Saturday, December 31, 2011

Your Baby's Development Month by Month

An Amazing Journey! LIFE!

At the miraculous moment of fertilization – when the egg of a woman and the sperm of a man unite, a new human life begins. From this moment on, it will take approximately nine months for the baby to develop and be ready to be born. Watch "85 Days," our TV commercial about your baby's development.

Babies come into this world one of three ways – early (premature), on time (born at the expected time), or late (after the expected due date). All babies, regardless of when they arrive, must go through the same developmental stages – usually a nine-month cycle. Let’s examine what happens before birth.

For the sake of clarity, please note that fertilization is placed at the beginning of Week 1. If you had intercourse multiple times since the end of your last menstrual period, it may be difficult to determine exactly the date of the baby’s conception and stage of fetal development.

Month One
Fertilization - the joining of the father's sperm and the mother's egg - this is when life begins. Fertilization can occur within minutes of intercourse or within two to three days afterwards. When fertilization occurs a new, unique human individual begins the journey of development. At the earliest stage, the new person is referred to as a zygote and is no larger than a single grain of sand. Cell division begins mere moments after fertilization.

Amazing Fact: At fertilization, every bit of genetic information necessary for the child's development is present. The "program" for everything is there: hair and eye color, skin tone, height - even likely giftedness as a pianist, vocalist or computer programmer.

A function called implantation happens from five to nine days after fertilization. Implantation occurs when the new human nestles him or herself in the wall of the uterus (or womb) and begins to draw nutrition. Once he/she has implanted, your baby is called a blastocyst and is about 0.1 - 0.2 mm in diameter.

This week your body will experience a hormone reaction to the presence of the developing baby. The result is that you stop menstruating. In other words, you miss your normal period.

Between weeks three and four (18 to 25 days after fertilization) the developing baby's heart begins to beat. Arm and leg buds form. The face – eyes, ears, nose and mouth - begin to take form.

Month Two
Your baby has only been developing for five weeks and is now 10,000 times larger than he/she was at fertilization. Your baby now is only about one inch long and weighs no more than one whole peanut. The lining of the placenta begins to develop but does not take over the production of hormones until about week 12. Brain waves are detected.

Amazing Fact: It's a good thing this blazingly fast growth rate slows down after the second month, otherwise the baby's birth weight would exceed 10 tons!

Your baby’s heart is bulging from the body and blood circulation is well established. Early evidence of the liver, pancreas, lungs and stomach can be seen. When you see your baby through ultrasound at week six, you'd be amazed by how much he or she has already developed.

Genitals are present but you can't distinguish boys from girls at this point. The pumping action of your baby's heart is about 20% of your own heart's capacity.

Amazing Fact: Your baby will actually go through three sets of kidneys during his or her development. By week seven, your baby is already on the second set!

By this time, the end of month two, your baby receives a new technical name to describe his/her development: fetus, a Latin word which means "young one." All organs are present - and most are functioning - although some need more time to develop. The irises of the eyes develop, fingernails are visible and your baby can curl his/her fingers around an object. He or she also hiccups, has taste buds on the tongue and tooth buds in the gums.

Amazing Fact: If your health provider uses a "Doppler," you may be able to hear your baby's heartbeat during your week 10 visit. It will sound very fast. Your risk of miscarriage is greatly reduced after you hear this sound. Just click either link to listen!

baby's heartbeat.mp3

baby's heartbeat.wav

The baby’s mother and father can also see their baby in the womb through 3D/4D ultrasound imaging. Most doctors use ultrasound to trace the baby’s development throughout pregnancy.

Month Three
Your baby can smile, make funny faces. She/he can practice “breathing” the amniotic fluid in/out of the lungs, all 20 teeth are formed and waiting to develop. Your baby is now approximately one ounce in weight, as is the placenta. The pancreas has now started to secrete insulin. This is also the time of peak movement for the baby. The movement can not be felt by the mother but the baby rarely pauses for more than five minutes at a time. He/she may change position as often as 20 times an hour even if the mother lies still. The baby also feels the mother’s motions at this time and rocks in the womb as the mother moves.

Amazing Fact: Amniotic fluid completely regenerates itself every three hours. While we know for sure that this fluid is partly made up of urine from the baby, science still has not discovered what makes up the other parts. As advanced as modern medicine is, some mysteries remain!

Amazing Fact: What was that noise? At 15 weeks, loud sounds may actually cause baby to startle. Some moms and dads find that quiet music played near mom's tummy will cause baby to relax and calm down.

Month Four
Your baby is now about eight inches tall from head to toe. Baby’s movements can now be felt by his/her mother and he/she can suck his/her thumb. The fingernails are now well-formed and often need to be trimmed at birth because they have grown so long. Baby is emptying his/her bladder every 40-45 minutes. The placenta is fully established by now. Another critical part of the baby’s growth is the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta, not the mother, and serves to provide baby with the needed nutrients for the rapid growth the baby is now experiencing. Fingerprints are now evident.

Month Five

Amazing Fact: "Why can't I sleep through the night?" Many moms find themselves asking this question. The simple answer is you have a son or daughter inside you who lives on a different sleep/wake cycle than you do. Some kids consistently wake mom at 3 a.m. every morning. Chances are, after baby is born, he or she will want to be active about this same time!

Baby’s weight will increase to approximately 15 ounces by the end of the fifth month. Hearing is very acute and activity continues to increase as the baby swims around in the amniotic fluid. The baby’s body shifts to a head-down position in preparation for birth in a few months. Eyebrows have developed. Lanugo, (fine hair) begins to appear on the baby’s body. Sometimes this lanugo remains on the body after birth. Also, a creamy white substance (named vernix) clings to the baby’s fine hair and in creases of the skin. It is believed that this “skin cream” protects the baby during the remaining weeks of pregnancy. This substance is sometimes seen after birth.

Month Six
By now your baby has gained another pound. His/her hand coordination has increased and the baby can now move the thumb in opposition to the fingers. Eyes are now open though the baby is still in the darkness in the womb. Little deposits of fat, which retain heat, begin to form. The uterus allows some light to be seen so the baby begins to distinguish between lightness and darkness.

Month Seven
Baby’s skin is wrinkled from so much time floating in water. The skin will stay this way until a few weeks after your child’s birth. Your baby’s eyelashes are developing and fat continues to be deposited beneath the skin. If you have a baby boy, his testes will probably begin descending. Now into his/her seventh month of development, a baby born at this time has a good chance of survival with the help of medical technology. Your baby also is beginning to regulate his/her body temperature. The baby’s temperature will always be warmer than the mother’s.

If you are having Braxton Hicks Contractions, they are a sign that your body is getting ready for labor. The baby notices the contractions, but is not adversely affected by them.

Your baby now weighs two to four pounds.

What are Braxton Hicks contractions?
Named for J. Braxton Hicks, who first made note of them in 1872, Braxton Hicks contractions are an occasional (and unpredictable) tightening of the uterus during the first and second trimesters of a pregnancy. Usually these contractions are not painful and do not indicate that labor has begun. Third trimester Braxton Hicks contractions may increase in frequency and may cause the mother some degree of pain. These contractions may even occur with a regular rhythm (10 to 20 minutes apart) and are sometimes called false labor pains. The only way to be absolutely certain that the contractions are indeed false labor pains is for mom to be examined by her doctor.

