Archive for March, 2010

UPDATE 4/1/10: The events of the week (three funerals) have conspired against my finishing a post on chapter three. With the Triduum upon us, I’m caught up in liturgy and reflecting on my own wretchedness. Let’s call it a week and I’ll post this next Tuesday. Thank you for your gracious indulgence. For the rest of the Triduum, I’ll be posting the Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours. God Bless.

Begging everyone’s gracious indulgence, I’ve been running between three funerals and wakes in two days, and will post the review of chapter 3 tomorrow afternoon, when I have time to finish my review of this very detailed and thoughtful chapter.

In the interim, please say a prayer for the repose of four beautiful souls who returned home in the last week:
Maria Fabrizio
Leon Miller
Kenneth Fanizzi
William Damroth II

Each has made this world a more beautiful place by their lives and movements among us.

See you all tomorrow.

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To Pull the Plug?

I attended a bioethics conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio this past weekend. The theme centered on end of life decisions and care. Much was mentioned about when it is appropriate to discontinue food and water by removing the feeding tube.

Dr. Patrick Lee, Director of the Institute for Bioethics at Franciscan assembled a stellar group of ethicists to deal with these issues. Good speakers provoke good thought and even better conversation/debate, which was all in good supply as well. One observation came to me during much of the discussion on case studies.

It seems that we’ve crossed clearly onto euthanasia’s turf. The Terry Sciavo case was illustrative of far more than the issue of patients making statements about how they would prefer to live. Of course none of us would want to live with significant deficits in function. That’s easy to say NOW. Many of the physicians in attendance spoke of how that sentiment changes when patients mourn their loss of function and begin to adjust to their new reality.

The conditions for which people seek the removal of feeding tubes are most often not associated with the futile attempt at extending life whose imminent end is obvious.

People are now seeking to remove sustenance for conditions that are not at all life-threatening, and not even so much a burden for the patient as they are for the family who would be expected to be the care-givers.

Thus, we seek the death of loved ones increasingly that we may avoid our own existential suffering in adjusting to new and chronic realities not foreseen.

Michael Sciavo wanted to cut the ties that bound him to his wife in order to carry on with the woman who had become his common-law wife in-waiting and the mother of his children. At the malpractice trial, Michael swore that the money in a settlement would be used for Terry’s rehab. Once the judgement was made and the cash was in hand, Michael ‘suddenly remembered’ that Terry would not have wanted to live that way. A fact conveniently forgotten at trial.

It’s understandable that people simply cannot fathom a life upended for themselves or their loved ones. We fear the unknown. We fear our lack of capacity to care long term for disability. We legitimately ache for the disabled family member. Death, however, is not the answer to our fears.

Support groups and services abound for every condition under the sun. The great challenge is to learn a different way of living, of being in the world that lifts up the impaired, and strengthens struggling family who must not be mere witnesses, but active care-givers as well.

How do we do it?

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The Illuminating Power of Praise

Essential to the spiritual life of Catholics is the need to praise God in our distress. Praise and adoration are what we need to do before we engage in supplication. It is tempting in difficult times to rush into pleading our heart’s desire. But praise and thanksgiving give us a necessary perspective for our petitions. They help us to see all that is good in our lives, and how God is the source of it all.

In so doing, praise and thanksgiving are restorative in our distress. In counting all of the good, the bad seems less capable of overwhelming us, and our faith in a loving Father’s providence is sustained and renewed.

Today is a perfect day for praise and thanksgiving in light of the potentially devastating passage of legislation this weekend that threatens life on both ends of the spectrum as never before. We may begin by focusing not on those pro-life legislators who turned and walked away, but on those who stood strong, and what that means for us going forward. We praise God for the resoluteness of men and women who stood most especially with the unborn and with the redeeming character of our nation.

We look at this past weekend and see how the American landscape has crystallized. In this, I am reminded of the verdict scene in the Spencer Tracy classic, Judgment at Nuremberg, when Tracy as the presiding judge states:

“But this trial has shown that under a national crisis ordinary, even able and extraordinary men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them. Men sterilized because of political belief. A mockery made of friendship and faith. The murder of children.

“How easily it can happen.

“There are those in our own country, too, who today speak of the protection of country, of survival. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way.

“The answer to that is: Survival as what? A country isn’t a rock. It’s not an extension of one’s self. It’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult.

“Before the people of the world let it now be noted that here in our decision, this is what we stand for:

“Justice…truth… and the value of a single human being.”

Indeed, this is where we stand, though not enough of us. Not yet. This Culture of Death has been a long time in the making, and will take more than a few legislative or judicial fiats to turn around. It’s going to take the rebuilding of a Christian civilization of love, based upon an authentic Christian anthropology.

