Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marriage: Unique for a Reason

The USCCB Ad Hoc Committee has just launched a new initiative called Marriage: Unique For a Reason. Here is the first video in a series helping to catechize and educate Catholics as to the uniqueness of marriage and why it is meant to be shared between a man and a woman.
The launch comes with the release of the first of five videos. The first video is called Made for Each Other and includes a Viewer’s Guide and Resource Booklet. It explores sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife in marriage. Later videos will treat the good of children, the good of society and what constitutes discrimination, religious liberty, and issues particular to a Latino/a audience.

“The Committee’s efforts are grounded in the recognition that marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, is at the heart of a flourishing society and culture,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, chairman of the Committee. “The truth of marriage lies at the very core of a true concern for justice and the common good. Promoting marriage is crucial to the New Evangelization. These initial materials seek to provide a key starting point, a compass, for assisting Catholics and all people of good will in understanding why marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman.”

Archbishop Kurtz points out a couple of passages from the bible which support that marriage belongs between a man and a woman. Heterosexual marriage is both sacred and a necessity. "Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh."

Matthew 19:4-6; cf. Genesis 2:23-24

A group of about a dozen evangelical Twin Cities pastors support this Catholic anti-gay marriage initiative.

"A strong and documented case can be made for society being harmed by too much same-sex marriage. No such case can be made for natural marriage. Natural marriage poses no danger to society, no matter how pervasive," said Pastor Jim Anderson.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pope Benedict's Wise Impromptu Response: Church Does Not Work for Power and Numbers

Pope Benedict gives a very insightful impromptu response filled with great wisdom.  The Church does not work for power and numbers.  The Church spreads the Word of God. The Church and its people evangelizes and presents Jesus Christ to the world.  We must all be good stewards of Jesus.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is Islam a "Religion of Peace?"

Here is one Muslim cleric named Anjem Choudry who says differently, and openly praises jihad.  


I am posting part of an article written by an ex-Muslim named Mohammad Asghar where he states that in the beginning Islam was really only supposed to be adopted by those living in Mecca.  But, It's original purpose radically changed when the Prophet moved to Medina.

"Here, he saw a different prospect for his creed. Here, he found a group of people he could make pay him with their life and wealth for refusing to accept his Islamic doctrines. And these people were the rich Jews of Medina whose other offence was that they exercised great influence on the Pagans of this City. "
In order to subdue the Meccan Pagans and the Jews of Medina and its neighborhood, the Prophet of Islam launched over one hundred raids and expeditions. He personally took part in twenty-seven of them. He tried to loot a peaceful and unarmed caravan of the Meccans (cf. Quran; 3:13; and also see Abdullah Yusuf Ali's comment 352, The Holy Quran, Vol. 1. p. 125). He fought three major battles against the Meccan Pagans and these were the battles of Badr, Ditch and of Uhud.

Muhammad had launched all the raids and expeditions and fought all the battles not only to spread Islam but also to kill and plunder his enemies as well as to enslave their women for his and his followers' sexual pleasure. On deriving sexual pleasure from the slaves (who are referred to in the Quran as "the possession of the Muslims' right hands"), the Muslims' Holy Book says:

"O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possess out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and the daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Mecca) with thee; and any believing women who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her; - this only for thee and not for the believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess; - in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Quran; 33:50).

The fact that Islam had become a dominant force in the Arabian Peninsula through murder, loot and enslavement negates all the claims we now hear from Muslims and their scholars. A doctrine that took birth in such a violent manner can neither be a peaceful one, nor its application at any time and at any place can be defended by anyone who has some elements of intelligence and common sense.

Intolerance towards non-Muslims was one of the important characteristics of the Prophet of Islam. On the authority of Ubaydullah b. Abdullah b. Utba b. Masud tells us the following: "The only dispositions that the Apostle made at his death were three: He bequeathed to the Rahawis land which produced a hundred loads in Khaybar, to the Dariyis, the Sabais, and the Asharis the same. He also gave instructions that the mission of Usama bin Zayd b. Haritha should be carried through and that two religions should not be allowed to remain in the Peninsula of the Arabs" (Sirat Rasulallah, p. 523).

It is in keeping with the Prophet's instruction from his deathbed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not permit any religion other than Islam to exist on its soil. The fact, being what I have briefly stated above, does not support the claim made by all Muslims and their scholars. Their claims are simply untrue and baseless.

Put in a nutshell: Islam is not tolerant of other religions. Therefore, to claim that it is a religion of peace and harmony is simply untenable.

