Sunday, January 15, 2017

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

Righteousness Exalts a Nation

Karl Marx thought of culture as the superstructure of economics. He was, of course, mistaken. I think, though, that we can use his observation in a different, and helpful, manner. Politics is the superstructure of culture. A good political order follows from a virtuous foundation in the lives of the people. (Proverbs 14:34, 29:18).

As the American Founders understood, we cannot reasonably expect “good politics” (which is the wedding of justice with power) unless there is a strong moral sense in the people. The Catechism puts it succinctly: “The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. . . .Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.” (#2105) A Catholic theory of politics is simply stated: We do not wish to control the apparatus of the State, but we must invariably and insistently speak truth to power.

There’s a reason that the First Commandment comes first. Abjure God, and we abjure sound teaching. (Psalms 111:10) The Church has the overarching duty of anamnesis – of constantly reminding us of supernatural reality. 
Deference to that reality is the hallmark of the good political order.

In Veritatis Splendor, St. John Paul II wrote that “only a morality which acknowledges certain norms as valid always and for everyone, with no exception, can guarantee the ethical foundation of social existence.” The defense of that absolute truth must begin with real education – with learned, orthodox, and engaging professors at genuinely Catholic institutions. We know that good education is not itself sufficient to ensure a life of virtue; but without it, virtue is lost and with it the prospect of a good political order. We get the institutions, the representatives in Congress, and the political prospects we deserve.
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII
Our politics is often deranged because so is our education. Therein lies the root of the crisis: we cannot have good politics until we have wise and virtuous citizens, and the Church must be instrumental in producing them. After four years of learning at a Catholic college, the graduate ought to be able to call what is good, good; and what is evil, evil. Fail in that regard and very little else truly matters.

One of the great questions of political science is: Who will guard the guardians? With equal urgency we must ask, Who will catechize the catechists? Our education and formation are too often rooted in the poisoned soil of the profane culture around us. We have heard lies so often that we have difficulty in hearing the still, small voice of Truth.

In 1959, St. John XXIII saw the emerging problem: “All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth – and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it. Thus arise all manner of errors, which enter the recesses of men’s hearts and the bloodstream of human society as would a plague. These errors turn everything upside down: they menace individuals and society itself.”

This “contempt for truth” has only worsened in the past half-century, and it has wormed its way into the minds of too many who are charged with speaking with and for the Church and of teaching wisely and well. With the ignorant teaching the ignorant, how are we to do what Pope Leo XIII called us to in his efforts to develop modern Catholic social teaching: The Church, he said, must “make strong endeavor that the power of the Gospel may pervade the law and institutions of the nations.”

When we reform our “Catholic” institutions, we may, please God, then be able to hold our self-proclaimed Catholic politicians to account. (cf. Wisdom 6:8) With restored Catholic education, we may begin to build a culture which can spawn a good and even noble political order. Such a political order, at the behest of its citizens, calls good, good; it calls evil, evil.

Marx, indeed, was wrong, for politics emerges, not from high finance, but, rather, from the womb of what we cherish – or of what we reject; of what we hold sacred – or of what we substitute for the sacred. We will not have moral politics until we have a culture in which the good, the true, and the beautiful are known, defended, instilled.

“Catholic education” will be a chimera until our students hear the truth that will set them free. When we truly educate, we form consciences. We will then be developing citizens who can render to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s.

We will then know what freedom truly is (cf. Evangelium Vitae #96) – and we may, with restored purpose, pray that it will long reign in the land that we love.

© 2017 The Catholic Thing. All rights reserved. For reprint rights, write to: info@frinstitute.org The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Misguided Compassion of Social Justice Catholics - Crisis Magazine

The Misguided Compassion of Social Justice Catholics - Crisis 

The Misguided Compassion of Social Justice Catholics

beyonce-dancers
There are many reasons for the downfall of our urban public schools, but beyond the undeniable corruption of those sucking the system dry for financial gain, the greatest destruction to our schools, and more importantly to the individual children in those schools, is the misguided and dishonest compassion of Social Justice.

Before going further, a distinction must be made between those who honestly believe in the Social Justice movement and those who use the movement for their own agenda, usually an agenda that leads to more power and profit in their hands and less in the hands of those they pretend to champion.

There is no point in addressing the latter group; they know who they are and they know full well what they are doing. No amount of argument will convince them to change their actions short of spiritual conversion. Neither is this essay aimed at those with scowling faces, voices raised in “righteous indignation,” and fists pumped ready to foment “civil unrest” based on false narratives manipulated by a dishonest media as exemplified in BeyoncĂ©’s 50th Super Bowl half-time show.

No, this essay is aimed at those who believe themselves authentic Catholic Social Justice warriors: the priest lecturing the congregation in his homily, the teacher inculcating in her marginalized students Social Justice values, the voter who believes that one more entitlement program, one more educational paradigm shift, or one last moment of empathy while ignoring the destructive behavior of others, will justly end poverty and crime ushering in a new Eden. Nor can we should not forget those who just wish to assuage their own “guilt” no matter the unintended consequences for those less able to recover from the Social Justice warriors’ so-called benevolent compassion.

