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  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 26, 2015 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – May 26, 2015 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Direct to My Desk with Fr Paul Check: Is Healing the Homosexual Compatible With Outlawing Gay “Marriage”?

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Direct to My Desk with Fr Paul Check: Is Healing the Homosexual Compatible With Outlawing Gay “Marriage”? (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Direct to My Desk with Fr Paul Check: Is Healing the Homosexual Compatible With Outlawing Gay “Marriage”? (continued)

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 26, 2015 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – May 26, 2015 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Acts and the New Pentecost: A Necessary Condition for the New Evangelization

    • Description: There can be no New Evangelization without a New Pentecost. The first Pentecost empowered the Apostles to come out of hiding and preach the Gospel, regardless of the consequences. They were able to preach in an understandable manner that the “modern” world understood. We need the same power from the Spirit today – the power to preach the Gospel so that the modern world can understand, without changing the Gospel to conform to the modern world. We talk about the power of Pentecost with Mary Healy.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Acts and the New Pentecost: A Necessary Condition for the New Evangelization (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Acts and the New Pentecost: A Necessary Condition for the New Evangelization (continued)

  • Cruz Throws Back Gay Question To Reporter: “Do You Have A Personal Animosity Against Christians?”

    A note from Al:

    Apparently, the journalists in question here cannot imagine that opposition to same sex so-called marriage stems from anything but animosity, hostility or hatred of homosexuals. This is a sign of decadence. Is it possible that these journalists lack the intellectual firepower to make distinctions between personal picque and policy consequences? – Al Kresta

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 26, 2015

    Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on May 26, 2015

    4:00 – Is Healing the Homosexual Compatible With Outlawing Gay “Marriage”?

    Fr. Paul Check, Executive Director of Courage International, joins us today to discuss how public policies can be used to foster greater acceptance and healing for homsexuals.

    4:40 – Kresta Comments Catholic Ireland Adopts Gay “Marriage”: Politics Without Catechesis Always Fails

    One of the most historically Catholic countries in the world has become the first country to recognize same-sex marriage by popular vote rather than a court order or legislative action. The vote wasn’t even close; nearly 63% of voters said “yes” and only one district in the entire country had a majority of “no” votes. How did this happen? Not a single significant public figure in the country urged voters to defend traditional marriage. Why not? Al has comments.


    5:00 – Acts and the New Pentecost: A Necessary Condition for the New Evangelization

    There can be no New Evangelization without a New Pentecost. The first Pentecost empowered the Apostles to come out of hiding and preach the Gospel, regardless of the consequences. They were able to preach in an understandable manner that the “modern” world understood. We need the same power from the Spirit today – the power to preach the Gospel so that the modern world can understand, without changing the Gospel to conform to the modern world. We talk about the power of Pentecost with Mary Healy.

  • Pentecost Sunday


    by Fr. Steve Grunow via FrSteveGrunow.com

    Pentecost commemorates the revelation of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and disciples. This revelation happened after the Lord Jesus ascended to his Father, and took his rightful place as Lord of our lives and Lord of the world.

    Prior to his Ascension, the Lord Jesus promised that he would reveal the Holy Spirit. This happens in an extraordinary event that is described for us today in the Church’s first scripture, an excerpt from the New Testament book entitled “Acts of the Apostles.”

    We learn from this eyewitness account, that the Holy Spirit was revealed with frightening power, in what appeared to be wind and flame and the shaking of the earth. This power overtook the apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus and transformed them, enabling to enact mighty and wondrous deeds, to do the kinds of things that the Lord Jesus had done, and invigorated them with the courage to speak openly, publically about the Lord Jesus.

    The Holy Spirit was the driving force that impelled the apostles and disciples out from behind locked doors and closed rooms and into the world.

    The Church is not meant to be a private, faith-based club, but an open, public, missionary society that goes out into the world. The fundamental task of the Church is the proclamation of Lordship of Jesus Christ and the invitation to know Christ and serve him in the Church. The acceptance of this invitation expresses itself in a willingness to repent, to live a different way of life, a way of life that expresses itself in a unique way of worship that we call the Mass and in works of mercy that seek to sustain the bodies and souls of those in need.

