Sunday, May 15, 2011

Barbara Roccanti

Barbara Roccanti, loving wife of Ferdinand Roccanti, passed away this last Friday evening after a long illness.

Funeral Mass and burial are scheduled for Monday, May 16 in Conyers, GA.

Please offer your prayers for Barbara and Ferdinand in this most difficult time.

Our Lady of America, Pray for us!

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

US bishops criticize Obama administration's decision on marriage law

By Catholic News Service


The U.S. bishops' Office of General Counsel said the Obama administration's decision to no longer support the Defense of Marriage Act in legal challenges ahead "represents an abdication" of its "constitutional obligation to ensure that laws of the United States are faithfully executed."

"Marriage has been understood for millennia and across cultures as the union of one man and one woman," the office said in a statement issued Feb. 23 after President Barack Obama instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the federal law passed by Congress and signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

The Defense of Marriage Act says the federal government defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and that no state must recognize a same-sex marriage from another state.

"The principal basis for today's decision is that the president considers the law a form of impermissible sexual orientation discrimination," the Office of General Counsel said.

In a Feb. 23 statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said that although the administration has defended the 1996 law in some federal courts, it will not continue to do so in cases pending in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Unlike in the previous cases, said Holder, the 2nd Circuit "has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated."

In response to the announcement, the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage, called on Congress to "get lawyers in the courtroom who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests."

"We have only begun to fight," said Brian Brown, president of the organization. He also said that with Holder's announcement, Obama "unilaterally" declared homosexuals "a protected class" under the Constitution and would effectively make a federal court decision on the law, "unreviewable by higher courts."

While Obama favors repealing the law, Holder said he has supported defending it as constitutional if a state or local law meets the legal standard of having "a rational basis" for singling out people for different treatment based on sexual orientation.

But in the pending cases, Holder said, the administration "faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply."

Obama "has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny," Holder's statement said. He added that Obama has concluded that the law "as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the president has instructed the department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the president's determination."

Holder went on to say that the legal landscape has changed since the law was passed, including with Supreme Court rulings overturning laws criminalizing homosexual conduct and the repeal by Congress of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Unless Congress repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, or a final court ruling strikes it down, it will continue to remain in effect and the administration will continue to enforce it, Holder noted.

"But while both the wisdom and the legality of (the pertinent section of the law) will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court," Holder said.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Girl Scouts Promote Pro-Abortion Agenda

By J.C. Willke, M.D.

Many of you will recognize the name of the author as the founder of The National Right to Life and International Right to Life organizations. He spent many of his formative years growing up on the property now known as Sylvan Springs in Rome City, IN.

Recently the Boy Scouts of America distanced itself from the Girl Scouts and entered into an agreement with American Heritage Girls to provide mutual support to one another.

The mission of Boy Scouts has always been to prepare young men to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Okay, but where are the Girl Scouts in this picture and who are American Heritage Girls?

American Heritage Girls was founded to offer faith-based leadership and character development programs to girls age five to eighteen. Its mission is to “build women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country.” The small all-girl unit within the American Heritage Girls troop structure provides a nurturing environment for learning and building positive relationships, character development and spiritual enrichment.

At this point you may be thinking this is what Girl Scouts have been doing. Well, the Girl Scout’s Executive Director, Marty Evans, has boasted, “We’re not your mother’s Girl Scout troop.” How true! Let’s take a closer look at why this is the case.

It is quite obvious that Boy Scouts are now considered a controversial group because they won’t allow homosexual troop leaders. You may also be thinking that the Girl Scouts aren’t controversial. These cute little girls who sell you cookies are all sugar and spice and everything nice? Well, not if the current generation of Girl Scout leaders has anything to say about it. For they hope to make these little girls the “shock troops” of an ongoing feminist revolution.

Let’s look back on the history of Girl Scouts, for change has been slowing coming on for years. In 1972, they dropped loyalty to their country from their oath in favor of “I will do my best to be honest and fair.” In 1975 the first Catholic Archdiocese cut off all support for the Girl Scouts because of their sex-ed program.

During 1993, the Girl Scouts made “God” optional in the Girl Scout promise. “On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help all people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law.” But the Scout manual notes that the word “God” can be interpreted in a number of ways depending on one’s spiritual beliefs. “When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word God with whatever word your spiritual beliefs dictate.”1 Note that Boy Scouts have been sued over keeping God’s name obligatory in their oath.

