Sunday, June 26, 2016

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Leave All Behind

Today's readings remind us of answering God's call, leaving all behind and accepting rejection for the sake of God.

In the first reading, we read of Elisha, son of Shaphat who is chosen as a disciple of the prophet Elijah. Elijah throws his cloak over him as a symbol of selection or calling (Exodus 28:2).  Elisha understood this well and left the oxen to ask Elijah for permission to say goodbye to his parents.  Elijah gives him permission.  He finishes what he had to do and joins Elijah as his attendant. This reading brings to mind when one answers a vocation whether to the priesthood, religious life (priest, brother, sister) or even the married life. We must leave all behind to do what we are called to do (Matthew 10:37, Luke 14:26). This is why the Church stresses that a man or woman who feels called to the priesthood (man only) or religious life must not have any obligations at the time of application (Can. 1026). He or she must not have children that depend on them or any other responsibilities. All must be taken care of before entry just as we read with Elisha. Those called to the priesthood and religious life give up everything that is worldly. God becomes their inheritance and should be every Catholic's inheritance as we read in today's responsorial Psalm.  God is indeed our inheritance. We were created for Him and Him only (Ephesians 2:10). God is always there for us counseling us and protecting us (Isaiah 41:10). We must be glad and rejoice in Him. If we are faithful, God will not let us fall into the netherworld nor allow us to undergo corruption. We have seen how some saints literally did not see corruption in regards to their bodies.  God protected their bodies as a sign that death is not the final say of the human story. If we are faithful, God will show us the path of life (Jeremiah 29:11-13).  He will set us free from the slavery of this world as the second reading tells us.

Christ sets us free. We must stand firm and not allow ourselves to submit to the yoke of slavery (Romans 6:18).  Our call is for freedom, not slavery. As we fight on in this Fortnight for Freedom against a government that seeks to limit religion, we must not allow ourselves to become slaves to the world again.  One of the biggest ways we can become slaves is by the sins of the flesh.  Sexual drives are very powerful. In this time of summer, seeing people with less clothing or super tight clothing can stir up all kinds of passions. No one is immune to this. It happens to heterosexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and even those who call themselves transsexual.  We must resist these passions (Galatians 5:17). We must thank God for the beauty in others and leave it there; not dwelling on sexual thoughts.  We do this by living in the Spirit which will prevent us from desiring the flesh.

Lastly, in the Gospel, we read of Jesus being rejected at a Samaritan village. The disciples James and John wanted revenge and asked Jesus to call down fire from heaven to consume them. Jesus rebuked them because we must not be about vengeance. God will take vengeance on the last day (Romans 12:19, Deuteronomy 32:35). Ironically, Jesus did send a fire that consumed and that was on Pentecost (Luke 12:49, Acts 2). This fire would consume the disciples and Our Lady with the love of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, Jesus tells us that if we want to follow Him, we must go wherever He goes and accept the hardships (Matthew 16:24).  Jesus describes these hardships as not having a place to rest His head. Jesus is independent of this world; counter-cultural. Following Christ is a serious call regardless of one's state in the Church (laity, religious, clergy). We must put the kingdom of God first and accept even the mockery of others (Matthew 10:18 ).  Those who focus on the past or are attached to things of this world are not fit for the kingdom of God. If we take the plow to work and then stop to take a break, then we are clearly too weak for God's kingdom. The pull of this world is still strong in us. We must be willing to continue plowing, sweating and face the hardships that come with being a Catholic. As the hymn goes, "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back."  Let us not turn back, but move forward to Jesus who is the Lord and source of our inheritance.  May Jesus Christ be praised!



Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062616.cfm

Please donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus



Friday, June 24, 2016

SCOTUS Breaks Executive Pen & Other News

The Supreme Court has shot down the executive branch. Back in November of 2014, President Obama used the power of the executive pen to write executive orders that would apply temporary protection for illegal immigrants. These protections would have prevented or delayed deportation and allow them to obtain work permits. The measures were focused namely on families and their children who entered the United States of America illegally.  Conservatives are celebrating the keeping of a lower court's ruling while liberals are crying foul.

The Supreme Court also ruled that it is okay for universities to use race as a basis for admissions. Affirmative action was instituted decades ago to give minorities a better shot at entering universities which are mostly Caucasian.  The policy has been controversial, especially among Caucasians. Back in 2008, Abigail Fisher was denied entry to the University of Texas.  She claims that it was because of her race.  The university argued that she did not meet academic requirements.

Lastly,the British people have just voted to leave the European Union.  The decision could have many impacts on British society and its economy.  Already the British pound has hit the lowest level against the US dollar since the 1980's.  The decision is not mandatory since the British Parliament has supreme power over the matters of the nation.  However, it may impact the careers of politicians who refuse to follow the vote of the people.



I will update this post later with my thoughts on these current events.  STAY TUNED*









Source:

http://www.vox.com/2014/11/20/7250255/immigration-reform-obama-executive-action

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/23/11916632/united-states-texas-daca-dapa

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/supreme-court-says-using-race-160358515.html

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/live-coverage--the-brexit-vote-184037100.html

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/23/politics/immigration-supreme-court/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-wont-revive-obama-plan-to-shield-illegal-immigrants-from-deportation/2016/06/23/6cea5f1e-3950-11e6-9ccd-d6005beac8b3_story.html



Thursday, June 23, 2016

My Nephew Graduates!



I was just at my nephew's graduation.  Boy was it an emotional morning. I am not a very emotional person and pride myself in being a natural stoic; however, this event has moved me greatly. It feels like it was just yesterday that I held my nephew in my arms and years later, saw him go to pre-k. He is now going to middle school or junior high school. It is just amazing how time literally does "fly."

This boy is so dear to me. Doctors told my sister that she would not be able to have kids, then she got pregnant. It reminds me of the story of Abraham and Sarah who gave birth to Isaac. God has the final say, not men in white lab coats. My nephew is like a clone of me. Watching him is like me going back in time and watching myself grow up. He is so much fun to be around with. As I get older, he reminds me not to take life too seriously and just enjoy each second of life.  I am so proud of him. If you have kids, nephews/nieces or younger siblings, please enjoy each second with them. Time does fly by and they grow up quickly.  Cherish the moments that will never return.

