Saturday, October 14, 2006

Dan England "What is the Value of a Hamster?"

Coming across a title with a reference to Terri Schiavo that says What is the Value of a Hamster set me on edge, not knowing what that author was going to say. I read too many horrible 'essays' on that order that are not worth my time. But this one, even while reading it, kept me wondering until nearly the end what his point was.

God bless you, Dan England. The story he is referring to in his title is below. Sad to say, this is in Wisconsin.

Woman Arrested For Hamster Neglect

POSTED: 7:40 am EDT October 2, 2006
UPDATED: 7:45 am EDT October 2, 2006
Police arrested a woman for neglecting hamsters at her home after her roommate called authorities, police said Sunday. Sgt. Rick Larson said police arrested the 23-year-old on 39 counts each of two charges: failing to provide food and drink and failing to provide proper shelter to animals. The Rock County Humane Society removed 33 live and six dead hamsters. The woman was already is facing charges of failing to provide shelter and food to a Great Dane removed from her home in August.

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‘A great blessing’ – Student with Down syndrome inspires school

Another blessing. Another Child of God allowed to live. Another lesson for mankind, but more important, another human being who deserves to live to the best of his ability simply because he was conceived. God has plans for him, and for each of us. Every one of us.

Until HE calls us Home.

God bless!

TEACHER WORKS WITH STUDENT WHO HAS DOWN SYNDROME - Mike Gittings, a geometry teacher at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore, Md., helps Ben Stevick with a geometry problem in late September. Ben, a 17-year-old sophomore, is the first student with Down syndrome to enroll in a Catholic high school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. (CNS/Catholic Review)

‘A great blessing’ – Student with Down syndrome inspires school

By George P. Matysek Jr.

The Catholic Review

BALTIMORE, Md. (The Catholic Review) – Standing at his locker in a hallway at Mount St. Joseph High School here, Ben Stevick attracted the kind of attention that might otherwise be reserved for a quarterback on game day.

Just about every guy who passed through the bustling corridor seemed to call out to the short-in-stature, 17-year-old sophomore, many of them patting him on the shoulder and one playfully punching him on the arm and yelling, “Yo, Ben, my man, what’s up!”

The conversation soon turned to that perennial topic at an all-boys school: girls.

“You ready for the dance tonight?” a student asked.

With a big smile that seemed to engulf his entire face – exposing metal braces on his teeth, Ben nodded. It would be his first dance, and he had been practicing his moves.

“Is Theresa going to be there?” he asked haltingly, adjusting a pair of wire-rimmed glasses. The other guys returned the smile and assured their sandy-haired friend that his crush would be there, along with plenty of other girls.

The Friday afternoon scene at Mount St. Joseph from late September could have played out in any high school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. What made it extraordinary is the fact that Ben has Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation.

Ben is the first student with Down syndrome to enroll in a Catholic high school in the archdiocese. His presence at Mount St. Joseph has changed Ben in significant ways and touched many hearts in the high school community.

There was never any doubt in Ben’s mind about where he wanted to go to high school. Matt, his older brother, had attended Mount St. Joseph, and Ben was impressed by his big brother’s experience.

Ben had attended St. Mary of the Mills School in Laurel, Md., in the Archdiocese of Washington, and since some of his friends there planned to attend the Xaverian school up north in Baltimore, there was added incentive to apply to Mount St. Joseph. When Dick and Doris Stevick approached Barry Fitzpatrick, principal, about enrolling their son, Fitzpatrick prayed about it before agreeing to the historic arrangement last year.

Cheryl Hall, a special education teacher who had worked with Ben at St. Mary, serves as Ben’s personal tutor who accompanies him to classes.

Ben takes the same academic courses as his buddies, but they are adapted to his skill level by Hall. The teachers sometimes work with him one-on-one after class, and Ben also completes a work study – stocking shelves, assisting in the gymnasium and doing other tasks that will help prepare him for later employment.

In three more years, Ben won’t receive a diploma when he graduates, but he will get a certificate of attendance.

