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Monday, March 26, 2007

Its been a rough Lent

As my few readers can tell, I had taken to the blog with a new vengeance for a few weeks and then I've slacked off a lot. Part of that has been the attention that I've been focusing on my other blog, Catholic Converts as that little project really took off after the first of the year.

But mostly, the last few weeks have been a spiritual roller coaster. I think I've been to confession three times so far during Lent and need to go again (hopefully tomorrow). It's all very frustrating.

I bought Death on a Friday Afternoon by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus to read during Lent. I didn't start reading it until after the 3rd week of Lent, read the first two chapters, and haven't opened it in a week.

And twice in the last week, once about five minutes ago, the thought has entered my mind to completely abandon both of my blogs and just slip back into total anonymity.

As I mentioned in a post an my other blog, when I was in RCIA our director told us right before our first confessions to paint broad strokes without going into too much detail since we would be at a communal penance service and they didn't want things to move too slowly. This was welcome news to my ears since it meant I could be pretty general and avoid detailing some particularly embarrassing things from my past. I've been thinking a lot about this the past couple of weeks and have come to the conclusion that I need to really hammer it all out in the confessional.

I wondering if I haven't been able to say out of the confessional for any length of time during this Lenten season because I need/want to get this taken care of. Is it possible that after each time I go to confession and don't bring this up that on some subconscious level I seek an immediate need to go to confession?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Through the eyes of Christ



Last summer a friend and I went to St. Louis, Missouri for a Cardinals baseball game. The game was on a Saturday afternoon. We drove to St. Louis on Friday night and got up Saturday morning and went to Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. After Mass we hung around and had a look at the Cathedral Basilica. We then left to go check out the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France, also known in St. Louis as the Old Cathedral. On our way we passed by St. Francis Xavier Church near the campus of St. Louis University. We decided to stop and see if it was open. We went in and the nave was mostly dark. There were only a few lights in the sanctuary. I'm not good at using my camera in low light situations but decided to take a photo from the back of the church anyway. We where reading some of the information in the front of the church when a man, whom I hadn't seen before, came out of the nave and started talking to us. I can't remember the details exactly but I believe his story involved a sick child and he asked us if we had any money that we could give him. We each gave him a few dollars from the little cash we were caring and went on our way.

I thought that if he was just waiting around for a chance to bum money from unsuspecting strangers that a dark church would be a weird place to hang out. In any case I offered up a short prayer for this man.

Later, when I downloaded my pictures to my computer I was somewhat surprised by what I saw in this photo. There he is, head bowed seemingly in prayer, sitting in the back pew of a dark church with only the altar illuminated. The light in the rest of the church and the fuzziness is caused by the night/low light setting on my camera.

I just ran across this photo again. I'm somewhat glad that it turned out blurry. I think it's a good reminder that our view of the world is often distorted and we must strive to view all things though the eyes of Christ.

For more pictures from my trip to St. Louis click here

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

(PRODUCT) RED

It seems like everyone is getting in on (PRODUCT) RED. Basically the idea is that companies produce special red products (cell phones, ipods, credit cards, shoes, etc), consumers by these red products, and the companies give a portion of the proceeds to The Global Fund: To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

AIDS/HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria are serious problems. By virtue of Our Lord's commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" we should be concerned with the plight of people suffering from these diseases and should seek ways to help.

However, I've been wary of this whole thing since the media campaign has started. It seems like I don't watch TV without seeing a commercial for some red cell phone or other gadget encouraging me to buy one to support the fight against AIDS/HIV. Every time I see one of these ads I wonder about whether these funds are being used to purchase and distribute condoms.

So tonight I did some digging.

On the Global Fund web page I went to the Funded Programs section and did a search for "condom". Here's some of what I found.

Grant in Detail: Sudan
Total Funding Request: $20,682,531.00
Total Funds Disbursed: $7,521,371.00

Main Activities:
4. Train trainers, service providers and community extentionsts in IEC and condom distribution practice

Objective 2
To increase accessibility to HIV/AIDS/STIs quality services ( e. g. safe blood transfusion, VCT, condom distribution and STIs management )

Global Fund Suspends Grants in Uganda
In the interim period, the Global Fund will work with the Principal Recipient to identify the elements of funded programs involving life-saving treatment to ensure that funding continues to reach those activities. All necessary measures will be taken to ensure that life-saving treatment as well as prevention activities such as condom procurement and distribution financed by the Global Fund will not be disrupted during this period. A team from the Global Fund is ready to travel to Uganda to assist the Principal Recipient in this task.

