Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bishop D'Arcy's reflections on Notre Dame

Bishop D'Arcy recently published the article "The Church and The University" and reflects on the controversy surrounding Obama's invitation at Notre Dame.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two wonderful documentaries!

The first one is a 2005 nine-part documentary by National Geographic titled "In the Womb." Through the use of 4D ultrasound, the documentary shows the incredible journey of human life in the womb from conception to birth. Absolutely worth seeing!

The second documentary, "Blood Money," is still in the production phase but will be available in theaters in late September if it finds a distributor. Go to their website to watch the trailer. This is another movie really worth seeing and promoting.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Alas, That I So Late Have Known Thee

Alas, that I so late have known Thee,
Thou, above all, the loveliest,
Ah, that I did not sooner own Thee,
Thou greatest good and final rest!
It grieves me, I am sore reproved
That I so late have loved.
But I was blind and went astray,
I sought and sought and was not sated;
from Thee, alas, I turned away
To love the things Thou hast created.
I want to love Thee, O my Lord,
I want to love Thee, O my crown,
To love Thee, yea, without reward
Though in dire need I be cast down;
Fair Light, I'll love Thee for Thy sake
Until my heart shall break!

Angelus Silesius (1624-1677)
German poet

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kieslowksi and the Mystery of the Person

Behind the iron curtain, a young film student learned techniques that would later make him one of the most important directors of all time. Originally, he produced Polish documentaries but encountered an ethical dilemma when he interviewed a night porter who, during filming, said some things that needed to remain private. This director discovered that films examining real individuals risk violating the humanity of those they chronicle. This medium has a danger in that it can objectify and reduce real people. Krystztof Kieslowski changed his work and began to write and create fictional films. Since he was writing in Poland and his work needed to be approved by a communist censor before it could be shown, he and other filmmakers worked subversively to create films that attacked the materialistic culture in which they suffered. Ironically, the censor would frequently approve films whose purpose was to show that the Polish communist ideology did not correspond to the real world or to humanity. During this time, Kieslowski made The Scar, Camera Buff, Blind Chance, and the Decalogue. The final item is a series of films based on the Ten Commandments. After the Soviet Union collapsed and Poland was given some freedom, he created his final four works in France, Poland, and Switzerland. These films are Double Life of Veronique and the three colors series: Blue, White, and Red. These films apply liberty, fraternity, and equality to individual lives to demonstrate that these basic concepts do not correspond to the elementary needs of the human heart. His films have an ontological dimension that may discomfort viewers who are not used to considering lives and ideas in a pre-modern perspective. These last films are particularly important because they show us the cultural reduction of reason and how this weakening affects our lives and relationships.

An Interview with Kieslowski

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mother Teresa of Calcutta National Prayer Breakfast Speech

"I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given to drugs. And I tried to find out why. Why is it like that, when those in the West have so many more things than those in the East? And the answer was: 'Because there is no one in the family to receive them.' Our children depend on us for everything - their health, their nutrition, their security, their coming to know and love God."

"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, that father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. The father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."

"Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today - abortion which brings people to such blindness."

"And also I offer you--our Sisters are here--anybody who doesn't want the child, please give it to me. I want the child."

Link to speech transcript.

Free Speech?

Free speech is still free, as long as you do not criticize the President. Ben Stein, a New York Times columnist and co-writer of the movie "Expelled", was recently fired by the newspaper for "conflict of interest", but in Stein's opinion, he lost his column because of his take on Obama's policies.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quote of the Day: Karol Wojtyla On Our Times

"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up."

Karol Wojtyla, Philadelphia, 1976, printed on November 9, 1978 in the Wall Street Journal

Life, See the Potential!

My sister-in-law recently gave me some copies of the Catholic Digest, a publication I was not familiar with, and I discovered the beautiful story of Patrick Henry Hughes. A 22-year-old from Kentucky, Patrick is a musician (plays piano, trumpet, and sings) and a member of the University of Louisville Cardinals Marching Band. He loves country music and wants to be a Spanish major. A pretty normal kid, right? Well, Patrick is blind and on a wheelchair, unable to walk since birth. Despite these great disabilities, he has overcome many obstacles and has become the man he is today thanks to the love and support of his family and his faith in a good God. Patrick has been traveling around the country to share his story and his musical talents with others and has just published a book called I Am Potential.

Catholic Digest reports that once, in school, a young Patrick said out loud "I can do anything I set my mind to!" One of his classmates, apparently trying to make fun of him, then said "If you can do anything you set your mind to, you can set your mind to seeing and walking. Why can't you do that?" Patrick replied, "Well, why can't you fly like Superman?" We can only learn from people like Patrick!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

An Official Appeal to Help "Big Brother"

The White House blog is calling for people to forward them 'fishy' emails concerning the health care reform. Perhaps, we could call this request "Rats for Facts" or "Help Big Brother".

Since friends and family members are normally the ones who forward emails, does this mean that the White House is really asking American citizens to betray those they love who disagree with the administration's proposal? Granted, there has been little intelligent discussion on health care reform in the mainstream media and almost nothing thoughtful on the internet. This request indicates that emails against the health care reforms appear to be working and what is the best way to curb the flow of these messages: to scare individuals from exercising their first amendment rights and challenging the 'proposal' coming from our governmental leadership. The request to betray friends and forward their messages to the White House is a violation of our constitutional order. This precedent should concern all Americans. It is something that was common in the Soviet Union where individuals were in constant fear of being betrayed. The problem is that no one knows what the government will do with the names and other information it collects.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The 'Children of Men' Warning

In the film, Children of Men, mankind was threatened with extinction because it was impossible for women to have children. The difficult truth is that this work of science fiction may actually describe reality today. There is new evidence that the usage of oral contraceptives may have massive unforeseen environmental consequences that may partially explain the increase in infertility rates. There are already rivers in the United States where the effects of birth control pills are threatening fish populations. These pills have only been used for a few decades, we can only imagine the consequences that will emerge if we continue to release this chemical into the environment. Traces of the oral contraceptive are already being found in the drinking water of New Jersey and once the drug enters the water supply everyone is affected. The threat is greater than widely perceived because eighty-five percent of the estrogen contained in birth control pills passes directly to the environment through human waste. From the water table, this contamination passes into women and men who drink water supplied by municipal sources. Already, there are findings that link this exposure to male infertility. Ironically, the environmental lobby wishes to continue to support the pill even when it is fully aware of its consequences. The hard reality is that these symptoms are only the beginning of what we can expect to see in the future.

Children of Men Trailer