Saturday, July 31, 2010

It’s About Sharia

Newt Gingrich resets our national-security debate.

Andrew C. McCarthy

(National Review) The 2010 midterms have not happened yet, but the 2012 campaign is under way. For that we can thank Newt Gingrich. Not because Gingrich is a candidate, though he almost certainly is. And not because he can win, because that is by no means certain. We should thank Gingrich because he has crystallized the essence of our national-security challenge. Henceforth, there should be no place to hide for any candidate, including any incumbent. The question will be: Where do you stand on sharia?

The former speaker of the House gets the war on terror. For one thing, he refuses to call it the “war on terror,” which should be the entry-level requirement for any politician who wants to influence how we wage it. Gingrich grasps that there is an enemy here and that it is a mortal threat to freedom. He knows that if we are to remain a free people, it is an enemy we must defeat. That enemy is Islamism, and its operatives — whether they come as terrorists or stealth saboteurs — are the purveyors of sharia, Islam’s authoritarian legal and political system.

This being the Era of the Reset Button, Gingrich is going about the long-overdue business of resetting our understanding of the civilizational jihad that has been waged against the United States for some 31 years. It is the jihad begun when Islamists overran the American embassy in Tehran, heralding a revolutionary regime that remains the No. 1 U.S. security challenge in the Middle East, as Gingrich argued Thursday in a provocative speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

The single purpose of this jihad is the imposition of sharia. On that score, Gingrich made two points of surpassing importance. First, some Islamists employ mass-murder attacks while others prefer a gradual march through our institutions — our legal, political, academic,  and financial systems, as well as our broader culture; the goal of both, though, is the same. The stealth Islamists occasionally feign outrage at the terrorists, but their quarrel is over methodology and pace. Both camps covet the same outcome.

Second, that outcome is the death of freedom. In Islamist ideology, sharia is deemed to be the necessary precondition for Islamicizing a society — for Islam is not merely a religious doctrine, but a comprehensive socio-economic and political system. As the former speaker elaborated, sharia embodies principles and punishments that are abhorrent to Western values. Indeed, its foundational premise is anti-American, holding that we are not free people at liberty to govern ourselves irrespective of any theocratic code, that people are instead beholden to the Islamic state, which is divinely enjoined to impose Allah’s laws.

Sharia, moreover, is anti-equality. It subjugates women and brutally punishes transgressors, particularly homosexuals and apostates. While our law forbids cruel and unusual punishments, Gingrich observed that the brutality in sharia sanctions is not gratuitous, but intentional: It is meant to enforce Allah’s will by striking example.

On this last point, Gingrich offered a salient insight, one well worth internalizing in the Sun Tzu sense of knowing one’s enemy. Islamists, violent or not, have very good reasons for the wanting to destroy the West. Those reasons are not crazy or wanton — and they have nothing to do with Gitmo, Israel, cartoons, or any other excuse we conjure to explain the savagery away. Islamists devoutly believe, based on a well-founded interpretation of Islamic doctrine, that they have been commanded by Allah to kill, convert, or subdue all who do not adhere to sharia — because they regard Allah as their only master (“There is no God but Allah”). It is thus entirely rational (albeit frightening to us) that they accept the scriptural instruction that the very existence of those who resist sharia is offensive to Allah, and that a powerful example must be made of those resisters in order to induce the submission of all — “submission” being the meaning of Islam.

It makes no sense to dismiss our enemies as lunatics just because “secular socialist” elites, as Gingrich called them, cannot imagine a fervor that stems from religious devotion. We ought to respect our enemies, he said. Not “respect” in Obama-speak, which translates as “appease,” but in the sense of taking them seriously, understanding that they are absolutely determined to win, and realizing that they are implacable. There is no “moderate” sharia devotee, for sharia is not moderate. Gingrich noted that in response to global outcry against the prospect of death by stoning for an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, convicted of adultery, the mullahs’ great concession appears to be that she will be hanged instead. Islamism is not a movement to be engaged, it is an enemy to be defeated.

Victory, Gingrich said, will be very long in coming — longer, perhaps, than the nearly half-century it took to win the Cold War. Invoking JFK, he urged that the survival and success of liberty will still require an unwavering commitment to pay any price and bear any burden, for as long as it takes. Will that entail an ambitious project to democratize Islamic countries — notwithstanding that sharia dictates waging jihad against Westerners who try? Gingrich’s embrace of President Bush’s second inaugural address suggests that he may think so.

How we go about it and whether we use our military to spearhead a “forward march of freedom” are matters the former speaker did not flesh out. He also wondered aloud why, after nearly nine years in Afghanistan, we had not tasked military engineers and contractors to blanket that backward land with highways, the roads to advancement and prosperity. But we haven’t defeated the enemy yet. One can agree wholeheartedly with the former speaker that, having taken on a war against Afghan Islamists, it is imperative that America win. But in World War II, which Gingrich invoked repeatedly, and to great effect, we had our priorities straight: unambiguous victory first; then, and only then, the Marshall Plan’s ambitious reconstruction of Europe and Japan.

Debate over all of this is essential. The crucial point is that we must have the debate with eyes open. It is a debate about which Gingrich has put down impressive markers: The main front in the war is not Afghanistan or Iraq but the United States. The war is about the survival of Western civilization, and we should make no apologies for the fact that the West’s freedom culture is a Judeo-Christian culture — a fact that was unabashedly acknowledged, Gingrich reminded his audience, by FDR and Churchill. To ensure victory in the United States we must, once again, save Europe, where the enemy has advanced markedly. There is no separating our national security and our economic prosperity — they are interdependent. And while the Middle East poses challenges of immense complexity, Gingrich contended that addressing two of them — Iran, the chief backer of violent jihad, and Saudi Arabia, the chief backer of stealth jihad — would go a long way toward improving our prospects on the rest.

