Friday, April 30, 2010

Nine Days That Changed the World

Pope John Paul II's historic nine-day pilgrimage to Poland in June of 1979 created a revolution of conscience that transformed Poland and fundamentally reshaped the spiritual and political landscape of the 20th Century.

Newt and Callista Gingrich, along with a Polish, American, and Italian cast, explore what transpired during these nine days that moved the Polish people to renew their hearts, reclaim their courage, and free themselves from the shackles of Communism. Produced in partnership with Citizens United Productions.

Earlier this evening, Raymond Arroyo interviewed Newt and Calista Gingrich on The World Over about their new film, "Nine Days that Changed the World", which I am eager to see. Here is the trailer:

Visit or to learn more about this movie.

The Pope to the Rescue

Priests for Life announces pro-life ‘freedom rides’

Joined by Dr. Alveda King-- the niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.-- Father Frank Pavone has announced that Priests for Life will be conducting Pro-Life Freedom Rides this summer, evoking the Freedom Rides of 1961 that helped bring about the desegregation of the American South.

“We join our lives and hearts together with those who have gone before us,” said Dr. King. “We take to the bus, to the streets of America, riding for justice and freedom for all, from conception until natural death.”

For more information see:

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for May

The Vatican has released the Pope's prayer intentions for May.

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention is: "That the shameful and monstrous commerce in human beings, which sadly involves millions of women and children, may be ended".

His mission intention is: "That ordained ministers, religious women and men, and lay people involved in apostolic work may understand how to infuse missionary enthusiasm into the communities entrusted to their care". 

Pope Benedict, Objectively Speaking

St. Pius V, "Pope of the Rosary"

Michael Ghislieri was born near Alessandria in Italy in 1504. He was a poor shepherd boy, who entered the Dominican Order at the age of 14 and was ordained a priest at the age of 24. He taught theology and philosophy for sixteen years and developed a reputation as a gifted teacher and preacher.

Michael led an austere and holy life in the monastery: he fasted, performed penance, spent long hours of the night in meditation and prayer, and traveled in silence on foot without a cloak.

After being ordained a bishop and named a Cardinal, he became pope at the age of 62, taking the name of Pope Pius V. His holiness and austerity continued in the papacy. He refused to wear the ornate and flowing garments of previous popes, but insisted upon wearing his white Dominican habit even as head of the Church. To this day, the pope wears white, a custom begun by this Dominican pontiff.

His reign, though short, was one of the most fruitful of the sixteenth century. During his six year pontificate, Pius ordered the establishment of seminaries for the training of priests, published a new missal (which remained in use for 400 years), and set up Confraternity of Christian Doctrine classes for the young. He also attempted to uphold the Church's political authority against various European nations. Queen Elizabeth's interference with Church affairs in England led to her excommunication; the pope also struggled against the ambitions of the Holy Roman Emperor and King Philip II of Spain.

Perhaps the most famous success of his papacy was the miraculous victory of the Christian fleet in the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The island of Malta was attacked by the Turkish fleet, and nearly every man defending the fortress was killed in battle. The pope sent out a fleet to meet the enemy, requesting that each man on board pray the Rosary and receive communion.

Meanwhile, he called on all of Europe to recite the Rosary and ordered a 40 hour devotion in Rome during which time the battle took place. The Christian fleet, vastly outnumbered by the Turks, inflicted an impossible defeat on the Turkish navy, demolishing the entire fleet.

In memory of the triumph he declared the day the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary because of her intercession in answering the mass recitation of the Rosary and obtaining the victory. He has also been called ‘the Pope of the Rosary’ for this reason.

Pope Pius V died seven months later on May 1, 1572. He is enshrined at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, and was beatified by Clement X in 1672, and canonized by Clement XI in 1712.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

St. Bernard of Clairvaux on love for the flesh

"Inordinate love for the flesh is cruelty, because under the appearance of pleasing the body, we kill the soul."

~ St. Bernard of Clairvaux

The Great Healthcare Sellout

  After betraying the U.S. Bishops and Catholic principle, several groups of nuns provided the cover some Catholic politicians needed to vote Obamacare into law. So, what did we get?

A new book to commemorate the Year for Priests

For 8 years, the author of The Catholic Priest, Image of Christ Through Fifteen Centuries of Art, Steen Heidemann, traveled around the globe, seeing private collections, visiting museums, and snapping photos of rare never before seen works of art.

Italian president organizes a concert for the pope

Will Susan Boyle sing for the Pope?

- Susan Boyle, the star singer discovered on the popular TV show Britain's Got Talent, may realize her dream of meeting Pope Benedict in September. The director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office (SCMO) told CNA that the local church is open to discussion on the possibility of her singing when the Pope visits later this year.

The Holy Father will be visiting the United Kingdom from Sept. 16-19. The itinerary for the first day of his visit includes events in Scotland, particularly a meeting in Edinburgh with Queen Elizabeth at her residence there.

Also on the agenda for the day is an outdoor Mass in Glasgow at which the Pope will preside and at which Susan Boyle could possibly sing.

Read the entire story.

St. Catherine of Siena

Today is the feast of my Confirmation saint, St. Catherine of Siena, Caterina di Giacomo di Benicasa (1347 - 1380). As a mystic, activist, reformer, contemplative, and Doctor of the Church, she is one of the most prominent figures in Christian history.

