Sunday, August 30, 2009

Breathe!

Sorry, Catholic Jedi -- in advance! I came across this video and after viewing it, decided that it deserved a showcase on The Catholic Jedi Academy blog -- for reasons you'll find obvious in forty-six seconds!
"The Assistant Headmaster"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Help Keep Abortion Out of Health Care Bill

** the above video can be viewed here. It's gut wrenching
and accurate, but be forewarned if you're squeamish.


The Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that works to support pro-life candidates for political office, is asking people to sign a letter to President Obama demanding that funding for abortion be specifically kept out of any new health care legislation. The link to the online letter can be found here. Unfortunately, there is already an amendment in the House of Representatives called the Capps Amendment that specifically requires abortion to be included in the health care law. Read more about that amendment here at LifeNews. Please don't let the politicians get away with blowing smoke on this issue. It is a matter of life and death. Either abortion is in or it is out. There is no middle road. These guys are depending on us...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Mother's Hug Saves Her Baby


Here's a beautiful story about a Mom who wouldn't let her baby die

Caroline Isbister's baby was born at a little over a pound and was turning blue. The doctors said she wouldn't make it, that she wasn't breathing and her heart was only beating once every ten seconds. But when her mother felt her cold little feet, she snuggled the baby against her and the color started returning to little Rachel's face. The doctors were stunned. She was put on a ventilator and 5 weeks later was breathing on her own.

Read the rest of the story at the Milk of Human Kindness and see how skin to skin or "kangaroo mother care" helps premature babies stabilize and respond to their mother's touch.


Rachel with her Mom

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Be Not Afraid

Take heart, Catholic Jedi, while things may seem gloomy and scary, in reality we have the Truth and we know the battle is already won. Here's a beautiful video produced by Grassroots Films of Brooklyn, NY (yeah, Brooklyn!) to encourage us:


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Paging Mister Ponzi!


Congress and the administration are poised to take over 1/6 of the economy with their public option health care proposal. If history is our guide, this is not a good idea.

The last time such a massive program was set up as an entitlement was 1965 and the program was Medicare. While Medicare is a worthwhile program that assists almost all of our citizens age 65 and over, it is in reality a government sponsored Ponzi scheme. Odd, isn't it, that we prosecute private Ponzi "schemers", but the government gets away scot free?

And why is Medicare, along with its sister program Social Security, about to go under financially? One of the big reasons is that the ranks of the next round of "contributors" have been thinned considerably. When and how did this happen, you ask? Well, the year was 1973 and the means was the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade. In other words, "abortion."


Funny, how the math doesn't work when you have a program that relies on new members of the work force supporting the older members , and then you give the green light to eliminate about one million of the younger generation every year. Let's see, that's 1 million times 36 years....Whoops! Who'd have thought we'd have a problem?

Obviously, I'm being somewhat sarcastic, but the bottom line is that God made us in His image. We are called to be generous and self-giving. As selfishness has crept across our culture, our humanity has been distorted and it is coming back to bite us. Children are a gift from God, not a commodity to be distributed according to our self-imposed desires. Whenever we start infringing on God's territory, we always wind up in trouble.

Be open to God's gifts and don't be afraid of these guys :



(or you may be playing the health care rationing lottery!)


Monday, August 24, 2009

Should you Have a "Living Will" or a "Will to Live?"

There has been a lot of discussion lately about making "end of life decisions." Why has this become such a focus in health care discussions? Why are these provisions being written into bills that are supposedly designed to provide care?

As someone who is asked to draft these documents on a regular basis, I can tell you that I am very concerned. First of all, should a lawyer be the one to sit down with a person to decide which procedures are valid and which are not should that person be faced with a terminal illness? Second, should we be requiring people to make these decisions in advance, at all? Why is there is such a sudden rise in the government's interest that we all have these documents, commonly known as "advance directives", in place?

Many in the media will say that the Terri Schiavo situation would have been much simpler if she had only executed a "living will." Simpler for whom? Perhaps it would have been easier for the government and the judicial system in Florida if they had a piece of paper in hand that approved of what amounted to killing a woman who could not defend herself. And that is what almost every "living will" I have seen does; it gives permission to terminate a life.

A person who is terminally ill or very sick is at a low point in their life. The subtle pressure applied to a person in that state may be all that is needed for them to feel selfish about being an economic burden on their family or a strain on society. When their doctor approaches them to think about end of life decisions, they are in a very vulnerable position.

Studies have shown that people who have executed Do Not Resuscitate orders (DNRs) or other documents declining "heroic measures," are treated differently by medical personnel. They are not given the same level of care as others since they are viewed as someone who wants to die. Does this surprise anyone?