It’s going to take people grasping their intrinsic worth. That makes each of us today an evangelist. That alone is cause for great rejoicing, as each of us is called forth to do the work of building a civilization of love. At least now we know who has stood strong when standing for life and love was most difficult.

Make no mistake, a battle has been lost, but Jesus assures us through His death and resurrection that the war’s outcome has already been determined. And so today we need to lift our heads and hearts in praise.

We give praise for a very sophisticated pro-life movement.

We give praise for the growing numbers of scientists and physicians who are coming forward and using their expertise to tell the truth of what science and medicine have to say about life.

We give praise for an internet that came into maturity just when an unfiltered medium for our message was most needed.

We give praise for the fifty percent of 300,000+ Marchers for Life this year who are under the age of twenty-five.

We give praise for the growing bonds of fraternity between religious denominations uniting around our common humanity after centuries of hostility and suspicion.

We give praise for the technologies such as ultrasound, which have given us an unprecedented view and participation in the wonder of our own development, and for those who employ this technology at crisis pregnancy centers, which save ninety percent of their babies from slaughter.

We give praise for post-abortive healing ministries such as Lumina and Rachel’s Vineyard that are restoring post-abortive women and men to wholeness in mind, body and spirit.

We give praise for the increasing generosity of benefactors who sustain all of these ministries and activist organizations.

We give praise for over one thousand pro-life bloggers who advance the conversation, unite the movement’s efforts and support one another in their prayers.

We give praise for sidewalk counselors and organizations whose mission is to shut down abortuaries.

We give praise for being alive in this time, in this nation, called to this task.

Most of all we give praise for God’s Love, without which we can do nothing, and with which we cannot be defeated. There is little more that we need ask.

He has given us all we need to carry on this great work to which we are called.

Rolling up our sleeves, we move forward.

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The Catholic News Service Feb. 25, reports:

“In a vote of 132-126, members of Parliament passed the law removing all restrictions on abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy and extending legal abortion to 22 weeks of gestation if the life of the mother is at risk or if the fetus shows signs of serious malformations.”

In discussing why the King will not be sanctioned by the bishops, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, conference general secretary stated:

“‘That his majesty the king must sanction this law with his signature is a unique situation. No other citizen would encounter this,’ and so ‘general principles’ cannot be applied.”

Is this really so? Why the imperative, “must sanction this law”, which he eventually did? It seems we’ve been down this road before.

In the early 1960’s Yale Psychologist Stanley Milgram conducted his infamous experiment where ordinary people, upon the insistence of an authority figure in gray lab coat, delivered what they thought were electric shocks in excess of 450 volts to another participant in the experiment for giving incorrect answers to questions. Unbeknownst to the subjects, the other person howling in agony and begging for mercy was a paid actor. Milgram summarized the experiment in his 1974 article, “The Perils of Obedience” writing:

“The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects’ [participants’] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects’ [participants’] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

“Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”

Indeed. No greater argument could be made for the Magisterium.

There comes a time in the lives of individuals and of nations when one must stand on the rock-solid Thomistic principle that no person is morally obliged to obey an unjust law. In the case of kings and presidents it is all the more certain that none is obliged to sign into law legislation which consigns innocent human beings to their deaths.

Were King Juan Carlos to refuse his signature, what would have happened? Certainly a crisis of state. But if the King’s role is nothing more than a rubber stamp, there seems to be little dignity in being King. Such a mentality mocks the Spanish Constitution’s description of the Monarch’s role as the personification and embodiment of the Spanish nation.

Liberalizing abortion law is ignoble, and tears at the dignity of both the Crown and the Spanish nation’s soul. It is surrender to narcissism, which is the base alloy of all evil.

The shame of the King in signing this new law into existence is only exceeded by the Spanish Bishops, who seem to value the present system of government more than they do the soul of their nation, or the lives of millions of Spanish babies who will meet with a gruesome ending. For them there is no excuse. As spiritual fathers, as Apostolic successors, theirs is the job of exhorting men and women to holiness, and not that of constitutional apologists.

The Spanish Bishops understand the truth of personhood being intrinsic to all humans from conception, personhood being a moral status entitling the individual to the full protection of the law. In that light, the only sound advice for King Juan Carlos was to refuse his endorsement and force the issue, or abdicate with honor, which would force the issue. In either of these two actions, the King could have claimed that he was acting in accord with the Constitutional description of his role as the personification of the Spanish nation, recalling his people to their dignity.

In speaking as they have, absolving the King by proclaiming that the King’s hands are bound, the Spanish Bishops have guided the hand that signed this abhorrent law; and in so doing have crawled away. In this, it is they who have abdicated their thrones, the Cathedras, from which all future exhortations to holiness will ring hollow. In this they are not altogether different from the English Bishops who went along with their King in the 1500’s. The Church in England never recovered.

