Friday, October 31, 2008
To the Aggie Family:Overall her statement is well written. The one point of slight disagreement comes from when she asks everyone to respecting others opinions. I think the point is that we have to treat the individual person with respect, even if we disagree. This is true and a good sign of maturity. But, we don't necessarily have to respect each and every opinion. For instance, while we should certainly respect every human being and their freedom to hold any opinion, we don't need to respect evil opinions (e.g., that slavery is good, that adultery is ok, etc.).
One of the fundamental and most important rights that we have as Americans is freedom of speech - and this is a right that we firmly support here at Texas A&M University. As a native of Cuba, I personally understand the consequences of not having the right of free speech, or the many other freedoms that we, as Americans, so often take for granted. (It is fundamental and important, correct.)
The recent actions of the small group of students at Rudder Plaza claiming to make a political +statement concerning the presidential election have been widely interpreted as being much broader - and certainly contrary to the core values of Aggies everywhere. (I think it was not a smart decision or a good way to express your displeasure with a candidate.) Here at Texas A&M, respect is one of our core values that are fundamental to being an Aggie. We should always respect each other (I agree), each other's opinions (I partly disagree - explanation below) and express our own opinions in a respectful way (I agree).
Political disagreement is to be expected, particularly as Election Day nears, but it can - and should - be addressed in respectful dialogue (I agree). This was certainly the case when the Texas Aggie Democrats and the Aggie College Republicans conducted a joint program earlier this week under the auspices of the Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA), which is sponsored by the Memorial Student Center.
Aggies have a long and proud tradition of honor and respect for one another, for our school and our state and nation - and are so recognized and admired. We must do nothing to tarnish our reputation.
I strongly encourage everyone in the Aggie Family to respect the opinions of others, especially if you disagree with them. Even more importantly, I urge you to express your opinions and ideas in a respectful way, as they can serve to enrich the educational environment here on our campus. Let's respect each other, for that is what Aggies do.
Elsa A. Murano,
President of Texas A&M
One thing many forget is that we represent others. When an A&M student does something of this nature, in our digital age, it can certainly reflect badly on the entire University and that was the purpose of writing the letter.
Happy Halloween - I now have a twin.Flattering. Notice the nametag, shaved head, goatee, cup, etc. Nicely done.
On top of that, someone started a website yesterday - "Marcel is Older Than..." I have my suspicions as to who is involved in that one. :-)
Thursday, October 30, 2008
With the economic crisis darkening the political horizon, the past month has left little room for other issues to penetrate the minds of Americans as we prepare to vote in the upcoming election. Certainly the economy deserves our serious consideration, along with such important issues as war, healthcare and immigration.
It is troubling, though, that there has also been a critical absence of issues central to the preservation of life and the family from the public arena. It would seem to infer that these issues have no impact on voter’s selection process or that they are simply not important. Regardless which side of these issues a person falls, these are defining principles for any society.
Recently, the Express-News published its voter’s guide. It was a comprehensive listing of races and candidates running for office in November. I’m sure it was a helpful tool for many. I recognize it is challenging to make any voter’s guide comprehensive on the issues. However, the inclusion of the fundamental life issues for pursuit of the common good would have made the publication more complete, accurate and a useful tool at this critical time.
People need to know the positions of the candidates on the key issues that protect the right to life such as abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research and capital punishment. Voters also would have been better served if they had been provided information about the candidates’ positions on the definition of marriage, the basic cell of society as a union between a man and a woman.
The “culture of life” issues, and I include in that the preservation of the very foundational definition of the human family, often are dismissed as purely religious issues. This characterization is inaccurate. These issues deal with the most fundamental concerns of human civilization. The strong moral teaching at the foundation of these issues does not disqualify them from deserving serious public discussion, nor deny the impact they have on the common good.
I find it unfortunate that often, when an individual raises abortion as a critical issue, there is a fear that they will be quickly labeled a “one issue” voter. While this characterization might protect one from confronting the moral gravity of taking an innocent, defenseless, human life, it also avoids the reality that abortion is an issue that affects all segments of our society. It represents the primary right guaranteed in our Declaration of Independence—the right to life. Unless we protect this fundamental right of each human person, at all stages of life, no other issue or liberty matters.
Surely, many form their conclusions on these and other issues through a process guided by faith. However, society should not insist that people of faith be silent in the face of grave evil. We live in a society that would like to privatize religion, to take it out of the public square. Privatizing religion would be for all people of faith, an unholy compromise. We who profess to believe in God cannot allow him to be banished from the public square.
It is never my purpose, nor the proper role of the Church, to tell people how or for whom to vote. However, we have a responsibility to be a voice for the innocent, the helpless, for life itself at this time of political clutter. We cannot ignore these issues, many of which we believe are “non-negotiable.” If our nation loses respect for life and true “family values” it will have lost its moral authority to lead the world.
