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Archive for November, 2010

Golden Coconut Award

I’ve decided to have a little fun and create an award for the coconut pro-abortion apologists who spout the most anti-scientific nonsense in the headlong pursuit of butchering babies. Welcome the Golden Coconut to Coming Home. This is a serious monthly award. Please email your candidates for the end-of -the-month award to be given on the last day of each month. It’s a neat little way of doing pro-life apologetics.

While on the net today I came across this little diatribe from a commenter named Anne over at ProWomanProLife:

Making abortion illegal causes astronomical increase in crime, so says silly things like data and facts. Glad you want more crime. Glad you want more kids living the shitty lives unwanted kids live. Glad you care more about your “scruples” than how much pain your scruples cause your society. That’s awesome…or pathological narcissism.

A quick search on Google revealed (not surprisingly), that Anne has it backward. Using Anne’s hypothesis, one would expect a higher crime rate for property and violent crimes in the years leading to Roe v. Wade, and then a gradual descent over time.

The data from the Bureau of Justice speak differently.

US Violent Crime Rate


US Property Crime Rate

In 1960, the crime rate was at its lowest. As the sexual revolution took off (narcissism), and demand for abortion increased (murderous narcissism), so did the crime rate. So it increased for 13 years prior to Roe and went higher as the abortion rates soared. An examination of these graphs indicates that as abortion rates dropped, beginning in the early 90’s, so did the crime rates.

Oops! Sorry Anne, but your argument fails the test of both causality and correlation. The data show a definite correlation in the opposite direction. You get an F on this piece of rhetoric and composition. But it does merit you a Golden Coconut!

2 R.K. Jones et al., "Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005," Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 40 (2008):6-16 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/4000608.pdf; visited March 19, 2009).

So, for her exemplary work in demonstrating the pro-abort tactic of inverting the data in advancing their murderous agenda, Anne is the inaugural recipient of the Coming Home Golden Coconut Award!!

Congratulations Anne, and get well soon.

Don’t forget to send in your nominees!!!

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Philip Johnson’s Novena: Night Two

Philip Johnson

Tonight is night two of the Novena for Philip Gerard Johnson. Please Join us in prayer.

May I respectfully and humbly ask that we all join in prayer for this special seminarian, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

From the Diocese of Raleigh:

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, has requested in a letter that all the Priests, Religious and lay faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh participate in a novena to the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Diocese, on behalf of Philip Johnson, one of our Diocesan seminarians. The novena will begin on Monday, November 29, and culminate on Wednesday, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Mr. Johnson, who is currently pursuing his vocation to the Priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for a brain tumor, which has continued to progress despite these treatments. He expressed “deep gratitude to the priests, religious, and laity of our Diocese for their prayerful support during this difficult time in my life.

“While my treatments can often be physically and emotionally draining,” he said, “it brings me great strength to know that so many prayers are being offered to Almighty God on my behalf. Please be assured of my prayers for our entire Diocese, especially for those who currently suffer in any way, that we may all unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord on the Cross.

Links to both the Bishop’s letter and the Novena Prayer in English and Spanish are provided below so that you may forward this request to others who you may wish to invite to pray for a needed cure for Philip. A link to an earlier story on Mr. Johnson provides additional information. Click here.

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November 27, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Saturday evening Pope Benedict XVI held an unprecedented “vigil for all nascent human life” at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The vigil was held in union with thousands of similar events in parishes and dioceses across the world.

At the request of the Holy Father, a letter had been sent to all the episcopal conferences of the Catholic Church this past June, asking them to organize the pro-life prayer vigils on the eve of the beginning of the liturgical season of Advent in all local churches.

