Saturday, June 21, 2003

What is the role of Campus Ministry?

Bill Cork has an interesting report concerning studies done on campus ministry. Overall, I agree with Bill's assessment, particularly this:
Is [campus ministry] supported by finances, qualified and stable personnel, a diocesan-coordinated outreach, and collaboration with other diocesan offices? Or is it handed over to people who would prefer to work as "lone rangers," advancing their own agenda, with no oversight by the local bishop? The Code of Canon Law says (Can. 813):
The diocesan bishop is to have earnest pastoral care for students, even by erecting a parish or at least by designating priests stably for this, and is to make provision that at universities, even non-Catholic ones, there are Catholic university centers which give assistance, especially spiritual assistance, to youth.
As I look at this, it affirms that campus ministry is an extension of the bishop's pastoral office. Consequently, campus ministry needs to be a diocesan commitment. I think each bishop should appoint a diocesan director of campus ministry who can ensure that campus ministry truly represents the bishop's vision and is fully connected to the local Church.
As many of you know, in my archdiocese (Los Angeles), we currently have no director or diocesan office for campus ministry, which is a sad shame, in my opinion, since campus ministry should be considered part of the Church's major mission, particularly the local Church, and I thought that it was. But interestingly, some campus ministries don't want to be seen that way. What bothered me about the Newman Center I was at for almost seven years was that our Cardinal, the Pope, or any figure of authority within the Church, was often looked upon with either apathy, distrust, or plain disdain anyway. The Newman center didn't care about being a part of the local Church, an extension of the Bishop's duties. Instead, they prided themselves on how individual they were and on how far away they were from the Cathedral in Los Angeles, ground zero as it were. It was an attitude that I increasingly found difficult to digest, among other things, so I eventually felt called to leave and join a nearby parish staffed by diocesan priests! I still lead the Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer Group with a friend of mine at the newman center, however, at least for a while.
Faire is the heaven
Faire is the heaven, where happy soules have place,
In full enjoyment of felicitie,
Whence they doe still behold the glorious face
Of the divine eternall Majestie.

Yet farre more faire be those bright Cherubins,
Which all with golden wings are overdight,
And those eternall burning Seraphins,
Which from their faces dart out fiery light:
Yet fairer than they both, and much more bright
Be th'Angels and Archangels, which attend
On Gods owne person, without rest or end.

These then in faire each other farre excelling,
As to the Highest they approach more neare,
Yet is that Highest farre beyond all telling,
Fairer than all the rest which there appeare,
Though all their beauties joynd together were;
How then can mortalle tongue hope to expresse
The image of such endlesse perfectnesse?

... from Edmund Spenser, from An Hymne of Heavenly Beautie, c1596.
Bad day for Roe

Looks like Norma McCorvey's request for a new trial was declined.

I hope this isn't the end of this. Sarah Weddington, who represented McCorvey in the original trial, apparently had this to say:
Those who filed it got publicity, but the publicity actually has been very helpful for those of us who believe the government should not be involved.
However, Weddington already got the government involved when she went to court, in the original case, to give national genocide legal protection. But when those in the abortion industry fight against "government involvement," they are fighting in particular to prevent the government from imposing medical regulations on abortion clinics, another reason why abortion clinics are some of the most medically unsafe and unregulated "medical" facilities in the nation.

There is nothing stable or reliable when it comes to abortion. It's a shady business indeed.

Friday, June 20, 2003

When does life begin?

An honest question, the answer to which many Americans give a variety of answers. Of course, most Christians like myself will say life begins at conception. Others will say it begins at birth. And still, some will argue that it begins sometime between the two. Various responses have been given throughout history. We often lacked scientific knowledge about what occurs during conception and gestation. Even the Church's understanding has deepend on the subject, often benefitting from the findings of the scientific community with regard to biology and human development at the embryonic and fetal levels.