Month Eight
Baby’s irises can now dilate and contract in response to light; weight is now about four to six pounds. Sleep and waking become more differentiated toward the end of the eighth month. Four distinctive behavioral states become recognizable and these will continue to be characteristic in the baby’s behavior in the weeks beyond birth. These are sleep, awake, actively awake and crying. Your baby's body is now producing a chemical (called a surfactant) which helps baby breathe after birth. The surfactant is coating the alveoli in the lungs. Baby weighs about four pounds (1.8 kilograms). Babies born after this week have fewer breathing problems at birth.

Amazing Fact: Baby has put on about two pounds of weight, mostly fat and muscle tissue, since last month. Measurements to 40 cms or 15.8 inches.

Month Nine
Baby weighs about five to seven pounds, and puts on about half a pound a week now. All organ systems are completing development for birth. Baby gains his/her “fat cheeks” during the ninth month. Mother’s antibodies pass through the placenta to provide baby with immunity from measles, chicken pox, whooping cough and other illnesses.

Amazing Fact: In the days and hours prior to your baby's birth the amniotic fluid is continually replaced, even in labor, at the rate of once every three hours.

Chances are good that your baby is one of the 90% who is head down and deeply snuggled into your pelvis. The immune system is still immature and the baby receives antibodies from the placenta and after birth will receive antibodies continually from mother’s breast milk. Most of the lanugo has fallen off the baby's body, although you may still find some hidden in spots, particularly in the creases, and around the shoulders or ears.

The average baby will be about 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms) and 20 inches long at birth. The placenta will weigh about one eighth the size of the baby and the umbilical cord will be about the same length as the baby. The baby will be judged, at birth and five minutes later, with an Apgar score.

What is an Apgar score?
Virginia Apgar, M.D., gets the credit for developing the APGAR score in 1953. She wanted to provide moms, dads and hospital staff with a uniform method of measuring the initial health of a newborn. The test looks at five different signs of health: heart rate, respiratory rate, reflex irritability, muscle tone and color.

Happy birthday, baby!

Reprinted with permission Wisconsin Right to Life

Friday, December 30, 2011

Nazareth - Pope Paul VI

I have been rather remiss in posting here; too much activity and too many distractions.

But in today's Office of Readings, the second reading touched me, which I thought I would share. It is by Pope Paul VI on his visit to Nazareth; his Pilgrimage to the Holy Land at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, January 5, 1964

Lessons of Nazareth

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ's life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God's Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realise who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief, everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God's truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God's inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family's holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children - and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman's son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognise its value - demanding yet redeeming - and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Smaller Beatitudes

The Smaller Beatitudes

This article appeared in my parish’s recent Sunday bulletin.

Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves: they will have no end of fun.
Blessed are those who are sane enough not to take themselves seriously: they will be valued by those about them.
Happy are you if you can appreciate a smile and forget of frown: you'll walk on the sunny side of the street.
Happy are you if you know how to hold your tongue and smile, even when people interrupt contradict you or thread on your toes: the Gospel has begun to seep into your heart.
Above all, blessed are you when you recognize the Lord in all whom you meet: the light of truth shines in your life and you have found true wisdom.

– Joseph Follett, via Rev. Taras Miles, Belfield, ND

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fact vs. Fiction

A good article by Paul Greenberg in, October 13, 2011. I quote:

...Mere facts may prove no match for partisan passions. It hasn't been too long since I saw a letter to the editor presenting a number of left-wing talking points only thinly disguised as innocent questions asked in good faith. The question at the top of the list stuck in my mind because it's one of the more persistent smears directed against the pro-life movement, no matter how many times it's been refuted.

In this version, the myth appeared as (rhetorical) Question No. 1:

"How come pro-life folks don't care enough to adopt and/or support by taxation those children they insist be born?"

The list of questions ended with a dare: "Hard questions? Yes. Who has the guts to answer them?"

Allow me to take apart the assumptions underlying just Question No. 1. For I am allotted only so much space, not that the assertion about pro-lifers' not supporting kids after they're born is very hard to answer. Evidence to the contrary abounds. As in all the help that pro-life groups offer mothers who, despite all the pressures, decide to have their baby instead of an abortion....

See the whole article here.

Life in the Womb

National Right to Life Committee's web page has a series of short audios describing life in the womb. I found them very interesting. Here is an excerpt:


“The five-month-old child in the womb is approximately 10” long. She is extremely active, will swim about in the amniotic sac until growth makes the space in the womb too tight for easy movement. It has been shown that newborn babies can swim reflexively when placed in water, using an efficient frog kick.”

Each stage provides marvelous illustrations of intricacy, complexity, and unfolding beauty. The interplay between mother and child is nothing short of wondrous

“Between 5 and 6 months, the mother begins to notice that her unborn child jumps in response to loud noises coming from the environment”; “babies are naturally attracted to the sound of the human voice and this process begins in the womb. Research has suggested that newborn babies react with greater interest to the voices of family members (as opposed to strangers) because they have had experience hearing these voices for so many months while being carried in the womb”; unborn babies at this age respond to the environment. They react if the mother suddenly is immersed in cold water. If the mother turns over at night, they may have to change their position in the womb to “get comfortable” again. “

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Abject Poverty of the Unborn, Unwanted Child

The Abject Poverty of the Unborn, Unwanted Child

A few weeks ago, during the acrimonious debate over the debt limit and deficit reduction, a number of religious leaders met with President Obama to ask him not to forget the poor as our nation struggles with its financial crisis.

Commenting on the meeting, Catholic Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, said, “We’re not interested in which party wins the current political battles but we are worried about who is likely to lose – the families trying to feed their kids, the jobless looking for work, children who need healthcare, the hungry, sick and hopeless.”
The religious leaders are part of the Circle of Protection, a non-partisan movement that works to protect the poor and vulnerable in the midst of the challenges presented by a flagging economy. The Circle of Protection includes religious leaders as well as heads of community organizations and agencies.

The American Bishops have also chimed in with their own statement on behalf of the poor: “Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources . . . A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons.”

Most people would agree, I think, that one of the primary responsibilities of the government – federal, state and local – is to provide a safety net for the poor. While churches and non-profits, community groups and even individual families can and should do their part to assist their neighbors in need, it’s only the government that has the financial resources and political infrastructure necessary to respond in a systematic way to the enormous social needs of our time – providing food for the hungry, suitable housing for the homeless, basic healthcare for the sick, sound education for children and opportunities for productive employment. The religious leaders who met with the president were absolutely correct in reminding him of this obligation and encouraging his support. Other political leaders – on a national, state and local level – should be challenged as well.

It occurs to me, however, that if the religious leaders who met with the president to advocate for the poor didn’t use the opportunity to speak on behalf of another endangered population, unborn children – and I’ve seen no report that they did – they missed an important opportunity to instruct and challenge the president on the most substantive moral issue of our time, abortion. The religious leaders had a chance to be courageous prophets, to speak moral truth to secular power. And that opportunity was critical because President Obama is the most ardent pro-abortion advocate we’ve had. It is an evil agenda he pursues aggressively at every turn.

Obviously it’s good, essential in fact, that religious leaders speak on behalf of the poor. That advocacy is a primary obligation of faith. But I can’t think of anyone poorer or more vulnerable than an unborn, unwanted child.

