Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lucia The power of prayer in defeating same-sex marriage in Australia this month

The Holy Father's General Prayer intention for this month of September was: "That politicians may always act with honesty, integrity, and love for the truth."

Many, many Catholics around the world pray daily for the Holy Father's intentions. I definitely do, without even knowing what they are most of the time. All those prayers must have had an effect with the Australian Federal Upper and Lower Houses and the Tasmanian Upper House firmly rejecting same-sex marriage this month.

Hopefully there will be some longer term effects from this prayer for NZ politicians when they vote again on the same-sex marriage bill here. We unfortunately missed out on the grace from this General Intention, as our initial vote was in August, ironically on the Feast of John the Baptist, who was killed because he spoke out against a king's choice of woman (or young girl, actually). Speaking out against what our rulers want to do when they are morally blinded is potentially fraught with danger - that was the message that I took from the vote being on that day.

Related link: Holy Father's Prayer Intentions For 2012 ~ EWTN

Friday, September 28, 2012

Lucia Catholic voters and Obama and the latest poll from Pew


Catholic Culture story shows that Catholics favour Obama over Romney by 15 point margin:
President Barack Obama holds a 54%-39% advantage over Mitt Romney among Catholics, according to the latest voter survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Among Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly, Romney holds a 51%-42% lead. Catholics who attend Mass “monthly” or “yearly” favor Obama by a 53%-39% advantage, while Catholics who attend Mass “seldom” or “never” back Obama by a 61%-32% margin.

The survey also found that white Catholics favor Obama by a 47%-46% margin.

Protestants favor Romney by a 50%-42% margin; among white evangelical Protestants, the pro-Romney advantage is 74%-19%, while the two candidates are in a 46%-46% dead heat among mainline Protestants. Black Protestants favor Obama by an overwhelming 95%-2% margin.

The Pew survey, conducted September 16, found that Obama holds a 51%-42% lead among all registered voters—a significantly larger lead than the 3.7% advantage Obama currently holds in the RealClearPolitics.com average of surveys.

Dr. Jeff Mirus evaluates The Pew Survey’s Most Sobering Result , pointing out that it's not the percentage of Catholic voters overall that support Obama that is the real problem:

No, the most damning result of the poll is that Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly favor Mitt Romney by only nine percent (51 to 42). This compares with nearly a 30 point gap the other way for those who attend Mass very rarely or not at all. Why isn’t there a comparable gap against Obama by regularly practicing Catholics? This represents a colossal Catholic failure.

Obviously, one can allow for a certain apathy here. Mitt Romney does not impress voters as a man who has either a moral or a political clue. His position on abortion and related issues is confused and, as far as anyone can tell, self-serving. His ability to project a serious love and concern for our nation and its people ranges from weak to non-existent. He stumbles and backtracks constantly. While there are many excellent moral reasons to vote against Barack Obama, there are few excellent moral reasons to vote for Mitt Romney. Moreover, there is always a strong reluctance on the part of those who depend on Federal largesse to admit the dangers of Federal power, a factor which minimizes support for Republican budget proposals.

But there is one huge issue that separates Obama and Romney, and it is the same issue which has been most forcefully identified by the country’s bishops—the HHS Mandate. Obama is the architect of a law which forces Catholic organizations and individuals to financially support contraception, sterilization and abortion despite the Church’s teaching that it is deeply sinful to do so. In a similar way, Obama is the architect of policies which exclude Catholic organizations from traditional roles in social services because they will not do things like provide abortion referrals, recommend contraception, or facilitate adoptions for same-sex couples. But Romney has pledged to eliminate the HHS mandate immediately upon election, and has shown no propensity to continue Obama’s ideological exclusion of Catholic participation in public life.

Which is why the Catholic voter in the cartoon above is being lumped in with bears for forest fires, and chickens for Colonel Sanders (ie fast food chickens), because they are voting for policies which will make it more and more difficult for anyone the United States to be Catholic.

Looks like that other poll that I linked to is definitely a rouge one, or polls are completely useless when it comes to this election.  Personally, I have no idea.

Cartoon found on WDTPRS.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lucia A round up of sorts [UPDATE]

The other day I found a Fulton Sheen app of nearly 300 of his wonderful talks on my iPhone for $12.99.  Here's a great quote from him on Christ the Eternal Priest:

When I speak of Christ as being priest and victim, I do not mean that we need to go and get hair shirts. Today we don't need hair shirts. Our neighbours are hair shirts. We live with hair shirts. We had to have hair shirts centuries ago when we were so far apart from everyone else, we had to find some penance. Today, they are immediately near."

There are quite a few hair shirts here on the internet too!

* * *

Whale Oil has been launching attacks on Andrei and today Redbaiter, on his blog, while as with me he's gone from semi-attack to mocking interest. As we are all bloggers, I for one think it's nice that he keeps us in the forefront of his mind as he comes across various news items and ways of thinking.  This is like a collaborative thought process, even though it's still very much at the combative stage right now.  In the meantime, my heart goes out to him and his family on the imminent death of his mother from cancer.  As I have already told him on FaceBook, she is in my prayers.

UPDATE Friday 28 September, 2012: Whale Oil/Cameron Slater's mother passed away this morning.  I am so sorry for his loss.

* * *

I got my hair cut and coloured today, and had a little time to respond to a comment on KiwiBlog's General Debate about a priest who stopped a yoga class from being taught on church grounds. As a teenager, I got into yoga in a big way, doing a daily one and a half hour routine and going vegetarian. I really wish that as a young, Catholic girl at the time, I had been told that yoga was incompatible with and even damaging to my faith, a faith that I had mostly lost by the time I left school.  Catholic priests absolutely should stop things like yoga from being taught on church property, otherwise it looks like the Church tacitly endorses it.