Beyond their betrayal of the Spanish people, the Spanish Bishops have betrayed their Pope, as Benedict’s papacy has been characterized by his efforts to save Europe from the corrosive, faith-draining influences of socialism, and narcissistic materialism. For Catholic Spain to do what they have done sounds the death knell for European Catholicism.

We are witnessing the passing of the torch to the Southern Hemisphere, which is now entrusted with carrying the light of faith into the Third Millennium of Christianity. While Europe holds no right of preeminence within the Body of Christ, it is nonetheless imperative that her Bishops be supported in prayer at this critical hour in the history of the European Church and the Civilization she has built through two millennia of faith.

Perhaps it’s time for an African Pope.

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Black Bart writes in the Washington Post his rationale.

Let’s focus on Black Bart’s statement here:

“Throughout history, executive orders have carried the full force and effect of law and have served as an important means of implementing public policy. Perhaps the most famous executive order was the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. More recently, in 2007, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13435, restricting embryonic stem-cell research. This executive order protected the sanctity of life and was “applauded” and “welcomed” by pro-life advocates. That these same people would now claim that President Obama’s executive order maintaining the sanctity of life is not worth the paper it is written on is disingenuous at best.”

This is representative of the theme running through his article. Black Bart isn’t trying to deceive us so much as he is trying to deceive himself. The two executive orders quoted differ from the one he sought, and gained, in that they did not attempt to nullify existing law-a process Constitutionally reserved to the legislature and the courts.

In the case of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln recognized that an executive order could NOT override the Constitution by freeing slaves in states of the Union, such as Maryland and Kentucky, as these were Constitutionally guaranteed rights. However, in his Constitutional capacity of Commander-in-Chief he reasoned that the Confederate States, having seceded, had no claim upon the U.S. Constitution, and therefore no rights. The EP only freed slaves of the Confederacy as a means of depriving the CSA of their labor base.

Therefore, Stupak gets it badly wrong on the EP as an executive order.

In the stem cell ban, President Bush was blazing new territory, and was ahead of the Congress on this issue. There was no Congressional law being abrogated, no Constitutional right being abrogated. Bush wasn’t addressing the legality of ESC research, but only what the Federal Government was willing to pay for.

Again, Stupak gets it badly wrong.

Black Bart voted in favor of Hillary Clinton’s initiative to broaden American-sponsored abortion in third world nations. He voted twice to block bills that would defund Planned Parenthood.

He came to this issue with blood all over his hands. He announced last November that he would vote for Obama’s bill with or without anti-abortion language. In so doing, he signaled Obama that there was no real principled opposition to the final vote. In our hearts, we were desperate for someone, ANYONE, to block this legislation, in part because of its sponsorship of abortion. We hoped and prayed that even one with blood on his hands would possibly come to his senses.

We were wrong.

We were wrong to vest so much faith in such a man (though not wrong to hope).

What did we learn? We learned that there is no such thing as a pro-life block in the Democrat Party worth courting or cultivating. They simply used our time and dissipated our energies. Raw power is all they know, or respect. They need to experience the raw power of the electorate come November.

The Republicans are only marginally better. However, they will in all likelihood be given another chance at power. If they blow it this time, they’ll be in the wilderness for a very long time.

Black Bart has betrayed us all, especially his Catholic roots. Worst of all, he betrayed himself.

I pray that this man lives a VERY long life, well into his nineties, to see and loathe the evil that he has helped to unleash, and which was his to stop. When he finally meets Jesus, I pray for him the mercy that he has denied for countless babies who will be slaughtered because of this man’s votes.

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Repost: I’m attending a bioethics conference this weekend. Will post later tonight on topics covered.


“At the heart of science lies discovery which involves a change in worldview. Discovery in science is possible only in societies which accord their citizens the freedom to pursue the truth where it may lead and which therefore have respect for different paths to that truth.”

-John Polanyi, Canadian Nobel Laureate (Chemistry);
Commencement Address, McGill University,
Montreal, Canada, June 1990

In two perfect sentences, Polanyi throws abundant light on the difficulties surrounding scholarship that support the realities of the Culture of Life. There seems to be scientific data that supports both sides. How can this be? It depends on one’s understanding of how science is done, and the scientific culture in which it is done.

For most, their last formal encounter with science took place in high school, or a course in college, where the Scientific Method was taught as the only acceptable standard for discerning truth in the scientific community. As is the case with so many disciplines, that’s what one learns on the front end. For the workaday truth, one needs to stick around awhile.

The scientific community is made up of humans, not machines. We’re just as given to petty (and not-so-petty) jealousies, lust for power and glory, lust for fame and fortune as anyone else. We’re just as given to back-biting and back-stabbing as anyone else. We’re just as given to distorting the truth to fit our pre-conceived ideas as anyone else.

That’s a problem, a very big problem for a community whose training and skills make us best suited for distilling and discerning nature’s secrets.

It’s why we have codes of ethics. As the President’s Council on Bioethics said (quoted a few posts down):

“we are unable to imagine ourselves as people who could take a morally disastrous next step. We are neither wise enough nor good enough to live without clear limits.”

Still, even amongst the most ethical scientists, schools of thought on a given topic emerge and orthodoxies arise. People have much riding on those orthodoxies: grant money, publishable papers (which get more grant money), tenure, promotion, esteem, chairmanships on national boards and committees, etc. Such lucre clouds the objectivity of some of the most ethical amongst us, and often unwittingly gives rise to soft tyranny.

The history of science is fraught with tragic figures who challenged the prevailing orthodoxies of their day and were ostracized, dying broken and in obscurity only to be vindicated in death. One such figure is Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss, whose name should be spoken reverently by all pro-lifers. From the Semmelweis Society International

“Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis (July 1, 1818 – August 13, 1865), also Ignác Semmelweis (born Semmelweis Ignác Fülöp), was a Hungarian physician called the “saviour of mothers” who discovered, by 1847, that the incidence of puerperal fever, also known as childbed fever could be drastically cut by use of hand washing standards in obstetrical clinics.

“While employed as assistant to the professor of the maternity clinic at the Vienna General Hospital in Austria in 1847, Semmelweis introduced hand washing with chlorinated lime solutions for interns who had performed autopsies. This immediately reduced the incidence of fatal puerperal fever from about 10 percent (range 5–30 percent) to about 1–2 percent. At the time, diseases were attributed to many different and unrelated causes. Each case was considered unique, just like a human person is unique.

Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis

“”Semmelweis’ hypothesis, that there was only one cause, that all that mattered was cleanliness, was extreme at the time, and was largely ignored, rejected or ridiculed. He was dismissed from the hospital and harassed by the medical community in Vienna, which eventually forced him to move to Budapest.

“Semmelweis was outraged by the indifference of the medical profession and began writing open and increasingly angry letters to prominent European obstetricians, at times denouncing them as irresponsible murderers. His contemporaries, including his wife, believed he was losing his mind and he was in 1865 committed to an asylum (mental institution). Semmelweis died there only 14 days later, possibly after being severely beaten by guards.

“Semmelweis’ practice only earned widespread acceptance years after his death, when Louis Pasteur developed the germ theory of disease which offered a theoretical explanation for Semmelweis’ findings. Semmelweis is considered a pioneer of antiseptic procedures.”

Had his peers not been wedded to their pet hypotheses and been open to new ideas and hard data, how many women and children might have been saved? How much sooner might the germ theory of disease been established? We now know that Puerperal Fever is a type of ‘strep’ infection, caused by Streptococcus pyogenes.

Ideas have consequences, as does their rejection. In Part II, we’ll consider the specific application of the current rejection of Post-abortion Syndrome in the face of mounting data to the contrary.

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Black Bart, Black Knight

Bart Stupak is a member of the Knights of Columbus. So am I, a Fourth Degree member and the Pro-life Chairman of my Council. For those who don’t know, the Knights of Columbus is a Catholic laymen’s organization with 1.8 million members worldwide. Our Degrees first through fourth respectively center on the lessons of Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism, respectively.

We are especially attuned to being family and pro-life centered in our activities. We have a program that helps to purchase sonogram equipment for crisis pregnancy centers. Our Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson has written two stunning books in the area of rebuilding a Civilization of Love.

We work hard at fundraising and supporting a variety of life-affirming charitable organizations, such as crisis pregnancy centers, and our more well-known sponsorship of the Special Olympics.

Enter the Black Knights. Men such as freshman NY Congressman Michael McMahon, also a Knight of Columbus who is proudly pro-abortion.

Add to his ignoble company the newest Black Knight, Bart Stupak. There is much talk about the pressures brought to bear on Black Bart as a possible explanation for why he might have folded. Such well-intentioned and charitable assessments miss the fact that Black Bart has voted in the past for funding Planned Parenthood. He also stated months ago that he would vote for this legislation even if his amendment failed. I blogged on this a few days ago. Read it here. Also, one may watch the video here.

Black Bart didn’t come at this process with clean hands. He also came with a heart not in the fight and a mind made up that come what may, he would sell out the babies. What kind of foolishness is it to announce that if Obama didn’t accept the amendment, it wouldn’t matter anyway? How in Heaven’s name does that leverage the situation?

It was political theater of the absurd from the beginning.