    The Church’s unique way of life, her proclamation, her worship, her works of mercy give rise to a civilization, a living culture that transcends the boundaries imposed by ethnicity and language, and is, here on earth, an expression of the Kingdom of heaven.

    None of this would be possible if disciples of the Lord Jesus sequestered themselves in a private, faith-based clubhouse. In fact, the Holy Spirit will resist our attempts to reduce the Church to a private club by withdrawing his blessing if we give in to this temptation. Christians are meant to be overtaken by the power of the Holy Spirit and when they are they are like fire, earthquakes, and hurricane winds- they are forces to be reckoned with, whose impact on the world is evident in their bold proclamation, beautiful worship and lively works of mercy. In a world where so many dwell imprisoned in darkness and cold and death, the Christian filled with the Holy Spirit is a reprieve of light, warmth and abundant life.

    Christians who resist the Holy Spirit languish in narrowness, frustration and self pre-occupation and their private faith-based clubs show forth these negative qualities- repelling, rather than attracting, closed and locked, rather than open to invite the world in; unsure of Christ, rather than knowing him as one knows a friend; concerned more with maintenance of programs and structures, rather than with accomplishing the mission Christ gives his people.

    St. Paul doesn’t mince words about the characteristics of Christians who resist the Holy Spirit.

    In his Letter to the Galatians, he provides a dirty laundry list of the negative characteristics of Christians who resist the Holy Spirit- he pulls no punches. He has no qualms about airing the dirty laundry of his fellow Christians in public. Listening to his list this morning we shouldn’t think that any of those characteristics would not be found here or that the effect of what St. Paul identifies could be safely contained in the privacy of our homes. The kinds of things that St. Paul identifies in his dirty laundry list are the kinds of things that Christians do that poison the Church.

    Why is St. Paul nagging at us about things that most people in our culture would protest are private matters?

    St. Paul wants us to examine our consciences and we all should. Pope Benedict aptly observed once that Christians who speak of God but who live contrary to him, open the doors to unbelief and further that the Church’s greatest need in this present moment of the Church’s life are people who make God credible by means of their way of life.

    The worldly dabble in trying to divide character from morality, identifying success in terms of wealth, pleasure, power and honors as being of higher value than truth and goodness. The self-esteem of the celebrity is preferred to self-gift of the saint. Christians attempt to live their faith in ideas and emotions rather than in acts of repentance and works of mercy. This is all contrary to the Holy Spirit.

    If something on St. Paul’s dirty laundry list strikes at your conscience, good. Praise God! That means that you are not yet completely lost!

    Those who are overtaken by the Holy Spirit manifest the presence of the Holy Spirit in lives that look a lot like the life of the Lord Jesus- they know him, they love him, they serve him- and they do so by loving what he loves and serving what he serves.

    St. Paul describes the attitude, the demeanor of a Christian who loves and serves what Christ loves and serves. You meet in these Spirit-filled Christians the qualities that best describe God in Christ: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    Are those qualities in you? They can be- if you surrender yourself to the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Now, I have spent a great deal of time speaking about the effects of the Holy Spirit as he takes hold of our lives and we take hold of him.

    But what is the Holy Spirit specifically?

    The Holy Spirit is not an invisible magic force that gives us superpowers.

    The Holy Spirit, is, simply put, the love of God in Christ, specifically he is the love that is shared between God the Father and God the Son.

    In other words, what you receive in the Holy Spirit is Christ’s own relationship with his Father, and in doing so, he gives to you the possibility of becoming like him!

    This is what the Lord Jesus is speaking about in his Gospel today. In words that sound cryptic and mystical he is telling you that he loves you so much that he wants you to have what he has- and the most important thing that the Lord Jesus has is his relationship with his Father.

    That’s what he wants to give you. The means by which he gives that relationship to you is the Holy Spirit.

    The Christian Faith, the Church’s Faith, is about many things- so many things that at times we are distracted from seeing, understanding the one, necessary thing that our Faith is all about- a relationship with God in Christ.

    God revealed himself in Christ and in the Holy Spirit not just so that his expectations in terms of justice, morality and worship could have the proper point of reference for our understanding. Contrary to what many Christians have come to believe, God’s revelation in Christ and the Holy Spirit cannot be reduced to ethics and values or the support of institutions (any more than it can be reduced to ideas and emotions).

