Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Weird Al" Yankovic - Whatever You Like

SSPX: pilgrimage and a new Crusade of the Rosary

From Rorate via Father Z:

CATEGORY: SESSIUNCULUM — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 8:15 am

Our colleagues at Rorate have this stunner. Be sure to visit their site. My emphases and comments.

SSPX: pilgrimage and a new Crusade of the Rosary

Pictures of the Solemn Mass, of the public recitation of the Holy Rosary, and of the Adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament, as the Sanctuary of Lourdes once again opens its doors and buildings to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) during the weekend of Christ the King. The four bishops of the SSPX, who were consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988, were present in the pilgrimage.

Regarding developments in the ongoing conversation between the leadership of the Fraternity and Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", the SSPX will start this Saturday a "Crusade of the Rosary" to "obtain from Our Lady the removal of the Decree of Excommunication", a "crusade" which will last from November 1 to Christmas Day. [OKAY! Well… this is a good initiative. But let us not forget that grace builds on nature. Hopefully some of that prayer will be dedicated to softening hearts, not just in the Holy See, but also in the SSPX and its followers so that they will submit in concrete ways to the Roman Pontiff.]

This is a most auspicious development, considering that the last time a Crusade of the Rosary was proposed by the SSPX (in July 2006), its main intention was to "obtain from Heaven for Pope Benedict XVI the strength required to completely free up the Mass of all time, called the Tridentine Mass". [I hope they are not thinking that all the credit goes to them, though I don’t hesitate to affirm that PRAYER HELPS!] All eyes to Heaven, and to Rome, in the next few months.
I will participate in this Rosary "Crusade". It would be a joy to see the excommunications lifted.

I urge you to do the same. Add this intention to your daily recitation of the Rosary.

In the meantime… I guess you can say the old Mass at Lourdes after all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The Cross teaches Christians to renounce pride and choose love, Benedict XVI says

.- In the presence of thousands of people at St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict XVI continued his weekly teachings on St. Paul, speaking about the central place of the Cross of Jesus Christ in Paul's preaching. The Cross should teach Christians to renounce their own "superiority" and choose love, the Pope underscored.

The Pope began by noting that Paul's "existence was entirely consumed for souls." In his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, the Holy Father said, Paul "understood that Jesus had died and risen for all and for him also."

"Both were important," Pope Benedict explained. Jesus really died for all, and he also died for me. Once Paul experienced this love "above all in himself," he became a believer and an apostle, the Holy Father added.

For Paul, his new life in Christ was a daily experience that “salvation was 'grace'," Benedict observed. The "gospel of grace, became for Paul the only way to understand the Cross, the reason not only for his new existence, but also the message in his preaching."

The importance of the Cross had an even greater impact than a personal one for St. Paul. The power of the Cross was so great in Paul’s teaching that he saw it as having “fundamental primacy in the history of humanity," Pope Benedict asserted.

Thus, St. Paul’s belief in the primacy of the Cross guided him when he was confronted by the Church in Corinth, where disarray and scandal were present and the community was threatened by internal division, the Holy Father taught. Instead of presenting himself with words or wisdom, Paul came proclaiming the “announcement of Christ crucified."

Benedict XVI then went on to highlight how "the 'stumbling block' and 'foolishness' of the Cross," of which St. Paul, speaks are to be found "in the fact that where there seemed to be only failure, suffering and defeat, there, in reality, is all the power of God's limitless Love."

In his First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." The Holy Father explained that the Apostle Paul identifies himself with Christ who loved him and gave himself up for his sins and for those of all. This, Pope Benedict continued, "becomes the paradigm for all of us."

In Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians, the Pontiff unfolded the way that Paul applies Jesus’ sacrifice through an "admirable synthesis" of the theology of the Cross: Christ died for all and God has reconciled us with him. This "ministry of reconciliation" is relevant for our life, as we must also renounce our own "superiority" and choose love, the Pope said.

"St. Paul renounced his own life and committed himself totally to the ministry of reconciliation, of the Cross which is salvation for us all, Pope Benedict said as he concluded his teaching on St. Paul. “This is something we must also do. We can find our strength in the humility of love and our wisdom in the weakness to renounce, thus to enter into the strength of God. ... We have to mold our lives on this true wisdom, not living for ourselves, but living in faith in the God of Whom we can all say: 'He loved me and gave Himself for me'."

A Call for a Rosary Novena

(reposting) -bttt:

Among the most important titles we have in the Catholic Church for the Blessed Virgin Mary are Our Lady of Victory and Our Lady of the Rosary. These titles can be traced back to one of the most decisive times in the history of the world and Christendom. The Battle of Lepanto took place on October 7 (date of feast of Our Lady of Rosary), 1571. This proved to be the most crucial battle for the Christian forces against the radical Muslim navy of Turkey. Pope Pius V led a procession around St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City praying the Rosary. He showed true pastoral leadership in recognizing the danger posed to Christendom by the radical Muslim forces, and in using the means necessary to defeat it. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, and this more than anything was a battle that had its origins in the spiritual order—a true battle between good and evil.

Today we have a similar spiritual battle in progress—a battle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies, life and death. If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national. The moral demise of a nation results in the ultimate demise of a nation. God is not a disinterested spectator to the affairs of man. Life begins at conception. This is an unalterable formal teaching of the Catholic Church. If you do not accept this you are a heretic in plain English. A single abortion is homicide. The more than 48,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade in the United States constitute genocide by definition. The group singled out for death—unwanted, unborn children.

No other issue, not all other issues taken together, can constitute a proportionate reason for voting for candidates that intend to preserve and defend this holocaust of innocent human life that is abortion.

I strongly urge every one of you to make a Novena and pray the Rosary to Our Lady of Victory between October 27th and Election Day, November 4th. Pray that God’s will be done and the most innocent and utterly vulnerable of our brothers and sisters will be protected from this barbaric and grossly sinful blight on society that is abortion. No woman, and no man, has the right to choose to murder an innocent human being.

May God grant us the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel to form our conscience in accordance with authentic Catholic teaching, and then vote that well-formed Catholic conscience.

God Bless You

Fr. John Corapi

Click here to download a PDF copy to email, link and distribute this article freely.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fr. Bernard Digal: India Mourns Newest Christian Martyr

By Nirmala Carvalho

Asia News (

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath who was there by the side of the beloved Priest who had been brutally attacked by Hindu Fundamentalists said "Fr. Bernard has been given the martyr's crown"

The pogrom of violence against Christians perpetrated by militant extremist Hindus has continued in India,virtually unchecked. The beautiful land evangelized by the Apostle Thomas is now weeping for this newest martyr Fr. Bernard. Only an international outcry of prayer and solidarity of action will help to bring it to an end.
The pogrom of violence against Christians perpetrated by militant extremist Hindus has continued in India,virtually unchecked. The beautiful land evangelized by the Apostle Thomas is now weeping for this newest martyr Fr. Bernard. Only an international outcry of prayer and solidarity of action will help to bring it to an end.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Fr. Bernard Digal has died after a slow agony of more than two months. The religious, brutally beaten by Hindu fundamentalists the night of August 25, has died two months later, this evening at 9:25 local time, from the serious injuries he suffered in the assault.

On Saturday, October 25, a feverish Fr. Digal was taken to St. Thomas Hospital in Chennai, in Tamil Nadu; the doctors operated on him to remove a blood clot from his brain, caused by the beating on the night he was attacked. Yesterday, his lungs collapsed and he fell into a coma.

This morning, the bishop of the diocese gave him the anointing of the sick; Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, was at his deathbed. The religious was given a respirator to keep him alive, but his body gave out.

Last September 10, we published an interview with Fr. Bernard Digal, given from the bed at the the Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai where he was hospitalized. During the interview, he told AsiaNews about the night of the attack and the violence he suffered.

