Tuesday, January 31, 2017

BREAKING: Trump nominates pro-life Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

BREAKING: Trump nominates pro-life Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court

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WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump confirmed Tuesday night that his Supreme Court nominee is pro-life Neil Gorsuch of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

"When Justice Scalia passed away suddenly last February, I made a promise to the American people" to find "very best judge in the country for the Supreme Court," said Trump. “I am a man of my word. I will do as I say, something that the American people have been asking for from Washington for a very, very long time.”

This afternoon, the conservative news site Independent Journal Review reported that "two high-ranking administration sources" confirmed Gorsuch would be the nominee. CNN released a similar report. 

Trump said Gorsuch has a "brillant mind, tremendous discipline" and bipartisan support. Trump noted that a justice can serve for half a century or so.
Maureen Scalia, the wife of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was at the White House for Trump's announcement. The president called her a representative of the "late, great Justice Antonin Scalia."

Gorsuch, 49, is a favorite of social conservatives because of his pro-life views and his record defending religious liberty. In Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, Gorsuch sided with the Christian-owned craft store that did not want to be forced by the government to provide certain contraceptives through its health plan.

Gorsuch favored the Little Sisters of the Poor when dissenting from a 10th Circuit decision saying the nuns must be forced to formally cooperate with the provision of contraception. The dissent essentially said that the 10th Circuit "had shown insufficient deference to the Little Sisters’ own articulation of the tenets of their religious beliefs," according to SCOTUS blog.

Gorsuch attended University of Oxford, Columbia University, and Harvard Law School. He has "a flair that matches — or at least evokes" that of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, SCOTUS blog reports, because his "opinions are exceptionally clear and routinely entertaining; he is an unusual pleasure to read, and it is always plain exactly what he thinks and why."

Gorsuch brought up Scalia in his speech tonight.
"Justice Scalia was a lion of the law," he said. "I miss him."

In 2009, Gorsuch wrote The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, in which he argued that human life has intrinsic value and "that intentional killing is always wrong." The nuanced book examined legal and ethical issues surrounding assisted suicide and euthanasia, as well as the roles patient autonomy and refusal of unwanted medical care play. Its publisher Princeton University Press calls the book "the most comprehensive argument against their legalization ever published." Gorsuch studied under natural law expert John Finnis. 
Just last year, Gorsuch sided with Utah Governor Gary Herbert when he sought to defund Planned Parenthood. 

Of Roe v. Wade, Gorsuch wrote that there is "no constitutional basis" for giving a mother more rights than her unborn child (The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, p. 82): 
In Roe, the Court explained that, had it found the fetus to be a “person” for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, it could not have created a right to abortion because no constitutional basis exists for preferring the mother’s liberty interests over the child’s life.
It doesn't appear that Gorsuch has ruled on a case directly related to the constitutionality of abortion.
Gorsuch's resume is "as good as it gets," Trump said. He is "someone who respects our laws…and who loves our Constitution."
"I am so thankful tonight for my family, my friends, and my faith," said Gorsuch. "These are the things that keep me grounded at life’s peaks and sustain me in its valleys."
He said he is "honored" and "humbled" to be nominated.

St. John Bosco and the Danger of Tolerance

St. John Bosco and the Danger of Tolerance:

St. John Bosco and the Danger of Tolerance

St. John Bosco and the Danger of Tolerance
St. John Bosco was a master teacher who loved his students and, by his love, many souls were saved. Not all students were open to Don Bosco’s love, however, and not all the souls he loved were saved. A preventive method of education was championed by Don Bosco and is now practiced by his Salesians, an order he founded inspired by the gentleness, patience, and charity of St. Francis de Sales. Don Bosco often used St. Francis’ words to endorse this preventive method: “You can catch more flies with a teaspoon of honey than with a barrel of vinegar.” The preventive method consists chiefly in kindly supervision with the aim of building character and guarding against harmful influences: the conjunction of vigilance and familial affection, to prevent infractions rather than punish them. At the same time, Don Bosco, in his wisdom and vision as a saintly educator, knew well the menace to the common good posed by even one boy who refused the good, and, in an extreme act of prevention, never hesitated to expel those who were entrenched in sin or malice. He had no tolerance for those who would not be converted and was swift to prevent their influence from taking root. Though an unspeakably brave, humble, generous, and holy priest, St. John Bosco knew the danger of tolerance when it came to evil and was never afraid to be intolerant when occasion demanded.
There is a striking and even strange story that illustrates well St. John Bosco’s philosophy when it came to an expulsion, a situation when tolerance was impossible.

