Thursday, April 30, 2009

Did president approve buzzing New York?

Introducing Ltc Buzz Patterson to Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)
L to R: LTC Buzz Patterson, Maj Chris Dickson, Cong. Mike Pence
Photo courtesy of: Move America Forward

Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson: 'It shows a kind of arrogance!"

By Andrea Shea King
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

An Air Force officer who served in the Clinton White House and for two years carried the "nuclear football" briefcase of codes says it's almost certain that the "highest levels" of the Obama administration knew about and approved this week's stunt in which Air Force One buzzed New York City.

Retired Lt. Col. Buzz Patterson served in Clinton's White House from 1996 to 1998 and was responsible for the president's "emergency satchel," the black bag of nuclear codes that accompanies the president at all times.

He wrote "Reckless Disregard" and "Dereliction of Duty" after his retirement from the military.

During an interview on "The Andrea Shea King Show" last night, he said, "I can't imagine that anyone who works in the Air Force thought that was a good idea. I have worked in the White House and having worked for the Military Office, with the guys at Andrews Air Force Base and the ground crews, that (decision) had to come down from on high."

Among the procedures with which he became familiar during his work with Clinton were those involving the preparation of the president's 747 jet for flight.

"It defies my belief that the White House staff did not know they were launching the 747 to go up and do this. So it had to come down from the White House. It wouldn't have been done on behalf of the folks at Andrews (Air Force Base). It would have been done at the direction of the White House," he said.

Patterson said the low-flying escapade over Manhattan clearly was not an oversight.

"The White House Military Office director is the Obama appointee – Caldera in this particular situation. So, he got the notification, he got the direction from somebody – I'm guessing Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff would probably be the person behind this."

Does that mean the president also knew?

"I'm guessing he probably did. Did Emanuel know about it? I guarantee you he did. It did not come from the Andrews folks. It came from on high," Patterson said.

He said the stunt reveals the judgment level in the Obama White House.

"I think that it shows you… quite clearly the lack of knowledge, the lack of focus or the understanding the Obama White House has toward the military, much like my former boss President Bill Clinton. I think it also shows a kind of arrogance to using toys – I'm sure that would be a phrase President Obama might use, his 'toys' – to get photo op shots around New York City and not recall or remember what happened on 9/11 and the fact that it might have caused some alarm. And I think really, it shows again a hundred days, a hundred mistakes with the Obama administration."

Read entire article:

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bishop Tobin: Catholic Apathy on Same-sex "Marriage" Must End


Providence, R.I., (CNA).- “Abysmal” Catholic apathy must be overcome to oppose those who are “fiercely determined” to impose homosexual “marriage,” Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island Thomas J. Tobin has warned. Reasserting Catholic teaching on sexual morality, he also said that same-sex “marriage” will endanger religious freedom.

Writing in his April 23 column in The Rhode Island Catholic, Bishop Tobin spoke of a “relentless” political march towards homosexual marriage, with New England leading the way. “The supporters of gay marriage in Rhode Island are well-organized and well-funded. They’re fiercely determined to impose their politically correct agenda on all the citizens of the state – human history, culture and moral principles not-withstanding. Anyone who opposes them is quickly labeled a bigot,” the bishop observed.

However, he said the typical Rhode Island Catholic’s response was indifferent and cited not wanting to judge people. Tobin also said that Catholics give rationalizations about the decline of Catholic influence.

“[G]ay marriage will affect you and you should be concerned. And there’s a lot we can do,” the bishop wrote, proceeding to review reasons Catholics oppose same-sex “marriage.”

Bishop Tobin explained that “homosexual activity is unnatural and gravely immoral. It’s offensive to Almighty God. It can never be condoned, under any circumstances. Gay marriage, or civil unions, would mean that our state is in the business of ratifying, approving such immoral activity.”

The movement for same-sex “marriage,” he added, “seeks to radically redefine the most fundamental institution of the human race, the building block of every society and culture. From the beginning, marriage has been defined as the stable union of man and woman, designed by God to continue the human race through the procreation of children.

“Homosexual relationships are not marriage – never have been, never will be.”

Bishop Tobin introduced what he called the “champagne principle.” Saying that not every wine has the unique characteristics of champagne, the bishop argued that someone who relabeled a bottle of Chianti and tried to sell it as champagne would be arrested for fraud.

Similarly, those who seek to redefine marriage and “to usurp the title ‘marriage’ for their morally bankrupt relationships,” are “committing an act of fraud,”he charged. “It’s insulting to those who have entered the authentic, sacred and time-honored institution of marriage over the years.”

Read entire article:

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Survey: Most Former Catholics Left Church When Young


The Pew Forum survey asked respondents to name their own reasons why they left their faith.

About half cited religious and moral beliefs. About 21 percent of the unaffiliated professed non-belief in Catholicism or any religion, 11 percent cited moral or social teachings, and another seven percent cited disbelief in God or a loss of faith as their motive. Eighteen percent of Protestants named a biblical or scriptural reason as a cause.

The survey then asked people to respond to a specific list of issues which they believe made them leave the faith of their upbringing.

Among Protestants who were raised Catholic, 71 percent said that their spiritual needs were not being met. Another 70 percent said they found a religion they liked more, while 54 percent said they just gradually drifted away. About half said they stopped believing in Catholic teachings, while 43 percent professed unhappiness with teachings about the Bible and 32 percent professed dissatisfaction with the atmosphere at worship services.

About 71 percent of unaffiliated former Catholics said they just drifted away from the religion, while about two-thirds said they stopped believing in the religion’s teachings. About 56 percent said they were unhappy with teachings on “abortion/homosexuality,” but the Pew Forum survey did not distinguish between the two issues. Another 48 percent professed unhappiness with Catholic teaching on birth control, while 43 percent said their spiritual needs were not being met. About 39 percent said they were unhappy with the way Catholicism treated women.

Fewer than three in ten former Catholics said the clerical sexual abuse scandal factored into their decision to abandon Catholicism, the Pew Forum reports, with Protestants slightly less likely than the unaffiliated to say so.

Read entire article from CNA:

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Women's "Ordination" Participants Excommunicated



Philadelphia, Pa., (CNA).- Saying it was “most unfortunate” that the “invalid ceremony” took place within his archdiocese, Archbishop of Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali has said that those who participated in a “pseudo-Ordination” of two women on Sunday have been automatically excommunicated by their act.

Cardinal Rigali said those who presented themselves for supposed ordination as well as those who “falsely claim” to ordain them have been excommunicated. On Sunday a self-professed bishop from South Africa named Patricia Fresen and a female bishop from Maryland led a ceremony in a Christian chapel inside Congregation Mishkan Shalom, a Reconstructionist Jewish synagogue in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The cardinal explained Catholic teaching in a statement, saying the ceremony is “in violation of the constant teaching of the Church, based on Scripture and Sacred Tradition.”

“Both clearly indicate that Jesus called only men to follow Him as Apostles, and the Church has always regarded his choice in this matter as normative for all time. Therefore, she has always followed Jesus' example by choosing only men for the ministry of Holy Orders.”

Saying the teaching on ordination had been confirmed by the Catholic Church as “definitive and irreformable,” he said the Church is “not authorized by Christ to confer Holy Orders upon women, and cannot do so, no matter how ardent a person’s desire may be.”

“All Catholic men and women bring different yet equally valuable gifts to the Church. The Church is strongest when the gifts given by Christ to all her members are celebrated and respected,” he continued. Cardinal Rigali then quoted Pope John Paul II’s 1994 Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, which said the role of women in the life of the Church remains “absolutely necessary and irreplaceable.”

