St. Sebastian
Feast of St. Sebastian

Surrogacy: The Selfless Sin

clock September 8, 2012 20:24 by author John |

CNN has another article about surrogate parents. Why is it that I feel so bizarre about this story?

 To make things even more strange, it is a familial surrogate parent. You know - the kind that has been popping up in the news lately. We had the mother-daughter surrogates this week. Now we have another story, this time of a sister carrying the baby for her brother. Aside from the bad jokes this story sets up, there is the fact that at least 2 people were killed as a result. You see, the first two “embryos didn’t take” (culture of death slang for “the children we created died”). They went back for a second round, and she is now pregnant with twins. Let us hope they don’t decide to “thin” the pregnancy.

I am always conflicted about how to explain this to people. I mean if I start a conversation with the average passer-by about how surrogate parenting is evil, I will most likely be written off as that lunatic without heart who probably likes to torture bunny rabbits.

On the women’s blog (pregnant mother and biological mother), they sound so caring and sweet. The tough thing is that they are 100% sincere about their actions – at least as far as I have gathered. They seem to be doing what they think is right, and the surrogate mother is really making what she and 99% of Americans would consider a great sacrifice for her brother and sister-in-law.

 This story leaves me with such a twisted stomach though. I cannot help but think about the laws – both moral and natural that were violated: doctors playing God and innocent children being created, manipulated, and placed in a sort of person factory so that the desires of a couple to have blood children could be fulfilled. Many would call this situation selfish – especially on the part of the biological parents. I would perhaps agree with that, but I think the problem is far deeper.

The problem is with our culture. Some time ago, we lost our moral compass. We can no longer identify good from evil. Evil is considered good. These people were failed by their parents, their friends, their neighbors, coworkers, and people in their church. They were given good hearts. There is no doubt about that. They think they are acting in a selfless manner. The problem is not with their intelligence. They are undoubtedly smart people. The problem is in the formation of their conscience. No one ever gave them the tools they needed to make correct moral choices.

They are not the only ones. The average person is in the same shape. Many if not most people mean well. They live their lives fighting for what they think is right. They are like a speeding projectile, failing neither in velocity nor in maintaining an accurate path. The problem is in the calculation of the trajectory. Somewhere, someone pointed them in the wrong direction. Perhaps they should decide to think outside the box, evaluate their life and morality, but how often does that happen? How realistic is it to expect someone to remake their values on their own. We can only rely on Divine Providence for the graces necessary to do a moral 180.

We could perhaps raise an argument with these people. Perhaps by being beaten over the head with enough logic, they will come to see the truth. This is possible but not very likely. I suspect the percentage of people that can be argued out of their moral indirection or misdirection is shockingly small. These types of cases are the worst possible way to approach a deficit in morality. A case filled with the illusion of selflessness is a losing proposition for a person trying to instigate conversion. This story reaches people on an emotional level. The moral dynamics are too intricate. The human reaction is too commonly just to tune someone out when they raise issues with a case like this.

So our attention turns to what can be done for people that believe surrogacy is a beautiful and selfless gift. I believe we have to start with small moral lessons; teaching the small things in everyday life. We must start raising issues with seemingly minor moral transgressions. Our society has already slipped deep into moral error. We neglected the issue for far too long. It will require agonizing and relentless work. Turning a culture around is no easy task, but it is the price we pay for several decades of feel-good theology.

Friday Flashback: Gays Vs. Franciscan University, Democratic Convention Lunacy, God gets Booed

clock September 7, 2012 10:44 by author John |

The Friday Flashback is a roundup of the important articles and blog posts of the week. This week, we have some serious crazy going on in our culture, mostly in the realm of politics...

Gay Group Blasts Franciscan U. Franciscan U Pushes Back - a big cheer for a strong response from my alma mater after an unofficial Gay alumni group (probably business majors) attacks them for suggesting that homosexuality is "deviant" behavior.

Pro-Life Democrats at (near)convention - Creative minority report highlights the few remaining Democrats who still don't comprehend their party's hate for those in the womb.

