francis-reading

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 29 June 2017 to 18 July 2017.

Letters

Motu Proprio

Papal Tweets

  • “Migrants are our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, and war.” @Pontifex 8 July 2017
  • “I entrust sailors, fishermen, and all those in difficulty on the seas faraway from home, to the motherly protection of Mary, Star of the Sea” @Pontifex 9 July 2017
  • “Europe has a unique patrimony of ideals and spiritual values, one that deserves to be proposed again with passion and renewed vigour.” @Pontifex 11 July 2017
  • “Let us be led by the Virgin Mary on the path that leads to the holy mountain that is Christ, where God and man meet.” @Pontifex 16 July 2017
  • “We must overcome all forms of racism, of intolerance and of the instrumentalization of the human person.” @Pontifex 18 July 2017

Papal Instagram

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

WHO035

Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, and Dom Bettinelli discuss the announcement of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor. What does it mean for the Doctor to be a woman now?

How will it change the show? Is there any precedent in Doctor Who history?

And what does the mysterious word “pre-pleblican” mean?

And next time, we’ll be discussing the Big Finish audio play, “Spare Parts”.

If you want to listen before our next episode, you can purchase and download the audio play for just three dollars.

Here’s the reveal video:

Use this link to get the audio of the podcast directly.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

charlie_gard

Charlie Gard is an eleven-month old baby in England. He has a rare genetic disorder known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

According to press accounts, Charlie is terminally ill at this point. His parents have raised more than $1 million to try an experimental treatment to help him, but hospital officials—backed by British and European courts—have forbidden his parents to take him from the London hospital where he currently is.

Officials have also forbidden his parents to take him home to die.

According to the British tabloid newspaper, The Sun:

Charlie’s mum and dad say he is a “prisoner” in hospital and Great Ormond Street [hospital]’s treatment has been “inhuman”.

You can read more about the treatment controversy surrounding Charlie here.

 

Why are officials denying the wishes of Charlie’s parents?

According to their public statements, they believe that Charlie’s condition is too grave and that the proposed medical treatments are not in his interest (meaning, they would be too burdensome, too likely to be ineffective, or both).

Consequently, rather than undertake the treatments desired by his parents, hospital authorities state that it would be in Charlie’s best interests to allow him to die.

They therefore propose discontinuing the things keeping him alive.

 

What does Catholic moral theology hold about situations like this?

The Church does not have a teaching addressing Charlie’s specific condition, but it has articulated principles that address situations like this in general.

The usual obligation to use medical procedures to extend life does not apply when the treatments would be “heroic” or disproportional to the good to be achieved.

In other words, if the treatments would be too burdensome, too unlikely to succeed, or both, they are not obligatory.

Experimental treatments like the one proposed for Charlie typically are riskier than approved treatments—commonly involving both a higher burden on the patient (e.g., more side-effects) and lower chances of success.

Because of this, such experimental treatments generally are not morally obligatory.

 

If the treatment is not morally obligatory, what’s the controversy about?

Ordinarily, a patient would speak for himself regarding whether he wishes to receive such treatments.

However, in this case the patient is a baby and cannot do so. Therefore, the parents—by natural law—are the logical ones to make the decision.

Only if the parents are incapable of making a rational decision would it be warranted for others to step in and make the decision in their place.

Note the test required for intervention by others: It isn’t that the parents must make the correct decision. People can have a legitimate diversity of opinions on which medical procedures are warranted in a case. That’s why patients are often encouraged to seek “second opinions” from physicians.

The standard that must be met is that the parents aren’t capable of making a decision that is within the pale of reason. They must be making a patently irrational one before others should intervene.

In this case, the treatment proposed for Charlie has worked for others, indicating a rational hope it would work for him.

Consequently, the attempt by the hospital officials and the relevant courts to impose their will on Charlie, against his parents’ explicit wishes, appears a monstrous and inhuman overreach.

The refusal to let the parents take baby Charlie home to die (as if palliative care couldn’t be given in a home environment!) only twists the knife.

The way the situation has played out, it looks like an Orwellian, faceless bureaucracy is determined to kill this child against the reasonable will of the parents.

