Thursday, December 31, 2009

Concerns about Islam: Part 3

Disclaimer to protect myself from Human Rights Commissions (normal people need not read this paragraph):  I hereby solemnly declare that I do not harbour any hatred or anger towards any religion or religious group, especially not Islam or Muslims.  I do not advocate any form of violence, hatred or discrimination against Muslims.  I am simply concerned by the statements made by Muslims themselves to the effect that they support terrorist acts.  I am therefore exploring the implications of their position on the public good of Canadians and the world.

In the second article of this series, we saw that a large proportion of Muslims living in European countries support terrorist acts.  But Muslims are only a small part of the population, right?  Wrong.  In the four countries we examined, the Muslims supporting terrorist acts totalled more than 2.1 million people.  And that was just four countries.

The situation will become more preoccupying in the future due to demographics.  The vast majority of immigrants into Europe are Muslims.  Muslims already living in Europe are having way more children than other groups.  So the share of the population represented by Muslims is growing rapidly.

I used to be concerned about the USSR being a threat to world peace, but they disintegrated.  While Russia is still unstable, I'm not all that worried. 

I also used to think that China was a big threat to world peace.  They're still communist and have nukes too.  They are also growing very rich and influential.  But China's history has generally not involved invading neighbouring countries.  They have been relatively peaceful in that sense and their current ambitions

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shooting at Fort Hood raises fresh questions about Muslims: Part 2

Disclaimer to protect myself from Human Rights Commissions (normal people need not read this paragraph):  I hereby solemnly declare that I do not harbour any hatred or anger towards any religion or religious group, especially not Islam or Muslims.  I do not advocate any form of violence, hatred or discrimination against Muslims.  I am simply concerned by the statements made by Muslims themselves to the effect that they support terrorist acts.  I am therefore exploring the implications of their position on the public good of Canadians and the world.

In part 1 of this series, I presented the result of an opinion survey conducted among Muslims living in the U.S.  The results showed that 13% of Muslims living in America, or approximately 305,500 people, support the use of suicide bombings and other violence against civilians.  Among those under 30 years old, support for such attacks on civilians was 26%.  That's very disturbing.  I'm sure it causes many a sleepless night for law-enforcement officials in the U.S.

Today I will be presenting further survey results conducted in other countries.  They are even scarier. 

You may be aware that Muslims represent a larger share of the populatoin in European countries than here in North America.  The Pew Research Center, the same group that did the aforementioned study for the U.S., also conducted surveys in major four European nations in a report published in June 2006. They asked the same quesiton as in the U.S. study, i.e. whether it was ever justified to conduct suicide bombings or other attacks against civilian targets. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas terrorist attack: a real miracle

Disclaimer to protect myself from Human Rights Commissions (normal people need not read this paragraph):  I hereby solemnly declare that I do not harbour any hatred or anger towards any religion or religious group, especially not Islam or Muslims.  I do not advocate any form of violence, hatred or discrimination against Muslims.  I am simply concerned by the statements made by Muslims themselves to the effect that they support terrorist acts.  I am therefore exploring the implications of their position on the public good of Canadians and the world.

By now, most of you have heard about the despicable failed terrorist attack that a man tried to perpetrate against the American people on Christmas Day.  You won't find me running for cover behind politically correct platitudes.  I'll call a spade a spade:  he was a Muslim terrorist.  Period.

Here's a brief summary of the key facts:
  • A man named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boards a plane in Nigeria en route for Detroit.  He's carrying explosives, but nobody seems to detect them.
  • The plane makes a stop-over in Amsterdam.  Nobody notices the explosives.
  • As the plane is approaching Detroit, the man tries to detonate his explosives, which were strapped to his body.
  • The chemicals did not explode but rather caught fire, which severely burned the terrorist but didn't do much other damage­.
  • The man is now under arrest and claims that he was sent by al-Qaida.
I think this is a real Christmas miracle.  The guy had succeeded in circumventing all the security checks and inspections.  Although his name had been put on an international watch list by his father one month earlier because his dad thought that his son had gotten to extreme in his religious views (kudos to the dad), somehow that didn't show up on the computer screen when he checked in.  He had flown on two planes for many hours without anybody noticing a thing. He was home free.  He even managed to pull the trigger, so to speak, to detonate the bomb.  Somewhere in his distorted extremist mind, he must have been filled with some whack-job glee, exhilaration and pride of a job well done.  Yet the bomb didn't blow because God didn't let it happen.  Praise God!

God doesn't prevent every evil, as we've witnessed so often in our lives, not the least of which was the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  Why does God allow evil?  Because He intends on making an even greater good come from it.  Remember that God doesn't sit in an ivory tower watching us suffer.  The stepped up to the plate Himself and let us crucify Him.  He suffered evil too.  In fact, it was the greatest evil of all time:  deicide, the killing of God in His human nature.  Yet He brought the greatest good out of it: salvation for all humanity.  The pattern is repeated in our lives.

Somebody once wrote:  "All men are born to live; one man was born to die."  As we look at Christ in the creche during this Christmas time, it is worthwhile to remember that religious artists over the centuries have often painted the birth of our Lord with a crucifix hanging in the manger.  In other cases, the baby Jesus is wrapped in burial clothes (see right).  This is precisely to illustrate the key part of His mission on Earth.

Nothing has changed in 2,000 years.  God still allows suffering in some circumstances because He's capable of making a greater good come from it, as long as we cooperate with His plan.  We might never see that good.  In fact, most of the time we don't see it.  It can frequently take the form of grace brought down from Heaven thanks to someone patiently offering up their suffering.  This is extremely powerful.  Countless souls can be given the grace of repentance and conversion if you offer up your sufferings patiently in order to obtain grace.  Don't let your suffering go to waste. 