Most significant, there is sharia. By pressing the issue, Newt Gingrich accomplishes two things. First, he gives us a metric for determining whether those who would presume to lead us will fight or surrender. Second, at long last, someone is empowering truly moderate Muslims — assuming they exist in the numbers we’re constantly assured of. Our allies are the Muslims who embrace our freedom culture — those for whom sharia is a matter of private belief, not public mission. Our enemies are those who want sharia to supplant American law and Western culture. When we call out the latter, and marginalize them, we may finally energize the former.

It’s that simple. Not easy, but simple.

— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

Bishops & Catholic Media Summit

From Father Richtsteig
"CNS reports on a summit between bishops and Catholic media professionals. In it, USCCB communications committee chairman, Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, and bishop president of Pax Christi in the USA, Gambino Zavala says the following,

"As I talked with brother bishops in preparation for this presentation, there was consistent agreement that one aspect that is most alarming to us about media is when it becomes un-Christian and hurtful to individuals," he said. "We are particularly concerned about blogs that engage in attacks and hurtful judgmental language. We are very troubled by blogs and other elements of media that assume the role of magisterium and judge others in the church."

Very interesting. While we should be loving and charitable when possible, we should value the truth of Revelation more than people's feelings. What is even more interesting is that this comes after decades of silence on the part of the bishops concerning the behavior of the professional Catholic media. Where was the concern over the NCR, US Catholic et al distorting and undermining the Faith, while viciously attacking anyone they considered to be 'pre-conciliar'? Not only was there a lack of concern, but rather positive support of dissenting media. How many dioceses have advertised for jobs in the NCR? I wonder what is operative is something similar to what happens in the secular media; that the professionals see their monopoly crumbling and their ideological agenda crumbling. Yes, the bishops (and the rest of us) should be concerned about the new media and Christian behavior. But, it is all rings a little hollow when the lack of action on the old media is considered."
While You Are At It...

Baltimore Catechism


The Baltimore Catechism

I IntraText Edition CT
Copyright Èulogos 2007

- Table of Contents -

Statistics and graphs (Occurrences: 83577. Words: 5171)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Louis Prima - Buona sera signorina

Catholic outrage over plans to keep the Act of Settlement

Posted by geoconge

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

Catholic leaders in Scotland have denounced the coalition government’s plans to leave intact the 1701 Act of Settlement, which bans the monarch from marrying a Roman Catholic.

“When a monarch is free to marry a Scientologist, Muslim, Buddhist, Moonie or even Satanist but not a Catholic, then there’s something seriously wrong,” said Scottish Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell.

In a written answer given to the House of Commons on June 30, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Cabinet Office, Mr. Mark Harper stated “there are no current plans to amend the laws on succession”
Bishop Devine, who during the General Election had urged Catholics not to vote Labour due to their social policies, expressed outrage over the Cameron government decision.

“What trust and confidence can we have in such a leader? He is barely two months into government and is already showing alarming signs of the arrogance and disdain so often associated with power,” he said according to the Scotsman.

On July 12 the Scotsman also reported that Cardinal Keith O’Brien said that it was “quite ironic that the two parties in coalition have both branded themselves champions of equality but have commenced their ‘era of equality’ by sending a clear message to the Catholic community that they are to be the exception.”

Passed by Parliament in 1701 the Act forbids the sovereign from marrying a Roman Catholic and requires the monarch to “join in communion with the Church of England.”

On July 1, 2010 the member for Rhondda, Chris Bryant (Lab.) pressed Mr. Harper to defend the government’s decision not to act.  Mr. Bryant noted the Catholic Church in Scotland was strongly opposed to the current law.

Mr. Harper responded that this was true, however, it was not a position held by all Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom.  The previous Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, said that he thought that the Act of Settlement was “discriminatory. I think it will disappear, but I don’t want to cause a great fuss,” while the current Archbishop of Westminster has said “I wouldn’t rush to support such a change in the law. I think that the position of the Queen and the monarchy is to be handled with great sensitivity”.

Mr. Bryant responded that the “Catholic cardinals in Scotland have asserted very forcefully that they believe the law is entirely discriminatory and should be changed, and many prelates in the Church of England have also said it should be changed.”

The minister replied that Cardinal O’Brien in Scotland was “much firmer about wanting to move quickly on this. However, this merely highlights the complexity of the debate. There is not even a single clear view within the Catholic Church in these islands. Some very significant Catholics think that the law should be changed, but should not be rushed or done in a way that causes the monarchy difficulty,” he said.

Catholic News Roundup

TMZ: Cathy: "All your brain are belong to us."

Oprah to Medjugorje?

What's a Catholic to do?



VATICAN CITY, 30 JUL 2010 (VIS) – Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for August is: "That those who are without work or homes or who are otherwise in serious need may find understanding and welcome, as well as concrete help in overcoming their difficulties".

  His mission intention is: "That the Church may be a ‘home’ for all people, ready to open her doors to any who are suffering from racial or religious discrimination, hunger or wars forcing them to emigrate to other countries".

h/t Fr. Z.

Deputy confiscates woman's cell phone

Delaware County sergeant suspected device could be gun

Thursday, July 29, 2010  09:50 PM a deputy sheriff began questioning Melissa Greenfield's boyfriend at a Delaware County truck stop, she began recording video with her cell phone.

She never thought that she, or her phone, could be viewed as a danger while she documented the activities of public employees in a public place.

"I'm a 115-pound, 20-year-old girl wearing a cervical collar with nothing but a cell phone. I was not going to harm any officer," Greenfield said today.

However, a sheriff's sergeant saw the situation differently after Greenfield announced she was recording video "for legal purposes and our own safety."

Sgt. Jonathan Burke wrote that he repeatedly ordered Greenfield to place the "unknown" object in her pocket and keep her hands free. When Greenfield refused, she was arrested and charged with obstructing official business and resisting arrest.

Burke wrote in his report that he feared that Greenfield could have been holding a dangerous object such as a "cell-phone gun."

However, neither the sheriff's office nor the Columbus office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has ever come across one of the black-market devices that apparently are made in Eastern Europe.

