Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Catechesis Efforts Ramp Up as New Mass Translation Heads to Pews

After a decade of work, the greatest liturgical milestone for American Catholics since the 1970s is right around the corner: The Vatican has approved a new English translation of the Roman Missal, and the U.S. bishops have fixed the roll-out date in the nation’s parishes for the beginning of Advent 2011.

“The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of America as of the First Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, 2011. From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America,” stated Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his Aug. 20 letter to the nation’s bishops.

In addition to the translation work, the U.S. bishops’ conference, the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) and other national and international liturgical organizations have devoted the last two years to preparing texts and catechetical materials designed to smooth the transition to the new translation of the Mass and deepen appreciation for the more accurate language of the texts. Now that the entire translation has been approved, those materials will be key during the full year needed to get the published text into the pews.

In late June, the Vatican formally signed off on the translation and issued guidelines for publication. A month later, approval was given for additional prayers for the penitential act at Mass, the renewal of baptismal promises on Easter Sunday, and for American feasts including Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and the observances of saints’ feast days for Damien of Molokai, Katharine Drexel and Elizabeth Ann Seton. A “Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life,” which can be celebrated on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, was also approved.

Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, noted in prepared remarks, “I am happy that after years of preparation, we now have a text that, when introduced late next year, will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the sacred liturgy in our parishes.”

The fruit of a lengthy — and, at times, contentious — dialogue among bishops in the United States and among bishops’ conferences throughout the English-speaking world, the introduction of the new translation is viewed as a golden opportunity to advance the “New Evangelization” in the life of the Church.

“From the very beginning, the Church has held to this axiom: The way we pray reveals what we believe. The law of prayer is the law of our faith,” noted Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

Cardinal Rigali is a veteran of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy and the Vox Clara committee established by Pope John Paul II to aid the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in supervising the English translation. He noted that the translation process was closely followed by both the Congregations for Divine Worship and the Doctrine of the Faith.

“If the whole of Catholic doctrine is expressed in our liturgy, it’s fitting that both Vatican congregations collaborated on the translation,” said the cardinal.

Read more here from the National Catholic Register...

'No Better Mediator' than the Catholic Church in Cuba, Assert Dissidents

Distancing herself from the recent criticism of the Church in Cuba and its role in the release of political prisoners, Laura Pollan, spokeswoman for the Women in White, stated that “In Cuba there is no better mediator” than the Catholic Church, because it is an institution without a political agenda.

Speaking to Europa Press, Pollan applauded the efforts led by Cardinal Jaime Ortega of Havana to negotiate the release 52 political prisoners who were arrested in 2003. “In Cuba there is no better mediator than the Catholic Church because the other organizations are at the service of the (Castro) regime,” she said.

A total of 165 Cuban dissidents, including some political prisoners, sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI last week criticizing the “unfortunate” role the Catholic Church in Cuba played in the “exiling” dissidents to Spain. The letter called for an end to the Church’s “political support” for the Castro regime, which they referred to as “Satan’s commissioners on earth.”

The Cuban clergy immediately rejected the “offensive content” of the letter and stressed that their mediation with the Castro government for the release of 52 political prisoners “was not based on politics,” although they acknowledged that “this mediation could have been interpreted in various ways.”

Pollan said “the families of the political prisoners” who have been released or are part of the group of 52 “are thankful to the Catholic Church for what it has achieved because they are now or will soon be free men and women

Bizarre Statement from Malta Bishops' Conference

Malta’s bishops issued a statement on August 29 defending the indissolubility of marriage but warning against embarking on a “crusade” in marriage’s defense. The Maltese legislature has begun to debate the legalization of divorce.

“We ask everybody who contributes to this debate not to distort the love for each person ingrained in the Christian message by embarking on some kind of crusade, even in the case of clear signs of provocation,” the bishops said. “We urge committed Church members, both on a personal level, according to one’s state in life and responsibility in society, and in ecclesiastical groups, to contribute positively to this debate.”

“It should be a great privilege for every committed member of the Church to say before the Lord that he has done his part in promoting and defending these values that Jesus insisted so much upon in His teachings,” the bishops said in defending the indissolubility of marriage.

94% of the nation’s 433,000 inhabitants are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics. When Pope Benedict visited the nation in April, he urged the nation to continue to uphold the indissolubility of marriage. “Your nation should continue to stand up for the indissolubility of marriage as a natural institution as well as a sacramental one, and for the true nature of the family, just as it does for the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death and for the proper respect owed to religious freedom in ways that bring authentic integral development to individuals and society,” he said almost immediately upon arriving in the nation on April 17.

Book-length interview with Pope to be published late this year

Pope Benedict XVI has granted a series of in-depth interviews with a German journalist. The Pope’s responses to questions about the state of the Church and his pontificate will form the basis for a book to be published before the end of this year.

Peter Seewald interviewed the Holy Father during a series of meetings in July, the Vatican has disclosed. Seewald worked with the Pope on a similar project more than a decade ago; the journalist’s interviews with then-Cardinal Ratzinger became the book Salt of the Earth. Appearing first in 1996, Salt of the Earth was acclaimed because of the future Pope’s candid and thorough responses to questions about the challenges facing the Church. (Seewald later disclosed that his conversations with Cardinal Ratzinger prompted him to return to the active practice of the Catholic faith.)

The new book will be published first in German and Italian, according to the papal spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.

Today on Kresta - August 31, 2010

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

4:00 – How Should Christians Understand Homosexuality and Change?
Myth: No one has ever changed their sexual attractions from gay to straight.
Myth: People who work to change their sexual orientation are damaging
Myth: People who attempt to change sexual orientation are doomed to
Myth: People who are religious have sexual hang-ups and are unable to enjoy sex later in life.
Myth: 10% of the general population is either gay, lesbian or bisexual
Dr. Warren Throckmorton is here to address many of these myths of same-sex attraction and tells us how we, as Christians, should understand homosexuality and change.

4:40 – Ban the Burqa?
Claire Berlinski moved to Istanbul five years ago. In the beginning, she was sympathetic to the argument that Turkey’s ban on headscarves in universities and public institutions was grossly discriminatory. She spoke to many women who described veiling themselves as an uncoerced act of faith. Now she says this: “Banning the burqa is without doubt a terrible assault on the ideal of religious liberty. It is the sign of a desperate society. No one wishes for things to have come so far that it is necessary. But they have, and it is.” She is here to make her case.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – TIME Cover Photo
TIME Magazine recently published a very disturbing photo on their cover. The editorial page defended the publication of the photo as necessary to tell the truth of what was really happening. They said that children may be disturbed, but the truth should not be hidden. They said that in the midst of a lot of political rhetoric and hyperbole, sometimes the human toll gets lost and forgotten. Were they talking about a photo of an unborn baby destroyed by abortion? Al has a commentary.

5:20 – The Biblical Roots of the Mass
As a Catholic, do you ever wonder why Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb of God” or why the “Body and Blood” of our Lord distributed at Communion time still look and taste like ordinary bread and wine? If the biblical story of the Mass did not begin at the Last Supper, where did it begin? Answers to these and many more questions will be provided in EWTN’s exclusive new 13-part series, “The Biblical Story of the Mass,” which will air 5 p.m. ET Sundays (with a re-air at 2:30 a.m. ET Fridays), beginning Aug. 29. Co-host Tom Nash is here to discuss it.

