Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Have Catholics 'Contracepted' Away Their Schools?

Father Timothy Sauppé of the Diocese of Peoria is none too happy about being the pastor responsible for closing his 103-year-old parish school. So, according to his bold commentary that originally appeared at the Bellarmine Forum, Father has a unique response to the alumnus who complains to him about the closing:
I put my hands up to quiet him from further talking, and I calmly said, “Let me ask you a question: How many kids did you have?” He said, “Two.” Then I said, “So did everyone else. When you only have two kids per family, there is no growth.” His demeanor changed, and then he dropped his head and said, “And they aren’t even going to Mass anymore.”
Amid all the reasons given for declining enrollment in Catholic schools, especially in urban areas, Father Sauppé offers a unique but quite reasonable one: the Culture of Death that has claimed about as many Catholic children as non-Catholic ones.
Upon the closing of his school, Father Sauppé says he wrote his bishop:
Bishop, it is with a heavy heart that I request this of you. As you know, priests were not ordained to be closing grade schools, but we were ordained to be Christ in the midst of sorrow and pain, which will be happening as we come to accept both your decision and the inevitable fact that St. Mary’s Grade School is no longer viable. The efficient cause is simple….no children. The first cause is the habitual contraception and sterilization mentality of a good portion of married Catholic Christians–in short the Culture of Death. The final cause is the closure of Catholic Schools and parishes. Bishop, we need your leadership to address the contraception/abortion/sterilization mentality in as forceful a way as soon as possible.
Father Sauppé encourages priests to preach against contraception and abortion, perhaps slowly reversing the damage done because of past reluctance to address thorny issues:
I am reminded of a diocesan official in his talk to us young pro-life, pro-family priests twenty years ago. He said, “Yes, you can preach against abortion and contraception, but remember, you have to put a roof over your churches.” Now, our diocese is closing and merging these same parishes, but you know what—they all have good roofs. 
...Having grown up in the 60‘s and 70‘s with many “Don’t call me Father” Priests, I knew that the problem was a lack of orthodoxy. Twenty years ago when I was ordained, I thought that if I just preached the faith and celebrated a solemn Sunday Mass people would turn around. But, after twenty years, my experience is that a few parishioners will write letters to the Bishop, some will leave murmuring, but the standard fare is benign indifference. Instead of encountering joy and submission to the Natural Law and the Church’s teaching on human life and its dignity, I have found Catholic Christians either complacent or complicit with the Culture of Death. It was reported that over fifty percent of Catholics voted for a pro-abortion president who at a recent Texas Planned Parenthood convention asked God to bless them. If I have found any fruit, it has mostly come from home-schooling families.
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Military Censors Christian Chaplain, Atheists Call for Punishment

by Ken Klukowski 24 Jul 2013  

A Christian chaplain in the military is being officially censored for engaging in free speech, and anti-Christian activists are demanding he be punished.  

Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes is a Christian chaplain currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. As an ordained clergyman whose duties are to provide religious instruction and spiritual counseling, he has a page on the base’s website called “Chaplain’s Corner.”

Reyes recently wrote an essay entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” This common saying is attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when President Dwight D. Eisenhower said during a 1954 speech: "I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes."

As reported by Fox News’s Todd Starnes, when Reyes referenced this famous line in his essay, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”

MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’s “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.” They accuse him of violating military regulations.

My legal research on this issue uncovered no regulation prohibiting Reyes’ speech, which looks like expression protected by the free speech and religious freedom provisions of the First Amendment. Military leaders did not respond to Fox’s inquiries asking the Air Force to identify any such rules.
Nonetheless, only five hours after MRFF’s complaint, the essay was removed from the website. Duffy has profusely apologized to MRFF for not stopping this religious leader from sharing religious thoughts.

But this response—which again appears to be a violation of Reyes’s First Amendment rights—is insufficient for MRFF. They said, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same,” and, “Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately punished.” (Emphasis added).

So MRFF is saying that the coercive power of government must be used to punish a military officer, who is also an ordained Christian minister, for making ordinary religious references consistent with his faith...

Read the rest here.

Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is senior fellow for religious liberty at the Family Research Council and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.

Gardasil Destroys Girl’s Ovaries: Research on Ovaries Never Considered

Article By: Heidi Stevenson
The Liberty Beacon

One girl’s ovaries were destroyed, with Gardasil the only potential cause. Worse, though, is that Merck either didn’t bother to examine potential effects on ovaries or hid them—but did examine effects on testes.


The BMJ has published the case report of a healthy 16-year-old Australian girl whose womanhood appears to have been stolen by Gardasil vaccinations. She has been thrust into full-fledged menopause, her ovaries irrevocably shut down, before becoming a woman. The authors, Deirdre Therese Little and Harvey Rodrick Grenville Ward1, draw direct attention to the fact that, though the girl has been thoroughly examined and tested, there is no known explanation other than the series of three Gardasil vaccinations she had.

Making matters worse is that there may be many other such cases, but most are likely masked by the routine treatment of irregular or scanty menstruation with oral contraceptives. Indeed, it’s only because this girl refused them that the truth of her situation was unmasked. Just how many other girls have lost their chance at motherhood, but don’t know because their condition is masked?

The authors noted that, although the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) of Australia provides data on the histology of rat testes and epididymides in the Australian Public Assessment Report for Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine*, no information is provided for rat ovaries. They sent a Freedom of Information request for “documented rat ovarian histology post-quadrivalent* HPV vaccination that may have been performed by the sponsor and forwarded to the TGA”.
*Note: There is only one “quadrivalent HPV Vaccine”. It’s Gardasil.

Here is their report of this highly significant missing data:
It is not known whether this event of premature ovarian failure is linked to the quadrivalent  HPV vaccine. More detailed information concerning rat ovarian hist-ology and ongoing fecundity post-HPV vaccination was sought from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Although the TGA’s Australian Public Assessment Report for Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine, February 2011, does report on the histology of vaccinated rat testes and epididymides, no histological report has been available for vaccinated rat ovaries. 
The TGA subsequently agreed to a freedom of information application in the public interest (FOI 001-1112) requesting documented rat ovarian histology post-quadrivalent HPV vaccination that may have been performed by the sponsor and forwarded to the TGA. However, a histological report of the ovaries of vaccinated rats remained unavailable beyond a numbering of the corpora lutea present at postweaning euthanasia following the first litter.
Why did the manufacturer provide information regarding male rat testes, but not for female rat ovaries? This is more than a little shocking. It’s absolutely damning! We must question the sincerity of both the manufacturer, Merck, and the TGA—not to mention questioning other regulatory agencies, such as the US’s FDA and the UK’s MHRA.