As the daughter of an urban public school teacher and as a veteran urban public school teacher myself, I have seen first-hand the destruction caused by the Social Justice ideology in our schools over the past six decades. The following anecdote illustrates but one of many moments in which teachers or administrators, either on their own or forced by the system, do more harm than good to students.

In 2007, I had an exciting opportunity to work for a start-up Catholic high school whose mission was to help college-bound urban students. I had already spent a decade working at my district’s top college prep school, which achieved a 94 percent acceptance rate to 4-year colleges. I had first-rate experience teaching students who often lacked basic skills as freshman, but wanting to learn.
I looked forward to doing the same at a Catholic school where I would also be allowed to relate literature to God and a school where discipline and academics would be held to a higher standard. As good as my previous public school was, it never unlocked the students’ full potential because they were not held accountable to the academic or behavior standards that would allow them to fully blossom. However, just as the first quarter of the first year ended, it was clear that my new Catholic school would perpetuate the same destructive program mislabeled “Social Justice.”

Making Excuses for Bad BehaviorHere is the scenario. The first novel I assigned was Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson before Dying. Each student was given one character to follow. When it was time to write their first high school character analysis essay, I provided graphic organizers and models. Most of these students had never written an essay and they would need lots of assistance.

Only after each step of the writing process was taught, each student had received individual help with their assignment, and most students had completed graphic organizers, I brought 30 brand new laptops into the room for a week. Since this was a college prep high school, all essays had to be typed.

Additionally, the brand new computer lab was open before school, during lunch, and after school. Tutors were available after school if students needed more time or more help. Furthermore, the computer technology teacher allowed students to work on the essay during computer class time that week to help them with formatting and other computer issues. I had written the introductory and concluding paragraphs for them, so the students had almost 10 class hours and plenty of support to type three body paragraphs.

However, Tom and Tony, two cousins who entered ninth grade together, did none of the reading, none of the noting, and none of the planning. While others wrote on their laptops, I frequently found the cousins shopping for tennis shoes or playing solitaire, anything but typing an essay. Throughout the quarter, I repeatedly informed administrators, tutors, and parents these two, along with a few others, were far behind, but there was no change.

The academic dean came to me when the essay was more than three weeks past due, after the last late submission date, and with the quarter about to close. She wanted me to let the cousins submit hand-written essays. I said “No! Absolutely not! I made my expectations clear and I gave them plenty of time and support.” Her reply was, “But this is a matter of Social Justice! They don’t have a computer or the internet at home!”

I reminded her that I had provided the cousins multiple opportunities and that they had access to plenty of generous resources, resources that they had squandered, but she would not be swayed. In her mind, I lacked compassion because I would not allow them to turn in an essay more than three weeks past due and hand-written to boot. I still refused to give in knowing it would set a terrible example for other students.

Students Deliver When More is Expected
The students I teach are like people everywhere. If the door is opened to more excuses and work is easy to avoid, most people will take the easiest path. This is especially true when we no longer instill character, morals, or honor in our children. Push students to achieve and they generally rise to the challenge … shockingly, even urban black students … because it is human nature!
Urban students recognize those determined to fight for Social Justice from a mile away, and they know how to manipulate them. Urban students, like most students, grow to respect a teacher who holds them to higher standards, although at first they will struggle and fight and accuse that teacher of being a racist if she is white or evil if she is black. Eventually most realize that the Social Justice teacher is not really concerned about their education, while the latter is.

These two cousins learned that excuses worked at this school and especially with this dean. They did not grow at all. They spent the rest of the year doing nothing or disrupting class. They failed out of the school that first year. No one knows where they ended up, but it was not in a school that provided as many opportunities as ours.

Other students witnessed such moments and learned that they could run to the dean and others who claimed to have compassion for their lives full of “Social Injustice.” The school enabled them to fail. Many did succeed, but fewer succeeded than might have if standards had been respected. It is not compassionate to tell struggling students that they will not be held accountable on one hand while promising them a pathway to college on the other. Neither is it compassionate to spend time making excuses for failing students while utterly ignoring the needs of students with the potential to excel, as this school often did.
A major fault of the Social Justice movement, especially for Catholics, is that it does not seek justice for individuals, but collectives. The cousins, seen as individuals, might have been held accountable. Then they might have been given the tools to succeed in school. As teachers and parents, we know that children must often be pushed to do what they do not want to do in order to grow and that they must be held accountable. Had that happened in this case, the boys might have grown, or not, but the school should have tried.

However, they were seen as victims of Social Injustice, not as Tom and Tony, two individual young men with hopes and dreams and possibilities. That is how it is possible for Social Justice warriors to neglect individuals while at the same time claiming they are uplifting people. Social Justice cares not about lifting individuals, but about lifting groups of “helpless victims.” The expedient sacrifice of a few individuals along the way is acceptable as long as the agenda is preserved.

