Monday, October 29, 2007

Interesting slogan

The winner of Students for Life of America's t-shirt contest was just announced. Ashley Tyndall, a college student and pro-life advocate attending UNC-Chapel Hill submitted the slogan: "A woman has the right to her body, even if she's still in the womb."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Original Man: original solitude

As much as we toss around the phrase, "theology of the body," you may be wondering what exactly we are talking about. In a previous post, I explained the basic concept (how our bodies reveal God).

The first thing that Pope John Paul II does is to turn to the beginning, before original sin, to determine what God's original plan was for our lives. There are several points he makes, which I will explain in future posts.

The first concept he addresses is called "original solitude." We read in the second creation account (Genesis 2) that when God created Adam in His own image and likeness, Adam was alone. From this experience of "original solitude" Adam learns that he is different from the animals. He has a different relationship with God, he can reason with his intellect and he can make choices due to the gift of free will.

When Adam looks at the animals around him, he can see he is different. When he looks at himself, he can tell that not everything about him is visible (intellect and will, for example). So, Adam's body reveals something about himself. Through his body, he realizes his different relationship with God and his difference from the animals. They cannot fulfill him. He experiences a sense of solitude through this experience.

As Adam searches for his meaning in life, God creates a "helper fit for him," who we know as Eve. This will lead us to the concept of "original unity." But that will be another post.

For now, just know that through Adam's solitude, we know that we are different from the animals, and that our relationship with God is special. Ponder this: YOU are made in God's image and likeness!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stories of silence

Read accounts from across the country about the fruitfulness of the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity. Here's one example:

"Well, I'm older than most of the people who took part in this event. I will be 25 on Sunday and I really wish this would have been going on when I was in school. I run an online group for pro-life and I'm highly educated in all aspects of abortion. I went to Walmart today with my husband and our 7 month old daughter, and let me tell you, I got some looks. However, there was a young girl who seriously wanted to talk to me because she had found out she was pregnant very recently. Her parents were outraged and wanted her to have an abortion. Her boyfriend had left her and accused her of cheating on him and she saw a shirt that I wearing about being pro-life and was asking about the duct tape. I had to talk to her in hopes of talking her out of having an abortion. She was very naive about the whole process, which I have come to find out, that most women are. I told her about some websites where she could research abortion and I explained it to her myself. I also gave her my phone number, and she just called me!! She was crying and told me there was no way she could ever do that to her baby and she was going to keep it! I couldn't believe it. Never in my life has anything like that happened."
-- Natasha Martin

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rise of the TOB

In our abbreviation-crazed society, TOB stands for Theology of the Body, the incredible teaching on sexuality that Pope John Paul II gave us. Check out Nolan Reynolds blog, Rise of the TOB for some great TOB insights from a young man who is excited about JPII's awesome gift. He has a wonderful list of recommended reading and a cool graphic too (but Blogger isn't allowing me to upload the image right now, so you'll have to visit the blog to check it out).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bella... true love goes beyond romance

It seems as if knowledge of the movie Bella is at either end of the spectrum. Either you have a personal countdown for its opening on your desk, are part of 15 facebook "support Bella" groups, and are linked to 3 different websites for e-mail updates while simultaneously arranging for a showing in your own town... or you say, "Bella... isn't that Italian for beautiful???". Well, I am one of the former, and the exciting news is that Bella is coming to Cincinnati! It is reported to be opening here on November 9th, but besides that my knowledge is limited. As soon as I know more, I will be sure to post an update.

As for other cities, opening dates as well as the trailer are listed on the official Bella site as well as more information on the movie. I have had the privilege of seeing it already and can tell you it is a life-changing movie that speaks of both true love and the preciousness of human life. It is a wonderful pro-life movie in an industry that rarely promotes good values, so please, support Bella in a city near you!

What is it like to take RU-486?

RU-486 is a chemical form of abortion that is taken in the earlier weeks of pregnancy. One brave mother recently spoke out about her experience with the drug. Take the time to read it and learn why women deserve better than abortion.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good news for a change

We often focus on the bad news in our society and dwell on depressing thoughts when it comes to the reception of our values in the world. How refreshing it is, then, to read daily updates from the 40 Days for Life campaign, of hearts changed, lives saved and communities educated. I cannot encourage you enough to sign up to receive these daily updates and prayer/meditations. Nearly every day I come away from reading these e-mails with a tear in my eye or a smile on my face. You can read the past updates or sign up for the new ones on the 40 Days for Life website.

All I want for Christmas

In case you are looking for some ideas for your Christmas list, below is a list of materials we have found interesting and informative:

1) Pure of Heart -- This CD set from Jason Evert is quite possibly the best presentation on chastity and purity I have ever heard. Jason utilizes the testimony of himself and others, saints' quotes, Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, common sense and a variety of other tools to explain purity (particularly the problem with pornography) in a way that particularly targets men.

2) God's Plan for You: Life, Love, Marriage and Sex -- David Hajduk breaks down JPII's Theology of the Body in a way that relates to teens.

3) If You Really Loved Me: 100 Questions On Dating, Relationships, And Sexual Purity -- This is the best summary of the most common questions on sexuality and chastity related topics. Jason Evert, a renowned chastity educator, answers each question thoughtfully and concisely, often drawing in humor and easily understood analogies.

4) Pro-Life, modesty and chastity apparel is available in some awesome designs. I highly recommend Stand True's store.