Fr. Bernard denounced "without bitterness, but also without sweetness" the brutality of the assault, following which "he remained unconscious and half naked in the forest for an entire night, until he was found by his driver."

"Fr. Bernard has been given the martyr's crown," Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwa, tells AsiaNews. "Fr. Bernard succumbed to the merciless beatings from the Hinduvta extremists. The Kandhamal Christians now have a powerful intercessor in heaven, Fr. Bernard will now continue his work for our people from his heavenly home."

Happy Birthday to Father Z

Michelle Obama on the Tonight Show

Monday, October 27, 2008

Spiritual 911

"All of us have had times and experiences when we’ve needed help. Spiritual help, right now!

In the United States and Canada, the telephone number used to call for police, fire, or ambulance emergency services is “911.” When we call “911” we need help immediately.

Well, it often happens that people, suffering many and various things, need help from God right now. I have a “Spiritual 911” for you if that’s the case. I received most of the inspiration for this from Mother Teresa of Calcutta, although she didn’t relate any of it to the term “911.”

If you find yourself in dire need of help from God pray the following prayers with as much trust as you can muster. This trust, or childlike confidence, is of extreme importance. In a sense the more you trust God, the more you permit Him to help you.

NOTE: All prayer is centered on Jesus Christ. Know with absolute certainty that all that we give to Mary, she takes to Jesus.

With great trust pray:

9 Memoraries. “Remember, o most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help, or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, o Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To Thee do I come. Before Thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in Thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.”

1 Rosary.
Pray 5 decades of the Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, or Luminous Mysteries. The choice is yours). Try to meditate well on the Mysteries, bringing them into your own life. Pray the prayers of the Our Father and Hail Mary with great love and trust. The prayer of the Rosary is the prayer of the Gospel. That is why it is so powerful. When we pray the Rosary, we are praying the Gospel. The Gospel or “Good News” is Jesus Christ: Infinite Power!

1 Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
This is an age especially in need of God’s mercy. Jesus gave this prayerful devotion, dedicated to His Infinite mercy, to Saint Faustina. Once again, pray with trust, even if it hurts. Just do it! It is not a feeling. It is a decision. An act of the will. The prayers “Eternal Father, I offer you the body and blood, soul and divinity, of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world;” and “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world,” are filled with power. The ending prayer “Holy God, holy mighty One, holy immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world” call down Gods grace and mercy on us and all of our brothers and sisters. So, you have a direct line to God. Call to heaven with the Spiritual “911” when you need to send a distress call for heavenly help. It will take less than an hour in most cases. If you don’t have that much time, make the solemn intention to do it as soon as possible. God loves you and will help you. He may not remove the problem, but he’ll always give you the strength
and means to triumph over it.

9 Memoraries
1 Rosary
1 Chaplet of Divine Mercy

May God bless you and keep you safe in his merciful love!
Father John Corapi, SOLT"

Fr. Richtsteig's Pilgrimage

Father Richtsteig wrote:
"Our first stop (not counting Ohare, Charles De Gaul, and Lisbon airports) was Fatima. What an amazing place. I celebrated our first Mass at the main altar in the old (real) basilica where the three visionaries are buried. All the important sites are within walking distance..."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Pope

"So, Sarah Palin's advisors decide that it is time for her to meet a bunch of serious world leaders. They head to Europe, where, first up, she has an appointment with the Pope. The Pope and some of his Cardinals invite her for a boat ride on the Tiber. As they are sitting in the gondola talking, a wind starts up and blows the Pope's hat into the water. Palin looks around and realizes that no one is going to do anything about it, so she calmy rises, takes off her her high heels, and steps off the side of the boat. Instead of diving into the water, however, she walks across it, to the hat, picks it up and walks back across the water to the boat. She climbs in, hands the Pope his hat and continues discussing whatever it was they had been talking about. The Cardinals are open mouthed in astonishment at what they have just seen. The news media, in nearby boats are busy discussing among themselves how to report it. Headlines the next day at the New York Times, The Washington Post and the networks all blare: 'New Revelation: Sarah Palin Can't Swim.'"

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lost film footage of Edwardian London discovered

U.S. Catholic Bishop Rene H. Gracida Releases Radio Ad Stating no Catholic can Vote for Barack Obama in Good Conscience

MEDIA ADVISORY, October 24 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today - perhaps in an eleventh hour answer to prayer for the unborn - Bishop Rene H. Gracida has released a stunning radio ad concerning Catholics voting for Barack Obama. His ad is recorded in English and Spanish.

Bishop Gracida boldly states:

"This is Bishop Rene H. Gracida, reminding all Catholics that they must vote in this election with an informed conscience. A Catholic cannot be said to have voted in this election with a good conscience if they have voted for a pro-abortion candidate. Barack Hussein Obama is a pro-abortion candidate."

The commercial can be heard in English and Spanish at

Bishop Gracida has offered this radio spot without charge for all who want to use it. All faithful Catholics are invited to download the mp3 file, and place this ad on their local radio station(s).

They must simply contact their local radio station(s), and pay for the ad as an "independent expenditure." The station can download the audio file to play on the radio. The mp3 file is also available at

Moreover, permission is granted for the ad to be downloaded, sent as a file, or posted on any web site in America.

If this ad receives the airplay it deserves, it could sink Obama's campaign by jolting Catholic voters back to their senses and moorings. Over 50% of Catholic voters have been seduced into ethical quicksand by errant Catholics who are partisan supporters of Obama and have betrayed the lives of innocent unborn children.

Contact: Randall Terry. 904 687 9804

Most accurate pollster from 2004 race: McCain now leading among Catholics

"McCain has also gone from an 11-point deficit to a 9-point lead among Catholics, with only days remaining before the November 4 election.

The heated debate around abortion and the stepping up of bishops' statements on the incompatibility of pro-choice positions with Catholic doctrine is believed to be one of the possible reasons for the Republican candidate's surge among Catholics..."

The new Concorde: Supersonic jet will get you from London to New York in just three hours

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:13 PM on 23rd October 2008

It is five years ago almost to the day that Concorde approached Heathrow airport under much fanfare and nostalgia on its last official flight before heading off into retirement.

In a move which for some people signalled a step backwards for technology, the Anglo-French aviation-engineering masterpiece touched down and with it the chance for people to experience supersonic air travel.

But now, an American firm is on the cusp of re-imagining the supersonic dream and confidently plans to have supersonic commercial aircraft back in the skies as a reality by 2015.

Aerion Supersonic Business Jet

The future: It's hoped the £47.5million jet will be on the market by 2015

The Aerion Supersonic Jet may not have the same grace and style and the size of the great Concorde, but the Aerion group are so sure that the plane will fly that they have pencilled in test flights for 2012, with transatlantic testing to follow soon after.

Reaching a top speed of mach 1.6 the jet will once again put New York within three hours flight time of London.

The company are so confident in the design that they claim to have 50 interested parties, who have all paid the £150,000 deposit.

‘It simply will change the way global business is conducted. Flight times in general will be reduced about 40 percent,’ says Jeff Miller, chief spokesperson for Aerion.

‘Business and government leaders will be able to travel more in pursuit of opportunity. And they will feel a lot better when they step off the airplane.’ As everyone remembers Concorde was far from the budget airline options that are available now.


Historic: Concorde takes off for the last time from New York on October 24, 2003

The Aerion Supersonic Jet will be no different.

‘It’s priced at £47.5million - each,’ explains Miller.

‘To date, Aerion has more than 50 letters of intent secured by £150,000 deposits.

‘The cost per nautical mile will be similar to today’s large business jets.’ The biggest advance in technology that the Aerion has improved upon Concorde is in its noise reduction ability.

