Category Archives: Recent News

PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT AGREES TO CONDOM DISTRIBUTION; CHALLENGES CATHOLIC CHURCH TO EXCOMMUNICATE HIM

The Philippine President, Benigno Aquino III, is backing a bill that would require the government to provide information on family planning methods, make contraceptives available free of charge and introduce reproductive health and sexuality classes in schools.

The President is also tempting the Church to excommunicate him:

President Benigno Aquino III, still widely popular a year after a landslide election victory, has backed artificial birth control and said last month he was ready to face the consequences and, if necessary, risk excommunication.

“I have been taught in school, which was a Catholic institution, that the final arbiter really is our conscience,” Mr Aquino told reporters yesterday.

Unfortunately for Mr. Aqunio, he did not listen very well in religion class.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1776-1802, summarizes the Catholic Church’s teaching about the Formation of Conscience.  Whereas Mr. Aquino is correct in asserting that the “person” is the final arbiter for the “person”, God always will have the final say whether our action/decision, was in accordance to His will.

Further, as  stated in CC1789, “One may never do evil so that good may result from it”.  Contraception is an evil on par with abortion.  The prevention of human life through barriers is not only destructive for human developement, but also to the relationship of husband and wife.  (Please see Pope Paul VI Humane Vitae)

Let us hope that the people of the Philippine’s have had a better Catholic education then their President.  Let’s further hope that politicians like Manny Pacquiao, will continue to fight against this bill and to further educate the people about the evils’ of contraception and the Culture of Death.