Congratulations to my nephew and all students at 57 in New York City.  You guys did it!  Many more adventures await!  Keep those faces in those books! Keep calculating!







Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Michio Kaku: Proof God Exists

I have always stressed that science is the killer of atheism. While philosophy does a good job against atheism, the atheist would always resort to requesting tangible proof of God's existence rather than arguments. Moreover, theology by itself is not enough to prove God exists to an atheist. Science is the only way to truly "shut up" an argumentative atheist in a debate or discussion.

Atheists always claim that there is no evidence for the existence of God. I have explain several ways in my book "Atheism Is Stupid" which deal solely with science and in some instances, philosophy.

Well, one of my favorite professors from my university, CUNY, is said to have finally provided a theory that can settle once and for all the idea of the universe having an intelligent creator. Dr. Michio Kaku of the City University of New York who teaches at City College in New York City and is a co-founder of M-Theory (String theory) has stated (according to an article) that using primitive semi-radius tachyons can be used to prove that a supreme creator does exist.  Tachyons are hypothetical particles.  They are believed to move faster than the speed of light which travels at 286,282 miles per second.  They move so fast that they unhinge matter from the universe which is mostly a vacuum of space composed of virtual particles, dark matter and energy.  This leaves the universe free from any influences. Dr. Kaku is quoted as stating:

"I have concluded that we are in a world made by rules created by an intelligence.  Believe me, everything that we call chance today won't make sense anymore.  To me it is clear that we exist in a plan which is governed by rules that were created, shaped by a universal intelligence and not by chance." 

To Dr Kaku, he sees the universe as a "matrix" or simulation.  I have written on this idea which is discussed a lot among philosophical and physics circles here: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2013/02/the-universe-is-program-uh-oh-there.html#sthash.Jd6xQRFZ&st_refDomain=t.co&st_refQuery=/XNGBaD0Lh7

Previously, Dr. Kaku has also stated that with the advancement of physics, we are starting to see that the universe is mathematical.  Mathematics is a rational language which can only come from an intelligent mind. Dr. Kaku concluded that "God is a mathematician."  He stated in a video for "Big Think:"

“All of a sudden we had super symmetric theories coming out of physics that then revolutionized mathematics, and so the goal of physics we believe is to find an equation perhaps no more than one inch long which will allow us to unify all the forces of nature and allow us to read the mind of God. And what is the key to that one inch equation? Super symmetry, a symmetry that comes out of physics, not mathematics, and has shocked the world of mathematics. But you see, all this is pure mathematics and so the final resolution could be that God is a mathematician. And when you read the mind of God, we actually have a candidate for the mind of God. The mind of God we believe is cosmic music, the music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace. That is the mind of God.”

I have not found anything on Dr. Kaku's website confirming the many reports out there and may contact him for more information.  It is interesting to note that one alleged scientist who is a Christian is skeptical of the claims (http://blog.drwile.com/?p=14864).  However, the official CUNY Twitter account tweeted this:









Source:

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/42042/20160613/world-renowned-scientist-michio-kaku-proves-existence-god.htm

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/string-theory-co-founder-sub-atomic-particles-are-evidence-0

http://www.catholic.org/news/technology/story.php?id=69335

http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/big-hit-renowned-scientists-video-shows-god-exists/#!

http://www.christiantoday.com/article/top.scientist.finds.proof.that.god.exists.says.humans.live.in.a.world.made.by.rules.created.by.an.intelligence/87994.htm

http://ageac.org/en/multimedia/scientist-says-he-found-definitive-proof-that-god-exists-2/

http://www.australianetworknews.com/scientist-michio-kaku-finally-proves-god-exist/

http://www.ferocesmente.com/science-technology/one-of-the-most-respected-scientists-of-today-says-he-found-definitive-proof-that-god-exists/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jremlZvNDuk




Sunday, June 19, 2016

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Carry the Cross & Follow Me

Today's readings remind us of what Christ will endure on earth for us.

In the first reading, God says that He will pour out on the house of David the spirit of grace and petition.  He is referring to Christ who will be pierced, will be mourned but will open the house of David to all inhabitants.  Christ was sent to us by the Father to redeem us and lead us to salvation which can only be found in Him (John 3:16, Acts 4:12). This first reading is a foreshadowing of this.  Christ came and gathered all the flock of God to the house of David (Luke 13:34). Because of this, we should thirst for God as we read in the Responsorial Psalm.  God is the only one whom we should seek. God is the ends of our lives (Philippians 3:14).  What I mean by this, is that all human life, all life in fact, ends in God or its goal is God. We come from God and we will return to God.  As St. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you o Lord. (Augustine, Confessions (Book 1)"  The same applies to even atheists.  Atheists may claim they do not believe in God or lack belief in a God, yet God is all they talk about.  Have you ever noticed this?  This is because they are (we all are) hardwired to believe in and seek God.  We can only seek God with sincere faith and it works along with God's grace and put into action via works (James 2:14-26).

As the second reading says, we are baptized into Christ and because of this baptism and faith, we are children of God.  Think about this. You are a child of God, THE GOD!  The God of the universe, creator of all seen and unseen is your Father!  How appropriate for today in which many the United States of America celebrates Father's day. Because God is our Father, each one of us is family (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6, Matthew 6:9, Ephesians 2:19). We are all brothers and sisters.  We may have different genetic makeups, but we all share similar genes and of course the heritage of being human and a child of God.  That is why there is no Jew or Greek, no slave or free person, no male or female in the Catholic Church. We are all one body in Christ (Romans 12:5, 1 Corinthians 12:12).

Finally in the Gospel, we see Jesus asking who the people think He is.  The disciples tell Him that some think He is John the Baptist or Elijah.  Others think He is a risen prophet from old.  However, Jesus asks them who do they think He is.  Peter speaks first showing His primacy saying, "The Christ of God."  Jesus then tells them to keep this quiet. He does this because it was not the time to reveal Himself to the people.  Then He tells them what He will endure.  Jesus will be rejected by the elders, chief priests, scribes etc (Mark 15:1). He will be killed, but will rise on the third day (John 2:19).  Then He says that whoever wants to follow Him must carry His cross daily. If one dies because of faith in Christ, he or she will be saved.

