Monday, January 19, 2015

Pope Francis: No Catholic need to breed like "rabbits"
BBC News

Good Roman Catholics do not need to breed like "rabbits", the Pope has said, but should practice "responsible" parenting instead.

Pope Francis spoke as he returned from the Philippines, where he met former street children abandoned by parents unable to afford to care for them.

Standing firm against artificial birth control, he said new life was "part of the sacrament of marriage".

But he said population experts advised three children per family.

Pope Francis raised eyebrows last week when, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, he said it was wrong to provoke others by insulting their religion.

He told journalists as a joke that his assistant could expect a punch if he ''cursed his mother''. At the same time, the Pope defended freedom of expression.

"Excuse my expression"

Speaking to journalists while heading back to Rome from the Philippines on Monday, Pope Francis was asked what he would say to families who had more children than they could afford because the Church forbids artificial contraception.

He replied with an unexpected turn of phrase: "Some people think that - excuse my expression here - that in order to be good Catholics we have to be like rabbits."

"No. Parenthood is about being responsible. This is clear."

The Pope said he knew many ways allowed by the Catholic Church that could ensure families only had as many children as they wished.

He cited the case of one woman he had met who had had seven children by Caesarean section and was expecting her eighth - a pregnancy he said was irresponsible.

"She said, 'I trust in God.' But God gave us the means to be responsible," the Pope said.

But he added that for the poorest, a child was a treasure for its mother and father.

To a separate question, the Pope said that most importantly, no outside institution should impose its views on families.

Progressive, Western ideas about birth control and gay rights were increasingly being imposed by groups, institutions or nations there, often as a condition for development aid, he said.

"Every people deserves to conserve its identity without being ideologically colonised," the Pope said.

During his trip to the Philippines the Pope defended traditional Vatican teaching, which opposes artificial contraception.

On Sunday, an estimated six million people attended an outdoor mass he celebrated in the capital, Manila.

Pope Francis in quotes
  • On freedom of speech: "If my good friend Doctor Gasparri [who organises the Pope's trips] speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. There is a limit."
  • On homosexuality: "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?"
  • On abortion: "It is not 'progressive' to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life... This defence of unborn life is closely linked to the defence of each and every other human right."
  • On hunger: "With all the food that is left over and thrown away, we could feed so many. If we were able to stop wasting and start recycling food, world hunger would diminish greatly."

Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Year . . . A Renewed Commitment!

"When I was young, I had all the energy but I had no money. Now that I am old, I have money but I have no energy." Dad

"Life is NOT about what you want to do. Most of the time, it's about what you have to do." Dad

Dan, a staff industrial engineer for the feeder department at the UPS Burtonsville Hub in Maryland, was near retirement. I was fresh out of Virginia Tech with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and operations research, and feeling good about myself. I paid my dues as a package car driver delivering packages over the peak-season (4th quarter up to the Christmas holidays) of 1990 at the Rockville, Maryland Package Center (lost 25 pounds in the first 3 weeks) and I was starting my stint as a staff industrial engineer for the Twilight Sort of the Burtonsville Hub.

Dan was a man of few words. He seemed to know what he was doing and he accomplished his daily tasks with efficiency and economy. There was nothing superfluous about Dan. He came to the Hub, he did his work and he went home.

I was your quintessential "wide eyed and bushy tailed" new hire eagerly applying as much of what I learned in college in the real world . . . while committing plenty of mistakes along the way. I wasn't working very smart either with fourteen (14) hour work days (5 days a week thankfully) as my norm.

Notwithstanding my youthful professional zeal, I did notice that Dan was overweight and probably not in the best of health. In fact, he appeared to me like a man who had lost his spark, simply counting the days to his retirement. At the end of some of my longer days at work, I would extrapolate my exhaustion over a period 30 years and I would begin to understand how much of life has been sucked out of Dan by the company over the years.

It was common knowledge in UPS that a manager-owner who had worked most of his life in the company (like Dan) would typically retire a millionaire in light of the stock-ownership (not just a stock-option) program of the company. Hence, Dan would probably look back at all his years of work with UPS with some degree of satisfaction. However, I was not particularly thrilled at the thought of how much and how long I would have to sacrifice myself for the organization, regardless of my net worth.

Even at the outset of my professional career, I vowed to save enough years for myself during which to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I was intent on having enough energy to enjoy my money. I was going to save a substantial portion of my life to pursue what I truly wanted to do instead of stuff I was simply obliged to do.

As much as I would like to think that I was "good", I was probably more "lucky" in my career, which allowed me to retire from employment just a few months after my 41st birthday--close enough to my target of retirement at 40. I am turning 47 this February 2015 and I am renewing my commitment to pursue everything I want to do in life!