Saturday, May 21, 2011

Universal Pre-natal testing considered in France

My friends at the Lejeune Foundation in France are calling for all those who oppose the eugenic abortion of babies with trisomy 21 and live in France to sign a petition opposing this practice. France already has an abortion rate of 96% once Down syndrome is detected through pre-natal testing, universal testing would be catastrophic to this population and to human rights in general, setting off a possible chain reaction throughout Europe. Below is a translation of the original letter from the Foundation Lejeune.

On May 25 and 26 of this year, the National Assembly [the lower house in the French Parliament] will resume its debates and votes concerning the proposed bioethics law.  

If the deputies follow the recommendations of the Senate and the Special Committee on Bioethics, the pendulum will swing, in the next few days, and France will implement a policy of eugenics with regard to infants with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome.  

Because all of us are vulnerable and called to show solidarity with those who are a little more so, we cannot accept this or let it happen.  

Please act today by signing the petition that we will send to the legislators and by sending this message to everyone on your e-mail address list.

We thank every one of you for your irreplaceable support of this petition drive.  

 The Staff of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation

Because the legislators in both Houses of the French Parliament are currently debating the contents of the forthcoming bioethics law and are preparing to legalize systematic screening for Trisomy 21.  
Because 96% of the babies diagnosed before birth as having Trisomy 21 are eliminated, some of them as late as the ninth month of pregnancy.  Instead of expanding this search-and-destroy mission aimed at infants with Trisomy 21, we should instead take advantage of the future bioethics law to put a stop to the current trends!  
Because obliging the doctor to propose prenatal diagnosis to all expectant mothers would lead us from a de facto situation of eugenics to a legal system of eugenics that completely contradicts the Civil Code (art. 16-4).   
Because infants with Trisomy 21, like all of us, want to live, to love and to be loved.  
Because the degree to which a society is civilized is measured by its ability to protect its weakest members.
Because all of us are vulnerable and called to show solidarity with those who are a little more so.  
Because, with technological advances, it will very soon be possible to detect many other disorders or predispositions to diseases. The logic of search-and-destroy will be extended to an ever-increasing number of babies.  
Because by choosing to eliminate the sick instead of trying to cure their illnesses, science and medicine abandon their purpose and deny themselves.  

The purpose of this petition is to denounce the eugenicist ideology informing the bioethics law, which is clearly expressed by its intention to screen systematically for Trisomy 21, and to challenge our legislators concerning the blatant contradiction between the Civil Code and current eugenics practices.  

If your share our concern and our willingness to fight for greater respect for the lives of the most vulnerable, then sign this petition, which we will forward to the members of Parliament and to the French government.  

Life is the most important political issue for Man:  the members of Parliament, like the future candidates for the Presidency of the French Republic, cannot ignore this.  They must recognize the determination of the French electorate on this subject [and also realize that people of good will in other countries will be watching carefully how they deal with this latest threat to fundamental human rights].  

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Speaker Boehner's Catholic University Commencement address

President Garvey, thanks for the warm welcome.

I don’t know about you, but I began my day by counting my blessings…my wife, my two daughters, my 11 brothers and sisters, this great country of ours, and the privilege you have given me to address CUA’s Class of Two-Thousand-and-Eleven.

This university has stood over the years, and stands today, as the center of Catholic intellectual life in America. Now, I am a loyal alumnus of Xavier, another great Catholic university.

But being here today, with your new president, with Cardinal Wuerl, and all the distinguished faculty and trustees … let me say how impressed I am with the continued growth and success of this institution, and that I am truly humbled to take part in this ceremony.

Just two Sundays ago, I attended Mass here at the Basilica. Looking up, pondering the power and the glory of the Blessed Mother, I felt the tug of a memory…one from before Xavier…

I played football in high school. The Moeller High School football team was the Moeller Crusaders. And our coach, Gerry Faust, made sure we earned every bit of that name.

For him, there was no distinction between the spiritual life in the Church and the physical grind of the football field. He made no bones about it. He would tell us in no uncertain terms that life is a precious gift from God, and therefore making the most of one’s life is a direct form of devotion to the Virgin Mary.

He’d have the whole team kneel down and pray the Hail Mary before every meeting, every practice, and every game. Then we’d go out and smash heads with the other team for four quarters…all in the name of the Blessed Mother.