In 1886, while John Bosco was in Turin, an incident was brewing at the Salesian College of Sarria, an institution for troubled young men in Spain founded by the saint, under the nose of the superior, Fr. Branda. Among the students was a cunning group of posers who, under the guise of goodness, were plotting a crime. In the dead of a January night, Fr. Branda was startled from his sleep not by the cry of “Murder!” or “Thief!” or “Help!” but by the voice of Don Bosco. “Father,” Don Bosco called, “Get up!” Fr. Branda rolled over in his sheets and shook his head to clear it from what he regarded as a dream. Don Bosco was in Italy, after all, and not in his bedroom. The silence of sleep overtook him once again.
One week later, on February 6, “Father!” Don Bosco’s voice shattered the nighttime stillness, “Get up!” Fr. Branda sat bolt upright in his bed. Don Bosco stood before him, smiling amid the shadows of his bedroom. Stupefied, Fr. Branda bounced out of bed, struggled into a cassock, and, taking the hand of his superior—and finding it flesh and blood—kissed it. “Your house is bright,” Don Bosco said, “but there is one dark spot.” Suddenly Fr. Branda became aware of a group of four men in the room. Two he recognized as boarding students and the other two as day students. They shifted like shadows in the gloom. Don Bosco approached them with his fellow priest. “Tell this one to be prudent,” he said pointing to one. “Expel the other three immediately. Show no mercy and no pity. Be sure to do this at once, I tell you. Now, come!”

Don Bosco turned out of the room and glided silently down the hall with the breathless Fr. Branda at his heels. They moved noiselessly toward the dormitories under the noiseless night. Locked and bolted doors yielded without key to the hand of the saint, and even opened of their own accord as he approached, walking in a low patch of light cast from no visible source that illuminated their way. As they passed by the rows of slumbering students, Don Bosco put a word of advice or instruction in Fr. Branda’s ear for every one. “He must study for his examination more diligently.” “He needs to go to confession soon.” “He wishes to see his sister very much.” So it went, all down the rows of two dormitory bays, and then back to Fr. Branda’s bedroom.

“Remember, Father,” Don Bosco said upon their return, “expel those three without delay and without fail.” With these words uttered, Fr. Branda found himself alone in his room once again. Don Bosco had vanished. Darkness resumed its sway. The clock struck four. When the sun rose two hours later, it found Fr. Branda standing where he had stopped, his mind racing with questions and doubts. Had he really seen Don Bosco that night? How could it be possible? It must have been a dream. Was he truly to expel those boys without clear reason or any proof of guilt? He decided to wait.

Days passed. Still Fr. Branda had not determined to do as Don Bosco had instructed him. As he continued to mull over his mysterious experience, he received a letter from Turin from an oratorian priest named Fr. Rua in which he read with pounding heart that Don Bosco had told Fr. Rua to write to Fr. Branda asking if he had carried out the order he had received from Don Bosco. It was as yet not accomplished—and still Fr. Branda hesitated.

Again, days passed. Fr. Branda was in the sacristy preparing to celebrate Holy Mass. Though praying, his mind remained troubled by the words of Don Bosco and the difficulty he had in doing what had been so inexplicably put to him. He ascended the altar steps. He arranged the chalice. He descended the steps and genuflected. He began the prayers at the foot of the altar. “Introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meum...” “If you do not expel those boys immediately as I ordered,” Don Bosco’s voice suddenly whispered directly in Fr. Branda’s ear and echoed in his inmost being, “this will be your last Mass.”
After Mass, Fr. Branda, pale as a ghost, summoned the three boys. They appeared, and stood shifting like shadows before Fr. Branda who expelled them then and there without explanation or hesitation. Though their crimes were still a secret, to God and his chosen ones, nothing is hidden, and nothing that is evil can be tolerated.

The young clung to St. John Bosco because he was not afraid to tolerate youthful vigor and tomfoolery. Most teachers are not so brave. Even less are brave enough to be intolerant of evil. Don Bosco understood the nature and spirit of adolescence, knowing therefore the critical, and even dangerous, balance between order and disorder, between discipline and spontaneity, between good and evil. Prudence was first and foremost for him, for it was only by this virtue that his boys could truly find happiness and holiness. To John Bosco, nothing was so important as this joy. Without joy, nothing can be truly learned, lived, or loved. Don Bosco knew this deeply, and so brought joy to everything he did with his boys, from soccer to the Sacraments, but all the while, defended his boys from those who would destroy the joy he fostered. He was not tolerant when intolerance was called for, and this was a part of his genius.

