Thursday, November 29, 2007

Well done, good and faithful servant

Congressman Henry Hyde, a champion for life, passed away today. He is well-known for the following quote, which hopefully he is experiencing today:

"When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God - and a terror will rip your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there'll be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world - and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, 'Spare him, because he loved us,' - and God will look at you and say not, 'Did you succeed?' but 'Did you try?'"

Purity Matters

Head over to Elizabeth Andrew's blog to watch a minute-long video comparing our desire for pure drinking water to the importance of sexual purity.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A rising star in Theology of the Body

Exciting news from Rise of the TOB: The blog will expand and include more posts, more contributors and guest writers. This promises to be a great contribution to spreading JPII's Theology of the Body. Read more here.

Thought for the day

While recently reading Pope John's Paul II's Theology of the Body, I came across his expression that one who is used in pornography is turned into "public property." The problems with pornography have been explored (and will continue to be) on this blog, but I found this wording particularly telling.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Killing babies saves the environment?

A friend passed this article along about women who have decided to forgo having children via abortion and sterilization in order to "save" the environment. I was startled by some of the comments:

"I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet - and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do." (Sarah Irving)

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet." (Toni Vernelli)

I'm not sure that I understand how children ruin the environment. If we all refused to be open to life, then who would inhabit the earth anyway? And since when do trees and fresh air have more importance than human life? Isn't the earth here for the use of humans? I don't advocate misusing God's creation, but we have to keep our priorities straight.

My friend Kristen, who sent the article, tried to post this response (last time I checked they hadn't added the comment): "Being a parent is the most unselfish thing you could do in your life. Abortion, contraception, sterilization, etc. are NOT the answer to protecting the planet. Overpopulation is a total myth. Hunger and such problems are not due to overpopulation, rather they are due to those countries that have an abundance of food not adequately sharing with those who don't have enough - Check out - It's great to recycle etc., but please get priorities in order - human life is more valuable than anything else on the planet."

Monday, November 26, 2007

What if the baby is going to die?

We are constantly confronted with well-meaning people asking if abortion is OK if the baby will "die anyway." My answer always includes the question, "How do we know for sure that they will die and does their possible death give their life less meaning?" Here is a wonderful article and video about a girl celebrating her 16th birthday after her mother had been pressured to have an abortion because of poor fetal health.

Make sure to watch the accompanying video (it's on the top right).

Friday, November 23, 2007

Short and sweet

In answer to the perennial question, "How far can I go?" Dawn Eden gave this advice during a Theology on Tap talk in Cincinnati last April: "Aim for expressing affection not arousal."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What I learned about guys and sex

In a previous post, I mentioned that I would share the advice that some of my male friends gave for an 8th grade student who wanted to know how the self-esteem and reputation of teen boys would be affected by sexual activity. Here are some of the things they said in response:

1) Nothing can hurt your self-esteem so much as disappointing yourself. If you know that non-marital sex is wrong and do it to impress others, then you will let yourself down. Your self-image will be poorly affected by this decision more than anything that another person would say to you.

2)If a guy isn't having sex, he's not the only one - there are plenty of virgins out there too. Some may act like they've had sex and sometimes it just isn't true.

3) If a young man makes fun of somebody for being a virgin, he is painfully insecure about his own sexuality.

4) If a young man thinks that he is gaining masculinity by conquering young women, he is actually doing the exact opposite of what he wants.

5) Girls respect guys who respect girls.

6) Reputation: If you stand strong in your life as a chaste virgin, you will be more highly respected in the end.

7) Self esteem: The people who have sex and brag about it are often the ones who have lower self esteem.

8) One of the biggest signs of manhood is COURAGE! Without courage a man is just a coward. No man wants to be a coward. Unfortunately we have many cowards in our society, those who are afraid to be different, to fight for what is true, good and beautiful. When a man stands up for those things in the face of a disagreeing and even mocking crowd, he is a true soldier. THAT is MANhood. One can choose to be a man and be different or one can choose to be a coward and just follow the opinions of the majority.

9) Not everyone is having sex! It may seem like it because that's all the guys talk about in the locker room but guys talk big with little to back it up. So next time your friends get on the subject, tell the what you think about women: They are beautiful and deserve to not be treated as objects. You will be respected by your guy friends by not faltering on this view, and I am sure the girls will be happy to know that someone respects their dignity, even if they don't.