5:40 – Justice for the Unborn in Detroit
We check in today with Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit for our monthly discussion. This weekend he will be dedicating a gravemarker for 23 aborted babies found in the dumpster of a local abortionist. We talk about that dedication and other items of interest to the Archbishop.

Monday, August 30, 2010

United Kingdom issues three stamps for the Pope and Cardinal Newman

Bishops to run in Denver marathon to pay off cathedral debt and boost vocations

Denver, Colo., Aug 29, 2010 / 06:58 pm (CNA)

Two Catholic bishops will take part in a Denver marathon in October. One is running to raise funds to pay off the $2.07 million debt on his diocese’s cathedral, while the other is joining local Catholics to increase prayers for and awareness of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

Bishop of Springfield, Ill. Thomas J. Paprocki, a longtime marathon runner, has announced he is training for the Oct. 17 event. In a statement from the Diocese of Springfield, the 58-year-old prelate said he enjoys running and has participated in 16 marathons.

“This year I have decided to dedicate my marathon effort to help pay off the debt of the recent restoration of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield,” said the bishop, who took over the diocese in June.

“Catholics in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois can take rightful pride in our beautiful mother church, especially the many people who have already contributed generously to help pay the restoration costs,” he commented.

However, he explained that “unexpected expenses” had caused the debt and he would like to “retire this debt completely.”

He invited tax-deductible pledge donations and asked for prayer intentions for him to include while he is running and praying.

“As sacred Scripture says, ‘Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us’ (Hebrews 12:1). Your support will be greatly appreciated by me and all Catholics who gather and pray at our magnificent Cathedral,” Bishop Paprocki wrote.

The “Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon” website says that the time limit for the full marathon is six hours, a pace of 13:45 minutes per mile.

Auxiliary Bishop of Denver James Conley will also take part in the event.

Natalia Fletcher, executive assistant in the office of priestly vocations, responded to a CNA inquiry about the bishop’s participation. She reported that Bishop Conley and Bishop Paprocki attended graduate school together in Rome. Conley later told CNA in an e-mail that the two had run together in Rome, but not in a marathon.

The Denver auxiliary bishop will join archdiocesan vocations director Fr. Jim Crisman and two St. John Vianney seminarians as part of a relay team to increase support for and awareness of vocations. He will run 8.9 miles of the course and is following a training regimen of 15 miles per week.

In the past he has run in the Colfax 1/2 Marathon, the Chicago Marathon, the Rome Marathon, the Monte Carlo Marathon, the Pikes Peak Ascent and the Rome-Ostca 1/2 Marathon.

According to Fletcher, the archdiocese asks other runners and teams of runners to sign up for the event. Rather than seeking financial donations, the archdiocese asks that runners seek pledges of prayers for vocations to holy orders and to the consecrated life within the Archdiocese of Denver.

“There is a great need in the Church and world today for men and women who are willing to lay down their lives in service to others,” Fr. Crisman commented in a press release. “Please pray for an increase in vocations to Holy Orders and Consecrated Life, and pray for those already living these heroic vocations.”

He encouraged participants to form their teams as soon as possible so they have time to train and to pray.

The Office of Priestly Vocations has set up a section for the marathon in the “Run” section of its website http://www.priest4christ.com/

Cartoon of the Day - Whatever Accomplished

Today on Kresta - August 30, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 30

4:00 – Pornography on the Streets of Iraq: A Positive of Negative Development?
According to an Associated Press story, "Change...is afoot in Iraq. Hundreds of porn DVDs are stacked elbow deep...on a table...on a downtown sidewalk…with the Western troops and their supporting army of foreign security contractors came the porn once strictly forbidden under Saddam's regime" Robert Peters, President of Morality in Media, comments: It is interesting that in a 957 word article about the open sale of pornography in Baghdad streets, no mention is made of the harms of pornography and no one is quoted who is against it. It is also interesting that the AP writer would infer that the presence of Western military and other personnel contributed to the current situation without mentioning that this could negatively affect the war against terrorism. Robert is here to make his case.

4:20 – Court Strikes Down Roadside Memorials to Fallen Utah Troopers
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are reviewing all options for appeal of a ruling issued recently by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit that struck down roadside memorials to fallen Utah State Troopers as unconstitutional. The 10th Circuit reversed a district court ruling in American Atheists v. Davenport that upheld the memorial crosses. ADF attorneys say the reversal is regrettable in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a separate case that indicates such memorials might be constitutional. ADF Attorney Byron Babione is here to discuss it.

4:30 – Archbishop to Dedicate Gravemarker for 23 Unborn Babies
Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron, will dedicate the gravemarker for the Hodari Babies this Saturday in Southfield, MI. These are twenty-three victims of abortion that Citizens for a Pro-Life Society helped retrieve from trash dumpsters behind abortion clinics owned and operated by abortionist Alberto Hodari in Lathrup Village and Sterling Heights, MI. CPLS organized their funeral May 3, 2008, with then auxiliary bishop of Detroit, John Quinn, who said the funeral Mass and officiated at the actual burial. Now, Archbishop Vigneron will dedicate a gravemarker. Monica Miller of CPLS is here to give the details.

4:40 – St. Augustine’s Home School Enrichment
St. Augustine’s Home School Enrichment Program was founded to unite the best of the modern home school with the tradition of a Catholic liberal arts education. Their tutors, along with the parents, lead students toward academic excellence as part of the great ongoing story of man’s efforts to understand his role in God’s creation. This year there are some exciting new additions. Headmaster Henry Russell is here to explain.

5:00 – Direct to My Desk

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Breakthrough in ADULT Stem Cell Research

With all of the hand-wringing out there over a federal judge's recent decision banning federal funding of EMBRYONIC stem cell research which takes a human life, why have you not heard this report on a MAJOR advance in ADULT stem cell research? See below:

Scientists have created liver cells in a lab for the first time using reprogrammed cells from human skin, paving the way for the potential development of new treatments for liver diseases that kill thousands each year.

Cambridge University scientists who reported their results in the Journal of Clinical Investigation on Wednesday, said they also found a way of avoiding the kind of intense political and ethical rows over embryonic stem cells which are currently hampering work in the United States.

"This technology bypasses the need for using human embryos," said Tamir Rashid of Cambridge's laboratory for regenerative medicine, who led the study. "The cells we created were just as good as if we had used embryonic stem cells."

Embryonic stem cells are seen as the most powerful and malleable type of cells but are controversial because they are harvested from human embryos when they are just a few days old.

Liver disease is the fifth largest cause of death in developed nations after cardiovascular, cancer, stroke, and respiratory diseases. In the United States, it accounts for around 25,000 deaths a year, and experts say that in Britain liver disease death rates among young and middle-aged people are increasing at a rate of 8 to 10 percent a year.

Rashid said that despite 40 years of trying, scientists have so far never been able to grow liver cells in a lab, making research into liver disorders extremely difficult.

Given a shortage of donor liver organs, alternatives are urgently needed, he added. This study increases the likelihood that alternatives can be found, either by developing new drugs or by using cell-based therapy -- when cells from patients with genetic diseases are "cured" and transplanted back.

