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2nd Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

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2nd Sorrowful Mystery:  The Scourging at the pillar

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.”  John 19:1

The fruit of the mystery is purity, and accepting the will of God.

They used a whip made of several strips of leather that were embedded at the ends with pieces of bone and lead.  No Roman limitation was placed on the number of lashings inflicted, and often the victim didn’t survive the flogging.  Jesus did.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Every blow from that cruel whip was for my sake.  Every vicious tear in His flesh, every drop of precious blood that flowed was for my healing.  Every agonizing moment of pain He endured was to secure my peace.  His punishment, my freedom.

My impurities are not beaten out of me; they were beaten out of Him.

God deals with me gently and patiently, always with love.

I can’t even fathom the harsh treatment Jesus received in my stead.  He must have cried out in pain, but He never protested.  He never even tried to whisper a plea to the Father, “Stop!  Please stop!”

He would do anything to rescue a lost child.

Me.

You.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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1st Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

agony-in-the-garden

1st Sorrowful Mystery:  The Agony in the Garden

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  Luke 22:42-44

The fruit of the mystery is true contrition for our sins.

True contrition. Before we can have true contrition, we have to first truly understand that we have sinned.

Our self-obsessed, “enlightened” society would very much like to proclaim Sin as an archaic, prohibitive concept whose time is over.  Moral restrictions, clearly defined standards of right and wrong, and consequences for violations are all antiquated notions wrongly imposed on people of free will, says the modern mind.

To dare to suggest that Someone outside ourselves, higher than ourselves has the authority to define right and wrong, good and evil, and then establish the just punishment for wrongdoing, well, that’s downright blasphemous in this age of moral relativism.

How can we be truly sorry if we’re not thoroughly convinced we’ve done wrong?  Okay, maybe we can admit that we’ve sinned, but we haven’t done anything truly terrible, so it’s not really that bad.  It can’t be that big a deal.

Take another look at that scene in the Garden. Jesus was in so much anguish that He sweat blood as He prayed!  He asked God if there was some other way to accomplish the plan, so it’s obvious this Sin problem is a very big deal, indeed. The torture He was about to suffer wasn’t due to something small or trivial.

But I can’t help wondering what grieves Him more – that we sin, or that we try to cover our sin, make light of it, and even delight in it?

Is it the arrogance that inhabits our sins and causes us to deny that we haven’t just broken a rule or made a little mistake – we have sinned against a perfect and just God who also happens to love us beyond our comprehension?! Our sin is aggravated by prideful indifference. Insult is added to injury.

Why? Because it is scary as all hell, literally, to fully grasp the gravity of our own sin and the consequences of it, and were it not for the Cross and the unspeakable love of the Father, none of us could bear it. Contrition that begins out of fear of the just punishment for sin is a good place to start, but God isn’t satisfied with leaving us there. He wants to overwhelm us with His love; that crazy, illogical, endless love that took our hideous sin upon His perfect Self and endured our punishment for us.

We no longer have anything to fear.  Now we are free to be repentant out of sorrow, not terror or despair. We can face our wretched condition and own up to our sins honestly, because what awaits us is forgiveness, not wrath. Once that reality takes root in our hearts, then gratitude inspires us, humility enables us, and LOVE compels us to true contrition.

“Blessed is he who transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”   Psalm 32:1-5

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.”  Psalm 51:1-4, 7

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Lent, rosary

 

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Fifty Shades of Madness: No Gray Area Here

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I can’t say it any better than the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Have we all stepped through the looking glass?

Yes, I’m afraid that collectively, as a culture, we have indeed. We no longer seem to recognize the plainly absurd as absurd. Up is down; out is in; wrong is right; insane is normal.

I have been holding out hope that the rapid descent of our culture into utter madness would be stopped, or at least slowed because enough people would come to their senses and find their backbones. I’m not sure I can hold that hope any longer.

Things that are as fundamental to the human person as being male and female, mother and father, are being jettisoned as oppressive and discriminatory, in favor of bizarre and thoroughly fabricated, convoluted notions of human sexuality. All sense of sacrifice and obligation toward children and their true best interest seems to have also been rejected in favor of the feelings, desires, and “rights” of the adults.

