Pewsitter News http://www.pewsitter.com/ Pewsitter News en-us Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:08:56 GMT Fri, 30 Sep 2016 09:08:56 GMT http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss none info2@pewsitter.com info2@pewsitter.com <![CDATA[ Only 1% of Catholic Democrats in Congress Pro-Life vs. 94% of Republican Catholics ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_247226.php
Only 1% of Catholic Democrats in Congress Pro-Life vs. 94% of Republican Catholics



By Andrew Parrish
Pewsitter.com


WASHINGTON, D.C. - According to statistics compiled by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) 94% of Republican Congressional representatives who identify as Catholic have a pro-life voting record, whereas only 1% of Democratic Catholics in Congress have such a record.

Of the 82 Catholic Republicans in Congress, 77 Republican representatives have voted consistently pro-life (from 68-100%) and 3 have a mixed record (34-67%). 1 has voted consistently pro-abortion (89%), Rep. Richard Hanna of New York. The representatives with mixed records are Sen. Lisa Murkowski (AK) with a 63% pro-life record, Sen. Susan Collins (ME) with 40%, and Rep. John Katko (NY) with 60%.

Of the 86 Catholic Congressional Democrats, the sole representative with a pro-life voting record is Rep. Madeline Bordallo of Guam with 100%. Two have mixed records, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL) with 63% and Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) with 56%. The remaining 83 Democratic Catholic Congressional representatives have a 66-100% pro-abortion record. These statistics are compiled by the NRLC based on their assessment of whether a given bill before the House is “pro-life” and the subsequent record of Congressional votes. Non-voting delegates from outlying territories are not counted. The current NRLC “scorecards” for House and Senate can be viewed here.

The current political climate in America is a volatile one for the pro-life cause. The ideological division displayed in the NRLC statistics makes passing pro-life legislation a difficult battle, at a time when more than twenty abortion-related bills are currently waiting on a vote in both the House and Senate. The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has left the conservative party in the Supreme Court weak, with a number of important pro-life cases under review; and above all, the looming presidential election will have a dramatic effect on pro-lifers’ political efforts, positive or negative.

Monday night saw the first of the presidential debates for the November 2016 election, between Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Clinton has sided definitively with the Democratic Party on abortion, declaring it a “fundamental human right”. Meanwhile, Trump has emerged as a the pro-life candidate, at first confusing voters with the statement “Planned Parenthood does good things” but over the course of the campaign declaring that he would defund Planned Parenthood, that he opposed abortion, and most recently indicating his willingness to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The outcome of the election will have a major effect on the attempts of House and Senate pro-life blocs to push for reform.

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Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/247226/
<![CDATA[ Terrorism, Pope Francis and Muslim Immigration ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_246822.php Terrorism, Pope Francis and Muslim Immigration




By John Zmirak
Guest Opinion

Americans are still piecing together their lives after the attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Each week we read of a bloody new jihad incident. Muslim immigrants and their children have been behind most of them, from the 2016 bombing in Brussels to the 2015 slaughter in Paris and the 2014 butchery of journalists at the magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was Muslim immigrants who conducted the wave of public gang-rapes that shocked Germany on New Year’s Eve 2015–16, and dozens of European born Muslims have been apprehended en route to volunteering for the murder squads of ISIS. Counterintelligence expert Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer has estimated that up to 15 percent of Muslim 'refugees' from Syria have links to ISIS. The Pew Report found that one in five U.S. Muslims believe that suicide bombings 'in defense of Islam' can sometimes be justified. Globally, that figure rises to one in four.



Hundreds of thousands of radical Muslims dwell in self-enclosed enclaves across Western Europe. One of four residents of Brussels under age twenty is of 'Islamic origin.' The colonization of Europe has proceeded very quickly, aided and abetted by generous social welfare programs that offer immigrants a comfortable life in Germany or England for the price of showing up. But Pope Francis has repeatedly condemned any attempt to stop the influx of Muslim migrants, in statements that were one-sided and moralistic, far different from the official Church teaching as codified in the Catechism.

Francis’s most sweeping statement on the subject was probably his 2013 speech at Lampedusa, a town in impoverished Sicily that is inundated annually with hundreds of thousands of economic migrants from Africa, outnumbering its citizens. In that speech, he compared economic migrants to Abel and skeptical Westerners to Cain. The pope also compared Europeans (worried, financially strapped, and sometimes physically brutalized by the migrants) to King Herod, who slaughtered the infants of Bethlehem in an effort to murder Jesus.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel listened. She could have followed international law, under which refugees must be accepted by the 'first safe country' that they reach, which in the case of those fleeing the Syrian civil war, was NATO member Turkey. Instead under Merkel’s leadership Germany followed the advice of the pope, and the dictates of post-Christian, post-Western multiculturalism. With high-minded abandon she accepted more than a million Syrian migrants, forcing much of Europe to follow suit. The results have been an unmitigated catastrophe, as hundreds of thousands of military-age Muslim males have flocked to Western European countries.

Whatever Pope Francis’s inner feelings or personal opinion, the Church has a settled teaching on immigration, which he does not have the authority to alter in off-the-cuff speeches. That teaching is codified in the Catechism:

The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.


Notice that the 'more prosperous nations' are obliged to accept migrants only 'to the extent they are able.' The government can put conditions on the right to immigrate. And the immigrants, too, have obligations to the country that accepts them—including the obligation to obey its laws. Yet imams all across Europe claim that Muslims are only bound by sharia, which they will someday impose on the rest of the population.

When large numbers of Sunni Muslims attempted to colonize much of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Christians energetically organized to prevent them from doing so—as students of history will remember from the Battle of Lepanto and the sieges of Vienna. As the Center for Security Policy warns, now the Islamic world is employing a different tactic for expansion. Instead of armies waving banners, it sends 'refugees' waving asylum claims—marching them straight through Turkey into the heart of once-Christian Europe.

Christians are under no obligation to surrender their hard-fought freedom to millions of immigrants who will vote to impose sharia, whose mosques will harbor terrorists, whose apologists will defend honor-killing and female genital mutilation. In fact, to do so is sinful. The Church is not a suicide cult.

John Zmirak is author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism.

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Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/246822/
<![CDATA[ In New Book, Benedict XVI Responds to Cardinal Marx Criticisms That His Papacy Was Characterized By Excesses ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_246568.php
In New Book, Benedict XVI Responds to Cardinal Marx Criticisms That His Papacy Was Characterized By Excesses



By Andrew Parrish
Pewsitter.com


9/13/2016

MUNICH – A new book of interviews with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has just been released in Munich. The interviews were conducted by the Pope's biographer, Peter Seewald, and presented by Georg Gänswein, the former Pope's personal secretary. Among other remarks on his papacy, the Pope Emeritus rejects criticism that his papacy was “flamboyant” and “characterized by excesses”. This is a response in particular to Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who accused the Pope of turning the Roman curia into his “court”, shortly before the Papal resignation of 2013. 

The publication of the book has delivered a strong response. Benedict, in interview, comments that he does not know what Cardinal Marx might have been referring to. “I have always lived simply, always, ever since my childhood,” he said. Gänswein took the opportunity of the book's release to defend the Pope further. “One should be careful of making statements or valuations of a situation that one does not know well,” he stated, referring indirectly to Cardinal Marx's remarks. 

Gänswein, continuing this critique, called Cardinal Marx's opinions about the Curia “astonishing”. He revealed the Pope's harsh self-criticism in private, saying that “he continually demythifies himself”. The Pope Emeritus has never shown himself so fully human as in this latest work, “with his great strengths and small weaknesses and infirmities”. Gänswein explicitly rejected the prevalent and lasting image of Benedict XVI as the “Grand Inquisitor” or the “Panzerkardinal”. 

The Pope's secretary also remarked that the resignation of the Pope was paralleled by a youthful episode in the life of Joseph Ratzinger – desertion from the Wehrmacht at the end of World War II. Ratzinger, a forced conscript who opposed Nazism, risked the death penalty in so doing. “This experience of youth is probably a veiled key to understanding his resignation in 2013, when he decided for the second time to quietly go home”, Gänswein said. 

“Last Remarks” (Letzte Gespräche) has been published by Droemer Knaur V.G. of Munich. In the book, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addresses many of the most controversial issues of his papacy, including his stance on Islam, his relationship with the Jews, SSPX, and other groups, and the background of his resignation. It is available worldwide.

 

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Wed, 14 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/246568/
<![CDATA[ The Sunday Blurb: A Love That Saves ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_246412.php
A Love That Saves



By Lindsey Todd
Pewsitter.com


One of the most frustrating things about today's society is how often people seem to throw around the word "love."

Take, for example, reality TV: "I love him. He makes me feel so happy! He's funny and hot and a great kisser!" Never mind that a) these are the most superficial reasons for "loving" someone in the history of...ever, and b) she's only known the guy for two weeks.

Yet, in today's world, it's totally acceptable to date someone for a month or two, sleep with them, and  promptly begin to build a life around the person -- despite the fact that the couple's odds of actually getting married under such circumstances are slim. And if they do make it to the altar when they base their relationship almost entirely on sex and surface-level attributes...well, is it any wonder that the divorce rate in America has risen to 50 percent?

Half of all marriages ending is a scary statistic. How did we get to this point as a society? What is lacking in relationships today? And how can people find real love?

In order to form solid answers to these questions, we must first begin with clearly defining what authentic love is. "Love" today can mean any number of things, primarily concerning emotions and feelings. While emotions are wonderful and desirable in a relationship, they do not define love. Rather, love can be defined as doing and wanting what is best for the beloved.

As with everything, we must look to Jesus first for the ultimate example of love -- but as society has deemed God (and faith in and of itself) as insignificant and irrelevant, it is difficult to even begin addressing how secular couples today go about building strong relationships. For one thing, how could you claim to really love and know someone if you fail to acknowledge the Person who created them? Unless you're praying with your significant other and for them, it can be easy to forget that the person has been gifted to you -- entrusted to you -- by the Maker of the world, which is a pretty phenomenal idea. Prayer additionally allows for reflection on the relationship, and time to think about what your beloved might need. In this way, prayer is one of the ultimate ways of achieving true love...because prayer means putting the needs of your beloved before your own needs, even if it's only for a few minutes each day. 

One major problem couples typically face in today's society is a significant other or spouse carrying over individual issues into the relationship or marriage. What I mean by this is, many people expect the absolute best from their partner without stopping to focus on and improve their own vices and faults. You cannot expect from another person what you yourself cannot provide. If you expect patience and understanding from your partner when you are hardly ever patient, can you really expect them to rise to a standard that is not reciprocated? Nevertheless, couples date and marry all the time without first putting in the time and effort to work on their own character, which will ultimately affect the relationship going forward. If you expect a generous, humble, and chaste spouse, you must work on the virtues of generosity, humility, and chastity in your personal life.

Another thing that ties into this is when couples date or marry just to avoid loneliness. Essentially, they are not a whole person on their own -- rather, they need someone to "complete" them. A person might hate solitary activities, might be extremely needy after the loss of a parent or friend, or may simply long for physical affection. Rather than turning to Christ to fill these voids in their heart, they instead turn to another human being for the temporary relief that his or her company can bring. When you get right down to it, "loving" someone who fills a void for you isn't really love. In math, two halves may make a whole, but it doesn't work that way in serious relationships. Rather, two whole people are the couple that have the greatest chance of success in a relationship or marriage. The couple must be supportive and loving, but not co-dependent.

If you think about it, when you need someone to constantly rekindle your "flame" (whatever said flame may be), the person providing this light is likely to become burnt out over time. Couples today don't realize this. They instead seek romantic relationships to give their lives meaning, viewing human love as the ultimate Band-Aid for any emotional scars life might've inflicted upon them. This is perhaps the biggest problem with secular relationships: they search for meaning and solace in another human person rather than from Christ, who is the ultimate meaning and the ultimate solace. When a couple marries with this ideology, their marriage is likely to deteriorate in time simply from the pressure of viewing each other as idols. They long to find perfection in the other person or in the relationship because they do not believe in God, who is the ultimate model of perfection.

Finally, one of the biggest hindrances of true love today is the contraceptive mindset. Many people struggle with the notion of this, particularly those who are not religious. They view conservative Catholics as a bunch of "crazies" who don't know how to stop popping out babies (clearly they are misinformed about the fact that the Church does not dictate how many children a family should have, and that natural family planning is statistically more effective than any form of artificial birth control). However, what comes along with contraception is the ideology that your love interest should be available to you any time you desire him or her. There is rarely an understanding of the woman's biological rhythms or respect for her body when a couple is contracepting, therefore a man begins to view her as a means to an end -- however subliminally. Additionally, the couple is failing to cooperate with God in the fullest extent of human love, which is to bring about new life. Must this always be the reason for intimacy in a marriage? No -- but the openness to life must still exist. If it does not, the nature of the relationship becomes "all about me" rather than "all about us." It becomes more selfish, more focused on isolated pleasure than on God's design.

Ultimately, true love can only exist where two individuals are focused on making gifts of themselves to their beloved. Fireworks, butterflies, and stars in your eyes are terrific -- but it is what remains when those sensations diminish that determines lasting love. Love is often a challenge. In its purest form, it is a complete emptying of self to consider what is best for the other person. One of my favorite quotes that sums this up is: "Love is when a man wipes away your tears...even after you left Him hanging on the cross for your sins."

The God of the universe humbled Himself enough to sweat drops of blood, be tied to a pillar half-naked and scourged just short of the point of death, be mocked and ridiculed as He wore a crown of thorns, fall under the weight of an enormous cross not once, but three times, and ultimately die on that cross as the very people He died for continued to ridicule Him and persecute Him.

If this is not self-emptying love, then no love in this world was ever real. Jesus came primarily to redeem us, but also to show us what true love needs to consist of in order to last and bear fruit. True love is sacrifice. It means little deaths unto self each and every day for the good of the beloved. It is enduring hardship and difficulty. It means to suffer with the person during the falls of life.

So the next time you're watching reality TV, and the crazy couple onscreen claims to be "madly in love" on the basis of virtually nothing (save hormones), do yourself a favor and turn off that junk. You know what love is -- love is life-giving, sacrificial, and faithful to the end. Because the One who loved us first has proven this to us.

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Sun, 11 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/246412/
<![CDATA[ Most Recent Edition of ISIS Magazine Again Threatens the Vatican and Pope; describes Murder of French Priest Jacques Hamel ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_246146.php
Most Recent Edition of ISIS Magazine Again Threatens the Vatican and Pope; Describes Murder of French Priest Jacques Hamel



By Andrew Parrish
Pewsitter.com


9/5/2016

ROME / SYRIA – Provoked by the efforts of public figures in the West to find some common ground with Islam, the Islamic State (ISIS) has recently set out to clarify its hatred of all things non-Islamic, in particular Catholicism. Toward this end, the latest edition of the ISIS propaganda magazine, Dabiq, has been published, devoted to attacks on Catholicism and explanations of why the two religions are fundamentally in conflict.

Entitled “Breaking the Cross”, Dabiq issue 15 was released on July 31st. The magazine includes a historical survey of the true Islam and its opposition to Christianity throughout the Middle Ages, a theological treatise refuting various facets of Christian belief, and a six-point manifesto, “Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You”. Also featured is the brutal murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel, the French priest decapitated during Mass on July 26th of this year.

Issue 15 devotes a special section to Pope Francis, who is claimed to be continuing the Crusades under the deceptive guise of friendliness and a willingness to dialogue. The magazine’s authors are concerned about what they term the “grey area” of Islam, the ‘lapsed’ or ‘non-practicing’ moderates who might be willing to hear Francis’ call to peace instead of taking up the jihad. Francis’ efforts at ecumenical dialogue are described as subversive attempts to destroy the military strength of ISIS, seducing fallen-away Muslims from the true faith and the accompanying call of holy war. Those Muslim clerics who try and portray Islam as peaceful are castigated as traitors to Islam and apostates. 

On the heels of this attack on Catholicism, the Islamic State has also released a new propaganda video recorded by Abdel Rahman el-Libi, a jihadist who blew himself up last year in Benghazi. El-Libi claims that the Islamic State will fulfill Mohammed’s prophecy of “victory over Rome” and that the “Islamists will soon pray instead of the Christians in Rome”. “We are a united nation and sharia will prevail throughout the world”, he declared. “If in Rome, pray."

Such declarations stand in stark contrast to Pope Francis’ comments to journalists on July 27th, when he called the war between ISIS and the rest of the world “a war of interests, a war of money… not a religious war”. Though the issue remains extremely controversial, many in the West are increasingly willing to accept ISIS’ definition of Islam as a religion of violence, foundationally opposed to Catholicism. Speaking for this group, Cardinal Burke has declared that calling Islam a religion of peace, and even saying that Catholics and Muslims worship the same God, are “highly questionable”.

           

 

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Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/246146/
<![CDATA[ The Sunday Blurb: Joy Beyond Happiness ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_246075.php
Joy Beyond Happiness



By Lindsey Todd
Pewsitter.com


The majority of us aren't strangers to the sensation of happiness. That's because happiness is somewhat spontaneous. It strikes moment-to-moment, and these fleeting moments of pleasure don't necessarily need to be life-changing or all-encompassing.  Case in point: that feeling you get when you dig into a burrito bowl at Chipotle? Happiness. How about finding an awesome antique book at a flea market? Happiness. When your dog cuddles up next to you on the couch while you watch your favorite movie? Happiness.                

To be happy is a wonderful thing. God wants us to be happy in this life. As flawed human beings living in a flawed world, however, we cannot expect happiness to be an every-day experience. We frequently worry, stress, and become easily overwhelmed. All of these things make it difficult to be happy as often as we'd like to be. It is easy to become annoyed with our friends and family members. People let us down. We get stuck in traffic on the way to work or school. We consistently have to deal with difficult situations beyond our control, and these are the things that upset many of us regularly. When too many of these incidents occur on any given day, we label that day as 'bad' and wallow in self-pity until we go to bed that night. But really: was it a bad five minutes, or was it actually a bad day?                


This is not to say that there are not legitimate reasons for being unhappy, sometimes even for prolonged periods of time. Death, heartbreak, and loneliness are extremely overwhelming circumstances that we will all, inevitably, experience. During these dark times in our lives, we are not likely to actually be "happy." What we can (and should) be, however, is joyful.                

.

It can be far too easy to let the little things get us down in life. We often lose track of what matters most, focusing instead on all of the reasons why our lives aren't perfect. We want, we want, we want, and so seldom -- in the midst of all this wanting -- do we take the time to appreciate what God has already given us.               

Some people equate joy with happiness, and use the two terms interchangeably. However, there are major differences between the terms. "Happiness" is not a virtue -- but joy is. Happiness is fleeting, but joy remains in the midst of sadness and suffering. We will never be happy about losing someone we love, losing our jobs, or missing out on seemingly great opportunities...but we can rejoice in the fact that despite the worst of times in our lives, God has a bigger plan for us.

