Saturday, July 30, 2016

This is Not a Political Post

This is not a political post.  There you have clearance to read it.  (I drafted this a few years ago but never published.  Sorry the end is unfinished, but I'd like to get this out.)

A question has been bugging me for a long time, and a recent conversation (that I didn't initiate) brought it back into the forefront of my mind.

I make political posts on FB, and I'm sure I've had my posts blocked by friends.  I know many people ignore my posts, and some have even defriended me.  I see people who express annoyance in general at political or religious conversations.  Many people will walk away from conversations if they drift toward anything political.  Even among family members, there seems to be an unwritten agreement to avoid any topic that may lead to a difference of opinion. 

Why are we so averse to engaging in any conversation that may lead to a difference of opinion?  What are we afraid of?  Do we think that we may lose friends?

One person said recently that she doesn't like to engage in political discussions because they get too heated.  I think the reason they get too heated is because we have to bottle up our opinions so tightly that when they are able to come out, we're like pressure cookers, ready to explode.  If we were able to express our opinions freely and if not change anyone's mind, at least know that our voice was heard, discussions could be much more civil.

The exchange of ideas is tantamount to our freedom as Americans.  If we censor ourselves to the point that we say nothing controversial, what good is having our First Amendment rights?

For what reason are we so afraid?  Are we afraid to offend?  So what?  What harm is there in that?  We have no guarantee against being offended.  Are we afraid to lose friends?  Look, if someone will stop being friends with you because of your opinions, they're probably not a good friend to you anyway.  Are we that thin-skinned and fragile that we think our relationships can't survive a difference of opinion? 

If we then form our relationships on the foundation of not sharing anything of importance, we are only setting ourselves up for loneliness and isolation.

From a civic point of view, it is the role of the citizen to criticize, to engage, to question, to get angry, and to voice his concerns.   Voicing our concerns, we enlist the support of our community to form bonds and work together.  But we bully ourselves into a corner.

Speaking of bullying, I believe that we have gotten to a point where the voicing of unpopular opinions is now being misunderstood for bullying.  I was bullied as a kid, and I've had people take me to task for my opinions.  And I know the difference.

My wife brought up a good point.  Many people have become jaded either by religious figures or the political system, that people want to guard themselves against further hurt, or they are cynical of the intentions of anyone who wants to engage in discussion of issues, for fear that they are merely the target of manipulation and exploitation.

burying heads in the sand...nothing I can do about it anyway...
have a business, don't want to offend customers...
leave it to the exremists I'm independent-minded

what do we do about it?

moral relativism, no truth, so claims on truth are just one more opinion

not saying people have to do things like I do, find your own way, bu

i see discussing politics as a means of something else of importance.  the tangible vs idealistic/theoretical

If this post applies to you, I don't apologize.  But neither will I call upon you to do anything you're not comfortable with.  I merely posit this as food for thought.  And it is, in my opinion, a very important meal.

I had a very interesting conversation with a couple of colleagues this morning.  The gist of it was that we have become so afraid of offending anyone--ANYONE-- that we self-censure to the point that we don't say anything at all. 


Checking if the facebook link still works to this blog...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Letter to the editor of The Day regarding physician-assisted suicide

Dear Editor,

I would like to add a few reasons of my own for opposing physician-assisted suicide.

I believe that it is contradictory for us as a society to tell at-risk teenagers and veterans suffering from PTSD that suicide is not the solution to their grief and suffering when we turn around and hand a poison pill to those suffering in other ways. 

I believe that the push to legalize PAS is not for the benefit of those who are ill.  After all, law or no, a person can find a way to end his life if he really wishes it.  It’s not like the person who takes his own life has to worry about the legal consequences of such an action.  No, physician assisted suicide is to make it legal for family and friends to be complicit in taking the life of their terminally ill loved one. 

As I understand, those who choose PAS will have their cause of death listed as their underlying terminal illness, not the poison pill they willfully ingested.  Such falsification is designed to avoid nullifying death benefits on insurance policies.  It is easy to see where this can be an occasion of temptation and abuse.

[200 word break, the following will be included in my letter to legislators]

In The Day’s February 24, 2015, article, “Medical, Catholic groups oppose bill to allow suicide drug prescriptions,” Tim Appleton of Compassion and Choices sought to downplay objections that physician assisted suicide would in the future become a mandatory aspect of healthcare: “A physician wouldn't be forced to write a prescription, and a pharmacist wouldn't be forced to fill it.” 