Imagine standing in a crowded stadium full of people, on a bright, sunny day, and being the only one there who knows the sky is blue. Everyone else now insists it’s pink. It’s absurd, but try as you may, you cannot convince anyone of the error of their thinking. You show them what blue looks like, but still they say, “We don’t want a blue sky anymore. We want pink! We say it’s pink, so it’s pink!”

Fifty Shades of Grey has been the latest offering of proof that we have gone completely mad.

A story that is plainly, unabashedly about sado-masachism, rape, and pornography is being hailed as romantic. It’s been offered as a Valentine to the world, and devoured with enthusiasm as though it were fine chocolate. Women look at Christian Grey, a man who is controlling, abusive, selfish, and manipulative — a man who knows nothing at all about love — and they swoon. Because he’s rich and handsome. That is madness.

“Oh, it’s just a book. It’s just fantasy.” What crazy talk! Have we all really forgotten the power of an idea that really catches on and gets gobbled up by the masses? Have we forgotten the kind of influence a book can have on a person, and on a culture?

However the money-machine has packaged and sold it, FSoG is not a love story. Christian Grey does not regard Anastasia as someone to respect and cherish; he certainly doesn’t view her as someone to protect and honor. He uses her and abuses her. He manipulates her into “consenting” to what he wants, so that his every sick and selfish desire can be satisfied. And this, somehow, is portrayed as an adult romance to be gushed over?

Dads, raise your hands: How many of you want your daughter to get involved with the likes of Christian Grey? Well, guess what? Thanks to the phenomenon of the book and movie, you can rest assured that there will be more and more Grey’s out there looking for young women they can easily dominate. The culture is telling them it’s not only alright, but it’s the kind of relationship women really, secretly want.

What are you going to tell your daughter about men like Grey? What are you going to tell her about porn and BDSM? Not comfortable having that conversation, you say? You better get comfortable real fast, because she’s having that conversation without you, with folks who do not have her welfare in mind.

And Dads, what are you saying to your sons about FSoG? Do you want your son to think it’s okay to twist a woman into signing a contract agreeing to be bound, beaten, and raped? Who’s going to tell the guys that that sort of thing is not sexy? Who’s going to tell them it’s NOT love? Who’s going to tell them it’s not how a real man behaves?

Moms, what about you? Would you just be delighted to learn that your daughter was Anastasia? That she was being blindfolded and bound, beaten, and treated like a piece of meat for some man’s selfish pleasure? Is that progress for women? “Mom and Dad, I’ve met the most amazing man. He’s rich and handsome. He had me sign a contract stating he could put me in handcuffs, blindfold me, beat me, and assault me. He says I shouldn’t overthink it. But don’t worry. It’s all good because I consented.”

Would you just be so proud of your son if he treated a young woman that way? Would you brag about him to your friends and rave of his accomplishments? “He’s a sado-masochist! He’s a master of dominance. We couldn’t be more proud of him!”

Scores of women — Protestant Christian women, Catholic women — have bought this garbage and then defended doing so. That is just madness. That is an inexcusable action. Yes, inexcusable. Why? Because “to whom much is given, much more will be required.” As part of the Body of Christ, you’ve been given True Love. You know what and Who love is. You have a duty to be a witness of that love to the world, and to refuse to buy — literally and figuratively — the counterfeit ideas of love, marriage, and sex that come from the pit of hell.

I’ve heard the pathetic rationale — “I probably won’t see the movie, but I read the book and I enjoyed it…it’s really no worse than a lot of other adult romance novels” — and I’m just gob-smacked.

What the heck are y’all reading? If this is run-of-the-mill “adult romance” to you, then you are a big part of the problem. And you have no excuse. You are obligated to know better and do better. You know darn well that FSoG has nothing whatsoever to do with love. You know darn well is pornography. It’s smut. You know it. How can you enjoy that?

