Every human life has value.

drdeath.jpgJack Kevorkian was a convicted murderer who, even after being released from prison, bragged about having “assisted” the suicides of at least 130 people. Unlike most felons once they’re released, his status as a convicted murderer treated Kevorkian quite well.

Not only was he several high profile, high paying speaking engagements and interviews to defend his actions and spread his poisonous pro-euthanasia/assisted suicide beliefs, but he also got to rub shoulders with the rich and famous when a movie about his life and “cause” was nominated for and won a few of Hollywood’s elite awards.

Kevorkian wasn’t just a killer. He was a very disturbed man who was obsessed with death and human experimentation. An obsession proven not only by his chosen “profession” but also his “artwork” that is currently on display at an art gallery in Los Angeles.

coma.png“The Last Paintings By Jack ‘Dr. Death’ Kevorkian” at the Gallerie Sparta is showcasing 11 original oil paintings of the late suicide enthusiast. Many of these paintings depict some aspect of disease and human suffering. One, called “Coma,” depicts an unconscious patient, silhouetted by an ominous pair of skeletal hands, being sucked into a death mask which resembles a CAT scan machine.

Each Painting comes with a price tag of between $28-45k. All of the proceeds will go to his estate and the West Hollywood gallery where they are being sold. Whatever does not get sold will reportedly be donated to the Smithsonian.

The exhibition also includes the assisted suicide machine that Kevorkian designed and built (pictured here). That’s right. The very same contraption helped inject a series of lethal drugs into over 100 terminal — and some non-terminal — patients. It too is for sale to the highest bidder with a starting price of $25,000.

Gross. I can’t even.

The most unsettling thing about the whole “cult of Kevorkian” is that the man is honored not despite, but precisely for being a killer. He is hailed as an advocate for the “rights” of the terminally and seriously ill.

News stories even speak of his “efforts in the field of medicine and bioethics” without a hint of irony, giving credence to Kevorkian’s claim that what he was proving was “a medical service.”

Death, as I have said many, many times, is not medicine. It cannot be said that euthanasia, assisted suicide or any sort of “mercy killing” eliminates suffering. Rather, what it does is eliminate the person who suffers.

Things like this destroy humanity. Our duty as human beings is to love and care for the suffering, not kill them. That a man like Kevorkian is heralded by so many, even after his own death, for doing just the opposite doesn’t speak well of the state of our current society.

April 11th, 2014 at 5:18 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

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Registration is open for the 2014 International Theology of the Body Congress. The theme this year is “Love, Mercy and the New Evangelization” and will focus on the important pastoral work of leading all men and women to Christ.

The Congress will be held in a the Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia, July 9-11, and will offer:

    –The most expansive gathering of marriage and family experts, enthusiasts, Church leaders, DREs and youth ministers ever assembled for review and discussion of this beautiful teaching in light of the Catholic position;

    –Three days of more than 30 seminars, roundtable discussions, expert panels and keynote addresses featuring leading experts discussing a wide array of Theology of the Body-related themes and topics such as art and culture, Creed and catechesis;

    –An opportunity for sharing and collaboration between key Theology of the Body leaders, catechists, Church leaders and teachers from around the country;

    –A convergence of Catholic vendors specializing in Theology of the Body-related products and services as resources for furthering the message and teaching of this extraordinary body of work;

    –Two breakfasts, a luncheon and two dinners, as well as networking and a special awards presentation honoring individuals who have shown excellence in promotion and understanding of Theology of the Body;

    –A chance for spiritual growth through Eucharistic adoration, reconciliation and daily mass at the Basilica Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul.

Someday I’d love to go to one of these. Just check out this awesome crop of speakers.

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Register at TOBCongress.com. Early registration ends April 20!

April 8th, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

As I suspected, I haven’t had time for much this week beyond spending time with my sister and spoiling my nephew. Hope to be back to normal blogging mode next week (though, lately posting has been a lot lighter than “normal,” anyway).

In the meantime, here are some more pics of Cruz for you to drool over. I may be a little biased, but I’m pretty sure he’s the cutest baby in the history of the world.

Cruzin down the street in my 64…
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Laughing at daddy.
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Baby’s first beach day!
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sandy-toes

beach

water

More sleepytime.
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April 4th, 2014 at 11:54 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Well, it only took two and a half months, but yesterday I finally got to meet my new nephew!

My sister and her fiancé got in yesterday morning and this is pretty much how I spent the entire day.

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And it was heaven.

