdered during a trip to El Salvador nine years ago.

When questioned about Romero by Italian journalists two years ago prior to his trip to South America, I was heartened to learn that Pope Benedict XVI remarked, "I have no doubt he will be beatified."

Here's the trailer for the movie:

As you can tell, this is no feel-good movie, but as far as showing the ugly reality of man’s inhumanity to man, and the insane brutality that so typified life in Central America in the last quarter of the last century, it’s amazing.

The closing scene, and a few others, too, are absolutely stunning — all the more so because despite some artistic license, the movie is depicting events that really happened.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama at Notre Dame

Thursday last I set out early in the morning for Michigan to give a talk to Homeschoolers 4 Life club in Lansing and to meet with the officers of the Pro-Life Club at Garden City High School in Garden City before heading to a Catholic grade school in Ypsilanti to give a chastity talk to a group of eighth graders that evening.

Both talks were very well received, I'm happy to say, and I was thrilled at all the good things the newly formed club at Garden City has done this past year.

Getting back Friday afternoon, I had opted to work from home the rest of the day instead of coming into the office.

Thus, I was the last Pro-Life Action League staff member to find out that President Obama had been invited to give the commencement address at Notre Dame.

Upon learning this via an e-mail that had come earlier in the day from one of our supporters, I momentarily wondered if it might be worth contacting my co-workers in the unlikely event they hadn't heard.

Moments later, though, I realized this wasn't necessary, as when I checked my e-mail again, I saw that my boss, Joe Scheidler, had just issued a press release.

And here's the article posted Friday on the PLAL homepage that accompanied it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How Did He Drive Them Out, Anyway?

On this day I'm reminded of something our daughter Teresa said around this time two years ago, when Jocelyn and I were talking about St. Patrick and the legend that he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.

To which Teresa (then four years old) asked, "How did he drive them? In a car?"

I don't even remember how we answered her, but it did give us a big laugh.

Imagine St. Patrick barreling through a narrow road in the Irish countryside — on the left side, of course — in a DeLorean, fighting off a car full of snakes with his crosier whilst somehow still managing to steer.

How's that for a visual?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Truth Is Sometimes Stranger than Fiction

Which of the following actually happened at a community college in Washington State?

  • (a) A human rights student group wanted to post materials around campus encouraging people to work to stop the genocide in Darfur, but was told by the school that they would also have to post materials encouraging people to work to continue the genocide in Darfur.

  • (b) An anti-racism student group wanted to post anti-racist materials around campus, but was told by the school that they would also have to post materials from the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Brotherhood.

  • (c) A feminist student group wanted to post materials around campus encouraging people to work to stop violence against women, but was told by the school that they would also have to post materials promoting violence against women.

  • (d) A student service organization wanted to post materials around campus to raise awareness of individuals in the community suffering from poverty, but was told by the school that they would also have to post materials promoting ignorance of individuals in the community suffering from poverty.

  • (e) A pro-life student group wanted to post pro-life information around campus about the harms of abortion, but was told by the school that they would also have to post pro-abortion information.

You can probably guess which one is the right answer.

[HT: JivinJ]

[Cross-posted at Generations for Life]

Friday, March 13, 2009

Obama, Camille Paglia, and Groupthink

My fellow Catholic Dads blogger Nod has a great post regarding some comments made recently by Camille Paglia about the Obama administration.

I would have loved to have written more in the comments section thereof, but hadn't the time, so I focused very briefly on one question he raised, which, it seems to me, is a terribly important one:

Why do so many fall into the trap of groupthink and blithe rationalizations?

To which I wrote:

The short answer, it seems to me, is:

Because it's easy. Resisting groupthink, on the other hand, is hard.

And most of us are lazy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ka-ching for Planned Parenthood

When I see dreck like this:

...I can't decide whether to do this:

...or don sackcloth and ashes and recite the penitential psalms (followed, perhaps, by the imprecatory psalms).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rest in Peace, Ann Petta

Please pray for Ann (Stull) Petta, who died last night. She was preceded in death by her husband Frank, who died just over one year ago.

I first met Ann in 2001 when I started attending meetings of the Chicago Area Chesterton Society, which she and Frank had founded many years prior.

Ann was one of the kindest people I've ever met. I will greatly miss her, as will everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Requiem æternam dona ea, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ea.

Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Throwing Good Money After Bad and Failing to Avoid "Ethical Drawbacks"

I just did a tag-team interview (along with my boss, Joe Scheidler) with a reporter from FOX 32 News for a story on Obama's decision to lift restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research throw good money after bad — which, incidentally, will result in the killings of yet more tiny human beings.

I'm told the story will air during their 9:00 pm news tonight.

Speaking of which, I couldn't help but notice this sentence in an article in Friday's Chicago Tribune about the latest advance in adult stem cell research (induced pluripotent stem cell — iPS cell — research, to be precise):

The [iPS] cells offer the benefits of embryonic stem cells without the ethical drawbacks.

So not killing human beings is seen merely as avoiding an "ethical drawback"?


Friday, March 6, 2009

This Is Great News

Thursday's surprise resignation of USOC Chief Executive Jim Scherr gives the rest of the world the old impression the USOC still can't get its act together.

Where Chicago's 2016 Olympic hopes are concerned, there could not be a worse time for the USOC to lose the man who has been its primary face since 2003.

Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oh. So. True.

From Fr. Wade Menezes' Ten Commandments of a Husband and Father [PDF], via the Catholic Dads blog, comes the best counsel I've heard heretofore this day:

A husband’s most important time during any given day is the first five minutes when he gets home from work and the love and attention he shows his wife and children at that time.

Btw, Fr. Menezes also offers as a counterpart the Ten Commandments of a Wife and Mother [PDF].

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Slothfulness and Vain Talking

Friday last was our staff retreat, led by one Father Joe Looney, a priest of the Diocese of Hartford.

This was my first retreat since last year's staff retreat, so I was very much looking forward to it.

It did not disappoint.

Although the meditations Father Looney preached were quite edifying, perhaps the highlight of the retreat for me personally was the chanting of the Ninth Hour from the Byzantine Horologion (Book of Hours). Two of my co-workers who are Byzantine Catholic had suggested we incorporate this into our retreat, and I'm glad they did.

Praying the Ninth Hour (as with the other hours of the Horologion as well?) calls for numerous prostrations—which is one of the chief reasons why I as a non-Eastern Riter am nonetheless a big fan of Eastern Rite spirituality.

Among the many beautiful prayers that comprise the Ninth Hour is the Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

O Lord and master of my life! Grant that I may not be infected with the spirit of slothfulness and inquisitiveness, with the spirit of ambition and vain talking.

Grant instead to me your servant the spirit of purity and humility, the spirit of patience and neighborly love.

O Lord and King! Bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen.

O God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Yes, O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen.

Now that's a prayer.