Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - February 12

Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 12

From the Legatus Summit in Orlando, FL

4:00 – Kresta Comments: The Co-Responsibility of the Laity

4:20 – Preparing Catholics For the New America
In the article, “Catholics and the Next America,” Archbishop Charles J.Chaput O.F.M. Cap. delivers a prescient warning to American Catholics regarding a growing trend toward secularization in American culture, with Catholics facing dwindling relevance, threatening their ability to be heard. In response, the Napa Institute was formed to help Catholic leaders face the challenges posed in the “next America” — to continue the work of the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, heeding Christ’s call for ongoing evangelization. Tim Busch, the man behind the Institute joins us.

4:40 – It Is Well - Life in the Storm
Chris and Angela Faddis were devout Catholics with two young children, who trusted in the Lord and His plan for their family. But the married couple's faith would receive an immense test on Easter Sunday 2011, when Angela was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Angela died 17 months later, on Sept. 21, 2012, holding the hand of her heartbroken husband. One year later, Chris Faddis chronicles the inspirational journey he shared with his wife. "As you read this book you'll encounter the often harsh reality of the Christian journey," writes Catholic speaker and author Mark Hart in the foreword. "You'll experience both the splintered, bloody crucifix of Good Friday and the shiny, radiant cross of Easter Sunday. Chris will invite you behind the closed doors into the intimate exchanges and heaven-sent moments that should call us all to stop and survey our own lives. Do we wake up counting our blessings or our problems? That difference makes all the difference, as Angela demonstrated through her constant fidelity to God."Chris is here to tell the story.

5:00 – The Future of Catholicism
Michael Coren is a British-Canadian columnist, author, public speaker, radio host and television talk show host. Michael addressed Legatus on Saturday and joins us now to explore the themes of his books - Why Catholics are Right, The Future of Catholicism, Heresy: 10 Lies They Spread about Christianity, and more. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - February 10

Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 10

Live from the Legatus Summit in Orlando, FL

4:00 – The Cause of Canonization for Archbishop Fulton Sheen Continues to Progress
Msgr. Stanley Deptula – Executive Director of the Fulton Sheen Foundation

4:20 – Pro-Life Movement Continues to Show Momentum
Marjorie Dannenfelser - President and Chairman of the Board of the Susan B. Anthony List

4:40 – The Francis Effect
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf –

5:00 – One Lawyer - 2000+ Hours Fighting HHS Mandate
Erin Mersino – Attorney with the Thomas More Law Center

5:20 – The Slippery Slope the Euthanasia Battle

Rita Marker – President of the Patient’s Rights Council

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Planned Parenthood to Pay $2 Million for Death in Botched Second-Trimester Abortion

By Kathy Schiffer

A $2 million settlement has been reached in the death of a young woman who obtained a second-trimester abortion at a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Chicago.  Besides Planned Parenthood, also included in the settlement agreement are Northwest Memorial Hospital and the Northwest Medical Faculty Foundation.
Tonya Reaves was in the second trimester of pregnancy when she sought an abortion at Planned Parenthood’s Loop Health Center, in downtown Chicago in 2012.  Late-term abortionist Mandy Gittler botched the D&E abortion, causing three major medical problems which resulted in the 24-year-old woman’s death:
  • Pieces of placenta were still attached to the inside of her womb even after a second abortion done by Northwestern Memorial Hospital to remove fetal remains left by Planned Parenthood.
  • She suffered a 3/16 inch uterine perforation near forcep impression marks.  D&E abortions involve dismembering the baby in the womb and removing the pieces with forceps.
  • She suffered an “extensive” perforation of her broad uterine ligament with a possible severing of her left uterine artery as a result of her abortion.  This accounted for the internal bleeding that was discovered only too late by the hospital trauma team.
Tonya Reaves
The injuries sustained by Reaves during the botched abortion were, according to Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, survivable had she received immediate emergency care.  Instead, the Planned Parenthood clinic waited five hours to transport her to the hospital.  Additionally, they failed to report the incomplete abortion and uterine perforation–leaving the trauma team to solve the puzzle of her injuries while her life ebbed away.
Reaves left behind a one-year-old son, Alvin Jones III.  Payouts of the $2 million will not begin until 2029, when the son turns 18.
Walter Hoye, a pro-life leader who has closely followed the case, said, “In my opinion, Planned Parenthood is guilty of criminal negligence, depraved indifference, and gross medical incompetence.  Now that the case is settled, we will never know how a jury would have reacted.”
LifeNews has more details on the case.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - February 7, 2014

Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 7

Live from the Legatus Summit in Orlando, FL

4:00 – Kresta Comments: Creation / Evolution / Young Earth. What is Compatible With Catholicism

4:20 – Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor: How I Discovered the Hidden Treasures of the Catholic Church
Tens of thousands of American adults join the Catholic Church every year. Why? What is it that attracts them to Catholicism? In Confessions of a Mega-Church Pastor, Allen Hunt unveils the treasures of Catholicism that many life-long Catholics are simply unaware of. At the same time he demonstrates the genius of Catholicism and encourages us to move beyond taking our faith for granted. With a personal touch that is profound and disarming, Hunt takes his readers on a journey that is sure to change the way we experience our faith. At a time when so many are disillusioned about where the Catholic Church is and where it is going, Allen Hunt brilliantly reminds us that personal holiness is the key to the bigger future God wants to leads us to both as individuals and together as a Church. Allen joins us.

5:00 – Kresta Comments: The ACLU and Its Public Consequences

5:20 – The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic

As human beings we are constantly engaging and disengaging in everything we do. We engage and disengage at work, in marriage, as parents, in our quest for health and well-being, in personal finances, environmentally, politically, and, of course, we engage or disengage spiritually. If you walk into any Catholic church next Sunday and look around, you will discover that some people are highly engaged, others are massively disengaged, and the majority are somewhere in between. Why? What is the difference between highly engaged Catholics and disengaged Catholics? Answering this question is essential to the future of the Catholic Church. If we truly want to engage Catholics and reinvigorate parish life, we must first discover what drives engagement among Catholics. Matthew Kelly explores this question with us today.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Feb. 6, 2014

Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 6

Live from the Legatus Summit in Orlando, FL

4:00 – Kresta Comments

5:00 – UN says Vatican 'systematically' allowed sexual abuse of children
Yesterday a U.N. human rights committee said that the Vatican "systematically" adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades. The U.N. committee severely criticized the Holy See for its attitudes toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion and said it should change its own canon law. The Vatican promptly objected and its U.N. ambassador accused the committee of having betrayed the international body's own objectives by allowing itself to be swayed by pro-gay ideologues. He said it appeared the committee simply hadn't listened when the Holy See outlined all the measures it has taken to protect children. We talk to Matthew Bunson, author of Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal

5:20 – The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty
C. S. Lewis said that Christianity works on us like every other myth, except it is a myth that really happened. Fr. Dwight Longenecker grabs this idea and runs with it, showing that the Christian story is the greatest story ever told because it gathers up what is true in all the fantasy stories of the world and makes them as solid, true, and real as a tribe of dusty nomads in the desert or the death of a carpenter-king. Fr. Longenecker calls for the return of the romantic hero—the hero who knows his frailty and can fight the good fight with panache, humor, and courage. Conflict and romance are everywhere in the story of Christ, and our response is to dust off our armor, don our broad-brimmed hats, pick up our swords, and do battle for Christ with confidence, wonder, and joy. Is religion no more than a fairy tale? No, it is more than a fairy tale—much more: it is all the fairy tales and fantastic stories come true here and now. We talk to Fr. Dwight.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Feb. 4

Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 4, 2014

Live from Ave Maria, FL

In 1965, the U. S. Supreme Court, in the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, ruled unconstitutional a 1879 Connecticut statute that outlawed the use of contraception. Although constitutional law scholars often discuss the case in terms of its logic and holding, they rarely do so with an eye toward the statutory language that the Court held was in violation of the Constitution. For this reason, these scholars, not to mention their students and their readers, often miss the underlying rationale of the decision, which may shed light on contemporary legal disputes about the same subject matter. Frank Beckwith helps us unfold that rationale.

