Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jungfrau, Mutter Gottes mein

In honor of the Blessed Virgin on the Feast of the Assumption:

Jungfrau, Mutter Gottes mein
Laß mich ganz dein eigen sein!
Dein im Leben und im Tod,
Dein in Unglück, Angst und Not;
Dein in Kreuz und bittrem Leid,
Dein für Zeit und Ewigkeit,
Jungfrau, Mutter Gottes mein,
Laß mich ganz dein eigen sein!

Mutter, auf dich hoff' und baue ich!
Mutter, zu dir ruf' und seufze ich!
Mutter, du Gütigste, steh' mir bei!
Mutter, du Mächtigste, Schutz mir verleih!

O Mutter, so komm, hilf beten mir!
O Mutter, so komm, hilf streiten mir!
O Mutter, so komm, hilf leiden mir!
O Mutter, so komm und bleib' bei mir!

Du kannst mir ja helfen, o Mächtigste!
Du willst mir ja helfen, o Gütigste!
Du mußt mir nun helfen, o Treueste!
Du wirst mir auch helfen, Barmherzigste!

O Mutter der Gnade, der Christen Hort,
Du Zuflucht der Sünder, des Heiles Pfort',
Du Hoffnung der Erde, des Himmels Zier,
Du Trost der Betrübten, ihr Schutzpanier.

Wer hat je umsonst deine Hilf' angefleht?
Wann hast du vergessen ein kindlich' Gebet?
Drum ruf' ich beharrlich im Kreuz und im Leid:
"Maria hilft immer! Sie hilft jederzeit"
Ich ruf' voll Vertrauen im Leiden und Tod:
"Maria hilft immer, in jeglicher Not!"
So glaub' ich und lebe und sterbe darauf:
"Maria hilft mir in den Himmel hinauf."


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Gift for Candlemas

Today's feast, The Presentation of the Lord, was for centuries known as Candlemas. According to

The Feast of the Presentation, often called Candlemas, commemorates the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the presentation of Christ in the temple, which took place 40 days after his birth as Jewish law required. According to Mosaic law, a mother who had given birth to a boy was considered unclean for seven days. Also, she was to remain 33 days "in the blood of her purification." Luke tells us, quoting Exodus 13:2,12, that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem because every firstborn child was to be dedicated to the Lord. They also went to sacrifice a pair of doves or two young pigeons, showing that Mary and Joseph were poor. Once in the temple, Jesus was purified by the prayer of Simeon, in the presence of Anna the prophetess. Simeon, upon seeing the Messiah, gave thanks to the Lord, singing a hymn now called the Nunc Dimittis. . . .

The name Candlemas comes from the activities associated with the feast. It came to be known as the Candle Mass. In the Western Church, a procession with lighted candles is the distinctive rite. According to post Vatican-II discipline, (if possible) . . . beeswax candles are to be blessed somewhere other than where the Mass is held. Often your local parish will hand out candles, or you may bring your own, to be blessed before the procession. These may be saved for later use in your home. After an antiphon, during which the candles held by the people are lighted, there is a procession into the church. During the procession to the church, the Nunc Dimittis is sung, with the antiphon "Lumen ad revelationem" (Luke 2:32). This procession into the church for Mass commemorates Christ's entrance into the temple. Since Vatican II, the feast is reckoned a feast of the Lord (as opposed to a feast of Mary), and officially designated "The presentation of the Lord."

Happy Candlemas to all, and the grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!

Charles Wood - Nunc Dimittis in B flat .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"No one takes my life; I lay it down freely."

As promised, here is my favorite picture from Hamburg, the site of a recent three-week excursion. The German words can be translated as, "Forty thousand sons of the city gave their lives for you."

I passed this monument every morning on the way to my temporary work assignment. Leaving aside the question of the morality of war -- especially World War I, which comprises the reference dates at the bottom of the monument -- I found this reminder especially poignant.

The German word liessen, translated above as "gave," comes from the verb lassen. Lassen means literally "to let." Forty thousand sons of the city let their lives [be sacrificed] for you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Begone, "Left Behind"!

I’ve just listened to two terrific MP3s on the End Times – from a Catholic perspective.

Begone Left Behind series! The traditional priest from Audio Sancto does a wonderful job of debunking common Protestant myths like the Rapture, the Millennial Reign of Christ, etc.

Focusing on the work of a Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, he gives an excellent overview of what Catholics can know about the End Times – and what we must not speculate about.

I hope to revisit this series later in this blog, but for now, please go here and here, and listen to this amazing priest deliver an antidote to the anti-Christ craze.

Monday, October 19, 2009

KCM Returns

After a three-week hiatus, I've returned from a trip to Hamburg. Pictures and comments will follow shortly!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Only YOU Can Prevent Abortion Funding

Christians Hold Vigil In Front Of Supreme Court

Much has been made of the Baucus Bill, an amendment to the current health care proposal currently being debated. Proponents of the bill, sponsored by Max Baucus, democratic senator from Montana and chair of the powerful Senate Committee on Finance, say it will disallow abortion funging in the current health care debate.

But prominent pro-life groups, including National Right to Life and Americans United for Life, are skeptical.

LifeSite News reports:

"National Right to Life noted yesterday that the Baucus bill—known as the America's Healthy Future Act—‘contains an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion.’

Americans United for Life has also released an analysis saying the bill ‘deals with the issue of abortion by incorporating similar language to the Capps amendment to H.R. 3200, which does not explicitly exclude abortion coverage and funding; in fact, the Capps Amendment mandates abortion funding.’

‘This bill provides $6 billion for the establishment of health insurance cooperatives which would be permitted to cover abortion,’ AUL president Charmaine Yoest told late Wednesday.

‘Under the Baucus bill, abortions permitted under the Hyde amendment (currently in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother) can be mandated in the minimum benefits package,’ she explained. ‘If the Hyde Amendment is ever eliminated, the Baucus bill would mandate coverage for all abortions.’”

What Can You Do?

  • Be skeptical when someone tells you a proposal doesn’t allow abortion just because there’s not specific language allowing it. Funding for abortion must be specifically disallowed and an enforcement mechanism in place. Abortion is big business, and those who profit from the murder of innocents won't go peacefully away.
  • Write your congressmen regularly. I recommend using the template provided by the National Right to Life found here.
  • Don’t let leaders rush into health care. If the current proposals are defeated altogether, then well and good.
If you were in the market for a house, would you buy the first one you saw because it had four walls and a roof? No? Then consider that that has been your elected officials’ response to health care.

The problems with health care didn’t appear overnight, but instead of taking time (years, perhaps) deciding 1) what’s needed, 2) what’s financially possible, 3) what’s responsible, and 4) what’s effective, they’re attempting to rush willy-nilly into “buying” the first house they see.

These folks work for you! Hold their feet to the fire until you’re satisfied that every American man, woman, and child can live with the trillions of dollars this will cost.

Ask at every step:

· How are life issues dealt with? According to Catholic social teaching, which respects life from conception to natural death? Or according to the slippery-slope moral relativism that characterizes our current government?

· Is this fiscally sustainable? Can it be financed as we go along or are we passing the cost to our children and grandchildren?

· Who is covered? Does it create an incentive for people to behave illegally and/or immorally?

· Does it mesh with free-market principles or are the principles being promoted socialist in nature?

· Will it allow the government greater control over our lives? If so, how much control is acceptable?

Archbishop Sheen, Pray for Us

One of my favorite Youtube clips, featuring the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen as the mystery guest on "What's My Line?"

It's amazing today, when priests are so regularly lampooned as fools, to see in what esteem the Catholic Church and its leaders used to be held.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When Mac and Cheese Won't Do

Oh Ree, Ree. Why do you torture me?

The term Welsh Rarebit apparently originated as a joke about the Welsh, who weren't allowed to eat rabbits hunted on the estates of nobility. The joke, of course, was that in Wales, cheese was the poor man's meat.

So make this dish. Do it for Wales. Or Britain. Or South Carolina . . . .

Catholic Medical Association: Open Letter re: Health Care

September 21, 2009
Members of the Catholic Medical Association have been carefully monitoring the process and content of the health-care reform debate from our unique perspectiveas Catholic physicians. We are familiar with contributions made to the national debate by other Catholic organizations.
As efforts to enact health-care reform legislation intensify, we would like to share our perspective on some prudential aspects of health-care reform and work collaboratively with others to shape legislation in harmony with the Catholic faith. These thoughts reflect years of experience serving patients and families in medical practice while endeavoring to apply the full spectrum of Catholic medical-moral and social teaching.

We believe we are facing a crisis, not only in health-care financing and delivery, but in the health-care reform process itself. As is often noted, the word “crisis” can mean either danger or opportunity. The United States has the opportunity (and obligation) to craft effective, ethical responses to the crisis in health-care financing and delivery. But there also exists a real danger that misguided legislation could make our current problems even worse. This is a critical time for Catholics to work together to formulate solutions based upon authentic moral, social, and economic principles,

The failings of the U.S. health-care financing and delivery system are well-known. Many people lack consistent access to affordable health insurance and are unable to obtain appropriate health- care services in a timely manner. Health-care services are expensive and fragmented. These problems result largely from misguided incentives in tax, employment, and government policy. One unfortunate result of this has been increasing third-party payer intrusion into the patient- physician relationship, with significantly deleterious consequences.

All Catholics should agree on the fundamental ethical and social principles proposed by the Church. The question we are faced with, after decades of misguided policies, is how should we apply these teachings so as to provide universal access to quality health-care insurance and services in a cost-effective, ethical manner?

Bills passed out of committees in the House and Senate this summer rely heavily on the federal government to dictate solutions. They empower a small group of unelected government bureaucrats and committees to determine the composition and cost of health insurance policies, the reimbursement of providers, the approval of treatments, etc. We think this government-controlled approach is flawed in principle and ineffective, if not dangerous, in practice.

• This approach clearly violates the principle of subsidiarity first articulated by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno, n. 79, and recently reaffirmed by Pope John Paul II in Centesimus annus, n. 48 and Pope Benedict XVI in Caritas in veritate, n. 47.

This approach has been and will be ineffective. The federal government has a very poor track record of managing large programs in a cost-effective manner. Medicare will be insolvent by 2017 and faces a $37 trillion unfunded liability. Medicaid’s problems are well known. Costs have run out of control in most states, and 40 percent of physicians no longer accept Medicaid because low reimbursement rates do not even cover the overhead expense of providing care. Adding millions of people to this flawed government system (as proposed by the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee bill) is not meaningful health insurance reform.

•This approach, moreover, is dangerous given the current Administration’s repeated failures to accord proper respect for the dignity of human life. Reversing the Mexico City Policy and providing federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research are only the best known of a whole series of proposals denying respect for human life.

In addition, the Administration seems intent upon institutionalizing such policies making it difficult, if not impossible, to overturn them in the future. While there have been some misunderstandings about provisions relating to end-of-life consultations; serious concerns remain regarding funding for care of the seriously ill and dying. All are aware that a significant percentage of health-care spending occurs in the last months of a person’s life, and we are facing a demographic tsunami of aging baby boomers. Giving the federal government the power, and primary responsibility, to contain medical expenditures could threaten the provision of medical care to the most vulnerable, the elderly and chronically ill.

We believe there are better approaches to achieving meaningful health-care reform and meeting our common goal of making health-care coverage truly universal and genuinely affordable.

•We should advocate for legislation making it possible for individuals and families to purchase health insurance that meets their needs and also respects their values. This could be achieved by re-assigning the tax deduction for health insurance from employers to individuals. And bringing appropriate incentives from the market economy to health insurance companies will increase competition and correct the problem of regional insurance monopolies, thereby reducing costs of insurance and medical care. Such reforms would address the needs of the great majority of people. Congress can also tailor programs to assist those most in need, the working poor, the unemployed, and those currently uninsurable due to preexisting conditions.

•We should encourage greater individual accountability in health-care spending. Since 70 percent of health-care spending is for conditions directly influenced by personal behavior, there is considerable potential for improved health and reduced spending by encouraging healthier lifestyles with appropriate financial incentives. In general, reforms encouraging individual ownership of health insurance and personal responsibility for spending on medical care are more likely to reduce costs in an ethically acceptable manner than are those increasing the power and control of third parties.

•Before supporting the creation of another large government program, we should work to reform those already in existence and demonstrating serious difficulty in controlling costs. Medicaid needs an extensive overhaul to ensure quality care for the poor and just compensation for providers.

In conclusion, we call upon all Catholics and Catholic organizations to reaffirm their support for the foundational ethical and social teachings of the Church which provide a framework for authentic health care reform, and to unite as one in an uncompromising commitment to defend the sanctity of life and the conscience rights of all providers as essential parts of health-care reform. And we also respectfully urge all Catholics and Catholic organizations to place a greater emphasis on respecting the principle of subsidiarity across the spectrum of issues in health-care financing and delivery during the coming legislative debates.

Experience indicates that medical decisions are best made within the personal context of the individual patient-physician relationship rather than within some remote, impersonal, and bureaucratic agency, whether governmental or corporate. We are convinced that if this important principle of Catholic social teaching is not correctly upheld, then short-term measures to defend the right to life and respect for conscience will ultimately fail and the patient-physician relationship will be irreparably compromised.

We noted above that we face not only a crisis in health-care financing and delivery, but a crisis in the current legislative process. We must ensure that well-intentioned efforts to bring about “change” are not exploited to create a federally controlled system that promises health care for all, but creates an oppressive bureaucracy hostile to human life and to the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.

It would be better to forgo long-needed changes in health-care financing and delivery in the short-term if these would lead to a long-term, systemic policy regime that is inimical to respect for life, religious freedom, and the goods served by the principle of subsidiarity. Rather than accept such an outcome, we should take the time required to implement reform measures that are sound in both principled and practical terms.

Thank you.

Louis C. Breschi, M.D.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Teacher: Tootles to Tots

One Carthage school official opened the school year with a sentimental tribute to a tot's first day at school. Dr. Mark Baker, Assistant Superintendent of the Carthage School District, shared his do-and-don't list for Little Johnny's big debut. (Here’s hoping the picture appearing beside the article is columnist Jane Drummond and not Dr. Baker.)

And what better way to welcome Little Johnny or Jane home than this recipe, dreamed up by none other than Ree Drummond (probably no relation to columnist Jane). I hate her; I love her. She makes cooking look so effortless and taste so delicious; she stays skinny herself while riddling the rest of us with cellulite.

I just hope this evil genius is willing to pay my membership fees when I have to join Weight Watchers again.