“God's gifts, however, are never given to individuals merely for their own fulfillment, but for the unfolding of his plan of salvation in the Church for the benefit of the whole community of the faithful, and no one's true personal dignity in the Church can be fostered in opposition to the will of Christ Himself.

“Consequently, such a pseudo-ordination ceremony denigrates the truth entrusted to the Church by Christ Himself, and demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the respect and dignity accorded to women by Christ and His Church.”

Roman Catholic Womenpriests, the group that attempted to carry out the “ordinations,” is planning three more ceremonies next month.

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Notre Dame Denied $8.2 Million In Donor Protest


Alumni Coalition Calls For New University President

DEARBORN, Michigan, ( A Notre Dame alumni coalition verified that donors have pledged to withhold $8.2 million from the university in protest of the school's decision to honor President Barack Obama.

The coalition launched the national outreach effort one week ago, appealing to alumni and benefactors to hold back donations until the university's president, Father John Jenkins, is replaced.

In a press release today, the group, called "Replace Jenkins," reported that over 900 pledges have been sent online with the promise of canceling payments to the school, including notifications from donors who removed large estate bequests to the university from their wills.

The coalition statement reported that campaign organizers have "personally confirmed a majority of the largest donations, and continue to verify the validity of millions of additional gifts."

David DiFranco, the group's spokesperson, said: "We knew many donors and alums were unhappy with the decision to honor a pro-abortion president, but we never expected this large of a response."

He affirmed that the "process of verifying the largest donors has been carefully conducted."

DiFranco explained: "We dismissed the obvious bogus submissions, and are not counting a huge number of larger donations that we are still in the process of verifying. We are speaking directly with donors, and in several cases we have spoken with estate attorneys to confirm that Notre Dame has been stripped from a donor's will.

"We are going about this process with a critical eye in order that that the numbers we report are accurate. For that reason, the $8.2 million we are reporting today is actually very conservative."

He predicted, "As momentum continues to build, we are now certain that the financial penalty resulting from the decision to honor the most pro-abortion president in our nation's history will be enormous."

The coalition is calling for a new leader for the university, "who is committed to the authentic identity of Notre Dame, grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church."

DiFranco affirmed: "The fact that this effort is necessary is unfortunate.

"However, alumni and supporters of Notre Dame have little other recourse than to protest with their pocketbooks. We will continue our efforts as long as it is necessary to bring about positive change at Notre Dame that will honor 'Our Lady's University.'"

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Mary Ann Glendon Declined Notre Dame Award!


Mary Ann Glendon Declined Notre Dame Award!

Kudos to Mary Ann Glendon, Ambassador to the Vatican from 2007 to 2009, who sent the following letter to President of Notre Dame, Fr. John Jenkins. This is one lady who not only has class but courage. God bless her!

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
University of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,

When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame’s most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.
Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors. Read more...

Visit Professor Glendon's webpage and I offer her contact information below for those who want to send her a thank you note! It might be nice to include a spiritual bouquet.

Mary Ann Glendon
Learned Hand Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
Cambridge, MA 02138
Secretary: Susan Norton (617)496-2609
Fax: (617)496-4913

A special "Thank you!" to:

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Are the Rich to Blame for Poverty?


Are the Rich to Blame

for Poverty?


"I warn all the friars and exhort them not to condemn or look down on people whom they see wearing soft or gaudy clothes and enjoying luxuries in food or drink; each one should rather condemn and despise himself." Saint Francis of Assisi: Rule of 1223 - Chapter 3

Missionary Discusses Causes of Underdevelopment

By Father Piero Gheddo

ROME, ( The radical causes of poverty are not colonization, or the multi-nationals or the egoism of rich countries.

Although the rich of the world bear so much responsibility and culpability, they are not at the root of the poverty of poor peoples.

It makes me sad when I read in books and magazines not phrase "impoverished peoples" in the place of "poor peoples." And the explanation given is that, prior to the encounter with Western colonization, for example, the African peoples and the Amazonian Indians lived a natural, happy, peaceful and community life. However, it is an ideological vision altogether contrary to the historical reality.

Suffice it to read the biographies of the first missionaries who came into contact with these peoples even before the colonial intervention. For example, PIME missionaries went to eastern Burma [now Myanmar] in 1868, and English colonization in those regions inhabited by tribal peoples -- who lived in the Stone Age (iron was unknown to them) -- began toward the end of the 19th century.

In fact, the missionaries wrote that the tribes were constantly at war among themselves, and described their life as inhumane, slightly above that of animals, in addition to being "impoverished." The tribal peoples of Burma developed precisely through the action of the missionaries, who brought peace, taught them how to work and cultivate rice-fields -- previously they were nomads -- opened roads and schools, brought in modern medicine, studied their languages and compiled dictionaries, gathered proverbs and narratives from them and so on.

In 2001, the "non-globalists" coined an effective slogan for the Group of Eight meeting in Genoa: "We are rich because they are poor and they are poor because we are rich." I always say that the poor are not helped by telling lies.

Akin to the other slogan: "Ten percent of the world population consumes 90% of the resources, and 90% of men consume only 10% of the available resources." This must be corrected to read: "Ten percent of men produce and consume 90% of the resources, and 90% of men produce and consume 10% of the resources."

The root of the problem is that first one must produce if one is to consume: One consumes if one produces, and in poor countries not enough is produced to maintain the rate of growth of the population.

Africa increased from 300 million inhabitants in 1960 to more than 800 million today, but basic agriculture is still to a large extent at the level of colonial times. Some "catastrophists" say that there are too many men to be able to surmount famine. It's not true.

Japan, which has 342 inhabitants per square kilometer (Italy has 194), and has one of the highest densities of population in the world in a wholly mountainous country (only 19% of the territory is cultivable), and a difficult climate, is self-sufficient in the basic food it consumes, namely rice.

Famine does not come from too many men and women, but from the fact that they are not taught how to produce more, beyond the level of pure sustenance.

However, in the West this is not acknowledged because it calls into question our true responsibility, which is not just helping finance poor countries and paying a just price for their raw materials (this is also true, but it is not first and foremost). Our responsibility is to contribute to their education so they become self-sufficient, first of all in the production of food and then of all the rest.

The distance between the rich and the poor in the world is not above all an economic fact, but a cultural-political one. In Europe, after centuries of slow progress toward modern industry and agriculture, we have arrived at having the technology, the capacity, the entrepreneurial and work mentality (in addition to democracy and the free market) to produce. Whereas at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, many peoples of the global South passed from pre-history -- that is, absence of written languages -- to modernity in one century, with two World Wars in between!

In situations such as this, it is superfluous to say that they have great human values, that they are young, intelligent and affable, full of good will. Even I know these things very well, but the cultural leap from pre-history to the computer and airplanes can be absorbed in part by some individuals in the technical sense, but not in the cultural sense.

The popular masses use mobile phones and television, but the head, the habits, the customs of life, the underlying mentality have remained more or less in the past. Religious faiths and cultures cannot change rapidly; time is needed.

This is the story that I hear most often repeated by missionaries who live their life with poor people, something which is still not understood in the West and, what is more, there is no desire to admit it.

In December 2007 I was in Cameroon, one of the model countries of Africa south of the Sahara: large enough to contain Italy one and a half times, with 18 million inhabitants, politically stable, without wars or civil strife, with an acceptable form of democracy and liberty. Annual economic growth equals 2%-3% of GDP. Average income per capita is US$800 a year, when in many African countries it varies from US$100 to US$300 (Italy is just under US$30,000). Foreign debt is virtually nonexistent, a few tens of millions.

