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

Friday, November 30, 2007

Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope)

It's Here! Papa Benedetto's 2nd Encyclical Spe Salvi (Saved by Hope) is out. & I am anxiously looking forward to reading it. The Vatican website doesn't have it up yet. But, The Catholic News Agency does have the text posted on its website. (here)
Here is the introductory section:
1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey.
Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?
From my scanning of the rest of it it looks like Papa Benedetto has written a document that will not only teach, but challenge its readers to live out the hope we are called to. It starts out with a solidly scripturally based reflection on the relation of faith & hope. Then he goes on to discuss what Christian hope is & isn't.
Next he goes on to give some practical suggestings for "learning & practicing hope". The 1st is, no surprize, prayer. Then he challenges us to put our hope into action. He talks about the role suffering plays in growing in hope. Modern man wants to avoid suffering & even totally eliminate it. & there are times when it is right to do so. However he points out that "It is when we attempt to avoid suffering by withdrawing from anything that might involve hurt, when we try to spare ourselves the effort and pain of pursuing truth, love, and goodness, that we drift into a life of emptiness, in which there may be almost no pain, but the dark sensation of meaninglessness and abandonment is all the greater. It is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, who suffered with infinite love."
Papa Benedetto goes on to remind us that some day we will all stand before God & be judged. He reminds us that The Last Judgement is "but an image of hope; for us it may even be the decisive image of hope." Again he goes on to challenge us in living out this fact.
Finally he talks about The Blessed Virgin Mary & her role as "a star of hope for us".
Like I said, I just picked up all this from scanning the text. I can hardly wait to feast on all that is in the encyclical. God has used Papa Benedetto in a powerful way here give us an aide in growing in living our faith. & I don't think it is any coincidence that the encyclical has come out 2 days before the start of Advent. In fact, it looks like it will be an excellent tool to use as a part of our Advent preparation for Christmas. Advent is a season of hope where we reflect on not only the hope that the Jewish people had in awaiting the Messiah, but also on the hope of Christ's return at the end of time. We are called to respond to the challenge of John the Baptist to "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!" (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2, Luke 3:4).
It is also appropriate that the encyclical was issued on the feast of St. Andrew. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist. & when John pointed out Jesus as the "Lamb of God", Andrew was the 1st to become 1 of Jesus' disciples. (John 1:35-40)
As an aside, usually an encyclical has been announced on the date of signing & then released several days to weeks later. This time arround it has been handled differently. The texts were prepared in advance so it could be issued the same day as the Pope' officially signing off on it. Again, I don't see this as coincidence, but God's plan to see that we have this tool to help us in our preparing for Christmas this Advent.
Added 2 December 2007 3:29 AM
Spe Salvi is now available on the Vatican website. & Zenit has it here.

Pro-Life Hero Passes Away

Retired Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) passed away yesterday, 29 November 2007. For those of us who are involved in the struggle to protect the unborn, he will be fondly remembered for his efforts to end abortion. His greatest achievement in this area was what is now known as The Hyde Amendment. This was an annual rider to the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bills that put limits on medicaid spending for abortions. Except for certain health exceptions abortion on demand could not be paid for by medicaid.
Beyond this he passionately fought to put an end to abortion. He worked hard to put limits on it with the ulti mate goal of putting an end to the practice. 1 of his oft repeated lines about the evils of abortion was: "I feel abortion is the ultimate in child abuse."
Congressman Hyde was not perfect. He had his flaws & made mistakes like all of us. But when it came to living out his faith in the political arena, unlike a lot of so called Catholics who are personally opposed to abortion or even supportive of it while claiming to be good Catholics, he knew that he had to fight for the lives of the unborn.
On 5 November 2007 President Bush awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In his remarks about Congressman Hyde, president Bush included the following: "He used his persuasive powers for noble causes. He stood for a strong and purposeful America -- confident in freedom's advance, and firm in freedom's defense. He stood for limited, accountable government, and the equality of every person before the law. He was a gallant champion of the weak and forgotten, and a fearless defender of life in all its seasons."
In a speech Congressman Hyde said the following to explain his strong Pro-Life stand: "When the time comes as it surely will, when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I've often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness. You have no advocates, you are there alone standing before God and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine. But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone. I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement. They will say to God, "Spare him because he loved us," and God will look at you and say not, "Did you succeed?" but "Did you try?""
I can guarentee you that that chorus spoke up as he stood before God. & that his answer was an unequivocal "YES, I did!" To which God responded "Well done, good & faithful servant. Enter into the reward prepared for you from the start of time." & to that the same chorus responded with a loud, long cheer of welcome home to a great hero.
Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord.
& let perpetual light shine upon him!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