I started yoga in an attempt to control my anxiety, which really hit me after my best friend committed suicide when I was fourteen years old. It kind of worked, as did other physical activity.  However, I discovered in my early 20's that anxiety can be overcome by changing how you think of yourself in stressful situations. Anxiety occurs when the nervous system is stimulated because of apparent danger, therefore setting off the fight or flight system. But, if you instead tell yourself that you want to be where ever you are or want to do what ever it is you are doing, then the anxiety doesn't get triggered.  It takes quite a bit of effort at first, but eventually it becomes second nature to face doing things that you'd rather not do without fear.  Probably why I don't have too much trouble with the blogging world and all the attacks on me, I've spent years combating my own fears so worry about what other people think of my opinions doesn't really happen much.

* * *

Recently, I came across through the wonderful New Advent site, a really interesting conversion story by a very well educated Protestant who decided he had to become Catholic because it was true.  I'm coming up to my six year anniversary of returning the Catholic Church, so his realisation that he needed to become Catholic because the Church is true, that is the Church really is who she says she is, was the reason to convert.  If you want to understand some of the intellectual arguments that Protestants can wrestle with, read the story.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lucia Nothing in the Republican platform that promotes intrinsic evil or serious sin

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, has come out and publicly said that Democratic Party is officially supporting intrinsic evils and serious sins and that the Republican Party is not.   Here is the relevant part of his column, in which he asks Catholics in his diocese to really think and pray about who they will elect as President of the United States in a couple of months, with Fr Z.'s comments in red.

In 1992 Presidential candidate Bill Clinton famously said that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.That was the party’s official position until 2008. Apparently “rare” is so last century that it had to be dropped, because now the Democratic Party Platform says that abortion should be “safe and legal.” [And they know that Planned Parenthood doesn't want it to be rare... and neither, really, do many of the queenpins of that party.] Moreover the Democratic Party Platform supports the right to abortion “regardless of the ability to pay.[Ergooooo.....] Well, there are only three ways for that to happen: either taxpayers will be required to fund abortion, or insurance companies will be required to pay for them (as they are now required to pay for contraception), or hospitals will be forced to perform them for free.  [Which do you think will be the case?]
 

Moreover, the Democratic Party Platform also supports same-sex marriage, recognizes that “gay rights are human rights,” [This is NOT... NOT... a civil or human rights issue!] and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1996 that defined marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman.  [Which The First Gay President refuses to enforce.]

Now, why am I mentioning these matters in the Democratic Party Platform? There are many positive and beneficial planks in the Democratic Party Platform, but I am pointing out those that explicitly endorse intrinsic evils. [LibDems are, right now, having a nutty with little flecks of spit jetting from the corners of their mouths to either side of their monitors as they prepare to label Bp. Paprocki, and me, a Republican partisan. BUT...] My job is not to tell you for whom you should vote. But I do have a duty to speak out on moral issues. I would be abdicating this duty if I remained silent out of fear of sounding “political” and didn’t say anything about the morality of these issues. [NB:]People of faith object to these platform positions that promote serious sins. I know that the Democratic Party’s official “unequivocal” support for abortion is deeply troubling to pro-life Democrats.

So what about the Republicans? I have read the Republican Party Platform and there is nothing in it that supports or promotes an intrinsic evil or a serious sin. [Get that?  We can disagree about the best ways to solve many burning social issues, but we cannot support things that are intrinsically evil.] The Republican Party Platform does say that courts “should have the option of imposing the death penalty in capital murder cases.” But the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (in paragraph 2267), “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

One might argue for different methods in the platform to address the needs of the poor, to feed the hungry and to solve the challenges of immigration, but these are prudential judgments about the most effective means of achieving morally desirable ends, not intrinsic evils.  [LibDems, read that again slowly.]

Certainly there are “pro-choice” Republicans who support abortion rights and “Log Cabin Republicans” who promote same-sex marriage, and they are equally as wrong as their Democratic counterparts. But these positions do not have [NB] the official support of their party.
Don't be surprised if Obama doesn't make it back into the White House.  Catholic voters typically determine if a Democrat can become President, and seems that Catholic voters are really abandoning Obama if this poll is anything to go by.

Seventy four percent (74%) of Catholic men over 50 refuse to support Obama.

Moreover an almost identical 25% of Catholic men under 50 support Obama and 31% of Catholic women under 50 support him. Catholic women over fifty support Obama at just a 23% rate.

Catholics make up 24% of the American population, so they are quite a significant voting block, and would be even more so if they all went to Mass regularly, but that's another story!

Related link: An American Bishop on the Democrat Convention, intrinsic evil, and voting wisely as a Catholic ~WDTPRS

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lucia Amazing story of conversion from homosexuality and drug dealing to a life of purity and faithfulness



He encourages young people to live what he calls a holy sexuality. Yuan believes Christians should not speak in terms of heterosexuality or homosexuality, as all, whether married or single, are called to live lives of purity and faithfulness. Yuan says God told him, “Don’t focus upon feelings. Don’t focus upon your sexuality, but focus upon living a life of holiness and living a life of purity.”

There is also another challenge Yuan gives his audience. He says there is a tendency to think individuals can make an easy switch from living as homosexuals. This is not the reality. Yuan say[s] recovering homosexuals need to be treated with the same grace as recovering drug addicts or alcoholics. There is no easy road out of the homosexual lifestyle, and often, the homosexual inclination will remain.

