Defense of Family: Un llamado a la Acción

Mexico is living one of its biggest moral crisis in its history; not viewing marriage as a “comprehensive union, a bodily as well as an emotional and spiritual bond, where a man and a woman come together to procreate and form a family” is completely irrational and against basic human principles.

In order to contribute to the defense of Family, understood as the nucleus of society, it is imperative to care and uphold this fundamental institution from the flawed arguments the other side is presenting to redefine marriage, and ultimately: Family.

The legal reforms that minority groups are pushing towards are completely inconsistent and incoherent with Natural Law and human physiology, and in order to defeat the other side, as Dr. Hadley Arkes puts it “…[W]e need to know their arguments, as well as ours, so we can fight bad philosophy with good philosophy, bad science with good science” and ultimately achieve the defense of life, marriage and the family.

As a Catholic lawyer, I consider it not only vital for the common good, but also an obligation to defend the sacred institution of marriage and further promote God’s plan. As a Mexican citizen, I am profoundly impacted by the legal redefinition of marriage  in our nation’s capital (Mexico City), and the Amparo’s (Constitutional Appeals) currently being filed in other states such as Colima, Jalisco, and Oaxaca, among others, where the ultimate goal is to degrade the family, allowing same sex individuals to join together and receive all the recognition and benefits of what humanity and human physiology has long known and required marriage to be.

Furthermore, most recently, the state of Jalisco, which has a long standing reputation for being fairly conservative, has just passed a civil union law that permits two same sex individuals, or more, to come together before a Notary Public and enter into an agreement receiving tax and inheritance benefits, much like was done in Mexico City before marriage was redefined.

Nonetheless, many people may disagree with the redefinition of marriage, but the real question is, what are they doing to be promoters of change of this social injustice?

Lastly, UN LLAMADO A LA ACCIÓN ES NECESARIA! (Spanish for “A CALL FOR ACTION IS NEEDED!”). We must takle this unjustice and this situation through two fundamental fields of action: legally and culturally. In order to turn the corrosive tide and prevent the redefinition of this essential public institution of yet more states in Mexico and all over the world, where not only our futures are at stake but our children and theirs.

Posted in Latin America, Same-Sex Marriage | Leave a comment

On the Issue of Consumerist Voice and Choice-Part 1 of 2

It seems that early and often I am on the receiving end of a Facebook post or conversation that ends in, “yeah, that company is great at _________ but they support Planned Parenthood, so we should be sure to not buy ________ from them” [insert product produced here]. Immediately, these phrases elicit two thoughts for me:

1. Well, dang, I love babies. I am now informed to make a decision on where my cash flow goes.

2. And something like “Shoot, I loved _______ from that company.”

Zoe agrees, this can be frustrating. via

Wait, you don’t believe me? You think, “there is no way she is right about this, there cannot be that many companies that I know and love that fund Planned Parenthood in some way….” Well here comes some hot coffee to wake you up. Check out this article from LifeSiteNews describing Life Decisions International’s list of suspect companies. Oh, this is deeper than your average thin mint. We are talking about airlines, hotels, charities, restaurants, magazine publishers, banks, software companies, all the way down to grocers*.

And time and time and time again, the list grows longer, and advocates are quick to blog about the disapproval that falls on these companies. But what is a modern day pro-lifer to do?

Well, we do have a responsibility to not support or cooperate with evil or the culture of death. Further, we are forbidden from indulging in ignorance or indifference to this sin as well. The cornerstone of the pro-life movement is the unmasking and destroying of evil.

But there is still a sense of prudence that must be set. Some would argue that your money is your voice for the corporate world. That should be acknowledged, but also I would like to supplement that with this: it is also one of the smaller voices you have available. Our human vocation includes participation in the community as a consumer. However don’t limit your ability to be pro-life to your consumer trends. That’s right, I said it…you could be doing so much more.

But you also can’t do everything. How is a pro-lifer supposed to raise a God-fearing family, pray in front of a Planned Parenthood, show each and every person the respect they deserve, all the while stressing and boiling over which cereal/toy/video game/furniture manufacturer has tossed some money into the massive hat of money that is Planned Parenthood? That is simply too many balls in the air. This strategy seems to invest the most time and money in the least effective task.

I cannot make it clearer, that these lists themselves or those who draft the lists are huge fighters for the pro-life movement. And if you are choosing between a company with a great track record with pro-life issues and one you are unsure on, go ahead and support the movement and that company. But it cannot be expected that every pro-lifer uses their time and money to investigate and toil over which brand of coffee is the lesser evil.