La Beata Vergine del Santo Rosario di Pompei Arrives at National Shrine

As someone of Italiano descent, I have to say that its about time that the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is finally adding an Italiano Chapel. The chapel will be known as The Oratory of Our Lady of Pompei. (No that is not a mistake, that is the proper way to spell Pompei.) It will be located in the West Narthax of the Upper Church. The chapel will recognize the deep devotion of the Italian-American Community has for the Blessed Mother. It will honor Our Lady of Pompei and the heritage of so many Italian Americans who continue to minister the Gospel throughout the world.
The oratory will feature a mosiac of Our Lady & the Christ Child based on the painting found in the Il Santuario della Beata Vergine del Santo Rosario di Pompei. (Above right) There will be 2 stained glass windows depicting san Domenico e santa Caterina da Siena. The 5 Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary added by Pope John Paul the Great will also be depicted in the chapel. (For more info on the chapel follow the link to the chapel page on the website. It includes sketches of the mysteries as well as the mosiac.
The devotion honored by this chapel traces its roots to 18th Century & Blessed Bartolo Longo. Bartolo Longo was born 10 February 1841 in Latiano, Italia. His family was wealthy. His parents were devout Roman Catholics who taught him to pray the Rosary as a child. His mother died in 1851 & he began to drift away from the Catholic faith. While at the University of Naples he eventually became involved in a Satanist cult & later a Satanist priest.
Instead of happiness, his involvement in Satanism lead to depression, nervousness, and confusion. He also became bothered with diabolical visions and ill health brought. He sought out an old friend, Vincenzo Pepe. Pepe convinced Longo to abandon Satanism & brought him to Dominican Father Alberto Radente. Fr. Radente helped him in his journey back to Christ. In 1871 Longo became a lay Dominican, taking the name Brother Rosario. In 1872 he arrived in Pompei & bgan charitable work. He met Countess Mariana di Fusco as a result.
However he continued to have doubts about his salvation based on his past life. 1 day as he was walking & stuggling with these doubts. "It was midday and while hearing the bells’ ring he felt inside a voice: “If you spread the Rosary, you will be saved!”. So, he understood his vocation and proposed not to leave Valley of Pompei without having spread there the cult to the Virgin of the Rosary." He began catechising the peasants & encouraging praying the Rosary as well as devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1875 he began looking for a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary for the church he was building. On 14 November 1874 he arrived in Napoli. Here is how he describes the events that followed: "I began by asking myself and revolving in my mind whither to turn in order to find what I was looking for.
It occurred to me that in passing along Via Toledo, near the Piazza Santo Spirito, my eye had often rested on a shop-window in which various oil-paintings and pictures were exposed to the public gaze. And among others it seemed to me that I remembered one of the Blessed Virgin of the Rosary. I did not know the painter or even his name; but he was by surname, perhaps because a native of Foggia, called the Foggiano.
I therefore determined to direct my steps toward that shop. But a certain fear of finding myself very embarrassed overcame me, as I have never been able to bargain and squabble over prices as is the habit in Naples. “Oh - I exclaimed - “if only I could take Father Radente with me. He, being a Neapolitan, knows how to make such bargains. But where and how am I at this hour to find him?”. I knew that ever since the Dominicans had been expelled from San Domenico Maggiore ten years before, he had lived together with two other Fathers, his companions, in a little house they had rented; and I was also aware of the fact that it was his custom to celebrate Mass every morning in the Church of the Holy Rosary at Porta Medina. “Very well - thought I - I will walk along Via Toledo; if it be God's will, I shall find my friend; otherwise I shall act for myself.
But Providence, which with an invisible hand was directing and holding all the threads that were leading up to an event that in a short time was to be so wonderful, so disposed, that just as I reached the Piazza Santo Spirito, and very near the painter's studio, I met the venerable priest."
Fr. Radente had a painting that Longo could use & thus not have to pay 400 lire for a painting he had been looking at. Fr. Radente had left the painting to the care of Sister Maria Concetta De Litala, of the Conservatory of the Rosary at Porta. Medina. He sent Longo to get it. When Bartolo Longo saw it he was disappointed.
"Alas! The first sight of it broke my heart. It was not only an old and worn-out canvas, but the face of Our Lady instead of being that of a benevolent Virgin, all sanctity and grace, seemed rather that of a rough, coarse woman of the populace. - Whoever painted that picture? Mercy on us! - I could not help exclaiming, with a tone of voice half way between fright and surprise. I felt in my heart that the poor Pompeiians would find great difficulty in arousing in themselves sentiments of devotion looking at that ugly image.
Besides the deformity and unpleasantness of the face, it was missing a full palm of canvas above the head of the Virgin; the whole mantle was cracked, timeworn and worm-eaten, and here and there the colours had fallen off because of the cracks. Nothing can be said about the unpleasantness of the other figures. Saint Dominic on Our Lady’s right looked more like a coarse idiot than a saint, while to the left there was a Saint Rose with a fat, rough and vulgar face, just like a peasant woman crowned with roses”.
Even the historical concept in the painting was wrong, for the Queen of the Rosary was represented as seated, but without any diadem on her head, and instead of giving the chaplet of beads to Saint Dominic, as we are told by those who relate the incident, she was offering it to Saint Rose; and the Child Jesus on the contrary is the One who is giving the rosary to the illustrious Founder of the Dominican Order. I hesitated whether to refuse the picture or whether, under the circumstances, to accept it. I was tormented by the thought that the Mission was drawing to a close, and that I had uncon¬ditionally promised a picture to the three missionaries and the people for that very evening. Besides all knew I had come to Naples for the purpose of buying a painting and were expect¬ing me to bring it with me. What was I to do? “Do not think too long about it” - the Sister said to me with a sweet accent of reproach - " Take this picture with you, it will certainly succeed in eliciting a Hail Mary”."
So, despite his misgivings, he took it. Next came the problem of getting it back to Pompei. For that he called on a teamster, Angelo Tortora. The teamster carried to Pompei in his cart, on top of a load of manure. Not a very auspicious start. After its arrival Guglielmo Galella, a landscape painter, was called on to do the initial restoration. It was exposed for the veneration of the faithful on 13 February 1876. That very day the first miracle happened by the intercession of Our Lady of Pompeii. In Napoli, the twelve-year-old Clorinda Lucarelli, considered incurable by doctors, was perfectly cured of her epileptic convulsions. Bartolo Longo later gave the Icon to the Neapolitan painter Federico Maldarelli for a further restoration, asking him to substitute the original Saint Rose with the Dominican Saint Catherine of Siena.
In 1965, at the Pontifical Institute of the Benedictine Olivetan Fathers of Rome, a scientific restoration was realised, during which, under the colours put one on top of the other in the course of the restorations wanted by the Blessed Bartolo Longo, the original colours of the Icon were discovered revealing the hand of a skilful artist of the school of the famous Italian painter Luca Giordano (XVII century). In the same year, on April 23rd, the image was crowned by Pope Paul VI in the Basilica of Saint Peter. In the year 2000, for the 125th anniversary of its arrival from Naples to Pompeii, the Picture remained for five days in the Cathedral of Naples where it was venerated by thousands of faithful.
The return journey was made on foot, following the same route of 1875, with several stops in the towns of the Neapolitan province. Al, day long hundreds of thousands of people crowed the roads, walking for thirty kilometres which the distance from Naples to Pompeii. When, in the heart of the night, the Picture arrived in Pompeii, it was welcomed by a jubilant city.
On October 16th, 2002, the Picture came back to Saint Peter on the explicit request of Pope John Paul II who, just next to the “beautiful image venerated at Pompeii”, signed the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, by which he introduced the new five Mysteries of Light and proclaimed the Year of the Rosary. (Thus the reason for including depictions of the 5 new Mysteries in the chapel.) [Much of the above history is taken from the Shrine website.]
As for the Shrine, here is the story according to the Shrine's website: "The Shrine was built during two different times. The original temple, with the form of a Latin cross with one nave, was erected between 1876 and 1891 on a project of Professor Antonio Cua of the University of Naples and measured 420sq.m. To welcome the very numerous faithful, the Shrine was enlarged between 1934 and 1939, passing from one nave to three aisles and maintaining the structure of a Latin cross. The project was conceived by the architect and priest Monsignor Spirito Maria Chiapetta who also directed the works. The two aisles which have three altars in every side, extend up in the back of the apse in an ambulatory enriched with four semicircular small chapels. The whole of constructions is harmonised by contrasting structures, in a perfect balance of masses, just studied so that they would not undergo the effects of a displacement due to any cause. The internal area, measuring 2,000 sq.m., can receive around 6,000 faithful. The cubic capacity is of 40,000 meters." The shrine is under the direct control of the Vatican.
The National Shrine is currently raising the $2,000,000 needed for the chapel. Plans are to have it completed by the Spring of 2008. The American Bishops of Italian descent donated $40,000 to kick off the fundraising. & I would be remiss if I didn't ask my readers to join in & donate. You can donate online using their secure website. Or via mail:
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Development Office—Italian Chapel
400 Michigan Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Bartolo Longo was declared a blessed on 26 October 1980 by Pope John Paul the Great. Pope John Paul called Longo "The Apostle of the Rosary". The Pope also made several references to Longo in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae . On 7 October 2003 Pope John Paul made a Pastoral Visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompei to close the Holy Year of the Rosary.
Prayer to Blessed Bartolo Longo

