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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Schizophrenia and Abortion

In case you did not hear about this, a Massachusetts Judge ruled that a woman (and mother) suffering from mental illness (diagnosed as Schizophrenia and/or bi-polar disease) should have an abortion (of her five month old baby, who could most likely survive outside the womb at this point or within the next month, thanks to the beauty of medical advancements) and be sterilized.

I do not think I need to explain further why this is ludicrous. Fortunately, a higher court judge ruled that this was out of line. The first judge involved is reported to have ordered "to abort a mentally ill woman’s unborn baby and sterilize her — if it meant she had to be “coaxed, bribed, or even enticed ... by ruse” into the procedure."

You can read at your convenience the two articles linked to above. Below is an email letter that I wrote and sent to a number of representatives in the Massachusetts State Congress. They are representatives that work for the committees on mental health, family, ethics, etc...

If you want to copy/paste and edit the letter as you see fit, and send it to those same representatives, please feel free. The letter is below, and the email list is pasted under the letter.

Most of all, let us keep this mother in our prayers. No matter what, the illness she is suffering from is very hard to cope with, and unfortunately, for many people who do not know how to handle such a disease, the easiest way to cope is to treat the person with little compassion or dignity. This woman needs help, and not violence.

Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I have been appalled at the recent discovery concerning the court order for "Mary Moe" that she would be forced to abort her child and be sterilized.
After some research on, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Medical Assistance Provider Manual Series defines a "mentally incompetent individual" as follows:
“Mentally Incompetent Individual — for purposes of 130 CMR 405.428 through 405.430, an
individual who has been declared mentally incompetent by a federal, state, or local court of
competent jurisdiction for any purpose, unless the individual has been declared competent for
purposes that include the ability to consent to sterilization.”

I am deeply concerned that there is an exception for an "individual" that "has been declared competent for purposes that include the ability to consent to sterilization." This is subversive eugenics. There is no reason why any individual person who has been declared incompetent should then be declared competent for purposes such as consent to sterilization. No one who is in a state to be judged as incompetent is able to consent to such a procedure.

In your "Commonwealth of Massachusetts • Executive Office of Health and Human Services Sterilization Consent Form (Ages 21 and Older)" you include in two instances (the "person obtaining consent" and the "physicians consent") that To the best of my knowledge and belief, the individual to be sterilized is at least 21 years old and appears mentally competent. He or she knowingly and voluntarily requested to be sterilized and appears to understand the nature and consequence of the procedure.”

Therefore, it is unreasonable to suggest that one who is mentally incompetent should also be judged "mentally competent" and "knowingly and voluntarily requested to be sterilized and appears to understand the nature and consequence of the procedure."

No one who is thought to be schizophrenic or even bipolar should be subjected to any kind of lasting decision such as that. It is absolutely inhumane to suggest that this woman would be capable of being responsible for such a decision. Rather, if she is able, through therapeutic and medical treatments, to regain her competency, she will discover her life drastically altered by something done to her, and she will not be able to hold anyone responsible but the State.

Further, to suggest that the court order an abortion for this woman is absolutely on par with all of the above reasoning. This is a child that she has conceived. The repercussions of such a procedure are often very debilitating for women (there are numerous medical journals and studies that support this, especially concerning PTSD), and it is illogical to suggest that someone who has been ruled "incompetent" could then support such a violence against herself. Moreover, while the court should not (and before God, does not) have the power to order any such penalty on two innocent lives (because that is a death order for her child and a dangerous health risk for the mother), the woman has asserted that such behavior goes against her religious beliefs. That should be even more reason for the court to keep its hands and laws off of her body in all ways.

Please forward this to the appropriate person(s) involved in this case. I beg of you to consider that this is life and death that we are discussing here. It is not simply the convenience  or inconvenience of parents who have to deal with a daughter struggling with schizophrenia, or the convenience or inconvenience of the state who might have to support her in various ways. The individual life that is "Mary Moe" and the individual life of her child are both deserving of the care, support, nourishment and legal rights that every American citizen is given in the country, as well as the basic human dignity that is given by God. No one has the right to rob them of those things when they are innocent of any crime. Schizophrenia, or any mental illness, is a tragic disease, and one that should bring pity and mercy to the hearts of those around the victim, and not cruelty and murder.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

The email list I used is as follows:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Daily Doctrine - Creation

"Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God's all-powerful love. And so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigor in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People."

- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 288

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Daily Doctrine - Divine Office

"By tradition going back to early Christian times, the divine office is devised so that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praises of God. Therefore, when this wonderful song of praise is rightly performed by priests and others who are deputed for this purpose by the Church's ordinance, or by the faithful praying together with the priest in the approved form, then it is truly the voice of the bride addressed to her bridegroom; it is the very prayer which Christ Himself, together with His body, addresses to the Father."
- Sacrosanctum Concilium, 84

Daily Doctrine - The Church

"The Son, therefore, came, sent by the Father. It was in Him, before the foundation of the world, that the Father chose us and predestined us to become adopted sons, for in Him it pleased the Father to re-establish all things. To carry out the will of the Father, Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of heaven on earth and revealed to us the mystery of that kingdom. By His obedience He brought about redemption. The Church, or, in other words, the kingdom of Christ now present in mystery, grows visibly through the power of God in the world. This inauguration and this growth are both symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of a crucified Jesus, and are foretold in the words of the Lord referring to His death on the Cross: 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself'."
- Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 3

Daily Doctrine

Dear friends, 

I am going to attempt to put some doctrinal teaching, quote or instruction up each day. I intend to draw from the Catechism, from Church documents, from the Saints, from Canon Law and any other reliable sources. 

Today's "DD" is from the Catechism:

"There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith."
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 89

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wake Up Call

This article is the main topic of discussion here. It is Ms. Cecile Richards, proclaiming that 99% of women use contraception anyway, so what's the harm in HHS mandating its use?

She is so wrong!

Every once in a while I get truly upset (and that means angry). When that happens, I start posting things all over facebook and twitter about all the bull statistics that people love to falsely tout as if they were proving their agenda was correct with the backing of the masses. Last time I checked, biology is not actually a democratic issue. In other words, one cannot change something that deals with life and death simply by gathering enough votes.

That would only work if natural law did not exist. Oh wait! That MUST be the premise that Planned Parenthood is operating upon. More than that, I believe it is the end that Planned Parenthood has been striving to achieve for decades! What great leaps of discovery (and what lucrative business) will be possible if natural law isn't there to "get in the way" of progressive science?!

This is in no way as simple as "the left" or "the right" of politics. It is actually far more simple, because, as I have pointed out, it is not a political issue. It is, of course, because man has made laws concerning biology, and so constituents are called upon to vote in one way or another. At the end of the day, however, and for that matter, at the beginning of the day too, this is still a biological and natural issue, that comes before legislation and politics.

I recall about ten years ago when I was first entering the "teenage" scene. I heard comments from my parents and others' parents about "relativism" in the media. Movies, especially, were "relativistic." At the time, my comprehension of what they meant was limited. I understood that they meant that some "bad" things were being allowed when they shouldn't be. I did not really understand what "relativistic" was.

However, as an adult who can look over the progression of what was a 90's PG movie and what is a current PG movie (do they even make those anymore?), I understand the concept. I understand it, because I see it alive all around me. Particularly in any are that deals with personal/private issues (which typically are biological/natural). Health care, family planning, marital relations, sexual activity, etc...these are "taboo," but flipped upside down. These things were once taboo as far as they were considered inappropriate or improper for the public sector. Now, they are taboo in that no one should have a say about anyone else in their behavior, habits, preferences the extent that all public portrayal and licensing of these behaviors is completely acceptable SO THAT no one is excluded or isolated in negativity.

Ok, first of all, that is a ridiculous sentence. Second of all, it's sickeningly circular. No one gets anywhere in relativism. Relativism is NOT progressive. It's not exactly regressive either. It's just a status quo. That is the entire concept! Maintain some absolute LUKEWARM status quo so that everything and anything is acceptable and nothing is unacceptable.

See, even if you aren't Christian and don't find that disheartening or sickening, someone who is simply LOGICAL can understand the concept that when "anything" is acceptable and "nothing" is unacceptable, you enter into a sort of "black hole" where the vacuum of reason is constantly being sucked away, leaving nothing but the abyss of stasis. Stasis is not healthy, because it is not growing, and as it is not growing, it's more like a state of existing (which is always struggling to survive) rather than living (which is proper to the beings we are). Maybe I've lost you.