That gives you an idea of the kind of guy Coach Faust was, and still is. And it was the basis for a lesson he taught us, one I’ve been repeating ever since: “There’s nothing in life you can’t achieve if you’re willing to work hard enough and make the sacrifices necessary to succeed.”

Graduates, I truly believe that if you maintain that mindset, you can accomplish just about anything. After all, we live in America; a land of hope, opportunity and freedom, where you can be whatever you want to be. That would be an advantage each of you would have no matter which school you decided to attend.

But Catholic has prepared you in a way no other institution can. The focus of your development here has been getting you to grapple more with WHO you want to be than WHAT you want to be. You’ve been challenged to think rationally, and to use your heart and your conscience to guide your words and your actions. Let me tell you, there are no apps for these skills…

Of course, to whom much is given, much is expected. That’s why each of you must be willing to work hard and make the sacrifices necessary to succeed.

What does “hard work” and “sacrifice” entail?

First and foremost, humility. If you remember one word I’ve said today, it should be ‘humility.’

Growing up with 11 brothers and sisters, playing for Coach Faust, serving in the United States Congress, I’ve learned that no one who succeeds in life does it alone. You must be willing to lean on others, listen to others, and yes, love others.

Tony Snow, a great public servant and former White House press secretary who lost his life to cancer, stood at this lectern and told the class of 2007 that “to love is to acknowledge that life is not about you.”

“I want you to remember that,” he said, “It’s not about you. It’s a hard lesson, a lot of people go through life and never learn it. It’s to submit willingly, heart and soul, to things that matter.” Tony’s wisdom is timeless.

Recently, I was asked if there’s a special prayer I say before going into meetings with the president. Well, I always ask God for the courage and wisdom to do his will and not mine. Serving others – that’s not just how I lead in the Congress, it’s how I lead my life.

You’re also going to need some patience along the way too. Trust me on this.

I know that’s not a word you’d typically associate with an occasion wrapped in pomp, but patience is how we come closer to knowing God’s will. “In your patience possess you your souls,” according to Luke.

After Xavier, I ended up operating a small business, which got me more involved in my community. From there, I stumbled into politics. Certainly wasn’t something I imagined I would be doing when I was sitting where you are now. But again, it’s ‘WHO’ we want to be that helps determine ‘WHAT’ we want to be.

I came to Congress in 1991, and before long, found myself in the leadership ranks of my party. Being called a ‘rising star’ … that was heady stuff. But then, in the fall of 1998, I lost the support of my colleagues and my leadership post.

Now I would love to stand here and tell you I just shrugged it off and moved on, but that wouldn’t be true. The truth is that I was devastated. I wasn’t going to let anyone see me sweat, but I was down. Down … but never out.

Because “nobody,” Hemingway once wrote… “Nobody ever lives their life all the way up, except bullfighters.”

So I told my staff, we’re not going to talk our way back. We’re going to earn our way back. I was going to let my work speak for itself. I was going to be patient.

Of course, your humility and your patience are supported by your faith. In your journey through life, faith will be your constant partner – if you let it.

I’ve been back in the leadership ranks of my party now for more than five years. I knew what I was getting into. Like any other commitment you’ll make in life, it demands some soul-searching.

The morning of the leadership elections in 2006, I went to 7 am mass, and the question kept tugging at me: Am I sure I want to do this? Am I ready?

I struggled with this in my mind, asking the Blessed Mother for her guidance. Finding no answers.

Then, after having breakfast, my cell phone rang. It was a number I vaguely recognized. I picked it up. It was Coach Faust. Calling to wish me luck and tell me he knew I could do it.

Now I’ve never gotten a phone call from the Blessed Mother, and I don’t expect I ever will. But I gotta tell you, that was pretty darned close.

You know, a journalist once asked Mother Teresa how she persevered in the face of all the despair she had seen. Mother replied, “God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.”

Over the years, I’ve carried in my heart a similar code my parents taught me: you do the right thing for the right reasons, and good things will happen.

So there you have it: humility, patience, and faith – the raw material of hard work and sacrifice. They will take you as far as you want to go.

Graduates, these are just some of my life’s lessons. You’ll learn some of your own, and when you do, don’t wait to share them. The days go slow, but the years go fast. Your parents know what I’m talking about.

