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I must be doing something right

I don't like debating on the internet. I'm human, I get carried away, I don't like wasting time...and I get carried away. Especially on Twitter. This is part of the reason why I got rid of Twitter for a while. I've tried to behave on my new Twitter account. I've done a decent job of it too. Unfortunately for the pro-abortion movement...I tend to Tweet about the atrocities of abortion, and I tend to defend the unborn in any way that I can. I was involved in the recent #Gosnell Tweetfest and I tweeted and retweeted as much as I could to make sure the American people woke up and started demanding the truth about abortionists like Kermit Gosnell. 

Some "pro-choice" individuals didn't like this. A debate ensued...and just when I thought it was over... lo and behold, I get this particularly cheeky tweet.

A "pro-choice" individual trying to tell me not to have children for fear they will be precious....

Feel free to check out my twitter for the whole conversation leading up to this. In it you will find anti-Catholic bigotry, snarkiness (quite a bit from my end, to be honest with you), and plenty more to entertain you for a at least a minute or two. I won't put the whole thing here, because I had a hard enough time copy and pasting the tweet above. The point of the tweet fest was to bring abortionist Kermit Gosnell's "House of Horrors" to light. Essentially, this abortionist performed all manners of illegal abortion, in an incredibly unsanitary environment (patients got STDs from unclean equipment...THAT unsanitary). The good news is Gosnell is in court and enough tweets were generated to get the attention of the major news networks and even some celebrities. It took quite a bit of big network-shaming to turn this "local" news story into national news...but we succeeded. I can imagine how this must have felt for networks that tend to pretty much ignore March for Life....

Needless to say, my tweets may have bothered a few people. I imagine these people would would like to keep thinking that every abortion clinic out there is well-staffed, clean, and full of sparkling rainbows that lead to pots of gold birth control pills and condom-dispensing leprechauns. Unfortunately, due in part to the naivete of these pro-abortion lobby groups...there are plenty of awful abortion clinics open in the US (all abortion clinics are awful in my opinion, but some of them kill the mothers as well as the children due to inexperience, infection, malpractice, etc...making them even more awful). Much of this never hits the news...but I tend to stay updated on these things with Life Site News, Jill Stanek, Abby Johnson, 1Flesh,  and a few other decent sources.

In one of my tweets I mentioned that our current laws (and lobby groups, etc) allow seedy abortion clinics to continue operating. This was based on the fact that Gosnell's clinic had not been expected from 1993 to 2010 because there were Pennsylvania laws in place that allowed this to happen (which were lobbied-for by, you guessed it, people who feared such restriction and inspection laws would decrease access to abortion). As was mentioned quite often during the #Gosnell tweetfest, even nail salons are inspected more often than abortion clinics (at least in Pennsylvania until recent years).

If my tweets end up keeping people like Gosnell behind bars and away from desperate women, I will keep dealing with "pro-choice" trolls such as this Wildflower character. I may be throwing pearls before swine, but at the very least...people like this will only succeed in making themselves and their cause look incredibly biased, misinformed, and just plain foolish. Women deserve better than abortion and they certainly deserve better than clinics similar to Gosnell's.

Unfortunately, when people like Wildflower advocate for "more access to abortion" as opposed to more routine inspections and laws that would force clinics to operate under the same standards as a typical hospital....they only keep  more monsters in practice. Maybe one day they will realize this. Maybe one day they will truly see abortion for what it really is, the murder of an innocent child and the exploitation of a mother.

Until this happens, I will gladly keep making enemies.

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
- Winston Churchill

Pax vobiscum.

We are ALL to blame

My heart goes out to Boston tonight...and as sad as I was to see so much horror come out of it today...I still consider Boston to be The Land of Greatness. I've yet to go to Boston because of my hectic schedule, but it is the homeland of the Red Sox and quite a few other things that simply make me happy.

Boston, I have always wanted to visit you and now I am even more determined to do so....because I have always wanted to go to Fenway and because I have always wanted to see the Dropkick Murphys there. And now, I will also have to visit to make it up to you.

The details are still emerging...but many minds have already resolved who it was that is to blame and how awful they are for being behind such atrocious acts. We have liberals blaming conservatives for their anti-liberal ways. We have conservatives blaming liberals for their anti-conservative ways. The non-religious are blaming the religious for advocating violence in the name of God. The religious are blaming the non-religious for advocating violence instead of God. The xenophobic nationalists are blaming the foreigners. The foreigners are blaming the xenophobic nationalists....ETC...ETC....ETC.

Within hours...or even minutes following this atrocious, disgusting attack on innocent many people were already on their soapbox condemning others for the sake of enter cause or ideology here. Who cares about the victims and their families if I can further vilify this person or that group? Who cares about whether I am 100% right or wrong as long as I can use this tragedy to further my own agenda.

