Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 6, 2015
4:00 – Kresta Comments: How do we Find Happiness?
4:20 – Dazzling Virtues, Deadly Vices
We’re joined by Rebecca DeYoung. Rebecca has written extensively on the nature of virtues and vices. She’s here with a fresh look at specific remedies for each of the deadly sins.
4:40 – Building a Pro-Life America
“America, you are beautiful and blessed. The ultimate test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the weakest and most defenseless.” This timeless quote from Saint John Paul II inspired Tim Von Dohlen to found the JPII Life Center, which is dedicated to helping pregnant women and creating a pro-life culture in America. Tim joins us today.
5:00 – From International Model to Joyful Catholic
Paul Darrow is another featured story in the film Desire for the Everlasting Hills, which explores the lives of Catholics who are same-sex attracted. He tells us how his life has been transformed by Christ.
Here is an outstanding video from those who are opposed to the Catholic way of life. This is worth watching because it shows the propagandistic skill of our opponents. They don’t see themselves as propagandists but as activists, marketers, opinion-makers. Take a look and then read my comments afterwards. I think they give insight into what we are up against not only on the homosexual so-called marriage issue but on modern communications.
This is amazing propaganda. It does what propaganda does. It discourages critical reflection and tries to make any contrary propositions appear foolish before they can be uttered. Who can disagree with the power of love? Advertisers like Subaru and Pepsi have sold products with the language of love. Why shouldn’t gay activists? Especially when the political issue is marriage.
Like propaganda, it works to marginalize those who would disagree. It prefers mob sentiment to the individual’s reason because it knows that a mob’s emotion is a powerful animal and any individual person’s resisting intellect is too weak to tame or successfully bring the beast to heel.
Their video works beautifully because it assumes a big shared truth that no one can deny [Love conquers all] and then pushes that truth in service to a political agenda. Politics’ most basic question is: how ought we to order our lives together? For the makers of this video, Love is without question the organizing principle of society. Their definition of “love” is how we ought to order our lives together.
Catholics largely agree that Love, i.e., “the willingness to act in ways that serve the true best interests of another” – is fundamental for the common good and the good society. We disagree about the narrowness of their definition. They define love in romantic terms and then try to give it universal application.
They will ultimately fail because love, to them, is mere romance and that is not a foundation for organizing our lives together. Justice, for instance, requires me to render everyone or everything their due whether or not I am moved by romantic sentiment. When seen in this proper light this video is as much fun and as corny, schmaltzy, predictable and domesticated as a Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie. It is the conclusion of almost all romantic comedies except that these producers want to appear profound not comic. The great theme is “Love wins out in the end overcoming the disabilities, distances, religions, biases that kept the star-crossed lovers from landing in one another’s embrace.” Wow. Pass the popcorn and give me a squeeze, honey.
Only a Catholic understanding of Love illustrated by Christ’s sacrifice on behalf of even his enemies is the kind of social glue that can hold us all together. Only Christ on the cross with arms outstretched to receive everyone regardless of gender, disability, looks, wealth, etc. can model the acceptance necessary for St. John Paul II’s “civilization of love” that Carl Anderson wrote about at length in a book of the same name.
This video is certainly meant to persuade but it isn’t meant to get anyone to think. It intends to engineer assent through sheer feeling.
I’d love to reenact this and bring out Ted Bundy to hug Charles Manson or Stalin to embrace Hitler. That would break the spell and give the lie to their very limited understanding of love. Jesus hugging Judas wouldn’t be bad either.
I especially like “Love has no religion.” The irony is almost too much to bear. It is exactly the Hebrew Christian tradition that has elevated love to be the central concern this video claims it is. While love plays a part in most religions, only Christianity says “God IS love.” God isn’t merely loving. Love is his essence.
The proper climax to this video would probably be an illustration that God is Love. But that couldn’t happen in their view of the world. To say that God is love means introducing the Person who transcends all categories and forces us all to look up towards His majesty. What they want, however, is for us to look around at our own kind in all our diversity. They want a purely horizontal world and won’t permit the vertical dimension. By doing so they limit love to finite human experience rather than the far more threatening and challenging intimacy with the source of life and the universe. They limit the mystery of existence to its horizontal dimension. Because it is finite, it will eventually be boring. Only the infinite assures us of continual curiosity, surprise and wonder.
The producers of this video could never have made this message appealing prior to the Incarnation. In the Incarnation, we have the moment in world history where sacrificial love becomes the ethical gold standard. Nothing is higher than a morality of love after the coming of Jesus.
Prior to Christianity, the virtues of mercy and pity, loving enemies, were largely regarded as vices. Plato, for instance, taught that the unhealthy should be eliminated because they could not work and justify their own existence. No mercy. Seneca encouraged infancticide for the same reason. However, once the Church becomes the soul of the world, at least the Western world, this approach is considered barbaric. Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person won’t justify such treatment of our kind.
The producers of this video are like ungrateful children. They live off the capital Christianity has invested in our culture over 2,000 years while refusing to acknowledge the source of their own well-being and good fortune. The universal love they are reaching for is not natural to the human condition. This video could not have been made in the Islamic world. It wouldn’t have much appeal in a Buddhist or Hindu culture. This message works in a post-Christian culture where we still celebrate the memory of an obligation to love universally. They are living off the residual sentimentality of a once Christian people. What happens when the society finally says, “Why should we love one another?” Who says? You can’t force me to…What happens next?
Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 5, 2015
4:00 – Kresta Comments: Ben Carson and the Causes of Homosexual Attraction
In a CNN interview yesterday, potential GOP candidate Dr. Ben Carson said he believes being gay is a choice because, “a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight – and when they come out, they’re gay.” He later backtracked on this statement, telling reporters “I do not pretend to know how every individual came to their sexual orientation. I regret that my words to express that concept were hurtful and divisive.” Has Carson already destroyed his chances for the White House? What should Republicans be saying on the issues of gay marriage and the cause of homosexuality? Al has some thoughts.
4:20 – Kresta Comments
Al discusses some interesting tidbits from the news, including a gay three-way wedding in Thailand and a viral video that declares “Love has no Gender.
4:40 – Prison Ministry for Incarcerated Abortionists
Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League joins us to talk about an area of pro-life ministry that is often overlooked: ministering to abortionists who have been incarcerated.
5:00 – Finding Jesus: The Mysteries of the Shroud of Turin
We’re continuing our discussion from Monday with John Jackson. On Sunday CNN aired a program about the history and mystery of the Shroud of Turin. What answers can be found from carbon dating tests? What other evidence is there for the Shroud? John is the leader of a prominent Shroud research team and has the answers.
5:40 – Why Star Trek and Mr. Spock Matter
Star Trek fans lost one of their heroes last week. Leonard Nimoy, known to millions as Mr. Spock, passed away from heart complications. Star Trek and Mr. Spock left a major mark on American culture and entertainment. What lessons can we learn from them? Steven Greydanus joins us.
Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 4, 2015
4:00 – Kresta Comments: The Authenticity of the Gospels
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, some atheists still support the claim that Jesus never existed. Other Gospel events are also disputed. What evidence is there to support the Gospel narrative? Al tackles this question.
Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who was sentenced to a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, now faces being beheaded for renouncing the religion, his family have said.
They claimed to have learned of attempts within the Saudi judicial system to have Raif Badawi retried for the crime, which carries a death sentence. Amnesty International said it was looking into the claims, which could not be verified on Sunday evening.
“Raif and his family must be thinking ‘what new hell is this?’,” said an Amnesty spokesman.
“The torment of facing each week the possibility of another brutal public flogging is an unimaginable torture. These latest rumours that the death penalty is a possibility again add to the nightmare.
“Over a million people have called for Raif’s freedom. That should be the only development we’re hearing about.”
In a statement, Badawi’s family said that the Saudi supreme court has referred his case to the same judge who passed the sentence he is currently serving, whom they accused of being biased against him.
He was previously cleared of apostasy – renouncing his religion – in 2013. In January this year, his case was referred to the supreme court by the former king in a move that his supporters hoped would eventually lead to his release.
But his family, who cited “information from reliable sources” they did not name, now believe that the case has been referred on again to the country’s Penal court under regulations introduced last autumn.
“We have reasons to believe without any doubts that the same judge has again asked the head of the court of appeal to charge Raif with apostasy,” they said in a statement.
“It should be mentioned that this judge stated in his written verdict against Raif, that he has proof and is confident that Raif is an apostate.
“We call on the world citizens and governments not to leave Raif dragged by such bigots to death. And we renew our calls to His Majesty King Salman to pardon Raif Badawi and allow him to leave for Canada to be united with his family there.”
Badawi received the first 50 lashes outside al-Jafali mosque in the port city of Jeddah in January. He was due to be subjected to 50 more each week but it was postponed after doctors said that his wounds had not healed and that he was unfit to have the sentence carried out.
Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 3, 2015
4:00 – Netanyahu Addresses Congress
Today Benjamin Netanyahu gave his controversial and long-awaited speech before Congress. He urged the US to enforce stricter sanctions on Iran to prevent the country from developing a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu also said that the relationship between the US and Israel “Has always been above politics and must remain above politics.” We’ll review his speech today.
