Thursday, April 15, 2010

Today on Kresta - April 15, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Apr. 15

4:00 – What the New Nuke Treaty Really Means
Laying out a nuclear weapons strategy for the decade ahead, President Obama this week struck bold notes on rhetoric and promises in the Nuclear Posture Review report issued Tuesday. The document is filled with laudable goals that mark a change from the past and may help advance his dream of a world without nukes. But flying at high altitude also has certain advantages; you can avoid the rough terrain below. And down on the ground, the president stopped short of changing the status quo on critical issues that have lingered since the Cold War, such as tactical nuclear weapons and keeping missiles on alert. All in all, says David Hoffman, the words of Obama's nuclear strategy bore the marks of his avowed goal to reduce the nuclear danger, but he eschewed taking more dramatic steps away from the legacy of the Cold War arms race. He is here to make his case.

4:20 – Young Souls: The Religious and Spiritual Lives Youth and Emerging Adults
How important is religion for young people in America today? What are the major influences on their developing spiritual lives? How do their religious beliefs and practices change as young people enter into adulthood? Christian Smith's research explores these questions and many others as it tells the definitive story of the religious and spiritual lives of youth and emerging adults, up to age 24, in the U.S. today. Some of Smith's findings are surprising. Parents turn out to be the single most important influence on the religious outcomes in the lives of young adults. On the other hand, teenage participation in evangelization missions and youth groups does not predict a high level of religiosity just a few years later. Moreover, the common wisdom that religiosity declines sharply during the young adult years is shown to be greatly exaggerated. Painstakingly researched and filled with remarkable findings, Dr. Smith’s work is essential reading for youth ministers, pastors, parents, teachers and students at church-related schools, and anyone who wishes to know how religious practice is affected by the transition into adulthood in America today.

5:00 – Abe Lincoln: The Father of Big Government?
There is a persistent rumor in the ether of talking heads that runs something like this: If we want to know who the “father” of big government in the United States is, point the finger at . . . Abraham Lincoln. Of course, it has been a long time since Abraham Lincoln was headline news, and most Americans will meet this with little more than a shrug of the shoulders. But there is a certain strain of conservative thinking today that gets its jollies from wailing that big government has been a slow-growing cancer in American life, so slow in fact that its origins need to be traced back to the 16th president. Whatever the motivation, they’ve got the wrong man in Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln scholar Alan Guelzo is here to make his case.

5:20 – Medjugorje: Why did the Vatican take the unprecedented step of creating a commission to study the alleged apparitions?
The Vatican commission studying the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina held its first meeting in late March. While the Vatican press office provided no details about the meeting, it published the names of the commission members this week. The Vatican had announced March 17 that at the request of the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had established an international commission to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. Although the apparitions apparently are continuing and thousands of people travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray, the Catholic Church has never made a formal declaration about the authenticity of the apparitions. The doctrinal congregation appointed retired Cardinal Camillo Ruini, former papal vicar of Rome, to head the commission. We look at why the Vatican took the unprecedented step of creating a commission to study the alleged apparitions?


  1. I stayed late at work to listen to the discussion regarding Medjugorje (I listen while I type). I have always followed Medjugorje, I have the messages sent to my email. I find them very repetative as well, but I kept assuming the Blessed Virgin was telling them things they don't tell us??? Also, I recently discovered the existance of "The Poem of the Man-God" and then all the history and now the connection to Medjugorje. This has increased my scepticism, AI have listen to the Centers of Light who read from this book and there is an unsettling feeling about the presentation and the message. I will be anxious to know what the commision finally decides. Thank you for the program. It was good to hear experts discuss it.

  2. I enjoyed the show very much. I did think however that you were more in favor of Patrick's skepticism rather Fr. Buchlein's telling of the "fruits." Patrick's views are certainly narrow and skewed and bringing out some piece of material about a joke was rather sad that was told by one of the seers in 2000. I guess he must think that they are all Saints and do no wrong. . .no they are "normal" people who have suffered much criticm since 1981. Patrick needs to go there and open his eyes, his heart, and mind and stop reading books about it. He said his aunt and uncle have been there 100 times. . .how come he didn't go with them. . .wasn't he invited? How can something go on for so long if it is bad? Let's face it, the Vatican stepped in because the local bishop has some problems in how he has handled it and the Franciscans in the past. Thumbs up for Fr. Neil's wisdom!

  3. Mr Kresta, et al.,

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview with Mr. (Dr.?) Smith. I was struck by his description of the "emerging adult" category; and, although I can't offer any hard conclusions at this point, I must tell you that I fall into this category. I don't believe in the ability of social sciences to completely describe the physical and spiritual truths of our lives (Veritatis Splendor, #s 46, 111), but that is where I think Christian Smith really appealed to me in his approach to faith experiences. It seems that his approach does acknowledge the limits of sociological inquiry.

