Thursday, April 21, 2005


Here is a brief overview of RELATIVISM: THE CENTRAL PROBLEM FOR FAITH TODAY, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI

"Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave this address during the meeting of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with the presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops' Conferences of Latin America, held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in May 1996." -- EWTN library

Ratzinger began his speech:

"In the '80s, the theology of liberation in its radical forms seemed to be the most urgent challenge for the faith of the church. It was a challenge that required both a response and a clarification because it proposed a new, plausible and at the same time practical response to the fundamental question of Christianity: namely, the problem of redemption."

The Liberation Theologists, well-known Catholico-Marxist leaders of revolution in Latin America in the 1980s, used the term "Liberation" as being the equivalent of "Redemption", being freedom from poverty, oppression, and injustice. These sins must be overcome only by a radical change in power structures, and Marxist philosophy showed the way of change. Faith then became praxis, "concrete redeeming action" But, as Ratzinger says, "The fall of the European governmental systems based on Marxism turned out to be a kind of twilight of the gods for that theology of redeeming political praxis. Precisely in those places where the Marxist liberating ideology had been applied consistently, a radical lack of freedom had been produced, the horror of which now appeared out in the open before the eyes of world public opinion. The fact is that when politics want to bring redemption, they promise too much. When they presume to do God's work, they do not become divine but diabolical."

The fall of Communism in 1989 "brought a great disillusionment". Some thinkers, believing Communism the only scientific political system, now find themselves in the despair of nihilism and relativism.

Relativism is now the prevailing philosophy. "It is also presented as a position defined positively by the concepts of tolerance and knowledge through dialogue and freedom", but as Ratzinger says, these concepts "would be limited if the existence of one valid truth for all were affirmed."

However, Ratzinger says that it appears that relativism is the basis of Democracy. And he agrees, but only partially, in the sphere of politics -- Marxism being the error of absolutist thinking. Total relativism in politics cannot be achieved, because of potential injustice.

The application of relativism in religion and ethics is a mistake, but so-called pluralist theology has been developing since the 1950s. Ratzinger says that relativism, although an offshoot of Western philosophy, is connected with Asian philosophy and religion, especially in India. The theology of the American Presbyterian John Hick was originally Christological, but after a stay in India, thought that Christ was but a revitalization of an ideal form of a religious leader, while God cannot be comprehended. Any description of Christ as being binding and valid truth is called in this system "fundamentalism", and is a threat against the modern supreme goods of tolerance and freedom. This is the source of thinking which leads some to describe even Catholics as Fundamentalists -- belief in an absolute Good makes one Fundamental.

The notion of "dialogue", which comes from Platonic and Christian tradition, has its meaning changed by the relativists: "In the relativist meaning, 'to dialogue' means to put one's own position, i.e., one's faith, on the same level as the convictions of others without recognizing in principle more truth in it than that which is attributed to the opinion of the others. Only if I suppose in principle that the other can be as right, or more right than I, can an authentic dialogue take place." Dialogue now means an exchange where neither party promotes truth and instead recognizes the relativity of the other's arguments. This is very different than the Socratic dialogs of Plato, which were seeking after Truth, in a rational way. I suspect that modern "dialogue" is between two unbelievers who actually are not seeking truth, but instead are pushing a political agenda.

There is a "strange closeness" between modern European philosophy and negative Asian theology. Words cannot describe the Godhead and we can never understand. Religion is reduced to Kant's Categorical Imperative. Former priest Paul Knitter "tends to give religion a new concrete expression by joining the theology of pluralist religion with the theologies of liberation." His only ecumenical principle is: "the primacy of orthopraxis with regard to orthodoxy." This shows a Marxist emphasis.

Religions in India did not have an orthodoxy but an orthopraxis, that is, a set of rituals acts, not creeds, that distinguish believers. Orthopraxis is right acting. But the modern relativist meaning of orthopraxis means only right ethics or politics. Orthopraxis means politically correct, which is a Marxist term. Modern relativists can dress and worship anyway they please as long as they vote by a strictly party line.