    God’s revelation in Christ and the Holy Spirit is ultimately about his desire to be in a relationship with us. God wants us to know him so that he can express his love for us and offer us a way to be like him. God comes into the world and into our lives in the Lord Jesus to let us know that this is what God intends to do. And it is for this reason, that God in Christ sends the Holy Spirit to us- and this Holy Spirit is what happens to us when we are really and truly willing to be in a relationship with him!

  • “Catholic” Ireland Adopts Gay Marriage


    A note from Al:

    By now we should have learned that Catholics engaging in civil debate is worse than useless if they are not properly catechized and representing the true teaching of the Church. Apparently Ireland is full of Catholics who have been sacramentalized but not evangelized. Even the Archbishop of Dublin, who I’ve heard is a fine man, was reluctant to tell Catholics how to vote. What he doesn’t know is that we don’t want bishops who tell us how to vote. We want bishops and priests who will teach us the mind of Christ on the nature of marriage, sexual expression, war and peace, forgiveness and reconciliation, sports and entertainment, immigration and poverty. The age of compliance ended with the Second Vatican Council. Now we should be in an age of catechesis. Don’t tell us what to do. Explain what the teaching means. WE can decide as citizens how to vote but we would like our vote to be informed by how the Church sees the world. Teach the truth and people will do the truth. Command the truth and you won’t get either.

    Ireland’s 40-Percent Solution

    by Robert Royal via TheCatholicThing.org

    You have to hand it to the Irish bishops, priests, and religious. It’s not easy to de-Christianize a whole people. Yet they managed, in about a generation, to help detach an almost entirely Catholic population from its 1500-year-old religious and social roots. Social “scientists” are going to have to closely study this phenomenon, which far exceeds what has happened even in what used to be thought of as bellwether secularizing states like Germany and France.

    The media have been touting the massive popular support, over 60 percent, for gay marriage in Ireland’s referendum last Friday. It’s clear that they regard it as a harbinger of things to come: if that can happen in Ireland, what’s next? And at the superficial, incurious level of media-driven discourse, it is remarkable. But more remarkable by far – and something to consider for the future – is the 40 percent who did not go along, which is, at the very least, a minor miracle in our day.

    It’s all too easy – and misleading – to list the usual “secular” reasons for “secularization.” Yes, there were sexual and financial scandals in the hierarchy and several religious orders. Yes, the “Celtic Tiger” experienced rapid economic growth and social change. Yes, some think science eliminates the need for religion. Yes, the political leadership in Ireland caved in to gay propaganda and intimidation – not a single political party or major public figure urged “No.”

    But to think that these things explain the outcome is not to think like a Christian. A Christian starts from a different place. How is it that the Irish, like others who have left the Catholic Church, have not, in large numbers, become atheists – which is to say outright non-believers – but in their spirituality and religiosity have turned to something other than classic Christianity? And where did many get the idea that they’re Christian, and even that their “openness” and “tolerance” are more Christian than Catholicism? (Look carefully at all those faces in the photos.)

    Here’s part of an answer. Over the past few years, I’ve been tangentially involved through the Catholic Distance University (an orthodox, online institution) with setting up a formation program for catechists in Ireland. Nota bene, this is not an effort to teach the Irish directly, but to form teachers who would have to convey the faith to them.

    Why was such a program necessary – and why is it that it took an American woman, living in Ireland, to come up with the idea and promote it to various dioceses? Simply put, in the past few decades there was no longer anything reliably Catholic in education programs on the Emerald Isle. It was easier to bring something from outside, from the fabled shores of America.

    Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, a decent man but not a very vigorous leader, noted as the vote approached how odd it was that many young people supported gay marriage, even though they had attended Catholic schools for twelve years or more. Many people, including perhaps the archbishop himself, regard this as a “rejection” of Catholic moral teaching. But that assumes teachers in those schools were strongly presenting that teaching. As we know, from San Francisco to Dublin, that is not necessarily the case.

    In fact, the archbishop himself, perhaps thinking it would avoid a political backlash, said last week that he personally was voting “No,” but would not tell anyone else how to vote. (Some commentators have claimed he was following Pope Francis, who was silent about the Irish vote and recently told the Italian bishops that they should trust their own people to do the right thing, not try to tell them what to do.)

