Monday, August 31, 2009

Catholic Health Association denies endorsement of health care bill

Via CNA:

In a statement released last Friday, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) clarified that it has not thrown its institutional support behind the current health care bill, while also reiterating its commitment to protect life from conception to natural death.

The Catholic Health Association “has long been committed to a goal of health coverage for all people in the United States. CHA has not, however, endorsed any of the bills currently under consideration,” the statement said.

Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, president and chief executive officer of CHA, said that “our message has always been clear: health care must respect and protect human dignity from conception to natural death. In that spirit, coverage for everyone is a moral imperative and a matter of social justice.”

“To date, CHA has not endorsed any health care reform bill, but our message to lawmakers is unchanged: Health reform should not result in an expansion of abortion, and it must maintain conscience protections for health care providers who do not want to participate in abortions or other morally objectionable procedures,” Sr. Keehan added. Read the entire post.

Fr. Frank Pavone Mourns The Passing of Robert Schindler, Sr.

Staten Island, NY – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, today issued the following statement on the passing of Robert Schindler, Sr., father of Terri Schiavo.

“Bob Schindler remains an inspiration. In spite of enduring the heartbreaking, court ordered killing of his daughter, Terry Schiavo, Bob never stopped fighting for the rights of others who were disabled or medically vulnerable. His quiet strength in the face of persecution and his compassion for those who were too weak to defend themselves will forever serve as examples of how we should show Christ’s love.”

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!

 John Michael Talbot is on his way here and I can hardly wait! In this video clip, he speaks about the change in ministry models he'll be trying out in the coming months.

Saint of the Day: St. Raymund Nonnatus

Raymund was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain in 1204, the son of  wealthy parents. He was delivered by caesarean section when his mother died in childbirth. Hence his name non natus (not born). In his childhood he seemed to find pleasure only in his devotions and serious duties. His father, sensing that Raymund was drawn to religious life, ordered him to manage one of the family farms. Raymund readily obeyed but spent his time with the shepherds and workers, studying and praying until his father abandoned the idea of making his son a worldly success.

Raymund later joined the Mercederians, which was founded by St. Peter Nolasco, who devoted to ransoming Christians captured by the Moors. He succeeded Peter as chief ransomer and went to Algeria to ransom slaves. He remained as hostage for several slaves when his money ran out and was sentenced to be impaled when the governor learned that he had converted several Mohammedans. He escaped the death sentence because of the ransom he would bring, but was forced to run the gauntlet. He was then tortured for continuing his evangelizing activities but was ransomed eight months later by Peter Nolasco.

On his return to Barcelona, he was appointed Cardinal by Pope Gregory IX. He died the following year in 1240 and was canonized in 1657.

Patronage: childbirth; children; expectant mothers; falsely accused people; fever; infants; midwives; newborn babies; obstetricians; pregnant women.

Prayers to St. Raymond Nonnatus

Prayers for Pregnant Women

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Question from a reader about abortion vs. capital punishment and my answer

A reader from Spain asks the following question:

I have noticed that you are clearly anti-abortion. So do I. I agree with you completely that abortion is an assasination. You devoted your catholic blog to fight against that, and I admire your constance and perseverance in fighting with your opinion against abortion.

You turned your catholic blog also in an anti-Obama political campagne, also because of abortion. But let me tell you, that, after seeing a lot of your posts showing your anti-Obama and other opinions against abortion, that you never, never talked about the other form of assassination which is reigning in USA: the death penalty. Are you against death penalty? Because you never talk about this, only of abortion. And death penalty it's also a terrible and cynical form of assassination, as abortion is.

Why do you think about death penalty in USA? Because in my country -Spain- we do not kill people. We have not death penalty.

I hope you understand that I do not pretend nor want to make any offense about you. It's only my humble opinion and I'm just curious to know what do you think about that.

My Answer: You seem to be sincere in asking your question and I am not offended by it.

First of all, let me respond by saying that there's a big difference between a convicted criminal and a perfectly innocent baby. 

In abortion, the unborn child is not even given his/her fundamental right -- the right to life, while a person who has committed a serious offense has been given that fundamental right that is guaranteed to all of us under the United States Constitution. The criminal has been given the opportunity to be born and as such has enjoyed all of the other rights we are guaranteed in this country -- the right to speak freely, the right to bear arms, to worship the religion of our choice, etc. However, the infant who has been slaughtered before birth has not been given any of these rights because he/ she has not been even given the fundamental right -- the right to be born and experience life. This child is totally innocent and his/her blood is being shed without cause, whereas the convicted criminal who has been  been tried by a jury of his peers has been found guilty of a committing an extremely serious crime. In one case, you are executing a convicted criminal who has committed an extremely atrocious crime; in the other case you are executing a totally innocent human being. While there are times when it is acceptable to kill: in self-defense, in protecting our loved ones, and in times of war, it is never acceptable to intentionally kill an innocent human being.

Let's look at this from a statistical perspective. 

Official statistics on executions in the United States have been recorded only since 1930 by the US Dept of Justice. The figures show there have been 4,381 executions from 1930 until February of this year. There were none in the 1968-1976 period. A historian named Watt Espy, director of the Capital Punishment Research Project in Headland, Alabama, has traced the history of the death penalty. In a work published in 1994, he estimated that 18,645 executions had taken place since the early 1600s in what is now the United States. If you add the 265 that have occurred from 1995 until now, you come up with a figure of 18,910.

Turning to abortion, the website of the Alan Guttmacher Institute (which is strongly pro-abortion) reports that in 1996 alone there were 1.37 million abortions just in the United States. That's 3753 per day, one every 23 seconds. In other words, the total number of deaths by capital punishment, for our entire history, is less than the number of deaths by abortion every five days. 

Let's look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about this.

While abortion (the destruction of innocent life) is an intrinsic evil, the death penalty (the killing of those who kill innocents to prevent them from killing innocents again) is not an intrinsically evil act. It is permissible if there is no other solution to the problem.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2321: "The prohibition of murder does not abrogate the right to render an unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. Legitimate defense is a grave duty for whoever is responsible for the lives of others or the common good."

The Catechism also states"... the traditional teaching of the Church has acknowledged as well-founded the right and duty of legitimate public authority to punish malefactors by means of penalties commensurate with gravity, not excluding, in cases of extreme gravity, the death penalty."(2266)

My personal opinion on this is of little significance -- what is important is what the Church teaches and that, as Catholics, we are obedient to her teachings.

I  focus most of my energy on posts involving abortion because I see that as the biggest threat to our country right now and also because that is my "area of expertise", as I have training and experience working as a sidewalk counselor, a crisis pregnancy counselor, and a prayer warrior for the unborn, their families, and for the conversion of abortionists.

Another huge threat to human life in this country is the "health care reform" bill which the Obama administration has proposed and which is forcing the American people to accept and pay for abortions. It also threatens the lives of the elderly and the handicapped in this country. I have been expending much of my energy on this lately as it is a tremendous threat to human life in this country.