10) Young men and young women are capable of living chastity and are worth it!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Original Man: Original Unity

It's been awhile since we have taken a closer look at Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. About a month ago we looked at the concept of "original solitude." This leads us into the idea of "original unity."

Adam knew that he was different from the other animals and that he could not find his fulfillment in them. After God noted, "It is not good that the man should be alone," (Genesis 2:18), He "caused torpor to fall upon the man, who fell asleep; then he took one of his ribs and closed the flesh again in its place. With the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he formed a woman" (Genesis 2:21-22). The Holy Father notes that Adam went to sleep dreaming of his future bride.

When he awoke, Adam exclaimed at the sight of Eve, "This time she is flesh from my flesh and bone from my bones" (Genesis 2:23). Adam sees in Eve a person to whom he can give a total gift of himself, and who in turn, can completely give of herself to him. Their bodies are literally created to go together.

Here is perhaps the most important part: "Man becomes an image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion" (TOB, 163). What JPII is saying is that the marital love is an image of the Trinity. How so? Well, in the Trinity, we have God the Father and God the Son who love each other so totally, that their love results in a third Person -- the Holy Spirit. With a married couple, we have a husband and wife who love each other so completely that nine months later you may have to give that love a name. If they are open to life, their love may be manifested in the gift of a third person -- a baby.

In a Vatican II document, "Gaudium et Spes," the Church said that only by sincerely giving a gift of oneself can one discover himself. When man and woman were created, they realized that they were created as a gift from God in order to be a gift to another. Thousands of years later, and with the introduction of sin, we still are created as a gift from God in order to be a gift to others. We can give a sincere gift of self in many ways (volunteer work, helping around the house, praying for others) but the way which most closely images the Trinity (though it's still a long, long way form adequately expressing the life of God) is through married sex.

The Philosophy of the Body

Dr. Peter Colosi, a professor at Franciscan University (my alma mater!), recently gave a presentation about Pope John Paul II's theology of the body to a Theology on Tap event in Buffalo, NY. If you're not familiar, Theology on Tap consists of Catholic talks given to young adults in bars.

Dr. Colosi focuses on the philosophy behind JPII's theology of the body. He uses lots of practical examples, which make it easy to understand, even for non-philosophical people like me. You can download the lecture for free from iTunes. After you click on the iTunes link, choose the talk: "Top Shelf: Theology of the Body Unwrapped."

This was one of my favorite points: Dr. Colosi quotes a woman who said, "God does not care what we do with our bodies; He only wants us to respect each other as persons."

He answers with, "How odd is the view of so many people today who will be hurt by a sneer or a slap, or consoled by a hug, and in the next breath, think or say that sex, which is a much deeper physical expression, is incapable of touching their very person."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Prayer Request

Someone at church handed me a paper that said the following,

"In 1571 Pope Pius V called Catholics to pray the rosary for the outnumbered Christian fleet against the Muslims in the Battle of Lepanto. Mary, Help of Christians won the battle for them through the recitation of the rosary.

"You are encouraged to pray the rosary on the 4th of every month from Nov. 4, 2007-Nov. 4, 2008. This is for the 2008 elections (Presidential and Congressional), for the conversion of America, and for a change of heart for the terrorists. We are in a battle for truth, family values, attacks on Christianity, pro-life, modesty, peace, etc. Prayer is our 'weapon' in these battles. Please mark your calendars and join in praying on the 4th for the next 12 months."

99 Balloons

Watch this video, called "99 Balloons." It is a beautiful depiction of the gift of life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Teen boys and sex

Recently an 8th grade boy commented that sexually active teen boy's reputations and self-esteem are boosted by sex. Nicole and I have been asking the opinions of some of our male friends (stay tuned for another post), but I also looked into studies that show otherwise.

1) Teen boys who are "sexually active are more than twice as likely to be depressed as those who are not sexually active." (Heritage Foundation)

2) "Sexually active teenage boys are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than are boys who are not sexually active." (Heritage Foundation)

3) "Sexually active boys aged 12-16 are four times more likely to smoke and six times more likely to use alcohol than are those who described themselves as virgins." (Pediatrics Magazine)

As much as our culture says that sex proves manhood, at our very heart we know this isn't true. I'll post more later, but for now, ponder this: True manhood is not proved by sexual promiscuity but by self-control, courage and the strength to stand up for sexual purity.

