Lent and Peter Pan

02-22-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Ash Wednesday throws a bucket of cold water on the culture. "Remember you are dust and unto dust you shall return" is just about as heretical as you can be in our culture. For the culture far from being non-religious is in fact very religious and dogmatic at that. It embraces not the faith of Christians but the faith of Peter Pan. The faith of Peter Pan simply states that those who age will die. The secret to immortality then is to remain perpetually a child, wishing on a star and having a Nanny to take of you.

With all our nips and tucks and anti-aging formulas and creams we can at least fool ourselves temporarily into thinking we are perpetually young. The push toward being "trans-human" promises that we will fix our nature so as to never actually die. That's why smearing ashes on our foreheads and denying ourselves the pleasures of the flesh are considered morbid and hopelessly masochistic. I know Jesus tells us to accept the faith like a child but he doesn't extol childishness. In fact he tells us to "deny our very selves" in order to find ourselves. Quite different than wishing on a star.

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A Vaccine Primer

02-15-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

In light of the recent measles out break and discussion on vaccines here is some helpful answers from the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

What is the Church's teaching about the use of certain vaccines that have a distant historical association with abortion? 
There are a number of vaccines that are made in descendent cells of aborted fetuses. Abortion is a grave crime against innocent human life. We should always ask our physician whether the product he proposes for our use has an historical association with abortion. We should use an alternative vaccine if one is available.

What does it mean when we say that these products are made in "descendent cells"?
Descendent cells are the medium in which these vaccines are prepared. The cell lines under consideration were begun using cells taken from one or more fetuses aborted almost 40 years ago. Since that time the cell lines have grown independently. It is important to note that descendent cells are not the cells of the aborted child. They never, themselves, formed a part of the victim's body.

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A Super Bowl Post Mortem….

02-08-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Because I have friends who love me a lot I was able to attend the Super Bowl for the first time. As a long time football fan and someone who appreciates the precise nature of the game watching two teams that execute the game with amazing precision and detail was quite a thrill. So here are some first thoughts, last thoughts and miscellaneous thoughts.

My first impression of the whole Super Bowl experience was overwhelming and unapologetic GREED. The fans who week-to-week go to the games, cheer on their teams are mostly an after thought when it comes to the Super Bowl. The face value of a ticket is exorbitant and very difficult to come by. The NFL releases a percentage of tickets to the teams to offer, by lottery, to the season ticket holders. Corporate sponsors like Pepsi, Verizon then can buy up more than their share. Any one else who wants to go must go through a ticket broker. That's where the real greed comes in.

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70 yrs of Catholic Education

02-01-2015Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

From the start the Catholic community in Tempe has provided for the education of its parish children. As far back as the 1880's a Catholic school was part of the Mt. Carmel community. Our present school has been in operation continuously since 1945. Which means this year we celebrate 70 years of Catholic Education at Mt. Carmel! That is a history we can be proud of and a reason for hope for the future.

Today the educational landscape has become quite diverse: Public schools, charter schools, private schools, parochial schools and home schooling. Diversity in education certainly is a benefit to our society. Still there are many voices that push very strongly for a single educational system run by the state. That however might provide uniformity but it would also most certainly create a sort of educational inbreeding that would not benefit society. The fact that so many parents and communities fight hard to keep Catholic Schools open or to form Charter Schools gives parents greater choice in providing for the educational needs of their children.

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