I agree with his assessment of Islam.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Freedom Doesn't Excuse Media Being Hostile to Traditional Christian Beliefs

On Friday September 24th, Archbishop J. Chaput gave an address to the Religion Newswriters Association on Journalism and the New American Orthodoxy in which he talks about the prejudice in todays journalism. Today, we seem to see a favoritism and the benefit of the doubt given to the religion of Islam while on the other hand we see a bias against traditional Christianity, and in fact a hostility against traditional Christianity.  Isn't it a good idea to approach everyone and their views with a charitable attitude?  Why does it seem like those who ascribe to the liberal point of view, who have turned away from traditional Christianity are unable to do just that - be charitable when giving consideration to others' points of views or different points of views than their own?

 Here is an excerpt of Archbishop Chaput's Address I found at InsightScoop:

One of the worst habits many Catholics had at the start of the clergy sex abuse crisis, including many bishops, was to minimize a very grave problem. But news media show many of the same patterns of denial, vanity, obstinacy and institutional defensiveness in dealing with criticism of their own failures.

Some of the best proof of the problems I’m talking about is published every day by the journalists at We now commonly see religion coverage that’s illiterate about the subject matter, or narrows the scope of facts or sources to fit an unfriendly narrative—especially when it comes to the Christian faith and its traditional content. Coverage of Islam tends to be equally ill-informed and confused on matters of history; but also more respectful and even sympathetic, as in the recent New York mosque controversy.

In contrast, the Christian story now told in mainstream media often seems to be a narrative of decline or fundamentalism, or houses divided against themselves along predictable lines of sex and authority. It’s a narrative of institutions and individuals that—insofar as they stay true to their historic beliefs—act as a backward social force and a menace to the liberty of their fellow citizens.

Freedom of the press clearly includes the right to question the actions and motives of religious figures and institutions. Our constitutional safeguards for the press developed partly in response to efforts by Puritans like Cotton Mather to have editors and publishers tossed into jail for satirizing local pastors and mocking Christian beliefs in their pages.

But freedom doesn’t excuse prejudice or poor handling of serious material, especially people’s religious convictions. What’s new today is the seeming collusion—or at least an active sympathy—between some media organizations and journalists, and political and sexual agendas hostile to traditional Christian beliefs.

When this happens, the results are bad for everybody.

You can read his entire address here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Catholic Answers

Fr. Barron Launching Nationwide Television Program

It has just been announced that Father Barron will launch a nationwide television program in October, becoming the only Catholic priest in the country with a national mainstream television platform. Word on Fire with Father Barron will appear on WGN America Sundays at 8:30 am Central.

“Now is the time to reach out to Catholics and others who are searching for meaning in their lives or who have left the Church because they are disillusioned,” says Father Barron, a prominent theologian, author, and Archdiocesan priest of Chicago since 1986. “In each episode, our mission will be to encourage believers and bring the transformative power of the Gospel to the culture.”

This is a groundbreaking broadcast. Fr. Barron will become the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1950s to have a regular, national program on a commercial television network. Barron is a professor at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary and is one of the world's most innovative teachers of Catholicism. His global media ministry called "Word on Fire" has a simple but revolutionary mission - to educate and engage the culture.

For the past two years, Barron has been producing a ten-part documentary series called “Catholicism”, journeying to 16 countries to tell the story of the Church. The release is set for next year, but Father Barron will preview some highlights of the series in his weekly broadcasts.

“The faith of the Church is our strength,” says Barron. “Our program will strive to show viewers the richness of the Catholic faith and how it is a treasure to be shared now and with future generations. The faith imbues our life with meaning and imparts to all a renewed sense of purpose.”

Father Robert Barron is a sought-after speaker on the spiritual life. He has published numerous books, essays and DVDs. Word on Fire, a non-profit organization, has attracted millions of viewers and listeners to its web and its programs on other media outlets.

Please tune in to WGN America nationally on Sunday, October 3 at 8:30 am for “Word on Fire with Father Robert Barron“(the WGN Chicago broadcast airs at 9:30 am central). Funds for the program have been raised through private donations.

This is really cool!! Awesome - Another Fulton Sheen type in the making.  God Bless Fr. Barron as he begins evangelizing to the public in his new television series.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blessed John Henry Newman on the Catholic Church, Society, & Politics

On September 19th the Pope read the decree proclaiming John Henry Newman "Blessed", and well on his way to achieving sainthood.

CNS news stated: "In the central liturgical moment of his four-day trip to Great Britain, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman and said his vision of religion’s vital role in society should serve as a model today."