That bodes ill for all of us, given the statist and anti-life trends on the loose in Western culture.

 

What has the Catholic Church in the UK said about this situation?

Archbishop Peter Smith issued a statement which you can read here.

He expressed sympathy with the parents and reviewed some relevant moral principles.

Toward the end of his statement, Archbishop Smith said:

We do, sometimes, however, have to recognise the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs.

The statement as a whole was carefully balanced, but this sentence could come across as discouraging the parents’ efforts to save Charlie’s life.

A much more problematic statement was issued in the name of the Pontifical Academy of Life in Rome.

 

What did the Pontifical Academy of Life say about Charlie’s situation?

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the academy, issued a statement which you can read here.

This statement also expressed sympathy for the parents. However, it went on to say:

The proper question to be raised in this and in any other unfortunately similar case is this: what are the best interests of the patient?

We must do what advances the health of the patient, but we must also accept the limits of medicine and, as stated in paragraph 65 of the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.

Archbishop Paglia has mischaracterized what Evangelium Vitae says. It does not say that we should “avoid” such medical procedures. It says that refusing them is not the same thing as euthanasia. It says “one can in conscience refuse” such treatments, but not that one should or must do so.

Evangelium Vitae leaves open the question of what treatments can be used in an effort to preserve life. If a patient—or those who speak for him—feel it is appropriate to use aggressive or experimental treatments, that is not precluded by Evangelium Vitae 65.

Even more unfortunately, Archbishop Paglia continued:

Likewise, the wishes of parents must heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone.

Although this could be taken as a statement of abstract principle, in this context it comes across as a paternalistic statement regarding Charlie’s parents and how they “must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation”—as if an archbishop in Rome were more familiar with it than the parents who are having to live the situation!

The statement was therefore widely criticized. It came across as out-of-touch, pastorally insensitive, and precisely the kind of thing that would drive hurting parents away from the Church.

Fortunately, Pope Francis walked it back.

 

What did Pope Francis say?

According to Crux:

Wading directly into a charged moral and political debate in the UK, and also appearing to recalibrate an earlier statement from the head of his own Pontifical Academy for Life, Pope Francis on Sunday expressed hope that the desire of 10-month-old Charlie Gard’s parents “to accompany and care for their own child to the end” will be respected.

“The Holy Father follows with affection and commotion the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his own closeness to his parents,” reads a statement issued by Greg Burke, the pope’s spokesperson.

“He prays for them, wishing that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”

Pope Francis also Tweeted:

To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.

Following this, the pediatric hospital Bambino Jesu (“Child Jesus”) in Rome—which also treats the popes—offered to treat Charlie.

American President Donald Trump also offered to facilitate treatment in America, saying:

If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.

Thus far British officials have sent mixed signals regarding whether the parents will be allowed to take Charlie from the hospital where he is currently being held.

Let’s all pray for this horrific situation.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

FrancisBlessesPalms

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 23 May 2017 to 3 July 2017.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Letters

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “May we entrust ourselves to the intercession of Sts Peter and Paul in order to give witness to God’s liberating action on us.” @Pontifex 29 June 2017
  • “There is great need to feed Christian hope, which gives us a new view capable of discovering and seeing the good.” @Pontifex 30 June 2017
  • “To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.” @Pontifex 30 June 2017
  • “A Christian’s mission in the world is splendid, it is a mission intended for everyone, it is a mission of service, excluding no one!” @Pontifex 1 July 2017
  • “How beautiful it is to see when young people are “street preachers”, joyfully bringing Jesus to every street and every corner of the earth!” @Pontifex 2 July 2017

Papal Instagram

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

doctor-who-the-doctor-falls-photo001-1498749558057_1280w-730x505

Jimmy Akin, Fr. Cory Sticha, and Dom Bettinelli discuss and analyze the 12th episode of the 10th Season of Doctor Who entitled “The Doctor Falls.”

Cybermen attack! Regenerations amok! Teary goodbyes.

This episode has it all as it brings to a conclusion this season of Doctor Who with only the Christmas special left with Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat. We discuss it all!