Fine, but the fact is that Cameroon produces little if anything in the industrial area. It has no real industry, only cement works, textile production and sugar, beer and cigarettes, ginning of cotton and little else. It imports almost all modern goods, including lamps and refrigerators, exporting natural riches (oil, various minerals, wood) and agricultural products. And economic growth without industry is not possible.

The second cancer of Cameroon is state corruption at the political and administrative level. In the list of the most corrupt countries of the world drawn up by the United Nations, Cameroon always places at the top; in 2007, in fact, it placed first. It is not the specific fault of this or that head of state or administrator; it is a custom that stems from the mentality: When one has power one must think first of all of one's ethnic group, tribe, village and family.

It is a widespread cancer throughout Africa -- and not just in the latter, of course -- which very much halts development, because the aid and grants received from the United Nations or from other states ends up almost totally in the pockets of those who hold power.

And, I repeat, this is true for high-level government officials and administrators, the military, etc., but also for anyone who has some power over others. There are exceptions, of course, but the bad custom that everyone speaks about is this. These are the real roots of underdevelopment.

Development is not only a technical and economic event, but stems above all from culture, from education: It is the work of individuals and not of money, it comes from people and not from machines, it is born through education, which is, however, a long, patient process, not accomplished by emergency interventions, but by living together with a people.

We Westerners do very little for the education of poor peoples, and we never hear of the role of cultural and religious values that lead to development: It is a topic that is ignored by the mass media and the Western "experts" that favor economic and technical aid.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mystic Monk Coffee: Order Through Portiuncula And Donate To Birthright (a loving alternative to Abortion)


The Carmelite Monks of Wyoming

Mystic Monk Coffee is roasted by the Carmelite Monks, a Roman Catholic monastery in the silence and solitude of the Rocky Mountains of northern Wyoming. The monks live a hidden life of prayer and contemplation in the pursuit of God. The monastery is inundated with young men who seek to leave everything to pray for the world, in a tradition at least a thousand years old. It is the monks’ great joy and privilege to share the fruit of their life with you in every cup of Mystic Monk Coffee.

The Monk Master Roaster

Br. Java is the master roaster who meticoulosly roasts beans in small batches. His philosophy is that each roast must be not only the labor of his hands, but a master roast of the highest quality. Br. Java is passionate about obtaining the perfect roasts for you. He carefully roasts only the finest gourmet beans under conditions that will make each roast consistent and smooth with a taste that will make your taste buds tingle. With experience and perfection, Mystic Monk Coffee is a coffee to savor and enjoy – with or without cream.

The Legend of the First Mystic Monk

Coffee is a product perfected and loved by monks from its beginning. When a monk of old heard the anguished tale of a shepherd who had sleepless goats, he himself discovered growing on shrubs the berries, which had such a wonderful affect. Delighted at his find, the ingenious monk boiled the beans in water and drank the resulting coffee. He found in his discovery a hot drink that could keep his eyes awake even amidst the midnight vigils and unceasing prayers of the monastic life.

The secret of coffee continues to keep monks ever alert and vigilant for their prayers, but now Mystic Monk Coffee shares the hidden, master roasts of monks with all who seek a delightful cup of coffee.

Monks are passionate Perfectionists

The monastic life is one of ordered perfection, which you will taste in every bag of Mystic Monk Coffee. Passionate about perfection, no challenge is too great for Br. Java and the monks, if it will result in a Mystic Monk brew suited for the most discriminating coffee drinker. The Carmelite monks have mastered the ancient art of roasting coffee, laboring with steadfast determination to make each cup of coffee simply superb. Taste the monastic perfection in each brew, which makes all the difference.

Please remember that when you buy Mystic Monk Coffee through the Portiuncula Hermitage, ten percent of all their commission sales is donated to Birthright (a loving alternative to abortion.)

Please remember to keep our pre-born in your daily prayers!

To order direct, simply click on the Mystic Monk Coffee Icon on the Right Side of this page:

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pope Is "Exactly the Opposite" of Liberal Media's Portrayal, Argentinean Archbishop Notes



Corrientes, Argentina, Apr 22, 2009 (CNA).- Archbishop Andres Stanovnik of Corrientes, Argentina revealed details of his recent ad limina visit during a press conference in which he stressed the necessity of bishops having communion with the Pope. The archbishop also said that the Pope is the exact opposite of how the media portrays him.

At the press conference the archbishop also explained the importance of the ad limina visit. “The Church is a living organism whose head is Christ, who is the one who governs. He does so through Peter and the apostles, present in their successors: the Pope and the college of bishops. We bishops make no sense without communion with the Holy Father,” he said. Ad limina visits “express precisely that, our communion with the Pope.”

Benedict XVI, said Archbishop Stanovnik, “is very different from how he is portrayed by the media, who make him out to be an inflexible, rigid and conservative Pope, estranged from reality, insensible, dogmatic, and he is not like this. He is exactly the opposite. What is sad is that some sectors in the Church believe what the media says.”

“Benedict XVI is very gracious, from the very moment you meet him you feel there is no distance between you because he is a simple man and for this reason he makes everything simple,” the archbishop stated. “One feels welcomed, accepted and close. Moreover, he is a person who knows how to listen, because the questions he asks are about the things you are telling him.”

“The interior of this Christian that the Church has anointed as Bishop of Rome is one of openness, a man who listens. And therefore, a person who listens to others is a person who also listens to God; he is a man of profound prayer. It is a blessing to have a universal pastor like him,” the archbishop said.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

David Horowitz: Rabid ACLU At It Again!



Dear Freedom Center Supporter,

The radical, hate-America Left never quits. Nearly every good,
decent American tradition or organization is under ferocious
attack. These radicals want blood. They want to shred and
destroy every vestige of our conservative society.

Today these ultra-leftists are focused on the men and women
who have proudly served in our armed forces.

The Freedom Center is joining in another legal battle
against the ACLU. This time it's the ACLU's attack on
the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Here's the background: In 1934, a California VFW chapter
created a tribute honoring Americans who gave the
ultimate sacrifice for their country. On that memorial,
the VFW raised a cross - not as a religious symbol,
but as a secular monument for people to see and
recognize the bravery and love of country their
colleagues had for America. The cross was placed on
Sunrise Rock in a remote area in California's Mojave
Desert, in what is now a federal preserve.

Frank Buono first saw the cross in 1995 when he was
working in the area. He later moved to Oregon and
planned to move back to the Mojave Desert (in 2001)
- where he could see the memorial from a nearby road.
Buono decided the cross had to go. He contacted the
ACLU, which readily took his case.

For nearly 70 years, the cross on the VFW's powerful,
compassionate memorial to fallen American soldiers
stood in silent tribute. In an instant, one man and
a radical leftist organization decided to wipe it out.

The VFW lost in the lower courts, and the case is now
before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Freedom Center is going to jump into this legal
battle to support the VFW's efforts to continue to
display the cross. Will you help us today? Will you
make a contribution?

You have long supported the Freedom Center and our
legal arm, the Individual Rights Foundation (IRF).
You know well the tactics of the rabid leftists who
want to erase any evidence of America's proudest
traditions or organizations. Witness the endless
attacks on the Boy Scouts of America, for example.

Now the ACLU and people like Frank Buono are
displaying their open contempt for our men and women
in uniform.

So, I readily agreed to have the IRF prepare yet
another powerful argument against yet another ACLU
attack. But I need your support.

We have a chance to make a difference here. In fact,
the Freedom Center's legal team is fighting the radical
left on a number of fronts:

The Freedom Center is fighting to protect the First
Amendment rights of Joe Kaufman, who has been critical
of Muslim terrorists and has a web site dedicated to
exposing radical Islamic terrorists. He is being sued
by Islamic groups who want to shut him up. The IRF is
working diligently to defend Joe Kaufman.