Jesus is the one we read about in the first reading as I stated. He is the one who will be pierced and will suffer a horrible death. However, He would rise on the third day. This is of course the resurrection.  This death will be seen in the eyes of men as a failure as Pope Francis said at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City during his visit in September 2015 (see: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/homilies/2015/documents/papa-francesco_20150924_usa-omelia-vespri-nyc.html). However, this death is not a failure in the spiritual sense. Christ's death on the cross is the focal point of both covenants, the old and the new (Matthew 5:17). The blood of the Lamb would reconnect man to God and God to man (Matthew 26:28, 1 Peter 1:19, Revelation 12:11).

This Lamb is not a mere animal, but is God Himself; the Son of God (John 1:29).  We who are followers of Christ must do like Christ and carry our cross.  Do we carry it during Lent or Good Friday only?  No!  We carry it DAILY.  Our via crucis, so to speak, is supposed to be every moment of our lives. Every moment, every instance of pain and suffering must be united to Christ on the cross (Philippians 3:10, Romans 12:1-2).  We must not whine and complain when things go wrong.  Instead, we must rejoice and realize that this is a cross that is given to us so that we can have an opportunity to follow Jesus more and more closely (James 1:1-13, 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Peter 2:19-20).  Those televangelists who preach prosperity do not understand Christianity. We are not meant to prosper in the ways of the world, but to die unto it and be born and live in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24, Romans 6:11, Romans 6:8).  As last week's second reading stated, "I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)"  This is how it must be.  May Jesus Christ be praised and may God bless all fathers living and deceased, including our priests.



Readings:  http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061916.cfm
Please donate at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: The Rosary Handbook: A Guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers, and Those in Between

I received a review copy of Mitch Finley's book, The Rosary Handbook: A Guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers, and Those in Between a few days ago and will be reviewing it here.

The book is a short book with 143 pages.  I took about 30-45 minutes to finish it.  The Rosary Handbook gives a lot of insight into the most popular devotional prayer found in Catholicism. Author Mitch Finley wastes no time going into detail.

In the introduction and first chapter, Finley uses anecdotes to present the Rosary to readers.  Using personal stories, he presents the Rosary as something that is useful and fruitful in everyday life. At the same time, he shares the ups and downs the Rosary had during the Vatican II changes and how it made a comeback. The personal stories Finley shares help present the Rosary as more than just a prayer, but a way a life that is probably the first thing that identifies a Christian as a Catholic one.

Moreover, in chapter 2, he shares the history of the Rosary, going into detail how the devotional prayer developed from the Psalter into the version we use today.  Finley leaves no stone unturned as he shares that contrary to popular belief, the Rosary was not given to St. Dominic by Our Lady.  This may come as a shock to some Catholics, especially those who may not be too well informed about the faith and learn the easy "Sunday school" version of it in CCD or catechetical classes for First Communion of Confirmation.  However, Finley does not bash the Rosary or the Dominican order.  He shares the facts and does a good job at it.  Honest Catholics will appreciate the facts and the evolution of the Rosary throughout the centuries.  In chapter 3, Finley goes through each prayer of the Rosary giving "fun facts" about each.  Readers will especially enjoy this chapter because Finley does a great job explaining each prayer.  He goes line by line explaining what the phrases mean which will enrich readers and possibly bring them to say the prayers with more awareness as opposed to mechanically.

In chapter 4, he does the same thing as in chapter 3, but with the mysteries of the Rosary.  He begins by explaining what a mystery is and how the idea was incorporated into the early versions of the Rosary which would lead to the formation of the "mysteries."  Finley explains how the mysteries were narrowed down to 15 and then increased to 20 by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2002 when he added the Luminous Mysteries.  Chapter 4 is the longest chapter but is rich in the explanation for each mystery.  Finley uses Sacred Scripture to expound on each mystery which brings a lot of insight. This chapter will be very beneficial for those who really love to meditate using the Rosary. Unfortunately, some Catholics recite the Rosary mechanically, almost in a rush to get it in as if it were a chore.  Finley shares some wonderful explanations which help bring each mystery alive and shows the beauty of the Rosary.  Protestants who may read his book will realize that the Rosary is a visitation into the events of the Gospel and not "worship of Mary."

Lastly, in chapter 5, Finley explains the methods behind praying the Rosary using a chart and explaining what prayer to say, where to say it and what mystery to meditate on.  He meticulously goes through each so the reader who never heard of the Rosary or is curious to prayer it can do so with ease.  Once reading this chapter, the reader who may be a novice at the Rosary will become an expert praying it.

The book The Rosary Handbook: A Guide for Newcomers, Old-Timers, and Those in Between is a great read.  It is true to its title as a guide for newcomers, old-timers and those in between.  I wish I had this book during my transition from Atheism to Catholicism. It would have been a great resource for me as I searched Catholicism among other faiths.  The book has some grammatical and spelling errors such as on page 10 "twenty-firstst," nothing too serious.  It also fails to give credit to Our Lady of Fatima for the "Oh my Jesus" prayer on page 66. Another error I found is on page 59 where Finley states that the "Our Father begins the Liturgy of the Eucharist."  This is not correct.  The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins at the presentation of the gifts (see: http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/order-of-mass/). I think what Finley meant to state was that the Our Father begins the COMMUNION RITE, not the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  In any event, these can be corrected and do not take away from the book as a whole.  Again, I recommend this book to all Catholics and those who are curious about the Rosary.  This book will enrich your knowledge and experience with the Rosary.  My only complain and wish is that the author should have put in a references section so readers can find where he got his information from and do further studying.  Hopefully, future editions will have one.  This book is a must have and should be on every Catholic's bookshelf.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Victims of Orlando Shooting at Pulse



Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gay Massacre: 'Pulse' in Orlando


A popular gay nightclub in Orlando named Pulse was attacked by 29 yr old Omar Mateen born of Afghan parents in New York. Mateen entered Pulse and began shooting at everyone shortly around 2 AM EDT. The bartender had called the last call for drinks at around 1:45 AM. At first, club participants thought the sounds were due to the music.

