Wednesday, July 29, 2009

President's Top Science Adviser Once Wrote That a Fetus Is "Only a Potential Human Being"

“The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being,” John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions. . . .“From this point of view, a fetus is only a potential human being [italics in original].”

Read the entire report from

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Overpopulation: the Myth

The Population Research Institute is a good source to examine the claims presented by the overpopulation thinktanks. The supporting 'economic' theory was designed to scare the mass population into adopting anti-family policies. Unfortunately, this proposal was accepted by many Catholics that trusted the 'objectivity' of social scientists supporting this myth. Culturally, it created additional forces that worked to destroy families.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quote of the Day

On Catholicism:

"It is the only thing that talks as if it were the truth; as if it were a real messenger refusing to tamper with a real message."


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

Church "progressives," as they like to style themselves, seem untroubled by the exodus of the conservatives. For one thing, the flight of one's opponents means you get things the way you want them. For a while at least -- until, looking about, you wonder what's the difference between a social justice church and the Peace Corps, which operates on federal funds and doesn't require Sunday morning attendance or suggest the reading of old books about dead people in the Middle East. The Episcopal Church looks less and less like a church, more and more like a convocation of nice, well-meaning folks, who, having helped elect Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress, await the descent of Peace and Goodness from -- well, somewhere.

William Murchison, from the blog, The Patriot Post.

Read it all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What is the Religious Experience and Religiosity? Two Theological Giants of Our Age Speak Out

I remember seeing a cartoon in which a couple was bringing their baby home soon after it was born. The setting was the middle of Manhattan with its traffic, mobs of people in the street, and awesome canyons of skyscrapers. The couple was standing (waiting for a cab?) in front of the majestic entrance to the hospital, the baby buried in his mother’s arms. The caption was the mother’s words to the baby: “Look, Harry. The World!”

Suppose that baby had been able to look and see the sheer magnitude of it all: the buildings, the traffic, the noise, the people. His reaction would have been overwhelming amazement. This amazement is the religious experience.

Religious experience is a human experience, a human passion like many others. It expresses the power, the energy of human life itself. In fact, religious experience can be seen as the fundamental human experience that unleashes passionate curiosity. It is this passionate curiosity that sustains the efforts of science, for example, as well as other creative human enterprises, such as the development of a just social order and an equitable distribution of human resources. It is this same passionate curiosity that energizes children in their wondrous exploration of the world.

Religious experience is not directly an experience of a reality beyond this world. It isn’t that I see this other reality. All I see is what is in this world. It is a way of experiencing the world as a sign of the reality that is always beyond its limits. The cell mutation researched by a scientist, the social inequities confronted by an activist, the ladybug pondered by a child-- all of these point to this Mystery at the heart of everything that exists.

Religious experience, therefore, is not an escape from this world: it is an affirmation of it. It is a way of standing before reality-- the reality that each of us encounters in our lives, our work, and our relationships each day-- and regarding it with a passionate curiosity. It is a contemplative posture before all that exists. Like the wonder of that mother holding her newborn child and saying, with joy and anticipation, “Look, the world!” All that counts is wonder.

Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, God at the Ritz

How is it that man has this right, this absoluteness, whereby even if the whole world were to move in one direction, he has something within that gives him the right to stay where he is? He has something within by which he can judge the world from which he or she was born.

If the human being were to come into the world solely through the biology of the mother and father, as a mere brief instant in which all the flux of innumerable prior reactions produced this ephemeral fruit; if the human being were only this, then we really would be talking about something ridiculous, something cynically absurd when we use expressions such as, “freedom,” “human rights,” the very word, “person.” Freedom, like this, without any foundation, is flatus vocis, just pure sound, dispersed by the wind.

In only one case is . . . this single human being free from the entire world, free, so that the world together and even the total universe cannot force him into anything. In only one instance can this image of a free man be explained. This is when we assume that this [human being] is not totally the fruit of the biology of the mother and father, not strictly derived from the biological tradition of mechanical antecedents, but rather when it possesses a direct relationship with the infinite, the origin of all the flux of the world, . . . that is to say, it is endowed of something derived from God.

The Catechism of Pius X affirms this: “the body is given by the parents, but the soul is infused directly by God.” Apart from the scholastic formulation, this “soul” indicates precisely that there is a “something” in me which is not derived from any empirical phenomenon, because it does not depend upon, does not originate in the biology of my father and mother. It directly depends on the infinite, which makes the whole world. Only this hypothesis allows me to proclaim that the world can do what it wants with me, but it cannot conquer, possess, grasp on to me, because I am greater than it is. I am free.

It is here that we find the foundation and the explanation for the fundamental right of freedom of conscience. The human being has not only the capacity, but also the duty to judge and act according to ultimate personal comparison to the truth and the good.

