The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Newsworthy Items

Here are a few interesting (at least to me) items I came across during a brief check this morning of the news on a few of my favorite websites.

Cardinal Justin Rigali calls for "abortion-neutral" health care reform. According to a Xenit News article the Philadelphia archbishop, in a letter to all US legislators, stressed that health care reform (which he supports) should respect human life and dignity, provide access for all -- especially immigrants and the poor -- preserve pluralism with respect for conscience rights and restrain costs -- all, I suppose, good things. The cardinal went on to say that "much-needed reform must not become a vehicle for promoting an 'abortion rights' agenda or reversing longstanding current policies against federal abortion mandates and funding." That's also good. But then he told the legislators that any health care legislation should be "abortion neutral." Now I can speak only for myself, but doesn't that phrase sound a bit odd to you? Doesn't it sound more like a capitulation than an expression of moral condemnation? I've always believed that the major problem with the ongoing abortion debate in this country has been a kind of indifferent neutrality, a lukewarmness if you will, on the part of most citizens. And so I really don't think an archbishop should plead for "abortion neutral" legislation. Such phrases lead only to misunderstanding. Instead, he should be shouting from the rooftops, proclaiming the immorality of abortion and calling it what it truly is: the taking an innocent human life.

Another Xenit article...

RU-486 has killed 29 women. I doubt if you'll see that headline anywhere in the US mainstream media. This news about the abortifacient RU-486 -- the so-called "morning after pill" -- comes from the Italian Health Ministry. And did you know that on July 10 of this year the US Food and Drug Administration approved Plan B One-Step (a similar abortifacient) as an over-the-counter drug that can be sold without prescription to adolescents? The decline continues.

Miracle Deacon leads to Cardinal Newman's beatification. It's nice to know that God smiles even on deacons...well, at least on one of us. Jack Sullivan, an American permanent deacon from Marshfield, Massachusetts was cured from a severe spinal condition after praying to Cardinal John Henry Newman. Pope Benedict XVI has since recognized the miracle, thus paving the way for the beatification of the eminent 19th century theologian and convert from Anglicanism.

Deacon Sullivan (left), who hopes to assist at the beatification Mass, stated that, "I have dedicated my vocation in praise of Cardinal Newman, who even now directs all my efforts." His is an interesting story of healing and you can read it here.

Cardinal Newman said and wrote many wise things during his long and productive life. Thanks to my dear wife, Diane, who somehow managed to locate a complete set of his works (about 30 volumes) in a used bookstore many years ago, and then give it to me as a Christmas present, I've been able to read much of what he wrote. Here's a comment of his I've always liked, and one that is remarkably applicable today:

"In this world no one rules by love; if you are but amiable, you are no hero; to be powerful, you must be strong, and to have dominion you must have a genius for organizing."


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