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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Forgot About This...

In all the controversy over various things in the last few weeks, I forgot about a letter I received on the subject from Rome a few years ago.

You can read it here.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Crying Your "I"-s Out

How time flies. Just one year ago, I pointed out that when people's lives are full of turmoil, it is excellent news for the economy. Now, a scientific study has been released that verifies the point.

While capitalist societies may be superior to socialist societies, capitalism necessarily creates a culture of death because "thoughts and emotions about death -- [are] feelings that are already known to increase the urge to spend."

Depression-oriented and death-oriented cultures tend to have stronger economies. The more depressed the citizen, the more death-oriented the consumer, the more buying s/he does.

But depression alone is not enough. No, it has to be a narcissistic death-oriented culture. The focus has to be on self: why I feel bad, why me, etc.

Have you ever wondered why the mainstream media primarily reports bad news? Because bad news gets you to buy more papers. Why does the mainstream media focus on self-improvement? Why does it constantly exhort us to "Lose Weight! Look Great!" or "Fit Into That BIKINI!"?

Simple. Narcissists spend more.

And by blanketing the available media outlets in order to target the highest spending group (depressed narcissists), the MSM ineluctably turns everyone into a depressed narcissist.

Now, keep in mind that the decision to have a child is always a decision which is essentially up-beat and other-focused. As one wag said, a child is God's way of saying that the world should continue.

Conversely, anyone who is depressed will not really want the world to continue.

Depressed people get tubal ligations and vasectomies.
Depressed people use contraception.

Now, take this to its logical extreme and guess: who are the highest spenders?

That's right. Active homosexuals, men and women who are essentially narcissists interested only in their own pleasure despite, or even because, of the high risk of death it involves, spend more than nearly any other segment of the economy. Why?

Well, take the risk of death. As even leading homosexual activists now admit, AIDS is a homosexual disease:
Matt Foreman, outgoing Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, rattled the homosexual activist community by joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pro-family organizations and a growing number of homosexual activists willing to admit that homosexual behavior is both extremely high-risk and primarily responsible for the spread of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

Addressing the topic of AIDS, Foreman drastically deviated from the "gay" lobby's party line by admitting, "Internally, when these numbers come out, the 'established' gay community seems to have a collective shrug as if this isn't our problem. Folks, with 70 percent of the people in this country living with HIV being gay or bi, we cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own that and face up to that."

A little over a year ago, Lorri Jean, CEO of the Los Angeles-based Gay and Lesbian Center, similarly shocked the "gay" community by stating that, "HIV is a Gay Disease. Own it. End it."

What could be more depressing, more narcissistic, than a contracepted/homosexual lifestyle?

So how do you wring the highest level of spending out of a population? Transform as many of them as possible into contraceptive users and/or homosexuals.

Why do so many seemingly sane companies give money to Planned Parenthood?

Because it's good for business.
The business of America is business, and business is killing us.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Supporting Catholic Schools

There are some who, having never read Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America, believe that I hate Catholic schools. It isn't true, of course. I only hate quasi-Catholic schools. Real Catholic schools are great... if you can find one.

But let's consider what it means to endorse a Catholic school.

What is the only thing a Catholic school, or any school for that matter, absolutely has to have in order to survive?

Clearly, the school has to have children. A school without children enrolled in its curricula will not long be in existence.

So, what is the only endorsement that really matters to a Catholic school?
Why, the endorsement Catholic parents make by conceiving children and placing them in said school!

Quite frankly, it matters not one whit whether any particular person says or thinks, whether he be lay or religious, secular or consecrated, priest or bishop.

Anyone can endorse a school with words, extol that school to the high heavens, make the very air about the school glow with the marvelous things that are said about it. None of that matters if no one enrolls a child.

And the only ones who can enroll children in a school are parents.

Now, the only way to become a parent is to throw out the condoms, flush the contraceptive pills, pitch the patches, roll away the rings, immolate the IUDs and conceive children to place in the school.

So, ultimately, the only endorsement that matters is the endorsement that encourages parents to do just that.

Anyone - lay person, priest or bishop - who spends a lot of time praising Catholic schools but doesn't spend any time teaching Catholic parents about the evil of contraception or teaching those same Catholic parents about the wonders of having children is not accomplishing anything substantive. Like the man described in St. James' epistle, he sees the poor, hungry beggar on the street, encourages him with a hearty "Stay warm, get something to eat!" but doesn't actually provide any food or clothes to the impoverished person and is thereby condemned.