    People will choose different approaches to hard questions, and we owe some deference to an archbishop in such a situation. But people notice when a Church leader is triangulating for support like a politician, rather than boldly preaching the Gospel, like a follower of Jesus.

    I myself would have risked the backlash and would even have preferred sounding like a fundamentalist preaching fire and brimstone – which, after all, Jesus Himself did quite often. All that stuff about unquenched fire and Gehenna, and the salt losing its savor.

    The longer game now, however, must be to renew real Christian teaching and to woo people back to the love of Christ’s Church. The two, as Pope Francis has emphasized, must go together. It’s a sound Thomistic insight that most people are not and cannot become philosophers and theologians. Most people who want to think themselves Christian have to be confident that there are people they trust – and revere – who have Christian answers to difficult moral and spiritual questions, even if most Christians don’t know the arguments themselves.

    That connection and confidence have been lacking in Ireland – and many other places – for a generation or two now.

    In the wake of the Irish vote, a priest sent me a passage from St. Augustine’s Enchiridion, which describes how “crimes were not only not punished, but were openly committed, as if under the protection of the law. And so in our own times: many forms of sin, though not just the same as those of Sodom and Gomorrah, are now so openly and habitually practiced, that not only dare we not excommunicate a layman, we dare not even degrade a clergyman, for the commission of them.”

    After decades of dithering, it will be a long way back from where we are now. Despite everything, let’s take heart from the almost 40 percent who did right in Ireland, under heavy pressure and facing long odds. As Chesterton’s Virgin puts it to King Alfred, facing a barbarian horde, in The Ballad of the White Horse:


    I tell you naught for your comfort,

    Yea, naught for your desire,

    Save that the sky grows darker yet

    And the sea rises higher.


    Night shall be thrice night over you,

    And heaven an iron cope.

    Do you have joy without a cause,

    Yea, faith without a hope?

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 22, 2015 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – May 22, 2015 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Kenya Gears Up for Beatification of Sr. Irene Stefani

    • Description: Sr. Irene Stefani will become the first person in the history of Kenya to be beatified. Massive crowds have gathered for the celebration. We get a live report from the scene with George Wirnkar.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 22, 2015 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – May 22, 2015 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 22, 2015

    Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on May 22, 2015

    4:00 – Kenya Gears Up for Beatification of Sr. Irene Stefani

    Sr. Irene Stefani will become the first person in the history of Kenya to be beatified. Massive crowds have gathered for the celebration. We get a live report from the scene with George Wirnkar.

    4:20 – 6:00 – Direct to My Desk: Topics TBA  


  • Defending ISIS Policy, Obama Acknowledges Flaws in Effort So Far

    A note from Al:

    President Obama says he has a plan. Why doesn’t anyone recognize it?

    For Isis this is a religious war. Yes, military leadership is filled with retooled generals from Saddam’s army but the driving force behind ISIS is a purification of and greater application of Islam. ISIS will have to fight Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt if it wants to make its claim to be the new caliphate stick. If you aren’t considering the competing religious claims at least as seriously as the territorial and military claims, you will never understand this story. – Al Kresta

    by Peter Baker via NYTimes.com


    WASHINGTON — President Obama denied that the United States and its allies were losing the fight against Islamic State forces in the Middle East, but he acknowledged in an interview posted online on Thursday that more should be done to help Iraqis recapture lost territory.

    While repeating his refusal to commit large-scale American forces to the region, the president said Sunni fighters in Iraq needed more commitment and training to take on fellow Sunnis aligned with the Islamic State. But he offered no regrets about his handling of the war and said in the end, it would be up to the Iraqis to increase their efforts.

    “I don’t think we’re losing,” Mr. Obama told Jeffrey Goldberg, a journalist for The Atlantic in an interview conducted on Tuesday just days after the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to Islamic State fighters. “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced.”

    The president’s comments came a day before the Islamic State seized a second city, Palmyra, in central Syria, reinforcing concerns in that region and in Washington that Mr. Obama’s strategy has faltered. The president and his team argued for months that they had reversed the momentum of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, but critics and independent experts said it was now time to rethink the approach.

