Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pope Francis 'phones divorced woman' to say she can receive Communion. This is potentially a huge story


By Damian Thompson

(The Telegraph) Pope Francis has phoned a divorced and remarried Catholic woman in Argentina to tell her that she could "safely receive Communion", according to an extraordinary report in La Stampa.

The woman's husband, writing on Facebook, claims that the Pope – introducing himself as "Father Bergoglio" – spoke to his wife, who'd been divorced before marrying him and told her that men or women who were divorced and received Communion weren't doing anything wrong. He apparently added that this matter is under discussion at the Vatican. (Quick health warning: given the complexity of this subject, we need much more clarity on what Francis reportedly said. I find it hard to believe that he would make such an unqualified statement...) - continued..

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The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime

By Camille Paglia

The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids toward pills and other anti-social behavior.

(Time) The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts, and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn-singing 19th-century Temperance crusaders, typified by Carrie Nation smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. Temperance fanaticism eventually triumphed and gave us 14 years of Prohibition. That in turn spawned the crime syndicates for booze smuggling, laying the groundwork for today’s global drug trade. Thanks a lot, Carrie!... (continued)


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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Maria Divine Mercy" - Statement of Archdiocese of Dublin on the Alleged Visionary

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin

STATEMENT OF ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN
ON THE ALLEGED VISIONARY “MARIA DIVINE MERCY”

Requests for clarification have been coming to the Archdiocese of Dublin concerning the authenticity of alleged visions and messages received by a person who calls herself “Maria Divine Mercy” and who may live in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wishes to state that these messages and alleged visions have no ecclesiastical approval and many of the texts are in contradiction with Catholic theology.

These messages should not be promoted or made use of within Catholic Church associations.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pope asks forgiveness for 'evil' of child abuse by priests

By Naomi O'Leary

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis made his first public plea for forgiveness on Friday for the "evil" committed by priests who molested children, using some of his strongest words yet on the Roman Catholic Church's sexual abuse crisis.

The Argentine-born pontiff said the Church, which last month named a high-level group on the scandal including an abuse victim, had to take an stronger stand on a scandal that has haunted it for more than two decades, and indicated there would be repercussions for perpetrators.

"I feel compelled to personally take on all the evil that some priests - quite a few in number, (although) obviously not compared to the number of all priests - to personally ask for forgiveness for the damage they have done for having sexually abused children," he told members of the International Catholic Child Bureau.

"The church is aware of this ... personal, moral damage carried out by men of the church, and we will not take one step backward with regards to how we will deal with this problem, and to the sanctions that must be imposed.

"On the contrary, we have to be even stronger. Because you cannot interfere with children," Francis said in unscripted comments as he addressed the children's rights body.

The comments, originally in Spanish, were translated by the Vatican Radio news service.

Francis did not specify whether "sanctions" would be church-enforced or involve civil justice authorities. In February the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child accused the Vatican of systematically turning a blind eye to decades of abuse and attempting to cover up sex crimes.

The scathing report urged the church to immediately hand over its records on the abuse of tens of thousands of children, immediately remove anyone suspected of abuse from their post and refer the matter to civil legal authorities. The Vatican called the report unfair and ideologically slanted.

Francis' words strike a different tone to comments he made in March to an Italian newspaper in which he defended the church's record.

"JUST TALK"

Criticism that Francis has not taken a bold enough stand on the issue, and did not meet sexual abuse victims in Italy and in a July trip to Brazil, has been a rare black spot in the overwhelmingly positive response to the pontiff in the 13 months he has been in office.

In particular, abuse groups have called on the church to discipline bishops accused of moving known child molesters from parish to parish, allowing abuse to continue.

"It's nice to have expressions of concern. But actions need to happen, and people have been waiting an awfully long time for that to occur," said Terry McKiernan, founder of BishopAccountability.org, which documents abuse cases.

"The best thing he could have done today would have been to step up to the microphone and announce that he is beginning to remove bishops who have behaved criminally in keeping priests in ministries where they don't belong, moving them around so that they continue to be a danger to children."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), which advocates for child protection and urges greater transparency in the church, said Francis' words should be received with caution.

"We beg the world's Catholics: be impressed by deeds, not words. Until the pope takes decisive action that protects kids, be skeptical and vigilant," SNAP Outreach Director Barbara Dorris said.

"This may be the first time a pope has talked of sanctions against complicit bishops. But that is all it is: talk."

Under Francis' direction, the Vatican announced in December the creation of a new dedicated group to help the church deal with the abuse crisis. Its members were named in late March.

The body of clerics and lay people includes Marie Collins, a survivor of abuse in Ireland in the 1960s who has campaigned for the protection of children and for justice for victims.

Collins, a founding trustee of the Irish abuse victims' organization One in Four, has in the past pushed for punishment for bishops who failed to implement church rules on the protection of children.

Child abuse litigation has cost the Catholic Church some $3 billion in settlements in the United States alone, and shaken the moral authority of leaders of the world's largest religious denomination.

(Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is the Vatican Hiding Aliens?

By Bill Donohue

(Catholic League) Bill Donohue comments on last night’s show, “Unsealed: Alien Files,” that aired on the Science Channel:

The program speculates that “new evidence may prove the Vatican is hiding actual aliens from the public.” Either that or the channel will rename itself the Sci-fi Channel.

