"Prominent Catholics" Hardest Hit

I'm sure it's only coincidence, as the Holy Father is continuing a series of Wednesday Audiences on the family, but a week after a group of known dissenters  styling themselves "Prominent Catholics" placed an ad in the San Francisco Chronicle demanding that the pope fire Archbishop Cordileone for his outrageous insistence that Catholic schools should teach Catholic doctrine on marriage and sexuality, Pope Francis delivered himself of this address on Genesis 2 and the creation of man and woman.

The whole thing is worth reading. It's sort of a summary of the main points St. John Paul brought out of the passage, mixed with Francis' folksy images. But the gist of the matter is well put in the English-language summary:

We see throughout history the fruit of this sin, especially towards women – oppression, violence and exploitation. Most recently, this mistrust and scepticism has led our culture to disregard the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, that covenant which deepens communion and safeguards the dignity of their uniqueness. When the stable and fruitful covenant between a man and a woman is devalued by society, it is a loss for everyone, especially the young. For all our sins and weaknesses, our vocation is to care for the covenant of marriage. It is a vital and energizing vocation, through which we cooperate with our heavenly Father, who himself always cares for and protects this great gift.

The Christian vocation is to defend man-woman marriage, and now is an exciting time in which to be engaged in that effort. Thus sayeth the Pontiff.

Incidentally, it's not a scientific poll, but the SFgate's reader questionnaire on whether Cordileone should stay or go is, at this writing, 80% in Cordileone's favor.  His problems at home have had the effect of preventing him from attending this weekend's March for Marriage, however. 

Speaking of which. This year's March for Marriage is April 25th at 11:30 on the national mall.  Participate virtually if you can't get to DC. 

The Smell of Victory


A man paralyzed after a knife attack is walking (assisted) again after a transplant using cells in his nose.
Within three months, the treatment was reaping rewards. Fidyka — paralyzed from the chest down — regained feeling in his lower extremities; his left leg developed muscle mass; and bladder, bowel and sexual functions even returned, the BBC reports. Most importantly, he can now walk once again with the assistance of a frame. Researchers published their results Tuesday in the journal Cell Transplantation. ....
Professor Geoffrey Raisman, whose team at University College London performed the technique, hopes to similarly treat three more people in Poland over the next few years if funding for medical trials can be obtained. He told the Guardian:
“We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which, as it is further developed, will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”

Look Who's Discovered the Birth Dearth

Formerly Grey Lady reports:
Recently, Sex and Society, a nonprofit group that provides much of Denmark’s sex education, adjusted its curriculum. The group no longer has a sole emphasis on how to prevent getting pregnant but now also talks about pregnancy in a more positive light.
It is all part of a not-so-subtle push in Europe to encourage people to have more babies. Denmark, like a number of European countries, is growing increasingly anxious about low birthrates. Those concerns have only been intensified by the region’s financial and economic crisis, with high unemployment rates among the young viewed as discouraging potential parents.

But oh: the comments! the comments!


Stanislav Zhukovsky, Easter Table

Hope your Easter table was something like this one.  Here's what the Holy Father had to say at the Easter Vigil.

“Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe…” (Mk 16:5). The women were the first to see this great sign, the empty tomb; and they were the first to enter…“Entering the tomb”. It is good for us, on this Vigil night, to reflect on the experience of the women, which also speaks to us. For that is why we are here: to enter, to enter into the Mystery which God has accomplished with his vigil of love.We cannot live Easter without entering into the mystery. It is not something intellectual, something we only know or read about… It is more, much more!“To enter into the mystery” means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions…To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our very existence.

Indiana: Sound the Alarm

You know a tipping point has been reached when Rod Dreher & John Zmirak agree and strike the same note.  More on the astonishing reaction to Indiana's RFRA law later, but first, Dreher: Indiana, a Religious Liberty Bellwether. He does his homework, reading up on the statute and all the law professors -- including those who support gay rights and gay marriage-- who say that those freaking out about discrimination are just flat-out misinformed about what the law does.

His conclusion: things are so bad, I will even vote Republican:
The overreaction, especially the blatant lies and completely invented controversy, in which the media and big business have engaged in the past few days about Indiana and religious liberty, has been a shock to my system — this, even though I am by now used to just about anything from that side. Because religious liberty is the most important political issue to me, it is hard to imagine sitting out the 2016 presidential election, as I have done the past two times because I couldn’t stomach the Republican nominee. It is impossible to imagine voting Democratic in 2016, because the Democrats are actively committed to legislating contempt for traditional Christians like me. If even mild attempts to give minimal protection to religious dissenters is condemned as Jim Crow redux by the Democrats, it genuinely frightens me to think about what a Supreme Court dominated by Obama-Clinton justices would do.
Voting Republican is no guarantee that religious liberty would be strengthened in SCOTUS rulings in the future, but there is some hope that a GOP president would nominate justices sympathetic to religious liberty concerns. With President Hillary Clinton, or any conceivable Democrat, there is no hope at all.
Je suis le First Amendment. Indiana shows why for social and religious conservatives, 2016 is all about the Supreme Court and religious liberty. The past few days have made someone like me, a conservative independent who has little use for either party, realize that I cannot afford to be on the sidelines in 2016. Religious conservative voters must be focused like a laser on religious liberty, right now. It’s that important.

And then Zmirak:
The expected Supreme Court decision imposing on 50 states an entirely new understanding of marriage, and the frenzy of hatred that gay activists have stoked against Indiana for trying to shelter religious believers from crippling lawsuits should wake us to a cold and stark reality: The age of tolerance in America is vanishing before your eyes. The question is how Christians and other people of faith and good will are going to respond.

Some Like It Hot

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA, obviously, on both counts) introduced a House resolution claiming that climate change will force women to become prostitutes.

“Women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change,” Lee’s resolution reads. It continues claiming, “Food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health.”
Lee’s document goes on to urge Congress to agree on the “disparate impacts of climate change on women,” and goes on to demand that Congress use “gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change.”
I am now confused as to "weather" sex work is fempowering or not.

Happy Feast of the Annunciation

Just yesterday I was complaining that Lent was too Lent-y this year and I needed a break. Completely forgot that today's a Solemnity, and there is a little break from ascesis today.

In Florence & Pisa, Happy New Year.

What some nuns do on the Annunciation Feast.