One more thing, just a favor I’d like to ask: by all means, take your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

Looking back on his life, the great Irish writer Frank McCourt said if he could travel back and visit his twenty-something self, he’d take him out for a steak, a potato, and a pint. “I’d give myself a good talking to,” he wrote. “Straighten up, throw back those shoulders, and stop mumbling.”

To that, I’d only add: just relax, and be on time.

I began here by reflecting on my blessings, on all the things for which I’m thankful. But you may have noticed something about my list. The good things in life aren’t things. They are people. They are values. They are our birthrights.

For when it’s all said and done, we are but mere mortals doing God’s work here on Earth. Put a better way – no, put the best way: remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

All right, off you go. Good luck, God bless, and congratulations to all.

Beautifully and humbly spoken. I hope the graduates put these wise words into practice, if so, they will achieve their goals, find lifelong love and a heavenly reward with Jesus and Mary.
. Speaker Boehner is a true Catholic leader. God bless him.

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Republicans get Catholic Social Justice Right

Congressman Boehner was roundly criticized by Catholic professors at Catholic University for not caring about the poor. Why?Mostly because he is a Republican and they have bought the lie that only Democrats and their big government programs can help the poor.
Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings. From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.
Listen to the video clip below of Senator Rick Santorum at 9:25 in this Town Hall Meeting in New Hampshire and you will hear a Catholic articulate how to help poor children out of poverty effectively while respecting their emotional and spiritual needs to grow up in two parent families. Support traditional marriage and you support the welfare of children. Support big government programs and you help break up families. Statistics bear this out time after time, and I saw it in my career as a social worker. The families who were once middle class, after a divorce, the dad takes off to hide his income from the court,  while the wife is stuck renting someone's basement with her children and trying to get the education she put off to help the man further his career. Or the generations of welfare families where marriage was never part of the equation. Studies show that having children out of wedlock is THE surest way to live in poverty, yet when President Bush tried to encourage marriage the ACLU was in full cry to stop him from trampling on civil rights. What about the right of child to a mommy and a daddy who love him? If Catholics don't stand up for that who will?
 I read Rick Santorum's book "It Takes a Family" (by the way its enormously popular at the bookstore at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, on Catholic University campus, but I'd bet none of the 72 liberal professors have taken the time to read it) This book is packed with practical, tested solutions to social problems like poverty within true Catholic social teaching. Santorum undertands what these professors don't, the concept of subsidiarity, which means that the lowest possible level of government should govern us. For example a local school board is more in touch with its community and should make most of the decisions for the schools in a given town, not some bureaucrat in DC at the NEA.
 The Catholic Church is the world's largest Social Service agency yet it has always worked on the local level. I was a social worker at Catholic Charities, when they decided to move from the diocesan social service offices to Parish Outreach, a local social service office located in each parish. It was a great idea, and enables the Church to better help the poor. Republicans have backed poverty solutions like the enormously successful welfare reform bill reluctantly signed into law by Bill Clinton. Now Clinton brags about it. Why? Because it was the single biggest catalyst to get single moms off the rolls and into the workforce in American history.

Republicans also support tax credits and opportunity scholarships that help poor children attend the same private schools that President Obama's children attend. Why doesn't Obama send his daughters to DC public schools? Because he knows better. Then why did he dismantle the DC Opportunity Scholarship program, closing the door to the  same opportunity to poor blacks that his girls have? Thank God Boehner fought to reinstate that program, amid loud protests from DC's black mayor Vincent Gray who, like Obama cares more about the teacher's union than their students. His protests were apalling, he was willing to go to jail over revoking scholarships and reinstating abortion subsidies of poor women. He like many Democrats, has his priorities backwards. We should strengthen traditional families, let them keep their babies and send their children to the best schools. This will eliminate many of the problems of their drug, gang, crime infested neighborhoods by giving young children proper role models who teach them what goals are and how to achieve them.
We need to question Democrats who call themselves Catholic on these issues, and discern with whom their loyalties lie. I would bet they support teacher's unions and federal employees unions over the very poor they serve, but they must be educated to realize this. And the poor are educated to think of Democrats as their friends and Republicans as selfish, racist, and materialistic.Rick Santorum is way ahead of the pack on this issue and seems to be resonating with the grassroots as well, wining the South Carolina Republican primary voters straw poll. No Republican candidate has won the nomination without winning South Carolina.

