Saturday, February 25, 2012

On Vatican infighting: "Give up your dreams of glory, Pope tells warring Vatican officials"

Meanwhile, one of the leakers has made an anonymous appearance on Italian television

By Paolo Gambi on Thursday, 23 February 2012

Give up your dreams of glory, Pope tells warring Vatican officials

Benedict XVI at the consistory last weekend (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A Vatican clerk has appeared anonymously on an Italian TV show as one of the 20 leakers. He claimed that the “Vatileaks” had taken place because of the kidnap of a girl, Emanuela Orlandi, 30 years ago and because of the 1998 Swiss Guard murders. He was talking through his hat. Everyone knows the leaks are being driven by a war between Vatican officials.

I have already said I would like to see the back of these leakers, but I am just an angry lay man. The Holy Father has shown a better attitude towards the problem. This attitude is summarised in his request for prayer: “Pray also for me, that I may continually offer to the People of God the witness of sound doctrine and guide holy Church with a firm and humble hand.” Let us see how this sound doctrine and his firm and humble hand apply to this internal war.

Talking to the new cardinals he commented on the “scene of the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, who are still pursuing dreams of glory beside Jesus. They ask him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory” (Mk 10:37)”. And he shows how this “erroneous logic” conquers the 12, who “began to be indignant at James and John” (Mk 10:41). Two thousand years ago the war had already begun.

Jesus’s answer is very clear: “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” (Mk 10:43-44). Is the Pope talking to his bishops, showing them in the Gospel the way to stop this internal war? If so, there is a reason the Pope said: “These words shed light upon today’s public consistory with a particular intensity. They resound in the depths of the soul and represent an invitation and a reminder, a commission and an encouragement.”

Once again the Pope has subtly answered his critics. We have the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Father. And thank God they are on the same page.

Source: Catholic Herald

Benedict XVI on infertility: "procreation, consists not in a 'product', but in its connection with the conjugal act, an expression of love..."

Pope Benedict said : “The human and Christian dignity of procreation, consists not in a "product", but in its connection with the conjugal act, an expression of love of the spouses, their union which is not only biological but also spiritual”.

He said: “This approach is moved not only from the desire to gift the couple a child, but to restore fertility to couple and with it all the dignity of being responsible for their own reproductive choices, to be God's collaborators in the generation of a new human being. The search for a diagnosis and therapy is scientifically the correct approach to the issue of infertility, but it must also be respectful of the integral humanity of those involved. In fact, the union of man and woman in that community of love and life that is marriage, is the only "place" worthy for the call into existence of a new human being, which is always a gift”.

But what happens when even science cannot provide the answer to a couples desire for parenthood? Here the Pope warned against what he described as “the lure of the technology of artificial insemination” where “scientism and the logic of profit seem to dominate the field of infertility and human procreation, to the point of limiting many other areas of research”.

The Holy Father noted that “So I would like to remind the couples who are experiencing the condition of infertility, that their vocation to marriage is no less because of this. Spouses, for their own baptismal and marriage vocation, are called to cooperate with God in the creation of a new humanity. The vocation to love, in fact, is a vocation to the gift of self and this is a possibility that no organic condition can prevent. There, where science has not yet found an answer, the answer that gives light comes from Christ”.

-- Pope Benedict XVI, address on Saturday, February 25, 2012, to members of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Saint Patrick's, Fells Point, Baltimore, reopened after earthquake repairs

St. Patrick's Church in Fells Point, Baltimore, shorn of damaged Gothic stone gingerbread ornamentation on the steeple and facade in repairs following last summer's earthquake, has now been re-opened.

The Gothic decorative spire details visible in photo below taken after the summer 2011 earthquake have been removed from the bell tower.

Ssh! The Pope is speaking!: "Adult Faith" which means rejection of the Magisterium is not true emancipation

The Holy Father spoke these words at the lectio divina which he delivered yesterday at Paul VI audience hall (translation that of blog author.)

"Certainly, in these last decades we have seen another use of the word 'adult faith'. One speaks of 'adult faith' that is emancipated from the Magisterium of the Church: Until I am no longer under the mother, I am a boy, I need to free myself; when I have freed myself from the Magisterium, I am finally an adult.

"But the result is not an adult faith, the result is dependence upon the currents of the world, upon the opinions of the world, upon the dictates of the means of communication, upon the opinions of what everyone thinks and wants. It is not true emancipation, the emancipation from the Body of Christ!

"On the contrary, it is to fall under the dictatorship of the currents, of the winds of the world. The true emancipation is properly to liberate oneself from this dictatorship, in the liberty of the sons of God that believe together in the Body of Christ, with the risen Christ, and to see reality thus, and to have the capacity to respond to the challenges of our times.

"It seems to me that we must pray much to the Lord, that He might help us to be liberated in this sense, to be freed in this sense, with a faith which is truly adult, that sees, that makes one see and able to help others to arrive at true perfection, at the true stage of adulthood, in communion with Christ.

"In this context there is the beautiful expression
"dell’aletheuein en te agape", to be truly in charity, is to live the truth, to be truth in charity: the two concepts go together. Today the concept of truth is somewhat under suspicion because some combine truth with violence.The truth cannot be imposed with other means, if not by itself. The truth must arrive solely transmitted of itself, with its own light. Without truth we are blind in the world, and we need a path.

"The great gift of Christ is properly that we see the Face of God, and, also if in an enigmatic way, very insufficiently, we know the goal, the essence of the truth in Christ, in His Body. And knowing this truth, we grow also in charity that is the legitimization of the truth and which shows us what truth is. This is to say really that charity, love, is the fruit of the truth – the tree is known by its fruit – and if there is not love, also the truth is not properly appropriated, seen; and where there is the truth, love is born.

"Thanks to God, we see it in every age: notwithstanding the negative facts, the fruit of love has always been present in Christianity and it is today! We see it in the martyrs, we see it in the many sisters, brothers and priests that humbly serve the poor, the sick, that are the presence of the love of Christ.
And thus are the great sign that here is the truth. We pray to the Lord that He will help us to carry the fruit of love and to be thus witnesses of the truth. Thank you."

The complete text of the Holy Father's address in Italian is available at the Vatican website.

Video is available at this link.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Washington judge rules that individual right to religious freedom trumps government-sponsored condom-mania

Judge: Washington state cannot force pharmacies to sell emergency contraceptives

Published February 23, 2012

| Associated Press

In a ruling that appears headed toward appeal, a federal judge has ruled that Washington state cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.

The state's true goal in adopting the rules at issue was not to promote the timely access to medicine, but to suppress religious objections by druggists who believe that such drugs can have an effect tantamount to abortion, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton said in his ruling Wednesday.

Washington's rules require that pharmacies stock and dispense drugs for which there is a demand. The state adopted the dispensing regulations in 2007, following reports that some women had been denied access to Plan B, which has a high dose of medicine found in birth-control pills and is effective if a woman takes it within 72 hours of unprotected sex.

State lawyers argued that the requirements are legal because they apply neutrally to all medicines and pharmacies, and because they promote a government interest -- the timely delivery of medicine, including Plan B, which becomes less effective as time passes.

But a pharmacy and two pharmacists sued, saying the rules infringed on their religious freedom, and the judge agreed.

The state allows all sorts of business exemptions to the rules, he noted. Pharmacies can decline to stock a drug, such as certain painkillers, if it's likely to increase the risk of theft, or if it requires an inordinate amount of paperwork, or if the drug is temporarily unavailable from suppliers, among other reasons.

"The most compelling evidence that the rules target religious conduct is the fact the rules contain numerous secular exemptions," the judge said. "In sum, the rules exempt pharmacies and pharmacists from stocking and delivering lawfully prescribed drugs for an almost unlimited variety of secular reasons, but fail to provide exemptions for reasons of conscience."

The decision comes as contraception has been debated in political and health care circles around the nation. A controversy erupted this month when religious groups protested a new federal rule that required church-affiliated universities, hospitals and nonprofits to include birth control without co-pays or premiums in their insurance plans.

The outcry prompted President Barack Obama to change the rule to shift the burden from religious organizations to insurance companies. Lawmakers in a few conservative states have taken up the fight with proposals that serve as direct challenges to Obama's ruling.

Leighton, in his decision Wednesday, did not strike down Washington's rules, but said simply that the way they were applied to the plaintiffs in this case was unconstitutional.

The state remains free to try to enforce the law against other pharmacies that violate the stocking and dispensing rules, whether for Plan B or other drugs; it remains unclear whether courts would reach a similar conclusion if pharmacies objected to selling other drugs for religious reasons.

"I remain concerned about the impacts on patients if pharmacies are allowed to refuse to dispense lawfully prescribed or lawful medications to patients," said Gov. Chris Gregoire, who insisted on the dispensing rule's adoption. "I am especially concerned about those living in rural areas, many of whom may have few alternatives and could suffer lengthy delays in receiving medication or go without entirely."

The judge, an appointee of President George W. Bush, first blocked the state's dispensing rule in 2007. But a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel overruled him, saying the rules did not target religious conduct. It sent the case back to Leighton, who held an 11-day trial before reaffirming his original decision.

Further appeals were expected, both from the state and from groups that intervened on the state's behalf. Before taking more than an hour to read his 48-page opinion in court, Leighton acknowledged that he crafted it for the benefit of a "skeptical" appeals court.

The interveners included women who were denied timely access to Plan B when they needed it -- one of whom cut short a vacation in central Washington to return home to Bellingham, where she knew she could obtain Plan B from her regular pharmacy -- as well as HIV patients, who argued that if druggists could refuse to dispense Plan B for religious reasons, some might also refuse to dispense time-sensitive HIV medications.

"The question really is whether the patient's rights come first or the pharmacist's rights come first," said Andrew Greene, a lawyer for the interveners.

Assistant Attorney General Rene Tomisser said Leighton's ruling was "more detailed" but made the same mistake he made in 2007.

Margo Thelen, of Woodland, one of the pharmacists who sued over the rules, said she had to leave one job because she refused to dispense Plan B -- and now she can continue working at her new job without fear of being fired.

"Speak to anyone who shops in a pharmacy," she said. "Their product isn't always available."

Two Supreme Court cases guide judges in determining whether laws that infringe upon the free exercise of religion are legal.

In one, the court held that the state of Oregon could outlaw the use of the hallucinogenic peyote for everyone, even though some groups might use it in religious conduct.

In the other, the court held that a city in Florida could not outlaw animal sacrifices for religious purposes, while allowing the slaughter of animals for food, hunting and pest eradication.

Leighton said Washington's rules are akin to the Florida case. Though they appear to be neutral by their plain language, the state allows pharmacies not to stock or sell drugs for various business reasons, he said.

