Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Random Reflections

Random Reflections

Dateline: Saturday April 19, 2014 and the afternoon is slipping away.  The morning work in the backyard is a memory and the short visit with one of the grandfathers was a pleasant diversion. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. Life goes on.

Life.  It is what this column or blog has been all about. Life. Protecting life. Nurturing life. Promoting life. Encouraging life. Defending life. Saving life.


I had a conversation the other day about the purpose and function of the law. The law is quite complex. Every aspect of our lives touches upon the law in some degree. But the fundamental purpose of the law remains quite simple and straight forward. One could look up the definition and find a general understanding that the "law" is a a body of rules that direct or prohibit certain activity. but what is the purpose for these rules. Cicero states that the purpose of positive laws is to provide for "the safety of citizens, the preservation of states, and the tranquility and happiness of human life."  I explained it in similar terms to my friend. "The purpose of the law is to protect people and property through a series of reasonable rules."
All of this is consistent with a natural law view because it places the individual and the community at the heart of why we as a society have need for law. It also naturally leads us to discuss who are the persons who need protection and who are the communities who have interests that should be protected.

Dateline: Tuesday, May 27, 2014. This morning my mom died. I got the call about 10 o'clock in the morning from Dr. Agnone. Mom was there for a check up and after a couple of deep breaths expired. It was a quiet and all too orchestrated an event – something my mom would do. You see May 26 was their 63rd Wedding Anniversary. The day before on Sunday, May 25, Mom and Dad came over the house for pancake breakfast. They would come over after eight o'clock mass. This was a tradition that had been going on for the last ten to fifteen years. Some of the children would come over. Sometimes the grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be there. It was a chance for mom and dad to see my children every week. Because the next day would be their anniversary, I encouraged my brother and his family and my sister and her family to come over to visit.  It was good that they did. But I could tell the mom looked worn out. She wasn't interested in eating. She wasn't too responsive to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would smile on occasion but seemed somewhat distant. Dad remarked that she kept asking about that Tuesday doctor's appointment. I told him that she did not look good.  On their anniversary they spent the day watching old "I Love Lucy" TV shows. They were among her favorites. Dad said that she had a good day. I think she knew that it was time for her to go to her heavenly home. And so she decided to the doctor's office was the best place for her to make her exit. You have to hand it to my mom. She was always thinking of everyone else.

Dateline: Monday June 1, 2014. Today we held a funeral for my mom. My daughter and some of my sons sang. My boys acted as pallbearers. We said the rosary before mass began. We did the joyful mysteries because those are the mysteries mom loved best. She was always praying the rosary for someone. She was a true prayer warrior. Fr. Schlarb celebrated mass and gave a beautiful sermon. We prayed mom's Litany for for the Unborn during the eulogy. We continued the celebration over the house and I was touched by the warmth not just of the day but of all of those who attended mass and came to the house of the reception. my father was in rare form. He provided all of us men with an excellent example of someone who truly loved his wife and now that she was gone, appreciated even more how much God loved all of us. He told the story of his own mother and how she constantly reminded him that "we are only here (on earth) to get there (to heaven)."  We all agreed that given the level of mom's suffering and pain she endured every day that death is a release to the loving arms of Christ. We could not be sad now that she was with Our Lord. We set the burial for the next day.  As the last of the guests left our house close to midnight, I once again reflected in how our church is so wise to center all the major activities of our life around the Mass. It is so important to remember to keep Christ as the center of our life. He is our rock, our stronghold, our deliverer. His mercies boundless, His peace comforting.

Dateline July 1, 2014. A month has passed. During that time we celebrated Father's Day. My fraternity brother Bill and his wife KK visited us from San Diego. They came over to see my dad especially. I went to the NRLC convention in Louisville, Kentucky. I have another graduate from high school.  The Supreme Court handed down to decisions favorable the pro-life cause: McCullen vs. Coakley was a victory for the First Amendment. The Hobby Lobby case was a victory for religious liberty. It never ceases to amaze me how ridiculous the liberal press can be a misunderstanding decisions handed down by the court. So I suspect that we will be discussing this for awhile. Finally I must note that this particular summer has been very hot.

Throughout all of these events I am once again reminded of the cycle of life and how each of us must find our way. For me, my mother's death reminds me of our long time commitment to the right to life. Both of us worked closely for many years and she never gave up. Up to her last breath I am sure she offered her pain and suffering for the sake of the little ones. It is my responsibility to continue to do everything mindful that she is now watching me. All of us have something to do. Let us be about doing it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Gimme Shelter" tells a powerful true story the country needs to hear.

I saw the movie "Gimme Shelter" on Friday in Alexandria, VA outside of Washington, DC. The performances were very real and the first thirty minutes of the film were very gritty and powerful. Vanessa Hudgens does an excellent job of portraying someone scared and angry; her transformation is not forced but comes from deep inside. She is a fine young actress.  I had not seen any of her previous work. Her scenes with the great James Earl Jones were touching - especially when she talks to him in the chapel. If one can put aside ones emotions on the abortion issue, one discovers that there are people who actually care about these young girls who are desperate for a second chance. And Gimme Shelter is about second chances.

After the movie was over, I spoke with a number of theater goers who were very much impressed with the film. One lady wanted to donate to the shelter featured in the movie.  It was clear from the various conversations that many of the viewers had no idea that such shelters even existed.  It was also clear that they were impressed by the dedication and passion of those who cared about the girls at the shelter.