Are you living under a rock that you don’t grasp the destructive force of pornography in our culture? How can you in any good conscience contribute to that destruction?

Would you think someone smart for dabbling in a little Ebola? Maybe as long as Ebola took you for a private helicopter ride, and invited you into the Penthouse suite and served champagne? Ooh, the danger, the risk, the glitter… makes it exciting!

Pornography ought to be regarded with greater alarm and more isolation than the Ebola virus because it is far more deadly. It can kill the soul of a person; it will kill a marriage and ruin a family. It destroys lives every single day from the inside out. It’s pure evil.

(Don’t believe me? Believe Ted Bundy.)

But you FSoG fans out there, you’ve lost your minds. You don’t run from this insidious plague. You’re so hypnotized by a glamorous illusion you’re willing to get cozy with it. You pay for the privilege of being infected.

And no, it’s not just your life and your private choice. Your decision to buy the book, see the movie, and defend those decisions has given aid and comfort to the enemy of all our souls, the enemy who prowls like a lion looking for children, spouses, families to devour.

You have become part of the audience for that filth. You’ve helped make it the best-selling, record-breaking hit it’s become. You helped spread spiritual Ebola.

There’s nothing gray or ambiguous about this. As plain as the nose on your face is the fact that FSoG glamorizes an abusive man, portrays him as some twisted sort of romantic idol, normalizes sado-masochism and pornography, and tries to insist that it’s all marvelous because it’s supposedly “consensual.”

A good friend of mine, who’s a Catholic convert and father of 11 children, said it so well:

“There is a line of theological thought (Milton refers to this in Paradise Lost) wherein the first sin committed after the Fall was one of lust. Adam looks at Eve’s nakedness and proceeds to simply take her. Thus at the core of our fallen nature as men is the desire to subjugate and objectify women, rather than nurture, protect, and provide for them. This is why porn is such a grave evil…it is a siren song for men to cast off their hard-won nobility and grace and revert to a default state of depravity.
How much more evil then are materials like “50 Shades”…that teach women that this state of depravity is not only normal…but desirable?”

In real life, Anastasia doesn’t change her abuser. Grey doesn’t transform into a gentleman and become a loving husband. He doesn’t realize how wonderful she is and vow to never hurt her again. No matter how much she “understands him” and no matter how patient she is; no matter how much she thinks she loves him, she cannot turn him into the man she wants. She’ll end up battered, emotionally shattered, abandoned, and possibly dead.

It also has to be admitted that if Christian Grey was a middle-aged, fat, sloppy, ugly man in a crummy neighborhood, no one but no one would be rushing to justify this book or be enthralled by its “romance.” No one would call it anything other than what it is: a perverted tale of a predatory creep and his victim.

Ultimately, the woman most responsible is the author, E.L. James. She spouts the same nonsense about the story being only fantasy, totally consensual between two adults, and not in any way making light of domestic abuse. She’s deluding herself. She’s become wildly wealthy by calling degradation and abuse “romance”, and beguiling all the crowds into accepting madness as perfect sense.

Ms. James and half the world may have gone mad, but I still know vomitous, pornographic trash when I see it. And I’m not so fond of vomit that I’ll sit in it and call it a bubble bath.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Justice is Far From Us: Will We Ever Bring it Close?

Justice is Far From Us: Will We Ever Bring it Close?

The word in the air and on the streets, both actual and virtual, is justice. People are gathering and protesting, chanting and yelling for justice. They demand justice.

The irony is, many of them demand what they refuse to submit to themselves. If “justice” is not delivered to them, they will inflict their own brand of it. If you happen to be in their way, too bad for you. Too bad for your business — it’s gotta get burned down or at least vandalized for “justice.” Too bad for your car, your property, even you. You might have to be sacrificed for “justice.” The mob will decide, and no one gets much warning. They simply bulldoze their way right over you or anyone or anything that tries to slow them down.

I’ve noticed that “justice” is very angry nowadays. It’s furious, in fact. I’m only in my 40’s, so perhaps older folks would tell me that it’s always been this way. But something tells me there’s a new intensity, a much more explosive element in the powder these days. Local crimes don’t stay local any longer. Local tragedies become national faster than you can say tweet.

