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  • Would an independent Scotland be an anti-Catholic Scotland?

    via Aleteia

    by Greg Daly

    greg dalyJust days after thousands of Protestant Orangemen paraded through the streets of Edinburgh, and with the prominent Scottish Catholic philosopher John Haldane having expressed concerns about the fate of the Church in an independent Scotland, a hundred of his fellow Scottish Catholics have paid for an advertisement to proclaim that “a ‘Yes’ vote in this week’s referendum makes possible a more socially just Scotland.”

    Those who have signed the letter, published in the Herald newspaper, include historian Owen Dudley Edwards, whose sister Ruth has claimed that Scottish independence could inflame sectarian tensions; Sir Harry Burns, formerly Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, and Professor Duncan MacLaren, onetime Secretary General of the Church’s aid and development agency, Caritas Internationalis.

    “As part of the UK, we live in the world’s fourth most unequal state,” said MacLaren, adding, “Independence will allow us to follow Pope Francis’s words and say ‘no’ to ‘an economy of exclusion and inequality,’ not just for our own citizens but through a foreign policy based on solidarity with the poorest, for those who suffer from hunger and exploitation throughout the world.”

    Citing Evangelii Gaudium, MacLaren seemed to draw a different lesson than did rocker Bob Geldof from the principle that “’no’ is not always a negative.” For MacLaren, Scotland could better serve the common good at home and abroad as an independent country than as a constituent part of the UK.  In this, Scotland would be in line with other northern European countries such as Norway, which spends almost a third as much on international aid as the UK does, despite having only five million people. (This compared to the UK’s 64 million; or Ireland, which last month had 336 troops on UN peacekeeping missions compared to 282 from the UK.)

    Another signatory, Harry Schnitker, senior research fellow at Dundee’s St. Ninian’s Institute, argues there is little hope of Westminster politicians voting in line with the principles of Catholic Scots.

    “It is true that the Scottish Parliament has passed bills opposed by the Catholic Church,” he said, the most recent example being the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill, which Scotland’s parliament passed in February. “But the same bills have been passed in the UK Parliament. On the whole, however, policies passed by the Scottish Parliament have been more in line with Catholic thinking.”

    There is a common perception in Scotland that welfare reform in England and Wales has constituted an onslaught on the poorest and scotlandweakest. The irony of this is that work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith famously committed himself to helping Britain’s most vulnerable in 2002, following a visit to Glasgow’s Easterhouse estate.  The first senior Conservative politician ever to speak at the Labour Party conference, in 2005, he insisted at a Christian Socialist movement debate that “everybody should have enough money to live properly in their community,” and that “at some point we’ve got to redistribute assets, not just income.”

    Alas, despite taking office in 2010 with the aim of eradicating poverty through a universal credit system, he saw matters worsen across Britain. This June, the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee accused the Department for Work and Pensions of ignoring a 400 percent increase in food bank use between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, saying that “There’s no doubt that the increase can be connected directly to benefit sanctions and other issues.”

    Catholics like Harry Schnitker hope that in an independent Scotland, things might be different.

    Read More

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 17, 2014— Hour 1

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 17, 2014— Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith

    • Description: Six years ago our friends Fr. John McCloskey and Russell Shaw wrote Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith. Based on the great success and influence that Father McCloskey has had in helping instruct many converts to Catholicism, especially numerous high profile DC figures, this book is a powerful combination of the methods, theology, and theories that McCloskey uses in his evangelization efforts. In addition to his compelling insights on how to teach or share the faith in a winning, inspiring way, this work includes the contributions of several dozen converts of Fr. McCloskey who give their own moving testimonies of why they converted to Catholicism, and how that life-changing journey happened for each of them. We revisit this inspirational book today with Fr. McCloskey.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith (continued)

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 17, 2014— Hour 2

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 17, 2014— Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Jacob's Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth

    • Description: There are ten important questions everyone should ask; and the answers to these questions, which lead to ultimate truth, are a matter of reason, not of faith. This is the thesis of well-known Catholic philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft who tackles each of these questions in a logical step-by-step way, like climbing the rungs of a ladder. Because questions are best answered by dialogue, Kreeft answers these fundamental questions in an imaginary conversation between two very different people who meet at the beach. Dr. Kreeft joins us.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Jacob's Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Jacob's Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth (continued)

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 17, 2014

    Talking about the Things That Matter Most on September 17

     

    4:00 – Jacob’s Ladder: Ten Steps to Truth

     

    There are ten important questions everyone should ask; and the answers to these questions, which lead to ultimate truth, are a matter of reason, not of faith. This is the thesis of well-known Catholic philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft who tackles each of these questions in a logical step-by-step way, like climbing the rungs of a ladder. Because questions are best answered by dialogue, Kreeft answers these fundamental questions in an imaginary conversation between two very different people who meet at the beach. Dr. Kreeft joins us.

