sábado, 5 de novembro de 2011

TC de Chile rechaza mal llamado "matrimonio" gay

SANTIAGO, 05 Nov. 11 / 04:08 pm (ACI/EWTN Noticias)

Por 9 votos contra 1, el Tribunal Constitucional de Chile (TC) decidió rechazar la solicitud de tres parejas
homosexuales que solicitaron convalidar en ese país la unión legal que han constituido en lugares como Argentina en donde es legal.

El fallo del máximo tribunal chileno rechaza el pedido de las tres parejas quienes presentaron una demanda contra el artículo 102 del Código Civil que establece que el matrimonio es la unión entre un hombre y una mujer.

El diario La Nación señala que el proceso de las tres parejas se inició en octubre de 2010 cuando el Movimiento de Liberación Homosexual (Movilh) y sus abogados presentaron un recurso de protección ante la Corte de Apelaciones de Santiago, alegando que la prohibición al mal llamado "matrimonio gay" atentaría contra la Constitución.

En diciembre de 2010 la Corte hizo la consulta al TC que dio a conocer su fallo ayer 3 de noviembre

El fallo del TC señala que "lo que pretenden los recurrentes es que se les reconozca la aplicación del mencionado estatuto, cuestión que no es de competencia de este Tribunal, pues éste no se encuentra facultado para modificar y regular las instituciones que contempla el ordenamiento jurídico mediante un pronunciamiento de inaplicabilidad".

Los ministros (jueces del TC) que votaron rechazando el pedido de los homosexuales fueron Francisco Fernández, Carlos Carmona, José Antonio Viera Gallo y Gonzalo.

También lo hicieron así Marcelo Venegas, Enrique Navarro e Iván Aróstica, quienes explicaron que el rechazo del pedido de las parejas homosexuales no vulnera la Constitución.

El artículo 102 del Código Civil señala claramente que el "matrimonio es un contrato solemne por el cual un hombre y una mujer se unen actual e indisolublemente, y por toda la vida, con el fin de vivir juntos, de procrear y de auxiliarse mutuamente".

La doctrina católica desaprueba el mal llamado "matrimonio" gay porque atenta contra la naturaleza, sentido y significado del verdadero matrimonio, constituido por la unión entre un hombre y una mujer, sobre la cual se forma la familia.

El Vaticano y los obispos en diversos países del mundo han denunciado que las legislaciones que pretenden presentar "modelos alternativos" de vida familiar y conyugal atentan contra la célula básica de la sociedad.

Synopsis of the evidence in the defense of marriage

by Dale O’Leary

November 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The defenders of marriage should take advantage of what is known about same-sex attraction (SSA), because those promoting the redefinition of marriage have manipulated public opinion by distorting the facts and research. The five main distortions are:

1) Persons with SSA are born that way.
2) Persons with SSA can’t change.
3) Persons with SSA are just as healthy as persons in husband/wife marriages.
4) Same-sex relationships are just like husband/wife marriages except for the sex of the partners.
5) Children acquired by persons in same-sex relationships don’t have excess problems.

There are numerous studies refuting the first two points and no credible studies supporting either.

There are numerous well-designed large studies which have found that persons with SSA are far more likely that married men and women to suffer from:

· Psychological disorders
· Sexual additions and paraphilias
· Suicidal ideation and attempts
· Substance abuse and addiction, including to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes
· To have unstable, unfaithful, non-permanent, non-exclusive relationships
· To have health problems, particularly STDs including HIV and cancer
· To have been victims of sexual abuse, rape, or domestic violence

Those defending marriage frequently point out that same-sex relationships lack complementarity, but fail to explain how that lack affects the quality of the relationship and causes one or both of the partners to sacrifice something essential to their human dignity. Same-sex relationships fall into a number of patterns. The following list covers some of these patterns and how the lack of natural complementarity negatively impacts individuals involved:

1) Pseudo husband or wife – The man imitating the role of the wife senses it is unmanly to be dependent on another man. The woman imitating the role of husband often still wants to mother.

2) Parent/child – The younger male partner by accepting the child role sacrifices his right to become a full adult. The woman accepting the child role becomes permanently dependent. The relationship is inherently incestuous.

3) Asexual friendship – Many same-sex relationships start passionately and quickly devolve into asexual friendships. The same-sex friend no longer excites passion. The males in asexual friendships engage in casual sex outside the relationship. Among women, the “dead bed” is common. Asexual friendships do not need to be recognized as marriages.

4) Clones/fusion – Persons in some same-sex relationships try to eradicate all differences. Individuality is not tolerated

5) Loneliness caused by absence of the other sex or fear of the other sex caused by abuse – The persons involved sacrifice their natural heterosexuality. These relationships are inherently unstable and the person may, when the opportunity occurs, return to a heterosexual relationship.

Same-sex relationships do not promote the best interests or meet the real needs of the persons involved. The push for social recognition may be motivated by the erroneous belief that their relationship problems are caused by external forces rather than the inherent lack of true complementarity.

Children acquired by same-sex couples are also subject to problems inherent in their status. In addition, same-sex couples are more likely to be at risk for a number of problems which directly impact their ability to parent.

1) Intrinsic Factors – Every child acquired by a same sex couple has by definition been separated from one or both of his biological parents, through death, desertion, single parenthood, foster care, adoption, artificial insemination donor, or surrogate motherhood. Even in the best of circumstances such separation is perceived by the child as a loss. A same-sex couple is never the best of circumstances. It is by definition second best because it lacks a parent of both sexes. Worse still this particular tragedy is not accidental, but the result of the conscious, planned action of the persons on whom the child is dependent. These children are purposefully and permanently made fatherless or motherless. In addition, same-sex families with children function like a cult. The child’s loss is denied. The children are made to feel that their legitimate desire for a parent of both sexes is a betrayal of their family’s sacrifice in the face of a hostile, non-accepting, homophobic culture.

2) Risk Factors —Persons with SSA are far more likely than married men and women to suffer from psychological disorders, sexual addiction and paraphilias, suicidal ideation and attempts, unstable relationships, health problems, and to have been victims of abuse or violence. These problems rarely occur singly. Many persons with SSA suffer from a combination of disorders. In addition each same-sex relationship contains two persons who are at high risk, doubling the potential for a sub-optimum outcome. One has to ask: Are social workers intentionally ignoring problems when placing children with same-sex couples who have serious problems?

Those defending marriage need to make this information known.

Evidence supporting the material presented here can be found in my book One Man, One Woman. Those who need specific references may email me at dalemoleary@yahoo.com or my blog.

sexta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2011

Mississippi Personhood Amendment Should be Supported

by E. Christian Brugger, D.Phil., Senior Fellow and Director, Fellows Program

In Culture of Life Foundation

If Mississippi’s Initiative 26 (the “personhood initiative” or “PI”) passes next Tuesday, its state constitution will be amended to read : “Person defined. “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

The New York Times has found this so threatening that it’s dedicated three pieces (1 , 2 , 3 ) in the last 8 days to persuading people against it. The Washington Post’s eager atheist Susan Jacoby tells us that the “pernicious” initiative is based on “religious extremism and ignorance of human anatomy and biology”. The LA Times quotes a Mississippi law professor—with entirely too much time on his hands—as saying that if the initiative passes, unsuspecting women who consume alcohol or engage in “a strenuous physical competition” may be exposed to criminal prosecution. Other nervous journalists tell us that the law would force doctors to let women die on their floors, prohibit the use of the morning after pill “in all instances”, outlaw IUDs, shut down IVF clinics, permit religious interference with the female reproductive system, and require the prosecution of women who miscarry. Pro-aborts haven’t gotten his worked up since Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey urged the High Court in 1992 to overturn Roe v. Wade as having been wrongly decided.