Yuan states, “Being a Christian is not an easy thing. I may still struggle, but God has given me the grace. God has claimed the victory on the cross. Though I may still have struggles, I’m not going to be bound by them.”

People like Yuan are amazing.

Related link: Redemption in a prison trashcan ~ LifeSiteNews

Lucia The words "mother" and "father" to be removed in France from official documents

One of the consequences of same-sex marriage is this sort of travesty - the removal of words such as "mother" and "father", which both have very specific meanings - and replacing them with the more general "parents" from all official documents.

How soon will it be that calling oneself a mother if you're female, or father if you are male, will be considered offensive and discriminatory?

Don't laugh, for now in New Zealand it is generally only considered acceptable to ask about a "partner", not a wife or a husband in conversation, as marital status is one of those no-go-zones. Once you know a person is married, then the leap to asking about the opposite sex term (wife or husband) is safe, but once same-sex marriage is brought into the equation, even this territory will become fraught with social danger!

All of this is being brought in under the guise of "equality", which is yet another example of the way the language is being destroyed.

Related link: France is set to ban the words 'mother' and 'father' from all official documents under controversial plans to legalise gay marriage ~ Mail Online

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lucia Radek Sikorski on British Euroscepticism

A really interesting post on the Economist highlighting Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski's speech combating British Euroscepticism.

Though his Tory friends try not to hear it, Mr Sikorski's message is consistently and unashamedly pro-European. He uses words and sentiments that are rarely heard in Britain now (only the Lib Dems are unabashedly europhile, and even they tend to keep quiet about it). He told his audience at Blenheim Palace. "I believe in the logic and justice of the modern European project. And my country, Poland, will do its utmost to help it succeed."

He pointed out that half of Britain's exports go to the EU, that the much-maligned European Convention on Human Rights is nothing to do with the EU (and also a British creation); that the cost to Britain of EU membership is trivial (£15 per person per year by his calculation, against £1,500-£3,500 in benefits from the single market), that the European Commission's 33,000 staff is tiny by comparison to any national bureaucracy; that EU rules are not "Brussels diktats" but proposed, and agreed, by the member states; that only one-sixteenth of UK primary legislation stems from EU decisions; and, perhaps most importantly, that the EU is a hugely important force in keeping markets open and competitive. He didn't mention its current assault on Gazprom.

He attacked the two options favoured by British Eurosceptics. A negotiated free trade zone would not be a simple replacement for full membership, he warned:
Don’t count on it. Many European states would hold a grudge against a country which, in their view, had selfishly left the EU. While you are an important market for the rest of the EU, accounting for about 11% of the rest of the EU’s trade, your trade with the EU is 50% of your total trade. No prizes for guessing who would have the upper hand in such a negotiation. Any free trade agreement would have a price. In exchange for the privilege of access to the Single Market, Norway and Switzerland make major contributions to the EU’s cohesion funds. They also have to adopt EU standards – without having any say in how they are written. At the moment, Norway’s net contribution to the EU budget is actually higher, per capita, than Britain’s.

So think hard: the EU is a market of 500 million people who enjoy the highest average standard of living in the world. According to the IMF and the World Bank, Europe’s GDP is about 2.5 times than that of China and nine times that of India. Do you want to lose your privileged access to that market?
He also attacked the more explicit eurosceptic notion, that Britain would regain its international clout outside the EU. To that he said:
Yes, the UK outside the EU would have more freedom of manoeuvre, in a number of significant respects. But the UK would be less powerful and less free. Certainly Britain would lose its influence in many international forums. By negotiating as one bloc in world trade talks, the European Union gives all of us, the UK included, a powerful and united voice to use when speaking to China and the USA. If you leave, you lose that. Let me quote from the findings of a report prepared in 2011 for Business, Innovation and Skills Committee in the House of Commons , I quote ‘We recognize the fact that the UK's influence on the WTO can only be exercised through its membership of the European Union’.

Britain standing alone would suffer not only on multilateral level. Are you sure that you will command the same kind of attention in, say, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos and Bogota? What about Washington? At the moment, your hosts know that you speak on behalf of London and have an influence to shape decisions taken in Brussels on behalf of the whole continent as well. Alone, you won’t be so interesting.
He continued:
The EU is an English-speaking power. The Single Market was a British idea. A British commissioner runs our diplomatic service. You could, if only you wished, lead Europe’s defence policy. But if you refuse, please don’t expect us to help you wreck or paralyze the EU. Do not underestimate our determination not to return to the politics of the 20 century. You were not occupied. Most of us on the continent were. We will do almost anything to prevent that from happening again.

It's not difficult to see why. Poland wants to be with Germany and France as partners, leading a strong, democratic European political-economic space. We do not want to be a buffer between Western Europe and a less democratic Eurasian political-economic space dominated by Russia.

More importantly, we believe the Eurozone will survive, because it is its members interest for it to survive. The leaders of Europe will step up operational integration at the European level. The new institutional arrangements within the EU will be different. But eventually they’ll be strong. They'll work because Europe’s leaders want them to work. And be careful what you read in your tabloids: No country has benefitted more from the single currency than Germany.
And concluded:
Since I first came to these shores over 30 years ago, Britain has become much more European. You’ve built the Channel-Tunnel, you got used to mixer taps, duvets and double glazing. Even your cooking has improved. Yet, your public opinion and politics is more Eurosceptic than ever. And I think I can guess why: Marxists at those Balliol tutorials [one-on-one teaching sessions at Oxford colleges: Mr Sikorski was at Pembroke Collegue but had tutorials in some subjects at Balliol] taught me the term “false consciousness” which is when the ideological superstructure is out of sync with the economic base. Britain today is living with false consciousness. Your interests are in Europe. It’s high time for your sentiments to follow.

