We all know that porn can effect someone mentally and emotionally (not to mention spiritually), but it turns out, unlimited access to pornography is having some adverse physical side-effects on young men, as well. An eye-opening TED talk from Gary Wilson:
This is a serious issue. According to some statistics, the average age at which a child first sees porn online is 11 with 90 percent of children ages 8-16 having viewed pornography online!
If you’re looking for a good internet filter for your family (or one just to keep yourself safe) check out CovenantEyes.com
Last Thursday’s two-run homer by Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier was one of the most heartwarming moments of this MLB season so far.
To quote Wesley Smith: “The pernicious search and destroy mission to wipe people with Down off of the planet through eugenic abortion is taking so much love out of the world.” Just look at the pure, genuine & beautiful happiness on both Teddy’s and Todd’s faces and tell me Teddy should never have been born. I dare you. (click each image for a larger version)
Read more about Teddy here.
Also, in case you missed it the first time around, I republished my article, Would You Say That to My Face? Over at Ignitum Today last week:
Whether you mean to say it or not, advocating for abortion for unborn children with various diseases and disabilities in an effort to “spare them a life of suffering” (among other things) suggests that one must be perfect in mind and body in order to have a fulfilling life, which sends a message to those of us poor fools living with disabilities outside the womb that you do not think that our lives are worth living.
Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. In fact, there’s a good chance that it will only get worse. Mike Sullivan of Saving Downs reminds us of the two bioethicists who wrote a paper last year arguing in favor of infanticide for babies with Down syndrome.
They recently revisited their argument in a blog post at Dissertation Reviews expressing surprise that the obviously ignorant Down syndrome community opposes their agenda of eugenics and infanticide: “How should academics communicate and spread the results of their research among the lay public? And how should the media report and disseminate the results of academic reflection on bioethics?” They asked.
Some may not see an obscure little paper in an academic journal that most people will never see as something to be very concerned about. But, recall that Hitler and the Nazis were inspired by a pre-existing eugenics movement propagated mostly by German doctors and professors. An important thing to keep in mind as mainstream academia becomes increasingly more comfortable suggesting that people with disabilities, young and old, should be put out of their own and everyone else’s misery.
For a few weeks now, many people have been asking why there has been insufficient coverage of the trial of “House of Horrors” abortionist Kermitt Gosnell by the “liberal media.” The obvious conclusion is that they want to protect abortion rights, but, as Daniel Greenfield notes, this is not just a story about abortion.
The issue isn’t as simple as Pro-Choice. Abortion is just the conclusion of the sordid package of social liberalism. The package begins with sex ed, complete with the obligatory LGBT mentions, runs through national STD infestations, hookup culture, single parenthood and packs of young men and women recreating the mistakes of the parents they never had and then flushing those mistakes down the toilet before settling down with three kids, by different fathers who are never around, and a package of subsidies from the welfare state administered by social workers who have seen it all.
It’s not a story about abortion. It’s a story about what happens when you replace the family with free love that turns out to be neither free nor love. Like teaching first graders sex ed or handing out condoms on the street, abortion is one of the ways that the liberal state tries to limit the fallout from its destruction of the family.
Read more. His assessment is a little depressing, but accurate. Abortion does not exist in a vacuum. In a similar way, Catholic Vote blogger Steve Skojec explains how the horror of the Gosnell situation (and others like him) are the result of our “collective, national obsession with sex.”
It starts by disassociating sex from procreation through contraception. Whereas marriage as a social institution was once predicated upon the idea of family-building, providing a stable environment for the raising of those children that were considered the proper fruit of the conjugal act, there is now only state-sanctioned sex, accompanied by a handful of legal rights. Of course, many have wised up to the fact that the commitment of marriage is overrated if they can just as easily have sex in whatever adult, consensual arrangement they wish to enter into. Freed of the stigma of out-of-wedlock birth, sex has shrugged off its social taboos that once confined it to marriage. Fornication is the new normal. Virginity before marriage is increasingly considered cause for pity, even scorn.