Burke ultimately determined that Greenfield's cell phone was not the exotic stuff of James Bond but a simple T-Mobile device. a statement, Delaware County Sheriff Walter L. Davis III said that cell-phone guns are an example of everyday items that have been altered into deceptive weapons that endanger the safety of officers and the public.

"When a sheriff's deputy encounters an individual holding something in his or her hand, the deputy will take action to identify the item. This is done for the safety of the deputy, the involved parties and the public," Davis wrote.

After Greenfield got her phone back, she said the video she took of the deputies at the Flying J truck stop at I-71 and Rt. 37 on July 9 had been deleted, along with a couple of vacation videos.

Deputies did not delete any video, Davis said. A warrant would have been required to search the phone, and one was not obtained, he said...

Jewish hostility to Christians: the prejudice no one ever writes about

By Damian Thompson

A Hasidic Jew in Poland (Photo: Getty)
A Hasidic Jew in Poland. Some Jews are hostile to Christians
The case of the Oxford lecturer in Jewish studies who says she was sacked after she converted to Christianity has thrown a spotlight on to an acutely sensitive subject. I have no idea whether Dr Tali Argov was treated unfairly – that’s for the employment tribunal to decide – but let’s not pretend that Jews who become Christians don’t face intense disapproval from their own community.

Christian anti-Semitism, Muslim anti-Semitism, Christian Islamophobia, Muslim persecution of Christians – all of these are acceptable topics of debate. But not Jewish hostility to Christianity.

You can understand why Jews might dislike the Christian religion: not only does it deify a man, the ultimate blasphemy for pious Jews just as it is for pious Muslims, but it’s also implicated in centuries of anti-Semitism.

(I think its role in inspiring the Holocaust has been exaggerated, but that’s an argument for another day.)

Sometimes Jewish antipathy to Christianity spills over into hostility towards Christians. There was a piece in the Independent the other day by Christina Patterson that went way over the top in describing the rudeness of Stamford Hill’s ultra-Orthodox Jews towards gentiles:
When I moved to Stamford Hill, 12 years ago, I didn’t realise that goyim were about as welcome in the Hasidic Jewish shops as Martin Luther King at a Ku Klux Klan convention. I didn’t realise that a purchase by a goy was a crime to be punished with monosyllabic terseness, or that bus seats were a potential source of contamination, or that road signs, and parking restrictions, were for people who hadn’t been chosen by God. And while none of this is a source of anything much more than irritation, when I see an eight-year-old boy recoiling from a normal-looking woman (because, presumably, he has been taught that she is dirty or dangerous, or, heaven forbid, dripping with menstrual blood) it makes me sad.
Stephen Pollard, the brilliant editor of the Jewish Chronicle, described this as “pure, unrelenting unadulterated anti-Jewish bigotry,” on the part of Ms Patterson and indeed some of its undertones are disturbing. But monosyllabic terseness towards goyim? I’ve experienced it, and it’s maddening. Let me recommend a gripping book called Postville by the secular Jewish journalist Stephen Bloom, who records the extreme bad manners of Lubavitch Jews who moved en masse to a town in rural Iowa to run a huge kosher butchery. In the end, angry Christian townspeople, who had initially been welcoming, voted to annexe the land on which the factory was built, so they could tax and regulate it. Bloom, who felt the Lubavitchers had displayed “despicable” attitudes verging on racism, supported the move.

Jewish hostility towards Christians isn’t confined to the ultra-Orthodox. A woman friend of mine tutored the daughter of a Jewish couple in north London. When she said she wanted to take a break for Christmas, the wife went bananas. “We do not allow that word to be spoken in this house,” she said. An unrepresentative incident, no doubt; but my friend’s attitude towards Judaism changed after it took place. And I could tell other stories, of unbelievable haughtiness by the leaders of Anglo-Jewry, which would have led to diplomatic incidents if the Christians involved weren’t afraid of being accused of anti-Semitism...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Canadian Anglican priestess repents of canine communion

by Ed Beavan

A German Shepherd-Rhodesian ridgeback   © not advert
Canine communicant: a German Shepherd-Rhodesian ridgeback

AN ANGLICAN church in Canada has caused an outcry after a dog was given holy communion. The Revd Marguerite Rea gave a consecrated wafer to an Alsatian-cross breed named Trapper, at St Peter’s, Toronto, last month.

It was the first time the dog and his owner, Donald Keith, had attended a service there. The Bishop of York Scarborough, the Rt Revd Patrick Yu, who oversees St Peter’s, emphasised that it was against the policy of the Anglican Church of Canada. “I can see why people would be offended. It is a strange and shocking thing, and I have never heard of it happening before.” He said he believed Ms Rea was overcome by “a misguided gesture of welcoming”. He has received assurances from her that it will never happen again. The matter was now closed, he said, as “we are, after all, in the forgiveness-and-repair business.” On Sunday, Ms Rea apologised for her action, which had been a “simple act of reaching out”...


h/t to Rachel

Fired U of I Professor Vindicated

7/29/2010 4:40:00 PM -Alliance Defense Fund
Your emails, faxes and phone calls made a difference! Thank you for taking action!

U of I says Kenneth Howell will continue as adjunct professor
Editor's Note: There's some good news from the academic front for a change. Attorneys representing the University of Illinois contacted the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) to inform them that Dr. Kenneth Howell will be permitted to teach courses again Fall Semester. (See story below.)

This is, indeed, good news, but, unfortunately it comes right on the heels of an academic travesty. Julea Ward, a graduate student in Eastern Michigan University's counseling program, lost her case against the school. She was kicked out of the program when she referred a homosexual client to another counselor because of a conflict between her religious beliefs and counseling someone on a homosexual relationship. Ms. Ward was told that in order to remain in the program, she would have to engage in "remediation," in order to change her beliefs. She refused remediation, was interrogated, mocked, and ultimately dismissed from the program. With the help of the ADF, she sued, and lost. The ADF plans on appealing the decision. (Read more HERE.) ~Laurie Higgins
The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana confirmed to Alliance Defense Fund attorneys Thursday that it will once again allow popular professor Dr. Kenneth Howell to teach on Catholicism after recently firing him for explaining the Roman Catholic Church's position on human sexual behavior to members of his class.

