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  • Nominated for the Ice Bucket Challenge? Donate to this Morally Acceptable Alternative!

    via Patheos

    As the ALS association is supportive of embryonic stem cell research, we as catholics ought not to support it, especially when there are morally acceptable alternatives.  TheJohn Paul II Medical Research Institute is just that, a morally acceptable alternative to the ALS Association.

    If you are nominated to do the Ice Bucket challenge, donate to the JPII Medical Research Institute:

    Capital Campaign

    The John Paul II Medical Research Institute (JP2MRI) is excited to kick off 2014 with a One Million Dollar Capital Campaign Drive to start the process of developing adult stem cell therapies. The JP2MRI focuses on regenerative medicine in which adult stem cells will be used to treat patients with chronic diseases like cancer, pulmonary disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Seventy-five percent of healthcare costs are due to chronic diseases, with many of these conditions lacking any medical cures. Adult stem cells have the potential to repair damaged organs, which in return would decrease healthcare costs and restore an improved quality of life for patients. Before the Institute can initiate adult stem cell clinical trials, the FDA requires that adult stem cells need to be manufactured in a “clean room” or sterile room.

    The cost to build and initiate the operation is anticipated to be 1 million dollars. Funds raised from the One Million Dollar Capital Campaign Drive will be used to help build the clean room, lease additional laboratory space, hire scientific personnel and purchase necessary laboratory equipment to develop adult stem cell therapies.

    The John Paul II Medical Research Institute is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. Your gift to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal tax purposes as permitted by law. The support of donors is at the heart of advancing research and education at John Paul II Medical Research Institute. Your generous donations enable our staff of physicians, scientists, and researchers to advance cutting edge basic and clinical research in adult and umbilical cord stem cell research that reflects pro-life values.

    Our donors have an opportunity to help find better treatments for cardiopulmonary disease, neuromuscular disease, cancer and other conditions that could benefit from adult and umbilical cord stem cells.

    Please help the Institute by making a donation.

    To donate, please click on the Paypal Icon [HERE] or send a check to the address below.

    Thank You.

    Checks can be made payable to: John Paul II Medical Research Institute

    John Paul II Medical Research Institute
    540 E. Jefferson St.
    Suite 305
    Iowa City, IA 52245

  • 3 of Pope Francis’ Relatives Killed in Car Crash

    via Time

    by Laura Stampler

    Three members of Pope Francis’ family were killed in a car accident in Argentina Tuesday,CNN reports, including his 8-month-old and 2-year-old grand-nephews and their mother.

    A Cordoba police spokesperson told news outlets that the pope’s nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, crashed into a truck on the highway at 12:30 a.m. Bergoglio is currently in the hospital under serious condition.

    The Pope’s spokesperson said he was “profoundly saddened” by news of the accident, BBC reports.

    On a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea Tuesday morning, the Pope had been lightheartedly discussing his own mortality with the press, saying he expected to be in “the Father’s house” in some two or three years.


  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—August 18, 2014—Hour 1

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”—August 18, 2014—Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

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    Direct to My Desk

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    Direct to My Desk

  • “Kresta in the Afternoon”—August 18, 2014—Hour 2

    “Kresta in the Afternoon”—August 18, 2014—Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Direct to My Desk

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    Direct to My Desk

  • Pope Francis prays for peace in Korea

    via Catholic News Service

    by Francis Rocca and Simone Orendain

    Pope Francis told Korean Catholics that the reunification of their divided peninsula as well as the harmony of South Korean society depend on the practice of Gospel virtues, especially charity and forgiveness.

    God’s promise to restore unity and prosperity to “a people dispersed by disaster and division … is inseparably tied to a command: the command to return to God and wholeheartedly obey his law,” Pope Francis said.

    In a homily Aug. 18, during a Mass for peace and reconciliation at Seoul’s Myongdong Cathedral, Pope Francis said Jesus asked people “to believe that forgiveness is the door which leads to reconciliation.”
    “I ask you to bear convincing witness to Christ’s message of forgiveness in your homes, in your communities and at every level of national life,” he said.

    “Thus our prayers for peace and reconciliation will rise to God from ever more pure hearts and, by his gracious gift, obtain that precious good for which we all long,” he said.

    The Mass was closed to the public. Guests included South Korean President Park Geun-hye, women who were sold into sexual slavery during World War II, North Korean defectors, those whose families were kidnapped and taken to North Korea and 12 clerics from various faiths.

    Before the Mass, the pope met with seven “comfort women,” who were forced into prostitution by the Japanese before and during World War II. One woman gave the pope a butterfly pin symbolizing their call for justice, and the pope wore the pin during the Mass.

