Are You the Center of Your Own Solar System?

I frequently come across people who complain about how selfish the people around them are, as I’m sure you do too. In most cases, they are absolutely right. We can all be self-centered at times and fail to be concerned about one another’s needs. But every once in a while, I come across someone who seems to be pushing the limit to which others are responding to their needs beyond the limit of realistic expectations. They act as if everyone is supposed to be at their beck and call and jump whenever they cry out for

Attention

anything. What we end up doing is making ourselves the center of our own solar system.We make ourselves the sun and expect everyone else to live as planets revolving around us. This is not very realistic, is it? How many people are willing to allow their entire life to revolve around me and my needs? Not too many. I am certain that no one woke up this morning and prayed, “Heavenly Father, help me know what I need to do today to meet Fr. Carrozza’s needs!” It didn’t happen. Neither did anyone pray that prayer about you, and if we are expecting other people to do so, we’re going to be terribly disappointed. Furthermore, if everyone felt that way, we’d all be a bunch of suns expecting other people to be planets revolving around us.

Solar System Wallpapers 08

You can visualize the tension there: everyone is demanding attention and no one is getting it. That for me is a definition of living Hell! But if we place Christ at the center of our solar system, if we let Him be the sun around which we revolve, then we’re all revolving around the same “Son”. We’re all in harmony with each other, everyone going in the same direction, and with Jesus at the center of our lives, we realize that serving Him means serving one another.

 

Christ is the Center

We then will all naturally respond automatically to each other’s needs, everyone will be satisfied, and everyone will be at peace. That to me is Heaven on Earth! During Lent, let’s see if we can figure out whether we revolve around Christ or whether we revolve around ourselves and are expecting others to do the same. Ask Christ to be the center of your life. Ask Him to help you change and make Him the center, and to help you encourage others to do the same. When we do that, we will have harmony, we will have joy, we will have peace!

A blessed Lent to you all!

Some thoughts on Immigration for Catholics

As a Catholic and a priest who certainly desires proper treatment of immigrants – indeed of all people – I wasn’t sure what to make of the DACA policy. While I understand the concerns about legal immigration, I was also torn by the concern over returning children to a country they have never known. This article offered me some helpful insights to see what is clearly at stake. I recommend clicking the link to what St. Thomas Aquinas said about immigration. It is very helpful.

The Real Issues Underlying the Dreamer Debate

The problem with the “dreamer” debate is that it has little to do with children or their dreams.

Most of the “dreamer children” are now adults. On average, the 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program who entered America illegally as minors—alone, or brought by parents or relatives—are about 24-years-old today. Their dreams are also nothing unique or special. They consist of a path toward U.S. citizenship, a goal shared by millions worldwide.

Put succinctly, the only difference between “dreamers” and the millions of other minors who entered America illegally over the last half-century is a bureaucratic one: At some point within the last five or so years “dreamers” filed a DACA application.

Forgotten Considerations
This lackluster distinction notwithstanding, the DACA rescission debate has been framed in the imagination of many Americans as a highly emotional narrative. It evokes images of Elian Gonzalez-likechildren being torn at gunpoint from the arms of sorrowing relatives; aspiring high school and college students removed from dorms and classrooms; enterprising youngsters removed from jobs where they are esteemed by their co-workers. Supposedly, they are now to be deported by heartless ICE agents to a home country they barely knew and where they now lack roots and the loving support of family and friends.

While dishonest, this framing of the narrative is powerfully effective. An ocean of emotions drowns out anyone trying to focus attention on the tortured issue’s important elements. The organized crime role of “coyotes” and enablers who helped “dreamers” enter America illegally goes unaddressed. Forgotten is the fact that the parents of “dreamers” are just as likely to be undocumented, so families need not be broken up but can stay together as they return to their home country. The same goes for the unfairness, nay the injustice, in rewarding the dreamer parents’ scofflaw entry into the country, their cutting in line ahead of the millions of others who respect and obey the country’s sovereignty and immigration laws. Likewise, the anarchical behavior of President Obama himself who admitted he had no authority to implement a DACA-like executive measure granting administrative amnesty, and then did it.

Anyone raising such considerations is shouted down and denounced as lacking compassion. Ironically, the compassion toward the dreamers is not extended to the citizen realists who raise legitimate concerns about the nation’s future.

Using Young People as Pawns
Thus, the debate over DACA is not about children and dreams. It has turned these poor young people into hostages of a contrived narrative, using them as mere pawns in a bigger game—the charting of America’s course as a nation and the determining of what role government will continue to have.

In this broader struggle for America’s soul, liberals see DACA as an ideal battlefield. They have occupied the higher ground by wrapping themselves in the flag of fuzzy warm compassion. They have infused the issue with emotional hype, making rational debate impossible. This passionate framing of the narrative has divided conservatives. They are torn between Christian compassion and the need to uphold the rule of law. With the media as its willing partner, liberals see this conservative division as a win-win situation to be exploited.

A Debate Clouded by Emotion and Political Positioning
When policy becomes clouded with emotion and political positioning, it endangers the nation. The longer a solution is delayed by emotional stewing, the more difficult the problem will be to resolve. That is why the implications of DACA extend beyond immigration.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

When nations allow themselves to be run by emotions and feelings, they place themselves on the fast track to destruction. When feelings can be evoked to create “rights” for every individual who calls himself the victim of injustice, then nothing is sacred. When emotions control the granting of entitlements, then no budget can endure.

When feelings become the leading standard of judgment, they are easily turned against those who oppose these expressions of false compassion. There is no fury equal to that of those who attack the defenders of duty, virtue, and the rule of law. There is no greater tyranny than those whose passions are unleashed against God and reason.