Follow St. Paul's example:  "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church." (Col 1:24)  Many Protestants don't understand this verse.  What could possibly be lacking in Christ's suffering?  Catholics and Protestants agree that Christ's sufferings were more than sufficient and complete to expiate the sins of the whole world.  So what's missing?  Our sufferings are missing.  If you read the Bible, you'll realize that God doesn't want to carry out His will unilaterally.  He makes us partipants and cooperators in His plan of salvation.  Consider:
  • Christ is the true King of kings.  Yet, Christians are called a "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9) and are promised that they will reign with Christ (2 Tim 2:12).  So He lets us participate in His royalty and priesthood.
  • Christ is the true Teacher.  Yet, through the Holy Spirit, many Christians are given the gift of teaching in order to build up the bretheren (Eph 4:11).
  • Christ is the true mediator and advocate before the Father on behalf of humanity.  Yet, Christ mandates Christians to pray for one another and promises to hear our prayers (Matt 7:7-11; Matt 18:19; Matt 21:22).  We therefore participate in this role of mediator/advocate.  He goes as far as to make some grace conditonal on our efforts (Gal 6:9; James 4:3)
  • Likewise, Christ is the Holy Redeemer of mankind through His Cross.  But he asks us to cooperate in the redemption by uniting our suffering to His in order to bring down grace. That's the meaning of Colossians 1:24.  So please play your part!
Also keep in mind that God is still busy preventing lots of evil from occurring.  You never hear about those instances because they never happened.  You might have died in a car crash a couple of years ago, but God prevented it from happening so you never noticed. 

This past Christmas Day, we learned of one such instance where God prevented it.  Let us give thanks to Him. 


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CCCB pro-life promises: taking stock after 2 months

As I reported in an earlier post, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) made some commitments at the end of the Plenary Assembly, on October 23rd, to be more active in promoting a respect for life.  That's great news.  This is badly needed.

It has now been two months since that commitment.  So far, we haven't seen any action.  But there was some movement.  Kinda.  On December 9th, the Permanent Council of the CCCB appointed three bishops to an ad hoc Committee on Life and Family.  The three bishops are CCCB Vice President Archbishop Richard Smith (Edmonton), Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro (London) and Auxiliary Bishop Gérald C. Lacroix (Quebec City).  The CCCB had this to say about the Committee in a press release:

Its mandate is to develop an intermediate and long-term strategy for the promotion of a culture of life and family in Canada and to submit a proposal to the Permanent Council before the 2010 Plenary.

This is somewhat underwhelming. There are a few disturbing issues about this approach:
  • Sadly, the solution requires another committee.  More bureaucracy, I'm afraid.  I can't say that I'm surprised, however. 
  • The Committee will submit a proposal before the 2010 Plenary.  They're not implementing the strategy by the 2010 Plenary.  Just formulating a proposal.  The 2010 Plenary is likely to be held in the fall of 2010.  The bishops will likely discuss the proposal at that time, maybe make some amendments and, if we're lucky, give the go-ahead to the actual launch of the strategy, which may not be visible to ordinary

Father John Corapi's take on the Winnipeg Statement

In 2001, Father John Corapi, one of the best preachers of our time, gave a series of lectures in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  I really love Fr. Corapi.  He's right-on when it comes to Church teaching.  No wishy-washy-ness here. And he's so blunt.  He preaches the plain truth.  No sugar-coating.

During one of his lectures in Winnipeg, he spoke out boldly regarding the Winnipeg Statement, that infamous

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vatican paves way for canonization of Brother André

On December 19, the Vatican approved miracles allowing for the canonization of five people and the beatification of five others.

One of the five people named by the Vatican is Blessed Brother André Bessette, the humble man who founded St. Joseph's Oratory. 

I was born and raised in Montréal. After a number of years of apathy, I returned to the Faith thanks to St. Joseph's Oratory, where I found the healing power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Thereafter, I went to Mass regularly  at St. Joseph's for several years. That's when I got to know Brother André. I read a biography and was amazed at his simplicity and incredible faith. Many writers compared him to the Curé d'Ars.

So it brings me joy and peace to hear that Brother André is now on the verge of being canonized. Praise be to God!

Blessed Brother André, pray for us!


Abortion's dirty secrets

Almost two years ago, a Spanish TV network called Intereconomia TV broadcast an investigative report that showed an undercover reporter posing as a physician in order to infiltrate an abortion clinic in Spain.

The video revealed illegal practices in the clinic. It also illustrated the gory reality of how abortion is the killing of a small human being. The video contained graphic images of live abortions.

The original report was only available in Spanish. However, my parents and I combined our efforts to produce a version with English subtitles.

Regardless of your position on abortion, the video below is a must-see. It's a real eye-opener.

WARNING: The video contains images of female genitals.  This video may not be suitable for minors. Viewer discretion is advised.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How Wikipedia was hijacked to promote global warming hoax

Read this very insightful article by Lawrence Solomon of the National Post.  The emails that were released as part of ClimateGate continue to reveal more disgusting misinformation being perpetrated by so-called "scientists" in order to trick the world into accepting the theory of man-made global warming.  In this article, you'll learn about one "scientist" who re-wrote and deleted thousands of articles on Wikipedia in order to re-write climate history in a manner that was in accordance with the global warming hoax.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

H1N1: Going, going, gone!

According to the latest statistics published by the Public Health Agency of Canada, H1N1 is almost a thing of the past.  The number of reported outbreaks has crashed faster than the stock market last year.  During the latest week for which data are available, there were 28 reported outbreaks of which 27 were in Quebec and 1 in New Brunswick.  The 28 outbreaks represents a drop of about 95% compared to the peak reached about 5 weeks earlier.