Liver diseases can be either inherited, or caused by alcohol abuse or infections such as hepatitis.


For their study, Rashid's team took skin samples from seven patients who were suffering from a variety of inherited liver diseases, and three from healthy people to act as comparisons.

They then reprogrammed cells from the skin samples into a kind of stem cell called induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, and then reprogrammed them to generate liver cells which mimicked the broad range of liver diseases in the patients they had come from. They used the same technique to create "healthy" liver cells from the comparison group.

Stem cells are the body's master cells and scientists are trying to find ways to use them to grow new organs, repair damaged hearts or severed spinal cords, or replace brain cells destroyed by strokes, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.

"Previously we have never been able to grow liver cells in the laboratory, so this should open up a whole new sphere of research," Rashid said.

Commenting on the study, Mark Thursz, a specialist in liver disease at Imperial College in London, said it was a major step which may in future be a potential source of new liver cells for patients with liver failure.

Research work using human embryonic stem cells was thrown into doubt on Monday after a district court issued a preliminary injunction halting federal funding for it.

Alaska parental notification initiative passes with ‘crucial’ Catholic support

Anchorage, Alaska, (CNA)

Catholic support was critical to the passage of an Alaska ballot initiative requiring parents to be notified before their minor daughter has an abortion.

In elections Tuesday, Proposition 2 passed with 56 percent of the vote. Jim Minnery of the Prop. 2 backer Alaskans for Parental Rights said the support of the Catholic Church “played a crucial role in our success.” While tax rules prevent U.S. churches from advocating for or against political candidates, they may advocate for and against ballot issues and other legislation.

Speaking to the Catholic Anchor, he praised Archbishop of Anchorage Roger Schwietz for his “decisive leadership” in rallying support. He also praised the “dozens of parishes” which helped gather signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

Knights of Columbus councils from around Alaska, with help from the national organization, raised over $80,000 for radio and television advertisements. By contrast, abortion provider Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion advocates spent $800,000 on opposition ads.

Notices supporting the proposition appeared in Catholic Church buildings and prayers for the initiative’s success were offered at Mass. Catholic families distributed yard signs and bumper stickers and demonstrated at busy intersections.

Knights of Columbus also offered rides to the polls on election day. District deputy Cal Williams told the Catholic Anchor that the group provided 23 rides in Anchorage alone.

Williams added that the campaign had the positive side effect of encouraging parents to speak with their teens about the issue.

“Mothers and fathers, hopefully, did have discussions with their teens and the lines of communication are going to be wider open,” he remarked.

Joe Miller, a pro-life candidate challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in Tuesday’s Republican primary, said the pro-life vote was “important,” CBS News reports. He credited Prop. 2 with boosting his supporters’ turnout. Though 7,600 absentee ballots are still uncounted, he presently leads his pro-abortion opponent by about 1,600 votes out of more than 90,000 cast.

Archbishop Schwietz told the Catholic Anchor that common sense prevailed in the passage of the notification measure.

“Parents, no matter where they are on the abortion issue, understood: to be parent is to be a parent. You have responsibility for your children and therefore you should be able to know what they’re doing, and not have other people take away the right to know.”

He said that keeping parents ignorant of their daughters’ abortions amounted to “stabbing at the heart” of family life. He explained that God brought man and woman together to bear children in love and to prepare them for life.

“If their ability to do so is taken away from them, then the state is usurping, it seems to me, the right of parents and the power of God, himself,” the archbishop remarked.

Alaska joins 35 other states which require an abortionist to contact a minor’s parents before he performs an abortion. However, legal challenges to the law are expected

The Pope and his former students reflect on the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council

Cartoon of the Day - Welcome Home Troops

Today on Kresta - August 27, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 27

4:00 – Four Faces of Anger: Seneca, Evagrius Ponticus, Cassian, and Augustine
Sr. Gertrude Gillette brings to the modern age wisdom on the topic of anger by four ancient authors Seneca, Evagrius Ponticus, Cassian, and Augustine, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow. These authors broadly represent the classic views on anger and focus on how anger inhibits spiritual growth of the soul and its relationship with God. Sr. Gertrude joins us.

4:40 – Sanctifying the World: The Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson
Tomorrow is the feast of St. Augustine and so today we look at the Augustinian life and mind of the great English historian and Christian Humanist Christopher Dawson. He stood at the very center of the Catholic literary and intellectual revival in the four decades preceding Vatican II. T. S. Eliot considered him the foremost thinker of his generation, and the founder of American conservatism. A revival of interest of Dawson and his body of work has increased dramatically in the last years of John Paul II’s and the beginning of Benedict’s pontificates. Brad Birzer has written the first critical study of Dawson’s life and thought as a whole. He joins us.

5:00 – The “R” Father: 14 Ways to Respond to the Lord's Prayer
How of ten do we view the Our Father only as a series of petitions rather than as a way to the heart of our heavenly Father? Popular Catholic author Mark Hart says that the prayer Jesus gave us is a "reactionary" prayer - one that calls for a response from us. As he reflects on each of the words and phrases of the Our Father, he emphasizes the intimate relationship that God desires to have with us.

5:40 – The Greatest Mother / Son Team Since Mary and Jesus
Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of one of the greatest Saints the Church has ever known and today we celebrate the feast of his mother who’s fidelity in prayer was responsible for it all. It is of course Sts. Monica and Augustine. Augustine was born in a Roman province and educated at Carthage. As a young man he became interested in philosophy, with little interest in Christianity until a profound experience in his early thirties. By 396 he had become bishop of Hippo, and his sermons and writings gained fame, notably his Confessions and the treatise City of God. His notions of God's grace, free will and Original Sin have had an unmatched influence on Christian theology. Augustinian philosopher Dr. Barry David joins us.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CCHD facing key test of support among US bishops

Thanks to http://www.cwnews.com/ for this report.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is facing a critical test of support among the US bishops this week, CWN has learned.

All members of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have been asked to respond by Friday, August 27, to a confidential report on the CCHD. The document—“The Review and Renewal of the Catholic Campaign for Human Deveopment”—was prepared in response to bishops’ concerns that the CCHD has strayed from its original and become too closely involved with radical political movements.

Although the “Review and Renewal” document has gone through 5 successive drafts, a number of bishops within the USCCB appear unsatisfied with the document, and supporters of the CHD are fearful that at their November meeting, the US bishops may call for sweeping changes in the program.

“CCHD is being closely examined and its mission questioned,” one ardent advocate for the program wrote in a letter to the heads of diocesan social agencies. Robert Gorman, the executive director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, urged allies to contact their bishops and urge them to express their satisfaction with the “Review and Renewal” document, thus giving their support to the current direction and leadership of the CCHD.

The urgency with which CCHD supporters are lobbying the American bishops suggests that they expect a showdown with the program’s critics in coming weeks. So Catholics who hope for a fundamental change in the CCHD approach might also be inclined contact their bishops this week, to express their own concerns before the Friday deadline for comments on the “Review and Renewal” document.

The CCHD was established by the US bishops in 1970 to attack the root causes of poverty in America. For years the program has been troubled by critics who have said the CCHD has become too closely aligned with radical activist groups. Last year that criticism reached a crescendo, as lay Catholic groups exposed CCHD funding for organizations that promote causes inimical to Catholic teaching, such as legal abortion and same-sex marriage. While the CCHD leadership said that such grants accounted for only a small percentage of the organization’s funding for self-help groups, several American bishops announced that they were withdrawing their dioceses from the nationwide campaign to support the CCHD.