If I could put some cartoons in here, I would. Picture the following.
Little plant begins to grow.
Other little plant tries to come up next to it, but plant A is not thrilled.
Plant B needs more soil/nutrients/sunlight to continue to live.
Plant A is not sharing.
Person who is growing these plants (pretend that is all of us voters/leaders/people who decide things about our culture) tells them to share evenly, because everything is acceptable and nothing is unacceptable.
Since that clearly doesn't work well, both A and B cease to grow, because there is not enough for either of them. Why? Because the one who had the reason and logic to determine that there is a "right" and "wrong," a better answer and a poorer answer, decided to choose neither the good or bad answer, but some lukewarm crap in the middle. Death followed.

Granted, I'm not on a tirade about sharing resources or anything like that. While I do care about important social justice issues, those are not very applicable when the people themselves are dying because of legalized infanticide and other lovely forms of killing innocent children.

That is what relativism is, my friends. It says "we're all ok," and since that is not actually possible in a human society (you know, sinners and saints), the cultural theme (relativism) tries to stuff down the saints so they aren't so good and make the sinners look better so no one feels too guilty, etc...

Remember that time that everything had to be "equal opportunity," and we all have the same rights as everyone else? Too much of a good thing, is a bad thing. These concepts, when appropriately enacted, are good. I'm certainly not advocating that we pick some group of people to be "inferior" or "superior" and return to the feudal system. I am advocating that "equality" taken to an extreme actually hinders growth and health in a culture because we aren't actually the same. We do have equal dignity, of course. We are also different, though, and that is a gift that should allow us to thrive. But relativism is scared of thriving.

Ugh, anyway, the major issue I raised within the relativism umbrella is that we don't even blink an eye when people are LYING outright to the world about things that really ought to matter... you know, killing babies. 99% of women do not use birth control. I promise. That is a fabricated statistic. Beyond that, even if they did, it still wouldn't make it right to kill children (assuming that many birth controls are abortifacients, which they are). Other fabrications by Ms. Richards and Planned Parenthood include that the Catholic Church is trying to take over and force our laws upon the poor, unsuspecting world, and PP is there to work with HHS to defend everyone (that's a summary, not a direct quote, of course).

But here is a direct quote from Ms. Richard's article: "The beauty of birth control is if you don't want or need it, you don't have to use it. That's a decision women can make perfectly well on their own, without the interference of government or religion. And that's something on which we should all be able to agree." The funny thing is, and sense my sarcasm if you will, mandating that health care plans carry birth control and abortion services even in religious institutions that conscientiously object is absolutely the "interference of government." What else is it? Is HHS not a government organization? I am at a loss here. Of course women can or cannot use birth control.. they were able to before this law. I fail to see how this argument is in her favor. I think that's because I'm trying to use REASON. (Remember, in a relativistic culture, you aren't really supposed to do that.)

Here, I brought in another article, in case the first one wasn't convincing. Here, Ms. Richards states, "According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2011, state legislatures passed more than triple the number of anti-women's health provisions than in 2010 -- the highest ever." Oh no! I'm sorry, I thought those were laws to save lives, I failed to see how they were anti-women's heath. In fact, based on the many statistics about how dangerous abortions and contraception can be for women, I thought those would be laws that were pro-the lives and health of babies and mothers. I guess I'm just dumb.

This is more for the laughter, but this is further in the same article quoted above: "But now, due to anti-women's health laws passed in that state last year, those women will have to travel long distances ─and presumably go out of state in some instances -- for safe, legal abortion care. That means time away from work, transportation costs, someone to take care of the kids -- it all adds up to an additional burden on women who are already going through a very stressful experience." Well, here's a thought, Ms. Richards. Maybe the women who are pregnant might understand that the act of making love has the power and potential to bring forth new life. Maybe they would understand that even better if we are assuming that they already have kids who they are going to need to have a babysitter for, while they go have their new baby killed???

One more, than I'll stop. Here she says, "Opposing Roe and essential women's health care isn't just bad policy -- it's bad politics. That's because Americans agree with the protection that Roe provides. Polling consistently reaffirms that a majority of Americans support a woman's right to make her own decisions about pregnancy in consultation with her doctor and her family." Interesting. Here's a nice Gallop poll that disagrees with this.