The number of new confirmed cases of H1N1, as tested in provincial labs, in down by about 96% from the peak in early November.  Recently, the numbers have fallen by more than half in each week.  Check it out
  • Oct 24:   2,880
  • Oct 31:   4,802
  • Nov 7:     6,151
  • Nov 14:   6,007
  • Nov 21:   3,725
  • Nov 28:   1,764
  • Dec 5:       687
  • Dec12:      260
The cumulative number of deaths from H1N1 so far have been 397 as of December 17.  That's 397 people in 9

Find the true meaning of Christmas

This Christmas, why don't you try something different?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Really dumb idea from Diane Francis

In a recent article, Diane Francis thinks that the world's environmental problems can be solved by depopulation.  She wants to impose a one child policy like in China.  But from atop her ivory tower, she doesn't have a clue of the unspeakable suffering the Chinese have endured because of this policy: the forced abortions, the babies left to die in sewers and rice fields, the harvesting of organs from "spare" people.  I thought you had to be smarter than that to write in a national newspaper.

Here's a few points for Diane to ponder:
  • Diane, you have two children.  Which one are you going to send to the firing squad in order to save the spotted owl?  Will it be Eric or Julie?  Whoever you pick, make sure to tell them that it's nothing personal.
  • You have a sister.  So which one of you is going to commit suicide in order to save the planet?
  • Once we've gotten rid of all the humans, who's gonna be left behind to enjoy the pristine environment?
Read some sanity from Maurice Vellacott.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Credit where credit is due

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Bishop of London didn't want St. Joseph's to conduct embryonic stem cell research (see picture). To their credit, St. Joseph's implemented a policy of of "No Fetal Stem Cell Research". 

A couple of weeks ago, I contact St. Joseph's directly to inquire if this was still their policy. They confirmed that they do not conduct any embryonic stem cell research. Well done! 

Sometimes we don't understand teachings of the Church, but it is necessary to still conform to them while we are seeking understanding. God is extremely pleased when we humbly submit to legitimate authority that is in accordance with Church teaching.  However, God still wants us to seek answers so that we can understand the reasons for Church teachings.  God wants us to use our reason to complement our faith.  When we understand a teaching, we are more likely to adhere to it with fervor.  In the meantime, until we find that answer, we need to obey. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bad idea amid the H1N1 frenzy

I pray that I never see one of these in a Catholic church.

A company called Purity Solutions has developed a hands-free communion dispenser to cope with the H1N1 panic. While I can appreciate their good intentions and the practicality of this tool for Protestants who don't believe in the Real Presence, this would certainly be a no-no in a Catholic Mass.

The first picture on the right shows the device, which comes in gold, silver and "white" (whatever substance that is). Or maybe the "gold" and "silver" on their website only refers to the color of the device, not the metal it's made of.  Now gold and silver would certainly be suitable precious metals for a Catholic paten or ciborium, but if they are made of stainless steel and simply coated with gold or silver paint, that's a non-starter.  

Even if they were made of gold or silver, it gets more complicated.  As you can see by the second picture, the hosts are not directly placed inside the metal device. They are placed in plastic cartridges, much like Pringle potato chips, which are subsequently inserted into the aforementioned communion dispenser.  There they will remain remain throughout the consecration and during the distribution of communion. Somebody refresh my memory:  does plastic qualify as a valid precious material for the sacred vessels?  The company also sells hosts that are pre-soaked with wine, so that you can

Clever idea amid the H1N1 frenzy

This fellow in Italy developed a cool-looking hands-free holy water dispenser.

It works just like those hands-free soap dispensers you find in some restaurants.  You just pass your hands in front of the motion detector and the machine drops a bit of holy water in your hands.  He even designed an elegant cover with a cross and a small receptacle at the bottom to collect and wayward drops.

Sounds like a good idea to me.  I'd rather have one of these in my church than no holy water at all.  We all benefit from the grace of God that flows through this sacramental.

Well done, Luciano Marabese!! 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Troubling discussion with Fr. Prieur about embryonic stem cell research

John Pacheco at Socon Or Bust recently wrote a thought-provoking piece about Fr. Michael Prieur.  John and I researched that piece together, although John did virtually all the work in writing the article.  Collaboration among bloggers is a beautiful thing, as varied skill sets can be combined.  

If you haven't read John's article, I would highly recommend it. In my current post, I would like to focus on Fr. Prieur's controversial paper on embryonic stem cell research.  In the paper, Fr. Prieur and nine co-authors argue that it's morally licit for Catholics to conduct research on embryonic stem cells as long as the killing of the embryo and the extraction of its cells are done at another facility and that the Catholic researcher doesn't agree with the killing of the embryo.

Here are some important chronological markers to keep in mind before we go further:
  • In 2000, the Pontifical Academy for Life published a Declaration in which it clearly stated that it's morally unacceptable to conduct research on embryonic stem cells, even if the killing of the embryo and the extraction of its cells had been done at another facility and that the Catholic researcher didn't agree with the killing of the embryo.
  • In 2006, Fr. Prieur published his paper, which referenced the 2000 paper above, but his conclusions contradicted those of the Pontifical Academy for Life.  What Fr. Prieur was advocating in this paper was

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Did "Liberating Potential" undo the dissent of the Winnipeg Statement?

In September 2008, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) issued a document called "Liberating Potential". The document was issued to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Liberating Potential is an excellent document that speaks about the greatness of the gift of sexuality and the fact that contraception and abortion are incompatible with God's plan for life. The document is very robust and doesn't contain any trace of dissent.  It is everything you would hope to see from the pen of our bishops.

I applaud the bishops for having issued this document. It was badly needed.

Given that "Liberating Potential" is in agreement with the Church's teaching on contraception, it is legitimate to ask the question as to whether this nullifies the Winnipeg Statement. In other words, did the assent in "Liberating Potential" undo the dissent of the Winnipeg Statement?  I don't think so. In my opinion, it was a good first step, but it doesn't go far enough. Let me explain why.

When the average Joe like you or me commits a sin, God requires several steps in order for us to be forgiven:

1.  We must admit our wrongdoing.
2.  We must be sorry for having offended God and others.
3.  We must change our behavior and make a firm resolve to not commit that sin again.

I think that the bishops need to be held to the same standard when it comes to the Winnipeg Statement. So let's see if Liberating Potential lives up to this standard.

