Saturday, November 30, 2013

Archdiocese of St. John's Failing To Defend And Promote Unborn Life in NL

Memorial University School of Social Work and other organizations are planning a Memory Candle Light Service to remember those who have died by suicide.

The Archdiocese of St. John’s is promoting the event by means of a separate announcement on the main page of its website. This is entirely proper and appropriate of course since in Canada, suicide is one of the top ten leading causes of death accounting for about 3,900 deaths in 2009, with perhaps about 60 estimated for our province. I have often wondered how my wife and I could possibly handle the trauma and grief should one of our children become so desperate that suicide took one of them away. My heart goes out to those left behind by such tragedies.

In a recent posting covering the Life Chain event on Respect Life Sunday I lamented the fact that the Archdiocese failed to announce that event altogether, presumably because the Archdiocese held its own prayer service to “acknowledge [emphasis mine] the precious gift of human life from conception to natural death. The following churches have offered these times for prayer and reflection on October 6th.” Besides being a public witness and protest of abortion, the Life Chain event, like the Candle Light Service noted above, is a very real memorial to the tragedy of legalized abortion in Canada, claiming over 100,000 lives yearly. Yet our Archbishop did nothing to highlight that major, annual, pro-life initiative or to acknowledge and encourage the local pro-life individuals, many of whom are committed Catholic laity. The posting noted has more details.

In addition, the Archdiocesan website also failed to carry any mention or promotion of the annual Provincial Pro-Life Conference which took place in St. John’s on September 27-28. Was it not worthy of support? Were Catholics in the Archdiocese better off not knowing about the Conference? The Archbishop himself managed to find a couple of hours to attend the event and then rushed off to another appointment, although while there he declined the offer to address the conference. Wasn’t that a rare opportunity for him to offer words of encouragement? This turned out to be a certain formula for confusion.

Am I airing a petty grievance here? Not in the least. There’s a clear pattern here and I hope the Archbishop will stop playing games with the pro-life movement in our province and instead take the bold steps necessary to unite the forces that are committed to opposing the child-killing taking place in our city and in our nation. Until he summons the courage to do so and to promote the letter and spirit of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical “Evangelium Vitae,” he will continue to have blood on his hands. An acknowledgement alone of  the rights of the unborn is not sufficient. The right to life must also be defended and promoted in order to restore true peace to our society and to forestall the judgment of God.

The Gospel of life is for the whole of human society. To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. A society lacks solid foundations when, on the one hand, it asserts values such as the dignity of the person, justice and peace, but then, on the other hand, radically acts to the contrary by allowing or tolerating a variety of ways in which human life is devalued and violated, especially where it is weak or marginalized. Only respect for life can be the foundation and guarantee of the most precious and essential goods of society, such as democracy and peace.

There can be no true democracy without a recognition of every person's dignity and without respect for his or her rights.

Nor can there be true peace unless life is defended and promoted. As Paul VI pointed out: "Every crime against life is an attack on peace, especially if it strikes at the moral conduct of people... But where human rights are truly professed and publicly recognized and defended, peace becomes the joyful and operative climate of life in society".

#110 Evangelium Vitae

When will the Archbishop act in accord with those marching orders? 

And when will he be prepared to pay the difficult price?

In the proclamation of this Gospel, we must not fear hostility or unpopularity, and we must refuse any compromise or ambiguity which might conform us to the world's way of thinking (cf. Rom 12:2). We must be in the world but not of the world (cf. Jn 15:19; 17:16), drawing our strength from Christ, who by his Death and Resurrection has overcome the world (cf. Jn 16:33).

            #82 Evangelium Vitae

It is clear that, to date, neither he, nor the other Canadian Bishops, have a plan to reverse the toll of death of unborn children. Clearly, any plan must be preceded by public repentance for their failures over these past forty or fifty years, as well as a binding of the demon of abortion.

Incredible New Pro-Life Resource Saves Over 1300 Babies

From their website:

Online for Life is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit outreach that works online and offline to reach abortion-determined women and men. We come alongside them in their time of crisis and connect them with local life-affirming organizations, mobile ultrasound units, or a call center where they can receive compassion, thoughtfulness, and helpful information.

LifeSiteNews reports:

Brian Fisher has a lot of reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving: 1,341 of them, to be exact. That’s the number of babies that he can be sure are alive today thanks in large measure to the work of his fledgling pro-life organization, Online for Life.

Like everything else the high-tech pro-life startup does, that number is exact and verifiable.  “We have a philosophy that if it we can’t measure it, we won’t do it,” Brian told in a recent interview. “The second part to that is that if we can measure it, we can improve it.”

Look into this work of love and mercy and see what you can do to support them.

No Condom, Contraceptive Or Vaccine For The Heart

Just two days ago, I blogged a story about Eastern Health and their 40 denim bags full of condoms. But they still seem to be losing their Liberal (and disgraceful) cause.

According to Michelle Cretella, family ties, not condoms, protect teens’ health. Furthermore, she notes well that some paediatricians do not agree with dishing out condoms to teen patients and summarizes her findings:

Studies demonstrate that parents who promote abstinence and have a history of open communication with their children are successful in delaying sexual debut. The promotion and distribution of condoms and contraception by physicians undermines the authority of parents and the strength of the abstinence message. Instead, parents and physicians must work together repeatedly offering clear, firm guidance regarding how to attain optimal health while maintaining emotional warmth and connection.