Thank you for your question!  God bless you!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Memorial of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
Oil on canvas, 361 x 520 cm
Saint John Museum, La Valletta

We celebrated the birthday of St. John the Baptist on June 24; today we honor the anniversary of his martyrdom.

Shortly after he had baptized Jesus, John the Baptist began to denounce Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. Herod had divorced his own wife and taken Herodias, the wife of his half- brother Philip and also his own niece. John the Baptist declared, "It is not lawful for you to have her," so Herod threw him into prison.

Not only did Herod fear John and his disciples, he also knew him to be a righteous man, so he did not kill him. Herodias was determined to bring about John's death. From prison John followed Jesus's ministry, and sent messengers to question him (Luke 7:19-29). One day Herod gave an eloquent banquet to celebrate his birthday. His entire court was present as well as other powerful and influential Palestinians. Herodias's daughter Salome so pleased Herod when she danced to entertain the company that he promised her whatever she would ask--even half of his kingdom. Salome asked her mother for counsel and was told to request the head of the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12).

Because of his pride Herod, though deeply sorry, could not decline the request; as St. Augustine said, "an oath rashly taken was criminally kept." He sent a soldier of the guard to behead John in prison. Thus, the "voice crying in the wilderness" was silenced. The head was placed on a platter and taken to Salome, who gave it to her mother.

When John's disciples heard what had happened, they took away his body and laid it in a tomb, where he was venerated in the 4th century.

The Greatness of St. John the Baptist

John's holiness appears so great that the Jews come to ask him if he is the looked - for Christ. but he, forestalled as he is with divine favors, protests that he is but "the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.

"The other prophets only saw the Messiah afar off; he points him out in person and in terms so clear that all sincere hearts understand them: "Behold the lamb of God," behold the one who is the object of all the desires of the human race, because he takes away the sins of the world; Ecce Agnus Dei. You do not yet know him, although he is in the midst of you: Medius vestrum stetit quem vos nescitis; he is greater than I, for he was before me; he is so great that I am not even worthy to loose the latchet of his shoe; so great that "I saw the Spirit coming down as a dove from heaven, and he remained upon him...and I saw, and I gave testimony that this is the Son of God.

"What more has he yet to say? "He that comes from above, is above all. He who God has seen heard that he testified...he whom God has sent, speaks the words of God; for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The father loves the Son; and he has given all things into his hand. He that believed in the Son, has life everlasting; but he that not believes in the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.

"These are the last words of the Precursor. By them he achieves his work of preparing souls to receive the Messiah. Indeed, when the Incarnate Word, who alone can speak the words from on high because he is ever in sinu Patris, begins his public mission as the Savior, John will disappear; he will no longer bear testimony to the Truth save with the shedding of his blood.

The Christ, whom he announced, has come at last; he is that Light unto which John bore testimony, and all those who believe in that Light have everlasting life. It is to Him alone that it must be said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

~ Blessed Columba Marmion, O.S.B.

Blessed Columba Marmion was abbot of the Benedictine Abbey of Maredsous, Belgium.

Makers Of Vaccination Refuse To Take Swine Flu Vaccine

Previous Posts:

Don't Inject Me!

Swine Flu Vaccine containing mercury to be given to children, pregnant women

The Oblate Sisters of Christ Priest

The Congregation of Oblate Sisters of Christ Priest was founded in Madrid in 1938.

Within this completely contemplative congregation, the Oblates live entirely surrendered to God, in the solitude and silence, in the incessant prayer and austere penance.

The Oblate offers her life, hides in her cell, in the cloister, in order to give life to the whole Church, but especially to the priests. The Oblate gives herself for the priests in order for them to be saints. She joins Jesus prayer: I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. (Jn 17, 15-17).

~ Via Catholiques1.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Congressman Takes Mic Away From Pro-Life Mom at Health Care Town Hall

Pro-Life Congressman Joe Donnelly (D- Indiana) takes the microphone away from Margie Haley, who points out the abortion mandate in the health care bill at a Town Hall meeting in Delphi, Indiana.

LifeNews.Com has the story here.

Ted Kennedy: What Might Have Been

Father Raymond de Souza has an interesting piece in the National Catholic Register  which reflects on how today's American political scene might have been different if Senator Ted Kennedy had held onto his pro-life beliefs:

Kennedy's family legacy, his impregnable position in Massachusetts (he won more than 60% of the vote the year after Chappaquiddick) and his national prominence rendered him immune from the pressures other politicians had to face other politicians had to face. He could always choose his own path. Had he chosen to remain economically liberal but culturally conservative, he would have prevented the Democratic Party from embracing the orthodoxy of the unlimited abortion license. Had he remained pro-life the Democratic Party would have had to make place for other pro-life politicians. Had he remained pro-life many others — Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jesse Jacksonwould not have abandoned their pro-life positions as the price to be paid for national ambition...Indeed, had Kennedy remained pro-life — along with his positions on immigration, health care, poverty, war and peace — he would have entered his senior years as the great Catholic legislator in terms of the welfare state, health care, big government, the peace agenda and the right to life.

Fr. Robert Sircio, who appeared on  Raymond Arroyo's The World Over program on EWTN this evening also has an excellent article on NRO which asks the same question:

What might the face of the Democratic party, indeed American politics, today look like if Ted Kennedy had, instead of reversing himself, maintained the unflinching stance of his late sister Eunice in her consistent defense of vulnerable human life — whether that of a mentally handicapped child or sister or an infant in the womb? Instead, the senator took the dubious advice of certain Boston Jesuits to abandon that tradition and hence those most vulnerable.

Comprehensive Sex Ed = More Abortions

Thousands of abortions involving underage girls are occurring in Scotland, although the children have taken classes on alleged "comprehensive sex education."

The news comes after the British Medical Journal released a report on the U.K.'s sex education program, which Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association calls an utter failure.

"The thing that really makes it interesting though, related to what's going on here in the U.S., is that [the Scots] implemented a program that the president is describing as a promising, in fact a successful program that he wants to replicate with your and my tax dollars here in the United States," she notes.

Read the entire post.

New Jersey Bishops Encourage Catholics to Protect Marriage Against Redefinition

 The Catholic bishops of New Jersey have distributed a letter explaining Church teaching on marriage and refuting the errors of same-sex "marriage" proponents. Urging the faithful to "protect and promote" marriage, they discussed the God-given natural complementarity of the union of man and woman.

"As Catholics, we must not stand by in silence in the face of the many challenges that threaten marriage and, in turn, children and the public good. We must not shirk from our responsibility," the bishops' message begins.

New Jersey state legislators may vote on recognizing same-sex "marriage" sometime after the November election.
Parish priests throughout the state were directed to distribute the bishops' letter, titled "The Call to Marriage is Woven Deeply into the Human Spirit," in parish bulletins last Sunday, The Newark Star-Ledger reported.