1.  Admitting their wrongdoing

Have the bishops admitted the error of the Winnipeg Statement and all the erroneous pastoral actions that flowed from it over 40 years?  No.
Has there has been any admission of guilt and of the huge damage done over the last four decades?  No. 

Now someone might claim that the bishops may have privately repented of the Winnipeg Statement. That's certainly a possibility. However, bishops should know that a public sin requires a public repentance, as was

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Toronto Transit Commission rejects bus ads promoting adultery

The title of this post probably makes most readers say: "Duh!  Of course they should reject such ads!"  Sadly, in today's world, there's no guarantee that secular government organizations will display any amount of common sense.  Not so long ago, the TTC allowed ads on their buses that said:  "There's probably no God.  Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."  We had those same ads in Ottawa.

Fortunately the TTC trashed the adultery ads that would have show a huge message that says:  "Life is short.  Have an affair."

You may ask:  who on earth would want to advertise and promote adultery?  The answer is Ashley Madison, a company that specializes in... you'll never believe it... hooking up married people to have affairs.  They've been called "The kingpin of Internet infidelity."  They work like an online dating service for married people.

The founder is a Toronto native who is married and has children.  Here's a question for you women out there:  would you marry a guy who makes a living out of helping others have affairs and who thinks there's nothing immoral about it?

I suspect that business at Ashley Madison is going to take a hit after the Tiger Woods scandal.  Through Tiger's self-destruction, many would-be adulterers might come to understand the disaster that awaits them if their affair were ever to become know by their spouse or children.

While we're on this topic, let's remind ourselves that the surge in infidelity during the last half-century has been largely facilitated by the generalized use of contraception and abortion. Without these two "backup plans",

Totalitarianism is alive and well in Germany

When Catholics in Canada didn't bother opposing the advances of promiscuity in this country, they kept saying to themselves: "It won't affect me." It was most obvious when Chrétien and his gang were legalizing same-sex marriage. Most Catholics were opposed, but most didn't raise a finger to stop it, saying "if some homosexuals get married, that doesn't change my life."

Well, reality is setting in. Our school children are now being indoctrinated with contraception, casual sex and books like "My Two Dads". It's worse in other countries, but we're catching up fast. For example, read about these dads in Germany that are going to jail for the ominous crime of pulling their elementary-aged children out of sex-ed classes and for refusing to enroll them in a theatre production that informs young children on how to engage in sexual intercourse.

Can you believe it?  God helps us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bishop Fred Henry has spoken out bluntly regarding pro-abort politicians and communion

In an earlier post, I congratulated Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island for his strong stand on refusing communion to Patrick Kennedy.

In Canada, the only similar example that comes to mind among active bishops is Fred Henry of Calgary.  Even though Bishop Henry supports the Winnipeg Statement, he nonetheless was very vocal on the issue of denying communion to Catholic politicians engaged in grave sin. For example:

Good show!  We need to celebrate these success stories and applaud them.  At the time, I remember sending an email to Bishop Henry to thank him for his strong witness.  We need more of this.

However, all is not sunny in Calgary.  Even as Bishop Henry was denouncing same-sex marriage in 2003, he didn't appear to realize that his approval of contraception, as per the Winnipeg Statement, is inconsistent with his

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Good start, but we need much more

Bishop James Wingle of St. Catharines recently made some very strong and inspiring comments about the need for Catholics to be more involved in pro-life activities.  This is certainly great news.  Thank you Bishop Wingle.

We need more bishops to sound the clarion call.  But that's not nearly enough.  We also need the bishops themselves to be active leaders in pushing the pro-life cause, even if it earns them scorn and hate from politicians and the media.  Heck, anybody who's been involved in the pro-life movement knows that scorn and hate are par for the course. If you don't get insulted at least 10 times per year, you're not doing your job as a pro-lifer.

Here's a quote from the bishop:

"If we could get families, parishes, schools to appreciate that this is something highly significant and a great moral witness as well as a great opportunity for education and even a chance to celebrate life together, perhaps we could change more minds," Bishop Wingle concluded.

Wonderful.  I couldn't agree more.  But why is it always the laity that have to organize these things without any logistical support or even just moral support from their bishop?  Do you know how much easier it would be to organize these things if a bishop were to demand that all parishes advertise and recruit for pro-life causes?

At the plenary assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the CCCB made some important commitments to get involved in pro-life issues.  I wrote a blog post on that issue and I refer you to the comments I made at the time. 

Keep up the good work, Bishop Wingle.  But please make sure you participate actively in pro-life events, not just

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shooting at Fort Hood raises fresh questions about Muslims: Part 1

Disclaimer to protect myself from Human Rights Commissions (normal people need not read this paragraph):  I hereby solemnly declare that I do not harbour any hatred or anger towards any religion or religious group, especially not Islam or Muslims.  I do not advocate any form of violence, hatred or discimination against Muslims.  I am simply concerned by the statements made by Muslims themselves to the effect that they support terrorist acts.  I am therefore exploring the implications of their position on the public good of Canadians and the world.

This is not an easy post to write.  It will contain facts that some people will consider "politically incorrect", "hateful", "xenophobic" or "intolerant".  I can understand that opinions can be designated with such adjectives, but facts shouldn't be subject to censorship just because they raise difficult questions that people would rather avoid.  Catholics are called to be courageous and to face the facts.  So let's get with it.

The shooting at Fort Hood has re-opened the discussion about whether Islam is truly a "religion of peace" as some scholars claim.  First of all, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to all the families of the victims.  

The media as reported many disturbing facts about the shooting at Fort Hood.  The shooter was a Muslim.  He shouted "God is great" as he started emptying cartridges on unsuspecting bystanders.  He had some sort of connection with some shady extremist Muslims, although the extent of the connection is not entire clear.  He also seemed to be upset with the war in Afghanistan and about the U.S. killing his brother Muslims over there.

