Saturday, June 30, 2007

Creative Minority Report: Motu Proprio Signals a New 'Dark Ages' - A Catholic Blog: Religion, Politics, Current Events, Humor, and more.

Creative Minority Report: Motu Proprio Signals a New 'Dark Ages' - A Catholic Blog: Religion, Politics, Current Events, Humor, and more.

Confessions of a Lifetime Pro-lifer

As part of a research project on stem cell research and politics, I am going to be answering questions regarding life issues. I have decided to share some of the answers here.
The first question asks me to describe my pro-life activism since the 1970's.
In 1975, when I was in 7th grade, and Roe v Wade the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion throughout all 9 months of pregnancy was two years old, I had two single women, the Didwell sisters, as Catechism teachers. Since we were an all-girl class, and the curriculum was vaccuous, they used the opportunity to tell us the horrors of abortion. I have never lived one day since then without thinking about how many thousands of children are killed each day. Only now that I have lost three children to miscarriage myself, I often think about the emotional scars of the mothers as well.
I began my pro-life activities by going to local pro-life protests, and then to the March for Life in Washington, DC on January 22nd, commemorating the Supreme Court decision.

In high school, a friend and I began a Right to Life Club to educate fellow students and promote activism, but the nuns discouraged this type of activism, instead having us make decorated soaps to bring to a Nursing Home at Christmas. They didn't seem committed to the pro-life cause, and dampened the effect of the club. We went to Washington anyway, with our parishes, and local pro-life fundraisers.
My activism took a hiatis in the busy days of college and graduate school, though I again went to a Catholic college, there was no pro-life group. I would speak out in defense of life in discussions, and inform myself about the issues, but I suspect my self-centeredness in college and a a single woman living in London had something to do with my lact of personal involvement.

My pro-life activism resumed when I was pregnant with my first child in 1993. I prayed in front of abortion mills with a local pro-life group, and attended pro-life holy hours at my parish. I trained as a Birthright crisis pregnancy counselor, but didn't do any counseling at that time. When I moved to a more active parish, and joined the pro-life group I was pregnant with my second child in 1997, and participated in all the group's fundraising, prayer, educational and protest activities, including the March for Life. I took training as a crisis pregnancy counselor at Life Center, and frequently visited, bringing donations of baby items, and needy pregnant mothers. I was a phone counselor in Spanish for Life Center, and attended their fundraisers. I coordinated with counselors and helped a young woman in our parish chose life for her baby, who later wrote a note to the newsletter thanking me when the little girl was a toddler.
Soon after this, I began writing letters to the editor regarding life issues, contacting pro-life Congressman Mike Forbes, and twice working to get him re-elected. I worked for the election and re-election of President Bush. After moving to my current parish, where the pastor has prohibited a pro-life group, I have attended many educational seminars and protested at abortion mills, attended Holy Hours for life, collected baby items, and now that I have a special needs child, my letters to the editor, pro-life magazine articles, and blog are my major pro-life efforts. Blogs are powerful way to do an end-run around a sometimes stagnant Catholic establishment when it comes to activism.

Last March for Life, I brought my children before the March to the Blogs for Life conference, where I met Senator Sam Brownback, and volunteered to help his campaign. I have become active promoting a pro-life movie which is scheduled for release this fall, by hosting a screening in my area.
The second question is how do I think pro-life activists are perceived by the public? I think the media has done a good job using the few crazies out there who bomb clinics to paint pro-lifers with a broad brush and label us a busy-body, self-righteous old ladies who are ignorant, judgemental and angry, caring only for babies, and not for the mothers.
I remember a snide comment about the March for Life in Newsday, calling the marchers, "middle-aged women from Long Island, eating meatloaf sandwiches on the bus". The truth is, over 50% of the 100, 000 plus marchers every year are under 30 years old. The movement is full of enthusiastic, well educated youth, and is increasingly effective in recent years, as the Partial Birth Abortion Supreme Court victory attests. That was the result of years of political activism, since that ban was vetoes twice by Clinton in the nineties.
Since the media is over 90% liberal and has a well-known bias, pro-lifers are routinely vilified and mocked. The internet has helped to counteract this somewhat, as have several talk radio hosts such as Laura Ingraham, who are young, hip and pro-life.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Catholic Fire: Abortion Madness continues in Kansas

Catholic Fire: Abortion Madness continues in Kansas

Cardinal Sean's endorsement of "Bella"

Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston, is writing about the recent bishop's conference in Santa Fe:
On another evening, all the bishops were invited to a screening of the movie “Bella” and to listen to a talk by the film’s director,
Alejandro Monteverde.He made the movie out of his desire to be at the service of
the Church and to teach a pro-life message using modern means. He told us of
people who, after seeing this film, decided not to have abortions and he said
that one family even named their baby “Bella.” He said that this was, in fact ,
the whole purpose of this film: to try to teach the Gospel of Life using a
story, a very simple story of a woman who finds herself in a difficult
pregnancy. She has lost her job and this Hispanic family befriends her… but I
won’t tell you how it ends! I recommend the film to all of you because I think
that the message is so beautiful. Please click here to watch trailers of the movie and spread the word to
your friends…

A New Source for Catholic News:

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Teachers Protest National Educational Association's pro-death stance

Now that I have decided to come out as a pro-life teacher in what seems to be a predominantly pro-abortion profession, I am more than a little enthusiastic to have company. Pro-lifers are protesting the NEA's pro-abortion stance. They say most unions act in ways that help their membership, but the NEA is for aborting future students, which will ultimately mean fewer jobs for teachers. Already we have lost 1/3 of our students to abortion in the last 30 years.
For the three years I taught in secondary schools, I resented the part of my paycheck that paid union dues, which I knew supported the pro-abortion National Education Association. I avoided teacher's room banter that turned political. I kept pro-life speech limited to my Spanish speaking students, who, as recent immigrants hadn't realized they were in a fantastically rich country couldn't welcome one third of it's citizens into life.
Here is an example of where my high school students were coming from: I was teaching bilingual US history. We were studying how a bill becomes law. The class was Congress, and as, the President, I could veto any bill they passed.
Now, what kind of law would you expect teenagers to pass? Lower the drinking age, perhaps?
The first law was open immigration. OK, that I expected. The second law was to outlaw abortion, giving a life sentence to the mother, and the death penalty to the abortionist. This passed 29 to 1, with the only 'nea' coming from Maria, who was the only student from Europe, not Latin America. "Maria, you are intelligent, why can't you see that abortion is murder?" her classmate argued. I told the students not to listen to their other teachers, they already knew MUCH more than they.
My heart sank, the following week, when one of my students was counseled by the new Social Worker to abort her child. It set her on a self-destructive course which left her pregnant less than a year later, and living with the baby's father, an alcoholic gang member. Planned Parenthood was actively recruiting a bright young woman to serve as a 'peer counselor' (aka: contraception and abortion saleswoman)by offering her an expensive luncheon at the Marriott. I was asked to translate for their in-school condom demonstration, and flew into a panic, as I was pregnant, and needed the health benefits. I prayed for a way out, and the PP representative forgot his appointment. Deo gratias.
This is the daily struggle of a pro-life teacher in today's public secondary schools. Pray for us. Vote for change. Save your children from this moral wasteland.

Book Review: "Guerilla Apologetics for Life Issues"

I must admit, the title Guerrilla Apologetics for Life Issues, along with the camouflage motif on the cover conjured up some startling images, for me for whom discussions on life issues have sometimes gotten, well, heated. Which sometimes makes me reluctant to enter into discussions, missing what may be unrepeatable opportunities to change hearts for life. Involved in pro-life activism since the seventies, I thought to myself, "more questions and answers, could there possibly be some I haven't read"?

This book, however, as the title suggests, comes at you from a new angle. An accomplished cartoonist for, (many of his cartoons are included in the book) Paul E. Nowak knows economy of words, and trains the pro-lifer how to maximize impact with fewer all-night discussions, and blow-ups. Less collateral damage on the battlefield of ideas.
The first section deals with tactics. For example, do NOT try to get the other person to change their ideas on the spot, to 'win' the argument. You are reminded throughout the book that you are to keep the conversation going, where both parties ask questions, and no one is backed into a corner, where emotion replaces logic. What matters is friendship, so that, communication is maintained, and the other person is given the space they need to see, often privately, the fallacies in their position. Mr. Nowak says, "The manner in which you conduct yourself and treat others is far more powerful than any argument, however witty and true it is".
Mr. Nowak then gives some basic instruction on logical fallacies, which of course, the pro-choice side uses to defend the indefensible. Their arguments are based on oft-repeated slogans and deliberate misinformation, which after reading this section, you can detect and disarm, while maintaining a calm discussion.
Then, of course, there are the frequently asked questions section. But this book is only 74 pages long, how could it cover the complex life issues? Precisely because, if these questions are asked by the pro-lifer, who knows the answer, they eliminate the need for him to have extensive knowledge of complex issues such as fetal development. All he has to do is ask, "when do YOU think life begins?" and the pro-choicer will have to re-examine his beliefs, which cannot possibly withstand the light of such targeted questions. This is the guerrilla in Guerrilla Apologetics for Life Issues. To be on the attack, but from angles which aren't anticipated, and with disarming chattiness, not to wear you opponent down, answering endless objections. To calmly, respectfully listen to your opponent's questions, and then counter with one of these little zingers which he most likely had never considered, and will keep him thinking long after your encounter. That's when the change of heart will occur, giving you plenty of time to pray for him, as he discovers his inner pro-lifer. Most people are pro-life they just have to have it revealed to them. Mr. Nowak concludes,
"I have met several people who initially tell me they are "pro-choice, " but, as we discuss the issue further, their beliefs turn out to be more in line with the pro-life position than that of Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups".

Get this handy little weapon into your pro-life arsenal, and fire when ready!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hispanics and the Future of the Catholic Church Part II

Oswald Sobrino was born in the USA. His parents emigrated from Cuba shortly before his birth, settling in New Orleans. He studied there and has moved to Ann Arbor Michigan, where he is obtaining a Master's Degree in Theology in the Seminary. He has been active in the Charismatic Renewal, so prevalent there in Ann Arbor, and authors the blog Catholic Anaysis.

He spoke as a guest lecturer from Nassau Communtiy College Center for Catholic Studies. He is pictured here with Dr. Varacalli, chair of the Center for Catholic Studies at Nassau Community College. His talk was based upon research by the Pew Research Center on Hispanics and Religion. He discussed the face of Hispanic Catholicism in the USA, and how the growing number of Hispanic Catholics in this country offered and opportunity for renewal in the Church, if Anglos (that's anyone with European heritage, like me) would welcome them.

One of the most encouraging books on religious trends which I have read is Dr. Philip Jenkins' The Next Christendom in which he counters popular ideas, such as that in Patrick Buchanan's terrifying The Death of the West, that Muslims are reproducing at a rate which will make them the dominant religious and cultural force in the world. Dr
Jenkins begs to differ, pointing out the vast gains Christianity has made in the Global South, what we used to call the Third World. Those Christians, which of course include Catholics, are more traditionally oriented in terms of religious orthodoxy (morality, belief in traditional doctrine) but their style of worship is charismatic, highlighted by clapping, shouting, hand raising, and calling upon the Holy Spirit in healing prayer and exorcisms.

Mr. Sobrino states that 54% of Hispanic Catholics in America are charismatic, versus 12% of Anglos. Now before my traditional readers write off the charismatic renewal, please read what two prominent men considered traditional by most, had to say about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,then prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in his introdution to Cardinal Suenens book warned the ecclesial ministry not to let this movement pass them by, but urged them to welcome it fully, with the caveat that those in the renewal should cherish their link to the whole Church, and be guided by their pastors. This would be a warning not to establish a separate identity, or attempt to 'convert' the rest of the Church to a more charismatic worship style, but merely use one's gifts in the service of the layman's role to bring Christ into the marketplace.
Dr Peter Kreeft says in his book Fundamentals of the Faith: Essays in Christian Apologetics: When Paul visits the church in Ephesus (Acts 19), he notices something missing
-- I think he would notice exactly the same thing in most of our churches and
preach the same sermon -- and he asks them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit
when you believed?" (Acts 19:2). Why would he ask that unless he saw a power
shortage? Why did twelve fishermen convert the world, and why are half a billion
Christians unable to repeat the feat? The Spirit makes the difference . . . .
[p. 142]We have received the Spirit by faith and baptism. "Anyone who does not
have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him" (Rom 8:9). But we need the
release, the empowering, the anointing of the Spirit. Such empowerment is probably what the New Testament means by baptism in (or of or with) the Holy Spirit. It is supposed to happen at confirmation. Apparently, it usually does not.
Millions of confirmed Catholics receive it afterward, usually in charismatic prayer meetings or seminars. The charismatic movement is obviously God's answer to Pope John XXIII's prayer for a new Pentecost. Popes Paul VI and John Paul II both blessed it but said that it will fulfill its purpose only when, like the early liturgical movement, it ceases to have a separate identity of its own and is absorbed into the whole Church. In other words, every Catholic should be a charismatic, baptized in the Spirit, empowered like the apostles."
Mr Sobrino asserts that Hispanic Catholics, strangers in a strange land, poor and struggling for survival, often cling to the charismatic renewal seeking the healing power of the Holy Spirit. They have much to offer the routine Catholic who may have been sacramentalized, but not evangelized. Ask a typical American Catholic about their faith, and you are not going to see enthusiastic description of their love for Christ, why not? If our Church has the full deposit of the Faith, and we can receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus every Sunday at Mass, why aren't we excited? Mr. Sobrino wondered if we can go absolutely ballistic about football games, and rock stars, doesn't Our Lord's presence at Mass merit at least some excitement?

Another point made by Mr. Sobrino is that Catholics are turned off by 'Anglo-Light Liturgy', the kind of happy mass, where the emphasis is on the community congratulating one another, rather than the awesome presence of Christ among us. Charismatic praise focuses on "isn't God great" not "aren't we great".The Hispanic faith is very much focused on the suffering Christ, and His Blessed Mother. One can see that looking at Hispanic Liturgical Art, with it's dramatically wounded Crucifixes, and sorrowful mother images. (This Spanish crucifix may be ordered here)These images are often deleted from liturgy lite, or liberal churches, leaving Hispanics (and me) cold. Each Spanish speaking country was a separate approved Marian apparition, most of whom are dedicated as the patronesses of that particular nation. For example, the partoness of Cuba is Our Lady of Caridad de Cobre.
Hispanics, even when they leave the Church, still plead the intercession of Our Lady and the saints, in numbers that would shock their Protestant pastors!
Hispanics, according to the Pew Research, are overwhelmingly dedicated to the Culture of Life. I know that from 20 years of teaching English as a Second Language, when I mention in class that abortion is legal throughout the nine months of pregnancy, my Latino students recoil in horror. A majority of Hispanics, 57% believe that abortion should be illegal, and this percentage declines the longer they are in this country, subject to the influence of our liberal media, schools, social service systems, and unfortunately, churches.
A New York Times article entitled, "Pentecostals in NYC" documents the life of a Dominican Pentecostal pastor in a storefront church, which typifies a growing trend in the metropolitan area. Mr. Sobring challenged us by suggesting that at the rate charismatic Christians of traditional values are growing, that New York City might one day soon be colored RED on the election maps. These voters are up for grabs, will pro-life activists reap this harvest of votes in time?
In conclusion, Mr. Sobrino quoted one of my favorite saints, Jose Maria Escriva, who often stated, "Lord, that I might see". Hispanic Catholics make the Church more orthodox, and more charismatic. They might revive our faith, IF we welcome them into our churches with open arms, as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pictured here are seminarians at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY. On the left is Mike Bartholomew, and on the right is Gonzalvo. O. Lopez.
I was able to visit with Marta Moscoso, Editor of the diocese of Rockville Centre Spanish language newspaper, "Fe Fuerza y Vida". Marta and I met when my daughter Gabriela, then 12, won the Diocesan Respect Life Essay Contest, and she interviewed us for the newspaper. I was able to re-connect with other members of the Catholic Hispanic Community, including Deacon Francisco Calle, the Director of the Spanish Apostolate for the Diocese. We hope to be doing great things together for evangelization in the Latino Community in the future.

Motu Proprio will be released on 7-7-07

The day so many brides fought to have their wedding receptions will be the day the Motu Proprio is released 7-7-07. Interesting.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Three Favorable Decisions from the Supreme Court Today

And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg isn't happy about it, she's not used to writing dissents.
ABC news

Hispanics and the Future of the Church Part I

Here is the comment I made after reading this post in Cosmos Liturgy Sex, "Christian comeback in Europe, or is Eurabia Inevitable?"
I am a traditional Catholic, attending my diocesan Indult Mass once a month, and anxiously anticipating the Motu Proprio. I got here via the Charismatic Renewal, by way of the Marian Movement and the homeschool movement, as did most of my friends. We do not see ourselves as reverts, as we never deserted any aspect of Church teaching. In fact, our "Baptism in the Holy Spririt" served to re-ignite the flame of the Holy Spirit we received in Baptism, and deepen our appreciation of the sacraments and devotions of Holy Mother Church.
Many other famous Catholics like Mother Angelica and Fr. Michael Scanlon have followed this same path, and are helping to renew respect for tradition in the Church.
I have worked within the Hispanic Community on Long Island for 20 years, and though their Masses are sometimes not as peaceful as I would prefer (I believe that hand raising, and exclamations belong in a prayer meeting not in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) when I cathechize their children, I teach the Balimore Catechism, the Faith and Life Series, and they learn their rosary in two languages. We go to Eucharistic Adoration, Las Posadas and May crownings. I have NEVER had a complaint that I was teaching in too traditional a manner. In fact those children who have transferred into my First Communion Class from Latin America have excellent background from their very traditional catechisms. Their faith may be exuberant, but it is grounded in the Truth of the Faith.
While unfortunately some Catholic charismatics have gone over the edge to Evangelicalism, this is not due to the nature of the movement, which has been blessed by our current Holy Father, but lack of direction and leadership. My husband Francisco, here 21 years from El Salvador, was a leader in the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal, and when this trend was discovered among Hispanic Catholics, he and the Hispanic Apostolate Director shut down the prayer groups, and re-catechized the participants before they were allowed to resume. THAT is true Catholic leadership. Hispanics with this type of leadership, have the potential to revitalize the lethargic North American Catholic Church.

Amnesty International Boycotted by Catholics

Cardinal Martino, head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in an interview in the National Catholic Register, announced that the Catholic Church will be boycotting Amnesty International because of it's recent change in position. Amnesty International is now going to help the poor throughout the world kill their children. These are the same people who made a name for themselves opposing unfair incarceration, torture, and the death penalty.
Cardinal Martino issued the following statement,
“I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission,” Cardinal Martino said.
Martino said the Catholic Church says it is suspending any financial support or donations to the human rights group.
“No more Catholic financing of Amnesty International after the organization’s pro-abortion about-turn,” he said. He called the decision an “inevitable consequence.”
Here's where you can register your complaint, by emailing Amnesty International.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Here's how you can host a "Bella" screening in your area

Just click on this link to apply to host a screening of Bella in your area. It can function as a fundraiser for your favorite charity while, at the same time, helping a great film reach audiences in your hometown. I am working on two screenings on Long Island, one near New York City, and the other out east in the Hollywood elite's summer playground, the Hamptons.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fr Gabriele Amorth on Medugorje

Don Gabriele Amorth is an exorcist in the diocese of Rome and the president of honour of the Association of Exorcists that he founded in 1990, and of which he was president until the year 2000. During his stay at Medjugorje in July 2002, he gave an interview to Fr. Dario Dodig.
Fr. Dario Dodig: Don Gabriele, you are exorcist in the diocese of Rome?
Don Gabriele Amorth: I am an exorcist in Rome and president of honour of the Association of Exorcists, which I founded. In the year 2000, we celebrated its 10th anniversary. I was 75 years old and I asked someone else to take over this duty. When Bishops are 75, they are retired, so I did the same!
Don Gabriele, would you be so kind as to tell us what is exorcism?
Exorcism is a public prayer of the Church done with the authority of the Church, because it is done by a priest named by the Bishop; it is a prayer for liberation from the demon, from the evil influence of the demon or of the evil provoked by the demon.
When we speak about exorcism, can you tell us how Satan can influence Christians?
The influence of Satan is immense. Satan acts in two different ways. The ordinary action of Satan is when Satan tempts men to evil. All men, from their birth to their death, are involved in this struggle against Satan who tempts them into evil. Jesus, because He had a human nature, submitted Himself to temptation coming from Satan. Except the ordinary action, Satan also acts in an extraordinary way, which consists in provoking malign troubles, which can go on until satanic possession.
When we speak about possession, how can we defend ourselves from Satan?
We have to first speak about prevention - what to do to avoid these evils. The measures of prevention are to live in the grace of God, to be faithful to prayer and not to do works that open the door to the demon, especially not to do any occult works. There are three main works of occultism: magic, spiritism and Satanism. The one who is dedicated to these things exposes himself to the extraordinary action of the demon.
Is the influence of Satan in the world of today stronger than before, especially his influence on the youth, for example through music?
Today, Satan has free hands. This does not mean that he has more power than in the past, but the door is wide open to him. Primarily, today we live in a period of little faith. It is purely mathematical: when faith declines, superstition grows. When we abandon God, we give ourselves to practices that open the door to Satan. There is no doubt that today’s media have done much in favour of Satan, first by the immorality of certain shows, the abundance of movies showing violence, horror or sex. Except this, media have put in the first plan and have given popularity to figures of wizards and magicians, and so they give publicity to their works.
Is the exorcism the highest degree of action against Satan? Are their other means that can come before this last degree?
Conversion! The first thing that we ask from people who come to us is to live in the grace of God, to be faithful to an intense sacramental life and to the life of prayer. After this, if it is necessary, we encourage them to receive prayers of healing and of deliverance, as they are practiced in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. After a number of such prayers, the person is either already set free, or the need is evident to do the exorcism itself. Then we do the exorcism, keeping in mind that exorcism is a prayer where the result does not always come immediately. Sometimes, years of exorcism are needed for a person to be delivered.
Is the exorcism the highest form of action in the name of God?
Theoretically, yes. Nevertheless, we have to keep in mind other factors, which are very important before God. The exorcism is a prayer. Like all the prayers, it is the more efficacious the stronger the faith is. Faith has a fundamental importance. This is why we often read in the lives of saints that they have delivered people from diabolic possession without being exorcists themselves.
When we speak about Satan and satanic action, we usually have fear within us…
It is because we are not any more used to exorcism. Priests in general believe very little in the extraordinary action of Satan. If a bishop proposes to them to do the exorcism, they are frightened, as if they think: “If I leave the devil in peace, he will leave me in peace. If I fight him, he will attack me.” This is wrong. The more we fight Satan, the more he is afraid of us.
In her messages in Medjugorje, Our Lady says often that Satan is strong and she invites us to pray, to fast and to be converted.
Yes, this is true. In an Italian magazine, I had the occasion to comment on Our Lady’s messages where she speaks about Satan. She often spoke about this. She underlined that Satan is powerful and that he wants to destroy her plans. She invited us to pray, to pray, to pray.
In her messages, Our Lady spoke about the Rosary, about the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, about prayer before the Cross, and she said even that through prayer wars may be stopped.
Yes. Through prayer, we can even stop wars. I always understood Medjugorje as a continuation of Fatima. According to Our Lady’s words in Fatima, if we had prayed and fasted, there would not have been World War II. We have not listened to her and therefore there was a war. Also here in Medjugorje, Our Lady often calls to prayer for peace. In her apparitions, Our Lady always presents herself under another name to show the goal of her apparitions. At Lourdes, she presented herself as the Immaculate Conception, in Fatima as the Queen of the Holy Rosary. Here in Medjugorje, Our Lady presented herself as the Queen of Peace. We all remember the words “Mir, mir, mir” (peace, peace, peace) that were written in the sky at the very beginning of the apparitions. We see clearly that humanity is running the risk of war, and Our Lady insists on prayer and on Christian life to attain peace.
In her messages, the Queen of Peace also underlines fasting, which is a bit forgotten in the Church. She speaks about fasting according to what is written in the Gospels - that through fasting and prayer we can eliminate all influence of Satan.
This is true. First in Fatima and now here in Medjugorje, Our Lady speaks often about prayer and fasting. I think that this is very important, because contemporary men are following the spirit of consumerism. Humanity searches how to avoid any kind of sacrifice and so it exposes itself to sin. For Christian life, except prayer, we need a certain austerity of life. If there is no austerity of life, there is no perseverance in Christian life. I will give you an example - today, families fall so easily apart. They celebrate the wedding, but the couples divorce quickly. It happens because we are not used to sacrifice any more. In order to live together, we have to be able to also accept the deficiencies of others. The lack of spirit of sacrifice leads to the fact that we do not live Christian life in fullness. We see with what facility abortion is being committed, because of the lack of readiness to make a sacrifice to educate children. This is how the first reason of marriage is being destroyed. This is because there is no practice of making sacrifice. Only if we are used to sacrifice ourselves, we will be able to live Christian life.
The fruits of Medjugorje are numerous. Conversions are numerous. A theologian says that here, heaven came down on earth. Our Lady invites us to abandon ourselves totally to her so that she may lead us to Jesus. Isn’t this the essential for Christian life?
No doubt! Medjugorje is really a place where one learns to pray, but also to sacrifice oneself, where people are converted and change their lives. The influence of Medjugorje is worldwide. It is enough to think about how many prayer groups came about thanks to the inspiration of Medjugorje. I also lead a prayer group, which was founded in 1984. This group is already 18 years old. We live one afternoon as it is lived in Medjugorje. There are always 700 or 750 people. We always meditate on Our Lady’s message of the 25th of the month and I always read this message in relation to a sentence from the Gospel, because Our Lady does not say anything new. She invites us to do what Jesus thought us to do. Groups like mine exist all over the world.
Is it true that Medjugorje is a “big mouthful” for Satan?
Surely. Medjugorje is a fortress against Satan. Satan hates Medjugorje because it is a place of conversion, of prayer, of transformation of life.
Would you give us your advice?
The “testament” of Mary, her last words written in the Gospel, are “Do whatever he tells you”. Here in Medjugorje, Our Lady insists again that the laws of the Gospel are respected. The Eucharist is at the centre of all Medjugorje groups, because Our Lady always leads to Jesus. This is her main concern: to make us live the words of Jesus. This is what I wish to everyone. May the Immaculate intercede for you, so that the blessing of God may descend on all of you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Thank you, Father, and may God give you a long life!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Don't miss this article on the movie "Bella"

In this article in the intellectual conservative, Some pro-lifers are upset with Bella because they don't see a clear enough anti-abortion message, for their taste. I say that is exactly what's right with Bella. It struck a chord with the Toronto Film Festival Audience, winning the coveted People's Choice Award, and it will change hearts because it reflects the world in which a woman in a crisis pregnancy lives; fast-moving, heartless, anonymous, where her unborn baby would merely slow her down, and prove an obstacle to her finding happiness. What these women need is a character like Eduardo Verastegui's Jose, a real man, compassionate and self-sacrificing, willing to listen, not preach, and embrace the woman's pain.
Research has shown that the prolife movement is most effective when the woman in a crisis pregnancy sees us as her friend, reaching out to help her resolve her crisis, rather than finger waggers, telling her what a sinner she is. This is exactly the approach taken by Bella, and why it won Focus on the Family's Family Film of the Year award.

We can win hearts with this film. Some of the most popular films out now, include pro-life themes, including "Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days", the Cannes Film Festival winner, proving that abortion is on moviegoer's minds, and this is the perfect time to get the pro-life message heard, by means of an engaging story. Let's show our support by hosting screenings in our hometowns.

40% of Americans think overturning abortion is top white house priority

In a recent poll, 40% of Americans believe overturning abortion laws is a top White House priority. " The issue of abortion is seen as a top issue in the 2008 presidential election by 40 percent of Americans, indicating the contentious subject still plays a prominent role in how people case their ballot for president. Previous polls have shown that the pro-life position gives presidential candidates an edge. "The new figure comes from a survey the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press conducted.
This is be good news for Sam Brownback, who renewed his pledge to appoint the Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v Wade.“We're one vote shy on the Supreme Court. I want to be the president to appoint that justice,“ the GOP contender told several hundred pro-life advocates at the National Right to Life convention in Kansas City last week."

Feast of St. John the Baptist

Beth Alice over at the Chronicles of Mommia has a wonderful post on traditions for celebrating this important feast day. We are filling the swimming pool, and bathing in it, which is the only tradition I knew of in honor of St. John the Baptist.
Today at Mass, the priest reminded us that normally, a feast day which falls on a Sunday is superceded by the fact that it is Sunday. St. John the Baptist, however is important enough to receive recognition although it is Sunday.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Review of Evan Almighty

My girls have been after me to see this film, but I found myself dragging my heels, because of my negative impression of Bruce Almighty. I evern passed up an opportunity to go to a preview for pastors and youth ministers because I hated to go to a preview of a film I expected to dislike. Burce Almighty had several moral lapses( the fact that he was living with his girlfriend, and the sexual content made me wary of a sequel, but, after seeing the ad with a positive review by EWTN, I thought I'd give Evan Almighty a chance.
Steve Carrell is funny as Evan the news anchor who had the job coveted by Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, wins a seat in Congress, and his upgrading his life as he moves his wife and 3 sons to Virginia. The first day of life as a Congressman introduces Evan to internal politics, as he is asked to sponsor new legislation, making him miss a family outing. His wife wisely advises Evan to ask God for help in his new position, since his campaign slogan was "change the world", and Evan complies, displaying his ignorance of things spiritual in his inept prayer.
God, however, is quick to respond, as Evan finds to his dismay, and make demands of him. He is to build an ark, fill it with animals, and warn the world of a flood at noon on September 22nd. Will Evan be willing to put his new job, and even his marriage in jeopardy to do God's will?
Evan Almighty may be a bit predictable, but it has plenty of laughs (about 6 unnecessarily rude jokes ) but no profanity, or disrespect of God. There are references to Scripture, including the Ten Commandments which weren't present in the more New Age God presented in Bruce Almighty.
Aside from the predictable Hollywood values ( the highest virtue is seen as conservation of the environment, and the disclaimer that the original Flood wasn't about punishment for sin) Evan Almighty had some good clean fun, amazing special effects, and a great soundtrack (thanks to the Passion's John Debney). The girls ages 5, 10, and 14 enjoyed the movie, and so did their mother.
My favorite line was a surprisingly Catholic bit of wisdom which God (Morgan Freeman) imparts in a chat Evan's wife(Lauren Graham), who is upset that her husband has been acting strangely. He reminds her of her prayer for family unity by saying, "if you prayed for patience, I wouldn't just give you patience, I'd give you an opportunity to learn patience. . . "
I recommend Evan Almighty for family viewing with slight reservations for fleeting inappropriate humor. View trailer here.

Catholic Tube is up

Catholic Tube is up. Don't you just love how Catholic bloggers keep Catholicizing the internet? We're taking over the blogospere, one inspiration at a time.
HT Catholic Fire

Catholic Fire: EWTN Special Progamming

Be sure to catch this program, if it's on EWTN, you know it'll be great!

Catholic Family Vignettes gives us another reason to homeschool

Manchester New Hampshire students went on a field trip; to Planned Parenthood. So, what's the problem? "Schools Superintendent Michael Ludwell said he would need to see a formal, written request from New Hampshire Right to Life before deciding whether a representative would meet with the students.
Ludwell said he hoped to finish an internal investigation by the end of the week and meet with the YMCA president to draw up new program guidelines, but overall he defended the STAY program.
"We have had a very long and, prior to this incident, a very positive relationship," he said. I bet you do. You provide fresh teens to the contraception business, they get pregnant when they fail, and, thanks to their wonderful public school education, they know where to go to get abortions when their adult boyfriends want to get off the hook in perfect secrecy.
Your tax dollars at work, folks. Thank God for homeschooling!
HT Catholic Family Vignettes

Announcing Catholics Against Rudy

A new website entitled Catholics Against Rudy has been launched. It's apparently necessary, as our dear Catholic brothers and sisters don't get it and are more likely to support Rudy than other candidates. Conservative Evangelicals understand what a threat Rudy poses to the pro-life cause:
Giuliani ‘Hunting in Vain’ for Support from Conservative Christians
WASHINGTON — Today’s appearance of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia, will not convince conservative Christian voters to jettison their pro-life convictions.
Fidelis America PAC spokesman Brian Burch stated: “This is the second appearance of Rudy Giuliani at a Christian university in as many months, and it is becoming clear he is hunting in vain for the support of conservative Christians.”
In May, Giuliani appeared at Houston Baptist University where he contradicted his liberal position on abortion. Since then, a growing chorus of conservative Christian leaders has publicly voiced their staunch opposition to Giuliani’s candidacy including Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. In a column yesterday, Tony Perkins and Chuck Donovan, the President and Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, described Giuliani as a grave threat to the pro-life movement.
Dobson has explained his opposition to Giuliani saying: “My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else.” Land said: “I don’t think I could sell [Giuliani] to most [Southern Baptists and evangelicals], and I wouldn’t try.” Perkins and Donovan suggested in their column yesterday that the Giuliani candidacy threatens one of the foundational principles of the Republican Party, namely its core dedication to moral values.Earlier this month, Catholic Bishop Michael Tobin of the Diocese of Providence described Giuliani’s proclamations on abortion as “pathetic,” “confusing,” “hypocritical” and “preposterous.” News stories since have suggested that Giuliani’s faces an uphill battle in convincing faithful Catholics to buck their Church and ignore his pro-abortion position.
Supporting Giuliani is not an option for a vast majority of faithful Catholics, many of whom believe, along with their Church, that any claim to protect the common good begins with a commitment to upholding the dignity of every human person, including life at its earliest stages. Catholics cannot simply overlook his unfettered support for embryo-killing research, abortion rights, partial birth abortion, and taxpayer funding of abortion, not to mention his support of policies that would destroy the traditional family,” Burch stated.
Burch added: “Giuliani is engaged in desperation politics, and as time goes on, even more voters will realize how far outside of the mainstream he is on the issues of abortion and marriage, particularly in the Midwest and South, which could seal the fate of his candidacy.”
Fidelis America PAC
Here is the Village Voice's scathing history of Rudy's flouting Catholic doctrine in his private life with his serial marriages, as well as his pro-active abotion support. He didn't want to reduce abortion when he was mayor of New York City, he paid for them with city funds when Medicaid wouldn't. He enthusiastically approved of Partial-Birth Abortion when it wasn't even necessary to obtain NARAL support from Hillary in his Senate bid. Rudy Guiliani can be held personally responsible for making New York City the abortion capital of the world.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The USA has become the World's Abortion Provider on OUR Tax Dollars

"The Democratically led Congress has the lowest approval rating numbers ever recorded - even during the page scandals of the 1980's and last year. Last night the Democrats in the House did all they could to drive those numbers lower by using the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to further export a pro-abortion agenda. First off, pro-condom forces in the House voted down an amendment sponsored by champion of the family Representative Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) that would have protected designated funds for abstinence programs in combating AIDS worldwide. This was followed by a series of votes that ultimately gutted the Mexico City Policy, the policy that bars any assistance to organizations abroad that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning. Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) valiantly offered up an amendment that would have stopped the taxpayer funding of abortions; however, Democratic leadership and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) decided instead to push for making the United States a merchant of abortion. America is known for exporting many things, chief among them freedom and democracy. Now, if the Democratic leadership has its way, America will also be known as an exporter of death. We applaud the Republicans and Democrats who voted against this pro-abortion bill and we look forward to the President's well deserved veto. "
Family Research Council
There are two aspects of American Culture for which we are famous. First is Hollywood, and the sexually explicit movies, TV shows and music we export, and second, our foreign aid presence, which you can see here is now run by an aggressively pro-death agenda. The Mexico City Policy was the first action President George W. Bush took after his inauguration in 2000, I remember as he announced it to the crowd on the March for Life; we were ecstatic to no longer be funding abortions abroad with our tax money.
Next time the Dems say we should spend more domestically, remember they had billions to spare when it came to exporting the Culture of Death. Muslims take a particularly dim view of this, since much of this is foisted upon their countries. The first medical care to arrive in Afghanistan after the defeat of the Taliban were abortion facilities, courtesy of tax-funded abortion business, Planned Parenthood. The Islamofacists consider us a Christian nation, and then see this as an example of what Christ inanity does for our moral standards. Shame on us, for voting for these people who have defamed the name of our great nation in the face of the world!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Something to Chew on while you're waiting for the Motu Proprio

99 Balloons

Here is a beautiful story of Eliot, a little boy with Trisomy 18 that brightened our world for 99 wonderful days.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bella is gaining support, here's how you can help

"Bella is the story of a star Mexican soccer player who seemingly has all the fame and fortune the status as a sports start afford. That is until he accidentally kills a little girl in an automobile accident and learns the value of human life.
Without an over-the-top approach that features content directed at the pro-life community, it takes a more subtle tack that could cause millions of Americans to rethink their own views supporting abortion.
The movie is racking up strong reviews from several media outlets -- with the New York Times calling it an "emotional tale of self discovery," Fox News labeling it "incredibly charming," and the New York Post saying the film is "a stunning exhibition of cinema art."
But help in promoting the movie is much needed as the movie is set to open in theaters in August.
The opening is limited to 25 top markets. While residents of places like Los Angles and Chicago will be able to see the movie in local theaters, the producers are working with pro-life advocates to generate enough funds to rent theaters or other locations for showings in other communities on the same date.
Those audiences can be counted along with the box office totals to generate a larger total audience for the premier that could increase the number of theaters showing the film."
Life News, HT Catholic Fire
This strategy was used most notably with "The Passion of the Christ". We were all urged to by advance tickets on Fandango to boost those crucial opening weekend sales, which make or break a film. We made it, and confounded all the critics by making an R-rated movie in a dead language one of the top grossing films of all time. We can do it again!
In my meeting with Dr. John Seel Jr. of Walden Media, he told me something about marketing films which completely floored me. Walden Media conducted exit interviews after Amazing Grace, a wonderful movie about William Wilberforce, the MP who worked for 20 years out of Christian conviction to abolish the British slave trade. See my review here.
Here are the reasons which moviegoers stated brought them to see Amazing Grace:
5% print and TV ads, which eat up 50% of a movie's profit
15% Amazing Grace Sunday, where 1500 churches participated in a singing of the hymn to commemorate the abolishing of the British slave trade, 200 years ago, and to unite to abolish modern-day human trafficking. It was more successful than the traditional marketing blitz.
The final statistic is the most shocking, however,
55% said they went to see the movie because they were encouraged by bloggers!
See the power we have to promote good cinema!
Link to "Bella" on your blog, and encourage your pastor to buy out a theatre in August. Buy advance tickets to insure the success of a film that can truly turn the tide of this culture.

Hispanics and the Future of the Catholic Church

Lucky me, I have Nassau Community College an hour away with a department entitled, "The Center for Catholic Studies" run by Dr. Joseph Varacalli, author of The Catholic Experience in America. I was unfortunately out of town when George Weigel spoke, but I'm going on Monday the 25th to hear Oswald Sobrino, the author of Catholic Analysis speak on Hispanics and the Future of the Catholic Church. With a Latino luncheon beforehand.
I'll be posting on this.
Here is a sample of how Mr. Sobrino expresses himself. When postulating on the release date of the Motu Proprio, a reader challenges his use of the term John Paul the Great to describe our late Holy Father. He responds:
" what leads me personally to refer to him as "the Great"? When you read his biography (the one by George Weigel is considered the best), you see that he was a "Renaissance Man" of the Church who reformed and renewed everywhere:
-the revision of the Code of Canon Law in 1983,
-the first official Catechism in 400 years,
-the first step in allowing reintroduction of the Tridentine Mass as an option for some Catholics attached to that rite,
-the Theology of the Body as a powerful counteroffensive against the pagan "sexual revolution" that has caused so much harm to so many,
-the explicit encouragement given to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal as a renewal for the whole Church,
-the erection of Opus Dei as a personal prelature,
-the encouragment of ecclesial movements that are still rejuvenating the Church,
-the renewal of devotion to saints and of the custom of pilgrimage through his record number of canonizations and widespread visits to religious shrines,
-the renewal of moral theology by asserting the traditional moral teachings of the Church,
-the defense and celebration of philosophy as the search for truth and wisdom that works along with faith to show man how to live,
-the elevation of the office of pope as a spokesman for all Christians by defending orthodox Christian teachings,
-the repairing of strained relations with our Jewish brothers, including the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel,
-the definitive teaching that the Church lacks the power to ordain women to the ministerial priesthood,
- the appointment of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now, of course, Pope himself) as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
-and the initiation of World Youth Day,
along with the inspiration of so many new priestly and other vocations. I am sure I have missed many other things.
You might want to take a look at the Wikipedia article on JPG at this link for matters I have missed. "
Now you know why I have been looking forward to his talk!

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Secularists are Sharing Secrets

Not that this is surprising, since they have the same boss, but it's amusing to see the other side mirroring itself halfway around the world. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island is being threatened for his criticism of Rudy Guiliani's pro-abortion position, and threatened with revocation of his tax-exempt status by People for the American Way.

Over in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, is being similarly threatened for his remarks that Catholic politicians who support infanticide should not receive Holy Communion. I love Pell's response, it's a model for bishops.
“In a free society, anti-Christians like the Green, Lee Rhiannon, have every right to express their views,” Cardinal Pell said.
However, there is a whiff of Stalinism or perhaps only of Henry the Eighth in her attempt to use this referral as a ‘warning’ to me.
“I respect parliamentary procedures and would be privileged to appear before the committee if necessary, to resist this clumsy attempt to curb religious freedom and freedom of speech.”

Source: New Oxford Review

Let's make it crystal clear to our critics, before we find ourselves in the camp of the compromisers. If we start equivocating, we will have to answer at the end of our lives before the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ.

The Beauty of the Mass

A transcendent reflection on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

My heart broke last Sunday at Mass

I was attending Holy Mass at 5 Pm last Sunday, to honor a holy priest's 45th Anniversary. Fr. Paul Daum has served faithfully in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in various capacities, but I know him best as the chaplain of Birthright, and the priest who offers the Indult Latin Mass once a month. His homilies inspire one to greater holiness, by a mixture of interpretation of the Scripture, and it's application to daily Catholic living. Fr Daum was preaching beautifully, as always. declaring his conviction that "abortion is infanticide", and we must resist the trend to weaken marriage, while maintaining compassion for those who struggle with homosexuality. I was watching the homily from the rear of the church, as Christina is often restless during Mass, and noticed Congressman Tim Bishop seated near the rear of rear of the Church with his family. When Fr. Daum mentioned these 'hot button social issues', Congressman Bishop blushed to the roots of his salt and pepper hair. It reminded me of his recent statement to the Holy Father after Pope Benedict stated that Catholic politicians who vote for abortion have excommunicated themselves, and their bishops may deny them Holy Communion.
Under Church law, someone who knowingly does or backs something which the Church considers a grave sin, such as abortion, inflicts what is known as "automatic excommunication" on themselves.The Pope said parliamentarians who vote in favor of abortion have "doubts about the value of life and the beauty of life and even a doubt about the future".
This was Congressman Bishop's response, he signed the following statement with 17 other pro-death Catholic politicians:
press release “The fact is that religious sanction in the political arena directly conflicts with our fundamental beliefs about the role and responsibility of democratic representatives in a pluralistic America – it also clashes with freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.”
Tim Bishop said the pope's remarks "saddened" him enough to speak publicly. "To be threatened with excommunication, denied the sacraments ... for exercising my judgment ... as an elected official in a secular role ... I think is very unfortunate."
Fr. Trigilio has written his response to this outrage here.

I suddenly felt ill, as if I had been punched in the stomach, as I realized that it was likely that Tim Bishop was going to receive Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in a state of excommunication. I took the empty pew in front of him, with Christina, hoping to jar his memory of our confrontation, and thus afflict his conscience further, but to no avail. I believe he did remember me, as he was walking up to receive communion, he gave me a piercing look, which unsettled me. When he approached the altar, he did receive, but not from the faithful and holy Fr. Daum, he quickly skirted him, and received from the Extraordinary Minister. I was devastated, and offered prayers for his immortal soul, according to

Corinthians 11:27, 29 " For anyone who eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily, will have to answer for the body and blood o fhte Lord. . .For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgement on himself. "

I was unable to confront him after Mass, as he fled the church immediately after receiving communion. At least I made him uncomfortable, and now he will know why, as I will publicly confront him with this post in the local papers, and by sending his office a copy of this post.

He cannot fairly call me judgemental, as his act of communion is a public act, as were his consistent pro-death votes. I do not judge the state of his soul, just his public sins, which have, according to Pope Benedict's interpretation of Canon Law, excommunicated him. He blasphemed the Holy Eucharist on the Feast of Corpus Christi, may God have mercy upon his immortal soul.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cardinal Pell to the Rescue

I have been getting hammered, predictably, by anonymous, whom I suspect works for Congressman Bishop on my post about his reception of Holy Communion last Sunday.
Cardinal Pell, the brave, has this to say on the matter:
All Catholics who continue to reject important Catholic teachings, even in areas such as sexuality, family, marriage, abortion, euthanasia, cloning where “liberals” claim the primacy of conscience rules, should expect to be confronted, gently and consistently, rather than comforted and encouraged in their wrongdoing,”
Source: Catholic World News

Collection of Beautiful Corpus Christi Processions

Here is my collection of beautiful Corpus Christi processions. (The photo is of hte Corpus Christi Procession of the Holy Father in Rome. )
Something about them, always creates a lump in my throat. I enjoy watching the public profession of faith in the Body and Blood of Christ. Remember the events of the Eucharistic Procession last fall in Charlotte? A black man in a wheelchair pleaded for help to be lowered to his knees because, as he proudly and loudly proclaimed, "Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!"
I personally thanked Bishop Jurgis for that telling him, after this year's Easter Vigil Mass in Charlotte's St. Patrick's Cathedral, that because of events like that, my friends are all relocating to his diocese. We expressed true humility at the breath of his influence, but invited me to his next conference this October.
CIN blog
Torun Daily Photo
Kansas City Catholic
Deo Juvante

Catholic Mom of 10
Solomon, I Have Surpassed Thee
Cause of Our Joy

The last link is to a simple procession at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island near my home. While it lacks the beauty of the others, God provided us with a lovely natural setting nonetheless. Last year, during our Eucharistic Congress, there were Corpus Christi Processions everywhere in the diocese, ordered by the bishop, this year, that I'm blogging they are fewer. Send me your link, if you have posted one.
Come Motu Proprio. ..

Fatherhood, the Dying Profession

It would be impossible to find a state in life more reviled in today's society than fatherhood. This is an attempt to destroy what God has established as a means of understanding our relationship with him, and even some within the Church are taking shots at fatherhood. Make no mistake, those who demean fatherhood, are doing serious damage to fatherhood. Donald De Marco quotes the following in his article in the National Catholic Register,
" Yet, fatherhood and good fathers are of inestimable importance to society. David Blankenhorn, in his book, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Problem, provides evidence that fatherlessness is the leading cause of the declining well-being of children and the engine that drives our most urgent social problems from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence against women."
As a social worker for Catholic Charities, and later as a teacher in the inner city, I can say that the great majority of social problems; poverty, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, school dropouts, out of wedlock births, abortions, and general misery are caused by a lack of fatherhood. Of course the greatest tragedy is that without a clear image of a loving father, we often have trouble forming a trusting relationship with our Heavenly Father.
May God bless fathers today and always, Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Review of the Storm Theatre's Production of "The Jewler's Shop"

Last night, as I drove through the Diamond District of New York City, on my way to see the Storm Theatre's Production of "The Jeweler's Shop", I remembered how Francisco bought my engagement and wedding rings there in New York, sixteen years ago. It was on one of many trips we made to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, in the Chinatown section of New York, the little ethnic neighborhood teeming with immigrants and flavored with the sights and smells of Asia.
We strolled Canal Street, hand in hand, after our business was done, and naturally, we found ourselves gazing into the window of a Jeweler's Shop, at diamond engagement rings. My heart soared, as Francisco said, "let's go in!", and we soon found a finely arched, delicate band with a lovely diamond which seemed made for my finger. We chose matching wedding bands of etched gold, inscribed with our wedding date and scripture,
" Wherever you go, I shall go,
wherever you live, there shall I live,
your people shall be my people too,
and your God will be my God too."
Ruth 1:16
Of course, Francisco only had money for a down payment, but that didn't keep my heart from singing, "we're getting married" for weeks afterward. Finally he had the money to pick up the rings. By now, we had announced our engagement, and wedding plans were building their own momentum, so the idea of being man and wife seemed closer to reality, than a far-off dream. We bought the rings, the jeweler smiling and wishing us happiness, and went to celebrate at a cafe, in nearby Little Italy.
As we ate dinner, Francisco quietly slipped the diamond on my finger. Or so he thought. Though we hadn't uttered a sound, the act which he performed, replete with such universal symbolism, reverberated throught the busy cafe, and, to his embarrassment, all conversations, in whatever language, subsided, and all eyes were on the two of us. Smiles and misty eyes were seen everywhere, and I held my breath, at the sheer power of that life-changing moment. That beginning of eternity. Of oneness. Of new life.