    What I struggle with right now is the "transcience" of my own faith experience. I don't mean this in the sense that my Faith itself changes; but I do find myself unwilling to commit to a parish or community that would root my experiences in the permanent context of a stable faith family. However, I am not opposed to this situation being my "final resting place". On a side note, I do have aspirations for Catholic business endeavors, and these don't always present themselves "up the street" from your local parish. As I believe these Catholic business endeavors must be linked closely with a parish community, among other reasons in order to sustain a certain amount of patronage, I get torn between "settling down" in a parish and the ability to relocate if need be. There is also the angle that many young adults, sorry "emerging adults", in my area (Dallas) are not centrally-located around one parish.

    Is this a concern that should be raised on the Diocesan level, in the sense that Dioceses could support and encourage ministries, like the Serrans, in their goals of reaching out to young adults? Or is this a "problem" that needs to be solved by a return to the more traditional view of adulthood, livelihood, and community? Perhaps I'm being too stringent in my "either/or".

    The latter question is addressed on places like the Front Porch Republic, but I wary sometimes of the points of view of some of their writers. I also worry that such a one-sided view may miss an opportunity to grapple with an option as yet unseen.

    My apologies for such a lengthy comment.

    Sincerely Yours in Christ,

    Matthew Wade

  4. While patrick madrid,catholic answers, and the rest of the ave maria radio radio staff has already made up its mind on medjugorje,the vatican and the pope has not.The way rabid anti-catholic protestants attack catholics,is the way catholics attack catholics who believe in the peaceful message of medjugorje..rob

  5. Dear Rob,

    Thanks for posting. To clarify: Patrick and Catholic Answers are not part of the Ave Maria Radio staff. I am personal friends with Patrick, Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Tim Staples, Patrick Coffin and many of the Catholic Answers staff. I don't remember this topic ever coming up in our discussions.

    So I don't even know the position of Catholic Answers on Medjugorje. I do know that they generally stay away from private revelation before it is approved by the teaching authority of the Church. If they've done programming on Medjugorje before, I missed it.

    I didn't know Patrick's position until I read an Our Sunday Visitor article on the new Vatican Commission. He described himself in the article as "Skeptical, not critical."

    I had never heard of Fr. Buechlein before the morning of the program and assumed that he was more favorable to the apparitions because of his website and quotes I had read.

    My position on Medjugorje has always been accepting but not championing. I've never polled our staff to see where they stand. I know some are favorable and I suspect some are critical. Close friends and family have been positively influenced by their visits to Medjugorje. E.g., Tom Monahghan, Mark Miravalle, Keith Fournier, Ralph Martin, Sr. Ann Shields, etc. I know, at least, two men who entered into full communion with the Catholic Church after visiting.

    So your sense that Ave Maria Radio is opposed to or has made up its mind on Medjugorge is way off base. If anything we have been accepting but not championing - basically accepting the good reports we've received and holding at arm's lengths the criticism that have emerged by people like E. Michael Jones and now Patrick Madrid.

    We need critical analysis and that is what the Vatican commission is doing. Take a look at the roster and you'll see theologians, social psychologists, canon lawyers, etc. Believe me they will be doing their best to unearth any unsavory details.

    I heard nothing rabid in Patrick's skepticism, although his claim that one of the visionaries had made a blasphemous joke about Christ surprised me. I had never heard it. But I was surprised he brought it up given how recently he had been made aware of it. Other than the introduction of this story I thought his manner was excellent.

    Over the last fifteen years I've done at least three lengthy interviews/debates on Medjugorje, and, if anything hostile to the visionaries or the Franciscans is said, I am accused of being anti-Medjugorje. This is beginning to make me suspicious of the security of those who claim the Blessed Mother is appearing. Every purported apparition generates criticism. This was true of Lourdes, it was true of Fatima and it is true of Medjugorje.

    We all want the truth to prevail and it doesn't serve the interest of truth to suppress honest criticism and questioning. Patrick is a serious Catholic and entitled to offer the best of his thinking on this. Fr. Buechlein has years of experience as a spiritual director and lead of pilgrimages to Medjugorje, he is a rich resource to help us think and pray through this matter.

    Hope this helps clear things up.

  6. It clears nothing up.During the mid-80s and early 90s.Mother angelica show cased the medjugorje story.It was all positive.No many how many sincere catholics talk about the wonderfull experiences at medjugorje,madrid never wavers in his obvious disdain for it.He keeps referring callers to his web-site were he claims people will get the pros and cons.Their is nothing but cons. his constant remarks that god can take the bad fruit of medjugorj,and turn it into to good fruit is more then insulting.,,,,rob