God sends us the Saints we need at the time we need them.

I recently learned about the idea that God sends us the Saints we need at the time that we need them. Yesterday, I wrote about the idea of our willingness to say ‘yes’ to God’s call in both the bigger things and smaller things in life. Thankfully – for us – we have had a litany of Saints throughout history that have been willing to say ‘yes’ to some pretty ‘big’ calls.

For example, St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic Priest, spent much of his life during the early part of the 20th century spreading the Gospel to far away places like Japan and India. During the Second World War he was imprisoned at the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz. While there, he ministered to those within the camp. In 1941, ten were selected by prison guards to suffer death as a result of the attempted escape of one of the prisoners. One of the men selected was a father with a wife and children. St. Maximilian offered himself in place of this young father and was executed. St. Maximilian displayed the ultimate act of charity by giving his life for another.

St. Joan of Arc is another – perhaps more well known and larger – example of someone sent to say ‘yes’ to God’s call in a very very big way. St. Joan of Arc was only seventeen when she was given a small army to help the rightful King of France, Charles, regain his throne against the English King.

Throughout history, we see time and time again when brave and courageous individuals are sent to stand up against powerful forces who sought to bring down individuals, nations, cultures and the Christian faith. When looking around at our world today, I often ponder who among us will become Saints. We have the recent beatification of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calculatta and Blessed Pope John Paul II who both made significant strides in working to make our world a better place in their efforts during their time here on earth. But, who today – right now? It dawned on me, the other day, that Cardinal Dolan just may be one of those who we will see canonized at some point down the road.

Cardinal Dolan, as head of the US Council of Catholic Bishops, is currently leading the charge to fight against the potential loss of religious liberty in the United States with the contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate as part of the Affordable Health Care Act. I stumbled across the article entitled, Cardinal Politics, at National Review Online written by Kathryn Jean Lopez. While she doesn’t make the case for Sainthood, she does point out the challenge at hand for Cardinal Dolan.

“Excuse me while I save the world,” my late friend Andrew Breitbart would say. I can’t quite hear the cardinal or the congressman putting it that way, but it is nonetheless what they’re doing by defending the religious liberty of all Americans. America has long been a beacon for those who thirst for freedom and seek to live in a society that does not punish obedience to conscience. It is becoming increasingly clear that the upcoming election is going to have something to do with whether or not we preserve our foundational freedoms, not only for future generations but for those of us here now. A bureaucracy in Washington is trying to figure out how to make viable a law that interferes with our most intimate life-and-death decisions.

If the overall mandate is upheld this week, its likely that the contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate and its violation of the First Amendment will see the light of day in court. If so, history will determine whether or not Cardinal Dolan will be a Saint of our time.

The importance of ‘Yes’.

Yesterday – Monday, March 26 – was the ‘Feast of the Annunciation‘ in the Catholic Church. Its the day when, we believe, Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother, Mary. Traditionally, the Feast is celebrated on March 25 unless March 25 is a Sunday – where it is celebrated the next day.

Some believe that Christ was born in October, but there is an interesting piece here which talks about the validity of Christmas as December 25 – falling exactly nine months after the Annunciation.

So where did the date of Christmas originate? In 386, St John Chrysostom preached a sermon linking the date for Christmas to the date of the Annunciation. He does so in a way that suggests that this was already an established belief. The date of the Annunciation was based on a Jewish tradition that the world was created on March 25, or Nisan 15, according to the Jewish calendar.  The Jews also believed that a great man would die on the same day as his conception. The early Christians (who were of course Jews) therefore concluded that Jesus had been conceived on March 25. This made it the date of the world’s creation, and the start of the world’s redemption (and therefore the new creation).

 

It’s easy. If the Lord Jesus Christ was conceived on March 25, then he was born nine months later on December 25. The date for Christmas is therefore determined by the date of the Annunciation and has nothing to do with the Roman celebration of the Saturnalia or the celebration of the birthday of Sol Invictus.

And for Tolkien fans…

What about Frodo Baggins? Tolkien fans the world over celebrate March 25 as a day of celebration by the reading of Tolkien’s work. Why is that? Because the day Frodo Baggins saves his world by delivering the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom was (you guessed it) March 25. Ladyday–the feast of the Annunciation and the beginning of our world’s redemption.