Diocese of Charlotte sends a message to Democrats at convention - Do you think they got it?

Democrats drop "God" from party platform - The Democrats tried to officially state that they are Godless.

Democrats Boo when God is added back in to platform - I guess it wasn't a mistake in the first place. You don't often hear God getting boos. Shows you what a special group these people are.

Full Text of Cardinal Dolan's Speech at the DNC - I get the image of blood in the shark tank.

Translating the Democratic National Platform

clock September 7, 2012 06:31 by author John |

When I first went to the source for the Democratic National Platform, I was at first surprised to see a blank page. At once I was filled with mixed emotions and thoughts began racing through my mind - They are admitting to having no ideas? Are they just keeping their plans secret? After the whole no God/no Jerusalem debacle, are they starting from scratch? Then after about 10 seconds, the web page finally came up and my surprise quickly turned to apprehension. I found a lot of vague, politically correct mumbo jumbo. Having taken the time to read through the document, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide a translation into regular English from the Democratic positions and phrases.


Democratic Phrase Plain English
Moving America Forward Advancing our Agenda
We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us. Let's throw out some red meat to the independents - something about the classic American Dream. You know, just so they don't get too suspicious about all the unemployment, food stamps, and the entitlement society we are building.
Reclaiming the economic security of the middle class is the challenge we must overcome today. That begins by restoring the basic values that made our country great, and restoring for everyone who works hard and plays by the rules the opportunity to find a job that pays the bills, turn an idea into a profitable business, care for your family, afford a home you call your own and health care you can count on, retire with dignity and respect, and, most of all, give your children the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger and go even further than you ever imagined. Reclaiming the money of the middle class is the challenge we must overcome today. That begins by replacing the basic values that made out country great, and by requiring everyone who works hard and plays by the rules to fill a job in the government or stand in a bread line, sucking the life out of profitable businesses, trimming your family, making it harder to afford your home and health care we decide on, retire with a meager income from social security until it goes under, and until your quality of life is below our threshold, and most of all, giving your children the kind of education that we determine to be age-appropriate, such as sex ed in 5th grade, and teaching them to go further than you wanted them to go before marriage.
We see an America where everyone has a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. We see an America where everyone eats out of our hand, does what we tell them to do, and plays by our rules.
We’ve come a long way since 2008. We suffered a lot since 2008.
As a result of our efforts, today, young Americans entering the workforce can stay on their parents’ plans As a result of our efforts, today, young Americans cannot enter the workforce and must stay in the parents' basement.
Insurance companies will no longer be able to arbitrarily cap and cancel coverage, or charge women more simply because of their gender You are now paying for contraceptives through your insurance plan whether you like it or not, whether your conscience objects or not.
We also recognize there is no substitute for a parent’s involvement in their child’s education. We also want to separate parents from their child's education, indoctrinating them so that they will vote for us.
Cutting Waste, Reducing the Deficit, Asking All to Pay Their Fair Share Creating waste, ballooning the deficit, taxing the lifeblood out of anyone not on food stamps
the President and the Democratic Party believe in the right to organize and in supporting America’s workers with strong labor laws the President and the Democratic Party believe in the rights of organized goons and in strong-arming America's workers with suffocating labor laws
Helping Small Business Taxing Small Business
President Obama and the Democrats are committed to rethinking, reforming, and remaking our government so that it can meet the challenges of our time. How about some socialism? Maybe some communism?
Greater Together What's yours is mine. Private property will not be respected.
adoption programs for all caring parents Handing over orphans to be raised in selfish, homosexual relationships
President Obama’s administration has offered men who want to be good fathers extra support Homosexual men have received support, otherwise, we have undermined the role of fathers in the family
Democrats are leading the way on supporting healthier, more physically active families and healthy children. We support eugenics and organizations that trim the weakest from society, such as Planned Parenthood
Americans with disabilities Targets for Euthanasia
Faith-based organizations will always be critical allies in meeting the challenges that face our nation and our world – from domestic and global poverty, to climate change and human trafficking. Your Church will be allowed to operate if it supports our agendas.
Democrats are proud of our support for arts funding and education We will continue to pay for profane images in public museums and liberal voices at public radio and tv stations
At the core of the Democratic Party is the principle that no one should face discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status Certain rights are valuable, such as the right to free contraception, abortion, and eventually publicly funded sex-change operations. Freedom of religion is so yesterday.
Democrats support our civil rights statutes and we have stepped up enforcement of laws that prohibit discrimination Democrats have stepped up harassment of pro-lifers. You are now considered terrorists.
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women Taxpayer funded and uninhibited sex, contraception, and abortion. Never mind your religious convictions.
we must continue our work to prevent vicious bullying of young people and support LGBT youth Freedom of speech and religion will be replaced with required encouragement of homosexuality and sexually deviant behavior
protect women against pregnancy discrimination We will help kill your child so you can keep your job
free access to preventive care, including prenatal screenings, mammograms, cervical cancer screening, breast-feeding supports, and contraception We will help you find out if your child is worth keeping, like if it is the gender you prefer or has the right color eyes. We will also force religious institutions to pay for contraception coverage
The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay Our goal is more abortions. The next step is forcing you, the taxpayer to fund them.
We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples. We promote sexual deviancy. Our next step is to force religions to perform same-sex "marriages".
Too many Americans live without hope for a better future or access to good, family-supporting jobs. Fifteen percent of our fellow citizens live in poverty The more people we have on welfare, the more people will vote Democratic. We'd like to see about 60% of America on government assistance.
Preventing the Spread and Use of Nuclear Weapons We will get rid of our nukes, hopefully the rest of the world will play nice
Crucial to achieving all of these objectives has been, and will remain, expanded cooperation with Russia. After the election, we will have more "flexibility" to do what Russia wants
We have restored America’s leadership at the UN by cooperating with our partners there We want to use the UN to force abortions, contraception, and a one-child policy on the entire world
Combating HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Condoms for everyone!
Standing With Those Demanding Greater Freedom Empowering the Muslim Brotherhood
Standing up for Women’s Rights Around the Globe More Abortions!
Gay Rights as Human Rights Gay rights before religious rights