America is founded upon a belief in the existence of truth; in the dignity of the human person; in justice; and in the common good that flows from loving our neighbor and ourselves. All Catholics and people of faith will be praying for God’s guidance and wisdom as we celebrate our democracy.Archbishop José H. Gomez, S.T.D.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Why does God permit evil in the world?
“When I created life as you know it, I did so by simply separating myself into countless smaller parts of me. This is another way of saying that you were made ‘in the image and likeness of God.’ Now because God is The Creator, that means that all of you are creators, too. … Obedience is not creation. It is an act of subservience, not an act of power. God is not subservient to anyone, and since you are a part of God, you are, by nature, not subservient to anyone, either. … Teenagers know this more than anyone.” (pp. 12-13)
“You think you have been born in Original Sin, and you believe this. I tell you now that you have been born in Original Power” (p. 37). “This power is not just what you have, it is what you ARE. You have, and are, the power to create.” (p. 38)
“Life is not a process of discovery. It is a process of creation. You are not learning Who You Are, you are recreating Who You Are, by remembering all that you have always known, and choosing what you now wish to experience of your Self.” (p.42)
It is almost laughable how bad it is.
Why do my parents freak out about sex? My God, they freak out. — Susan, 14, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“Mostly, your parents ‘freak out’ about sex because their parents ‘freaked out’ about sex. And, their parents freaked out about sex because their parents freaked out about sex. It’s been going on this way now for hundreds of years. Not everywhere. Not in all places, nor in all cultures. There are cultures on your planet in which sex is not seen as anything shameful or embarrassing or as something to be concealed and not talked about and to be ‘done’ in hiding. Yet in the largest number of places it is seen as exactly that.
“Most humans are even ashamed of their own bodies. Or they are simply scared of them. And so they make absolutely certain that they are covered up, and then they actually pass laws requiring them to be. And why? Because most humans are afraid of what will happen if they see each other naked.” (pp. 92-93)
But why? How did it get to be that way?
“Somewhere along the way, many humans convinced themselves that most anything ‘good’ is ‘bad’ for them, and that it is in combating their desires and denying them, that they please God. Somewhere along the way, they created the idea that passion for earthly things denies them heavenly things.” (p. 94)
“…Simple nakedness is now called ‘immodesty.’” (p. 97)
So what is the purpose of sex? — Richard, 14, Miami, Florida (also asked by many others).
“You must declare that for yourself. Everything in life has the purpose you give it. I do not give things in life purpose. I have only given a purpose to life itself. It is the purpose of life to provide you with an opportunity to announce and declare, create and experience, express and fulfill Who You Really Are.” (p. 99)
How many things did "God" redefine? Relativism is alive!
How soon is too soon? I’ve read in some societies people do it when they are 12!
“There is no prescribed time for sexual initiation and sexual activity. It is different from culture to culture and from person to person. (p. 105)
“….You know that you are already ‘having sex’ every day. Sexual energy is exchanged between people from the moment they meet. … Masters are those who have come to a deep awareness of all this, and it is in and from this essential essence that they live and move and have their Being. When you experience S-E-X with a Master, you know it. (pp. 108, 110)
“There are no ‘bad’ people and no ‘bad’ things, only people and things that you have called ‘bad.’” (p. 117)
That’s the same thing.
“To you it is. To me, it isn’t.”
Now what does that mean?
“It means that we have different values. It means we have different understandings. It means that you have made judgments, and I don’t make judgments.”
You mean, you really do not judge? You forgive everyone, no matter what the sin? — Lily, Miami, Florida
“I do not forgive anyone. That is the first thing you must understand about me. I will not forgive you, ever, for anything that you do. Once you are clear about this, you will have a new understanding of God, and you will be able to interact with me in a whole different way. I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive.” (p. 118, italics in original)
Remember - the answers are supposed to come from God. I don't know the god who answers the questions above with those answers.
The author of these books is a fallen-away Catholic. Who found the following about religion, when he was 15:
He noticed that when people got involved in religion they seemed less joyful and more angry, exhibiting behaviors of prejudice and separateness. Neale concluded that the collective experience of theology was not positive.
Please pray for him and his followers.
A - Thanks for the question. Here is what canon law says about the requirements for abstinence from meat during Lent.
So, we are obligated to abstain from meat on all fridays of Lent and Ash Wednesday. This means that there we ourselves cannot dispense from this obligation by making a prudential decision. I don't know a situation or party that would require us to eat meat, especially with the number of vegetarians in our society presently. I think avoiding the meat would be easier to do than seeking out a dispensation from a church authority, which would be required to eat meat on one of these days. Canon law says:
1251 Abstinence from eating meat or some other food according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Can. 1253 The conference of bishops can determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence as well as substitute other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety, in whole or in part, for abstinence and fast. Can.
