Shoulder to shoulder

January 28, 2009

Article about our Jewish brothers and sisters who stand with us in the protection of the unborn:
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09012706.html.

American Jewish Rabbis Show Solidarity with Vatican against Obama’s Anti-Life Measures

Rabbis say: “We stand shoulder to shoulder” with the Vatican in Defending Life and Family

By John-Henry Westen

NEW YORK, January 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for Rabbinical Alliance of America, will be in Rome Thursday meeting with high ranking Vatican officials. While there he will express solidarity regarding the recent Vatican criticisms of US President Barack Obama and his executive order which has permitted US taxpayer funds to be given to organizations performing and lobbying for abortion internationally.

Levin will be representing over 800 Orthodox Jewish Rabbis who form the Rabbinical Alliance of America. His visit is being coordinated by the Rome office of Human Life International.

Following Obama’s overturning of the Mexico City Policy Friday, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said that “if this is one of President Obama’s first acts, I have to say, in all due respect, that we’re heading quickly toward disappointment.” He added, “It is essential to know how to listen to all of the requests of the country without shutting one’s self up in an ideological vision with the arrogance of thinking that having power means the power over life and death.”

Levin told LifeSiteNews.com of the reason for the journey saying, “I was spiritually envious of Archbishop Fisichella for jumping to the forefront in identifying the serious concerns that religious family people in America and the world over have with Obama’s first week in the presidency.” He added: “This has motivated the Rabbis to send me on this special trip to the Vatican to show physically for the world to see that we stand shoulder to shoulder, and we appreciate and encourage the continued outspokenness and leadership which the Vatican and her various personalities are taking in defending life and family values.”

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What is the Mexico City Policy?

January 26, 2009

I’ve just spent several days in the midst of our parish’s FOCA Postcard Campaign. Last week was rough, finishing the preparations. There is still some followup to do, but the most exhausting parts are past. My last post was one that I prepared for a delayed posting, so I’m not really sure when was the last day that I was actually here!

This new post  is something I put together in a hurry. Hope it is helpful to you!

Perhaps you are confused by news reports about the MCP. The Catholic Church supports the policy and opposes the recent overturning of it. Here are some details to help you understand the situation.

From www.nchla.org (with additional links there):

At an international population conference in Mexico City in 1984, the Reagan Administration announced that the United States would no longer contribute to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) “which perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” This policy became known as the Mexico City Policy. The policy was upheld in court as constitutional. It remained in place until overturned by President Clinton on January 22, 1993. Congress engaged in extensive debates thereafter as pro-life Members sought to restore the policy through legislation. For one year only – Fiscal Year 2000 – a compromise version became law.

On January 22, 2001, President George W. Bush issued an executive memorandum directing the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to reinstate the Mexico City Policy in full. A February 15, 2001 USAID implementation rule was subject to a challenge under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Since executive memoranda are not subject to challenge under the CRA, the president on March 28, 2001 issued a second executive memorandum that included the content of the February USAID rule.

According to the USAID rule, abortion as a method of family planning excludes abortions to save the mother’s life or in cases of rape or incest. It also excludes the treatment of injuries or illnesses caused by legal or illegal abortions. Promoting abortion includes abortion counseling, lobbying a foreign government to change its laws, and conducting public information campaigns.

On August 29, 2003, President Bush extended the Mexico City Policy to all population planning funds, whether furnished by USAID or by other components of the State Department.

From www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2009/09-022.shtml statement released Jan. 23, 2009:

The decision by President Barack Obama to reverse the Mexico City Policy is “very disappointing,” said Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

He made the statement January 23, after President Obama issued the executive order restoring U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Cardinal Rigali’s statement follows.

“It is very disappointing that President Obama has reversed the Mexico City Policy, which prevents U.S. funding of organizations that perform and promote abortion as a family planning method in developing nations. An Administration that wants to reduce abortions should not divert U.S. funds to groups that promote abortions.

“Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to President-elect Obama last week urging him to retain this policy. As Cardinal George said in his letter:

“‘The Mexico City Policy, first established in 1984, has wrongly been attacked as a restriction on foreign aid for family planning. In fact, it has not reduced such aid at all, but has ensured that family planning funds are not diverted to organizations dedicated to performing and promoting abortions instead of reducing them. Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased, the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size. A shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect.'”

There are other sources that could be cited, but this is probably enough for now!

Blogger Awards

January 21, 2009

No, not me! I am nowhere near the league of bloggers who merit recognition with awards. But I certainly can admire those who do rise to that level. I’m not familiar with most of these, but do want to list them here so that at some point you and I can visit the sites and decide which ones suit our interests best.

This is what I found at
http://causa-nostrae-laetitiae.blogspot.com/2009/01/i-won-one-of-american-life-league-pro.html. Leticia, the author of that site, is one of the award-winning bloggers.

Welcome to Pro-Life Blog Awards, the first and only pro-life blog awards.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2009 Pro-Life Blogs Awards:

Pro-Life Blog Awards promotes, encourages, impassions and rewards pro-life bloggers for excellence in spreading the culture of life.

Bloggers are heralding news and information about the pro-life movement when traditional media have ignored the most pressing crisis of our day – the war on LIFE.

Blogging is an often thankless and solitary job and it’s time we recognized pro-life bloggers for their contribution to the pro-life movement and potential to transform the landscape of our common cause to protect and defend the sanctity of each human being’s life.

The source appears to be
http://www.prolifeblogs.com/articles/archives/2009/01/2009_pro-life_b.php.

Farewell, Mr. President

January 20, 2009

We will miss you, George W.!

Here are links to some tributes to President George W. Bush, who became a “former President” at noon today. I’m sorry I don’t have time to provide excerpts for you now.

http://www.georgiabulletin.org/local/2009/01/15/w/ (Commentary by George Weigel)

http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/2009/01/tribute-to-president-bush.html

http://www.lifenews.com/nat4750.html

Our Help is in the Name of the Lord …

January 20, 2009

… who made Heaven and Earth! ( Psalm 124:8 )

Remembering that is what will get us through this day of mourning. Mourning not for the loss of an election, but mourning for the lives of the babies who are now at much greater risk than ever before. Mourning for the women (and girls) who will be misled by the rhetoric of “choice” rather than be properly advised about the truths of what abortion is and will do in their lives. Mourning for the families and friends of those women and girls, who won’t always know how to help. Mourning for the country of my birth, that is now being led by people who don’t value the sanctity of human life and who won’t uphold marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman. May God have mercy on us all!

Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  ( Philippians 2:9-11 )

The following article ( “Alien Nation” by Doreen Truesdell ) has some good points, as do some of the comments made at the source site: http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/20/115155/

The universal struggle between good and evil, between Christ and His enemies has now taken center stage in this nation. For decades most American Catholics have lived relatively comfortably by accepting shades of gray. Little by little the grays became darker as more of the Church’s moral teachings were questioned, ignored and rejected. Now, the gray areas have turned to blackness. It is no longer possible for lukewarm Catholics to remain faithful. The gray areas are gone. American Catholics will either embrace the white light of Truth or accept the darkness.

So where does this leave aliens like me? Totally reliant upon God, and for many of us it will be the first time in our lives. I used to define myself as an American Catholic, but now I realize I am a Catholic in America. The nation I used to depend upon to accept my spiritual composition is gone. No longer does our citizenship agree that our laws are, and should be, based on Judeo-Christian concepts. No longer can a Christian assume his moral beliefs will be given fair representation or even toleration in the public forum.

As aliens, we have an important role to play as keepers of the faith on hostile soil. Here’s our opportunity to get off the fence on every controversial issue that offends God and start pulling our weight as Catholics in America. Many Catholics already are very publicly defending Christ and His Gospel truths. Most aren’t. Are you defending Christ in America? Am I?

This era, just beginning, represents our time in the long history of the Catholic Church to accept suffering, offer prayers and penance, and do battle in the public forum so that the voice of Christ can be heard. It is our turn to live as Catholics who look only to the magisterium of the Church for instruction on true human dignity and authentic social justice.