Read more:

Fasting: "And when I am alone give me Jesus".

Fasting takes away the comfort of food, something people often turn to when alone and uncomfortable being so.

Fasting helps us to realize with greater intensity our complete dependence upon God.

On Ash Wednesday may of us received ashes at Mass with the words, "Remember man you are dust and to dust you shall return". We have all come from God and all of us must face the conversion point in our lives when we humble ourselves before Him and recognize that we must choose to go back to Him when our earthly life is done, when we are truly alone before God and must love Him, or not.

Jesus us given to us as our way back to God. Fasting is a spiritual weapon against the evils that threaten our "filial" relationship as sons and daughters who, like Christ, must put our total trust in the Father.

Thanks to my friend Monsignor Pope over at the Archdiocese of Washington blog for pointing me in the direction of meditating upon Fasting and this lovely song "Give me Jesus".

Monday, February 20, 2012

Moral Mondays: Contraception costs. And so do the side effects.

The death-dealing executive administration and their minions in Washington have been promoting their HHS mandate for weeks claiming that contraception is free. It isn't. People who use it know that. And everything you put in your body has side effects. Every medical professional knows that. What I want to know is, why hasn't anyone told Kathleen Sibelius?
And who is going to pay for the medical care necessary for woman who need treatment for the side effects of contraception?

What a Woman Should Know about Birth Control

by Chris Kahlenborn, MD, and Ann Moell, MD

Download a printable version of this publication. You may print and distribute this freely provided that it is printed without alteration. To do so you will need to download and install the free Acrobat Reader.

All methods of birth control are efforts to separate sexual intercourse from procreation. This separation supports sexual relationships that are much weaker than traditional marriage—hooking up, cohabitation, adultery, and serial monogamy. These relationships erode society by leading to divorce, unexpected pregnancy, abortion, single parent households, abuse, and poverty. The consequences of birth control clearly demonstrate an unhealthy, anti-culture and anti-life, impact that raises major ethical concerns. Use of birth control is like intentionally eating unhealthy, nutrition-less, food just for the pleasure of eating. A steady diet will kill you. In much the same way, a steady diet of birth control kills relationships.

“The Pill”

The birth control pill is used by over 10 million women in the US and about 4 million of those are under age 25.1 The Pill consists of a combination of two types of artificial hormones called estrogens and progestins. It works by inhibiting ovulation and sperm transport and by changing the lining of the inside of a woman’s uterus (called the endometrium) so that if the woman does conceive she may have an early abortion.

Ethical concerns: It is estimated that a sexually active woman will experience at least one very early abortion every year that she is on the Pill.2 Both pro-abortion and pro-life groups acknowledge that the Pill causes early abortions.3

Medical side effects: The birth control pill increases the risk of breast cancer by over 40% if it is taken before a woman delivers her first baby.4 This risk increases by 70% if the Pill is used for four or more years before the woman’s first child is born.5 Other side effects that women have experienced include high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, heart attack, depression, weight gain, and migraines. Diabetics who take oral contraceptives may note increased sugar levels. Some women who stop taking the Pill do not have a return of their fertility (menstrual cycles) for a year, or even longer. Although the Pill decreases ovarian and some uterine cancers, it increases breast, liver, and cervical cancer.4 At least three studies have noted that the AIDS virus is transmitted more easily to women who are taking the Pill if their partner(s) have the HIV virus. 6 , 7 , 8

“The Shot” and Norplant

Commonly known as “the shot,” Depo-Provera, a long acting progestin hormone, is injected into a woman’s muscle every three months. It works by decreasing ovulation, by inhibiting sperm transport and by changing the lining of a woman’s uterus. Norplant is another progestin in silastic (rubber-like) tubes that are placed under her skin, and left there for up to five years.

Ethical concerns: By changing the lining of the uterus, Norplant and Depo-Provera both can cause an early abortion when conception does occur. Women who use Norplant will probably experience more than one such abortion each year since the average woman ovulates in more than 40% of her cycles while using Norplant.9 Depo-Provera may theoretically cause just as many abortions as Norplant since it is also a type of progestin.

Medical side effects: The results of two major world studies have shown that women who take Depo-Provera for two years or more before age 25 have at least a 190% increased risk of developing breast cancer.10 In addition, Depo-Provera may reduce a woman’s bone density, and worsen her cholesterol level. One study found that women who had received injectable progestins (i.e., usually Depo-Provera or norethisterone enanthate) for at least five years suffered a 430% increased risk of developing cervical cancer.11 Several studies have shown that women who receive injectable progestins have a much higher rate of contracting the AIDS virus if their partner is infected, with one study showing a 240% increased risk.12 Norplant, which was developed later than Depo-Provera, has received less scrutiny, but may carry just as high a risk as Depo-Provera. Over 50,000 women have participated in law suits against the manufacturer of Norplant, citing complaints of irregular bleeding, scarring, muscle pain, and headaches.13

Other Hormonal Contraceptives

The same artificial hormones used in the Pill, Depo-Provera, and Norplant are packaged in a variety of other delivery systems: the Patch, the “Morning after Pill,” the monthly injection Lunelle, hormone impregnated IUDs and vaginal inserts, and others. More are in development. Most are so new that their side effects have not been well researched. They use the same chemicals as the Pill and can be expected to have generally the same effects. All the hormonal contraceptives can also cause extended periods of unintended infertility after they are discontinued.