Anyway, she's turning into a political issue, which means that she too misunderstands the fundamental issue that is at stake, or she willfully chooses to try to destroy it. I will certainly not pretend to know her agenda. All I can see is that these facts are not factual, and that the issue is life and death. It is black and white. It is non-negotiable. As relativistic as our culture wants to be, this isn't something that can fall into the vortex and "just be ok." The vortex will spit it back out. That is because people understand, inherently, that we come from somewhere, and go somewhere, and this experience of being born and dying is one that every person must face, whether they are in agreement or not. It cannot be "voted" away. While mankind tries to find ways to conquer or dominate life and death, he continues to be born and to die. Because natural law is what it is. It is part of the divine law, and it is based in the Truth. God has created us, and we cannot escape the reality we live in.

This blog made me very happy, because people aren't really that stupid. Moreover, it does seem that the younger generation of Americans is rather aware that life and death are very, very real things. It is full of hope, and that is what real progress is about. Living in hope, and not accepting a status quo where relativism eats us alive.

Anyway, as Padre Pio said, "Pray, hope, and don't worry." In this case, I'm praying, hoping, and writing a blog post to try to get other people to shake off the slumber and wake up.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Love Grows

You know, in this life we have many ups and downs.

In particular, with our families. I know many who have had so many burdens brought into their families, whether through separation or death, sickness or abuse, disobedience or malice, etc... Those who suffer in these ways can testify that these instances are often the greatest pains we endure. Losing a job can hurt, but it is not the same pain that we know when we lose one we love.

Something else I have been reflecting on is this: despite this truth (that life has its pains, sorrows, burdens and sufferings), there is another truth, one that comes hand-in-hand with the first. It is the truth that love grows.

To be philosophic, Aquinas said that God is fully in act, that he is always in actualization, that there is no potentiality in him because of his being. To make that down to earth, God's love, the love that we all experience and know, is a love that is not regressive. The nature of love is to act. For love, acting does not always have to be the "proactive" sense that we normally attribute to the term. It can be a residing, a dwelling-with, a being-of and being-in and being-for. It is not, however, a depletion, or reversal, or negation. Love grows. It may grow in a path other than straight up or in a linear fashion. It may grow in a large circle to include more and more family and friends, for example. It may grow to include more and more of the other person in question as one is revealed to the other. Yet, it moves.

Love becomes sick when it is asked to negate, or regress, or remove itself. In this, I do not speak of God-as-love but as man loving man. Sometimes we do have to draw away from one we love, whether that is from illness or from death, or other instances. These are the times of pain and the hardship of recognizing that our love is not yet perfect. When our love is perfected, we will be before God, and our love will be in Him and through Him and for Him. Then we will understand love's nature in its fullness. Until then, we will see it moving from all the potential we see in our earthly life into the actualization of each and every day's commitment.

That is one of the most beautiful aspects of the love of a family. It is love that begins with two who profess to love one another so much that they believe their love will continue to grow until they die. They are so convicted of this reality, that they will vow it before others and promise that each day henceforth, even though those days cannot be seen or known or anticipated at that time, they will still love one another. From then on, each and every day that they wake up, they renew that promise by living in that relationship. They make it more concrete by bringing into reality what they once said they believed would be true! Furthermore, that love reaches even beyond the two of them and their personal timelines that they have chosen to intertwine together until death, because they bring new life into this world through that love! So the actualization of the love that they possess includes the expansion of new people, who in turn come to understand, encounter and live love of their own.

Hence, we see the dynamism, the vitality, the spirit and the eternal nature that is written into love by its character of being of God. We share in it, and we come to know it, and we give it. We learn from it, we hold it close, we celebrate it. We suffer in it and we find wisdom within it that we could not have imagined. Love is a teacher and a guide. As we grow, love grows. We can only stand in awe at how we seem to lasso our figurative love-stallion at a young age and say to another as we stand at an altar, "here, I have captured my love for you, and it is yours," all the while knowing that the love is yet-to-be, yet to be uncovered as the day has yet to be lived, and yet to be known as the baby has yet to be born, etc... This is the nature of love! It is always beyond us and always within us. It is God who is more intimate to man than he is to himself. God who is the Creator who gives us our freedom and our being, and yet holds us in being. It is his love that contains us and sustains us, and yet we have the generous invitation to make that love our own and to give it away freely.

I only know that as I look back on my short life so far, I am convicted that my love has grown immensely, just as I am convinced that it will not cease to grow as long as I live. Thank God.