Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Youth need better models

This is in reference to the article entitled “Selena drops Promise Ring for Justin Bieber” (Goa’s Heartbeat, Tues 28 Dec). Firstly, I felt that it was a private matter that should not be made public by the paparazzi as it was.
Today youth need good role models. If adults in their world behave appropriately, I am certain that the youth will exemplify them. We see even parents indulging in wrong sexual behaviour. Peer pressure also adds to many teenagers experimenting, and then getting addicted to sex.
I am sure Selena’s parents had the best interests of their child when they upheld her as a ‘good example for other kids’.
Selena Gomez is a good role model for youth and I only hope she continues to be so. Chastity is a virtue seldom practiced by youth these days so it is refreshing to see a popular figure uphold this holy virtue voluntarily as she does. Offering chastity instead of contraception should be the societal norm.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Mel Gibson and the Cleverness of Satan: “It is the Reality”
June 27, 2010
St. Padre Pio was reported to have said when he got his first look at the television: “The devil will be in the living room.”
He is also manifestly a “live in” companion in the lives of many including some of our self- destructive celebrities.
How else to explain the recent behavior of our fallen brother in Christ, Mel Gibson?
Remember the time that preceded the release of The Passion of The Christ? The main stream media and other critics maligned the very thought of it along with its producer, Mel Gibson. After the release of the film the attacks continued to escalate. I remember at the time thinking how strong Mel Gibson stood in the face of all of this. At the height of the attacks I recall feeling the gratitude toward Mel that a mother would feel toward a courageous fireman who had run into a burning building and carried her child, her precious treasure, to safety. Mel has successfully done this with the greatest of treasures. After years and years of heinous blasphemy against our Lord and our Faith repeatedly played out across the Big Screen, there was Mel lending all of his God-given talents to set the record straight. Mel Gibson had truly gone into the burning building of Hollywood and carried “Truth” Himself through the ruinous and diabolical flames.
I was saddened and taken aback when, in a drunken rage, Mel spewed venomous anti-Semitic remarks to a policeman. This sadness and shock was compounded further when he left his wife and 7 children.
For those that understand the battle between Good and Evil, clearly, Mel Gibson is battling demons.
The Passion of The Christ was a work of grace. It had a transcendent quality that lent it a raw power to spark belief in an age of unbelief. It is indeed hard to think of any other work of such singular artistry in our time that bore as much fruit as this seminal masterpiece of our beloved Lord’s final hours on earth.
One website alone had over 27,000 stories of personal testimonials and conversions from Jews, Muslims, and non-Catholic Christians. This was a drop in the bucket in comparison to the millions who felt the grace after watching the film.
After hearing from so many family members of those in prisons, Mel honored the request to take this tool of healing into the prison system. Again, more tears of conversion and spiritual awakening flowed. The Passion of The Christ touched and transformed the hearts of hardened criminals by the thousands when Mel subsequently donated a copy of the DVD to prisons across the country.
At the same time, Mel honored a request to have the film taken over to Sr. Lucia of Fatima. After viewing this, Sr. Lucia, then in her late 80’s said, “It is the reality”.
This statement was never made public until this column.
All of this bore a cost, however.
It put a bulls eye on Mel Gibson’s chest and demonic sharp shooters have been taking deadly aim ever since. One might imagine that Gibson’s own soul would be a prized asset on a diabolical balance sheet.
In his new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant, HLI president Fr. Tom Euteneuer refers to the work of saving souls as involving “hand to hand combat with the devil himself.” He distinguishes carefully between souls who are “oppressed” by demonic spirits which is not uncommon and souls who are “possessed” by one or more demons which, he says, is most uncommon. It is the design of the devil to seek to destroy in hate what God has created in love. His work is often to simply suggest a course of action and let man’s fallen nature take it from there. Exorcists say Satan frequently takes up residence in emotionally unbalanced souls and hides knowing it is most difficult to discern where disorder ends and oppression begins.
Mel Gibson has not always been sparing of the Roman Catholic Church. And his behavior in recent years is clearly indefensible. But he is a brother in Christ who answered “yes” to God’s call to make this powerful film. At the time he “risked everything for the Gospel.”
I recall him once saying: “If you are going to defend the cross, get ready to carry a piece of it.”
He has carried a piece of the cross. He has stumbled and fallen. He, no doubt is suffocating in depression and confusion. (Satan’s powerful tool s used to demoralize us all). Today, I ask your prayers and spiritual assistance in carrying him out of Satan’s burning building of despair which seeks to destroy and own him.
Contemplate the cleverness of Satan. Who could have imagined 50 years ago that he would have found his way into 98% of the bedrooms of married couples with their willing cooperation through contraception? Who could have imagined that full term babies being slaughtered just moments before birth would be called “an act of privacy” for women in the year 2010? Who could have imagined the propaganda in the media today telling parents they would be happier without children? Or with only 2 children? Who would have thought it possible for an entire generation to be raised ignorant of the Truth of God and now as adults stand impotent to defend It?
Answer: The same Evil One who seeks to find each of our individual weaknesses (depression, loneliness, anger, marital discord, or human pride) to move us to a place of torment where the world now sees Mel Gibson standing.
It is only by calling upon the tools we are given in sacramental grace and prayer that we are able to get up when we fall, repent, and continue to follow Christ in all of our human weakness. This, my friends, is what we are called through the Gospels “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
In the words of Sr. Lucia: “It is the Reality”.