Boy Scouts of America troops across the nation are
routinely sued by the ACLU and other groups that want
to tear this great organization apart. The IRF has
provided a number of "friends of the court" briefs
in these cases. With your help we will continue
to do so.

Bottom line: Your support makes all the difference.
We simply would not be able to challenge these
radicals - and protect America's fundamental rights
- without the dedicated financial support of Americans
like you.

So, please, follow this link to make am immediate
contribution to our Individual Rights Legal Defense

Thank you again for all of your help - your courageous
support! Because of your unselfishness, I'm able to
take the fight straight into the trenches against the
radical Left. It's because of you the Freedom Center
is making a difference in the war for our culture,
for our American way of life.


David Horowitz
President & Founder

P.S. I cannot overemphasize how important you are
to my fight against a vicious, small but powerful
force in America - the rabid soldiers of the
hate-America Left! Please, let's take the fight to

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Secretary Clinton, Congressman Smith Spar on Abortion



Washington D.C., (CNA).- During a House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) questioned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about whether the Obama administration is seeking to weaken or overturn pro-life laws and policies in other countries. Secretary Clinton responded to his questions, affirming that the U.S. government’s definition of reproductive health includes access to abortion.

Rep. Smith began his comments by criticizing Secretary Clinton’s reception of the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood in Houston in March. Secretary Clinton said she was in “awe” of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and claimed her “life and leadership” was “one of the most transformational in the entire history of the human race.”

Secretary Clinton also said that Sanger’s work was “not done.” Rep. Smith said Sanger’s work was indeed “transformational,” but “not for the better if one happens to be poor, disenfranchised, weak, disabled, a person of color, an unborn child, or among the many so-called undesirables Sanger would exclude and exterminate from the human race.”

“Sanger’s prolific writings drip with contempt for those she considers to be unfit to live,” Rep. Smith said.

Noting that he had read many of Sanger’s articles and books, Rep. Smith characterized Sanger as an “unapologetic eugenicist and racist” who said “the most merciful thing a family does for one of its infant members is to kill it” and also characterized eugenics as the “most adequate and thorough avenue” to solve “racial, political and social problems.”

He quoted Sanger’s book “Pivot of Civilization” in which she decried charitable work as “not merely superficial and near-sighted” but also as concealing “a stupid cruelty” that leads to “the perpetuation of defectives, delinquents and dependents.” MORE

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Bishop D'Arcy laments "Terrible Breach" between Notre Dame and Church


Lamenting “the terrible breach which has taken place between Notre Dame and the Church,” Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne - South Bend offered strong criticism of the university president’s recent interpretation of a United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’ document.

The document-- “Catholics in Political Life”-- states that “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Father John Jenkins, CSC, had said that this statement does not apply to non-Catholics such as President Barack Obama. Bishop D’Arcy responded:

Since the matter is now public, it is my duty as the bishop of this diocese to respond and correct. I take up this responsibility with some sadness, but also with the conviction that if I did not do so, I would be remiss in my pastoral responsibility Rather than share my full letter, which I have shared with some in church leadership, I prefer to present some of the key points … I reminded Father Jenkins that he indicated that he consulted presidents of other Catholic universities, and at least indirectly, consulted other bishops, since he asked those presidents to share with him those judgments of their own bishops. However, he chose not to consult his own bishop who, as I made clear, is the teacher and lawgiver in his own diocese.

Bishop D’Arcy continued:

Father Jenkins declared the invitation to President Obama does not “suggest support” for his actions, because he has expressed and continues to express disagreement with him on issues surrounding protection of life. I wrote that the outpouring of hundreds of thousands who are shocked by the invitation clearly demonstrates, that this invitation has, in fact, scandalized many Catholics and other people of goodwill. In my office alone, there have been over 3,300 messages of shock, dismay and outrage, and they are still coming in. It seems that the action in itself speaks so loudly that people have not been able to hear the words of Father Jenkins, and indeed, the action has suggested approval to many.

In the publicity surrounding the points Father Jenkins has made, he also says he is “following the document of the bishops” by “laying a basis for engagement with the president on this issue.” I indicated that I, like many others, will await to see what the follow up is on this issue between Notre Dame and President Obama.

The bishop concluded:

[I]t would be one thing to bring the president here for a discussion on healthcare or immigration, and no person of goodwill could rightly oppose this. We have here, however, the granting of an honorary degree of law to someone whose activities both as president and previously, have been altogether supportive of laws against the dignity of the human person yet to be born.

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Pontiff to Families: God Is on Our Side


Encourages Spreading Virtue of Obedience

VATICAN CITY, ( Benedict XVI is affirming that the Gospel virtue of obedience stems from interior communion with God, and is urging families to share this "essential" value with society.

The Pope said this today during the homily of a Mass with organizers of January's World Meeting of Families, which took place in Mexico City.

The Mass, celebrated by the Pontiff in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, was also attended by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, and Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City.

Quoting St. Peter, who said, "We must obey God rather than any human authority," the Holy Father told his listeners, "The Word of God speaks to us of an obedience that is not mere subjection, nor simply an obeying of orders, rather it arises from an intimate communion with God and consists in an interior vision capable of discerning that which comes from on high and is above everything."

He added, "It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit which God grants without measure."

Benedict XVI affirmed: "Our contemporaries need to discover this obedience, which is not theoretical but essential.

"It means opting for specific forms of behavior which are based on obedience to God's will and which make us fully free.

"Christian families, with their domestic, simple and joyful lives, in which day by day they share their joys, hopes and concerns, and live in the light of faith, are schools of obedience and environments of true freedom. They know this well who over many years have enjoyed marriage in accordance with God's plan, […] experiencing the goodness of the Lord who helps and encourages us."

Before continuing the Mass, the Pope emphasized that "Christ is truly present in the Eucharist," and he is the "bread that comes down from on high" to strengthen us and "help us face the effort and fatigue of the road." The Pontiff added, "He is on our side."

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Life Wins Protection in Dominican Republic


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, ( The Congress of the Dominican Republic voted to put the protection of life into the national constitution.

In a 167-32 vote Tuesday, the members of an assembly working on the constitutional reform approved Article 30, which establishes the right to life from conception till death. The clause will become No. 11 of the future constitution.

Prior to the vote, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, expressed his confidence that the legislators would not seek to legalize abortion in a country that respects life from the moment of conception.

"We trust and we believe in the great majority of our legislators, who are respectable people and opposed to the legalization of abortion, given that many of them have said that they consider it in their consciences a crime," the prelate said in a Mass he celebrated on Divine Mercy Sunday. "They know what the entire country wants, what the Catholic Church and other Christians want, and because of this we trust that they will not legalize abortion."

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bishop Conlon of Steubenville to resume the practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays throughout the year for the Unborn!


March 28, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

With a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, Jesus fed thousands. It was a sign of how he would himself become the Bread of Life, true life for those who believe in him.

We cannot become literally other Christs. We can be transformed by his life and be instruments of his life for others. Just as he accomplished salvation through his supreme sacrifice on the cross, we can fulfill our Christian mission through sacrifice. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, fast and care for the poor as types of sacrifice.

Maybe we separate these three activities into distinct functions. Jesus drew them together in feeding the multitude. He took the meager food of the apostles, prayed over it and distributed it to the poor. On Calvary, after a day with no food or drink, he gave his life for us sinners, all the while praying to his Father.

We can do the same in a very simple way. I am inviting the Catholic people of the Diocese of Steubenville to resume the practice of abstaining from meat on all Fridays throughout the year, but with a twist. I am asking that this be not only a penitential practice but also an experience of prayer and service. This can happen by connecting abstinence with our witness to the sacredness of human life.

