MIRACLE OF LIFE- Consider the miracle of the human body. Its chemistry is just as extraordinarily well tuned as is the physics of the cosmos. Our world on both sides of the divide that separates life from lifelessness is filled with wonder. Each human cell has a double helix library of three billion base pairs providing fifty thousand genes. These three billion base pairs and fifty thousand genes somehow engineer 100 trillion neural connections in the brain—-enough points of information to store all the data and information contained in a fifty-million-volume encyclopedia.
And then after that, these fifty thousand genes set forth a million fibers in the optic nerves, retinae having ten million pixels per centimeter, some ten billion in all, ten thousand taste buds, ten million nerve endings for smell, cells that exude a chemical come-on to lure an embryo’s lengthening neurons from spinal cord to target cell, each one of the millions of target cells attracting the proper nerve from the particular needed function. And all this three-dimensional structure arises somehow from the linear, one-dimensional information contained along the DNA helix. Did all this happen by chance or do you see the hand of God?
by Peter Kreeft –
It is simply impossible to agree on ethics, on how to act, on what is good and what is not, if you disagree about metaphysics or anthropology. And since ethics is unavoidable, so is anthropology.
Of the two words in the term “Christian anthropology,” I assume that I don’t need to define the word Christian because the Church has been doing that for two thousand years – they’re called creeds. But what about anthropology?
By anthropology I mean simply a logos about anthropos, a theory or philosophy about mankind or human nature. I don’t mean the empirical science of anthropology. Everyone, absolutely everyone, needs a philosophical anthropology, especially everyone in the medical profession. But not everyone needs to be a scientific anthropologist, or to have an anthropologist, as everyone does need to have a physician. Everyone needs a physician, but not everyone needs a physicist. [Read more...]
by Jennifer Hartline – The No-Spin Zone is once again in need of some actual truth. I tuned in on Friday night to hear Bill O’Reilly read a letter from a viewer in New York who asked him why he keeps referring to the fetus as a “potential human being.” This viewer reminded Bill that as a Roman Catholic, he should know better! How absolutely correct. O’Reilly, however, responded this way:
“I’m absolutely factually correct when I say a fetus is a potential human being and no one can deny that. I respect your opinion but until you become a Supreme Court Justice, it remains your opinion, your belief. I can’t run this program based upon my religious beliefs, so I try to put up arguments based on facts and I believe we are successful in doing that.”
Bill, in that one small paragraph you have gone so very, very wrong in so many ways.
It is not “factually correct” to say that a fetus is a “potential human being.” For starters, it isn’t scientifically correct. The fetus is an unrepeatable, unique human child, created from the joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm, possessing a brand new DNA never before seen in the world. [Read more...]
Every child killed by voluntary abortion is a “Holy Innocent”. Every politician who supports this killing, implicitly or explicitly, carries on the evil actions of Herod. On this Feast of the Holy Innocents let us summon a new resolve to bring an end to the slaughter of the holy innocents in this hour. Time to end the funding of Planned Parenthood and the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. [...]
On December 28 in the Octave of Christmas we commemorate the Feast of the Holy Innocents in the Catholic Church. The readings for the Mass remind us that evil has no respect for life. There is an ongoing struggle between life and death, darkness and light, and those of us called to continue the redemptive mission of Jesus, the Light of the world, are engaged in the conflict.
The first reading for the Mass of the Feast of the Holy Innocents is taken from the 1st letter of the beloved disciple John, ‘This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.” (I John 5) [Read more...]
12/23/2010 – Rev. Robert A. Sirico -
That the eternal God should deign to co-mingle in time and space with humanity does tell us something, not about the ‘smallness’ of God, but about the inestimable dignity of the human person who is created in the image of the Lord of History. Thus it tells us about the importance of human history to eternity; of the relation of the visible world to the invisible one; and of the way the mortal life we each live here and now determines our immortal destiny. [...]
Some years ago I found myself at a fashionable dinner party in Los Angeles where the lamb was roasted to perfection, and the deep, rich red Australian wine complimented it to a tee. The conversation around the dinner table was likewise high-minded and it did not take this largely secular gathering very long to turn their attention to the Christian sitting in their midst. With all the graciousness and condescension she could muster, my dining companion turned to me and said, “I am not a believer, of course, but I have long admired your Church’s care for the poor and suffering and the generosity and effectiveness of your social agencies who tend to human needs without regard to the belief or non-belief of the recipient.” [Read more...]
