Saturday, October 22, 2016

An Important Reflection for Catholics Intending to Vote for Hillary November 8th....

In his recent Crisis article, "Two Newmans and Two Springs," Fr. Rutler offered a brilliant analysis of the current situation facing Catholics loyal to the teachings of Jesus Christ as we approach the November 8th presidential election. I should like to offer a summary of the points he made, which I hope will sober up all but the most tepid of Catholics.

On a Tuesday in 1852, at the First Provincial Synod of Westminster at Oscott College, Blessed John Henry Newman delivered a sermon, “The Second Spring, in which he observed:”

Have we any right to take it strange, if, in this English land, the spring-time of the Church should turn out to be an English spring, an uncertain, anxious time of hope and fear, of joy and suffering,—of bright promise and budding hopes, yet withal, of keen blasts, and cold showers, and sudden storms?
Newman might deliver these words in our day, when the Body of Christ seems as divided as the U.S.  The issues which confront the American people rival those which were calamitous in past history and the explanations of them by Church and State make a mockery of reasoned discourse. The Church during this election season appears as a giant more “comatose” than “slumbering”.

What might stir the Mystical Body of Christ? The unearthing of documents containing sarcastic efforts by Clinton political strategists to destabilize and bribe her, depriving her of supernatural dimension to become a instrument of the State, much as Gallican Church of the 17th and 18th centuries. There exist emails from February 10-11, 2012 of correspondence entitled “Opening for a Catholic Spring?” between John Podesta, and one Sandy Newman, president of the Voices for Progress PAC. Newman is no John Henry Newman nor are his dreams of Spring like those of the Cardinal’s preached at Oscott. For Sandy, “There needs to be a Catholic Spring in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church,” might be a rallying point To “plant the seeds of the revolution” Sandy offers the mandate for contraception coverage in medical plans.

Mr. Podesta’s replied: “We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now. Likewise Catholics United. Like most Spring movements, I think this one will have to be bottom up.” Alleged Catholic Podesta is a past president of the Center for American Progress, a think tank that promotes “LGBT equality and women’s reproductive health and rights.” Who might help bring about this springtime? Whynot the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who addressed the heterodox Call to Action conference in 2008, and past board member of the National Catholic Reporter?

Now Sandy Newman admitted to a “total lack of understanding of the Catholic Church” since he is Jewish, and thus deferred to John Podesta for effecting this “anthropogenic climate change,” But his ignorance of Catholicism did not prevent him from using the Catholic Church as a proxy for community organizing. In 1993 he hired one Barack Obama to register voters in Illinois. It was Obama who wished to ally Cardinal Bernardin with the United Neighborhood Organizations of Chicago, which was allied with Obama’s Developing Communities Project. In this he was helped by Monsignor John J. Egan, a close associate of the archtect of social restructuring, Saul Alinsky, whose strategy was to procure the sympathies of well-intentioned Catholic clerics in his godless Marxist program: “To [expletive] your enemies, you’ve first got to seduce your allies.” Ultimately Bernardin split himself with the more extreme organizers, including Obama. We are all aware that Mrs. Clinton admired Alinsky, but her senior thesis at Wellesley College took issue with his opinion that universal change is “impossible from the inside” and necessitates sweeping revision from the outside.

Given the thrust of my blog about my book, my interest was piqued by Alinsky’s dedication for his Rules for Radicals, the focus of Hillary Clinton’s college thesis: “Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history … the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom—Lucifer.”

Fr. Rutler is brilliant in his observation that the e-mails of Sandy Newman’s advice to Podesta “are sulphuric like Screwtape’s animadversions in the Screwtape Letters of C.S. Lewis.” For Fr. Rutler they remind one of the words of Cardinal Newman in “The Patristical Idea of Christ”:

Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshaling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general Apostasy from it. Whether this very Apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, as he has already been delayed so long, we cannot know; but at any rate this Apostasy, and all its tokens and instruments, are of the Evil One, and savor of death…. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform. This is the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work to which he is putting you; he tempts you to rail against your rulers and superiors; he does so himself, and induces you to imitate him; or he promises you illumination,—he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his.
Fr. Rutler reminds us that Mrs. Clinton, addressing the 2015 Women in the World Summit, chillingly said that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.” On this we may learn from a Doctor of the Church— Saint Hildegarde of Bingen. Here is her account of the tricks and techniques of Alinsky’s Lucifer:

Religion he will endeavor to make convenient. He will say that you need not fast and embitter your life by renunciation… It will suffice to love God… He will preach free love and tear asunder family ties. He will scorn everything holy, and he will ridicule all graces of the Church with devilish mockery. He will condemn humility and foster proud and gruesome dogmas. He will tear down that which God has taught in the Old and New Testaments and maintain that sin and vice are not sin and vice…
Rutler opines:

So there we are at this crossroads of culture and, more than that, of civilization itself. Two Newmans proffer two Springtimes and they are not occasional variations of a common climate. Our nation has endured recent years of eroding faith and moral reason. It cannot endure several years more in the confidence that the erosion can be reversed as though it were just the habit of a cyclical season. There is a better prospect, but it is possible only if Catholics assent to the lively oracles of the Gospel and cast their votes and vows against those who are against it. The Newman who is blessed saw a Catholic Spring in the pulpit at Oscott that is not the clandestine plot of e-mails….I listen, and I hear the sound of voices, grave and musical, renewing the old chant, with which Augustine greeted Ethelbert in the free air upon the Kentish strand. It comes from a long procession, and it winds along the cloisters. Priests and Religious, theologians from the schools, and canons from the Cathedral, walk in due precedence. And then there comes a vision of well-nigh twelve mitred heads; and last I see a Prince of the Church, in the royal dye of empire and of martyrdom, a pledge to us from Rome of Rome’s unwearied love, a token that that goodly company is firm in Apostolic faith and hope.
I can only close with Teresa Tomeo’s aspiration:

Compelling article from Fr. Rutler on attempts to attack Church teaching from within. I only wish this story and the concerns raised from WikiLeaks were exposed beyond Catholic and other Christian outlets. So please read, share, and pray for the protection of our religious freedom.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Libido Redux: Miley Cyrus allows fans to touch her vagina and butthole during performance[Full video] - YouTube

If one reads my last three posts, including the following: Miley Cyrus allows fans to touch her vagina and butthole during performance[Full video] - YouTube, one readily sees that an improper understanding of human sexuality is one snare the Evil One uses to lure souls away from his Enemy (the sense is C.S. Lewis'). Let's revisit Tolkein in this here.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Libido Redux: Tween Sex

This article was originally posted in Australian Women’s Weekly.

Few things are certain in adolescence, but there’s one thing upon which teenage girls agree; pubic hair is out. “Everyone shaves. Everything,” says Sydney 16-year-old Anne*. “If you’ve left it you are classified as disgusting. You’d be embarrassed for the rest of your life. Boys would pay you out, call you hairy. People start shaving in year seven. “They know, or think they know, a few other things, too. That oral sex doesn’t count as sex. That sending nude pictures via text or Facebook is the new flirting. That boys their age watch porn regularly, and demand from their girlfriends the sexual menu they see online – hairless, surgically-enhanced bodies, ‘girl-on-girl action’, and much, much more.

They are learning from the 21st century’s version of sex education class, the internet; a more enlightening and forthcoming source than nervous parents and teachers. But these lessons are a dangerous mix of misinformation and distorted images of sexuality, which is contributing to behaviour that can leave young women with deep psychological and physical scars.

Teenager girls are under more sexual pressure than ever before. The good news is we can help them through it, although that requires a few lessons of our own.

It’s human nature to judge adolescents by our experience. It wasn’t like that in our day, we scold. But for once, we are right – it really wasn’t like that in our day.

For one thing, girls are becoming women earlier than they used to. In the past 20 years, the age of a girl’s first period has dropped from 13 years to 12 years and seven months, and as many as one in six eight-year-olds have periods.

Children with ‘precocious pubescence’ can start menstruating at five or six. Reasons range from better nutrition and obesity to the break-down of the family unit.

“When dads aren’t around, they’re more likely to move into puberty earlier,” says parenting expert Michael Grose. “If it starts earlier, I imagine this would mean they are beginning to be sexually active earlier.”

In the past 60 years, the age at which girls lose their virginity has dropped from 19 (when many women were married in the 1950’s) to 16, but many start much earlier. Dolly magazine’s 2011 Youth Monitor found 56 per cent of teens first had sex between 13 and 15 years old, a figure backed up by an Australian study that found the age of girls’ first sexual experience ranged from 11 to 17 years, with a median age of 14.

Anne Mitchell, the director of the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, says rates of oral sex are climbing. The centre’s latest survey of high school students, in 2008, also showed the number having sex with three or more people a year had increased significantly.

Most worryingly, there has also been a marked increase in unwanted sex, an experience that can have a long-term effect on how a woman feels about herself and her sexuality. “The main reasons are being too drunk or high, and pressure from a partner,” Dr Mitchell says. “Alcohol [consumption] has gone up over time, too, and it’s intimately connected to their sexual behaviour.”

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases are rising, especially in the 15-19 age group; in 2008, slightly more than 25 per cent of all chlamydia infections were in the 15- to 19-year-old age group, and girls were diagnosed at three times the rate of boys.

That’s just the statistics; the anecdotal evidence is more frightening. Parenting expert Michael Grose says there is a casual attitude to oral sex. “I’ve heard stories from teachers, of oral sex happening at school,” he says. “My generation went behind the shed and had a smoke. It’s been put to me that oral sex at school is like smoking. That’s extreme, but I think extremes explain the norm.”
This doesn’t sound unusual to 16-year-old Ann. “Oral sex happens a lot, it’s before losing your virginity,” she tells The Weekly. “I had a 16th birthday party and apparently two people were doing it on my front lawn.”

Technology has also changed the sexual landscape. Once upon a time we would sit by the phone, praying our crush would call and hoping our parents wouldn’t listen in. These days, there’s constant contact via SMS, Facebook, Twitter, and instant messaging. Parents have little, if any, ability to monitor the conversation.

Teens flirt online, often with people they have not met. “If there’s a guy you’re interested in from another school or something, you might ‘like’ one of his photos on Facebook and get talking to him,” says 16-year-old Rebecca*. “I know lots of people who’ve hooked up that way.” They create online games such as ‘sneaky hat’, in which naked teenagers cover themselves with a hat and post the photograph as the profile picture on Facebook.

Online flirting often becomes more daring, with one party – usually the boy – asking the other to send sexy pictures. “When you’re in year seven or year eight, it’s pretty big,” says Rebecca. “It’s more the younger years, they don’t do [sex] in person, they do it on the internet. One girl was talking to a friend’s older brother, she didn’t know him in real life. She sent him photos. The guy will ask, and the girl will think about it, and she will eventually end up doing it.”

Of course, this can go terribly wrong. “One girl’s photo was passed around,” says Rebecca. “I was sitting on the train and got a Bluetooth message and it was a picture of her. She sent it to one boy, he sent it to a friend, and he sent it around. She was fully naked. You couldn’t see her face, but you knew who it was. “Yet social media is far less harmless than another consequence of the internet; pornography. These days, it is available for free to who anyone who wants it. “I was watching it when I was about 13,” one teenage boy, Mike*, told The Weekly. “It is so easy, all you do is type ‘boobs’ into Google.”

A Sydney study found that almost half of all adults, like Mike, first watched pornography between the ages of 11 and 13. Further research found 92 per cent of the boys had been exposed to online pornography by age 16.

In a flooded market, the industry is producing more extreme material to get an edge. In her research into the impact of pornography, Melbourne researcher Maree Crabbe has found a trend towards sex that is rough, aggressive, and idealises acts women don’t enjoy in real life – gag-inducing fellatio, heterosexual anal sex, physical and verbal aggression.

The industry admits this. One porn star told Maree actors were required to be rough with the girl, and take charge. “He had moved from lovey dovey sex, towards material where the pornographists want to get more energy … ‘f--k her to destroy her’ ”.

For many boys, porn is their sex education. They copy what they see, and expect their girlfriends to be like the women in the film. “Young people have described to us again and again, that pornography is shaping their sexual imaginations, expectations and practices,” says Maree. “We have had young men who have been genuinely surprised that when they enact what they see in porn, their partner doesn’t like what they were doing, because they’ve always seen women enjoy it on screen.”
So what is this doing to girls? In generations gone by, women emerged from adolescence with a sense of sexual power. As the author feminist Naomi Wolf put it, they knew they had a “pretty high exchange value”.

Wolf, 40, now worries that “mine is probably the last generation to experience that sense of sexual confidence and security in what we had to offer. Now you have to offer – or flirtatiously suggest – the lesbian scene, the ejaculate-in-the-face-scene.

Being is not enough; you have to be buff, be tan without tan lines, have the surgically hoisted breasts and the Brazilian bikini wax – just like porn stars.”

Many young women take the sexual lessons from their teens into their 20s and beyond, as evidenced by the rush of young women towards breast enhancement and labiaplasty [modification of genatalia so it looks like airbrushed porn stars’]. “The issues that concern me are what the influence of porn seems to be meaning for young people’s capacity to negotiate free and full consent, and experience the kind of sexuality that can feel acceptable and pleasurable,” says Maree.