Your leaders need to make a more vocal case for your European interests. Britain is famous through the ages for its practical good sense and policies based on reality, not myths. We hope you can return to this tradition soon.
Related link: Sikorski in Oxford (again) ~ The Economist

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Andrei The hypocrisies of the enlightened

Yesterday was "World Peace Day" - Ele posted on it in a good natured way.

In reality I have a great deal of cynicism about days dedicated to this cause or that - political replacements for the ancient Church feasts and fasts perhaps - to advance agendas dear to the "progressives" who think they have a monopoly on wisdom and compassion, but are often devoid of both.

Anyway cynicism set aside I left a comment in keeping with the tenor of her post, I hope. If there is one place in this wicked world where peace is to be found it is within the Church. In human affairs conflict is the natural order of things and not even the Church is immune from this of course.

But the liturgies and hymns are peaceful and we can set aside all the mess of living in a fallen and corrupt world, all its cares and woes, and turn our minds to the Prince of Peace by singing them. And be given a rare glimpse Heaven and true Peace in so doing.

That peace is the subtle meaning behind my comment - too subtle perhaps in a post Christian world.

Cynicism about "World Peace Day" returns with the news: Yoko Ono gives peace prize to jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

And this comes at the end of a fortnight marked by violence allegedly sparked by a "film" denigrating Islam. And I'll guarantee you that Yoko Ono will not be awarding the maker of that piece of trash a "Peace Award".

What cannot to be understood, perhaps, is that "Pussy Riot" bought sordid worldly conflict into a place where it has no place, where it doesn't belong. It is that incongruity that makes us uncomfortable, as it was designed to do.

The idea is that we take the peace that we find within the temple out into the World where it is in short supply, not that the World inflicts its pathologies on the Church. The Church where we slowly learn how to live in peace with one another according to God's divine plan.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lucia A Conservative Party press release on Australia's same sex marriage vote brings out the mischief

The Australian House of Representatives and the Senate have both recently rejected a redefinition of marriage to include two people of the same sex by an overwhelming margin (98-42 against and 41-26 against), a sort of a reverse of what New Zealand's Parliament voted for with the first reading of Labour's Louisa Wall's bill on the Feast of John the Baptist (oh the irony there!).

Yesterday, the Conservative Party of NZ unleashed a press release on the difference between Australia and New Zealand with regards to liberal social change and it's connection with the economy of a country.

Mr Craig says “Once again Australia has made the smart decision by refusing to make unnecessary and detrimental changes to the definition of marriage. This is another example of Aussies showing us how to do it, and will further support the trend of New Zealanders leaving for Australia.”

“The New Zealand Parliament is simply too liberal to ensure the best interests of New Zealand. On the other hand the Australian Parliament are taking a more conservative approach, and reaping the benefits. Australia are not prepared to play fast and loose with their social legislation and economic management.”

“Economically Australia is getting it right. Careful budgeting has produced surpluses seven times in the last ten years. Their economy is growing, and wages are now an estimated 40% higher than in New Zealand. A far cry from when New Zealand wages were higher than those in Australia just a few decades ago.”

“Socially Australia is also getting it right. For example, they didn’t impose an outright ban on smacking children. Instead they brought in sensible restrictions that protected a parent’s right to discipline their children. That same common sense has been used when it comes to gay marriage, and they have wisely refused to entertain the proposal.”

“Australia’s success is not random chance; it is the result of better leadership decisions. Over the last 15 years New Zealand and Australia have had a very different approach, and to put it bluntly New Zealand’s leadership is being shown up. The majority of our MP’s are socially liberal, and have little or no knowledge of how to manage an economy for growth.”

“The New Zealand Parliament needs Conservative MP's who will oppose the social liberal agenda, and use their business and economic acumen to prioritise the economy.”

David Farrar of Kiwiblog read all that and translated what the press release said to his own mischievous rendition: Colin Craig says Kiwis will flee to Australia to escape gay married couples. Hmmmm....

If anyone would like to understand the connection between morality and the economy of a country, please read Has Europe lost it's soul, a speech by Lord Johnathon Sacks on the global financial crisis and it's spiritual roots, and The politics of porn, an article connecting the need for a virtuous populace for a free democracy (and therefore lively commerce) to thrive.

I know that there are people that will continue to deny any connection between morality and the free and prosperous way of live that we have now, and at times these people will seem obstinately obtuse and very noisy in their opposition, but the advantage that we who know about this connection have is that it is true, and truth, even when it's painful or unpalatable and demands personal sacrifice is still what will win in the end.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lucia Tom Scott on Pope Benedict on the couch


I get what Tom Scott is trying to say here.  He's using Pope Benedict as the representative of the Christian world having to deal with constant satire, abuse and misrepresentation of the Christian faith, and so to the "angry protestors", the Pope says, "Harden up ..."

However, in real life, despite some concerns for his safety, Pope Benedict XVI has just returned from a trip to Lebanon that he refused to cancel.  He spoke to all about the need for peace, instead of telling them to get used to the mockery.  Ironic, huh?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lucia Pope Benedict's message to the Middle East

On a purely material level, I am amazed at the Holy Father's courage, and yet, at the spiritual level, I can only nod in agreement that going to Lebanon, despite the rise of anti-Western violence in the Middle East, was the right thing to do.

