Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Where Women Are Finding Happiness

Click the the ABC news link at this site for a very nice video news report of the quickly growing Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.

H/T: The Anchoress

Fr. Frank Pavone: Risk

An 11-year old girl who is a supporter of Priests for Life sent me the following email very recently: "My mother and I are taking a bus and will be coming to the March for Life. My teacher said that I will receive zeroes on any work that I miss and it can't be made up. I told her missing a day at school in order to stand up for life is more important and I'm willing to suffer the consequences."

That’s what the pro-life movement needs most – people who say, “I’m willing to suffer the consequences.”

The children living and growing in the womb right now endure a great risk without having chosen it. They live in a place that has become more dangerous than any battlefield or terrorist target, and their lives hang in the balance at every moment. They did not choose this risk; someone else chose it for them.

We who defend these children have to choose to accept a share in that risk. That is solidarity. We bear willingly the risk that they bear unwillingly. Many ask what they need to do to stop abortion. But most know the answer already. They see the next step they can take, but are just trying to muster up the courage to do it. Risk is involved, and there’s no way around it. We’re afraid to speak and to act. Perhaps it’s because our pastor is not supportive, or we might get in trouble at our job; perhaps it’s because family and friends may not like our pro-life stance, or because it may lose business or votes; perhaps we fear it will impact our health. We make a continuous calculus in our minds and hearts, and often end up in paralyzed inaction.

We are always told of reasons why we can’t speak up against abortion. If we speak in Church, we’re told it’s too political; if we speak in the political arena, we’re told it’s too religious. If we speak in the media we’re told it’s too disturbing; in the educational realm, it’s too disruptive. On the public streets, it’s too distressing for children; in the business world it’s too controversial, in the family it’s too divisive, and in social settings it’s just impolite. So if abortion is wrong, where do we go to say so?

The answer is that we have to stop looking for a risk-free place to fight abortion, and speak up in all those arenas! There is a calculus in the heavens that says, “Greater love than this nobody has, than to lay down his life for his friends.” If we want to protect the unborn, then let’s be willing to give our lives for them. Let’s stop counting the cost for ourselves if we speak up and start counting the cost for them if we are silent. The pro-life movement does not need a lot of people; it needs people who are willing to take a lot of risk.


~ Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life

Online Petition Calls for German Boycott to Gain Release of Girl Seized in Homeschool Crackdown

NUREMBERG, Germany, February 28, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A group of parents, alarmed by German authorities’ decision to seize a girl from her family home in a battle over home schooling, has launched an online petition calling for an international boycott of German goods in protest of the situation.

Parents of the World is calling for the immediate restoration of 15-year-old Melissa to her family, after she was taken away from her parents by police and placed in foster care. The girl had been receiving educational instruction at home after a dispute with her school over home-tutoring led to her expulsion.

Home schooling is illegal in Germany, under a law instituted by Adolf Hitler, and officials have recently increased the pressure on families attempting to educate their children themselves.

“Parents of the World call for a boycott of all German goods until Melissa Busekros is returned without threat or condition to her family from the German authorities that removed her from her home,” the online petition states.“This is an attack on all parents of the world and all religions…Parents around the world demand the immediate return of Melissa Busekros to her parents & family without threat or condition….we the parents of the world, call on all the world to support us in this boycott of Germany by vowing not to buy goods, travel to or support any commerce with Germany. And do so until the people of Germany rise up and demand accountability from their government. Let the German politician hear you loud and clear.”

This is an attack on all parents of the world and all religions…Parents around the world demand the immediate return of Melissa Busekros to her parents & family without threat or condition….we the parents of the world, call on all the world to support us in this boycott of Germany by vowing not to buy goods, travel to or support any commerce with Germany. And do so until the people of Germany rise up and demand accountability from their government. Let the German politician hear you loud and clear.

”The organization is encouraging supporters to contact German businesses and inform them of the reasons for the boycott--the website includes links to more than 200 German-based businesses and corporations.“This is just as much a threat to you as it is to the Busekros family and your dollars will speak louder than all the courts and government regulations combined. You can make a difference--let Germany and the world know this is unacceptable government intrusion in to the family.”


See website: http://melissabusekro.theicelady.com/

Christians must have recourse to conscience, Vatican Conference concludes

Christians must have recourse to conscientious objection to abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, said the President of Pontifical Academy for Life, Bishop Elio Sgreccia, at the conclusion of a conference last week.

“Until now we were familiar with objection of conscience in two fields, against military service and war and against abortion and sterilization,” he said, but there are many other cases today. “For example, the morning-after pill, or chemical abortion, and other methods including vaccines used in the third world,” he said.

