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Lenten Pet Peeve

  /   Monday, February 26, 2007   /   Comments(0)

I always wonder why people have the urge to just go and do just whatever. In two churches in the Memphis area, I noticed that the holy water was removed for Lent, and the fonts were covered with a purple piece of cloth. I guess they want us to have a “dessert experience.” Well, the whole idea of a dessert experience is to remove what distracts us from Our Lord. A sacramental such as holy water does not qualify as this.

Apparently, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments agrees. In this letter, we are told that this practice is not permitted until Holy Thursday. Once again, Rome has told us that liturgical innovations are not welcome. I wish people would get the message.

For my part, I filled up four bottles of holy water before Lent started. I guess I’ll need to carry one with me to certain places. Fortunately, it appears that my own parish has left the holy water alone.

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  /   Sunday, February 25, 2007   /   Comments(0)

Here I am with the promised sequel to this post about the need to solve “the root of the problem.”

A couple of weeks ago I went to a continuing education conference for pharmacists. The main thing that caught my eye was an problem that was called “Robo-Tripping.” What is this? Well, you may or may not know this, but most cough medicine that is sold without a prescription (including Robitussin DM) contain dextromethorphan as the active ingredient. Apparently, some teenagers have figured out that they can use it to get high. It’s called Robo-Tripping, but it can be done with any product containing dextromethorphan.

Needless to say, this is very dangerous. Dextromethorphan indeed can cause a “high” (or even hallucinations) at high doses. It can also cause cardiovascular problems and even death. If this weren’t enough, many (probably most) preparations containing dextromethorphan may also contain decongestants, acetaminophen (generic name for Tylenol), or antihistamines. In other words, there are other things that one may overdose on while they are abusing dextromethorphan.

The results are predictable. Whenever something happens, we have to make another law. There are states wanting to limit the sale of the products to minors. However, my point here is not to make a judgment on whether these laws are necessary. They probably are, but they are part of a disturbing pattern that no one seems to have the courage to address. If we don’t address it, teenagers will find something else to get high on, and we’ll be back to having to make yet another law. Laws, though often necessary, do cost money and complicate people’s lives.

These problems have a root. That root can be looked at from a number of angles. The basics of the issue are a loss of purpose in an increasingly secularized society and the decline of the family. When the purpose of life has been lost or at least made harder to find, the kids find something to drown out the misery. When Mom and Dad aren’t there in a loving manner, the kids seek consolation somewhere else, and rarely is it something that is good for them. Even if it is something good for them, they may use it to a degree that it becomes an addiction.

I never was a big fan of the party scene, but I have been to some parties where several had a little too much to drink. I’m sure not every one is like that, but I can certainly testify to situations that I’ve been in when God has been taken out of the picture. People may tell you how much fun they are having, but if everything is so great, then I have to wonder why we needed that heavy bass beat to make it darn near impossible to think or hold a significant conversation. I also wonder why we needed the excess of alcohol to at least temporarily wipe out what brain cells were left. This has long been unappealing to me, though only recently have I been able to articulate it.

This is the problem that we are going to have to solve if we ever wish to win the culture war that we are in. The solutions are many and varied, and most are not the kind of things that our government will solve for us. I don’t claim to have them all, but I’ll bring some ideas forth in a later post.

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  /   Tuesday, February 20, 2007   /   Comments(0)

If you’ve been listening to my podcast, you might know that I said I’d do one on Confession. It took a lot longer than planned, but I did get it done. You can go to this page to get it if you want. I hope you will find it helpful. I especially want those who haven’t been to Confession in a long time to hear it because my primary purpose is to encourage you to go.

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HPV Vaccine

  /   Monday, February 19, 2007   /   Comments(0)

I read with interest the article by Fr. Euteneur on proposals to make the HPV vaccine mandatory. He obviously opposes making the vaccination mandatory, but he does explain that use of the vaccine is not in and of itself sinful. I recommend reading the comment below the article by MaryViolet for another, equally valid, perspective.

I have mixed feelings about the vaccine. For one thing, any new drug carries risk. It may be found out well in the future, after millions of vaccinations have been given, that the contents of the vaccine are sufficient to cause cervical cancer. I doubt this will happen, but it could. The disease in question is almost entirely preventable by living a chaste life. It’s much different from measles or mumps where being in the presence of an infected person can cause one to contract the disease.

However, it isn’t immoral to use this vaccine. As MaryViolet said, one of her daughters may marry a man who has HPV from a sin he long repented of. When the means to keep him from infecting his wife is there, why not use it? Sexual assault is a real problem on college campuses. I don’t think that this vaccine will be quite the enabler of promiscuous behavior that it sometimes is painted as. I am far more worried about the morning-after pill than I am the HPV vaccine.

Still, I agree with Fr. Euteneur that this vaccination absolutely should not be made mandatory. Simply put, if you have rampant HPV infections, then you have a rampant problem with promiscuity. Given this, the decision to vaccinate can safely be left entirely to the young woman, her physician, and her parents. There are legitimate reasons to use it, in my opinion, but not to mandate it.

I recently went to a continuing education conference where this, and other things, were discussed. It reminds me of how we seem to be trying to stomp out all the symptoms of a big elephant-sized problem in our living room. The problem with this is that no one seems to have the courage to address the root of all this. I’ll explain what I mean in a later post.

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Please Sign This Petition

  /   Sunday, February 11, 2007   /   Comments(0)

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute has requested signatures on this petition asking the United States Senate not to ratify the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) treaty. Please sign this as soon as possible. Simply put, this treaty has been used to advance a pro-abortion agenda.

You can read the petition at the site, but one part I found especially disturbing was this one:

The CEDAW Committee went so far as to criticize the country of Belarus for establishing Mother’s Day, what the Committee referred to as a “negative cultural stereotype.”

Did it ever occur to people that, without this “negative cultural stereotype,” they wouldn’t exist? Well, anyway, I’m wondering if this is one of the petitions that was present at an Amnesty International table during either my freshman or sophomore year in college. I remembered that I asked if this could be used to establish a “right” to abortion, and I was told that it was quite likely. Well, at least the guy was honest. I refused to sign and was essentially told that I was “not interested in human rights” (after having signed everything else on their table) and that I needed to open my mind. Before that, the guy mentioned the overpopulation problem (now known to be nonexistent) and that, if I was concerned about the pain [experienced by the unborn], well, whales feel a lot of pain when killed.

I am thankful to God that I realized what I was doing before I put my signature on such a satanic petition as was presented then. I just signed the petition linked to in this e-mail now, and I hope that everyone reading will do so also. Remember, most, if not all, forms of discrimination against women are already illegal in this country.

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I Can’t Link to This

  /   Wednesday, February 07, 2007   /   Comments(0)

I have removed the link to Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s Crossroads Initiative from my site. His site has often been informative. The actual articles on the faith are perfectly fine, and this is not my problem. However, I discovered something, in my professional judgment as a pharmacist, I cannot endorse. I certainly don’t want to link this to the Catholic faith.

In the latest newsletter, a link was provided to “health and wellness” products that he apparently sells from his site. I place the link here so that you can see that I’m not making this up. They all appear to be combination products that will supposedly improve your memory, reduce effects of aging, allow muscle-building, and improve your metabolism to help with weight loss. This is legal to claim under current dietary supplement regulations, but that doesn’t mean that those claims are substantiated.

His site says that the listing in the PDR for Non-Prescription Drugs and Dietary Supplements is a “guarantee” that they are made according to the same stringent standards as prescription drugs. I do not agree. Actually, you’d need to have United States Pharmacopoeia endorsement to have that guarantee, and I did not see that logo on either Dr. D’Ambrosio’s site nor the official site of Wellness International Network. The information in the PDR has long been known to have been paid for and provided by the manufacturers.

With herbal preparations, there’s another problem. For example, let’s take the product St. John’s Wort. Even if you can guarantee how much St. John’s Wort is in a product, you still can’t guarantee the consistency of the active ingredient. In most herbals, the active ingredient has never been isolated. Now, we all have variations on, for example, how much of a certain hormone our bodies will produce. How can we be sure the same thing isn’t true of herbals? Therefore, a set amount of St. John’s Wort may still vary outside of acceptable standards in terms of the active ingredient.

The site says that the products are used by the staff at Crossroads. I won’t question them on this. However, the gold standard for how well a product works is what we call a randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. In other words, they give some people the drug and others a placebo. No one knows which they are taking. Many times, diseases will respond to placebo. I’ve heard rumors of even cancer responding to placebo. Without comparing them to a placebo in this manner, it is hard to say if the product is really producing the effect, or if it is all in their minds.

As a Catholic pharmacist, I would not want to take the chance that someone may view the use of these nutritional supplements as something Catholic. It will either discredit us, or it will cause people to start taking things they shouldn’t. As a pharmacist who is strongly against the use of those products, I cannot endorse a Catholic site that is promoting their use. I do have anything against Dr. D’Ambrosio’s Catholic articles, but I feel obligated in conscience to stick to my professional opinion as a pharmacist. In any case, there is no substitute for a healthy diet and exercise in maintaining health.

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A True Mac Fan

  /   Wednesday, February 07, 2007   /   Comments(0)

I was playing with an open-source text editor on my iMac, and I came across this gem.

The author of this software is obviously a Mac fan. Then again, after seven months of using a Macintosh, I tend to agree.

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The License Has Arrived

  /   Saturday, February 03, 2007   /   Comments(0)

Today, my paperwork that says I have a Missouri license showed up in the mail. I don’t know what I will do yet, but I am definitely going to need to think and pray about this. This Friday, I take the test to get a license in Kansas. This will mean that I am licensed in four states (Tennessee and Mississippi are the others.).

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