But these homes do exist and so do scared young girls like Apple, the subject of this true story. When people like Kathy Defiore are willing to help these girls, then hope comes to life and they find a way for them to not only survive but to thrive.

Gimme Shelter needs to be seen by the general public so that homes such as these can get the support of the general community in order to be an avenue of assistance for women in need.

I strongly recommend this film.  See it this weekend.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I saw the movie short Crescendo last night. I had seen it many times previous and think it is a beautiful powerful artistic film. But last night’s viewing at the theater offered another opportunity to reflect on the pressures that people have affecting their lives and how their own particular sense of God plays a role in how they respond to such pressures.
I look at myself as an example. When the going gets tough, really tough, I fall on my knees, sometimes literally and beg for help. I have learned over these last fifty plus yeas that I cannot do it alone.  I may come across as – well whatever – but the truth is, that I need Him and His presence when the daily pressures of life and work bear down on me.
And to be blunt, sometimes He leaves me hanging – just to help me understand how dependent we all are on Him and His grace. There are those moments when I can plainly see my own ineptness and confusion. There are times when the frustration is overwhelming. But deep down I know He is there and that He will never abandon me.
So I ache when I think of those women and sometimes men who facing the unexpected pregnancy feel so alone and confused. The lack of support or perhaps just the concrete needs that have to be met on a daily basis can be oppressive. And in a fractured society that we currently observe, who is there to help them?
The truth is that we – you and I – should be there these young mothers for they are “our neighbor.”
To truly live the Gospel, we are to be His hands and feet, His arms of loving embrace, His words of soothing support.
The good news is that the pro-life movement at the grass roots is doing just that every day. The pregnancy resource centers offer real hands on hope and help to those women in need. Maternity homes such as Maggie’s place provide real concrete places for young mother to stay.  Of course the demand is great and the current resources are always tapped. These places need our financial assistance.
Then again so do the pregnancy centers. That is why films like Crescendo offer us an opportunity to help these centers and at the same time provide a means to spread the message that every life has meaning and purpose. Perhaps you have the connections to get this film on your campus or at your church.  If you are in college, you can partner with Students for Life in their efforts to bring the film to university campuses throughout the country. If you have a pregnancy center that you would like to support, perhaps you can sponsor a theater showing to raise awareness.  There are so many ways that you can help.  
If we can offer alternatives, women will choose life.  We need to get the message out. There is a better way.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pelosi's bizarre position on abortion

After Nancy Pelosi's latest bizarre reaction to a question from a reporter concerning the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act sponsored by Arizona congressman Trent Franks, I received a number of inquiries asking my reaction.  The following reflects an email sent to a friend explaining my thoughts on the matter.

Our final purpose in life is the continued presence before our loving God and the work of our life is to live in such a way as to proclaim the Gospel drawing all people toward Christ. We are to be reflections of His love. However we also have a duty and responsibility not to allow blatant error and sin lead others astray. Our Lord has very stern words for those who lead His children astray.  Our responsibility is to shepherd the lost back to the fold and that applies whether we are clergy or laity.

That being said for some time Nancy Pelosi has been given a “pass” when it comes to her strident and almost bizarre handling of the abortion issue. Not content to play the Mario Cuomo card that lead so many politicians down the road to perdition, she presumes to lecture clergy, laity, theologians and the public on the teachings of the Church.
Her heresy of “choice” which elevates a misinformed conscience above the Magisterium is the most egregious of her misdeeds. How many “Catholics” who otherwise would be open to fraternal correction and restoration are seduced by her propaganda. It is worse that the press will give her credence while ignoring those courageous bishops who have made clear the Church’s teaching on the dignity of the human person and the requirement that the law and governmental agencies protect the right to life of all persons.

With the continued erosion of the collective conscience, it is apparent to me that publicly known scandalizing Catholics must be made to account. Pelosi, Durbin, Andrew Cuomo and others who wrap themselves up in cultural Catholicism in order to pander for votes while publicly dissenting from the most fundamental of God’s law – the proscription against murder – must be told that they are not in communion with the Church. For while it may be one thing to sin in “private,” it is quite another to announce to the world that one intends to do evil and ignore the teachings of the church one claims to embrace.

Her soul is in peril. And we have a duty to rescue it from death – just as we seek to rescue the innocent from death.

If she is our sister in Christ, we do not want her going the way of Judas, but the way of Mary of Magdela, who as a result of her sorrow for her sins, was given the privilege of being the one who told the apostles of the Risen Christ.

It is my prayer that she would repent and become a witness for Life, a witness for hope, and a witness of the means of repentance.

But someone must address the realities of life to her, lest she die in her sin.

 The continued assault upon the Church will not let up as long as Catholics allow this type of response from a "Catholic' politician to continue.  Recalling the words of Ezechiel, each of us must be mindful of our duty to our brother or sister who remains in persistent sin.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved. ( Ezechiel 33:7-9)
For it is not only the unborn child, his or her mother, or the father to whom we owe a duty. It is to our brother or sister who refuses to respect the dignity of the human person. We have a responsibility to tell them the truth,the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Once we have done our duty, then we can allow for their conscience, perhaps moved by the truth to inspire them to repentance.