Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ann Coulter Exposes pro-abortion Orwellian Doublespeak

Ann Coulter speaking at The Value Voters Summit 22 September 2006

Ann in her inimitable way, shows how those who support abortion rights are using a double-speak that would make George Orwell jealous. The political leaders in 1984 have nothing on them.

The Catholic Vote (EWTN special series)

A new series is beginning on EWTN that will run for the next 6 weeks. This series in entitled Election 2006: The Catholic Vote. The series is hosted by Fr. Frank Pavone. It began on Fri 29 Sept & will run for the next 6 weeks at 9 pm CT & repeated a 1:30 am CT Sat morning. It is also carried on EWTN Radio at 1 am ET on Fridays, 6:30 pm ET on Saturdays & 5 am ET on Sundays.
The topics are as follows:
Episode 1: "What Kind of Government Are We?"
Episode 2: "Without Life, We Have Nothing Else!"
Episode 3: "The Enemy is Us! -- We can do a lot more than we think we can!"
Episode 4: "Every Vote Counts, Inside and Out!"
Episode 5: "Party Loyalty and Loyalty to Christ"
Episode 6: "Things You Can Do Today!"

More info can be found, including dates & detailed info about each program, in the program guide on the Priests for Life website. A video tape edition of the series is also available. Order info is also available on their website.

Friday, September 29, 2006

5 Non-negotiable Issues in the 2006 Election

In recent election cycles Catholic Answers has come out with a voting guide that lists the most important issues to be looked at when a Catholic, or any Christian for that matter, wants to truly vote in a way that he or she is truly & faithfully following Jesus' teachings. The guide lists what they call the 5 Non-negotiable issues. These issues are 1. Abortion, 2. Euthenasia, 3. Embryonic stem-cell research, 4. Human cloning, & 5. Homosexual "Marriage". As the guide says about the issues, they are "intrinsically evil & must never be promoted by the law."
The Catholic edition of the guide looks at it from the standpoint of the Catholic Church's teachings on these issues while the Christian edition looks at it from the Biblical viewpoint. (Note: The Catholic teachings it references are based on the Biblical viewpoints mentioned in the Christian edition for any of you who may be wondering.)
The guides go on to look at how to evaluate the candidates. It also looks at what to do when neither candidate is ideal. It says that in that case "we are to chose the best option, the one that promotes the greatest good and entails the least evil."
The election is only a little over a month away. It is important that we chose the right men & women to represent us. With prayer & careful study we can fulfill our moral obligation to be good citizens.
Catholic Answers Action

2006 Voting Guides


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Election T-minus 40 Days

29 Sept 2006 is exactly 40 days until the elections at which all the members of the US House of Representatives 1/3 of our US Senators many governors as well as other state & local officials will be chosen.
It is important that we all be aware of where the candidates stand on the issues, esp the most important ones, the right to life issues (ending abortion, banning cloning & fetal stem cell research) . Then we need to vote accordingly.
It is also important to work to get out friends & family to vote for those who are pro-life. You can also write letters to the editor of your local paper.
But, most important of all all this should be built on a foundation of prayer. & if at all possible some form of fasting. This prayer & fasting should include repentance for the sins of our nation, asking God to raise up Godly men & women as leaders who will wotk for what is right.
Intercessors for America has set up a website that includes a prayer guide. The guide has specific intentions for each day & serves as a good starting point for how to pray as well as what to pray for.

Monday, September 25, 2006

More on Sunday's readings, this time from Papa Benedetto

At his Angelus address on Sun 24 Sept the Holy Father reflected on the readings from Sunday's Mass. In it he reflects on the 2nd reading from the Epistle of James & how it applied to Sister Leonella Sgorbati, the Italian missionary who was recently murdered in Somalia. If you don't remember, it was reported that she repeatedly said that she forgave the 2 gunman who shot her, possibly as a retaliation for what the Pope had said at the University of Regensburg.
"Also recalled, in today's liturgy, is the Letter of St. James: "Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity." The apostle concludes: "A fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace" (3:16-18).
This word brings to mind the witness of so many Christians who, with humility and in silence, spend their life at the service of others for the sake of the Lord Jesus, working concretely as servants of love and therefore "artisans" of peace. Some are asked to give the supreme testimony of blood, as happened a few days ago to the Italian religious, Sister Leonella Sgorbati, who fell victim to violence. This nun, who for many years served the poor and the children in Somalia, died pronouncing the word "pardon": This is the most authentic Christian witness, a peaceful sign of contradiction which shows the victory of love over hate and evil.
No doubt, following Christ is difficult, but, as he says, only the one who loses his life for the sake of the Gospel will save it (cf. Mark 8:35), giving full sense to one's existence. There exists no other path to be his disciples, there is no other path to witness to his love and tend toward evangelical perfection"
The entire Angelus address can be found on Zenit:
As I said in the previous blog, the timing of the readings is no conincidence. It is evidence of the Hand of the Holy Spirit at work.

Interesting Take on Sunday's readings & the Pope

While checking out some of the different news sites that I like to look at I came across a link titled Today's ironic readings. Naturally it caught my attention. So, I clicked on the link. It was a connection to a blog by Mark Mallett, a Catholic musician. He had titled his entry for 23 Sept Today's Readings: On the Mark. In it he reflects on the readings for Sunday 24 Sept 2006, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.
In it he looks at the 3 readings as well as the repsonsorial psalm from the Mass & as he notes: "TODAY’S Sunday Mass readings remarkably call to mind Pope Benedict XVI and the events of this past week."
I agree that they are remarkably right on the mark (& so is Mark on the mark in his take, pun intended) about the situation with Papa Benedetto & the outcry about what he said in his address at the University of Regensburg. But, I suspect that it is much more that what the world would call mere coincidence. Rather, I suspect that the Holy Spirit is behind this "coincidence". Over the years I have seen too many times when the readings were just right for a certain time & place. This is not to say that God's Word doesn't always have a "now" application at the time they are read at Mass. But, God knows the whole of what we call the future. & He knew that at some times there would be a need to especially hear certain readings from His Word. So, I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit inspired those planning the Lectionary back in the lates 60s so that these readings would fall on this date in 2006. It is a sign of how much God loves us. & a sign that He is ultimately in charge despite what we may want to think.
Here is link to the whole entry:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Hypocrocy of NBC

Most people with children are familiar with the animated series VeggieTales. They are a series of stories based on the Bible. Apparently NBC, who isn't afraid to offend Christians is afraid to offend non-Christians.
Originally NBC claims that they were either edited for time:
"VeggieTales was originally created for home video and, in most cases, each episode is over 30 minutes long. As it appears …. VeggieTales has been edited down for broadcast without losing any of its core messages about positive values," the network said." (World Net Daily)
But World Net Daily quotes Phil Vischer, the co-creator of the characters as saying on his weblog: "As a guy deeply involved with the project, I know that statement is false. We sent them our first episode for TV, which was already edited to EXACTLY the right length, and they rejected it because, at the end, Bob the Tomato said, 'Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much.' They demanded we remove that line. The show wasn't too long, it was too religious."
The report goes on: "He said the second also was sent edited for perfect timing. The response from NBC was an e-mail with a list of lines that needed to be removed, "each of them containing either the word 'God' or 'Bible,'" Vischer wrote. "
Later NBC changed its claim & said it was for religious content:
"The show was edited to comply with the network's broadcast standards, said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks. "Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view." (FoxNews)
According to the report on " "VeggieTales" creator Phil Vischer, who was responsible for readying episodes for network broadcast, said he didn't know until just weeks before the shows were to begin airing that non-historical references to God and the Bible would have to be removed.
Had he known how much he'd have to change the show — including Bob and Larry's tagline, "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much," that concludes each episode — Vischer said he wouldn't have signed on for the network deal.
"I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money," he said, adding that "there weren't enough shows that could work well without those (religious) references." "
The report goes on to say: "All programs set to air on NBC must meet the network's broadcast standards, said Alan Wurtzel, a broadcast standards executive. "VeggieTales" was treated the same as any other program, he said.

