Saturday, December 31, 2005

Movie Review: Cheaper By the Dozen


Tonight, I watched Cheaper by the Dozen 2 , the sequel to the 2003 film. In this film, America's favorite movie family -- the Bakers -- return to the big screen. Only this time, they're going toe-to-toe against another clan in the ultimate inter-family battle. The entire Cheaper by the Dozen cast reunites, including Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hillary Duff, Tom Welling and Piper Perabo, and they're joined by a new family, headed by Eugene Levy. Bigger scale, more laughs, ramped-up action –- and lots of heart –- are the hallmarks of the Bakers' new adventure.

In Cheaper by the Dozen 2, Tom Baker (Steve Martin), a football coach, and wife Kate, a novelist, hoping for one last hurrah before the children go their separate ways, take their 12 offspring for a vacation at the Bakers' favorite getaway spot: Lake Winnetka. "It'll be just like old times – one more time," Tom promises.

Instead, the vacation resurrects the longtime feud between Tom and Jimmy Murtaugh. It's a fight that stems in part from differences in parenting styles between the Bakers and Murtaughs. Tom and Kate Baker have allowed their children to grow as individuals, warts and all. In contrast, Murtaugh has had his children on a short leash, grooming them, as Harper writes, "to reflect the best aspects of his gene pool."

The movie affirms family values and it contains some heart-tugging sentimentality, which gives it some innocent charm in an entertainment world which today is overly obsessed with sex and violence.

For me, this film was just what the doctor ordered. I was interested in watching a light comedy, nothing too intellectually taxing, just something that would draw me into another milieu for a short time and provide a few laughs. This movie fulfilled my expectations. In fact, it had me laughing out loud on several occasions. You can be assured that any film with Steve Martin in it, regardless of the plot, is bound to make you feel good, and this one did exactly that.

However, if you are looking for a movie with imagination or complexity, this is not the film for you. The plot is predictable and basically ordinary, but the three inspired comedians who star in this film -- Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, and Eugene Levy -- give this ordinary film the zest it needs to cheer its audience. Steve Martin steals the show with his wacky slapstick comedy and crazy antics. After all these years, he's still a "wild and crazy guy".

I give it *** of five stars. It was amusing. Go see it.
It is rated PG.

VILE “SOUTH PARK” EPISODE PULLED

December 30, 2005

Catholic League president Bill Donohue released the following comments today on “South Park”:

“Several news stories today are reporting on the decision by Comedy Central to pull a scheduled rerun of the ‘Bloody Mary’ episode that was shown on ‘South Park’ on December 7-10. The decision reflects what I asked for in our news release of December 8. Therefore, I commend Comedy Central for finally making the right decision. That it aired in the first place, however, does not speak well for the bigots responsible for creating it.


"In our December 8 news release, I also said, ‘Remember, they chose to insult Our Blessed Mother on the eve of the Immaculate Conception, and the holy day itself.’ The episode in question featured a statue of the Virgin Mary spraying blood from her vagina. It was one of the most vile TV shows ever to appear, and that is why I asked Joseph Califano, a practicing Catholic and member of Viacom’s board of directors (Viacom is the parent company of Comedy Central) to issue a public condemnation of the ‘Bloody Mary’ episode; I also asked that he do whatever he could to pull any scheduled reruns of the episode.

“On December 9, the day Califano received our request, he released a statement condemning the episode. He also said that any further decisions would have to be made by Tom Freston, president and chief executive of the New Viacom. For the past few weeks, we have been in touch with Freston’s office awaiting his decision. Yesterday, we received a phone call from Tony Fox, executive vice president for corporate communications at Comedy Central, informing us that there were no plans to rerun ‘Bloody Mary.’

“Already, we are being deluged with hate mail that is as obscene as it is viciously anti-Catholic. All because we exercised our First Amendment right to request that Comedy Central not offend Catholics again! But we’re used to such things and will not be deterred.”

Friday, December 30, 2005

Weird Habits Meme

I was tagged for the weird habits meme by Barb, the SFO Mom. I really don't mind doing this because having been a psychologist, I know that all people have their little idiosyncrasies. I enjoy mine -- they make me unique.

Rules: "The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits of yourself," and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don't forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says "You are tagged" (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours."

1. I don't like to wear shoes and socks around the house. As soon as I am able to sit down when I get home, I take off my shoes and socks and either put on my sandals or go barefoot.

2. Before I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I like to write my sins down on a piece of note paper, so I don't leave anything out when I confess my sins.

3. I have the same breakfast and lunch daily -- Reliv shakes -- prescribed by my doctor. They keep me going -- I couldn't function without them.

4. I have a huge collection of Catholic literature -- I keep books, pamphlets, and holy cards forever. My parents sent me oodles of Catholic literature when I was away from the Church (over 18 years ago) and I still have it.

5. If you send me a card or letter I will probably keep it for the rest of my life and treasure it. (I have a large trunk full of cards and letters.)


I am passing this on to Rebecca at Doxology,
Steve at Speculative Catholic, The Curt Jester, Moneybags at A Catholic Life, and Conde at CVSTOS FIDEI.

New York Says Choose Life License Plate Could Lead to "Road Rage"

Albany, NY (LifeNews.com) -- The state of New York is attempting to stifle a lawsuit seeking to make “Choose Life” license plates available. Although the lawsuit cites the free speech protection of the first amendment, New York Assistant Solicitor General Jennifer Grace Miller told the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that the statement “Choose Life” could lead to road rage. Judge Dennis Jacobs agreed, suggesting that allowing the phrase could open the door to messages from extremist groups.

“If you win, then white supremacist organizations and the Ku Klux Klan can have license plates,” said Judge Jacobs. “There'd be a lot of road rage following that.”

"This case should be of great interest and concern to all New Yorkers, whether they are pro-life or not, because New York has always vigorously defended freedom of speech and equal treatment under the law for every citizen, not just some, " said Dr. Elizabeth Rex, President of The Children First Foundation.

"What is utterly and 'patently offensive' is that Governor Pataki, Attorney General Spitzer, and the DMV are all involved in violating the Constitution, abusing their political offices, and wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending an absolutely egregious case of government censorship and discrimination," added Dr. Rex.

The state argued, in a written submission to the appeals court, that the Children First Foundation's plate was rejected in order “to avoid any appearance of governmental support for either side in the divisive national abortion debate.”

The New York State DMV has approved over 200 plates for organizations including labor unions, and religious organizations.

The "Choose Life" license plate originated in Florida and has been approved in 12 other states. More than 60,000 motorists have now raised over $5 million dollars to fund pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes.

Devilish Jeans in Sweden: "an active statement against Christianity"


STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Cheap Monday jeans are a hot commodity among young Swedes thanks to their trendy tight fit and low price, even if a few buyers are turned off by the logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead.

Logo designer Bjorn Atldax says he's not just trying for an antiestablishment vibe.