    Outside the clergy changing room, near a portrait of Mary, was a crown of thorns made of barbed wire from the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas.

    “My visit now culminates in this celebration of Mass, in which we implore from God the grace of peace and reconciliation,” Pope Francis said from an altar decorated with rows of pink and white roses. “This prayer has a particular resonance on the Korean peninsula. Today’s Mass is first and foremost a prayer for reconciliation in this Korean family.”

    The pope suggested the need for reconciliation lay not only between South Korea and the communist North, which have been divided since the end of the Korean War in 1953, but within South Korea itself, the world’s 13th-largest economy, where prosperity has brought increasing inequality.

    “God’s urgent summons to conversion also challenges Christ’s followers in Korea to examine the quality of their own contribution to the building of a truly just and humane society,” he said.

    The pope urged Korean Catholics to “show evangelical concern for the less fortunate, the marginalized, those without work and those who do not share in the prosperity of the many” and to “firmly reject a mindset shaped by suspicion, confrontation and competition.”

    “Let us pray, then, for the emergence of new opportunities for dialogue, encounter and the resolution of differences, for continued generosity in providing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and for ever greater recognition that all Koreans are brothers and sisters, members of one family, one people,” he said.

    Before the Mass, Pope Francis met with Buddhist, Orthodox, Lutheran and other Protestant leaders. He asked them to pray for him, and said: “I believe that we have to walk together with other brothers and sisters in the presence of God. And so I am sincerely grateful for all of the leaders of various religions. It is a path that we walk together.”

    Bishop Peter Kang U-il of Jeju, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea, said the bishops held a small farewell party for the pope before he left for the airport to return to Rome. He said the last thing Pope Francis said to the bishops was “Please pray for me.”

    Seoul Auxiliary Bishop Basil Cho Kyu-man said when he watched Pope Francis, he thought, “Oh this is how Jesus Christ approached the poor in the past.” He said he believed the pope had planted a seed of faith. that the bishops need to nourish.

  • Why Iraq Is So Desperate to Retake Mosul Dam From ISIS

    via Time

    by Rebecca Collard

    Updated Aug. 17 2:44 p.m. E.T

    When Saddam Hussein built the Mosul dam three decades ago it was meant to serve as a symbol of the strength of Iraq and his leadership. He was following a tradition of big, but often ill-considered infrastructure projects in some Middle East dictatorships that seem more like a muscle-flex by a country’s leader than a project for the people.

    Now that dam — the country’s biggest, holding back 11 billion cubic meters of water and producing over 1,000 megawatts of electricity — is at the center of a military struggle between Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. and the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which took control of the structure on Aug. 7.

    Kurdish forces retook part of the dam early Sunday, the Associated Press reported, aided by U.S. and Iraqi air strikes. The Americans brought along some serious hardware to the fight; a combination of bombers, fighter jets, attack planes and unmanned drones, according to U.S. Central Command, conducted 14 strikes on Sunday and nine the day before. The show of force proves that the threat posed by ISIS control of the dam is finally being taken seriously.

    “We told the Iraqi government a month ago that we needed to protect this strategic structure,” said Shirouk al-Abayachi, a member of the Iraq parliament for the Civil Democratic Alliance, and previously an adviser to the Ministry of Water Resources. “Any group manipulating this dam away from its original purpose is dangerous.”

    Control of the dam gives ISIS the ability to do exactly that, and the consequences could be devastating. The group has several ways to leverage its control of the dam, say experts. “One of the things Saddam Hussein was really good at in his reign was choking off water supplies to Shi‘ites in the south,” said Christopher Harmer, who is a senior analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, and who served several stints with the U.S. army in Iraq. “ISIS now controls the water flowing into Baghdad and to the agrarian areas south of Baghdad. They are in a position to impose a famine on the rest of Iraq.”

    Alternatively, the militants could destroy the dam, sending a 60-ft. wave ripping down the Tigris River, washing away Mosul, a city of 1.5 million people, and days later flooding Baghdad with meters of water. ISIS is unlikely to do that while Mosul remains under its control. But it means that Iraqi forces must take control of the dam, said Harmer, before making a move on Mosul.

    But even with U.S. military help, retaking the large piece of infrastructure will not be easy. The ISIS militant army, which a year ago seemed like a relatively small extremist faction in Syria, now controls swaths of territory both there and here in Iraq, as well as shored-up weapons and influence.

    The fear now is that with control of water and electricity, the dream of creating a caliphate — or an Islamic state — is becoming closer to a reality for the extremists, famed for enforcement of strict Islamic law, beheadings and massacres.