Full article follows:

Family ties, not condoms, protect teens’ health
Some paediatricians do not agree with dishing out condoms to teen patients.
Michelle A. Cretella | 29 November 2013

The American Academy of Pediatrics, a national organization of pediatric healthcare providers, recently issued a position statement that advocates pediatricians not only teach teens how to use condoms but also to dispense them in the office. Intuitively, this makes sense. Used correctly and consistently, condoms decrease the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STI's) and unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, increased availability of condoms coupled with more education should lead to decreased rates of STIs and pregnancy among teens.

However, the reality is likely to be otherwise. This is why another national pediatric organization, the American College of Pediatricians, favors, instead of dispensing condoms, the aggressive forging of family connections throughout childhood and adolescence.

As America approaches nearly four decades of condom and contraception-centered sexuality education in schools and physician offices across the nation with increased availability of condoms and contraception to teens, how have American adolescents fared? The answer is: not well. Adolescents now face a growing three-part epidemic of STIs, teen pregnancy and depression.

Sexually active adolescents and young adults under age 25 account for 50 percent of the 19 million new cases of STIs annually in the United States. One in five Americans over age 12 is infected with genital herpes, and one in four sexually active girls over age 13 is infected with at least one STI. In short, America has failed to achieve a level of condom use among teens that would come close to eliminating those STIs for which condoms are most preventive (chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV) let alone those for which condoms are least preventive (herpes and human papillomavirus, or HPV).

Equally concerning, one in thirteen high school girls becomes pregnant each year in America. Adolescent pregnancy results in decreased educational and vocational opportunities for the mothers, increased likelihood of the family living in poverty, and significant risk for negative long-term outcomes for the children.

This paradoxical association of increased contraception and/or condom use coupled with increasing rates of STIs and in some cases, increasing rates of teen pregnancy, among adolescents is not limited to the United States.  Thailand experienced an increase in STI transmission rates among its youth despite extensive promotion of condoms. Similarly, in Spain, STIs have increased despite rates of youth condom use being among the highest in Europe.

Since 2000 Britain, in addition to promoting condoms, has provided the morning after pill to teens for free. What has followed is a 5 percent increase in STIs among the under-18 age group, and a 12 percent increase among the under-16’s. At best, there has been no impact upon teen pregnancy rates; at worst, some evidence points to a small increase in the number of teenage pregnancies. There are two reasons for these trends: adolescent cognitive development and risk compensation.

The frontal cortex of the brain is responsible for executive functioning skills. In adolescents, this part of the brain is still in development and unable to consistently control actions in emotional situations. Thus, teens may repeat ad nauseum that condoms will only decrease risk of disease and pregnancy when used correctly during every single sexual act, and may prove they are skilled at applying a condom over a banana in a physician's office, but this does not mean that they will take these precautions in the throes of passion. In fact, most cannot.

A second reason for the paradox is the phenomenon of risk compensation. Risk compensation is a theory of behavior which observes that people behave less cautiously in situations in which they feel more protected. Among those adolescents and adults who do use condoms and contraception correctly and consistently, they may end up engaging in sex more frequently and with more partners, thus negating the protection offered.

The bad news does not stop there, however. Even if physicians could guarantee that sexually active teens escape STIs and pregnancy, there is not now, nor will there ever be, a condom, contraceptive or vaccine for the heart. Teenage sexual activity is an independent risk factor for developing low self-esteem, major depression, and increased risk of suicide.

In studies that controlled for confounding factors, sexually active girls were found to be three times as likely to report being depressed and three times as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to sexually abstinent girls. Sexually active boys were more than twice as likely to suffer from depression and seven times as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to sexually abstinent boys. This is not mere coincidence.

Scientists now know that sexual activity releases chemicals in the brain that create emotional bonds between partners. Breaking these bonds can cause depression and make it harder to bond with someone else in the future. Clearly, sexual abstinence is the only way to guarantee optimal sexual and mental health for adolescents.

Studies demonstrate that parents who promote abstinence and have a history of open communication with their children are successful in delaying sexual debut. The promotion and distribution of condoms and contraception by physicians undermines the authority of parents and the strength of the abstinence message. Instead, parents and physicians must work together repeatedly offering clear, firm guidance regarding how to attain optimal health while maintaining emotional warmth and connection.

Michelle Cretella MD is the Vice-President of the American College of Pediatricians and chairs the College’s Committee on Adolescent Sexuality. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For more information visit the following websites:
American College of Pediatricians:
Medical Institute for Sexual Health – Building Family Connections:
National Physicians Center - Prescriptions for Parents:

Who Should We Be Angry At?

Ms. Mallory’s reaction is telling, as images of dead babies should evoke this type of emotion from every human being. That abortion is juxtaposed with the treatment of Rwandan children is entirely accurate; it is the injustice of both situations - the inhumane treatment of human beings - that is fundamentally the same.

Is the Catechism “Extra Stuff”?

Jon Sorensen makes some excellent points in his latest posting. Here’s his introduction:

Some people mistakenly believe that Catholics elevate the Catechism of the Catholic Church to the status of the Bible. Others believe the Catechism is meant to explain the supposedly unbiblical teachings of the Church. Both views hold that the Catechism is essentially unnecessary “extra stuff.” In their view, all one needs is the Bible itself to know and understand the word of God. How can we Catholics respond to this?

He then goes on to deal with each mistaken notion.

However, I am also very concerned that many faithful Catholics live out their Catholic lives believing the Catechism to be some kind of “extra stuff” as well. Blindly following too many wayward Priests and Bishops and soaking up the ground chatter at their parish, they never take the time to confirm their Catholic faith by means of the glorious Magisterium of the Church, summarized in the Catechism and the Compendium. A great majority of Catholics, therefore, live in a pseudo-catholic world which, through ignorance and indifference, proves to be a danger to their own souls and to society as a whole.

Interested in reading the Catechism in an easy to use format? Access it here for free.