False Compassion is EverywhereThis false compassion is not limited to urban systems. It is affecting the suburban world too: the trophy-for-everyone, the best team kicked out of competition to give other teams a chance, the end of honors classes, remedial classes, and vocational classes. The top students in suburbia learn that hard work does not pay. Struggling students do not receive the help they desperately need lest they feel left out of “regular” classes. This is not compassion, but self-serving indifference disguised as compassion.

Catholics are not called to be Social Justice warriors. Jesus says, “Get up and walk,” not “You’re a cripple, so we will give you a ‘best bed sitter’ award to increase your self-esteem,” or, “You’re black. I can’t expect you to behave any better.” This is not to say that we should not feel compassion for the crippled man or the poor single mother or the struggling urban student; but we should expect and help the cripple to be independent, to walk if possible, even if it hurts. We should expect and help the poor mother or the struggling student to push themselves to their highest level of achievement, even if they fail sometimes. And we should be willing to tell them when they are failing, not lie to them to make ourselves feel better.

A better example than “Social Justice” for the truly compassionate Catholic is found in a beautiful short film The Butterfly Circus directed by Joshua Weigel. Set in the dark times of the Depression, this “short” is about Will, a man born with no arms and no legs, found in a sideshow by Mr. Mendez. In the sideshow, Will is taunted by the audience and the sideshow barker who introduces Will as, “…a perversion of nature, a man, if you can even call him that, a man who God himself has turned His back on!” Mr. Mendez tells Will he is “magnificent,” but Will, believing Mendez to be mocking him, spits in his face.

Will later finds out that Mr. Mendez is the ringleader of the famous and respected Butterfly Circus. He finds a way to stow away in the circus’s truck. The somewhat odd troupe of performers welcomes Will, but he is left struggling to find a satisfactory role in a circus that has no sideshow. Mr. Mendez encourages him saying, “The greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph!”

One day the troupe finds a refreshing river pool and stops for a swim, but Will gets stranded on the rocks on the other side. He calls for help. No one seems to hear. Mr. Mendez walks right past him, saying, “I think you’ll manage” when Will demands his help. In his struggle to get to the others, Will falls into the water, a potentially deadly baptism. Instead of dying, he discovers he can swim. With this discovery, he finds his role in the circus. He becomes a high diver into the classic small pool of water.

Unlike the Social Justice crowd, no one makes excuses for Will, no one rewards him just for being crippled. Rather, they celebrate his triumph, a triumph he would never have experienced if the troupe made excuses for him instead of challenging him. Mr. Mendez, the Christ-like figure, sees Will as “magnificent” just as he is, but also sees the potential for his butterfly-like metamorphosis into something more triumphant, much as our Lord sees us.

The Social Justice movement has been working steadily and stealthily causing destruction in our society for decades, crippling further those already crippled physically or psychologically and those already struggling to find their own triumphs. As Catholics, if we keep our brothers and sisters helpless cripples or turn them into faceless Social Justice projects, we are perpetuating something evil. As Catholics, our job is not to force Social Justice policies into our schools, our churches, or our laws, but to seek justice in our own hearts and beauty in our fellow man, and when possible, to help our fellow man achieve magnificence and triumph on his own, one person at a time.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Kellyanne Conway

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kellyanne Conway: Feminism's NightmareFeatured

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Kellyanne Conway: Feminism's Nightmare
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As President-elect Donald Trump's campaign manager, Mrs. Kellyanne Conway helped pull off one of the most stunning political victories in U.S. history. So, why do the feminists hate her? Why isn't she being praised as a feminist icon by CNN or the gals from The View? Could it be because Kellyanne Conway is outspokenly pro-life?

And h
ere's another hopeful sign:  President Donald Trump's top advisor will be an Irish-American, happily married Catholic mother of four who makes breakfast every morning for her kids and then goes to Mass. She's a daily communicant! 

And there's more: Kellyanne Conway reportedly took Donald Trump to meet Father George Rutler, the Anglican convert priest and pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Mahattan, who blessed the future president just days before his election.

Who knows how this is all going to play out but, for the moment, it's nice to know that a faithful Catholic is to become chief advisor to the next President of the United States. May God help her remain true to the promises of her baptism as she takes on this crucial position. 



Sugar and Aging

Sugar and Aging

An estimated 300 theories of aging have been proposed in the scientific literature and the question of why and how we age continues to be explored and debated with hundreds of new studies each year.

What we do know with some confidence is that sweetener consumption makes you age faster and more visibly, and it can shorten your lifespan.

At first this idea that sugar accelerates aging came in the form of a theory advanced in 2003, in the journal Medical Hypotheses. The author evaluated studies done on the benefits of caloric restriction in extending lifespan, and studies done on the health impacts of sugars and fats, to offer a path for future research to investigate whether “restriction of foods with a high glycemic index would avoid or delay many diseases of aging and might result in life extension.”
Subsequent research began to establish the links between the various sugars and age acceleration.

