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  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 28,2014—Hour 1

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 28,2014—Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Pope Francis and the Border Crisis

    + Segment #2 of 3

    New Accommodations to the HHS Mandate

    • Description: The Obama Administration is considering new accommodations to the HHS contraception mandate. These new accommodations will determine whether non-profit organizations are required to provide contraceptive services in their health care plans. Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life joins us to discuss the latest news in the fight against the HHS mandate.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy

    • Description: St. Faustina had a vision of Jesus in 1930. He asked her to paint this image with the words ‘Jesus, I trust in You.” He also gave her a special prayer, the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Leonardo Defilippis and Maria Vargo of St. Luke Productions have created a live-action drama about the life of St. Faustina. They join us.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Maria Vargo
        Actress with St. Luke Productions, lead role in Faustina
  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 28, 2014—Hour 2

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 28, 2014—Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Institute for Psychological Sciences

    • Description: The Institute for Psychological Sciences is a Catholic graduate school of psychology founded in 1999 with the mission of basing the scientific study of psychology on a Catholic understanding of the person, marriage, and the family. Fr. Charles Sikorsky, president of the Institute, joins us.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Boko Haram & the Missing Nigerian Girls

    • Description: Earlier this year, the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. The group says they plan to sell the girls into slavery unless their demands are met. The Nigerian government has been received international criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram's actions. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Archdiocese of Jos in Nigeria joins us.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Lila Rose: Exposing Planned Parenthood

    • Description: Planned Parenthood portrays itself as a champion of women's health, but it is actually the nation's largest abortion provider. Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Acton, has conducted undercover sting operations at Planned Parenthood clinics to expose the truth behind the company. Lila joins us to discuss her latest investigation.
    • Segment Guests:
  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 28, 2014

    Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on July 28, 2014

    4:00 – Pope Francis and the Border Crisis

    Kathryn Jean Lopez of the “National Review” joins us to discuss Pope Francis’ comments on the border crisis in the southwest.

     

    4:20 – New Accommodations to the HHS Mandate

    The Obama Administration is considering new accommodations to the HHS contraception mandate. These new accommodations will determine whether non-profit organizations are required to provide contraceptive services in their health care plans. Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life joins us to discuss the latest news in the fight against the HHS mandate.

     

    4:40 – Faustina: Messenger of Divine Mercy

    St. Faustina had a vision of Jesus in 1930. He asked her to paint this image with the words ‘Jesus, I trust in You.” He also gave her a special prayer, the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
    Leonardo Defilippis and Maria Vargo of St. Luke Productions have created a live-action drama about the life of St. Faustina. They join us.

     

    5:00 – Institute for Psychological Sciences

    The Insititue for Psychological Sciences is a Catholic graduate school of psychology founded in 1999 with the mission of basing the scientific study of psychology on a Catholic understanding of the person, marriage and the family.  Fr. Charles Sikorsky, president of the Institute, joins us.

     

    5:20 – Boko Haram & the Missing Nigerian Girls

    Earlier this year, the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls. The group says they plan to sell the girls into slavery unless their demands are met. The Nigerian government has been received international criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram’s actions. Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Archdiocese of Jos in Nigeria joins us.

     

    5:40 – Lila Rose: Exposing Planned Parenthood

    Planned Parenthood portrays itself as a champion of women’s health, but it is actually the nation’s largest abortion provider. Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, has conducted undercover sting operations at Planned Parenthood clinics to expose the truth behind the company. Lila joins us to discuss her latest investigation. 

  • Wanted: Pro-Bono Legal Help for Immigrants

    via Aleteia

    A campaign to recruit volunteers and lawyers ready to commit to help the children stopped at the border with Mexico has started in North Texas.

    The Catholic Church in North Texas, in the person of Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of Dallas, launched an appeal to address the humanitarian emergency concerning the flow of children and young people who arrive at the border alone and without documents.

    “For a community of faith, at the moment” said Bishop Farrell, “the issue is not limited immigrationsimply on a political debate on immigration, but on the urgent help towards those most in need. “We are the number-one country in the world when it comes to helping people.”

    The Bishop responded to reporters’ questions about the deployment of National Guard troops at the border announced by Governor Rick Perry. “I am sure that the governor has his own reasons for sending 1,000 troops to the border area,” he said. “But this does not solve the problem at the moment. But as a Church, we are now worried about the children … This is a humanitarian crisis that will judge the character and moral level of our nation.”

    The flow of migrant children, coming mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, is reaching record levels. The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection reported that 57,525 children were arrested between Oct. 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014. This figure shows an increase of 106 percent compared to last year, when border authorities arrested 27,884 children.