     

    5:00 – Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith

     

    Six years ago our friends Fr. John McCloskey and Russell Shaw wrote Good News, Bad News: Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith. Based on the great success and influence that Father McCloskey has had in helping instruct many converts to Catholicism, especially numerous high profile DC figures, this book is a powerful combination of the methods, theology, and theories that McCloskey uses in his evangelization efforts. In addition to his compelling insights on how to teach or share the faith in a winning, inspiring way, this work includes the contributions of several dozen converts of Fr. McCloskey who give their own moving testimonies of why they converted to Catholicism, and how that life-changing journey happened for each of them. We revisit this inspirational book today with Fr. McCloskey.

     

  • A Few Last Words

    via Catholic Answers

    by Michelle Arnold

    michelle arnoldOn April 6, 1252, two Dominican friars hurried along a deserted road. They were in hostile territory, populated by religious extremists who wanted them dead because of their success in convincing those under the sway ofthe extremists’ heresy to return to Catholic orthodoxy. Despite their precautions, the two were ambushed by hired assassins. One of the two, named Peter, died on the spot, but not before managing to write the opening line of the Apostles’ Creed in his own blood; his companion, named Dominic, died of his injuries a few days after the attack.

    Less than a year later, St. Peter of Verona, also known as St. Peter Martyr, was canonized in the fastest papal canonization in the history of papal canonizations. One of the assassins, Carino Pietro of Balsamo, repented, confessed, and became a lay Dominican brother; eventually he was beatified. And what about Peter’s faithful companion, Dominic? So far as I know, his sacrifice has been largely forgotten, except in the context of recounting St. Peter’s martyrdom—perhaps because Friar Dominic did not die immediately and was unable to scrawl out the Credo in blood.

    The story of Peter of Verona is a classic tale of martyrdom, containing all of the elements Catholics commonly attribute to the martyrs: We have the renowned holiness of the martyr (including miracles attributed to him during his own lifetime, not just after death); we have the clear hatred of the faith (Latin, odium fidei) of those who contracted with the hitmen to murder the martyr (although the hitmen’s motive may merely have been personal gain); we have the explicit witness to the faith by St. Peter (can’t get much clearer than sacred words written in your own blood).

    Such a serendipitous confluence of all necessary factors for an indisputable Christian martyrdom may be one reason St. Peter was able to be canonized so quickly. Not all saints venerated as martyrs, either officially or unofficially, have had such a providential set of circumstances indisputably pointing to their glorious witness to Christ to the point of death.

    The Maid of Orléans

    St. Joan of Arc is often considered in the popular imagination to have been a martyr, mostly given the horrific nature of her death—burning at the stake after a sham trial that found her guilty of heresy. The trialincluded questions that clearly put Joan’s faith to the test:

    The transcript’s most famous exchange is an exercise in subtlety. “Asked if she knew she was in God’s grace, she answered: ‘If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.’” The question is a scholarly trap. Church doctrine held that no one could be certain of being in God’s grace. If she had answered yes, then she would have been charged with heresy. If she had answered no, then she would have confessed her own guilt. Notary Boisguillaume later testified that at the moment the court heard this reply, “Those who were interrogating her were stupefied.”

    Nonetheless, despite her later rehabilitation and eventual canonization, St. Joan has never been officially enrolled as a recognized martyr, but is instead venerated by the Church as a virgin. One reason might be that Joan was tried by Church officials who allowed their strings to be pulled by their English puppetmasters, and therefore it cannot be proven that she died in odium fidei.

    A Martyr for Purity

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, we find St. Maria Goretti, the twelve-year-old girl who fought off rape by a neighbor’s son, maria gorettiAlessandro Serenelli. During the course of the attack, she was stabbed over a dozen times and died the next day in agony. Her brave defense of her chastity and her final words of forgiveness for her attacker, including her desire to meet her attacker in heaven, captured the popular imagination. Maria was beatified and canonized so quickly that her own mother was able to attend both liturgies, to date the only mother of a saint to witness her child’s canonization.