Catherine, the youngest of twenty-five children, was born in Siena on March 25, 1347. During her youth she had to contend with great difficulties on the part of her parents. They were planning marriage for their favorite daughter; but Catherine, who at the age of seven had already taken a vow of virginity, refused. To break her resistance, her beautiful golden brown tresses were shorn to the very skin and she was forced to do the most menial tasks. Undone by her patience, her mother and father finally relented and their child entered the Third Order of St. Dominic -- a lay order.

Catherine managed a large household of followers, all of whom called her "Mama". She served as spiritual director to royalty and religious. She lived in poverty and fasted severely (living only on the Eucharist) but always seeing to it that her friends were well fed. She prayed for several hours at a time and often went into ecstasy. She routinely cared for the sick in hospitals and visited those in prisons. Even the most hardened criminals embraced the faith when she visited them. She read the thoughts and knew the temptations of her companions, even at long distances. She saw people's secret sins and confronted these people, urging them to repent. She touched hearts so effectively that the Friars Preachers had to assign three priests to handle the confessions of her penitents.

As time went on, her influence reached out to secular and ecclesiastical matters. She made peace between worldly princes. The heads of Church and State bowed to her words. She weaned Italy away from an anti-pope, and made cardinals and princes promise allegiance to the rightful pontiff. She fought hard to defend the liberty and rights of the Popes and did much for the renewal of religious life. She also dictated books full of sound doctrine and spiritual inspiration. She died on April 29, 1380. In 1970, Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church.

For More biographical information see Catholic Encyclopedia, Women for Faith and Family, and Catholic Culture.


Against fire; bodily ills; Europe; fire prevention; firefighters; illness; Italy; miscarriages; nurses; nursing services; people ridiculed for their piety; sexual temptation; sick people; sickness; Siena, Italy; temptations.

A Few of my favorite quotes from St. Catherine of Siena

"Love is the most necessary of all virtues. Love in the person who preaches the word of God is like fire in a musket. If a person were to throw a bullet with his hands, he would hardly make a dent in anything; but if the person takes the same bullet and ignites some gunpowder behind it, it can kill. It is much the same with the word of God. If it is spoken by someone who is filled with the fire of charity- the fire of love of God and neighbor- it will work wonders."

"Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man,God does nothing without this goal in mind."

"Merit consists in the virtue of love alone, flavored with the light of true discretion without which the soul is worth nothing."

"Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God's true nature. God's heart is more gentle than the Virgin's first kiss upon the Christ. And God's forgiveness to all, to any thought or act, is more certain than our own being."

Here is an excerpt from The Dialogue (Catherine's dialogue with God in which God is speaking to her) which is just beautiful!


Holy Spirit, come into my heart, by your power I journey to You, God, and grant me charity with fear. Protect me, o Christ, from every evil thought, warm me with Your sweet love, so that each burden seems light to me. My holy Father and my sweet Lord, help me always in all my endeavors, Christ love, Christ love.

~Composed and written by St. Catherine at Rocca d'Orcia in 1377, after miraculously having learned to write.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Answering Those Who Are Only "Personally Pro-Life"

  Ana Benderas of Live Action addresses those who are personally against abortion but believe that others should be able to take the life on unborn children.

Pope Benedict's Reforms

Pope Benedict has quietly set in motion a Great Reform of The Church:

How Seminarians are Screened for the Priesthood

Like any other college acceptance process, student priests applying to the North American College in Rome, must fill out application forms, submit letters of recommendation and put their best foot forward in an interview.

St. Louis de Montfort, Apostle of Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Totus Tuus Totus tuus ego sum, et omnia meatua sunt, O Virgo, super omnia benedicta.

Translates as: I am all yours, and all that is mine is yours, O Virgin, blessed above all.

Louis de Montfort's life is inseparable from his efforts to promote genuine devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus and mother of the church. Totus tuus was Louis's personal motto; Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) chose it as his episcopal motto.

Born to a poor family in 1673 in the Breton village of Montfort, as an adult, Louis identified himself by the place of his baptism instead of his family name, Grignion. After being educated by the Jesuits and the Sulpicians, he was ordained as a diocesan priest in 1700.

He preached parish missions throughout western France, walking from city to city. His years of ministering to the poor prompted him to travel and live very simply, sometimes getting him into trouble with church authorities. In his preaching, which attracted thousands of people back to the faith, Father Louis recommended frequent, even daily, Holy Communion (not the custom then!) and imitation of the Virgin Mary's ongoing acceptance of God's will for her life.

Louis founded the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (for priests and brothers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, who cared especially for the sick. His book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, has become a classic explanation of Marian devotion. He also wrote The Secret of the Rosary, which is the first work to describe the method by which the Rosary is prayed today. Louis died in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sevre, where a basilica has been erected in his honor. He was canonized in 1947.

Read more about his life here and in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

A Few of My Favorite St. St. Louis de Montfort Quotes:

"Pray with great confidence, with confidence based on the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray."

“We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor!” (Treatise on True Devotion, n. 175).

"The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth. There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you."

"Mary alone gives to the unfortunate children of unfaithful Eve entry into that earthly paradise where they may walk pleasantly with God and be safely hidden from their enemies. There they can feed without fear of death on the delicious fruit of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They can drink copiously the heavenly waters of that beauteous fountain which gushes forth in such abundance."

"She [Mother Mary] is an echo of God, speaking and repeating only God. If you say "Mary" she says 'God'."

"If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children."

