Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Memoriam of Rev John F. Harvey, OSFS




(From my inbox)

It is with deep sorrow that we receive the news of Fr. John Harvey's death.
He has embodied the ministry that he has founded, his person characterized by that same word - COURAGE.

He is one of the few priests who dared to love the person struggling with same-sex attractions with the unconditional love of Father God. His ministry has raised hope for the homosexual person saying "nothing is impossible with God". We shall forever remember him as the champion of love.

It is indeed providential that he died on the feast of St. John the Apostle - for he is the "new John" of our times, giving his life until the very last days of his old age, witnessing the resurrection to new life in Christ of every man and woman who has entered and persevered in the Courage apostolate, and leaving behind a gospel of love - teaching that anyone can be Jesus' beloved.

Fr. Harvey was the founder and national director of Courage, which is a spiritual support group for homosexual women and men. He had been director of Courage since its foundation in 1980 at the request of the late archbishop of New York, Terrence Cardinal Cooke. Courage continues to reach out in the United States, in Canada, England, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Mexico, Slovakia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines, and New Zealand. Today, there are more than 100 Chapters of Courage worldwide.

We thank the Eternal Father for giving you, Fr. John Harvey, to all of us. Thank you for allowing yourself to be used by Divine Providence to teach us the true Gospel of love. Mabuhay ka Padre!

We in Courage Philippines deeply mourn the passing away of this great man. Please join us in praying for the eternal repose of his soul.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Just wishing everyone a joyful Christmas! Thank you dear blog visitors for dropping by our blog this past year. I will be going on a brief hiatus and will resume posting January 2011.

God bless us all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Stealing of Christmas


A timely Christmas reflection by Fr. Shay Cullen. Fr. Shay's columns are published in The Manila Times.


For all true Christians, Christmas is the celebration of family values. It's when we strive to come together with parents, family and friends to be close to them and to renew bonds of friendship and be thankful to be alive, loved and wanted. It is the time when we celebrate the rights and dignity of women and children, Christian compassion, justice and unselfish love of neighbor, equality and peace making. These are the great values brought into the world by a humble son of a carpenter in Palestine 2000 years ago.

The real story of Christmas is all too often lost in the blaze and dazzle of twinkling lights, Christmas trees and the image of a very obese man in a red suit with a white beard saying "ho ho ho". While good Christians are remembering and living the values of the real Christmas story, the post - Christian society has stolen Christmas and turned the celebration of a humble Christian sharing and kindness into a commercial venture of materialistic madness.

It is now a business where millions are spent on alcohol and drunken orgies and unruly hedonistic extravagance while a billion people in the world go hungry and live on a dollar a day. Powerful nations, where 86% of citizens say they believe in God, spend US$170 million a day to wage war that can't change a corrupt regime or protect the people from wicked insurgents and terrorists. The real meaning of Christianity is the direct opposite of all that.

Such materialistic and selfish living is what Jesus came to change but with some great inspiring exceptions his followers have generally failed to make His love and values predominate in the world. What Jesus brought into the world was a spiritual revolution to convert people to a new way of living where people love and respect each other and protect the rights of all as sacred and inviolable. We believers are challenged to make them real everywhere. That is too idealistic and impractical, some say.

While millions of Catholics and the people of God do strive daily to be true to the real meaning of Christianity and follow and implement the values that Jesus taught, the institutional church struggles to walk closely in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

Today, it is more a religion of personal piety and individual salvation rather than the spiritual movement to challenge and change the evil systems and unjust policies in the world that causes so much poverty and human suffering.

Church charitable development agencies do wander throughout the world with little funds. They have to turn to the civil governments to get funds to help the poor. The church should and could do so much more to inspire the youth with idealistic action for justice and share more resources.

It is no wonder that in the Western world the places of worship are almost empty and hundreds of churches are closing and some being turned into restaurants and commercial establishments. The Eucharistic celebration of the memory of what Jesus said and did is where the greatest inspiration for Catholic social action ought to come from. Implementing the social teachings of the church is to proclaim and implement the values Jesus taught but failure to do so is all too apparent.

Catholic practice in general, allowing for inspiring exceptions, has remained secluded in the 'temple of ritual worship', that for some reason does not inspire us to go traveling about like John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth challenging authorities and converting the world to embrace a way of life that has love, concern and compassion for the sick, the wounded, the hungry, the homeless, the outcasts and victims of injustice. The Vatican Council of the 1960's was supposed to do just that, bring the church into the modern world as a powerful, inspiring, and morally relevant force for goodness. It is still striving for that.

What is a relevant and powerful force in the world - it is the faith and action for justice and human dignity that we see in the lives of so many great self-sacrificing Christians.

They help the needy by sharing their wealth and what little they have with love and generosity. That's the real spirit of Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekly News (Third Week of December)

1. Evangelization Needs Sense of Sacred, Says Preacher

Father Cantalamessa Gives Advent Sermon to Pope and Curia

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The re-evangelization of the secularized world requires a recovery of the sense of the sacred, says the preacher of the Pontifical Household. [Read More]

2. CBCP, Palace to Launch Info Drive on Family Planning

MANILA, Dec. 15, 2010—A joint information campaign on family planning is set to be carried out by the Catholic hierarchy and the Aquino administration. [Read More]

3. House Votes To Repeal Ban on Open Homosexuals in Military

WASHINGTON - Despite warnings from military leaders and from pro-family and conservative groups, the U.S. House voted Wednesday to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that for 17 years has banned homosexuals from serving openly in the military. [Read More]

4. US Senator: Gay Ban Tied to Russia Treaty

WASHINGTON—The White House's Democratic allies in the US Senate should drop plans to repeal a military ban on gays serving openly or risk the fate of a nuclear pact with Russia, a Republican senator said Friday. [Read More]

5. Gay Support Groups in Public Schools Aren’t The Best Solution

It’s hard to imagine the confusion of a teenager who is convinced that he’s gay. More unimaginable is the pain he must experience if he’s bullied for having effeminate characteristics. [Read More]

6. Planned Parenthood Gets $363M in Tax Money, Abortions Rise

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America finally released its 2008-2009 Annual report detailing its financial figures. The report shows it received more government funding, which has translated into more abortions. [Read More]

7. Adult Stem Cells Cure Man with HIV, Claim Scientists

December 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A team of researchers has claimed that a German patient has been cured of both HIV and leukemia after receiving a bone marrow transplant that included stem cells from an HIV-resistant donor. [Read More]

8. Angelina, Bill and Avril’s Misguided Giving

What do Angelina Jolie, Bill Gates and Avril Lavigne have in common?

Answer: They’re all extremely wealthy individuals who have poured their riches into funding anti-life and anti-family organizations. [Read More]

9. Shadowing an Exorcist

A movie starring Anthony Hopkins explores exorcism. The man who wrote the book behind the film talks about what chasing the devil really entails. [Read More]

10. Filipino Figures Included in Vatican Nativity Scene

ROME, Dec. 17, 2010—The traditional nativity scene that will be put up at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican will feature a set of nine Filipino figures that will complement the traditional figures of the Holy Family. [Read More]

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Interview with Jonathan Daugherty of Pure Sex Radio



Hello friends!

Check out this interview with Jonathan Daugherty here.

My friend JR had the privilege to spend some time this month with Jonathan Daugherty of Be Broken Ministries. He is a national sex addiction recovery minister who himself struggled with pornography, lust & illicit sexual relations.

In their conversation he brings down to earth the topics of lust, masturbation, sin and keeping secrets. He shares how he and his wife got through things. His insights are beautiful. Take some time this week to listen and to share this with others

Visit JR's website at www.freedomfrompornaddiction.com.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Interview with Tony Litster of CureTheCraving.com


Hello friends!

Check out Tony Litster's profile here and then click the link midpage to hear his hour-long interview.

Listen and then grab a copy of his FREE 7 CD Series that discuss some of the cultural constructs that are leading large numbers within the Christian faith as well as other communities to turn to porn and why so many will never break free.

Porn isn't the problem, says Tony, it's that we're out of balance and aren't giving proper attention to our spirit, body, mind & haven't learned simple, yet powerful ways to manage stress in our lives.

My friend "JR" has personally been following Tony's program for a month now and already he has had a huge shift in his thinking and his actual ability to face temptations in constructive ways which has led to some of his longest "porn-free" stretches in at least a year.

Never miss this one and many thanks to my friend "JR" for sending me this link. As promised I am posting it here on our blog. Keep sending those interviews.

You can also visit JR's website at www.freedomfrompornaddiction.com.

-oOo-

We just had our annual Christmas party last Saturday at a brother's house in QC. I enjoyed the food, the company, the old and new faces, and the friendship we shared for the past year. I hope to see you all next year!

In the meantime I am still reading the book Turning Controversy Into Church Ministry - A Christlike Response to Homosexuality by W.P. Campbell. I highly endorse this book to church leaders, ministers, and pastors who are at a loss on how to deal with people struggling with same-sex attraction in their congregation. I will be posting my review here after I read the book.

This coming Sunday, Dec. 19, our community along with other SSA support groups will have a book launching of Homosexuality & The Catholic Church by Fr. John Harvey, founding director of Courage International. There will be a Eucharistic celebration to be presided by Fr. Dave Clay and Fr. Dan Healy, our spiritual directors. I am still looking into the possibility of selling this book through our blog and the proceeds will help fund the various activities of Courage Philippines. It is our desire that every bishop and priest in this country will have a copy of this book.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekly News (Second Week of December)

1. Pope Urges Catholics to Prepare Hearts For Jesus’ Birth

Vatican City, Dec 5, 2010 / 01:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Thousands of families gathered in St. Peter’s Square this morning to hear Pope Benedict speak about preparing their hearts for “He who comes” and to see the Vatican’s Christmas tree. [Read More]

2. AIDS Policy Lethal Mix of Ideology?

SAN FRANCISCO, California, DEC. 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- When it comes to fighting AIDS, the western model of risk reduction hasn't curbed the deadly epidemic. [Read More]

3. Yahoo! Teams Up With PeƱaflorida For ‘Ripples of Kindness’ Campaign

This holiday season, Yahoo! is encouraging people to do random acts of kindness and go online to create a virtual ripple of kindness. [Read More]

4. CBCP Family & Life Commission to Launch Book on Homosexuality

MANILA, Dec. 9, 2010—The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Family and Life will launch their latest publication titled “Homosexuality and the Catholic Church” come December 14 at 9:00 a.m. at the CBCP Conference Room. [Read More]

5. Sexuality Survey 'Indoctrination in High Gear'

According to a new mental health survey, parents must accept the alternative sexual lifestyles of their children to prevent suicide, drug abuse, and depression. But one expert believes the study is biased. [Read More]

6. AFTAH’s LaBarbera Applauds Senate Vote to Block Repeal of Military’s Homosexuality Ban [Read More]

7. UN and Planned Parenthood Sponsor Campaign to OK Willful HIV Infection

A new campaign seeks to eliminate disclosure laws which require HIV positive individuals to inform their sex partners of their potentially deadly infection. [Read More]

8. New Belgian Archbishop Faces Legal Threats Over AIDS Remarks

BRUSSELS, December 10, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The new archbishop of Brussels, Andre-Joseph Leonard, is being targeted by homosexualist groups, and has been condemned by the country’s prime minister, after he said that AIDS is a consequence of risky sexual behavior, including homosexual sexual activity. [Read More]

9. Brazilian Senate Approves $178 Million to Promote Gay Agenda

BRAZIL, December 10, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Brazilian Senate recently approved a massive $178 million budget to fight “homophobia,” a term that includes criticism of the homosexual lifestyle. [Read More]

10. Discerning a Vocation Online

Vocational assessment survey is a mouse-click away.

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Nine years ago, Natalie Smith thought something had to be done to reverse the vocations crisis. [Read More]

11. Fourth Part of Humorous Video Series Debunking Overpopulation Released

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, December 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Population Research Institute (PRI) has just released the fourth episode of their highly popular YouTube series aimed to expose the myth of overpopulation through humorous stick-figure animation. [Read More]

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mary - The Immaculata


This is a most fitting prayer to obtain the grace of purity from Her who is the perfect model of this virtue and whose feast we celebrate today (Feast of the Immaculate Conception). I also added a brief reflection of Henri Nouwen on this feast.


“Immaculate Virgin Mary, I confide my chastity to your maternal heart. I ask your help to guard my senses, especially the eyes, for an unchaste eye is the messenger of an unchaste heart. Knowing my pride, I pray for that humility which invites the mercy of God. Knowing that I am human, I shall not be surprised at the urge of concupiscence, but trusting in your care I rely on your protection and all the graces that I need from your divine Son. Amen.”

-oOo-

In this feast it seems that all the quiet beauty of Advent suddenly bursts forth into exuberance and exultation. In Mary we see all the beauty of Advent concentrated. She is the one in whom the waiting of Israel is most fully and most purely manifested; she is the last of the remnant of Israel for whom God shows his mercy and fulfills his promises; she is the faithful one who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled; she is the lowly handmaid, the obedient servant, the quiet contemplative. She indeed is the most prepared to receive the Lord.

It seems that there is no better time to celebrate this feast than during these Advent days. It is the celebration of the beauty of her who is ready to receive the Lord. It is like admiring the palace where the King will enter, the room to which the bridegroom will come, the garden where the great encounter will take place.

[Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Genesee Diary, pg. 174]

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book Review: Shame and Attachment Loss by Dr. Nicolosi



This is a brief but insightful review of Dr. Joseph's Nicolosi's book Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy by a fellow brother in the community, Bro. X.


This book is big breaking news. To put it simply, it is a new improved explanation of homosexuality or same-sex attraction, the latest available to us, as far as I know.

Shame and Attachment Loss: The Practical Work of Reparative Therapy (2009) is written in a readable and coherent scholarly style, and it presents an even more convincing case to people who matter in addressing the problem of SSA: our therapists and counselors.

Further, the author Joseph J. Nicolosi does not debunk in any way his former model or theory of reparative therapy for gender deficit disorder, as explained and illustrated extensively in Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A Clinical Approach (1991); he builds on it by borrowing from the work of others specializing in other fields, particularly attachment theory (which deals with the child's bonding with parents and development of self-identity) and shame and grief work (particularly the work of Martha Stark). Nicolosi's reparative theory has been expanded to include these concepts of attachment loss, shame, and grief work, making this latest model the most inclusive or cohesive, to date.

To put it in layman's terms, Nicolosi says that SSA is not merely a matter of a man erotically envying another man for manly traits he doesn't have. It is about a man who has not fully formed his sense of self due to an early life trauma/s.

Because the main target audience are practitioners in the helping professions, the language can be intimidating to outsiders. However, if one is able to grasp the first book, which can be quite technical in parts, there's no reason why this new challenging text should not be welcomed. A little effort is all it takes to get past the technical terms. We have to understand that Nicolosi has to be precise and scientific or clinical with his terms for his case to be even more convincing to his peers, most of which are hostile to his ideas. Once the reader recovers from the fear of intimidating words, one discovers that Nicolosi speaks roughly the same things as the authors we've already read before: Richard Cohen, Andrew Comiskey, Don Schmierer, et al. (Nicolosi quotes these three authors in this book.) Words and phrases like unmet needs, mother wound, father wound, fatherlessness, bullying, rejection, misogyny (hatred of women), misandry (hatred of men), etc., swirl in the mind as one reads from chapter to chapter. The book is, in fact, carefully written, carefully edited, and can be manageable to the patient reader.

The main difference of Nicolosi with other authors is that he takes an even deeper approach to explaining SSA by adding yet another distinct layer to the already multi-layered problem. The good news is he seems to have finally stumbled into the real core of the problem: The root of SSA can now be safely traced to a traumatic event/s in the child's relationship with the mother or a mother figure. This trauma, which Nicolosi identifies as attachment loss (which can occur to other children who later grow up with dysfunctions other than SSA), is identified to be the one enabling the other forms of wounding that comprise the SSA syndrome: rejection by a missing or emotionally distant father, constant rejection by one's peers and social environment, rejection of oneself, self-hatred, hatred of women, hatred of men.

Nicolosi's new model neatly explains almost everything I've been through as an SSA sufferer. What specially strikes me in this book is the author's observation that, in the counseling process, care must be taken by the counselor so that the counselee doesn't feel shamed in any way. People with SSA, he says, are a specially sensitive bunch when it comes to shame. The counselor must acknowledge that feeling in his one-on-one session with the "client," or the person with SSA closes off within himself and walls off the counselor. This stage in therapy, which requires total honesty between the two, is crucial because any perceived shaming or judgment by the counselor will inevitably be interpreted by the counselee as a repetition of the traumatic shaming or wounding by his own father/father figure.

Needless to say, dealing with persons with SSA requires a patient, strong or secure, and most of all, loving counselor/therapist.

As usual, Nicolosi shows, through example upon example in his clinical work, how the experience of pain in the SSA person's life is always a moment of growth, a moment of breakthrough. Pain, the anguishing kind, the kind that brings the individual into panicking as though on the verge of death, is shown to be the only kind of pain that heals. On a personal note, I have a lot of possible triggers in life to make that pain possible, but because of my fear of death, I've always chosen to medicate, to numb my pain via the big M and P. This kind of pain, after all, is the very kind of existential pain that we have repressed in childhood. Only when it is expressed and experienced can the underlying pathological shame and grief that have been controlling our lives unknowingly can be expressed and finally rooted out. Of course this is easier said than done; it is needless to say best experienced for oneself at the proper time.

Another novel thing Nicolosi adopts in his therapy sessions is the use of body work, in which he constantly uses bodily clues experienced by the patient to expose his real feelings in connection with an event. In this process, it is almost impossible for the patient to lie or deny because the body symptoms (usually all sorts of discomfort) present themselves as hard evidence. I have personally experienced such an approach in my trauma therapy sessions in UST's Psychotrauma Clinic (to which Joe referred me), and I think I have greatly benefited from it. What's more, this step is free from the usual threat of being shamed, judged, or invariably hurt, making the healing process smoother for all.

This book is, simply put, a must-read for all members of this list. (A belated thanks to the donor of this important book.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Weekly News (First Week of December)

1. Belated Reflections on Pontiff's Condom Remarks

Benedict XVI Did Not Issue New Church Teaching in Book-Interview

WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Now that the media furor has subsided regarding Benedict XVI's remarks about male prostitutes and condoms, I thought a brief consideration of one relevant unsettled question in Catholic moral theology might be valuable to ZENIT readers. [Read More]

2. Bishop Laments Over Christmas Commercialization

MANILA, Dec. 2, 2010—As people are in a frenzy buying Christmas decorations, a Catholic bishop frowned on the commercialization of the celebration. [Read More]

3. Senators Nix P880M for Condoms

MANILA, Philippines—Senators have castrated the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget for contraceptives for distribution to the country’s poor starting next year. [Read More]

4. HIV Cases Soaring in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines - HIV cases in the Philippines are rising as the epidemic continues. From 835 cases in 2009, HIV cases have reached 1,305 in the first 10 months of this year. [Read More]

5. Evangelicals Remain Counter-Culture on Homosexuality

According to a recent Pew Research survey, the homosexual lifestyle is gaining approval among a growing number of Americans who call themselves Christians. [Read More]

6. Illinois House Passes ‘Civil Unions’ after Massive Democrat Push — only Two Republicans Stand in Opposition [Read More]

7. Poll: Women Uninformed About Medical Dangers of Birth Control Pill

In association with a conference held in the nation’s capitol today about the 50th anniversary of the birth control pill, a pro-life group has released the results of a new poll. [Read More]

8. 75% of Sexually Active Homosexuals Are Carrying Human Papiloma Virus, Study Suggests

BARCELONA, December 2, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Preliminary results from a Spanish study of sexually-active homosexuals indicates that seventy-five percent are carrying the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), according to a report by Europa Press. [Read More]

9. Abortion, STDs and Teen Pregnancies Climbing Despite Tax-Funded Sex-Ed: Scottish Government Report

EDINBURGH, December 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A report issued by the devolved Scottish government has shown the failure of “safer sex” campaigns to teach ever-younger audiences about condoms and other sexual practices intended to reduce the rates of teen pregnancies, abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. [Read More]

10. Bridging the College Faith Gap

Campus ministers help freshmen stay Catholic.

As a University of Nebraska freshman, Zachary Kane led a double life. He attended Mass on Sunday — and the rest of the week he attended to his social life. [Read More]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

AIDS Does Matter



Today, we commemorate Worlds AIDS Day. I join everyone in praying for those who have died of AIDS and those who are afflicted with the disease. Here in the Philippines, the scenario is not looking good. HIV cases are soaring. From 835 cases in 2009, HIV cases have escalated to 1305 in the first 10 months of the year according to DOH. There is even a report that some blood banks have HIV infected blood products.

HIV Basics

Modes of Transmission:

1. Through infected blood and blood products. This can happen through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, needle-pricking accidents (among medical practitioners especially), and needle sharing (among IV drug users).

2. Through penetrative sexual intercourse. This is primarily due to an exchange of infected body fluids.

a. Oral - Lowest risk of acquiring the infection. The oral giver (sucker) has higher risk than the receiver (the one being sucked) of getting infected. Although this carries the lowest risk of transmitting HIV, the presence of mouth ulcers or gum disease from the oral giver can increase this risk significantly.

b. Vaginal - Women have higher risk of acquiring the infection, but the male partner is also at risk.

c. Anal - The receiver (bottom) has a higher risk than the giver (top). Bareback sex is considered high risk since the anus has thinner and more sensitive mucous membranes than the vagina. It can tear easily thus creating an easy entry point for HIV. This also explains the high incidence of HIV/AIDS among the MSM sector (men having sex with men).

3. Mother-to-Child Transmission. This can occur during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.

Body Fluids Containing High Concentration of HIV

1. Blood.
2. Semen.
3. Vaginal Discharge.
4. Breast Milk.

HIV Prevention

1. Abstinence. This is undoubtedly your best defense. Practice it.

2. Fidelity. I am talking about married couples here. It is virtually impossible for a couple to acquire any form of sexually transmitted infection if they are faithful to one another and to their marriage vows.

3. Education. A plethora of information about HIV/AIDS is easily accessible and available on the internet and books. Ignorance of this matter is inexcusable.

4. Firm Moral Conviction. HIV/AIDS is not so much a medical crisis as it is a moral crisis. You cannot contract HIV in the same manner as the AH1N1 virus. The spread of the disease is facilitated by people indulging in risky behaviors and not through some means that you have no control of like air, water, food, etc. Thus, a strengthening of our moral values and convictions can put a stop on this plague.

5. Humanization of Sexuality. This is the call of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. There has to be a deeper understanding and appreciation of what sexuality is all about. There is also a need to combat the more pervasive evils plaguing our society like sexual permissiveness, pornography, prostitution, and gay agenda.

How About Condoms?

Let us read what Dr. Edward Green, a senior Harvard research scientist, has to say on the issue:

“Theoretically, condoms ought to work,” he explained to CNA, “and theoretically, some condom use ought to be better than no condom use, but that’s theoretically.”

The accepted wisdom in the scientific community, explained Green, is that condoms lower the HIV infection rate, but after numerous studies, researchers have found the opposite to be true. “We just cannot find an association between more condom use and lower HIV reduction rates” in Africa.

Dr. Green found that part of the elusive reason is a phenomenon known as risk compensation or behavioral disinhibition.

[Risk compensation] is the idea that if somebody is using a certain technology to reduce risk, a phenomenon actually occurs where people are willing to take on greater risk.” The idea can be related to someone that puts on sun block and is willing to stay out in the sun longer because they have added protection. In this case, however, the greater risk is sexual. Because people are willing to take on more risk, they may “disproportionally erase” the benefits of condom use, Green said.

Reminders

1. We have a law (RA 8504) otherwise known as Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998 that protects persons living with HIV/AIDS.

2. If you have had multiple sex partners, engaged in risky sexual behaviors, or an active IV drug user, you are at risk.

3. An infected person usually experiences some flu-like symptoms like fever, rashes, headaches, generalized weakness a few weeks after the infection. This is the acute viral infection phase where the body is reacting to the onslaught of the virus. It is important to take note of these symptoms.

4. There is a window period of three to six months. This means that if you get infected today and you decide to get tested tomorrow, it may yield a false-negative result. The body needs around three to six months to develop antibodies to HIV that can be detected by the tests. This means that for you to get the most accurate result, you must at least wait for six months before you get tested. Please note that during this "window period" you are highly infectious.

5. The only way to know your status is to get tested. You can avail this service for a minimal fee or even free in government-mandated testing centers and social hygiene clinics. There is one in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila. You can research this on the web.

6. People with HIV can lead long productive lives. Our government can provide you with medications and other means of support to help you cope with the disease. By taking good care of your health and immune system, you can live a normal life.

My Personal Experience

I have had few sexual encounters in the past and I greatly feared the prospect of acquiring this disease. It came to a point where I experienced frequent panic and anxiety attacks. The fear was eating me up. The prospect of living with HIV is simply unthinkable.

To put my mind at ease, I had myself tested at a social hygiene clinic in Pasay City through a referral for free. If you only have the slightest idea of the hell that I went through just to finish this ordeal. The feeling was like receiving a sentence with 50/50 chance of making it through. Now, I understand why so many are reluctant to have themselves tested, yet I know it won't solve anything. And so I did it. I had myself tested.

First, the lady doctor interviewed me. She asked about my past sexual encounters. At the same time I had a mini-lecture on HIV/AIDS. This is called the pretest counseling.

And then the moment of truth. The nurse called me out and drew a blood sample from my arm and then told me to wait outside the laboratory. Fifteen agonizing minutes of what seemed like an eternity. It was too much for me and I really felt terribly awful at the prospect of walking out that clinic positive.

Then the nurse handed out the white slip to the lady doctor. She called me back and handed me the slip. I was trembling. She asked me to see the results although it was optional. The verdict is now out. I just need to read it. I broke in tears and I was really shaking. Finally, with all the courage I could muster, I opened it.

The result?

NON-REACTIVE meaning NEGATIVE.

What a relief! The doctor congratulated me and gave me some post-test counseling. She advised me to be very careful next time and to use condoms (oops, that one I don't agree with). What can you expect, it's a government-funded clinic. Anyway, that's the scariest thing I have experienced so far in my whole life and I am blogging about this to sort of pay back. It is really sad to note that despite the abundance of information on HIV/AIDS and condoms you can buy in three different flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry) at your nearest convenience store, the infection rate continues to climb up.

Think positive. Stay negative.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekly News (Fourth Week of November)

1. Praise Pouring in for "Light of the World"

ROME, NOV. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Aside from the media cacophony surrounding just one short, though important, passage in the book, plaudits have been coming in thick and fast for "Light in the World," Peter Seewald's landmark series of interviews with Benedict XVI. [Read More]

2. Seewald's Take: Benedict XVI Misunderstood by Many

ROME, NOV. 23, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The author of the new book-interview with Benedict XVI showed visible disappointment that the text has been reduced by the media to a misrepresentation of a few statements on condoms. [Read More]

3. Church to Fight RH Bill to The End – Prelate

MANILA, Nov. 26, 2010—The Catholic Church will continue to fight against the passage of the reproductive health bill to the end, a prelate said. [Read More]

4. Pacquiao Catholic Bishops' New ‘Champ’ vs Condoms

To the world, he is a boxing champ but Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny" Pacquiao has become a new champion of sorts for Catholic bishops as well. [Read More]

5. Anti-AIDS Groups Hail Drug But Worry About Cost

San Francisco (AP) - AIDS prevention advocates are hailing a pill newly shown to protect against HIV as a great tool for disease prevention. [Read More]

6. Should Gay TSA Agents Be Barred from Giving ‘Same-Gender Pat-Downs’?

CHICAGO – Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) today questioned the propriety of “same-gender” TSA (Transportation Security Administration) “pat-downs” – if the TSA agents doing the “patting down” are homosexual, lesbian or bisexual. [Read More]

7. Mexican State Government Investigated for ‘Endorsing’ Ex-Gay Conference

GUADALAJARA, Mexico, November 26, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The government of the Mexican state of Jalisco is under “investigation” by the state human rights commission for alleged sponsorship of a conference that included Richard Cohen, an ex-homosexual and therapist who treats homosexuals for unwanted same-sex attraction, according to the Mexican newspaper El Universal. [Read More]

8. Pope on Homosexuality Among Priests: “One of The Miseries of The Church”

VATICAN, November 24, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Even if homosexuality were innate, it would not make the behavior morally acceptable, Pope Benedict told interviewer Peter Seewald in the new interview book “Light of the World.” [Read More]

9. What the Church Teaches About Cremation

WASHINGTON (CNS) — While cremation is not prohibited unless it is chosen for reasons “contrary to Christian teaching,” the Catholic Church prefers that the body of a deceased person be buried in accord with Church custom, according to statements issued by two U.S. archdioceses. [Read More]

10. Giving Thanks Has Life-Changing Impact, Priest and Psychologist Says

Denver, Colo., Nov 26, 2010 / 07:05 am (CNA).- Fr. Charles Shelton –a Jesuit priest, psychologist, and the author of a new book on gratitude– says that the choice to live gratefully can help to improve virtually every aspect of a person's life. [Read More]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In The Middle of An Open Sea


Courage year-end reflection of Stubborn Sojourner, a brother in the community.


I am significantly healed… or so I thought. After two years of being in a healing ministry, really immersed into the realities that have happened to me when I was growing up, the root causes of my SSA issues, and being revealed the truths of who I am before the eyes of God, I thought I was significantly healed already. There are moments that I am spiritually high, but this year the Lord has brought me to more experiences of desolation than consolation. I still have to deal with my critical and controlling mother. I still have to understand my father’s attempts to make up for the lost opportunities for us to bond as father and son when I was still a child – at times I feel suffocated by his sudden burst of showing affection towards me. When temptations of lust in me are weakened, temptations of anger and outrage replace. I had to deal with my personal anxieties about my own future now that I am already 34 years old and my kid brother is already planning to get married. I had to face the demons of my past as I struggled to have a meaningful experience with an all-male choir where some members are practicing homosexuals, and in fact some of them are in gay relationships with one another.

Questions begin to rise in my heart, like – why are people living in the gay lifestyle seem happy? Am I really happy living a chaste life? Where am I going at my age? Am I still called to the priesthood, to be single forever or to have a family? Where is God calling me in all of these experiences? I began to see myself as a sojourner that has already left land, and is now in the open sea – with nothing on sight. The temptation to go back towards the land, to the more familiar route back to where I came from, is there and it becomes stronger each day. As I feel that I am in the middle of nowhere, I am more troubled in spirit than ever.

However, as I quiet myself (which I don’t normally do because of my busy schedule), in the deep chambers of my heart God is lovingly calling me into Himself, letting me understand how little and insignificant I am despite of everything that I may have done, and how great and strong and merciful is He towards me. This little ball of light is my life-saver – because I may spend my whole lifetime in the middle of the open sea, not knowing where to go or what to do, but at least I know that God wishes me to be with Him – an insignificant, ungrateful and imperfect creature that I am. God is trying to woo me into Himself, detaching me from everything, from everyone, from every idea that pops in my head – until I only have Him. May the Holy Spirit, Mama Mary, my beloved guardian angel and my beloved saints John the Evangelist, Joseph, Maximillian, Therese, and Faustina – help me until the end of my voyage towards Jesus Christ, my one and only Beloved.


ABOVE ALL (Christian worship song)

Above all powers, above all kings, above all nature and all created things, above all wisdom and all the ways of man, you were here before the world began… Crucified, laid behind the stone, you lived to die, rejected and alone, like a rose, trampled on the ground – you took the fall, and thought of me, above all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI and Condoms



Just a day after the controversial papal statement was published in the secular media I feel compelled to present this issue from its proper Christian perspective. It was not surprising at all to find people who are supportive of the RH bill using this as a sign that the Church is finally "catching up with the times." I know these people will do everything to suit their own agenda. Although the papal pronouncement regarding condom use only deals specifically with preventing infections, some people are applying this to preventing pregnancy. It is sad to note how some people in the media intentionally mislead others with their bad journalistic ethics.

I will be publishing here a series of articles taken directly from the Zenit website, which is my trusty source of reliable and accurate reportage of Church events. In my observation, Pope Benedict XVI's statements can oftentimes be hard to grasp by an ordinary person of average intellect. In a sense this is where most of the misunderstandings and misconceptions begin. Many of us are not living in the grace of the Holy Spirit and are deprived of His gifts of wisdom and understanding. Thus, there is often a need of an intermediary so to speak to explain things for us so that we may come to understand.


Benedict XVI, Condoms, and the Light of the World

Interview With Janet Smith

DETROIT, NOV. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- A book-length interview with Benedict XVI, due to be released on Tuesday, is already causing controversy in the public spotlight due to the Pope's comments on the use of condoms.

Some quotes from the book, "Light of the World" (Ignatius Press), were published ahead of the release date, prompting media opinions and a statement of clarification by Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office.

Janet Smith, a consultor to the Pontifical Council on the Family who holds the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, and has published extensively on the topics of sexuality and bioethics, explained in this interview the source of the controversy and what the Pope is really saying.

She noted that in the book (p.119), to the charge that "It is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms," Pope Benedict replied (This paragraph is at the end of an extended answer on the help the Church is giving the AIDS victims and the need to fight the banalization of sexuality.):

"There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality."

The interviewer asked the Pontiff, "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?"

The Holy Father replied, "She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality."

Smith explains in the following interview, which she sent to ZENIT, how Benedict XVI was advocating conversion, not condoms, in the striving for moral behavior.

Q: What is Pope Benedict saying?

Smith: We must note that the example that Pope Benedict gives for the use of a condom is a male prostitute; thus, it is reasonable to assume that he is referring to a male prostitute engaged in homosexual acts.

The Holy Father is simply observing that for some homosexual prostitutes the use of a condom may indicate an awakening of a moral sense; an awakening that sexual pleasure is not the highest value, but that we must take care that we harm no one with our choices.

He is not speaking to the morality of the use of a condom, but to something that may be true about the psychological state of those who use them. If such individuals are using condoms to avoid harming another, they may eventually realize that sexual acts between members of the same sex are inherently harmful since they are not in accord with human nature.

The Holy Father does not in any way think the use of condoms is a part of the solution to reducing the risk of AIDS. As he explicitly states, the true solution involves "humanizing sexuality."

Anyone having sex that threatens to transmit HIV needs to grow in moral discernment. This is why Benedict focused on a "first step" in moral growth.

The Church is always going to be focused on moving people away from immoral acts towards love of Jesus, virtue, and holiness. We can say that the Holy Father clearly did not want to make a point about condoms, but wants to talk about growth in a moral sense, which should be a growth towards Jesus.

Q: So is the Holy Father saying it is morally good for male prostitutes to use condoms?

Smith: The Holy Father is not articulating a teaching of the Church about whether or not the use of a condom reduces the amount of evil in a homosexual sexual act that threatens to transmit HIV.

The Church has no formal teaching about how to reduce the evil of intrinsically immoral action. We must note that what is intrinsically wrong in a homosexual sexual act in which a condom is used is not the moral wrong of contraception but the homosexual act itself.

In the case of homosexual sexual activity, a condom does not act as a contraceptive; it is not possible for homosexuals to contracept since their sexual activity has no procreative power that can be thwarted.

But the Holy Father is not making a point about whether the use of a condom is contraceptive or even whether it reduces the evil of a homosexual sexual act; again, he is speaking about the psychological state of some who might use condoms. The intention behind the use of the condom (the desire not to harm another) may indicate some growth in a sense of moral responsibility. In "Familiaris Consortio (On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World)," John Paul II spoke of the need for conversion, which often proceeds by gradual steps:

"To the injustice originating from sin ... we must all set ourselves in opposition through a conversion of mind and heart, following Christ Crucified by denying our own selfishness: such a conversion cannot fail to have a beneficial and renewing influence even on the structures of society.

"What is needed is a continuous, permanent conversion which, while requiring an interior detachment from every evil and an adherence to good in its fullness, is brought about concretely in steps which lead us ever forward. Thus a dynamic process develops, one which advances gradually with the progressive integration of the gifts of God and the demands of His definitive and absolute love in the entire personal and social life of man. (9)"

Christ himself, of course, called for a turning away from sin. That is what the Holy Father is advocating here; not a turn towards condoms. Conversion, not condoms!

Q: Would it be proper to conclude that the Holy Father would support the distribution of condoms to male prostitutes?

Smith: Nothing he says here indicates that he would. Public programs of distribution of condoms run the risk of conveying approval for homosexual sexual acts.

The task of the Church is to call individuals to conversion and to moral behavior; it is to help them understand the meaning and purpose of sexuality and to help them come to know Christ, who will provide the healing and graces that enable us to live in accord with the meaning and purpose of sexuality.

Q: Is Pope Benedict indicating that heterosexuals who have HIV could reduce the wrongness of their acts by using condoms?

Smith: No. In his second answer he says that the Church does not find condoms to be a "real or moral solution." That means the Church does not find condoms either to be moral or an effective way of fighting the transmission of HIV. As the Holy Father indicates in his fuller answer, the most effective portion of programs designed to reduce the transmission of HIV are calls to abstinence and fidelity.

The Holy Father, again, is saying that the intention to reduce the transmission of any infection is a "first step" in a movement towards a more human way of living sexuality. That more human way would be to do nothing that threatens to harm one's sexual partner, who should be one's beloved spouse. For an individual with HIV to have sexual intercourse with or without a condom is to risk transmitting a lethal disease.

An analogy: If someone was going to rob a bank and was determined to use a gun, it would better for that person to use a gun that had no bullets in it. It would reduce the likelihood of fatal injuries. But it is not the task of the Church to instruct potential bank robbers how to rob banks more safely and certainly not the task of the Church to support programs of providing potential bank robbers with guns that could not use bullets.

Nonetheless, the intent of a bank robber to rob a bank in a way that is safer for the employees and customers of the bank may indicate an element of moral responsibility that could be a step towards eventual understanding of the immorality of bank robbing.

(more articles to follow)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly News (Third Week of November)

1. Benedict XVI to Visit Germany in 2011

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI will visit his native Germany in 2011, which will be the third time he will have visited his homeland since the beginning of his pontificate in 2005. [Read More]

2. Catholic Laity Holds Prayer Vigil vs RH Bill

MANILA, Nov. 19, 2010—Various lay groups are set to gather for a prayer and reflection service at the Manila Cathedral on November 20 to show their opposition on the reproductive health bill. [Read More]

3. Isolation From Church Leads More to Occult Practice than Harry Potter, Bishop Says

Baltimore, Md., Nov 19, 2010 / 01:36 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Americans around the country will be flocking to see the latest Harry Potter movie this weekend, and some Catholics maintain that the series exposes children to evil influences. But Bishop Thomas Paprocki said in a recent interview that the root cause of dabbling in the occult comes from being isolated from the faith. [Read More]

4. SC Baptists Encourage Preaching Against Homosexuality

COLUMBIA, SC - South Carolina's Southern Baptists have approved a resolution encouraging pastors to preach against homosexuality but also urging Christians to show compassion to those who are homosexual. [Read More]

5. GA Pastor Swilley ‘Christianizing’ Sin

A Georgia mega-church pastor has come out of the closet as a homosexual, but the head of a group dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda thinks the “bishop” is compromising God’s Word. [Read More]

6. Obama Administration Finalizes New Rules on ‘Equal Visitation Rights’ for Same-Sex Partners of Hospital Patients

(CNSNews.com) - In another bow to the homosexual community, the Obama administration on Wednesday issued news rules for hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid: Patients must be allowed to say who may visit them, and that includes same-sex partners. [Read More]

7. Pope: Heath Care Access a Right, Not Abortion or Euthanasia

In a message at a health care conference read for the Pope Benedict XVI, the Catholic Church leader said access to health care is a right but not abortion, euthanasia or other practices destroying human life. [Read More]

8. Ontario Urges Acceptance of Kindergartners’ ‘Sexual Orientation,’ ‘Gender Identity’

Pro-family activist Dawn Stefanowicz, who was raised by a homosexual father amidst the gay sub-culture, warned that pushing gender identity theory on kindergarten-age kids will seriously damage them. [Read More]

9. Aggressive Homosexual Ideology Silencing Christians: Senior Cardinal

ROME, November 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An “aggressive ideology,” a behavioral theory of “complete debauchery,” is loose in the world, and appears to be winning against the traditional Christian culture of the west, said Cardinal Giacomo Biffi. [Read More]

10. The Military Chaplain Crisis

Chaplains are part of the solution to suicide, Catholics leaving the Church, and even the vocation crisis. But where are they, and do the bishops really hold the key to the solution? [Read More]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The New Macho



Some thoughts from Boysen Hodgson on true masculinity from The ManKind Project website. I hope to find the book Crisis in Masculinity by Leanne Payne one of these days. My spiritual director recommended it to me so it really must be a good book.


The New Macho

He cleans up after himself.
He cleans up the planet.
He is a role model for young men.
He is rigorously honest and fiercely optimistic.

He holds himself accountable.
He knows what he feels.
He knows how to cry and he lets it go.
He knows how to rage without hurting others.
He knows how to fear and how to keep moving.
He seeks self-mastery.

He's let go of childish shame.
He feels guilty when he's done something wrong.
He is kind to men, kind to women, kind to children.
He teaches others how to be kind.
He says he's sorry.

He stopped blaming women or his parents or men for his pain years ago.
He stopped letting his defenses ruin his relationships.
He stopped letting his penis run his life.
He has enough self respect to tell the truth.
He creates intimacy and trust with his actions.
He has men that he trusts and that he turns to for support.
He knows how to roll with it.
He knows how to make it happen.
He is disciplined when he needs to be.
He is flexible when he needs to be.
He knows how to listen from the core of his being.

He's not afraid to get dirty.
He's ready to confront his own limitations.
He has high expectations for himself and for those he connects with.
He looks for ways to serve others.
He knows he is an individual.
He knows that we are all one.
He knows he is an animal and a part of nature.
He knows his spirit and his connection to something greater.

He knows that the future generations are watching his actions.
He builds communities where people are respected and valued.
He takes responsibility for himself and is also willing to be his brother's keeper.

He knows his higher purpose.
He loves with fierceness.
He laughs with abandon, because he gets the joke.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Narrowing the Homosexual Problem


by Alan Medinger (+)


Our ministry’s first calling is to help people overcome homosexuality. But, if you have read my articles over the years, you know that few of them have come right at the problem—helping people change their sexual attractions from same-sex to opposite-sex. There is a reason for this that will become clear later. But I am going to be very direct in this article, offering a way to significantly alter sexual attractions from homosexual to heterosexual. If you yourself struggle with homosexuality, let me begin by asking you to go through a simple five step exercise aimed at helping you narrow down your homosexual problem. (I would recommend taking some time to move through these.) Here are the steps:

1. Accept the fact that the term “homosexuality” refers to a problem you have, not to who you are. Prayerfully meditate on this for a few minutes.

2. Now take some time to make a list of all your internal problems. By internal I mean those that are rooted in yourself—your heart, your mind, your emotions—rather than those rooted in external circumstances.

3. Now read the following definition of homosexuality, and see if you can agree with it:

Homosexuality is the condition wherein a person’s primary or exclusive sexual &/or romantic attractions are towards people of the same sex rather than towards people of the opposite sex.

I challenge anyone to make a case for homosexuality being anything more or less than this.If you can agree with the definition, read on. If you can’t, read on anyway. Some of what follows can still help.

4. On the basis of this definition, take the list that you have made and check off those that are truly homosexual problems. I suspect you will have checked off no more than three, and they will be something like these:

· I am engaging in homosexual sex
· I am sexually attracted to people of the same sex
· I have no sexual attractions to people of the opposite sex

5. Now look at the unchecked problems, and see if you can’t legitimately disassociate them from homosexuality. You can do this by asking: (1) Do all same-sex attracted (SSA) people have this problem? and (2) Do lots of heterosexually attracted people have the same problem? At this point you have narrowed down your homosexual problem, and having done so, you are in a better place to deal with it...and overcome it.


Putting the Homosexual Problem in Perspective

Even narrowing the homosexual problem down to having same-sex attractions, one has to admit that it is still a pretty significant problem. Left alone, it can be a major determinant in how you lead the rest of your life. For instance, one of the greatest impacts it has on most men and women is that it hinders their ability to marry and have children. If you are at an age and in circumstances where marriage and parenting are a real possibility, prevailing SSA can be a huge limiting factor in your life. In other ways, however, SSA need not be a great hindrance. You can pursue a career, develop your gifts, find purpose in life, make friends, serve others, and on and on. Unresolved homosexuality is a handicap, but others with far worse handicaps get on with productive lives.


Dealing with the "Other" Problems

In 1975, soon after I came out of homosexuality, if I were to have made a list like the one I suggested you make above, it would have included (among many other things) such problems as:

· Self-centeredness
· Being a people pleaser
· Envy of strong and confident men
· Feeling intimidated by strong and confident men
· Feeling unable to adequately fulfill my role as a head of my family

You may have noticed from your list or from this one, that many of the problems are common among men dealing with SSA. But they are not homosexuality. Other men deal with them, and not all SSA men deal with these. Women dealing with lesbianism would have different lists, and they too would find certain specific problems often correlating with homosexuality but not homosexuality itself.

The fact that SSA people share many common “other” problems might lead us to think that there is a linkage between these problems and homosexuality. There is. My “other “ problems come out of unmet needs in my early life, out of my failure to grow up as man, and out of wrong ways I chose to cope with the pains of life. These were the ingredients that gave rise to my homosexuality, as early on in my life I sexualized these needs and longings, and I used sex to fill the empty places in me and to provide escape from the pain I felt.

Problems like these not only contribute to the development of homosexuality, left undealt with, they will continue to fuel the homosexual drive. Over the years, with God’s help—or in some situations, divine intervention—I have dealt fairly well with most of my “other” problems, and so they no longer fuel homosexual urges in me. If you made a fairly long list, there are surely some problems you can do little or nothing about. Maybe your eye and hand coordination is really terrible, and you will never make a good athlete. Maybe you are a woman who is very analytical, and not very intuitive or sensitive. Accept these parts of yourself. God has given different
gifts to different people, and each of us is off in one way or another from the median of male masculinity and female femininity. These differences are a part of God’s wonderful diversity.

But look at the other problems—those that (1) could be changeable and (2) could be fueling homosexual drives in you. Start to deal with them. This leads us to how we overcome homosexuality.


Overcoming Homosexuality

Homosexuality, the condition of having SSA, is not something we can do much about directly. This is why few of my articles have a “how to overcome” quality. As a man, you cannot decide to suddenly start lusting after women—even if that were okay with God, which of course it is not. As a woman, you cannot decide today that you are no longer going to feel sexual attractions to women. Occasionally, a significant and sudden change in sexual attractions comes in response to a specific prayer or act of surrender, but this is the exception, and it is in God’s realm— not yours—to make this kind of thing happen. For most, change is a process.

Before describing the process, I would like to describe what I believe “overcoming homosexuality” means. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover says that early in life we form certain network patterns in our brains, like electrical circuits, in which certain stimuli become linked to certain responses. When we sexualize our needs or deficits or when we start using sexual fantasies to escape pain, these connections can be formed and fortified. Dr. Satinover says that, once made and established, connections like these can never be totally obliterated. But he also says that in the process of overcoming homosexuality, we can greatly diminish the strength of the old connections and we can form new ones that overlay the old ones—overlay them with heterosexual responses. This makes sense to me as I have observed that for most “overcomers” I have known, even those in wonderfully successful marriages, some same-sex attractions remain. Not in all, but in most.

So we overcome homosexuality by diminishing the power of old drives and by developing new heterosexual feelings and drives. I believe that we do this in three ways:

1. We deal with the “other” problems we have identified. We seek healing for our brokenness. We look for legitimate ways to fill the empty places inside us. We
work through—not escape from—certain pains. We find environments in which we can grow as men or women. Life in the church, Christian ministries, professional
help—all of these can help bring the healing and growth that will diminish the homosexual drive and develop our inherent heterosexuality.

2. We seek to abstain from homosexual behaviors. Homosexual acting out and fantasies
reinforce old patterns. Through support groups, accountability, regular confession, and never giving up, substantial victory can come. Old responses become weakened, and new feelings of personal strength and wholeness develop.

3. We establish a vital, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We always come back to this. Jesus is the healer. He is the master affirmer. He is the true lover of our souls. In Him we find the power to say no to sin and yes to God the Father. Through Him emerges our true identity as men and women created in the image of God.

Often the only way to fix something is to take it apart, find out what specific elements are broken, fix them, and then put the object back together again. Many are broken in our sexuality—our behaviors, our feelings, our identity. We need to find the component parts inside ourselves that went wrong, bring them before the Lord so that He, through the power of His Sprit, may make the repairs that will make us whole. When we came to Christ, He gave us a new heart. This new heart is ready and able to bring new life to all of the old parts that went wrong in the past.

Same sex attractions can diminish and opposite sex attractions can develop to the extent that our primary sexual attractions are no longer homosexual. We may not be able to erase every last vestige of same-sex attractions, but we can overcome homosexuality.

(Source: Regeneration Ministry)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly News (Second Week of November)

1. As Bishops Convert, Vatican Moving on Plan to Welcome Anglicans

Vatican City, Nov 10, 2010 / 04:06 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Just weeks after a papal pilgrimage to England, the announcement that five Anglican bishops plan to resign by year’s end and join the Catholic Church is setting wheels in motion at the Vatican. [Read More]

2. Iraqi Christians Victims of "Unprecedented Ferocity"

ROME, NOV. 12, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Oct. 31 attack on an Iraqi Christian church is being called an "act of unprecedented ferocity." [Read More]

3. RH Bill Supporters Are Morally ‘Lost’— Cardinal Rosales

MANILA, Nov. 8, 2010—Those who support the reproductive health bill are “lost” and do not have proper formation of conscience, the head of Manila Roman Catholic Church said Monday. [Read More]

4. Spin Precedes Release of Military DADT Report

A Pentagon official working on the long-awaited report on the effect of repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military apparently has chosen not to publicly discredit news accounts he knows to be false. [Read More]

5. More Public Sex in San Francisco: Folsom Street Fair 2010 (Warning: graphic photo) [Read More]

6. Supreme Court: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Will Stay, For Now

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 12, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to allow the 1993 law against homosexuals serving in the military to stand while a constitutional challenge to the ban wends its way through the federal appeals process. [Read More]

7. Thirty Studies in Five Years Show Abortion Hurts Women’s Mental Health

On Sunday November 7th, the Washington Post published an opinion by Dr. Brenda Major titled “The Big Lie about Abortion and Mental Health. [Read More]

8. Planned Parenthood Says Graphic Sex Guide for Youth is a Best Seller

NEW YORK, November 11 (C-FAM) - The world’s leading abortion provider is continuing to promote a graphic brochure advocating casual sex among youth. According to International Planned Parenthood Federation, the brochure called “Healthy, Happy and Hot” has become their most popular publication. [Read More]

9. A Persecuted Church Left to Fend for Itself

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has the second-largest population of Catholics in Southeast Asia after the Philippines. The Communist Party has always made things difficult for the Church there, and that pressure seems to be increasing again after a brief thaw. [Read More]

10. Catholic Bishops: More Exorcists Needed

(AP) - Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are sponsoring a conference on how to conduct exorcisms. [Read More]

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Patrick Trueman of PornHarms.Com



Check out this podcast interview with Patrick Trueman, founder of PornHarms.com conducted by an online friend who is very zealous in combating the evils of online pornography. Here is the link:

Honest Answers Interview with Patrick Trueman

Thanks JR.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

starVEbucks 2010



Forwarded event invitation from our brothers in Bagong Pagasa.


Greetings from Bagong Pag-asa!

This coming November 20, the ministry is again staging StarVEbucks, now on it’s 3rd year; a 2 hour comedy/musical show aimed at reaching out in love to the homosexual struggler, their family, friends and loved ones in a fun and meaningful way. This event aims to make people aware that healthy same sex relationship is feasible as an alternative to the gay lifestyle and that change is possible. The show will feature comedy skits and musical numbers that are related to the issues that people with same sex attraction struggle with. It is a good venue to bring friends and loved ones who may struggle with this issue. Food and drinks as well as books written by our ministry founder Frank Worthen will be on sale at the event.

We invite you to support this event by:

1. Watching the show and inviting friends to watch with you. Tickets are at P200.

2. Deciding to be a sponsor/donor for StarVEbucks 2010. Sponsorhip packages are as low as P2,000.00 with free tickets and acknowledgement on the event.

3. Pray for the success of the event, that hearts will be open and willing to receive God’s message of freedom from false identity.

Please contact the numbers below or email us if you wish to purchase tickets or be a sponsor/donor. We also encourage you to forward this email as a way of promoting the event.

Event Details: NOVEMBER 20, Bell Mansion 17th floor, cor. Roads 8 & 13, Mindanao Ave., QC (back of SM North). For tickets and sponsorships, please contact 886-4441; 0927-5788373; 092-6191381.

God bless you!



Bagong Pag-asa
Unit 10M, Burgundy Corporate Tower
252 Sen. Gil Puyat Ave., Makati City
Telefax: (+632) 886-4441
Mobile nos.: +63927-5788373 (globe) & +63923-6191381 (sun)
Website: www.bagongpagasa.org

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekly News (First Week of November)

1. Pontiff Takes Message of Charity, Humility to Spain

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 5, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI, who this weekend will visit Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona, wishes to bring with him to Spain a message of humility and charity, said a Vatican spokesman. [Read More]

2. Pro-life Phils To Hold Seminar on True Love, Sexual Abstinence

MANILA, Nov. 6, 2010—A seminar on the meaning of true love and the value of abstinence aimed at helping young people commit in a relationship free of immorality will be held at the Pope Pius Catholic XII Center on November 20. [Read More]

3. Dramatic Defeat of Iowa Judges Raises Hopes For Marriage Amendment

Des Moines, Iowa, Nov 5, 2010 / 10:27 am (CNA/EWTN News).- When U.S. voters are asked whether or not their state should retain its judges every two years, many aren't quite sure how to make their decisions. But a majority of Iowa voters knew exactly what they were doing, when they voted against retaining three of the state's Supreme Court justices on Nov. 2. [Read More]

4. Annual Event Helping Addicts Overcome Porn

Though White Ribbons Against Pornography (WRAP) Week is meant to make a statement about illegal pornography and the lack of enforcement against it, its aim is also to reach out to those affected by the industry. [Read More]

5. Same-Sex Marriage Supporters See Election as Major Setback

(AP) - Gay-rights activists celebrated a few bright spots on Election Day, but they also suffered some major setbacks - including losses by key supporters in Congress and the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court judges who had ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. [Read More]

6. What Is Obama Thinking? Renews Push For Homosexuals in Military [Read More]

7. UN Agency Promotes Sex Ed From Birth

NEW YORK, November 4, 2010 (C-FAM) - “It is never too early to start talking to children about sexual matters,” say guidelines issued by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. [Read More]

8. Michael O'Brien: Reading Potter, Twilight, Pullman Series - "We become what we eat"

OTTAWA, Ontario, November 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Renowned Canadian novelist and artist Michael O'Brien addressed the International Pro-life Conference in Ottawa, Canada last Saturday. During the question and answer session following his talk O'Brien was asked to comment on today's problematic literature for children and youth, such as Harry Potter, the Twilight series and others. The question and O'Brien's response are published below. [Read More]

9. Pentagon Survey on Homosexuality in the Military Flawed: FRC

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 5, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A recently “leaked” military survey regarding the effects of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the Armed Forces is deeply flawed, according to Family Research Council President and Marine Corps veteran Tony Perkins. [Read More]

10. Taking Action Against Cable Porn

Are 220 investment firms capable of twisting the arm of Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV? Or at least of pricking their conscience? [Read More]

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kerygma Conference 2010


Mark your calendars for the biggest Catholic learning event of the year on November 26-28 at the PICC and December 4 in Cebu and Davao. Produced by Shepherd’s Voice Radio and Television, Kerygma Conference is now on its fourth year, attracting people from all walks of life. This year’s three-day conference includes two days of conferences for various groups. Capping the conference on the third day will be a Holy Mass, lively worship and powerful talk on spiritual restoration by Bro. Bo.

For more details, you can call the Kerygma Conference Secretariat at 729-9999 or log on to www.kerygmaconference.com.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughts on All Soul's Day



It's All Saints/All Souls day and the cemeteries come alive once again. It is good that we have this kind of celebration in our church calendar right before the closing of the year. Over the years, it has become some kind of a family affair, a time off from our busy lives to remember our dearly departed.

Whenever I visit the cemetery I always move around to look at "lapidas". What I am particularly interested in is not so much the names of the dead but their life spans. I would make a quick estimate of their age and compare it from one tomb to another. "Oh, this one lived for over 90 years!" I would say. "That poor fellow died when he was just in his 20s." "And that one over there barely reached the retirement age." etc, etc. Then I suddenly realize if there is any difference at all whether you lived up to 100 or perished at the age of 20. They are all dead now - rotting inside their tomb with just skulls and bones. Then I would also realize how short our life is here on earth, as short as the dash put in between the date of birth and date of death.

Here is the important part. Do you think that your dead loved ones are already resting in peace with God? Of course most of us would want to think so but is it really the case? Have you ever given a thought whether your loved ones are in a state of purgation or worse are damned in that place where their worms die not and the fires cannot be put out?

I do believe that many people go to hell when they die. Not that God condemns them there, but they CHOOSE to go there. Still, a greater majority of the faithful, I believe, do not go straight to heaven after death because they still have many imperfections and faults that needed to be expiated. Where? in Purgatory. Very few make it straight to heaven - aborted babies, children who died at a very young age, martyrs of the faith, and people who have reached saintly perfection.

On Purgatory

The doctrine of Purgatory is very logical. If your dead loved ones are already in heaven, they have no need of your prayers. They already see God face to face. They are already saints. If they are in hell, our prayers are useless and of no avail.

What is Purgatory? In one of Fr. Benedict Groeschel's book, he injects humor into this topic:

"Purgatory has had a very bad press. Many people grew up with the image of purgatory as hideous pools of fire with naked holy souls bobbing up and down like French fries in a fast-food emporium."

How true this is but from what I've read and remember purgatory is a place where all unsettled debts that we incurred and contracted during our lifetime is paid up to the last farthing. When we commit sin we incur two things - guilt and temporal punishment due to sin. The former is remitted by the sacrament of confession, but the latter is not. It is only remitted when we have done sufficient reparation proportional to the gravity of offense committed. This reminds me of Zacchaeus in the Gospel, who offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and repay anyone he has cheated four times over.

The soul after separating from the body has this intense and overwhelming desire to unite itself to God, but seeing himself full of imperfections he is prevented from doing so. This separation from God is the principal punishment in purgatory and also in hell but with a big difference. Those in Purgatory suffer with a future hope of deliverance while those in hell suffer in total despair.

And so dear friends let us continue to offer prayers and sacrifices to our dear departed every chance we have. Let us not forget that praying for the dead is a spiritual act of mercy and those souls that will be released from Purgatory because of our prayers will be forever grateful to us and they too in turn will pray for us before the throne of God.

If you are interested in reading more about the topic of Purgatory, Treatise on Purgatory by St. Catherine of Genoa is a great resource. You can also read the book Read Me or Rue It by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan. Visit the website of the Prayer Warriors of the Holy Souls and find out more how you can help.


"You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." - St. Augustine