The priest who directs the Vatican observatory, Dr. Jose Funes, was interviewed for the program, and he made the rather unexceptional remark that the universe is so huge that “it would be possible that life could evolve the way we know it on Earth.” This is soon followed by a voiceover that says, “Vatican officials have publicly acknowledged the likelihood of alien life. This dramatic reversal of Vatican policy demands an explanation. What does the Church know, or what have they found that causes them to reverse a 2000-year-old teaching?”

While we’re demanding that the Vatican provide an explanation for its “policy” on aliens, I would like to demand an explanation from the Science Channel: Must one be nuts to work there?

It gets better. Evidence of alien life, we learn, is available in the “Vatican secret archives.” But thanks to the Science Channel, it is a secret no more. “The Vatican secret archives is approximately 52 miles of shelving we’re told, and over 32,000 archives.” The guy who said this did not disclose who told him this “secret,” but who needs evidence? Then a voiceover gets really melodramatic: “But the secrets hidden within the Vatican can’t stay buried forever. Now new evidence may prove the Vatican is hiding actual aliens from the public.” That’s right—they can’t play “hide and seek” forever. Send in the Navy SEALS.

The program also claims that skulls with elongated heads and small faces, resembling aliens, were found in 1998 under the Vatican Library, but that access to the site has been denied. A voiceover asks, “Could these skulls be the remnants of aliens who once lived in the Vatican?” Either that or the Vatican employs coneheads to work in its “secret” archives.

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Mars - Bright Strange Light Captured by NASA

A NASA camera on Mars has captured what appears to be artificial light emanating outward from the planet's surface. Photo: NASA.gov Photos

By Carol Christian, Houston Chronicle

A NASA camera on Mars has captured what appears to be artificial light emanating outward from the planet's surface.

The photo, beamed millions of miles from Mars to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was taken last week, apparently by one of two NASA rovers on the red planet.


Although the space agency hasn't issued any official statement yet about the phenomenon, bloggers and NASA enthusiasts have started chiming in.. (continued)


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Monday, April 7, 2014

Dominican Sister Who Gave Presentation at North Carolina High School to go on Sabbatical

"Sister Jane has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. She is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, which founded and runs Aquinas College."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (CNS) — Reaction to a Dominican sister’s presentation on human sexuality at a North Carolina school has prompted “speculation from many sides,” but few among those commenting about it “were actually present to hear the talk,” said an April 4 statement from Aquinas College in Nashville, where she is an associate professor.

The college was referring to a March 21 presentation by Dominican Sister Jane Dominic Laurel at a Charlotte Catholic High School student assembly. Titled “Masculinity and Femininity: Difference and Gift,” it drew the ire of many students and parents and sparked an online petition with more than 3,000 names.

About 900 people packed the school gym the evening of April 2 to criticize the assembly and the school leaders who arranged it.

School and diocesan leaders arranged the meeting to hear from concerned parents and explain the intended purpose of the assembly. There were comments from parents who supported the school and the presentation, but most of the comments were critical. Two observers called the meeting’s climate “disrespectful” and “hate-filled.”

In its statement, Aquinas College said, “The events and discussions that have transpired over the last two weeks reflect that there is something in this that surpasses an ordinary high school assembly.”

The college said it was “saddened by this extreme outcome and wishes to reiterate that this is not something the college condones or desires to create. There is division where there should be unity.”

Some parents at the Charlotte meeting said they felt betrayed by school administrators for not being told about the all-school assembly beforehand. Other parents objected to some of the material Sister Jane presented about the alleged causes of same-sex attraction and the way she presented it.

Aquinas College said: “We believe it is our privilege to bring the best aspects of our faith tradition to bear on the moral and cultural questions of the present age. In her presentation, Sister Jane Dominic spoke clearly on matters of faith and morals.”

However, “her deviation into realms of sociology and anthropology was beyond the scope of her expertise,” it said, adding that Sister Jane has cancelled her speaking engagements “and, at her request, is preparing to begin a sabbatical from teaching at Aquinas College.”

According to officials at Charlotte Catholic High School, Sister Jane spent about half of her hourlong talk in March on homosexuality, including attributing a correlation between the decline of fatherhood in America and the rise in homosexuality.

“Sister is a trained theologian from a pontifical university and has the credentials to contribute to scholarly bodies of work. This she has done in the past with distinction,” Aquinas College said. “The unfortunate events at Charlotte Catholic High School are not representative of the quality of Sister’s academic contributions or the positive influence that she has had on her students.”

It added, “The students at Charlotte Catholic were unprepared, as were their parents, for the topic that Sister was asked to deliver. The consequence was a complete misrepresentation of the school’s intention to bring a message that would enlighten and bring freedom and peace.”

Sister Jane has a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. She is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, which founded and runs Aquinas College.

Her presentation was based on a series of instructional videos she created for Aquinas College.

According to the website www.newmanconnection.com, where Sister Jane’s videos are posted, her presentations focus on the differences between the genders, the role of the family in nurturing each child’s unique gifts, the importance of real friendships and emotional intimacy, and the impacts of contemporary culture and the media on our concepts of sexuality.

About a week after her presentation, Sister Jane told the Catholic News Herald, Charlotte’s diocesan newspaper, she has given similar talks more than 80 times in 25 states.

Aquinas College said it firmly believes “all men and women are created in God’s image and likeness and are made with a capacity to love and be loved. The college supports the Catholic Church’s teachings which are open to the diverse needs and desires of all, which must be considered in light of eternal truths.”