ADF attorneys representing Howell sent a letter to university officials on July 12 explaining that the university's actions violated his rights protected by the First Amendment and asked that he be reinstated.

"A university cannot censor professors' speech -- including classroom speech related to the topic of the class -- merely because certain ideas 'offend' an anonymous student. We greatly appreciate the university's move to put Professor Howell back in the classroom, but we will be watching carefully to make sure that his academic freedom is protected throughout the university's ongoing process," said ADF Senior Counsel David French.

A letter from the University of Illinois Office of University Counsel admits no wrongdoing on the part of the university but states, "The School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics will be contacting Dr. Howell to offer him the opportunity to teach Religion 127, Introduction to Catholicism, on a visiting instructional appointment at the University of Illinois, for the fall 2010 semester. Dr. Howell will be appointed and paid by the University for this adjunct teaching assignment."

The letter then adds that a university committee will continue its investigation of Howell's situation.

Howell, who had been teaching at the university since 2001, was relieved of his teaching duties based in part on an anonymous complaint sent via e-mail to university officials. The e-mail was sent by the friend of an anonymous student who claimed to be "offended" by a May 4 e-mail Howell sent to students elaborating on a class discussion concerning Catholic beliefs about sexual behavior.

The May 4 e-mail from Howell addressed a May 3 lecture in which he explained how the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual conduct. He accurately stated the church's teaching that homosexual conduct is morally wrong, framing the issue in the context of natural moral law.


h/t Catholic & Enjoying It!

Atheists 'could set up free schools'

Atheist state schools could be established under the Government’s education reforms, Michael Gove has said.

Michael Gove insisted he would not stand in the way of plans for 
atheist state schools
The Education Secretary said he would be "interested" to look at proposals for non-religious schools from figures such Professor Richard Dawkins.
Prof Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said last month that he approved of the idea of setting up a "free-thinking” school.

The comments follow the publication of Coalition plans to give parents' groups, teachers and charities powers to open their own schools at taxpayers' expense...

Couple, aged 87 and 97, marry in north London care home

At the age of 97, Henry Kerr has married 87-year-old Valerie Berkowitz after wooing her for four years.
The pair, who met at a residential home in Golders Green, north London, tied the knot in a ceremony at the home on Sunday followed by high tea for 80 guests.

Mr Kerr said when he asked the now Mrs Berkowitz Kerr to marry him she "burst into a hysterical laugh"...

What a Nice Blogger Lady Sent Me

Obama Bows To Chris Christie

Anne Rice Breaks Up With Christianity via Facebook

From Beliefnet: "Well, some stars like Amanda Bynes use technology like Twitter to tell the world they are retiring. Some stars like Kelsey Grammar announce the end of his marriage. But today Anne Rice became the first pop culture figure I know that decided to break up with Christians, and she did it using facebook.

On her official website she posted the following announcement via her facebook feed this afternoon:"I quit being a Christian. I'm out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of ...Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen."

I am not sure what sparked this outburst or if it is just a rant that will later be tempered with something else a little less emotional. I know that she has long spoken out in interviews that she struggles with some of the Catholic Church's stands on issues . But she has also eloquently spoken out about her deep spiritual need for Christ..."

Lord Patten: Pope's UK Trip Will Be a Success

Says Critics Will Change Their Tune

By Gisèle Plantec

VATICAN CITY, JULY 28, 2010 ( Lord Chris Patten, named by the British Prime Minister to be in charge of Benedict XVI's trip to the United Kingdom, said that the visit will be "an incredible success."

He told Vatican Radio on Monday that those who criticized the Pope's Sept. 16-19 trip will be surprised to discover its importance.

"I am absolutely certain that all the preparations undertaken by the government, local governments, the episcopal conferences of Scotland and England, will make the Pope's visit an incredible success," Patten affirmed...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In the Year 2000...

iMass - The Curt Jester
L’iPad usato per celebrare la Messa

Catholic Parapsychology: An Apostolate to the Holy Souls

An article from Inside Catholic below.

Something that's important: if you experience phenomena like this, do not assume that the entity is benevolent, or is even the soul of or the deceased person you assume it is. It could be a demon who is mimicking the behavior of the loved one, knowing full well that the grieving family member(s) want to believe it is the deceased person. "Ah hah! It's knocking the same way, therefore it *has* to be Aunt Shelley." That can be its way in and this is dangerous, and you have no way of knowing. Call a priest and get your home blessed.

Gerard J. M. van den Aardweg


Man's inborn religious instinct tells him that
there is more than the sensible world; indeed, it "never feels natural to accept only natural things," as Chesterton said. But about the afterlife we have more than just an intuitive inkling. Throughout history there have been manifestations -- some vague, others more concrete -- to support this ineradicable and universal intuition.

Today, phenomena such as near-death experiences, spiritualist practices, and "channeling" or "phantom-chasing" (attempts to technologically register the presence of ghosts) attract a lot of attention. Of course, false explanations abound, and valid experiences of the paranormal can lead to superstitious beliefs and spiritually dangerous practices. Yet there are also many reliable, critically examined phenomena that are not hoaxes or products of a confused or disturbed fantasy, and neither are they to be dismissed by Christians as occultism. These must be taken seriously.

In the course of my years as a psychotherapist, I have come across several such trustworthy manifestations: people -- who never had such experiences before or after -- claiming to hear the voice of a deceased person, or to see him, briefly but unmistakably. The "seer" typically does not know what to think about it, but is certain it was not a dream. In some cases there are multiple witnesses.

One client related that during family meetings on Sundays after the death of her mother (probably by suicide), precisely at the time her mother, during her life, normally served a drink, there was a loud, urgent rapping on the wall of the room, exactly the rhythmic and impelling way her mother used to firmly rap on the wall when she wanted to call her (adult) children to her room. Initially, no one in the company wanted to admit that this was strange, and they searched the house in vain for natural explanations. It was a recurrent phenomenon, but only during these customary family reunions. At last, one daughter, much excited, impulsively exclaimed, "Mother! Go away!" The rapping abruptly stopped, and was never heard again. I verified the story.