11/15/2010 – Deacon Douglas McManaman -
The word ‘human’ comes from the Latin ‘humus’, which means ‘dirt’ or ‘soil’. Man is from the earth.
I often tell my students that what they learn in the course of a semester, in their math class, for example, or in their chemistry classes, or physics, etc., took centuries for the most brilliant human beings to uncover. Once it has been uncovered, however, it appears to be so simple. Why did it take so long? This is true especially for philosophy. It takes years and years to dispose the intellect to learn such abstract truths, and from these truths it is possible to go on to demonstrate, through reason alone, the existence of God, and it is also possible, through reason alone, to show that God is one, eternal, the source of all that is good and beautiful, that He is Beauty Itself, Goodness Itself, and Truth Itself. And when we finally come to see it, we inevitably think: “This is so clear and simple; why did it take years to get this?”
The reason is that human beings, by nature, are slow. We are the highest beings on the hierarchy of material beings, but we are the lowest beings on the hierarchy of God’s intellectual creatures. [Read more...]
Look at the amazingly clear and moral thinking going on in the Catholic Church. Replace the word “Catholic” with the words “Orthodox”, “Anglican”, “Lutheran”, “Baptist”, or just “Christian” and this editorial applies universally to all those who claim to believe in Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God, the Messiah, Light of Light, True God of True God, and the Savior of mankind.
11/2/2010 – Deacon Keith Fournier -
On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, voters in the United States of America will go to polling places in every State in the Union where we have the privilege of exercising our constitutional right to vote. The pundits who filled our television and computer screens with endless predictions on who will win or whether this will be a “wave” election will finally stop talking, at least for a while. The voters will do the talking. Catholics in the United States have an obligation, both as citizens and as Catholics, to vote in a manner consistent with what is true and right, and good.
On April 18, 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger offered a homily on the eve of the convocation which elected him Pope. Here is an excerpt:
“How many winds of doctrine we have known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves – thrown from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, and so forth. Every day new sects are created and what Saint Paul says about human trickery comes true, with cunning which tries to draw those into error (cf Eph 4, 14).
A campaign postcard the Minnesota Democratic Party sent to voters in the Midwestern state is causing a strong reaction from pro-life advocates. It claims the Catholic Church is more concerned with abortion than helping the poor. The postcard features a large photo of a older but faceless Catholic priest holding a Bible and wearing the clearly-seen Roman Catholic collar.
The priest sports a campaign button in a red, white and blue motif with the words, “Ignore the Poor.”
The ad, in the estimation of National Catholic Register writer Matt Archbold is blatantly anti-Catholic and meant to tell voters the Catholic Church is more concerned about abortion than the plight of the poor.
“Sometimes there’s a little subtlety to anti-Catholic political rhetoric but not this time. This is in your face anti-Catholicism,” he said. “It’s anti-Catholicism is not one point of many. It’s the point.” [Read more...]
10/24/2010 – Msgr. Charles Pope -
Sobriety about Evolutionary Theory – It is common to experience a rather simplistic notion among Catholics that the Theory of Evolution can be reconciled easily with the Biblical accounts and with our faith. Many will say something like this: “I have no problem with God setting things up so that we started as one-celled organisms and slowly evolved into being human beings. God could do this and perhaps the Genesis account is just simplifying evolution and telling us the same thing as what Evolution does.”
There are elements of the truth in this sort of a statement. Surely God could have set things up to evolve and directed the process so that human beings evolved and then, at some time he gave us souls. God could have done that.
The problem with the statement above is less theological than scientific because there is a word in that sentence that is “obnoxious” to evolutionary theory: “God.” The fact is that most Catholics who speak like this over-simplify evolutionary theory and hold a version of it that most Evolutionary Theorists do not hold. They accept the Theory of Evolution uncritically. [Read more...]
10/14/2010 – Fr. Thomas Hopko -
Orthodox Christians devoted to accountability are surely aware that accountability in behavior cannot be separated from accountability in understanding since practice (praxis) is necessarily connected to vision (theoreia).
This conviction inspires me, given the present state of things, to raise the following question:
Is it possible that the teaching of the Second Vatican Council about the ministry of bishops in the Roman Catholic Church is now being taught and practiced in an adapted and altered form in our Orthodox churches today?
Let me explain why I raise such a question.