Do you want to support Catholic schools? Convince your fellow Catholic parents to stop contracepting. Convince your fellows to stop aborting, to start learning their Faith at an adult level. It is parents who keep schools going, nothing and no one else.

If you need someone besides parents to keep the school going, then you don't understand how schools work and your schools will fail. Period.

I have spent my entire adult life warning and teaching Catholic adults about the evils of contraception and the wonders of having children. I have also spent no small amount of time explaining Catholic doctrine: that the title on a school is no indicator of its Catholicity.

If you claim to be a supporter of Catholic schools, then show me how you have worked to end contraception and abortion among Catholics. Show me what you know about what the Catholic Church actually says constitutes a Catholic school. If you haven't done that work, then you a clanging cymbal, a sounding gong, and you are wasting everyone's time, most especially your own.

Monday, February 11, 2008

An Enormous Appetite

I may not be able to predict presidential elections, but when it comes to the Faith, my track record is quite a bit better.

In my book, Designed to Fail: Catholic Education in America, I point out that the Catholic parochial school system, as it has always been implemented in the United States, is an essentially contraceptive system. That is, it is inadvertently designed to undermine the sacrament of marriage. It destroys the spiritual fecundity of Catholic parents and is an essential contributor to the culture of death.

As you may imagine, this thesis has been condemned as essentially heretical by a number of different groups who venerate the Catholic parochial school with a fervor generally only reserved for the Eucharistic Presence.

However, the polling data in this election (and several previous elections, now that I think about it), demonstrates that I'm not off the mark. The areas of the country with the heaviest populations of Catholics are identical with areas that are most pro-abortion. Abortion is the main fruit of the contraceptive mentality.

The Northeast states, New York Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware are heavily populated with Catholics and are overwhelmingly pro-abortion; California is in the same situation. Sixteen Catholic senators and about 65 in the House of Representatives are pro-abortion.

The bishops from these states - schooled in the same parochial schools which produced the politicians - refuse to follow Canon Law and publicly excommunicate them for their public dissent from the truth.

These areas are, of course, also the areas which have historically had the highest concentration of Catholic parochial schools. In fact, even now, the states with the highest Catholic school enrollment are New York, California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Missouri. The total enrollment of 1.4 million in those 10 states is nearly two-thirds of the entire U.S. Catholic school enrollment.

In that same book, I also predicted that the entire parochial school system would collapse under the weight of its own dissonance from Magisterial teaching.

The structure of the system violates the documents concerning how the Faith is to be transmitted. The very curricula, the books being used, the teachers employed, the mix of students in the classrooms - everything about the American parochial school system is in violation of Magisterial teaching.

For this reason, there is no point in attempting to save the American Catholic parochial school. The changes that need to be made are so enormous that any successful implementation would result in the total destruction of the present system.

That assumes the bishops would actually implement any changes, which is, of course, absurd. A bishop who can't even find it within himself to discipline a publicly dissenting Catholic politician is certainly not going to go up against the entrenched hierarchy of the Catholic school system.

So, the schools will be eroded away by the culture and entirely disappear, as every invention of man eventually does. More evidence of this appears before us every day, as this latest bit of news demonstrates.

According to the National Catholic Educational Association, enrollment in Catholic elementary schools has dropped 15 percent nationwide since 2001-02, and more than 212 U.S. Catholic schools were closed or consolidated during the 2006-07 school year.
A fifteen percent enrollment drop in roughly five years is not particularly good news, and the news will only get worse.

One might argue that this merely demonstrates a demographic shift as Catholics move out of the urban inner city and into suburbs, but the numbers don't add up. From 2006 to 2007, 36 new schools opened in the suburbs while 212 consolidated or closed.
“No matter how one looks at it, the fact is that, left untreated, the present condition of our schools will very soon lead to there being no Catholic schools in our diocese,” wrote the Most Rev. Joseph F. Martino, bishop of Scranton, the third largest diocese in the state. “Eventually, I will be presented with a plan which will establish a new governance model for our schools and will determine which schools we should maintain given all the circumstances.”

... “Certainly, we know the baptism numbers are down, so the initial pool is one factor,” the diocese’s superintendent of schools, Joseph Casciano, said.

Mass attendance is only about a third of registered parishioners, said Mr. Genello.
When parents aren't taught about the evils of contraception, they will contracept. When Catholic politicians aren't publically called on their pro-abortion stance, Catholics will abort.

Oddly enough, when you kill your children, you find it difficult to baptize them and even more difficult to enroll them in Catholic schools.