Barrier Methods:
The Condom and the Diaphragm

The condom has a failure rate that is estimated to be between 10-30%.14, 15 There are several reasons: breakage or slippage during use, manufacturing defects, and defects caused by shipping and storage in a hot or very cold place.

Medical side effects: The condom does not adequately stop the transmission of the AIDS virus. CM Rowland, PhD, editor of Rubber Chemistry and Technology, tells us that electron micrographs (pictures taken with a very powerful microscope) reveal voids (holes) in the condom that are up to 50 times bigger than the HIV particle.16

The diaphragm is a barrier method of birth control so it theoretically does not cause early abortion. At least one study has noted that women who use barrier methods such as the diaphragm or condom, or the withdrawal method, had a 137% increased risk of developing preeclampsia.17 Preeclampsia, a complication occurring in some pregnant women, is a syndrome of high blood pressure, fluid retention, and kidney damage, which may eventually lead to prolonged seizures and/or coma. It is theorized that exposure to the male’s sperm plays a protective role against preeclampsia.


A spermicide is an agent that is designed to kill the man’s sperm and is often sold as a gel or as an ingredient in the vaginal sponge. Toxic Shock Syndrome has been associated with the spermicide sponge.18 One researcher has noted that couples who have used certain spermicides within a month of conception have experienced a doubling in the rate of birth defects, as well as a doubling of the rate of miscarriage.19

The IUD (Intrauterine Device)

This is a T-shaped device made of hard plastic. It may also contain copper or contraceptive hormones. A doctor inserts it into a woman’s uterus. It works by irritating the lining of the uterus and obstructing sperm transport.

Ethical concerns: When conception occurs with an IUD in place, the IUD can prevent implantation, or destroy the new embryo by copper poisoning or by attack from the body’s immune system, thus causing an early abortion.20

Medical side effects: These include uterine perforation, which may lead to a hysterectomy, and infection, such as a pelvic or tubo-ovarian abscess. Use of all IUDs has been associated with an increased incidence of PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) and of ectopic pregnancy.20 An ectopic pregnancy is one in which the unborn child implants himself/ herself in a location other than in the mother’s uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. According to Rossing and Daling, two prominent researchers, women who had used an IUD for three or more years were more than twice as likely to have a tubal pregnancy as women who had never used an IUD. Among these long-term users of an IUD, risk of ectopic pregnancy remained elevated for many years after the device was removed. Ectopic pregnancy remains the leading cause of maternal death in the United States. The IUD may also cause back aches, cramping, dyspareunia (painful intercourse), dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cycles), and infertility.

“Permanent” Sterilization:
Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy

Surgical sterilization attempts to achieve permanent sterility through closing a woman’s fallopian tubes (called “tubal ligation”) or a man’s vas deferens (called “vasectomy”) by tying the tube closed and in some cases by cutting, burning, or removing part of the tube.

Medical side effects: Tubal ligation does not always prevent conception. When conception does occur, it is associated with a much higher incidence of ectopic pregnancy,22 which, as was noted, is the leading cause of death in pregnant women. In addition, women who undergo the procedure may experience complications from the anesthesia or from surgery. Complications include bladder puncture, bleeding, and even cardiac arrest after inflation of the abdomen with carbon dioxide.23 Some women who have undergone a tubal ligation experience a syndrome of intermittent vaginal bleeding associated with severe cramping pain in the lower abdomen.24 Reduced intimacy, lower libido, and a greater risk for hysterectomy often follow tubal ligation; deep regret for having been sterilized is common.

About 50% of men who undergo a vasectomy will develop anti-sperm antibodies.25 In essence, their bodies will come to recognize their own sperm as “the enemy.” This could lead to a higher incidence of autoimmune disease. Several studies have noted that men who undergo a vasectomy have a higher incidence of developing prostate cancer, especially 15-20 years after their vasectomy,26, 27, 28, 29 although one large study did not find a link.30

Wise Options

The best option before marriage is abstinence. The obvious benefits include greater self-respect, freedom from the risk of venereal disease, as well as monetary savings and no chance of a surprise pregnancy.

Within marriage it should be noted that an openness towards having children yields specific medical benefits. Every additional child a woman bears reduces her risk of breast cancer, some uterine cancers, and ovarian cancer.

NFP: Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning is a totally natural method by which couples can manage their fertility. In NFP a woman determines when she is either fertile or infertile by observing the consistency of her cervical mucus. The WHO (World Health Organization) has performed several large-scale trials that have demonstrated an unintended pregnancy rate of between 0.3 and 3%, which is as good as any artificial form of birth control except sterilization. One very large trial involving about 20,000 Indian women showed an unintended pregnancy rate of less than 0.3%.32

Some obvious benefits of NFP are that it is virtually cost-free and there is no increased risk of cancer. Couples who use NFP have a divorce rate that is less than 5%33__far lower than the national rate of about 50%.


1 Faust JM. Image change for condoms. ABC News Report. [Internet E-mail]. 6/8/97.

2 Kahlenborn C. “How do the pill and other contraceptives work?” Breast Cancer, Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill. Dayton, OH: One More Soul; 2000; 315-335.

3 Alderson Reporting Company. Transcripts of oral arguments before court on abortion case. New York Times. April 27, 1989; B12.

4 Kahlenborn C, et al. “Oral Contraceptive Use as a Risk Factor for Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Meta-analysis” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2006: 81(10):1290-1302
The study re-enforces the classification of OCs as Type 1 carcinogens by the International Agency for Cancer Research (WHO).