“In just one year, his academic skill level has already far surpassed what we thought he was capable of,” said Hall, noting that Ben’s intelligence level tests at about late second grade or early third grade.

While Ben’s speech remains difficult to understand, it has improved greatly over the last 14 months, Hall said. She credits that to the fact that Ben is daily exposed to conversations from other students, and he’s better able to model his own speech after what he hears.

If Ben had not been accepted into Mount St. Joseph, Hall said he would have enrolled in a self-contained public school program for children with special needs. While he probably would have learned practical skills there, Ben would not have been challenged academically in the way he has at Mount St. Joseph, she said.

“We don’t want to put limits on kids like Ben,” Ms. Hall said. “We need to push them and see how much they can do.”

In a recent history course, Ben sat near the front of the class and studiously highlighted sentences in his textbook that his teacher said were important. When it was his turn, he read aloud a paragraph about indulgences and how they helped spark the Protestant Reformation. While the other boys couldn’t understand every word Ben said, there was no smirking as he plodded through the passage at a careful pace.

Brother James Kelly, president of the school, said it’s “a testament to the caliber of our students” that Ben has been warmly embraced. No one has ever picked on Ben. Students have instead gone out of their way to help him, he said.

“I think he inspires them,” said Brother James, noting that Mount St. Joseph is the first Xaverian school in the country to accept a child with Down syndrome.

“They see him working hard and struggling to learn while some of the others can be lazy at times,” he said. “He’s a great blessing to our community.”

Brian Abbo, a 15-year-old classmate and Ben’s best friend, said students feel close to Ben because he is a genuine and caring person.

“With Ben, you can’t get mad,” said Abbo. “He never does anything to hurt you. He’s not going to judge you. He considers everyone his friend.”

The biggest challenge to enrolling students like Ben is the financial cost, according to Brother Kelly. The inclusion program launched with Ben’s enrollment is being funded this year by a grant from the Catholic Coalition for Special Education. The St. Giles program, named after the patron saint of people with disabilities, is currently operating on a year-to-year basis depending on the availability of funding, but Brother Kelly would like to add another student with special needs next year.

Not every child with disabilities can be accommodated, he said, but there are those like Ben who would do well if there were enough resources to enroll them.

For his part, Ben said he loves everything about Mount St. Joseph. He enjoys being on the swim team, he likes his teachers, and he said he has made many friends. Asked what his favorite subject is, he unleashed his characteristically warm smile.

“Chemistry, English, social studies, religion, math and P.E. – and lunch,” he said.

With his religion teacher sitting by his side, the teen then returned his attention to a map of the Middle East that outlined ancient rivers, deserts and biblical jurisdictions. There would be a quiz in his religion class next week. He had to study.

- - -

Republished by Catholic Online with permission of The Catholic Review, the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Md. (

Couples grateful they chose life: Josie and Daniel

Many people see only the problems when they are told that there may be something wrong with their child. But they don't see the blessings. These two couples do, and perhaps can teach others by their words. At least I hope that they can. I have learned MUCH about unconditional love from cognitively disabled. I have learned much more than I have ever been able to do for them.

God bless!

Couples grateful they chose life: Josie and Daniel

By Lisa Schulte

The Catholic Voice

OMAHA, Neb. (The Catholic Voice) - Upon hearing the news that their 22-week-old unborn baby had a heart defect and showed signs of Down syndrome, Dennis and Sue Clark were asked just how heroic they wanted to be.

The radiologist who looked at the ultrasound said their little baby might not make it to term, or if she did, she would only live about three hours.

The Omaha couple said they were in shock, but knew there was no choice but to carry their baby to full term and love her like they loved their other two children.

“I’m sure what they were thinking is that they could do the abortion right then and there,” Sue Clark said. “We told them that abortion was not an option.”

The Clarks, parishioners at St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Omaha, knew raising a child with a disability would be challenging, but instead of giving up, they put their trust in God and looked forward to becoming parents again.

Dennis Clark said his prayer life used to be like the lottery - “I need this, I need that” - but in reflecting and reading the Bible and listening to different topics about Josie, he said “the thing that really jumped out at me was the prayer that Christ said in the Garden of Gethsemane, ‘Lord, if this cup should pass, let it pass, but not my will be done, but thy will be done.’ That really became my central focus of prayer during that whole time frame.”

Josie was born Sept. 1, 2001, with Down syndrome. She had major heart surgery when she was 12 weeks old to correct her heart defects.

The Clarks, who had two more children after Josie, said not a day goes by that they aren’t grateful for their decision to let Josie live and the blessings and joy she brings to their lives.

Josie brings joy as a courageous child, but even more so than that because “her milestones are greater achievements,” Sue Clark said. “It takes longer for her to reach those milestones and when she does, it’s a family type of joy versus an individual joy because it’s teamwork in our family to help her achieve those.”

Blessings of God

For Mary McHale and her husband, Joe Holm, discovering at birth that their child had Down syndrome was a lesson in both faith and acceptance.

“There are people who choose to go ahead and terminate their pregnancies when they find out that there is something going on with their child, whether it’s Down syndrome or another chromosomal abnormality,” Mary McHale said.

But in the blink of an eye, a typically developing child can get a high fever and become brain damaged or can start having seizures or can be in an accident, she said.

“So you never really know what you’re capable of bearing until it happens to you,” she said.

The couple’s only child, eight-year-old Daniel, is a third-grader at Western Hills School in Omaha.

McHale said many of her worries about her son’s future and life have been calmed as she watches his activities and abilities grow. Daniel will be making his first Communion this year at Sacred Heart Church in Omaha, where his parents are members, and he is active in soccer, karate and swimming.

Both he and Josie were planning to participate in the Omaha Metro Area Buddy Walk, a one-mile walk to help promote awareness and inclusion for persons with Down syndrome.

“Daniel has a bigger, better social schedule than I do,” McHale said.

Both couples said their children have helped them grow closer to God, and have taught them how to live better lives themselves.

“Daniel has taught me patience,” McHale said. “He’s taught me to look at things differently and he’s taught me that it’s OK to be different and to take your time and to listen.”

- - -

This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic Voice (, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Neb.

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Shari'a (Islamic) Law in Minneapolis-St Paul?

I heard about this on the TV the other day, but did not catch where it was taking place, so did not blog on it. But this is very ominous in my humble opinion. And it could spread, without a single one of us voting it into effect.

Taxi drivers have been refusing to take any fare of person's carrying alcohol, resulting in a plan that may begin to change OUR laws. For the rest of the article, please go here. Daniel Pipes speaks of the dangers involved in the suggested solution to this.

MAC has consulted on the taxi issue with the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society, an organization that the Chicago Tribune has revealed is devoted to turning the United States into a country run by Islamic law. The wife of a former head of the organization, for example, has explained that its goal is "to educate everyone about Islam and to follow the teachings of Islam with the hope of establishing an Islamic state."

It is precisely the innocuous nature of the two-light taxi solution that makes it so insidious — and why the Metropolitan Airports Commission should reconsider its wrong-headed decision. Readers who wish to make their views known to the MAC can write to the Commission at

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Clerical Contraception by Fr

Ah, another topic not covered from pulpits, like Abortion and Divorce, permanency and indissolubility of marriage... and an interesting comparison!! Priestly silence about any of these topics is deadly to the Church and Society, Father... As Scripture says, "My People Perish for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).
Thank you Fr Euteneuer..........

As an aside: What was the topic of the sermon YOU heard on October 7-8 weekends this year?
1:Gen 2:18-24
R:Ps 128:1-6
2:Heb 2:9-11
G:Mk 10:2-16 (or Mark 10:2-12)

Spirit & Life “The words I spoke to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 36 | Friday, Oct. 06, 2006

Clerical Contraception

The beloved founder of Human Life International, Fr. Paul Marx, was not known to mince words when it came to what he called the "conspiracy of silence" from the pulpits of our Church on the issue of contraception, but his insights of twenty and thirty years ago were right on target and remain true to this day: "Future generations," he said, "will wonder why so many Catholic bishops and priests in the West didn't see contraception as a seminal evil and the chief cause of the Church's swift decline." There is the core issue. Priestly silence about contraception is deadly both to the Church and to our society.

To this day the vast majority of Catholic clergy refuse to talk about contraception despite their moral obligation to do so. I can tell you that it is not only in the United States that this is the case; it is true in every part of the world. The reasons for this negligence range from outright heresy to lack of moral courage to inexcusable ignorance of the subject matter. Whatever the reason, the effect is the same: something I call clerical contraception.

Contraception itself is a rejection of God's sovereignty over one's marriage and a refusal to obey the Lord's command to "be fruitful and multiply." The priest, though not married, analogously contracepts the life-giving seed of truth when he refuses to preach the Catholic Faith—all of it. Faith comes through hearing, says St. Paul, and it is through the priestly ministry that Christ transmits the Faith to His bride, the Church, so that she can be fruitful and multiply the souls who are brought to salvation.

This is probably the main reason why so many Catholics today contracept or sterilize themselves and see absolutely no contradiction in receiving the Eucharist every Sunday and believing themselves in perfect communion with the Church. They've never been admonished that it is a mortal sin to use contraception or get sterilized. They've never been told of the physical and spiritual danger of these practices, and they've never been made aware of the magnificent, life-giving alternatives that the Church offers to the Ideology of Infertility.

Priests who are silent about the teaching on contraception also forget two very important things: first, priestly vocations generally come from large families. Failure to preach openness to life and generosity with children has a direct effect on how many men will be standing in the trenches with us later on. Contracepting this teaching has the same effect as contracepting the marital act: sterility. The persistent sterility of priestly vocations in the West is caused by priests who are silent about the plague of contraception among the laity and forget that their own vocations are the result of their parents' generosity with life. Overworked priests will be reaping the fruits of their silence on contraception for a long time.

Secondly, priestly silence about contraception has eternal consequences. The price of that silence is the loss of souls.

Contracepting men and women who are not warned of their sin and who therefore do not repent of it risk the death of their immortal souls, and that is a scandal of immense proportions. To be warned is to be forewarned, especially about something so crucial. Perhaps the only danger of greater consequence is the danger to the priests themselves who don't do their job: they risk their own spiritual deaths because in the end they will be held accountable for preaching the Church's full message "in season and out of season."

All priests should read the Lord's message to the prophet Ezekiel to know the high stakes of failing to preach the fullness of Christ's teaching: "If I say to the wicked man, You shall surely die; and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his wicked conduct so that he may live: that wicked man shall die for his sin, but I will hold you responsible for his death" (Ez 3:18). May every priest take this warning to heart!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
President, Human Life International

"Til I change my mind".....

I may not have a MA degree in theology, but I have enough common sense to realize that when one views their vocation as "temporary" they are less likely to give it their all.

I had time today to browse other blogs, and came across Kristen's Ramblings "TRIAL PRIESTHOOD?" She has made very valid observations.

I have been saying very similar things since the great exodus of so many priests of my age was coinciding with so many exiting their own marriages from the seventies to today after no fault, forced, unilateral divorce began inching its way across the nation (inching? nay, ROARING).

I happen to also think that this way of looking at things ( lets make it temporary... a trial...) feeds itself. It also causes important topics to be avoided in nearly every pulpit across the nation, not just Catholic pulpits.

"If I speak Truth, I may offend someone".... and "I MAY get driven out of the parish"....

As Kristen ended her comments... I join her in her prayer:

St. John Vianney, Pray for us! And I add... St Pio, pray for us. John Paul II, pray for us! Archbishop Sheen, pray for us!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

“Euthanasia Blues” YouTube Music Video Warns of Euthanasia Dangers

An excellent and very thought provoking video by normemma that may open a few eyes about what the danger really is to the sort of thinking that devalues many disabled people like Terri Schiavo, in the name of 'compassion' and 'self-determination'.