The Church teaches, in harmony with divine revelation, that every human life is sacred and inviolable from conception to natural death. Yet, abortion is widely accepted and legalized. Wars abound. Suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and public shootings kill innocent people. Domestic violence, human trafficking, racism, assisted suicide, capital punishment and so many other acts and attitudes degrade what is made in the image of God.

We must continue to teach the truth about life without ceasing and without hesitancy. But actions often speak louder than words. Abstinence from meat on Fridays, for the sake of life, is one such action, especially when done in solidarity with one another.

Abstinence is a form of fasting—a discipline of the body. It can remind us of the beautiful gift of life that God has given to us personally. It can also remind us and each other of how sacred everyone else’s life is. As a public witness, it can be a service to those whose life and human dignity are at risk.
Next to Sunday, Friday has always been a special day in the Catholic Church for prayer. Offering prayer for life--praising God as the source of life and begging him to turn away threats to life--is a fitting addition to abstinence. This prayer can be in the parish setting, in the family or alone. Abstinence itself can be offered consciously as a prayer for life and in reparation for sins against life.
Abstinence can also be service if we eat simple meatless food and donate the financial savings to the poor or to pro-life efforts.

The resumption of year-round abstinence in the Diocese of Steubenville will begin after this coming Easter, one week after Good Friday (April 17). Although the practice will not be a requirement of law, and failing to keep it will not constitute a sin, I hope every one who is old enough to receive Holy Communion and well enough to come to church will take it seriously. Our parishes, schools and organizations should provide meatless food at their Friday activities.

Until 1966, Catholics around the world were required to abstain from meat on all Fridays. That year, Pope Paul VI determined that the rules for fasting and abstinence should be set by the various episcopal conferences according to local circumstances. At the same time, he reminded us that doing penance was commanded by Christ himself and is an important part of our spiritual life.

The bishops of the United States eliminated mandatory abstinence from meat on Fridays except during Lent. However, they insisted that all Catholics should observe some penitential practice on Fridays, in remembrance of the Lord’s passion and death, and they highly recommended continuing abstinence from meat.

So, the present challenge to the people in our diocese is not really radical. It is a call to what many if not most of us have put aside. And it is a way for us, like the apostles, to give up a little food and help Jesus feed the world.

May God bless you and your sacrifice. May he protect the life he has so lovingly fashioned.

Most Reverend R. Daniel Conlon
Bishop of Steubenville

N.B. This letter is to be read before or at the end of all Masses on the weekend of March 28 and 29, 2009.

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Cardinal Warns of Abortion's "Shadow over History"


Madrid, Spain, (CNA).- The Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, said Monday during the opening of the bishops’ 93rd Plenary Assembly that the “crime of abortion casts a shadow over the history of humanity,” in a reference to a measure the government intends to put forth this summer that would change the country’s law on abortion.

The cardinal said the new law “attempts to reduce democracy to an empirical mechanism” through which the approval of laws represents “simply a sort of common denominator of diverse opinions and interests present in society, even when what is in question is the fundamental right to life.”

“Without an objective moral foundation,” he continued, “not even democracy can ensure a stable peace, and the more peace is not founded upon the values human dignity and solidarity between all mankind, it is often an illusory peace.”

Cardinal Rouco said Spain has been immersed in recent decades “in a process of deterioration of moral awareness with respect to the sacred value of human life.”

“Since the 1983 law decriminalizing abortion, the situation has worsened both in practice and in law,” he added.

The cardinal noted that the concern over abortion “has always been at the center of the bishops’ interests during recent decades.”

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Cardinal Rigali Warns: Proposed Federal Rules on Embryonic Stem Cell Undercut "Ethical Foundation"


Washington D.C., (CNA).- Cardinal Justin Rigali has responded to new draft guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research, warning that they allow for the use of more than just “leftover” embryos. The draft rules also divorce biomedical research from its “necessary ethical foundation,” thus enabling some human beings to use and mistreat others for their own goals, he stated. He also warned against growing efforts to fund with federal dollars the creation and destruction of human embryos for research through in vitro fertilization and cloning methods.

“Without unconditional respect for the life of each and every member of the human race, research involving human subjects does not represent true progress. It becomes another way for some human beings to use and mistreat others for their own goals,” said Cardinal Rigali, commenting in a Tuesday statement as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

“Suffering patients and their families deserve better, through increased support for promising and ethically sound stem cell research and treatments that harm no one.”

The cardinal said that the draft guidelines reflect a policy approved but never implemented by the Clinton administration in 2000.

“However, the Clinton policy was limited to embryos that had been frozen, to ensure that parents had time to consider the decision to donate them for research; the new guidelines are broader in allowing destruction of newly created embryos that were never frozen, increasing the prospects for a rushed and biased consent process,” he said.

This runs counter to the claim that the research funding involves only embryos that would otherwise be discarded, Cardinal Rigali charged.

“For the first time, federal tax dollars will be used to encourage destruction of living embryonic human beings for stem cell research – including human beings who otherwise would have survived and been born,” he wrote.

He said it was “noteworthy” that the proposed guidelines do not allow federal funding for research using embryos specially created for research purposes through in vitro fertilization or cloning.

“We can hope that the NIH and Congress will continue to respect this ethical norm, and will realize that the alleged 'need' for violating it is more implausible than ever due to advances in reprogramming adult cells to act like embryonic stem cells.”

The cardinal warned that congressional supporters of human embryo-destroying research have already said that they will pursue “a more extreme policy.” MORE

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bishop Finn Surveys Pro-life Battlefield, Addresses Catholic Dissent


Kansas City, Kan., (CNA).- Saying Catholics are “at war” with “the glamour of evil,” Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph Robert W. Finn delivered a keynote address at a pro-life convention on Saturday lamenting “dissension in the ranks” and calling on Catholics to never become used to the “crime against humanity” that is abortion.

He also commented on the Notre Dame controversy, saying its head should disinvite President Barack Obama. Greeting the audience at the Gospel of Life Convention in Overland Park, Kansas, Bishop Finn said that alongside encouragements he also wished to tell them, “We are at war!”

“Harsh as this may sound it is true – but it is not new,” he said, adding that “new battles” bring “an intensity and urgency to our efforts.”

According to the Catholic Key, the bishop invoked the tripartite division of the Catholic Church as the Church Militant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Triumphant. The Church on Earth, Bishop Finn explained, is “the Church Militant.”

“We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly these forces work against us, we are more likely to fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal life.”

The bishop said it is an “important truth” to know that Jesus Christ “has already won the war definitively and once for all.”

Read entire article:

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Cardinal Pell Responds to Media Criticism of Pope


"Choice, Not Condoms, Make the Difference With AIDS"

SYDNEY, Australia, ( Here is an article by Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, that appeared Saturday in the Sydney Morning Herald, responding to a journalist's criticism of him and the Pope.

In a television interview, the cardinal expressed support for Benedict XVI's statements on condoms as an insufficient means to fight AIDS. On April 11, a herald journalist criticized the statements in an article titled "Pell rides papal bandwagon of death." The following is Cardinal Pell's response.

* * *

Choice, not condoms, make the difference with AIDS

By Cardinal George Pell

On St Patrick's Day, Pope Benedict spoke about the Catholic Church's teachings and the spread of AIDS in Africa. His comments provoked a storm of indignation, much of it genuine if uninformed, but a deal of it ferocious and disingenuous. It helps to be clear about what he said.

The Pope rejected the notion that the Catholic attitude was unrealistic and ineffective, adding: "If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help [by responsible behavior], the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms; on the contrary, they increase it."