Italian journalist Vittorio Messori, known for his dialogues with Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger, said that when he was a young agnostic he once experienced an unmistakable signal from the "beyond." Exactly one year after the sudden death of his uncle (by an accident) -- and, as he later found out, at the precise moment in the night he had died -- Messori was awakened out of a sound sleep by the insistent ringing of the telephone. At first, he didn't get out of bed, for the telephone was at the opposite side of the apartment and he wanted to go on sleeping; but as the ringing went on, he reluctantly rose, crossed the apartment, and took up the receiver, now fully awake. He heard the noises and crackling that at the time were typical of long-distance calls, then suddenly a loud, clear voice that couldn't be but the voice of uncle Aldo: "Vittorio, Vittorio! I am Aldo! I'm well! I'm well! (Sto bene!)"

Although the meaning of this unexpected intervention from the afterlife is not certain, the experience cannot simply be dismissed...

Sister Mary Ann Walsh's Irony Challenged Moment

From the Catholic Key blog:
"So this week, the National Catholic Reporter runs an editorial reflecting on the challenges U.S. women religious face in light of the Apostolic Visitation and a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Opines the NCR:
The social sciences have a term for the situation of women who feel compelled to be compliant with the men who are bent on demeaning and humiliating them: They call it battered wife syndrome.
If there are battered wives, there have to be wife beaters, and in this instance, the wife beaters would have to be His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI who appointed the Apostolic Visitation, Cardinal Franc Rode whose office is undertaking it and Cardinal William Levada who ordered the doctrinal assessment.
Levada’s investigation is further called a “shameful betrayal of trust,” the Apostolic Visitation described as “a setup” and “The Vatican” is accused of “hypocrisy” and “duplicity”.
In another NCR article this week viciously attacking the entire Vatican and the very Apostolic structure of the Church, Eugene Cullen Kennedy compares the Holy Father to Philippe Petain, Head of State in Vichy France.
Those two articles are only just a taste of a whole smorgasbord of attacks and snide accusations against the whole leadership and traditions of the Catholic Church that can be found this week – or any other week – at NCR.
Enter USCCB Director of Media Relations Sister Mary Ann Walsh. She is asked a question at NCR by Michael Sean Winters....

Sister Mary Ann Walsh's Irony Challenged Moment
“Meat cleaver” journalism - In the eye of the beholder?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"It's Archbishop Burke... again!"

It's Archbishop Burke... again!

Anchors away in Houston news experiment

(RBR) A ship can float without an anchor, so why not a TV newscast? Tribune Broadcasting is about to try a no-anchor newscast on KIAH-TV (CW) Houston. If the experiment works, “NewsFix” might show up on other Tribune TV stations with news ratings problems...

The project is still a couple of months from implementation and some details are still being worked out – or at least not yet publicly disclosed. Houston blogger Mike McGuff  noted that KIAH had posted a job opening seeking an “Executive Producer and Imaginator” with such requirements as: “Has well honed B.S. Radar;” “Who knows that most local TV News sucks and wants to do something about it;” and “Gets ‘it’.”

Sound familiar? If so, you know Tribune Company Sr. VP/Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams and have guessed that he is behind this new approach to TV news.

The plan is (apparently) to have lots of fast-paced stories told primarily by the people involved in the news being made. So, the focus is on the content, without anchors or even reporters doing traditional standups.

New Blog: The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration

"For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the Image of His own Eternity." - Wisdom 2:23
Less than a week before her first profession, Sr. Mary Veronica was crowned with flowers at an evening novitiate celebration which inaugurated her pre-profession retreat. Although by now the flowers of that wreath have faded and shriveled, they have been replaced by a different garment, and the time of retreat has given fresh vitality to our radiantly, committed new Junior Professed! July 22nd dawned clear and was filled with all varieties of joys. We can’t help but marvel at how all the important details fell into place by the ever mysterious hand of Divine Providence. Muffins for guests had been baked, table decorations assembled and the duet Psalm response practiced...

h/t to The Crescat

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Benedictine nuns of Abbaye Notre-Dame de l’Annonciation

Anglican Catholic Church of Canada Votes Overwhelmingly to Unite with Rome

ACCC will establish Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate

July 24, 2010

The Dean's Report on Synod 2010

The Eighth Provincial Synod and Thirteenth Diocesan Synod of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada were held simultaneously at the Rosemary Heights Retreat Centre in Surrey, B.C., July 12 to 16, 2010.

In attendance were the Canadian House of Bishops (Bishop Peter Wilkinson, Metropolitan and Bishop Ordinary; Bishop Craig Botterill, Suffragan for Atlantic Canada and Chancellor; Bishop Carl Reid, Suffragan for Central Canada and Apostolic Commissary; Bishop Robert Mercer, Assistant Bishop; along with the TAC Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth); eighteen members of the House of Clergy; and thirty members of the House of Laity; together with a number of observers and guests. The first evening began with Evensong, dinner, and then a wine and cheese reception hosted by the ACCC Parishes of the Lower Mainland.

While there was ample time for fellowship, much of our time was dedicated to the business of Synod. The Synod delegates received an address from the Primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, on the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, together with a discussion of the various issues involved and a time frame for the implementation of a proposed Ordinariate for Canada (as well as other Provinces within the Traditional Anglican Communion).

In order to facilitate open and free discussion among the Houses of Synod, each member of the House of Clergy and the House of Laity was asked in turn to speak their mind and provide their thoughts, questions, and concerns about unity with the See of Peter and the proposed Canadian Ordinariate. Following a day and half of discussions, a vote was taken in each of the two Houses as to their support (or not) for unity and the establishment of a Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate.

The result of this vote was unanimous support from the House of Clergy, and an overwhelming vote of support from the House of Laity (with only two opposed and three abstentions out of 30 lay delegates).