Canon 1245: With due regard for the right of diocesan bishops which is mentioned in can. 87, for a just reason and in accord with the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, the pastor (parochus) in individual cases can dispense from the obligation to observe a feast day or a day of penance; or he can commute it to other pious worksThe answer is simply - no, you can't eat meat at a party on fridays of lent without the proper dispensation.
FYI - the US Bishops have abrogated the obligation for Catholics in the USA to abstain from meat on fridays outside of Lent. While they suggest we do some penitential practice (with abstaining from meat still be preferred) they do not impose any pentitential practice upon us as an obligation under the law. But, the obligation still exists for fridays in Lent.
*Then there is the Michigan Governor who says that embryonic stem cell research is pro-life. I guess she missed the part where the babies have to be killed to get the cells. Her bishop responded quickly.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So, the culture says:
- pleasure is our purpose
- selfishness is a good
- truth is what you make it
In younger couples, the increasing availability of pornography on the Internet, which has been shown to affect sexual attitudes and perceptions of “normal” behavior, may be playing a role in rising infidelity.
Monday, October 27, 2008
*Bishop Malooly answers Senator Biden's statements on abortion in their local paper.
*Bishop Dewane of Venice, FL on life and voting.
*Bishop Cordileone of San Diego responds to the San Diego city council coming out in public support of prop 8 in California.
Friday, October 24, 2008
*A while back I posted about a soccer player who gave it all up to enter seminary a while back. Well, ESPN has a story about how things are going. Tip of the Hat to AmP.
*Cardinal Egan lays it on the line about this photo.
*Get ready to hear new endings to Mass in the future. They include three possible endings:
-- "Ite ad Evangelium Domini annuntiandum" (Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord).*San Francisco wants to make prostitution legal. I guess they think that will help their city somehow???
-- "Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum" (Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life).
-- "Ite in pace" (Go in peace).
*Cardinal Kasper says the Bible is the best tool of ecumenism. I agree.
*Kindergartners attending a coming out day? Yes.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
A - Sin is a universal over time. If we look at the time of Jesus, there were just as many sins being committed then as now. Pagan temple prostitution, murder, unjust war, infanticide, etc. So, while our culture surely isn't one full of virtue I don't think that we are the worst thing that has ever been under the sun. In fact, in many parts of the world, Catholicism and other kinds of Christianity is spreading like wild-fire.
I have hope that the fruits of conversion, grace and in particular, Vatican II (read about it here and here) are coming now and in the future and the generation that will truly turn our culture back to Christ is here now.
What Reduces Abortions?
By Richard M. Doerflinger
October 10, 2008
Sometimes election years produce more policy myths than good ideas. This year one myth is about abortion. It goes like this: The Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision is here to stay, and that's fine because laws against abortion don't reduce abortions much anyway.Â Rather, "support for women and families" will greatly reduce abortions, without changing the law or continuing a "divisive" abortion debate.
Various false claims are used to bolster this myth. It is said that over three-quarters of women having abortions cite expense as the most important factor in their decision. Actually the figure is less than one-fourth, 23%. It is said that abortion rates declined dramatically (30%) during the Clinton years, but the decline stopped under the ostensibly pro-life Bush administration. Actually the abortion rate has dropped 30% from 1981 to 2005; the decline started 12 years before Clinton took office, and has continued fairly steadily to the present day.
The steepest decline is among minors. Is it plausible that economic factors reduced abortions for teens but not their older sisters, or their mothers who support them?
The reality is this: In 1980 the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde amendment, and federally funded abortions went from 300,000 a year to nearly zero. With its decisions in Webster (1989) and Casey (1992), the Court began to uphold other abortion laws previously invalidated under Roe. States passed hundreds of modest but effective laws: bans on use of public funds and facilities; informed consent laws; parental involvement when minors seek abortion; etc.Â Dr. Michael New's rigorous research has shown that these laws significantly reduce abortions. In the 1990s, debate on partial-birth abortion - kept in the public eye, ironically, by President Clinton's repeated vetoes of a ban on this grisly late-term procedure - alerted many Americans to the violence of abortion and shifted public attitudes in a pro-life direction, just as growing concern over AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases was giving new force to the abstinence message for teens. Now the Court has upheld a partial-birth abortion ban, and signaled that other laws to save unborn children and their mothers from the horrors of abortion may be valid. If Roe is reversed outright, that will allow more laws that can further reduce abortions.
By contrast, a pending federal "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA) would knock down current laws reducing abortions, and require public programs for pregnant women to fund abortion. No one supporting that bill can claim to favor reducing abortions.