So, the very bishops who decry the erosion of the Catholic schools - the Catholic schools that through their very structure taught Catholics how to contracept - are merely reaping what they sow by their inaction. And what else can it be called when, in every country of the world, the "majority of Catholics have never heard a Catholic priest or bishop speak out against" it?

Evil consumes itself.
And it has an enormous appetite.

Update: You have to read it to believe it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Obama vs Romney

That's what I was thinking in the middle of January, and that's what it will probably be.

Too many Democrats don't trust Hillary or Bill.
Too many Republicans don't trust McCain.

If I would have blogged it when I first came to this conclusion, it would have seemed more prophetic...

Monday, February 04, 2008

YOU *CAN* Be A Research Scientist!

Are you qualified to be a research scientist?
Find out by taking our simple quiz!

First, read this new story from Time magazine. It describes a new drug regimen for preventing cerebral palsy, a condition that is strongly associated with pre-term birth.

Next, read through the articles linked here: why are pre-term births, and the cerebral palsy associated with them, considered news fit for Time magazine? Why, because the rate of pre-term births has skyrocketed over 30% since 1981! The rate has increased more than 20% since 1990, and now stands at 12.8% of all births.

Note the sentence in the first article: As the rate of pre-term births rise, so does the rate of "cerebral palsy, mental retardation, chronic lung disease, and vision and hearing loss." The cost of pre-term births is estimated to be 26 billion dollars, with average medical costs 10 times greater than that for a normal birth.

So, are you ready for our quiz?

Here it is! (drum roll please)

What is the number one cause of pre-term birth?


Hmmm... There's a puzzler.

Time magazine is silent on that issue.

The March of Dimes, which supports embryonic stem cell research, fetal tissue research and abortion, also seems to be at a complete loss, although - thank God - they are spending millions of dollars to try and figure it out.

But don't worry!
Here's where YOU can find out if you are qualified to be a real research scientist!