Concorde was famously and some would say intentionally scuppered by jealous Americans who banned the plane from flying over U.S. territory at the speed of sound.

This immediately removed any advantage the small plane had over its larger competitors and ended the supersonic age before it had begun.

The Aerion aircraft can successfully fly at nearly the speed of sound without any significant noise impact and more amazingly has the ability to fly at mach 1.15 without emanating a sonic boom.

Aerion Supersonic Business Jet

The first Aerion Supersonic Business Jet, shown in a design above

‘This is due to the patented supersonic natural laminar flow (SNLF) technology that substantially reduces drag at supersonic as well as high-subsonic cruise speeds,’ says Jeff Miller.

Despite the fact that the Aerion is obviously only ever going to be flown by those who can afford it, the very idea that commercial supersonic airliners are going back into the skies will please the enthusiasts.

‘Aviation progress has always been synonymous with an increase in speed. To be flying more slowly in this century than in the last seems like a step backwards.,’ says Miller.

Admitting a huge debt of gratitude to Concorde, Miller impresses that the Aerion jet is a significant leap forward in aircraft technology.

Aerion Supersonic Business Jet

Luxury: The comfortable Aerion Jet will ferry private buyers at speeds of mach 1.6, meaning New York will once again be within three hours flight time of London

‘Concorde was a beautiful machine and a product of its time, but technology has moved forward and new designs such as the Aerion jet offer greater efficiency.

‘Concorde was withdrawn due to high operating cost, which Aerion technology has successfully overcome,’ says Jeff.

Aerion will start small but hope to have the technology and the capital to one day expand their operation beyond smaller aircraft to larger Concorde sized vehicles.

‘With the success of the Aerion supersonic business jet, we expect to see supersonic flight becoming commonplace.

‘With market acceptance it will be possible to fund the development of airliner variants, offering time savings to a much larger group of travellers,’ says Jeff.

As incredible as it seems that Concorde was flying only five years ago, Aerion will be tearing across our skies in four, heralding a return to the skies of supersonic travel.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gingrich: Media Attacks On Palin 'Like Watching Pravda'

On Wednesday, appearing on Fox News's "On the Record," Gingrich called recent press reports involving the Republican vice presidential candidate "factually wrong, intellectually dishonest, totally biased, worthy of the Polish state news media attacking Lech Walesa back in the 1980s."

Moments later, he put an exclamation point on his criticism: "This is like watching Pravda. This is a one-sided, vicious, unending and dishonest campaign."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bp. Martino of Scranton rolls up his sleeves

From Fr. John Zuhlsdorf:

"WDTPRS has written about the H.E. Most Rev. Joseph Martino, Bishop of Scranton, and his defense of life here and his bad treatment in the press in Scranton here.

About a zillion people wrote to alert me about Bp. Martino’s intervention at a meeting held at a Catholic parish in his diocese of Scranton.

Here is a story from the Wayne Independent which is a must read.

First,... I must say that I have read comments elsewhere that the photo with the article was unflattering toward Bp. Martino. I am not so sure. I think it is good to see a bishop with an aspect other than a grin, especially about this. Perhaps it is time to stop smiling so much… to stop blowing the happy gas, as one bishop of my acquaintance says.

My emphases and comments.

Bishop stresses abortion view at political forum

By Steve McConnell
Wayne Independent
Mon Oct 20, 2008, 06:06 PM EDT
Story Tools: Email This Email This | Print This Print This

A presidential election forum at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church on Sunday centered mainly on abortion. [First, ... note that this is a Catholic parish in the Diocese of Scranton.]
The argument and audience, however, erupted when Diocese of Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino unexpectedly arrived and vehemently expressed his distaste for what was said about the church’s stance on voting for pro-choice candidates and the exclusion of his anti-abortion letter at the forum, which recommends voting against pro-choice candidates for moral reasons.

Four panelists

Prior to Martino’s arrival, the forum began with four panelists – local businessman Tom Shepstone, University of Scranton professor William Parente, Sister Margaret Gannon of Marywood University and county commissioner Wendell Kay - sharing their views about presidential candidates Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

Shepstone, who supports McCain and focused on abortion, said a vote for Obama will not protect the unborn.

The common ground begins with the respect to the dignity of every life,” said Shepstone, noting that the U.S. government’s role is protect the public’s and the unborn’s inalienable rights of life and liberty. “The right to life … is the natural God given right.”

“Rights John McCain respects and Barack Obama does not,” he said.
Kay, who supports Obama, touched on several national issues, briefly addressing abortion.

“I am pro-life,” said Kay. “I don’t agree with the Roe (vs.) Wade decisions.”
He noted, however, that it was a Supreme Court decision and that “we’re kidding ourselves” to think one political candidate or one political party will overturn it. [Thus… we should feel free to set aside abortion as the deal-breaker and focus on other issues… that is the argument coming down the line.]

He also said today’s Supreme Court – which has not overturned the controversial 1973 legislation – was mostly appointed by Republican presidents. [So what? Therefore elect a president for for sure will appoint pro-abortion Justices?]
Republican presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush nominated seven justices, of nine, which currently sit on the court. Democratic president Bill Clinton nominated two justices, who are currently on the bench, noted Kay.

“Why is that? That’s a question we ought to be asking ourselves,” he [Kay] said. [That is nothing but a little weasel question. Just leave something like that hanging in the room, like a bad odor.]

, who supports McCain, said a vote for Obama “is foolish, although not sinful, for Catholics.” [Hmmm….]

He acknowledge that a majority of Jesuits, a male Catholic religious order, at the University of Scranton are “ardent Democrats.”

“I believe in good conscious, good Catholics, will be voting both ways in this election,” he said. [I wonder… can you be of good conscience if your conscience is well-formed?]

He warned, however, that “the election of Obama will bring us liberal justices on the court.”

Sister Gannon, who did not state her candidate preference, cited statements from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which say that a political candidate’s position on abortion must be weighed against other moral issues, such as unjust wars or stem-cell research, when it comes time to vote. [The problem with this is that pro-abortion Catholics will use this as a cover for their cover. They will use code language such as "the full spectrum" of Catholic teaching in order to diminish the importance of a candidates stand on abortion.]

Full body of bishop’s ok’d it

According to the USCCB’s “Faithful Citizenship” statement, approved by the full body of U.S. bishops in 2007, “a Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity. ” [So… look how people will distort this to say that there is a "fuller range of issues". They will begin to put all sorts of issues on an equal footing with the issue of abortion in order to diffuse it, dilute it.]

Martino, who arrived while the panelists were stating their viewpoints, took issue with the USCCB statement, which was handed out to everyone at the meeting, and also that his letter was not mentioned once at the forum [That seems to me a very significant point in this problem. The forum was at a Catholic parish, but there was no step taken to integrate anything the bishop has very publicly caused to be given to the diocese in his role as teacher.]

No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” said Martino. “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.” [Right!]

“The only relevant document … is my letter,” he said. “There is one teacher in this diocese, and these points are not debatable.” [And he is absolutely right. The USCCB is not the teaching voice of the Church in the USA. Bishops teach in their own dioceses.]

His letter, published Sept. 30 and circulated throughout the diocese, states that a candidate’s abortion stance is a major voting issue that supersedes all other considerations due to its grave moral consequences. [Quite the opposite of what the "diluters" want you to believe.]

“Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does,” the letter says. “Another argument goes like this: ‘As wrong as abortion is, I don’t think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.’ This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. ... National Right to Life reports that 48.5 million abortions have been performed since 1973. One would be too many. No war, no natural disaster, no illness or disability has claimed so great a price.”

The letter also states that Catholic public officials who “persist in public support for abortion” should “not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion.”

