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Archive for February, 2012

Part I here.

After this post, we’ll gather on Wednesday’s and Saturdays for new posts in this series.

Charles Darwin never knew about DNA, or genes, or genetics. DNA and protein, as well as the debate about which was the genetic material came after Darwin. The definitive experiment showing DNA as the genetic material was performed in 1952 by Hershey and Chase, a mere eight years before I was born. No, Darwin didn’t have any of the knowledge that contaminates our perspective on him. We can be so smug and self-assured when we look back on Darwin and his contemporaries.

To do this conversation justice, we must enter into Darwin’s world as it was, and see that world through his eyes.

Young Darwin was actually a medical student who became taken with the field of natural history. It was a dynamic age in naturalism and, contrary to popular belief, Darwin was NOT the first to propose that life evolved. There were actually many before him, many who backed down under threats of excommunication from civil society and some from their churches. The most prominent proponent who advanced a scientific hypothesis of evolution was Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de la Marck. We know him today simply as, Lamarck.

Lamarck lived from 1744-1729, dying two years before twenty-two year-old Charles Darwin would set sail on his famous five-year voyage aboard the HMS Beagle. Lamarck proposed that life evolved by organisms developing adaptations to their environment and then passing them on to their offspring. Today he is remembered in most biology classes as the fool who got it wrong. In reality, Lamarck was a brilliant invertebrate biologist who coined both the terms invertebrate and biology. Lamarck established most of the taxonomic trees for invertebrates, and is widely regarded in the field as one of the fathers of the field. Back to Darwin.

As a young and budding naturalist, Darwin was afforded the opportunity to sail aboard the HMS Beagle in 1831 (Recall that Darwin would not publish Origin of the Species until 1859). It was a time of great exploration and scientific documentation of the flora and fauna of distant lands, of geology and anthropology. The discovery of fossils and the observations of sedimentary rock containing those fossils was a hot topic. It was observed that sediments form at certain rates, and that sedimentary layers of rock could not have formed in the time since Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, which was Bishop Usher’s biblical calculation of when the world was created.

The concept of geologic time outside of Bishop Usher’s frame was pointing toward a planet that was hundreds of millions of years old, at the least. Fossil evidence, it was further noted, indicated that the deepest sedimentary layers had the most primitive looking organisms, while organisms generally increased in size and complexity in the newer, more surface sedimentary layers.

Darwin carried with him on the Beagle Volume 1 of Principles of Geology, by the foremost geologist of the day, Charles Lyell. Darwin received Volume 2 when he reached South America. Lyell had Darwin do investigations for him, and it is fair to say that Darwin came away much more convinced of evolution based on the geology than did Lyell. In fact, Lyell disagreed with Darwin, and only gave grudging and tepid acceptance of modification by natural selection after Origin of the Species was published. Lyell would write in his 1863 book, Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man that it remained a profound mystery how man bridged the evolutionary divide between himself and the beasts. So not all scientists were of one accord in Darwin’s day, not even his great friend Lyell.

Regarding Darwin’s famous voyage on HMS Beagle, I’m rereading it for the first time in years. However, there is an excellent site with an interactive map of Darwin’s voyage that nicely summarizes each phase of the journey.

Get it here.

It’s worth doing a little reading at that site, as we’ll begin to systematize Darwin’s findings in our next post.

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WARNING!!! This is graphic stuff and NOT meant for children’s eyes.

Planned Parenthood, contrary to their claims, does all they can to break down children’s natural modesty in order to get them addicted to sex. American Life League has done a masterful job at putting it all together.

H/T Jill Stanek

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Rethinking Ash Wednesday

Some of the loudest lamentations of this penitential season come not from the laity, but from the clergy. Specifically, the churches packed on Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday when people who don’t darken a church door all year arrive, “to get something for free.”

I understand their frustration and also see within it a missed opportunity, especially on Ash Wednesday. More on that in a moment. Here are some happenings from a friend’s parish yesterday.

One of my friends who is a pastor has decided to tie the distribution of ashes to the mass. When one of the priests distributed ashes after the homily, more than 60% of the Church cleared out before the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

At another mass, when ashes were to be distributed after mass had ended, a man came up the communion line and when the host was extended to him replied, “I don’t want that. I’m here for ashes.” (At that mass, everyone stayed for the entire mass in order to receive ashes at the end.)

What was missing there, and at a great many churches yesterday, was the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I’ve often heard it said that it would be too much all in one day. I disagree.

Perhaps tying the reception of ashes to the Sacrament of Reconciliation wouldn’t be a bad idea. Perhaps through a penance service. Yesterday, I saw a church packed to the rafters (literally) sit through an entire noon mass in order to receive their ashes.

What is needed is a stemwinder of a homily on the Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell. Tying that in with the opportunity in the present moment to receive another free gift, God’s forgiveness and mercy, might not be a bad way to go. Having several priests on hand to hear confessions (doable in most areas with a little creativity) might well yield surprising results.