The following is a complete transcript of the pope’s remarks during the vigil, courtesy of Vatican Radio:

Dear brothers and sisters,

With this evening’s celebration, the Lord gives us the grace and joy of opening the new liturgical year beginning with its first stage: Advent, the period that commemorates the coming of God among us. Every beginning brings a special grace, because it is blessed by the Lord. In this Advent period we will once again experience the closeness of the One who created the world, who guides history and cared for us to the point of becoming a man. This great and fascinating mystery of God with us, moreover of God who becomes one of us, is what we celebrate in the coming weeks journeying towards holy Christmas. During the season of Advent we feel the Church that takes us by the hand and – in the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary – expresses her motherhood allowing us to experience the joyful expectation of the coming of the Lord, who embraces us all in his love that saves and consoles.

IMAGE: ©LWA-Dann Tardif/CORBIS

While our hearts reach out towards the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, the Church’s liturgy directs our gaze to the final goal: our encounter with the Lord in the splendour of glory. This is why we, in every Eucharist, “announce his death, proclaim his resurrection until he comes again” we hold vigil in prayer. The liturgy does not cease to encourage and support us, putting on our lips, in the days of Advent, the cry with which the whole Bible concludes, the last page of the Revelation of Saint John: “Come, Lord Jesus “(22:20).

Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages. The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself small, He becomes a child, it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is near, who wanted to experience the life of man, from the very beginning, to save it completely, fully. And so the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord and the beginning of human life are intimately connected and in harmony with each other within the one saving plan of God, the Lord of life of each and every one of us. The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.

Man has an unmistakable originality compared to all other living beings that inhabit the earth. He presents himself as a unique and singular entity, endowed with intelligence and free will, as well as being composed of a material reality. He lives simultaneously and inseparably in the spiritual dimension and the corporal dimension. This is also suggested in the text of the First letter to the Thessalonians which was just proclaimed: “May the God of peace himself – St. Paul writes – make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ “(5:23). Therefore, we are spirit, soul and body. We are part of this world, tied to the possibilities and limits of our material condition, at the same time we are open to an infinite horizon, able to converse with God and to welcome Him in us. We operate in earthly realities and through them we can perceive the presence of God and seek Him, truth, goodness and absolute beauty. We savour fragments of life and happiness and we long for total fulfilment.

God loves us so deeply, totally, without distinction, He calls us to friendship with him, He makes us part of a reality beyond all imagination, thought and word; His own divine life. With emotion and gratitude we acknowledge the value of the incomparable dignity of every human person and the great responsibility we have toward all. ” Christ, the final Adam, – says the Second Vatican Council – by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear…. by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. “(Gaudium et Spes, 22).

IMAGE: © Vladimir Godnik/beyond/Corbis

Believing in Jesus Christ also means having a new outlook on man, a look of trust and hope. Moreover, experience itself and reason show that the human being is a subject capable of discernment, self-conscious and free, unique and irreplaceable, the summit of all earthly things, that must be recognized in his innate value and always accepted with respect and love. He has the right not to be treated as an object of possession or something to manipulate at will, not to be reduced to a mere instrument for the benefit of others and their interests. The human person is a good in and of himself and his integral development should always be sought. Love for all, if it is sincere, naturally tends to become a preferential attention to the weakest and poorest. In this vein we find the Church’s concern for the unborn, the most fragile, the most threatened by the selfishness of adults and the darkening of consciences. The Church continually reiterates what was declared by the Second Vatican Council against abortion and all violations of unborn life: “from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care ” (ibid., n. 51).

There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.

Unfortunately, even after birth, the lives of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, poverty, disease, abuse, violence or exploitation. The many violations of their rights that are committed in the world sorely hurt the conscience of every man of good will. Before the sad landscape of the injustices committed against human life, before and after birth, I make mine Pope John Paul II’s passionate appeal to the responsibility of each and every individual: ” respect, protect, love and serve life, every human life! Only in this direction will you find justice, development, true freedom, peace and happiness!”(Encyclical Evangelium vitae, 5). I urge the protagonists of politics, economic and social communications to do everything in their power to promote a culture which respects human life, to provide favorable conditions and support networks for the reception and development of life.