The “Review and Renewal” document, which is currently available only to bishops and their staff members, is an effort to reassure the USSCB members that CCHD grants will go only to organizations whose purposes and activities are compatible with Catholic social teaching.

But critics of the current CCHD approach have called for more definitive reform of the organization’s activities. Rather than forming alliances with groups that promote radical social change, they say, the CCHD should recognize the underlying causes of poverty as seen through the eyes of Church social teaching: the breakdown of marriage and family life and the lack of access to quality education.

Watch this you must - Hilarious it is!

CBS, NBC Mourn Loss of Federal Funding for Embryo-Destructive Research

This is unbelievable. No mention of adult stem cell research. No mention of cord blood research. Just the implication that without killing embryos, certain diseases will never be cured.

Cartoon of the Day - Back to School

Today on Kresta - August 26, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 26

4:00 – 100th Anniversary of the Birth of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
On this 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, we tale an out-of-the-box look at four of the greatest women of the Church, and what their example can mean for you. Therese of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and Mother Teresa. Who wouldn’t want these women as friends and guides? Lively, determined, devout but never passive, they were all straight-shooters with an abundance of common sense. They were also deeply in love with God, clinging to him with a tenacity that freed them to do the impossible. We look at the 4 Teresas with Gina Loehr.

4:20 – The Book of Revelation
No other New Testament book matches Revelation for its symbolism and richness of imagery. And yet perhaps no other New Testament book has fostered so much confusion, fascination, and artistic expression. Until now, reading Revelation and meditating on its message has been daunting and mystifying. This need not be the case. It is God's hope-filled message in the face of fear and uncertainty. It is a beautiful book essential to Christian worship and theology. Fr. Bertrand Buby is here to unlock the mystery of Revelation.

5:00 – Pope Will Visit UK in 3 Weeks / Beatify John Henry Cardinal Newman
Pope Benedict XVI will visit England and Scotland from September 16-19, the highlight of which will be the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman. It will be the first state visit to the United Kingdom by a pontiff, the Foreign Office said, noting that Pope John Paul II's 1982 trip was officially a pastoral visit, while Benedict's is a "papal visit." With us do discuss this trip is Fr. C. John McCloskey, a noted Newman expert. We look at the significance of the trip, Newman’s life and impact, and the Holy Father’s affinity for Newman.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mother Teresa at 100

Father Brian Kolodiejchuk is the postulator of the cause of canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

He first met Mother Teresa when his sister entered the Missionaries of Charity. A few years later, Father Kolodiejchuk, responding to an invitation from Mother Teresa, became a Missionary of Charity brother and later priest.

He spoke to Register news editor John Burger at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., where he helped kick off an exhibit honoring Mother Teresa’s 100th birth anniversary, which is Aug. 26.

Here is the first part of that interview.
We’re here because of the 100th anniversary of Mother Teresa’s birth. Would she want us to be celebrating her birthday?

She would approach this the same way she approached receiving an award, which is that it gave her an occasion to speak about God, speak about the poor and try to inspire people to also look and see, even around them, who Jesus in the poor is, beginning in their own family. These kinds of occasions are just means. With Mother in heaven and especially since the beatification, there’s another kind of role Mother Teresa has.

Even in these things, the focus is on her, but just like when she was alive, she would turn the focus to Jesus.

So, hopefully, people who say they are believers — Catholics — would, through Mother, again focus on Jesus, and then on the message of seeing Jesus in the poor and seeing Jesus in those around them and doing ordinary things with extraordinary love.

What do you mean when you say there’s another kind of role Mother has since her beatification?

That’s the role of the saints. We look to their life to be an example, and then in the communion of saints we also have them as intercessors. In some ways, it’s better for us than when Mother was living because we would have to wait until she came to where we were, or maybe we could write a letter, and Mother didn’t like the telephone. But now, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, we have direct contact.

She didn’t like the telephone?

No, she was very practical and didn’t want to just sit around and be on the telephone. And she would be concerned about the long-distance charges. That’s part of poverty.

Was part of it her desire to be more present to a person, whereas the telephone made her, perhaps, more removed?

No, she would appreciate the phone and use the phone when it served a purpose, so I don’t think it was so much for that reason.

Something tells me, though, she wouldn’t be too thrilled about e-mail.

No, faxes and those things were coming in toward the end of her life, but not a superabundance of the Internet and e-mail. Normally, the sisters don’t use the Internet or e-mail, except in some places where they really need to, because now some things, like the government, are only accessible on the Internet. So they have to have those kinds of adjustments.

Is there anything new with the cause?

For the last two or three years, we’ve looked at a few cases [of possible miracles] every year, but so far there’s nothing solid enough to think that it would have a chance at least of passing the investigation. The first step would be to do a diocesan inquiry, where you have at least an initial sense that it might be solid enough in the diocese where it took place. The first phase is the gathering of the data, testimony and documents.

As postulator, what exactly do you do?

Since 2008, I’m also the superior general of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Thankfully, we have sisters who do a lot of the day-to-day things (with the cause) in Tijuana. There are four sisters in Tijuana, two in Rome and two in Calcutta. The postulation and the Mother Teresa Center [MotherTeresa.org] are the same people; there are two aspects of the work. With any cause, there’s always two aspects: the formal process and the “promotion” of the person, promoting knowledge of the person and veneration of that person.

When the cause started in 1999, we were mostly focused on the formal process as such. Mother Teresa already had such a solid and widespread reputation for holiness that we didn’t need to do so much of that stuff. But now it’s already 13 years since Mother died. So people who were maybe children or early teens may have known, and anyone else may have known something about Mother Teresa — they know the name or some general idea. Maybe they’re not quite as familiar because she’s not in the media as much as when she was living. So, part of the Mother Teresa Center, which is part of the work of the postulation … will continue after the canonization, whenever that is.

Basically, the MCs had a choice of doing nothing, so to speak, and let Mother Teresa blow in the wind, and whatever happens, or to say No, we have a certain responsibility to Mother Teresa herself and to the Church and say We want to preserve that legacy and present “This is Mother Teresa.” So one of the key words in the center is “authentic.” Or even just information, the facts, and Mother Teresa in her fullness, let’s say. It’s sort of the other side of the work, of the knowledge and the veneration of Blessed Teresa.

Were you the one who prepared the positio, the formal document that’s presented to the Vatican detailing a candidate’s life of heroic virtue?

I was the one in charge of it. We had other people working on it.

Do you continue to study her life in any way?

Yes. Come Be My Light [the 2007 collection of her letters, which revealed her years of spiritual struggle] was the first work of the center, and then this fall, coming again with Doubleday, [there will be a book of] mostly quotes of Mother Teresa. And then after that, we’ll start on the biography, because we have lots of information and data and there’s no one book, especially for biographical kinds of information. I mean, some of them are quite good, based on the information they had, but since we were able to gather all this information for the cause — that was a formal process — there’s lots of data to make, hopefully, a decent biography. We can’t use everything, because, normally, full access to the archives is 50 to 70 years after a person dies. Now, not so much for Mother’s sake but for the people involved, the other people who are still alive or recently deceased.