It might also be beneficial to offer Reconciliation at times that dovetail more with contemporary schedules than the 1930′s Saturday afternoon-only.

There is something that draws such crowds on Ash Wednesday, a spark that needs to be gently nurtured into something a bit brighter and more intense. It’s easy to become discouraged and even cynical. However, many of these people will not be seen for another year, and what holds them back is the power of guilt and sin.

We must encounter them not on the terms of our predilections, but where they are at in their journey. If Ash Wednesday is the only day of the year they can be expected to be in Church, then we should be waiting with what they need most:

Forgiveness.

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Contemplating Lent and Imperfection

One of my favorite actors, for a host of reasons, is Peter O’Toole. I recently viewed a video of him being interviewed by David Letterman in 2007. At one point in the interview Letterman asks O’Toole if he ever thought of an epitaph to leave the world when he’s gone.

O’Toole, who has led a rather colorful life of alcohol-related antics, replied that the epitaph came to him in a note from a dry cleaner in the 1960′s. He recounted the story of a favorite leather jacket that had seen all of his antics and was covered in “Guinness, blood, and vomit. The ususl.” O’Toole sent the Jacket to the cleaners and it came back with a note pinned on it, which read:

“It distresses us to return work which is not perfect.”

I love it!

It is the plaintive cry of the struggling sinner. O’Toole is a brilliant Shakespearean actor who has struggled mightily for decades with alcohol. In 1987 I saw him on Broadway in a production of Pygmalian. It was a graduation gift from my brother, and I sat in the third row, center Orchestra. O’Toole was wrecked, and I winced as I saw him struggling to carry on. If I was disappointed at first, I found myself silently praying and pulling for him. He didn’t quit.

He never has.

That’s what makes him so lovable and endearing to so many, I think. His struggles, because of his work, are out there for all the world to see. His response to Letterman was the perfect deflection of harsh judgement, if any were to come his way. The man knows his imperfections better than anyone.

On the night before Lent, it is a time for me to contemplate my own imperfections. As I contemplate them I think of how often my imperfections, my own shortcomings as a human being have enfolded me in paralyzing fear and guilt and have prevented me from becoming all I can be, all that God has called me to be.

I admire O’Toole. He has failed repeatedly, yet he keeps coming on. It’s a lesson that I have been slow to learn. The turning point for me was when my best friend, Father Steven Clark said to me that Confession isn’t all about my sins. It’s about God’s Love and Mercy.

It’s about the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son who is waiting on the road for his son to return, waiting with a heart that is at once broken, yet filled with hope.

It’s about that heart bursting with joy at the sight of his broken son returning.

It’s about the father calling for a feast and begging for reconciliation within the family, a father wild with joy.

Yes, Lent is a time to focus on that which keeps me from drawing closer to God, and to work toward eradicating it. But the focus can’t be all about my sin to the exclusion of the sight of a Father wild with joy at the sight of me returning with my rehearsed script of unworthiness, and not even hearing what I’m saying as He calls for a feast in celebration.

I’ve learned that, too, by my own experience as a father. I know of my own wild and passionate love for my children, and know that God is not less loving, less forgiving than I am. My fatherly love is a mere shadow of the Father’s Love.

So, while I share the sentiment’s in O’Toole’s epitaph, my distress at one day returning work which is not perfect is tempered by the realization that a Father wild with joy awaits me on the road.

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It’s time that this blog tackle the issue of Charles Darwin, evolution, and the Culture of Death as they relate to one another. I’ll probably succeed in pleasing nobody on any side of this debate, but it’s a discussion that needs to be had by pro-lifers. The issue of Darwinian evolution evokes rather strong sentiments, and I welcome them all. In the words of Churchill, “We can disagree without being disagreeable.”

So, where do we begin? I’d like to begin with the science and then proceed to the philosophical and anthropological consequences.

First, I am a molecular biologist, and I thank God every day for the window into His creative mind that science has given me. If there is one thing that I can say with absolute certitude it is this:

Life Evolves!

That is a wholly separate issue from the question of how life began, and we’ll tackle those issues as well in later posts. However, for now it suffices to say that Darwin and I both happened on the scene quite some time after the appearance of life on this planet and that we both see the evidence for change over time.

It’s hard to see the evidence for change in humans over time, if only because we don’t live long enough to witness it first-hand. That’s why biologists who study evolution like to use organisms with short generation times. Fruit flys have generation times that are mere weeks, and bacteria such as E. coli reproduce every 20 minutes in liquid growth medium when grown at human body temperature.

It’s much easier to see genetic changes over the generations in an organism that reproduces every 20 minutes than in organisms that reproduce every 20 years.

At the cellular and molecular level, we see that DNA recombines in sexually reproducing organisms to create a riot of uniquely different members of the species. This enables the species to survive if some lethal threat arises that some members happen to be resistant to. We see this with antibiotic resistance in bacteria (which do not reproduce sexually).