To the Virgin Mary, who welcomed the Son of God made man with faith, with her maternal womb, with loving care, with nurturing support and vibrant with love, we entrust our commitment and prayer in favour of unborn life . We do in the liturgy – which is the place where we live the truth and where truth lives with us – worshiping the divine Eucharist, we contemplate Christ’s body, that body who took flesh from Mary by the Holy Spirit, and from her was born in Bethlehem for our salvation. Ave, verum Corpus, natum de Maria Virgine!

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Deacon Greg Kandra is ordained and ministers in the Diocese of Brooklyn. He writes a fantastic blog, The Deacon’s Bench, at Beliefnet. His Homily for today, the First Sunday of Advent, is a stunner. It is reprinted here with Deacon Kandra’s permission.
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Homily for November 28, 2010: 1st Sunday of Advent

Anyone looking for interesting holiday recipes may have stumbled on a new word that has entered the American lexicon: “Cherpumple.” It’s a desert, created last year by Los Angeles writer Charles Phoenix – a diet-destroying, gut-busting feat of cooking that seems guaranteed to induce sugar shock.

It’s three different pies, stacked one on top of the other, and baked into one gargantuan “monster pie” with three layers – cherry, pumpkin, and apple, hence the name “cherpumple.” The recipe has swept the internet and has become a sensation on YouTube.

I showed a picture of a “cherpumple” to my wife and she agreed with me: it’s absolutely disgusting.

Some things just aren’t meant to be mashed together like that.

Deacon Greg Kandra

But I have to wonder if we haven’t done something similar with Advent and Christmas. For all intents and purposes, we have managed to create one massive season – “Chradvent” – that conflates two distinct seasons into one. And it’s starting earlier and earlier.

Hundreds of radio stations started playing Christmas music the day after Halloween – many of them all Christmas, all the time, 24/7. The week before Thanksgiving, I was amazed to walk by an apartment on 108th Street and see the lobby fully decorated, complete with a fully lit Christmas tree and wrapped gifts. Last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I went down to Sergei’s Barber Shop on Ascan Street for a haircut and saw workers unloading Christmas trees to sell. How anyone could expect a Christmas tree to live a month or more is a mystery to me. But people do it. I saw cars going down Queens Boulevard with trees strapped to the roof. Even before Thanksgiving, it seems, we’ve started to celebrate “Chradvent.”

Before everyone hops on that “Chradvent” bandwagon, I’d just like to take a moment to celebrate this season that so many have forgotten about – the season of Advent. We need to remember the reason for this season, and to hold on to Advent just a little while before surrendering to the craziness of “Chradvent.”

The readings today alert us to something great about to begin. The language is emphatic. Night is ending. Dawn is at hand. “Stay awake.” Put on “the armor of light.” And “let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” There is a sense of anticipation – the kind we celebrate at every Eucharist, when we pray that we “wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior, Jesus Christ.” Advent is that waiting, that moment of joyful hope, lived out across four weeks.

Cherpumple

We symbolize that, and ritualize it, with the Advent wreath. But we don’t light all four candles at once. We go one at a time, so the light gathers and grows. If you have an Advent calendar, you don’t fold open every window at once, but you go one small window at a time. Later in the season, we will sing the haunting refrain, “O come, O come, Emanuel, and ransom captive Israel…” We are captives awaiting freedom, prisoners held in dungeons of despair. But light is coming. Freedom is coming.

Jesus is coming.

But until he comes, we wait, and watch, and wonder, and pray.

We shouldn’t rush it. Advent is the time for taking stock, and making plans – a season of great expectations. Dorothy Day, in fact, compared it to a woman expecting a child. “She lives in such a garment of silence,” Day wrote, “as though she were listening to hear the stir of life within her.”

That brings me to question all of us should ask during these coming weeks:

Are we listening?

Are we paying attention?

Are we looking to what will be – or are we already there?