Jenn Giroux, RN Jenn Giroux is a Registered Nurse and the new Executive Director of HLI America, a new program of Human Life International founded to educate on the physical, emotional, and spiritual harms of contraception and to highlight the beauty of having children. She and her husband, Dan, have nine children and live in Cincinnati.
Poll shows that on 50th anniversary of the Pill, most women unaware of health risks associated with its use
December 3, 2010 (TheDailyCaller)
On the fiftieth anniversary of the birth control pill, Human Life International America (HLI America) released a poll which shows that most American women are unaware of the health risks associated with the use of hormonal contraceptives.
“The Pill” has been one of the most commonly used means of birth control since the 1960s but, as HLI America’s report demonstrates, it has also been a source of contention as it has been linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer.
Jenn Giroux, the executive director of HLI America, said her group commissioned the poll in order to gauge how many women and girls knew of the pill’s risks.
“[I have] concern about this from a women’s perspective,” Giroux said. “A lot of mothers I know share with me and are concerned about their daughters having cramps and follow the advice of their doctors to put their young daughters on the birth control pill, not realizing that any young woman on the pill for four years, before their first full term baby, increase their breast cancer risk 52 percent.”
According to the poll, conducted by the polling company™, inc./Women’s Trend, of “the Pill’s” side effects, only 19 percent of respondents said they had been warned about the increased risk of breast cancer. Forty-nine percent said they were warned of weight gain, 23 percent of headaches, and 40 percent were told of blood clots and the risk of stroke.
“It’s long been known that estrogen/progestogen combination drugs such as the pill does cause breast cancer. In fact, in 2005 the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, put it as a Group I carcinogen,” said Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, breast cancer surgeon and co-director of Sanofi Aventis Breast Cancer Center Steeplechase Cancer Center.
The majority of women (53 percent) who take or have taken the Pill began at the age of 18 or younger. Fewer than 20 percent of women had never taken the Pill. 60 percent said that they began taking the Pill in order to prevent pregnancy and more than 66 percent said that is the reason they continue to take it. Regulation of menstruation cycle was the second most popular answer to why they began (21 percent) and continue to take (19 percent) the Pill.
“It is clear through these data that women believe it is a positive thing,” Kellyanne Conway, the president and CEO of the polling company™, inc./Women’s Trend. “But it is also clear in this data that they lack fundamental knowledge about the liabilities and the health risks associated with sustained use of the Pill by some of its users.”
“It is time for an awareness campaign for young women and their health and we have to connect the dots,” said Giroux. “Government institutions like the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institutes issues warnings and restrictions all the time on things like cigarettes…but what about issuing these warnings to young women who are taking these hormones and putting themselves at risk for cancer?”
Read more:
Women….where are your children”
With the release of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the past few days we have seen the analysis of women who are having (and not having) children. According to Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, the highest group of women on track for loneliness in their twilight years due to ‘childlessness’ are White women (20%). Not too far behind comes Black and Hispanic women (17%) followed closely by Asian women (16%).
I have to take note at the presentation of these facts. D’Vera Cohn, one of the co-authors of the report echos the verbiage that women have heard over the past 50 years that have led them down the path of barrenness. She states that “education seems to be a factor in a woman’s choice to be a mother. The more educated women are, the higher the childless rate is”. This comment is completely contradicted by some of the results which report that the ‘childlessness’ rate has decreased for women with advanced degrees from 31% in 1994 to 24% in 2008.
Unfortunately, what you do not see in this study is an analysis of the “post contraceptive regret” that is prevalent among all ethnic groups of women.
How do I know this?
First hand testimony and Nursing experience.
Ask any mom of a large family and she will tell you that women often approach us in public when they see our many children and express sadness and remorse or tell (a perfect stranger) why it is that she wanted to have more children “but……….”
Over the years as a Registered Nurse, I experienced a steady pattern of women who shared their gut-wrenching stories of pain and sadness from their choice at a young age to not have children.
Some were sterilized even before having even one child.
I also witnessed Nursing homes where older women, sit staring with a far away blank look on their faces while rocking a baby doll for consolation. These Nursing homes and Retirement centers are now prisons of loneliness. The inmates go day after day and week after week with no children or grandchildren to visit them. They live a self imposed life sentence with the burning regret over the children they willingly prevented or aborted.
When I was a child we lived 5 doors from St. Margaret of Cortona church. I recall how often we would walk down the street during Lent to frequently attend the Stations of the Cross. It is not until recently that I have been able to fully grasp what was meant by Our Lord as he met the women of Jerusalem on the way to the Cross:
“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed!”
That is exactly what the media is saying to us when we are told, “Women have more options than in the past to build strong careers and to exercise the choice not to have children”. More words of wisdom from D’Vara Cohn.
Unfortunately, the current numbers on ‘childlessness’ account for those who bought into the myth that contraception and abortion would liberate them for an awesome career in a ‘man’s world’. It’s time to ask them if giving up motherhood was well worth the fulfillment they were promised. It is in their honest and tearful responses that we will find the answer to our question: “Women,…..where are your children?”.
In the silence of their hearts, women are indeed weeping.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

Gianna Francesca Beretta was born on 4 Oct 1922 in Magenta in Italy. She was the tenth of thirteen children in her family. In 1942, Gianna began her study of medicine in Milan. She received a medical diploma in 1949, and opened an office in Mesero, near her hometown of Magenta, where she specialized in pediatrics.
In December 1954, Gianna met Pietro Molla, an engineer who worked in her office, ten years older than she. They were officially engaged the following April, and they married in September 1955. They welcomed Pierluigi, in 1956, Maria Zita, in 1957 and Laura, was born in 1959. Gianna suffered two miscarriages after this.