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”

Hymns in the Life and Writings of Montfort

Litany to St. Louis de Montfort

Read the Fire Prayer of St. Louis in which St. Louis de Montfort pleads for apostles to remedy the present-day crisis of the Church that he foresaw.

Why St. Louis Marie de Montfort is so Special to me

About twleve years ago on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes I made my Consecration to Jesus through Mary via the St. Louis de Montfort method. I can't even begin to tell you about all the graces I have received since then. A few years later, when I renewed my consecration, my husband Bill, also made his consecration via this method. When I presented a talk to our parish on the Blessed Virgin Mary and her various apparitions, I shared the deep love Karol Wojtyla had for our dear Mother as a result of consecrating himself to her as a young factory worker in Krakow during World War II and how this love and devotion effected him his entire life and his teachings as Pope John Paul II. In my research for this presentation, I also discovered that St. Louis preached in the same area of France where my ancestors lived, and, although I don't know how he interacted with them, I would like to think that his teachings and his great love and devotion for Our Blessed Mother impacted them in a powerful way and that they, too, shared this love of Our Lady, surrendering their hearts totally to her.

Why not consider making your consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary? To learn more, go here.

To read the works of St. Louis de Montfort, go here.

A must read biography is St. Louis de Montfort Apostle of Mary for Today by Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives.

Image Source

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pope Benedict: Champion of the Church

Most ridiculous statement of the day...

Eating Chicken Makes Men Gay!

President of Bolivia Evo Morales, who is considered a champion of gay rights in Latin America, angered gay-friendly organizations last week after stating that eating genetically modified chicken leads to both homosexuality and baldness in men.

Morales made his comments during a recent climate summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia.


Photo Source

Catholic Global Presence Increasing

Now, this is good news...

The Vatican Publishing House released today a report on the Catholic Church's global presence, showing an increase in the Catholic population in 2008. Although the number of Catholics has risen globally, the study recorded a constant decline in priests, seminarians and non-ordained religious within Europe.

The recently released edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church compiled findings from 2000-2008, and documented that the number of Catholics in the world increased from 1.045 billion in 2000 to 1.166 billion in 2009, a growth of 11.54 percent.

Specifically in Africa, the Church grew by 33 percent, in Asia by 15.61 percent, in Oceania by 11.39 percent and in America by 10.93. The number of Catholics in Europe remained generally stable throughout the nine year period, increasing only by 1.17 percent.

Saint Zita

Today's saint is St. Zita (Virgin 1278), the patron of domestic workers.

She was born in Tuscany, Italy in the village of Monsagrati. Zita came from a poor, but deeply devotional family. To help support the family, she became a maid of a wealthy family, Fatinelli, in the nearby Tuscan city of Lucca, serving them loyally for 48 years.

Zita considered her work as an employment assigned to her by God and obeyed her master and mistress in all things as being placed over her by God. She always rose several hours before the rest of the family and spent time in prayer while they slept. She started each day with Holy Mass before she began performing her duties.

Zita visited the sick and those in prison, giving them hope and spreading the gospel message. She was well known for all her works of charity and her sweet, joyful disposition.

Zita had a great love for the poor and donated her own food or that of her master to the poor. At first, her employers were upset by her generous gifts of food to the poor, but in time, they were completely won over by her patience and goodness.

On one morning, Zita left her chore of baking bread to tend to someone in need. Some of the other servants made sure the Fatinelli family was aware of what happened. When they went to investigate, they claimed to have found angels in the Fatinelli kitchen, baking the bread for her.

On another occasion, Zita had given away the family's supply of beans to the townsfolk during a severe famine. Upon suspecting this, the Fatinelli family went to the cupboard to find it full - the beans hand been miraculously replaced.

Another recorded event was just as dramatic, if not more so. On Christmas Eve, Zita had given away a prized and treasured family cloak to a shivering man at the doorway of St. Fredaino, the local church. While the elder Fatinelli was in the midst of a fit of fury, an elderly man came to the door and returned the heirloom. When townsfolk heard of the event, they decided that the man must have been an angel. From that point on, the doorway of the St. Fredaino church in Lucca has been called the "Angel Portal".

With the passage of the years Zita’s fellow servants and the Fatinellis came to realize that she was a genuine saint. The family made her mistress of the household and eventually governess of the Fatinelli children.

St. Zita died peacefully in the Fatinelli house on April 27, 1272. It is said that a star appeared above the attic where she slept at the moment of her death. Zita was canonized in 1696.

Monday, April 26, 2010

National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week Kicks Off April 27

The National Pro-Life T-Shirt Week (NPLTW) begins this Tuesday, along with a photo scavenger hunt contest in which contestants can enter to win a free iPod Touch.

NPTW and the "Yo! Where's the Shirt?" Photo Scavenger Hunt are sponsored by the American Life League (ALL).

"Thousands of young people across the country will take to the streets and the schools a civil rights message for the 21st century: All human beings deserve human rights,"
announced ALL in a press release Monday. ALL has stated that more contestants have registered for this year's contest than in last year's, in which 3,000 photos were submitted.

The scavenger hunt will offer participants the opportunity to win a free iPod Touch by photographing themselves in pro-life t-shirts performing over 150 various "tasks" including:

- Sidewalk chalking a pro-life message
- Holding a marble with two chopsticks
- Standing in front of the US Supreme Court
- Rocking an air guitar

In addition, NPTW has launched a new iPhone App to help photo contest contestants take photos and complete tasks. 