If we jump right into the holiday season, we forget to wait, and watch, and wonder, and pray. We neglect the “joyful hope” that is so much a part of this beautiful season. When Christmas arrives, it will seem almost anti-climactic: one more day in a long litany of jingling bells and canned carols.

This year resist the urge. Wait a while to get the tree and hang the wreath. Turn down the Christmas music. It’s okay: it will be there in the middle of December, just as it was in the middle of November.

Instead, use these weeks to pull back, to retreat from the ho-ho-ho and fa-la-la-la-la. Find time to look within — to pray more deeply, and converse more intimately with the One who is coming. Ask Him: How can I prepare for you? What can I do to welcome you into my life?

If all of us do that, we may be surprised at the answer.

And we’ll actually be able to HEAR the answer if we give ourselves over to the “garment of silence” that Dorothy Day wrote about.

“Cherpumple” is over the top, and unhealthy. And so, I think, is “Chradvent.” So pull the two seasons apart, and live each of them as fully as possible.

Let’s look forward to a merry Christmas.

But let’s also use this opportunity, as well, to enjoy a blessed and holy Advent.

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Pro-abortion, feminist psychologist Florence Thomas has recently created a stir with the publication of her own experience with abortion. Among other noteworthy quotes, Thomas describes the child of the womb as a “tumor”, and that it is the love of the mother which “humanizes” the baby. Read the rest here.

“I remember the nights of warmth and love. Love every night, love at midday, and the euphoria of having the world in our hands, and yes, we took risks. The love merited it. Love always merits it.”

And…

Thomas “knew that I would not ever again have an abortion in my life. I went through that once in my life, and I would not do it twice. Today I continue to wonder how a woman can have an abortion two or three times and even more.”

There is so much pathology, so much despair in those few lines. A lifetime of distortion.

I too remember that with Regina we had “nights of warmth and love. Love every night, love at midday, and the euphoria of having the world in our hands.” It’s a glorious time in a new marriage, and it serves the purpose of binding up that nascent oneness in ineffable bonds that transcend earthly realities.

Regina and I can also agree that, “we took risks. The love merited it. Love always merits it.” That, too, is true.

Our love was open to the transmission of life, a life born of the expression of our love for one another. The “risk” involved was that of growing beyond ourselves, of putting out into the deep and accepting the awesome responsibility of molding a new human being; mind, body, and soul. We “risked” making the transition from young love to the deeper dimensions of sacrificial love that come with parenthood, beginning with the loss of “Love every night, love at midday,” that accompanies pregnancy and post-partum reality.

Of course, the love Thomas describes is purely sexual. But we learned a different expression of “Love every night” when the children were born. Regina nursed, and the babies were up every two hours looking to be fed. I would get up, change the diaper, bring the baby to Regina, catnap while the baby was fed, burp and change the baby, and put the baby back to bed. This was a forty minute procedure. Then, it was back up for the next round in an hour and twenty minutes. That’s shared responsibility for the product of one’s loving union.

That’s where Thomas went horribly wrong. She viewed the child as a tumor, a disordered growth within herself. The “risk” she feared was the sublimation of love, through the loss of unbridled sex. The child came to be an externalized symbolic representation of her sexuality: a disordered entity, uncontrollable and metastatic in nature. Her sexuality was an entity that would consume her from within.

However, narcissism seeks an external locus of blame. The self is never to blame. So, it wasn’t the “risk” of staying mired in a young adult developmental stage past its useful function. That’s where she wanted, and needed to be. Thus, the baby was identified as the radically disordered, metastatic entity which threatened to consume her.

A “love” whose expression seeks to kill the new life it produces is not love at all. It is a murderous form of psychopathology, extreme narcissism. The sexual behavior Thomas describes is nothing more than hedonism, the pursuit of orgasm with another for whom one has deep feelings.

Such narcissism gives rise to the statement that it is the love of the mother that “humanizes” the baby. In one sense, Thomas is correct. Love permits us to see the humanity of another. The other “becomes” human in our eyes when we look beyond ourselves and consider the frailty of life in general, and the particular circumstances of the other. It’s called empathy.