In short, happiness is a fickle emotion, while joy keeps the bigger picture in mind. Joy recognizes that at the center of our being, we were created by God and for God, and no one can take that away from us. There is no hardship in life that can erase our worth in Christ, and no matter what happens, we can find joy in this. Joy takes us beyond ourselves, while happiness tends to be centralized to experiencing isolated pleasure.                

No matter what happens in our lives, we will always be able to rest in the knowledge that we have dignity and worth in Christ's love for us. We are not neglected, lonely, or accidental creations -- Jesus died to deliver each and every one of us from the consequences of sin. This is the true meaning of joy  -- and this joy is surely lasting.

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Sun, 04 Sep 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/246075/
<![CDATA[ Hungarian Ambassador To The Vatican Claims 'Pope's statements on immigration problems becoming more nuanced' ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_245718.php

Hungarian Ambassador To The Vatican Claims 'Pope's statements on immigration problems becoming more nuanced'


MUNICH, ROME – The Hungarian ambassador to the Vatican, Eduard von Habsburg, reported that the Pope grasps the difficulties of the migration crisis in an August 30th interview with the German Catholic Tagespost. The Pope, he says, has recently made “statements in which one can sense that the reality of many countries, influenced by the enormous stream of migrants and refugees, has reached him a little bit more.” His comment comes just after the Pope received Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán Orbán as a member of an international delegation of Catholic lawmakers.

Viktor Orbán is well-known for his opposition to immigration from the Middle East into Europe. In a much-publicized speech given in Budapest on March 15th of this year, Orbán declared that the movement of large numbers of Muslim refugees into Europe was a deliberate policy of Brussels, the seat of the EU, to “reshape the religious and cultural landscape of Europe, and to re-engineer its ethnic foundations.” Orbán further stated Hungary’s intention to preserve its cultural and religious independence, and forbade the settlement of any refugees within Hungary’s borders. Few other European leaders have made such strong public statements against Middle Eastern immigration.

Ambassador von Habsburg, asked about the discrepancy between Orbán’s anti-immigrant views and Pope Francis’ record of pro-immigration statements, replied that Francis was moving between two poles: “as an evangelizer preaching the need to see Christ in every man, and on the other hand, as the head of 1.2 billion Catholics, keeping the worldwide political reality in view.” He cited Francis’ statements to the New Year’s meeting of diplomats, namely that countries have a duty both to take in refugees and also to secure their borders and give their citizens a sense of safety.

“In the Holy See,” von Habsburg continued, “there is some sympathy for the concrete problems of Hungary, arising from its size and geographical location.” von Habsburg refers to criticism of Hungary and Orbán from the international community regarding the decision to build fences on the eastern border with Serbia and Romania. Hungary is an outlying member of the Schengen Area, which abolishes internal borders across most of Europe; as such it has the obligation to screen applicants for admission on behalf of all Schengen Area countries, as Habsburg explained in his interview. “If you do not protect the Schengen Area at its external borders, the whole system breaks together,” von Habsburg explained, and said that the Holy See recognizes Hungary’s obligations to the European community.

Pope Francis has a consistent record of statements encouraging European and Western countries to welcome the vast numbers of people fleeing the Middle East, which he explains in terms of the Church’s pastoral mission. His recognition of the political and social difficulties that countries face in doing so has not been clear in the past. However, von Habsburg claims that the Vatican’s official views on refugee policy have become “more nuanced in the course of recent months.” Ambassador von Habsburg spoke of the warm relations between Hungary, a politically Christian country, and the Vatican, and defended the Pope’s need for diplomacy toward Islam: “The Pope wants to show them that he responds to them at eye level and welcomes an alliance. What else should the world’s most respected religious representative do?”

In the wake of von Habsburg’s remarks, the Vatican announced this morning that Pope Francis, continuing the bureaucratic reform that has been a hallmark of his papacy, has merged four Vatican offices into the “Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development”, beginning Jan. 1st. The Pope himself will oversee the work of this office. In the Motu Proprio announcing the change, Pope Francis wrote that the Dicastery will oversee the Church’s international humanitarian efforts, focusing on "migrants, those in need, the sick, the excluded and marginalized, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, and all forms of slavery and torture”. Pope Francis says that he will temporarily take personal charge of migration because "there cannot be a service for integral human development without paying particular attention to the phenomenon of migration."

Ambassador von Habsburg is a direct descendant of Emperor Franz Josef the First, of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He alluded to this historical consciousness in the interview, mentioning that immigration brings back uneasy memories of the Turkish Ottoman Empire for many Hungarians.

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Wed, 31 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/245718/
<![CDATA[ Prominent Mexican Politician Threatens Catholic Church Over Gay Marriage ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_245532.php
Prominent Mexican Politician Threatens Catholic Church Over Gay Marriage



By Andrew Parrish
Pewsitter.com


Jesús Zambrano Grijalva, President of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies, publicly attacked the Mexican Catholic Church on the 15th of August, claiming that in speaking out against gay marriage the Church was “trespassing on land where it did not belong.” Further, Grijalva requested that the Mexican Ministry of the Interior punish the Church for its uncompromising public stance. “In actuality there is no unitary concept of the family,” he declared, noting that “the traditional family” was put at risk by “addictions, divorces, and acts of pederasty by priests that have gone unpunished.”

Grijalva’s attack comes in response to an article published on August 14th in Desde la Fe, the official social publication of the Archdiocese of Mexico, entitled “Gay marriage is a false right” (‘Matrimonio gay, falso derecho’). The article describes the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to uphold Article 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 12 states that “men and women…have the right to marry”; it was upheld against challenges from homosexual and lesbian couples, thus maintaining the legal distinction between a heterosexual marriage and a homosexual civil union. Desde la Fe (DLF) comments that recent public remarks by the President and Supreme Court of Mexico are opposed to the reaffirmed definition of Article 12.

On the 21st of August, DLF published an interview with Fr. Hugo Valdemar, Director of Communications for the Mexican Archdiocese, responding to Grijalva’s attack. In the interview Fr. Valdemar notes that Grijalva is a member of the radical left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PDR), claiming that Grijalva spoke not as the President of the Chamber of Deputies but as a representative of the PDR. Valdemar describes Grijalva and the PDR’s questionable legacy of repressive or violent actions in office, their history of anti-Catholicism, and the irony of Grijalva et al. “accusing the Church of an anarchy which they themselves incited.” With this militant political history, Grijalva’s threat to have the Ministry of the Interior intervene is “very serious”.

The Mexican Ministry of the Interior (Secretariá de Gobernación) has the power under the constitution to regulate the bodies which participate in public life and also the relationship between the Federal Government and other institutions, meaning that it could impose real limitations on the Church’s ability to speak out in public. Fr. Valdemar commented that the Catholic Church consists of millions of baptized Mexicans, and not only the “hierarchy” of the institutional Church, and declared that “if any legislation affects our families, their faithful, their children, the future of the country, bishops and priests cannot remain silent.”

 

Links to Source Articles

http://www.desdelafe.mx/apps/article/templates/?a=6879&z=3

Original DLF article on gay marriage

http://www.desdelafe.mx/apps/article/templates/?a=6890&z=3

DLF interview with FR. Valdemar

http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

Text of the European Convention on Human Rights

Secretaria de Gobernacion - http://www.gob.mx/segob/que-hacemos

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Mon, 29 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/245532/
<![CDATA[ The Sunday Blurb: Giving It to God ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_245454.php

Giving It To God

By Lindsey Todd
Pewsitter.com


Have you ever read the Old Testament and felt overwhelmed by the severity and ruthlessness of God the Father? I get the feeling that many people feel this way -- including Christians -- because recently, as I strolled through Barnes and Noble, I came across a book titled: How to Read the Bible and Still Be a Christian. The irony of such a name made me chuckle, but the book fascinated me because there is a need for such a book in today's society. Often, it can be hard to interpret the harder concepts that the Bible (namely the Old Testament) poses. For example: why would God ask Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, only to change His mind about it at the last possible moment? Was God playing head games with poor Abraham?

This, like so many other accounts in the Old Testament, is not just a puzzling story. Yes, it can make one wonder, "How could a God who is good demand such evil from a good man?" The story, though, really isn't about God's elusive nature; it's about a lesson we need to learn as followers of Christ.

How often in our lives have we truly considered what God might be calling us to do; have we really thought about God's plan for us? Another question: how willing would we be to act on God's plan if we knew what it was? The first thing we need to address in order to answer these questions is that God is not speaking to us today the way He spoke to Abraham. It can be difficult to decipher what the Lord is asking us to do. I remember pondering in my teenage years the idea that prayer is actually a dialogue -- that we should be listening as much as we speak. But listening for what? For a voice in our heads? What does God's voice sound like? What if you never hear Him as you pray?

It took me a while to figure out that when God speaks, it's usually not vocal (unless you're St. Faustina or Mother Angelica), but there are ways to determine what the Lord is saying to you -- and rest assured, He is always saying something. These include: 1) Being in the state of grace; 2) Constant prayer and reflection; 3) Alignment with Church teaching and Scripture.

First, it is crucial that we are in the state of grace when we pray for clarity. God will not speak to a person with whom He has no connection. Of course, we can pray when we are in a state of mortal sin, but we won't receive the graces necessary to really hear God's call and act upon it unless we are free from grave sin (which can be easily remedied with the sacrament of confession). Ultimately, it is most important to have a healthy, active relationship with Christ in order to expect Him to speak to us.

Secondly, if we pray long and hard about a particular idea we have or a recurring feeling we experience, God will always provide clarity and strength to know the right path, and to take it. It might take weeks, months, or even years of prayer regarding the things that weigh on our hearts, but He will not leave us without answers. You will have your answer when, after much thought, reflection, and prayer, you feel definitively that you know the path you need to take, and your conscience is not troubled or bothered by it (no matter how difficult the decision may be).

Thirdly, your conscience cannot be at peace if you are contemplating making a decision that goes against Christ's teachings. The thing(s) you are praying for must align with Scripture if you think you hear what God is asking you to do -- because He would never ask you to do anything that goes against His word or causes you to sin. This brings us back to: why, then, would God ask Abraham to do something so evil, so contrary to His own laws and His own nature?

What it really boils down to is that God wanted to know how much Abraham loved him. God had promised Abraham descendants as "numerous as the stars," and He knew that Abraham loved Isaac above any other person or earthly possession. So he tested Abraham by asking him to give Him the thing he loved most: his only son. He did this knowing that Abraham would be hurt beyond belief, and that he might question God's goodness, but He needed Abraham to prove his love regardless. He was never going to make Abraham kill his own son, but He needed to know that he would -- simply because he trusted God more than he trusted his own instincts. In the New Testament, Jesus gives his disciples a similar message, which is to drop everything and follow Him. If we are unwilling to do this in our own lives -- especially when it comes to unhealthy attachments like money, lust, possessions, dependency on others, etc. -- how can we honestly expect God to provide for us? Was God Himself above sacrificing His own son for the good of the world? No -- so neither should we be above sacrificing all we are and all we have for the good of God's plan. God will provide for us always if we do this, because God is good. He honors our requests and desires, and He honors the sacrifices we make on His behalf even more, because this is the ultimate sign that we place our trust in Him above everything.

It won't be easy to give Christ the things we love most, but it is important to remember that He will never ask us to surrender anything truly good. If He is calling you to remove something or someone from your life, or to take action about something -- if the calling scares you, intimidates you, or makes you want to run the other direction -- stand your ground. More than this, kneel. Pray about your fear. Tell God you want to give Him everything, but you are not yet sure how. God will give you the strength you need in time to answer His call if you truly seek His will above all else. Surrender who you've been and what you've had for who God is, and you will never be disappointed with the outcome.

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Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/245454/
<![CDATA[ Mother Angelica's Final Years: Demonic Visitations, Her Grand Bargain, and the Value of Suffering ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_242064.php

Mother Angelica's Final Years: Demonic Visitations, Her Grand Bargain, and the Value of Suffering

Raymond Arroyo's newest book, Mother Angelica, Her Grand Silence: The Last Years and Living Legacy, (Image/Random House) just hit bookshelves on May 17. The book is a follow-up to his 2007 biography of Mother and recounts the final years of her life.                

Upon reading Her Grand Silence, I had some questions for Arroyo, who was kind enough to speak with me in a personal interview about some of the more surprising elements of Mother's last years. One such remarkable detail was that she had made a bargain with our Lord, asking Him to allow her to remain on this Earth until the worst of times was over: 'I talked to the Lord recently,' she confided in a hush, 'and I said I would like to stay until the worst is over -- for the Church, for the community' (excerpt from Her Grand Silence).  

Upon telling him about the proposition she'd made with God, Arroyo confessed, 'At first, I didn't think much of this. But as I went back and listened to the transcripts, that line kept jumping out.' When I proceeded to ask how he knew that her bargain with God had been accepted -- that the Lord had, indeed, allowed her to stay until the worst was over -- he said that the proof could be found in the way her final days progressed. 'In spite of her disability, she continued fighting and being present,' Arroyo said. He also went on to explain that in understanding that she stayed until 'the worst was over,' there would be many more troubling times for the Church, as there will always be corrupt individuals seeking to destroy it. What Mother had meant in asking the Lord to live through the worst of times was, Arroyo explained, 'The period of time she occupied.' For instance, Mother suffered a severe stroke in 2001 -- the same year the sex abuse scandal in the Church began -- and these were extremely dark times for Catholicism. The stroke was debilitating, but Mother lived through it to fulfill God's plans for her and for the Church. 'She did stay through the worst,' Arroyo said.                

Also addressed in Her Grand Silence are continued accounts of demonic visitations which occurred during her last years, in addition to those  mentioned in Arroyo's earlier Mother Angelica biography. In fact, Mother had experienced frequent visitations from Satan throughout her life, but the ones that were written about in Her Grand Silence were not simply third-person snippets of information. On some of these occasions, Arroyo was present. 'I was there, in the room with her,' he said. Mother was bedridden during this time and depended upon her sisters and her friends for aid with simple, daily activities, so when demons attacked her, the people closest to her often witnessed the events. As anyone who is familiar with the lives of the saints knows, it is not uncommon for holy people to experience Satanic attacks, and Mother was no exception to this.

Most of all, Her Grand Silence reveals much about the final years of Mother Angelica and highlights the important message that suffering contains great value. 'The book contains a countercultural message that every life has value...there is value and richness in suffering and in preparation for death,' Arroyo explained. He went on to say that many readers have contacted him about the book, saying that it helped them to better understand suffering and its purpose. Mother was not able to speak or even move much in her final years, but she still managed to 'transform the world from a hospital bed in her cloister,' as Arroyo puts it. God has a purpose for our pain and a plan for each of our lives, and this is why it is so important to remember that our Heavenly Father alone is the author of life. Only He can give it, and only He can take it away. Arroyo acknowledged that in our culture of death, people are anxious to do away with their sick or elderly relatives so that they won't have to deal with them. Mother Angelica’s final years shows us, similar to the final years of her contemporary, St. John Paul II, that there is a purpose and value to suffering – and perhaps, like this beloved Pope, she may one day be raised to the honors of the altar.

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Tue, 19 Jul 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/242064/
<![CDATA[ Today's Supreme Court Fisher Ruling Supports Muslim Profiling ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_240404.php

By Pewsitter News Service
Pewsitter.com


Today's Supreme Court Fisher Ruling Supports Muslim Profiling 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 23,  2016):  In upholding the use by the University of Texas of an admissions policy which profiles applicants on the basis of race, and includes race as an important factor in its decision making process, the U.S. Supreme Court provides additional support for the use of racial or religious profiling in other areas, specifically regarding Muslims, suggests public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Indeed, because this decision - unlike others in the past which upheld using race as a factor in governmental decision making, but only when used in combination of other factors - did not stress the prior requirement that the suspect factor (here race) could not be considered in isolation from other factors, it makes it somewhat more likely that governmental decisions and policies based solely on race or religion would be constitutional, explains Banzhaf.

Thus, although Banzhaf has stressed that the TSA could constitutionally select Muslims with greater frequency for secondary screening at airports, he generally noted that it should be done only if other factor like age, gender, etc. were also considered.
 
This may no longer be necessary, or at least this requirement may be somewhat relaxed, in view of today's decision, he suggests.

Also, since Texas' admissions policy already guaranteed the admission of a substantial number of black students - because it automatically admitted all who graduated in the top 10% of their classes, including from largely black schools - the need for additional consideration of race was substantially reduced.

Thus the Supreme Court's ruling that the plan was still constitutional suggests, if the same criteria are applied regarding Muslims, that a weaker standard of proof to show that a compelling governmental interest is being served may be applicable.

Finally, although the Court did say that the use of a suspect factor such as race must be narrowly tailored to achieve its stated goal, it paid virtually no attention to the many alternatives which had been suggested which did not involve the direct consideration of race. 

This suggests that the "narrowly tailored" requirement, in situations where the government considers suspect factors such as race or religion, may likewise be more easily satisfied.

 In short, says Banzhaf, since the governmental need in preventing terrorist bombing and other killings is far more compelling than adding more black students on top of those already admitted by the top 10% program, and because under terrorist profiling religion is considered only in combination with other factors, today's ruling bolsters the argument that considering religion in programs aimed at protecting us from terrorists would be constitutional.

__________________________________________________________________________

JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
2000 H Street, NW, Wash, DC 20052, USA
(202) 994-7229 // (703) 527-8418
http://banzhaf.net/ jbanzhaf@law.gwu.edu  @profbanzhaf

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Thu, 23 Jun 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/240404/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler: No sadness or regrets at the death of Mother Angelica ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_233875.php
Fr. Rutler: No sadness or regrets at the death of Mother Angelica



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


It was not enough for Professor Albert Einstein to tell the priest and physicist Father Georges Lemaître that his hypothesis of the Big Bang, which he called the “First Atomic Moment,” was true. He said that it was beautiful, which was more important because its beauty located it in a symmetry larger than itself, more like music than an equation. In a deeper realm, Saint Augustine said that the Gospel is a “beauty ever ancient, ever new.” True beauty is ageless. This is an admonition at a time when the Easter proclamation risks becoming old news and a fading echo. Saint Thomas More said that to be a real Christian is always to be surprised by the Resurrection.

Surprise permeates the primitive narratives: the groups of women as joyful as they are fearful, the two men on the Emmaus road whose hearts burn with an inexplicable astonishment, the apostles in the Upper Room stunned by what they thought might be a ghost. Had the Resurrection been exactly what they expected, there would have been no fear and no surprise.

The surprise continued when the Apostle Peter preached on Pentecost by the power of the Holy Spirit and told the crowd that they could “see and hear” the results of the Resurrection (Acts 2:33). Then as now, in times ever ancient and ever new, the only alternative to that is willful blindness and deafness. This Easter, while many Christians were dying for their faith in the Resurrection, in places like Pakistan and Yemen, morally isolated people were cavorting as giant rabbits on Fifth Avenue and trampling their own children during suburban Easter egg hunts. Of the latter it may be said that “having eyes they see not and having ears they hear not.” Theirs is not the surprise of the Resurrection but the creaking age of antique paganism.