“We support and affirm that every man and woman, regardless of his or her state in life, deserve respect, and that the health of any culture is gauged according to the capacity of its members to uphold their own beliefs while respecting the beliefs of others,” the statement said. “The college’s patron, St. Thomas Aquinas, was known for his ability to thoughtfully consider all things and retain what is true, regardless of the source of that truth.”

The college said it hoped the Charlotte high school community “will soon begin a process of healing and renewal.”

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Whose Side Is God on Now?

By Pat Buchanan

....In the culture war for the future of mankind, Putin is planting Russia's flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity. His recent speeches carry echoes of John Paul II whose Evangelium Vitae in 1995 excoriated the West for its embrace of a "culture of death."

What did Pope John Paul mean by moral crimes?

"Many Euro-Atlantic countries have moved away from their roots, including Christian values. Policies are being pursued that place on the same level a multi-child family and a same-sex partnership, a faith in God and a belief in Satan. This is the path to degradation." - Vladimir Putin
The West's capitulation to a sexual revolution of easy divorce, rampant promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality, feminism, abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, assisted suicide — the displacement of Christian values by Hollywood values.

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum writes that she was stunned when in Tbilisi to hear a Georgian lawyer declare of the former pro-Western regime of Mikhail Saakashvili, "They were LGBT."

"It was an eye-opening moment," wrote Applebaum. Fear and loathing of the same-sex-marriage pandemic has gone global. In Paris, a million-man Moral Majority marched in angry protest.
Author Masha Gessen, who has written a book on Putin, says of his last two years, "Russia is remaking itself as the leader of the anti-Western world."

But the war to be waged with the West is not with rockets. It is a cultural, social, moral war where Russia's role, in Putin's words, is to "prevent movement backward and downward, into chaotic darkness and a return to a primitive state."

Would that be the "chaotic darkness" and "primitive state" of mankind, before the Light came into the world?

This writer was startled to read in the Jan-Feb. newsletter from the social conservative World Council of Families in Rockford, Ill., that, of the "ten best trends" in the world in 2013, number one was "Russia Emerges as Pro-Family Leader."

In 2013, the Kremlin imposed a ban on homosexual propaganda, a ban on abortion advertising, a ban on abortions after 12 weeks and a ban on sacrilegious insults to religious believers.

"While the other super-powers march to a pagan world-view," writes WCF's Allan Carlson, "Russia is defending Judeo-Christian values. During the Soviet era, Western communists flocked to Moscow. This year, World Congress of Families VII will be held in Moscow, Sept. 10-12."

Will Vladimir Putin give the keynote?

In the new ideological Cold War, whose side is God on now?


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Queen Elizabeth Gave Pope Francis Jams, Whiskey and Other Drinks

Queen Elizabeth and Pope Francis - Arthur Edwards/The Sun/AP

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis

(People) What do you give to the head of the Roman Catholic Church?

Queen Elizabeth gifted Pope Francis with a bottle of whiskey from Balmoral, along with a basket of jams and other drinks produced on the royal family's estate, ABC News reports.

Her Majesty and His Holiness exchanged gifts during a brief, informal visit by the Queen to the Vatican Thursday. The trip marks the first time that the two have met, and Queen Elizabeth was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip.

For his part, the pontiff gave the queen a gift for her great-grandson, Prince George, who is about to embark on his first trip overseas to Australia and New Zealand.

Keep up with your favorite celebs in the pages of PEOPLE Magazine by subscribing now.

In honor of George's travels, Pope Francis chose a precious stone globe with a cross decoration.

He also gave the queen an antique parchment from 1679 with a message that translates to "to the city and the word," and which the pope traditionally delivers at Christmas and during Easter.

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Nearly 1,000 attend Charlotte Catholic meeting on nun’s speech

By Tim Funk

(Chartlotte Observer) Nearly 1,000 parents gathered at Charlotte Catholic High School on Wednesday night to air complaints about a recent speech to students by a nun who made what many considered inflammatory comments about gays and lesbians, divorce and single parenthood.

So many parents lined up to speak that the meeting with high school officials, the school’s chaplain and the Diocese of Charlotte’s vicar of education lasted more than an hour longer than scheduled.
Though the gathering was closed to the media, texts and tweets from parents inside the school gym cast the meeting as often heated, with emotions running high on both sides.

Diocese spokesman David Hains acknowledged after the meeting that the Rev. Matthew Kauth, the school’s chaplain, apologized to the parents for a March 21 speech by Sister Jane Dominic Laurel that was not the one he expected her to give.

Hains also said the high school committed to developing new policies that would better scrutinize visiting speakers in the future. He said the school also wants to do a better job of communicating with parents ahead of time when such speeches will deal with sensitive subjects such as sexuality.
“Parents should have been better informed,” Hains said.

During her speech, Laurel quoted studies that said gays and lesbians are not born with same-sex attractions, and that children in single-parent homes have a greater chance of becoming homosexual, Hains and others said.

Susan Traynor of Matthews, whose son is a sophomore, said he is usually pretty quiet when she picks him up from Charlotte Catholic High.

But on the day Laurel spoke to the assembly, she said, he spoke right up when he got in the car.
“He said, ‘We had the worst assembly today,’ ” Traynor recalled. “He said he tried to leave with some others, but they were made to sit down. There are students in this school who are openly gay and some who are not out yet. Obviously, they felt bullied.”

Parents who spoke Wednesday night got up to three minutes at the microphone. The meeting started at 7 p.m. and ended just after 9:30.