In the absence of true love there is only the bleak and sterile isolationism that requires one to seek the fruits, the sensations of love, in order to stave off the irrevocable descent into total madness. Like the woman behind the foggy glass window, Thomas can see and appreciate the freedom, the lightness of being in the butterfly flitting about within her grasp.

The tragedy of her life is that she is too afraid to open the window.

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Philip Johnson

May I respectfully and humbly ask that we all join in prayer for this special seminarian, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

From the Diocese of Raleigh:

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, has requested in a letter that all the Priests, Religious and lay faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh participate in a novena to the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the Diocese, on behalf of Philip Johnson, one of our Diocesan seminarians. The novena will begin on Monday, November 29, and culminate on Wednesday, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Mr. Johnson, who is currently pursuing his vocation to the Priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for a brain tumor, which has continued to progress despite these treatments. He expressed “deep gratitude to the priests, religious, and laity of our Diocese for their prayerful support during this difficult time in my life.

“While my treatments can often be physically and emotionally draining,” he said, “it brings me great strength to know that so many prayers are being offered to Almighty God on my behalf. Please be assured of my prayers for our entire Diocese, especially for those who currently suffer in any way, that we may all unite our sufferings to those of Our Lord on the Cross.

Links to both the Bishop’s letter and the Novena Prayer in English and Spanish are provided below so that you may forward this request to others who you may wish to invite to pray for a needed cure for Philip. A link to an earlier story on Mr. Johnson provides additional information. Click here.

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This photoshopped picture, swiped from a hate-filled site, is actually quite the catechetical tool in light of the recent dust-up on the Pope’s comments about condoms.

New York’s Archbishop Timothy Dolan said something rarely uttered in public during an interview published on November 22 in the New York Times. From the article, which can be read here:

“The Pope didn’t say, ‘Oh good, you should use a condom,’ ” Archbishop Dolan said, referring to a controversial comment the pope made in a book that is being released worldwide on Tuesday.

In the book, the pope said that a male prostitute who used a condom to prevent the spread of AIDS might be taking a first step toward moral responsibility. Some Catholic analysts claimed that the pope was floating a possible exception in the church’s ban on birth control. But Archbishop Dolan said the church could not simply change its doctrine.

“You get the impression that the Holy See or the pope is like Congress and every once in a while says, ‘Oh, let’s change this law,’ ” he said. “We can’t.”

Those last two words hang in the air, pregnant in their implication.

“We Can’t”.

In truth, bishops are bound, not free, as Paul alluded to in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4:1-6.

1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

A prisoner for the Lord. ONE Lord. ONE Faith. ONE Baptism.

The moral law comes from God, not man. That is why the Pope speaks infallibly in matters of Faith and Morals, because as the Apostle Paul tells us, there is but ONE Faith. The Pope speaks infallibly when he speaks as the voice of the Apostolic Successors (the Bishops) on a topic dealing with faith and morals. Their job is to hand on the faith that was revealed to them. Consider some of the admonitions of the Apostle Paul to one of the first of the Apostolic Successors, the young Bishop Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:13-14

” 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

1 Timothy 1:3-4

” 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.”

1 Timothy 4:11-16

“11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

1 Timothy 6:20-21

” 20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.”

2 Timothy 1:6-7

“6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”

2 Timothy 4:1-5

” 1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

They are bound, not free.

“We Can’t.” are two of the most truthful, humble, and powerful words ever spoken by a Bishop. Prisoners for the Lord.

So long as they remain bound, we are authentically free.

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From the Gospel of John, Chapter 17:14-23 (New Jerusalem Translation)

“I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world. I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth. I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me. May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in unity that the world will recognise that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you have loved me.”