Read any one of the thirty-eight studies listed below, either alone or in combination, and see if YOU can figure out what might be causing the rise in premature births (HINT: the first study is the best, as it shows how undergoing a simple, safe and legal medical procedure can increase your risk of subsequent pre-term birth by a whopping 1155%).
  1. Zhou W, Sorenson HT, Olsen H. Induced Abortion and Subsequent Pregnancy Duration. Obstetrics & Gynecology 1999;94:948-953
  2. Berkowitz GS. An Epidemiologic Study of Preterm Delivery. American J Epidemiology 1981;113:81-92
  3. Lang JM, Lieberman E, Cohen A. A Comparison of Risk Factors for Preterm Labor and Term Small-for-Gestational-Age Birth. Epidemiology 1996;7:369-376
  4. Lieberman E, Ryan KJ, Monson RR, Schoenbaum SC. Risk Factors Accounting For Racial Differences in the rate of premature birth. NEJM 1987;317:743-748
  5. * Hillier SL, Nugent RP, Eschenbach DA, Krohn MA, et al. Association Between Bacterial Vaginosis And Preterm Delivery Of A Low-Birth-Weight Infant. NEJM 1995;333:1737-1742
  6. Schoenbaum LS, Monson RR. No association between coffee consumption and adverse outcomes of pregnancy. NEJM 1982;306:141-145
  7. Mueller-Heubach E, Guzick DS. Evaluation of risk scoring in a preterm birth prevention study of indigent patients. Am J Obstetrics & Gyn 1989;160:829-837
  8. Shiono PH, Lebanoff MA. Ethnic Differences and Very Preterm Delivery. Am J Public Health 1986;76:1317-1321
  9. Pantelakis SN, Papadimitriou GC, Doxiadis SA. Influence of induced and spontaneous abortions on the outcome of subsequent pregnancies. Amer J Obstet Gynecol. 1973;116:799-805
  10. Lumley J. The association between prior spontaneous abortion, prior induced abortion and preterm birth in first singleton births. Prenat Neonat Med 1998;3:21-24.
  11. Van Der Slikke JW, Treffers PE. Influence of induced abortion on gestational duration in subsequent pregnancies. BMJ 1978;1:270-272 [>95% confident of preterm risk for gestation less than 32 weeks]
  12. Richardson JA, Dixon G. Effect of legal termination on subsequent pregnancy. British Med J 1976;1:1303-1304
  13. Pickering RM, Deeks JJ. Risks of Delivery during 20th to the 36th Week of Gestation. Intl. J Epidemiology 1991;20:456-466
  14. Koller O, Eikhom SN. Late Sequelae of Induced Abortion in Primigravidae. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 1977;56:311-317
  15. Papaevangelou G, Vrettos AS, Papadatos D, Alexiou C. The Effect of Spontaneous and Induced Abortion on Prematurity and Birthweight. The J Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the British Commonwealth. May 1973;80:418-422
  16. Bognar Z, Czeizel A. Mortality and Morbidity Associated with Legal Abortions in Hungary, 1960-1973. AJPH 1976;66:568-575
  17. Martius JA, Steck T, Oehler MK, Wulf K-H. Risk factors associated with preterm (<37+0>European J Obstetrics & Gynecology Reproductive Biology 1998;80:183-189
  18. Vasso L-K, Chryssa T-B, Golding J. Previous obstetric history and subsequent preterm delivery in Greece. European J Obstetrics & Gynecology Reproductive Biology 1990;37:99-109
  19. * Ancel P-V, Saurel-Cubizolles M-J, Renzo GCD, Papiernik E, Breart G. Very and moderate preterm births: are the risk factors different? British J Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1999;106:1162-1170
  20. Lumley J. The epidemiology of preterm birth. Bailliere's Clin Obstet Gynecology. 1993;7(3):477-498
  21. * Michielutte R, Ernest JM, Moore ML, Meis PJ, Sharp PC, Wells HB, Buescher PA. A Comparison of Risk Assessment Models for Term and Preterm Low Birthweight. Preventive Medicine 1992;21:98-109
  22. Grindel B, Lubinski H, Voigt M. Induced abortion in primigravidae and subsequent pregnancy, with particular attention of underweight. Zentralbl Gynaekol 1979;101:1009-1114
  23. Kreibich H, Ludwig A. Early and late complications of abortion in juvenile primigravidae (including recommended measures). Z Aerztl Fortbild (Jena) 1980;74:311-316
  24. Zwahr C, Voigt M, Kunz L, et al. Relationships between interruption abortion, and premature birth and low birth weight. Zentrabl Gynaekol 1980;102: 738-747
  25. Pickering RM, Forbes J. Risk of preterm delivery and small-for-gestational age infants following abortion: a population study. British J Obstetrics and Gynecology 1985;92:1106-1112
  26. Muhlemann K, Germain M, Krohn M. Does an Abortion Increase the Risk of Intrapartum Infection in the Following Pregnancy? Epidemiology 1996;7:194-198
  27. Daling JR, Krohn MA, Miscarriage or Termination in the Immediately Preceding Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Intraamniotic Infection in the Following Pregnancy. American J Epi 1992;136:1013 [SER Abstracts]
  28. Prof. Barbara Luke. Every Pregnant Woman's Guide to Preventing Premature Birth (1995) [forward by Emile Papiernik], New York: Times Books
  29. Gersh ES. Children with Cerebral Palsy 1998; chapter 1:page 14; DD: 618.92836 C53G1, ISBN: 0933149824
  30. Paroah POD. Cerebral Palsy and perinatal care. British J Obstetrics Gynaecology 1995;102:356-358
  31. Pediatrics 1985;76:154-158
  32. Escobar GJ, Littenberg B, Petitti DB. Outcome among surviving very low birthweight infants; a meta-analysis. Arch Dis Child 1991;66:204-211
  33. Wright CSW, Campbell S, Beazley J. Second-Trimester Abortion After Vaginal Termination Of Pregnancy. Lancet 1972 [June 10]:1278-1279
  34. Rooney B. Racism, Poverty, Abortion, and Other Reproductive Outcomes. Epidemiology 2000;11:740-741
  35. Rooney B. Having an induced abortion increases risk in future pregnancies. British Medical J 2001;322:430
  36. Potts M. Legal Abortion in Eastern Europe. enics Review7;59:232-250
  37. Obel E, et al. Pregnancy Complications Following Lgally Induced Abortion With Special Reference to Abortion Technique. a Obstet Gynecol Scand 1979;58:147-152
  38. Levin A, Schoenbaum S, Monson R, Stubblefield P, Ryan K. Association of Abortion With Subsequent Pregnancy Loss. JAMA 1980;243(24):2495-2499
If you are still puzzled, try reading this, this or this.

So, what do YOU think might be the cause?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

What's the Difference?

When I read the Bible I am being taught by the Word (Jesus Christ), is it correct that my Bible contains the presence of Christ? And if I ask Jesus to come dwell in my heart during prayer, He does come to me, correct?

So if those things are true then how
does receiving Holy Eucharist differ from and why is it better than what the Bible & prayer can do for me?

Jesus comes in His spiritual presence when you read the Scriptures or pray, but only through the Eucharist do you receive His substantial presence (which is NOT the same as His physical presence). Distinguishing between these three ways that God is present to us requires some careful thought and it doesn't hurt to have a grounding in philosophy.

