Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pope Francis makes John XXIII, John Paul II saints

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints in an unprecedented canonization ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Francis recited the saint-making formula in Latin, saying that after deliberating, consulting and praying for divine assistance "we declare and define Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II be saints and we enroll them among the saints, decreeing that they are to be venerated as such by the whole church."

Benedict was sitting off to the side with other cardinals in St. Peter's Square during the rite at the start of Sunday's Mass. He and Francis briefly greeted one another after Francis arrived.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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

By Damian Thompson

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

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


The Drinking Age Is Past Its Prime

By Camille Paglia

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

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Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed.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

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


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin


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

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

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


Saturday, April 12, 2014

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

By Naomi O'Leary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is the Vatican Hiding Aliens?

By Bill Donohue

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

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

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

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

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

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


Mars - Bright Strange Light Captured by NASA

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

By Carol Christian, Houston Chronicle

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

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

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


Monday, April 7, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Friday, April 4, 2014

Whose Side Is God on Now?

By Pat Buchanan

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

What did Pope John Paul mean by moral crimes?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will Vladimir Putin give the keynote?

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


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Queen Elizabeth Gave Pope Francis Jams, Whiskey and Other Drinks

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

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

By Tim Funk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Read more here:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Starbucks Serves Satanic Coffee to Catholic Schoolteacher

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

By Maria Tadeo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Diocesan ban on washing women's feet stays in place

By Doug Erickson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

h/t to Deacon Greg Kandra

New Ecumenical English Missal? Committee members named?

By Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

New Ecumenical English Missal

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

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


Germany bans managers from calling or emailing staff after work hours

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

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

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