The bishops of Metuchen, Trenton, Camden, and Paterson were signatories to the message, as were Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark and Bishop William Skurla of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Passaic.

In their letter, the bishops noted a "broad cultural shift" away from religion and social traditions and towards "secular individualism." They described some states' recent recognition of same-sex "marriage" as an expression of this cultural trend.

"We must protect and promote marriage," the bishops continued, saying Catholic teaching on marriage and the complementarity of the sexes is a truth "evident to right reason" and recognized by the world's major cultures.
Explaining Catholic teaching on marriage, they noted that God made man male and female.

"Man and woman are different from each other but created for each other. This complementarity, including sexual difference, draws them together in a mutually loving union that always should be open to the procreation of children."

Read the rest of the story here.

St. Augustine: a saint after my own heart

Today is the memorial of St. Augustine - one of my favorite saints. At age 12, I read his Confessions and was fascinated with his great love and passion for the Lord. Little did I realize at that time that eleven years later, I would stop practicing my own Catholic faith and, like Augustine, it would be the long-suffering and persistent prayers of my mother that would draw me to the heart of  Jesus and back to the faith of my youth.

St. Augustine was a Western Father of the Church and his conversion to Christianity is well-known as one of the most important events in the history of the Church.

Augustine was born in Tagaste, Africa in 354 to Patrcius, a pagan Roman official, and to Monica, a devout Christian. Monica raised Augustine in the Christian faith, but when he went to study law in Carthage, he turned away from his Christian beliefs and led a life of immorality and hedonism.

At age 15, he took a took a mistress who bore him a son, Adoedatus, which means “the gift of God,” and at age 18, he and his friend, Honoratus became members of the Manichaean heretical sect, which accepted the dual principle of good and evil.

The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen explained his attraction to the heresy: “The conflict between flesh and spirit in him was resolved by the heresy of Manichæanism because it enabled him to pursue a voluptuous life without ever being held accountable for it. He could say that the evil principle within him was so strong, so deep, and intense that the good principle could not operate.”

Augustine turned away from his pursuit of law to literary endeavors and won poetic tournaments and made a name for himself in the world of philosophy. Augustine made plans to teach in Rome, but instead went to Milan.

“Monica prayed that her son would never go to Italy because she feared that there would be more evil companionship there than in Northern Africa. Her prayers seemed to go unanswered, but at the same time, they were answered in a mysterious way.

In the year 384, Augustine told his mother to go to visit the Church of St. Cyprian the Martyr while he went to visit friends. He slipped away from Africa that night and went to Rome, against his mother's wishes. His reputation as an orator and rhetorician preceded him and he was recognized as one of the most learned men of his time.

When Augustine went to Milan, to plead for the restoration of paganism to the City, he heard of the scholarship and the oratorical powers of Ambrose, the Bishop. Many days he would sit under the pulpit in veneration of Ambrose. Later, he spent many hours in his company, discussing philosophy and he took manuscripts from Ambrose's library to read.

All the while, the chains of habit were strong in Augustine and his carnal nature was resisting his spiritual birth. In August, 386, he met Pontitianus who told Augustine the story of St. Anthony of the Desert. St. Anthony spent more than seventy years in the desert.

After hearing the story, Augustine said: "Manes is an impostor. The Almighty calls me. Christ is the only way and Paul is my guide.

"If Anthony has conquered the libido and sex, why could not he, Augustine asked himself.

Augustine eager to be alone went into the garden. There he underwent a conflict between the old ego and the new one that was being born.

Casting himself at the foot of a spreading fig tree, he cried hot and bitter tears, which overflowed and bathed his spirit. He cried aloud:

"When shall I achieve salvation, when shall I cast off my fetters? Tomorrow perhaps, or the day after? Why not this very hour?"

Suddenly he became aware of the voice of a child, a boy or girl, he knew not, speaking in a neighboring house.

"Take up and read," said the sweet voice.

He hurried back into the room. He found a copy of the epistles of St. Paul, which Pontitianus had been fingering. Seizing it, and opening it at random, his eyes fell upon the words of St. Paul to the Romans 13:13:

"Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh."

In that one moment, the carnal passions, which had for sixteen years appeared invincible, were annihilated.

Augustine cries out in deep regret:

"Too late, O Ancient Beauty, have I loved Thee."

On Holy Thursday, which fell on April 22, 387 AD, he recited the Credo aloud in the presence of an assembled congregation. He fasted until Holy Saturday and in the evening he went to the Basilica, where Bishop Ambrose pronounced the last exorcisms over him, made the sign of the Cross upon his forehead and breast, and poured the baptismal waters.

Then, in accordance with the custom used only in the church in Milan, Ambrose got on his knees and washed the feet of Augustine. The two saints were united for perhaps the last time on earth. The elder humbled himself before the younger, the more famous before the more obscure.

Adeodatus, the carnal son of his sinning, received Baptism at the same time.

The nameless woman whom Augustine lived with, and mother of Adeodatus, returned to Carthage and spent her remaining days in penance.

One of the effects of Augustine's conversion was a return to joviality, and a deep sense of inner peace. There was also a great increase of literary productiveness. Between the years 380 and 386, before his conversion, he had not written a single page. Now, in a short space of time, he composed four brief books in succession.

In 397, or twelve years after his conversion, Augustine wrote his Confessions, the greatest spiritual autobiography ever written. It is the work of a teacher who explains, a philosopher who thinks, and a theologian who instructs. It is the work of a poet who achieves chaste beauty in the writing, and a mystic who pours out thanks for having found himself in peace.

"Too late have I loved You, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved You. You have called to me, and have cried out, and have shattered my deafness. You have blazed forth with light and have put my blindness to flight! You have sent forth fragrance, and I have drawn in my breath, and I pant after You. I have tasted You, and I hunger and thirst after You. You have touched me, and I have burned for Your peace" (Confessions 10,27).

None of the Freuds or Jungs or Adlers of our 20th century has ever pierced the conscious and the unconscious mind with a rapier as keen as Augustine's. No man can say he has ever understood himself if he has not read the 'Confessions' of Augustine.”

St. Monica died in Ostia (modern Italy) and St. Augustine remained in Italy, for a time, praying, studying and writing, before returning to Tagaste, Africa, where he sold all his possessions and distributed the money to the poor. He was ordained as a priest in 391. He was later made bishop of Hippo at the age of 41 and became one of the four great founders of religious orders and a Doctor of the universal Church. He died on August 30, 430.

Patron: Brewers; diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; diocese of Kalamazoo, Michigan; printers; city of Saint Augustine, Florida; diocese of Saint Augustine, Florida; sore eyes; diocese of Superior, Wisconsin; theologians; diocese of Tucson, Arizona.