"There's a fine line of universally accepted religious values," he said. "We don't get too specific with any particular religious doctrine or any particular religious denomination."
It will be interesting to see if NBC's supposed newfound sensativity extends to not airing the crucifixion scene when it airs Madonna's film of the concert containing it. It hasn't officially made a decision yet. But even if in this case it does, considering its past record, NBC has showed little care about getting specific when it comes to allowing programs that mock Catholics & Christians.
I can't help but wonder at how far we have come from the days when television welcomed good Christian content. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen had the #1 rated show in the 50s. He got there by being open about his faith. He was clearly a Catholic. How much more specific could you get than some of the things on his set as well as how he was dressed? He always ended his show saying "Good-bye. & God love you." By today's NBC standards Archbishop Sheen would not be able to have a staute of Mary on his set, a Crucifix, (they might let him keep the angel), most of what he wore as a part of his being an Archbishop would have to go (maybe keep the collar?) & that ending would have only been "Good-bye."
Vischer has recently updated his blog. He states that while he is glad that NBC has clarified things (see below) & he accepts their rights to set their own standards he goes on to say: "I wish I had known the extent of the required cuts before agreeing to reformat the shows, because I probably would have declined the invitation to participate. While some VeggieTales shows work fine without overt references to God or the Bible (like Snoodle's Tale, which presents God allegorically, or Sheerluck Holmes, which simply teaches the Golden Rule), most of the shows I wrote in the pre-bankruptcy days don't really teach lessons about values at all, but rather about God. And those shows don't hold up very well if you try to take God out. So I probably would have declined to participate simply because there aren't enough veggie shows that could be made acceptable to NBC without signifanctly compromising their message."
I agree with NBC's right to choice its own content. But they should have been upfront about what was or wasn't acceptable. It stricks me that NBC mislead Mr. Vischer. They knew of VeggieTales popularity as well as the heart of its content. They saw an opportunity to get a potential ratings hit on their schedule. & the people at Big Idea who own VeggieTales knew that they would have do some editing:

"When we were presented with the opportunity to reach a mass television audience, we knew that certain religious references would not be allowed on a children's block under current TV network guidelines. And we recognized that we were not going to change the rules of network television overnight.

In light of this, "Can Big Idea continue to fulfill its mission of enhancing the spiritual and moral fabric of society through creative media?" became the question we had to answer. Can VeggieTales make a difference on Saturday morning? We think so. " (from the VeggieTales website)
But, apparently NBC mislead them as to exactly what was acceptable. NBC knew if they had been forward about the true extent of what they would have allowed they could have never gotten their potential cash cow. They are coming across as wanting the hit without the heart, they were only after the bucks they could make. But they don't want a positive view of God. & when the truth came out their changing stories make it clear that they were caught with their hand in the cookie jar. NBC's double "Standards" have come back to bite them.
The positive I see out of this is that the true message of VeggieTales is now getting a wider audience than it ever would have. & NBC may be forced to allow VeggieTales to be aired as Big Idea originally edited them, again allowing the message to get out. & NBC will now have to hold itself to a higher standard on how it handles religion on its other shows. There will be plenty of people waiting to hold NBC to it. & they will probably have to. As I said, NBC's track record, including the current season, doesn't give me any reason to think otherwise. But, I will wait & see.
VeggieTales website:
Phil Vischer weblog:
News reports:,2933,215266,00.html

San Padre Pio di Pietrelcina

Today is the feast of Padre Pio. Padre Pio was a Capuchin priest who was a member of the convent at San Giovanni Rotondo, Italia. Padre Pio was the 1st Catholic priest to bear the Stigmata. He was born in Pietrelcina, Italia on 25 May 1887.
1903 - Begins novitiate
1904 - 1st vows
1907 - Solemn vows
1910 - Ordained a priest 1st signs of stigmata
After this suffered many illnesses & spent time between various convents & family home
1918 - Transverberation, 5-7 August; Stigmatization, 20 September
From this time on he underwent various medical examinations . At times he was attacked by Satan. He had various spiritual gifts such as the ability to read hearts, bilocation, prophecy, working of miracles as well as the gift of perfume. At times he was silenced by the Vatican. Throughout it all he simply desired to minister to those who came to him by providing the sacraments to them. He never sought notoriety, fame or financial gain. His concern with the sick included the founding of a hospital in San Giovanni Rotondo, La Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza (The House for the Relief of Suffering).
On 22 Sept 1968 he celebrated his last Mass. he died early in the day on 23 Sept.
1999 - 2 May beatified by Pope John Paul II
2002 - 16 June canonized by Pope John Paul II, feast day 23 Sept made an obligatory memorial
There are many stories of the miracles worked by Padre Pio. He was sought after as a confessor. Here too, many stories abound. He would often remind someone of a sin he or she forgot. At other times he would refuse to grant absolution because the Holy Spirit revealed to him that the person was not truly sorry for the sins. Most times that was the opening for the Holy Spirit to begin to convict the person who later returned & made a sincere confession.
This is only a small survey of the life & work of San Pio. It is impossible for me to go into great detail about all God did through His servant. I would highly recommend a couple of books. The 1st is Padre Pio and America by Frank Riga (TAN Books). Another one I reccomend as a good introduction to Padre Pio is a small booklet Who is Padre Pio? (TAN Books) These & many other good books about Padre Pio that can be found through the groups below.
Sadly there are also some groups who are trying to use Padre Pio to undermine Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul & Vatican II. Padre Pio was an obedient son of the Church. He didn't celebrate the Novus Ordo Mass as it wasn't promulgated until after his death. So, if you read that he was opposed to it, this is a lie as he couldn't have been. Yes, he did continue to say the Mass in Latin. He took advantage of the special permission given to older priests to do so. But, he did so facing the people when it was allowed post Vatican II. I have seen the film of his last Mass. He was clearly facing the people with the High Altar behind him.
Padre Pio on obedience:
"Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good. Where good is wanting, there is no love; where there is no love, God is absent; where God is absent, there is no heaven."
On love:
"The pivot of perfection is love; he who lives in love lives in God, because God is love, as the Apostle says."
"God can reject everything in a creature conceived in sin and of which it bears the indelible impression inherited from Adam. But He can absolutely not reject the sincere desire to love Him."
"Humility and charity go hand in hand. The one glorifies, the other sanctifies."

Padre Pio Foundation of America

National Centre for Padre Pio (Official site in USA for the canonization process)

Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina
Frank M Rega Padre Pio Prayer Group

Padre Pio Devotions

Padre Pio Prayer Groups USA

Colbert Remarks on the Pope's Comments and Muslim Response

Colbert Remarks on the Popes Comments and Muslim Response

Found this from Colbert. Proves the truth in the fact that the best humor is based on the truth. The number, 1 billion, is definitely a bit of an exageration, but those who are over reacting seem to looking for any excuse to justify their violence.

We need to keep praying for Papa Benedetto, that God will protect him from harm. Also, that people will see the truth, this wasn't an attack on Islam.