4:20- Notre Dame, Charles Rice and Fr. Hesburgh
The University of Notre Dame lost two of its most prominent figures last week: former president Fr. Theodore Hesburgh and longtime professor Charles Rice. Both men left indelible marks on the university and on Catholic education in America-and not always in a good way. Fr. Wilson Miscamble joins us to discuss their lives and legacies.
5:00 — Kresta Comments: Netanyahu Addresses Congress
5:20 – CPAC: Politicians, Pundits and Advocates
Michael New is here with a review of the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference. What was said? What wasn’t said? What is the current state of Conservatism in America? We’ll discuss these questions and more.
5:40 – Papal Nuncio in Ukraine: “Holy See Can’t be on One Side or the Other.”
Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on March 2, 2015
4:00 – Finding Jesus: The Mysteries of the Shroud of Turin
Last night CNN aired an hour-long program about the history and mystery of the Shroud of Turin, which many believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus. A 1988 carbon dating test said the shroud dates back no further than the 13th century, but many believe this test to be inaccurate. We speak with John Jackson, leader of a shroud research team.
4:20- Putin Critic Killed
Outspoken Vladimir Putin critic Boris Nemstov was murdered this weekend in Moscow near Red Square. George Weigel joins us to discuss the assassination, as well as the ongoing struggles in Ukraine.
4:40 – World Chaos and the Spread of the Gospel
John Kerry claims that America and the world face fewer threats to peace than they have in years. Yet Director of National Intelligence James Clapper reports that 2014 was the deadliest year for terrorism in the 45 years that data has been gathered. Al feels the world is in a state of chaos and uncertainty not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. How did the world get to this point? And what does it mean for spreading the gospel? George Weigel stays with us for this discussion.
5:00 – Kresta Comments: Georgia Woman Faces Execution: So Much for Rehabilitation
Kelly Gissendaner is scheduled to be executed tonight for her involvement in the 1997 murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. More than 400 clergy have signed an open letter to state officials asking that she be granted clemency. Since her arrest, Gissendaner has received a degree from Chandler School of Theology and has been instrumental in counseling other prisoners. One could say she is the definition of rehabilitation, yet she still faces execution. Al has comments.
5:20 – Netanyahu to AIPAC: We’ve Acted Alone before – and We’ll do it Again
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke today before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. He said that, despite the controversy surrounding his address to Congress tomorrow, the US and Israel will maintain a strong relationship. Jim Phillips joins us to discuss both speeches and the current state of US-Israeli relations.
5:40 – Attacks on Abp. Cordileone Led by SF PR Firm
Anne Hendershott is here with background info on the publicist who has been hired to blacklist Archbishop Cordileone, who simply wants Catholic schools to hire teachers who will be in accordance with Church teachings. She’ll debunk the attacks made on Cordileone and what he is trying to accomplish.
Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on February 27, 2015
4:00 – 40 Days, 40 Ways of Lent
If you’re looking for a new Lenten experience, Marcellino D’Ambrosio has forty fresh ideas. Some will challenge you to deepen your prayer life; others will open your mind to new ways to serve others. Each of the forty ways includes a reflection to help you understand more about Lent and why it matters. You’ll learn how to have a more creative experience of Lent. You’ll discover positive, proactive ways to take action instead of the same old routine of giving something up. The result will be spiritual transformation and a closer walk with Christ—not only during Lent but throughout the year.
4:20- Ukrainian Catholics in Putin’s Crosshairs, US Just Stands By
The ceasefire between Ukraine and Russian rebels seems to be holding, but Ukraine is still in turmoil. The hryvnia currency is in free fall, with a current exchange rate to the dollar of about 28 to 1. And Ukraine’s Catholics are in peril. We get a live report on the latest developments from Dr. Alexander Sich.
5:00 – Honoring Fr. Richard Neuhaus: A Life in the Naked Public Square
Randy Boyagoda joins us with a look back at the life of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. Fr. Neuhaus was the author of several books, including “The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America,” was an adviser to President George Bush on bioethical issues and was a staunch defender of pro-life issues. Randy has written an extensive biography on Fr. Neuhaus and is here to talk about it.
Everybody thinks they know what they mean when they say “the Crusades.” Where do we get the idea of “Crusades”? Are these a series of discreet actions taken by western Christians? Are the Crusades some sort of massive blueprint put in place by the Pope? When did we start talking about THE Crusades?
Advocates of euthanasia, or “Death with Dignity,” say their cause is all about reducing the suffering of a sick person and their family. They argue that by allowing patients to die “on their own terms,” euthanasia eliminates the suffering of all involved. Wesley Smith disagrees. A true dignified death can be realized by eliminating the suffering, not the sufferer.