If consequence-free sex is the norm, there are bound to be…consequences. Abortion and sex are inextricably related. You don’t have the former without the latter. What happens when, despite our best application of scientific barriers to conception, nature still finds a way? What happens when, horror of horrors, a girl actually gets pregnant? We don’t want them “punished with a baby,” do we? Let’s not kid ourselves: once we are accustomed to looking at people as objects, it’s a whole lot easier to kill them.
This is how we arrive at the present moment. This is how we have come to Gosnell, and a media unwilling to talk about the nauseating evil he was capable of.
Both Greenfield and Skojec echo what I said last week:
In order to have lasting change we must also work to build a culture that, on top of respecting the unborn child, also respects the act through which children are created and preserves the institution designed by nature to love and protect them and give them the best future possible.
A few quick thoughts based on what I’ve heard from some young, self proclaimed Catholic pro-life advocates as the Supreme Court heard a few landmark cases involving same-sex marriage. Namely, pledging their support for “marriage equality” and, when pressed, suggesting that it does not and should not have anything to do with abortion or the pro-life movement.
First of all, I welcome everyone who cares about the lives of the unborn and wants to join the fight against evil of abortion. And I appreciate all of your efforts.
If you fail to see the connection between abortion and sexual immorality/the breakdown of the (traditional) family, then you are missing a HUGE piece of the culture of death puzzle.
As longtime readers have heard me say many times, people did not wake up one day and decide that they had a right to kill their own offspring. But they did progressively decide that it was their right to have meaningless sex without limit or consequence.
It is no mere coincidence that Roe v. Wade came after the lesser known Griswold v. Connecticut, overturning a CT law banning the use of contraception, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Yeah, but what does same-sex marriage have to do with this, you ask?
Divorcing procreation from the marital act is what got us into this mess in the first place, so accepting and affirming a ‘sexual’ relationship through which procreation is, by its very nature (this is key), impossible certainly doesn’t help things. Indeed, it can only serve to make them worse.
It’s not enough just to save babies, change laws and shut down abortion facilities. All of that is essential and good, of course, but abortion is a symptom of a much wider societal problem. According to the The Guttmacher Institute, 85% of women who opt for abortion are unmarried. The community most afflicted by abortion, African-Americans, is also the community that suffers the lowest marriage rate.
That’s not all. We’re also getting to the point where nearly half of the children born in the United States today are born to unwed mothers. While it’s certainly preferable that these women choose life for their unborn children, we can’t overlook the fact that this situation is not only not ideal, but it puts these children at a significant disadvantage, financially, emotionally, socially and it’s having a seriously negative affect on our society as a whole.
In order to have lasting change we must also work to build a culture that, on top of respecting the unborn child, also respects the act through which she’s created and preserves the institution designed by nature to love and protect her and give her the best future possible.
One other thing.
I have also seen some people actually trying to pass off making same-sex ‘marriage’ legal and legitimate as “pro-life” because it would make gay adoption easier and, after all, “every child deserves a loving home.” I see their logic, but homosexual couples aren’t all just adopting homeless children. An increasing number of them are turning to third-party reproduction to have children, which is, for both homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, an abuse of human rights that I believe should be a larger priority for the pro-life movement as a whole.
And then, of course, there’s this nonsense that was introduced in California recently. The comparison between same-sex marriage/relationships to infertile heterosexual ones is ludicrous. Not all infertilities are equal.
In his encyclical Fides et Ratio, John Paul II said that “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” Likewise, life and marriage cannot, must not be separated for they are the glasses through which we get a glimpse of the resurrection and the fullness of eternal life.
So, you’ve decided that you definitely do not want what the world has to offer in terms of sex. You’ve even read (or read about) and embraced John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Now what?
Let’s face it, as beautiful and inspiring as the TOB is, it can seem a bit intimidating — like a lot to live up to. And, while it all sounds good in theory, it’s really hard to imagine how this can be possible in real life, especially if our image of sex has already been tainted by popular culture or our own past experience.
Last year I shared Trista’s brave, honest article about the anxiety she sometimes felt when she thought about her potential wedding night (this is now her inevitable wedding night as she has since gotten engaged — CONGRATULATIONS!!).