"Even though you possess plenty, you are still indigent. You abound in temporal possessions, but you need things eternal. You listen to the needs of a human beggar, yet yourself are a beggar of God. What you do with those who beg from you is what God will do with His beggar. You are filled and you are empty. Fill your empty neighbor with your fullness, so that your emptiness may be filled from God's fullness."
~ St. Augustine

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sisters Aplenty

I love to hear vocation news like this:

Ann Arbor sisters can't build fast enough to house new members

Culture of Life Quote: Bishop John D'Arcy on the Notre Dame Scandal

 Bishop D'Arcy describes his feelings prior to the 2009 Notre Dame graduation and on graduation day:

“I found it an increasingly sad time, and I was convinced that there were no winners, but I was wrong.” 

 As graduation drew near, I knew I should be with the students. It was only right that the bishop be with them, for they were on the side of truth, and their demonstration was disciplined, rooted in prayer and substantive. I told the pro-life rally, several thousand people on a lovely May day, that they were the true heroes. Despite the personal costs to themselves and their families, they chose to give public witness to the Catholic faith…”

Read the entire story here at America Magazine.

Don't Inject Me!

 I have written about the dangers of the swine flu vaccine in a previous post -- this catchy tune voices some of my concerns. This song was written in protest of the widespread swine flu vaccinations now being pushed around the world. There are good reasons why half the health care workers around the world are reluctant to receive the vaccine.

Related Information:

Swine flu jab link to killer nerve disease: Leaked letter reveals concern of neurologists over 25 deaths in America

How Dangerous is the Swine Flu Vaccine?

 'Dangers' of the fast-track swine flu vaccine

Swine Flu Vaccine containing mercury to be given to children, pregnant women

Vatican studies miracle by Mary Mackillop on her way to sainthood

To learn more about Blessed Mary MacKillop (1842 - 1909), go here.

Related: MacKillop sainthood "almost completely certain": Pell

St. Monica, Patron of Married Women and Mothers

Today is the memorial of St. Monica, one of my favorite saints. She was a tenacious, patient and persistent prayer warrior who never gave up on her son, Augustine, a great sinner, who later became so strongly drawn to the faith that he was eventually canonized, as one of the Church's greatest teachers and philosophers and was designated as a doctor of the Church.

Monica was born in 332 to Christian parents in present day Algeria to Christian parents and married at the age 13 or 14 to an older man named Patricius, who was neither wealthy nor Christian. He has also been described as an ill tempered man who was unfaithful to her. In addition, she had to deal with a live-in mother-in-law who was constantly criticizing her. She sought refuge in God through an intimate prayer life and in her three children: Augustine, Navigius, and Perpetua. (It is believed that two other children died in infancy.) In answer to her constant prayers, both her mother-in-law and her husband Patricius converted to Christianity. Patricius died the following year, one year after his Baptism.

At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a student in Carthage. Augustine kept bad company and was immersed in “a cauldron of illicit loves.” He took a Carthaginian woman as his mistress and lived with her for fifteen years. Monica prayed constantly for his faith, but the faith he adopted was as a Manichean. For a while, Monica banned him from her house. In her sorrow a certain bishop consoled her: "Don't worry, it is impossible that a son of so many tears should be lost." Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him.

When he was 29, Augustine left North Africa for a teaching position in Italy and Monica tried to follow him, but he was determined to go alone, so he tricked her into believing that he was only visiting the port to say goodbye to a friend, when he was actually leaving. Monica followed him anyway and found him seriously depressed and tried to arrange a wealthy marriage for him. The faithful mistress had left their son with him and had returned to Carthage. Augustine took another mistress and then became engaged to wealthy young woman, whom he later abandoned when he decided to take a vow of celibacy. Augustine had met Ambrose, the archbishop of Milan, and was influenced greatly by him.

For a while, Monica lived with Augustine and her grandson in a country cottage in Milan, where where they lived in community with friends and his brother, Navigus and she served as the housekeeper. Here she found St. Ambrose, who became her spiritual director, and through him, she ultimately had the joy of seeing Augustine convert to Christianity, after seventeen years of resistance. Augustine was baptized by Ambrose in 387 in the church of St. John the Baptist at Milan.

Augustine tired of teaching and resolved to return to North Africa. The family set out on their journey, stopping at Cività Vecchia and then at Ostia. Here Monica died in peace and the finest pages of Augustine’s "Confessions" were penned as the result of the emotion he then experienced.

Monica is the patron of:
abuse victims, alcoholics, alcoholism, Bevilacqua, Italy, difficult marriages, disappointing children, homemakers, housewives, Mabini, Bohol, Philippines, married women, mothers, victims of adultery, victims of unfaithfulness, victims of verbal abuse, widows, wives

Quotes of St. Monica

“Nothing is far from God.”

“Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.”

~ About the conversion to St. Augustine

Prayer to St. Monica

Dear St. Monica, troubled wife and mother, many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime. Yet, you never despaired or lost faith. With confidence, persistence, and profound faith, you prayed daily for the conversion of your beloved husband, Patricius, and your beloved son, Augustine; your prayers were answered. Grant me that same fortitude, patience, and trust in the Lord. Intercede for me, dear St. Monica, that God may favorably hear my plea for(mention request here...)and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Are you a Catholic Against ObamaCare? -- Would you like to see changes made in the proposed health care reform that has been proposed by the Obama Administration which mandates abortion and supports euthanasia?

If so, leave a comment here and we'll add you to the blogroll at the new blog Catholics Against Obama Care.

Infamous Hollywood Screenwriter to Pen Film on Our Lady of Guadalupe - Patroness of the Unborn

 I love hearing about conversion miracles like this one reported by LSN:

Infamous Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, 64, known for such sordid films as Basic Instinct and Showgirls, has undergone a conversion and now will be writing a new film on Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Eszterhas has been one of Hollywood's most influential screenwriters, writing lucrative blockbuster films, such as Flashdance, Jagged Edge, and Basic Instinct, and raking in million-dollar paychecks.  Known for living the full 'Hollywood lifestyle', Eszterhas gave it up to move home to Ohio with his wife and children in the late 1990s.

In 2001, faced with throat cancer resulting from his smoking and alcohol addictions, which threatened to kill him, Eszterhas turned to God in desperation.

"Seven years ago, I sat down on a curb near my home, sobbing, and asked God to help me," he writes in a September 2008 Washington Post article.  "I cried and begged God to help me ... and He did. I hadn't prayed since I was a boy. I had made fun of God and those who loved God in my writings. And now, through my sobs, I heard myself asking God to help me ... and from the moment I asked, He did."

God, he says, cured him of his disease, but, more than that, He gave him the strength to turn away from his worldly life and back to the Catholic faith.  "Not only did He give me the strength to be able to defeat my addictions," he wrote, "He saved my life. My throat surgeon ... told me seven years after the surgery that I am 'cured.' Not that I am in remission, but that I am cured. ... My life has turned inside-out. I have stopped my excesses and replaced them with prayer and long walks. I am carrying the cross as often as they'll let me at Holy Angels Church in Bainbridge Township, Ohio. And I have written a book as a thank-you to God. Not just for saving my life, but for saving me."