Some defended Laurel, saying she was presenting traditional Catholic teachings. But Hains and others said the majority of parents who spoke did not agree with the nun or many of her comments.

And some expressed anger at the school for inviting her, for not stopping her when she veered off script, and for not telling parents ahead of time what she would talk about.

“You asked us to trust you. You betrayed our trust,” one parent told the gathering, according to a text to the Observer.

Though the Observer and local TV stations were told to leave the campus during the meeting, a reporter from the Catholic News Herald, the diocese’s newspaper, was allowed in the meeting to cover it.

Before being ordered off the high school property, some Charlotte Catholic High School alumni and parents of former students passed out wristbands critical of the nun’s remarks on gays and lesbians. The wristbands read “We are all God’s children.”

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Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/02/4813240/more-than-1000-attend-charlotte.html#.Uz3ZnVeCX00#storylink=cpy
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Starbucks Serves Satanic Coffee to Catholic Schoolteacher

The '666' symbol and the inverted pentagram are often associated with the Antichrist

By Maria Tadeo

(The Independent) Starbucks has apologised for serving a Louisiana Catholic teacher two drinks drizzled with '666' and a Satanic symbol.

Schoolteacher Megan K. Pinion used social media to vent her anger, posting a photograph of the "Satanic" drinks accompanied by a long post explaining the situation on Starbucks' Facebook page.
"This is how my coffee was served to me. I unfortunately can’t give the young man’s name who served it because I was so appalled that I could not bring myself to look at him,” she wrote.

"The star is almost okay because it is in your Starbucks logo, the 666, however was quite offensive. I am in no way judging his beliefs or dis-meriting his beautiful artwork, I am however judging his lack of professionalism and respect for others."

She added: "I am a teacher in the public school system and if I were to present a child of atheist of pagan believers with a Christian art project I could be sued in a heartbeat.

"I am of Catholic faith and would love to share my beliefs daily. Fortunately I have enough common sense to present myself with professionalism and follow and ethics code. Perhaps that could be suggested to that particular location."

The number '666' is often associated with the Antichrist and is used to invoke the devil in Satanic rituals. The inverted five-point star- sometimes known as the 'Seal of Satan' - is also used by devil-worshipers.

The fear of the '666' is known as Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia and causes people to become nervous and agitated. Famously, President Ronald Reagan changed the address of his Bel Air mansion on 666 St. Cloud Road to 668 St Cloud to avoid 'the mark of the Beast'.

A spokesperson for Starbucks said the coffee giant apologised to Ms Pinion after seeing her post on Facebook and is investigating the issue.

The Starbucks barista who served the 'Satanic' drinks has not been identified.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Diocesan ban on washing women's feet stays in place


By Doug Erickson

(Wisconsin State Journal)   Just a few weeks after his election last spring, Pope Francis stunned papal observers by washing the feet of two women during a Holy Week ritual.

The rite — on Maundy Thursday, just prior to Easter Sunday — re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 male disciples at his Last Supper. Traditionally, popes washed the feet only of men.

Catholic traditionalists believe the men-only rule should remain — at least for everyone below the pope — and many canon lawyers say church law agrees with that position. However, some dioceses in this country had begun including women long before the pope’s example, and a statement on the website for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says that to include women is “an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord.”

Three years ago, Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino issued guidelines that gave priests the option of either using only men or not celebrating the ritual at all. Given the heightened attention to foot-washing last year, some parishioners thought Morlino might re-evaluate his position.

That has not happened. Brent King, the diocesan spokesman, said priests have the same two options this year — men-only or no ritual. Holy Thursday Mass falls on April 17. Easter is April 20.

As has become his tradition, Morlino will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Downtown Madison, King said, where he will wash the feet of 12 seminarians.

Last year, at least two priests — at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Madison and Nativity of Mary in Janesville — took a pass on the ritual due to the male-only rule.

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h/t to Deacon Greg Kandra

New Ecumenical English Missal? Committee members named?


By Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

I am sure that you have all seen this piece by now from this liturgy site HERE.  My emphases and comments:

New Ecumenical English Missal

A rumour has been growing about a possible review of the Roman Catholic missal translation, but no one anticipated the announcement of a New Ecumenical English Missal Project, which will mean that the words for the whole Eucharist will be the same across a number of significant English-speaking denominations. [Wound't haters of the new translation be thrilled?]

Pope Francis, ever taking people by surprise, in only the second year of his papacy, pointedly, on the feast day of a woman saint, St Theodora (April 1), is formally signing [So... did he sign it "informally" earlier ... or not sign it at all?] the declaration that he has the agreement of significant English-speaking churches and ecclesial communities to work [discrimination against the insignificant!] towards a new Ecumenical English Missal... (continued)

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Germany bans managers from calling or emailing staff after work hours



(IBNLive) Germany's labor ministry has banned managers from calling or emailing staff out of hours except in emergencies. The ministry says the measure is intended to prevent staff from suffering undue stress by being constantly on call.

Daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday that the ministry is following the lead of major German companies such as automaker Volkswagen and Deutsche Telekom.

The newspaper cited official guidelines stating that no staff should be penalized for turning off their cellphone or failing to pick up messages after working hours "to prevent self-exploitation."

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Little Italy is on the brink of extinction

Little Italy at Mullberry and Broom. Photo: JC Rice

By Kate Briquelet

(New York Post) A piece of New York City history is bidding arrivederci.