Friday, September 22, 2006


A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Since America's founding, every generation has produced patriots willing to sacrifice for our great Nation. Many of these proud sons and daughters have given everything for our freedom, and America has mourned the loss of every life. On Gold Star Mother's Day, we pay special tribute to the mothers of those lost while defending our country and extending the blessings of liberty to others.
Gold Star Mothers have long borne the hardships of war with dignity and devotion. Through heartbreaking loss and unimaginable grief, they continue to support each other through difficult times, stand up for those wearing the uniform of the United States, and serve their communities in the best traditions of the American spirit. Their strength, compassion, and determination are an inspiration to all and a source of great pride for our Nation.
America lives in freedom because of the sacrifices of America's finest citizens and of the mothers who raised them. In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, "There is nothing adequate which anyone in any place can say to those who are entitled to display the gold star in their windows." Each year, this observance is an opportunity to offer our solemn respect to Gold Star Mothers and renew our ongoing pledge that America will always remember those who died while wearing the uniform of the United States and forever honor their families' sacrifice.
The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 115 of June 23, 1936 (49 Stat. 1895 as amended), has designated the last Sunday in September as "Gold Star Mother's Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in its observance. On this day, we express our deep gratitude to our Nation's Gold Star Mothers, and we ask God's blessings on them and on their families.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, September 24, 2006, as Gold Star Mother's Day. I call upon all Government officials to display the flag of the United States over Government buildings on this solemn day. I also encourage the American people to display the flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our Nation's sympathy and respect for our Gold Star Mothers.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first.

St. Augustine: Prepare your soul for temptation

This was the 2nd reading from today's (Fri 22 Sept) Office of Readings from the Litury of the Hours Roman (Latin) Rite. It is from a sermon given by St. Augustine. While it is aimed at Bishops & Priests to encourage them to properly care for their flocks it still is applicable to all of us. It reminds us that we will all face trials & need to be ready for them. It is also a caution for those out there who preach what has come to be known as the "Prosperity Gospel". It reminds us where our real treasure lies, in Jesus & that it should be stored in Heaven.
"You have already been told about the wicked things shepherds desire. Let us now consider what they neglect. You have failed to strengthen what was weak, to heal what was sick, and to bind up what was injured (that is, what was broken). You did not call back the straying sheep, nor seek out the lost. What was strong you have destroyed. Yes, you have cut it down and killed it. The sheep is weak, that is to say, its heart is weak, and so, incautious and unprepared, it may give in to temptations.
The negligent shepherd fails to say to the believer: My son, come to the service of God. stand fast in fear and in righteousness, and prepare your soul for temptation. A shepherd who does say this strengthens the one who is weak and makes him strong. Such a believer will then not hope for the prosperity of this world. For if he has been taught to hope for worldly gain, he will be corrupted by prosperity. When adversity comes, he will be wounded or perhaps destroyed.The builder who builds in such manner is not building the believer on a rock but upon sand. But the rock was Christ. Christians must imitate Christ’s sufferings, not set their hearts on pleasures. He who is weak will be strengthened when told: “Yes, expect the temptations of this world, but the Lord will deliver you from them all if your heart has not abandoned him. For it was to strengthen your heart that he came to suffer and die, came to be spit upon and crowned with thorns, came to be accused of shameful things, yes, came to be fastened to the wood of the cross. All these things he did for you, and you did nothing. He did them not for himself, but for you”.
But what sort of shepherds are they who for fear of giving offence not only fail to prepare the sheep for the temptations that threaten, but even promise them worldly happiness? God himself made no such promise to this world. On the contrary, God foretold hardship upon hardship in this world until the end of time. And you want the Christian to be exempt from these troubles? Precisely because he is a Christian, he is destined to suffer more in this world.
For the Apostle says: All who desire to live a holy life in Christ will suffer persecution. But you, shepherd, seek what is yours and not what is Christ’s, you disregard what the Apostle says: All who want to live a holy life in Christ will suffer persecution. You say instead: “If you live a holy life in Christ, all good things will be yours in abundance. If you do not have children, you will embrace and nourish all men, and none of them shall die”. Is this the way you build up the believer? Take note of what you are doing and where you are placing him. You have built him on sand. The rains will come, the river will overflow and rush in, the winds will blow, and the elements will dash against that house of yours. It will fall, and its ruin will be great.
Lift him up from the sand and put him on the rock. Let him be in Christ, if you wish him to be a Christian. Let him turn his thoughts to sufferings, however unworthy they may be in comparison to Christ’s. Let him centre his attention on Christ, who was without sin, and yet made restitution for what he had not done. Let him consider Scripture, which says to him: He chastises every son whom he acknowledged. Let him prepare to be chastised, or else not seek to be acknowledged as a son."

Rosh Hashana

Sunset tonite marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The Hebrew is literally translated as head of the year. It is 1 of the major Jewish feasts prescribed in Leviticus.
"Tell the Israelites: On the first day of the seventh month you shall keep a sabbath rest, with a sacred assembly and with the trumpet blasts as a reminder; you shall then do no sort of work, and you shall offer an oblation to the LORD." Lev 23:24-25
Rather than try & explain it I will simply share a thought shared by the Rabbi at Beth El Jacob Synagogue in Des Moines, IA, Rabbi Aaron Schwarzbaum:
"Folks often worry about what people think of them so they go out of their way to put on a good facade to ensure that they will be liked. We're often afraid to reveal our true feelings and our true personality because of a fear of rejection. Sometimes people would rather lie than risk pain.
The truth is that too often we enter into relationships that are superficial and trite. However, if true friendship and long lasting relationships are our goal, then honesty is a must. We must be willing to let our hair down (if you are fortunate to have some) and be truthful and straight forward in order to allow ourselves a chance at reaching that ever fulfilling experience known as "true friendship".
The same is true for successful marriage, emotionally healthy children, a prosperous business or any situation we in which we hope to succeed.
So, now let's consider our relationship with God.
As we approach the Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we must take time to inspect our attitude towards life. We need to see if our external behavior truly represents our true selves. It is essential for us to come before God with our best foot forward and to focus on all the blessings we have revived during the past year. We can never take for granted all that is done for us on a daily basis by God"
As a Catholic I know that the roots of my faith are in the Jewish Faith. The Jewish people have been horribly persecuted over the years. & there are many out there in Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran etc that would gladly wipe them off the face of the Earth. In doing so they want to attack, as Casper ten Boom was quoted in The Hiding Place to have said, "the apple of God's eye." Let us pray for God to bless & protect the Jewish people as they begin their New Year. May the Lord thwart the plans of those who would harm them. May He give the Israeli leaders the wisdom they need to guide Israel & do what is right & just as the Torah teaches.
"Pray for the peace (Shalom) of Israel." Psalm 122:6
Beth El Jacob Synagaogue:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Furor over what Papa Benedetto supposedly said about Islam