Oh Blessed Bartolo Longo, you who loved Mary with the tenderness of a son and who spread devotion by the reciting of the Holy Rosary and through her intercession received super abundant grace to love and serve Christ through service to abandoned children, obtain for us the grace to live in the spirit of prayer united to God, to love him, as you did, through our brothers. You, who at the end of your earthly journey declared never having tired of praying for every pain, for every hardship, for every calamity, trusting in the omnipotence of God and in the intercession of His Divine Mother, continue to intercede for those who are called to continue your work of faith and love at Pompei and for all the Rosarians of the world. Pray for us that we, after the earthly contemplation of the joyful and sorrowful Mysteries, can with you share the joy of the glorious Mysteries in heaven with Mary, Queen of the angels and of the Saints.
Prayer for the canonization of Blessed Bartolo Longo

God, Father of mercy, we praise you for having sent into the history of humankind the Blessed Bartolo Longo, ardent apostle of the Rosary and shining example of a layman deeply involved in the evangelical witnessing of faith and of charity. We thank you for his extraordinary spiritual journey, his prophetic intuitions, his tireless endeavours on behalf of the poorest and the neglected, the devotion with which he served your Church and built the new city of love at Pompei. We beseech you, grant that Blessed Bartolo Longo soon be numbered among the Saints of the universal Church, so that everyone may follow him as a model of life and benefit by his intercession.
(Source of prayers: Shrine website)


Sex Book For Children - Planned "Pornography"Hood?

CAUTION: Adult Content
This video looks at a book endorsed by Planned Parenthood written to educate children that has been declared obscene by a Washington State Prison.

Protect Your Children - exposing Planned Parenthood's war on childhood innocence:

Sign STOp Planned Parenthood's petition to end tax funding for Planned Parenthood:
Get the Wednesday STOPP Report:
Help STOPP continue with these releases:
See the ad information that a Washington State Prison rejected:
Note: Some months ago I mentioned that a website that rates blogs based on content had declared mine NC-17 because of my talking about abortion. At the time I never thought I'd have to put a caution on a post because I'd need to warn people about the content of a post about something that I was trying to warn people about the dangers of. AM I THE ONLY 1 WHO SEES THE IRONY IN THAT?

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Favorable "Impression"ist!

1 of my favorite impressionists, Rich Little, is 69 today. He could be by himself & still have a crowd at his party.

You may have heard of the "man of a 1000 faces", well, the above should prove that he is the "man of a 1000 voices". Still don't believe me? Here is the list from his website to prove it:

Alan Ladd Alastair Sim Alfred Hitchcock Al Jolson Andy Rooney Anthony Newley Arnold Schwarzenegger Art Carney Bela Lugosi Bill Clinton Bing Crosby Bobby Kennedy Bob Dole Boris Karloff Broderick Crawford Bugs Bunny Burt Lancaster Carol Channing Carroll O'Connor Cary Grant Charles Bickford Charles Bronson Charlton Heston Clark Gable Claude Rains Daffy Duck Dana Andrews Danny De Vito David Brinkley David Janssen David Niven Dean Martin Dennis Day Dennis Weaver Don Adams Donald Duck Don Rickles Dr. Phil Dr. Ruth Westheimer Dwight Eisenhower Edgar Buchanan Ed Sullivan Edward G. Robinson Elmer Fudd Elvis Presley Ernest Borgnine Foster Brooks Fozzie Bear Frank Fontaine Frank Sinatra Fred Flintstone Fred Mac Murray Gabby Hayes Gary Cooper Gene Kelly George Burns George Bush George C. Scott George Raft George W. Bush Gerald Ford Glen Campbell Glenn Ford Gregory Peck Groucho Marx Henry Fonda Henry Kissinger Howard Cosell Howard Keel Hubert Humphrey Humphrey Bogart Jack Benny Jack Hawkins Jackie Gleason Jack Lemmon Jack Nicholson Jack Paar Jack Webb James Arness James Cagney Jean Stapleton Jerry Vale Jim Backus Jimmy Carter Jimmy Durante Jimmy Rogers Jimmy Stewart John F. Kennedy John Houseman Johnny Carson Johnny Cash John Wayne Jonathan Winters Jose Ferrer Joseph Cotten Kenny Rogers Kermit the Frog Kirk Douglas Lawrence Welk Liberace Lionel Barrymore Lloyd Bridges Lone Ranger and Tonto Louis Armstrong Lyndon B. Johnson Marlon Brando Maurice Chevalier Mel Torme Michael Caine Mickey Mouse Miss Piggy Nat King Cole Neil Diamond Oliver Hardy Orson Welles Pat Boone Paul Lynde Perry Como Peter Falk Peter Graves Peter Lorre Peter Sellers Popeye Porky Pig Raymond Burr Red Skelton Rex Harrison Ricardo Montalban Richard Burton Richard Nixon Robert Goulet Robert Stack Robin Leach Rodney Dangerfield Rod Steiger Rod Serling Roger Livesey Ronald Colman Ronald Reagan Ross Perot Roy Rogers Spiro Agnew Stan Laurel Sterling Hayden Stewart Granger Sylvester Stallone Ted Kennedy Ted Koppel Telly Savalas Tom Jones Tony Bennett Tony Randall Trevor Howard Truman Capote Van Heflin Vincent Price Walter Brennan Walter Cronkite Walter Matthau Walter Pidgeon W.C. Fields William Holden Winston Churchill
& this is only a partial list.