Studies detailed how chronic sugar intake produces glycation in the body, which in turn damages collagen and elastin fibers in the skin, which results in sagginess, wrinkles and skin discoloration. The typical signs of aging manifest.

But it gets worse for you sugar eaters. A by-product of glycation are free radicals which not only further contribute to accelerated aging, yet also make the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun, thus raising the risk of skin cancer. Even greater concentrations of free radicals are generated by consuming high fructose corn syrup.
Sugar intake also shortens your life.
In 2014 a study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed that people who drank sugar-sweetened sodas had shorter telomeres than people who didn’t drink them. Telomeres are at the end of chromosomes inside our cells and as these cells divide over time with age, telomeres get shorter, a standard marker for aging. Sugar’s impact on telomeres, accelerating this shortening, tells us that sugar promotes faster aging and quicker death.

In another experiment evaluating how other people view the ages of sugar eaters, a team of scientists in Holland in Sugars Accelerate Your Aging 113 2013 took photographs of 602 test subjects, men and women aged 50 to 70 years, and measured their non-fasting glucose and insulin levels. These photographs were then shown to a board of 60 independent assessors who were asked to assess the ages of test subjects. The higher the person’s blood glucose level, the older that person looked and was rated by the independent viewers.

This was a consistent study finding. Sugar consumption produces high blood glucose levels, which in turn ages the person faster, a phenomenon that is visible to other people.

“We took into account other factors such as whether or not that person smoked and yet still the effects were clear— the higher the blood glucose, the older the person looked,” commented Dr. David Gunn, a co-author of the study, in an interview he did with Britain’s The Daily Mail newspaper.

“Skin experts agree,” observed dermatologists quoted in the newspaper article. “A diet high in sugar is a disaster for the face.”

An even deadlier combination to accelerate aging and hasten death is to mix a sugar-laden diet with high levels of stress. The stress hormone cortisol was measured in a large group of volunteers in another study by the same Dutch researchers, along with the glucose levels, and another clear trend emerged showing that sugar and cortisol make people older.

It may be a synergistic effect at work between stress and sugar. This is an angle on aging that remains to be fully explored by research scientists, though it already makes perfect sense. We know from a substantial body of research that stress is both a premature age-promoter and a serial killer. Now we know that sugar is, too. Combine the two killers together and we have a criminal gang loose in our lives.

Evidence for the Sugar and Aging Link

“Glucose and cortisol have been previously associated with facial aging. We assessed a random sample of 579 people from the Leiden Longevity Study. A higher non-fasted glucose level and a higher fasted cortisol level tended to associate with a higher perceived age based on skin wrinkling.” Disentangling the effects of circulating IGF-1, glucose, and cortisol on features of perceived age. 

Hippocrates Health Institute does not support or endorse the testing of animals. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Traumatic Foundation of Male Homosexuality

The Traumatic Foundation of Male Homosexuality

As a psychologist treating homosexually oriented men, I’ve watched with dismay as the LGBT movement has convinced the world that “gay” requires a revised understanding of the human person.

The psychological profession is much to blame for this shift. Once, it was generally agreed that normality is “that which functions in accordance with its design.” There was no such thing as a “gay person,” for humanity was recognized as naturally and fundamentally heterosexual. In my 30-plus years of clinical practice, I have seen the truth of that original anthropological understanding.
Homosexuality is, in my view, primarily a symptom of gender trauma. Although some people may have been born with biological conditions (prenatal hormonal influences, inborn emotional sensitivity) that make them especially vulnerable to such trauma, what distinguishes the male homosexual condition is that there was an interruption in the normal masculine identification process.

Homosexual behavior is a symptomatic attempt to “repair” the original wound that left the boy alienated from the innate masculinity that he has failed to claim. This differentiates it from heterosexuality, which arises naturally from undisturbed gender-identity development.

The basic conflict in most homosexuality is this: the boy—usually a sensitive child, more prone than average to emotional injury—desires love and acceptance from the same-sex parent, yet feels frustration and rage against him because the parent is experienced by this particular child as unresponsive or abusive. (Note that this child may have siblings who experienced the same parent differently).

Homosexual activity will be the erotic reenactment of this love-hate relationship. Like all the “perversions”—and I use that term not to be unkind, but in the sense that homosexual development “perverts,” or “turns a person away from,” the biologically appropriate object of erotic attachment—same-sex eroticism contains an intrinsic dimension of hostility.

Thus, homosexuality is inherently rooted in conflict: conflict about the acceptance of one’s natural gender, conflict in the parent-child relationship, and usually, conflict regarding ostracism by same-sex peers. This means we will see the emergence of dominance-submission themes contaminating gay relationships.
For the homosexually oriented man, sexuality is an attempt to incorporate, “take in,” and “master” another male. It functions as a symbolic “possession” of the other person that is often more aggressive than loving. One client described his sexualization of fear-provoking men as “the victory of the orgasm.” Another, as the “orgasmic painkiller.”