The Black Knights understand what we Knights do for life. By his treachery, Black Bart has wiped out any gains that we have made, and sets back our efforts in the future, as government-funded abortion always creates a spike in abortion rates.

By their treachery in voting to set up an international office under the Sate Department to promote international abortions, the Black Knights McMahon and Stupak have condemned untold millions more to their deaths.

By voting against measures to restrict federal dollars in the hundreds of millions to Planned Parenthood, they have helped to strengthen the largest abortion provider in the US.

These men are a disgrace to our Order, Black Knights who ought to be shunned by their brothers who labor ceaselessly for the unborn. Their black hearts have created this rupture. This wasn’t a matter of private sin or personal weakness. This was evil intent. Black Bart winked at Obama months ago. Had he acted like a man, a true Catholic and bother Knight, we would be living in a different nation today.

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Planned Parenthood, like all predatory animals, seeks to insert itself between the strong parents and the weaker young. It’s easier to pick them off that way. They do so by insinuating themselves into children’s lives with seeming care and concern for the welfare of teens and children in areas beyond sex; areas such as housing, employment, economic standing, etc. Mingled in all of that is the suggestion that sex is the determining factor and that Planned Parenthood can play a role in helping.

Once they’ve enured themselves to the children, they turn on them, teaching that traditional morality is anachronistic and taboo. They repeatedly talk in their literature of sex as ‘sex play’, removing the sense of the sacred, and its attendant responsibility. It’s just a game. Have fun. The child in the proverbial candy store.

In this first installment we look at one of several PP documents aimed at children:

Stand and Deliver: Sex, Health and Young People in the 21st Century

In this document, the first and most necessary step is to ascertain who PP’s target audience is. From the document,

Defining Adolescence

As most societies define adolescence and youth in terms
of both age and life circumstances, there is no universal
agreement on what is a ‘young person’. The national
legal age for political participation and the availability of
data on different age groups can also determine how
societies define youth. The World Health Organization
defines young people as those from 10 to 24 years of
age, including adolescents (10–19 years) and youth (15–24
years). IPPF uses the terms young people, youth and
adolescents interchangeably to refer to people who are
between 10 and 24 years.
Defining all people under 18
years of age as a child is often not useful because it ignores
the circumstances of youth who are faced with pressures
and responsibilities that are usually reserved for adults.
Policies and programmes for young people should focus
not so much on age, but on the specific developmental
needs and rights of individuals as they transition from
childhood to adulthood.

Faith Religion and Sexuality

Involving young people from all regions of the world, IPPF
convened a meeting to give young people the opportunity to
voice their experiences of their own sexual and reproductive
health in religious contexts, and to learn about how to meet
young people’s needs. Culture, religion and traditions are
some of the biggest obstacles in implementing sexual and
reproductive health programmes for young people.

The meeting provided a space for young people to talk, and
to listen to each other, to share their concerns and consider
each other’s different approaches to addressing sexuality
within religious contexts. Young people said:
“My faith makes me feel connected to the most powerful force
in existence, it makes me feel comfortable deep inside.
My faith helps me to be more creative, more self-confident.”
“Faith and spirituality have their pros and cons. On one hand,
it puts up a set of rules and regulations which if followed
properly, make you a better person. On the other hand, it
curbs growth of some issues which are necessary for the
better upbringing of present-day adolescents.”

Young people’s sexuality is still contentious for many religious
institutions. Fundamentalist and other religious groups the
– Catholic Church and madrasas (Islamic schools) for example –
have imposed tremendous barriers that prevent young people,
particularly, from obtaining information and services related
to sex and reproduction. Currently, many religious teachings
deny the pleasurable and positive aspects of sex and limited
guidelines for sexual education often focus on abstinence
before marriage (although evidence shows this strategy has
been ineffective in many settings).63 The reality is, young
people are sexual beings and many of them are religious as
well. There is a need for pragmatism, to address life as it is
and not as it might be in an ideal world.

Each religion or faith must find a way of explaining and
providing guidance on issues of sex and sexual relationships
among young people, which supports rather than denies
their experiences and needs. By highlighting strong values in
faiths and religions, and overcoming stigma and stereotypes
that religious conventions perpetuate, communities and
leaders can help improve young people’s access to sexual and
reproductive health information and services, and so improve
their health and well-being.

Next time: Play, play, play.

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Bodily Autonomy Thread

A forum for SimonJM, Bobby Bambino and others to continue their discussion.

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How Boys and Girls Differ

It’s been a heavy weekend. The health care bill, Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts, the death of a close friend’s mother who was very dear to us.

So, some lighter fare, compliments of my three children, ages 10,9,6.

My son and daughters were discussing the differences between boys and girls, and decided to compile a list. Here it is.

