David Ancell's Virtual Home

I Hope They Get Their Due

  /   Monday, June 27, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I just received notice of an article stating that Allstate fired an employee for writing against gay marriage. According to the article, the writing was done on the employee’s own time, and there was no intent to appear to be bringing forth the views of the company (which are obviously way out of line).

If this is true, I’m thankful that I’m not insured with Allstate, and I never will be unless I see significant reparation made. If they won’t do it on their own, they should be sued for a trainload of money. I just hope the courts haven’t become so corrupt that they don’t see this for what it is.

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Response to My Letter

  /   Saturday, June 25, 2005   /   Comments(0)

Well, I have received largely positive responses from my letter to the Bishop. Several people have asked for what kind of response I got. I haven’t received a response as of this writing. However, I think we need to allow him time.

I take many of my cues from this article from Catholics United for the Faith. It has been exactly two weeks since the letter was written and mailed, and it has been a couple days less than that since he would have received it. I will give him the full thirty days before taking other action.

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What the . . . . . . ?

  /   Saturday, June 25, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I just got this weeks edition of our diocesean newspaper, The West Tennessee Catholic. Take a look at this. First, you see the picture of our seminarians. This is good and well, as all of them are orthodox. So, at least there is hope for the future.

However, right below, you will see a picture of Fr. John Atkinson standing with the “Liturgical Movement Group.” Just what in the heck is that? Judging by the apparent age of the participants, I have a feeling this isn’t a group of people trying to assist in the restoration of the Sacred Liturgy. Interestingly enough, two very orthodox priests were appointed to succeed him in that parish, so this will likely end soon.

It gets worse, unfortunately. Here is an article on the new ministry to gays and lesbians. According to the article “The basis for these diocesan ministries with gay and lesbian Catholics is as basic as our baptism.” What?!? I might believe that if the article had mentioned supporting them in a call to chastity rather than a vague goal to “reflect on Church teaching and pastoral practice.” After all, this could imply anything from a call to chastity to talking about how the “oppressive” teaching “alienates” them. That said, I feel that I was quite right in discerning that I needed to write this letter.

It seems as though our diocese has not been too forthcoming, and given some events that have happened over the last year, I am at a point where I cannot give them the benefit of the doubt. I wish it were not so.

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Morally Correct, but Scientifically Inaccurate

  /   Friday, June 24, 2005   /   Comments(0)

This comes out of a number of things I’ve seen and read in the past few years. There are many well-intentioned people out there who defend proper moral teaching but who use inaccurate science to do so. For example, I remember a chastity speaker who got out a package insert for an oral contraceptive and mentioned the fact that it said some cancer occurred in 0.5% of patients who took it. Her statement was that the odds may seem small, but if you were the one who got cancer, it wouldn’t matter anymore.

That might be true enough, except for one little piece of information that she was missing. Had she consulted a doctor or pharmacist, she might have found that anything with that small of an incidence may well have not been caused by the drug. The FDA makes manufacturers report anything that happened to occur while they were taking the product.

So what’s the problem with doing this? Well, for starters, it brings the person’s credibility into question. If you couldn’t (or just didn’t) verify your scientific facts, how can I be sure that you are applying the moral law correctly? Secondly, there are those who won’t believe you anyway. While you aren’t likely to convince those people, why give them ammunition? People will paint believing Christians as ignorant and superstitious regarless of what they do. Why give them objective evidence of ignorance?

Although I strongly oppose abortion as the murder of a human being, I think the emphasis being placed by many pro-lifers on the abortion and breast cancer link is misguided. If a new, well-designed study turned up that cast doubt on that link (and it could), you had better believe the pro-aborts will use it not only to tell the world abortion is safe, but also to tell the world that pro-lifers don’t know what in Gehenna they are talking about.

There’s also a problem with over-emphasizing scientific arguments, though the practice isn’t bad in itself. It seems that we are somewhat uncomfortable with bringing forth the truth that God is an objective reality. Therefore, violating God’s law is an objective problem in and of itself. After all, that’s the main concern.

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Hear It for Yourself

  /   Sunday, June 12, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I mentioned in a previous post that I attended the Young Adults Conference in Steubenville. This year, instead of selling CDs and tapes, they have released their talks for free on the web in MP3 format. You can get them here.

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How Would You Feel?

  /   Sunday, June 12, 2005   /   Comments(0)

Have you ever had someone respond to preaching against sin with something like “Well, how would you feel if someone said that about you?” I have a simple answer. That’s irrelevant. For example, someone may ask how I would feel if I had a loved one in or even if I myself were in a state similar to that of Terri Schiavo. Well, the truth is that it would be quite a cross. However, it isn’t relevant to the question of whether or not she should have been allowed to live. The objective moral norm that states that life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death is what is relevant here. The truth that we human beings don’t have a right to judge to worthiness of someone’s life is also what is relevant.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when something is wrong because it is offensive or uncharitable. Racial slurs fall into this category. However, simply applying an objective moral norm cannot be ruled as the wrong thing to do just because it doesn’t feel good to someone.

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Letter to My Bishop

  /   Saturday, June 11, 2005   /   Comments(0)

Below is the text of my letter regarding the new ministry to gays and lesbians in the Diocese of Memphis. Please note that I used the NRSV translation due to copyright issues (can quote up to 500 verses without express permission) and so that I will not be accused of stacking the deck by using a “conservative” translation. Let us pray for our bishop.