Read the rest here.

Potential Gardasil Risk to Ovaries

Is it conceivable that Merck didn’t consider the possibility of harm to the ovaries? In point of fact, it’s unreasonable to suggest that they were unaware of potential harm to ovaries. At least one Gardasil ingredient, polysorbate 80 (also called by brand names Tween 80, Alkest, and Canarcel), is a known cause of ovarian deformities, degenerative follicles, hormonal changes, and womb and vaginal changes in rats2,3. Worse, that ovarian damage is known to be caused by injection of polysorbate 80—just as it’s injected with Gardasil.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - July 30, 2013

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

Guest Hosts Bruce and Kris McGregor

4:00 – Pope Francis Calls Us to Shake Up the World
Pope Francis had many challenges to the 3 million attendees of World Youth Day and to all reading his messages around the world. Joseph Pearce is here to talk about Pope Francis through the lens of his own life experience.

4:40 – Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness
Deacon James Keating's newest book, Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness affirms that the sharing of hearts is a necessary commitment in both marriage and prayer. If we can learn what the key elements to sharing the heart are and equally what the key elements to receiving the heart of another are, then we will know the greatest of intimacy in both prayer and marriage. In fact, we cannot even understand what marriage is unless we look at how Christ loved His Bride, the Church, till the end. Deacon Keating is here to discuss marriage as a deep partnership with Christ

5:00 – World Youth Day Recap – Through the Eyes of a Bishop
Bishop James Conley accompanied the youth of his Diocese for a week of inspiration, messages and challenges from Pope Francis during World Youth Day in Rio. He joins us today to share the experience and the words of Pope Francis that will stay with him. 

5:20 – Examining the Pope’s Messages at World Youth Day
Despite a week of talks, homilies, and challenges to the youth of the world, the mainstream media has reduced World Youth Day to a response of the Holy Father to one question a reporter asked him. We discussed the incredible misreporting on the Pope’s discussion of homosexuality on yesterday’s show, so today we talk about the REAL messages Pope Francis wanted to leave us with. Matthew Bunson does just that.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - July 29, 2013

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

4:00 – Two Hours of Delving Into

1)               Pope Francis Changes Church Teaching on Gay Priests?

2)               Fort Hood Shooter Declares Islam and America are at War

3)               FOX News Anchor Lauren Green Blows it When Interviewing Muslim Author

4)               Jackie Robinson and Trayvon Martin

Pope says he'd rather trust God than live in bullet-proof bubble

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BRAZIL (CNS) -- With a few Vatican police standing at attention in the very back of the Alitalia plane flying him back to Rome, Pope Francis told reporters about his security even before being asked.

"My security staff is very, very good and now they are letting me do a little bit more," but they must do their jobs, which is to protect him, he said.

Beginning his first news conference as pope with a review of his July 22-28 stay in Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis said it was "beautiful" and "spiritually it did me good."

"I am tired, but happy," he said, explaining that the joy of the Brazilian people and the happiness of millions of young people gathered in Rio de Janeiro rubbed off on him. And that was partially because he actually had an opportunity to be up close and personal.

But he also acknowledged that all that close contact made some people nervous.

Driving into Rio de Janeiro July 22, the pope's car was mobbed by a crowd, yet the pope insisted throughout the trip on riding in a popemobile with open sides and wading into crowds to bless or hug people and kiss babies.

The pope said, "The climate was spontaneous," just as he'd hoped. "With less security I could be with the people, embrace them, greet them without armored cars."

"Security lies in trusting people. It's true that there's always the danger that a crazy person will try to do something, but there's also the Lord," he said. Sealing off a bishop behind bullet proof glass "is also craziness," but he said he prefers the craziness of trust.

Pope Francis told reporters it is true that sometimes he feels trapped inside the Vatican; he thinks Rome is a beautiful city and would really like to be able to go for a walk.

(Read the original article here.)

Pope Francis' farewell: "I will always place my hopes in young people"

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday evening delivered his goodbye speech to all those present at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeao Airport gathered to see him on his way and to say “farewell”.

Brazilian President Dilma Roussef headed the delegation of political and civil authorities together with a numerous contingent of Cardinals and Bishops of the nation.

In his address, Pope Francis thanked the President, his brother Bishops and their collaborators, and the entire population of Brazil for making this week “a splendid celebration of the richness and joy of our faith in Jesus Christ”.

And he expressed his gratitude for the work of event organizers and media operators. And in particular he said his “gratitude goes to the many people who prayed, often in silence and simplicity for this World Youth Day to be an authentic experience of growth in faith”.

But above all – Pope Francis said – “my thoughts turn to those who are at the heart of these celebrations: the young people!” . “Many of you came here as disciples” – he continued – “I have no doubt that all of you will leave as missionaries”.

And he urged them to help build a civilization of love: “Show, by your life, that it is worth giving your time and talents in order to attain high ideals, it is worth recognizing the dignity of each human person, and it is worth taking risks for Christ and the Gospel”.

“I will always place my hopes in the young people of Brazil” – Pope Francis said – “and in the young around the world: through them, Christ is preparing a new springtime all over the earth”.

The Pope concluded his farewell speech turning his thoughts to Our Lady of Aparecida and imploring Mary to strengthen all Brazilians in the Christian faith.