During an Easter television interview, I supported Pope Benedict's comments. I said: "I agree with him totally [about condoms] because they're encouraging promiscuity, because they're encouraging irresponsibility." I also said: "The idea that you can solve a great spiritual and health crisis like AIDS with a few mechanical contraptions like condoms is ridiculous."

My comments, too, prompted a reaction, including one from the Herald's David Marr, who galloped into the fray to defend the sexual revolution against what the Pope and I had said. He even mentioned Africa a couple of times. "How many good Catholics will die in Africa and the Philippines," he asks, before they learn?

At the heart of Marr's position is a fundamental misconception, which he states as follows: "And we know in our hearts -- and every reputable study confirms -- that the church's call for abstinence is useless."

In fact, the studies confirm that behavior modification is possible and is occurring. In Cameroon the percentage of young people having sex before the age of 15 has gone down from 35 percent to 14 percent, United Nations AIDS said last year. Uganda has had a 70 percent decline in HIV prevalence since the early 1990s, linked to a 60 percent reduction in casual sex, says a 2004 report in Science. Similar evidence exists in Africa, from Ethiopia to Malawi.

Other studies support my claim that condoms encourage promiscuity and irresponsibility. UN AIDS has found that even when people use condoms consistently, something goes wrong about 10 percent of the time. Condoms give users an exaggerated sense of safety, so that they sometimes engage in "risk compensation." In one Ugandan study, gains in condom use seem to have been offset by increases in the number of sex partners.

Pope Benedict was right to point out that the human dimension in sexual activity is crucial. We are not automatons, slaves to animal instinct. Education campaigns focusing on fewer partners, less casual
sex and less use of sex workers have been key to reducing infection rates.

Earlier this year, the British Medical Journal reported: "In numerous large studies, concerted efforts to promote use of condoms has consistently failed to control rates of sexually transmitted infection," even in Canada, Sweden and Switzerland.

The response of critics to the Pope's comments have been classic examples of diversionary tactics; blame someone else in case people begin to understand that your solution is a significant cause of the problem.

To blame Catholics and Pope Benedict for the spread of HIV/AIDS requires proof that while people are ignoring the first, essential Christian requirement to be chaste before and within marriage, they are slavishly obedient to a second requirement not to use condoms. I doubt anyone thinks that is realistically the case.

Catholic teaching is opposed to adultery, fornication and homosexual intercourse, even with condoms, not because it denies condoms offer health protection, but because traditional Christian moral teaching believes all extra-marital intercourse contradicts the proper meaning of love and sexuality.

Christ called Christians to a different way of living, to a purity of heart where even looking on a woman with aggressive and disordered desire (lust) is wrong.

At least 25 percent of the services and care for people with HIV/AIDS in Africa is provided by the Catholic Church. While the role of a church is different from government, which has to legislate and organize for people of all religions as well as those without, both are required to respect the evidence and good moral values in the programs they deliver.

Catholics are not obliged to protest publicly against every harm minimization program, even when the church urges her members not to participate. In the same way, governments and non-Catholic aid agencies can and will continue to hand out condoms in HIV/AIDS programs, although the evidence suggests they may on balance be exacerbating the problem.

But all of us who want to help prevent and reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS need to respect the evidence about what helps and what doesn't. And the evidence is that it's not condoms which make the crucial difference, but the choices people make about how they use the gift of sexuality.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Franciscans reflect on relevance of charism 800 years after founding


By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

ASSISI, Italy (CNS) -- Brown-, gray- and black-hooded robes rustled, knotted white cords swung rhythmically, and sandaled feet crunched gravel.

The soft sounds of labored breathing could also be heard as several hundred Franciscan friars from all over the world wound their way up steep hills, passing wheat fields and olive groves while on a two-hour penitential procession to the tomb of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi.

The processing friars were just some of the 1,800 Friars Minor, Conventual Franciscans, Capuchins and Third Order Regular Franciscans attending an April 15-18 gathering celebrating the 800th anniversary of papal approval of the Franciscan rule. It was the first time that many representatives of the four main Franciscan branches had come together in Assisi.

Participants followed in the footsteps of their founder with many activities centered around or near the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, which houses the Portiuncula chapel -- the small church where St. Francis experienced his conversion.

On April 18, participants traveled south for a special audience with Pope Benedict XVI. The trip recalled St. Francis' pilgrimage to see Pope Innocent III in 1209 to receive approval of his rule of life and formally establish the Franciscan order.

Meeting with them in the courtyard of the papal villa in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, the pope thanked the world's Franciscan family for being "a precious gift" to all Christians.

The pope recalled how St. Francis heard God's voice telling him, "Repair my house," and he urged today's Franciscans to continue those efforts of fixing the serious "ruins" in society and mankind.

"Like Francis, always begin with yourself. We are the first homes that God wants restored," Pope Benedict said. In the spirit of the Gospel, "continue to help the pastors of the church by rendering her face as the bride of Christ more beautiful."

During an outdoor eucharistic celebration in Assisi April 17, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a Franciscan who heads the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, underlined the importance of the Franciscan charism of fraternity, communion and living the evangelical ideal of poverty.

"To live evangelical poverty in a world that is increasingly dazzled and enslaved by money and to live with love and solidarity toward the poor -- toward every single poor person -- must be one of the most important and significant contributions the Franciscan friars make" in bearing witness to Christ in today's world, Cardinal Hummes said in his homily.

Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, echoed the importance of living as humble and poor children of God as personified by St. Francis.

Being a living witness to humility and poverty is a sign of having been freed by God from the thirst for power and possessions, he said in his homily April 16, adding that this liberating message must be shared with others so that everyone may have the possibility of receiving eternal life.

Though St. Francis' rule of simplicity, fraternity and poverty received formal approval by Pope Innocent III 800 years ago, it is still relevant and crucially urgent in today's world of excess, individualism and hedonism, a number of friars told Catholic News Service April 17.

Franciscan Father Bob Mokry, who served as provincial of the Franciscans in western Canada, 2001-2007, said St. Francis' example and message "is absolutely necessary" today.

Technology and scientific advancements have done so much to benefit mankind, but "on the downside it's turned humanity in upon itself, thinking that we are the masters and controllers" who can also shut out God's existence, he said.

Merely celebrating one's own human powers and accomplishments at the detriment or expense of one's spiritual life has left people dissatisfied, he added.

That is one reason the figure of St. Francis is so appealing to people of such a wide variety of backgrounds, not just Christians, but even to people with little or no faith in God, he said.

"His is a universal life. There's something about the poor, little rich man who gives up everything and experiences freedom and has a rapport with everyone, with all of creation," he said.

It was this sense of universal brotherhood, the joy, freedom and love he experienced, rejoiced in, and shared with others "that just touches everyone," said Father Mokry.

Franciscan Father Russell Becker, director of the Holy Name province's mission office in New Jersey, said what makes St. Francis attractive and valuable to every age and generation is "he just has this way of honoring the person in all people."

"We all tend to objectify people and rob them of their personhood, but when someone comes along and recognizes you are a person, it's really the most remarkable," life-changing experience, said Father Becker.

He said Franciscans, with their easily identifiable robes, are tremendously lucky because people respect them and expect them to have the same gifts St. Francis had.

"People recognize us, open up to us," and offer "unbelievable opportunities" for doing good, he said.

Franciscan Father Mark G. Reamer, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, N.C., said what struck him the most about the international gathering of Franciscans was seeing so many friars from such different cultures.

"We look so different, we speak different languages, and yet there is a sense of unity in our vocation and in our sense of being brothers," said Father Reamer.

This unity in diversity, he said, was aided by St. Francis, who was able to recognize the uniqueness in each person, which led to there being no "cookie-cutter approach to being a friar."