There are some exceptions to the trauma model of homosexual development. We have found at our clinic another form of homosexuality that is characterized by a mutual, affectional attachment, most often seen in our adolescent clients and in some immature adults. In this type of homosexual attraction, there are no hostile-dependent features, but rather, a romantic adolescent quality—an infatuation that has a sexual manifestation. Such liaisons may occur for a period of months or years and then be abandoned, never to be resumed, as this phase of attraction passes.

Still, the general rule remains: If a child is traumatized in a particular way that affects gender, he will become homosexual, and if you do not traumatize a child in that particular way, the natural process of heterosexual development will unfold.
Many gay men report sexual abuse by a same-sexed person during their boyhood. Sexual molestation is abuse, because it comes disguised as love. Here is one client’s account of an older teen who molested him:
I wanted love and attention, and it got all mixed up with sex. It happened during a time when I really had no sexual interest in other boys… I thought he [the abuser] was cool. He never gave me any attention unless he wanted to fool around. When we did get sexual, it felt special… It felt exciting and intense, something between us, a shared secret. I had no other friends and my lousy relationship with my father didn’t help. I was looking for friendship…[but] the intensity of the memory… I hate it. The whole thing is just disgusting, disturbing…. This is the root cause of my same-sex attraction.

This client had made the following association: “In order to receive the good: i.e. ‘love’ and ‘attention,’ I must accept myself as shameful and bad: engaging in activity which is ‘frightening,’ ‘forbidden,’ ‘dirty,’ and ‘disgusting.’ ”

In therapy, as this client attended to the feelings in his body during an unwanted homo-arousing moment, he discovered that before he felt a homosexual feeling, he would invariably experience the sense of having been shamed by another man. In a reenactment of his childhood abuse, the “shamed self” proved to be a necessary prerequisite to his homosexual arousal.

The relationship between this client’s past abuse and his present-day homosexual enactment is an example of a repetition compulsion. In the search to find love and acceptance, he becomes entangled in repeating a self-defeating and self-punishing behavior, through which he unconsciously seeks to gain final victory and resolve his core injury. Repetition compulsion contains three elements: (1) attempt at self-mastery, (2) a form of self-punishment, (3) avoidance of the underlying conflict.

For such men, the pursuit of fulfillment through same-sex eroticism is spurred by the fearful anticipation that their masculine self-assertion will inevitably fail and result in humiliation. They opt for a ritualized reenactment with the hope that, unlike all other past occasions, “This time, I will finally get what I want; with this man, I will find masculine power for myself,” and “this time, the nagging sense of internal emptiness will finally disappear.” Instead he has given one more person the power to reject him, shame him, and make him feel worthless. When the shame-producing scenario is played out over and over again, this only reinforces his conviction that he really is a hopeless victim and ultimately unworthy of love.
Gay men often report craving an “adrenalin zap” which is heightened by an element of raw fear. There is an entire gay subculture of public sex that revels in the thrill of acting out in places like parks, public bathrooms and truck stops, and is erotically driven by the fear of discovery and exposure.

The act of sodomy itself is intrinsically masochistic. Anal intercourse, as a violation of our bodily design, is unhealthy and anatomically destructive, damaging the rectum and spreading disease because the rectal tissues are fragile and porous. Psychologically, the act humiliates and demeans a man’s dignity and masculinity.

Compulsive sexual acting-out—with its high drama and its promise of gratification—masks the deeper, healthier underlying drive to gain authentic attachment.
The dysfunction of the gay male world is undeniable. Scientific studies offer us evidence for the following sad comparisons:
Sexual Compulsivity is more than six times greater among gay men.
Gay men engage in partner interpersonal violence three times more often than do heterosexual men.
Gay men engage in the sadistic practices at much higher rates than do heterosexual men.
The incidence of mood disorders and anxiety disorders is almost three times greater among gay men.
Panic Disorder is more than four times greater than for heterosexual men.
 Bipolar Disorder is more than five times greater than heterosexual men.
Conduct Disorder is almost four times greater (3.8) than heterosexual men.
Agoraphobia (fear of being in public places) is more than six and a half times greater than among heterosexual men.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is more than seven times greater (7.18) than heterosexual men.
Deliberate Self Harm, (suicidality) is more than twice (2.58) to over ten times (10.23) greater than among heterosexual men
Nicotine Dependence is five times greater than heterosexual men
Alcohol Dependence is close to three times greater than among heterosexual men
Other Drug Dependence is more that four times greater than heterosexual men.

Promiscuity is well-illustrated in the classic research of McWhirter and Mattison, two gay men who reported in their book The Male Couple (1984), that of 165 relationships they studied, not a single pair was able to maintain fidelity for more than five years. The authors—a gay couple themselves—were surprised to discover that outside affairs were not only not damaging to the relationship’s endurance, but were in fact essential to its very survival. They conclude: “The single most important factor that keeps couples together past the ten-year mark is the lack of possessiveness they feel” (p. 256).

By recognizing the love-hate dimension in homoerotic activity we can empathize with the homosexual man’s reparative attempt at resolution of his childhood trauma. This offers us a window of understanding as to why there continues to be deep dissatisfaction in the gay community in spite of unprecedented gains in gay social acceptability.

