Category Archives: Consistent Ethic of Life

Asking the right questions: euthanasia


-personal physician to Adolf Hitler, Karl Brandt, director of the Euthanasia Program. August 27, 1942


-Friederich Menneke, Nazi euthanasia program physician

-Holocaust Encyclopedia

Aktion T4 – Nazi euthanasia program

“The Euthanasia Program was Nazi Germany’s first program of mass murder. It predated the genocide of European Jewry (the Holocaust) by approximately two years. The program was one of many radical eugenic measures which aimed to restore the racial “integrity” of the German nation. It aimed to eliminate what eugenicists and their supporters considered “life unworthy of life”: those individuals who—they believed—because of severe psychiatric, neurological, or physical disabilities represented both a genetic and a financial burden on German society and the state.

Child “Euthanasia” Program

In the spring and summer months of 1939, a number of planners began to organize a secret killing operation targeting disabled children. They were led by Philipp Bouhler, the director of Hitler’s private chancellery, and Karl Brandt, Hitler’s attending physician.

On August 18, 1939, the Reich Ministry of the Interior circulated a decree requiring all physicians, nurses, and midwives to report newborn infants and children under the age of three who showed signs of severe mental or physical disability.

Beginning in October 1939, public health authorities began to encourage parents of children with disabilities to admit their young children to one of a number of specially designated pediatric clinics throughout Germany and Austria. In reality, the clinics were children’s killing wards. There, specially recruited medical staff murdered their young charges by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation.

At first, medical professionals and clinic administrators included only infants and toddlers in the operation. As the scope of the measure widened, they included youths up to 17 years of age. Conservative estimates suggest that at least 5,000 physically and mentally disabled German children perished as a result of the child “euthanasia” program during the war years.

Extending the “Euthanasia” Program


-Hitler’s authorization

Euthanasia planners quickly envisioned extending the killing program to adult disabled patients living in institutional settings. In the autumn of 1939, Adolf Hitler signed a secret authorization in order to protect participating physicians, medical staff, and administrators from prosecution. This authorization was backdated to September 1, 1939, to suggest that the effort was related to wartime measures.

The Führer Chancellery was compact and separate from state, government, or Nazi Party apparatuses. For these reasons, Hitler chose it to serve as the engine for the “euthanasia” campaign. The program’s functionaries called their secret enterprise “T4.” This code-name came from the street address of the program’s coordinating office in Berlin: Tiergartenstrasse 4.

According to Hitler’s directive, Führer Chancellery director Phillip Bouhler and physician Karl Brandt led the killing operation. Under their leadership, T4 operatives established six gassing installations for adults as part of the “euthanasia” action. These were:

  • Brandenburg, on the Havel River near Berlin
  • Grafeneck, in southwestern Germany
  • Bernburg, in Saxony
  • Sonnenstein, also in Saxony
  • Hartheim, near Linz on the Danube in Austria
  • Hadamar, in Hessen

Euthanasia Program

Using a practice developed for the child “euthanasia” program, in the autumn of 1939 T4 planners began to distribute carefully formulated questionnaires to all public health officials, public and private hospitals, mental institutions, and nursing homes for the chronically ill and aged. The limited space and wording on the forms, as well as the instructions in the accompanying cover letter, combined to give the impression that the survey was intended simply to gather statistical data.

The form’s sinister purpose was suggested only by the emphasis placed upon the patient’s capacity to work and by the categories of patients which the inquiry required health authorities to identify. The categories of patients were those suffering from:

schizophrenia,
epilepsy,
dementia,
encephalitis,
and other chronic psychiatric or neurological disorders
those not of German or “related” blood
the criminally insane or those committed on criminal grounds
those who had been confined to the institution in question for more than five years

Secretly recruited “medical experts,” physicians—many of them of significant reputation—worked in teams of three to evaluate the forms. On the basis of their decisions beginning in January 1940, T4 functionaries began to remove patients selected for the “euthanasia” program from their home institutions. The patients were transported by bus or by rail to one of the central gassing installations for killing.

Within hours of their arrival at such centers, the victims perished in gas chambers. The gas chambers, disguised as shower facilities, used pure carbon monoxide gas. T4 functionaries burned the bodies in crematoria attached to the gassing facilities. Other workers took the ashes of cremated victims from a common pile and placed them in urns to send to the relatives of the victims. The families or guardians of the victims received such an urn, along with a death certificate and other documentation, listing a fictive cause and date of death.

Because the program was secret, T-4 planners and functionaries took elaborate measures to conceal its deadly designs. Even though physicians and institutional administrators falsified official records in every case to indicate that the victims died of natural causes, the “euthanasia” program quickly become an open secret. There was widespread public knowledge of the measure. Private and public protests concerning the killings took place, especially from members of the German clergy. Among these clergy was the bishop of Münster, Clemens August Count von Galen. He protested the T-4 killings in a sermon August 13, 1941. In light of the widespread public knowledge and the public and private protests, Hitler ordered a halt to the euthanasia program in late August 1941.

According to T4’s own internal calculations, the euthanasia effort claimed the lives of 70,273 institutionalized mentally and physically disabled persons at the six gassing facilities between January 1940 and August 1941.

Second Phase

Hitler’s call for a halt to the T4 action did not mean an end to the euthanasia killing operation. Child euthanasia continued as before. Moreover, in August 1942, German medical professionals and healthcare workers resumed the killings, although in a more carefully concealed manner than before. More decentralized than the initial gassing phase, the renewed effort relied closely upon regional exigencies, with local authorities determining the pace of the killing.

Using drug overdose and lethal injection—already successfully used in child euthanasia—in this second phase as a more covert means of killing, the euthanasia campaign resumed at a broad range of institutions throughout the Reich. Many of these institutions also systematically starved adult and child victims.

The Euthanasia Program continued until the last days of World War II, expanding to include an ever wider range of victims, including geriatric patients, bombing victims, and foreign forced laborers. Historians estimate that the Euthanasia Program, in all its phases, claimed the lives of 250,000 individuals.

People with Disabilities in the German-Occupied East

Persons with disabilities also fell victim to German violence in the German-occupied east. The Germans confined the Euthanasia Program, which began as a racial hygiene measure, to the Reich proper—that is, to Germany and to the annexed territories of Austria, Alsace-Lorraine, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, and the Warthegau in former Poland. However, the Nazi ideological conviction which labeled these persons “life unworthy of life” also made institutionalized patients the targets of shooting actions in Poland and the Soviet Union. There, the killings of disabled patients were the work of SS and police forces, not of the physicians, caretakers, and T4 administrators who implemented the Euthanasia Program itself.

In areas of Pomerania, West Prussia, and occupied Poland, SS and police units murdered some 30,000 patients by the autumn of 1941 in order to accommodate ethnic German settlers (Volksdeutsche) transferred there from the Baltic countries and other areas.

SS and police units also murdered disabled patients in mass shootings and gas vans in occupied Soviet territories. Thousands more died, murdered in their beds and wards by SS and auxiliary police units in Poland and the Soviet Union. These murders lacked the ideological component attributed to the centralized Euthanasia Program. The SS was apparently motivated primarily by economic and material concerns in killing institutionalized patients in occupied Poland and the Soviet Union.

The SS and the Wehrmacht quickly made use of the hospitals emptied in these killing operations as barracks, reserve hospitals, and munitions storage depots. In rare cases, the SS used the empty facilities as a formal T4 killing site. An example is the euthanasia facility Tiegenhof, near Gnesen (today Gniezno, in west-central Poland).

The Significance of the Euthanasia Program

The Euthanasia Program represented in many ways a rehearsal for Nazi Germany’s subsequent genocidal policies. The Nazi leadership extended the ideological justification conceived by medical perpetrators for the destruction of the “unfit” to other categories of perceived biological enemies, most notably to Jews and Roma (Gypsies).

Planners of the “Final Solution” later borrowed the gas chamber and accompanying crematoria, specifically designed for the T4 campaign, to murder Jews in German-occupied Europe. T4 personnel who had shown themselves reliable in this first mass murder program figured prominently among the German staff stationed at the Operation Reinhard killing centers of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.

Like those who planned the physical annihilation of the European Jews, the planners of the Euthanasia Program imagined a racially pure and productive society. They embraced radical strategies to eliminate those who did not fit within their vision.”