The favorite talking point of pro-choicers is that, because the initiative is so extreme, it has even “split the anti-abortion movement .” There’s a modicum of truth to this. But the “split” has nothing to do with the intent of the initiative to secure legal protections for all human beings from fertilization. The split is over strategy. Although Mississippi’s largest Christian denomination, the Mississippi Baptist Convention backs the PI, as well as the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, and influential Republican pundits such as former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, the initiative is not supported by two of the most influential pro-life voices in the U.S., the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and National Right to Life (NRL).

Neither group is a newcomer to the concept of a personhood amendment. And both have long supported federal initiatives to amend the U.S. Constitution to define nascent human life as constitutionally protected persons. But over the past five years, Catholic bishops and the NRL have consistently discouraged similar state initiatives. In 2007
Georgia Right to Life introduced in the state legislature a Human Life Amendment (HR 536), which the Georgia Catholic Conference and National Right to Life refused to support.

They likewise refused to support two ballot initiatives in Colorado aimed at constitutionally defining preborn human beings as persons. Both measures failed miserably (in 2008, by an enormous percentage margin of 73-27, and in 2010, by a 70-30 margin). But when it comes to social issues, Mississippi and Colorado may as well be separate countries. (Remember, Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion in 1967 under limited circumstances.) Both supporters and opponents of Mississippi’s PI believe that the proposal is likely to pass.

The opposition of U.S. bishops stems almost exclusively from the judgment that if states such as Colorado or Mississippi approve a personhood amendment, the success will be a Pyrrhic victory (winning a battle at the state level at the cost of losing the war at the federal). The U.S. Constitution guarantees access to abortion via the so-called right to privacy. If preborn human beings are guaranteed constitutional protection in Mississippi, most abortions there will be prohibited, setting up a challenge between the state and federal constitutions. The amendment immediately will be challenged in the state or federal courts and will be ruled unconstitutional. Pro-lifers backers will then petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a “writ of certiorari” (will ask the high court to review the lower court’s decision) and either “cert will be denied” (the Supreme Court will refuse to review the case), or if it agrees to hear the case, given its ideological make-up, will most likely rule against it. By reaffirming Roe, the last state of affairs will be worse than the first.

The reasoning is plausible but not iron tight. An appeal could take several years. Can we be sure today what the Supreme Court will look like in several years? Do we know that juridically answering Roe’s unsettled but all-important question of the status of the preborn will not pass constitutional muster? Why? Because of the indirect implications of such an answer for abortion ‘rights’? Yes, maybe. But the state also has an interest in settling the question of the status of the preborn; and Roe doesn’t answer the question, so Mississippi’s PI does not directly challenge Roe. And gobs of facts in developmental biology are accessible today that weren’t when Blackmun wrote his infamously evasive words on personhood.

For five years Catholic bishops have gone public in opposition to these initiatives. How many more years will they continue? If Obama gets re-elected and appoints even one more pro-Roe justice, will they become permanent opponents of state initiatives to extend constitutional protection to the unborn? Hard-headed pragmatism is sometimes a justifiable way for Christian shepherds to proceed, but sometimes it’s not, especially if doing so offers a confusing witness to values that stand at the core of the Gospel. At very least, testifying to a maligned truth always has some value, such as the truth of the personhood of human beings from fertilization.

But I believe the possibility of scandal needs to be seriously considered here. Scandal is defined as leading another to commit serious sin. This, of course, can be done intentionally. But it also can be done unintentionally, as when one adopts a course of action that gives an ambiguous message on some gravely important matter. For example, a priest frequents a pub with his sister (who happens to be a beautiful blond); somebody contemplating becoming a Catholic is having a beer on his way home from work and sees Father and his sister chatting cozily in the neighboring booth, doesn't know they're siblings, wrongly interprets the ambiguous message, and decides "ah, the Catholic Church is full of hypocrites", and stops his pursuit of full communion. The priest would be culpable for wrongdoing for not foreseeing that his confusing example (although arising from an act that was in itself innocent) might wrongly but understandably be interpreted to the spiritual harm of others.

Catholics and non-Catholic alike in Georgia, Colorado, and Mississippi have expressed serious misgivings about the Catholic bishops’ approach to the question of personhood amendments in their states. I know anecdotally from my own experience in Colorado that at least some good Catholics have lost trust in their bishops over the issue. Some Protestant pro-life brothers and sisters have felt alienated. And enemies of the Church, both within and without, have exploited the confusing example in criticisms against the Church.

Since the pragmatic argument is far from certain, and since opposing PIs risks scandal, I recommend that our bishops and other pro-life leaders, even those with misgivings, offer at least qualified support for Mississippi’s initiative and others like it; and urge Catholics and all citizens, after serious consideration of the issues at stake, to vote in the way they judge to be most effective in protecting the lives of human persons from fertilization to natural death.

Los 5 tipos de católicos de EE.UU: fieles, titubeantes, comodones, alejados y no-católicos

El 88% considera que es "significativo para mí" que la Iglesia ayude a los pobres, pero luego un 60% afirma, sin rubor, que "se puede ser un buen católico sin donar tiempo o dinero a los pobres"

In Religión en Libertad

Pablo J. Ginés/Re

¿Cómo son los católicos de EEUU? Para aclararnos, primero habría que definir a quién llamamos católico. En su libro "Mero Cristianismo" C. S. Lewis se quejaba de que con la palabra "cristiano" pasaba como con la palabra "caballero": al convertirse en un elogio, dejó de ser útil como palabra descriptiva; todo el mundo es, en principio, bueno, cristiano, un caballero... que es como decir que nadie lo es. Por eso, pide usar las palabras de forma útil: cristiano es que el acepta las enseñanzas de los apóstoles (aunque no las entienda o no las cumpla bien).

El reciente estudio ("Catholics in America", octubre 2011, por Knowledge Networks) publicado por el National Catholic Reporter (el periódico del catolicismo "progre" de EEUU) considera católico a quien se autodefina como tal. Se basa en preguntas a 1.442 personas localizadas en EEUU que admiten ser llamadas "católicas".

Los resultados son complejos, pero podemos simplificarlos si los clasificamos en cinco grupos, cada uno representativo de un 20 por ciento del catolicismo norteamericano (es decir, 14 millones de personas por grupo). Los describiremos de "menos católicos" a "más católicos" y les pondremos un nombre de nuestra cosecha.

1- Los católicos no católicos (20%)

Admiten ser católicos en el sentido de que no son musulmanes, judíos ni protestantes. Tienen una abuela polaca, italiana o irlandesa y les han dicho que les bautizaron católicos. Puede que crean en un Ser Superior, o Algo Trascendente, o quizá no. Pero no creen que Jesús resucitara de entre los muertos, suponiendo que Jesús existiera. No van a misa, no rezan, sus hijos no harán la Primera Comunión. Si en su lecho de muerte una vecina avisa a un sacerdote para que les atienda en sus últimos momentos, probablemente le reciban, cosa que no harían con un rabino o un pastor episcopaliano. Encontrar una mujer hispana en este grupo es casi imposible.

2- Los católicos alejados (20%)

Tres de cada cuatro católicos alejados dirán que "ser católico es parte importante de mi identidad" pero nunca van a misa. Creen en la resurrección de Jesús y las mujeres creen además en la Virgen María, pero no saben decir por qué. Se pasaron por la Iglesia el día de su boda (al menos, el de su primera boda...), se pasan por ella también en funerales, bautizan a sus (escasos) hijos y la mayoría los lleva a catequesis para la Primera (y última) comunión. Aceptan el aborto, el divorcio y la anticoncepción. Si se les pregunta por el clero femenino o el matrimonio gay, les parece bien. Pero nunca se pasarían por una Iglesia Episcopaliana, que practica todo eso: ¡si apenas se pasan por la católica, que es "la suya"!