    The United States is sending 1,000 antitank rockets to Iraq to help its forces counter vehicle bombs, which were used by the Islamic State to capture Ramadi, but the White House has made clear that it does not intend to engage in a broader overhaul of the American war effort in the region. Mr. Obama has authorized airstrikes and occasional Special Forces missions, but otherwise he said he was counting on the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq and moderate Syrian rebels to conduct the fight on the ground.

    Some Republicans say this is inadequate. “Where is our morality?” Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on the Senate floor. “Where is our decency? Where is our concern about the thousands of people being slaughtered and displaced and their lives destroyed? And we shouldn’t set our hair on fire? Outrageous.”

    In the interview, Mr. Obama attributed the fall of Ramadi to a failure by the Iraqi government to build up its forces, fortifications and command-and-control systems in Anbar Province, a largely Sunni region that has long been a hotbed of resistance to Shiite-led governments in Baghdad. Sunni forces in Anbar, he said, “have been there essentially for a year without significant reinforcements.”

    “There’s no doubt that in the Sunni areas, we’re going to have to ramp up not just training but also commitment, and we better get Sunni tribes more activated than they currently have been,” Mr. Obama said. “So it is a source of concern.”

    But he counseled patience. “We’re eight months into what we’ve always anticipated to be a multiyear campaign, and I think Prime Minister Abadi recognizes many of these problems, but they’re going to have to be addressed,” Mr. Obama said.

    While Republican presidential candidates argue whether the original American invasion of 2003 was the right decision or not, Mr. Obama said the lesson he learned from that episode was that simply sending in American forces was not always the answer to every security threat. Mr. Obama withdrew remaining American troops from Iraq in 2011 after negotiations to leave behind a residual force collapsed.

    “I know that there are some in Republican quarters who have suggested that I’ve overlearned the mistake of Iraq and that, in fact, just because the 2003 invasion did not go well doesn’t argue that we shouldn’t go back in,” he said. But the lesson of the last dozen years is that Iraqis have to be willing and capable to govern their own country, he said. “If they are not willing to fight for the security of their country,” he said, “we cannot do that for them.”

    Addressing other issues in the Middle East, Mr. Obama warned Saudi Arabia and other gulf states not to pursue their own nuclear programs as a counterweight to Iran. A week after meeting with gulf leaders at Camp David, Mr. Obama said he had heard “legitimate skepticism and concern” from them about his tentative agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear program but stressed that they should feel assured of American support for their security.

    “There has been no indication from the Saudis or any other” gulf state “that they have an intention to pursue their own nuclear program,” Mr. Obama said. Regional leaders should understand that “the protection that we provide as their partner is a far greater deterrent than they could ever hope to achieve by developing their own nuclear stockpile or trying to achieve breakout capacity when it comes to nuclear weapons.”

    Moreover, he added, “their covert — presumably — pursuit of a nuclear program would greatly strain the relationship they’ve got with the United States.”

    As for his recent disagreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuof Israel, Mr. Obama said again that he was a strong supporter of the Jewish state and that allies ought to be able to disagree without being accused of being anti-Israel.

    He said Mr. Netanyahu’s pre-election statement suggesting that Arab-Israeli citizens were somehow “an invading force that might vote” was “contrary to the very language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence” and could not be ignored.

    “When something like that happens, that has foreign policy consequences,” Mr. Obama said, “and precisely because we’re so close to Israel, for us to simply stand there and say nothing would have meant that this office, the Oval Office, lost credibility when it came to speaking out on those issues.”

    He said many Jewish Americans support him regardless of the quarrel.

    “I consistently received overwhelming majority support from the Jewish community and even after all the publicity around the recent differences that I’ve had with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the majority of the Jewish American community still supports me, and supports me strongly,” Mr. Obama said.

    He said that his public criticism of Mr. Netanyahu was “fairly spare and mild” but blown up by some who have made “a very concerted effort on the part of some political forces to equate being pro-Israel, and hence being supportive of the Jewish people, with a rubber stamp on a particular set of policies coming out of the Israeli government.”

    Mr. Obama said he rejected that view. “You should be able to say to Israel, ‘We disagree with you on this particular policy,’ ” he said, citing settlements, checkpoints and the rights of Arab citizens. “And to me, that is entirely consistent with being supportive of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”

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