Friday, December 27, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 27, 2013

Talking About “The Things That Matter Most” on December 27


4:00 – #23 - The Gettysburg Address Turns 150 Years Old
On the Civil War battlefield where President Abraham Lincoln gave a speech that symbolized his presidency and the sacrifices made by Union and Confederate forces, thousands gathered today, historians and everyday Americans alike, to ponder what the Gettysburg Address has meant to the nation. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address -- delivered 150 years ago today, took place here nearly five months after the major battle that left tens of thousands of men wounded, dead or missing. We talk to Ronald White Jr. who has written one of the most authoritative biographies of our 16th President, A. Lincoln: A Biography

4:40 - #22 - All-American Horror Story: Top 10 Kermit Gosnell Trial Revelations
Since so many in the media have failed/refused to report on the late-term abortionist/infant serial killer Kermit Gosnell trial happening right now in Philadelphia, Kristan Hawkins, Director of Students for Life, has rounded up a top 10 list of the most gruesome, horrific revelations that have come out during the trial. She joins us.

5:00 – #21 - Matt Maher: Songwriter, Worship Leader and Catholic Witness
Matt Maher is a contemporary Christian music artist, songwriter, and worship leader originally from Newfoundland, Canada. He has written and produced six solo albums to date. Three of his albums have reached the Top 25 Christian Albums Billboard chart and four of his singles have reached the Top 25 Christian Songs chart. He is a practicing Catholic and is here today to discuss his faith, his music and his inspirations.

5:40 - #20 - Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air
Working from years of experience in defending Christian values, Frank Beckwith is here to offer a critique of moral relativism. He explores the inconsistencies inherent in the relativist position, suggests specific approaches that can be used in the course of dialogue, and considers the everyday implications of relativism, especially in relation to important issues such as: abortion, homosexuality, multiculturalism, political correctness, and tolerance. Frank joins us.

Philadelphia Appeals Court Overturns Conviction of Msgr. William Lynn in Abuse Case

By Kathy Schiffer

“I did not intend any harm to come to him. The fact is, my best was not good enough to stop that harm. I am a parish priest. I should have stayed (one).” 
--Monsignor William J. Lynn, speaking at his sentencing
about a victim of clergy abuse

Monsignor William J. Lynn
A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled December 26 that Monsignor William Lynn, secretary for clergy from for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004, was wrongly convicted in a criminal child endangerment case involving convicted former priest Edward Avery.

In his role as vicar for clergy under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Monsignor Lynn was responsible for handling clergy abuse cases.  When an accusation was made that Father Avery had abused an altar boy, Monsignor Lynn recommended that the priest be sent to a rehabilitation center.  Upon completion of treatment, and with the assurance of treatment professionals that the priest was indeed rehabilitated and unlikely to commit further acts of abuse, Father Avery was reassigned to another parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

According to the appeals court ruling, the state's child-endangerment law at the time of Father Avery's transfer clearly applied only to parents and caregivers.  The law was only amended in 2007 to include supervisors like Monsignor Lynn.

Monsignor Lynn has already served fifteen months of a three- to six-year sentence for his role in the handling of the case.  Today's decision overturns the legal basis for a prosecution that was viewed, according to the New York Times, as a "milestone in holding senior church officials accountable for keeping abuse reports secret in past decades and transferring predatory priests to unwary new parishes."

With the conviction overturned, Lynn will likely be released immediately.  Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has indicated that he plans to appeal; but Thomas A. Bergstrom, a lawyer for Monsignor Lynn, called the ruling “a strong opinion by a unanimous court.”  Bergstrom added, “He shouldn’t have been convicted. He shouldn’t have been sentenced.”