Believe It or Not - Tina Turner Is 68 Today

Maybe it is because of how active she has been on stage. Her performances were some of the most lively ever seen on stage. But to look at her you would never know Tina Turner is 68 today.
Here is what I consider her best song ever. This version is the original take of Proud Mary with her ex Ike (quality not the best):

She also had a hit with Sir Reg's The Bitch Is Back. 1 diva doing a great remake of another diva's hit. & he even helps her out:

& of course 1 of the best of the recent Bond themes is definitely GoldenEye:

& she can still do a mean Proud Mary , this time with Cher & Sir Reg:

The fact is Tina, you ARE Simply the Best:


Preparing for Christmas 2007

Retail stores survived another Black Friday. & thus begins another Christmas shopping seasons. Having worked in retail for 10 yrs I understand the importance of this time for the bottom line & survival of a store. However as bad as it was back in my day, it has just gotten worse. Christmas has become a spending frenzy that glorifies greed, selfishness, who has the most toys (esp for adults) & ignores the real reason for the holiday, the Birth of Christ. The fact that it has become this makes me wonder if saying "Happy Holidays" is all that bad.

Now, before you get upset, I am not opposed to the idea of gift giving. There is nothing wrong with it, if it remains a part of the whole & is done as a reminder of the 1st Christmas & the gifts given by the Magi. But, gift giving is not the centerpiece of the holiday, Christ IS!!!!!

What I am going to suggest is that you consider cutting back on the # of gifts or the size of the gifts & use some of that money to support some good causes that could use the financial support. (I also am planning a post with some gift suggestions also.) & if, like me, you don't go overboard in the 1st place, that you look for somewhere else to cut back so you can give a little extra.

As I am writing this, Sunday Night Live with Fr. Groeschel has just begun on EWTN. The guest is Fr. Michael Shields who's work in Magadan I have often talked about on this blog. (& another will be coming up soon as I just got the latest newsletter.) I wasn't planning on starting with them, but it has become a perfect lead-in to my 1st 2 suggestions for where to give. (Follow the links to their websites for info on how to give either via internet or the mail.)

EWTN doesn't have a huge bankroll it can draw on. & it gets no funds from the USCCB either. It runs on faith & the regular donations of its viewers. & there are times when it runs short of funds. The service it provides to the Catholic Church is irreplacable.

The Mission to Magadan is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Anchorage AK. Magadan is the site of 1 of Stalin's gulags. The Mission strives to bring the Gospel & God's love & healing to those who are suffering in the area. They also run Nativity Inn, "a sanctuary for expectant mothers who do not have the financial resources to continue a pregnancy without the Church’s help". a place where expectant mothers can go to receive the support they need Cash donations cannot be sent directly to Magadan. They have to go through the Anchorage Archdiocese (here). Donations to Nativity Inn specifically can be made through PayPal on the Inn webpage.

That leads me to a very important group of organizations that always need your support. (Guess what Fr. Groeschel is talking about as I am starting this section?) That group is the Pro-Life Orginizations. You could start by supporting your local Right to Life Group. DBQ Co. Right to Life could use the help if you don't have a group in your area. Also your local Birthright or Crisis Pregnancy Center could always use support, financial as well as specific goods (check with the group for specifics). & how about donating your time to work at the local office?

On the national/international level I will mention only 3 that I see as the leaders. However all of the Pro-Life & Post-abortion Healing organizations I have listed in the column on the right would welcome help. The 3 I want to hilite are American Life League, Human Life International, & Priests For Life.

There are plenty of people out their who are in need of food & clothing. Most areas have a food bank that could always use donations, food as well as as cash. Then many organizations have giving trees. Many of these set up a site in a local department store or mall. These provide opportunities to buy a present for a child or senior citizen who would otherwise be forgotten. Many parishes also have a similar program for those in their parish.

On the national & international level there are several orginizations that help provide food, clothing & job training for those in need. Catholic Relief Services & Catholic Charities - USA have plenty of worthy programs that need support. & each Catholic diocese also has an office for work within the diocese. Aid to the Church in Need "is an international Catholic charity under the authority of the Holy Father working to serve the persecuted and suffering Church in more than 120 countries around the world." Cross International Catholic Outreach is "part of the Cross International Alliance – an ecumenical Christian effort founded to help the poor worldwide." Heifer International helps people to become independent by providing animals to raise & the training needed so that they can "obtain a sustainable source of food and income."

Normally I would add Habitat for Humanity in this list. But it has become clear to me that they are more concerned about being politcally correct rather that remembering their Christian roots & mission. I say that because the cards they sent out to raise funds avoided any mention of the holiday or the reason for it, Christ. Maybe they better go back & study Mother Teresa's way of helping the poor & proclaiming Christ & see that the 2 are not incompatable. Speaking of the Missionaries of Charity, check out the MC Priests website for contact info to support them. Fr. Groeschel is a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. They do a lot of work with the poor & deserve support. As does The Society of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart - The Josephites.
I've also mentioned the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery and Chapel in another post. They are a daughter foundation of Mother Angelica's Our Lady of the Angels Monastery. They are building their new monastery in Arizona & are in great need of financial support to do so.
Many of the other Catholic organizations I have listed on the right also depend on donations to fund their work. & that includes many of the canonization causes listed there.
I would be remiss if I didn't promote the American Bible Society & their work at getting God's Word out to the world. 1 of the ways they do that is through their Bible-A-Month Club . Another is their Bibles for the Military program. The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Foundation also has a military outreach. They provide copies of Archbishop Sheen's Wartime Prayer Book to the troops.
These are just a few suggestions that I offer to you to consider supporting. & not only during the Christmas season but throughout the year. They are great opportunities to obey Jesus' call to help the "least of His brothers" as well as help return the focus of Christmas where it belongs, on Christ.
Added 26 Nov 2007 3:28 AM
I forgot 1 group in the above opportunities to provide gifts for those in need. Prison Fellowship has a program called Angel Tree. The program supplies gifts for children of prison inmates who otherwise wouldn't get any. While the inmates may have broken the law, most of them who are parents still love & care for their children & desire that they have a happy Christmas. But they obviously don't have the money. This group provides an excellent opportunity to witness to both the prisoners & their families.


Apocalypse NOW!!!!! Let's Hope!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Congratulations to His Eminence Daniel Nicholas Cardinal DiNardo

Cardinal Priest of San Eusebio

Another MORAL Way to Get Stem Cells

(FaithMouse by Dan Lacey)

There was some more news this week that shows how not only is fetal stem cell research not needed, but by the reactions of some, how much it is really about cloning & other ethically immoral practices not finding cures.

The news is that 2 groups of researchers, 1 American, 1 Japanese, have found a way to make stem cells that are pluripotent using skin cells & avoiding the need for cloning. (Skin cells made to mimic stem cells) The USA group was from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It included James Thompson who 1st isolated fetal stem cells in 1999. The group from Japan was from Kyoto University. Using a chemical mix they were able to reprogram the skin cells to imitated pluripotent stem cells. They each used a somewhat different mix of chemicals to achieve their results. (The MSNBC article link has a fuller explanation of the research & process used.)
William Hurlbut, who is a physician and consulting professor at Stanford University Medical Center & who also serves on the President's Council on Bioethics had this to say to MSNBC: "It's very encouraging, and it's pretty obvious we're going to find a consensus solution. It's exciting, because we're not going to be fighting about this." Dr. Hurlbut has long been a proponant of this very type of research for an ethical alternative to fetal stem cells. & he has been regularly accused of simply trying to provide cover for the Bush administration's unwillingness to support fetal stem cell research. These reports have definitely exhonorated his stance. (For more see The End of the Stem-Cell Wars )
Unfortunately this news, while welcome by some, has been downplayed by others. Interestingly many of the arguements in favor of continuing fetal research like how far down the road any useful results could come are the very same arguements against fetal stem cell research that they ignore (Analysis: Hurdles remain for stem cells) Many of those downplaying it are the same people who have been claiming that fetal stem cells are the only hope when there hasn't been a successful cure or treatment even on the distant horizon. Meanwhile they ignore the 70 plus cures & treatments that have come out of adult stem cell research. (& that includes the author of that Analysis article. Why? Because the real goal for most of them is not the cures, they want to develop cloning techniques. & I would suspect for more than simply creating stem cell lines, but for eventually creating sources of replacement parts & other highly immoral types of research that will make the Nazi medical researchers in the concentration camps look like slackers & altar boys.

But many scientists are welcoming this as a moral & highly promising, even more promising than cloning, means of finding stem cell cures. & with none of the moral problems. In fact 1 of the pioneers in cloning has announced he is turning his back on the process. According to a report ( Dolly pioneer quits clone work in stem-cell search ): "Professor Ian Wilmut has decided that the method he pioneered ten years ago no longer offers the best way to grow a patient's cells and tissues to treat a range of medical conditions." "Prof Wilmut, of Edinburgh University, explained that the new technique was "easier to accept socially" than the therapeutic cloning process he helped to pioneer."
"Prof Wilmut was quoted as saying: "I decided a few weeks ago not to pursue nuclear transfer [the method by which Dolly was cloned].""
News like this will make it even harder for those who want fetal stem cell use & cloning to go on to justify their desires. But as I already pointed out, their spin has begun.
& while it is true that there is still a lot of work ahead, this news shows that there is absolutely no need to use fetal stem cells & cloning when other, safer, ethical & moral methods exist. I thank God that we have come up with a solution that keeps us from going over a moral precipice that would result in our leaving God no option but to punish us as he has the Jewish people & others who turned their back on God's ways. But, it is up to us to be sure that we take this path instead of the 1 that fetal stem cell research/cloning advocates are pushing. We can still go either way. But the wrong choice now is even more clearly delineated than ever as uneeded, so the chastisement will be even more severe if we make the wrong choices. Our job is to counter the spin with the truth.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Say "MEOW" to My Little Friend!

(Source: Christus Vincit/Mrs. BMP)

Thanksgiving Leftovers? Here's an Idea for What To Do With Them!

OK it is now 2 days past Thanksgiving. & even that leftover Pumpkin Pie is beginning to lose its appeal (hard to believe, but theoretically possible even if improbable). Here's an idea for a new way to serve those leftovers:

SERIOUSLY: Don't try this at home without deboning the meat & without a good lawyer standing by to defend you from any assault, attempted manslaughter/murder charges should you give this to someone to drink.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

1st Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our sasety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

RIP Mr. Whipple!

Those of us who grew up in the 60s had a lot of friendly faces in TV commercials telling us the best cat food (Morris for 9 Lives) what to drink (Mrs. Olson for Folgers), what was the best dish soap (Madge for Palmolive), the best paper towel (Rosie for Bounty) or the best washing machine (Maytag Repair Man). & for 21 years there was Mr. Whipple telling us "Please, don't squeeze the Charman!" Dick Wilson (Riccardo DiGuglielmo), the actor who played him passed away Monday at the age of 91. He was the last of the original icons. While they replaced Morris & the Maytag Repair Man, it was never quite the same. The originals were just that, original. Regular people who you knew you could trust. OK, I will admit the bears are cute, just not the same.
Here are a few of the commercials where Mr. Whipple told us to do the 1 thing it was impossible to not do, not squeeze the Charman.

Something tells me there will be a rash of Charman squeezing the next few days. I'm sure Dick Wilson would approve.
Arrivederci paisan!

Christian Persecution IS NOT Constitutional!

So, why is it happening in the USA? That is the question Rabbi Jackie Mason askes in a recent Vlog.