Central to these changes has been achieving affirmative action for girls visa vie boys. This mandates gender equality in sports and endorsement of affirmative action in “recruitment, hiring, training and promoting…” They are taught to support a decision to pull a life support system from a dying relative and (here it comes) given information and justification for “ending a pregnancy.”2

They still sell cookies, but here are some new badges to earn: “domestic violence awareness, stress management, girl power and decisions for your life”3 (teen pregnancy, etc.). Let’s note a few examples of these changes:

In Pennsylvania, Junior Girl Scouts (age-12) can attend a workshop on puberty designed by Planned Parenthood to earn their “becoming a teen” badge.4

In Connecticut, Girl Scouts honored a Planned Parenthood official for promoting “healthy practices” in local troops.4

In Amarillo, TX, Girl Scouts have sponsored Planned Parenthood sex-ed seminars for 4th through 8th graders.4

The following quotes indicate the Girl Scouts are abandoning their original foundation on biblical principles consisting of definite moral rights and wrongs:

“You can rarely state that something is definitely right or wrong.” (See Exploring Spirituality—WAGGGS 2000)5

“There is no right way to live, look, talk, dress, eat, or act.” (See Brownie/Girl Scout Handbook—1993)6

In Amarillo, TX, Girl Scouts have sponsored Planned Parenthood sex-ed seminars for 4th through 8th graders.“Our movement is secular and founded on American democratic principles, one of which is freedom of religion.” (See What We Stand For—2003)7

Jim Sedlak of the organization Stop Planned Parenthood has stated that the Girl Scouts have said they would not take a position on abortion or birth control. That is the “official” position. However, many troops affiliate and work with Planned Parenthood, which is the largest provider of abortions in the United States. Further, their sex education programs are obviously aimed at young people and getting kids into sexual situations, which of course means more abortions for Planned Parenthood.

One of the initial controversies was quite revealing. A Girl Scout Council in Waco, Texas gave a “Woman of Distinction” award to the local chief of Planned Parenthood who runs an abortion chamber in Waco.8 The Waco, Texas area council then called for a boycott of the annual Girl Scout cookie sales and voted to end their partnership with Planned Parenthood of Central Texas. The Girl Scout officials denied that they supported Planned Parenthood. However, the Girl Scouts Blue Bonnet Council had sponsored Planned Parenthood’s “Nobody’s Fool” teen and pre-teen educational events in the past. In 2003, Planned Parenthood announced in a “Nobody’s Fool” flyer that every child in 7th through 9th grade would go home with a free copy of the book, “It’s Perfectly Normal,” and 5th and 6th graders would be given a copy of “It’s So Amazing.”9 These books offered sympathetic treatment of abortion, masturbation and homosexuality. Pressure to stop this resulted in a firestorm of protests about the local Girl Scout and Planned Parenthood entanglement. As a result, a number of troops in the Waco and Houston areas disbanded or severed ties with National Girl Scouts. However, this remained relatively local and did not spread nationally at the time.

While the Girl Scouts claim neutrality on abortion, their website is clear. The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts promoted their participation in a march advocating “sexual and reproductive [abortion] rights.” The participants demanded the following rights:10

All young people must have access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive [abortion] health services, including contraption and emergency contraception, in order to avoid unintended pregnancies.10

Accessible, affordable and safe abortions should be made part of the minimum packages of sexual and reproductive health services.10

The World Association of Girl Scouts hosted a panel at the United Nations annual commission on the status of women. According to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the Girl Scouts allowed Planned Parenthood to distribute a booklet entitled, “Healthy, Happy and Hot.”11 Much of it was too sexually explicit to print in this article. It purports to be a sex guide, advocating every imaginable kind of sexual activity stating, “There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself.”11 Clearly, nothing is off limits, even for children below the age of consent.

Regis Nicoll, in an article on Charles Colson’s Breakpoint website, states, “Planned Parenthood is a welcomed guest in 20% of the Girl Scout Councils nationwide.”12 During such events, the attendees are given the “It’s Perfectly Normal” book. Planned Parenthood believes that sexual activity of any kind is a human right at any age. It is never too early to start.

The Boy Scouts went to the US Supreme Court to fight attempts by homosexuals to assume leadership positions in Boy Scout organizations. Sadly, the Girl Scouts did not welcome a similar guideline. In one of the scouting books, there are coming-of-age stories such as an essay entitled, “All I really needed to know about being a lesbian I learned at Girl Scout Camp.”13

And then there is the Covenant of the Goddess. This is a Wiccan “witch” website that describes their awards program. There is an Over the Moon Award, age 8 to 11, and a Heart and Crescent Award, age 12 to 18. These are offered to “any young person who is a member of any nature-oriented religion (Wicca, Druid, Asatru, etc.) These award patches are to be worn on the Girl Scout uniform.13

In the last two years, the Girl Scouts have launched a new leadership program. It purports to take the Girl Scouts on a series of “age specific” journeys, culminating with senior scouts becoming ambassadors to “change the world for the global good.”

Has Girl Scouting been captured and brain-washed by New Age theorist? No, it has not been captured; its leadership has voluntarily surrendered. This venture in moral relevance began 40 years ago when the Girl Scout laws went from a standard of clear cut absolutes to a series of suggestions which began with “I will do my best to…” and then made the word “God” an option in the pledge. Now it may well be that a continuing flow of the membership will do the same.

So if you think that your 12-year-old daughter, who joined the Scouts to go hiking, collect leaves, make candles and to do bird-watching is in safe hands, it may be time to for you to investigate what your Girl Scout troop and council are doing. We certainly should emphasize that there are hundreds of troops that still observe the traditional family-centered, God-centered practices of the original Girl Scouts. But they are now fewer and fewer, for the philosophy coming down from national is spreading. In the meantime, please understand there are almost four million Girl Scouts, each of whom pay a yearly membership fee directly to the national office. In 2009 alone, this brought in over $32,518,000 to its national treasury.14 Several years ago, the National Catholic Registrar noted that there are still some Christian people in its leadership but, “we are outnumbered. The feminists have been infiltrating for too long. We should have started fighting back years ago.”

American Heritage Girls

An alternative does exist. In a response to the radical left capture of the leadership of the Girl Scouts of America, Patti Garibay, a former Girl Scout leader, founded the national American Heritage Girls in 1995 in Cincinnati. It has 300 troops in 38 states, with over 12,000 members and a presence in 3 countries. Its program includes the Judeo-Christian values that our countries were founded on. It strives to enhance the girl’s life experiences with fun-filled activities supervised by trained adults, supported by family members and to do all the things that Girl Scouting was originally founded to do. As noted above: In the National Girl Scout Promise it reads, “I will try to serve God,” God now has an asterisk indicating that you can interpret this word any way you wish and substitute it with any other word. Patti Garibay says, “God in our lives is not optional. We believe that character-building programs for youth, such as scouting, demand a moral compass. Our scouting programs are based on a philosophical basis of biblical truths and a continued commitment to assist girls as they grow in their relationship with Christ.” American Heritage Girls takes this oath: I promise to love God. Cherish my family. Honor my country. And serve in my community.

For more information on this alternative to Girl Scouts, contact: American Heritage Girls, 175 Tri-County Parkway, Suite 100, Cincinnati, OH 45246. or 513.771.2025

A Word from Dr. James Dobson

I would like to offer an alternative to Girl Scouts of the USA which I can no longer recommend to parents. That organization has changed radically since 1993 when it began making references to God “optional” and marking the word with an asterisk. Then came mandates against Christmas caroling, praying at meetings and singing hymns. Now we see a surge toward the left that is deeply disturbing to many Christian parents.

For example as part of Girl Scouts United States of America, A Maze Program for middle school scouts, the girls read a quote from Buddha and are encouraged to explore mazes and stone or dirt labyrinths—symbols rooted in pagan mythology and the New Age movement. They are used as meditation tools along with “transformation circles.” Eastern mysticism through Zen Gardens and Buddhist writings are part of the curriculum. Moral relativism is evident throughout, which teaches that ethical issues are up to the individual. GSUSA’s definition of right and wrong includes the statement “whatever is consistent with your character.” The curriculum has a strong, anti-boy tone. Boys are mentioned only in negative situations. There is minimal emphasis on mother, father or family. Girls are not taught pride of country. The United States is depicted as antiquated and incompatible with globalism. One program involves girls in the United Nations Population Fund. Translated that amounts to a massive effort to limit human procreation by means of abortion.

Many of the female role models lauded by GSUSA are radical feminists, lesbians, existentialists or Communists, including the former chairwoman of the American Communist Party. There is much more to disturb parents including a consistent infusion of lesbian and homosexual propaganda. In short the organization has been “captured” by advocates of an extreme leftist ideology that is now being force-fed to millions of vulnerable girls. Its board of directors and many troop leaders are intent on converting every girl from the youngest Daisy to a mature Ambassador into an “agent of change” who is programmed to implement an extreme international agenda. The media has kept this transformation a secret for more than a decade but it is information that all parents should know.

