Culture of Death
It’s the unofficial end of Summer and it’s my annual gratuitous post of myself day. The pic below was taken in mid-July, but I waited to fix the feed to The American Catholic in order celebrate the Summer. Needless to say, it’s fixed and the Summer is almost over.
During the Summer I asked my fellow blogger Don for some book recommendations for the French Revolution. Of the few he did mentioned, I picked up Simon Schama’s ‘Citizen’. The reading is in-depth, interesting, and balanced. I’m a bit over halfway finished of the 948 pages and am so far impressed. Considering that we are in the post-Cold War era, I wanted to know a bit more on the French Revolution since their errors have already engulfed Europe and has almost metastasizing here in the United States. The book is good and if there is any criticism of Simon Schama’s work it’s that he views Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church, through a materialistic lens.
My opinion on the subject is that the French Revolution is the confluence of anti-Christian ideas emanating from the so-called era of enlightenment. These very same ideas unleashed the short-term devastation of the rape of nuns, the execution of priests, and the degradation of houses of worship. The long-term affects have furthered the cause of eliminating God from all aspects of life blossoming further in the Communist Revolution in Russia and continued to bear the fruit of death in World Wars I & II. From this compost grew what we now call modern liberalism & democratic socialism.
Over at the Huffington Post a diarist blogging under the name Sasharusa helps explain why babies in utero are treated like so much disposable garbage by so many people in our society:
This is Giardia lamblia. It is an intestinal parasite that is very common and is a pain in the ass to rid of.
I know, I know, it doesn’t look like a precious little baby. I know. It looks scary, and gross, and looks like it will bite your head off. But we’re not talking about looks. Who knows, maybe aliens think we’re ugly as f–k but this parasite would be labeled Miss Universe in their culture? Who knows! Anyway, I am sorry for plastering this as the very first thing in my diary. Consider this just like those exploited photos of miscarried late term fetuses that Anti- Choicers parade around.
Anyways, back to the whole fetus= parasite thing. That is how I see them. I don’t see them as cute and cuddly. I see them as terrifying and scary. I see pregnancy the same way. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Michael Moriarty as SS Sturmbannfuhrer (Major) Erik Dorf, in the riveting miniseries Holocaust (1978), attempts at 5:26 in the video above to convince the incredulous SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler that rather than concealing the crimes of the Holocaust the SS should stand behind them and and convince the world that the genocide of the Jews and others deemed “undesirable” by the “master race” was right and just. He anounces to the astounded SS officers, Dorff being an attorney in civilian life, that “A case can be made for Auschwitz!” He is speaking to mass murderers and monsters, but even they are repulsed by what he says. They understand deep down that they have been involved in an unspeakable crime for which no excuse, no argument can possibly be made.
Would that most pro-aborts would have some such shred of moral sensibility remaining. Alas, I am afraid that this statement of Jessica Delbalzo is much more common among pro-aborts, even if they rarely are this forthright:
I love abortion. I don’t accept it. I don’t view it as a necessary evil. I embrace it. I donate to abortion funds. I write about how important it is to make sure that every woman has access to safe, legal abortion services. I have bumper stickers and buttons and t-shirts proclaiming my support for reproductive freedom. I love abortion. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Update III: The USCCB Pro-Life Director Richard Doerflinger and Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey agree with me that this “accommodation” or “compromise” is unacceptable. Sadly Sr. Keehan of the the Catholic Health Associate found this “satisfactory”. It looks like Obama will be happy that Sr. Keehan is on board. Of course, Planned Parenthood and Sr. Keehan agree.
Update II: Rumor confirmed. Insurance, that Religious Institutions pay into, will provide contraception, ie, it is still a violation of the First Amendment.
Update I: Rumor is that “Hawaii” compromise will be offered, but the bishops have already rejected this. So basically it’s a poor attempt at stalling and not really offering a solution.
The buzz this morning is that Obama is “caving in” to the pressure and will announce a “compromise” today at 12:15pm Eastern.
