Lying: Another Tragedy for Abortion

At this point, we have no idea whether the series of videos created by the Center for Medical Progress depicting horrific crimes against humanity will take hold of the American public and effect real, positive, meaningful change in the area of respecting the dignity of the human person.

The videos are gruesome. I haven’t seen them all. I have to build up the courage to watch. I’m at least three behind. The people in the videos have sold their souls. They are in the grip of the Evil One. What occurs in these houses of death is nothing less than Diabolical.

And yet, what could topple the whole effort and send the Pro-Life movement back a full generation is the very thing that generated such damning evidence in the first place: LYING.

Lying. Lying is the thing that, from a legal (and arguably moral) standpoint, renders evidence the fruit of the poisonous tree. A witness who testifies in court swears an oath, frequently with his hand upon a Bible. A witness who can be proven to have lied while under oath, is guilty of a felonious crime — perjury. A person who lies violates the Eighth Commandment of God, and (assuming the lie concerns grave matter)  also commits a mortal sin, which entirely ruptures his communion with God.

In other words, lying is a BIG DEAL, such that a failure in honesty is a failure in Christian virtue. We are obliged not to lie. There are a number of good earnest discussions concerning the nuances and approaches to the Catholic framework regarding honesty, but using consequentialism (roughly, the ends justify the means) to justify lying is not a convincing justification for it. We cannot rationally claim that intending to stop one moral evil justifies the commission of another moral evil, because that is simply not Catholic teaching.

There is no greater consequence to lying than the damage it causes in connection with our communion with God, and susceptibility to evil, but lying also frequently carries the burden of serious “real world” effects, and this is where it becomes tragic for the fight against abortion.

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 5.54.06 PMRecently Congress sent a letter to Planned Parenthood. It requested information concerning Planned Parenthood’s activities with respect to the sale of fetal tissue. Today Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards signed Planned Parenthood’s Response, which devotes four of ten of the substantive pages of the letter to detailing the activities of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress.

I’m not going to assume that any of Planned Parenthood’s claims about Mr. Daleiden or CMP have merit, which I do assume are distorted like the rest of the letter. But based upon what we know (from far more reliable sources than Planned Parenthood), the video footage obtained by the Center for Medical Progress was obtained by lying, which makes the moral high ground a fairly amorphous place. Because of lying, Planned Parenthood (with as straight a face as it can must) now asks Congress for sympathy, because it has been made a victim:

I respectfully ask that you put yourselves in our place. Imagine if a group of individuals tried for several years to secretly film your offices, obtaining fraudulent identification to gain access to restricted areas, creating a fictitious company to deceive your staff, and misleading the IRS in an application for nonprofit status. Imagine if they released selectively edited videos of excerpted and manipulated conversations involving your staff aimed at creating the worst impression possible. And imagine if they edited the videos so context was lost, exculpatory statements were omitted, and statements were stitched together out of sequence to create a fraudulent impression.

That’s exactly what has happened to Planned Parenthood. And in our case, four congressional committees have launched investigations into our conduct – and none are investigating the person behind this fraud.

This is a problem. Every time we share these videos or tell our friends and family about them, we tacitly excuse the fact that deceit produced them. And I’m not sure I can do that.

St. Peter’s in the Loop, Chicago, Illinois

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The geography of Chicago is anchored by Lake Michigan on the east. Pioneer urban planner Daniel Burnham conceived a city with an entirely open lakefront, and so Chicago has miles and miles of beaches backed by the tall shoulders of buildings, which cast their shadows onto the water as the sun sets every evening.

IMG_2061A few blocks inland, megalithic towers create narrow canyons and form the center of the city, known as “the Loop”. The Loop is the aggregated ring and central hub of elevated rail lines (the “El”) leading into the city like spokes on a wheel — the Red line running generally north-south; the Green running from Hyde Park in the south to the Loop and then due West out to Oak Park; the Orange to Midway; the Blue to O’Hare; the Brown to Lincoln Park.

If you are “in the Loop”, you are in the geographical (and economic) center of Chicago. And, the only Catholic Church “in the Loop” is not the famous Holy Name Cathedral, nor historically Irish Old St. Pat’s, nor St. Michael’s in Old Town, nor Our Lady of the Angels (mercifully preserved by Opus Dei), nor the EF-pioneering St. John Cantius, but only St. Peter’s in Loop, one of the most interesting and beautiful churches in Chicago, if not the United States.

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Apart from the stained glass adorning its south-facing facade behind the massive rose marble crucifix overlooking Madison Street, St. Peter’s is a windowless edifice, sandwiched between two taller buildings on its east and west. In place of windows, the designers of this building installed sort of false-frame shadowboxes, within which you find a series of scenes sculpted in white marble — primarily depicting moments from the life of St. Francis of Assisi (a relic of whom is housed in a side alcove) — illuminated from behind. These scenes are captivating and unusual, bright and yet monochrome.