5 Romieu I, Berlin J, et al. Oral contraceptives and breast cancer. Review and meta-Analysis. Cancer. 1990; 66: 2253-2263.

6 Allen S. et al. Human immunodeficiency virus infection in urban Rwanda. JAMA. 1991; 266: 1657-1663.

7 Simonsen et al. HIV infection among lower socioeconomic strata prostitutes in Nairobi. AIDS. 1990; 139-144.

8 Mati et al. Contraceptive use and the risk of HIV in Nairobi, Kenya. Inter. J. of Gyn. and Ob. 1995; 48: 61-67.

9 Croxatto HB, Diaz S, et al. Plasma progesterone levels during long-term treatment with levonorgestrel silastic implants. Acta Endocrinologica 1982; 101: 307-311.

10 Skegg DCG, Noonan EA, et al. Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate and breast cancer [A pooled analysis of the World Health Organization and New Zealand studies]. 1995; JAMA: 799-804.

11 Herrero et al. Injectable contraceptives and risk of invasive cervical cancer: evidence of an association. Int. J. of Cancer. 1990; 46: 5-7.

12 Ungchusak et al. Determinants of HIV infection among female commercial sex workers in northeastern Thailand: Results from a longitudinal study. J. of Ac. I. Def. Syn. and H. Retro. 1996. 12: 500-507.

13 Taylor D. Spare the Rod. The Guardian ( U.K.) March 12, 1996; 11.

14 Collart D. Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. Condom failure for protection from sexual transmission of the HIV-a review of the medical literature. 5393 Whitney Ct., Stone Mountain, GA 30088.

15 Rahwan R. Chemical Contraceptives, Interceptives and Abortifacients, 1995. College of Pharmacy, Ohio State University.

16 Rowland CW., The Washington Post (letter) June 25, 1992.

17 Klonoff-Cohen HS et al. An epidemiologic study of contraception and preeclampsia. JAMA. 1989; 262: 3143-3147.

18 Faich G et al. Toxic shock syndrome and the contraceptive sponge. JAMA. 1986; 255: 216-218.

19 Jick et al. Vaginal spermicides and congenital disorders. JAMA. 1981; 245:1329-1332.

20 Ortho Pharmaceutical. Description of Paraguard. Physician Desk Reference. 1997: 1936-1939.

21 Ibid.

22 Gaeta TJ et al. Atypical ectopic pregnancy. Am J Emer Med. 1993; 11: 233-234.

23 Dunn HP, Unexpected Sequellae of Sterilization. International Review of Natural Family Planning, 1:4 (Winter, 1977) 318.

24 Townsend DE et al. Post-ablation-tubal sterilization syndrome. Obstet Gynecol. 1993; 82: 422-424.

25 Rosenberg et al. Vasectomy and the risk of prostate cancer. American J. of Epidemiology. 1990; 132: 1051-1055.

26 Giovannucci E et al. A prospective cohort study of vasectomy and prostate cancer in US men. JAMA. 1993; 269: 873-877.

27 Giovannucci E et al. A retrospective cohort study of vasectomy and prostate cancer in US men. JAMA. 1993; 269: 878-882.

28 Hayes RB et al. Vasectomy and prostate cancer in US Blacks and Whites. American J. of Epidemiology. 1993; 137: 263-269.

29 Rosenberg L et al. Vasectomy and the risk of prostate cancer. American J. of Epidemiology. 1990; 132: 1051-1055.

30 John EM et al. Vasectomy and prostate cancer: results from a multiethnic case-control study. JNCI. 1995; 87: 662-669.

32 Ryder RE. “Natural Family Planning”: Effective birth control supported by the Catholic Church. BMJ. 1993; 307: 723-6.

33 Kippley JF, Kippley SK. The Art of Natural Family Planning (Fourth Edition). Couple to Couple League, Cincinnati, USA, p. 245.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cardinal Dolan: "I want to be a saint...but I have a long way to go."

As he bestowed the red birettas upon the new cardinals at yesterday's consistory in Rome, Pope Benedict said the color signifies a “readiness to act with courage, even to the shedding of your blood, for the increase of the Christian faith.”

Then, giving a golden ring to each of the new cardinals, the pope declared, “Receive the ring from the hands of Peter and know that your love of the church is strengthened with the love of the Prince of the Apostles.”

“As grateful as I am for being a cardinal, I really want to be a saint,” Dolan said. “I mean that, but I have a long way to go.”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lent - Fasting and Abstinence

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, 22 February. The season of Lent is a time in which we do penance and prepare ourselves for the wonder of Easter. We pray more. We make a greater effort to financially help those in need. (This is called almsgiving.) We make special efforts to make amends for our sinfulness (penance), and we curb our physical desires by restricting our intake of food.

Fasting means that we eat only one full meatless meal and two smaller meals with no snacking between meals. This obligation is applied on Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) and Good Friday. This law applies to Catholics aged 18-59.

Abstinence means that we eat no meat (including poultry) or meat by-products. We observe abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays of Lent. This regulation applies to all Catholics over the age of 14.

People who are ill or have particular medical conditions, and women who are pregnant, are not obligated to observe these regulations. Of course, people in these circumstances are urged to pray, do penance, and help the less fortunate as a sign of their repentance and sorrow. ~Loyola Press

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fridays are for dating? "The ABC's of Choosing a Good Wife"

The ABC's of Choosing a Good Wife: How to Find and Marry a Great Girl

Stephen Wood
Pb 173 pgs

Let's face it. Finding a good woman is no easy task in our materialistic, pleasure-seeking, divorce-plagued society. In fact, many men today have given up hope of ever finding a good woman to marry. This unique new book offers practical and insightful advice to men on how to choose a partner for life - and it restores hope that a lasting, loving, and fulfilling marriage is possible in a divorce-prone world.