Click here to visit the photo contest's Facebook page

Click here for the National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day Web site, where shirts and stickers can be purchased.


Judge Allows Discovery to Begin in the Case of the ND 88

Judge Scopelitis, the judge in the trial of the ND 88, has lifted the stay of discovery in the case. The ND 88 are the pro-life activists arrested for walking on the property of the University of Notre Dame in protest of the school's honoring of President Barack Obama in May of 2009.

This leaves lead attorney Tom Dixon free to pursue depositions and find out more about the events that lead to the arrest of the ND88. Read the Notice of Deposition [PDF] to see what Tom is seeking to find out, including:

•    Who gave authority to the Notre Dame Police Department to arrest the ND88
•    Who decided that the ND 88 were not allowed on campus during the month of May, 2009, and when those decisions were made
•    Notre Dame's policies and practices regarding demonstrations on campus
•    All communications between Notre Dame and any outside policing entities regarding the treatment and arrest of the ND 88 and which communications occurred prior to the arrests

And much more . . .

Colorado Personhood on "Special Report with Brett Baier"

FOX News covers the growing momentum of U.S. states like Colorado to advance Personhood for all persons born and pre-born..

New iPad application to track baby developments during pregnancy

Pope to Christian Bloggers: Give the Internet a Soul

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Christian bloggers to "give a soul to the internet's incessant flow of communications," during an April 24 address to a conference on the latest developments in information technology.

"Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea," the Holy Father told participants in the conference on "Digital Witness," which had been organized by the Italian bishops' conference. He observed that the Church has always boldly used the latest available technological means to broaden the reach of the Gospel message.

The Pope mentioned several problems associated with the internet, such as the "digital divide" that "separates those included from those excluded." The internet itself is by nature egalitarian, he observed, but it achieves that result only if everyone has access.

The Pope also mentioned "the dangers of conformity and control, of intellectual and moral relativism, which are already evident in the diminution of the spirit of criticism, in the truth reduced to an interplay of opinions, in the many forms of degradation and humiliation of individual intimacy." These problems, he said, lead to a "pollution of the spirit."

The solution, the Pope continued, is the active presence of Christians on the internet, promoting the cause of truth and human dignity, fighting against the tendency for people to "become bodies without a soul, objects to be exchanged and consumed." Active faith, he said, can be a "humanizing factor," encouraging others to use the modern communications media for the common good.

Pope expected to create new council to re-evangelize Europe, US

Several Catholic media sources are reporting that the Holy Father is expected to publish an apostolic letter in the coming weeks announcing the creation of a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

EWTN/CNA reports that  the new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity.

Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican correspondent for the daily Il Giornale who is usually well-informed on new appointments at the Vatican, wrote today that “Benedict does not cease to surprise: in the upcoming week the creation of a new dicastery of the Roman Curia dedicated to the evangelization of the West will be announced, and be presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.”

The new dicastery is aimed at evangelizing “countries where the Gospel has been announced centuries ago, but where its presence in their peoples' daily life seems to be lost. Europe, the United States and Latin America would be the areas of influence of the new structure,” Il Giornale says.

According to Tornielli, the new dicastery would be “the most important novelty of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, a Pope that, according to the expectations, was supposed to slim down the Roman Curia.”

Related Information:

Catholic Culture: Pope to establish new Council for New Evangelization? 

U.S. Catholic Magazine: Report: Pope to create Vatican department for 'new evangelization'

National Catholic Register: Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization?

Il Papa crea il “ministero” per la Nuova Evangelizzazione (Il Giornale)


Read my review of Bleeder by John Desjarlais at St. Anthony Messenger.

Our Lady of Good Counsel

Today is the optional memorial of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

On the Feast of Saint Mark, the Evangelist, April 25 1467, the people of Genazzano, Italy witnessed a marvelous sight. A cloud descended upon an ancient church dedicated to Our Lady of Good Counsel. When the cloud disappeared, an image of Our Lady and the Child Jesus was revealed which had not been there before. The image, on a paper-thin sheet, was suspended miraculously.

Soon after the image's appearance many miracles were attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Good Counsel. Because of this, Pope Paul II ordered an investigation and the results have been preserved.

It was later discovered that the very same image had been seen in a church dedicated to the Annunciation in Scutari, Albania. The image in this church was said to have arrived there in a miraculous manner. Now, the image had been transported from Albania miraculously to avoid sacrilege from Moslem invasion.

A commission of inquiry determined that a portrait from the church was indeed missing. An empty space the same size as the portrait was displayed for all to see.

Many miracles continue to be attributed to Our Lady of Good Counsel. Pope Saint Pius V, for example, credited victory in the Battle of Lepanto to Her intercession.

Several Popes have approved the miraculous image. In 1682 Pope Innocent XI had the portrait crowned with gold. On July 2 1753 Pope Benedict XIV approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and was the first to wear it. In 1884 a special Mass and Office of the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel was approved by Pope Leo XIII.

For more than 500 years the image has continued to attract countless pilgrims.

Although much of the church was destroyed during World War II, the image has remained intact - and continues to be suspended miraculously.

Our Lady of Good Counsel is the patron saint of those seeking enlightenment.