In 1961, Gianna was once again expecting. During the second month, Gianna developed a fibroma on her uterus. After examination, the doctors gave her three choices: an abortion, a complete hysterectomy, or removal of only the fibroma. Church forbids all direct abortion even when the woman's life is in danger, Catholic teaching would have allowed her to undergo a hysterectomy, which would have resulted in her unborn child's death as an unintended side-effect.
Gianna opted for the removal of the fibroma, wanting to preserve her child's life. After the operation, complications continued throughout her pregnancy. Gianna was quite clear about her wishes, expressing to her family, "This time it will be a difficult delivery, and they may have to save one or the other -- I want them to save my baby."
On April 21, 1962, Good Friday of that year, Gianna went to the hospital, where her fourth child, Gianna Emanuela, was successfully delivered via Caesarean section.[1] However, Gianna continued to have severe pain, and died of septic peritonitis 7 days after the birth.
Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, and officially canonized a saint on May 16, 2004. Gianna's husband Pietro and their last child, Gianna, were present at the canonization ceremony.
The miracle recognized by the Catholic Church to canonize Gianna Molla involved a mother, Elizabeth Comparini, who was 16 weeks pregnant in 2003 and sustained a tear in her placenta that drained her womb of all amniotic fluid. Because a normal term of pregnancy is 40 weeks, Comparini was told by her doctors the baby's chance of survival was "nil." Through praying to Gianna Molla and asking for her intercession, Comparini delivered by Caesarean a healthy baby despite the lack of amniotic fluid for the remainder of her pregnancy.
St. Gianna is the inspiration behind the Gianna Center in New York City. It is the first pro-life, Catholic healthcare center for women. The Gianna Center provides comprehensive primary care with specialized gynecologic care.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Woman OF Valour

Mother Teresa stands tall as one of the best examples of a woman of great courage and compassion in a world riddled with the scars of war, corruption and eroding human values. Her stance for life in a world that is dying slowly is commendable and to be imitated by all who wish to uphold the dignity of every living creature on the face of this earth.
I quote here an extract from her appeal to President Clinton which she made at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5th, 1994: “America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts--a child--as a competitor, an intrusion and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the dependent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters. And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or sovereign. The Constitutional Court of the Federal Republic of Germany recently ruled: 'The unborn child is entitled to its right to life independently of its acceptance by its mother; this is an elementary and inalienable right which emanates from the dignity of the human being.' Americans may feel justly proud that Germany in 1993 was able to recognize the sanctity of human life. You must weep that your own government, at present, seems blind to this truth."
Mother Teresa’s mission was to give sanctity to life from the womb to the tomb. That is why she strove relentlessly to fight against abortion and euthanasia. Although a Roman Catholic by faith, she is quoted as saying, “Enough converting! Let's help a Buddhist become a better Buddhist, a Jew become a better Jew, a Christian become a better Christian.” She just wanted everyone to receive the powerful, all- transforming love of God and to be recreated by that immense love.
Mother Teresa came to give light to the world, to educate people and awaken their consciences. There is a story told that when she visited an aborigine’s home in Australia once, she came upon an elderly man who lived in the worst of conditions. Mother said to him, “Please let me clean your house and make up your bed.” “I am fine like this, he replied. Mother Teresa said, “You will be better off with a clean house.” Finally he agreed. When she entered his house, which bore little remembrance to a home, she noticed a lamp. It was a beautiful lamp, but it was covered with filth and dust. She asked him, “Do you ever light that lamp?” He asked, “For whom? No one ever comes to my house. I spend days without ever seeing a human face. I have no need to light the lamp.” Then Mother asked him if he would be willing to light the lamp if the sisters came to see him regularly. He answered, “Of course!” The sisters made it their habit to visit him every evening. The old man began to light the lamp for them and to keep it clean. He began to keep his house clean, too. Once he gave the sisters a message for Mother Teresa: “Tell my friend that the light that she lit in my life is still shining.”
Not given to much talking, Mother Teresa spoke only when necessary. Therefore, her words were convincing when she did speak, each thought as precious as a priceless pearl. She said once on prayer: “I believe that politicians spend too little time on their knees. I am convinced that they would be better politicians if they were to do so.”
Another time she narrated a story: “One night, a man came to our house saying that a Hindu family had not eaten anything for days. The family had eight children who had nothing to eat. I took enough rice for a meal and went to that house. The mother took the rice from my hands, divided it in half and went out. When I asked her where she had gone, she replied that her neighbors, who were Muslims and had the same number of children to feed, had not had any food either. In order not to take away her happiness, I did not take her anymore rice that night. I took her some more the following day.”
Mother Teresa’s deeds were simple, her thoughts and words profound and, in her death, she has revealed to us that no one really dies in spirit. The mortal body withers but spiritual life marches on.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Modesty Of Dressing

Dressing Attractively, NOT Dressing to Attract!
Every human being craves for love...and no wonder, because God had created each person for love. We try all possible things to get a little love, a little attention, a little appreciation.
A majority of women (and a few men) try to 'show' people that they are worth loving, by the way they dress. Though women may dress to cover that hole in their heart, their soul (and some other body parts) remain bare. Does that mean women have to go around in something looking like sack-cloths or astronaut suits? Of course not! Dressing with modesty does not mean dressing like someone from the 17th century or dressing without taste. Women can dress tastefully and with style, yet still look modest.

We dress modestly OUT OF LOVE:
• for others (men and other women)
• for oneself
• for God
*In increasing order of importance

For love of others

When a woman is dressed immodestly, it becomes very difficult for a normal man to avoid falling into sin. Men who are visually stimulated, are aroused due to the release of hormones by their Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which is an involuntary reflex. They cannot control their arousal, they can only choose their behaviour after that. Though they are responsible for their action, the responsibility of the arousal is partly borne by the woman. Will we leave our brothers to struggle, or will we help them avoid sin? Remember that the good of a soul is more important than the good of a body.

“…love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them.” – Mother Theresa

Women must also dress modestly as an example to other women.

“Numbers of believing and pious women…in accepting to follow certain bold fashions, break down, by their example, the resistance of many other women to such fashions, which may become for them the cause of spiritual ruin…once these styles have been accepted by women of good reputation, decent women soon follow their example…” – Pope Pius XII
Jesus said, it is better to cut off your hand or to pluck out your eye than to go to Hell (Mt. 5:28-29) and it is much better to refrain from wearing clothes that cause us and others to sin.