Receiving communion is a holy ritual – a person consumes a bread wafer, symbolically infused with the body of Christ [That is NOT what the Church believes, but let that pass…] - at Catholic churches.

“No social issue has caused the death of 50 million people,” he said, nothing that he no longer supports the Democratic Party. “This is madness people.”

Martino also said that he wanted to persuade Father Martin Boylan, of St. John’s, to cancel the forum.

After his comments, most of the audience stood and clapped loudly while some were angry that the bishop usurped the forum. [Umm… no. The bishops does not usurp anything in the diocese when it concerns Catholics discussing morals on Church property.]

About a quarter of the audience left after the bishop’s comments, which preceded the last half of the forum, a question and answer session with the panelists.

Martino exited shortly after his comments.

Diocese issues comment

“Bishop Martino was aware that the forum at St. John … was being held. He attended with the intention of listening to the presenters, and how they might discuss Catholic teaching,” wrote Bill Genello, a diocese spokesperson, in an e-mail exchange on Monday. “Certain groups and individuals have used their own erroneous interpretations of Church documents, particularly the U.S. Bishops’ statement on Faithful Citizenship, to justify their political positions and to contradict the Church’s actual teaching on the centrality of abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.”

“ ... He reminded those in attendance, and by extension all the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, that groups such as Catholic United [booooo] ... and other like-minded groups and individuals who make statements about Catholic teaching do not speak with the same authority or authenticity as their bishop.”

Torpedoed forum

“I think this meeting was torpedoed,” said Gene Tagle, the forum’s moderator. “He’s (Martino) known for three months that this has been in the works.” [So what? They stiffed the bishop’s recent explicit teaching!]

After calm returned, Boylan said: “We were very careful not to endorse anyone.”
He said it was meant to be “a political slash editorial forum about the presidential election” and that he “carefully followed” state church guidelines for such an event. [What is a "political/editorial forum"?]

“I did not know that the bishop does not support the U.S. Conference of Bishops,” said Gannon, after Martino’s remarks.

Shepstone said the forum was “giving cover” to candidates who support abortion and promptly stormed out. [Notice the word choice, here. Does that paint a picture?]

Parente left without notice.

It went on, however, for another 45 minutes with the focus remaining on abortion.

Nancy Pinto, of Moscow and a pro-life advocate, said abortion is “the greatest civil rights issue of our time.”

I’m a Catholic before I am a Democrat,” she said, and warned others not to be “Catholics of convenience.”

“Abortion is horrible,” said Mike Keough, of Honesdale. “This has nothing to do with Catholicism; it has to do with the Declaration of Independence.” [Not sure what that means.]

Nobody publicly spoke in favor of pro-choice.

There were a couple of questions and comments regarding energy policy and third-party candidates."


Tape measure: X-rays detected from Scotch tape

By MALCOLM RITTER, AP Science Writer

NEW YORK – Just two weeks after a Nobel Prize highlighted theoretical work on subatomic particles, physicists are announcing a startling discovery about a much more familiar form of matter: Scotch tape. It turns out that if you peel the popular adhesive tape off its roll in a vacuum chamber, it emits X-rays. The researchers even made an X-ray image of one of their fingers.

Who knew? Actually, more than 50 years ago, some Russian scientists reported evidence of X-rays from peeling sticky tape off glass. But the new work demonstrates that you can get a lot of X-rays, a study co-author says.

"We were very surprised," said Juan Escobar. "The power you could get from just peeling tape was enormous."

Escobar, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, reports the work with UCLA colleagues in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature.

He suggests that with some refinements, the process might be harnessed for making inexpensive X-ray machines for paramedics or for places where electricity is expensive or hard to get. After all, you could peel tape or do something similar in such machines with just human power, like cranking.

  • Link

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scripture and the Meaning of Holiness

Pope and Patriarch Preside Over Vespers

Father Thomas Rosica, CSB

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 19, 2008 ( One of the topics mentioned in a good number of the synod presentations was that of the saints and blessed who offer the Church concrete examples of lives rooted in the sacred Scriptures and the living Word of God.

When Archbishop Angelo Amato, the new prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, addressed the synod Tuesday, he offered a very graphic image of lives rooted in the sacred Scriptures: For more than 2,000 years men and women, old and young, wise and ignorant, in the East as in the West, applied themselves to the school of the Lord Jesus, which caused this sublime commandment to echo in their hearts and minds: "You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).

This does not mean that man-made perfection is the goal to be reached, rather it is the heights of divine perfection. With simplicity and humility, even youth -- like 14-year-old Domenico Savio and 13-year-old Laura Vicuña -- have taken the Lord's words seriously and taken up the path toward sainthood.

Their library was largely composed of the life and words of Jesus: Blessed are the poor, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the gentle, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers, blessed are those who are persecuted. The saints, understanding that the beatitudes are the essence of the Gospel and the portrait of Christ Himself, became their imitators.

In this picture made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore ...

The theme of the saints and holiness reached a crescendo on Saturday evening during the solemn vespers ceremony celebrated in the Sistine Chapel by Benedict XVI, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, and all delegates and participants in this world Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.


We were told at the end of the morning session to begin making our way around 4 p.m. through the "back way" to the Sistine Chapel: walking around the basilica, through parts of the Vatican Gardens, past the palace and manicured gardens of the Governatorato, and into the courtyard of St. Damaso.

Basilian Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London, Canada, and I took our time walking along the quiet path and into the maze of inner courtyards until we arrived at San Damaso. We joined many other cardinals, bishops and synodal delegates who were then escorted by Swiss Guards up the "seconda loggia."

Once we arrived in the Sistine Chapel, there was a hush over the audience, many of whom had arrived a full hour early just to pray under and before the beauty around us. Shortly before the vespers began, a Vatican monsignor from the Office of Pontifical Ceremonies spoke to us about the historic and ecclesial significance of this chapel's artwork, commissioned by Pope Julius II. The chapel was built with the same dimensions of the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem. The monsignor did not, however, touch upon some things I remember about this grandiose room from my art history classes while I was a university student years ago.

For example, Pope Julius was referred to as "Il Terrible." His life reminds us of one of the colorful characters of Rabelais's world: Julius was a wild hunter, a boastful warrior and bullish fighter, and somewhat of a problematic character. "E' stato un papa abbastanza curioso" (He was quite a curious Pope), one Vatican diplomat said -- diplomatically!

Contrary to popular opinion, Michelangelo Buonarotti didn't paint the frescos in the reclining position, nor did he do them alone. He and his helpers prepared and painted the vault from the standing position (albeit leaning back a bit). The artist had many assistants -- to scrape, prepare the wall for plaster, to mix the paints, and to carry up supplies from the floor 60 feet below. He did a few of the later characters free hand, but most were detailed in "cartoons" (preparatory drawings).

Often, work had to be done while services were going on below. The bishops and cardinals often complained back then about the dust and noise. There were no complaints from bishops and cardinals on Saturday night. Only awe and gratitude for being in this room.

Vatican first

At exactly 5 p.m., the papal and patriarchal procession entered the Sistine Chapel as the Sistine choir began its haunting chants. The significance of this sight unfolding before us was lost on no one in the Sistine Chapel.

In this picture made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore ...

Benedict XVI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I entered the chapel walking side by side. Behind them came their closest collaborators working in the areas of Christian unity in their respective churches. This was history in the making: the first time an Orthodox patriarch was taking part in a world Synod of Bishops, or co-presiding, if you will, in this historic and magnificent place.

Following the vespers, the Pope invited Patriarch Bartholomew to address us, and did he ever speak, in flawless English. The Ecumenical Patriarch's talk was divided into three sections: on hearing and speaking the Word of God through the Holy Scriptures; on seeing God's Word in nature and above all in the beauty of the icons; and finally on touching and sharing God's Word in the communion of saints and the sacramental life of the Church."