4:20 – Do All Religions Deserve Respect?
Do All Religions Deserve Respect? This is a question recently posed by Joseph Trabbic, a Philosophy at Ave Maria University. He says a sound argument for religious freedom would not claim that all religions have a right to equal respect. Any argument that included a similar premise would be unsound and rightly ridiculed. Let us call this kind of argument for religious freedom a “universalist argument” since it says that all religions should be treated equally. Although a universalist argument for religious freedom might in many situations appear expedient, when truth is subordinated to apologetics the long-term effects (and often the short-term ones) can be quite harmful. But would any Catholic be tempted to make a universalist argument for religious freedom? He is here to answer that question and present his case.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Fighting Mad: Practical Solutions for Conquering Anger

How do you deal with anger and its emotional buddies? Parents, children, spouses, siblings, coworkers, even friends; we all struggle with situations where we experience feelings of anger. Dr. Ray Guarendi is here to cut through psychobabble to present a realistic picture of anger and other emotional issues, and then offers practical solutions for overcoming them. He presents a basic understanding of anger and clears up common misconceptions, and then focuses on different aspects of anger. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Feb. 3

Talking About the “Things That Matter Most” on February 3, 2014

Live from the Ave Maria School of Law

4:00 - Guttmacher Study Shows Pro-Life Success in Swing States
Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute released their 2013 state-policy review. The report indicates that pro-lifers continue to make very good legislative progress at the state level. In 2013, 70 state-level pro-life measures were enacted — making 2013 the second most productive year on record. The report specifically cites Texas, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Arkansas as being especially active in passing pro-life laws. Overall, according to Guttmacher, there have been more pro-life laws passed between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade. Pro-life writer Michael New is here to analyze why and the impact of these numbers.

4:20 – Kresta Comments: The Super Bowl / Phillip Seymour Hoffman / Pro-Life Impact and More

5:00 – Continuing to Follow the Ins and Outs of the Cases Against the HHS Mandate
As of last week, more than 50 briefs were filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Hobby Lobby Stores and the Green family, supporting their challenge to the HHS mandate. That case is one that the Supreme Court will hear in its next session, but many more challenges continue to wind their way through the courts. We talk to Gene Milhizer of the Ave Maria Law School.

5:20 – The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism
The central contention of the "New Atheism" of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens is that there has for several centuries been a war between science and religion, that religion has been steadily losing that war, and that at this point in human history a completely secular scientific account of the world has been worked out in such thorough and convincing detail that there is no longer any reason why a rational and educated person should find the claims of any religion the least bit worthy of attention. But as Edward Feser argues in The Last Superstition, in fact there is not, and never has been, any war between science and religion at all. There has instead been a conflict between two entirely philosophical conceptions of the natural order. He joins us to make his case.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1973

By Kathy Schiffer
Pro-Life Protest in Detroit, Michigan
The number of abortions performed in America fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, leaving the U.S. abortion rate at its lowest level since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
That is the very good news in a national survey of abortion providers conducted by the Guttmacher Institute.  The report, which will be released on Monday, February 3, claims an abortion rate of 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2011, well below the peak of 29.3 in 1981 and the lowest since a rate of 16.3 in 1973.
And that's not all--there's more good news for pro-lifers.  According to the Guttmacher Institute's website, there were more state abortion restrictions enacted in 2011-2013 than in the entire previous decade.
Rachel Jones, lead author of the Guttmacher report, claimed that there is no apparent link to the reduced number of abortion practitioners.  Rather, Jones believes the decrease in abortions is the result of increased contraceptive use and lower rates of pregnancy.  
An early report on Yahoo! News quotes pro-life experts who believe the declining abortion rate is evidence of changing attitudes:
Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, described the overall drop in abortion numbers as evidence that the anti-abortion movement's lobbying and legislative efforts were having an impact.
"It shows that women are rejecting the idea of abortion as the answer to an unexpected pregnancy," she said.
Americans United for Life, another anti-abortion group engaged in the efforts to pass restrictive state laws, said Guttmacher's numbers should be viewed skeptically because they are based on voluntary self-reporting by abortion providers. 
"It is impossible really to know the true abortion rate," said the group's president, Charmaine Yoest.

Read the rest here

Friday, January 31, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - January 31

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 31

Live from the town of Ave Maria, FL

4:00 – Writing from Left to Right: Michael Novak’s Journey from Liberal to Conservative
Once a liberal writer and thinker, Michael Novak is here to shows how Providence (not deliberate choice) placed him in the middle of many crucial events of his time: a month in wartime Vietnam, the student riots of the 1960s, the Reagan revolution, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Bill Clinton's welfare reform, and the struggles for human rights in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also spent fascinating days, sometimes longer, with inspiring leaders like Sargent Shriver, Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern, Jack Kemp, Václav Havel, President Reagan, Lady Thatcher, and Pope John Paul II, who helped shape—and reshape—his political views. Through it all, his focus on helping the poor and defending universal human rights remained constant; he gradually came to see building small businesses and envy-free democracies as the only realistic way to build free societies. Without economic growth from the bottom up, democracies are not stable. Without protections for liberties of conscience and economic creativity, democracies will fail. Free societies need three liberties in one: economic liberty, political liberty, and liberty of spirit. Michael joins us.
5:00 – Kresta Comments – ABC News: “Pope Francis Gladly Blesses Parrot Belonging to Male Stripper”

