Last week I predicted that something serious would be done about Ebola when the whites in Europe and America began to die: lo and behold, on Wednesday the World Health Organization, or WHO, to give it its short name, announced that a serum to counteract Ebola would be available in a few weeks or a couple of months.
“Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, says the World Health Organization.
Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015.”
Further on in the article it was described how a serum is made and works:
“If a person has successfully fought off the infection, it means their body has learned how to combat the virus and they will have antibodies in their blood that can attack Ebola. Doctors can then take a sample of their blood and turn it into serum - by removing the red blood cells but keeping the important antibodies - which can be used to treat other patients.”
Sounds very simple which begs the question, why wasn’t it done before. There is a clue in the answer that Ebola, which has been around for years, never had the audacity to move outside of Africa.
Who do these viruses think they are?
Another prediction that I made some time ago in this column was the Pope Paul VI would be made a saint. He recently took a huge step in that direction when he was made a ‘Blessed.’ Paul VI was one of those unfortunate men in history who did great work but was taken up completely wrong by the rest of the world: Paul wrote Humanae Vitae.
Humanae Vitae was the famous encyclical in which Paul said that the Church could not countenance artificial contraception. He was castigated by members of the hierarchy of the Church, ignored by lay members of the faith and ridiculed by the media.
Unfortunately for all of them, everything Paul said about the destructive effects of contraception on society, for women and how they are viewed by men, the rise in pornography and the ill effects on society in general, have come to pass.
The secularist belief that a person has a right to do whatever they want without reference to God or any higher authority, must be held on to no matter what. If they admitted in any way that Paul VI may have been right then their whole house of cards would fall.
It is amazing that with internet technology this freedom has taken on horrendous proportions. Read this from BBC news:
“Some paedophiles with images of child abuse will escape prosecution, the head of the National Crime Agency has said.
Keith Bristow said expecting all the estimated 50,000 people in the UK who have accessed abuse images to be brought to justice was not realistic.”
The article continues:
“However, the BBC understands that as part of that investigation, as many as 20,000-30,000 individuals were identified as potential offenders
‘But in my judgement, if there are 50,000 people involved, we won't be able to identify all of them and we won't necessarily be able to bring all of them to justice,’ Mr Bristow said.” (BBC News)
Hasn’t anyone in the government a brain! Couldn’t fines be levied on people on these people and their names be put on the sex offenders list? Just like a speeding ticket! Sooner or later, if it is continually abused, the offender is put behind bars.
In Humanae Vitae Pope Paul spoke a lot about the family and this leads us on nicely to the third and last of my recent predictions that have come true. Two weeks ago I said that we should get ready for all sorts of attacks on the Church as we entered the ‘Synod on the Family.’
The synod was never going to change anything. It was not designed or called to look at issues of teaching or dogma. The synod was only about how we can make the message of Christ more relevant in the modern world as regards the family and marriage.
However, the reaction to the synod was interesting. You would think from the reaction of the media that the only subject up for discussion was homosexuals and whether or not they feel welcome in the Church.
The problem here is that most of the people who were interviewed or who were writing the articles are not even Catholic let alone practising Catholics. It is only by people outside the Church that the Church is seen as an unwelcoming place.
Those of us who are regular attenders at Mass and who try to be part of our faith community know that priests are more than welcoming to people from all sorts of backgrounds. Divorced people, homosexuals, those living in second unions, they are all treated with respect and dignity when they come to Mass.
The problem with the world and the Church is that the two of them come at the whole question of life from different viewpoints.
The secular world recognises no God and no authority other than the person themselves. If a person wants to get divorced and remarry then that is up to them. No one in the Church or out of the Church argues with a person’s right to do this.
Priests understand that life is difficult and that people end up in situations for all sorts of reasons. They are accepted and welcomed in the Church. And contrary to what many people believe, there are many homosexual people who feel quite at home in the Church.
The problem arises when people want the Church to change dogma to suit them. This will not happen and it will not happen for one very simple reason, dogma can’t be changed and no amount of hoping, whinging in the media or shouting about discrimination shall change that fact.
So poor old Francis was said to have lost the battle to the ‘conservatives.’
This is another example of the media’s ignorance when it comes to Church matters. A person who wants to hold to what the Church teaches and not to change with the times is not conservative but ‘orthodox,’ that is, they agree with and uphold Church teaching.
In all the media reports over this past week the best article that I could see was in the Guardian and was written by Austin Ivereigh. Ivereigh is a London-based Roman Catholic journalist, author, commentator and campaigner. A former deputy editor of The Tablet he frequently appears on radio and TV programmes to comment in stories involving the Church.
Ivereigh is the founder and coordinator of Catholic Voices, which trains people to put the Catholic Church's case in the media, and regularly contributes to a number of magazines and newspapers such as America, Our Sunday Visitor, and the Guardian.