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Smiles!
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He’s got this Florida thing down!
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Life’s rough.
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Those toes!! #omnomnom
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Needless to say, I did not get a whole lot done yesterday…and may not the rest of the week!

April 2nd, 2014 at 5:54 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

It’s March. It’s Madness. And my Gators have just danced their way into the elite eight for the fourth year in a row!

donovan.pngI’ve always admired and respected Florida’s head coach, Billy Donovan for the way he transformed the school’s basketball program into one of the country’s most dominating powerhouses. But I recently came across a story that profoundly deepened my respect for him off the court.

It actually involves Donovan and two other college basketball coaches — John Pelphrey, former head coach of Arkansas, and Alabama’s Anthony Grant — both of whom were assistant coaches under Donavan during Florida’s transformative years in the late 90s-early/mid 2000s (Pelphrey is currently back on Donovan’s coaching staff).

It’s not just a story about three basketball coaches. It’s a story of three men — three FATHERS — bonding over the loss of their unborn children and offering each other support over the years as those losses continue to be felt.

Jason King covered this story beautifully at The Post Game a few years ago. I’ll just offer some snippets here — from each father’s story — and encourage you to go read his whole, moving piece yourself.

“I lost the baby,” she finally whispered.

To this day, Donovan doesn’t know what was worse: The despair in Christine’s voice, or the pain — both mental and physical — he watched her endure when she was induced into labor that afternoon. Standing next to her hospital bed, Billy held Christine’s hand as she delivered their stillborn daughter.

“Hours earlier we were trick-or-treating with our kids,” Donovan says. “All of a sudden, our lives had completely changed.”

“I’m sitting there,” Donovan says, “and I look over at this church, and there’s a sign on the marquee that says, ‘God is Good All of the Time.’ I kind of shook my head and thought, ‘What’s good about this?’

“But then I sat there a little longer, and I said to myself, ‘I’ve got an incredible wife, and right now I’m going home to three healthy kids.’ A lot of times, when bad things happen in your life, you fail to remember all the good things that are in your life, too.

“At that moment, a calm came over me, a peace that made me realize that, although this was a terrible loss, I was still very, very blessed.”

“When you’re young, you think it’s easy to have a baby,” says Grant, who was 29 at the time. “Your wife gets pregnant and you assume there aren’t going to be any issues. Then something happens like what happens to us, and your whole world changes.”

The rupture in her placenta caused Christina Grant to bleed internally. Within minutes of losing Brandon, Grant feared he would lose his wife during labor. Christina made it through the procedure, but remained in the hospital for nearly a week.

“God doesn’t make mistakes,” Grant says. “All things work for the good. All things happen for a reason. Maybe what I went through enabled me to help Billy.”

“She looked awful,” (Pelphrey) says. “She looked dead. I literally thought I was going to lose both of them at the same time. Luckily, within a matter of minutes, they got her stabilized.”

Because it occurred in the middle of the night, Pelphrey didn’t call Donovan to tell him what had happened. But when he left the hospital around 6 a.m., he drove straight to his home. A day earlier he figured this would’ve been a celebratory moment. Instead, here he was, beginning the grieving process with one of his closest friends.

A few times each year, Billy Donovan and his family drive to the cemetery at Forest Meadows Funeral Home to visit Jacqueline. Christine almost always brings a rag and a bottle of Armor All.

Instead of cleaning just one headstone, she scrubs three.

Under the shade of a large pine tree, in graves about 50 yards away from the noise and traffic on NW 23rd Avenue, rest the children of three Division I head basketball coaches, three SEC competitors, three best friends forever bound by the most tragic of circumstances.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole thing. It will not disappoint. It is heartbreaking and incredibly beautiful at the same time.

March 28th, 2014 at 12:36 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

incarnation2.jpgThis is certainly not the first thing that comes to our mind when we think of the annunciation, but when Mary accepts the message of Gabriel, her fiat is a yes to God’s plan for her sexuality:

“Mary shows us how to accept the gift of our embodiedness, and this includes the God-given sex of the body. In this it is important to note that Mary’s exemplarity of what it means to accept the gift of one’s body means that the body is not an obstacle to overcome but, rather, a gift to be lived. Mary delights in her body, especially in its God-given sex: femininity. It is precisely in her gift of being a woman that Mary was fashioned and called by God to be the Theotokos [God-bearer]. The gift of her body is exactly what helps her to become the Theotokos. Just think of what would have happened if Mary had rebelled against the gift of her feminine body! We would be in a very different situation today” (Mary and the Theology of the Body, pp. 55-56).