Please find below the full text of the Pope's discourse at the Farewell Ceremony:

Text from page
of the Vatican Radio website

George Zimmerman, the Media and the Search for the Great White Racist

Coverage of the George Zimmerman trial gives ample demonstration that most of our agenda driven media today makes the facts fit the story and not the other way around. Cathy Young at Reason examines how the media has constantly attempted to falsely portray George Zimmerman as a white racist:

This narrative has transformed Zimmerman, a man of racially mixed heritage that included white, Hispanic and black roots (a grandmother who helped raise him had an Afro-Peruvian father), into an honorary white male steeped in white privilege. It has cast him as a virulent racist even though he once had a black business partner, mentored African-American kids, lived in a neighborhood about 20 percent black, and participated in complaints about a white police lieutenant’s son getting away with beating a homeless black man.

This narrative has perpetuated the lie that Zimmerman’s history of calls to the police indicates obsessive racial paranoia. Thus, discussing the verdict on the PBS NewsHour, University of Connecticut professor and New Yorker contributor Jelani Cobb asserted that “Zimmerman had called the police 46 times in previous six years, only for African-Americans, only for African-American men.” Actually, prior to the call about Martin, only four of Zimmerman’s calls had to do with African-American men or teenage boys (and two of them were about individuals who Zimmerman thought matched the specific description of burglary suspects). Five involved complaints about whites, and one about two Hispanics and a white male; others were about such issues as a fire alarm going off, a reckless driver of unknown race, or an aggressive dog.

In this narrative, even Zimmerman’s concern for a black child—a 2011 call to report a young African-American boy walking unsupervised on a busy street, on which the police record notes, “compl[ainant] concerned for well-being”—has been twisted into crazed racism. Writing on the website of The New Republic, Stanford University law professor Richard Thompson Ford describes Zimmerman as “an edgy basket case” who called 911 about “the suspicious activities of a seven year old black boy.” This slander turns up in other left-of-center sources, such as

Go here to read the rest. Most of the media today is as slavishly devoted to the ideological left in this country as were the ”news” organs of Isvestia and Pravda in the old Soviet Union to the Communist Party. When reality conflicts with their preferred ideology, so much the worse for reality as far as most of the media is concerned.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Liberal Ideologues Watching Classic Movies

Church of the Masses

I resonated with so much of this piece by Joseph Schaeffer. Especially loved this:
“Those of us who don’t see a need to redefine the family or male and female sex roles and the like can easily view a classic film and enjoy it for what it is. We don’t feel a burning need to judge the past by the standards of today, since we largely reject those new standards. The modern liberal is absolutely incapable of this. Liberal individualists achingly search for their personal message in older films and demand it in new films. Thus they are utterly incapable of enjoying the Golden Era of Filmmaking and at the same time are actively contributing to the flat-out mediocrity of contemporary movies.”
I remember back in my film school years at Northwestern constantly being subjected to the same kind of weird skewed lens with which so many of my nostalgic-Marxist professors filtered every movie. In the exhausting and ridiculous way in which everything for the Boomer generation was about politics, for the geriatric hippies teaching us, every movie was a political entity that either had masked references to queerness or else was suffused with institutionalized poisons of patriarchy, theocracy (liberal “coding” for Christianity) or capitalist swine-ness....

Schaeffer’s article had me musing once again about the difference between ideology and philosophy. Philosophy, is the love of wisdom. It is the humble desire to receive reality and to penetrate its meaning. Ideology is the love of a particular idea. The central idea imposes itself on reality and makes all perception conform to itself. Leftist liberalism is an ideology. It sees what it wants to see regardless of whether the thing it is seeing is really there or not. Liberalism decides that Zimmerman is a racist and blocks out that Zimmerman’s business partner is black, and the girl he tok to the high school prom was black, and that Zimmerman himself is a person of color. Ideology insists that everything that doesn’t fit the narrative must be blocked out. I was perpetually frustrated by this attitude in film school because it stifled all debate. The professors started with the notion that every movie made by a man – except, you know, the Soviet-era filmmakers! – was infected with patriarchy. It was there for them because IT HAD to be there.

Ideology was the stuff of the murderous French Revolution mobs. Philosophy was the stuff of the liberty-seeking drivers of the American Revolution.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jesus’ Cross Invites Us to Be Smitten by His Love, Pope Says

The Holy Father addressed the faithful at the Way of the Cross.

 National Catholic Register

RIO DE JANEIRO — The cross of Christ is an invitation for us to fall in love with him and to then reach out and help our neighbors, Pope Francis said today at the conclusion of the Way of the Cross at World Youth Day.

Father John Paul Zeller/ EWTN
Pilgrims carry WYD cross to the altar during the opening
Mass of World Youth Day July 23.
– Father John Paul Zeller/ EWTN
“The cross of Christ invites us also to allow ourselves to be smitten by his love, teaching 
us always to look upon others with mercy and tenderness,” the Pope prayed July 26 on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro.
“Especially those who suffer, who are in need of help, who need a word or a concrete action, which requires us to step outside ourselves to meet them and to extend a hand to them.”
World Youth Day’s Stations of the Cross stretched across a mile of Brazilian beachfront, concluding at the stage from which Pope Francis address the crowd of faithful.
The reflections for the devotion were written by two members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, Fathers Zezinho and Joaozinho, who are known in Brazil for their commitment to youth ministry.
Pope Francis began by calling the Way of the Cross an accompaniment of “Jesus on his journey of sorrow and love” and “one of the most intense moments of World Youth Day.”
He recalled that the World Youth Day cross was entrusted to the young people of the world by Blessed John Paul II in 1984. It has traveled throughout Brazil since the last World Youth Day, preparing the country for to be the destination for millions of pilgrims.
“No one can approach and touch the cross of Jesus without leaving something of himself or herself there and without bringing something of the cross of Jesus into his or her own life,” Pope Francis said.
He addressed three questions to the pilgrims, which he hoped “will echo in your hearts”: What have you left on the cross? What has Jesus’ cross left for you? And what does his cross teach us?
Whatever we leave on the cross--“our fears, our problems and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful”--Jesus “walks with us” and takes it upon himself, Pope Francis assured the pilgrims.

Read the rest:

Abortion rights activists vandalize cathedral in Chile


A side altar vandalized with blasphemous graffiti in Santiago de Chile's cathedral, July 25, 2013.
Credit: @ Kangrejo.
.- Abortion activists interrupted Mass at the Cathedral of the Chilean capital Santiago the evening of July 25, destroying confessionals and defaming several side altars with blasphemous graffiti.

