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Damn Lies: When Anti-Religious Bigots Use Math to Hate

Mark Twain once famously said, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” You’ve probably heard some of those lies used by non-believing friends and relations to discredit Christians.  For instance, have you heard that Christians divorce at the same rate as others?  How about the one about Christians being bad tippers?  How about the one [Read More...]

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – January 14, 2014

Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on January 14

4:00 – Contraception and Catholicism: What the Church Teaches and Why
Catholic teaching on contraception…a hard pill to swallow? Despite the Catholic Church’s clear opposition to contraception, many individuals, including Catholics, consider the Church’s stance misogynistic and outdated. In perspective of the prevailing ideologies of today’s mainstream society-a morality dictated by feeling, the assumed inevitability of extramarital sexual activity as necessary for human fulfillment, and the unconsidered idea that contraception is a magic cure for unwanted pregnancy and disease-the Church’s teaching on contraception may surely seem like a hard pill to swallow. But really, it is not. Author Angela Franks, PhD, an experienced pro-life speaker and educator, discovered this truth herself. After questioning the Church’s stance as a young Catholic, she realized that the Church was not forcing an old-fashioned view on our intimate relationships. Rather, the Church was aligning to the reality already present in our biology. She is here to present a comprehensive look at the Church’s view on the meaning and purpose of sex as love and life, unity and procreation. She equips you with the information that you need to understand, adopt, and/or teach the Church’s position on contraception.

5:00 – 2014 Catholic Almanac

It’s the absolute best source for trustworthy, accurate, up-to-date information. Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Almanac remains the only annual, comprehensive guide to the Catholic Church. Published annually since 1904, this compendium of information is THE authoritative source for all your most up-to-date facts on the Catholic Church. With thousands of intriguing facts and essential details on a wide range of Catholic subjects, this almanac is completely updated every year and packed with topics relevant for researchers, homilists, writers, media professionals, students, parents, librarians, and teachers. We talk to Almanac editor Matthew Bunson.

John Kerry Discusses Middle East Peace Process, Other Issues with Vatican Secretary of State

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
admires Vatican art

This morning the Secretary of State for the Holy See, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, welcomed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the Vatican to discuss the peace process in the Middle East.

Of special concern was the situation in Syria and the preparations for the Geneva II Middle East Peace Conference, and negotiations between Israel and Palestine.  

Completing the agenda for the meeting, which lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes, were problems in Africa (particularly South Sudan) and other concerns of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, such as healthcare reform.

Also representing the Holy See at the meeting was Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.  The U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, participated on behalf of the United States.  

Because No One Does Tolerance Like the Germans — (German Judge Torments Homeschooling Family)

This is terrifying…. Many readers may recall that in August, German authorities used the equivalent of a SWAT team to remove children from their homeschooling parents.  20 jack booted thugs (literally) burst into the Wunderlich’s home and took their children, even though the judge in the case admits that the children were well-adjusted and well [Read More...]

NY Mayor De Blasio’s New Goal: Bring Pope Francis to Town

Cardinal Dolan with NY Mayor Bill de Blasio

By Kathy Schiffer
   
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has not been a friend to Roman Catholics.  His policies in support of abortion, homosexual rights, and increased taxes for Church-owned lots have been met with stern opposition from many people of faith.

But the Mayor has been inspired by Pope Francis’ message, and he hopes to attract the pontiff to visit New York City.

With that in mind, Mayor de Blasio visited Cardinal Timothy Dolan’s residence in Midtown on January 13.  The two discussed their mutual interests, and made plans to work together to bring Pope Francis to town.

De Blasio left the 45-minute meeting upbeat and enthusiastic.  According to a report in Politicker.com:

Mr. de Blasio raved about the “fantastic meeting,” which he said had covered a lot of ground.
“Just wanted to say that I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to spend as much time as I did with His Eminence. And it was a very energizing meeting. We have so much common ground, so much we want to work on together.
 “We talked a lot about affordable housing. We talked a lot about Catholic charities and the work it does on behalf of children, on behalf of people in need. We talked about the need to help prisoners returning to society, a whole host of areas where we have common ground and where we can work together,” he added. “We think it’s crucial for the people we represent to have a personal bond and a close working relationship.”