3- Los católicos comodones (20%)

Muchos de ellos son católicos "progres", aunque la mayoría son, simplemente, comodones: llevan a sus hijos, a menudo, a escuelas católicas (progres) y participan en algunos eventos. Algunos de ellos están personalmente en contra del aborto, y aprecian la lucha de la Iglesia contra la pobreza, pero todos afirmarán que "se puede ser un buen católico sin hacer donativos a los pobres, y apoyando el aborto". Todos los católicos comodones afirman que una de las cosas que más les gusta del catolicismo es que se puede ser leal a la Iglesia sin aceptar todo lo que ella enseña (creencia que no figura en ningún sitio de la Doctrina católica). Aceptan la anticoncepción y el divorcio. Casarse por la Iglesia, bautizar a los hijos, la Primera Comunión, el Miércoles de Ceniza, la Misa del Gallo y la Noche de Pascua son hitos importantes para ellos, las únicas misas a las que asisten. La mitad puede tener cierta simpatía por el Papa, aunque no haga caso a sus enseñanzas. Valoran algo que la Iglesia defienda al no nacido, pero admiten el aborto en muchos casos, y enseguida dicen que "debe decidir la mujer". Muchos de ellos, sobre todo las mujeres, rezan en casa por sus seres queridos.

4- Los católicos dubitativos (20%)

Van a misa al menos una vez al mes y mantienen un contacto estable con su parroquia o colegio católico. Se autoconsideran católicos activos, y muchos participan en tareas solidarias en parroquias y asociaciones. Tienen claro un tema: el aborto no es admisible en ningún caso y es una vergüenza para la civilización. La mitad de ellos dice que reza el Rosario o va a adoración eucarística, y todos dicen que la oración diaria es importante. Muchos tienen devociones específicas (la Divina Misericordia, las fiestas guadalupanas, etc...). La mitad de ellos dice que acepta la autoridad vaticana; la otra mitad duda. Todos aceptan los temas teológicos (dogmas marianos, cielo, infierno, etc...), pero en lo moral muchos dudan respecto a la anticoncepción. Sobre el divorcio o el matrimonio homosexual, aceptan lo que enseñe la Iglesia, pero sin saber argumentarlo. La mayoría de los hispanos podría ubicarse aquí.

5- Los católicos fieles (20%)

Son casi 14 millones, tienen las ideas muy claras y representan una parte importante del catolicismo activo mundial, por su capacidad misionera, política y transformadora. Dicen que el clero masculino célibe es importante para su propia identidad católica, aceptan plenamente la enseñanza católica contra el aborto y la anticoncepción, rezan, participan en reuniones de oración, en la vida parroquial y van a misa al menos cada semana. Muchos pertenecen a nuevos movimientos eclesiales o se nutren de obras y pastores relacionados con ellos. Son militantes en los temas pro-vida y pro-familia, y generosos (en tiempo y/o en dinero) con la parroquia y con los pobres. Eso no quiere decir que sean santos ya: la Biblia dice que el justo peca 7 veces al día, lo que nos daría un mínimo de 98 millones de pecados diarios para este colectivo... pero suelen pasar por el confesionario.

Algunos datos del estudio

¿Qué aspectos del catolicismo son muy importantes para usted? (% de respuestas marcadas)

La Resurrección de Jesús 73%
Ayudar a los pobres 67%
María 64%
Los sacramentos 63%
La oración 46%
La lucha contra el aborto 40%
Devociones (adoración, rosario...) 36%
Oposición al matrimonio del mismo sexo 35%
La autoridad vaticana 30%
La oposición a la pena de muerte 29%
El clero célibe varón 21%

Paradojas del "pensamiento líquido"

- El 88% considera que es "significativo para mí" que la Iglesia ayude a los pobres, pero luego un 60% afirma, sin rubor, que "se puede ser un buen católico sin donar tiempo o dinero a los pobres"
- El 63% dice que los sacramentos son importantes en su visión del catolicismo, pero luego un 78% declara que "se puede ser un buen católico sin ir a misa cada domingo" y un 72% que "se puede ser un buen católico sin que la Iglesia apruebe tu matrimonio"
- En una sociedad tan participativa en lo local como la norteamericana, un 74% afirma que "se puede ser un buen católico sin donar tiempo o dinero a la parroquia" (en 2005 sólo un 58% de encuestados admitía esto).
- Cuando se pregunta por "¿Qué cosas le resultan a usted significativas del catolicismo?", un 85% valora su "universalidad", un 80% que es "una tradición ininterrumpida desde los apóstoles" y un 71% encuentra significativo el papado.
- El 77% de los católicos norteamericanos dice que la Iglesia católica es importante en su vida, y un 37% dice que la Iglesia es "una de las partes más importantes" de su vida.
- Uno de cada dos encuestados considera "muy significativo" que "los católicos pueden elegir con qué están en desacuerdo y sin embargo seguir fieles a la Iglesia".

Researcher thinks Pius XII went undercover to save Jews

By David Kerr

.- The Jewish New Yorker who has made it his life’s work to clear the name of Pope Pius XII of being anti-Semitic believes the wartime pontiff actually went undercover to save the lives of Jews in Rome.

Gary Krupp came across the evidence in a letter from a Jewish woman whose family was rescued thanks to direct Vatican intervention.

“It is an unusual letter, written by a woman who is alive today in northern Italy, who said she was with her mother, her uncle, and a few other relatives in an audience with Pius XII in 1947.” Next to Pope Pius during the meeting was his Assistant Secretary of State, Monsignor Giovanni Montini, the future Pope Paul VI.

“Her uncle immediately looks at the Pope and he says, ‘You were dressed as a Franciscan,’ and looked at Montini who was standing next to him, ‘and you as a regular priest. You took me out of the ghetto into the Vatican.’ Montini immediately said, ‘Silence, do not ever repeat that story.’”

Krupp believes the claim to be true because the personality of the wartime Pope was such that he “needed to see things with his own eyes.”

“He used to take the car out into bombed areas in Rome, and he certainly wasn't afraid of that. I can see him going into the ghetto and seeing what was happening,” says Krupp.

Krupp and his wife Meredith founded the Pave the Way Foundation in 2002 to “identify and eliminate the non-theological obstacles between religions.” In 2006 he was asked by both Jewish and Catholic leaders to investigate the “stumbling block” of Pope Pius XII’s wartime reputation. Krupp, a very optimistic 64-year-old from Long Island, N.Y., thought he had finally hit a wall.

“We are Jewish. We grew up hating the name Pius XII,” he says. “We believed that he was anti-Semitic, we believed that he was a Nazi collaborator—all of the statements that have been made about him, we believed.”

But when he started looking at the documents from the time, he was shocked. And “then it went from shock to anger. I was lied to,” says Krupp.

“In Judaism, one of the most important character traits one must have is gratitude, this is very important, it is part of Jewish law. Ingratitude is one of the most terrible traits, and this was ingratitude as far as I was concerned.”

Krupp now firmly agrees with the conclusions of Pinchas Lapide, the late Jewish historian and Israeli diplomat who said the direct actions of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican saved approximately 897,000 Jewish lives during the war. Pave the Way has over 46,000 pages of historical documentation supporting that proposition, which it has posted on its website along with numerous interviews with eye-witnesses and historians.

“I believe that it is a moral responsibility, this has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic Church,” says Krupp, “it has only to do with the Jewish responsibility to come to recognize a man who actually acted to save a huge number of Jewish lives throughout the entire world while being surrounded by hostile forces, infiltrated by spies and under the threat of death.”

