Jakubczyk on Common Sense

Applying faith and reason to ideas, issues and events in today's world

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John J. Jakubczyk has been active in the Pro-Life Movement since 1975.  He served as President of Arizona Right to Life, Arizona's largest, oldest and strongest pro-life organization.  He was on the board of AzRTL for many years and now is acts as the Arizona delegate to the National Right to Life Committee.  As the founder and president of Southwest Life & Law Center, he continues to use his legal skills to assist in advising, counseling and defending women, children, pro-life activists, organizations, as well as victims of abortion. A national speaker, motivator and adviser since the 1980s, he is very familiar with the history of the movement at the national level.   A founder and past president of Ville de Marie Academy, he served as a trustee for 15 years.  He has been an attorney in private practice for 35 years, is active in his church, married, the father of 11 children, and a proud grandfather.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Preparing for Christmas - Advent

So now that Thanksgiving is over and the "Black Friday" deals are past, we get to watch everyone go crazy on "cyber-Monday" buying "stuff" that will make everyone "happy."

I am tried just thinking about it.

I was going to go to bed at a reasonable time tonight. I still might make it if this little post is short enough and i do not make too many typographical errors.

But as I juggle emails even as late as now and the latest in the news, I feel required to state that while the media and the stores want all of us in the Christmas mood, the actual season is ADVENT not Christmas.

Why be a spoil sport you ask?   It is about putting us in good spirits, you say. Don't be a Grinch or a Scrooge, you exclaim!

But that is just the point. I want us all to enjoy each in its own turn.

What is Advent?

Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of Christ, both in Christmas and in the end. It is a time to reflect on the last things - death, judgment, heaven, hell. Okay, I will admit that no one wants to think about those four last things, which is precisely why the Church asks us to do so.

Consider WHY did Jesus Christ become a little baby. It was not so Hallmark could sell sentimental cards or WalMart could have midnight madness sales. Why was Christ born - to redeem us from our sinful state; to restore man's relationship with God the Father, to show us what true love is.

Thus the Church calls on us to reflect on these higher thoughts, thee profound truths, the noble sentiments and to prepare our hearts to receive the infant Savior.

So while there is no getting around the shopping and the noise and the parties, take a moment each day and reflect on the real reason for the season. Whatever your faith, realize that we have been given a great gift that allows us the time and energy to consider the love God has for all of us - and that He sent His only begotten Son to save us from our sins.

Let us appreciate and be grateful for the mercy God has shown us. Let us be kind toward our neighbor and help those in need. Let us look inside and make a firm decision to amend our lives, so that anyone who sees us would say -  there goes an  instrument of God's love in the world.

For daily Scripture readings that you can access from your mobile phone, consider downloading the free App for Laudate.  Otherwise get your scripture daily readings here.

Enjoy the season of anticipation. Do not forget the expectation that comes with the wonder of it all.
And as my father is famous for saying - pay attention to your family, to your friends, the reason why we are all here.

A Blessed Advent to you all.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Federal District Court Judge rules in Defense of Marriage

I will applaud a judge when he gets it right. This judge got it right.  Read this cogent reasoned opinion by a federal district court judge declaring Puerto Rico's laws on marriage valid and dismissing the complaint by same sex marriage advocates.

Ryan Anderson does an excellent job of summarizing the matter. Read about it here.

For my part I read the Opinion by Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez . I encourage anyone who wants to examine a well articulated defense of law, precedent, stare decisis and logic to read the opinion. 

Finally he chides his fellow judges for failing to act as judges by asking some very interesting questions.  Again nothing  can substitute for reading the actual opinion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Judicial Oligarchy

I have said this before and today's pronouncement from the U.S. Supreme Court only confirms it once again. We do not live in a democratic republic. We do not live in  a federal system of government where there are states that have rights, duties, responsibilities and limitations on what they can do and a federal government that is "limited" in its jurisdiction.

Today's decision by the Court to enjoin enforcement of some of Texas' new abortion regulations law is a perfect example of federal over-reaching.  The law passed addressed regulatory rules for free standing surgical centers (read abortion mills) that would protect patients from shoddy abortionists like Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia or Stephen Bingham, lately of New Jersey.

How many women have to die before these justices recognize the error they have made?

Random thoughts for the week of October 12, 2014

Having observed the frantic pace in which the courts, politicians and the media, both news and entertainment (although these days it is difficult to distinguish them) have been focused on all things "gay" or homosexual, I offer the sobering thought that human beings ought not be defined by their appetites. Appetites change, proclivities change, the person remains a person. and if we be defined at all, let it be that we are defined as children of the one God who calls us all out of darkness into His own wonderful light.  Let us be defined as members of a human race in need of salvation.  Let us draw our identity not from the ooze of the earth but from the blood of the cross.  In this only can we find out our true meaning and purpose while here on this earth.