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 26. 2013

Talking About “The Things That Matter Most” on December 26


4:00 - #27 – What to Expect When No One's Expecting: America's Coming Demographic Disaster
Look around you and think for a minute: Is America too crowded? For years, we have been warned about the looming danger of overpopulation: people jostling for space on a planet that’s busting at the seams and running out of oil and food and land and everything else. It’s all bunk. The “population bomb” never exploded. Instead, statistics from around the world make clear that since the 1970s, we’ve been facing exactly the opposite problem: people are having too few babies. Jonathan Last is here to explain why the population implosion happened and how it is remaking culture, the economy, and politics both at home and around the world. Because if America wants to continue to lead the world, we need to have more babies.

4:40 – #26 - Things Continue to Go Downhill With the LCWR
In his first address to representatives of U.S. Catholic sisters since his appointment in April 2012, the archbishop tasked by the Vatican to oversee their leadership group reportedly had little to offer regarding the reason for Vatican concern or how the process goes forward. Leaving last Thursday’s closed-door meeting between Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), several sisters said they felt frustration at the lack of detail given by the prelate nearly 19 months into his mandate. Sartain met Thursday afternoon with some 825 LCWR members, who are representatives of orders of Catholic sisters around the country. The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has named the prelate the group’s “apostolic delegate” and given him wide power to revise its statutes and programs. Ann Carey, author of “Sisters in Crisis,” joins us.

5:00 - #25 - The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity
How do we live with our deepest differences? In a world torn by religious conflict, the threats to human dignity are terrifyingly real. Some societies face harsh government repression and brutal sectarian violence, while others are divided by bitter conflicts over religion's place in public life. Is there any hope for living together peacefully? Os Guinness argues that the way forward for the world lies in promoting freedom of religion and belief for people of all faiths and none. He sets out a vision of a civil and cosmopolitan global public square, and how it can be established by championing the freedom of the soul—the inviolable freedom of thought, conscience and religion. In particular he calls for leadership that has the courage to act on behalf of the common good. Far from utopian, this constructive vision charts a course for the future of the world. Soul freedom is not only a shining ideal but a dire necessity and an eminently practical solution to the predicaments of our time. We can indeed maximize freedom and justice and learn to negotiate deep differences in public life. For a world desperate for hope at a critical juncture of human history, here is a way forward, for the good of all

5:40 – #24 - What Are Church Leaders From the Pope to Nuns on the Ground Saying About Possible International Intervention in Syria?
Pope Francis has renewed his call for peace in Syria, urging international leaders to “find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.” The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said that “the conflict in Syria has all the ingredients to explode into a war of global dimensions.” The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch emphasized in a joint statement that they are “opposed to any foreign armed intervention in Syria.” Also Pope Francis has called upon all the faithful worldwide to join in a day of prayer and fasting of September 7 for peace in the Middle East, and especially in Syria. We talk with Matthew Bunson about what the Universal Church is saying about military intervention in Syria.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 24, 2013

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 24

Christmas Eve Special

4:00 – A Dramatic Reading of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales"
A Child's Christmas in Wales is a prose work by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Originally emerging from a piece written for radio, the poem was recorded by Thomas in 1952. The story is an anecdotal retelling of a Christmas from the view of a young child and is a romanticized version of Christmases past, portraying a nostalgic and simpler time. It is one of Thomas' most popular works. Deal Hudson and Al present their dramatic reading of the piece.

4:20 – Must Watch Christmas Films
Deal Hudson and Al discuss the most memorable, funniest, most touching and most edifying Christmas films of all time. Watch the Kresta Guest Archives after the show for the list!!

5:00 – Must Watch Christmas Films
Deal Hudson and Al discuss the most memorable, funniest, most touching and most edifying Christmas films of all time. Watch the Kresta Guest Archives after the show for the list!!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 19, 2013

Talking About the Things That Matter Most on December 19


#40  --  10 Honorable Mentions
Angela Franks             Contraception and Catholicism                                
Teresa Tomeo             Bucket List                                                     
Michael Coren            The Future of Catholicism                            
Sarah Reinhard           Catholic Apps                                                
Michael Novak           Writing from Left to Right                           
Gary Muchuta             Making Sense of Mary                                              
Mark Shea                  By What Authority?                                      
Conor Gallagher          If Aristotle had an IPod                                            
Elizabeth Scalia           Strange Gods                                                 
Mary Eberstadt          How the West Really Lost God        

4:00  - #39 – Pope Benedict XVI Resigns
It was a shock to the world – even the head of the Vatican Press Office. On Feb. 11 Pope Benedict XVI resigned the office of Pope. It triggered an amazing series of events that, of course, brought us to Pope Francis. That afternoon we compiled some of the great minds and analysts of Church affairs for a roundtable discussion: Matthew Bunson, Jimmy Akin, Ralph Martin and more.