That aside, there is something far more important about the Feast of the Annunciation – its a celebration of Mary’s ‘yes’. Not only was her ‘yes’ important for human salvation, but it also sets a beautiful example for the rest of us as to how to say ‘yes’ to God’s call.

Mary was young woman living betrothed to Joseph. They were not yet married and had yet to receive the concluding rite of marriage. During this time, she was visited by the angel Gabriel.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee calledNazareth, 27 to a virgin [r]engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the [s]descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was [t]Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, [u]favored one! The Lord [v]is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and youshall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How [w]can this be, since I[x]am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the [y]holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and [z]she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For [aa]nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the [ab]bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

If it had been me (and it *wouldn’t* have been for obvious reasons!) I would have been pretty overwhelmed at even the idea of an angel coming and speaking to me! But, to have it tell me that I would a) become pregnant without having had intimate relations with a man and b) that the child born as a result of this visit from the angel would be the ‘Son of God’ would have had me in absolute disbelief. I’m pretty sure I would have had a *lot* of questions. Mary, on the other hand says ‘…may it be done to me according to your word.’

What isn’t included in the scriptural references, but is important to understand is the vast implications of this ‘yes’ that display the tremendous courage and trust shown by Mary. At this point in history, a woman who committed adultery would have been subject to the possibility of being stoned to death for her actions. While Mary had not yet completed the rite of marriage to Joseph, she would have been subject to these same laws. For Mary to take this incredible risk, it showed an unshakable trust in God’s plan for her. Her actions called upon her to trust that God would also see fit to convince Joseph of her story.

Mary had to explain to Joseph what had happened and that she had conceived the ‘Son of God’ by way of a visit from an angel. The comical side of me can only imagine how that conversation played out…

We revere Mary for her ‘yes’ and her trust in God, but we cannot overlook the importance of Joseph in the story of Salvation as he had his own ‘yes’ to make. After his conversation with Mary, I’m sure he too had a lot of questions. But, the Bible tells us that Joseph was a righteous man.

And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned [t]to send her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for[u]the Child who has been [v]conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for [w]He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this [x]took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME [y]IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” 24 And Joseph [z]awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25[aa]but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

Initially, Joseph wanted to send her away. He couldn’t imagine the idea of her being stoned to death as an adulterer – but he clearly wasn’t sure he could bear the responsibility. He too was visited by an angel and asked to ‘not be afraid’ (recurring theme in the Bible, isn’t it?). Joseph had his own ‘yes’ to make and – thankfully – for all of our sakes, he did so.

The human skeptical side of me asks – “Hmmm, what would have happened if either Mary or Joseph had said ‘You know what, that all sounds great – but a little bit *big* for me to handle so I think I’m going to pass.’?” Silly thought? Perhaps. But God had helped form the hearts of Mary and Joseph so that they would be prepared to say ‘yes’. He had prepared them with a love and trust for Him so that they would be ready for this moment in time in which He would call upon each of them to do something that would change the course of history.

If we fast forward 2000 years and look at our own lives – how many times has God asked us to say ‘yes’ to him in our lives? Tens? Hundreds? Thousands? There are the bigger and obvious ways in which He calls us to Him by accepting him as our Lord and Saviour. There are the bigger ways in which He calls us to chose to accept His gifts of life in the children with which He graces us when we are married. There are the bigger ways in which He calls us in committing to attend Mass on Sundays. There are the bigger ways in which He calls us in committing to raise the children in which He entrusts us as Catholics. There are countless ‘bigger’ ways in which He calls us to say ‘yes’, but there are just as many – if not more – ‘smaller’ ways in which He calls us to say ‘yes’ in the day to day aspects of our lives.

Do we say ‘yes’ to Him by talking with the cashier at the grocery store who is clearly overwhelmed and exhausted and needs someone to stop and acknowledge her and ask her, ‘How are you doing today?’. Do we say ‘yes’ to Him by putting down whatever it is we are doing and cuddle our children? Do we say ‘yes’ to Him by spending an hour of our time in Eucharistic Adoration? Do we say ‘yes’ to Him by offering a smile to the homeless person on the corner of the street? The list goes on and on and on.

We have the chance to change history in our own way as each we are called upon by God to say ‘yes’. We have no idea the impact our ‘bigger’ or even our ‘smaller’ yes can have on others and their lives – and yet we’re all given the chance over and over and over again to do so.