Mirror of Justice has a good piece on the differences between the Democratic and Republican platforms on the topic of life. Check it out!

Tuesday Ear Tickler: Thomas Fox’s Inadequate Analysis of the Sex Abuse Crisis and Cardinal Burke

clock September 4, 2012 14:32 by author John |

The Tuesday Ear Tickler award is Solemn Charge’s weekly recognition of teachers who “Tickle the Ears” of those who “no longer endure sound doctrine”. In the spirit of 2 Timothy 4 2-4, this award serves to identify theological or doctrinal errors, dissent or hostility toward the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, or writing that undermines the purpose of each human soul – to know love and serve God so as to enjoy eternal happiness with Him in Heaven. I make no judgment of the writer’s intentions. Usually the winner of this award was raised in the 60’s so that right there is a mitigating factor toward their culpability for their actions. I do judge concrete actions and the quality of ideas, however…

Today’s award goes to Thomas Fox of the hotbed of confusion known as the National catholic Reporter. Thomas comes out with guns blazing against Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the Church’s Supreme Court). Before we dive into Fox’s award-winning piece, let us first read some of the spot-on analysis given by Cardinal Burke (originally published at Catholic Culture with my emphasis in bold): 

The years of a lack of knowledge of the Church’s discipline and even of a presumption that such discipline was no longer fitting to the nature of the Church indeed reaped gravely harmful fruits in the Church. For example, I think of the pervasive violation of the liturgical law of the Church, of the revolution in catechesis which often rendered the teaching of the faith vacuous and confused, if not erroneous; of the breakdown of the discipline of priestly formation and priestly life, of the abandonment of the essential elements of religious life and the devastating loss of fundamental direction in many congregations of religious Sisters, Brothers and priests; of the loss of the identity of charitable, educational and healthcare institutions bearing the name of Catholic; and the failure of respect for the nature of marriage and the time-proven process for judging claims of nullity of marriage in ecclesiastical tribunals.