Many women are pressured toward abortion, and they need our help. The pressures are partly, but only partly, economic in nature. Women are influenced by husbands, boyfriends, parents and friends, and by a culture and legal system that tells them the child they carry has no rights and is of no consequence. Law cannot solve all problems, but it can tell us which solutions are unacceptable - and today Roe still teaches that killing the unborn child is an acceptable solution, even a "right." Without ever forgetting the need to support pregnant women and their families, that tragic and unjust error must be corrected if we are to build a society that respects all human life.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
-For the first time ever, an Orthodox patriarch was asked to present to a synod of Catholic Bishops. Here is the amazing text of his speech.
-The US Bishops' social justice arm, Catholic Campaign for Human Development has pulled all funding for ACORN.
But, before you comment, I do know that most of these songs are neither from a Christian worldview or perfect.
Oasis - Wonderwall
Goo Goo Dolls - Better Days
U2 - Where the Streets Have No Name (live)
Led Zepplin - Battle of Evermore - Yes, this song is about Lord of the Rings.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
A - Thanks for the question! I have been getting great questions lately and I sure do appreciate them. For the first part of the question the simple answer is yes. But, I have written more detailed explanations to why previously. You can read two of those explanations here and here.
The second part of your question has not been answered in detail on this blog, so I will give it a go here, but first I will re-phrase it somewhat. I will answer the question - What is allowed in marriage and what isn't? Why aren't some things allowed? Before I go any further, I will let you all know that this is a post for adults and I will talk about sex with some detail.
We have to look to chastity again. Chastity is rightly living out your sexuality based upon your state in life. So, when one not married they are called to be celibate. But, in marriage you will be sexually active. But, does this mean that "anything goes" as some might say? No. We have to remember that sex in marriage is for the purposes of bringing the spouses together in a bond of love (unitive aspect) and to be open to having children (procreative aspect). So, if either of these aspects are taken out of the sexual act intentionally, then sex is reduced to something it was not intended for and it can then be sinful even within marriage. Sex in these situations becomes selfish and is not about the other, but yourself. Sex is about the other when done in the proper context.
Let me shock you somewhat. Here is what John Paul II wrote about orgasm and sex in his book Love and Responsibility.
We have defined love as an ambition to ensure the true good of another person, and consequently as the antithesis of egoism. Since in marriage a man and a woman are associated sexually as well as in other respects the good must be sought in this area too. From the point of view of another person, from the altruistic standpoint, it is necessary to insist that intercourse must not serve merely as a means of allowing sexual excitement to reach its climax in one of the partners, i.e. the man alone, but that climax must be reached in harmony, not at the expense of one partner, but with both partners fully involved. This is implicit in the principle which we have already so thoroughly analysed, and which excludes exploitation of the person, and insists on love. In the present case love demands that the reactions of the other person, the sexual ‘partner’ be fully taken into account.In other words - JPII is saying that sex, to be truly about the other person, must take into account the height of the sexual act, orgasm, so much so that it is selfish for only one to reach orgasm, esp. if this happens frequently.
He goes on:
Sexologists state that the curve of arousal in woman is different from that in man--it rises more slowly and falls more slowly.... The man must take this difference between male and female reactions into account, not for hedonistic, but for altruistic reasons. There exists a rhythm dictated by nature itself which both spouses must discover so that climax may be reached both by the man and by the woman, and as far as possible occur in both simultaneously.There is a "best-case" scenario in sex. Both spouses reaching orgasm at the same time.
If a woman does not obtain natural gratification from the sexual act there is a danger that her experience of it will be qualitatively inferior, will not involve her fully as a person.... it is usually the result of egoism in the man, who failing to recognize the subjective desires of the woman in intercourse, and the objective laws of the sexual process taking place in her, seeks merely his own satisfaction, sometimes quite brutally.
Men should never take advantage of women in order to "use" them. This goes for women too. Women should never use men.
There is here a real need for sexual education, and it must be a continuous process. The main objective of this education is to create the conviction that ‘the other person is more important than I’. Such conviction will not arise suddenly and from nothing, merely on the basis of physical intercourse. It can only be, must be, the result of an integral education in love. Sexual intercourse itself does not teach love, but love, if it is a genuine virtue, will show itself to be so in sexual relations between married people as elsewhere. Only then can ‘sexual instruction’ bestow its full benefits: without education in our sense it may even do harm.In other words, couples need to learn how to have good sex in order to love one another better. This love will be selfless, even in sex. What conclusions can we draw from this? There are a few.
- Sex must not be separated from marriage. It is made for this safe, life-giving, self-giving, free, faithful, and life-long relationship.
- Orgasm is an important part of sex. If possible, both partners should reach climax.
- Foreplay is important. The couple needs to slowly build up to the sexual act, not just jump right in. This means, especially for the man, that the couple should learn how to arouse the other in order to be able to give this gift to each other better.