    Surprisingly, given that the knife attack by Alessandro was perpetrated out of rage over Maria’s rebuff of his sexual advances and not out of clear odium fidei, St. Maria Goretti has been venerated as a martyr for sexual purity. At her canonization, Pope Pius XII stated:

    Martyr on earth and angel in heaven, look down from your glory on this people, which loves you, which venerates, glorifies, and exalts you. On your forehead you bear the full, brilliant, and victorious name of Christ. In your virginal countenance may be read the strength of your love and the constancy of your fidelity to your divine Spouse. As his bride espoused in blood, you have traced in yourself his own image.

    Like Peter of Verona, Maria Goretti was granted the grace of living long enough and under the right conditions to make an overt witness to her faith. Where St. Peter used his final words to begin the Credo, St. Maria used hers to witness to the mercy and forgiveness of God.

    The Prisoner of Auschwitz

    Later in the twentieth century, we would see yet another form of martyrdom in St. Maximilian Kolbe, and this time an explicit debate over what constitutes Christian martyrdom.

    Many of the ingredients for a classic case of martyrdom were present when St. Maximilian sacrificed his life to spare the life of another prisoner in Auschwitz. Like Peter of Verona, there was a renowned holiness during his lifetime, including a childhood vision of choosing martyrdom; there was clear hatred of Christians and other human persons by his killers (although the question of odium fidei was up in the air, as we shall see); and there was clear witness to the ideals of the faith, such as laying down one’s life for another.

    Nonetheless, Maximilian was beatified as a confessor, not as a martyr, although he was given unofficial recognition as a “martyr of charity.” When it came time for his canonization though, Pope John Paul II simply chose to declare that St. Maximilian would henceforth be venerated as a martyr. By his own authority as pope, and overruling a commission established to study the matter, John Paul decided that “the systematic hatred of . . . humanity propagated by the Nazi regime was in itself inherently an act of hatred of religious [Catholic] faith, meaning Kolbe’s death equated to martyrdom.”

    Read More

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 16, 2014— Hour 1

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 16, 2014— Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Kresta Comments

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Pope Francis Weds 20 Cohabiting Couples

    • Description: Pope Francis made headlines this weekend by holding a mass wedding ceremony for 20 cohabiting couples. Predictably, the mainstream media used this as further proof of Francis’ alleged “progressivism.” TIME magazine proclaimed the ceremony as a “hint of coming changes for the Church” and CBS said it was another step Francis’ “push for inclusion.” Contrary to the claims of the media, the marriages performed this weekend were legitimate and in line with Church tradition. The Church is strictly against cohabitation; however, cohabiting couples are allowed to marry in the Church provided they meet certain requirements. Ed Peters, a professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, is with us to talk about it.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    The Catholic League and the St. Patrick’s Day parade

    • Description: In recent years the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade has come under fire for “excluding” gay rights groups. This year the parade announced it would allow one gay rights group to march under their own banner, and is open to more groups doing so in the future. News outlets failed to mention that gay rights groups were not exclusively targeted. Parade organizers had a widespread ban against political groups marching in the parade, and also prohibited pro-life groups from marching under their own banner. Despite the change in parade policy, there are no pro-life groups scheduled to march in the 2015 parade. Parade organizers claim that no groups applied, but Catholic League President Bill Donohue says this is because there was no announcement of the policy change. Bill joins us to talk about the controversy and why the Catholic League is done with the parade.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Bill Donohue
        Bill is the president of the Catholic League. He is the author of five books, the most recent being “Why Catholicism Matters: How Catholic Virtues Can Reshape Society in the 21st Century.” He is on the board of advisors for the Washington Legal Foundation and several other organizations.
      • Resources:
  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 16, 2014— Hour 2

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 16, 2014— Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Kresta Comments: The Satanic Temple Comes to Detroit/ Media hype over sensational headlines