O Mary of Good Counsel, inflame the hearts of all who are devoted to you, so that all of them have shelter in you, O great Mother of God. O most worthy Lady, let everyone choose you as teacher and wise counselor of their souls, since you are, as Saint Augustine says, the counsel of the Apostles and counsel of all peoples. Amen.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A New Blog: A Blessing to Read

I am pleased to announce that Our blogging friend, Micki, who brought us Holy Cards for Your Inspiration,  is now assisting a friend, in starting a new blog, A Blessing to Read.

Micki tells us: "It is my joy to pass along excerpts from a daily email titled "Joy2Day2U" sent by Janette.  She is a devotee of Eucharistic Adoration and anything to do with the Eucharist.  I'm blessed to post parts or all of these Eucharistic messages. She has a daily email mission and I am posting these messages as a blog."

This blog contains beautiful holy cards and other colorful Catholic illustrations, as well as inspiring, uplifting messages and prayers. For a daily dose of spiritual nourishment, stop by A Blessing to Read.

Retreat: Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thoughts on love

Retreat on Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thought on love:

Do Ideas Really Have Consequences?
A Three Day Retreat for Philanthropists and Business Executives
Seeking the Roots of Cultural Renewal

Hosted by John Henry Crosby
Founding Director, Hildebrand Project

With Alice von Hildebrand, Roberta Green Ahmanson, Joseph Bottum,
Hanna-Barbara Gerl-Falkovitz, Stephen Klimczuk, Robert Moynihan,
and Many Other Special Guests

May 27-29, 2010
Rome, Italy

For a complete description of the retreat, including information on how to register, please visit:

Why does God create?

 Fr. Barron discusses the meaning of creation.

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest, Religious, and Martyr

Known as Mark Rey and the "Poor Man's Lawyer," Fidelis was born in 1577 at Sigmaringen, Prussia. His studies took him to the University of Freiburg and eventually to the position of tutor for Wilhelm von Stotzingen. Fidelis traveled with Wilhelm extensively throughout France and Italy before returning to Freiburg and earning a doctorate in canon and civil law. He became a prominent lawyer. However, he felt that this career endangered the salvation of his soul and he abandoned law.

He joined the Capuchin Friars Minor, changed his name to Fidelis, and gave away his worldly wealth to the poor. As a Franciscan priest, he served his friary as guardian, and worked in epidemics, especially healing soldiers.

He had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Trusting in her intercession, he often begged God for the grace of sacrificing his life in vindication of the Catholic faith.

Fidelis was tireless in his efforts to convert heretics and wrote several pamphlets against Calvinism and Zwinglianism. He was eventually appointed to undertake a mission in the country of the Grisons and to bring that district back to the Catholic faith. He met with terrible opposition, including many cries of, "Death to the Capuchins!" Despite this opposition however, he was extremely successful in bringing many people back to the Catholic faith. It was for this reason that he was bludgeoned to death while saying Mass at Sevins. His body was carried outside the Church where the heretics offered to save his life, if only he would renounce his religious beliefs. He replied, "I came to extirpate heresy, not embrace it." He died on April 24, 1622. He was canonized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1746.

"It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future."~ St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen

Lesson: If we desire to please God and give Him the gifts he truly desires, we will bring souls to Him, like St. Fidelis. We can do this through prayer, preaching, penance, and living out our daily lives as good Catholic Christians. We must seek to save souls who but for us would otherwise be lost. By offering God these souls, we offer God the jewels of paradise. "And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'" (Romans 10:15)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Abortion not an option for this teen mom

Lianna Rebolledo, a Mexican woman who became pregnant when she was 13 after being raped, talks about the past 20 years, the gift her daughter has been to her, and how she never considered having an abortion.

The Suffering of Pope Benedict

  The Holy Father is suffering at the hands of those inside the Church more than those outside the Church.

Saint George

Today's saint of the day is St. George. St George is honored in the Catholic Church as one of the most illustrious martyrs of Christ. The Greeks have long distinguished him by the title of The Great Martyr, and keep his festival a holiday of obligation. However, very little is known about the life and martyrdom of any of the Early Christian martyrs and Saint George is no exception. It is certain that he lived during the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. He is reputed to have come from Cappadocia, and reached the rank of Tribune in the Roman army.

Several stories have been attached to Saint George, the best known of which is the Golden Legend. In it, a dragon lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Whole armies had gone up against this fierce creature, and had gone down in painful defeat. The monster ate two sheep each day; when mutton was scarce, lots were drawn in local villages, and maidens were substituted for sheep. Into this country came Saint George. Hearing the story on a day when a princess was to be eaten, he crossed himself, rode to battle against the serpent, and killed it with a single blow with his lance. George then held forth with a magnificent sermon, and converted the locals. Given a large reward by the king, George distributed it to the poor, then rode away.

Due to his chivalrous behavior (protecting women, fighting evil, dependence on faith and might of arms, generosity to the poor), devotion to Saint George became popular in the Europe after the 10th century. In the 15th century his feast day was as popular and important as Christmas. Many of his areas of patronage have to do with life as a knight on horseback. The celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George. The shrine built for his relics at Lydda, Palestine was a popular point of pilgrimage for centuries. He is one
of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He was tortured and beheaded c.304 at Lydda, Palestine.