5:20 – Baby Munoz: A Thought Exercise in Catholic Moral Theology

Earlier this week, a Fort Worth hospital that kept a pregnant, brain-dead woman on life support for two months, followed a judge’s order on and removed her from the machines, ending her family’s legal fight to have her pronounced dead and to challenge a Texas law that prohibits medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant woman. The Baby Munoz case has raised questions about end-of-life care and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of an unborn baby. It also has gripped attention on both sides of the abortion debate and among Catholic Moral Theologians. We talk to Dr. Janet Smith about this case.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Jan. 29

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 29

4:00 – Kresta Comments – State of the Union / GOP Response and the Problem of Empty Phrases

5:00 – Renewal: How a New Generation of Faithful Priests and Bishops Is Revitalizing the Catholic Church
In the wake of the clergy abuse scandal of the last decade, many media commentators predicted the “end” of the Catholic priesthood. Demands for an end to celibacy, coupled with calls for women’s ordination, dominated discussions on the effectiveness of the Catholic Church in America. Anne Hendershott argues that rather than a decline of the priesthood and a diminishing influence of the Catholic Church, we are living in a time of transformation and revitalization. The aging generation of progressives that continues to lobby Church leaders to change Catholic teachings on reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and women's ordination is being replaced by younger men and women who are attracted to the Church because of the very timelessness of its teachings. Anne joins us to make the case.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - January 28

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Jan. 28

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – David Dancing Before the Lord in Praise – How Should We View Physical Expressions of Praise?
In today’s first reading from 2 Samuel we find David dancing before the Lord in praise. "David came dancing before the Lord with abandon...David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and sound of horn." We look at physical expressions of praise with Ralph Martin of Renewal Ministries.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History
From biblical scholar John Bergsma--two-time teacher of the year at the Franciscan University of Steubenville--comes a fresh, fun, and authentically Catholic introduction to the "big picture" of salvation history. This overview of the Bible is based on Bergsma's wildly popular introduction to theology course at Franciscan. Bergsma combines sound theology, academic expertise, pastoral wisdom, and an endearing playfulness to draw readers into the connection between the great stories of the Bible and salvation in Jesus. John is with us.

5:40 – Roe v Wade / Catholic Schools Week / A Year of Prayer for a New Pentecost / Reflections on 5 years on Detroit
In our monthly interview with Detroit’s Archbishop Allen Vigneron we talk about his challenges and accomplishments in Detroit on this 5th anniversary being installed as the Archbishop of Detroit. We discuss his laser focus on the New Evangelization and a “Year of Prayer for a New Pentecost.” He follows up on last week’s anniversary of Roe v Wade. And in this Catholic Schools Week he talks about the importance of Catholic education for the Church.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - January 27, 2014

4:00 – How to Go from Being a Good Evangelical to a Committed Catholic in Ninety-Five Difficult Steps
American evangelicalism has recently experienced a new openness to Roman Catholicism, and many evangelicals, both famous and ordinary, have joined the Catholic Church or are considering the possibility. Christian Smith is here to help sort out the kinds of concerns that typically come up when Evangelicals discern whether to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church. In simple language, it explains many theological misunderstandings that evangelicals often have about Roman Catholicism, and suggests the kind of practical steps many take to enter the Catholic Church. He speaks first-hand as an Evangelical-turned-Catholic.

5:00 – A Heart for Freedom: The Remarkable Journey of a Young Dissident, Her Daring Escape, and Her Quest to Free China's Daughters
More than twenty years ago, Chai Ling led the protesters at Tiananmen Square and became China's most-wanted female fugitive. Today, she's finally telling her astonishing story. Though haunted by memories of the horrifying massacre at Tiananmen and her underground escape from China in a cargo box, Ling threw herself into pursuing the American dream. She completed Ivy League degrees, found love, and became a highly successful entrepreneur. Yet her longing for true freedom, purpose, and peace remained unfulfilled. Years after Tiananmen, she was still searching to find meaning in all the violence, fear, and tragedy she'd endured. She is here to tell her tale of passion, political turmoil, and spiritual awakening . . . and the inspirational true story of a woman who has dedicated everything to giving people in China their chance at a future. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Message to New Yorkers: If the Governor Kicks You Out, You’re Welcome in Oklahoma

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a now-famous rant, put out the "Not Welcome" mat in front of Empire State pro-lifers.  If you're conservative, he said, you're not welcome in his state.  NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio sided with him "100%".