A Jeweler's Shop can indeed a powerful place in one's life.
1930's: Two couples undertake the road of matrimony, beginning at the Jeweler's Shop. One couple, Andrew and Teresa, see their reflection in the shop window, and peered into their future. Andrew had proposed to Teresa by asking her, "Will you be my life's companion?" She pondered the significance of that statement, and wondered that his eyes weren't fixed on her, but seemingly on the road ahead of them. They are aware of the importance of the journey they have undertaken, and aren't afraid of the unknown, while they're enveloped in the rapture of love. They see their wedding guests toasting them in the reflection of the window, and rejoice.

1940's: Another couple, Anna and Stefan, have been married for a decade, and are raising three young children. Anna has been disappointed in their marriage, saying that she and Stefan live like strangers, and her heart bears deep wounds. She has brought her wedding ring back to the jeweler to sell it, trying to break asunder the bond which seems to oppress her. The same jeweler who sold the wedding rings to Teresa and Andrew, telling them that the ring is the weight of a man, now weighs Anna's ring, and finds it weightless. "It will not weigh anything alone, without that of your husband, while he is still alive," the jeweler says, returning the ring to her, and counsels Anna not to seek emotional companionship from the strangers on the street. He directs her gaze instead to the Bridegroom advising her to have her lamp lit, for He comes at at time one does not expect, with a visage that stuns her and impels her to change her life.

The Storm Theatre was a disarmingly intimate setting for such universal concepts, yet the actors, who played Teresa, Andrew, Anna, Adam, and Stefan, and their children Christopher and Monica, were equal to the complex yet riveting dialogue from of the world's best known philosphers. They acted with conviction and emotional resonance. Teresa'a enthusiasm carried one away to the happy memories of one's own engagement, and the visceral agony of Anna's solitude threatens to open one's own, and a playgoer could see darker themes from one's own marriage played out on stage, and leave the theatre convicted of not living up to the sacrament's great promise.
As one who knows the playwright as Pope John Paul II, I could hear the origins his landmark Theology of the Body, "I heard you with my soul, but it came to me through my body" throughout the play, and wondered at the wisdom of a young cleric who understood so well a sacrament he had only observed, but never received. My companion suggested that this was the work of the Holy Spirit, and I instantly realised she was right. That is the power of "The Jeweler's Shop", the playwright had consulted the author of the Sacrament of Matrimony for wisdom, while keeping a compassionate eye trained on his flock and their life experience.

True Gentlemen Take a Stand for Christ

Fr. Paul Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Parochial Vicar of St. Rita's Church in Alexandria Virginia, has written a great piece in The Arlington Catholic Herald, which is reprinted in Catholic Exchange. In it, he delineates the difference between a true gentleman, and a man who wants to please others at the expense of his soul.
Timely advice for Father's Day. I'm proud to say, I know two gentlemen, my father, and my husband. They are polite and pleasant to speak to, but don't mess with the Catholic Church around them!

Catholic Fire: Prayers to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Catholic Fire: Prayers to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dems promote overseas abortions

It's not enough that we support Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion industry with 273 million of our tax dollars, now the Democrats want to spend more of our money to promote abortion overseas. In his first act as President, George Bush signed an executive order halting the Mexico City policy which authorizes the use of federal funds to abort the babies of poorer nations. Now the Democrats want to reverse that, and make sure all people have the opportunity to kill their children.
This from the people who give us a daily death count on Iraq, and bemoan the funds used there, saying they could be put to better use. I don't want to be killing anyone, but killing Islamofascists bent on murder of civilians, may be construed as self defense, and makes more sense than killing innocent children.
Source: C-FAM

Dangerous Hate Crimes Bill would Silence Clergy

This bill would make it a crime to say that homosexuality is a sin. Go to the link to American Family Association's petition to stop this nonsense and save our First Amendment rights.
This is from the American Family Association email:

"Message to pastors and other Christians: Just keep your mouth shut"
If pastors and other Christians don't aggressively oppose a bill now in Congress, in the near future they will be subject to huge fines and prison terms if they say anything negative about homosexuality.
The proposed law would make it a crime to preach on Romans Chapter 1 or I Corinthians Chapter 6. Or even to discuss them in a Sunday School class. If churches and individuals want to keep the government from telling them what they can and cannot preach and teach about homosexuality, they better get involved now!
House bill H.R. 1592 and Senate bill S. 1105 would make negative statements concerning homosexuality, such as calling the practice of homosexuality a sin from the pulpit, a "hate crime" punishable by law. This dangerous legislation would take away your freedom of speech and your freedom of religion. Consider what has already happened:
A California lawsuit which is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court would make the use of the words "natural family", "marriage" and "union of a man and a woman" a "hate speech" crime in government workplaces. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already ruled in favor of the plaintiffs!
CNN and The Washington Post both reported that General Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was fired because he publicly expressed moral opposition to homosexual behavior."

Mother Teresa photo no longer on Hillary Commercial

Thanks to the swift action of Joseph Cella of Fidelis who spotted a photo of Mother Teresa on a Hillary campaign video and alerted Sr. Nirmala, the superior of the Missionaries of Charity, the photo has been removed. Hillary was described in the video by husband Bill as a promoter of human rights. and this photo's inclusion was no accident.
Joseph Cella stated, “In our letter, we pointed out that the use of Blessed Teresa’s image was particularly inappropriate and disturbing given Senator Clinton’s staunch support of abortion both here in the United States and abroad. Mother Teresa tirelessly fought to protect unborn children, while Hillary Clinton staunchly supports abortion on demand in all nine months of pregnancy, including partial birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion.” “Blessed Mother Teresa is revered in America and across the globe as one of the greatest champions of the dignity of the human person. It is wholly inappropriate, disrespectful and disturbing that Hillary Clinton shamelessly exploited Mother’s image as a political tool,” Cella added
Politico's article on the controversy.

Motu Proprio getting ready for release

Rorarte Caeli has a credible report of the Motu Proprio's preparation for release before the Holy Father goes on summer vacation. Could it be?
Start chilling the champagne!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Truth about Planned Parenthood

Some time ago, I heard an excellent talk about the history of Margaret Sanger, and how her movement to bring birth control to the poor was motivated by eugenics. She had every intention of pushing abortion in the 1920's but knew the American public would be outraged. At that time, every religious group recognized the damage contraception would do to morality in society. Birth control eroded marriage far enough for abortion to be considered necessary by the Supreme Court in the 1960's in case it failed. An outrage became a necessity. How far we've come!
Planned Parenthood, continues this ghoulish legacy,as America's biggest, for-profit abortion provider, with the support of our tax dollars. Barbara Curtis has an excellent post about Planned Parenthood, and it's reach in society.
Did you know, for instance, that the Girl Scouts have forged a partnership with Planned Parenthood?

Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

There's a good post at Catholic Exchange today about St. Anthony, and a middlin' one over at my other blog, Cause of Our Joy.

Interview with a Baby Killer

Bill O'Reilly finally tracked down the slippery George, Killer Tiller at a gas station in Witchita, and his reporter attempted to interview him for the show. Here's the video.