- Not everything goes. Once sex is made to be something that is not open to life, done freely, done in marriage, or forced on another, then it isn't about love and can become sinful.
- Oral sex that results in orgasm.
- Male orgasm outside of intercourse (e.g., oral sex, masturbation, etc.) because it then seperates the life-giving part of the sexual act between the spouses. But, oral stimulation that does not result in orgasm may be permissable.
- Any foreplay or sexual act that re-creates violence or harming of another person's dignity or freedom (e.g., bondage, forcing someone to dress in a way they don't want, etc.).
A - Thanks for the question. Normally I answer the questions in full, but for this one, I am going to give highlights. For a more complete description (although somewhat dated) I will point you to the entry at the Catholic encyclopedia. It has more information about this subject than you will ever need.
An auxiliary bishop is an assistant to the bishop or archbishop in a particular (arch)diocese. They are appointed when the (arch)Bishop cannot oversee all they need to in their diocese. The auxiliaries have no authority outside of what the(arch)bishop gives them. This is because the real authority comes from being the bishop over the particular church (e.g., Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, etc.) and not solely from their ordination.
Now, because each bishop must necessarily have a diocese to oversee, the auxiliaries are given a see (aka - diocese) that is no longer occupied by the faithful or has been incorporated into another diocese. In other words, they are given authority over a former diocese that once existed, but no longer has anyone to oversee. This is called a titular diocese. Because there are no longer any faithful to oversee within the former diocese, the titular (arch)bishop has no actual authority over his titular diocese, but rather the Pope reserves that authority to himself.
You are correct that part of the reason for having auxiliaries is a matter of prudence. It costs more and stretches resources thinner the more dioceses you have. It also thins out human resources (priests, religious, and trained lay leaders). On the flip side, there is less personal contact with a (arch)bishop of a larger (arch)diocese.
There are new dioceses that are created, but it takes extraordinary circumstances to warrant it now. Remember that in Texas we have some very young dioceses. For instance, here are the dates for incorporating new dioceses:
- Galveston Houston was raised to an archdiocese in 2004
- Laredo was established in 2000
- Tyler was established in 1986
- Lubbock was established in 1983
- Victoria was established in 1982
Monday, October 20, 2008
UPDATE: apparently this is from a 2007 interview, but these parts were just recently released.
The teachings of John Paul II's theology of the body offer a healing vision of human sexuality that the dominant culture simply can't match, says Catholic thinker and author George Weigel.and this...
Weigel, author of Pope John Paul II's biography "Witness to Hope," said the 21st century is characterized by the question of being or nothingness: “We are witnessing a new Gnosticism, where the belief exists that the material world, including the human body, is utterly malleable, and changeable.”and I agree.
He said that this new Gnosticism affirms that “anything that can be changed should be changed," and that this trend is especially noticeable in the realm of human sexuality.
When nothing in the realm of human sexuality is taken as a given, this leads to a “dictatorship of relativism,” the author said, quoting Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's address to the conclave that led to his election as Benedict XVI.
Whenever "my truth and your truth collide,” stated Weigel, these irreconcilable truths are being resolved through the coercive power of the state.
He contrasted this view of “sexuality turned contact sport” to the teaching of John Paul II in his theology of the body, which the late Pope was already working on during the conclaves that eventually resulted in his election to the papacy.
The Christian response to this new Gnosticism is found in the “theology of the body,” stated Weigel, as it offers an expanded insight into the biblical story found in the Book of Genesis.
He explained that John Paul II looked back to the beginning when God brought into being the first man, then the first woman. John Paul II discovered that before original sin, there was the original solitude of the first man (Adam), the original unity of the man with the woman (Eve), and both with God, and the original nakedness without shame.
Together they discovered God’s love through a free gift of self, and openness to the gift of fertility, the author explained. John Paul II considers that the original unity of Adam with Eve -- and both with God -- was ruptured when Adam and Eve used each other rather than freely giving themselves to each other.
The giving of themselves in holy marriage, fully open to each other's body, is an icon of the love of God, Weigel affirmed.
According to the author, this new teaching that is now available to the entire Catholic Church, from the original writings of John Paul II to publications by other authors, offers the dominant culture that sees sex as sport, a healing vision unmatched by anything the culture itself has to offer.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Here is a Zenit article on 19 questions that summarize the proceedings thus far.
1 - They will be going national as a part of EWTN's radio network in January.
2 - They have a new coadjutor Bishop who was announced this morning.
Congrats on both counts!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tip o' the Hat to Mark.
Humans as commodities. This is what we have sunk back down to.
Lifesite news has a story on it as well.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
A - Thanks for the question! I know this is a point of confusion for many. I hope I can adequately explain the reasoning behind the decision, but let me first point out something else. Don't think the Church isn't doing those other more important things, just because it issues decisions such as these.