For love of oneself

Suppose men did not struggle with sexual temptation by the way we dress, would it then be alright to dress in any manner? Not really, because more importantly, we dress modestly out of love for ourselves. Anything that is loved and treasured by us is taken care of very carefully. A woman’s body is a sanctuary. It is a master-piece, a sacred place, a delicate divine dwelling place where NEW life is first formed. It is a place where the miracles take place – the miracle of the conception of a NEW life, a soul that lives forever.
A pregnant mother carries two souls within her body – her own and that of her child.” Dr. Alice von Hildebrand. All sacred things are veiled, like the tabernacle in the church. A woman’s body must be veiled not because it is ugly, but because it is SACRED.

On the other hand, if you 'have it' should you 'flaunt it' because it is perfect or ‘sexy?’ A woman's body, when veiled, brings about an air of mystery. And this is fascinating!
No wonder, that women who expose are often referred to as 'cheap.'
Remember it is only the cheap stones that are kept on display in a shop. The precious jewels are kept safely out of reach. Isn't your body much more precious than jewels?
Women need not dress to advertise. Clothing sends a powerful message. The package of a product gives us a message about a product. Products are advertised, people are not.

For love of God

If we are able to dress modestly for our brothers and sisters and for ourselves, we will be honouring God who has created each one of us. We will be honouring and caring for the souls He has put in each one of us. We will be honouring Him who lives in each one of us. And we will be respecting His laws made for the good of our lives.
“Do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit within you?...You are not your own…For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

So how can we dress modestly?

Choose clothes that you can worship the Lord with. Bow to the Lord by touching your forehead to the floor. Check your neckline. A modest dress will not fall away from your chest, giving a tunnel view of your body. Necklines should be not lower than two fingers' breadth below your collar bone. At the same time while you're still bowing, touch your back near your waist. Can you feel skin? If so, your waist line (of your skirt or pants) is too low.

Raise your hands to praise the Lord. Can you see skin on your waist line? If so, your top is too short. Sit on the floor cross-legged in the Lord’s presence. Is your dress covering your knees and any possible tunnel view again? If so, the length of your dress is modest. The length of your dress/skirt should be at least 2 inches (or more) below your knees.

All fashions have a focal point. Your clothes should not make a body-part the focal point, but should direct attention to your face.

Slits on clothes makes the eye move up towards where the slit ends and completes the view in the person's imagination. If sewing your slits makes it difficult to walk, it means your dress is too tight for comfort...or elegance. Sleeveless dresses, low backs, and transparent material have the same effect.
Avoid using your bosom as a billboard. Say no to tops with messages written on it as again the focal point is not at a desirable place.
Check for undergarment lines showing through your dress or peeping out of it. A lady of elegance and grace never shows traces of that which is worn below.
Pick clothes that accentuate your feminine form...but not cling to it.

“When a woman is feminine, she has the strength God gives her. But when she is de-feminized, she has only the strength she gives herself.” - Cardinal Siri (1960)

Choose clothes that enhance your femininity. When a woman wears pants, she feels different, walks, sits and stands and acts differently. Studies that tracked men's eyes when women wear pants show that 95% of the time, their eyes travel to a woman's most private area (from both the front and rear view). If you must wear pants (due to occupational or other unavoidable reasons) pick pants that are loose, and worn with long tops.

For Indian wear:
When wearing a salwar kameez, avoid churi pants (as they are too tight) and slits that are too high as both reveal too much of the mystery of a woman's body. Slits should end below your buttocks. When draping a saree, check that no skin shows as per the guidelines above.

Dressing modestly does not hide a woman's worth. Dressing modestly only REVEALS a woman's dignity. And it allows your inner beauty to be noticed.

Woman, you are full of grace. Let this, and only this through your dress surface.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

By Kapil Dev

Like everyone else I, too, had heard of Mother Teresa but never met her till the very end of her life. I wonder why. Some things have no explanation.

The Indian cricket team won the Prudential Cup in 1983. It was a great victory. I was married to Romi, a Pakistani, and leading a life of fulfilment. But the happiness of having a child eluded us. Even 14 years after marriage, we remained childless. We were written about in newspapers, and we appeared happy. But no one saw one aspect of our life that had created a vacuum.

In 1995, we visited Kolkata for some work. It was then that a friend of mine took us to meet Mother Teresa. The friend introduced us to Mother. She appeared frail. Despite her health issues, the meeting made us very happy. Our friend informed Mother about the unhappiness in our life. She blessed us and then said, “Do not worry, God is kind.”
I felt as if she would allow us to adopt a child from one of her orphanages.
She spoke in such a peaceful manner and kept saying that God would look into the matter. I felt at peace.

Months passed and I forgot about the visit. Suddenly, one day the same friend from Kolkata called. She said that Mother had inquired about Romi. I was happy because by then Romi was five months pregnant. We had not informed Mother about her pregnancy.
I realised then that Mother must have inquired about Romi because she had knowledge of Romi’s pregnancy.

A growing feeling inside told me that the pregnancy was occasioned by Mother’s blessings. It was a unique and spiritual experience. Our daughter was born a few months after that. I did not return to see Mother after her birth, but I always tell my friends that Mother knew all along of Romi’s pregnancy.

Mother passed away a year later in 1997. I am thankful that I got an opportunity to meet Mother and be blessed by her. My daughter, Amiya, is a gift from Mother Teresa.

(Kapil Dev was captain of the Indian cricket team that won the World Cup in 1983)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


“Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.” — Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyła on18 May 1920 in Wadowice, Poland. As a youth, Wojtyła was an athlete and often played football as a goalkeeper. He also performed with various theatrical groups and worked as a playwright. During this time, his talent for language blossomed and he learned as many as 12 foreign languages, nine of which he later used extensively as Pope.

