Loss of innocence

Loss Of Innocence

My family has always supported scouting. By “scouting,” I mean the real deal – the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA. We knew these organizations to be excellent partners in forming Christian values. We trust them.

The Boy Scouts, like the Catholic Church, has taken a lot of flak for standing firm against a secular, relativistic society. Shockingly, the Girl Scouts have not. In fact, they have every intention to embrace the toxic sexual perversions of the secular world (if you think that is over-the-top, see below).

We partner with many organizations. We have relationships with our church communities, with YWCAs, and with Planned Parenthood organizations across the country, to bring information-based sex education programs to girls.

Kathy Cloninger
Girl Scouts CEO
(see video)

As America’s largest abortion provider, I believe that Planned Parenthood is the face of evil. Their apologists will often point out that Planned Parenthood is not just about abortion. Fair enough. They also provide contraceptives and promote sexual immorality that leads to abortion. This is where their partnership with the Girl Scouts comes in.

PP, together with the Girl Scouts, endeavor to provide sex education to your children. PP’s provocative brochure entitled Healthy, Happy and Hot has been distributed to thousands of young girls and it is every bit as bad as it sounds (WARNING: graphic content follows, inappropriate at any age):

Sex can feel great and can be really fun! Many people think sex is just about vaginal or anal intercourse. But, there are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. Sex can include kissing, touching, licking, tickling, sucking, and cuddling. Some people like to have aggressive sex, while others like to have soft and slow sex with their partners. There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!

Improve your sex life by getting to know your own body. Play with yourself! Masturbation is a great way to find out more about your body and what you find sexually stimulating. Don’t stop there: find out how your partner’s body works, what makes them feel good and what gives them pleasure. Talking with your partner about what you each like and what feels good is the best way to have great sex.

Your skin is the largest erogenous zone on your body, and your mind plays a big role in your desire for sex and sexual pleasure. Caress and lick your partner’s skin. Explore your partner’s body with your hands and mouth. Mix things up by using different kinds of touch from very soft to hard. Talk about or act out your fantasies. Talk dirty to them. Tickle, tease and make them feel good.

Do you feel comfortable reading the above text? Is it the kind of thing you expect your 8-16 year old daughter to receive at her scout meeting?

Some Catholic dioceses around the country still support Girl Scout troops. I am certain that all troops led by faithful Catholics and other like-minded Christians would never distribute this filth to their girls. Yet, these troops support Kathy Cloninger and the national body. Their girls participate in events with other troops with different values. All material from Girl Scouts of the USA must be viewed as suspect in light of this and the very up-front intentions of their leadership.

This alarms the Boy Scouts. In fact, they saw it coming. Two years ago the BSA took the unusual step of outright support for the American Heritage Girls. They are “a Christ-centered leadership and character development ministry.” In short, they are what the Girl Scouts once were.

Catholic dioceses around the country now support American Heritage Girls. If yours has not yet dropped the Girl Scouts, ask why not. Your parish, or a nearby parish, may support AHG even if your diocese does not. If worse comes to worse, consider an AHG troop at another Christian church in your area. Unlike GSUSA, nothing about the AHG is contrary to Catholic teaching.

An excellent resource on this issue is Girl Scouts – Why Not? I wrote about another informative website in 7 Quick Takes Friday last June: Speak Now: girl scouts (created by 2 young, ex-Girl Scouts). Finally, Abby Johnson (an ex-PP director) also wrote about this outrage for LifeNews.com.

UPDATE: Some additional comments…

The GSUSA and their supporters deny everything, alleging a smear campaign (ask yourself: why in the world would anyone do that?). Letters from GS state organizations do the same. Many people note that the leadership of their local troop is wholesome – I believe them. Yet, the reigns of the organization are now firmly in the hands of those in strong conflict with core Christian values. The evidence is irrefutable and manifests itself in both direct and subtle ways even at the local level (printed materials, badges, etc.).

Compare this to the American Heritage Girls. Do you know how much controversy there is surrounding them? ZERO. Are parents and girls pleased with that organization? Just ask any of them! AHG was created specifically because of the moral decay in GSUSA leadership. They are now what the Girl Scouts once were.

Websites reporting on the sad fall of the Girl Scouts…

Excellent videos (new as of July 2012)

Not convinced and need more proof?

There is more on the Girl Scouts Why Not? YouTube channel.

For more information, also see these articles…

Morality vs. law

Morality Vs Law

There was a time, long, long ago when morality and the law were generally synonymous. The law, particularly the 10 commandments as received by Moses, was accepted as the basis for all moral behavior.

Modern democracies were founded based upon God and recognition of His law. God is cited in the very first paragraph of the US Declaration of Independence. In the next paragraph, the core premise is presented. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That is, explicit acknowledgment of the dignity of every person as given to them not by their government, but by God.

This was the culmination of our Christian religious beliefs from the very beginning:

  • 1565 – Spanish missions to Florida Indians began after the founding of St. Augustine, by Jesuits.
  • 1568 – Spanish missions to Georgia Indians comprised religious outposts established by Spanish Catholics.
  • 1620 – Mayflower Compact cited …”for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”
  • 1639 – Fundamental Order of Connecticut cited …”where a people are gathered together, the Word of God requires that to maintain peace and union of such a people there shall be an orderly and decent government established to God…”
  • 1643 – the New England Confederation cited …”to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and to enjoy the liberties of the Gospel.”
  • 1646 – the Massachusetts Bay Colony passed an act that prohibited people from denying that the Bible is the Word of God under penalty of death. They also imposed a fine for failing to attend church on Sunday.
  • 1649 – the Maryland Toleration Act cited “No person…   who professes to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth be any way troubled…” Anyone who spoke against the Virgin Mary could be fined and whipped.
  • 1683 – the Rhode Island Charter cited “We submit our person, lives and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ…”

We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.

James Madison

Our founders were deeply religious and founded our country on their beliefs. 52 of the 55 framers of the Constitution were members of orthodox Christian churches. There was no “separation of church and state” in the sense of isolating the state from Judeo-Christian morality. That “separation of church and state” is not in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. The concept appeared in one of Jefferson’s letters and subsequently in the first amendment ONLY to restrict the government from forcing a specific religion (or form of Christianity) on the people. That the government itself should not be enlightened by religious beliefs appears absolutely nowhere.

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Patrick Henry

Our official motto is “In God we trust.” Our official pledge declares us to be “one nation, under God.” Our high court building includes Moses holding the 10 commandments on the stone facade, engraved into the huge oak doors and over the judges. Bible verses are etched in stone over many federal buildings and monuments. Our legal system itself traces its roots to Catholic canon law.

Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers.

John Jay, 1st Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Today we are in decline. Our president repeatedly references the Declaration of Independence purposefully omitting “by their Creator.” The only Catholic president committed himself to making decisions completely isolated from his professed faith. Most people believe “separation of church and state” was a founding principle to keep religious morality out of government. The administration hides the 10 commandments at the supreme court. Numerous attacks on our motto and pledge are underway.

The shining light of a great Christian nation, abundantly blessed by God, has dimmed.

A good measure of how far we have fallen can be had by simply comparing the 10 commandments to current law. Every commandment of God may be legally broken. Let’s take a quick look, with some examples (I am sure that you will be able to think of many more):

1. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.

Today we worship big government, our political ideologies, science, sports teams, unions, homosexuality, and ourselves. The legal and social support for these is strong. The legal and social support for God is only weakening under continuous attack. The effort to expunge Him and His will has never been stronger.

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Public obscenity laws reflected this commandment. To the extent they exist and are enforceable today, directly profaning our Lord is certainly excluded. A large segment of the population has embraced this sin as a routine part of their every-day speech.

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.

50 years ago most businesses were closed on Sunday. People went to church then spent time with their families. They rested. Most would not have wanted it any other way. Today, Sunday is indistinguishable for most from any other day.

4. Honor your father and your mother.

The law supported the family. No one thought that marriage could possibly be other than 1 man and 1 woman (not “honor your father and your other father”). Divorce wasn’t easy or no fault so people expected to stay with those they married. The law had not flourished to support “pre-marital agreements” anticipating the dissolution of the marriage before it even began. Parents were supported in how they raised their children. Children generally had a mother and a father and respected them.

5. You shall not kill.


6. You shall not commit adultery.

Once illegal, now considered perfectly OK. Anything goes between any consenting adults.

7. You shall not steal.

Still the law, but with many exceptions that are not considered “really stealing.” The law is often used by those skilled in it to legally acquire property by force. Financial manipulations abound to enrich some at the expense of others.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Only restricted by law when it rises to the level of perjury, libel or slander. People routinely gossip (detraction) and have few qualms about promoting unfounded theories or just making things up (calumny).

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

See commandment #6.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

The sin that was once called “keeping up with the Jone’s” has evolved into “entitlement” (at its root, forced redistribution of wealth). The government encourages this dependency, far from discouraging it in favor of the personal responsibility and hard work that built the country.

The law no longer serves as a guide to moral behavior. Being legal means only that one can not be prosecuted for an act, but the law is a very unreliable guide to morality. For that, we have only the Church.

I had a dream

I had a dream

The first thing that jumps to my mind when I hear “I have/had a dream” is Martin Luther King’s famous speech on the National Mall in 1963. In that noble dream, Dr. King foresaw a time when people were no longer prejudged by their race.

The second thing that jumps to my mind is all the times I have heard it from family and friends. “I had a dream” is implicitly followed by “that I just have to tell you about.” These are almost always bizarre, usually with one odd and impossible scene following another.

We probably do not remember most of our dreams. When I wake-up and recall a dream, it is usually of the boring, make-work kind. Dreams where I need to get something done, deadlines have to be met, time organized, plans executed, etc. I don’t mention these to others because they are not interesting, even to me.

I am not a psychologist, but on occasion have wondered how our sleeping minds create dreams. I assume that the plots come, in part, from concerns we have in life. The sets probably come from our extended environment, our homes, our work places, television and movies we have seen, and our “mind’s eye” of things we have read. The cast almost always features ourselves, often our family, sometimes our friends and pets, and other characters that we synthesize from all of these.

Last night I had a dream (I will get to that in a moment) which got me thinking about another possible ingredient – what is in our heart. It is possible that our dreams give us an objective glimpse at the current state of our souls. I believe that sometimes, dreams are one mechanism by which the Holy Spirit talks to us. There are plenty examples of that in Holy Scripture.

Last Friday was the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus followed by the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday. I read meditations and thought about the nature of Jesus and Mary, trying to better understand their holy natures in comparison to my fallen one.

I also thought about the hearts of Saints and those on a possible path to Sainthood such as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Blessed John Paul II. What kind of dreams did these people have?

Sometimes in the past, I may have dreamed of something like winning the lottery (unlikely as I have never bought a ticket!). In a dream I could explore how people would react and how I would spend the money. I would have sudden fame, people would give me special deference as they often do towards the extremely wealthy and the money might be spent on fine but unnecessary luxuries. In short, pride and greed. What might Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II have dreamt if their dreams gave them wealth? Somehow, I do not think their dreams would have been like mine at all.

In my dream last night, I was presented with a moral choice. Of course, as in life, no one said “George, you have a moral choice,” but an immoral opportunity arose. I found myself accepting that opportunity without giving it a lot of thought at first. As I proceeded, but before anything “happened,” it occurred to me that it was gravely sinful. I specifically remember that and deciding to proceed anyway. I even remember thinking that I will have to confess it and when and where to go to confession. Mercifully at that point I woke up.

A flood of emotions came to me as I laid in bed. Even though it was a dream, I was disappointed in myself, felt shameful, and very remorseful. Most of all I was mortified that I could act and think like this (it being a dream not withstanding). I could commit a mortal sin, clear and unambiguous. The matter was grave, I had sufficient reflection to completely understand the sinfulness, and I purposefully decided to go ahead anyway.

Since this was only a dream, I lacked the full capacity for free will of my waking self. No mortal sin was actually committed. Yet, I can not help feeling it was sinful none-the-less and that a small, hidden part of me was complicit. All I could do was say an act of contrition.

Why did I have a dream like that? Upon reflection, I think it may have been the Holy Spirit showing me the stark difference in my heart and that of Jesus and Mary. A lesson and ultimately a blessing to ask for and accept their grace to reject sin.

It also occurs to me, the fullness of God’s mercy in preparing our souls to be received into heaven after death. That is, the role of purgatory and its place in His plan seems a little clearer to me today.

Juicy gossip

Juicy Gossip

Psssst. Do you want to hear some really juicy gossip about Casandra? Well, I just happened to overhear a conversation and found out some big news! She and her husband are apparently having a really big problem. Here’s the scoop…

We can stop the story about the fictional Casandra right there. Such information would not be for public consumption and is damaging to Casandra’s reputation. Spreading such information may make one guilty of the mortal sin of detraction.