Facts are not so important as the version of events that will generate the most hatred toward the other side. It’s volatile propaganda in as few characters as possible. Caricatures in soundbites. A photo and a crafty caption with enough Retweets and Shares and Likes, and suddenly, it’s the whole truth and swift action can’t come swift enough.

If you don’t agree; if you question; if you ask for details and for calm and reason, you are “just like them” and must be vilified. How dare you not acknowledge the declared victim? Why should you hesitate to condemn the declared guilty party? Who are you to say the facts don’t add up? What gives you the right to question the narrative?

You want the truth that may lead to genuine understanding? Well, how quaint. We live now only on perceptions, without even a half-hearted effort at discovering what’s really there. Instantaneous information has made us intellectually lazy. We take in whatever advances our own agenda, and reject the rest. Rather than listen to a real leader, if one can be found, we simply look to the most electric and popular spokesperson. We give back our slogans and mottos and not much else. All of it based on only one thing: our own self-styled morality.

And all of our cries for justice go unanswered. The louder we scream, the more silent justice becomes. It seems to me that our cries for justice are wasted breath because we are unwilling not only to do what justice requires, but to be what justice requires.

We ask for what we can’t define and don’t even want to understand. We demand what we cannot hold. We no longer have any concept of justice. We simply hunger for retaliation, revenge, entitlements for us, and punishment for them. These have become justice to us, so justice doesn’t stand a chance.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness. No one enters suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity.” Isaiah 59:1-4

Who defines justice? Can an unjust people establish justice on their own? Without the framework of a truly righteous code, how can right and wrong be decided? Without a declaration of right and wrong that has our human dignity and flourishing as its sole aim, how can the good be known and the bad be rejected?

From where comes a law that is truly just? There is an answer: not from where, but from Whom.

Only the One Who is just can teach us about justice. And that’s our problem. We’ve “progressed” beyond any need for God, and certainly beyond any patience for Him. We can design our own morality now, and adjust it accordingly to each one’s tastes and mood. When our individual moralities collide and crash into one another, we drive by the destruction in slow-motion, snap a photo, assign it our own subjective declaration of acceptable or unacceptable, and proceed to spread our false gospel.

Justice demands honesty and integrity. Honesty and integrity have no room for self-serving agendas. Justice insists on the truth; it makes no allowance for manipulation and falsehoods.

Justice is interested in the common good, and particularly in the good of the oppressed and powerless. Greed and violence have no place with justice.

Justice requires humility, and that is a virtue we are woefully lacking today. It’s a virtue we have come to despise rather than admire and seek. Without humility, we will never know justice.

“He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

Justice is not merely a thing granted us or a state of being arrived at; it is something we must do. We cannot do justice if we do not understand it.

Justice walks alongside mercy, kindness, humility, and righteousness. Justice flows out of them like a river, and dries up completely in the face of arrogance, oppression, greed, hatred, and violence.

“The way of peace they know not, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked, no one who goes in them knows peace. Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we look for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope like those who have no eyes… Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter.” Isaiah 59:8-10,14

“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” Proverbs 28:4-5

What is the way out of the unjust cesspool our society has sunk to? In a word, wisdom. And again, wisdom comes not from where, but from Whom.

“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you; understanding will guard you; delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil; men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.” Proverbs 2:1-15

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart. To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” Proverbs 21:2-4

If we ever hope to achieve justice for ourselves or for anyone else, we must put away our need for immediate vengeance and seek understanding instead. It is not a show of weakness to admit the other guy might be right about something, and we just may be wrong about something. Justice will never arrive with pride. We need to be humble enough to admit our own failings, and see what we might learn from someone who has traveled roads we have not. This is only possible when the goal is the real common good.

Justice also goes hand-in-hand with mercy. Yes, mercy. Not excusing fault or failing, but tempering punishment wisely, so that the sentence serves society without quashing the possibility of redemption for the guilty. The common good is not served by punishment for punishment’s sake.