Perhaps one in a billion bacterial cells might have acquired a mutation, or a gene from another species, that makes the cell resistant to a certain antibiotic (which are made by other organisms). When we take antibiotics, the drug kills the cells that are susceptible and leaves behind the ones that have developed resistance. These cells grow back in the presence of the drug. Over time, with excessive use of that antibiotic in a community, we see that almost all people coming to the hospital with an infection to be afflicted with antibiotic resistant strains.

The resistant strain has become the new norm.

That’s evolution, the endless cycle of mutation, adaptation, reproduction.

The evidence for evolution is so abundant that evolution has become biology’s prism through which all else is filtered. And that leads to evolution rising to the level of a Theory.

In everyday language, the words opinion, theory, idea, belief, hypothesis, conjecture, all tend to be used interchangeably to denote the cognitions of a single individual. In science, the same words have vastly different meaning.

A well-informed idea is called a Hypothesis. We design experiments to test the hypothesis, and the experiments must be designed in such a way that the hypothesis is open to being disproved.

When the same hypothesis is proven repeatedly and universally, it rises to the level of scientific Theory. There are only a handful of ideas that have risen to that level. Einstein’s Relativity is one.

When Theory has all of the wrinkles ironed out, it rises to the level of a scientific Law, and there are only a handful of those: The laws of Thermodynamics and Gravity being examples.

So when we say that Darwinian evolution is a scientific theory, we mean that there is a mountain of evidence to support that idea.

Was Darwin a racist or eugenist? We’ll consider that separately as we tease apart the science of evolution from the philosophical and political consequences that flow from the misapplication of the scientific reality. Today’s blog was just the opening round.

Next time: The core biological ideas surrounding evolution by means of natural selection. It would help if people posted comments here, and not just on FB, as not everyone reading the blog comes through FB. Thanks.

Also, Darwin is getting his own Category in the box on the right.

{Serendipity moment. After publishing this post, WordPress tells me it was the 666th post published on my blog. That ought to mean something to Darwin’s detractors ;-) }

Part II here.

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In my youth, the differences between the Soviet Union and the United States were made abundantly clear to us. We had the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and they didn’t. Teens at drive-thru fast food restaurants were iconic of American freedom.

The freedom to recreate our culture through music, food, mobility.

Our fathers fought despotism in World War II and Korea and told us of the communist menace, always juxtaposed with the freedoms for which they fought. We could only imagine the deprivations endured by our peers who were trapped behind the iron curtain. We’d heard of the Soviet commissars with the red stars on their sleeves, whose job it was to enforce all of the myriad dictates of the state in what was a dreary existence. The human spirit withers in the absence of authentic freedom. I thanked God for being an American.

Now after the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the flowering of freedom in the former Soviet-bloc nations; we have decided that since we beat them, we should emulate their former system of government.

The America of my middle years increasingly resembles the former Soviet Union, especially as regards the all-out war on religion. More on religion in a moment.

Under our Dear Leader in the White House, we now have Soviet-style commissars who are paid agents of the state, enforcing Department of Health and Human Services food guidelines in preschool by inspecting lunchboxes from home, and seizing the offending food items, supplanting them with state-approved food and billing the family. The following story from Sara Burrows at Carolina Journal Online is chilling:

“A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.

“The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

“When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.

“The girl’s mother – who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation – said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a ‘healthy lunch’ would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.”

Read the rest here.

That’s not an isolated incident. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has decided that trans fats should be outlawed, and so they were. Sales of trans fats in any food in New York is prohibited, even in Twinkies and Devil Dogs! Grannie Bloomberg has also decided that cigarettes are bad for one’s health and raised the price of a pack to $14.50 with new taxes. He has also decreed that all eating establishments, from the finest restaurants to Dunkin’ Donuts, must list the caloric content of each menu item right next to the item on the menu. Soda (pop) machines have been taken from schools, and increased punitive taxation (similar to cigarettes) was proposed for all soda (pop) in New York City. Bloomberg might have gotten away with it, but for the hordes of New Yorkers ready to tar and feather him.

At least soda is safe, for now.

Another New York Moment occurred a few years back when some City employee decided that New Yorkers seeking to escape our 8 1/4% sales tax by shopping in New Jersey (no sales tax on clothes) should have our license plates photographed at New Jersey malls by government commissars, and then some sort of fine be mailed to the offending party. No word on the career of said bureaucrat after that lead balloon crashed.

Then, in California, there was this recent gem:

“One sun-drenched August morning, armed officers wearing sunglasses and bullet-proof vests descended on a market in Venice, Calif., searching for illegally sold goods. It marked the end of a year-long investigation where undercover agents posed as customers.

Their target: raw, unpasteurized milk.

Federal regulators say it’s a dangerous and unnecessary public threat, pointing to 143 cases of contamination linked to still births, miscarriages and kidney failure since 1987, the latest involving five California children. Grassroots, back-to-nature consumers say the product strengthens the immune system by keeping intact good bacteria that’s killed in pasteurized milk. The choice should be theirs, the activists say.“These guns are being drawn on basically aging hippies, all because of illegal milk,” said Ajna Sharma-Wilson, a Los Angeles lawyer for the Venice market owner, in an interview. “This is a waste of taxpayer money.”