Several years ago, I attended a pretty good lecture that attempted to show evidence for the contention that life begins at conception by tracing backward some of the common arguments given for when life began, beginning with birth. I found the same discussion outlined by Dr. Thomas Miller at this website, which I will quote below:

1.) Life Begins at Birth
To equate birth with the commencement of human life is to ignore totally a huge body of medical information that has been available for most of this century that concerns itself with what is happening to the child in the womb prior to birth. If labor is chemically induced a week before the mother would have gone into labor naturally, does the child become human a week sooner than it would have otherwise? ... Common scientific technology now records that activity and growth in detail. It is ludicrous to imply, as this definition does, that the activity in the womb is irrelevant and that there is no life until birth.

Further, if birth defines life, then the whole field of fetal surgery makes no sense. For over a decade fetal surgery has been used to treat various problems of unborn children. The child is taken out of the mother's womb, the defect is repaired, and the child is then returned to the womb to complete his or her development in preparation for birth. Operations on unborn children have been performed as early as twelve weeks. Inherent in these surgical procedures is the understanding that the unborn child is a full fledged human being. Birth has nothing to do with humanness or when a human life begins.
2.) Life Begins at Viability
[Viability is] the term used to indicate when the unborn child potentially is capable of living outside the mother's womb, with or without life support technology. The time during a pregnancy at which a child reaches viability has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. The increasing sophistication of technology has been a significant factor in the change. But our enhanced understanding of fetal development and what is required to promote that development coupled with the capability of medical personnel to provide the necessary support services are also important factors which enable premature babies to develop to a point where they have a reasonable chance of living without support at earlier and earlier ages.

Twenty years ago babies had a reasonable chance of survival by 30 weeks. Today, babies born at 20 weeks have survived. Thus viability is greatly influenced by the sophistication of medical support services available as well as by the ability to implement them. It has nothing to do with humanness or when a human life begins. [AP- in 20 years could a testtube child be able to develop ex-utero in a lab with everything it needs to develop? Would this then not be a human being?]
3.) Life Begins at Quickening
[Quickening is] a term which describes a woman's first sense of movement in her womb during her pregnancy. Some women have been known to sense such movement as early as three months into the pregnancy. Most women perceive movement sometime between four and four and one half months. But the perception of such movement by some women has been delayed as long as six to seven months. It is influenced by such factors as the sensitivity of the mother to her pregnant state, the activity of the unborn child (which can vary greatly from one child to another), the relative body weight of the pregnant mother and her own level of activity.

With the assistance of ultrasound a woman can observe the active child she may not yet be able to feel. Quickening is a matter of sensation and has nothing to do with defining humanness or when a human life begins.
4.) Life begins when the criteria of the Harvard Medical School are met
The most important thing to be said about this definition is that the criteria have been taken out of the context in which they were originally intended. They were developed in an effort to define brain death in order to provide guidance in determining when a human being may be declared dead. They were not intended to define humanness.

In the 1960s a committee at Harvard Medical School developed the four criteria to define when the brain was truly alive. The criteria consisted of:
1. response to external stimuli, such as pinching to elicit pain;
2. the presence of deep reflex action, such as what happens when a doctor takes a reflex hammer and taps the knee;
3. the ability to breathe and move spontaneously, and
4. the presence of brain wave activity as demonstrated on an electroencephalogram (EEG).
The presence of even one of the four criteria is sufficient to establish brain life. Reflex and response to external stimuli have been shown just a few weeks after conception. But the criteria assume the presence of a human being to whom they are being applied. The Harvard Criteria simply provide a gauge to ascertain the functioning of the brain. They do not determine humanness or when a life begins.
5.) Life begins at Conception
Conception is that moment when a woman's egg is fertilized by a man's sperm. The result of this union of two cells is one unique cell known as the zygote. This single cell contains all the ingredients necessary for growth, development, and differentiation into the organ systems of a human adult. The zygote of each human being is distinctly different from every other human being. ... The zygote... is totally self sufficient and independent in terms of its ability to develop into an adult human being. It needs no more than a proper environment of oxygen and nutrients to develop its recognizable human parts: head, arms, legs, and the various organs. The zygote is not potential human life, but actual human life. It will never develop into a dog, cat, or any other creature. Its destiny is to become an adult human being for human life is what it is.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