Where and how do we start?

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:16-17

Cease doing evil. Learn to do good. Correct oppression. All oppression.

The heart of our trouble, the root of our unjust weed, is our disregard for human life. We forfeit any right we may have to justice because we turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the most vulnerable among us, and sacrifice them – literally – for the sake of our wants and “rights.” We greet our innocents with brutality and death. That is why justice is far from us.

Unless and until this nation stops killing the child in the womb; unless and until we recognize the inherent dignity of each human person, even the disabled, chronically and terminally ill, the elderly, the homeless, the poor, the marginalized; we will simply never know justice or peace. Justice and peace will run away from us because we choose violence and power, greed, and death instead.

It’s that simple.

Black lives matter. White lives matter. Cops’ lives matter. Mothers’ lives matter. Fathers’ lives matter. The child in the womb matters. All lives matter.

Until that becomes our mantra, justice will be a stranger to us. The just God waits with mercy and blessing for our decision.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. The Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
all lives matter

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Why Marriage is Not a Water Fountain, via Public Discourse

At The Public Discourse, by Anthony Esolen.

Separate Water FountainsFive stars! One of the best pieces I’ve read on the subject of same-sex “marriage” and why opposition to redefining marriage is not analogous to discrimination or segregation. Simply excellent, thoughtful, and solid. Would that this sort of thorough thinking would spread through our culture like a welcome winter flu. We would be healed.

An excerpt:

“Marriage is Not a Water Fountain”

Conjugal Marriage: Not Peculiar, But Universal

“Now, none of these conditions characterizes our efforts to restore and protect the institution of marriage. If anything, they characterize some of our opponents in the debate. Let us see why.

First, the idea that marriage requires a man and a woman is not peculiar to us. It is universal in human culture. Its universality is based upon the obvious functions of the reproductive organs, and the obvious need to propagate the species. We may add, too, that in a multitude of manifestations, wide in variety but recognizably of the same kind, what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman are also universal in human culture. That too is observed and accepted as natural and good, most nobly embodied in the complementarity of marriage, man and woman.

What is peculiar? The idea that there are no such things as manhood and womanhood; that the sexes are empty of significance, except in the sole case of what must then be considered a mere irrational and inexplicable desire: that this particular male must have another male, and this particular female must have another female. We can pretend that a man can possibly marry another man, because we have shut our eyes to what marriage is, and what men and women are.

That means that we have to shore up a lie. Suppose I say, “A marriage by our bodily nature requires a man and a woman. If we think about it for a moment, it also requires a vow of permanence and exclusivity, because marriage involves the time-transcending act that brings a new generation into being.” What about that is not true? When a man and a woman unite in the congress of the sexes, that is exactly what they are doing, even if they try to thwart its natural result. Nothing in human reality is comparable to that act.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2014/09/13730/

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Screwtape Epilogue: Pastor Pens Letter Welcoming Planned Parenthood

The Screwtape Epilogue: Pastor Pens Letter Welcoming Planned Parenthood

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The Rev. Walter Baer of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in New Orleans has penned a letter that could be an epilogue from the C.S. Lewis classic. Screwtape would be proud of this one. The words practically slither off the screen.

Rev. Baer is pleased to welcome the new Planned Parenthood clinic to his area, and wishes to extend his heartfelt support for the clinic and thank them for all the good service they will provide his community. He writes:

“I write to express my support for the right of the clinic to be there and to serve the reproductive needs of our community.” (italics mine)

The business that kills babies for profit has a right to exist? (But those babies do not.)

In the earliest days of Christianity, the Christians set themselves apart from the rest of their culture in many ways, in particular, they refused to expose their infants. They refused to set the “unwanted” or “unplanned” infants on rocks in the desert heat to be scorched and picked apart by animals and birds of prey. But you, Rev. Baer, support the right of the clinic that is the modern-day equivalent of that barbaric ancient practice. And you consider that Christian behavior?

“Lack of access to contraception can be among the chief causes of abortion, to which some are forced to turn in tragic cases.”