There was a special grace at work in the death of a lady known to some of us, Mother Angelica, on Easter Day. She founded the worldwide Eternal Word Television Network starting with $200 and a garage as a studio. Our parish is fortunate that our church and rectory are used for some of its productions. While it is understandable that many were saddened that she left this world, I found it annoying that some “regretted” her “passing.” There is nothing regrettable about the death of a pious woman who accomplished much for the Lord, suffered grievous physical infirmities—including two strokes—for many years, and died on the Feast of the Resurrection. And as for “passing,” that is what gnostic sectaries like Christian Scientists do. Faithful Christians die and do not “pass,” and they pray for a happy death in the hope of eternal life.

So wrote Melito of Sardis in the second century: “The paschal mystery is at once old and new, transitory and eternal, corruptible and incorruptible, mortal and immortal. In terms of the Law it is old, in terms of the Word it is new.”   

 

 

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Mon, 04 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/233875/
<![CDATA[ Is Fr. Longenecker a FrancisChurch Evangelist, or Just a Tortured Bubbling Pot of Rage? ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_233682.php
Is Fr. Longenecker a FrancisChurch Evangelist, or Just a Tortured Bubbling Pot of Rage?



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


One of the most sinister fronts in the barrage of Pope Francis faux-Catholic leftist political propagandizing is his ongoing comparison of faithful people to ISIS.  After regularly denouncing Catholics who believe Church teaching as sick, twisted 'fundamentalists,' Francis chose last week to blame 'fundamentalists' for the recent Brussels bombing which killed 70 and injured 300.   Refusing to fault the actual Islamists for the massacre, our Holy Father easily linked these mass-murderers to strong adherents in any religion, including Catholics.  "We have them too," Pope Francis loves to say.

Closer to home, this shocking FrancisTorch is carried by media pundit and former Anglican priest, Fr. Dwight Longenecker.  Some weeks ago Fr. Longenecker wrote an outrageous piece tying the faithful Catholic 'fundamentalists' at The Remnant, who vigorously defend Church teaching, to people on the edge of violence.

The magazine's editor Michael Matt was quick to respond in a powerful critique and call for retraction, but that wasn't all.  Today we find that attorney and Remnant columnist Chris Ferrara, conscious of the ramifications of such anti-Christian slander, also sent a demand letter directly to Longenecker.

This worked.  The response was quick and complete, apologetic and accurate. It also had three published versions, each progressively less chastened, more angry, and condescending.

Notice the changes in the following three segments.

 

****

Mr Matt is Not a Violent Man

March 31, 2016 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I have received a letter from Christopher A. Ferrara–an attorney for The Remnant which says:

Accordingly, I hereby demand that within five days of the date of this letter you publish on your website, with as much prominence as the original article, your full and unequivocal retraction of the statements “given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to physical violence” and “given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to personal violence” as they apply to the Remnant its Editor and his associates.”

In compliance with Mr Ferrara’s request I retract fully, unequivocally and completely any statement or suggestion that Mr Matt, The Remnant staff, readers and associates might tend towards violence of any kind, nor would they ever threaten anybody.

****

Mr Matt is Not a Violent Man

March 31, 2016 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I have received a letter from Christopher A. Ferrara–an attorney for The Remnant which accuses me of libel and says:

Accordingly, I hereby demand that within five days of the date of this letter you publish on your website, with as much prominence as the original article, your full and unequivocal retraction of the statements “given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to physical violence” and “given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to personal violence” as they apply to the Remnant its Editor and his associates.”

In compliance with Mr Ferrara’s request I retract fully, unequivocally and completely any statement or suggestion that Mr Matt, The Remnant staff, readers and associates might tend towards physical violence of any kind.

I further retract my outrageous suggestion that Mr Matt and his associates would ever resort to personal violence, or threaten anybody.

****

Mr Matt is Not a Violent Man

March 31, 2016 by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

I have received a letter from Christopher A. Ferrara–an attorney for The Remnant which accuses me of libel and says:

Accordingly, I hereby demand that within five days of the date of this letter you publish on your website, with as much prominence as the original article, your full and unequivocal retraction of the statements “given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to physical violence” and “given enough rope they will move from verbal violence to personal violence” as they apply to the Remnant its Editor and his associates.”

In compliance with Mr Ferrara’s request I retract fully, unequivocally and completely any statement or suggestion that Mr Matt, The Remnant staff, readers and associates might be angry fundamentalists who are inclined towards physical violence.

I further retract my outrageous suggestion that Mr Matt and his associates would even conceive of the idea of resorting to personal violence.

They would never, for example, threaten anybody.

****

Funny.  Oh the irony!

What kind of person can only muster some fraternal respect and decency under pressure, and then only as little as possible?  Do Catholics now need to adopt the world's childish, angry, and glib persona too?

Go ahead, Fr. Longenecker.  Defame and malign the faithful all you want.  We'll continue to defend the Church whether you feel 'threatened' or 'unsafe' like some student activist or not.  Throw all journalistic integrity to the wind even though you're a priest.  You'll only make ever more clear the stark difference between what passes for a Catholic opinion leader these days and a true, gentle Christian.

 

 

 

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Fri, 01 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/233682/
<![CDATA[ On Taking the First Step in Faith ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_231859.php
On Taking the First True Step in Faith



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


In 1943, just up the street from our church in the Hotel New Yorker, the pioneer of electrical inventions, including the alternating current, Nikola Tesla, died in room 3327. He wrote: “With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look - for dizzier heights.”

Saint Peter obeyed our Lord, to get out of his fishing boat and take a step on the water. That first step, which must have seemed dizzying, made all the difference in the course of world history. The apostle James was in that boat and watched what happened. Later he would write: “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Taking the first step is an act of faith. Babies have faith enough in their thrilled parents to hold their hands as they bid them take the first step. From that step proceeds all the walks through life.

From time to time, one counsels a young person hesitant to take a first step: to accept a new job, or to propose marriage, or to seek the priesthood. The challenge can be intimidating in our culture whose chief seduction is to find comfort and security. Nothing great or noble has been achieved by seeking safety. Jesus promised: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you” (Matthew 6:33). That means taking the first step toward Jesus, and then he will step toward you. The surest way to make it up the staircase without tripping is to focus on the top landing. But it all begins with the first step.

The poet Horace said in the first book of his Odes: “Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero”—roughly meaning: “Seize today and don’t worry about tomorrow.” That was about a generation before Jesus said in a Judean backwater: “Come, follow me.” Today. Take the first step. The Book of Numbers speaks of “journeying” nearly ninety times, and that journeying, which is a microcosm of the entire human experience, began with one first step.

In response to the credulous Cardinal de Polignac, who claimed that the martyr Saint Denis had carried his decapitated head two miles, the caustic wit Marie Anne Marquise du Deffand said, “Il n'y a que le premier pas qui coûte.” (The distance doesn't matter; it is only the first step that is the most difficult.) By an incontestable logic, it is the first step that counts. In Lent, if we can manage just one first step toward Jesus, he will walk with us all the way to Easter and Heaven itself.

 

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Sun, 13 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/231859/
<![CDATA[ Election 2016: It's the Islamic Conquest, Stupid ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_231271.php
Election 2016: It's the Islamic Conquest, Stupid



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


The fine Latinity of Laetare Sunday means to be joyful, and as the mother of civilization, the Holy Church encourages her children to keep pressing on toward the Easter prize. Just as Eskimos and Arabs have many words for snow and sand, the ample resources of Latin give us more than one word for rejoicing. There is gaude, from which we get gaudy celebration, so in the somber days of Advent we have Gaudete Sunday. “Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria.” We shall sing that at Easter, but laetare creeps in on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Back to Greek: I indulge apophasis, which means saying that I am not going to say what I am going to say, to remark that there is no need to mention, in this rose-colored time of Lent, that our brothers and sisters in the Faith in Iraq and Syria are suffering terribly. The Pope and various national leaders have used the word that our Chief Executive will not pronounce: genocide. If a hapless youth is shot on one of our city streets, it is front-page news, but the beheading of Christian infants in the Middle East hardly gets a comment.

Our current President has told the United Nations that the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam, and he makes a habit of saying that terror attacks have “nothing to do with Islam.” Our government has purged any reference to Islam from military and intelligence training manuals, and immigration policies favor Islam to the extent that so far this year 602 Muslim immigrants have been granted asylum while only two Christians have. Meanwhile, Christianity is being eradicated in the Middle East, and churches and monasteries destroyed.

The Knights of Columbus have received more than 25,000 names for a petition asking the Secretary of State to designate the systematic mass murder of Christians by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) as genocide. Iraqi and Syrian Christians fear going to refugee camps because they may be killed by Muslim “hit squads.”

This transcends all the issues that transfix political candidates now seeking to repair what is broken in our nation. We are in the predicament that some of our Founding Fathers faced as they tried to make sense of what was to them an obscure and exotic religion that was damaging American commerce and compromising the new nation’s sovereignty: The Barbary pirates were enslaving thousands of Americans.

In a recent talk to the Islamic Society of Baltimore, which the FBI warned had radical allegiances, President Obama said that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had copies of the Qur’an. He neglected to say that they were not seeking spiritual edification: they were trying to anatomize what was to them a fount of cruelty and engine of hysteria. Our Lady knew that kind of mentality when she watched her son dragged through the streets.  

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Sun, 06 Mar 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/231271/
<![CDATA[ Election Year Idealism: Christ Was No Sociopath ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_230726.php
Election Year Idealism: Christ Was No Sociopath



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


In normal usage, an idealist is someone with a lofty vision, possibly naïve but always noble in spirit. The term is more complicated in philosophy, but as a general category idealism means that mind takes precedence over matter, and reality cannot be separated from the mind’s consciousness of it. The various schools of Idealism are subtler than that, but idealism makes the material world dependent on the self’s perception of it. In the eighteenth century, a leading exponent of “subjective idealism” was the Anglo-Irish Protestant bishop George Berkeley, who lived for a while in the colony of Rhode Island. Dr. Samuel Johnson had no time for debating him, and refuted Berkeley by kicking a rock.

I doubt that many of the people absorbed in their “Smart Phones” through so much of the day, even while walking along the street or sitting in restaurants, engage much in philosophical discourse, but they are tottering on the brink of what philosophers would call Idealist epistemology. Put simply, the universe belongs to them, everything in it should be as they want it to be, with fact a form of feeling. Recently, when a conservative lecturer visiting a university told some harsh economic facts, undergraduates cried for psychotherapy. They had been emotionally bruised by kicking the rock of reality.

Adam and Eve were more than bruised when they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They lost Paradise. Eating of the Tree meant arrogating to themselves the definition of reality. Taken to an extreme, that original sin of selfish pride produces the sociopath. That is a disordered anti-social personality like a psychopath, but the latter tends to be more erratic and violent with a probably genetic source for the condition. A sociopathic personality is shaped more by environment and circumstance.

Sociopaths are said to be about four per cent of the population. They are not as easy to detect as psychopaths, and smoothly charm their way well into influential positions in virtually all walks of life, often by means of glib eloquence. Along with their high intelligence, they are incapable of shame or guilt. They never apologize—for they think they have never done wrong. They exaggerate their achievements, dominate conversation, manipulate people, and their narcissism makes them unable selflessly to love others, or to empathize even while claiming to do so. Above all, they are delusional, easily believing their own lies.

In his perfect humanity, Christ was the opposite of the anti-social disordered personality. By his grace, his faithful apostles overcame their weaknesses and communicated his perfection. On the way to his own cross, which was not an invention of his imagination, the Prince of the Apostles wrote: “…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7).

 

 

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Sun, 28 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/230726/
<![CDATA[ Self Improvement ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_230107.php
Self Improvement



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


Of the temptations to which our Lord allowed himself to be subjected, the most difficult to understand was the temptation to fly. Actually, wanting to fly is not all that peculiar, if by peculiar is meant unique or unusual. Everyone is tempted to fly. By that I do not mean the impetus that drove Icarus and the Wright Brothers. No, Satan’s flying is contempt for reality. Wanting everything my way is flying in the face of facts.

Jesus, who walked on water, could have flown if he had subjected his human nature to his divine nature. He walked on water to teach Peter something, not to impress him. Satan tempted Jesus with the baser use of his divinity, to be superhuman instead of supernatural, Superman instead of Saviour. Our Lord’s response was: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”

Our world, and certainly our nation, is suffering a crucible of temptations. In many ways we have already succumbed to them, which is why great saints have called ours a “Culture of Death.” Attitudes and even sometimes laws have flown against reality: vice is freedom, decadence is dignity, killing unborn children is righteous, the unnatural is natural, maleness and femaleness are not facts but moods, and marriage is whatever the ego wants it to be.

Ego . . . for the temptation to fly is the primeval sin of pride, living a lie, and pretending that the world made by God is the world re-invented by man. By refusing to fly, Jesus saved us from the degradation of acting like idiots in a world of nonsense. It was expressed well by Alice as she prepared to enter Wonderland: “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it is isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?’

Tragically, there are those now who do see it that way and want the world to be Wonderland. The late and lamented Justice Antonin Scalia summoned some of our national patrimony’s most formidable common sense and elegant expressions of it, graced with scintillating wit, to say that positive laws are rooted in realities deeper than whim. While some other jurists lived in Wonderland, he lived in God’s creation.

Even Justice Scalia could be astonished at the ways man succumbs to fantasy. Crossing Park Avenue on a bright spring day, he stopped in the middle of traffic when I told him that the Dalton Books chain, now gone, had classified a book by the Hemlock Society about how to commit suicide, under the category “Self-Improvement.” By God’s grace, he can smile now before the God of both justice and mercy, but I think he must also grieve that so many still in this world think that they can fly.

 

 

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Sun, 21 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/230107/
<![CDATA[ When Christ lives within, you take the plunge ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_229428.php
When Christ lives within, you take the plunge



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


“Duc in altum.” Cast into the deep—or, take the plunge. Christ said it to his disciples (Luke 5:4). When they did as they were told, they caught an astonishing number of fish, and then they left everything and followed him (Luke 5:11). When Bishop Hippolytus of Caesarea wrote down the oral traditions of the lives of the Twelve, he was about as close to the Resurrection as we are to the birth of Antonio Salieri and the death of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose music still lives with us.

Andrew preached in Bulgaria and was crucified on an olive tree in Greece. Bartholomew preached in India and was crucified with his head downward in the part of Armenia that now is in the former Soviet state of Georgia. James, son of Alphaeus was stoned to death in Jerusalem, and James, son of Zebedee, was beheaded by the tetrarch Herod. His brother John, the only apostle known to have not died violently, was exiled to the island of Patmos by the emperor Domitian, later going to Turkey and dying in Ephesus during the reign of Trajan. Matthew died in Hieres near present-day Tehran.

Peter shared his remembrances with Mark and was crucified in Rome. After preaching in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Betania, Italy and Asia, Philip was crucified with his head downward in Hierapolis in eastern Turkey during the reign of Domitian. Simon the Zealot was the second bishop of Jerusalem, but is said to have also preached in Egypt and Persia where he was sawed to pieces. Thaddeus, who preached in Edessa and throughout Mesopotamia, was axed to death in Syria. Thomas preached throughout Persia and was speared to death at Calamene in India. Only Judas killed himself, never having left Jerusalem.

The point is that these men did not live superficial lives. They took the plunge and fulfilled the promise of the Master that they would become fishers of men. They did not leave their homes and families and their businesses just to follow a theory, for, as Newman said, “No man will be a martyr for a conclusion.” They willingly died in the glory of the Resurrection, which they had seen.

Socrates, having said that the unexamined life is not worth living, changed the lives of many, who passed on what they had learned. None of his disciples, however, and no disciple of any other teacher, could say with Saint Paul, who was chosen after the Master had risen from the dead: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Plato never said that Socrates lived in him; but if Socrates had lived long enough to take the plunge with the untutored fishermen, he might have found a good Greek term for the indwelling of Christ, the sanctifying grace, that moves men to leave everything and die telling others what happened to them.  

 

 

 

 

... ]]>
Sun, 14 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/229428/
<![CDATA[ Pro-Life JPII Institute Dedicates Whole Month for Rare Diseases ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_228740.php
Pro-Life Institute Dedicates Whole Month for Rare Diseases



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


The John Paul II Medical Research Institute has declared February as Rare Disease Month.

Traditionally, Rare Disease Day falls on the last day of February. However, with over 7000 rare diseases affecting 30 million Americans, John Paul II Medical Research Institute has chosen to dedicate the whole month of February to rare diseases.

The majority of those sick with rare diseases are children. Roughly 30% of these children die before the age of 5, and currently around 95% of rare diseases have no treatments. Finding treatments and cures for rare diseases is one of John Paul II Medical Research Institute’s main focuses. JP2MRI specializes in using adult stem cells, more specifically Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS) cells, and upholds pro-life practices when conducting their research.

“Advancing rare genetic disease research is a priority for the Institute. We have worked hard for the last several years to better our technologies for finding cures for rare diseases,” said Jay Kamath, CEO of JP2MRI.

Former Boston Mayor and Ambassador to the Vatican, Ray Flynn, knows all too well the hardships caused by rare diseases. His grandson suffers from a rare neurological disorder that prevents proper development of the cerebellum, consequently impacting and limiting motor control and speech; this disorder is so rare that it affects only 6 other people in the world. Toward the end of 2015, Flynn joined JP2MRI’s Board of Directors in the hopes of bringing more attention to rare diseases.

“If Americans only knew the pain and struggle that parents of children with rare neurological diseases experience every day, they would be demanding that our President and Congress support sufficient medical research dollars. Unfortunately, our government only responds to powerful special interest groups, not needy and sick children and their parents,” Flynn said. “This is why I have joined [Jp2MRI’s] Board.”

Throughout the month, JP2MRI will be promoting their Rare Genetic Disease Program, which aims to find cures for rare diseases. This program involves their national stem cell biobank, which consists of tissue or blood samples from patients with genetic diseases. Researchers at JP2MRI isolate stem cells from the donated tissue or blood, which contains the genetic defect, and use these cells for drug testing. If a drug cures the disease in the cells, it has the chance of entering a clinical trial and helping patients. JP2MRI has already helped find a treatment for a rare disease utilizing this technique through collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. This program also guarantees that no cure will originate from an embryonic stem cell or aborted fetal tissue.

Patients can sign up on JP2MRI’s Patient Registry on their website at www.jp2mri.org. This program is safe for infants and children to participate with parental consent. Patient recruitment affects drug discovery and finding new cures. If a clinical trial does not recruit enough patients, then the trial fails before it can start. Many trials for common diseases fail at the recruitment stage, and starting a clinical trial for a rare disease is even more challenging given the paucity of patients across the country.

By the end of February, JP2MRI hopes to raise $100,000 through a national campaign for rare disease research. The Institute also aims to recruit 25 doctors and 100 patients for their Rare Disease Program.

“We hope individuals or families who are impacted will sign up on our patient registry and will support the launch of our program through generous and much needed donations to help us find better therapies and cures” said Kamath.

If you would like to help out with Rare Disease Month, please contact the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.