The Church hierarchy has a huge responsibility to lead God's people and part of that is to help direct us in the worship of God. Some parts of our liturgy are changeable and some are not. In those parts that are changeable, we might think that it is un-important in the grand scheme of things to address such small issues. But, if we have the eyes to see it, the liturgy is one of the most important things we will ever do and doing it well is extremely important to everything else we do, because that is where our power comes from (God's grace). So, while in this particular instance we might think that we should be focusing on feeding the poor or helping victims of AIDS, let us not think it is not important at all - because it is.
Now, why did the Church makee this change? For a couple of reasons.
1 - The name Yahweh is actually a guess for the name of God based on the Hebrew YHWH. Hebrew is a language without vowels and the vowels must be inferred from the context. In other words, we don't know for certain how to say or write the name correctly - even in Hebrew. In fact, orthodox Jews and ancient Jews would never say the name of God, for fear of doing so incorrectly, because they do not want to accidentally blaspheme God's name. This is why you will find the name "God" spelled "G-d" by some Jews today. Rather they call God by some other name, such as Adonai - which means lord or master.
This ancient practice of avoiding the attempt to pronounce God's name also has Christian roots. Recently, we got away from these roots. Look in your Bible and you will find the word "LORD" with all caps. This is where the name of God is found. Where you find the name as a proper name "Lord" - is where Adonai is found in the Hebrew text. We also get the name Jehovah, from the English translated Bibles that named God as JHVH.
So, there has been a wider use of the name of God, YHWH, that has slowly (and then more quickly recently) started to be used in the songs we sing in Mass. Because we want to have reverance for the name of God, the Vatican has asked that we return to our roots. We ought to think of it this way, rather than them thinking that they have taken something from us. It is an attempt to reverance the name of God.
2 - This will be seen as a step of reconciliation toward our Jewish neighbors. We are showing a sign of respect to both our own tradition and their tradition as well. Though the Vatican did not mention this motive, we can guess it played a part in the decision.
3 - The name of God is not just an identifier for the spirit in the sky. A name means much more, esp. in the Biblical times. Think of John 8:58 - Jesus appropriates the divine name "I AM" to Himself, and the Jews knew that He was proclaiming His divinity and therefore they tried to kill him. This is what the Catechism says about the name of Jesus:
2666 But the one name that contains everything is the one that the Son of God received in his incarnation: JESUS. The divine name may not be spoken by human lips, but by assuming our humanity The Word of God hands it over to us and we can invoke it: "Jesus," "YHWH saves." The name "Jesus" contains all: God and man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray "Jesus" is to invoke him and to call him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies. Jesus is the Risen One, and whoever invokes the name of Jesus is welcoming the Son of God who loved him and who gave himself up for him.In the bible, to name a thing, or especially a person, is only done by someone who know what that thing/person is, where its destiny lies, and why it is. Therefore, God names man. Man names creatures (in Genesis). God gives a new name to Abram, Isaac, Peter, etc. Parents share this responsibility by naming their children.
So, when we pray "in the name of Jesus" we can only do so because Christ first united us to Himself. This is because prayer in His name, is always a prayer in and through the Holy Spirit. It is a call to receive His Spirit, which is the fullfillment of all we truly long for. But, it comes true only through a knowledge of the purpose of His name.
Knowing this, we can understand that the name of God is not just any name among others. It is THE name and our reverance for it should come at all times.
I hope this helps to understand why the Vatican made this change.
"at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth" - Phil 2:10
A - Great question, thanks. You are certainly on the right track. You have the right goal in mind in order to be able to do what is best - please and glorify God!
I know this is difficult, because the body aches to be close to other human beings and it feels so right and good. But, the Church teaches that we are to wait for this physical intimacy. It is difficult to put the two together.
Here is what I suggest.
First - pray deeply about it. Really invite God into your sexuality.
Second, learn as much as you can about the Church's teachings in this area. The theology of the body is a good place to start. I suggest you read "Good News About Sex and Marriage" by Christopher West as the first book in this area.
Third, find a good priest or spiritual director who can direct you in this are. Don't settle for someone that won't challenge you though.
Fourth, if you are in a relationship, talk plainly about how far is too far and draw CLEAR lines that you will not cross. Then don't cross them. If you do, the line will continue to be pushed back until you go farther than you originally intended. The simplest answer I can give is this - if it would be foreplay to sex in marriage, then it is not proper to a dating or engaged relationship.
For a longer answer to this question - Click here to read the answer I wrote to the question "how far is too far?"
I will keep you in my prayers.
*Host desecration videos on YouTube are back up. Sign a petition here to have them removed again.
*The Pope has canonized four people, including India's first female saint.