However, such a statement is, in my opinion, either naïve or duplicitous.  Such reassurances were given to opponents of same sex marriage, and yet the news has had stories of bakers, photographers and marriage planners who have had their livelihoods threatened by lawsuits from same-sex couples who were denied service to their weddings. 

Lastly, I believe that the push toward such legalization is supported strongly by those who want the United States to become a single-payer health care system.  The problem with such a system is that people cease to be the customers of the health care industry, and instead become costs.  Any business owner will agree that customers are to be served, while costs are to be reduced.  I believe legalizing physician-assisted suicide is a step in the process towards euthanasia for those deemed unfit.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's not surprising...

that our Founding Fathers' words in general apply to the headlines today in particular.  Our system of government was designed with the frailty of the human person in mind.

(Reuters) - The Obama administration's opening bid on Thursday in negotiations to avert a year-end fiscal crunch included a demand for new stimulus spending and authority to unilaterally raise the U.S. borrowing ceiling, a Republican congressional aide said.

 Yes, Obama is asking Congress to hand over their Constitutional authority, the "power of the purse."  This is one of the most important checks and balances between the three branches of government and must not be handed over.

"It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fear for the safety of our rights; that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism; free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy, and not confidence, which prescribes limited constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power; that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no farther, our confidence must go....
 In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson, "The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Annals of America, 4:65-66)

This would be a gross aggrandization of power, even if it were done by a President Romney.  The Congresscritters had better stand their ground and not yield on this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tact is not charity.

"Stop all this false Charity!  Tact is not Charity!  ...  Letting someone burn for all eternity is not Charity--it's cowardice because you're afraid of what others might think of you."
Read the whole thing at Redneck Reflections...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

So about that election...

The election wasn't the problem.  It was the symptom.  This election was the result of 50 years of crappy catechesis in the Church here in America. 

We have an administration that essentially put its boot on the Church, all its members, all its institutions, saying to it, "You know those things that you've been saying for 2,000 years are intrinsically wrong?  Yeah, well, not only do you have to be OK with it, but we're going to force you to be complicit in it and even pay for it or else face stiff penalties."  And half the Catholics who voted said, "Yeah, I'm OK with that."  Whatever one's opinion of abortion, contraception, or even of the Church, this was an opportunity to assert that religious liberty still means something in this country.  It is clear that in this country, religious liberty is a dead sentiment.

Who would support compulsory measures to force vegans to butcher, sell and eat meat?  How about forcing the Amish to fight in war?  No one would.  Because we recognize that religious freedom is sacred.  But in this day and age, all must be sacrificed to the "Sacrament of Abortion." 

I've been told many times that I can be very diplomatic.  I can be very pleasant and patient with people that I disagree with (especially when they extend the same courtesy to me).  While I disagree with all people that are pro-choice, I have a certain amount of patience for them, especially those of no faith.  Their view on abortion is not necessarily inconsistent with their (un)beliefs.  But I have no more patience for self-proclaimed "pro-choice Catholics."  There is no such animal.  One can be pro-choice, one can be Catholic, one can be neither.  But one cannot be both. 

I'm done dancing around that.  Intrinsically evil acts are always and everywhere wrong.  There is no prudential judgment.  The intentional killing of an innocent human being is always wrong.  Those who support it, always fall into one of two general categories: 1. those who deny the personhood of the baby in the womb or 2. those who have the audacity to take upon themselves the authority to declare that some lives are not worth living. 

Catholics who support intrinsically evil acts are committing mortal sin.  Mortal sin endangers one's soul to hell.  This is no longer the time for trying to lead people by persuasion, reason and fact.  Though we must never give that up entirely, we are immersed in a society that cannot tell the difference between fact and opinion, between reason and emotion, between history and bias. 

This is now the time to engage with, as Subvet said, lines clearly drawn.  Barak Obama was reelected because half the Catholics in this country are OK with intrinsic evil.  And no amount of volunteering at soup kitchens mitigates the intrinsic evil of murdering innocent babies in the womb to the tune of 55,000,000 since 1973.  No improvements in welfare programs erases the fact that we are killing the vulnerable. 

No appeals to the authority of Fr. Whitewash change the teaching authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church on faith and morals. 

You can't be Catholic and pro-choice.  One cancels out the other.  So if you think you are one, this is the time to choose.  Pick one.  But stop saying you're both.  And God help you to make the right decision before it is too late.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Magister Christianus has it right

This is the time to speak boldly.  Right is right.  Wrong is wrong.  St. Polycarp, pray for us.  Holy Spirit, give us peace.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So Let it be Written, So Let it be Done.

I've seen people on FB throw themselves into breathless fits of hysteria over the fact that Santorum believes that Griswold v CT was wrongly decided. It must be that people have so lost all understanding of how our government works that the opinion of the President has the weight of law. Guess what? It doesn't! I'll guarantee you that with a conservative president, four or eight years down the line, contraception would not be outlawed, nor would even abortion. Why? Because conservatives govern by the rule of law. We are a country with a government of laws, not of men. If those on the left would say that a conservative president COULD NOT outlaw the coverage of contaceptives under your own health insurance, then HOW COULD a liberal president mandate them for ANY price?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quick story

A couple of days ago, I hear a scream from the front yard. Fred (4) is on the ground and Sweetie-Pie-Baby-Girl (<2) is standing over him brandishing a two-foot stick she found in the yard.

Mind you, this is pretty normal.

Anyway, I'm bringing out the trash so we can get ready to go to my nephew's graduation party and I'm feeling a little cheeky, so I grab SPBG (TM), throw her over my shoulder and threaten to throw her into the dumpster (while tickling her the whole way, of course, 'cause that's how we roll). All of a sudden, it's like Lord of the Flies or that scene from Jurassic Park 2 when the little girl is on the beach surrounded by those cute little dinosaurs. I've got boys from three sides of me protecting their little sister, whaling on my legs, slapping, kicking, head-butting. Fred, the aforementioned victim of assault, throws his head back and starts crying, "NOOO!!! I don't have another sister like her!!!!! Don't throw her away!"

Tears are streaming down his face and I realize the joke is over. I put the little Hoolagirl down and crouch down to Fred's level. "Don't worry," I said, "I'd never throw your sister away. I was only joking."

"Oh! [sniff, sniff]. You were only joking? Thank goodness. OK." [sniff]

Meanwhile, Fric (7) and Frac (6) are continuing to practice every kickboxing move they can think of on my back and legs. I spin around and grab Fric, the first kid I can reach. "BUT THIS GUY IS GOING IN HEAD FIRST!"

And Fred throws his fist in the air and screams, "Yeah!"

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wow, two posts in a week!

From Chez Pere Z:

"Zmirak argues that we must stand up to evil instead of seeking “opt-out” clauses. “The little “opt-outs” we win in return amount to little more than the bones that the Nazis threw Marshal Petain; we got to keep our police chief in Casablanca.” And also, “Political philosopher and convert Hadley Arkes explains that when we cease to say, “This is evil, and no one must engage in it,” and instead say, “This goes against our religion,” we as good as admit that our position is not based in reason and justice.”

Hear hear!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Just be nice

I have emerged from the cave I've been dwelling in in order to share a quote I found today that is too good to be missed:

From Red Cardigan:
'I actually do believe that most Catholics in America have very little understanding of Catholic moral issues because they, like most Americans, have almost no training in philosophy or logic. In addition to the decline in quality catechesis, most Catholics are wallowing in a syrupy moral mess where the only commandment God ever gives anybody is, "Always be as nice as possible!" The corollary to this commandment is: good is that which is sort of nice and makes people feel good about themselves, while bad is that which is sort of mean and makes people experience a loss of self-esteem. In that calculation, divorce, homosexual sex, fornication, pornography use, and similar ills can be called "good," while the Church's rules about marriage are "bad" and "hurtful."'

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So I wasn't abducted by aliens...

...but my wife does liken it to me giving birth to a newborn.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that there was big news to share and then I dropped off the face of the earth. Well, it's because I was so busy with doing the project I didn't have time to blog about it.

So here goes.

I've started a new print service company.

The company I was with for ten years is closing down. There are various reasons for it that I don't need to go into here, but it gave me the opportunity to do something I've been thinking about for a long time.

I'm not hawking my wares here, so I'm not giving out the company info on Exultet, but my new company has teamed up with several print providers to allow us to offer high quality printing to our customers with great service and very competitive prices. We're keeping the overhead low so we can pass our savings on to our customers and we should be able to match or beat the local competition almost every time.

Not only do we do printing, but we also offer graphic design and layout services for those customers who don't have the capability to do that themselves.

In the near future, we will be teaming up with marketing professionals to offer digital services, email marketing, social network marketing, etc., for a whole package deal.

Needless to say, I've been busy building the foundation. Many of my customers have already moved over to the new company with few glitches.

That's where I've been the last few weeks. I hope to come back here from time to time and actually maintain the blog, but posts may be few and far between for a while.

In this economy, starting a new business offered much more potential than looking for a job elsewhere. Please pray for the success of this business on behalf of my family. Also, please pray for all those who are out of work and struggling to provide for their families. There are far too many people in that situation.

God bless.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Big News to Come Soon!

...and no, we're not pregnant, if that's what you were thinking.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reflections from a funeral

This past week brought the tragic event of the death of my second cousin Max, called to God in His perfect time, but a time too soon for the family and friends close to him. He died alone in an accident, rolling his truck over into a stream.

I have to admit that I didn't know Max very well, he was seven years younger than me and was in a branch of my extended family that we drifted apart from after the deaths of my uncle and my mom. It's sad that some families drift apart, but I guess it's part of the cycle; kids grow up, have families of their own and start their own life stories when the previous generations have passed on. I don't think I'd seen Max since my wedding almost eight years ago, and then he was an awkward but friendly teenager. I liked him, as I liked his whole family.

I don't intend this post to be a hagiography of a relative I didn't know well enough. It would be unseeming of me to inflate my grief, but it was evident from everything I heard about him that Max was a remarkable young man, and his death a great loss to his loved ones.

No, I intend this post to be about faith and humility, both of which those left behind will have to have in the time to come, both of which I've seen in his family. Max's family, just like every other family--mine and yours--has had their problems, problems which I only know of generally and are not my place to discuss here anyway. But let's just say that they are problems that have broken many people.

But in a sense, they are broken people, as we all are, if we care to admit it. What has always struck me is that all of that part of my family still not only have faith, but it is a faith that has seeped in, internalized, and taken root. Not "professional Catholics," whatever that means, theirs is a faith that recognizes the frailty of one's self and knows the limits of one's strength. But most importantly, recognizes that the true strength to sustain comes from God alone. God alone upholds us in our frailty; God alone is the source of strength; God alone is the source of comfort. All other strength and comfort may come through intermediaries, but their source ultimately is God Who is merciful, God Who loves, God Who shares our sufferings.

Ours is a god who did not suffer cruel death so that we may say, "I'm OK, you're OK." Rather, "I'm not OK. You're not OK. But that's OK." For we are broken people. We are sinful man. We are tempted to cruelty, selfishness, pride and arrogance. But the love of God can transform not only clay into flesh, but hearts of stone into receptacles of burning divine life.

Max was not, I'm sure, a perfect person. But then again, neither am I and neither are you. The point is not whether we are perfect, for by definition that's out of the question. The point is whether we recognize our need for God, and if we recognize that need, whether we seek Him.

Like the parable of the tax collector and the pharisee (Luke 18:9-14), we may either say within our heart that we're Basically Good People (TM) and not in need for God's mercy, so we receive none. Or, we may recognize in His wounds our own guilt and need for mercy, and asking it, receive it.

Grief is a terrible pain at the sense of loss of a loved one. But I believe that grief is a manifestation of God's mercy. Grief makes evident to us the fact that our hearts are made for love, and when a person we have come to love is gone, we recognize that our hearts are missing something that we cannot provide. In grief, we have a need that only someone else can fill. All of us have a need that only someone else can fill, and that recognition is a shadow and a glimmer of the need we have in our hearts that can only be filled by God.

May the angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs come to welcome you
and take you to the holy city,
the new and eternal Jerusalem.

May choirs of angels welcome you
and lead you to the bosom of Abraham;
and where Lazarus is poor no longer
may you find eternal rest.

Whoever believes in me, even though that person die, shall live.
I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thinking and praying today...

...not only for the repose of the soul of my cousin's son Max, and the comfort of his family and friends,

but also for the hundreds of thousands walking today in the bitter cold in Washington to give witness to the sanctity of life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death.

May the slaughter stop, please God.

Debunking the debunking...

Rather than continue to troll my college classmate's Facebook page, I'd like to take this opportunity to refute the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England's recent blog post, "Debunking Abortion Myths, in Honor of Roe".

my comments in red.

1.Emergency Contraception (EC) is an abortifacient.
Well, no, not by design, but the drug manufacturer does admit that theoretically it could act as one and no study has definitively proven that it can't work that way.

2. Women use abortion as a form of birth control.
Actually, 54 percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Birth control methods fail, and inconsistent contraceptive use, as well as life changes, contribute to unplanned pregnancy. "

Strictly speaking, contraceptives are not birth control. They are conception prevention. Abortion is the action that prevents birth. It is the second line of "defense" in avoiding having a baby. When contraceptives fail, abortion is the final answer.

3. Abortion causes post-traumatic stress and other mental health disorders.
“the best scientific evidence indicates that the relative risk of mental health problems among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy is no greater if they have an elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver the pregnancy.”

a. "first-trimester abortion" what about second- third-trimester?
b. Tell that to these people.

