Saturday, January 27, 2007

Giant Holy Water Stoup?

In the comment boxes on a recent discussion on a popular Catholic blog, there was some reaction to a recently built church that included a rather large baptismal font. One of the folks responded that she believed the purpose of the large baptismal font was to act as a "giant holy water stoup", since it was also placed near the main entrance of the church. If you want to get technical, the font can be thought of as a "stoup", but the font itself has a very important meaning, being the location where baptism is actually celebrated. I recall the discussion from Built of Living Stones, emphasis mine:
The baptismal font and its location reflect the Christian's journey through the waters of baptism to the altar... Through the waters of baptism the faithful enter the life of Christ. For this reason the font should be visible and accessible to all who enter the church building...

Water is the key symbol of baptism and the focal point of the font. In this water believers die to sin and are reborn to new life in Christ. In designing the font and the iconography in the baptismal area, the parish will want to consider the traditional symbolism that has been the inspiration for the font's design throughout history. The font is a symbol of both tomb and womb; its power is the power of the triumphant cross; and baptism sets the Christian on the path to the life that will never end, the "eighth day" of eternity where Christ's reign of peace and justice is celebrated...

The font should be large enough to supply ample water for the baptism of both adults and infants. Since baptism in Catholic churches may take place by immersion in the water, or by infusion (pouring), fonts that permit all forms of baptismal practice are encouraged.
Preferences aside, large fonts like the one discussed probably enable easier baptism of adults by immersion or pouring, and also serve as prominent symbols, reminders of baptism for the faithful (of tomb and womb), which is why they are also typically (but not always) placed near the primary entrance of a church and oriented in the direction of the altar. The little stoups next to doors came much later!
Texas Rally for Life in Austin

We just got back from the Texas Rally for Life in Austin, TX. We went with a large group of folks from all walks and ages; We were late going due to bad weather in Houston, but we arrived just in time and in beautiful weather for the march, which led everyone to the capitol building for the rally. The rally was very good. Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life was there to speak, as was Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin and a number of others. Our own Archbishop DiNardo was there as well from Houston! We were also happy to see Democrats For Life present in full force.

There were only a handful of counter protesters. One group of 3 or 4 people held up a homemade sign that read, "Abortion is neat". I kept thinking that I would've liked to have a discussion with them in greater depth about the implications of their sign, but nobody was in discussion mode. I do wish some pro-lifers would give more thought to their off-the-cuff responses and reactions to antagonisms like this, but we're human.

One of the speakers at the rally was an African American woman who talked of her experience of being forced to the abortion clinic at age 14 by her father and mother to undergo a partial-birth abortion. After labor was induced, everyone discovered she was pregnant with twins! What they gave her to induce labor made her very sick, and one nurse responded to her complaints by telling her, "You should've thought about that before you opened your legs!" The nurse held her down with a pillow through most of the procedure, but she was able to see her twins, recovered from her body and scooped into a trash bag. Thousands of women like this woman are finding one another and coming forward to tell folks -- Roe V Wade doesn't empower women. It destroys them.

Friday, January 26, 2007

March 3: Archdiocesan Men's Conference

If you're a Catholic man in the Houston area, you're invited to a Lenten day of spirituality for men at St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. It's free! Details from the website:
Saturday, March 3

9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Starting in the Parish Hall

St. Theresa's Catholic Church
115 Seventh Street
Sugar Land, TX 77478

A time to reflect on who you are as a Christian man and what God is calling you to be. Catholic men will share their stories of how they seek to be faithful to God and to their responsibilities as husbands, fathers, friends and in the workplace....

Doors open at 8:15 a.m. We'll begin at 9:00 with speakers, have a time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament (with opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and conclude with the celebration of the Eucharist.
Speakers include Archbishop Daniel DiNardo and Houston's own Jim ("Mattress Mack") McIngvale. Did I mention it's free? Go here to register!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Scooby Doo and the Mystery of the Texan Earthquake

So this morning a few minutes after midnight, we were greatly disturbed by what felt and sounded like an earthquake, which shook the house. Coming from California, this was a surprise to me -- an earthquake in Texas?! It's not impossible, however it is very unlikely. We weren't sure what it was; a bomb, maybe? Thunder? Well, this morning I discovered that my "earthquake" was actually caused by an exploding house 10-15 miles away in Missouri City! See Woman Survives House Explosion. Fortunately, it looks like nobody was seriously injured. If we felt it that far away, I can't even imagine what the house's next door neighbors experienced!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Poor Journalism from Santa Maria Times

The Santa Maria Times, of Santa Maria, California, ran an article today entitled, "Both sides of abortion rally support," written by Emily Welly. But does the article really examine "both sides"? Let me reproduce the article in two sections in case the article is lost. Here is the first part of the article:
Monday marked the 34th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America, and in Santa Maria, the landmark ruling was remembered by supporters on both sides of the controversial debate.

One group marked the anniversary by holding a candlelight vigil Monday night in front of Planned Parenthood, 415 E. Chapel St.

?On this day we are out to remind people of the importance of Roe v. Wade,? said Nancy Jones of Planned Parenthood, noting that many women today - anyone under 34, in fact - has never known a world without abortion being a legally recognized choice.

?That's what gave women the choice over their reproductive care,? she said. ?It's extremely important that those of us who believe strongly (in choice) stand up.?

Such candlelight vigils have been held in this location on the anniversary of the ruling for at least the past 10 years, Jones said.

The group that gathered Monday night included Planned Parenthood employees and members of the Pro-Choice Coalition of Santa Barbara County. Also in attendance, according to Jones, were members of the American Association of University Women and members of the League of Women Voters. Participants included both Democrats and Republicans, she added.