We speak of homelessness – but who’s more homeless than the unborn, unwanted child about to be destroyed, not even finding warm shelter in his mother’s arms? We speak of hunger – but who’s more in need of sustenance than the unborn, unwanted child totally dependent on the compassionate care of others? We speak of welcoming immigrants and refugees – but who’s more alienated than an unborn, unwanted child who’s viewed as a burden and then exiled from the human family? And we speak of being weak and disenfranchised – but who has any less control over their own fate than an unborn, unwanted child who will never have a place at the table, whose tiny voice will never be heard?

Now, lest I’m accused of being a single-issue bishop or narrow-minded, ignoring other important social justice issues – and it’s a charge I’ve endured in the past – permit me to present this little apologia for some of the other issues in which I’ve been involved. In my earliest days in Providence I visited with and supported the “Janitors for Justice” during their labor protests. I’ve marched in our streets for affordable housing and publicly supported the bond issue for the same cause. I founded and have enthusiastically supported the “Keep the Heat On” program which has provided heating assistance for thousands of families across our state. I directed that diocesan property be used to establish Emmanuel House, a shelter for the homeless during a difficult, even dangerous winter. I’ve regularly visited our adult prison, the ACI, and have met and prayed with the inmates. I’ve toured numerous community programs and social agencies in our state to learn about their services and needs, and have sent financial grants to soup kitchens and food pantries. And I’ve provided a strong and consistent voice on behalf of the immigrant community – documented and otherwise – despite being personally vilified for presenting the position of the Church on that divisive issue.

Please understand that I mention these initiatives not to boast, nor to claim any special credentials but, simply to say that I, like the institutional church itself, am committed to many social justice issues beyond that of the unborn child. Some have accused pro-lifers of being concerned about children only until they’re born. It’s a ridiculous and scurrilous charge!

At the same time, it’s also quite reasonable to insist that the social justice agenda include concern for, and public advocacy for, the poorest, most vulnerable members of our human family – unborn, unwanted children. And at every opportunity we need to challenge our public leaders on this issue, especially those who talk a good game about social justice but actively contribute to the culture of death around us.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Urgent - Action Urged

On September 9th, the Bishops of the Catholic Conference of Illinois issued a letter to Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services, expressing their opposition to the Interim Final Rules on Preventive Services. The two objectionable rules are: 1) a mandate on all private health care plans to cover prescription contraceptives approved by the FDA — including abortifacient drugs — surgical sterilizations and related patient in education and counseling; and 2) an incredibly narrow definition of religious lawyer for exemption from the mandate.

Our faith teaches that human fertility cooperates with God in the creation of new human life and ensures the extension and prosperity of our society. The government's treatment of pregnancy as a disease to be prevented or terminated on any whim undermines not only our teaching, but also the respect for human sexuality and human life intrigues that too well ordered society....

The Catholic Church's teaching on the immorality of contraception and sterilization as a rejection of God's gift life-giving will may not enjoy popular support. The church may be one of the last major structures in American society to hold this belief. For this reason, the rule seems not only to target religious freedom generally but Catholicism in particular — an egregious violation of the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment....

For these reasons, we ask that the regulation be revoked. If not, we urge modification to embrace and defend the public ministry of religious institutions. Signed by: Cardinal Francis George; Thomas G Doran, Bishop of Rockford; Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria; Edward Braxton, Bishop of Belleville; Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield-in-Illinois; and Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Joliet.

In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a nationwide bulletin insert with an urgent plea to respond by September 30.

ACTION: Please send an e-mail message to HHS by visiting Once you send your comments to HHS, you will be automatically invited to send a message to your elected representatives in Congress, urging them to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179/S. 1467) to ensure that such federal mandates do not violate Americans' moral and religious convictions.

Please do this by September 30th

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For the Record: Personhood

H/T The Catholic Knight. Read his post here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Archbishop Chaput's New Coat of Arms

With his appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput has a new coat of Arms.
You can see the explanation here.

The New Translation of the Mass

H/T Crossed the Tiber

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Catholicism - Fr. Robert Barron

The long awaited series hosted by Fr. Robert Barron will air this Fall on PBS, The Catholic News Agency says. So mark your calendars.

The article starts:

A high-definition series exploring the beauty and richness of Catholicism is set to air on over 80 public television stations across the U.S. this fall.

Fr. Robert Barron, head of Word on Fire media and the visionary behind the “Catholicism” series, told CNA his hope is that the films will be used “as a tool of evangelization for everybody.”

“I want the series to go out beyond the walls of the Church,” he said in an Aug. 10 interview. “That's why we're so happy it's going to be on public television.”

Set in 50 locations in over 16 countries, the series examines major themes within the Church such as the person of Christ, the mystery of God, the Virgin Mary, Saints Peter and Paul, the “missionary thrust of the Church,” the liturgy and the Eucharist, prayer and spirituality and the saints, Fr. Barron said.

See the rest of the article here.

There is also a hard cover companion book "Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith" available from, and there is a Kindle edition available too.

We are Catholic

H/T The Anchoress

World Youth Day - 2011

H/T Crossed the Tiber

Benedict Asks for Forgiveness for Catholics Who have not Shared Their Faith

From the National Catholic Register, 8/31/2011

Pope Benedict XVI has asked forgiveness on behalf of generations of “cradle Catholics” who have failed to transmit the faith to others.

“We who have known God since we were young must ask forgiveness,” said Pope Benedict to a gathering of his former students at the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, on Aug. 28.

The Pope said an apology is due because “we bring people so little of the light of his face, because from us comes so little certainty that he exists, that he is there, and that he is the Great One that everyone is waiting for.”

Read the article.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Stress and God

Recently, I did a little bit of reading about stress management. I’ve been feeling an extraordinary amount of stress lately due to work, I won’t get into the details, but it deals with the workload and my boss. I read that stress comes to all of us in varying degrees, it could be so bad that it affects our health, our family or work relations. But some stress is also good. If we didn’t have stress, we would never get that income tax done. The writer was suggesting different ways to deal with stress, and in our secular society I was not surprised that nothing was said about God in dealing with stress.

For a Catholic and as a Secular Franciscan, I know that the best way to deal with stress is through prayer. God will always answer our prayers, but in his own time - we expect immediate answers but as we know, God’s time is not our time, so we need be a little bit patient.

We Catholics have so many ways with our faith to deal with stress. Finding some quiet time to relate to Jesus is a stress reducer in itself. Putting it in the hands of God is a stress reducer. So is meditation, listening to Gregorian chant or some other Catholic/Christian music, the Jesus prayer, studying the Bible.

We also have a fantastic stress reducer — Confession. Why carry that guilt around, that load on our shoulders? When it is so easy to ask for forgiveness.

As Franciscans, we embrace a couple of tools that will help us manage stress. The first is simplicity. The more complex our life is, the greater the stress. Another tool is our efforts to be not materialistic. The more we have, the more we have to worry about. We are also Gospel people. Leading our life according to the Gospel, we learn about Jesus and we learn the wisdom as to how to lead our lives. For example: If there is bitterness or anger toward another, we know that we should not go to bed without addressing it. Carrying grudges and not forgetting, takes a lot of energy and adds to our stress. We are reminded that God feeds the birds of the air, that he clothes the flowers of the field, and as we are so much more valuable God most assuredly will take care of us.