Marble

IMG_2057The church also houses a fine reproduction of Michaelangelo’s Pieta, as well as a statute of St. Anthony of Padua and child Jesus (and a reliquary housing relics of the Saint), and rows of confessionals. Staffed by Franciscans, St. Peter’s in the Loop offers confession Monday through Saturday, all day, and seven masses every weekday. It is refreshing and lovely to see people attending mass during their lunch hours, or visiting the church to go to confession before or after work.

On the level below the church is a well-appointed book store offering a wide array of goods. During my last visit, I noticed a lot of sale items and markdowns on prices that were fairly reasonable even before being discounted. It would be a great place for the traveling Catholic to stop and purchase gifts or souvenirs for loved ones, with the added bonus of having the strong likelihood that you might stumble upon a Franciscan to oblige you by blessing your items.

IMG_2058When I lived and worked in Chicago, I found St. Peter’s to be a wonderful comfort, because I could stop there on my way to or from the courthouse for a few moments of prayer. Out on the street, hundreds and people pass by every few minutes, the sounds of traffic (and, in the summer, road construction) are blaring, but as soon as the multi-ton bronze doors close behind you, the cool air of stone and incense pass over you, and suddenly the sacred is in sight.

In your pilgrimages, St. Peter’s in Loop is a worthy place to visit while in Chicago.

A Week Ago We Went to the Pacific Ocean…..

And all I caught was a terrific summer cold. My immune system is still in combat mode. But that’s life. A cold is a great reminder of our tremendous olfactory faculties.

It was a great trip to this same campsite on the Northern California coast where I’ve been going for nearly 30 years. We were blessed to have Fr. A with us for one night. We enjoyed some great beer, and as a slight alternative to traditional camping cuisine, the first night I made New England Clam Chowder, with fresh clams, and sourdough bread, which is a big favorite in our family.

Proper Quartermaster Provisioning

Proper Quartermaster Provisioning

The Hike

The Hike

The Vista

The Vista

"Beach Art" - Unknown

“Beach Art” – Unknown

Tidepools

Tidepools

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Preparations under way for Holy Mass

Preparations under way for Holy Mass

Huzzah to Bishop-Elect Robert Barron…..

The only downside to his appointment as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the vacancy created at Mundelein Seminary. Bishop-elect Barron is one of the very few “celebrity” priests who I really, tremendously admire. His video series, Catholicism, is one of the masterpieces of the New Evangelization. He will be (I expect) a Courageous Bishop. Pray for him!

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In Case You’ve Been Hiding Under a Rock…..

Planned Parenthood must be reeling over the “investigative videos” from the Center for Medical Progress that show two of their abortionist admins engaged in the trade of human body parts. If you could stream closed-circuit video from the security cameras of Hell itself,  you’d likely find a lot of stuff less depraved that this.

But for the record, by posting this I do not condone or accept the dishonesty involved in procuring this footage. Lying has consequences, even when it is employed to achieve certain laudable ends. Only time will tell the consequences here, but you can bet that Planned Parenthood won’t let it be forgotten; in fact, it’s the only defense they have. A fruit of the poisonous tree.

Regarding truth-telling, the Eighth Commandments forbids “bearing false witness”. Speaking affirmatively, we as Catholics are called to bear witness to the Truth, and the Church teaches that “In Jesus Christ, the whole of God’s truth has been made manifest. ‘Full of grace and truth,’ he came as the ‘light of the world,’ he is the Truth.” (CCC 2466).

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Review: BaoFeng UV-5R+

I read somewhere that the Chinese government started electronics company BaoFeng to sell radios and electronics at prices at or near cost solely to disrupt sales for Japanese makers.

51VC0e3tGjLI’ve had the BaoFeng UV-5R+ for a couple of years now, and while I’ve fiddled with it a bit, I’ve never had occasion to really use it for anything. I just added it to my modest collection of items for when/if the SHTF.

This weekend we went camping, and the boys have a pair of inexpensive MidLand radios, with 21 channels. But the BaoFeng doesn’t do just walkie bands, it also does shortwave (you can even connect a more powerful antenna) and FM bands, and the menu system (while a bit clunky now that we’re all accustomed to using smart phones) offers a wide array of options and features. I’ve used it to scan LEO/fire/emergency bands, and I’ve managed to tune some shortwave frequencies too.

I googled the manual for the boys’ Midland radios so I could tune the frequencies for the channels, and voila, my BaoFeng is a glorified walkie talkie, with better range and reception. Mrs. Q took the kids down to the beach, while we’re a mile or two up the shore fishing, and we’re still in touch. The rechargeable battery lasted the entire weekend without a charge, and the radio includes an LED lamp (solid, or blinking) that provided another light source for getting around in the dark.