2010 Easter Earthquake in Mexicali

MIssion in Mexicali
As you probably know, a strong earthquake hit us at around at 3:40 p.m. on Easter Sunday, April 4.  The news is settling on 7.2 as its force and on six miles as its relatively shallow depth, but is still wavering on the epicenter as 15 to 30 miles south of Mexicali.  We immediately lost power, but I forgot to turn off my light and so was awakened when the power came on at round 4:40 a.m., April 5.  After the earthquake, I spent two hours putting books back into bookcases, mopping up water from filled plastic glass, and sweeping up the debris of broken statuary and decorative objects. Then I drove around the visiting parishioners.  I noticed no downed houses.  Many did not want to reenter their homes and so were outside in their front yards and in the streets.  They were visiting and so it looked festive.  But when I would stop, they were all worried and many said they had turned to God during the quake, whose strong shaking lasted a whole minute at least.  They also were expressing a conviction that God was reacting to our sins and warning us to turn back to him.  One non-church going family phoned me to come over and pray over them, and the 14 y/o boy said he would be going to Mass faithfully from now on.  I pray he does!
Here in our rectory, Fr. Joseph Barranger, who is an excellent cook, had prepared a delicious Easter Sunday meal for us.  Shortly after the dinner, the quake hit.  Fr. Joseph, who is from the East Coast and not an experienced seismic rider, got outside without delay.  The rest of us, used to the earth shaking, shrugged it off, but after 30 seconds of violent shaking and loud noise coming from the building, we also took off for the outdoors.  We stood swaying in our front yard looking at our house and at ourselves, wondering if the roof would collapse and if we were being shaken by the ground our just dizzy.  Yes, we were being bounced around both by the quake and then by strong, immediately following aftershocks, but the house stood firm.  The earth cracked open along various long lines in our yard in front of our car port and through its tiled floor.  The car port itself, which was attached to the house, separated from it slightly, and our hot water heater pulled out a few inches from the wall but its lines did not break.
Fathers David and Martin immediately left by car to inspect the three church in our parish and found some damage but the buildings themselves seem to still be sound.  People around the churches, including some husky, tattooed men who are not normally church-goers, had already rushed to help secure the buildings and clean up the debris.  There were wall cracks, some broken statues and windows, and the chairs that serve as pews were thrown in disorder.  The illuminated, Dominican cross high atop our main church, which is a well-known landmark and visible for a great distance, is askew.  Large cracks have appeared in the convent of the Dominican Sisters who are our collaborators here in our parish, and we await a professional evaluation as to the solidity of the structure.
Sadly, so far it is known that two people died in Mexicali and some were injured, but thank God our parish seems to have escaped such consequences.
The radio news is announcing that in Calexico, just south of the border from Mexicali, both the downtown and the border crossing to it have been closed, and that the whole small city has been declared a disaster area because most of the buildings and homes are pre-code, not retro-fitted, and so not built for so strong a quake.  Calexico’s population is 36,000, the same size as Benicia, CA, where we Dominicans have our oldest continuous parish west of the Mississippi.  Mexicali, on the other hand, is home to 1,500,000.  It is ironic that tiny, first-world Calexico, CA, USA, is being reported to have suffered more from the earthquake than much larger, third-world Mexicali, which was much closer to the epicenter.
Mexicali is in a seismic zone and expects eventually “a big one”.  The famous San Andreas Fault runs about 100 yards south of our rectory, right through the yard of the elementary school across the street from us.  Offer a prayer of thanks that this earthquake, despite its strength, has caused us Dominicans, Friars and Sisters, no bodily harm, and that our parishioners seem also to have remained personally safe.  The cost of the physical repairs remain to be seen, so pray for our benefactors upon whom we depend and who have been so faithful despite the troubled economy.
Allow me to apologize that the battery of my cell phone was down, and because of the power outage, and because I do not have a car charger, I could not recharge the phone to call anyone on the situation here.
What is amazing to me is that the recent earthquake that devastated the entire country of Haiti is reported at 7.0 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Haiti_earthquake), whereas our quake yesterday was 7.2.  It is a miracle eliciting much gratitude to God that we in Mexicali got off so easy.
One radio station in Mexicali, 101.9 FM, resorted to car batteries and was the only station on the air after the quake.  I was listening to it as I drove around checking on parishioners.  The mayor declared all schools closed for today, Monday, asked all mothers who leave their children at child care centers to stay at home and not go to work, and asked the factories, who are the biggest single employers in Mexicali and are mean, to please be humane about their employees.  Good luck!  He also said the city’s emergency vehicles were running out of gasoline and that they were looking for the director of the government-monopoly gas stations to open them up to the emergency vehicles, but that the director lived in Tijuana and they as yet could not locate him.  As of now, Easter Monday, 7:50 a.m., only one gas station is reported to be open- far from our parish;  with another perhaps open nearby. Last night 101.9 FM reported that a large water main had broken and the flooding was undermining homes on a cliff so had to be turned off.  That may explain why we still do not have running water even though our power is back.  Happily as soon as my helping put our house in order I was inspired to go get 15 gallons of drinking water.  A friend who runs a water station was still open, was almost out of the important liquid, but not yet drained.  I am going to wash up now with a kitchen-pot full of drinking water.  We also have to bless the person who invented hand sanitizer.
A 17 y/o girl parishioner just called on my now recharged cell phone to tell me that at the quake a cousin of hers fainted and in helping her she sprained or broke an ankle.  I presume such reports will now begin to trickle in.
Oops, there goes another strong and long-lasting aftershock!  Scary!  Do remember us in your prayers!
—————Peace and Faith.
Fr. Bartholomew de la Torre , O.P.
Western Dominican Mission, Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico

Self-Flagellation: What is Wrong with this Practice?

Blessed Henry Suso

Some Filipino Bishops have made public announcements against the practice of self-flagellation, especially during Holy Week, when the practice is very common in their country.

It seems from the article, that their biggest problem with the practice of self-flagellation is that it  “expresses superstitious beliefs and are usually done out of the need for money and for tourism purposes which is totally wrong.”

As far as self-flagellation done for tourism and money-making, I think everyone would be in agreement that if that were done for those reasons, it would always be wrong.  Again, if self-flagellation were done for superstitious beliefs, I think we all could agree, that would be wrong as well.

However, what if someone was self-flagellating for none of those reasons, but was doing it for a legitimate penitential motive?  Would it be wrong in that case?  How about Blessed Henry Suso?  Or the other great saints throughout the history of the Church.  Were they somehow “sinful” for self-flagellation?  If it was proper for saints in the past to practice self-flagellation, why is it wrong now?

I might add that it has recently been reported that Pope John Paul II practice self-flagellation as well.  I think that obviously, self-flagellation would not be for everyone, and could only be done under strict guidelines from a respected spiritual advisor.  But given those conditions, I believe that if the history of our Church is filled with saints who used this practice to enhance their spiritual life, it cannot be a practice that is no longer “needed” or somehow we have “outgrown”.