He stated that he began thinking seriously about the priesthood only after his father's death, and that his vocation gradually became ‘an inner fact of unquestionable and absolute clarity.’
He returned to Poland in the summer of 1948 with his first pastoral assignment. His first action was to kneel down and kiss the ground. This gesture, adapted from French saint Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, would become one of his ‘trademarks’ during his Papacy.
In 1960, Wojtyła published the influential theological book Love and Responsibility, a defence of the traditional Church teachings on marriage from a new philosophical standpoint.
In 1967, he was instrumental in formulating the encyclical Humanae Vitae, which deals with the same issues that forbid abortion and artificial birth control
In 1978, Wojtyła won the election and chose the name John Paul II in honour of his immediate predecessor. The traditional white smoke informed the crowd gathered in St Peter's Square that a pope had been chosen. He accepted his election with these words: ‘With obedience in faith to Christ, my Lord, and with trust in the Mother of Christ and the Church, in spite of great difficulties, I accept.’ When the new pontiff himself appeared on the balcony, he broke tradition by addressing the gathered crowd: “Dear brothers and sisters, we are saddened at the death of our beloved Pope John Paul I, and so the cardinals have called for a new bishop of Rome. They called him from a faraway land - far and yet always close because of our communion in faith and Christian traditions. I was afraid to accept that responsibility, yet I do so in a spirit of obedience to the Lord and total faithfulness to Mary, our most Holy Mother. I am speaking to you in your - no, our Italian language. If I make a mistake, please ‘correct’ me...″

Thus the papacy of Pope John Paul II began on 16 October 1978. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 Saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the last five centuries.
In spite of critics who accused him of inflexibility, he explicitly re-asserted Catholic moral teachings against murder, euthanasia and abortion that have been in place for well over a thousand years. “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” —Pope John Paul II
John Paul II had a special relationship with Catholic youth and is known by some as The Pope for Youth. Before he was pontiff, he used to camp and mountain hike with the youth. He still went mountain hiking when he was pope. He was particularly concerned with the education of future priests and made many early visits to Roman seminaries, He established World Youth Day in 1984 with the intention of bringing young Catholics from all parts of the world together to celebrate the faith. These week-long meetings of youth occur every two or three years, attracting hundreds of thousands of young people, who go there to sing, party, have a good time and deepen their faith. The 19 World Youth Days celebrated during his pontificate brought together millions of young people from all over the world. During this time his care for the family was expressed in the World Meetings of Families, which he initiated in 1994.
On 6 May 2001, Pope John Paul II became the first Catholic pope to enter and pray in an Islamic mosque. Respectfully removing his shoes, he entered the Umayyad Mosque, a former Byzantine era Christian church dedicated to John the Baptist (who is believed to be interred there) in Damascus, Syria, and gave a speech including the statement: "For all the times that Muslims and Christians have offended one another, we need to seek forgiveness from the Almighty and to offer each other forgiveness." He kissed the Qur’an in Syria, an act which made him popular amongst Muslims but which disturbed many Catholics.
President George W. Bush presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour, to Pope John Paul II during a ceremony at the Vatican 4 June 2004. After receiving the award, John Paul II said, “May the desire for freedom, peace, a more humane world symbolised by this medal inspire men and women of goodwill in every time and place.”

As he entered St. Peter's Square to address an audience on 13 May 1981, John Paul II was shot and critically wounded John Paul II was rushed into the Vatican complex and then to the Gemelli Hospital. When he briefly gained consciousness before being operated on he instructed the doctors not to remove his Brown Scapular during the operation. The pope stated that Our Lady of Fátima helped keep him alive throughout his ordeal. “Could I forget that the event [Ali Ağca's assassination attempt] in St. Peter’s Square took place on the day and at the hour when the first appearance of the Mother of Christ to the poor little peasants has been remembered for over sixty years at Fátima, Portugal? For in everything that happened to me on that very day, I felt that extraordinary motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullet.”
Two days after Christmas in 1983, John Paul II visited the prison where his would-be assassin was being held. The two spoke privately for 20 minutes.[5][115] John Paul II said, “What we talked about will have to remain a secret between him and me. I spoke to him as a brother whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust.″
A second assassination attempt took place on 12 May 1982, just a day before the anniversary of the first attempt on his life, in Fátima, Portugal when a man tried to stab John Paul II with a bayonet. He was stopped by security guards.

John Paul II was considered a conservative on doctrine and issues relating to reproduction and the ordination of women.While the Pope was visiting America he said, "All human life, from themoments of conception and through all subsequent stages, is sacred."
A series of 129 lectures given by John Paul during his Wednesday audiences in Rome between September 1979 and November 1984 were later compiled and published as a single work entitled ‘Theology of the Body’, an extended meditation on the nature of human sexuality. He also extended it to condemnation of abortion, euthanasia and virtually all uses of capital punishment, calling them all a part of the "culture of death" that is pervasive in the modern world. He campaigned for world debt forgiveness and social justice.
On 22 October 1996, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences plenary session at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II declared the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin as factual, and wholly compatible with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Although accepting the theory of evolution, John Paul II made one major exception - the human soul. “If the human body has its origin in living material which pre-exists it, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God”

While taking a traditional position on sexuality, defending the Church's moral opposition to marriage for same-sex couples, the pope asserted that persons with homosexual inclinations possess the same inherent dignity and rights as everybody else.