"It is an active statement against Christianity," Atldax told The Associated Press. "I'm not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion."

The label's makers say it's more of a joke, but Atldax insists his graphic designs have a purpose beyond selling denim: to make young people question Christianity, a "force of evil" that he blames for sparking wars throughout history.

In more religious countries, that might raise a furious response, maybe even prompt retailers to drop the brand.

Not in Sweden, a secular country that cherishes its free speech and where churchgoing has been declining for decades.

Cheap Mondays are flying off the shelves at 400 kronor (about $50) a pair. Makers say about 200,000 pairs have been sold since March 2004 - and little attention has been paid to the grinning skull and dark texts such as "Over My Dead Body."


[Entire Story]

Feast of the Holy Family


The Example of Nazareth

Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief, everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage. Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children – and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value – demanding yet redeeming – and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well being.

~An address given at Nazareth by Pope Paul VI

Activities for Families to do Today:

Let us imitate the Holy Family in our Christian families, and our family will be a cell and a prefiguration of the heavenly family. Say a prayer dedicating your family to the Holy Family. Also pray for all families and for our country to uphold the sanctity of the marriage bond which is under attack.

Read more about
Pope Leo XIII who instituted the Feast of the Holy Family and read his encyclical On Christian Marriage. You can also check out the Vatican's page of Papal documents on the Family.

Read the explanation of Jesus' knowledge in the activities section. Read Pope Pius X's
Syllabus of Errors which condemns the modernist assertion that Christ did not always possess the consciousness of His Messianic dignity.

Have the whole family participate in cooking dinner. You might try a Lebanese meal. Some suggestions: stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage rolls, lentils and rice, spinach and meat pies, chicken and dumplings, hummus, Lebanese bread, tabbouleh — a Lebanese salad and kibbi, a traditional Lebanese dish of specially ground meat mixed with spices and cracked wheat. This is the same kind of food that Mary served Jesus and St. Joseph. It's healthy and delicious.

Hat Tip:
Catholic Culture

Thursday, December 29, 2005

It's a Boy!

No, not mine. Congratulations Papa Familias on the birth of your gift from God -- a new son -- Charles Joseph Lu! What a beautiful baby!

Best Late Night Jokes of the Month

Jay Leno

Howard Dean said that we can’t win in Iraq. And if anybody knows about not winning, it’s the Democrats.

The White House announced they sent out 1.4 million Christmas cards this year. When Bill Clinton was president, he sent out twice that number of cards. Of course, that was for Valentine’s Day.

Hillary Clinton visited President Bush last week in the White House. She was there measuring the drapes.

Iraqi officials have announced that they captured al Zarkawi and then accidentally let him go! They let a crazed killer go. We would never do that in America. Okay other than O.J. and Robert Blake.


Letterman

The sidewalk Santa’s are out. I was walking down the street today and I saw one. I threw some change into the kettle and he yells at me, "Thanks for ruining the soup!”

During this transit strike, New Yorkers are pitching in and helping each other out. In fact today over at Time Square the traffic was being directed by a giant ape.

King Kong” opens tonight. As a result the terror alert has been raised to banana.

This "King Kong” movie is huge. New York City doesn’t care about giant monkeys though. We got rats bigger than that!

Blogging Around: Catholics on Pro-life Issues

Dawn Eden has an excellent post on Planned Parenthood -- Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret Sanger.

At Open Book, Amy Wellborne reveals shocking information about abortion happenings in Europe in her post EU to Doctors: Abort or Else.

Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy has an excellent post entitled If You Don't Like Abortion...

St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr


St. Thomas Becket was born in London in 1118 and became a close friend of King Henry II At age thirty-six, Thomas warned the King against recommending him for Archbishop of Canterbury, as conflicts over Church issues would certainly be unavoidable. With a Cardinal's insistence Thomas accepted the office. He was ordained a priest and then a bishop. He immediately led a more austere and spiritual lifestyle and devoted himself to the interests of the Church. To the King's displeasure he gave up his office as chancellor.

Soon the new Archbishop found himself opposing policies of the King. Conflicts reached a crisis point when in 1164 the King demanded assent to the Constitutions of Clarendon, which brought back customs of the past that were contrary to the law of the Church and the practice of the papacy. Thomas gave in for a short time but then he opposed the King. Facing threats of death or imprisonment Thomas fled to France where Pope Alexander III was residing. Together they tried to settle the controversy and bring back peace to the Church in England.

Thomas returned to Canterbury in 1170 under a tentative peaceful accord reached with the King while he was in France. Thomas' opponent, the Archbishop of York, told the King that while Thomas lived he would never have peace. The King responded to him by exclaiming angrily, "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?" Four knights hearing this thought they would gain the King's favor by getting rid of Thomas. On December 29th the knights followed Thomas to the Cathedral and killed him. Thomas was canonized by the Pope two years later and King Henry II in 1174 did public penance at the Shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury. Because so many miracles occurred at this Shrine it became, for the rest of the Middle Ages, the wealthiest and most famous one in all of Europe.

Prayer

Almighty God, you granted the martyr Thomas the grace to live his life for the cause of justice. By his prayers make us willing to renounce for Christ our life in this world so that we may find it in heaven. We ask this through Our Lord, Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Pope: "God Loves Every Embryo"


Man is the masterpiece of God's creation, and when a chld is conceived, "God already sees the future of that still-unformed embryo," Pope Benedict XVI said at his public audience on December 28.

God recognizes a human being even when the unborn child "is not visible to the eyes of other men," the Holy Father told the 20,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope's meditation, based on Psalm 138, also reflected his thoughts on the feast of the Holy Innocents.

Psalm 138 extols the power of God the creator, and his knowledge not only of the past and present, "but also the entire range hidden by the future," the Pope observed. God knows and loves the smallest of his creatures, and sees every human being as the finest product of his handiwork, he continued. He added that this theme is particularly appropriate for reflection during the Christmas season, as the world celebrates the God who was "made man for our salvation."

At the conclusion of his meditation, Pope Benedict recalled the tsunami that devastated southern Asia one year ago, and offered prayers for those still suffering from the aftermath, "and for those, even in other parts of the world, who have suffered natural disasters."

My Top Ten List of Best Americans

Over the past two hundred and thirty years or so, the ten Americans I consider to be best include:

1. George Washington – As the “Father of this County”, he played a central role in the founding of the United States. He endured great sacrifices for his country and demonstrated strong leadership and perseverance in the midst of great hardships. He had a strong faith in God, spoke often of the value of prayer, righteousness, and seeking and offering thanks for the "blessings of Heaven". Washington was a man of great personal integrity, with a deeply held sense of duty, honor and patriotism. He was courageous and farsighted, holding the Continental Army together through eight hard years of war and numerous privations, sometimes by sheer force of will. Washington peacefully relinquished the presidency to John Adams after serving two terms in office – thus, establishing limits for serving as President. This was a very unselfish act and is seen as one of Washington's most important legacies. Referring to this act, George III, the King of England defeated during the Revolution, called him "the greatest character of the age."