Get the rest here, from Bloomberg News!

Enter the HHS mandate and the Catholic Church.

There is actually no better metaphor for Obama’s brand of government in relationship to the Church than what happened to that little girl. The government seized a healthy turkey and cheese sandwich, potato chips, banana, and apple juice and handed the child a plate of chicken nuggets.

When government is permitted to legislate what we may or may not eat, tries to make it a crime to shop where we wish, demands that we be confronted with the caloric content of our food every time we eat out, the Catholic Bishops have an uphill battle on their hands. It isn’t only Obama whom they are fighting.

It is a nation that has quit on itself, a people who have grown weary of freedom and personal responsibility and who are increasingly trading freedom for the meager rations that come with enslavement. We’ve quit the game. The America of my middle years barely resembles the America of my youth. The Greatest Generation, tempered by war and the Great Depression spawned the Me Generation, softened by excess. With the Greatest Generation all but gone, the Me Generation is in charge. My grandmother used to say of the Boomers in our youth, “I’m glad I’ll be dead when they’re in charge.”

I’m beginning to understand why.

We’ve settled for the chicken nuggets.

Narcissism and hedonism breed their own enslavement, and there will never be a shortage of political opportunists who will seize on the desire for freedom without responsibility, ready to stand guard over the prison of our own making. Our clergy, silent for far too long, now fight a two-front war. On the one hand, they must resist the efforts of the government to dictate every facet of life, lest the people not have the requisite freedom to make moral decisions. On the other hand, they must somehow shake people from their narcissistic torpor and instill in them a renewed appreciation for evil and its effects.

Before the bishops can convince the enslaved of the evil of losing their freedom, they need to convince them of their beauty.

We deserve better than chicken nuggets.

When I was a seminarian, Msgr. William Smith would tell us in moral theology class that the freedom of choice would one day become a mandate. We’re seeing that now with the aggressive eugenics in maternal-fetal medicine with extreme pressure to abort being made on mothers of handicapped babies.

The freedom to use contraception will become a mandate once the government is picking up the tab. There is a hidden mandate within the HHS mandate. Our bodies, our families are increasingly becoming the property of the state.

This November we will either begin walking this abuse back, or a new iron curtain will descend.

How ironic that we, the victors of the Cold War, will have done this to ourselves.

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Click the image to enlarge.

The graph tells the story, and comes from Chris Kahlenborn, MD. Dr. Kahlenborn is the founder of the Polycarp Research Institute, which has some excellent materials on the link between oral contraceptives and breast cancer, as well as abortion and breast cancer. Dr. Kahlenborn’s excellent book, Breast Cancer : Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill was written ten years ago and is a perfect source book for non-scientists. It was Dr. Kahlenborn’s stellar book that drew my interest in this subject and took me from DEEP skeptic to a properly educated and enlightened scientist through his presentation of all the scientific literature. Order it here.

This contraceptive fight is going to be a definitive issue in this presidential election. Dr. Kahlenborn, Dr. Lanfranchi, Dr. Brind, Ms. Karen Malec and others have written extensively on these issues, and a thorough and sustained reading of their work is going to be necessary if we are not going to be written off as religious zealots by those in the middle. The place to begin is with Kahlenborn’s book and his website. It’s an easy read for the layperson.

The individuals just mentioned, and myself, are out here doing the education, but now we need voices. Many more voices.

Perhaps many here have used oral contraceptives in the past, or are using them now. It’s never too late to learn what science and medicine are telling us, and to change our lifestyles; if not by the light of faith, then by the light of empiric evidence.

Our women are being ravaged by breast cancer, and while OC use and abortion don’t account for it all, they account for plenty.

I’m here to educate and answer questions. Let’s get going.

See also, World Health Organization Data on Birth Control Pill and Estrogen Replacement Carcinogenicity

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There has been confusion of late concerning the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) listing for their Group 1 Carcinogens, including several forms of oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement therapy. The confusion has arisen because the original link by WHO has been changed. After some sleuthing, here is a treasure trove of information from WHO. Let’s take the links one at a time.

First are the IARC Group Classifications for agents and their degrees of carcinogenicity:

Group 1 Carcinogenic to humans (107 agents)

Group 2A Probably carcinogenic to humans (59 agents)

Group 2B Possibly carcinogenic to humans (267 agents)

Group 3 Not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (508 agents)

Group 4 Probably not carcinogenic to humans (1 agent)

The definitions of these groups may be found in the IARC Monograph Preamble on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. Click here.

The page with links to the agents by various classification schemes may be found here.

The actual list of all agents, (IN Group number order) beginning with the following known (Group 1) carcinogens containing:

Estrogen therapy, postmenopausal
Estrogen-progestogen menopausal therapy (combined)
Estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives

may be found by clicking here.

The same estrogens may be found on the list that lists them in alphabetical order with Group number next to their name. Click here.