First, this myth that contraception is hard to come by is absurd and not worthy of any intelligent person. Birth control is widely available and ridiculously easy to access. The only “lack” is the will of contraception-using women to pay for it themselves.

Second, statistically more than half of women seeking an abortion were using contraception when they became pregnant. More than 25% of women have had more than one abortion, while using contraception. Clearly, contraception is not the answer to reducing elective abortions.

Finally, you are right, Rev. Baer, to say that some women are forced into abortion. Many, many women are coerced and bullied into abortion by family members or partners, and underage girls are literally forced into having abortions by their adult abusers. Or have you not heard?

The very organization you warmly welcome into your community has a history of covering up child rape. They are in it for the money, after all, and not interested in stopping the flow of pregnant girls into their clinics. Who cares about child rape? Who really cares about those girls? Just kill their babies and send them back to their abusers. Just means more money down the road.

“The church supports the right of a woman to make her own choices in these matters, while rejecting abortion as a means of birth control or mere convenience.”

Do fathers have any rights, Rev. Baer? Does the child have any right? Say, to live?

“The official position of our church is that all human life is sacred from its inception until death.”

Sacred, but disposable? Sacred, but not worthy of protection? Sacred, but having no right to exist? Sacred, but not so sacred that it can’t be “terminated” at will? A very strange definition of sacred, indeed.

“While we acknowledge that in this country, it is the legal right of every woman to have a medically safe abortion, as Christians we believe strongly that if this right is exercised, it should be used only in extreme situations.”

Planned Parenthood does not make millions of dollars every year off the “extreme situations.” Abortion is their endless gravy train. No reason to abort is a bad reason for them.

“We emphatically oppose abortion as a means of birth control, family planning, sex selection or any reason of mere convenience.”

Why? Isn’t it a woman’s reproductive right? Who decides what is “mere convenience” anyway? And who are you to limit a woman’s exercise of her rights? Now you want to set moral restrictions on this precious “right”?

“The Episcopal Church expresses its unequivocal opposition to any legislative, executive or judicial action on the part of local, state or national governments that abridges the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of pregnancy or that would limit the access of a woman to safe means of acting on her decision.”  (italics mine)

So, which is it, Reverend? You can’t have it both ways. Either you support, unequivocally, a woman’s unrestricted “right” to abortion at any time for any reason, or you don’t. You can’t place your own ethical restrictions on the decision to abort while still insisting that local, state and national governments cannot do the same.

Now for Rev. Baer’s real money-line. This is the one that truly gives him away.

“As a parish church that is named for the most wondrous conception in history, we welcome the Planned Parenthood clinic to the neighborhood. It will serve a very important role in education, health screenings, contraception, and, when necessary, a safe place for the termination of a pregnancy.” (italics mine)

First, when is it necessary to kill a child, Rev. Baer? Tell me. Tell me when it is necessary to kill a defenseless and innocent child? I want to know.

Second, you are nothing more than a coward hiding behind the euphemisms of the culture of death. You speak of terminating a pregnancy as though there is no life being terminated. You ignore the child and the murder of that child. You disregard the humanity of the child in the womb and speak only of pregnancy. There is no such thing as pregnancy without the existence of a new human being; a human child created by the God you claim to know and worship. You claim for yourself the right to determine who lives and who dies.

And for the record, childbirth successfully terminates pregnancy, without killing.

But for me, Reverend, what makes your letter nothing but utterly wicked is your attempt to correlate the Divine conception of the Son of God in the immaculate womb of Mary with the killing-for-profit, the preying upon innocents, the destruction of helpless, tiny children done by Planned Parenthood every single day.

In that, the serpent is revealed. Satan is terrified of the Virgin Mother of God, for from her came the Incarnate Word that is his total defeat. He despises her humble fiat that ushered in the salvation of the world. It is truly wicked to twist and distort the Annunciation in order to mask the evil of Planned Parenthood and try to elevate it to some place of admiration.

What you have forgotten, Reverend, but what Satan has not, is that Mary’s foot is firmly, eternally atop his crushed head.