How the DACA debacle will be resolved is still unclear. However, one thing is certain: Only a return to sound principles coupled with a practical wisdom in their implementation can provide just, quick, and compassionate solutions.

Maneuvering to a Better Battlefield and Victory
Since the ocean of emotions is a battlefield upon which conservatives cannot win, they should pivot to where they hold the advantage. This new battlefield must be based both on the rule of law and on principled compassion. Accordingly, it should be informed by the following principles and considerations:

1. It is the natural right of the State to regulate immigration into its territories in the interest of the common good of its citizens. It also has the duty to protect the nation’s best interests in the realms of defense, economy, health, culture, and social harmony and cohesion.

2. While every individual has a natural right to immigrate, this is not an absolute right enforceable against an established nation. From time immemorial, an immigrant’s admission into a host country has depended and continues to depend on the approval of that nation’s government. Government consent, freely given, is what distinguishes immigration from invasion.

3. The natural moral law obliges those who immigrate to respect the laws of the country in which they settle and to obey its government.

4. Illegal immigration is subversive of a nation’s common good and order since it disobeys just laws. It anarchically upends government policies, programs, and quotas implemented to regulate and order immigration prudently.

5. While there is much truth in Bismarck’s statement that “Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable—the art of the next best,” the first natural duty of officeholders in a representative democracy is to honor their campaign promises. In so doing, they keep faith with their constituents and build much-needed social trust in their pledged word as political leaders. This is a rule of honor, but it also guarantees their political base’s continued support.

6. Just as uninterrupted adverse possession (“squatters rights”) under common law can engender property rights over time (Montana’s time limit is five years, New Jersey is thirty), so also, analogously, an illegal immigrant’s long-tolerated illegal presence—even when due to the negligence or complicity of previous administrations—can gradually engender an equitable right to his continued stay. Thus, in deportation proceedings, it is wrong to treat all illegal immigrants equally. Clearly, one who has been in the country uninterruptedly for thirty years has a different standing than one who has only been here for three.

7. An immigrant’s assimilation of the country’s heritage and culture is essential in maintaining social cohesion and harmony.

8. Saint Thomas Aquinas defends this cultural assimilation and explains that since it takes time, citizenship should not be immediate but should be delayed.

9. Federal law cannot be ignored. The enacting and changing of immigration laws are the purview of Congress. The role of the Executive and Judicial branches of government is to uphold the law. All three branches should strive to collaborate harmoniously for the nation’s common good.

The immigration crisis involves situations that need to be analyzed with great care. Solving this issue entails moral and prudential judgments that are best made quietly, without a media circus. It should not be simplified and infused with emotion. Rather, it must be addressed wisely by government.

With this practical wisdom, both the legitimate rights of illegal immigrants and the common good of the nation can and should be harmonized in keeping with the principles of justice and charity. Failure to respect this balance can lead the country to chaos.

No one will contest that immigration policy should be just, ample, and equitable. It should be charitable and compassionate. Reasonable efforts should be employed to alleviate hardships and adapt to particular circumstances. However, the system should be fair for all by rewarding compliance and punishing subversion. It should inspire social trust through its solid grounding in legal and equitable principle and good policy.

The debate over DACA is not about children and dreams. It is about a bitterly divided America. It is about grave concerns that there will soon no longer be an America about which to dream. It is the struggle between one America that wants a return to order and the rule of law, and another that dismisses sovereignty, borders, and the very concept of a nation.

Is Jesus offensive?

A family in Pennsylvania was ordered to take down a religious display on their property because a neighbor complained it was offensive. See the story here

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Excuse me, but doesn’t the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantee Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion? It never guarantees freedom from anything you don’t like.

If we are going to have freedom, then we must be willing to accept that from time to time we are going to see or hear a belief or an opinion with which we don’t agree. Can you imagine what kind of world we’d have where the only religions or opinions that are allowed to be publicly mentioned or discussed are those first approved by the government? – oh wait, there is such a system – it’s called Communism.

I don’t get offended when I see a menorah in the window of a Jewish family, nor Arabic writing on the car of a Muslim. Why are these people “offended” by seeing the name “Jesus”?

If someone doesn’t believe in Jesus, no one must force them to believe, but asking us not to mention him is bigoted and intolerant.

What follows is the text of a letter to the editor I sent to our local newspaper, “The Journal News” some years back. The newspaper was pleased to publish it and I got tremendous support from many people when it appeared. Its message applies perfectly to this situation:

To the editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, Mike Stempel criticized the various organizations that are distributing buttons that read, “It’s okay to wish me a Merry Christmas,” accusing them of hypocrisy and eager to bring on religious polarization. He asks, “Do you honestly believe people are ‘afraid’ to wish someone a Merry Christmas?” The answer to that question is, “absolutely!”

Every Christmastime, organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union unleash a new round of lawsuits aimed at those who dare to mention in public anything to do with Christmas. Their intimidation is so effective that people are literally frightened into compliance for fear of being sued. In some absurd cases, jingle bells, candy canes, even wearing red or green clothing has been banned in schools and workplaces for fear that these items would be deemed offensive to others. Whatever happened to toleration? We live in a country that was founded on Freedom of Religion, yet that right has been consistently trampled by people who have nothing but contempt for any difference of belief.

A few years ago, I was shopping in a local department store, and the clerk happened to be one of my parishioners. He had to whisper “Merry Christmas” to me, because he said he’d be in a lot of trouble if his boss heard him. I can certainly understand a clerk telling someone to “have a nice holiday” if they do not know which holiday if any they celebrate, but when someone who knows I am a Christian cannot wish me a Merry Christmas for fear of punishment, something has gone terribly wrong. The button campaign is simply our way of informing people that it’s okay to wish me a Merry Christmas, that I won’t take offense at it.