-by Trent Horn

“On February 25, 1990, twenty-six-year-old Terri Schiavo collapsed at home and suffered oxygen deprivation. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital but, while they were able to save her life, Schiavo was left in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) until she died from having her feeding tube removed in 2005.

No one would deny that Terri was a person prior to her collapse, but did she lose her personhood once she became brain damaged?

Lawyer and author Wesley J. Smith and bioethicist Bill Allen debated this on Court TV Online. At one point Smith asked, “[D]o you think Terri is a person?” to which Allen responded, “No, I do not. I think having awareness is an essential criterion for personhood. Even minimal awareness would support some criterion of personhood, but I don’t think complete absence of awareness does.”

Many people share Allen’s view, believing that humans in persistent vegetative states are not persons anymore—and so they can be deprived of basic necessities like food or water in order to end their lives. But here are three questions you should ask those who defend euthanizing disabled people in these conditions:

1. Would you bury a breathing body?

When a person stops existing, we say that person has died. Normally, when a person has died, what remains is a corpse. However, if personhood is not an essential property of human beings, then there can be cases where a person has died but the “remains” left behind is a living, breathing human body.

A corpse should not be desecrated, but there is no obligation to treat it like a human being. It is not a human being but the remains of a human being. So why not treat someone in an irreversible coma like a corpse and load him into an incinerator? Why not bury him in a grave as their chest rises and falls until the dirt that covers his body causes his breathing to stop?

A person who did this might try to take solace in the assumption the person can’t feel anything, but to watch the spasms that living body would undergo as the lungs failed would probably sicken most people. They would see that this is not a corpse that is being buried, but a a disabled person who is being killed by asphyxiation.

Consider the case of Schiavo in particular. Over the fifteen years after her collapse, she did not require the use of a ventilator (except for immediately following the collapse) and was able to breathe on her own. In a sense, she simply required the care a baby would require—food, clothing, shelter, and someone to oversee the administration of this care. To deprive her of food and water just because she was disabled was to bring about her death not by some underlying disease but by depriving her of that which all humans require; it was to bring about her death by dehydration, a fate no human should have to endure.

2. Which disabled people deserve to be protected?

To those who support euthanizing people in persistent vegetative states, you could pose this question: “Should we help all disabled people no matter what disability they have? If not, on what basis do we decide who’s worth helping and who’s worth killing? Wouldn’t that result in us making a judgment call on the value of another’s life?”

Most people, being committed to justice and fairness, won’t say there are some disabled people we shouldn’t help. You can then ask, “What does it mean to be disabled or have a disability?” Most people, when comparing paraplegia, blindness, deafness, or mobility impairments would say that a disability is “something that keeps you from functioning like the majority of people.”

These could be physical disabilities that keep someone from acting a certain way or mental disabilities that keep someone from thinking a certain way. Normally, when someone has a disability we are compassionate towards him and try to accommodate his inability to function. For example, we make handicapped parking accessible or we put up signs in braille that the blind can read. Keeping this in mind, when someone is in a coma he is like individuals with other handicaps—he cannot function as the majority can. Shouldn’t we show such individuals compassion and make accommodations in their condition rather than say they aren’t persons?

3. How do you know they won’t wake up?

In 1989, a stampede at the Hillsborough Soccer Stadium in Sheffield England left ninety-six people dead and hundreds injured. One of the injured was Tony Bland, who went into a PVS and was later killed through the removal of nutrition. But one year later, Andrew Devine, another injured fan who also ended up in a PVS, began to show signs of awareness. In 2014 he was healthy enough to attend the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Two years prior to Terri Schiavo collapsing, a twelve-year-old boy in South Africa, Martin Pistorius, became became so ill that he lived in a “virtual coma” for over a decade, incapable of communicating to others that he was aware inside. But one day, in 2001, the tender compassion of a caregiver interacting with Pistorius would lead the woman to think her patient was indeed aware and could communicate if creative ways were developed to do so.

Today Pistorius is happily married and has authored a book about his journey. Although for a time his need for basic care was similar to Schiavo’s, his outcome was very different than hers. But if we valued all humans as persons, regardless of current or perceived future abilities, then perhaps their endings would have been more alike.

In a radio interview about his ordeal, Pistorius reflected, “I think being seen and having another person validate your existence is incredibly important.” Powerful words for us and for anyone who thinks that disabilities can erase a person’s basic human worth.”

Love,
Matthew

Protestants reflect on contraception 4


-God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Gen 1:31


-by Julie Roys, 8/1/18

(Julie Roys is an Evangelical Christian reporter. She graduated from Wheaton College and also attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Julie has published many articles at Christianity Today, World Magazine. Religion News Service, The Federalist, and The Christian Post. As a respected, conservative Christian voice, Julie also has been interviewed numerous times on National Public Radio, One America News, and Total Living Network. Julie hosted a live, call-in talk radio show on the Moody Radio Network that was called Up For Debate for six years. For calling out the issues at Moody she apparently lost her job. Julie and her husband live in the Chicago area and they have three children.)

““My parents had five kids and I was always embarrassed about it. All my friends came from families with 10 to 12 kids. They were always asking me, ‘What’s wrong with your mom and dad? Don’t they like each other?’”

That comment cracked up the entire newsroom at Fox 32 News Chicago where I used to work. It came from a reporter who grew up in a staunchly Catholic, Chicago neighborhood. Like most of my colleagues, I intended to have two, maybe three kids. And like them, I thought the Catholic view of sex and contraception was ridiculous.

That was about 25 years ago.

Since then, I’ve discovered Theology of the Body (TOB) — Pope John Paul II’s biblical analysis of what it means to be human. This radically transformed my view of the body, human sexuality — and in turn, birth control. And now, I don’t think the Catholic view is ridiculous. I think it’s biblical. And though I’m not dogmatic about it, I, like a growing number of evangelicals, no longer feel comfortable with contraception.

A New Paradigm

TOB presents a very different view of the body than the one I was taught. I was taught the body is in effect a tent for the soul. And though I believed marriage had spiritual significance, I never considered that sex might.

But John Paul taught that the body is much more than a tent. We are created in God’s image. And our body is a symbol revealing truths about God. As popular Catholic theologian, Christopher West, put it: “(T)he body … is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It was created to transfer into the visible reality of the world, the mystery hidden since time immemorial in God, and thus to be a sign of it.”

First, the body reveals God’s Trinitarian nature — how multiple persons can exist as one essence. This is profoundly reflected when husband and wife become “one flesh” as described in Genesis 2:24.

When I first encountered this idea, I was skeptical. I was older than 40 at the time. And in all my years in the church, I had never heard anyone articulate this idea.

Yet when I checked with a theology professor at the Moody Bible Institute where I used to work, he said this was accepted Trinitarian theology. Similarly, when Dr. John Jefferson Davis appeared on my radio show, he affirmed this understanding, as well. Davis is a leading evangelical ethicist, so his opinion carried a lot of weight.

But Trinitarian life and love isn’t the only mystery the one-flesh union reveals. John Paul also taught that it reveals the mystery of Christ’s relationship with the church.

The idea that sexual intimacy would reflect our relationship with Christ seemed somewhat scandalous to me. Yet, that’s precisely what Ephesians 5:31-32 says: “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

TOB elevated the human body and sexuality to a whole new level for me. I realized the body is not merely a “tent”; it is a symbol with deep, spiritual meaning. And I realized that birth control not only prevents conception. It also alters a profoundly spiritual symbol.

Sex, Symbol, & Sterilization

In his 1966 article credited with shifting evangelical opinion on birth control, Dr. John Warwick Montgomery argued that Catholics view sex merely as a means of having children. But as TOB makes abundantly clear, that’s not so, though Montgomery can’t be faulted for not knowing that. His article predated TOB by 15-20 years.

Interestingly though, Montgomery’s view of marriage is actually quite similar to John Paul’s. Both see the marriage analogy in Ephesians 5 as the “focal center of scriptural teachings on marriage.” But for Montgomery, the analogy justifies contraception. For John Paul, it makes it unthinkable.

Montgomery argued that “Christ’s relation with His church is a love relation.” So if a couple is using birth control to “achieve a better human relationship,” it’s legitimate.

Montgomery also argued that God’s command in Genesis 1:28 to “subdue the earth” gives people license to control their fertility. He added that it’s “bizarre” that Catholics teach that man can control plants and animals, “yet cannot without sin control his own numbers.”

However, John Paul argued that contraception profoundly distorts the marriage analogy. Christopher West explains:

“Christ did not sterilize His love. When we sterilize our love, we are changing what is happening in the sexual act itself to the point that we are no longer imaging Christ’s love for the church. We are no longer imaging the Trinity. In fact, it becomes a counter-image … of Christ and the church.”

West’s point is well-made. Clearly, Christ’s union with the Church is one that’s intended to be fruitful — to make disciples. So, too, is the Trinitarian union. It is always life-giving and never sterile.

If we accept the modern evangelical interpretation, we must accept this symbolic distortion. Similarly, we must accept that the marriage analogy negates, or trumps, God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply.” We also must accept that subduing the earth can mean contracepting. This, despite the fact that God’s command to “be fruitful” directly precedes His command to “subdue the earth.”

But if we accept John Paul’s interpretation, we embrace a consistent message from Genesis to Revelation. Marriage is meant to be a joyful, fruitful expression of God’s life and love into which we, as His bride, are called to participate. There is no contradiction. There is only a powerful, compelling, and counter-cultural message of divine love.

Must Couples Have as Many Children as They Possibly Can?

Rejecting contraception does not mean couples must have as many children as possible. There are valid reasons to avoid pregnancy. And there is a way to do that without violating the spiritual significance of marital intimacy. It’s called natural family planning (NFP).

NFP works with our God-given body, rather than against it. It’s also 99-percent effective when used properly. Most importantly, it doesn’t distort the symbol of marital intimacy. It simply submits sex and fertility to the direction of a married couple.

There’s much more that could be written on this matter. I didn’t intend this series to provide the definitive answer on contraception, but simply to spur thoughtful, biblical reflection.

For too long, evangelicals have embraced contraception without truly thinking of its implications. We claim to be biblical. But we’re often just thinking like the world. That needs to change. We should not dismiss the theology embraced by Christians from the beginning just because Catholics have retained it. Perhaps it’s time we returned to it.”

Love,
Matthew

Protestants reflect on contraception 3


-God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Gen 1:31


-by Julie Roys, 8/6/18

(Julie Roys is an Evangelical Christian reporter. She graduated from Wheaton College and also attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Julie has published many articles at Christianity Today, World Magazine. Religion News Service, The Federalist, and The Christian Post. As a respected, conservative Christian voice, Julie also has been interviewed numerous times on National Public Radio, One America News, and Total Living Network. Julie hosted a live, call-in talk radio show on the Moody Radio Network that was called Up For Debate for six years. For calling out the issues at Moody she apparently lost her job. Julie and her husband live in the Chicago area and they have three children.)

“Almost all evangelicals support contraception. According to Pew Research, only 3-percent think it’s morally wrong. Most (55%) don’t even believe it’s a moral issue.

“If you go ask any . . . evangelical pastor, they’ll say if a married couple wants to use contraception . . . that’s fine.” So says David Talcott, a professor at The King’s College and an expert in sexual ethics. “It hasn’t really been a moral issue within evangelicalism,” he added. “(Evangelicals) are going to use the Pill and not think about it.”

This is stunning, given that Christians opposed birth control until the early 1900s. But as I wrote in part one of this series, Protestants soon gave way to cultural trends – first eugenics and then fears of overpopulation.

However, it wasn’t until 1966 that a thorough theological argument in favor of contraception was offered. The argument came in the form of an article published in Christianity Today by evangelical scholar John Warwick Montgomery. It proved extremely influential and swayed evangelical opinion on the matter. In fact, scholar Allan Carlson termed it a second “bombshell.” (The first was Billy Graham’s statement endorsing contraception seven years earlier.)

The article thrilled advocates of contraception and convinced more evangelicals to embrace birth control. But soon, many embraced abortion too. And they began thinking more pragmatically and less biblically.

A Birth Control Theology

In his landmark article, “How to Decide the Birth Control Question,” Dr. Montgomery presented a middle ground between two views – Catholic and liberal Protestant. Catholics opposed birth control based on “natural law” and the command in Genesis to “be fruitful.” This, Montgomery argued, reduced marriage to merely a means of producing offspring.

But Montgomery also rejected the liberal Protestant view. He said this view saw sex as “the fulfillment of human aspirations” and made it “an end in itself.” This turned sex into an idol and led to “permissive sex ethics.”

So, Montgomery argued for a third view. This view upheld the marriage analogy in Ephesians 5 as the “focal center of scriptural teachings on marriage.” It suggested that marriage was not simply “a means” of producing offspring as in “be fruitful and multiply.” Nor was it “unqualifiedly . . . an end” as in “They shall be one flesh.” Instead, it viewed marriage primarily as an analogy “of the relationship between Christ and his Church.”

This new understanding meant that marriage isn’t just for procreation. It also exists to foster a love relationship like Christ has with His church. So, Montgomery reasoned, birth control is okay if it helps a couple “achieve a better human relationship.”

Montgomery’s article drew from Scripture and made some valid points. Yet it also raised new questions. Was God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” no longer valid? Was achieving “a better relationship” enough to justify sterilizing something God clearly designed to be fertile? And do Catholics really believe that sex and marriage is merely a means to an end?

Also, the context of Montgomery’s article was clearly fear of overpopulation, suggesting that pragmatism may have driven this new doctrine, not merely Scripture. Several times, Montgomery cited population concerns. He suggested, for example, that couples consider “the population picture” when deciding family size. And, he said in places with “rapidly growing populations,” adoption may be better than having children.

Nevertheless, evangelical leaders were thrilled with Montgomery’s article and frequently cited it as the definitive commentary on the issue. In subsequent years, most evangelicals embraced birth control. But they also embraced abortion.

Abortion and a New Ethic

Two years after Montgomery’s article published, Christianity Today and the Christian Medical Society hosted a conference that produced “A Protestant Affirmation on the Control of Human Reproduction.” This stunning document affirmed abortion. It stated, “(A)s to whether or not . . . induced abortion is always sinful we are not agreed, but about the necessity and permissibility for (abortion) under certain circumstances we are in accord. . . . When principles conflict, the preservation of fetal life . . . may have to be abandoned to maintain full and secure family life.”

The Southern Baptist Convention acted similarly. It resolved in 1971 to support laws allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest, and “clear evidence of severe fetal deformity.” The convention also said abortion is okay when “damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother” was likely.

This was a shocking development. And one that Montgomery apparently did not foresee. Two years after his groundbreaking first article, he wrote another. This one argued that life begins at conception and condemned abortion.

Fortunately in the late 70s and early 80s, many evangelicals returned to their pro-life convictions. This was largely due to the influential book by Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop called, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race?” This book revealed the shocking implications of degrading human life. And it “changed abortion from being a Catholic issue to a Christian line in the sand.”

Yet today there remains a significant number of evangelicals (33%) who think abortion should be legal. And 13% of women who get abortions are evangelical Protestants.

This shouldn’t surprise us. As scholar and author Allan Carlson notes, “Historically, there’s never been a culture that’s condoned birth control, but then somehow managed to keep abortion illegal. When you get one, you always get the other.”

Clearly, the mentality that drives abortion, drives contraception. And when evangelicals embraced contraception they began thinking like pragmatists. Children became liabilities, not blessings. Marriage became a means to personal fulfillment, not family and sacrifice. And birth control became essential to personal health, as though our natural design was somehow defective.

Evangelical Pragmatists

Posted to the website of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) is a shocking quote by Pastor Joel Hunter. “Unmarried sex with contraception is not God’s plan,” he says. “(B)ut unmarried sex without contraception is not a plan at all. If holy living is not the choice of some in the near term, contraception can at least reduce some potentially devastating results (including abortion) for all in the long term.”

It’s hard to believe an evangelical pastor would make such an unbiblical argument. Scripture says we’re supposed to expel the immoral brother, not give him condoms! But this thinking has become common among Christians.

Similarly, Jenny Eaton Dyer of Hope Through Healing Hands argued that Christians need to promote birth control in Africa. This was not based on Scripture, but naked pragmatism. Spacing pregnancies promotes women’s health, Deyer said. So, “Condoms, oral contraception, injectables, implants, and natural family planning: these are necessities for the health and flourishing of . . . developing nations worldwide.”

Is this really how God wants Christians to think? Does Scripture teach that sterilizing sex is key to human flourishing?

As Christians, we need to examine our assumptions in light of Scripture, not the wisdom of the world. We need to be driven by the Bible; not the spirit of the age.”

Love,
Matthew

Protestants reflect on contraception 2


-God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Gen 1:31


-by Julie Roys, 7/30/18

(Julie Roys is an Evangelical Christian reporter. She graduated from Wheaton College and also attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Julie has published many articles at Christianity Today, World Magazine. Religion News Service, The Federalist, and The Christian Post. As a respected, conservative Christian voice, Julie also has been interviewed numerous times on National Public Radio, One America News, and Total Living Network. Julie hosted a live, call-in talk radio show on the Moody Radio Network that was called Up For Debate for six years. For calling out the issues at Moody she apparently lost her job. Julie and her husband live in the Chicago area and they have three children.)

“I used to think like most evangelicals when it came to family planning. I strongly opposed abortion, but embraced contraception and thought Catholic objections to birth control were on par with praying to Mary.

Abortion, I reasoned, takes an innocent life and is clearly wrong. But contraception merely prevents conception. What could be wrong with that?

Sadly, I had never considered arguments on the other side. When I did, I discovered they aren’t flimsy or far-fetched. They’re solid and Scriptural. And they aren’t just Catholic either.

Every Protestant Reformer opposed contraception. In fact, before 1930, every church – Protestant and Catholic – did as well.

Yet today, most evangelicals embrace contraception. In fact, we’re so enthusiastic about it, we’re promoting it worldwide.

The Christian aid group World Vision now works with the pro-abortion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help women in poor countries “time and space their pregnancies.” So does Christian singer Amy Grant. There’s even a faith-based organization whose main purpose is to promote family planning. Not surprisingly, Bill & Melinda Gates are contributing to this group too.

Today, Western nations spend billions to control population in the developing world. Supporters say the impetus for this is concern for women and children. But critics say that’s not so. The only reason the West wants to reduce population elsewhere is because it wants more resources for itself.

So now the issue of birth control isn’t just personal; it’s global. And the stakes don’t just concern the size of one’s family, but the fate of people worldwide and the witness of the church.

Over the last 60 years, evangelicals have promoted a view that earlier Christians would have thought immoral. We didn’t do this because we studied Scripture and found prior interpretations lacking. Instead, we were swept along by culture.

Most evangelicals are blissfully unaware of this sad history. Our pastors told us birth control was fine and we gladly accepted what we were told. But the stakes are too high for us continue in ignorance. We need to study our past and Scripture, and seriously rethink if using birth control honors God.

In this article, I’ll help us do that by explaining what led evangelicals to embrace birth control. In part two, I’ll describe the theology developed to defend this embrace. And in part three, I’ll examine biblical arguments for and against contraception.

Anglicans Break With Tradition

Though Reformer Martin Luther had no problem with natural family planning, he strongly opposed contraception, calling it “intrinsically evil” and “a grave sin.” Fellow Reformer John Calvin felt similarly. Referring to Onan’s sin, he wrote, “It is a horrible thing to pour out seed.” This “quenches the hope” of one’s family and “kills the son . . . before he is born.”

In saying these things, Luther and Calvin were not expressing anything new. They were simply stating a position the church had held for more than a thousand years. Early Church Father St. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “(T)he seed is not to be . . . wasted. To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.” Likewise, John Chrysostom lamented that some couples viewed children “as grievous and unwelcome” due to their greed.

Historically, opposing birth control has not been a Catholic thing. It’s been a Christian thing. As late as 1908, Anglican church leaders officially resolved that “the use of all artificial means” of birth control should be discouraged. They added that contraception corrupted character and was “hostile to national welfare.”
Yet in 1930, Anglicans reversed course and became the first church to condone birth control. As author and scholar Allan C. Carlson said in a 2015 interview, the impetus for this change was not spiritual, but pragmatic. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger had recruited Anglican pastors and convinced many to embrace eugenics, or “controlled breeding.” The American Eugenics Society even sponsored a “Eugenics Sermon Contest” with cash prizes for the best sermons.

Evangelicals Succumb to Fear

Evangelicals, however, opposed birth control for several more decades. But in 1959, Billy Graham made a stunning statement. He told reporters that he found “nothing in the Bible which would forbid birth control.”

Like the Anglicans, Graham didn’t appear to be motivated by Scripture. Instead, having recently visited Africa, he cited concerns of overpopulation. “I do believe that some form of birth control is necessary in Asia, Japan, Africa, and other nations where population explosions are threatened,” he said.

Many in Graham’s generation shared his concern. In 1952, the Population Council had warned that overpopulation was going to deplete the world’s resources. And in 1958, the Draper Committee reported that the “population problem” was the greatest obstacle to world progress.
A month before Graham’s statement, Christianity Today ran an article on the Draper Report. It suggested that the time had come for a “re-examination” of sex apart from procreation. Apparently, Graham agreed.

Over the next decade, fears of overpopulation continued to grow and exploded when Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. This best-selling book predicted that overpopulation would lead to mass starvation in the 1970s and 80s. Though Ehrlich’s predictions never came true, the fears he raised remained and impacted Christians and non-Christians alike.

Yet evangelicals couldn’t fully embrace contraception without a strong biblical rationale. That came seven years after Graham’s statement. And it led to major changes in Christian thought and action.

Many evangelicals began accepting and using contraception. And as I explain in my next article, some began to condone abortion, as well.”

Love,
Matthew

Explaining abortion to children

“After her children had gone to sleep one night, pro-life author Jean Garton was finishing a presentation on abortion that included a picture of a baby aborted at 10 weeks. She narrates what happened next:

Suddenly I heard, rather than saw, another person near me. At the sound of a sharp intake of breath, I turned to find that my youngest son, then a sleepy, rumpled three-year-old, had unexpectedly and silently entered the room. His small voice was filled with great sadness as he asked, “Who broke the baby?”

Explaining abortion to a young child is an awful, horrifying thing to do. In our home, this explanation is necessary because of our involvement with crisis pregnancy centers and diocesan pro-life activities. Our kids start to hear the word “abortion” at a fairly young age, and so at a certain point I must tell them, gently, the meaning of the word.

Explaining the Unthinkable

It’s dreadfully surreal when a mother first exposes the concept of abortion to her child. I usually take a deep breath and say, “Sometimes mommies or daddies don’t want their babies, and they pay a doctor to take the baby out too soon.” Obviously, this is simplistic and not the full range of scenarios, but it leads to the next question: “But what happens to the baby?” Your honest answer: “It’s very sad Honey, but the baby dies.”

So far, each of my children has had the same reaction: disbelief, confusion, denial, and alarm. “How could anyone do that?” they ask, recoiling. “Who forces a mommy to do that?” “Why would a doctor do that to a little baby?”

Children are naturally pro-life, and they really get the horror of it.

You don’t have to paint a picture or get graphic. The idea of someone deliberately killing a baby in his mother’s womb is so foreign to small children as to be absurd, nonsensical, insane. Their little minds sense the disorder and evil immediately, and they reject it.

After our little ones experience that initial shock, we must be sure to remind them about God’s mercy and about our duty love both the babies and their mothers. You might say something like this:

“I know! It’s so sad that someone would do this. Some mommies think they can’t take care of the baby and others don’t even think it is a baby, because people have lied to them about that. But lots of mommies feel terrible later, because deep down they know that what they did was wrong. But guess what? God loves us and he always wants to help us, even if we do something really bad. So let’s pray for the mommies, daddies, and doctors who do this, because God and those little babies want to see all of them in Heaven one day.”

A Light in the Darkness

When I explain abortion to my children, it feels like I’m taking their innocence away from them. After all, once a child understands that our nation not only allows but celebrates the murder of children nestled in their mothers’ wombs, just as they or their siblings had been nestled so recently, how could they not be affected to their core? But it’s important to balance the darkness of abortion with the light of God’s truth.

Here are three concepts that refute the pro-abortion mindset (and many other evils) that you can and should instill in even your smallest children:

The Beauty of Human Life: This is the easiest (and most fun) way to teach your children to be pro-life. There are lots of great videos on the Internet that show human development in the womb through 3-dimensional ultrasounds, computer graphics, and even high definition videos shot from inside the uterus with a tiny camera. Another fun thing is to borrow a fetal model display from a pro-life organization and let your children hold, and love on, these tiny model babies. And here is a “guessing game” that will delight your children and stick with them forever: Pull out the children’s Bible and have them tell you how many people were at the Visitation (Luke 1:39-44). They may guess two, but then they will see that there were four! Mary, Elizabeth, Jesus, and John!

The Equal Dignity of Human Beings: I remember reading a pro-life author who described what happened when his seven-year-old saw a double amputee. She whispered to her father that the man had no legs, but then she said to him, drawing on the lessons he taught her, “But he is still just as valuable as everyone else!” Teach your children early that our dignity and value as human beings is the same no matter how smart, strong, or old we are—or aren’t. And of course, as they say in that children’s classic, Horton Hears a Who: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Good Ends Don’t Justify Evil Means: The most basic principle of the natural law and Christian morality is, “Do good, avoid evil.” Unfortunately, some people think that it’s okay to do “what is necessary” to achieve a good end, even if the means of getting there is evil (e.g., a college student maintains the good of education through the evil means of aborting her unintended pregnancy).

Always remind your children that, if they have a problem, they must never do something wrong—even a little wrong—in order to solve it. When they are small, this might take the form of letting someone else play with a toy instead of using their fists to get it back. As they get bigger, they will grow in virtue and learn a lesson many adults don’t understand: It is always better to suffer evil and be hurt than to inflict evil and be the one who hurts others. One of my favorite quotes is from St. Thomas Aquinas: “Pain or sorrow for that which is truly evil cannot be the greatest evil: for there is something worse, namely, either not to reckon as evil that which is really evil, or not to reject it.”

Finally, explain to your children that many people have changed their hearts on the issue of abortion, including women and men who have procured them, and including abortionists themselves! Some of them even fight against abortion similar to the way that St. Paul, who used to murder Christians, went on to become one of the greatest Christians of all time! Let them know that even though the world can be an unfair and even scary place, God is bigger than the world because He created it. God’s Son Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble; but don’t be afraid, I have overcome the world!” (cf. John 16:33).”

Love & Life,
Matthew

Gender?

“Before retiring to bed on a Tuesday night in the Vatican, Saint John Paul II prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, meditating upon the following words from Saint Peter: “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1

Long after others in the papal apartment were asleep, a noise awoke his secretary, Monsignor Stanisław Dziwisz, who left his room to investigate. His room was adjacent to the Holy Father’s, but he noticed that the sounds were not coming from the Pope’s room, but from his chapel. Although late-night prayer was not uncommon for John Paul, Dziwisz peered in to be certain that everything was all right.

The sight was typical: John Paul immersed in contemplation alone before the tabernacle. The Pope usually spoke to God with very simple words, and often prayed during adoration like Jesus did in Gethsemane, talking with his Father. 2 This night, Dziwisz noticed that John Paul indeed seemed troubled. The disturbance he overheard was the Pope speaking aloud to God, asking repeatedly, “Dlaczego? Dlaczego?” (“ Why? Why?”). Out of reverence, the monsignor backed away from the chapel and returned to his room for the night.

John Paul celebrated Mass the next morning, but was unusually reserved during breakfast afterward. The Pope’s typical jovial and engaging demeanor toward the sisters and guests was subdued. Instead of asking questions and conversing about an endless variety of topics, he was recollected and withdrawn. He ate no breakfast, and drank a cup of tea. 3

That afternoon would be an important one: During his Wednesday audience, John Paul was preparing to announce the establishment of two ministries in the Church that would address the problems facing families in the modern world. 4 One of these, the Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, would become the main teaching arm of the Theology of the Body. 5

On his way to deliver his message, the Holy Father rode in the Popemobile across Saint Peter’s Square. As he was blessing children and greeting the crowds, gunshots from a Turkish assassin rang out. An ambulance rushed the Pope in his bloodstained cassock to the hospital, where he narrowly escaped death.

Had God given him a premonition of his suffering the night before? The answer to that question will likely remain a mystery known only to John Paul.

Was there a link between his suffering and his efforts to build up marriage and the family? This he affirmed, saying, “Perhaps there was a need for that blood to be spilled in Saint Peter’s Square.” 6 He added, “Precisely because the family is threatened, the family is being attacked. So the Pope must be attacked. The Pope must suffer, so that the world may see that there is a higher gospel, as it were, the gospel of suffering, by which the future is prepared, the third millennium of families. . . .” 7

…While camping at the World Youth Day vigil in Kraków, I spoke with a young woman who was preparing to enter her first year of college at a prestigious university in California. She pulled her phone out of her backpack and showed me where her online college application required her to check the appropriate box to indicate her gender.

There were eighteen boxes to choose from.

I read through the litany of genders, and noticed that two were missing: male and female. (Facebook— which invites its users to identify as one of more than fifty genders— at least offers them the possibility of choosing to be male or female.) The university application, however, did allow the incoming students to choose “cis-male” or “cis-female,” which means that the biological sex one was “assigned” at birth aligns with the gender one chooses for one’s identity.

While some seek to expand upon the number of genders and create a spectrum of options, the ultimate goal of gender theory is not diversity. After all, diversity requires objective differences. The goal is to erase the sexual difference, and thus to eliminate the meaning of the body.

Where is this coming from? The Second Vatican Council prophesied our culture’s sexual identity crisis by stating, “When God is forgotten . . . the creature itself grows unintelligible.” 8 Although the Theology of the Body was written before many of the modern ideas of gender theory became popular, it was ahead of its time in offering a clear answer for them— and for many other key issues about sexuality and the body.

What is the Theology of the Body?

The Theology of the Body is the popular title given to 135 reflections written by Saint John Paul II. As a cardinal in Poland, he (Karol Wojtyła) planned to publish them as a book titled Man and Woman He Created Them. 9 Before this could happen, he was elected pope, and instead delivered the content in 129 Wednesday Audiences during the first five years of his pontificate.

The thousands of vacationers and pilgrims who gathered to see the Holy Father at these audiences had no idea that the Pope’s biographer would later describe the Theology of the Body as a “theological time bomb set to go off, with dramatic consequences, sometime in the third millennium of the Church.” 10

What could be so explosive about a Polish bishop’s theological reflections on the body? To answer this, consider how the human body has been viewed throughout history. Thousands of years ago, Gnostics and Platonists believed that a person’s true self was different from his or her body. One Gnostic sect, the Manicheans, believed that man’s destiny was to set his spiritual essence free from the pollution of matter. Because the body was material, it was not only inferior, but evil. In fact, it was considered a sin for a woman to give birth because she was bringing more matter into existence! Centuries later, puritanism considered the body to be a threat to one’s soul. Meanwhile, the philosopher René Descartes proposed that the soul is like a ghost trapped in a machine.

All these views about the body have one element of truth in common: Our bodies and souls aren’t in harmony. However, the body is not unimportant compared to the soul. Nor is the body something we “have,” or something that encumbers our soul. We are our bodies, and our bodies reveal us. However, our current state is not the way God created us in the beginning. The discord that exists within man is the result of original sin. 11

While some individuals devalued the body and cared only for the soul, others fell into the opposite mistake. Atheists and materialist philosophers argued that the human person is nothing more than his or her body: There is no soul, and the body has no meaning.

Although these ideas might seem like debates reserved for philosophers and theologians, consider what happens when entire cultures accept these misguided notions of what it means to be human. If man has a body but no spiritual dimension, what distinguishes him from other animals? Why should he act differently or be treated differently? On the other hand, if a person’s true identity is found in his spirit alone, then man’s view of himself becomes uprooted from any objective reality. Truth would then be defined by a person’s feelings. As a result, masculinity and femininity would be viewed as social constructs, not realities created by God. But if masculinity and femininity don’t exist, then what becomes of marriage and the family?

Because there has been so much confusion about the meaning of the human body, John Paul set out to present a total vision of man that would include man’s origin, history, and destiny. Instead of arguing from the outside in, offering people a litany of rules, he invited them to seek the truth about reality by reflecting on their own human experience. The writings of Saint John of the Cross played a key role in shaping John Paul’s style of thinking. His philosophical studies on of Max Scheler and other phenomenologists further sharpened his ability to observe human experience. John Paul doesn’t begin by explaining what man ought to do, but by explaining who man is. In the Pope’s mind, people will know how to live if they know who they are.

It has been said that rules without a relationship creates rebellion. This is true with parents and children, and it’s especially true with the relationship between God and humanity. John Paul knew that laws don’t change hearts. When people view morality as a rigid list of imposed regulations, they might temporarily behave themselves out of guilt or fear, but they often abandon the faith. The Pope understood the futility of this approach, and knew that a fresh re-presentation of the Church’s teachings on sexual ethics was overdue.

What the modern world needed was not just a defense of the Church’s teachings, but rather an unveiling of God’s original plan for the beauty of human love. Culture needed something that wasn’t simply intellectually convincing or morally upright, but rather something that corresponded to the deepest yearnings of the human heart.

Unfortunately, many have grown deaf to these yearnings and hear only the urges of the body. But no matter how numb one might be to the deepest aspirations of the soul, everyone can relate to the ache of solitude, the experience of shame, and the desire for communion. In the Theology of the Body, John Paul explored these experiences and more, to reveal how God’s plan for humanity is stamped not only into our hearts, but also into our bodies.

When people discover the Theology of the Body, they often exclaim that they’ve never heard anything like it before. This is because many people learned about sexuality in a religious framework that focused only on what is forbidden and permitted. Others learned about it through the lens of modern sex education, which reduces one’s sexuality to biology and sensuality. This might count as “sex ed,” but it’s not a true education in human sexuality. 12

Properly speaking, “sex” is not something people do. Sex is who we are as male and female persons. The Theology of the Body reminds us of this broader meaning and offers compelling answers to questions such as: Who am I? What does it mean to be human? How should I live? It delves into delicate questions regarding marriage and sexual ethics, but does so while inviting people to rediscover the meaning of life. Through it, one realizes that modern man’s sexual confusion is not caused because the world glorifies sexuality, but because the world fails to see its glory.

For those who have disregarded the Church’s teaching on human sexuality because it seems out of touch with the modern world, the Theology of the Body offers a fresh perspective. Its insights are not pious reflections offered by a theologian who was isolated from the daily struggles of married life. On the contrary, they are the result of decades of personal interactions between a remarkable saint and the countless young adults and married couples that he accompanied through their vocations. These couples attest that although John Paul had a great ability to preach, he had an even greater ability to listen.

The Theology of the Body comes from the heart of a saint who listened intently not only to others but also to the God Who could provide meaning to their lives. He was no stranger to suffering, living under Nazi and Communist regimes and having lost his family by the age of twenty. While such trials might lead some to abandon their faith, John Paul’s was forged by them, as he sought answers to the deepest questions about life’s meaning.

John Paul also possessed a staggering intellect, and according to his secretary, spent three hours each day reading. 13 Although he was dedicated to the intellectual life, John Paul’s prayer life took priority. His colleagues attest that he seemed to be continually absorbed in prayer, as can be seen from the fact that he considered the busy Paris Metro to be “a superb place for contemplation.” 14

His greatest devotion, however, was to the Blessed Sacrament. He never omitted his Holy Hour on Thursdays, even while traveling internationally. If the organizers of his trips didn’t make room for it in his schedule, he would make time and simply arrive an hour late to their program. When his assistants attempted to convince him to decrease the amount of time spent in this devotion, he refused, saying, “No, it keeps me.” 15 He knew that apostolic mission derives its strength from life in God. 16 It is from this man’s heart, mind, and soul that the Church has been given a tremendous gift: the Theology of the Body.

Structure

The Theology of the Body is comprised of two parts. The first focuses on three passages from Scripture, or “words” of Christ. In it, John Paul examined the dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees regarding marriage and divorce. 17 Then he reflects upon the words of Christ from the Sermon on the Mount, in particular those concerning committing adultery in one’s heart. 18 Finally, he turns to Christ’s words regarding the resurrection of the body. 19 By means of these reflections, he explains the redemption of the body. If fact, in his final catechesis, he describes the content of the whole work as “the redemption of the body and the sacramentality of marriage.” 20

The Theology of the Body is thoroughly biblical— as can be seen by the fact that the Pope draws from forty-six books and more than a thousand Scripture citations. However, among all of the passages he quotes, the three mentioned above are his focus. He compares them to the panels of a triptych, which is a work of sacred art consisting of three panels, or parts. When the three images are displayed together, they present a fuller understanding of a topic of theology (in this case, the human person).

The three parts of John Paul’s triptych are original, historical, and eschatological man. Original man is who God created man to be in the beginning, before the dawn of sin. Historical man refers to the current state of humanity, burdened by original sin but redeemed by Christ. “Eschatological” has its roots in the Greek word for “end,” eschaton, and refers to the glorified state of man in heaven. Together, these three epochs of human history form what John Paul called an “adequate anthropology”— an understanding of what it means to be a human person.

In the first part of the Theology of the Body, John Paul used the above three “words” of Christ to explain man’s call to live out “the spousal meaning of the body.” This phrase is the heart of the Theology of the Body. It means that the human body has “the power to express love: precisely that love in which the human person becomes a gift and— through this gift— fulfills the very meaning of his being and existence.” 21 (This gift of self can be expressed not only through marriage, but also through celibacy for the kingdom of God.)

In the second part of the Theology of the Body, the Pope analyzed “The Sacrament” which is the “great sign” of Christ’s love for the Church and the love between a husband and wife. He explained what the gift of self means in terms of the “language of the body,” and how men and women are called to live it out, especially as it relates to building their families.”

-Evert, Jason (2017-12-06). Theology of the Body In One Hour (Kindle Locations 63-102, 109-239). Totus Tuus Press. Kindle Edition.

Love, His will is perfect,
Matthew

1 Peter 5: 8.
2 Mieczysław Mokrzycki, World Youth Day Press Conference, Krakow, Poland, July 27, 2016.
3 Interview with Father Andrew Swietochowski, July 31, 2017.
4 The Pontifical Council for the Family and the International Institute of Studies on Marriage and Family.
5 Diane Montagna, “Online Exclusive: What John Paul II Intended to Say the Day He Was Shot,” Aleteia, May 7, 2016.
6 Pope John Paul II, Memory and Identity (New York: Rizzoli, 2005), 164.
7 Pope John Paul II, Angelus message, May 29, 1994.
8 Gaudium et Spes, 36.
9 Other proposed titles included “Human Love in the Divine Plan” or “The Redemption of the Body and the Sacramentality of Marriage.”
10 George Weigel, Witness to Hope (New York: Harper, 2001), 343.
11 Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2516 (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994).
12 Pope John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio 11 (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 1981).
13 Mokrzycki, World Youth Day Press Conference.
14 George Weigel, City of Saints (New York: Image, 2015), 232.
15 Mokrzycki, World Youth Day Press Conference.
16 Pope John Paul II, Master in the Faith 2, Rome: December 14, 1990.
17 Matt. 19: 8; Mark 10: 6– 9.
18 Matt. 5: 28.
19 Matt. 22: 30; Mark 12: 25; Luke
20: 35– 36. 20 TOB 133: 2.
21 Theology of the Body 15: 1; 32: 1, 3.

Risks & facts of gender dysphoria

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ~ Voltaire

School administrators and board members terrified of expensive lawsuits are capitulating to the demands of “gender”-confused adolescents. Parents are capitulating to the disordered thinking of their children, terrified that if they don’t, their children will commit suicide. Their fears are stoked by a deeply flawed study that is grossly misunderstood.

1.) No one knows what causes gender dysphoria. While some subscribe to “brain sex” theories of causation (for which there is no proof) or believe that intrauterine hormone exposure causes the development of gender dysphoria, there are other possibilities, including pubertal changes (e.g., early breast development in girls can lead to unwanted male attention that results in girls feeling uncomfortable with their female bodies); autism; sexual abuse; childhood trauma ; family dysfunction; and excessively rigid gender roles. Moreover, even a discovery that biochemical factors influence the development of feelings about gender would not mean that chemical and surgical treatments are appropriate responses to gender dysphoria.

2.) Gender dysphoria can diminish, resolve, or be treated in less drastic ways than the “trans”-affirming protocol that involves chemical and surgical interventions for a non-medical problem (i.e., puberty is not a medical problem). The best research to date suggests that upwards of 80% of gender-dysphoric children will “desist,” that is, their gender dysphoria will resolve and they will accept their bodies, unless their rejection of their natal sex is affirmed by their environment.

3.) There’s been an explosion in the numbers of children and teens identifying as “transgender,” including teens who never before exhibited signs of gender dysphoria. This latter phenomenon, which affects primarily teen girls, has been called “rapid onset gender dysphoria.” Some parents are reporting that their children have several friends who identify as “trans,” and some are reporting that their children self-diagnosed after spending time on the Internet where they encountered videos or chat rooms in which young people describe their gender dysphoria or “trans” identity. Many believe the dramatic increase in this profoundly unnatural phenomenon results from “social contagion,” which tends to affect adolescents much more than adults.

4.) The medical community admits it has no idea whether pathologizing healthy sexual development and setting children and teens on a path of lifetime risky medical treatments will help them, and they have no idea if these children will grow up to regret their “transitions.”

5.) Gatekeeping is lax. Gatekeeping is the process that determines who accesses “trans”-affirming medical treatment like prescriptions for cross-sex hormones. Parents and former “trans”-identified men and women criticize the mental health community for failing to take adequate medical and mental health histories of new patients that might reveal “co-morbidities” (i.e., the simultaneous presence of more than one chronic disease or condition in a patient) prior to prescribing cross-sex hormones or making surgery referrals. Some young gender-dysphoria sufferers are able to get prescriptions for opposite-sex hormones after just a couple of visits with a doctor. Worse, the pressure is mounting from the “trans” cult to eliminate gatekeeping entirely, even for minors.

6.) Puberty-blockers carry serious known health risks, and long-term effects are unknown. Kaiser Health News recently wrote about one of the primary puberty blockers administered to gender-dysphoric children: Lupron. Lupron is thought to cause osteopenia (bone-thinning), osteoporosis (bone loss), degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, and depression. Due to the number and nature of complaints received, the FDA is now reviewing the safety of Lupron.

7.) “Progressives” argue that the effects of puberty blockers are reversible and merely buy gender-dysphoric children time to figure out their “gender identity.” What they don’t share is that the vast majority of children who take puberty blockers move on to cross-sex hormones. In contrast, as mentioned earlier, upwards of 80% of gender-dysphoric children who do not take puberty blockers or socially transition eventually accept their sex. Preventing the process of puberty to proceed naturally not only interferes with the biological and anatomical development of children but also changes he social experiences that attend puberty.

8.) Cross-sex hormones are risky and lifetime effects unknown. Voice changes, sterility, and hair growth patterns (including male pattern baldness in women who take testosterone) are irreversible. Side effects and long-term health risks for women who take testosterone include a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL), an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL), an increase in blood pressure, a decrease in the body’s sensitivity to insulin, weight gain, possible increase in risk of heart disease (including heart attack), stroke, and diabetes. The side effects and long-term health risks for men who take estrogen include liver damage and disease, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, gall stones, heart disease, prolactinoma (a cancer of the pituitary gland that can, in turn, damage vision), nausea, and migraines.

9.) Many gender-dysphoric girls bind their breasts much like Chinese women used to bind their feet. “Chest-binding” carries serious health risks including compressed ribs, which can cause blood flow problems and increase the risk of developing blood clots. Over time, this can lead to inflamed ribs (costochondritis) and even heart attacks due to decreased blood flow to the heart, fractured ribs that can lead to punctured and collapsed lungs, and back problems.

10.) Boys under 18 can have vaginoplasty in which they are castrated and the skin from their penises and scrotums used to fashion the likeness of a vagina and labia. A surgeon, in effect, turns a boy’s penis inside out, with the outside skin of the penis becoming the lining of the “neovagina.” Alternatively, boys can have “intestinal” or “sigmoid colon” vaginoplasty, which uses part of their intestines to construct “neovaginas.” A 2015 study showed that between 12-43% of patients who had vaginoplasty experienced “neovaginal” narrowing, and 33% experienced “changes in urine stream and heightened risk of urethral infection.”

Bottom surgery for girls who pretend to be boys is more complicated and has less satisfactory results. It first requires a hysterectomy followed several months later by phalloplasty which requires skin grafts taken from the forearm or thigh to create a penis that has no capacity for producing an erection. Therefore, patients who want to have intercourse will need penile implants, the most common of which requires the most skill to use, has the highest complication rate (50% must be removed due to complications), and must be replaced every 3-15 years.

WARNING!!!!!!   CAUTION:  GRAPHIC VIDEOS & CONTENT

Minor girls can also get double mastectomies as young as 15 years old.

All surgeries carry risk, but teens and young adults are having these life-altering, risky procedures—not to treat a disease—but to alter normal, healthy processes and mutilate healthy anatomy.

11.) Several studies reveal that the majority of “trans” identifying adults desire to have their own biological children, and yet minors are being given cross-sex hormones that leave them permanently sterile. Further, “it is not currently possible to freeze immature gametes.”

12.) There is a growing “detransitioning” movement. Detransitioners are men and women of diverse ages who regret having taken cross-sex hormones and amputated healthy body parts. Many have come to understand the cause or causes of their gender dysphoria and feel sorrow over the irreversible damage they have done to their bodies. Their stories, easily available online, are painful to hear.

13.) Research into gender reversal transitions is stymied by political pressure from “trans” activists.

What is now commonly understood is that brain development is not complete until about age 25.

“The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so…. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.

In teen’s brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing—and not necessarily at the same rate. That’s why when teens experience overwhelming emotional input, they can’t explain later what they were thinking. They weren’t thinking as much as they were feeling.”

Culture is providing a lens through which young people with still developing brains interpret their experiences of discomfort with their bodies. This lens is distorting common, usually transient experiences.

As months and years pass, more men and women will tell their stories of anger and sorrow at being deluded and betrayed as children by ignorant and cowardly adults—some of whom cared more about lawsuits than about children.

So, when your school administration and board decide to allow objectively male students into girls’ private spaces or vice versa, ask them if they will accept some measure of responsibility for facilitating confusion and error when ten or twenty years from now, the “trans” ideology is exposed as one of the great pseudo-scientific errors in American history along with Freud’s theories of psychosexual development, false memory syndrome, and lobotomies.

For more information about detransitioning, watch these Youtube video clips:

Love & truth,
Matthew

Marriage is HARD WORK!!!!!!!

For Catholics, marriage is not merely a legal contract regulating property between spouses nor is it only geared towards the responsibilities of raising children, although both of these practical realities are present in Catholic marriage. Rather, marriage, for Catholics, is a sacrament; one of the seven; a visible means of GRACE.

Catholic spouses find in each other not merely lover, co-parent, companion, but are TRULY the means of salvation for and through each other, in and through which the sacrament and the living it out throughout our earthly lives here below, occurs.

The Holy Father has been offered a dubia, or “fillial corrections”, by specious persons in ridiculous standing and profoundly questionable faithfulness with the Church. These silly documents have NO binding value or impetus on the Holy Father AT ALL or his teaching Amoris Laetitia, “The Joy of Love”; which is why, in Christian charity, he quietly ignores and prays for, blesses, I am sure, his enemies, ordained or otherwise. These Pharisees, yet perpetually, “strain the gnat, and swallow the camel”, -cf Mt 23:24. BLIND GUIDES!!!! WOE TO YOU, YOU HYPOCRITES!!!! HOW WILL YOU ESCAPE THE COMING JUDGMENT???? -cf Mt 23:25-33. “You will not enter Heaven, nor do you allow others to!!!”-cf Mt 23:13.

HUSBANDS!!!!, LOVE YOUR WIVES!!!!, JUST AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER, TO MAKE HER HOLY, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” -Eph 5:25-28

CHRISTIAN HUSBANDS & WIVES, IF YOU FIND YOURSELF WILLINGLY SUFFERING IN YOUR LOVING EACH OTHER, YOU MIGHT BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!!!!! SURRENDER YOURSELVES TO CHRIST AND EACH OTHER, AS YOU PROMISED BEFORE GOD AND HIS CHURCH AND THE WORLD!!!!

Love is measured by how much you are willing to give!!!!! Lord, & Kelly, help make me HOLY!!!!

“We are READY!!!, FREELY, and without reservation
to give ourselves to each other
We are READY!!! to love and honor each other,
as man & wife for the REST OF OUR LIVES!!!!
We are READY!!! to accept children lovingly from God
and to bring them up according to the law of Christ & His Church!!!!
WE ARE READY!!!!!!

Love,
Matthew

Why Doesn’t the Pope Answer his critics?
What do you call a Catholic Against the Pope?
Part I of a response to the correctors

The Culture of Death is alive & well

I am in training to be a hospice volunteer here in Madison in a secular hospice, but there are Catholics and others in need served by this hospice. And, I can tell you, based on our in-class discussions, the Culture of Death is alive and well. Kyrie Eleison.

What a dark place emotionally and spiritually, but what a beautiful facility! Only the BEST money can buy!  What a Hell of hopelessness! My secular classmates laugh heartily at the notion of not having been near or in a church in decades.  Whistling (or, laughing) past the graveyard?

They dismiss and poo-poo my polite, respectful encouragements towards the dignity of human life, at all stages, in all cases, even as the corpses, literally, and family members of the deceased process past us?  It is a policy in this hospice, the procession of the dead, in respectful silence.  NO “Jesus talk”, obviously, but we Mcs of a certain persuasion smell Catholic, now don’t we? 1600 years, so far. Not a bad run, huh. Deo gratias.

My classmates insist on their own selfishness, literally, to want to die, to speed death, to hasten the end, anything but suffering, even as a, maybe the most powerful, lasting witness to the still living.  They suggest as rhetorical the exercise question, “I want to die!” Really? My first impression to this statement would never be to interpret such a query as rhetorical? Answering a question with a question is, generally, considered rude, unless you’re Irish, except here it is recommended practice for patients. The mental gymnastics, the fraud, really, the lying, logical dishonesty they propose to justify their supposed positions leaves the Christian mind boggled and dismayed.

The training materials contrast spirituality with religion. They clearly state religion is man-made. I wonder how God feels about that? And spirituality is the cool, right, natural choice. In fact it sounds like good old pagan Animism to me. Judging is never ok? Not even when a DUI blows a red light in a busy intersection? No, right judgment is a requirement of living, a life-skill in all areas of life, deciding aright, every day, consistently; and, hence, the need, the absolute requirement for a well-formed, and informed conscience. It’s dismissal is superficial, logical fraud, when too, too convenient. Dishonest. Their intellectual incoherence gives me a headache. The word “chaplain” has been banned from this institution’s vocabulary. Instead, there are “Grief Counselors”. I prefer “Joy Messengers”, myself, as in Easter joy.

I understand the natural aversion to suffering, truly.  It is hard to be in this environment as a believer in the Resurrection, literally; as an Easter-man.  But, I am certain this is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be, no matter the cost.

The term “culture of death” is frequently tossed around in Catholic conversation. It has such a striking sound to it and describes so succinctly the attitudes of secular culture, that it has been picked up and used by the general population in recent years. While we may use the term and feel confident that it conveys our thoughts, we should pause a minute and define what the term actually encompasses.

Where did the Term “Culture of Death” Originate?

The actual term “Culture of Death” first entered common use after Pope John Paul II mentioned it several times in the 1993 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. Evangelium Vitae was one of the timeliest and influential writings John Paul II produced during his pontificate. Evangelium Vitae is Latin for “the Gospel of Life”. In this encyclical, John Paul II wrote about the intrinsic value of every human life, which must be welcomed and loved from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Here is a quote from this great encyclical:

“This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life”. We find ourselves not only “faced with” but necessarily “in the midst of” this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.”

John Paul II may have developed the phrases “Culture of Life” and “Culture of Death” from the Didache, a first or second century text of the Church. The Didache explains the “Way of Life” and the “Way of Death”.

What does “Culture of Death” Mean?

The Culture of Death is a very broad term, which describes evil behavior. In the Old Testament, the pagan neighbors of the Israelites constantly, ritually sacrificed their own children. Sound familiar? It goes beyond the mere evil acts, however. In the deepest sense, it describes the attraction our culture has with sin, lust, and death; similar to the blood-lust of the ancient Romans, no? Our culture not only permits, but promotes abortion, euthanasia, murder, revenge, suicide (assisted or otherwise), war, capital punishment, contraception, human cloning, human sterilization, embryonic stem cell and fetal research, In Vitro Fertilization, homosexuality, promiscuity, infidelity, and divorce.

These proclivities lead to the destruction of life and its natural origins; the family. They devalue human life, leading to an explosion of all types of sins. When we do not value human life, we do not value people. This leads us to sin by harming ourselves and others since we do not see the face of God in others. Here is what the Didache says about the “Way of Death”:

“And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and full of curse: murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rapines, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing requital, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him that made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him that is in want, afflicting him that is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.”

Love, & unswerving commitment to LIFE, always! No matter the cost!
Matthew

Sexual orientation & gender identity: what does the science say?

real-love

“Washington D.C., Aug 27, 2016 / 07:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For most young people who experience feelings of gender dysphoria, the experience is in fact temporary, and a non-heterosexual orientation is not as fixed as sometimes claimed, a new overview of the relevant research says.

“Only a minority of children who experience cross-gender identification will continue to do so into adolescence or adulthood,” said the report, published in The New Atlantis Journal.

As many as 80 percent of men who reported same-sex attraction as adolescents no longer do so as adults. There were “similar but less striking” results for women. The idea of innate sexual orientation is “not supported by scientific evidence,” the report said.

Titled “Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological, and Social Sciences,” the report reviews various research studies to examine claims about sexuality and gender.

It was authored by Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, Ph.D., a biostatistician and epidemiologist now a scholar in residence at Johns Hopkins University; and by Dr. Paul R. McHugh, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University.
The report considers various claims like the basis and permanence of gender identity and sexual orientation.

It found there is a lack of scientific evidence for claims that gender identity is an innate property “independent of biological sex.” Scientific evidence also does not support claims that a person might be “a man trapped in a woman’s body.”

Gender identity problems can arise for someone with Intersex conditions, where a person has ambiguous biological sex due to genetic abnormalities.

However, brain structure comparison of transgender and non-transgender individuals show only “weak correlations” between brain structure and cross-gender identification. These correlations are not evidence that this identity has a basis in the biology of the brain.

Similarly, sexual orientation’s neurological basis can be overstated. Against the “born that way” claim, the report authors write: “While there is evidence that biological factors such as genes and hormones are associated with sexual behaviors and attractions, there are no compelling causal biological explanations for human sexual orientation.”

The report also considered sexuality, mental health, and social factors.

Non-heterosexuals are two to three times as likely to have experienced childhood sexual abuse.

The authors weighed the evidence that non-heterosexual attractions, desires and behaviors may increase the risk of suffering sex abuse, or that sexual abuse may cause non-heterosexual attractions, desires and behaviors. They said that more research is needed before claiming a link between sex abuse and non-heterosexual attractions.

Non-heterosexuals do face elevated risk of adverse health and mental health outcomes. They are estimated to have a 1.5 times higher risk of anxiety and substance abuse than the heterosexual population. They face double the risk of depression and 2.5 times higher risk of suicide.

The transgender population, recently estimated to make up 0.6 percent of the total population, suffers a lifetime suicide attempt rate of 41 percent, compared to 5 percent of the overall population.
There is “limited, inconsistent and incomplete” evidence that social stressors like discrimination and stigma “contribute to the elevated risk of poor mental health outcomes for non-heterosexual and transgender populations.”

The report said clinicians and policymakers should not assume that models focused on social stressors offer a complete explanation for these health differences.

“Just as it does a disservice to non-heterosexual subpopulations to ignore or downplay the statistically higher risks of negative mental health outcomes they face, so it does them a disservice to misattribute the causes of these elevated risks, or to ignore other potential factors that may be at work.”

Adults who undergo sex reassignment surgeries continue to show a high risk in mental health, being about 5 times more likely to attempt suicide and 19 times more likely to die by suicide compared to a control group.

Regarding therapies for children that delay puberty or modify sex characteristics of adolescents, there is “little scientific evidence” for their therapeutic value, the report said.

At the same time, “some children may have improved psychological well-being if they are encouraged and supported in their cross-gender identification.”

“There is no evidence that all children who express gender-atypical thoughts or behavior should be encouraged to become transgender,” the report added.”

Love & truth,
Matthew