Instead of going through the whole philosophy of Aristotle, let's see if we can boil this down a bit. Historically speaking, Jesus permits us to experience His presence in three different ways:
  • physically
  • spiritually
  • substantially

1) Let's begin by comparing the physical and spiritual presence:

Certainly we would agree that Jesus standing in front of us is a much different kind of presence than reading the Bible.

The opportunity to experience His physical presence - the touch of His hand, the sight of His face, etc. - is simply not the same as reading the Bible and imagining these things.

His physical presence includes our physical sensing of the Body He owns - the caress of His Hand, the sound of the air that He has formed into His Words, etc. When He is present to us in a physical way, our body physically experiences the five sensations produced by His human body (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell).

It is clear that there is a big difference between the physical and the spiritual presence of God.

This is especially true since God does not have a body in the same way we do: although He owns a human body, that human body is not a necessary part of His divinity. Thus, even after the Incarnation, God doesn't have a physical presence in the same way we do - our physical presence is a necessary part of our identities, but God doesn't NEED a body in order to be God. This is why, even though the apostles experienced God physically, they did not immediately or fully understand that they were in the presence of the living God.

2) This leads us to our second comparison: the difference between the physical and substantial presence of God:
Even if I had had the honor of experiencing Jesus' physical presence, God Incarnate standing in front of me, that doesn't mean I would recognize the substance of divinity present.

I would see His flesh, feel His touch, smell Him, hear Him, perhaps even be physically healed by Him, but even with all of that, I would not necessarily fully understand that He is fully God, that I am physically in the presence of the substance of God, the substance of divinity. After all, pretty much everyone who met Him, with the possible exception of His parents, physically interacted with Him but didn't recognize the substance of divinity He is.

The Divine Nature *IS* God. Every time we encounter the substance of divinity, we necessarily encounter God in the core of His Being.

So, we can distinguish between the physical and the substantial presence of God as well.

3) Now, here's the question we need to consider: what is the difference between the spiritual presence and the substantial presence of God?

Since the encounter with the substance of divinity is God Himself, if God were substantially present in the Scriptures, then the Scriptures would - by themselves - necessarily *BE* God in exactly the same way that Jesus *IS* God.

Now, no one believes the Scriptures are such a thing, not even the most ardent supporter of Scripture. We recognize that the Scriptures are God-breathed, have immense authority, are inerrant, etc., but no one thinks the Scriptures *ARE* God in the same way that Jesus *IS* God.

And just as encountering the substance of divinity - even hidden behind the veil of human flesh - is really superior to reading the Bible, so receiving the Eucharist - Who is the substance of Jesus hidden behind the veil of bread and wine - is really superior to reading the Bible.

Now, it would be wonderful if we were able to experience the physical, substantial presence of Jesus in His glorified body as the apostles did after the Resurrection, but that is reserved for heaven. Here, we see as though through a glass, darkly. At His Ascension, He carried His human nature, including His human flesh and blood, with Him into heaven for the eternal, perpetual sacrifice He offers the Father.

His Ascension moved His glorified body "beyond the veil", as it were. So, instead of experiencing His physical presence, we experience the glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the resurrected Christ, the substantial presence of God, *as He offers Himself to the Father in the heavenly temple*. Because our eyes cannot stand such glory, He presents this to us hidden behind the veil of bread and wine.

Even though His Body and Blood are truly present in the Eucharist, substantially present, He is not said to be physically present precisely because our senses do not perceive His Body as a physical human body. In fact, there is no physical (i.e., scientific) test that is capable of detecting His Body and Blood. The substance of His Body and Blood are present, but His physicality is not.

So, God opens the door to heaven through the veil of His own flesh, yet His flesh is itself veiled in Beth-le-hem (Hebrew for "the House of Bread"), it is veiled under the appearance of bread and wine.

This double veiling of the substance of His divinity corresponds to the double veiling aspect of the Tent of Meeting that Paul speaks about in Hebrews 9:1-5. The bread and wine veil the Body, Blood and Soul, which in turn veil the Divinity.

This is also why John talks about Jesus having "pitched His tent among us" (John 1:14). Jesus' tent (His Body) is not just the normal, single-veiled tent. Because He is God, He pitches among us the double-veiled Tent of Meeting - the Eucharist.

He took human flesh precisely in order to establish the Holy of Holies, He provided the Eucharist in order to create the outer tent within which the Holy of Holies is hidden.

And that's the difference between the Bible and the Eucharist. One is a God-breathed book, the other is God Himself.