Homosexuality has no significance in the natural world other than as a symptom, a consequence of tragic events. Otherwise it is otherworldly, a figment made of fantasy and desire. But through the help of social media, Hollywood and political force (most recently, the Obama administration), a new definition of the human person has been invented. This linguistic sleight-of-hand has created a figment of the imagination; an erotic illusion has hijacked reality. Classical anthropology has been turned on its head and a new man has been contrived. When a person labels himself “gay,” he moves himself out of the natural realm and disqualifies himself from fully participating in human destiny.

From father to son to grandson to great-grandson, a man’s seed is his link to the generations. Through his DNA, he lives on in other lives. When implanted into the woman’s womb, his seed produces human life. But in homosexual sex, the seed of life can only result in decay and death.

In the natural sex act, the human race is preserved, and the man lives on through future generations. But in the trauma-driven sex act that violates our bodily design, his generative power engenders death and annihilation. And so the wisdom of the body presents this contrast: new life vs. decay and death.

No wonder we see so much dissatisfaction in the gay world; not just because of society’s disapproval, but because the man who lives in that world, senses the futility of a gay identity. It represents the termination of that long line of his ancestors who were once linked together, through the ages, in natural marriage.
In the real world, a gay identity makes no sense. Only as a symptom, as an eroticized reparation for attachment loss, does homosexuality have meaning.

(Photo credit: Shutterstock)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

KELLYANN CONWAY - A FAITHFUL CATHOLIC

Monday, January 2, 2017

Kellyanne Conway: Feminism's NightmareFeatured

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Kellyanne Conway: Feminism's Nightmare
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As President-elect Donald Trump's campaign manager, Mrs. Kellyanne Conway helped pull off one of the most stunning political victories in U.S. history. So, why do the feminists hate her? Why isn't she being praised as a feminist icon by CNN or the gals from The View? Could it be because Kellyanne Conway is outspokenly pro-life?

And h
ere's another hopeful sign:  President Donald Trump's top advisor will be an Irish-American, happily married Catholic mother of four who makes breakfast every morning for her kids and then goes to Mass. She's a daily communicant! 

And there's more: Kellyanne Conway reportedly took Donald Trump to meet Father George Rutler, the Anglican convert priest and pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Mahattan, who blessed the future president just days before his election.

Who knows how this is all going to play out but, for the moment, it's nice to know that a faithful Catholic is to become chief advisor to the next President of the United States. May God help her remain true to the promises of her baptism as she takes on this crucial position. 