I recently came across Blessed John Henry Newman's Tracts, and Tract 2 is on The Catholic Church and its role in society, including politically.

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment THOU SHALT CONDEMN.

{1} IT is sometimes said, that the Clergy should abstain from politics; and that, if a Minister of CHRIST is political, he is not a follower of him who said, "My kingdom is not of this world." Now there is a sense in which this is true, but, as it is commonly taken, it is very false.

It is true that the mere affairs of this world should not engage a Clergyman; but it is absurd to say that the affairs of this world should not at all engage his attention. If so, this world is not a preparation for another. Are we to speak when individuals sin, and not when a nation, which is but a collection of individuals? Must we speak to the poor, but not to the rich and powerful? In vain does St. James warn us against having the faith of our LORD JESUS CHRIST with respect of persons. In vain does the Prophet declare to us the word of the LORD, that if the watchmen of Israel "speak not to warn the wicked from his way," "his blood will be required at the watchman's hand."

Complete our LORD'S declaration concerning the nature of His kingdom, and you will see it is not at all inconsistent with the duty of our active and zealous interference in matters of this world. "If My kingdom were of this world," He says, "then would My servants fight."—Here He has vouchsafed so to explain Himself, that there is no room for misunderstanding His meaning. No one contends that His ministers ought to use the weapons of a carnal warfare; but surely to protest, to warn, to threaten, to excommunicate, are not such weapons. Let us not be scared from a plain duty, by the mere force of a misapplied text. There is an unexceptionable sense in which a clergyman may, nay, must be political. And above all, when the Nation interferes with the rights and possessions of the Church, it can with even less grace complain of the Church interfering with the Nation.

With this introduction let me call your attention to what seems a most dangerous infringement on our rights, on the part of the State. The Legislature has lately taken upon itself to remodel {2} the dioceses of Ireland; a proceeding which involves the appointment of certain Bishops over certain Clergy, and of certain clergy under certain Bishops, without the Church being consulted in the matter. I do not say whether or not harm will follow from this particular act with reference to Ireland; but consider whether it be not in itself an interference with things spiritual.

Are we content to be accounted the mere creation of the State, as schoolmasters and teachers may be, or soldiers, or magistrates, or other public officers? Did the State make us? can it unmake us? can it send out missionaries? can it arrange dioceses? Surely all these are spiritual functions; and Laymen may as well set about preaching, and consecrating the LORD'S Supper, as assume these. I do not say the guilt is equal; but that, if the latter is guilt, the former is. Would St. Paul, with his good will, have suffered the Roman power to appoint Timothy, Bishop of Miletus, as well as of Ephesus? Would Timothy at such a bidding have undertaken the charge? Is not the notion of such an order, such an obedience, absurd? Yet has it not been realized in what has lately happened? For in what is the English state at present different from the Roman formerly? Neither can be accounted members of the Church of CHRIST. No one can say the British Legislature is in our communion, or that its members are necessarily even Christians. What pretence then has it for not merely advising, but superseding the Ecclesiastical power?

Bear with me, while I express my fear, that we do not, as much as we ought, consider the force of that article of our Belief, "The One Catholic and Apostolic Church." This is a tenet so important as to have been in the Creed from the beginning. It is mentioned there as a fact, and a fact to be believed, and therefore practical. Now what do we conceive is meant by it? As people vaguely take it in the present day, it seems only an assertion that there is a number of sincere Christians scattered through the world. But is not this a truism? who doubts it? who can deny that there are people in various places who are sincere believers? what comes of this? how is it important? why should it be placed as an article of faith, after the belief in the HOLY GHOST? Doubtless the only true and satisfactory meaning is that which our Divines have ever taken, that there is on earth an existing Society, Apostolic as founded by the Apostles, Catholic because it spreads its branches in every place; i.e. the Church Visible with its Bishops, {3} Priests, and Deacons. And this surely is a most important doctrine; for what can be better news to the bulk of mankind than to be told that CHRIST when He ascended, did not leave us orphans, but appointed representatives of Himself to the end of time?

"The necessity of believing the Holy Catholic Church," says Bishop Pearson in his Exposition of the Creed, "appeareth first in this, that CHRIST hath appointed it as the only way to eternal life ... CHRIST never appointed two ways to heaven, nor did He build a Church to save some, and make another institution for other men's salvation. There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved, but the name of JESUS; and that name is no otherwise given under heaven than in the Church," "This is the congregation of those persons here on earth which shall hereafter meet in heaven … There is a necessity of believing the Catholic Church, because except a man be of that he can be of none. Whatsoever Church pretendeth to a new beginning, pretendeth at the same time to a new Churchdom, and whatsoever is so new is none." This indeed is the unanimous opinion of our divines, that, as the Sacraments, so Communion with the Church, is "generally necessary to salvation," in the case of those who can obtain it.

If then we express our belief in the existence of One Church on earth from CHRIST'S coming to the end of all things, if there is a promise it shall continue, and if it is our duty to do our part in our generation towards its continuance, how can we with a safe conscience countenance the interference of the Nation in its concerns? Does not such interference tend to destroy it? Would it not destroy it, if consistently followed up? Now, may we sit still and keep silence, when efforts are making to break up, or at least materially to weaken that Ecclesiastical Body which we know is intended to last while the world endures, and the safety of which is committed to our keeping in our day? How shall we answer for it, if we transmit that Ordinance of GOD less entire than it came to us?

Now what am I calling on you to do? You cannot help what has been done in Ireland; but you may protest against it. You may as a duty protest against it in public and private; you may keep a jealous watch on the proceedings of the Nation, lest a second act of the same kind be attempted. You may keep it before you as a desirable object that the Irish Church should at some {4} future day meet in Synod and protest herself against what has been done; and then proceed to establish or rescind the State injunction, as may be thought expedient.

I know it is too much the fashion of the times to think any earnestness for ecclesiastical rights unseasonable and absurd, as if it were the feeling of those who live among books and not in the world. But it is our duty to live among books, especially to live by ONE BOOK, and a very old one; and therein we are enjoined to "keep that good thing which is committed unto us," to "neglect not our gift." And when men talk, as they sometimes do, as if in opposing them we were standing on technical difficulties instead of welcoming great and extensive benefits which would be the result of their measures, I would ask them, (letting alone the question of their beneficial nature, which is a question,) whether this is not being wise above that is written, whether it is not doing evil that good may come. We cannot know the effects which will follow certain alterations; but we can decide that the means by which it is proposed to attain them are unprecedented and disrespectful to the Church. And when men say, "the day is past for stickling about ecclesiastical rights," let them see to it, lest they use substantially the same arguments to maintain their position as those who say, "The day is past for being a Christian."

Lastly, is it not plain that by showing a bold front and defending the rights of the Church, we are taking the only course which can make us respected? Yielding will not persuade our enemies to desist from their efforts to destroy us root and branch. We cannot hope by giving something to keep the rest. Of this surely we have had of late years sufficient experience. But by resisting strenuously, and contemplating and providing against the worst, we may actually prevent the very evils we fear. To prepare for persecution may be the way to avert it.

Two Questions on Insensitivity

1) I have been in a discussion on the subject of the Ground Zero mosque on another blog, where John expressed that the Ground Zero mosque is good and that the insensitive argument doesn't hold water, while I think that the building of the mosque is insensitive to the 9/11 victims' families and should not be built in that location if the Imam really does want to "build bridges".  Well, in my first part of the discussion on his blog I mentioned the insensitivity issue/argument as well as other issues related to 9/11 and he came back at me with a response saying the insensitivity issue/argument wasn't legitimate and the concerns connect Islam to violence when that connection shouldn't be.  Anyways, I tried to show how insensitive he was being without getting personal and insensitive myself but I felt I had no choice but present a hypothetical personal scenario to present a compelling and thoughtful argument expressing just how insensitive it is for he and others to think that  it is good for this mosque to be built basically at Ground Zero.  Was I wrong to do this? Was it legitimate for me to point his insensitivity out in this way at what seemed to be the last resort?  Is it wrong as a last resort to get personal and insensitive in a hypothetical scenario?  Should you just move on and forget about proving your argument or persuading the other party? What is your position on the Ground Zero mosque?

2) Do you think it is appropriate to show pictures of aborted babies in public? Should we be "insensitive" to others when showing the truth, that abortion kills?

If you can think of any other occasions when you think it is acceptable to be insenstive for the greater cause or to expose the truth or tell the truth please let me know.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Interesting Quote by Guru Nanak

I am a fan of the television show Criminal Minds and they usually use at least one philosophy quote per episode. I found this quote by Guru Nanak interesting.

"Dwell in peace in the home of your own being, and
the Messenger of Death will not be able to touch you."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cardinal Newman's Legacy Under Attack by One Purporting to Defend it

I recently came upon two articles, one written by John Cornwell where he insinuates that John Henry Newman’s philosophy, theology, and world view would be in line with the liberalism of today and the other is written by Fr. Barron who refutes that implication. In one of his distorted views Cornwell states that John Henry Newman “does not enjoy a grassroots international cult following, unlike Saint Francis of Assisi” but then ironically goes on to contradict his own nonsensical statement. First he tries to limit the scope of Newman’s following to British intellectuals in universities. But admits also to millions of followers in America. And Australia. And New Zealand. And Ireland, too! (There is more than that, but that is all Cornwell will admit to - international enough for you? Large enough for you?) Cornwell’s article only gets worse from there.

Cornwell’s only evidence that Newman was a “liberal” is that he was not a conservative, which Fr. Barron admits. Fr. Barron states that John Henry Newman was neither a conservative or a liberal. I agree. He was a defender of both Catholicism and of Christianity in general. Fr. Barron points out that Newman stated this: "I consider my entire life's work, both as an Anglican and a Catholic, to have been a battle against liberalism in matters of religion!" This doesn’t seem to be in sync with Cornwell’s implied claim.

Cornwell supports his position that Newman’s legacy is being hijacked by His Holiness by rightly pointing out that Newman is beloved by Catholic liberals. But he seems neither concerned nor unacquainted with the thought of Newman himself. Cornwell is treating Newman as if his own words or stated positions throughout his life are not very important to his legacy, at least not nearly as important as what liberals today make of him, apparently with little consideration of the relevant content in Newman’s works.

In closing, Fr. Barron states “Given the complexity and nuance of Newman's thought, it is not surprising that he is claimed by both "liberals" and "conservatives" today, but I think that a disciplined reading of the whole of Newman reveals that he cannot be caught in either of these simplistic categories. What should especially give Cornwell pause is the fact that Benedict XVI -- one of the most theologically astute popes in history and someone who has read Newman for many years -- is presiding with enthusiasm over the great man's beatification. This in itself should cause Cornwell to question his interpretation of both John Henry Newman and Joseph Ratzinger himself.”

I agree with and applaud Fr. Barron’s assessment and proper characterization of John Henry Newman.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: Speaks on Priest Sex Abuse Scandals & Is Promoting Christian Unity in Great Britain

Before Pope XVI landed in Great Britain today he addressed reporters questions on the priest sex abuse scandals.  First, I must say that the priests who mistreated or sexual abused young boys and girls actions are unconscionable, criminal, and evil.  We must make sure that this type of evil is never allowed to occur again in the Church again.  I have previously posted my thoughts on the abuse issue and the attacks by the liberal media on Pope Benedict here and here on my first blog which is more of a political blog than a theological one.

Pope Benedict responded by stating that the Church was not vigilant enough or fast enough in responding to the problem.

"These revelations were for me a shock, and a great sadness. It is difficult to understand how this perversion of the priestly ministry was possible," he said.

The Pope also said it was inexplicable to him how a priest who has promised at his ordination to act in the person of Christ, as a good shepherd, could "fall into this perversion."
"It is a great sadness. It is a sadness, also, that the authority of the church was not vigilant enough, was not sufficiently fast and decisive in taking the necessary measures," he said.

Pope Benedict XVI said the Church is experiencing a period of penitence and humility and is making an effort to renew its "absolute sincerity."
From CNS: After a study by a British judge, Lord Nolan, in 2001 the bishops adopted a series of measures to protect children, including setting up a national office for child protection and encouraging the appointment of trained child protection officers in each parish and school. The bishops also made a commitment to turn every case of alleged child abuse over to the police.
The Pope said that the Church's 'first priority' is the recovery of sex abuse victims and then he laid out three things that are necessary for that to happen.
The first was to help victims overcome their traumas, and restore their trust in the message of Christ, he said.

The second aspect, he said, was to mete out justice to guilty priests and help make sure they are excluded from any contact with young people. At the same time, he said, "we know this is a sickness, and free will does not function," so in a sense the church is helping protect the perpetrators from themselves.

The third element, the pope added, was prevention, particularly in the choice of candidates for the priesthood, so that future cases of abuse can be avoided.

The Pope urged Great Britain to preserve their Christian tradition and warned against
"aggressive" forms of secularism and atheism.  The Pope's meesage seems quite appropos for America, also.

Pope Benedict stated that Christian witness was also evident during World War II against a "Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society," he said.

"As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society," he said.

'The pope outlined an argument for the place of religion in public affairs, emphasizing that British saints and other leading Christians have "shaped the nation for good at the deepest level." While Great Britain today strives to be a multicultural society, he said, it must respect the traditional values and cultural expressions "that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate." '

'He said the British media have a big responsibility in shaping the ideas and culture of its society and in promoting the "honesty, respect and fair-mindedness" for which the country is known.'  Pope Benedict is very charitable with his words since before his visit the British media flung around enough nasty insults and mudslinging to dirty at least 100 pigs thoroughly with mud in the trough.

Ian Martin, a Scottish Presbyterian from the WSJ, defends the Pope against the insults being made by ultraliberal forces. He points out that the BBC Radio 4 asked: Shouldn't the Pope be making his church more relevant? Shouldn’t he be reforming the Catholic church so that it fits in with the modern world?
Martin said "Agree or disagree with the pope, but I would have thought it obvious that that is precisely not what he should be doing. Rightly or wrongly, he thinks his institution has universal truths to offer and that it is the modern world that could learn from its teachings rather than the other way round."

Ian Martin posted part of a thought-provoking piece written by Michael Burleigh:

“Secularism is at the heart of Benedict’s concerns. By this the Pope does not mean the delimitation of Church and State, the sacred and profane – which is intrinsic to Christian culture as well as political society since the Reformation – but the amnesiac eradication of one of the principal roots of Western civilization and the deliberate marginalization of all religion to the private sphere. In its stead has come a society that thinks its existential despairs can be ameliorated by limitless consumer goods, or worse, by a state that racks up fathomless amounts of debt so as to throw money at problems that may have no material resolution.While truly sinister philosophies and technologies, all camouflaged with the rhetoric of choice and freedom, infiltrate how we regard and treat the old or sick, or play around with the building blocks of life itself, the public space is dominated by a culture several notches below that of the late Roman empire. At least their satirists were amusing and gladiators did not blub copiously when they triumphed in their violent version of “Rome’s Got Talent”.

The churches are pushed to the margins, licensed at most as a pick-up service for the most intractable social problems, or for when life finally brushes up against mortality. Their room to exercise their traditional right to accord praise or blame is being curtailed, day in, day out, by the tyranny vociferous minorities exert over majorities through laws preventing “discrimination”, which rarely favour Christians themselves.”

'Queen Elizabeth also underlined the importance of Britain's Christian heritage and told the pope that his visit also is a reminder of "the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace and to the economic and social development of the less prosperous countries of the world." '

'The queen said that because religion is so important to national identity, the relationship between different churches and different faiths is "a fundamental factor in the necessary cooperation within and between nation states. It is, therefore, vital to encourage a greater mutual and respectful understanding." '

'The queen, who serves as governor general of the Anglican Church of England, told the pope, "We know from experience that through committed dialogue, old suspicions can be transcended and a greater mutual trust established." '

' "I know that reconciliation was a central theme in the life of Cardinal John Henry Newman, for whom you will be holding a Mass of beatification on Sunday. A man who struggled with doubt and uncertainty, his contribution to the understanding of Christianity continues to influence many," she said.'

Let us continue to pray for the Pope's visit to Great Britain as he spreads the message of Christian unity to the people there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11: My Thoughts, A Prayer & Videos Honoring Our Fallen

I can remember September 11, 2001, almost like it was yesterday. I remember that I was driving in my car from Pittsburgh to Steubenville since I was taking classes at Franciscan University, and what I heard on the radio while driving seemed like fiction to me. I really wasn’t sure whether what I had heard on the radio was real or not. Then, I heard a verification that the United States of America was under a terrorist attack. I was in this state of shock and disbelief asking how can this be happening? I was scared! Shortly after I entered onto campus I found my honey, Kevin and we hugged. Kevin was so worried because he has some relatives who are NYC firefighters and police officers. We said a prayer for their and everyone’s safety. I attended my Theology class where we prayed for the people who tragically lost their lives on 9/11 and their loved ones who have had to endure their loss.

We must never forget 9/11. And, yet somehow there are people today who have forgotten about 9/11 and believe that day shouldn’t have changed our lives. It did. It will forever. That would be like saying Pearl Harbor shouldn’t have changed our mode of thinking. It did. We entered WWII to defeat our enemy. Our troops are deployed all across the world trying to defeat our enemy much in the same way that we defeated our enemies in WWII. These people who have forgotten about 9/11 need to wake up and stop burying their heads in the sand. The terrorist attacks that happened 9 years ago today were in fact an act of war. Prior to that date America was targeted with terrorist attacks that occurred mostly overseas with the exception of one attack taking place in America in 1993-- the World Trade Center bombing. Those were treated as if they were mere matters of law enforcement when in fact they were attacks on our nation - acts of war. God rest all those souls who died that tragic day. God Bless our troops who are serving overseas. God Bless the USA!

When Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States he also visited the WTC site and prayed.  He prayed this beautiful prayer:

O God of love, compassion, and healing,

look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

Pope Benedict XI--Prayer at Ground Zero

New York, 20 April 2008

God rest all those souls who lost their lives on 9/11
God Bless Our Troops! God Bless the USA!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hope You Enjoy Some Good Music by Jeremy Camp & MercyMe

Since I am a little down in the dumps due to events that happened to me today I am posting a couple of music videos. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Questions on Theodore Cardinal McCarrick saying "I Cannot Say, ‘Don’t Embrace The Quran’"

1) Is Cardinal McCarrick trying to equate Jesus with Allah?

2) As faithful Catholic Christians we are called to evangelize and try and convert those who believe in other faiths so that people of other faiths may one day come back home to Jesus' Church, so how can Cardinal McCarrick really believe this? Or think that this is in line with Church Teaching?

3) Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is our creator and believing in Allah is not on par or the same as believing in Jesus Christ.

4) I am not saying Muslims (except the terrorists or those who sympathize with their cause) are bad people but stating Muslism are bad or immoral persons and saying that Muslims shouldn't embrace the Qu'ran is different but that they should embrace the Word of God and the Teachings of Jesus Christ is totally different.

As Catholics we say the Nicene Creed every Sunday:
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and our salvation He came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary , and became man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

I just don't see how we can believe in the One holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and also agree with what Cardinal McCarrick stated.

Here is the video of Cardinal McCarrick:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On Holy Orders & Why Elaine Groppenbacher Cannot be Father Elaine

I know people are for “equality” between men and women in a more humanistic sense but in a spiritual sense Jesus was the High Priest and instituted Holy Orders but where is the paradigmatic woman priest found in Scripture? Was there a High Priestess somewhere in the scriptures that I don’t know about? I am not talking about those women that were called to evangelize in the Bible because whether we are nuns, priests, brothers, or laity we are all called to evangelization, but rather I am referring to any woman in the Bible that was designated a pastor, a priestess, or an apostle of God. Women and men have different “Calls” from God and for that reason they are called to different vocations and even different professions - teaching, nursing, etc. A male isn’t allowed to be a nun so is that discrimination or inequality? Nuns have a different call than priests and vice versa and they are no better than one another.

The Catechism specifically states who may receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders:

1577 "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

1578 No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God. Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God's call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.

Here is Bishop Olmsted’s response to a schismatic group called Ecumenical Catholic Communion who attempted to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon a woman named Elaine Groppenbacher. There was also a priest named Father Vernon Meyer who participated in this attempted ordination.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As reported in the news this week, a schismatic group in Tempe known as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion attempted to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon a woman. It was also reported in the news that Fr. Vernon Meyer, a priest of our diocese, participated in the attempted ordination.

Actions such as these are extremely serious and carry with them profoundly harmful consequences for the salvation of the souls participating in this attempted ordination. To feign the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders results in the penalty of excommunication. This penalty applies both to the person attempting the ordination and the person attempting to be ordained.

The attempted ordination of a woman is a grave offense against a sacrament and the structure of the Church. As it states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1577: “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”

The Church’s position on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, of course, does not mean that women are of any less value or dignity than men. We are all called to Christian service, and women have always played an instrumental role in the life and holiness of the Church. Women serve in various levels of Church leadership and hold nearly half of diocesan administrative and professional positions, including chancellor and school superintendent in our own diocese. Women serve as presidents of Catholic colleges and universities in our country, and nearly 80 percent of lay parish ministers are women.

However, it is of paramount importance to recognize that the Catholic Church teaches that only a baptized man can be validly ordained to the ministerial priesthood. The Catholic priesthood, today as in ages past, mirrors the actions of Christ, who lived as a celibate male and chose to ordain only men.

You or your parishioners may also have seen it reported in the news that the Holy See allegedly considers the attempted ordination of women to be on par with the sexual abuse of minors. This is simply not true. This portrayal arose following the release of a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the public July 15, 2010, which concerns updates to norms related to grave crimes that were outlined in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. It expands the number of offenses to be referred to the Holy See and deals with such issues as sexual abuse of a minor, pornography, violations of the seal of the confession, and the attempted ordination of women.

You may have further questions about this or related topics. I ask that you please direct all canonical questions to Fr. Christopher Fraser, the Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Phoenix, at Additionally, you may be receiving calls or questions from the press. Please direct all media requests to Rob DeFrancesco, our Director of Communications, at (602) 354-2130 or

Please pray for all involved in this divisive, scandalous act against the Catholic Church.

Grace and wisdom in the risen Christ,

+Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Baltimore Priest Who Served in Iraq To Become Bishop of the Archdiocese for U.S. Military Services

On one of the bloodiest days of the Iraq War – April 9, 2004 – Father F. Richard Spencer became the link between this world and the next for many of the mortally wounded.

Insurgents had attacked a large convoy of gas trucks that Good Friday, firing multiple mortar rounds at a United States base on the outskirts of Baghdad International Airport. Father Spencer, a U.S. Army military chaplain, administered the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and prayed with men and women whose faces wore what he remembered as glazed looks of shock and disbelief.

“In the moment, you do your prayers, then move to the next situation, because it’s continuous chaos,” said Father Spencer, then attached to the Army’s 1st Calvary Division.

“You just offered prayers that they would see the face of God that very day and you trust and hope,” he said. “We had both Iraqis and Americans die. I didn’t know who was Muslim or who was Christian – but they all got a prayer.”

Once Father Spencer and his soldiers made it into a concrete bomb shelter, he stood on a trash can and offered general absolution as the shelling continued.

“It was a life-changing day for me,” he remembered. “Our men and women in uniform are able to face hardships and they’re trained to make good decisions in the midst of chaos. Their resiliency is inspiring.”

Father Spencer is about to expand his service to U.S. military men and women around the world.

In May, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him to be the next auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for U.S. Military Services. The 59-year-old Baltimore priest will be installed Sept. 8 during a 2 p.m. liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Remaining on active duty, the Alabama native will become the first auxiliary bishop for the U.S. military archdiocese able to enter war zones. He will have unprecedented access to military personnel serving in most difficult circumstances.

“I have known Father Spencer well for many years, first in my capacity as archbishop for the military and now as Archbishop of Baltimore,” Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said. “We are proud the Holy Father has chosen him, one of our own, to continue serving our brave and generous women and men in the military.”

Bishop-designate Spencer is humbled by the appointment. He believes his experiences in the Baltimore archdiocese, as a pastor of St. Peter the Apostle in Oakland, associate pastor and director of the Monsignor O’Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, have given him invaluable pastoral experience.

“I will listen that I may serve” will be his motto – borrowed from the late Archbishop William D. Borders, a World War II Army chaplain and one of Bishop-designate Spencer’s spiritual mentors. He prays he can live up to it.

Heart For Service

When Bishop-designate Spencer’s parents migrated from Wisconsin to Alabama in the 1940s, they faced discrimination because of their Catholic faith. They were only allowed to live on one street – “Canon,” which had originally been named “Catholic Street.”

“I remember playing baseball in a friend’s yard and his mother coming out the back door and informing me that I could not stay and play because I was Catholic and would be a bad influence,” he recalled.

With a heart for service, he transcended those religious barriers. He was an altar boy and an Eagle Scout. At Jacksonville (Ala.) State University, Bishop-designate Spencer earned a degree in law enforcement and served in Kappa Sigma, the social service fraternity.

“All those experiences were stepping stones toward the expression of service found in ministry and the religious life,” he said.

Commissioned an Army officer in 1973, he went on active duty a year later. For eight years, he served as a military police officer.

In 1980, Bishop-designate Spencer traded in his military uniform for a Franciscan habit. Having always been interested in social justice, he became a religious brother with the Order of Friars Minor.

In his first year as a Franciscan brother, Bishop-designate Spencer ministered in New York with Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

“I washed dishes at the soup kitchen side-by-side with her,” he said.

Bishop-designate Spencer, who later ministered as a counselor in prisons near Boston, acknowledged that it was highly unusual for a former military man to be so closely connected with the Catholic Worker Movement, recognized for its strong anti-war and pro-peace activism. His fellow Franciscans gave the young brother a nickname: “Captain.”

“We would sit around at nighttime on the floor and (the Catholic Workers) would run the printing presses of their newsletter,” the bishop-designate remembered. “We had wonderful conversations – challenging, enlightening and encouraging.”

It was his service as a brother that inspired him to become a parish priest. Bishop-designate Spencer turned to the Archdiocese of Baltimore, a Catholic community he had known while stationed at Fort Meade. Conversations with Archbishop Borders convinced him that he was meant for the priesthood, and he entered St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park.

“Archbishop Borders was so gentle in his ways,” he said. He was able to balance a life of activity with contemplation.”

Father Spencer was ordained May 14, 1988. 


Miracle: Mother's Touch Revives Dead Infant

This is an amazing true story!!