Unwanted sex – and that includes sex under pressure, or sex while drunk, or simply sexual activity or acts they regret – can leave scars. Adolescents who have had unwanted sex are more likely to consider suicide, to have poor relationships, and to have more lifetime sexual partners. Studies have also linked it with anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress and alcohol and other drug use. Girls who report unwanted sex also report less condom use, exposing them to sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, Herpes and Chlamydia, which have life-long consequences.

Sex therapist Dr Rosie King sees the results in her clinical practice. “People who have had negative sexual experiences tend to – not always – be more likely to develop negative attitudes to sex as a result,” she says.

Arguably, there has never been a more confusing, stressful time to be a teenage girl.
We can make it easier for them. A loving, nurturing family environment and parents who are open about sex help enormously, says Jennifer Walsh, education manager at Latrobe’s Centre for Health, Sex and Society. “Many parents are bewildered and extremely concerned about this aspect of their children coping with the world, but they’re so worried about saying the right thing and getting it perfectly right, that they are saying nothing at all.”

For parents who want their children to abstain from sex for as long as possible, the best strategy might be confronting for some parents; they should talk about sex frequently, and acknowledge its pleasures. Negativity will drive their children to other sources of information, such as the internet. Research from around the world shows young people whose parents discuss what’s good about sex are more likely to wait. The less guidance teenagers have, the more likely they are to have sex early and without contraception.

“If you only talk about what is dangerous, you are not a very credible source of advice, and you are not being truthful,” says Jennifer. “They will dismiss that advice. If you talk about it being good, they are more able to make some sort of informed choice about what is the right time. The research from all around the world, the more parents talk about this topic, the more likely the children are to have safe sex, to put off sex until they are older and to have fewer sexual partners.”
In Holland, where there is open, positive discussion of sexuality, there are 12 pregnancies (including abortions) per 1000 women under 19. In Australia, there are 44. In the US, where many preach abstinence, there are 85.

Start early, says Jennifer, by using correct body names when children are little. As they grow older, talk about how women and men should show respect for each other. “The way to counter tacky commercialised messages about sex and bodies is to start talking about sex in a positive way,” she says. “If you tell your kids what you want for them, you are filling a vacuum that is otherwise filled by commercial interests. Don’t talk about it only as dangerous. They need to know that sex is enjoyable and good sex is not necessarily what they are seeing on the internet.”

Fathers should always be involved in the discussion, especially when it comes to boys. “It’s really important that men take responsibility for talking to their sons about this topic,” says Jennifer. “If they don’t, it continues the myth that men can’t take responsibility for this part of their life.”
If you find out your daughter is already having sex, “it’s important not to freak out,” says Dr Rosie King. “You want to maintain a close relationship with your child. Try to understand the pressures around teenage girls to have sex. Understand why it’s hard to say no. I’m not trying to justify early teenage sexual activity, but if you handle the situation wrong, you can make them feel dirty, not lovable, and forever unclean because of their choices.”

It’s not all bad news. According to Louise Reymond, Dolly magazine’s psychologist, most of the letters she receives are from girls asking the same questions as they asked 20 or even 40 years ago; questions about their interaction with boys, friends and parents. Young women still want love, intimacy and strong relationships based on respect – and so do young men. Most will not just survive adolescence, but prosper. “There are so many pressures out there,” Louise says. “In a way it’s amazing that the majority get through okay.”

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Undermining of St. John Paul II’s Legacy”?

From a Catholic Website:

"....numerous statements and programs from the Vatican demonstrate the expression of excessive anger at St. John Paul II’s remarkable legacy and prophetic writings. The new light shed upon Our Lord’s plan for marriage and sexuality, so badly needed in our time, has been very beneficial to Catholic youth, marriages, families, educators as well as the priesthood and the episcopacy over the past 35 years. It has begun to have a noticeable and constructive effect upon marriage preparation and the priestly vocation. Attempts at undermining St. John Paul II’s legacy are, therefore, almost inexplicable" (my emphasis).


"As we follow the continuous succession of ambiguous statements from the Vatican, it’s troubling to see the obvious anger expressed toward St. John Paul II and his teaching. This anger is not expressed in a clear and direct manner, but rather in an anger of the passive-aggressive type, i.e., anger expressed in a covert or masked way. This anger has been manifested primarily by ignoring his work, much as a spouse expresses anger in marriage by the silent treatment." 