    • Description: The Satanic Temple, an atheistic satanic "church," recently announced that it is opening a chapter in Detroit. On Sunday, Al debated the Temple's leader, Jex Blackmore, on Fox 2 Detroit's Let it Rip. Al asserts that the Satanic Temple is little more than an attention-seeking sideshow. We will play highlights from the debate and Al will give his comments. From there, Al discusses the media hype over sensational headlines, including how the media has covered the Satanic Temple. He also discusses media sensationalism over Francis’ decision to wed cohabiting couples and NFL superstar Adrian Peterson’s accusations of child abuse.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Kresta Comments: The Satanic Temple Comes to Detroit/ Media hype over sensational headlines (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Kresta Comments: The Satanic Temple Comes to Detroit/ Media hype over sensational headlines (continued)

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 16, 2014

    Talking about the Things That Matter Most on September 16

    4:00 – Kresta Comments

     

    4:20 – Pope Francis Weds 20 Cohabiting Couples 

     

    Pope Francis made headlines this weekend by holding a mass wedding ceremony for 20 cohabiting couples. Predictably, the mainstream media used this as further proof of Francis’ alleged “progressivism.” TIME magazine proclaimed the ceremony as a “hint of coming changes for the Church” and CBS said it was another step Francis’ “push for inclusion.” Contrary to the claims of the media, the marriages performed this weekend were legitimate and in line with Church tradition. The Church is strictly against cohabitation; however, cohabiting couples are allowed to marry in the Church provided they meet certain requirements. Ed Peters, a professor of Canon Law at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, is with us to talk about it. 

     

     

    4:40 –The Catholic League and the St. Patrick’s Day parade

     

    In recent years the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade has come under fire for “excluding” gay rights groups. This year the parade announced it would allow one gay rights group to march under their own banner, and is open to more groups doing so in the future. News outlets failed to mention that gay rights groups were not exclusively targeted. Parade organizers had a widespread ban against political groups marching in the parade, and also prohibited pro-life groups from marching under their own banner. Despite the change in parade policy, there are no pro-life groups scheduled to march in the 2015 parade. Parade organizers claim that no groups applied, but Catholic League President Bill Donohue says this is because there was no announcement of the policy change. Bill joins us to talk about the controversy and why the Catholic League is done with the parade. 

     

     

    5:00 – Kresta Comments: The Satanic Temple Comes to Detroit/ Media hype over sensational headlines  

     

    The Satanic Temple, an atheistic satanic “church,” recently announced that it is opening a chapter in Detroit. On Sunday, Al debated the Temple’s leader, Jex Blackmore, on Fox 2 Detroit’s Let it Rip. Al asserts that the Satanic Temple is little more than an attention-seeking sideshow. We will play highlights from the debate and Al will give his comments. From there, Al discusses the media hype over sensational headlines, including how the media has covered the Satanic Temple. He also discusses media sensationalism over Francis’ decision to wed cohabiting couples and NFL superstar Adrian Peterson’s accusations of child abuse.  

  • No Scandal Here: The 20 Couples Married by Pope Francis Were Legit

    Two authorities on Christian marriage refute media reports that criticized the Pope’s presence at a Sept. 14 Mass.

    via the National Catholic Register

    Pope Francis’ witnessing of marriages between Catholics who cohabited or who have had annulments is not a change, but is part of the Church’s effort to bring people to Jesus Christ, said two authorities on Christian marriage.

    “I think there is a perception out there, especially in some media circles, that Pope Francis is trying to undermine what the Church has taught and what the Church has practiced,” John Grabowski, a professor of moral theology at The Catholic University of America, told CNA Sept. 15.

    “I see absolutely no evidence of that. When he’s pressed on issues concerning the Church’s teaching on marriage, on sexuality, he is very firm, saying he is ‘a son of the Church’,” Grabowski continued. “What he wants to do is simply put the Church’s focus on mercy, on an encounter with Christ as the heart of its life.”

    On Sept. 14, Pope Francis celebrated the marriages of 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome. In his homily, he told them that Jesus Christ “will bring them healing by the merciful love which pours forth from the Cross, with the strength of his grace that renews and sets married couples and families once again on the right path.”

    Some media reports have focused on whether some of the couples had annulments or had lived together before marrying. Time magazine claimed that the marriages “hint at coming changes” on divorce and remarriage. The New York Times claimed that the weddings mean that Pope Francis “looks past tradition.”

    However, Grabowski said he saw no concrete evidence that the Pope is “instituting any kind of sweeping changes.”

    In fact, the Pope’s actions in marrying cohabiting couples reflect common Catholic practice.

    “It’s not just Pope Francis, it’s the whole Church who wants to encourage people who are living in a way that contradicts their baptismal dignity to stop living that way,” the professor said.