So here is the paradox: freedom is dependence on God. It is a paradox, but it is absolutely clear. The human being-- the concrete human person, me, you-- once we were not, now we are, and tomorrow will no longer be: thus we depend. And either we depend upon the flux of our material antecedents, and are consequently slaves of the powers that be, or we depend upon What lies at the origin of the movement of all things, beyond them, which is to say, God.

Freedom identifies itself with dependence upon God at a human level: it is a recognized and lived dependence, while slavery, on the other hand, denies or censures this relationship. Freedom comes through religiosity. Religiosity is the single hindrance, limit, confine to the dictatorship of man over man, whether we are referring to men and women, parents and children, government and citizens, owners and workers, party chiefs and rank and file. It is the only hindrance, the single barrier and objection to the slavery imposed by the powers that be.

It is for this reason that the powerful, whoever they might be-- within the family or a collective-- are tempted to hate true religiosity, unless they are profoundly religious themselves.

--Msgr. Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rt. Rev. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Church Bishop of New Hamphsire, on What God He Believes In

Bishop Robinson likes to talk about being true to the way we were made. If only he and all the rest of us would really do that!

We are human, and we did not create ourselves. We were created by an Other—an infinite, and infinitely great, Other. Our most important characteristic as humans is that we have desire—we long for this infinite Other. Only the infinite Other can actually satisfy our deep desire. One may think that a certain special job, or a getting a certain person to be one’s spouse, or having more money, or a new car, or gratifying a sexual urge, will satisfy one’s heart and bring happiness. But that is not actually possible. One gets a new job, marries a beautiful wife, wins the lottery, buys a new BMW, or has a pleasurable and gratifying sexual experience, and it is not enough. The aching desire of the heart remains bereft and unfulfilled.

Anything from this world is small and insubstantial in comparison to the infinite Other that our hearts actually desire most. The paradox is that we are small and broken, and so are the things of this world that we think we want, but the desire in our hearts is infinite and perfect. We were in fact created to have this desire for the infinite Other.

Our problem is that our intellects are too small for our hearts. We lack the imaginative powers to comprehend that our desire for the infinite can actually be fulfilled. The joy and happiness that can be ours is beyond our wildest dreams, but, precisely because that is the case, we try to limit or reduce our desire for the infinite to something more manageable, something we can control and get our minds around.

The message of gay “Christian” activists and other self-styled progressives such as Bishop Robinson is that we should seek to fulfill our own, internally generated wants and substitute those wants for our real, pressing desire for the infinite. But the only way that anyone can do that is by betraying his own heart! It is akin to giving a child who desperately wants to be hugged by his mother a life-sized blow-up doll instead, or giving a starving man a picture of food, and expecting satisfaction to result. It is a profoundly unreasonable act.

And so we are witnesses to exceeding tragedy. We watch decent, well-intentioned, intelligent people as they are seduced into something objectively irrational—exchanging what could have been overarching and eternal joy for alluring possessions and experiences that cannot possibly make them happy. In the end, if they continue betraying their own hearts, they will have only ashes, dust, and eternal separation from what they most desire.

Christianity is the announcement that the mysterious, infinite Other became incarnate in the flesh as a man, in a unique and unrepeatable moment in history. By doing so the infinite Other took pity on our nothingness and showed us that we CAN in fact have the deepest, most urgent desire of our hearts fulfilled. A pathway for us to reach the infinite was carved into eternity.

To walk that pathway, however, we must be rigorously true to our hearts’ greatest desire. The only thing that corresponds to that desire is Jesus. He draws us to himself by using our hearts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Encyclical: Message from Communion and Liberation

Press release from the Communion and Liberation press office on Pope Benedict's New Encyclical:

We are grateful to the Holy Father that in his social encyclical he has again proposed the originality of the faith and the contribution that Christians can give to social life and development.
To us it seems critical that at the beginning of an encyclical dedicated to human affairs, the Pope, with great realism, is recalling everyone to something basic and evident, which, if denied, leads every human effort to become unjust to the point of violence: “Sometimes modern man is wrongly convinced that he is the sole author of himself, his life and society. This is a presumption that ... is a consequence ... of original sin. The Church’s wisdom has always pointed to the presence of original sin in social conditions and in the structure of society.” Recent experience, in fact, teaches us that the claim of self-sufficiency and of being able to “eliminate the evil present in history by his own action alone has led man to confuse happiness and salvation with immanent forms of material prosperity and social action.”
On the contrary, the truth about ourselves is first of all “given”: “[T]ruth is not something that we produce; it is always found, or better, received.” This is why the Pope affirms that “[c]harity in truth ... is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity... In Christ, charity in truth becomes the Face of his Person.”