As an economist who has conducted a lot of research and analysis, I don't get too excited about isolated cases such as this.  Researchers call that "anecdotal evidence".  It's very risky to generalize from anecdotal evidence because it's just one case.  For example, some people will argue that cigarettes don't harm you because their uncle Billy-Ray-Bob smoked since he was 15 years old and nevertheless lived until the ripe old age of 94. Although I'm very happy for Billy-Ray-Bob, I wouldn't generalize from one example.  Researchers need lots of data gathered from a big enough sample to enable more accurate generalizations.  That's why, for example, when you read in the newspaper about the latest political poll, you will rarely find a survey that questioned less than 1,000 people. 

That's enough statistical talk for now.  Back to Fort Hood.  Just because one Muslim shot all these people, I

Real court overturns ruling by "thought police" against Protestant pastor

This certainly good news!  Protestant pastor Stephen Boisson had been convicted of hateful speech by the Alberta Human Rights Commission and forced to pay $7,000 and keep his mouth shut.  His "crime"?  Speaking out boldly against the homosexual lifestyle.

Mr. Boisson appealed to a real court -- you know, where things like truth and evidence are actually taken into account -- which overturned the ruling and vindicated Boisson.  

Read a great summary at Freedom Through Truth, which is run by Michael Brandon.  Michael is probably Canada's foremost Catholic expert on the abuses committed by these kangaroo kourts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The truth about priests

Here is an excellent article published on MacLean's web site. I found it very balanced and down to earth. It talks about the horrible sexual abuses committed by too many priests over the years. It offers a very compassionate discussion of the immense suffering that the victims have undergone. It sympathizes with the contempt that good priests now have to face because of the sins of their brothers. But the article points to a truth that is too often overlooked and that needs to be repeated:

But at the risk of downplaying decades of unspeakable abuse—or forgiving a Church hierarchy that moved heaven and earth to suppress scandal and protect criminal clergy—an obvious point is often ignored: the vast, vast majority of Catholic priests are not sexual predators. In fact, the scientific research suggests that men who target children are no more pervasive in the priesthood (and perhaps less pervasive) than in any other segment of society. Depending on the study, somewhere between two and four per cent of priests have had sexual contact with a minor. Or, to put it another way, between 96 and 98 per cent have not.

“It’s part of that myth—the myth of the pedophile priest who can’t help himself,” says Thomas Plante, a psychology professor at Santa Clara University who has published dozens of studies about sexually abusive priests. “It’s really an issue of perception rather than reality. Believe it or not, probably the safest place for a kid to be is in a Catholic church environment.”

My only reservation with this article is that it tends to use the term "pedophile" to describe these priests who abuse children. Later they say that a more accurate term would be "ephebophiles,": which means "people

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Is there a Canadian "Bishop Tobin" anywhere?

I've written a couple of posts about Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island, who told pro-abortion policitian Patrick Kennedy (son of Ted Kennedy) to not receive communion.  Bishop Tobin isn't making up some strict rules here.  He's just doing his job.  The Vatican ordered that such politicians are to be instructed not to receive communion, and if they present themselves at the communion rail they should be denied communion.  No ifs, buts or maybes.  No exceptions.  Read the key passages of Cardinal Ratzinger's instructions here.  It's sad that we have to cheer a bishop or priest when he actually complies with the minimum requirements of his job.  That's the sad state of the Church today. 

Canada has it's own "Patrick Kennedy".  His name is Justin Trudeau, son of the famous Pierre Elliot Trudeau.  He claims to be Catholic, like his father, yet he's vigorously pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality.   He's a Liberal Member of Parliament for the riding of Papineau.

So the burning question on everybody's lips is:  will any bishop tell him not to receive communion?  

Hmmmm... Let's see now.  The Parliament buildings are in the Archdiocese of Ottawa, which is part of the jurisdiction of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.  The riding of Papineau is on the Island of Montreal, which falls under Cardinal Turcotte.  

I understand that these bishops need not make a public statement about this.  They only need to speak privately to Justin Trudeau and to the clergy in their dioceses to give instructions on not giving communion.  I just hope that

Clarifications on "early inductions"

A few days ago, I wrote a post regarding the unethical practice of "early inductions".  I would like to clarify something.  I will also add this new information to the original post.

There exist some rare conditions where it may be necessary to remove the membranes that surround the unborn baby because these membranes have become diseased and could result in the death of the mother (and, of course, of the baby).  For example: 
  • Chorioamnionitis is an inflammation of the amnion and chorion membranes that surround the baby due to a bacterial infection.  The amniotic fluid typically gets infected too. If left untreated, both the mother and baby could die.  Apparently, antibiotics are not sufficient to fix the problem.  As a result, it is necessary to take out those membranes and the amniotic fluid from the mother.  Of course, since the baby is inside those fluids, the baby comes out at the same time.
  • Pre-eclampsia is a dangerous condition that  leads to high blood pressure, high protein levels in the blood and seizures in the most severe cases (this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms).  This condition is potentially fatal for the mother and baby.  While the cause is not known, some theorize that it may be due to problems with the placenta.  Medication can be used to treat the moderate cases, but the most severe cases appear to be resolved only by removal of the placenta, which takes the baby out.
I've chosen my words carefully because I'm making a direct reference to the principle of double-effect. In these two cases, you will notice that it's not the baby that is killing the mother. It's the "stuff" that surrounds the baby

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ClimateGate: the fraud of global warming is finally unmasked

If you've been following the mainstream media lately, the odds are good that you haven't heard of this scandal because most people in the media are left-leaning environmentalists who won't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Here's what happened: some hackers managed to break into the computer systems at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia in Britain. They discovered thousands of emails and documents that climate "experts" have been sending to each other for more than 10 years. All this info is now posted on the web. You're welcome to search through it yourself. Although it's taking time to sift through all these emails, many startling revelations have come to light:

  • Scientists admitting to manipulating the data in order to prove that the Earth is warming.
  • Scientists preventing research that disproves global warming from ever getting published.
  • Scientists deleting emails to cover their tracks.