“We were celebrating the feast of St. James the Apostle, with the mayor in attendance, and offering thanks to so many Catholics who serve the public, in an atmosphere of peace and recollection when protestors suddenly came in,” said Bishop Pedro Ossandón Buljevic, an auxiliary bishop of the Santiago de Chile archdiocese.

“The truth is that we are always for dialogue, for civilized debate.  We believe in the God-given gift of reason.”

“Therefore we invite everyone to protest in whichever way they wish, but that they do so with respect for the law, for democracy, and the for the dignity of others.”

Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello was saying Mass on the eve of the feast of St. James, the city's patron and namesake, when the activists unexpectedly stormed the cathedral at the conclusion of a pro-abortion march.

Abortion is illegal in Chile, even in cases of rape. Of the country's population, around 85 percent is Christian.

The current government opposes liberalization of abortion access. Last year, Chile's senate rejected three bills easing the absolute ban, the Associated Press reports.

The faithful present at the Mass, including Santiago’s mayor, Carolina Toha, prevented the activists from reaching the main altar.

 Read the rest here.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How the charismatic movement conquered Brazil

Within the next two decades Brazil may no longer be a Catholic-majority nation

By on Friday, 26 July 2013
Catholic Herald
Rio Archbishop Tempesta preaches at the foot of Christ the Redeemer (CNS)
Rio Archbishop Tempesta preaches at the foot of Christ the Redeemer (CNS)
The Christian landscape that Pope Francis is encountering this week in Brazil is marked by three great interrelated trends: Catholic decline, Pentecostal growth and pentecostalisation. After almost four centuries of enjoying a de jure monopoly on religion and a de facto one in many countries until the 1950s, the Church in Brazil and most of Latin America has been in sharp decline since the middle of the 20th century. As recently as the 1940s, 99 per cent of Brazilians were Catholic. Today that figure has plummeted to 63 per cent.....

And so it is within this context of precipitous decline that the cardinals chose a Latin American confrere as Pope. Having written off a major attempt to revitalise the Church in Europe and having realised the dynamism of the faith in Africa and Asia, Church leaders strategically opted to focus on the region that with 42 per cent of the world’s Catholic population holds the key to future growth. Thus, in addition to Brazil figuring as the paramount country for the global Church, competition from Pentecostalism is the most compelling religious factor that has shifted the Vatican’s focus to Brazil and Latin America.

The great majority of the Church’s losses have been to burgeoning Pentecostalism. Since the 1950s tens of millions of mostly impoverished Latin Americans have converted to Pentecostal denominations such as the Assembly of God and the Brazil-based God is Love (Deus é Amor). The astronomical growth rate is captured in the inverse of the aforementioned numbers on Catholic decline in Brazil. From the 1940s the Protestant percentage of the Brazilian population skyrocketed from one to 22 per cent, of which approximately three quarters are Pentecostal.

Pentecostalism with its Spirit-centred worship has become so popular in Brazil and most of Latin America that even 10 years ago I wrote of a pentecostalised Christianity in my book, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy. What this means specifically is that Pentecostal-style theology, complete with faith healing, exorcism and the health and wealth gospel, has become hegemonic....

Over in the Catholic camp, the Church’s own version of Pentecostalism, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR), has quickly become the most vibrant movement within the Brazilian Church and many others in Latin America. Like Pentecostalism, the CCR is an import from the US, arriving in the region in the late 1960s and early 1970s. And while contemporaneous Liberation Theology failed to appeal to the Brazilian and Latin American Catholic masses in any significant numbers, the CCR packs football stadiums for its evangelical crusades and even conducts Pentecostal and Mormon-style door-to-door proselytising in many countries....

If the Vatican’s new evangelisation campaign is to have any chance at revitalising the faith in Brazil and Latin America it must harness the spirited dynamism of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which is especially popular among young people. And it was exactly Catholic youth whom the Argentine Pontiff put front and centre in his first speech on Brazilian soil. Twice in his opening remarks he called on them to “go and make disciples of all nations”. Francis has already revealed his affinity for charismatic practice with his recent informal exorcism of a Mexican parishioner who claimed to be possessed by evil spirits related to the legalisation of abortion in Mexico City, home to the largest Catholic population of any metropolis on earth. Thus Brazil will make a fascinating stage upon which Francis will be challenged to combine the Latin American preference for the Spirit with his option for the poor.

Read the rest here.

R Andrew Chesnut is Bishop Walter F Sullivan Chair in Catholic Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University.


The Huma Unmentionables

Published Friday, July 26, 2013 A.D. | By Donald R. McClarey
The American Catholic

As Anthony Weiner demonstrates that being a sociopath is not always an advantage in politics, Andrew McCarthy, who was the lead prosecutor in the successful prosecution of  Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, explains at National Review Online why Weiner’s wife is much more interesting than her “stand by her worthless man” routine indicates:

"Charlotte’s revulsion over Huma Abedin’s calculated “stand by your man” routine is surely right. Still, it is amazing, as we speculate about Ms. Abedin’s political future, that the elephant in the room goes unnoticed, or at least studiously unmentioned.

Sorry to interrupt the Best Enabler of a Sociopath Award ceremony but, to recap, Ms. Abedin worked for many years at a journal that promotes Islamic-supremacist ideology that was founded by a top al-Qaeda financier, Abdullah Omar Naseef. Naseef ran the Rabita Trust, a formally designated foreign terrorist organization under American law. Ms. Abedin and Naseef overlapped at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA) for at least seven years. Throughout that time (1996–2003), Ms. Abdein worked for Hillary Clinton in various capacities.


Ms. Abedin’s late father, Dr. Zyed Abedin, was recruited by Naseef to run the JMMA in Saudi Arabia. The journal was operated under the management of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a virulently anti-Semitic and sharia-supremacist organization. When Dr. Abedin died, editorial control of the journal passed to his wife, Dr. Saleha Mahmood Abedin — Huma’s mother.