Obviously we can all help immediately through our prayers. But, what about those of us who find ourselves in a moral dilemma due to the fact that purchasing (PRODUCT) RED products will provide funding for the promotion of condom usage. We can't condone one evil (artificial birth control) to fight another evil (AIDS/HIV).

Does anyone know of any good charities that use their funds to promote abstinence/chastity instead of condoms as a means to control AIDS/STD? I'm honestly not in a position to do much financially at the moment (college debt on a first job out of college, entry level position salary is not fun!) to do much but I hope that I can contribute once my employment (and income) situation improves. For now, I guess prayers are in order that the tide will turn in the fight against AIDS/HIV and other STDs in that more people will see the virtue of abstinence and chastity.

The Seven Last Words of Christ Part 2

This is the second part of a series on the Seven Last Words of Christ as I read Father Richard John Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditation on the Last Words of Jesus From the Cross.

“Truly, I say to you, today you will
be with me in paradise.”

In Matthew 19: 30 Our Lord tells us, “And many that are first, shall be last: and the last shall be first.” Christ continues in the telling of householder who hired laborers for his vineyard. Some began work in the morning, others at the third hour, and still more at the eleventh hour. At the end of the day the last to begin work were paid first and all received the same wage. The first to begin work grumbled that the last received the same wage. The master of the house said to them, “Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil, because I am good?”

The Biblical account of Jesus crucifixion tells us that he was crucified between two robbers. One of the condemned railed against him saying, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” The other rebuked the first, “Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil.” Turing to our Savior, and his, he said, “Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom.” Here we have the second of the seven last words, “Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23)

Here we see the last of humanity, a thief, be the first to receive the salvation made available by the Christ crucified. Just has he had done throughout his public ministry; Christ continued to preach even as he faced death on the Cross. He shows us what is meant by the “first shall be last: and the last shall be first.” We must be diligent to not set ourselves first in self righteous assurance of our salvation while condemning others, for the thief, condemned by all, was the first to taste salvation.

In the Sermon on the Mount Christ warns us, “judge not, that you may not be judged” (Matthew 7: 1). We commonly recognize this as a clear instruction to refrain from passing judgment on others. What of ourselves? Should we not also refrain from judging the state of our own salvation? To judge our own salvation secure is to become comfortable or worse, boastful. St. Paul instructs us, “with fear and trembling work out your salvation” (Phillipian 2: 12).

Rather that judge our own salvation to be secure we should live in the hope of salvation. Father Neuhaus quotes St. Thomas Aquinas as saying, “one has to believe of what one hopes that it can be attained, this is what hope adds to mere desire. Man can, namely, also have desire for things that he does not believe he can attain, but hope cannot exist in these circumstances.”

Our hope for salvation is grounded in our belief, that is, our faith that it may be attained. Furthermore, our faith leads us to hope that all will be saved. In his letter to Timothy, Paul tells us, “I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2: 1 - 4).

From the Cross our Lord shows us that our belief is not unfounded and therefore our hope justified. He shows us that through his Grace and awesome power, in accordance with His will, even the last of human kind can be saved from the very jaws of death. In fear and trembling we must hope for our salvation and the salvation of all.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Ministry of Reconciliation

KaleJ over at un-Muted Mumblings makes a good point on today's Epistle readings in his post Ministry of Reconciliation

The Seven Last Words of Christ

I am a little behind on my Lenten reading. That being said, I am reading Fr. Richard John Neuhaus', Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus From the Cross. As we approach Good Friday, I will attempt to offer my own reflections on Fr. Neuhaus writings as I progress through the book.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

In Eucharistic Prayer III we pray, “Look with favor on your Church’s offering, and see the Victim whose death has reconciled us to yourself.” Here we proclaim the mystery of our atonement, granted to us through the death of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In Death on a Friday Afternoon, Father Neuhaus outlines four truths of atonement.

  1. Something has gone terribly wrong.
  2. We are responsible.
  3. Something must be done.
  4. We can do nothing.

In partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve sought the power to determine right from wrong, good from evil. Rather than let them be stored up the prodigal son desired his treasures immediately. In declaring itself blameless, the world condemned God to die on a cross. Yet, they knew not what they were doing.

We, in the here and now, were present in the there and then. It was we who sought and still seek knowledge to judge, treasure, and excuse. We know not what we do, for it is outside the realm of our human understanding to contemplate the fullness of God. To know the full agony of sin would be too much to bear. Yet, we are responsible.