We know that God helps those who help themselves. If you are feeling stress from work or interpersonal relations, or finances or whatever, ask yourself what is the one most important thing I can do to address this issue. Once you address it and act upon it. You’re on your way to reducing that stress.

St. Thomas More - Moral Integrity

I ran across a posting by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference on Thomas More. In these times of political corruption and a lack of integrity in a secular society we need to look at men like Thomas and pray for statesmen who exhibit and live as examples of moral integrity, that objective truths do exist.

The article starts:

Today we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) of Pope John Paul II proclaiming Saint Thomas More as the patron of statesmen, politicians and lawyers. Together with the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we call to mind the significance of this great saint of the 16th Century for us today.

St. Thomas More lived—and gave his life—for truth. He provides a powerful example that not only shows that objective truth exists, but that we have the God-given ability to discern it. He stands as an example showing all statesmen, politicians and lawyers—and indeed all of us—that we have an obligation to find and to serve the truth and to work to protect the lives and fundamental dignity of all human beings.

In 1929, the great Catholic writer, G.K. Chesterton, wrote that: “Thomas More is more important at this moment than at any moment since his death, even perhaps the great moment of his dying. But he is not quite so important as he will be in about a hundred years’ time.”....

On October 31, 2000, Pope John Paul II issued an Apostolic Letter in which he proclaimed Saint Thomas More to be the patron of statesmen, politicians and lawyers. In that letter, the Pope proclaimed:

“The life and martyrdom of Saint Thomas More have been the source of a message which spans the centuries and which speaks to people everywhere of the inalienable dignity of the human conscience, which, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, is ‘the most intimate centre and sanctuary of a person, in which he or she is alone with God, whose voice echoes within them.’ (Gaudium et Spes, 16).

Whenever men or women heed the call of truth, their conscience then guides their actions reliably towards good. Precisely because of the witness which he bore, even at the price of his life, to the primacy of truth over power, Saint Thomas More is venerated as an imperishable example of moral integrity.”

See the entire posting here.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Homosexual Adoption and Catholic Charities

From Illinois Family Institute:

Higgins Responds to Anti-Christian Op/Ed in the Daily Herald
Friday, August 26, 2011
By David E. Smith, IFI Executive Director - Illinois Family Institute

Responding to a letter-to-the-editor I sent in earlier this month in which I accuse the state of Illinois of being guilty of religious discrimination in shutting down Catholic Charities' vital and laudable foster care and adoption work, the editors of The Daily Herald opined:
When we wrote in this space that it was time for Illinois to have civil unions, we quoted Gov. Pat Quinn, who said we "need to encourage tolerance in this state." And that's just what the legislature did when it passed the law allowing for civil unions and what Quinn did when he signed it. However, with that law (effective on June 1) came another issue. Again, we side with Quinn.

Catholic Charities in five Illinois dioceses, including those covering DuPage, Kane and McHenry counties in the Daily Herald circulation area, are suing the state so the agencies would not have to accept civil union and unmarried couples as foster parents. At issue is the state money used by Catholic Charities to run their programs for about 2,000 children. Illinois now requires that foster and adoptive care agencies treat same-sex couples in civil unions the same as married couples if they want to use state dollars.

"If an organization ... decides they don't want to voluntarily participate with the state, they have that choice and we honor that choice," Quinn said last month, as quoted by the Capitol Fax Blog. "We have other entities that are involved in foster care that are willing to assume that duty."

And therein lies the crux of the debate: Faith-based agencies like Catholic Charities are not forced to accept state money and therefore are not forced to change long-held beliefs. This is not a freedom of religion issue.

We believe, however, that there are many same-sex couples who would make excellent foster or adoptive parents if given the chance. Loving families and good parenting skills are not limited to straight couples or single people.

And yet that is exactly what opponents of the civil union law believe and espouse. David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute in Carol Stream, said as much in a letter to the editor on this page on Monday.

" ... In upholding traditional religious teachings, and in the best interests of children, (Catholic Charities) will not place foster children in nonmarried or homosexual homes," Smith wrote. A person's sexual orientation on its own should not be a disqualifier. That's a form of discrimination the state won't and shouldn't accept.

We hope the Illinois judicial system affirms the state's point in this matter. All they need to do is look to Rockford to see that there are alternatives. About 300 foster-care cases once handled by the Rockford Diocese were transferred to the Youth Services Bureau of Illinois Valley when the diocese shut its program down. In 2007, when the Chicago Archdiocese halted its foster-care services because of insurance issues, the state also was able to transfer cases to other agencies.

"We will explore every option to prevent disruption to these children," said Ken Marlowe, spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services. "Discrimination has no place in child welfare."
IFI's Laurie Higgins submitted a response to their editorial, which the Daily Herald declined to publish.

Here is Laurie's fantastic response:
The Daily Herald reveals a profound lack of understanding when it argues that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children because in the Daily Herald's view "Loving families and good parenting skills are not limited to straight couples or single people."

If those are the only criteria necessary for parental fitness, then the Daily Herald must support adoption by polyamorists or incestuous couples, for surely there are polyamorists and brother-sister couples who are capable of "loving and parenting" children.

Historically, however, criteria for adoptive fitness have included not merely the capacity of those adopting to love and parent children. Criteria for adoptive fitness included an evaluation of the moral nature of the relationship between adopting parents. Types of relationships considered inherently morally flawed would be excluded from adoptive consideration.

Of course, in a wiser, less relativistic culture, this criterion did not need to be explicitly articulated. It would go without saying that society would not place children in environments defined by inherently morally flawed relationships -- like polygamous, incestuous, or homosexual relationships -- regardless of the ability of the partners to love, parent, and provide for children.

Despite specious arguments to the contrary, subjective homosexual attraction and volitional homosexual acts do not constitute a condition analogous to race, and disapproval of homosexuality is not analogous to racism. Making judgments about the morality of homosexuality is no more unethically discriminatory than is making judgments about the morality of polyamory or adult consensual incest. Once society jettisons an evaluation of the inherent morality of the relationships between (or among) adopting parents, there is no rational reason to prohibit polyamorists or incestuous couples from adopting.

Religious -- and non-religious -- adoption agencies do have the right and should have the freedom to make distinctions about what types of relationships constitute moral relationships. The government is overstepping its bounds when it attempts to impose the subjective moral assumptions of homosexual activists and their ideological allies on all child welfare organizations.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



The recession has hit everybody really hard...

My neighbour got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald's is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

My cousin had an exorcism but couldn't afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

And, finally....

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security,
retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call centre in Pakistan, and when
I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Crappy People

Crappy People

I often consider what I can do to make myself a better man, a better Catholic, a better citizen; but once again I’ve been reminded that there are a lot of crappy people out there. After doing some Saturday morning shopping I decided to treat myself to a Chinese buffet lunch. I couldn’t help but observe a “gentleman” come in after me. He loaded a plate with one of the selections, and I mean loaded, he could not have put another spoonful of food on the plate without it rolling off. He proceeded to take a few bites and then left his table and filled another plate with a different selection. This second plate was loaded as much is the first. After eating a little more he pushed the first plate aside. An attendant came and took the first plate away and obviously it was destined for the trash. He then proceeded to fill up third plate with a third selection, again loaded. I would have given him the benefit of the doubt considering perhaps he might not have liked it, but why take so much in the first place if you weren’t familiar with that food? I think rather he was of their to simply waste food.

