10 Sep 2013


The health of the female genital organ is an important part of a woman’s overall health. Its problems can affect your fertility, desire for copulation and ability to attain orgasm. Ongoing health issues concerning the female private part can also affect other areas of your life, causing stress or relationship problems and impacting your self-confidence.
What affects the Health of the Female Genital Organ? The female genital organ is a closed muscular canal that extends from the vulva (the outside of the female private part area), to the neck of the uterus (cervix). Various factors can affect your genital, some modifiable and some not. They include:
  • Unprotected sèx: You might contract a sexually transmitted infection if you have unprotected sèx [although the idea of ‘safe sèx’ is not as safe as it sounds].
  • Aggressive sèx or Pelvic Fracture: Forceful sèx or an injury to the pelvic area can result in vaginal trauma.
  • Certain Health Conditions: Diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder) can cause dryness of the female genital organ.
  • Medications and Feminine-Hygiene Products: Prolonged use of antibiotics increases the risk of a vaginal yeast infection. Certain antihistamines can cause dryness of the female private-part. Superabsorbent tampons can lead to toxic shock syndrome (a rare, life-threatening complication of a bacterial infection).
  • Birth Control Products: Spermicide and NuvaRing (vaginal ring) can cause an irritation of the female genital organ. Using a diaphragm or contraceptive sponge might pose a risk of toxic shock syndrome.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth: If you become pregnant, you’ll stop menstruating until after your baby is born. During pregnancy, vaginal discharge often increases. Vaginal tears are relatively common during childbirth. In some cases, an episiotomy (an incision made in the tissue between the opening of the female private part and anus during childbirth) is needed. A vaginal delivery can also decrease muscle tone in the female genital organ.
  • Psychological Issues: Anxiety and depression can contribute to a low level of arousal and resulting discomfort or pain during copulation. Trauma (such as sèxual abuse or an initial painful sèxual experience), also can lead to pain associated with coitus.
  • Getting Older: The female genital organ loses elasticity after menopause (the end of menstruation and fertility).
  • Hormone Levels: Changes in your hormone levels can affect your private part. For example, estrogen production declines after menopause, after childbirth and during chest-feeding. Loss of estrogen can cause the vàginal lining to thin (vàginal atrophy), thereby making copulation painful.

> Culled from: Women’s Health – 9 Factors That Affect The Health Of The V**Ina!!! By: Tosin.



An ex-Jehovah’s Witness, now Catholic, who we at Catholic Answers helped to come to Christ in his Church, gave me some valuable gifts for apologetics by way of old books, many of them first edition, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the publishing arm of the Jehovah’s Witnesses run by the leaders of their sect. Of note among these is a first edition copy of The New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures, the official Jehovah’s Witness translation of the New Testament, first published by the Watchtower in 1950.
It is not the translation itself that makes it of particular interest, though it certainly is important. The New World Translation is, at times, not so much a translation as it is an attempt to force Jehovah’s Witness theology into biblical texts that actually oppose it. But you can get newer editions of the translation that aren’t that much different than the old. So again, the translation is not what is most important. The footnotes explicating the texts are where the real value lies. 
In future blog posts, I will comment on some other examples of these footnotes, but in this post I want to focus on the footnote to John 8:58, one of many New Testament texts that contribute significantly to our understanding of the revelation of Jesus Christ as fully God (of course, Christ is also fully man, we should note). And keep in mind, Jehovah’s Witnesses deny Christ’s divinity.
So first, let me cite a more accurate translation of the text from the RSVCE, including verses 57 and 59 for a bit of context:
[57] The Jews then said to [Jesus], “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” [58] Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” [59] So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

When Jesus responded to “the Jews” saying, “Before Abraham was, I am,” our Lord, most of those present to hear his words, and St. John himself years later as he penned his Gospel, would have most likely had in mind God's revelation to Moses revealing the divine name as "I AM WHO AM,” and the shorter “I AM” in Exodus 3:13-15.
[13] Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the sons of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them? [14] God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” [15] God also said to Moses, “Say this to the sons of Israel, ‘[YAHWEH], the God of… Abraham… Isaac… and… Jacob, has sent me to you’: this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
In the Hebrew text of this passage, when God first answers Moses’s question as to what his name is, in verse 14, he says, ehyeh asher ehyeh is his name, which translates as “I am that I am.” But notice God then tells Moses, in that same verse, to tell “the sons of Israel I AMhas sent me to you.” There, God says his name is more simply ehyeh, or “I AM.” Then, in verse fifteen, he declares to all that his name forever will be YHWH, commonly read and spoken as Yahweh, which translates basically the same as ehyeh asher ehyeh—“I AM THAT I AM,” or “I AM WHO AM,” as St. Jerome translated it. Yahweh, it would seem, was revealed as God's formal name while the essence of his name, or the shorter version, if you will, is revealed simply as I AM. Metaphysically, this name reveals God to simply be. He has no beginning, no end, no lack of being; He is all perfection. He is existence itself. And this is his name.
It is difficult for us in the 21st century to fathom how utterly blasphemous it would have sounded for Jesus of Nazareth to dare utter the words we cited above from John 8: “Before Abraham was, I AM.” He is essentially claiming the divine name for himself and revealing that he is the great I AM who spoke to Moses a millennium-and-a-half earlier. It is no wonder that in verse 59 the Jews picked up stones to kill him. It was certainly not every day that a local Jewish guy would claim to be God!