CLICK ON THE REMNANT NEWSPAPER LINK ABOVE AND WATCH THE VIDEO AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

the Sin of Human Respect and the Holy Fear of the Lord

Risk It! A Meditation on the Sin of Human Respect and the Holy Fear of the Lord

At one level “human respect” seems a good thing. After all we ought to respect, honor and appreciate one another. What then is meant by the “sin of human respect?” At its core, the sin of human respect is that sin wherein we fear man more than God; where we more concerned with what people think of us and what we do, than what God thinks. This is an unholy fear, a sinful fear which is at the root of a lot of sins we commit as well as of many sins of omission.
Consider some examples:
  1. A man goes up to a group of other men who are gossipping and also speaking inappropriately about certain women in the office. Perhaps he knows that their disparaging comments about the boss are unfair or even untrue. He knows too that speaking of the women in the office using crude sexual imagery and lustful references is wrong. But, because he has walked up to this group and wants to “fit in” he joins the conversation as contributes to what he knows is wrong. He laughs at off color jokes and makes no attempt to steer the conversation in more appropriate directions. He does this because he fears rejection and is more more anxious as to what his co-workers think of him than what God thinks. He fears man more than God. That God is displeased with his actions is less of a fear and grief than that any of these men should be displeased.
  2. A young woman knows that sex before marriage is wrong and that this displeases God. However, she has dated a number of men now and has slept with most of them. She does this partly because she fears rejection. Perhaps if she does not give way to the desires of the young men she dates they will reject her and she will be alone. She thinks that a woman “has to do this” in order to be popular and desirable. She fears man more than God. What human beings think is more important to her than what God thinks. She may well minimize the displeasure of God by saying. “Oh well, God understands” but at the same time she maximizes possible displeasure of weak and fallible human beings by thinking that displeasing them would lead to  catastrophe. She respects, that is, fears man more than God.
  3. A pastor of a parish has a mandate from God and the Church to preach the whole counsel of God. But over the years he has struggled to preach the hard things. After all teaching on things like abortion, fornication, divorce, contraception, homosexuality, euthanasia, Capital Punishment, and so forth, causes some people to be upset. He fears this anger, he fears offending people, he fears being misunderstood. Once, when he spoke about abortion, (because the Bishop said he had to) three parishioners came up to him and told him he should not bring politics into the pulpit. Once, early in his priesthood, he had mentioned divorce since the gospel was about that. A woman came up to him after Mass and said that she was divorced and felt hurt and “excluded” by his mentioning that divorce was problematic. Experiences like these have led the priest to “play it safe.” He always finds joke to start the homily and people love it (him). He chooses to preach only in abstractions and generalities. It is enough to exhort people to be a little more kind, a little more generous,  but specificity he avoids. He does this because he fears man more than God. That God might be displeased that his people are not hearing the truth on the important moral issues of the day, or receiving proper instruction in the disciplines of discipleship is a vague and distant fear to this priest. But one person raising an eyebrow at what he says is enough to ruin his whole week. Thus he goes silent as a prophet and becomes a people-pleaser instead. He respects, he fears man more than God. This is the sin of human respect.
  4. A parent knows somehow that she is to raise her children in the fear of the Lord and train them in godly ways. But Oh, the protests when she tells them to clean their room or to go to bed, or to do their homework. It is just such a hassle to endure their anger and disappointment. Then too she remembers how stern her parents were and how she had vowed she would be nicer to her children. So, little by little, she lets her authority erode and the kids more often get their way. Her husband too is not a strong disciplinarian and he too wants to be thought of as a “cool” dad by his kids and his kids’ friends. Thus, God’s insistence on prayer, discipline and respect for elders, gives way to what the kids want. The oldest, a teenager, doesn’t even want to go to Church any more. But after all, “You can’t force religion on kids” they think. Here too,  the parents fear their children more than God. They have greater respect for their children than for God.
So here are some examples of the “Sin of Human Respect.” This sin runs very deep in our wounded nature and, as we have seen, causes many other sins. Many people are desperate for attention, respect, acceptance and approval from human beings. Many of these same individuals, even the religiously observant, struggle to be nearly as concerned with what God thinks, or if He approves.
God has a simple solution to this: that we should fear Him and thus not fear anyone else. There is an old saying, “If I kneel before God I can stand before any man.” It makes sense that it is a lot easier to fear (respect) one, than many. Hence, the more we learn to fear (respect) God, the less concerned we become with what others think. Now, to be sure this is not an invitation to become a sociopath who cares not one whit what others think. We are to remain polite, groom ourselves, and not intentionally pick fights. But in the end we are instructed by the Lord to be freed of all the fearful trepidation of what others think.
To say this is a simple solution is a bit of an intellectualism to be sure. It is not easy to extract ourselves from this very deep drive of human respect. In fact it takes a life time. But the first step to any healing is to admit we may have a problem and begin to see it for what it is, understand its moves, and let the Lord steadily free us.
Perhaps some scripture quotes that address various aspects of this problem will be a fitting conclusion to this reflection
  1. Through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil. (Prov 16:6)
  2. Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. (Prov 23:17)
  3. Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. (Prov 15:16)
  4. The fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Ex 20:20)
  5. You alone are to be feared O Lord (Psalm 76:7)
  6. God is more awesome than all who surround him. (Psalm 89:7)
  7. I  lie down and sleep;  I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.  I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. (Psalm 3:4-5)
  8. I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. (Jer 32:39)
  9. The Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth
    .” (Mark 12:14)
  10. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets (Luke 6:26)
  11. If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)
  12. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna (Matt 10:28).
  13. If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you(Jn 15:18-19)
  14. It does not concern me in the least that I be judged by you or any human tribunal; I do not even pass judgment on myself; I am not conscious of anything against me, but I do not thereby stand acquitted; the one who judges me is the Lord. (1 Cor 4:3)
  15. From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. (Gal 6:17)
  16. We know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience (2 Cor 5:11).
In this video Fr. Frank Pavonne exhorts us to risk all as prophets of God and not to fear any one or anything more than God.
http://blog.adw.org/2010/07/risk-it-a-meditation-on-the-sin-of-human-respect-and-the-holy-fear-of-the-lord/

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Natural Law: A Guide for How to Be Human

The Natural Law: A Guide for How to Be Human

The Catholic Church is often ridiculed when it comes to its moral teachings. Whether it’s Church teaching on contraception, so-called “same-sex” marriage, the acting out of transgender ideologies, homosexual acts, or abortion, popular culture tends to view the Church as some evil tyrant trying to tell people how to live their lives.

What amazes me is how little the Church’s critics understand why the Church teaches such things. They fail to realize that behind the teachings about which specific acts are right or wrong is the general standard of determining what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate human behavior, which in turn rests on an understanding of what constitutes the good and the bad.

A good or bad triangle? 
When we speak of the terms good and bad, we necessarily reference the nature or essence of something. For example, let’s say we have two triangles, one drawn on the back of a cracked seat on a moving bus and the other drawn with a straight edge on a piece of paper at a stationary desk.

Which do you think would be a good example of a triangle? Obviously the good triangle would be the one drawn with a straight edge on a piece of paper at the desk. But we have to ask, “Why?”

The answer is because the triangle drawn with a straight edge instantiates triangularity better than the one drawn on the cracked bus seat—that is to say, it best represents what a triangle is supposed to be. Notice that in determining which triangle is good and bad we implicitly compare each to what a triangle is—its essence or nature.