5:00- The Charismatic Renewal, the Pope, and the Church 
When the newly elected Pope Francis appeared at the window before the cheering crowd in St Peter’s Square, and promptly bowed down asking the people to pray for him, most of the public at large was charmed, but puzzled. Pope Benedict too had asked the people to pray for him from the outset, but without the bowed head. To some spectators, however—including the members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and their counterparts in the Protestant and Orthodox worlds—the gesture came as something surprisingly familiar.  In the “charismatic” galaxy, prayer is offered and asked for in this way by people of all levels—specifically, prayer for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We talk to Dr. Mary Healy, head of the Doctrinal Commission of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services

5:40 – Innocence: A Novel

He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. It’s the latest novel from the Catholic bestselling author Dean Koontz who blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever. He joins us.

Prayer Need: Man Sets Himself on Fire in St. Peter’s Square

This morning in St. Peter’s Square, a man doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire.
A Jesuit priest standing nearby attempted to smother the flames with a jacket, before police officers stepped in with fire extinguishers.  The two police officers were successful in extinguishing the flames, but they suffered smoke inhalation and burns to their hands and are now hospitalized for treatment.
The 51-year-old man was treated at a nearby hospital, then transported to a larger one.  He is reported to be suffering from serious burns to his upper body.
In his pocket was a note with his daughter’s contact information; but there has been no explanation for why he set himself afire.
This is not the first time an individual has self-immolated in St. Peter’s Square.  On January 13, 1998, an Italian writer by the name of Alfredo Ormando set himself on fire in the Square to protest the Catholic Church’s opposition to the homosexual lifestyle.  He was rushed to Sant’Eugenio hospital in critical condition, but died eleven days later.

Catholic League Supports Archbishop Nienstedt, Seeks Information

Following Archbishop Nienstedt's decision yesterday to step down from his post as Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis during an investigation into a scurrilous allegation of sexual impropriety, Bill Donohue at the Catholic League has published a statement praising the Archbishop, and asking for anyone with information about the case to contact him personally.

Here is the full statement.

December 18, 2013


Bill Donohue comments on the decision by Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to temporarily step down:

Archbishop Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by ex-Catholics, and Catholics in rebellion against the Church, simply because he stands for everything they are not: he is a loyal son of the Catholic Church.

Now—out of the blue—comes an unidentified male who claims he was touched on his buttocks in 2009 by the archbishop while posing for a group photo. Nienstedt denies the charge, adding that he has never inappropriately touched anyone. Moreover, he has not been told the identity of his accuser.

The Catholic League is asking those who were there to share with us any information they have. Specifically, we are interested in obtaining a tape recording, or set of photos, of any Confirmation ceremony in 2009 where Archbishop Nienstedt was present; presumably, the alleged victim was standing next to the archbishop. Also, we are asking anyone who knows anything about the accuser (someone knows who he is) to come forward.  Please email us at .

I know of no other leader, religious or secular, who would step down pending an investigation because some guy says he was touched on his behind four years ago in a group photo. It's time the bishops revised their "zero tolerance" policy. Too often, it means zero justice for the accused, thus undermining the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty.