Eduardo on movies, faith and pressure

"Bella" star Eduardo Verastegui's interview with Neil Cavuto is worth watching. Other interviews are available as well.

It's refreshing to see positive role models in the media.

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's still time to see Bella!

Don't miss your chance to see the incredible film, "Bella," which Nicole has already written about. It should be in Cincinnati until Thursday. I hope you are able to see it! If you do watch the film, then post a comment to let us know what you thought (without giving anything away for those who haven't seen it yet).

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chastity is a yes

This morning I was listening to Sacred Heart Radio's new SonRise Morning Show, when I was excited to hear Brian Butler, the co-author of Theology of the Body for Teens. Brian offered an insightful analogy about why chastity is saying yes to love, more than it is about saying no. He said that when he got married he did not take a vow to not be involved with 3 billion women on the earth. Instead he made a vow to one woman, his wife. Consequently, through this vow, he was inferring that he was saying no to the billions of other women on the planet.

Brian explained Pope John Paul II's insights well with this analogy: Chastity is primarily saying yes to love and yes to God's plan for sexuality. As a consequence of saying yes to one thing, we must say no to other things (sexual activity outside of marriage, pornography, dressing immodestly, etc.). Brian was focused on his yes to his wife. Similarly, if we look at chastity as a positive virtue, our pursuit of true love in God's plan will lead us to make the no's that are necessary.


So, the word is finally official... Bella will be here in Cincinnati THIS WEEKEND November 9-11. Only three different theaters will be showing it: National Amusement in Springdale, AMC at Newport on the Levee, and REGAL in Deerfield Twp. and you can buy online ahead of time. Pregnancy Center East will be co-hosting the 5:50 pm showing at Newport on the Levee, Saturday, November 10th. If you would like to be pre-buy a ticket for the showing you can contact Pregnancy Center East at 513-321-3100 until 4pm on Friday. I know this is short notice, but this is very exciting news, so please spread the word!!! More locations are being added everyday, so if you are not from Cincinnati, find a theatre near you and support BELLA!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The problem with porn

This blog has already highlighted some of the many problems with pornography, but another issue was highlighted on the front page of today's Cincinnati Enquirer. Without going into graphic detail, a rapist who is awaiting sentencing in Cincinnati was just discovered to have had child pornography on his computer. The porn actually depicted some of the same things he did to teenage girls.

As Dr. Mary Ann Layden from the University of Pennsylvania said --“I have been treating sexual violence victims and perpetrators for 13 years. I have not treated a single case of sexual violence that didn’t involve pornography.”

Friday, November 2, 2007

Is pro-choice, pro-abortion?

C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, used to talk about verbicide (the killing of words). The basic concept is that we use words that typically have another meaning to “sugarcoat” new concepts (eg. “gay” used to mean happy but now means actively homosexual). So, we now say pro-choice to sugarcoat being pro-abortion.

The only choice we are talking about in this instance is the choice to have an abortion. I think everyone should be pro-choice in the sense that we all want choices – what am I going to eat, what should I wear, which movie do I want to watch – but when we say pro-choice we are only advocating the ability to make one particular choice, regarding abortion.

What does freedom really mean? Surprisingly, freedom isn’t doing whatever I want, whenever I want, with whoever I want. Freedom, instead, is the ability to choose the good. For example, if I have a car that runs only on unleaded gas, but I feel suppressed by such a condition that I decide to use diesel instead, how “free” will I feel when my car is unable to move? True freedom would be the ability to freely choose to buy the unleaded gas, which in the end will allow me to accomplish much more than the diesel would. Over the summer, a local teenager drove a car that crashed. He had the freedom to obey the speed limit or not. By not choosing what was good, his “freedom” (in the let-me-do-whatever-I-want-sense) resulted in the death of two other teens.

So, is choosing abortion freedom? To answer that, we would have to look at whether or not abortion is good. I would argue that it is not good on four counts:

1) It ends the life of the child, whose life has begun at the moment of fertilization.