Recently I came across a post on Stephanie Calis’ Captive the Heart blog with advice to ease our fears about this kind of intimacy:
It seems to me that among our generation, there’s plenty of talk about sex in a general sense, both in the Church and in the culture, but not a lot of discussion about, well, the nitty gritty of lovin’. I’ve stumbled across a few Catholic sex blogs here and there, with well-intentioned advice, yet in my opinion (and it’s just my opinion, mind you), they leave something to be desired. They sometimes link to sources that are problematic or not credible, and the tone can strike me as lofty and elevated at a time when just getting real might be more effective.
Read more for her helpful suggestions.
Be not afraid! Believe me, I’m speaking as much to myself here as to anyone else (and, yes, in case you’ve ever wondered, but were afraid to ask, people with spinal cord in juries can still have sex…and babies.)
The Sepulchre by Dan Burr
I really love this painting I came across over the weekend that goes perfectly with yesterday’s Gospel reading:
On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. (Jn 20:1-9)
I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Don’t forget. The celebration isn’t over yet! Let’s remember to keep the joy and excitement of the Resurrection alive for the next 50 days.
Hey, where are you going? It’s not Easter, yet.
“Stay a while. Do not hurry by the cross on your way to Easter joy, for we know the risen Lord only through Christ and him crucified.” (Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon).
image: The Lamentation, Peter Paul Rubens c. 1609
Jason Hall reminds us that, “It is common, and entirely appropriate, for us to see our own spiritual defeats and victories as little Good Fridays and Easter Sundays…The truth of the matter, however, is that we spend much of our lives living little Holy Saturdays.”
We all have a tendency to become impatient in times of trial. To want to get our Good Fridays over with and rush to Easter Sunday. But the Cross, as, again, Fr. Neuhaus said, is the “path of discipleship for those who follow the risen Lord.” St. Therese notes that,
“for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He works no miracles before having tried their faith. Did He not allow Lazarus to die even after Martha and Mary told Him he was sick (John 11:3)? At the wedding of Cana when the Blessed Virgin asked Jesus to come to the help of the head of the house, didn’t He answer her that His hour had not yet come (John 2:4)? But after the trial what a reward! The water was changed into wine…Lazarus was raised from the dead!” (Story of a Soul, p. 142)
Sometimes it is necessary for us to remain in the dark for a while in order to finally be able to see and appreciate the Light.
“Take up your cross and follow me,” says the Lord, “in the world you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).” Just as Christ was “made perfect” by what he suffered and was able to Rise again and be seated at God’s right hand, so shall we be sanctified through our own sufferings united to the Cross of Christ, and share in His eternal glory in heaven.
So, as we prepare for tomorrow’s great Feast (I’ve got a beautiful beef roast marinating for a delicious Easter sauerbraten), let’s not move on from the Cross, just yet. Let’s spend some time with our Sorrowful Mother, who was dedicated to us and us to her at the foot of the Cross, and learn to have patience with the Lord when he does not immediately (or ever in this life) take away our pain. For:
“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7
I quoted this last week, but it goes very well with the events we are celebrating this weekend:
“The messiah has consented to a way of limitation, of embodiment that can be bound, injured and killed as the way to define ‘the man.’
“When we see or experience limitation, even impairment, we should not think, ‘behold, the monster,’ but rather ‘behold, the man’ (John 19:5). The incarnation of Christ and his passion is the ‘norm,’ not anything defined by the cult of normalcy.” (Susan Windley-Daous, The Theology of the Body, Extended
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, posting has been incredibly light here this week. I’ve been slowly making the transition to editor-in-chief over at Catholic Lane and trying to keep up with all the information my predecessor has been passing along to me. Hope you’re hanging in there with me.
Wishing you all abundant blessings this Holy season.
Last week I shared with readers of Ignitum Today the wonderful work Comunita Cenacolo does for people who struggle with addictions of all kinds.
A lot of the article comes from my many previous writings about Cenacolo here. This time, though, I also included some comments from a friend of mine who graciously shared with me her experience with the community:
I can’t speak from any personal experience, so I spoke with my friend Kim who has had three younger siblings enter the Community. ”Before my siblings entered community,” says Kim, “it was extremely hard and painful. I really feared for their lives on numerous occasions.” Desperate to get them help, they had tried conventional forms of rehab and other accommodations to no avail. Then, her father heard about Cenacolo from a parish priest who had helped another family get their son into Community.