The key to an effective boycott isn’t with how large it is, because like I said, typically pro-lifers can’t afford the demands of this long list of boycotts. So here is my proposed solution, instead of just being a negative consumer towards pro-choice organizations, let’s be a positive consumer for the brands that we trust.

-Focus on your personal and family-based choices to find out what is best for you.

-Be smart, know where your money is going, don’t belabor the point, but be aware.

-Support companies that do support life.

 

*We won’t go into the ethics of corporate funding, but please note that there are many complexities that I will leave up to you to research.

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Arrogant UN Believes It Has a Monopoly on Human Rights

On July 14, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee informed the Irish government that their anti-abortion legislation violates international human rights laws.  Yes, you read that right.  A law that protects unborn human life is in violation of human rights.

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act , as Ireland’s abortion legislation is known, was actually viewed as a small victory for the pro-abortion movement after its passage in 2013.  It redefined the beginning of human life to be implantation in the womb, rather than the moment of conception, as Irish law had previously affirmed.  However, redefining human life doesn’t satisfy the pro-abortion advocates at the UN.  According to a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, there are certain circumstances in which “we deem (member) states to be under an obligation to allow safe and legal abortion.”  Ireland’s current abortion law, which prohibits abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger, allegedly violates this law.

It is no secret that the United Nations has a pro-abortion bias.  In May, the vice-chairwoman of the UN Committee Against Torture warned the Vatican that the Catholic Church’s teaching on abortion – that it is gravely contrary to the moral law – might violate the Convention Against Torture, to which the Holy See is a signatory.  The UN Committee for the Rights of the Child recently issued a sixteen-page report that in part criticized the Church’s teaching on abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.  It urged the Vatican to “amend canon law.”  Yes, you also read that right.  The UN demands that the Catholic Church, and the few nations that promote Catholic social teaching on abortion, “amend” their “laws” on fundamental life issues.

This is absolutely ludicrous from a number of perspectives.  Let’s start with the names of the committees that made these demands: the UN Committee on Human Rights, the UN Committee Against Torture, and the UN Committee for the Rights of the Child.  By lobbying for abortion, these committees contradict their own (rather pretentious) titles.  Abortion is not a human right.  Tearing apart an unborn child, limb from limb, would fit most definitions of torture. And children in the womb also have rights that are derived from their dignity as a human person. Each of these topics could be extensively addressed and defended, but it suffices for now to say that the United Nations has a remarkably inconsistent record on human rights issues.

Second, the Catholic Church’s teaching  on abortion isn’t a mere law that can be amended. The sacredness and inviolability of human life was evident at the moment of creation (see Genesis 9:5-6) and has been made manifest by God throughout salvation history.  It is truth and, in the words of  St. Maximilian Kolbe, “No one in the world can change Truth.”  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception … This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.”  It is absurd to think that an organization of human origin (the UN) has the authority to change a God-given truth to suit its allegedly humanitarian aims.

The Catholic Church’s stance on the dignity of the human person and human sexuality isn’t  a new issue. The Church has consistently promulgated its teachings on human rights for two thousand years.  My apologies to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, published in 1948.  You were never even in the running.  The Catholic Church had a nineteen-hundred year head start.

Posted in Abortion, Human Rights, United Nations | Leave a comment

They Are Not Dead Yet

In a matter of hours, the upper house of parliament of the United Kingdom, the House of Lords, will begin debating Lord Falconer’s assisted dying bill. The bill would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients who wish to end their lives. We should all be in prayer as this debate begins, that life remains protected and valued from natural conception until natural death.

Sadly two Anglican Archbishops have voiced their support of passing this assisted dying bill. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey and former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu have both come out in favor of the bill. Desmond Tutu said that life that is ending should not be prolonged, that those dying should “make way for those yet to be born.” This is a horrible thing to suggest; that somehow life with disabilities or suffering is not worth living. Lord Carey expressed similar statements: “Today we face a central paradox. In strictly observing the sanctity of life, the Church could now actually be promoting anguish and pain, the very opposite of a Christian message of hope.” This argument is disgusting and absurd. Promoting life as having intrinsic value does not mean the Church supports, approves of, or wants to promote suffering and anguish. Lord Carey and Desmond Tutu need to realize that the inherent dignity of life far outweighs any suffering we may have to endure on this earth as a consequence of The Fall.

Thankfully other Christian voices are strongly opposing this bill. Christian Concern and the organization Not Dead Yet are promoting a rally outside of Parliament tomorrow to show the peers in the House of Lords that life, even with disabilities and suffering, is worth living, supporting and protecting. Let us pray that this rally will promote the clear message that assisting disabled patients to end their lives is unacceptable, and that even a life with disabilities is worth living.

Posted in Bioethics, Euthanasia | Leave a comment

The Power Of Perspective

Look at the picture. What do you see? Two dog heads? A mask? A butterfly-beetle hybrid? Symmetry? A blob of ink? Or, like me, did you say, “No!  I refuse to give in to this! I hate these! I see nothing!” and then see dog heads and a mask simultaneously anyway?

Perspective can be a fickle thing. Sometimes, as in the case of the Rorschach test above, the power of suggestion can completely change the way you see an entire picture. If you saw dog heads initially, and that was all you could see, you could probably see a mask and butterfly after I gave them as possibilities. Maybe you could even remove all images in your mind after I mentioned “a blob of ink”. But in many, more serious instances, perspective is not only fixed, but crucial. How you see an inkblot test will not affect your life or that of someone else, but perspectives on what constitutes murder, who deserves life, and when life should end will definitely affect people’s lives. Unfortunately, the harmful, serious perspectives are often the ones that are hardest to change.

The pro-life movement is based on changing someone’s opinion of life and death. But such large issues are the foundation of people’s entire worldviews. In asking them to change how they see abortion, euthanasia, and similar issues, we are asking them to change how they see humanity, dignity, and life itself. Not just when life begins or ends, but what life means and why it is. That is huge. It’s easy enough to say to someone, “Look at this picture. See it this way? Now look at that aspect of it. See it this other way now?” and they say, “Yes, I do see it differently now! I will now always see that in the picture.” But to ask someone to see the world so completely differently as to change their entire life is another matter. You are telling them that they are wrong. You are telling them that people they respect and love are wrong, and that the very people they look up to lied to them. You are telling them that their entire life has been a lie. That the foundation of everything they have known and lived is just…not true. No one wants to be told that. The prospect is terrifying and angering. It puts people on the defensive. Convincing someone to change their opinion of something so fundamental takes more time, more effort, and more patience than convincing them to see a blot differently. It takes more argumentation. It takes more than one conversation. And it will probably take more self-control.

Obviously we should not stop spreading the pro-life message just because it is hard to tell and hear. The truth is often uncomfortable and unwelcome. But we have to bear in mind that we are shaking these people’s worlds to the very core and treat them with the care we are asking them to give the unborn and dying. And do not get discouraged if someone does not appear convinced after a single discussion—you are blowing their mind, after all.

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Equality and why it’s great but not enough

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

Absolutely. Equality is a boon in our days. It is great that to believe in progress is to believe in equality. This is a remarkable improvement upon the early 20th century, when progress, many thought, depended on recognising the fundamental “inequality” of humans through eugenics. That equality gets so much air-time is reassuring in the face of other more sinister moral principles that we see creeping into society.  The problem comes when a belief in the equal worth of all human beings extends to a belief that discrimination – in the strict sense of the word – is always wrong.

Unpopular opinion puffin.

The latter, however, is manifestly not true if we think about it. We discriminate – or treat differently on the basis of a distinction – all the time. There are few eyebrows raised when we deny the vote to 15 year olds, nor do we mind when feminist organisations restrict their leadership to women. It is time to recognise that there is just discrimination and unjust discrimination. We raise equality as a justification for change when the law discriminates arbitrarily; in other words, when it treats people differently without there being a morally or practically relevant reason.

Many argue that opponents of “marriage equality” do so largely out of a religiously-inspired contempt for homosexuals, out of the belief that homosexual couples and heterosexual couples are not “equal”. Advocates of same-sex marriage argue that if marriage is just about love, then gender is an arbitrary criterion. But so, for that matter, is number. And age.  There’s nothing unique about the number two that gives Jim and Tom the right to marriage over Doll, Kitten and Brynn.  The state, however, has always restricted marriage on the basis of these things. Debate needs to move beyond simply a discussion of equality to a definitional discussion of what marriage is, and what public goods it is designed to serve that justify the intervention of the state.

In France, La Manif Pour Tous – the protest organisation that drew the French into the debate over same-sex marriage – proved that equality as a principle could be used on the other side. They argued that the law would encourage a change in family structures meaning that some children would have a mother and a father, while others would miss out on one of these figures.  This, they insisted, would lead to inequalities between children.

That equality can be used on both sides does not render it useless; equality alone, though, does not constitute a solid, whole moral framework. Equality only works when it exists as part of a broader, sound ethical system. Sometimes, though, equality figures as a very important role in that system. In fact, the appeal of it as a principle can be effective in reaching out to others who aren’t really sure how to distinguish right and wrong in all cases, but recognise “equality” as a good.  In Poland, for example, in 2011, there was a concerted drive that almost succeeded in removing the provision for aborting unborn children with a disability.  MPs in favour of the law grounded their rhetoric in the notion of equality, arguing that to legalise the killing of unborn children on the grounds that they are likely to be disabled is to treat persons with disabilities as being of a fundamentally lower order of human.

Equality is precious but in itself must be protected. It shouldn’t be thrown around as the sole arbiter of what constitutes a “good” in our day, but it is a positive thing for people to believe in in what is otherwise such a relativistic society.

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“The Importance of Being a Mother”

Surely, if someone asks you what the toughest job in the world is, after thinking a few seconds, you will state: being a mother is the hardest job on earth. Since the child conception, it is a full-time job, but at the same time it has the privilege to be paid the highest wage: a sublime love.


So, the right question would be: what does it mean to be a mom? There isn’t just one answer. However, the most honest and complete answer could be imagined through the eyes of a child:

“A mom is as a superhero, is a person who ever has a huge amount of kisses and hugs to demonstrate her immense love, is the only in the world who can tell the temperature just by kissing someone`s forehead, and more than that, a mom is someone who teaches you things like hugging a tree or following the rainbow”

After a while, when we grow up, we realize that a mom is more than a superhero. She is theonly woman who knows what you need even before you ask, and there is nothing as her love and sacrifices, because they are unconditional every day of her life. This is why a son or a daughter will always be thankful for their mom, because she is the only one who can teach them to love everyone even if they do not love you back.

In the same way, it is natural for every woman to conceive motherhood as one of the best gifts they inherit. A mom never feels so much love for one person as when the doctor puts the baby on her chest, after the childbirth. Having a little one resting in her arms is one of the most tender moments a mother can experience.

Therefore, motherhood is the highest and most blessed status women can experience in life. Giving birth to a human being is sharing the creative power of God, and no one can fully understand and feel this gift like a mother. Only a mom knows how fundamental, tiring, and profoundly rewarding is the work of raising children.

Unfortunately, motherhood and the beginning of life since its conception are
threatened by some movements (as the radical feminist)
who argue that motherhood is a misfortune. They believe that women are oppressed because raising
children implies a serious limitation in comparison with men. This is why the legalization of abortion is one of their biggest aims: they believe that women will be free if they can decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. They conceive motherhood as a weakness and not as a precious gift.

 

The consequence of what the radical feminists propose is as a sword piercing through the heart of a mom. It produces a great pain in every woman because it steals from them the desire of becoming mothers. At the same time, it causes the destruction of the traditional family as the natural structure where children can grow up surrounded by their parents’ love.

Finally, in order to protect women’s dignity and vocation it is really important to read what the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (John Paul II) says about it: motherhood implies from the beginning a special openness to the new person: and this is precisely the woman’s “part”. In this openness, in conceiving and giving birth to a child, the woman “discovers herself through a sincere gift of self”. The gift of interior readiness to accept the child and bring it into the world is linked to the marriage union, which should constitute a special moment in the mutual self-giving both by the woman and the man.

Please, we must never forget that motherhood is not a hobby; it is a true gift that God gives women. Furthermore, motherhood is a unique treasure that has the extraordinary potential to influence human beings to guide them to a better world.

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Confused? The Truth About LGBT Adoption.

I recently was tasked to visit a Gay Pride March in NYC and wanted to see how it compared to the March for Marriage that takes place yearly in Washington DC. Since the LGBT activists always attempt to ride the shoulders of the Civil Rights Movement and refer to their cause as the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement, I also wanted to compare the Gay Pride March with Civil Rights Marches of the 50s and 60s.

Going to the march with an idea of what to expect, I was still shocked at what was rolling down New York City’s 5th Avenue at 1pm! It couldn’t have been more obscene and it certainly didn’t come close to resembling the respect shown at the March for Marriage, or during the Civil Rights marches of the 50s and 60s.

Lets be honest: these gay pride marches aren’t put together through the solidarity of activists like the civil rights movement. The one I attended was several hours in length and was financed by big corporate sponsors (Bank of America, Chipoltle, Google, Apple, among others) and LGBT advocacy organizations (HRC, GLAAD, etc….) that are intolerant of Christian views and traditions. If they had respect for the surrounding communities and the children within them, they could ensure all those marching in the parade present themselves in a dignified manner. But they don’t! They want your children to see the extreme sexual nature of their cause.