The bishop was speaking at a two-day general assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life at the Vatican, Feb. 23-24. About 400 participants from around the world participated. The theme was: “The Christian Conscience Supports the Right to Life”.

“The conscience is often called the sanctuary of the person, the most secret nucleus which decides man’s action,” Bishop Sgreccia said. “Since it is a sacred place the conscience can also be profaned, destroyed - but like the temple, it can be rebuilt.“

Conscience seen as a source of water must remain pure, upright, certain. It can be polluted but returning to the source it is purified,” he said. [More]

Acquiring Virtues For Lent: Humility

"We must never glance at what is good in ourselves, much less ponder over it, but we should search out what is wrong and what is lacking. This is an excellent way of remaining humble."

"Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying."

~ St. Vincent de Paul

"Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility."

~Saint Augustine

"Humility is the virtue that requires the greatest amount of effort."

~St. Philippine Duchesne


"No man has understanding if he is not humble, and he who lacks humility is devoid of understanding. No man is humble if he is not peaceful, and he who is not peaceful is not humble. And no man is peaceful without rejoicing. In all the paths upon which men journey in this world they will find no peace, until they draw nigh to hope in God."

~ St. Isaac the Syrian

"Humility is constant forgetfulness of one's achievements."

~ St. John Climacus

"If pride turned some of the angels into demons, then humility can doubtless make angels out of demons. So take heart, all you sinners."


~ St. John Climacus

I saw the snares that the enemy spreads out over the world and I said groaning, "What can get through from such snares?" Then I heard a voice saying to me, "Humility."

~St. Anthony the Great

Today's Prayer Intentions

Today I am praying for the following intentions:

For healing for Dom and Melanie Bettinelli, who lost a baby through miscarriage.

For Esther's grandmother.

For Darin's job search.

For Steve Riddle's special intentions.

For Gerald's diocese.

For an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

For an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life.

For all previous prayer intentions mentioned here.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Wednesday Basics

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Meditation - The Faults of Our Neighbor

Daily Lenten Reflection and Prayer

This Day in History

1759 Pope Clement XIII (1693–1769) granted permission for the Bible to be translated into all the languages of the Roman Catholic states.

1873 The Society of Mary (the Marist Fathers) was officially sanctioned by Pope Pius IX. This Roman Catholic religious order, founded in 1816, seeks to unite the work of education with missions.

1944 Nazi soldiers invaded the home of Dutch Christian Corrie ten Boom (1892–1983) and arrested the family on the charge of harboring Jews.

Births

1901 - Linus Pauling, American chemist, Nobel laureate (d. 1994)

1923 - Charles Durning, American actor

1930 - Gavin MacLeod, American actor

1931 - Dean Smith, American basketball coach

1940 - Mario Andretti, American race car driver

Quote of the Day

"Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."

~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Miracle Baby Comes Back From the Dead

A 2-month-old baby written off for dead miraculously returned from the brink of death upon reaching his father's arms at a Leeds hospital, according to published report.

Woody Lander's lifeless body was passed along to father Jon, 34, after doctors failed to resuscitate him after 30 minutes of heart massaging. Upon removing a tube from his mouth, baby Woody began coughing and showing movement, according to the Daily Mail.

"They took him straight back off us. They managed to get his heart going again and he came back to life in front of us," said Lander. "It was amazing. We still don't know how he managed to come round — we just know he's a little miracle. He's growing up into a happy and healthy little boy."

Click here to read the story.

Blessed Villana de'Botti, Lay Dominican and Wife


Blessed Villana was the daughter of Andrew de'Botti, a Florentine merchant, was born in 1332. When she was thirteen she ran away from home to enter a convent but her attempts were unsuccessful and she was forced to return.

To prevent her from running away again, her father gave her in marriage to Rosso di Piero. The rejection at the convent and the marriage seemed to change Villana. She became lazy and worldly, concerned only with pleasure.

One day, as she was about to go out for entertainment, dressed in a gorgeous gown adorned with pearls and precious stones, she looked at herself in a mirror. To her dismay, the reflection that met her eyes was that of a hideous demon. A second and a third mirror showed the same ugly form.

Thoroughly alarmed and recognizing in the reflection the image of herself as her sinful soul, she tore off her beautiful clothes and put on in the simplest clothes she could find. Weeping, she ran to the Dominican Fathers at Santa Maria Novella to make a full confession and to ask absolution and help. This proved the turning point of her life, and she never again fell away.

Before long Villana was admitted to the Third Order of St. Dominic, and after this she advanced rapidly in the spiritual life. Fulfilling all her duties as a married woman, she spent all her available time in prayer and reading. She particularly loved to read St. Paul's Epistles and the lives of the saints.