This kind of attitude disgusts me. It disgusts me because, as caring or concerned as you are attempting to don't care. On top of that, you continue to propagate this cycle of senseless violence because you are unwilling to care. Whether or not you realize it, whenever you start pointing fingers for an act such as are partly to blame for this tragedy. I'm guilty too because society today does all in its power to polarize divide separate us. For the sake of having the last laugh, we are more than willing to end friendships. For the sake of winning an argument, we are more than willing to dissolve relationships. For the sake of pride, jealousy, and every other vice imaginable, we are more than willing to enter arguments, battles, etc. As a result, as far as I'm concerned, we are all to blame for these atrocities. We are all to blame for every shooting. Every murder. Every bombing. Every war. Everything.

We live our lives assuming that we are right about everything. We live our lives as if our neighbors hate us simply because we disagree over some points. We hate each other and find so much fault in each other...and, because of this, we FAIL each other. We want to be right so badly, that we overlook any attempt at TRUE forgiveness and reconciliation. There are far too many senseless murders out there and far too many fingers pointing soon afterwards. When tragedy strikes, we often turn to blame in those quiet moments when we can either no longer help with the situation or simply want to keep ourselves occupied as we wait for news to surface from a murky, tumultuous sea of rumors. I have no idea who it was that was behind this particular attack.

I think we may end up finding out the culprit(s) soon...but, to be honest with you, I almost don't even want to know....because like it or not, a group of people will suddenly become the new target. If the person or people behind these attacks happen to be minority X, you can rest assured that this minority will soon be persecuted. If the person or people happens to be religion B, you can rest assured that this religion will soon be the next target.

We simply don't get it.

We are too full of ourselves that we never pause to truly reflect for a minute about the things we can do for our neighbor. Instead, we continually focus on what we can do for ourselves. Then we wonder where all of the senseless murders comes from...
I am sure that there were plenty of heroes out there today. Even the most cowardly among these heroes showed far more bravery than the person/people behind this disgusting attack on innocent people...and the finger pointers that came afterward
We simply DON'T GET the fact that all of this madness will continue until we finally snap out of it and start living for others rather than ourselves. For all you know, you could be the one whose act of kindness towards a stranger causes him/her to reconsider an act of violence. You could be the one whose act of love towards a religion/minority/culture/nation could inspire peaceful dialogue. You could be the next Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, etc. if you ever decide to focus on changing yourself rather than pointing fingers.

Please consider performing an act of love in reparation for this atrocity and please keep all of the victims and their families in your prayers. While you are at it, pray for peace and the conversion of our that we may finally (as a community, nation, world, etc) learn to love each other and not just ourselves.

Pax Vobiscum.

You are in my prayers Boston.

Pre-Cana...Minus the Cana Part

I've finally had a chance to go to my Pre-Cana class with my fiance (who was very recently confirmed!). It really wasn't what I expected it to be. As my fiance put it, it was 10,000 times less Catholic than he expected. I think that could be the best way to explain it. Granted, there are quite a few of these pre-Cana events going on in maybe I just ended up picking the wrong one to attend...but it was very disappointing. I really hope, however, that this was the worst of the bunch...because I can only imagine what the worst pre-Cana would be if ours was second worst...

Image credit: Catholic Memes
To make a long story short, one of the pre-requisites for my marrying in the church this upcoming October is a pre-Cana class. Unlike some people out there, I was actually excited about the idea of a nice pre-Cana class with other couples. I loved the other requirements thus far (meeting with the Priest and a very informative course on the role of love and sex within a marriage). I didn't mind getting all of my documentation together (including hunting down a baptismal certificate copy from the Portuguese parish where I was baptized).

I'm not one to complain about flower arrangements in church or other trivial matters. I do, however, take an issue with a lack of reverence where reverence is needed. I am also one to take issue when religion is removed from what is supposed to be a requirement for a religious ceremony. And this is exactly what this Pre-Cana felt like. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that some couples took time out of their day to talk to us about their experiences. However, I did not appreciate one of the people using some of their time at the podium to express their disdain for some Church teachings on A, B, and C. I also did not appreciate how another couple introduced themselves by distancing themselves from the faith.

Their introduction, as I understood it, was "Hi, we're Jane and John Doe. We've been married for a year and a half and we're not really practicing Catholics. I mean, we go to church on maybe Christmas...."

Then why are you talking at a Catholic Pre-Cana class?!?
Since I was one of the couples in there that truly wanted to go to Pre-Cana in the hopes of learning how to have a marriage centered on God (and not simply go to fulfill a requirement), I pretty much stopped listening to what they had to say after that.

I also stopped listening to another couple when the husband pretty much started talking smack about Humanae Vitae, justifying this by saying he wasn't Catholic and didn't really follow what the Church taught about X, Y, and Z. 

I listened to one couple who were great. They talked about their issues trying to have kids and how they ended up adopting. The talked about how faith got them through this rough part of their lives. Besides this couple and some financial advice from a guest-speaking accountant...I really didn't get much out of the whole experience. 

The priest made an appearance toward the end and as affable as he seemed...he was unable to make up for much of what I had to listen to or (as rude as is was) tune out. Pleasant as they were, his words came at the end of an event that was more secular than it was Catholic and more centered on eros than it was on agape. It's hard to stop a runaway train after it has already run off the tracks and hit the water tower.

One of the passages that was read at the end of the event was Corinthians 13 (which, ironically enough, was read by the individual who had openly talked smack about Church teachings just minutes before).