Going much, much deeper…

There is another link that shows the monographs on:

1. Exposure Data
2. Studies of Cancer in Humans
3. Studies of Cancer in Experimental Animals
4. Other Data Relevant to an Evaluation of Carcinogenicity and its Mechanisms
5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation
6. References

for each of the following:

Oral Contraceptives, combined
Hormonal Contraceptives, Progestogens Only
Post-Menopausal Estrogen Therapy
Post-Menopausal Estrogen-Progestogen Therapy

The link to this page (which contains all the links to the monographs) may be found here.

Hopefully, this helps. Contrary to rumor, WHO did not hide the data, but actually expanded it in new links. Remember that even small increases in risk when multiplied by hundreds of millions of women taking these drugs will produce large absolute new cases of breast cancer.

P.S. Here is a monograph on all of the known carcinogens: Click here.

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On Friday afternoon I wrote an open letter to Cardinal Dolan here at Coming Home. As has been our working practice, Steven Ertelt at Lifenews.com reposted my piece at his site almost immediately that afternoon (changing the title, as is his custom). What Steven neglected to do was give me attribution as the author of the piece. As a result, the piece carried Steven Ertelt’s name as the author, and it did not appear under my column.

This caused me no small amount of heartburn, as it has happened a few times before, and over the next 18 hours I sent Steven several emails asking him to correct the error, telling him that people were beginning to question the attribution: did I take the piece from him?!

Steven said my emails were buried in a mountain of emails to him, apologized, and corrected the error as soon as he saw my email some 24 hours later. However, by that time the damage was done and there was no public statement on his site explaining the error. After an exchange of emails today (Monday), Steven placed an editor’s note at the bottom of the original article after changing the name. It evidently was sufficiently buried to escape the notice of a reader from Irleand who sent me the following email:

Hello Dr Gerard Nadal,

I read your statement on Obama’s Mandate. I’m totally in agreement with it. However, the byline was “by Gerard Nadal”. Now if you care to look, I had a link to the same article published a few “Comments” above the lady who gave your link and it was to Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s blog on http://www.archny.org/ . This statement was on http://www.lifenews.com/ and I think you should have credited this organization with the statement. I’m going no further with this as we all must stick together. However, it is good to give credit where credit is due.

Indeed.

Steven Ertelt is a good man who is doing a great work at Lifenews. However, I have not been able to succeed in getting him to make a statement placed in a noticeable position on his main page that would clear the air. It’s unfortunate, as I have allowed my writing to be published on his site free of charge. However, such an egregious error, however innocently made requires more than a private apology and a note buried at the bottom of the original article (which nobody is going to re-read!).

So absent a separate article at Lifenews explaining the error, an explanation which would have cleared the air and restored my good name for those misled by the error, (people who may not be inclined to write) I’m publishing this correction and explanation 72 hours later in my more limited sphere of influence and consequently no longer writing for Lifenews.com.

Though I would have preferred that the explanation come from Steven, I honestly wish Steven all the best.

Coming Home is moving forward.

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Your Emminence,

Yesterday on National television you made two statements that, taken together, signal disaster for the Catholic Church in America. In the first statement you said:

We bishops aren’t fighters. We’re pastors, and we want to stand on principle. We just want to do our work as effectively as we can.

In the second statement you said that your response to an overture from the president on backing down from the HHS mandate would be:

I would say… The religious exemption is very choking and very tight. There’s a restriction there that we can’t live with. Simply in the best American principles of freedom of religion, simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.

How in the world could you have said that to this president, of all people, at this moment in history? That was a disastrous full-blown retreat in the name of every bishop in the land. Today, we have Obama’s answer.

A thinly veiled semantic recasting of the exact same policy, by the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

You lamented to Charlie Rose that this president has repeatedly given his word; at Notre Dame, to the Catholic Health Association, and to all of the bishops through you, and then he broke faith. Honestly, Emminence, what did you expect? Didn’t Jesus tell us that poison trees yield poison fruit? Your response was to tell this demagogue to just throw us a bone, an election year sop, and that he would never hear from the bishops again.

What is frightening, Emminence, is that I’m beginning to believe you.

What about abortion, euthanasia, the aggressive eugenics seizing medicine, the ever-widening definition of “death” to accommodate the organ transplant business? Will you hold your tongue on those issues as well?

In the 23rd Psalm, the psalmist writes:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

The rod and staff in this context are not metaphors for discipline, but the understanding that as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we know that the Good Shepherd will use his staff to beat away the wild beasts, which is precisely what Jesus meant when He said that He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep.

As we both know, at night the shepherds create pens for the sheep and the good one’s then lie down at the opening to the pen so that the wolves will have to take on the shepherds before they can get to the sheep. That’s a far cry from your statement of the bishops not being fighters. It was always my understanding that the staff carried by a bishop not only symbolized his benign control over the flock, but is a symbolic projection of power to the wolves.

That was very absent in your commentary yesterday with Charlie Rose.

