Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Feast of the Holy Innocents

This feast day has always touched me with the power of its relevance for us today. So many innocents are slaughtered in our abortion mills, by modern day Herods. But God's power will save them IF we are obedient to His call, as St Joseph was.
Read the rest at my guest post over at The Integrated Catholic Life.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Pope Benedict's Christmas Poem

He has written a prayer for the Church in China in its search for union and communion, he has written one for the Catholics of Ireland on their journey of penitence and renewal in the wake of the sex abuse scandal. Now he has also written one for all nascent human life read for the first time during a global vigil Saturday evening. Below we publish a draft Vatican Radio translation from the Italian original of Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer for Life:

Lord Jesus,

You who faithfully visit and fulfil with your Presence

the Church and the history of men;

You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood

render us participants in divine Life

and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;

We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,

truly present and alive among us, we beg you.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,

make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb

the miraculous work of the Creator,

open our hearts to generously welcoming every child

that comes into life.
Bless all families,

sanctify the union of spouses,

render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies

with the light of your Spirit,

so that peoples and nations may recognise and respect

the sacred nature of life, of ever human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors,

so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,

and no-one endures suppression or injustice.

Gift creative charity to administrators and economists,

so they may realise and promote sufficient conditions

so that young families can serenely embrace

the birth of new children

Console the married couples who suffer

because they are unable to have children

and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,

so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,

the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,

in whose womb you took on our human nature,

we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Saviour,

the strength to love and serve life,

in anticipation of living forever in You,

in communion with the Blessed Trinity

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The faith of the Virgin Mary

On this blog I discuss a lot of social problems and suggest solutions in the practical realm, however, at Christmas, we are reminded that the only solution to the sinfulness which plagues this culture is the helpless Babe in the manger.
. Our Lady knew this, and we must follow her to the manger to find the source of our hope. The victory was won two thousand years ago, we are merely here to proclaim it to the world.

 "She is the mother of faith: 'I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope."(Ecclesiastes 24:24)
St. Alphonsus di Liguori, The Glories of Mary, (Tan Books), 480.
 "Father Suarez says, that the most holy Virgin had more faith than all men and angels. 
She saw her Son in the crib of Bethlehem , and believed him the creator of the world.
 She saw Him fly from Herod, and yet believed Him the King of kings.
 She saw Him born and believed Him eternal
. She saw Him poor and in need of food, and believed Him the Lord of the universe.
 She saw Him lying on straw, and believed him omnipotent. She observed that He did not speak, and she believed him infinite wisdom.
 She heard Him weep, and believed Him the joy of  Paradise .

 Finally, she saw him in death, despised and crucified, and, although, faith wavered in others, Mary remained firm in the belief that He was God."

Source: Mary Vitamin 
St. Alphonsus di Liguori, The Glories of Mary, (Tan Books), 48

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three Ex-Catholics on "The View" criticized Bishop Olmstead

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on today's episode of "The View" which featured a discussion about the Catholic Church and abortion:
It is an ugly site: grown women sitting around bashing a religion that none belong to. Though at one time three did: Joy BeharWhoopi Goldberg and Elisabeth Hasselbeck are all ex-Catholics. They went bonkers today—the crosstalk makes them look downright delirious—ripping away about the Catholic Church because a nun was excommunicated for allowing an abortion at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. What they didn't say was that the nun gave her formal consent to the killing of an innocent child. More important, since none of the panelists are Catholic, it is none of their business anyway.
The fact is (though one would never know it by watching this extended diatribe) the parent organization to this hospital, Catholic Healthcare West, has a long record of flagrantly violating the teachings of the Catholic Church. In other words, the San Francisco-based organization is a serial offender.
Had the non-Catholics focused only on this issue, that would be one thing. But, no, they trotted out miscreant priests, painted the Catholic Church as anti-women, etc. That's what happens when the bigotry is deeply embedded—one issue is enough to set off an explosion.
Behar is no stranger to Catholic bashing, so it was expected she would join in while the others piled on. Hasselbeck poses as a conservative, but her pathological hatred of Catholicism reveals who she really is. Sherri Shepherd, who usually keeps her mouth shut during these harangues, unwisely spoke up. As for Whoopi, who reportedly has had at least a half-dozen abortions—beginning at age 14 [click here]—it is no wonder she looked the most delirious.
Contact producer Bill Geddie: bill.geddie@abc.com

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holy Father tells Catholics to be patient

On Gaudete Sunday, the Holy Father blessed statues of Baby Jesus.to be put in Italian creches.
  Quoting a passage from St. James - "Be patient therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord" - the Holy Father said: "I believe it is important, in our time, to underline the value of constancy and patience, virtues which were part of the everyday baggage of our forebears, but which seem less popular today in a world which exalts change and the capacity to adapt to new and diverse situations. Without detracting from these aspects, which are also human qualities, Advent calls us to strengthen that inner tenacity, that resistance of heart which enables us not to lose hope as we wait for a good that is late in coming, but to await it - indeed, to prepare for its arrival - with confidence".
  Continuing his commentary on the Letter, in which the Apostle proposes the example of the patience of farmers as they await their crop, Benedict XVI said: "Farmers are not fatalists but the model of a mentality which harmoniously unites faith and reason. On the one hand they know the laws of nature and skilfully carry out their work while, on the other, they trust in Providence because certain fundamental things are not in their hands but in the hands of God. Patience and constancy are, indeed, a blend of human commitment and trust in God.
  "'Strengthen your hearts' says the Scripture. How can we do this?" the Pope asked. "How can we strengthen our hearts which, in themselves, are somewhat fragile and become even more instable in the culture which surrounds us? Help is not wanting: we have the Word of God. For indeed, while everything else passes and changes, the Word of the Lord does not pass. If the events of life make us feel lost and all our certainties seem to crumble, we have a compass to find our way, we have an anchor so as not to drift with the current".
  In this context, the Holy Father recalled "the model of the prophets; that is, of the people whom God has call to speak in His name. The prophet finds his joy and strength in the Word of the Lord and, while men and women often seek happiness by following ways which turn out to be mistaken, he announces the true hope, the hope that does not delude because it is founded on the faithfulness of God. All Christians, by virtue of their Baptism, have received prophetic dignity. May each of us rediscover this and nourish it by listening assiduously to the divine Word".
  After praying the Angelus the Pope addressed some words to the children of Rome. "Dear young friends", he said, "when you place the statuette of the Baby Jesus in the grotto or the manger, say a prayer for the Pope and for his intentions. Thank you!"

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Ireland under fire from EU for pro-life constitution

Its a completely specious argument that these women are making; that the fact that Ireland protects unborn babies from slaughter adversely affected their health. They had to travel to the UK to obtain abortions, and claimed that this threatened their health. It doesn't matter how flimsy the excuse, the European Court of Human Rights may use this to strike down Ireland's constitutional ban on abortion as a "violation of human rights". Imagine, protecting unborn children violates human rights! This is so illogical, but the point of view of the courts has changed, from protecting human life to insuring that sinners have an easy time disposing of the results of their sin, under the guise of 'women's health'. This is an effort to circumvent the will of Irish people who voted to protect the unborn in a nationwide referendum in 1983.

The ABC case was orchestrated by the Irish Family Planning Association, a leading abortion lobbyist group, in an effort to overturn Ireland’s pro-life laws, which were put in place by a 1983 referendum. The abortion lobby, Buckley said, has turned to the unelected courts, and finally a European court, “because it has failed to persuade the people of Ireland to legalize abortion.”
Buckley warned that should the ECHR rule against the Irish law, it would be a step towards establishing an internationally recognized “human right” to abortion.

Once this is established, it will be very difficult  to protect babies anywhere.
Read the entire story at Life Site News.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Song for my Aunt Teresa

My Aunt Teresa is preparing to meet Our Lord today, she has been anointed, her family is with her, and we are praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Will you pray a Hail Mary for her and join me in this tender song about the Infant Jesus coming down from the stars to earth?
She was the matriarch of our family and will be greatly missed. 

Here are the lyrics to Tu scendi dalle stelle from Italy, in Italian and with an English translation…
Tu scendi dalle stelle

Tu scendi dalle stelle
O Re del Cielo
E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo.

E vieni in una grotta
Al freddo al gelo.

O Bambino mio Divino
Io ti vedo qui a tremar,
O Dio Beato
Ah, quanto ti costò
L’avermi amato.
Ah, quanto ti costò

L’avermi amato.
A te che sei del mondo,
Il creatore
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.
Mancano panni e fuoco,
O mio Signore.
Caro eletto, Pargoletto,
Quanto questa povertà,
Piu m’innamora
Giacche ti fece amor
Povero ancora.
Giacche ti fece amor
Povero ancora.

Here’s a rough English translation of Tu scendi dalle stelle by Monique Palomares…
You Come Down from the Stars
You come down from the stars
Oh King of Heavens,
And you come in a cave
In the cold, in the frost.
And you come in a cave
In the cold, in the frost.

Oh my Divine Baby
I see you trembling here,
Oh Blessed God,
Ah, how much it cost you,
Your loving me.
Ah, how much it cost you,
Your loving me.

For you, who are of all the world
The creator,
No robes and fire,
Oh my Lord.
No robes and fire,
Oh my Lord.

Dear chosen one. 

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Review of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Life is dreary for Lucy (Georgie Henley) — and Edmund (Skandar Keynes) at the home of their Uncle Scrubb in Cambridge. The rest of their family is in the United States where their father is working on behalf of the war effort. Meanwhile, they are tormented by their spoiled cousin Eustace (Will Poulter) who is not happy that there are there, and mocks them for their talk of Narnia, which they miss more each day. Imagine Eustace’s astonishment, when a painting of a ship in the bedroom begins to leak seawater. Soon the room is flooded and all three children are swimming up towards the ship in the painting, the Dawn Treader. Lucy and Edmund are delighted to resume their lives in Narnia, which they left only three years ago in Narnian years. They are joyfully welcomed by King Caspian (Ben Barnes) and the indomitable Reepicheep (voice by Simon Pegs).

 Eustace is still adjusting to the fact that he is aboard a ship in a magical land, and treats Reepicheep as his nemesis. The cheeky little mouse cheerfully accepts the challenge of teaching the little monster how to behave like a proper Narnian knight while Lucy and Edmund learn why Caspian has taken the Dawn Treader out to sea.

Caspian is seeking the seven Lost Lords who disappeared during the reign of his Uncle Miraz. He has heard they fled for the Far Islands and wants to ask them to return now that he has brought peace to Narnia. What they find on the first island is most unsettling; the inhabitants are being sold into slavery to a malevolent dark mist from the Dark Isle. This mist threatens the Dawn Treader’s crew by unlocking their areas of temptation, and threatening their lives. It doesn’t take much temptation to waylay cantankerous Eustace, who easily succumbs to greed and finds himself transformed into a miserable, fire-breathing dragon. Will supercilious Eustace be able to accept help from Aslan? Will Lucy and Edmund allow their weaknesses to overcome their mission to reunite the seven swords of the Lost Lords? The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will be their greatest trial to date.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader continues the theme we encountered in Prince Caspian where Aslan is an omniscient guiding presence, like the Holy Spirit who counsels, convicts and heals the sinner overtaken by temptation. Yet Voyage of the Dawn Treader does so with more conviction than Prince Caspian, and this will delight not only Lewis fans, but the Christian audience who are experiencing the stories for the first time on screen. Lewis himself considered this to be the most spiritual of his books, and Walden Media has leaned the lesson of downplaying the spiritual underpinning of Prince Caspian which was far less popular than the smashingly successful The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. This film remains true to the idea that fortitude of Lewis’ characters lies not in their own moral perfection but their reliance on the guidance of Aslan. The Narnia series has regained its spiritual heart, and audiences will be moved by the transformation of even the scaly Eustace into a young man of courage.

This is a film which will resonate deeply with Catholic sensibilities as deeply as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The main complaint which Catholics had with Prince Caspian was the downplaying of Aslan’s role, cutting out much of his role, as Lucy is the only one who is guided by him.  In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the themes of individuals capitulating to their temptations will be familiar to Catholics, as well as the image of the royal meal (another reference to the Mass?), and the heavenly lady in blue who guides Narnians to victory over evil. Could this be a reference to the Blessed Virgin? Certainly the theme of chivalry throughout the series is drawn from medieval romances of Christendom.  The final scene in which Reepacheep's views heaven as the culmination of his service for Aslan is something which will inspire Catholic audiences. The spiritual content is what lifts a pure fantasy based on Homer’s Odyessy into the realm of allegory of the Christian life.

Fantasy involves extremes of good and evil, heroes and villains. In our politically correct society, where you cannot label anyone an enemy with the possible exception of drug dealers. fantasy provides a vehicle to express the battle between good and evil in all its violent glory. Children have dire need of true heroes, and the behavior of sports figures, actors and singers are blatantly immoral, so they fail to inspire the best in children's imaginations. Children need to live out their fantasies of what they will achieve in adulthood in an imaginary perfect world, where goodness triumphs and evil meets its just end. Good literary fantasy provides this vehicle. 

An attempt to modernize the concept of womanhood in Prince Caspian was not appreciated by book fans. Lewis was aware of the masculine tendencies of modern feminism and roundly rejected them.  Narnians did not consider Lucy and Susan any less valiant than their brothers who did the lions share of the fighting. After all, they had the courage to accompany Aslan throughout his torture and death, and were rewarded by being present at his resurrection. In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy is tempted by the desire to be as beautiful as she sees her sister Susan, and Aslan tenderly reminds her that she is beautiful as herself. This is an important lesson for girls today who are bombarded with images of artificially created beauty. Voyage of the Dawn Treader will rival The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the role of favorite film in the Narnia series. Perhaps this rivalry will be settled when The Silver Chair is released, as the success I predict for this film will certainly encourage a sequel. Walden has made a good match with 20th Century Fox and Lewis’ nephew Doug Gresham, an advisor to The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, roundly approves of this film and assures us that Lewis would as well.

This film is available in 3D and would be very frightening for younger children; there is a vivid sea monster and frightening, dark images. No suggestive scenes or bad language. Highly recommended for audiences seven and up. 

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sordid story of Sequenom the merchant of death

They started by spamming my blog Cause of Our Joy, telling my readers that there was "good news". Now Sequenom was coming up with a non-invasive test to diagnose Down syndrome even earlier in pregnancy than amniocentisis. You could have your less-than-perfect child killed before you had to buy pregnancy clothes, and before you had to make excuses to the world about why you were no longer pregnant if you chose to abort the baby. Such a corrupt concept on its face can come to no good. Investors didn't care about the morality of their investments, just the outcome. They lost big time.
 Many investors thought this was a no-lose proposition and invested their money in Sequenom. No test materialized, and now the underlying scandal  has come to light . The test was delayed last April but investors were not notified. Only insiders knew(see quote below). Such are the tactics of the merchants of the Culture of Death. Deal with them and you will get what you deserve.

A Baltimore business consultant and his uncle pleaded guilty to trading on inside information that Sequenom Inc. was delaying the start of a genetic test for Down’s syndrome in April of last year.
Read the entire story at Bloomberg Business Week.
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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Practicing this for our Midnight Mass

I volunteered to help out with the alto part. Now I'm regretting it.
Soprano parts are SO much easier!

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Apple and Borders attack family values

Heres a reason to avoid Borders Bookstore for your Christmas shopping; they support the corruption of children. And if you have an IPhone, let Apple know how you feel about the outrage of boycotting the Manhattan Declaration.
from Peter Wolfgang at the Family Institute of Conncecticut:

Bearing Witness to a Hostile Culture
Two events this week demonstrate what the pro-family movement is up against in the fight fortraditional values.

The first event was the decision by Apple to pull the Manhattan Declaration's app from its iPhone andiTunes app store because a small group of protesters deemed it anti-gay. The Manhattan Declarationis a non-partisan statement of conscience in defense of human life, traditional marriage and religious freedom issued by Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant leaders and signed by almost half a million people.

The Declaration is a model of respectful dialogue, devoid of name-calling. But Apple is allowing "one side [to] shut down the opposing side in a debate by slandering their opponents with prejudicial labels such as 'bigot' or 'homophobe.'" The very people who claim to champion tolerance are ejecting from public life anyone who disagrees with their agendas.

The second event occurred here in ConnecticutTrue Colors, the gay advocacy group that "mentors" children by teaching them that the Bible approves of homosexual activity, has announced a new partnership with Borders Bookstore. In five Connecticut towns on seven dates in December, True Colors will wrap shoppers' gifts and the tips from those shoppers will go to support True Colors.

Apple's action against the Manhattan Declaration and Borders' support of True Colors is a case study in how the culture seeks to punish those who adhere to traditional values while rewarding those who oppose values.

Worse, the culture is discouraging rational statements rooted in faithful biblical witness while encouraging a group that teaches a revisionist view of Christianity to Connecticut's children. This is not just religion being pushed out of the public square, "Happy Holidays" replacing "Merry Christmas." This is a culture that is seeking to replace one religion with another.

The Family Institute of Connecticut is engaging that culture here in our home-state. Peter Wolfgang's Hartford Courant op-ed is still being talked up and generating letters to the editor two weeks after it was published. We appear frequently on talk radio and other public speaking venues around the state--and we are having an impact! Even our opponents think they are seeing us everywhere: check outthe comments thread in this article (particularly Tessa Marquis)! 

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