Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Disposable Children

Two days ago, in Catholic parishes all over the world, we commemorated the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The reasons for this feast are to remember the children slaughtered by King Herod's regime, as he hunted down the Christ Child. In contemporary times, we use this feast to remember all children who've died, whether through accident, illness, stillbirth, miscarriage, abortion, or other causes. Churches will give parishioners the opportunity to light candles, in remembrance of these precious ones.

Many pro-life Catholics look at this feast in another sense. They especially remember the children slaughtered by abortion and pray for the mothers and children sorely affected by this blight on society. They use it as a time to pray for the U.S. government, that we may end this scourge through legal means. However, I've come across other issues that spread the same mentality: that children are disposable. None of these issues proclaims this more loudly than the sentencing of juvenile offenders to life without parole or to death sentences. This issue came to light as I was surfing the Net and came across a Frontline special regarding this. I then read a report put forth by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on the effects of such sentences on these youngsters.

It broke my heart.

It broke my heart that a country that proclaimed freedom and justice would rather let a child rot in jail than at least attempt to rehabilitate them back into society. It broke my heart that this same great nation would proclaim hypocrisy, using programs that condemn people and prove ineffective, in the name of political gain. Finally, it broke my heart that these same politicians, who proclaim that this is a "Christian nation" would go against the words of the God they believe in and treat young people as if they were disposable.

I understand that young people are capable of horrendous crimes. I believe that they, like their adult counterparts, should be punished. Yet punishment occurs with the hope that behavior will change, which means that a rehabilitation component must accompany any sentence. Also, while young people may know right and wrong, substantial studies prove that they act on impulse, without FULL comprehension of what they're doing. Furthermore, greater societal problems (poverty, illiteracy, minority status, family abuse) seriously impact those who do end up with these drastic punishments, all of which can affect the opportunities for true crime reduction. All of this points to a society where criminals regress in behavior and people are told that they are throwaways.

While these children may not be "innocent" (though there is some debate in some of these cases), the result is still the same: they are treated as if there is nothing of value to them, as if they were only meant for a dumpster. Even worse, it happens to those most neglected by society, in the same way abortion does: the poor, the non-white, the uneducated, those deemed "unimportant". The effects are devastating and the cost to society, both economically and otherwise, is astronomical. In the end, it's the same result as abortion: society's way of cleansing itself of those deemed undesirable. It's quite frightening.

Although this feast is two days past, we would do well to remember it all year round. Let's remember all of our children, innocent or not, who have been banished and forgotten by an indifferent society. Let's pray and fight for true justice to be done.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, for Tomorrow We Die

And many did........

In this season, we celebrate the birth of a King who promised justice. May justice and peace come to the nation of Iran.....And may our leaders be examples of both....

May all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Home Stretch

It's finals week and I'm mostly finished. Aside from a paper that needs revision and a test that's too easy, I'm done. With an abundance of work completed, I'm taking time to reflect on everything: my life, my dreams, my goals, my faith, even this blog.

Throughout this year, I've gone through a bulwark of changes. I chose a major and minor, completed an internship, started paying my own bills, took risks, questioned my faith, and started establishing myself, in my school, my job, my city, my church, and among my friends. I've never been more stable at any other point in my life though, at the same time, I feel my life has gotten crazier.

At this point, I cannot say I know where I'm going. I finally realized that no one in college truly knows what they're doing with the rest of our lives. If adults twice my age still haven't figured it out, I figured I could cut myself some slack, considering I'm so young I can't even legally drink at the moment. I can say that I've found themes that haven't changed. I still love international relations, I still want to work on women's rights and in health care (in some capacity), I still have this need to work on a consistent pro-life ethic (in both my personal and professional life, addressing poverty as well as other issues), I still want to do something that aids in economic development. Emphasis on the word "something". I choose to be vague because, as I've mentioned, I have no idea. I'm still figuring that out.

I still want to volunteer overseas. That I can say with certainty. For me, it's like college in the sense that I consider it a vital path in every aspect in my life (whether professional, spiritual, social, or personal). I hope to volunteer in a Spanish-speaking country, working on either human rights, health care, or women's issues (or a combination of the three), for about a year or two. I would like to go when I'm twenty-three, figuring I'd have time to raise money and get some experience in the real world before I peace out. However, with what organization, for what exact mission, I cannot say. I'm keeping my options open and doing plenty of research. All I can say is that it's something I need to do, but I don't know the exact ins and outs right now.

As for my personal life, I feel like an endless set of contradictions. I find myself becoming more cynical, more jaded, yet more hopeful with each passing day. I find that I have become both meaner and kinder. More liberal in politics, yet more conservative in my personal life. More open to people, yet more guarded about certain things. More aware of the world, yet realizing how little I can ever hope to know. More Catholic than I've ever been yet certainly not as legalized about it. More of an academic yet more eager to finish school. I have more faith in people and less at the same time. I cannot really explain any of this.

I don't know what will become of this blog. I realized I've written some good stuff yet other portions are merely the rants of a youngster who needs to do something more constructive with her time. I hope to improve the quality of my writing and, even more, write on more interesting and relative topics. We shall see what 2010 brings.

These are just a few of my thoughts regarding the year. I'm both afraid and excited for next year. Whatever happens, I'll take it as it comes.