Saturday, September 15, 2012

Would eternal life work on earth?

The possibility of whether eternal life would work on earth, is an idea which has been pondered, probably for centuries.  It certainly has been tossed back and forth during my lifetime as can be observed in some of the movies, discussing the possibility.

Sickness and pain would have to be somehow deleted from life - an idea extremely attractive to a society which sees no benefit in suffering.

Assuming that, there is the movie, "Tuck Everlasting".  Tuck drinks from a spring in the forest and finds he does not age at all (aging also has to be removed from the equation).  He does retain his youth and strength, but watches all his loved ones live, get old and die.  The movie ends with him standing all alone.

In fact, loneliness is something humans feel would be a given, if we outlive those we love.  That even can be seen in the elderly who have outlived parents and kids - they are extremely lonely and loneliness can be more painful than physical pain.

Which brings in the question, is physical pain the worst thing we can suffer?  According to a Dr Oz show, the consensus of the audience (and it seems, Dr Oz as well) was that if the physical pain gets pronounced enough, it would be a logical solution to seek someone to help us end our lives.  A woman with a type of muscular dystrophy which has taken away her ability to walk and use her arms, was prominent in the show - she did not use a respirator so apparently could eat and breath well and also could move her head fairly well. She was depressed and wanted the right to have a physician help her end her life.   Interestingly enough however, when Dr Oz asked her if she would favor not being treated if she got pneumonia again allowing her to die, she evaded the question. (She has had pneumonia twice and has been treated).

Another man, who looked elderly and was much more disabled than the lady - he required a respirator - told the audience that he appreciates every day of life he has been given.

Interesting, are the movies, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (one made in the 1950's and one made in the 1970's).  Tonight I saw yet, another remake entitled "Invasion" released in 2007.  The story is that some type of invasion from Outer Space takes over humans and recreates them as devoid of emotions.  "There will be no more war or suffering," the protagonists are told.  In all of these movies, there are a couple of humans who fight against the takeover, preferring their flawed emotions to becoming a being who is incapable of human love.  The latest version has a happy ending. A vaccine is found and given as a sort of antidote to the cells taking over humanity and everyone is cured and life goes back to normal.  But the leading lady is shown in the last scene as wondering whether the world with war and sadness is really preferable.

In the second and third movie of this group ("Invasion of the Body Snatchers"), each human who is taken over, is shown going through a type of aging after which s/he wakes up with no emotions, no ability to love.  This seems to be asking the question - if eternal live exists, wouldn't we have to be changed?  Our human concept of the change necessary, is being given - what the psychiatrists calls a blunted affect, i.e. a deadening of the emotions and all we care about.

Utimately, there seems a consensus that an eternal life here on earth would not be nice.  The movie, "Cocoon" depicts elderly folks stumbling across aliens who have somehow achieved eternal life but in order to obtain this, these elderly must go with the aliens to their planet, far away from the earth.

The Christian concept of eternal life is not a lessened awareness but rather a heightened awareness.  Something we humans cannot picture.  And even if we do not understand how this will be achieved, we have the testimony of Jesus, still the only man who ever made such an impression on the earth that He literally stopped time (which we then, divided in "AD or "anno Domini" i.e. "after God" and BC i.e. "before Christ").  If we still have questions, the Bible tells us "eye has not seen, ear has not heard, of the glories which God has planned for those who love Him."

There is a lot of evidence, observational and logical that we should not try to force our premature death but instead should patiently wait for God to call us.  There is also a rather impressive body of evidence that when God calls He will "make all things well" , not by us ceasing to exist but rather by our living in a full beautiful manner, the likes of which we cannot concept here on earth.

And of course, Cardinal Dolan said it much better than I did! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

St Teresa chain letter?

A chain letter keeps popping up, claiming to be a prayer written by "St Theresa". It includes a New Age sounding prayer and warns the receiver (like all chain letters) to pass it on for "good luck" or that they will receive what they have been waiting for etc. First of all, there IS NO Catholic saint named "Theresa". There is a St Teresa of Avila and a St Therese of Lisieux (notice the difference in spelling). And neither of these, both of whom lived in the 19th century would have been involved with a computer chain letter or would have written a New Age prayer. Secondly, chain letters in general, are not a good idea. Third, God is not a vending machine. Prayer brings a person peace but not any kind of wish fulfillment or "good luck". If you get this letter, please send the link to my blog to the person who sent it,rather than perpetuating it. BTW, if you do share a forward, please do your friends the favor of removing all email addresses from the body of the email.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Priest on the Titanic - Fr Thomas Byles

On the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (billed as "the ship even God cannot sink") and all the programs we are seeing on TV about this, no one has seen fit to mention the Catholic priest aboard that ship.