Living Can Kill You

I came up with that line many years ago when all the to do about everything you eat being hazardous to your health for some reason or another. (I'm sure I'm not the only 1 who has.) & it has only gotten worse since then. The biggest offender as far as I am concerned is the "Gang of Idiots" not at MAD Magazine but at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. They keep coming out with what I call "DUH!!!!" announcements about how something is harmful in a favorite food. Yes, too much fat is bad, yes too many calories is bad. But, the problem isn't the food, it is the people eating it.
Yet, the elitist "Food Police" people like this think they should be in control & letting you eat only what they approve. When they come out with their stupid pronouncements, I think of the scene in Woody Allen's Sleeper where they tell Allen's character, Miles Monroe, that everything they thought was bad in the early 70s was actually good for you.
Any food in excess can be bad. & I should know, since I am dealing with years of bad eating habits. However, I refuse to blame fast food, Hostess, Oreos, choclate chips or any other food. For whatever reasons were behind them,I made the choices myself. & I am responsible for my own actions.
But that is a part of what bugs the "Food Police (Food Fascists actually, that make the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld seem like a pussy cat.), that people, even with all the nutrional info out there, still ignore it & buy what they want. In other words the free market at work. These "Police" hate that, so they kick into fascist mode by encouraging bottom feeder lawyers like John Edwards & John Banzhaf III to start class action suits to override the free market & impose their will on us.
& someday it may even extend to suing your host & hostess where you eat Thanksgiving Dinner. But, there is good news for you hosts & hostesses. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) offers the 2007 Thanksgiving Guest Liability and Indemnification Form to keep holiday cooks in the clear. Or as the CCF explains it: "To prevent greedy trial lawyers from wrangling your guests into suing you for contributing to the so-called "obesity epidemic," we have prepared this essential liability waiver. Make sure all your Turkey Day guests sign it.
Our Thanksgiving Guest Liability and Indemnification Form comes in carbon-copy triplicate for proper record-keeping come court time. The Agreement prevents your guest from suing you by duly warning him or her that dangerous conditions, risks, and hazards may lurk in the turkey, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, fixings, drinks, desserts, appetizers, and any or all other comestibles that may be served.
Most importantly, by signing the Agreement your guest agrees "not to appear as a witness in support of John 'Sue The Bastards' Banzhaf, Esq., or any other persons with law degrees who cannot otherwise find meaningful employment, at any time in the future." Click here to download your own Agreement. You'll be thankful you did." (Don’t Let Lawyers Sue The Stuffing Out Of You This Thanksgiving)
"The waiver includes an agreement not to haul your host into court on the basis of:
1. Failure to provide nutritional information;
2. Failure to warn of the potential for overeating because food tastes too good and is provided at no cost;
3. Failure to offer “healthier alternatives” or vegetarian “tofurkey”;
4. Failure to provide information about other venues serving alternative, “healthier” Thanksgiving meals;
5. Failure to warn that dark meat contains more fat than white meat; and
6. Failure to warn that eating too much and not exercising may lead to obesity."
OK the form is really using humor to make a point. That point, enough already. Food Police butt out!!!!!
1 of the things that i find funny is that many of these same people who are trying to take away our "choice" of what to eat are the same people who are "pro-choice" when it comes to abortion, are opposed to parental control, etc. Choice to murder unborn OK, choice to eat as you like for good or bad, NOT!
If they are so concerned about life, why aren't these "Food Police" defending the unborn? (Note: The CCF has not taken a stand on abortion & this post is not ment to imply that they have. It is merely me expressing my own opinions freely.) PETA is (alledged) concerned about animal rights, but not human. I could go on & on.
The fact is, all life is valuable & should be defended. People should be educated about proper diet. Yet, unlike abortion, the only person I am hurting is myself if I don't eat properly.
So, you can do like I will & enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner. That doesn't mean you have to opt to pig out. I won't. But don't let the "Food Police" ruin your fun either.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Huckabee on A "Right to Life " Amendment

Normally, I am a big state's rights proponant. But, even the Founding Fathers knew there were certain things that needed to be uniforn nation-wide. That is why they left certain powers to the states & others, like bankrupcy laws, to the Federal government. Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mike Huckabee makes a good point as to why there needs to be a "Right to Life" amendment to the Federal Constitution. 1 I totally agree with.

Also, Gov. Huckabee has recently gotten an interesting endorsement as you can see from this ad (I like the tongue in cheek tone it takes at points.):

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More On "Faithful Citizenship"

Judie Brown of American Life League has pulled no punches on what she sees as the weaknesses in the USCCB's new document "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" that was approved last week. Needless to say, she, & many others of us, were disappointed that the Bishops didn't take a uniform stand on Canon Law 915. She was interviewed by LifeSite on Wednesday 14 November 2007. Here is that interview:

LifeSiteNews: Do you have a response to the document issued today?
Judie Brown: I sure do. My response is both positive and negative. The positive is that they finally seem to have brought themselves to the point of being able to admit that abortion is a fundamental question and it should not be tied into other, quote, unquote "issues". I suppose that’s encouraging except they failed to say anything about pro-abortion politicians who are Catholic and the obligation that they as bishops have to deny Holy Communion and I am terribly distraught about that and generally it’s sort of a milk toast kind of a document.
LifeSiteNews: They say they addressed the communion issue in previous documents.
Judie: They have never addressed the communion question. See, they relegate everything to a quote, unquote “issue” and they do not want to discuss it and the fact of the matter is they have a moral obligation to enforce Canon 915. There should be unanimous agreement on that and anything less than that is a scandal.
LifeSiteNews: Have you read the document yet?
Judie Brown: I have only seen quotes from it. I have not had a chance to read the whole thing.
LifeSiteNews: Is it possible that because of the length of the document (40 pages), its discussion of many different issues and its emphasis on conscience, abortion will get lost instead of being the highest priority?
Judie Brown: Well, you know, even more basic than that, they can issue documents until they are blue in the face and it’s not going to make a difference to Catholics because Catholics are not being taught, they are not being catechized on the fundamental teachings of the Church. I think the average Catholic would probably not even know that document existed or if he did he would pay absolutely no attention to it because it is supported by no moral authority (Bishops' conferences do not have any canonical Church teaching authority). They don’t teach the truth from the pulpit. Such documents are going to have no significance whatsoever because they’re not supported with any daily, weekly effort on the part of the bishops as a united body to teach and to demand that their priests teach the fundamental teachings of the Church.
LifeSiteNews: What else, other than the communion issue, would you have liked to see in the document?
Judie Brown: You know what, I would prefer that they not issue a document and they get about the business of teaching the truth to Catholics.
LifeSiteNews: So, its more about the individual bishops doing their job. Is that what you would say?
Judie Brown: That’s exactly what I am saying. When you have only 13 out of 195 who have the courage to defend Christ in the Eucharist (enforce Canon 915) you have a big problem.

Later, after reading the document, she had more to say about it in her ALL blog. (POLITICS DOES NOT A BISHOP MAKE) She makes some very good points about the weaknesses in the document. & I can't say that I blame her for her disappointment.
I am so disheartened by the new USCCB document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship."
The bishops tell the reader that, "The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many." This is in paragraph 28 and is a fabulous statement. But, in #42 they say, "As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate's position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter's support. Yet a candidate's position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support."
What??? Abortion and racism? Could it be that a hateful attitude and an act of direct murder are equally evil in Church teaching? Where is that written?
And why, pray tell, would the bishops tell us that support for such an evil "may legitimately lead a voter..."? Does that mean that a voter could cast a vote for someone who supports such an evil?
What in the world does section 42 really mean? And, believe me, it gets worse.
In #64 the bishops say, "Abortion, the deliberate killing of a human being before birth, is never morally acceptable and must always be opposed," but in #32 they say that "incremental improvements in the law" can be acceptable. One has to wonder if that includes exceptions such as rape, incest and life of the mother which the bishops have supported for years.
The bishops further state in #33 that, "prudential judgment is also needed in applying moral principles to specific policy choices in areas such as the war in Iraq, housing, health care, immigration and others." Are we to conclude that like abortion, which is apparently a political issue, these other questions are of equal moral value when examining how a Catholic should vote?
Well, here is your answer. In #34, the bishops advise: "A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position." But they continue in the same paragraph to instruct that, "At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate's opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity."
If you are now totally confused about what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is telling the faithful about the murder of innocent preborn babies and the supremacy of this question versus all others, join the club!
I am disgusted with this statement. By the way, tell me why abortion is mentioned by name 15 times, but war is mentioned 21 times and poverty is mentioned 17 times--and the word "murder" which defines abortion is never mentioned.
As my good friend Phil Lawler wrote, when analyzing the USCCB statement:

Quoting that statement, and citing the list of causes that runs on (and on and on and on) in the USCCB statement, a Catholic voter could attempt to justify support for a candidate who favors unrestricted legal abortion and same-sex marriage, explaining that his favored candidate takes the right stand on such "morally grave" issues as gun control, the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, global warming, Medicare and Medicaid, teachers' salaries, or immigration."
May God help us. Pray for our bishops.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life has also issued a statement. (The US Bishops’ Document Faithful Citizenship) His statement looks at those parts of the document that can be used in a positive way to get the Pro-Life message out & get Pro-Life candidates elected.
In the year prior to each Presidential election year, the US Bishops issue a document to review with Catholics their responsibility to be citizens active in the political process. In November of 2007 the bishops approved “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility.”
Priests for Life welcomes the bishops’ statement. The Faithful Citizenship statements have always outlined the many important issues that relate to the ‘common good.’ Many of the previous statements have been criticized for failing to adequately distinguish the differences between the moral gravity of the various issues, and the distinction between policy and principle. The most recent statement, however, does more to highlight those distinctions.
We at Priests for Life echo the bishops’ call for a consistent ethic of life, properly understood, which begins with the proclamation that life is sacred and that the right to life can never be denied to a person, whether born or unborn. This ethic continues to call for the efforts of public officials and citizens alike to preserve and enhance the other fundamental rights of every person, such as religious liberty, and to protect the many goods that are to accompany life itself: education, health care, security, and many more.
“The bishops’ statement calls us to avoid two extremes in considering these issues. One is to ignore the distinctions among the issues; the other is to ignore some of the issues when making the distinctions.
The bishops furthermore point out that as we participate in political parties, we are also called to change those parties wherever and whenever their positions fail to correspond to the demands of justice and the common good. In particular, we at Priests for Life call upon the Democratic Party to abandon its pro-abortion stance, recognizing that such a stance imperils and dilutes any progress that can be made on other issues.
We also want to emphasize in a particular way the call that the bishops make for Catholics to be involved in running for office and being active in political parties. This is completely consistent with a life of faith and worship. In fact, public service in political life is a vocation.
The statement, furthermore, explains that Catholics who vote for candidates because they want to keep abortion legal, or who ignore the pro-abortion stance of a candidate and support him or her just because of party loyalty, are acting immorally.
The document does leave room for voting for a candidate who favors legal abortion if, for instance, the opposing candidate is even more pro-abortion than the one for whom the voter is voting.
The statement encourages Catholics to use voter education materials produced by their dioceses, and so do we. Unfortunately, many dioceses do not produce any voter guides or election-related materials. Priests for Life urges such dioceses to do so. The faithful, of course, are always free to produce and use other election-related material. This is consistent with the statement’s call to be active in the political process and in political parties themselves.
Our commitment at Priests for Life is to make this document widely known, and to distribute it far and wide at our own expense. Moreover, we call upon priests to preach on its contents, on candidates to study its lessons, and on voters to heed its guidance.
Human Life International hasn't issued a statement yet.
(Photo: LifeSite)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

USCCB's Latest Version of "Faithful Citizenship"

On The World Over on EWTN tonite they discussed the latest version of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The general consensus, was that it is better than previous versions, but not as good as it should or could be. & from what I have seen in looking at it, I have to agree. It has some strengths & plenty of weaknesses.
What I really enjoyed was watching Raymond Arroyo put some of the bishops on the hot seat by pointing out to them that they went into specific detail on lesser issues yet left wiggle room on the abortion issue. In his disarmingly nice way he asked some very tough questions. For example,how could they say that you can't vote for a candidate that supports an intinsic evil like abortion & then turn arround & say we are not 1 issue voters? Cardinal George & the others were obviously very uncomfortable at being called out & did their best to justify it being worded the way it was. Yet you could tell they knew that Raymond was right in what he said & they had left their spines at home.
As was pointed out at the end, it now falls back on the individual bishops to do their job to see that this is implimented properly. There will be people who will try & use it to justify voting for pro-abortion candidates. The reality is, even if they had said point blank that a Catholic can never vote for pro-abortion candidates & a politician could never support abortion, many would still ignore it. But, even so, that doesn't excuse any bishop from doing what he should do, & often doesn't, in calling Catholic politicians to either live their faith or quit receiving Communion etc.
As I said earlier, the document does have some good points, but it is weak in many areas. It waters down or slightly twists what Catholic Social Teaching really says about an issue by making it sound like areas where there is room for debate on how to accomplish certain goals doesn't exist. (Way too much to go into detail here.)
Fortunately, this is not an official teaching document that would have to be sent to Rome for the recognitio. If it did, it would be sent back for rework because several parts are weak in their accuracate presentation of Catholic Social Teaching. Sadly, I suspect I know more about what is found in the Church's teachings in this area as I have & study the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. I suspect many of our Bishops, priests, catechists etc haven't.
The Bishops also called on every diocese to issue voter guides. (Paragraph 8) Fr. Pavone pointed out how poorly most dioceses have been in the past at doing this. In other words they usually didn't. I suspect that Fr. Pavone is sceptical that most will issue them next year. & even though it didn't specifically say not to ignore those put out by Catholic groups, it gives those priests who want to cop out another excuse for not doing the right thing & speaking out against abortion.
Fortunately, there are still many priests & bishops who will have the courage to speak out & teach the truth. We need to pray for them & even more so, for those who don't have the courage to do what is right. We need to pray that God would change their hearts so that they might become the shepherds they were ordained to be.
As an aside, the USCCB has also issued a bulletin insert summary of the document. The summary runs for 10 pages. The full version is 44 pages long.