Benedict XVI recalls us to the fact (which, as current events show, is more and more often forgotten) that a “Christianity of charity without truth would be more or less interchangeable with a pool of good sentiments, helpful for social cohesion, but of little relevance. In other words, there would no longer be any real place for God in the world.”
Caritas in veritate asserts that the Church “does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim to interfere in any way in politics,” but does have a mission to accomplish: proclaiming Christ as “the first and principal factor of development.”
Along this path of witness we feel challenged to verify, within the context of daily life, the import of faith in Christ, as the One who places us in the best conditions for facing the myriad of problems in the economic, financial, social and political fields enumerated by the encyclical.

In the next issue of Traces, the monthly international magazine of the movement coming out next week, a booklet with the text of Caritas in veritate will be enclosed.

CL press office
Milan, July 8, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Best Pro-Life Quotes from Pope's New Encyclical

"Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life and especially by his death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity. Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace."

This is the opening paragraph of Pope Benedict XVI's new encyclical Caritas in Veritate (Truth in Love), released today.

LifeSiteNews reproduces some of its crucial passages stressing the respect for life.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kill the embryos, save the rats!

According to LifeSiteNews, General Electric will soon start using embryonic stem cells in its toxicology tests on the effects of drug treatments. More appalling, it is considering replacing lab rats with human embryos. While the company issued a statement clarifying that their research is conducted in “an ethically and scientifically responsible manner” it is obvious that there is nothing ethically responsible in the killing of a human person.

Not too long ago a friend of mine sent me one of those pass-it-along emails asking to sign a petition against the skinning of live animals. As I scrolled down the list of over 200 names, I also came across some comments that people chose to include along with their support for this cause: “It’s so brutal,” “what a horrible thing,” “I wish those people were skinned alive.” While I totally agree that skinning an animal alive is an act of cruelty and should not be done, I wonder how many people behind those typed names are in favor of abortion. Probably many. So much effort is put into saving animals’ lives, into protecting ‘their rights,’ in making sure they are treated in a humane way and yet when it comes to human life, to innocent babies, so many people are willing to let them die, to kill them alive. How is it possible that human life is so debased? How is it that rabbits, sheep, rats, even the cute little ones used in labs, are more valuable than human beings? There is something fundamentally wrong in our society and if we do not stand up and speak, the truth will not prevail.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Today is Independence Day and it is time to take a deep and difficult look at our country. We have to be honest with ourselves and see that our self-image no longer corresponds with reality. We are a country in decline. A deep disagreement arises between those who judge our downfall in simple, materialistic terms and those who see cultural degeneration as the primary cause that led to this crisis. The date when the U.S. started to decline as a hegemonic power is no longer debated, it started with the 1973 recession. There were two strategies the United States could pursue to recover and both were difficult. The first involved sacrifice and a re-investment in education and infrastructure. Manufacturing would remain in the United States and wages too would remain high. The second option was to ignore the cultural aspects and simply allow business to correct this deficit on its own terms. We selected the second option and moved capital outside our national borders and set our country on the path of decline.

Culturally, this seemed like an irrelevant option. What was the domestic price we were asked to pay? We saw the ability of workers to organize, which Leo XIII acknowledges is a human right in Rerum Novarum, threatened and unions became unpopular and powerless. The result was the end of a living wage for workers and the ‘economic’ necessity for both parents to work. This destroyed a natural order where one spouse provided economically and the other spouse stayed at home with the children. Politically, the pro-life movement cooperated with policy that brought about the end of a living wage. This is a cultural problem in that we attempted to affirm human life while politically aligning with those who had an interest in paying lower wages. How could we not see that the policies we were sponsoring served the culture of abortion by forcing both parents to work and increasing the difficulty for spouses to bring children into the world? My argument is not that government should have stepped into the process to provide money to families; it is that unions should have been able to guarantee a living wage for workers. This observation will strike at the hearts of those who confuse conservative economic policies with the culture of life. You unintentionally served the culture of death and increased the financial hardships that destroy families. We accepted the reasoning of economists who argued that there was no other way. This case in retrospect was a lie. You also dismissed a human right recognized by the Church for politically expedient reasons.

We cannot affirm a culture of life that places economic reasoning above the family. In the encyclical that will be made public on July 7th, Pope Benedict shows that the financial calamity is primarily a moral crisis. It is no coincidence that the decline of the United States as a hegemonic power started in 1973. This was also the year when the Supreme Court made abortion legal. One could say that from this moment the success of our largest corporations was a higher national priority than human life and, as a result, we allowed a new culture to emerge that sub-ordered the family and the person to the economy. Our civilization became self-destructive and our problem was that we did not see reality in its fullness. As Catholics we need to be politically wiser today than we have been in the past. We cannot cooperate with those who use our pro-life positions to destroy families (and it is inconceivable to support pro-choice politicians). Are we then left to be passive in the political system voting for the party that presents the less-evil position? We should not be resigned to this.