However, when the smell of gunpowder and the sight of falling bodies was processed mentally, the people began to run for their lives. The gay club was having 'Latin night' celebrating the festivities surrounding the Puerto Rican day parade in New York City. About 300 were in the club at the time. 53 were injured and 50 were killed. This attack is being described as the worst mass shooting in American history and the second worst terrorist attack since September 11, 2001.



Mateen is described by his ex wife and co-workers as unstable. She claimed he beat her and had anger issues. Co-workers claim that he was racist and homophobic. His father has apologized to all for his son's actions. He apparently had a television show where he spoke on Middle Eastern politics. Mateen's father claims that his son saw two men kissing in Miami and that this may have set him off. So far it looks like Mateen was homophobic and in league with ISIS. 

Twenty minutes into the shooting, Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to Isis and its leaders. Moreover, the FBI had investigated Mateen twice, but let him go due to lack of evidence that he was involved in terrorist activities. Mateen worked as a security guard at a local court house. Because of this, he had a permit to carry a gun and was able to purchase the guns he used to carry out the massacre at Pulse.

The massacre has been condemned by Pope Francis and many others. However, the Lt. governor of Texas tweeted that "Man reaps what he sows" insinuating that the gays at the club got what they had coming. He deleted the tweets, but calls for his resignation are underway. Other fundamentalist religious leaders have also praised the killings. Some on Facebook and Twitter even hoped that there were more massacres at other gay venues. In fact, a 20 yr old named James Wesley Howell of Indiana was arrested at St. Monica. He had his car full of artillery and chemicals that are used to make bombs. Howell was apparently looking to attack the Los Angeles gay pride festivities and parade. Law officials claim there is no connection to him and Mateen, though it is suspicious the timing of it all.

The establishment Pulse was described by the sister of a missing man named Jimmy on CNN as having a bad layout. She claimed that there are hardly any exits and that a large entry way is chained off. This may have prevented many from escaping. Many of the survivors hid in bathrooms, under tables and even among the dead bodies. One lady was found under a glass bar. Others escaped via air conditioning vents or ran as fast as they could past the gunman Mateen. Parents who flocked to Pulse were visibly upset as some of them received texts from their kids inside the bathroom as the gunman held them hostage. There were a total of 30 who were held hostage. After a grueling three hours, the Orlando SWAT team broke through the club's wall with a armor vehicle and engaged the gunman in a shoot out killing him. One police officer was shot in the head, but his helmet saved his life. He has an eye injury though. Prior to this, the police had detonated what they believed to be a bomb. Isis has taken credit for the attacks.

A gofundme page was set up to help victims. Already over 1 million has been raised. To donate, go to: https://www.gofundme.com/pulsevictimsfund

The city of Orlando set up this website for information on victims: www.cityoforlando.net/victims.


The owner of the club, Barbara Poma gave a statement reading:

“Like everyone in the country, I am devastated about the horrific events that have taken place today, Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones, please know that my grief and heart are with you.”

Poma started the gay club after losing her brother to AIDs. She named the club 'Pulse' in honor of her brother's beating heart.

This is a tragic time for the United States of America. Once again we are witnessing a massacre. From Columbine to Pulse, there seems no end in sight. I am especially concerned with this tragedy due to the fact that I have old school friends who are gay and moved to Orlando. They frequent this club and some even worked at it. It is sad that a night of some partying has turned to a massacre. While I do not condone the LGBT lifestyle, this does not mean that I do not love and appreciate my brothers and sisters in the LGBT. I am suffering with them. No one deserves to be massacred. The LGBT people are human persons made in the image and likeness of God. They have intrinsic value and do not deserve to be targeted by anyone. Shame on so-called religious folks who are gloating over this tragedy and calling it a "punishment from God." God is loving and merciful. While He hates sin, He loves the sinner. Sunday's Gospel reminds us of this where the sinful woman approached Jesus and used her tears to wash His feet and her hair to dry them. While the Pharisee who was sanctimonious condemned her, Jesus defended her actions and praised her true faith and contrition.

May God bless all those affected in this tragedy. May the souls of those who lost their lives rest in peace. May God have mercy on Mateen who was a lost soul.

***I will update this page as soon as more info comes in, stay tuned!


UPDATE 6/14/16
The number of the deceased was lowered to 49.  The majority of them were Puerto Ricans. Some died with their partners.  Witnesses say that Mateen was calm throughout the ordeal.  He told hostages to "please stop texting and answering calls" and that there were other snipers. Mateen also stated that he had nothing against blacks.  An LA Times reporter spoke to a man who claims he texted with Mateen on a gay dating app and planned to meet and would ask about gay hangout spots.  He stated that Mateen would be near his location all the time.  Mateen is said to have frequented Pulse according to four patrons. He would get drunk and loud. Mateen may have been a closeted frustrated homosexual or may have been scouting gay venues in order to plan his attack.  He may have also planned to attack Disney in Orlando.

Many people have flocked to donate blood for the victims still alive. The lines stretch for blocks. Many of them had to be turned away.  Also, many brought in food, water, umbrellas and other items showing solidarity. Throughout the nation, many vigils have been held. In New York City, the Stonewall Inn held a vigil.  This is the birthplace of the gay rights movement.




Source:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/why-lone-wolf-attacks-are-almost-impossible-to-prevent-012346606.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/witnesses-speak-orlando-dance-club-000000580.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/texas-lt-gov-faces-backlash-173008312.html

https://www.yahoo.com/news/father-orlando-shooting-suspect-hosted-233326524.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/nation-world/ci_30006772/orlando-nightclub-shooting-pope-francis-condemns-massacre

http://www.vox.com/2016/6/12/11913912/man-with-weapons-and-plans-to-go-to-la-pride-arrested-hours-after-orlando-shooting

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gay-pride-la-weapons-20160612-snap-story.html

http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/06/12/man-weapons-explosives-identified-wanted-harm-l-gay-pride/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+breitbart+%28Breitbart+News%29

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/283198-man-with-weapons-arrested-was-going-to-la-pride-parade

http://blogs.wsj.com/dispatch/2016/06/12/live-updates-orlando-shooter-kills-20-wounds-42/?mod=e2tw#entry_56

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/13/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0#permid=18818872

http://abc7.com/news/suspect-w--arsenal-in-car-taken-into-custody-in-santa-monica/1382290/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-nation-live/liveblog/live-updates-orlando-shooting/?tid=sm_tw#f84de7ef-5623-4ebf-ae5c-a00e78fc4b02

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/orlando-massacre-spurs-grief-fear-lgbt-americans-39801363

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=601521866678309&id=351686868328478

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/crime/2016/06/12/who-omar-mateen/85791280/?hootPostID=ccfc0cf0cbe8e40a8ab3a3c55ed118ac

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36513658?ocid=socialflow_twitter

http://linkis.com/www.weaselzippers.us/RcvN6

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/orlando-blood-banks-accepting-donations-mass-shooting-article-1.2670700?utm_content=buffer8798e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=NYDailyNewsTw

https://www.facebook.com/pulseorlando/posts/10154938990430031

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/index.html?sr=twtsr0612orlandoshooting

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000004466812/mass-shooting-orlando-gay-nightclub.html?playlistId=1194811622182&smid=tw-nytvideo

http://www.etonline.com/news/190847_50_dead_orlando_gay_bar_shooting/

http://www.bbc.com/news/36510272

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-orlando-nightclub-shooting/os-orlando-shooting-pulse-nightclub-20160612-story.html

http://time.com/4365603/orlando-shooting-pulse-nightclub-statement/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter

Sunday, June 12, 2016

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: God is Merciful

Today's readings are perfect for the Holy Year of Mercy which we are in.

In the first reading, we read of Nathan reminding David that God gave him everything. He was anointed king of Israel etc, but David sinned.  He killed Uriah the Hittite and took his wife (2 Samuel 11).  David "sinned against the Lord." Despite all David did, "The Lord on His part" forgave David. Here we see how merciful God is.  The Lord forgives all wrongs as we read in the Psalm for today (Isaiah 43:25-26).  God is merciful. There is no sin He will not forgive unless it is the sin against the Holy Spirit which is the sin of not asking for forgiveness or accepting it (Isaiah 1:18, Mark 3:28-30). Those who are forgiven by God are blessed indeed, as the Psalm states. We confess our faults to the Lord via the priest, and He forgives them. However, in order to be forgiven, we have to have faith as the second reading tells us.

St. Paul says that we are justified by faith and not by the works of the law. He is not supporting the view of 'Sola Fide.' Here he is referring to the works of the law or the rites the Jews had regarding cleaning of sin. The Jews believed that these 'works' cleansed them from sin; however, it is faith in Christ that paves the way to justification as we work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12). Faith alone does not cut it (James 2:14-26). We have to put that faith into practice as well.  St. Paul then uses the words that I use as a motto: "I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me." These words spoke loudly to my as I transitioned from atheism to theism. I literally did die in Christ and want only Christ to live in me. This is why I use the 'Chi Rho' symbol on my social media accounts. I want to convey the imagery that I want Christ to live in me and do this work in me. I do not want to become some Catholic celebrity speaker type of figure. Instead, I want to remain hidden as Christ does whatever He wants in me. We must try to be like this and have only Christ living in us. As the woman who used her tears to wipe Christ's feet, we must be humble and always seeking mercy.

In today's Gospel, we read of Jesus accepting the invitation to dine with a Pharisee. As they make themselves comfortable, a woman comes to Jesus. This woman is a known sinner. She learned that Jesus was at the house of the Pharisee and made sure to go see Him. The woman brought a flask of ointment and cried behind him. Her tears fell on Jesus' feet. She used her hair to dry His feet and even kissed His feet.  The Pharisee who invited Jesus was offended at the sight.  A sinner, nor less a woman show go to a prophet, he complained!  Jesus then tells him a parable of a creditor forgiving the debts of two men. One man had a larger debt then the other.  Jesus asks the Pharisee which one was more content with the 'write-off' and loved the creditor more and the Pharisee says the one with the most debt.  Here Jesus is saying that the sinner who has a "larger debt" loves God more because of God's mercy. Then Jesus says that the woman appreciated Him more than the Pharisee. If the Pharisee really loved Jesus and was serious about his faith, He would have done what the woman did. This Gospel should remind us that God is merciful towards all, especially the worst of sinners.

Unfortunately, there are some in the Christian faith who think they have earned God's favor and judge others. These are the modern day Pharisees. They think that their rituals of daily Mass, Rosaries and the like give them a certain status over others who are not so pious (Matthew 6:5). In reality, these are vain actions that mean nothing before God. We must be sincere like the woman who approached Jesus. She did not meet Him "face to face," so to speak; rather, she met Him at His feet.  Like Jesus, we must be merciful towards others and not judge them (Matthew 5:7, Matthew 7:1). Whether they are women who proudly shout their abortions, the proud offensive gays at a parade, the man dressing up like a woman or just someone who was rude and nasty to us, we must be merciful towards them. We must use our Christian example to bring them to come to Jesus' feet asking for forgiveness.  May Jesus Christ be praised!




Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061216.cfm

Please donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Psychotic Pseudo-Catholic or Delusional Fundamentalist?

As you may know, I look around for atheists and atheistic groups to evangelize in. I found one where atheists and theists debate and decided to join it on Facebook. Within a short time, Frank Petrucci accepts my request and even requested me as a friend. He is apparently the one who started the group and controls it. I assumed he was a Catholic due to the Vatican flag plastered over his mug shot. Anyhow, I introduced myself to the group and got many replies from atheists.

Petrucci also added his own messages which came across as combative and insecure. He questioned me and even invited me to a 'mock debate' where he would defend Aquinas on predestination and I would counter in response. He claimed that this would give an example to atheists on how to debate civilly. I decided to give it a shot thinking he wanted me to help him bring order to his group. Shortly after this, I noticed he was really rude, misogynistic, sexually vulgar and nasty to atheists. His form of 'evangelization' was not Christ-like. Therefore as a Christian, I admonished (Spiritual Work of Mercy) him privately in the 'inbox,' so to speak.  Once again, he began getting combative and then began to insult me.  He called me names and a whole host of other atrocities.  Take a look of what I could post since he got really nasty and acted like a classless uneducated individual!











Ironically, the group that he started says that it does not ban anyone.  Well, it seems Petrucci has thin skin despite his bulky build and removed me from the group.. talk about lying about not banning people!