Patronage: Aragon; agricultural workers; archers; armourers; Beirut; Lebanon; Boy Scouts; butchers; Canada; Cappadocia; Catalonia; cavalry; chivalry; Constantinople; Crusaders; England; equestrians; farmers; Ferrara Italy; field hands; field workers; Genoa, Italy; Georgia; Germany; Gozo; Greece; herpes; horsemen; horses; husbandmen; Istanbul; knights; lepers; leprosy; Lithuania; Malta; Moscow; Order of the Garter; Palestine; Palestinian Christians; plague; Portugal; riders; saddle makers; saddlers; skin diseases; skin rashes; soldiers; syphilis; Teutonic Knights; Venice.

He is also the patron of England and of Scouting.

Symbols: Armor; buckler; dragon.

For more information on St. George, see the
Catholic encylopedia.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

One of the greatest problems facing the Church

New website to promote vocations to priesthood and consecrated life

The U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations is initiating a new website on April 25 to be a resource for both laity and clergy in the promotion of vocations. The launch date is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and Good Shepherd Sunday.
The site has two goals:
            To help individuals hear and respond to the call by God to the priesthood or consecrated life, and
            To educate all Catholics on the importance of encouraging others through prayer and activities to promote vocations. 

The Vocations Website can be found at A Spanish-language site will be available this fall at

~ Via USCCB.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Former Rolling Stone’s Lover: Raise the Age of Consent

 Mandy Smith, whose teenage affair and later marriage to Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, made headlines decades ago. Now her life has taken a decidedly different route as she returns to her Catholic roots. She now has some definite opinions on protecting young women from falling into the same trap that she did.

LifeSiteNews reports that Mandy Smith, the former child-lover and later wife of Rolling Stone bassist Bill Wyman, believes that the age of consent should be raised to 18 in order to protect young girls, who are emotionally vulnerable when it comes to sexual relationships at that age. In an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail, Smith said that she had slept with the much older Wyman when she was 14 years old, beginning a relationship that stole away a childhood she “could never get back.”

Smith, 39, revealed to the Mail that she has come a long way from being the Wild Child on London’s celebrity scene in the 1980s to a woman who is now single, celibate, and living out a revived Catholic faith, mentoring young girls, and involving herself in charitable work.

But the experience of her child sexual relationship with Rolling Stone Wyman, 34 years her senior, taught her that teenage girls are not emotionally equipped for sex by the age of 16.

“It’s not about being physically mature. It’s emotional maturity that matters,” Smith told the Mail.

“I don’t think most 16-year-olds are ready. I think the age of consent should be raised to 18 at a minimum, and some girls aren’t even ready then,” she said. “People will find that odd coming from me. But I think I do know what I’m talking about here. You are still a child – even at 16.”

“You can never get that part of your life, your childhood, back. I never could.”

Kentucky Abortion Center Fails to Report Child Sex Abuse

This undercover footage was taken by Live Action President Lila Rose and Live Action Actor Jackie Stollar who both posed undercover as minors with Rose telling the staff that she was 14-years-old and impregnated by her 31-year-old "boyfriend".

In the video, the EMW counselor named "Wendy" determines that Rose is “14 to 15-weeks pregnant” and Rose expresses that she wants to keep the situation secret from her parents. Despite not giving any indication that Rose will face abusive parents, the clinic guides Rose to call Louisville attorney Mickey Adams so that Adams can help Rose obtain a judicial bypass around Kentucky's parental consent law and avoid parental knowledge of the abortion or sexually abusive relationship.

In the state of Kentucky, sex between a 14-year-old and a 31-year-old is rape in the third degree and would reasonably be considered sexual abuse of a child which must be reported to law enforcement immediately. The clinic failed to ask the questions necessary to file a child sexual abuse report and did not communicate to Rose about the illegal or dangerous nature of her sexual relationship.

 More information:

Undercover Video Shows Kentucky Abortion Center Failing to Report Child Sex Abuse

Pope promises action against sexual abuse

Today at the weekly general audience in Rome, Pope Benedict spoke publicly for the first time on fighting clerical sex abuse within the Church.  The Holy Father told the crowd in St. Peter's Square about how he gave “assurances of the Church's action” at a meeting with  abuse victims in Malta.

The Pontiff made his remarks following his recent papal visit to Malta last weekend, where he met with eight men who said they were abused by priests in a Church-operated orphanage on the island.

Pope Benedict recalled on Wednesday that during his tearful encounter with the men, he “shared their suffering and, greatly moved, prayed with them, giving them assurances of the Church's action” on fighting clerical sex abuse.

Entire Story

EPA Study Confirms Link Between Autism and Vaccines

Washington, DC (20 April 2010) – American Life League has joined Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute in calling for a Fair Labeling and Informed Consent Act after a 2010 study by the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed 1988 as a “change point” in the rise of Autism Disorder rates.

The date confirms an increasing body of evidence implicating the use of aborted fetal cell material in the nationwide vaccinations impacting nearly every child born in the United States.

“For years the evidence has pointed toward the link between vaccines using DNA from aborted babies and the rise of Autism Disorder rates,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League. “Parents need and deserve to know the risks associated with vaccinations made from lines derived from the bodies of aborted children.”

While the pharmaceutical industry ignores the evidence and continues to put our children at risk, Sound Choice is conducting studies on the impact of residual human fetal DNA in vaccines on the brain development and autism in children.

They will present their studies at the International Society for Autism Research in May 2010.


Video: Host Not Shown To Scale

St. Thérèse describes her vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 This is a beautiful witness!

St. Anselm of Canterbury

Today is the optional memorial of St. Anselm, bishop and doctor of the Church. 