2. Abraham Lincoln – He is my favorite U.S. President. Lincoln preserved the Union and put an end to slavery in the United States with the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Lincoln was a man of honesty, and high integrity who possessed a deep respect for individual and minority rights, and human freedom in general. He overcame the abuse and trials of a difficult childhood to become one of the most unselfish and loving individuals our country has ever known – putting the needs of others above his own. He was a man of humble origins whose strong moral character, determination, and perseverance led him to the nation's highest office.

3. Senator Sam Brownback – He is a man of high morals and a strong pro-life supporter. He opposes abortion and has compared abortion to a holocaust. He also opposes federal-funding of embryonic stem cell research that involves the cloning and killing of human embryos. He is averse to same sex marriage, and is genuinely "concerned" about pornography. As a Christian congressman, he walks the talk. He was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 2002. I am including him in this list because he is a model congressman – someone for all the phonies out there to try to emulate.

4. Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen – One of the greatest evangelizers of modern times

5. Monsignor Phillip Reilly – Active in the pro-life movement for the past thirty-five years, Monsignor founded the Helpers of God's Precious Infants in 1989 with just four volunteers outside the infamous Choices abortion center in Brooklyn, NY. Helpers Chapters now span the United States and eighteen countries. Through his work, he has saved a vast number of lives.

6. Judie Brown -- Judie Brown is president of American Life League, an organization she co-founded in 1979. Judie has been a national leader in the pro-life movement from the early years following the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Named as one of the Top 100 Catholics of the Twentieth Century, Judie is serving her second five-year term as a member of Pontifical Academy for Life in Rome. She is an articulate and passionate pro-life leader whose “"no exceptions" policy has put her at odds with leaders from both the pro-abortion and the pro-life movements. She is a person who stands by her beliefs and does not give in to pressure.

7. Fr. Frank Pavone -- My hero, Father Frank, is the Founder of Priests for Life, and like President Lincoln, stands up for the rights of the innocent – the voiceless, defenseless babies in the womb.

8. St. Katharine Drexel – Katharine founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored People, whose members would work for the betterment of those they were called to serve. From the age of 33 until her death in 1955, she dedicated her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to this work. She abandoned a luxurious life of wealth to serve God by becoming the servant of the poor.

9. Venerable Pierre Toussaint – As a hairdresser in New York in the 1800’s, Pierre gave away a substantial part of his considerable income to the poor, telling a friend who urged him to retire: "I have enough for myself, but if I stop working I have not enough for others." He delicately provided spiritual guidance to his wealthy clients, urging them to pray and submit their anxieties to God. Toussaint and his wife cared for abandoned boys, taking them into his home, and finding them jobs. He also cared for the sick, sometimes bringing them to his home. He purchased freedom for Haitian slaves. He was " …full in the faith of his Church, " a contemporary said, "liberal, enlightened and always acting from the principle that God is our common Father and mankind our brethren. "

10. Servant of God Dorothy Day -- A journalist turned social activist and devout member of the Catholic Church, she became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. Alongside Peter Maurin, she founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933, espousing non-violence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden. She opened a house of hospitality in the slums of New York City. In 1978, she earned the Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

THE TEN BEST AMERICANS -- A Blogosphere Challenge


After completing the task of naming the Ten Worst Americans which was proposed by Alexandra of All Things Beautiful, I would like to challenge the blogosphere to an even more difficult task -- to name The Ten Best Americans in the past 200 or so years. This will challenge the intellect I am sure, so I am going to ponder on this one for awhile before I put anything down in writing. A few names are coming to mind, but only a few at this point in time, as it is the worst ones we hear about daily in our media and it seems to be those who are most evil attract the most attention. Those mentioned might be models for our future citizens -- someone you would want your children to emulate.

The Feast Of the Holy Innocents & Our Holy Innocents Today


We read in Matthew 2 that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, King Herod, fearing for his throne, ordered that all the male infants of Bethlehem, two years old and under, be killed. These children are regarded as martyrs for the Gospel. St. Augustine called them "buds, killed by the frost of persecution the moment they showed themselves."

Since the sixth century, the Church has celebrated the feast day of these innocent martyrs on December 26th.

In modern times, we have our own "holy innocents" -- those children who are killed daily in the place that should be the safest and most protective environment of all for them -- their mother's wombs. On this day, we recall the over 45 million children in our country alone (since 1973) and the vast number of children throughout the world who have been killed under the insane laws permitting abortion, which is a horrific crime.

Let us pray daily for an end to this tragedy and offer a novena for the protection of the unborn today.

Reading

Even before they learn to speak, they proclaim Christ

A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.

Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children. You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children.

You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself. Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children. The children die for Christ, though they do not know it.

The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation. But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it. How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.

~ A sermon of St Quodvultdeus

The Ten Worst Americans List -- Revised & Updated

Alexandra of All Things Beautiful has proposed a challenge to the Blogosphere: to name 'The Ten Worst Americans' in the last 230 odd years. Normally, I don't care to point out the sins of others and prefer to look for the good in people, but I think such a list is useful in the sense that through it, we can identify people who are most in need of our prayers. In addition, compiling such a list will be useful to show future generations what not to do.

1. Bill Clinton -- a disgrace to the office of President; His blatant lies, numerous adulterous relationships, overall immorality, and irresponsible actions and decisions, which reportedly led to the deaths of thousands of people, qualify him as one of the worst Americans of all time. And, of course, he was and still is a big supporter of the culture of death. He was truly the worst American President we have ever had.

2. Hillary Clinton -- a total disgrace as the first lady; Her immoral actions (lies, manipulative behavior, and scandalous actions) and the role that she played in the corruption of the Presidental office, as well as her strong support of abortion qualify her as the worst first lady in this country.

3. John Kerry -- He held clandestine meetings with the enemy while still a uniformed officer in the US Navy, then followed that up with his Congressional testimony that defamed US troops, telling lies that still have not been completely corrected and still haunt American troops today. He was responsible for Congress abandoning South Vietnam, an action that cost several million lives in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. He also is undeniably the worst public example of an American Catholic. He pretends to be an authentic Catholic for the press and receives Holy Communion, while at the same time voting for laws which support the murder of babies in the womb.

4. Hugh Heffner -- As the founder and editor-in-chief of Playboy magazine, his hedonistic philosphy and ideals have corrupted millions of souls. He is one of the main perpetrators of the sexual revolution, which has corrupted our society today and resulted in its citizens contracting STD's and HIV, using contraceptives, and getting abortions. He has been extremely influential in destroying the family values and the morals of Americans for the past 52 years.


5. George R. Tiller -- America's most notorious abortionist who routinely performs late-term abortions on women and has killed thousands of babies. For more information on "Tiller the Killer", go here.