Shouldn't we be caring for people who are very sick instead of being so concerned about honoring their "wishes" about end of life? Perhaps if we were doing a better job of caring for the sick and the invalid, they would not feel like such a burden. It is a great grace to be able to care for the sick. Not only a grace, but a commission...a corporal act of mercy.

We have a great opportunity, Catholic Jedi, to show the world how a Christian cares for the sick, the weak, the dying. We have great role models in the saints. Stand up for the weakest among us.




Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work. Mother Teresa

Saturday, August 22, 2009

On Your Mark; Get Set; PresbyteRacers!

I happen to live in a diocesan facility with several senior priests. The facility is quite large, requiring a lot of walking. Some of the senior priests use electric scooters to get around. And some of them drive their scooters very fast!

The weird video posted here was the deranged fruit of a conversation I had with the Coordinator For Senior Priests. We were laughing about the speed and abandon with which some of the senior priests move around the facility -- as if they are drag racing.

Some time later, as a kind of inside joke between the Coordinator and myself, I had the half-crazed inspiration to actually manufacture a racing car toy -- featuring some speed-addicted senior clergy.



After a clumsy recasting of a race track toy I discovered (Racing Grannies), I previewed it for our "Dean Of The Faculty Of Law," Marilyn Heller, who coined the word that describes the priests/racers. She said, "Call them presbyters" (from the Greek word, presbyteros: a priest). The presbyters/racers devolved into PresbyteRacers.

I sank further into madness with the notion that these toy characters should star in a short video.

And so, with the assistance of some cheesy special effects, the speedy PresbyteRacers were captured on video.

Please know that all of this is good-natured. It's meant as playful, fraternal teasing of thos
e senior presbyters who like to live in the ecclesiastical fast lane!

Fathers, start your engines...




Friday, August 21, 2009

Lives Not Worthy Of Living

Hitler's program to create a pure race was aided and abetted by the medical profession. Robert Lifton in his book, The Nazi Doctors paints a terrible picture of medicine perverted into killing. The doctors were the first line of cooperators in the holocaust by referring patients for extermination by deeming them "unlebenswert leben" or "lives not worthy of living." These medically unworthy lives included the mentally ill, the handicapped, and the sickly . The doctors provided cover for Hitler by claiming a medical necessity for killing off the weakest in society. As Lifton describes in his book, the doctors convinced themselves that what they were doing was "therapeutic."


Jeff Miller, the Curt Jester, has a terrific post on the analogies between current proposals on "health care" and Nazi eugenics. While the mass slaughter of the Jewish people was, of course, the evil pinnacle of the murderous regime, there was an undercurrent of medical and economic reasoning that set the stage for future horrors. And, unknown to many, the roots of the eugenics movement in Nazi Germany, the movement to create a master race, came from our own United States and made its way over to Germany. So, we cannot think that we are superior and would never allow such horror to happen on our shores.


Life can be viewed as expendable, especially when faith in God falters and when economics becomes a driving factor, just as it was in Nazi Germany. Take the case of Oregon, the only state in the union that has passed an assisted suicide law. Barbara Wagner, a cancer patient in that State was denied coverage of chemotherapy by her insurance company, but was approved for euthanasia drugs. The chemo would have cost the company $3,000 per month to provide, but the pills to end her life would only cost $100. When these decisions are taken away from the person and handed over to government bureaucrats, do we really believe that the government will protect the sick and the weak when they are a burden on the economy?


Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel believes that we should allocate resources to those who are likely to have the most "quality" in their lives. Should the government be making decisions as to which lives are worthy of saving? There is no guarantee that the medical philosophy that inspired the Nazi doctors cannot happen here. It may seem outrageous to consider, but remember the boiling frog theory. When a frog is dropped into cold water, it won't jump out. If the heat is turned up a little at a time, it will remain in the water until it dies. We already live in a country that legalized the killing of the unborn. Is the heat being turned up a notch?

Death Panels - The New Coliseum?


Yesterday, in his conference call with religious leaders, President Obama stated "We are God's partners in matters of life and death." Uh oh. This statement combined with the end of life provisions contained in the house health care bill (Section 1233 of HR 3200) raise the eerie spectre of government bureaucrats making decisions on who will receive life sustaining care and who will not. While Senate leaders have said that they have removed end of life counseling from its bill, we still have not seen the final language on this legislation and anything is possible.

Learning more about the background of the major players involved gives one pause. A top adviser to the president is Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, a doctor who told the AMA that doctors take the Hippocratic Oath too seriously. He also said that doctors need to pay more attention to broader issues (i.e. cost) rather than focusing only on the patient. Although Dr. Emmanuel is supposedly crafting health care policy, his title is adviser to the Budget Director! This certainly indicates that proposed changes will lead to the rationing of care. The math does not work otherwise. Bringing millions more people into a government run system just will not work financially unless costs are reduced. The president has already announced that he is planning on finding cost savings in Medicare. Where else will the savings come from? Since Medicare is on the verge of bankruptcy, the only logical conclusion is that care will have to be rationed.