*More Bishops have spoken up about voting this cycle of elections than ever before. The New York Bishops have issued a statement, here is the Bishop of Patterson, NJ, Bishop Sarretelli's take and here is Bishop Zubik from Pittsburgh's take.
*Here is a good interview with Cardinal DiNardo, who will be coming to Aggieland to take part in St. Mary's lecture series in the spring. He makes this comment about Joel Osteen (taken out of context somewhat - but he is honest in his opinion of what Osteen is teaching):
I would not put forth Joel Osteen as a way to be lifted up, because it’s just self-help. All it is, is self-help. That’s not good.*Two good takes on Bill Maher's new movie. Here and here.
*McDonalds has backed off of it's support of the pro-homosexual marriage agenda.
*The supreme court of the state of Conneticut has now declared marriage open to homosexual couples. The bishops of Conn. have responded.
*An Oregon court has ordered frozen embryos destroyed as a "property rights" issue. Too bad they didn't see this video from Wired on the first 24 hours of life.
They frame their letter with the following:
1. Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship clearly teaches that not all issues have the same moral equivalence. Some issues involve "intrinsic evils"; that is, they can never under any circumstance or condition be morally justified. Preeminent among these intrinsic evils are legalized abortion, the promotion of same sex unions and "marriages", repression of religious liberty, as well as public policies permitting euthanasia, racial discrimination or destructive human embryonic stem cell research.They then make the following statement about abortion not being the only issue, but the defining moral one:
3. Therefore, we cannot make more clear the seriousness of the overriding issue of abortion – while not the "only issue" – it is the defining moral issue, not only today, but of the last 35 years. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, more than 48 million innocent lives have been lost. Each year in our nation more than one million lives are lost through legalized abortion. Countless other lives are also lost through embryonic stem cell research. In the coming months our nation will once again elect our political leaders. This electoral cycle affords us an opportunity to promote the culture of life in our nation. As Catholics we are morally obligated to pray, to act, and to vote to abolish the evil of abortion in America, limiting it as much as we can until it is finally abolished.They go on to talk about other issues and the moral weight of them in comparison to intrinsic evils.
4. As Catholics we are faced with a number of issues that are of concern and should be addressed, such as immigration reform, healthcare, the economy and its solvency, care and concern for the poor, and the war on terror. As Catholics we must be concerned about these issues and work to see that just solutions are brought about. There are many possible solutions to these issues and there can be reasonable debate among Catholics on how to best approach and solve them. These are matters of "prudential judgment." But let us be clear: issues of prudential judgment are not morally equivalent to issues involving intrinsic evils. No matter how right a given candidate is on any of these issues, it does not outweigh a candidate's unacceptable position in favor of an intrinsic evil such as abortion or the protection of "abortion rights."They state the following in conclusion:
To vote for a candidate who supports the intrinsic evil of abortion or "abortion rights" when there is a morally acceptable alternative would be to cooperate in the evil – and, therefore, morally impermissible.and this...
As Catholics, we must treat our political choices with appropriate moral gravity and in doing so, realize our continuing and unavoidable obligation to be a voice for the voiceless unborn, whose destruction by legal abortion is the preeminent intrinsic evil of our day. With knowledge of the Church's teaching on these grave matters, it is incumbent upon each of us as Catholics to educate ourselves on where the candidates running for office stand on these issues, particularly those involving intrinsic evils. May God bless you.
Friday, October 10, 2008
A - Thanks for the question. First of all, it is a heroic thing to do for a Catholic, or anyone else, to volunteer to donate organs after their death. Here is what John Paul II wrote about it in the context of talking about gestures that build up a culture of life:
A particularly praiseworthy example of such gestures is the donation of organs, performed in an ethically acceptable manner, with a view to offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope (Evangelium Vitae, 86).Some of the other considerations we must think about when this issue arises is the freedom to give the organs to another. Therefore, the dead person must have given consent or had another with authority to do so give consent for them. It cannot be a forced harvesting of their body's organs.
Also, if the person is alive and giving an organ willingly (such as one of their kidneys) then they must not do so if it causes damage that might lead to their death (e.g., giving your only kidney).
The Catechism says this about organ donation:
2296 Organ transplants are in conformity with the moral law if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good sought for the recipient. Organ donation after death is a noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as a expression of generous solidarity. It is not morally acceptable if the donor or his proxy has not given explicit consent. Moreover, it is not morally admissible to bring about the disabling mutilation or death of a human being, even in order to delay the death of other persons.Lastly, we must make sure that if an organ is being harvested from a body, that the person is dead. This leads to the question of death. At what point do we define death? This is both a philosophical and a medical question. The Church is only competent in answering the philosophical part - when the soul and body are separated.