Corinthians 13: 
If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 
Charity never falleth away: whether prophecies shall be made void, or tongues shall cease, or knowledge shall be destroyed. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know I part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.

This often misinterpreted passage of the bible that extols the importance of agape (God-centered love) and NOT eros (love for a significant other). Please refer to C.S. Lewis's The Four Loves if you wish to learn more about the four types of love that we experience.

In the Pre-Cana event's defense, I probably set my expectations high. However, when you look at what is supposed to be covered by a pre-Cana class and what was actually covered, it fell short on a few very important matters.

According to the USCCB, pre-Cana should have covered the following conversations that couples should have before marriage:
  1. Spirituality/Faith
  2. Conflict Resolution Skills
  3. Careers
  4. Finances
  5. Intimacy/Cohabitation
  6. Children
  7. Commitment
1. Spirituality/Faith
As far as this topic went, the most we got regarding faith was "we know there's people here from different backgrounds" followed by "well, I personally...(enter personal critique of Church teaching followed by flawed justification of views)." I don't care what your views are, but if you are giving a talk at a Catholic event, you should stick to Catholic teachings regardless of views. There were a few mentions that God had brought us together and besides that, there were a few "you've been blessed (enter reason why)" but altogether, it seemed like these were sprinkled into an otherwise secular event...I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. 

2. Conflict Resolution Skills. 
As far as resolving conflicts went...we were told that compromise was key, along with communication. Forget putting God in the center of things, forget anything Pope John Paul II ever said about family (or selfless love, or putting the needs of your loved one before your own), etc. It's all about your needs and the needs of your spouse...and how you guys should get together and magically find a middle ground.  

3. Careers
Did the introduction of who I am and what I do count? 

4. Finances
We were taught to save more than you spend and that kids cost money (but are worth having anyway). 

5. Intimacy/Cohabitation
This got on my nerves. We basically skipped over all of this because personal views seemed to trump church teaching on this one. 

6. Children
This kind of bothered me too. Basically, I got the impression that there were quite a few speakers (and members of the audience) who never read Pope Paul VI's prophetic Humanae Vitae or Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. It seemed like as far as children went, anything goes and few attempts were made to dissuade people from micromanaging everything children-related. If you want get married to simply have children, it's fine. If you want to hold off on kids so you can focus on your career, it's fine. Forget about God's  ideas, we will have children when we want and for whatever reasons we want (selfish or not). I don't think many attempts were made to truly look at things from a Catholic perspective. It simply seemed like (with the exception of one speaker), the couples running the event were okay with people who wanted to take micromanage everything in their lives...without caring about God's plans....especially with regards to children.

7. Commitment
Some references were made to how terrible our society tends to be when it comes to family hardships. The "cut and run" approach was frowned upon (except in cases of abuse, etc). However, very little was said about reconciliation. Unfortunately, based on the conversations I picked up from some of the couples seems like they all think their significant others will be perfect. The reality of the matter is, however, that no one is perfect and there are plenty of temptations out there. Trust was talked about, and trust is important...but so is forgiveness. There was a focus on being committed in sickness and in health, but not very much attention was given to what we should do when our loved one falls short. As hard as you try to avoid arguments and as hard as you try to imagine that your significant other would never be tempted by another woman/man...the reality is that these things will happen. It is easy to trust someone you love...but forgiveness is much harder. Again, maybe my expectations were a bit high...but there was so much that should have been covered...but wasn't.

At the end of the event, there were a few scriptural readings in the church. I didn't care for the decor, architecture, and esoteric designs...but I didn't think this was a big deal. What I did care about was the lack of reverence that was shown in the church, in front of the tabernacle once the readings were over. Without making any acknowledgment about Christ's presence, people were awarded their certificates of completion. I think my fiance and I were probably the only people in the room who made any attempt to genuflect before the tabernacle as names were called and certificates handed out. It was all done with the same level of reverence you would have seen at a public school assembly for the physical fitness awards they handed out every year. I simply don't understand why they decided to give them out at that time and in that fashion.....especially when only an open door separated us from the room we had just been in... It simply felt wrong and inappropriate. I know that not everyone at Pre-Cana was Catholic and that not all Catholics practiced as I do...but very little effort was made to increase understanding about what marriage means from a Catholic perspective and what it means for us, as Catholics, to sit in a church where Christ is present in the tabernacle. 

I hate to sound like a complainer here...but I am still trying to come to terms with it all and really hope that you all end up having Pre-Cana experiences that are better than mine (and more reverent).

I think my fiance put it best. It's called Pre-Cana because of the miracle at Cana where Christ performed his first public miracle of turning water into wine in order to save a couple from the embarrassment of having come up short with regards to refreshment for their guests. If we remove Christ from this marriage in Cana, there would be no miracle and there would be no wine. The couple would come up short and the guests would leave without refreshment and, in a sense, nourishment. It we decide to marry in the Catholic church, but remove Christ from our own marriages, we will also come up short. We will also miss out on the nourishment and refreshment that he wishes to offer us if we open not just ourselves to him, but our marriages, our relationships, and our families as well.

Pax Vobiscum