We will join Catholics from around the world who “lost” their countries long ago — Italians, Greeks, Slavs, Chinese, Russians and others who have already inured themselves to the agonies of living in an atheistic nation, one that they used to love with patriotic fervor but now are estranged from. We will lean on the rich Catholic tradition of the Church Militant and go on living in an alien nation while fortifying ourselves with the Word Made Flesh, He who makes His dwelling among aliens the world over.

Are you up to this challenge? As Americans, we’ve grown undisciplined, flabby and unused to suffering. We can’t bear the pain of unpopularity; how will we bear persecution? And it is coming. With this new administration we have the makings of unprecedented Christian persecutions in our nation that will make martyrs and saints of many who stand up for Truth. You won’t have to be a political activist to have it thrust upon you: parents, clergy, health care providers, teachers, workers of all kinds will find themselves facing moral issues that assault the foundations of the Catholic faith. Which issue will be the one that forces Catholics like you and me to confront how shallow our relationship with Christ has been? Which issue will finally inspire us to make the commitment to “put out into the deep,” whatever the cost?

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta, after visiting our great nation years ago, said she pitied us our “poverty.” She understood the seriousness of the spiritual poverty that the U.S. suffered. We may be on the brink of changing that poverty, one Catholic, one Christian at a time.

The history of the Church is one of suffering and triumph. From that perspective, the Obama presidency could be the beginning of a great renewal of Christianity in America, if each of us lives the faith the way Christ calls us to. So in an important way, this article is not about losing a nation, so much as gaining a deeper relationship with Jesus, the King of all nations. We, who have always assumed that our nation would validate our faith, now find it must be validated only by God.

“[T]he new age has begun; and…much must now pass away,” Gandalf says in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Let it pass. With prayerful renewal and faithful responses, we can find that God alone will suffice. Then maybe, in small ways that have great power, we can work to bring our beloved nation back to God.

It seems fitting to insert here the prayer often referred to as St. Teresa of Avila’s “Bookmark” prayer:

This thought was found after St. Teresa’s death on a prayer card in her breviary.

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Nothing is wanting to him who possesses God.
God alone suffices.

(I didn’t find a definitive version of that prayer. Nearly every site I checked has different wording. The one I’m including is found at
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=874.)

Exercising religious freedom

January 16, 2009

I spent a significant portion of this “Religious Freedom Day” (and other days, too) preparing for our parish’s participation in the “FOCA Postcard Campaign”. God-willing, we will have a good response from the people. Even though that is very important, I feel far behind in blogging. But other tasks do have their place so working on this blog has to wait more than I would like it to do.

Anyway, here are links to a variety of articles about different subjects. I’m not even taking time to sort them into separate posts and/or provide excerpts for you, since the WordPress site is running slowly and I can’t wait for it very much. This post is being composed (“compiled” is probably more accurate!) offline to be published whenever I can get back into the site. Whenever I can get this published, I hope that the links will be interesting for you!

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2009/01/20090115-1.html

“National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009” – A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America (See full text of proclamation at the link provided above.)

Some parting words from the man who hasn’t been afraid to live his pro-life convictions while being in charge of the highest office in our land!

See also at http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=31638. The sidebar there led me to
http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=31326. That site has more that I’d like to read, but can’t do so now.

Not sure what series of links led me to the following past articles which serve as predictions of what we may be seeing beginning next Tuesday upon the inauguration of a clearly non-pro-life President:

http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=92094

http://www.ncregister.com/daily/heres_what_catholics_can_expect

These are regarding the nay-sayers of FOCA:

http://www.ncregister.com/daily/the_dont_worry_catholics

http://www.osvdailytake.com/2008/12/why-are-some-catholics-downplaying-foca.html

One more thing that I almost forgot to mention: found out yesterday that the “Prevention First Act” has been introduced in the Senate — on the opening day of Congress! And guess who by: Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader.  Go to http://thomas.loc.gov
 and enter “S.21” to do a search by bill number. Keep your eyes on that bill. It is somewhat like a subset of FOCA (in terms of taxpayer funding and conscience rights) but because it covers fewer issues than FOCA I predict it can and will go through the Congress much more easily and quickly than FOCA. And I have absolutely no doubt that the President at that time will sign it.