A good or bad oak tree? 
Consider now an oak tree. Let’s say we have one oak tree that has strong roots and sinks its roots deep into the ground, and the other has weak roots and doesn’t sink its roots deep into the ground. Which one is the good oak tree? Which one is the bad?

Obviously, the former is the good oak tree, since it does what an oak tree is supposed to do given its nature—that is to say, it achieves the ends its nature directs it toward (e.g., sinking deep roots into the ground, taking in nutrition, and growing). Notice once again nature determines what is a good or bad instance of a thing.

The oak tree’s nature also helps us determine what is good and bad for the tree. If we were to spray the tree with poison, would the oak tree achieve its natural ends of sinking roots deep into the ground, taking in nutrition, and growing? Of course not! Therefore, we can say that poison is bad for the tree given its nature. And notice that what is bad for the tree is independent of what you are I think; it is an objective fact.

By contrast, if we water the tree, fertilize it, and allow it the light it needs, it will achieve the ends its nature directs it toward. As such, we can conclude that water, fertilizer, and light are good for the tree. And notice once again our judgment about what is good is independent of what you or I think. What is good for the tree, given its nature, is an objective fact.

So, for living things we appeal to nature not only to determine whether it is a good instance of the kind of thing it is but also what is good and bad for the thing given the ends its nature directs it toward.

A good or bad human being? 
The same reasoning applies to human beings. Human beings have a nature or essence with various capacities and ends the fulfillment of which is good and the frustration of which is bad, as a matter of objective fact.

For example, nature directs us to preserve our own existence. This is something we share with all living things. Nature also directs us to preserving our species through sexual intercourse and rearing children—something we share with animals specifically. Finally, nature directs us to certain ends or goals that are peculiar to us as rational animals—namely, to know the truth about God, to live in society, to shun ignorance, and to avoid harming those with whom one has to live.
Therefore, we can know what is good and bad for human beings objectively speaking. Any behavior that facilitates the achievement of these natural ends is considered good—that is to say, it will fulfill human nature. Any behavior that frustrates the achievement of these natural ends is considered bad—that is to say, it won’t bring about human flourishing.

Human nature therefore serves as a standard for what is good and bad behavior for human beings and it is independent of what you or I think. On this analysis, what is good and bad behavior is an objective fact.

Now, since it belongs to our rational nature to do good and avoid evil (see Summa Theologiae I-II:94:2), and the good is the achievement of the ends nature directs us toward, the rational person will perceive those ends and behave in a way that facilitates their achievement. The person who chooses to behave in a way that frustrates man’s natural ends acts irrationally. And because man is free to behave in either way, he will be either worthy of praise or blame depending on his choice.
So, to the moral skeptic’s question “Why should I do what is good?” the answer is, as the philosopher Edward Feser writes, “[B]ecause to be rational just is (in part) to do what is good, to fulfill the ends set for us by nature” (Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide, ch. 5).

The formulation of general moral principles on the basis of human nature’s capacities and ends and the systematic working out of their implications is what the Catholic Church has called in her Tradition the natural moral law. Charles Rice, an American legal scholar, defines the natural moral law as “a set of manufacturer’s directions written into our nature so that we can discover through reason how we ought to act” (50 Questions on the Natural Law, ch. 1).

Conclusion 
It is this natural moral law that the Catholic Church has always appealed to in defense of its prohibition of certain behaviors. Whether it’s contraception, homosexual acts, or abortion, the Church sees in these behaviors a frustration of certain ends our nature directs us toward, and as such cannot contribute to human flourishing—that is to say, they cannot contribute to authentic human happiness. In this sense they are bad. Since the Church is in the business of leading us to authentic human happiness, it says no to such behaviors.
Rather than being an evil tyrant trying to limit everyone’s freedom, the Church is simply trying to be a voice for what it means to be human and how to flourish as one. What’s so bad about that?

This article is reprinted with permission from our friends at Catholic Answers.
Karlo Broussard, a native of Crowley, Louisiana, left a promising musical career to devote himself full-time to the work of Catholic apologetics. For more than a decade he has traveled the country teaching apologetics, biblical studies, theology, and philosophy. Karlo has published articles on a variety of subjects in Catholic Answers Magazine, is a regular guest onCatholic Answers Live, and is an active blogger at catholic.com. Karlo holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in theology from Catholic Distance University and the Augustine Institute, and is currently working on his masters in philosophy with Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He also worked for several years in an apprenticeship with nationally known author and theologian Fr. Robert J. Spitzer at the Magis Center of Reason and Faith. Karlo is one of the most dynamic and gifted Catholic speakers on the circuit today, communicating with precision of thought, a genuine love for God, and an enthusiasm that inspires. Karlo resides in Murrieta, CA with his wife and four children. You can view Karlo's online videos at KarloBroussard.com. You can also book Karlo for a speaking event by contacting Catholic Answers at 619-387-7200.