With clear support for the petition of the Canadian House of Bishops for full communion and visible union with the See of Peter, the Synod proceeded to pass a resolution enabling the Metropolitan (Bishop Peter Wilkinson), by and with the advice and consent of the Provincial Council, to enact the necessary canonical ordinances and rules for the establishment of the Canadian Anglican Catholic Ordinariate...

Contraception Has Turned America Into a Killing Field

"It is the root cause of virtually every evil that has been visited on us in the past forty years..."

Present at the Demolition: An interview with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

A Philosopher Remembers and Reminds 

 Latin Mass Magazine

The following conversation with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand opens our discussion of this issue’s focus: The Crisis in the Church: Scenarios for a Solution. Dr. von Hildebrand, professor of philosophy emeritus of Hunter College (City University of New York), has just completed The Soul of a Lion, a biography of her husband, Dietrich.

TLM: Dr. von Hildebrand, at the time that Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council, did you perceive a need for a reform within the Church?

AVH: Most of the insights about this come from my husband. He always said that the members of the Church, due to the effects of original sin and actual sin, are always in need of reform. The Church’s teaching, however, is from God. Not one iota is to be changed or considered in need of reform.

TLM: In terms of the present crisis, when did you first perceive something was terribly wrong?

AVH: It was in February 1965. I was taking a sabbatical year in Florence. My husband was reading a theological journal, and suddenly I heard him burst into tears. I ran to him, fearful that his heart condition had suddenly caused him pain. I asked him if he was all right. He told me that the article that he had been reading had provided him with the certain insight that the devil had entered the Church. Remember, my husband was the first prominent German to speak out publicly against Hitler and the Nazis. His insights were always prescient.

TLM: Had your husband ever talked about his fear for the Church before this incident?

AVH: I relate in my biography of my husband, The Soul of a Lion, that a few years after his conversion to Catholicism in the 1920s, he began teaching at the University of Munich. Munich was a Catholic city. Most Catholics at the time went to Mass, but he always said that it was there that he became aware of the loss of a sense of the supernatural among Catholics. One incident especially offered him sufficient proof, and it greatly saddened him.

When passing through a door, my husband would always give precedence to those of his students who were priests. One day, one of his colleagues (a Catholic) expressed his astonishment and disapproval: “Why do you let your students step ahead of you?” “Because they are priests,” replied my husband. “But they do not have a Ph.D.” My husband was grieved. To value a Ph.D. is a natural response; to feel awe for the sublimity of the priesthood is a supernatural response. The professor’s attitude proved that his sense for the supernatural had been eroded. That was long before Vatican II. But until the Council, the beauty and the sacredness of the Tridentine liturgy masked this phenomenon.

TLM: Did your husband think that the decline in a sense of the supernatural began around that time, and if so, how did he explain it?

AVH: No, he believed that after Pius X’s condemnation of the heresy of Modernism, its proponents merely went underground. He would say that they then took a much more subtle and practical approach. They spread doubt simply by raising questions about the great supernatural interventions throughout salvation history, such as the Virgin Birth and Our Lady’s perpetual virginity, as well as the Resurrection, and the Holy Eucharist. They knew that once faith – the foundation – totters, the liturgy and the moral teachings of the Church would follow suit. My husband entitled one of his books The Devastated Vineyard. After Vatican II, a tornado seemed to have hit the Church.

Modernism itself was the fruit of the calamity of the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt, and it took a long historical process to unfold. If you were to ask a typical Catholic in the Middle Ages to name a hero or heroine, he would answer with the name of a saint. The Renaissance began to change that. Instead of a saint, people would think of geniuses as persons to emulate, and with the oncoming of the industrial age, they would answer with the name of a great scientist. Today, they would answer with a sports figure or cinema personality. In other words, the loss of the sense of the supernatural has brought an inversion of the hierarchy of values.

Even the pagan Plato was open to a sense of the supernatural. He spoke of the weakness, frailty and cowardice often evidenced in human nature. He was asked by a critic to explain why he had such a low opinion of humanity. He replied that he was not denigrating man, only comparing him to God.

With the loss of a sense of the supernatural, there is a loss of the sense of a need for sacrifice today. The closer one comes to God, the greater should be one’s sense of sinfulness. The further one gets from God, as today, the more we hear the philosophy of the new age: “I’m OK, You’re OK.” This loss of the inclination to sacrifice has led to the obscuring of the Church’s redemptive mission. Where the Cross is downplayed, our need for redemption is given hardly a thought.

The aversion to sacrifice and redemption has assisted the secularization of the Church from within. We have been hearing for many years from priests and bishops about the need for the Church to adapt herself to the world. Great popes like St. Pius X said just the opposite: the world must adapt itself to the Church.

TLM: From our conversation throughout this afternoon, I must conclude that you don’t believe that the accelerating loss of the sense of the supernatural is an accident of history.

AVH: No, I do not. There have been two books published in Italy in recent years that confirm what my husband had been suspecting for some time; namely, that there has been a systematic infiltration of the Church by diabolical enemies for much of this century. My husband was a very sanguine man and optimistic by nature. During the last ten years of his life, however, I witnessed him many times in moments of great sorrow, and frequently repeating, “They have desecrated the Holy Bride of Christ.” He was referring to the “abomination of desolation” of which the prophet Daniel speaks

TLM: This is a critical admission, Dr. von Hildebrand. Your husband had been called a twentieth-century Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII. If he felt so strongly, didn’t he have access to the Vatican to tell Pope Paul VI of his fears?

AVH: But he did! I shall never forget the private audience we had with Paul VI just before the end of the Council. It was on June 21, 1965. As soon as my husband started pleading with him to condemn the heresies that were rampant, the Pope interrupted him with the words, “Lo scriva, lo scriva.” (“Write it down.”) A few moments later, for the second time, my husband drew the gravity of the situation to the Pope’s attention. Same answer. His Holiness received us standing. It was clear that the Pope was feeling very uncomfortable. The audience lasted only a few minutes. Paul VI immediately gave a sign to his secretary, Fr. Capovilla, to bring us rosaries and medals. We then went back to Florence where my husband wrote a long document (unpublished today) that was delivered to Paul VI just the day before the last session of the Council. It was September of 1965. After reading my husband’s document, he said to my husband’s nephew, Dieter Sattler, who had become the German ambassador to the Holy See, that he had read the document carefully, but that “it was a bit harsh.” The reason was obvious: my husband had humbly requested a clear condemnation of heretical statements.

TLM: You realize, of course, Doctor, that as soon as you mention this idea of infiltration, there will be those who roll their eyes in exasperation and remark, “Not another conspiracy theory!”

AVH: I can only tell you what I know. It is a matter of public record, for instance, that Bella Dodd, the ex-Communist who reconverted to the Church, openly spoke of the Communist Party’s deliberate infiltration of agents into the seminaries. She told my husband and me that when she was an active party member, she had dealt with no fewer than four cardinals within the Vatican “who were working for us.”

Many a time I have heard Americans say that Europeans “smell conspiracy wherever they go.” But from the beginning, the Evil One has “conspired” against the Church – and has always aimed in particular at destroying the Mass and sapping belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. That some people are tempted to blow this undeniable fact out of proportion is no reason for denying its reality. On the other hand, I, European born, am tempted to say that many Americans are naïve; living in a country that has been blessed by peace, and knowing little about history, they are more likely than Europeans (whose history is a tumultuous one) to fall prey to illusions. Rousseau has had an enormous influence in the United States. When Christ said to His apostles at the Last Supper that “one of you will betray Me,” the apostles were stunned. Judas had played his hand so artfully that no one suspected him, for a cunning conspirator knows how to cover his tracks with a show of orthodoxy.

TLM: Do the two books by the Italian priest you mentioned before the interview contain documentation that would provide evidence of this infiltration?

AVH: The two books I mentioned were published in 1998 and 2000 by an Italian priest, Don Luigi Villa of the diocese of Brescia, who at the request of Padre Pio has devoted many years of his life to the investigation of the possible infiltration of both Freemasons and Communists into the Church. My husband and I met Don Villa in the sixties. He claims that he does not make any statement that he cannot substantiate. When Paulo Sesto Beato? (1998) was published the book was sent to every single Italian bishop. None of them acknowledged receipt; none challenged any of Don Villa’s claims.

In this book, he relates something that no ecclesiastical authority has refuted or asked to be retracted – even though he names particular personalities in regard to the incident. It pertains to the rift between Pope Pius XII and the then Bishop Montini (the future Paul VI) who was his Undersecretary of State. Pius XII, conscious of the threat of Communism, which in the aftermath of World War II was dominating nearly half of Europe, had prohibited the Vatican staff from dealing with Moscow. To his dismay, he was informed one day through the Bishop of Upsala (Sweden) that his strict order had been contravened. The Pope resisted giving credence to this rumor until he was given incontrovertible evidence that Montini had been corresponding with various Soviet agencies. Meanwhile, Pope Pius XII (as had Pius XI) had been sending priests clandestinely into Russia to give comfort to Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. Every one of them had been systematically arrested, tortured, and either executed or sent to the gulag. Eventually a Vatican mole was discovered: Alighiero Tondi, S.J., who was a close advisor to Montini. Tondi was an agent working for Stalin whose mission was to keep Moscow informed about initiatives such as the sending of priests into the Soviet Union.

Add to this Pope Paul’s treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty. Against his will, Mindszenty was ordered by the Vatican to leave Budapest. As most everyone knows, he had escaped the Communists and sought refuge in the American embassy compound. The Pope had given him his solemn promise that he would remain primate of Hungary as long as he lived. When the Cardinal (who had been tortured by the Communists) arrived in Rome, Paul VI embraced him warmly, but then sent him into exile in Vienna. Shortly afterwards, this holy prelate was informed that he had been demoted, and had been replaced by someone more acceptable to the Hungarian Communist government. More puzzling, and tragically sad, is the fact that when Mindszenty died, no Church representative was present at his burial.

Another of Don Villa’s illustrations of infiltration is one related to him by Cardinal Gagnon. Paul VI had asked Gagnon to head an investigation concerning the infiltration of the Church by powerful enemies. Cardinal Gagnon (at that time an Archbishop) accepted this unpleasant task, and compiled a long dossier, rich in worrisome facts. When the work was completed, he requested an audience with Pope Paul in order to deliver personally the manuscript to the Pontiff. This request for a meeting was denied. The Pope sent word that the document should be placed in the offices of the Congregation for the Clergy, specifically in a safe with a double lock. This was done, but the very next day the safe deposit box was broken and the manuscript mysteriously disappeared. The usual policy of the Vatican is to make sure that news of such incidents never sees the light of day. Nevertheless, this theft was reported even in L’Osservatore Romano (perhaps under pressure because it had been reported in the secular press). Cardinal Gagnon, of course, had a copy, and once again asked the Pope for a private audience. Once again his request was denied. He then decided to leave Rome and return to his homeland in Canada. Later, he was called back to Rome by Pope John Paul II and made a cardinal.

TLM: Why did Don Villa write these works singling out Paul VI for criticism?

AVH: Don Villa reluctantly decided to publish the books to which I have alluded. But when several bishops pushed for the beatification of Paul VI, this priest perceived it as a clarion call to print the information he had gathered through the years. In so doing, he was following the guidelines of a Roman Congregation, informing the faithful that it was their duty as members of the Church to relay to the Congregation any information that might militate against the candidate’s qualifications for beatification.