But there’s still a lot of stuff we can use, hopefully going deeper. Now that Come Be My Light really revealed the profundity of Mother’s holiness — everyone had a sense she radiated holiness without really knowing much of the actual characteristics of that holiness. Those letters really revealed a real depth of that holiness that was kind of hidden by Mother’s simplicity, action and words. Some of the things she would say, for example: “Give whatever he takes, take whatever he gives with a big smile,” meaning we’re suppose to accept God’s will, surrender and with a smile, cheerfully. But when you realize that that resolution, that prayer was made in the midst of this extreme suffering of the darkness, then you say, “Oh, well, now it’s something a little deeper.”

NY archbishop worries about tone of mosque debate

The intense debate over a proposed Islamic community center and mosque near ground zero has jeopardized New Yorkers' sense of tolerance and unity, the leader of the area's Roman Catholics said Tuesday.

"We're just a little bit apprehensive that these noble values may be a bit at risk in this way the conversation and debate about the site of the mosque is taking place," Archbishop Timothy Dolan said after a meeting with Gov. David Paterson about the issue.

Critics say the building is too close to where Islamic extremists destroyed the World Trade Center in 2001 and killed nearly 2,800 people. Supporters say religious freedom should be protected. Dolan said both sides have legitimate stances.

Dolan doesn't have "strong feelings" about where it should be, he said, but he expressed willingness to be part of the dialogue if asked.

The developer, meanwhile, was expected to attend a dinner Tuesday night hosted by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spoken in support of the project. Bloomberg holds the dinner annually to observe Iftar, the daily meal in which Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

Paterson has yet to meet with anyone from the Cordoba Initiative, the project's organizer. Its co-founder, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, is on a Mideast trip funded by the U.S. State Department. He alluded to the controversy at a dinner Sunday night for student leaders at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Manama, Bahrain.

"The fact we are getting this kind of attention is a sign of success," he said.

"It is my hope that people will understand more. ... This is something we are doing for our generation."

Rauf also thanked President Barack Obama, who has said Muslims had the right to practice their religion and build the Islamic center in lower Manhattan. The president later said he wasn't endorsing the specifics of the plan.

The White House on Tuesday said that Obama would have no further comment on the issue and that the administration will not get involved in talks about relocating the facility. Republicans have vowed to make Obama's supportive comments a campaign issue in this fall's midterm elections.

Rauf, who has rarely spoken publicly about the project, said that he was leery of the media and that it is portraying a negative image of Muslims to the West. He also said he doesn't like Muslims portraying a bad image of the West to the Muslim world.

In an interview published Monday with the Bahrain newspaper Al Wasat, Rauf said he was trying to get Islamic scholars to agree on laws that will encourage Muslims to be "more effective members of their communities."

He said Muslims can remain faithful and be engaged in the affairs of the countries where they live.

"I see that every religious community faces challenges, but the real challenge lies in keeping true to the core values of the faith and how to express these values in a specific time and place," he was quoted as telling the newspaper.

He added that he wanted to see Muslims in the U.S. have "complete nationalism" and fulfill their rights and duties to the larger community.

Georgetown U. employees lead drive for same-sex marriage

Employees at Georgetown, America’s oldest Catholic university, have been instrumental in founding a new organization that will seek to rally support for same-sex marriage on the campuses of Catholic institutions.

“’Catholics for Equality’ represents outright rebellion—‘mutiny’ in the words of one of the group’s founders—in opposition to the U.S. bishops and Catholic doctrine,” charged Patrick Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society, in a letter to Georgetown’s President John DiGioia. Reilly called for action to ensure that faculty and employees at the Jesuit school would not be involved in the dissidents' effort.

Outrageous Statement of the Day

VP Joe Biden said yesterday that those who oppose funding for embryonic stem cell research at the National Institute for Health "know nothing about science." Stunning.

Cartoon of the Day - Americans Not Buying

Michigan's Abortions Hit An All Time Low in 2009

The number of abortions performed in Michigan decreased in 2009, according to recently released statistics from the Michigan Department of Community Health. The report from the Michigan Department of Community Health states that 22,357 abortions were performed in Michigan during 2009 compared to 25,970 Michigan abortions reported in 2008, a drop of 13.9 percent or 3,613 abortions. Since 1987, there has been a 54.4 percent decrease in the number of abortions performed in Michigan annually. Abortions in Michigan have decreased in four of the last six years and the number of abortions performed in 2009 represents the lowest annual total of reported abortions in Michigan since abortion providers were required to start reporting information in 1979.

Recently released polls from CBS and Gallup show our nation is turning its back on the idea that abortion is the solution to unplanned pregnancy. A CBS poll, conducted in April of 2010 found that 61percent of Americans favor either stricter limits on abortion (38 percent) or that abortion should not be permitted (23 percent). A Gallup poll, released in May 2010, found that a plurality of Americans consider themselves "prolife." For two years in a row, more Americans have called themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice."

Is Michigan finally taking a stand to protect and defend our unborn children? Creating awareness seems to be a vital responsibility of pro-lifers who truly want to make a difference. How can pro-lifers go about creating awareness in an attractive manner? What can we do to keep this momentum going?

This year, the Right to Life of Michigan will be hosting the annual Touching Hearts Saving Lives Dinner Reception at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club with special guest Scott Klusendorf and Emcee Nick Thomm of Ave Maria Radio. Scott Klusendorf is the perfect person to answer just these questions. He is the founder and president of Life Training Institute, where pro-life advocates are trained to defend their views in the public square. His seminars equip pro-life apologists to defend their beliefs in a winsome and attractive manner. Please join us on Thursday, September 30 to learn more.

Don't miss out on this important event. Help to protect and defend our unborn children. Please go to www.rtl.org to register or email thsl@rtl.org.

Contact Amy Alder, Development Coordinator at 248-628-6896 or aalder@rtl.org.

Today on Kresta - August 25, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 25

4:00 – The Ground Zero Mosque – A Victim’s Brother Responds
Joe Cammarata was an NYPD officer on 9/11, who lost his brother, FDNY probationary firefighter Michael Cammarata. He wrote a book '9/11 The Face of Courage'. Michael’s body was never found. Therefore Ground Zero is Michael's final resting place and Joe says "should be kept sacred. No religious institution should be built there," he says. Cammarata says he is not against Muslims or any religion. He just believes that no religious institution should establish a presence this close to the final resting place of so many 9/11 victims of such varied faith backgrounds. Joe is here to address the mosque issue and shares the story of his frantic search for his brother in the rubble of the WTC and how post-traumatic stress syndrome still disrupts his life.

4:20 – Pope To Visit UK / Beatify Cardinal Newman
The Vatican has published the official schedule for Pope Benedict’s trip to the United Kingdom in September. The Pope will arrive on Thursday, September 16 in Scotland, and begin with an official visit to Queen Elizabeth at her palace in Edinburgh. The highlight of the Pope’s visit will be the beatification of Cardinal Newman. The Pope arranged the visit in order to participate in that ceremony. The trip is not without its controversy however. Ave Maria Correspondent Gareth Peoples has prepared a report on the Pope’s upcoming visit to the UK.

