Sunday, 26 December 2010

feast of the Holy Family

I had the joy of seeing my second child being borne. It was an amazing thing for me. This thing that was kicking my face as I placed my cheek on my wife’s tummy days before was wiped and given to my wife to cradled in her arms.

It was definitely a step up from when I brought home my first child. I wouldn’t touch the thing. Suppose I held it wrong and it’s head fell off. (All the women laughed or got angry, all the older men smiled quietly and knowingly).

By the time my third child was borne, I was an old pro at the game. Nurturing almost always seems to come naturally for women. Men have to learn it, and sometimes it isn’t so easy.

So I wonder how it was for Mary and Joseph. Tradition tells us that Mary was fourteen years old, and that Joseph was in his later years. What was it like 2000 years ago? Did Joseph look upon this child with amazement? Did he help with the baby, knowing that He is the Christ Child, or did he leave that to Mary, and concerned himself with other activities? How did this family function?

God would not have trusted his incarnation with any ole human. He chose those he molded for the purpose. He has molded us too. We have a purpose. It relates to the Christ child too and to the Holy family.

As my family grows so too my understanding of family life grows. The untold story of the Holy Family is told to me in my understanding of my own family life.

Lord bless all families, on the feast of the Holy Family.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

European court says Ireland's abortion laws breach European rules

The big bad European Community has flexed it's muscles and told Ireland that they (as a country) should do what the European Community demands. Should we all say "Hiel Hitler" for it seems that he has won the war. Ireland does have abortion, but not on demand. The woman in the article below states that she might develop cancer if she becomes pregnant. So why become pregnant my dear. However, she could not find ONE doctor who would support her argument scientifically.

The last paragraph of the article shows that 70% of Irish people do not want a change from their existing situation.

Here is the article written by Michael Kelly for the Catholic News Service. The headline reads: European court says Ireland's abortion laws breach European rules

DUBLIN (CNS) -- The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Ireland's laws banning abortion breach European human rights law.

In a landmark and binding case that could have implications for other European countries, the court ruled that Ireland had breached the human rights of a woman with a rare form of cancer who feared it would relapse when she became unintentionally pregnant.

However, the woman was unable to find a doctor willing to make a determination as to whether her life would be at risk if she continued her pregnancy to term.

Early Dec. 16, the court concluded that neither the "medical consultation nor litigation options" relied on by the government constituted an effective or accessible procedure.

"Moreover, there was no explanation why the existing constitution right had not been implemented to date," the court ruled.

While abortion remains a criminal offense under 1861 legislation, a technical constitutional right to abortion does exist in Ireland following a 1992 Supreme Court ruling. In a controversial judgment known as the "X case," the court established the right of Irish women to an abortion if a pregnant woman's life was at risk as a result of the pregnancy.

However, successive governments have not legislated on the issue, and several constitutional referenda variously aimed at either enacting or revoking the judgment have proved inconclusive.

Guidelines from the Irish Medical Council describe abortion as "professional misconduct."

The European court case was filed in 2005; in 2009 it had an oral hearing before the court's grand chamber. This 17-judge court is reserved to hear cases that raise serious questions affecting the interpretation of the European Convention of Human Rights. As a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights -- now incorporated into Irish law -- the government is obliged to remedy any breaches of the convention.

Ireland and Malta are the only member-states of the Council of Europe in which abortion remains illegal.

Two other Irish women who took cases before the court in Strasbourg, France, were unsuccessful in their bids. The first woman, who was claiming the right to an abortion because she was living in poverty and felt unable to raise the child, had her case struck down. Her case, if successful, would have forced Ireland to legislate for abortion-on-demand. The second of the two unsuccessful candidates ran the risk of an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fetus develops outside of the womb. Her case also was rejected because there was no clear medical certainty over the diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy.

All three women were among an estimated 4,000 Irish women who travel to neighboring Britain for an abortion each year.

The Irish government defended its laws and said Ireland's abortion laws were based on "profound moral values deeply embedded in Irish society."

It argued that the European Court of Human Rights has consistently recognized the traditions of different countries regarding the rights of unborn children. However, it maintained that the women's challenge sought to undermine these principles and align Ireland with countries with more liberal abortion laws.

Government spokesmen were initially unwilling to comment on whether the state would appeal the decision.

Independent Sen. Ronan Mullen called on the government to hold a referendum to overturn the 1992 Supreme Court decision.

"The only reason the ECHR made this judgment is because the Supreme Court made its flawed interpretation of the (Irish) constitution. We now need to have a referendum that will restore the full legal and constitutional protection for the unborn that was undermined by the Supreme Court," Mullen told Catholic News Service.

William Binchy, a constitutional lawyer and legal adviser to the Pro-Life Campaign, told CNS: "The most important (thing) is that the judgment does not require Ireland to introduce legislation authorizing abortion. On the contrary, it fully respects the entitlement of the Irish people to determine legal policy on protecting the lives of unborn children.

"The Irish people must now make a choice. If they were to choose to endorse the Supreme Court decision in X, this would involve legalizing abortion contrary to existing medical practice and the best evidence of medical research. If, on the other hand, the Irish people choose to endorse the current medical practice, they will be ensuring the continuation of Ireland's world-renowned safety record for mothers and babies during pregnancy," Binchy said.

The ruling is set to put the issue of abortion back on the political agenda as the country prepares for a general election early in 2011. Both main parties -- the current governing Fianna Fail party and the main opposition Fine Gael -- have policies opposed to abortion. Only the minority Labor Party supports the introduction of abortion.

The issue has emerged over the years as a lightning rod in Irish politics, with most politicians unwilling to touch the issue. Opinion polls consistently show that the majority of Irish people are opposed to the introduction of laws permitting abortion.

A poll in February of this year, for example, asked respondents: "Are you in favor of or opposed to constitutional protection for the unborn that prohibits abortion but allows the continuation of the existing practice of intervention to save a mother's life in accordance with Irish medical ethics?"

The finding showed that 70 percent supported constitutional protection for the unborn, 13 percent oppose it and 16 percent did not know or had no opinion.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christian are most persecuted

Here's an interesting article about the pope calling Christians most persecuted of all the religions. It is true, but we must not forget any group that is persecuted for any reason.

Article By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Frances D'emilio, Associated Press – Thu Dec 16, 2:50 pm ET

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday that Christians suffer more religious persecution than any other group, denouncing lack of freedom of worship as an "intolerable" threat to world security.

The message reflected a pressing concern by Benedict in recent months for the plight of Christian minorities in parts of the world, especially in the Middle East.

"Sadly, the year now ending has again been marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance," Benedict lamented in the message for World Peace Day, celebrated by the church on Jan. 1, but traditionally released in advance

He wrote that he was especially thinking of Iraq ",which continues to be a theater of violence and strife" as it aims for stability and reconciliation.

Benedict singled out the "reprehensible attack" on a Baghdad cathedral during Mass in October, killing two priests and more than 50 other worshippers, as well as attacks on private homes that "spread fear within the Christian community and (create) a desire on the part of many to emigrate in search of a better life."

The Vatican voiced concerns that the steadily flight of Christians from Iraq will effectively eliminate the ancient community there.

"At present, Christians are the religious group which suffers most from persecution on account of its faith," the pontiff asserted, and cited Christian communities suffering from violence and intolerance particularly in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Holy Land.

"This situation is intolerable, since it represents an insult to God and to human dignity" as well as "a threat to security and peace," Benedict wrote in one of the 17-page-long message's strongest passages.

He appealed to authorities to "act promptly to end every injustice" against Christians.

Benedict didn't cite countries, but in past years church officials have lamented that Christians — most of them migrant workers — are forbidden to worship in Saudi Arabia.

Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib said Benedict was right to be concerned about the state of Christians in the Palestinian territories.

"The Israeli occupation is making their life difficult and the Israeli occupation is responsible for the declining of number within the Christian community," he said.

Over the years, Christians in the West Bank have blamed the difficult economic situation and harassment by Muslims as reasons for increased emigration.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman sympathized with the pope's concerns.

"Israel shares the pope's preoccupation. The Christian presence is a blessing in Israel, and so it should be considered by other countries regarding their own Christian populations," Yigal Palmor said.

About 123,000 Christians live in Israel, while another 50,000 live in the West Bank and Gaza.

Benedict also criticized what he called "more sophisticated forms of hostility to religion, which, in Western countries, occasionally find expression in a denial of history and the rejection of religious symbols which reflect the identity and the culture of the majority of its citizens."

Benedict has been continuing a campaign launched by his predecessor, the late John Paul II, to reinvigorate Europe's "Christian roots."

The Vatican has criticized initiatives in some Western countries to ban crucifixes from public places, ranging from classrooms to courtrooms, including in predominantly Catholic Italy.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Every Year: Giving praise for Christmas

Every year my mother says, that she is not cooking for Christmas, so we all have to bring what we are eating. Every year my sister co-ordinates with my wife and sisters-in-law and everybody brings something. Every year my mother still cooks. Every year I regret that this event does not go on all day. It is the only day in the year when all my siblings gather in one place with their children and our mother. We open presents, have lunch, then head off to our other extended families for dinner, but every year during the few hours we are together, my mother’s old house shakes with such happy noise.

Every year one of my brothers comes after twelve noon. Every year my mother proclaims “We eatin’ without him. Come let’s bless de food.” Every year my cousin Raymond, drops by, but not to eat or drink, just to wish us Merry Christmas. Every year I overeat, and wonder if I will offend my mother-in-law if I don’t pile my plate up with even more food when I get to her house.

There are a lot of things I have come to expect with Christmas, but I never take them for granted. Every year I think of the many things that could have happened this year that would have taken the joy out of Christmas: unemployment, bereavement illness or some other form of loss. I thank the Father for his generosity and remember that “there but for the grace of God goes me.”

Every year I thank God for all that he has given to me.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Feast day for the Archdiocese of Port of Spain

This is the picture of the Virgin Mary as it looks over the city of Port of Spain from the Cathedral of the Immaculate conception in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain.

Happy Feast Day!

Most holy Virgin, who wast pleasing to the Lord and became His Mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on the wretched who implore thy powerful patronage. The wicked serpent, against whom was hurled the first curse, continues fiercely to attack and ensnare the unhappy children of Eve. Do thou, then, O Blessed Mother, our queen and advocate, who from the first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of the enemy, receive the prayers which, united with thee in our single heart, we implore thee to present at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares which are laid out for us, and may all arrive at the port of salvationand sing once again the hymn of deliverance and of victory and of peace. Amen.

In Thy conception, O Virgin Mary, thou wast immaculate; pray for us to the Father, Whose Son, Jesus Christ conceived of the Holy Ghost, thou didst bring forth.

Sunday, 5 December 2010


How many of us really love God? Have you really thought about that? How much time do we spend with him? How much time do we spend doing other things: watching TV, listening to music, sitting in a car? There are so many distractions.

Let us not count family, work or sleep, for we must attend to these. Still even in our dealings with these we have opportunity to be a good example. You know you will fall asleep, but as you close your eyes at night, keep giving praise – trust me, it is better than counting sheep, or taking a pill to help you sleep.

I can think of many sacrifices I made, but not for Christ. I guess the rewards were different. For example, when I was in my late teens, there was one young lady I would visit after work on a Saturday. At one o’clock in the afternoon, the sun was very hot (it still is eh?) I had to take 2 taxi’s, then after sweating that out, had to walk for about 20 minutes in the blistering heat, the last 5 minutes up a hill. Leaving her house was also a trial. Just imagine trying to get 3 separate taxi’s on a rainy night. The interesting thing was that I didn’t love this person, she was just someone I was “checking out.”

I can tell you that you would not find me doing that today. But what if I had to go to these extremes to go to church or to do a good work for Jesus? Do I love him that I would do this? What if I don’t love him and I am just interested? Will I still do that? What does it say about my humility if I won’t go unless I have a car?

You know what? Jesus Loves US. If he walked on earth today as a man, he would do this and much more for us. That makes me feel awful. It makes me feel inadequate, It makes me feel I should be doing more. What about you?

Lord show me how to love you more…