The mayor, who was raised Catholic and whose Italian uncle was a priest, has broken ties with the church of his youth and is not affiliated with any formal religion.  He was elected by a 73% majority of New Yorkers, despite a number of anti-Catholic planks in his platform, including:

  • He has pledged to partner with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, helping them to expand their businesses, even providing “city-sponsored” space to set up shop.
  • At the same time, he pledged to help abortionists to wipe out their main competition, pro-life pregnancy centers—which he refers to as “sham” clinics which are not “legitimate health care centers.”  (Pro-life pregnancy centers offer women financial and logistical assistance to either keep their babies or place them with adoptive families, but they do not perform abortions.)
  • He supports a pending appeal by the City of New York of a court order striking down a law aimed at closing pro-life pregnancy centers.  If the court appeal fails, de Blasio pledges to “craft new regulations to prevent [crisis pregnancy] centers from masquerading as legitimate health care providers.”
  • He supports a NARAL-backed program begun under Mayor Michael Bloomberg to force doctors who train in city hospitals to perform abortions as a routine part of their training.  This is intended to ensure that there are a sufficient number of abortionists to meet the high demand in the city.
  • He has pledged to use ObamaCare to expand state funding for abortion, so that more New York women will have access to abortions.
  • He plans to raise taxes on some 7,000 to 10,500 vacant residential lots, many of which are owned by the Roman Catholic Church.  De Blasio’s plan calls for a five-year phase-in  period, after which owners of the vacant lots could expect tax hikes averaging $15,300 annually.   Crain’s reports that the plan is intended to spur development of housing; but critics doubt that the higher taxes would have the desired effect.

De Blasio’s “diverse” transition team included two rabbis, two Christian ministers and an imam, but no Catholic priest to assist as he assumed office.  He did rectify that after receiving complaints from Catholics.

De Blasio has shown solidarity with gays rather than with Irish Catholics, declining to march in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade—citing homosexuals’ complaints that they are not permitted to march.  (Actually, the parade officials do not permit any organization to preempt the stated purpose of the parade, namely, to honor St. Patrick; so pro-life organizations, also, may not march under their own banner.)

When the Brooklyn Museum of Art hosted an anti-Catholic exhibit that featured elephant dung smeared on a portrait of the Virgin Mary, along with pornographic pictures, then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani pledged to pull funding from the museum; but de Blasio, then serving as campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s bid for the U.S. Senate seat, accompanied Clinton to the museum without comment.

He ignored a request from the Catholic League to light the Empire State Building in blue and white commemorating Mother Teresa’s centenary.

De Blasio does have direct experience with one “Catholic” organization. In the 1980s, he was employed by the Maryland-based Quixote Center, a social justice center which supports liberation theology and which has been investigated by the Justice Department for smuggling guns to their Sandinista friends, and has been the target of probes by the IRS and the U.S. Customs Service.  According to the website of the Quixote Center:

The Quixote Center supports gender equality, including ordination for women; the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons; and advocate for an end to the rule of celibacy for Catholic clergy.  We support full communion for divorced and remarried Catholics; due process for church employees and theologians; and democratic reforms in the governance of the Roman Catholic Church.  We call for lay involvement in the formulation of church teachings on sexuality and reproduction, improvements in interfaith and ecumenical dialogue, and a strong church voice on issues of social justice.

Cardinal Dolan was cordial during the meeting, and seemed to anticipate a good working relationship with the new mayor.  Speaking to reporters afterward, the Cardinal said:

“I expressed to him my deep appreciation for the courtesy of his visit … I felt inspired about his commitment to a lot of the causes that we’re passionate about and I felt excited about working closely working with him.”

New Year’s Resolutions for Eternity






PopeFrancis 280x320Have you given up on your New Year’s resolutions already? The New Year represents a time of new beginnings for many, but do you make your resolutions based on emotions and feelings tied to temporal things like saving money, losing weight, or reducing the clutter in your life? Is that where God wants you to focus …

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – January 13, 2014

Talking about the “things that matter most” on January 13

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Jahi McMath and “Brain Death”
Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old girl who was declared legally dead by hospital staff and county officials after suffering complications from a routine tonsillectomy, has been released to her family to seek treatment elsewhere. The move comes after a settlement was reached Friday in Alameda County Superior Court between the girl’s family and Children’s Hospital. The family had been fighting to remove Jahi from the hospital since December 12, when hospital staff declared the girl “brain dead” after she went into cardiac arrest while recovering from surgery. We talk about this case, but also the larger question for Catholics about brain death. Dr. John Haas of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and Dr. Paul Bryne, Neonatologist and Pediatrician, have differing views on a Catholic understanding of brain death. They join us.

5:00 – Study of 36 Chinese Abortion-Breast Cancer Studies a “Game Changer”
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 Chinese studies by Dr. Yubei Huang and his colleagues in the prestigious journal, Cancer Causes Control, last week reported a significant 44% increased breast cancer risk among women with at least one induced abortion, compared to women without induced abortions.  Huang’s team cited and supports a 1996 review and meta-analysis, led by Joel Brind, Ph.D. and colleagues at Penn State, who found a 30% risk elevation for women with any history of induced abortions. We talk to Dr. Brind about his long-time fight to get the medical community to recognize the abortion – breast cancer link.

5:20 – More of the Holy Spirit: How to Keep the Fire Burning in Our Hearts
In the last forty years, many Catholics have experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in their lives that resulted in a new passion for God and a zeal for spreading the gospel. In addition to a newfound love of prayer, Scripture, and the Eucharist, many have been blessed with the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as tongues and healing. Yet as the years go by, many often experience a waning of the gifts of the Spirit as well as a luke-warmness creeping into their lives. What can we do to keep that fire for God, which may have been ignited many years ago, burning brightly in our hearts? Sr. Ann Shields is here to tell us.

Pope Francis Names 19 New Cardinals

There are no Americans among the 19 new cardinals who will join their brother cardinals in Rome on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Peter, for a Consistory.     

After the Sunday Angelus on January 12, Pope Francis announced the names of nineteen bishops from around the world whom he’d selected to receive the red hat. 

Of the 19 new cardinals, sixteen are under 80 years of age and thus would be eligible to vote in a Conclave for a new pope.  The number of eligible voters is now 121–one higher than the traditional 120 votes.  However, among the cardinals of voting age is disgraced Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who resigned as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh last March, then went into exile following accusations of sexual impropriety.  Cardinal O’Brien is not expected to participate in the upcoming Consistory.

Some of the new cardinals seemed to be drawn from smaller and poorer nations. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope’s selection of candidates from Haiti and Burkino Faso, which are among the world’s poorest nations, reflects Francis’ attention to the destitute as a core part of the church’s mission.

From the Vatican’s website, Pope Francis’ announcement regarding the full list of new cardinals:

As was previously announced, on February 22, the Feast of the Chair of Peter, I will have the joy of holding a Consistory, during which I will name 16 new Cardinals, who, coming from 12 countries from every part of the world, represent the deep ecclesial relationship between the Church of Rome and the other Churches throughout the world.

The following day [February 23] I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 20 and 21 I will hold a Consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the theme of the family.

Here are the names of the new Cardinals:

Pietro Parolin, Titular Archbishop of Acquapendente, Secretary of State

Lorenzo Baldisseri, Titular Archbishop of Diocleziana, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.   

Gerhard Ludwig Műller, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Regensburg, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Beniamino Stella, Titular Archbishop of Midila, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.   

Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster (Great Britain).

Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua (Nicaragua).   

Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec (Canada).

Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast).   

Orani João Tempesta, O.Cist., Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

Gualtiero Bassetti, Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve (Italy).   

Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Andrew Yeom Soo jung, Archbishop of Seoul (Korea).   

Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, S.D.B., Archbishop of Santiago del Cile (Chile).

Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo, Archbishop of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Orlando B. Quevedo, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato (Philippines).

Chibly Langlois, Bishop of Les Cayes (Haïti).

Together with them, I will join to the Members of the College of Cardinals three Archbishops emeriti distinguished for their service to the Holy See and to the Church.

They are:

Loris Francesco Capovilla, Titular Archbishop of Mesembria.

Fernando Sebastián Aguilar, C.M.F., Archbishop emeritus of Pamplona.

Kelvin Edward Felix, Archbishop emeritus of Castries.

Let us pray for the new Cardinals, that vested in the virtues and the sentiments of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, they might be able to help more effectively the Bishop of Rome in his service to the universal Church.

The Political Madhouse: Obama and the Little Sisters

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has blocked the administration’s mandate that the Little Sisters of the Poor contract to provide contraception coverage to their employees.  That the case has gone this far illustrate the sickness of the left, the complacence of our popular media culture, and the weakness (partly self-inflicted) of President Obama’s political opponents.

That’s the message from First Things columnist Pete Spiliakos in the January 9 “On the Square” column.  Spiliakos identifies the administration’s control grab for what it is, and calls them on their adamance.  “In a sane world,” he writes,

“…the Obama administration would simply have given the sisters a thank you and left it at that.  When it became clear that the president’s health care law would force the sisters to violate their consciences as a condition of continuing to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable, the Obama administration could have apologized for the confusion and then either issued a waiver or called on Congress to adjust the law.

But, since the sisters’ beliefs are an example of unauthorized diversity, the Obama administration did not grant them a waiver.  The Obama administration chose a “compromise” in which the sisters would still have to contract with a third-party to provide contraception coverage.

Spiliakos goes on to criticize both the Obama administration for their heavy-handed insistence on their left-wing political agenda, and the conservatives for their willingness to let social welfare policy be subjugated to economic policy.  He warns that the end result may be one we don’t want to think about:

Absent a visible and comprehensible set of alternative policies, President Obama’s chaotic, expensive, and coercive statism will ultimately triumph.

It’s a great article.  Read the rest here.

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – January 10, 2014

Talking about the “things that matter most” on January 10

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – CDC: U.S. Fertility Rate Hits Record Low for 2nd Straight

Year; 40.7% of Babies Born to Unmarried Women
The fertility rate of women in the United States fell to a record low for the second year in a row in 2012, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also for the second year in a row, 40.7 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers. Steven Mosherfrom the Population Research Institute is here to help us understand the gravity of these numbers.

4:40 – Christian martyrdom nearly DOUBLED in 2013
It’s an astonishing statistic – nearly twice the number of Christians were martyred for their faith in 2013 than the previous year, according to a new study by an organization monitoring global religious persecution. The World Watch List, issued by Open Doors USA each year, documents oppression of Christians throughout the world. Based on data from the past year, it ranks the 50 countries that are home to the worst treatment of Christians. Along with the release of the 2014 report, Open Doors USA also offered information about global Christian persecution, explaining that it had gathered evidence of 2,123 Christians who were killed for their faith in 2013, up from 1,201 such martyrdoms in 2012. Robert Spencerof jihadwatch.org explains what is happening.

5:00 – Is There A “Catholic” Way to Overcome Depression

Countless Christians — including scores of saints — have suffered profound, pervasive sorrow that modern psychiatrists call “depression.” Then, as now, great faith and even fervent spiritual practices have generally failed to ease this wearying desolation of soul. Catholic psychiatrist Dr. Aaron Kheriaty is here to review the effective ways that have recently been devised to deal with this grave and sometimes deadly affliction — ways that are not only consistent with the teachings of the Church, but even rooted in many of those teachings. We’ll come to know how to identify the various types of depression and come to understand the interplay of their often manifold causes, biological, psychological, behavioral, cultural, and, yes, moral.

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