Yes, your words are purely wicked and your letter was written with the spirit and influence of the evil one. You are aiding and abetting a greedy, dishonest, predatory corporation. You have attempted to convey upon them the honor of good service and nobility, which makes you either pitifully deceived and blind or a stone-cold liar. Perhaps both.

I realize you’re hardly the only “Christian” pastor in America to support the evil of abortion, and I would say the same to anyone who professes to be a follower of Jesus Christ and a shepherd of souls. The blood of innocent children is on your hands. The agonizing wounds of untold numbers of mothers is partly yours to account for.

Women and children deserve far better than to be brutalized, exploited, and killed by abortion. You claim to be a servant of Christ — you have no excuse whatsoever for raising your voice in support of the slaughter of innocent children. You have no excuse whatsoever for not doing everything in your power to stop the slaughter.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Is This Love? Surrogates, Gay Couples, and Motherless Babies

at Catholic Online

The story of two gay men in Texas who became fathers of twin boys via a surrogate appeared in my Facebook feed a couple of weeks ago, posted by a woman voicing her support for the men and her anger over their legal predicament.

Each man is the biological father of one twin, and each wants to legally adopt the biological son of the other. Because Texas does not recognize same-sex “marriage”, the law will not allow the adoption or for the birth certificates to reflect the two fathers as parents of both boys.

So began the cry of discrimination toward these men, and the injustice of the law.

I decided to jump in with quite the opposite perspective. I wasn’t expecting my comments to be well-received, but even so, I was stunned at how the thread developed.

What was truly maddening, I said, was that two babies had been manufactured and sold, and now were being denied their mother. It is wrong, I argued, to create by design a home for those babies that intentionally deprives them of their mother. They have a right to know and be cared for by their mother.

I went even further and said that what the two men had done was not love. The adults have gotten what they wanted, but the babies have not been given what they need nor what they deserve and are truly entitled to, which is their mother. Whatever emotions or longings motivated the decision to conceive the babies, it was not love.

For that, I got the usual: Hateful, judgmental, critical, heartless bigot. No surprise. I was also informed that what I really meant was that homosexuals are not even capable of love.

The only moral outrage to be found was that two gay men were being prevented from legally adopting the other’s child. Not one other person in the thread was the least bit concerned about two babies being purposely denied their mother. The boys will have two dads, and that’s good enough.

I don’t think it is. Not at all. Not even close.

I couldn’t believe I was actually having to argue for the necessity of a mother in a child’s life! How is it that we’ve convinced ourselves that mothers are not really needed beyond giving birth? How can we seriously believe that children do not require a mother? Yet that was the argument. The boys have two dads, so they’ll be just fine. They are lucky to be so wanted, so loved. Lucky?!?

To be so loved…Except that love doesn’t do that. Love doesn’t amputate the mother from the baby’s life immediately after birth in order to accommodate the sexual preferences of the adult. Love doesn’t require the child to sacrifice for the lifestyle of the adult. Love does not tell the child, “You don’t really need a mother. You don’t get to have your mother.” Love does not presume that the child won’t feel the loss, and won’t suffer because of it.

“Love wills the good of the other,” I said. (Actually, St. Thomas Aquinas said.) “Love puts the other first. None of the adults involved in creating these babies put them first.”

Sound harsh? It should. I think it’s pretty harsh that kids are being made to order, to satisfy the wants of specialty couples who think it’s their prerogative to deprive a child of either mother or father, depending on their own sexual inclination. It’s extremely harsh that children are being required to forfeit their natural, healthy, undeniable need for both parents, mother AND father.

Frankly, it isn’t good enough that children are “wanted.” That’s the lingo and the philosophy of our contraception and abortion culture. ‘Every child a wanted child,’ and all that bull. That just means that children are things we acquire when we want to, and dispose of when we don’t want them. It’s centered only on the desires of the adults, without regard for the inherent worth of the child or his inviolable rights.

That’s not love. That’s not how children are to be treated. Wanting a child isn’t the standard. Clearly, these two men wanted a baby. They went to the trouble and expense to find a surrogate, and manufacture some embryos, and they were blessed with two healthy boys. They got what they wanted.