What we don’t need any more of is polite, diplomatic meetings with the architects of the Culture of Death. We had that here in New York with Gay Marriage. We’ve now had that with the HHS mandate.

It’s beyond painful to see our bishops, health care leaders, and Catholic academicians repeatedly being played for fools by this man. Enough! What we need now are shepherds who will wield those staffs against the wolves who have been tearing the flock to pieces for decades. You can’t do business with the most rabidly proabortion politician in American history. He can only be defeated.

And it isn’t just the unborn or the elderly who need your protection. It’s good Catholic laypeople who are business owners and who don’t want to be forced to participate in this mandate. Even if you secure an accommodation for the Church, what about them?

Even if Obama capitulates on the HHS mandate, should he be reelected, he will sign an executive order the next day reinstating the mandate. Then what?

No, Emminence, we need a Cardinal like your illustrious predecessor, John Cardinal O’Connor. We need to confront the Nancy Pelosi’s and Kennedy’s, the Biden’s and Sebeliuses from within and force the issue regarding their Catholicity. They must recant their support of the Culture of Death or be prohibited from receiving communion. We need a Cardinal who will denounce such atrocities as the HHS mandate and not simply voice his “consternation” and “disappointment”.

You cannot afford to be played for the fool ever again. Your staff isn’t large enough to corral the entire flock when they lose faith in the shepherd. Should that occur, Emminence, it will be Obama’s most enduring legacy.

UPDATE: Please see correction here.

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Yesterday, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan appeared on CBS to discuss the HHS mandate. While he signaled strength in one area, fighting the mandate, he signaled weakness in a few others. Not surprisingly, this morning the White House is floating some trial balloons in how to walk this back until after the elections.

To be clear, all Obama needs to do is yield for now. That will mollify enough Catholics, including Cardinal Dolan, who said as much. When asked by Charlie Rose what he would say to a President who might admit that he misstepped, Cardinal Dolan responded:

I would say… The religious exemption is very choking and very tight. There’s a restriction there that we can’t live with. Simply in the best American principles of freedom of religion, simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.

Watch the interview here to get the whole context:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ75snNhliE&feature=player_embedded

The other alarming statement from Cardinal Dolan is this:

We bishops aren’t fighters. We’re pastors, and we want to stand on principle. We just want to do our work as effectively as we can.

To the Obama White House, that’s sweet, sweet music. Throw the fools a bone, because November is an eternity away in electoral politics. This will all be a distant memory. When Obama is reelected and has nothing left to lose we’ll pay dearly for our bishops not having galvanized us against the mortal threat.

Cardinal Dolan lamented the broken promises made by Obama when he received his honorary doctorate from Notre Dame.

He lamented Obama’s broken promises to the Catholic Health Association.

He lamented Obama’s broken promises to him personally at a private meeting in the White House.

And Cardinal Dolan’s response to the Church being played repeatedly for a fool?

Simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.

Translation: Throw us a bone.

When the President of the United States receives an honorary doctorate from the most revered Catholic University in the nation and gives his word, then is received by the Catholic health professionals and gives his word, then invites the head of the Catholic Bishops to personally give his word, and then makes them all look like fools, it’s hard to admit to having been played for a fool. However, we must recognize the true danger lurking in the president’s health care plan, as I wrote about yesterday.

Not only should have Cardinal Dolan not said, “you’re not gonna hear from us any more,” he should have signaled that having repeatedly played us for fools, Catholics and others are beginning to wake up to a profoundly disturbing reality that has lurked under all of those false assurances and will register their concerns at the polls in November. Further, while the bishops have not been fighters hitherto, that reality has changed. We recognize that this president has declared war on religious liberty, and that such ideology so flagrantly expressed is neither benign, nor transient. It is a manifestation of character and core ideology that stands diametrically opposed to the freedoms we enjoy under the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Further, Cardinal Dolan should have stated that he can no longer work with a president who has lied to the Church from the outset, and that this is not the “change” Catholics augered for when they voted for Obama three years ago.

The bishops of Nazi Germany spoke up, led by Cardinal Faulhaber. There were brutal consequences for having done so.

We have reached the point in the history of our Republic where the president has declared openly the war that his liberal minions have been waging surreptitiously for decades. This is our last best hope to stand against the aggression against Catholicism and other faithful religious denominations. We can no longer keep silent for fear of losing our tax-exempt status. The President of the United States has declared an end to religious liberty. He has defined for us what is and is not a religion, what is and is not a religious institution, and who may or may not follow the dictates of conscience as formed by their faith.

The tax-exempt status?

That will go in the second Obama administration.

What we need now are bishops who see the mortal dangers inherent in Obamacare at every stage of the life spectrum.

We need bishops who realize that there is no reason to remain on the sidelines any more.

We need bishops who realize that a totalitarian regime is one more presidential election away.

We need bishops who will lead from in front.

We need a Cardinal who will say, “You haven’t even begun to hear from us.”

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Q: Ms. Brinker, can you explain why you’re ending your longstanding relationship with Planned Parenthood?