There are so many times I look around and see the ways in which I am presented with the opportunity to say ‘yes’ and have missed it – or even chosen not to do so. But, alas, that presents another opportunity to say ‘yes’ – an opportunity to pray to be reminded of those opportunities to say ‘yes’ and to be made aware of them so that I *can* say ‘yes’ and recognize the importance of doing so in the big ways AND the small ways. Isn’t that also what He wants from us – a chance to ask Him into our lives and acknowledge where we need His help?

A confession…

I have a confession to make. Its not really that juicy, but its not something that I openly share with people. I am addicted to a daytime soap opera. Yes, its a daily addiction. Its so much of a daily addiction that if I miss it during the day, I watch it online at night – usually while making dinner. I know, I know – that’s pathetic.

My addiction was formed at an early age. I began watching this soap opera when I was about fourteen or fifteen years old. I watched off and on while in college and gave it up again when I started working full-time. I’m not really sure when I started watching again, but after I did most recently I found it terribly difficult to consider giving up. Every Lent I’ve pondered the idea of giving up my daily habit, but – no – that would be *too* difficult. I really didn’t want to – shouldn’t that have made it the perfect thing to give up?

Aside from the ‘addictive’ part of my habit, there is the basic underlying idea that I have spent a great deal of time watching fictitious people who are morally hollow – an idea that directly conflicts with my faith and beliefs. Sound harsh? Perhaps. But is it untrue?

My husband came into the kitchen one night while I was making dinner and caught a few minutes of my habit. He asked ‘Do you like any of these characters? Would you want to be friends with any of these people?’

I had to stop and think about it. Did I really like any of the characters? Would I want to be friends with them? In some ways, yes. There were some likable characters who seemed like nice people. Every now and then they made poor choices – like infidelity, secretly stealing someone’s sperm and impregnating themselves, conducting illegal bid fraud during the sale of a company, swapping babies between women (one baby dead and one alive), and sometimes even murder – but the rest of the time they were pretty decent I suppose. Those are actual story lines that took place. I thought about how sad that was. What was even more sad was that I wasn’t willing to give it up.

I thought about why and realized that I enjoyed watching these people. It was entertaining. But did that make it right? I started to think more and more about the idea that I had started watching this when I was in my mid-teens. I was at an impressionable time in my life and was being fed the idea that all of the crazy story lines I noted above were somehow ‘normal’. I had an epiphany today when I realized that I likely related to these people because my life has also been a soap opera of sorts.

Both my natural mother and father have each been married three times. Their respective husbands and wives had all been previously married. I was adopted by my step-father at age 8, but spent my vacations with my natural father and his wife and son from her previous marriage as well as my step-sister and step-brother’s mother who was also married (to a man significantly her junior). One of my grandfathers (I had many give all the divorce and remarriage) had an affair with his housekeeper who was my mother’s age and had married her. Toward the end of his life their relationship faltered and there was some question as to whether or not he wrote her out of his will on his deathbed. This is just the readers digest version and I’ve often thought the real thing, if ever written, wouldn’t be believed to be true. I have been used to chaos in my life from an early age, so watching others smoothly transition throughout similar chaos seems fairly ‘normal’ to me.

But again, is it ‘right’? There is an entertainment value to watching these types of shows. I have spent much time in the past few years really taking a close look at the way in which television and movies have spiraled so far downward in terms of quality and, particularly, moral values. Music has gone the same way. Things that would have been considered rude and vulgar 50 years ago are now regularly seen on prime time television – sometimes in commercials. Would anyone 50 years ago believe that we’d have commercials for sexual lubricants shown on television? Would they believe that we have shows on television that regularly show fairly steamy interactions between women and men – sometimes women and women, and also men and men. 50 years ago we had married couples on television sleeping in separate beds. We are told that this is ‘progress’ – but is it?

Today more than 50% of marriages will end in divorce. More babies than ever are born out of wedlock. The abortion rate – thankfully – has dropped since the early 1980s, but still hovers around 20%. One in four African American babies is killed in the womb – 25%! Read the statistics here regarding adolescent sexuality and, if you are a parent, tell me if you don’t shudder when you think of your own children. Yet, in some cities – like Austin, we have hired Planned Parenthood to conduct our sexual education training in schools. If they are using brochures like this, its not difficult to understand why the statistics regarding adolescent sexuality are where they are. Isn’t this akin to hiring Philip Morris to conduct anti-smoking programs?