Eszterhas shares his story of conversion in his 2008 book, Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith. Read the rest of the story here.

New Documentary Exposing the Abortion Industry: Blood Money

A group of filmmakers have recently filmed a documentary that aims to expose the terrible reality of abortion, focusing on the financial aspect of the multimillion dollar abortion industry.

The film, entitled "Blood Money," includes numerous interviews with leaders of the pro-life movement, in which they lay out the facts about the abortion industry and the effects that abortions have on women. Read the rest at LSN.

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RIP: Senator Edward Kennedy

Although I did not agree with his pro-death, anti-Catholic policies, I was very sad to hear of the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. I had been praying for his health -- particularly his spiritual health.

As a child, I admired his brothers, President John Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy. I was devastated when they were both assassinated. The incident at Chappaquiddick made me shudder and led me to pray for Edward Kennedy. I sincerely hope that he was able to repent on his death bed. Let us pray for the repose of his soul.

From CNA:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) passed away last night at the age of 77 after a battle with brain cancer.  Kennedy, a Catholic, will be remembered for his service to the poor, and dedication to education but also his opposition to pro-life issues.

After a long struggle with brain cancer, last night Sen. Kennedy took a turn for the worse while at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.  Surrounded by his family members and a priest, Fr. Patrick Tarrant, he passed away around 11:30 p.m.  Entire story here.

More Reactions and Information: 

American Life League: Statement on the Passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy

LifeSiteNews.Com: Ted Kennedy, Abortion Advocate and Health Reform Mastermind, Dead at 77

First Things: Ted Kennedy, Healthcare & Purgatory by The Anchoress

Patrick Madrid:  My Response to Sr. Maureen Feidler's Comments About Ted Kennedy's Passing

My Domestic Church - Elena: Senator Kennedy: RIP (Includes Video)

Related Post on Catholic Fire:

Senator Edward Kennedy Has Malignant Brain Tumor

The Genius of St. Jeanne (Joan) Elizabeth Bichier

Jeanne (Joan) Elizabeth Bichier was born on July 1773 in La Blanc, France at the Chateau des Anges. Her father, Antony Bichier, was a public official; her mother was Mary Augier de Moussac, the daughter of a public official.

At the age of 10, she attended the convent school in Poitiers, where one of her favorite pastimes was building sand castles, While her parents had named her Joan Elizabeth Mary Lucy, she went by the name Elizabeth.

Elizabeth witnessed closely and was personally affected by the events of the French Revolution which rocked France when she was 16 years old.

When Elizabeth was 19, her father died and Elizabeth had to engage in a long legal battle with the National Assembly to keep the state from seizing the family property. She studied the law in order to provide for her own defense and won the case.

When she was twenty - three, Elizabeth and her mother left their family home to leave in a Paris suburb near Béthines in Poitou.  The local parish was in upheaval due to the Revolution and most priests were exiled from France. In order to keep the faith alive, Elizabeth gathered every night with the farmers and  their wives for prayers, hymns, and spiritual reading.  Soon she heard rumors of a priest saying Mass in a barn 25 miles away at Maillé. That priest was Saint Andrew Fournet, an underground priest who was forced to remain clandestine because he refused to make a pledge of allegiance to the government of the new republic. He soon became Elizabeth's good friend and spiritual advisor.

Following the death of her mother in 1804, Elizabeth entered a Carmelite convent at the age of 31. She later entered the Society of Providence to learn more about the religious life. Elizabeth, along with Fr. Andrew Fournet founded the Daughters of the Cross of Saint Andrew to care for the sick and the poor, and to help educate the people of rural France. Elizabeth was the first superior of the community, and by 1830 the community had sixty houses scattered throughout France. A men's congregation, Priests of the Sacred Heart of Betherran was formed alongside the Daughters. Elizabeth was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.


Elizabeth was a gentle, resolute women, who stood strong in the face of trials due to her faith in God. She helped to rebuild the faith in the shambles of the French Revolution. Let us imitate her by trusting in God in the midst of our daily trials and focusing on the needs of others, especially the neediest in the turmoil of our own times - in this culture of death -- those who are in need of spiritual assistance who need to hear the Truth. Let us help to rebuild the faith in our own time.

~ Jean M. Heimann

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

St. John of the Cross on Love

"Where there is no love, pour love in, and you draw love out."

Mickey Rourke Thanks God and Catholic Faith for Saving His Life

Famed Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke, who was at the Sarajevo Film Festival last week, told a Bosnian newspaper that he thanks God and his Catholic faith for giving him a “second chance” in life to overcome his addictions, which almost led him to commit suicide. Read the full story here.

The "Death Book" & Barack Obama: Is the Commander-in-Chief Betraying Veterans?

You've heard of the "death panels" associated with ObamaCare, but have you heard of the veteran's "Death Book"?  Chris Wallace interviews talk with Jim Towey, former director of faith-based initiatives in the Bush administration and current President of St. Vincent College on FOX News Sunday on August 23, 2009.

Transcript of  FOX News Interview 

Wall Street Journal article: The Death Book for Veterans: Ex - soldiers don't need to be told their a burden to society.

St. Louis IX, Confessor, King of France

 Today is the optional memorial of St. Louis IX, (1215-1270).

Louis IX, King of France, son of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile, was born at Poissy, April 25, 1215. Louis was twelve years old when his father's death made him king.At that time, his mother Queen Blanche of Castile, was declared regent and remained an important influence throughout his life.

Louis had tutors who made him a master of Latin, taught him to speak easily in public and write with dignity and grace. But Blanche's primary concern was to implant in him a deep regard and awe for everything related to religion. She used often to say to him as he was growing up, "I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin."

At nineteen, he married Marguerite of Provence and the couple had eleven children. Louis was a model father and his children received careful instruction from him in the Christian life.

Louis brought justice to France. When, for example, a baron hanged three students for poaching rabbits, the King's response was firm. He forced the Baron to surrender his forest, imprisoned him for a time, fined him heavily, made him build a chapel in memory of each student, and ordered him to crusade for three years in Palestine.

Louis was a loving and generous king. The poorest of the poor were recipients of his charity and alms everyday. Beggars were fed from his table, he ate their leavings, washed their feet, and ministered to the needs of the lepers. Daily, he fed 120 poor people. He founded many hospitals and houses: the House of the Felles-Dieu for reformed prostitutes; the Quinze-Vingt for 300 blind men (1254), and hospitals at Pontoise, Vernon, Compiégne.

Louis was a faithful Christian sovereign. One of his first acts as King was to build the famous monastery of Royaumont, with funds left for the purpose by his father. Louis gave encouragement to the religious orders, placing the Carthusians in the palace of Vauvert in Paris, and assisting his mother in founding the convent of Maubuisson.