“My dad began meeting with the other family to learn more about Cenacolo.” After several meetings, says Kim, he knew Cenacolo was the right place to turn to. Since then, “the community has changed them and my family so much.” The main change, obviously, being an increase in their faith.
Their family has been helped, too, Kim says, through the family retreats, the fall festival and the monthly first Saturday meetings that allow them to walk with their family member(s) in community. “At the first Saturday meetings, we discuss a topic that makes us reflect on our lives. It may be about our selfishness, our anger, forgiveness, etc. We are usually asked to make commitments at the meeting to better ourselves, ie, go to adoration, practice humility.”
To those who are going through something similar in their family, Kim says not to lose hope. “I’ve seen what God’s grace can do. Also, don’t be afraid to push them to do something they don’t want to do.’
Once again, If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, do not hesitate. Give the Community a call to see if they can help. It is free for all who enter and there are houses for both men and women. They focus not just get people off drugs, but helping them find true peace and freedom that comes only from a life in Christ and giving them the tools to deal with their defects when they re-enter the world and all its temptations. This is the kind of healing that needs to take place in order to truly build up a culture of life!
This video is in German, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of what life is like in community:
Please click here to read more about this community and how you can contact them.
World Down Syndrome Day was this week. To celebrate, the IDSC put together a lovely video showing how those with Down syndrome are human beings just like you and me:
Of course I don’t have to remind you of the gruesome fate that awaits most of these beautiful people who are diagnosed before they are born. As the cult of normalcy continues to assert its power over the weak, deciding who gets to live and who must die based on its own arbitrary utilitarian standards, we would all do well to take a moment and ask ourselves, “What, exactly, is normal, anyway?”
Lately I’ve been reading an advanced copy of Susan Windley-Daoust’s forthcoming book The Theology of the Body, Extended, specifically her chapter on “The Theology of the Impaired Body.” In this chapter she reminds us that
“disability, after all, is an “open minority,” one we will all join someday if we are not there already, because human beings are limited and those limits will be felt. If nothing else, we age into limitations of expected function. Most people experience illness and some form of impairment, at least temporarily…The witness that human beings are limited is as old as the book of Genesis. The very creation of human beings makes it clear that human beings are creatures of time and space, as opposed to God, who is Creator…We have a span: we are conceived, and we die. The soul is immortal and the body destined for resurrection and transformation. But we are creaturely. That means we have limits. Human beings are, by definition, limited.
She notes that the label of disability evokes two images: the angelic sufferer and the misbegotten monster. The first category’s “sentimental untruthfulness” she says, “causes squirming.” The latter, however, is where we see the very worst of how human beings treat each other. She goes on to explain how people being judged to “miss the mark of ‘normal’” leads to disastrous consequences — citing the gruesome reality of how children with disabilities are treated in some European countries and warning:
“Before we muster patriotic, American outrage, let’s remember that the expected American response, if the disability is known before birth, is to abort the child. In terms of accepting people with disabilities, we are arguably no better.”
Then she does a masterful job of going deep into the history of the eugenics movement of the late 19th, early 20th century focusing not just on Europe, where this movement was brought to its natural and horrific conclusion, but also spending a great deal of time, once again, on how eugenic thought and practices were common and widespread throughout the United States. Something that is often forgotten when we think about the history of eugenics.
I hope her book gets published for this chapter alone. I’m still not finished with it, yet, but I love what I’ve read so far. I especially like how she manages to bring all this back to God and the way He defines what it means to be human — specifically in the person of Jesus Christ:
“The messiah has consented to a way of limitation, of embodiment that can be bound, injured and killed as the way to define ‘the man.’
“When we see or experience limitation, even impairment, we should not think, ‘behold, the monster,’ but rather ‘behold, the man’ (John 19:5). The incarnation of Christ and his passion is the ‘norm,’ not anything defined by the cult of normalcy.”