What a waste. It bothers me if I don’t finish a loaf of bread, or a bottle of milk in time, and I find that I need to throw it away. Yet this person had no qualms about wasting all this food. If I was younger, I would have approached him and admonished him, but in this world who knows how he would’ve reacted; people are shot for less.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some of My Favorite Quotes

I am only one,
but still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
but still I can do something;
and because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Edward Everett Hale

A true professional is excited about his work, promotes his field, seeks responsibility, maintains integrity, strives for competence and displays initiative, creativity and mature judgment.


"Seek first to understand" involves a very deep shift in paradigm. We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They're either speaking or preparing to speak. They're filtering everything through their own paradigms, reading their autobiography into other people's lives. If they have a problem with someone — a son, a daughter, a spouse, and an himemployee — their attitude is, "That person just doesn't understand."

from "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"

“Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength”

St. Francis de Sales quotes (French Roman Catholic bishop of Geneva, active in the struggle against Calvinism, 1567-1622)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Open Letter to NetFlix

I am livid! I got home from work yesterday and checked my e-mail. One item was from Netflix, which informed me of a rate increase. I couldn't believe what I read — you, increasing my fee by 33%.

Doesn't anyone at Netflix realize the state of the Economy? It is common knowledge that when the economy is bad, the first budget line item to cut is entertainment. I wanted to comment to Netflix my reaction and feelings to this ridiculous increase, so I attempted to call, and call, and call, and call. So I next tried to send an e-mail to Netflix, to advise them my reaction and feelings. But no, it is impossible to communicate with Netflix by e-mail.

So thank you Netflix. You ruined my evening, causing me to redial and redial and redial. For three hours and 45 minutes I attempted to contact you. Finally I got through — only to be on hold for over 15 minutes. Finally, I got someone to talk to, and I urged your representative to communicate to management how ridiculous this 33% increase, at a time of economic concerns, was ridiculous.

I consider this price increase, the inability to contact you by phone, the inability to contact you by e-mail — a slap in the face. This is my thanks for the years that I have been a loyal member of the Netflix community.

In my opinion, those responsible for this price increase should be fired. I truly hope that every Netflix customer cancels; I truly hope Netflix’s stocks plummet. Any business entity which treats their customers like you do deserves to be extinct.

You now have a choice, either rescind the price increase immediately or lose me as a customer. I expect in the future you will include the ability for your customers to contact you by e-mail.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review - Parallel Lives by Richard F. Cassady


By comparison, the achievement of Francis of Assisi marked a beginning rather than an end. It is true that Francis's dream of a monastic order that renounced the encumbrance and corruption of property was frustrated by the papacy and by his own successors. Mr. Cassady regards this as the destruction of Francis's work and points to the magnificent and costly double basilica at Assisi as the ultimate betrayal. But it is more complicated than that.

Although the Franciscans were obliged to accept a limited form of property holding, their founder's ideal of a group of missionaries living among the people but marked out from them by a simpler and purer way of life survived intact. The Franciscans transformed the spiritual life of 13th-century Europe, especially among the laity in the growing cities, very much as the Benedictines had transformed the spiritual life of a more rural society centuries before. Although the initial inspiration waned with the passing decades, as such inspirations always do, the Franciscans remained a significant influence on Christian spirituality until the Reformation, and their missionary work since the 16th century has been more impressive, over a longer period, than that of any other group.

Read the entire article here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Face the Truth Tour - Chicago Area

Face the Truth Tour - Summer 2011

This is such an important issue. I urge everyone to attend any of the locations listed below. I will attend Naperville on July 9, and Daley Plaza on July 12. If you are unable to attend any of these events, I humbly ask you to pray for the participants and the unborn babies.

Tom, S.F.O.

From the Face the Truth web page sponsored by Pro-Life Action League.

Across the country, babies—and their parents—are being saved from abortion by Face the Truth—a bold and effective pro-life initiative that exposes the truth about abortion:

We Need Your Help To Save Babies

Throughout the year, pro-life activists all around the country are conducting Face the Truth tours. Holding pictures of beautiful unborn babies and huge graphic signs of aborted babies, we line the roads at major intersections, to show Americans the truth about abortion.

We need you to help show people that abortion is the deliberate taking of an unborn child's life. If you believe that abortion is murder, this is your chance to stand up and be counted. Join us this summer as we line the roads at major intersections to show our fellow Americans the ugly truth about abortion.

Go Forth and Teach

Jesus told His followers to "go forth and teach." Face the Truth responds to the Gospel call by teaching the truth about abortion. The truth is that abortion kills innocent human beings, made in the image and likeness of God. That is why we must take the pro-life message to the streets of our cities.

We are living in the midst of a national atrocity. Since the 1973 Supreme Court abortion decisions, over forty million children have been destroyed before they were born. Our signs depicting prenatal life and the aborted child reveal the hidden victims of this atrocity.

While the signs are displayed along the roadways, other volunteers distribute literature to passing motorists and pedestrians to help them understand the gravity of the Culture of Death.

See the article and a video at the Pro-Life Action League page at:

2001 Summer Truth Tour

9:00-10:30 Joliet
W. Jefferson Street and Larkin Avenue
11:30-1:00 Shorewood
Brook Forest Avenue and Black Road
3:00-4:30 Joliet
Route 59 and Caton Farm Road

9:00-10:30 Aurora: Planned Parenthood
Eola Road and New York Street
11:30-1:00 Naperville
Washington Street and Ogden Avenue
3:00-4:30 Aurora: Fox Valley Mall
Route 59 and New York Street


Note different start and end times this day.
9:30-11:00 Chicago: Kennedy Overpasses
Madison Street and Desplaines Street
11:30-1:00 Chicago: Daley Plaza
Washington Street and Clark Street
3:30-5:30 Chicago: Union and Ogilvie Stations
Madison Street and Wacker Drive

Note different start and end times this day.
9:30-11:00 Chicago: Buckingham Fountain
Lake Shore Drive and Jackson Boulevard
11:30-1:00 Chicago: Art Institute
Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street
3:30-5:30 Chicago: Union Station
Adams Street and Wacker Drive

9:00-10:30 Elmhurst
Route 83 and St. Charles Road
11:30-1:00 Westmont
Cass Avenue and Ogden Avenue
3:00-4:30 Wheaton
Butterfield Road and Naperville Road

9:00-10:30 Lake Zurich
Rand Road and Main Street
11:30-1:00 Palatine
Rand Road and Dundee Road
3:00-4:30 Arlington Heights
Rand Road and Arlington Heights Road

9:00-10:30 Chicago: Washington Heights
99th Street and Halsted Street
11:30-1:00 Chicago: Avalon Park
79th Street and Stony Island Avenue
3:00-4:30 Chicago: Pilsen
Cermak Road and Ashland Avenue

9:00-10:30 Niles
Milwaukee Avenue and Golf Road
11:30-1:00 Evanston
Davis Street and Ridge Avenue
3:00-4:30 Lincolnwood
Touhy Avenue and McCormick Boulevard

Jerusalem = Heaven

Canterbury Tales has an interesting post entitled "14 Biblical Names for Jerusalem (and How to Read the Psalms like a Catholic)"

Saint Paul identifies the communion of saints in Heaven as "Jerusalem" and as our mother: “But that Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother” (Galatians 4:26, D-R).