The news reports are saying that Religious Organizations won’t have to offer birth control, only the insurance companies that these Religious Organizations provide will offer birth control.
Yeah, that’s the compromise.
If these reports are true, this is dead on arrival. Changing the meaning of the words won’t do it.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation did not reverse course as many have thought, suggested, or commented all over the Interwebs today.
Even Austin Ruse President of C-FAM is not sure and has issued this press release:
Statement by Austin Ruse on the Susan G. Komen Foundation
“Today the Susan G. Komen Foundation made an announcement that appears that they have reversed themselves on funding of Planned Parenthood. While I do not believe they have reversed themselves, it may turn out to be the case. We do not know.
What happened this week was nothing short of a Mafia shakedown campaign by Planned Parenthood against the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Planned Parenthood told the Komen Foundation “either give us money or we will destroy you.” They were aided and abetted in this hostage taking by the mainstream media.
At this point, pro-lifers should cease their support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We should wait and see what happens. We know there are five more Komen grants to Planned Parenthood in the pipeline. If any more come up, we will know we have lost and Planned Parenthood has won.
I do not regret the work I did over the past days on this issue, neither should any pro-lifer. I only regret we could not have done more to make Komen strong and able to fight off the thuggish abortion giant, Planned Parenthood.
What the week has shown is that Planned Parenthood, an organization that is under criminal investigation all over this country, will stop at nothing to maintain their stranglehold on organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
We should continue to pray for Nancy Brinker and all of her colleagues at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.”
One question that pro-lifers often pose to pro-choicers is how can they reconcile permitting abortion while still prohibiting the murder of newborns? To put it differently, what is the substantive difference between a newborn child and a child in the latter stages of pregnancy? For that matter, what is the difference between an unborn child at any stage of development and a born child? Evidently this logic hit a Canadian judge pretty hard and she recognized the contradiction in distinguishing the born from the unborn. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading
Imagine you lost your mother, after an illness, at the hospital. In as much as any death is easy, hers is… and then it starts.
Months later, after much legal fighting, they finally give you her mortal remains– a couple of tissue samples in little boxes, kept behind the secretary’s counter for when you came in to get them for a proper burial. You’re handed the shoebox and told to sign here, here and here, be careful, those are bio waste.
Horrifying, isn’t it?
How about this:
One of the most irritating aspects of life for faithful American Catholics over the past several decades has been how quiet most of our bishops have been in the face of outrageous attacks on the Church. Too many of our bishops have acted as if they had their spines surgically removed upon consecration. Fortunately there have always been a handful who have been willing to speak out and suffer the media attacks that then ensue, along with the ambushes of heterodox Catholics frequently eager to lend a hand to anti-Catholics in their ceaseless war against the Church. One of the more outspoken bishops is Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who has never been afraid to proclaim the truth, and to do so eloquently. He is at it again over at First Things.
Last week National Public Radio ran a story called “Narcissism on Rise in Pop Music Lyrics.” It opened up with,
On this very day in 1985, the number one song on the Billboard Top 100 was…”We Are the World” (“We are the world. We are the children.”) Fast-forward to 2007 when Timbaland’s “Give It to Me” featuring Nelly Furtado topped the charts: “…love my a$$ and my abs in the video for ‘Promiscuous.’ My style is ridiculous.”
So more than two decades ago, we were holding hands and swaying to a song of unity, and these days, we’re bouncing to pop stars singing about how fabulous they are. Psychologist Nathan DeWall has had the pleasure of listening to it all for research, and he found that lyrics in pop music from 1980 to 2007 reflect increasing narcissism in society. And DeWall is an associate psychology professor at the University of Kentucky.
Dr. DeWall proceeded to explain:
I was listening to a song that, really, one of my favorite bands, Weezer, had on one of their albums recently, and it’s called “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived,” and I kept wondering, who would actually say that out loud? “I am the greatest man that ever lived. I was born to give and give and give.”