The banner of tolerance is one that flies proudly over modern world. Though tolerance is in some cases salubrious, too much of it can be suicidal. In the effort to accept and acclimate, there exists a real need to preserve cultural identity and spiritual integrity. John Bosco understood this and was intolerant of those that threatened the order and spirit of his oratories. He knew well that there is a type of tolerance that can ultimately compromise nature, society, and the soul, and undermine culture by changing it into the chameleon called diversity. Culture without definition and distinction in values is no longer culture—it is confusion. People cannot be themselves if they do not know who they are. Without the effort to remain true to who we are, it will be impossible to remain true to Him who died that we may live. St. John Bosco is a testament to the courage to be intolerant for the right reasons. May he guide us all as he guided Fr. Branda and help us to be brave enough to be intolerant to those powers that threaten our friendship with God.

Pro-Life From Start to Finish

Pro-Life From Start to Finish:

Pro-Life From Start to Finish

Human life begins at the very moment of conception; human life dies when the soul leaves the body at natural death. God is the origin, the author, the sustainer, and the only one who can determine the actual moment that each and every human person dies. These are the first principles, on a human and biological level, that all those engaged in Pro-life dialogue must commence with.

Theological Foundations

At the very moment that a child is conceived, then it is God Himself who intervenes infusing an immortal soul in that human person. This immortal soul, from its inception, is endowed with an intellect with the powers of memory, understanding and imagination. Also the immortal soul is endowed with free will by which this individual can choose to love God with all his energy, strength and will. By utilizing the word immortal, we mean that this soul infused at the moment of conception will live for all eternity, that means forever and ever and ever—not until the end of the world, but forever and ever and ever! If this individual decides to love God in his life on earth and dies loving God, then he will be united with God forever in heaven.

This being the ultimate reality, what can we do as People of Life to defend life? Until the crude and horrendous reality of abortion is eliminated from the face of the earth, all of us, and we must emphasize all of us, must be involved in one way or another in the Pro-life movement. Not just once a year, in the month of January, when we lament the tragic legalization by the Supreme Court of abortion—killing innocent babies—but always! In a word, the innocent babies in the wombs of their mommies cannot speak so as to defend themselves. Therefore, we must be the clear, unequivocal, concise and determined voice of the unborn. They cannot speak or defend themselves, so we must do it for them!

Following we will offer several ways by which you can undertake the most noble task of fighting against abortion—the number one moral evil in the country—and defend the innocent and the most vulnerable persons in our country. Indeed they are persons, smaller and less-developed biologically, but they are persons. The founding Fathers of the United States of America had no confusion or identity crisis on human life when they wrote and said: Every human person has inviolable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

First and foremost, all of us can do the following: pray! Prayer gives us power. Prayer is our weapon. Prayer can change hearts. Prayer can move the mountains, even the highest mountains—remember the movie Little Boy. Prayer gives life, defends life, and sustains life. Why? For the simple reason that prayer unites us and fortifies us with God Himself. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”  Jesus also said: “I have come to give LIFE and LIFE in abundance.”  Saint Alphonsus Liguori expressed it in these words: “There are not strong people and weak people, but rather people that pray and those who do not pray.”  In other words, the person who prays well and fervently, with faith, confidence, and perseverance will eventually win the battle. If we have a nation or country in prayer, then the victory is ours. The famous Rosary-priest, Father Peyton expressed it in these words: “A world in prayer is a world in peace.”  Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta asserted: “This world will not know peace until the end of abortion.”  In sum, let us pray in reparation for the many crimes and abominations of abortion, but also for the end of abortion.

Second, we must undertake the practice of penance and fasting.  Jesus said: “Some devils can be expelled only by prayer and fasting.” Jesus conquered and overcame the devil in the desert by praying and by fasting for forty days and forty nights. Jesus said: “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that issues forth from the mouth of God.”  Most likely none of us can fast forty days and forty nights in imitation of Jesus, but we can all give up something. Saint Therese encourages us with these words: Holiness consists in doing small (ordinary) things with great or extraordinary love.  There we have the secret to holiness: doing all we do with great love!

Third, another key to preventing abortion we might call preventative medicine by means of teaching teens the value of the virtue of chastity or holiness. Would it not be a great idea if all the Parishes throughout the country, better yet, all the Parishes throughout the world, would teach teens the importance of the virtue of chastity? How? By teaching them the beauty of chastity. Teach them that sexuality is a beautiful gift from God but it must be practiced and expressed in the proper time and the proper place. Of course, this means that while human sexuality is a beautiful gift from God, its proper time and place is only in the context of a man and woman married in the Sacrament of holy Matrimony, in the church. Only then does a couple have a right to the marital act, of course being always open to the possibility of conception, or if you like the possibility of Procreation. What a beautiful and most profound word, that of Procreation. What this word really means is that God allows two human persons, a man and a woman, to collaborate with Him in the bringing forth of a new human life by means of conception.