6. Charles Manson -- A psychopath, he was the leader of a group known as "The Family", in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Manson convinced his young followers of his apocalyptic vision and still has a considerable amount of control over some of the former family members who are still alive. He planned and ordered the family to commit several brutal murders, most notably the movie actress Sharon Tate who was pregnant at the time. He is currently serving a life sentence for murder in California's Cocoran State Prison, and is up for parole in 2007; due to his erratic and arguably dangerous and insane behavior, it is highly unlikely he will ever be released.

I would like to replace Charles Manson with Margaret Sanger, an American Birth Control activist, an advocate of eugenics, and the founder of the American Birth Control League (which eventually became Planned Parenthood). She is responsible for many more deaths than Charles Manson and had a major role in creating the culture of death in this country.

7. Michael Schiavo -- "The Husband from Hell" who legally tortured and murdered his wife.

8. George Soros -- A notorious criminal with money who controls the democratic party.

9. IL Governor Rod Blagojevich -- Uses his "dictatorship" to coerce others into complying with his pro-death agenda.

10. Senator Edward Kennedy -- A murderer who supports the culture of death and calls himself "Catholic".

Having said all this, I would like to request that each of you reading this pray for spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional healing of each of these individuals. No matter how evil their actions are, they are still all God's children and He loves them. Let us pray for their conversion and the salvation of their souls.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

'Brokeback Mountain': Rape of the Marlboro Man

Recently, WorldNetDaily Managing Editor David Kupelian, author of the best-selling book, "The Marketing of Evil," was widely quoted in the news media for his criticism of the new film "Brokeback Mountain." Here, Kupelian explains how and why the controversial movie is one of the most powerful homosexual propaganda films of our time.

Abortions in Spain Rise by 72 percent in 10 years

The number of abortions carried out in Spain has risen by almost three quarters in the past decade but the figure remains low by European standards, the country's health ministry said. In 2004 the total reached 84,985, up by 6.5 percent on 2003 (79,788) et 72 percent on 1995 (49,367), it reported.

This is shocking, considering Spain is a predominantly Catholic country.

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist


Today is the feast day of my Community -- the feast of St. John, the Apostle. St. John is also my patron saint and the saint I try most to emulate in my daily life.

St. John, a fisherman, the son of Zebedee, and the brother of St. James the Great, was called to be an Apostle by our Lord in the first year of His public ministry, and he travelled everywhere with Him.

St. John is known as the Beloved Disciple, the Apostle of Love. Why was he identified in this way? John loved Jesus greatly, and he demonstrated a meek, mild, tender, humble, and peaceable disposition that made him very much like Our Lord himself. Also, his singular privilege of chastity, his virginal purity rendered him worthy of this more particular love.

As St. Augustine explains, "He was chosen by our Lord, a virgin, and he always remained such. Christ was pleased to choose a virgin for his mother, a virgin for his precursor, and a virgin for his favorite disciple. His church suffers only those who live perfectly chaste to serve Him in His priesthood, where they daily touch and offer His virginal flesh upon the altar."

At the Last Supper, Jesus allowed John to rest upon His breast. John is the one apostle who never abandoned Jesus, but stayed by Him to the very end. John was the only Apostle present at the Crucifixion and stood at the foot of His cross. It is there that Jesus entrusted His mother to the care of His friend. Consequently, John took Mary into his home, loved her, and cared for her as if she were his own mother.

Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.

St. John spent his later life in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. He founded many churches in Asia Minor. He wrote the fourth Gospel, and three Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is also attributed to him. Brought to Rome, tradition relates that he was by order of Emperor Dometian cast into a cauldron of boiling oil but came forth unhurt and was banished to the island of Pathmos for a year. He lived to an extreme old age, surviving all his fellow apostles, and died at Ephesus about the year 100.

Prayer to Saint John the Evangelist

O Glorious Saint John, you were so loved by Jesus that you merited to rest your head upon his breast, and to be left in his place as a son to Mary. Obtain for us an ardent love for Jesus and Mary. Let me be united with them now on earth and forever after in heaven.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Do You Believe in Miracles?

Here's a heart-melting one to check out.

Illinois Abortions Reach 31 Year Low, Continue Strong Decline

Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) -- The number of abortions in Illinois has reached a 31 year low and continues to decline steadily. The latest figures from the state health department show 41,577 abortions in 2004, a two percent decrease from the 42,228 that were done in 2003.

In 1973, 32,760 abortions were performed in Illinois, and the number has never been that low since. Now, 2004 marks the second lowest total since that year when the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision ushering in an era of virtually unlimited abortions.

As with previous years, more than half of all abortions in Illinois took place in Chicago's Cook County.

[Entire Story]

Spiritual Quote for the Day


To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; To seek Him, the greatest adventure; To find Him, the greatest human achievement.

~St. Augustine

Cardinals Issue Marriage Warning

A number of Catholic cardinals have warned Italian women against mixed marriages with the rising number of Muslims in the country.

Church officials say that as Italy's Muslim population touches the one million mark, some 20,000 mixed marriages took place this year alone.
That is an increase of around 10% on last year.


The Catholic Church's official position is to encourage dialogue between Rome and other religions, including Islam.

The late Pope John Paul II was the first pope in history to pray in a mosque, when he visited Damascus. His successor, Benedict XVI, has insisted that he is also keen to promote religious and cultural dialogue with the Islamic world.

But two documents published in Rome have called for extreme caution by Catholic women contemplating marriage to a Muslim.

Criticism

In one, issued by the Vatican last year, a Vatican cardinal, Stephen Hamao, wrote about what he called the "bitter experiences" that European women have had in marrying Muslims.

The difficulties are compounded if the couple then goes to live in a Muslim country, the cardinal warned.

Last month, Cardinal Ruini, the head of the Italian bishops, added his voice. In addition to the problems any couple faces setting up a family, he said, Catholics marrying Muslims have to reckon with extra difficulties arising from deep cultural differences.

Source

The Season of Christmas


For the Church, Christmas and Easter are celebrated with an octave of rejoicing. An octave is eight days of celebrating with the same joy that marked the first day. So, for us as believers, Christmas is not just one day.

The Octave of Christmas begins with Christmas day and ends after the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Then the liturgical calendar focuses on the next immediate Sunday, counting off days before and after it: Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates the recognition of Jesus as the Son of God by the three Wise Men (and by extension, by all nations).

The season of Christmas ends on the Monday after the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, which signifies the purification of the world, through Christ himself.

St. Stephen, First Martyr


St. Stephen was one of the first deacons and the first Christian martyr. In Acts 6:5 seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first deacon mentioned and the best known. The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" (vi, 5), "full of grace and fortitude."

Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

Stephen spoke to the crowd and recalled the mercies of God towards Israel during its long history and of the ungratefulness by which, throughout, Israel repaid these mercies. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b). His speech provoked the anger of his audience.