We live in a religiously diverse community, and it is certainly proper to show respect for all religious beliefs. That, however, includes respect not only for minorities but also for the majority. Studies have shown that greater than 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas in one form or another. Of the less than 10% who don’t, many have no problem with Christmas, and do not feel traumatized or experience emotional duress watching other people celebrate their own holiday. The percentage, therefore, of people who have a problem with the word “Christmas” is very small, yet for the sake of that very small group the word has been effectively banned in public. Where is the logic in this? Those who do not celebrate Christmas for whatever their reason are perfectly free not to do so, but to expect the rest of America not to talk about Christmas because a small number of people don’t want to hear the word is selfish and intolerant. Those who find public mention of someone else’s religious beliefs offensive are the ones being bigoted. They should be given lessons in sensitivity and toleration, not appeased. The acceptance of the public expression of the beliefs of all people is tolerance, as that stems from respect. The attempt to censor another’s religious expression is intolerant, as that stems from hatred.

Jesus-is-the-Reason-600x345

Rev. Andrew P. Carrozza

 

 

Promoting Transgenderism is child abuse

Dr. Cretella on Transgenderism: A Mental Illness Is Not a Civil Right

John Ritchie (TFP): Could you please give us a little background on your professional training and your position in the American College of Pediatricians?

Dr. Michelle Cretella, MD:  Yes, certainly.  I received my medical degree from the University of Connecticut and completed my internship and residency in pediatrics at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  I did some additional training in adolescence at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, and had the privilege to practice general pediatrics for fifteen years before going on full-time with the American College of Pediatricians in advocacy for children. I am entering my second term as president with that organization.

John Ritchie:  You’ve stated that the transgender ideology is responsible for large-scale child abuse. Could you please explain why you call it child abuse?

Dr. Cretella:  Essentially, transgender ideology holds that people can be born into the wrong body: It’s simply not true.  We can demonstrate this by looking at twin studies. No one is born in the wrong body. So to take that lie and essentially indoctrinate all of our children from preschool forward with that lie, we are destroying their ability for reality testing.

This is cognitive and psychological abuse.  I want to say just a little more about that.  The reason it destroys reality testing is because most children at age three (pre-school age) can correctly identify themselves by saying “I am a boy” or “I am a girl” and most children will not understand that a boy grows into a man and stays a man and that a girl grows into a woman and stays a woman. So when many seven-year-olds see a man get into a dress and put on makeup, they may believe that he just became a woman. The other side is not being honest and not acknowledging that.

This happened most recently in Rocklin, California.  It was the end of the kindergarten school year and the teacher called the whole class together, at the behest of the boy’s parents, and had the children sit down and she read them two stories. I will call them “gender bending stories.” One was The Red Crayon in which you have a crayon that’s actually blue wrapped in red paper. That primes the kids to think, “Oh, what’s on the outside doesn’t have to match the inside.”

The next story the teacher read was I Am Jazz, which is about a boy whose parents helped him impersonate a girl from the age of three.  He’s 17 now, has his own television program and looks like a girl from the waist up.  After these two stories were finished, a boy (I’ll call him Joey) left the classroom, presumably to use the bathroom and came back in a dress. The teacher said: “Boys and girls, Joey is actually a girl just like Jazz.  From now on we need to call her Josephine” (again I’m making the names up). This was very confusing to the other children in kindergarten and it terrified one girl in particular, which was clear from something that happened when she was home with her mother. Her mom had wrapped her up after she had go out of the tub and she was going by the mirror when she saw her hair slicked back. Then, she burst into tears, saying, “Mommy, am I turning into a boy? I don’t wanna turn into a boy! Joey turned into a girl, am I gonna turn into a boy?”

Now, I know this because the mother called me. As the president of the College of Pediatricians I’ve been outspoken and parents reach out to me. This mother is being told that she is the one who’s crazy and that her daughter is the one who’s having a problematic reaction.

So transgender ideology — yes, it’s child abuse because we are gaslighting our children. And now that they’re thoroughly confused they will think that they really are the opposite sex and will be sent down a medical pathway.  As they approach puberty, they will be put on puberty blockers and then on cross-sex hormones.  That combination will permanently sterilize most, if not all, of those children and also puts them at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers. If girls have been on testosterone, which is their sex change hormone, for a full-year, by age 16 they can get a double mastectomy.
So, gaslighting, pubertal castration and surgical mutilation: It’s institutionalized child abuse.

To make matters worse you must realize that prior to transgender ideology, these children were treated with watchful waiting, because for many kids it may be a passing phase. Sometimes the girls may just be tomboys.  So with either watchful waiting or family and individual therapy the vast majority, 75-95% of kids, would accept their biological sex by young adulthood. This is child abuse!

If the parents find that their child is questioning their sex, if things on your own at home are not going well, I encourage all parents to seek out a local therapist who will work with them to find underlying family dynamics or conflicts. If the only therapist you find locally says, “You must accept them as transgender,” you can reach out to us at bestforchildren.org, that’s our website. We can recommend some therapists who will work with families. If they’re not in the local area, they can even do it by Skype.

John Ritchie: College students are pressured more and more to let go of reality, accept the transgender narrative and even use transgender pronouns. If you were in medical school today, how would you respond to that pressure?

Dr. Cretella:  (Laughs.) That’s a good question. I would hope that I would cling to reality and sound reason. Words matter… biology is reality, not bigotry.

We’re at a point now in which we have documented at least 6,500 genetic differences between men and women. Men and women cannot be treated the same in medicine. Because of these genetic differences women are more prone to autoimmune diseases than men are. We must approach our patients in accordance with their biology, not in accordance with their perceptions which are delusional.