Saleha Abedin is closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and to supporters of violent jihad. Among other things, she directs an organization – the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child. The IICWC, through its parent entity (the International Islamic Council for Dawa and Relief), is a component of the Union for Good (also known as the Union of Good), another formally designated terrorist organization. The Union for Good is led by Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the notorious Muslim Brotherhood jurist who has issued fatwas calling for the killing of American military and support personnel in Iraq as well as suicide bombings in Israel. (As detailed here, the Obama White House recently hosted Qaradawi’s principal deputy, Sheikh Abdulla bin Bayyah, who also endorsed the fatwa calling for the killing of U.S. troops and personnel in Iraq.)

Like Sheikh Qaradawi, who helped write the charter for the IICWC, Saleha Abedin is an influential sharia activist who has, for example, published a book called Women in Islam that claims man-made laws enslave women. It reportedly provides sharia justifications for such practices as female-genital mutilation, the death penalty for apostates from Islam, the legal subordination of women, and the participation of women in violent jihad. Dr. Abedin has nevertheless been hailed in the progressive press as a “leading voice on women’s rights in the Muslim world” (to quote Foreign Policy). What they never quite get around to telling you is that this means “women’s rights” in the repressive sharia context.

Back to daughter Huma. In the late mid to late Nineties, while she was an intern at the Clinton White House and an assistant editor at JMMA, Ms. Abedin was a member of the executive board of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) at George Washington University, heading its “Social Committee.” The MSA, which has a vast network of chapters at universities across North America, is the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s infrastructure in the United States. Obviously, not every Muslim student who joins the MSA graduates to the Brotherhood — many join for the same social and networking reasons that cause college students in general to join campus organizations. But the MSA does have an indoctrination program, which Sam Tadros describes as a lengthy process of study and service that leads to Brotherhood membership — a process “designed to ensure with absolute certainty that there is conformity to the movement’s ideology and a clear adherence to its leadership’s authority.” The MSA gave birth to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the largest Islamist organization in the U.S. Indeed the MSA and ISNA consider themselves the same organization. Because of its support for Hamas (a designated terrorist organization that is the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch), ISNA was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case, in which several Hamas operatives were convicted of providing the terrorist organization with lavish financing."

Read the rest here.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron bans liberal priest speech from Westland church

July 26, 2013

Fr. Helmut Schüller
Fr. Helmut Schüller 

Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron has banned an Austrian priest from speaking at a Westland Catholic parish today because the Rev. Helmut Schüller advocates allowing women and married men to be priests, in opposition to current church teaching.

Schüller was scheduled to speak at SS. Simon and Jude parish in Westland. But instead, his address, which is free and open to the public, will be held at Wayne Memorial High School. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. talk.

Schüller was also banned from speaking in Catholic churches in other areas of the U.S.

Speaking to the Free Press on Thursday, Schüller criticized Catholic leaders in Detroit and other cities for banning him from church property, saying that it reflects the very problem he’s trying to highlight — a leadership out of touch with the people.

“It reflects an old-fashioned system,” Schüller said by phone from Cleveland, where he was to speak Thursday night. “It’s behavior I cannot understand.”

Schüller said such actions show a “lack of respect for the ability of people to decide for themselves and make up their own mind.”
“It irritates me,” he said.

Last year, the Vatican stripped Schüller of the title “monsignor” because of his activism. Yet, he remains a working priest in Austria, where he teaches at a Catholic university.

The Austrian priest is touring 15 U.S. cities. Last week, he was banned from speaking at a Boston parish by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, and he was banned in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia because his views contradict Catholic teachings, according to published reports. Before he arrives in Detroit, Schüller was scheduled to speak in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and Cleveland at non-Catholic facilities. Schüller’s tour is being sponsored by several Catholic reform advocacy groups.

Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman Joe Kohn said Vigneron became aware of Schüller’s visit because of phone complaints the archdiocese received. Kohn said Vigneron’s decision was communicated in early July to SS. Simon and Jude pastor, the Rev. Gerry Bechard. Bechard did not return phone calls or e-mails for comment.

“What (Schüller) teaches is not in harmony with Catholic Church teachings in regard to women priests,” Kohn said. “We did receive a few calls when it was made known.”

Kohn said there are no prohibitions against Catholics discussing such issues, but “it was deemed that what he has preached on in the past is not in alliance with Catholic Church teaching.”

But Schüller said that the Catholic Church’s ban on women and married priests is a church order that can be lifted. It’s not an inherent part of the teachings of the Catholic Church, whose positions have varied over the centuries, he said. Church leaders “make a mistake” when they say these are “the teachings of the church.”

Read the rest here.

Contact Patricia Montemurri: Contact Niraj Warikoo:

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - July 26, 2013

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

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:40 – Laity Taking Co-Responsibility for the Church: The Great Marriage Challenge Tour
Although most of us realize that marriage is the building block of our society meaning that a lifelong marriage between a man and a woman is good for the couple, their children and society, and that many of the problems that we are facing are due to the breakup of marriage; the unfortunate reality for contemporary Americans is that virtually all of us have experienced divorce in some way: our parents, our own, our children, our close relatives and our friends. Regardless of the many attacks being waged on marriage today, Greg and Julie Alexander believe that our goal should be to support all couples in having thriving and joy-filled relationships. Yes, it is true that laws should uphold morality, and that making something legal doesn’t make it necessarily moral; but it is only through a change of hearts brought about by personal evangelization that our society will begin to change and be reshaped; bringing the Good News to as many couples as possible is the goal of the Great Marriage Challenge tour. The Alexanders are here to discuss their ministry and their tour.