But "[Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God....’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him....As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit....Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b). Little did all the people present, casting stones upon him, realize that the blood they shed was the first seed of a harvest that was to cover the world.

St. Stephen's name means "crown," and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. He is the Patron saint of: coffin makers, deacons, headaches, horses, masons, stone masons, Germany, Owensboro, Kentucky, and Prato, Italy.



A sermon of St Fulgentius of Ruspe

The armor of love

Yesterday we celebrated the birth in time of our eternal King. Today we celebrate the triumphant suffering of his soldier.Yesterday our king, clothed in his robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world. Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven.

Our king, despite his exalted majesty, came in humility for our sake; yet he did not come empty-handed. He brought his soldiers a great gift that not only enriched them but also made them unconquerable in battle, for it was the gift of love, which was to bring men to share in his divinity. He gave of his bounty, yet without any loss to himself. In a marvellous way he changed into wealth the poverty of his faithful followers while remaining in full possession of his own inexhaustible riches.

And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier. Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his name. His love of God kept him from yielding to the ferocious mob; his love for his neighbour made him pray for those who were stoning him. Love inspired him to reprove those who erred, to make them amend; love led him to pray for those who stoned him, to save them from punishment. Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven. In his holy and tireless love he longed to gain by prayer those whom he could not convert by admonition.

Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and it was Paul’s love that covered the multitude of his sins; it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven.

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defence,- and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray nor be afraid: love guides him, protects him, and brings him to his journey’s end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI's Christmas Message

Here is a translation of the Holy Father's Christmas Day message:

"I bring you good news of a great joy … for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).

Last night we heard once more the Angel's message to the shepherds, and we experienced anew the atmosphere of that holy night, Bethlehem Night, when the Son of God became man, was born in a lowly stable and dwelt among us. On this solemn day, the Angel's proclamation rings out once again, inviting us, the men and women of the third millennium, to welcome the Savior. May the people of today's world not hesitate to let him enter their homes, their cities, their nations, everywhere on earth!

In the millennium just past, and especially in the last centuries, immense progress was made in the areas of technology and science. Today we can dispose of vast material resources. But the men and women in our technological age risk becoming victims of their own intellectual and technical achievements, ending up in spiritual barrenness and emptiness of heart. That is why it is so important for us to open our minds and hearts to the Birth of Christ, this event of salvation which can give new hope to the life of each human being.

Wake up, O man! For your sake God became man" (St. Augustine, "Sermo," 185). Wake up, O men and women of the third millennium! At Christmas, the Almighty becomes a child and asks for our help and protection. His way of showing that he is God challenges our way of being human. By knocking at our door, he challenges us and our freedom; he calls us to examine how we understand and live our lives.

The modern age is often seen as an awakening of reason from its slumbers, humanity's enlightenment after an age of darkness. Yet without the light of Christ, the light of reason is not sufficient to enlighten humanity and the world. For this reason, the words of the Christmas Gospel: "the true Light that enlightens every man was coming into this world" (John 1:9) resound now more than ever as a proclamation of salvation. "It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of humanity truly becomes clear" ("Gaudium et Spes," No. 22). The Church does not tire of repeating this message of hope reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which concluded 40 years ago.

Men and women of today, humanity come of age yet often still so frail in mind and will, let the Child of Bethlehem take you by the hand! Do not fear; put your trust in him! The life-giving power of his light is an incentive for building a new world order based on just ethical and economic relationships. May his love guide every people on earth and strengthen their common consciousness of being a "family" called to foster relationships of trust and mutual support. A united humanity will be able to confront the many troubling problems of the present time: from the menace of terrorism to the humiliating poverty in which millions of human beings live, from the proliferation of weapons to the pandemics and the environmental destruction which threatens the future of our planet.

May the God who became man out of love for humanity strengthen all those in Africa who work for peace, integral development and the prevention of fratricidal conflicts, for the consolidation of the present, still fragile political transitions, and the protection of the most elementary rights of those experiencing tragic humanitarian crises, such as those in Darfur and in other regions of central Africa. May he lead the peoples of Latin America to live in peace and harmony. May he grant courage to people of good will in the Holy Land, in Iraq, in Lebanon, where signs of hope, which are not lacking, need to be confirmed by actions inspired by fairness and wisdom; may he favor the process of dialogue on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere in the countries of Asia, so that, by the settlement of dangerous disputes, consistent and peaceful conclusions can be reached in a spirit of friendship, conclusions which their peoples expectantly await.

At Christmas we contemplate God made man, divine glory hidden beneath the poverty of a Child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger; the Creator of the Universe reduced to the helplessness of an infant. Once we accept this paradox, we discover the Truth that sets us free and the Love that transforms our lives. On Bethlehem Night, the Redeemer becomes one of us, our companion along the precarious paths of history. Let us take the hand which he stretches out to us: It is a hand which seeks to take nothing from us, but only to give.

With the shepherds let us enter the stable of Bethlehem beneath the loving gaze of Mary, the silent witness of his miraculous birth. May she help us to experience the happiness of Christmas, may she teach us how to treasure in our hearts the mystery of God who for our sake became man; and may she help us to bear witness in our world to his truth, his love and his peace.

Source

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS DEO!

Pope at Midnight Mass: Be Peacemakers; Remember the Unborn


Pilgrims and tourists from around the world flocked to attend Benedict's first Christmas as Pope.

In his homily at Christmas Midnight Mass, the Holy Father stated:
"Where there is love, light shines forth in the world; where there is hatred, the world remains in darkness. The light of Bethlehem has never been extinguished. In every age it has touched men and women, it has shone around them."


Pope Benedict recounted the Christmas story of Christ's birth in a stable in Bethlehem and asked Catholics not to forget that the true meaning of Christmas was the "inner light" radiating from the Child Jesus.
"Let us keep this light-giving flame from being extinguished by the cold winds of our time!" he said.


He urged his listeners to help to end conflicts and misunderstandings wherever they were found.

"Let us strive to be active heralds of his peace in the world of today," he said.

"Christ gives himself to us and, in doing so, gives us his peace. He gives it to us so that we can carry the light of peace within and give it to others. He gives it to us so that we can become peacemakers and builders of peace in the world," he said.

The Pope, who has been invited to visit both Israel and Palestinian territories, made a special appeal for peace in the Holy Land.

"On this night, when we look toward Bethlehem, let us pray in a special way for the birthplace of our Redeemer and for the men and women who live and suffer there," he said.

"We wish to pray for peace in the Holy Land: Look, O Lord, upon this corner of the earth, your homeland, which is so very dear to you! Let your light shine upon it! Let it know peace!"

REMEMBER THE UNBORN

The Pope also made a reference to the Church's total opposition to abortion, saying the love of God shines on each child, "even on those still unborn."