2) It destroys the emotional (and sometimes physical) health of the mother. (See and; also – this was written by a friend of mine)

3) It is emotionally damaging to the father. (See above links)

4) It is destructive of society, which has a lower respect for life in general and does not have the blessing of those 47 million people who God created for a reason.

What good could supporting the choice of abortion do? It seems like a quick fix, but after sidewalk counseling in front of abortion clinics and talking to many women who have had an abortion, I know that it doesn’t fix anything. In fact, it just creates more problems, physically and emotionally. In my time outside of abortion clinics, I have seen women cry, scream, become physically violent and even be carried out of the abortion clinic in a stretcher. After experiences like this, I have encountered face-to-face that abortion does not make someone’s life easy. Of course, adoption and parenting are not easy decisions either, but they are decisions that a woman can live with.

This plays a huge role in why we do the In Control program – we don’t want anyone to be put in this situation to begin with. If someone is facing an unexpected pregnancy, then we can reach out to them in love by helping them to find options that are truly loving and life-giving. True freedom would give these women the ability to freely choose the good – life.

Think back to the legalization of slavery or during the Holocaust. Would anyone today say that it would have been OK to be “pro-choice” in supporting slavery or the Holocaust? Doubtfully. We recognize that those things were horribly wrong and we can’t even imagine someone saying that it would be OK if it was someone else’s choice.

I was able to go to Poland last year. Standing in the Auschwitz concentration camp I could not believe what a horrible place it was. Another girl from my school told me that maybe a reason God had me there was to share with others the similarity of the acceptance of evil during the Holocaust and the acceptance of the evil of abortion. I read a book about the Holocaust in which one man was quoted as saying that the reason he got involved in standing against the work of Hitler was because he couldn’t imagine his future grandchildren asking him what he did to stop the evil, if his answer would be, “Nothing.” I think the same is true today.

Saying, I’m against abortion but I’m pro-choice is like saying, I’m against parents shooting their teenagers, but I’m for the choice of other parents to shoot their teenagers if they get frustrated with them." If killing babies through abortion is wrong, then it can never be right. Therefore, being "pro-choice" is being "pro-abortion."

Finding Mr. Right

Wendy Shalit, author of Return to Modesty and Girls Gone Mild, received an interesting facebook message after speaking in Pittsburgh. A young man, Joe Muir, sent Wendy what he would have said at the primarily female attended event. His comments give us something interesting to think about. Here is the final paragraph:

"I am definitely in the minority tonight, being but one of a very few men here, amongst this sea of beautiful women, women not content to buy the lie from society regarding where their beauty lies. I want to thank all of you for being here, and encourage all of you continue doing what do. I also want to encourage each of you to never, ever settle for second best in a relationship, as you deserve the best. It is far better to not be in a relationship, wishing you were in one, than to actually be in one, wishing you weren't. Be willing, I pray you, to be single for the rest of your life, if that's what it takes to not settle for second best; as that would be far better than marrying a man who cannot love you."

Make sure to read the whole post.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy All Saints Day!

On this day when we celebrate all of the saints, you may want to read about some saints who are known for their commitment to chastity:
St. Augustine (He recommitted to chastity after a life of sexual promiscuity)

Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati (who is pictured to the right)

St. Raphael (an archangel who is patron of finding your spouse)
Let us ask for the saints' intercession as we strive for purity in our lives.

How far is too far?

This seems to be the most popular question. Jason Evert gives an excellent answer.

A related topic is whether or not french kissing is a good idea. Again, Jason Evert provides some great food for thought, including this:
"Nevertheless, some say that French kissing is really no big deal and does not mean anything. But isn’t there something in you that wants it to be a big deal? The more of ourselves we give away, the less we value the gift of our body and our entire self (and people will respond by treating us with less respect as well). Ask yourself what your kisses are worth. Are they a way to repay a guy for a nice evening? Are they a solution to boredom on a date? Are they a way to cover up hurts or loneliness? Even worse, are they merely for 'harmless' fun? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we have forgotten the purpose of a kiss and the meaning of intimacy. So do not segregate parts of your sexuality as 'no big deal.' Your entire body is an infinitely big deal, and this includes your kisses. If we realize this, the simplest of kisses becomes priceless and brings more joy than one hundred one-night stands."