The last few days there has been a huge furror over what the Pope is supposed to have said when he gave his address at the University of Regensburg on Tues 12 Sept 2006. Frankly, I think the reaction of the radical Islamic groups as well as many others in the media proved 2 things, that there was a point to what was said. & that the mainstream media is mostly a bunch of hypocrites. They are criticizing the Pope for a non-attack on Islam as a whole & they condone attacks on Christianity & Catholicism by not criticising things like The DaVinci Code which is an out & out attack on the truths of Christianity.
I am not going to say a lot as so many others have said the same things I could say to expand on the above. But, I would like to point out the difference between those who speak for Christianity/Catholicism & those radicals who claim to be at the heart of Islam.
Reaction by Radical Islamists
When the cartoons printed in the Danish Newspaper came out there was rioting with damage done & death threats. Much the same as after the misquoting of the Pope. There were death threats to the Pope, riots, several Catholic Churches were attacked with fire bombs in the West Bank & Gaza & damaged. & even a possible death of a nun in Somalia. The basic message by many Islamic leaders after both events can be summarized as get revenge on those who have, in our view, have attacked Mohamed. (Note that they are decrying attacks on a human being.) There has been a call for a holy war, a jihad to wipe on all of Christianity.
Reactions by Christians/Catholics
When The DaVinci Code came out, which was an attack on God not a mere human being, did Christians riot? Did any Catholic leader call for the death of Dan Brown when the book came out? Or did any Christian leader call for the death of Ron Howard for putting out the movie? Were there any book stores or movie theaters burned down? No. What came out were plenty of well reasoned articles, books, DVDs & CDs with well reasoned responses to what was in the book. You will hear groups criticizing attacks by plays, TV Shows, cartoons, Madonna's Performance (something that was a definite blasphemy) etc. But, no violence. The total opposite of what the radical Islamist have done.
If the radical Islamists were trying to disprove the claim of violence inherent in their brand of Islam then they failed miserably. In fact they proved just the opposite. I won't even go into the idiocies of people like Rosie O'Donnell. All I will say about her comments is that when you consider her life story they make perfect sense. She is a fallen away Catholic living in a lesbian relationship. She knows that this is immoral, is sinful. She knows that what the Catholic Church & orthodox Christianity teaches about it being wrong is correct. But rather than repenting of her sin & returning to God, she lashes out at God by lashing out at His Body here on Earth, Christians.
On Sunday the Pope said the following at his Angelus address: "I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg." This was a follow up of a statement issued the day before by the Vatican Secretary of State. That statement was an attempt to clarify what was said by the Pope & to counteract the Radicalists' claims. Sadly the refused to listen to either, claiming it isn't enough. Personally, I don't think any apology would be enough. This is just the excuse they were looking for to justify the violence they want to do.
Fr. Jonathan on Fox's Hannity & Colmes got it right when he said that the Pope didn't apologize for what he said. He didn't need to. He said nothing wrong. These Radicals are intentionally taking it wrong. A couple of articles on the Ignatius Insight website puts what he said in proper perspective. The 1st is The Regensburg Lecture: Thinking Rightly About God and Man by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. The 2nd is Is Dialogue with Islam Possible? Some Reflections on Pope Benedict XVI's Address at the University of Regensburg by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. Both of these articles give excelent analysis of the Pope's address & what he was hoping to acomplish by his address. Fr. Schall also has an excelent commentary on what the Pope was really trying to do in that address, Ratzinger and Regensburg: On What Is a University? (links below)
I heard on 1 of the radio talk shows a comment that in this person's opinion it is only about 20% of Islam that is of this radical bent. He admitted that that was just his guess. But regardless of the actual number the point he making was true. This small group is holding the majority of Islam in a terrified silence. The good who oppose the violence are afraid of what might happen to them if they dare to speak up against the radicals. If this is true then we need to pray for the majority to find a way to silence the radicals so that instead of an all out war there can be a true dialog & better understanding. If not, then we need to pray for the truth to come out & be recognized by the world so that i can be dealt with as it should be.
In the end though, the truth is, that we need to keep proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus as Papa Benedetto said during the Israeli-Hezbollah war. Without Jesus, true peace will never be achieved.

Papa Benedetto's Speech at the University of Regensburg

Pope's Angelus comments:

Vatican statement on this put out by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State:

Fr. Jonathan Morris (Fox News):,2933,214338,00.html

The Regensburg Lecture articles:

Is Dialogue with Islam Possible?:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Interesting test I found on the internet

I just found a website on the internet that determines which Sci-Fi writer you are most like. This is the result:

I am:
Isaac Asimov
One of the most prolific writers in history, on any imaginable subject. Cared little for art but created lasting and memorable tales.

Which science fiction writer are you?

While I may disagree with some of his views on God & religion, & definitely his politics are much more to the left of mine, he still is my favorite Sci-Fi author. The 1 thing he was big on was learning all 4 verses of the National Anthem of the USA, The Star Spangled Banner. He was unabashedly a lover of the USA because of what happenned in his homeland of Russia because of the communist rule.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy 219th Birthday!!!! US Constitution

Today marks the day in 1787 on which the Constitution of the United States of America was signed by the delegates to the convention that had created it. Actually, I should say signed by those who supported it in their final form. There were some, who for reasons they felt were good refused to sign it. Among the complaints was the lack of a bill of rights. This was later corrected by the passing of the 1st 10 Amendments we now call the Bill of Rights.
Ben Franklin prepared a speech for that last day which he had Judge James Wilson give for him. He talked about his concerns that it wasn't perfect. He said: "I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution." This he said was due to the weaknesses that are inherant in any group of men gathered together for such a purpose. But then he went on to say that despite what he perceived as flaws: "It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does." He continued: "Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure, that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors, I sacrifice to the public good."
He is also reported as saying at the end that in viewing the chair that George Washington sat on he often wondered if the carving on its back was a rising or setting sun. "I now see that it is a rising sun."
There are some valid concerns about how faithful we are being to the Constitution these days. I've talked about Judge Napolitano's books on the Constitution & highly recomend them. There are 2 other books I would suggest that will help you to understand what the real meaning of the Constitution is. They are both available in inexpensive paperback editions. The 1st & most important is The Federalist Papers. This book is a collection of the series of articles written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton & John Jay to explain the meaning of the Constitution & to answer the objections of those in New York opposing that state's ratification of the Constitution. The paperback edition that I like is edited by Clinton Rossiter & is published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (ISBN: 0451528816). The 2nd is The Anti-Federalist Papers & the Constitutional Convention Debates. The edition I use is Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (ISBN: 0451528840), edited by Ralph Ketcham & is crossed referenced to the edition of The Federalist Papers that I use. This book has a cross-selection of the various articles written to oppose the Constitution as well as a summary of the various debates during the Convention. As I pointed out it is cross referenced to the other edition, making it easy to look at both sides of the debate. They also contain the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution of the United States of America. There are also many inexpensive editions of just the Declaration & Constitution out there.
A few years ago Congress passed a law that requires all schools from grade to college to celebrate Constitution Day (18 Septemebr this year because today is a Sunday.). This law was a result of the unfortunant tendancy in recent years to gloss over the study of it in schools. It is a start. We need to have a better undertanding of why the Constitution came about. If not, we will not stand up for its proper implimentation by Congress, the President, the Courts & the States. We also need to get back to knowing its foundations in natural law.
The other thing needed is for our country to return to being a religious people. John Adams said that this is the only way it could ever function properly. The reason is, a non-religious people would deny the foundation in natural law since that comes from a creator. Without acknowledging a Supreme Being we won't acknowledge the rest. George Washington knew that he had to rely on God to properly exercise his duties as president. That is why he added "So help me God." at the end of the oath when he was 1st sworn in as president. Thomas Jefferson regularly attended religious services on Sundays. When asked why he replied that it was his duty as president to set a good example. The Founding Fathers wanted to prevent an official state church. They never wanted, despite what many people claim today, to remove it from the public discourse. If they did the 1st Amendement wouldn't begin with: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". (Emphasis mine.) Free exercise includes using it as a basis for supporting laws.
Our Founding Fathers, & Mothers for that matter, would be shocked by how some are trying to use them to drive religion from the public discourse. They would be upset by how many other areas of the Constitution we have allowed to be undermined. It is time we returned to our roots. I thank God for the blessings of our Constitution that enables us to: "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" (Constitution) so that we could "assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them." (Declaration)
National Archives short history of the writing & ratifying of the Constitution:
Ben Franklin's speech:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pray for Your Enemies