According to the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church, following Vatican I and the Council of Trent, bishops are not organically connected to the specific dioceses in which they serve. They rather have their episcopal position and power by virtue of their personal sacramental consecration as bishops. [Read more...]
While Tariq Ramadan is hectoring Americans about “Islamophobia,” calling Muslims the new “blacks” in America, a synod is currently underway in the Vatican to save Christian communities in the Middle East’s Islamic countries from extinction. The flight of the region’s Christians to the West from the area where Christianity was born has reached such alarming proportions, Pope Benedict XVI gathered 285 delegates in Rome last Monday to investigate the phenomenon.
In his homily in St. Peter’s Cathedral to open the two-week synod, the Catholic pontiff called upon the delegates to scrutinize the situation with a “view to God” to ensure the region’s Christians can escape “discouragement” and “the temptation to flee.” The pope also indicated that the heart of problem lies in the threat Middle Eastern Christians face from Islamic radicalism, calling it, along with the international drug trade, “terroristic ideologies.
“Violent acts are apparently made in the name of God; but this is not God: they are false divinities that must be unmasked,” he said. [Read more...]
10/3/2010 – Carl Pearlston -
The use of Christian religious references in the recent Presidential Inauguration prayers has served to reopen the debate over religion in America’s public life. Professor Alan Dershowitz led off with an article strongly objecting that America wasn’t a Christian nation; Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby replied that it certainly was. Who is right? Is America a Christian nation? The answer is both yes and no, depending on what one means by the phrase.
When President Harry Truman wrote to Pope Pius XII in 1947 that “This is a Christian nation.”, he certainly did not mean that the United States has an official or legally-preferred religion or church. Nor did he mean to slight adherents of non-Christian religions. But he certainly did mean to recognize that this nation, its institutions and laws, was founded on Biblical principles basic to Christianity and to Judaism from which it flowed. As he told an Attorney General’s Conference in 1950, “The fundamental basis of this nation’s laws was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings we get from Exodus and Saint Matthew, from Isaiah and Saint Paul. I don’t think we emphasize that enough these days. [Read more...]
9/12/2010 – F. K. Bartels -
Traditional textbook discussions of ancestral descent are ‘a festering mass of unsupported assertions’.
A recent study conducted by Ph.D student Sarda Sahney, et al., at the University of Bristol, published in Biology Letters, used fossil evidence as a basis for analyzing evolutionary patterns over 400 million years of history. Sarda Sahney and colleagues posit that the availability of “living space” rather than competition for survival — as Darwin proposed — is the governing factor behind the evolution of species. Their theory is based on the concept that the process of evolution in which an organism is involved is highly influenced by its “ecological niche,” which includes such factors as food resources and habitat conditions. According to the study, large evolutionary changes occur in animals as a result of their migration into living spaces which are unoccupied by other animals.
Former president of Gonzaga University and noted scholar Fr. Robert Spitzer confirmed that “Darwin assumed that competition was what was driving the development of human species and particularly the dominance of one species over another.” Fr. Spitzer pointed out that “there is no way of reaching back in time and finding empirical evidence of that fact.” [Read more...]
8/19/2010 – A Catholic adoption advisory service that refuses to help gay couples cannot win an exemption from anti-discrimination laws, Britain’s charity regulator said Thursday.
Catholic Care, a charity in Leeds, northern England, had argued that as a religious group it should be allowed to offer adoption-support services only to heterosexuals. It said its funding from the Roman Catholic church was dependent on its policy of helping only married heterosexual couples to adopt. [Read more...]
8/16/2010 – Father Thomas Euteneur -
So why, you ask, is gay marriage wrong? Let me count the ways.
While we respect all people as they are, we don’t have to respect such a wholesale assault on everything that is sacred to us and good for our society; no, in fact, we must fight against it with our very lives. The question is not whether or not we can win the battle; the question is whether we will join it.
FRONT ROYAL, VA (HLI.org) – Back in the 90s when Fr. Paul Marx, founder of HLI, was asked his opinion about the efforts to legalize “same-sex unions” he commented in his usual forthright fashion, “When they do that,” he said, “it’s the end.” He meant “the end” of the Christian civilization whose values used to form the basis of American common life. Fr. Marx, in a prophetic sense, saw rightly that a society cannot survive the perverse manipulation of the very structure of reality that God Himself has revealed to us, one very fundamental element of which is the institution of marriage. When we allow that to be changed-”It’s the end.” [Read more...]