Oklahoma State Representative Rebecca Hamilton, who has served in the Oklahoma House for 18 years, has published a response to the governor's inflammatory remarks on her blog, Public Catholic, which can be found on the Catholic Portal at Patheos.  

Rep. Hamilton first gratefully acknowledges the statement from Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, who publicly responded to the governor's over-the-top political posturing.  Then, she slices the governor and the mayor with her rhetoric.

Rep. Hamilton's well-reasoned perspective is worth reading.  Here is an excerpt:

Rep. Hamilton
I’ve held off writing about this because it is so over the top in terms of acceptable behavior from an elected official that I decided to give it a bit of time to jell. I wanted to allow Governor Cuomo a chance to issue a press release saying, I was suffering from gastroenteritis/drunk/grief-stricken-because-my-dog-had-died at the time and said things that in no way represent what I truly think. Nothing that carries the flat-out I-did-not-mean-it apology which I think is required for such outrageous comments from an elected official has ensued. 

It appears that not just the Governor, but the mayor of New York (or, as we call it where I’m from, New York City) are standing pat. They may not agree on much else, but they agree “100%” that people who think differently from them on a whole range of issues are not welcome in New York. 

This isn’t about pro life vs pro abortion. It’s not about gun control vs the Second Amendment. It’s also not about gay vs traditional marriage. It’s about two elected officials who, from all evidence, have totally lost their sense of what elective office means. Both the Governor and the attaboy mayor following in his footsteps have taken on attitudes and ideas that are antithetical to what public service in the form of elective office entails. 

When you’re elected to office, you represent everyone in the area that elected you. That means, Mr Governor and Mr Mayor, even those who oppose gun control, gay marriage and abortion. You are their governor and their mayor just the same as you are the mayor or governor for your pals and cronies who blow smoke up your skirts and tell you what a “statesman” you are for kicking everyone else to the curb. 

It doesn’t matter if you agree with your constituents. It doesn’t matter if they agree with you. It certainly doesn’t matter if they like you or not. They can call you names and drive you nuts with weird accusations and oddball demands all they want. The office you occupy belongs to them. Not you. 

Governor Cuomo occupies the office of Governor of New York. But the office belongs to the people of New York.  

By the people of New York, I mean all of them, including those that the Governor and his mayoral echo say “don’t belong” in their fair state and city.

It's an excellent analysis.  Read the rest here.

Another Victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor

By Kathy Schiffer

The Little Sisters of the Poor enjoyed another victory in the court on Friday, January 24.  The Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, extended the temporary order imposed by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on December 31.  The ruling bars the Obama administration from forcing the Sisters to comply with the contraception coverage requirement of the Affordable Care Act while their case is pending in a federal appeals court.

The injunction means that the religious order will not be forced to sign and deliver the controversial government forms authorizing and instructing their benefits administrator to provide contraceptives.  

Mark L. Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who has represented the nuns in their fight against the contraceptive mandate, noted that the ruling also provides protection to more than 400 other Catholic organizations which receive health benefits through the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust.

The Supreme Court justices emphasized that their order should not be construed as an expression of their views on the merits of the case.  And the Court, while ruling that the Little Sisters need not sign a government form that also authorizes their health plan administrator to “process claims for contraceptive coverage,” stipulated that the Little Sisters must “inform the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing that they are nonprofit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services.”

The ruling is viewed as a setback for the Obama administration's sweeping health care reform law.  U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., in a brief filed January 3, had asked the Supreme Court not to grant the injunction.  The Little Sisters of the Poor, Verrilli charged in the Justice Department brief, "fail to satisfy the demanding standard for the extraordinary and rarely granted relief they seek:  an original injunction from this court."

The Supreme Court has two other cases on its agenda which will potentially impact the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Those cases involve two for-profit companies:  Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties.  In those cases, the Justice Department has claimed that "a secular company does not engage in any exercise of religion" and "may not impose its owners' personal religious beliefs on its employees." 

