Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iran, Israel, the West


Mark Steyn writes: "The more Europe's Muslim population grows, the more restive and disassimilated it becomes, the more enthusiastically the establishment embraces 'anti-Zionism' as if the sinister Jewess is the last virgin left to toss in the volcano."

I never believed that a new president in Iran would repudiate the Islamic revolution of thirty years ago. That would be like an elected American president claiming that the Tories had the better argument in 1776 and the War for Independence had been an excess of zeal. Modern Iran is the product of a particular religio-political vision. A change of president will not substantially change its vision.

But now that we've witnessed the existing Iranian regime's brutal suppression of dissent, we should remember that free speech, religious liberty and freedom of association are fruits of the Western tradition and that Western Tradition is dependent upon a Judaeo-Christian sensibility.

Israel remains America's greatest ally in the Middle East. The vast majority of the Islamic world regards Israel as the greatest threat to world peace. While we needn't sentimentalize over modern Israel as the nation of God's chosen people, neither should we fail to remember America's and Israel's common roots in the Judaeo-Christian West. One doesn't have to adopt the theological position that the Jewish people have a divine right to the land to believe that Israel represents an important outpost of Western freedom in an otherwise politically alien region.

Today on Kresta - June 30, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 30

3:00 – Examining the Sarcophagus of St. Paul
Scientific tests prove bones housed in the Basilica of St. Paul in Rome are those of the apostle St. Paul himself, according to Pope Benedict XVI. "Tiny fragments of bone" in the sarcophagus were subjected to carbon dating, showing they "belong to someone who lived in the first or second century," the pope said in a homily carried on Italian television. "This seems to confirm the unanimous and undisputed tradition that these are the mortal remains of the Apostle St. Paul," Benedict said in Sunday's announcement. The tomb also holds traces of a precious linen cloth, purple in color and laminated with pure gold, and a blue colored textile with linen filaments. We talk about this find, the significance of the items that were found, what they mean, and the history of these locations in the life of St. Paul. Steve Ray is our guide.

3:20 – The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers
They were the greatest generation in American history. Yet how much do you really know about the Founding Fathers? And how much of what you "know" is actually myth perpetuated by leftist history by those who dismiss the Founders as wealthy, racist, sexist, dead-white-males whose principles deserve to be as dead as they are? In The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers, Dr. Brion McClanahan sets the record straight. He provides a neat summary history of America's founding documents, profiles all the leading Founders (and some unjustly neglected ones), and shows how they have better answers to today's problems than our politicians do.

4:00 – Kresta Comments - Michael Jackson: A Human Commodity

4:20 – The Year of the Priesthood
Pope Benedict XVI opened the “Year for Priests” last week in St. Peter’s Basilica. “Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests” is the theme for a year that ends on June 19, 2010 in St. Peter’s Square at a World Meeting of Priests. The year also marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, now patron of all priests. In a letter to priests, the Holy See stressed that the Church “is proud of her priests, loves them, honors them, admires them and recognizes with gratitude their pastoral work and witness.” We talk to Fr. Robert Barron about the significance of this year, the call of the priesthood, and the charism of the calling.

4:40 – Cardinal O'Malley pulls out of joint health care venture over abortion
After weeks of ethics discussions, the Archdiocese of Boston announced last Friday that the Church-sponsored Caritas Christi Healthcare has withdrawn from its partnership with CeltiCare Health Plan. The archdiocese said it was not possible to find agreement between the archdiocese-affiliated medical organization and the Missouri-based health insurer, which provides abortion and contraception. The joint venture was scheduled to start providing care on July 1st, but in a statement issued on Friday by Richard Lynch, chief executive of CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts, said: "effective today, Caritas has withdrawn their ownership position in CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts. Celtic Group Inc.” We talk to Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, who advised the Archdiocese on this case.

5:00 – Iran, Iraq, Israel: What’s America to Do?
America, Israel and the world are facing a great danger in the Middle East. Iran’s president has threatened to wipe Israel off the map, while every day he gets closer to acquiring the nuclear weapons with which to make good on this threat. Gary Bauer believes that the enemies of Israel are the enemies of America. They are the enemies of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These enemies have drawn the battle line. If a line has to be drawn, then draw that line around both Christians and Jews. Gary will be speaking at the annual Christians United for Israel Washington Summit later this month and joins us to look at Iran, Iraq, the Middle East peace process and America’s involvement in all of the above.

5:20 – Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles with Jesus
You might reasonably wonder why anyone would shoulder a heavy backpack, grab a walking stick and hike across Spain. Whatever happened to planes, trains and automobiles? But Father Dave Pivonka knew that the Camino—the ancient pilgrim path to the tomb of Saint James the Apostle in Santiago—offered an opportunity to focus on God in the stripped-down environment typical of the religious journey known as a pilgrimage. Fr. Dave takes us along with him, eager to show that God wants to take care of you whether or not you can see down the road or, if tired and sore, you're tempted to quit. His Camino hike holds real lessons for our own life's journey.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Today on Kresta - June 29, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 29

3:00 – Health Care Reform and the Concerns of Right to Life
The National Right to Life Committee has long argued that the cost of health care does not require rationing life-saving treatment. With so much momentum building for enactment of some sort of measure to provide coverage for the uninsured, it is not enough for NRLC simply to oppose ways of doing so that entail health care rationing. It is necessary to demonstrate that it is in fact possible to achieve this goal without having to accept rationing as a tradeoff. Since its inception, the pro-life movement has been as concerned with protecting older people and people with disabilities from euthanasia as with protecting unborn children from abortion. It has recognized that denial of lifesaving medical treatment, food and fluids against the will of a patient is a form of involuntary euthanasia. When the government prohibits Americans from obtaining health care necessary to preserve their lives, or limits their ability to obtain it, this health care rationing is a form of such involuntary euthanasia. We talk with Burke Balch of the National Right to Life Committee.

3:20 – Movies: The Good, the Bad, and the Really, Really Bad
Movies, like parables, can teach and uplift as well as entertain. Sad to say, that doesn't seem to be the goal of major film studios. So, should we even go to movies? Is a job as a film reviewer even valid? But movies are here to stay, and Christians are going to them - just like everybody else. So, how do Christians make peace with Hollywood? Or should they? And can a movie critic light the way? Phil Boatwright is here to point out Hollywood agendas, explore ways we can resist the secular world's tug of war against God's directives, and take a lighter look at the positives of motion pictures, including examples of men and women who are using the movie medium to amuse man and glorify God. Also, we'll showcase some films (both old and new) that entertain, enrich, enlighten and edify. With any luck, we'll experience a couple of chuckles along the way.

4:00 – “The Stoning of Soraya M”
As the movie industry prepares to roll out its summer blockbusters, a sobering, controversial film explores the gripping story of an Iranian woman who is victimized by her husband. The movie is based on real events and is adapted from the book of the same name by the French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, played by Jim Caviezel. In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, a husband grows tired of his young wife, who has borne him two sons and two daughters. Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives – but he’s also obligated to care and provide for each of them properly. Interested in a potential child bride and unable to afford the added expense of a second wife, the husband maneuvers his wife into tending house for a recent widower. Then he falsely accuses her of infidelity, after blackmailing other male village elders, including the mullah – the town’s religious leader - into colluding in his lie. Iranian Director Cyrus Nowrasteh is with us.

4:20 – Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction
Natural law is a fact about human beings, and a theory that humbles itself before this fact. Yet it is something else as well-a sign of contradiction, something that exasperates, offends, and enrages. The transient cause of such rage is the suicidal proclivity of our time to deny the obvious, but a more enduring cause is the Fall of Man. Our hearts are riddled with desires that oppose their deepest longings, and we demand to have happiness on terms that make happiness impossible. Philosopher J. Budziszewski threads a path between these various abysses. Among his questions are how the knowledge of good is related to the knowledge of God, how things that seem to run against the grain of human nature can become 'second nature,' and whether natural law can be reconciled with Darwinian evolution. Turning to politics, he takes up such topics as who counts as a human person, whether human dignity is compatible with capital punishment, what courts have made of the United States Constitution, and how an ersatz state religion can be built in the name of toleration. We look at natural law and its implications for both scholars and the general public.

5:00 – Supreme Court rules for white firefighters over promotions
The Supreme Court ruled today that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge. New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no African-Americans and only two Hispanic firefighters were likely to be made lieutenants or captains based on the results, the court said this morning in a 5-4 decision. We talk with affirmative action expert John McWhorter.

5:20 – Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul
With today’s feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, we take a unique look at the two giants of the faith. Because Peter plays such a prominent role in the New Testament and the tradition of the church, he has been the focus of much scholarship over the centuries. One wonders whether there can be anything more to say about Peter. Indeed, there is. Fr. Richard Cassidy takes a look at Peter in the story of each gospel individually, rather than studying Peter via a side-by-side analysis of the gospels. We look at Four Times Peter.

Friday, June 26, 2009

McCotter on "cap and tax"

Tell me what you really think Congressman!!!

Today on Kresta - June 26, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 26

3:00 – Kresta Comments

3:20 – Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
Does capitalism promote greed? Can a person follow Jesus' call to love others and also support capitalism? Was our recent economic crisis caused by flaws inherent to our free market system? Jay Richards presents a new approach to capitalism, revealing how it's fully consistent with Jesus’ teachings and the Christian tradition, while also showing why this system is our best bet for renewed economic vigor.

4:00 – Feast of St. Jose Maria Escriva
On this feast of St. Jose Maria Escriva, we take a look at the modern Saint and the organization he founded – Opus Dei. Vatican reporter John Allen has written the first serious journalistic investigation of the highly secretive, controversial organization. He provides unique insight about the wild rumors surrounding it and discloses its significant influence in the Vatican and on the politics of the Catholic Church. Its notoriety escalated with the publication of the runaway bestseller The Da Vinci Code and with the previous pope's much-debated canonization of Escriva. We take a balanced look.

4:40 – The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda
Today's CIA is regularly criticized for emphasizing technology at the expense of human intelligence. In this history of the agency's Office of Technical Services, Robert Wallace, its former head, refutes the charge with exciting content and slam-bang style. From WWII through the Cold War and up to the present, he says, technical equipment—for clandestine audio surveillance, for example—has been an essential element of agent operations. In the post–Cold War information society, technology plays an even more significant role in fighting terrorism. Agents remain important, along with their traditional skills. Increasingly, however, they support clandestine technical operations, especially infiltrating and compromising computer networks. He is here to argue that employing and defending against sophisticated digital technology is the primary challenge facing U.S. intelligence in the 21st century.

5:00 – “The Stoning of Soraya M”
As the movie industry prepares to roll out its summer blockbusters, a sobering, controversial film explores the gripping story of an Iranian woman who is victimized by her husband. The movie is based on real events and is adapted from the book of the same name by the French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, played by Jim Caviezel. In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, a husband grows tired of his young wife, who has borne him two sons and two daughters. Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives – but he’s also obligated to care and provide for each of them properly. Interested in a potential child bride and unable to afford the added expense of a second wife, the husband maneuvers his wife into tending house for a recent widower. Then he falsely accuses her of infidelity, after blackmailing other male village elders, including the mullah – the town’s religious leader - into colluding in his lie. Jim Caviezel is with us and Dave Forsmark reviews the film with Nick.

5:40 – Why Young Children Belong at Mass
Recently Kate Wicker wrote an article for her parish newsletter about why we must offer encouragement -- not sideways glances -- to parents who bring their young children to Mass. Overall, the response was positive, but one reader sent her a letter suggesting she leave her kids at home so she could "more fully receive Christ." It was charitable enough, but the point was clear: Children are sweet, but they don't belong in church. If we are truly a pro-life people, then how can we not welcome children -- the future of the Church -- at Mass? Kate is here to talk about why children of all ages belong in the pews right along with us.

Dred Scott: Food For Thought



Would Dred Scott have been in favor of Roe v. Wade?

Scott v. Sandford...... 7-2 vote Dred Scott is property of his owner.
Roe v. Wade.............. 7-2 vote A developing human is property of its mother.

In both cases the U.S. court ruled that humans are not equal. That some humans have more inalienable rights than others. That some humans can impose their will on others.

From Wikipedia
"Dred Scott (1799 – September 17, 1858), was a slave in the United States who sued unsuccessfully in St. Louis, Missouri for his freedom in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. No one knows exactly when he was born. His case was based on the fact that he and his wife Harriet Scott were slaves, but had lived in states and territories where slavery was illegal, including Illinois and Minnesota (which was then part of the Wisconsin Territory). The United States Supreme Court ruled seven to two against Scott, finding that neither he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States, and that therefore Scott could not bring suit in federal court under diversity of citizenship rules. Moreover, Scott's temporary residence outside Missouri did not effect his emancipation under the Missouri Compromise, since reaching that result would deprive Scott's owner of his property."

So would Dred Scott have been pro-life? It's an intellectual exercise and of course, we will never know the answer, but remember this - The Supreme Court eventually got it right in the Dred Scott case and the concept that blacks are not persons worthy of the protection of law is now considered the greatest blight on America's history. Let's pray that the day arrives when the Supreme Court gets abortion right, and the slaughter of the unborn is seen in the same light as slavery.

Album of Pics from Acton University

Thanks to all the staff and faculty at Acton Institute / Acton University for making this a GREAT week of broadcasting.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Youtube Double Standard







Youtube has removed another video posted by Live Action Films that exposes a Planned Parenthood counselor giving false information about abortion to an inquiring young girl.

"LOS ANGELES, June 25--Without offering any specific explanation, the video-sharing site YouTube has removed a new video by the student group Live Action that shows dishonest counseling practices at Planned Parenthood. The video first plays undercover footage of a Planned Parenthood counselor from Tucson, AZ telling a patient that images of aborted fetuses "are not real" and then shows photographs of a completed abortion and documentation of their authenticity."

You can read more and watch the video by clicking here.

Youtube has a history of removing videos that show the effects of abortion, citing "content too graphic" as their reason. Just ask Dr. Monica Miller, the founder of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. She has had videos pulled down as well and youtube has sent her a warning that if she posts any more videos that show the victims of abortion hen her youtube account will be closed. They told Monica that YouTube has a policy of not showing dead bodies or body parts. Ironic, since the attempt is to prove just that - that these are human persons deserving of the protection of law.
What Kresta in the Afternoon would like to know is, why does Youtube allow videos of JFK
getting shot in the head with an eruption of blood?
(WARNING: Graphic Youtube video link)

Why does Youtube allow videos of people being shot and killed in Iran, like Neda Soltani?(WARNING: Graphic Youtube video link)

Why does Youtube allow videos of people falling to their death from the World Trade Center on 9/11?(WARNING: Graphic Youtube video link)


If Youtube is so concerned about graphic content, then why are the above videos ok for the public to view. There aren't even any warning messages preparing you for graphic content like there are on other videos. There is substantial evidence here to accuse Youtube of having a double standard with regard to videos that reveal the tragic execution of human beings at the hands of abortion doctors.


UPDATE:
During the 2008 election season, Youtube pulled down other videos uploaded by Live Action Films, including the following.

The Stoning of Soraya M

Please go see this film!!! Watch the trailer and you will get a taste of how powerful this film is. It it already responsible for Iran bringing forward a proposal to outlaw stoning. It has a limited release on June 26, and the more people that see it, the wider it will spread.

Check here to see where it is playing.

Listen to Nick's interview with Executive Producer Steve McEveety
If you are unable to see the audio player in this window, click here to listen to the audio.

Listen to Nick's interview with star Jim Caviezel
If you are unable to see the audio player in this window, click here to listen to the audio.

Today on Kresta - June 25, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 25
Guest Host: Nick Thomm

3:00 – 8 Habits of Highly-Effective Bishops
Never before have Catholic Americans watched more closely what happens in their chanceries. They want to know what sort of man their shepherd is, this "successor to the apostles" who comes down to us from St. Peter. How does he discharge his responsibility? Is he an example of personal holiness? Is he courageous? Increasingly, Catholic commentators locate the mission of the contemporary Church at the epicenter of a global culture of death. What qualities best equip today's bishop to fight the culture war? That's the question Mary Jo Anderson posed in a survey of Catholic authors and activists, priests and scholars. We look at 8 Habits of Highly-Effective Bishops.

3:40 – And God Said, "Tee It Up!"
Where do we encounter God? For the Christian certainly there is the Bible. For the committed golfer at least when the drives are carrying and the putts are falling there are the links. Gary Graf has brought the two together with a scorecard full of amusing and thought-provoking parallels between the Bible and golf.

4:00 – “The Stoning of Soraya M”
As the movie industry prepares to roll out its summer blockbusters, a sobering, controversial film explores the gripping story of an Iranian woman who is victimized by her husband. The movie is based on real events and is adapted from the book of the same name by the French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, played by Jim Caviezel. In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, a husband grows tired of his young wife, who has borne him two sons and two daughters. Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives – but he’s also obligated to care and provide for each of them properly. Interested in a potential child bride and unable to afford the added expense of a second wife, the husband maneuvers his wife into tending house for a recent widower. Then he falsely accuses her of infidelity, after blackmailing other male village elders, including the mullah – the town’s religious leader - into colluding in his lie. Jim Caviezel is with us and Dave Forsmark reviews the film with Nick.

4:40 – Why Young Children Belong at Mass
Recently Kate Wicker wrote an article for her parish newsletter about why we must offer encouragement -- not sideways glances -- to parents who bring their young children to Mass. Overall, the response was positive, but one reader sent her a letter suggesting she leave her kids at home so she could "more fully receive Christ." It was charitable enough, but the point was clear: Children are sweet, but they don't belong in church. If we are truly a pro-life people, then how can we not welcome children -- the future of the Church -- at Mass? Kate is here to talk about why children of all ages belong in the pews right along with us.

5:00 – Umbilical Cord Cell Banking
The debate surrounding embryonic stem cell research is portrayed as an exercise in discerning politics from science. But there are undoubtedly some personal issues involved. The stem cell debate gets personal when citizens' tax dollars are used to fund the research, regardless of if the citizens are in agreement. As the U.S. government follows President Barack Obama's March 9 executive order to direct U.S. tax dollars to the funding of embryonic stem cell research, we talk with bioethicist Father Alfred Cioffi about stem cell research and the particular promise offered by these powerful cells found in umbilical cord blood.

5:40 – Newman Society: Catholic Colleges are Lost
Many Catholic universities are lost and are in need of specific policies to help them go in the right direction, says the Cardinal Newman Society. Last week, the society responded to the expressed desire of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities to eliminate the U.S. bishops' policy against honoring public figures who are at odds with fundamental Catholic beliefs. The association's board of directors concluded during its most recent meeting that "it would be desirable for the [U.S. bishops] to withdraw" their guidelines. Patrick Reilly said it was evident "that the many secularized Catholic colleges and universities are more concerned with doing away with the rules than ending the scandals." We talk to Patrick about the future of Catholic higher ed and the fallout of the ND scandal.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today on Kresta - June 24, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 24
Guest Hosts: Bruce and Kris McGregor


3:00 – The Year of the Priesthood: A Theological and Testimonial Look
Pope Benedict XVI opened the “Year for Priests” this week in St. Peter’s Basilica. Benedict stressed that priests need to be “present, identifiable and recognizable – for their judgment of faith, personal virtues and attire – in the fields of culture and of charity which have always been at the heart of the Church’s mission.” The Vatican’s intention for the “Year for Priests” is to rebuild strong priestly spiritual identities, noting that “priests are important not only for what they do, but also for who they are.” Fr. Richard Gabuzda is Executive Director of The Institute for Priestly Formation and will join us to discuss the year of the priest, the spirituality of the priest in today’s world, formation, and more.

3:40 – The Effect of Divorce on Children
After months of speculation, it's now official: Jon and Kate Gosselin – of “Jon and Kate Plus 8” fame - have filed for divorce. That development was followed by a heavily-promoted episode of the couple's reality series in which the couple said they would separate. We use this opportunity to discuss the effect of divorce on children – especially when there are 8 of them. Dr. Ray Guarendi is our guest.

4:00 – “The Stoning of Soraya M”
As the movie industry prepares to roll out its summer blockbusters, a sobering, controversial film from Steve McEveety explores the gripping story of an Iranian woman who is victimized by her husband. The movie is based on real events and is adapted from the book of the same name by the French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, played by Jim Caveziel. In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, a husband grows tired of his young wife, who has borne him two sons and two daughters. Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives – but he’s also obligated to care and provide for each of them properly. Interested in a potential child bride and unable to afford the added expense of a second wife, the husband maneuvers his wife into tending house for a recent widower. Then he falsely accuses her of infidelity, after blackmailing other male village elders, including the mullah – the town’s religious leader - into colluding in his lie. Steve McEveety joins us.

4:20 – 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family
In her new book, 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family, author Rebecca Hagelin lays out 30 simple and concrete actions that parents can implement-one day at a time-to reconnect with their children and restore peace in their home. As a mother of three, a syndicated columnist, and specialist on family, culture, and media issues, Rebecca understands the frustration parents feel. She designed this book with working parents and busy families in mind. Moms and dads can read a chapter at soccer practice or while waiting in carpool and come away with practical solutions to common parenting problems that can easily be put to use. She joins us.

5:00 – All Things Guy / All Things Girl
All Things Girl and All Things Guy are two books in the new, groundbreaking book series for "tweenaged" boys and girls by best selling Catholic author and speaker Teresa Tomeo along with the women behind the Runway to Reality Apostolate: Molly Miller and Monica Cops. They are unlike anything found in the marketplace as they bring Faith to the real world in which young people live. They provide a positive introduction for tweens seeking to live out Christian virtues in the twenty-first century. Teresa Tomeo is with us.

5:40 – The Year of the Priesthood / St. John Vianney
“Faithfulness of Christ, faithfulness of priests” is the theme for this “Year of the Priest”. The year also marks the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Vianney, known as the “CurĂ© of Ars.” The prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, is encouraging local dioceses and parishes to plan events that will “celebrate and show appreciation for priests.” As a key contribution to the celebration, a new theatrical drama VIANNEY will launch a worldwide tour with a premiere in Houston, Texas. The play focuses on the question, “What is a priest?” and tells the story of St. John Vianney, whose exemplary life was so remarkable that the Pope has named him the patron of this jubilee year, and will, at the close of the year, declare him the patron of all the priests of the world. The VIANNEY drama, starring actor and film director Leonardo Defilippis, will appropriately open on August 4, Vianney’s feast day, and the 150th anniversary of his death. We talk with Leonardo.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Man for This Season: Thomas More


"16th Century England faced a serious crisis of politics, culture and faith. So does the 21st Century West."

So begins a great piece at Catholic Online entitled A Man for This Season: Thomas More. Certainly worth a read as we celebrate his feast day this week.

Yet another victory for adult stem cell research

The gift of life.

Sheila Kepic, 47, wakes up and breathes in another day now because Lisa Guilloty donated stem cells to the Lorain County leukemia patient in 2007. They're "cell mates" now, joked Kepic. Bound together by DNA.

On Sunday, Kepic's friends and family celebrated this "match made in heaven" with a party at the in Sheffield Lake, OH. Guilloty received a hero's welcome after flying in from Seattle with her husband and daughter. She's part of Kepic's family now, a blood relative in every sense of the phrase.

Today on Kresta - June 23, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 23
Guest Host: Paul Kengor


3:00 – High court rules narrowly in voting rights case

The Voting Rights Act, the government's chief weapon against racial discrimination at polling places since the 1960s, survived a Supreme Court challenge yesterday in a ruling that nevertheless warned of serious constitutional questions posed by part of the law. Major civil rights groups and other defenders of the landmark law breathed a sigh of relief when the court ruled narrowly in favor of a small Texas governing authority while sidestepping the larger constitutional issue. We explain the case, the ruling, and the impact with Abigail Thernstrom, vice-chair of the Civil Rights Commission.

3:20 – American Progressivism / Social Justice and the Religious Left
In the wake of the 2008 election and the aggressively liberal thrust of the Obama Administration, many pundits, conservative as well as liberal, are declaring that the era of modern Conservatism, launched under Ronald Reagan a quarter of a century ago, is over. The country is no longer “America the conservative,” one progressive trumpeted, but “America the liberal.” Another gloated that Obama’s election marked “the collapse of conservatism.” Displaying more than a little panic some conservatives are urging the Conservative Movement to forget Reagan, abandon “old-fashioned” ideas and adopt a “new” Conservatism relevant to our times. Is Conservatism headed for the ash heap of history or can it rise from the ashes as it did after the crushing defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964, Reagan’s failure to capture the presidential nomination in 1976 and Bill Clinton’s surprising victory in 1992? Joe Postell, at the Heritage Foundation is with us.

4:00 – Iran: What’s The End Game?
Iran's top electoral body said today it found "no major fraud" and will not annul the results of the presidential election, closing the door to a do-over sought by angry opposition supporters alleging systematic vote-rigging. Iranian government officials have repeatedly suggested that a revote is extremely unlikely. However, today’s announcement by Iran's top electoral body, the Guardian Council, was the clearest yet in ruling out a new election. The announcement on Iran's state-run English language Press TV is another sign the regime is determined to crush the post-election protests — the strongest challenge to its leadership in 30 years — rather than compromise. We talk with Middle East expert Jim Phillips.

4:20 – The Faith of the Founders
Religion has been a major part of the presidency since George Washington's first inaugural address to Barak Obama’s Trinity United background. Despite the mounting interest in the role of religion in American public life, we actually know remarkably little about the faith of our presidents. Was Thomas Jefferson an atheist, as his political opponents charged? What role did Lincoln's religious views play in his handling of slavery and the Civil War? How did born-again Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter lose the support of many evangelicals? Was George W. Bush, as his critics often claim, a captive of the religious right? Gary Smith answers these questions and many more. He takes a sweeping look at the role religion has played in presidential politics and policies. Drawing on extensive archival research, Smith paints compelling portraits of the religious lives and presidencies of eleven chief executives for whom religion was particularly important. We will examine what each of its subjects believed and how those beliefs shaped their presidencies and, in turn, the course of our history.

5:00 – Paul Kengor Commentary

5:20 – Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square
With a level-headed voice, leading policy strategist Clarke Forsythe speaks clearly into the fray of political striving. He is here to campaign for a recovery of a rich understanding of the virtue of prudence, and for its application by policymakers and citizens to contemporary public policy. As Forsythe explains, prudence, in its classical sense, is the ability to apply wisdom to right action. In this book he explores the importance of applying the principles of prudence--taking account of limitations in a world of constraints and striving to achieve the greatest measure of justice under current circumstances--to the realm of politics, especially that of bioethics. In particular, Forsythe applies these concepts to the ongoing debate among pro-life advocates regarding gradual versus radical change as the most effective way to achieve political and legislative goals.

Monday, June 22, 2009

He's Barack Obama

JibJab Strikes Again!!! Hilarious.

Today on Kresta - June 22, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 22
Guest Host: Steve Ray


3:00 – Christians and the Holy Land
Amer Shehadeh is a Palestinian and an expert on the Holy Land. He has been the guide for Steve Ray pilgrimages to the Holy Land for years. Steve talks to Amer about being a Christian in the Holy Land, the political situation today, the experience of guiding and leading groups to holy sites, how we know the sites are authentic, and how people can experience the places Jesus walked for themselves.

3:37 – Catholic Scripture Study
We talk about the Catholic Scripture Study with Tami Palladino, a convert to the Catholic Church, youth minister, and a scripture teacher who uses the Catholic Scripture Study International program. CSS now has over 10,000 members in 40 countries — and growing.

4:00 – June 22, 431: Council of Ephesus Convenes
It was on this day in 431 that the First Council of Ephesus was convened at the Church of Mary in Ephesus, Asia Minor. The council was called due to the contentious teachings of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, appealed to Pope Celestine I, charging Nestorius with heresy. The Pope agreed and gave Cyril his authority to serve a notice to Nestorius to recant his views or else be excommunicated. We talk about the Council and its content – including teachings on the dual nature of Christ, Mary as Theotokos, Pelagianism, and the Nicene Creed. Dr. Robert Fastiggi of Sacred Heart Major Seminary is our guest.

5:00 – The Year of the Priest
On March 16, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared a year for the priest in an effort to encourage "spiritual perfection" in priests. This announcement came during meetings with the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, and included the proclamation of St. John Vianney as patron saint of all priests. “The awareness of the radical social changes over the past decades must stir the best ecclesial energies to look after the formation of priestly candidates,” the pope said. Chief among all priorities noted by the pope was the “indispensable struggle for moral perfection which must dwell in every authentically priestly heart.” We talk with Msgr. Stephen Rossetti about the year of the priest.

5:37 – Ordained a priest…at age 75
On December 14, 2007, Bishop Robert Carlson of the diocese of Saginaw, MI ordained Deacon William Spencer as a priest. That event was made even more extraordinary by the fact that Fr. Bill Spencer is 75-years-old - the oldest man to be ordained for the Diocese and the first to have been married before following the call to Holy Orders. He was married to Margaret Mary "Peg" Spencer for nearly 45 years until her death to cancer in July 2004. Fr. Spencer is here to discuss marriage, fatherhood, priesthood, and the vocational call, all through the lens of this “Year of the Priest.”

Friday, June 19, 2009

British Witches Angry With Church

A British witches' coven leader has accused the Roman Catholic Church of prejudice after her group was banned from a parish social hall

Sandra Davis, 61, high priestess of the Crystal Cauldron group, booked Our Lady's club in Stockport, Greater Manchester for a Halloween Ball.

But when she tried to pay she was told the Diocese of Shrewsbury had decided the pagan group could not use it.

A diocese spokesman said the group was not compatible with Church teaching. DUH!!!

Davis said, "In this day and age I just didn't think that we would get that prejudice from the Catholic Church."

I know that the word "prejudice" or "intolerant" is being thrown around pretty freely these days, but who really expects the Catholic Church to open their doors for witches to hold meetings and Halloween Parties? It almost defies imagination that this is even a story.

Who is it that's ideologically driven?

Members of the President’s Council on Bioethics were told by the White House last week that their services were no longer needed and were asked to cancel a planned meeting.

The council was disbanded because it was designed by the Bush administration to be “a philosophically leaning advisory group” that favored discussion over developing a shared consensus, said Reid Cherlin, a White House press officer.

So no more advice from some of the giants in the field like Leon Kass, Edmund Pellegrino, Robert George, Dr. Ben Carson, Dr. Paul McHugh, Mary Ann Glendon, and more.
But no worries, President Obama will appoint a NEW bioethics commission, one with a new mandate and that “offers practical policy options,” Mr. Cherlin said. Who believes that this new council is NOT going to have a pretty solid ideological approach. We'll see how many of the new commissioners are against embryo-destructive research. Don't hold your breath.

Was there really fraud in Iranian election?

An anonymous Iranian analyzes the tumult in his own country on the NYT opinion page. He is concerned that American journalists are developing a counternarrative to the one he sees before his eyes. What is the counter-narrative? "That perhaps this election wasn’t a fraud after all. That the United States shouldn’t rush in with complaints of democracy denied, and that perhaps Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the president the Iranian people truly want (and, by extension, deserve)." He is forceful: "Do not believe it!"

He also reminds us that Moussavi was a favored son of Ayatollah Khomeini and a member of Iran's original cohort of revolutionaries, and he remains a firm believer in teh revolution and the framework of the Islamic Revolution.

This is what I've been stressing and why I haven't criticised the president for not doing or saying more. It's enough for the President to say that the United States is a friend of the Iranian people, and that we would like our ideals of peaceful protest, the rule of law and popular elections to prevail.

Alisa Harris over at World magazine offers an apologetic for some of the West's reporting on Ahmadinejad's victory.

I come back to the teachings of Vatican II on religious liberty. What are the prospects for religious freedom in Iran? At this point, there is no indication that Christians will be free to preach the gospel no matter who comes out on top.

Liturgy-Watchers Will Have To Wait A While Longer

The U.S. bishops will have to poll members missing from their meeting in San Antonio before it's known whether they are approving liturgical prayers, special Masses and key sections of an English translation of the order of the Mass.
Five texts being prepared for use in English-speaking countries failed to get the necessary two-thirds votes of the Latin-rite U.S. bishops during the June 18 session of the bishops' summer meeting.

With 244 Latin-rite bishops in the United States eligible to vote on the questions, the required two-thirds votes in favor of each of the sections would be 163. With 189 eligible bishops attending the meeting, only 134 voted to accept the first section, Masses and prayers for various needs and intentions.On four subsequent translations, the votes also failed to reach two-thirds, meaning the 55 bishops not in attendance will be polled by mail for their votes on all five parts.

That process was expected to take about two weeks.The items that failed to pass contain prefaces for the Mass for various occasions; votive Masses and Masses for the dead; solemn blessings for the end of Mass; prayers over the people and eucharistic prayers for particular occasions, such as for evangelization or holy orders.

Today on Kresta - June 19, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 19
Live from Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI

3:00 – Social Teaching of Pope John Paul II

Soon Pope Benedict will release his first social encyclical. Fr. Raymond de Souza is here to discusses the specific contributions of Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, to the development of Catholic social teaching, with special attention to the treatment of economic subjects.

3:30 – A Path of Our Own
A Path of Our Own tells the story of Pomatambo, a village in one of the poorest parts of Peru’s highlands. Adam Webb brings to life the experiences of three generations of these humble peasants as they have been confronted by the modern world and tried to find a place in it. Through a land reform, a bloody Maoist insurgency, and the economic turbulence of more recent years, Pomatambo has looked for a way to break out of dire poverty while staying true to its own values and identity. But Adam argues this is much more than the story of one village. Pomatambo’s tale of hard times mirrors how traditional communities all over the world have been ill served by the dominant ideologies of the twentieth century. He maps out a vision of how traditional communities like Pomatambo can reclaim the future rather than surrender to others’ plans for them. And he imagines an economy of values that at last could bring a just and decent prosperity to the countryside of the global South—and elsewhere.

4:00 – Former Swiss Guard: 10 Lessons I Learned From Pope John Paul II
Andreas Widmer
is the co-founder of the SEVEN Fund, a non-profit run by entrepreneurs whose goal is to dramatically increase the rate of innovation and diffusion of enterprise-based solutions to poverty. He also served as a member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard from 1986-1988, protecting John Paul II. He talks to us about 10 lessons that he learned from Pope John Paul the Great.

5:00 – Poverty and the Developing World
Michael Miller of the Acton Institute is here to examine poverty and the developing world. We look at some of the causes of poverty in the developing world, critically analyze current poverty alleviation strategies including aid and government planning, and focus on private property, rule of law, markets, and culture for economic development.

5:30 – Critiquing the Prosperity Gospel
Dr. Anthony Bradley
examines the destructive impact that the “Prosperity Gospel” – the teaching according to which health and wealth are rewards for those who believe in a certain way, has on both human flourishing and authentic Christianity. We outline more constructive connection between wealth, economics, and Christian theology.

Supreme Leader has Friday sermons for the restless Iranians


The Supreme Leader of Iran will ply his trade on Friday. He'll use his homiletic skills to try and defray growing public resentment focused on the widely considered fraudulent election results. Al Jazeera says that the Guardian Council is investigating over 646 claims of voter fraud submitted by Mousavi and two other defeated candidates.

Pictures of the whitebearded leader are uniquitous throughout Iran. According to a popular Fox commentator/analyst "He is just looking out for them, you know, the folks." Huh, maybe it's Ali Orilee bin Satyr?

Parvez Sharma, director and producer of A Jihad for Love, and commentator on things Islamic sees the most violent and animated disorder in over ten years. He's updating his page on the Huffington Post with live updates from friends. "Tehelka" is the Hindustani word for chaos and/or mayhem and sensation, and the mayhem on the streets of Tehran as the Islamic Republic's controlled democracy stands exposed with all of its fissures- is a state of chaos, not seen in a long time."

The Stoning of Soraya M released with deadly timing!






Some movies just have their dream time. China Syndrome during the Three Mile Island fear, Wag the Dog during the Clinton Lewinsky affair, and now the Stoning of Soraya M during the Iranian fury. World Magazine notes: "Few films experience as timely a debut as The Stoning of Soraya M. is set to make on June 26. While women in Iran are protesting the suspect election of a president whose policies have been particularly oppressive to them, the true story of a woman who was wrongly put to death by Islamic officials in the 1980s seems especially relevant." World Magazine unfolds the story behind the story.

I've seen the film which will be getting its promotion and reviews next week. Since I'm leaving for vacation I won't say much except to ask if God or the devil (in one of his many forms) is the central character. Nick will have something to say with expected interviews with Jim Caviezel and Steve McEveety, producer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tehran 2009- Tianeman Square 1989- Budapest 1956?






What will happen at Iranian mosques on Friday? Friday is the day of public worship for Islam. It will test the "secularity hypothesis" which maintains that oppressive, intolerant religion has abused the Iranian people for the last thirty years. The secularist story goes on: Now, using public dissatisfaction with the election, these abuse victims will revolt against their religious oppressors by staying away from the mosques on Friday and push for a secular society along the lines of the French.

Don't count on it. If my instincts are right, all sides will show up at mosque to declare their Islamic legitimacy. The big question is whether or not it will be civil. Or will there be bloodshed?

If Iranians are like most theists, their sense of justice flows from their understanding of God. (Culture flows from cult; politics flows from ethics which flows from religion.) Hopefully, they will find in their tradition the resources of self and civic criticism potent enough to imbue them with courage to insist on higher standards of liberty, self-government and justice. These will come from mosque not Marx.

Many Westerners imagine that Iranians, fed up with Ahmadinehad, are, therefore, fed up with Islam and want to compete on American Idol, write for the New York Times, vote for Obama or otherwise escape their homeland and renounce the religion of their youth. In other words, they can't wait to be secularists just like the opinionmakers in the "prestige media".

But if American journalists are out of touch with most Americans on issues like abortion, religion, adultery, and same-sex marriage, then imagine how out of touch they are with the lives of 70 million men and women exponentially removed geographically, culturally and religiously from them.

Really, who the heck is protesting in Iran and what is their vision(s) of the future? Maybe they are just fed up with the past. The PIME Catholic AsiaNews.it writes that "According to Iranian and foreign analysts the people who have come out into the streets are a heterogeneous group. Indistinguishably, many hold up the pictures of Khomeini, Khamenei, Khatami and Mousavi. Some of them are supporters of the loser, who was a hardliner when Khomeini was in power; others are reformists who want to see greater opening to the West."

We just commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Tianeman Square massacre. Now we are witnessing another threat to a regime the West is hoping to see fall. What should the U.S. offer in support, moral or otherwise?
Eisenhower in the Prague uprising of 1956 failed to support the revolutionaries.
Bush failed to support them in China in 1989.
Obama is certainly talking softly, even apologetically.

The results?
Hungary was released from the Soviet Union thirty years after Eisenhower.

China remains controlled by the Communist party although it has undergone a corrupt capitalist economic boom supported by Bush I.

Iran lies in the balance.

But don't bet against the old Ayatollah Khomeini's innovative brand of Islamic Republic. Iranians for a generation have boasted of that as their contribution to the Islam-civil society debate. Khomeini was forward not backward looking in their eyes. He walked a line between the secularist Baathists in Syria and Iraq and the Sunni Wahhabis of Saudia Arabia. Even candidate Mousavi pledged to maintain an Islamic Republic by any means necessary. Change may be on the horizon but I'll be shocked if it's "secularist."

Pics from Day 2 at Acton University

Al with Ismael Hernandez (top left), Kishore Jayabalan (top right), Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (bottom left), and Sam Gregg (bottom right).







Key US bishops: No ecclesiastical sanctions against Notre Dame


The following from John Allen at the National Catholic Reporter who is at the USCCB meeting in San Antonio this week. Read more from John here...


I sat down with Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona yesterday and asked him about the fallout from the debate over the University of Notre Dame’s decision to award an honorary doctorate to President Barack Obama, and to invite him to deliver the university’s annual commencement address May 17.

Kincanas, a Chicago native, was elected vice-president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2007, which puts him in line to become president of the conference in 2010.
Among other things he said: "I don’t think anyone feels that President [John] Jenkins [the Holy Cross priest who heads Notre Dame] is a person of bad intention. He’s a good man. He’s deeply committed to the faith, as is the university. But we need to have dialogue and that’s what Bishop D’Arcy was expressing … the desire for some consultation."

The full interview can be read here: No push to punish Notre Dame for Obama invite.
Read also my interview with Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry of Los Angeles: ‘No consensus’ on follow-up to Notre Dame flap

Today on Kresta - June 18, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 18
Live from Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI


3:00 – Truth and Fiction: Economic History of the Great Depression
Most people believe that the New Deal saved the United States from the worst ravages of the Great Depression, despite mounting historical evidence that this is a highly questionable proposition. Kishore Jayabalan outlines an alternative understanding of the causes of the Great Depression and the manner in which the New Deal prolonged rather than alleviated its effects.

3:30 – 10 Lessons I Learned From Pope John Paul II
Andreas Widmer is the co-founder of the SEVEN Fund, a non-profit run by entrepreneurs whose goal is to dramatically increase the rate of innovation and diffusion of enterprise-based solutions to poverty. He recently contributed two chapters to the book In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty. We talk about the problem of worldwide poverty. We also get 10 lessons that Andreas learned from Pope John Paul II as a member of the Pontifical Swiss Guard from 1986-1988, protecting John Paul II.

4:00 – Subsidiarity and Serving the Poor
As a former Marxist, Ismael Hernandez has a unique view of subsidiarity and serving the poor. He is here to define a Catholic understanding of subsidiarity, apply it to the context of human spiritual, moral, and material need, and elaborate on the unique ability of private charity to address such needs using local knowledge and resources unavailable and unsuited to public agencies.

4:30 – Pope Benedict XVI and His Vision for Europe
Why do Europeans and Americans see the world so differently? Why do Europeans and Americans have such different understandings of democracy? Sam Gregg outlines Benedict XVI's diagnosis of Europe's contemporary crisis of identity, clarifies his proposals for European renewal, and assesses the chances of realizing this vision.

5:00 – Pope Benedict XVI and His Vision of Liturgy
Pope Benedict XVI has made a key personnel change in the Roman Curia, appointing an American Dominican, Father Augstine DiNoia, as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Father DiNoia - who will become an archbishop as he assumes his new role - replaces Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith, who has been named Archbishop of Colombo in his native Sri Lanka. We talk with expert liturgist, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, about this move as well as the Holy Father’s wider vision for authentic liturgy.

5:30 – Universal Health Care – Or a Private Sector Solution?
Reform of the American health care sector is urgent. The current trend of ever increasing health-care spending, superimposed upon technological advancement and an aging demographic, is unsustainable. Approximately 15 percent of Americans lack health insurance and millions are underinsured or struggling with medical bills. Employer based medical care is disintegrating. Well-intentioned leaders often advocate for ‘comprehensive’ or ‘universal’ reform with more government or employer involvement in health care. Yet our government has a record found wanting in the defense of human dignity. Broad mandates threaten those whose consciences are committed to the sanctity of life. Furthermore, approximately 50 percent of medical spending is already government funded and expenses continue to escalate. Medicare faces insolvency by 2019, or earlier. United States firms struggle to compete in the global marketplace against firms not similarly responsible for medical benefits. How ought health care be reformed? We attack that question with an M.D., Dr. Donald Condit of the Acton Institute.

Catholics in Iran muzzled!


Christians are but a fragment of Iran's 70 million citizens. The International Religious Freedom Report of 2004 accepted by the U.S. State Department optimistically listed a total number of 300,000 Christians in Iran.

Swiss Catholics visited their brethren in 2006 and returned recognizing the obvious: Catholics are prohibited from proclaiming the Gospel to their countrymen. This is true in all Muslim-dominated countries.

While we hope and pray for greater liberty in Iran, a regime change won't permit the sovereign rights of Jesus Christ to be proclaimed in the land. Mousavi, challenger to Ahmadinejad, campaigned on the grounds that the Islamic Republic must be preserved by any means necessary. This means that the freedom to proclaim the gospel is not an option. St. Paul was freer to preach in ancient Rome than any missionary in modern Tehran.

If time permits listen to Paul Marshall's careful but clear lecture on Radical Islam.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pics From Acton University

The President and Founder of the Acton Institute - Fr. Robert Sirico (left) and Al interviewing Robert George of Princeton University (right).




Judging Justices, Catholic and otherwise

June 17th, 2009 by George Weigel

When Samuel Alito was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bush in 2005, there was a great and frequently uncivil hoo-rah to the effect that Alito would give the Supremes a “Catholic majority.” In this case, “Catholic” was code for “anti-Roe v. Wade ”—and if you doubt that, consider that there was precious little noise out of the folks who fretted about Alito and the Catholic “majority” when President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor, of Puerto Rican and Catholic ancestry, to fill the slot on the Court being vacated by Justice David Souter.

From what little was disclosed about Judge Sotomayor’s religious convictions and practice immediately after her nomination, it seems fair to say, at a minimum, that she’s not been particularly ardent in the practice of the faith. But that’s entirely beside the point when considering what her accession to the Court would mean—as it should have been entirely beside the point with Sam Alito, who by all accounts is a seriously practicing Catholic. To grasp what counts, think back to the Winter Olympics during the heyday of the Cold War.

Today on Kresta - June 17, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 17
Live from Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI


3:00 – Sotomayor, Catholic Supremacy, and Protestant Approaches to Law
The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court raises the prospect that for the first time in history there will be a supermajority of justices on the same court affiliated to one degree or another with the Catholic Church. Indeed, if her nomination is successful—as most experts believe it will be—half of the Catholics who have ever been on the Supreme Court will be serving simultaneously. At the same time the number of Protestants on the court will fall to a historic low—with David Souter’s retirement, John Paul Stevens will be the lone Protestant. With Catholic representation on the land’s highest court at its apex, and Protestant representation at its nadir, the question must be asked whether this reflects a shift in the balance of legal influence reflective of underlying deficiencies in American Protestantism. We talk with Jordan Ballor about Sotomayor, Catholic Supremacy, and Protestant approaches to law.

3:20 – Islam, Markets, and a Free Society
Is Islam compatible with free markets or does it promote collectivism? We take an overview of Islamic sources on the issue of economic freedom and an examination of the newly developing "Islamic capitalism." Also we examine the critical issue of Islam’s ability to take on the challenges of modernity. Mustafa Akyol is our guest.

4:00 – Beyond Contracts / Father’s Day Initiative
Marriage and family play important roles in building and maintaining both a strong society and a market economy. Marriage and family breakdown have short and long term economic costs and myriad externalities. We talk with Jennifer Roback Morse about the family, marriage and going beyond contracts.

4:40 – Is Iran Headed for Revolution?

Before the Iranian election took place, Bridgitte Gabriel said this: “No matter who wins today, it will not make that much of a difference in Iran. All four candidates have been chosen by and approved by the Mullahs out of 450 applicants. Even though some of them are touted as moderates such as Mir Hussein Moussavi, they are all subscribers of the Mullah ideology and philosophy in one form or another. This is the reason why they were chosen to run.” She joins us today and we ask if the unrest in Iran changes her opinion and what this event will mean for Iran and its relationship with the West.

5:00 – America’s Founding and Natural Law
In his book Making Men Moral, Robert George questioned the central doctrines of liberal jurisprudence and political theory. In his next book, In Defense of Natural Law, he extended his critique of liberalism, and also went beyond it to show how contemporary natural law theory provides a superior way of thinking about basic problems of justice and political morality. He joins us today to discuss America’s founding on natural law.

5:30 – The Economic Thought of Augustine and Aquinas
The work of Augustine and Aquinas decisively shaped the early and medieval Christian Church, including its thought about the economic realm of life. Alex Chafuen examines their thought on economic matters, underlines the continuities and distinctions, and illustrates how they contributed to the future direction of economic thinking.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Live From Acton University This Week

Stay with us all week as we broadcast live from Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI this week. The "conference" is sponsored by the Acton Institute, and we will be interviewing many of the speakers such as Robert George, Fr. Robert Sirico, Kishore Jayabalan, Jennifer Roback Morse, Sam Gregg, Mustafa Akyol, Anthony Bradley and many more.

We will post pictures and watch the live webcam every day from 3-6 p.m. Eastern Time. ENJOY!!! We sure will.

Hollywood-Catholic truce broken?

This from the National Catholic Reporter:

Just when we thought that "Angels & Demons" had called a truce in the battle between Catholics and Hollywood, a new front has been established.

Screen Gems, part of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment, has announced it is working on "Priest," about a rogue, "warrior" priest in a future world ravaged by centuries of war between humans and vampires. The film is based on the Korean comic book series of the same name created by Hyung Min-woo.

Starring are Paul Bettany (You may remember him as Silas in "The Da Vinci Code." I remember him as Geoffrey Chaucer in "A Knight's Tale.") as warrior priest Ivan Isaacs, and Cam Gigandet (who played a vampire in that other vampire movie, "Twilight") as a half-human, half-vampire sheriff. The two team-up to save Gena (not yet cast), Bettany's niece and Gigandet's girl friend.
The film is in pre-production. A late summer 2010 release is expected. Stay tuned for culture war fall out.

Benedict: Social Encyclical Coming "Soon"

Pope Benedict XVI offered a quick preview of his forthcoming social encyclical, and disclosed that it would be issued "soon," during a June 13 audience with members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation.

The Holy Father said that a market economy serves society "only if oriented toward the common good." Moreover, he said, "freedom in the economic sector must be circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality."

The Pontiff said that reflections on economics and the common welfare are particularly necessary today in light of the worldwide financial crisis. That crisis, he said, "clearly indicates the need to reconsider certain economic-financial paradigms that have dominated over the last few years."

Pope Benedict said that his encyclical, applying the principles of Catholic social teaching to current economic discussions, will address that need for a new examination of the global economy. The text, he said, will "highlight what, for us as Christians, are the objectives that need to be pursued and what values to be tirelessly promoted and defended in order to create a truly free and united form of human coexistence."

Seems especially appropriate since we are broadcasting this week from the Acton Institute and their "conference" - Acton University.

Another American Takes a Top Post at the Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI has made a key personnel change in the Roman Curia, appointing an American Dominican, Father Augstine DiNoia, as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Father DiNoia-- who will become an archbishop as he assumes his new role-- replaces Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, who has been named Archbishop of Colombo in his native Sri Lanka.

The replacement of Archbishop Ranjith had been rumored for months. Hand-picked by Pope Benedict to take the #2 spot in the Congregation for Divine Worship in December 2005, the Sri Lankan prelate had become the focus of some controversy in Rome because of his outspoken stand against liturgical abuse and his clear sympathy for traditionalist Catholics. In December 2008 the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Antonio Canizares as prefect of the liturgical congregation. Because the Spanish cardinal is also firmly committed to the Pope's agenda for liturgical reform, that appointment was widely regarded as a sign that Archbishop Ranjith's presence in the Congregation for Divine Worship was no longer essential, and he would soon be moved to a new post.

In Sri Lanka, Archbishop Ranjith will lead the Church in the nation's capital, and face the challenge of restoring unity in the wake of the country's long civil war. Many Vatican-watchers suspect that he will be raised to the College of Cardinals at the next consistory, as a sign of the Pope's support. In Colombo he replaces Archbishop Oswald Gomis, who is retiring at the age of 76.

Archbishop-elect DiNoia, who joins the swelling ranks of American prelates in the top ranks of the Roman Curia, has been the undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The 65-year-old native of New York had been called to Rome after a stint as the chief staff member for the US bishops' committee on doctrine.

Today on Kresta - June 16, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 16
Live from Acton University in Grand Rapids, MI


3:00 – The Church and its “Two Lungs”

The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma was established in 1969 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. The Eparchy now includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Those organizing the event say that now is the time for the Church of Parma to experience newness: new appreciation of the pioneers who formed the eparchy and forged ahead through its early years, the New Evangelization begun by Pope John Paul II, the new hope in Christ expressed by Pope Benedict XVI on his visit to the United States, new zeal, new excitement, new life. Fr. Deacon Lawrence Hendricks is here to discuss the Byzantine Church and John Paul II’s description of the Church needing two lungs to breathe.

3:20 – Voting Rights…And Wrongs
The 1965 Voting Rights Act is the crown jewel of American civil rights legislation. Its passage marked the death knell of the Jim Crow South. But that was the beginning, not the end, of an important debate on race and representation in American democracy. When is the distribution of political power racially fair? Who counts as a representative of black and Hispanic interests? How we answer such questions shapes our politics and public policy in profound but often unrecognized ways. The act’s original aim was simple: Give African Americans the same political opportunity enjoyed by other citizens—the chance to vote, form political coalitions, and elect the candidates of their choice. Abigail Thernstrom argues that southern resistance to black political power began a process by which the act was radically revised both for good and ill. She makes her case.

4:00 – Kresta Comments

5:00 – Acton University

Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics. As we kick off our week-long broadcast from the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, MI, Acton’s Founder, Fr. Robert Sirico, is with us to look at what the Institute does and what we can expect to encounter as we speak to the presenters at this week’s Acton University.

5:30 – Health Care Reform – A Catholic Look
Reform of the American health care sector is urgent. The current trend of ever increasing health-care spending, superimposed upon technological advancement and an aging demographic, is unsustainable. Approximately 15 percent of Americans lack health insurance and millions are underinsured or struggling with medical bills. Employer based medical care is disintegrating. Well-intentioned leaders often advocate for ‘comprehensive’ or ‘universal’ reform with more government or employer involvement in health care. Yet our government has a record found wanting in the defense of human dignity. Broad mandates threaten those whose consciences are committed to the sanctity of life. Furthermore, approximately 50 percent of medical spending is already government funded and expenses continue to escalate. Medicare faces insolvency by 2019, or earlier. United States firms struggle to compete in the global marketplace against firms not similarly responsible for medical benefits. How ought health care be reformed? We attack that question with Kevin Schmeising of the Acton Institute.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Today on Kresta - June 15, 2009

Talking about the "things that matter most" on June 15
Live from the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, MI


3:00 – Kresta Comments

3:20 – Talking Jesus: Obama vs. Bush

There’s an important article in the Politico, titled, “Obama Invokes Jesus More Than Bush.” President Barack Obama, says the article, has mentioned Jesus Christ “in a number of high-profile public speeches,” more so than did President George W. Bush, and in much less “innocuous contexts.” Obama has done so in order to promote certain policies, especially his economic policies, and “to connect with a broader base of supporters.” He does this via various “targeted messages.” Most remarkable, the article considers whether Obama is using the bully pulpit to pursue “an even larger goal” of resurrecting the Christian left, of appealing to disillusioned conservative evangelicals, and to attract “swing Protestants” and “swing Catholics.” In other words, Obama is doing the things, faith-wise, that Bush was angrily accused of doing. Is it true, and if so, what does it mean. Political scientist Paul Kengor has the analysis.

3:40 – Archbishop Burke and Catholic Media Responsibilities
In the Decree on the Media of Social Communications, Inter Mirifica , the Second Vatican Council Fathers spoke of the need for “A truly Catholic press with the clear purpose of forming, supporting and advancing public opinion in accord with natural law and Catholic teaching and precepts.” Enter Catholic News Service (CNS) — an agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that was created more than forty years before the Council specifically for the purpose of carrying out this very mission. Today, CNS is the world’s largest Catholic news organization of its kind, generating news items and editorial pieces that are reprinted in more than 200 Catholic publications worldwide. Mission accomplished, right? Well, not exactly. CNS’ failure to consistently apply reliably Catholic editorial standards had become so problematic that Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican, has taken the extraordinarily bold step of criticizing CNS from Rome. “The bishops need to look at our Catholic News Service; they need to review their coverage of the Church’s moral and social teachings and give some new direction,” he said. We look at it with a man who has written extensively on the subject, Louis Verricchio.

4:00 – Walking Across America for the Conversion of Youth
It was in the heart of Iowa, where Jon Leonetti was born and raised, that he fell in love with his Catholic faith. As the host of the Catholic radio show, Martyrs of the Third Millennium, Jon was ready to take the message of the New Evangelization from the air waves to the streets. Inspired through reading the lives of the saints Jon has realized that in order to live his Catholic faith to the fullest, he has to give it all. That is why he has chosen to walk, over 3,500 miles, asking young people to take on a new way of living, one where they are lost in the love of Jesus Christ. Through this journey in faith, Jon and his friend Jesse are encouraging young people to live their lives as a Martyr of the Third Millennium, one who continually dies to self and lives for something greater, our God. We catch up with them in IL.

4:20 – Were the Iranian Elections Fixed?
Defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi appeared in public today for the first time since an election that has divided the nation, joining hundreds of thousands of supporters who defied a ban to stage a mass rally in Tehran. "God willing, we will take back our rights," Mousavi shouted from the roof of a car amid a vast sea of Iranians, young and old, who packed into central Tehran to protest Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.Iran , battling one of its worst political crises since the Islamic revolution three decades ago, faced a growing international backlash over the validity of the election and the subsequent crackdown on opposition protests. Iran's supreme leader ordered a probe into allegations of vote-rigging in the election that returned Ahmandinejad to power, denting Western hopes of a change in domestic and foreign policy of the oil-rich Shiite-dominated nation. Ahmadinejad has defended the results of an election that gave the combative hardliner another four years in power. We talk with Ali Alfoneh of the American Enterprise Institute

4:40 – Acton University
Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics. As we kick off our week-long broadcast from the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, MI, Acton’s Communication Director, John Couretas, is with us to look at what the Institute does and what we can expect to encounter as we speak to the presenters at this week’s Acton University.

5:00 – NY: Cash for Eggs
New York’s Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB) has approved a plan that would pay women to provide human eggs for research purposes. Bucking a national trend seen in states like California and Massachusetts, which prohibit payment for eggs for research, the ESSCB Ethics Committee voted for state research funds to be provided to researchers who pay women for their eggs, making New York the only state in the union to tacitly endorse a cash-for-eggs scheme. At its meeting on June 11, the ESSCB approved providing state money for direct payments to women to try to obtain human eggs for research. Fr. Thomas Berg of the Westchester Bioethics Institute is our guest.

5:00 – Concluding the Year of St. Paul
Zealous for the God of Israel, Saul of Tarsus pursued murderous threats against the disciples of Jesus. But Saul's zeal was turned upside down when he was knocked from his "high horse" and humbled by the hand of God. As we conclude this year of St. Paul, we are joined by Steve Ray, who will take you on the road with St. Paul through Israel, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Italy. Fall from a horse in the desert and dangle over the Damascus Wall in a basket. Cling to driftwood in the sea and stride along ancient Roman roads. You'll better understand the life, ministry, and sufferings of Paul the Apostle.