When it comes to "zero tolerance" in the schools, every teachers union, as well as the New York Times, has counseled against it. With good reason: it does not allow for the nuances that color so many cases. The bishops ought to follow suit and junk this policy before it becomes the weapon of choice against them.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
Phone: 212-371-3191
Fax: 212-371-3394

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 18, 2013

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

4:00 – Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story is
God’s Story
In our hearts, we know that every event in our lives is providential and that each of us plays a critical role in the unfolding of the story God has written. We believe that God's will is anchored deep within our soul, and so too is the desire to know it and to live it. Acclaimed Catholic author Anthony Esolen claims that the story of your life has already been written and can be discovered by considering the life and person of Jesus. Only in God does the world possess meaning, and therefore, only in relation to God, are our lives genuine stories. He is here to discuss his proposition.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Having an Incredible Impact on the Poor This Christmas
In Kenya, the Sacred Mercy Schools are located in the thick of abject poverty, where children beg on the streets and where a generation of parents has been virtually wiped out by AIDS. This is work done “in the trenches” where hunger, illiteracy and despair must be battled by the Catholic Church for hope to prevail. But Cross Catholic International Outreach is there to welcome children off the streets and provide them with a quality education, daily nutritious lunches and a firm grounding in Catholic moral values. Jim Cavnar of is here to talk about their partnership with Ave Maria Radio to provide scholarships for Kenyan children. And other practical ways to serve the poor this Christmas season with their catalogue of need. You select an item on the catalog and that item gets shipped to a poor family in need overseas. Shoes, powdered milk, Catholic children’s books, vitamins, seeds and more. Things we take for granted that they are overjoyed to receive for Christmas.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

For the Pope's Birthday, the Vatican Releases a Photo Album

Just in time for Pope Francis’ birthday, the Vatican Internet Office created this special photo album.
Click here to see the entire 32-page album, featuring some of L’Osservatore Romano‘s best shots of the Holy Father at prayer, with children, waving to crowds…. in short, doing what he does every day. 
Happy Birthday, Papa Francesco!

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Dec. 17, 2013

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

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Dissident Theologians and Cultural Leftists Regret Claiming Pope Francis as Their Own?
4:20 – “Christian privilege” Out – “Christian Bigots” In
It's settled, then: Christian conservatives use religion as a justification for their discriminatory behavior, and Americans will only enjoy true religious freedom when their so-called "religious liberty" claims are defeated. That was the consensus at a panel discussion recently sponsored by the Center for American Progress. We talk about how we got here and what can be done about it with Joel Gehrke of the Washington Examiner.

4:40 – What happened to Catholic & Protestant literature?
With much of the world’s attention focused on Pope Francis, matters concerning the Catholic Church and its teachings are attracting increased interest. Overlooked, however, is the decline of Christian influence on American culture, especially its literature. This, says Dana Gioia, a celebrated poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, is not only a demographic paradox -- Catholics constitute the largest religious group in America -- but it also marks a major historical change. “Sixty years ago,” says Gioia, Catholics played a prominent, prestigious, and irreplaceable part in American literary culture. Today, however, the only ones with significant influence are lapsed Catholics or ex-Catholics hostile to their former Church. Dana is here to discuss it.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Dissident Theologians and Cultural Leftists Regret Claiming Pope Francis as Their Own?

5:20 – The Catholic “Hobbit”

Before you visit theatres for the second installment of the film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved “The Hobbit,” brush up on your elvish and pack your “Baggins,” because Tolkien Scholar Joseph Pearce is here to take you on an extensive tour of the Catholic themes found in “the Hobbit” and in the life of JRR Tolkien