Obviously, Jehovah’s Witnesses could not leave this as is and maintain their denial of Christ’s divinity. So what do they do with this text, you might ask? Let me now cite the New World Translation’s rendering of verse 58:
Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”
Notice the change? There is an enormous difference between Christ using the divine name, I AM, and him saying "Before Abraham came into existence I have been." The former claims divinity; the latter claims a pre-human existence, but not necessarily divinity.
In the footnote below where the translators give their justification for this departure from 2,000 years of Christian understanding, they claim because “I am” (Greek, ego eimi) comes after an aorist infinitive clause, it is “properly rendered in the perfect indefinite tense.” Moreover, they declare, “It is not the same as [ho ohn] (ho ohn, meaning “The Being” or “The I Am”) at Exodus 3:14, LXX.
We should note here that the LXX, to which the note refers, is the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament translated ca. 250-100 BC. In this translation, the name God first reveals to Moses in Exodus 3:14, ehyeh asher ehyeh—"I am that I am"—is translated into Greek as “ego eimi ho ohn,” which translates as “I am the being.” With this in mind, this latter point in the NWT footnote is absolutely incoherent. A first or second year Greek student knows that ho ohn does not mean “The I AM” as the Jehovah's Witness translators claim. Ho ohn means “the being.” Ego eimi means “I am.” Thus, again, ego eimi ho ohn, translates literally as “I am the being.”
Most likely, this error is rooted in a poor rendering of the shorter version of God's name we mentioned above in the LXX. When God tells Moses to tell the "sons of Israel, the I AM sent me to you," the Septuagint has God saying to Moses, “Say this to the sons of Israel, the being (Gr.—ho ohn) has sent me to you.” From there, it appears the translators thought ho ohn could be translated as “the I am," when in fact, the translators of the Septuagint were either using bad manuscripts or just got it wrong here for whatever reason. The Hebrew text reads, “… I AM sent me to you” as we said above. But most importantly again, to think ho ohn could be translated as “the I am” reveals a truly remarkable lack of knowledge of Greek by the “translators” of the New World Translation.
The second error in the footnote is a bit more complicated. In short, there is no “perfect indefinite tense” in Greek. So it is odd to claim “I have been” is a rendering of the “perfect indefinite tense.” Apologists among Jehovah’s Witnesses will claim it is being “rendered” or translated into English using the English perfect indefinite tense, and that the translators were not claiming there is an actual "perfect indefinite tense" in Greek. This is odd to say the least. But we can give them the benefit of the doubt here.
We don’t use a perfect indefinite tense in modern English, but one can find older English grammars that will include it. In days past, English speakers would say things like, “I am come to the farm…” which uses “I am come” in the present tense, while carrying a perfect sense of “I have come…”
I would add in defense of the JW translators, Herbert W. Smyth, in his classic Greek Grammar, published by Harvard University Press, explains that there are certain Greek verbs that express “an enduring result, and may be translated by the perfect.” Heiko (I have arrived) is a good example as we find it in I John 5:20, “And we know the Son of God has come…” Has come (Gr.—heikei) is in the present tense, but employs a perfect sense.
So, even though we would argue that, at best, the JW translators could argue for a present for perfect usage here, do the Jehovah’s Witnesses have a point? Could John 8:58 be another case of a present for perfect? Should we translate it as “before Abraham came into existence, I have been?” The answer is no.
Using rules of grammar, the JW's might have an argument, but what the Watchtower does not take into account is the actual usage of ego eimi in John 8:58 in its proper context. As D.A. Carson points out in his book, Exegetical Fallacies, context and usage are more important than technical, grammatical rules. There are often multiple different ways a text can be translated that would fall within the parameters of Greek grammar. The proper understanding of terms comes most often through discovering its actual usage in the sacred text.
As a simple example, I like to use an example I borrowed from my colleague Jimmy Akin. No number of grammatical or lexical rules and definitions will determine what "put the kitty on the table" means. The context of either a pet store or a poker game is the determinative factor.

Bruce Vauter, C.M., helps us to establish a context for the usage of Ego eimi ("I am") in John 8:58 in the Jerome Biblical Commentary. He points out that "the ‘I am’ formula without the predicate,” as he calls it, is used frequently in St. John’s Gospel and elsewhere in the New Testament, with crucial antecedents in the Old Testament as well. In Mt. 14:27; Mk. 13:6; 14:62; John 4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 8:28, 18:6 and, of course, John 8:58, as we’ve seen, we find this formula used, but each time it is in the context of either some sort of miraculous intervention where Christ is revealing his divine authority, or in the context of an overt statement declaring his divinity in no uncertain terms as we saw in John 8:58. 
If we couple these examples with the fact that God uses a similar “I am” formula in the Old Testament in texts like Exodus 3:14; Dt. 32:39; Is. 43:10; 46:4; 51:12 and more, revealing himself to be the infinite God—the I AM—without beginning and end, all perfection, being itself, etc., Jesus’ usage becomes all the more profound. Again, he is declaring himself to be God.
If we examine just three of these examples we cited above, we can see a pattern of usage. Notice, Jesus uses the divine name just before he miraculous calms the storm in Matt. 14:27, revealing an authority over nature that only God possesses. He responds to the High Priest using the divine name just before the High Priest declares him to have committed blasphemy in Mark 14:62. And we've already seen the reaction the Jews had to his use of ego eimi in John 8:58; They wanted to kill him! 
Historically, it was not punishable by death to believe wrongly that human beings could have had a pre-human existence, which is all the “I have been” translation would indicate. In fact, the pre-existence of the human soul was believed by many Jews in the first century. Claiming to be God was considered blasphemy. Thus, it is the context as much as the words themselves that reveal Jesus's claim to be God in John 8:58.

4 Sep 2013



Author Anna Quindlen has been in the news lately, promoting a new book called Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. She recently spoke with NPR's Terry Gross about a wide range of topics she covers in the book, including her recent decision to leave the Catholic Church. She summarized this decision by telling Gross:
The pedophilia scandals, the church's reaction to them, and their constant obsession with gynecology -- taken together at a certain point, it was probably two or three years ago, I said, 'Enough.' Every time I sit in the pew I ratify this behavior, and I'm not going to ratify it anymore.
I'm sure that Quindlen's words resonated with many. She's a gifted writer, and has undoubtedly put words to what others have thought when they make the decision to leave the Catholic Church. Like Quindlen, many people who abandon their Catholic faith still believe in God and still strive to be good, moral people; they choose to leave because they think that they will find these things they desire -- God, freedom, equality -- outside the walls of the Church. Such a move certainly fits in with popular cultural beliefs. Common wisdom states that the Catholic Church is a corrupt organization that places oppressive, unnecessary rules on its members. The way to find freedom, the thinking goes, is to ditch the institution and create a spirituality and moral code that works for you.
To modern ears, this all sounds right. But is it true?
As someone whose faith journey has gone in the opposite direction, I would encourage Quindlen, as well anyone else who has followed her path or is thinking of following it, to consider the following five questions before abandoning the Catholic faith:
When people cite the pedophilia scandals as a key reason for abandoning the Church, I worry that they're setting themselves up for deep disappointment. The fact that priests abused children is an idea so horrific that one can hardly bear to think about it, and the fact that some bishops didn't take action to stop it is almost worse. But the chilling fact -- perhaps so chilling that we don't can't accept it -- is that this is not a problem with Catholic priests and bishops; it's a problem with human nature. A priest is no more likely to abuse a child than a male schoolteacher, and a bishop is no more likely to cover it up than a school administrator.
The problems may have seemed worse within the Church because it is a single, worldwide organization, so it's easy to link all the bad occurrences under one umbrella. But if, for example, all the nondenominational churches on the earth were part of a cohesive worldwide system, you would almost certainly see the same issues at the same rates. Instead of each instance being lost in the anonymity of disconnected communities, when they were all considered together it would seem epidemic.
Other organizations are no more safe for children than the Church -- in fact, based on personal experience, I believe they are now less safe. Thanks to the pervasive stereotypes about Catholicism, people are lured into a false sense of security when dealing with other organizations, and end up adopting the dangerous mentality that "it couldn't happen here."
Keep in mind that leaving the Catholic Church means leaving the sacraments -- sacraments with real power, which are not available outside of the Church that Jesus founded. If it brings you joy to commune with Jesus spiritually, how much better is it to commune with him physically as well? And how lucky are we to have the sacrament of confession, where you can unload all your burdens, hear the words "you are forgiven," and receive special grace to help you to be the morally upright person you strive to be?
Now, those who are considering leaving the Church may struggle with believing in the supernatural power of the sacraments (in which case I'd recommend checking out these resources). But even if that's the case, within the two-thousand-year-old Church is an unfathomable treasure chest of spiritual wisdom. We have the Rosary as well as all the other time-tested prayers of the Church. Then there are the lives of the saints, countless stories that offer an inexhaustible supply of information and inspiration about how to have a rich spiritual life. And of course we have a worldwide network of monasteries and convents, and all the great religious orders. I suppose it's possible to utilize some of these spiritual resources without being a practicing Catholic, but if you believe that they're good and helpful, why sever them from the source of their wisdom?
There is a pervasive sense in modern culture that whatever spiritual tradition places the fewest moral restrictions on its adherents is most likely to be right. This idea might feel good since it appeals to our natural desire for autonomy, and certainly it is accepted as an immutable fact by modern society. And so if a person follows the path of least resistance carved out by our culture, it would be easy to drift away from all these "oppressive" teachings of the Church, without ever pausing to ask:
But are they true?
Let's take just one example: The Church's crazy-unpopular prohibition against contraception. The Church says that it's neither good for individuals nor for society for couples to use artificial birth control. It's understandable that someone's first reaction upon hearing that would be to reject this wildly counter-cultural teaching. I know that when I first heard it, I thought it was one of the most backwards, bizarre ideas I'd ever heard. But when I took a closer look, I was shocked by the wisdom behind this thinking: I realized that contraception doesn't solve the problems its proponents claim it will solve. I discovered that it makes women lose control over their bodies. I thought of the women I've known who have had abortions, and realized that almost every single one of them were using contraception when they conceived. They had been told that it would be just fine to engage in the act that creates babies, even if they were sure they couldn't have a baby. Then, when they saw the two lines on the pregnancy tests, they felt trapped and scared, believing that they had no choices outside of the walls of the local abortion facility.
Living without artificial contraception has its challenges, but it's the only system that gives women real freedom. As with so many other Catholic teachings that seemed crazy at first glance, once I took the time to understand the details of this view, I saw that there was a wealth of wisdom behind it beyond anything I could have imagined. It had seemed crazy simply because our culture has it so wrong, and the Church is the last institution left that's willing to proclaim what's right.
In my own conversion to Catholicism I faced serious challenges, including the fact that I was diagnosed with a Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot in a major vein) which was caused by a genetic clotting disorder that's exacerbated by pregnancy. My doctors told me I absolutely had to use contraception. It threw me into a crisis where I had to discern how serious I was about this religion, and how much I was really willing to risk to follow it.
Thanks to some wise advice, I realized that the situation was really quite simple: Is this Church guided by God in its teachings or not? If it's not, then there's no reason to listen to anything it says; if it is, then to say that I knew better than the Church was to say that I knew better than God.
When I looked at the unfathomable body of wisdom contained in this organization, considered that it has stood strong while empire after empire has fallen away around it, and saw that it has been unwavering in its core doctrines despite the imperfections of its hierarchy, I simply didn't think that humans could pull this off on their own. Then, when I began to transform my life according to these teachings, I was completely convinced. Following the "rules" of the Church brought an explosion of grace and peace and love into my life, and into my family's lives as well. I became convinced that these teachings are not human-made, but come from Someone who knows us better than we know ourselves.
At the end of the NPR interview, Quindlen says, "I've never really gotten past that quote from Anne Frank in her diary, where she says that people are really good at heart." I too have always been touched by that quote, and I think it's worth putting some serious thought into. Because if it's true that people are ultimately good at heart...then that means that the staff who worked at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, lining up children in front of the gas chambers, overseeing Anne Frank and her family in slave labor, were good at heart too. How on earth, then, could normal, good people participate in something so evil?
The answer is chillingly simple: Through the power of human rationalization.
To look at the smiling faces of the employees in these pictures of an on-site staff retreat at Auschwitz is to understand that they had all rationalized their behavior. Nobody ever wakes up and says, "I'm going to do something evil today!", not even the staffers at Auschwitz. The only way evil ever works through us is when we convince ourselves that what we're doing is actually good. The most dangerous force in the world is the human capacity for rationalization.
I think that some folks reject the concept of the Church's divinely-inspired moral code because they don't see why it would even be necessary. Why would God even care to institute something like that? Why can't each person just get in touch with the spiritual realm and find what's good and true for him- or herself? The answer to that question can be found in the smiles on the Auschwitz's employees faces.
Though the individual members of the Catholic Church have made plenty of mistakes, sometimes gravely serious ones, its doctrines have always been a bulwark that protects human life. To a healthy American adult this may seem like an insignificant concept, since the only life that is devalued in our time and place is that of the severely disabled, the unborn, and others who literally do not have a voice. But that could change. The zeitgeist could shift, just as it did in Europe in the 1930s, and new groups of people may suddenly be seen as inconvenient and expendable. And one day the life that the Catholic Church stands up for may be your own.
By JENNIFER FULWILER  <  http://www.ncregister.com/blog/