Is the visual ‘pop’ really gone?

Here’s the story; the other day Linda and I received our Ursuline Sisters magazine in the mail. The Ursulines have such a rich tradition of serving the needs of people in the Cleveland Diocese since 1850. However with a median age of 75 one wonders how long the sisters will be able to continue to minister in our diocese. This particular issue included an interview with Sr. Erin Zubal. At age 31 Sr. Zubal is the youngest Cleveland Ursuline. She is also Beaumont School’s athletic director. Sr. Zubal said that the number of sisters serving in schools today is far fewer and that they don’t wear habits. “Sisters don’t stand out in appearance,” she notes. “The visual ‘pop’ is gone. The ‘mystery’ of how we live is gone. Our lives are no longer hidden behind a wall, a convent door or a habit. We are living like everyone else, doing the best we can on behalf of the Gospel.” Sr. Zubal believes that the visual ‘pop’ of today’s Ursulines is apparent in the way that they serve mankind. She also believes that the Ursuline legacy will live on with or without Ursuline presence.

1382898_679189625433233_62936160_nHowever, we know of several women’s religious orders which still have the visual ‘pop’ of the habit. The women in these orders also do the best they can on behalf of the Gospel. They are in classrooms, food pantries, drug treatment facilities, and battered women’s shelters.. The big difference between the Ursulines and the orders which still have that visual ‘pop’ of the habit is that the ‘habited’ orders are flourishing. Can it be that simple? Can it be that the reason these orders are growing is because the women in these more orthodox orders wear the traditional habit, live in community – in monasteries or convents – and share time between communal prayer and community service? I’m not a theologian and may be wrong but in my opinion (for what it’s worth) I believe it goes deeper than the chosen dress of different orders. Ursuline President Sr. Susan Durkin gives what I think is a more plausible reason as to why the Ursulines are moving toward extinction. In the magazine she stated “Vowed religious life is undergoing a major change, and our Ursuline life is no exception. We are carefully reading the signs of the times and discerning what God is calling us to do and to be in our world today and in the future.” Like I said, I’m no theologian, however in my experience and from what I know about history, institutions that change with the times rarely survive. I believe that young people today are attracted to authentic, unmovable truth and not the shifting fashions and trends that slavishly follow the “signs of the times.”

Today’s younger generation have witnessed the societal carnage brought about by the seductive lies that my generation bought in the 60s and 70s which told us that we can live as we please without any consequences. Young people thirst for unchanging truth and radical love. The definition of the word radical includes ‘of or going to the root or origin; fundamental.’ G.K. Chesterton once said “People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.” The more society becomes secularized, the more radical these traditional orthodox orders become. During His public ministry Jesus was considered a radical, and I believe this is why young people are attracted to these radically traditional orders.The_Flying_Nun

So does the religious garb (visual ‘pop’) of these orders matter? I’ll finish with two stories which answer the question for me. Several years ago our family was visiting our oldest daughter who was doing missionary work with an order of Franciscan friars in the South Bronx in New York. One evening our family was walking with some of the Friars in an area that was probably not advisable to be in after dark if you were alone or unarmed. But as we passed one person after another in this rough area of the South Bronx we heard ‘hey Father, how ya doin?’ and ‘good to see ya, Father’ and ‘God bless ya, Father’ and so on. The Friars were immediately recognized as friend, helper, and advocate. And they were not armed with a kevlar vest and side arm, just a grey robe with a white rope tied around the waist, sandals and that awesome beard. At another time our family was walking on Coventry Blvd. in Cleveland Hts. with our oldest daughter who is a Franciscan Sister, TOR. The TORs wear the grey robe, white cord and sandals. It was summer and as we approached a group of young ladies I noticed that they all just kind of looked curiously at our daughter as they walked by. But one of the girls adjusted her skirt a bit so that it was a little less revealing.

Wasn’t it St. 21299_596674097018120_1108203257_nFrancis who said “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words?

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The Wonderful (and terribly misunderstood) Paradox of Catholicism

In my humble opinion “I WILL WAIT” by Mumford & Sons is one of the best love songs out there. It’s a powerful song about how a REAL man sacrifices and controls himself for… his beloved bride. My favorite line in the song goes like this;
In that line are the words “TETHERED” and “FREED” which represent the awesome Paradox of Catholicism. To tether someone means “To restrict with a tether” (rope or chain). To free someone means “To release or rid from tyranny, to untangle.” How can something that’s tethered be free? Doesn’t make sense, or does it? The world’s idea of freedom is that there should be no restrictions on me and that I should be able to do whatever I want. But as we know this only leads to the “tyranny” of sin, undesired consequences and heartache. In Her wisdom our Mother Church protects us with loving arms to keep us from harm; these loving arms are called Catholic doctrine and discipline. As long as we stay within the loving arms of our Mother Church we’re truly free to enjoy all the wonders of life, but if we push through our Mother’s arms we become entangled in things that hurt us because we are no longer “freed from the lies” of Satan. Make sense?
G.K. Chesterton said that “Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground” and inside these playground walls is where true freedom and authentic joy are found. The next time you’re near a playground with children playing listen for the laughter and screams of delight. Though the children are “tethered” by the playground fence, they are “freed” from the dangers of automobile traffic or abduction, so inside of those playground walls the children are free to be whoever they want, joy overflows and imagination runs WILD!
Enjoy the video; these guys really do kick some ass on stage.

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Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-Mad Madness.

Doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results, or demanding something that is harmful to us; madness or insanity. Why do we continually do this to ourselves? It’s been going on for t…housands of years, you’d think we’d have learned by now. We demanded to worship a freaking golden calf instead of the Author of Love (Ex.32). We demanded a king to enslave us instead of the Giver of authentic freedom (1Sam.6-22). We demand to absolve ourselves of any responsibility for any of our actions & enslave ourselves to inevitable consequences, “The Internal Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the World Health Organization classifies estrogen-progestin hormonal contraception as Group 1 Carcinogens. This group of cancer causing agents also includes cigarettes & asbestos.” So what, I demand to put this into my body! MADNESS!!
This video really has nothing to do with the previous words, cept the title & I like the song, also, Muse’s Matthew Bellamy hits some amazing notes.

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We Build Our Own Prisons

In 1982 Peter Gabriel released a solo album titled Security. On that album is a song called Wallflower, which is about the treatment of political prisoners in Latin America in the 1980s.  Gabriel chose that song to appear on his latest release, New Blood, where he sings with an orchestra. His phenomenal voice together with the haunting melody of that song make it incredible to experience.  Google the lyrics, read along, watch, listen & enjoy! 

To me the song parallels the self-imposed prison where many of us find ourselves today, particularly if we’ve fallen under the influence of ‘the world.’ Some of the lyrics from Wallflower are:

“They put you in a box so you can’t get heard,
They feed you lies
Loaded questions from clean white coats
They tell you how to behave.”

THEY put you in a box, THEY feed you lies, THEY tell you how to behave. Who the hell are THEY?  For the people in Latin America THEY are political thugs who imprison those who think differently than they do. However, for many people today in free, wealthy, industrialized nations, THEY are us: We who have departed from who we truly are, and who now espouse and follow a hedonistic ideology which places pleasure as the supreme good. An ideology which is easier, more seductive, and as old as humanity. We search for freedom down the wrong path while we build our own cages. Blessed John Paul II once said “The Ten Commandments are the law of freedom: not the freedom to follow our blind passions, but the freedom to love, to choose what is good in every situation, even when to do so is a burden.”      

There’s less resistance in following our blind passions, but we inevitably end up imprisoning ourselves. “Hedonism is not an expression of freedom, it is a passport to the enslavement of a thousand addictions” (Matthew Kelly).  For instance, we insist on the right to violate the sixth commandment so that we are “free” to have indiscriminant sexual encounters. But we then enslave our bodies to cancer causing hormonal contraceptives and mess up the environment. St. Vincent de Paul once said “He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature deserves to be called a beast rather than a man.”  Beasts belong in cages. 

But there is always hope, Gabriel sings, “Hold on, hold on…Let your spirit stay unbroken, may you not be deterred…They do not see your road to freedom, that you build with flesh and bone.”  John Paul II’s words dovetail beautifully with Gabriel’s. “Only his death and resurrection represent true liberation from evil and death.”  The road to freedom was already built with HIS flesh and bone. 

Life and Peace,
Rich & Linda

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Nobody’s perfect. Right?

Once upon a time there was (and still is) a Brilliant Creator.  This Brilliant Creator, otherwise known as BC, created many wonderful things, all of them “very good.”  BC had a conversation with two local news paper commentators named Rene Brueberg, otherwise known as RB and Carrie Smith, CS. Oh yes, the Evil One, EO, would chime in the conversation every now and then.  The conversation centered on the most magnificent and beautiful of BC’s creations, which are Human Beings, HBs.  This conversation took place many thousands of years after BC created his masterpiece.  BC, RB, and CS were all very concerned about the condition of HBs and the world in which they live.  With a few exceptions they all agreed on what the solutions should be to solve the problems plaguing HBs. The EO really didn’t care much.  In fact the EO was quite content with confusing rhetoric and clouded issues.  Anyway, the conversation went something like this.

BC to RB and CS:  My dear children, so many of my HBs are mired in moral confusion today.  I desperately need your help.  With your powerful voices you can reach so many of my beloved HBs.  Your stories of love and compassion, struggle and triumph are very encouraging.  But I need more from you.  To help save my beloved HBs I need you to go much deeper with a message of love so radical that, sadly, some will not accept it.  This message is our only hope.  For my HBs are like none other of my creations, so strong yet so frail, so insightful, yet so blind, capable of such unspeakable horrors, and at the same time of such unimaginable love and kindness.  The wellbeing and dignity of my HBs must take priority over everything in life.

CS: Even our reproductive freedom?

EO: A legitimate question my dear!

BC:  Yes my child, the entire world is at stake.

EO: Hogwash!

BC: You see when I created my precious HBs I gave them a set of loving parameters to keep them out of trouble and save them much heartache.  Sort of like an instruction manual on how to behave. I call it Natural Law, or NL.  Every HB instinctively knows about my NL, because I wrote it on their hearts.  Though some choose to ignore it, and that hurts me deeply.

EO: Wimp!

BC: I love my HBs so much that I gave them free will.  But because my two original HBs chose differently than I would have liked them to choose, things are not always as they should be.  So it is more important than ever to follow my NL. So important that I even sent my Only Begotten Son, OBS, to reiterate and clarify my NL.  Many HBs loved my OBS and took his words to heart.  Some HBs thought he was crazy, others were confused and frightened by his message.  And some HBs were so full of jealousy, hatred, and pride that they actually killed my OBS.  I love my OBS so much that they actually killed me as well.

EO: My kind of HBs!

RB: How can we help?

BC: My child, as you know my OBS gathered 12 HBs and gave them the command to spread my radical life-saving message to all people throughout the world.  We chose an ordinary working class HB named Peter to lead this rather simple band of HBs, though sadly one of them strayed.  After my OBS was killed he defeated death, returned to those imperfact HBs and gave them the Holy Spirit, HS.  Through the strength of us three as one, Myself, my OBS, and the HS, those 11 HBs started my church, MC.  They even died for MC. Today, HBs hear my voice, MV and that radical life-saving message through MC, but only if HBs want to. I don’t force MV on any HB.

RB: But BC, today many HBs claim that your church is in Rome and led by another HB who is the successor of Peter.  I don’t necessarily believe that. How can this HB have the ability  to speak for you?  How on earth can this HB in Rome possibly possess enough wisdom to know what’s best for HBs all over the world?  For me the real Church is in the pews, not inRome.

BC: My beautiful child, I am indeed in the hearts of each one of my HBs in the pews.  I am also in the hearts of those who are not in the pews, and in those who are in Synagogues, Mosques, thatched huts, huge mansions and behind prison walls.  But not all HBs listen to their hearts and many misunderstand MV. So MC is always there being MV and inviting all HBs to the table for spiritual nourishment and compassionate direction.

CS: Considering the circumstances I think that we HBs are doing a pretty decent job of getting by today.  I mean there’s always room for improvement, but I think that through our own intelligence we have done pretty well at interpreting your word and addressing some very pressing issues.

BC: My lovely child, all HBs are a part of me and I am in all HBs.  Nothing breaks my heart more than to see my precious HBs suffer.  There is too much suffering today, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Most of it is caused by HBs not listening to MV and disregarding my NL.  When my precious HBs make destructive choices it hurts me deeply, and part of me dies.  THAT DREADED DAY IN THE GARDEN!

EO: Ha!

BC:  You see my children, every kind of evil from the beginning of time is born out of a deliberate separation from me, for I am pure love.  This permits HBs to see themselves and other HBs as less than what I made them to be, which is the summit of my creation and the center of my love.  Every act of lust, deceit, greed, and cruelty, when done to a fellow HB, whether directed to one individual, or an entire race, stems from the fact that HBs have moved themselves so far out of my loving reach that they can no longer recognize their innate beauty and worth.

CS: HBs have always been cruel to each other throughout history.  But I think that today through the intelligence that you have given us we’ve evolved to the point where we HBs have been able to handle some of the most important situations pretty well ourselves.  I’m talking about major decisions like life and death.  I mean we HBs can also decide who should live and who should die, right?  You shouldn’t always be burdened with those important decisions.  So we’ve developed our own laws which permit us to make those decisions for ourselves.  That’s a step in the direction of a more compassionate society don’t you think? Don’t you think that humankind is wise enough to decide who should live and who should die?

EO: You go girl!

BC: (a large tear slowly begins to form in BC’s magnificent eye)   My dear Carrie, more than any other, that kind of reasoning has led to more misery and death than anything else. More wars fought, more starvation, disease, and death has been caused by that kind of reasoning.  Today in your self-proclaimed sophistication HBs have even managed to justify mass murder on a scale that dwarfs all wars throughout time.  World War III has been raging for almost 40 years with little attention.  A crime against humanity of this magnitude can only be perpetuated with the blessing of a society that has been decieved with the lie that HBs can be me. I hear the cries of all of my little ones, LOs.  I see their faces, I hear their screams.  I am with them in their secret hiding place as they struggle for shelter from medical instruments that were intended to heal and not to destroy.

CS: But BC, is it not important for HBs to have some control over their own bodies?  Are we not to be the Lord of even ourselves?

BC: My child, your laws have managed to turn the most precious dwelling place on earth into the most lethal. This has done great damage to HBs’ ability to truly recognize and appreciate the magnificence of my handiwork.  You’ve managed to cheapen human life to the point to where it is viewed as disposable.  When one of my LOs dies, it is as if a lance has pierced my heart.

EO: Give me a break!

CS: But BC, where have you been for the last 38 years?  Aren’t you aware that some of our brightest legal and political minds, by using the intelligence that you gave us, have already established that your LOs are not HBs?  They’re fetuses.  And as such, they really don’t deserve any human rights whatsoever.  Unless of course we deem them worthy.  So what’s the big deal?  Women are the gatekeepers of life, not you. I’m sorry BC but we can’t give up that right.  We’ve evolved too far, we can’t go backwards now.

EO: Way to be strong!  Hold your ground, don’t give in.

RB: I’m not really sure how I feel about all that.  I mean medical science has indeed proved that beyond a doubt your LOs are really HBs and that they are being destroyed at an alarming rate.  However I’m still kind of in the middle on that whole issue.

BC: I know my daughter. (another tear begins to form in BC’s eye)

RB: But I am sure that HBs should be able to tell you when we want you to be part of the act of creating another HB.  I realize that you are the Author of life and all but we should take some control of creation, right?  We’re intelligent enough to know when we want you to participate in the holy act of creating another HB and when you should just stay out of our human intimacy, even though you created it.

BC: My dear Rene, when HBs try to take my place and make themselves the author of life they unwittingly tamper with my wise design.  And they do so with great cultural consequences; economically, ecologically, biologically, and sociologically.  A mere eighty years ago MC predicted some of these very problems that plague society today as never before in human history.  MC voiced concerns back then and still today, but very few listen.

EO: I agree with Rene, why shouldn’t HBs be like you if they desire it?

CS: Speaking of cultural issues, I really take issue with people who are under the impression that you intended only male and female HBs to marry each other. Obviously you designed male and female HBs differently, but as long as we’re compassionate and loving people, what’s the big deal who marries whom?  Your OBS said absolutely nothing about this issue the entire 33 years that he was here.

BC: My child, if you believe in the Trinity than you would realize that my OBS and I had much to say about my plan for male and female relationships.  Because of that day in the Garden many things are not as they were intended to be.  All HBs are affected by sin, and all HBs are loved by me more than they realize.  Because of my NL most HBs possess the ability to distinguish right from wrong, between what pleases me and what hurts me, and between what is true and what is a lie.  But the choice is still theirs.  Some HBs carry a heavier cross than others.  But all HBs are called to struggle against what this world tells them and toward what I have written on their hearts.

CS: But why should people suffer if they don’t have to?  If another person makes me happy and enriches my life why does it make a difference who they are?

BC: My dear child, listen to these words;

“The tolerance that admits God as it were as a private opinion but refuses him the public domain, the reality of the world and of our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy.  But nowhere that the human being makes himself the one Lord of the world and owner of himself can justice exist.  There, it is only the desire for power and private interests that can prevail.” 

CS: Those are good words!

RB: I agree, who said them?

BC: MV fromRome.

RB:Rome!  I don’t know about that. .

CS: Are you crazy?  What on earth does that celibate old man in Rome know about human relationships?

BC: My precious daughters, my design and plan for the survival and salvation of the human race is perfect and complete.  It does not require adjustment from you.  Can you not see what the past 50 years of your misguided social experimentations have wrought?  Did you not hear and understand MV?  “Nowhere that the HB makes himself the one Lord of the world and owner of himself can justice exist…only the desire for power and private interests.” I beg you my children, abide in me.  I need your powerful voices desperately.  I love you.

CS:  You are certainly a Brilliant Creator, that’s for sure.  But we just thought that in the areas of love, marriage, life and death that you could use a bit of help from us.  I mean nobody’s prefect.  Right?

Life and Peace, Richard and Linda Ciarrone

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Babies, bonding, automobiles and crimes of passion

Babies, bonding, automobiles and crimes of passion

 Ever hear on the news or read in the paper about violence between live-in girlfriends and boyfriends? The stories are quit frequent. What pushes these ex-lovers to the point where they would actually do harm to each other? Sexual sin, fornication and adultery are nothing new. We’ve been pooh-poohing the sixth commandment forever, so we foolishly devise short-sighted solutions like contraception and abortion to help us legitimize such behavior. It is clear what this behavior and those solutions have done to our culture over the past four decades. God did not make up those commandments to take away our freedom; quite the contrary, when we listen to God’s “Natural Law” and behave within the protection of His loving arms, we become very liberated and free.Author Christopher West says that the “one flesh union” between husband and wife is so powerful that it parallels the relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Because between the Father and the Son there is so much love, out of this proceeds the Holy Spirit. So it is between husband and wife during the marital embrace. For out of this act is the possibility of
another life. Author Dr. Janet Smith says that God also intended the one flesh union to securely bond husband and wife to better withstand life’s inevitable tribulations. In 1960 a young priest named Fr. Karol Wojtyla, better known as John Paul II, wrote in his incredible book Love and Responsibility that the one flesh union contributes to the “durability and cohesiveness” of the marriage.Having a better understanding of ourselves through Natural Law, it is very easy to see why people behave as they do. God intended the one flesh union to be exclusive between husband and wife. It is a wonderful, powerful and holy gift from our Eternal Lover. It gives married people intense physical pleasure, provides for security in marriage and allows us to participate in the creation of another human being. Can there be any question as to why there are so many relationship problems when we treat this wonderful gift as anything less than what it was intended?

When we treat one another as automobiles instead of magnificent creations of God, taking each other out for ‘test drives’ in bed and then returning the models that we’re not happy with, we’re gonna have problems.
Life and Peace,
Richard and Linda Ciarrone
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Do You Live on a Safe Street?

The song ‘Where the streets have no name’ by U2 is on my top five list of all time favorites. Every time I hear that elongated organ intro by Brian Eno my (remaining) hair stands on end, I get goose bumps and am compelled to crank the volume to ear-splitting decibel levels much to the chagrin of my lovely wife who is already annoyed by my high frequency hearing loss.

There are many varied opinions about the meaning of this song’s lyrics. For me the song gives us a brief glimpse into heaven, what it will be like when we get there, and enduring the struggle here on earth in the meantime: “I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside / I want to reach out and touch the flame / Where the streets have no name…feel the sunlight on my face.” (We northeast Ohioans can relate to that line after a long cold winter.)

But I also heard that that song is about Ireland, in particular Northern Ireland. (Watch the music video & turn it WAY UP, it’s KILLER! Bono is simply phenomenal, such a strong, pure voice.) The cities in this region are divided by rich, poor, Catholic, Protestant, etc. By knowing the street on which a person resides you can tell their religion, wealth, and beliefs, which makes it easy to form an opinion about others before actually meeting them. So if we can imagine a place ‘where the streets have no name,’ there will be no pre-judging one another by where we reside. We will all be loved and valued simply because of who we are and not because of where we live. Being loved simply because of who we are is the most fundamental need of every human being.

Prejudice can take many forms. At times we may make judgments about people based on their appearance, skin tone, weight, scent, accent, income, immigration status, the car they drive, religious views, or place of residence, as the song insinuates. If, for instance, we know that a person lives in a poor section of town, we may have some preconceived notion of their worth and we may even go as far as to believe that they are of lesser value or expendable. When I think of people who are thought of as disposable because of their place of residence, I immediately think of those who reside in prison on death row, in a nursing home, between two countries’ borders, in a medical lab, or in the womb, which reminds me of another line in the song that goes, “I want to take shelter from the poison rain.” These could be the words from a death row inmate or elderly person referring to the “poison rain’ of the intravenous solution that is used to terminate their lives, or perhaps from a child in utero, struggling to take shelter from the “poison rain” droplets of the concentrated salt solution that is used to burn their new young bodies into non-existence. I think it odd that our nation, and indeed much of the world, would view these individuals’ lives as disposable simply because their place of residence. If you happen to reside on Undocumented Alien Drive, Death Row Inmate Lane, Unborn Avenue, Human Embryo Street, or Nursing Home Patient Road, then your fate is precarious at best, left to the whim of a fallen and fallible human race, the ebb and flow of our ever-changing conscious, and the shifting norms of political correctness. What a crummy position to be in! Listen to this excerpt from Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois who recently signed Senate Bill 3539 which abolishes the death penalty in Illinois:

“The evidence presented to me by former prosecutors and judges with decades of experience in the criminal justice system has convinced me that it is impossible to devise a system that is consistent, that is free of discrimination on the basis of race, geography or economic circumstance, and that always gets it right. As a state, we cannot tolerate the executions of innocent people because such actions strike at the very legitimacy of a government. Since 1977, Illinois has seen 20 people exonerated from death row. Seven of those were exonerated since the moratorium was imposed in 2000. That is a record that should trouble us all.”

Please take the time to read the governor’s entire statement, it is very compelling.

It is indeed concerning when the prevailing attitude is to put to death a fellow human being who is already in prison, removed from society where he can do no more harm. We deprive this person from the chance of repentance. We have the means of keeping an elderly person who is in her twilight years comfortable until God calls her home instead of us making that call. We play God by making ourselves the arbiter of life and death in the medical lab as we create little human beings then casually decide who lives and who dies. We view the undocumented alien as a virus to be eradicated instead of viewing him as a person. “His irregular status cannot allow the migrant to lose his dignity, since he is endowed with inalienable rights, which can neither be violated nor ignored…Illegal immigration should be prevented, but it is also essential to combat vigorously the criminal activities which exploit illegal immigrants.” (John Paul II, World Migration Day, July 25, 1995).

Sadly this assigning a value on people according to where they reside has even corrupted our attitude toward the most innocent and vulnerable in our society. On January 17, 2010, Deacon Stephen Najarian, M.D., of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, gave a homily at St. Charles Borromeo on how our callous disregard for the sacredness and holiness of human sexuality have lead to a disposable attitude toward the most precious gift from God. He stated, “Children, then, are seen as mistakes, a problem, the unintended consequence of failed contraception, instead of the natural fruit of love. And so abortion becomes an easy solution.” Of course, not everyone is of the opinion that a child could be considered a mistake, easily disposed of simply because of his or her short, nine-month residency on the only street in the world (Unborn Ave.) where a person has no voice and absolutely zero rights. Sadly though, some highly visible, important, and influential people do:

“Look, I got two daughters – 9 years old and 6 years old – I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby. I don’t want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn’t make sense to not give them information.” Senator Barak Obama in a Johnstown, PA. town hall meeting. 29 March 2008

Killing an already incarcerated human being who can do no more harm, deciding that an older person who is confined to a bed no longer deserves to live, or comparing a child to an STD, referring to them as a punishment, or viewing them as disposable because of where they reside, would seem to be unthinkable. The fact that we reside in prison, in the nursing home, in the medical lab, in the womb, or between two countries’ borders should not mean that we forfeit our inherent dignity from God and become non-persons.

But there is hope! “The sacredness of the human person cannot be obliterated, no matter how often it is devalued and violated, because it has its unshakable foundation in God as Creator and Father,” said John Paul II. Also many young people do not buy so easily into the current culture of death and slowly but surely expose the costliest lie in human history as we struggle toward a more humane society for all people, especially the most helpless who happen to reside at the ‘bookends’ of life, or those somewhere in the middle confined by prison walls or between two countries’ borders.

“I’ll show you a place with no sorrow or pain / Where the streets have no name.”

Life and Peace, Richard and Linda Ciarrone

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