Church of the Nativity Gets a Facelift for Christmas

Pilgrims visiting the Holy Land this Christmas season will encounter an unfamiliar sight:  The historic Church of the Nativity, wrapped in scaffolding. 
The church was erected by St. Helena over a cave which is believed to have been the place where Mary gave birth to the Christ Child.  The Emperor Justinian I, Byzantine emperor who ruled from 527 to 565 AD, constructed most of the church as it is visible today. 
Parts of the Church of the Nativity date back more than 1,500 years; the last significant repair was in 1478, when Venetian carpenters painstakingly restored the ceiling.  Today, after 600 years of wind and weather, the rooftop is leaking—threatening the priceless mosaics and other artwork and sacred items in the church, as well as the plaster, floors and frescoes. 
First on the “To Do” list, according to the Palestinian engineering consultants hired to develop a plan for the repairs, are the rooftop and windows.  Once the building is protected from the elements, work can begin on the external facade, internal plastering, wall mosaics and paintings and wooden works.
The budget for the first phase of the project is expected to reach $3 million.  Of that, the Palestinian government has agreed to cover $1 million, with another $800,000 raised by private donors.  The rest will come from European nations including France, Hungary, Russia and Greece. 
According to a report in the Deseret News:
The first phase, expected to last one year, is being carried out by "Piacenti," an Italian firm that specializes in the renovation of historical sites. One by one, experts will repair the hundreds of wooden beams in the roof.
Company president Giammarco Piacenti said the rooftop was masterfully restored by Venetian carpenters in 1478. He said the project would be conservative and seek to keep as many original pieces as possible.
"We'll save as many parts, even those in bad conditions, as we can," he said. "We'll only replace pieces that are no longer functional and can no longer help hold the roof. They will be as few as possible and will be made of a compatible wood, of aged wood of the same type and quality.
Aside from the roof and windows, other elements that will need repair in the future are the external facade, internal plastering, wall mosaics and paintings and wooden works. If funding is secured, the work could take four to five years.
Not included in the restoration project is the area under the altar crypt.  On that spot, the highlight of the pilgrims’ visit to Bethlehem, a 14-point silver star marks the spot where, according to long tradition, the Baby Jesus was born. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

"No--They're ROSE."

What else might Cardinal Dolan be saying?

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 16, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on December 16

4:00 – Rebuilding Catholic Culture
Rarely does a book come along that so succinctly explains the decline of modern culture, articulates a defense of the Church's teachings, and offers a hope-filled path for building a civilization grounded in Catholic truth. In Rebuilding Catholic Culture, Dr. Ryan Topping does all three, pulling back the curtain on the false philosophies of the secularists and showing that in the West today the most formidable threat to freedom is not failing economies or Islam, but secularism. Our best defense, he claims, is a vibrant Catholic culture, and our best hope for creating it lies in the principles found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  You will discover sensible ways to begin restoring Catholic culture -- right now -- in your own life and family, and in our larger communities as well: in the theater, the classroom, in our hospitals, and even in the public square. Ryan joins us.

5:00 – Innocence: A Novel
He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. It’s the latest novel from the Catholic bestselling author Dean Koontz who blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever. He joins us.

5:40 – Kresta Comments: New Interview with Pope Francis Published by La Stampa

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pope Paul VI May Be Beatified Soon, After Healing of Child In Utero

By Kathy Schiffer

Pope Paul VI, author of the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), will likely be beatified in the next few months, according to a report by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli.
Writing in the Italian newspaper La Stampa,Tornielli reports that the Medical Commission of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has declared that the former pope’s healing of an unborn child is “unexplainable.” Patrizio Polisca, Benedict XVI and Francis’ personal doctor, is chair of the Medical Commission.
The alleged miracle will now be studied by theologians and cardinals, before the case is forwarded to the Holy Father for approval.
The case involved a pregnant woman in California in the early ‘90s.  Doctors advised the mother to abort, after they found an abnormality in the developing fetus which normally results in brain damage.  The woman refused and continued the pregnancy, praying for the intercession of Pope Paul VI.
When the child was born, the medical team was surprised to find no evidence of defects.  However, only after the child reached puberty could doctors assert with absolute confidence that he had made a full recovery.  Finally last year, Father Antonio Marrazzo, C.Ss.R., postulator for the cause of canonization for Paul VI, said with confidence that “a truly extraordinary and supernatural event had occurred, thanks to the intercession of Paul VI.”
Several years ago, Father Marrazzo had received a list of a number of possible miracles; and from the list, he felt that the strongest case could be made for healing of the unborn child who appeared to be healed in utero.
And last year—on December 20, 2012—Pope Benedict approved the declaration of Pope Paul as a person of “heroic virtue”, granting him the title of “Venerable”.
According to Catholic News Agency:
The debate over the late Pope’s cause has intensified over the past year, with doctors exchanging medical opinions until yesterday’s final verdict. Speaking at a conference on Paul VI’s visit to the Holy Land last November, the Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Angelo Scola, said the former Pope’s beatification “should be relatively imminent.”