There has been a lot of discussion lately about what rights terrorists who attack our country do or don't have when brought to trial. How should they be treated? Should they be tortured?
To me the answer is simple. The USA's Constitution & system of laws is based on Natural Law. We also claim to be a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles. So, there is where we start to look to find the answer.
What does it say in natural law about the rights of a person. The simplist answer to this is to quote from the Declaration of Independence, which embodies the principles of natural law as its foundation. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
There it is in, as Thomas Jefferson said later when explaining why the Declaration was written: "words so clear as to demand their assent." Every human being, even our enemies, has certain rights that need to be protected. The Declaration goes on to remind us that the purpose of any government is to secure & protect those rights. It makes no difference between citizens & non-citizens. A government has to ensure that everyone's rights are secured.
OK, that was easy, now onto the 2nd part.
To answer this we need to look at what Jesus said about how we are to treat our enemies. There are 2 things in particular I can think of. The 1st is what we call the golden rule: "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12 (Or as found in Luke 6:31"Do to others as you would have them do to you. ")
We find the 2nd in Matthew 5:43-44 Jesus said: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you."
We are called to treat others, esp our enemies, as we would like to be treated. We would want our rights protected no matter where we are in the world. That alone answers the question, they have certain rights that need to be protected. & it also excludes torture.
But the 2nd quote requires us to go beyond that, it requires us to pray for our enemies, all those who would destroy us. While this doesn't negate the right to defend ourselves as found in the just-war theory that is Catholic teaching taken by Aquinas from Natural Law, it does mean we can't seek revenge. It means we need to go even further, we need to pray for them that God will change their hearts & have them turn away from the evil they are doing to us. In the end the only true & lasting peace will come when we let God change our hearts & those of our emenies from hate to love so that Jesus can bring about the reconciliation He desires.
I'll admit this is a very simple stating of things. I have kept it this way intentionally. It is not simplistic, it is not niave. It is the wisest way to go. It is God's wisdom. It is based on the teachings of Jesus as expounded by the Catholic Church. I know some will say, we deserve to get revenge, they don't deserve to have their rights repsected. Others will say that we shouldn't defend ourselves, war is not the way. Both sides are wrong. The USA was attacked by terrorists. They have declared war upon us. We have the right & responsibility to defend ourselves. But, we need to be following the just war principles. & when we capture or enemies we need to follow the teachings of Jesus, the Catholic Church & the principles of Natural Law as to how they are treated.
Following these principles does make us more vulnerable. It doesn't keep us from defending ourselves, but it does prevent us from relying on some things we otherwise would use. It puts us in the position where we should be, relying more on God than on ourselves. & that is where I would rather be. Yes, it would be nice to feel absolutely safe. But, in this world we never will be. But, if we are in the hands of God, letting Him care for us & protect us, as Psalm 91 says, we will experience true peace. That is good enough for me.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Constitution in Exile

The Constitution in Exile:How the Federal Government has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land is the title of Judge Andrew P. Napolitano's 2nd book. It is the followup to Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks Its Own Laws. Judge Napolitano is currently the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News. He became the youngest life-tenured judge for the New Jersey Superior Court. He was adjunct professor of law at Seton Hall Law School. He taught constitutional law & jurispridence. His philosophical view of law is founded in St. Thomas Aquinas' teachings on natural law.
Basically, this book is part history of Constitutional Law in the USA, part criticism of the various branches of the USA Government for their failures to uphold the Constitution & part suggestions for how to get our government back on track.
Unlike a lot of people today, Judge Napolitano sees the true foundation of our country's laws in Natural Law. & that that foundation is stated in America's seminal document, The Declaration of Independence. As the Judge says: "In America, the Declaration of Independence is traditionally refered to as the sheet anchor of our liberties. It does not grant liberties; it publicly pronounces & secures then, just as an anchor secures a boat. Similarly, the Constitution of the United States does not grant rights, but rather recognizes their existance, guarentees their exercise, & requires the government to protect them." (p xxiii) This is what makes Judge Napolitano so endearing to me. He has an accurate understanding of the USA's source of its laws.
In looking at the various rulings of the Supreme Court, the laws passed by Congress & the actions of our Presidents he pulls no punches. He shows where they are right & where they are wrong. & he does so in a non-partisan manner.
He starts out in his Introduction by laying the foundation & thesis for what he is discussing in the book. The intro gives a explanation of what Natural Law is & why it important. He gives the due credit for his understanding of Natural Law to Dr. Charles E. Rice, his professor of constitutional law & jurisprudence at Notre Dame Law School (Dr. Rice currently has a program on EWTN, The Good Code: God's Natural Law.)
In the 1st chapter the Judge looks at how the Constitution came about & what it really says. Chapters 2-16 look at how we went from a government that followed the constitutution to 1 that more often than not, ignores it. As I said, he puts the blame on all 3 branches when they fail to do what they should.
1 of the most interesting chapters for me was Chapter 4: Dishonest Abe. In this he discusses what occured in the Civil War era. He starts by talking about the right of a state to secede from the USA. This is what raises some questions for me. Do I agree with the idea states can secede? Yes, if it meets the conditions set down in the Declaration. I don't think that the circumstances at the start of the Civil War meet that standard. In that, I difer a little from the Judge. He seems to give the states carte blanche to secede whenever they want. The problem there, as I see it, is that if a state doesn't like an amendment to the Constitution, like giving 18 yr olds the right to vote, then they should be free to secede by the Judge's view. This is something I would like to swee him clarify & expand on in his next book. Other than this I agree very much with what he has to say has gone wrong.
The 15th 16th chapters are perhaps the most relevant as they deal with 9/11 & the Patriot Act. There has been a lot of debate in recent days on how terrorists should be treated, tried etc. What rights do they have or don't have? I tend to agree with the concerns expressed by the Judge about the Patriot Act & how it undermines the Constitution.
I have heard several conservative commentators criticise the call to protect the rights of the terrorists. & it scares me. To say that they have no rights is to dehumanize them. Then who next? Abortion & euthenasia has already severly undermined the God given rights to which ever person from conception to death has. Those who are calling for a curtailing of the rights found in the Constitution forget Jesus' admonition to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. & also God's call to love our enemies. That doesn't undermine our right to defend ourselves. But, a people who does not respect the rights of others doesn't deserve those rights themselves.
In the final chapter Judge Napolitano gives some suggestions for how to turn things arround. It includes some amendments to the Constitution. It includes 1 that I have long supported, repealing the 17th Amendment. This amendment changed the way US Senators are selected. They were chosen by the state legislature's until it was adopted. Now they are poularly elected. I still don't understand why the legislatures approved this 1. The house is apportioned by population. It was set up to represent the people's interests. The Senate was set up with 2 members for every state regardless of population. Each state is equally represented. The Senate was set up this way to protect the state's interests. & the lesislatures are the voice of the states interests, not the people directly.
Another amendment that the Judge calls to repeal is the 16th which allows income taxes to be collected. I have come to see that this has to be done to see that a true reform of the tax code comes about & that we go back to the way things were intended.
Many people today, Positivists as the Judge calls them, see the Constitution as a living document. It's meaning can be changed to suit the current whim. In that sense they are wrong. The meaning of the Constitution is the same as it was over 200 yrs ago. But, it can be applied to modern situations because those situations deal with the same basic human rights & responsiblitities that there have always been.
I highly recomend both the Judge's books. They raise some serious questions that need to be faced & dealt with. If not, then what our Founding Fathers began in 1776 may soon come to an end.
(Note: This is my 100th blog to be posted on this site. Given that abortion is 1 of those things that goes against the Natural Law, this book is a very appropriate subject fot this milestone blog.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Triumph of the Cross