Dr. Dobson goes on to enthusiastically recommend American Heritage Girls as an alternative organization.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Standard of Living

In light of the growing number of troubled and increasingly desperate people in our society, it seems appropriate to repeat this post which first ran in 2009.

"Thanks" to Janice for sending this item and "Thanks" to my parents who taught me this same lesson growing up.

Your standard of living has very little to do with how much money you make or how many possessions you have. It depends primarily on the way you choose to live your life in each moment.

Your standard of living is not decided by where you came from. It is determined by where you choose to go.

You don't need anyone's permission or assistance to raise your standard of living. You simply must decide to make the very best of who you are and what you have.

Do you wish to live a magnificent life that's overflowing with joy and fulfillment? You can most certainly do that, right here and now, by choosing your attitude, your perceptions, your thoughts and your actions.

Raise your standard of living in every moment by doing something to make your world a more beautiful place. Achieve the very highest standard of living by faithfully following the purpose that lives at your core.

There is always something you can do to improve the quality of your life. Continually seize those opportunities for improvement, and enjoy a rich, rewarding standard of living all the time. --


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Strange Silence

January 18, 2011

You have to wonder some times about what provokes citywide outrage -- and what doesn't.

Last week, Schools Chancellor Cathie Black's offhand joke about how birth control would resolve school overcrowding elicited a cascade of angry responses flooding news outlets, blogs and Twitter. Before the sun was high in the sky, the usual suspects stood in front of the microphones and sat in front of their keyboards denouncing Black (who has now apologized).

Earlier in the month, news of some truly horrifying health statistics vanished almost without a peep.

First, Archbishop Timothy Dolan and several clergy leaders held a news conference to decry the high abortion rate in New York City. The most recent data are for 2009 -- when 41 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. The Bronx had the highest rate, followed by Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Staten Island.

Almost a week later, the city Health Department reported that The Bronx ranked the worst among the boroughs on almost every major barometer of health, from infant deaths to cancer to HIV/AIDS. Cancer, chronic-obstructive-pulmonary disease, diabetes and abortion are far too common in The Bronx and are the leading cause of death in poor black and Hispanic neighborhoods.

None of the usual suspects expressed outrage, blasted Mayor Bloomberg or announced City Council hearings over these dismal statistics.

The expression of outrage over the city's high abortion rate was left to Dolan and maverick Rev. Michael Faulkner, who said he felt heartsick that abortion is "the leading cause of death among African-Americans" in the city.

It is indeed heartbreaking that 60 percent of all unborn African-American babies are aborted.

Just think about it: Black women in our city have three abortions for every two live births. The Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation are giving "fist bumps" all around.

The local chapters of the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood reflexively defend this ugly disparity. Planned Parenthood says that if Dolan, Faulkner and their allies are really committed to lowering the city's abortion rate, they should support efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, like sex education and birth control.

Yet the statistics should be sobering. Dolan says, "We've been hearing for many years from pro-choice supporters that abortion should be 'safe, legal and rare.' Well, if that's the goal, we've clearly, abysmally failed -- especially here in New York City."

Sorry: The NOW/Planned Parenthood-endorsed regime of "comprehensive" sex education, condoms and birth control has been in place for decades in New York City -- yet the abortion rate stands at 48 percent in The Bronx. The city is in the pregnancy-prevention business as well, having distributed 40 million free condoms in 2009.

None of this seems to be having the intended effect. It may be time for a different approach.

The 87,000 abortions performed in 2009 have caused me to question my pro-choice votes in the state Assembly in support of Medicaid-funded abortions. Was I an enabler of abortion as a family-planning tool?

I could at least console myself with my work to restore funding for the Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation -- a nonprofit that provides critical services to young, low-income pregnant women to help them to bear their children and raise them with dignity.

There's hope for common ground here: Traci Perry of Planned Parenthood also cites the need to "really begin to provide the health-care services and the information that these communities need to deal with unintended pregnancies."

I'm joining with the Chiaroscuro Foundation in working with Bronx clergy to design an outreach program for young women and men to combat unintended pregnancies and abortions in The Bronx. It's time to put our collective outrage into constructive action.

Shh! Did you hear that? That was the cry of a black baby being born.