Louis led an exemplary life, secretly spending long hours in prayer, fasting, and penance. He attended Holy Mass twice daily, and was surrounded, even while traveling, with priests chanting the hours.

Louis died near Tunis, August 25, 1270 and was canonized in Orvieto in 1297, by Boniface VIII.

Patron: barbers; builders; button makers; construction workers; Crusaders; death of children; difficult marriages; distillers; embroiderers; French monarchs; grooms; haberdashers; hairdressers; hair stylists; kings; masons; needle workers; parenthood; parents of large families; prisoners; sculptors; sick people; soldiers; stone masons; stonecutters; tertiaries; Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Missouri.


"If God send thee adversity, receive it in patience and give thanks to our Saviour and bethink thee that thou hast deserved it, and that He will make it turn to thine advantage. If He send thee prosperity, then thank Him humbly, so that thou becomest not worse from pride or any other cause, when thou oughtest to be better. For we should not fight against God with his own gifts."

"In prosperity, give thanks to God with humility and fear lest by pride you abuse God's benefits and so offend him."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Amazing Life Inside the Womb

 Amazing footage mixed to a song by a family of six, conveniently called MuSix, performing their song "My Tears"

~ Via1roamingcatholic.


by Judie Brown

President Obama has resorted to an incredibly infantile phrase—”wee-weed up”—to degrade his "health care reform" detractors. While the White House has now explained this remark as the president describing opponents of his health care debacle as agitated bed wetters, the truth is sobering—not silly. In fact, Obama’s opponents are perhaps a bit more honest than he would like; thus, the insults.

Having said that, the worrying fact is that there are still an enormous number of well-meaning people, including Catholics, who simply do not want to see the truth about what is and is not contained in the various proposals currently floating around Congress. One example recently came my way via a Facebook comment.

A very sincere Catholic recently wrote to me about American Life League’s opposition to the "health care reform" plan, even though our concerns stem from the fact that the proposals are based on imposed death as a cost-saving measure. The more I read and reread her earnest viewpoint on the matter, the more I am convinced that far too many Catholic Americans have never heard of the Church’s the teachings. Either that, or they do not understand and accept them. Such confusion results from a type of Catholic ignorance which Americans like Obama count on, day in and day out.

Click here to read the rest of Judie's column.

Pro-Life Leader Blasts Planned Parenthood President for Dishonest Attack on US Bishops

FRONT ROYAL, VA - Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, President of Human Life International (HLI) blasted Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, for her scathing and error-filled attack on the U.S. Catholic Bishops who have called for abortion to be excluded from all proposed national health care legislation.

"Ms. Richards has done a favor to all pro-lifers and people of good faith in her hate-filled rant against the shepherds of our beloved Church," said Fr. Euteneuer. "First, she has reminded everyone that, despite President Obama's recent statements to the contrary, abortion is absolutely going to be covered in any health care reform legislation that crosses his desk. He and his cronies in Congress are much too beholden to the abortion lobby for any different outcome."

"Second, she again highlights the extreme position of the organization she leads, and their hostility to the Catholic Church. No Catholic Organization should be comfortable finding themselves on the same side of the table as this hateful anti-woman outfit," said Fr. Euteneuer.

"Finally, among her many factual errors Ms. Richards claims, despite the findings of virtually every study on the subject, that expanded access to contraception will somehow reduce the number of abortions," said Fr. Euteneuer. "What does she recommend, force-feeding young women contraception? How much more access can be granted to this environment-destroying, blood-clot causing, biology-altering chemical that, as the Catholic Church predicted, has resulted in more, not less, abortions?"

"God bless our bishops who courageously and repeatedly stand up to such lies, even as they support the ideal of health care availability for all," said Fr. Euteneuer.

Pray Regarding Health Care Reform

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, speaks about the prayer cause he launched on Facebook (see, and about prayer regarding health care reform and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

Cross-posted at Catholics Against ObamaCare.

Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle and Martyr

The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew
TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista
Oil on canvas, 167 x 139 cm
San Stae, Venice

St. Bartholomew was born in Cana. His name means "son of Tolomai" and scholars believe he is the same person as Nathanael mentioned in John. He was brought to Jesus by the apostle Phillip. After the Ascension of the Lord, he preached the gospel in India where he was martyred in 79 A.D. The exact manner of his death is uncertain, but according to some, he was whipped severely and crucified with his head downward. He is often depicted in art as being whipped and holding in his hand his own skin.

St. Bartholomew is the patron of bookbinders, butchers, corn-chandlers, dyers, glovers, furriers, leather-workers, plasterers, shoemakers, tailors, tanners, vine-growers, and Florentine salt and cheese merchants. He is invoked against nervous disorders and twitchings.


On the feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a new blog was born: Catholics Against Obama Care.

While health care reform is needed, the current plan proposed is totally unacceptable. To learn more and to add your blog to our roll, please go here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Monstrous Regiment of Women

The Monstrous Regiment of Women

H/T: To Be a Mother

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, we are commemorating a beautiful Marian Feast, that of the Queenship of Mary. This special Liturgical Feast was proclaimed by Pope Pius XII on October 11, 1954 through his Encyclical Letter "Ad Caeli Reginam."

The Holy Catholic Church made this proclamation based upon the fact that whether in time of peace or in time of war, the faithful have incessantly offered prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven.

Following the tremendous destruction that occurred during World War II and considering the reality that the threat of a similar catastrophe filled the faithful with a great anguish, the Church turned its eyes towards Mary, the Heavenly Queen, in the hope of her protection. Mary has never failed those who have sought her intercession in prayer, placing their total trust in her.

Mary’s queenship has roots in Scripture. At the Annunciation, Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would receive the throne of David and rule forever. (Luke 1:32 -33) At the Visitation, Elizabeth calls Mary “Mother of my Lord.” (Luke 1:43) As in all the mysteries of Mary’s life, Mary is closely associated with Jesus: Her queenship is a share in Jesus’ kingship. We can also recall that in the Old Testament the mother of the king has great influence in court.

In the fourth century, St. Ephrem called Mary “Lady” and “Queen” and Church Fathers and Doctors continued to use the title. Hymns of the eleventh to thirteenth centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship.

The Saints on Mary's Queenship:

"No one has access to the Almighty as His mother has; none has merit such as hers. Her Son will deny her nothing that she asks; and herein lies her power. While she defends the Church, neither height nor depth, neither men nor evil spirits, neither great monarchs, nor craft of man, nor popular violence, can avail to harm us; for human life is short, but Mary reigns above, a Queen forever."

~Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman

"Just as Mary surpassed in grace all others on earth, so also in heaven is her glory unique. If eye has not seen or ear heard or the human heart conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9), who can express what He has prepared for the woman who gave Him birth and who loved Him, as everyone knows, more than anyone else?"