I hope I would be able to respond in that fashion, but it would be very difficult because just as we are seeing this tyrannical enforcement of newspeak on our college campuses, it is the same within the highest levels of medicine. At our office at the American College of Pediatricians, I receive e-mails and phone calls even from physicians and therapist, psychologists on the left who are clearly against us because we’re pro-life, and they’re even LGB[T] affirming, but they will thank me for speaking out because they say, “We wish we could, but we can’t because we’ll lose our jobs. We’ll get death threats.”

I receive emails from concerned parents throughout the nation asking me to review health curricula because it has now become “transphobic” to teach middle school students that women have ovaries and men have testes. That’s transphobic!

I have not received any death threats.  I have been accused of being the “leader of the skinheads of pediatricians” and a lot of other things that you wouldn’t repeat in polite company. One of my greatest fans who goes by the name of “Slowly Boiled Frog” has decided that I’m not even licensed to be a doctor. He or she writes to imply that I’m some sort of charlatan, or maybe that I did something illegal. So for the record:  Yes, I still am licensed.  I’ve chosen not to do clinical practice because I believe advocacy requires a full-time commitment.

John Ritchie: Can a person ever be “trapped in the wrong body”?  What does science tell us about this?

Dr. Cretella:  The argument, if you can even call it that — I’ll just call it a claim — the claim by the activist physicians on the other side is that when a child persistently and consistently insists that he (I’ll use he for ease of example) is really a girl, well then that’s it — that’s how you diagnose transgender.  That is proof that they have the brain of the opposite sex in their body. They say, “We have proof, we have studies that prove changes or differences between adult transgender brains and the brains of their biological peers who are not transgender.”

Okay, so let’s unpack that:

#1. The definition of a delusion is a fixed false belief. So if I persistently and consistently insist that I am Margaret Thatcher, or persistently consistently insist that I am a cat, or that I am an amputee trapped in a normal body — I am delusional.  In fact, there are people who believe they’re amputees trapped in a normal body and they are appropriately diagnosed as having Body Identity Integrity Disorder, a mouthful, but you get my drift. So if you want to cut off an arm or a leg you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts and genitals then you are transgender and you don’t have a mental illness. That’s completely unscientific. That’s no diagnosis.

#2.  Let’s talk about the brain studies.  There have been several.  Many have found no brain differences, but “we don’t talk about those.” There are a few that have found some differences on what’s called functional MRIs and they prove nothing. The reason they prove nothing is because the brain changes due to behavior. We have documented in numerous studies that behavior changes the appearance, the physiology and function of the brain.  So to have a few studies that are very small, have never been replicated, say, “Hey, there are brain differences.”  More than likely, the fact that the person has lived transgender is what caused those differences, if they’re even real.

You may ask, “So how do we know, Dr. Cretella, that what you said, that no one’s ever born this way, is true?  How do we know that?” If a brain were somehow the wrong sex, due to factors before birth, every single identical twin would have the same gender identity all the time, but they don’t.

Why? Identical twins have identical DNA.  So if it were in the genes and solely in the genetic DNA, then 100% of the time they would both be transgender or both be non-transgender. The best twin study we have shows that the vast majority do not match. If you have one identical twin who’s [considered] transgender, 72% of the time the other twin is normal. That tells us that it’s post-birth effects that primarily impact your identity — post-birth effects, not pre-birth.

John Ritchie:  If I told you that my Ford was really a Ferrari, you’d question my mental sanity. So why do some medical doctors validate the idea that a man can become a woman.

Dr. Cretella:  Ideology. Really, it comes down to an ideology and worldview. I mean, it’s been that way since the beginning.

Gender as a term, prior to the 1950s:

#1. Did not refer to people;
#2. Was not in the medical literature.

Sexologists were PhDs and MDs in the 50s who were taking people who believed they were transsexuals (the term was transsexual at the time), mostly men who wanted to be women, and basically invented the so-called “sex reassignment surgery.” Amongst themselves in the 50s, they said, “What are we treating? How are we going to justify this?” because they knew full well even then that sex is in the DNA and that mutilating the body does not change a person’s sex. They basically looked at the word gender, which meant male and female referring to grammar.

So in the 1950s, one of the sexologists at the time was Dr. John Money. And they said, “We’re gonna take gender and say that for people it means “the social expression of an internal sex identity.” That’s what we’re treating. They pulled it out of the air to justify lining their pockets to do mutilating surgeries. And this is the very same definition that the activists are using.  It has no basis in reality.

John Ritchie: So what you’re saying is that even radical surgery cannot change a man into a woman?

Dr. Cretella:  Right, radical surgery… no. NO surgery will change the DNA which is imprinted in every single cell of the body. Again, this is a combination of reason and science.  They meld.  They go together.

Human sexuality is binary, okay.  We know this because in nature, reproduction is the rule and human beings engage in sexual reproduction. You need a man and a woman to do that.

Chromosomes: women are XX, those are the sex chromosomes.  Women have two Xs and men have an X and a Y. Those are genetic markers, they are genetic markers for female and male respectively — binary.  That’s the rule and it’s self-evident.  Biological exceptions to the rule do not invalidate the rule, and by that I am referring to intersex conditions. We live in an imperfect world.  We live in a world with disease and disorder.

There are a variety of very rare biological genetic disorders that result in disorders of sex development.  These individuals have a true physiological, genetic, biological problem,  so it may be appropriate within those cases to give them surgery or they may need hormones.  But that’s a case-by-case basis and they are the exception, not the rule. Why do we refer to them colloquially as intersex? Because they are between the norms.