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 13, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on December 13

4:00 – Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith
Six years ago our friends Fr. John McCloskey and Russell Shaw wrote Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith. Based on the great success and influence that Father McCloskey has had in helping instruct many converts to Catholicism, especially numerous high profile DC figures, this book is a powerful combination of the methods, theology, and theories that McCloskey uses in his evangelization efforts. In addition to his compelling insights on how to teach or share the faith in a winning, inspiring way, this work includes the contributions of several dozen converts of Fr. McCloskey who give their own moving testimonies of why they converted to Catholicism, and how that life-changing journey happened for each of them. We revisit this inspirational book today with Fr. McCloskey.

5:00 – Innocence: A Novel
He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. It’s the latest novel from the Catholic bestselling author Dean Koontz who blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever. He joins us.

5:20 – The Catholic “Hobbit”
Before you visit theatres for the second installment of the film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved “The Hobbit,” brush up on your elvish and pack your “Baggins,” because Tolkien Scholar Joseph Pearce is here to take you on an extensive tour of the Catholic themes found in “the Hobbit” and in the life of JRR Tolkien

WATCH LIVE: Conference on Religious Persecution - December 13-14 in Rome

Religious freedom is under siege.  Around the world, from Cairo and Damascus to Tehran and Beijing, Christianity finds itself increasingly persecuted.
Beginning today the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University, together with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion, is hosting a two-day conference in Rome to highlight Christianity’s contributions to the understanding and practice of freedom for all people.  At the conference, new findings will be presented from a two-year study by dozens of scholars concerning Christianity’s contributions to freedom.
The Sorbonne’s Rémi Brague, winner of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize, and His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphaël I Sako of Baghdad, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldean Catholic Church, will deliver keynote addresses. Other speakers will include Baylor University President Ken Starr, former solicitor general of the United States, and Marcello Pera, former president of the Italian Senate.
CLICK HERE to watch the LIVE WEBCAST from Rome on Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 from 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST at the Aleteia website.
Following is a detailed agenda. 
Friday, December 13, 2013, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
9:30-10:00 a.m. | Welcoming Remarks
Thomas Farr
Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Christians and Religious Freedom
Marcello Pera, Why We Should Call Ourselves Christians (Even if We Aren’t)
10:00-11:15 a.m. | The Terrible Facts: What is Happening to the World’s Christians?
11:15-11:30 a.m. | Coffee break
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. | The First Thousand Years: Christianity’s Early Relationship to Freedom (as Persecuted and as Persecutor) 
1:00-3:00 p.m. | Lunch
3:00-4:15 p.m. | Christian Views on Dignity, Slavery, Proselytism, and Democracy
4:15-4:30 p.m. | Coffee break
4:30-5:45 p.m. | Religious Freedom in the Lion’s Den?
6:00-7:30p.m. | Keynote Address by Professor Rémi Brague, God and Freedom: Biblical Roots of the Western Idea of Liberty.
Saturday, December 14, 2013, 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
9:30-10:00 a.m. | Opening address by Ken Starr
10:00-11:15 a.m. | Christians Among the Most Vulnerable: Empowering Women and the Poor in Developing Societies 
11:15-11:30 a.m. | Coffee break
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Christianity and Freedom in Asia
1:00-3:00 p.m. | Lunch
3:00-4:15 p.m. | Would Europe or America Exist Without Christianity?
4:15-4:30 p.m. | Coffee break
4:30-5:45 p.m. | A conversation on Christianity and Freedom in the Future of the West
Matthew Franck (Moderator)
Roger Trigg
David Novak
Remi Brague
John Allen
6:00-7:30 p.m. | Keynote Address by Archbishop Louis Raphael Sako, Chaldean Patriarch of Iraq, Christianity Matters: What Middle Eastern Societies Will Lose If Christians Flee
This event is made possible by a grant from the Historical Society’s Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs Program.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 12, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on December 12