Product Q&A

Bishop Morlino: ‘divide and conquer’ strategy is beginning of persecution

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison said that a “divide and conquer” strategy is being used against the Church in the public debate over religious liberty and conscience rights--a strategy that he fears marks the beginning of a “sophisticated persecution.”

“Everybody sees that their freedom of conscience is at stake,” he said. “It just depends who is up to be curtailed at any given moment for whatever reason. If they can do it to Catholics, they can do it to anybody.”

“There seems to be an approach that seeks to divide the Church, even more than she is already divided, along liberal and conservative lines. We should not be this way,” he added. “All the liberal/conservative bit is an import from the political sphere, which really does us nothing but damage.”

Bishop Morlino continued:

To take advantage of the fact that this has already happened in our culture, this division, and then to start to pit the bishops – as if they were merely one group within the Church – [against] what other groups might think, is clearly a straightforward attempt to divide and to deepen division in the Church, and to weaken the Church – the old saying, divide and conquer.

After discussing his fears that the strategy marked the beginnings of a nonviolent but sophisticated persecution, he said that organizations that call themselves Catholic must “really be Catholic” and spoke about his efforts to ensure the Catholic identity of Catholic institutions within his diocese.

Stating that there is “too much liturgical diversity“ among parishes, Bishop Morlino said that “commonality in liturgy,” assisted by the new translation of the Roman Missal, is the foundation of a robust public witness.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Who is your Savior?": Catholics, Obama and Communion

"Father, I have a question" she asked. I looked around and there she was. I've known her for years. She had accused an older Irish Pastor of being too mean to children because he had explained the Crucifixion in a religious education class. I had to be careful.

She went on, "Do I have to remove my Obama 2012 sweatshirt before receiving Communion?" She had a look in her eye that said "I'm testing you." I said "That depends on what you're wearing under it." She grinned, knowing that her first attempted trick had failed. "No, I mean, if I support Obama can I still receive Communion?"

Now she had gotten to the heart of the matter. I smiled and said "I don't know why you'd ask. The choice is clear, either you worship Obama or you worship Jesus Christ. Who is your savior?"

She didn't expect that question and looked a little confused.

"If Jesus is your savior, you are Catholic and free from serious sin, you may receive Communion." She said "But I want to know if I can support Obama." I said "Of course you CAN support Obama, but after reading what the Bishops are saying you have to decide for yourself if you can support Obama and still receive Communion."

She said "I support Obama".

I said "Then you've made your choice."

Source: Priest on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ACTION ALERT: Maryland House Committees Pass Same-sex Marriage Bill

House Committees Pass Same-sex Marriage Bill Take Action!
Full House Could Vote This Week

To View Alert on Our Webpage and to Take Action, Click Here
Issue: With mounting pressure placed on lawmakers from special interest groups and senior government officials, a combined vote of the House Judiciary and Health & Government Operations Committees passed out legislation this evening that would drastically alter the definition of marriage in our state.

The vote was only achieved through a legislative maneuver that assigned the bill to two committees - to get around the fact that they did not have the votes in the Judiciary Committee alone, where all other bills relating to marriage have previously been considered.

Thanks to the groundswell of voices against this measure from all corners of the state, we fully expect that there are still insufficient votes in the House of Delegates to pass the bill, and commend those lawmakers who continue to stand strong in their conviction that marriage must not be redefined in Maryland.

Action: Email your delegates IMMEDIATELY and urge them to vote against the same-sex marriage bill. The delegates are keeping track of how their constituents want them to vote. Your voice MATTERS!

Click here and scroll down.

Visit the Conference website for more information on marriage.


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Blessed Saint Valentine's Day wishes to all our readers

Hear us, Almighty God, that as we today celebrate the birth into eternal life of your blessed martyr Valentine, we may be freed through his intercession from all evils that threaten us. Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Praesta, quaesumus omnipotens Deus: ut qui beati Valentini martyris tui natalitia colimus, a cunctis malis imminentibus, eius intercessione liberemur. Per Dominum.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Rescind the mandate": Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty

February 10, 2012

Regulatory changes limited and unclear

Rescission of mandate only complete solution

Continue urging passage of Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

WASHINGTON – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have issued the following statement:

The Catholic bishops have long supported access to life-affirming healthcare for all, and the conscience rights of everyone involved in the complex process of providing that healthcare. That is why we raised two serious objections to the "preventive services" regulation issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August 2011.

First, we objected to the rule forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat's pen—to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion. All the other mandated "preventive services" prevent disease, and pregnancy is not a disease. Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws. Therefore, we called for the rescission of the mandate altogether.

Second, we explained that the mandate would impose a burden of unprecedented reach and severity on the consciences of those who consider such "services" immoral: insurers forced to write policies including this coverage; employers and schools forced to sponsor and subsidize the coverage; and individual employees and students forced to pay premiums for the coverage. We therefore urged HHS, if it insisted on keeping the mandate, to provide a conscience exemption for all of these stakeholders—not just the extremely small subset of "religious employers" that HHS proposed to exempt initially.

Today, the President has done two things.