This is another reason why Catholics refer to the Church as the New Jerusalem and as Holy Mother Church. When Catholic priests, monks, and nuns chant the 150 Psalms of David, they often mentally apply the meaning of "Heaven" or "Church" to those passages that refer to "Jerusalem." Saint Paul's use of allegory in Galatians serves as an interpretive key to reading the Old Testament in a spiritual way.
Read the rest here.

Korea's Got Talent - Sung-bong Choi

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Great News - Divine Office for Android

Many of us are familiar with the Divine Office Online,

I while ago they came up with an iPhone/iPad application.

Well I'm happy to tell you there is now an app for Android phones.

You can download it to your phone from:

It has a one time charge of $14.99. I'm about to download it for
myself. I will review and post as soon as I can.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our Lady, Star of the Sea

Our Lady, Star of the Sea
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Our Lady, Star of the Sea is an ancient title for the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris, first reliably used with relation to the Virgin Mary in the ninth century. The title was used to emphasize Mary's role as a sign of hope and as a guiding star for Christians. Under this title, the Virgin Mary is believed to intercede as a guide and protector of those who travel or seek their livelihoods on the sea. This aspect of the Virgin has led to Our Lady, Star of the Sea, being named as patroness of the Catholic missions to seafarers, the Apostleship of the Sea, and to many coastal churches being named Stella Maris or Mary, Star of the Sea. This devotion towards Our Lady with this ancient title is very popular throughout the Catholic world.

The title most probably has its origin in the Biblical passage 1 Kings 18:41-45, which speaks of a cloud above the sea, no bigger than a man's hand, which is seen from Mount Carmel. The tiny cloud's scriptural significance is as the sign of hope that heralds the end of a long drought.

A similar message is reflected in another title of Mary, which appears in the official Litany of the Virgin, Morning Star. Both titles refer to Mary as a symbol of hope and as a foreshadowing of the imminent coming of Jesus. A combination of the two themes produces Star of the Sea.

Around the year 400 Saint Jerome interpreted the Hebrew name of Mary, Miriam, as "stilla maris," or a drop of the sea. It has been suggested as an alternative origin for the term that this may have been miscopied as stella maris. The first reliable use of the term stella maris that is still extant is in the writings of Paschasius Radbertus in the ninth century, who wrote of Mary, Star of the Sea, as a guide to be followed on the way to Christ "lest we capsize amid the storm-tossed waves of the sea." At this time too the plainsong hymn Ave Maris Stella (Hail, Star of the Sea), became increasingly popular.

In the twelfth-century, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: "If the winds of temptation arise; If you are driven upon the rocks of tribulation look to the star, call on Mary; If you are tossed upon the waves of pride, of ambition, of envy, of rivalry, look to the star, call on Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look at the star, call upon Mary."

Pope Pius XII in his encyclical, Doctor Mellifluus, also quoted Bernard of Clairvaux in saying; Mary ... is interpreted to mean 'Star of the Sea.' This admirably befits the Virgin Mother.. (for) as the ray does not diminish the brightness of the star, so neither did the Child born of her tarnish the beauty of Mary's virginity.

Hail Star of the Sea
Hail, thou Star of ocean,
Portal of the sky!
Ever Virgin Mother
Of the Lord most high!

Oh! By Gabriel's Ave,
Uttered long ago,
Eva's name reversing,
Stablish peace below.

Break the captive's fetters;
Light on blindness pour;
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
Offer Him our sighs,
Who for us Incarnate
Did not thee despise.

Virgin of all virgins!
To thy shelter take us:
Gentlest of the gentle!
Chaste and gentle make us.

Still, as on we journey,
Help our weak endeavor;
Till with thee and Jesus
We rejoice forever.

Through the highest heaven,
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son, and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Doctor Meets the Bioethicist

Cristiada Movie Trailer

Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers

Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal posted a good article which I recommend. It starts:

We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined

If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida's ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York's.

Even Michigan, at one time the auto capital of the world, and Pennsylvania, once the steel capital, have more government bureaucrats than people making things. The leaders in government hiring are Wyoming and New Mexico, which have hired more than six government workers for every manufacturing worker.

Now it is certainly true that many states have not typically been home to traditional manufacturing operations. Iowa and Nebraska are farm states, for example. But in those states, there are at least five times more government workers than farmers. West Virginia is the mining capital of the world, yet it has at least three times more government workers than miners. New York is the financial capital of the world—at least for now. That sector employs roughly 670,000 New Yorkers. That's less than half of the state's 1.48 million government employees.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


From Traits of Character, 1899
By Henry F. Kletzing

Don’t risk a life structure upon a day’s foundation. –

The government building at Chicago, a large, massive structure and apparently well built, so that it might stand for a century, was recently torn down, not because the superstructure was not firm, but because the foundation at several places was found faulty. Thus, at a great expense, the old building is removed and a new structure is erected, all because the foundation was not safe. Men fail of their best efforts because they were unwilling to prepare well in days when preparation was the one duty.

The foundation for greatness must be laid in youth. Young men frequently make a serious mistake here. They are content with following the pleasures of youth instead of improving early opportunities for preparation for life’s great work. Wellington frequently said that Waterloo was fought and won while he was a schoolboy. It was what he learned then that prepared him for that great battle. Inattention to the foundation has mined many a structure. Inattention to the intellectual and moral development and preparation has ruined many a life.

See yon building rise. While men were engaged in laying the foundation there was nothing attractive about it. Dirt and stones and mortar are not sightly objects. It is only when the superstructure is rising that the attention of the passer-by is given to it. This is why not more attention is given to foundation work. Many a youth who has attracted attention by doing work successfully thinks that his foundation is sure, and looks only to the superstructure. Many a college graduate has dreamed of greatness while delivering his final oration as the applause of friends greets his ear: but too often he is never heard of afterward. Life consists of more real and earnest things than brilliant graduating orations.

Do not mistake the applause of others as success. Avoid the idol which many worship—the love of notoriety and applause. Look to the foundations.

H/T The Art of Manliness

Abortions give rise to Asia's 'lost boy' generation

Article from The Independent (a UK newspaper which has left leanings).

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Abortions of female fetuses have led to a massive surplus of young unmarried men in India and China, raising fears of an outcast group that could threaten the social fabric, a study said Monday.

The trend took root in the 1980s when ultrasound technologies made it easier for families to detect fetal sex early and to abort if it was not what the parents desired, said the analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Sons have traditionally been preferred over daughters in many parts of China, India and South Korea due to social, cultural and financial motivations. Sex-selective abortion is outlawed but can be difficult to enforce.

The phenomenon was first spotted in South Korea in the early 1990s, when the sex ratio at birth (SRB) - typically 105 male births to every 100 female births - rose to 125 in some cities.

Similar rises in male births were seen in China, "complicated by the one-child policy, which has undoubtedly contributed to the steady increase in the reported SRB from 106 in 1979, to 111 in 1990, 117 in 2001 and 121 in 2005," said the study.

India has seen "sex ratios as high as 125 in Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat in the north but normal sex ratios of 105 in the southern and eastern states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh," it added.