Relativism and related theories are based on a rationalism that denies metaphysics, and is pragmatic with ethical and political overtones. But others, responding to relativism in a non-rational way make up the New Age movement. New Age "pretends to be totally attuned to all the results of science and to be based on all kinds of scientific knowledge (biology, psychology, sociology, physics). But on the basis of this presupposition it offers at the same time a considerably anti-rationalist model of religion, a modern "mystic": The Absolute is not to be believed, but to be experienced. God is not a person to be distinguished from the world, but a spiritual energy present in the universe. Religion means the harmony of myself with the cosmic whole, the overcoming of all separations."

"This is not only renouncing modernity but man himself. The gods return. They have become more believable than God. The primitive rites must be renewed in which the self is initiated into the mystery of the Whole and is liberated from itself."

Ratzinger explains the re-editing of pre-Christian religions being attempted today. Christianity is considered as something imported from the outside. This is not unexpected, since Christianity teaches of an external Creator God, separate from His Creation, and not a pagan god made up of pre-existing substance.

Democratizing and pragmatism in the Church is evidence of relativism. Either power must be gained by members of the church, and orthopraxis imposed, or the members do not believe: exactly the situation found in North America and Europe.

And consider the Liturgy:

"The other point on which I wished to draw your attention refers to the liturgy. The different phases of liturgical reform have let the opinion be introduced that the liturgy can be changed arbitrarily. From being something unchangeable, in any case, it is a question of the words of consecration; all the rest could be changed."

"The following thinking is logical: If a central authority can do this, why not a local one? And if the local ones can do this, why not the community itself? Community should be expressed and come together in the liturgy. Following the rationalist and puritanical tendency of the '70s and even the '80s, today there is weariness with the pure, spoken liturgy, and a living liturgy is sought which does not delay in coming closer to the New Age tendencies: What is inebriating and ecstatic is sought and not the logike latreia, the rationabilis oblatio about which Paul speaks and with him the Roman liturgy."

"I admit that I am exaggerating. What I am saying does not describe the normal situation of our communities. But the tendencies are there. For this reason, vigilance is required so that a Gospel will not be surreptitiously introduced to us—a stone instead of bread—different from the one that the Lord gave us."

Ratzinger has the following observations. Liberation theology attempted to give Christianity a new praxis, that is, politics, for a new worldly liberation. Marxism failed and left a hundred million corpses. Relativism is still with us but is empty. New Age now tells us to abandon Christ for Moloch and the other demon gods of antiquity.

Historical-critical analysis has left us mainly in doubt about the scriptures. But that same method is never, Never, NEVER used for New Age texts, but they claim scientific basis nevertheless. Many modern biblical exegetes share the same philosophy: that miracles, mysteries, and sacraments are superstition. They totally lack an open mind. New Age texts are given a free ride and never are subject to criticism of any kind.

In general, the historical-critical method attempts to show the Bible as a strictly historical document with no relevance to the present, and only "paralyze interpretation".

The major problem is that modern positivist philosophy, which bans metaphysical cognition, has led to a poor, atrophied faith.

Ratzinger was no fan of neo-Scholasticism, which attempted to reconstruct the Faith with pure reason. He says instead that we must "reject philosophy as the foundation of the faith independent from the faith", since "our faith would be based from the beginning to the end on the changing philosophical theories." Reason and philosophies must be informed by faith.

"If we consider the present cultural situation, about which I have tried to give some indications, frankly it must seem to be a miracle that there is still Christian faith despite everything, and not only in the surrogate forms of Hick, Knitter and others, but the complete, serene faith of the New Testament and of the church of all times."

"Why, in brief, does the faith still have a chance? I would say the following: because it is in harmony with what man is." Modern theories have a poor recognition of man, an inadequate philosophical anthropology.

"Only the God himself who became finite in order to open our finiteness and lead us to the breadth of his infiniteness responds to the question of our being."

"Our task is to serve the faith with a humble spirit and the whole strength of our heart and understanding."

Be steadfast in your duty.

Overview of Ratzinger's "Biblical Interpretation in Crisis"

Here is a brief overview of Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today, by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, a lecture delivered on 27 January 1988, at Saint Peter's Church, in New York, NY.

In this lecture Pope Benedict, when he was a Cardinal, comments on the Historical-Critical method of biblical exegesis, which has caused great divisiveness and doubt within Christendom. Here he starts the lecture:

"In Vladimir Soloviev's History of the Antichrist, the eschatological enemy of the Redeemer recommended himself to believers, among other things, by the fact that he had earned his doctorate in theology at Tübingen and had written an exegetical work which was recognized as pioneering in the field. The Antichrist, a famous exegete! With this paradox Soloviev sought to shed light on the ambivalence inherent in biblical exegetical methodology for almost a hundred years now. To speak of the crisis of the historical-critical method today is practically a truism. This, despite the fact that it had gotten off to so optimistic a start."

No doubt the Devil delights in modern biblical exegesis, which sows confusion instead of clarity.

Church doctrine or dogma was considered by Enlightenment minds as an impediment to understanding scripture. Science, not tradition, would be the guiding light in religion, and would, in their minds, reveal the true Jesus, and be truly objective. As Ratzinger explains, this new method initially had high aims and its practitioners were optimistic.

But things became confused. The practitioners of the scientific method, who like to dissect their subjects, were no longer reading scripture as an organic whole; they multiplied their theories, which ended up being inconsistent with each other. Another major flaw was that the scholars tended to look too intently at the human hand in the history and ignore God. To get around God, they hypothesized unknown original sources, and theorized that these pure sources were later edited into the current texts. Anyone who has heard of "Q", a hypothetical precursor to the synoptic Gospels, has seen this theory in action. Scholars then end up arguing about these hypothetical sources instead of the actual texts. As Ratzinger says: "finally they turn into a jungle of contradictions."

The reaction to this was Protestant Fundamentalism, which tries to read the Bible literally and normatively, but Ratzinger says there are problems with this method also.

He says that reading the Bible is more than just a historical autopsy. Alternative modernist and feminist exegesis do not even claim to have an understanding of the original textual intent. It is strange that these people would even be called scholars. However, the real message of these scholars is that the Bible's message is unknowable and meaningless for today's world, for they are not interested in truth but their own agenda. Too many reconstructions of the message of Jesus, done under some philosophical method, end up being merely a product of that philosophy. Also, the dissected Bible often ends up being stitched back together to form a Frankenstein monster of sorts.

Ratzinger says that a criticism of the Historical-Critical method itself is needed. Too much product of that method has the appearance of "a quasi-clinical-scientific certainty": just look at the results of the Jesus Seminar, which are presented by the media as fact. He say that the results of this method do not have the validity of the natural sciences, and the role of the scholar and his point of view needs to be considered. He calls this the "diachronic approach to exegetical findings".

"Liberal Theology" made many judgments about what was "historical" or "unhistorical"; later developments considered that everything written is mythology, even our current texts. Another theme was "discontinuity", everything is incoherent. Obviously there is huge room here for arbitrary choice and opinion. This is hardly science.

Another trend was the scholarly opposition of thesis and antithesis, not just between classes of persons, but even between classes of ideas. Some scholars try to show a Marxist struggle between oppressed Judaic thought and parasitic Hellenistic ideas. "With these presuppositions," Ratzinger says, "the picture of Jesus is determined in advance. Thus Jesus has to be conceived in strongly "Judaic" terms. Anything "Hellenistic" has to be removed from him. All apocalyptic, sacramental, mystical elements have to be pruned away. What remains is a strictly "eschatological" prophet, who really proclaims nothing of substance." How we got from there to here is a vast subject: scholars posit large numbers of "Jesus Communities", kind of like proto-Protestant denominations, which is in quite different from the Catholic understanding of the college of Apostles who labored mightily to keep all united. These scholars, using the scientific method, denied anything that was miraculous, or could not be explained by science, so here we have history being revised according to a philosophic system. We shouldn't forget that the scientific method itself is not provable and must be taken on faith. "At its core, the debate about modern exegesis is not a dispute among historians: it is rather a philosophical debate." And the current debate is very narrow, dismissing the exegesis of the Church Fathers as allegory and the philosophy of the Middle Ages as pre-critical.