4:40 – A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock 'n' Roll
Up to the current day, matters of sexual morality—including contraception, abortion, premarital sex, and gay marriage—have polarized the Catholic Church. In the wake of the turmoil of the 1960s, when liberal theologians challenged the Church’s traditional views on the subject, a schism has opened. Much of the world, and many Catholics themselves, believe that the views of each camp are clear and well defined. As Mark Judge reveals this is far from the case. Without sensationalism, Judge is candid about his personal journey from the playgrounds of the sexual revolution to his eventual belief in the need to combine sexuality with love and commitment to another person, not as an end in itself but rather as a particularly direct means of opening oneself up to God’s love. Mark joins us.

5:00 – Federal Judge Blocks Federal Funding of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
A federal judge temporarily blocked the Obama administration Monday from using federal dollars to fund expanded human embryonic stem cell research, saying the research involves the destruction of embryos. The ruling comes after the National Institutes of Health last year issued new guidelines permitting federal funding for research on certain stem cell lines that had already been created. The District Court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction on the research, saying the plaintiffs would suffer "irreparable injury" from the policy and that the new guidelines violated federal law that prohibits federally funded research involving the destruction of human embryos. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that despite attempts to separate the derivation of human embryonic stem cells from the research process, "the two cannot be separated" because culling those stem cells destroys an embryo. Attorney Brian Scarnecchia is here to analyze.

5:20 – Pope To Visit UK / Beatify Cardinal Newman
The Vatican has published the official schedule for Pope Benedict’s trip to the United Kingdom in September. The Pope will arrive on Thursday, September 16 in Scotland, and begin with an official visit to Queen Elizabeth at her palace in Edinburgh. The highlight of the Pope’s visit will be the beatification of Cardinal Newman. The Pope arranged the visit in order to participate in that ceremony. The trip is not without its controversy however. Ave Maria Correspondent Gareth Peoples has prepared a report on the Pope’s upcoming visit to the UK.

5:40 – Our Jewish Roots: A Catholic Woman’s Guide to Fulfillment Today by Connecting With Her Past
Discover the secrets of true feminine genius through the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Mary Magdalene, the Virgin Mary and others. Experience how the lessons from their lives can transform yours! Journey back through time and see how God’s faithful women have come to know, love and serve Him most fully and in that fullness, find true happiness, fulfillment and joy. Come to know how God calls each woman uniquely--and with purpose--and allow your own life’s journey to be enriched by connecting with your past. Understand how the teachings, truths and traditions of the Catholic faith rest so fully in the rich heritage of our Jewish roots. Cheryl Dickow is our guide.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ground Zero Imam Says U.S. Has More Blood on it's Hands than al-Qaeda

New audio has surfaced of the imam behind the controversial mosque near Ground Zero allegedly telling an audience overseas that the United States has been far more deadly than al-Qaeda. "We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al-Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non Muslims," Feisal Abdul Rauf said at a 2005 lecture sponsored by the University of South Australia. After discussing the U.S.-led sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Rauf went on to argue that America is to blame for its testy relationship with Islamic countries.

"What complicates the discussion, intra-Islamically, is the fact that the West has not been cognizant and has not addressed the issues of its own contribution to much injustice in the Arab and Muslim world." The audio was uncovered by blogger and Ground Zero Mosque opponent Pam Geller.

Court Blocks New Federal Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Obama administration Monday from using federal dollars to fund expanded human embryonic stem cell research, saying the research involves the destruction of embryos.

The ruling comes after the National Institutes of Health last year issued new guidelines permitting federal funding for research on certain stem cell lines that had already been created.

The court challenge was brought by adult stem cell researchers who argued the new rules not only would increase competition for limited funds, but violated federal law. A nonprofit group, Nightlight Christian Adoptions, also joined and argued that the government's new guidelines would decrease the number of human embryos available for adoption.

The District Court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction on the research, saying the plaintiffs would suffer "irreparable injury" from the policy and that the new guidelines violated federal law that prohibits federally funded research involving the destruction of human embryos.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that despite attempts to separate the derivation of human embryonic stem cells from the research process, "the two cannot be separated" because culling those stem cells destroys an embryo.

"The guidelines violate that prohibition by allowing federal funding of ESC research because ESC research depends upon the destruction of a human embryo," he wrote.

The new NIH guidelines did not authorize the explicit creation or destruction of any embryonic stem cells. At issue were rules for working with cells that initially were created using private money.

The Bush administration had limited taxpayer-funded research to a small number of stem cell batches, or lines, already in existence as of August 2001. Last spring, Obama lifted that restriction, potentially widening the field but letting NIH set its boundaries.

The NIH came up with a compromise, saying it deems those old stem cell lines eligible for government research dollars if scientists can prove they met the spirit of the new ethics standards.

The embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body -- researchers hope they can be used to one day create better treatments, maybe even cures, for ailments ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's to spinal cord injury.

The District Court previously dismissed the case, saying the plaintiffs did not have legal standing.

But after an appeals court upheld the suit, the District Court reversed course and allowed the case to proceed. The suit names Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a defendant.

Vatican Prosecutor: Pope Showed “Frustration and Anger” Over Abuse Cases

In an extensive interview with Fox News, the chief Vatican prosecutor for clerical sex abuse cases, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, said he watched Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s “compassion, anger and frustration” as the future pope reviewed hundreds of cases between 2002-2005.

When asked if those three years fundamentally changed Ratzinger’s view of the abuse scandal, Scicluna said the experience would change anybody.

“I think it was an eye-opener to the gravity of the situation and to the great sadness of priestly betrayal and priestly failure,” he said. “I think that anybody who has to review so many cases will certainly change his perspective on things, on human failings, but also on the great suffering they create.”

While Benedict has been accused of mishandling abuse cases, as an Archbishop in Germany, and also as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, Scicluna rejected those charges.

The priest, who grew up on the island of Malta, said those who worked with the future Pope in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were full of admiration for him and his “courage and determination” in dealing with the crisis.

“I am a direct witness to the compassion, the frustration and the anger that these cases instilled in Cardinal Ratzinger, the man, Joseph Ratzinger,” Scicluna said.

While Scicluna seems determined to avoid using the term “crisis,” he insists on calling sin by its name, and crime as well.

“People call this a crisis,” he said. “It is certainly a challenge to the Church, but it is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to call sin sin in its face, and do something about it. It is an opportunity for the church to show itself determined in its fight against sin, against crime.”

While the sexual abuse of minors clearly does not take place only in church circles, Fox asked Scicluna if he thought the Catholic Church should be held to a higher standard.

“I think so,” Scicluna responded. “Because we do stand for a very clear message which should be a light to the world. So we do complain about the headlines sometimes, but the headlines are a reflection that the world takes what we say very seriously, and is scandalized when what we do does not correspond to what we say.”

Scicluna, whose official title is the Promoter of Justice in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said a priest who abuses makes a “mockery” of his vocation.

“There is a sacred trust which has been violated,” he said. “The priest has been ordained to be an icon, a living image of Jesus Christ. He is another Christ at the altar, when he preaches. Now when he abuses, he shatters that icon.”

He said the Church has to face up to the truth, even if it’s not very nice: “There’s no other way out of this situation, except facing the truth of the matter.”

Scicluna said the Church has to be severe with offenders, as Christ was: “He had words of fire against people who would scandalize the young. And if we stick to his words and are loyal to his teaching, we are on very good ground. We are not alone.”

LA Unveils $578M School, Costliest In Nation

The Los Angeles Unified School District is set to unveil the nation's costliest school project ever built - the $578 million Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools.

Starting next month, the K-12 complex will house 4,200 students on the site of the former Ambassador Hotel where the Democratic presidential nominee was assassinated in 1968.

The campus is LA's third high-priced school in as many years following a national trend of so-called Taj Mahal schools, $100 million-plus campuses that boast both architectural panache and deluxe amenities.

The pricey schools have come during a sensitive period when the nation's second-largest school system is struggling to close a $640 million budget deficit. Some parents say education should come before fancy buildings.

Outrageous Statement of the Day

Several Illinois constituents tried to get Rep. Phil Hare to answer their questions about the constitutionality of the democrat's nationalized health care plan at a meeting in Springfield, IL on Saturday August 21, 2010. Hare told them their questions were "silly stuff."

Cartoon of the Day - 1 in 4

Today on Kresta - August23, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 23

4:00 – Jim Wallis vs. the Truth
It's almost an axiom of politics that the cover-up raises more questions than the crime. Ask Chuck Colson about that. In the case of Jim Wallis, oddly enough, we have no crime, but we definitely have had a cover-up. Quick background: Half-way through a July 17 WORLD column Marvin Olasky mentioned that in 2004 Sojourners, Jim's organization, received $200,000 from billionaire George Soros, a financier of left-wing groups that push for abortion, atheism, bigger government, and other causes. He had a printout of a page from the website of the Open Society Institute-Soros is OSI's founder, funder, and chairman-showing the grant. It didn't seem to me like any big deal: Of course Soros would see the religious left as important in drawing evangelical votes away from a conservative embrace. Of course Jim would take the money in pursuit of his aims. So I was surprised by Jim's reaction when Wallis exploded "It's not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I'm sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don't receive money from Soros." Marvin is here to explain.

4:20 – Fugitive Christians in Afghanistan
On a dusty residential street in western Kabul, goats rummage through heaps of trash and a boy waits for a kite of colorful tissue paper caught in a tree to fall. In a safe house nearby, a man in his 30s named Najib is waiting also. He and his children-ages 9-14-have holed up here for over a week, unsure where to go next. Najib has been a fugitive for over a month, caught in a crackdown against the country's tiny Christian minority. After an Afghan television station in May broadcast videotape of a baptism and prayer service, Christians like Najib (not his real name) have been the target of government wrath-apparently caught in a political tug of war. Mindy Belz of WORLD Magazine has been in Afghanistan reporting on the war on Christians. She joins us.

4:40 – The Stoneholding / The Darkling Fields of Arvon
In The Stoneholding, Anderson and Sebanc introduced us to the compelling world of Ahn Norvys. Now, in Darkling Fields of Arvon, the addictive story continues in an action-filled quest with the fate of this complex world hanging in the balance. Narrated with authority and replete with engaging characters, this terrific second installment is well worth the read. We talk to Canadian Catholic novelist Mark Sebanc.

5:00 – President Obama’s Unconventional Faith Profile
The recent poll by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is generating much discussion over its provocative finding that an increasing number of Americans (nearly one in five) believe that President Obama is a Muslim. The survey was completed before Obama's recent comments endorsing the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. While this no doubt is a fascinating development, consuming most media coverage of the poll, and unprecedented in presidential history, the figure of greater interest to me -and not surprising- is the percentage of Americans unsure about whether Obama is a Christian, or, more generally, about his faith at all. Paul Kengor is here to discuss.

5:20 – Kresta Comments

5:40 – Jim Wallis vs. the Truth
It's almost an axiom of politics that the cover-up raises more questions than the crime. Ask Chuck Colson about that. In the case of Jim Wallis, oddly enough, we have no crime, but we definitely have had a cover-up. Quick background: Half-way through a July 17 WORLD column Marvin Olasky mentioned that in 2004 Sojourners, Jim's organization, received $200,000 from billionaire George Soros, a financier of left-wing groups that push for abortion, atheism, bigger government, and other causes. He had a printout of a page from the website of the Open Society Institute-Soros is OSI's founder, funder, and chairman-showing the grant. It didn't seem to me like any big deal: Of course Soros would see the religious left as important in drawing evangelical votes away from a conservative embrace. Of course Jim would take the money in pursuit of his aims. So I was surprised by Jim's reaction when Wallis exploded "It's not hyperbole or overstatement to say that Glenn Beck lies for a living. I'm sad to see Marvin Olasky doing the same thing. No, we don't receive money from Soros." Marvin is here to explain.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cartoon of the Day - Back to School

Outrageous Statement of the Day

On the 18 August 2010 edition of CNN's Larry King Live, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons insinuates that Christians were responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing.

Today on Kresta - August 20, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 19

Live From the Iowa State Fair with KWKY - Catholic Radio for DesMoines, IA

4:00 – Revelations: Stories of Redemption and Hope
Liz Carl was 17 when she was raped. She felt violated all over again when she discovered she was pregnant. She said “It was not only ridiculous attempting to tell my mom and family, who believed me and helped me, but it was almost funny how many people I told who told other people I was lying, ‘because I got caught.’ I can't even explain how awful everything was for me. I wanted to die -- I just couldn't find the strength to do it.” But she did find God’s strength and she is here to tell her story.

4:20 – Debating the Mosque at Ground Zero
Archbishop Timothy Dolan, spiritual leader to New York City's two million Catholics, is urging "respectful discussion" from all parties locked in debate over plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero, and he said he prays a responsible decision will be reached regarding the mosque's final location. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Dolan said he hopes any decision will respect the viewpoint of those who oppose an Islamic Center so close to the site of the fallen Twin Towers but will also protect the exercise of religious freedom. We have a pre-recorded news package explaining the issues involved and will follow that package with a live debate with Robert Spencer of JihadWatch.com and Dowad Walid of the Center for American Islamic Relations.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Roads to Rome: A Guide to Notable Converts from Britain and Ireland from the Reformation to the Present Day
To be a Christian is to be a convert. The word “convert” applies in a real sense both to cradle-born Catholics and to those, traditionally regarded as converts, who become Catholics as adults. The Catholic Church is the divinely established framework of the program of a conversion, which Christ presented as a thorough change of mind and heart (metanoia). John Beaumont is here to summarize the lives of notable converts from Britain and Ireland and explain (by reference to quotations from their writings) why they entered the Catholic Church. These reasons were many.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One month for the beatification of Cardinal Newman

Belgian Appeals Court: Police Raid on Church Headquarters Was Illegal

In the absence of an official statement from Belgium's judiciary, the lawyer for the Archdiocese of Brussels-Mechelen announced the court's decision that the police raids of the archbishop's offices and Cardinal Danneel's residence in June were unlawful.

The surprise search of the archdiocesan headquarters and other Church properties, called "Operation Chalice" by local authorities, took place on June 24. Police evidently sought to uncover evidence that the Church had willingly hidden information about clerical sex abuse cases.

In an Aug. 13 press conference, noting silence from the appeals court concerning its decision, the Belgian Bishops Conference announced the court's ruling that the search was illegal.