4:00 – If Aristotle's Kid Had an iPod
Parenting is hard . . . but it's not impossible. As a parent, you know that raising children presents greater questions every day. Aristotle has the answers . . . you just have to know how to find them. Conor Gallagher masterfully weaves Aristotle's ancient philosophy, scientific studies, pop culture, and parenting tales together making If Aristotle's Kid Had an iPod a funny, rich, and informative read, and an indispensable guide for any parent who wants to pass on the secrets of a happy life to their kid. He joins us today

5:00 – Education in Virtue
The Disciple of Christ- Education in Virtue is a Christian curriculum structured on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas regarding the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  It aims to provide a consistent structure and systematic instruction for youth to learn about the virtues so that they can form the habits and dispositions necessary to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.  This curriculum emphasizes Christian discipleship as indispensable toward human flourishing and the quest for joy.  It has been developed in response to the call for a New Evangelization, firmly conveying the reality that happiness is found in a life of holiness. The genesis of the project, Sr. John Dominic of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, is here to discuss it

5:40 – Kresta Comments

Mob of topless pro-choice feminists attacks praying men

A video of lesbian violence against Christians goes viral, despite a media blackout

Yelling, topless women spray-painting men’s crotches. Protestors spitting in faces. Lesbians performing lewd acts and shoving their bare breasts on praying men. A mob of thousands of angry women dancing around a burning effigy of the pope. No, it’s not newsreel footage from Nazi Germany. It’s present day Argentina. Haven’t heard about it? That’s because the mainstream media has been dead silent on an event that should have been front page news across the globe. It was caught on tape, however, and watchers of the shocking, now viral video are mostly calling it “satanic” and noting it certainly would have been big news if Christians had assaulted pro-choicers and lesbians.

An escalating annual event

An escalating annual event Canada’s pro-life LifeSiteNews broke the story last week. It took place in San Juan, a city of 500,000 in western Argentina, on Sunday, November 24th. Seventeen thousand women attended the 28th annual National Meeting of Women, a feminist conference to discuss violence, gender issues and abortion rights. Then, as has become a custom since at least 2008 following the conference, many participants took to the streets to rampage and attack the local churches. 

Only 500 feminists tried to storm a cathedral in Podomos, Argentina following last year’s National Women’s Conference. At 7,000 this year, the violence is growing. Knowing what was coming, some 1,500 faithful turned out to defend San Juan’s cathedral from invasion and damage. Men linked arms in a ring outside, while another 700 people prayed inside. A priest led exorcism prayers before the rioting protestors turned up. The video shows topless women gyrating in lesbian sex acts, drawing Nazi symbols on the men’s faces, molesting them, spitting and chanting: “To the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, who wants to get between our sheets, we say that we want to be whores, transvestites and lesbians. Legal abortion in every hospital.” Throughout the entire clip, the men stand like a stone wall and quietly pray the rosary. Not one demonstrator got inside.

The ‘new evangelism’ at work 

The video, posted by pro-life websites, has now been viewed at least 400,000 times and has elicited thousands of comments, many of them noting the “satanic” behavior of the abortion activists, and commending the men for their imperturbable restraint.

In a remarkable interview with LifeSiteNews, one of the men who defended San Juan’s cathedral, Oscar Campillay, told how during the two-hour ordeal he felt there “was something inhuman there, almost diabolic, that made one shudder.” But, he said, he decided to look in the eyes of a girl whose face was covered while she was assaulting him and to pray for her. “There was an instant in which our eyes met and we each held our gaze firmly,” he said. “Suddenly she became calm and quiet; slowly she uncovered her face and looked at me, and withdrew in silence away from the crowd.”