The Libel Tourist

This video raises some very interesting questions. It also serves to remind us, that despite our flaws America still has 1 of the best legal systems in the world. When we let it, the Constitution actually works. The biggest shock may be that for once, the ACLU is actually on the right side of a case, truly defending civil liberties. Che miracolo!

For more info: The Libel Tourist

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Has the Theological Place of Eternal Damnation Reached the Temperature of Absolute 0?

My paisan, Neil Cavuto seems to think so. Why? Hilary Clinton is opposing a tax increase.
STOP THE PRESSES!!!!!!!! A Democrat oppossed to raising taxes. Apparently so. But only apparently. Neil is no more convinced than I am that this is anything more than a political ploy. I suspect Hilary remembers the fiasco that happened in 1984 when Mondale admitted that as President he would raise taxes. So, for now she is taking an anti-tax stand. But only for now.

Hell has frozen over.
Hillary Clinton is knocking an opponent over hiking taxes. A Democratic opponent.
Says Barack Obama's plan to lift the Social Security cap on income amounts to a trillion dollar tax increase. Hillary Clinton telling Barack Obama, you'll kill the economy.
Which is sort of like me telling you, those yodels will kill your cholesterol.
But enough about me. Back to us.
Because shock of shocks some Democrats have been listening to us. And they've changed tactics. Away from battling over who can spend more. But, go figure, who will tax less.
My friends, that's a big shift. And the shift has hit the fan.
Because I think Hillary Clinton is a very smart woman. And she's concluded Democrats tripping over themselves going after the rich, now risk going after folks who are far from rich.
And she's worried. Worried enough to conclude, you know something, no one's ever won the White House promising to raise taxes.
So they're back-pedaling faster than me from a veggies-only restaurant.
But here's the thing. I'll never tell you, "Try the salad."
So don't believe anyone who's spent a political life urging tax hikes when they say, "Try some restraint."
I guess I should be pleased when Hillary Clinton says a trillion dollars is too big a tax hike, even for her.
I'd be more pleased if all of these guys stood up and said any tax hike, especially now, is dangerous, especially for us.

More on Rudy & Pat

Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani has not only not helped Rudy, it is hurting Pat Robertson & CBN.
Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue is leading a protest at the front entrance to CBN this Saturday, 10 Nov, at 1:30 pm EST. As a part of the press release announcing the gathering Mr. Terry had some very strong words to say about Pat Robertson & his actions. Emphasis mine on certain lines that esp make the point that Robertson is totally wrong in what he did.
"If Rudy Giuliani was a Democrat, Pat Robertson might denounce him as Satan Himself – or at least Mayor Beelzebronx - Lord of the N.Y. Flies. Rudy would be the poster boy of CBN attack ads and fundraising appeals.
Rudy has perfect credentials on social issues like child-killing, partial birth abortion, federal funding for "poor women" to have abortions, and so-called homosexual marriage or civil unions. Add to that his unblemished betrayal of the Second Amendment, and he would be a stellar Democratic candidate – with the ethical stature of Al Sharpton, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton herself.
Rudy's treachery to the Catholic Church makes John Kerry look like a choir-boy. During his tenure as mayor Rudy revoked the permit of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for their annual St. Patrick's Day parade. (The Hibernian's are a faithful Catholic Fraternity.) Why? They would not allow homosexual floats to participate in a Catholic Christian parade. The Catholics had to go to Federal Court to get their parade permit back. This is who Pat Robertson is backing.
Is Pat Robertson so terrified of Hillary that he will betray the Right to Life, Marriage, Self-defense, and The Church Herself as long as a fellow Republican snatches power? Rudy may wade through the blood of the innocent to reach the throne; he may be a stench in the nostrils of Angels – and the nostrils of devils for that matter – but at least Rudy is a stench that comes from the GOP stable – and he's not Hillary. Is this the conviction we expect from Christian Leaders?
Rudy may prove to be a far greater threat to "family values" than Hillary. Here's why: an enemy outside your camp (Hillary) makes you vigilant; an enemy inside your tent (Rudy) makes you dead. He can cut your throat in the night, or poison your food in the day. Rudy will slowly destroy the meager gains we have made, and will set the core of the GOP at war with itself. He will set the pro-life movement back 20 years; he will aid those who scoff at our right to self-defense; and believe me, he will be marching in the homosexual parades while he assures Pat Robertson and the Religious Right that he supports family values. At that point, the GOP will be a perverse echo of the Democratic Party.
In the eyes of the Angels, we may find that Hillary's pure evil is far less putrid and damnable than the hypocritical and seductive evil of Rudy's caliber. After all, Rudy has seduced one of the major leaders of the Religious Right. Even Hillary couldn't pull that off."
Tough words, but definitely needed. As I said in a previous post, Mother Angelica would definitely have some strong words to say about what Pat Robertson did. Much of what was said above (without the GOP references) is exactly what I SUSPECT Mother Angelica would say.
Another comment I made in that post mentioned my suspicion that Pat Robertson has completely sold out to the world as an explanation for what he did. I came across an interesting article by Doug Patton that he wrote for GOPUSA. (Endorsement Says More About Pat Than Rudy) It confirms some of these suspicions. In the article he points to an incident that happened in 2001 when Pat Robertson was being interviewed on a cable news show:
"For me, however, the last straw with Robertson came well before 9/11, in the spring of 2001, when CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked him about China's abhorrent one-child policy, which has led to a holocaust of forced abortions and other atrocities.
Robertson, who was reported to have had investments in China at the time, said: "I don't agree with it, but at the same time, they've got 1.2 billion people, and they don't know what to do. If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable. I think that right now they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with forced abortion, but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard.""
What Pat Robertson is relativism, plain & simple. It is also a willingness to sell out moral standards for a profit. For someone who once gave it all up to follow God, it sure seems to me that he has chosen to take everything back, & then some. As I said in that other post, he is no better than a "Cafeteria Catholic". It is the "I'm personally opposed but. . . . " arguement in a new outfit.
Pat Robertson needs to go back & reread Ezekiel 34 & Zechariah 11:17 as well as many other OT & NT writings on the proper action of a shepherd. He was very ready & willing to describe certain events as God's judgment on the USA. Maybe he better take the log out of his own eye 1st. Right now, he has absolutely no moral authority to speak for anyone, let alone God. Or as Doug Patton put it: "Once, Pat Robertson spoke for me and my family. Now, sadly, he can't even seem to speak for himself." Sad, but VERY VERY TRUE!!!!! Headlines

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