Saturday, October 19, 2019

Green for our environment but toxic for human life?

So now more and more people are showing concern for the environment

There is without question in our day - last summer and now the fall of 2019 - a rapid awakening and excitation of human awareness and related movement of human uprising over the rapid changes to the global environment of Planet Earth. The science is massively in and it is no longer logical to deny these changes: rapid melting of glaciers and ice caps, warming and acidification of the oceans and seas with resulting coral deaths and algae blooms, rising of sea levels, intensification of tropical storms and other storm systems, increasingly severe material damage and human injury and death due to severe storms, flooding, and, ironically, droughts, and the rapidly increasing occurrence of extinctions of living organisms.

We would expect this shift in human awareness and concerns to move citizens to shift from political parties lethargic to take remedial actions for the environment towards parties apparently committed to take remedial if not radical actions to stop further degredation of the global environment, such as in Canada the Green Party.

I joined the Green Party of Canada before the previous election, but when I received no coherent reply to certain questions, in the end I decided to vote for another party in order to bring to an end what I perceived at the time as dictatorial use of the PMO - Prime Minister's Office - to silence MP's and cut short dialogue and in effect limit cooperation.

My questions to the Green Party of Canada and its leadership touch on questions often considered to be moral issues, but actually my question addresses the very foundation of the term "green".

This political party is "green" and calls itself Green because it intends to champion the cause of the natural environment of Planet Earth for its own sake and for the good of humanity dwelling in and living as part of this natural environment. That's very good.

So "green" means doing all we can as human beings to protect and favor the flourishing of all living things on this planet, on the earth, underneath in the soil, on and in the waters - fresh waters and salt seas and oceans - in and on the trees, and in the air throughout the atmosphere. So we are "green" when we protect, care for, cultivate, and make judicious and good use of all living things. We are just beginning to understand that his also means to care for the soil with all its microorganisms which play such a crucial role in the development and productivity of plants, our main food source.

So what then is my question or problem?

Why, in not only the Green Party of Canada but also in the other parties that claim to champion the cause of our natural environment, do all these people consider the philosophy and policy of "green" to be inapplicable to human beings?

Women's health and well being

We Canadians are in great solidarity, for the most part, in continuing to commit ourselves to the gains made in the past century towards achieving, maintaining, and assuring equal rights and opportunity, health care and social services for women and children as well as for men.

It is true that there were women who suffered injury and even death when attempting to have an abortion when these were offered by doctors with questionable credentials or competence and in clinics under poor conditions. The Government of Canada brought these medical procedures into the health care system; so it is now less likely for a woman to suffer such injuries or death.

A woman's right to choose

Much propaganda is imposed on the whole population around a woman's right to choose her care. It is misdirecting and misleading propaganda because it obscures something else that is happening when a woman has an abortion. The unborn baby is terminated, killed, sucked out in a violent and bloody act or poisoned and burned by some sort of intense saline solution, both painful procedures from the point of view of that baby.

We go home content to know that we are upholding women's rights to choose their proper health care, but why are we so unwilling to uphold those same rights for the most vulnerable among us, the baby that has yet to be born into this world and cannot yet speak up for itself?

More pertinently for this discussion, why are we continuing to impose abortion as the only solution for issues of pregnant women's health care in those cases where the pregnant woman does not want the baby, is not able to afford the baby, is not ready to have that baby, or whatever the reason may be?

Why not champion babies as well as women whenever possible?

Why are we so unwilling to champion both lives, that of the pregnant woman as well as that of the unborn baby? All too often, the oppressive attitudes and social conditions known to hold women as captive as slaves in previous centuries persist today, but in a different mode.

A pregnant woman may not have the support of the male who fathered that baby, either because they are not married or because he does not want the baby or not yet, or because he is afraid for whatever reason. Under difference circumstances, she may be alone or young and still living with her parents. The conditions and circumstances will be as varied and different as women are unique.

It is almost impossible to believe that women would be so callous as to have no feelings whatsoever about a new life growing within them. It would be a rare woman who would consider a new baby as a dangerous enemy to be destroyed as soon as possible, but not unreasonable or difficult to understand how a woman might find the pregnancy itself, the change in her circumstances, as problematic.

We as a people have sufficient moral character and social fortitude, I believe, to champion both lives. Political parties - especially one so bold as to call itself "green" - should be able to not only preserve the practice of medical abortions within the health care system, but also to develop a far more robust support system across Canada to encourage all pregnant women troubled by their pregnancey to get the help they need in order to give their new baby - however unwanted by them - a chance to live.

Pregnant women need real support in real time, not oratory or political speeches

These women would need support throughout their pregnancy and then, after the birth, support as they get ready to surrender their baby for adoption. Instead of living through their months of pregnancy with dread and then having to endure the life long effects of having experienced the highly invasive procedure of abortion - no thinking human being can deny the violence of terminating this human life; these women wound discover the option they have of carrying their unwanted baby with love, knowing that they will lovingly transfer their baby to a set of parents willing and eager to do so.

For women who would avail themselves of this option to give birth to their baby, it would be better for the baby, better for the adoptive parents in the case of an adoption, better for the mother to not have the burden of having ended a life, better for the mother who in the end decides to keep her baby, better for the "absent father" who may experience a change and choose to take responsibility for the child as well as for its mother, better for the whole family that can rejoice in the welcome of a new life rather than conceal under cover of secret the termination of that life, and better for Canada.

Now that would be a more truly "green" policy and practice, if not entirely green.

Is contraception green? Could it be green if we wanted it to be green?

What about contraception? Again the propaganda would have us not touch this by claiming it has to do with a woman's right to choose her own health care. How is it health care for us human beings to treat our own human condition as something that needs to be medicated?

Human fertility is not a disease, but one of our natural abilities and powers, the power to procreate as well as to form a lasting bond of spousal and family love and care. Ironically, there are perfectly effective ways for human beings to regulate their fertility and "plan" their family that are completely green, that don't involve subjecting either the woman or the man to invasive chemical concoctions that almost always have side effects, some of which are very troubling.

There has probably never been so much infertility in human history as there has been since the introduction and regular use of the contraceptive pill. The propaganda around the introduction and later the continued marketing of the pill claimed to "free women" from the confines of their fertility cycle, but the evidence since 1961 shows the opposite effects. Women have never been so reduced to the level of a commodity or object to be used as since then. When people had a little more respect of the mystery of human fertility, men in particular but also women were more inclined to have respect for their bodies and their whole self.

When the respect or more basic "fear" of fertility was removed, the floodgate was opened for women to conduct themselves "as freely as men", but the result was not Utopia or Paradise on Earth. If truth be told, women are less happy or fulfilled now than ever before.

How can we be "green" when we assist in our own social disintegration?