He was Fr Thomas Byles, a convert to Catholicism from the Anglican church.  

When the ship hit the iceberg, Fr Byles was on Deck, praying his breviary, a daily group of prayers priests say - which include the psalms and readings.  

When the ship started going down, Fr Byles was offered a place on the lifeboats but he twice refused to board the lifeboats, preferring to help other passengers get off the ship.

One of the problems with the Titanic and why so many passengers were lost is because they did not provide nearly enough lifeboats for all the passengers they carried so after loading about 705 people (of the 2228 passengers), they ran out of lifeboats, condemning the rest to sink with the ship. Those unable to fit into lifeboats were unable to swim to safety because the water was freezing.

Fr Byles chose to stay with those left on the ship, hearing confessions, and giving absolution and also led the Rosary with people of all faiths kneeling around him.  Just before the ship sank, Fr Thomas led all in an Act of Contrition.

He died when the ship went down and his body was never recovered.

Click here to go to his website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Girl Scouts, Planned Parenthood and feminism

This research on the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) and what I found, was a real shocker to me, because I was a Girl Scout in the 1950's and it was a very wholesome organization back then. Apparently things have changed.

It seems to have become extremely feminist in character and worse yet, since Kathy Cloninger, the CEO, admitted a "partnership" with Planned Parenthood in 2004 (see video link below), in order to provide the girls with "good information" for decision making (and distributing the Planned Parenthood brochures etc), it's likely that the GSA is also pro abortion.  In the video, Cloninger is talking with NBC.
Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in the world.

Here's what Planned Parenthood talks about on information days, of the type which Cloninger suggested are provided for members of the GSA: (from the Planned Parenthood website)

>>>"Planned Parenthood Arizona wants to ensure that the communities we serve receive reliable information about se/xuality and reproductive health. We offer age-appropriate, culturally competent, medically accurate and interactive presentations in a safe, fun, and engaging learning environment that is empowering for every learner. We provide these presentations in a variety of settings-schools, community colleges and universities, public libraries, and community organizations.

Topics include:
- Birth Control Methods
- Se/xually Transmitted Infections
- Healthy Relationships
- Planned Parenthood Services <<<<

Notice the last one - Planned Parenthood SERVICES i.e. their biggest service is abortion!
Here's the video:  (please share especially with fellow Catholic parents!)

Girl Scouts of America
also have become very evangelistic, according to the CEO who just assumed the job (Cloninger resigned recently). 

The new CEO of Girl Scouts is a Texas attorney, Anna Maria Chavez, who was a featured speaker at a convention where the steering committee included members from Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen.

Chavez also worked for Janet Napolitano (the governor of Arizona who sent a 13 year old girl to Tiller the killer for an abortion, despite the family protesting and promising that they would adopt the baby!).

"Right now Girl Scouts reaches about 10% of the girls in our country and that is not enough", lamented Chavez in a speech to the GSA convention recently.  She continued, "we need to turn ourselves out in an aggressive movement ... We need to step forward and shout from the rooftops... teaching girls to lead..a society led by women."

She concluded, "The world is waiting for someone to step forward to speak in the name of women - we are that someone ... Let's tell everyone about it...Girl Scouts is developing the female leaders of tomorrow!

You can listen to her speech at the links below:    part 1    part 2

Girl Scouts finances are in the 100 millions.

Their 2010 financial statement is so complex I cannot really, without a lot of study and pondering, decode it but they are working with millions of bucks of income as well as investments and more.

I first became aware of "professional girl scouts" when a neighbor of mine in Chicago got hired for a low level job.  She said she was making a comfortable income.  I haven't found what the CEO makes but I would assume it's a nice round figure. According to some internet sites the CEO of Boy Scouts makes in excess of 1 million bucks a year.

The central offices of the Girl Scouts of America, are in a building at 420 5th Ave in New York City. It's a modern all glass windows hi-rise. Chavez said her office was on the 17th floor of this building - you can look at the building in Google maps.