5:00 - Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape Society in the 21st Century: Now in Paperback!
In recent years the Catholic Church has gone through turbulent times with the uncovering of horrible abuse. As a result many positive aspects of what the Catholic Church teaches and practices are now being overlooked, not just by the media, but by people in and out of the pews. This is not only unfortunate, but detrimental to society at large. As Bill Donohue makes plain, the Church’s teachings remain the best guide to good living ever adopted. Moreover, the content of these teachings defy today's typical ideological categorizations; the Church is decidedly conservative in matters of morality and compellingly liberal in social and economic affairs. Bill is here to tell us Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape Society in the 21st Century

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - July 25, 2013

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

4:00 – Scythian in Concert
Rousing and raucous, Scythian plays kicked-up Celtic and world music with hints of Gypsy and Klezmer, all infused with a touch of punk-rock sensibility. Take a pair of classically trained dueling fiddlers, toss in a rhythm guitar and the occasional funky accordion, then power it with the driving rhythm of a jazz percussionist, and you've got the ingredients for a show you won't soon forget. Their high-energy, adrenaline-peddling, interactive brand of music has one goal in mind: to get people on their feet and dancing. Their repertoire ranges from traditional and contemporary Celtic and folk music to the alluring and dramatic strains of Gypsy and Eastern European tunes, and then crosses back over the border to pick up some good old-fashioned bluegrass licks. Their latest release is It’s Not Too Late. We talk to band members Alexander and Danylo Fedoryka who are here in Ann Arbor for a concert.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – “Moms' Night Out”
All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms’ night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for three hours—what could go wrong? It’s a description of the film Moms’ Night Out - is an endearing true-to-life family comedy that celebrates the beautiful mess called parenting. Recently Ave Maria Radio was invited to visit the set of the film and Kathy Schiffer is here to share the experience.

5:40 – The College Hook-Up Culture’s Effect on Young Women
The NYTimes last week ran an article about the effect of the college hook-up culture on young women and their potential for happiness in life and relationships.  It is a poignant and painful look at what happens to a culture when it defines itself by its ability to produce instead of the quality of its character and depth of its relationships. The title of the article is, “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game Too.” The implication, of course, is that men have been having casual sex for centuries and it’s worked out OK for them, certainly women can succeed at the same game. Dr. Greg Popcak is here to analyze.

WYD Firing Up the Next Generation of the Faithful

Wednesday, July 24, 2013 2:29 PM               
Jeanette DeMelo
– Jeanette DeMelo                               
So Day 2 has come and gone, complete with the international premiere of our film The Blood & the Rose (or in Spanish La Sangre y La Rosa, as it is being shown down here with Portuguese subtitles.)

What was striking about the showing was that among the groups of those in attendance, a group from Sydney who did not speak either of those languages stayed for the entire film and were very much affected by its message, very excited to learn even more. They are ready to be Messenger Eagles, among the many hundreds of thousands of youth already here ready to go out and “make disciples of all nations,” the call from Pope Francis and WYD for all here.

One of the things that was most striking in our conversations following the film was the fervent desire of anyone we spoke with to stand up for life and for our faith, citing Our Lady of Guadalupe’s role as Patroness of Life. Back in Australia, they are among many who participate for 40 Days for Life and ask her intercession so that babies, born and unborn, will at least have the chance at life. And the great thing is that they will now know why, which, when coupled with the entire WYD experience, will better equip them to go back home and “be not afraid” to stand firm in their faith. And the Lord knows we need the youth to do that.

Finally, we took a stroll over to the opening Mass right on Copacabana beach, in which hundreds of thousands of people were gathered. I’m sure you have seen the imagery of the many flags and people, but it was in walking among these many people that you can just see and feel the love of God forming and strengthening our Church, as we all come together as one.

The Mass’ readings and music were in different languages, but it did not affect the participation of the many present. And knowing our call to spread the faith and make disciples of all nations, it was a glimpse of the future of our Church as it rests on the shoulders of the youth. May God strengthen and equip them in this mission.

Read more:

New Gates History Curriculum Closes Young Minds to God

Gates and Christian on Big History
Editor’s note: The photograph above depicts Bill Gates with Big History creator David Christian.
There seems to be no limit to the ambition of Bill Gates.
After making tens of billions in the personal computer revolution, Gates has become a full-time cheerleader for leftist causes on a global scale—whether it’s reducing carbon emissions to zero by mid-century or reducing the world population by spending billions to pay for contraceptives in poor countries.

Now Gates is hoping to transform education. The Microsoft co-founder has recently made headlines here and elsewhere for backing a new nationalized curriculum known as the Common Core. But his ambitions for education are even bigger. Gates has recently teamed up with historian David Christian to launch the Big History Project, a free online curriculum piloted last year in 55 high schools—45 in the United States, including four Catholic ones, and ten in other countries, from China to the Netherlands.

Big History lives up only to the first part of its name. It encompasses a 13.7 billion year-timeline in a bold effort to tell the entire history of the universe.

But it is not really history in any recognizable sense of the word. History traditionally takes as its starting point recorded history beginning with stories of Egyptian mummies and pyramids, or perhaps in the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia. Big History, on the other hand, begins with the Big Bang. The ten-unit course devotes nearly half its time to covering the formation of stars and the solar system, then turns to the birth of life and the appearance of the earliest humans, before arriving at history proper, in the seventh unit. It’s tailor-made for the attention-challenged student of today, with the typical unit featuring minutes-long video lectures, interactive exercises, and floridly illustrated articles.

Big History is thus really a blend of cosmology, astrophysics, geology, evolutionary biology, and anthropology. None of these disciplines is inherently anti-faith: the Catholic Church has long taught that evolution, as a science and not a philosophy, is not incompatible with belief in God. And the Big Bang, declaring as it does that the universe had a definite beginning and therefore a cause, is rich with theistic implications. (Little wonder, then, that the first person to propose the earliest version of the Big Bang theory was a Catholic priest, Monsignor Georges Lemaitre.)

The problem arises in how these disciplines are stitched together to tell what its advocates describe as a sweeping history of everything. In the first unit of the course, students are introduced to six ancient “origin stories”: Australian aboriginal, Chinese, Greek, Iroquois, Judeo-Christian, and Mayan—in that order. For the Greek one, students read from Hesiod’s Theogony. For the Judeo-Christian perspective, they read Genesis 1.