Obviously we have some areas nailed down and work to do in others.

1. They think differently.
2. Girls grow up faster than boys.
3. Boys have shorter hair.
4. Girls can’t be Priests.
5. Boys can’t grow babies inside them.
6. Girls have to wear shirts.
7. Boys can’t wear dresses or skirts.
8. Boys can’t wear make-up.
9. Boys can’t wear pink.
10. Only girls can wear jewelry.
11. Girls can’t wear sports jerseys.
12. Girls can’t marry girls.
13. Boys can’t marry boys.


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Note: As we progress though this book, I shall close the comments on the previous week’s post once the current post goes up. By all means continue any ongoing conversations. This will streamline our conversations by restricting them to one thread. So, Last week’s comments are closed. We’re open for business on this week’s post. My thanks to co-author Dr. Tollefsen for checking in and aiding us in our discussions. He’s writing under ‘CT’.

There is no way for me to condense all of the biology that the authors present in Chapter 2, Fertilization. They discuss a great deal about which much has been written here. Click here for several lessons in mitosis, meiosis and fertilization. Apart from the recapitulation of the biological fundamentals, I wish to bring out of the chapter a few key points made by the authors.

First, the biology presented in the chapter is flawless! For any who would suggest that perhaps a couple of philosophers miss nuanced features of biology which might lead them into erroneous conclusions, let me state as a molecular biologist that this chapter could easily be mistaken to have been written by an embryologist.


Recalling that the sperm contains half the number of chromosomes and the egg the other half, these two haploid cells join to form a diploid cell, the zygote. A question arises asking when the zygote comes into being. Is it upon penetration of the egg by the sperm, or when the two gametic nuclei join to form a diploid nucleus? Some say the latter, but I tend to agree with the authors in claiming the former, since, as they rightly point out, that after penetration of the egg by the sperm, both gametes cease to be (both structurally and functionally) as they were before. They form a new entity, both structurally and functionally.

Both sperm and egg exist as such as parental tissue types. When joined, a new biological organism comes into existence, with its own unique genetic identity and intrinsically unfolding developmental trajectory.

Despite the slight differences of opinion, the authors note that, “…there is widespread agreement among embryologists both that a new human individual comes into existence when there is a single, unified, and self-integrated biological system, and that this happens no later than syngamy.” (Syngamy=The lining up of the 23 pairs of chromosomes.)

The authors then run us through the various stages of embryological development:

Zygote, cleavage, morula, blastula, gastrula, up to the formation of what is known as the primitive streak. Prior to this, the embryo is capable of twinning, an issue that will be dealt with substantially in chapter 6.

Twinning is an important issue in development, as some would posit that prior to this stage, an individual does not exist. However, the authors quote a number of embryology texts which mark fertilization, not gastrulation, as the beginning of a new human individual.

The events of development described by the authors can be viewed in both 4D sonograms and fiber-optic videography at The Endowment for Human Development.

The authors go on to make several points about the human embryo:

1. It is distinct from any maternal or paternal cell. It is growing and has its own distinct direction.

2. The embryo is human, with a genetic make-up characteristic of human beings.

3, The embryo is a complete or whole organism, though immature.

The bottom line: A human embryo is not something different in kind from a human being. A human embryo is a whole living member of the species Homo sapiens in the earliest stage of his/her natural development.

Are embryos produced by in vitro fertilization and cloning still human organisms?

The authors say ‘yes’.

For IVF embryos, they are the product of sperm and egg union in a Petri dish rather than a fallopian tube.

For cloned embryos, they are the result of an egg that has had its haploid nucleus replaced by a diploid nucleus from a diploid body cell. The resultant ‘clonote’ (as opposed to naturally occurring zygote) functions as any embryo. Because they are the same as any other embryo, they ought to enjoy the same moral worth as any embryo.

Those are the chapter highlights. Chris, if I missed anything, my apologies. It’s been a hectic day.

There’s the red meat of all pro-life argumenation.


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I’ll Post Chapter 2 at 4 PM today. I’m away at a funeral.

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The events of the past weeks demonstrate with the greatest clarity that Planned Parenthood stands at the root of much of the evil in the world today. The Categories panel of this blog is brimming with articles detailing the extent of this malignant organization’s eugenic and racist agenda conceived and brought to life by its founder, Margaret Sanger. It details the failure of condoms using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s own data and ‘Fact Sheet’.

The oral contraceptives handed out like candy by this group were developed and financed by Sanger’s last husband’s millions. These drugs have caused breast cancers in the millions, a fact not at all disputed by CDC and NIH data. Then there is the hot denial of the scientific data linking abortion and breast cancer, detailed in the articles on breast cancer.