Krupp explained that Pope Pius used the Holy See’s global network of embassies to help smuggle Jews out of occupied Europe. In one such instance, the Vatican secretly asked for visas to the Dominican Republic– 800 at a time – to aid Jewish rescue efforts. This one initiative alone is estimated to have saved over 11,000 Jewish lives between 1939 and 1945.

Closer to home, the convents and monasteries of Rome—neutral territory during the war—were used as hiding places for Jews.

Krupp speculates that the wartime actions of Pope Pius XII, whose birth name was Eugenio Pacelli, can be further understood in the light of his own personal history. His great boyhood friend was Guido Mendes who hailed from a well-known Jewish family in Rome. Together they learned the Hebrew language and shared Shabbat dinners on the Jewish Sabbath.

Later, upon his election to the papacy in 1939, A.W. Klieforth, the American consul general in Cologne, sent a secret telegram to the U.S. Department of State explaining Pope Pius’s attitude towards Nazism in Germany.

The new Pope “opposed unalterably every compromise with National Socialism,” Klieforth wrote, after a private chat with the pontiff in the Vatican. The two men had got to know each other during Archbishop Pacelli’s 12 years as nuncio in Germany.

Pope Pius, explained Klieforth, “regarded Hitler not only as an untrustworthy scoundrel but as a fundamentally wicked person,” and “did not believe Hitler capable of moderation.” Hence he “fully supported the German bishops in their anti-Nazi stand.”

Krupp describes the reputation of the wartime Pope as both glowing and intact until 1963, when German writer Rolf Hochhuth penned his play “The Deputy.” It portrayed Pope Pius as a hypocrite who remained silent about Jewish persecution.

The Pave the Way website carries evidence from a former high-ranking KGB officer, Ion Mihai Pacepa, who claims that the tarnishing of the Pope’s reputation was a Soviet plot.

Krupp explains how the communists wanted to “discredit the Pope after his death, to destroy the reputation of the Catholic Church and, more significantly to us, to isolate the Jews from the Catholics. It succeeded very well in all three areas.”

But he also firmly believes that a fundamental revision of Pope Pius’s wartime record is now well underway. “The dam is cracking now, without question,” he says.

Ironically, perhaps, Krupp says he meets more resistance when he speaks at Catholic parishes than in Jewish synagogues. “Many Jews,” he explains, “have been extremely grateful, saying, ‘I’m very happy to hear that. I never wanted to believe this about him,’ especially those of us who knew him, who were old enough to know him.”

quinta-feira, 3 de novembro de 2011

Bishops Urge Senate Judiciary Committee to Oppose Bill That Would Repeal Defense Of Marriage Act


November 2, 2011

WASHINGTON—The Senate Judiciary Committee should uphold the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage at the federal level as the union of one man and one woman, because of its importance to human rights and the common good, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Promotion and Defense of Marriage efforts. In a November 2 letter, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, California, asked the Committee to oppose any bill that would repeal DOMA, particularly the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598).

“All persons have a rightful claim to our utmost respect,” wrote Bishop Cordileone. “There is no corresponding duty, however, for society to disregard the meaning of sexual difference and its practical consequences for the common good; to override fundamental rights, such as religious liberty; and to re-define our most basic social institution. DOMA advances the common good in a manner consistent with the human dignity of all persons.”

Bishop Cordileone noted that DOMA’s definition of marriage reflects a longstanding consensus based in reason that is “accessible to people of all faiths or none at all.”

He added, “Millions of citizens have gone to the ballot in 30 states to ratify similar DOMA proposals by substantial majorities. Forty-one states in all have enacted their own DOMAs. Popularity alone does not determine what is right. But in the face of such broad support in the present day, not to mention a legacy of lived experience and reasoned reflection measured in millennia in every society and civilization throughout all of human history, repealing a measure that merely recognizes the truth of marriage is all the more improvident.”

Bishop Cordileone also wrote that changing the definition of marriage would violate human rights, namely the rights of children to be cared for by both a mother and a father and the right of religious freedom.

“In places where marriage’s core meaning has been altered through legal action, officials are beginning to target for punishment those believers and churches that refuse to adapt,” Bishop Cordileone wrote. “Any non-conforming conduct and even expressions of disagreement, based simply on support for marriage as understood since time immemorial, are wrongly being treated as if they harmed society, and somehow constituted a form of evil equal to racism. DOMA represents an essential protection against such threats to faith and conscience.”

The full text of Bishop Cordileone’s letter can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Cordileone-to-Senate-Judiciary-Committee-DOMA-Nov-2-2011.pdf

After the desert: A faithful Catholic's reflection on same-sex attraction


By Steve Gershom - OSV Newsweekly, 11/13/2011

What would I know about vocation? I’m 28, a faithful Catholic and gay. A little explanation of that last part: It would be more accurate to say that I have same-sex attraction than that I’m gay. My attraction to men is deep and, as far as I can tell, permanent, but I’m celibate. I sometimes use the word “gay” as a convenient shorthand, but it carries a lot of political and even theological baggage, and doesn’t really apply to me, because of my celibacy and for other reasons that I’ll try to make clear below.

The upshot is that I’m unmarried and likely to remain that way. I’m not discerning a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life, either. I’ve been there, done that, and I’ve let the Lord know he can do whatever he wants with me — up to and including sending me to Calcutta or the Bronx — but that if he wants me to be a priest or a monk, he’ll have to do something drastic. I’ve spent a long time checking my internal compasses, and none of them point in that direction.

So what then? I know what not to do: Don’t believe the gay activists, don’t water down the faith, don’t pretend homosexual actions aren’t sinful. Don’t have a boyfriend; don’t get married. Don’t, don’t, don’t. But nobody ever had a vocation that consisted in not doing something. Marriage, the priesthood, the religious life — these involve definite actions, definite commitments.

Parched, despondent

I’d like to give a road map to people like me — I mean not only other men and women with SSA, but everyone called to the single life — but it’s difficult to make a map when you’re still on the ground. At least I’m not lost in the desert any more, parched and exhausted like I was through my teens and early 20s. I’m heading toward civilization now, or better yet toward Zion, but there’s a lot of rugged landscape between here and there. The best I can do is to tell you where I’ve been and what I’ve learned.

It’s good to start on the edge of the desert. I’ll pick age 14, because that’s when I first started thinking of myself as gay. At the time, I understood exactly two things by the word. The first was that I was totally, irrevocably different from other boys. The second was that being gay and Catholic meant a long, dreary life of self-repression. So I believed at the time.

That was the beginning of my vocation as a professional sufferer, a position I held until somewhere in my early 20s. The darkness gathered around me, and I let it in, and was even proud of it. My suffering meant I was deep, sensitive and tragic. I don’t mean to downplay the experience; when I call it a desert, I’m being poetic but I’m not exaggerating. This was Death Valley in July, except when it was Antarctica. But in more literal terms, the darkness consisted of these things: intense self-consciousness; near-constant feelings of isolation; pervasive regret at what I considered a wasted past; an absolute inability to live in the present; and terror at the prospect of the long, lonely future.

The technical name for the condition is despondency. I call it despondency, rather than depression, because depression is a state of the mind, the emotions, and even the body; whereas despondency is a state of the will. It comprises a particular response to depression. Depression doesn’t necessary constitute a roadblock to one’s vocation. Despondency does, because we are judged on the basis of what we do rather than what we feel.

What I was doing was precisely nothing, because that was all I believed I could do. That’s what despondency is. I thought I was doing something, namely living through the suffering that I believed was my vocation, that I even believed God wanted for me. And maybe I was justified in believing these things, given the premises I had accepted. It’s just that my premises were very, very wrong.