The ironic thing is it’s a song about how I’m the greatest person in the world, but it’s to the tune of “‘Tis A Gift To Be Simple,” which is a song about humility. And so what I wanted to do, instead of relying on self-report measures of personality like narcissism, I wanted to actually go into our culture, our cultural products, which are tangible artifacts of our cultural environment. And so, for that, I thought maybe song lyrics would be a very good jumping-off spot.
What we found over time is that there’s an increasing focus on me and my instead of we and our and us. So, for example, instead of talking about love being between we and us and us finding new things together, it’s mostly about how, you know, for example, Justin Timberlake in 2006 said, “I’m bringing sexy back. Yeah. Them other boys don’t know how to act. Yeah.”
There is no doubt that DeWall is correct. Pop music is becoming more narcissistic. The broader, age old question is: Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? The answer is probably some of both. Our culture is increasingly narcissistic. In the spirit of the NPR article, which was about music, I wish to propose a possible antidote for narcissism: the liturgy, specifically liturgical music.
Unfortunately, we must first distinguish between music that might be heard in any given liturgy and liturgical music, properly speaking. While the Catholic Church has been plagued with bad versions of the four-hymn sandwich for decades, the fact remains that Holy Mother Church has given us a liturgical hymnbook: The Graduale Romanum, In this book, one will find the ancient Gregorian chants. But what many will be surprised to find is that the Church has given us specific chants for every Sunday of the year in the places that we currently sing “hymns.” For any given Mass, there are prescribed chants for the Introit (think here of the “Opening Hymn” you are used to hearing), the Gradual (“Responsorial Psalm”), the Offertorio (“Offertory”), and the Communio (“Communion Song”). Most of these date back more than a thousand years. Of course, in the Graduale Romanum, one will find the chant written in Latin. However, vernacular versions of these exist. What is key is that the liturgical rubrics, while they permit hymns, call for a preference given to these chants. Vatican II itself held that the Gregorian chant tradition should enjoy a “pride of place” in our liturgies.
Why do I see this as an antidote for narcissism? The surest way to deal with this problem is to give people the sense that they are not the center of reality, nor are they the source. The Cartesian turn to the subject has flipped classical metaphysics on its head so that people come to view reality as what is in their own minds rather than what their minds encounter on the outside. The liturgy is a reality that is given to us, not one that is created by us. In fact, it is in the liturgy itself that we find our own fulfillment. When we go to Mass, we participate in reality itself, something that is much bigger than us. If we see the Liturgy as something that we fit into rather than something that fits into our lives, we can come to understand that we are not the center of reality: God is.
The problem is, as has been observed on several observations over the past decade, there is an increasing narcissism even within the liturgy itself: both priests and people come to think that the liturgy is something that can be created and recreated with the fickle winds of changing culture. In fact, the lack of narcissistic language in the new translation of the Roman Missal has been pointed out in comparison with the current, defective translation. Currently, there are several places in the texts that seem to order God to do certain things and to give a primacy to the people over the divine. The new translation, being more faithful to the Latin, has sought to correct many of these errors. What remains to be fixed is the same problem in the hymns that are often chosen for Sunday worship. Many of the modern hymns focus on man rather than God (think here of “Gather Us In,” or the ever-elusive “Sing a New Church Into Being”). Quite simply, these hymns are self-centered rather than God-centered.
Contrast this with the use of the Graduale Romanum. These chants have been given to us by the Church, each carefully constructed around sacred texts in order to serve as a sort of lectio divina for the readings of the day. Indeed, when Gregorian chant is properly performed, it seems as if it is not of this world. Part of that is due to the inherent structure of the music, for chant lacks a strict meter (though it has an internal rhythm of its own). Unlike a hymn, which marches forward towards a climactic conclusion, chant allows the listener to rest in contemplation, a mirror of the eternity which we, God willing, will experience someday. But another part is due to the words, which become primary (unlike modern pop music, where the words are often a later add-on to an already existing rhythm/chord structure).
