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Archive for February, 2011

Okay, sure the UK Daily Mail is one of those British tabloid types that have all the gossip about starlets and pictures of scantily-clad footballers’ wives.  It must be some sort of British thing that I don’t really get.  However, it might be my new favorite paper cause in addition to the article dissecting the “abortion is safer than pregnancy” guideline nonsense, it also published this little gem which flies in the face of the today’s moral relativistic, “if it feels right, it must be right” sensibility:

Having parents split up is worse for a child’s happiness than not having money, a major multi-million pound study has suggested.

In findings which may prove a comfort to every parent confronted with ‘pester power’ at the till, the Understanding Society project found that not living with both natural parents adversely affected a child’s ‘life satisfaction’ more than the household’s material situation.

In fact, neither poverty or wealth influences happiness, according to the research – although the more siblings they have, the unhappier they are.

So there you go.  Wealth is not the key to having happy children.  Having an intact family is.  Thank you, Daily Mail!

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Pregnant women should be told that having an abortion is safer than having a baby, highly contentious new advice from doctors states.” Now I have heard it all. Women are designed to have babies and have been doing so for thousands of years. But if the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says so, we shouldn’t take any chances with our health. The upside is that if all women take this advice the human race will have finished destroying the planet within the next 120 years. Job done.– Soap Bar, Land of Flakes , 27/2/2011 17:17 (from a comment to UK Daily Mail online article, italics mine)

It breaks my heart to see how deeply moral relativism has progressed in Great Britain.  On the same day that we learn that NHS cancer patients in the UK are being denied life-extending drugs on cost grounds, The Daily Mail reports on upcoming guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists declaring that a procedure that kills life in the womb of a mother is really much better than actually gestating that life, nevermind that the whole purpose of a womb is to gestate life.

Pregnant women should be told that having an abortion is safer than having a baby, highly contentious new advice from doctors states.

The guidelines, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, also say that most women who terminate a pregnancy will not suffer any psychological problems as a result.

The guidance, which is still in draft form, has horrified medical ethicists and Christian groups, who say it forces an ‘absurdly liberal agenda’ on women in a vulnerable situation.

As the paper notes, these recommendations are no only controversial but are more tellingly, not medically sound.  In what appears to be a well-written and researched article, the reporter presents the views of leading ethicists, psychiatrists and medical doctors refuting the science underlying the proposed guidelines:

 And, with abortion clinics among those contributing to the guidance, [critics] likened the procedure to allowing a tobacco company to review the consequence of smoking or putting McDonald’s in charge of a study on how fast food affects health.

The RCOG guidance on the care of women asking for an abortion states is aimed at all doctors, nurses and counsellors involved in terminations.

One of the first sections, on ‘what women need to know’ about abortion, states that major complications are rare and that women ‘should be advised that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term’.

But critics called on the RCOG to produce the evidence to back its claim, and added that many complications caused by abortions will be recorded in A&E and other stats and so are missing from the official tally.

The chapter finishes with the statement that ‘the great majority’ of women who have abortions do not experience adverse psychological effects.

It continues: ‘Although abortion can be associated with a range of feelings, long-term feelings of guilt, sadness and regret appear only to linger in a minority of women.’

This leaves much less room for doubt that than current RCOG advice, while simply states that while rates of psychiatric illness and self-harm are higher in women who’ve had an abortion, there’s no evidence that the termination itself was the trigger.

Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, accused the RCOG of ‘perpetuating a myth’ about the safety of abortion.

Questioning why the report’s 18 authors include representatives from two of the country’s largest abortion clinics but not one psychiatrist, he said: ‘The RCOG has been heavily criticised in the past for underplaying the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women and this new document appears to continue in that vein.

‘Asking this group to comment objectively and honestly about the physical and psychological consequences of abortion for women is like asking Philip Morris or British American Tobacco to review the health consequences of smoking or Macdonald’s to outline the adverse effects of fast food consumption.

There are simply too many financial and ideological vested interests at stake that threaten a fair assessment.’

Trevor Stammers, a former GP and a lecturer in medical ethics at St Mary’s University College in Surrey, said the RCOG had ignored one the most authoritative studies into the psychiatric effects of abortion.