Brinker: I don’t think that’s an entirely accurate depiction of what has happened. The Komen Foundation has provided funding to Planned Parenthood for the purpose of providing breast screenings. Planned Parenthood performs palpations of the breast, manually feeling for lumps. While these palpations discover lumps and result in mammogram referrals, they do not detect tumors in their most nascent stages. While we’re confident that Planned Parenthood will continue to perform manual exams as a part of their overall physical examination of women, the Komen Foundation is moving in the direction of funding actual mammograms.

Q: But what of the assertion by Planned Parenthood’s supporters that this move on your part will hurt women who will not be seen by Planned Parenthood?

Brinker: We’re talking about $600,000 of Komen money used to help offset some of Planned Parenthood’s costs. Our money represents six-tenths of one-onethousanth of Planned Parenthood’s one billion dollar per year operations. You’re not suggesting that Planned Parenthood is so mercenary that they wouldn’t pick up those exams on a pro-bono basis, are you? Besides, since our announcement, Planned Parenthood has raised more than the $600,000 that we have redirected to mammograms. If an organization can raise close to one million dollars in less than a week, then they no longer need our assistance. That represents a win for women.

Q: Yes, but aren’t you capitulating to anti-choice staff members for whom this is a proxy war over abortion?

Brinker: Don’t be absurd. I began this foundation in order to fulfill a deathbed promise to my sister, Susan, who was taken from us by breast cancer. As the head of a foundation that has raised nearly two billion dollars, I have a moral and ethical obligation to see to it that every dollar goes to advancing the highest caliber science, detection, and therapeutics for breast cancer.

Q: But…

Brinker: Please let me finish. Mammography requires the very best equipment and the very best radiologists to accurately interpret the images. This is simply beyond Planned Parenthood’s expertise and mission. We made a prudential decision to fund mammograms for women. Given Planned Parenthood’s demonstrated capacity this week to raise more money in three days than we give them in one year, I fully expect that as we expand our funding of mammography, Planned Parenthood will expand their manual breast screening and referral program. I just don’t see where women lose in this scenario.

Q: Are you concerned that corporations are threatening to cease funding Komen over this decision?

Brinker: Of course I am. I’m also mystified. We’re trying to fund an increase in the number of women who have the earliest detection of their breast cancer with the best possible outcome and for this we face withdrawal of support? I think you need to ask those corporate sponsors why they prefer we fund pre-mammography science as opposed to state of the art radiography.

Q: Perhaps these corporations see a value in Planned Parenthood’s services that you don’t?

Well, I see that you have a wedding band on your left hand, sir. So let me ask you this… If you had a choice of only one option, would you prefer that your wife receive annual manual exams at Planned Parenthood until a lump large enough to be palpated is detected, or would you rather she receive mammograms at state of the art centers, interpreted by experienced radiologists who could detect tumors too small to be palpated; tumors in their earliest stages where the disease is contained and the prognosis most positive? Our mission at Komen is to fund the very latest in science and technology, and this is way beyond Planned Parenthood’s current capacity, or even anything they could do in the near future.

Q: Getting back to the assertion by the anti-choice activists who have led the charge on efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, there are some who note Komen’s timing and the fact that you have anti-choice staff members. How do you respond?

Brinker: Our decision was not political, but prudential. We’re funding mammograms. However, let me say this. Whether or not a person is pro-choice or anti-choice, there have been a disturbing series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood staffers acting with less than professional decorum. There are also investigations underway where Planned Parenthood has been advised that their answers may lead to self-incrimination. Now, perhaps these investigations are indeed politically motivated. That doesn’t mean that there may not be merit to the allegations being made. Time, and the process, will tell. We have decided not to fund organizations under investigation. In the case of Planned Parenthood, as I have said, their demonstrated capacity to raise in three days more money than we funded in an entire year really makes this a moot issue. Last Question…

Q: Going forward, assuming that Planned Parenthood is cleared of all allegations, will you resume funding them?

Brinker: This is beginning to resemble the movie, “Groundhog Day.” No, we will not. Given the economy, and given the fact that only about 10% of NIH research grant applications are being funded, there is no shortage of researchers who are desperate for research money. We live in the greatest country in the world, with the best medicine and best researchers. We are Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and that’s where our focus will remain moving forward. We excel at sponsoring the best current technology, and developing the next generation of technology. That’s where we need to be. With their newfound money, we’re delighted that Planned Parenthood will have the means to continue their breast screening program, even expanding it, and look forward to their referring women to the local mammography centers whom we’ll be funding. This is a win-win for women, folks. Let’s keep them as the focus, the women. Together, we’ll one day end this scourge. Thank You.

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It started with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fast-tracking Obamacare and urging lawmakers to read it after voting in the affirmative. In Brooklyn, that’s called a clue.

Then Donald Berwick was recess appointed to head Medicaid and Medicare, and to function as Obamacare’s Rationing Czar. He was recess appointed because the Senate found rather distressing his lack of straight answers on his fondness for eugenics.