Father Becker compared St. Francis to Saran Wrap -- "it can fit around everything yet it still doesn't cover the person" and his individual gifts, talents, personality and opinions.

Being a Franciscan friar and living a life of poverty and simplicity does not mean that cable television, Internet and BlackBerry electronic organizers get the boot; rather the friars said they all find a way to maintain a proper balance between a simple, spiritual life that is still part of a busy, high-tech culture.

Father Mokry said he does it through prayer that "sensitizes you and leaves you open to finding the presence of God in the world."

When one becomes in tune with the beauty in people and creation and "you rejoice in the goodness and the beauty that exists," then work commitments, routine and technology all fall into perspective, he said.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Key Witness Against Obama Is Killed


Key witness in passport fraud case fatally shot

  • A key witness in a federal probe into passport information stolen from the State Department was fatally shot in front of a District church, the Metropolitan Police Department said yesterday.

Lt. Quarles Harris Jr., 24, who had been cooperating with a federal investigators, was found late Thursday night slumped dead inside a car, in front of the Judah House Praise Baptist Church in Northeast, said Cmdr. Michael Anzallo, head of the department's Criminal Investigations Division.

Cmdr. Anzallo said a police officer was patrolling the neighborhood when gunshots were heard, then Lt. Harris was found dead inside the vehicle, which investigators would describe only as a blue car.

Emergency medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

City police said they do not know whether his death was a direct result of his cooperation with federal investigators.

"We don't have any information right now that connects his murder to that case," Cmdr. Anzallo said.

Police say a "shot spotter" device helped an officer locate Lt. Harris.

A State Department spokeswoman yesterday declined to comment, saying the investigation into the passport fraud is ongoing.

The Washington Times reported April 5 that contractors for the State Department had improperly accessed passport information for presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain, which resulted in a series of firings that reached into the agency's top ranks.

One agency employee, who was not identified in documents filed in U.S. District Court, was implicated in a credit-card fraud scheme after Lt. Harris told federal authorities he obtained "passport information from a co-conspirator who works for the U.S. Department of State."

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Women Religious Leadership Conference Faces Investigation


"They are certainly religious women, but they are no longer women religious as it is defined by the Roman Catholic Church."

Toledo, Ohio, (CNA).- The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is being investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because of the “tenor and doctrinal content” of various addresses at the organization’s annual assemblies since 2001. One such address described “moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus” as “the dynamic option” for religious life.

According to its web site, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has more than 1,500 members representing about 95 percent of the 59,000 women religious in the U.S.

Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), announced the doctrinal review in a letter, the National Catholic Reporter says.

He noted that officials from the LCWR had met with the CDF in 2001. The officials were invited to report on LCWR members’ reception of Church teaching on the sacramental priesthood, the CDF document Dominus Iesus and “the problem of homosexuality.”

Dominus Iesus, published by the CDF in 2000 under then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, emphasized the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and established the differences between the Catholic Church and other religions. The document stated that only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the Christian faith.

“Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses given at the annual assemblies of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the intervening years, this Dicastery can only conclude that the problems which had motivated its request in 2001 continue to be present,” Cardinal Levada said in his letter.

The Catholic Key reported that the keynote address at the LCWR 2007 annual assembly has aroused “particular concern and discussion.”

In that keynote, titled “A Marginal Life: Pursuing Holiness in the 21st Century,” Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Laurie Brink commented on the decline of many religious orders. She characterized some successful new orders as being “acquiescent” to others’ expectations and also discussed the possible future of women religious.

She described a “sojourning congregation” as “the dynamic option for Religious Life.”

In Sister Laurie’s words, such a congregation involves “moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus.”

“A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical. It has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion. Its search for the Holy may have begun rooted in Jesus as the Christ, but deep reflection, study and prayer have opened it up to the spirit of the Holy in all of creation. Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.”

She described the Benedictine Women of Madison as having a commitment to “ecumenism” which led them “beyond the exclusivity of the Catholic Church into a new inclusivity, where all manner of seeking God is welcomed. They are certainly religious women, but they are no longer women religious as it is defined by the Roman Catholic Church. They choose as a congregation to step outside the Church in order to step into a greater sense of holiness. Theirs was a choice of integrity, insight and courage.”

Cardinal Levada said that the assessment of the LCWR will be conducted by Bishop of Toledo, Ohio Leonard P. Blair. Bishop Blair is a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine.

Cardinal Levada said Bishop Blair’s principal purpose would be to “review the work of the LCWR in supporting its membership as communities of faith and witness to Christ in today’s church, and to offer any useful assistance.”

CNA contacted Sally Oberski, Director of Communications at the Diocese of Toledo, for further comment on the investigation.

Reiterating Cardinal Levada’s description of Bishop Blair’s work, she said in a Friday e-mail:

“Bishop Blair has been in contact with the leadership of the LCWR, and has nothing further to add at this time."

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Pope Benedict: Franciscans Continue To Beautify the Face of the Church

Br Giles Mary Christopher
VATICAN CITY, (VIS) - Saturday in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received 3,000 members of the Franciscan Family who recently participated in the "Chapter of the Mats" in Assisi, Italy, commemorating the birth of the Franciscan order on the eighth centenary of the approval of St. Francis' "Protoregula" by Pope Innocent III.

The dozen friars who first followed St. Francis of Assisi, said the Pope, have over the centuries become "a multitude scattered throughout the world. ... And I, as Pastor of the universal Church, wish to thank [God] for the precious gift you yourselves represent for all Christian people. From the brook that sprang up at the base of Monte Subasio, a great river was born which has made a notable contribution to the universal spread of the Gospel".

Francis, the Holy Father continued, "experienced the power of divine grace, as if he had died and been raised again. All his earlier wealth, all his reasons for feeling proud and secure, everything became a 'loss' from the moment he encountered the crucified and risen Christ. At that point abandoning everything became almost a necessity, in order to express the superabundance of the gift he had received".

Pope Benedict then went on to describe the focus of his meeting with the Franciscans as "the Gospel as a rule for life", and he highlighted how St. Francis "viewed himself entirely in the light of the Gospel. This is his appeal. This is his perennial relevance", he said. "Thus the 'Poverello' became a living Gospel, capable of attracting men and women of all times to Christ, especially the young who prefer radical commitment to half measures. Bishop Guido of Assisi, and later Pope Innocent III, recognised evangelical authenticity in the projects of Francis and his companions, and encouraged their efforts, also with a view to the good of the Church".

However, the Pope noted, "Francis could also simply not have come to the Pope. Many religious groups and movements were formed in that period and some of them stood against the Church as an institution, or at least they did not seek her approbation. A polemical attitude towards the hierarchy would certainly have brought Francis many followers. Yet his first thought was to place his own and his companions' development in the hands of the Bishop of Rome, Peter's Successor. This fact demonstrates his true ecclesial spirit. From the beginning he saw the little 'us' he had begun with his first friars as being part of the great 'us' of the one universal Church.

"The Pope recognised and appreciated this", added Benedict XVI. "In fact, he too could have failed to approve Francis' plans. And indeed, we may well imagine that among Innocent III's collaborators some advised him to do just that, perhaps fearing that the little group of friars resembled other heretical and pauperist groups of the period. However, the Roman Pontiff, well-informed by the bishop of Assisi and by Cardinal Giovanni di San Paolo, was able to discern the initiative of the Holy Spirit and welcomed, blessed and encouraged the nascent community of 'Friars Minor'".