With the barrage of moral relativism surrounding us in the world of entertainment, its no wonder we are where we are.

So, how do we get out? We stop watching. We stop giving our money to people who produce the crap – and, yes, it is crap – that is sucking us into a moral black hole, and instead give it to those who produce entertainment based on a system of values that encourages us to live lives where we treat one another with respect and dignity. We spend it on watching entertainment that provides us with individuals who make poor choices and suffer consequences – but learn from their mistakes, instead of those who make poor choices and instead come out a hero. I sound like everyone’s mother (except, perhaps, for Madonna) including my own – or, even worse, a grandmother. But maybe they were on to something.

Where does that leave my soap opera? Out in the cold. Unfortunately, I chose not to give it up for Lent again this year (I did, however, give up Facebook and am enjoying it so much that I may not go back!), but I have given my soap up – hopefully for good. We went away on Spring Break last week and I didn’t watch it once. I thought about this upon my return and relished in the thought of having five hours on which I could catch up – but, then I thought again and realized that I’d survived five days and might just survive a little longer. I have been tempted to tune in and see what’s happen in the land where half of a dialogue is awkwardly spent explaining the details of who everyone is. Thankfully, I’ve resisted. Instead I’ve taken to watching streaming movies on Netflix while making dinner. Its been a welcome change.

Sadly, I’m not 100% free of watching ‘crap’ since my husband and I both got hooked on ‘Downton Abbey‘ this winter and have to admit that we are both excited about Mad Men starting this weekend.

Baby steps. I’m trying.

An update on Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Pastor Nadarkhani had been on my heart recently and I did a Google search to see if I could identify any updated information regarding his status. From what I can tell, he is still alive and being kept in captivity.

In my search, I came across a great piece on Patheos;

The idea that the fate of Youcef Nadarkhani will be a marker of Iran’s future is rarely expressed in Christian writings on his situation, but I believe it is a powerful reality. Nations that have killed their citizens unrepentantly over matters of faith have invariably courted chaos, terror, and internal weakness. This is historically true however we choose to account for it. It would take a kind of open-ended courage for Iranian decision-makers to let Nadarkhani live, on his terms, but any other decision will invite calamity for their people and themselves.

Please continue to keep Pastor Nadarkhani in your prayers.

Who *really* cares about women?

As I convert, I have had the benefit of learning about my faith as an adult. This has awarded me many opportunities to reflect on what it all really means and see things in a more complex fashion that the basic catechesis one receives as a child. One of the realizations I’ve had is that, at the heart of it, Catholics really are the true hippies. I’ll write more about this later because I think its a fascinating topic. But, for now – I’ll focus on just the ‘natural’ part of the Catholics as hippies discussion which looks at the idea of the Catholic Church respecting the laws of nature – so much so that they encourage women to avoid contaminating their body with synthetic hormones that are intended to knock nature out of whack.

The idea behind natural family planning isn’t a mechanism to control women – its actually quite the opposite as it puts women in control of their bodies and works with nature to either achieve or avoid pregnancy. In a nutshell, the Catholic Church believes that the act of intimacy between a woman and a man is intended, based on scipture, to be intended for the purpose of procreation. God repeatedly noted that man was to ‘be fruitful’. He didn’t indicate that man was to go out and have fun with their bodies, but not worry about the potential outcomes. He was pretty clear right from the get go. That aside, the Catholic Church believes that in order to follow God’s intent to ‘be fruitful’ that there mustn’t be an artificial barrier between a man and a woman during their intimate acts as it directly contradicts God’s will.

Many will mistakenly say ‘The Catholic Church doesn’t allow for the use of contraception because they want women to be pregnant all the time.’ This is also not true. The Catholic Church acknowledges and recognizes that there are circumstances which present themselves preventing a married couple from having child after child after child after child and gives these families an option – natural family planning.

The idea behind natural family planning is that a woman works with her own body – designed by perfection in nature, God himself – in order to recognize the periods of fertility each month and allows her the opportunity to either abstain from intimacy during this time in order to avoid pregnancy or to seek out intimacy with her husband during this time in order that they may try and achieve pregnancy. The beauty of natural family planning is that its not only effective – 99-100% when practiced properly (that last part is key!), but that a woman’s body gives her not one, not two, but three physical signs that she can follow in order to determine her peak period of fertility. And guess what – no carcinogenic synthetic hormones required! Nor is she or her husband required to bring latex objects into their intimacy. Nor is she or her husband required to be permanently or semi-permanently sterilized contradicting the laws of nature and the way the body was intended to function.