Have a care for your name, for it will stand by you better than precious treasures in the thousands; The boon of life is for limited days, but a good name, for days without number.

People have the right to their own good name. Reputations are built slowly over a long period of time and people place a very high value on their “public image.” Unlike other treasures, a good name continues even after death. However, what takes a lifetime to build can be damaged by the unjust and unauthorized disclosure by someone else. It does not matter that the disclosure is truthful.

Consider how you would feel if the situation were reversed. Perhaps you have committed a sin for which you are truly sorry, have confessed, received absolution, made reparation and truly wish never to repeat. Now imagine someone found out and took it upon themselves to share your private shame with others. Despicable. Their motivation would obviously be to hurt you and they would succeed. That is detraction.

There can be exceptions however, when harm to reputation may occur but that is not the honest intent and a greater offsetting good is achieved. For example, testifying against someone in court or to protect yourself or another person. A careful examination of conscience should precede making such statements.

A similar sin to detraction is calumny, which also harms the reputation of another but with the additional malice of falsehood. Both detraction and calumny demand reparation to the degree possible, but in the case of calumny it is particularly urgent.

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

2477 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

2479 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church

It is a sin against justice and charity to engage in detraction or calumny. It is likewise wrong to participate in someone else’s sin of the same. Guard the reputation of another as if it was your own!

Father Hardon covers this topic in his excellent paper Commandments of God – Detraction and Calumny.

The burden of hate

Burden Of Hate

We have all been “wronged” at one time or another. Maybe by a neighbor, a schoolmate, a co-worker, a friend, a family member or even someone at church. I am not talking about the careless guy who cut us off in traffic or the clerk who was rude. I am talking about someone who sinned against us, whose unfairness had lasting consequences, who betrayed our trust, who took advantage of us, who perpetrated against us a grave injustice or some similar act.

I bet you do not have to think long about this. Who comes to mind for you?

When we think about them we are indignant. They can not be trusted. We hold a grudge. In the name of justice, we want to “get even.” We hope they suffer similarly – or worse. We warn others, “for their own sake,” of the treachery. It may be comforting to act like this, to right this wrong. We have judged another and are determined to extract our “pound of flesh.” In short, we allow ourselves to become Satan’s playground for a multitude of sins and do great damage to ourselves.

In holding this hate, we are breaking both of the two greatest commandments. First, we are not loving each other. Second, in treating this child of God, made in His image, with such contempt – we are not loving God. We are guilty of hating the sinner, not just his acts and responding with our own sins of hatred, detraction, possibly calumny and more.

If we do these things we are not in a state of grace. Not only that, we are not happy. We have chosen the lies offered by sin. Instead of bringing us joy, it has become a burden on us. All sins work that way and this is no different.

The burden we maintain, among other things, is through a lack of charity. We fail to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. If we knew the full story, we might find mitigating circumstances. They may have been given inaccurate information, be distracted by all manner of personal struggles, suffering themselves from the lingering effects of abuse or other tragedies in their life. Sometimes we even interpret the situation completely wrong.

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This is our explicit petition to God at every Mass, when we pray the Rosary and many other times. Think about it.

We are not called to love only those who are kind to us or even those we don’t know. They are no test of our faith. The real challenge is truly seeing the face of Jesus in those whom we have labeled as our enemies.

Forgiveness is an integral part of the faith of Catholics and all other Christians. One of the most poignant examples I can think of was the 2006 baseless murder of 5 Amish school girls and the serious wounding of 5 others. What a horrific event, yet while grieving deeply for the lost and injured children – the parents and entire Amish community responded with forgiveness and reconciliation.

On the day of the shooting, a grandfather of one of the murdered Amish girls was heard warning some young relatives not to hate the killer, saying, “We must not think evil of this man.” Another Amish father noted, “He had a mother and a wife and a soul and now he’s standing before a just God.” Jack Meyer, a member of the Brethren community living near the Amish in Lancaster County, explained: “I don’t think there’s anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts.”

from Wikipedia

Consider also the story of Father Rob Spaulding. As a young seminarian, his actions one evening led to the deaths of 2 fellow students.

Christ commanded us “as I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” If you hate someone, let it go. Forgive them for what they may have said or done. You don’t have to become their best friend, but you should pray for them with a loving heart. Finally, confess the sins you have committed through the hatred you embraced. The heavy weight of this self-destructive burden need not, and should not, be borne any longer.