~St. Bernard of Clairvaux

"She has surpassed the riches of the virgins, the confessors, the martyrs, the apostles, the prophets, the patriarchs, and the angels, for she herself is the first-fruit of the virgins, the mirror of confessors, the rose of martyrs, the ruler of apostles, the oracle of prophets, the daughter of patriarchs, the queen of angels."

~St. Bonaventure

Let us kneel at Mary's feet today and confidently place all our needs and concerns into the hands of our Mother, Mary the Queen of angels and saints, Queen of heaven and earth.

Queenship of Mary in Scripture

Litany of the Queenship of Mary

Friday, August 21, 2009

Breaking: White House Reveals Obama Is Bipolar

White House officials admit Obama's extreme confidence and total euphoria over "hope" and "change" were symptoms of a prolonged manic episode. Enjoy!

H/T: American Catholic

Pope St. Pius X, "Pope of the Eucharist"

Guiseppe Sarto was born June 2, 1835, the second of ten children born to a poor family in the village of Riese, Province of Treviso, near Venice. His mother, Margherita Sanson, was a seamstress. His father, Giovanni Sarto, who was a cobbler by trade, as well as the caretaker of the city hall and the town's postmaster, passed away when Gisueppe was 16.

Gisueppe entered the seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 23. For nine years, he served as chaplain at Tombolo, having to assume most of the functions of parish priest, as the pastor was old and in poor health. He sought to prefect his knowledge of theology by studying Saint Thomas and canon law. He established a night school for adults, and devoted himself to pastoral ministry for 17 years. He became the bishop of Mantua, cardinal patriarch of Venice, and Pope in 1903. As Pope, he took as the motto of his reign "to renew all things in Christ."

Referred to as the "Pope of the Eucharist", he advocated frequent Communion for adults, sacramental preparation for children, and instruction in catechism for everyone. It was by his desire that the Eucharistic Congress of 1905 be held in Rome.

Pius X reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought Gregorian chant back. He reorganized the Roman curia, worked against the modern antagonism of the state against the Church. He helped to draft the New Code of Cannon law, issues in 1917. He encouraged Scripture reading by all the faithful.

Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914 at Vatican City from natural causes aggravated by worries over the beginning of World War I and was buried under the altar of the Chapel of the Presentation, Saint Peter's basilica.

Patron: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; diocese of Des Moines, Iowa: first communicants; diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; pilgrims; diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


"Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven."

"I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor."

"My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.”

Let the storm rage and the sky darken - not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent."

"Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: "There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land" (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the arbiter of peace between God and man. "

Prayer to Saint Pius X

Glorious Pope of the Eucharist, Saint Pius X, you sought "to resore all things in Christ." Obtain for me a true love of Jesus so that I may live only for Him. Help me to acquire a lively fervor and a sincere will to strive for sanctity of life, and that I may avail myself of the riches of the Holy Eucharist in sacrifice and sacrament. By your love for Mary, mother and queen of all, inflame my heart with tender devotion to her. Blessed model of the priesthood, obtain for us holy, dedicated priests, and increase vocations to the religious life. Dispel confusion and hatred and anxiety, and incline our hearts to peace and concord. so that all nations will place themselves under the sweet reign of Christ. Amen. Saint Pius X, pray for me.

Go here to pray the Litany of Pope Pius X.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Film on Fatima: The 13th Day

A film based on the Marian apparitions to three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on 13 May. The Miracle of the Sun occurred on the final day of the Blessed Virgin Mary's appearance in Fatima.

The 13th Day premiered for the film industry on May 13th 2009, the opening day of the Marche du Film which runs alongside the world renowned Film Festival in Cannes. The producers of the film are trying for a release date in Fall of this year (2009 A.D.) to coincide with the October 13th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. For more information and to learn how you can promote this film, click

~ Video and information via Tito.

Gynecologists in Spain plan to choose jail before performing abortions

It's sad that we don't have more doctors in the US who are willing to stand up for what they believe like these courageous gynecologists in Spain. (The AMA has endorsed Obama's health care reform which advocates abortion and promotes euthanasia.) I applaud them for upholding their convictions.

Dr. Esteban Rodriguez, spokesman for the organization Right to Life (Derecho a Vivir) in Spain, responded yesterday to comments by the country’s Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamano, who said there was no room for a conscience clause in the new law on abortion.

“We are willing to go to jail rather than following a criminal law, Rodriguez said, “and we are willing to commit the supposed crime of disobedience before the crime of abortion.”

“We will not kill our patients, nor will we commit a crime against the public health deliberately harming the heath of women, no matter how much the Minister of Justice threatens us and abuses his power,” the doctor said.

“We doctors are not soldiers, nor policemen, nor executioners. There is no civil disobedience in the refusal to kill a human being, but rather the fulfilling of our professional obligation,” he added.

Click here to read the rest of the story here.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Abbot and Doctor of the Church

Bernard, the founding abbot of Clairvaux Abbey in Burgundy, was one of the most commanding Church leaders in the first half of the twelfth century as well as one of the greatest spiritual masters of all times and the most powerful propagator of the Cistercian reform. Bernard is also known as the second founder of the Cistercians, the Mellifluous Doctor, and the last of the Fathers of the Holy Church.

He was born to a noble family at Fontaines, near Dijon, France in 1090, the third of seven children, six of whom were sons.

Bernard left his privileged life near Dijon, France, to join the Cistercians at the age of 22. He was well educated and so passionate about his faith that he convinced 30 of his relatives -- including all of his brothers, his uncle, and later his widowed father -- as well as many friends to join him at the abbey. Bernard first entered the abbey at Citeaux, but only three years later was sent with 12 other monks to establish another monastery in the Diocese of Champagne. The monastery came to be known Clairvaux, the Valley of Light.

As a young abbot he published a series of sermons on the Annunciation. These marked him not only as a most gifted spiritual writer but also as the "cithara of Mary," especially noted for his development of Mary's role as mediator.

Bernard's spiritual writing as well as his extraordinary personal magnetism began to attract many to Clairvaux and the other Cistercian monasteries, leading to many new foundations. He was drawn into the controversy developing between the new monastic movement which he preeminently represented and the established the Cluniac order, a branch of the Benedictines. This led to one of his most controversial and most popular works, his Apologia.

Bernard's dynamism soon reached far beyond monastic circles. He was sought as an advisor and mediator by the ruling powers of his age. More than any other he helped to bring about the healing of the papal schism which arose in 1130 with the election of the antipope Anacletus II. He was commissioned by Pope Eugene III to preach the second Crusade. In obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff he traveled through France and Germany, and aroused the greatest enthusiasm for the holy war among the masses of the population. The failure of the expedition raised a great storm against the saint, but he attributed it to the sins of the Crusaders.