Rising rents and changing demographics have driven Little Italy to the verge of extinction. Once a teeming neighborhood stretching 50 square blocks, it now barely covers three blocks of Mulberry Street — and even that strip is under threat.

“You can’t rebuild Little Italy,” said Robert Ianniello Jr., owner of the famed Umbertos Clam House. “If we go away, it will never be here again. You can’t build an Olive Garden and say it’s Little Italy.”

Ianniello is battling a rent increase from a new landlord who bought the building last month for $17.5 million. He recently got a rent bill for $34,000 a month — more than double what he used to pay.

“It’s a landlord problem,” said Ianniello, who heads the Little Italy Merchants Association. “They think this is Fifth Avenue.”

Eight eateries have shut down in the past year.

Il Fornaio, once owned by Gambino mobster Joseph Corrao, remains empty.

Giovanna’s shuttered after a six-year run when the landlord doubled the rent. Ads show the owner wants $32,000 monthly for the space.

A block south, at Positano Ristorante, a legal notice in the window shows the city marshal took over the storefront on behalf of the landlord in January.

At S.P.Q.R., the monthly rent jumped to more than $50,000 and the eatery was forced to close. The space currently is home to a year-round Christmas shop.

One Mulberry Street apartment building is converting the ground floor into retail, while a hotel is being constructed on Grand Street next to the now-shuttered Florio’s restaurant.

But it’s not just development that’s pressuring Little Italy. Cultural conflicts are also cutting it down to size.

In 2011, Nolita boutiques demanded the city remove three blocks from the famous Feast of San Gennaro to keep revelers’ “greasy hands” from besmirching their $300 frocks.

The shopkeepers’ request had festival boosters hotter than a plate of baked ziti. More than 100 protesters packed a community board meeting.

“We had Italians from all over writing to the mayor,” said John Fratta, whose grandfather co-founded the annual festival in 1926. “It’s something that’s very sacred . . . You’ll see venom if you try to change it or stop it.”

Italian immigration surged in the late 19th century. By the early 1900s, nearly 10,000 Italians lived in the neighborhood, which once spanned roughly from Lafayette Street to the Bowery and from Kenmare to Canal streets.

Many residents flocked to the outer boroughs after World War II, and an influx of Chinese immigrants moved in, blurring the lines between Chinatown and Little Italy.

Today Little Italy’s heart is three blocks of Mulberry Street between Canal and Broome streets.

Emelise Aleandri, an author on Italian history and theater, said that the neighborhood remains a cultural touchstone for Italian Americans across the country — and that it would be a huge loss if it disappeared.

“Right now, there is just enough of a population to keep up traditions,” Aleandri explained. “But it’s going to be more difficult to keep the area Italian if the merchants and businesses leave.”

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1,300-year-old Egyptian mummy had tattoo of Archangel Michael


By Gene J. Koprowski

(Fox News) A mummy of an Egyptian woman dating back to 700 A.D. has been scanned and stripped to reveal a tattoo on her thigh that displays the name of the biblical archangel Michael.

The discovery, announced by researchers at the British Museum over the weekend, was made during a research project that used advanced medical scans, including Computed Tomography (CT) images, to examine Egyptian mummies at a number of hospitals in the United Kingdom last year.

The woman’s body was wrapped in a woolen and linen cloth before burial, and her remains were mummified in the desert heat. As deciphered by curators, the tattoo on her thigh, written in ancient Greek, reads Μιχαήλ, transliterated as M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael.

Curators at the museum speculate that the tattoo was a symbol worn for religious and spiritual protection, though they declined to offer additional details.


But other scientists and theologians offered their thoughts on the tattoo’s cultural context.

“There was a sizable Christian population in Egypt in the 700s, perhaps close to a majority of the population,” said Maureen Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University in New York.

'Michael is an obvious identity for a tattoo, as this is the most powerful of angels.'
- Maureen Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University
“Like Greeks and Romans across the Mediterranean, the portion of the population that was literate was fascinated by the shapes of letters and delighted in making designs with letters in names. Hence, we have the odd shape of the tattoo composed of the letters.”

Placing the name of a powerful heavenly protector on one's body by a tattoo or amulet was very common in antiquity, Tilley told Foxnews.com. “Christian women who were pregnant often placed amulets with divine or angelic names on bands on their abdomens to insure a safe delivery of their child,” she said.

“Placing the name on the inner thigh, as with this mummy, may have had some meaning for the hopes of childbirth or protection against sexual violation, as in ‘This body is claimed and protected.’ Michael is an obvious identity for a tattoo, as this is the most powerful of angels.”

Christian Gnostics, religious cultists in that era, were especially interested in the names and functions of intermediary beings between humans and the divine, Tilley noted.

“The Gospel of Truth and the Book of Enoch were both popular among them and have much about an angel whose story sounds very much like that of Archangel Michael in many Christian stories, the angel who led the heavenly army against Satan and the Fallen Angels.”

She added that Christians were not the only ones to use the names of angelic powers in ancient days. “Jews of antiquity were fascinated by the identity and nature of angels,” she said.


Villanova University biology professor Michael Zimmerman, who also has used advanced technologies to study Egyptian mummies, said this kind of find has been sought for years.

“I did participate in an expedition to the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt's western desert several years ago,” he told FoxNews.com. “This was an early Christian site (around 200 AD), and the deceased were still being mummified, by simply being dried in the very hot climate.