Perhaps the most important point, however, is the fact that the music of the Mass inevitably (forgive the pun) sets the tone of the entire celebration. It stands to reason, then, if we employ a music that is provided for us by the Church (not to mention encouraged by the rubrics), then the people will better understand that the liturgy itself is given and not created. If they come to understand the liturgy, which is the objective center of reality, in this manner, then they will come to see that they are not the center of reality. Thus, my rapid fire, probably incomplete, but hopefully coherent, argument that an antidote for the rise in narcissism is Gregorian Chant. Save the liturgy, save the world.
An already busy weekend concluded with the surprise announcement by President Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been killed on Sunday morning, May 1 by a team of American forces in a compound in Pakistan.
There’s a lot to be digested, and a lot of questions for what this means for an already uncertain future in the Middle East. However, as the crowds pour into Lafayette Square with jubilation, it is important to remember how this day began. It began as Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, which this year saw the beatification of John Paul II, an event which marked the holiness of the man. One cannot think about the holiness of John Paul II without recalling his powerful forgiveness of his would-be assassin. For Catholics, this day began as a testament to the powerful force of God’s love and mercy.
So it should it end the same way. Bin laden did much evil. He killed scores of innocents, contributed to the starts of several wars, and used religion to create a culture of hatred. For Americans, we watched as our brothers and sisters were killed, wounded, or separated from their families. If anyone deserved to be riddled with American bullets, it was he.
But “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” has no “but” clauses. The culture of life that John Paul II spoke from womb to tomb; the dignity and beauty of God-given human life is not diminished by one’s sins. God’s mercy and love has no exceptions; as Christians our mercy and love are to have no exceptions.
Simply put, God loved Osama Bin Laden and extended His mercy to him. It is our duty as Christians, as witnesses to the love of God to extend our forgiveness to Bin Laden and pray that he accepted that mercy and that we will be with us in paradise. The celebration around his death ought to make all Christians uneasy; even more so the many declarations that they hope Osama is burning in hell.
This is a difficult teaching to be sure, especially for those who lost a loved one due to Bin Laden. But the Church has never claimed that its teachings were easy. Instead, it has offered the grace and sacraments to live it out, as well as pointed to the examples of extraordinary human beings who lived it out. Today, the Church named a man blessed who knew deeply about the costs of love and forgiveness. So Blessed John Paul II, pray for us. Pray that our country can use this moment to emerge more unified. Pray for the world that we may escape an era of fear and hatred and violence. Pray for us that in this time, we can follow your example and use this moment to witness to the love & mercy poured out by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Some time ago I wrote a post expressing some of my reservations about the activities of Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action. In light of their most recent undercover sting operation, it is a good time to revisit some of the objections and debates that came up earlier. Initially I believed that Live Action’s activities were morally questionable in some cases, and definitely wrong in others.
I have to say that I stand by this assessment today, for several reasons I will state below.
First I want to make clear that I am 100% pro-life; I make no exceptions for rape, incest, or “to save the life of the mother”, for it is never permissible to kill an innocent human being to save another human being. At the legislative level I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, in which case many pre-Roe abortion bans would immediately regain their full force in many states.
Every now and then we need a reminder that true evil exists in this world.
An abortionist arrested in Philadelphia faces eight counts of murder, one for the death of a patient, and the other seven for killing babies who survived his botched abortions. The district attorney alleges that Kermit Gosnell used a pair of scissors to sever their spinal cords.
Ed Morrissey links to the Grand Jury report. It is truly gruesome.
One woman, for example, was left lying in place for hours after Gosnell tore her cervix and colon while trying, unsuccessfully, to extract the fetus. Relatives who came to pick her up were refused entry into the building; they had to threaten to call the police. They eventually found her inside, bleeding and incoherent, and transported her to the hospital, where doctors had to remove almost half a foot of her intestines.
On another occasion, Gosnell simply sent a patient home, after keeping her mother waiting for hours, without telling either of them that she still had fetal parts inside her. Gosnell insisted she was fine, even after signs of serious infection set in over the next several days. By the time her mother got her to the emergency room, she was unconscious and near death.