On Saturday 2 April 2005, at about 15:30 CEST, John Paul II spoke his final words, “pozwólcie mi odejść do domu Ojca”, (“Let me depart to the house of the Father”), to his aides, and fell into a coma about four hours later.The mass of the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter commemorating the canonisation of Saint Maria Faustina on 30 April 2000, had just been celebrated at his bedside,
His feelings are reflected in his words, as written in 2000, at the end of his Last Will and Testament “As the end of my earthly life approaches, I return with my memory to its beginning, to my parents, my brother and the sister (whom I never knew because she died before my birth), to the Parish of Wadowice where I was baptised, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, then in the Parish in Niegowic, to St Florian's in Kraków, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of... to all milieux... to Kraków and to Rome... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.”
Since the death of John Paul II, a number of clergy at the Vatican and laymen throughout the world have been referring to the late pontiff as "John Paul the Great"—only the fourth pope to be so acclaimed, and the first since the first millenniumHis successor, Pope Benedict XVI, referred to him as "the great Pope John Paul II" in his first address from the loggia of St Peter's Church, and he referred to Pope John Paul II as "the Great" in his published written homily for the Mass of Repose. At the 20th World Youth Day in Germany 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in Polish, John Paul's native language, said, “As the great Pope John Paul II would say: keep the flame of faith alive in your lives and your people.” In May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited John Paul's native Poland. During that visit he repeatedly made references to “the great John Paul” and “my great predecessor”

Inspired by calls of "Santo Subito!" ("Saint Immediately!") from the crowds gathered during the funeral,[ Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his predecessor, by passing the normal restriction that five years must pass after a person's death before the beatification process can begin. This decision was announced on 13 May 2005, the Feast of Our Lady of Fátima and the 24th anniversary of the assassination attempt on John Paul II at St. Peter's Square.

In early 2006, it was reported that the Vatican was investigating a possible miracle associated with John Paul II. Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, a French nun and a member of the Congregation of Little Sisters of Catholic Maternity Wards, confined to her bed by Parkinson's Disease, was reported to have experienced a "complete and lasting cure after members of her community prayed for the intercession of Pope John Paul II".
On 28 May 2006, Pope Benedict XVI said Mass before an estimated 900,000 people in John Paul II's native Poland. During his homily, he encouraged prayers for the early canonisation of John Paul II and stated that he hoped canonisation would happen "in the near future."
On the fourth anniversary of Pope John Paul's death, 2 April 2009, Cardinal Dziwisz, told reporters of a presumed miracle that had recently occurred at the former pope's tomb in St. Peter's Basilica A nine year-old Polish boy from Gdańsk, who was suffering from kidney cancer and was completely unable to walk, had been visiting the tomb with his parents. On leaving St. Peter's basilica, the boy told them, "I want to walk," and began walking normally.

On 19 December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI signed the first of two decrees needed for beatification and proclaimed John Paul II "Venerable", in recognition that he lived a heroic, virtuous life. The second vote and the second signed decree would recognise the authenticity of his first miracle (most likely, the case of Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, the French nun who was cured of Parkinson's Disease). Once the second decree is signed, the ‘positio′ (the report on the cause, with documentation about his life and his writings and with information on the cause) is regarded as being complete. He can then be beatified. Some have speculated that he will be beatified sometime during (or soon after) the month of the 32nd anniversary of his 1978 election, in October 2010.
“It will be a great joy for us when he is officially beatified, but as far as we are concerned he is already a Saint.” —Stanisław Dziwisz

Dear Readers, I express the same feelings about my favourite Pope as is written above by Stanislaw, and, together with my family, I dedicate myself to the causes he upheld. May John Paul the Great be canonised a saint soon. Please pray for this intention daily when you kneel before the Blessed Sacrament or at your regular Rosary time at home. We choose today to install his picture on our homeschool wall and pray for a miracle to happen this week that will declare him a saint.. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us and this intention. Amen.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Throughout the world birth rates and total fertility rates are plunging faster and further than ever recorded in human history. Despite all the apocalyptic doomsday predictions of overpopulation propagandists, the fact is that population growth rates in many countries are already below replacement level and the world's growth rate is rapidly approaching that figure. If current trends continue, the world's population will peak by the middle of the century and then begin demographic freefall.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in each of the following 100 nations the current total fertility rates are now at or below the population replacement level-generally held to be 2.2 births per woman per completed reproductive lifetime.
Total Fertility Rates (TFR) at or Below Replacement Level
Country Population Total Fertility Rate
Albania 3581655 2.1
Andorra 71201 1.3
Anguilla 13477 1.7
Argentina 39921833 2.2
Armenia 2976372 1.6
Aruba 71891 1.8
Australia 20264082 1.8
Austria 8192880 1.4
Bahamas 303770 2.2
Barbados 279912 1.6
Belarus 10293011 1.4
Belgium 10379067 1.6
Bermuda 65773 1.9
Bosnia & Herzegovina 4498976 1.7
Brazil 188078227 1.9
British Virgin Islands 23098 1.7
Bulgaria 7385367 1.1
Burma 47382633 2.0
Canada 33098932 1.6
Cayman Islands 45436 1.9
Chile 16134219 2.0
China 1313973713 1.7
Croatia 4494749 1.9
Cuba 11382820 1.6
Cyprus 784301 1.8
Czech Republic 10235455 1.2
Denmark 5450661 1.7
Dominica 68910 2.0
Estonia 1324333 1.3
Faroe Islands 47246 2.2
Finland 5231372 1.7
France 60876136 1.8
French Polynesia 274578 2.0
Georgia 4661473 1.6
Germany 82422299 1.4
Gibraltar 27928 1.6
Greece 10688058 1.4
Guadeloupe 452776 1.9
Guernsey 65409 1.4
Guyana 767245 2.1
Hong Kong S.A.R. 6940432 1.3
Hungary 9981334 1.3
Iceland 299388 1.9
Iran 68688433 1.9
Ireland 4062235 1.9
Isle of Man 75441 1.6
Italy 58133509 1.3
Jamaica 2758124 2.0
Japan 127463611 1.4
Jersey 91084 1.6
Latvia 2274735 1.3
Lebanon 3874050 1.9
Liechtenstein 33987 1.5
Lithiuania 3585906 1.5
Luxembourg 474413 1.7
Macau S.A.R. 453125 1.3
Macedonia 2050554 1.7
Malta 400214 1.9
Martinique 436131 1.8
Mauritius 1240827 2.0
Moldova 4466706 1.8
Monaco 32543 1.8
Montserrat 9439 1.8
Netherlands 16491461 1.7
Netherlands Antilles 221736 2.0
New Zealand 4076140 1.8
North Korea 23113019 2.2
North Mariana Islands 82459 1.8
Norway 4610820 1.8
Poland 38536869 1.4
Portugal 10605870 1.5
Puerto Rico 3927188 2.0
Romania 22303552 1.4
Russia 142893540 1.4
San Marino 29251 1.3
Seychelles 81541 1.8
Singapore 4492150 1.3
Slovakia 5439448 1.3
Slovenia 2010347 1.3
Spain 40397842 1.3
South Africa 44187637 2.1
South Korea 48846823 1.6
Sri Lanka
St. Helena
St. Lucia
St. Pierre & Miquelon
St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Excerpted from Global Population Profile: 2002,
U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce,
March 2004. Mid-year 2002 populations,
in thousands, from Table A-4, *Population by
Region and Country: 1950 to 2050*; 2005 Total
Fertility Rates from Table A-9, *Total Fertility by
Region and Country: 1990 to 2050.*
Total Fertility Rate (TFR):
The average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given set of age-specific fertility rates.
Calculating the TFR involves determining the fertility rate for various cohorts of potential mothers (from age 15 to 19 through age 45 to 49); summing these; and multiplying by the size of the age interval (five).
The TFR is one of the most important fertility measures; it answers as nearly as possible the question: How many children are women currently having?
Replacement Level Fertility (RLF):
The level of fertility needed so that a child is born to replace each person in the parents' generation. Over a period of time, the continuous occurrence of replacement level fertility will produce zero population growth in the population under consideration. The Magic Number 2.1 : In the industrialized nations, and in particular, in the United States, the RLF that will produce a condition of zero population growth is widely accepted as 2.1, i.e. 2.1 births per woman per reproductive life span. Most demographers agree that if a nation's TFR=RLF= 2.1, population growth will ultimately cease and the country's population will stabilize. In the less developed countries of the world, the impact of higher mortality rates on replacement fertility levels results in RLF figures greater than 2.3. In certain Asian lands like China, the strong cultural preference for boys, now readily implemented via sex-selection abortion, has led to such unprecedented imbalances in the malefemale sex ratios that current RLF numbers are probably higher than 2.4 or even 2.5.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Tuesday, October 5, 2010