For men the collapse has been even more complete and tragic. Whatever their faults may have been in previous generations, at the very least most men could at least be credited for showing respect for the women in their lives and for women of all ages in general. The sexual revolution accompanied by the launch of the pill made it easy for men to reduce women to objects for their pleasure, in one stroke surrendering or abandoning their male role of protector and reducing themselves to narcissists.

The ravages are everywhere to be observed and lamented: selfish and uncommited adult women and men, disintegrated families, single parents that are mostly mothers, absent or non-existent fathers, unfathered lost rebellious adolescents, adult children who never leave their parents' home and never grow up or take full responsibility for their life and contribution to society, ever increasing violence in a downward spiral sapping the life from human society. Individual citizens can and do try to do all they can to cultivate life in their own home and family and around them, but the "ungreen" human policies of our political parties will not do anything to remedy the situation but only ensure that it gets worse.

Medically assisted dying

The reason we now have a law in Canada obliging medical staff to aid people to hasten their dying is because a good cause was made for those people who apparently were suffering to a degree that had become impossible to endure any longer. It has proven difficult if not impossible to argue against the new policy now enshrined in law. We who are currently living on Planet Earth have developed a high intolerance for pain and suffering, perhaps losing sight of the values human being have nonetheless found in their suffering since the dawn of time.

Not unlike pregnant women who are troubled by an unexpected pregnancy combined with the lack of support, or in some cases their perceived lack of support, for continuing their pregnancy and bringing the baby to term - for whatever eventual outcome - there is a similar crisis in the case of those who want to hasten the time of their death.

Normal human beings under normal circumstances generally want to live and to live as long as they possibly can. Life is worth living as Bishop Fulton Sheen used to say. That perspective can and does change when people get sick or are injured and suffer and experience pain on various levels.

Why are our public institutions so intent on imposing abortion as the only solution to an unwanted pregnancy? Now in this case, why are our public institutions so intent on imposing medical aid in dying as the only solution for the person who wants an end of their suffering?

Encouraging or supporting a patient to hasten the ending of their life through in effect a medical execution makes a very violent statement about the value of human life. It is understandable that one who is dying and enduring suffering and pain they no longer feel able to sustain could, then, in the absence of any other solution, desire to die. Those who are in such a painful situation could also be expected to not want to kill themselves but prefer to welcome their death as coming from outside. What is unfortunate is that this new law in Canada in effect and in truth makes of medical healers and practitioners nothing less than executioners.

How is this a "green" policy and practice?

Our societies are not stuck in the stone age. Incredible advances have been achieved just in the past few decades in caring for the dying. Just a few generations ago when people reached a point when the medical staff could no longer heal them, the medical staff tended to scatter and abandon them. Why? Because it is uncomfortable for medical staff to admit they can no longer offer healing to patients who are, in effect, dying. Medical staff would normally want to help their patients, but in the absence of anything to do, it is easier to simply stay away and let the family and friends, if any, take over.

What's to prevent us from creating a national Palliative Care program?

A whole new branch of medicine has developed since the 1970's called palliative care. It is medical care that simply has a different goal than the regular medical establishment which seeks to heal. For palliative care, the goal is to temper pain and suffering with expert medical care and medication, but also and more importantly to provide the patient with a supportive environment and opporunity for them - with or without their family and or friends if any - to ponder and make sense of their life, to realize the value and contribution of their life, to discover what they have accomplished but also to learn from what they have failed or been unable to do. Most of all, this complex medical goal in the giving of quality palliative care is to help the patient make of their death a meaningful moment, if not the most meaningful moment of their life.

Now these would be more completely "green" medical policies, don't you think?

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Canadian Federal Election Guide for Roman Catholics and Other People of Good Will


Roman Catholic Public Election Guide

(Intended for use in Canada for federal and provincial elections)

Is voting for a pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia party a mortal sin?

It is clear that to talk or write about abortion or euthanasia must be done with great sensitivity, because the action of ending a pregnancy or ending a human life are very serious and poignant issues that have profound impacts on those struggling with them. When people face an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy or face a pregnancy that is wanted but comes at an inopportune time; there can be great anxiety felt by those directly concerned. All too often, the pregnant woman may find herself alone and without any support, and fear alone may pressure her to end her pregnancy, or the pressure to do so may be put on her by others around her and at times even from health and social service agents. The same kind of pressure may be felt by those who suffer from disability, chronic or prolonged pain and feel like a burden.

These are culture of life issues, and there are many others, not the least of which are newly developing trends around human gender. These are perhaps the most important issues in our federal election because they have direct bearing on life itself for every citizen. Catholics and other people who treasure the sanctity of life are the only people who can publicly manifest this importance. The election is a prime opportunity to do this.

As you may or may not know, the Diocese has posted on its website "Let'sVote Responsibly" – a message from the AEQ for the 2018 provincial election which in many ways makes points applicable in this federal and indeed any federal or provincial election. A link to the CCCB's Federal Election Guide will lead you to further links to several statements by the CCCB on various moral and ethical issues facing Canadians, most notably abortion, euthanasia, and the right to life and dignity. Ours are very challenging times, but we have a new opportunity every day to put our trust in God and to give witness to the truth which is always good news. The CCCB Election Guide makes this important point:

"Exercising the right to vote means making informed and discerning judgments about the options available. There are times, however, when making a decision about who to vote for may prove very difficult. The Church reminds us that “in this context, it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law in which the fundamental content of faith and morals is replaced by the introduction of proposals differing from this content or opposing it.”

The implication is that a Catholic could not vote for parties that have explicit pro-choice and pro-euthanasia policies in their platform. This does not mean that a person needs to only vote for parties that do not endorse abortion or euthanasia. While these may not wish to bring these issues up or allow caucus members to bring them to the Commons, they may at least allow MPs or candidates to hold pro-life views and vote accordingly.  The Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) advice is that a Catholic (or other person who shares culture of life values) would check to see what candidate in their riding has pro-life views and vote for that person. 

A key point here is that abortion and euthanasia are not morally equivalent to any other election issue, e.g. foreign policy, economy, etc... The right to life is the first human right from which proceed all other rights... While our society and culture may comfortably hold views that fail to consider the unborn as human beings; from the earliest days Christians have always held abortion in abhorrence, according the unborn respect for their human dignity. The basic human right is the right to life; then come liberty and well being.

Once life is assured, the next right is liberty. Once life and liberty are assured, the next right is to seek and assure well being or happiness. One person’s right to liberty cannot trump another person’s right to life; nor can one person’s right to well being trump another person’s right to liberty, and certainly not their right to life. Our culture has acquired an intense repugnance for pain and suffering, to the point that freedom from pain and suffering has come to be considered by some to be more important than the value of life itself. This is so in spite of the abundance of evidence that for human beings, meaning and purpose are not contained in what happens to us; rather, human beings have a capacity to give meaning and purpose to what happens to us.

Christians have always held that life and death belong to God. Human beings are not wise enough to determine when a life should end. Taking it upon oneself to put an end to one’s life or to the life of another is unwise and usurps the rights and authority of our Creator God. He made us and our lives belong to Him. Our reluctance to trust in God is the primary cause of much human suffering and many destructive human decisions and behaviors. It is an act of love to provide the dying with palliative care, to help pregnant women, and to take interest and accompany on their journey any who suffer.  

There are 100,000 abortions a year in Canada. The Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), co-sponsored by the CCCB and Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, noted “Canada, with China, North Korea, and Vietnam are the only countries which have no restriction in law with regard to abortion.” Most of the major parties support abortion over the full term of the pregnancy until birth.  President Trump stopped U.S. international funding to abortion organizations but the Liberal government now funds Planned Parenthood and other organizations to perform abortions around the world. 

Canon Law does not define what is or is not a mortal sin, distinct from the discipline of theology, and defers to her in matters of moral theology. Canon Law is inspired by the Church’s theology, forbidding abortion from the earliest days, and its statutes clearly reflect this. In law we speak of delicts (a.k.a. as crimes), and these are very precisely defined.  Note that a delict MUST be clearly and explicitly defined as such in canon law. With regard to those who directly procure an abortion, the law imposes several restrictions or imposes penalties: 

Canon 1041: irregularities impeded ordination – actually procuring an abortion makes a person irregular for the reception of orders
Canon 1398: latae sententiae ex-communication of anyone who effectively procures an abortion, “the killing of the foetus, in whatever way or at whatever time from the moment of conception”.

On a more local level, a bishop does have the authority to decree statutes and laws that apply to his diocese, and may impose penalties in this manner.  With regard to abortion, the legal landscape varies from place to place. The document “Forming consciences for faithful citizenship” was issued by the USCCB as a guide for Catholics in the US which states: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/faithful-citizenship/upload/forming-consciences-for-faithful-citizenship.pdf      

34. Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. This is why it is so important to vote according to a well-formed conscience that perceives the proper relationship among moral goods. A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases, a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity.

35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.

In the U.S.A. during the 2004 presidential campaign Cardinal Ratzinger stated that voters would be "cooperating in evil" if they voted for a political candidate precisely because of their permissive stand on legalized abortion or  euthanasia. He further stated that voting for these candidates for other reasons of commensurate gravity in spite of their stand on abortion / euthanasia was justifiable in principle. Ratzinger… supported the denial of Holy Communion to these politicians… but bishops should only withhold communion after meeting with, teaching and warning politicians first.

So, to answer your question – voting for a pro-choice or pro-euthanasia candidate may be considered a mortal sin if the intent of your vote is to specifically advance the cause of abortion or euthanasia.  If not, then it will not be considered a mortal sin. Voting for a candidate who supports the value of human life from conception to natural death is a just way to promote public consciousness of the inherent value of human life and also honours the rights of our Creator God. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Why are some of our beautiful youth killing themselves or turning violent? We can do a lot!

I live in Montreal, Québec, Canada, which is at the top of North America. For years we have been troubled to have the highest suicide rates in the western world! It is shocking to see beautiful young people - who have their whole lives ahead of them - put an end to their lives prematurely. Why?

Then there are the others who turn violent. Again, why?

Being a RC priest offers a unique perspective

In my almost four decades of experience as a Roman Catholic priest, it is almost always the ones that are the most sensitive and intelligent that commit suicide. Oh there may be attenuating personal circumstances in their lives that brought them to such a state of desperation as to give up all hope for their own future or of ever emerging from their particular suffering and pain. However, we are all imperfect and all families, all parents, all children and siblings are imperfect, and it's an imperfect world. So why do most of us get over it and survive and some don't?

Consider for a moment this scenario.

Sensitive, bright young people look at their world, our world, and what do they see? They see that we are in trouble, we being humanity. They accumulate lots of raw data - and the level of technology into which the young today have been born is the most intense in all of human history - and it doesn't take long for the intelligent to begin drawing dire conclusions.

The extinction of species is progressing and a geometric rate with few signs of abating, despite the valiant efforts of some inspired individuals, groups, and agencies to protect certain species that are in danger of extinction.

For decades the weather patterns have produced ever intensifying storms in both hemispheres, often with catastrophic devastation causing the displacement of populations. Glaciers are disappearing and the great ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are melting at accelerating rates, and little is being done to stop it. Ocean levels are rising and no one knows how fast or how high it will go. 

Meanwhile, transnational corporations - the principal wheels turning the world economy - the world's governments, which principally cater to these large interests, and the armies of scientists employed by them to defend their interests (profits for their principal shareholders, senior officers, and board members, but certainly not the common good), and the major public media - controlled by those same transnational corporate interests - all of them are living in total denial. All of these are obsessively dedicated to maintaining the current order at all costs.

Intelligent and sensitive young people look at their world and see humanity as a vast herd speeding towards a cliff - ever getting closer but still at an unknown distance - and when we get to the cliff, our denial will have us speed over the edge into oblivion.... So, why wait, why not make an end now?

Okay, so this scenario seems quite bleak, granted, but I do believe that our young people cannot avoid coming to such conclusions, given the staggering quantity of data to which they are exposed. 

Ironically, young people have within themselves all they need in order to make a difference!

Let's face it. We all need hope in order for our life to begin to be bearable, but we want more than just to be able to endure life, we want to thrive! Actually, we were designed and built to thrive. That is the focus that generates so much of the energy which characterizes youth and makes them so attractive to each other and to all of us who are older and have lived longer. Their enthusiasm is infectious.

We need our youth and our children. They aren't the future; they are the present! They care deeply about life, about their world, and about humanity. The look to the future and we need to support them.

Consider our ancestors and the amazing things they accomplished

Our grandparents began working full time when they were 10 or 11 years old. My parents began working full time when they were 13 or 14. Full time for them wasn't a 40 hour week including 5 hours for lunches and 2 1/2 hours for morning and afternoon breaks. They often worked 60 hour weeks and sometimes 6 days a week. The young are capable of amazing efforts and outstanding contributions, but for one reason or another, our society has come to think of children and teenagers, and even young adults, as lazy, selfish, and uninterested in the common good. It's a lie!

Canaries in the mine shaft

I believe that our children and youth are like canaries in the mine shaft - they are the first to sense the danger which threatens us all. We need to pay close attention to the clarity with which our youth now perceive our world and the dangers which currently threaten our common home and very existence.

The future is in the present - young people are already changing the world!

You have only to browse the Internet to discover many amazing initiatives being taken be children and older youth to do something proactive about the issues currently challenging humanity. 