He also accused it of rushing out the updated guidance ahead of a Royal College of Psychiatry report into the psychological effects of abortion.

He said: ‘When they can’t refute the evidence, they have just ignored it. This is an absolutely disgraceful stitch up that they have forced through quickly.(more…)

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I really like Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor and Catholic convert.  It took him seven years to decide to convert to Christianity from Hinduism and he has spoken before about how difficult that was for relationship with his parents.  He seems like an intelligent and thoughtful man, and it seems like he is earnest, which we don’t really see much of in politics these days.  Oh sure, they all make out that they are so very very sincere, but how many truly earnest politicians can you name?

Anyway, I read this brief interview that Sarah Bailey Pulliam (also of GetReligion.org ) wrote for Christianity Today about Gov. Jindal and it reminded me of what a tough road politicians of faith have.  So many contradictory and conflicting interests, their road is full of traps and snares, and Satan keeps setting out more.

We should pray for Bobby Jindal and all our elected officials.

Q & A: Bobby Jindal on his Vision | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction.

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Ice Towers!

Via Lifehacker comes this instructional video — perfect for those of us who have run out of ways to make this neverending winter enjoyable. 

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Who then shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation? Or distress? Or famine? Or nakedness? Or danger? Or persecution? Or the sword?  (As it is written: For your sake, we are put to death all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.)  But in all these things we overcome, because of him that has loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.                                            –Romans 8:35-39

Last Friday, a yacht with four Americans was hijacked by pirates south of Oman.  Since then, American warships have been tailing the pirated yacht back to the pirates’ base in Somalia. From CBS News today, comes this sad ending to the Somali pirate hostage situation:

A pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Navy destroyer shadowing a hijacked yacht with four Americans aboard Tuesday. Then gunfire erupted, the military said. U.S. special forces rushed to the yacht only to find the four Americans fatally wounded.

 The experienced yacht enthusiasts from California and Washington are the first Americans killed by Somali pirates since the start of attacks off East Africa several years ago. One of the American couples on board had been sailing around the world since 2004 handing out Bibles.

Like a good number of people, I have been wondering what on earth made these four Americans sail in such dangerous waters.  Now we know:  they were acting as missionaries in the twilight of their years, bringing the good news to people who need to hear it.  Their yacht was stocked with bibles which they took to many third world locations.  From the Santa Monica newspaper, where their home parish is located, comes this story of how their faith community is grieving, and also telling us a bit more about these unconventional missionaries.  I am posting the entire article with the paper’s updates.

They were “very supportive of St. Monica’s, and over these last years, they took our mission—’to form loving disciples who will transform this world’—and did,” Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson tells Santa Monica Patch.

(Updated at 1:37 p.m.): On Tuesday afternoon, Torgerson shared with Santa Monica Patch his thoughts about Jean and Scott Adam.

“They’re an extraordinary couple, a wonderful part of our community,” the pastor said. “Jean had been my dentist, so I got to know her that way.”

The couple was highly active in the church, and two sons of Jean attended St. Monica Catholic High School.

They were “very supportive of St. Monica’s, and over these last years, they took our mission—’to form loving disciples who will transform this world’—and did,” Torgerson said.

The pastor said that, after working hard all their lives, Jean and Scott decided to “make a difference” in their retirement.

“Retirement for them was relaxed, but they went to the far-flung corners of this world and visited the poorest of the poor,” bringing Scripture to them, he said.

He added that the Scripture that was read during Mass on Tuesday morning says, “if you’re faithful, you’ll win the crown”—and, according to Torgerson, “that’s what they did.”

“They died doing what they wanted to do,” he said.

(Updated at 12:29 p.m.): The Rev. David Guffey, a priest who is in residence at the church, reflected on Jean and Scott Adam at the 12:10 p.m. Mass on Tuesday.

He told the congregation, which had gathered for the regular daily service, that “we do so today with special feelings of sadness and sympathy.”

He said the news was “tragic,” and that Torgerson is “working with” the grieving family of Jean and Scott Adam.

A funeral and a memorial service are pending, Guffey said.

Guffey noted that, last weekend, parishioners had lit a candle in the hope that the couple would return home safely.

