Friday, May 28, 2010

Response to NYT on Sister Margaret's Excommunication

New York Times opinion editor, Nicholas D. Kristof, likes to talk about the Catholic Church.  That is fine.  Kristof is free to speak of it as he will.  However, he speaks of it as someone who has received their understanding of the Catholic Church from multiple reruns of bad History Channel specials coupled with a relativistic view of morality where right equals my personal opinion.

Recently, Kristof, takes on the recent excommunication of a Sister who appears to have consented to the termination of a pregnancy in order to save the mother's life.  It would benefit Kristof greatly, who so regularly writes opinions on matters of the Catholic Church, to actually learn something about the institution which he so ardently speaks out against.

First, excommunication is not something the Bishop does.  It is something the Bishop recognizes.  An Excommunication occurs when a Bishop officially and publicly recognizes that the person being excommunicated has willful and deliberately separated themselves from the teachings of the Catholic Church in a manner that causes public scandal and confusion among the faithful.  The Bishop is giving consent and naming a problem that is already present in the person being excommunicated.  It is much like a doctor who gives the diagnoses of an already existing condition.  In brief, the person who is causing the scandal excommunicates him or her self and the Bishop merely recognizes it.

Second, Sr. Margret, regardless of her personality, has done an act that must be judged by the moral standards set forth.  This is the real crux of the matter.  The local Bishop deemed what Sr. Margret has done, consenting and giving approval to the termination of a pregnancy, has caused public scandal and confusion.  

Below I try to shed some light on why her decision was considered morally wrong in the eyes of the Catholic Church.  Please remember, the Catholic Church view life in the same light as Dr. Seuses' Horton in that a life is a life no matter how small (or large).  The question remains why are 3 billion adult cells more important than the 3 cells of a human in utero?

1.  The willful termination of a pregnancy as either an end in itself or as a means to an end is considered intrinsically evil by Catholic standards.   The medical professionals were using the termination of the pregnancy as a means to an end -- the end being the possible preservation of the mother's life.  The child here is presented as the cause of the mother's medical problems.  The logic follow that if you removed the cause of the problem, then the mother will be cured.  Much the how a surgeon can remove a cancer causing tumor to help heal his or her patient.

2.  Though the termination of the pregnancy is presented as a medical treatment, it still boils down to the willful and deliberate termination of life.  Many will see this as an abortion in disguise.  

3.  From the Catholic Church's standpoint, an abortion is never permissible.  However, when the termination of a pregnancy happens as a secondary means, it is deemed tolerable because the termination of the pregnancy is not willful.  The best example of this is with the entopic pregnancy.  An entopic pregnancy occurs when a developing embryo implants, most commonly, in the the fallopian  tubes of the mother.  This happens because the fallopian tubes of the mother are infected, scared, diseased or not functioning properly to some degree.  When an entopic pregnancy is treated by doctors what is being addressed is the diseased tubes.  The common medical procedure for treating this kind of pregnancy is the removal of the diseased fallopian tube, which will result in the termination of the pregnancy as a secondary effect of the treatment of the mother.

Though life is terminated in both instances, the entopic pregnancy and the case with Sr. Margaret, the intents differs significantly.  Sr. Margaret's case involves treating the mother by means of a willful termination of the mother's pregnancy.  The entopic case intends to treat the mother by treating the source of the problem, the diseased fallopian tubes, where the intent is not to end the pregnancy but to treat the disease itself.  

A better example of this secondary affect might be the termination of a pregnancy due to the chemo therapy of a cancer patient.  The intent of the doctor's is not to terminate the mother's pregnancy.  The intent is to treat the cancer.  Because the chemo treatment poison's the person's body in order to cure the cancer, it has a secondary affect on the mother's body and her pregnancy which results in the termination of her pregnancy.

In short, because Sr. Margaret appears to have consented to the willful termination of the pregnancy as the means of treating the condition, she has brought upon herself the consequences of her actions.  If you want freedom and freewill, you must be willing to accept the consequences of your actions.  Also, if Sr. Margaret had proposed treating the mother's conditions first and foremost, and this path of treatment followed, the response of the local Bishop would have been otherwise.

I wonder if the medical professionals took the route of terminating the pregnancy because it seemed the easiest and quickest route.

*Update*
A reader asks, "So what if not aborting the child would kill them both?  What then does the Catholic Church recommend?"

I do not speak on behalf of the entire Catholic Church, but I think the Church's stance would be one of life.  She would say that never under any circumstance should an evil be done in an attempt to cause a good.  In other words, the end does not justify the means.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rules on Making Comments

Contrary to popular belief, rules are not there to be broken. Rules are there for those few individuals who are tempted to do otherwise.

The majority of people who post comments on here do so out of charity and curiosity. If you are one of these people, please continue making comments.

However, if you are one of the few individuals tempted to make ignorant comments lacking in charity please continue reading.

Rules for posting comments:
1. No Internet Trolls
2.  If you don't have anything constructive to add to the conversation, then don't say it.
3.  If you feel the need to begin a comment with one of the following phrases: "Not to be rude" or "Out of all due respect"  don't post it.   It is a sure sign that you are about to say something rude and disrespectful; therefore, your comment need not be posted.
4.  Name calling will not be tolerated (unless you are calling someone by their first name).
5.  If mixing theology, humor and God offends you, you are more than welcome to go else where.
6.  Everyone is free to disagree with me.  Just don't be rude about it.
7.  Please support your claims.  Saying things like "Jesus is the love child of a human named Mary and the alien ET.  I know this because I watched a special on the History Channel" does not constitute support.
8.  You are free to express yourself.  Though, other things are of greater priority on this blog than your first amendment rights: namely being civil and charitable.  Failure to be civil and charitable will result in my freely expressing myself by deleting your comment(s).
9.  If you think I am ignorant or a jerk or anything else.  Please pray for me a sinner.
10.  Chances are strong that you might not know the entire story surrounding a blog post.  So don't act like you do.
11.  Have fun.

In brief, if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Brian Regan Explains the Cultural Differences of Pie and IHOP Cathedrals.

This reminds me of the years I spent living in Delaware.  One of my favorite foods to eat up there was a dish called Tomato Pie.  When my friend first asked if I wanted to go grab some tomato pie I thought they meant pie like in blueberry pie or apple pie.  My next thought was, "I'm Italian and eat lots of tomatoes but tomatoes in a pie?  Yuck."  Luckily I had the wrong understanding of what was meant by tomato pie.  Tomato Pie is basically a topping less pizza (that means no cheese also) with a think, garlic heavy, tomato sauce (red gravy if you're from NOLA), kicked up extra spices, herbs, and more.

I've come close to replicating it, but the only person down here in the South that seems to share my enthusiasm about the tomato pie is a friend from New York.  The first time he ate it he said, "Ah, like momma used to make."  Later, I was told by a pizza shop owner in Delaware that tomato pie was a 'poor' person food.  Families made it when they couldn't afford cheese and toppings for pizza.  The owner described the tomato pie as what "grandma used to make."  His grandma was living through the depression, so to me it all made sense.

Anyway, here is Brian Regan talking about Pie and IHop Cathedrals.

Jokes.com
Brian Regan - Let's Split a Pie
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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Freedom from Porn

It might not seem like a big deal to some, but I have complete respect for Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, for not approving Porn apps on Apple products.  In an email exchange with a technology/media journalist Steve Jobs offers users of Apple products "freedom from porn" as a revolutionary idea.

The Journalist, Ryan Tate, just doesn't seem to get the double standards and moral relativistic attitude he proposes by the ideas in his emails.  Tate also fails to see how porn can harm families.

As a teacher of teenage boys, I  see how teenage boys -- who many look at porn on too regular of a basis, commonly view girls more as objects and things to use as a means to the end of physical gratification.

How does a person learn to love if all they are exposed to is people who use each other as things?

Perhaps the real problem Tate has with Jobs is that Jobs made an objective moral decision, something the relativistic mind cannot comprehend as is evident in Tate's emails,  and has decided that he (Jobs) will not participate in the distribution of porn by means of apps for the iPhone and iPad.

Be sure to read the comments that follow the article.  Nearly all make far more rational sense than the journalist does in his emails to Jobs.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Religiously Illiterate Class

Today I gave my students a Religious Literacy quiz.  The quiz is found in the book, Religious Literacy: What every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn't by Stephen Prothero.  I tallied the answers and here are some of the more ridiculous answers.
 
I have to keep reminding myself that 90 percent of the answers were correct.  These are the 10 percent that were less then stellar.
 
No worries about me.  It's not like I'll be at my house standing in front of a mirror repeating, "I didn't fail the students.  I'm a good teacher" or anything like that. 
 
Also, sorry for the second posting of this.  I forgot to attach the image to the email post. 

Religious Illiteracy

Today I gave my students a Religious Literacy quiz.  The quiz is found in the book, Religious Literacy: What every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn't by Stephen Prothero.  I tallied the answers and here are some of the more ridiculous answers.
 
I have to keep reminding myself that 90 percent of the answers were correct.  These are the 10 percent that were less then stellar.
 
No worries about me.  It's not like I'll be at my house standing in front of a mirror repeating, "I didn't fail the students.  I'm a good teacher" or anything like that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mortal Sin Flow Chart

I got really tired of my students asking if such and such is a mortal sin.  No matter how many times we went over what makes something a mortal sin, they didn't seem to get it.  Solution?  The Mortal Sin Flow Chart.  Using the easy question answer format of a flow chart along with the start and end procedures, students can use the Mortal Sin Flow Chart to determine if something is or is not a mortal sin.
 
 

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sex Symbol Says, "nobody seems able to 'keep it in their pants' or honor a commitment!"

Raquel Welch as a guest columnist at CNN, in an article called It's sex o'clock in America, speaks mostly unfavorably about our country's obsession with sex, fear of children, and the pill.


Highlights from the article:
... my children didn't impede my progress. They grounded me in reality and forced me into an early maturity. I should add that having two babies didn't destroy my figure. . . .
Is marriage still a viable option? I'm ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that it is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy.  
Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad. In fact, it's precisely because of the sexy image I've had that it's important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We're capable of so much better.
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