So completely did she give herself up to God that she often went into ecstacy during Mass or at spiritual conferences, but she became the object of much ridicult and slander. Her soul was also purified by strong pain and by great bodily weakness. However, she passed unscathed through all these trials and was rewarded with wonderful visions the Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints and was also blessed with the gift of prophecy.

She died in 1361 of natural causes at the age of 30. Her body was taken to the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, which was under the care of the Dominican Fathers. The priests were unable to bury her for a month due to the constant crowd of mourners. She was beatified by Pope Leo XII in 1824.

Prayer

O God, our merciful Father, you called Blessed Villana back from the emptiness of the world and aroused in her a spirit of humility and true penitence. Recreate in our hearts the power of your love and, filled by that same spirit, may we serve you in newness of life. 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.

The New Padre Pio?

To his thousands of followers in Italy and around the world he is the new Padre Pio.

Like the country's ever-popular 20th Century saint, who displayed stigmata for the last 50 years of his life, Brother Elia is revered. With his face, hands and feet appearing covered in blood each Easter, he has earned celebrity status and his fans range from the country's poorest to World Cup-winning footballer Francesco Totti. [More]

The Vatican is remaining silent for now, but it sounds like it is for a good reason - it takes time to determine the authenticity of these cases. I have a hunch we will be hearing more about this young Brother before too long.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Book / Movie Meme

Underline or put an asterisk next to all those books whose movies you have seen. Bold or highlight the ones you've read in a different color.

1. Heidi (Johanna Spyri) *
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) *
3 To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) *
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) *
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) *
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)*
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien) *
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) *
9. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) *
10. Anne of Avonlea (L.M. Montgomery) *
11.The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) *
12. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) *
13 Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) *
14. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) *
15. Chariots of Fire (Clarence E. MacArtney) *
16. 1984 (Orwell) *
17. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) *
18. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) *
19. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) *
20. War and Peace (Tolsoy) *
21. Quo Vadis (Sienkiewicz) *
22. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo) *
23. The Robe (Douglas) *
24. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) *
25. The Story of A Soul (St. Therese) Therese (Movie) *

I tag Esther, Karen, Dawn, Julie D. and anyone else who would like to participate.

Bishop Finn Launches Crusade Against Pornography

For the first time in 22 years the Roman Catholic Bishop in the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (MO) has issued a pastoral letter. Entitled Blessed Are the Pure In Heart: A Pastoral Letter on the Dignity of the Human Person and the Dangers of Pornography, the 19-page letter was mailed recently to subscribers of The Catholic Key, the diocesan journal. The pastoral letter is online here.'

The bishop announced that the First Sunday of Lent would be called "Purity of Heart Awareness Sunday" in his diocese. Bishop Finn has also established an "anti-pornography effort" on his website as part of his desire to address "the real and growing problem of pornography" and explore "spiritual and practical ways of combating it."

H/T: Kansas City Catholic

Complaint Filed Against KS Abortionist For Concealing Child Rape

A complaint has been filed with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, (KSBHA), asking that Kansas City abortionist Sherman Zaremski be disciplined for failing to report the rape of an 11-year old girl that resulted in a pregnancy. Confirmation has been received that the case has been assigned to an investigator.

Operation Rescue investigations discovered that it was Zaremski that gave an abortion to the young girl in Wichita at the now closed Central Women's Services, then returned her to the care of her step-father, Robert Estrada, who continued to use her and her sister as virtual sex slaves over several years, resulting in a total of 4 pregnancies, including the birth of twins on one of the girl's 12th birthday.


"Zaremski could have stopped the abuse by reporting her pregnancy to the authorities, but he did not," said OR spokesperson Cheryl Sullenger, who filed the complaint in her capacity as a private citizen. "Because of his refusal to obey the Kansas child abuse mandatory reporting laws, he condemned the girls to several more years of unspeakable torment. He needs to pay for that."

Then-Attorney General Phill Kline had referred the girls' medical records to District Attorney Nola Foulston. Estrada was sentenced last October for the rapes, which were reported to authorities by an adoption agency that had been contacted because of another pregnancy. The girls' mother, Patricia Estrada, was also sentenced for knowing about the sexual attacks, but doing nothing to stop them.

Zaremski was a plaintiff in the controversial Aid for Women v. Foulston Federal Court case where abortionists sued the state for the ability to be exempt from the mandatory child abuse reporting laws. Zaremski continues to run an abortion mill in the Kansas City area.

