Monday, February 18, 2008

Gallery of Pro-Life Images and Graphics

I'm working on a gallery of pro-life images to make available online. These images are published in a private collection on Flickr. If you would like to access them, please email me and I will send you an invitation to join the gallery group. Email me at this address:
info AT votelifecanada DOT ca

It's a fairly simple process if you have any interest in these sorts of images.

I will be building the gallery on a regular basis, especially over the next week or two.

If others who join the group would like to add quality images to the gallery please let me know after joining the group. It would make a good resource for the pro-life movement.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Vote Life, Canada! Project Suspended

Unfortunately, the work of Vote Life, Canada! has been suspended, effective immediately, due chiefly to a serious lack of funding.

Its future remains uncertain, although this blog and the official website will continue to be accessible. It is possible that there may be some future postings on this blog from time to time, depending on circumstances.

I have already thanked my small base of faithful and ardent sponsors for all their past expressions of support and I now say thank you to all the other individuals and groups who have offered words of encouragement along the way.

I close with this reminder to the faithful,

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not requite man according to his work?
Proverbs 24:11-12.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pope Says Prayer Is The Engine Of The World

In yesterday evening's Ash Wednesday homily, the Pope reminded the world of its power source and noted that Lent was a journey of conversion calling out to all believers.


Pope on Ash Wednesday: prayer is "engine of the world"

ROME, February 7 (CNA).-Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday distributed ashes at the ancient Church of Santa Sabina on the Aventine hill in Rome. In his homily at the austere 1,500 year-old church, Vatican Radio reports that the Pope called prayer a "dialogue with God" and the "engine of the world." He also reminded Catholics that Lent is a journey of conversion that invites all believers to prayer, penitence, and fasting.

Pope Benedict said that Christ's prayer on the Cross, "shows us a person abandoned by all entrusts himself completely in God."

"Lent teaches us to experience God as the only anchor of Salvation," he said.

The Pope continued, saying that "true prayer is a dialogue with God, and without this our interior dialogue becomes a monologue, giving rise to thousands of self-justifications. Prayer, therefore, is a guarantee of being open to others. True prayer is the engine of the world, because it keeps us open to God. Without prayer, there is not hope, just illusion, which induces us to escape from reality".

The Pope called prayer, fasting, and almsgiving "places of learning and [the] practice of Christian hope." He said the three activities are inseparable, nourishing each other and bearing fruit when practiced together.

Addressing the topic of suffering, Pope Benedict said that Jesus suffered for truth and justice, revealing the Gospel of Suffering as the other side of the Gospel of Love.

The Pope said all men could take part in this "Gospel of Suffering," saying, "The greater the hope is that animates us, the greater also is the capacity to suffer for truth, love, and goodness,"

"We should offer up the small and great trials of our daily existence and insert them into the great compassion of Christ," Pope Benedict said.

Ashes have been distributed at the Church of Santa Sabina for more than 1,500 years.


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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Abortion Changes You: A New Outreach Soon To Be Launched

According to Julie at Happy Catholic, there’s a new outreach that will be launching nationally in a few months. Abortion Changes You looks very interesting. Go explore the site.


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Graphics for International Day of the Unborn Child 2008

For any pro-life individuals, bloggers or organizations who might be looking for a graphic in order to highlight celebrations of the upcoming International Day of the Unborn Child, please feel free to use the images created by Vote Life, Canada!

Higher resolution copies, as well as thumbnails are available on Flickr. Click here.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Spanish Bishops Release Statement about Voting in Elections

According to the CNA news report, there’s really nothing new here in what the Catholic Bishops stated but it was extremely important to restate it before the elections for the sake of the faithful. Hopefully, what the Spanish Bishops intend to “offer” in the way of considerations that encourage responsible voting will unequivocally reflect the truth of Catholic doctrine, particularly with respect to the sacredness of human life.

I trust that it will NOT be a confusing disaster similar to the recent USCCB document “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”.


Spanish bishops: Vote "no" for policies against the faith

Madrid, Jan 31, 2008 / 06:59 pm (CNA).- The Executive Committee of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference has issued a statement in view of the upcoming general elections reminding Catholics that while they can belong or support different political parties, some policies are incompatible with Christian teachings and therefore should not be supported.

In view of the March 9 elections, the bishops said they were offering “to Catholics and all those who wish to listen to some considerations that encourage responsible voting.” “We speak as pastors of the Church who have the duty and the right to guide the moral discernment that is necessary when making decisions that will contribute to the full recognition of the fundamental rights of all and the promotion of the common good,” they stated.

The bishops expressed their respect for “those who see things differently,” but they called for “freedom and respect for freely proposing our way of seeing things, without anybody feeling threatened or without our comments being interpreted as an offense or a danger to the freedom of others.”

“While it is true that Catholics can support different parties and be active in them,” they added, “it is also true that not all policies are equally compatible with the faith and the demands of the Christian life, nor are they equally close and proportionate to the objectives and values that Christians should promote in public life.”

For this reason, “Catholics and citizens who wish to act responsibly, before casting their vote in favor of a particular proposal, should evaluate the different political options, keeping in mind the appreciation that each party, each policy and each leader gives to the moral dimension of life,” the bishops said.

“The State’s neutrality on religion or secular nature should not be confused with a moral disconnect and the extinction of objective moral obligations,” the bishops continued. “In saying this we are not pretending to submit government leaders to Catholic moral criteria. But we are asking them to abide by the common moral denominator founded upon reason and upon the historical experience of each nation.”

The bishops recalled that “it is not just to try to artificially construct a society without religious references, [making it] exclusively worldly, without worship of God or any aspiration for eternal life.”

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God, Moral Judgment, and the Death Penalty

I have a question. Why did philosopher and Nobel Prize winner Albert Camus note, about seventy years ago in his observations about capital punishment, that the Catholic Church "has always accepted the necessity of the death penalty?”

It seems very odd indeed to me that there is such clamour today for the abolition of the death penalty on a worldwide scale yet a virtual apathy and indifference, if not outright advocacy, by the same parties regarding the death penalty inflicted upon the Unborn.

What complicates the issue even more are the recent campaigns against capital punishment by the highest levels of religious leadership in the world, including most prominently by the late Pope John Paul II. There’s been great controversy over this trend, especially considering that the Catholic Church presents the view of unchanging and infallible truth in its teaching pronouncements over the centuries.

Dr. Albert Mohler has a blog entry from this week which addresses some aspects of this controversy. I find it intriguing.


God, Moral Judgment, and the Death Penalty

In a fascinating new look at capital punishment, Professor Walter Berns of Georgetown University argues that support of the death penalty is tied to belief in God. He documents the link between secularization and declining support for capital punishment.

In "Religion and the Death Penalty," published in The Weekly Standard, Berns begins by observing that the best case for the death penalty "was made, paradoxically, by one of the most famous of its opponents, Albert Camus, the French novelist." Indeed, in opposing the death penalty Camus seems to have grasped what others had missed.

As Professor Berns explains:

The death penalty, he said, "can be legitimized only by a truth or a principle that is superior to man," or, as he then made clearer, it may rightly be imposed only by a religious society or community; specifically, one that believes in "eternal life." Only in such a place can it be said that the death sentence provides the guilty person with the opportunity (and reminds him of the reason) to make amends, thus to prepare himself for the final judgment which will be made in the world to come. For this reason, he said, the Catholic church "has always accepted the necessity of the death penalty." This may no longer be the case. And it may no longer be the case that death is, as Camus said it has always been, a religious penalty. But it can be said that the death penalty is more likely to be imposed by a religious people.


The reasons for this are not obvious. It may be that the religious know what evil is or, at least, that it is, and, unlike the irreligious, are not so ready to believe that evil can be explained, and thereby excused, by a history of child abuse or, say, a "post-traumatic stress disorder" or a "temporal lobe seizure." Or, again unlike the irreligious, and probably without having read so much as a word of his argument, they may be morally disposed (or better, predisposed) to agree with the philosopher Immanuel Kant--that greatest of the moralists--who said it was a "categorical imperative" that a convicted murderer "must die." Or perhaps the religious are simply quicker to anger and, while instructed to do otherwise, slower, even unwilling, to forgive. In a word, they are more likely to demand that justice be done. Whatever the reason, there is surely a connection between the death penalty and religious belief.

Berns then turns to consider the contrast between attitudes toward the death penalty in the United States and Europe. The contrasts are both obvious and instructive. Secular Europe is now on something of a global crusade against the death penalty. In the United States, high rates of church-going are matched to a high level of support for the death penalty.

As Berns explains, this has not escaped European attention. "European politicians and journalists recognize or acknowledge the connection, if only inadvertently, when they simultaneously despise us Americans for supporting the death penalty and ridicule us for going to church." Berns documents the depth of European secularity -- only about 4 percent of Germans attend church weekly, and in other major European nations the percentages are often even lower. In the end, Berns argues that Europe has lost a passion for punishment -- even respect for a structure of moral law.

He then offers a cogent observation:

A world so lacking in passion lacks the necessary components of punishment. Punishment has its origins in the demand for justice, and justice is demanded by angry, morally indignant men, men who are angry when someone else is robbed, raped, or murdered, men utterly unlike Camus's Meursault. This anger is an expression of their caring, and the just society needs citizens who care for each other, and for the community of which they are parts. One of the purposes of punishment, particularly capital punishment, is to recognize the legitimacy of that righteous anger and to satisfy and thereby to reward it. In this way, the death penalty, when duly or deliberately imposed, serves to strengthen the moral sentiments required by a self-governing community.

Professor Berns offers genuine insight and understanding in this argument. Indeed, I think his argument is even larger than the death penalty in its application. The absence of God -- and thus the absence of a transcendent standard of judgment and morality -- inevitably weakens all moral judgment. This certainly applies in the case of the death penalty, but it must also apply in other cases as well. When a transcendent standard of judgment and value disappears, the regime of therapy remains. Crime becomes anti-social behavior, wrong-doing becomes a syndrome, and moral judgment is endlessly hesitant and constantly renegotiated.

Secularism transforms a society. Professor Walter Berns understands that one of the apparent consequences of secularism is the difficulty of making hard moral judgments -- the kind of hard judgment needed for the most evil of crimes.


[image source]

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