Considering the tumultuous pontificate of Paul VI, and the confusing signals he was giving, e.g.: speaking about the “smoke of Satan that had entered the Church,” yet refusing to condemn heresies officially; his promulgation of Humanae Vitae (the glory of his pontificate), yet his careful avoidance of proclaiming it ex cathedra; delivering his Credo of the People of God in Piazza San Pietro in 1968, and once again failing to declare it binding on all Catholics; disobeying the strict orders of Pius XII to have no contact with Moscow, and appeasing the Hungarian Communist government by reneging on the solemn promise he had made to Cardinal Mindszenty; his treatment of holy Cardinal Slipyj, who had spent seventeen years in a Gulag, only to be made a virtual prisoner in the Vatican by Paul VI; and finally asking Archbishop Gagnon to investigate possible infiltration in the Vatican, only to refuse him an audience when his work was completed – all these speak strongly against the beatification of Paolo VI, dubbed in Rome, “Paolo Sesto, Mesto” (Paul VI, the sad one).

That the duty to publish this depressing information was onerous and cost Don Villa great sorrow cannot be doubted. Any Catholic rejoices when he can look up to a Pope with boundless veneration. But Catholics also know that even though Christ never promised He would give us perfect leaders, He did promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail. Let us not forget that even though the Church has had some very bad popes, and some mediocre ones, she has been blessed with many great popes. Eighty of them have been canonized and several have been beatified. This is a success story that does not bear parallel in the secular world.

God alone is the judge of Paul VI. But it cannot be denied that his pontificate was a very complex and tragic one. It was under him that, in the course of fifteen years, more changes were introduced in the Church than in all preceding centuries combined. What is worrisome is that when we read the testimony of ex-Communists like Bella Dodd, and study Freemasonic documents (dating from the nineteenth century, and usually penned by fallen-away priests like Paul Roca), we can see that, to a large extent, their agenda has been carried out: the exodus of priests and nuns after Vatican II, dissenting theologians not censured, feminism, the pressure put on Rome to abolish priestly celibacy, immorality in the clergy, blasphemous liturgies (see the article by David Hart in First Things, April 2001, “The Future of the Papacy”), the radical changes that have been introduced into the sacred liturgy (see Cardinal Ratzinger’s book Milestones, pp. 126 and 148, Ignatius Press), and a misleading ecumenism. Only a blind person could deny that many of the Enemy’s plans have been perfectly carried out.

One should not forget that the world was shocked at what Hitler did. People like my husband, however, actually read what he had said in Mein Kampf. The plan was there. The world simply chose not to believe it.

But grave as the situation is, no committed Catholic can forget that Christ has promised that He will remain with His Church to the very end of the world. We should meditate on the scene related in the Gospel when the apostles’ boat was battered by a fierce storm. Christ was sleeping! His terrified followers woke Him up: He said one word, and there was a great calm. “O ye of little faith!”

TLM: I take it by your remarks about ecumenism that you don’t agree with the current policy of “convergence” rather than “conversion”?

AVH: Let me relate an incident that caused my husband grief. It was 1946, just after the war. My husband was teaching at Fordham, and there appeared in one of his classes a Jewish student who had been a naval officer during the war. He would eventually tell my husband about a particularly stunning sunset in the Pacific and how it had led him to the quest for the truth about God. He first went to Columbia to study philosophy, and he knew that this was not what he was looking for. A friend suggested he try philosophy at Fordham and mentioned the name Dietrich von Hildebrand. After just one class with my husband, he knew he had found what he was looking for. One day after class my husband and this student went for a walk. He told my husband during this time that he was surprised at the fact that several professors, after discovering he was Jewish, assured him that they would not try to convert him to Catholicism. My husband, stunned, stopped, turned to him and said, “They said what?!” He repeated the story and my husband told him, “I would walk to the ends of the earth to make you a Catholic.” To make a long story short, the young man became a Catholic, was ordained a Carthusian priest, and went on to enter the only Charter House in the United States (in Vermont)!

TLM: You spent many years teaching at Hunter College.

AVH: Yes, and several of my students became Catholics. Oh, the beautiful conversion stories I could relate if I had time – young people who were swept up by truth!

I want to make one point very clear, however. I did not convert my students. The most we can do is to pray to be God’s instruments. To be an instrument we must strive to live the Gospel every day and in every circumstance. Only God’s grace can give us the desire and ability to do that.

It is one of the fears I have about traditional Catholics. Some flirt with fanaticism. A fanatic is one who considers truth to be his personal possession instead of God’s gift. We are servants of the truth, and it is as servants that we seek to share it.

I am very concerned that there are “fanatical” Catholics who use the Faith and the truth it proclaims as an intellectual toy. An authentic appropriation of the truth always leads to a striving for holiness. The Faith, in this present crisis, is not an intellectual chess game. For anyone not striving for holiness, that’s all it will ever be. Such people do more harm to the Faith, particularly if they are proponents of the traditional Mass.

TLM: So you see the only scenario for a solution to the present crisis as the renewal of a striving for sanctity?

AVH: We should not forget that we are fighting not only against flesh and blood, but against “powers and principalities.” This should elicit sufficient dread in us to make us strive more than ever for holiness, and to pray fervently that the Holy Bride of Christ, who is right now at Calvary, comes out of this fearful crisis more radiant than ever.

The Catholic answer is always the same: absolute fidelity to the holy teaching of the Church, faithfulness to the Holy See, frequent reception of the sacraments, the Rosary, daily spiritual reading, and gratitude that we have been given the fullness of God’s revelation: “Gaudete, iterum dico vobis, Gaudete.”

TLM: I cannot end the interview without asking your reaction to a well-worn canard. There are those critics of the ancient Latin Mass who point out that the crisis in the Church developed at a time when the Mass was offered throughout the world. Why should we then think its revival is intrinsic to the solution?

AVH: The devil hates the ancient Mass. He hates it because it is the most perfect reformulation of all the teachings of the Church. It was my husband who gave me this insight about the Mass. The problem that ushered in the present crisis was not the traditional Mass. The problem was that priests who offered it had already lost the sense of the supernatural and the transcendent. They rushed through the prayers, they mumbled and didn’t enunciate them. That is a sign that they had brought to the Mass their growing secularism. The ancient Mass does not abide irreverence, and that was why so many priests were just as happy to see it go.

TLM: Thank you, Dr. von Hildebrand, for this time and the opportunity to speak with you.