We can't wait for the major media, for our governments, for corporations

The major media are not interested because they are, for the most part, controlled by the transnational interests that are fiercely dedicated to maximizing profits for their major shareholders, senior officers, and board members - representing less than 1% of the general population. The general drift of what is called "news" is to stoke the fire of fear in the general population in order to keep the current system going. Governments generally think they have no options but to cater to the large business and bank interests - see how it was our public funds that governments used to bail out the banks that basically became bankrupt in 2008 due to bad judgement and risky investments.

Individuals in government and in corporations may very well be good people, and they may very well want to change ways of doing things to make a better world, but they apparently all feel stuck in the way things are. If they try to do things differently, the population will panic and vote them out, or in the case of business, the board will fire them and replace them with someone more compliant.

We already have the power to think, to create, to do

A number of social and economic analysts calmly insist that the real power lies with the general population - but violent revolution is not the answer - as we saw in the 20th century. Communism simply replaced one bad group of tyrants with another. We do have power, but not to topple the government or to boycott companies and banks. Our power is to think, to create, and to do.

We need to join the ranks of creative children and young people - or at the very least to support them in their creative initiatives - and to create circles of enthusiasm and cooperation to generate new ways of doing things. The journalists who produced a book and video documentary "Demain - Tomorrow" went exploring the world and found amazing initiatives being taken to work for the common good and stop waiting to companies or governments to "save" us. Consider the major cities around the world that have created their own local currency to protect themselves from the high risk investments being made by worldwide banks. 

There exist companies begun, owned, operated, managed, and developed entirely be the workers. Check out the Basque wonder called "Mondragon Corporationwhich has grown non-stop since 1956 and is spreading to other countries around the world. The workers do the work but they also evaluate their directors and managers, make the decisions needed by their company, and when the work shrinks in one company, workers are offered jobs in a neighboring company. No one is fired unless they simply don't want to work, but people are motivated because they are also the owners. The highest paid member is not paid more than 5 to 6 times the lowest paid. 

There isn't only one form of capitalism and we don't need revolution

In the uncontrolled capitalism currently controlling our world, the spread is more like 300 times, because the bulk of the profits don't go to the workers but the less than1% of the population making up the major shareholders, senior officers, and members of the board. At worker owned companies, there are no such elites because the profits are not grabbed by a handful of people but shared by all. 

In the Mondragon Corporation, their 80,000 worker members commit ten percent of profits to be invested in education of all their children and in their university which develops their future. Forty-five percent of profits are reinvested in the corporation to develop, do research, grow companies, implement new technology, and acquire new companies. The remaining forty-five percent of profits go to the common pension fund of all workers and, until they retire, the finds are reinvested in the corporation and its member companies. Everyone profits, not just a few, and their whole society is enriched by the presence and activity of their over 100 companies members of the Corporation.

Young people - You have a bright future, and we all need you!

We can no longer afford to wait for governments or companies to come and be our saviors. It was a simple parish priest with a handful of unemployed workers who started the first company in 1956 that became the Mondragon Corporation over the next six decades. We can identify needs and create our own solutions to provide for those needs and build for ourselves, our families, and our society a better future. We don't need permission to think, to explore, to create, to do, to cooperate, to develop, and to thrive. We have a mandate from the Creator of the universe who told us to "cultivate the garden" which we call Planet Earth. So, it's really up to us. Some really creative individuals can accomplish a lot by themselves, but even they need the support and cooperation of others. Together we can do a lot more than we may at times think or feel. Let's talk! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Capitalism - to suck us dry or to build us up - it's our choice

Mondragon Cooperative Movement

Dramatic change brought about by the Industrial Revolution

In high school history we studied how England was the motor that drove the industrial revolution. Before that time, all “business” was done in homesteads, that is, in homes. Wool was spun and woven into fabric at home and people would sell their produce. Better quality got better prices generally. Then someone invented the “cotton gin”, a machine which processed and wove cotton much faster than by hand, and the industrial factory was born. As jobs were created, people moved from urban areas, left their homes, and moved to proximity to these factories, and the modern city was born. The American Ford is credited with bringing the assembly line to the production of his automobiles, but he did not invent the industrial factory.

Dramatic conflicts between capital and labor

In the 19th century, the 1800’s, there were terrible conflicts between capitalist industrialists and workers. That is primarily because the way factories developed, the work week consisted of 6 days of 10 to 12 hours. Initially people didn’t mind working so long because they were accustomed to long hours on their small subsistence farms. However, factory work was heavy work, and over time, people realized their hours were too long, their work week was too long, and they were suffering fatigue and worse health problems.

The owners, capitalist industrialists, for the most part were not humanists and generally took a dim view of the workers’ complaints and demands for better conditions. Setting aside reason and compassion, they resorted to the police and coercive methods of the state to impose on the workers resolutions favoring the owners.

Trade unions and the new "middle class"

It took a long time but eventually, by the early to mid 20th century, trade unions emerged with sufficient power and representative authority to effectively negotiate better conditions and payment on behalf of workers, including all kinds of benefits. By then, the capitalist industrialists didn’t mind too much making those concessions because they were now making very healthy profits. This was particularly true of the industrial expansion occasioned in North America during WWII. By the 1950’s there emerged a new “middle class” which enjoyed stable employment, excellent remuneration, and valuable benefits. 

Globalization shatters the "American Dream"

This “utopia” lasted only a few decades until the 1970’s and 1980’s with the advent of globalization. American presidents struck down much of the legislation developed in previous decades to protect workers, with the result that there were no longer any obstacles to prevent corporations from exporting jobs to countries where they could pay much lower wages and not be obliged any longer to provide benefits.

As a result, America is no longer the “land of the American dream”; rather, it is increasingly becoming a wasteland. It’s inner city cores are often a dangerous dead zone of abandoned homes ruled by lawless street gangs, and small towns across the nation are resembling more and more the exploited towns in third world countries. How could such a great nation come to this in so short a period of time? That is the question.

One model of capitalism has a stranglehold on western societies

The answer has to do with the model of capitalism at work in the U.S.A. and most of the western world, but also in the rest of the world that has until now admired America and its capitalism. It is a capitalism that champions a few of the basic human values such as the right to private property, the right to work, the right to generate and to accumulate wealth, and so on. However, its basic model also has some flaws. In particular, the wealth generated by most capitalist corporations is accrued almost exclusively to the major shareholders – who hold majority decision-making power and authority – and also to the senior officers and the members of the board.

A realistic economic analysis of what is going on

In all of these corporations, with few exceptions, the workers are not share holders and have no say in the governance and decision making of the corporation. With the advent of globalization as a new trend in business and economics, corporations gave themselves the freedom  to export jobs away from the more expensive home base where they had developed in previous decades in favor of countries where, for various reasons, they could pay much cheaper wages and not have to provide benefits, or not as many.

Why is America becoming an economic wasteland?

This shows that in this model of capitalism, corporations manifest zero loyalty to the populations that gave rise to them and their success. They show no qualms about abandoning those populations, putting them all out of work, pulling up their stakes, and moving out. They do not consider it their concern or responsibility that their former employees go without work, lose their homes, and suffer all the harsh consequences of sudden impoverishment. 

Worse still, these corporations show little interest in taking their fair share of responsibility for the general development and well being of society, what we could call the common good. The burden of maintaining public infrastructures for the most part rest squarely on the shoulders of citizen tax payers; while corporations export their assets to foreign tax havens precisely to avoid paying taxes on their accumulating wealth. If we step back and look at the bigger picture of our western societies, we see the following devastating consequences:

1.      Traditional capitalist corporations take zero responsibility for the well being of their workers.

2.      They show zero concern for the well being of the communities and societies which gave them rise and / or where they currently operate; avoiding as much as possible sharing the burden of maintaining public infrastructures.

3.      They do not hesitate to abandon the populations which gave rise to their success for more profit elsewhere.

4.      Many of them move much of their wealth to foreign tax havens to avoid their corporate social responsibilities.

5.      In an age when workers are no longer illiterate but well educated, corporations still refuse to allow them to participate more fully in the management and profit of the corporation.

6.      Due to competitive pressure from Japanese auto makers, some corporations began to introduce incentives to employees who proposed innovations that improved productivity, but these workers remained outsiders with one time rewards their only benefit.

7.      These corporations, by their very nature, create inequality by separating the small minority of people who are major shareholders, senior officers, and board members from the workers and the general population.


It doesn’t have to go on this way. At present, most of our corporations suck the marrow from the bones of our society and then, when they can make more profit elsewhere, there is nothing to hold them here and they simply leave us high and dry. Unless we choose for ourselves better ways of doing business for ourselves, we and our society will inevitably go down the drain. The choice is ours to make, alone, individually, but also collectively.

Our choice is NOT between capitalism / democracy OR communism / Marxism / socialism

Anyone who spoke this way 50 years ago would have been branded a communist by capitalist industrialist interests. Why did they do this, and why might they do it again? The answer is very simply because they don’t really like competition, not fair competition anyway. They say they thrive on competition, but only when they can rig the game in their favor. That’s how I used to play Monopoly with my 9-year old sister when I was 15. I liked to win and didn’t care about her feelings. Time goes by and we grow up, or at least, we should grow up. Why do you think that most corporations have such big budgets for their lawyers? They need lawyers in order to exploit the best possible interpretations of laws in their favor.

Our choice IS between 

greedy irresponsible capitalism VS cooperative socially responsible capitalism

In politics this is the difference between dictatorship / oligarchy VS participation democracy

What if there is a better way to do business? It would be a way whereby decisions would not be made by senior officers and the profits would not go to a small minority of people. Instead, the workers would own, operate, and manage their own company as a cooperative and democratic venture. After the cooperative company paid its fair share of taxes, taking full responsibility for its corporate existence on an equal footing with the general population, the profits would go 100% to the workers according to a formula something like this:

10% of all profits invested in the education of the workers’ families – in their own schools and university

45% of all profits would be reinvested into the cooperative company for innovation and development.

45% of all profits would go to the worker / owners / members of the cooperative company, but not in immediate cash; rather invested yearly back into the cooperative company for innovation and development of more coops, and to be given to them for their retirement.

This is an alternative version of capitalism – unlike the one we find oppressive and heartless which rewards only major shareholders, senior officers, and board members and sucks dry the marrow of the bones of society and leaving only ruins in their wake – this new innovation has proven since 1956 that we can do it differently and better by together freely turning over the ownership, operation, and management of the company to the worker members. The workers become full participating and voting members of the cooperative and they make all the important decisions for their corporation at the annual general meeting; for which they prepare thoroughly at a series of local meetings on work time. There are no minority millionaires because the whole society benefits from stable work and prosperous living conditions, which in turn enrich and elevate the entire society. How can this work?

Rule #1 – Workers together hire and fire and evaluate the efficiency of managers

Rule #2 – Best paid workers cannot earn more than 8 X the lowest wage. In practice it is 4.5 to 6 times at most.

It all began with a poor priest and a handful of his poor parishioners.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gPF4fCGO7c&fbclid=IwAR1ZPtymnIP_b2npKnVC0h1_dT-Wiy1d3V6iF_MRtaT5sMglF5Uik7Zav44

Here's a 35 minute interview to help us understand how the 120 coops of Mondragon Corporation and over 100,000 workers operate... in which workers participate cooperatively in management, innovation, and profits. 10% of profits is invested in education, 45% innovation & development of the corp & growing more coops, 45% to the workers but not in cash; rather in capital investment in the corporation which comes to them in retirement... fascinating.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bcNfbGxAdY&fbclid=IwAR2iYWLEofvPLeNl1BMZV7CW_lEjx_4RqJLLjfFYvMnD4UPpexXyVCqaMoI

Richard Wolff on Mondragon Cooperatives   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bcNfbGxAdY

This is not the only example of innovation and enterprise that puts human beings at the center of any business operation, thereby enriching workers and stabilizing and developing the whole society. There have been and continue to be others. Many believe that these alternative ways of bringing people together cooperatively for work and human development are the future of humanity and they can be seen in such imaginative fiction as the Star Trek universe. 

In our real world, Pope Francis has been writing and speaking about these issues, encouraging everyone to develop new business practices and new economics that do just that, put people at the center rather than profits. As Mondragon Corporation successfully shows, when we put people first and at the center, there will definitely be profits, but these profits will benefit everyone, not only a few, and the whole of society.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hope through resistance in the midst of troubled times

We are grieving the death and loss of a friend these days, one who in many ways went through hell these past several years. As we prepare for his funeral, my spirit has wandered far and wide among the travails of our times, and have stumbled upon some remarkable social commentators.

Could Venezuela's "social meltdown" happen to us?

First, I was shocked to see video clips of the profound meltdown experienced by the people of Venezuela. It seems that the cause of their trouble is primarily that their economy has been almost entirely based on their oil revenue; such that when the bottom fell out of the price of oil, so did that of their economy. What made things worse is that successive governments had promised and delivered extensive social programs and almost free gasoline, which in turn rendered much of the population more passive and receptive than active and productive. Infantalizing adults is never a good thing, as any parent with 30-year-olds who never left home sadly discover.

As I looked at those desperate people wandering the devastated streets in some sectors and the rich carrying on almost as normal; I could picture our own societies going through the same troubles without stretching the imagination too far. The question arises: why do we so often allow ourselves to become so passive and wait for government and other institutions to do for us what it is really up to us to do for ourselves?

What will happen to us, to our nation, to our world, in the next 100 years?

The next dot in this series of dots was an interview with Dr. George Friedman (Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Futures) ten years ago in 2009 on the topic of America's domination in the 21st century. He comments on how it is that the United States of America came to exercise such unparalleled influence in the world. Then he gave a conference at the World Government Summit in March 2017 to the United Arab Emirates, where he mourned the passing of the period which began in 1945 after the war period of 1914 to 1945. He declared "the end of the myth of two things: the belief that multilateral institutions will solve all of our problems if you get somebody from Harvard to manage it - it's more difficult than that - and secondly, do not look at the GDP but look at how the GDP is distributed, because that will tell you what your future will look like."

What's really going on?

In Boston last April long time MIT professor, historian and social critic Noam Chomsky gave an almost sympathetic explanation of why the western world economy is in such trouble, which means that ordinary citizens are in so much trouble. The CEO's of banks and large corporations are caught in the system which these entities make up, and they have no choice, really, but to make the decisions which the entities are designed to make, because if they don't, they will simply be replaced by someone else who will. Another observation he made is that whereas in the past Israel's 50-year policy of assimilating the West Bank was done more or less secretly, now with President Trump's support it is now being done in the open. Chomsky wonders what would happen if the U.S.A. were challenged to follow or keep its own laws internally and internationally, because until now the government has for the most part served unbridled capitalism. At least, that is what I take away from this lecture.

It's really up to us, whether we know it or not, do it or not

Next, I listened to a conference given by journalist and author Chris Hedges in January 2011 on the "Death of the Liberal Class", in which he talks about the "technocrats" that George Friedman talks about as well. Whereas our western society used to support liberal arts on university campuses in order to provide young adults with the opportunity and means to learn how to think, develop their social conscience, and explore ways to fashion life, work, and society with values; recent U.S. presidents have dismantled government regulation of corporate banking and business interests with the result that universities have become highly and narrowly specialized to serve the business world rather than life.

Health care for profit is only one example he cites of the ways in which public and private institutions can no longer be expected to support the rights of citizens individually or of the population of the nation as a whole. Those institutions in effect only serve themselves and those who own them. In "America: The Farewell Tour" Chris Hedges notes that if people are to continue to hope in the face of the increasingly harsh conditions of our time, the only way to go forward is for them to resist the control these institutions have over our lives and to resist any way we can in accord with our values. I take away that this means by way of non-violent resistance coupled together with personal initiative and responsibility.

It's okay to criticize capitalism after all - a talk at Google

A further dot in this fascinating series of dots was a talk given by Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Richard Wolff at Google in June 2017. Under the title "Democracy at Work: A Cure for Capitalism" he explains why thinking stagnated for 50 years in the U.S.A. in economics - it was because of the Cold War. In a collective need to oppose the Soviet Union, Americans felt it necessary to uncritically defend and promote capitalism as it was practiced in the West.

I was astonished to listen to and hear his review of Karl Marx's analysis of capitalism and realize that this is the first time I've heard an unbiased account of Marx. Until now I think I've only heard either communist interpretations of Marx or western condemnations of communist interpretations of Marx, but no unbiased understanding of Marx. The contrast, therefore, in economic theories, is between capitalists who are concerned with the price of things and Marx who prefers to begin with what could be called the pool of labor or of available workers and work time and energy.

What is called neoliberal economics is what has come to dominate western societies. Our version of capitalism is based on a free market economy that doesn't want government regulation, intervention, or ownership but leaves everything to the private sector. The problem for the citizen and the general population is that this version of capitalism has only one value, and that is profit. Jobs, the value of work and labor, public infrastructures, the common good, none of it matters or exists for this version of capitalism. In recent decades, U.S. presidents have legislated deregulation of industry and corporations, with the result that jobs have been exported and unemployment increased, along with the public debt. There are other ways of doing business.

Wolff cites examples of people who have begun successful businesses that from the beginning don't operate for the profit of small boards of directors or shareholders, as do all current capitalist corporations. Instead, from the ground up, these new enterprises are composed of people who come together to produce products or services entirely owned and operated by the workers themselves. They are not communists but democrats living in democratic countries, and they are doing so well that capitalist enterprises cannot compete with them. Such initiatives have been emerging since the 1950's but only now are they coming to light, because the taboo against "communism", "Marxism", and "socialism" as political systems is eroding and people are beginning to understand that it is possible to hold economic views of labor that are not political but favor workers.

One such enterprise in Spain has been so successful that it has become a huge conglomerate of small businesses owned and operated by workers - over 100,000 of them. These successful businesses that put people first, as Pope Francis has been promoting in his writings and teachings, operate on the basis of two simple rules.

Rule # 1. Workers together hire and fire all workers and evaluate the efficiency of managers.

Rule # 2. The highest paid worker cannot get more than 8 times than what is earned by the lowest paid worker.

These rules create a form of capitalism that puts people first, not unbridled profit and greed. It effectively eliminates the disparity we now have between rich and poor, as in most large corporations in which the small minority of people at the top and on the boards earn 350 times more than the lowest paid workers. Also, many of these corporations export their assets to tax havens outside the countries where they operate, putting the entire social burden for the maintenance of public infrastructures on the shoulders of the citizens who end up being doubly exploited in both earning less and in having to pay more taxes. Capitalist enterprises owned and operated by the workers do neither; they neither create inequality nor avoid their social responsibilities, but effectively bring wealth to everyone. American capitalism claims that benefits will "trickle down" from the top to everyone, but in reality, they don't.

Listening to these social commentators has been very enlightening, and like in the documentary "Tomorrow / Demain", they open the door and put on display amazing initiatives already being taken by people to address the crisis of our times.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Abortion - how has it come to this?

The way it once was and the way it is now

I recall being in grade school when, during Geography class, we learned that during the Greek Empire unwanted newborn babies were left out in the wilderness for the wild animals to take and eat them. My young spirit was terrified and shocked. That was in the 1950's.

It's all in the numbers

Since only 1980 worldwide there have been a reported 1.5 billion - that's 1,537,040,242 abortions - and counting... with over 17,244,307 this year alone so far.... Check the number of abortions for yourself at this link.

How has it come to this? It is estimated that had the world population continued to increase as it was in 1970, the world population today would be around 14 billion, or roughly twice what it is today at 7,708,602,806 and counting. The world population was estimated at 3,706,618,163 in 1970 which means that we have increased since then by around 4,001,984,643 people.

Let's look more closely at these big numbers. From an estimated 14 billion we could be today, based on the population of the world in 1970, and given that we are now 7,708,602,806 and counting, the difference - the number of people who have not come into our world - can be estimated at 6,291,397,194 people. If we subtract the reported number of abortions - 1,537,040,242 abortions - and counting, the difference in the reduction of births comes to 4,754,356,952 births that have not taken place.

1970 world population      3,706,618,163
2019 world population      7,708,602,806 
Growth                              4,001,984,643
2019 projection from 1970         14,000,000,000
2019 world population                 7,708,602,806 
Difference from today actual       6,291,397,194 people
Actual Growth since 1970           4,001,984,643
Projected growth since 1970     10,293,381,837

So, from 3.7 billion in 1970 we could have increased by 10.2 billion to 14 billion but only increased by 4 billion to 7.7 billion. Our increased 4 billion taken together with the projected difference of 6.2 billion souls, of these projected 10.2 billion new people there might have been today, 4 billion have actually been born, 1.5 have been reported killed by abortion; while another 4.7 billion have been avoided through some form of family planning. 

Taking into account all of these figures, that means that, simply by better managing their fertility, couples have reduced the number of their births. However, there have undoubtedly been more abortions than have been reported, simply due to the social taboos associated with having an abortion as well as the constellation of emotions women experience after having had an abortion or even in anticipation of having an abortion: regret, guilt, loss, grief, shame.... It may very well be, then, that since 1970 there have perhaps been as many as 2 to 3 billion abortions. If that is so, then the figures would look more like this.

1970 world population      3,706,618,163
Live births since 1970       4,001,984,643
Estimated abortions         2,500,000,000              Reported abortions          1,537,040,242
Reduction by planning      3,791,397,194                Reduction by planning     4,754,356,952

That means that, best case scenario, since 1970 for every 8 live births there have been 3 abortions and another 9 conceptions have been avoided, or, worst case scenario, for every 8 live births there may have been 5 abortions and another 7 conceptions would have been avoided.

However, this does not take into account the effects of employing contraceptive devices and drugs, some of which prevent fertilized ova from nesting or developing and which, in effect, are an early form of abortion. Given the aggressive marketing strategies of the network formed by big pharma multinationals and the widespread use worldwide of contraceptives on the one hand, and on the other hand, the pro abortion lobby groups; it is likely that of the total number of avoided live births - around 6.3 billion - probably less than 1 billion pregnancies may have been avoided by responsible parenting.

Estimated live births avoided since 1970                                                   6,291,397,194 people
Reported abortions                                                                                     1,537,040,242
Estimated unreported abortions                                                                 1,000,000,000
Estimated embryos destroyed by contraceptive interference                    3,000,000,000
Estimated conceptions avoided by responsible parenting                           754,356,952

So, how did we come to this?

We may no longer appear to be so barbaric as to leave, as the Greeks once did, our unwanted newborns out in the wilderness for wild animals to devour, but we are nowhere near being more enlightened. Our barbarism has simply acquired more sophisticated methods. 

As a modern society, we promote the widespread use of contraceptive devices and drugs - thereby profiting from those sales - and simultaneously encourage irresponsible sexual experimentation and expression without any serious promotion of genuine love in action, faithful relationships, openness to life, or trust in God. When unwanted pregnancies inevitably occur, we manipulate troubled pregnant women - often young and poor - into thinking that abortion is their desired solution, by concealing from them what an abortion actually does or what its effects will actually be.

A typical abortion procedure employs a powerful suction device that literally shreds the fetus into bloody pieces - modern imaging shows the fetus trying to escape the threat but failing - when the device doesn't cause damage to the woman's internal organs. There are regularly unreported deaths but they remain invisible due to the shame experienced by all those involved and the conspiracy of silence around the abortion industry. Check out the documentary "Blood Money - The Business of Abortion" Directed by David K. Kyle and narrated by Dr. Alveda King, niece of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. 

Men and women can obtain help as they try to deal with an unexpected pregnancy at one of the following sites. Campaign Life Coalition is unashamedly an advocate for life and you can be certain that they will help you explore all your options, knowing as they do through the accumulated experience of women especially, but also of men, that abortion is a decision and an act with grave consequences and that, once done, you cannot take back or undue; no matter how much you may regret it. There are also services across Canada that help you discover the intense need for adoption by infertile couples distressed in their inability to have children. 

Contrary to popular impressions, there is real help out there

Pregnancy Support Centers - hosted by Campaign Life Coalition in Canada
https://www.campaignlifecoalition.com/pregnancy-help

Canada Adopts - Canada's adoption meeting place
http://www.canadaadopts.com/adopting-in-canada/crisis-pregnancy-centres-canada/



We have allowed ourselves to be victimized by a worldwide program of disinformation

There are many more sites on the Internet, even in Canada, which give the impression they offer information and help in exploring options, but since they are open and committed to abortion as a viable solution, we do not recommend them. There has been, since 1970 worldwide, a very powerful lobby - backed by untold millions if not billions of dollars - that has effectively changed the culture around and understanding of abortion.

The actual horror of shredding a baby in the womb to bloody pieces has been covered up in a whole constellation of euphemisms designed to be attractive in appealing to our natural human inclination to favor our freedom. So such words are used to promote abortion as: product of conception, blob of tissue, choice, women's rights, reducing the embryo to simply a part of a woman's body, safe, problem free, clinical, sterile, confidential, no one has to know, and so on.

product of conception - yes, a pregnancy is the product or effect of conception, but it is also a human life. Once conception takes place, human experience assures us that a human being will result as inevitably as the sun rises each day. 

blob of tissue - There have been such remarkable advances in Biological Science that there is no doubt now that from the very first moment of conception - before that first fertilized cell even divides - that it is only one thing, one possibility, a human being. It contains everything it needs to grow and develop and become a fully grown baby ready to be born into this world. All it needs is a welcome nest and all the love that a mother and father can give.

choice - it is a choice to have an abortion, but it is also the murder of a defenseless human being most worthy of our welcome and protection.

women's rights - It is true that far too long women have been dominated and ill used by men and that they enjoy the full dignity of their humanity just as much as men do. We applaud the developments in our world that have brought women in most nations to enjoy more fully the rights and duties that come from their human dignity. 

part of her own body - While an embryo is "housed" within the hosting environment of a woman's uterus - which is designed to "nest" that dependent being until maturation and birth - the fetus is not part of her body because it is autonomous. The woman does not need the fetus in order to live, and the only thing that the fetus needs from its mother is nutrients. The fetus has its own independent systems which develop over time: heart and circulatory system, respiration, assimilation and digestion, and so on. The womb transfers nutrients to the embryo and in turn it eliminates waste through its umbilical cord to the mother's elimination system. It is a perfect design and a wonder of engineering. Even DNA tests reveal that the embryo is not identical to the mother but an independent and autonomous being existing in its own right and for its own sake. The fact that it is innocent and defenseless does not mean that it has no human dignity or rights.