Operation Rescue bought and closed Central Women's Services, the site of the young girl's abortion, last spring. It is being renovated into OR's nation headquarters and a memorial to the pre-born.

"I cannot walk into that building without thinking of the young victims of Robert Estrada," said Sullenger. "We pray the KSBHA will understand the egregious nature of the crimes against those girls and revoke Zaremski's license for his part in allowing them to continue."
__________

Listen to an audio file of Phill Kline discussing the Estrada case at a recent fundraising banquet for Kansans for Life. (6 MB)

Via Operation Rescue.

Study Finds Early Sex Linked to Teen Delinquency Which Can Last into Adulthood

Another good reason for abstinence:

Teens who start having sex significantly earlier than their peers also show higher rates of delinquency in later years, new research shows. A national study of more than 7,000 youth found that adolescents who had sex early showed a 20 percent increase in delinquent acts one year later compared to those whose first sexual experience occurred at the average age for their school.

In contrast, those teens who waited longer than average to have sex had delinquency rates 50 percent lower a year later compared to average teens. And those trends continued up to six years. [More]

Catholic Carnival 108: Themes of Lent

Catholic Carnival 108 is up at Denise Hunnell's Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom. Go here to read it. You'll find a wonderful collection of posts there to ponder and to enjoy.

Today's Prayer Intentions

Today I am praying for the following intentions:

For healing for Dom and Melanie Bettinelli, who lost a baby through miscarriage. Melanie shares here.

For Darin's job search.

For Emily, who is hospitalized.

For Steve Riddle's special intentions.

For an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

For the primary elections, which are being held today.

For all previous prayer intentions mentioned here.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Today, Tuesday February 27, 2007

Daily Lenten Devotions: Tuesday, the Second Week of Lent

Today's Saint: St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows

For More Information about St. Gabriel and Today's Liturgy, go here.

This Day in History

1860 - Abraham Lincoln makes a speech at Cooper Union in the city of New York that was largely responsible for his election to the Presidency.

1939 - American Civil Rights Movement: Sit-down strikes are outlawed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

1971 - Doctors in the first Dutch abortion clinic (the Mildredhuis in Arnhem) start to perform abortus provocatus .

1973 - The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

1991 - Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announces that "Kuwait is liberated."

Births

272 - Constantine I, Roman emperor (d. 337)

1807 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet (d. 1882)

1886 - Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (d. 1971)

1891 - Anne Samson, oldest-ever nun documented (d. 2004)

1902 - John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)

1932 - Elizabeth Taylor, British-American actress

Deaths

2003 - Fred Rogers, American children's television actor (b. 1928)

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Best of Lent in the Blogosphere

Check out these Lenten goodies from L-Mart - your Lenten Superstore. Another gem from The Curt Jester.

In addition to sharing with us a gospel reflection as well as a daily Lenten meditation, Esther posts a thorough and comprehensive examination of conscience from Father Robert Altier.

W. from the Eagle and the Elephant posts on Fr. Matthew of the Poor, a Coptic Monk (1919 - 2006) one of the great spiritual masters of our time, and shares his words of wisdom on fasting.

Moneybags is posting on each of the stational churches during Lent, sharing beautiful photos of each. Today's Stational Church is at the Church of St. Peter in Chains.

Julie D. is sharing some exercepts from her spiritual reading
Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality by Raymond Arroyo, which is also on my list of books to read this Lent. Her daily quotes this week will be coming from this book.

Authorities Ask German Homeschooling Family to Give up Custody of Other 5 Children

Here is the latest development from Lifesite News on the story of the 15-year-old girl who was taken from her home in Germany because she was home schooled:

The parents of a 15-year-old school girl taken from her home by authorities in a battle over home schooling have been asked to give up custody of their other five children, as part of a resolution to the situation offered by German officials.

The latest development in the ongoing battle between the Busekros family and the German authorities was reported by the Home Schooling Legal Defense Fund, a U.S.-based organization that has been tracking an accelerating crackdown against home schooling families in Germany.

Melissa Busekros was removed from her family home on Feb.1 by social workers accompanied by 15 police officers, under a court order to use force if necessary. The girl was placed in a psychiatric ward for evaluation and determined to be “school phobic,” according to authorities. Without her parents’ knowledge or consent she was then placed in an undisclosed foster home.

The girl’s parents began tutoring her in math and Latin at home, after she had trouble keeping up in class. When the school found out, Melissa was expelled and her parents then began home schooling her full time. The Youth Welfare office took the parents to court and received permission to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the girl, and two days later returned to take her into custody and place her in the child psychiatric unit.