St. Anselm (1033-1109) was born in Aosta, Italy, and died in Canterbuy, England. St. Anselm's services to the Church are principally the following: First, as Archbishop of Canterbury he defended the rights and liberties of the Church against the encroachments of the English kings, who plundered the Church's lands, impeded the Archbishop's communications with the Holy See, and claimed the right to invest prelates with ring and crosier, symbols of the Church's spiritual jurisdiction. Second, as a philosopher and theologian he developed a method of reasoning which prepared the way for the great thinkers of the Middle Ages. Third, he had a great devotion to Our Lady and was the first to establish the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the West.

As prior and abbot, Anselm made the Benedictine monastery of Bec the center of a true reformation in Normandy and England. From this monastery he exercised a restraining influence on popes, kings, the worldly great, and entire religious orders. Raised to the dignity of Archbishop of Canterbury and primate of England, he waged a heroic campaign in defense of the rights and liberties of the Church. As a result he was deprived of goods and position and finally banned from the country. He journeyed to Rome, and at the Council of Bari supported Pope Urban II against the errors of the Greeks. His writings bear eloquent testimony to his moral stature and learning, and have earned for him the title of "Father of Scholasticism."
~The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

You can find my favorite quotes, prayers, and writings of St. Anselm here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saint Alphonsus Liguori on Grace

"Our Savior says, if you have not received the graces that you desire, do not complain to me, but blame yourself, because you have neglected to seek them from me."

~ St. Alphonsus Liguori

A Case to Watch Closely

 Be assured that this case will be closely watched because it involves religion, education and homosexuality.

A Christian student organization is seeking to overturn a court ruling that sided with a California university which denied recognition to the group because of its statement of faith.

The Christian Legal Society (CLS) was denied recognition by the University of California's Hastings College of Law because of the group's statement of faith, which prevents anyone who is “unrepentantly” engaging “in sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman” from being a group leader or member.

UC Hastings charged that this provision violates the school's ban on “sexual orientation” discrimination despite the fact that CLS's statement of faith is based on the conduct of members of any sexual orientation and not on one's “immutable status.”

Read the full article here.

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Red Cardigan: The Idea is Crazy

Pfleger Had Help

Related Posts on Catholic Fire:  

Pfleger calls for women priests, married priests 

Fr. Pfleger creates terrible scandal

A.L.L. Calls Cardinal George Award to Fr. Pfleger a Disgrace

Why is Fr. Pfleger receiving a lifetime achievement award?

Barack Obama and The Priest Who Sold His Soul to the Devil

Catholic Church in America Has Bred Her Own Destroyers: Obama Exploiting it

Related Information from Thomas Peters at

Update: Fr. Pfleger’s immature response

Important: Fr. Pfleger attempts to turn congregation against Cardinal George

St. Agnes of Montepulciano

Today is the feast of St. Agnes of Montepulciano, a nun of the Order of Preachers.

This holy virgin was born in 1268 in a little village near Montepulciano, Italy, of the wealthy family of De Segni. Her birth was announced by great lights surrounding the house where she was born, and from her babyhood she was one specially marked out for dedication to God.

As a child, she often spent hours reciting the Our Father and Hail Mary on her knees in some private corner of a chamber. She was such a pious child that when she was nine years old her parents placed her in a Franciscan convent known as Sackins, so called because their habits or scapulars were made of sackcloth. Agnes was a model of all virtues to this austere community. She was also well-known for her gifts of miracles and prophecy.

At the age of fifteen, she entered the Dominican Order at Proceno, in the county of Orvieto, and was appointed abbess by Pope Nicholas IV. She slept on the ground, with a stone under her head, and for fifteen years fasted on bread and water. At the age of thirty, however, because of poor health, her spiritual director instructed her to eat other foods.

The people of Montepulciano wanted so much for her to return to them that they destroyed a house of ill repute and in its place built a convent for Agnes. In her hometown, she established in this house nuns of the order of St. Dominic. Agnes continued to be a great example of piety, humility, and charity to all for the remainder of her life. Through a long illness she showed great patience and grace, offering her sufferings up to God for the redemption of souls.

Agnes died at Monte Pulciano on the 20th of April 1317 at the age of 43. Her body was removed to the Dominicans' church of Orvieto in 1435, where it remains. She was solemnly canonized by Benedict XIII in 1726.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mother Angelica!

We love you and we're praying for you, Mother!

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Mother Angelica:

"If you're not a thorn in somebody's side, you aren't doing Christianity right."

US Ordination Class Of 2010: 31% Foreign-Born; 10% Are Converts

 Some interesting data from Catholic World News:

A survey of US seminarians who will be ordained this year has found that 31% were born outside the United States, with most coming from Mexico, Colombia, the Philippines, Poland and Vietnam.

Among the other findings of the survey:

# the average (mean) age of ordinands is 37; the median age of diocesan ordinands is 33 # 10% are converts # 37% have a relative who is a priest or religious # 55% have more than two siblings # 49% attended a Catholic elementary school, and 39% attended a Catholic college # 60% completed college before entering the seminary; 92% held full-time jobs # 16% had a parent with career military service # 78% were encouraged by a priest to enter the seminary; few were influenced by vocational advertising # 50% were discouraged by parents or other family members from considering the seminary; 15% were discouraged by priests, while 4% were discouraged by religious # 19% attended a World Youth Day, and 8% attended a Franciscan University of Steubenville High School Youth Conference # 67% regularly prayed the Rosary before entering seminary; 65% regularly took part in Eucharistic adoration # the seminarians typically began to consider a priestly vocation when they were 18.