The talk was a masterpiece meriting further study, meditation and contemplation. Click here for full text:

Like fire

The third section of the Patriarch's magisterial lesson really struck me. Here are some excepts of Bartholomew's reflection on the saints and holiness:

"Within the life of the Church, the unfathomable self-emptying and generous sharing of the divine Logos is reflected in the lives of the saints as the tangible experience and human expression of God's Word in our community. In this way, the Word of God becomes the Body of Christ, crucified and glorified at the same time. As a result, the saint has an organic relationship with heaven and earth, with God and all of creation. In ascetic struggle, the saint reconciles the Word and the world [...]

"This is why the saint loves with warmth and spaciousness that are both unconditional and irresistible. In the saints, we know God's very Word, since -- as St. Gregory Palamas claims -- God and his saints share the same glory and splendor. [...]

"In the gentle presence of a saint, we learn how theology and action coincide. In the compassionate love of the saint, we experience God as "our father" and God's mercy as "steadfastly enduring." (Ps. 135) The saint is consumed with the fire of God's love. This is why the saint imparts grace and cannot tolerate the slightest manipulation or exploitation in society or in nature. [...]

"And within the communion of saints, each of us is called to 'become like fire' (Sayings of the Desert Fathers), to touch the world with the mystical force of God's Word, so that -- as the extended Body of Christ -- the world, too, might say: 'Someone touched me!' (cf. Mt 9.20)

"Evil is only eradicated by holiness, not by harshness. And holiness introduces into society a seed that heals and transforms. Imbued with the life of the sacraments and the purity of prayer, we are able to enter the innermost mystery of God's Word.

"It is like the tectonic plates of the earth's crust: the deepest layers need only shift a few millimeters to shatter the world's surface. Yet for this spiritual revolution to occur, we must experience radical metanoia -- a conversion of attitudes, habits and practices -- for ways that we have misused or abused God's Word, God's gifts and God's creation."

Archbishop Angelo Amato spoke of the personal library, composed of the life and words of Jesus, especially of the great blueprint for the Christian life found in the beatitudes.

The Ecumenical Patriarch spoke not just of words imprinted on the hearts and minds of the holy ones, but also of the gift of the fire of God's Word that must be alive and burning within the hearts of the saints.

It is this fire, this dynamism, that will burn away the evil within us and around us and cause holiness to burst forth, healing and transforming the society and culture surrounding us.

* * *

Basilian Father Thomas Rosica is the Vatican's English-language press attache for the 2008 world Synod of Bishops. A Scripture scholar and university lecturer, he is the chief executive officer of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network in Canada, and a member of the General Council of the Congregation of St. Basil.

Pope Benedict XVI (L) speaks with Orthodox Christian Patriarch ...

2nd Beatified Couple Called a Gift to Spouses

Cardinal Says St. Thérèse's Parents Can Help Families

LISIEUX, France, OCT. 20, 2008 ( The second married couple to be beatified together can motivate families to live Christian virtue just as they taught their daughter-saint to desire holiness, says a Vatican official.

This was affirmed by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, retired prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, when he presided over the beatification of Louis Martin and Marie-Zélie Guérin, the parents of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus. The couple was beatified Sunday in Lisieux in the presence of some 15,000 people.

The first married couple to be beatified together -- Italians Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, who died in 1951 and 1965, respectively -- were beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Martin (1823-1894) and Guérin (1831-1877) were the parents of nine children, four of whom died as children. After concluding the beatification rite, Cardinal Saraiva Martins gave "thanks to God for this exemplary testimony of conjugal love."

Their example, the prelate assured, can "motivate Christian families in the integral practice of Christian virtues, just as it stimulated in Thérèse the desire for sanctity."

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said that in the moment of the beatification, "I thought of my father and my mother, and in this moment, I would like you to also think in your fathers and mothers, and that together, we give thanks to God for having created us and made us Christians, thanks to the conjugal love of our parents."

Love and loss

The cardinal presented the Martins as "a gift for spouses of all ages because of the esteem, respect and harmony with which they loved each other for 19 years."

He said the couple is also "a gift for parents" and "for all those who have lost their husband or wife."

"Widowhood is always a difficult condition to accept," the cardinal said. "Louis lived the loss of his wife with faith and generosity, preferring the good of his children over his personal preferences."

And, Cardinal Saraiva Martins said, this couples is "a gift for those who face sickness and death. In our world, which tries to hide death, they teach us to look at it face to face, abandoning ourselves in God."

Among those who participated in the ceremony was Pietro Schiliro, an Italian child whose unexplainable cure in 2002 was attributed to the intercession of Martin and Guérin.

Pietro was born with malformed lungs and his family was told he could not survive. His mother asked God for his healing through the intercession of Thérèse's parents and the child was healed.

Monday, October 20, 2008


October 20, 2008

On today’s episode of “Ellen,” Joe Biden told Ellen DeGeneres “that if I lived in California, I would vote against Proposition 8.” This initiative reads, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Yet in his debate with Sarah Palin on October 2, Biden said that “Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue weighed in on this today:

“Proposition 8 is a civil initiative that would secure marriage as an institution that is exclusively between a man and a woman, and Joe Biden told Ellen DeGeneres that he is opposed to that measure. In other words, Biden did not tell the truth in his debate with Sarah Palin. He cannot logically be opposed to both gay marriage and Proposition 8, but that is exactly what he is trying to get away with. More important, Biden is openly defying both the pope and the bishops.

“Last year, in his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict XVI pointedly said the following about people like Joe Biden: ‘Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private matter…it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman....These values are not negotiable.’ (My emphasis.)

“Last year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship wherein it said that the family based on marriage between a man and a woman ‘should be defended and strengthened, not redefined or undermined by permitting same-sex unions or other distortions of marriage.’

“Biden is in a major jam. He needs to hold a press conference explaining his irreconcilable moral positions, and why he has chosen to defy the pope and the bishops.”

Life of St. Luke the Evangelist

October 18- Feast of St. Luke

The awesome figure of St. Luke looms larger and larger out of both the New Testament and the pages of documented human history so that nearly two thousand years after his death his image has no less been diminished by time than that of the Nazarene, Jesus Christ, whom he so nobly served. His fellow apostle St. Paul called him the 'glorious physician,' but that was only one of the many talents which this magnificent man applied in a service to God. He was a man of such monumental proportion as to make him appear incredible. His many gifts were spiced with unswerving loyalty, prolific reativity, and matchless perfection.

Hailing from the ancient city of Antioch, Syria, Luke was a Roman whose early conversion to Christianity is evidenced by his membership in the Christian community of Antioch, prior to his emergence as an apostle, after meeting Paul. He had by that time developed a remarkable command of the Greek language and employed its idiomatic expressiveness in his beautiful narrative form of recording history. He became the Church's most articulate historian and wrote with such sensitivity and clarity that his Gospel in the New Testament has been rightfully called the most beautiful book ever written.

Luke, a physician whose skills healed many of his suffering comrades, joined St. Paul on his second missionary journey, as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles. Their odyssey began in Troas, about 50 A.D., and took them to Philippi, Rome, Caesarea, and ultimately to the Holy Land of Jerusalem. His prominence as a physician obscured his skills as an eloquent orator in the cause of Christ, but he was later to display a considerable talent as an artist whose icon of the Virgin Mary he gave to the Mother of God herself and which is now the prized possession of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Although his skill as a physician and his talent as an artist may have by themselves given St. Luke a small place in history, it was his consummate gift as a writer that made him one of the greatest figures in all Christendom.