Description of group says no one is banned


It seems like my presence there threatened him. What is troubling is that he is misrepresenting the Catholic faith not only in behavior, but also doctrine. He was teaching atheists that God is a sort of autistic-stoic being without emotions, does not care for anyone and other errors.  God is not Mister Spock!  Petrucci claims to be a graduate from Ave Maria University, however, I contacted the university and they know of no such student.  Moreover, his lack of understanding of basic Catholicism showed red flags. He seems to think that every word of Aquinas is magesterium.  

Other Catholics on Facebook told me about him and even had to block him because of his behavior and misrepresentation of Catholicism.  His Facebook profile says that he is separated. This may be a sign that he has trouble developing relationships which can be a sign of mental illness.  It seems to me as if Petrucci has bipolar disorder or feels threatened by other males who he may perceive as more superior or an alpha male.  Furthermore, he may be a closeted homosexual who is frustrated at the presence of other males who are authoritative.

Petrucci's profile, says separated as relationship status


Catholics confirming Frank Petrucci is fake and sick. Had to block him




I invite my fellow faithful Catholics to pray for this disturbed man.  If he is really a Catholic, then he has not internalized the Gospel.  Catholicism is not a baseball bat we use to bash others with.

Contact and voice your concerns to Ave Maria University: 5050 Ave Maria Blvd, Ave Maria, FL 34142 Phone: (239) 280-2500 and the bishop of his area, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown. Bishop JOHN O. BARRES: http://www.allentowndiocese.org/top-navigation/contact/

Frank Petrucci is either a fake Catholic looking to harm the Church or is a mentally ill fundamentalist.  Moreover, another person named Julia (perhaps a sock puppet) messaged me and started to become combative with me after I showed her proof of his bad behavior.  I had to blocked her after I saw that she could not see reason and was becoming more combative.  This profile may have been Frank Petrucci using a sock puppet profile.







We have to be careful online. There are many fake people who pretend to be Catholic or even clergy. Please avoid this this person and report his profile and group here below:



https://www.facebook.com/groups/1544515729193260/

https://www.facebook.com/frank.bonfrisco

https://www.facebook.com/frank.petrucci.96?fref=ts




Monday, June 6, 2016

'Reason Rally' 2016 A Huge Flop: Epic Fail

Many alleged online atheists claim that atheism is on the rise or "unstoppable," but this past weekend's "Reason Rally" shows otherwise.  Just as in the first one held in 2012 (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2012/03/reason-rally.html), the 2016 one was an epic fail. It was expected that 30,000 would attend. However, a few thousand only attended. The flopped forced "Friendly Atheist" Hemant Mehta to post on his blog excuses as to why the rally was a failure.

His excuses are laughable to say the least. He dreams up every kind of irrational reason as to why the rally failed. I will refute each here briefly

Friendly Atheist: 1) People didn’t know about the event.

Sacerdotus replies:  Seriously? I am no longer an atheist and still knew this event was going to happen... so did my atheist friends! The event was promoted on many podcasts, blogs, Atheist Tv and other media. The event was promoted mostly online which is where the so-called 'New Atheism'  movement lives on.


Friendly Atheist: 2) The atheist “base” wasn’t particularly excited about the event.

Sacerdotus replies:  What!?  Of course they were excited about this otherwise donations and other sources would not have come in to fund the event. Moreover, why would they not be excited about the event if "atheism is growing?"  Perhaps, atheists are starting to realize that their cause is dying out and did not want to waste their time.

Friendly Atheist:  3) Large segments of atheist activists were not represented onstage.

Sacerdotus Replies:  There are not many atheist actives to begin with. The "regulars" Dawkins, Krauss, Mehta himself, Harris, Dennett are always the ones present anyhow, so who are these other activists Metha is referring to? They never showed up before because they do not exist.  If atheism is as popular as atheists think it is, then atheists would have showed up regardless of who was speaking. The reality is that atheism is just not a strong movement. Mehta listing that there were no atheist bloggers, Youtubers, podcasters etc is a lame excuse.   

Friendly Atheist:  4) The event took place in the summer.

Sacerdotus Replies: The event took place in summer, therefore it fail? Seriously Mehta??  First of all, it is not even summer yet.  Summer begins on June 20, 2016!  Moreover, it is during the summer that many events take place. The weather is better to be outside in and people are off from school and work!  Using summer as an excuse is really ridiculous and shows how desperate the "Friendly Atheist" is in his article trying to rationalize (poorly) why the "Reason Rally" was a flop.

Friendly Atheist:  5) The novelty wore off.

Sacerdotus Replies:  Again, if atheism is such a growing movement that is popular and "contagious," then the "novelty" would not have worn off. If the "novelty wore off" then this means that atheism is not as attractive.  Then again, atheism has the lowest retention of any religion (see: www.sacerdotus.com/2012/06/with-age-comes-wisdom.html)

Friendly Atheist:  6) There was no sense of urgency.

Sacerdotus Replies:  This is another corny excuse. Mehta claims that "in 2012, marriage equality was still not a reality" as if atheism is about progressive political agendas. Atheism is an ideology the professes the idea that God does not exist. The so-called "New Atheism" faction of atheism goes a little further by trying to censor free speech and religious freedom. Atheism is not about so-called "gay marriage" or even abortion. Again, we see how desperate the "Friendly Atheist" is trying to explain away the failure of the rally.

The truth of the matter is that atheism is dying. While the number of people attending religious services is declining, this does not mean that atheism is rising. These people still believe in God, but have lost faith in the institutional part of religion. This is a problem that can easily be fixed with evangelizaton and Christian charity. Once these people feel at home in their former religious faiths, they will come back.

I find it funny how Mehta tries hard to explain why the Reason Rally was a failure. He is being dishonest as usual and refuses to acknowledge the fact that atheism is dying. More and more people are realizing that its speculative reasoning and nonsensical arguments which lack evidence do not hold up against God, reason, the arguments and evidence for God.