"Modern exegesis, as we have seen, completely relegated God to the incomprehensible, the otherworldly and the inexpressible in order to be able to treat the biblical text itself as an entirely worldly reality according to natural-scientific methods." And this is contrary to the aim of scripture itself.

Ratzinger's suggestions are:

a) Recognize elements of philosophies and consider how they affect the results.
b) Recognize where errors have crept in, and particularly relativistic judgments.
c) Compare modern claims with the ancients.
d) What is helpful and what is not?
e) Bring in faith.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Some notes on Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger

Pope Benedict XVI says that he chose his name after Benedict XV, especially since he struggled for peace during the First World War.

Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyla were both from the liberal wing during the Second Vatican Council. Ratzinger preferred Augustine to Aquinas, and did not like neo-scholasticism. He did have a great interest in existentialism, and read Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and Spinoza. He also studied Jewish and Protestant biblical exegesis. His later writing shows influence from these sources. Ratzinger can fairly be called a Liberal, as that word would have been defined in the early 1960s: however, he is most certainly not a contemporary post-modern liberal, who takes skepticism, relativism, and sophism to extremes. Ratzinger does strongly support the idea of Truth, like old Liberals but unlike contemporary Liberals. Now the new Pope is considered an 'arch-conservative'.

Young Ratzinger loved the Greek and Latin classics, and read Goethe with delight.

He was the youngest of three children. His parents names were Mary and Joseph.

As a boy, Ratzinger was compelled to join the Hitler Youth, but did not participate. He was deferred from draft into the S.S. by seminary studies, and later went AWOL from the German Army. He was an American prisoner of war for about a month. His father was a staunch anti-Nazi and devout Catholic policeman.

Pope Benedict speaks numerous languages: French fluently, and also English, Spanish, Italian, and of course, German and Latin. He loves literature, and is an accomplished pianist, and enjoyed Mozart and Beethoven. He is said to be a very gentle, humble person and a tenacious intellectual. He is said to be also somewhat distant and cold, with less charisma than John Paul II, but he has a good sense of humor and gives heartfelt homilies.

Benedict XVI is the eighth German Pope, the third from the modern territory of Germany.

Ratzinger was made a Cardinal in 1977 by Pope Paul VI, one of the few Cardinal-electors who were not selected by Pope John Paul II.

The Pope's brother is a priest and choirmaster in Ravensburg.

Some Recent Speeches and Writings

Lecture given Saturday February 13, 1999 in the Chapel at St. Patrick's Seminary
The Theological Locus of Ecclesial Movements
Writings from
Guardini on Christ in Our Century
The End of Religion?
Crises of Law
Biblical Interpretation in Crisis: On the Question of the Foundations and Approaches of Exegesis Today
Homily of the Funeral Mass of Pope John Paul II
On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
On "The Many Faces of AIDS"
Declaration on Masonic Associations
Instruction on Certain Aspects of "Theology of Liberation"
Some texts by Card. Joseph Ratzinger (from the Vatican)
Articles in Communio by Cardinal Ratzinger
Books by Joseph Ratzinger
More books by Joseph Ratzinger


Long Live Pope Benedict XVI, Joseph Ratzinger. May God bless his Pontificate.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Modern German Malaise

From the BBC: Germany's new 'great depression'

" Record numbers of Germans are suffering from depression and other mental illnesses, a new report says."

This report states that this is due to the faltering economy. However, this is mainly in the West, not the East:

"In contrast, fewer people reported feeling low in Germany's eastern states, where jobs and security are increasingly scarce, but mental health treatment is rarer and some taboos still exist."

This report thought that is was very strange that in Berlin, "one of Europe's most vibrant modern cities", had the highest reports of depression, it being the number one reason why people miss work. Nationwide, physical problems predominate.

The report thinks that economic insecurity is the cause, although even the elderly (who have generous State benefits) also have this problem. Ultimately, they said the depression is due to the fear of being fired.

There is a direct, positive correlation between depression and economic prosperity. Poor societies are generally happier than rich ones. Depression and malaise increases in prosperous, wealthy, powerful capital cities like Berlin. Perhaps this is due to the stresses of wage labor and competition. And consider the old saying, "money cannot buy happiness". Perhaps the higher alcohol consumption in rich cities, overcrowding, or the promiscuity leading to high rates of social disruption and disease are factors.