“We did not see any tattoos on those mummies, so the British Museum find is remarkable.”

The museum, which is located in London, will reveal what it has learned about this and seven other mummies in “Ancient Lives: New Discoveries,” an exhibition scheduled to run from May 22 to Nov. 30.

John Taylor, lead curator of the ancient Egypt and Sudan department at the museum, told a local newspaper over the weekend that the exhibition will tell the story of the lives of eight people from antiquity, portraying them as full human beings, rather than as archeological objects.

Using sophisticated medical imaging usually reserved to study strokes and heart attacks, the research team discovered that these eight ancient individuals, whose remains have been held in the museum for some time, had many of the same traits that modern man does, including dental problems, high cholesterol levels and tattoos.

The exhibition portrays one mummy that dates back to 3,500 BC, as well as the tattooed female, aged between 20 and 35, who lived and died about 1,300 years ago. Researchers pointed out that regular Egyptians – not only the royals – were mummified.

The tattooed mummy, the remains of which were found less than a decade ago, was so well preserved that archaeologists could nearly discern the tattoo on the inner thigh of her right leg with the naked eye. But medical infrared technology helped them see it clearly.

The Vatican’s school of science, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, did not return multiple requests for comments made by FoxNews.com.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Anger at Charlotte Catholic school after speaker criticizes homosexuality

(Catholic World News)  Some parents and students at one of North Carolina’s largest Catholic schools are outraged after a Nashville Dominican nun who holds a doctorate in theology criticized homosexuality in a presentation to students, according to the Charlotte Observer.
 
“We the students of Charlotte Catholic High School would like to issue a formal complaint regarding Sr. Jane Dominic [Laurel]’s speech,” according to an online petition. “We believe that same sex couples have the ability to raise happy, well-adjusted and successful children … We believe that homosexual couples are capable of monogamy. As rational people, we know that most homosexual people lead healthy, normal and productive lives like their heterosexual counterparts.”

An alternate petition states that “we the students of Charlotte Catholic High School, acting on our Catholic beliefs, are declaring a formal objection towards all those who do not accept Sister Jane Dominic's lecture … We are outraged that the topics talked about are being debated within a community where the shared faith teaches us what truly is holy and that anyone would stand up against a nun, who has given her life for the Lord, and blatantly deny God’s teachings.”
Bishop Peter Jugis will attend a meeting with parents and students on April 2.

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16,000 births, 18,000 abortions in San Francisco

(California Catholic Daily) On Friday, March 21, 350 admirers filled the Patrons Hall of San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral in support of one of only two crisis pregnancy centers in the City. The event was a fundraiser for Alpha Pregnancy Center, located in Mission Terrace. For those unfamiliar with San Francisco, that is not one of the neighborhoods President Obama visits during his frequent fundraising trips. Attendees included Father John Jimenez, who recently celebrated Mass in front of San Francisco’s Planned Parenthood to kick off this year’s 40 Days for Life; a number of 40 Days volunteers; and many veterans of the pro-life cause, including the beloved and elderly Bea Smalley, one of San Francisco’s first pro-life activists...

The final speaker was Alpha’s executive director Chastidy Ronan, the story of whose personal trials, overcome by trust in Jesus, cannot be summarized here. She eventually found and married a good man, and in 2006 they decided to move to San Francisco, where a job was waiting for both of them—or so they thought. In 2006 Chastidy found herself out of work and facing an unplanned pregnancy. She was gripped with fear, and thought every day how much easier it would be to abort the child. She recalled going through the aisles of baby supplies at Target and crying because everything was so expensive. She went to Alpha for help—and she received it. In 2008 she began working as a counselor at Alpha, and within a year become the executive director. She said:

“I feel I was set in this place and in this time and in this season to do what God wants me to do. Like in Nehemiah we must restore our city to a place where God’s people understand the value of life. In this city there are 7 abortion clinics and only two pro-life clinics. Every year in San Francisco there are 16,000 births, but there are 18,000 abortions. When my mother was beaten to death, I learned that the neighbors had heard screams but had not wanted to get involved. I vowed then that I will never ignore the cries of those who need help. We are called to seek the welfare of this city, of our wonderful city. We will not ignore the cry of the 18,000 killed every year and we invite you to join us!”

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Not ANOTHER girl! Hilarious moment a six-year-old boy learns he's getting a third younger sister


By Margot Peppers

(Daily Mail) When a couple came up with a cute way of telling their kids they were expecting a baby girl, they never foresaw the melodramatic breakdown that would ensue.

In a video of the incident, their six-year-old son Gunner, who already has two younger sisters, breaks down in tears when he cuts open a white cake and discovers the inside is pink, meaning there's yet another girl on the way. 'It's a girl!' he miserably exclaims before collapsing onto his chair in tears.

'It's another girl! I hate girls! Every time it's girl, girl, girl, girl!!'


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Monday, March 24, 2014

The Scandal That is Eating the Heart out of the Catholic Church in America


By Father Vincent Fitzpatrick

(American Life League)  Here is the text of Canon 915: “Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Several American bishops have made statements to the effect that a bishop must exercise “discretion” regarding whether to “impose the penalty” of denial of Communion. Among them: Chaput, Dolan, O’Malley, and Wuerl.

All bishops who refuse to “impose the penalty” are participating in a lie. Namely, that denial of Communion is a penalty.

Denial of Communion is NOT a penalty.

So? What is the import of this fact?