But you don’t have to wait until Christmas for more Secrets of Doctor Who. Next time, we’ll be discussing the Big Finish audio play, “Spare Parts.”

If you want to listen before our next episode, you can purchase and download the audio play for just $0.99.

Links for this episode:

Use this link to get the MP3 directly.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

Pope Francis is having his "Inaugural Mass"? What's happens in this Mass, and why is it important?

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 22 June 2017 to 28 June 2017.

Homilies

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Let us not be distracted by the false wisdom of this world, but to follow Jesus as the one sure guide who gives meaning to our life.” @Pontifex 22 June 2017
  • “Go forth and reach out to all people at the margins of society! Go there and be the Church, with the strength of the Holy Spirit.” @Pontifex 23 June 2017
  • “Mercy warms the heart and makes it sensitive to the needs of brothers and sisters with sharing and participation.” @Pontifex 24 June 2017
  • “Each one of us is precious; each one of us is irreplaceable in God’s eyes.” @Pontifex 25 June 2017
  • “I repeat the firm condemnation of every form of torture and call on everyone to work for its abolishment and support victims and families.” @Pontifex 26 June 2017
  • “Sharpen your gaze in order to see the signs God shows us in reality.” @Pontifex 27 June 2017
  • “God looks with love upon every one of us.” @Pontifex 28 June 2017

Papal Instagram

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

WHO033-730x411

Dom Bettinelli, Jimmy Akin, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss and analyze the 11th and penultimate episode of the 10th Season of Doctor Who entitled “World Enough and Time.”

Regenerations, two Masters, Mondasian cybermen, beloved characters in peril with a black hole and time dilation to boot.

Showrunner Stephen Moffat pulls out all the stops as he races to the finish of his tenure at Doctor Who.

Also leave us feedback on what Doctor Who topics you’d like us to discuss on the podcast in between seasons of Doctor Who: reviews of Big Finish audio productions; themed episodes about individual Doctors or recurring monsters; reviewing episodes of Classic Who; something else?

Leave us a comment below or send us an email to doctorwho@sqpn.com.

Use this link to get the MP3 directly.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

bell peppers

“Do you eat snacks?”

“How do you deal with hunger?”

“Don’t you ever have a psychological need to eat?”

These are among the questions I get when people ask about the Intermittent Fasting regimen I’ve been using, and which has helped me to lose 58 lbs. in the last number of months.

Here are the answers . . .

 

Snacking

With the exceptions noted below, I don’t snack.

The basic principle of using Intermittent Fasting for weight loss is that you don’t eat for significant periods of time.

This causes your blood sugar to go down, which causes your insulin to go down, which causes your body to start burning fat.

It follows that one of the things you don’t want to do while fasting is snacking.

This goes against the “grazing” strategy that has been promoted in many diet circles in recent years—whereby, in addition to eating three meals a day, you also eat multiple snacks.

In theory, this is to keep you from eating too much at mealtime because you’re not as hungry, but my experience—and that of many others—is that it hinders rather than helps weight loss.

If you snack and take in a significant number of calories, it causes your blood sugar to spike, which causes your body to release insulin, which causes you to store fat rather than burn it.

By not snacking as part of an Intermittent Fasting regimen, you let your body stop burning food and start burning what’s stored in your fat cells.

This can still leave us with the issues of hunger and a psychological need to eat, however.

 

Curbing Hunger

As I’ve written before, I’ve been amazed at how little hunger I’ve experienced with Intermittent Fasting.

It seems that hunger is primarily a matter of habit: If your body is used to getting food at a certain time, that’s when it turns on the hunger signal. It’s trying to maintain your ordinary, daily rhythm.

But when you change that rhythm, when you break your ordinary habits, your body quickly adapts to the new daily cycle.

For most people, it only takes the body 2-3 days to adjust to the new routine, and then your body will stop turning on hunger when you don’t want it.

Most of the time. There can be exceptions.

So what do you do then?

A classic piece of advice is to drink non-caloric liquids.