The medical question is out of the realm of the Church's expertise. Therefore, the Pope left this question up to doctors and scientists to answer. But, within certain guidlines and limits of science and medicine. So, JPII said the following to a group of transplant doctors in 2000:
“Vital organs which occur singly in the body can be removed only after death; that is, from the body of someone who is certainly dead ... the death of a person is a single event consisting in the total disintegration of that unity and integrated whole that is the personal self ... The death of a person is an event which no scientific technique or empirical method can identify directly ... the ‘criteria’ for ascertaining death used by medicine today should not be understood as the technical scientific determination of that exact moment of a person’s death, but as a scientifically secure means of identifying the biological signs that a person has died.”
Therefore - CERTAIN death is necessary. How do we define this medically?
Total and complete death of the brain is the answer. Why? Because without it we cannot be certain. The National Catholic Bioethics Center is a great resource for all bioethics issues. I highly recommend them. For this issue, you can read their FAQs about brain death here.
I hope this helps.
*I love the Smithsonian, because it is a great thing to have such collections for our nation. But, this exhibit is one I would skip.
*Colorado Bishops correct the governor on a life issue.
*Some in Europe want the EU to demand recognition of same-sex marriages in all countries.
*Another gay high school. Not a good idea.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The US government's debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiralling figure.
The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.
The board was erected to highlight the $2.7 trillion level of debt in 1989.
The clock's owners say two more zeros will be added, allowing the clock to record a quadrillion dollars of debt.
Douglas Durst, son of the late Seymour Durst - the clock's inventor - hopes to replace the Manhattan clock with its lengthier replacement early next year.
For the time being, the Times Square counter's electronic dollar sign has been replaced with the extra digit required.
For its part, the digital dollar symbol has been supplanted by a cheaper version - perhaps a sign of the times for the American economy.Some economists believe the $700bn bail-out plan for ailing US financial institutions could send the national debt level to $11 trillion.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
*The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute is fighting a proposition in the United Nations to make abortion an international "right". You can sign a counter-petition on their website.
*The Northwest is awash with pro-life issues right now. In Washington they are fighting over an assisted-suicide initiative on the ballot. In Oregon, Archbishop Vlazny has taken on the governor over an abortion-rights fundraiser.
*There is a new database of all the saints in the roman martyrology, the Vatican's official list of saints and blessed. They claim to be the most complete database of saints on the internet. They also have a cool search feature. Tip o' the Hat to AP.
Monday, October 6, 2008
To formally start the proceedings, Benedict XVI, talked about banking.
"We now see in the collapse of the great banks: money disappears, turns to nothing," B16 said in an impromptu meditation at the day's start. "And all these things, which seem like the true reality on which we can count, are realities of a second order.Here is the Pope in Genesis 1:
"One who builds his life on these realities, on objects, success, on everything that's visible, builds on sand," the pontiff added, referring to options of sand or rock cited by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. "Only the Word of God is the foundation of every reality, fixed as the heavens and more than the heavens, is the reality."
Two things to do - pray for him and then respond with truth (in kindness). Here is a good example:
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
-The Bishop of Scranton issues a pastoral letter on life issues and voting.
It is impossible for me to answer all of the objections to the Church’s teaching on life that we hear every day in the media. Nevertheless, let me address a few. To begin, laws that protect abortion constitute injustice of the worst kind. They rest on several false claims including that there is no certainty regarding when life begins, that there is no certainty about when a fetus becomes a person, and that some human beings may be killed to advance the interests or convenience of others. With regard to the first, reason and science have answered the question. The life of a human being begins at conception. The Church has long taught this simple truth, and science confirms it. Biologists can now show you the delicate and beautiful development of the human embryo in its first days of existence. This is simply a fact that reasonable people accept. Regarding the second, the embryo and the fetus have the potential to do all that an adult person does. Finally, the claim that the human fetus may be sacrificed to the interests or convenience of his mother or someone else is grievously wrong. All three claims have the same result: the weakest and most vulnerable are denied, because of their age, the most basic protection that we demand for ourselves. This is discrimination at its worst, and no person of conscience should support it.But, it gets even better.
Another argument goes like this: “As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.”
Even the Church’s just war theory has moral force because it is grounded in the principle that innocent human life must be protected and defended. Now, a person may, in good faith, misapply just war criteria leading him to mistakenly believe that an unjust war is just, but he or she still knows that innocent human life may not be harmed on purpose. A person who supports permissive abortion laws, however, rejects the truth that innocent human life may never be destroyed. This profound moral failure runs deeper and is more corrupting of the individual, and of the society, than any error in applying just war criteria to particular cases.
Heck, just go read the whole thing.
-Next the US Bishops, via Cardinal Rigali, argue against the Freedom of Choice Act, which if signed into law, would make abortion a legal "right" in this country. Read more from the Bishops.