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Recent Posts

  • Video: A Catholic Response to “Are You Born Again?”

    Steve Ray, a Protestant convert to Catholicism, explains how to respond when Protestants ask if you are “born again.”

    via Franciscan University of Steubenville

  • How to Forgive when I can’t Forget

    via Catholic Lane

    by Patti Armstrong

    While many people believe forgetting an injury is part of forgiveness, Fr. Justin Waltz, pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Minot, ND, suggested just the opposite during a retreat he gave. In fact, he stated that forgetting is not even possible. “The only type of forgetting I have heard of is stuffing,” he said during a retreat presentation and added, “The hurt is not gone, it is just buried deep within.”

    Since forgetting is not an option given our memories, Waltz said that God forgivenesshas provided an even better remedy—the divine transformation of a resurrection within our souls. He pointed out that Christ himself retained the wounds of his crucifixion. “Had he wanted to, Jesus could have healed his body so completely that even the scars did not exist,” he explained. “Christ is not ashamed of these scars, rather he wears them as his testament to his victory over sin and death.”

    Transforming Pain

    By keeping the scars, he said that Jesus taught us some great truths about suffering. Christ suffered a brutal and humiliating death but resurrected while retaining the scars. Since he has gone before us, Waltz explained that through faith in God, we can trust that nothing is beyond his healing, no matter how deep or how painful.  “God goes beyond forgetting. He transforms us and brings us out of the tomb into the light of the resurrection, not only healed but victorious.”

    Waltz stated that God’s healing begins with faith in him to heal all things. “Just for a moment, imagine what sort of life and power would be unleashed in your heart if you allowed God to transform your pain into victory,” he said.

    He laid out some of the essentials for recovering from hurts. Regarding those that struggle with the concept of a loving God, he explained that God does not desire our suffering, but it is a fallen world. “God created free will and when he did, this, he tied his hands,” Waltz explained.  Through human free will, sin and death entered the world. “But in every circumstance that evil occurs, God has created an out, even death in which he has created a place where there is no death, pain or suffering,” he said.

    “Forgiving God really comes down to not holding God responsible for something that he did not do.  When we do this, we allow God to do the very thing that God does best–set us free from the pain.”  Waltz said to recall that God shows us only love and mercy even to the extent of sending his only son to suffer for our sins and save us.

    Whatever the pain we want to overcome, Waltz pointed out that part of the transformation that can happen is when people use their pain, regardless of whether it came from others or their own bad choices, as a good to help others. He used the example of speaker Carroll Everett who came to Bishop Ryan High School and shared with the students that her life took a dark turn after she had an abortion. She began abusing alcohol, her marriage fell apart and she started working in the abortion business. After her conversion, she was transformed and now uses her past to speak out for life and help others to heal.

    Those who have suffered pain are usually the ones most effective in helping others overcome the same pain. Waltz cautioned, however, that before the transformation, people need to forgive themselves. “The remedy for forgiving ourselves simply lies in allowing Christ’s mercy and forgiveness to conquer our self-regret and self hatred. It’s as if he reaches into our very hearts and pulls us out of ourselves and into his life. Then, who are we to accuse what he has forgiven?”

    Finding Peace Little by Little

    After the resurrection and before his ascension, Jesus gave us the gift of peace, “Peace be with you.” (John 14:27). According to Waltz, it is that peace that people can find through forgiveness. He said that forgiveness does not mean forgetting and nor does it mean necessarily reconciling in all cases when we must forgive others. Instead, he explained that forgiveness of others means removing the debt they owe us.

    In the Gospel of Matthew18: 23-35 the parable of the unforgiving servant shows that forgiveness means removing a debt—that we no longer hold a person’s debt against them.  In the story, a servant is forgiven a large debt but then he goes out and refuses to forgive a smaller debt. Thus, just as Christ died for the forgiveness of our sins—a very large debt–we must forgive others.

    Read More

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – July 22, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – July 22, 2014 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Mackerel Snappers: How to explain even the toughest teachings about God and his Catholic Church (continued)

    • Segment Guests:
      • Spencer Allen
        Spencer Allen is a lay apologist and Catholic educator in the Jefferson City Diocese. He started and served as president of the non-profit Apologetics from Scratch, formed to spread the Good News in the Mid-Missouri area. Through the AFS apostolate and his individual efforts, he has authored a regular column in the diocesan newspaper, provided the apologetics segment for the television show Our Catholic Life and organized two conferences in the mid-Missouri area, featuring speakers such as Tim Staples and John Martignoni. In the Spring of 2012 he engaged in a public debate with a Church of Christ preacher, discussing the role of Scripture as an authority in the spiritual life of a Christian.
      • Resources:
        • Book(s):
          • Mackerel Snappers: How to explain even the toughest teachings about God and his Catholic Church.
            Buy this resource now. Click here to purchase.

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Mackerel Snappers: How to explain even the toughest teachings about God and his Catholic Church (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Exposing the Lie: Marriage and Manipulating the Media

    • Description: Many of you have probably seen the headline "Marriage Not An Antidote to Poverty" which has been all over the news. As you might have guessed, there is more to the story. The truth is, the "study" is actually a position paper that presents no new data and, in fact, supports a foundational assertion of the marriage movement's campaign against poverty; namely, that to be effective as an anti-poverty initiative, marriage must come before baby. Dr. Greg Popcak joins us to discuss the facts behind this latest PR campaign against marriage.
    • Segment Guests:
  • Kresta in the Afternoon – July 22, 2014 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – July 22, 2014 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic

    • Description: Gary Michuta has long worked in the field of apologetics and evangelism. A few years ago, he gathered his experiences and ideas into a series of talks titled "How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids." Catholic parents around the country were extremely enthusiastic about the talks. Parents frequently approached him after his talks and encouraged him to put the information into book form because their own experiences so closely mirrored what he said. