Please Oppose Louisiana's SB 162, the Commercialization of Surrogacy

I'm submitting the following opinion piece to The Baton Rouge Advocate : Please urge the House of Representatives to vote against SB 162, which would legalize commercial surrogacy and contract pregnancy in Louisiana—the so-called “renting of wombs.” This legislation represents a profound attack on the dignity of women, as well as all human life, as such surrogacy necessarily involves the willful destruction of human embryos and threatens the structure and sanctity of the family. In part due to the controversial “Baby M” case of 1987, Louisiana has long held a public policy against this, and this policy must continue . On May 8, Kathleen Sloan of the National Organization of Women (NOW) and Jennifer Lahl, President of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, penned an open letter to theLouisiana House of Representatives urging their rejection of SB 162. They wrote that the “inevitable consequence of this legislation is that it turns women into exploitable commodities through Read More May 19, 2013

The Baton Rouge Gosnell

Gosnell: Tip of the Iceberg? by Janneke Pieters [] BATON ROUGE, La. — As the trial of Kermit Gosnell drew to an end, someone who had received little attention was Gosnell’s former boss, Leroy Brinkley. Brinkley is the owner of the Atlantic Women’s Medical Services abortion facility in Wilmington, Del., where Gosnell worked. Brinkley also is the owner of the Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge, La., an abortion business with a deeply troubled past, as well as facilities in New Orleans. Now, there is substantial evidence that a situation resembling elements of the Gosnell case existed for years at the Delta Clinic in Baton Rouge, although the state Department of Health and Hospitals said the facility has improved its operational standards following a 2009 inspection. Despite a documented history of injured and dead women — as well as allegations of illegal distribution of narcotics, hiring un Read More May 10, 2013

Wilderness Wanderings: Towards a Libertarian or Moral Society?

As I study and re-study the marriage and family law [read: divorce] law of Louisiana, I can't help but ask, aren't these just the laws of another wilderness generation? Between the 10 Commandments and the Deuteronomic Law, the law of the Hebrews grew exponentially in length, complexity, and bad-ness. What began as a law of freedom became merely concessions to the "hardness of their hearts." Is not the same thing happening to America? Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault, 1818-19 Instead of wandering in a wilderness for 40 years fed on the manna, America has been wandering in a land of plenty for almost 250 years. We began with a Declaration of Freedom (Independence) and our laws have since become a wilderness. We have, for some time, been standing on the brink of oblivion, and this is the fundamental question facing our law: Should our laws continue to be based on objective truth and morality OR should we complete the work of creating a Libertarian Read More April 27, 2013

WARNING: You may turn Catholic if you read this!!

The early Church Fathers were so clear about the Eucharist, Transubstantiation, and the Real Presence -- how could any Christian reading Justin Matyr or St. Ignatius of Antioch NOT become Catholic?? John Calvin loved the Church Fathers, so how can modern-day Calvinists believe that the Eucharist is only symbolically the body and blood of Christ? I have been hearing a lot of conversion stories recently of people becoming Catholic after reading the Church Fathers. Some of these were former-Calvinists who had thought they had read the Church Fathers in seminary or elsewhere. However, they had only been provided misleading excerpts. The following quotes probably didn't make it into the "Protestant Anthology of the Church Fathers [Abridged Version]": Saint Justin Martyr: Obvious, Early Understanding of Transubstantiation From Saint Justin Martyr's First Apology addressed to Emperor Antoninus Pius, ca. 150AD, from Chapter 66, "Of the Eucharist": A Read More April 26, 2013

The Scary, New Freedom of Religion

Striking down the HHS Contraceptive Mandate on constitutional grounds should have been much more of a slam-dunk. Why did the Obama Administration think they could justify this in the first place?  The answer, as I'll describe below, is a movement to narrow the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to respect only a freedom of worship . This way, our sacred Freedom of Religion would be gutted of its "freedom of conscience." This is how the constitution would need to be warped, as I'll argue below, to support any of the many varieties of the HHS Contraception Mandate. First some HHS Contraception Mandate background ... [skip ahead if you already know the background of the HHS Mandate]  What was this HHS Contraception Mandate that so successfully united the American Catholic Bishops against it? The HHS Contraception Mandate is a provision of ObamaCare which leaves some decision-making to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, whoeve Read More April 18, 2013

Why Did Pope Francis Chose the Name "Francis"?

On Saturday morning, March 16, 2013, Pope Francis held his first major audience since his election. He received the 6,000 journalists who had covered the Conclave. Pope Benedict XVI had a similar meeting with the press following his 2005 election, at which he memorably compared his election to facing the "guillotine."  Pope Francis told the story of how he picked the name Francis. Amazingly, he picked the name at the very last minute--literally, as the votes were being counted. What an amazing commitment to the subtle movements of the Holy Spirit!  Here's an excerpt from the Vatican's English translation of the talk: Some people wanted to know why the Bishop of Rome wished to be called Francis. Some thought of Francis Xavier, Francis De Sales, and also Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. During the election, I was seated next to the Archbishop Emeritus of São Paolo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Read More March 20, 2013

St. Joseph Novena, Day 1

St. Joseph and Child by Guido Reni Happy Feast of Saint Joseph! Today's a great day to start a novena to St. Joseph. Of course, it would have been much cooler for me to start this novena nine days ago, but ... I remember my first novena to St. Joseph--I think it was the one from the EWTN website. When I ask St. Joseph to pray for me, it's usually to help me take care of my family. On the 9th day of my first St. Joseph Novena--on the ninth day!--I received a call from my current employer, calling me in for an interview. And you know what? I really love this employer. He has done all he can to help me and my family. I may just work for this law firm for the next 50 years :) Note: It is said that this prayer was originally found ca. 50AD. Sometime during the 16th century, it was sent by the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. It is said that whoever shall read this prayer or take it with them, shall never die a sudden death or be drowned, nor shall Read More March 19, 2013

Pope Francis' First Homily as Pope

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS INAUGURATION OF THE PETRINE MINISTRY ST PETER'S SQUARE 19 MARCH 2013 Dear Brothers and Sisters, I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church. It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude. I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful. I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence. My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Di Read More March 19, 2013