Such “origin stories” are broached only as a foil to Big History. “Big History is a modern version of all these stories,” David Christian explains in a video introducing the course. Christian is more explicit about the secular design behind Big History in his book, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. The author identifies the Christian account of creation as a “myth”:
Creation myths are powerful because they speak to our spiritual, psychic, and social need for a sense of place and a sense of belonging. Because they provide so fundamental a sense of orientation, they are often integrated into religious thinking at the deepest levels, as the Genesis story is within the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. (Maps of Time, 2).
The perceived need for a modern origin story, as Christian sees it, points to the broader ambition of Big History. It is not merely an account of the origin of all things. It aims, rather, to answer the big questions of life, which, according to Christian, include the following: “Why do we find ourselves in this particular part of the universe on this tiny planet buzzing with life?” “What does it mean to be human?” “Who am I? Where do I belong? What is the totality of which I am a part?” (See his video introduction to Big History available here and Maps of Time, 1.) Such questions are normally asked and answered by a ‘worldview,’ which is what Big History ultimately is—entirely bereft, of course, of the supposedly mythic trappings of old traditions.

As such, Big History itself is the latest chapter in the decades-long story of the secularization of public education, beginning in the 1960s, when public-school prayer and Bible readings were ruled unconstitutional. In the ensuing decades, social conservatives and traditional humanists have sought other ways of helping students find their moral and metaphysical bearings as they embark upon the stormy seas of moral relativism and cultural pluralism—creationism, intelligent design, values curricula, and character education. (Some obviously have more merit than others.)

Big History is a secular counteroffensive. The curriculum provides an entirely materialist account of the origin of everything from stars to cells to cities—impersonal processes, often catalyzed by chance, brought each into being. For example, in his book, Christian compares the gravitational forces that sculpted stars to the social forces that shaped states:
In the early universe, gravity took hold of atoms and sculpted them into stars and galaxies. In the era described in this chapter, we will see how, by a sort of social gravity, cities and states were sculpted from scattered communities of farmers. As farming populations gathered in larger and denser communities, interactions between different groups increased and the social pressure rose until in a striking parallel with star formation, new structures suddenly appeared, together with a new level of complexity. Like stars, cities and states reorganize and energize the smaller objects within their gravitational field. (Maps of Time, 245.)
It’s a neat analogy, but one that ignores the role of individuals and ideas, not to mention outside agents, such as God or Satan, from any role in human history. There simply is no need for any sort of transcendental reality in Big History: it presents a world closed in on itself, in which everything within can be explain by reference to something else within it. Big History does not explain the soul, the nature of good and evil, the virtues, the dignity of the human person, and, needless to say, our desire for the transcendent.

From Advocating Environmentalism to Economic Materialism

One is led to the inescapable conclusion that this earth and everything on it is all we have. Reducing climate change and conserving scarce resources then become the most important ethical priorities. Such is the stated goal of the curriculum at its outset: “This unified story provides students with a deeper awareness of our past, hopefully better preparing them to help shape the future of our fragile planet.” The message is reinforced at the end of the course. In one video, M. Sanjayan, a scientist with The Nature Conservancy and a CBS News commentator, tells students that, as the planet population swells to ten billion, every impact on the environment will have a ripple effect. Mindful of his young audience, M. Sanjayan adds, “We are starting to once again understand that nature, in some ways, is the ultimate social network and we humans are very much part of it.” As we realize the impact our activities have on nature, we can work collectively—on a planetary scale—to do something about it, Sanjayan concludes. The final unit even features a cartoon strip depicting superheroes that fight for sustainable alternative energy sources on an alien planet and has guidelines for an interactive classroom exercise in which humanity is prosecuted in a mock trial for crimes against nature.

The call to conserve scarce resources is a message that easily bleeds into economics. In another video, Harvard luminary Henry Louis Gates, Jr. marvels at the technological innovation and knowledge that will surely be ours in the future. He wonders if everyone will be able to share in such futuristic riches. “Or will some of us have disproportionate access to these resources? Will there be huge class differentials both here in the United States and throughout the world? Will there be a Third World of poverty and a First World of economic prosperity and economic development?” Gates asks. “That, I think, is the fundamental question facing your generation. And I have absolutely no doubt that you will make the right decision—about the distribution of wealth and knowledge.”

Of course, all this is not to say environmental conservation or extreme inequities in wealth are unimportant issues. Yet to give priority to some fashionable, and highly debatable, causes while diminishing others is not necessarily what a high school history curriculum is meant to do. Furthermore, any worldview that limits its top priorities to these is one with a flattened view of humanity and a diminished and uninspired understanding of our purpose on earth. It also implicitly assumes that belief in a new heaven and a new earth, to a life after this one, is unworthy of serious consideration. It seems that Big History actually may not be big enough.

Ignoring the Age of Faith

Of course, Big History advocates will stress that with a 13.7 billion timeline and just ten units, there’s only so much that can be covered. Even so, the course makes omissions that can only be the result of deliberate choices, not chronological necessities. For example, the ninth course unit covers a 500-year increment of time, from 1500 AD—naturally it’s CE (Common Era) in the curriculum materials—to the present. The preceding eighth unit focuses on the Silk Roads and other trade and travel that flourished between the 1300s and the 1500s. But between that unit and the one before it is a nearly millennium-long gap that begins with the fall of the Roman Empire. That’s the Middle Ages—when faith moved minds and empires, perhaps more so than economic interest. Of course, the crusades aren’t as relevant to today’s world as, say, the industrial revolution—or are they? In a post-September 11 world, ancient wounds seem ever new, as anyone living on the West Bank will tell you.

In his book, Christian openly admits his bias against anything in history that is “divisive.” As might be expected, faith and religion are among the usual litany of suspects:
[I]n a world with nuclear weapons and ecological problems that cross all national borders, we desperately need to see humanity as a whole. Accounts of the past that focus primarily on the divisions between nations, religions, and cultures are beginning to look parochial and anachronistic—even dangerous. (Maps of Time, 8)
Earlier on the same page, Christian says that conventional historical time frames “hide … humanity.” But who really is hiding humanity here? It really says something about the historical merits of a curriculum billing itself as “Big History” that its founder apparently needs a refresher course in how bloody history has been. Of course, Christian would respond that what’s more important is what unites us. This value judgment shapes—and distorts—much of Big History.