“For the bishops who attended, belief in Church teaching was the starting point. What Pope Francis called ‘the fundamental truths of the sacrament of marriage’ were never in question: before, during and after the synod, sex was for marriage, marriage was for a man and a woman, open to life, for life, and sexually faithful.
There was no debate on these points. Pope Francis did not call this synod to change teaching, but to expand it to include the missing part: the “missionary” and “pastoral” dimension – the merciful, healing, loving, welcoming part of Catholicism, which those outside the faith don’t get to see. Understand why they don’t and you get the point of the synod.
Those of us who know the church know that in our parishes and schools and institutions, our priests care for their flock. They tend to us, nurture us, help us and support us, whoever we are, and whatever our stage of moral development. Most of us live in the gap between who we are and who we are called to be; being a Catholic isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition.
The doorway is wide; and inside, on the whole, it’s warm and welcoming: a clinic for the feeble, not a club of the smug. It’s nuanced and compassionate, even if it keeps the goals clearly in the spotlight.”
The article continues in this vein and is well worth reading.
I wonder how many people have even read the report from the synod and the “Relatio Synodi” document that came out at the end. Like Humanae Vitae the document has probably never been read by those who chose to ridicule it.
Take the time to find it on the net, (the Catholic Herald has a good translation of it) and read it slowly and carefully. If you do this then you will see and understand why there is no arguing with Catholic doctrine.
On the subject of Catholic doctrine I read a superb article on a US Catholic website. The article was by Philip Johnson a young seminarian in the diocese of Raleigh which is in North Carolina. Here is the background to the story:
Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer one year after her wedding. When doctors suggested that she might only have six months to live, she and her family moved from California to Oregon in order to obtain the prescriptions necessary for doctor-assisted euthanasia.
Philip, who was diagnosed with the same disease at 24, decided to write an article in reply to all the publicity she was receiving.
“Brittany’s story really hit home, as I was diagnosed with a very similar incurable brain cancer in 2008 at the age of twenty-four,” Philip begins.
“I have lived through six years of constant turmoil, seizures, and headaches. I often changed hospitals and doctors every few months, seeking some morsel of hope for survival. Like Brittany, I do not want to die, nor do I want to suffer the likely outcome of this disease. I do not think anyone wants to die in this way.
Brittany states relief that she does not have to die the way that it has been explained that she would – she can die ‘on her own terms.’ I have also consulted with my doctors to learn how my illness is likely to proceed. I will gradually lose control of my bodily functions at a young age, from paralysis to incontinence, and it is very likely that my mental faculties will also disappear and lead to confusion and hallucinations before my death.
This terrifies me, but it does not make me any less of a person. My life means something to me, to God, and to my family and friends, and barring a miraculous recovery, it will continue to mean something long after I am paralyzed in a hospice bed,” continues Philip.
However, it is the next bit that really hit me hard and it involves the act of dying and the people who will be around us when we die. Philip writes:
“Sadly, Brittany will be missing out on the most intimate moments of her life – her loved ones comforting her through her suffering, her last and most personal moments with her family, and the great mystery of death – in exchange for a quicker and more ‘painless’ option that focuses more on herself than anyone else.”
Notice the last line; “focuses more on herself than anyone else.”
That is the secular world; that is the people who want the Church, and thus God, to change to suit them. These people cannot accept that God is in control of everything and they are not; secularists want to be free to do what they want even to the point of deciding when to die.
Imagine denying your family the right to be with you right to the very moment of natural death, when they will witness the peace that God gives to those who are approaching the end, when they shall see the mercy of God and have the chance of saying a natural farewell to those they love.
It is utterly amazing how selfish people can be.
Again, this is an article well worth reading and can be found on the Raleigh diocese website.
Finally we turn to the Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput who gave a lecture in New York last week on the recent synod. He had some interesting things to say.
“The archbishop, who has long been one of the U.S.’s strongest voices defending Catholic teaching on the family and sexuality, called the destruction of the Christian consensus on these subjects “profoundly evil,” but added that it was a significant accomplishment for those who engineered it.
“Emotion and sloganeering drove the argument,” he said. “People who uphold a traditional moral architecture for sexuality, marriage and family have gone in the space of just 20 years from mainstream conviction to the media equivalent of racists and bigots.”
“This is impressive. It’s also profoundly dishonest and evil, but we need to acknowledge the professional excellence of the marketing that made it happen.”
Think of what the Archbishop is saying; that those who hold to Catholic teaching are seen as bigots and racists. To be honest at first I thought he was exaggerating but then I began to reflect on the Free State and the way the media there have successfully demonized priests and religious.
But there is no need to worry about all this secularism and atheism; it shall disappear as quickly as it came. Unfortunately a lot of people will have to suffer before the world comes to see the profound wisdom of Humanae Vitae or appreciate the deep insight of the synod Father’s in recent weeks.
“Why, O Lord, are we such slow learners?”
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