"Eight centuries have passed and today you wish to renew your Founder's gesture", the Pope told his audience. "You are all children and heirs of those origins. ... Like Francis and Clare of Assisi, ... always begin again from Christ ... in order to see His face in our brothers and sisters who suffer, and to bring everyone His peace. Be witnesses of the beauty of God, whose praises Francis sang while contemplating the wonders of creation".

"Go forth and continue 'to repair the house' of the Lord Jesus Christ: His Church", cried the Holy Father. "Yet there is another ruin, an even more serious ruin: that of people and of communities", he said.

"Like St. Francis, always begin with yourselves", he concluded. "If you prove capable of renewing yourselves in the spirit of the Gospel, you will continue to help the pastors of the Church to make her face, as the bride of Christ, ever more beautiful. Now as at your beginnings, this is what the Pope expects from you".

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bishop Wenski offers a Mass of Reparation for Notre Dame scandal


All are Invited to the Mass of Reparation (Code of Canon Law)

As Catholics we are aware of the many shortcomings and transgressions committed against the dignity and sacredness of human life in our world. That is why it is inconceivable that Notre Dame University, a Catholic institution of higher learning, should receive and honor anyone who promotes policies that are contradictory to who we are as a people of faith.

As our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI stated in his visit to the U.S. last year in reference to Catholic university presidents, "to justify positions that contradict the faith and teaching of the church would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission."

Mass of Reparation
May 3 at 6:00 p.m.
Cathedral of St. James
215 N. Orange Avenue
Downtown Orlando

Come and pray with Bishop Wenski for all of our transgressions against the Gospel of Life.

Reparation is the making amends for a wrong done or for an offense against God. By his death on the cross, the Son of God offered his life out of love for the Father to make reparation for our sinful disobedience (CCC #614).

We are obliged to make reparation for personal sins against justice and truth (CCC #2412 and #2487).


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Saturday, April 18, 2009

N.Y. Gov. Introduces Same-sex Marriage Bill Day after Attending Archbishop's Installation


New York City, N.Y., (CNA).- New York Gov. David Paterson on Thursday introduced a bill to permit same-sex “marriages” to be contracted in the state, claiming it to be a “civil rights issue” and the “right way” spiritually. One Democratic Senator who is organizing opposition to the measure called the bill “a laugh in the face” of New York City’s new archbishop.

According to the Associated Press, Gov. Paterson defended his action before a news conference in Manhattan.

“Anyone that has ever experienced degradation or intolerance would understand the solemn duty and how important it actually is,” he said. “This is a civil rights issue. Civil rights don't wait for the right time.”

The governor, who said he was baptized a Catholic, said the proposal was the “right way” from a spiritual standpoint.

In 2007 the Democrat-controlled New York legislature’s lower house, the Assembly, passed a same-sex “marriage” bill by an 85 to 61 vote, but it was not put to a vote in the state Senate.

The Assembly is expected to again pass the bill. The Senate is now controlled by Democrats for the first time in more than 40 years. However, their 32 senators only slightly outnumber the 30 Republicans in that body.

At least one Democratic Senator, Sen. Ruben Diaz, has said he opposes Gov. Paterson’s measure.

Sen. Diaz, an evangelical pastor from the Bronx, said it was disrespectful of the governor to introduce the legislation in the same week that Catholics celebrated the installation of the new Archbishop of New York City Timothy Dolan.

Commenting ahead of yesterday's installation, Diaz said, "If I were Governor Paterson, I would abstain from going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the welcoming ceremony and to celebrate Mass."

On Thursday he met with religious leaders to discuss how to defeat the bill. According to the senator's website, the meeting’s aim was to inform Hispanics, Catholics, evangelicals and others opposed to same-sex “marriage” of his opposition to the proposal and of ways to prevent the bill’s passage.

"I think it's a laugh in the face of the new archbishop," Sen. Diaz said before the meeting. "The Jews just finished their holy week. The Catholics just received the new archbishop. The evangelical Christians just celebrated Good Friday and resurrection. He comes out to do this at this time? It's a challenge the governor is sending to every religious person in New York and the time for us has come for us to accept the challenge." MORE

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Georgetown students React to White House Request To Cover Jesus' Name


Washington D.C., Apr 16, 2009 (CNA).- Georgetown University’s decision to comply with a White House request to cover up the “IHS” monogram representing Jesus' name at President Obama’s speech on Wednesday is drawing fire from the Cardinal Newman Society and Georgetown students, who are charging the university with “sacrificing” its “Catholic and Jesuit identity.”

Reports surfaced today from attendees at President Obama's speech on the economy that the White House asked Georgetown University to cover up several emblems, including an IHS monogram above the president's head during his speech at the Jesuit university.

Although President Obama focused his speech on his administration’s plans to spur economic growth, some in attendance noticed that the IHS monogram—an early 3rd century abbreviation for the name of Jesus—was covered up for the speech.

CNA attempted to confirm the report with Georgetown officials, but no one available for comment before press time.

However, Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at the university, told that the covering up of Jesus' name was prompted by “logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event.” According to Bataille, “Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage.”

She said the “signage and symbols” were covered up because “the pipe and drape wasn’t high enough by itself to fully cover the IHS and cross” and that it seemed more “respectful to have them covered” so that viewers wouldn’t see them “out of context.”

Patrick Reilly, the President of the Cardinal Newman Society, reacted to the report by telling CNA that Georgetown’s decision is another “outrageous example of a Catholic university sacrificing principle for prestige.” MORE

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Vatican deplores Belgian parliament's criticism of pope on condoms


By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican has deplored a Belgian parliamentary resolution that criticized Pope Benedict XVI for his remarks about condoms and AIDS prevention.

In an April 17 statement, the Vatican's Secretariat of State said it "deplores the fact that a parliamentary assembly should have thought it appropriate to criticize the Holy Father on the basis of an isolated extract from an interview, separated from its context and used by some groups with a clear intent to intimidate."

The statement said it appeared that those groups were hoping "to dissuade the pope from expressing himself on certain themes of obvious moral relevance and from teaching the church's doctrine."

The Belgian parliament voted overwhelmingly April 2 to have the government relay to the Vatican the parliamentarians' disapproval of Pope Benedict's statement March 17 that distributing condoms was not the key to preventing AIDS.

The Belgian ambassador to the Holy See, Frank E. de Coninck, met April 15 at the Vatican with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for relations with states, to formally inform the Vatican of the resolution.

The Secretariat of State said that it "notes with regret this action, unusual in the context of the diplomatic relations existing between the Holy See and the kingdom of Belgium."

The pope was asked about condoms in AIDS prevention by reporters aboard his flight to Cameroon March 17. After highlighting the church's efforts to help AIDS victims, the pope said: "One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem."

The pope went on to explain that true prevention requires a change in sexual behavior and a real effort to befriend and care for those living with AIDS.

In its statement April 17, the Secretariat of State said the pope "also emphasized the commitment of the church in both these areas. Without this moral and educational dimension, the battle against AIDS will not be won."

"While in some European countries an unprecedented media campaign was unleashed concerning the predominant, not to say exclusive, value of prophylactics in the fight against AIDS, it is consoling to note that the moral considerations articulated by the Holy Father were understood and appreciated, in particular by the Africans and true friends of Africa, as well as by some members of the scientific community," the statement said.

In the midst of the debate about the pope's comments on condoms, Vatican officials and the Vatican newspaper cited several studies by researchers and by international agencies, including the World Health Organization, showing that the most effective anti-AIDS campaigns in Africa have been based on efforts to promote abstinence and fidelity in sexual relations.

Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, told National Review Online March 25 that "the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."

Green said when an individual uses a condom thinking it will reduce the risk of exposure to HIV that person may also take part in riskier behavior and take greater chances than one would take without condoms, for example, by having multiple and concurrent sexual partners.

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