Conversation With Rick Santorum: Web Extra - Video - WMUR Manchester

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why I support Rick Santorum for president

Call me lazy but once in a while an article is so well written and throughly in sinc with your point of view all you can do is agree. Kudos Deacon Keith Fournier on this magnificent article on why Rick Santorum won the SC presidential debate and why he should be the Catholic candidate.
If for nothing else his stalwart defense of life and traditional marriage. Those are the non-negotiables of our Faith, everything else is subject to compromise.
He spoke with passion that day, confronting the empty words of an opponent defending the brutal procedure. Pointing to a picture of a baby being delivered he proclaimed "This is a baby Senator!" At that very moment a baby cried, filling the chamber with the sounds of life and delivering the most poignant defense of the truth about life I have ever heard. I will never forget the moment. His stalwart defense of life has only improved with age. So too have his skills as a communicator. His defense of marriage and the family and society founded upon it has been coherent and consistent. His unapologetic defense of the moral basis of a truly free society has been refreshing.
Read the entire article here.
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Vatican blogger conference evokes strong reactions

In his opening remarks, the Vatican’s top spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, conceded that he himself was not a blogger but that his life has “changed” since he started receiving an “informal” digest of Catholic blogs every morning.
Lombardi said the Vatican will launch a multimedia news portal ( in the coming months to harness the potential of expanding social networks. Catholic bloggers, he added, are influential because they give voice to “the public opinion in the Church.”
Vatican correspondent and blogger Paolo Rodari wrote that an “important Vatican personality” told him during the meeting that “some bloggers’ views” have a great impact on the appointment of bishops.

Read more:

I was proud of the Vatican's awareness of the impact of the Catholic blogosphere and desire to engage in a conversation. I will confess, I have been struggling with the fact that I am not considered important enough to join the conversation, but have been praying the Litany of Humility to deal with my hurt feelings. It was only my pride reacting.  I had neither the funds nor the time to attend such a gathering, heck I don't even have the funds to get a passport at this time.Maybe at a later date when my children are older and I am making money as a writer there will be another opportunity.
 However,  that didn't stop my heart from beating wildly when I received, by accident an email invitation in Italian to cover the beatification in Spanish for Twitter. The Vatican official who mistakenly told me to meet someone in the Circus Maximus and the equipment being made available for my use realized his error within a few hours and politely asked pardon. It was a fun few hours. No I didn't start packing!
I have been watching those whom I had the pleasure of meeting last summer, Lisa Hendey, Pat Gohn, Tom Wehner, Kathy Schiffer, Fr Roderick, Elizabeth Scalia, and reading their reactions to the events. I was dismayed when I read that there was a minor scuffle between users of Blogger and Wordpress platforms(children REALLY!), which was resolved by an actual NOT virtual tug-of-war. I was heartened to learn that the dialogue will continue. I hope to join it.
I submitted the comment below after reading the Beliefnet article where complaints are made about the tone of some Catholic bloggers.
Forgive us, we Catholic bloggers have spent decades being told to be quiet and when our voices are finally released, they can be a bit harsh. Look at what we are saying, not how we say it.
When Jesus was harsh in the Temple, He was chastising religious leaders who were more interested in position and power than the souls of their flock. We follow His example by defending Church teaching, often against Church leaders, causing them pain.
Maybe those in power could stand to take some of our ranting to heart. Painful as it is, examination of conscience is the first step to repentance. When the Catholic establishment sponsor events such as featuring pro-abortion speakers at Catholic institutions (Obama at Notre Dame) and arrest good Catholics who protest, we will make a stir. Loudly.
We were heard, and those arrested have had the charges dropped.
The Catholic blogosphere has done the Church a favor.

Read the entire Beliefnet article here.
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Monday, May 02, 2011

My debut on "Faith and Culture" is coming on June 5 and 9

Eileen Haupt the co-founder of KIDS (Keeping Infants with Down Syndrome) and I taped an episode of one of Colleen Carroll Campbell's show "Faith and Culture" which will be aired on Sunday June 5 at 10:30 AM and on Wednesday June 8  at 11:00 PM on EWTN.
 If you don't get EWTN you can live stream it on the internet at those times or watch archived shows by going to EWTN or Colleen Carroll Campbell's website.
Hope you can tune in. Leave a comment and tell us how we did!

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