A hymn to the Virgin

I ran across a most beautiful piece composed by the late Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) entitled, A Hymn to the Virgin. He composed it at the age of 17. The composition is based on the ancient hymn, c. 1300, which is macaronic, partly in Latin and partly in English, like many of the carols of the medieval English Church. Britten's composition is written for two choirs, a large one singing the English verses, and a smaller one for the Latin:
A Hymn to the Virgin

Of one that is so fare and bright
     Velut maris stella (like a star of the sea)
Brighter than the day is light,
     Parens et puella: (mother and maiden)
I cry to thee, thou see to me,
Lady, pray thy Son for me,
     Tam pia, (thou holy one)
That I may come to thee.
     Maria! (Mary)
All this world was forlorn
     Eva peccatrice, (through Eve the sinner)
Till our Lord was y-born
     De te genetrice. (of thee, the mother)
With ave it went away
Darkest night, and comes the day
     Salutis: (of salvation)
The well springeth out of thee
     Virtutis. (of virtue)
Lady, flower of everything
     Rosa sine spina (rose without a thorn)
Thou bare Jesu, heaven's King
     Gratia divina: (by divine grace)
Of all thou bear'st the prize,
Lady, queen of paradise
     Electa: (chosen one)
Maid mild, mother es
     Effecta. (you are proved)
The Ossuary

I kinda figured the media jumped the gun on this one before much study could really be done. Now there looks to be solid evidence that the inscription on the ossuary is a forgery. Christians the world over looked to it as proof of Jesus' existence, and not a few fundamentalists used it to try to shoot down one of the oldest verifiable dogmas of our faith - that Mary was a perpetual virgin and did not have children, other than Jesus. Though I never really considered the ossuary to be a threat to that belief, and in fact, it turned into an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Eastern understanding of Mary's virginity.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Is the abortion tide swaying?

Word on the street is that Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision), is now suing to have the decision reversed. In the years since the decision, McCorvey became pro-life, a Christian and, just a few years ago, entered the Catholic Church. About two years ago, she came out to Santa Barbara to give a lecture in Isla Vista, ground zero in partytown USA. I wasn't actually able to attend, but I heard mixed reviews from some of my Catholic friends who attended. But either way, if it is true that she is pushing this, then she has my prayerful support. Word also is that she has affidavits from as many as 1000 women who are willing to testify as to how they have been hurt, not helped, by abortions they've had, together with scientific evidence as to its harmful effects, 5400 total pages of evidence.

NOW and NARAL Pro-Choice America will probably try to pass McCorvey off as being "brainwashed by religious zealots." They don't even favor dialogue on the subject, as any attempt at dialogue means yielding power to "anti-choice special interest groups." But if they are so sure as to the positive effects of abortion, what are they so afraid of? I believe they are afraid of women actually being educated about the truly destructive force of abortion, and this is further evidence of how the modern feminist movement as perverted the true feminism of our American fore-mothers. Why can't there be continuing, open discussion on abortion? 30 years ago was a long time - why can't we open a new study, using all that we know today about fetology and health care, to determine not only how abortion affects women but also study the scientific evidence for when life actually begins. NOW and NARAL would never favor such a move. If they really cared about what's best for women, they should be in favor of such measures. But by opposing it they only show that their true motiviation is money, power, and control. Now I ask you - who is it that desires to keep women ignorant here?

Much of the abortion industry today is built upon the premise that "life begins at birth," and at no time prior should a baby be considered "living." But I certainly don't know of anyone today who honestly believes, or would admit to believing, that "life begins at birth." Such an argument has been shown by science to be utterly rediculous.

Monday, June 16, 2003

On This Day, a Quarter of a Century Ago...

I was born. After a busy weekend, I took the day off to relax :)
What X-Men character are you?

professor x
You are Professor X!

You are a very effective teacher, and you are very
committed to those who learn from you. You put
your all into everything you do, to some extent
because you fear failure more than anything
else. You are always seeking self-improvement,
even in areas where there is nothing you can do
to improve.

Which X-Men character are you most like?
brought to you by Quizilla


Related Posts with Thumbnails