But American Exceptionalism, as it often does, breaks the rule. The United States is both wealthy and has a lower rate of depression compared to Western and Northern Europe. But the USA also is much more religious than the wealthy parts of Europe. This report does not mention that the part of the country that was formerly East Germany has far higher church attendance than the former West Germany. The West is one of the most secular parts of the world, and has more depression. That modern malaise is nearly nonexistent in traditional societies that make religion an integral part of their daily lives, and is lessened even in a prosperous society, if it is a faithful society.

The Way of happiness, eternal happiness, is through the narrow gate.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Blessings for the Conclave

May God bless the Cardinals next week when they vote for a new Pope.

I must admit that I am worried about this conclave, but may God's will be done.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

More Help Wanted

I saw this Saint Louis job posting from Call to Action on

"Join a local church reform chapter and call Catholic Church leaders to be accountable to their people. Local chapters often bring in guest speakers, host alternative liturgies, stage protests, write letters to the media, bishops, parishes, and more. By getting behind-the-scenes in the movement, you’ll learn how to mobilize and inspire communities both locally and across the country."

Strangely, this job posting does not require that potential volunteers be Catholic, and even more strangely, this posting is sponsored by an out-of town organization that is clearly non-denominational.

Doesn't this sound like subversion?

Controversy in Clarksville

In the town of Clarksville, Missouri, there is a controversy as to whether a long-closed tourist attraction, built on an Indian burial mound, should be reopened. The Clarksville Skylift, a chair lift of the type normally seen on ski slopes, used to take visitors from the town next to the river, to the top of the bluff, offering stunning views of the river below; the top structure is built directly on a burial mound, and the graves are now being exposed due to erosion. The current owner wants to reopen the attraction, while the Sac and Fox Nation want the graves protected.

Clarksville is located 75 highway miles from downtown Saint Louis, in Pike County, on route 79 between Elsberry and Louisiana, Missouri. It is situated on the Mississippi River at the base of steep bluff called The Pinnacle, which towers more than 300 feet above the river. Federal Lock and Dam 24 is here also. Clarksville is near the mouth of Calumet Creek, named after the American French dialectical word for an Indian ceremonial pipe.

The Skylift closed in the 1990s due to safety concerns. According to a Hannibal Courier-Post article, neighbors were also concerned with dogs collecting bones from the site. Local business owners would like the Skylift reopened to help encourage the tourist trade, especially since many of the business owners are artisans who have set up shops in this spectacularly beautiful area, and depend on outsiders for sales. Some local political leaders, such as the current mayor, are more sympathetic with the concerns of the Indian tribes, although they are under pressure from potential lawsuits. It is a Class D felony in Missouri to disturb unmarked graves, and the Federal government has additional laws regarding Indian remains.

Some possible solutions to this problem are rebuilding the Skylift, ignoring the Indian claims; removing the Skylift and keeping the site as a cemetery; and third, removing the remains. Clearly, the first won't happen -- graves are there and the law won't allow it. The third solution would be the contemporary solution.

In our current Culture of Death, we both want the right to kill our unwanted children, elderly, depressed, and disabled, but we don't want any reminders -- or evidence -- of it. Moderns don't want to be reminded of death, which is so very far removed from the ancient Catholic practice of being in the presence of death daily. Cremation and scattering of the ashes is the most progressive manner of dealing with the dead, which leaves absolutely no evidence that a loved one is gone; no grave, no body, no monument, no relics, no reminders of mortality. That way we can live our lives without any unpleasant reminders. Perhaps, we think, our departed friend is just away on vacation. This is also the best way to run a concentration or re-education camp: leave no evidence of atrocities committed.

As a child, I used to fear the old churches, which had adjoining cemeteries, and especially the Catholic churches which had above-ground tombs or even exposed relics. As I matured, I gained an appreciation of these reminders of my own mortal existence. Now as a Catholic, I am joyful at the opportunity of being able to pray in the presence of relics of a Saint, and also to pray for the repose of the soul of the departed.

Our modern churches, even Catholic churches, are sanitized and have few reminders of our earthly fate. Cemeteries are no longer adjacent to the church, and altars are no longer icons of tombs, or even actual tombs, like the ancient altars of the catacombs.

So the Indian burial mounds are an unpleasant reminder of death and most would have them done away with or ignored. And progress is being impeded. Current practice for subdivision development is the removal of the old pioneer cemeteries, and recently a massive removal of graves was done next to the Lambert-Saint Louis airport. The cemeteries of downtown Saint Louis were removed after the Cholera epidemic of 1848-1849, for health reasons, but the modern removals are to avoid unpleasantness. We all will die sometime, but we don't want to be reminded of it.

Some Christians worry that giving the land back to the Indian Nations would be inviting unwanted heathen practices in their town. Heathen or not, however, all human remains are holy relics, remnants of a temple of the Holy Spirit made in the Image and Likeness of God, and deserve to be protected. I understand that the Skylift is in disrepair; perhaps a better site could be found for a new Skylift nearby?

Catholic missionary work with the Indians in the United States centered primarily along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, and was wildly successful, and even now half of American Indians are Catholic. This model of missions was successful because it worked with populations in their own environment, land, and culture, and didn't try to make the Indians just regular Americans nor did it try to change their way of life; moral standards, if not practice, among the heathen Indians were quite high and were not much different from the moral standards of Catholicism. This should not be surprising, since the Moral Law is written into the hearts of all men, of all nations. A Catholic missionary, helping Indians live up to their own moral code, did God's work, for many Indians, like Whites, were greedy and lustful, caused pain to their fellow countrymen, and did not follow the Universal Moral Law. And they knew it: most Indians of the Missouri River Valley were very happy to be visited by the Black Robes, or Jesuits. They hated the constant intertribal wars, adultery, drunkenness, and murder as much as anyone else, and Catholic missions worked against these evils. And Catholic Christianity has been well-received everywhere it has been preached, and the American frontier is no exception. Much Protestant missionary work did not succeed, since it too often was used by the Whites as a way of manipulating the Indians to go on reservations. Compare the U.S. experience with Latin America: in the South, the Catholic tribes remain where they always were, keeping their customs and lands, but now living up to their own moral code, in peace, and being a part of a larger whole: their country and the Universal Church. Of course, secular Latin American governments do not like this, and are attempting cultural genocide (and eliminating Catholicism while they are at it), by forcing people to move to the cities for wage labor.

Sadly, Progressive-minded Americans of the late 19th century saw the Indians as impediments to the expansion of the country and attempted to either eliminate or relocate the Indians. This is quite unlike the experience in Latin America. Not willing to coexist with them, they had them killed. I recall reading some accounts of the Army attacking villages while Mass was being said, with the priest being killed along with his flock. The typical Cavalry-versus-Indians war had as actors secular Americans fighting Catholic Indians. Scientifically-educated men of the 1880s knew that Indians were evolutionary behind Whites, and Darwinian Survival of the Fittest ensures, and may even morally demand, the elimination of weaker races. Catholicism was viewed as not being a progressive religion, since it dogmatically preached that all men are created equal, while ignoring scientific theories that proposed that some races are more highly evolved than others.

Clarksville is the home of Mary Queen of Peace Catholic mission, which holds Mass on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. Do not forget that this is still mission territory.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Illinois Governor Blagojevich Denies Pharmacists' Conscience

Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently filed an emergency order requiring pharmacies to issue prescription contraceptives, even if a pharmacist has moral opposition. Pharmacies are required by this order to either provide another pharmacist to fill the prescription or to fill the prescription with another pharmacy of the patient's choice.

According to the Governor: "Our regulation says that if a woman goes to a pharmacy with a prescription for birth control, the pharmacy or the pharmacist is not allowed to discriminate or to choose who he sells it to or who he doesn't sell it to, the pharmacy will be expected to accept that prescription and fill it. No delays. No hassles. No lectures."

No freedom of conscience, and no freedom of speech. If a pharmacist does not comply, he is guilty of discrimination, which is one way of saying that he is guilty of a hate crime. The pharmacist also cannot do his job, which may include checking for drug interactions, since he cannot choose who he sells it to. Note that he says "woman", although a man my be picking up the pills for his girlfriend, so perhaps he is trying to imply class conflict. And his tone is completely nonconciliatory, showing contempt.