In parts of China where a second child is allowed, after a daughter is the first born, the SRB for the second is 143, suggesting that many choose to abort a second girl fetus in favor of trying again for a boy.

Estimates of China's actual population difference in 2005 pointed to 1.1 million excess males, with men under 20 exceeding the number of females by around 32 million, said the study led by Therese Hesketh, University College London Centre for International Health and Development.

"These men will be unable to marry, in societies where marriage is regarded as virtually universal, and where social status and acceptance depend, in large part, on being married and creating a new family," said the authors.

Referred to in China as "guang gun," meaning "bare branches," these men are presumed to be unable to bear fruit by coupling and raising a family.

"In China and parts of India the sheer numbers of unmated men are a further cause for concern," said the study.

"Because they may lack a stake in the existing social order, it is feared that they will become bound together in an outcast culture, turning to antisocial behavior and organized crime, thereby threatening societal stability and security."

Other concerns include the possibility that the surge of unmarried men will boost the sex industry, which has already expanded in India and China over the past 10 years.

However, "the part played by a high sex ratio in this expansion is impossible to isolate; there is no evidence that numbers of sex workers are greater in areas with high sex ratios," said the study.

Ninety-four percent of unmarried people aged 28-49 in China are male, and 97 percent of them have not completed high school, it said.

"Despite the grim outlook for the generation of males entering their reproductive years over the next two decades, there are encouraging signs," said the study.

A crackdown on sex-selective abortion in South Korea has resulted in a more normalized male-to-female birth rate in recent years, and China and India are both down from their peak SRBs due in part to public awareness campaigns and relaxed one-child policies.

But it will likely be several more decades before the sex ratios return to normal, the authors said.

The article was co-authored by Zhu Wei Xing of Zhejiang Normal University in China.

H/T Deacon Greg

Morality and Policy

Fr. Barron comments on God, the Tsunami, and the Problem of Evil

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Seventy-Five Percent

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Catholicism's best-kept secret: Third orders

Catholicism's best-kept secret: Third orders

Are you a Catholic who feels attracted to a religious order, but are married? Do you want to stay in your home and at your job, but still follow a rule of life, like that of St. Benedict, for example? Do you want to share your pilgrim journey with other like-minded people? Have I got a deal for you: Third orders!

Read the full post by Lisa, sfo of here.

Go the post for links to the various third orders.

H/T Franciscan Focus

Building a Culture of Life - Archbishop Chaput

Another great talk by Archbishop Chaput. Here is the start of his address. I urge you to go to the link below to read the rest.

Building a Culture of Life

Feb. 25, 2011 (Fargo, ND) - Archbishop Chaput addressed laypeople of the Diocese of Fargo, with a presentation titled “Building a Culture of Life.” Archbishop offers a few “dos” and “don’ts” for building a culture of life, based on what he has seen in the American prolife experience throughout the past 38 years.

As I was gathering my thoughts for today, a line from Psalm 89 came back to me again and again: [Lord,] make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart. That’s an odd way to begin a prolife discussion, isn’t it – reminding everybody in the room that we don’t have a lot of time.

But I think it’s exactly the right place to start. The time we have in this world is brief. God is good, and the life he gives us is filled not just with problems and sorrow, but with beauty and joy and love and hope and nobility – and these things are worth fighting for. What we do in the world matters. How we use our time matters. And therefore the choices we make matter – precisely because we come this way only once, and the world will be better or worse for our passing.

So our presence here together today has a meaning much larger than a nice meal and a good conversation about shared values. It’s an opportunity to remember that God put us here for a purpose. He’s asking us to turn our hearts to building the kind of world that embodies his love and honors the sanctity of the human children he created.

Our theme today is “building a culture of life.” All of us here this afternoon know that U.S. Supreme Court struck down restrictive American abortion laws in 1973. That effectively legalized abortion on demand. Since then, abortion has killed more than 50 million unborn American children. It’s also damaged the lives of millions of women and men. The sheer size of this tragedy has had a very curious effect on the American mind, because Americans have always been a religious people – and we still are by the standards of most developed countries. In practice, Americans now have a kind of schizophrenia about the abortion issue. Most of us believe abortion is wrong. But many people – many otherwise good people -- also want it to be legal under some limited circumstances.

This split in the American mind has two results. Here’s the first consequence. The United States has a large and well-funded abortion industry. The industry has very shrewd political lobbyists. It also has a public relations machine that would make George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth look like a gang of amateurs. In practice, the industry runs on an engine of persuasive-sounding lies.

You know some of the lies. I’m sure you’ve heard them a thousand times. There’s the lie that an unborn child isn’t “fully human.” The lie that abortion is a purely private decision without public consequences. The lie that we can be “pro-choice,” and yet not be implicated in where our choices lead -- to the killing of an unborn child.

Here’s the second consequence. Right alongside the abortion industry, our country also has a very vigorous prolife movement. American prolifers have had many setbacks. They never have enough money. They get treated brutally by the media. Too many of their leaders argue with each other too much of the time. But they just won’t give up or die. And so they’ve won quite a few modest but important legal victories. And meanwhile they continue to work toward the strategic goal of overturning the 1973 Supreme Court decision.

Based on what I’ve seen in the American prolife experience over the past 38 years, I’d like to offer a few “dos” and “don’ts” for building a culture of life. And perhaps we can talk about them more deeply in our question and answer session. I’ll begin with six “don’ts.”

First, don’t let yourselves be tricked into an inferiority complex.

Critics like to say that religion is divisive, or intellectually backward, or that it has no proper place in the public square. This kind of defective thinking is now so common that any religiously grounded political engagement can be portrayed as crossing the border between Church and state affairs.

But this is nonsense. Democracy depends on people of conviction carrying their beliefs into public debate -- respectfully, legally and non-violently, but vigorously and without apology. If we’re uncomfortable being Christians in a public debate, then we’ve already lost the war. In America the word “pluralism” is often conjured up like a kind of voodoo to get religious people to stop talking about right and wrong. In reality, our moral beliefs always shape social policy. Real pluralism actually demands that people with different beliefs should pursue their beliefs energetically in the public square. This is the only way a public debate can be honest and fruitful. We should never apologize for being Catholics, or for advancing our beliefs in private or in public.

Read the rest here.

We Are The Youth

H/T View from the choir

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Archbishop Chaput - This Lent, accept God's love, reflect it to others

From the Denver Catholic Register:

This Lent, accept God's love, reflect it to others

“The first Sunday of the Lenten journey reveals our condition as human beings here on earth. The victorious battle against temptation, the starting point of Jesus’ mission, is an invitation to become aware of our own fragility in order to accept the grace that frees [us] from sin and infuses new strength in Christ—the way, the truth and the life.”

—From Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten Message for 2011

Lent is a time when God invites all of us as Christians to enter into a deeper relationship with himself. Lent is our pilgrimage to Golgotha, and beyond that, to Easter and eternal life. Jesus came into the world to save us; to show us that our lives have meaning; that God loves us; that despite all our sins, no matter how dark, God treasures us as his sons and daughters; that suffering has meaning; that each person no matter how broken or disabled has dignity; and that death is never the end of who we are.

Each of us is born with an ache for “something more.” We all have an inherent hunger for happiness, but we can’t be happy alone. We were made for friendship with one another, and for communion with our Creator.

