Sunday, March 27, 2011

Foundations

“Foundations”
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 FranciscanFocus.com 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.

Tom