Your Excellency:

I am writing to make known my concern to you. I was greatly concerned by the formation of the new Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian persons in the Diocese of Memphis as mentioned in the May 19th edition of the West Tennessee Catholic. I understand that those who find themselves attracted to members of their own gender may have special needs, and a fine apostolate named Courage (http://www.couragerc.net/) was developed years ago to support these people in remaining chaste and dedicated to Christ. However, the information that was presented in the article and in your This Far by Faith column did not indicate that this was the purpose of the ministry being formed in the Diocese of Memphis.

The mission statement of the Catholic Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Persons suggests that the baptized are called in “the diversity of our sexual orientation,” as though homosexuality were a form of legitimate diversity such as race or gender. While the Church teaches that men and women with homosexual tendencies are to be accepted with “respect, compassion, and sensitivity,” the same paragraph in the Catechism (2358) states that this inclination is “objectively disordered.” The Catechism says that homosexual acts are “contrary to the natural law” (paragraph 2357) and that “under no circumstances can they be approved.” This is not based on a preconceived notion of who does or does not belong in the Church or on fear of differences in others but the constant teaching of Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

At the end of your column, you wrote “Let us dare to love as Christ loves.” Indeed, we should. Christ called sinners in the place where they were, but he did not leave them there. To the woman caught in adultery, he said “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” (John 8:11, NRSV). We understand this when we minister to alcoholics or drug addicts. The effects of their addiction may remain for life, but they are helped to stop the abuse of the alcohol or drug that is destroying them. Likewise, those with a homosexual inclination must be helped in their call to chastity, self-mastery, and inner freedom as called for in paragraph 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. To do otherwise is to leave people whom Christ loves in bondage to sin. Jesus said “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” He also said “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:31,34, NRSV).

As you have said in your column “This spiritual home is to be a precursor of the home we will have for eternity . . . Our task while we are in this earthly home is to do all we can to help each other grow into the home we will share in heaven.” It is essential that we do not condone people’s sin but rather help them to overcome it. Otherwise, we are likely to find that they do not make it into Heaven, and we will be held responsible before God and possibly ourselves condemned. Some people may walk away, but people also walked away from Jesus on account of teaching they could not accept (John 6:66). Please reconsider the approach the Diocese is taking to its ministry to people with homosexual inclinations.


C. David Ancell, Pharm.D.

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In-Vitro Fertilization May Not Result in More Live Births

  /   Friday, June 10, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I found this to be quite interesting. In-vitro fertilization results in an increased “pregnancy rate,” but it may not result in more live births. I guess we can assume that most couples wanting to get pregnant also want live births, don’t you think?

Of course, this article does not mention that the practice is immoral. Couples have no right to children; they are gifts from God. Children are not manufactured products, and in-vitro fertilization treats them as such. Besides, many more embryos are produced than are ever implanted, so this results in what is essentially multiple abortions. Each embryo, once produced, is a human being with a soul.

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World Youth Day Qualification

  /   Friday, June 10, 2005   /   Comments(0)

You will need to subscribe to Catholic World News to get the full article, but I thought this was interesting enough to merit posting. Germany is administering catechism tests to some participants in World Youth Day to determine whether or not they can get into the county. I wonder if they realized that this would cause a lot of Catholics to be barred from World Youth Day.

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Steubenville Young Adults Conference

  /   Tuesday, June 07, 2005   /   Comments(0)

I spent last weekend at the Young Adult Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. I had been to three Defending the Faith Conferences, but this was the first time I had been to Young Adults Conference. The Young Adults Conference was held in Washington DC the past two years, and I wanted to be in Steubenville, not Washington DC. They moved the conference this year, so I decided to go for it.

The experience was quite different. Defending the Faith gets about 1,500 participants and is therefore very crowded. The schedule is very intense, with two or three talks back-to-back in a morning and then Scott Hahn talking about the talks in between. Young Adults gets about 400, so it’s easier to meet people and then see them again later. There were fewer talks, and there was a social each evening. It was much easier to get through the confession line as well. You know you are in a Catholic venue when there is a praise band and a cash bar within 25 feet of each other.

The only speakers I had heard of before seeing them at the conference were Fr. Larry Richards and Fr. Michael Scanlan. They were still very good. They hit on some things that I needed to hear about. Despite being without Jim Cowan, the music ministry did a great job. I spent some time yesterday trying to find some of the songs on iTunes. I found everything I was looking for. They aren’t as good as the Steubenville band, but they will have to do.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. While I appreciate the enthusiasm they show at Mass (which indicates they regard it as a reality), sometimes things got a little showy or silly. I attended the Life in the Spirit workshops as my break-out session, and I don’t think that was a good idea. Most of the first part seemed to be a repetition of “The Lord touched my heart . . . I had a lot going on, but the Lord really spoke to me.” and other rather general phrases. The second part was kind of a prayer meeting. It wasn’t a good thing for someone like me who is not that knowledgable of the Charismatic Renewal and is very skeptical of some (but not all) of their claims, especially their interpretation of speaking in tongues. It probably didn’t help that I was so tired when I went that I struggled to keep my eyes open.

Overall, I had a great experience. I found great joy in meeting other young adult Catholics who want to live their faith. Since I went by myself, I went around to groups in the dining area and asked if I could join them. No one turned me down. They were an awesome group, and I hope that I see them again. Maybe I’ll see them next year.

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