The real mother in Solomon’s court proved her love and her authenticity by choosing to suffer the pain of losing her baby, rather than let any harm come to him. She sought his good over her own, fully expecting terrible heartache for herself. That’s how love wills the good of the other.

Anyone truly devoted to the good of a child will not create by design a motherless or fatherless home for that child. Doing so causes great harm. And we’re not talking about harm brought about by unavoidable, unforeseen tragedy.This is planned and inflicted on purpose.

What about their mother? She’s not a victim here. In fact, she may not even be only one person! She’s what is now being called a “gestational carrier” and she may be carrying an embryo(s) created with a donor egg(s). Ugh — can we possibly find a more degrading way to treat a woman? The battle for equality for women has led us to this? Women being used for their wombs and their biological functions?

That’s the best case we can make for motherhood anymore? It’s just the physical process of gestation and childbirth? But beyond that, well, moms aren’t really necessary? How horrifying! And how ironic — decades ago the fight was to be valued for more than only mothering; now the battle has to be for the irreplaceable, pricelessness of a mother!

Assuming the mother is even mentioned on the child’s birth certificate, how will she be named? “Donor egg, incubated and grown by gestational carrier”? She’s nameless, faceless, and entirely missing.

And of course, the one who suffers the most is the child. Always the child. The child is ordered up, the product of a contract, bought and sold, and delivered like a piece of property. But it’s all dressed up in the language of wants and wishes and emotions, with a lovely baby shower and breathless oohs and ahhs, so surely it’s all wonderful.

No one is entitled to a child. Even married couples are not entitled to children. They have no right to expect that they will be given the gift of a child. They pray for children, and remain open to them in their marriage, but there’s no entitlement. You don’t walk up to the Giver of Life and insist He give you what you want. You don’t demand a gift. It’s a gift.

Children are the fruit of marriage for a reason. It’s God’s wise and perfect design that the love of husband and wife is ordered toward the creation of new life. He certainly could have designed it differently, but He obviously felt that both mother and father are necessary, and that children require the presence of both their parents.

The increasing frequency of babies being manufactured through surrogacy and then delivered to same-sex couples is alarming and heartbreaking. I can think of nothing more selfish than for adults to deliberately deprive a child they claim to love of her fundamental need and genuine right to be raised by her own mother and father because their sexual preference precludes it. It is a perversion of the family unit. It’s an injustice to the child.

Take a look at this photo.

toronto dads It shows a gay couple in Toronto as the son they’d had conceived through surrogacy was born. This beautiful little boy will also be denied his mother. The photographer captured the moment the two men held the baby to their bare chests.

Yes, I can clearly see the raw emotion, the tears, the joy of the father holding the baby. I do not doubt that he was overwhelmed with love in that precious moment. It is plainly obvious.

 

 

Now look at this photo.

baby Milo born to gay coupleI recognize something crucial in this picture, something else that is plainly obvious. That baby was searching for his mother. A newborn baby has only one real need, and that is to be put to mother’s breast and smell and feel her skin and suckle. That’s it. Sorry, guys, but that’s reality. Babies are born with a built-in homing device that drives them toward Mom.

I saw the baby’s face, and my heart ached and broke for him. He wanted his mother. No baby would gladly do without his mother.

Fathers are not mothers, and mothers are not fathers. They are not interchangeable. They are both essential for the well-being of a child, far beyond pregnancy and birth. That’s not just idealistic or old-fashioned dreaming. It’s common-sense reality; it’s moral truth; it’s natural law; it’s justice.

But it requires thinking, not merely acting on feelings. It requires considering the needs of another ahead of your own sometimes. It requires sacrificing what you may want in order to give the other what is truly right and just.

Our culture is so obsessed with making the case for same-sex “marriage” that now, astonishingly, sane people have to actually make the case for mothers and fathers.  We’ve elevated sexual activity and preferences high above the needs of our children. Whatever else you may call it, it’s not love.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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