Mary’s fiat marks the exact moment of the Incarnation, the Word Made Flesh. The basic thesis of JP II’s Theology of the Body is that

“The body in fact and only the body is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God, and thus to be a sign of it.” (TOB 19:4, Feb 20, 1980)

This became abundantly clear when Christ entered the world to make God visible to the whole human race. In the Incarnation the mystery of God has been revealed in human flesh. For in Christ, “the whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Says the pope:

“The fact that theology also includes the body should not astonish or surprise anyone who is conscious of the mystery and the reality of the Incarnation. Through the fact that the Word of God became flesh the body entered theology…through the main door” (TOB, 23:4 – April 2, 1980)

Vatican II tells us that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light and that Christ fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear (Gaudium et Spes, 22). What God becoming man reveals to us about our bodies is that they are more than just carnal realities. The human body is intimately united to the human spirit and this unity is meant to be a sign in the world of the hidden mystery of God.

There is a modern sort of dualism these days that suggests that human beings are essentially made up of two separate natures. We have a body and a soul and what we do with one doesn’t necessarily have to do with the other – mostly, what we do with our bodies isn’t nearly as important as our souls or who we are inside.

Case in point: a former priest friend of mine was having a conversation one day with a girl who described herself as an “exotic dancer.” When he asked her how she felt about men using her for their own selfish gratification, she said, “oh, they’re not using me, just my body.” In other words, her body and her stripping had nothing to do with who she was as a person.

But man is an incarnate spirit with one human nature. In his Letter to Families, JP II explains that man

“is a person in the unity of his body and his spirit. The body can never be reduced to mere matter: it is a spiritualized body, just as man’s spirit is so closely united to the body that he can be described as an embodied spirit”

Death may separate the body and soul, but this is not the be all and end all of human life. In just under a month, we will be celebrating the resurrection of the Word Made Flesh, whose conception we remember today. Christ’s Resurrection reminds us of the resurrection of our own bodies at the end of time in which our souls will once again dwell for all eternity!

There is a reason they say “actions speak louder than words.” That is because it is precisely our bodies and what we do with them that reveal “who we are on the inside” and much more!

March 25th, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

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Today is World Down Syndrome Day, a day to celebrate the lives of those who have an extra 21st chromosome and raise awareness about the “good news” about DS

This year, since I’ve written so much about this topic already, I thought I’d just offer a round-up of some of my favorite articles/posts over the years:

World Down Syndrome Day and the Cult of Normalcy

Todd Frazier’s “Best Friend and Greatest Batboy”

Prenatal Testing and Abortion, a History

Your Handicapped Child is a Blessing

Would You Say That to My Face?

Good News About Down Syndrome

What is “Normal”?

Teddy Kremer and the Reds: A Love Story

P.S. if you like the image at the top of this post, you can order a copy of it from Kerri Liles Photography. I’ve got one, myself. Just need to find a frame for it.

March 21st, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

designer-baby2.jpgWhat’s with society’s split personality when it comes to genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Milk from a cloned cow is unnatural and unsafe, but injecting a human being with stem cells from their own (dead) clone is positive scientific progress?

Why are we going to great lengths to regulate and raise awareness about the use of GMO in our food supply, while largely ignoring the genetic modification of human beings?

Rebecca Taylor and I discuss in the latest episode of BioTalk!

See also:
Genetic Modification: Bad for Cows and Corn, but Okay for Humans?
Genetically Modified Food: Bad; Genetically Modified Humans: Good

March 19th, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (1) | Permalink

Sport doesn’t care what your problem is:

This is a great promo from Samsung for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, which are still going on right now.
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Who says you can’t be just as active and athletic with a disability?

Yes, it takes a lot of hard work (does it not when you’re able bodied?). But, you’re only really “limited” by your own lack of imagination, determination and ingenuity.

Life with a disability is not as awful as you might think. Trust me.

Previously: Meet the 2012 Paralympians

March 14th, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Hard to believe it’s already been a year since I wrote this.

Happy anniversary, Papa!! And thank you for continuing to preach the Gospel of Life in word and deed.

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“[B]ear witness to and disseminate this ‘culture of life’ … remind all, through actions and words, that in all its phases and at any age, life is always sacred and always of quality. And not as a matter of faith, but of reason and science!” -Pope Francis to Catholic doctors.

‘Viva Papa Francesco!’

March 13th, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink