Friday, May 28, 2010

"Kresta in the Afternoon" On The Road At WMET-1160 A.M. in Washington, D.C.

Pope says immigration policy should balance individual rights, national sovereignty

Thanks to Phil Lawler at Catholic World News for this summary:

A proper approach to immigration should balance "the rights and duties of foreigners and those of the host communities," Pope Benedict XVI said at a private audience with members of the Pontifical Council for Migrants.

Immigrants should be treated with respect, mindful of their human dignity and the rights conferred by natural law, the Pope said. "Obviously the acquisition of rights goes hand in hand with the acceptance of duties," he added, and immigrants bear some responsibilities toward their host countries.

The Pope suggested that Church groups, charitable agencies, and other non-profit groups could help governments in "reconciling recognition for the rights of the individual with the principle of national sovereignty, making specific reference to the needs of security, public order, and the control of frontiers."

Offering a few specific suggestions on immigration policy, the Pope said that laws should favor "the legitimate right to family reunion, asylum and refuge, compensating any necessary restrictive measures, and contrasting the deplorable traffic in human beings."

Read the Vatican Information Service release here...

Janet Smith: Catholics in Alliance leader shows poor judgment with Church council call

This from CNA:

Alfred M. Rotondaro, chair of the board of directors of the Obama-supporting group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, has called for a “new Vatican Council” while claiming abortion is “here to stay” and “gay sex is good.” In reply, one Catholic theologian suggests he is not a good judge of when a Church council is needed.

In a May 25 piece for the Huffington Post, Rotondaro claimed the Catholic Church is having “a mental breakdown.” He complained about Catholic schools’ refusal to enroll the children of lesbian parents, Marquette University’s withdrawal of a dean offer to a lesbian sociologist, and the bishops’ “punishing” of nuns who supported the health care bill.

Rotondaro, who is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., proposed “a new Vatican Council,” saying the world would benefit from “an application of traditional Catholic values presented by a reinvigorated Church.”

He said the role of women in the Church should be a starting place, claiming he has “never seen any rational reason” why a woman could not be a priest.

“A second point is the theme of sex. Sex comes from God. It should be celebrated,” his Huffington Post piece continued. “Gay sex comes from God. Married sex without the intent of procreation is now an evil, according to the hierarchy. But does any practicing Catholic under age 80 believe this?

“And in a pluralistic nation like America, we must realize that abortion is here to stay. We must examine the reasons for abortion and deal with those reasons to reduce abortions.”

“But one last important point is that the council must be held in the spirit of John Paul and of America's secular saint -- Abraham Lincoln,” Rotondaro’s article concluded. “The spirit that animated those magnificent men must guide the new Vatican Council.”

CNA spoke about Rotondaro’s piece with Prof. Janet Smith, holder of the Father Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

In a Thursday e-mail, she wrote that she wondered whether he was “a reincarnated Rip Van Winkle.”

“The items he wants to have discussed have been discussed and will continue to be discussed. A council won't be able to resolve any of the issues he raises.”

In Smith’s view, he mixes together issues like abortion and sexual ethics, matters of moral principle, with how best to deal with settling immigrants, a matter of both moral principle and context.

This mixture of issues shows that “he is not a good judge of when a council is needed,” Smith commented.

His claim to have never heard a rational reason against the ordination of women “suggests he has read very little of the defenses of the Church's position.”

Acknowledging that sex is “a gift from God,” Smith said Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body is “particularly effective” in promoting such truths.

A church council in the spirit of John Paul II and Abraham Lincoln would not yield Rotondaro’s expected results, Smith told CNA. “It is hard to imagine either approving of abortion or homosexual marriages. Their views were governed by eternal moral principles, not trendy political correctness.”

A hypothetical council “would certainly be as strong or stronger on questions such as abortion, contraception, and same sex relationships,” Prof. Smith said.

Asked whether Rotondaro is right to say abortion is “here to stay,” Smith replied that all sin is “here to stay until the Second Coming.”

“The question is whether we are going to recognize sin as sin or claim that it is a fundamental human right. Again, Rotondaro seems to have been inattentive to what has been happening in the Church and in the culture. The opposition to abortion is growing, especially among young people.”

She suggested the writer was “oblivious” to measures already being taken to reduce the numbers of abortions, like the “many more” pregnancy help centers in operation than abortion clinics. Further, many Christians work at “enormous personal sacrifice” to help women react to pregnancies “in a moral fashion.”

“Is he oblivious to efforts to teach young people the value of remaining chaste? Abortions would virtually disappear if people waited until marriage to have sex.

“Rotondaro and others need to consider whether it is a change in the Church that is needed, or a change in the culture. Whose values have led to the mess our culture is in sexually?” Smith asked.

Librarian challenges porn usage, gets flak

A librarian in Salinas, California, has been reprimanded after catching a 10-year-old boy viewing pornography on one of the library's computers.

KSBW news spoke with Elizabeth McKeighen, who spotted the boy while she made her routine check through the section of the library. "I reacted, in all honesty, [with] shock," she recalls.

She says she tapped the boy on the shoulder to get his attention, but the mother claims she swatted him. The librarian was reprimanded and warned she could be fired if it happens again.

"I'm just disturbed that me touching the kid was blown out of proportion and has suddenly become much more important than the vital issue of pornography in the library," the librarian laments.

She believes that filters could provide a solution to the problem -- and though library officials disagree, saying filters tend to block out important information people need, McKeighen explains that filters have advanced in recent years.

"This is an issue. It happens all the time, every day," she regards. "And while the solution is very challenging, to ignore the problem is only going to exacerbate it and make it worse."

Instead of using filters, the Salinas Public Library requires employees to be vigilant in looking over patrons' shoulders and stopping them if they are visiting to porn websites. Library director Elizabeth Martinez says that approach works "better than any filter."

Earlier this month, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that filters should be installed on public library computers in that state, saying libraries have the authority to decline adult-oriented material in their collections -- and that discretion, said the court, extends with respect to Internet materials as well.

Sheriff under fire for refusing abortion transport

A Texas sheriff is standing firm against the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which says he violated an inmate's constitutional "right" to an abortion.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler had a pregnant inmate jailed on a burglary charge. Her family was willing to pay for an abortion, but she needed to be transported to an abortion clinic for the operation. So Sheriff Fowler found an ACLU attorney knocking on his door.

"Well, [we were told] the county will have to take this inmate to the abortion clinic, transport her, and then you get into a situation of a guard hire and all the costs associated with that," the sheriff points out. "So I said, 'No. I don't think that's a proper use of county taxpayers' money.'"

Fowler did ask to have the inmate's case moved forward quickly, which did happen. She received five years probation and was released. But now the ACLU is demanding to know what the sheriff will do if a similar situation occurs in the future.

"My take on it is unless the legislature creates a law that requires a sheriff to take inmates to an abortion clinic, then I'm not gonna do it," he explains.

He says he took an oath to uphold the laws of Texas, and the public response to his stance has been positive. As people have visited his office and shown their support with phone calls, Fowler says, "To tell you the truth, I was a bit overwhelmed with it."

Outrageous Statement of the Day

"Thrill up my leg" Matthews poses the question: "Is he (Obama) too cool for his nasty, heated enemies?"

Cartoon of the Day - The Pen Is Mighty Grateful To The Sword

Today on Kresta - May 28, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 28


4:00 – The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898
On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine exploded in the Havana Harbor. Although there was no evidence that the Spanish were responsible, yellow newspapers such as William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal whipped Americans into frenzy by claiming that Spain's "secret infernal machine" had destroyed the battleship. Soon after, the blandly handsome and easily influenced President McKinley declared war, sending troops not only to Cuba but also to the Philippines, Spain's sprawling colony on the other side of the world. As Evan Thomas reveals in his rip-roaring history of those times, the hunger for war had begun years earlier. Depressed by the "closing" of the Western frontier and embracing theories of social Darwinism, a group of warmongers that included a young Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge agitated loudly and incessantly that the United States exert its influence across the seas. These hawks would transform American foreign policy and, when Teddy ascended to the presidency, commence with a devastating war without reason, concocted within the White House—a bloody conflict that would come at tremendous cost. We look at the story of six men at the center of a transforming event in U.S. history: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, McKinley, William James, and Thomas Reed.

4:40 – Fighting for Faith, Family and Virtue at the UN
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. One of the most important places to defend those principles is at the United Nations. Austin Ruse has been doing it for years, and is here to discuss the most pressing issues facing the family at the UN.

5:00 – Authentic Reform in the USCCB
Few people know the inner workings of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops like Russell Shaw. He served for two decades as Communications Director for the USCCB and has written Nothing to Hide: Secrecy, Communication, and Communion in the Catholic Church. He joins us to discuss the abuse of secrecy in the Church, the scandals it has caused and the serious problem of mistrust that exists in the credibility of the Church. In this beautiful vision of the Church, his aim is to make a contribution to realizing this vision in the concrete circumstances of the present day, by helping to end the culture of secrecy, especially within American Catholicism, and replacing the destructive culture with an open, accountable community of faith.

5:40 – TBA

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kresta Blogging Back in Full Force

The team here at Kresta in the Afternoon apologizes for the lack of posts over the last week. Nick and his wife adopted a baby last week, we had a coupe pre-recorded shows, Al had a lot of meetings, and now Al and Nick arem broadcasting from Washington, D.C. from the studios of the latest "Kresta in the Afternoon" affiliate - WMET 1160 A.M. It's a phenominal station and willm certainly be a significant chapter in the story of Catholic Radio in America. We look forward to many broadcasts from here, and stay tuned to the blog for pics from the studio and with the team from Guadalupe Radio. Kudos for a TREMENDOUS job in bringing Catholic radio to our nation's capitol. Read more about the station here.

Forced Abortion in Flint, MI

A Flint woman says her doctor didn't respect her last minute change of heart. Watch this disturbing story below.

Archbishop Chaput explains: bishops are not Vatican employees

Writing about the Kentucky case in which sex-abuse victims seek to list the Vatican as a defendant, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver argues that the plaintiffs' argument-- that the Vatican controls the activities of individual bishops-- is completely at odds with everyday realities and, more important, with the Catholic understanding of the nature of the Church.

"That argument is not merely false in practice. It is also revolutionary in consequence. In effect, it would redefine the nature of the Church in a manner favorable to plaintiffs’ attorneys but alien to her actual structure and identity. To put it another way, plaintiffs’ attorneys want a federal court to tell the Church what she really is, whether she agrees or not, and then to penalize her for being what she isn't."
Read Chaput's full comments here.

What is the USCCB’s problem with subsidiarity?

From Sam Gregg at them Acton Institute:
On May 21, 2010, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a media statement which sought to identify the way forward for Catholic engagement in the healthcare debate in light of the passage of healthcare legislation. The USCCB stresses that at the core of the bishops’ advocacy throughout the debate was a concern for three principles: (1) the protection of innocent life from the use of lethal force from conception to natural death; (2) the maintenance of conscience protections; and (3) the realization of universal access to healthcare for all, especially the poor and migrants. These, the USCCB stresses, will remain at the forefront of its contributions to the healthcare discussion. The USCCB consequently asks America’s “Catholic community to come together in defense of human life, rights of conscience and fairness to immigrants so we will have a health care system that truly respects the life, dignity, health and consciences of all.”

All this is well and good. Unfortunately, there is no mention in this text of a concern voiced by a good number of Catholic bishops throughout the debate: an assessment of whether the recent healthcare legislation can truly be said to reflect adherence to the principle of subsidiarity. For anyone who needs a reminder of what this principle means, here’s what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (CCC 1883):
Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. The teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which ‘a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co- ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good’.

It’s important to note that subsidiarity is not an “anti-government” or “anti-state” principle. Indeed it affirms that there is a role for government because (1) there are some things that only governments can and should do and (2) sometimes the state does need to intervene when other communities are unable to cope temporarily with their particular responsibilities. Nor, it should be added, does subsidiarity always translate into the very same policy-positions, precisely because some elements of the common good are in a constant state of flux.

That said, it’s puzzling to say the least that the USCCB, both during and after the healthcare debate, is not in the habit of referencing subsidiarity as a vital principle for Catholics to reflect upon as they consider the implications of what few now question amounts to the massive expansion of Federal government control over healthcare in the United States. Contrary to what some Catholics imagine (especially the professional social justice activists who dissent from fundamental church dogmas and doctrines while casting anathemas against anyone who disagrees with their own prudential judgments on any number of economic issues), striving to widen access to healthcare need not automatically translate into the state assuming a dominant role.

Continue reading here...

L.A. officially welcomes its next archbishop

Los Angeles officially welcomed its next Roman Catholic archbishop Wednesday with a celebratory Mass that included a bit of just about everything: tears, drama, majesty, song, hats, incense, a cast of thousands, prayer and even a little slapstick humor.

At the end of the two-hour service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles, the outgoing archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony, told the incoming archbishop, Jose Gomez, that church rules demand that the ceremonial throne for the prelate "must be fitting." Mahony then invited Gomez to try it out for size.

A bemused Gomez approached the large wooden chair, began to sit, hesitated, looked askance, then finally plopped down. "It's kind of big," he said, "but I think I can make it."

At that, the audience of about 4,000 — including seven cardinals and, by official count, 59 bishops and 411 priests — erupted in cheers, laughter and hearty applause.

“As I near the end of my time of tending this corner of the Vineyard, the shepherd’s staff is being passed to Archbishop Gomez,” said Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. “Mahony goes; Gomez comes. Christ alone endures. The Church’s foundation and its future is not in either one of us. Our foundation and our future are in Christ alone.”

Read more here...

Outrageous Statement of the Day

When asked by Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe, the EDITOR OF TIME MAGAZINE, Rick Stengle, was completely unaware that there is a controversy over Joe Sestak (D-PA) and his assertion that the Obama admin offered him a top federal job in return for getting out of the PA senate primary against Arlen Specter. This is an accusation BY A LIBERAL DEMOCRAT, that the White House broke federal law in offering him a job in exchange for a political favor. And one of the mainstream media's leading editors is completely unaware of the story. Unbelievable.

Cartoon of the Day - Border Security

Today on Kresta - May 27, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 27

4:00 – William F. Buckley Jr.: The Maker of a Movement
The polysyllabic vocabulary, the wit, the charm, the sailing adventures, the spy novels—all of these have become part of the William F. Buckley Jr. legend. But to consider only Buckley’s charisma and ceaseless energy is to miss that above all he was committed to advancing ideas. We talk with noted conservative historian Lee Edwards, who knew Bill Buckley for more than forty years, and has now delivered a much-needed intellectual biography of the man has been called “arguably the most important public intellectual in the United States in the past half century.”

4:20 – Can the Bishops Fix the Health Care Bill?
When the health-care bill passed, the bishops' reaction was twofold: disappointment at federal funding for abortion, while universal care was applauded. For some, including Deal Hudson, the sound of the bishops' clapping was far too loud given the immense tragedy of our federal tax dollars being committed to support abortion under the guise of "women's health services." Those who cheered the loudest, however, were not the bishops but the Catholic leadership -- from Congress, health care, journalists, and activist groups -- who denied the very presence of the abortion funding about which the bishops expressed their disappointment. Now the bishops are getting behind another bill intended to "fix" the current version by stripping out its abortion funding -- an effort considered unnecessary by those like Sr. Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, who stand by the claim that no funding for abortion exists in the bill. Will the Bishops be able to fix the health care bill? Deal Hudson is here to discuss it.

4:40 – Fighting for Faith, Family and Virtue at the UN
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable. One of the most important places to defend those principles is at the United Nations. Austin Ruse has been doing it for years, and is here to discuss the most pressing issues facing the family at the UN.

5:00 – The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist
People are shocked and frightened by the behavior coming out the Islamic world—not only because it is violent, but also because it is seemingly inexplicable. While there are many answers to the question of “what went wrong” in the Muslim world, no one has decisively answered why it went wrong. Until now. In his eye-opening new book, foreign policy expert Robert R. Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In a heated battle over the role of reason, the side of irrationality won. The deformed theology that resulted, Reilly reveals, produced the spiritual pathology of Islamism, and a deeply dysfunctional culture. Bob is here to look at The Closing of the Muslim Mind.

5:40 – Catholic Radio Now Blankets Washington, D.C.
Two Texans are funding the Washington, D.C. area's first Catholic radio station, which went on the air earlier this month. WMET 1160 AM, a former multicultural station with transmitter in Gaithersburg, Md., was purchased in February for $4 million. The station will be operated by the Guadalupe Radio Network of Midland, Texas, and will provide 24-hour Catholic programming in English. Guadalupe Radio VP Toya Hall is here to tell the story.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today on Kresta - May 25, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 25

4:00 – Bringing America Home: How America Lost Her Way and How We Can Find Our Way Back
How did the Bush administration squander the political capital that Goldwater-Reagan conservatives took more than three decades to build? How did America go from having the strongest economy in the world to facing our most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression? What became of an American culture that once was guided by the principles of Christianity? Bringing America Home not only explains how we lost our way, but shows how our founding principles can help us find our way back. A native Texan, veteran of the Nixon and Reagan administrations, Catholic and former state chairman of the Texas Republican Party, Tom Pauken is the author of Bringing America Home: How America Lost Her Way and How We Can Find Our Way Back.

4:40 – What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports
Politics and sports: they’re two of America’s greatest passions. And George Allen—former U.S. Senator, former Virginia Governor, and son of the great NFL coach George Allen, Sr.—brings these two worlds together in his new book, What Washington Can Learn From the World of Sports. Having spent his life with one foot in the sports arena and the other in the political arena, Allen brings his unique perspective and experiences to this book. Through personal stories, anecdotes, and interviews, Allen draws both parallels and contrasts between two of our nation’s favorite passions. From national security, to wasteful government spending, to judicial activism, Allen proves that our government need look no further than the football field, baseball diamond, or basketball court to solve today’s pressing problems.

5:00 – Theology of the Body in Context: Genesis and Growth
The zenith of John Paul II’s thought on the human person, marriage, and the family is found in his “theology of the body.” For the first time, William E. May provides a comprehensive yet readable overview of this work in the context of several other key writings of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II - including Love and Responsibility, Familiaris Consortio, and his Apostolic Letters, Mulieris Dignitatem and Letter to Families, providing rich insights into the development of the theology of the body. He takes a closer look at the thought of John Paul II in order to get a clear and comprehensive idea of the creation of his groundbreaking work.

5:20 – TBA

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Knights of Columbus won't expel pro-abortion politicians

The leadership of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) has forbidden local councils to take any action against members of the Catholic fraternal organization who support legalized abortion or same-sex marriage.

A Massachusetts K of C member had proposed a resolution, to be taken up by the group's state convention, calling for the suspension of membership of any politician who gave public support to abortion and same-sex marriage. That resolution was declared inappropriate by the Supreme Advocate of the K of C, John Marrella.

In a letter to the Massachusetts K of C leadership, Marrella declared that "a subordinate council may not impose fraternal discipline with respect to a public figure's official actions on matters pertaining to faith and morals. Rather, any such discipline must be made by or at the direction of the Supreme Board of Directors."

"We recognize that some of our members who are public figures may use their public position to advocate or support policy positions that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals," Marrella conceded in his letter. He went on to admit that such public advocacy "contradicts the Catholic identity and mission of the Order."

Nevertheless, the top legal official of the K of C said that any action taken against K of C members who are public figures would "necessarily affect the entire Order." For that reason, he said, any disciplinary action should be taken by the group's top leadership.

Marrella went on to say that the K of C would not go further than the American bishops in taking public action against members whose public stands conflict with Church moral teachings. "If the public figure's bishop has not excommunicated him for his public positions on issues relating to matters of faith and morals, it would be highly inappropriate for the Knights of Columbus to do so," he wrote.

In the thirty-seven years since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Board of Directors has never, to public knowledge, removed a single pro-abortion political figure from the Knights of Columbus. In Massachusetts, a majority of Knights serving in the Legislature voted in 2007 against a constitutional amendment restoring traditional marriage, and voted in 2005 for a law which compels Catholic hospitals to distribute the so-called morning after pill to rape victims.
Our friend, Phil Lawlor delivers a stinging rebuke to the Knights of Columbus.

The Knights respond
When my wife and a group of friends started a Crisis Pregnancy Center in 1982, the Knights of Columbus were the key donors. When I was urging people to join me in risking arrest as we sat peacefully and prayerfully at abortion clinics, a number of Knights were the most reliable "rescuers" with me. The Knights regularly provide volunteer help for our efforts at Ave Maria Communications. Thus, I hope they can get this straightened out. I don't know how many active Knights are pro-abortion politicians or even how many of the rank and file Knights are pro-abortion. Hopefully, not many.
Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson's A Civilization of Love: What Every Catholic Can Do to Transform the World is one of the three indispensable books I recommend for Catholics who want to know how to radiate godly influence into this world.
Pray that the Knights would have the discernment necessary to do the right thing and do it well. I think Phil's words need to be taken to heart.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

As predicted- Bishops withdraw from so-called alphabet soup civil rights group

The USCCB has left the LCCHR and IMHO AMC is really OK with it. In fact, we are delighted LOL.
We predicted it would be just a matter of time after news of LCCHR's LGBT and NARAL sympathies hit the lay faithful and they had time to communicate upward to the USCCB or to their own bishops. We also said once this became an issue of current discussion at the USCCB, we'd see the obvious follow-thru.

LCCHR support of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan seems to be the neuralgic point that caused the bishops' conference to finally scratch the itch.

The LCCHR, which calls itself the "nation's premiere civil and human rights coalition", is an umbrella organization that was founded in the years before Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) and the rise of the modern civil rights movement. Like most modern civil rights organizations it has came to be predictably allied with politically liberal advocacy organizations, the vast majority of which, if they opined on Roe v. Wade at all, saw it as an expansion of civil liberties.  

Many Catholics don't understand that the USCCB staff functions like a bureaucracy. Because bureaucracies, like rhinos, are usually large, have thick protective skin, and move slowly, it can frustrate people who have a more idealized conception of how the institutional Catholicism functions.

Bishop Murphy reported that the LCCHR has joined in advocating or opposing nominees for the Supreme Court, a practice which “clearly contradicts” USCCB policy and compromises the bishops’ “principled positions.”  THIS IS NOT NEW HOWEVER.  A quick look at the LCCHR website shows it opposed John Roberts and it was awfully affirming of the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. It was also aligned with which clearly took stands on court nominees.  Perhaps Bishop Murphy's quote was poorly used in the CNA article. But if he claims to have left the coalition because the LCCHR has just begun advocating or opposing Supreme Court nominees, then, as far as we can see, he is not being forthright.  [See below for his full quote.  The CNA insertion of the quote is a bit misleading although the problem is more than just a few years old.]

There are three instructive points about this withdrawal.

1. Would the USCCB have withdrawn without the lay faithful highlighting the problem?  I doubt it. This should be read as one more reason it is important for the laity to keep respectful but clear communication flowing upward even as we listen carefully to the teaching of our bishops as we form our consciences on issues like immigration, health care, war and peace, religious liberty, et al.

2. Does this equip us to better do the works of service that St. Paul in Ephesians 4:12 says we are called to? In and of itself, no. Withdrawing from an organization might make us feel like someone is listening but it really solves little. Yes, withdrawal means we refuse to give a spiritual legitimacy to an organization whose members frequently work to undermine the Catholic Church in America. This is good. Withdrawing does make our witness to Christ appear more consistent. But it does nothing to really protect the unborn. So while we're delighted, we're also sober about the significance of this event.

3. Does modern communications means information flows faster? Yes, but it doesn't necessarily mean bureaucracies- which prize stability, protocols, and 'going along to get along'- act on that information in a way that is proportionate to the speed with which the information is distributed. 

This last point is a tip for not going crazy wondering when or if rhinos will get up and attack or for not sounding hysterical when they take their own sweet time doing so.  See USCCB statement.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Today on Kresta - May 20, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 20

4:00 – Heroes for a Day
“I was sitting at home one day in 2004 when the phone rang. "Department of Homeland Security," said the voice on the other end of the line. "We have a question for you." If this sounds like the setup to a thriller, trust me, I know: I write them for a living. I thought this had to be a prank. But eventually it became clear that the caller was serious. Even without a fancy accent and an Aston Martin, I was being recruited for something called the Red Cell program, an unorthodox federal attempt to anticipate how, in the wake of 9/11, terrorists might next attack the U.S.” Brad Meltzer is here to tell us his story.

4:20 – Sinning Against the Union
“Catholic scholars say those who thwart labor unions commit mortal sin,” says the headline from Catholic News Service. It’s an accurate characterization of a statement released by a group called Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice. It’s certainly attention-grabbing, but is it sound moral analysis? Kevin Schmiesing says the answer is no. He’s not trained as a moral theologian, but he does know something about Catholic social teaching and will be here to apply elementary rules of logic, which he says is all he needs to poke some holes in the statement in question.

4:40 – Dialogue of Love: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic Ecumenist
The Dialogue of Love is written from the perspective of an evangelical Catholic Ecumenist. Raised Catholic, but having responded to the Gospel at L'Abri Fellowship in 1970, Eduardo J. Echeverria's journey took the paths of Reformed and then Anglo-Catholic Christianity on his way back to full communion with the Catholic Church in 1992. Engaging in ecumenical conversation as a committed Roman Catholic whose views have been shaped by, among others, Romano Guardini, John Paul II, and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), the author discusses in an articulate, bracing, and constructive manner, the positions of representative thinkers in the Dutch neo-Calvinist tradition of Reformed Christianity: Herman Bavinck, G. C. Berkouwer, and Herman Dooyeweerd. Fundamental issues of ecclesiology, meaning and truth, sacramental theology, the relation between the Church and the world, nature and grace, and issues on the relation of faith and reason are examined with the aim of achieving clarification and understanding. Readers will experience ecumenical "Dialogue . . . not simply [as] an exchange of ideas," but also as "an 'exchange of gifts'," indeed, "a dialogue of love" (John Paul II).

5:00 – The Great Adventure Bible Timeline
The Great Adventure is a Catholic Bible learning system that makes the complex simple by teaching the story (the narrative) of the Bible. Every day, more and more people are encountering God's Word through the methods taught in The Great Adventure. Jeff Cavins developed The Great Adventure in 1984 when he realized that most people, despite their strong faith, did not grasp the big picture of the Bible. Though they knew selected stories, they were not able to connect them into a full narrative. His answer was to identify the books of the Bible that tell the story from beginning to end. By reading just these 14 narrative books, a chronological story emerges. Since the creation of The Bible Timeline, The Great Adventure has grown into a remarkable system designed to give the average Catholic a solid foundation for a lifetime of Bible reading. Parishes around the world are finding renewed faith and increased involvement among parishioners whose lives have been changed by this exciting study series. Jeff is here to discuss it.

Conservatives and the Kagan nomination

Ome of our favorite people on Constitutional interpretation, natural law and the Supreme Court is Robert George of Princeton. Here's his take on how conservatives should deal with the Elena Kagan nomination.

How should conservatives react to President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan?

First, let me say how conservatives should not react. They should not claim that Kagan is the Democrats Harriet Miers. She is not. I myself opposed the President Bush's nomination of Miers, as did most conservatives, on the ground that her record, though perfectly respectable, was not distinguished. Kagan's record, by contrast, is distinguished. If she were a committed constitutionalist, as conservatives understand that idea, we would, rightly, be celebrating the nomination of a person of her ability and distinction.
Furthermore, conservatives should not speculate or entertain speculation regarding Kagan's romantic interests, feelings, or "sexual orientation." Some of this has gone on in the media (and not just among conservatives), and it is despicable. (Indeed, I find it so loathesome that I am reluctant to bring the subject up, even for the purpose of condemning it.) Kagan has done nothing to bring her personal life or private feelings into public view and no one can point to anything in her record as a professor, dean, or White House official that raises questions to which facts about her romantic interests or inward feelings are relevant. It is true that Kagan fiercely opposed the Solomon Amendment and argued that it is unconstitutional (an argument that not even John Paul Stevens or Ruth Ginsburg was willing to swallow); but her position was scarcely idiosyncratic among liberals and there is no reason to suppose that it was the product of personal interests or bias.

It's all at Mirror of Justice. The blog is for Catholics who are trying to think as Catholics about the law. There is also response to George in later posts there.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today on Kresta - May 19, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 19

4:00 – Belgian Doctors Euthanized Disabled Patient and Harvested Her Organs
This isn’t the first time that coupling assisted suicide/euthanasia has been suggested as a potential concept, but it may be the first time it has been actively advocated. Oxford bioethicists Julian Savulescu–for whom virtually anything goes–writing with Dominic Wilkinson argue that euthanasia coupled with organ harvesting would be a splendid way to obtain more kidneys, livers, and hearts. We talk with bioethicist Wesley Smith.

4:20 – The Devil's Rooming House: The True Story of America's Deadliest Female Serial Killer
A silent, simmering killer terrorized New England in1911. As a terrible heat wave killed more than 2,000 people, another silent killer began her own murderous spree. That year a reporter for the Hartford Courant noticed a sharp rise in the number of obituaries for residents of a rooming house in Windsor, Connecticut, and began to suspect who was responsible: Amy Archer-Gilligan, who’d opened the Archer Home for Elderly People and Chronic Invalids four years earlier. “Sister Amy” would be accused of murdering both of her husbands and up to sixty-six of her patients with cocktails of lemonade and arsenic; her story inspired the Broadway hit Arsenic and Old Lace. The Devil’s Rooming House is the first book about the life, times, and crimes of America’s most prolific female serial killer. In telling this fascinating story, M. William Phelps also paints a vivid portrait of early-twentieth-century New England. He joins us

4:40 – The Ruth Institute: Making Marriage Cool
On August 6th 2009 at the University of San Diego, 32 students from across America along with experts in their respective fields, came together for three days to discuss the institution of marriage; how it stands in today's society, what challenges and jeopardy it faces and what we, as a free society, can do to nurture and protect it. The Ruth Institute's First Annual Student conference was a resounding success. Now they are on to step two, and this year’s conference is bigger and better. We talk with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse about the Ruth Institute: Making Marriage Cool.

5:00 – Throw the Bums Out? An Analysis of Yesterday’s Primary Results
Upstart Senate candidates claimed two stunning victories in primary elections Tuesday night as Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak denied incumbent Democrat Arlen Specter re-nomination to a sixth term and Kentucky insurgent Rand Paul easily bested establishment favorite Trey Grayson for the Republican Party's Senate nod. In the evening's third key Senate race, Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln clung to a slim lead of a few thousand votes over Lt. Gov. Bill Halter in the state's Democratic primary, but will face an expensive and potentially dangerous June 8 runoff since neither candidate reached 50 percent of the vote. Political scientist Paul Kengor is here for analysis.

5:20 – Fatherless
We take an intensely human tour of the great spiritual battles in the US Catholic Church during the late 20th century. Brian Gail takes us out into the "trenches" and shows what life was like for Catholics good and bad during this critical time. Meticulously researched, brilliantly crafted, Fatherless takes the reader on an unforgettable journey inside Fortune 500 boardrooms and Madison Avenue screening rooms, behind one-way mirrors in America’s heartland and two-way screens in church confessionals, to the very peak of Ireland’s highest mountain and inside the papal dining room of John Paul II in Rome. It is the searing journey to the center of conscience, however, that marks Fatherless as the signature Catholic novel of its generation.

5:40 – 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. Money, Greed, and God is now updated, revised, and out in paperback.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Obama, Abortion and the University of Michigan Graduation

From Dr. Monica Miller - Citizens for a Pro-Life Society:

The face of Obama's America is shocking but we were not there to shock. We were present at every main gate leading into the stadium. Literally droves of people passed by those holding signs of the abortion victims. It is no exaggeration--at least 50 thousand people saw the posters on their way into the stadium! Those who censor images like this are trying to frustrate movements that are built on reason and nature and logic. The images present reality to the world and those who censor them are at war with reality.

The Chronicles fo Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

On December 10, audiences from around the globe will be able to return to the magic and wonder of C.S. Lewis' beloved world - via the fantastic Narnian ship, the Dawn Treader. In this latest installment of the blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia motion picture franchise, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace and their royal friend King Caspian, find themselves swallowed into a painting and on to the Dawn Treader. As they embark on an incredible adventure of destiny and discovery, they confront obstacles beyond imagination.

In the enchanted land of Narnia, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), along with their cousin Eustace Clarence Scrubb (Will Poulter), join King Caspian (Ben Barnes) on a sworn mission to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia. The new and dangerous quest takes them to the farthest edge of the Eastern world on board the mighty Dawn Treader. Sailing uncharted seas, the old friends must survive a terrible storm, encounters with sea serpents, dragons, and invisible enemies to reach lands where magicians weave mysterious spells and nightmares come true."

Outrageous Statement of the Day

MSNBC's Chris Matthews was in rare populist form, even for him, on his May 17 program, angrily denouncing BP as purposely not doing enough to clean up the Gulf oil spill. He also called for President Obama to nationalize the oil industry, he hinted that BP's executives should be dealt the death penalty, and he even found a way to take a swipe at the Catholic Church. All in under 90 seconds. Impressive.

Cartoon of the Day - Newspapers

Today on Kresta - May 18, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 18

4:00 – Kresta Comments – US State Department Apologizes to China for Human Rights Abuses in AZ Immigration Law
The US State Department recently met with China - regarding Human Rights Violations. It took little time for the state Department to apologize to China - regarding... you guessed it - the Arizona Immigration Law. According to the AP "U.S. Officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person's immigration status.” This apology to China - one of the preeminent countries in the world that routinely abuse its citizens and ignore basic human rights. Al puts this controversy into context.

4:20 – Where Miracles Happen: True Stories of Heavenly Encounters
A 20-year feature journalist, Joan Wester Anderson won national attention with her book Where Angels Walk. Her visibility on TV and radio talk shows and on the lecture circuit and her requests for "miracle experiences" in a number of magazines brought Anderson the narratives on which her new book is based. The author reviews various religious ideas about heavenly intervention in human affairs and summarizes Americans' attitudes on the subject according to major polls; she then reports dozens of contributors' stories under five headings: "Miracles through Prayer," "Angel Miracles," "Miracles from Beyond," "Miraculous Healings," and "God's Special Miracles." We look at Where Miracles Happen: True Stories of Heavenly Encounters.

4:40 – Religious Ideas for Secular Universities
During the last century American students and scholars have found it increasingly difficult to discuss the relation of religion to the mission of self-consciously secular colleges and universities. Respected scholar C. John Sommerville offers thought-provoking reflections on this subject in a conversational style. Sommerville explores the crisis of the secular university, argues that religion and secular universities need each other, and examines how Christianity shows up on both sides of our “culture wars.” The astute reflections in Religious Ideas for Secular Universities point the way to a dialogue that would do justice both to religious insights and to truly neutral secular education.

5:00 – Sex au Naturel: What It Is and Why It's Good for Your Marriage
Sex Au Naturel: What It Is and Why It s Good For Your Marriage by Catholic Answers host Patrick Coffin is a bracing ride across the landscape of the Catholic sexual ethic. If you re looking for intellectual ammo with which to defend and explain the teaching of Humanae Vitae, or if you reject it altogether, you’ll agree that Coffin approaches the topic from a wide array of new and persuasive angles. With humor and enthusiasm and a total absence of moralizing you'll learn:
• Why Paul VI s landmark 1968 encyclical was widely rejected a generation ago and why it s gaining new respectability now
• Where exactly the Bible teaches against birth control
• The differences between contraception and natural family planning (hint: they re more profound than you think)
• The meaning of the natural law and how it applies to birth control
• And much, much more!


A guest commentary frm our friend Clare. Please leave your comments:

I took my older children to the Detroit Institute of Arts not too long ago, to enjoy the works there and do a little sketching. I had my own three boys in tow, ages 10, 9 and 7, my niece, 8, and two little friends, ages 8 and 6. The kids walked in, confidently ready to try their hand, promptly found pieces they liked and began sketching.

As I stood and waited for the kids to finish, a helpful and friendly docent approached me and offered that I could take them to a different gallery where there were child-sized easels set up, with benches for sitting and materials for drawing. How very thoughtful of the DIA, to include the kids in their "Drawing in the Galleries" programs! Excited and eager to see what would be offered, we naively traipsed off to the far gallery wherein these children's easels would be ready for us.

Again, the kids promptly found pieces they liked and set to work. I unsuspectingly wandered the gallery, watching the kids draw as I stood behind them.

And then I noticed it: one of the paintings depicted a person jumping off a cliff, committing suicide! The child who was sketching this piece didn't seem to notice it was a person because on first glance, the person looked like a bird. Not wanting to alarm the child or point out that to which he was blissfully ignorant, I bit my tongue and waited for the right moment. As I did so, I also looked more carefully at the other works in the gallery. They contained, among other repulsive and disgusting items, dead presidents' heads on sticks, very much larger-than-life reflections of black flies, and a set of fallopian tubes (why not a nice liver, I ask you?). The rest of the works were, at best, tolerable; in no way were they good or beautiful or objectively truthful.

As quickly as I could without arousing suspicion in the children or making a scene, I asked the kids to finish up because we were moving on, and we made our way back to other galleries which contained actual works of art as opposed to trash.

All of which made me wonder: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!? Who chose this particular gallery in which to set up the children's easels? In what way was this art supposed to be suitable for children? In what way was it supposed to be art, in the first place?

Then I really started thinking: What is art, anyway? How objectively can we define it? What is it supposed to do or show? Is beauty "in the eye of the beholder"? What do I believe about art, particularly visual art? If there is a line to be drawn, how to find it and where exactly does it fall?

The Catechism has this to say about art:
"2501 Art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man."
How do you define art?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Legionaire Internal Memo - "the majority knew nothing, including those who are currently in command of the Legion"

Long-time, well-respected Vatican watcher Sandro Magister has written an insightful piece entitled "Legion Leaders Absolve Themselves Before They Sink." In it, he discusses an internal Legionaire memo released May 5 and recently leaked to the public. Magister has this to say about the memo:

In it, the current leaders of the Legion not only minimize the damaging force of the Vatican statement on May 1, but they also deny the accusation that they knew for many years about the double life of founder Marcial Maciel, and covered it up.

In fact, they write in the memo that when the Vatican statement says that "most of the Legionaries were unaware of this life," this "means that the majority knew nothing, including those who are currently in command of the Legion."

But then who made up the "system of power" that – as the Vatican statement affirms – built around Maciel a "mechanism of defense" of his unworthy life, with the "silence of the entourage" and with the "deplorable discrediting and ostracism of those who doubted his upright behavior"? Of whom was it composed, if not the leaders of today and yesterday?

Implausibly, after absolving themselves this way, the authors of the memo add that "it remains to be examined whether there was culpability on the part of those whom the Vatican statement mentions." As if, in addition to the double life of Maciel, there was also a double leadership at the head of the Legion, the second of them also kept concealed.
This is a must-read for those interested in following the Legionaire story. You can read the entire piece here.

Phoenix Catholic hospital defends abortion that took place there; bishop warns of excommunication

In late 2009, an abortion took place at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after a hospital ethics committee deemed the abortion necessary to save the life of the mother. Sister Margaret Mary McBride, the hospital’s vice president of mission integration, was a member of the committee that made the decision and has since been assigned new duties.

The hospital has defended its decision, while Bishop Thomas Olmsted warned that Catholics who formally cooperated in the abortion were automatically excommunicated.

The Diocese of Phoenix said in a May 14 statement: 
The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, released the following statement today in response to the acknowledgement by officials at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center to the media that an unborn child was killed several months ago at St. Joseph's through a direct abortion:

I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this Diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital's statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother's underlying medical condition.

An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother's life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.

The direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic.

The hospital said in a statement:

At St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, our highly-skilled clinical professionals face life and death decisions every day. Those decisions are guided by our values of dignity, justice and respect, and the belief that all life is sacred.

We have always adhered to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services as we carry out our healing ministry and we continue to abide by them. As the preamble to the Directives notes, 'While providing standards and guidance, the Directives do not cover in detail all the complex issues that confront Catholic health care today.'

In those instances where the Directives do not explicitly address a clinical situation - such as when a pregnancy threatens a woman's life - an Ethics Committee is convened to help our caregivers and their patients make the most life-affirming decision.

In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy. This decision was made after consultation with the patient, her family, her physicians, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee, of which Sr. Margaret McBride is a member.
Read more on this story here.

Profile of Courage: Team Hoyt

If this doesn't inspire you, I'm not sure what will.

Europe's abortion rules

Below is a very helpful guide to the current abortion laws in Europe. You can get a fuller description of each country's laws here. I love charts and graphs. :)


Christian schools have 'right' to exclude those who undermine religious values

Washington D.C., May 14, 2010 / 01:05 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After a Catholic elementary school was recently corrected by the Boston archdiocese for canceling the admission of an 8-year-old student whose parents are a lesbian couple, a debate has ensued over the proper response of Christian schools to the admittance of children with same-sex couple parents.

Peter Spriggs, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, argued on Friday that Christian schools have “every right to exclude from the school community those who seek to undermine their religious values.”

Earlier this week, St. Paul Catholic elementary school in Hingham, Massachusetts, withdrew admission for the upcoming year to an 8-year-old whose parents are a lesbian couple. Principal Cynthia Duggen and parish priest Fr. James Rafferty told one of the women during a conference call that the boy could not attend as the parents' relationship “was in discord with the teachings of the Catholic Church” which state that marriage can only take place between one man and one woman.

However, in a statement on Thursday, Dr. Mary Grassa O'Neill, superintendent of Catholic schools in Boston, countered St. Paul's decision, saying that the “Archdiocese does not prohibit children of same sex parents from attending Catholic schools.”

“We will work in the coming weeks to develop a policy to eliminate any misunderstandings in the future,” she noted.
In response to the situation, Spriggs said in a statement Friday that “is well established that the freedom of association includes the freedom of private organizations not to associate with those who do not share the goals of the organization.”

“This is especially true for religious organizations,” he added, “which have every right to exclude people whose beliefs or lifestyle contradict the moral and theological teachings of that organization.”

“Many Christian schools do not consider themselves to be in a relationship with the student alone, but with the student's parents as well, and they have every right to exclude from the school community those who seek to undermine their religious values."

Questionable Practices

The Shady Side of In Vitro Fertilization

By Father John Flynn, L.C.

ROME, MAY 16, 2010 ( The Catholic Church's opposition to in vitro fertilization (IVF) is well-known, but recently some of these practices are being questioned even by secular observers.

A May 10 article published by the New York Times looked at the topic of paying women to produce eggs for other couples. It cited a recent issue of a bioethics journal, The Hastings Center Report, which found that payment to young women is often above industry guidelines.

The study, by Aaron Levine, an assistant professor of public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that a quarter of 100 egg ads in college newspapers offered more than the $10,000 limit of the voluntary ceiling established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Higher payments were offered for women at prestigious colleges and for those who had above average academic results.

According to the New York Times almost 10,000 children were born through donor eggs in 2006, around double the number in 2000.

The article also referred to concerns over the health risks for donors, particularly as young women may not be aware of the serious nature of some of these side effects.

The health risks were explained in an article published March 3 by In the piece Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, urged women to rethink any plans they have to donate their eggs.

The article recounted how for the third time in the last year-and-a-half children born to Indian surrogate mothers faced obstacles in being legally recognized by countries of their genetic parents.

Read on for more on stories of surrogacy, dangers involved, legal problems, the state of law and the Bishops' teaching.

Life and love

The use of surrogate mothers and third parties in IVF was one of the issues dealt with in a document published last November by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In "Life-Giving Love in an Age of Technology," the bishops sympathized with couples who suffer due to fertility problems, but they stated that not all solutions respect the dignity of the couple's marital relationship. The end does not justify the means, and some reproductive technologies are not morally legitimate, they affirmed.

The temptation to have a child produced or made, as products of technology, should be resisted, the document urged. "Then children themselves may come to be seen as products of our technology, even as consumer goods that parents have paid for and have a "right" to expect -- and not as fellow persons, equal in dignity to their parents and destined to eternal happiness with God," it pointed out.

Moreover, introducing third parties, by using eggs or sperm from donors, or through surrogacy, violates the integrity of the marital relationship, just as it would be violated by sexual relations with a person outside the marriage.

"Fertility clinics show disrespect for young men and women when they treat them as commodities, by offering large sums of money for sperm or egg donors with specific intellectual, physical, or personality traits," the document added.

The bishops also noted that these cash incentives can lead women to put in jeopardy their health in the egg extraction process. There are, indeed, many good reasons to have serious objections to IVF.

Outrageous Statement of the Day

The Attorney General of the United States objects to a state law he hasn't read. The law is 10 pages long. Even I read it.

Cartoon of the Day - Bad Day for Incumbents

Michigan's Rima Fakih Wins Miss USA Pageant

She's an Arab American whose family celebrates both Christian and Muslim holidays. She went to a Catholic school and believes that birth control should be covered by insurance just like any other medication.  Do you think it ever occurred to her that medication corrects something that has gone wrong? Pregnancy occurs when something has gone right. Stopping pregnancy is not medicine. CBS has more

Donald Trump is the sponsor of this pageant. There are a few major pageants and I've had the pleasure of interviewing a number of the winners or runners-up over the years especially in the late 80s and early 90s. My memory is that I was generally impressed with those who came on the program.
I don't remember why I stopped interviewing them or even paying enough attention to consider it. Was it the questions asked of contestants changed or the contestants' answers changed or if I was just more aware of Christian participants years ago. Has something changed?

Today on Kresta - May 17, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on May 17

4:00 – Pastoral Theology: What is it and why does it matter?
Pastoral Theology is the branch of theology concerned with the practical application of theology in the pastoral context. This approach to theology seeks to give practical expression to theology. Normally viewed as an 'equipping' of ministers, practical theology is often considered to be more pragmatic than speculative, indeed, essentially a practical science. Hence its main interests are in those areas of theology which will aid the clergyman in ministry. Topics tend to include homiletics, pastoral care, sacramental theology, and ethics. All branches of theology, whether theoretical or practical, purpose in one way or another to make priests, pastors, and others in a pastoral role "the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1). Pastoral theology presupposes other various branches, accepts the apologetic, dogmatic, exegetic, moral, juridical, ascetical, liturgical, and other conclusions reached by the ecclesiastical student, and scientifically applies these various conclusions to the priestly ministry. We talk with Doug Bushman about “pastoral theology.”

4:40 – An Introduction to Transhumanism: Attempting to Make a New Type of Person
The ideas of the young international movement known as "transhumanism" are beginning to characterize the thinking of an increasing number of clinicians and bioethicists. Transhumanism is really a set of ideas that has developed in response to the rapid advance of biotechnology in the past 20 years (that is, technology capable of and aimed at manipulating the physical, mental and emotional condition of human beings). Conventional medicine has traditionally aimed at overcoming disorders that afflict the human condition; it has prescribed leeching, cauterizing, amputating, medicating, operating and relocating to dryer climates, all in order to facilitate health and militate against disease and degeneration; in other words, the purpose has been to heal. Technology is now making possible interventions that in addition to a therapeutic aim are intended to augment healthy human capacities. There is a gradual but steady enlargement taking place in medical ideals from simply healing to healing and enhancement. We are all too familiar with "performance enhancing drugs" in professional sports. But biotechnology promises to make possible forms of enhancement that go far beyond muscle augmentation. We explore this “brave new world” with E. Christian Brugger of the Culture of Life Foundation.

5:00 – Finalmente: Coming Into the Church
It was last October, the Red Mass, said on that first Sunday in October just before the opening of the Supreme Court on the first Monday. Hadley Arkes and his wife Judy were at the service at St. Matthew’s in Washington, and were on the way to the Hilton on Sixteenth Street for the lunch following the Mass. Suddenly, and happily, they were joined on the walk by Fr. Arne Panula, whom Hadley had met years ago at the Opus Dei house in New York. He had moved over to direct the chapel and programs at the Catholic Information Center at Fifteenth and K. In a bantering way, Fr. Arne confronted me: “You, the most notable figure at the threshold, never quite crossing it.” (Never actually coming into the Church.) “What’s holding you back?” Hadley dipped into the repertoire of Bert Lahr from the Wizard of Oz: “C-c-c courage! it’s what I haven’t got.” A few months later he was received into the Church. Hadley is with us to discuss his journey. He says - taking a line from Fr. Richard Neuhaus - it may be a story about, “How I became the Catholic I was.”

5:40 – A Report on Catholic Commencement Season / Marquette President Defends Catholic Identity
The U.S. bishops have stood publicly and in unison against Catholic honors for those who publicly and clearly oppose Catholic teaching, most dramatically in response to last year’s Notre Dame ceremony. So what happened this year? It appears that more than 95 percent of our Catholic college leaders this year have taken the high road, and Catholics should applaud that. For 17 years, the Cardinal Newman Society has encouraged the renewal of Catholic identity at Catholic colleges and universities. CNS has publicly identified Catholic institutions that choose commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients whose public actions and statements are contrary to key teachings of the Catholic Church. Recent years have seen a marked decline in these scandals, from 24 in 2006 to just nine this year. We review the commencement season with Newman Society President Patrick Reilly.

5:50 – Real Protection in a Hook-Up World: What Every Parent Needs to Know
If you think sex education is still about the birds and the bees, you're wrong. And it's not about science either. If you're a parent with children in the public school system, you need to know what's really going on. Dr. Miriam Grossman, M.D. rips back the curtain on sex education today, exposing a sordid truth. She is here to discuss real protection in a hook-up world – what every parent needs to know.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Catholic school girl who refused headscarf for mosque trip labelled a truant

A Roman Catholic schoolgirl in the UK has been labelled a truant after she refused to wear a headscarf during a compulsory trip to a mosque.

Amy Owen, 14, and fellow girl pupils at a Catholic secondary school were told to cover their heads and wear trousers or leggings out of respect for their Muslim hosts.

But when her mother objected, saying she did not want her daughter to 'dress as a Muslim', she received a sternly worded warning letter from the headmaster saying she had no choice.

Peter Lee, head of Ellesmere Port Catholic High School in Cheshire, informed her that the local diocese 'requires' pupils to have an understanding of other religions.

In the letter - with words in block capitals and underlined - Mr Lee said the visit was 'as compulsory as a geography field trip'.

He added: 'There are two reasons for these visits. One is that the scheme of work in religious studies REQUIRES children to have knowledge and understanding of other world religions.

'The second is that the school is REQUIRED to promote tolerance respect and understanding. This is known as community cohesion.

'A failure to do this could result in an unwelcome inspection judgement. None of us would relish that.

'Whilst I may not require you to pay for this I must require your child to participate.'

Amy's mother Michelle Davies refused to back down and, after being told no teachers would be back at school to keep an eye on her daughter, she kept her at home, citing religious objections - as did as many as ten other families.

Yesterday, after the school acted on its threat to class Amy's absence as truancy, Miss Davies accused it of discriminating against Christian pupils.

Read more here...