It means that denial of Communion is not an option that MAY be chosen. It is MANDATED by Canon 915. No bishop, priest, or other minister of Communion is free to disobey Canon 915, for the simple reason that the action Canon 915 forbids is ALWAYS gravely sinful.

It needs to be emphasized that Canon 915 is NOT a canon that may be “applied” or “not applied.” Canon 915 can only be obeyed or disobeyed. And disobeying Canon 915 is always gravely sinful.

Canon 915 exists precisely because giving Communion to a person “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin” is always gravely sinful. Doing so is always to give grave scandal, and to participate knowingly in a sacrilegious act.

Let that sink in. Always gravely sinful.

In terms perhaps more familiar to the laity: To give Communion knowingly and deliberately to ANYONE delineated in Canon 915 is ALWAYS a mortal sin.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been the most outspoken of those bishops who refuse to obey Canon 915, but all of them are on record, as he is, as endorsing the commission of MORTAL SINS by their priests and other ministers of Communion. Cardinal Wuerl has even punished those who have obeyed Canon 915.

Of course, this is something he has no right to do, because no bishop has the authority to command anyone to commit a mortal sin!

“Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.” Cardinal Wuerl and many other bishops have been doing PRECISELY what they are EXPRESSLY forbidden to do by this statement from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts!

They have also emanated specious arguments. Here are some of Cardinal Wuerl’s preposterous, irrelevant statements, made in these or very similar words:
That’s not my style.

I follow a “pastoral approach” rather than a “canonical approach.

”We need to find out if the canon was written for the purpose of bringing politicians to heel.

I will not deny Communion to anyone who has not been formally excommunicated.
Now, that is a stunning statement, because the divorced-and-illicitly-remarried are not excommunicated. Yet, does anyone doubt that, were Cardinal Wuerl to direct all ministers of Communion in his jurisdiction to give Communion to the divorced-and-illicitly-remarried, the news would flash around the world, and Rome would take action within hours?
But Canon 915 mentions no particular SPECIES of sin! That is, the KIND of sin in which a would-be communicant is publicly involved is of no account!

In other words, Cardinal Wuerl’s long-standing determination to give pro-abortion people Communion is precisely as outrageous and scandalous as would be a directive to give Communion to the divorced-and-illicitly-remarried. Yet, there is no evidence that this massive scandal has attracted the attention of Rome.

It is said by many, including Cardinal Wuerl, that Communion should not be used as a political weapon.

Absolutely true. And the reception of Communion is being used as a political weapon—by pro-abortion politicians. As long as they are permitted to receive Communion, the bishop (e.g., Cardinal Wuerl) endorses their claim to be “ardent Catholics” whose promotion of abortion is NO SIN.

Abraham Lincoln is credited with the statements: You can fool all of the people some of the time. You can fool some of the people all of the time. Cardinal Wuerl and other bishops appear to be relying on the truth of these observations. It appears that it has been left up to the laity to demonstrate the truth of Lincoln’s further statement: But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

If this scandal is to end, Rome needs to hear a great deal more noise from the laity. As Pope Francis told the youth of Brazil: “Raise a ruckus.”

For further reading on Canon 915, please see the following links:

http://tinyurl.com/canon915
http://www.canonlaw.info/a_denialofeucharist.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_915

A native of Washington, DC, Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick is a retired priest of the Diocese of Fargo.

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Aborted Babies Incinerated to Heat UK Hospitals

The remains of more than 15,000 babies were incinerated as 'clinical waste' by hospitals in Britain with some used in 'waste to energy' plants


By

(The Telegraph) The bodies of thousands of aborted and miscarried babies were incinerated as clinical waste, with some even used to heat hospitals, an investigation has found.

Ten NHS trusts have admitted burning foetal remains alongside other rubbish while two others used the bodies in ‘waste-to-energy’ plants which generate power for heat.

Last night the Department of Health issued an instant ban on the practice which health minister Dr Dan Poulter branded ‘totally unacceptable.’

At least 15,500 foetal remains were incinerated by 27 NHS trusts over the last two years alone, Channel 4’s Dispatches discovered.

The programme, which will air tonight, found that parents who lose children in early pregnancy were often treated without compassion and were not consulted about what they wanted to happen to the remains.

One of the country’s leading hospitals, Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge, incinerated 797 babies below 13 weeks gestation at their own ‘waste to energy’ plant. The mothers were told the remains had been ‘cremated.’

Another ‘waste to energy’ facility at Ipswich Hospital, operated by a private contractor, incinerated 1,101 foetal remains between 2011 and 2013.

They were brought in from another hospital before being burned, generating energy for the hospital site. Ipswich Hospital itself disposes of remains by cremation.

“This practice is totally unacceptable,” said Dr Poulter.

“While the vast majority of hospitals are acting in the appropriate way, that must be the case for all hospitals and the Human Tissue Authority has now been asked to ensure that it acts on this issue without delay.”

Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director, has written to all NHS trusts to tell them the practice must stop.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has also written to the Human Tissue Authority to ask them make sure that guidance is clear.

And the Care Quality Commission said it would investigate the programme's findings.

Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “I am disappointed trusts may not be informing or consulting women and their families.

“This breaches our standard on respecting and involving people who use services and I’m keen for Dispatches to share their evidence with us.

“We scrutinise information of concern and can inspect unannounced, if required.”

A total of one in seven pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, while NHS figures show there are around 4,000 stillbirths each year in the UK, or 11 each day.