First, he has decided to retain HHS's nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients. This is both unsupported in the law and remains a grave moral concern. We cannot fail to reiterate this, even as so many would focus exclusively on the question of religious liberty.

Second, the President has announced some changes in how that mandate will be administered, which is still unclear in its details. As far as we can tell at this point, the change appears to have the following basic contours:

·It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write. At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.

·It would allow non-profit, religious employers to declare that they do not offer such coverage. But the employee and insurer may separately agree to add that coverage. The employee would not have to pay any additional amount to obtain this coverage, and the coverage would be provided as a part of the employer's policy, not as a separate rider.

·Finally, we are told that the one-year extension on the effective date (from August 1, 2012 to August 1, 2013) is available to any non-profit religious employer who desires it, without any government application or approval process.

These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders—for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals—is unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns.

We just received information about this proposal for the first time this morning; we were not consulted in advance. Some information we have is in writing and some is oral. We will, of course, continue to press for the greatest conscience protection we can secure from the Executive Branch. But stepping away from the particulars, we note that today's proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.

We will therefore continue—with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency—our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government. For example, we renew our call on Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. And we renew our call to the Catholic faithful, and to all our fellow Americans, to join together in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all.

A statement of the US Bishops available at

"Significant concerns remain": Statement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, regarding the White House announcement on the HHS mandate

Released on Friday, 10 February 2012.

Statement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, regarding the White House announcement on the HHS mandate:

“Today’s announcement by President Barack Obama on the Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring individual and institutional support for abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives suggests that the administration may be open to considering concerns about religious freedom. Certainly, the details of any proposed revision to the regulation will have to be studied once they are available. At first reading, significant concerns remain.

“What has become very clear since the final HHS mandate was issued three weeks ago is that Catholics and non-Catholics of all persuasions are united in the conviction that religious liberty must be respected. Regardless of whether or not they agree with Church teaching on a particular issue, people believe strongly that the government should not force the Church and its institutions to do things it considers morally wrong. Hopefully, the ultimate resolution of this issue will reflect this longstanding American principle. No matter the outcome, we must continue to be vigilant against the encroachment of government on the free exercise of religion.”

Friday, February 10, 2012

EWTN Files First Lawsuit Against U.S. Government To Stop Contraception Mandate

Network Asks Court to Stop Order to Pay for Immoral Services

EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a lawsuit February 9 in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies seeking to stop the imposition of the contraception mandate as well as asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the mandate is unconstitutional. EWTN is the first Catholic organization to file suit since the final HHS rules were published by the Obama administration on January 20, 2012.

"We had no other option but to take this to the courts," says EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw. "Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice: either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable."

The lawsuit was filed on EWTN's behalf by Mark Rienzi, Kyle Duncan, and Erik Kniffin from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

"We are taking this action to defend not only ourselves but also to protect other institutions – Catholic and non-Catholic, religious and secular – from having this mandate imposed upon them," Warsaw continued. "The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors' funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance. There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights. This is a moment when EWTN, as a Catholic organization, has to step up and say that enough is enough. Our hope is that our lawsuit does just that."

For more visit

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sin + Obstinate + Manifest + Public = Excommunication

"Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication, the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them. In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1463.)

Exhibit A

From our Catholic Bishops: "Six Things Everyone Should Know About The HHS Mandate"

February 6, 2012

WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

1.The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them "religious employers" worthy of conscience protection, because they do not "serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets."HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.

2.The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs;forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs.

3.The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. Though commonly called the "contraceptive mandate," HHS's mandate also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization.And by including all drugs approved by the FDA for use as contraceptives, the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as "Ella," a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486.

4.Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate Catholics who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies have publicly criticized HHS's decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne. . . , Mark Shields. . . , and Michael Sean Winters. . . ; college presidents Father John Jenkins. . . and Arturo Chavez. . . ; and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan. . . , president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

5.Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate. Many recognize this as an assault on the broader principle of religious liberty, even if they disagree with the Church on the underlying moral question.For example, Protestant Christian. . . , Orthodox Christian. . . , and Orthodox Jewish. . . groups--none of which oppose contraception--have issued statements against the HHS's decision.The Washington Post. . . , USA Today. . . , N.Y. Daily News. . . , Detroit News. . . , and other secular outlets, columnists. . . , and bloggers. . . have editorialized against it.

6.The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. HHS chose the narrowest state-level religious exemption as the model for its own.That exemption was drafted by the ACLU and exists in only 3 states (New York, California, Oregon).Even without a religious exemption, religious employers can already avoid the contraceptive mandates in 28 states by self-insuring their prescription drug coverage, dropping that coverage altogether, or opting for regulation under a federal law (ERISA) that pre-empts state law.The HHS mandate closes off all these avenues of relief.

Additional information on the U.S. Catholic bishops’ stance on religious liberty, conscience protection and the HHS ruling regarding mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs is available at

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Toledo bishop says Catholics should donate elsewhere until Komen clarifies

ROME, February 7, 2012 ( – In an interview this week with Vatican Radio, the Catholic bishop of Toledo, Ohio, said that until the Susan G. Komen Foundation had clarified its position with regards to funding Planned Parenthood, Catholics should consider donating instead to local Catholic charities. Komen’s apparent decision on Friday to reverse their initial decision to discontinue funding the abortion giant “came as a great disappointment,” Bishop Leonard Blair said.