    “Al-Qaeda has always been just a terrorist organization,” said Harmer. ISIS broke off from al-Qaeda last year and has since promoted itself as the premier jihadist organization. “Al-Qaeda kind of, sort of, talked about establishing a caliphate sometime in the future, but they never had any stated ambition of taking over a state. ISIS is showing a differing level of ambition. ISIS has said, We are going to run a state and therefore we are going to provide all of the state services.”

    Even if ISIS doesn’t use Iraq’s biggest dam as a weapon, its fragile condition means it still poses an enormous threat while in the militants’ hands. In September 2006, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers described it as “the most dangerous dam in the world.” The dam is built on an unstable bed of sand, slit and clay and requires daily grouting just to hold back the water.

    “Iraq alone cannot deal with this. The Mosul dam is in a critical situation with ISIS in control,” said al-Abayachi. Just weeks of neglect could see the dam burst sending flood waters that could leave hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead in its path. “We need help from the international community.”

  • Attention Pro-Lifers: Be Careful Where You Send Your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donation

    via Life News

    by Rebecca Taylor

    You have no doubt seen a video of a friend on Facebook being doused with buckets of ice water. What would possess a human being to do something so chilling? It is the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a devastating, progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal and has no cure.

    Here is how Ice Bucket Challenge works. People video themselves getting doused with ice water then share that video on social media. They challenge others to do the same in the next 24 hours. If anyone rejects the challenge they are encouraged to give $100 to an ALS charity.

    icebucketchallengeBringing money and awareness to ALS is a noble goal indeed. The Ice Bucket Challenge seems like a silly stunt, but it is working. It has gone viral, and money is pouring in to ALS charities. Celebrities, politicians, and everyday people are getting cold and wet to help those with this devastating disease

    The ALS Association, the “preeminent ALS organization”, reports that they have taken in over $4 million this year; four times what was donated last year.

    But not all ALS charities are the same.

    For example the ALS Association reported that that last year they gave $500,000 to Northeast ALS Consortium (NEALS), the largest association of ALS clinical researchers in the world. Likely, the ALS Association will give more to NEALS this year with the popularity of the Ice Bucket Challenge.

    NEALS helps run clinical trials for ALS. On their website, they say that a “NEALS-affliated” trial is one where the “sponsor of the trial has contracted NEALS Coordinating Centers to help conduct the trial. A sponsor may contract NEALS to manage an entire trial or just a portion of the work.”

    I found a NEALS-affliated active trial on their website that clearly states it uses stem cells that originated from an electively aborted fetus. The trial is being funded by NeuralStem Inc. and the description states:

    These stem cells have been engineered from the spinal cord of a single fetus electively aborted after eight weeks of gestation. The tissue was obtained with the mother’s consent.

    Of course the fetus, from whom the “tissue” was taken, did not “give consent.”

    So if you give to the ALS Association your money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted fetal cells. Even if the money is not directly going to facilitate such research, it will be going to organizations that see no problem in using aborted innocents as biological material for medical use. That legitimizes and encourages the practice which is unacceptable in my estimation.

    So who can you give your Ice Bucket Challenge money to? I know of one charity that is not focused on funding the research, but on making the lives of those with ALS better through technology and on raising awareness for the disease. Team Gleason, founded by former NFL player and ALS patient, Steve Gleason, has the following mission:

    • Help provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with leading edge technology, equipment and services.
    • Create a global conversation about ALS to ultimately find solutions and an end to the disease.
    • Raise public awareness toward ALS by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.

    No one is ever certain where every penny of their charity dollars go, but I think Team Gleason is a better choice, just in case you are challenged and an ice bath is not for you!

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast

    • Description: Listen to Al's cd, "The Biblical Basis for Marian Dogma"
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    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

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    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

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  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 15, 2014 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued from Hour 1)

    • Description: Listen to Al's CD, The Biblical Basis for Marian Dogma
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    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

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    Feast of the Assumption Special Broadcast (continued)

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  • Kresta in the Afternoon – August 14, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – August 14, 2014 – Hour 1

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    From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order

    • Description: After the death of Blessed John Paul II and the election of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI, a community of Sedevacantist religious women began a spiritual journey that would eventually lead to their petitioning the bishop of Spokane, WA for full communion with the Catholic Church. This extraordinarily bold step, of course, required prayerful discernment, ongoing study and much personal sacrifice. In June of 2006, their miracle of faith bore fruit when Sr. Mary Eucharista, SMMC, and numerous members of her community received a letter from Bishop Skylstad that formally approved the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church as a Public Association of the Faithful within the Diocese of Spokane, WA. We talk to Sr. Mary Eucharista about the journey.
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    From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order (continued)

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    From Sedevacantist to Full Communion: The Story of a Religious Order (continued)

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