Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Coca Cola Life (Argentina)

Coca Cola (Argentina) has produced (perhaps without even knowing it) the best pro-life video ever. It is also interesting to note that they call their product Coca Cola Life.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Pope Francis

Today is Pope Francis 77th Birthday. Please pray for him as he has such a tremendous responsibility of shepherding such a huge flock.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Death and Taxes

They are Coming - The O Antiphons

Here is a blurb from Fr. Z. Be sure to visit him.

The O Antiphons developed during the Church's very first centuries. The writer Boethius (+525) mentions them. By the 8th century they were in use in Rome. There are seven of these special antiphons, and their texts spring from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophetic and Wisdom Books. They are found in the Liturgy of the Hours or older Roman Breviary, which clerics, religious, consecrated virgins, and others use for daily prayer.

The O Antiphons are short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 when coming visit to Elizabeth her cousin the Virgin praised God for His favor wondrous deeds. The Magnificat is sung during Vespers, evening prayer. The O Antiphons begin on 17 December, seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (24 December). The seventh and last antiphon is sung at Vespers on 23 December. They are called the "O Antiphons" because they all begin with the letter-word "O": they address Jesus by one of His Old Testament titles.  They are fervent prayers asking Our Lord to come to us.

Advent is about the many ways in which the Lord comes.  He came historically at Bethlehem in the fullness of time. In the liturgical year he comes to us sacramentally.  He will come again at the end of the world as Judge of the living and the dead.  Christ comes to us also in the two-fold consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ by the priest at Holy Mass and, in a special way in a good Holy Communion.  He comes in the person of the priest, who is alter Christus, another Christ.  He comes in the words of Holy Scripture. He also comes in the person of our neighbor, especially those who are in need of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

During Advent, John the Baptist has been reminding us in the liturgy to "make straight His paths". When we come to the Lord in death, or He comes to us in His Second Coming, He will make straight the path whether we have during our earthly lives done our best to straighten it ahead of time or not. Let us now, while we may, make straight the paths by which Christ Jesus comes.

Here are two more interesting notes about these O Antiphons.

The first is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah are: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel).  Take the first letters of each of the titles, starting with the last and working back to the first. You spell: EROCRAS or "ero cras... I will be (there) tomorrow".

The song "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" is simply a reworking of the seven O Antiphons. When you sing it, you are joining yourself to a vast throng of Christians stretching back across centuries and spanning the whole of the earth who prayed as all Christians do, "Come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev 22:20)

Ah, what beauty.

Fight Back - Merry Christmas

In the last two days I have been wishing everyone I come in contact with a “Merry Christmas.” Each one was, I would conclude, delighted that I did so: there was the cashier in the dollar store, another cashier at Walt’s Grocery, there was the customer service representative at Comcast, and another customer service person at Microsoft. Now this Microsoft person spoke with an Eastern Indian – I presume India – accent – and he was the one to wish me a Merry Christmas first and I responded warmly.

Many of us think the proper thing to do to be politically correct is to not say anything at all, or to keep it secular by saying "Happy Holidays." This is wrong thinking. Do not let our secular society take Christmas away from us. By the very nature of our faith - of who Jesus was/is – we are to be counter-cultural.

It is easy to say Merry Christmas to our family and friends, people in church, but we hesitate with strangers – this is the effect our secular culture has had on us. This is a season of love and joy. It is natural to want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and we should do so and not stifle ourselves. You don’t know who is on the receiving end of your "Merry Christmas." They may be alone and that simple phrase may put a little joy in their heart and remind them of the reason for the season.

If someone is offended by your greeting, that is their issue, not yours.

A Child's Mind...

Friday, November 15, 2013

They Habitually Vote for Bills they Haven't Read

No need to comment. Let's just vote them all out of office come next November. Are you not tired of their dung. We need fresh blood not career politicians. We need statesmen not idiots who only vote along party lines.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Notice: The Affortable Boat Act

Warning: This is humor – er, but there is always truth in humor

The U.S. government has just passed a new law called: "The affordable boat act" declaring that every citizen MUST purchase a new boat, by April 2014. These "affordable" boats will cost an average of $54,000-$155,000 each. This does not include taxes, trailers, towing fees, licensing and registration fees, fuel, docking and storage fees, maintenance or repair costs.

This law has been passed, because until now, typically only wealthy and financially responsible people have been able to purchase boats. This new law ensures that every American can now have a "affordable" boat of their own, because everyone is "entitled" to a new boat. If you purchase your boat before the end of the year, you will receive 4 "free" life jackets; not including monthly usage fees.

In order to make sure everyone purchases an affordable boat, the costs of owning a boat will increase on average of 250-400% per year. This way, wealthy people will pay more for something that other people don’t want or can’t afford to maintain. But to be fair, people who can’t afford to maintain their boat will be regularly fined and children (under the age of 26) can use their parents boats to party on until they turn 27; then must purchase their own boat.

If you already have a boat, you can keep yours (just kidding; no you can’t). If you don’t want or don’t need a boat, you are required to buy one anyhow. If you refuse to buy one or can’t afford one, you will be regularly fined $800 until you purchase one or face imprisonment.