Many people with intersex conditions can lead very happy and healthy lives, but their treatment is very personalized. Someone who identifies as transgender, however — that’s not a problem in their body. Gender identity… all identities are in our thoughts and feelings. Those are not hardwired, they develop and they may be factually wrong or factually correct.  Individuals with disorders of sex development are being used as pawns in the fight for basically a civil right to a mental illness.  There’s no such thing as a civil right to a mental illness, but that is in fact what we are dealing with in the transgender rights movement.

John Ritchie:  Now a lot of liberal professors claim that the male-female binary is only a social construct, that you grow up learning that men and women are different, but it’s really something that’s entirely fluid.  How would you refute that?

Dr. Cretella:  Well, we started to in the last question. Again, to believe that, you have to be completely ignorant of genetics.  There are 6,500 genetic differences between men and women.  Now the fact that it’s a binary as I said, comes down to the fact that the reality is we have sexual reproduction in the human species and reproduction is the rule in biology. Okay, number one: We have a binary. To rationalize outside of that, you have to rationalize away the entirety of medicine, because with 6,500 genetic differences between the two, it impacts how we treat disease.

Women are not small men! That is how women used to be treated. Science used to do research predominately on men and then look at women and say, “Oh, you’re just a smaller body mass, so we’re gonna treat your heart attack the same way and your high blood pressure the same way.”  And now we’re realizing, “Wow! No wonder we had different results with women, look at this. Now we can prove and understand why!” And there’s a big push to get more women into pharmaceutical studies than ever before because we are different.

Transgenderism is a social construct.  The “fluidity” of sexuality: That’s a social construct.  They have it exactly backwards. And the word gender, as I said earlier, is nothing more than a linguistic engineering term and should have no place in medicine.

We have biological sex, we have sex differences, some of which are purely biological and others that develop as a result of nature and nurture. Women have loads more oxytocin and oxytocin receptors than men do. That is the hormone that is associated with nurturing. It is released during labor, breast-feeding and is so key and important in the first three years of the mother and infant bonding.  It’s the bonding hormone.  Although men have oxytocin as well, they have far fewer receptors in their brains. Every organ of the body is “sexed,” if you will, genetically speaking and it’s utterly ridiculous to make that assertion.

John Ritchie:  So it seems to me that you’re saying that at a very deep level, the transgender movement is attacking the order that exists in human nature. Would you go that far and say that human nature is under attack?

Dr. Cretella: Oh, certainly!  If my feelings alone determine who I am, then there really is no such thing as a man or a woman.

We’re essentially promoting doping. Men are doping on estrogen to become handicapped men.  Women are doping on testosterone to become handicapped men in a sense.

This whole “Oh, what do we do in sports?” I mean, really… doping is illegal, period. The end! That’s it.  Giving a woman testosterone does not make her a man, giving a man estrogen does not make him a woman, the estrogen makes a man a handicapped man. And the testosterone makes the women the equivalent of a handicapped man. Well, I shouldn’t even say a handicapped man because you can’t change sex.

And in fact, in the Olympics, if a woman were extremely excelling, they [officials] would be concerned about doping and they would be looking in her system for testosterone, high levels of it. So this is utterly ludicrous.

In the past, a man puts on a dress, he’s wearing drag. Well now, the drag is no longer made out of cotton and silk. Now the drag is hormones and surgery: It’s still drag!

John Ritchie: It seems to me like it’s a refinement of the radical idea of total equality.

Dr. Cretella: The error is to equate equality with sameness… they’re not. Same does not mean equal.  Because we’re equal in human dignity, but being male or female, that is the ultimate diversity we should be celebrating. There is no greater diversity than female and male. That is our innate identity and it’s written on every cell of our body at the level of our DNA.

I would agree, we’re making the mistake of equality meaning same. If that’s what you believe, then ultimately we’re eliminating:  There’s no such thing as a woman, there’s no such thing as a man.

John Ritchie: Finally, could you say something to encourage more Americans to stand up for the sacred institution of the family?

Dr. Cretella:  Absolutely.  I would say, the natural family, meaning a loving marriage between a man and a woman, is the most pro-child institution we have. So if you love children, nurture your marriage first of all.  It’s the greatest gift you can give a child. We must stand up for that, because our children are hurting. Decades, decades of social science demonstrates that this is the most important thing we can do in terms of children’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It’s the family… it’s the family.

“College campuses are not free speech zones.”

1510342366129We have known for some time that many college campuses have ceased to be centers of learning and open debate and have instead become indoctrinating grounds for liberal beliefs that show no toleration for any opposing opinion – “either accept my liberal position or shut up” – and this story is proof positive. A teacher in California told students that “college campuses are not free speech zones” as he proceeded to erase their pro-life chalkwork and encouraged his students to do the same. Even if you are pro-abortion, you have to admit that what this teacher did was wrong. It violated the students’ First Amendment right to free speech. The courts agreed; they sided with the students and ordered the teacher to undergo training sessions on the First Amendment. Please view the full story and the video of the encounter between the teacher and the pro-life student here.

Disagree, but do so respectfully!

A common criticism of the Internet and public media forums is that they remove accountability from individuals posting their comments on a website or blog. Because people are able to leave comments anonymously, they often resort to saying things they would never say face to face or when their name would be attached to it. The result is that discussions frequently deteriorate into mudslinging matches with little or no constructive discourse.