    The campaign started two days ago by charity groups (Catholic Charities of Dallas), the association of the Hispanic Bar Association of Dallas and from the same diocese. Its aim is to recruit bilingual volunteer lawyers to assist the children cost-free whose cases are discussed at the immigration courts. About 160 lawyers have already voluntarily joined the initiative.

  • The Faith of Atheists

    via American Thinker

    by Bill Kassel

    My parents’ marriage was mixed, religiously, and while neither was active in their faith, the differences were a source of conflict. Their solution: negligible church participation.

    And so I received very little faith formation as a child — not enough to shield me from the inevitable agnosticism that took hold in my teen years.

    Perhaps I should be grateful for this. Because, while I ultimately became Catholic, my early spiritual rootlessness gave me a sensitivity to the feelings of those for whom belief can be a challenge (or an affront).

    It’s true that thoughtful individuals can conclude intellectually that there’s no God. Throughout history many have, and some still do. But I believe that comparatively few people become atheists by conviction. My experience, rather, is that people come to doubt God’s existence – or decide outright for non-belief – because of several factors:

    • They’ve confronted some evil or tragedy so great and shocking as to contradict any understanding of God as loving, compassionate or just, and make all religious precepts seem like lies.

    • They’ve experienced profound personal loss or disappointment. It might be the death of a loved one, the breakup of a family, an ongoing sense of deprivation, or the withholding of love and encouragement. Any of which can force someone into an extreme state of self-reliance that’s unhealthy and leaves them totally isolated, convinced nobody on earth or in heaven could possible care.

    • They’ve had some disillusioning encounter with a church or with individuals who represent themselves as faithful and moral but behave otherwise. This can be as directly hurtful as experiencing cruelty, rejection, or abuse, or merely observing motives and attitudes that suggest hypocrisy.

    • They’ve never witnessed any particular benefit of religion — especially so in the lives of people they’ve watched go from church to church searching for fulfillment that remains elusive. It’s easy to draw the conclusion:

    Believing never did a damned bit of good for my (mother, father, fill in the blank ____ ), so why should I expect anything better?”

    • They’ve discovered that they were misled about religion by people who are themselves ignorant of true Christian teaching or who mistake superstition for doctrine.

    • They’ve fallen under the influence of charismatic individuals — relatives, acquaintances, teachers — who are emotionally committed to religious denial. These days, it’s hard to avoid such folks. College and university campuses, in particular, are aswarm with them.

    • They’ve never come upon an argument for faith that’s convincing, or heard the Christian story told in a way that seems plausible to them. It’s especially defeating when Bible passages appear to contradict the evidence of science or when faith arguments rely too heavily on miracles. We live in a time when people aren’t always comfortable with the supernatural — ghosts, auras, and astral projection, okay; Jesus rising from the dead, not so much.

    There are other discouragements to faith as well. And of course, not everyone touched by some demoralizing life situation goes all the way to atheism. Many find themselves in something like the agnostic confusion I experienced.

    Also, it’s common enough to just drift away from religion with no formal or overt break. In fact, people often continue to identify themselves with the church of their upbringing or even maintain some indeterminate belief in God; it’s just that faith ceases to count very much in their daily lives and moral judgments.

    But confirmed (or at least acknowledged) atheism is different from mere ambiguity or equivocation. It’s not so much a matter of belief being absent, but of someone embracing an alternative philosophy that’s renounced any allegiance to the traditional Judeo-Christian conception of God. From that perspective, most atheists aren’t nonbelievers at all, but rather believers in something else.

    I think this is especially true of those motivated individuals who loudly proclaim their atheism to anyone who will listen and are committed to proselytizing others on behalf of what they see as intellectual, spiritual, or moral liberation. Their true religion is rejection.

    In recent years we’ve been inundated with news stories about surveys purporting to show a steep decline in religion. While it’s true that church attendance and denominational loyalty have fallen, I think much of this research indicates something different from loss of faith.

    For instance, in a 2012 Pew Research study, 37 percent of respondents identifying themselves as unaffiliated with any church nonetheless claimed the popular tag, “spiritual but not religious.” This is a testament to the enduring human impulse to believe — or at least to want to believe, which is very close to the same thing.

    But it’s easy to miss this reality. The Pew researchers apparently did, when they wrote…

    “There is little evidence that the unaffiliated are, by and large, ‘seekers’ who are searching for a religion that fits them or that they have embraced New Age spirituality, Eastern religious ideas or other beliefs from non-Abrahamic faiths. Only about one-in-ten U.S. adults who identify their current religion as ‘nothing in particular’ say they are looking for a religious affiliation.”

    The researchers (or whoever wrote the report) obviously interpreted their survey findings only in light of practices that could be identified as conventionallyreligious (and, given its popularity, even so-called New Age spirituality might fit that description nowadays).Yet, in the very next line they observe that…

    “The unaffiliated are about as likely as others in the general public to believe in reincarnation, astrology and the evil eye. And they are only slightly more likely to believe in yoga as a spiritual practice and in spiritual energy located in physical things such as mountains, trees and crystals.”

    What could be more religious than ideas like “reincarnation, astrology and the evil eye?” They reflect mystical traditions that predate Christianity. Then too — slightly more likely to believe in yoga (whose basis is Hinduism) or in spiritual energy being located in physical things (which is Pantheism)? This all sounds like religion to me.

    There may be psycho-physiological explanations for the impulse to believe. The online journal Science 2.0 recently (July 6, 2014) reported that:

    “Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

    “While this idea may seem outlandish … evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone ….

    “This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. ‘A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,’ writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people ‘are only aware of some of their religious ideas.’”

    Support for this way of thinking about religion also comes from research based on an evolutionary point of view…

    “Social scientists have long believed that the emotional depth and complexity of the human mind means that mindful, self-aware people necessarily suffer from deep existential dread. Spiritual beliefs evolved over thousands of years as nature’s way to help us balance this out and go on functioning.”

    I think what we see here is how God intended us to be. And it goes a long way toward explaining such interesting recent developments as the emergence of atheist churches. People crave community, after all, and community is based on shared outlook and the need for mutual encouragement — motivations that are all bound up with the religious impulse.

    It also may account for the aggressiveness we’re observing among many nonbelievers lately. If, as atheists claim, they’ve succeeded in freeing themselves from superstitious encumbrances, then they should be able to just laugh off the peculiar whims of the faithful. Yet they’re increasingly touchy and defensive.

    Why?

    Because they feel their religion has been attacked.

    Read More

  • Why isn’t the pope helping Christians in the Middle East?

    via Breitbart

    Video: Why isn’t the pope helping Christians in the Middle East?

    Judge Jeanine Pirro, host of the Fox News Channel’s “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” criticized Pope Francis for defending illegal immigrant children in the United States while failing to take action on behalf of Christians in the Middle East on her Saturday broadcast.

    “I’m a Christian. I’m a Catholic…I mean no disrespect but it is time for the papacy, and Pope Francis in particular, to start protecting his Christian flock. This month Pope Francis preached that immigrant children in facilities around the United States should be welcomed and protected. Your Holiness, they’re in the United States. They are protected. They are being given food and clothing and shelter. No children are being killed by the United States, but Christian children are being killed in the Middle East, and while we appreciate your prayer for those in the Middle East last week, it’s just not enough.”

    She added “Your Holiness, you are the leader of the flock. You control one of the wealthiest organizations in the world and with wealth comes power. Your recent trips and your planned trips do not reflect the urgent concern necessary for Christians in Iraq and Syria and Egypt. Your pronouncements span the globe.” And “every church in the world should be repeating a strong, urgent message from the papacy condemning this slaughter and calling for the world to stop the annihilation of the innocents instead of worrying about immigrant children already protected by America.”

    Pirro concluded that the Church should not repeat past mistakes where it failed to move against evil in a timely manner, stating “Your Holiness the papacy was silent during World War II, you cannot afford to let history repeat itself and Your Holiness, the papacy also lagged behind the sex abuse scandal…it is time for the papacy to get out in front of this Christian massacre.”

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 25, 2014—Hour 1

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 25, 2014—Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Kresta Comments: History and Religion

    • Description: Al discusses the importance of religion throughout world history with a special emphasis on war.

    + Segment #2 of 3

    How Literature Shapes the Christian Character

    • Description: Joseph Pearce, a prominent Catholic biographer and Director for the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Tennessee, joins us to discuss how literature shapes the Christian character.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Joseph Pearce
        Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Tennessee, renowned Catholic biographer, co-editor of St. Austin Review

    + Segment #3 of 3

    How Literature Shapes the Christian Character (continued)

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 25, 2014—Hour 2

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 25, 2014—Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Israeli Invasion of Hamas

    • Description: Israel invaded the Gaza strip last week after several days of rocket attacks from both areas. The US has criticized Israeli forces for not protecting innocent civilians but also acknowledges Israel’s right to defend itself. The Federal Aviation Authority temporarily banned all US flights to Israel. What’s really happening in that region? Why did Israel invade? Is there a “right” or “wrong” side in the fight? Steve Ray, a veteran tour guide and historian of the Holy Land, joins us with his insight.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Steve Ray
        Along with his wife Janet, Steve is the writer, producer and host of the Footprints of God video series. Steve is the author of five books, of which three are best selling books with Ignatius Press. Steve also speaks around the world and is a guest on many radio and television programs.
      • Resources:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Border Crisis: A Catholic’s Responsibility

    • Description: Elizabeth Yore, who has served in several different positions devoted to promoting child safety and welfare, joins us to discuss the border crisis in the southwest and what Catholics should do about it.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Elizabeth Yore
        Special Counsel at Harpo, Inc, acted as Oprah Winfrey’s Child Advocate, General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Image and Reality: Finding the Real God in an Unreal World

    • Description: Our culture saturates us with images and ideas that create a false reality—one that gives us impossible expectations. We expect to succeed without giving any effort, to be constantly entertained and to remain healthy without watching our diet. Clothing models set a standard, especially for women, that is impossible to match in real life. How is this false reality created? How can we find the real God in an unreal world? Teresa Tomeo joins us to discuss these questions and the upcoming Image and Realty conference.
    • Segment Guests:
  • Today on “Kresta in the Afternoon”—July 25, 2014

    4:20 – How Literature Shapes the Christian Character

    Joseph Pearce, a prominent Catholic biographer and Director for the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Tennessee, joins us to discuss how literature shapes the Christian character.

     

    5:00 –Israeli Invasion of Hamas

    Israel invaded the Gaza strip last week after several days of rocket attacks from both areas. The US has criticized Israeli forces for not protecting innocent civilians but also acknowledges Israel’s right to defend itself. The Federal Aviation Authority temporarily banned all US flights to Israel. What’s really happening in that region? Why did Israel invade? Is there a “right” or “wrong” side in the fight? Steve Ray, a veteran tour guide and historian of the Holy Land, joins us with his insight.

     

    5:20 – Border Crisis: A Catholic’s Responsibility

    Elizabeth Yore, who has served in several different positions devoted to promoting child safety and welfare, joins us to discuss the border crisis in the southwest and what Catholics should do about it.

     

    5:40 – Image and Reality: Finding the Real God in an Unreal World

    Our culture saturates us with images and ideas that create a false reality—one that gives us impossible expectations. We expect to succeed without giving any effort, to be constantly entertained and to remain healthy without watching our diet. Clothing models set a standard, especially for women, that is impossible to match in real life. How is this false reality created? How can we find the real God in an unreal world? Teresa Tomeo joins us to discuss these questions and the upcoming Image and Realty conference.

  • Being Human at the Border

    In a recent blog post, Cardinal Timothy Dolan criticized Americans who protest violently against immigration. The “New York Times” covered the post, describing Cardinal Dolan as “furious.”  Click here to read the “Times” article. Kathryn Lopez of the “National Review” reacts to the coverage: 

    via the National Review

    kathryn lopezThe New York Times describes Cardinal Timothy Dolan as being “furious” when he wrote this blog post about the situation at our borders. I hope readers don’t take their characterization without reading the post for themselves.

    In a blog post titled “The Dignity of the Human Person,” what Cardinal Dolan wrote was:

    A week or so ago, I watched with shame as an angry mob in southern California surrounded buses filled with frightened, hungry, homeless immigrants, shaking fists, and shouting for them to “get out!”

    It was un-American; it was un-biblical; it was inhumane.  It worked, as the scared drivers turned the buses around and sought sanctuary elsewhere.

    The incendiary scene reminded me of Nativist mobs in the 1840’s, Know-Nothinggangs in the 1850’s, and KKK  thugs in the 1920’s, who hounded and harassed scared immigrants, Catholics, Jews, and Blacks.

    I think of this sad incident today, the feast of New York’s own Kateri Tekakwitha, a native-American (a Mohawk) canonized a saint just three years ago.  Unless we are Native Americans, like Saint Kateri, our ancestors all came here as homesick, hungry, hopeful immigrants.  I don’t think there were any Mohawks among that mob attacking the buses of refugee women and children.

    Then on Saturday I watched another scene on the TV news.  Again there were busloads of shy, scared, immigrant women and children; again, there were crowds; this time – – in McAndrews, Texas – – the crowd was applauding the arriving refugees, and helping them into Sacred Heart Parish Hall, where parishioners and Catholic Charities workers welcomed them with a meal, a cold drink, a shower and fresh clothes, toys for the kids, and a cot as they helped government officials try to process them and figure out the next step.

     This time I was not ashamed, but relieved and grateful, proud to be an American and a Catholic.

    We might argue and yell about policies, processes, and politics; we can never argue about the dignity of the human person or the sacredness of life, or yell at people who need our help.

    Now I read that as a shepherd prodding his sheep, highlighting humanity. He does so as one of the most familiar faces of the Catholic Church in the United States today, a Church that has long worked to provide pastoral support and practical opportunities for immigrants, however they got here.

    My friend Ed Mechmann, also of the Archdiocese of New York writes reflectively about the issue as well; he sheds light on a contentious debate with the story of his grandmother’s life as an illegal alien.

    I wouldn’t describe a rallying cry to see the humanity behind the headlines and debate as furious, but as an impassioned plea, stressing the urgency of the Gospel.

    I wrote more about this issue in my syndicated column this week.

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