One of the prayers read during the mass asked that all those who recognize Abraham as the father of their faith -- Muslims, Jews and Christians -- "practice reciprocal respect, with works of justice and peace."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

O Holy Night


My prayers are with each one of you for a blessed and holy Christmas.

In the love of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,


Jean M. Heimann

Christian Christmas Quote

It is urgent that we strive to re-Christianize holidays and popular customs. It is urgent to keep the public from being faced with the dilemma: either overpious or pagan. Ask our Lord to provide laborers for this urgent work which could be called the "holiday apostolate.”

~St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, 975.

That Midnight Hour


The Virgin Mother kneels upon the floor
And holds her baby in her arm,
Her heart is gladder than her lips can say,
To keep her new born baby snug and warm,
A babe more sweet and fair and dear
Than any rose bud in the bright sunshine,
Whose little eyes look straight into her own,
O, blessed maid, God's son is also thine.


Twas holy midnight, when He came to earth:
As pours a sun ray through a limpid glass,
Not leaving any mark upon its face;
A drop of dew upon the fresh green grass,
A little star that fell upon her lap,
A cooing babe, that seeks her virgin breast.
The hopes of all the sin-cursed world
Upon this baby's eyelids rest.


And ever since the midnight hour is holy,
And millions of human hearts are stirred
To wonderment and love for Him who came,
To save the world, God's own incarnate Word.
He came in darkness, He who was The Light,
His godhead shone from clear blue baby eyes,
The curse of earth's first sin was lifted then,
That midnight hour reopened paradise.


Frederick M. Lynk

Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

'Twas the night before Jesus came
And all through the house
Not a creature was praying,
Not one in the house.


Their Bibles were lain
On the shelf without care...
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.
The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.


When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!


When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!


The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.


In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, "It's not here", my head hung in shame.


The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.


I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if I only had been ready tonight.


In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!


May the joy and peace of His presence
Be with you until He comes again.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Christmas Miracle

After three and one half months, we have it -- a contract. Our house in IL is sold! Praise the Lord -- Glory Hallelujah! Thank you all for your prayers.

Papal Nuncio Reflects on Christmas in Bethlehem


Bethlehem, Dec. 23 (AsiaNews) - "For 36 years I traveled the world representing the Holy See, but nowhere have I felt the presence of God so close than inside the Nativity grotto." Those were the words of Archbishop Pietro Sambi-- the former apostolic nuncio in the Holy Land, newly appointed to be the Pope's representative in the US-- in a Christmas meditation released through the AsiaNews service.

"From a human point of view, being surrounded by an 8-meter (27-foot) wall, and the great hardship it imposes, are certainly no way to celebrate Christmas for it literally closes off one’s horizons," the Vatican diplomat said, in a reference to the Israeli "security wall" that surrounds Bethlehem and has severely curbed tourism and pilgrimages. But he continued: "However even here, when we kneel before God made man we must pull down the wall of selfishness and open up to others…. In this sense I wish everyone could humbly kneel before the Child of Bethlehem and find the source of life, in the fullness of life and joy. Merry Christmas!"


[For the
full text of Archbishop Sambi's meditation, see the AsiaNews web site.

New Blog

My friend, Nancy, a Catholic freelance writer, has her new blog up. You can check it out at www.patchesofblog.blog.com .

Today is my blogiversary!

Today is the second anniversary of my blog. The first year, I was just getting my blogging feet wet, but this past year has been a time in which I have really learned a lot and made some new blogging friends. I just want to thank all of them, especially Julie D. at Happy Catholic for helping me grow and flourish. God bless you all!

St. John of Kanty, Priest


St. John was born at Kanty, in the Diocese of Krakow, Poland in 1390 to Stanislaus and Anne who were pious country people. He was educated at the Academy of Krakow, where he impressed his professors and colleagues with his pleasant and friendly disposition; always happy, but serious, humble, and holy, he won the hearts of all who came in contact with him. He earned his doctorate in theology and philosophy, was ordained priest and was then appointed professor of theology at the Academy of Krakow. Shortly afterwards, he was reassigned to the Diocese of Krakow, to be a parish priest. He was then re-appointed professor of Sacres Scripture at the Academy of Krakow, a position he held for the rest of his life. John taught his students this philosophy again and again, "Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause." He
distinguished himself as an orthodox teacher of the faith, and by his piety and love of neighbor gave Christian example to his colleagues and his students.

St. John demonstrated extreme humility and charity, distributing to the poor all the money and clothes he had, retaining only what was absolutely necessary to care for himself. He slept little, and on the floor, ate very little food, and totally abstained from meat after he became a doctor. He made one pilgrimage to Jerusalem with the desire of becoming a martyr among the Turks, and four pilgrimages to Rome on foot. Durng his life he performed many miracles, which were multiplied after his death at his tomb. He died in 1473. He was canonized by Pope Clement XIII in 1767. The Roman Breviary distinguishes him with three hymns; he is the only confessor not a bishop who is honored in this way.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Christmas Menu

Here's what's on the Christmas menu at the Heimann household:

St. James Winery Country White Wine
St. James Winery Blackberry Wine

Organic Romaine, Raddachio & Radish Salad

Roast Turkey with Walnut dressing
Fresh, Whole Cranberries
Sweet Potatoes
Green Bean Almondine
Jean's Christmas Salad

Fresh Cherry Pie with Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

You may be wondering what Jean's Christmas salad is. Basically, it is an attempt at duplicating my mother's famous recipe which was about 10,000 calories per teaspoon. Some of the ingredients in my mother's recipe were: lime Jello, walnuts or pecans, real whipped cream, Miracle Whip, cream cheese, pineapple, and marshmallows. I have replaced the cream cheese with fat-free cream cheese and the Miracle Whip is now also fat-free, but I have kept the whipped cream real -- I don't care for the artificial stuff. This salad is very thick, very rich, and very filling -- something that is only served during the Christmas season.

Since I will be spending the next few days cooking and baking, my blogging will be light.

What's on your Christmas menu?

The Conspiracy Against Pro-life Pharmacists in the U.S.

Is there a conspirancy against pro-life pharmacists in this country? It certainly seems so if you are following the news stories these days. In IL, four Walgreens' pharmacists were fired for refusal to dispense the Morning After Pill. In Denton, Texas, the Eckerd Corporation, the owner of the Eckerd Pharmacy chain, fired three pharmacists six days after they refused to fill prescriptions for the abortifacient Morning After Pill. In Miami, Florida, Pharmacist Hillel Hellinger, a Hassidic Jew and father of nine, was fired by Eckerd Pharmacy over his refusal to sell condoms, an action that would violate his religious beliefs.

The right to freedom of religion is guaranteed to all Americans in the Constitution, yet somehow these pharmacists have been excluded from this fundamental right. They are being discriminated against by their employers and that is something that should not be tolerated. Employers are required by law to make accomodations for the disabled and are not permitted to discriminate against their employees on the basis of sex, age, race, or religion, so how can they get away with firing employees for refusal to perform acts which are immoral according to their religious beliefs?