A nineteen-year-old girl was held for several hours after Gosnell punctured her uterus. As a result of the delay, she fell into shock from blood loss, and had to undergo a hysterectomy.
One patient went into convulsions during an abortion, fell off the procedure table, and hit her head on the floor. Gosnell wouldn’t call an ambulance, and wouldn’t let the woman’s companion leave the building so that he could call an ambulance.
And to cap things off: the state did nothing to stop this.
We discovered that Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has deliberately chosen not to enforce laws that should afford patients at abortion clinics the same safeguards and assurances of quality health care as patients of other medical service providers. Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety.
The State Legislature has charged the Department of Health (DOH) with responsibility for writing and enforcing regulations to protect health and safety in abortion clinics as well as in hospitals and other health care facilities. Yet a significant difference exists between how DOH monitors abortion clinics and how it monitors facilities where other medical procedures are performed.
Indeed, the department has shown an utter disregard both for the safety of women who seek treatment at abortion clinics and for the health of fetuses after they have become viable. State health officials have also shown a disregard for the laws the department is supposed to enforce. Most appalling of all, the Department of Health’s neglect of abortion patients’ safety and of Pennsylvania laws is clearly not inadvertent: It is by design. …
Starting at page 99, the Grand Jury report details of the killing of viable babies. I do not recommend you read this unless you have a very strong tolerance. In short, these murders were so awful that even staff began to question the practices of this doctor.
These killings became so routine that no one could put an exact number on them. They were considered “standard procedure.” Yet some of the 100slaughtered were so fully formed, so much like babies that should be dressed and taken home, that even clinic employees who were accustomed to the practice were shocked.
Regardless if they’re Communists or not… China is the place to be. Should we be teaching our kids Chinese?
The Real Challenge from China: Its People, Not Its Currency by Fareed Zakaria
Q&A WITH WEN JIABAO – ‘The Wish and Will of the People Are Not Stoppable’
Related books on interest
And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (holy and true) dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Apocalypse 6:10
If you listen closely you can hear the attendants (which include the mayor of our fine city of Houston Anise Parker) at this “dedication” commenting on their newly “sacred and holy” ground. They are speaking of the largest abortuary in the United States.
If we are moving toward, or already in, a post-Christian civilization then should we be surprised that those who promote and support abortion and other anti-life policies impart a religious sheen on their actions? After all, human sacrifice was present in almost all pagan religions to some extent with the Aztec sacrifices being among the most infamous. These people are willing and proud worshipers of Baal and, unless we pray, fast and offer Masses in reparation for these sins, we will only allow this evil to grow and ever more innocents slaughtered at the altar of “Choice”.
In a completely predictable move, ObamaCare will pay for abortions. Lifesite News is on the story:
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Obama administration has officially approved the first instance of taxpayer funded abortions under the new national government-run health care program. This is the kind of abortion funding the pro-life movement warned about when Congress considered the bill.
The Obama Administration will give Pennsylvania $160 million to set up a new “high-risk” insurance program under a provision of the federal health care legislation enacted in March.
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The American Bar Association will be considering supporting same-sex marriage at their next meeting in San Francisco.
It urges state, territorial and tribal governments to eliminate laws restricting marriage between same-sex partners.
Supporters say the adoption of the measure would build on past ABA policies supporting protections for gay couples and their families. The House of Delegates in 2004 approved a recommendation opposing efforts to enact federal legislation preventing states from allowing same-sex marriage. “Everyone who worked on it is hopeful,” said Michele Kahn, a partner at Kahn & Goldberg who chairs a New York State Bar committee on gay rights. The State Bar in June 2009 came out in support of same-sex marriage, dropping its support of civil unions or domestic partnerships as alternative measures.
Kahn said so far no formal opposition has come forward against the measure.
What I find amazing is that there is no formal opposition.
I know a lot of pro-life and practicing Christian lawyers, how can this be?