Luke's contribution to the cause of Jesus Christ are beyond all measure, and his early influence on the Christian scene has enabled the Christian Church to rise to its ever increasing influence in human experience. One has only to read the Book of Acts, and his Gospel as well, to realize the stature of this most holy man; however, it is reserved to the privileged few who can comprehend classical Greek that the sheer beauty of his language can be appreciated.

The praises of Luke as a writer may seem excessive, particularly since he is one of many authors represented in the New Testament, chief among whom are St. Matthew (the man), St. Mark (the lion), and St. John (the eagle). Among these, the fourth, St. Luke, suffers in comparison with the title "St. Luke" (the calf). But out of the twenty-seven books comprising the New Testament, none shines with the brilliance of those composed by St. Luke. He is considered to have excelled beyond the others in expressiveness, historical method, sensitivity of narrative, and idiomatic phrasing.

The patron saint of physicians and artists, St. Luke is surrounded by many legends and traditions that have not withstood the test of time. The discounted accounts of his martyrdom must now give way to the actual facts of his life.

It is known that he remained a bachelor all of his life, devoting himself to the utmost degree to the cause of Christ. When advancing years curbed his campaigning, he withdrew to write his memorable accounts and died in Thebes at the age of eighty-four.

An appraisal of the contributions to Christianity by St. Luke cannot be measured by the number of words he wrote, the miles he traveled in missionary journeys, or the number of years he spent in exclusive dedication to the service of Jesus Christ. St. Luke, like so many who have given so much to all of us, is not to be appraised, only to be honored.

Through the prayers of Saint Luke, may the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on us. Amen!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bishop reminds Catholics to remember Judgment Day in the voting booth

.- Bishop Robert J. Herman, the administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, has written a column reminding Catholics that their vote will be a decision weighed on the Day of Judgment. He urged Catholics not to treat the unborn as the neglectful rich man treated Lazarus in the biblical parable.

“Judgment Day is on its way,” the bishop wrote in the St. Louis Review. “We cannot stop it. We don’t know when it will come, but just as surely as the sun rises daily, the Son of Man will come when we least expect.”

“For many, this coming election may very well be judgment day, for this election will measure us,” he continued, referencing Christ’s words of judgment in Matthew 10:32-33:

“Everyone who acknowledges Me before others, I will acknowledge before My heavenly Father. But whoever denies Me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”

Bishop Herman asked the faithful to consider what kind of witness they give to God when they enter the voting booth on Election Day.

“The decision I make in the voting booth will reflect my value system. If I value the good of the economy and my current lifestyle more than I do the right to life itself, then I am in trouble,” the bishop wrote.

He cited Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici, which said outcry on human rights is “false and illusory” if the right to life is not defended to the maximum.

“The right of our children to be protected from destruction is greater than my right to a thriving economy,” Bishop Herman continued.

“My desire for a good economy cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion. My desire to end the war in Iraq cannot justify my voting to remove all current restrictions on abortion.”

Bishop Herman looked to the spiritual dimension as well.

“Those 47 million children our nation destroyed are still living. We have destroyed their bodies, but their souls are still alive. When our Lord comes again, they may very well be there to judge us. Even worse, Jesus tells us that whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Him. We would truly shudder if we heard the words, ‘I was in my mother’s womb but you took my life!’

“It is quite possible that we might see these children, but, depending upon the choices we have made, we may very well be separated from them by a great chasm which cannot be crossed, much as the rich man who ignored Lazarus, the poor man, during his lifetime here on earth but was separated from him after death.”

Bishop Herman said the “deepest problem” with many Catholics is that they have become accustomed to rationalizing away a “life of sinful actions” headed in the wrong direction.

“My goal is not to engage you in some political party way but to engage you with our Savior and His teachings. We need to constantly challenge our accustomed behaviors in the light of the Gospel,” he wrote.

He said the issues of the coming election could help people learn about the teachings of the Catholic Church and to use the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“When we do this, both we and the heavens will be filled with joy!” he asserted.

“Judgment Day is on its way,” he repeated, encouraging people to pray the family Rosary daily between now and Election Day.

In a previous column for the St. Louis Review, Bishop Herman urged Catholics not to put politics ahead of the Fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.”

“Save our children!” he wrote. “More than anything else, this election is about saving our children or killing our children. This life issue is the overriding issue facing each of us in this coming election. All other issues, including the economy, have to take second place to the issue of life.”

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Call for a Rosary Novena

Among the most important titles we have in the Catholic Church for the Blessed Virgin Mary are Our Lady of Victory and Our Lady of the Rosary. These titles can be traced back to one of the most decisive times in the history of the world and Christendom. The Battle of Lepanto took place on October 7 (date of feast of Our Lady of Rosary), 1571. This proved to be the most crucial battle for the Christian forces against the radical Muslim navy of Turkey. Pope Pius V led a procession around St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City praying the Rosary. He showed true pastoral leadership in recognizing the danger posed to Christendom by the radical Muslim forces, and in using the means necessary to defeat it. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons, and this more than anything was a battle that had its origins in the spiritual order—a true battle between good and evil.

Today we have a similar spiritual battle in progress—a battle between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies, life and death. If we do not soon stop the genocide of abortion in the United States, we shall run the course of all those that prove by their actions that they are enemies of God—total collapse, economic, social, and national. The moral demise of a nation results in the ultimate demise of a nation. God is not a disinterested spectator to the affairs of man. Life begins at conception. This is an unalterable formal teaching of the Catholic Church. If you do not accept this you are a heretic in plain English. A single abortion is homicide. The more than 48,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade in the United States constitute genocide by definition. The group singled out for death—unwanted, unborn children.

No other issue, not all other issues taken together, can constitute a proportionate reason for voting for candidates that intend to preserve and defend this holocaust of innocent human life that is abortion.

I strongly urge every one of you to make a Novena and pray the Rosary to Our Lady of Victory between October 27th and Election Day, November 4th. Pray that God’s will be done and the most innocent and utterly vulnerable of our brothers and sisters will be protected from this barbaric and grossly sinful blight on society that is abortion. No woman, and no man, has the right to choose to murder an innocent human being.

May God grant us the wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and counsel to form our conscience in accordance with authentic Catholic teaching, and then vote that well-formed Catholic conscience.

God Bless You

Fr. John Corapi

Click here to download a PDF copy to email, link and distribute this article freely.

Together with pope, ecumenical patriarch addresses synod for first time ever

Bartholomew calls it "historic." The remarks of both demonstrate effort toward unity: "if we have the same fathers, how can we not be brothers?"

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew is calling it "an historic event," after being the first to speak to the bishops of the Catholic Church gathered for a synod. For his part, Benedict XVI said, "Your fathers are also our fathers, and ours are yours: if we have the same fathers, how can we not be brothers?" Behind the two of them, who were seated on chairs of equal size, the depiction of the last judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

It was in the most famous of the chapels in the apostolic palace, in fact, that this afternoon the first vespers for the 29th Sunday of ordinary time were celebrated, "on the occasion of the participation of ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I in the work of the 12th assembly of the synod of bishops." "At this moment, we have truly experienced the synod," the pope commented, speaking spontaneously at the end of the extensive address by the patriarch. "Hearing the word of God," he added, "also opens one's eyes to the realities of today," and the "fathers" of the synod "will continue their work illuminated by the words" of Bartholomew.

The patriarch of Constantinople, after speaking of the "historic event" because of his very presence at the synod, expressed his hope of arriving one day at "full unity" between Orthodox and Catholics, overcoming the current differences and agreeing "fully over the role of primacy and collegiality in the life of the Church." Bartholomew also indicated some concrete objectives: "as disciples of God," he added, "it is more imperative than ever to present a single perspective, beyond social, political, and economic views, on the need to uproot poverty, promote equilibrium in the globalized world, combat fundamentalism and racism, and develop religious tolerance in a world of conflict."

"Fact Is Fact"

"Today, after watching two episodes back to back of the "Dog Whisper" I decided to take Stella for a very long walk--into new territory. The Dog Whisper said dogs like to scope out new places--keeps the walks interesting for them.

On the way home, I noticed a little dog and owner walking toward us, so I decided to sit on a green utility box in front of a Mormon wardhouse and keep Stella calm, and let her greet the little dog in a calm manner. So here we sit, me on the box, Stella in the grass, and the owner of the other dog was happy that Stella wanted to greet her pup. We were just hangin' making new dog friends when two girls drove up in a car, and interrupted our delightful moment..."

Card. Castrillon pontificates at Ss. Trinita in Rome

From Fr. Z:

"The FSSP is celebrating their anniversary in Rome. Our friend John Sonnen of Orbis Catholicus has posted some video of a Mass at the "personal parish" in Rome for the TLM and older forms of sacraments, the historic church where St. Philip Neri began the still extant confraternity, Santissima Trinita dei Pelegrini. Cardinal Castrillon, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was the celebrant."

'Stayin’ Alive' Tune Can Save Lives

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:54 AM

U.S. doctors have found the Bee Gees 1977 disco anthem "Stayin' Alive" provides an ideal beat to follow while performing chest compressions as part of CPR on a heart attack victim.

The American Heart Association calls for chest compressions to be given at a rate of 100 per minute in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). "Stayin' Alive" almost perfectly matches that, with 103 beats per minute.

CPR is a lifesaving technique involving chest compressions alone or with mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing. It is used in emergencies such as cardiac arrest in which a person's breathing or heartbeat has stopped.

CPR can triple survival rates, but some people are reluctant to do it in part because they are unsure about the proper rhythm for chest compressions. But research has shown many people do chest compressions too slowly during CPR... (more)

Friday, October 17, 2008


Swissmiss wrote:
"My neighbors planted a Peace Pole in their front yard yesterday while they strongly support abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.

How can we have peace when we turn a blind eye to, or even actively support, what is happening to the unborn, the infirm or the disabled? Or work to break down the family? Peace is something (nearly) everyone wants. All the Popes in recent history have been quite vocal about striving for peace. Many times the Pope's message falls on deaf ears, even among Catholics who should be living our Faith by caring and protecting life from conception to natural death."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Texas Bishops Face Protests from Pro-Abortion Catholics

By Deal W. Hudson

Inside Catholic (

The protests began on Sunday when the Bishops statement was read from the pulpit by Rev. Tony Ruiz, Pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Dallas.

Some Catholics who support the
Some Catholics who support the "right" to abort children now openly disagree with the clarity of the Bishops teaching as revealed in this summary:"there are no 'truly grave moral' or 'proportionate' reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year."
WASHINGTON, DC (Inside Catholic) - When is the last time a bishop's statement on abortion resulted in several days of protest from pro-abortion Catholics? The joint statement issued last Friday by Bishop Kevin Vann of Fort Worth and Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas has done just that. No doubt the forceful clarity of the bishops' message elicited the outcry.

The protests began on Sunday when the statement was read from the pulpit by Rev. Tony Ruiz, pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Dallas. Some two-dozen parishioners walked out and went to the local media to lodge their complaints about "political endorsements." The next day, the Dallas Morning News carried the story on the front page of its Metro section. "The silver lining was that the article contained a link to the bishops' statement," said Karen Garnett, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Dallas.

Garnett told me that the subsequent protest on Wednesday afternoon in front of the diocesan chancery attracted the same number of people who had walked out of the Mass at Holy Trinity. Bishop Farrell, who was out of town on Wednesday, has offered to meet with the protesters.

"Too many parishes do seminars on 'Faithful Citizenship' that don't put the life issues first. We've been dealing with that problem for 35 years," added Garnett.Olivia Franklin, a member of Holy Trinity for 15 years, heard Father Ruiz read the statement. "I'm thrilled that he read it, and I hurried out the door to tell him thank you. This is the truth, and we need to hear the truth."

Franklin had recently attended four seminars at Holy Trinity on "Faithful Citizenship." At these sessions she was told "one could in fact vote for a pro-abortion candidate if one was not voting for them for that reason." She raised objections to what was being taught, only to be told it was just her opinion.

There have been over 40 statements to date issued by bishops this election season. Some responded to comments made by Sen. Barack Obama's running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, about the beginning of human life. Others responded to Speaker Nancy Pelosi's appearance on Meet the Press when she, too, misrepresented the Church's teaching on abortion.

But the biggest problem of this election for Catholics has been the bishops' own document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." In an otherwise admirable document, there is one section (Sec. 34-37) that has provided an open door for pro-abortion Catholics to drive through and proclaim their support for Obama, a proponent of abortion-on-demand. (I have already written about the effort to use "Faithful Citizenship" to help Obama.)

One of the problematic passages in "Faithful Citizenship" presently being spun by Obama's Catholic supporters is the following:"35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptableposition may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamentalmoral evil."

Bishops Vann and Farrell demolish the arguments of leading Obama Catholic surrogate Doug Kmiec and others, that "Faithful Citizenship" can be interpreted to support Obama in the present election.Bishops Vann and Farrell explain that voting for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil like abortion is possible only if 1) "both candidates running for office support abortion or 'abortion rights,'" or if 2) "another intrinsic evil outweighs the evil of abortion."

Obama's Catholic apologists argue such a situation exists with Sen. John McCain, citing his support for the Iraq War. Bishops Vann and Farrell reject this line of reasoning in advance, saying "there are no 'truly grave moral' or 'proportionate' reasons, singularly or combined, that could outweigh the millions of innocent human lives that are directly killed by legal abortion each year."

Olivia Franklin believes God is using the bishops' statement and the controversy at Holy Trinity. "For too long authentic Catholic social teaching has been co-opted by the 'social justice' crowd, who rail about the death penalty while conveniently ignoring the real death penalty presently being carried out -- the 4,000 babies executed daily by abortionists."

Deal W. Hudson is the director of and the author of Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States (Simon and Schuster).

Revelation ‘purifies and exalts’ reason, Pope says

.- Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday declared Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio to be of “constant relevance” during an address to participants in a conference marking the tenth anniversary of the encyclical’s promulgation. The encyclical, Pope Benedict said, is characterized by its “great openness to reason” at a time when some speculate about reason’s weakness.

“The truth of Revelation is not superimposed on the truth achieved by reason,” Pope Benedict explained. “Rather, it purifies and exalts reason.”

The conference marking the encyclical’s anniversary was organized by the Pontifical Lateran University in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the World Conference of Catholic University Institutions of Philosophy, the Vatican Information Service reports. Participants in the congress were received by Pope Benedict in a Thursday morning audience.

Speaking at the audience, the Pope described how John Paul II’s encyclical “underlined the importance of uniting faith and reason in a reciprocal relationship” while respecting the autonomy of each. The encyclical addressed an “emerging need” of modern societies by defending “the force of reason and its capacity to arrive at truth” while presenting the faith as a “specific form of knowledge” which opens us to the truth of Revelation.

“The encyclical says that we must trust in the capacity of human reason and not set overly modest goals,” Pope Benedict explained.

"Who can deny the contribution the great philosophical systems have made to the development of man's self-knowledge and to the progress of various cultures?” the Pope asked, continuing: “Indeed, these cultures become fruitful when they open to truth, enabling those who participate in them to reach objectives that make social life ever more human."

Pope Benedict said there has been a shift “from a prevalently speculative form of thought to a chiefly empirical one.”

“Research has turned to focus above all on the observation of nature in the attempt to discover its secrets. And the desire to understand nature has then been transformed into the desire to reproduce it,” he explained.