Last week in the New York City Council, we were directed to an overflow room, not terribly large, and had the hearing’s proceedings piped in. There we were, the leaders of the pro-life movement and the abortionists and their deathscorts, literally sitting next to and across from one another, waiting to testify for and against the pending legislation intended to gut the effectiveness of crisis pregnancy and pregnancy resource centers in New York City. There are over 2,300 such centers nationwide, and the pro-aborts sat commenting on how they intend to take this legislation nationwide.

Many sat and taunted the pro-lifers, hoping to elicit some reaction that would redound to our detriment. Nobody took the bait. However, the evil, the malevolance was so palpable that one could have cut it with a knife. That’s a remarkable statement coming from me, as my spirituality is of the very quiet and reflective sort. I’m a Charismatic Renewal washout from the ’70’s. It never took with me. Only a few times have I ever sensed evil, true evil. I was never wrong.

There was a great temptation to hate these people who were fighting to shut us down and claim those babies for themselves. But as the hours rolled by, all I could do was return in my mind to this beautiful prayer of Jesus to the Father in John’s Gospel. It was the leading of the Holy Spirit.

These people next to me were not Satan, nor were they his angels. They are humans. Horribly lost, swimming in misery, raging against the sacred. They are not the Evil One. They are our brothers and sisters who are in the Evil One’s grip. Jesus’ prayer to the Father offers us a direction:

“I pray not only for these{Apostles, Disciples} but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me.”

As does this verse, which ought to be on the coat of arms of every scientist:

“Consecrate them in the truth”

Indeed, the truth of the scientific data has been badly mauled, especially the abortion/breast cancer link. Fellow scientists have turned to deception, rather than the truth. This was prominent in the Council hearings, as we were accused of “misleading women” with information that has been “roundly rejected by the scientific community”. Brinton, Beral, Rosenberg and Palmer knew what they were doing when they held their sham workshop in 2003. They represent a minority opinion in the research community dealing with abortion and breast cancer.

And that returns me to the purpose of this blog: Consecrating them in the truth. The truth of science is synonymous with the truth of God, as science is the human endeavor of discovering the truth of God’s creation (Nature). Significant illness has derailed my ABC project, but as I return to health, that will be back up and running this week. Also, sometime in mid-winter, Coming Home will begin a systematic exploration of the scientific literature dealing with the psychological/psychiatric post-abortive sequelae. We shall also further explore the roots of the eugenics movement with readings from the main eugenists of the Twentieth Century.

As we proceed, it’s good that the Church gives us this season of Advent, a time of introspection and penance. It is the best medicine for those who are tempted to hate the opposition. This Advent, John 17:14-23 will be the central theme of my meditations, as well as a reminder of this blog’s organizing principle. It is well that we focus on our own sins for a time while we go about our life’s work of addressing the monstrosities of others. It won’t keep me from being the irascible Brooklyn native that I am, but it keeps me praying for those whom we are mandated to consecrate to the truth.

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A History of Gratitude


Another lull, more time for reflection. This celebration today is all the more poignant when we consider the great example set by our forebears. Thanksgiving has frequently followed unspeakable horror and national calamity. Many today look about and bitterly ask what we have to be grateful for, given the sate of the nation. Many are suffering catastrophic loss of jobs, homes, insurance. In order to move forward, perhaps we should spend a moment looking back.

In 1621, the Pilgrims set aside three days in December to feast, to fete the native inhabitants of their new land who taught them how to grow corn. They did this after having lost half of their community the previous year to famine and disease.

In 1789, President George Washington, acting on the authority of Congress, set aside a national day of Thanksgiving after a brutal Revolution that was in reality a world war. Scores of thousands lost family and friends, their homes, livestock, and all of their worldly possessions. Listen to the decidedly NON-SEPARATION of Church/State language of the Founders:

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

In the midst of a brutal civil war that tore this nation apart, Abraham Lincoln found it a good idea to offer thanks to God. More than 600,000 men would die in that war. Because whole towns signed up together and fought together, it was not at all uncommon for all the men of a town to be killed in a single battle. Yet, listen to the language of Lincoln’s proclamation:

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Then in 1941, as the gathering war clouds pressed in on our Atlantic and Pacific shores, with Pearl Harbor set to occur two weeks after the dedicated day of thanks, after ten years of grinding economic depression, Franklin Roosevelt issued the following proclamation:

THANKSGIVING DAY – 1941
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION
I, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate and set aside Thursday, the twentieth day of November 1941, as a day to be observed in giving thanks to the Heavenly Source of our earthly blessings.

Our beloved country is free and strong. Our moral and physical defenses against the forces of threatened aggression are mounting daily in magnitude and effectiveness.

In the interest of our own future, we are sending succor at increasing pace to those peoples abroad who are bravely defending their homes and their precious liberties against annihilation.

We have not lost our faith in the spiritual dignity of man, our proud belief in the right of all people to live out their lives in freedom and with equal treatment. The love of democracy still burns brightly in our hearts.

We are grateful to the Father of us all for the innumerable daily manifestations of His beneficent mercy in affairs both public and private, for the bounties of the harvest, for opportunities to labor and to serve, and for the continuation of those homely joys and satisfactions which enrich our lives.

Let us ask the Divine Blessing on our decision and determination to protect our way of life against the forces of evil and slavery which seek in these days to encompass us.
On the day appointed for this purpose, let us reflect at our homes or places of worship on the goodness of God and, in giving thanks, let us pray for a speedy end to strife and the establishment on earth of freedom, brotherhood, and justice for enduring time.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this 8th day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-sixth.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

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This Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, and time for me to get going on printing my Christmas cards and start sending them out early for a change. So here is this year’s card, complete with cover graphic and message inside. The graphic is a Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Sign, with the description and explanation below.

I’m sending this early to all here at Coming Home to help keep this blessed and holy season in perspective. Here’s to an Advent of fruitful spiritual introspection followed by a Christmas filled with the love of those most dear to us.

“And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans–and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused–and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.”

~Sigrid Undset

The Hex Sign

Double Trinity Tulips

The stylized tulip with its three petals is a dominate feature in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. It is referred to as the Trinity Tulip and it symbolizes the Trinity as well as faith, hope and charity. The heart in this sign (as well as other Pennsylvania German folk art) is not the heart of sentimental “Victorian” valentines. Rather, it is religious in its representation of the heart of God, the source of all love and hope for a future life. The colors in this heart are used to give them additional meaning. Red symbolizes strong emotion and blue is used to indicate strength, especially spiritual strength. The white background symbolizes purity and the solid black circle represents unity in Christ.

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Thanksgiving

The longer I live, the more I come to appreciate that gratitude is the key to mental and spiritual health. It’s the necessary prerequisite for submission to God’s will for us.

He has given me all that I need, and I have learned to stop asking and start praising more. The hindsight that comes with age has shown time and again that what I have most desired has not been what would have been best for me. Praise and thanksgiving are the highest forms of prayer.

Here is a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving that I found this evening:

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

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My Thanks

It’s late on Thanksgiving Eve, and we’re preparing for tomorrow’s dinner. A lull in the action and a few moments of quiet contemplation. Coming Home turns one year old on December 13, and has received over 120,000 visits in that time. I honestly never imagined that the scientific data would have been so very much in demand by the pro-life community.

But Jill Stanek saw what I could not, and moved me firmly and lovingly beyond my trepidations, and into the pro-life blogosphere. The Holy Spirit has guided the rest of the way, and I am finally home, back to where I started in 1983 when I began working with homeless teen mothers at Covenant House.

So very many people have stopped by and offered me invaluable insight, references, guidance, support, and healthy criticism. It’s been quite a year.

In being able to say thank you to all who have helped launch my work in the pro-life movement, I am for once at a loss for words. This work is so very necessary, and you all do so very much in your respective ministries and lives. The sharing of information, the encouragement and support that people lend each other so freely is awe-inspiring.