 
Contact Person: Jennifer Moy
Email: jennifer.moy@jp2sri.org
 
John Paul II Medical Research Institute
540 E. Jefferson St, Suite 202
Iowa City, IA 52245
Phone: 319-688-7367

 

 

... ]]>
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/228740/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Marcel Guarnizo Blasts Santorum: To imply even remotely that Senator Cruz is not serious about life is disingenuous. ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_227737.php
Why We Need a Great Constitutional Mind in the White House



By Rev. Marcel Guarnizo
Pewsitter.com


Every four years, the American political process brings voters face to face with the best and the worst behavior of those running for president. It’s no different this time around, but the stakes are higher.

I have been unfavorably impressed by the recent last-ditch, efforts of Governor Huckabee and Senator Santorum to secure a most unlikely victory in the presidential contest, principally through questionable attacks on Senator Ted Cruz. I have known Senator Santorum and many of his close friends for years, since they attended the parish I worked at years ago in Great Falls, Virginia. I have met with Senator Santorum privately and I have publicly supported his work on several occasions. I am also close friends with many of Governor Huckabee’s former supporters, and in 2008 I even supported his failed presidential campaign. Santorum has also led us down this path before in his failed presidential campaign of 2012.

I have also had the privilege of meeting Senator Cruz. I have followed his work, attended some of his speaking engagements, and read his autobiography, A Time for Truth.

Senator Santorum and Governor Huckabee openly profess to be Christians of the right kind, namely those who seriously attempt to live what they preach. It is this that compels me to clarify their recent attacks on Senator Ted Cruz. Their public attacks, attempts to gain some traction in fading campaigns, must seem to most, like throwing a Hail Mary pass with a deflated football. Perhaps a fraternal correction may be of some benefit.

 Being a gentleman matters a great deal if you are seeking to gain the trust and votes of the American public. Yet, Senator Santorum has attempted to plant the idea in voters’ minds that Senator Cruz is not a social conservative. This is simply dishonest and creates the impression that Santorum is someone who cannot accept defeat with grace.

Santorum has stated that Ted Cruz is “… not a strong social conservative...” he has used other people’s quotes in interviews to call Senator Cruz the “… Trojan horse of social conservatism.” But worse, he has attributed dishonesty to Senator Cruz whom he claims is, “… not the social conservative he is portraying himself to be.” Santorum disingenuously attempts to muddy the waters on the issues of life and marriage, both of which were defended quite energetically by Senator Cruz−even before he ran for President or was a senator.

Matt Beynon, Santorum’s spokesperson, has claimed that Ted Cruz has betrayed his promises to organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, regarding the defense of marriage in our nation. This is most ironic since the National Organization for Marriage has publicly endorsed Ted Cruz, not Santorum or Huckabee.

To imply even remotely that Senator Cruz is not serious about life is disingenuous. I have been in the senator’s office on many occasions, at times with over 40 pro-life leaders, working on the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. The senator has arranged many times for pro-life leaders to testify in Congress on the issue of religious freedom, life, and the sanctity of marriage. These attacks on Senator Cruz by Santorum and Huckabee in truth say more about their failure to be honest, than any real risk that Senator Cruz is soft on these issues. It would be odd that leaders such as Dr. Dobson from the Family Research Council would endorse Ted Cruz if he were not solid on life and marriage.

One thing I can state emphatically and with complete serenity is that Senator Cruz is the one sure bet in this race regarding the protection of life and the affirmation of marriage. Huckabee and Santorum do a disservice to conservatives by so vehemently and falsely attacking the one viable conservative in this race.

Huckabee has opened a second fallacious line of attack, which also deserves a response, namely that Ted Cruz is a lawyer and therefore not a leader. The logical fallacy is easily seen. It does not follow from the premise that because someone practiced law he will therefore be a bad leader. This incorrect syllogism, designed to confound voters, is only magnified in its irony by the fact that both Huckabee and Santorum repeatedly try to portray themselves as new Abraham Lincolns. I say it is most ironic, as Abraham Lincoln became a lawyer in Illinois and carried on a law practice for nearly 25 years before becoming president. It is ironic as well, because Santorum is also a lawyer−and a lobbyist to boot. So is Marco Rubio.

Huckabee has asked, “ What has Sen. Ted Cruz done in his life that prepares him to be the President of the United States?” Governor Huckabee has a bachelor’s in religion and then went to seminary. I studied theology and philosophy much longer than Governor Huckabee and I would never have the gall to say that Ted Cruz, who paid his own way through Princeton and Harvard, thoroughly learned constitutional law, argued before the Supreme Court on nine occasions, served as solicitor general of Texas, and has spent his entire career defending the Constitution, is not qualified.

I beg to differ with Governor Huckabee.  Senator Cruz was also the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist. He was associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department. Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs. His record appearances before the Supreme Court are more than any member of Congress or any lawyer in Texas. Understanding the nature of our current constitutional crisis helps one see the need for a great legal mind needed to unravel the abusive dictates of the Obama regime.

Huckabee in his desperate attempts to rescue his campaign from imminent defeat in Iowa, fails to think about the greater good of the United States and makes yet another shortsighted claim, “… I don’t think America needs a good lawyer right now…” I have been making exactly the opposite claim. Obama and his minions have been usurping the rule of law, obfuscating the Constitution and abusing power illegally for nearly eight years. The legal system has become the weapon of the radical left; through it the radicals in our nation have inflicted procedural violence on America for eight long years. What is at the heart of their efforts to transform America is the battle for the heart and soul of the Constitution. I submit that we are in a constitutional crisis of major proportions and therefore a legal mind that understands the heart of our founding documents is not only qualified but may be arguably most qualified to serve as President.

In order to regain America, we must go back to the foundational idea of America, and for this we may indeed need another great legal mind that understands the fight−precisely because it has been trained for this duty. It is hard to imagine Huckabee reading thousands of pages of Obamacare legislation and pinpointing its most destructive unintended consequences, interpreting complicated international treaties, or taking clear positions on the major issues of constitutional law which now face our nation. A president who does not understand the constitutional issues at the root of our present crisis will likely become completely dependent on the opinions of small lawyers trying to manipulate him on the great Constitutional issues of our time.

Abraham Lincoln’s Model
In the 19th century, during a time of unjust Supreme Court decisions and another constitutional crisis, America chose a great legal mind to steer America through the turbulent waters of his time, President Abraham Lincoln.

Today, the First Amendment guaranteeing religious freedom, the Second Amendment protecting our right to bear arms, and the Tenth Amendment dealing with the rightful sovereignty of states are in imminent jeopardy. It is shocking that Huckabee can make the false claim that a legal mind like Cruz has no qualifications to be President.

The democratic deficit that Obama has created in our nation is not only about social issues. I agree with Senator Cruz that Obama’s usurpation of the Constitution is stealing economic, political, and cultural freedom from all Americans, regardless if one be a libertarian, classical liberal (advocates of political and economic liberty), or social conservative (defenders of cultural freedom). The problem in my view remains the same: it is a foundational problem.

The democratic deficit is not simply about a social issue or two. Life and marriage are seriously in jeopardy but the cure requires healing and defending the foundational principles of the republic, a proper re-ordering of Executive power, and the undoing of dozens of unconstitutional executive decrees imposed by Obama on the American people. Without this, advocacy of social issues will be powerless. Argues Cruz, “… I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority…And that cuts across the whole spectrum—whether it is defending the First Amendment, defending religious freedom, stopping courts from making public policy…”

Undoubtedly all of us who were in the fight to defend marriage agree with Senator Cruz that the results of the 32 referendums at the state level, which were fought and won by the advocates of marriage (between a man and a woman) should in a true democracy stand. The sovereignty of states must be defended. It is clear to me that neither the federal government nor the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to impose radical views on life or marriage on any state of the union. It is wrong to argue that it is within the federal government’s jurisdiction to decide these matters, for this concedes powers to the state and the Supreme Court in matters over which the Constitution grants them no prerogative. Cruz’s defense of the Tenth Amendment and the sovereignty of states to defend marriage is a clear stance and is in solidarity with the millions who made their voices clear, with those who invested millions of dollars to defend marriage, and who subsequently saw their votes overturned by a liberal judge or a Supreme Court which has no constitutional ground to rule on the issue. To imply that this is a cowardly compromise and weakness in the defense of marriage is baffling to all of us. The judicial overturning of the defense of marriage in 32 states makes the point clear. Namely, that the states are losing as we all are, more and more rightful sovereignty in this endless abuse of our democracy at the hands of the Obama regime.

Senator Cruz enjoys one other critical skill which was also one that is highlighted in the career of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln would achieve great recognition for his defense of foundational constitutional issues in the Lincoln-Douglas (1858) debates. One cannot underestimate the added value of this debating skill when facing the Democrats’ propaganda machine. Senator Cruz while on the University of Princeton debate team, achieved the “Team of the Year,” award and Cruz was recognized as the top college debater in the nation.

Some have argued that perhaps Cruz’s looks on camera are not as pleasant as for instance Marco Rubio’s boyish looks. But America must get serious. Being photogenic was not what made Abraham Lincoln great. It may be that we are not in need of a looker but someone who commands respect and authority to friends and enemies in a world which slowly turns ever more dangerous. Boyish looks won’t help when sitting across Vladimir Putin, or facing off with Iran, ISIS, or the liberal radical elites trying to subvert our way of life.

 In a geopolitical chess match against Vladimir Putin, boyish looks would give me no confidence of a better outcome or choice of player. Having worked in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union, I learned that a presence that commands respect, authority, and determination will be far more important.  I don’t mind that Cruz does not look as friendly as other candidates, I happen to know him and find comfort in someone who commands respect and authority in a dangerous world. In times like this someone who can instill some fear and respect in the hearts and minds of our many adversaries is more useful than the underage appearance of Marco Rubio.  

The Medellin vs. Texas case shows Cruz at his best. Cruz, as Solicitor General of Texas, faced off against the International Court of Human Rights, the executive order of George W. Bush, the briefs of 90 foreign nations, the European Union, and others. The United Nations, through its legal arm, was trying to reopen a case of the gang rape and murder of two American teenagers. Cruz argued that, contrary to the executive order of George W. Bush to do this, it violated our Constitution, separation of powers, and the constitution of the State of Texas.  

Ernesto Medellin one of the brutal assailants in the case had been sent to jail and the Bush administration and the “internationals” wanted the case reopened for Medellin and 50 other Mexican nationals. Cruz against all odds stood in defense of the Constitution, the sovereignty of Texas and the simple premise that no president by fiat and executive orders can defy the Constitution and the sovereignty of the states. The Supreme Court would side with Ted Cruz 6-3. Defeat would have subjected America and its rule of law to the dictates of the United Nations through the International Court of Human Rights.

In 2008, Cruz would argue successfully before the Supreme Court against the efforts of the Bush administration to water down the right of Americans to bear arms. He led a coalition of 30 states in this case. The Supreme Court would side with Cruz and the coalition of states 5-4.

In a staunch defense against the Ninth Circuit Court of California, which had ruled that the  Pledge of Allegiance could not be recited in public schools, Cruz rallied 50 attorneys general to sign on to his amicus brief. The Supreme Court would unanimously agree with Cruz and company.



On the Trump Question

Meanwhile, real estate developer Donald Trump is gadding about telling voters: "We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning."  Cruz’s defense of fundamental rights before the Supreme Court is what I call winning. And it is unlikely in my view that a real estate developer could do better or even understand the complexity of these issues. A real estate developer is not what I would call for at a moment of urgent crisis for America.

I submit that neither Huckabee nor Santorum are viable and that the people of Iowa and the rest of us need to get serious. Polls show that currently Cruz beats Hillary in a general election. This is not something even Trump can boast about. Trump is one of the few top-tiered Republican candidates who still, in the average of polls, does not defeat Hillary in a general election. His negatives are off the charts.

The next president can seal the Supreme Court for years to come with two or three more appointments. When foundational rights are in absolute jeopardy we cannot continue to risk bad appointments as we have seen by even so called conservative presidents. The clarity of mind and correct discernment of the legal philosophy of these justices may be one of the most critical decisions the next president will make and our fate is riding on a correct choice of those Supreme Court justices. It is hard to see how the real estate expertise of Mr. Trump will be of any use in this matter. These fundamental questions are not what make Trump tick, and this is something we cannot get wrong. Cutting deals is what gave us half-baked constitutionalists and the slew of abusive decisions the highest court has been dealing America. If this matters, the choice for real expertise and a sound legal mind could make all the difference.

I argue that, whatever candidate voters may choose, the inability to show grace in the face of contradictions is a telling fact about the temperament and character of those individuals. Character shows under stress. Santorum and Huckabee should not compromise their own to try to reach for the unlikely. It takes wisdom to recognize and live the virtues we preach and most need, when defeat nears and hopes of success seem to have extinguished. In this election cycle, their less than gracious behavior may leave us, if we are not careful, with the bad choice of a half-baked conservative as our candidate.

 


Rev. Guarnizo is a priest involved in public discourse regarding culture, politics and economics in Europe and the United States.

 

 

 

Every four years, the American political process brings voters face to face with the best and the worst behavior of those running for president. It’s no different this time around, but the stakes are higher.


I have been unfavorably impressed by the recent last-ditch, efforts of Governor Huckabee and Senator Santorum to secure a most unlikely victory in the presidential contest, principally through questionable attacks on Senator Ted Cruz. I have known Senator Santorum and many of his close friends for years, since they attended the parish I worked at years ago in Great Falls, Virginia. I have met with Senator Santorum privately and I have publicly supported his work on several occasions. I am also close friends with many of Governor Huckabee’s former supporters, and in 2008 I even supported his failed presidential campaign. Santorum has also led us down this path before in his failed presidential campaign of 2012.

I have also had the privilege of meeting Senator Cruz. I have followed his work, attended some of his speaking engagements, and read his autobiography, A Time for Truth.

Senator Santorum and Governor Huckabee openly profess to be Christians of the right kind, namely those who seriously attempt to live what they preach. It is this that compels me to clarify their recent attacks on Senator Ted Cruz. Their public attacks, attempts to gain some traction in fading campaigns, must seem to most, like throwing a Hail Mary pass with a deflated football. Perhaps a fraternal correction may be of some benefit.

 Being a gentleman matters a great deal if you are seeking to gain the trust and votes of the American public. Yet, Senator Santorum has attempted to plant the idea in voters’ minds that Senator Cruz is not a social conservative. This is simply dishonest and creates the impression that Santorum is someone who cannot accept defeat with grace.

Santorum has stated that Ted Cruz is “… not a strong social conservative...” he has used other people’s quotes in interviews to call Senator Cruz the “… Trojan horse of social conservatism.” But worse, he has attributed dishonesty to Senator Cruz whom he claims is, “… not the social conservative he is portraying himself to be.” Santorum disingenuously attempts to muddy the waters on the issues of life and marriage, both of which were defended quite energetically by Senator Cruz−even before he ran for President or was a senator.

Matt Beynon, Santorum’s spokesperson, has claimed that Ted Cruz has betrayed his promises to organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, regarding the defense of marriage in our nation. This is most ironic since the National Organization for Marriage has publicly endorsed Ted Cruz, not Santorum or Huckabee.

To imply even remotely that Senator Cruz is not serious about life is disingenuous. I have been in the senator’s office on many occasions, at times with over 40 pro-life leaders, working on the issue of defunding Planned Parenthood. The senator has arranged many times for pro-life leaders to testify in Congress on the issue of religious freedom, life, and the sanctity of marriage. These attacks on Senator Cruz by Santorum and Huckabee in truth say more about their failure to be honest, than any real risk that Senator Cruz is soft on these issues. It would be odd that leaders such as Dr. Dobson from the Family Research Council would endorse Ted Cruz if he were not solid on life and marriage.

One thing I can state emphatically and with complete serenity is that Senator Cruz is the one sure bet in this race regarding the protection of life and the affirmation of marriage. Huckabee and Santorum do a disservice to conservatives by so vehemently and falsely attacking the one viable conservative in this race.

Huckabee has opened a second fallacious line of attack, which also deserves a response, namely that Ted Cruz is a lawyer and therefore not a leader. The logical fallacy is easily seen. It does not follow from the premise that because someone practiced law he will therefore be a bad leader. This incorrect syllogism, designed to confound voters, is only magnified in its irony by the fact that both Huckabee and Santorum repeatedly try to portray themselves as new Abraham Lincolns. I say it is most ironic, as Abraham Lincoln became a lawyer in Illinois and carried on a law practice for nearly 25 years before becoming president. It is ironic as well, because Santorum is also a lawyer−and a lobbyist to boot. So is Marco Rubio.

Huckabee has asked, “ What has Sen. Ted Cruz done in his life that prepares him to be the President of the United States?” Governor Huckabee has a bachelor’s in religion and then went to seminary. I studied theology and philosophy much longer than Governor Huckabee and I would never have the gall to say that Ted Cruz, who paid his own way through Princeton and Harvard, thoroughly learned constitutional law, argued before the Supreme Court on nine occasions, served as solicitor general of Texas, and has spent his entire career defending the Constitution, is not qualified.

I beg to differ with Governor Huckabee.  Senator Cruz was also the first Hispanic to clerk for a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist. He was associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department. Cruz has authored 70 United States Supreme Court briefs. His record appearances before the Supreme Court are more than any member of Congress or any lawyer in Texas. Understanding the nature of our current constitutional crisis helps one see the need for a great legal mind needed to unravel the abusive dictates of the Obama regime.

Huckabee in his desperate attempts to rescue his campaign from imminent defeat in Iowa, fails to think about the greater good of the United States and makes yet another shortsighted claim, “… I don’t think America needs a good lawyer right now…” I have been making exactly the opposite claim. Obama and his minions have been usurping the rule of law, obfuscating the Constitution and abusing power illegally for nearly eight years. The legal system has become the weapon of the radical left; through it the radicals in our nation have inflicted procedural violence on America for eight long years. What is at the heart of their efforts to transform America is the battle for the heart and soul of the Constitution. I submit that we are in a constitutional crisis of major proportions and therefore a legal mind that understands the heart of our founding documents is not only qualified but may be arguably most qualified to serve as President.

In order to regain America, we must go back to the foundational idea of America, and for this we may indeed need another great legal mind that understands the fight−precisely because it has been trained for this duty. It is hard to imagine Huckabee reading thousands of pages of Obamacare legislation and pinpointing its most destructive unintended consequences, interpreting complicated international treaties, or taking clear positions on the major issues of constitutional law which now face our nation. A president who does not understand the constitutional issues at the root of our present crisis will likely become completely dependent on the opinions of small lawyers trying to manipulate him on the great Constitutional issues of our time.

Abraham Lincoln’s Model
In the 19th century, during a time of unjust Supreme Court decisions and another constitutional crisis, America chose a great legal mind to steer America through the turbulent waters of his time, President Abraham Lincoln.