God, who is Justice, demands that reparations be made for that which has gone wrong. The world is disordered and must be made right. Shall we do it? We, in not knowing what we do, are not even able to recognize the depth of our own fault. How are we to right the entire world?

If we can do nothing to right that which we have wronged, then who can? Our answer is found in the person of Jesus Christ, crucified on a cross and raised in glory. Christ, who was not sin, became sin so that he could take our place in justice. In obtaining for us our atonement, Christ did what we could not do in our ignorance. In fact, crucial to our salvation is our ignorance. If we had known that this man, Jesus Christ, was the Son of the Living God would the words, “Crucify Him”, have dared been uttered from our lips. Would we have dreamed to seek our excuse by laying the blame on he that is blameless?

God is not bound by our judgment. Yet he submitted himself to it so that he might forgive us for that which we do and do not know. In his death Christ reveals to us that to which we are blind. It is at the foot of the Cross that the world is rightly ordered and we are able to see.

Continue Reading: Part 2

Parable of the Prodigal Son and Confession

In today's readings we have the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15: 11 - 32. I thought Fr. Steven related this parable to our need for the Sacrament of Reconciliation quite well. Here is a brief look at what he said with some expansion of my own.

He pointed out that a lot of people object to going to confession saying, "I don't need to go to a priest for forgiveness." However, Fr. Steven points out that the prodigal son could have easily said to himself, "I am sorry for my sins and I know that my father will forgive me" and left it at that. But, the son knew that he needed to HEAR his father's words of forgiveness. So he returned to his father's house to confess his sins and seek forgiveness.

The son plans to say three things, 1. I have sinned, 2. I am no longer worthy to be called your son, and 3. treat me as you would one of your hired servants. However, the father does not allow the son to say this third thing. Rather the father says, "this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found."

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we humbly admit our sins and lamment that we are not worthy to be called sons of God. However, we are given by the grace of God the assurance and joy that God runs to meet us and greet us as His sons. Though unworthy of it, He will not deny us His love and kinship.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day


I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Sacramentum Caritatis

Well it seems that most of the Catholic blogging world had read the Exhortation within hours of it's release. I've been much slower. I have read the first two parts. Here are some of the things I've found interesting thus far.
Paragraph 14: The Fathers of the Church often meditated on the relationship between Eve's coming forth from the side of Adam as he slept adn teh coming forth of the new Eve, the Church, from the open side of Christ sleeping in death: from Christ's pierced side, John recounts, there came forth blood and water, the symbol of the sacraments.
This is something that I hadn't really thought much about. This is such an obvious connection, I don't know why I hadn't ran across this before. I've highlighted this section with the intent to track down some of the referrenced writings and read more about this subjetc.
Paragraph 33: From the Annunciation to the Cross, Mary is the one who received the Word, made flesh within her adn then silences in death. It is she, lastly, who took into her arms the lifeless body of the one who truly loved his won "to the end".