Today, 14 Sept., the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. It is also known by the term the Exultation of the Cross. It gets that name because part of the celebration is commerating an event in the life of St. Helena when at aged 80 she went on a pilgramage to the Holy Land. She went to search for the True Cross. In 326 AD she found 3 crosses. She sought the advice of St. Macarius of Jerusalem. He told her to find a woman who was ill & touch all 3 crosses to her. The 1 that instantly cured her was declared the True Cross. St. Helena sent pieces of the Cross t Rome & to Constantinople. On the site of her discovery she built a church.
But, it celebrates much more than the mere finding of the Cross on which Jesus hung. The feast celebrates the victory that Jesus won on that Cross, the victory over sin & death that is there for anyone who is willing to make Jesus Lord of his or her life. The Cross is the means by which Satan was defeated. Satan's hold over us was broken. It celebrates in a special way what we celebrate at every Mass. Jesus sacrificed himself on the Cross in atonement for our sins. He paid the price that we deserve to pay. He poured out His Blood that we might have eternal life. The Cross is the sign by which each & every Christian proclaims his salvation. It is the true victory sign. It is how Jesus ascended to His throne as King of Kings & Lord of Lords.
2000 yrs ago the cross was a sign of shame. It was the means of punishment used by the Romans to punish criminals who were not Roman citizens. A criminal who was sentanced to death was hung on the cross naked. He was crucified in a public place where people could go by to see him. It served 2 purposes, to add to the criminal's shame & to serve as a warning to others not to commit a capital crime. It was a horrible, slow painful way to die. Yet, when Jesus chose to die on the Cross, he turned it away from a sign of shame to the sign of triumph it is for all Christians today.
Or as St Andrew of Crete put in in a discourse that is read by the Church in the Office of Readings:
"We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above. So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest, in fact as well as in name, for on it and through it and for its sake the riches of salvation that had been lost were restored to us.
Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be cancelled, we should not have attained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.
Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honourable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation – very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.
The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his his triumph. We recognise it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once. And again: Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be. And once more: “Father, glorify your name”. Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it and will glorify it again”. Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself. Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Iraqi Truth Project

I just finished watching an interesting 27 min. video titled The Making of Weapon of Mass Destruction. It is about the making of a documentary called Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Murderous Reign of Saddam Hussein.

The documentary is about the rise & fall of Saddam Hussein & his partner Chemical Ali. The video showed some scenes from in, including the uncovering of the mass graves of Saddam's victims.
This documentary looks like it has plenty to add to the discussion about what really happenned in Iraq under Saddam. Not having seen the documentary itself, I can't comment on how accurate it is. But, if even half of the claims the video says the movie makes are supported by facts, then Saddam is definitely in the same league as Hitler & Stalin.
What is needed right now is an honest look at the facts to get to the truth. I am sick of all the political positioning about this issue. I wonder how many people on either side want the truth out there? I suspect that there are more on the Republican side (except for the paleo-con isolationists like Pat Buchanan) than on the Democratic side. The reason I believe this is true: that even though most of mainstream media has tried to make it look like President Bush & Prime Minister Blair were wrong, lied & mislead us, I have seen enough slip through that makes me think that we were right to get rid of Hussein. He was a mass murderer & what he did needed to be stopped. I only wish it could have been done by more peaceful means. I hate war & want to see it avoided if possible. But, sadly, it seems to me that it couldn't have been. Most of those opposing it are doing so, not because they are against war so much as they are against President Bush. I have no respect for them. However, I do believe that there are some who are sincere in their oposition to using violence. I respect the right for them to have that opinion, even if I disagree with it.
Right now we need to be patient & give Iraq the time to rebuild. It is past being a political issue in my mind. We forget our Revolutionary War went from 1775-1781 & it wasn't til 1787 that the Constitution was written. George Washington became President in 1789. & it took some time even after that until we got the government working. That is a total of over 14 yrs. That the Iraqis are as far as they are so quickly is to their credit.

You can watch the Making video at:

Do so with an open mind & pray that the truth does get out.
(Caution: There are some scenes that may be upsetting.)

PS I know that some people will say that as a Catholic I should have opposed the war because Pope John Paul did. The fact is, he called for all peaceful means to be used 1st. He never condemned the war, to my knowledge. (If someone can provide a reliable source to prove me wrong, I will welcome it. It has to be 1 that can be proven to accurately quote the Pope, not simply be someone's interpretation saying this is what he/she thinks the Pope said.) What I stated above is how I viewed Saddam back then & how I view him now. Too mkuch leading up to the war was reminiscent of what lead up to WW II. & too many of the denials of Saddam's mass murders is to similar to the denials of the holocaust.
In the end, I go back to what I have said in previous blogs, without Jesus as Lord these wars will continue. Only Jesus can change hearts. Sin is the root of all wars. Jesus calls us to repentance & change. He gives us His Spirit to do so.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9-11 5 Years Later

There is a lot that will be said today about what happened 5 yrs ago. Pictures & video of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon etc will be all over the news media. All of us will be remembering where we were when we 1st heard what happened. There will be debates about what lead up to this, what can be done to prevent another attack. People will argue about who is to blame, if we have done things right since then, etc. Some attention will be paid to the victims & their families. But, for the most part they will be lost in the shuffle.
There is much I could say about all of the above. But, I am not. Instead I am going to say that we need to pray. Pray 1st of all that God will heal those who are still hurting by the loss sufferd 5 yrs ago. Jesus wants to heal them. He wants to comfort them. Invite HIm to do so.
Let us pray for those who want to hurt & destroy America. Jesus said to pray for our enemies. May Jesus replace the anger & hatred they feel with the true love that He alone can give.
Let us pray for our leaders. That they will be guided by the Holy Spirit to make the right choices in dealing with terrorism.
& in the end, let us pray that the message of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, will be proclaimed to all. It is only in Jesus that the healing can take place that needs to take place. It is only in Jesus that hearts that hate can change to those that love. It is only in Jesus that our sins can be forgiven. Jesus is the only source of lasting peace.
Lord, have mercy on us all. Pour out your Spirit upon us. Change our hearts, turn us away from sin, from anger, from hatred & towards You. May we hear the call You are making to all of us. May we respond with a resounding yes to You. Lord, Jesus, we cannot change without You. Without You we will never know true peace. Lord Jesus we ask this in Your Name to honor & glory of the Father.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day 2006

Once again here in the USA we celebrate Labor Day. Most of us just think of it in terms of a day off from work with pay or, if we do think of it, a day to honor all those who work for a living. But, the reflection I read in One Bread, One Body on the Gospel reading for today, Monday of 22nd Week of Ordinary time shed a different light on this day. The key part of the Gospel is this: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meto bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captivesand recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord." Luke 4:18-19
The reflection started out by saying:"On this Labor Day, Jesus gives us His job description and therefore the job description of His followers. Our job is to preach the good news to the poor. This means not just a pat on the back but the ultimate good news of freedom, healing, and restoration through Jesus' death and resurrection. Our job is to build God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10)."
The Church does have optional special readings in the Lectionary as well as a votive Mass that is appropriate for the day. But, the Holy Spirit knew that they wouldn't always be used. So, working through those who set up the Lectionary after Vatican II, the Holy Spirit saw to it that this reading would come up on this day. It was no accident.
Labor Day is also the traditional official kick-off for the November election campaigns. Part of our responsibility in building God's Kingdom is to be involved politically. We have to work for & vote for candidates that will see that the laws we have support & further the building of God's Kingdom. This is not creating a theocracy or forcing 1 religion on everyone. I won't go into the details of the myth of the seperation of church & state that is put forth to distort the real meaning of the 1st Amendement of the US Constitution. I will simply state that the teaching of the Catholic Church calls us to do so. (Priests for Life & the USCCB Pro-Life Activities web site have the documentation to back this up.) & anyone who understands that the basis of our Declaration of Independence & the US Constitution is natural law, knows I am right.
So, what are we to do. 1st of all pray. Pray for guidance for who to vote for, pray for candidates that will support the pro-life position, not only in words, but in action. Next, research the candidates. Groups like Vote Smart can help. Many Pro-Life groups also contact the candidates & elected officials & put out the info about where they stand or if they refuse to answer. They also put out info on how your elected officials have voted. The ideal candidate is 1 who totally opposes abortion. If neither is totally opposed to abortion, then which 1 will support the greatest limitations on it. Support means more than voting. It includes activities like writing letters to the editor in support of pro-life candidates, working for the candidates campaigns & much more. Blogging, like this, is another way to get the word out.
Right to Life is the most important issue. The Magisterium of the Church has made it clear that this is so. Again, I would recommend checking out the Priests for Life & USCCB websites to study these teachings. These 2 sites, as well as many of the other sites like American Life League, have info on what you can do to be active in the ways I mentioned above.
St. Joseph is a beautiful example for us in the Pro-Life movement. He protected Jesus both before & after His birth from those who would harm him. He heard the call of God & did it, no matter the personal cost. I ask his powerful intercession for this election as well as that of his beloved spouse, Mary, under her title, Our Lady of Guadelupe. Jesus, raise up men & women to run for office who will work to protect life from conception to natural death. Forgive us for our failing to do so in the past. Restore us to the 1 nation under God that we were called to be.
Priests For Life Election Action Center 2006:
USCCB Pro-Life Action Center:
Fr. Lauer's reflection:

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Papa Benedetto on Pope St. Gregory the Great

Here is the text of the Angelus address given by the Pope today. In it he talks about Pope St. Gregory I (the Great). St. Gregory is considered 1 of the 4 great Latin Doctors of the Church. His writings about St. Benedict of Nursia are the main source of information about the saint. The Catholic Church owes much to this great saint & doctor of the Church. The text is taken from the translation done by Zenit News Agency:
"Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Today the Roman calendar remembers St. Gregory the Great, Pope and doctor of the Church (about the years 540-604). His singular figure, I would say almost unique, is an example that must be presented both to pastors of the Church as well as public administrators: In fact, first he was prefect and later Bishop of Rome.
As an imperial official, he was outstanding for his administrative capacity and moral integrity, to the point that, when only 30 years old, he held the highest civil office of "prefect of the city" ("Praefectus Urbis").
Meanwhile, maturing in his interior was the vocation to the monastic life which he embraced in the year 574, when his father died. Thereafter the Benedictine Rule became the foundation of his life. Even when he was sent by the Pope as his representative to the emperor of the East, he had a monastic, simple and poor lifestyle.
When being called back to Rome, though he lived in a monastery, he was a close collaborator of Pope Pelagius II, and, when the latter died, victim of a plague epidemic, Gregory was acclaimed by all as his successor.
He tried in every way to avoid the appointment, but in the end had to give in and, leaving the cloister with regret, dedicated himself to the community, aware that he was doing his duty and that he was a simple "servant of the servants of God."
"He is not really humble," he wrote, "who understands that he must be leader of others by decree of the divine will and yet disdains this pre-eminence. If on the contrary he submits to divine dispositions and does not have the vice of obstinacy and is prepared to benefit others with those gifts, when the highest dignity of governing souls is imposed on him, he must flee from it with his heart, but against his will, he must obey" ("Pastoral Rule," I, 6).
These words are as a dialogue with himself. With prophetic vision, Gregory intuited that a new civilization was dawning with the meeting between the Roman heritage and the peoples called "barbarians," thanks to the force of cohesion and the moral loftiness of Christianity. Monasticism was becoming a richness not only for the Church, but for the whole of society.
Of frail health but strong moral stature, St. Gregory the Great carried out intense pastoral and civil action. He left a very large collection of letters, admirable homilies, a famous commentary on the Book of Job and writings on the life of St. Benedict, as well as numerous liturgical texts, famous for the reform of chant, which, due to his name, was called "Gregorian."
However, his most famous work, without a doubt, is the "Pastoral Rule," which had the same importance for the clergy as St. Benedict's Rule for the monks of the Middle Ages. The life of the pastor of souls must be a balanced synthesis between contemplation and action, animated by love "which reaches the loftiest heights when it bends down with mercy to the profound ills of others. The ability to bend down to the misery of others is the measure of the force of one's self-giving to others" (II,5). In this teaching, always timely, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council were inspired to describe the image of the pastor of our times.
Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that the example and teaching of St. Gregory the Great may be followed by the pastors of the Church and also by leaders of civil institutions. "

Mission to Magaden Update 1

Recently I received the latest newsletter from the Archdiocese of Anchorage about their Mission to Magaden. In it was an article that shared some more details about an event that Fr. Michael Shields had shared when he was on Sunday Night Live with Fr. Groeschel. This event was the birth of a boy named Misha (Russian for Michael). Misha was born 4 July 2006 at 7 pm. Misha is a very important symbol of the pro-life work they are doing in Magaden.
Misha's mother, Olga, was an unwed mother with 1 son. At 21 she found herself pregnant again by her live-in boyfriend. He gave her 2 options, abortion or he would leave. She was in a very diificult position. What happenned was not unusual, as the article points out, since most young Russian men don't seem to want to take on the responsibilities of fatherhood. I'll share what happenned next in Fr. Michael's own words from the newsletter.
"Olga came to me in tears & frightened. She had been to the clinic where women have abortions& she couldn't go through with it. I was overjoyed when she came to me for advise & told her we could help her to give life to her child."
To help her during the pregnancy they had to buy medicine, provide maternity clothes, set up a room for the child, seeing Olga was fed well etc. & of course now that Misha is born there are ongoing needs to be met for his care & raising.
Being pro-life is much more than what the media & groups like Planned Parenthood try & present it as. Pro-life is not just oposing abortion. Again to share what Fr. Michael has to say in a 2nd article in the newsletter: "We need to offer an alternative for those who struggle financially so they can have the child & still live with some dignity."
In this 2nd article Fr. Michael talks about another important ministry of The Nativity of Jesus Parish. This is to offer healing for those women who have had an abortion. Part of this ministry is to offer retreats for those dealing with abortion's aftermath. This is another area that those who are pro-abortion try to deny or downplay.
How widespread is abortion is Russia? Fr. Michael says that government statstics say that for every 10 live births there are 13 abortions. In the sharing about 1 of the healing retreats this truth is proven in a way that is very devestating. At this retreat the women were asked to light a candle & name the child they aborted. The 5 women lit 47 candles.
As I said, abortion providers do not want to admit to the devestation that it does, not only to the child who is murdered, but to the mothers & fathers of those children. More info on this damage that is done as well as where to get healing if you or someone you know has been involved in an abortion can be found at such websites as the Priests for Life, Rachel's Vineyard, Silent NO More, & Life Issues Institute, Inc. links at the right. These groups will help anyone involved in abortion to find the emotional/psychological healing they need. But even more important, they will help those people to find the spiritual healing needed. No person is beyond God's love & forgiveness. These groups want to see that the whole person is healed, emotionally & spiritually. Part of that healing is to be reconciled with God. They live out Jesus' call to share the Gospel message that He came to set the captives free that is a part of every Christian's responsibility in living out their faith (Luke 4:180.
Another way to help is to support these groups & others like them financially. Because of the poverty in Russia, Mission to Magaden relies on the donations of us here in America. You can donate by mail or online.
By mail:
Mission to Magaden
Archdiocese of Anchorage
ANCHORAGE AL 99501-2409
Mission Newsletters & online giving:
Please help out as best you can by praying for the Mission to Magaden as well as however you can financially. & keep praying for an end to abortion. Support those groups who are working to end abortion, provide alternatives & post-abortion healing financially & by being involved in the various activities they sponsor. Support pro-life candidates. Write to your representatives. There are many lives out there that need your help so that they will be saved.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pro-Life Car Washes

