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.

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.

Monday, June 04, 2012

RECALLING THE BLESSINGS OF LIBERTY – AND THE CURRENT THREAT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM - A Review of the Movie – for Greater Glory

One need only study American history to realize that the blessings of liberty have been purchased at a great price.  The founding of this nation, her imperfect accommodation with slavery, the tragic internecine conflict which followed, and the next 100 years, has taught any student that liberty must never be presumed and the rights bestowed upon the human person by God are not automatically respected by his fellow man.
Those of us in the pro-life movement are reminded of this reality daily. We shake our heads in disbelief that otherwise intelligent people would allow, permit, sanction and even promote the systematic slaughter of innocent pre-born children.  We read about the continued assault upon women by abortionists, the abortion industry, selfish abusive partners and are frustrated by the lack of concern by the press, government officials and those in authority. We get even more upset when those who should know better turn a blind eye and ignore our pleas for help.

Watching the new move, “For Greater Glory,” the story of the conflict in Mexico in the 1920s, I was struck by the similar problems, the similar themes and the similar consequences that arise when to recall the word of Edmund Burke, “good people do nothing.” 

For those unfamiliar with the Cristero War that brutalized the Mexican landscape in the 1920s, the government of atheist Plutarco Elias Calles sought to suppress the Catholic Church in Mexico by passing and enforcing draconian laws designed to destroy religious belief in Mexico. At first priests were deported and religious services were forbidden. Then when the people resisted, wholesale persecution of those who attempted to live their faith ensued.  When peaceful non-violent resistance was suppressed, open armed rebellion followed.  The move is a faithful rendition of what happened.

I saw the film this weekend and was moved by the power of the people to resist the onslaught of the government.  Both as entertainment and as history the story held my attention. The acting was excellent and the courage of the director not to soften the message about those tragic times must be commended. The personal stories of the men and women involved were brought to life by the actors and one could not avoid feeling the pain and sometimes the anger of the characters as the story played out on screen.
It has not been lost on anyone with a pulse the parallels between what the atheistic government tried and in some ways succeeded doing in Mexico and our current problems with the Obama administration concerning the HHS Mandate and the effort to force Catholics and other believers into violating their rights of conscience and right to exercise their religious freedom guaranteed under the First Amendment.  Aside from the obvious sympathy the movie give to the believers (something that with no doubt attract the scorn of the mainstream theatrical critics). The movie asks the viewer to considerif freedom is important.   The main character wrestles with his own set of standards and ultimately is moved by the sacrificial love and devotion of those who paid the ultimate price to defend these inalienable rights.  One leaves the theater so very appreciative of the system of laws in place that allow us to argue and defend or rights – at the same time realizing that if we are not vigilant, they can be taken away by a power that can intimidate and cajole simultaneously.
   
The movie does not explain to the viewer that for the next 70 years the party of Calles ruled Mexico with an iron hand and that whatever accommodations made to end the war were not completely honored by the Mexican government.  The corruption that has been long associated with past administrations has only served to remind us of the legacy that is mired in the sins of past generations.  But the lessons to those who watch the film are clear and bear repeating.  We must remain vigilant if we are to protect our freedoms. We cannot presume that government will not seek to expand its control of people’s lives.  We cannot ignore what is happening to those who are least able to defend themselves. We must stand up for the right to life and to liberty not just for ourselves but for our fellow brothers and sisters, no matter their status or station in life.  We must take seriously our duty to become informed and then to vote for those candidates who will respect rights of conscience, the right to life and the right to religious freedom.  And we must hold our candidates accountable so that they do not take our concerns for granted.  They must understand that there are first principles that are more important that security, than money, than status or power.
Everyone who loves a good movie will enjoy “For Greater Glory.” Dean Wright, the director does an excellent job of telling a verycompelling story. Andy Garcia and the cast bring the characters to life. Without revealing a particular part of the story, I must also add that the young man playing Jose has a great future as an actor. He was so believable and so genuine as to bring tears to this father’s eyes. The touching scene with the veteran actor Peter O’Toole, who plays an old priest, is one of the archives.

There are many who tout the concept of “American Exceptionalism” and many who deride the whole notion that we in the United States are somehow “special.”  Indeed there is enough history of the good and bad in the 236 years since our founding to give everyone plenty of ammunition.  But one thing cannot be denied even by the most ardent foe of America.  Our founding principles recognize the inherent dignity of man. Our founding documents, however imperfectly implemented, recognize that these rights were given to us from Almighty God.  It is this reason alone that vanquishes the argument that somehow there cannot be any recognition of God in our law.  Our charter, the Declaration of Independence, and our Constitution presuppose the existence and the sovereignty of God.  These founding principles also resume the rights of the people to direct the government to protect and nurture these rights.

We still have the right to speak freely, to protest, to assemble, to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and to worship both within our churches and synagogues and outside them as well. But we cannot be complacent. For there are forces at work ho would take away our right to worship publicly, and to express our religious beliefs in our actions. There are those who do not believe that religious ideas have any place in the public square. There are those who would dictate what “is” religious expression.
   
Exercise your right to act. Go see “For Greater Glory.”  Be inspired by the courageous actions of ordinary men and women who put their love of God and country above political security. Then join freedom loving Americans throughout the country us at 12 Noon on June 8 around the country for a second Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally.  Finally get involved and make a difference in your community.

Viva Cristo Rey.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Reflections on the Cross

Good Friday 2012 is over. It is 1:20 am and the truth is - I should be in bed. But I am not. I am instead sitting here once again so amazed and in awe of the love of Christ for humanity, a love that allowed the son of God to be degraded, to be assaulted, to be tortured and to be killed so long ago.

Today's world does not seem to care about this event. Not surprising. The world does not seem to care about anything that is transcendent. Indeed one is hard pressed to find a time when it did.

And in the continuous 24/7 news cycle that only focuses on the tawdry and the superficial, it can be depressing.

Hence the cross.

Christ knew this was the world's mindset. He knows that we are going to be distracted. He understands us better than we understand ourselves. So He gives us the ritual of a meal to remind us of this eternal sacrifice that he offered to redeem us. He calls us to participate with Him by remembering what happened and why it happened. He calls us to real conversion by forcing us to consider the real wounds He suffered and the real pain He endured. He tells us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him.

Our cross.

We all have difficulties, challenges, pains, problems, that confront us every day. Sometimes they are major issues; sometimes they are petty annoyances.  Yet they pose a threat to our relationships with people and with God. So Christ tells us to offer these problems to the Father in union with His sacrifice on the cross. Join your pain to His and find the meaning of redemptive suffering. Embrace the cross and find peace amidst the pain.

Christ dies for my sins. He loved me that much. and so I am reminded that I must in turn love my neighbor. The message applies to every member of the human race since the dawn of time. He died for all of us, to restore us to the Father, to offer us a means to live in communion with Him for eternity. Thus we must live our lives ordered to his end. We must reach out and respect the dignity of every human person. We must honor and respect the bonds that connect us all. Then we can approach the altar of our God and offer ourselves to Him.

His passion tells the entire story of the Human race. It is time for us to once again listen and understand. Only then can we truly find the good, the true and the beautiful that will give us lasting peace.