The New York Times has confirmed that these emails are authentic.

As governments from around the world prepare for an upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen, I think you are entitled to know what's really going on. This article from the National Post provides some juicy quotes. The video below is also excellent.

New videos from Priests For Life

Check out these new videos from Priests For Life. The first offers unprecedented footage of a live baby inside a mother's womb using a tiny little camera the size of a pen tip. The second video is a moving little advertisement.

My God bless Priests For Life in their excellent ministry.

H1N1 gradually fizzling out

On Friday, the Public Health Agency of Canada released fresh statistics on H1N1 activity in Canada.  The data is for the week ended November 21st, because there is a certain delay before data from hospitals across the country are received and compiled.

The new stats show that H1N1 activity continues to decline.  Since April 18, 2009, there have been a total of 280 deaths related to H1N1.  My deepest sympathies go out to the families that have been affected.  Yet, from a scientific perspective, that's not an alarming rate at all.  Experts estimate that the regular garden-variety flu kills about 4,000 Canadians each year.  So the fact that we've only had 280 deaths since April (7 months) is quite underwhelming.  It's not much.

The number of outbreaks of H1N1 has dropped off a cliff

Spanish Bishops stand their ground against pro-abortion politicians

Here's another great example of bishops being faithful to their duties regarding the most precious treasure in the Church: the Eucharist.

The bishops have just announced that politicians who support a new abortion bill will not be eligible to receive communion. Awesome!

Muchas gracias queridos obispos!


Another great witness by Bishop Tobin on denying communion

Watch the video below.  Some very courageous and bold statements by the bishop, yet very balanced and charitable.  Bravo to Bishop Tobin!

I wish our bishops and priests would step up to the plate and follow this example. In fact, it is their obligation to do so, because the Vatican has spoken clearly on this matter several times in the last few years. The most explicit document was a letter written by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004, a year before he became Pope.  It's a short letter but very rich in teaching about a number of important issues.  Paragraphs 5 and 6 are so explicit on this issue that even a child would grasp them:

5.  Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

 6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive

Happy New Year!

Today we start a new liturgical year. Happy New Year!

I pray that this new year will bring you many blessings and happiness. I pray that you will grow deeper in love with our loving Saviour and increase in zeal for your neighbour. And when suffering comes, as it always does, I pray that God will grant you the patience to suffer patiently and to offer up your cross.

Take care!

P.S.: Enjoy the Grey Cup game!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The moral problem with "early inductions" at St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital

Following an earlier post of mine on the scandalous "early inductions" at St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital, a very interesting discussion ensued in the comments section. This post is a synthesis of why I believe that the procedures at St. Joseph's are not morally acceptable.

What is happening at St. Joseph's

Before starting my explanation, I'll just repeat what exactly is happening at St. Joseph's: 
  1. A prenatal diagnosis test reveals a baby has serious birth defects.
  2. The doctors conclude that the mother is in some physical, psychological or psychiatric danger because of the baby's defect.
  3. Doctors wait until the baby reaches 21 weeks of gestation, the point at which it is considered "viable", in other words that it could theoretically survive outside the womb if it were given highly specialized intensive care treatment.
  4. The doctors then artificially induce labour so that the baby is born prematurely.
  5. They intentionally let the baby die.  They only provide palliative care to the dying baby. 

Why this is morally unacceptable

In this section I'll explain why this practice is so horrible.  Not only are St. Joseph's official guidelines - as written on paper - morally unacceptable, but their application is even worse because they're terminating babies when the mother's health isn't even in danger.

In the 5-point description above of what happens at St. Joseph's, you'll notice that the baby does not die of its deformity.  It dies due to prematurity.  Heck, even a perfectly healthy baby delivered at 21 weeks would not survive

Monday, November 23, 2009

Eagerly awaiting CCCB action on pro-life promises

Today, November 23, marks one month since the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) completed their plenary assembly.  At the end of this meeting, the bishops expressed their desire to be more involved in pro-life work.  Isn't that wonderful?

Bishop Ronald P. Fabbro (London) was part of a panel presentation on the topic.  He emphasized the importance for bishops to assume greater leadership in pro-life activities.

Referring to the recent debate on euthanasia and assisted suicide, as well as debates on other life issues, Bishop Fabbro noted the importance of being pro-active in framing the questions. “If Bishops don’t step up,” he said, “others will who may present a distorted view of the Church’s teaching. We need to inform our people on the foundations of our faith.”  

In his presentation, Archbishop Blanchet noted the tensions and difficulties that have emerged among individuals and groups involved in defending the right to life from conception to natural death. He stressed the importance being united in thought and action, and proposed a dialogue involving all parties in the “pro-life movement”. Such a dialogue, he said, would help lessen difficulties within the movement and also help establish common ground. 

In their reflections, the Bishops stressed there was an important link between the sacredness of human life and the quality of life. They also noted the importance of activities for life at the diocesan level.  (Source)

So just to recap, they seem to have three broad areas where they've committed to act:
  1. More proactive teaching on life issues
  2. Dialogue with pro-life groups
  3. More activities at the diocesan level

I'm very curious to see how all this will unfold. It sounds so promising, yet we haven't seen any action during the month that has elapsed since this commitment.

The bishops need to do more than issue a letter or press release condemning euthanasia and assisted suicide.  That's a start, but it's not nearly enough.  No offense, but very very few people read the press releases issued by the CCCB.  Moreover, the mainstream media often won't provide any coverage and most parishes won't mention them.

If the bishops are serious about this, they need to take more concrete actions from a pastoral perspective.  Here are some concrete examples:

  • They should reform marriage preparation courses so that the Theology of the Body becomes mandatory teaching.  They should also instruct engaged couples about the evil of contraception and abortion.  
  • They should encourage their parishioners to be active in the pro-life movement by volunteering their time and by making donations to good ministries like LifeSiteNews.  
  • Every bishop should participate in pro-life marches across the country each May because it isn't very difficult to book off 2 hours per year for a good cause. 
  • They should take a public stand against politicians who support abortion, telling them that they cannot receive communion. 
  • They should publicly rescind the Winnipeg Statement.