Now, for the legacy of Pope St. JPII the Great's teachings on marriage and the family:

According to research by the Barna Group, Catholics had one of the lowest incidences of divorce, with 28 percent having been divorced out of 875 interviewed. The Gospel Coalition noted that there is a somewhat significant difference between those who are actively practicing Catholics and those who consider themselves nominally Catholic. (No surprise here, given JPII's legacy-italics mine) The coalition found that nominal Catholics are five percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons, while Catholics who are actively practicing in their parishes are 31 percent less likely to get divorced than non-religious persons.

But I must take issue with the following: "
Attempts at undermining St. John Paul II’s legacy are, therefore, almost inexplicable." No, there is an explanation, offered by Pope Blessed Paul VI:

We have the impression that through some cracks in the wall the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God: it is doubt, uncertainty, questioning, dissatisfaction, confrontation. And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil..... Don't be surprised at Our answer and don't write it off as simplistic or even superstitious: one of the Church's greatest needs is to be defended against the evil we call the Devil..... This matter of the Devil and of the influence he can exert on individuals as well as on communities, entire societies or events, is a very important chapter of Catholic doctrine which should be studied again, although it is given little attention today."

As we know, Our Lord when he commissioned Peter “the rock” upon which He would build his Church, also said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. He never said Hell would not try to prevail. In St. John’s gospel, Jesus calls Satan “ruler of this world,”  teaching that the salvation he would bring us as God’s gift involved the destruction of Satan’s power in this world. Just before His passion, Jesus told the apostles that an eternal fire awaited Satan and his angels. Sacred Scripture teaches that The Prince of Darkness will be allowed by God to test us for a time, but in the end will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Thus, in Catholic teaching, the reality of spiritual warfare, though often dismissed, is something the Church Militant here on earth must be prepared for. It is in this light that we must view the questioning, dissatisfaction and eventual confrontation  that stem from the continuous succession of ambiguous statements from the Vatican, it’s troubling to see the obvious anger expressed toward St. John Paul II and his teaching. 

I suggest that whenever one feels that certain events seem inexplicable, remember that although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature- to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but "we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him." (Rom 8:28.)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

On God's Gift of Sex

Having written an entire chapter on dissent from Humanae vitae in the U. S., it was heartening to read that nearly 50 years after this “prophetic” papal document, more than 500 Catholic scholars with doctoral degrees in theology, medicine, law and other fields have recently signed a document in support of Catholic teaching, titled Affirmation of the Catholic Church’s Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality.” 

Humanae vitae speaks against the distorted view of human sexuality and intimate relationships that many in the modern world endorse. The document was prophetic in predicting some of the evils that would result from widespread use of contraception.

Dissent from Humanae vitae centers around the claim there are “no grounds” for Catholic teaching against contraception, questioning the idea that openness to procreation is inherent to the significance of sexual intercourse, and that the choice to use contraceptives for either family planning or prophylactic purposes can be a responsible and ethical decision and even, at times, an moral imperative.
Blessed Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical reaffirmed the traditional Christian rejection of contraception and said it applied to the birth control pill, drawing significant opposition from non-Catholics and from some within the Church who had been campaigning against Church teaching. The Church holds that sex is designed by God to be both unitive and procreative, and that attempting to separate these two aspects of human sexuality through artificial contraception is immoral. If a married couple faces a just reason to avoid pregnancy, the Church teaches that they may do so through Natural Family Planning, a process that works with a woman’s natural fertile cycles and abstaining from sexual activity during the times that she is fertile.
The 500 Catholic scholars maintained that Church teaching is “true and defensible” on the basis of Scripture and reason, describing Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross as “the ultimate and complete self-gift” linked to the biblical spousal imagery of Our Lord and His Church. Human sexual relations fulfill God's intent only, the scholars said, when they “respect the procreative meaning of the sexual act” and take place as a “complete gift of self” within marriage.
Since the 1960s the widespread use of contraception has contributed greatly to the increase of sex outside of marriage, to an increase of unwed pregnancies, abortion, single parenthood, cohabitation, divorce, poverty, the exploitation of women and the porn industry, declining marriage rates, and declining population growth in many parts of the world.
To those Catholics who continue to dissent from Humanae vitae:  please deepen your relationship” with God. Be open to the direction of the Holy Spirit, and ask Jesus Christ to give you the graces needed to live in accord with God’s will for their married lives, even the difficult moral truths.