A group of Santa Marians from the other side of the abortion debate took to the streets Sunday afternoon, the eve of the anniversary, to voice their views.

Marchers from several Santa Maria-area Catholic schools carried banners with right-to-life messages at a rally that began at Santa Maria City Hall and finished across the street from Planned Parenthood.
The first section is spent touting the strength of support for Planned Parenthood. Opponents at the rally aren't even granted an interview. But in a desperate attempt to balance things out, the article goes on:
Their message was echoed Monday in the nation's capital, where President Bush told thousands of abortion foes he shares their goal of seeing ?the day when every child is welcomed in life and protected into law.?

Bush also signaled his unchanged opposition to a key goal of the Democrats who now control Congress: broadening embryonic stem-cell research.

?Our challenge is to make sure that science serves the cause of humanity instead of the other way around,? the president said in a telephone call piped over loudspeakers to a Washington rally of abortion opponents.

?I have made clear to the Congress, we must pursue medical advances in the name of life, not at the expense of it.?

Bush calls the rally each year, usually from distant locations. This year, he extended his weekend stay at the Camp David presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains to phone the participants from there.

Bush last year vetoed a bill bolstering embryonic stem cell research that advocates say shows promise for numerous medical cures. Earlier this month, the House passed such a bill again, though by a margin short of what would be required to overturn another veto from the president.

With abortion foes in a more defensive posture now that Democrats have gained control of Capitol Hill, Bush urged them to do more than look toward legislative victories.

?We've all got to remember that a true culture of life cannot be built by changing laws alone. We've all got to work hard to change hearts,? he said.

?The sanctity of life is written in the life of all men and women. And so I think, go forth with confidence that a cause rooted in human dignity and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens cannot fail.?

Emily Welly can be reached at 739-2220 or
There is one glaring problem with this second section. The text is lifted verbatim from an AP wire news story that ran yesterday. Here is the same AP article from CNN for comparison. Meanwhile 20,000 people marched in San Francisco over the weekend, as part of the West Coast March for Life, calling for an end to abortion and for society to meet the real needs of women. Yet the Santa Maria Times apparently just wants to run its token "Roe V. Wade anniversary" article of the year by interviewing one side and slapping that together with some other article. I wonder how much effort that took?
Abortion and African Americans

It's been no secret that Planned Parenthood has targeted minority communities, particularly African American communities, for decades. No question most clinics are located in more poverty stricken areas of town. PP's founder, eugenicist Margaret Sanger, referred to African Americans and other minorities as "human weeds" and "reckless breeders", and according to Woman's Body, Woman's Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America, by Linda Gordon, Sanger once said, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population... if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." That was back when PP was all about birth control, before they considered providing abortion.

But in fact, since the 1970's nothing has done more to harm African Americans than abortion. According to
In America today, almost as many African-American children are aborted as are born [3 out of 5 pregnancies]. A black baby is three times more likely to be murdered in the womb than a white baby. Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent. Twice as many African-Americans have died from abortion than have died from AIDS, accidents, violent crimes, cancer, and heart disease combined. Every three days, more African-Americans are killed by abortion than have been killed by the Ku Klux Klan in its entire history. Planned Parenthood operates the nation's largest chain of abortion clinics and almost 80 percent of its facilities are located in minority neighborhoods. About 13 percent of American women are black, but they submit to over 35 percent of the abortions.
What exists now is a negative birthrate among African Americans. If this rate continues, there will be no way for the African American community to replenish itself in future years. Are you listening, Barack Obama?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Abortion, no more

Check out this article from the UCSB Daily Nexus. UCSB's campus Planned Parenthood club (aka "VOX") had a quaint little rally in Isla Vista over the weekend, apparently visited by "a few students scattered throughout the park." Apparently one of the signs read, "Not Every Ejaculation Deserves A Name". That's right, your unwanted child is really just the result of a wasted sperm. Speaking at the rally was the pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church from downtown Santa Barbara, the Rev. Mark Asman, who extolled the virtue of legal genocide. Rev. Asman represents "Clergy for Choice" and also sits on the board of Planned Parenthood in Santa Barbara.

Planned Parenthood doesn't get it. After so many years, they continue to spew the same euphemistic lies about "reproductive freedom" and "healthy choice", etc... Here is another example of the same tired rhetoric. It's silly because we know the lies already; we're intimately familiar with them now. We know better. There is nothing "safe" about abortion; abortion clinics aren't even medically regulated. Most abortionists don't even have hospital admitting privileges should they need to admit a woman for care. And there is nothing "pro-woman" about abortion. Asking a woman to cut out her own child from her womb and toss it aside like trash is a woman-centered solution? Asking a woman to destroy the fruit of her own natural gift of fertility. The early American feminists certainly never believed that lie. They fought against it. They knew that abortion did not help women; it destroyed them. Abortion was a sign that society had failed to meet their needs - that women were being wronged.
When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society - so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.
Mattie Brinkerhoff, early feminist, writing in The Revolution, 4(9):138-9 September 2, 1869
Alice Paul, author of the original Equal Rights Amendment, referred to abortion as the "ultimate exploitation of women". Yet we're supposed to listen to modern feminists who say that abortion is the "ultimate emancipation of women"?

Of course, the answer does not only mean eliminating abortion. It means providing real options for women. Real opportunities, particularly in education and employment. No woman should ever have to feel that having a child and completing an education, or having a career, are mutually exclusive. We also need to be about challenging men to be responsible, honest men. It's a big job. But women deserve better than the BS solution society has given them.

Who am I to speak about abortion? My peers and I are survivors. We were born in the years since our mothers were granted the "right" by our national government to have us killed. Today, much of my own generation is dead. Over 47 million brothers and sisters since 1973. Yet, my mother chose life. Life liberates.


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