“Scientific and technological progress, which 'fides' (faith) is increasingly called to confront, has altered the old concept of 'ratio' (reason); in some way it has marginalized the reason that sought the ultimate truth of things to make way for a reason that satisfies itself with discovering the contingent truths of the laws of nature.”

The Pope affirmed that scientific research “certainly has a positive value” when the applied sciences “are the fruit of reason and an expression of the intelligence with which man manages to penetrate the depths of creation.”

He emphasized that faith does not fear scientific progress and its developments “when their ultimate focus is man, his wellbeing and the progress of all humanity.”

However, he noted, “science is not capable of establishing ethical principles.” Here, theology and philosophy are an “indispensible aid.”

“This does not mean limiting scientific research ... but in keeping alive the sense of responsibility which reason and faith must have towards science, to ensure it remains at the service of man,” the Pope said.

“Reason,” he continued, "discovers that beyond its own achievements and conquests there exists a truth that can never be discovered by using its own parameters, but only received as a gratuitous gift. The truth of Revelation is not superimposed on the truth achieved by reason. Rather, it purifies and exalts reason, enabling it to expand beyond its confines to become part of a field of research as unfathomable as the mystery itself."

Pope Benedict concluded his audience by saying that the “passion for truth” impels us to examine ourselves to discover “the profound meaning of our lives in the interior man.”

“True philosophy must lead people by the hand and bring them to discover how fundamental knowing the truth of Revelation is for their own dignity.”

Heroes: Columbus and Pius XII

Remembering the Truth of Their Faith and Courage

By Elizabeth Lev

ROME, OCT. 16, 2008 ( Even the ancient Romans understood the importance of gratitude. Marcus Tullius Cicero, orator extraordinaire, extolled that "gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."

Yet in our modern age we seem to have lost this virtue as revisionist history, cinema and popular literature have vilified those whose achievements have shaped the world we live in today.

This came to mind Sunday, Oct. 12, on what was once known as Columbus Day in commemoration of the day Christopher Columbus first sighted the New World.

This event, which opened the age of discovery, has been since renamed "Indigenous People Day" by some U.S. towns, thus casting into obscurity the courageous and visionary undertaking of the explorer and his patrons who equipped the mission.

Columbus himself has been recast as a greedy, social-climbing tyrant, and while his defects have been blown out of all proportion, his admirable qualities have been simply forgotten.

Ironically, Columbus, the first European man to set foot in America, was the first example of what would later be called "the American dream."

Born of poor parents in Genoa, he immigrated to Spain with only his hard-earned knowledge of seamanship, his desire to get ahead and his profound Catholic faith to sustain him.

Like the countless immigrants who would follow him, he had a dream and the drive to work hard and take risks to realize it.

Divine Providence decreed that he would find a sympathetic ear in the king and queen of Spain, and so Columbus fulfilled his life's ambition, did well for himself and paved the way for future generations to be able to excel through hard work and ingenuity.

A deeply devout man, Columbus was always grateful to God and dedicated his mission to the New World to the conversion of pagan peoples; like the apostles, he hoped to bring the Gospel to those who had never heard of Christ. Upon sighting land on Oct. 13, 1492, the entire crew prayed the Salve Regina.

Today, his contributions are masked by words like "exploitation" and "gold-hunger," but all those Americans who descend from families who hoped to live out their ambitions while freely practicing their faith, should be grateful to Christopher Columbus who was not only great navigator on the seas, but in life.

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Myth and Lies

Last Oct. 9, the Church offered a magisterial example of the virtue of gratitude while remembering the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII, one of the unsung heroes of the 20th century.

The life of Pius XII seems to have certain parallels with this summer's blockbuster film "The Dark Knight." The hero, Batman, out of love for his fellow citizens, must sacrifice recognition for his relentless battle against evil and ultimately endure persecution by the very people he is protecting.

Pius XII, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, spanning the years of the Second World War, was universally lauded for his wartime efforts after the defeat of the Nazis. But revisionists of many stripes in the late 20th century have competed with one another to besmirch his name, culminating in the scandalous label -- or libel -- of John Cornwall's "Hitler's Pope."

Obscured by the flood of false accusations, from criminal silence regarding the fate of the Jews in Germany to active participation in their persecution, the brilliantly innovative aspects of this pontificate have been completely neglected.

But the tables recently turned for Pius XII as, in the words of Vatican reporter John Allen, Benedict XVI initiated a "full court press" to redeem the name of this great Pope and push forward the cause for his beatification.

An international symposium was held in Rome last September under the auspices of the Pave the Way foundation in order to shed light on the activities of Pius XII in favor of the Jews during World War II.

This organization was founded by an American Jew, Gary Krupp, who believes that in order to create a fruitful dialogue among religions, the accusations regarding Pius XII, a source "of friction between people," must be laid to rest through the discovery of the truth.

Among the findings of the conference was that those who "lived through the brutality of the Nazis and were saved by the church's actions" had a high opinion of the Pope. The Israeli Philharmonic orchestra asked to play for Pope Pius in 1955, and at his death Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir mourned "a great servant of peace."

Krupp noted that it has been the "subsequent generations born into the safety of the defeat of the Nazi regime" who have bought into the myth of the Pius XII as a Nazi collaborator.

During the three-day conference, the meticulous research of Sister Margherita Marchione, Rabbi David Dalin, Andrea Tornielli, Ronald Rychlak and many others was presented, refuting the spurious accusations against the Pope and demonstrating his tremendous role in saving Jewish lives.

Paolo Mieli, director of Italy's leading newspaper, "Corriere della Sera," who happens to be a secular Jew, added another interesting point in an interview published in L'Osservatore Romano when he noted that the hostility toward Pius XII did not originate among the Jews.

It was an Eastern European playwright, Rolf Hochhuth, apparently backed by the KGB, who started the ripple that turned into an earthquake with his six-hour play "The Deputy," in which the playwright accused the Pius XII of culpable silence regarding the persecution of the Jews.

The theatrical piece was quickly picked up by leftist promoters in Paris and London and soon enough, Anglo-Saxon "scholars" hopped on the bandwagon with bestselling books like "Hitler's Pope," "Papal Sin" and "Under His Very Windows."

But when Pope Paul VI announced the opening of the beatification process of both John XXIII and Pius XII in 1965, there were no objections. The Pope's decision to jointly open the two processes was a message of continuity within the Church.

The lies regarding Pius XII were welcomed and even abetted, however, by those who wanted to create a division in the 20th-century Church by drawing a line between the "good" John XXIII and the "bad" Pius XII, and between the "old" Church and the "new" Church of the Second Vatican Council.

But in this wonderful week, as Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass in honor of his esteemed predecessor in a packed St. Peter's Basilica, a giant step was taken toward putting to rest the fictitious legend and honoring the great contributions of Pius XII.

Earlier in the day, the Pope's secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone wrote in L'Osservatore Romano of Pius XII's material assistance to the Jews. He said that if Pius XII "had intervened publicly, he would have endangered the lives of thousands of Jews who, at his request, were hidden in the 155 convents and monasteries in the city of Rome alone."

During his homily, Benedict XVI offered a refreshing new view of Pius XII indicating "a great multitude of speeches, addresses and messages delivered to scientists, doctors, and representatives of the most varied categories of workers, some of which even today still possess an extraordinary relevance and continue to be a concrete point of reference."

The current Pontiff concluded with the thought: "As we pray the process of beatification of servant of God Pius XII proceeds happily, it is well to recall that holiness was his ideal, an ideal that he constantly urged for all."

At last, a hero's welcome for Pope Pius XII.

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Elizabeth Lev teaches Christian art and architecture at Duquesne University's Italian campus. She can be reached at