Sunday was the 522nd anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.  Now the fellow has been getting beaten up pretty regularly over the last 20 years ever since some folks decided that his "actions" when he arrived in "the New World" did not meet some modern historians' approval.  And truth be told, Columbus made some mistakes along the way.  But the venom that modern day apologists for the "indigenous peoples" have spewed is absurd and hateful ( to use one of their terms).  The courage and skill exhibited by Columbus merit respect in their own right.  The real reason that these people hate Columbus was his unvarnished Catholicism.  He believed that it was his destiny to bring Christianity to the Indies.  That he discovered a new land was a happy accident.  But the exploration of the new world and its colonization was one of the single most important events in the history of western civilization and the world.  So celebrate this week and thank God that Columbus had the guts to set sail west to discover that new route to the Indies.  And while one is thanking God, include a kind word for Isabella, Queen of Spain, who believed in his vision and financed the trip.

Considering that the elections are less than a month away and early balloting has commenced, I recommend people take some time to find out where they are registered and who is on the ballot. Prepare oneself by studying the candidates and the issues - especially any ballot propositions. Start by recalling that there are threshold issues which determine if the candidate even deserves consideration. For example, if a candidate believes that abortion - the killing of a baby in the mother's womb -  is a perfectly acceptable "choice" for a mother to make, then the candidate does not deserve consideration for the simple reason that if he (or she) will allow the law to permit legal killing, there is no telling what other awful ideas he may support. hose who support killing of the innocent do not deserve our vote. Period. End of story.

With all the discussion of ISIS and the Middle East, it is clear that most modern journalists along with most politicians, have absolutely no understanding of history.  For example, last week on October 7, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Why?  Well, there was this little battle in 1571 called Lepanto.  The Ottoman Turks were about to invade Europe AGAIN and there was a defense by the Christian forces under the leadership of Prince John of Austria.  The Christian forces won and Islam was turned back yet again. The Turks would renew their efforts in 1683 at gates of Vienna.  The Battle of Vienna was just another defense of Europe by Christian forces this time led by Jan Sobieski, the king of Poland.  Most Americans do not recall their early American history when our merchant ships were being attacked by Barbary pirates off the coast of North Africa.  How many people know that the famous line in the Marine hymn references these battles?  So when people are clueless about the extremism that is endemic to Islam or its political/theocratic composition, please refer them to the history books.  The one thing lacking in the West today that is real cause for alarm is the failure to appreciate the need to seek God's providence. For without God, we can do nothing.

A personal note: on Monday October 13, 1979 I took an oath and became a licensed attorney in the state of Arizona.  35 years later, by the grace of God, I continue to use this gift to assist those who have need for my legal advice and counsel.  It was the following Monday on October 15, 1979 that I "hung out my shingle" as they say and opened for business in a small room on East Thomas Road in Phoenix.  I have always believed that God intended me to be a lawyer to help protect his little ones and their mothers, to defend those in the courts and to provide good legal advice consistent with the Gospel.   Sadly there have been many times when I was unable to prevent the tragic deaths of the babies.  The memories of those failures often haunt me. Yet by Christ's mercy, I continue to offer myself as a champion for the innocent and to encourage others to stand up for life. May God grant me the strength and the grace to do His will in my work.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Organizing ones time

Lately I have noticed that time seems to be slipping through my fingers faster than ever before. as a result of this I find myself unable to accomplish as much as i use to do. It can be frustrating.  Perhaps it is the reality of age setting in.  But I think not.  I think I have to be more conscious of what I do with my time. And more important, what is sucking up so much of it.

I could blame the computer and the internet. Facebook does draw me in and now acts as a news source in between all those sweet (argh) animal photos. Posting pro-life information was the main reason for getting on Facebook in the beginning. Now the use of social media is so integral to getting the story out that one cannot ignore it. Maintenance is such a headache.

Then there is the driving around town. But I really cannot blame that for eating up time. I have always been running around - whether to court, or to meetings,

So what to do?

Lists - the bane and boon on one's existence.

I need to make them and - more importantly use them.

That's it. Now accountability has set it. It is out in the open. No more excuses.

Good night.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

We have a pope. - Francis

Few of us really understand the life of St. Francis, the young man who renounced everything for the kingdom - in a sense redeeming the life of the rich young man in the Gospel story who just could not bear to leave all to follow Christ. We think of Francis as someone who had this affinity to animals, who was kind and gentle, who had a preference for the poor. And all of this is true. But Francis had a side in him that was steel, a deeply held belief in the power and mercy of God that made him fearless and bold. For this Francis was the same man who went to the Middle East to converse with and hopefully convert the sultan in n effort to end the bloody violence between Christian and Moor. While unsuccessful, he nevertheless revealed a tenacity that would serve the order he was in the process of forming. Such a strength was needed as he set about to be God's instrument to reform and rebuild God's Church.

Such were my thoughts upon the election of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires.Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Here one finds a truly humble recipient of God's grace in action. Here one finds a man of courage and conviction,who lives his vocation in the very simplicity of the Gospel - by example - all the while exhorting us to come, follow Jesus.

He reminds me of the Bishop of Digne, the character in Victor Hugo's classic, Les Miserables. The bishop was a humble man, yet one of tremendous courage. He arrived in town and eschewed the huge bishop's palace and instead chose the humble building next door. He gave the palace to the hospital so it could serve the poor, the sick and the elderly. The chapter goes into great detail on the bishop's pastoral approach, his sense of prayer, his generosity to the poor, and his loyalty to the truth of the Gospel.  Thus the reader fully appreciates the charity of the bishop toward Jean Valjean in the momentous scene when he claims Valjean's soul for God.

Perhaps this Successor of St. Peter can do the same for this forsaken and lost world. Perhaps the broken and forgotten, the sick and the outcast will see the gentle and healing touch of Christ in our new Peter. Perhaps the emptiness and the broken promises of the world's temptations will be rejected for the living and merciful embrace of the one true Church. We can only hope.

In Francis one will find a champion for the poor, the forgotten, the oppressed, the unborn, the elderly and the marginalized. Francis will defend the right to life and the dignity of marriage as found in nature and revealed by God. He will support the rights of conscience and the rights of parents to raise and educate their children consistent with their duty as parents. There will be no equivocation with teaching the truth. for only the truth can set us free.

Only in Christ will my soul be at rest. In Him is my hope and salvation.  If all those who are so worried about everything will think - first, I must be reconciled to God and to His perfect will, then God can act through us in a mighty way.   And just as Valjean was transformed by the grace of God through the gentle but honest counsel of the bishop, so each of us, together, can be instruments of God's grace and mercy to a broken and hurting world.

Let us pray for our pope. May God watch over Francis and give him all the grace needed to be a sign of Christ's redemptive love. Amen.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

A Response to Paul Elie and his opinion piece in the New York Times

It can be frustrating at times, reading the opinions of so-called intellectuals who attempt to impress the reader with their weighty opinions, when the truth is, their thoughts are so much rubbish. Don't get me wrong: there is much that is impressive in that heady world of academia. But lately I have read a lot of nonsense. Paul Elie's Op Ed article in the New York Times is just such a piece. 

Elie comments on Benedict XVI's decision to resign or step down as pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Citing health reasons, the Holy Father ended his pontificate on February 28, 2013. Though not unprecedented, it is extremely rare for a pope to resign (the last one did over 500 years ago).  Elie uses the event to suggest that Catholics "resign" from being Catholics - if only for a time. He then goes on to explain that instead of attending mass this Sunday, he will go somewhere else. He writes
That is why this Sunday, I won’t be at the Oratory Church of St. Boniface in Downtown Brooklyn, even though I love it there — a welcoming, open-minded, authentically religious place.
Instead, I’ll be at the Brooklyn Meeting of the Quakers, who have long invited volunteers from our church to serve food to the poor.
Or I’ll be at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew, an Episcopal congregation that hosted the Occupy movement’s relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy.
Or I’ll go to the Zen Mountain Monastery at Mount Tremper, in the Catskills.
When I think of the martyrs who died rather than forsake the holy mass, or people in various lands who travel hours on foot so they can attend the sacred liturgy, I wonder what is this guy about and does he even have a clue as to what he is suggesting?  Can he be serious? Exchange the chance to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in order to make a point?

To suggest that serious Catholics forgo the worship of Our Lord in the most perfect prayer of the Church in order to send a message is not only wrong but insulting to the Truth who is Jesus Christ.

To be fair, he explains that he will be back the following week. However, he speaks to this "resignation" that Catholics feel about their Faith, a frustration that the Church will not "change." 

Change - so suit whose agenda?
Change - perhaps it is we who should change.
Change - perhaps the better word would be conversion.

Now I do not argue that there are problems in the administration of the church from the Vatican down to the local parish. Put a group of human beings together and ask them to organize, administer and operate something and one will find all sorts of issues that will need to be addressed.  But the Catholic Church is not just some organization run solely be some guys in Rome.  It is the mystical body of Christ. She is the Bride of Christ. She is protected by the Holy Spirit in a profound and mysterious way. The consistency of her message for 2000 yeas has confounded the modern world, especially frustrating those who think that they can get her to "change" to meet their particular opinions of how things should be. And for the record, the church will not be changing her teachings on matters involving human sexuality. Her teachings are the only sanity when exploring the subject. The world's approach has brought death, disease, and heartache to men and women for the last 50 years.

So Paul, my brother in Christ, you who are perhaps too brilliant for your own good, please do not suggest that we not attend holy mass. Instead encourage us to attend mass daily and receive the graces that come from a personal encounter with the Living God.   Do not speak to us of the current difficulties in the church. Heaven knows that the mainstream media never misses a chance to attack the Church for those who have failed her and her people. Speak to us of the mystery of truth, goodness and beauty that is found in this liturgical encounter with Christ. Suggest that we accept the mercy of God found in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Remind us that God calls us to holiness and to serve our brothers and sisters in the ordinary dealings of our lives. Speak to the reality that as members of the one Body of Christ, we are to evangelize, to spread the Good News - that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that He conquered death and that in Him we have eternal life.

During this time of transition in the life of the leadership in the Church, encourage us to transition from our worldly ways to the those of heaven.

That means during this holy season of Lent, embracing the cross of Christ, accepting the call to prayer, fasting and alms-giving, and looking forward to the glory of the Resurrection.

Finally it means praying for the cardinals during the conclave that they be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that their selection of a new pope will help guide the Church as she continues to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the power of mercy and forgiveness

November is a month that reminds us of death. In the Church calendar All Saints and All Souls mark the first two days of the month. On November 11 the country celebrates Veterans' Day and for many it is a reminder of those veterans who gave "their last full measure of devotion" to defend this great land of ours. For me personally, the month is also a reminder of family members lost. All this reminding, remembering, recalling. So what's the message?

Look around you and consider what you have. Look at those relationships with the people close to you. Embrace them; hold on to them; love them; appreciate them.. For the truth is, you do not know how long you will have them or they have you.

Are there people who have hurt you?  Forgive them. Be reconciled to them. Release them from the prison of your anger and you will find that you have freed yourself.  Realize that all of us have fallen short and sinned before God. All of us deserve death. And yet His Son became a human being, a little baby, just so he could die for our sins and restore that relationship with Our Father. All of our sins, all of our failings, all of our evil actions toward one another He took upon Himself so that we might live and be free.

I so relish His mercy and forgiveness. I thank Him for being so compassionate to me. and I ask Him, "What can I do to show you my thanks?".

He told me - He told all of us what to do in the prayer He gave us.  He told us that when we pray for God to forgive our sins, we should forgive those who sin against us.

Powerful and scary.

I am to forgive those who hurt me. But wait that is not what the culture tells us. Society would have us linger in our hatred and anger. After all I have been harmed, hurt, assaulted, robbed, - you fill in the blank. Granted the person who commits wrong should suffer a punishment. Nothing in these thoughts suggest otherwise. And the punishment should be appropriate to the betterment of the person and the appeasement of true justice.  But what of the bigger picture. In a post Christian culture is it even to be considered? Are we left with the "quaint" stories of saints who as they are dying, forgive their murderers and nothing else?  And what about other hurts, the family kind, the strains between parents and children or between spouses or siblings or friends or co-workers?  How does one muster the strength to deal with betrayal and loss? How are we to respond, not just to the every day attacks but to the serious offenses that throw our lives into turmoil?

Christ's words are the same. Forgive them all the same.

If we truly believe that God is in control, that He loves us and only wants our happiness and joy, then whatever happens can be used by Him to bring about great good. But we must trust Him. And I think sometimes as we try to "contain" God in the box we have made for Him, that we conveniently forget His admonition to us. We want to be justified in our anger against the person who harmed us. We want that person to suffer because we have suffered.  Perhaps we forget that God uses these tragic events to teach us as well, and perhaps to bring us closer to Him - even when He is on the cross.

So as we continue throughout the month of November, let us seek to draw upon the Father's mercy and love. Let us recall the famous words of the playwright,

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

Forgiveness can free us from the past, from the pain and from the control of the one who would not want us to forgive. Forgiveness is more powerful than the evil that would destroy us. It is the one gift that can bring us life and restore any broken relationship. It is fitting then that November ends with both Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent in the Christian calendar.  Both events speak to an appreciation for the mercy and love of Divine Providence. Both call us to reconcile with one another so that we may break the cycle of cynicism and hate. In this way we can teach our children the lasting benefits of mercy and forgiveness. 

So as we pray for the many troubles of the day, take time to pray for those who have hurt you. Reconcile with them and ask God to give you the strength to forgive them as He would have you do.