This advice has been around for a long time—so long that it’s reflected in the Catholic Church’s religious discipline of fasting: Drinking water to relieve hunger does not break a religious fast.

Water isn’t the only non-caloric liquid, though. If you’re not doing a fast as part of your religious requirements, there are other options, such as coffee and tea, both of which can have additional health benefits.

(It is, of course, important that you don’t add lots of milk or sugar to them, or you’ll get the insulin spike you’re trying to avoid.)

Diet colas also are typically calorie-free, though there questions about how good they are for you—particularly if they contain artificial sweeteners like Aspartame. (Fortunately, there are now diet sodas that are sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia.)

Whatever non-caloric beverage you choose, it can fill up your stomach, making you feel like you’ve eaten something, and thus help to relieve hunger.

 

What About Low-Cal Liquids?

Many advocates of Intermittent Fasting (including Dr. Jason Fung) have also recommended bone broth, which isn’t no-calorie but which is low-calorie.

It allegedly has nutrients which can be very good for you, though this isn’t clear to me.

What is clear is that it doesn’t have a large number of calories and so won’t produce a large insulin spike. It thus shouldn’t interfere significantly with weight loss.

On the same reasoning, I’ve also seen Intermittent Fasting proponents give an okay to drinking (unsweetened) almond milk, which is also quite low-cal.

Used in moderation, these low-calorie fluids likely won’t interfere materially with weight loss, though your own experience is the best judge of that.

 

Curbing the Psychological Need to Eat

I do sometimes have a psychological need to eat—just the desire to bite and chew, particularly something crunchy—when it isn’t time for me to eat, and when I’m not hungry.

Sometimes just doing a self-check and realizing I’m not hungry is enough to let me put the desire aside.

Sometimes drinking a no- or low-calorie liquid is enough (particularly if it’s a hot or warm beverage; I don’t personally have a taste for coffee, but hot green tea or hot bone broth can be satisfying).

But I’ve also been experimenting with another idea.

 

Safe Snacking?

When I first started researching Intermittent Fasting, I was surprised to find some advocates saying that they’d allow themselves very small snacks.

One gentleman, who was a fitness trainer, allowed himself an occasional snack of up to 35 calories.

After I discovered the recommendations of low-cal liquids like bone broth and almond milk, that got me thinking: A serving of bone broth (depending on what kind you get) can be around 40 calories. And 12 oz. of unsweetened almond milk is about the same (45 calories).

So if those are acceptable, so should some solid foods in the same calorie range.

Now, I wouldn’t recommend sweets in that range. A tablespoon of table sugar has 48 calories, but—being sugar—it will spike your insulin more than just about anything else.

But what about foods that naturally have a good bit of fiber to blunt the effect of whatever calories they have?

 

Fiber

You could, of course, eat pure dietary fiber—which is indigestible and so has no calories.

Thus you could take fiber capsules or powder—along with enough liquid to prevent it from blocking you up.

That might satisfy hunger, but it wouldn’t really help with the psychological need to bite and chew.

You could make crackers out of fiber (add water to fiber powder, roll out, bake or let dry), though I haven’t found a good source of pre-made fiber crackers.

However, there are foods which are both low-calorie and high-fiber . . .

 

Veggies

Certain vegetables would work on the above strategy.

For example, an 8 oz. can of green beans contains two servings of 20 calories each, for a total of 40 calories. (I prefer the French-style cut of green beans, but you may prefer ones cut the ordinary way.)

Fresh green beans are also an option, and they have crunch if you don’t cook them. A cup of 1/2 inch pieces of green beans has only 31 calories.

Celery also works. An 8 inch, medium stalk of celery has only 6 calories! It has a nice crunch, though not much flavor (and it has those strings).

Another vegetable—which I like even better for these purposes—is bell pepper.

A medium bell pepper has a total of 24 calories, and so a few slices of one would fit well within the range we’re talking about.

It not only crunches, it also has a bit of taste and even spice, while lacking the strings that celery has.

Bell pepper has become my preferred low-cal veggie for snacking (when I snack, which isn’t often).

And I can offer you one more twist . . .