Trusting in Our Lord completely makes a person fearless, and you can certainly see that fearlessness and total immersion and trust in God in Pope Benedict XVI. His message to the people there was one of hope, love and peace - such a difference from the hate-filled mobs venting their anger because of their perceived offense. It takes the stronger person (and culture) to react with restraint rather than all-out violence.

(Reuters) - Pope Benedict urged Arab leaders on Sunday at a huge open-air mass in Lebanon to work for reconciliation in a Middle East riven by Syria's civil war and blazing with fury over a film mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.

"May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East, the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence," the pope said in a prayer after a mass that organizers said was attended by 350,000 people.

...

Addressing worshippers on the Mediterranean seafront, close to the front line of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, Benedict said Lebanese people "know all too well the tragedy of conflict and ... the cry of the widow and the orphan".

"I appeal to the Arab countries that, as brothers, they might propose workable solutions respecting the dignity, the rights and the religion of every human person," the 85-year-old pontiff said.

...

"In a world where violence constantly leaves behind its grim trail of death and destruction, to serve justice and peace is urgently necessary," Benedict said.

Related link: Pope urges Arab leaders to work for peace in raging Middle East ~ Reuters

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lucia Promote marriage not new social obligations

Isn't it ironic that our Parliament is so interesting in getting couples of the same sex to marry, yet ignores the blatant need of couples who generate children through sexual union to marry. Talk about the elephant in the room!

In a society where marriage was expected those women who found themselves without a spouse through circumstances beyond their control, performed heroically in raising those children because of the good example of most of the people around them and the environment that they were typically raised in.

Now in a society where marriage is not necessary before the first casual sexual encounter which may result in a child, if that child is not aborted then the, young lady typically becomes a single mother on the Domestic Purposes Benefit, which is the greatest determinant of poverty for herself and for her children.

However, the Government, in it's blinkered approach to this growing problem of fatherlessness and poverty in NZ, instead turns it's attention to social obligations that would normally flow from young people setting up proper relationships before they have children.  Except from mandatory child care from age 3 - that's only really necessary if mothers are working.

Parents face having their benefits slashed in half if they don’t send their children to school or early childhood education centres and enrol them with a doctor.

They must also complete basic health checks.

Social development minister Paula Bennet has just announced new ‘social obligations’ which she says will give kids a better start in life. …

From July next year all beneficiary parents must ensure their children:

* attend 15 hours a week Early Childhood Education (ECE) from age 3

* attend school from age five or six

* enrol with a General Practitioner

* complete core WellChild/Tamariki Ora checks

If they don’t, a ”graduated sanction process” will allow three warnings before they face a cut of up to 50 per cent.
This is now heading into a massive increase of government power over the lives of families and children, starting with those on benefits.  It's not for no reason that socialist governments love welfare - it creates a massive dependent class which then necessitates government intervention.

If the NZ Government really wanted to reduce child poverty, they would stop teaching that sex is  recreational teenagers, and that it's purpose is for the generation of children.  The Government would stop trying to change marriage so that two of the same sex, who can never create children together can pretend their relationship is a marriage when it can never be, and instead actively encourage marriage of men and women through government incentives, and discourage divorce by putting in penalties for those at fault in a marriage break up.

If NZ really wants to reduce our growing child poverty problem, which is costing the taxpayer billions and will continue to increase in cost, then that is what is needed.  Nothing else will work.

Related links:

Welfare reforms target kids' education, health
Marriage: America’s Best Antidote to Child Poverty

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Lucia Conservative Party up in latest poll and Labour down

Labour has dropped 2% in the latest poll and some of that drop could be attributed to the same-sex marriage legislation put forward by Labour Louisa Wall and voted for at it's first reading by most Labour MPs and some National MPs, including John Key, the Prime Minister. National hasn't taken a hit over being ruled from behind by Labour yet, most of the ire is being directed at Labour, but people in my circles are certainly noticing this disturbing trend.

What's even more interesting, is that 9% of those who have voted in online poll said they would vote for the Conservative Party if an election were held today. However, that number would not be representative of NZ as a whole, rather it shows that there are a significant proportion of conservative supporters out there who are active online.

Conservative Party lifted by gay issue ~ NZ Herald

Lucia Catholic Diocese to be sued by gay couple for not selling them property

Just one example of how same-sex marriage allows persecution of Christians

James Fairbanks and Alain Beret, married business partners from Sutton, had been searching for the perfect property for nearly two years when they discovered Oakhurst, an aging mansion on 26 beautiful acres in Northbridge. The former retreat center, which was affiliated with the Diocese of Worcester and had been on the market for some time, would be the ideal spot for their next venture: an inn that would host weddings and other big events.

When the Diocese of Worcester unexpectedly dropped out of negotiations with them in June, Fairbanks and Beret were shocked — and flummoxed. Then, they say, a church attorney inadvertently forwarded their broker an e-mail from Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, chancellor of the diocese, advising a church broker that he was no longer interested in selling to Fairbanks and Beret “because of a potentiality of gay marriages” there.

Beret, 59, and Fairbanks, 57, plan to file a lawsuit Monday morning in Worcester Superior Court against Sullivan, the bishop, the church’s real estate agent, and the nonprofit retreat center, the House of Affirmation, alleging they discriminated against Beret and Fairbanks on the basis of sexual orientation in the course of a real estate negotiation, violating state law.

“I have lived quietly in the mainstream for nearly 60 years, and I expected to continue that,” Beret said in an interview yesterday. “But I will not continue that at the expense of my dignity.”

The Catholic Church doesn't sell it's buildings to just anyone.

Sullivan said, however, that the church, as a matter of policy, will not sell properties where Masses have been celebrated to people who plan to host same-sex weddings. The church will not sell to developers who plan to transform them into abortion clinics either, he said — or to bars, lounges, or other kinds of uses that church officials deem inappropriate.

Would anyone take seriously the claims of discrimination by Satanists, if they wanted to buy the property?

Related link: Gay couple says church denied Northbridge mansion sale to stop same-sex weddings ~ Boston.com

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Lucia Joint Anglican and Catholic Cathedral won't work

The only way a joint Anglican/Catholic Cathedral would work would be if the Anglicans all converted to Catholicism. There is precedent for large conversions of Anglicans to Catholicism through through the Ordinariate, and that would be the way to go.

I was reading an article of an Anglican convert who became a Catholic priest, who has just recently died. He once compared the Anglicanism to “whisky with three parts water”, while saying Catholics were “straight out of the bottle”. With that imagery in mind, a joint cathedral would just massively dilute the whiskey for Catholics, and be far too strong for the Anglicans.

The only people that have been talking about this potential plan have been the Anglicans, so I doubt it will get anywhere.

Related link: Historic super-cathedral plan

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Andrei The banality of it all

If ever there was an illustration of how utterly worthless the New Zealand Herald is as a Newspaper, perhaps only useful as expensive and harsh on the butt toilet paper, this is it: Key unlikely to discuss Pussy Riot with Putin.

Hands up anybody who thinks that our Prime Minister should spend the very short time he has to talk with one of the most important current World Leaders discussing some silly attention seeking women.

Anybody?

Here's the thing, a few days ago Mr Putin gave an in depth interview for the English speaking world. 45 minutes long covering a range of topics of great importance. Economic meltdown, Syria and so forth

And in that interview "Pussy Riot" was touched upon. Here is a transcript of that part of the interview

RT: Ok and now I’d like to talk about the trial and jailing of Pussy Riot, that punk group band. There’s been much criticism that the sentence handed down was too strong, too much and that the whole case was too big a deal off and that it actually back fired and has brought more people to their cause with the publicity. With hind sight , always a beautiful thing, but with hindsight do you think the case could have been handled differently?

Putin: You’ve been working in Russia for a while now and maybe know some Russian. Could you please translate the name of the band into Russian?

RT: Pussy Riot the punk band,I don’t know what you would call them in Russian Sir, but may be you could tell me!

Putin: Can you translate the first word into Russian? Or maybe it would sound too obscene? Yes, I think you wouldn’t do it because it sounds too obscene, even in English.

RT: I actually thought it was referring to a cat, but I’m getting your point here. Do you think the case was handled wrongly in any way, could some lesson have been learned?

Putin: I know you understand it perfectly well, you don’t need to pretend you don’t get it. It’s just because these people made everyone say their band’s name too many times. It’s obscene – but forget it.
Here’s what I would like to say. I have always felt that punishment should be proportionate to the offence. I am not in a position now and would not like, anyway, to comment on the decision of a Russian court, but I would rather talk about the moral side of the story.
First, in case you never heard of it, a couple of years ago one of the band’s members put up three effigies in one of Moscow’s big supermarkets, with a sign saying that Jews, gays and migrant workers should be driven out of Moscow. I think the authorities should have looked into their activities back then. After that, they staged an orgy in a public place. Of course, people are allowed to do whatever they want to do, as long as it’s legal, but this kind of conduct in a public place should not go unnoticed by the authorities. Then they uploaded the video of that orgy on the internet. You know some fans of group sex say it’s better than one-on-one because, like in any team, you don’t need to hit the ball all the time.
Again, it’s okay if you do what you like privately, but I wouldn’t be that certain about uploading your acts on the internet. It could be the subject of legal assessment, too.
Then they turned up at Yelokhovo Cathedral, here in Moscow, causing unholy mayhem, and went to another cathedral and caused mayhem there, too.
You know, Russians still have painful memories of the early years of Soviet rule, when thousands of Orthodox, Muslim, as well as clergy of other religions were persecuted. Soviet authorities brutally repressed the clergy. Many churches were destroyed. The attacks had a devastating effect on all our traditional religions. And so in general I think the state has to protect the feelings of believers.
I will not comment on whether the verdict is well-grounded and the sentence proportionate to the offence. These girls must have lawyers who defend their interests in court. They have the right to file an appeal and demand a new hearing. But it’s up to them, it’s just a legal issue.

RT: Is it realistic at all they will get some sort of early release?

Putin: I don’t know whether their lawyers have filed an appeal or not. I don’t follow the case that closely. If they appeal, a higher court is empowered to take any decision. To be honest, I try to stay as far away from the case as possible. I know the details but I do not want to get into it.
And what is the take home quote from the entire 45 minutes - the bit that gets the attention of the New York Times, the Telegraph and our friend Whaleoil, - that jocular aside on group sex which I have highlighted.

My friends, I am not long for this world and as I head towards the next one I become increasing astonished at how childish our elites are in both their behaviour and priorities - little people of little vision.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lucia Ironic cartoon by Hodgson on Monday in the Dom Post


Really highlights our parliamentarians' priorities.

The last cartoon by Hodgson that attracted my attention was the Paula Bennett and Dr Josef Mengele cartoon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lucia Miraculous coincidence of the week

A friend of mine lent me this CD, Teenage Rebel to Catholic Priest, this week. I had heard it at a retreat I attended last month, and thought it would be great for my boys to listen to.

So on Monday night, I played it and my older boy (he's 15) was interested enough to listen to the whole thing. The younger one (11) only lasted for half of it.

It was the most amazing story of a boy who was heading for total self-destruction before he was miraculously rescued by Mary, the Mother of God.

And then, coincidentally, though I don't actually believe that coincidences are random, a post turns up by the mother of the teenage rebel, and tells the story from her perspective: Modern Day St. Monica by LaChita Calloway.

Well, what can I do but pass the story on!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lucia Dying cardinal gets NZ media attention [UPDATE]

I always find it interesting as to what type of Catholic news the media here in New Zealand likes to promote. Anything to do with sex abuse, or the Pope speaking out against same-sex marriage or nuns writing books on sex or, in this case, dying liberal cardinals.

Hours after Milan's former Archbishop, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, died at the weekend at the age of 85, the leading daily paper Corriere della Sera printed his final interview, in which he attacks the Church - and by implication its current leadership - for being "200 years out of date".

"Our culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous," the Cardinal said. "The Church must admit its mistakes and begin a radical change, starting from the Pope and the bishops. The paedophilia scandals oblige us to take a journey of transformation."

Church insiders believe he wished for the interview to be published following his death.

...

Cardinal Martini was noted for supporting the use of condoms, at least a decade before the Vatican grudgingly accepted they might be acceptable in certain situations to prevent the transmission of HIV. He also questioned the Church's line on gay relationships and divorce - calling on it to reconsider what constituted a family in the 21st century or risk losing even more of its flock.

Ah, now it all makes sense. A Catholic champion of condoms, gay relationships, divorce, etc, is always going to make the news, and will generally be noticed in New Zealand.

Interestingly enough, the writer of the piece the NZ Herald has published typically writes a lot about the Vatican, and most of it is not positive.

Fr Z. has a couple of points : Two notes about the late Card. Martini (R.I.P.)

UPDATE: Pope Benedict XVI Remembers Cardinal Martini as Man of God (Hattip Chris Sullivan)

Related link: Dying cardinal: Church 200 years out of date ~ NZ Herald

Fletch The Folic Acid Debate


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The subject of fortifiying our bread supply with Folic Acid comes up every few years in New Zealand. Those in favour of adding it to our bread say that it helps prevent birth defects in the children of pregnant mothers who take it. This may indeed be so. But is it good for everyone?

Not according to some stories I have been reading. A story on the MSNBC website says that it may contribute to cancer  -

Chances are, you started your day with a generous helping of folic acid. For more than a decade, the government has required enriched grains — most notably white flour and white rice — to be fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form of the B vitamin folate.

Many food manufacturers take it further, giving breakfast cereals, nutrition bars, and beverages a folic acid boost, too. The extra nutrient isn't meant for you, though — it's added to protect fetuses from developing rare but tragic birth defects. The fortification effort appears successful: Since 1998, the number of these birth defects dropped by about 19 percent. But for women past the years of having children, as well as for men of any age, unnatural dosages of this nutrient don't seem to be helpful — and may even be harmful.

Indeed, many scientists have grown increasingly concerned about mounting research — including a study published last winter in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. "The more we learn about folic acid, the more it's clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks," says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England.

The risk experts worry about most: colon cancer. Last year, health officials in Chile reported that hospitalization rates for colon cancer among men and women age 45 and older more than doubled in their country since fortification was introduced in 2000. In 2007, Joel Mason, MD, director of the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the Tufts University School of Medicine, described a study of the United States and Canada suggesting that rates of colon cancer rose — following years of steady decline — in the late 1990s (around the time our food was being fortified).

Better screening or an aging population could not explain the difference, which amounts to an additional 15,000 cases of cancer per year in the United States alone between 1996 and 2000, according to Mason's calculations. "It's a critical enough issue that it can't be ignored," he says.
Other research links high doses to lung and prostate cancers. In one study conducted in Norway, which doesn't fortify foods, supplementation with 800 mcg of folic acid (plus B12 and B6) daily for more than 3 years raised the risk of developing lung cancer by 21 percent.

 Another, in which men took either folic acid or a placebo, showed those consuming 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer. And a new worry recently came to light when scientists discovered the liver has limited ability to metabolize folic acid into folate — which means any excess continues circulating in the bloodstream. "Unlike folate, folic acid isn't found in nature, so we don't know the effect of the excess," says Smith.

I, for one, am glad that it is not being added to bread in this country.

Lucia John Key was "forced" to marry his Catholic wife in a garden??

The mind boggles over this comment. I wonder what the exact words were, as they are not quoted and there are other quotes in the article.

Key said he had been forced to marry wife Bronagh outside in a garden. She is an Irish Catholic and he has a Jewish background.

I do know that if a person wants to marry a Catholic, they have to be approved by the local priest in order for that marriage to take place validly in the eyes of the Church. The fact that Key's marriage was in a garden raises all sorts of questions as to whether or not he was considered suitable for a Catholic girl to marry. Maybe he didn't want to go through the talks by the priest, or maybe his wife didn't consider her Catholicism that important? Not that non-Catholics that have been approved have been much better, as there are so many stories online of men who have been married to their Catholic wives in a Catholic church, and treat the whole thing as a joke. I won't name names, but there's quite a few of them out there.

As for Colin Craig's leaflet that states that John Key is "too gay" for Helensville, that sort of inflammatory technique certainly elicits attention and it seems to have gained it, but I think it would be better to act in a more prudent way when attacking someone on their morals.