A statement from the archdiocese said that Fernand Keuleneer, the attorney for the archdiocese, was surprised by the prosecution's silence on the decision, especially after the press was, as he put it, so "welcome" during and following the search. The lawyer did, however, concede that the court had no legal obligation to disclose its decision.

As a result of the court's ruling, the items seized, which consist mostly of boxes of files from the now-defunct Interdiocesan Commission on Sexual Abuse and their computers, must be returned and the dossiers from the local judicial investigation must be destroyed.

The bishops expressed their hope that confidence would be restored following this ruling. The new Belgian Bishop's Conference spokesman J├╝rgen Mettepenningen also said that the bishops are exploring how to best help victims at this point.

As for the original scope of the search, Keuleneer told Vatican Radio this week that its "substance" is still rather unclear. The search was on such a large scale "that one asks himself if there were concrete, specific elements (to it), or if the scope wasn't rather that of going in 'blind' hoping to find something …"

Archbishop Dolan offers to mediate Ground Zero Mosque dispute

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, spiritual leader to New York City's two million Catholics, is urging "respectful discussion" from all all parties locked in debate over plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero, and he said he prays a responsible decision will be reached regarding the mosque's final location.

Speaking to reporters today, Dolan said he hopes any decision will respect the viewpoint of those who oppose an Islamic Center so close to the site of the fallen Twin Towers but will also protect the exercise of religious freedom.

Dolan said New York has " a great record of welcoming people... of coming together to deal with issues in a constructed, dignified way."

He said he would be happy to be included in any future dialogue.

“My major prayer is that what has turned into somewhat of a divisive issue might develop into an occasion of very civil, rational, loving, respectful discussion," the Archbishop said.

Another One Bites the Dust

An English Catholic adoption agency has lost its legal appeal against new rules requiring equal treatment for same-sex couples. The ruling will likely cause the closing of England’s remaining Catholic adoption agency.

Catholic Care, which has provided adoption services for over 100 years, had challenged regulations requiring all adoption agencies to place children with homosexual couples. While other Church-administered agencies bowed out of adoption services when the the Equality Act went into effect in December 2009, Catholic Care lodged a legal appeal, claiming exemption from the same-sex adoption on the grounds of religious principle.

Earlier this year, the High Court had sided with Catholic Care, ordering the Charity Commission to give the Catholic agency an opportunity to justify its policies.

After reconsidering the case, however, the Charity Commission ruled that the Catholic agency is legally obliged to place children with homosexual couples. Andew Hind, the head of the commission, explained that “because the prohibition on such discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law, such discrimination can only be permitted in the most compelling circumstances.” He added: “We have concluded that in this case the reasons Catholic Care have set out do not justify their wish to discriminate.”

Catholic Care issued a statement indicating that it was “very disappointed” with the decision. The group “will now consider whether there is any one way in which the charity can continue to support families seeking to adopt children in need,” the statement said.

Cartoon of the Day - Going Home

Today on Kresta - August 19, 2010

Talking about the "things that matter most" on Aug. 19

Live From the Iowa State Fair with KWKY - Catholic Radio for DesMoines, IA

4:00 – Revelations: Stories of Redemption and Hope
Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, "I think your mother should have been able to abort you."? It's like saying, "If I had my way, you'd be dead right now." And that is the reality with which Rebecca Kiessling lives with every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life "except in cases of rape" because she was conceived in rape and absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when she was an unborn child. She is here to tell her story.

4:30 – What Can We Learn From the Fiasco That Was the Blago Trial?
A jury this week found ousted Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich guilty on one count of making false statements to federal officials, but was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on 23 other counts. Blagojevich faced 24 counts in the wide-ranging corruption case including racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud and attempted extortion. U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he intends to declare a mistrial on the undecided counts. Prosecutors have until Sept 7 to seek a retrial of the case. U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told reporters he will seek to retry the case. The allegations against Blagojevich included an attempt to sell or barter the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. We talk to Mark Bonner about what we can learn from the Blago fiasco.

4:40 - Iran, Nukes, Israel and Preemption
Israel has "eight days" to launch a military strike against Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant, a former US envoy to the UN has said. Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia's help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant's core. At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians. Absent an Israeli strike, Bolton said, "Iran will achieve something that no other opponent of Israel, no other enemy of the United States in the Middle East really has and that is a functioning nuclear reactor.” Gary Bauer is here to discuss Iran, Israel and nuclear war.

5:00 – August 15, 2010: Ex Corde Ecclesia Turns 20
On August 15, 1990, Pope John Paul II responded to the decades-long crisis in Catholic higher education by issuing the apostolic constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae. The document, which has the binding effect of Church law, was the first official Catholic Church document defining the essential relationship between Catholic institutions of higher education and the Church. Inspired by the message of Ex corde Ecclesiae, Patrick J. Reilly and other recent Catholic college graduates founded The Cardinal Newman Society in 1993 to seek the faithful implementation of the apostolic constitution in the United States. Patrick and David House, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Higher Education are here to discuss the 20th anniversary of Ex Corde Ecclesia.

5:40 – Ave Maria University Football Program off the Ground
In February, Ave Maria University announced that it would become the first college in Southwest Florida to field a football team, with an ambitious launch date of fall 2011 for the team’s first game. AMU also hired Barry Fagan, a former Penn State football player and NCAA Division II head coach, will become the school’s first head football coach. “In many respects, football helps to build character,” Ave Maria chancellor Thomas S. Monaghan said in a press release. “As a team sport, the players must learn to work together and trust each other — both on and off the field — in order to succeed. Football also teaches discipline and the importance of hard work in the pursuit of a common goal.” Coach Fagan joins us to discuss the progress of the AMU football program.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Poll: Majority of Women Say It's Too Easy to Get an Abortion

Nearly half (48%) of U.S. voters continue to believe that an abortion is too easy to obtain in this country, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Fifteen percent (15%) say it’s too hard to get an abortion in America, and 23% think the level of difficulty is about right. Fourteen percent (14%) are not sure.

This is in line with findings on this question in surveys for over four years now.

Women (53%) feel more strongly than men (42%) that abortions are too easy to get.

Unchanged over the years is the belief held by 54% that abortion is morally wrong most of the time. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree, and 14% more are undecided.

Again, 58% of women believe that abortion is morally wrong in most cases, compared to 49% of men.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of all voters describe themselves as pro-choice, while 43% say they are pro-life. Ninety-one percent (91%) of pro-life voters say abortion is morally wrong most of the time, but 61% of those who are pro-choice do not share that view.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on August 11-12, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95%level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Sixty-one percent (61%) of voters say abortion is at least somewhat important as an issue in terms of how they will vote in November, with 33% who say it is Very Important. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say it’s not very or not at all important to them as a voting issue.

But in terms of overall voter interest, abortion ranks well below 10 other issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports including the economy, government ethics and immigration.

Pro-life voters, however, are twice as likely as those who are pro-choice to say abortion as an issue is important to how they vote this fall.

Forty percent (40%) of voters trust Democrats more when it comes to the abortion issue, while 37% trust Republicans more. Twenty-three percent (23%) aren’t sure.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of pro-choice voters trust Democrats more. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those who are pro-life have more confidence in the GOP.