The Justice Department continues to insist that the secular employers cannot impose their religious beliefs on their employees, and claims that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of the companies would "cripple the government's ability to solve national problems through laws of general application" such as the Affordable Care Act.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - January 24, 2014

Talking about the "things that matter most" on January 24

4:00 – Review: “Gimme Shelter”

4:20 – Birmingham Revolution: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Epic Challenge to the Church
From time to time prophetic Christian voices rise to challenge our nation’s "original sin." In the twentieth century, compelled by the Spirit of God and a yearning for freedom, the African American church took the lead in heralding the effort. Like almost no other movement before or since, Christian people gave force to a social mission. And, remarkably, they did it largely through nonviolent actions. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and historic efforts as the Moses of this civil rights movement stand out as perhaps the most significant instance of a modern Christian leader acting in a prophetic role to instigate political change. In many ways "The Letter from Birmingham Jail" stands at the center of that movement. In this book African American journalist Edward Gilbreath explores the place of that letter in the life and work of Dr. King. Birmingham Revolution is not simply a work of historical reflection. Gilbreath encourages us to reflect on the relevance of King's work for the church and culture of our day. Whether it’s in debates about immigration, economic redistribution or presidential birth certificates, race continues to play a role in shaping society. What part will the church play in the ongoing struggle? Edward joins us.

5:00 – Race With the Devil: My Journey from Racial Hatred to Rational Love

Before he was the world’s foremost Catholic biographer, Joseph Pearce was a leader of the National Front, a British-nationalist, white-supremacist group. Before he published books highlighting and celebrating the great Catholic cultural tradition, he disseminated literature extolling the virtues of the white race, and calling for the banishment of all non-white from Britain. Pearce and his cohorts were at the center of the racial and nationalist tensions—often violent—that swirled around London in the late-1970s and early 80s. A one-year prison term spurred a sea change in his life. He is here to talk about it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - January 23

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 23

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Illiberal Catholicism
What do nostalgic, Renaissance Faire Catholics have in common with neo-Marxists? What do would-be Catholic “Amish” separatists share with Inquisition re-enactors? What is the thread linking Cardinal Dolan, who wished that he could be the “biggest cheerleader” for Obamacare, and the right-wing Catholics who downplayed the bishops’ plea for religious liberty in the face of the HHS mandate — arguing that, instead, Catholics ought to be arguing whether contraception should even be legal? John Zmirak is here to answer those questions.

5:00 – Has the Media Finally Turned a Corner on Coverage of the March for Life?
ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, C-SPAN, FOX NEWS, CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Reuters, the Associated Press, UPI, and more. What do they all have in common? Well – a lot – but yesterday there was one thing in particular: They all covered the March for Life and actually interviewed presenters, organizers, and marchers. Teresa Tomeo was there reporting for EWTN’s Live Coverage and tells us whether she thinks the media has turned a corner on one of the biggest annual Washington event.

5:20 – Police: Justin Bieber was drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and taking prescription medication when arrested for drag racing
Police said today that pop singer Justin Beiber was arrested last night for drag-racing down a Miami Beach street while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs. He was charged with DUI, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest. Beiber is 19 years old. We use this as an opportunity to look at celebrity drug deaths, why they seem common and what lessons we can learn. Mike Vasquez of the St. Gregory Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehab joins us.

5:40 – Lone Survivor: The Man Behind the Movie

Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. Marcus joins us.

"That They May All Be One": The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

By Kathy Schiffer

Has Christ Divided Us?

That's the theme for the 2014 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25, the Octave of Sts. Peter and Paul.  Drawn from 1 Corinthians 1:13, the week is intended to draw believers toward the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer at the Last Supper "that they all may be one."

But as we look around, it's clear that Christ's prayer has not been fulfilled:  According to Wikipedia, there are now 41,000 Christian denominations. 



I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. –John 17:20-23
In sixteenth century Germany, an Augustinian friar by the name of Martin Luther became concerned about things he saw happening in the Church. He saw some priests, even some bishops, who were engaged in practices which he considered to be wrong—particularly the sale of indulgences.

And there was, indeed, a moral problem at the time: Corruption had crept into the Church. Pope Leo X had authorized the sale of special “jubilee indulgences” in the cities and principalities of Germany. The indulgences were plenary, meaning that for those who purchased them, all sin and eternal and temporal punishment would be forgiven. Half of the money raised from the sale of indulgences would be used to finance the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; the other half would be used by the archbishop of Mainz to pay off a loan.