The boys loved using call signs and talking in code, and since we also had to take two cars to schlep all of our stuff (and the two dogs) it was great to communicate back and forth and coordinate things like bathroom stops.

Overall, it’s a well-built, sturdy little unit, and a bargain at the current price. My grandfather was a career radio operator for the selective service, and I loved going into his radio room and playing with his CB. I was lucky, because no other grandkids got to even sit down there. He would never have believed that the day would come that a person could purchase a digital shortwave TRANSMITTER for less than $31 from a Chinese company.

I still remember the way it smelled when his radio equipment was warm and running, with the dust and hot vacuum tubes. I was never allowed to touch the HAM stuff, but I loved watching him get on the radio and rattle of callsigns and tap out Morse code faster than the Western Union. Remember the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars? Those radio transmissions sounded eerily similar to what would come through on his radios, with the slightly strident vocal distortion. The sound engineer for LucasFilm must have run the dialogue through a HAM radio. 

I can imagine that with a few UV-5R+’s (or similar, there are a range of different units) in our community, we’d have a backup method for communicating if phone/cell networks ever go down.

Leaders of this Age: Where are your Successors? And Finally, who cares?

Christian Martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

Christian Martyrs of Rome, pray for us.

The Catholic Church is on the wrong side of History. Those who remain under her shelter are Obstinate Fools, who prefer their Hate to the promises of the Age.

This narrative — along with evermore strident charges of bigotry ennobled by the mantle of constitutionality — is widely expected to deliver the silence of remaining dissent, or at the very least a new calm to the “marketplace of ideas”.

The Crucifix, along with the triregnum and crossed keys, are nothing more than anachronistic flags of another (hateful, hypocritical) confederacy. It is promised that whatever follows is so that all this hate can be swallowed up by rainbows. Then (and only then) will true peace prevail.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

St. Stephen, pray for us.

It matters not, say the benevolent, that never before in the history of human civilization has there been a definition for marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Take note: it is entirely possible, simple fools, to recast objective and fundamental reality. In fact, this is required so that #LoveWins.

Can we be very surprised by any of this? After all, it was Pontius Pilate who asked Jesus, “What is Truth?” and by this expression he showed himself to be a partaker in the same invincible ignorance suffered today. It was Pilate who first personified the notion that Truth is fungible, unascertainable, or relative.

Aggravating such ignorance is that the Question is never in earnest, but rather (mostly) rhetorical, offered as terms of surrender to one’s fallen nature. It is almost as though the worst offenders know their own idiocy, but are already too burned (or burdened) by acedia to do anything other than submit to the demands of the crowd. We might even feel justified in righteous indignation — because it is all so dumb, but that too is part of the Mystery of the freedom God gives us.

Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Barbara and Cecilia, pray for us!

Sts. Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Barbara and Cecilia, pray for us!

Do not be tempted to forget that the Word is yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our Lord says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for my sake” — He is, at this moment in history, speaking to us. Do not discount the supreme Gift of such a blessing! Rich is the reward for those blessed by the Lord!

In Fr. Robert Barron’s book Catholicism, he quotes the late Francis Cardinal George concerning the appearance of the cardinals on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica in April of 2005 following the announcement of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. According to Barron, “the news cameras caught the remarkably pensive expression on the face” of Cardinal George, and when reporters asked him later what he was thinking, George responded:

“I was gazing over toward the Circus Maximus, toward the Palatine Hill where the Roman Emperors once resided and reigned and looked down upon the persecution of Christians, and I thought, ‘Where are their successors? Where is the successor of Caesar Augustus? Where is the successor of Marcus Aurelius? And finally, who cares? But if you want to see the successor of Peter, he is right next to me, smiling and waving at the crowds.’ “

St. Sebastian, pray for us.

St. Sebastian, pray for us.

Joyfully walking with Jesus means that we can follow the Cardinal’s example and accept that many will call us bigots, and worse. They will tell us we hate whilst spewing their own invective. Spit on our priests. Troll our blogs. Vandalize our churches. Disrupt our liturgies. Remove us from secular public life. We can and must love those who do these things. We can and must forgive them as Jesus forgives us. Everything to follow has already happened countless times before — and He told us not to worry about it. 

Meanwhile, to the Leaders of this Age, where are your successors, and finally, who cares?

Quartermaster of the Barque turned 2 Years Old Yesterday…..

14586634820_151eda79f3_oAnd I missed it! What was I doing, and how did I forget?

Thank you for your readership! In the past two years, there have been 688 posts (not including this one), nearly 300,000 individual visitors and we’re approaching a half million page views. By hits, the all-time most popular post remains this one.

Articles from Quartermaster of the Barque have appeared in National Catholic RegisterNewAdvent.org, BigPulpit.com, Pewsitter.com, CatholicCrossing.com, Aleteia.org, SpiritDaily.com, Spirit-Digest.com, and others. Thank you to the individuals who devote countless hours to maintaining those sites, which truly are a great gift to all of us.

Also a big thanks to Mark Shea (Catholic and Enjoying It!) for letting me shill for Quartermaster of the Barque, over and over and over and again and over and again and again and again. In the high-stakes dog-eat-dog world of Catholic blogging, he’s a generous guy to let others ride on his coattails, especially because writing, blogging and speaking is how he makes his living, meaning that when Mark is sharing his platform, he’s also sharing his daily bread.

To honor the “auspicious occasion”, I re-post the first blog on Quartermaster of the Barque, concerning the SCOTUS decision in United States v. Windsor, which overturned DOMA. It remains timely.


Regarding the SCOTUS Decisions on Gay Marriage (originally posted June 29, 2015)

Marriage has fallen, and with it, we see the near end of Christendom. Christians shouldn’t blame gay people for redefining marriage. The redefinition began long before the idea of “gay marriage” ever took hold. It didn’t happen just this week, or last month, or last year, or even a decade ago. It happened (inter alia):
  1. When Christians embraced no-fault divorce.
  2. At the seventh Lambeth Conference when artificial contraceptives were approved by the Anglican communion under certain circumstances.
  3. When Christians embraced Griswold v. Connecticut.
  4. When pro-life Christians fell into consequentialism and supported abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is at risk.
  5. Whenever Christians made use of IVF, had a selective abortion, or supported embryonic stem cell research.
  6. Every time a Christian engaged in sexual activity outside marriage.
  7. Every time a Christian remarried after divorce.
  8. Every time a Christian used artificial contraception.

Christians who oppose the redefinition of marriage MUST stop with the focus on labels, and strategy, and “winning the war”. We’ve lost. It’s over.

What’s the difference between a contracepting, divorced and remarried straight couple and a SSA “married” couple? Almost nothing. [6/30/15 NOTE: By “almost nothing”, I mean that the principal difference is simply that same-sex activity is contrary to nature and the Natural Law. Therefore, qualitatively speaking, there is a difference. The “almost nothing” does matter, but it does not (IMO) justify discriminating in a particular way against SSA individuals]. The fact that one sin is more visible than another is not a valid basis for keeping the focus on the visible sin while ignoring the other less visible (and potentially personal) sins. Upping the harsh rhetoric makes ignoring this fact easier than admitting the actual reason for the failure. If we feel comfortable condemning same-sex marriage but we would not tell a friend or family member that it’s wrong to get married for a third time, then we need to shut up. It’s hypocrisy and it’s killing our “message”.

It’s time to save our souls by living as Christians, loving one another, caring for the least of these, speaking the truth in charity when prompted by the Holy Spirit. It’s time to actually live marriage so that our words match our examples. It’s time to stop expecting the civil law to privilege a concept that we fail to uphold in our own actions. The expectation that we should have it both ways is part of what has led to this failure.

My prayer is not to be the guy who tells people that gay marriage is wrong, but to be the father and husband who — by his hospitality and love — shows people what marriage actually is. If we can’t give them an example, we might as well describe color to the blind.

A Round-Up of Articles I’ve been Meaning to Blog About

Things have been a little extra frenetic lately, and I haven’t had a chance to cover some of these items that I found of interest:

Apple’s co-founder: We’re all going to be robots’ pets one day – From Fortune Magazine. Somehow, the Woz isn’t too worried about it.

Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox head ‘getting closer’ – From The Independent (UK). For a millennia-long schism, “getting closer” could still mean decades (or centuries) before actual movement.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 1.11.41 PMSpaceships That Could Eat Star Destroyers for Breakfast – From Slate.com; someone took every sci-fi ship from every television and movie series and drew them to scale in one giant diagram. So you can see how the various incarnations of the U.S.S. Enterprise would look in a confrontation against say, the Battlestar Galactica.

From Shea’s Blog, The Prophet GKC on the Culture of Polymorphous Perversity – In case you were thinking that there is something novel or surprising about recent events:

“THE next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back… The roots of the new heresy, God knows, are as deep as nature itself, whose flower is the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and the pride of life. I say that the man who cannot see this cannot see the signs of the times; cannot see even the skysigns in the street that are the new sort of signs in heaven. The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow but much more in Manhattan — but most of what was in Broadway is already in Piccadilly.” ~G.K. Chesterton: “G.K.’s Weekly,” June 19, 1926.