When we speak of love, we automatically think of romance. The word ‘Love’ has become synonymous with sexuality. The English language is thus limited in its usage. In the Greek language, love has three forms – philos (platonic love), eros (romantic love) and agape (brotherhood). If you love someone as a friend, your love is platonic. You don’t feel any sexual attraction towards a friend. That is why people of opposite sexes can relate to one another. Siblings in the family relate to each other by this love as well. Erotic love is associated with romance and is expressed in the sexual union between husband and wife. Agape is love for my brother/sister who is not related to me but who shares the same planet with me.
The five languages of love helps us to relate effectively to all three forms of love.

Language 1: Words of Affirmation.
All of us like appreciation. When I write for Herald, I appreciate the letters and phone calls telling me someone liked it. If I am down and my husband takes time to encourage me out of my despair, I feel loved. Kind words, encouraging words, words of praise and thanks, compliments are all ways of affirming a person and building up their self-esteem. As a parent, my role is nurturing. If I behave like a policeman, constantly dishing out orders, you bet I will not have the same results as when I use this first language to express my love for my kids. If I say ‘Please’ ‘Thank you’ and ‘Sorry’ to my spouse, my children are bound to imitate me. Let us treat our family members as we treat our boss and colleagues at work.
Language 2: Quality Time.
The term ‘quality time’ has been used often by working mothers and workaholic fathers to express the little time that they manage to squeeze from their daily grind for their families. In quality time, we give undivided attention to the person we want to show our love to. This means we need to switch off the office mobile as well as the computer and TV. We have to do whatever the other person want to do whether it is playing with the kids or listening to the spouse. Many a times, we spend quality time completing chores together. There is no communication and, at the end, we know the spouse or child no better than before. The needs of the other person remain unsatisfied.
Listening intently is the key to successful quality time. You need to make eye contact with the person not your newspaper or cookery book. Interpreting feelings and body language is an essential tool for effective listening. For example, my child may not say much but the way she pouts or the unshed tears glistening in her eyes speaks a lot of the turmoil within her. When teenagers say that nothing is wrong but their body says otherwise, you know its time to spend some quality time with them. You know, when our babies couldn’t speak, we observed their body language and interpreted their needs. In the same way, as a person talks, non-verbal clues will give us pointers on how to tackle the issue at hand.

Language 3: Gift-Giving.
A gift is something you hold in your hand that opens your heart. When you receive a gift, don’t you say in your mind “See, he remembered me!” Yes, a gift tells you that somebody cared enough to take time out to bring something to make you feel special. When two lovers are courting, they shower each other with gifts. The thrill is not the gift but the gesture. The gift may never be used but the person is never forgotten. Spouses often forget this important aspect of expressing love. I recall a husband say “I used to give her gifts when we were courting but now I cannot afford it.” Or “He never appreciates anything I bring for him so what’s the use of buying him anything.” A gift is not a toy or a pacifier, to be given to get something out of it. Gifts must be carefully chosen to please the recipient. For example, if my husband plucks a flower from a shrub growing by the wayside and presents it to me or puts it in my hair, I am thrilled. Gifts should be given with much forethought and with the sole purpose of pleasing the other. God has given us so many gifts – our life, our family, our children, our jobs, people around us who make us happy. He did not do it to get something out of it but to please us. Likewise, we too ought to give gifts to others and in doing so express our love.