It continues with the trend in medicine to continuously expand the definition of “death” for the purpose of organ harvesting to the point that two American bioethicists recently claimed that there is nothing morally wrong with killing, if the individual has lost function and autonomy. Read it here.

All of this, and so much more, points to the real bloodbath that is Obamacare:

Aggressive eugenics feeding the population control agenda.

Enter the HHS mandate forcing the Catholic Church to purchase contraceptives. It’s a brilliant political strategy on Obama’s part, and his Catholic supporters (54%) have aided in this development. It’s the old two-step, one-step; and nobody does it better than the Democrats all up and down the Potomac.

The HHS mandate was Obama pushing two steps forward. If he met with no opposition, he would be significantly ahead of the game. If he met with fierce opposition, then he at least would have galvanized his radical base and caused his opposition to focus on the front end of the life spectrum, while distracting from the real payout for the Culture of Death on the other end of the life spectrum.

Will Obama capitulate? If he does he’ll be lionized in the press as being reasonable and open to dialogue, as well as change. He’ll be juxtaposed with the ‘rigid religious right’ who will not yield an inch. In the end, we will have been too narrowly focussed on the religious liberty issue and will have failed to see the set-up for what it was.

He’ll still be one step ahead, as he will have thrown the right’s attention off of the rest of Obamacare, which will have been tweaked instead of routed.

Our efforts at dealing with the HHS mandate must be tied to a deeper examination of Obamacare and the reality that there is simply no money for all Americans to receive the level and quality of care that those with insurance currently enjoy. There will be a massive decrease in the quantity, type, and quality of service that we will receive in the future, because the very system promising universal coverage is the very system bankrupting the nation.

The eugenists have been setting the table for decades, as have the organ donor folks, and now we are seeing the dangerous and deadly confluence of those two rivers under nationalized health care.

The fight over religious liberty is an important one, and one where we must prevail. However, we need to understand that we are engaged in the two-step, one-step with something far, far, more ominous and consequential. A victory over the HHS mandate that does not translate into momentum for destroying Obamacare is simply putting lipstick on a pig.

It is a rare day that this blog ventures into presidential politics so deeply, but this is not merely an issue of religious liberty. This is about an existential threat. If Obama is not defeated in November, battles over the First Amendment will seem a quaint parlor game compared to what will befall our nation.

If we are to salvage our national identity, this president and his pig need to be retired at the polls in November.

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The Saint Gianna Physician’s Guild has begun a petition drive calling for the Obama Administration to reverse course on the HHS mandate. This is a great organization, with more about them in a minute.

Cardinal Raymond Burke has issued the following statement:

I wholeheartedly express my solidarity with the Stop The Birth Control Mandate petition promoted by St. Gianna Physician’s Guild protesting the recent decree by the Department of Health and Human Services of our federal government. I encourage Catholics to sign the petition and thus unite their support of Holy Mother Church by protesting the most grievous violation of the right to religious liberty for Catholics in the United States.

~Raymond Cardinal Burke
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

At this writing there are 19,311 signatures. Please send this link to all of your friends and family and encourage them to sign the petition.

Now, a little about this wonderful physician’s guild from their website:

Saint Gianna Physicians Guild was founded by a Catholic layman who saw a need for physicians and other health care workers to bring their Faith into their lives and medical practices in a more pronounced way.

Thomas McKenna founded the organization and then teamed up with a close friend and internationally renowned physician in the specialty of gynecologic oncology from the University of Southern California, Dr. Paul Morrow, to form a movement to do this.

The Mission

The mission of St. Gianna Physician’s Guild is to unite and encourage Catholic physicians, and those in the health care profession, to promote and defend Catholic principles in a public way by word and example, and to inspire sanctification in their lives.

It seeks to use the influence and expertise of the medical profession to clarify and support sound ethics and morality in the practice of medicine and proclaim them in the public forum. As a way of promoting these values in the personal lives of the faithful, the Guild has a special devotional outreach to promotes and teach about the life and virtues of their patron, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, a dedicated wife, mother and physician who lived and practiced her faith in an exemplar way in the 20th century.

St. Gianna died in 1962 at the age of 39. She sacrificed her life for that of her unborn daughter when confronted with complications caused by a tumor that developed during her pregnancy. St. Gianna was canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 16, 2004.

AGAIN, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION

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In the ongoing discussion about Komen funding for Planned Parenthood, it is essential that people understand the central issue, which is Komen funding an organization whose activities actually contribute to the incidence of breast cancer. One commenter on yesterday’s post, Dave Bunnell, left a very succinct statement with a perfect analogy to capture the essence of this debate. I thought it deserved its own post. Thanks, Dave. You’ve nailed it!

Reblogged this on The Bunnell Blog and commented:
Planned Parenthood’s activities increase breast cancer rate more than anything else Komen Foundation does decreases it. For Komen to give into PP’s campaign of lies and pressure to give them money would be like Mothers Against Drunk Driving letting Budweiser shake them down for funds.

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