Hubert Busekros, the girl’s father, told HLSDA he and his lawyer were offered a resolution to the situation that required the Busekros’ to give up custody of their five other children. Mr. Busekros said the authorities are considering performing psychiatric evaluations of the other children, he fears with the intent of discrediting the couple as parents and permanently breaking up the family.

Home schooling is illegal in Germany under a law dating back to Adolf Hitler. Home schooling families have faced increasing persecution in recent years, with police in several cases physically transporting children to school. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights failed last year when the court ruled Germany’s enforcement of the law did not violate the rights of parents to educate their own children, saying the interests of the state in educating children took precedence over the views of the parents. [More]

My Comment: Hitler has been out of the loop for sometime now. Isn't it about time that Germany updated their obsolete laws?

Quick Culture of Life Meditation of the Day: Pope Benedict XVI

"There is "a new wave of eugenic discrimination," which "gains consensus in the name of the supposed good of the individual while, especially in the economically developed world, laws are being promoted for the legalization of euthanasia. All this is happening as ... pressure increases for the legalization of forms of cohabitation alternative to marriage and closed to natural procreation....For this reason, it is necessary for Christian consciences to be "illuminated in order to recognize the true value of actions," and so as to be able "to distinguish good from evil, even where the social environment, cultural pluralism and the overlay of interests do not help to this end."

There is a need to reeducate people "in the desire to know the real truth, and in the defense of their own freedom of choice, against the inclination of the masses and the flattery of propaganda."

"Life is the primary good we have received from God, the foundation of all the others. Guaranteeing the right to life - for everyone and in the same way for everyone - is a duty upon which the future of humanity depends."

~ Pope Benedict XVI, from "Christian conscience in support of the right to life", at the 13th general assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, February 24, 2007

Full text can be found here.

Today's Prayer Intentions



Today I am praying for the following intentions:

For healing for Dom and Melanie Bettinelli, who lost a baby through miscarriage. Melanie shares here.

For Emily, who is hospitalized.

For the reconciliation of the marriage of Bai and Bud McFarland, and especially for resolution of the current issue they are facing.

For an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

For the morale and safety of our soldiers.

For an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life.

For all previous prayer intentions listed here.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Today, Monday February 26, 2007

Daily Lenten Devotions: Monday, the First Week of Lent

Lenten Topic for Today:
The Value of Fasting

Saint of the Day:
St. Alexander, Bishop

This Day in History

398
John Chrysostom (349–407), the greatest preacher of the early church, became bishop of Constantinople.

1732 In Philadelphia, Mass was celebrated for the first time at
St Joseph's Church the only Roman Catholic church built and maintained in the American colonies before the Revolutionary War.

1802
Victor Hugo, author (Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables) was born in Besancon, France (d. May 22, 1885 in Paris, France).

1846
William F "Buffalo Bill" Cody, an American soldier, showman, and bison hunter who killed 4000 buffaloes was born in Iowa, near LeClaire (d. January 10, 1917 in Denver, Colorado).

1932
Johnny Cash, American country and western songwriter and vocalist, was born in Kingland, Alabama (d. September 12, 2003 in Nashville, Tennessee).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lenten Word Cloud


H/T to Esther.

You can get your own by clicking
HERE

Movie Review: Amazing Grace - Updated


After viewing Amazing Grace last night, I believe that it is the best film to come out of Hollywood in decades (aside from The Passion of the Christ, which I don’t consider to be a “Hollywood” film.)

Amazing Grace, a historical biography, is the story of 18th century William Wilberforce ((Ioan Gruffudd), a Member of Parliament, who battled for twenty years to abolish slavery In Britain. The son of a wealthy British merchant, he studied at Cambridge University, where he began a lasting friendship with Britain’s future prime minister, William Pitt the Younger (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The film begins with Wilberforce, a new convert to Christianity, attempting to discern whether or not he should remain in politics or do the work of God. Pitt and others convince him that he can do his best work for God by remaining in the political arena and becoming actively involved in freeing the slaves – the greatest evil of the times. Prominent characters in spurring him on in his battle are: his childhood teacher, John Newton (Albert Finney), a former slave ship captain who after experiencing a dramatic religious conversion himself, became a clergyman (and wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace”) and abolitionist Thomas Clarkson (Rufus Sewell).

A man of great faith, determination, and perseverance, Wilberforce struggles with constant political battles, the excruciating pain of a chronic illness, emotional / physical exhaustion, and is on the verge of giving up his crusade until he meets the beautiful, like-minded woman who is to become his future wife, Barbara Spooner (Romola Garai).