Luther drafted a series of ninety-five statements in Latin—offering his reflections on indulgences, good works, repentance and other topics. The Castle Church in Wittenberg faced the main thoroughfare, and the heavy church door served as a public bulletin board, a place for posting important notices. So it was that on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his list of “Ninety-Five Theses” to the door of the Castle Church.



Luther had hoped that his Theses would initiate an academic discussion—not serve as the agenda for a major reform of the Catholic Church.
However, within weeks the Theses were translated into German, then reproduced using the new moveable-type printing press. They were widely circulated through Germany, and soon became a topic for discussion through all of Europe. Three years later, amid the international attention, Luther was excommunicated by the pope and declared a heretic and outlaw. The Reformation had begun.

Just as Martin Luther did not anticipate the huge response his Ninety-Five Theses would receive, he did not foresee the further splintering of Protestantism into some 38,000 Christian denominations (the number reported in the Atlas of World Christianity, published in 2010). If, as Luther’s movement proposed, there is no authority vested in the Church, then there is no reason not to break off and begin a new movement within Christianity; and in less than 500 years, the result has been the splintering of Christ’s Church into ever more movements and denominations. It is a great scandal that Christ’s high priestly prayer to the Father—that we may be one in order that the world will see—has been thwarted.



In 1908 Father Paul Wattson, founder of an Anglican religious community which later became part of the Catholic Church, established a “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity”–a week to pray with our Christian brothers and sisters of other denominations, and to celebrate those areas where we find common ground.  His initiative received the blessing of Pope St. Pius X and was later promoted by Pope Benedict XV, who encouraged its celebration throughout the Catholic Church.

The Second Vatican Council reaffirmed the importance of this quest for unity among followers of Jesus Christ.

Each year the theme of the week is chosen by an ecumenical group representing a different region of the world. This year’s theme, “All shall be changed by the victory of Jesus Christ our Lord,” was selected by the Churches of French Canada.  It is drawn from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians.

Wednesday, January 18 began the 2012 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Pope Benedict XVI, addressing more than 8,000 pilgrims at the Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square on January 22, called the quest for Christian unity “a common response to the spiritual hunger of our times.” He acknowledged that the division within the community of believers is a great challenge for new evangelization, which may be more fruitful if all Christians proclaim together the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and give a joint response to the spiritual hunger of our times.

Pope Francis, at his weekly General Audience on January 22, spoke about the scandal of division.  The English-language synthesis, read out after the main reflection delivered by Pope Francis in Italian, said, 

We know that Christ has not been divided; yet we must sincerely recognize that our communities continue to experience divisions which are a source of scandal and weaken our witness to the Gospel.

In reproaching the Corinthians for their divisions, Paul reminds them to rejoice in the great spiritual gifts which they have received. His words encourage us to rejoice in the gifts God has given to other Christians, gifts which we can receive from them for our enrichment. To be able to do this calls for humility, discernment and constant conversion.

2014: A COLD March for Life

Not sure who photoshopped this shot of Dominican priests heading toward the March for Life--but it's pretty funny.

To all those who marched yesterday in the sub-zero wind chills, and to those who tried to get there but were thwarted by transportation glitches and cancellations, and to those who prayed for the cause of Life-- Thank you!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - January 22, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 22
Roe V Wade Anniversary Special
4:00 – Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade
Based on 20 years of research, including an examination of the papers of eight of the nine Justices who voted in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Abuse of Discretion is a critical review of the behind-the-scenes deliberations that went into the Supreme Court's abortion decisions and how the mistakes made by the Justices in 1971-1973 have led to the turmoil we see today in legislation, politics, and public health. Why do the abortion decisions remain so controversial after 40 years, despite more than 50,000,000 abortions, numerous presidential elections, and a complete turnover in the Justices? Why did such a sweeping decision—with such important consequences for public health, producing such prolonged political turmoil—come from the Supreme Court in 1973? Clarke Forsythe, author of the aforementioned book, joins us.
5:00 – Abandoned: The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars
Every day, thousands of children fragile, innocent, alone are abandoned. They are brutally snuffed from the world and literally left in the trash . . . and it's all legal. Monica Miller is here to tell her story of one woman's staunch and courageous defense of those children abandoned by abortion. She has pulled the bodies of thousands of unborn babies out of dumpsters and given them a proper burial. She has photographed their bodies as well. She will tell us many fascinating tales from the front-lines of the abortion battle.