Related links: Key hits back at 'too gay' leaflet ~ Stuff
John Key on marriage ~ Whale Oil Beef Hooked

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lucia Compulsory Maori Language is a bad idea

Yet again there are calls for Maori to be made compulsory for all school children in New Zealand because it is an official language (according to National Radio this morning). Strangely, enough however, the other official language in NZ, sign language, is not regularly promoted in the same way.

Learning a second language at school is just as important as maths and English, according to the chairman of the Maori Statutory Board.

David Taipari's comments follow a recommendation that the Maori language should be compulsory in all Auckland schools.

The suggestion is part of a raft of changes the Maori Statutory Board want to see in New Zealand's biggest city that could cost more than $30 million a year.

Taipari told TV ONE's Breakfast he disagreed with Auckland Mayor Len Brown's claim that mathematics and English are probably more important to learn than another language.

Long time readers will know my opinion on compulsory Maori - I'm against it. I have no problems with children learning Maori at school if they so desire and their parents are happy for them to do so, but I am against the compulsory teaching of a language that will give the children only minor benefits. Not all languages are equal, and a second language should confer more than just the benefit of being a second language, otherwise (besides the fact that it would have very little for a New Zealander) why not learn Swahili? Apparently more than 60 million people worldwide speak Swahili, compared with the relatively small numbers who would know Maori, were every single person in New Zealand forced to learn it.

It is definitely worthwhile teaching children a second language - at the very least it will improve their English, no matter what Len Brown apparently thinks.  However, if effort is going to be put into a second language, why not choose the best?  Why be colloquial about it, beyond what Maori want?  Why not connect back to the educated ancients upon whose shoulders we mortals merely ride on?  Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College and a writer of numerous books explains:

First of all, you cannot write good English unless you appreciate English, and you cannot appreciate anything except by contrast with its other, and other languages are that other.

Second, a good writer is a master not only of English but of language itself, but you cannot rise to the knowledge of the universal structures and principles of language itself unless you begin with at least two particular languages (and preferably more than two) from which you can abstract those general principles.

Among non-English languages two stand out as especially useful: Greek and Latin; and this also has two reasons. The first reason is the historical fact that they are the roots of Western civilization, both because of what they are in themselves, the two most beautiful specimens of language ever invented, and because all the great books of premodern times except for the Old Testament were written in either Greek or Latin.

The second reason is that these two languages are so highly and rationally structured with such a good infection of inflection, that to learn them is to exercise the mind more lithely and acrobatically, to give the mind the power to play with words more fully and elaborately, than can be done in any modern language. I can tell, 9 times out of 10, whether a student has studied Greek or Latin simply by reading his English. Great stylists like Cardinal Newman and C. S. Lewis could never have tamed and mastered English and made it flow and prance and sing and juggle so effortlessly and obediently if they had not first mastered Latin and Greek, which were light heavyweight sparring partners to prepare them for lightweight boxing in English.

I wish I knew both Latin and Greek. Over the years I have learned beginner's Latin, alongside with my children, but have never put enough time into going beyond the very basics. I grew up bilingual and learned Polish at Saturday school, so have gained the benefits of learning a second language. But I'm sure that Peter Kreeft could easily spot from my writing that I've not learned Latin.

There have also been studies done that have shown that just a year's worth of instruction in Latin for children whose vocabulary is lacking gives them a massive leap forward in understanding of English words. This would have something to do with the fact that more than 50% of the English language is derived from Latin.

A person who learns Latin also has a major advantage in learning the Romance languages, those languages that developed from it after the Roman Empire disintegrated.

Somehow I don't think that compulsory Maori is really about the advantage a second language will give.  I suspect it's more about wanting to transmit a particular culture and way of life to all the inhabitants of this land instead.   I don't know about everyone else, but I'd prefer the culture of the people that built the cathedrals and sky-scrapers and space rockets and iPads, that most everyone in the world wants to emulate to be taught, rather than the culture of a people who were still cannibals before being discovered by the outside world.

However, I do not believe that my preferred languages should be compulsory, no matter how much I personally like them or can expound their benefits. For when it comes down to it, parents and schools need to decide what they feel is of most benefit for their particular children, and that will depend on the direction they want their children to take in life. It's not up to anyone else to dictate that direction to them, and that's why I am totally against compulsory languages.

Related links:
Compulsory te reo benefit all Aucklanders ~ TVNZ
What is a Classical Education? ~ Peter Kreeft, Memoria Press

Previous posts on this subject:
Willie Jackson calls for Maori to be compulsory in 2009
A language has to die in order to become immortal

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lucia Poland hopes to identify remains of Auschwitz hero

This is wonderful news. Poland is putting the effort into finding her heroes.

It could hardly have been a riskier mission: infiltrate Auschwitz to chronicle Nazi atrocities. Witold Pilecki survived nearly three years as an inmate in the death camp, managing to smuggle out word of executions before making a daring escape. But the Polish resistance hero was crushed by the post-war Communist regime – tried on trumped-up charges and executed.

Six decades on, Poland hopes Pilecki's remains will be identified among the entangled skeletons and shattered skulls of resistance fighters being excavated from a mass grave on the edge of Warsaw's Powazki Military Cemetery. The exhumations are part of a movement in the resurgent, democratic nation to officially recognize its war-time heroes and 20th century tragedies.

I've written about Witold Pilecki before, back in 2009.

Poland hopes to identify remains of Auschwitz hero ~ Ynetnews