On the other hand, all of us are selfish. Each of us is a sinner. Again and again, despite our best intentions, we make wrong choices, do bad things and hurt those we love. And on the heels of our personal failures always comes the temptation to despair of ever really changing. We’re tempted to shrug off holiness as a “good idea” that just doesn’t work.

Catholics should know better because we have the example of the saints. The more deeply we know the stories of the saints, the better we realize that most of them were very much like us. They were ordinary people who slowly made a habit of remembering the meaning of their baptism; of making the right choices and doing good actions. Day by day, they wove extraordinary lives out of ordinary material.

With God’s help, we can do the same. The fasting, prayer, almsgiving and mortifications of the Lenten season have a very important purpose: they help us to rediscover the meaning of our own baptism and to clear our soul of debris. They cut away the selfishness that obstructs our view of God and blocks his light from us. As Scripture says, in denying ourselves we find ourselves—because we’re incomplete and restless, we’re not fully ourselves, without God.

Lent is an invitation to dethrone the distractions that keep our hearts restless and empty. If we make room for the real King, he’ll do much more than fill the space. He’ll make us what he intended us to be: saints. We need to approach this Lent not as a burden, but as a second chance, a joy, a way of refocusing ourselves on the one thing that really does matter eternally—friendship with God.

For each of us, there’s no better place to begin or renew that friendship than in the confessional. As Pope Benedict reminds us this Lent, these weeks before Easter are the ideal time “to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing grace of the sacrament of penance, and walk resolutely toward Christ.” God’s love for his people is the one love that does not and cannot fail. Lent is our moment to turn toward that love, to accept it, and begin by our witness to reflect it to others.

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M., Cap. is the Archbishop of Denver.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Archbishop Chaput: Luke Warm Christianity Is A Convenient Form Of Paganism!

H/T Courageous Priest

The following text by the great Archbishop Chaput was taken from the CNA. In the text, Archbishop Chaput takes a cue from Cardinal Lustiger and warns on the growing crisis of faith, and the many different forms of idolatry which have choked the life out of Christians and the Church as a whole. The Archbishop warns explicitly on the idols of sex, technology, and the state as being particularly prevalent in our day.

By Benjamin Moore, CNA

Luke Warm Christianity Is Convenient Paganism

Addressing a gathering of European church officials on March 4, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver warned that many contemporary Christians have reduced their faith to a convenient “form of paganism,” which cannot compete with the widespread “idolatry” of modern consumer culture.

Archbishop Chaput offered his observations at a conference in Paris honoring the late Cardinal Archbishop Jean-Marie Lustiger, a Jewish convert to Catholicism who was the Archbishop of Paris from 1981 to 2005.

The Denver archbishop described Cardinal Lustiger as “an unsentimental realist” who dared to speak about disturbing trends in the Church and society – including a lack of faith among professed Christians, leaving a vacuum that would be filled by other “gods” such as sex and money.

“Lustiger named lukewarm Christians and superficial Christianity for what they are: a congenial form of paganism,” said Archbishop Chaput. “The Church needs a great deal more of his medicine.”

Many Christians Have Reduced God To An Idol

He recalled Cardinal Lustiger’s prophetic warnings against “creating alibis and escaping the implications of our faith.” In a passage cited by Archbishop Chaput, the cardinal wrote that “many Christians,” through evasions and misunderstandings, had “reduced the God of the Covenant to a mere idol.”

“The main crisis of modern Christianity is not one of resources, or personnel, or marketing,” Archbishop Chaput asserted. “It is a crisis of faith. Millions of people claim to be Christian, but they don’t really believe.”

“They don’t study Scripture. They don’t love the Church as a mother and teacher. And they settle for an inoffensive, vanilla Christianity that amounts to a system of decent social ethics.”

The Worst Kind Of Phony Christianity!

“This is self-delusion,” he warned, “the worst kind of phony Christianity that has no power to create hope out of suffering, to resist persecution, or to lead anyone else to God.”

Archbishop Chaput said that these weakened forms of Christian faith would not be able to compete with the many modern cults of instant gratification and success.

Cardinal Lustiger, he recalled, had “warned that one of the deepest and oldest instincts of man is idolatry.” The Denver archbishop said he sees that instinct taking on several forms today.

“There are no real atheists in America – quite the opposite,” he said. “We have a thriving free market of little gods to worship. Sex and technology have very large congregations.”

The Modern State Is A Great Idol!

“I was especially struck,” he noted, “by Lustiger’s description of the modern state ‘as one of the strongest forms of idolatry that exists; it has become the most absolute substitute for God that men have been able to give themselves . . . and it is a tyrant god, feeding itself on its victims.’”

But the Archbishop of Denver said that these human tendencies, leading to the worship of objects and of oneself, could not be driven out by the mere exercise of authority.

To Purge Christianity Of These Great Idols Demands Total Conversion Of Individuals

“The Christian remedy to these idolatries,” he explained, “can never simply be coerced from the outside, by stronger statements from stronger bishops.” He quoted Cardinal Lustiger’s insight that these forms of idolatry “must be exorcised from the inside … To uproot them, we must be converted in depth.”

He also indicated that Cardinal Lustiger’s unique perspective was just as important for U.S. Catholics today as it was for European Catholics during his lifetime. The cardinal’s work, Archbishop Chaput noted, “continues to influence our seminary formation” at Denver’s St. John Vianney seminary.

“He is a Jew who discovers Jesus Christ … His mother is murdered at Auschwitz. He survives the most horrific war in history, but he refuses to hate and despair. Instead, he turns to God more deeply and gives himself to the priesthood.”

“Most of the young men I meet hunger for examples of manliness, confidence, courage and faith,” Archbishop Chaput noted. “Cardinal Lustiger’s personal story is itself a catechesis – an invitation to pursue God heroically.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pro-Life Flash Mob in Chicago Surprises "Walk for Choice"

This is great! Darn, I wish I know about it - I would have been there.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wisconsin Senators

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Planned Parenthood's Bunnies

Organized Gay Protest Denounces Catholics as Bigots in Front of Chicago ...

For Pete sake!

"Gay protesters swarm Chicago cathedral, police do nothing."

H/T What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Pope Benedict XVI: Abortion is never a solution

West vs East


Caritas et Verias has a good post on Silence. Check it out here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Invest vs. Spend

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Crush Depth of Debt

With a hat tip to the Anchoress for bringing this post to my attention, I urge everyone to follow the link to this post in Sense of Events on the National Debt. It starts:

What happens when a submarine reaches its crush depth? The question answers itself. World War II U-boat Capt. Hebert Werner related in his postwar book, Iron Coffins, that no one knew how deep a U-boat could dive. "Because," he said, "the only crews that found out were crushed a half-meter later."

The United States is approaching its financial crush depth. The liberal media (but I repeat myself) have proclaimed that the 111th Congress was the "most productive" in generations. One thing the Triple One did produce was debt - not merely mountains of debt but a whole Himalaya range. In fact, this Congress borrowed more money than all 110 previous Congresses combined. In the right-hand column of this site I run a widget that counts the federal debt as it winds toward the orbit of Pluto; as of today at 1.40 p.m. C. it stood at just under 14 trillion, 27 billion dollars.

Read the rest here.