Another motivation for the young to embrace chastity and sexual relations only in the context of Sacramental love might be a CHASTITY MASS AND RING. What is meant by this is that young people involved in their Confirmation program would have built into this Confirmation program a chastity Mass with the chastity ring as an integral part of the program itself. Therefore, in the context of the Mass, after the homily, the priest (or priests) will place chastity rings on the young girls and boys. Then these youth will wear this ring until they are married as a clear reminder that they have made the commitment to be chaste or pure and that they will have no sexual relations until their wedding night.

All of this is said in the context of fighting against abortion on this front because many abortions are perpetrated by the young, and that is even the teenagers, and for many reasons. However, one of the fundamental reasons for the high incidence of abortions among teens, among the youth, is a very weak formation and foundation in the virtue of chastity, not taught well at home or anywhere else for that matter!!!

One last note, with respect to chastity—the virtue of modesty! Young people, possibly girls more than boys, but both, must be educated in the practice of modesty, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church states is the “Guardian of chastity.”  We must never forget that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Through Baptism we are transformed into sons and daughters of God the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, intimate friends of the Holy Spirit, that is living tabernacles of the Blessed Trinity, Sanctuaries of God! With this knowledge of our sublime dignity, as well as the knowledge of our destiny, we must live accordingly and practice the virtue of modesty. May Our Lady be our sublime example!

Fourth, the use and viewing of the ultrasound. One of the most notorious abortionist’s in the United States in the early 70’s was a Doctor who practiced abortions in New York. He was known as the “King of abortions.”  Why? He had carried out 80,000 abortions. Nonetheless, God works miracles in strange ways according to the human perspective. The name of this Doctor was Bernard Nathanson. Divine providence worked in this way. Doctor Nathanson viewed a primitive ultrasound in which he saw the baby moving. Touched and moved by grace, Nathanson honestly admitted that it was a baby, a living human person. From that moment on, he never performed another abortion in his entire life! On the contrary, he became one of the most vocal Pro-life advocates in the country, and not only that, in the world at large. Gifted with a very keen intellect, Nathanson wrote against abortion in very scholarly terms. However, most likely his greatest claim to fame was the production of the movie The Silent Scream. In this movie, Nathanson portrays graphically a baby being torn from the womb of his mother and suffering intensely; the baby is opening up his mouth screaming, but the scream cannot be heard! Once produced and released for the public this film accomplished untold miracles of grace, definitely saving the lives of many unborn persons—babies in the womb.

Incidentally, Nathanson was converted to Catholicism and received all the Sacraments of Initiation in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by the late Cardinal John O’Conner.

Years have passed since the movie The Silent Scream was released. Now, thanks be to God and the advance of modern technology, the Ultrasound is much more advanced, clear, and graphic in the presentation of the unborn baby within the womb. A woman considering an abortion, if exposed to the ultrasound of her baby, might be able to see the baby waking up, yawning, stretching, scratching his nose, sucking his thumb, and even smiling at his mother. Many women upon viewing their baby in the Ultrasound cannot carry out the grisly murder of their innocent child.

In sum, if you know of a woman considering an abortion with an already developed child, why not bring her to view the Ultrasound. There is a good chance that after seeing this, the mother will say YES to life, graced and blessed with seeing her little baby moving and possibly smiling at her!

Fifth, the Biblical YES of two holy women! Why not present to the woman considering abortion the example of two holy women who would most likely be targets for abortion today: Saint Elizabeth and the Blessed Virgin Mary (Read from the Gospel of Saint Luke: 1: 39-45) Why? Saint Elizabeth was obviously too old—way beyond the age of child-bearing; and Mary, was too young, almost certainly a mere teenage. We all know the end of this story! Both said YES to carrying their babies and they brought forth the two greatest: Saint John the Baptist and Jesus, the Savior of the world, who is truly the Way, the Truth and the Life. If Mary and Elizabeth could say YES to life, so can all women. What is definitely needed is this attitude of the heart: Trust. All pregnant women must trust, not in the world and its false values, but in God who is not only the Origin and Author of life, but also the Provider and the Sustainer of life. With Saint Faustina let us pray: Jesus, I trust in You!

In conclusion, let all of us feel the call, as well as the duty, as men and women of life to defend unborn human life. It is God who gives life. The holy Job expressed it in clear and unequivocal words: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I return to the earth; the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord!”  Indeed, it is only the Lord, God Himself, who can give life and it is only God who can take life away! As human persons created in the image and likeness of God, and through Baptism sons and daughters of God Himself, we must be staunch defenders of life from the very moment of conception to the very last breath of life. We are People of Life. May Our Lady who said YES to life encourage us by her prayers to love life at all times, in all places, until the end of time!

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

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)