Today, the First Amendment guaranteeing religious freedom, the Second Amendment protecting our right to bear arms, and the Tenth Amendment dealing with the rightful sovereignty of states are in imminent jeopardy. It is shocking that Huckabee can make the false claim that a legal mind like Cruz has no qualifications to be President.

The democratic deficit that Obama has created in our nation is not only about social issues. I agree with Senator Cruz that Obama’s usurpation of the Constitution is stealing economic, political, and cultural freedom from all Americans, regardless if one be a libertarian, classical liberal (advocates of political and economic liberty), or social conservative (defenders of cultural freedom). The problem in my view remains the same: it is a foundational problem.

The democratic deficit is not simply about a social issue or two. Life and marriage are seriously in jeopardy but the cure requires healing and defending the foundational principles of the republic, a proper re-ordering of Executive power, and the undoing of dozens of unconstitutional executive decrees imposed by Obama on the American people. Without this, advocacy of social issues will be powerless. Argues Cruz, “… I would say defending the Constitution is a top priority…And that cuts across the whole spectrum—whether it is defending the First Amendment, defending religious freedom, stopping courts from making public policy…”

Undoubtedly all of us who were in the fight to defend marriage agree with Senator Cruz that the results of the 32 referendums at the state level, which were fought and won by the advocates of marriage (between a man and a woman) should in a true democracy stand. The sovereignty of states must be defended. It is clear to me that neither the federal government nor the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to impose radical views on life or marriage on any state of the union. It is wrong to argue that it is within the federal government’s jurisdiction to decide these matters, for this concedes powers to the state and the Supreme Court in matters over which the Constitution grants them no prerogative. Cruz’s defense of the Tenth Amendment and the sovereignty of states to defend marriage is a clear stance and is in solidarity with the millions who made their voices clear, with those who invested millions of dollars to defend marriage, and who subsequently saw their votes overturned by a liberal judge or a Supreme Court which has no constitutional ground to rule on the issue. To imply that this is a cowardly compromise and weakness in the defense of marriage is baffling to all of us. The judicial overturning of the defense of marriage in 32 states makes the point clear. Namely, that the states are losing as we all are, more and more rightful sovereignty in this endless abuse of our democracy at the hands of the Obama regime.

Senator Cruz enjoys one other critical skill which was also one that is highlighted in the career of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln would achieve great recognition for his defense of foundational constitutional issues in the Lincoln-Douglas (1858) debates. One cannot underestimate the added value of this debating skill when facing the Democrats’ propaganda machine. Senator Cruz while on the University of Princeton debate team, achieved the “Team of the Year,” award and Cruz was recognized as the top college debater in the nation.

Some have argued that perhaps Cruz’s looks on camera are not as pleasant as for instance Marco Rubio’s boyish looks. But America must get serious. Being photogenic was not what made Abraham Lincoln great. It may be that we are not in need of a looker but someone who commands respect and authority to friends and enemies in a world which slowly turns ever more dangerous. Boyish looks won’t help when sitting across Vladimir Putin, or facing off with Iran, ISIS, or the liberal radical elites trying to subvert our way of life.

 In a geopolitical chess match against Vladimir Putin, boyish looks would give me no confidence of a better outcome or choice of player. Having worked in Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union, I learned that a presence that commands respect, authority, and determination will be far more important.  I don’t mind that Cruz does not look as friendly as other candidates, I happen to know him and find comfort in someone who commands respect and authority in a dangerous world. In times like this someone who can instill some fear and respect in the hearts and minds of our many adversaries is more useful than the underage appearance of Marco Rubio.  

The Medellin vs. Texas case shows Cruz at his best. Cruz, as Solicitor General of Texas, faced off against the International Court of Human Rights, the executive order of George W. Bush, the briefs of 90 foreign nations, the European Union, and others. The United Nations, through its legal arm, was trying to reopen a case of the gang rape and murder of two American teenagers. Cruz argued that, contrary to the executive order of George W. Bush to do this, it violated our Constitution, separation of powers, and the constitution of the State of Texas.  

Ernesto Medellin one of the brutal assailants in the case had been sent to jail and the Bush administration and the “internationals” wanted the case reopened for Medellin and 50 other Mexican nationals. Cruz against all odds stood in defense of the Constitution, the sovereignty of Texas and the simple premise that no president by fiat and executive orders can defy the Constitution and the sovereignty of the states. The Supreme Court would side with Ted Cruz 6-3. Defeat would have subjected America and its rule of law to the dictates of the United Nations through the International Court of Human Rights.

In 2008, Cruz would argue successfully before the Supreme Court against the efforts of the Bush administration to water down the right of Americans to bear arms. He led a coalition of 30 states in this case. The Supreme Court would side with Cruz and the coalition of states 5-4.

In a staunch defense against the Ninth Circuit Court of California, which had ruled that the  Pledge of Allegiance could not be recited in public schools, Cruz rallied 50 attorneys general to sign on to his amicus brief. The Supreme Court would unanimously agree with Cruz and company.

On the Trump Question
Meanwhile, real estate developer Donald Trump is gadding about telling voters: "We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with winning."  Cruz’s defense of fundamental rights before the Supreme Court is what I call winning. And it is unlikely in my view that a real estate developer could do better or even understand the complexity of these issues. A real estate developer is not what I would call for at a moment of urgent crisis for America.
I submit that neither Huckabee nor Santorum are viable and that the people of Iowa and the rest of us need to get serious. Polls show that currently Cruz beats Hillary in a general election. This is not something even Trump can boast about. Trump is one of the few top-tiered Republican candidates who still, in the average of polls, does not defeat Hillary in a general election. His negatives are off the charts.

The next president can seal the Supreme Court for years to come with two or three more appointments. When foundational rights are in absolute jeopardy we cannot continue to risk bad appointments as we have seen by even so called conservative presidents. The clarity of mind and correct discernment of the legal philosophy of these justices may be one of the most critical decisions the next president will make and our fate is riding on a correct choice of those Supreme Court justices. It is hard to see how the real estate expertise of Mr. Trump will be of any use in this matter. These fundamental questions are not what make Trump tick, and this is something we cannot get wrong. Cutting deals is what gave us half-baked constitutionalists and the slew of abusive decisions the highest court has been dealing America. If this matters, the choice for real expertise and a sound legal mind could make all the difference.

I argue that, whatever candidate voters may choose, the inability to show grace in the face of contradictions is a telling fact about the temperament and character of those individuals. Character shows under stress. Santorum and Huckabee should not compromise their own to try to reach for the unlikely. It takes wisdom to recognize and live the virtues we preach and most need, when defeat nears and hopes of success seem to have extinguished. In this election cycle, their less than gracious behavior may leave us, if we are not careful, with the bad choice of a half-baked conservative as our candidate.


Rev. Guarnizo is a priest involved in public discourse regarding culture, politics and economics in Europe and the United States.

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Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/227737/
<![CDATA[ The Incarnation in Yogi Berra Time ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_227208.php
The Incarnation in Yogi Berra Time



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


 

When Lawrence “Yogi” Berra died last September at the age of ninety, he was remembered with true affection, not only for the kindness that wreathed his life, but also for his charming ways with the English language. He may have seemed like Sheridan’s Mrs. Malaprop or Shakespeare’s Dogberry when he confused words, as when he said that Texas has a lot of electrical votes, but his unique genre consisted in stating truths with guileless syntax. Others tried to invent Yogi-isms, goading him to say: “I didn’t say half the things I said.” His meaning was clear, grammar notwithstanding, as when he said that in autumn it gets late earlier.   

When he said, “It’s déjà vu all over again,” some may have snickered, but that is the way with snobs. He was broaching a concept that the nineteenth-century Danish philosopher and theologian, Kierkegaard, explored in his considerations of “repetition” and “recollection.” Basically, Yogi Berra and Søren Kierkegaard simply acknowledged, as all of us do one way or another, the role of the imagination in relation to time.   

Perceptions of things past and to come are limited by our mortal intelligence, and memory can be as defective as prediction. In Christ, human and divine, there are no such limitations, so he has a perfect knowledge of past and future. Cynics have thought that his predictions came true only because later editors made them seem so. It should be no surprise, however, that Jesus as the Beginning and the End, should be able to know the Father’s will and foresee its consequences.   

The accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke stress the chronology of Christ’s earthly life, while John declares its meaning. It is like the difference between a photograph and a portrait, each conveying personality, but in different ways. Most likely, Jesus cleansed the Temple at the end of his earthly life, but John mentions it at the beginning of his narrative as a foretaste of what Christ would do, just as when I was a boy, I opened the Cracker Jack box from the bottom to get the little prize first. Our Lord hints at the future by showing the Magi his divinity, and exposing the Trinity at his baptism, and letting heaven break through in his Transfiguration.   

His miracles are “signs” by which the Lord prepares his Church for what is to come. He recollects seven of them, as a kind of repetition of the seven acts of the world’s creation, of which he has a perfect memory. It is not that John was confused about the order of events. He was inspired to know that the events were ordered. The Incarnation of the Eternal Word is déjà vu all over again. “And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29).  

 

 

 

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Sun, 24 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/227208/
<![CDATA[ The March for Life and Jane Roe ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_227056.php
The March for Life and Jane Roe



By Fr. Frank Pavone
Pewsitter.com


The reason the national March for Life in Washington DC is on January 22, this Friday, is because that is the date of the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton Supreme Court decisions in 1973 permitting abortion throughout pregnancy.

Much will be said and debated about these decisions, their legal ramifications, how the Court has weakened them over the years, and what the prospects are for the future.

But I want to take a moment to look at the people behind them, particularly the plaintiffs who won the cases. Know in the court as "Jane Roe" and "Mary Doe," their actual names are Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano.

I came to know them personally over the years and shared many personal and professional moments with them. Sandra passed away recently.

The fact that will come as a surprise to many is that neither one of these women was interested in making abortion legal. Though plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that did exactly that, they both thought that the attorneys who got them involved in these cases were going to help them personally with their own children. Norma didn't even know what the word "abortion" meant, and only got together with the attorneys initially because she was hungry, and they were going to meet at a pizza shop. Sandra, meanwhile, upon hearing that an abortion had been scheduled for her in Atlanta, was so opposed to it that she fled to Oklahoma!

These women were manipulated for a cause in which they did not believe, used for a purpose that they did not desire.

And they suffered for years after the cases were decided and they realized that they had been used to unleash a holocaust. Not only did they eventually start speaking out against legal abortion, but they also attempted a legal procedure by which plaintiffs can go back to the court with a request to reverse the decision. The court did not listen.

Those who will March this Friday on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton know that so many throughout America are like Norma and Sandra, saddened by abortion, longing to see it end, grieving for the deaths of the children and for the healing of the mothers, fathers, and families. And they also know that the fact that the plaintiffs themselves did not buy into the court cases that they technically won is but one manifestation of the hollowness of the entire abortion industry and propaganda machine. It is an industry and a mindset that have to be constantly propped up by deception, smoke and mirrors, and hollow rhetoric devoid of the persuasive power of truth.

But marching in Washington on Friday will be countless people who have been captured by the truth, just as Norma and Sandra were. Both were followers of Christ, and in the case of Norma, I had the privilege of receiving her into the Catholic Church in 1998. In one of her books, she writes,

"I told Fr. Frank I would like to have my house blessed, and he readily agreed. "Do you happen to have any holy water?" he asked me. "No, how do we get some?" I responded. He asked me to fill a large container with water, and he blessed it. Then, after he sprinkled it around the house, he told me that I could use the large quantity of water to bless myself each day. This was wonderful, I thought. About a month later, I was on the phone with Fr. Frank and he asked me how my supply of holy water was holding up. "I need more," I told him, "but don't laugh at the reason why. My friend and I forgot it was holy water, and we drank it!" We've both laughed about that for years."

Together with the desire to see Roe vs. Wade reversed, the crowd in Washington on Friday is motivated by the desire to see people healed of the wounds of abortion, and reconciliation in the relationships destroyed by abortion. In this regard, too, Norma's journey is an inspiration. She writes about the day I received her into the Church,

I started getting cold chills right before I went up for my first Holy Communion. I knew somehow that it was Holy Spirit. Then when I received the flesh of Christ's body and his blood, I felt a real sense of inner peace. After Communion, Fr. Frank shared the following words that spoke directly to my heart:

"Norma, reflect carefully on what has happened now that you have received Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion.

"Our Faith teaches that by His Incarnation, the Son of God joined all humanity to Himself. In some fashion, every human being of all time is united to Him. This, of course, includes every human being in the womb, and includes those who were aborted.

"Today, you have received the very same flesh of the Son of God, to which all humanity has been joined. That means, Norma, that today, in giving you His Body, Jesus has also given you back all the babies that were aborted because of what you did. He has reunited to you all the children who never got to play in the playgrounds. He has restored them to you, closing the distance between you and them. He has reconciled them to you and given you peace.

"The first time I ever interviewed you, I started by saying, "So, you are the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade." You responded, "No, Father, I was the Jane Roe of Roe vs. Wade." Norma, those words were never more true than they are today. Amen."

During these remarks, I was sitting there crying. I knew I had been forgiven -- and to think I was reunited with those children…it was sorrow and joy at the same time. It was like having my own children come back to me all at one time. It was like seeing all their faces, even though I've never known them.

What a beautiful day, and what a beautiful ceremony. I think I was calmer that day than everyone else. I had peace, because I knew I had made the right decision.

As we march on Friday, and as we observe this sad anniversary in our own churches, communities and homes, let us resolve to pray and work for the day that America will make the right decision in regard to abortion, and begin protecting her weakest children and healing the wounds of this national holocaust.

 

 

Fr. Pavone is National Director of Priests for Life

 

 

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Fri, 22 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/227056/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler on the Saints of Ordinary Time ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_226609.php
Fr. Rutler on the Saints of Ordinary Time



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


 

It is that part of the year again when some find the prospect of “Ordinary Time” cheerless, like an ordinary meal or an ordinary job. But “ordinary” can also mean, and at its source primarily did mean, elegantly following a plan. Most would prefer ordinary digestion to one more eruptive. “Ordinary” can even be exciting, as when an acrobat swings through the air exploiting the ordinary expectations of gravity, graceful rather than clumsy.

In some places, judges of probate are called the Ordinaries, because their authority is ex officio, and not specially delegated. To say a bishop is the “Ordinary” does not mean that he is unexceptional, although in the history of the Church mediocrity has not always been an impediment to preferment; it means that he is doing “not my will but the will of him who sent me.”

Were most things not ordinary, there would be no complaint if trains never were on time or if clocks never kept the right time. There would be no point to schedules at all. The Liturgical Calendar is called an Ordo, and the set prayers of the Mass, except the Eucharistic Prayer, are the Ordinary of the Mass because they express the continuity of the Church’s praise. The English have had their Book of Common Prayer, because it was intended to help people pray in common, not commonly: its classical diction was gorgeously uncommon.

Most saints are unnoticed precisely because their virtues are so heroic that they are like a finely tuned car motor that seems silent. While extraordinary figures have ornamented the Church, usually the ones that get the most attention are out of step with God’s design. Irving Berlin’s song at the end of World War I was about a proud mother watching her son marching up the avenue with his regiment: “Were you there and, tell me, did you notice? They were all out of step but Jim.” Holy Mother Church indulges her children, but she does not nurture the illusion that disorder is order, or that noise is harmony, or that all the saints are out of step.

Only God who orders all things knows what he wants his creatures to be. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). So we are in God’s image, and not in our own. One’s self-image can disappoint. Thomas S. Jones, Jr., wrote:


Across the fields of yesterday
He sometimes comes to me,
A little lad just back from play—
The lad I used to be.

And yet he smiles so wistfully
Once he has crept within,
I wonder if he hopes to see
The man I might have been.

God does not want his creatures to be extraordinary. He wants us to be faithful. Humility is not banality. The right route to the Heavenly Gates is the one that snobs call routine.   

 

 

 

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Sun, 17 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/226609/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler: Baptism Begins a Fight, but it is a Good Fight. ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_226027.php
Fr. Rutler: Baptism Begins a Fight, but it is a Good Fight.



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


Because of the demands of the calendar, I am writing this in the last hour of the year 2015. To procrastinate is to delay until tomorrow, so I suppose we could coin a word, proannuate, but to put a thing off until next year is easy to do on New Year’s Eve. In these dark days of the year, the contrast with light is more dramatic, and it always is the case that in moral darkness virtue is more luminous. The Visitation of the Magi and the Baptism of the Lord were about thirty years apart, but both are celebrated close together on the liturgical calendar as “epiphanies” when the Light of Christ was displayed to the world.  At the start of the Third Millennium, St. John Paul II said: “. . . the Church respects the measurements of time: hours, days, years, centuries. She thus goes forward with every individual, helping everyone to realize how each of these measurements of time is imbued with the presence of God and with his saving activity.”

John the Baptist was bewildered when his cousin who was sinless asked to be baptized. John said it should be the other way around. According to human logic, he was right, but Jesus came into time to turn the whole world around. This was to “fulfill all righteousness,” which means he who “takes away the sin of the world” plunges  into the water with sinners, just as his divine nature plunged into history with a human nature, the two being perfectly united yet not compromising each other. The water was a symbol, but the divine intention was a fact. Long before, Naaman could not understand why he had to make a long trip from Damascus to wash in the Jordan when there were better rivers back home. He learned that what cured him was his obedience to God’s will.

The Holy Spirit came down on Christ “like a dove.” Artists portray this as best they can, but one can get the impression that the Holy Spirit actually was a bird. That he “came down like a dove” explains that the divine love between the Father and the Son made this the moment that the Son accepted the commission to save the world. Immediately after the Baptism, Christ went into the desert to challenge the Anti-Christ. In January of 2014, our Pope had two children release doves from his window, and immediately they were attacked by a large crow and a seagull. Feathers flew and no one knows where the doves went, but the image of one white dove struggling against the black crow was worthy of an icon, and it is in fact replicated in all the “hours, days, years, centuries” of human existence. Baptism begins a fight, but it is a good fight. Chesterton said: “I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.”

 

 

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Sat, 09 Jan 2016 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/226027/
<![CDATA[ She Sensed The Coming Of Mary, He The Coming Of The Lord ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_224889.php
She Sensed The Coming Of Mary, He The Coming Of The Lord



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


New Yorkers learn the art of sleeping through sirens and horns, and it is when all falls silent that we become suspicious. Once in a while, the sounds of normal nature intervene and wake us up. At the Winter Solstice I was awakened by the honking of Canada geese along the Hudson River on their annual migration. When the huge building cranes now encompassing our neighborhood are gone, and even the giant buildings they are constructing have disappeared, such fowl will continue their clockwork migratory patterns as they did long before the Manhattoe Indians sold this property for twenty-four dollars to the Dutch. (It was a good profit, especially since they were a hunting tribe from the present-day Bronx with no legitimate ownership rights to the land.)   

Nature works in cycles, and all animate creatures follow patterns, with the exception of you and me. Mankind has a free will that acts by choice rather than instinct. That is our glory and our peril, for the right use of the will leads to bliss, and the wrong use leads to eternal separation from that glory, or to what is bluntly called damnation.   