But even when judged against its own standards Big History fails yet again. It’s undeniable that, at least up until the last one hundred years or so, one fundamental element common to all races and cultures was the religious impulse, the yearning for the transcendent. But the element of faith is almost completely absent from Big History. The unit devoted to trade and globalization of the late Middle Ages fails to note that religion was a main driver of the European explorations of the early modern period: in finding a sea-based connection to India, the Catholic world hoped to open a new front against the Islamic Middle East (see The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama by Nigel Cliff). Perhaps this inconvenient fact explains why Vasco da Gama is missing from the story and Christopher Columbus receives only passing mention in an article about Marco Polo, which says little about his religious background. Otherwise, the unit focuses on the Muslim itinerant judge Ibn Battuta and Chinese admiral Zheng He, himself the consummate multiculturalist. Born into a Persian Muslim family, Zheng served Confucian-era emperors while personally worshiping an ancient Chinese goddess known as Tianfei.

Elsewhere, the influence of faith is minimized. In the seventh unit, which covers the transition from hunter-gather societies to agricultural civilizations, one article delves into the history of Jericho, “the oldest continuously inhabited city.” Don’t be fooled: much of the article is about climate change and environmental prehistory with the actual “human history” of the city itself sequestered in a separate section in which the author notes an inconsistency between archeological accounts of the destruction of Jericho with the biblical chronology. In the same unit, more than a millennium of Greco-Roman history—from the rise of democracy in Athens to the fall of Rome—is packed into a single article. Here, the birth Christianity gets just two paragraphs: the crucifixion of Christ is described as an imperial necessity to stave off a Jewish rebellion and the spread of Christianity, from Paul to Constantine, gets a scant few sentences.

Otherwise, in this year-long, ten-unit course there are only four moments in which the curriculum directly engages with faith—but only to ease any friction that might arise between the science-laden content and any religious belief students may have. In the introductory unit, an article on “Cosmology and Faith” by Georgetown theologian John Haught offers a decent explanation of how faith and science can be compatible. A nearly identical article by Haught appears in evolution unit. But this is to treat faith as something apart from Big History: faith is not something that informs the wide lens through which students view the world, it is an outside realm of thought and action which must not impede the pursuit of scientific knowledge.

The two other engagements with faith occur in the second unit, on the Big Bang. There, the discussion of religion and science takes a turn for the worse. In an article on the Copernican Revolution, Haught, who should know better, drags out the tiresome canard about how Galileo Galilei ran afoul of the Inquisition. A second article about the Vatican Observatory seemed promising—how could the Church not get some credit here for a faith-formed openness to scientific discovery? The article does as much, and, in a welcome surprise, even quotes from the encyclical Fides et Ratio. But for every unavoidable positive, the author, identified as Michelle Feder, seems to feel a need to offset it with a negative. The Galileo affair is rehashed, as is the fact that the Church “apologized” for its behavior. The author just can’t seem to let it go: she quotes the former director of the observatory, Father George Coyne, saying that the “Church is a human institution, and a human institution can make, and had made mistakes.” That “human institution” is at it again, the author concludes, noting with consternation that Pope Benedict XVI once had said the Church’s “verdict against Galileo had been ‘rational and just.’” (To understand the true history of Galileo and the Church, see Light and Shadows: Church History amid Faith, Fact, and Legend by Walter Brandmuller.)

A Secular Curriculum for Catholic Schools?

Perhaps this is all par for the course in a thoroughly secularized public school of today: to criticize Big History is, perhaps, really just a way to question anew the godlessness of public education. But why on earth would a Catholic high school adopt the Big History curriculum?
Read the rest here.

Fears grow for Pope's safety in Brazil

Fears for the Pope's safety during his trip to Brazil were growing yesterday as violent protests broke out in Rio de Janeiro within hours of his arrival.

The Telegraph

5:33PM BST 23 Jul 2013

The Pontiff was forced to arrive at Guanabara palace, the house of the governor of Rio state, by military helicopter, as protesters clashed with riot police using tear gas, water cannon and stun grenades.
While some expressed anger over the cost of the £35 million papal visit, the main focus of the protests was against the Brazilian government, which last month faced violent street protests over corruption, poor public services, and the expense of hosting next year's soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.

"We've got nothing against the pope," said Christopher Creindel, a 22-year-old art student from Rio who was protesting outside the palace. "This protest is against our politicians."

The unrest was an inauspicious start to the Pope's trip, and came after he was mobbed while travelling in a motorcade from Rio airport to the city centre.

After the driver of his modest four-door silver Fiat took a wrong turn, the motorcade became stuck in traffic and hundreds of people swarmed around the vehicle, thrusting their hands through an open window in the hope of touching the first South American Pope.

The Vatican gendarmes and Brazilian security officers escorting the Pope appeared at one point to have completely lost control of their situation and had to shove bystanders away.

The 30,000 soldiers and police who have been deployed to provide security for the week-long visit to Brazil were nowhere to be seen.

Security experts said the 76-year-old Pope was left extremely vulnerable during the chaotic scenes.

"If there had been a hooligan among the faithful, he could have thrown a stone or something worse," Diogenes Dantas, a colonel in the Brazilian army and an expert on security planning for major events, told the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.


Despite the chaos he experienced during the opening hours of his visit, the Pope himself seemed unperturbed.

"Thank you to all of you and to all the authorities for a magnificent welcome in Rio," he wrote on Twitter.

Underlying concern for the Pope's security in a country recently convulsed by anti-government protests, the authorities said they had found a home-made bomb at a Catholic shrine that Francis will visit on Wednesday.

The device, found on Sunday in a lavatory at the sanctuary of Aparecida, between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, was detonated by military police.

The Vatican played down the security fears, saying it had total confidence in the Brazilian authorities.

Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, admitted that the Pope's secretary had been "terrified" during the frenzied mobbing of the motorcade, but that Francis himself had been unperturbed by the "enthusiasm" of well-wishers.

"There are no concerns for security," he said, adding that Francis did not want the existing level of security to be ramped up or "militarised".

But Father Lombardi acknowledged there might have been some "errors" in the planning of the Pope's arrival and that security arrangements might need to be revised.

One of the biggest security challenges will come on Thursday when Francis visits one of Rio's notorious favelas or shanty towns.

He will then address young Catholics from around the world from a stage on Copacabana beach.

Read more here.