Our legal system is very complex and often seems to contradict itself. Also, it now seems to be under the dictatorship of certain governors, who come up with bizare executive orders to enforce their personal political agenda on others.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is attempting to resolve some of these problems. They announced today that legal action is underway in defense of two pharmacists who were fired for refusing to hand out abortifacient drugs.

“These Conscience Clause cases are significant and represent the cutting edge of the abortion debate in our country right now;” ACLJ said in a statement to the press. “Doctors, nurses and pharmacists should not be compelled to violate their conscience and participate in an abortion procedure. We have already had success in a number of cases around the country, and we are confident that we will succeed in Illinois as well.”

Let us pray for a permanent solution to the problem of religious discrimination in this country and for the conversion of all those who are gulity of persecuting others because of their religious beliefs.

Updates on Pope Benedict XVI

The Holy Father's first encyclical is now expected to made public in January 2006, after the feast of the Epiphany.

In a traditional pre-Christmas meeting with the leaders of the Roman Curia, Pope Benedict XVI revealed that he felt a "great fear" when he was elected on April 19, particularly because he would be following in the footsteps of a beloved figure.

Pope Benedict XVI has been named as Time Magazine’s “European Newsmaker 2006” and was identified as one of 2005’s top newsmakers.

Sign the Petition to Remove Boston Archdiocese Catholic Charities Leadership

On Friday, December 9, the Mayor of Boston, who opposes Catholic teachings on abortion and marriage, was honored at a fundraiser dinner by Catholic Charities of Boston. Six weeks earlier, Catholic Charities also disclosed that they have sponsored adoptions of children by homosexual couples for 18 years.

More than 700 people wrote to Mayor Menino, the Catholic bishops, and the Vatican in just 4 days, but unfortunately Menino still spoke at the December 9 event and continued to misrepresent Church teachings there. In follow-up of our efforts, two officials in Rome have let us know the messages are getting through to the people concerned with the situation! In light of growing concerns around the crisis of the Catholic faith in Boston—the Menino situation, the disclosure of 18-years of Catholic Charities-sponsored adoptions by homosexual couples, a key staff departure from the Church’s public policy arm, and a move by the State of Massachusetts forcing Catholic hospitals to dispense emergency contraception against our beliefs—we have been urged to take a next step.


All are asked to visit www.christifideles.net and send a new message today to Archbishop O’Malley, the Congregation for Bishops, and the newly appointed papal nuncio. This message urges them again to remove Catholic Charities leadership, and to more courageously and proactively defend the Catholic faith in the public square.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Senator Biden's Blind Allegiance To The Abortion Lobby Enables Sex Traffickers To Continue Their Trade


"Senate Democrats are protecting sex traffickers in their allegiance to promoting abortion on demand - this is inexcusable."

~ Connie Mackey, Vice President of Government Affairs, Family Research Council

Washington, D.C. - Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) is currently holding up legislation that the U.S. House of Representatives approved unanimously on December 14. The bill, H.R. 972, targets purchasers of illegal sex acts and the traffickers who exploit the victims domestically. The End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act focuses on halting the trafficking of people, primarily women and children, in the United States for the purposes of prostitution and sexual slavery. In the Senate, Senator Biden is trying to attach language that would allow taxpayer funds to go to foreign organizations that perform and promote abortion, including coercive abortions.

Connie Mackey, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Family Research Council, released the following statement:

"I applaud Rep. Smith (R-NJ), for introducing and championing this legislation that finally targets the exploiters in the illegal sex slave trade in the U.S. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats are protecting sex traffickers in their allegiance to promoting abortion on demand - this is inexcusable.

"Senator Biden appears to be so beholden to pro-abortion organizations that he is willing to halt this legislation. His blind allegiance to the pro-abortion lobby enables sex traffickers to continue their exploitive and horrific trade. This is unacceptable for a member of the United States Senate and he should lift his hold on this crucial legislation without further delay."

Source

Pro-life Joke

Rick at De Civitate Dei has a cute pro-life joke on his blog today. You can find it here.

USCCB Official Praises Enactment of Cord Blood Stem Cell Legislation


After attending President Bush’s signing into law of the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 (H.R. 2520/S. 1317), Richard M. Doerflinger, Deputy Director of the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:“This is wonderful news for the many thousands of suffering patients who can benefit from umbilical cord blood stem cell treatments. We are grateful to Congress and the President for enacting this legislation without further delay.“

The House of Representatives passed Rep. Chris Smith’s legislation, to support and coordinate a nationwide public bank of cord blood stem cells, almost unanimously on May 24. Yet this urgently needed life-saving legislation was blocked for months in the Senate, held hostage to debates over far more controversial and speculative stem cell research requiring the destruction of human embryos.


In the last days of this session the deadlock was finally ended, and Congress agreed on the kind of stem cell treatments that can begin saving patients’ lives here and now.

“As Cardinal Keeler, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, said in his July 11 letter urging Senate approval of this bill: ‘Umbilical cord blood stem cells have successfully treated thousands of patients with dozens of diseases. They also exhibit properties once associated chiefly with embryonic stem cells: They grow rapidly in culture, producing enough cells to be clinically useful in both children and adults; they can treat patients who are not an exact genetic match, without being rejected as foreign tissue; and they seem able to produce a wide array of different cell types."

"As Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, how appropriate that we can also celebrate the medical miracles made possible by cord blood retrieved immediately after live births. Congress and the President have given a wonderful Christmas present to patients in need.”


The full text of Cardinal Keeler’s July 11 letter is available at www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/bioethic/stemcell/keelercord.pdf.

To learn more about cord blood donation, go here.

It is interesting, but not surprising, to note how the enactment of this bill has been underreported by the secular press.

Christmas presents or presence?

Need a spiritual lift for Christmas? Read this.

St. Peter Cansius, Priest and Doctor of the Church


Peter Canisius was born in Holland on May 8, 1521. Peter was a brilliant, but humble, young man, who studied at Cologne and received his license as doctor of civil law; he then went to Louvain (Belgium) to learn canon law. After he attended a retreat given by Blessed Peter Faber, the first disciple of St. Ignatius, he decided to become a Jesuit. On the day of his final vows, as he knelt in St. Peter's, Our Lord showed him a vision of His Sacred Heart. From that time forward, he never failed to make an offering of all his work to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sent to Germany, he worked strenuously for many years by his writings and teachings to confirm the Catholic faith. Of his numerous books, the Cathechism is most renowned. It remains a monument of the triumph of the Church over error in the time of Luther.

A man of great energy, he taught in several universities, founded 18 colleges, and authored 37 books; his catechisms went through 200 printings in his lifetime and were translated into 12 languages. St. Peter was one of the most important figures in the Counter-Reformation in Germany and is referred to as the second apostle to Germany next to St. Boniface.