This group has made deep inroads into the Girl Scouts of America’s various Councils, targeting children as young as ten years old, by their own admission. See the articles containing the links to Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children in the Sex Education link under Categories.

As in all of politics, follow the money. If one wishes to know why PP has set its sights on children down to 10 years old, read this article as well as this article.

It has taken months of effort, and Coming Home has merely scratched the surface. More in the months and years ahead, God willing.

Planned Parenthood targets children and encourages open rebellion against their parent’s morality, referring to it as ‘taboos’. The refer to sex as ‘sex play’, stripping it of its conjugal mystery and dignity, dehumanizing our children in the process. PP continues to push condoms, though CDC admits that they do not protect against many diseases at all, and marginally against most others.

One fourth of girls between 14-19 years-old in America has at least one sexually transmitted disease (STD). Among African American Girls, that rises to a staggering 48% !!

But then, we know from Sanger’s writings, linked to above, that she targeted Blacks for her special eugenic ministrations. Today, PP operates close to 80% of its ‘clinics’ in inner city neighborhoods. Blacks, while ~11% of the U.S. population, have 37% of the abortions. The explosive documentary Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America, by Life Dynamics, tells the entire tale in well-documented fashion, and is a must see. Here is the trailer:

Were all that not enough, PP has been the driving force behind third world abortions since the 1950’s, with 1.8 BILLION abortions worldwide over the past 50 years.

We have their playbook. We have the evidence of how craven they truly are in their shrill opposition to the Tim Tebow add .

They are rejoicing this week. Countries see a 25% increase in abortions when the government pays for them. That’s good business for PP. However, the scientific truth is out there and can no longer be suppressed.

From STD-riddled children and young adults, HIV from failed condoms and increased promiscuity built on the foundation of PP lies, to 1.8 BILLION abortions and their gynecologic and psychiatric sequellae, to porn addiction and loss of capacity for intimacy, to breast cancer from OC’s and abortions, to a war against girls through selective abortions and hundreds of millions of young men without a sufficient pool of women for spousal relationships, to a burgeoning sex-slavery trade from such shortages of marriageable women, to millions of cervical cancers from HPV which CDC says condoms can’t protect against;

These merchants of misery have seen their high water mark in the health care vote. This was their finest hour. At Gettysburg, a monument exists where Pickett’s Charge was turned back. A sign explains that this was the furthest point of advance of the Confederacy into Union territory, it’s “high water mark”. This vote will be such a monument for PP. They have advanced as far as they ever will, and have done so just as we are massing our artillery of scientific truth and special forces units of pro-life advocacy groups in all areas.

We will turn their flank and destroy them in detail.

Armed with the truth of science, guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, united in love for the goodness of God’s creation, communicating in a world-wide unfiltered medium, we will lose this war only if we surrender the field. So, let’s put aside the feelings of betrayal and dismay. We lost a skirmish in a battle this week. In less than two weeks, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, which has already determined the outcome of this war.

Each of us must take this information and disseminate it to all who will listen. Feel free to copy and distribute anything here on this site. I only ask that my name and Coming Home, along with the web address be printed somewhere on the material, so others may find their way to the entire library being assembled here.

For my part, I am resuming my public speaking schedule and can be reached via email in the contact section. I am using all of my training in science, dedicating the rest of my life’s work to this task of restoring the dignity, the mental and physical, spiritual and communal health of so many that have been savaged by Margaret Sanger and her disciples. We have our work cut out for us.

We take renewed strength today from the words of Saint John the Apostle:

“Greater Is He that is in you {the Holy Spirit of God} than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

and from the Prophet Isaiah 40: 28-31:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.”

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From Today’s HLI Newsletter

Abbot John Klassen, OSB of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, informed me personally Saturday that the venerable founder of Human Life International, Fr. Paul Marx, went to his eternal reward peacefully at 8:10 that morning. According to eyewitness accounts, Father raised his hands as he died and said, “Take me home.” Fittingly, he passed away in the Year for Priests, just short of his 90th birthday. Needless to say, he will be sorely missed!

Fr. Marx founded HLI as the Human Life Center in 1972 as a priestly response to what he saw was the global anti-life onslaught that was beginning to wash over the world with oceans of the blood of innocents. As a strong spiritual father, he could not stand by and watch this evil threaten the lives of God’s precious children and the sacred institution of marriage. He infiltrated a pro-abortion conference in California in 1971 as Dr. Paul Marx (correctly so, as he had a PhD in Sociology) and taped all the proceedings of the abortion-promoters so that he could expose their evil. He did this in the book, The Death Peddlers, which was the first major work of his many writings bringing the profound evil of the abortion industry to the light. Father’s legacy of exposing evil and defending the Church’s teaching about the sanctity of human life, marriage and family remains deeply embedded in the hearts of those who continue pro-life work in his indomitable spirit.

I had the privilege of meeting Fr. Marx for the first time only after he had left HLI. One cannot imagine the difficulty of taking over at HLI and trying to fill the shoes of one whom Pope John II called “the Apostle of Life.” After getting to know him, I have always said that there is only one “Apostle” of Life – the rest of us are just “missionaries” of life. Indeed, Father was in every way a unique and unrepeatable gift to the Church and to the world. Like his namesake, St. Paul of old, he went about the entire known world preaching the Gospel of Christ from the 60s through the 90s and establishing apostolic groups and pro-life organizations of faith to carry on the mission. Father was very much like the sower who went out sowing the good seed of life in 91 nations, personally, and motivating scores of others around the world to do the same. We estimate that Father Marx travelled something on the order of 3 million miles in his 40+ year career of pro-life activism, and ever after that, his spiritual children have done the same. In 2009 alone, HLI missionaries from the USA, and our Regional Coordinators, travelled more than 575,000 mission miles and visited 57 countries in our attempt to live up to Father’s high standard of zeal in spreading the Gospel of Life!

Part of Fr. Marx’s legacy can be counted in such HLI programs as the Magdalene Rescue and Rehabilitation Program, the China Orphanage Program, Seminarians for Life, the Population Research Institute (PRI) and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam), all founded under HLI’s umbrella in the 90s.

Although the Apostle of Life led a retiring life for the last decade, well taken care of by his religious community in Minnesota, Father never ceased his involvement with pro-life issues or his correspondence to his spiritual children still fighting the battles for life on the front lines of the pro-life movement. How precious it was for me to receive his periodic short letters encouraging me to keep up the fighting spirit in the face of so many new challenges. He was always well-aware of the need for funding too so he usually sent $25 and $50 checks with his encouraging notes! I treasure those letters with all my heart. Dr. Brian Clowes of HLI and Mrs. Magaly Llaguno of our Hispanic Division were among his most intimate friends and stayed in regular contact with him and his needs. Countless more were the HLI missionaries around the world who received Father’s letters and notes of encouragement, some of which we will feature in future publications.

To my knowledge, Father’s last public appearance and speech was at HLI’s 35th anniversary banquet held in his honor in Minneapolis on March 25th of 2007. He spoke passionately to his spiritual children using the very same words that Pope John Paul spoke to him when he met with the Holy Father in the early 80s: “You are doing the most important work on earth!” he repeated with fervor. Indeed we are doing that work – it is his work and the true work of the Church. Because of this one man’s indomitable spirit we will not cease doing that work until we too are called home.

Fr. Paul Marx taught the whole world how to be pro-life. He was literally the Patriarch of the pro-life movement. Now it is our turn to take up the mantle of Fr. Marx’s prophetic spirit and, like Elisha who saw his master go to heaven in a fiery chariot, we must turn and part the Jordan with that mantle and get back into the fray – just as the Apostle of Life would want!

[Note: stay tuned for a brand new HLI program in honor of Fr. Marx that will be coming at the end of the month – you won’t want to miss it!]


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

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Strangers In the Night

I came across this excellent article on pornography’s deadening effect on the male libido. I have never been a big fan of Naomi Wolf, and certainly she is still missing some of the pieces. But she gets it with porn, and the article is dead-on when she states the following:

“The onslaught of porn is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as “porn-worthy.” Far from having to fend off porn-crazed young men, young women are worrying that as mere flesh and blood, they can scarcely get, let alone hold, their attention.”

“…a powerful erotic bond between parents is a key element of a strong family. And feminists have misunderstood many of these prohibitions.”

“Here is what young women tell me on college campuses when the subject comes up: They can’t compete, and they know it. For how can a real woman—with pores and her own breasts and even sexual needs of her own (let alone with speech that goes beyond “More, more, you big stud!”)—possibly compete with a cybervision of perfection, downloadable and extinguishable at will, who comes, so to speak, utterly submissive and tailored to the consumer’s least specification?…Today, real naked women are just bad porn.”

There is a whole other dimension about college student sex that is equally destructive of intimacy that Wolf seems not to have tapped into yet. However, she’s a work in progress, as are we all. Her observations from the college student population play out ever more destructively in marriage.

However, it’s worth noting that young women feel they can’t compete with porn. One would expect that lament from women a few decades down the line, but if 20 year-olds can’t compete with other women the same age, then that’s a whole new dimension of pathology.

Read the rest of this powerful treatise. The best I’ve seen in a long time. Here’s a teaser, her ending is the most powerful Christian take on sex you’ll ever see in New York Magazine!

Photo via essenceofwoman.com

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