Failure to use the boat will also result in fines. People living in the desert, ghettos, inner cities or areas with no access to lakes are not exempt. Age, motion sickness, experience, knowledge nor lack of desire are acceptable excuses for not using your boat.

A government review board (that doesn’t know the difference between the port, starboard or stern of a boat) will decide everything, including; when, where, how often, and for what purposes you can use your boat along with how many people can ride your boat and determine if one is too old or healthy enough to be able to use their boat. They will also decide if your boat has out lived its usefulness or if you must purchase specific accessories,(like a $500 compass) or a newer and more expensive boat.

Those that can afford yachts will be required to do so...its only fair. The government will also decide the name for each boat. Failure to comply with these rules will result in fines and possible imprisonment.

Government officials are exempt from this new law. If they want a boat, they and their families can obtain boats free, at the expense of tax payers. Unions, bankers and mega companies with large political affiliations ($$$) are also exempt.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Christmas vs. Happy Holiday

O.K. Gear up, take up your shield and raise your sword as the assault on Christmas is again about to begin. Oh, I forget; it is not Christmas, it is a happy holiday - whatever that is - because without Christ there is no holiday. The retailers want it both ways; they want your money, but will not wish you a Merry Christmas. They will open on Thanksgiving evening, not even allowing the working stiffs a day off with their families.

   I am tired of one voice or a few voices ruining it for everyone else. Christ gave us all a mission to spread the Good News. Each of us are members of the Church Militant. We have a mission. I would tell you not to spend your money at any store that refuses to recognize Christmas, but then where would you go? as this is now pervasive. But we can fight back. Sweetly and lovingly wish every cashier a Merry Christmas. This is your celebration, it should not be taken from you.

   I'm all for growing the economy, we need to offset the loss of jobs due to the administration's policies, Obamacare, and taxes without end. But be thoughtful, you don't need to go broke with presents. That is secondary. Tell your children the real meaning of Christmas. Write a letter/email to an old friend. Patch up any of those stupid disagreements you have long forgotten why - take the first step - it doesn't hurt. Take someone out to dinner - better yet - invite them over for dinner and an evening together. Do an act of kindness to someone, anyone.

   Do not be afraid to bring your faith into conversations. Tell others what you believe. I bet they will find it refreshing and more often than not, they will agree with you.

   I am tired of seeing huge tin soldiers and frosty the snowmen on front lawns. What is that? Put a Christmas creche in your front window, put an angel somewhere on high.

   Most important, find some quiet time during the Christmas season, once a week, and thank Jesus for becoming one of us. Thank Him for all the blessing you received this last year and talk to him about your concerns. Let's not only fill the churches on Christmas day, but all during Advent, and extend it to all the year.

   Merry Christmas everyone!

Archbishop Chaput on Sainthood

The meaning of sainthood: To be fully alive in Jesus Christ

By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. 

Some years ago a friend told me that she secretly thought of the saints as boring. They smile at us sweetly from holy cards. Their lives can seem implausible compared to people more famous for their vices. And who would really want to be a saint, anyway? As Billy Joel once said, “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun.”

But when we come to understand holiness rightly, we see that it’s anything but boring. Sanctity isn’t a matter of sentimental posturing or being nice. Sanctity is about being passionately in love with Jesus Christ.

The saints are men and women who glowed white-hot with the Holy Spirit. They lived fully what Father Richard John Neuhaus once called “the high adventure of Christian discipleship.” And that’s truly what the heart of sainthood is: not a life of legalistic drudgery, but a high adventure.

Think about the women and men we venerate as saintly: Mother Teresa, Francis Xavier, King Louis IX of France, Gianna Beretta Molla, Pier Giorgio Frassati, Catherine of Siena. They lived some of the most compelling lives in history. Their roads were hard. They endured great sacrifices and self-denial. But those sacrifices led to greater love and joy than many in the world have ever known.

If we think about sainthood like that, it can seem like the saints are a special class of people. Sainthood is for people like them, we think, not everyday people like us. And how do you live like a saint if you’re just an ordinary worker, a father or a mother? The good news is that the saints were ordinary people like us. Their “secret” was not something they possessed, but Someone who possessed them....
Read the rest here.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Catholic College Identity - What Makes a Catholic University

Video by PBS comparing Georgetown with Ave Maria. Which do you think reflects Catholic traching and which is Catholic by name only.

Catholic College Identity

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another "Would You Believe This?"

Would you believe this?! Our government is spending tax dollars to listen to the Pope and other Vatican officials. Now there is a threat for you. In the meantime while we use our resources on the Vatican, I wonder what Al-Qaeda is doing. Cardinal George, all U.S. Bishops and Catholic entities, a warning, you are being bugged. Better be mum about those bingo games and the Adoration schedule.

Oh, and did you hear: “The Department of Defense classified Catholics and Evangelical Christians as religious extremists similar to Al-Qaeda.” This is your country, you voted for these people. Remember this. Elections are around the corner again. I would vote for my cat before I will vote for my congressman, er, politician, er,… [I better not say that].

As a Catholic, I'm sure the government has a dossier on me already.

Don't forget these were extremists too. I wonder...