Leaving behind self-pity

In the middle of my desert I encountered a different set of premises, from a variety of sources: mostly my spiritual director, Father T, but also from good books (“Growth Into Manhood,” by Alan Medinger), good organizations (People Can Change), good experiences (three months in Peru), and good friends (you know who you are). Up until that point I had believed that the statement “I am gay” is the same sort of statement as “I am male” or “I am human.” Homosexuality was supposed to be an essential, rather than an accidental, part of me, just as deep as gender or species, or deeper.

This idea comes from the gay rights movement, but an awful lot of Christians believe it too. It is utter poison. If gay is what I am (or “who I am,” as the saying goes), then Catholicism really does require a mode of existence in direct contradiction to the deepest parts of me. That didn’t make sense to me, because I had always understood the Christian life as the only thing that could fulfill the deepest parts of me. But I was still trying to believe both things. No wonder I was lost.

If, on the other hand, my homosexuality is a part of me, rather than being my nature — something I have, rather than something I am — then things are different. It became apparent that I could change. I don’t mean stop liking men and start liking women. I mean everything else: my self-imposed vocation of suffering, my self-pity, my self-isolation, my chronic fear and regret and loneliness. Next to those things, a little celibacy isn’t too bad.

Ongoing journey

I discovered that I had a lot of work ahead of me. But I also discovered that there was something worth working for.

This space is too small to tell about my journey out of the desert. I only want to say that it is possible, that it didn’t take as long as I thought, and that it’s good to be out. And I want to say a few things about what comes afterward; what a vocation entails, and how the single life can be one.

When I was in the desert, I thought that the journey out of it would only end when I was dead. That’s true, sort of, because no place on earth is final; our hearts are restless until they rest in God. But I didn’t expect ever to be doing this well, and I didn’t expect to have to figure what to do with myself besides feeling bad. Some gay activists build their identity around being gay; I had built mine around melancholy. When the melancholy started to dry up, the temptation was to sit still and tell myself I had arrived.

But just as surely as negative action (not-having-sex, not-getting-married) doesn’t constitute a vocation, inaction doesn’t constitute a vocation, either. The universal vocation is the call to love, and love always involves action — not nice feelings, not happy dreams, but doing real things for real people.

I look at the married people I know, and at the priests and monks and nuns, and what I see is that they constantly spend themselves. Self-donation isn’t something they do on weekends, or when they have the time. It’s the air they breathe. I look at them and I see grains of wheat, falling deep into the ground and bursting open into fruitfulness. Celibacy doesn’t mean not being fertile; it just means bearing a different kind of fruit.

There’s one difference between me and them. For them, there was a moment beyond which they were definitively no longer their own. Vows were made, rings were exchanged, rites were performed; they are different now.

Is something like that necessary for me? I don’t know yet. It might be easier if it were. There’s something to be said for leaps of faith, for making vows and closing off options. I have options. There’s Opus Dei. There’s the Franciscans — third order, of course. Or I could just keep doing what I’m doing: saying my morning offering, uniting my prayers and works and joys and sufferings to those of Jesus, trying to live in the presence of God.

But whatever I do, I can’t live for myself forever. The grain of wheat has to die and be buried if it’s going to bloom. God brought me out of the desert, but he has a destination in mind, and wherever it is, I haven’t arrived. I’m just getting started.

Steve Gershom, a pseudonym, blogs at stevegershom.com.

German bishops’ company: Its not porn, just erotica, so we’re suing the ‘slanderers’

by John-Henry Westen

AUGSBURG, Germany, November 2, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a press release, the major German publishing company owned by the Catholic Bishops of Germany says the company is considering suing the “slanderers” who have accused it of profiting from porn, because the erotic offerings sold on its website does not meet the legal definition of pornography.

Last week the secular media in Germany reported that the company WELTBILD, 100% of the shares of which are held by German dioceses and the bishops conference, carries 2,500 porn titles. The press also reported that the bishops had ignored the pleas of faithful Catholics who had tried to have the matter corrected internally for a decade.

Following the publication in the German media, LifeSiteNews verified that there were hundreds of pornographic images - mostly book-covers – on the WELTBILD site. Some of the covers featured full frontal nudity and explicit photos typical of the covers of pornographic magazines like Playboy.

As one example, one book title cached by LifeSiteNews depicts a photo of a female from the neck to knees, breasts fully exposed and hands over the crotch. A translation of the German-language teaser of the book reads:

A dark forest and a creature of the night ... A strict mistress and a willing slave ... a young woman and the desires of her boss ... A man who would do anything for his friend ... Sensual women reveal their most secret fantasies! And so these stories are extremely, wickedly seductive, uninhibited passion and delicious. There are exciting dreams shamelessly crossing all boundaries! Lustful Dreams - written by women for women!

WELTBILD was also found to be carrying DVD’s that would be deemed pornographic by normal Christian standards, but may not meet a legal definition of hard-core pornography in Germany.

But since the story broke in the German media, the publishing company has been removing offensive pages from its website and disabling search engine functions for searches on its website using words such as ‘erotic.’

“It should be noted,” said WELTBILD in its press release, that “’pornography’ is a clearly defined legal term.” They add that according to that definition, “WELTBILD offers no pornography and has never done so before.”

German Catholic faithful who attempted to work behind the scenes to have the bishops correct the situation say they are incredulous about the ‘shoot the messenger’ tactics the company has taken.

The bishops’ company press release states that less than 0.02% of its annual turnover comes from the erotic offerings of the company and thus headlines such as ‘Catholic Church makes a fortune with porn’ are “simply untrue and defamatory.”

Catholic observers say they are wondering why, if the profit margin from the “erotic” offerings is so slim, the bishops failed to get rid of the controversial material after years of documented concerns expressed by faithful Catholics.

Ownership of WELTBILD is divided between the Bishops’ Conference (24%), the Archdiocese of Munchen and Freising (13%), the diocese of Augsburg (13%) and 11 other diocese with percentage ownerships ranging from two to seven percent.

Contact information:

German bishops conference

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
His Eminence William Joseph Levada, Cardinal, Prefect
His Excellency Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
E-mail: cdf@cfaith.va

Congregation for Bishops
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Roma, Italia

terça-feira, 1 de novembro de 2011

O antiCristo usa Mitra? - German Bishops caught in massive porn and satanic scandal - why didn’t they listen to the faithful?

by John-Henry Westen

COLOGNE, October 31, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After ten years of being internally warned by faithful Catholics, including in a 70-page dossier sent to all of Germany’s main bishops, the scandal of the German bishops ownership of a publishing company that sells a large volume of porn has hit the mainstream media.

Last week the mainstream media outed the fact that the German bishops are 100% owners in one of the most profitable book companies in Germany. The huge company, in addition to offering many religious and other ethical books and items, also peddles 2500 porn titles and additional books highly offensive to Christian principles.

A spokesman for the bishops promised immediate corrective action. However, the false pretense of ignorance about the situation has only served to add to the scandal especially for faithful Catholics who were treated with silence and even disdain when they repeatedly attempted for years to bring the scandal to an end out of public view.

WELTBILD, is the second largest bookselling company in Germany. It is wholly owned by the German bishops and has a $1.7 billion turnover. Its 2500 porn titles (with covers too sexually explicit to reproduce) include perverse sexual fantasy of every type. WELTBILD also sells books promoting Satanism, the occult, esoterism, and anti-Christian atheist propaganda.

More than that, the bishops are also 50% owners in another company - Ver-lagsgruppe Droemer Knaur - which actually produces the pornographic novels.

German Catholic activist Gabriele Kuby, who has for years pointed out to bishops various shortcomings in the Catholic Church in her nation, said that the worst thing about the current public scandal is the hypocrisy. Each of the affected bishops received 70 pages of documentation in 2008 detailing the fact that the publishing company was selling the pornographic titles, Kuby told LifeSiteNews. She noted that most bishops ignored the communications, not even bothering to reply. The Archdiocese of Munich did reply, said Kuby, but she says their response was “arrogant and spiteful.”