I wrote a fair bit about why I love natural family planning here, and I fear I’m veering off in that direction. Let me come back to the goal of this piece in its discussion regarding who *really* cares about women’s health issues.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, its hard to not know that there has been a battle with regard to religious liberty regarding the HHS contraception mandate whereby the HHS has decided that *all* health insurance plans under the Affordable Health Care Act offer contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs to be provided FREE by health insurance companies – regardless of whether it violates an individual’s, employer’s, or health insurance company’s moral beliefs to offer or pay for such products/services. We could get into a discussion about how the HHS is proposing that insurance companies pay for this using pixie dust or unicorn poop since the way an insurance company receives income is through health insurance premiums which would be required to be paid for by every living and breathing US resident (or be fined), but we’ll save that for another discussion.

The idea here is that, as noted, these products/services would be provided ‘for free’. Let’s breakdown what the Department of HHS is proposing to provide for women and look at the health risks associated with each of those products/services.

The Birth Control Pill

The ‘Pill’ elevates the levels of estrogen and progestin in a woman’s body to mimic pregnancy. As such, it prevents the body from ovulating, but also helps to prevent pregnancy in other ways.

Pregnancy is prevented by a combination of factors. The hormonal contraceptive usually stops the body from releasing an egg from the ovary. Hormonal contraceptives also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to find an egg. Hormonal contraceptives can also prevent pregnancy by making the lining of the womb inhospitable for implantation.

So while the intention is for the pill to prevent ovulation, there is also the possibility that it acts as an abortifacient in that it prevents a fertilized egg (i.e. a life that has been conceived) from implanting itself in the lining of the womb and instead being flushed out of the uterus. How many women currently taking the pill do you think know that the pill works in this fashion? How many women currently taking the pill do you think have been told that the pill works in this fashion?

The pill is so wonderful that it causes the following side effects (I know these first hand as I was a birth control pill user a long long time ago):

  • nausea
  • weight gain
  • tender or swollen breasts
  • smaller amount of blood during periods
  • spotting between periods
  • mood changes

And if you are one of the lucky women (like me!) who has a family history of things like heart disease, high blood pressure, smoke etc… then your doctor will either advise against prescribing the pill OR monitor you very closely. Taking the pill seriously impacts your body and the natural rythym as intended by nature. What happens when we mess with nature? Any environmentalist will tell you that when you add or modify the laws of nature – things change and not always for the better.

There are cases in which the Pill can be helpful as a form of hormone therapy for women with certain conditions – its not this use that I believe is harmful, but rather the idea that we must transform our bodies through the use of synthetic hormones as the only way to prevent pregnancy. Is this ‘freedom’ and ‘empowerment’?

The National Cancer Institute suggests that

A 1996 analysis of worldwide epidemiologic data conducted by the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer found that women who were current or recent users of birth control pills had a slightly elevated risk of developing breast cancer. The risk was highest for women who started using OCs as teenagers.

Yes, the same study notes that the risk is reduced back to a ‘normal’ level some 10 years after they stop. But is this healthy? There are surgeons out there who believe that the risk is  far higher:

To show just how much of a threat the pill posed to young women, Lanfranchi pointed to several statistics, including a 2006 Mayo Clinic meta-analysis that concluded that breast cancer risk rises 50 percent for women taking oral contraceptives four or more years before a full-term pregnancy. In 2009, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women starting the pill before 18 nearly quadruple their risk of triple negative breast cancer. Even more shocking, Swedish oncologist Hakan Olsson concluded that pill use before the age of 20 increases a young woman’s breast cancer risk by more than 1000 percent.

 

“It’s like you took this molotov cocktail of a group one carcinogen and threw it into that young girl’s breast,” said Lanfranchi. “Is this child abuse?”

Or what about this

Studies have consistently shown that using OCs reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. In a 1992 analysis of 20 studies of OC use and ovarian cancer, researchers from Harvard Medical School found that the risk of ovarian cancer decreased with increasing duration of OC use. Results showed a 10 to 12 percent decrease in risk after 1 year of use, and approximately a 50 percent decrease after 5 years of use.