This article also introduces you to Norm Kunc (the norm of normemma) and to their website, as well as Not Dead Yet's.

Norm Kunc and Emma Van der Klift have other videos also. This one is to make you think about them as persons, not disabilities, not less important than YOU, a 'normal' person, and definitely NOT as someone unworthy of life who would be better off dead.

(False Compassion)

Though I am not sure about the reference to Jerry Lewis, I do know that there are some who feel that he exploits the disabled with his annual telethons. I am not sure I agree, as I have seen people truly begin to see the disabled as people, not someone to be pitied when watching his telethon. But it is something to think about and to remember.

The first version of the same Credo is also there, with People First members reciting parts of the Credo. At first, I chose not to put the video here solely to save room on this portion of my blog. I have decided that it is worth having here, simply because some of you would not take the time to 'meet' and 'hear' the speakers if you had to click on a hyperlink, but that you MAY do it if you do not have to leave this page.

Meet Norm Kunc on this one. Hear his speech, but get his point!! And remember that those IN THESE PICTURES have every right to live as you have, though they do NOT fit (perhaps) your idea of 'normal'. Also remember that these people represent the very first victims of Nazi Germany under the T4 Program.....

God Bless. Cardinal von Galen, pray for us.

Thank you, Nancy Valko, RN

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Cardinal calls for defense of marriage

Cardinal calls for defense of marriage, says Spain “plagued by divorce”

Madrid, Oct. 10, 2006 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares, defended marriage and “faithful and permanent conjugal love,” this week, calling for such a defense of marriage amid the “terrible plague of divorce,” which is seriously affecting Spain.

In a homily given at the Cathedral of Toledo, Cardinal Cañizares also denounced the trend of “express divorces” calling them, “a very harsh reality that cannot be maintained any longer.”

Marriage is “a good written in the very nature of the human being,” the Cardinal said. He indicated that the institution of marriage belongs “to the common good and to the patrimony of humanity and that cannot be destroyed with such casualness as is happening today.”

The cardinal underscored the indissolubility of marriage and noted that the words of Jesus are “very clear” and “leave no room for doubt or distortion.”

“The demand of fidelity and stability that human reason itself discovers in marriage clearly appears in the words of Jesus Christ,” the Cardinal said.

He denounced the “current forms of dissolving marriage,” such as civil unions “and even pseudo-marriage between people of the same sex,” which he called expressions of anarchy that some want to put forth as the true liberation of mankind.

“That pseudo freedom is based on a trivialization of the body that inevitably includes the trivialization of man. It is based on the supposition that man can do with himself what he pleases,” and therefore, he added, “we find ourselves faced with a great challenge: that of presenting, defending, living, and spreading the gospel of the family, to which belongs the truth of marriage and its indissolubility.”

Cardinal Cañizares noted that when a man and a woman contract marriage, they establish a permanent bond between themselves, “and although they were free to contract it, they are not free to break the bond that was born of their mutual consent.”

“This is the way things are, even though, because of the hardness of our heart, we have grown accustomed to divorce. The Church knows she is going against the tide when she proclaims the indissolubility of the marriage bond, and we should not be surprised that this teaching is not followed by all,” the cardinal said.

As long as you are reading this, I also suggest you read the articles there about Elizabeth Marquardt's book...

New Book studies dramatic consequences of divorce among children and damage in children’s religious identity.
New study reveals spiritual effects of divorce on children

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

American Al Qaeda Member Expected to Be Indicted for Treason

American Al Qaeda Member Expected to Be Indicted for Treason
FOX News

The breaking news said that he HAS been indicted for Treason.

Click on the URL below for the rest of this story:,2933,219861,00.html

Stephen Baskerville Reminder (And call in number for Radio)

Reminder sent about Stephen Baskerville's interview on radio tonight, with a call in number:

312 591 7200

This is from the original email he had sent on Monday:

God Bless!