Consequently, every time we approach the Body and Blood o f Christ in the eucharistic liturgy, we also turn to her who, by her complete fidelity, received Christ's sacrifice for the whole Church.
I find this to be a very interesting thought as well. The Virgin Mary is our example of a complete Christian life from her yes to being the vessel that would bring Christ into the world to her arms waiting to receive his body from the cross. I think this section of the Exhortation is definatly something to prayerfully contemplate and educate ourselves on. Being not to long ago that I was a non-Catholic with very little to no understanding of the Church's relationship with the Virgin Mary, I can see how I would have been taken aback and very put off by this statement. I think it is important for us to fully understand, and be able to explain to those who don't, that we look to the Virgin Mary as one who at every turn of her life shows us how we ought to receive Christ.
Paragraph 42: Generic improvision or the introduction of musical genres which fail to respect the meaning of the liturgy whould be avoided. . .Finally, while respecting various styles and different adn highly praisworthy traditions, I desire, in accordance with the requests advanced by the Synod Fathers, that Gregorian chant be suitably esteemed and employed as the chant proper to the Roman liturgy.
I am happy about this section on liturgical music. When I first started seriously attending Mass I went to a parish that used a lot of contemporary music with guitars, drums, etc. At first I found this very pleasing. However, over the past year or so my views on liturgical music have changed quite a bit. My current parish uses much more traditional music with organ accompaniment and I find it much more conducive to worship.
Paragraph 49: It should be kept in mind that nothing is lost when the sign of peace is marked by a sobriety which preserves the proper spirit of the celebration, as, for example, when it is restricted to one's immediate neighbors.
Simply outstanding that this is clearly stated. I find it very disruptive when people are wandering all over the church during the sign of peace. Even more so when the priest leaves the sanctuary to shake hands with half the congregation!
Paragraph 53: It is helpful to recall that active participation is not per se equivalent to the exercise of a specific ministry. The active participation of the laity does not benefit from the confusion arising from the inability to distinguish, within the Church's communion, the different functions proper to each one.
This is a very important matter and I am glad that it is included. After the recent directive from Rome that the laity not be allowed to purify the sacred vessels after communion there were some who were quite offended. I was in a brief exchange with another blogger who was upset at the loss of her "right" to full and active participation in the from of purifying the sacred vessels. She seems to have started ignoring me and a couple others who didn't agree with her. I fear that is has become all to commen for things like purifying the sacred vessels and serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion have become symbols of status and power within the parish. I'm glad to see the Holy Father taking a strong hand in this area.
Paragraph 62: [In speaking on Masses held with an international mix of worshipers] . . . with the exception of the readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful, such liturgies could be celebrated in Latin. Similarily, the better-known prayers of the Church's tradition shoudl be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sun. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts adn execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and aslo to sing parts of the Liturgy to Gregorian chant.
This section is quite interesting. Father Z at What Does the Prayer Really Say?, whose blog is down at the moment, has pointed out a conflict in the translation in this passage. Where the English says, "could be celebrated in Latin" the Latin and all other venacular translations use words more accurately translated as "should". Is this a simple error or a diliberate alteration, I'm not sure since I'm not a translation expert. Some have commented that this could be the crack in the door for Latin to continue to be discouraged or even forbidden in many US dioceses. However, I feel that the next couple of lines are meant to be much broader in scope, refering to more than just celebrations with international worshipers. It is clearly stated that common prayers of the Church should be recited in Latin. The Holy Father give a strong indication that he desires that seminarians be adequately trained in Latin. Could this be a hint at the coming of the rumored document from Pope Benedict granting wider usage of the Latin Mass?

These are just a few of the things that I have thoughts on so far. I'm close to halfway though the document and must say that it has been quite educational, uplifting and enjoyable so far. I will share more thoughts after I finish reading it. As I mentioned there are also some things that the document has brought to my attention that I need to explore deeper.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Gargoyle Code

Fr. Longenecker at Standing on My Head has a series of post titled The Gargoyle Code. Written in the style of C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters, the series is a very good read.

Start with part one here: The Gargoyle Code

Update on Brittany's student loans

Good news! Brittany at Casting out into the deep, in a JPII sort of way… has raised enough money to pay off her student loans. She plans to enter the convent with the Saelesian Sisters in August.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Catholic Carnival #110

The 110th edition of the Catholic Carnival is up at just another day of Catholic pondering

SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS

Today Pope Benedict XVI released SACRAMENTUM CARITATIS

I look forward to reading it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Subtle Reminders

Well maybe not so subtle.

From that what I've heard from others it seems that I am not alone in having some particular sin that I struggle with more than others. I won't got into the details here but lets just say that the sin I struggle with most is of the mortal, no communion, need to seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation type.

And seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation is exactly what I did this past Thursday. I went to confession and then to Mass and received communion for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks. And thought to myself....."okay let's try to not have to come back to confession for a few weeks." I'm quickly learning that isn't a good attitude to have. Because two days later, WHAMMY, same sin. TWO DAYS...that has got to be some sort of record. And so my thoughts have been contrite for having offended God but also a lot of regretting having to go back to confession so soon.

So today at Mass as I was sitting in my pew during the communion procession. And as things would turn out the communion hymn was "I've Received the Bread of Life" the refrain of which is, "I've received the Bread of Life, and my heart is filled with joy." What a reminder that my thoughts shouldn't be on self pity for having to go back to confession. But rather, I should be focused on the break in communion with Christ and his Church and the lack of joy in my heart that I created through my actions.

Christ said, "Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you." -John: 6:54

The life we gain when we receive our Lord in the Eucharist is that joy that fills our hearts. Without it we have no life and no joy, for true life and joy can only come from God.