The failure of the Reason Rally left the "Friendly Atheist" scratching his head. Perhaps the release of my book 'Atheism Is Stupid' is the cause of the poor attendance at the Reason Rally? hehe











Source:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/06/05/where-was-the-crowd-for-the-reason-rally/

http://religionnews.com/2016/06/04/atheists-gather-on-the-mall-to-demonstrate-their-political-muscle/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/reason-rally-atheists_us_5755bf79e4b0ed593f151bd7



Sunday, June 5, 2016

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Lord of Mercy & Life

Today's readings fit the Year of Mercy well.  In the first reading, we read of the prophet Elijah encountering a mistress whose son fell sick. The son stopped breathing and the woman complains to Elijah, "Why have you done this to me, O Man of God?  Have you come to me to call attention to my guilt and to kill my son?"  The woman thought Elijah was there to punish her and her son. However, Elijah does not condemn her. He simply says, "Give me your son." From there, Elijah calls out to God for mercy." The child  then came back to life. After witnessing this, the woman confirmed that Elijah was indeed a man of God. Here we see God's mercy (Mark 2:13-17). While the mistress was 'living in sin,' God was still there for her and gave back life to her son. We must be merciful to others and not judge them. Instead, we should pray God for rescuing us as the Psalm today tells us.

God is always with us and never lets our enemies win (Psalm 25:2).  When we hit rock bottom, so to speak, God is the one who brings us up. He may get angry, but it is for a moment. This is of course antropomorphic language. We must trust in God as our helper for He will turn our mourning into dancing, our sorrows into joy and our sickness into health (Jeremiah 31).

In the second reading, we are reminded that the Gospel is not of human origin (John 1:1). Christianity is not man-made. It is not some idea that a person invented. The Gospel comes from God.  This Gospel transforms lives as St. Paul testifies by reminding his audience that he persecuted the Church at one point until the Son was revealed to Him. We must try our best to live out the Gospel in our lives. It is this living that brings us and others to Christ. When people see us witnessing to the Gospel, they will become curious about it. They will wonder what makes Christians so joyful and so coutner cultural. This will lead to conversions as these inquisitive people begin to learn and understand the faith. The Gospel brings our souls back to life after it is killed off by sin, both venial and mortal.

Finally in the Gospel, we read about the miracle of Jesus raising a young man who has passed away.  This young man was the only son of a widow.  Jesus saw the woman and felt pity for her and told her "Do not weep." Then He tells the bearers of the coffin to stop and says, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"  The dead man then sat up and spoke. The people glorified God and said that a great prophet was among them. This is connected to the first reading. Both stories are similar, but one major detail is obviously present. While Elijah was seen as a man of God by the woman he encountered, Jesus is much more; He is God. Jesus is the lord of life, death and mercy (Romans 14:9). He sees our suffering just like He saw the widow suffering over the death of her only son.  In this Year of Mercy, let us be more merciful and not judge others. This is why Pope Francis has frowned upon using the term 'living in sin' to classify certain people. In reality, we are all 'living in sin.' We have no right to magnify the sins of others as if they are sinning on a higher level than us. We all sin.  All men, women and children have fallen short of God's grace (Romans 3:23).  We must be merciful because where sin abounds, grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20). Jesus not only restores physical life, but spiritual life. We must seek Him and ask Him to raise us up again when our souls get lost in the death of sin.  May Jesus Christ be praised!




Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/060516.cfm

Please help me expand this evangelization work, donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus




Saturday, June 4, 2016

'Great One' Muhammad Ali Ali Dead at 74


"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."



Muhammad Ali
(1942-2016)




Boxing legend and philanthropist Muhammad Ali born Cassius Clay passed away at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.  May he rest in peace.  

Friday, June 3, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows

I just came out of the movie theater after watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles: Out of the Shadows with my nephew, niece and dad.

This movie was very exciting. It had two incidences of swear words, but nothing too serious like the "F" word. The movie naturally had a lot of violence and fighting being it is a movie about ninjas. The movie begins with April's friend Vernon taking credit for the heroic actions of the Ninja Turtles in the first movie in 2014. The  Turtles are then shown at the top of the viewing screen at Madison Square Garden watching the game and then Vernon being interviewed. Donatello then shoots spit balls at him. Afterwards, Michelangelo drops a pizza slice onto the basketball court causing one of the players to slip and miss his winning shot.  The Turtles then escape back to their lair before being caught.

We then see April at Grand Central Station spying on an African American man played by by comedian Tyler Perry known for his role as "Madea."  Perry plays the role of scientist Baxter Stockman. The movie keeps in line with the comics since the character is black.  In the 1980's-90's cartoon series, Stockman was Caucasian. Anyhow, April tries to flirt with Stockman with the intention of downloading files from his tablet. She succeeds at first, but then another man comes and the tablet is given to him. April loses the connection and briefly disrupts her flirting with Baxter in order to go after the other man. She succeeds on getting the data from the tablet but when trying to download it, the data self destructs.

The Turtles then learn that the Shredder is being transferred to another prison facility. The scene is then shown with the Shredder in a steel container along with two other men; one with a purple mohawk and the other, a white muscular male. These two are of course 'Bebop' and 'Rocksteady.'  Donatello manages to retrieve some of the data that self destructed and learned that Stockman is working for Shredder and is planning on breaking him out. The Turtles then get on a garbage truck re-engineered by Donatello.  They go and make sure the Shredder's transfer goes without a problem. While the Shredder is being transferred, ninjas on motorcycles come and place bombs are the police car motorcade. These are the Foot Soldiers. They cause the cars to explode leaving only the police truck carrying the three prisioners.  One of the police officers in the truck is Casey Jones. The vigilante who wears a hockey mask.

The Turtles manage to thwart the Foot Soldiers but then a helicopter comes and cuts a hole on the top of the police truck.  The Shredder is lifted out of the truck but then disappears in a blast of light. The Turtles are wondering where he went. We then see Shredder in a place that is not Earth. A strange voice is heard speaking. This is Krang, the brain-alien from dimension X. Shredder and Krang plan to take over the Earth. Krang tells Shredder that three devices are on Earth which will create a portal allowing him and his Technodrome to enter. The Krang then gives Shredder a purple substance that will enhance DNA. The Shredder would later use this substance to get Bebop and Rocksteady to turn into a warthog and rhinoceros. April steals some of it after spying on Shredder and gives it to the Turtles.  Donatello learns that the substances enhances the DNA in humans that links them to a particular species in the past.  Leonardo becomes concerned that the other turtles would get tempted to use it to become human since they feel like second class citizens. Later on in the movie, Rafael smashes the container with the substance.  The turtles decide to remain turtles.

In the mean time, Rocksteady and Bebop go after the devices necessary to open the portal to dimension x.  They succeed and the portal is opened.  Krang and his Technodrome begin to enter. The Technodrome enters the Earth in pieces that begin to assemble themselves. The Turtles are then left to try to stop the portal before the entire Technodrome assembles and attacks.  Meanwhile, the Shredder visits Krang and is happy the plan for their takeover is coming to fruition. However, Krang betrays Shredder and freezes him.  On the surface, the Turtles have to expose their identities to the police in order to plan how to save the Earth.  The police agree to keep their identities secret. After this, the Turtles plan to go stop Krang while Vernon, April and Casey Jones go after Stockman and stop the portal. While doing so, they run into Bebop and Rocksteady. Jones takes on them by himself while April and Vernon go stop the portal. While this is going on, the Turtles confront Krang who gives them trouble with his android body.  The Turtles disable his body and then go stop the portal. Earth is saved as the Technodrome gets sucked back to dimension x.  The Turtles are then given a private ceremony at Ellis Island.

This movie was fun to watch. If you grew up on the cartoons, then this movie was made for you. In fact, this movie would have been extremely popular if it came out in 1990 since it is based more on the cartoons than the comics. The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was based mostly off the comic book series. This movie has some good themes in it such as loyalty, honor, the importance of family and friends, and accepting who you are. The Turtles had the choice to become as human as possible with the purple substance but decided to remain who they were. The movie is fun and very entertaining. It has a sense of nostalgia to it especially for those who grew up in the late 1980s and the 1990s. The movie did not disappoint.  My nephew and niece, even my dad enjoyed it.  



Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Harambe Shot Dead: World Goes Bananas

Social media has been up in an uproar after a gorilla named Harambe was shot dead in order to rescue a four year old boy. During the weekend, a small boy of four years of age visiting the zoo of Cincinnati slipped through a barrier and fell into a pit where gorillas in captivity reside in. Everyone present immediately panicked. Zoo officials managed to get two female gorillas to get away from the boy after they issued commands; however, a 17 year old male gorilla named Harambe ignored commands and approached the four year old boy.

Hirambe towered over the boy at one point and then proceeded to drag the boy through the water to another location a few feet away. From there, Hirambe seemed to observe the crying child and even stood him up at one point holding him by his pants. Shortly after this, zoo officials shot Hirambe killing him and then rescued the young boy. The boy was sent to the hospital with scrapes and a concusion.  He was released a few days later.  However, animals activists and others are calling for the parents of the child to be arrested. Some have even resorted to death threats against the mother and four year old child. Others have even resorted to racists remarks because the boy is African American; insinuating that the boy was the same color as the gorilla and therefore, the gorilla would not have harmed him.

Over 100,000 have signed an online petition demanding an investigation and the prosecution of the parents of the young boy. The zoo is also under fire for killing the silverback gorilla which is an endangered species. Those upset with the killing are upset because they feel that the killing of the gorilla was unnecessary. They ask why a tranquilizer was not used. Zoo officials responded that a tranquilizer would take about ten minutes to kick in and the dart would have angered Hirambe causing him to possibily harm or kill the boy. Gorillas are very strong animals. They can easily deadlift about 2,000 lbs without effort. A gorilla can easily tear a grown man over 6 feet tall piece by piece or easily crush him. Had Hirambe been tranquilized, he could have torn the boy apart or with one pound of his hand would have left the boy crushed into a pulp. Experts all agree that killing the gorilla was the only option.



This story is sad, not only for the boy and his family but also for Harambe. Harambe did not ask to be held in a zoo. He did not ask to be 'entertainment' for human beings who are 'cousins' of his species. Gorillas and humans share 98% DNA.  It is extraordinary to even contemplate this. We are so different yet so similar, genetically and physically speaking. However, human life has more value than a gorilla because they are rational beings with souls. This does not mean gorillas do not have value. We must ensure that these creatures survive on Earth. Again, they are our 'cousins' in nature.

What troubles me is the response from some animal activists who seem to have preferred that the boy perish instead of the gorilla. This is sad indeed and shows the warped views circulating around in society. These views mainly come from philosopher Peter Singer who advocates for 'animal equality.' He believes that humans and non-human animals are the same. These ideas are presented as rational but when one analyzes them carefully, they can be nonsensical.  Yes, humans are animals too, but humans are different. Humans have the capacity to save other species, gorillas do not. This puts the human in a higher category than other non-human animals.

I am sad that Harambe is dead. In fact, from the video I saw, it seems as if Harambe was actually protecting the boy. Nevertheless, Harambe was a savage animal. This is evidence in how he dragged the boy causing the boy to bash his head several times on concrete. Harambe could not distinguish between being gentle or rough. He did not have that capacity. If gorillas had this capacity, they could easily organize and attack human beings like in the "Planet of the Apes" movie. I think an investigation should be made at the zoo to figure out why the gorilla's sanctuary was not secure. As to whether the parents had blame, only cameras at the zoo (if any) can prove this.  Accidents do happen. Kids to wander off even with the most vigilant of parents.  Instead of a criminal charge, I think a fine is more appropriate to help cover the costs related to Harambe's death.








Source:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/nation-now/2016/05/31/zoo-incident-parent-shaming/85211702/?hootPostID=16e678e6ed72fa615d829d4ffb87b40d

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/the-only-thing-more-upsetting-than-harambe-the-gorillas-death-was-the-reality-of-his-life-a7057981.html

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/05/31/police-investigating-boys-parents-in-case-of-harambe-the-gorilla/

http://time.com/4352001/cincinnati-zoo-gorilla-killed-harambe-boy-toddler/?xid=time_socialflow_twitter

http://abc7ny.com/news/zookeeper-who-raised-harambe-mourns-his-death/1364288/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/05/harambe-gorillas-behaviors-zoos-animals/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_tw20160531news-gorillaupdate&utm_campaign=Content&sf27584024=1

http://www.vox.com/2016/5/31/11818858/harambe-gorilla-michelle-gregg-mob-justice

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/31/us/gorilla-shot-harambe/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ohio-gorilla-idUSKCN0YM1XH




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