I am grateful to God for my wife, my children, my family and friends, this work to which He has called me and you, and for all of the gentle denizens of Coming Home. I am also grateful that our worst fears (cancer) in my recent health issues have proven to be unfounded.

At Mass in the morning, when I offer my praise and thanksgiving for all of my blessings this past year, you will all be in my heart and mind as I ask that God’s riches be poured abundantly in your lives. And for our Coming Home family members who are studying in Rome, for L. in Japan, Kate and her special children in England, Dhear B. and Alice T. in the Philippines, Mary Catherine and the Canadian family north of the border, Astrid in South Africa, Delia in Gibraltar, you are here with us in spirit!

A blessed and beautiful day to you all, and remember:

Moderation in all things, especially moderation! ;-)

God Bless!

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Prayer at Harvest and Thanksgiving

O God, source and giver of all things,
You manifest your infinite majesty, power and goodness
In the earth about us:
We give you honor and glory.
For the sun and the rain,
For the manifold fruits of our fields:
For the increase of our herds and flocks,
We thank you.
For the enrichment of our souls with divine grace,
We are grateful.

Supreme Lord of the harvest,
Graciously accept us and the fruits of our toil,
In union with Jesus, your Son,
As atonement for our sins,
For the growth of your Church,
For peace and love in our homes,
And for salvation for all.
We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Living God’s Justice: Reflections and Prayers, compiled by The Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors

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The Pope and Rain Gear

Many have written asking for my take on the Pope’s comments about condom usage. I cannot, and will not comment on the moral dimensions of this issue as regards the use of condoms in light of Humanae Vitae. However, I think there is a scientfic dimension that has been overlooked here, and that dimension yields to a larger moral dimension.

Over at Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog, Reverend E.J. Cappelletti writes the following on this subject:

“I was ordained in 1950. The teaching at that time was quite clear on this matter. It is a case of double effect. If an action has two effects one good and one bad, provided that one does not will the bad effect, he or she is free to choose the good effect.

“Using a condom to avoid infecting a spouse is a good effect, preventing conception is the morally bad effect. One is free to choose the good effect.”

My response to Rev. Cappelletti:

The problem that I have with all of this is that the Pope is speaking on a more academic plane. The reality of condoms is that they have a 15% failure rate during typical use, as opposed to ideal use. This failure rate is established for use in married couples as evidenced by pregnancy as the definition of failure, and is contained within the textbook: Contraceptive Technology, which is the family planner’s bible.

With that number, 80% of all couples using condoms as their sole means of contracepting will conceive within ten years.

Now, this failure rate is established for pregnancy, which involves a five day window out of a 30 day month. Condom failures take place on the other 25 days, but are not included in the failure rate, because pregnancy is being used as the indicator of failure.

Even when having sex without any contraception at all, on an every-other-day basis, people have only a 15% chance of conceiving. So the truth of the matter is that condoms have a much, much, higher failure rate than 15% during typical use. In dealing with the transmissibility of HIV, this is catastrophic.

Improper storage temperatures during shipping and handling in summer and winter weaken the structural integrity of the latex, with the consumer having no way of verifying how well the condoms have been handled. The list of issues is endless.

So when the Holy Father spoke, his commentary didn’t seem to include the issues surrounding condom integrity and failure rate. Quite frankly, I’m alarmed at the Pandora’s box that has been opened. In light of the failure rates of condoms, the ONLY loving response on the part of the HIV+ person is to refrain from sex for the rest of that individual’s life. No loving person would take the chance of endangering the life of another.

My wife is a nurse and I am a medical microbiologist and this issue was vetted fully when we were engaged. We both agreed that if either of us ever contracted HIV during an occupational exposure that we would never again have sex, and that our abstinence would be the highest expression of intimacy and authentic love.

We stand by that today, eighteen years later. This has nothing to do with double-effect. This is about learning sacrificial love by dying to self so that others might live.

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