You think I'm too demanding? I don't.  Anything short of such actions will just be the same old, same old.  Anything short of such actions won't make a dent in the growing apathy among Canadian Catholics.  The CCCB made some strong statements on pro-life issues at the end of their plenary assembly and now they must follow through with some strong actions.  They've created big expectations; they shouldn't disappoint.


22,000 youth in a Eucharistic procession!!!

This is absolutely amazing!  You have to see the pictures!  Click here.

Praise be to Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar!

Dear clergy: please fulfil your calling

It's true that our Church is in bad shape. But God doesn't abandon His children. There are always some faithful shepherds who will give a good example. Today's news brings us another such instance.

LifeSiteNews reports that Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin instructed a pro-abortion politician, Patrick Kennedy (son of Ted Kennedy) not to receive communion because of his dissenting views. Now there are elements in the Church who think that such a statement by a Bishop is un-Christian, uncharitable, unloving, etc. If we had eyes to see the truth as God has revealed it, we would realize that such a statement by a Bishop is an extreme act of virtue and is of immense benefit to the Church in many ways:

  1. First and foremost, this directive by the Bishop sends a clear message to the recipient that he or she is endorsing a grave sin and that their eternal salvation is in peril. It is therefore a strong call to repentance and conversion, which is what the Gospel is all about.
  2. In cases where such a directive is made public, as in the current case, it also instructs the other faithful of the gravity of the sin that is being endorsed by the politician. It therefore gives them reason to pause and rethink in their own positions.
  3. It protects Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament from sacrilege.  Jesus gave us a priceless gift in the Eucharist.  Do we want to repay Him with love and worship or by offering Him a dwelling place that is full of filth and corruption?
  4. It prevents further sin by the politician by protecting him from the opportunity to commit sacrilege.
  5. It ensures the salvation of the Bishop's soul, because it is his responsibility before God Almighty to instruct the faithful and to call sinners to repentance. If he were to shun away from this responsibility, his own salvation would be in peril.  As St. John Chrysostom once said, “the road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

I sure wish that other bishops and priests would realize the benefits of this type of fraternal correction. It need not

Monday, November 16, 2009

You are so precious

In today's Gospel, we hear a familiar story about the curing of a blind man (Luke 18:35-43)

As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’ Then he shouted, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 

Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ He said, ‘Lord, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

Rather than focus on the persevering faith of the blind man or on the power of Jesus in performing the cure, I would like to highlight another feature of this passage.  Notice how the people who were traveling with Jesus felt disturbed by the cries of the blind man. They essentially told him to shut up. They were annoyed and bothered by his presence. He was a nuisance to them. Yet Jesus doesn't consider him to be an annoyance. He's very precious in Jesus' eyes.  

The same is true for us. Too often, we experience rejection or a sense of inadequacy when dealing with other

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bishop Henry rips bill C-484 but ignores euthanasia committed under Bishop Fabbro's nose

As reported by Michael at Freedom Through Truth, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary has sent a letter to Fr. Tim Moyle regarding bill C-484.  It is a very good letter and I applaud Bishop Henry for this strong pro-life effort.  

I am unaware if this letter has been distributed more widely through the media or throughout the Calgary diocese.  It would certainly be worthwhile.  

One paragraph of the letter caught my attention:

The legislation of aid-in-dying would pose a threat to the elderly, the infirm, handicapped newborns and to all members of society who are unable to look after their own best interests. This kind of legislation says to them: "you're not important; you're not needed; in fact, you are a burden to others.

That's an excellent point.  We need to hear this more often.  

It's funny he should mention "newborns", because one of his fellow bishops, Ronald Fabbro (London),  oversees

Catholic priest speaks boldly about bishops who cover up sex abuse scandals

A powerful yet simple message by Fr. Tim Moyle at Where the Rubber Hits the Road.  A reader asked him why bishops cover up sex abuse scandals by priests.  Read Fr. Tim's answer here.  Well said!

Dangers of homosexual lifestyle

The homosexual lifestyle has been gaining legitimacy in the Western world over the past 20-30 years. With the legalization of same-sex marriage and the amendment of the hate-crimes legislation, the previous Liberal government in Canada sent a powerful message that the homosexual lifestyle should be regarded as "main stream" and must be endorsed by everybody. Unfortunately, there isn't much political will in Canada to change the new status quo.

I think Canadians need to take a fresh look at this issue. Let's leave moral and religious considerations on the sidelines in order to focus on the medical evidence and research regarding the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle. I will be presenting the straight facts, as reported by world-class researchers and rigorous scientific journals.

I am not seeking to condemn homosexuals. However, I recognize the fact that everybody has the power to choose their lifestyle. As such, I want Canadians to realize the risks involved with the homosexual lifestyle and the monumental mistake of trying to legitimize this lifestyle. For the sake of the common good of our country, we should not be legitimizing behaviour that is very unhealthy.

For example, Canadian society is now aware of the health risks of smoking. We have many programs to help people quit and the government runs hard-hitting ads to convince people to kick the habit. As we will see, medical research has revealed that the homosexual lifestyle is even more dangerous to health than smoking. So why are we legitimizing this behaviour?

No doubt people will accuse me of being intolerant, hateful, homophobic and closed-minded. By doing so, they will in fact prove that they are the closed-minded ones, because they are unwilling to consider solid scientific evidence

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Does this repulse you?