A spokesman said that pharmacists have an obligation to provide women with good health care. How about men and children? And are businessmen obliged to do things against their conscience? And what if a pharmacist thinks that some contraceptives are bad for a patient's health? Or the health of possible children that the woman may unknowingly be carrying?

The Governor made this ruling when a pharmacist refused to provide so-called emergency contraception.

The New York Times says that this is “an intolerable abuse of power by pharmacists who have no business forcing their own moral or ethical views onto customers who may not share them...any pharmacists who cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed by a doctor should find another line of work.” So instead, the State will impose its moral and ethical views on the pharmacist, even if this is a violation of his freedom of religion, and the Times suggests that he should be forced out of his profession for ideological reasons.

The order is effective immediately, and lasts for 150 days, when the Governor will try to implement a permanent rule.

The Chicago Area Planned Parenthood is delighted with the ruling.

Four states have laws allowing freedom of conscience, while four other states have laws that prohibit this freedom.


Saturday, April 02, 2005

1978-2005 Ioannes Paulus P.P. II

Our Holy Father died today on the Vigil of the Divine Mercy.

May he rest in peace.

Do not be afraid...

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Life of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II

May 18, 1920 Karol Wojtyla born in Wadowice, Poland (a town near Krakow) to Karol Wojtyla, a retired army officer and tailor, and Emilia Kaczorowska Wojtyla, a school teacher
June 20, 1920 Karol is baptized
1926 Attends elementary school
1929 Mother dies of heart and kidney ailments
1930 Attends secondary school
1932 Brother Edmund dies of scarlet fever
1938 Confirmation. Enters Jagiellonian University to study philosophy and literature. He enjoyed acting, singing, and writing.
1939 Germany invades Poland
1940 Karol escapes Nazis by taking a job as a stone cutter
1941 Father dies
1942 Begins studies in a secret seminary
1944 Injured after being hit by an automobile. Karol escapes Nazis by moving to archbishop's residence
November 1, 1946 Karol ordained to the priesthood; spends next two years in graduate studies, Studies under the Dominican Garrigou-Lagrange in Rome
1948 Appointed assistant pastor; chaplin to university students
1951 Returns to his studies
1953 Wrote first doctoral thesis "Evaluation of the possibility of Constructing a Christian Ethic based on the System of Max Scheler"
1954 Communists shuts down theology department at university; joined faculty of the Catholic University of Lublin, which was the only Catholic university in the Communist bloc.
1956 Appointed to Chair of Ethics
September 28, 1958 Consecrated auxiliary bishop of Krakow
1960 Writes "Love and Responsibility", on sexual ethics
1962 Appointed acting bishop of Krakow. Attends the Second Vatican Council, Contributed to "Gaudium et spes"
1963 Visits the Holy Land. Named Metropolitan
January 13, 1964 Named Archbishop of Krakow
1967 Named a Cardinal
1969 Publishes "The Acting Person", a document on phenomenology
October 16th, 1978 Elected Pope after eight rounds of balloting. Takes the name John Paul II, after the previous Pope, John Paul I, who reigned for only 34 days.
1979 Visits Poland, Communist authorities were very worried. First Encyclical Redemptor hominis
1981 Mehmet Ali Agca attempts assassination of the Pope, who is hit with two bullets. Agca was working for the Bulgarians, at the request of the Soviet Union
1984 Diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the United States
1987 Donum vitae and Redemptoris Mater. Visited by Dimitrios, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
1988 Ecclesia Dei
1989 Restoration of diplomatic relations with Poland.
1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church
1994 Reaffirms the celebate male priesthood. Publishes "Crossing the Threshold of Hope"
1995 Evangelium vitae and Orientale lumen
1997 Visits Poland again
1998 Visits Cuba. Fides et ratio
1999 Pope visits Mexico and the United States, including Saint Louis, Missouri
2002 Rosarium Virginis Mariae
2004 Mane nobiscum Domine

Short Biography of Pope John Paul II