This is just a short list for now. What resources would you recommend?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The nature of birth control, Part II

In yesterday's post, I mentioned that the two "Your Voice" columns in the Cincinnati Enquirer replying to my op-ed were both written by men who advocated the use of birth control. With perfect timing, just to prove my point that not all men are sex-obsessed creatures, a reply written by a local father appeared today. You can read it here: It's not every day you read about Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body in the secular newspaper!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The nature of birth control

A week or two ago I posted a link to an op-ed piece I wrote for the Cincinnati Enquirer in response to a woman advocating lower birth control prices for low income or college women. Since the article was printed, several other letters to the editor and op-ed pieces have been printed. The letters to the editor have agreed with my response that chastity is the true answer.

However, there have been two longer "Your Voice" articles that have challenged my arguments. As I read the second one today, I couldn't help but marvel that both of these challenges were written by men. Today's writer expressed doubt that women are disrespected by the use of birth control. That's easy for him to say, I thought.

A few years ago I participated in a 1,300 mile pro-life walk in the Northeast. In Boston, I saw a young man holding a "Keep Abortion Legal" sign. Attached to his lapel was a little pin that said, "I (heart) pro-choice women." Really.

If a girl is taking birth control, then the guy knows that he most probably will not father a child, thus relieving a major consequence of pre-marital sex. The girl doesn't become a mother and the guy gets what he wants.

Pope John Paul II said the opposite of love is not hate but use. We can never use another person if we truly love them. To separate sex from its life-giving nature is to treat sex as a tool merely for pleasure. Ultimately this means we are using the other person to get what we want, instead of loving them as a fellow person.

I'm not saying all men have these bad intentions. In fact, I know many men who respect women more than they often respect themselves. In our culture, however, I believe we have attempted to make men feel that they are supposed to use women. Women seem to expect it, and men often think it's the role they are supposed to fulfill. On the contrary, men are called to protect and defend women. What's more, they are capable of doing so.

Promoting birth control continues the stereotype that men are only after sex. Women are simultaneously reduced to sexual objects. God created sex to be something so much more beautiful than a mechanism for pleasure. When looked at according to His plan, we can see that we deserve so much better than to be used. We were created to be loved.

Monday, October 15, 2007

How to say yes to chastity

We have been working on a new high school brochure for our chastity program. Below is a sneak peek of what we've been working on:

How To Say Yes To Chastity
It may seem nearly impossible to save sexual activity for marriage in today’s world. Here are some tips to help you:
1) Pray for God’s grace and guidance.
2) Make good dating decisions: Date in groups or in public places and set your standards ahead of time.
3) Say no to pornography, which trains you to treat others as sexual objects.
4) Talk to your potential boyfriend or girlfriend about your commitment to saving sex for marriage before or early on in your relationship.
5) Dress and speak in a way that communicates that you are worth much more than just your sexuality.
6) Talk to like-minded friends about your commitment to chastity. Having an accountability partner is an awesome way to help you maintain your standards.
7) Avoid things that might tempt you to have sex: Alcohol, drugs, laying down together
8) Remember: Opposites never attract (or last) when it comes to values.
9) Make a list of why you’re waiting and review it from time to time.
10) Remind yourself that you are capable of waiting until marriage and you deserve someone waiting for you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Support a good cause while you surf

Next time you are about to google something, type in You will still accomplish your google search, while simultaneously supporting pro-life organizations just by the click of the mouse.

Quote book

"When you decide firmly to lead a clean life, chastity will not be a burden on you: it will be a crown of triumph." - St. Josemaria Escriva

In your words

Pure Love Club has asked teens why they are choosing chastity. Some of their answers are posted here: If you are feeling discouraged or need some inspiration, read some of these answers as a reminder that you are not alone.

Monday, October 8, 2007

And this one's for the girls ...

Check out One More Soul's list of tips for young women to command the respect they deserve:

20 ways for young men to become real men

Check out this awesome list from One More Soul:

Day of Silent Solidarity

If you have been searching for a way to stand up for the lives of the unborn, then the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity is the opportunity for which you have been waiting. On October 23, students from across the nation will wear red duct tape on their arm or their mouth to signify their decision to give up their voice for a day in honor of the unborn who have no voice.

There is no charge for participating. Last year thousands of schools were involved in the Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity.

Bryan Kemper, founder of Stand True Ministries, which organizes the event, said he doesn’t want students to be legalistic about their silence. Instead, if an opportunity to talk about one’s convictions for life arises, it is better to take advantage of the situation.

A participant in last year’s Silent Day said, “I spoke to about six or seven pregnant girls and about four of them told me that they were thinking about getting abortions, but after we talked they changed their minds. It was just an awesome day.”

Check out for more information, flyers to distribute to explain your silence and a list of participating schools. If your school is not listed, go ahead and sign them up!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

How long is it worth the wait?

I was reading an article from the Paly Voice about Palo Alto High School students who have become infected with sexually transmitted diseases (, and was rather taken aback that condom promotion seemed to be the goal. Here we have several teenagers agonizing over their STDs, being told that a condom could have solved their problem.

According to the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (, condoms provide roughly a 50% decreased risk for the majority of STDs. However, when it comes to HPV, there has been no proven decreased risk.

What struck me the most in the article was this comment from a high school student: "It's hard to say that you have to use a condom every time, especially when you are in a committed relationship," Alex said. "But I am not willing to risk her or my safety, so it's really worth waiting that extra ten seconds to get a condom."

Worth ten seconds? Isn't it worth so much more than that, Alex? If you really value your girlfriend and don't want to risk her physical, emotional or spiritual health then why not wait until you have pledged that love to one another in marriage? Waiting ten seconds doesn't say much; waiting until marriage bespeaks a profound love and true commitment.