I always teach my students that they are free to disagree with me, but respond with constructive arguments that will lead to dialogue and not simply fling insults. Sadly, constructive debate has been all but lost in our society and has spread into the public arena as well. The story in the Journal news on October 26 see story here of the man who put a tombstone on his front yard with Donald Trump’s name on it with the epitaph “Burn in Hell” is evidence of that. There are two levels of problems here. Not only do I find the tombstone offensive – regardless of whom he was depicting – and an inappropriate lesson for him to be teaching his children, but also people who offered criticisms even said that, while they may disagree with it, this is a free country and the gentleman has his right to free speech.

Whether or not publicly insulting someone is protected by free speech is a matter for courts. But I would like to appeal to a higher authority: human decency. Whatever happened to the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” What has become of “Do not judge, and you will not be judged?” I think it is high time that we begin remembering our basic human decency and learn once again how to respectfully disagree with someone and debate an issue without resorting to insults, name-calling, questioning someone’s upbringing, or any of the plethora of other attacks that are frequently thrown at people when they state their opinion. The media are especially responsible in this area to set standards which other people can follow. When personalities on TV can get away with mean-spirited attacks of an individual simply because they disagree with them, what incentive does that give the common individual to treat others with respect?

Dave-Willis-respect-quote

I appeal to all people certainly to remain firm in their convictions, but be respectful of others who disagree with them. Offering constructive criticism leads to healthy dialogue and perhaps a resolution of differences. Insults and flinging mud only leads to mayhem.

 

Setting the Record Straight about Columbus

Every year around Columbus Day, the politically-biased historical revisionists spread a legion of lies and distortions about Christopher Columbus in an attempt to vilify him and paint him as a monster who ruined the lives of the indigenous peoples. All of these myths and falsifications implode at even a cursive reading of the facts of history. Columbus’ critics offer no concrete evidence, just brushstrokes of fabricated condemnation. I found the article below very insightful and have chosen to copy it to my blog, as I couldn’t do the topic the justice the author here does.  

In addition, I find it important to point out that, even if Columbus were in fact the villain some people defame him as being, we are not celebrating the canonization of a saint on Columbus Day; rather, we are celebrating the origin of our New World, which Columbus’ accidental discovery revealed, which gave rise to a land of hope and promise for millions seeking religious freedom, economic opportunity, and human rights denied them in their homelands. Thus, any attempt to remove Columbus Day and paint it as a dark day in history is an outright condemnation of the United States and everything we hold dear as Americans. I also must point out that the people who are touting these absurd condemnations of Columbus did not give their houses to a Native American and move back to Europe, nor have they even the slightest intention of doing so. They have done very well by the American standard of living, so they should be grateful to Columbus for his discovery and the rise of the freedom to criticize the government that they enjoy. In other countries they would be shot as traitors!

The Catholic Spirit of Christopher Columbus
By Ben Broussard

As the sun set, the Salve Regina hymn rang out across the Atlantic. Ninety men stood on the decks of three boats, led in prayer by Christopher Columbus, the foreign captain they had come to trust. They had kept the same ritual of evening prayers since they left Spain months ago, but tonight was different. Tomorrow would be the Feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, Spain’s great patroness. Columbus had promised his men that had they not spotted land by her feast day, he would order the ships to turn back, a promise he intended to keep. He knew Our Lady would not abandon the enterprise he had worked so hard to bring about. The signs that they were near land were increasing by the day.

Columbus

As Columbus climbed the steps to his cabin, his gaze fell instinctively to the western horizon. Off in the distance, he caught sight of a light, like a candle rising and falling on the waves. Quickly, he called another man, who confirmed the sighting. The crews on all three ships were alerted, each man was on deck, peering out for signs of land nearby. At 2 a.m., the cry came out, “Tierra!” Land! The excitement of the crew was such that they hardly noticed the many hours it took to navigate the treacherous reef that surrounded their new destination. As Columbus knelt on the beach to give thanks, the following prayer rose from his lips:
“O Lord, eternal and omnipotent God, Thou hast, by Thy holy word, created the heavens, the earth, and the sea; blessed and glorified be Thy name; praised be Thy majesty, who hast deigned that, by means of Thy unworthy servant, Thy sacred name should be acknowledged and made known in this new quarter of the world.”1

San Salvador
The above prayer, recited in Latin and the first spoken in the Americas, was followed by the chanting of the Credo, the Te Deum, and many other prayers in thanksgiving. As the banners were unfurled, the admiral solemnly proclaimed, “In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ…” He proceeded to claim the new land for his sovereigns, but not before first claiming it for his Divine Master, giving it the name San Salvador (Holy Savior).

The details in the above account of the first landfall of Europeans in the Americas are rather unknown in modern times. Historians have typically shied away from the Catholic aspects of Columbus’ journeys, either making passing mention or ignoring them entirely. Yet a reading of the writings of Columbus himself, along with the testimonies of his contemporaries, shows that the Catholic spirit permeated all aspects of life and was central to the mission of exploration.

While a detailed retelling of the events of 1492 and afterward is far beyond the scope of this article, we will examine the Catholic inspirations for the discovery, which are essential to understanding Columbus himself. Contrary to the opinion of many modern historians, and far from being a minor aberration, Columbus’ militant Catholic faith was the source of his greatness and influenced his every action.

Catholic Piety
All evidence shows Columbus was a man of deep devotion who took his faith extremely seriously. One of his contemporaries, Bartolome de las Casas, described him as a man of righteousness and deep piety:
“He observed the fasts of the church most faithfully, confessed and made communion often, read the Divine Office like a churchman, hated blasphemy and profane swearing, and was most devoted to Our Lady and to the seraphic father St. Francis. . .”2
These two devotions had many manifestations. The full name of Columbus’ flagship on the first voyage was Santa Maria de la Inmaculada Concepción (Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception). During the return of the first voyage, when the ships were in danger of sinking, Columbus and his men vowed a pilgrimage to the first Marian church they came to, which they fulfilled in the Azores two weeks later. Upon his return to Spain, Columbus made a pilgrimage to the monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Extremadura as a solemn act of thanksgiving.

