Friday, December 06, 2013

This is taken from Zenit:

Population Control and the Elephant in the Room
Slowing Population Growth Will Have Grave Consequences, Warns Pro-Life Expert
By Joseph Meaney
ROME, November 28, 2013 ( - I am amazed at the sheer audacity and persistence of the population control crowd.
Since the 1960s, they have given a single answer to every major social issue encountered. Hunger? Population control. Poverty? Population control. Racial/Religious conflicts? Population control. Communism? Population control. Women’s rights? Population control. Ecological problems? Population control. And on and on. How could powerful leaders and nations be duped by such an asinine proposal?
As the old proverb goes, “Be careful of what you wish for, you might get it!” After decades of unrelenting contraception, sterilization, and abortion at the cost of billions and billions of dollars — and several billion lives killed and prevented from coming into being — world population growth has slowed so much that its peak and decline is in sight. The United Nations’ estimated world fertility rate is currently 2.36 children per woman, the result of constant declines since 1965. Global estimates, however, mask a wide diversity of regional and local realities. Europe as a whole averages a total fertility rate (TFR) of only 1.6 children per woman while Africa remains dynamic with 4.5 on average.
Among 224 sovereign states and dependent territories, 112 have TFRs below 2.1, including two out of the three most populous nations in the world: China (1.55) and the USA (2.06). The most recent economic recession actually pushed the U.S. TFR down to below 1.9. The 2.1 TFR statistic is widely used as a proxy for the minimum fertility rate needed to prevent population decline absent immigration/emigration, hence the phrase replacement fertility. This is only true, however, for countries with extremely low mortality due to peaceful conditions and advanced health care systems. The poorest nations of the world can require 3 children per woman just to stave off depopulation. This explains why world population growth is slowing dramatically with a world fertility rate at 2.36 and dropping.
The other major factor putting the brakes on population growth is the slowing ofincreases in life-expectancy. People living longer on average than ever in history and the post World War II Baby Boom contributed much of the population surge of the latter half of the 20th century. Population expert Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt often uses a simple phrase to describe the world demographic situation: “Population did not boom because people suddenly started breeding like rabbits, but rather because they stopped dying like flies.” As societies have started aging, in some countries dramatically, mortality rates are inexorably catching up. Working populations in industrialized nations are graying in what has been called the Silver Tsunami, reflecting the fact that Japan is the most geriatric society in the world. Look at the economic performance over the last couple of decades of the once world leader Japan. It is not a pretty picture.
There is an elephant in the room that is hardly talked about. As the Baby Boom generation begins to retire expecting pension and social program payments in the golden years, the younger generation entering the workforce is not going to be up to the task of earning those funds. The post-1973 and Roe v. Wade U.S. generation has had well over a million children aborted out of it every year. One must add to this those never born due to sterilization and contraception. All the while the population demagogues have shouted their encouragement from the rooftops and successfully garnered funds to spread the “blessings” of population control worldwide.
Paul Ehrlich, who wrote The Population Bomb in the 1960s, is 81 years old now. Both he and Lester Brown, 79, of the Worldwatch Institute, will probably not be around much longer to taste the bitter fruits from the hysteria they promoted. Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, will certainly be with us for a while yet. This multinational “non-profit” rakes in over a billion dollars a year in the USA alone. A shocking 45% of that money comes from government entities, and therefore out of the pockets of the American tax payer. They are the largest abortion providing institution in the United States and should be called to account for their active role in the worldwide artificially created population disaster that is looming.
It is a truism that birthrates have the turning radius of a battleship, not a go-kart as Jonathan Last said in his recent book What to Expect When No One is Expecting. There is an incredible urgency to promote pro-child and pro-family measures and to stop those who are feverishly digging us ever deeper into this birth-dearth hole. Pro-lifers can say this quite altruistically since it mainly is the liberal segment of the U.S. population and in other rich countries that is aborting and contracepting itself into oblivion.
Feminists, at least those who truly prioritize defending women, should also enter the fight against population control. Innumerable human rights violations, mainly committed against women, have gone on for decades with coerced abortions, sterilization, and contraception as a sad fact of life in many places, most notoriously in Communist China. Population control policies and new sex determination technologies have fueled the worldwide sex selection abortion crisis. Millions of baby girls have been aborted simply because their parents found out they were female.
The world is indeed in a sorry state, but it will only get worse until the elephant in the room of missing and wounded people is acknowledged and addressed.
Joseph Meaney is the international coordination director at Human Life International. This article is published by kind permission of HLI's Truth and Charity Forum.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Our youngest child is wonderful.  He is nine, but is not 'normal' for his age.

He is just about to finish grade two.  He has an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which means some or all of his work is modified so he can do it.

We have four other children, all adults now.  They're a smart, talented bunch and are now making their ways into the adult stream of things.  Our little man will be charting a different path, it seems.

It is a hard thing to know when to push and went to leave things alone with him.  In some ways he seems non-exceptional.  He's known for a long time that we don't always understand what he's saying.  He has for years been able to compensate for our lack of initial understanding.  He has figured out many ways to get us to understand him.

Interestingly, now that he's in school and getting lots of help, we have more episodes of frustration on his part.  I can't say whether it's because he is being trained away from his natural methods of compensation, or if it's because he's trying things that are more complex and just hasn't got all the bugs worked out.

I think every parent has some anxieties about the futures of their children.  Having a child with a handicap multiplies and intensifies the anxieties.  Will communication difficulties prevent him from telling us things we should know?  Will his friendly nature lead him into unfriendly situations?  But really...don't other "normal" kids have these issues too?

Almost a year ago, our "stick-handler" (who is actually known as a coordinator of services) told us that we needed to start thinking about how Aaron will be cared for when he's an adult.  My first thought was that I just wanted him to get into grade two!  But of course the stick-handler is correct.  With other children, it is assumed that at some point they will be on their own.  With our youngest, we cannot assume that he will be able to reach this level.  Will he live with a sibling?  A group home?  Might he be able to live alone?

There was another mother, a very long time ago now, who had a very unusual Son.  I wonder if I might call on her for some advice?  She has some powerful connections!

Our son has a fascination with Bible stories.  It is because of his interest that I now know the Old Testament as well as I do (albeit in very simple language!).  I am actually beginning to know the chronology of the Hebrew Scriptures.  And I am seeing it with the simplicity of a child.  The Old Testament has more than its share of adventures and destruction in it, which suits our little man just fine.  He is definitely a "crash 'em up" sort of kid.  I only hope that he sees Scripture as more than make-believe.  On some level I am sure that he does.

Our little fellow has already received his First Communion.  He was with, or even a little ahead, of his age peers.  I was nervous about all this.  As a catechist who tries hard to follow Church teaching at all time, I did not want things made easier for our son just because of his handicap.  Although I was fairly certain he understood (as well as anyone CAN understand) the Eucharist, I was worried about his First Reconciliation, which I was not willing to allow him to skip.  I shouldn't have worried about our son's speech impairment.  Our priest, who did not have English as his first language, took the unusual step of asking me to come to our son's "translate" if need be.  That was the only time we needed to do this.

Now, since our son received his First Communion, it seemed like his behaviour deteriorated to the point where I was ready to have him stop receiving.  A priest counselled me otherwise.  As long as Our Lord is in fact being consumed (and we make sure that He is!) that God can apparently account for the foibles of little boys.  In a way this is comforting to me, as it makes our son normal for just a bit!  So we just watch.

Days are busy and fly by so fast.  So often I wonder if I've prayed enough.  It is not just our disabled son who needs prayer, but all of our children.  Frequently.  Constantly.

But no guilt, right?  I smile as I write that.  No one ever prays enough for anyone, I'm sure.

Our disabled children are a gift.  We need to understand that.  We need to humble ourselves, relax ourselves enough to receive, even if we do not always feel, the gift.  Just as parents are to help their children reach sanctity, so do our children help us.

Talking with other Catholic parents of variously intellectually disabled children it is so wonderful to see the effect an unusual child has on the family.  Parents who are accustomed to communicating with bright children are suddenly stumped.  This child CANNOT understand in the the way our other children understand.  It is a whole different game plan.  The parents cannot rely on the pat responses to situation.  If a standard-issue child needs something repeated 47 times to allow them to learn, a disabled child may need to have the same thing repeated 147 times...or it just might be beyond them.  And we must learn patience.  If we cannot master patience in ourselves, we must be humble enough to ask for help.

Children are all precious.  Children outside the usual are even more precious because of their vulnerability. They are the hot-house orchids among the roses.  God, give us what we need to tend them well. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pope Francis has been pope for what, four months now?

Another Canadian blogger referred to him as "confounding".  That word perfectly describes my feelings toward the Pope, too.

Pope Francis becoming fodder for blogs and homilies.  His style is so markedly different from that of Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV that comparisons are nearly impossible to avoid.  Those comparisons also occurred between Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II.

It distresses me that so many see the papacies of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis as an either/or situation.

They are two different men with two different backgrounds and styles.  We could add Pope JPII in there and make it three.

All of the popes I recollect (and that number is growing!) have been different in styles and all, perhaps excepting John Paul I have weathered some sort of critical situation.  All have managed to seriously annoy some quarter of the population, Catholic or otherwise.

We must either trust that the Holy Spirit knows what it's doing or we don't.

Pope Francis is the Pope.  So was Benedict.  They will or have done fantastic things and have or will probably commit some very human screw-ups.

We have a very limited part of the "Big Picture" available to us, due to our ages, backgrounds, linguistic limitations and prejudices of some sort or another.

I really think we need to remember that when we make comments about what this or that pope said or did. We must also remember how selective the media can be.  Pictures of Pope Francis doing this or that treat the situations as something novel.  Frequently all that is novel is that Pope Francis is doing them, but what is implied is that Pope Francis is doing something that Pope Benedict did not, such as hugging a handicapped person.

We must remember to be charitable and to remember that there are many things we do not know about what is going on with any Pope, and within the spiritual realm in which they spend so much of their time and energy.

We must be humble as they are humble.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

First, allow me to apologize for the long absence I have taken from writing anything myself.  Life called.
I have been working for the past year and a half at a dry cleaner's, which left me little time or energy for writing.

Now, I must elbow my way past my husband, who has made himself quite at home on my computer.  I also notice that the format for blogger has changed somewhat, so we will see how this all turns out.

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi...The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  Today we celebrate the gift that God has made to us in the Eucharist...the Body and Blood of Christ.

The gospel reading was the story of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.  This story appears in all four of the gospels, which might just be a clue to its importance.  That the story of this miracle of Jesus' is read for Corpus Christi points to its being a "type" of the Eucharist.  This means that the story prefigures the actual gift of the Eucharist to us.  It's a sign.

For my last year of high-school, I had moved back to an area with low population of Catholics relative to its population of evangelical Protestants.  Having spent the previous three years in a Catholic school, this proved a shock to the system.  One weekend I spent at a Protestant youth retreat.  I remember someone questioning me about Catholic belief that Christ is fully present, Body and Blood, in the Eucharistic host.  She said "You must think He has an awfully big body!".  With no thought of my own, I blurted out "Loaves and fishes."  Both of the girls I was talking with became pensive.  I thought to myself "What a dumb thing for me to say!" Years later, I understood that what I had said was not dumb at all.  By multiplying the loaves and fishes for the gathered crowd, Jesus foreshadowed what He would do for us with His own Body and Blood.

The reflection on the gospel we heard today brought out another thought regarding miracles in general.  We were reminded that a lot of work, human work, was associated with the miracle performed by Jesus.  The apostles found the boy with the loaves and fish.  Then the throng of more than 5000 people was divided into groups of 50.  Jesus performed the miracle.  We are not told just how many actually noticed what was happening.  The food was distributed.  After the people ate, the leftovers were collected.

How many noticed the miracle?  With all the work we do in our lives, do we notice the miracles which God still performs for us?

To draw the reflection back to today's solemnity, I think we can point directly to the Most Holy Eucharist.  Do we realize what a miracle it is?  That little papery looking host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.

Do we notice this miracle?