40 Days for Life September 23-November 1

Good afternoon my brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re closing in on 3 weeks prior to another 40 days for life prayer vigil. 40 Day’s for Life is a peaceful, prayerful witness to the sanctity of human life. As faithful servants to our Lord Jesus Christ, we must make a public protest against the encroaching culture of death that so thoroughly corrupts our society. Please join me in offering one hour per week in a prayful witness at the Planned Parenthood abortion mill at 990 Broadway in Vallejo. The vigil will go 24 hours for 40 days beginning September 23rd and ending on November 1st. I am actually responsible for filling the hours on Tuesday’s throughout the vigil. If you can choose an hour on Tuesday’s that would be most helpful, but of coarse any day that best suits your schedule is fine. I will be calling all of you in the next week to see if you can help. Please prayfully consider this opportunity to truly live out Christ’s call for us to be light to the World and salt to the Earth. God bless you and thank you for considering making a sacrifice for the pro-life movement in our community.

Sincerely,

Tony Hensley

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Documentary to examine Blood Money motive in abortion industry

Documentary to examine Blood Money motive in abortion industry

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Planned Parenthood’s Crazy Notion of Women’s Universal Healthcare

The President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, blasts the U.S. Bishops for wanting universal healthcare that does not include abortion.  Why is she surprised by the U.S. Bishops action?  What did she expect them to “okay” abortion in this instance because universal healthcare is so important?

Cecile Richards
Cecile Richards

No.  Ms. Richards is just another anti-Catholic in a long line of anti-Catholics and worse, i.e. Margaret Sanger, who head Planned Parenthood, who attempt to use twisted logic and twisted, macabre examples, to not only bash the Catholic hierarchy, but also to push her sick and bizarre notion of “woman’s healthcare”.  The notion that woman’s healthcare include services and devices that are “harmful” to all women, is something straight out of some wacky sci-fi novel where in the future, citizens are brainwashed into thinking that bad things are good for them, and good things are bad for them, all for the benefit and glory of one illustrious, ego centric dictator.  Sound familiar?

Ms. Richards uses the same old tired rhetoric in attempting to make the U.S. Bishops Conference into hairy armed cavemen when she states, “Their hard-line opposition to women’s rights also endangers millions of women around the globe — where women also need universal health care access. The effort to criminalize access to safe abortion endangers most women in the developing world — the very women that you would think the bishops would be concerned about.”

It is not enough for Ms. Richards that over 40 million Americans have been legally murdered in America since 1973, nor is it enough that this “healthcare” for women has raped this country of precious souls, that Ms. Richards wants and desires that U.S. taxpayer money go to other lands so the murder and rape can continue in foreign lands.  Who is the true barbarian?

Ms. Richards continues on that over 68,000 women across the world die each year from abortion.  But of course, the Catholic Church is to blame because we do not support artificial contraception.  “The root cause of unsafe abortion is unintended pregnancy, a result of the lack of affordable and accessible contraception for women. The correlation between higher contraceptive use and lower maternal mortality is well established.”

Sorry Ms. Richards.  The root cause of unsafe abortion is:  the ABORTION!  68,000 women die annually because of abortions, not from continuing their pregnancy to full term.  Ms. Richards answer for this is to have more accessible contraception for women.  The facts are that in countries where condoms and  the pill are prevalent, sexual intercourse increases, which increases the risk for pregancy and for sexually transmitted diseases.

The fact of the matter is the U.S. Bishops Conference needs to do more in standing up and supporting the Church’s position on human sexuality.  They need, along with the laity, to speak up that abortion is murder; that artificial contraception is not the answer for women’s healthcare, and that condoms are not an effective, nor desirable means to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The road Ms. Richards wants the U.S. to go down, has been trod before.  It is the road we are currently on since 1973, when abortion was legalized.  It is the road that Pope Paul VI warned about it in 1967 in Humanae Vitae, that abortion and contraception dehumanize women and places them as objects for mens sexual gratification, rather than as a loving partner between a husband and wife who are seeking to express their love for another through the sexual embrace.

It is obvious to anyone who wants to listen that the Catholic Church has been in the forefront of articulating the proper human sexuality (see Pope John Paul II and his Theology of the Body) and what true universal healthcare for everyone is all about.  The U.S. Bishops are on the right track, but much more is needed to be done if we are going to overthrow our current culture of death.