“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

June 4, 2009

A Double Tragedy for a Catholic Family in Phoenix

I am stunned by the terrible news I just read about the death, due to complications in childbirth, of Kerry Martin, wife of the Treasurer of the State of Arizona, Dean Martin. The child she was delivering, a boy, also died.

I had lunch with Dean and Kerry at an intimate Catholic gathering in Phoenix last year at which I gave a talk about the work of the Envoy Institute. What a delightful and happy couple they were! The three of us chatted for 15 minutes or so about his career, and in particular how his strong Catholic Faith and equally strong Pro-Life convictions affected, for better or worse, his work in the state government. I have a vivid memory of also talking one-on-one with Kerry for a little while about homeschooling. She was beaming and sweet and clearly very much in love with her husband, proud of his burgeoning career, and happy to be a busy young mom of a young family. And now she's gone.

Receive, Lord, your servant Kerry into the place of salvation, which she hopes to obtain through your mercy. Amen.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Kerry Martin liked to play a game with the child she was carrying.

She set a remote control on top of her stomach, and waited for the baby to kick it off. He always did.

"They did this every night," said her husband, state Treasurer Dean Martin, at the funeral Wednesday for his wife and infant son. "And it was so much fun to watch."

Martin talked about his wife and their only son, Austin Michael Martin, before a large and somber crowd at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Phoenix. Hundreds of mourners packed the pews and lined the back walls as Father John Greb celebrated a funeral Mass for the Martins.

Kerry Martin died at 34 on May 25, hours after delivering Austin, as a consequence of the rupture of a benign tumor on her liver. Austin died two days later as a result of complications from the birth. . .  (continue reading)

The Murder Story the Mainstream Media Refuses to Cover

Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch discusses the glaring double standard in the MSM regarding its heavy coverage (on the one hand) of the murder of that abortion doctor and its virtual silence and lack of coverage (on the other hand) of the murder of a U.S. soldier by a Muslim "jihadist" fanatic. The first murder has been widely associated with Christianity and the Pro-Life Movement, even though inumerable Christian and Pro-life leaders have publicly condemned that deplorable act while, on the other hand, there has been no similar outcry of condemnation by Muslim leaders regarding the murder of a solider by that Muslim.

As Gomer Pyle used to say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise."

"Care for an Entrée With Your Entrée?" Gluttony, the Forgotten Sin

Catering to gluttony is big business these days. Practically every restaurant — including all the popular chains that you and I and every other American dines at, now and then —  goes way overboard in the super-sized portions they dish up and the bad-for-your-health ingredients in the food. For example, check out what one recent scientific study discovered about some dishes served at a very popular Italian food restaurant chain. 

And if you really want the gory details of what you're packing into your gullet when you sit down for lunch or dinner at just about any other chain restaurant (I'm not talking fast food here, by the way. I'm talking those nice sit-down restaurants), feast your eyes on this "Xtreme Eating 2009" report which explains exactly how much fat, sodium, and calories you'll ingest the next time you order.  And if you tend toward items on the menu that fall into what is commonly thought of as the "Mediterranean diet," you may want to pick something else, once you've read about that in the Xtreme Eating report. 

But aside from the physical damage that gluttony does to the body, Many no longer understand that gluttony is a sin and have lost any comprehension of the spiritual damage it causes.  Check out this snippet of what St. Thomas had to say on the subject: 

Gregory says (Moral. xxx, 18) that 'unless we first tame the enemy dwelling within us, namely our gluttonous appetite, we have not even stood up to engage in the spiritual combat.' But man's inward enemy is sin. Therefore gluttony is a sin.

[...] gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate desire. 

"As long as the vice of gluttony has a hold on a man, all that he has done valiantly is forfeited by him: and as long as the belly is unrestrained, all virtue comes to naught." But virtue is not done away save by mortal sin. Therefore gluttony is a mortal sin. (Summa Theologiae, II-IIae, Q. 148, a. 1 & 2).

The Catholic Encyclopedia contains this entry:


(From Latin: gluttire, to swallow, to gulp down), the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking.

This deordination, according to the teaching of the Angelic Doctor, may happen in five ways which are set forth in the scholastic verse: "Prae-propere, laute, nimis, ardenter, studiose" or, according to the apt rendering of Father Joseph Rickably: too soon, too expensively, too much, too eagerly, too daintily. Clearly one who uses food or drink in such a way as to injure his health or impair the mental equipment needed for the discharge of his duties, is guilty of the sin of gluttony.

It is incontrovertible that to eat or drink for the mere pleasure of the experience, and for that exclusively, is likewise to commit the sin of gluttony. Such a temper of soul is equivalently the direct and positive shutting out of that reference to our last end which must be found, at least implicitly, in all our actions. At the same time it must be noted that there is no obligation to formerly and explicitly have before one's mind a motive which will immediately relate our actions to God. It is enough that such an intention should be implied in the apprehension of the thing as lawful with a consequent virtual submission to Almighty God.

Gluttony is in general a venial sin in so far forth as it is an undue indulgence in a thing which is in itself neither good nor bad. Of course it is obvious that a different estimate would have to be given of one so wedded to the pleasures of the table as to absolutely and without qualification live merely to eat and drink, so minded as to be of the number of those, described by the Apostle St. Paul, "whose god is their belly" (Philippians 3:19). Such a one would be guilty of mortal sin.

Likewise a person who, by excesses in eating and drinking, would have greatly impaired his health, or unfitted himself for duties for the performance of which he has a grave obligation, would be justly chargeable with mortal sin.

St. John of the Cross, in his work "The Dark Night of the Soul" (I, vi), dissects what he calls spiritual gluttony. He explains that it is the disposition of those who, in prayer and other acts of religion, are always in search of sensible sweetness; they are those who "will feel and taste God, as if he were palpable and accessible to them not only in Communion but in all their other acts of devotion." This he declares is a very great imperfection and productive of great evils. (source)