Nothing of intereset was said by Tiller, and it struck me how Tiller called 911 in an attempt to play the victim, saying, "Bill O'Reilly's people are accosting me, and they won't let me get into my car". The reporter quickly countered, saying, "you can get into your car".
It was not clear whether access was ever blocked, but Tiller seems to feel that he is entitled to absolute anonymity while he shamelessly breaks the laws of Kansas.
" Kansas law prohibits abortions after 21 weeks gestation unless the mother's life is in danger or the pregnancy will result in a "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." This has been interpreted to include mental health excuses."
Nationally noted psychiatrist Dr. Paul McHugh, who was contracted by former Attorney General Phill Kline to examine redacted medical records obtained through subpoena from Tiller's abortion mill and render an expert opinion about the validity of the psychiatric diagnoses used by Tiller to justify post-viability abortions."
Dr. McHugh stirred controversy when he stated in an interview arranged by Women Influencing the Nation that he did not find anything in the abortion records that he reviewed to medically justify late-term abortions for psychiatric or mental health reasons.
After release of a shortened version of the 44-minute interview, Attorney General Paul Morrison, an abortion supporter, issued a 3-page letter to Dr. McHugh threatening him with arrest and/or lawsuit if he did not immediately stop talking about his professional findings with Operation Rescue, the media, and others"
source: Operation Rescue

Tillers medical records were released through the intervention of the Kansas State Legislature, since Attorney General Paul Morrison won his recent election on a platform of refusing to request the records. Why he was elected while promising NOT to uphold the laws of Kansas, is unbelievable to me, and I live in New York!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Catholic Carnival 123 is up at the Catholic Spitfire Grill

Go over there and see what's cooking!

O'Reilly is hounding Killer Tiller tonight

Don't miss the O'Reilly factor tonight and tomorrow, and he tracks down and interviews notorious late term abortionist, George, the baby killer Tiller.
Operation Rescue has been on the case since the beginning, citing the injustices done in the investigation of illegal abortions performed by Tiller, and I pray that he will be brought to justice, to spare innocent lives, as well as the immortal souls of the babies' mothers.

Creative Minority Report: Christian Persecution Not a Thing of the Past - A Catholic Blog: Religion, Politics, Current Events, Humor, and more.

Creative Minority Report: Christian Persecution Not a Thing of the Past - A Catholic Blog: Religion, Politics, Current Events, Humor, and more.

President Bush and the Holy Father meet

The Cafeteria is Closed has a post on the meeting of President Bush and Pope Benedict. Unlike President Clinton, he apparently had no trouble making eye contact. Could it be he has a cleaner conscience?

Monday, June 11, 2007

V for Victory!: Corpus Christi#links

V for Victory!: Corpus Christi#links

Immaculate Heart of Mary Conference

Authentic Catholic Education: The Parental Duty was the theme of this year's Conference, in Chantilly, Virginia. Speakers included: Dr. Ray Guarendi, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, Mr. James Stenson, Fr. Paul Scalia, Dr. Mary Kay Clark, Fr. Pablo Straub, Mrs. Virginia Seuffert, and Mrs. Laura Berquist. I will be posting on the talks.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Review of I am David

Based on the novel by Anne Holm, "I am David" is the story of a boy of 12 who escapes a Communist prison camp, in post-war Europe, and begins an impossible journey to find his mother in Denmark. In his journey through Italy, however he finds much that he is not searching for. Terrified for his life, and possessing nothing other than a canvas bag with his identification papers, and a mysterious letter he must carry to Denmark, David (Ben Tibbet) cowering from the sights and sounds of ordinary life, and using only the label on a tomato can as a map, begins the impossibly long walk northward.
He suffers from constant incomprehensible flashbacks about his imprisonment, and his only friend, Johannes(Jim Caviezel) who was afraid to attempt escape from the camp."They'll kill us", Johann says to David as he speaks of escape one night. "How do you know they're not going to kill us anyway?" David replied.
His spirit will serve him well, through all the hardships of the road, where he is helped by the intercession of St. Elizabeth, whose holy card he was given by a kindly baker. He shrinks from kindness, however, as the recurring memory of pain haunts him and robs him of his ability to smile. Only his warm memory of his mother's face gives him peace on his journey, until, unexpectedly, he experiences an epiphany that there were those even in the darkness of the prison camp who loved him, and that some people in this world may be trusted.
This emotionally powerful movie had me completely riveted, and the Christian imagery was critical in understanding the climax of the film. Performances by "The Passion of the Christ" stars, (Pontius Pilate, and St. Peter) add to the intensity of the sense of redemption.
You will appreciate your home and family in a new way after seeing, "I am David".
Suzanne Temple of Blessed Among Men, comments on this film here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Is Immigration Pro-life?

The Only State Claiming Our Loyalty Ultimately is the State of Grace
By Kenneth G. Davis
The Rev. Kenneth G. Davis, O.F.M., Conv., a Conventual Franciscan and former missionary to Central America, teaches in the Department of Pastoral Studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Indiana.
The position of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on immigration is about as popular as the Church's teaching on abortion. Although immigration is not as important as abortion, it is equally integral to the life of the Church. Catholics of the U.S. would do well to recall our own immigrant past, because that memory echoes Scripture: "You shall treat the stranger who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you, have the same love for him as for yourself, for you too were once strangers in the land…" (Lev. 19:33-34).
Three Principles of Catholic Social Teaching Human Life as Sacred Must Be Protected From the Moment of Conception Until Natural Death The sacredness of human life is not something earned by man nor endowed by the state. All human life is sacred because it is created by the Sacred. Man is both the privileged steward of creation as well as the unique recipient of revelation, although he remains always the servant of both and never the master of either.While the roles of Church and civil governments are and should remain distinct, the Church has a duty to proclaim the Truth to all, including governments. And the actions of any government, like any individual's, must be judged by revealed Truth.The Common Good Must Be the Goal of Any Commonwealth Recalling the meaning of "Common Wealth" (i.e., the wealth or goods of the earth should benefit all people) explains the proper role of the state in Natural Law. It is not unlike the assertion that humans are "endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights."One of the erroneous arguments of pro-abortionists is that the Church is only concerned with the child's birth and not with the needs of that child after birth. This is untrue and, in fact, why prolife principles lead logically to the principle of the common good. Every individual has both the right to life as well as the right to those goods of God's earth necessary to sustain that life. One denied access to those goods necessary to sustain life has been denied the right to life. So too every individual has the secondary right to migrate when that is necessary to secure those primary rights. Blessed Pope John XXIII referred to this as the universal good or membership in the universal society.Bishop Carlos Sevilla (Origins, April 16, 1998) referred to both rights, and Pacem in Terris (#25) and Populorum Progessio (#22), when he concluded: "The right to emigrate for economic reasons is rooted in this fundamental understanding that the earth belongs primarily to God. Secondarily it belongs to the whole human family and, only in the third place, to proprietors, who are, properly speaking, only temporary stewards of God's creation."Note the parallels between Bishop Sevilla's assertion and the Church's answer to the pro-abortion allegation, "It's my body." Just as a woman has rights over her own body, so too the state has rights over its own borders. But both sets of rights are always oriented to and limited by the principles of the sacredness of human life, and its logical corollary, that human life requires access to the common goods of the earth.Those rights are not endowed by either mothers or governments, and cannot be denied by them. Rather, it is incumbent upon us to work for a world in which all children are welcomed as well as sustained, and all people find the necessary means of life either within their own country or outside it.The common good looks beyond individual bodies and national borders to universal brotherhood, what Pope John Paul II termed "solidarity."Solidarity If all human life is sacred and merits protection, then there is a fundamental solidarity among human beings, an interdependence prior to any distinction concerning gestation or migration. One cannot defend life at any level unless one defends life on all levels. John Paul II says in Evangelium Vitae: "The Gospel of Life is for the whole of human society. To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good" (#101).As John Paul says, such a defense must be active. Our action can help the preborn child and the undocumented immigrant. Hence, our Episcopal conference insists on concrete action to protect all the most vulnerable human life, those considered disposable either due to institutionalized abortion or policies of xenophobia.
This is part of an article re-printed from the conservative Catholic journal, the
New Oxford Review