Every so often you come accross an idea that when you discover it you say: "Why didn't somebody think of this before?" This is 1 of those ideas.
I was looking at the article list on when I saw a column titled The pro-life generation? Naturally it caught my attention. So I began reading the article. The author, Kathryn Jean Lopez, was telling the story of an idea that Thomas Aquinas College student Jonathan Tonkowich came up with last Jan while daydreaming in a math class. He was thinking of something constructive he could do to promote the pro-life cause. What he came up with was an idea to raise funds for crisis pregnancy centers accross the USA & raise awareness of their existance. The idea, to organize "thousands of groups across the nation to hold car washes to benefit their local pregnancy care centers - all on the same day!"
He got together with some other pro-life students at the college to get this done. They spent their Summer getting this organized & spreading the word. They set the date of 16 Sept 2006 for it to happen. They set a goal of having "2000 groups, and to raise a collective total of $1,000,000." The money raised locally would go to a local crisis pregnancy center. Each group can designate it to meet a special need of the center. Or it can just be given to be used as the center sees best.
Why are they doing this? Why did they give up their Summer to get this going? In their own words: "We believe that our generation can help our country in powerful ways. America was not built by people sitting back and letting the government fix all our problems. Instead, it was built by people who took action and tried make a better community in which to live. We think that an important way to oppose abortion is by creating communities that love and care for women and children. The Wash for Life will help accomplish this by raising money for pregnancy care centers, by raising awareness about pregnancy care centers, and most importantly by proving that our generation cares about human life and is willing to support women who have unplanned pregnancies."
I work at a college. Much of the time I see the positive side of things. I see the caring that the students have for others, the willingness to help, to serve others to make the world a better place. But I sometimes see the negative side, those that give a bad name to all the students. & these are the ones that others usually (not always) bring up to me. Car Wash for Life will go a long way to counteract this image.
(Note: Even though the locally raised money stays in the community it came from, the national orginization does have some expenses. Go to their website for more info about the project as well as how to help them with their expenses. The address is listed below as well as in my pro-life links list.)
The article I read (I love the response from Planned Parenthood. It shows how much they fear events like this. This event scares them as it undermines much of the premises that they put out their to justify what they do.):

Wash for Life Website:

Why are the Radical Enviromentalists Silent on This?

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about the insane claims that are often being made by some wacko environmentalists & esp the wackoist 1 of all, VP Al Gore. Now I have to make it clear we both support sensible environmental responsibility, like recycling, alternate fuels & the like. But some of the junk science that people like Al Gore promote is more in the realms of scie-fi than reality. The topic got to global warming & what the real facts are. My amico mentioned that he had recently heard about the fact that there is global warming occuring on Mars. I brought up a recent bit I had read about the temperature of the sun going up.
We got off onto a bit of humor for a minute & began to wonder if the 2 Mars Rovers were to blame by creating greenhouse gases. Then we got serious. 1st of all, the 2 Rovers do not use gas or any other fuel that creates emmissions. Then I brought up the solar temperature fact. As I said, we both agree on the need for better fuels & reducing harmful emmissions. But, the facts to support the claims being made by the wackos just isn't there.
People like Gore are pushing the Kyoto Accords. There is another piece of junk that will do more to destroy Western economy (what I feel is the real goal) rather than protect the environment. Why do I say that. If the real intention of Kyoto was to prevent pollution, it wouldn't allow 3rd World Countries free reign to pollute in the name of developing their economies. Logic tells me that it would be better to prevent the pollution in the 1st place then destroy the enviroment & clean it up later? The technology is there to help these countries develop their economy without the pollution. This, with the overly ridiculous limitations put on the West are the reason I suspect that the truth is an attempt to destroy Western capitalism. (I may be wrong, but I suspect that if you scratch the surface of these enviro-wackos you will find a Marxist socialist who is still in denial about the failure of communism.)
An honest debate about what is really going on should be done. Unfortunately, much of what is out there is scare tactics. None of which lends itself to rational discussion. Yes, there is warming going on. No we don't know the whole dynamics. Yes, we still should develop alternative fuels & do what we can reasonably to reduce emmisions. But, until the facts are fully examined
At this point I won't go into the well documented hypocracy of Gore & others in not practicing what they preach. Just read Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy by Peter Schweizer for some info about Gore.

Solar Temperature data (caution, this gets a little deep in spots but does have some charts that show the variations over the yrs.)

Articles about Mars temperature rising/climate changes:

GUESS WHAT? Jupiter is also getting warmer:

& Pluto may now only be a dwarf planet, but it is also getting warmer:'s view on global warming:

Another article refuting some of the Kyoto claims:

Friday, September 01, 2006

Katrina, A Year Later, or Where the Main Stream Media Went Wrong

Michelle Malkin, on her site had the best summary of how the (out of) the Main Stream Media (msm) miscovered the Katrina disater of a yr ago. She also gives credit to a lot of unsung heroes whose internet fundraising was mostly ignored. Why? Because these websites are conservative in their outlook. Without really saying it, she raises some good questions about the bias of the MSM. Showing how well the private sector handled things, including Wal-Mart & Home Depot & how horrible the local government of New Orleans & Louisiana mishandled things would go against the idea that conservitives/private sector evil, public sector good because only the public sector, esp the federal government can truly handle things.

The truth is that while the Federal government does have a role in huge disasters, they are not the cure all for every problem. The private sector can & when allowed, will be able to do most of what needs to be done. The reason I say "when allowed" is because of some reports I've heard about the real hinderances to rebuilding New Orleans. A lot of it has to do with what I consider wacko environmentalists who have gone to court to shoot down/hinder every rebuilding plan. The MSM media won't report that because then they won't be able to blame President Bush. Nor did they give coverage to the failure of Mayor Nagan & Governor Kathleen Blanco. They esp ignored the disaster plans that the city & state had in place but failed to impliment. But, the did report on the failures of FEMA. They did the right thing there only because they wanted to be able to bash President Bush. I can guarentee you that if a Democrat were president they would have downplayed FEMA's horrible screw ups. Fortunately Michelle Malkin doesn't. She has links to show the truth of what went wrong.
A free press is the sign of a functioning democracy or republic. A free press doesn't mean free from bias. The truth is that most of the time the press has had some bias. But there was a balance because there was a variety of sources with their own viewpoint. 1 of the best examples of this is the press at the time of John Adams. Ben Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Bache, virulantly attacked President Adams. But there were plenty of papers who reported Adams side. But, somewhere in the 20th Century most of the media took a sharp turn to the left. For a while they still reported much of the news with fairness. But in the later half of the 20th Century they started to let their bias affect their reporting. But they maintained the facade of fair & balanced. Then Fox News came along. While clearly & honestly coming from a conservative viewpoint they also had plenty of liberals on their staff so that they would be sure both sides were reported. Fair & balanced was more than a motto. But, the MSM, instead of admitting their bias threw off all pretense of neutrality & began to let their bias lead them into a number of missteps. Witness Dan Rather & the so-called evaluation of Bush when in the National Guard that was proved a forgery. This is where the on line bloggers came into their own. The truth got out there quickly. & Dan Rather was brought down.
Sadly, the radical left, rather than welcoming the other side, is unhappy that they have some competition. & that they are losing ground to it. They attack Fox News & the bloggers. (I will admit that not all bloggers are accurate. But somewhere along the way the honest ones get the truth out.) The left is trying to silence those from the right. I pray that they fail. The web, bloggers & the such is the 1 place where the free exchance of ideas envisioned by our Founding Fathers is truly taking place. The guarentee of free speech found in the 1st amendment is there for that very purpose. The internet has become the marketplace of ideas for the 21st Century. I am proud to be a part of it. I try to be accurate by providing as best I can the back up links to support what I say. If I am wrong, I will admit it.
Meanwhile, I thank God for the blessings of liberty we have in this country. There are those abusing it by using the web to spread lies & gossip. But, that is the price we pay for free speech. May we never see the day when the web is silenced because some group is upset with what is on it.
PS 1 addendum. Pornography, despite what some claim is not free speech. Free speech is there for the exchange of political ideas. It doesn't allow for things that could cause harm, like slander or libel, yelling fire in a crowded theater or porn the worst source of harm there is. Headlines

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