4. Women who have abortions will never be mothers.
No, women who have abortions already were mothers.

5. Abortion causes breast cancer.
They cite a 1997 study that denies the link between abortion and breast cancer, but ignore more recent studies, including a federally funded study published in the April 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, as well as a Chinese study that indicates a 17% higher risk for breast cancer among women who have had abortions.

Making abortion illegal will stop women from having them.
Well, probably not, just as rape, theft, murder and assault being illegal have not stopped those occurrences, but no one seems to be on the "let's make them legal" bandwagon.

Pro-choice means pro-abortion.
You're for choosing what, again?

8. All Planned Parenthood does is abortions.
I'm told that the two PPNNE facilities my classmate works with do not do abortions. But what about this article saying that abortions will be at all PP regional affiliates by 2013?

9. Women who have abortions can’t get pregnant, or will have a harder time conceiving.
a. Again, get it done early and you won't have any side effects!
b. Again, tell it to these ladies.

10. Women having abortions are young, irresponsible women who can’t be bothered to take birth control.
Women of all ages have abortions for many reasons..."
Oh, well that makes it all right.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I blog today for LIFE!

I blog today for life, on this anniversary of Roe v. Wade. When people say that they are for "choice," what does that word mean except the ability to kill innocent babies?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The smoking gun that isn't...

A report has been circulating over the last few days about a Vatican correspondence with Irish bishops about the policy of dealing with priests accused of sexual misconduct.

To paraphrase a famous politician: Let me be extremely clear. In no way am I defending the crimes that happened all to often, most damningly at the hands of those in whom we put so much trust. But the letter in this story is no smoking gun to more wrong-doing or cover-up AT ALL.

Journalists who cover religion need to understand their subject matter before 'splaining to us all what is going on. Jumping to conclusions without understanding process and terminology does not support journalistic credibility.

Please go here to read Jimmy Akin's explanation of what the recently surfaced document actually means.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011



That's all I can say about that.

If you read nothing else today, read this.

H/T Mark Shea

Oh, and this video is sure to get your attention.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A parent's responsibility... first and foremost the formation of their children. Not how nice their clothes are, not how nice of a car they drive, not how expensive their toys are. While nice clothes and a nice car and expensive toys are all good things to try and provide, it is disproportionate to treat having those items as the essential mission of a good parent.

The formation of a child's character, the education of their minds, and the sanctity of their souls are the most important things a parent has to be concerned with.

In this vein, please check out this short article by Peter Bauer, which I found via the ever-helpful Catholic Dads online.

I find more and more parents, including those who attend church weekly, introducing their children to contraceptives because they’ve decided it’s an easier battle to teach their kids to sin without consequence then to not sin at all.

Our jobs as parents is to know the faith, live the faith, lead by example and teach that faith to our children. We are tasked, by Jesus himself, to protect our children from sin, to be the guardians of their innocence.

Yes, our kids will have to live in this real, broken world and our job is to do our best to prepare them for it. Yes, we should help them to be successful financially, scholastically and socially. However, our first and primary responsibility is to prepare them spiritually for the battle for their souls that awaits them.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wow, did I just agree with Robert Gibbs?

One of the reasons we homeschool... because we don't want our kids to be the guinea pigs for Planned Parenthood's social experiment in order to shepherd in a new era of promiscuity for the sake of more abortions to fill their coffers.

Be warned, resistance to this agenda will only be tolerated for so long. If we as a nation continue along this path, it will come to the point that those who teach that sex is sacred and must be reserved for marriage will be seen as unfit to teach that to their kids. It must be stopped now.

H/T Subvet
and also here.

Ah, technology!

This one is for my dad, whose VCR still blinks 12:00, and who will probably never read my blog.

Snow day itinerary

Some of you may have read about our snow day here. Unfortunately, we did not get to everything on Fric's itinerary, which you can see below. Patty and I woke up to this drawing on the table. (Well, actually, this is the second drawing. Fric graciously redrew it when Sweetie-Pie-Baby-Girl drew, er, scribbled all over the first one.)

1. Build a snowman as tall as Dad
2. Dig up a T-Rex
3. Make Power Balls
4. Build a full-sized igloo in the yard
5. Drink hot cocoa
6. Make snow ice cream
7. Empty daybed
7a. Our family (note the baby stick figure being held by the mommy stick figure)
7b. Our family all snuggling on the daybed/couchbed...
7c. ...watching a movie.

2, 4, 5, 6, 7 all done.

Pretty good day!