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - Dec. 11, 2013

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 11

4:00 – Evangelii Gaudium: Pope Francis the Revolutionary
According to George Weigel, the first nine months of the pontificate of Pope Francis have often resembled a gigantic Rorschach test in which various commentators inside and outside the Catholic Church have “seen” their dreams and fears realized. Alas, what has been “seen” has often had little to do with the record of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as priest and bishop or with his most consequential decisions as Pope. Those projections reached fever pitch with the publication on Tuesday of Francis’ first apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), which was celebrated, or lamented, as if it were an Occupy Whatever position paper for a G-8 summit. Instead, the papal document should be read and appreciated for what it manifestly is: a clarion call for a decisive shift in the Catholic Church’s self-understanding, in full continuity with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. George joins us to make his case.

4:20 – Former Ambassadors: Obama’s call to close Vatican embassy is ‘slap in the face’ to Roman Catholics
Plans to move the U.S. embassy to the Vatican onto the grounds of the larger American embassy to Italy, though in a separate building and with a distinct entrance, are drawing fire from five former American envoys despite the tacit consent of the Vatican itself. Justified primarily on the grounds of enhanced security, the move is drawing fire from former Vatican Ambassadors James Nicholson, Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn, and Thomas Melady. Ambassador Flynn is here to explain his objections.

4:30 – U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Landmark Hobby Lobby Case
The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to take up two challenges to the HHS Mandate, one of which is Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions. We talk to Lori Windham, an attorney with the Beckett Fund which filed this case.

4:40 – The Philosophy of “The Hunger Games”
With the amazing success of the film The Hunger Games: The Girl on Fire over the last week, we talk about the Philosophy of the books – and now the movies. Katniss Everdeen is "the girl who was on fire," but she is also the girl who made us think, dream, question authority, and rebel. The post-apocalyptic world of Panem's twelve districts is a divided society on the brink of war and struggling to survive, while the Capitol lives in the lap of luxury and pure contentment. At every turn in the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, and their many allies wrestle with harrowing choices and ethical dilemmas that push them to the brink. Co-editor of The Hunger Games and Philosophy, George Dunn, joins us.

5:00 – Kresta Comments: Pope Francis Named TIME Magazine “Person of the Year. Why?

5:40 – Being Single During the Christmas Season

Christmas can often be a difficult for singles. It can feel very lonely when it feels like everyone around you is dating or married. How do you deal with that? At Christmas Eve dinner, there is always that Aunt who asks: "when are you going to get married already?" How can you stay joyful at Christmas when you are single? Mary Beth Bonacci is here to answer these questions and more.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - December 9, 2013

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on December 9

4:00 – Study of 36 Chinese Abortion-Breast Cancer Studies a “Game Changer”
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 Chinese studies by Dr. Yubei Huang and his colleagues in the prestigious journal, Cancer Causes Control, last week reported a significant 44% increased breast cancer risk among women with at least one induced abortion, compared to women without induced abortions.  Huang's team cited and supports a 1996 review and meta-analysis, led by Joel Brind, Ph.D. and colleagues at Penn State, who found a 30% risk elevation for women with any history of induced abortions. We talk to Dr. Brind about his long-time fight to get the medical community to recognize the abortion – breast cancer link.

4:20 – More of the Holy Spirit: How to Keep the Fire Burning in Our Hearts
In the last forty years, many Catholics have experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives that resulted in a new passion for God and a zeal for spreading the gospel. In addition to a newfound love of prayer, Scripture, and the Eucharist, many have been blessed with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues and healing. Yet as the years go by, many often experience a waning of the gifts of the Spirit as well as a luke-warmness creeping into their lives. What can we do to keep that fire for God, which may have been ignited many years ago, burning brightly in our hearts? Sr. Ann Shields is here to tell us.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception / The Finalists for
TIME Magazine “Person of the Year” / Remembering Nelson Mandela / The Most Post-Christian Cities