“We were very happy recently with the welcome news that Komen for the Cure was disassociating itself from Planned Parenthood, it would no longer provide funds to them; only to find out within a few days afterward that they had reversed that decision.” Bishop Blair said that the events of last week demonstrate that Komen was clearly making “an attempt to separate themselves from Planned Parenthood.”

Bishop Leonard Blair

Bishop Leonard Blair is in Rome on his traditional “ad limina” visit, meeting with Vatican officials and Pope Benedict. He spoke to Vatican Radio after last week’s uproar over Komen’s initial announcement. Following the media frenzy, a confusing follow-up statement from Komen in which they appeared to leave the door open to future funding of Planned Parenthood left pro-life people in a quandary.

For the rest of the article click here.

"Planned Parenthood's Hostages": the battle over Susan G. Komen

"Faced with even the tiniest depletion in the massive river of funds Planned Parenthood receives yearly, the behemoth mobilized its enormous cultural, media, financial and political apparatus to attack the Komen Foundation in the press, on TV and through social media."The Susan G. Komen Foundation, an organization dedicated since 1982 to fighting, and one day curing, breast cancer, decided to extricate itself from the culture wars by discontinuing grants to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions. The grants Komen had been making amounted to $650,000 last year, funding some 19 local Planned Parenthood programs that offered manual breast exams but only referrals for mammograms performed elsewhere.

The reality is that Planned Parenthood—with annual revenues exceeding $1 billion—does little in the way of screening for breast cancer. But the organization is very much in the business of selling abortions—more than 300,000 in 2010, according to Planned Parenthood. At an average cost of $500, according to various sources including Planned Parenthood's website, that translates to about $164 million of revenue per year.

So how did Planned Parenthood and its loyal allies in politics and the media react to Komen's efforts to be neutral in the controversy over abortion?

Faced with even the tiniest depletion in the massive river of funds Planned Parenthood receives yearly, the behemoth mobilized its enormous cultural, media, financial and political apparatus to attack the Komen Foundation in the press, on TV and through social media.

The organization's allies demonized the charity, attempting to depict the nation's most prominent anti-breast cancer organization as a bedfellow of religious extremists. A Facebook page was set up to "Defund the Komen Foundation." In short, Planned Parenthood took breast-cancer victims as hostages.

Komen's leaders had good reason to believe their organization could disintegrate under Planned Parenthood's assault. On Friday the charity issued a statement "apologizing to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives." The statement assured Planned Parenthood's supporters that, like any other organization, it is eligible to apply for grants in the future.

Among Komen's reasons for discontinuing grants to Planned Parenthood was its policy of avoiding entanglements with entities under government investigation. Planned Parenthood has been and is under congressional and criminal investigation (by attorneys general, local prosecutors and various regulatory agencies in Arizona, Indiana, Alabama, Kansas and Texas) for allegations including failure to report criminal child sex abuse, misuse of health-care and family-planning funds, and failure to comply with parental-involvement laws regarding abortions.

Planned Parenthood is very far from the uncontroversial organization the Susan G. Komen Foundation aspires to be. According to its most recent annual report, for 2010, Planned Parenthood sells abortions to nine out of every 10 pregnant women who come to its clinics. And it's known throughout the country as an implacable and aggressive opponent of any meaningful restrictions on deliberate feticide.

Planned Parenthood has spent millions fighting even those legislative initiatives that command extremely wide public support, such as laws requiring parental notification and informed consent for abortions, and those banning late-term abortions when the child developing in the womb is fully viable. Planned Parenthood even opposes a bill recently introduced in Congress to ban abortions for the purpose of sex selection.

It is easy to see why Komen might not wish to be associated with Planned Parenthood. Fighting breast cancer is something all Americans can and do agree on; promoting and performing abortions is something that divides us bitterly.

While Planned Parenthood's target in the Komen case was new, its tactics are not. In the past two years, we have seen the abortion giant (and the politicians it funds) hold for ransom a diverse array of hostages.

In 2010, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress risked and narrowly averted the rejection of their signature health-care law in order to block the inclusion of provisions (such as the 1970s Hyde Amendment) that prevent federal abortion funding. At the 11th hour, a handful of "pro-life" Democrats capitulated, giving Mr. Obama and Planned Parenthood their victory.

Last year, in April, Mr. Obama risked a government shutdown over language in a resolution that would have defunded Planned Parenthood at the federal level. At the last moment, congressional Republicans gave way and allowed the federal money to keep flowing.

Also in 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services threatened to withhold billions of dollars in Medicaid funds from those states such as Indiana that prohibit state funding of Planned Parenthood and other entities that provide elective abortions. Planned Parenthood strongly opposed Indiana's attempt to cut off its funding and celebrated the federal government's intervention. Indiana is currently litigating the matter in federal court.

Most recently, after intense lobbying, the Department of Health and Human Services did the bidding of Planned Parenthood by imposing a mandate on virtually all employers to provide insurance coverage (without cost-sharing) for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives. This threatens to force many religiously affiliated charitable institutions out of the business of providing education, health care and social services to the poor.

Breast-cancer victims are only the latest hostages taken by Planned Parenthood. Unless the organization is finally held to account, they will surely not be the last.

Mr. George is professor of jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program at Princeton University. Mr. Snead is professor of law and was recently appointed director of the Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame.

In Photo: Supporters of Planned Parenthood demonstrate in Washington, D.C., to keep federal subsidies for the organization, April 7, 2011. Source: Getty Images

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