Peter died in Switzerland in 1597. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925, and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of the Catholic press.

Quotes of St. Peter

"If you have too much to do, with God's help you will find time to do it all."

"Better that only a few Catholics should be left, staunch and sincere in their religion, than that they should, remaining many, desire as it were, to be in collusion with the Church's enemies and in conformity with the open foes of our faith."

"It was as if you opened to me the heart in your most sacred body. I seemed to see it directly before my eyes. You told me to drink from this fountain, inviting me, that is, to draw the waters of my salvation from your wellsprings, my Savior. I was most eager that streams of faith, hope, and love should flow into me from that source. I was thirsting for poverty, chastity, obedience. I asked to be made wholly clean by you, to be clothed by you, to be made resplendent by you.

"So, after daring to approach your most loving heart, and to plunge my thirst into it, I received a promise from you of a garment made of three parts: these were to cover my soul in its nakedness, and to belong especially to my religious profession. They were peace, love, and perseverance. Protected by this garment of salvation, I was confident that I would lack nothing but all would succeed and give you glory."

A prayer of St. Peter Canisius

I commend to you, Lord Jesus, the whole Society of Jesus: our superiors and our subjects, our old and our young, our sound and our sick, our ministries of body and soul may we be rightly governed to the glory of your name and to the upbuilding of your Church.

Through you may we grow in our numbers and in our service. May we know our vocation thoroughly, and knowing it love it; and thus may all in the Society serve your majesty worthily and faithfully; cling to the commands and the counsels of the Gospel; and, united in the love of brothers, feel your blessings on our provinces, our schools, our missions, and all our ministries.

May we be sober, simple, prudent, peaceable, and studious of solid virtue: may our lives conform to the Name we bear and our deeds reflect to the vows we profess.

We commend to you all the brothers who share our life in the Society and all our companions and partners who share our heritage and our vision. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, we praise you forever.
Amen

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Christmas Meme


I saw this meme on
Thoughts of a Regular Guy and decided to answer the questions.

Hot Chocolate or apple cider? I'll take a little of both, please.

Turkey or Ham? Turkey. I love ham, but avoid it due to the nitrites.

Do you get a Fake or Real you cut it yourself christmas tree?Artificial. I am allergic to the ones God makes.

Decorations on the outside of your house? Not this year, as we are living in an apartment until our house in IL sells. Maybe next year.

Snowball fights or sledding? Sledding.

Do you enjoy Going downtown shopping? Yes, although it's more window shopping than actually spending money.

Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night

How do you feel about Christmas movies? The best movies usually come out at Christmas time.

When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music? Christmas music is great anytime, but it is extra beautiful during the Christmas season.

Stockings before or after presents? Before.

Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them? I listen and thank them for sharing God's gift of music with me.

Go to someone else's house or they come to you? I go somewhere else.

Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when? I would love to have little ones to read to. This year, someone read it at a Christmas party we attended.

What do you do after presents and dinner? Play with the new toys and fall asleep.

What is your favorite holiday smell? Pine cones

Ice skating or walking around the mall? The mall.

Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day? Early Christmas Morning -- after Midnight Mass
.
Favorite Christmas memory?
Dressing as an angel in the children's procession at Christmas Midnight Mass (which was held at Midnight). I loved staying up late and I loved that costume which my mother made especially for me. I still remember my golden halo, which made me a legitimate angel.

Favorite Part about winter? Watching the beautiful snowflakes fall while I am safe and warm inside cuddling up with my husband and my cat.

Ever been kissed under mistletoe? Yes.

Anyone who would like to answer these questions may.

Pro-life Quote of the Day


"America, you cannot insist on the right to choose without also insisting on the duty to choose well, the duty to choose truth."

~ John Paul II, Ecumenical Service, South Carolina, September 11, 1987

Pope Proclaims 19 New Saints and Blesseds


VATICAN CITY, DEC 20, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday, during a private audience with Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Pope authorized the congregation to promulgate the following decrees:

MIRACLES

- Venerable Servant of God Luigi Boccardo, Italian, priest of the archdiocese of Turin, Italy, founder of the Order of Sisters of Christ the King, a contemplative branch of the Poor Sisters of San Gaetano (1861 - 1936).

- Venerable Servant of God Luigi Monza, Italian, priest of the archdiocese of Milan, Italy, founder of the Secular Institute of the Little Apostles of Charity (1898 - 1954).

- Venerable Servant of God Mose Tovini, Italian, priest of the diocese of Brescia, Italy (1877 - 1930).

- Venerable Servant of God Agostino Thevarparampil, known as "Kunjachan," Indian, priest of the eparchy of Palai, India (1891 - 1973).

- Venerable Servant of God Eustachio Van Lieshout, Dutch, professed priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Picpus) (1890 - 1943).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa di Gesu, nee Maria Scrilli, Italian, founder of the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Carmel (1825 - 1889).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria Teresa di San Giuseppe, nee Anna Maria Tauscher van den Bosch, German, founder of the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus (1855 - 1938).

- Venerable Servant of God Maria della Passione di Nostro Signore Gesu Cristo, nee Grazia Tarallo, Italian, of the Institute of Crucified Sisters Adorers of the Holy Eucharist (1866 - 1912).

- Venerable Servant of God Elia di San Clemente, nee Teodora Fracasso, Italian, professed nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (1901 - 1927).

MARTYRS

- Servants of God Victorio Chumillas Fernandez, Spanish, professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor (1902 - 1936), and 21 companions, of the same Order of St. Francis, martyrs.

- Servants of God Antero Mateo Garcia, Spanish, husband and father, of the Third Order of St. Dominic (1875 - 1936), and eleven companions of the Second and Third Orders of St. Dominic, martyrs.

HEROIC VIRTUES

- Blessed Simone da Lipnica, Polish, professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor, (1440 - 1482), whose cult was confirmed by the Holy See on February 14, 1685.

- Blessed Camilla Battista Varano, Italian, professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares (1458 - 1524) whose cult was confirmed by the Holy See on April 7, 1843.

- Servant of God Carlo Bascape, ne Giovanni Francesco, Italian, of the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of St. Paul (Barnabites), bishop of Novara, Italy (1550 - 1615).

- Servant of God Massimo Rinaldi, Italian, of the Congregation of Missionaries of St. Charles, bishop of Rieti, Italy (1869 - 1941).

- Servant of God Paolo Giuseppe Nardini, diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Family (1821 - 1862).

- Servant of God Eustachio Kugler, ne Giuseppe, German, professed religious of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God (1867 - 1946).

- Servant of God Isabella De Rosis, Italian, founder of the Congregation of Reparatrix Sisters of the Sacred Heart (1842 - 1911).

- Servant of God Josefa Segovia Moron, first director of the Teresian Institute (1891 - 1957).