Mary let God’s will be done perfectly, and so the Messiah was formed in her womb. This is the joy and supernal promise of Christmas. The Light of the World formed by the breath of the Holy Spirit is found by poor people carrying frail oil lamps shaking in the breeze. The life that Jesus gives us is not a vain repetition, like the flying of migrating fowl, but is a deliberate progress toward a goal where there is no time or space, but only a happiness with him who has no beginning or end.   

If we were creatures animated only by instinct, each year would be the same old thing over again, and Christmas would merely be the day we bring out last year’s colored lights and perhaps reuse its wrapping paper. By his birth, Jesus makes all things new. He planned it from the beginning of creation, and revives that creation by taking its creatureliness on himself in his human nature. As a man who aged year by year, yet was perfectly united to an ageless divinity, he could also say, instead of “I was” or “I shall be,” words that shrunken men thought blasphemous: “I Am.” All of that is present in the ageless baby of Bethlehem, whom his cousin John greeted even before he was born.   

As Saint Ambrose preached: “Elizabeth was the first to hear the voice, but her son John was the first to feel the effects of grace. She heard as one hears in the natural course of things; he leapt because of the mystery that was there. She sensed the coming of Mary, he the coming of the Lord — the woman knew the woman, the child knew the child.” 

 

 

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Sun, 27 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/224889/
<![CDATA[ Disneys Feminist Drivel ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_224887.php
Disneys Feminist Drivel



By Peter Darcy
Pewsitter.com


I realize the new Star Wars film is all the rage at this moment, and perhaps it’s heretical to speak against it, but I saw it this week and didn’t like it for what I will admit is one very snarky reason: Disney’s long-established pattern of feminist drivel. We don’t need another billion-dollar blockbuster from Hollywood, but we most definitely need better men than Disney portrays in its films.

Except for the rather flighty (no pun intended) pilot who won the day by destroying the ultra-mega-ginormous death-star, one would be hard pressed to find a heroic man in this movie. Most, if not all, of the male characters are either purely evil, pathetically weak, or just clownish. Supreme Leader Snoke and General Hux are of course incarnations of the devil and Hitler (respectively), and are even presented in strangely occult and Nazi-like settings to emphasize their undiluted evil. The ever-dubious Han Solo gets a light sword through the gut courtesy of his Vader-like apostate son, Kylo Ren, who went to the dark side (for lack of male nurturing maybe?) Great kid. Admittedly, dear old dad made a valiant effort to bring a wayward child back to the light but it may have been the single positive act in Solo’s long career of anti-chivalrous chicanery. Solo is funny, likeable, even mellowing in his old age, but he is not an unambiguously positive male role model.

And are we supposed to see the new Star Wars character Finn as a hero? His first act in the movie is cowardly desertion. Yes, he abandons the dark side, and we give him credit for that, but it’s hardly out of a sense of true moral conviction or a desire for the light. He’s confused and immature; his character is wooden, morose, humorless, and barely able to speak coherent sentences. Once he defects, he establishes a pattern of lying about his true intentions and then flees (again) when called to fight for the truth. His awkward attempts to save the heroine shows how inane he really is because, well, he should know that feminists don’t need saving – certainly not by men! In a fairly predictable turn-around, the worthy gladiatrix saves him from his own incompetence (at least twice in the movie) and by the end, he’s in a coma, with her promising to come back and redeem him by the power of her love.

Even the fabled Luke Skywalker is a disappointing non-entity in this film, appearing only once and with no speaking part. Mute and impotent is a rather fitting characterization of the person Skywalker has become. Because of one major failure in his Jedi training program, he forsakes the battle completely and simply walks away from his responsibility to train future warriors. In fact, he goes off to live in isolation on top of a mountain at the other end of the universe! Hundreds of people in the story and the entire populations of five whole planets lose their lives because Luke abandoned the project of providing fighters whose mission would be precisely to stop that kind of evil. Luke has become a cowardly anti-hero in a ridiculous monk’s outfit.

Love those intrepid male characters in Disney films.

In contrast, the women are all glittering examples of (not feminine but) feminist virtue. First of all, it’s clear that Disney is done with princesses. “Princess” Leia has morphed into General Leia, the Commander-In-Chief of all righteousness. She’s come a long way, baby. As the evil forces are commanded by men, so the holy opposition must be commanded by a woman. Likewise, wisdom is no longer the realm of male sages like Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The “wise” one in this film is an odd but all-seeing female creature named Maz who is so in tune with the universe that she channels the Force even though she is not a Jedi. She absolutely exudes intuitive authority, and to prove it, she has squirreled away the Jedi’s sacred light saber in a holy tabernacle for decades in order to bestow it upon the next savior of the human race who just happens to be – wait for it – female! Interestingly, the statue of Maz over the door of her establishment on her utopic island is almost shockingly Christ-like, standing upright atop the entrance with hands outstretched in the form of a cross. Interesting.

Star Wars’ new heroine, Rey (the Spanish word for “king”), is not a heroine in a classic sense; she’s a warrior hero with female parts. She does everything a man does and does it better. That’s the salient message of feminism, is it not? She’s Australian, not a boring Westerner of course – more mystique there – and we are so privileged to accompany her on a journey of miraculous self-discovery throughout the movie. Everything she does is perfect. To start, she’s pretty, shapely, and athletic with ninja-like litheness. Finn falls in love with her, Solo offers her a job, and she can even work that clever Mind Control trick over those dim-witted storm troopers. Out of her heroic sense of compassion she saves a droid from certain destruction, which, because this droid just happens to be carrying the magical flash drive, means that her generosity eventually saves the entire universe! OMG.

Rey is also the very embodiment of manly resourcefulness. She can fly any aircraft with agility and aplomb, and she even teaches old Han Solo a thing or two about the Millennium Falcon. Early on she defiantly announces, “I can take care of myself,” and of course she can. She extracts herself from numerous rough situations by her quick-witted solutions to the problems created by men. She battles the evil Ren by matching him wit-for-wit and power-for-power. Predictably, she overcomes him in a battle of light sabers and leaves him wounded in the snow because her grasp on the Force is, naturally, much better than his. In the end, she is anointed and commissioned by General Leia to go into uncharted territory to find Luke Skywalker, and the movie concludes with Rey’s holding out the light saber to Luke after having walked the path of enlightenment to the top of his Jedi Nirvana where he has cowered in fear of responsibility all these years. She is the new generation of warrior: I am Jedi hear me roar!

At that point, I nearly tossed my popcorn. I also noticed a strange wind blowing through the theatre; I think it came from Walt Disney spinning in his grave.

I said above that this type of feminist drivel is a “long-established” pattern with Disney. This is not the first time in the past couple decades that we’ve seen the family entertainment giant default to extreme feminist themes; it’s just the most recent example in a long line of movies molded out of a standard feminist template: wicked, pathetic, buffoonish men cede all heroism to wondrously lovely, amazingly talented, and virtuous female characters. Rather than turn this into an extended commentary on Disney, I invite the reader to re-evaluate the plots of The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), The Princess and the Frog (2009), Tangled (2010), Brave (2012), and Frozen (2013), along the lines of this thesis.

More than half a century of feminist indoctrination through movies has given us an emasculated male culture with few public role models of heroic men. Disney’s most recent feminist drivel hasn’t helped reverse that trend.

 

 

Peter Darcy blog at PeterDarcyWriting.com

 

 

 

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Sat, 26 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/224887/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler on Christmas and the Divine Light That Shines Even in Dark Times ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_224338.php
Fr. Rutler on Christmas and the Divine Light That Shines Even in Dark Times



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


It would seem odd that as Christmas draws closer, the Church makes a point of reminding us of Hell. There is no need of reminding if one is awake to the manifestations of great sadness and suffering along the city streets. The whole world is a hodgepodge of things we instinctively call “Hellish” and “Heavenly” and is rather like our own parish neighborhood that, years ago, was named “Hell’s Kitchen” but now is becoming a most glittering part of Manhattan. So long as we are in time and space, Hell and Heaven will be like opposites repelled by each other and nonetheless dancing together. Only in eternity will they be distinct forever, which is why Christ warns and consoles, with his loving admonitions and promises, that he would have none lost and all saved.

The Light of Christ pierces the soul’s vision most vividly in the darkest times, just as a city’s lights seem brightest at the Winter Solstice. As the late Yogi Berra said in his typical diction, which makes great sense in spite of itself: “It is getting later earlier.” In the same way, when “the days are waxing late” there is an intuition of something new coming into the world. That newness is the enfleshment of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

So if bad things happen at the time of festival, the feast becomes more powerful. Sometimes, those who mourn the death of loved ones at this time can hear more clearly than the giddy, the Voice that says, “So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” Likewise, just as the glory of Christ became most vivid in contrast to his crucifiers, so is the splendor of his Body, the Church, brightest in contrast to those who deface it. Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote to Lady Chatterton: “Our Lord distinctly predicted these scandals as inevitable; nay further, He spoke of His Church as in its very constitution made up of good and bad, of wheat and weeds, of the precious and the vile. One out of His twelve Apostles fell, and one of the original seven deacons.”

The brightness of Christmas is not the reflection of tinsel, for it is “Light from Light” rooted in reality and not fantasy. Paul Claudel said that “everything must be illusion or allusion.” Thus, superficial Christmases are illusory while the real Feast of the Incarnation alludes to Heaven in contrast to Hell.

The true Christian is not the harmless ingénue Pippa in Browning’s poem . . . “God’s in His heaven – All’s right with the world!” There are dark things wrong with the world, but the celebration is even greater for that, since the Divine Light has come from heaven, and “the darkness has never overcome it.” 

 

 

 

 

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Sun, 20 Dec 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/224338/
<![CDATA[ Advent and Awakening the Moral Memory ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_222156.php
Advent and Awakening the Moral Memory



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


The Church has a long memory. One might well say that she “is” memory. She is in fact the memory of the human race. In her nascent form in the history of Israel, she was already recollecting the human drama: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord” (Psalm 77:11). As Christ is the Beginning and End of all things, he can call to mind events and circumstances from before recorded history. The Pharisees knew the history of the Mosaic Law, but only Christ knew what life was like from the beginning (cf. Matt. 19:8).

While philosophers animate and amplify the cultural memory, Christ is the source of the truth that philosophy seeks. This is why Christ is not a philosopher and can only be understood as the ultimate object of philosophy, the eternal Wisdom, Logos, which shaped the logical order of the universe. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col.1:17). So Saint Paul told the stately philosophers in Athens that Christ is the mysterious “unknown god” who replaced their questions marks with an exclamation point.

As the memory is part of the soul, tyrants dehumanize people by manipulating their memory. They describe heroes as villains and villains as heroes, and erase events that are inconvenient to their narrative of the world.

This also happens in the private conscience. People try to forget the truth when they want to lie. But since lies contradict the way things are, liars have to fabricate a false history. So it is that liars need a good memory. They have to remember what they have denied. This is the protocol of all moral confusion.

A common way to lie is to change words. Euphemisms are verbal gymnastics to avoid the truth. For instance, vice can be made to sound attractive by calling it liberating. Or, as Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” A recent headline on the front page of the New York Post told of a criminal horror: “Baby Ripped from Womb.” The subtitle said: “Bronx Mom Slain for Fetus.” Now, a baby is a fetus, and a fetus is a baby, but why not just call it a baby? It is hard to extricate oneself from euphemisms. As Sir Walter Scott wrote: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

Advent awakens the moral memory to the most important facts of the human condition: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. These truths can be erased from memory by ignoring Advent altogether and celebrating Christmas early with little understanding of it. But then we would cease to be Christians entrusted with the memory of the human race. “I have said these things to you, that when the hour comes, you may remember that I told them to you” (John 16:4).




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Sun, 29 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/222156/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler on Christ the King and Living the Alternative ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_221647.php
Fr. Rutler on Christ the King and Living the Alternative



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


Our former church was begun in 1857 and rebuilt after a fire in 1892. When I kneel before the high altar, which was moved to its present location in 1907 to make room for the Pennsylvania Station, I think of how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been offered there through the Civil War with its Draft Riots and lynchings, and two World Wars, as well as Korea and Vietnam, with their victory parades and funerals for the young men killed in them. Workers and firemen who worshiped at this altar were killed at the World Trade Center. Every altar in the world is a focus of the human drama, and while Christ died once and rose in victory never to die again, his death transcends time in his merciful union with all human suffering. This is why Pascal said paradoxically in his Pensées that the Risen Christ “is in agony on the Mount of Olives until the end of the world.”   

When the haters of remnant Christian civilization struck Paris last Friday the 13th, many kept saying that it was “unreal” and “inexplicable.” But the blood was real, and the cruelty was totally explicable by the history of false religion and its embrace of evil. Fittingly, when the attack began in that concert hall, the band was playing a cacophonous piece, barely distinguishable from gunfire, called “Kiss the Devil.” Only those afflicted with the illusion of secular progressivism as a substitute for the Gospel seemed bewildered. Evil is real and explicable by the Fall of Man. Through the battles that have been fought and endured as Mass was being said on our altar, those who knelt here have promised to renounce Satan, and all his evil works, and all his empty promises.   

It is different now that a whole generation has been taught to think that there is no evil to resist, and no holiness to attain. The highest ambition of our new “therapeutic culture” is no loftier than the desire to “feel good” about oneself. We were solaced by politicians telling us that ISIS has been “contained” and is less dangerous than climate change. While Christians in the Middle East were being slaughtered in what the pope himself called genocide, although our own State Department refused to call it that, coddled and foul-mouthed students on our college campuses were indulging psychodramatic claims of hurt feelings and low self-esteem. They are not the stuff of which civilization’s heroes are made, and when the barbarians flood the gates, their teddy bears and balloons will be of little use.   

Christ is the King of the universe because “He is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). To deny that is to be left in a moral whirlwind, thinking that evil is unreal and the actions of evil people have no explanation.

 

 

 

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Sun, 22 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/221647/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler on Christian Credentials ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_220229.php
Fr. Rutler on Christian Credentials



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


An astute professor once said that political wrangling in universities is so vicious because the stakes are so small. There are those in proverbial ivory towers who will struggle to get control of a faculty or become an assistant dean with an animus that would ill befit a general in battle. There is one caveat here, though, and it is this: the stakes are not so small when you consider that professors can shape the minds of a whole generation.
   
A recent letter in The New York Times signed by Catholic academics, objected that a columnist had no right to comment on the recent Synod in Rome because he had no theology degree. This ignored the fact that none of that newspaper’s columnists who frequently attack Catholic doctrine have any such scholarly decorations. It also defied the call for more vocal involvement of the laity that the signatories to the letter claim to champion as self-styled progressives.
   
Academia is rife with censorship in the form of political correctness, but it cannot totally smother the truth, which is supposed to be the substance and goal of learning, expressed in the plethora of school mottoes: Veritas, Lux et Veritas, Veritas Vos Liberabit, etc., etc.
   
An example of insuppressible prophecy was Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, a representative of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Bucharest, Romania at the Synod on the Family in Rome. In the midst of speeches of varying quality, her brief remarks set a unique tone in the assembly of bishops and consultants. She spoke of her parents who were engaged to be married, but waited seventeen years while her father was a political prisoner of her country’s harsh dictatorship, and her mother kept vigil all that time, not knowing if he was dead or alive. She went on to say: “The Church’s mission is to save souls. Evil, in this world, comes from sin. Not from income disparity or ‘climate change.’ The solution is: Evangelization. Conversion. Not an ever increasing government control. Not a world government. These are nowadays the main agents imposing cultural Marxism on our nations . . . Our Church was suppressed by the Soviet occupation. But none of our 12 bishops betrayed their communion with the Holy Father. . . . Now we need Rome to tell the world: ‘Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.’”
   
Seven of the twelve bishops she mentioned died in prison. It was a sobering reflection during a Synod where there were not a few receptions and much dining, most innocent in themselves but different in tone from the laments of the countless Christians suffering in the Middle East. It was also very different in urgency from the offended academics whose pomposity was pricked by an “unqualified” newspaper columnist. They should have been more offended by the Romanian doctor whose only theological credentials were bestowed by the witness of her parents and the blood of her bishops.




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Sat, 07 Nov 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/220229/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler on Autumn, Late Maureen O'Hara, Fathers and Sons ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_219350.php
Fr. Rutler on Autumn, the Late Maureen O'Hara, Fathers and Sons



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


Even in New York City nature does not go unnoticed. Though we do not get to see much of the autumnal leaves,  the sharpening winds over the river and the honking of migrating geese competing with the traffic horns still end the message that the seasons are changing and with them the mood of time.  Autumn mixes beauty and melancholy, which is how it must be in a transient world, and why the most beautiful sights and sounds move the spirit beyond diaphanous pleasure to twinges of a strange longing, like the Jews in the exile of Babylon unable to play their harps while longing for their homeland.
 
All Saints and All Souls are days that fit well into the autumnal hours, too radiant for laughter and too mysterious for solace.   The Feast of All Saints this year is on Sunday, and All Souls is its Monday afterglow.  Contemplating the eternal life of the blessed ones is more vital than admiring a painting in the Met or music in Carnegie Hall, for the blessed souls of the faithful are urging us to join them, not as a romance but as an utterly possible proposal.    
 
The actress Maureen O’Hara said that she wanted to live to be 102, so that as an old lady she could annoy people by thumping her cane and making peremptory demands.   She just died at 95, which is close enough, and that occasioned some autumnal thoughts of my own, for I knew her when she came to Mass and afterward would tell many stories.  She favored the sonority of the older form of the Latin Mass,  though she worshiped God wherever he tabernacled .  After I preached a series of Lenten meditations, she reminisced about my favorite film, “How Green Was My Valley.”  It  made full use of the novel by Robert Llewelyn and was a triumph of the screen in a time when English speech had not decayed.   The concluding reminiscence of his youth in a Welsh mining village is heavy with Autumn and light with Spring,  and makes a descant on what saints and souls sing with perfect pitch:
 
“I saw behind me those who had gone, and before me, those who were to come. I looked back and saw my father….Then I was not afraid, for I was in a long line that had no beginning, and no end, and the hand of his father grasped my father’s hand, and his hand was in mine, and my unborn son took my right hand, and all, up and down the line that stretched from Time That Was, to Time That Is, and Is Not Yet, raised their hands to show the link, and we fund that we were one, born of Woman, son of Man, made in the Image, fashioned in the Womb by the Will of God, the Eternal Father.”

 

 

 

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Wed, 28 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/219350/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler on Holy Communion and the Wedding Feast of God ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_219187.php
Fr. Rutler on Holy Communion and the Wedding Feast of God



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


As a priest, I have witnessed the marriages of over eight hundred couples. It is gratifying to hear from them on their anniversaries, and to baptize and even marry some of their new generation. Solid marriages are beacons and ballast for those whose understanding of family life may be dim and unsettled in our distressed culture. Some of the happiest weddings have been free of the extravagance that is the fashion of a meretricious society. Sometimes, a couple prayerfully decides to call the wedding off, and usually this is prudent, if it is the outcome of an awareness of the seriousness of the vows.
   