And the risk of cervical cancer also increases:

Evidence shows that long-term use of OCs (5 or more years) may be associated with an increased risk of cancer of the cervix (the narrow, lower portion of the uterus) (12). Although OC use may increase the risk of cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) is recognized as the major cause of this disease. Approximately 14 types of HPV have been identified as having the potential to cause cancer, and HPVs have been found in 99 percent of cervical cancer biopsy specimens worldwide. More information about HPV and cancer is available in Human Papillomaviruses and Cancer: Questions and Answers athttp://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/HPV on the Internet.

 

A 2003 analysis by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found an increased risk of cervical cancer with longer use of OCs. Researchers analyzed data from 28 studies that included 12,531 women with cervical cancer. The data suggested that the risk of cervical cancer may decrease after OC use stops. In another IARC report, data from eight studies were combined to assess the effect of OC use on cervical cancer risk in HPV-positive women. Researchers found a fourfold increase in risk among women who had used OCs for longer than 5 years. Risk was also increased among women who began using OCs before age 20 and women who had used OCs within the past 5 years. The IARC is planning a study to reanalyze all data related to OC use and cervical cancer risk.

The bottom line is that there *is* a risk for an increased chance of cancer while taking the pill – particularly when the woman taking the pill starts at an early age. Given the statistics regarding young women starting to take the pill in their teenage years and being on it for an extended period through their early twenties, there is the concern that we are knowingly increasing the risk of cancer in these young women.

Sterilization

Studies indicate that the risk of cancer is reduced with sterilization, but there are risks associated with the medical procedure for both men and women.

Abortifacients

Abortifacients are either medications that either prevent implantation or induce abortion, or objects placed in the uterus which – many believe – prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. There have been numerous lawsuits filed in relation to use of many of these different drugs/products.

Moving along, let’s know look at news (quietly) released just this week (where *is* all the media surrounding this new recommendation?) regarding what is likely and isn’t likely to be covered under the ‘basic’ health insurance as defined by the Department of HHS.

While Pap smears remain an essential part of cervical cancer prevention, new guidelines discourage the once-a-year screenings that have been a part of women’s health for years.

 

New recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services,  state that women who are 21 to 29 years old only need a Pap smear every three years. And those under the age of 21 do not need a Pap smear at all, regardless of  sexual history.

 

And healthy women age between the ages of 30 and 65 need a Pap smear only  every five years  if they combine it with a test for human papillomavirus, or HPV,  which can develop into cervical cancer.

Would this be the same ‘Preventive Services Task Force’ which has declared that women *should* receive free birth control – particularly the ‘Group One Carcinogen‘ type? The definition of a ‘Group One Carcinogen’ is

Group 1: The agent (mixture) is carcinogenic to humans. The exposure circumstance entails exposures that are carcinogenic to humans.

So we’ve now let a panel of ‘preventative’ experts suggest that the frequency of cervical pap smears be reduced to once every three years and woman over 30 every FIVE years. I hate to admit it, but I’m in the every five years crowd – and I’ve read that ‘if caught early, it can be cured’. How early is ‘early’? If I have my pap smear and develop the cancer – let’s say – a year afterward and don’t get another pap for four more years, will that be ‘early’ enough?

If I have this correctly, the Catholic Church – which wants you to feel free to space your pregnancies and is willing to educate you on the three ways to listen to your body in order to do so resulting in the same efficiency as pumping yourself with synthetic Class One Carcinogen hormones, but without the side effects is ‘in a war against women’. But the Department of HHS which will likely see that your insurance only covers a pap smear once every couple of years in spite of the fact that they’ve given you the free Class One Carcinogen synthetic hormones to prevent those pesky diseases called ‘pregnancy’ cares about you?

Does the media even care?

I’m saddened to hear about another bomb blast in yet another Catholic Church this past week. In this particular case, the AP notes:

No group immediately claimed responsibility though the city has been targeted in the past by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram. The sect claimed a series of bombings in Jos on Christmas Eve in 2010 that killed as many as 80 people. The sect also claimed a similar church bombing on Feb. 26 on the main headquarters of the Church of Christ that killed three people and wounded 38 others.

The BBC picked up the story, but the US media doesn’t seem to find it appalling that there is attack after attack against Christians around the world. Do a search on ‘catholic church bombing‘ on Google and see if you can find one US news agency that picked up on this story.

Where is the outrage?