 

Spices and Sauces?

Vegetables can be a little boring by themselves, so is there anything we can do to spice them up?

Sure! Add spices! One can add spices, such as salt, NoSalt/Nu-Salt (potassium chloride), cinnamon (which may actually help control blood sugar), chili powder, or whatever you like, as long as it doesn’t have notable calories.

And that Mexican Tajin (lime-chili-salt) spice is really tasty!

You could also add no- or low-calorie sauces, such as lemon juice or vinegar. In fact, those might help with weight loss (particularly the vinegar, which has the effect of blunting any carbs in the vegetables; that’s why apple cider vinegar has become popular in weight loss circles, though almost any vinegar will help).

Thus if you have some canned green beans (or other soft, low-cal vegetable), you might jazz them up with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (plus whatever low-cal spices you like–maybe a few sesame seeds or poppy seeds?).

There’s also a company named Walden Farms which produces a line of low-calorie sauces.

They advertise their produces as having 0 calories, but it’s really 3-4 calories per 2 tablespoon serving (under U.S. labeling laws, you get to round any number of calories under 5 per serving down to 0).

One of my favorites is eating red bell pepper slices (or any bell pepper slices) with Walden Farm’s chocolate dip. The slightly-spicy and sweet combination is really good.

You can also find Walden Farms in typical supermarkets in the diet section.

 

Practical Help

The overall key to all of these solutions is keeping the absolute number of calories small.

However, avoiding refined carbohydrates—such as sugar and flour—and adding fiber are also important.

Always check the nutrition information of whatever you’re planning to consume to make sure it’s low enough in calories (things like butter, cheese, and nuts—which are healthful in themselves—are high in calories and thus don’t make good snacks while Intermittent Fasting).

Also, everyone’s body is different, and different people will be able to handle different amounts of low-calorie snacks of the type described here. Your own experimentation and experience will be your best guide.

The good news is that between no-calorie and low-calorie liquids and solids, there are practical helps—both for dealing with hunger and the psychological need to eat—when doing Intermittent Fasting.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

Pope Francis waves to crowds as he arrives to his inauguration mass on 19 March 2013.

This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 27 May 2017 to 21 June 2017.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Everyone’s existence is tied to that of others: life is not time merely passing by, life is about interactions.” @Pontifex 15 June 2017
  • “Love requires a creative, concrete response. Good intentions are not enough. The other is not a statistic, but a person to take care of.” @Pontifex 16 June 2017
  • “Care for the environment is always a social concern as well. Let us hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” @Pontifex 17 June 2017
  • “Jesus was broken; he is broken for us. This is the Eucharist. And he asks us to give ourselves, to break ourselves, as it were, for others.” @Pontifex 18 June 2017
  • “None of us is an island, autonomous and independent from others. We can only build the future by standing together, including everyone.” @Pontifex 19 June 2017
  • “The personal encounter with refugees dispels fears and distorted ideologies and becomes a factor for growth in humanity. @M_RSection” @Pontifex 20 June 2017
  • “We must not turn our backs on the new forms of poverty and marginalization that prevent people from living a life of dignity.” @Pontifex 21 June 2017

Papal Instagram

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy

WHO032-Eaters-of-Light-730x411

Dom Bettinelli, Jimmy Akin, and Fr. Cory Sticha discuss and analyze the tenth episode of the 10th Season of Doctor Who entitled “The Eaters of Light.”

Hear about the real life mystery surrounding the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army, the special distinction held by the writer of this episode and our recounting of all the great Scottish jokes.

After all, as you can see below, it featured Jimmy Akin wearing Pictish face paint!

What did you think of this episode?

Also leave us feedback on what Doctor Who topics you’d like us to discuss on the podcast in between seasons of Doctor Who: reviews of Big Finish audio productions; themed episodes about individual Doctors or recurring monsters; reviewing episodes of Classic Who; something else?

Leave us a comment below or send us an email to doctorwho@sqpn.com.

WHO 32 Screen-Shot-2017-06-19-at-11.59.48-AM-730x357

Use this link to get the mp3 directly.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!


What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy