Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life Without Limits



Meet Nick Vujicic. He is living life to the fullest...with a twist. If after watching this video you feel inspired, please pay if forward.


"I love living life. I am happy." - Nick V

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality (Part 1)



I will be posting a 5-part series on The Top Ten Myths About Homosexuality by Peter Sprigg and Family Research Council. The succeeding posts are based on facts and research and I hope that this will help dispel widespread myths, half-truths, and agenda-driven propaganda on homosexuality. Many thanks to a pro-life friend who posted this to our e-group.


Introduction

The homosexual activist movement is now over forty years old. Conservatives sometimes refer to the array of goals this movement has pursued—hate crime laws, employment “non-discrimination” laws, same-sex “marriage,” etc.—as “the homosexual agenda.”

Occasionally, we are mocked for the use of this term, as though we are suggesting that this movement represents some sinister and shadowy conspiracy. However, the term “agenda” is a perfectly neutral one. We in the pro-family movement certainly have our own “agenda.” Its elements include: protecting the safety and dignity of human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death; encouraging the practice of sexuality only within the context of marriage between one man and one woman; and promoting the natural family, headed by a married, biological mother and father, as the ideal setting for raising children. We are proud of this “agenda,” and will continue to vigorously pursue it.

By the same token, homosexual activists have a clear agenda as well. It is an agenda that demands the universal acceptance of homosexual acts and relationships—morally, socially, legally, religiously, politically and financially. Indeed, it calls for not only acceptance, but affirmation and celebration of this behavior as normal, natural, and even as desirable for those who desire it. There is nothing shadowy or secretive about this agenda—in fact, it has become nearly impossible to avoid encountering it.

There is at least one key difference between the “pro-family agenda” and the “pro-homosexual agenda.” In the case of the pro-family agenda, there is a growing and impressive body of social science research and other evidence confirming that the theoretical foundations of pro-family policies are sound, and that pro-family practices benefit society. New technologies like advanced ultrasound imaging and fetal surgery have confirmed the essential humanity of the unborn. Sexual relations outside of marriage have been shown to lead to an array of negative physical and psychological consequences. And social science research has clearly shown that children who are raised by their own, married, biological mother and father have a significant advantage in a broad range of outcome measures.

The same cannot be said of the homosexual agenda. In large measure, the pursuit of this agenda has involved an effort to define the benefits homosexuals seek as a matter of “civil rights,” comparable to that which African Americans fought for in the 1960’s; and to define disapproval of homosexual conduct as a form of “bigotry,” comparable to a racist ideology of white supremacy.

However, these themes only make sense if, in fact, a homosexual “orientation” is a characteristic that is comparable to race. But racial discrimination is not wrong merely because a group of people complained loudly and long that it is wrong. Racial discrimination is irrational and invidious because of what I call the five “I’s”—the fact that, as a personal characteristic, race is inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous and in the Constitution.

Homosexual activists would have us believe that the same is true of their homosexuality. They want us to believe that their homosexual “orientation” is something they are born with, cannot choose whether to accept or reject, and cannot change; and that it does no harm (to themselves or to society), while being protected by the principles of the Constitution.

However, these are empirical questions, subject to being verified or refuted based on the evidence. And the evidence produced by research has simply not been kind to this theoretical underpinning of the homosexual movement. It has become more and more clear that none of the “five-I” criteria apply to the choice to engage in homosexual conduct.

The homosexual movement is built, not on facts or research, but on mythology. Unfortunately, these myths have come to be widely accepted in society—particularly in schools, universities and the media. It is our hope that by understanding what these key myths are—and then reading a brief summary of the evidence against them—the reader will be empowered to challenge these myths when he or she encounters them.


Myth No. 1: People are born gay

Fact: The research does not show that anyone is “born gay,” and suggests instead that homosexuality results from a complex mix of developmental factors.

The widespread, popular belief that science has proven a biological or genetic origin to homosexuality can be traced to the publicity which surrounded three studies published in the early 1990’s. In August of 1991, researcher Simon LeVay published a study based on post-mortem examinations of the brains of cadavers. He concluded that differences in a particular brain structure suggested “that sexual orientation has a biological substrate.” In December of 1991, researchers J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Pillard published a study of identical and fraternal twins and adoptive brothers, and found that “the pattern of rates of homosexuality . . . was generally consistent with substantial genetic influence.” Finally, in 1993, researcher Dean Hamer claimed to have found a specific “chromosomal region” containing “a gene that contributes to homosexual orientation in males.”

These studies suffered from serious methodological weaknesses, such as small sample sizes, non-random samples and even possible mis-classification of their subjects. Other scientists have been unable to replicate these dramatic findings. These problems led two psychiatrists to conclude:

“Critical review shows the evidence favoring a biologic theory to be lacking. . . . In fact, the current trend may be to underrate the explanatory power of extant psychosocial models.”

Subsequently, more rigorous studies of identical twin pairs have essentially made it impossible to argue for the genetic determination of homosexuality. Since identical (“monozygotic,” in the scientific literature) twins have identical genes, if homosexuality were genetically fixed at birth, we should expect that whenever one twin is homosexual, the other twin would be homosexual (a “concordance rate” of 100%) [A case in point, Richard and Raymond Gutierrez]. Even Michael Bailey himself, co-author of the landmark 1991 twins study (which supposedly found a concordance rate of about 50%), conducted a subsequent study on a larger sample of Australian twins. As summarized by other researchers, “They found twenty-seven identical male twin pairs where at least one of the twin brothers was gay, but in only three of the pairs was the second twin brother gay as well” (a “concordance rate” of only eleven percent).

Researchers Peter Bearman and Hannah Br├╝ckner, from Columbia and Yale respectively, studied data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and found even lower concordance rates of only 6.7% for male and 5.3% for female identical twins. In fact, their study neatly refuted several of the biological theories for the origin of homosexuality, finding social experiences in childhood to be far more significant:

The pattern of concordance (similarity across pairs) of same-sex preference for sibling pairs does not suggest genetic influence independent of social context. Our data falsify the hormone transfer hypothesis by isolating a single condition that eliminates the opposite-sex twin effect we observe—the presence of an older same-sex sibling. We also consider and reject a speculative evolutionary theory that rests on observing birth-order effects on same-sex orientation. In contrast, our results support the hypothesis that less gendered socialization in early childhood and preadolescence shapes subsequent same-sex romantic preferences.

If it was not clear in the 1990’s, it certainly is now—no one is “born gay.”

-oOo-

Myth No. 2: Sexual orientation can never change.

Fact: Thousands of men and women have testified to experiencing a change in their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Research confirms that such change does occur—sometimes spontaneously, and sometimes as a result of therapeutic interventions.

When talking about “sexual orientation,” one important clarification must be made. While most people assume that “sexual orientation” is one trait and clearly defined, this is not the case. “Sexual orientation” is actually an umbrella term for three quite different phenomena—a person’s sexual attractions or desires; a person’s sexual behavior; and a person’s self-identification, either publicly or internally (as “gay,” lesbian, “straight,” etc.). While we tend to assume that a person with homosexual attractions will also engage in homosexual relationships and self-identify as “gay” or “lesbian,” survey research on human sexuality clearly shows that this is not the case. An individual’s sexual attractions, sexual behavior and sexual self-identification are not always consistent with each other, let alone static over time.

This understanding sheds new light on the question of whether “homosexuality is a choice.” Homosexual attractions are clearly not a “choice” in the vast majority of cases. However, it would actually be insulting to people with same-sex attractions to suggest that they are compelled to act on those attractions. Homosexual conduct (if it is consensual) clearly is a choice—as is self-identifying as “gay” or “lesbian.” One’s self-identification can be changed at will, as can one’s sexual behavior (although perhaps with difficulty—just as other behavioral habits such as overeating can be changed).

Although much attention has been focused on counseling techniques or therapies for unwanted same-sex attractions and on the work of “ex-gay” ministries, there is startling evidence that considerable numbers of people experience significant change in some aspects of sexual orientation, particularly their behavior, quite spontaneously, without therapeutic intervention. For example, two studies have found that a large percentage (46% in one survey,9 and more than half in another10) of all men who have ever engaged in homosexual conduct did so only before age 15 and never since.

One’s internal sexual desires or attractions are undoubtedly the most difficult aspect of “sexual orientation” to change, but the evidence demonstrates that many people have experienced change in that way as well. Some people in therapy have experienced significant reductions in their same-sex attractions, even when that was not the goal of therapy, as a result of the resolution of other personal issues in their lives. One “meta-analysis” combining data from thirty studies on reorientation therapy, conducted between 1954 and 1994, showed that 33% of subjects had made some shift toward heterosexuality. Similarly, a survey of over 800 individuals who had participated in a variety of efforts to change from a homosexual orientation found that 34.3% had shifted “to an exclusively or almost exclusively heterosexual orientation.” The most methodologically rigorous (prospective and longitudinal) study yet conducted, on subjects who had sought change through religious ministries, which was published in a 414-page book, showed that 38% achieved success, defined as either “substantial conversion to heterosexual attraction” (15%) or “chastity” with homosexual attraction “either missing or present only incidentally.”

One of the strongest pieces of evidence for the possibility of change came from an unlikely source—Dr. Robert Spitzer, a psychiatrist who was instrumental in the pivotal 1973 decision of the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders. Spitzer studied two hundred people who had reported some measure of change from a homosexual to a heterosexual orientation as a result of what is sometimes called “reparative therapy” for unwanted same-sex attractions. He concluded:

The changes following reparative therapy were not limited to sexual behavior and sexual orientation self-identity. The changes encompassed sexual attraction, arousal, fantasy, yearning, and being bothered by homosexual feelings. The changes encompassed the core aspects of sexual orientation.

This is not to say that change is easy, that it is typically accomplished through prayer or willpower alone, or that the success of reorientation therapy can be guaranteed. However, personal testimonies, survey data and clinical research all make clear that change from a predominantly homosexual to a predominantly heterosexual orientation is possible.


(Source: Family Research Council)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekly News (Fourth Week of July)

1. Benedict XVI Now 7th Oldest Pope in History

ROME, JULY 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).- On Monday, Benedict XVI became the seventh oldest pope in history, considering only those popes who reigned since the year 1400 when records became more reliable. [Read More]

2. CBCP Official Urges Aquino to Clarify Stance on RH Bill

MANILA, July 22, 2010— An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) called on President Benigno Aquino III to publicly state his position on a measure that seeks to promote birth control. [Read More]

3. Abuse Scandal Rooted in Homosexuality, Not Pedophilia, Says Catholic League President

Washington D.C., Jul 22, 2010 / 06:59 pm (CNA).- Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, spoke out in an article on the Washington Post's website on Thursday, defending his assertion that the widespread perception of a “pedophilia crisis in the Catholic Church” is not supported by data and research. [Read More]

4. University of Illinois Says Professor ‘Has Not Been Fired’ for Teaching Catholic Doctrine On Homosexuality in Catholicism Class – He’s Just Not Teaching Classes

(CNSNews.com) – Threats of legal action persist after the University of Illinois responded to demands by the Alliance Defense Fund to fully reinstate a professor relieved of duty for teaching Catholic doctrine on homosexuality in a Catholic doctrine class. [Read More]

5. Online Predators Threaten Kids – Novel Tells The Story

TMI -- too much information -- can kill. Literally. Terri Blackstock, one of our most gifted contemporary novelists, hits another one out of the park with Predator, a new Zondervan title illustrating the dangers inherent with online relationships. [Read More]

6. ABC Family Has Second Highest Proportion of "Gay Friendly" Hours, Just Behind MTV

July 23, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - ABC Family, which was founded in 1977 as an extension of Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcast Network, has earned a "good" rating from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for its "LGBT-inclusive" programming, which took up 37% of its original prime time programming over the 2009-2010 season. [Read More]

7. One in Seven Men in London “Gay Scene” Infected with HIV/AIDS

LONDON, July 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Rates of HIV infection and AIDS have risen dramatically in the last seven years among London’s homosexual men according to a homosexualist health group. [Read More]

8. 47% of Gay Couples Have “Sex Agreements” – Only 45% Monogomous: Study

SAN FRANCISCO, July 20, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Forty-seven percent of gay couples in a recently published study said that they had "sex agreements" with their partners, which clarify how often and in what circumstances they are permitted to have sex with others. [Read More]

9. Will Europe Admit to Being Christian?

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights recently heard a case that could decide the future of the public expression of Christianity in Europe. [Read More]

10. VIDEO: Will American Christians Learn from Britain’s ‘Gay’ War on Christians? [Read More]

Friday, July 23, 2010

Remembering The Man and The 'Heartist'


The man behind the famous painting Hapag ng Pagasa (Table of Hope), Joey Velasco, passed away last July 20, 2010 after a protracted battle with kidney cancer. Though I only hear about him in the news, his "obras" challenge me to look beyond myself and be in touch with a bigger reality in our society.

When I look around me, I am disturbed to see young children in tattered clothes scavenging for plastic bottles, metal scraps, and anything of value that they can sell to the junk shop so that they have something to eat, when they should have been going to schools instead. I feel sorry for these kids and I feel powerless at the same time to be of real help to them because I know that beyond dole-outs and a bag of relief goods, what they really need is to have something to hope and aspire for in their future, a tangible means that can improve their life in the long run, a dignified way of living.

But perhaps what strikes me most about Joey is how his sickness had led him to find a deeper meaning and purpose to his life and how he used his remaining time since he was diagnosed with cancer to effect change in the lives of many people around him, specifically the Hapag children, whom he helped with scholarship grants and Gawad Kalinga homes. A truly amazing man!

Joey is survived by his wife and four children. His remains lie at Funeraria Nacional on Araneta Avenue, Quezon City. His interment will be on July 24, Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina. To see more of his "obras", visit his website at www.joeyvelasco.net. Here is a short tribute to the man and the 'heartist' courtesy of Probe by Ms. Cheche Lazaro.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

What To Do About Porn (Part 2)



Part 2 of the Zenit interview with Psychotherapist Peter Kleponis


ZENIT: If a person came to you and asked, "Am I addicted to pornography?" how would you define this for him?

Kleponis: A person who uses it on a regular basis is not necessarily addicted.

What I ask is: Do you find yourself drawn to it? Do you find yourself thinking a lot about it? Do you find yourself looking forward to coming home from work at night and getting online and looking at the pornography?

Do you rely upon it to deal with the stress of loneliness, male insecurity or job pressures? Is it very difficult for you to go several days without looking at pornography? If you're answering yes to these questions you very well may be addicted to pornography.

ZENIT: What problems do you see in single men and how to you counsel them?

Kleponis: We tell single young men that by engaging in pornography they're giving into profound selfishness, which is undermining their ability to relate in a healthy way to young women.

We tell them case studies of the growing problem of younger men, college students, who are incapable of relating to females. They lack confidence and subsequently have to struggle with anxiety.

Also, pornography use contributes to overreacting in anger as men lose a sense of refinement and true manly confidence in how to relate to a woman. The women they see in pornography don't have feelings, needs and opinions. When the men leave their fantasy world and meet a real woman who does have emotions and opinions, they often don't know how to deal with her, and withdraw due to insecurity or overreact in anger.

Parents need to respond to this crisis in masculinity by teaching their children the truth about sexual morality and the dangers of pornography and compulsive masturbation in their lives.

ZENIT: Let's talk about the healing process. What are some ways a person can begin to address this problem?

Kleponis: First, the person needs to accept that there is a problem with pornography and then try to grow in self-knowledge about its causes.

The person cannot do it alone. So many men think, "I'm going to pull myself up by my bootstraps; I'm going to do it by myself." They are rarely successful.

The six point plan we recommend includes: protection of the home; peer support (or a 12 step program for severe addictions); counseling or an increased self-knowledge as to the origins of the pornography use; growth in faith and a commitment to work on the virtues that will help with the resolution of the causes; friendship; and education.

The most common problems leading to the use of pornography that are uncovered are: selfishness, various types of loneliness, male insecurity, excessive work pressures, marital conflicts and a weak spiritual life.

Virtues can assist in the resolution of these conflicts. When a person commits himself to the hard work of growing in virtues, he usually experiences much less vulnerability to pornography.

Next, growth in peer support and in friendships is very helpful. Many men who struggle with pornography don't have any close friends, not even their wives.

Sharing one's struggle with one's spouse or with a close male friend is helpful. Friends can be an extra support for accountability and can receive weekly printouts of websites visited through covenanteyes.com and other programs. We have witnessed the truth of the Scripture passage, "A brother strengthened by a brother is like a fortified city," (Prov. 18:19).

Another important part of the healing process is education. The influence of the contraceptive mentality over the past 40 years cannot be underestimated in regard to an appreciation of marital love and sexuality. The contraceptive mentality has strongly influenced the serious difficulty of men viewing women as sexual objects and has contributed in a significant way to the pornography epidemic.

An outstanding document of the U.S. bishops' conference in this area is "Married Love and the Gift of Life."

Other excellent educational resources are the websites: www.socialcostsofpornography.org and www.pornharms.com.

Helpful books include: "Boys to Men" by Tim Gray and Curtis Martin; "Out of the Shadows" by Patrick Carnes; "Every Man's Battle" by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker; "Breaking Free" by Stephen Wood; "Be a Man," by Father Larry Richards; "Theology of the Body for Beginners" by Christopher West; and "Genuine Friendship" by Father Philip Halfacre.

Next, the home should be protected by putting the computer in an open area, monitoring its use and decreasing the use of television. Of course, another challenge to the family is the transmission of porn on cell phones.

The role of faith is very helpful in fighting against pornography use. Many men who struggle experience relief and grace when they admit that they are powerless over their use of porn and then turn it over to God.

The sacrament of reconciliation, a spiritual plan for life, spiritual direction, Scripture reading and the reception of the Eucharist facilitate the resolution of the emotional, personality and spiritual conflicts that drive the compulsive use of pornography.

ZENIT: The field of positive psychology also supports the role of virtues in addressing emotional and personality conflicts. What virtues are particularly helpful with pornography?

Kleponis: The virtues that are helpful in resolving selfishness are generous self-giving to one's spouse and to children, friendship with one's spouse, self-denial, gratitude, responsibility, temperance, humility and much greater love for one's spouse and for the Lord that would motivate a person not to inflict further hurt and pain.

The virtues that help with growth in male confidence include gratitude for one's God-given gifts and body, forgiveness of those who have damaged one's confidence, healthy friendships and faith.

Growth in faith can help one to appreciate the presence of the Divine love of God the Father or Our Lady if a person did not feel affirmed and loved by a parent, or the presence of the Lord if a person did not feel affirmed and loved by male friends.

The virtues that help with loneliness include cheerful self-giving to one's spouse and to the Lord, hope, forgiveness of those who have not been emotionally sensitive, positive communication, detachment with less self-reliance, and trust and faith in the reality of Divine love if a person did not feel loved at different developmental stages. Often men can benefit from spiritual direction so that they can grow in the capacity to receive love.

The virtues that decrease the excessive anger associated with loneliness and sadness are forgiveness, compassion, kindness, respect and humility.

The virtues addressing anxiety are trust, detachment, wisdom to see the goodness in one's spouse and faith in God's protective love and in his ability to lift the burdens and worries of daily life.

As a person grows in virtue he experiences greater happiness and fulfillment in his self-giving in the vocation.

ZENIT: Could you say more about addressing loneliness in married life?

Kleponis: Married couples need to protect their romantic love, marital friendship, and betrothed love, which includes intimacy.

Couples should spend time together in the evenings in the same room as much as possible and should communicate.

Communication is essential to the marital friendship. They should also try to follow the advice of marital communications expert, John Gottman, and offer five positive comments for each negative comment.

They should try to trust the Lord daily with their marriage and family which will protect the marriage from the excessive worries that can create stress and tension in marital friendship.

They should also try to go to bed at the same time. One of the reasons some men get caught up in pornography is because they spend the evenings in a different room from their wives and go to bed at different times. This sets the stage for loneliness and then pornography use.

Couples need to be sensitive to the Lord's words in Genesis that it is not good for man to be alone.

ZENIT: What can parents do to protect their children from pornography and help in the healing of this epidemic?

Kleponis: We recommend that parents evaluate their parenting style and try to engage in responsible parenting, not in permissive or controlling parenting.

The permissive parenting style is the most prevalent in the culture and can contribute to the pornography epidemic. Permissive parents usually fail to correct selfishness in their children and, in fact, model it. They are often weak in faith and do not provide the effective spiritual leadership that can protect children from the obsession with the body and with sex in this culture. They fail to warn children about the dangers of pornography, compulsive masturbation and the hook-up culture.

Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington, Virginia, in his letter on pornograhy wrote: "The human person progressively builds or destroys his or her character by each and every moral choice. When one's gaze is directed askance, one becomes the kind of person who is willing to use others as mere objects of pleasure."

Responsible parents commit themselves to form their children in virtue, warn them of the dangers of using others as sexual objects, provide regular loving correction and teach their children the beauty of God's plan for human sexuality within the sacrament of marriage.

They show and teach their children that sacramental married love makes present in the world the love and beauty of the Trinity.

Finally, John Paul II wrote in Letter to Artists (1999): "Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that 'beauty will save the world.' (16).

"Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savour life and to dream of the future.

"That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God, which a lover of beauty like St. Augustine could express in incomparable terms: 'Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!'" (16).

A true appreciation for love and beauty can contribute to healing the pornography epidemic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What To Do About Porn (Part 1)


This is a Zenit interview with Peter Kleponis, a Catholic psychotherapist who specializes in marriage and family therapy, men's issues and pornography addiction recovery. Learn the facts and ways to address this problem on a personal and societal level. Also, please sign visit my blogger friend's website and sign up for a free Hope Report and Destination Freedom map to recovery on the upper right side of his blog. Part 2 of this interview will be published on Thursday.


ZENIT: What are the latest statistics on the prevalence of pornography use today?

Kleponis: The prevalence is huge, and even the statistics that we have are underestimates, because this is something that is going on late at night in the privacy of people's homes, so we really don't know how serious it is.

What we do know is that it is a $97 billion industry, and $13 billion of that comes from the United States. Also, looking at the sheer number of pornographic websites, we see that it's huge.

ZENIT: How does this use compare between men and women?

Kleponis: Currently about 83% of pornography addicts are men, and 17% are women.

For women, it's the chat rooms rather than the visual pornography that they're looking at.

Men and women are wired differently. Men are visually stimulated.

When a man looks at a pornographic image, there is a chemical reaction going on in the brain. Dopamine is released, there is euphoria, and, when combined with sexual arousal and orgasm, it becomes what I call the "perfect recipe" for an addiction. Thus they're going to be more attracted to the pictures and videos.

Women, on the other hand, are more relationally oriented, so they're looking into the chat rooms where they can develop a false persona.

Here they can be anyone they want to be, look anyway they want to look, and engage in these erotic relationships with men on the Internet, all through words.

It is like they're working with this man and writing their own romance novel together -- and that is what they get addicted to. There are some women who do get addicted to the visual pornography, but it is a very small amount.

There are a number of younger women who are forced into this because their boyfriends insist that this be part of their relationship. They fundamentally don't want it, and that's a different issue.

This gets into the issue of what pornography has taught young people. First of all, it has taught young men and teenage boys that women are there for their own sexual pleasure -- call it the sexual utilitarian philosophy, or on college campuses they call it the "hook-up culture." This is the belief that it's okay to use someone for your own sexual pleasure.

What this teaches young women is that in order to get a boyfriend and keep him, they have to be sexually active and participate in pornography.

Right now it's a popular thing for women to use their camera phones to take nude pictures of themselves and email them to their boyfriends. They feel that this is what they have to do. Do they like it? No.

If you ask them, deep down inside they feel that it is degrading, and they're very angry about it. But they feel that they're stuck, that it's what they have to do.

Thus you can see where it warps a person's sense of what a healthy, loving relationship really is; they don't learn about respect for one another.

ZENIT: What are some signs of pornography dependence or addiction? How can a person tell if he, or a loved one, is developing this addiction?

Kleponis: First, it can be difficult to identify this conflict in marriage and in family life.

I ask men to reflect upon a number of questions about their behaviors to evaluate whether they are dependent upon pornography: Have you withdrawn from your emotional and loving relationship with your wife?

Have you lost your ability to appreciate your wife's beauty and goodness? Do you share this part of your life with your wife? When an attractive person walks by, do you lock onto them?

Do you hide certain magazines, or other things from your spouse? Do you look forward to going away on business trips? That's a big one for a lot of men, because in the hotel rooms they can look at all kinds of pornography on television. Also, a lot of times when they go on business trips they'll go to strip bars, pornography shops, or do other things.

Do you have a place where you hide things from your wife? Are there certain behaviors that you cannot share with your wife? These are all warning signs that a person could be developing dependency on pornography.

For wives, the initial thing that they feel is a weakening of the marital friendship with less affection and less intimacy. Their husbands seem much more distant, unappreciative and often irritable and critical.

Wives in this situation usually sense that something is seriously wrong. Their responses are similar to those seen with martial infidelity which, in fact, pornography use is.

When a wife comments on these changes, the response from a husband who is using pornography is often one of initial denial, which again is similar to the response to questions about marital infidelity.

ZENIT: If a wife is picking up these signs and suspects that her husband is using pornography, is there a way to approach the topic without making her spouse defensive? Have you seen any success in this area?

Kleponis: Yes we have seen success in uncovering and addressing this serious conflict in marriage.

However, confronting a husband about his pornographic use is very challenging and requires a great deal of wisdom.

The initial response in a wife to identifying pornography use in her husband is as devastating as discovering an affair. She responds strongly from her sensitive heart and powerful emotional life, and experiences feelings of betrayal, pain, sadness, strong anger, mistrust and a loss of her sense of goodness and beauty.

It is hard for her to respond in a calm manner and communicate, "Honey I noticed this and I think you have a problem." She's devastated.

Often times the husbands cannot understand why their wives are so upset, as they think: "I'm just looking at pornography; no big deal." But it's a big deal to the woman.

She thinks, "My husband would rather be with these women on the computer screen than with me." It's devastating for the woman's self esteem.

These young girls in pornography, they're 18 or 19 years old. Many of them have already had a lot of plastic surgeries. They use a ton of makeup, and thanks to the things they do with digital technology, they don't exist.

So here you have a woman who is maybe in her mid-30s, been married several years, has had a few children; she may be beautiful, but doesn't look like an 18-year-old. Thus she thinks: "How can I compete?" She often feels rejected and unattractive.

We recommend that when a wife discovers pornography use, she correct her husband by describing her betrayal pain to him.

We also encourage her to try to master her anger by entering into a forgiveness process that often is initially spiritual, by praying, "God forgive him" or "God take my anger." Strong correction should be given with an expectation of change and fidelity to the marriage and children.

The response to such correction varies. Some men are grateful that the darkness in their lives has been exposed, while others respond: "There's nothing wrong with it; it's not a problem; everyone's doing it."

If the later response persists in spite of proof of pornography use, wives should insist on the couple discussing this problem with a third party such as a trusted relative or friend, a priest or a counselor. Most married men with pornography conflicts we work with are in our offices because their wives demanded treatment.

ZENIT: Pornography is often portrayed as acceptable in our culture. Some people might argue that using pornography in a marriage is OK, even helpful. What would you say about this?

Kleponis: Look at the extensive harmful effects of pornography upon the person who uses it, upon marriages, young adults and children.

We encourage husbands to respond to their vocational calling to be the strong leaders and protectors of their wives and children.

The most common cause of pornography use is selfishness, which turns a man in upon himself, thereby damaging his calling as a man to be a protector and a mature giver, another Christ to his wife and children.

In pornography the man is entering a fantasy world devoid of a true loving and intimate relationship, which is really about using another person for his own personal pleasure. It damages his ability to see the beauty and goodness of his wife and of marital love, sexuality and chastity.

A man who engages in pornography regresses into a childlike state in which he is driven to seek pleasure. He loses his sense of healthy masculinity and fulfillment as a husband and as a father.

Pornography weakens men in every way and harms their ability to lead.

As men we are called to be leaders, providers and protectors, of our families, parishes and society. We cannot do that if we're enslaved by pornography.

We also encourage men to understand God's plan for a healthy sexuality as outlined in Church teaching.

We often cite the wisdom of the catechism: "It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of a fantasy world. It is a grave offense" (CCC, 2354).

We challenge the cultural view that there is no harm coming from using others as sexual objects, and explain that this view is rooted in profound selfishness and a lack of respect for others.

The husband needs to understand that the issue is not his alone, but it is a marital and family issue and needs to be addressed with his wife.

It is vitally important in this "pornified" culture that priests communicate the fullness of the Church's teaching on sexual morality and criticize strongly the cultural view that no harm comes from using others as sexual objects.

The profound wisdom of John Paul II in "Love and Responsibility" and the "Theology of the Body" can strengthen and purify men and the entire culture in this struggle.

And of course, what does pornography do? It also promotes contraception, because it makes sex nothing more than a recreational activity. It takes away the relational and procreative aspects of it, so nothing good can come out of it.


(End of part 1)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Save Dr. Ken Howell



Dear blog readers,

I urge all of you to join and sign up to this Facebook account on Dr. Ken Howell: www.facebook.com/SaveDrKen.

Dr. Ken Howell taught classes in Catholicism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In one of his classes, he taught the Catholic Church teaches - based on its adherence to natural moral law - that homosexual acts are inherently disordered.

One of his students anonymously wrote a letter to the Dean stating that he violated the University rules of inclusivity which led to his subsequent termination.

To read more on this topic, please browse the last two weekly news updates on the blog.

This kind of academic persecution must STOP!

Steve Ray is Here!



World-renowned Catholic convert and apologist Steve Ray is in the country to give talks on the Bible, salvation history, and Catholic apologetics. From July 19-21, he will be at St. James the Great Parish in Ayala, Alabang from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. He will also give a talk at De La Salle Zobel from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the same dates. The talk is free and open to the public. He has been going around the country for almost a week now giving talks here and there and I only caught him last night over DZMM Salitang Buhay with Fr. Bel San Luis and Fr. Jerome Marquez, both SVD priests along with Ms. Ilsa Reyes. The topic was on Marian devotion and dogmas which has always been a tough and controversial issue especially among non-Catholics.

Man, this guy can give you a power-packed point by point lecture on apologetics complete with Bible references and magisterial teachings right on the spot! He is such a zealous defender of the faith and he wants to arm the Catholic laity with the tools on how we can defend our faith from the attacks of other sects and Christian denominations. Being a former Baptist himself, you would not believe how deep is his understanding and knowledge of the faith which he gained from reading books, researches, and extensive travels to the Holy Land and other parts of the world until you sit down and listen to him speak. This fiery speaker is also the host of the EWTN program Footprints of God.

You can also visit his website at www.catholicconvert.com for more info.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Weekly News (Third Week of July)

1. Norms Addressing "Gravioribus Delictis"

VATICAN CITY, JULY 15, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Here is the Vatican translation of the norms for addressing cases of "gravioribus delictis" (grave crimes), published today by the Vatican press office. [Read More]

2. Media Frenzy over Women’s Ordination Distracts from New Vatican Sex Abuse Norms

VATICAN CITY, July 16, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Critics of the Catholic Church’s handling of the sex-abuse scandals finally got what they wanted from the Vatican this week – a sweeping new set of guidelines on how to deal with sex abuse allegations that will be applied on a global scale. [Read More]

3. After Legalization of Same-Sex 'Marriage,' Archbishop Calls It 'War Against God'

Vatican City, Jul 16, 2010 / 05:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano (LOR) will publish an article tomorrow in which it asserts that with the approval of homosexual "marriage" by the Argentinean senate, the future of the family in the country is "threatened." [Read More]

4. Narrow Victory for 'Gay Marriage' in DC

Homosexual "marriage" in Washington, DC, has been upheld. [Read More]

5. Gays More Frequent Blog Readers, Social Network Users

WASHINGTON—Gays and lesbians are more frequent blog readers than their heterosexual counterparts and are more likely to be members of a social network, according to a survey released on Tuesday. [Read More]

6. Alliance Defense Fund Demands Reinstatement of Professor Fired For Teaching Catholic Doctrine on Homosexual Behavior

he Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group, has given the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until the end of Friday to re-instate a professor who was relieved of his teaching duties following complaints he engaged in “hate speech” by teaching students about Catholic teaching on homosexuality in a course about Catholicism. [Read More]

7. Indonesian Government Vows to Block All Porn in 2 Months

JAKARTA, Indonesia, July 15, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Indonesian government has pledged to have all porn websites blocked in the country within the next two months as it works to implement the country’s strict anti-pornography laws. [Read More]

8. President Barack Obama's Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The following is a compilation of bill signings, speeches, appointments and other actions that President Barack Obama has engaged in that have promoted abortion before and during his presidency. [Read More]

9. Movie Review: 'The Sorcerer’s Apprentice' [Read More]

10. Ex-Lesbian Janet Boynes Tells Moving Story of Conversion

(LifeSiteNews.com) - Former lesbian Janet Boynes says that her homosexuality began as it does for many women: as a response to sexual and psychological abuse she suffered as a child. [Read More]


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Quote on Grace



"Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

"Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner."

"Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God."


- Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 - 1945), The Cost of Discipleship

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Beautiful Love Story



I was touched after reading this article from my inbox. This is a true-to-life story of a man's search for God and the transformation that ensued leading him to discover the thing that truly matters in life.



Father John Powell, a professor at Loyola University in Chicago, writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy :

"Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith.

That was the day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn't what's on your head but what's in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped... I immediately filed Tommy under 'S' for strange... Very strange.

Tommy turned out to be the 'atheist in residence' in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father/God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a cynical tone, 'Do you think I'll ever find God?'

I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. 'No!' I said very emphatically.

'Why not,' he responded, 'I thought that was the product you were pushing?!'

I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out, 'Tommy! I don't think you'll ever find Him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!' He shrugged a little and left my class and my life.

I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line -- He will find you! At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated, and I was duly grateful.

Then a sad report came. I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm ...for the first time, I believed ....

'Tommy, I've thought about you so often; I hear you are sick,' I blurted out.

'Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It's a matter of weeks...'

'Can you talk about it, Tom?' I asked.

'Sure, what would you like to know?' he replied

'What's it like to be only twenty-four and dying?'

'Well, it could be worse.'

'Like what?'

'Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals? Like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real biggies in life..'

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under 'S' where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification, God sends back into my life to educate me.)

'But what I really came to see you about,' Tom said, 'is something you said to me on the last day of class.' (He remembered!)

He continued, 'I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, 'No!' which surprised me. Then you said, 'But He will find you..' I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time.

(My clever line. He thought about that a lot!)

'But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, that's when I got serious about locating God ... And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven ... But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn't really care about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: 'The essential sadness is to go through life without loving.' But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.''

'So, I began with the hardest one, my Dad.. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.. 'Dad?'

'Yes, what?' he asked without lowering the newspaper.

'Dad, I would like to talk with you.'

'Well, talk!'

'I mean . It's really important.'

The newspaper came down three slow inches. 'What is it?'

'Dad, I love you, I just wanted you to know that.' Tom smiled at me and said it with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him. 'The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. We talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me..'

'It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years.

I was only sorry about one thing --- that I had waited so long. Here I was, just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn't come to me when I pleaded with Him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, 'C'mon, jump through. C'mon, I'll give you three days, three weeks.''

'Apparently God does things in His own way and at His own hour. But the important thing is that He was there. He found me! You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for Him.'

'Tommy,' I practically gasped, 'I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make Him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said: 'God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.' Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class, you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it would not be half as effective as if you were to tell it.'

'Oooh.. I was ready for you, but I don't know if I'm ready for your class.'

'Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.'

In a few days Tom called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date.

However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined.

Before he died, we talked one last time.

'I'm not going to make it to your class,' he said.

'I know, Tom.'

'Will you tell them for me? Will you....tell the whole world for me?'

'I will, Tom. I'll tell them. I'll do my best.'

So, to all of you who have been kind enough to read this simple story about God's love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven --- I told them, Tommy, as best I could.

If this story means anything to you, please pass it on to a friend or two. It is a true story and is not enhanced for publicity purposes.



With thanks,

Rev. John Powell, Professor
Loyola University, Chicago

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exodus East Asia Conference 2010



This is an invite from our brothers in Bagong Pagasa regarding the upcoming Exodus East Asia Conference 2010 to be held in Taipei, Taiwan at the end of July. Kindly disseminate this information to all who are interested to attend the said event.


Greetings from Bagong Pag-asa!

We would like to invite you to consider participating in the upcoming Exodus East Asia Conference 2010 in Taiwan entitled "Turn Back, The Time is Now!", with Prof. Christopher Yuan (an ex-gay) as the main speaker. This conference will be helpful for both people struggling with same-sex attraction as well as their loved ones (parents, wives, friends). Prof. Yuan's parents will also be there to share their testimony in one of the workshops. Conference details are as follows:


Event: Turn Back, The Time Is Now! 2010 Conference in Taipei, Taiwan July 29-31, 2010

Place: THFC CHURCH

Address: 4F, No. 36, Jingzhong St., Wenshan District, Taipei City 116, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Main Speaker: Prof. Christopher Yuan, with his parents as two of the workshop speakers.

Conference Topics: A Biblical Response to Homosexuality, Winning Gay Friends to Christ, Breaking Free to Victory.

Workshop Topics: Whom I Love Is Gay, Surviving under A Prodigal Son Crisis, Process About the Change of Homosexuality, How to Build Up an Effective Support Group, Overcoming Sexual Addiction.

We have included our promotional poster as attachment. Please do help us promote this event by forwarding this to people who might be interested.

Should you wish to register and join the event, kindly contact Bagong Pag-asa at the numbers indicated below. Please note that all expenses for the trip as well as the conference fees will be on personal account.

Thank you and God bless!



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)

www.bagongpagasa. org

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Weekly News (Second Week of July)

1. Benedict XVI Calls Youth to Maria Goretti's Heroism

VATICAN CITY, JULY 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Even the very young can show strength and courage against evil, Benedict XVI today reminded youth, urging them to do the same.
[Read More]

2. CBCP, OMB Renew Fight vs. Child Porn

MANILA, July 9, 2010— With the anti-child pornography law taking effect next week, the Catholic hierarchy is hoping for strengthened fight against the “alarming” problem. [Read More]

3. Luistro to Consult CBCP Plenary on Sex-Ed

MANILA, July 10, 2010—Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro will meet members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Sunday to discuss the sex education in public schools. [Read More]

4. Viagra-Popping Seniors Lead The Pack For STDs

(Reuters Health) - Even if you're past your prime and have a hard time getting an erection, you might still need to worry about unprotected sex, according to U.S. doctors. [Read More]

5. Illinois Professor Fired For Giving Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality

Champaign, Ill., Jul 9, 2010 / 06:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The University of Illinois has fired an adjunct professor for teaching in a class on Catholicism that homosexual acts violate natural moral law. [Read More]

6. NBC Changes Rules to Allow Same-Sex `Today' Wedding

New York (AP) - After a meeting with gay and lesbian activists on Thursday, NBC's "Today" show said it is changing the rules for its annual wedding contest to allow same-sex couples to apply for a ceremony conducted on morning TV. [Read More]

7. BMA: Therapy to Treat Unwanted Same-Sex Attraction Should be Banned

BRIGHTON, United Kingdom, July 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The British Medical Association (BMA) has passed a motion asserting that therapy meant to treat unwanted same-sex attraction is harmful, calling on the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other professional bodies to repudiate such treatments and forbid them in their codes of practice. [Read More]

8. Why Is Hillary Pushing Gay Rights Upon Africa?

If the average Kenyan knew that their favourite son, Barack Obama, had declared June the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Pride Month, they would simply not believe it. Nor would they believe that in his proclamation for Fathers’ Day, he’d said that nurturing families comes in many forms, including being raised by two “fathers” -- even if neither of them is the true father. [Read More]

9. Buffett Billions Padding “Charitable” Abortion Advocacy

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 8, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – For the last number of years American billionaire Warren Buffett, 79, has gradually been giving away his estimated $47 billion fortune – and much of it is going to support the work of abortion activists worldwide. [Read More]

10. Nuns and the World

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In their small chapel in Kansas City, Kan., the voices of the Little Sisters of the Lamb enfold their visitors within the Psalms they sing. The harmony of their voices lifted in prayer spills from the open windows and settles on their neighbors who daily reap the benefits of the sisters living among them. [Read More]

11. Internet Safety 101: Protecting Your Kids

Children are spending more time exploring technology than ever before. Recent information indicates more than 93 percent of kids are online, not just at home. [Read More]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Prolife Advocacy Seminar



Invitation from Pro-Life Philippines


As part of its lobby and advocacy efforts, Pro-Life Philippines Foundation, Inc. invites all pro-lifers most especially advocacy group leaders, parishioners, teachers, and students to attend the Pro-Life Seminar Series for July titled “Strategies to Protect Life and the Family in the 15th Congress.”

This seminar aims to shed light on using lobbying activities as means of cultivating a culture of life as well as to educate pro-lifers on how they can help on advancing the pro-life agenda in numerous venues especially in the legislative arm of the government.

Seasoned pro-life lawyer Atty. Jo Aurea Imbong of the Ang Kapatiran will be sharing her expertise on raising arguments against controversial anti-life bills. BUHAY Party-List’s Mr. Jose “Agoy” Descallar will be explaining the prospective landscape of the 15th Congress of the Philippines. Rep. William Irwin Tieng of the BUHAY Party-List will discuss on how pro-lifers can help convince legislators to support the pro-life cause.

An open forum comes after each of the speaker’s discussion.

The seminar is slated on a Saturday, July 31, 2010 from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM at the St. Joseph Retreat House Conference Room, Our Lady of Loreto Church, Manzanas Street, Sampaloc, Manila. A registration fee of P 750.00 includes one snack, one lunch, one seminar kit, and a certificate of participation signed by the organizers.

For reservations or more information, please call Ellen at 733-7027. Or, you may send us a telefax at 734-9425; a text through mobile# 0919-2337783; or an email at life@prolife.org.ph. Visit our website at www.prolife.org.ph

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Red or White?


Today, July 6, the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a martyr for purity. I am sure most of you know her life story by now so no need to narrate her biography here. I was reflecting on her life and her relevance to the secular world of ours and I was preoccupied with the question of whether she is a red martyr or a white martyr. Obviously, we need to define the terms first. After googling for it, I came upon these explanations:

Red martyrdom occurs when a person sheds their blood for Christ. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been many of these brave souls who died rather than forsake the Lord. (e.g., first century Christian martyrs who were persecuted and fed to the lions, our very own San Lorenzo Ruiz who chose death rather than renounce the faith, etc.)

White martyrdom is a martyrdom without blood, without the violent taking of life. White martyrdom is a total offering to God, a “dying” to the world and its allurements. A white martyr willingly gives up worldly concerns and makes his or her life a perpetual pilgrimage. A white martyr lives a life of heroic devotion for Him alone, eagerly uniting that devotion with Christ’s sufferings.

I have come to conclusion then that St. Maria Goretti - although she died in defense of the virtue of purity - was actually a red martyr because there was shedding of blood. It is that the object of her martyrdom was not about faith in Christ but rather the defense of the virtue of purity.

Okay that is now settled. The big question for us now is "sa pula o sa puti"? Either way you will encounter violence of one kind or the other. Martyrdom is literally and figuratively dying to one's self in order to gain a life of complete and perfect union with God. Choosing chastity in our sex-crazy world for the love of God is one way we can live it and we must always remember the bravery and courage of St. Maria Goretti who chose death rather than sin.

-oOo-

Alan Medinger - Home, Rejoicing

I received this e-mail last week about the passing of Alan Medinger, a Christian leader and pioneer of the ex-gay movement. He is a big loss, but his books and writings will continue to inspire countless men and women to hope for change. Alan is one of my favorite SSA writers because of his balanced psychospiritual approach to the subject of homosexuality.


Greetings!

It is with great sadness I share with you that Regeneration's founder, Alan Medinger, passed away Monday, June 28th. Alan started Regeneration over three decades ago, and in the years that followed, he and his dear wife, Willa, were like a father and mother to literally thousands of men and women seeking help and hope, including me.

Alan passed away peacefully in his sleep early Monday morning. Many of you know about Alan's faithfulness in morning devotional times with the Lord. (He often said they were where all his newsletter articles came to him.) I have been thinking it was Jesus Himself who woke Alan on Monday, his faith now become sight.

We invite all of you to pray with us for Alan's family--his children, his grandchildren, and especially Willa--today and in the days to come.

Alan was a deeply loved man by many. For me, he was a mentor, a model of faith, a father, and my dear friend. Regeneration's board and staff are grateful for the trail he blazed, and honored to carry it forward as we together continue to follow the Lord.

In Christ's love,


Josh Glaser
Executive Director
Regeneration

To those who do not know Alan Medinger, click here to read his life story.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Weekly News (First Week of July)

1. Holy See to UN: Gender Equality Isn't Sameness

NEW YORK, JULY 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is emphasizing the need to promote equality of men and women, while clarifying that this is not to say that both genders should be the same. [Read More]

2. Prelates Optimistic of Aquino’s Term

MANILA, July 1, 2010—A number of the country’s Catholic prelates are optimistic the country’s 15th president will be able to deliver on his campaign promises. [Read More]

3. Supreme Court Allows Sex Abuse Case Against Vatican to Proceed

Washington D.C., Jun 28, 2010 / 12:12 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Today the U.S. Supreme Court declined an immunity appeal by the Holy See in a case that attempts to sue the Vatican for transferring a priest accused of sexually abusing a minors several decades ago. The ruling by the Supreme Court allows the case to move forward. [Read More]

4. Google Strengthens Benefits For Gay or Lesbian Workers

SAN FRANCISCO—Google on Thursday improved health and family leave benefits for its US employees with same-sex domestic partners. [Read More]

5. Remedy For Porn Viewers - Public Shame

A city councilor in Quincy, Massachusetts, wants to take a unique approach to fighting against the use of library computers to view pornography. [Read More]

6. SPECIAL REPORT: Elena Kagan’s Radically Pro-Homosexual, Pro-Transsexual Record at Harvard Law School [Full Report]

7. Preaching Purity on the Jersey Shore

On June 6, the producer of the reality show “Jersey Shore” admitted that she fed her promiscuous cast a steady diet of Valtrex in order to manage herpes outbreaks. [Read More]

8. Christian Views on Homosexuality Deemed "Hate Speech" by European Rights Agency

ROME, June 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When a European Christian pro-family group applied to join the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) of the EU’s Human Rights Agency, they did not expect to be denounced as promoters of “hate.” [Read More]

9. U.S. Spent $550,496 on Study That Did 'Focus Groups and In-Depth Interviews' To Learn About the Sex Lives of Truck Drivers

(CNSNews.com) - The federal government has spent $550,496 on a project that involved conducting “focus groups and in-depth interviews” with American long-haul truck drivers to learn about their sex lives in order to assess their risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. [Read More]

10. Ultrasound on Wheels

TUCSON, Ariz. — What do you do if you can’t get women to visit a crisis-pregnancy center? You bring the center to them. Portable ultrasound units are not a new idea, but an organization in Arizona is expanding on the approach by rolling out converted RVs as a way to reach women who might not ever visit a brick-and-mortar pregnancy center. [Read More]

11. 'Twilight' of the West – Films with Demonic Influence?

OTTAWA, June 29, 2010, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Wednesday’s release of "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" promises to be a blockbuster success, if last week’s premiere in Los Angeles, where hundreds of fans camped out for days in advance to get a glimpse, is any indication. [Read More]

12. From Pornographer to Family Media: A Web Developer’s Conversion

June 28, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The former owner of a multi-million dollar pornography business is now sharing his testimony about how he left the industry and found faith in Christ, and how he is now using his skills to advance God’s glory through Christian, family-friendly media. [Read More]


Friday, July 2, 2010

Awaken The Healer In You



This is the title of the new series of talks by Bo Sanchez. It's free of charge. The main talk is usually preceded by the celebration of Mass and worship. Find out here the nearest Feast in your locality.