11-year-old refuses abortion, understands a 'life is growing in her womb'

I wish more adults understood this. Perhaps she can explain it to them.

Despite protests and pressure from feminists and pro-abortion groups, an 11-year-old girl in the Mexican city of Chetumal has refused to undergo an abortion.  The young girl explained her decision saying that she understands, “a life is growing in her womb.”

The girl is receiving medical attention at a local clinic, where doctors say the results of psychological tests have been positive.  The recent tests, said Lizbeth Gamboa Song, director of the National System for the Comprehensive Development of the Family, show the girl has a proper understanding of the new life within her and of what to expect during the pregnancy.

Read the entire story.

Confidence and Joy

Bishops take action against nuns, CHA on Health Care

At least two U.S. bishops have taken action against the dissident women’s religious communities and the Catholic Health Association who supported health care reform legislation in defiance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

I can't tell you how supportive I am of these bishops for clamping down on these Catholic in Name only nuns, who  need to be disciplined for supporting abortion and the other evils of ObamaCare, which is both anti-life and anti-Catholic. I hope that other bishops will follow in the footsteps of these bold, brave bishops.
CNS reports that Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of Greensburg, Pa., has directed diocesan offices, parishes and the diocesan newspaper not to promote the “vocation awareness program of any religious community” that was a signatory to a letter urging members of the House of Representatives to pass the health reform bill.

In Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas J. Tobin asked the Catholic Health Association to remove the diocesan-sponsored St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island from its membership rolls, saying that CHA leadership had “misled the public and caused serious scandal” by supporting health reform legislation that the bishops opposed.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was against the measure because its provisions on abortion funding and conscience protections were morally unacceptable.

Read the entire article.

Pope Benedict Celebrates His Fifth Anniversary

Today Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the fifth anniversary of his election as Pope. On April 19, 2005 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, succeeding Pope John Paul II, became the 264th successor of St. Peter.

How is he celebrating his special day?

The College of Cardinals organized a lunch with the Pope as the guest of honor to mark the occasion, while the Italian Church called for a day of prayer for him.

Monday's lunch in the Pope's honor took place in the Ducal Hall of the Apostolic Palace and was attended by 46 cardinals. Vatican Radio reported that Cardinal Dean Angelo Sodano commemorated the five-year milestone with a short address in which he thanked the Holy Father for his service to the Church and the world, carried out with "great generosity."

He voiced the support of the College of Cardinals for the Bishop of Rome and underscored that "the light of Christian hope, with the certainty that the grace of the Lord continues to work among us," sustains the Church amidst "the challenges of the modern world."

Pope Benedict XVI also took the floor, saying that he feels fortunate to not be alone, having the entire College to share in the trials and consolations with him, L'Osservatore Romano reported.

He thanked the cardinals for their daily assistance, especially amidst persecutions in the Church's pilgrimage toward Heaven, noting that God continues to give consolation to the wounded Church in spite of its sins.

Saint Alphege of Winchester

The saint of the day is Saint Alphege of Winchester (954-1012), who was Archbishop of Canterbury and a martyr.
Saint Alphege was born in the year 954, of a noble Saxon family. He became a monk in the monastery of Deerhurst, near Tewkesbury, England, and afterwards lived as a hermit near Bath, where he founded a community under the rule of Saint Benedict and became its first abbot.

At thirty years of age he was chosen Bishop of Winchester, and twenty-two years later became Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1011, when the Danes landed in Kent and took the city of Canterbury, putting all to fire and sword, Saint Alphege was captured and carried off in the expectation of a large ransom. He was, however, unwilling that his ruined church and people should be put to such expense, and was therefore kept in prison at Greenwich for seven months.

While he was thus confined, some friends came and urged him to impose a tax upon his tenants to raise the sum demanded for his ransom. “What reward can I hope for,” said he, “if I spend upon myself what belongs to the poor? Better give to the poor what is ours, than take from them the little which is their own.” He continued to refuse to exact a ransom, and the enraged Danes finally fell upon him in a fury, beat him with the blunt sides of their weapons, and bruised him with stones. One whom the Saint had baptized shortly before, put an end to his sufferings by the blow of an axe. He died on Easter Saturday, April 19, 1012; his last words were a prayer for his murderers.

His body was first buried in Saint Paul’s, London, but was afterwards translated to Canterbury by King Canute. A church dedicated to Saint Alphege still stands upon the place of his martyrdom at Greenwich.

Saint Alphege is the patron of kidnap victims. He is sometimes represented with an axe cleaving his skull.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

St. Teresa of Avila on the Blessed Virgin Mary

 In her own words, St. Teresa speaks of the grandeur of Our Lady:

Humor: Dawkin's Downfall ("Arrest The Pope" Edition)

The New Atheists deliver some bad news to Professor Dawkins:


 Related Information:
The Pope's innocence
Why the Pope can't be tried
Media distortions in abuse reports:
Newsweek on priestly abuse rates
Dawkins on child abuse in 2006

Related Posts on Catholic Fire:

One Word on the Media Attacks on The Holy Father
Sex Abuse and the Pope -- Part I
Sex Abuse and the Pope -- Part II: The Scandal and Liberals
Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church -- Part 3
Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church -- Part 4