In the U.S., doesn’t EVERY DAY allow religious freedom???

January 12, 2009

Life Site News provided a link to this article written by the staff of Focus on the Family Action at its “Citizen Link” site:

Students Encouraged to Celebrate Religious Freedom Day

http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000009027.cfm

Sad, isn’t it, that our country has such difficulty protecting religious freedom that we have to set aside a particular day (January 16th) to celebrate it??? In a way it is good to designate a special day to celebrate that freedom, rather than take it for granted……but religious freedom is among the founding principles of our country so shouldn’t we be able to expect it will always exist? Just one look at news and it’s clear that religious freedom is under attack in so many ways. Perhaps there really will be a time in our country’s future when “Religious Freedom Day” may be the only day we can exercise that freedom? Scary thought, isn’t it?

The official Web site for the commemoration is at
http://religiousfreedomday.com.

That is where teachers, parents, and students can obtain a 16-page guidebook that contains:

An explanation of Religious Freedom Day

Suggestions for how to commemorate the day

Presidential proclamations, past and present

The complete text of Thomas Jefferson’s
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

An easy-to-read paraphrase of the Virginia Statute

A summary of the U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines on students’ religious liberties

One of many miracle babies

January 10, 2009
23-Week Old British Premie
Spared Abortion, Goes Home with Family

By Hilary White
Thursday January 8, 2009

LONDON, January 8, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A baby girl born at 23 weeks gestation who was brought home recently by her mother, has re-opened the debate in the UK over the legal gestational age limit for abortion. Sarah Slater, the child’s mother, told media, “We’re so glad to have Lexie home with us at last and it just shows how outmoded our laws on abortion are.”

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Slater said, “Some mothers-to-be would be able to legally terminate their pregnancy at 23 weeks – yet my Lexie is living proof babies can survive being born so prematurely.” Under British abortion laws, a child who is deemed healthy can be killed by abortion at the request of the mother up to 24 weeks gestation. If the child is judged to be potentially disabled, she can be killed at any time up to full term.

After only 22 weeks gestation, Lexie Slater-Folksman weighed only 1 lb, 8 oz. at delivery and was cared for by neo-natal experts with treatments including laser surgery for her underdeveloped eyes and a respirator to help her breathe. Lexie is now five months old and is at home with her parents.

“I never realized a baby would be so well developed at 23 weeks and they do have a chance of life,” Slater continued.

To read more of that article, go to
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09010803.html

Our pro-life President

January 9, 2009

President George Bush took another opportunity to speak about his pro-life stance. Thank God for his courage and commitment despite so much opposition!

http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/09/115106

While he noted that “good people can disagree on this issue,”  nonetheless, he said, “let’s keep things in mind: that all life is precious; that a society is strong when it worries about the most vulnerable among us, whether it be those who are elderly, those who are sick, and those who are yet unborn.”

Bush also insisted that America has “made progress on the issue of culture of life.”

“I do believe people are beginning to understand why a person like me takes the position I take,” he affirmed.  “And I do believe we can take those positions without being so judgmental that our voice is not heard.

“In other words, I have always tried to say I understand your position, but here’s mine, and here’s why I think this makes sense for a compassionate America.”

The Catholic Exchange article provides a quick look at what President Bush said in his interview with Cal Thomas. The text of the full interview is available at
http://townhall.com/columnists/CalThomas/2009/01/06/
interview_with_president_bush_from_the_oval_office
.

Will he continue to speak out, perhaps even more boldly when his term ends? Of course he’s not perfect — who among us is — but he has contributed to many advancements in our country’s protection of the unborn and other vulnerable people.

Ever wondered?

January 9, 2009

I grew up thinking that I had heard that a priest “had to” celebrate Mass every day. But an article today gives an explanation of why priests are not required to celebrate Mass on a daily basis. Maybe you’ll be interested in the explanation at
http://catholicexchange.com/2009/01/08/115098.