Here is the promotional notice (

William Shakespeare wrote that “it is a wise father that knows his own child.” Unfortunately, in America today, many fathers do not know their children because of the prevalence of single–parenthood and divorce. Tonight, we discuss the importance of a father’s presence in a child’s life and the impact of so-called “no fault” divorce on the American family. Our guest: STEPHEN BASKERVILLE, president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. He will not only analyze why a child needs its father’s presence, but also discuss how our society is working against the maintenance of the core family structure and how that can be changed.

Not all broadcasts are archived online, but some are. To send your feedback (and urge them to make this show available on the web), go to:

Stephen Baskerville

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fwd: another tragedy in Lancaster

Please pray for the recovery of Bishop Keeler and the other priest, and for the soul of the priest who has gone on before us. May he rest in peace.

Also, pray for the families.

God bless

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Two of our parish priests and our former bishop, Keeler, were vacationing in Italy. They were driving about 60 miles north of Rome, when another car ran a red light and broadsided them. The bishop has a broken ankle, the pastor of St. Joseph's has cracked ribs, and our beloved Fr. Quinn, 78, and in residence at Sacred Heart, was killed.

Bishop Keeler called his successor in Harrisburg, Kevin Rhoades, to say that Fr. Quinn almost had a premonition of death that afternoon. He was saying that his life is now so full of peace, he felt so close to God, and was completely in His hands. He was a very learned priest and gave marvelous homilies on the early Church. I personally chose to attend the evening service on Sundays, because that's when he celebrated Mass. He always came into the sanctuary for prayer and meditation before the service. Tonight he's in heaven and we suffer a big loss.


Thy word, O Lord, I have hid in my heart.

Monday, October 09, 2006

FW: Major Radio Show Wednesday (Stephen Baskerville)

This in my email inbox tonight, the green high-lighted by myself. Steve Baskerville has been around a long time, and his work is VERY important. I am remiss for not bringing more of his work to your attention.

God bless.

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Baskerville
Monday, October 09, 2006 8:40 AM
Subject: Major Radio Show Wednesday

Extension 720 with Milt Rosenberg

On Wednesday, October 11, I will be the guest on Milt Rosenberg's radio show Extension 720. The show begins at 9:00 pm Central Time. This 2-hour show is broadcast throughout the midwest (and elsewhere via the Internet) to a huge audience. It appeals to an educated listenership and is said to be highly influential.

From the website of Extension 720 (where you can listen to the show),

"Past guests of note include such political figures as Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, George Stephanopolous, George Shultz, Cyrus Vance and many members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Among other interesting public figures who have appeared on the program: Colin Powell, Charlton Heston, William Safire, Bill Murray, William Bennett, Richard Posner, Bob Feller, Betty Friedan, Zbignew Brzezinski, Cynthia Ozick, Norman Mailer, Mary Higgins Clark, Calvin Trillin, P.D. James, Peggy Noonan, David Brinkley, George Will, Gerry Spence, Jim Lehrer, Michael Medved and on and on -- virtually a cast of thousands of interesting and significant people."

Here is the promotional notice (

William Shakespeare wrote that “it is a wise father that knows his own child.” Unfortunately, in America today, many fathers do not know their children because of the prevalence of single–parenthood and divorce. Tonight, we discuss the importance of a father’s presence in a child’s life and the impact of so-called “no fault” divorce on the American family. Our guest: STEPHEN BASKERVILLE, president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. He will not only analyze why a child needs its father’s presence, but also discuss how our society is working against the maintenance of the core family structure and how that can be changed.

Not all broadcasts are archived online, but some are. To send your feedback (and urge them to make this show available on the web), go to:

Stephen Baskerville

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Seismic activity in Area at time of Test

Fox News just reported that "a Senior Bush official" has confirmed that this did take place, but does not think that it was as strong as the N Koreans had hoped for.