“From the above considerations, it should be clear that the knowledge of and respect for canonical discipline is indispensable to the Church’s response to the call to a new evangelization,” he added. “Liturgical law must enjoy the primacy among canonical norms, for it safeguards the most sacred realities in the Church.”

It seems like a pretty simple and straight-forward assertion: a culture that thinks it is not subject to the laws of the Church breeds many types of sin. It should surprise no one, however that because Burke made reference to the “Spirit of Vatican II” generation’s lack of moral compass that at least one of the writers at the Nation Catholic Reporter would respond in an emotional and dismissive manner. In order to save you from wasting 5 minutes of your life, I will present to you the key points Fox tries to make. The full version is here. Prepare the violins (my emphasis in bold):

What makes the cardinal’s seemingly inadequate analysis all the more shocking is that he holds a critical position of authority within our church. As head of our church’s highest court, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, any inability – or unwillingness – to face, examine and respond to the scandal, now over a quarter century old, only adds to the crisis and feeds an already widespread pessimism that our church leaders are not up to the task.

As is generally the case the Reporter, Fox starts off with a personal attack on Cardinal Burke, claiming that he and others in the Vatican are inept. The widespread pessimism that he refers to would not be fed by an attack like that, now would it? Reengage the violins:

To start with let’s note here the obvious: preying sexually on children violates much more than canon law. More fundamentally it violates God’s laws and every notion of decent human conduct in cultures throughout the world. As one NCR commentator recently wrote: It violates “the laws of the heart and soul, laws of human love, consensual adult expressions of that love, secular laws, criminal laws, and every other law--even if canon law never existed.”

I did not see anything to the contrary in Burke’s piece. To make this point is to create a straw-man argument which Cardinal Burke did not disagree with. That does not stop Fox from making an emotional plea and creating a position to rail against out of thin air. Fox goes on to point out that bishops would ignore the problem, sweep it under the rug and perpetuate the problem. Again, Burke would agree. That of course would be a violation of Canon Law and the due care for their flock that a bishop is tasked with. The points made are against the straw man, not Burke’s argument. Fox continues:

[Burke]… might ask how church law has allowed his fellow bishops to cover up the scandal rather than bringing to public. He might examine how church law has played a role in driving many Catholics, disaffected by the scandal, from the church.

Again – was it Church Law that caused this issue or the blatant disregard for it? Fox does not seem to have read the relevant Canon law. It appears that he is under the impression that the Church codified the cover-up in Canon Law or at least did not address it. I would like to ask him for a source on that.

I can provide some points for Mr. Fox to consider. First, it should be pointed out that a majority of the cases occurred in the 1960s, 70s and 80s (Source). 100 points to anyone who can identify a major Church event that happened just prior to these years. That’s right Vatican II. Now do you think it is a coincidence that a loosening of moral standards and an increase in priests and bishops who in the words of Frank Sinatra “did it my way” had anything to do with this? Nah, that would not make for a printable article at the good old Reporter. Second, Canon 2359§2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which was in effect until the code was updated in 1983 stated:

If they engage in a delict against the sixth precept of the Decalogue with a minor below the age of sixteen, or engage in adultery, debauchery, bestiality, sodomy, pandering, incest with blood-relatives or affines in the first degree, they are suspended, declared infamous, and are deprived of any office, benefice, dignity, responsibility, if they have such, whatsoever, and in more serious cases they are to be deposed.

The 1983 Code of Canon Law states in canon 1395 §2:

A cleric who in another way has committed an offence against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the delict was committed by force or threats or publicly or with a minor below the age of sixteen years, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants

Furthermore, in the motu proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, (2001), John Paul II established that violations of the sixth commandment against minors are a grave crime and subject to the investigation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. So I ask Mr. Fox, what basis do you have for asserting that Canon Law permits the abuse of children and the concealment of that abuse?

I hereby award Thomas Fox with the Tuesday Ear Tickler Award for Tuesday, September 4, 2012.