As a Third Order Franciscan, Columbus was often seen wearing the Franciscan habit, particularly when in the presence of clergy or nobility. His close personal association with the Franciscans was instrumental in securing contacts in the royal court, and provided much needed encouragement when it seemed the enterprise would never get the support it required. His son Diego remained in the care of the Franciscans at the monastery of La Rabida near Palos during the first voyage, where the friars took charge of his education. Upon his return to Spain, Columbus spent the summer of 1493 at La Rabida, preparing spiritually for the second voyage later that year.

After Columbus’ death, his second son Fernando would write of his father’s piety:
“In matters of religion he was so strict that for fasting and saying all the canonical offices he might have been taken for a member of a religious order. And when he had to write anything, he would not try the pen without first writing these words, ‘Jesus cum Maria sit nobis in via.’”3
This inscription is found in the majority of Columbus’ letters still extant. The literal meaning, “May Jesus with Mary be with us on the way” is a fitting prayer for an explorer, and could rightly be considered his motto.

Missionary Zeal
Scholars have been quick to point to the influence of Marco Polo’s Book of the Marvels of the World upon Columbus and his contemporaries, and rightly so. Yet the chapter which most influenced Columbus himself was the introduction. In it, we read of Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo Polo, travelling to the Orient while Marco was still an infant. Their extensive travels eventually put them into contact with Kublai Khan, referred to in the book as the Great Khan. The Great Khan questioned them about life in Western Europe and the Catholic Faith, in which he took an interest. Upon their departure, he entrusted them with a letter to the Pope requesting 100 missionaries to instruct his kingdom in the Catholic faith, along with oil from the lamp at the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. On the return of the Polos to the West in 1268, they discovered Pope Clement IV had died, and the long interregnum which followed prevented the Khan’s requests from being fulfilled.4

In his petitions to Ferdinand and Isabella over a period of 7 years, it was Columbus’ desire to fulfill the Great Khan’s request which finally persuaded the sovereigns to approve the journey. Aboard his flagship was a letter to the Great Khan from the king and queen, and Columbus went to great lengths in order to deliver it. In the prologue to the report on the first voyage, Columbus directly addresses this evangelistic mission:
“I had given [a report] to Your Highnesses about the lands of India and about a prince who is called ‘Grand Khan,’. . .how he had sent to Rome to ask for men learned in our Holy Faith in order that they might instruct him in it, yet the Holy Father had never granted his request, and thus so many people were lost, falling into idolatry and accepting false and harmful religions; and Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and Princes, lovers and promoters of the Holy Christian Faith. . . thought of sending me, Cristobal Colon. . . to see how their conversion to our Holy Faith might be undertaken.”5

Columbus at Mass                            “He was extremely zealous for the honor and glory of God; he deeply yearned for
the evangelization of these peoples and for the planting and flourishing everywhere
of people’s faith in Jesus Christ.”

Yet the mission to complete the Khan’s request for missionaries was but one aspect of Columbus’ desire to spread the Gospel. As Bartolome de las Casas wrote, “He was extremely zealous for the honor and glory of God; he deeply yearned for the evangelization of these peoples and for the planting and flourishing everywhere of people’s faith in Jesus Christ.”6 Upon his first encounter with the natives on San Salvador, Columbus concludes, “I recognized that they were people who would be better freed [from error] and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force.”7

On six separate occasions, Columbus wrote to the Holy Father requesting missionaries be sent to the recently discovered islands, a request which was fulfilled. On January 6, 1494, the Feast of the Epiphany, the first Mass in the Americas was offered by a Benedictine who had accompanied the second voyage.

Five centuries after the fact, American Jesuit Fr. John Hardon would remark, “It is one thing to say that Columbus discovered America. It is something else to realize that he opened the door to the most phenomenal spread of Christianity since the time of St. Paul.”8

Crusader Spirit
A question arises from the modern reader: “What about the quest for gold?” As Columbus makes clear in his log, the finding of gold, spices, and other valuables is central to his mission, but not for the reason most are taught.

On December 26, 1492, Columbus had established a makeshift settlement named La Navidad on the north end of the island of Hispaniola from the wreckage of the Santa Maria, run aground on a reef. Seeing the hand of Divine Providence, he then proceeded to write of his desired result:
“I hope to God that when I come back here from Castile. . . I will find a barrel of gold, for which these people have traded, and that they will have found the gold mine, and the spices, and in such quantities that within three years the Sovereigns will prepare for and undertake the reconquest of the Holy Land. I have already petitioned Your Highnesses to see that all the profits of my enterprise should be spent on the conquest of Jerusalem, and Your Highnesses smiled and said that. . . even without the expedition they had the inclination to do it.”9

Now that Spain was finally free from Muslim domination (Jan. 2, 1492), the great desire to take the fight to the enemy and complete the liberation of the Holy Land could finally be completed. By sailing west, Columbus was aiming to outflank Islam, gaining access to the riches of the East so as to finance the retaking of Jerusalem. Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, while Columbus was still a child, calls had come from all corners of Europe to renew the Crusade. Columbus saw himself as the instrument to fulfill the longed-for end.

In a letter to Pope Alexander VI, Columbus reiterates the seriousness of his intentions:
“The enterprise must be undertaken in order to spend any profits therein for the redemption of the Sepulcher and the Temple Mount unto Holy Church.”10
Historian George Grant succinctly concludes, “Clearly, the motivations of Columbus were shaped by the eons long conflict between Christendom and Islam. The evidence is inescapable. He sailed, not to discover a new world, but to find a way to recover the old one.”11

Our Great Debt to Columbus
The events of 1492 and afterward could have transpired far differently. The richest nation in the world at the time was China, followed by the Islamic caliphates which stretched from Morocco to the edges of the Far East. Why didn’t the Chinese expand their empire to the east across the Pacific? Why was it not a Muslim who established lasting contact between the continents? For that matter, why was it not an Indian who discovered Europe?

Modern historians are at a loss to answer these questions, and conclude that it was simply by chance that events unfolded as they did. This hardly explains the fact that Spain was the poorest nation in Western Europe at the time, bankrupt from its completion of the Reconquista. Yet not only did Spain successfully go about colonizing and evangelizing the Americas, it also kept the Muslims out of the Americas. Had Islam spread to the Americas in place of Christianity, what we know today as the United States could very well have been the United Emirates.

Columbus believed he was specially chosen by God to bring the Gospel to a people who were living in darkness and the shadow of death. He believed his given name, Christopher, signified the mission he was destined to carry out, as his son Fernando would later explain: “Just as Saint Christopher bore Christ over the waters, so too was he to bear the light of the Gospel over the vast oceans.”12

In conclusion, spreading the Catholic faith and acquiring riches so as to finance the retaking of Jerusalem from the Muslims were at the heart of Columbus’ mission. Any hopes of personal rewards or honors were secondary. In writing the royal treasurer of Spain at the completion of the first journey, he gives the reason all people, present and future, should celebrate what would come to be known as Columbus Day:
“And now ought the King, Queen, Princes, and all their dominions, as well as the whole of Christians, to give thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ who has granted us such a victory and great success. Let processions be ordered, let solemn festivals be celebrated, let the temples be filled with boughs and flowers. Let Christ rejoice upon earth as he does in heaven, to witness the coming salvation of so many people, heretofore given over to perdition. Let us rejoice for the exaltation of our faith, as well as for the augmentation of our temporal prosperity, in which not only Spain but all Christendom shall participate.”13

Five Myths About Christopher Columbus

1. MYTH: Columbus was sailing to prove the world was round.

FACT: Every educated person at the end of the fifteenth century knew the earth was a sphere, a fact known since antiquity. What was in dispute was the earth’s circumference, which Columbus underestimated by one-fourth.

2. MYTH: Queen Isabella sold her crown jewels to finance the first journey.

FACT: The royal treasury of Spain was depleted after the completion of the conquest of Granada early in 1492. However, Luis de Santangel, the royal treasurer, was able to secure funding by reaching out to the Crusading societies throughout the Mediterranean, as well as other financial backers from Spain and elsewhere. The crown put up very little to finance the journey.

3. MYTH: There was a priest on board the Santa Maria in 1492.

FACT: Because of the dangers involved, there were no priests or friars on the first voyage, despite the deep piety of Columbus. Many of the paintings of the first landfall in the new world on San Salvador show a priest with Columbus—contrary to the facts. There were five priests on the second voyage: Benedictine Father Buil; the Jeronymite Father Ramon Pane; and three Franciscans.

4. MYTH: Columbus introduced slavery to the New World.

FACT: Slavery was already widespread among the native Indians when Columbus arrived. Columbus was insistent on the fair treatment of the Indians, a policy which gained him many enemies as governor of Hispaniola. Bartolome de las Casas, a Spanish friar who worked for the protection of the Indians, is quick to excoriate his fellow Spaniards in their grave abuses, but is filled with nothing but respect and admiration for Columbus. The mass subjugation and importation of Africans to the Americas did not begin until a generation after Columbus’ death.

5. MYTH: Columbus died a pauper, in chains, in a Spanish prison.

FACT: Despite the fact that the Spanish crown retracted some of the privileges promised to Columbus, he was relatively wealthy at the time of his death. Although he returned to Spain in chains in 1500 after his third voyage, the King and Queen apologized for the misunderstanding and had them removed.

On May 20, 1506, the Vigil of the Ascension, Christopher Columbus lay on his deathbed in his apartment at Valladolid, surrounded by his fellow Franciscans and his sons. As the friars chanted Compline, his last words echoed those of Christ on the cross: In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. (Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.)

Columbus on deathbed

Notes:
1. Irving, Washington. A history of the life and voyages of Christopher Columbus. Paris: A. and W. Galignani, 1828. 237.
2. Grant, George. The Last Crusader. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992. 85.
3. Columbus, Ferdinand. The life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand. 1. Madrid: 1892. 14-15.
4. Polo, Marco. The Travels of Marco Polo. Project Gutenberg, 2004. 11-14. http://www. gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10636/pg10636.html.
5. Marckham, Clements Robert, ed. The Journal of Christopher Columbus. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1843. 16-17.
6. Miller, Kevin A. “Why Did Columbus Sail?” Christian History. Oct 1992: 6.
7. Marckham, Clements Robert, ed. The Journal of Christopher Columbus. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1843. 37.
8. Hardon, SJ, John. “Christopher Columbus, the Catholic.” Fr. Hardon Archives. Inter Mirifica, 2003. Web. 27 Jun 2012.
9. Markham, Clements Robert, ed. The Journal of Christopher Columbus. London: Chas. J. Clark, 1843. 139.
10. Grant, George. The Last Crusader. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992. 67.
11. Grant, George. The Last Crusader. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992. 69-70.
12. Columbus, Ferdinand. The life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand. Vol. 1. Madrid: 1892. 6.
13. Columbus, Christopher. The first letter of Christopher Columbus to the noble lord Raphael Sanchez announcing the discovery of America. Boston: Trustees of the Boston Public Library, 1891. 16.