Although he suffered from constant physical pain and illness and had to govern a monastery that soon housed several hundred monks and was sending forth groups regularly to begin new monasteries (he personally saw to the establishment of sixty-five of the three hundred Cistercian monasteries founded during his thirty-eight years as abbot), he yet found time to compose many spiritual works that still speak to us today. He laid out a solid foundation for the spiritual life in his works on grace and free will, humility and love.

His gifts as a theologian were called upon to respond to the dangerous teachings of the scintillating Peter Abelard, of Gilbert de la Porree and of Arnold of Brescia. His masterpiece, his Sermons on the Song of Songs, was begun in 1136 and was still in composition at the time of his death. With great simplicity and poetic grace Bernard writes of the deepest experiences of the mystical life in ways that became normative for all succeeding writers. For Pope Eugene he wrote Five Books on Consideration, the bedside reading of Pope John XXIII and many other pontiffs through the centuries.

Bernard died at Clairvaux on August 20, 1153. He was canonized by Pope Alexander III on January 18, 1174. Pope Pius VII declared him a Doctor of the Church in 1830.

~ Excerpted, in part, from The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia

Patron: beekeepers; bees; candlemakers; chandlers; wax-melters; wax refiners; Gibraltar; Queens College, Cambridge.

Some of St. Bernard's writings can be downloaded here.

St. Bernard on the Blessed Virgin Mary:

"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips; never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer; neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal.”

"If the hurricanes of temptation rise against you, or you are running upon the rocks of trouble, look to the star- call on Mary!"

St. Bernard on Love:

"Love is sufficient of itself; it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in the practice. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return. The sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him."


O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bishop Nickless on Health Care Reform

"I encourage all of you to make you voice heard to our representatives in Congress. Tell them what they need to hear from us: no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform. Insist that they not permit themselves to be railroaded into the current too-costly and pro-abortion health care proposals. Insist on their support for proposals that respect the life and dignity of every human person, especially the unborn. And above all, pray for them, and for our country."

~ The Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City from a column posted on the diocesan website.

Obama, Planned Parenthood & The KKK

Obama emphasizes his concern for the well-being of black children, but his followers are probably completely unaware of the literal genocide of black babies that's carried out by one of Barack Obamas most loyal supporters, Planned Parenthood.

Stunning New Video

A video highlighting the largest pro-life coalition ever assembled to fight against the abortion mandate in the current nationalized health care legislation.

Judie Brown: Support Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder

I previously reported on the firestorm at Belmont Abbey College which the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled Belmont Abbey College must include coverage for contraception (which often function as abortifacients) in its employee health insurance plan.

Judie Brown weighs in on this controversy in her blog post COLLISION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. Here is an excerpt:

The news reports are quite clear on exactly what happened at Belmont Abbey, a Catholic college in South Carolina. The college has been warned by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that if the administration doesn’t stop discriminating against female employees by denying contraceptive benefits in the college’s health coverage plan, the EEOC will take them to court!

“Contraception, abortion and voluntary sterilization came off Belmont Abbey College’s faculty health care policy in December 2007 after a faculty member discovered that coverage, according to an e-mail Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder sent to school staff, students, alumni and friends of the college,” reported the August 5 Gaston Gazette.

In a subsequent exclusive interview with Thierfelder, reported that "officials at the Charlotte division of the EEOC told him that a decision to close a discrimination complaint against the school for failing to offer contraception coverage was reversed after the matter went to the nation's capital.”

Sound like a strong-arm tactic? Well, read on!

"From a religious freedom standpoint, you don't have religious freedom," he said. Thierfelder stressed, however, that the college has "gotten a lot of support from people who are not Catholic, and who may not share our beliefs on abortion, sterilization, contraception…they see the principle and what they're saying is, 'Belmont Abbey College is not trying to tell anybody what they have to do, it's just saying what Belmont Abbey College will do.' And I think that's an important distinction."

"To try to make us change [our beliefs], there's something very wrong with that," he continued. "And I think that's why this has garnered so much attention, and especially with the health care debates that are going on right now, and with all the things that are going on with Catholic hospitals ... what they are basically saying is, if you're Catholic, or if you are of any faith, it doesn't mean anything. You're going to do what the government tells you to do."

Thierfelder acknowledged that the fight could go to the courts, and emphasized that BAC officials were united in maintaining fidelity to Catholic Church teaching against pressure from the government.

"All of us need to have moral courage in today's world," he said. "We are so resolute in our commitment to the teachings of the Catholic Church that there is no possible way we would ever deviate from it, and if it came down to it ... we would close the school rather than give in.

"So it is absolutely, unequivocally impossible for us to go against the teachings of the Catholic Church in any way. There is no form of compromise that is possible."

American Life League applauds BAC’s courageous defense of Catholic moral teaching and proper Catholic medical ethics. We also understand what is at stake if the Obama administration presses forward with this overt act of intimidation.

It is obvious to us, when one considers O’Neill’s version of the Constitution versus that of Catholic/Christian pharmacists, health care workers and BAC administration officials, that something is incredibly askew. While it may be that the Constitution of the United States has a very large number of interpretations depending on whose ox is being gored, the Constitution is not an elastic document.

Obama has said he will respect health care workers’ rights of conscience. But look at what is happening at BAC under his administration!

Obama has also said that his health care reform proposals would not force anyone into a particular situation. But look at what is being attempted here.

NOW’s O’Neill may, in a very perverted sense, have hit the nail on the head, even though a careful reading of the Constitution would deny that this is so.

For those who need a refresher course, the First Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Taken at face value, this amendment should protect not only the policies in force at BAC with regard to the removal of contraceptive coverage from the employee health insurance policy, but it should also protect the rights of those who are opposed to government policies that violate their religious beliefs or otherwise impose untenable requirements on their right of conscience.

As law professor Lynn D. Wardle pointed out in congressional testimony a few years ago, “Protection for rights of conscience underlie and historically preceded the First Amendment. In June, 1776, even before the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Declaration of Rights provided, inter alia, that "all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience."


The Constitution does, in clear and undeniably concise language, protect freedoms that you and I and millions of Americans hold dear and, until recently, took for granted. No longer!

This is indeed a grave situation. Clearly the politics of constitutional rights have turned the founding document of this republic on its ear. What was once wrong is now a right, and what was always legitimately part of our national heritage is now under siege.

Such contradiction forces me to make but one assumption: If you don’t play ball with the Obama administration, there could be a price to pay, especially if you are a Catholic entity with every desire to serve Christ and His Church first and foremost.

Please write or call Belmont Abbey College President Bill Thierfelder and express your support for his courageous position:

William Thierfelder, President
Belmont Abbey College
100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Rd
Belmont, NC 28012
Call toll-free: (888) 222-0110

Please write or call the EEOC and express your concern over the bully tactics being used to intimidate BAC:

Stuart Ishimaru,
Chairman, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, NE
Washington, DC 20507
Phone: (202) 663-4900
TTY: (202) 663-4494