One of the primary concerns that came to mind as I watched float after float pass was the issue of LGBT adoption. Please watch the below video and ask yourself, “Who exactly are we giving our children to?”

YouTube Preview Image
Posted in Gay Pride March, Human Rights, LGBT, March for Marriage, Martin Luther King Jr., Miscellaneous, Religious Freedom, Same-Sex Marriage | Leave a comment

Preference to People Over Pixels

I often take for granted conversations that my peers and I have concerning the progression of the pro-life movement. But time and time again I am reminded of an ever crucial fact to youths and persons of all ages. That human interaction coupled with word of mouth is highly effective.

As often as we try to side step or supplement or virtualize any sort of personal communication, we should be reminded of how crucial face to face interaction is; especially in the pro-life movement.

I know, I sound like your parents, or your old aunt or something. Fear not, I am not here to deliver a diatribe against our beloved generation of millennials. Communication innovation has always been around, we have been developing quicker and more immediate forms of communication since the cavemen developed the can and string method of conversing.

As great as it would be to write out a blog about how the communication of humans has evolved, I want to direct this conversation toward the fundamental limitations of social media. Now, if you are used to and acceptant of modern mass media sources you understand how stories can be warped and twisted. This is not uncommon. How the Huffington Post writes is far different than Fox News and the virtual chasm grows wider still with the likes of LifeSiteNews and Salon. So how can we best promote the pro-life movement? How can we change people’s policy opinions with so many virtualized opinions and stories to tell?

Ought we ‘like’ a whole lot of Facebook pages that promote life in the clever ways of their posting? (Pssst, check out these pages here, here, and here). Sure, these are great tools in the tool box. We give fist bumps of encouragement to those stellar pro-life advocates, but where does the rubber meet the road?

This pro-life and human dignity filled message is best shared in a personal encounter that offers an exposure to the truth and joy that (we claim) consumes our movement. We can’t solely count on a shiny new graphic or a fancy and super clever T-shirt or even an awesome and informative blog.

Pray for the children hidden from sight but not hidden from God.

These baby loving images are super cute and too adorable for their own good.

Each personal encounter matters because each unborn child matters. The pro-life movement has always been a grassroots movement. Whether there are oodles of people at the DC March for Life, or our ability to win at the local level, or simply that we have more people.

Let’s allow our social media supplement and strengthen our movement, but never dominate it.

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Happiness and the Golden Rule

Why do people seek happiness?  And why do people spend lots of money or exert strenuous energy to obtain this singular emotion? Is happiness not a pleasure that comes at the expense of others, as John Stuart Mill states? Or should one live one’s life like the utilitarian philosophers desired:  a life bereft of unlimited pleasure but purposeful and less stressful; in other words, a life that maximizes utility over limitless hedonism?  In order to answer these formidable questions posed on us by the ancient and modern philosophers, one needs to look to the Bible for answers. John Stuart Mill, a prominent founder of utilitarianism, links his answers to those found in the Bible in order to disprove the concept of spiritual happiness, which I believe is taken out of context by the Utilitarianism philosophers and poorly understood today. As expressed in the Bible, happiness is not a vapid emotion that vacillates or waxes and wanes, but, rather an emotion that is steadfast and complete—a spiritual wholeness that encompasses one’s perspective and life.

In his book, Utilitarianism, Mill stated that Jesus’ teachings are ideal utilitarian principals. In order to support his statement, Mill cited the Jesus of Nazareth’s Golden Rule, which means that one should do unto others as you would want done unto you. Mill wrote that the golden rule meant that one should reduce the suffering of others by reciprocating socially appropriate behavior.  However, the golden rule is given a different meaning in the Bible. The “others” in the maxim includes one’s enemies as well as one’s friends, so that the meaning is universal to all individuals. The purpose of this maxim is to show that imitating the divine will give one spiritual happiness. In Psalms, we get this short passage:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.(Psalms 37:13)

In other words, the person who trusts in the Lord, and does well by following the divine, will achieve happiness and the soul will be fed.

Mill further elaborates on the golden rule in Chapter II of Utilitarianism. He writes that education and opinion should establish an “indissoluble” link between individual and universal happiness. In other words, Mill believes that the golden rule is only achievable if the person has the education to know what will bring universal happiness to others, and, most importantly, to himself. That statement is taking the Bible’s teachings on happiness out of context. The Bible states that happiness and joy do not result from knowing what social codes will bring about happiness for all mankind. Instead, the Bible says that those who do good for mankind, and those who trust and imitate the Lord will achieve steadfast happiness. An appropriate quote comes from Ecclesiastes.

I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

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