Pentagon Classifies Evangelical Christians, Catholics as “Extremists”

The Department of Defense classified Catholics and Evangelical Christians as religious extremists similar to Al-Qaeda, according to training materials obtained by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
Read the article here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Rediscover the Genius of Catholicism

Ohio State Band Moon Walk

Living the Gospel of Life

Weekly Column by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
October 18, 2013

Exactly 15 years ago this fall, America’s bishops issued a pastoral letter called Living the Gospel of Life. Even today, with the passage of time, this remains no ordinary Church text. I believed then, and I believe now, that it’s the best document ever issued by the U.S. bishops on the priorities of Catholic engagement in our nation’s public life. In writing it, the bishops sought to apply Pope John Paul II’s great encyclical Evangelium Vitae (“The Gospel of Life”) to the American situation. The heart of their statement, paragraph No. 23, stresses that:

“Opposition to abortion and euthanasia does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. Any politics of human life must work to resist the violence of war and the scandal of capital punishment. Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing, and health care. Therefore, Catholics should eagerly involve themselves as advocates for the weak and marginalized in all
these areas. Catholic public officials are obliged to address each of these issues as they seek to build consistent policies which promote respect for the human person at all stages of life.

“But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community. If we understand the human person as the ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ -- the living house of God -- then these latter issues fall logically into place as
the crossbeams and walls of that house. All direct attacks on innocent human life, such as abortion and euthanasia, strike at the house’s foundation. These directly and immediately violate the human person’s most fundamental right -- the right to life. Neglect of these issues is the equivalent of building our house on sand. Such attacks cannot help but lull the social conscience in ways ultimately destructive of other human rights.”

This is why the right to life is not merely one among many urgent issues, but rather the foundational one. It provides the cornerstone for a whole architecture of human dignity. Nothing has changed in recent months or years in Catholic thinking about the sanctity of human life. Nor can it. As America’s bishops have stressed so many times, we have an obligation to work for human dignity at every stage and in every circumstance of human life. Here in Philadelphia, our Catholic social ministries model that dedication to the poor and disadvantaged in an extraordinary way.

But when we revoke legal protection for unborn children – when we accept the intimate violence abortion inflicts both on women and their unborn children; when we license and sacralize abortion as part of what Pope Francis calls a “throw away culture” -- we violate the first and most important human right, the right to life itself. And once we do that, and then create a system of alibis to justify it, we begin to put every other human and civil right at risk.

October is national Respect Life Month. It’s a good time to remember the preciousness of all human life, beginning in the womb and continuing through natural death.  There are really two tragedies in every abortion: the killing of an unborn child; and the killing of an opportunity to love. God made us to be better than that.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Pope Francis' Five Finger Prayer

This is a great conversation opener about faith with your children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. After teaching them this it can be your secret sign with them, reminding them to pray. Just hold up your hand with fingers spread. I’m sure they will respond with a nod and a smile. Do the same when you wave goodbye. And, actually, it is a great memory tool for us as well.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Remember this lady Irena Sendler

I received this in a chain email today. I don’t participate in chain emails. But this message does need to be shared. Along with this little memorial for her, there is a message that people who really deserve praise and honours usually don’t get them. While the politically correct, having done nothing significant do.
Wikipedia has an article you may want to read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irena_Sendler
There is also a PBS documentary program entitled “Irena Sendler, In the Name of Their Mothers”. It is available from Netflix.
Irena does not need the Peace Prize. Her reward is in heaven.

Remember this lady Irena Sendler

Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98), Warsaw, Poland
During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive.
Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids.
Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.
Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi's broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out, in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.
Later another politician, Barack Obama, won for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” What that gobbledygook means is anybody’s guess.
It is now more than 65 years since the Second World War in Europe ended.
In memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated!

Now, more than ever, with Iran, and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth'. It’s imperative to make sure the world never forgets.  Because there are others who would like to do it again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Recommendation - American Church - Russell Shaw

I just got around to reading this interview in OSV from June. Though I have not read the book yet, the interview forces me to conclude it is a must read.

What is happening to the American Catholic Church is obvious, but Mr. Shaw puts it in clear terms. We Catholics are being assimilated by the secular, materialistic and relativistic Godless American culture. We shy away from religious truths, we are not teaching our children our faith. We are turning away from the teachings of our Church and picking and choosing what we will follow and what we will not. We want the church to conform to us, not conforming ourselves to the magisterium as Francis did and taught. It is in our Franciscan Rule.

Remember what happened to the lost tribes of Israel – they were assimilated by the local and surrounding anti-Jewish culture. In large part by intermarriage, but also by letting go of their faith. Will this happen to the American Catholic? For the most part it has already happened in Europe.

My answer is that we need to embrace the New Evangelization and start reminding our fellow Catholics what the Church teaches. It is not a time to be politically correct, or silent, or wishy-washy moderate. It is time to embrace our faith and make sure we are vocal. We need to be public about our faith, we need to be a model to others – our family and friends.