Directed by Michael Apted, this film is a beautiful work of art. The acting is excellent – this is one movie where the actors behave like real people instead of cartoon characters. William Wilberforce is a dashing, young man with strong principles and morals – a man of conviction and character – determined to reform his world. Barbara Spooner is a supportive, empathetic woman who is not only physically beautiful, but intelligent, and politically active, as well.

I noticed that pro-lifer Patricia Heaton is the Producer of this film, which helps me understand why it turned out the way it did and why I enjoyed it so much. It is a wonderful and inspiring model for all of us involved in the pro-life movement, as the battle for the abolition of slavery as depicted in this film mirrors the battle for the abolition of abortion in this country. It gives us hope that we, as Christians, can make the needed changes in our culture of death to transform it into a culture of life. It also makes its viewers aware that what is most needed in our society today is not only a change in our laws, but a change in the hearts of the people.

Amazing Grace is not a good movie – it is a great movie. This is the type of entertainment that you can take your children and your grandmother to watch and not feel ashamed or embarrassed. It is a movie which emphasizes character, Christian values, and yes, even virtues – something that you rarely see in Hollywood films nowadays.

I give it five ***** out of a possible 5 five stars. Excellent!



To watch trailers of this film, go here.

For information on how you can help put an end to modern day slavery, go
here.

Update: I just noticed that Amy Wellborn has some interesting information on her blog about William Wilberforce and Catholicism. Thanks for the tip, Jay.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Lenten Meme

Thanks for the tag, Esther.

What is your favorite Sorrowful Mystery?
This is a tough one because I love all of the Sorrowful Mysteries, but it is probably the moment when Jesus says, "Into your hands I commend my spirit" and he dies on the cross because it is at that moment that amazing things begin to happen and the world is transformed by his great sacrifice of love. I also love it when Jesus gives us His Mother, who then becomes our Mother. Yes, it has to be the Fifth Mystery - the crucifixion and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.

What is your favorite Station of the Cross?
These are all so moving, but I think it has to be when Jesus dies on the cross for the reasons I mentioned above. In dying, he destroyed our death and is victorious over sin.

Do you fast during Lent?
Yes, I fast during Lent in various ways and try to incorporate my small victory over self-indulgence and sin into my daily life beyond the Lenten season.

What is your Lenten Resolution(s)?
To focus less on the material things in this life and more on the spiritual aspects; less emphasis on self and more on God and others. To continue to blog, but to focus more on spirituality, as this blog is one of my apostolates. To focus more on my various apostolates, to pinpoint a particular fault and attempt to rid myself of it. I also try to spend more time in prayer to understand specifically what God is asking me to do daily. I also hope to spend more time in Eucharistic Adoration and do more spiritual reading.

Do you use Holy Water during Lent?
Yes, I use it all year round.

How many times do you go to Mass during Lent?
Daily Mass, as usual.

I will tag: Moneybags, Jeff Miller, Rosemary, Suzanne, and Ukok.

Minute Meditation and Prayer for the Saturday After Ash Wednesday

After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up, left everything, and followed him."

~ Luke 5: 27 - 32

"Lord Jesus Christ, you called sinners and outcasts to follow you. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your mother, grant us the grace to leave behind all the values and behaviors which ties us down to this world's wisdom; free us to follow you that we may share in the Easter banquet with you, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

"God does not ask of us the perfection of tomorrow, nor even of tonight, but only of the present moment."

~ St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

"God does not call us to be successful, but to be faithful."

~ Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God. Do all that you do with love."

~ St. Therese of Lisieux

Friday, February 23, 2007

Brownback Looks to Movie for Inspiration on Campaign Trail

Sen. Brownback is a fan of late-18th / early-19th Century British lawmaker William Wilberforce, as well as the movie "Amazing Grace", which depicts Wilberforce's efforts to end slavery in the British Empire:

WASHINGTON - Who says Democrats have a lock on Hollywood?

Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback was in Los Angeles Thursday to attend a screening of the new movie "Amazing Grace," about legendary British lawmaker William Wilberforce, who led the fight to abolish slavery in England in 1807.

Wilberforce happens to be one of the Kansas senator's "personal heroes," said Brownback spokesman Brian Hart. After the movie, Brownback will take part in a panel discussion with the film's producers to discuss human trafficking and slavery."

He is hopeful that this movie will have a positive impact on the world and shed some light on the tragedy of modern-day slavery and sex trafficking," Hart said.

Brownback's commitment to human rights is bound with his religious faith; he was an evangelical Protestant who converted to Catholicism in 2002. He identifies with Wilberforce, who was a leading evangelical in British Parliament, and has tailored his presidential campaign to appeal to religious conservatives.