South Korea not long ago did confirm seismic activity in the 3.5 to 3.7 range, not strong enough to indicate the strength that N Korea was 'hoping for'.

God help us.

Unconfirmed Report: N Korea SAYS Nuclear Test Took Place

Unconfirmed by US or other officials, from Fox News:

Report: North Korea Tests Nuclear Weapon

Sunday , October 08, 2006

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea performed its first-ever nuclear weapons test Monday, Yonhap news agency reported, citing government officials.

South Korean officials couldn't immediately confirm the report.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has convened a meeting of security advisers over the issue, Yonhap reported, and intelligence over the test has been exchanged between concerned countries.

CountryWatch: North Korea

The North said last week it would conduct a nuclear test as part of its deterrent against a possible U.S. invasion.

The director of South Korea's monitoring center that is watching for a test with sound and seismic detectors declined to immediately comment on the reported test. The U.S. Geological Survey said it had detected no seismic activity in North Korea, although it's not clear if a blast would be strong enough for its sensors

Forgiveness is a Choice

"Forgiveness is a Choice" was a resounding statement made on Greta Van Susteren's program last night by a gentleman who used to be part of the Amish community recently hit by murder of one of the most heinous kinds in their tiny one room schoolhouse.

Not only spoken, but demonstrated.

As the Amish community mourned the loss of their children, and pray for the healing of five more young girls, they thought also of the family of the murderer, and attended HIS funeral. They have asked that his widow also be financially assisted by those who are reaching out to them.

Life presents us with many opportunities to learn this fact, but most operate on feelings. Over the years since I learned this fact, I have heard many saying "I will NEVER forgive!" "I CAN'T forgive!" "I WON'T forgive!" "I don't FEEL like forgiving..."

All choice words.

Most people operate under the false assumption that forgiveness means that the one forgiven 'gets off scot free'. Not true.

Many also believe that it means it may be misconstrued as 'approval' of what the person being forgiven has done. Not true.

After one of the most terrible things that happened in my life, IMHO, I attended a conference of others going through the same thing, and I heard a song that was written by one of the speakers. I bought it, but have long ago lost it. I can only remember parts of the refrain. I wish that I could find the woman who wrote it, and again hear her sing it. I wish I had all of the words to give you.  I believe her name was LYNNE WILFORD.

Essentially, what she said was that she did not approve or condone what was done,

"But, Like the Lord, On the Cross... I forgive."

Forgiveness, like Love, is a choice. Without making that choice, we often become bitter and angry, hurting not only ourselves, but everyone around us. We 'dispose' of those who hurt us, often through divorce. Unforgiveness is a poison.

Feelings follow our choices. It may take time to work through them, and it may take repeated efforts to deal with everything that happens, but eventually our feeling follow our decisions.

Forgiveness is a choice.

We watched an entire community make just that choice this past week.

We watched healing for everyone, including the family left behind by the man who killed the young Amish girls when he turned that gun onto himself.

Without that healing, and that forgiveness... that family may never have felt love nor forgiveness again, in that community or anyplace else. Though his wife and children had nothing to do with his actions, without that choice, they would have taken on his guilt.


God help us to learn this lesson quickly, before more lives are destroyed.

God bless.

In Jesus' OWN Words

This reflection is perhaps the closest that I have heard in many years to dealing with divorce, but still does a skirt around the topic. The reflection chooses one verse of Mark 10:2-16 to speak to. Most often, in all the years I have been watching (and taking polls of friends who attended different parishes all over the world and the US over the years...) the sermon does not even touch Marriage. It is an avoided topic, much like Abortion and Contraception.

The reasoning for many is that 'it may hurt some parishoners'.


So why don't we deal with Jesus' words in this, one of only two times in three years that the topic comes up in the Sunday readings?? What ARE His words there? Does anyone really hear what He says? The famous 'red' is used here for what He has to say.... and He speaks for Himself.

Do you REALLY need a sermon if you LISTEN to what He says without any justification?

I don't think so...

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked,
"Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied,
"Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce
and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts
he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery."

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