Shaw assesses the dangers of assimilation for American Catholics

Longtime Catholic journalist examines the state of the Church in America and how it can be renewed

By Matthew E. Bunson - OSV Newsweekly, 6/30/2013 

One of the great ongoing questions in the history of American Catholicism has been that of cultural assimilation. Has the embrace of American culture and values been a good thing or a bad thing for Catholics in the country, and, indeed, is it even possible for an American Catholic to be both American and Catholic?

It is a challenging question, and it is one worth discussing at a time when American cultural influences of materialism, secularism and relativism seem so diametrically opposed to everything we are called to be as members of the Catholic Church.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review - Audio Lecture - The Great Courses - The New Testament

I’m a pretty big fan of The Teaching Company’s Great Courses audio lectures. I’m purchased a few and I’ve loaned a few from the library. I especially enjoyed The Catholic Church – A History, Reason and Faith, and St. Augustine – Philosopher and Saint, to mention a few.

But I must express a warning about the lecture series called the New Testament by
Professor Bart D. Ehrman. Mr. Ehrman is your preverbal secularist academic who finds nothing of positive value in the NT. He goes out of his way to constantly find inconsistencies and tried to use logic or reasoning to pooh-pooh whatever book he is addressing. We are all aware that there are inconsistencies. They were written by humans relying on either their own eyewitness of events, oral stories being passed on, and early extant and non-extant written documents. He doubts the four evangelists wrote the gospels citing they did not contain the name of the author. Yes, the common practice at the time was not to name the work or identify the author, though at times the name of the work and or author would be written on the rolled scroll. So again he argues Mark, Matthew, Luke and John did not write the gospels.

He indicates there were no living eyewitnesses when the books were written. This is not true, some of the early church fathers regularly conversed with some eyewitnesses. John the youngest apostle could have been alive we into the 90s A.D.

There is a diatribe as he argues Paul taught a completely different religion than did Jesus. Well, Paul was not an eyewitness to Jesus. What Paul learned was learned from other Christians. There was tremendous growth and development in these early years and he ignores that the church was being led by the Holy Spirit. But he tries to use this to debunk both Jesus and Paul.

Do not waste your money and time on this. His unspoken agenda is clear. This is the kind of education our children are being taught in our institutes of “higher” education. A shame. No matter why our youth are turning away from faith. And I’m sure this secularization is pervasive in academia including “catholic universities.”

The Pics Say It All

Received these in an email today and thought I would pass them on. These floats were part of the annual Carnival Parade in Germany watched by an estimated three million people in three German cities including Düsseldorf.

It is so sad we are the laughing stock around the word, but this is what happens when you make a community organizer president. Happy Obamacare to you.

Doesn't it make you so proud that the whole world is laughing at the U.S.A. ?
You can bet the pro-Obama media will never print these pictures!

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same."    Ronald Reagan

Respect Life - Our unday Visitor Editorial

In that prime-time speech, President Obama used the word “children” seven times....  But, as many pro-life groups have pointed out, the president’s words stand in stark juxtaposition with his strong pro-abortion position in the abortion debate. For some reason, pro-abortion Americans can’t make the connection that the 1.21 million victims of abortion each year are the same innocent souls as those lying on the hospital floor in Syria....

Please go to Our Sunday Visitor's editorial "Our Selective Concern" of 9/29/2013 here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

How to Read the Bible – A Three Step Plan

Dr. Taylor Marshall has a good post today:

How do you read the Bible? Today is the feast day of Saint Jerome, who once quipped, “Ignorance of  Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

It’s a running joke that if you want to find a Bible verse, you ought to ask a Protestant and not a Catholic. Protestants read the Bible. Catholics not so much.

This raises the question:...

Visit his site here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lincoln Quote

Yes, he did. I checked it out. Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign - Library of Congress

Pope Francis - Strong Words on Abortion

Ah! What a day makes! If you think by the recent media hype about Pope Francis’ interview in America magazine has indicated a reduction in the Church’s concern for the unborn, you are mistaken.

Below is an excerpt from National Catholic Register. See the entire article here.

 A widespread utilitarian mentality, the "culture of waste", which now enslaves the hearts
and minds of many, has a very high cost: it requires the elimination of human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a categorical and unhesitant "yes" to life. "The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some are more precious, but this one is fundamental -  the condition of all the others." (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration on Procured Abortion, November 18, 1974 , 11). Things have a price and are sold, but people have a dignity, worth more than things and they don’t have a price. Many times we find ourselves in situations where we see that which costs less is life. Because of this, attention to human life in its totality has become a real priority of the Magisterium of the Church in recent years, particularly to the most defenseless, that is, the disabled, the sick, the unborn child, the child, the elderly who are life’s most defenseless.

Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations, or in the developed societies. Each child who is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person - I spoke of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! – each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes! They cannot be discarded!

Pope Francis Controversary

Last Friday I was approached by two people individually asking if I had heard what the Pope said in an interview with America magazine, that we, the Church, speak out about abortion too much. I had not. So of course I had to check in to it.

My immediate reaction was one of shock. This was the first negative I had heard about Pope Francis. This guy, excuse the colloquial term, has been great for the Church thus far. Then I tried to rationalize his statement. Well, Italian is not the Pope’s native language, perhaps he used the wrong term. Then, knowing America magazine’s leaning to the left, I thought perhaps they misquoted him. So I found the complete text of the interview online and read it a couple of times. It can be found here:

First, I must say I liked the interview. It provided a lot of insights about who Pope Francis is. I especially noted the honesty of the man in saying “I am a sinner,” as we all are. It is a rather long interview but well worth your time.

Back to the controversy. The exact quote is this:

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”

The emphasis is mine. This is rather disheartening to anyone involved with or cares about the babies. I understand this is a matter of perspective. Our liberal brothers and sisters are interested in the environment and social justice, but forget the babies. I/we on the other hand don’t think enough is done for the babies. It is addressed in homilies rarely, if at all. This spark of controversy overshadows the words just before it; “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear…” Pope Francis is in no way changing the Church’s teachings. He is confirming them.

I agree with Cardinal Dolan’s response in an interview on NBC’s Today show, see link below. Rightly or wrongly, we, that is, Catholics, are seen by non-Catholics, liberals, and the pro-abortion people as always being in a negative mode. This does not attract people. The Pope is looking for a “fresh” direction. He is being Jesus. He is calling us to reach back to the basics. In that way we can change hearts and minds. No, we do not stop our efforts to protect the unborn, but we also must help turn others to God, we must evangelize. We can only win this battle when we change hearts and minds one at a time.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Great Quotes of Men and Manhood

I've been following the blog "The Art of Manliness" for some time. I thought I would share a recent post listing 80 great quotes on men and manliness. His only flaw is that his blog usually ignores a man's spiritual aspect which should be paramount over his physical, emotional or mental aspects.

Here is a sampling:

“To have done no man a wrong…to walk and live, unseduced, within arm’s length of what is not your own, with nothing between your desire and its gratification but the invisible law of rectitude—this is to be a man.” –Orison Swett Marden

“You have to be a man before you can be a gentleman.” –John Wayne (McLintock!)

“We do not admire the man of timid peace. We admire the man who embodies victorious effort; the man who never wrongs his neighbor, who is prompt to help a friend, but who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“For the man who makes everything that leads to happiness, or near to it, to depend upon himself, and not upon other men … has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation; this is the man of manly character and of wisdom.” –Plato

See all the quotes here.

Go here for the Art of Manliness blog.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pope Francis Takes On an Atheist Publisher

The more I get to know about Pope Francis, the more I love him. Recently, he took on the atheist founder of an Italian newspaper. Though he did so lovingly.  As reported in the National Catholic Register, it starts:

Pope Francis has pulled off yet another surprise, by taking the unprecedented step of writing a long letter to the founder of an Italian daily newspaper, explaining the faith to nonbelievers.
The 2,500-word missive, written in response to July 7 and Aug. 7 editorials by Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist founder of the socialist-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, principally addresses themes covering the faith, the Church and today’s increasingly secularist culture.
Scalfari was prompted to write his articles partly to show his admiration for the Holy Father, but also in response to Pope Francis’ first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), that was published in July. After lauding the Pope’s qualities and his love for the poor, Scalfari posed three questions at the end of his Aug. 7 editorial, none of which Scalfari expected to be answered. 
The first was whether God’s mercy extends to nonbelievers; the second, whether it is sinful to doubt the existence of absolute truth; and the third, whether belief in God is merely a product of human thought. 
In his letter of reply, published in today’s edition of the newspaper, Francis begins by saying, “It is nothing other than positive, not only for us individually, but also for the society in which we live, to pause to dialogue about a reality that is as important as faith, which refers to preaching and the figure of Jesus.” 
He points to two circumstances that make such dialogue “proper and precious.” The first, he says, stems from a paradox: that the Christian faith, once seen as a symbol of light, has been branded as the “darkness of superstition” and “opposed to the light of reason” in today’s modern culture, formed by the Enlightenment. 
Noting the lack of communication between the Church and modern culture, Pope Francis said “the time has come” and that the Second Vatican Council “inaugurated” such an exchange for “an open dialogue without preconceptions that reopens the doors to a serious and fruitful meeting.” 
Read the rest here.

I also highly recommend subscribing to the National Catholic Register, it is faithful to Church teachings.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pope Francis & Dove

I received this via email.

I know, I know. We no longer believe in signs and wonders. But I do! Do you? Is this not an acclamation from heaven? Dove = Holy Spirit. Do you not believe the Church is led by the Holy Spirit?

What a beautiful picture...
Pope Francis was waving at the people at saint peter's square Wednesday, 29th May 2013, general audience when, incredibly, a dove perched on his hand!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where have the Sisters Gone?

I’m not talking about the disappearance of the habits, nor am I talking about the tremendous loss of vocations – I’m talking about the defiance of the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) of the mandate of reform imposed by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Imagine that. These sisters are so far off that the Vatican had to step in. But guess what? These same sisters have refused any iota of reform.
All of us love the sisters who devote their lives to Christ’s mission and service. Our minds and memories are filled with many lovely memories. But today, their leadership is so liberal (and that is an insufficient label) that they have gone beyond the pall so long and so far as to defy the Vatican.
I believe most of these ladies are Franciscan. Do they not have in their Rule to love and be faithful to the Pope and Magisterium as Francis was? What happened to their vows of humility, discipline, obedience? And what about the LCWRs membership? If I was a member, I would withdraw so fast my head would spin. Their inaction is a confirmation of their agreement with their leadership.
They are so consumed in their agenda that they are willing to separate themselves from canonical status and form a separate organization according to an article in the National Catholic Register dated 9/8/2013 .
I believe this is a major factor in the continuing loss of vocations. Imagine a young woman loving Christ, filled with love to serve, religious, prayerful. She explores how she may serve more faithfully (note faithfully) and she runs across these defiant, liberal, self-consumed women. Ah, no thanks, she will say, and walk away. You cannot love yourself, dear ladies, and God. You cannot serve the Church by defying it.
Am I going too strong against these ladies? I think not. I have read the mandate. It is available on the internet. These are serious things. Yet these sisters are ignoring it. Here is a sampling: “’corporate dissent,’ ‘serious theological, even doctrinal errors,’ ‘various theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father’ and commentaries that ‘undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of sacred Scripture.’” As reported in the article cited above, and in reading the mandate myself. The mandate can be seen here: http://www.usccb.org/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=55544
In June of 2012 I wrote an open letter entitled: “An Open Letter to My Brothers of the Franciscan First Order and to My Sisters in the Third Order Regular” which can be read here: http://tomsfo1.blogspot.com/2012/06/open-letter-to-my-brothers-of.html in which I expressed my disappointments after I learned that the leadership of the First Order sent a press release in support of the LCWR. I told them how very scandalized I felt.
So a year later these sisters are still standing firm with their arms crossed before them in defiance of the Vatican, not making even the smallest concession like taking down their “Systems Thinking Handbook” from their website which the mandate directed be withdrawn pending revision.

I will continue to pray for these women as I do all religious. Because the direction they are taking is putting their very souls in danger. My faith calls me to correct my brothers and sisters when I see they error. The Vatican has attempted the same. It is now time for them to turn, metanoia.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Religious Freedom - The Situation is Clear

The gravity of the situation is clear from the fact that religious freedom itself is in danger of becoming a second-class right...A telling sign is the preference of governmental spokespersons to substitute the expression "freedom of worship" for "freedom of religion." That is a radical departure from the traditional understanding of religious liberty as a broad array of rights to live out our beliefs as our conscience leads us, alone or with others, in public as well as in private. 
– Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law Professor, Washington Post

O God Our Creator,
from your provident hand we have received
our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
© 2012 USCCB

The greatest thing we can offer our culture

“The greatest thing we can offer our culture, our nation, and our world is friendship with Christ. Nothing so threatens the culture of death and the dictatorship of relativism as an encounter with the love of God in Jesus Christ.”
Fidelis V01 N01, June 2013

Relativism – n. any theory holding that truth or moral or aesthetic value, etc., is not universal or absolute but may differ between individuals or cultures.

Threats against Religious Freedom

“Threats against religious freedom in our country are not imaginary or overstated. They’re happening right now. They’re immediate, serious, and real.”
–Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

So Now We Know Change

Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl

Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl (1508-12) is the most beautiful and youthful of the five sibyls depicted on the Sistine ceiling. The sibyls were female seers from antiquity who were thought to have predicted the coming of Christ, and this sibyl appears startled as she turns her head away from her prophetic scroll and gazes into the future.

The Delphic Sibyl was the voice of Apollo, the greek god of music, poetry, prophecy, and medicine, and it has been suggested that the four colors in her garments represent Earth, Water, Fire, and Air -- the basic elements of life.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Book Review: Bonaventure: Mystical Writings

I just finished this book and wanted to recommend it to anyone interested in St. Bonaventure and in mystical writings. It is not a very hard read, but some terms may throw you. You should read it in a quiet thoughtful setting. Please see the short review below. Some of us have been to Mount Verna where St. Francis received the stigmata. In St. Bonaventure’s love for Francis he explored St. Francis’ rapture in contemplation. I believe St. Bonaventure also experienced that rapture which is a gift from God. He must have experienced it in order to write about it.

Bonaventure: Mystical Writings.  By Fr. Zachary Hayes, O.F.M. Crossroad. 152 pages.  (Available from
Amazon.com Kindle edition.)

In this short and readable book, Fr. Zachary Hayes attempts to make accessible the profound trinitarian and christological theology of the Seraphic Doctor, St. Bonaventure. For centuries the great St. Bonaventure has been overshadowed by his contemporary and friend St. Thomas Aquinas. Fr. Hayes’s work helps bring St. Bonaventure out of the shadows. To do so Fr. Hayes utilizes the general structure of one of St. Bonaventure’s best known works, The Journey of the Soul into God. Fr. Hayes incorporates into his book many illuminating texts which give us a sense of the profundity of Bonaventurian thought.
(New Oxford Review)

Excerpt from the book, page 140:

At the end of the Soliloquy, Bonaventure brings his reflections together in the form of prayer.

I pray, my God, that I may know you; that I may love you; and that I may rejoice in you forever. And if I am not able to experience this to the fullest in this life, may at least my knowledge and love of you increase in this life that my joy may be full in the next life; that the joy which I here hold in hope may there be brought to fulfillment. O Lord, our Father, you counseled, or rather through your Son you commanded that we ask for this fullness of joy; and you promised to hear our prayer. I ask of you, O Lord, for that which, through your Wonder-Counselor, you encouraged us to ask for and promised to grant: that our joy may be full. Meanwhile, let my mind meditate on this joy; let my tongue speak of it; let my heart desire it; let my words extol it; let my soul hunger for it; let my flesh thirst for it; and let my whole substance yearn for it, until I enter into the joy of my God who is Three and One, blessed forever. Amen. (Soliloquy 4.27)

Happy reading.

Definition of Insanity

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What's all this talk about CCHD grants and Cardinal George?

From the Catholic Conference of Illinois:

We wanted to let you know about the unfortunate politicization of Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants.

Most dioceses participate in the CCHD program, collecting money from parishioners for grants to local organizations that serve the poor. When applying for and receiving a CCHD grant, an organization agrees to adhere to Catholic teaching.

Some of these organizations that receive CCHD grants in the Chicago area also belong to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). On May 23, ICIRR issued a statement --  a week before the end of the legislative session -- saying it supported redefinition of marriage legislation pending at the state Capitol. The ICIRR board did not consult its member organizations when reaching this decision.

ICIRR member organizations that were awarded CCHD grants were informed by the Archdiocese of Chicago that in order to adhere to Church teaching and therefore keep the grant, they should disassociate from ICIRR. If they chose to stay with ICIRR, they would lose the CCHD grant since they would be supporting a violation of Church teaching.

Several Chicago and Cook County politicians took out an ad in the Chicago Tribune on Monday, July 29 in the form of a letter to Cardinal George, asking him to allow ICIRR member organizations to keep the CCHD grants. Cardinal George responded to the ad with an open letter posted on the Archdiocese's website.

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley on Wednesday, July 31 made public a similar letter he had sent to Cardinal George in an article in the Chicago Sun-Times. Cardinal George on Thursday responded to Daley's criticisms during interviews with two Chicago television stations (here and here), noting that the poor and immigrants are suffering because of the politicization of the CCHD grants.

The national CCHD office, housed in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, today sent Cardinal George a letter in support of his decision. The letter notes that CCHD application materials and website information state that "organizations that receive CCHD funds must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church. For example, organizations that support or promote same-sex marriage, discrimination, racism, capital punishment, abortion, or euthanasia are not eligible for CCHD funding."

The letter further notes that "violations of these regulations are taken seriously and result in the removal of CCHD support for an organization."

The situation begs an obvious question: Why are Bill Daley and other politicians interfering in how the Church spends its own money that is collected from Catholics in the pews?

The Catholic Conference of Illinois

Kudos to Cardinal George. By the way, isn’t Daley supposed to be a Catholic? Once again, political expediency rules over a politician’s faith and morals. If Dante was alive today, I wonder what circle he would put Daley and his ilk in?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Catholic Basics

Fellow blogger, The Happy Catholic, has compiled a list of Catholic Basic resources. Check out her post and download the pdf. I think you will find it very useful. Go here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

St. Bonaventure (Cardinal-bishop, Doctor of the Church) - July 15

From the Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints in the Liturgy of the Hours:

Almighty God, as we celebrate the birthday of Saint Bonaventure the bishop grant us the grace to profit frim his excellent teaching and always to imitate the ardor of his love. We ask this through our Lord Jesis Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spitit, one God, for ever and ever.

From Wikipedia:

He was born at Bagnoregio in Latium, not far from Viterbo, then part of the Papal States. Almost nothing is known of his childhood, other than the names of his parents, Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria Ritella.

He entered the Franciscan Order in 1243 and studied at the University of Paris, possibly under Alexander of Hales, and certainly under Alexander's successor, John of Rochelle. In 1253 he held the Franciscan chair at Paris. Unfortunately for Bonaventure, a dispute between seculars and mendicants delayed his reception as Master until 1257, where his degree was taken in company with Thomas Aquinas. Three years earlier his fame had earned him the position of lecturer on the The Four Books of Sentences—a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century—and in 1255 he received the degree of master, the medieval equivalent of doctor.

After having successfully defended his order against the reproaches of the anti-mendicant party, he was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order. On 24 November 1265, he was selected for the post of Archbishop of York; however, he was never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266. It was by his order that Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar himself, was interdicted from lecturing at Oxford and compelled to put himself under the surveillance of the Order at Paris.

Bonaventure was instrumental in procuring the election of Pope Gregory X, who rewarded him with the title of Cardinal Bishop of Albano, and insisted on his presence at the great Council of Lyon in 1274. There, after his significant contributions led to a union of the Greek and Latin churches, Bonaventure died suddenly and in suspicious circumstances. The Catholic Encyclopedia has citations which suggest he was poisoned. The only extant relic of the saint is the arm and hand with which he wrote his Commentary on the Sentences, which is now conserved at Bagnoregio, in the parish church of St. Nicholas.

He steered the Franciscans on a moderate and intellectual course that made them the most prominent order in the Catholic Church until the coming of the Jesuits. His theology was marked by an attempt completely to integrate faith and reason. He thought of Christ as the “one true master” who offers humans knowledge that begins in faith, is developed through rational understanding, and is perfected by mystical union with God.

From the Catholic Company:

St. Bonaventure is clearly a marvelous saint, but what makes him relevant today? St. Bonaventure taught a very important lesson during his life which must continue to be taught. He proposed that theology can only be done rightly with love of God and desire of union with him. Essentially what this means is that theology ought to be a practical science. Theology cannot or should not simply be thinking about God and who or what he is. Theology done rightly will lead one to a deeper piety and love of God. I think, and Bonaventure would probably agree with me, that today many theologians do not engage theology in the practical way St. Bonaventure advocates for. I find that this results in some off the wall theological ideas and arguments. St. Bonaventure’s ideas still need to be remembered for anyone who seeks to learn more about who God is and what he is, or other theological inquiries.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Four Ways that Same-Sex Marriage Will Affect You

It seems as if today everything is political correctness and we have all fallen into the trap. We tend not to want to touch certain topics for fear of being called intolerant or in fact of being ostracized. We don’t defend our faith either in our conversations with others or by our voting privileges. We will vote for those who we see will fatten out pocket books or increase the handouts we want, not because of our hard work, but because we deserve it. So we do not vote for those who reflect our morals and values, but for those who will give us the most. In the mean time we will put up with their agenda, corruption, patronage and anti-Catholicism. We do not defend our faith or our moral values because we are not knowledgeable of the issues. We go with the flow, we reflect what was said on the “news.”

We have become so desensitized after years and years of hearing the same mantras. We have accepted abortion, the killing of our unborn children, as normal. Every television program, sitcom, has its homosexual character, so it too, is normal. Faith inspiring programs are nonexistent, programs depicting a strong father figure are nonexistent, instead we have the wonderful figures of Homer Simpson and the Family Guy.

I was aghast that the entity I work for actually had a float in the recent gay pride parade in Chicago. It is one thing to tolerate, it is another to encourage. All in the name of political correctness. The news media gives this event an inordinate amount of coverage, but they will not show you or inform you of the offensiveness and disgusting nature of the things that go on at this event.

We are told that same sex marriage has no effect on us. We must be tolerant. Homosexuality is not aberrant, just a different normal. In the recent past we accepted the thought to hate the sin, but love the sinner. But today there is no more sin. Why? Because the law says so.

I recently read an article which showed that same sex marriage has a deleterious effect on us and our society/culture. Here is his fourth point:

4. Catholicism and gay rights are incompatible.

At present the Church, and all Christians of a traditional sort, coexist in a false and uneasy truce with the sexual revolution. There has always been sin in the world, of course, and Christianity and sin are always incompatible, but increasingly our world is one of sin normalized, institutionalized, made official. Think of the almost unbearable moral contradiction baked into abortion law, for instance. And of the inescapable conclusion that what the state says about abortion falsifies Catholicism.

Same-sex marriage, I think, will magnify this tension, perhaps to a point where it can no longer be smoothed over or ignored. The state and the culture say two persons of the same sex can marry; the Church says they can’t. This condition can’t endure. The Church’s position is just too great an obstacle—an insult—to the sexual liberation project, of which homosexuality has become the popular symbol.

So, you might ask, when the state and all the force of law say that our religion is false, that it is in fact bigoted, isn’t there a teensy chance it will affect us in some way? We don’t have to make wild predictions here—we just have to look at recent precedent. Viewed in the context of the fight against the HHS mandate and the state’s accompanying argument that religious freedom is really nothing more than “freedom of worship,” it seems clear enough that the logical terminus of legalized same-sex marriage is the forced relocation of Catholics to the closet—or the catacombs.

His other points were: Ideas have consequences; We all have to live in the world that SSM will create; and, Error has no rights. I encourage you to read the entire article. Here is the link.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Praise God! Illinois Parental Notification of Abortion Law

Very good news today. Another step forward.

Great news! The Illinois Supreme Court today ruled the state's 1995 parental notification of abortion law can finally be implemented.

The Catholic Conference of Illinois had this to say:

Catholic Conference of Illinois says parents ‘can breathe a sigh of relief’ with state Supreme Court ruling allowing Parental Notice of Abortion Act

CHICAGO — The Catholic Conference of Illinois applauds today’s unanimous Illinois Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for a 1995 parental notification of abortion law to finally be implemented.

State lawmakers approved the legislation requiring that a parent or legal guardian be notified when a minor seeks an abortion in order to protect our children from making a life-or-death decision on their own. The measure includes a waiver for those children who have been physically or sexually abused.

Special interests and legal wranglings barred the law from taking effect for 18 years, setting up the state as an abortion haven for children from surrounding states, which already have parental notification laws in place.

“With this ruling, parents across the state and the Midwest can breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that state law finally allows them to fully parent their children, and safeguard their lives and those of the unborn,” said Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois.

Gilligan noted the decision cited other court rulings that recognize minors often lack the maturity, experience and judgment to distinguish harmful choices, as well as observing that juvenile justice systems exist for those very reasons.

The Catholic Conference of Illinois strongly supported the original legislation, lent its support to defeating the legal challenges to the law, and fought off subsequent legislative efforts to undermine the role of parents.