In reaction to questioning from the mainstream press, church officials claimed it was a filtering problem which resulted in the oversight, adding that the matter will be dealt with.

Another faithful Catholic, Bernhard Mueller, the editor-in-chief of the Catholic magazine PUR, was himself involved in trying to have the bishops resolve the scandal internally. Now, PUR’s front page story covering the current state of affairs is titled “Bishops as porn producers.”

In his coverage of the now-public scandal, Mueller describes the 10-year-long attempt to convince the bishops to take action on the matter. He concludes: “But over the years, all internal efforts to bring the scandal have come to nothing.”

The reaction from the public, as can be seen in reader comments beneath the mainstream media reports, has been to ridicule the Catholic Church. Mueller summed up the public view succinctly with the phrase: “Preach chastity and sell pornography.”

Contact information:

German bishops conference

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
His Eminence William Joseph Levada, Cardinal, Prefect
His Excellency Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
E-mail: cdf@cfaith.va

Congregation for Bishops
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Roma, Italia

Dialogo sì, purché questi atei non siano troppo ratzingeriani - di Sandro Magister

In Settimo Cielo

Li hanno ribattezzati i “marxisti ratzingeriani”. Sono i quattro autorevoli intellettuali di formazione marxista (Giuseppe Vacca, Mario Tronti, Pietro Barcellona e Paolo Sorbi, i primi tre non credenti) che hanno firmato la lettera aperta al Partito democratico e alle sinistre diffusa il 16 ottobre scorso e rilanciata integralmente in questo blog.

Con indubbia audacia, i quattro hanno invitato al dialogo “credenti e non credenti” su quella che a loro giudizio è la ragione profonda della crisi delle democrazie: “l’emergenza antropologica” prodotta dalla manipolazione della vita. Un dialogo fondato sulla critica del relativismo etico e sui “principi non negoziabili”, a partire dalla difesa della vita umana “fin dal concepimento”: cioè proprio su due punti fondamentali, e tra i più contestati, del magistero di Benedetto XVI.

Di qui, appunto, la definizione di “marxisti ratzingeriani” a loro applicata dallo storico Francesco Benigno su “L’Unità” del 26 ottobre, e poi ripresa da altri. Definizione che è già una liquidazione. Analoga a quella che ostracizza i cosiddetti “atei devoti”.

Perché è questo che accade. Tra gli atei e gli agnostici che parlano e scrivono di religione e in particolare del cattolicesimo, immediatamente viene tracciato un discrimine. Vengono ammessi sul campo quelli che si attengono a un preciso modulo di gioco. Ma per chi apprezza e sottoscrive i punti critici dell’insegnamento di Benedetto XVI, si alza il cartellino rosso dell’espulsione. Talvolta anche della derisione.

A compiere questo arbitraria selezione non sono soltanto taluni soloni del pensiero laico. Anche e forse più in campo cattolico, la “cattedra” con i relativi onori è concessa soltanto a quei non credenti che si attengono alla forma di dialogo inaugurata a Milano dal cardinale Carlo Maria Martini col titolo, appunto, di “Cattedra dei non credenti”.

Mentre per i “ratzingeriani” sono guai. Non si sopporta il loro stile “affermativo”.

Le autorità della Chiesa lo sanno. E infatti, prudentemente, nel dialogo avviato nel “cortile dei gentili” voluto da Benedetto XVI si guardano bene dal coinvolgere gli “atei devoti” tipo Giuliano Ferrara o Marcello Pera, nonostante il secondo sia stato addirittura coautore di libri con Joseph Ratzinger e destinatario nel 2008 di una importante lettera del papa sul dialogo interreligioso e interculturale.

Il mancato invito a tali personalità viene giustificato dal fatto che sono politicamente “schierate”.

Ma è una giustificazione che non sta in piedi. All’incontro di Assisi del 27 ottobre scorso, tra i quattro intellettuali atei invitati per espressa volontà del papa, ce n’era uno, Walter Baier, così qualificato nella presentazione ufficiale vaticana:

“Economista, coordinatore della Rete ‘Transform!’, un foro di ricerca europeo che raggruppa riviste e ‘think tanks’ di sinistra, è membro del Partito Comunista Austriaco”.

E un’altra, la più famosa delle quattro personalità atee invitate ad Assisi (vedi foto), la filosofa, psicanalista e linguista francese Julia Kristeva, non si può proprio dire che non sia anch’essa politicamente connotata e schierata.

In un suo libro come sempre graffiante, che sta per uscire in Italia per i tipi di Lindau, “Del buon uso del pessimismo”, il filosofo inglese Roger Scruton dedica alla “maoista” Julia Kristeva e ad altri maestri del ‘68 – tra i quali Philippe Sollers che è suo marito – righe di questo tenore:

“Sulla scia di Althusser un fiume di linguaggio pomposo fluì dal ventre della storia, che all’epoca si trovava nella rivista di sinistra ‘Tel Quel’. Questa rivista pubblicava saggi di Derrida, Kristeva, Sollers, Deleuze, Guattari e un altro migliaio di autori, tutti creatori di ciarpame intellettuale, del quale si capiva chiaramente solo un aspetto, vale a dire la sua qualità di ’sovversione’ rivoluzionaria. Il loro stile vaticinante, in cui le parole vengono scagliate come incantesimi piuttosto che utilizzate come argomentazioni, ispirarono innumerevoli imitatori nelle facoltà umanistiche di tutto il mondo occidentale. [...] Scrittori come Derrida, Kristeva e i loro successori più recenti come Luce Irigaray e Hélène Cixous dovrebbe essere letti semplicemente come militanti di sinistra. E le loro sciocchezze, riportate nelle note e nelle bibliografie di migliaia di riviste accademiche – fra le quali la più importante è la ‘Modern Language Review’ – sono state depositate in quantità degne di Augia su ogni possibile spazio disponibile dei programmi di studi. Il risultato di questo sforzo concertato di rendere inespugnabile la posizione di sinistra è stato un disastro intellettuale, paragonabile all’incendio della biblioteca di Alessandria, o alla chiusura delle scuole della Grecia”.

segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2011

Coptic Christian Student Murdered By Classmates for Wearing a Cross

(AINA) -- In mid-October Egyptian media published news of an altercation between Muslim and Christian students over a classroom seat at a school in Mallawi, Minya province. The altercation lead to the murder of a Christian student. The media portrayed the incident as non-sectarian. However, Copts Without Borders, a Coptic news website, refuted this version and was first to report that the Christian student was murdered because he was wearing a crucifix.

"We wanted to believe the official version," said activist Mark Ebeid, "because the Coptic version was a catastrophe, as it would take persecution of Christians also to schools." He blamed the church in Mallawi for keeping quiet about the incident.

Today the parents of the 17-year-old Christian student Ayman Nabil Labib, broke their silence, confirming that their son was murdered on October 16, in "cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher." Nabil Labib, the father, said in a taped video interview with Copts United NGO, that his son had a cross tattooed on his wrist as per Coptic tradition, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothes.

Both parents confirmed that Ayman's classmates, who were present during the assault and whom they met at the hospital and during the funeral, said that while Ayman was in the classroom he was told to cover up his tattooed wrist cross. He refused and defiantly got out the second cross which he wore under his shirt. "The teacher nearly chocked by son and some Muslim students joined in the beating," said his mother.

According to Ayman's father, eyewitnesses told him that his son was not beaten up in the school yard as per the official story, but in the classroom. "They beat my son so much in the classroom that he fled to the lavatory on the ground floor, but they followed him and continued their assault. When one of the supervisors took him to his room, Ayman was still breathing. The ambulance transported him from there dead, one hour later."

Prosecution arrested and detained two Muslim students, Mostapha Essam and Walid Mostafa Sayed, pending investigations in the murder case.

The father said that everyone in Mallawi knew how the event took place, but not one of the students' parents was prepared to let their children come forward and give a statement to the police. "They are afraid of the school administration, which has lots of ways to harass the students, as well as being afraid of the families of the two Muslim killers."

"I insist that the Arabic teacher, the headmaster, and the supervisors should be charged as well as the two students who committed the crime," said Nabil. "The Arabic language teacher incited the students to attack my son, the headmaster who would not go to the classroom to see what is going on there when alerted to the beatings, but rather said to be left alone and continued sipping his tea, and the supervisors who failed in their supervising duties."

Prosecution has three witnesses, two men working at school who named the assailants and one student who wanted to retract his statement, but was refused."

"The evidence is under lock and key. Everyone is hiding the evidence. We will know the truth after forensic medicine has finished the report next week," said Nabil, adding that the head of detectives on the case tried to influence the witnesses, claiming that the murder took place as a result of friction between students."

The governor of Minya, El-Rouby, visited the Coptic Bishop Dimitrious of Mallawi to extend his condolences, accompanied by representatives of Minya military authorities. He also suspended the school's headmaster and the two supervisors, as well as two social workers who were on duty when Ayman died, and referedg them to an investigation committee. But all of them have disappeared since then.

After the funeral service for Ayman, over 5000 Christians marched along the streets of Mallawi, denouncing the killing of a student whom they described as "Martyr of the Cross," and the repeated killings of Copts in Egypt.

Prominent columnist Farida El-Shobashy wrote in independent newspaper Masry Youm "I was shaken to the bones when I read the news that a teacher forced a student to take off the crucifix he wore, and when the Christian student stood firm for his rights, the teacher quarreled with him, joined by some of the students; he was beastly assaulted until his last breath left him." She wondered if the situation was reversed and a Muslim was killed for not removing the Koran he wore, what would have been the reaction.

Farida pointed out that the gravity of the incident is where it took place and who incited the attack (the teacher). She went on to blast the Ministry of Education for neglecting the education syllabus to prevent discriminatory contents but instead "left it to teachers to spread the fanatic Wahabi ideology."

By Mary Abdelmassih

Mary the Virgin Mother (Part 4) - by Mark P. Shea

In CRISIS magazine

Last week we spoke of Mary as the New Eve and Virgin Bride and noted that virginity always speaks of purity. The purity of Mary’s faith, so closely bound up with her virginity, leads to the other great Marian image found in John’s Gospel: Mary as the Virgin Mother. For at the very climax of the story, a curious thing happens that John obviously regards as extremely important. He writes:

One of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness – his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth – that you also may believe. (Jn 19:34-35)

Why does John interrupt the narrative of his Gospel here, of all places, to make sure we believe blood and water gushed from Jesus’ side? Is he really interested in the anatomical details of pericardial rupture? No. He is interested in pointing out the meaning of this event, which he saw with his own eyes: namely, that the Church, the bride of the second Adam, is born from Jesus’ side in the waters of baptism, just as the first Eve was made from the side of the first Adam. For John, there’s a clear and obvious connection between “the spirit, the water, and the blood” (1 Jn 5:8). It is by “water and the Spirit,” flowing from the bleeding side of Jesus, that Christ cleansed the bride “by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:26-27). The creation of the second Eve parallels the creation of the first. Moreover, it brings us back with immense force to the mystical vision of Ezekiel we discussed last week. For now we’re seeing the source of the waters that flowed from that mystical temple: the heart of Jesus Himself whose temple was destroyed but raised up in three days.

So Mary is shown at the wedding of Cana as the icon of the bride but at the cross as the mother of the children of the second Adam. For John carefully preserves this scene from the crucifixion:

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (Jn 19:25-27)

John is not simply interested in chatting about first-century domestic arrangements for Jewish widows. As with all the details from his Gospel, this scene also is written down for a theological purpose: “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (Jn 20:31). In other words, he means for us to understand that we are the beloved disciple, that Mary is our mother and we are her children. For Jesus is our older brother, the “firstborn of many brethren” (Rom 8:29). Therefore, Mary is the mother of all Jesus’ brothers and sisters.

So the paradox of the gospel is made complete. You lose your life to save it. You must admit you’re blind to see. And, as Isaiah prophesied of Israel, so it’s even truer of Mary that the virgin daughter of Zion becomes the mother of a billion people:

For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her that is married, says the Lord.
Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
hold not back, lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your descendants will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.

Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be put to shame;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called. (Is 54:1–5)

The thing to note here is that, once again, Mary’s life is a referred life. The point of the perpetual virginity of Mary, as of the virgin birth, is that – again – the point is not about Mary. It’s about Christ and His Church.

Mary Guards the Truth about our Relationship to God . . .

In the virginity of Mary, we see reflected to us the essential truth of the gospel: that it’s God who is the author of our salvation. That’s as deeply offensive to us today as it has ever been, because people don’t want to hear that we can no more save ourselves than a corpse can jump. We are much more comfortable thinking of ourselves as heroes who achieve something great and earn the respect of God and our peers through our achievements. In short, we believe in power, not love. It is the poison that has gnawed at our vitals since the serpent bit us in the Garden. It is pride.

And so, the world teaches us to treat life as a power struggle among economic classes, races, man, and woman – and between God and us. Mary’s self-surrendering virginity offends this approach to life deeply because she says, “It’s about love, not power.” To the power addict who can only conceive of a world neatly divided between the cunning and the stupid, Mary’s way is the way of death. So, for instance, Simone de Beauvoir recoils from such surrender when she writes of Mary:

For the first time in history the mother kneels before her son; she freely accepts her inferiority. This is the supreme masculine victory, consummated in the cult of the Virgin – it is the rehabilitation of woman through the accomplishment of her defeat.

For surrender is death, according to the world. And so the world produces men and women who distill the worship of power down to ever more bitter dregs, to gain the whole world while losing their own souls. But Mary’s surrender to God leads to the mystery of total dependence on God – and the paradox of happiness through the cross. The Son before whom she kneels is not some selfish boor of this fallen world, but the second Adam who undergoes a defeat far more profound than her own self-surrender so that He may exalt her to a glory above all other creatures. In Him and Him alone, power and love are reconciled, and we find not servility crushed by domination but humility crowned with glory.

. . . and the Truth about Our Relationship with One Another

That’s not, however, all that Mary’s virginity shows us. It is not just a sign calling us to our own complete dependence on God. It guards another truth at once profoundly repugnant and profoundly attractive to our culture: the truth that purity is fruitful.

Mary’s purity reflects and signifies the purity of the Church, the bride without wrinkle, spot, or blemish. G. K. Chesterton, in one of his typically insightful remarks, noted that heresy has always tended to identify purity with sterility, while Catholic teaching “always connects purity with fruitfulness; whether it be natural or supernatural.” This is seen not only in ancient forms of false teaching that tried to scrape spirit clean of all contact with icky disgusting matter, but in more modern heresies as well. For example, it’s one of the strange contradictions of our age that the cultural apostles of sexual insanity constantly declare that “sex is nothing to be afraid of,” while at the same time desperately urging everyone to have “safe sex.” By this, they mean sex that is something like the Roman vomitorium, where you get all the pleasures of a bodily act but none of the consequences. With perfect tone-deafness, the emissaries of “safe sex” thereby set themselves squarely against the only two things sex is actually for: union with the beloved and fruitfulness. For that’s precisely what God is saying when He tells us that the two shall be “one flesh” and then bids us to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28; 2:24).

Sex is the pledge of one’s total self to another. It is, as Pope John Paul II has pointed out, a kind of language that says, whether we admit it or not, “I give all of myself to you.” Sex is the only human activity that creates people – other beings in the image of God. Even a moment’s contemplation of these facts reveals the sheer idiocy of saying sex is nothing to be afraid of. One may as well say walking through a dry forest with a lit torch is nothing to be afraid of. And, if we’re honest, we are afraid of it – and none more so than the timid creatures who try to keep all the commitments sex implies – promises to husbands, wives, and children – at bay with a thin layer of latex (give or take a few hundred million abortions, STDs, ruined hearts, and broken lives).

We fear fire enough to keep it in the fireplace, but we’ve lost the elementary knowledge that God has ordained the fireplace of marriage for the fire of sex. The problem is not with wanting the fire, but with not wanting the fireplace. So our culture avoids the blessing of sex and makes it a curse instead. And we do it by making sex artificially virginal and virginity artificially sexual.

The artificial virginity of contraceptive sex boils down to the permanent attempt to strip mine the gold of pleasure from the sacramental union of love and fruitfulness, enthrone autonomy and pleasure, and declare love and fruitfulness “optional” rather than what revelation declares them to be: the very heart of reality. It is the attempt to replace love with power. But as power exalts itself over love, it naturally preys upon the weak, which leads to the artificial sexualization of virginity. For the simple fact is, a culture that despises virginity is a culture that despises children, who are both its weakest members and the last images we have of both purity and virginity. A culture that dedicates all its psychological resources to despising virginity is a culture ready, willing, and able to make war on childhood. The most obvious manifestation of this is, of course, abortion. But less obvious (and more insidious) is the insistent sexualization of children with clothes, media, and music urging them at ever earlier ages to be “bratz,” “studs,” and even to “explore same-sex attraction.” So, for instance, a fairly typical story fished at random from daily headlines tells us:

Push-up bras. Thong underwear. Eyeliner and mascara. Skirts up to here and shirts down to there. Bare bellies and low riders. Sexually explicit rap lyrics and racy adult television shows.

They’re not just the domain of young women anymore. Before parental anger forced them off the shelves, Abercrombie & Fitch marketed a line of thongs decorated with phrases such as ”wink wink” and ”eye candy” to youngsters. In a recent survey, the steamy adult series ”Desperate Housewives” ranked as the most popular network television show among kids ages 9 to 12.

Prime-time television, with its ubiquitous commercials for Viagra and Cialis, tells youngsters about erectile dysfunction. Nielsen ratings show that 6.6 million children ages 2 to 11 watched Janet Jackson’s ”wardrobe malfunction” during [2004's] Super Bowl. The Internet offers kids a whole new source of information on sex, including pornography. Even the children’s film ”Shrek 2″ contains scenes in which the honeymooning Shreks are making out, clearly preparing for sex.

Constantly bombarded with sexual images and lyrics, girls today seem to be going straight from toys to boys, without a stop at the tween years.

”The idea of girlhood as being a time of playfulness seems to have gone away,” says Jill Taylor, who teaches in the women’s studies department at Simmons College. ”I think the culture is pushing them to grow up faster. You see the girls and they’re 12 going on 16.”

Last Halloween a group of 13-year-old girls in Brockton dressed up as prostitutes, with fishnet stockings, tube tops, miniskirts, and high heels. ”We’re ho’s,” one girl told the local newspaper. The news that a 15-year-old girl at Milton Academy performed oral sex on five older boys has prompted a wide discussion about sexualized behavior among kids. And it’s not just sex – girls today, on average, take their first alcoholic drink at age 13, according to the American Medical Association.

Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist who works with adolescent girls, says cultural forces are causing girls to grow up fast today. ”We’ve really lost what used to be called middle school years,” says Steiner-Adair. ”It’s almost like kids go from elementary school to teenagers. There’s no pause.”

This sickness has only one cure: the return to making sex sexual and virginity virginal. That is, a return to honoring the sacrament of marriage, which can only be fully honored by honoring the even higher call of virginity. It’s the only medicine that will heal and, therefore, it’s a medicine that will provoke a violent reaction for the reason summed up by Chesterton long ago:

The Saint is a medicine because he is an antidote. Indeed that is why the saint is often a martyr; he is mistaken for a poison because he is an antidote.

In few places is this truer than in the reaction of contemporary culture to virginity. On the one hand, the horror of our sex-soaked, sex-marinated, sex-obsessed, sex-enslaved culture at the thought of any restraint is palpable. The sheer loathing directed at Christ’s virginity (in, for instance, The Da Vinci Code or the play Corpus Christi‘s portrayal of Jesus as an active homosexual) hits you in the face like the heat of a furnace. The same is true for Mary as she endures the “honors” the world has ever bestowed on Christ’s faithful ones (such as Chris Ofili’s painting Holy Virgin Mary, which features a clump of elephant dung on one breast and cutouts of genitalia from pornographic magazines in the background).

Yet, at the same time, the world rings with longing for true love and total self-giving. People paid a billion dollars to watch Jack save Rose from the Titanic (albeit after the obligatory Hollywood sex scene in the backseat of a car). They bawl their eyes out at a woman who loves a man so much she will risk death with him, and at a man who loves her so much he undergoes a baptism of death in the icy deep to save her “in every way a person can be saved.” People pay billions more to songwriters to assure us either that such love exists and will find us or that the terrible pain we feel when it doesn’t is something we will laughingly crush by our own power. There is a massive hunger for pure, self-sacrificing love – and a terrible devouring fear of it, whether it comes in the form of marriage or virginity. Karl Stern describes that confrontation between burgeoning hope for self-sacrificial love and the primal terror that goes with it. He noted that:

Besides a thousand natural obstacles, besides the fear of cowardly betrayal, besides the anxiety of isolation, [there is] something else; there is a seemingly invincible horror, something which reaches deep down beneath the social and biological strata of the personality, something that seems to arrest the pulse and make the blood curdle in the veins, there is a cosmic fear, a panic of death and dissolution.

And with good reason: in a fallen world, love and death are alike. They are both forms of self-sacrifice and, in the mystery of Christ, therefore inseparable. So we have only two choices: live our lives trying to get love without death, or else find the courage to take the plunge, however ineptly, and die to ourselves for love. We may think we’re only trying to help a co-worker who needs a little time off, or cutting grandma some slack, or being nicer to that irritating neighbor. But if we continue down any road that starts with the attempt to love, we will sooner or later discover that we did not build the road; that Jesus has walked it before us; and that the little voice that prompted us to take that first step, and all the steps after that, was His, however faint it may have been. And should we continue to walk that road, we will discover it leads to still more calls to sacrifice until we reach the sacrifice of our lives. For as the great Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer observed, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”

St. Teresa of Ávila, confronted with this painful truth after falling from a horse and being unceremoniously dragged through the mud, was told by the Lord, “This is the way I treat all my friends.” To which the plain-spoken saint responded, “Then, Lord, it is no wonder you have so few.”

No wonder indeed. In fact, it’s a wonder that the terrible and frightening goodness of God found – in at least one of the Church’s members – a welcome at all when it came to earth. But it did – in Mary. And the welcome continued, even when she was warned that the one her soul loved was “set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also)” (Lk 2:34-35).

That was a miracle of grace as well: a miracle that planted some of Christ’s own holiness in the very heart of the Church as a kind of outpost or colony to assure that, no matter how weak, sleazy, or lukewarm the Church’s members became, Mary would always be the sign that the Church was, in her deepest being, holy by the grace of Christ. And that would be the ultimate fruit of the virgin who was given the singular grace to be, in the words of Georges Bernanos, “younger than sin” in the miracle of the Immaculate Conception.

But that story must wait for another time.