Even though we should be diligent to avoid sin, we must be cautious to not become overly exuberant in our worry about sin to the point that it prevents us from living a life pleasing to God since excessive worrying can cause harm and be sinful in its own right. However, when we do sin we should not dread confession but should embrace and rejoice in this wonderful sacrament.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The latest on Luukas

From his mom:
Luukas had another EEG last Saturday. It showed slight epilepsy so we'll change his medicine again... it gives 50% chance of stopping the attacks. His epilepsy might slow down Luukas' development (which is already affected by his brain damage itself and by his poor eyesight).
Luukas is such a little fighter. When he first got sick about a week after being born the doctors didn't expect him to live. 9 months later he's growing and continually showing signs of improvement. But as you can see he's still has a long way to go and several obstacles to face. Please keep Luukas and all children, born and unborn, in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Help getting to the convent

The blogger at Casting out into the deep, in a JPII sort of way… is asking for help in raising enough money to pay off her student loan before she enters the convent in August.

Being a recent college grad with student loans myself I offer my prayers and this link. If you can't contribute financially please contribute in prayer.

From the Pro-Life front:

The Good:

Top India State Court Rules Unborn Child is "Living Person"
An Indian state consumer court has delivered an unprecedented ruling in favour of a woman seeking an insurance claim on the death of an unborn child--the court determined that the unborn baby was a living human being entitled to personhood and required the insurance company to pay the claim.

Granddaughter of Famous US Black Slave Dred Scott Fights for Unborn Rights to End Abortion
In March 1856, a black slave named Dred Scott was judged by the US Supreme Court to be less than a person. Today his great, great granddaughter, Lynne Jackson, is pointing to the case as a beacon of hope that full human rights will be extended to all citizens, regardless of their age, size or degree of dependency.

The Bad, Sickening, Heartless . . . and probably the one in most need of prayer

Boston Woman Suing Abortion Practitioner and Planned Parenthood for Failing to Kill Daughter
The Boston Globe reports that a Charlestown woman is suing Planned Parenthood and one of their abortionists for child support after the latter failed to kill her daughter in 2004.

Jennifer Raper, 45, is including a second doctor in the suit who, she says, failed to inform her that she was still pregnant after the attempted abortion. The suit was filed Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court and is awaiting screening before being allowed to go to trial.

The suit alleges that Dr. Allison Bryant did not "properly" abort the child, who is now two, "causing the plaintiff to remain pregnant."

Catholic Carnival #109

Catholic Carnival #109: Spiritual Reading for Lent

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tennessee Woman Chooses Child’s Life over Her Own

On Thursday, February 15, at the age of 31, Jennifer Ann Carlisle gave up her life to cancer after refusing an abortion that doctors told her might have extended her life.

Jennifer had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005. At two months gestation, long before any chance of saving the child’s life outside the womb, Jennifer was told that she would die from the soccer ball-sized tumour if she did not abort the baby.
Click the title to read the rest.

Prayers for the family and Rest in Peace Jennifer Ann Carlisle.

I believe this verse would apply to a mother and her child.

"Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15: 13

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thumbs up to Bishop Vasa

Bishop Vasa had this to say about Nancy Pelosi and her daughter's brush off of abortion as, "just a choice":

Bishop on Nancy Pelosi: It's "Categorically Impossible" to be Catholic and Hold Abortion is "Just a Choice"

"It seems to me that there are just choices and there are unjust choices," counters Bishop Vasa. "Choices would be the preference for chocolate ice cream over vanilla ice cream or sherbet instead of ice cream. That is just a choice."

"A just choice would be to choose to pay a fair and living wage to employees as opposed to simply meeting the mandatory standard of minimum wage laws," he wrote. "An unjust choice would be to choose to terminate the life of another human being. This is not just a choice and it is not a just choice; it is an unjust choice."

"Furthermore it is an unjust choice which is diametrically opposed to the clear and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church as well as to the clear and consistent teaching of God Himself in the Ten Commandments. The direct, intentional taking of the life of an innocent human being is inhumane and unjust. It is not just a choice!"

And I have to highlight this gem from the article:

the younger Pelosi commented about her mother to the Chronicle saying: "My mother, throughout her entire life, has been faithful o the Church, even though the Church has not been that faithful to her because of her politics. And I think that takes a lot of perseverance. And still, people protest her right to go to her own church."
Wow!

Western society contracepting itself off the map?

That's the arguement of Mark Steyn in his new book, America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It.

Steyn points out that birth rates are rapidly dropping and the populations are aging faster than at any other point in history in western countries that have embraced contraception and birth control.

Review of America Alone