Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lenten Recollections 2012

Forwarded text invitation.

Fr. Dave Concepcion, retreat master of priests, invites you to the following Lenten Recollections:

Jesus, The Compassionate Healer

When: April 2, Holy Monday; 6:15 p.m. - Mass, 8:00 p.m. - Talk

Where: Layforce Chapel, San Carlos Pastoral Complex, EDSA Guadalupe

Walking Together In The Light of God's Word

When: April 3, Holy Tuesday, 8 p.m.

Where: St. James the Great Parish, Ayala, Alabang

Non-negotiable Essentials of Christian Life

When: April 4, Holy Wednesday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Megatrade Hall, Megamall


When: April 4, Holy Wednesday; 6:15 p.m. - Mass, 8:00 p.m. Talk

Where: Layforce Chapel, San Carlos Pastoral Complex, EDSA Guadalupe

April 5-7, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Holy Thursday to Black Saturday, Tagaytay Highlands Chapel

Note: All recollections are open to the public.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fr. Robert Barron Comments on 'The Hunger Games'

The movie is creating a lot of buzz online lately and up until now I have not really made an effort to find out what it's all about until I stumbled upon this video. You see, Fr. Barron is never amiss on popular media culture; he is in fact very engaging and does not detach himself from the mundane. His online followers including me are always eager to know what he has to say on such topics because he talks with so much sense and wisdom.

Warning: Spoiler alert!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Weekly News (Fourth Week of March 2012)

1. Press Conference en Route to Mexico: Coherence, Religious Liberty

Pope Gives Overview of Challenges, Expectations

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE, MARCH 23, 2012 ( The Pope is visiting Mexico and Cuba but his message is addressed to the whole of the great Latin American sub-continent, Benedict XVI told journalists who accompanied him on the Alitalia flight to Mexico today. [Read More]

2. Lawmakers’ Interest in RH Fizzles

MANILA, March 22, 2012—Wednesday saw the last day of plenary sessions in Congress without tackling a bill seeking billions of pesos in taxpayers’ money for contraception, sterilization, and sex education, in another indication of lawmakers’ waning interest on the divisive measure. [Read More]

3. Americans Speak Up For Religious Freedom At Nationwide Rallies

Washington D.C., Mar 23, 2012 / 06:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Men and women of all ages raised their voices in support of religious liberty in the nation’s capital on March 23, speaking out against the federal contraception mandate and joining with those who participated in the Rally for Religious Freedom in locations across the country. [Read More]

4. U.S. House Hears of Pro-Life Movie

On its opening weekend, a movie with a strong pro-life message has been given a thumbs-up from the floor of the House of Representatives. [Read More]

5. U.S. Silent on Top Saudi Cleric’s Call to ‘Destroy Churches’

( – Ten days after Saudi Arabia’s foremost religious leader called for a demolition of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula – in line with a purported injunction by Mohammed – the U.S. government and other allies of the kingdom have yet to react. [Read More]

6. Obama Admin Not Telling Women Ella Drug Causes Abortions

Women are not being told the truth by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Two HHS informational documents on emergency contraception fail to address ella or its abortion-inducing effects. [Read More]

7. Madonna May Be Fined If She Promotes Homosexual Agenda While Performing: Russian Official

March 22, 2012 ( – Pop singer Madonna Ciccone’s recent promise to “speak up” for the “gay community” in St. Petersburg, Russia, at an upcoming performance there, has been met by a city representative who says she will be fined if she violates a city ordinance against homosexual propaganda aimed at minors. [Read More]

8. Blair Support of “Gay Marriage” The Result of Decades of Bishops Winking at Public Dissent

ROME, March 22, 2012 ( - The boast of Tony Blair that he supports homosexual “marriage” in open defiance of Catholic teaching, has embarrassed the Vatican and garnered the globetrotting Blair even more criticism from pro-life leadership in Britain. [Read More]

9. Debate Continues Over Same-Sex 'Marriage'

The Future of the Family at Stake

ROME, MARCH 23, 2011 ( Whether or not to legalize same-sex “marriage” continues to be a hotly debated topic. [Read More]

10. Real Religion Is Faith Lived

The problem is not religion, but false religion. Real religion is a good thing because it consists precisely of doing those works of charity Jesus exemplifies. [Read More]

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Nobody Cares

Thanks to Sis. I for sending this article.

What to do when you feel like nobody cares

One of the common laments of someone who suffers from depression is, “Nobody cares.” When someone says these words it is often very hard to assess the reality of the situation. Let's explore the many meanings of the phrase, “Nobody cares” and challenge our assumptions in the process.

For some people, uttering the phrase “nobody cares” is a way of denouncing their own self worth. Substitute “I feel unlovable” or “I don’t feel worthy of care and love” and it makes sense that one would conclude that nobody cares. It is an assumption based upon a faulty initial premise.

How to challenge this belief:

Know that you are worthy of both love and care. Suffering from depression doesn’t make you any less worthy.

“Nobody cares” can also be an angry statement said to provoke a response in others. Perhaps you are feeling resentful that the people in your life are not paying attention to your suffering. You want them to feel some of the pain you are feeling. So you say something to wake them up and make them feel guilty for not responding to you in the way that you want.

How to challenge this belief:

You can’t force people to care in the ways you expect by using guilt. Rousing anger or guilt in others won’t make them care for you more or get your needs met. Being direct about what you need gives you more of a chance of actually being listened to and receiving a positive response.

This phrase might also be said as a dare as in “I dare you to say you care about me.”

It is a way to turn responsibility to another person for them to prove your worth. It is also a trap for failure because if the other person does say that they care it is easy to denounce. The all or nothing thinking which can go along with depression can elicit “nobody cares,” as well as “this is never going to get better.” These sorts of generalized statements ensure that you will stay at the bottom of your depression because you have made it impossible for anyone to offer you hope.

How to challenge this belief:

Life is seldom all or nothing. The all or nothing thinking can be a way for you to maintain control. It is a way to validate the way you see the world with depression goggles on. Take a risk to realize that people do care. They just might not always meet your expectations. Forgive others for not being perfect. Let go of your need to be right in your view of the world as an uncaring place.

“Nobody cares” can mean “I currently have no emotional support.”

Not everyone comes from a supportive family. In fact, there are some families that can make symptoms of depression feel worse because you can’t talk about it. Depression can also cause damage to existing relationships and friendships. It can add to your depression to feel that you don’t have anyone to turn to in order to gain support.

How to challenge this belief:

It may very well be true that you are lacking in supports right now. Sometimes we have to create our own “family” as in developing a family of friends. It may seem daunting, but reaching out to others who are going through a similar battle with depression and joining a support group can be a good first step. Some people reach out to their place of worship. Others find support through therapy. Just because you lack support now doesn’t mean it has to remain this way.

When someone says, “nobody cares” it can also be translated as, “I don’t feel that anyone understands me.”

To feel like others “get” you is a very deep human need. You want to feel accepted despite how ugly the depression can make you feel inside.

How to challenge this belief:

Other people may not understand your depression. But it doesn’t mean that they have to remain in the dark. You can make attempts to explain how this feels and what depression does to you. Some people may be experienced with battling depression but they may lack the skills to articulate their empathy. Your depression may remind them of their own feelings they have pushed away and they may be reluctant to open up. There will, however, be people who do get it and can express their care to you in a way that makes you feel accepted. It may take some time to find these people but they do exist.

Some people feel that “nobody cares” because they are frustrated with the mental health care system.

It can feel that the system does not care about you. Some have experienced calling hotlines only to be cut off or found that the help offered was inadequate or impersonal. Some of you have had the experience of trying to find mental health help with no insurance or money. It can feel like a desperate time when you can’t seem to get any answers anywhere.

How to challenge this belief:

The truth is that our mental health system is a mess. There are no easy answers or quick fixes. The system is imperfect but this doesn’t mean that every professional that you come across is uncaring. They may simply be limited in what they can offer you. You may have to make a hundred calls before getting the person who can actually do something concrete to help you. Don’t give up. Be persistent. Your mental health is too important.

What to Do When You Are Depressed

Feeling depressed? Here are some tips to combat the blues.

1. Taking time off of work provides an emotional break from stress. Try to work less hours and reduce your work load. Aim to create a work life balance.

2. A Mediterranean diet with fish and olive oil has been shown to improve moods. Olive oil increases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects mood levels. Omega-3 in fish prevents depression.

3. When depressed, many people seek alternatives to their current situation to escape. It's human nature to blame external issues for your sad feelings. Avoid making major changes such as moving, quitting a job or ending a relationship while depressed. Think before you act and don't rush into decisions.

4. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety. During and after a workout, your brain releases endorphins, which are chemicals that reduce the feeling of pain. Yoga and meditation can also soothe and calm your mind.

5. If you are feeling depressed, first confide in a trusted friend or loved one. Talk about your problems in therapy with a licensed professional. Proper treatment can help you work through your depression. If your thoughts turn to suicide, contact a medical professional immediately.

6. Be mindful of your condition. Remember that it's your depression that is affecting your thoughts. Track your moods. Make an effort to stay positive.


Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Joseph Most Chaste

I would like to honor St. Joseph, whose feast we celebrate today, in particular his admirable virtue of purity. The following excerpts are taken from the book 'Saint Joseph As Seen by Mystics and Historians.'

The Gospel calls St. Joseph "a just man," which means that he possessed all the virtues, and this would not be true if he lacked the virtue of chastity. Indeed, it is precisely because he possessed this virtue that he had all the other virtues, which are, as it were, the companions and servants of chastity. Humility, modesty, recollection, contempt of the world, voluntary poverty, abnegation, obedience, mortification, lively faith, firm hope, ardent charity, all wait upon chastity as their mistress. In proclaiming St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church in 1870, Holy Church concludes Her decree by giving to the saint the beautiful title of "The Most Chaste Joseph."

While St. Joseph's extraordinary chastity is due chiefly to God's singular grace, yet we must not fail to give credit to the saint for corresponding with this grace. His great chastity was the fruit of continual vigilance on his part, together with his invocation of God's help. St. Joseph continually watched over his mind, his heart, his senses; he was careful to avoid idleness, which is the root of all evil; to avoid worldly pleasures and amusements; to avoid bad company, bad conversations, everything that could be an occasion of sin. And knowing that chastity depends on prayer, he never ceased to implore God's help and God's grace.

St. Joseph guarded his senses most carefully, especially his eyes, remembering how David and many others had fallen through curious looks which ought to have been avoided. The more that he mortified his senses in order to remain faithful to God, the more grace did he receive from God, and the more intense did his love become for this one and only object of all his love and desires.

When he felt impelled to gaze at something which would delight the eye, but which became an occasion for remorse, considering the likelihood of being drawn into sin, he would quickly raise his eyes towards Heaven and seek contentment in contemplating with the eyes of the spirit the uncreated beauties of God. By means of contemplation of heavenly things, he gradually lost all enjoyment in creatures; inflamed ever more with the love of God, he experienced all that joy which is to be found in occupying oneself solely with God and seeking one's delight in Him alone.

One author says that not only was St. Joseph a virgin, but that he was more chaste than the angels in Heaven. This statement seems an exaggeration; however, if closely examined, it is true. If the angels are unable to sin against chastity by thought, word, or deed, so, too, was St. Joseph. Since their nature is incorporeal, the angels are not able to sin against chastity. But the thoughts, words, and deeds of Joseph, who had a mortal body, never even had the whiff of impropriety, and thus he merits the most excellent crown of virginity and chastity. Joseph was chaste by grace; the angels, by nature. Since grace is superior to nature, Joseph's chastity surpasses that of the angels.


Prayer To St. Joseph For Chastity

Saint Joseph, father and guardian of virgins,
Into whose faithful keeping were entrusted Innocence itself, Christ Jesus,
And Mary the Virgin of virgins,
I pray, and beseech thee through Jesus and Mary,
Those pledges so dear to thee, to keep me from uncleanness,
And to grant that my mind may be untainted,
My heart pure and my body chaste,
Help me always to serve Jesus and Mary in perfect chastity,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekly News (Third Week of March 2012)

1. St. Joseph, Father of the New Evangelization

Benedict XVI Entrusts to His Patron All the Pastors of the Universal Church

ROME, MARCH 15, 2012 ( March is the month of St. Joseph, whose feast the Church will celebrate Monday. Currently the holy patron of Vatican II is now seen as the “Father of the New Evangelization” and “the holy patron of the third millennium,” according to an initiative launched by the bishop of the French diocese of Frejus-Toulon, Bishop Dominique Rey [Read More]

2. Bishops Say Mandate Fight Is About Government Defining Religion

Washington D.C., Mar 14, 2012 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops are emphasizing that their opposition to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate is not about birth control or health care, but about the government’s attempt to impose its narrow definition of religion on the country. [Read More]

3. Study Showed Birth Control Usage Increased Abortion Rates

In recent weeks, a number of media outlets have been touting studies which purportedly show that greater access to contraception lowers both abortion rates and the rate of unintended pregnancies. In fairness, some of these studies are a step up from the research that the Guttmacher Institute typically publishes. Some have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and analyze actual data. Unfortunately, the evidence they provide is far from conclusive. [Read More]

4. Raquel Welch: The ‘Era of Porn’ Has ‘Annihilated’ Men

March 13, 2012 ( - As one of America’s most revered sex symbols, she might not be the first celebrity to jump to mind as a crusader against pornography. But Raquel Welch, who rose to icon status as the beauty in the leather bikini from the 1966 movie One Million Years BC, told Men’s Health Magazine in an interview posted online March 8 that today’s sex-saturated culture had sapped the meaning out of sex, and damaged countless men through the pornography industry, which she called “an exploitation of the poor male’s libidos.” [Read More]

5. Gay ‘Marriage’ Not a Right, Prohibiting Gay Adoption Not 'Discrimination’: European Court

March 16, 2012 ( - The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the prohibition of adoption to non-married couples is not discriminatory, because it applies to both heterosexual and homosexual couples equally. [Read More]

6. Study: Young People Not So 'Green' After All

CHICAGO (AP) — They have a reputation for being environmentally minded do-gooders. But an academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today's young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources — and often less civic-minded overall — than their elders were when they were young. [Read More]

7. Vatican Official Condemns UN Report Urging Laws Protecting Homosexuals From ‘Discrimination’

March 15, 2012 ( - The Vatican’s principal representative before the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, is objecting to demands to outlaw “discrimination” against homosexuals in a report commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, on “Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence against Individuals based on their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. [Read More]

8. A Lenten Meditation On Suffering Rejection

All of us experience rejection, and it can begin quite early in life. We can be terribly cruel to one another, leaving deep wounds with the things we say and do to others. Rejection, real or imagined, can come from any quarter – family, friends, workplace, and perhaps most of all, ourselves. [Read More]

9. R.H.Bill - 5 points

Suggested simplified module, based on 5 points, which you can deliver to your neighborhood, barangay hall, group of friends, even youngsters [Read More]

10. The Seven Deadly Sins on Film: Lust

Steve McQueen’s recent film, Shame generated a media storm with its bleak portrayal of sex addiction. Gemma Simmonds uses the film as a lens through which we can think seriously about and better understand the sin of lust, in the third installment of our Lenten series on the Seven Deadly Sins on Film. [Read More]

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Teaching Teachers on Teen Sexuality Workshop

Forwarded invitation.

Date: May 17-19 (Thursday to Saturday)

Time: 8:00am to 5:00pm

Venue: St. Joseph Retreat House, Manzanas St., Sampaloc Manila

Registration Fee: P1, 500.00 (inclusive of snacks, meals, handouts and certificate)

The training/seminar aims to strengthen the ability of the participants to respond to the needs of today’s teens with respect to issues on human sexuality, marriage, family planning, and population education, according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, this year’s training/seminar is designed to further the participants’ knowledge and understanding of the problem of AIDS in our country, as well as to dissect the objectionable provisions of the RH bill like the mandatory sex education from grade 5 to 4th year high school and providing reproductive health care services to everyone including teenagers and children, among other things.

The modules are specifically designed for teachers, counselors, catechists, parents, lay leaders, youth organizers and others who work or deal with adolescents.

Participants will be trained to implement the training modules on teen sexuality packaged in our manual entitled “LEARNING TO LIVE AND LOVE” and will be provided updated supplementary activity and reading materials.


1. Understanding the Teenager/ Situationer
(Mr. Ed Sorreta – Board Chairman, Pro-Life Phil. )

2. HIV/AIDS Awareness (to be announced soon)

3. The RH Bill and its Effect on Youth Today
(Dra. Lissa Poblete- Board Secretary, Pro-Life Phil.)

4. Meaning and Value of Life
(Sr. Pilar Verzosa, RGS- Founder, Pro-Life Phil.)

5. Fertility Awareness
(Lorna Melegrito – Executive Director, Pro-Life Phil.)

6. Counseling Situations for Teachers
(Sr. Pilar Verzosa, RGS- Founder, Pro-Life Phil.)

7. Case Presentation
Modules on Teen Sexuality/Learning to Live and Love
(Sr. Pilar Verzosa, RGS- Founder, Pro-Life Phil.)

For reservations or for more info, please call Ellen at 733-7027 . You may also send us a telefax at 734-9425, a text through our mobile 0919-2337783, or email us at


How To Go To St. Joseph Retreat House, Conference Room Our Lady of Loreto Church

1. Get to the LRT-2.

2. Get off at Legarda Station.

3. Go down the westbound side and walk towards Legarda Avenue.

4. Cross the street to get you to the corner of Legarda and J. Figueras Avenues.
While staying along J. Figueras Avenue, walk your way until you reach the gates of Our Lady of Loreto Church

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Weekly News (Second Week of March 2012)

1. Pope: Confession a Key Part of Evangelization

Reminds Priests to Also Seek Out the Sacrament

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 9, 2012 ( Benedict XVI today received 1,300 priests and deacons who are participating in an annual course regarding confession and matters of conscience, organized by the Apostolic Penitentiary. [Read More]

2. Youth Need Catholic Vision of Sexuality, Pope Tells American Bishops

Vatican City, Mar 9, 2012 / 11:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In an address that tackled attempts to redefine marriage, Pope Benedict XVI challenged the bishops of the United States to teach young people an authentic Catholic vision of sex and love. [Read More]

3. Cardinal Sanchez dies at 91

MANILA, March 9, 2012 – The fifth Filipino to be elevated to the position of Cardinal has died at the age of 91 years old at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Medical Center in San Juan City at 4:50 a.m. today. He would have turned 92 on Saturday, March 17. [Read More]

4. Why Forcibly Tax Pinoys for Another’s Bedroom Activities? RH Opponents Ask

MANILA, Feb. 29, 2012—Proponents of the reproductive health (RH) bill base the controversial piece of legislation on wrong premises that tend to burden — not genuinely aid — Filipinos, according to those who reject the measure. [Read More]

5. What’s Wrong with “Gay” Pride?

June used to be a month for weddings, graduations, Father’s Day and the beginning of summer. Unfortunately in recent years, it is also a time when all over the nation, many cities sponsor homosexual “pride” events. But I think these events are a time for shame and sorrow, not pride. [Read More]

6. Oklahoma Bill: Women Can Hear Baby’s Heartbeat Before Abortion

The Oklahoma state Senate has approved a bill that allows women to know they can hear the heartbeat of their unborn baby before having an abortion — something abortion centers don’t normally let women hear beforehand. [Read More]

7. ‘Gay-Affirming’ Churches Harming Homosexuals, Says Christian Therapist Hit With Undercover Sting

ROME, March 9, 2012 ( – Churches and psychological professional associations are harming people suffering from unwanted same-sex attraction, both spiritually and medically, by their acceptance of the “gay-affirming” ideology pushed by the homosexualist lobby, a Christian psychotherapist told in an interview today. [Read More]

8. This Lent, Development & Peace Teaches 10% of The World Is Homosexual

MONTREAL, March 9, 2012 ( - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (D&P) has launched its fundraising drive for Lent 2012. Part of their ‘Share Lent’ campaign this year includes a training session which teaches that 10 per cent of the world population is “homosexual – lesbian”. [Read More]

9. One Year Later, Japan Recovers From Earthquake, Tsunami, Nuclear Meltdown

TOKYO — “I have grown old this past year,” said Father Takashi Aizu. Many members of his small Catholic congregation in Kesennuma, Japan, a town northeast of Sendai, lost everything when a devastating tsunami hit last year. [Read More]

10. Is Kirk Cameron 'An Accomplice to Murder'?

It's one thing to be called an intolerant bigot. It's another thing to be called "an accomplice to murder," but that's the latest charge being raised by gay activists and their allies -- and it needs to be exposed for what it is: an outrageous lie. [Read More]

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

SSA and The Choice for The Greatest Good

By Patrick Einheber

A major part of my struggle as a Catholic who experiences same-sex attraction has been the difficulty of wrestling with my desire for the goodness of love, relationship and pleasure that seems to be denied me by the teachings of the Church about homosexual relationships. After all, aren't these things good and aren't we all entitled to them? Why would the Church, or more importantly, God, wish to deprive some of us of these things? The answer, although it may not seem obvious at first glance, is that they don't wish to deprive us of any goodness at all and in fact wish for our perfect happiness. So how then can we understand these apparently disparate things? I found the solution to this problem in a consideration of good and evil themselves, as the Church and the Bible describe them, and what it is that the good God wishes to give to us in our creation as sexual beings. It's not a simple answer, but it is a consistent, meaningful and beautiful one.

Good and Evil

First, what are good and evil? There's no question about the existence of good. Whether it's the gentle warmth of the sun on our skin, the taste of great chocolate, or the look of love in the eyes of another, we've all experienced good. Christians believe that God is the source and giver of all goodness. The Psalms cry out that “the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells us that God created everything and saw that all He had made was good. But along with the good in our lives, we've all had real, tangible experiences of evil as well. Whether its the loss of a loved one, food poisoning, or the unkindness shown to us by another, we've all seen evil firsthand. So, how can Genesis tell us that everything God created was good? Where did evil come from if God did not create it?

Sometimes we conceive of good and evil as opposites of one another. But St. Thomas Aquinas explains that evil is really just the absence of good, not its equal opposite. A rough physical analogy might help to shed some light on this idea, so to speak. Physics tells us that darkness is not the opposite of light, but the absence of light. Light is made up of physical energy, a quasi wave-particle known as a photon. But darkness is not made of anything. Darkness is a void absent of light energy. In a similar way, every evil that we can experience or conceive of is defined by the goodness it lacks. It does not have existence in and of itself. This consideration, as I'll explain, is critical to understanding the Church's teachings about sexuality.

The Fall of Man

So how did we end up dealing with a lack of goodness? Right off the bat, the Bible introduces us to the concepts of good and evil in the life of man. In the Book of Genesis, immediately following the creation account, we're told the story of the fall of man – man's self-chosen separation from God. God creates Adam and Eve, places them in the garden of Eden, and tells them that they may eat of any tree in the garden except the tree at the very center of the garden – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tricks them, they eat the forbidden fruit, and they eventually die. Most people are pretty familiar with this story. But there are are some very important points in this story which we should take care to notice and explore.

First, God created an environment for man in which there was something forbidden that man could still freely choose. Why would God do this? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions.” (1730) In other words, God willed man to be a creature capable of freely choosing good. The Catechism continues, “Freedom is the power, rooted in reason and will, to act or not to act, to do this or that, and so to perform deliberate actions on one's own responsibility.” (1731) God confers on man the dignity of freedom, but in order to be free to choose good, man also has to have the capability of rejecting good and thereby choosing evil – a privation of good So was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God created itself evil? Again, we remember that all that God created was good.

In fact, Genesis tells us that Eve saw that the tree in question “was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.” (Gen 3:6) Yet, nevertheless, God had forbidden Adam and Eve to eat from this tree. If this tree was good, pleasing and desirable, why would God forbid them from it? Why would God deny anyone any type of good? The answer can only be that there was a greater good to be had. God, who is all good, desires the greatest good and most complete happiness for us.

These observations about the tree tell us something important about evil in general – that there is usually still something good, pleasing and desirable present. If there weren't, nobody would desire anything that was evil. The reason someone steals from us, for example, is that they see the good that we possess and that they desire. But when it comes to evil, there is always some good that is lacking.

Therefore, a choice for evil is most often a choice for a lesser good and a privation of a greater good, and may in fact impair our desire and capacity for that greater good. When someone steals from us, they see the good that they desire, but they ignore the deprivation of good that they impose on us, and that itself is a further deprivation of their own good – their capacity to respect the dignity and rights of others.

In the story of Genesis, the tree and its fruit are not evil themselves, but eating from the tree is evil because doing so involves a lack of some good God intends for Adam and Eve. God desires the greatest good for them and so forbids them from doing this. Although they are in pursuit of the good they desire, Adam and Eve freely deprive themselves of the greater good and put themselves at enmity with God. We're not told directly in the creation story what the greater good is, but we can be certain that there was one. Since much of the creation story is meant to be understood in the allegorical sense, the tree and apple may actually be the very image of man's choice between trusting God to give us every good thing or deciding what good and evil are for ourselves.

So why does God not simply prevent us from having the capability of eating from the tree or making this choice? To do so would be to force obedience, which would be to deny that capacity for freedom with which God endowed man. One of the greatest goods God bestows on us is our free will and He will not take it away from us.

The Goods of Sexuality

Whether we're talking about the Biblical parents of humanity or about people living in today's world, we all find ourselves in similar types of situations at some time or another. You and I may not be living in the Garden of Eden, but we do find that we are presented with choices of good and evil in our lives. Every person is confronted during their life with things that are good, pleasing and desirable yet are not the greatest good that God desires for us. Every person is given a similar opportunity to exercise their freedom to love and obey God or to make a choice against God.

Same sex attraction presents a situation that is very similar to that experienced by Adam and Eve. Every person who is attracted to others, whether they are of the same sex or not, sees something good, pleasing and desirable in those people. And these things are certainly and truly present. All people are created by God and are good. We all radiate this goodness in an apparent way, especially in our sexual nature. We understand that there is goodness to be had in the giving of ourselves and the receiving of the other in a mutual exchange of persons. However, just like Adam and Eve, we are not free to take hold of every good that we perceive. Sometimes there are very apparent goods around us that we are not allowed to grasp because there are greater goods to be had. For example, we should not forcefully take the goodness of another person's sexuality because to do so would be to violate their freedom and dignity as a person. These greater goods must always be considered.

The Greatest Good of Sexuality

One of the things I find challenging about the Catholic faith is that it describes goodness that is so great as to be almost burdensome, if such a thing can be said, but only because of my human weakness and frailty. Genesis describes that we're created in God's image. The Catechism expounds on this by saying, “Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.” (357) We're created in the image of God and as the saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility.”

For the purpose of summarizing the major points about the greatest good of sexuality I'm going to defer heavily to the teachings of Pope John Paul II called “Male and Female He Created Them: A Catechism on Human Love”, also sometimes known as “Theology of the Body”. Anyone who is truly interested in this subject would benefit greatly from studying this source.

In these teachings, we find that man is called to love as God loves since we're created in His image. Our human sexuality is meant to be an image of God's love in our very bodies, revealing and participating in this love in a very tangible way. And it is also meant to point to the ultimate spiritual reality of a reciprocal self-donating love that God wishes to share with man. That is the greatest good of our sexuality! Beyond simply being about human love, it's also about divine love and our call to participate in it. That is the teaching of the Church!

God's love is the total gift of His very self to us, given in absolute freedom, in uncompromising fidelity, and in a life-giving way that bears fruit. In our imaging of this love in our physical nature, we're called to participate in the full goodness of God's plan for sexuality and reject imitations that lack any of the good things inherent in God's love. Remember, God desires our greatest good, and evil is a deprivation of that good. He desires that we learn to love as He loves. If we consider eliminating any of the goods of sexuality that image God's love, we can begin to understand the Church's teaching on sexuality. Love cannot be taken rather than freely given (rape), given partially while withholding part of the self (contraception, sterilization), given in an unfaithful manner that violates or ignores a commitment (adultery, pre-marital sex, divorce/remarriage), or given in a way that is not open to life (contraception, sterilization, homosexuality). This last element is a critical point of understanding for persons with same-sex attraction because this potential for bearing fruit via new life is a direct consequence of our sexual complementarity with the opposite sex. I will address this in more detail in the future.

This picture of sexuality is so profound and important that it necessitates our behavior respect it with what sometimes seem like burdensome rules and requirements. Although it's a daily challenge to truly remember the dignity with which I've been bestowed, and the greatness to which I'm called, this divine love is why I struggle to obey the Church's teachings on sexuality in the face of every difficulty, failure and sacrifice.

Copyright 2012 Patrick Einheber --

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekly News (First Week of March 2012)

1. Papal Preacher’s Homily Themes for Lent 2012 Revealed

Vatican City, Mar 1, 2012 / 04:02 pm (CNA).- The Preacher to the Papal Household has revealed the topics for the four homilies he will preach to Pope Benedict XVI during Lent. [Read More]

2. Manila Archdiocese to Relaunch Website

MANILA, March 2, 2012— The Archdiocese of Manila will relaunch its website in a ceremony to be led by Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle on Saturday, March 3. [Read More]

3. The Kids Are Not Always Alright

The real-life stories of young adults who were conceived through anonymous sperm donation offer painful sentiments that our amoral society needs to heed. [Read More]

4. ‘Homosexual Arrogance’ in New Mexico

A hair stylist in New Mexico is refusing to do Governor Susana Martinez’s hair again. Activist Peter LaBarbera calls the incident “a lesson in homosexual activism” for conservatives. The reason Antonio Darden is snubbing the governor is that she does not support homosexual “marriage” — and Darden is refusing to do her do until she changes her stance. [Read More]

5. Cardinal Speaks Out Against UN Call For Homosexual Equality In Africa

( - Cardinal Robert Sarah strongly voiced opposition to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s call for an end to social and legal discrimination of homosexuals in Africa, commenting on how homosexuality goes against the Catholic faith and African culture. [Read More]

6. Catholic Church Not Unsympathetic to Infertile Couples

The Catholic Church is often portrayed as unsympathetic to infertile couples. Because the Church finds IVF wrong, others mistakenly believe that the Church has no compassion for the pain and heartbreak of infertility. That is simply untrue. [Read More]

7. Christian Model Crusades to Protect Young Girls Against Hyper-Sexed Cosmo Magazine

WOODLAND HILLS, California, March 2, 2012 ( – Nicole Weider was at the top of her game in the modeling world, landing jobs with Victoria’s Secret and appearing on the covers of magazines like Maxim and Esquire, when a deep depression left her disconcerted about the way the fashion industry used her body for profit. [Read More]

8. Maryland Governor Signs Same-Sex 'Marriage’ Bill as Referendum Clears First Hurdle

ANNAPOLIS, Maryland, March 1, 2012 ( - The governor of Maryland has signed a new law extending the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples one day after opponents were given the green light to collect signatures for an initiative to put the marriage question to state voters. [Read More]

9. Being Catholic at Work

“For the Christian living in the middle of the world, he or she must choose to act responsibly in daily work. Work should be ordered to the glory of God, to the service of society, to the fulfillment of family obligations. It also provides a vital area for personal apostolate.” (Francis Fernandez, In Conversation with God Volume 5, p.292-293) [Read More]

10. Multiple Births: When 'Supply' Exceeds 'Demand'

What's to Come of Treating Children as Commodities?

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 29, 2012 ( In 1934, a French Canadian mother gave birth to five daughters who would become internationally famous as the first recorded set of quintuplets to survive infancy. During their childhood, the Dionne sisters became a popular tourist attraction and went on to appear in several Hollywood movies. [Read More]