“We pray for their eternal rest, and for their family and friends,” he said.

Torgerson said Tuesday that Jean and Scott were “faithful people” and that Jean sang in the church choir, according to City News Service.

“They were people that worked hard all their lives and decided in their retirement that they wanted to do something to make a difference in this world,” he said.

Family and friends of Jean and Scott Adam are mourning the deaths of the St. Monica Catholic Church parshioners, who were killed by Somali pirates early Tuesday. At the church’s morning Mass, Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson said the parish was heartbroken at the news, according to The Associated Press.

The couple had been on a voyage around the world, distributing Bibles.

The Bibles, which numbered in the thousands, had been donated to Jean and Scott Adam through grants and gifts. They referred to their effort to distribute them as “friendship evangelism.”

A “wonderful turn of events have occurred as a result of this endeavor,” the couple wrote on their Web site, SVQuest.com.

“They loved the experiences they were having with the people they were meeting and the places they were going,” Scott Stolnitz, a longtime friend of theirs, told CNN. “We asked them once if they ever looked forward to living on land again, and they both, believe it or not, said no.

“They were not proselytizing evangelicals,” he continued. “They were using their Bible mission as a way to break the ice in the Christian community, particularly in the Pacific.”

“This is all of our worst nightmares,” Stolnitz told the Los Angeles Times.

Stolnitz said the 70-year-old Scott Adam was laid-back, had a dry sense of humor and earned a theology degree later in life, after retiring as a film executive. Jean Adam was a retired dentist, according to CNN.

“She wore her heart on her sleeve,” Stolnitz said.

He added that, even though Jean Adam often got seasick on boats, she wanted to be with her husband and decided to sail with him.

“The Quest started an ‘around-the-world’ trip in mid December of 2004 after sailing her to the States from New Zealand in 2002,” the couple wrote on their site. “This is planned to be an eight or ten year voyage.”

The couple was aware of the dangers of piracy, friends told the Los Angeles Times. They said Scott had considered shipping the boat instead, but later decided not to after learning that a rally of yachts was headed to the Arabian and Red Seas.

Ten days ago, Jean and Scott said via e-mail that, in an effort to avoid being located by pirates, they would be out of communication for almost two weeks, according to BBC News.

“They basically had said, ‘We’re not going to be in communication for 10 or 12 days because we know this is territory where there could be problems and we don’t want pirates or other people to know our location,’ ” said Robert Johnston, a professor who taught Scott at the seminary he attended.

According to St. Monica’s Annual Reports, Jean and Scott Adam donated money to the Partners in Mission effort benefiting St. Monica Catholic High School. They donated to the effort’s campaigns in 2008-09 and 2009-10.

I do not understand what happened, why the pirates would kill these hostages with the US Navy right behind them.  But I believe that the Adams and their passengers died because they were following a call to witness for our faith, as part of the new evangelization.  And because of their followership, they put themselves into a dangerous position leading to their deaths.  This makes them martyrs for the faith, though maybe not technical martyrs, I don’t know how that is defined by the Church.

But I will pray for the eternal rest of their souls, for mercy for everyone involved, and comfort for their family and friends.  I thank God for their lives and example.

As it is written–

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

-Psalms 116.

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Good newsbaptized Catholics grow by FIFTEEN MILLION!

Bad news:  vocations remain roughly the same.

And Jesus went about all the cities and towns, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease, and every infirmity.  And seeing the multitudes, he had compassion on them: because they were distressed, and lying like sheep that have no shepherd.  Then he says to his disciples, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers are few.  Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth labourers into his harvest.

Have you prayed this week for vocations, and for your priest and for your discernment for your own charism?  I talk to my sons and other young men, even boys, about becoming priests.  Try to sow the seeds for the next harvest.  Pray for vocations.

Prayer: St. John Vianney, your gracious example shows us how powerful a simple parish priest can be in fighting the despair of our sinful lives.  Pray for the men whom God has called to serve in the priesthood. 

Number of baptized Catholics in the world grows by 15 million :: EWTN News.

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I’ve begged for prayers for politicians before and been burned so you think I know better.  Still….

God bless Rep. Mike Pence

and…please!  Pray for him!

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