Ipswich Hospital Trust said it was concerned to discover that foetal remains from another hospital had been incinerated on its site.

A spokeswoman said: “The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust does not incinerate foetal remains.”

She added that the trust “takes great care over foetal remains”

A spokesman for the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said that trained health professionals discuss the options with parents ‘both verbally and in writing.’

"The parents are given exactly the same choice on the disposal of foetal remains as for a stillborn child and their personal wishes are respected,” they added.

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Cardinal Raymond Burke: Obama’s Policies ‘Have Become Progressively More Hostile Toward Christian Civilization’

Cardinal Leo Raymond Burke walks on St Peter’s square after a cardinals’ meeting on the eve of the start of a conclave on March 11, 2013 at the Vatican. (credit: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

VATICAN CITY (CBS St. Louis) — The Vatican’s chief justice feels that President Barack Obama’s policies have been hostile toward Christians.

In an interview with Polonia Christiana magazine –and transcribed by Life Site News — Cardinal Raymond Burke said that Obama “promotes anti-life and anti-family policies.”

“It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.

The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.

“Now he wants to restrict the exercise of the freedom of religion to freedom of worship, that is, he holds that one is free to act according to his conscience within the confines of his place of worship but that, once the person leaves the place of worship, the government can constrain him to act against his rightly-formed conscience, even in the most serious of moral questions,” Burke said. Burke took a swipe against Obama’s Affordable Care Act over the law’s birth control mandate, saying “such policies would have been unimaginable in the United States even 40 years ago.”

“In a democracy, such a lack of awareness is deadly,” Burke told the magazine. “It leads to the loss of the freedom which a democratic government exists to protect. It is my hope that more and more of my fellow citizens, as they realize what is happening, will insist on electing leaders who respect the truth of the moral law as it is respected in the founding principles of our nation.”

Burke also believes there is hope that abortion will be overturned in the U.S.

“There is hope that the evil anti-life laws of the United States can be overthrown and that the anti-life movement which urges yet more of such legislation can be resisted,” Burke said. “The pro-life movement in the United States has been working since 1973 to reverse the unjust decision of the Supreme Court which struck down state laws prohibiting procured abortion. It is true that the Supreme Court decision stands, but it is also true that the pro-life movement has grown ever stronger in the United States, that is, that more and more citizens, especially young citizens, have been awakened to the truth about the grave evil of procured abortion.”

Pope Francis removed Burke from the Congregation for Bishops last December.

Obama will be meeting Pope Francis for the first time at the Vatican on Thursday.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Media Hysteria Prompts Public Witch Hunt Into Archbishop John C. Nienstedt, Investigation Finally Dropped

St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt fights off the lynch mob:
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi (l) and St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith (r)

(The Media Report) Back in December, police began a surreal criminal investigation into whether St. Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt somehow "inappropriately touched" a boy four years ago in broad daylight in front of crowds of people outside a church following a public Confirmation ceremony.

If anyone needed another example of the wildly disparate treatment of Catholic clergy by the media and by law enforcement, one needs to look no further than this batty episode.

Common Sense on Vacation

Police finally concluded just last week what any clear-thinking individual would have known from the beginning: that nothing even remotely inappropriate ever took place.

But their conclusion was not reached until after a mob of investigators conducted an intensive three-month investigation with over a dozen interviews with "witnesses" and pored over photographs of the day in question like the F.B.I. examining photos of Dealey Plaza on the day that JFK was assassinated.

Think about that. All those public resources and tax dollars were expended to examine the nutty claim that a Catholic clergyman had in some way molested a boy while having his picture taken at a public event in front of hundreds of people.

Not only did the wild-eyed zealots at the anti-Catholic group SNAP admit that the kooky claim against Nienstedt was "pretty implausible," but even the boy who was at the center of the episode said that he "did not feel violated," that he was "concerned about the attention the incident was receiving," and that he "did not believe the incident was significant."

So the obvious question about the whole episode is: Why did such a bogus and inconceivable case receive so much public attention and waste so many tax dollars? (continued)


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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Boycott Guinness, Sam Adams, Heineken - Catholic League

By Bill Donohue

(The Catholic League)  Bill Donohue is calling for a boycott of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams:

Diageo, the parent company of Guinness, and Heineken, have pulled their sponsorship of New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade; the Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams, has withdrawn its sponsorship of Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

None of these companies believe in diversity. No gay person has ever been barred from marching in any St. Patrick’s Day parade, anymore than the parade bans pro-life Catholics or vegetarian Catholics; they simply cannot march under their own banner. The parade has one cause: honoring St. Patrick. Those who disagree do not have to march—that’s what diversity is all about.

The parade is quintessentially Catholic, beginning with a Mass in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It is this Catholic element that angers those who are engaged in a bullying campaign against the St. Patrick’s Day parades. The bullies also have nothing but contempt for the constitutional rights of Irish Catholics.

In 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that the First Amendment guarantees the right of private parade organizers to determine its own rules for marching. It is this liberty that the makers of Guinness, Heineken, and Sam Adams want to squash.

I have had my last Guinness and Sam Adams. Heineken was always slop, so there is no sacrifice there. I urge Catholics, and all those who believe in tolerance, diversity, and the First Amendment, to join with me in boycotting these brews.

To contact Guinness, email: press.office@diageo.com
To contact Heineken, email: pressoffice@heineken.com
To contact Sam Adams, email: jessica.paar@bostonbeer.com

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