Friday, February 27, 2009

Welcome to the world!

Mary Margaret was born into the world on Monday at 5:51 p.m. Thank you for all your prayers leading up to the delivery. Patty and the baby are doing fine (except for the hit-by-a-truck-cold that wifey and I brought home from the hospital). The big smile on Patty's face shows how well she came through labor, by far the easiest yet. No induction necessary, no epidural; it was completely natural.

The boys are welcoming Mary pretty well. Our four-and-a-half year old is totally in love and takes every opportunity to help. The other two goobers are not quite sure yet that she's staying for good.

Thank you to Our Lady of Fatima who was a constant source of strength and comfort to our whole family as we received this precious gift from God.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Letter to the Editor, The Day, submitted 2-22-09

The focus of abortion often falls on the individual making the decision, yet society at large encourages abortion.

The Safe Haven law, while well-intentioned, is all but unknown. There was a case locally of a woman who, ignorant of the Safe Haven law, wrapped her baby in a blanket, placed it in an abandoned car and went to the nearest payphone to inform the police, who picked up the baby within minutes and brought it to the hospital immediately. The mother was arrested. The story in the Day indicated that the State of CT didn’t have funding to print pamphlets about the Safe Haven law.

It used to be that when a woman couldn’t keep her child, she could bring it to an orphanage so that the baby would be cared for until someone could adopt the child. Orphanages don’t exist anymore and the current foster care program is overwhelmed.

What is the obvious cause of this indifference? Long-term care costs money and abortion has a one-time fee. It is cheaper, faster, and easier.

This is also true of euthanasia. I hope as seniors enter long-term care en masse and we hurtle toward single-payer universal health care, that people will realize this connection before it is too late.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

We're gonna try jumping jacks soon.

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

Uh, three, I think.

How many days of intense false labor does it take until a baby is actually born?

Uh, not sure yet, but I'll tell ya when we're done.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My patrons for the year

Nearby to us is the Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, run by the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. You might have seen them at Mary Victrix or Air Maria.

Anyway, they have a wonderful tradition on the Feast of the Epiphany. The friars make up a basket full of prayer cards to give out as gifts. Each card is different- a different image on the front, four saints or blesseds, a Marian title, a virtue to focus on and a maxim. The youngest member of the community disperses them to the people after saying a prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide him in choosing the right card for each person.

What's nice is that they usually choose at least one famous saint, one modern saint, one REALLY obscure saint, and a maxim or virtue that sets the bar pretty high. (Not for discouragement when we fail, of course, but to remind us of the ultimate sacrifice and duty we owe to God.)

This is my card this year. I posted links for the saints; feel free to learn more about them yourself. And if anyone has ANY information of Blessed Alcarius, hermit, I'd be much obliged if you sent it my way.

St. Catherine of Genoa Franciscan March 23

Ladislas of Gielnow Franciscan May 21

St. Michael Sept. 29

Bl. Alcarius, hermit Sept. 29

Marian Title: Our Lady of Beauraing (Belgium)

Virtue: Temperance

Maxim: Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 18:20 "Before judgement examine thyself, and thou shalt find mercy in the sight of God."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Train's a-comin!

Blogging might be light for the next few days, or it might not. Wifey's getting close to the due date, which doesn't mean anything precise. Baby is definitely coming soon, just don't know when.

If not today, I'll be setting up my new computer so I can work from home when necessary; hopefully I'll be able to do more blogging with it as well.

Keep our family in our prayers, we're all extremely excited to meet "that blessed ball of life!" (Kathleen, that's for you!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

You know you're a good liar when

you're caught lying and they still believe every word you said.

President Obama said this at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning:

"Far too often, we have seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us from one another -– as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance," President Obama says. "Wars have been waged. Innocents have been slaughtered. For centuries, entire religions have been persecuted, all in the name of perceived righteousness.

"There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we are going next – and some subscribe to no faith at all.

"But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

So unborn babies are not innocent human beings? Or is that question above your pay grade too?

h/t Ryan Sayre Patrico, First Things

Dear God, when will this end?

Yet another example of the scourge of abortion rotting like a cancer everything it touches.

Sadly, I'm proven right, sort of...(updated)

When I posted this in the week leading up to the March for Life in Washington, I foresaw it to be the attitude of the Main Stream Media which ended up not covering it at all. What I didn't expect was that we'd get this reporting from a Catholic publication. But then I read this article this morning by Dennis Sadowski of Catholic News Service, reprinted in my diocesan newspaper, The Four County Catholic. You might say that my annoyance with CNS and the FCC is just me being a curmudgeon, but then I read Thomas Patrick Melady's fawning coverage of President Obama's first weeks in office in which we find this gem:

"During his campaign, Senator Obama promised to remove the ban on U.S. funding for international aid groups that perform abortions or counsel the termination of pregnancies.

"It was expected that he would lift the ban, just as President Clinton did in 1993. While regrettably this was the case, there is something to be said about the different style he employed in doing so. Thousands of Catholics and others opposed to abortion were in Washington for the “Right to Life March” on Thursday, January 22nd. Obama elected not to sign the order into effect that day, choosing a different course than that of his Democratic predecessor 16 years earlier. Instead he waited until the evening of the following Friday, so that the spirit of that day might not be “clouded”.

"It was signed into effect without any media present; there were no reporters, photographers or camera crews, as there were the day before when Obama announced his decision to close the prison in Guantanamo Bay."

You can read the rest of this hogwash here, if you want...

OK, so Melady seems to have taken some stupid pills. I know he's a former ambassador to the Holy See, (born in Norwich, so maybe that's why FCC saw fit to gravitate toward him) but come on!

What on earth does it matter about his style in signing the executive order to fund overseas abortions? "Gee, Mr. President, you sure know how to kill kids with panash!"

Obama didn't hold off lifting the Mexico City Policy to leave unsullied the spirit of the day, he hoped to bury the story in the weekend news cycle. That's why there was no media present. He wants to trumpet closing Guantanamo Bay as an example of his forthright attitude in undoing everything George Bush accomplished, good, bad or indifferent; yet he doesn't want the American people to come to grips with the extent that he seeks to further the cause of the Culture of Death.

Catholics need to stand firm in witness against the abortion lobby that undermines the very rights of all people. This cynical and frankly, naive coverage from a Catholic publication is, in my opinion, scandalous.

Update: I sent a more charitable version of this post via email to Michael Strammiello, Director of Communications. Below are excerpts of the proceeding correspondence.

Dear Mr. ,

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding the March for Life coverage in in the February Four County Catholic.

I respect and agree with your point of view regarding the need for our diocesan paper to be on the right side of the pro-life stance. Not sure I can agree, though, with your assessment of our missing the mark in the February issue.

The February issue opens with a front page that forgoes thumbnail photographs in favor of a series of strong pro-life quotes,e.g. ""We will defeat the culture of death or will perish as a nation.' and "Express your conviction that all human life is sacred and deserving of legal protection."

We featured a quotation that has President Obama in his own words acknowledging that "God calls on us" to shape the future. We state our resolve in the body copy that we are determined to carry the Catholic view to Washington. We may be gracious to the new president, but we are also tenacious and proactive. And all of that -- on the front page!

Then we keep the conversation going in the interior pages with the "Our Voice is Needed More Now than Ever" article re: FOCA postcards, and Dennis Sadowski's article "We Choose Life" re: the March for Life. Bishop Cote closes his column with a strong call to action message, "Let us try at every opportunity to join in the conversation ourselves in our participatory democracy. We must not rest on the sidelines. We must be
heard." This is the fighting spirit of the newspaper in its entirety.

We also published verbatim the USCCB Bishops' letter to then President-elect Obama with such language as "We will consistently defend the fundamental right to life from conception to natural death. ...We will oppose legislation and other measures to expand abortion. Efforts to force Americans to fund abortions with their tax dollars would pose a serious moral challenge.."

You have singled out Thomas Patrick Melady's Catholic News Service article as too forgiving of President Obama's stance on abortion. Our thinking among our editors was that this presented a somewhat softer edge approach that shows one of many ways to potentially break-through on pro-life. We don't have a fix yet on how responsive the new Administration will be to the Catholic world view. President Obama's campaign rhetoric was not encouraging. However, he may respond in office more favorably. Worth
having a number of approaches in the works to reach him. I hope you can appreciate our thought process.

I must respectfully and strongly disagree with your contention that the Four County Catholic has downplayed the importance of the fundamental right to life. The February addition is ringing with our proactive position on the fundamental right to life.

Again, I thank you for your thoughtful and spirited comments. Believe we are on the same page for the most part.

In His service,

Michael Strammiello
Director of Communications
Diocese of Norwich

Dear Mr. Strammiello,

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my letter. I want to clarify a few points because it appears I was not thorough in what I was trying to say to you. You are correct that there was a large amount of encouraging items in the FCC about our need to stand up for those most vulnerable. Let me make it clear how much my wife and I appreciate that good work.

I believe it is clearer to say that my frustration was with the content of the Catholic News Service pieces, notably the Dennis Sadowski article and the Melady article we discussed. As I said, I expected the media to cover the March for Life as anti-Obama reactionism, if they covered it at all, which except for a very few outlets, they did not. Yet Dennis Sadowski's article begins for the first few paragraphs as painting the entire day as merely an anti-Obama rally, which you and I know it entails so much more.

I guess I was most concerned with the opinion of Thomas Patrick Melady because even though, as you said, we can hope (with healthy skepticism) about a softer approach by President Obama now that he is in office, praising his style in authorizing the funding of abortion clinics with our tax dollars is an egregious mistake. For a man of Mr. Melady's history and stature in the Catholic community, I find it scandalous.

Truthfully, I am skeptical about the headline remarking that Catholic voices are heard in Washington, additionally considering that the new variant of faith-based initiatives will focus on reducing abortion by a "common ground approach" that relies heavily on artificial contraception.

I do believe that we are on the same page on this most important issue. Thank you again for your response and your continued hard work for our diocese. In fairness to you and the FCC, I would like to post our correspondence on my blog. I will do so on Monday if I do not hear from you otherwise. Your comments there are always welcome.

Sincerely in Christ,

Thank you, Mr. . Good to hear back from you.

I understood your concerns well in your previous message. Our mission at the FCC is to provide a variety of material on a subject as important as the right to live. This allows our readers to see what is being said on the subject by Catholic journalists. It helps place one's opinion in the context of a broad forum. Overall, I think we accomplished that in the February issue. You might even agree in principle.

If you would like to submit an article on this subject for our March or a future issue, please do so. Glad to consider it for publication.

Ok here with your posting our correspondence online.

Always a pleasure to receive thoughtful feedback. Thank you again.