Who are the ones who will lose care? In a 1996 paper given to the Hastings Center, the same Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel wrote "...services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not providing health care to patients with dementia."
This is scary stuff. Who are the robed masters who will be given the power of life and death over the people. Those who will be able to give the thumbs up or the thumbs down on medical care. Are we heading back to the days of the Christians in the Coliseum?

Saint Michael the Archangel
defend us in battle...



Alert! Danger Ahead!

Well, ready or not, here comes trouble. The Senate and House bills to "reform" health insurance coverage in the United States are loaded with problems. We cannot seem to get a straight answer from the administration as to what's in and what's out. What is crystal clear is that rationing of health care for the most vulnerable and full coverage for abortion are waiting in the wings. Whether your Catholic Jedi training is complete or not, you need to get out there and put up the good fight in defense of the weakest among us.

President Obama purportedly attempted to reach out to religious leaders today, but, according to the National Catholic Register, could not provide a clear answer as to whether or not abortion will be covered by the proposed national health plan. Of course, this is the same president who, as an Illinois state senator, supported allowing a baby who was born alive to be left to die if it was unwanted.

This is the same administration who appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services a woman who accepted donations from the most notorious late term abortionist and consistently voted against protecting the unborn child in the womb.

Let your voice be heard. It is time for the faithful to come out of the shadows. Shine the light of truth on the darkness. Don't let the politicians get away with evading their responsibilities. They work for us! Let them know how they need to vote.

Health Care: Obligated By Natural Law?

Well, Catholic Jedi, natural law comes into the health care debate, as it should. Bishop R. Walter Nickless of the Diocese of Sioux City, has written a terrific column on the Catholic requirements for any health care legislation. He writes:

"...the Catholic Church does not teach that “health care” as such, without distinction, is a natural right. The “natural right” of health care is the divine bounty of food, water, and air without which all of us quickly die. This bounty comes from God directly. None of us own it, and none of us can morally withhold it from others. The remainder of health care is a political, not a natural, right, because it comes from our human efforts, creativity, and compassion. As a political right, health care should be apportioned according to need, not ability to pay or to benefit from the care. We reject the rationing of care. Those who are sickest should get the most care, regardless of age, status, or wealth. But how to do this is not self-evident. The decisions that we must collectively make about how to administer health care therefore fall under 'prudential judgment.'

He clearly states that any health care plan that mandates coverage for abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell therapies will not be accepted by the Church. Nor will any legislation that does not provide protection for the exercise of conscience.

Would that the politicians heed this admonishment. In accordance with natural law, God is the creator and giver of all life. He is the sole decision maker as to the end of life. In providing care to our brethren we must remember that the value of a life does not depend on material factors such as age, wealth, status or ability to work. The paraplegic in the wheelchair is as worthy of medical treatment as is the Nobel prize laureate.


The Natural Law (Or, How To Aggravate A Politician Without Really Trying)


The natural law shall be our guide throughout. No clear analysis of current legal and legislative issues can be properly done without a clear understanding of the law given to us by God - the divine or "natural" law. As the great moral theology professor, Msgr. William Smith, used to say, the natural law is the manufacturer's directions built into every one of us.

Now, how does the natural law annoy politicians? You may have noticed that humility does not seem to be the chief character trait of our current crop of legislators. They are quite proud of their supposed ability to craft laws that direct and regulate every aspect of our lives. In fact, they can go on for thousands of pages on end with their "craftsmanship." But, what can raise their blood pressure? What can raise the hackles of the local and federal politician? Why, the brazen assertion of the Church that there exists a higher law than their humanly crafted law, and that this natural law puts limits on their legislative abilities.

Unfortunately, our culture has been losing its grasp of the natural law. Hopefully, the Jedi Academy can provide some assistance in bringing our troops up to speed on this vital component of our Catholic faith.


Greetings From The Academy's "Faculty Of Law"


Greetings to you all.

Please allow me introduce myself. The "Assistant Headmaster" (Father Reynolds) has kindly invited me to contribute to this Catholic Jedi Academy blog. It is my deepest hope that this humble endeavor can enlighten, entertain and encourage the Catholic "Jedi" among us to soldier on in our commission to bring the light of faith to all people; in my particular case, the light of the law as taught by the faith.

We live in difficult times, but we take heart in the promise of our Lord that H will be with us until the end of time. May God bless this enterprise and may God bless you!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Reminds Me Of My Younger Days!