Brownback has played a key role in enacting legislation to combat human trafficking, curb disease in Africa and fight genocide in Sudan. He and other anti-abortion activists also see parallels between Wilberforce's fight against slavery and the modern movement to outlaw abortion.

Last week, Brownback introduced a Senate resolution to honor Wilberforce and commemorate 200 years since the end of the slave trade in the British Empire.

Via Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate. Thanks, Jay! I love uplifting news stories like this one.

Ten Places Every Catholic Woman Should Go This Lent

A Spirit Daily post entitled Eight places women should not go
inspired me to write this in response to the secular media post Eight places every woman should go .

1. To daily Mass as often as possible.

2. To Eucharistic Adoration at least weekly.

3. To church to make The Way of the Cross.

4. To the movie theatre to see a great inspirational movie like Amazing Grace.

5. To the local abortion mill or the Adoration chapel to pray for an end to abortion and the closing of all abortion mills.

6. To the local polling place to vote for pro-life candidates in the primary.

7. To the local Catholic bookstore or to a nearby Catholic library or Internet to select some great Catholic literature.

8. To the local shelter for the homeless or soup kitchen (take the children along if they are old enough) to assist the poor, the homeless, and unemployed.

9. To a nursing home where some of the residents never have visitors. Bring your Bible along and read the Bible to them or pray the rosary with them. Or simply listen while they reminisce about the past.

10. To the local crisis pregnancy center where you can donate maternity clothes, baby clothing, blankets, diapers, formula, and
toys.

Some Spiritual Advice from Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

"There are poor people everywhere, but the deepest poverty is not being loved. The poor whom we seek may be near us or far away. They may be hungry for bread or hungry for friendship. They may need clothing, or they may need the sense of wealth that God's love for them represents. They may need the shelter of a house made of bricks and cement or the shelter of having a place in our hearts."

"We do not need to carry out grand things in order to show a great love for God and for our neighbor. It is the intensity of love we put into our gestures that makes them into something beautiful for God."

Have a happy and holy Lent!

Today's Prayer Intentions

Today I am praying for the following intentions:

For my dh Bill who is ill with strep throat and for the medical test he is scheduled for today - for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

For the special intentions of Marian, Chris, Theresa, Joan, and Peggy.

For the O. family - for a safe pregnancy and delivery for mom and for employment for dad.

For Danny and the homeless elderly.

For Sophia.

For Christopher, who is discerning a vocation to the priesthood.

That this season of Lent will be a time of greater prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for each of us and for all the Church.

That through our Lenten prayer and fasting, there will be an end to abortion, same sex marriages, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning.

For all previous prayer intentions listed here.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Saint of the Day: St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr


St. Polycarp was one of the immediate disciples of the Apostles, in particular St. John the Evangelist. He embraced Christianity very young and was named bishop of Smyrna. He was greatly respected by the faithful, wrote many letters and formed many holy disciples. His epistle to the Philippians - the only one to be preserved - demonstrates his apostolic spirit, his profound humility and meekness, and his great charity.

St. Polycarp fought against heresy. He also taught that Christians must walk in truth, do God’s will, keep all of His commandments, and love whatever He loved. Christians must refrain from all fraud, avarice, detraction, and rash judgment. They must repay evil with forgiveness and mercy. He taught that one must pray all the time, so as not to be led into temptation, fast, persevere and be joyful.

During his episcopate, a violent persecution broke out in Smyrna against the Christians. During this time, though fearless, the bishop retreated to a neighboring village, spending most of his time in prayer.

A boy betrayed the bishop, and horsemen came by night to arrest him. He met his captors at the door, ordered them a supper, and prayed for two hours before he went with them.

He was led directly to the proconsul, who ordered him to blaspheme Christ. St. Polycarp refused and he was to be burned alive.

The executioners would have nailed him to the stake, but he convinced them that it wasn’t necessary. So they simple tied his hands behind his back. At the end of his prayer, the executioners set the fire, but the large flames formed into an arch, gently encircling but not burning his body. Exasperated, officials ordered a spearman to pierce him. Such a quantity of blood flowed from his left side that it put out the fire. The Christians wanted St. Polycarp’s body but the centurion burnt it to ashes. The bones were kept as relics.

Papal Quote of the Day

"The Cross is the definitive revelation of love and divine mercy, also for us, men and women of our time too often distracted by worldly and momentary concerns and interests. God is love and His love is the secret of our happiness. To enter into this mystery of love there is no other way than that of losing ourselves, giving ourselves, the way of the Cross."

"For this reason the liturgy of Lent invites us ... to reject sin and evil, and overcome selfishness and indifference, Prayer, fasting, penance and works of charity towards our brothers and sisters thus become spiritual paths to follow in order to return to God."

~ Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, February 21, 2006

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Support Abortion with Every Phone Call you Make - 'Planned Parenthood Wireless'

NEW YORK, February 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - America's largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood is launching a wireless phone business. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), according to its 2004-2005 annual report, showed a record income of $882 million dollars and a profit of $63 million.The new service, Planned Parenthood Wireless, will provide 10% of revenues generated directly to PPFA. The wireless company facilitating this venture is called Working Assets. It also worked with Planned Parenthood for the defeat of the South Dakota abortion ban. [More]

My Comment:

It's not enough that our tax money goes to pay PP to do abortions, but now they want our telephone business - this is unbelievable!

Check out The Curt Jester's spoof on this.

A "Catholic" University? You Be the Judge

DETROIT, Michigan, February 21, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The University of Detroit Mercy claims it is a Catholic institution. Their web page says, "The University of Detroit Mercy (UDM), a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions . . . seeks to integrate the intellectual, spiritual, ethical and social development of our students."

Nevertheless, the same "Catholic" University is encouraging its student's to work with abortion agencies such as Planned Parenthood. Their career suggestions have not gone unnoticed and a local Planned Parenthood branch is boasting of having hired a UDM student.The "Career Education Center" UDM website lists Planned Parenthood as a career opportunity for students. Pointing to the website for Planned Parenthood, the UDM career website suggests that Planned Parenthood "Lists dozens of clinical and non-clinical positions at Planned Parenthood clinics and similar organizations." (see: http://www.udmercy.edu/cecc/diverse.htm ) [Entire post]

My Comment:

Who is running this university - Satan?

Lord, have mercy!

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle - Pilgrimage Photos Included





Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, so I decided to include some photos from my pilgrimage to Rome (Vatican City) last year. The top photo is the beautiful bronze statue of St. Peter created by Arnolfo di Cambio, c.1300 which is located in the northwestern nave of St. Peter's Basilica. Pilgrims who come to the Basilica traditionally touch and kiss its foot, so that it is literally worn thin.

The middle photo is His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI with the founder of the Community of St. John, Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe, OP, who went to his heavenly reward later in the year, shortly before his 94th birthday. The Community of St. John was in Rome celebrating the founding of the 30th anniversary of the of the order. It was such a blessing to me to meet them both and to actually shake hands with the Holy Father.

The third photo is of course the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, which is truly magnificent.

The feast of the Chair of St. Peter commemerates the teaching authority - the Magesterium of the Vicar of Christ who occupies the throne of St. Peter. The Catechism teaches that "it is the Magesterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of possiblity of professing the true faith without error" so that "the
People of God abides in the truth that liberates" (CCC 890). The exercise of the authority of the Chair of Peter gives rise to the unity that distinguishes the Church. It provides clarity and security in our search for meaning.

Source: The Magnificat

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ITALIAN GIRL SUFFERS MENTAL BREAKDOWN AFTER FORCED ABORTION

Turin, Feb 21, 2007 / 10:48 am (CNA).- A 13-year-old girl is in the psychiatric unit of an Italian hospital after a forced abortion. The girl threatened suicide after her parents and an Italian court submitted her to an abortion, against her will.

According to "La Stampa" young Valentina suffered a mental breakdown after Judge Giuseppe Cocilovo of the Court of Minors ruled that she must undergo the procedure to kill her child.Valentina had become pregnant by her 15-year-old boyfriend and her parents demanded she have an abortion on the grounds that she was “ruining her life” by becoming a mother.

Valentina's mother said she did not have the money to support the child.

Under Italian law, the parents or guardians of a minor may force a child to undergo an abortion.

Since the abortion, Valentina has been confined to the psychiatric unit of Regina Margherita children's hospital in Turin for wanting to commit suicide.

“You have made me kill, and now I kill myself,” Valentina reportedly cried. "I am not crazy; I am only evil like a dog” for what her parents and the court have obliged her to do, she said.

My Comments

How very sad! This is a sick situation - the creation of laws that make it legal to kill an innocent human being, while forcing a young mother to go through the emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological trauma of abortion against her will. Grandparents killing their own grandchild ... no, it is hardly the babe in the womb who is "ruining her life".

Why is it that this 13 year old can recognize that abortion is evil, yet those adults in authority don't have a clue? They are the ones who are sick and should be locked up for being accomplices in the murder of their grandchild and for the
horrendous act of child abuse they have committed toward their own daughter. They are indeed spiritually "sick" and in need of the Divine Physician. It is hard to believe that this is happening in a "Catholic" country like Italy. St. Gianna, pray for them!