The other day a couple in California called off their wedding, having already paid for a $35,000 reception. Rather than cancel, the family invited the homeless of Sacramento to share the feast. Young and old and abandoned showed up, and what could have been a dismal day—something like Miss Havisham’s cobwebbed banquet table with its desiccated wedding cake—became bright for many.
   
That brought to mind the 1987 Danish film “Babettes gæstebud” which as “Babette’s Feast” won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In a snowy village on the west coast of Jutland, home to a graying small group who belong to a rigid Pietistic sect, a kindly woman arrives from Paris and volunteers to serve as cook for two elderly sisters whose father had founded their conventicle. Fourteen years pass during which Babette Hersant cooks the bland meals that are the customary fare of the villagers. One day she announces that, in honor of what would have been the father’s hundredth birthday, she will prepare a feast.
   
The villagers are suspicious that such luxury might be some form of devilry, so they decide to pretend that they are unfazed by the repast. Babette’s secret is that she has won 10,000 francs in a lottery and spent it all on delicacies delivered from France. As the dinner proceeds, barriers built by festering resentments break down, and the astringency of the people gives way to reminiscences of their romantic youth. Babette remains in the village happily penniless, because “An artist is never poor.”
   
If Eucharistic metaphors in the plot may be stretched by belabored eisegesis, the original story by Karen Blixen, who ironically died from malnutrition, echoes the parable of “The Marriage of the King’s Son.” Those who were first invited had excuses, so the king’s servants gathered in all they could find in the streets. One of the invitees is cast out for not wearing a wedding garment. God’s gratuitousness, by its very munificence, requires a change of heart.
   
The required “state of grace” for Holy Communion has been debated at the recent Synod in Rome. What is clear is that the Wedding Feast of the Lamb is offered to all, but the invitation requires a humble submission to the king’s heavenly protocol.

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Mon, 26 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/219187/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Rutler: From the Pastor ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_218460.php
Fr. Rutler: From the Pastor



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


Last week over 150,000 people attended the annual New York Comic Con exhibition nearby at the Javits Center. Many dressed as their favorite comic-book characters: Batman, Spiderman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Along with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Dick Tracy, they added more color to our already interesting neighborhood.   

The saints glowing on our windows and the statues reflecting the votive lights testify that Holy Mother Church produces the most fascinating characters, and—unlike the comic book heroes—these were real. More than that, they changed our world for the better and combated the real Prince of Lies who has menaced more people through the ages than any comic-book villain.   

In recent days, as eyes look warily and perplexed on the spreading threat of Islam, I have thought of the genuine heroes who confronted that challenge in their various generations. If we are shocked at the genocide of Christians, the beheading of children, the torture and crucifixion of fathers and their young sons, we should remember the real heroes who were familiar with such slaughter in their own day. In Tours in 732, the Frankish king Charles Martel defeated the Islamic army using clever weaponry against great odds. Then there were Richard the Lionheart, Saint Louis IX, János Hunyadi, Saint John of Capistrano, Don Juan of Austria, Andrea Doria, Saint Pius V, and Jan Sobieski, all of whom lived lives that could constitute an entire college course in history, psychology, politics, and religion. If some of these names are now obscure, that is the fault of those who do not appreciate how, if any one of them had failed, our world would be far more miserable today and its institutions unrecognizable, and it is entirely possible that none of us would be alive.   

Europe and, to an increasing extent, our own country are experiencing waves of Islamic immigrants who are not welcome in some of their own lands. Mohammed is the most popular name for boys in London now, and Arabic is the fastest-growing language in the United States. Honest and needy refugees expect the Christian welcome that the Gospel enjoins, for no one is foreign to Christ. But the spiritual gift of discernment should distinguish the immigrant from the invader, and there is palpable evidence that some people of ill will pretend to be refugees when in fact they are of the ilk that Charles Martel and all those other real heroes confronted.   

The popular press downplayed the fact that those men and women in the school in Oregon were killed because they were Christian, albeit by a homegrown fanatic. Perhaps the journalists could not cope with the fact that Christ is being crucified every day in many ways. He predicted that, which is why the figures in our stained-glass windows and beckoning from our statues are not Superman and Wonder Woman, but saints and the Lady who is Queen of Saints.  

 

 

 

 

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Sat, 17 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/218460/
<![CDATA[ The Bond Of Marriage Is A Heavy Chain Only In The Mind Of The Cynic. For Those Who Love The Lord, The Bond Is His Embrace ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_217850.php
The Bond Of Marriage Is A Heavy Chain Only In The Mind Of The Cynic. For Those Who Love The Lord, The Bond Is His Embrace



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


The opening of the No. 7 subway stop down the street is another reminder of the increasing importance of our part of Manhattan. Within the next couple of years the section called Hudson Yards will have nearly 65,000 more residents. I am frequently asked of this area, “How many of them are Catholic?” But Jesus did not send his disciples into Catholic neighborhoods, because there were none. He said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). Certainly he envisioned Hudson Yards in that calculus. The proper question about the new people living and working here should be, “How many of them will be Catholic?” The answer in large part depends on you and me.   

Right now in the Hudson Yards area there are 12,416 households, of which 8,924 are not families. There are 11,243 households without children, and only 1,174 with children. The urban economy explains much of this. New York, next to Washington, D.C., is the most expensive city in the nation for rearing children. (My mother always insisted that children are reared, and not raised like vegetables.) Our nation has failed in providing a reasonable economic culture friendly to families with children. The average household net worth in Hudson Yards is $1,048,000, which sounds like a lot, until you factor in the price of real estate and cost of living, not to mention taxes and school costs.   

The family is in crisis worldwide, for various reasons, and so it is being addressed by the Synod taking place in Rome. “Crisis” is a Greek word that means a moment of testing, but it also means an opportunity. For the Christian, the opportunity is to remind a world that is confused about marriage and procreation, and that often tries through civil legislation and judicial imperialism to burlesque nature and nature’s God, that Christ has sanctified marriage as a bond between a man and a woman as an indissoluble sign of his unfailing love and, through its fecundity in child-bearing, as a sign of the fruitfulness of love. The bond of marriage is a heavy chain only in the mind of the cynic. For those who love the Lord, the bond is his embrace.   

In his homily at the opening of the Synod on October 4, Pope Francis summoned the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “The Church is called to carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions. The truth which protects individuals and humanity as a whole from the temptation of self-centredness and from turning fruitful love into sterile selfishness, faithful union into temporary bonds. ‘Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love.’” (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 3).  

 

 

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Sun, 11 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/217850/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Pavone and Alveda King Reflect on Martin Luther King, Pope Francis, and the Value and Dignity of Every Human Life ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_217663.php
Fr. Pavone and Alveda King Reflect on Martin Luther King, Pope Francis, and the Value and Dignity of Every Human Life



By Fr. Frank Pavone and Dr. Alveda C. King
Pewsitter.com


A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to “dream” of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do….

        -    Pope Francis in his speech to Congress

 

The words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have resounded throughout the world for more than half a century.  Their clarity, elegance, and power convey great moral truth, and they are not limited to one time or to one people.

Dr. King’s words clearly speak to Pope Francis, who referred to them on his recent American visit in both his remarks at the White House and his historic address to Congress.  As they did during the civil rights era, they inform us today as to the great moral questions we face.  And there is no matter of greater import than full rights for all our brothers and sisters, born and unborn.

The Pope’s remarks in the U.S., like the speeches and writings of Dr. King, expressed a reverence for life – an inclusive view that regards all people as worthy of respect, protection, and love.  He spoke for the rights of the voiceless just as Dr. King did a half-century ago.  

Both men’s words still resonate of the inherent worth of all individuals.

Both men’s words speak of our responsibility as a society to, as Pope Francis declared, “protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.”

And both men’s words are rooted in love.  

It was only natural that Pope Francis would cite Dr. King in his messages to the American people.  Dr. King dreamed about and spoke of a “Beloved Community,” a place where love has brought justice, reconciliation, and redemption – a place where goodwill for all is the norm.  Clearly, this community is what the Pope seeks as well.

The Beloved Community, being a place where equal rights and human dignity are respected, necessarily excludes no one.  As signees of “The Beloved Community and the Unborn”, we, Dr. King’s sister-in-law, his nephew, and other civil rights and pro-life advocates declare that “in our efforts to set free the oppressed, we include the children in the womb.”  The human family necessarily includes all of us.

A key component of this Beloved Community is forgiveness.  

When hurt remains, sorrow, bitterness and cold heartedness grow.  Without forgiveness – of ourselves and others – there can be no reconciliation.  Without reconciliation, there can be no peace.  Dr. King stated, “He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power of love.”  If there is no love, what kind of world do we have?

Fortunately for all of us, God is love.  He forgives.

God’s forgiveness has been proclaimed by Pope Francis.  He speaks not only of forgiving others, but of seeking forgiveness from God, even for acts that we might fear are unforgiveable, such as abortion.  He speaks of hope and redemption.

For God is greater than all our sin.

Along with forgiveness, the Beloved Community is built on justice.  As Dr. King noted, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”  He liked to quote the prophet Amos, who proclaimed, “…let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”  

Pope Francis also spoke of justice when addressing Congress.  When talking about immigrants and refugees, he said we should “respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.  We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’”  

The Pope’s words speak to the concept of the Beloved Community – and they apply to our treatment of all whom we might be tempted to discard.

In the past, many in our nation treated others in ways which were not humane, just, or fraternal.  The very presence of African Americans was viewed by some as “troublesome.”  Today, there is another class of people whose existence is deemed by some to be problematic, the unborn.  There is, using the Pope’s phrase, a temptation to discard them.  This temptation is, just as was racial discrimination, a threat to peace.

Dr. King reminds us that true peace includes “the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life.”  This is only logical.  If true peace is the presence of justice, there can be no peace where the innocent are attacked.

Which is why abortion is the greatest threat to peace and to the establishment of the Beloved Community.  In the Beloved Community, we love others as we love ourselves.

Forgiveness.  Justice.  Love.

Reverend King taught us of their importance in the 1960s; Pope Francis teaches us that they are vital today.  

If we are to build the dream of the Beloved Community, let us start anew.  In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words, “the time is always ripe to do right.”  

Let us begin by acting justly toward all people, including our little ones still in the womb.  Let us seek forgiveness for how we’ve treated others.  And let us love.

As both Reverend King and Pope Francis would remind us, love never fails.  

 

Father Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Dr. Alveda C. King
Director of African-American Outreach, Priests for Life

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box: www.priestsforlife.org
“The Spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
Father Frank Pavone

National Director, Priests for Life

 

Dr. Alveda C. King

Director of African-American Outreach, Priests for Life

Father Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Dr. Alveda C. King
Director of African-American Outreach, Priests for Life
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Fri, 09 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/217663/
<![CDATA[ Fr. George Rutler: From the Pastor ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_217054.php
From the Pastor



By Fr. George W. Rutler
Pewsitter.com


Some papal customs are rooted in the Roman imperium, which sought to destroy Christianity violently, only to be defeated by Christians pacifically. As the Caesars wore red slippers symbolic of the blood of their vanquished foes, so popes have been shod in the same red in token of the martyrs who shed their own blood for Christ. At papal coronations, flax would be burned before the Pontiff by a Master of Ceremonies saying “Sancte Pater, sic transit gloria mundi” . . . “Holy Father,  thus passes the glory of the world,” just as a slave riding with a triumphant Roman general in his chariot through the Forum  would whisper to the triumphator: “Respice post te, hominem te memento” . . . “Look behind, and remember that you are only a man.”   

From the singular experience which only 266 men in history have shared, popes have known how ephemeral celebrity can be. In 1846, Pope Pius IX was hailed as the paladin of the new progressive age. Garibaldi wrote from Uruguay to offer military assistance, and Roman youths unhitched the pope’s horses so that they themselves might pull his carriage through the cheering crowds. By the end of his reign, his funeral had to be held under cover of night and a mob tried to toss his coffin into the Tiber.   

When streets happily were lined with people cheering the Holy Father last week, his paternal emotions may have been mixed with the thought that not all of those taking his picture would be in church on Sunday. Flattery is not fidelity, nor is enthusiasm the substance of faith. In 1914, when the papal tailor told Pope Benedict XV that he knew he would be elected, the somewhat ill-shapen Pope asked: “If you knew, why didn’t you make me a cassock that fits?” Popes know that celebrity is diaphanous and cheers last as long as the breeze. A Gallup poll claims that the public approval of Pope Francis dropped from 72% to 59% in the past year. Saint Paul had benign contempt for that way of measuring an apostle: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).   

When Saint Peter walked through Rome, he was not a celebrity like those Plutarch wrote about in his Parallel Lives, which was the equivalent of a glossy Hollywood magazine. But few today remember Camillus or Coriolanus or Sertorius. For that matter, rare is today’s teenager who could identify Bing Crosby. One caution about a pope addressing a Parliament, a Congress, a Bundestag, or the United Nations, is that it might give the impression that he is merely a statesman, and when pop stars surround him, the predilection might be to confuse him with them. This is why it is important to remember the blood of the martyrs and the burning flax.  

 

 

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Sun, 04 Oct 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/217054/
<![CDATA[ Is Joe Biden the FrancisChurch candidate? ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_215527.php
The October Surprise



By Eilzabeth Yore
Pewsitter.com


 

Former Senator George Mitchell famously said that,“God does not take sides in politics.” Mitchell’s observation might be about to change in the upcoming 2016 election.

The highest ranking Catholic in government, Vice President Joe Biden is rumored to be considering a presidential run. The timing of his announcement is reportedly in late September. With the critical 25% swing Catholic vote at play in this election, Biden may find a powerful, and surprising ally in his presidential bid. As they say, politics make strange bedfellows, and this upcoming fall, Biden will have a powerful compadre in his presidential election bid: a non-American, dressed in white, speaking Spanish, none other than, Pope Francis.

This week Biden told AP that "Pope Francis has breathed new life into what I believe is the central mission of our faith: Catholic social doctrine," Biden added that Francis "has become a moral rudder for the world on some of the most important issues of our time, from inequality to climate change." Translation for the upcoming political campaign: Pope Francis has breathed new life into what I believe is the central mission of my life, the Presidency of the United States. Pope Francis has became a moral rudder for the most important issues of the Democratic Party from inequality to climate change.

In late September, Pope Francis will visit the United States with appearances at the White House, a Joint Session of Congress, the United Nations and the Philadelphia World Meeting of Families.

In the two short years of his overtly political papacy, Francis assumed the role of an ad hoc Secretary of State. The Vatican and Obama administration closely collaborated on a key foreign and domestic issues. The political Pope covertly initiated and negotiated detente with Communist Cuba through back door Vatican diplomatic channels. These papal secret maneuvers allowed the Obama administration to open an embassy in Cuba, despite opposition from the Miami Cuban refugee community, who view the Pope as a willing pawn in the Obama dealmaking with violent dictators. The Pope will visit Cuba before his U.S. visit for a victory lap with the Castro brother dictators.

Following the Cuba concession, Pope Francis and Obama continued their foreign policy foray with the Iran nuclear deal. Pope Francis gave his papal blessing to the Iran nuclear deal before the details were even dry on the page or publicly revealed by announcing that “in hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world.” Surely, the U.S. Congress will hear this papal blessing invoking God to support the Iran deal, with the congressional Iran vote looming in the near future.

On the domestic front, the unholy alliance between the Vatican and the Obama Administration runs deep. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met with Vatican officials to coordinate the new and onerous EPA environmental regulations with the Pope’s environmental encyclical. McCarthy asserted that the Obama Administration and the Vatican are “deeply aligned on climate change.” Laudato Si reiterated Al Gore’s apocalyptic phony warnings of global warming and climate change-all elevated to moral tenets, which not surprisingly, are deeply ensconced in the democratic party platform.

Undoubtedly, in his UN keynote address, Pope Francis will urge the passage of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which, among other initiatives, promotes global access to abortion, a key diplomatic directive of the Obama Administration, one which aligns with Joe Biden who enjoys a 100% rating from pro abortion group NARAL in 4 of the last 5 years.

The political advantage for the democratic party that co-opts the papal agenda, as its own, and wraps itself in the popularity of the Pope, coupled with a Catholic presidential nominee, bodes political disaster for the Republicans in 2016. According to Pew Research, one-quarter of 2012 voters were Catholics. They continue to swing between the democratic and republican parties, depending on the nominee. Not since John Kennedy, have voters had the option to vote for a Catholic presidential candidate.

The Catholic vote will determine the next President of the United States. Pope Francis, as the leader of the Catholic Church, is popular with the secular mainstream media which supports and feverishly protects the Democratic Party. September will bring wall-to-wall coverage of the Pope Fest, as he embraces the Obama/Biden administration, and its EPA, and the United Nations. Then followed by the Biden presidential announcement. Timing is everything in politics.

Be prepared for Joe Biden to shadow the Pope throughout his visit. As President of the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden will be seated directly behind Pope Francis at the podium, when the Pope addresses to the Joint Session of Congress on September 24th. Picture Joe Biden repeatedly jumping to his feet and leading the cheers when Pope Francis urges open borders for immigrants, decarbonization, the evils of fossil fuels, and the approval of the Iran Nuclear Deal. Watch as the cameras focus on VP Biden’s pearly white grin when the Pope demands that the U.S. Government spend more taxpayer money on the poor and renewable energy, like windmills and those important Solyndra solar panels for the sake of global warming! The media will ensure that the huge viewing public will understand that Joe Biden shares the values of Pope Francis. What a subliminal endorsement!

Rest assured, that Biden will be featured prominently at the White House papal meet and greet, when President Obama caucuses with the Pope on September 23rd. After all, President Obama has recently anointed Biden, as his successor with the glowing endorsement that Joe Biden was “the smartest political decision he ever made and he will mount a successful campaign.”

Look for Joe Biden to attend the Papal keynote address at the September 25th UN General Assembly, and nod approval as the Pope exhorts the passage of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ratification of the December Paris Climate Treaty. Both initiatives are supported by the Obama Administration and Democrats, and will tax and fine Americans into poverty and finally achieve ‘hope and change’ in the form of redistribution of American wealth and prosperity.

Imagine the 2016 political TV ads! Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden huddled with and embracing the most powerful moral leader of the world, Pope Francis. Now those are some political coat tails.

Too bad the Pope can’t vote for Joe Biden, they share so many common values. But perhaps, he can. If Pope Francis crosses over from the Mexican border into the U.S., he just might be able to vote for a Joe Biden/Elizabeth Warren ticket.