Considering the Girl Scouts admitted liaison with Planned Parenthood, it might be the time to delete the GSA organization from our Catholic parishes.

And also, it might be time to re-think buying Girl Scout cookies next year.

Sue Joan

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Contraception - Why do Catholics say it's wrong

There are a lot of misconceptions about why the Catholic church teaches against using birth control but I find that few understand about this and even some priests do not understand it.

I'm going to take the usual questions one by one:

1. Why shouldn't we use the birth control pill?  First of all, there are many health reasons to not use it. The pill greatly raises the risk for heart attack, stroke, thrombosis and breast cancer and not just if you are older.  Since the advent of the pill, even the so called "safe" low dose pill, we have seen heart disease and strokes in women in their 20's and 30's!  Secondly, the way the pill works is that it prevents a fertilized egg from implanting. Yes, it does stop ovulation but not all the time. The woman on the pill ovulates LESS, she does NOT stop ovulating totally.  About 25% of the time, her eggs DO get fertilized and if this happens, the pill prevents the new conception from implanting in the womb. Instead it passes into the toilet and dies. This IS abortion because what was passed into the toilet was genetically a total new human being!  That's why they call the pill an abortifacient!

2. Why shouldn't we use barriers like condoms?  Again, there is the irritation factor for the woman and of course, the men feel a greatly reduced libido using these.  Those are definitely the safest type of birth control but they are not all that safe.  Other barriers like shields don't work but if an egg does get fertilized, the shield may be a problem. Shields can also cause irritation and raise the risk for uterine cancer etc as does any source of constant irritation internally.

OK, those are the physical reasons now let's look at the theology.  We are not supposed to say "no" to God. That is, Christians believe that each life, each pregnancy, is a planned Act of God so if a life results as a repercussion of a couple making love, that is God's Plan EVEN if it creates an unplanned pregnancy to unmarried people - we do not know why God plans things that we don't understand, but we know that we cannot understand much of God's plan and/or won't until we get to Heaven.

So does the Catholic church feel that we should do as the Duggers did and have umpteen kids?  No, actually the church does believe in family planning using Natural Family Planning which means abstinence for 7 days a month.  That isn't very much and the rest of the time, you can proceed totally naturally. Natural Family Planning is NOT the old method of rhythm and not dependent on having regular periods - it is done by observing bodily signs "down south" in order to tell exactly when you are ovulating!

Ironically, Natural Family Planning is now known to be much more effective than the pill in preventing pregnancy - the pill is only 60% effective but Natural Family Planning is 95% effective and actually used by many who are not Catholic or even Christian!

What, you might ask then, is the difference, between Natural Family Planning and contraception?  Good question. The differences are several.

First, you are not saying "NO way" to God - instead you are saying "I don't think I'm ready now" because by not doing anything artificial, you are opening the door to God overriding (I prayed that God would override my Natural Family Planning - I felt uncomfortable having another child because of a chronic illness but I knew if God overrode, it would be ok... unfortunately, God never DID override our Natural Family Planning).

Second, you are not mutilating your body or doing anything destructive to avoid pregnancy. Remember, our bodies are the "Temples of the Holy Spirit".

Third, of course, if an egg gets fertilized which we do believe is a planned Act of God, then it will get implanted and you will be blessed with another child, that is, although you let God know you don't think this is a good time for you to get pregnant, you are also saying "But Thy Will be done" that is, if He has planned another child for you, you leave the door open!

Fourth, Natural Family Planning is something done as a mutual decision of the man and the woman!  Since they are a couple, this is the way things should be!

Planned Parenthood estimates that 60% of abortions are due to failed artificial birth control i.e. if you have said "NO WAY" to God and He overrides, then you might want to terminate your baby.

Planned Parenthood also says that 80% or more of Catholic women are using artificial birth control. Why is this?  My feeling is, it's due to not knowing any better - that is if they knew that Natural Family Planning was not only a whole lot more effective than the pill  but also, it's not defying God's Will should He want to provide another child, and if they knew how easy Natural Family Planning was to learn and how wonderful it feels, and how risky to their health the pill is (some researchers say that the two most avoidable causes of breast cancer which is in epidemic in our society now - are abortion and the pill!), few women would want to continue using the pill.

Consider learning Natural Family Planning - it's better - way better for you, it will not raise your risk for heart attack, stroke, thrombosis and breast cancer and best of all, it does not lock the door to Divine Providence!  Win- win, yes?