Language 4: Acts of Service.
A mother once told me that her children never appreciated the work she did in the home. “I toil day in and day out but they just don’t care.” she said. I asked her whether she made time to hug her kids or play with them. She had forgotten to connect in her flurry of housework. Acts of service does not mean only doing the ordinary chores of the house; it goes beyond that. For example, taking your child to a movie he has been longing to go for, despite the many jobs you could have done in that time, is an act of service. Sacrificing your afternoon sleep to accompany your wife to watch the latest tiatr is another. Preparing a bottle of nimbu pani for my son to take when he goes for his basketball practice could also be considered as an act of service.

Language 5: Physical Touch.
When I mention physical touch, many people may misinterpret it to mean sexual touch. That is not true, although it is one of the ways to express love. It is said that one must hug a person one loves at least three times a day. When you hug a person, you say, “I looooove you” which is more potent than just saying “I love you.”
Touch is very vital for growth. A nurse in an orphanage testified to this saying, “In the ward where children were not carried and fed, they did not thrive. But in the ward where the orphans were held and caressed as we fed them, they grew healthy and happier.” A child neglected at home, left in the care of servants who have no time to love him and who is never fondled or hugged or cuddled will be a lonely individual as an adult. Such children seek love elsewhere when they become teenagers and could fall prey to wicked people. To show appreciation by a pat on the back or a squeeze of the shoulder, to pinch a baby’s cheeks gently as we speak nonsense to it, by kissing our spouse on the neck as she cooks in the kitchen or simply hugging her around the waist from behind are some of the million ways one can express love in this last language of love.
Remember, we are on this planet for a short while. What we leave behind is only this heritage of love. Our children, our spouse, our relatives, friends and those who come into our lives from time to time must receive this love from us in a tangible way. Each person has a different response to the languages of love so you must first discover by trial and error which one suits that person the most and use it to make him/her happy. A small child may appreciate hugs, a teenager responds well to words of affirmation, a spouse thrills at gift-giving, your aged parents will surely love you for your acts of service and so on.
So find time to love and be loved. To love is not a feeling; it’s a decision. Decide to use the languages of love to make your planet a Heaven on Earth.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shall be out this weekend. Doing a workshop on Theology of the Body with experts Vally and Anna Coelho. Check for details.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Modern Mother

I was listening in to the messages relayed on the radio on International Mother’s Day (May 9), when I was highly amused to hear a caller complaining about his mother. He said she was always nagging him and he was fed up with the harsh treatment. Much to my delight, the RJ countered that by saying that it was a common way for mothers to show their fierce love and protectiveness for their children.
Yes, as a mother, I totally agreed with the RJ. No doubt, it is because of our love that we attempt to mould our children into good persons. It is a difficult task since we are not perfect ourselves and often sadly out of ‘sync’ with the times.
‘Mama knows best’ – this used to be our slogan when we were growing up. We listened to our mothers, went to them for ideas and ideals, cried on their shoulders if things went wrong and hugged them around the waist when things went right. Oh, we were tempted many a time, but we always remembered their words of caution and behaved with propriety.
Today, mothers are losing this power over their kids. And why not, when they themselves are not around much to wield that authority. A tired mother, back from work, cannot hope to compete with an over-energetic and hyper-smart prodigy. Most probably, after a minor tussle of wits, she gives in, guilty to have left her child the whole day in the hands of servants or worse still, all by himself.
Modern mothers work outside their homes as well as in the home. There seems to be no respite for them at both ‘places of work’. The husband continues to be the factory worker/businessman outside the home and the hide-behind-the newspaper ‘guest’ in the home. He ‘visits’ for three-four hours in the night, has his dinner in front of the TV, then yawns himself to bed. The next day he wakes up to bed tea, a piping hot breakfast and an extra-large tiffin to carry off to work.
In contrast, look at the plight of the modern mother. She wakes up before the proverbial cock to prepare not only breakfast for her family but also their respective tiffins for work and school. She cuts and sautés the preliminary items for the midday meal if she is privileged to come home to cook it in her afternoon break, otherwise it is a whole meal that she has to prepare in advance in addition to breakfast and tiffins. Then she hurries off to work after giving proper instructions to the maid (if she is fortunate to have one, that is!). After a slogging and mind-boggling day at the office, she detours daily to the market to replenish her larder before returning home. Once home, she has to referee endless arguments of her kids, supervise their homework, besides getting the dinner ready for them in time. If a child has to be bathed or a shirt button is loose, Mom is commissioned into service. It is amazing how engrossed Dad becomes in the paper/ TV/computer and how well the kids are conditioned not to disturb him at all costs.
For stay-at-home Moms, it is no different; the only plus point is that they have more time to do the jobs listed above. It is a rare Mom that is blessed with a helpful Dad.
I asked a neighbor of mine why she puts up with it and, believe me or not, she said it is her duty to do everything. So she plods on smiling outwardly and grumbling inwardly. The husband of a modern mother has his bread buttered on both sides – a wife to cook, clean, baby-sit and also bring in the big bucks!
A child needs the undivided attention of his mother for the first five years – not a stressed out, frustrated woman who has got the worst of both sides. I am told, in Japan, mothers are asked to work from home during the first five years of their child’s life and even the father is not allowed any overseas job in that time frame. Times have changed, technology has advanced. When are our attitudes toward women, their work and their worth ever going to change? Most women seem to be tolerating this discrimination while fighting for other rights. Will 33% reservation really make any difference to the average woman who cannot even raise her voice to fight injustice in her own home? When will women ever be ‘equal’ to men in this important area of their lives?
I salute all mothers for their love, dedication and sacrifice to their families at the cost of their own personal freedom but I also wish them a lot of God’s grace to change their future for the better without compromising on family values.