Monday, January 16, 2006

Off to Texas

I'm off to Dallas this week to present a technology poster at TI's annual software symposium.

I leave you to meditate on the value of the Mass as expressed in the o sacrum convivium:
O sacrum convivium, in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis eius; mens impletur gratia et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

O sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
Drop Kick Me, Jesus

If you thought some Christian songs couldn't get any weirder, I'd have to go and introduce you to "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goalposts Of Life":
Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
End over end neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

Make me, oh make me, Lord more than I am
Make me a piece in your master game plan
Free from the earthly tempestion below
I've got the will, Lord if you've got the toe.
Check out the mp3. Ain't it catchy? :)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Madonna Inn

Those who are familiar with the California Central Coast are no doubt also familiar with the infamous Madonna Inn, a landmark in these parts. It's also a famous highway pit-stop, as people can't seem to pass up paying a visit to the Inn's unique bathrooms. I plead guilty. Also check out the assortment of different themed rooms, from the very lofty, to the downright cheesy, to the just plain strange.

Bill makes mention of Thomas Merton's visit to the Madonna Inn in the late 60's.
Requiem for the Unborn

The 4th annual Requiem Mass for the Unborn will take place at the Cathedral in Los Angeles this Saturday at 7:30pm, celebrated by Cardinal Mahony in memory of victims of abortion. It doesn't look like I will be able to make it, unfortunately. The Tidings article makes some interesting points:
Last year, said Sister Callanan, a teenager and her mother were among the worshippers healing from the pain of abortion. The teenager, who hadn't confided in her mother when she got pregnant and had an abortion, had since told her mother. At the liturgy the two of them walked together and placed a candle on the altar in memory of the lost child and grandchild.

Abortion also affects siblings very profoundly, said Sister Callanan, as children miss the brother or sister who was conceived but never born. Last year one surprised mother turned to Sister Callanan for counseling because her son kept saying he was missing his sister, even though the mother hadn't told the son about the abortion.

Sister Callanan said that numerous times it has been observed that children somehow know that someone is missing from the family. In this particular family, the mother acknowledged the abortion to her son, and then the two of them attended last year's Mass to bring a candle to the altar and honor the sister that was never allowed to be born.
And let's not forget that men are also affected in the aftermath of abortion:
Deacon Thomas Brandlin, who also works with Project Rachel to provide post-abortion counseling to couples and to men, said men often experience two emotions following an abortion --- rage and guilt.

"They are furious because either they weren't told about the abortion or they had no say in it, and they really wanted the child. They feel betrayed," said Deacon Brandlin. "Or they feel guilt because they promoted the abortion or did nothing to prevent it. Now they've seen what damage it's done to the mother and to themselves."
Of course, with repentance, we find that the mercy of God is greater and deeper than the worst of our sins.
In Vitro Fertilization

There is a pretty good article in The Tidings this week by Fr. Richard Benson, C.M., academic dean and professor of moral theology at St. John's Seminary, concerning What's wrong with in vitro fertilization?
Often the Catholic couple brings a moral rationale with them when they are seeking moral guidance. The rationale might be stated as follows:

"The Church teaches us that having children is one of the two goals of marriage. We don't use contraception and have tried for years to get pregnant, but sadly without success. If medicine can help us do what nature cannot why is that wrong, especially since we are such a pro-life church? If God has given us a mind to invent things that help us thrive, like modern medicines that cure and planes, trains and automobiles that move us faster and farther than legs could ever take us, why is using the invention of in vitro fertilization wrong? After all, we're using our own eggs and sperm, just like if we conceived naturally. Isn't this just another example of us using our minds to do something good, something that God wants from every married couple?"

...While no one should doubt the innate goodness of every infertile married couple's heartfelt desire to have children of their own, there are several basic moral principles that we must keep in mind.

First, we can never be satisfied to define every moral act simply by evaluating the intention behind the act. St. Augustine reminded us centuries ago that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." His admittedly polemic statement does clearly remind us of its more theological translation, "One may not do evil, that good may come about."

The Church has always made it clear that while she encourages the use of reason and human invention in all areas of human endeavor, especially medicine and science, she at the same time recognizes that there are limits to the applications of some of humankind's interventions in nature. Just because science can do something does not mean that it should do it. Anything that harms or attacks the human person is immoral.
He then goes into some reasons why IVP is harmful.
1. A child is ultimately a gift from God, not something manufactured in a laboratory. No child should ever been seen as a commodity, which is what they are when one considers that IVF treatments cost tens of thousands of dollars.

2. The Church has never taught that couples have a right to children, simply that they need to be open to them, should God bless them with children.

3. Conception outside of natural intercourse turns the couple and family into a biological laboratory.

4. IVF involves the destruction of embryos, vulnerable human lives. "Leftover" embryos are first frozen and then often abandoned and left to slowly disintegrate over time, or may be given away for experimental purposes.
As with other issues in bioethics, this is becoming increasingly relevant. There are plenty of Catholic couples who, in their sincere desire have a family, have considered using IVP.


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