Ahh! Those glorious days of my youth -- when I worked part-time for a Daredevil Stunt roadshow.
I was pretty good. And I'd be first in line for volunteering for death-defying feats of unparalleled courage. Must say, though, I didn't do too well at landing safely. But, hey, that's why hospitals and neurosurgeons are in the White Pages!
Anyway, this kid,
Bruno Kammerl, does a good job. Almost as accurate as my efforts in the Holy Agony Daredevil Demolition Derby. Ahh! Those glorious days of my youth!
Now, where was I? Oh, yes! And so, I hope our Academicians will find this video educational (just don't try it for extra credit, please!):

Megawhoosh - Bruno Kammerl Jumps!

video

Yours In Traction And Out,

"The Assistant Headmaster"

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catholic "Jedi"


Here at the smoke-and-mirrors cyber-reality we call "the Catholic Jedi Academy," our "Academy" is make-believe. But we are not! 
We are not cyber-/artificial-/pretend-Catholics. We are real Catholics: very, very Catholic Catholics: With no excuses, regrets, or doubts. With a deep commitment to -- and preference for -- the Truth Our Lord Jesus and Our Church reveal.

Very, very Catholic Catholics are very much like "Jedi":
  • They are noted for their willing, faithful, and intense observance of the Lord Jesus' commands and His Church's Teachings.
  • They are in training constantly, always trying to perfect their following of Our "Headmaster," Jesus Christ.
  • Serious Catholics are like "Jedi Masters," or like Academicians: persons who are unabashedly committed to improving through Our Headmaster's instruction, coaching, tutoring, training, drilling, and guidance.
  • We firmly encourage one another toward a constant and vibrant desire for deeper knowledge of Him and fuller membership in His "Academy" -- His Church, His Kingdom, His Heavenly Court.
  • Like "Jedi," serious Catholics are willing and able to take stands, speak the truth, and to do battle with the selfishness, lies and evil that threaten to harm, destroy and disfigure human life in all its stages.
  • We "Catholic Jedi" are not nasty, confrontational bullies! Rather, we are... committed... intense... amplified... focused... and ready to do spiritual and intellectual combat for our Catholic Faith.
  • Because ...
... Faithful followers of Christ in the Church are at war in this world. We always have been. And there's no truce on the way; no armistice, where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. We will not see that coming on the horizon. We are and remain at war -- until we see Our Lord Jesus Christ coming on the clouds for His Second and Final Coming!

The Catholic Church's spiritual battles are collective and individualized. Our spiritual battles continued after Our Lord Jesus ascended to the Father. “Continued,” because Our Lord Himself started the war of grace, love and life. 

He taught the Church how to do combat with 

  • A sinful world (the one we mutated into its present form!)
  • Sinful flesh (ours!)
  • And the Devil (yes, he really exists! Yoda does not).

But, hey! Don't get discouraged! Don't forget that we win the war in the end! Until then, we handle the skirmishes and incursions of sin and Satan.

And as the "clean up" battles progress, a sense of humor and of healthy satire help keep us Catholic Jedi sane and ever hopeful. 

That's why you see Pope Francis holding a "cross/light sabre" as he guides us toward success in combat with our world, the flesh, and Satan -- with any source of lies and confusion which distort and deny the truth of the Gospel and the irreplaceable value of every human person!

Reverend Father James J.M. Reynolds, STL
"The Assistant Headmaster"


Marilyn Heller, Esq.
Dean Of "The Faculty Of Law"

Christopher Heller
Dean Of "Young Adult Formation Faculty"



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

WELCOME TO THE ACADEMY!

Welcome, Academicians and Jedi All!
As the "Assistant Headmaster" here at the cyber-/artificial-/pretend-reality called,
The Catholic Jedi Academy, I am indeed happy to welcome you to our humble apostolate.

We hope you will enjoy it and be enriched by it as another means of training in the Catholic Faith.

First, by way of an explanation of this blog, allow us to define the terms we use here:
  • THE JEDI: In the Star Wars fictional universe, the Jedi are an ancient monastic peacekeeping organization known for their observance of “the Force.”
  • THE JEDI ACADEMY: A fictional training establishment in Star Wars fiction.
  • AN ACADEMICIAN: A title denoting a person’s full membership in an art, literary, scientific or religious academy.
No, we are not baptizing George Lucas’ weird theosophical religion! No, we do not think that God is "the Force" or some other vague electromagnetic entity. We are borrowing the goofy imagery, which so many people – Catholics, too – know and understand. Images are powerful in our society. We decided to employ outlandish Star Wars imagery, but we eviscerate it with Catholic intelligence, wit and humor.

So, expect to see varied commentary here at the Academy -- on one thing, anything, everything. We hope to serve
Our Lord -- and you -- well!

We welcome your comments. And we encourage discussions among all Jedi Catholics in training at the Academy.
(Sorry: no extra credit for that!)


May God Bless This Apostolate!
May God Bless And Protect His Jedi!

"The Assistant Headmaster"

Don't Fall Asleep During "The Academy's" posts!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Hey, Mister Academician! Why not take a moment and visit their website?