     

    ‘Objectively, Morally Wrong’

    Catholic teaching holds that cohabitation is “objectively, morally wrong” and on a practical level undermines the prospects of success for weddingmarriage. Studies indicate that couples who cohabit before marriage show more propensity to divorce than couples who do not.

    Grabowski noted the U.S. bishops’ 1999 document on marriage preparation and cohabiting couples.

    That document noted the destructive impact of cohabitation and the steps couples can take to change their situation before marriage. These steps included ceasing a sexual relationship until the wedding and going to confession “to try to begin their marriage on a new footing so that this harmful practice doesn’t end up undermining their chance at a happy, successful marriage,” Grabowski said.

    Msgr. Joaquín Llobell, author of the book Marriage Procedures in the Church, stressed that marriage and the family “are the first means of God to make us happy here on Earth and to take us to Heaven.”

    He explained that the Catholic faith sees a distinction between a divorce and a recognition of an invalid marriage, commonly known as an annulment.

    Civil divorce “breaks a valid marriage.” By contrast, to annul a marriage doesn’t “break that which existed.” Rather, it is a declaration from the Church that a marriage “was never valid” to begin with.

    A man with a previously annulled marriage “will be getting married for the first time” because that previous union was not valid due to a defect in him or in the woman with whom he attempted to enter a martial union. These defects can include matters of intention, like the rejection of having children as a purpose of marriage, or conditions such as mental illness that prevent a true marriage from being joined.

     

    Church Is Profoundly Merciful

    Msgr. Llobell is a canon law professor who has taught at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and has served on the tribunal for the Apostolic Signatura.

    “What Pope Francis has said most often since becoming Pope is that God is merciful, that we humans exist because God has created us as a manifestation of God’s mercy. Therefore the Church, which is the instrument that God gives us to save us, cannot not be merciful. It is always profoundly merciful,” the Opus Dei priest told CNA ahead of the Sunday weddings.

    He said the Church is also merciful in cases of alleged marriage nullity, though these cases are “complicated.”

    If the Church thinks a marriage is valid, it “cannot but say the truth to its child: ‘Your marriage isn’t invalid and therefore you can’t get married a second time’.”

    “And that is said with love, explaining why, and with a mercy that is compatible with the truth.”

    The marriage of cohabiting couples should also not be misinterpreted, Grabowski advised.

    He said that a Church marriage for a cohabiting couple is “not a validation of cohabitation” but “a removal of cohabitation.”

    “It’s enabling them to move out of a state that objectively contradicts their Christian profession and their Christian baptism,” he said.

    The professor noted that canon law “speaks of the freedom of the baptized to marry” and that the Church and its ministers cannot “put any obstacles in the face of that.” He said individual priests who have barred cohabiting couples from marrying in their parish have been corrected by their bishops.

    This does not mean that Catholics want to encourage couples to cohabit, he explained, adding, “We don’t want to impinge or impede the freedom of the baptized to marry and to move out of what is an objective state of sin.”

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 15, 2014— Hour 1

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”— September 15, 2014— Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Teachable Moments: Using Everyday Encounters with Media and Culture to Instill Conscience, Character and Faith.

    • Description: Never have Christian families been so challenged by the world around them to instill and instruct their children in the tenets of their faith. Moral relativism literally seeps into every facet of family life and saturates our popular culture. A ubiquitous media presence that defines our daily experience also is defining the attitudes and behaviors of those who consume it. Yet within this pervasive secular culture, Christian families encounter “teachable moments,” those unplanned but unmatched opportunities to put their faith into action and live out the values and virtues embodied in Jesus Christ. When looking for teachable moments, parents, and coaches must approach each day with intentionality, seeking out and capitalizing on opportunities to incorporate life lessons into every day experiences amid the culture. Author Marybeth Hicks joins us to discuss her latest book.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Marybeth Hicks
        Marybeth Hicks is a weekly columnist for The Washington Times and the founder and editor of OntheCulture.com, a blog for American women about the things that matter most. A frequent commentator on cultural issues, she has appeared on national television outlets including Fox News Channel’s Hannity, and Fox and Friends, the CBS Evening News, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s 700 Club, and on dozens of national and regional radio programs. She currently serves on the advisory board of the Parents Television Council, an organization seeking to promote decency on the airwaves.
      • Resources:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Teachable Moments (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Teachable Moments (continued)

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