safe - Given what an abortion actually entails - sucking an embryo out and shredding it in a bloody and violent process - no abortion is truly safe even for the mother, and certainly not for the baby, because it always results in the baby's death, a most horrible and violent death. 

problem free - Women who have problems with their abortion generally do not report it, either because they died as a result of the procedure, or because of the shame they experienced. Families are likewise in no position to boast about the fact that their wife, or daughter, or sister, or girlfriend was hurt or killed by the procedure. The abortion industry has shown itself to be very capable at hiding accidents and damages caused to women during an abortion procedure. See the documentary "Blood Money - The Business of Abortion". This industry is "self interested" in its claims that abortion is safe, because if the truth were fully known, women would think long and hard before taking such a risk with their own health and life, not to mention their baby, however unwanted it may be.

clinical, sterile - Since abortion was taken off the criminal code and legalized, it is true that abortions are often performed by medical doctors. The instruments used may or may not actually be sterilized after each use, but this takes 20 minutes to heat them up and longer to cool them down; so in practice, this step is often skipped (Cf. "Blood Money"). When the term "clinical" is employed in association with abortion procedures, it evokes the "safe" and "scientific" environment of a hospital, but unlike any hospital, abortion procedures are not designed to improve the health of either the baby or the mother. At the very least, the procedure will execute the baby in a very violent way. Even if there is no real damage to the woman's body, in her awareness of herself, she witnesses the violent destruction of what had been living within her. At the very least, she will be wounded in her self identity as a female human being capable of conceiving and bearing life. Many women after an abortion have trouble in the future with conceiving a second time. See the documentary "Blood Money - The Business of Abortion".

confidential - All those who favor and promote abortion as a solution to an unwanted pregnancy do so in denial of the violent reality which actually takes place in the course of an abortion, even one that is done in a "clinical" and "sterile" setting. Part of the strategy to persuade a woman to go through with the abortion is the promise that the procedure will remain "confidential", that is, that "no one needs to know about it". The only problem with this lie is that the woman herself will know. She will feel that little life sucked out of her, and the procedure will necessarily be experienced by her as invasive and disturbing. Apparently, no one will ever warn a pregnant woman about these very real risks and consequences. This is very disturbing, when you consider all the other warnings our society gives the general population about so many other things that are far less deadly or damaging. See the documentary "Blood Money - The Business of Abortion".

So, where does that leave us?

I am a Christian man, a Roman Catholic, and a priest. However, I am not the only one who is very concerned about all of these issues. It matters that children are being robbed of their innocence by being introduced too early to what we could call "the pleasures of sexual experimentation" without the truly human context that makes our human sexuality and fertility the blessing intended by God our Creator. Without that context of authentic human love and genuine family life, we end up with the mess in which we now find ourselves. Our culture unashamedly promotes "pleasure without consequences or responsibility" and the end result is that our society has become infanticidal.

The so-called "sexual revolution" of the 1960's has produced generations of children without fathers, women without husbands, men without families, mere children or adolescents having children, and adults with consciences troubled by the regrettable murder of their "unwanted children". The propaganda boasted that sexual freedom would make woman "like men" in their newfound ability to "enjoy sex". It was a lie because, unlike men, women are designed to conceive and bear life. There is no way for a woman to avoid her true nature as a female human being other than tearing out of herself all that makes her distinctively "woman".

We men are responsible for "hosting" this monstrous lie and for the devastating consequences that countless girls and women have suffered since then until now. It may have appeared to men to be an advantage for women to "be sexually liberated", but all it has meant is that men have found it easier to "have their way" with girls and women. Neither of us has truly gained, but we both have lost much. Women have surrendered their human dignity in allowing themselves to "be used" by men, and they continue to pay the price, and it is exorbitant.

Men have not fared any better. Whenever a boy or man "takes advantage" of a girl or woman, he is by the same token diminished in his own human dignity, because we have been designed to cultivate the earth and to protect and take care of others, not to exploit them. Much if not all of the tragedy and sadness of human history has been caused by men who abandoned their calling to cultivate the earth and to protect and take care of others.

The "bill" is very expensive

The end result of this so-called sexual revolution is the current crisis of manhood and of womanhood we now witness on planet Earth. Boys who grow up avoiding their responsibilities to care for others but instead exploit them turn into nothing more than "pirates", living without principle, dignity, or true goal. Girls who grow up trying to escape rather than enter into their full dignity as female human beings turn into nothing more that caricatures of "liberated men", trying to become like men instead of becoming who they truly are.

Our human fertility, instead of being a powerful capacity to be treasured and cultivated, becomes a problem to be treated as a sickness and medicated. We surrender to the temptation to "use" and "take pleasure" and avoid the challenge and the calling to "become someone" by truly caring for others.

Thanks be to God that He continues to care for us and love us, offering us fullness of life in love

You are not likely to read in the mass media, or even in much of social media, how woman and men are being restored by God to their full human dignity. It's true, and it's happening all around us. All over the Earth women and men who, either regretting an abortion or fearful of seeking an abortion, turn to God instead. When they turn to God with their whole being, they find in God the source of life and love. This is particularly true of Christians because of the way in which Jesus Christ revealed God to us more intimately and fully than ever before in human history.

At no time in any other religion has the one true God shown himself to be more committed to giving us life or restoring us to life when we were in danger of death or forgiving us for our sins and crimes and instilling in us a new life, a life transformed.

Roman Catholics, Eastern Rite Catholics, and Orthodox Christians are particularly blessed in that they can meet Jesus, the resurrected and living Lord, in the person of the priest through the encounter which we call Confession, or the Sacrament of Penance, or Reconciliation. When a believer confesses to a priest, it is Jesus himself who is there receiving their confession, and when the priest gives them absolution, it is Jesus himself who forgives them; just as He forgave sins while on Earth.

This experience of God's mercy forms us and opens up for us and within us a new capacity to receive the love, mercy, and forgiveness of God, and to go on to love God back in gratitude, and to turn around and love others better, because we finally become able - by the grace and divine action of God - to love ourselves authentically, that is, to live a new life in which we begin to assume the fullness of our human dignity as perfectly designed by the Creator of the Universe.

The most Holy Trinity does not work these wonders within us merely for our own sake, as good and true as this is, but also so that we might - as Saint Paul wrote - become ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) and share with the whole world this good news first brought to the Earth by Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary and Son of God the Father. It is the Holy Spirit, poured into us for the first time at Baptism, who empowers us to truly become and live as children of God (John 1:12-13) in the midst of a depraved generation. Philippians 2:14-15

So, please feel free to share this good news as widely as you can. If this page can help you get started, then please feel free to go ahead and share it. May every gesture you make in favor of life and out of love for your neighbor become an opportunity for God to abundantly bless you!

Christ is risen, alleluia! He is truly risen, alleluia!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forever and ever. Amen. Alleluia!