Let me show you a couple of recent headlines from the secular media. First, from the CBC: 

Life sentence in 30-year-old Longueuil murder

A 61-year-old Longeuil woman has been sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder of her sister and her sister's partner in August 1979... (Source)

Do you find that headline offensive?  Does it make you feel that the Quebec authorities are too strict and grumpy?  I didn't think so.  Grave crimes require grave punishment, right?  Let's try another headline from the UK:

Ben’s law: Knife murder minimum sentence raised to 25 yrs after Kinsella campaign

Knife killers will spend up to a decade longer in jail after a successful campaign by the family of victim Ben Kinsella. Justice Secretary Jack Straw announced the tougher new penalties yesterday. It means a minimum sentence in most cases increasing from 15 to 25 years – just five below the 30-year term for gun murder... (Source)

Does that headline scare you? Does it make you feel like the authorities in the U.K. are mean or negative people?  No?  Me neither. Murder is serious business and requires a serious penalty.

So what's my point?  You might be asking yourself what I've been smoking. Let me show you a third headline:

Spanish Bishop Says Catholic Politicians Who Vote for Abortion Excommunicate Themselves

The secretary general of the Spanish bishops' conference, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, warned that Spanish Catholic legislators who vote in favor

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Muslims somehow become the victims after Fort Hood shooting

Disclaimer to protect myself from Human Rights Commissions (normal people need not read this paragraph):  I hereby solemnly declare that I do not harbour any hatred or anger towards any religion or religious group, especially not Islam or Muslims.  I do not advocate any form of violence, hatred or discimination against Muslims.  I am simply concerned by the statements made by Muslims themselves to the effect that they support terrorist acts.  I am therefore exploring the implications of their position on the public good of Canadians and the world.

It's the paradox of political correctness.  A Muslim man kills 13 innocent people in a shooting rampage in Fort Hood (he started shouting "God is great!" in Arabic as he opened fire) and now the media are treating Muslims as victims.  That's not a typo.  The media seem more worried about potential violence that might be committed against Muslims in retaliation for the shooting, than about the 13 real dead people

Read this great editorial on the topic by Father Raymond J. de Souza in today's National Post.


Outsource your own job!

Okay, I admit that this post is quite off topic for Catholic Dialogue.  But as an economist, I really got a kick out of this great video from The Onion.  Enjoy!

Dear ladies: would you like to share a changing room with a man?

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has struck again. Sort of.

The latest case involves a gentleman who owns a gym in St. Catherine's Ontario.

The dispute began in the summer of 2006, when a man, calling himself Lisa MacDonald, sought membership in John Fulton's fitness club for women. The man insisted not only on joining the club, but on using the women's change room and bathroom, despite Fulton's efforts to offer alternative solutions. MacDonald refused, however, to consider any other possibilities and threatened legal action. (Source)

The rest of the story is pretty much a cut and paste from most other "human rights" complaints: "Lisa" filed a complaint with the CHRC; as the complainant, "Lisa's" legal fees were entirely covered by the government; the poor owner of the gym had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. In this case, however, "Lisa" decided to drop the charges. So technically, the owner was never convicted, yet he still dished out loads of cash or during the legal proceedings.

Does the system make any sense to you?  As Ezra Levant aptly remarked, the process itself is the punishment.  It doesn't matter if you're guilty or innocent. If somebody files a complaint against you, get ready to be wiped out financially.

Let me ask a hypothetical question to all the ladies who read this blog: would you feel comfortable sharing a change room and bathroom with a man who thinks he's a woman? How could you be sure that such a man is

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ask yourself: are you doing enough for the Kingdom of God?

Yesterday was the feast of St. Leo the Great.  The Gospel reading was Luke 17:7-10.  It presents us with a very challenging message. At the end of this passage, Jesus says:

"So you also, when you have done all that you are ordered to do, say, 'We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'"

That's a pretty tough message. We all have a tendency to pat ourselves on the back when we've done good work. But Christ is reminding us that we are called to do more.  We're called to heroic virtue

Let's be frank. The vast majority of us are not doing enough for the Kingdom of God. Whether it be feeding the poor, proclaiming the Gospel, working on pro-life matters or helping the sick, we fall short. In fact, most of us are downright lazy and apathetic. I'm just as guilty as anybody on this.  

Through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, our conscience tells us that we need to get moving, but too often we settle for mediocrity. We'll cut a cheque to our local charity so that we can appease our conscience and pretend that we've done our share. Or perhaps we'll go to the March for Life once a year so that we can put a little check mark in our minds next to the requirement of doing some good pro-life work.  Sorry, but that's not good enough. 

Another frequent temptation is to persuade ourselves that we're powerless and that we can only pray. In some cases, this is true, but are we really praying as much as we could? Are we fasting and making sacrifices?  In most cases, however, we can do something, even if it's just a little. We can write a letter. We can make a phone call. We can visit somebody. It just takes a little will power.

Christ is asking us to look in the mirror and honestly ask ourselves what more we can do. It's useless to throw our arms up in the air and complain about the state of the world if we aren't doing anything to make a change. 

So what are you going to change in your life?


Kudos to Bishop of Providence on Kennedy Jr.

Some Bishops really do a good job.  They need to be supported and affirmed. Here's a good example.

Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Ted Kennedy, received a sharp public rebuke from his bishop, Thomas Tobin (Providence, Rhode Island).

Like his father, Patrick Kennedy is a politician. Also like his father, he claims to be Catholic and pro-abortion. 

A few days ago, when the House of Representatives was preparing to vote on the new health care bill, pro-life Representatives proposed an amendment that would prevent the use of federal funds for abortions. Fortunately, this amendment was passed, but Patrick Kennedy voted against it. The pro-abortion politician was quoted as saying “the fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.”

Well, his local Bishop wasn't too impressed. He wrote an open letter because he felt that Kennedy's position "deserves a public response, lest it go unchallenged and lead others to believe it’s true.”

You can read the full coverage here.  Let me give you a delicious excerpt from the Bishop's letter:

[I]n confronting your rejection of the Church’s teaching, we’re not dealing just with “an imperfect humanity” – as we do when we wrestle with sins such as anger, pride, greed, impurity or dishonesty. We all struggle with those things, and often fail.

Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a