 

 

********

Elizabeth Yore is an Attorney and International Child Rights Advocate. She served as a member of the Heartland Institute delegation to protest the Vatican exclusion of all scientific opinions and its reliance on population control experts. She served as Oprah Winfrey’s Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc. until 2012.   She was the General Counsel of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

 

 

 

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Sat, 19 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/215527/
<![CDATA[ Smartphones and the Cross ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214819.php
Smartphones and the Cross



By Fr. George Rutler
Pewsitter.com


A friend sent me a collection of cartoons about the “smartphone” mania. Among the effects is the decay of the art of conversation. You can be reminded of this on busy 34th Street, when people are so absorbed “twittering” that they bump into you. One cartoon has figures of a bride and groom on top of a wedding cake, each fingering a smartphone, and another shows a crowd of people tweeting with one hand while holding in the other the sort of white cane that blind people use. Self-absorption is a form of moral blindness. Most poignant is the cartoon of a lonely little boy holding a soccer ball, totally ignored by other children staring at their smartphones.   

The moral problem is antecedent to the computer age: “To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, and they say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep’” (Luke 7:31-32).   

Our Lord made those remarks in the context of criticisms against him, citing the fickleness of his accusers who resented the way he exposed the limitations of their self-absorption. For others without the audacity to challenge him, it was sufficient to ignore him. An ancient lament was a prophecy of Christ’s timeless reproach to those too preoccupied with themselves to pay him attention as he hung on the Cross, whether in the first century or in the computer age: “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow . . .” (Lamentations 1:12).   

But for those who stay alert and look beyond themselves, September 14 celebrates the Triumph of the Cross. In the eighth century, a boy in Syria was born mute and only found his voice the day he received Holy Communion at the age of seven. He apparently loved to sing from then on, and Saint Andrew of Crete now is known as a hymnographer, as well as bishop and theologian. He explained why the Cross takes us out of ourselves:  

“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.”

 

 

 

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Sat, 12 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214819/
<![CDATA[ An 'Exclusive, Closed Sect' - Francis Continues His Crusade Against Catholicism ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214586.php
An 'Exclusive, Closed Sect' - Francis Continues His Crusade Against Catholicism



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


 It just takes a leap of faith and a humble heart to open the door and go in.

I read that years ago Pope John XXIII insulted the Church, calling it a only a museum if it would not yield to that 'aggiornamento.'  That was a very dark thing to say.  It betrayed a contempt for the Faith and her past, a past which includes Christ, His Mother, His Apostles, His saints - all glorious human beings living yet today.

I wish Francis would make up some new schemes, and stop rebuilding the tired, ugly concentration camp that was the 1970's Church.

A church that lives according to the Gospel must always have its doors open and be a welcoming community, not "an exclusive, closed sect," Pope Francis said.

"Churches, parishes, institutions with closed doors must not call themselves a church; they must call themselves museums," he said to applause during his general audience in St. Peter's Square Sept. 9.

As part of a series of talks about the family, the pope focused on the close bond that should exist between the family and the Christian community.

The son of God chose to be born and immersed in the everyday life and routine of a simple family in a poor village, the pope said.

In fact, the family is where the "irreplaceable, indelible" start of one's life story begins, which is "why the family is so important".

When Jesus began his public ministry, he formed around him a community with a shared vocation, "that is, a con-vocation of people. This is the meaning of the word, 'church,'" the pope said.

The group Jesus gathers around him has the features of "a hospitable family, not an exclusive, closed sect", he said.

This truly is babble.  The only thread running through it is its socialism.  To preach against walls is to destroy.  Jesus was all about 'the romanticized, mythical people' see, specifically 'the poor,' and not all those other 'structures.'  Structures close in, make walls.  Bad, bad.

That's radicalism.  That's Liberation Theology.  It's simply an effort to disarm, to corral you into the structures they have waiting for you once they've wrecked those that belonged to you.  Out of the Holy House of your Faith and Church then into their barns,  it's a stark picture of this pontificate.  Most people can't seem to face it.

What about the Temple, or the Tent of the Presence?  These structures had 'closed doors.'  What about the faithful Catholic worthily receiving Communion?

An institution without doors or walls is not an institution at all.  It's rubble.  God has no real house at all in FrancisChurch.

An 'exclusive, closed sect.'  Why must he smear the Church?  Heaven is exclusive.  Not everyone gets in, your Holiness.  Boundaries define things.  They make things holy, or 'set apart.'  They discriminate between good and evil - or is that mean or something.

 

 

Read more at The Stumbling Block

 

 

 

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Thu, 10 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214586/
<![CDATA[ FrancisAnnulments Are Just the Softening Up ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214587.php
FrancisAnnulments Are Just the Softening Up



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


If that marriage is invalid, let's make this one valid. Call it a merciful 'renullment' or something.

The Eye-Witness Blog has some rare truth about FrancisAnnulments, but it's only common sense, really.

This is a dangerous business.

I am not alone in being concerned that the Pope's new instant annulment process is just a part of the stage-management that has been going on by the movers and shakers of the upcoming Synod. It seems clear enough - especially by the timing - that this is a maneuver to both win some hearts and minds - uncritical hearts and minds, that is - while at the same time greasing the skids for the more radical moves that are intended for October.

Even Cardinal Burke, who is more than a little familiar with the annulment process and was active in that arena in its liberalized state, is uneasy about this, calling the easing of the annulment process "sentimentalism and false compassion."  What His Eminence did not say is that it was already far too easy to get one, and even on the flimsiest of pretexts.

Sentimentalism.  That's what's islamicizing Europe right now.  We are truly a debased, de-natured people.

Let us face some cold, hard facts.  The annulment process in recent decades has been an absolute farce.  In America especially.  It is so farcical that critics of the Church have rightly called it "Catholic divorce".  A good example: a man and a woman (known to this writer) married seventeen years and the parents of seven children were granted an annulment.  No wife-beating was involved.  The husband was far from perfect but the wife had had enough of him.  So their marriage was declared to have "never existed in the first place".

Whether the husband was a bounder or not, they were still sacramentally married.

Many of us in the active Catholic community have such stories.

That is one story among thousands.  The number of annulments granted in recent decades is by any standard ridiculous; in the past 2,000 years there were probably 82 annulments given by the Church.  Now they give out 82 per day.  It is as if the Marx Brothers were put in charge of marriage tribunals.

But the Eye-Witness sees something even more sinister at work than the destruction of society through this institutional malpractice.

The cheers from Catholics anxious to dump their spouses is deafening.  The cheers from supine clergymen supporting this new Francis edict are also deafening.  Fence-sitting Catholics, always willing to give the benefit of the doubt, are cautiously optimistic by this.  But all of these souls are falling into a booby-trap which will explode next month.  By their cheers of support they are providing a faux consesus for a Pope who it seems wants to show a false mercy towards divorced and remarried people and, far worse, homosexual cohabitation. If the Modernists can gain Catholic support for this new "merciful" annulment process the laid trap will be snapped in a few weeks.

The earmarks of Hollywood-style PR do seem to be all over this.  It reeks of contrivance.  Once again our emotions are being manipulated by clever men.  As far as the "merciful" aspect of this latest Francis move we remain sceptical.  Our common sense tells us that even more chaos is ahead, courtesy of the strange man who now occupies the Petrine Office.

'Strange man.' I see it.

If the entire faithful Catholic apparatus can look the other way at this latest atrocity, they'll be demoralized enough to sign on to anything.

 

 

Read more at The Stumbling Block

 

 

 

 

 

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Thu, 10 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214587/
<![CDATA[ Annulments: FrancisMercy is Really Just Relieving People of the Burdens of Faith ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214588.php
Annulments: FrancisMercy is Really Just Relieving People of the Burdens of Faith



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


                 My annulment's finished already?!

In a followup to his excellent analysis of the new merciful FrancisAnnulment process released this week, canonist Dr. Peters has a telling revisit to the story of the Pope's niece, Maria.

Pope Francis’ niece, María Inés Narvaja, thinks she understands her uncle’s interest in fast-track annulments. Yes, the lawyer in me cautions that Maria’s attributions of statements to her uncle, then-Abp. Bergoglio, are hearsay, but, we’re not in a courtroom, we’re in the blogosphere. Besides what Maria says about the future Francis is illuminating.

Maria recalls that she (or her intended?) applied for an annulment but was told by Argentine Church officials that her case would take four years. She reacted with a young-woman-in-love’s “pffft!” and announced that she would marry civilly. Per María, her uncle endorsed the idea. Maybe, maybe not, that’s not the question here. The question is whether Maria’s (or her intended’s) annulment case would really have taken four years (despite 1983 CIC 1453, setting 18 months as the norm). Personally, I believe her.

I once worked on a marriage case that (fascinating canon-law-of-jurisdiction details omitted) could have been heard in either America or Argentina. Both tribunals turned to Rome for guidance, with the Argentine tribunal asking that the case be heard in the USA! They said their cases take an average of, yes, four years to process. That delay was not necessarily the Argentine Church’s fault; they probably did not have the resources to hear marriage cases more quickly. But it lends support to Maria’s claim about long delays in Argentine tribunals and that in turn would help explain Francis’ impatience to fix an obvious pastoral problem.

Of course, what might well be a serious problem in one Church need not be a problem in another, and a cure for a problem—setting aside whether the cure itself is really a good one—imposed where a cure is not needed can actually cause even more problems. Still, it’s an interesting insight into Francis’ attitudes.

'Attitude' is the appropriate word here.  Uncle Bergoglio's attitude is bigger than the Church and its guidance, bigger than her teaching.  It's the attitude of a Protestant 'reformer.'

I think it's probably true that Maria's uncle, our Francis, told her to just skip the annulment and get remarried.  Based upon all kinds of similar unconfirmed stories Pope Francis seems to have spent his entire career waiving Church teaching and rules.  He hates rules almost as much as he hates those Pharisees.  Rules are the opposite of mercy, see.  You have to have the right balance they say, as if these were in opposition.  So trim some of those rules!  Be nice! (Be liberal.)

But of course, hating rules doesn't make you merciful.  It just makes you criminal and if those rules violate God's laws, it makes you sinful.

It's not mercy to enable heinous acts like marriage betrayal.  On the contrary it's ruthless to those involved.  It's an injustice to all the other family members and wound to society.  People underestimate the damage done because it rides beneath the surface, like abortion.  Even murder relieves pain and yields benefits...for the living.  For some people, murder is mercy.

How does a man like Francis maintain such a twisted view on life?  It's a mystery.

This story demonstrates something else which is very timely.  It reveals that Francis believes annulments are really just the same as divorces.  He couldn't care less about the procedure because he couldn't care less about the grounds.  It certainly is cruel and bureaucratic to make people wait a long time for some useless procedure.  The only problem is, it's not useless.  It has to do with whether people were actually married.  It concerns their souls, their abandoned spouses, and everyone else.

These new declarations are just 'no fault' annulments.  Any excuse will do, especially if they both want it and neither side actually cares.

 

 

Read more at The Stumbling Block

 

 

 

 

 

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Thu, 10 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214588/
<![CDATA[ Annulments: FrancisMercy is Really Just Relieving People of the Burdens of Faith; FrancisAnnulments Are Just the Softening Up; An 'Exclusive, Closed Sect' - Francis Continues His Crusade Against Catholicism ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214633.php
PewSitter NewsBytes



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


Annulments: FrancisMercy is Really Just Relieving People of the Burdens of Faith

 

FrancisAnnulments Are Just the Softening Up

 

An 'Exclusive, Closed Sect' - Francis Continues His Crusade Against Catholicism

 

 

 

 

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Thu, 10 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214633/
<![CDATA[ Fr. Longenecker Finds That Conservative Resistance to FrancisChurch ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214437.php
Fr. Longenecker Finds That Conservative Resistance to FrancisChurch



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


             Conservative but not resistant

Patheos writer Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the latest to respond to the Wapo accusations of 'conservative' resistance, but he sure isn't very nice about it or very conservative either.

The Post lists nothing specific from which they draw their conclusions.  They mention Cardinal Burke, who seems to have been sidelined fairly well these days, but little else.  Longenecker sees this as proof that there actually is no 'conservative' resistance to the Francis agenda among Catholics.

This article from the Washington Post gives a typical progressive slant on Catholic news.

The headline suggests that “Conservative Dissent is Brewing Inside the Vatican.” Ho  hum.

You can guess the tired narrative: Pope Francis is the great reformer who wants to clean up the corrupt Vatican Bank, open communion to divorced and re-married people, lift the ban on artificial contraception, give the nod to abortion, make way for women priests and green light same sex marriage.

Except of course that he’s spoken out clearly against all those things.

Talk is cheap, but the UN's Paris global warming agreement is expensive.  "Does Francis care about the pro-death agenda of his policy partners," a conservative might ask?

Nevertheless, he’s a subtle worker don’t you know, and he’s moving things along slowly but surely. Here a clever liberal appointment and there a back room deal. Here a little wink and nudge to journalists and there a promotion of one of his liberal buddies and a demotion of one the bad guys. In other words, the Vatican is working just like Washington DC and any powerful organization–it’s a network of crafty cardinals, manipulative monsignors and corrupt curial officials.

This kind of not-funny sarcasm is a liberal trademark.  You're supposed to feel stupid.   At least in Washington they don't pretend to be Catholic.

Of course there will always be politicking in any organization and the Vatican is no exception. Furthermore, there will always be disagreement and dissent within an organization.

Of course, but there's no dissent in the Church Militant. The heresy is all on the outside - or is Father still talking about Washington?

Is there “dissent” amongst some conservative American Catholics? There is certainly some genuine ugliness rumbling in a few extreme traditionalist blogs, but must we take seriously flat earth bloggers who rant about the pope being a communist antiChrist, modernist, Jew loving, infiltrator who is ushering in the New World Order of Illuminati/Freemasons? Probbly not.

I think we've just crossed some of that resistance the Post laments.  You can tell by where Father chooses to bring down his hammer.  If we Catholics weren't faithful, sincere, and effective, FrancisPriests like Fr. Longenecker wouldn't smear us.

And if you can't tell the difference between a destructive pro-communist Pope and a conservative you belong at Patheos, not among the faithful 'resistance.'  There's more to it than a goatee and a gun.

 

 

Read more at The Stumbling Block

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214437/
<![CDATA[ New FrancisMercy Nullifies Every Marriage In An Incoherent Legal Mess ]]> http://www.pewsitter.com/view_news_id_214438.php
New FrancisMercy Nullifies Every Marriage In An Incoherent Legal Mess



By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com


Don't cry. Mercy is on it's way in just 45 days.

 

Canonist Dr. Peters has a devastating look at the new 'Fast and Cheap' FrancisAnnulments just announced.

A few bits:

If the older canonical tradition wrongly assumed that a respondent necessarily opposed an annulment, this new norm wrongly, I think, makes relevant a respondent’s “consent” to an annulment petition. While a respondent’s participation in the tribunal process is always sought and is usually helpful in adjudicating marriage cases, his or her consent to a nullity petition is never necessary for the Church to exercise jurisdiction over a case and, more to the point, it is not indicative of the merits of the petition. Making mutual agreement to a petition an element of hearing that petition quickly risks confusing two things that the Church has long sought to distinguish, namely, the parties’ laudable cooperation with the tribunal’s search for truth and their collusion with each other toward a specific outcome. Treating nullity petitions in which the parties agree radically differently from those wherein they disagree, sends a dubious message.

Both parties agreeing to it has nothing whatsoever to do with nullity.

The new speedy annulment process, however, allows (I would say, pressures) bishops who are not necessarily canon lawyers (Canon 378), to rely heavily on a report drafted by someone who need not be a canon lawyer (Mitis, Art. 3), after conferring with an assessor who need not be a canon lawyer (Canon 1424), to rule upon a marriage that, besides enjoying natural (‘intrinsic’) indissolubility, might be sacramentally (‘extrinsically’) indissoluble as well. And note, these new speedy annulment cases are not cases that can already, under some circumstances, be processed quickly by documents because they deal with lack of canonical form or lack of canonical capacity. Canon 1686 mox 1688. No, these fast-track annulment cases plainly turn on questions of consent to marriage—consent, long and by far the most complex topic in marriage canon law. True, a judicial vicar must provide certification that the petition proposed for speedy processing meets certain evidentiary criteria, and the defender of the bond is allowed to respond to the petition, but the judicial vicar is not making a judgment as to nullity when he verifies the presence of certain evidence, and the defender has drastically less time to work on a case slated for expedited processing than he or she has for a formal case. In sum, this general lack of awareness of the inescapably complex legal nature of marriage consent shown in these new rules is disturbing.

New FrancisAnnulments demonstrate an ignorance and disregard for canon law and its practice.

Next, on the excuses for 'fast-track...'

Looking at the examples offered—and setting aside the incoherence of some phrasings such as “abortion procured to prevent procreation”—they confuse several complex aspects of consent law, they seem to treat some fact patterns as if they were quasi-impediments to marriage, and they introduce into consideration some matters that have little (perhaps no) jurisprudence behind them with which to assist bishops assessing their significance in a marriage case. Worse, in my opinion, the enunciation of these factors is going to create crises of conscience among faithful who live with one or more of these conditions in their past.

All the conditions for FrancisAnnulment make most marriages invalid!  The married world must now either doubt Francis or their own lives.  This is really 'pastoral.'  Not only is it faithless in practice, but it completely lacks common sense.    This must be that 'New Evangelization' everyone used to talk about.

The most confusing point about this list is that some of these factors, though presented as reasons for hearing a petition quickly, are actually grounds for nullity (e.g., simulation, force or fear); other factors, however, are most emphatically not grounds for annulment (e.g., brevity of married life); and others might, or might not, be suggestive of grounds for nullity (e.g., an extra-marital affair near the time of the wedding might show a grave lack of discretion of judgement or an inability to assume matrimonial rights and duties). Because traditional grounds of nullity have been mixed in among things that could be evidence for other grounds of nullity, and further mixed with things that are not grounds for nullity and often are not even evidence of grounds for nullity, confusion will—and already has, judging from questions I have already received from the faithful—erupt as to whether these factors are not just reasons to hear a case speedily, but are themselves proof of matrimonial nullity. Try to explain to non-canonists why one thing the pope listed (say, simulation) is grounds for an annulment but another thing he listed (say, pregnancy) is not grounds for an annulment.

There are grounds for annulment here which aren't actually grounds for annulment.  But since they were already abusing the 'grounds' they had, I have to agree with FrancisChurch that at this point it makes no difference.  The end result is the 'mercy,'  see?

Worse, many, many married couples have experienced one or more of these events in their lives. Unfortunately—again I say this has already started!—people with any of these factors in their lives are going to wonder, logically and sincerely, whether their marriage might be null. They will worry, for example, whether the fact that she was pregnant at the time of the wedding means their marriage is null. If not, why does it mean that an annulment case could be heard more quickly? Or, if he was not very active in the Faith when they married, did he just pretend for (technically, simulate) his wedding promises? Many of these questions are obviously highly dependent on fact analysis (e.g., what is “improper concealment” of infertility, what counts as “incarceration”?), and so one must ask, how are such cases reliably to be investigated, considered, and decided by a bishop (a man with about a hundred other things to do at any given time) in a matter of a few weeks?

Truly, a society seeded with false 'catholic' annulments is infected.   Ram them through and welcome more of them.  Hagen Lio!

 

 

Read more at The Stumbling Block

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wed, 09 Sep 2015 00:00:00 GMT http://www.pewsitter.com/addons/news/view/214438/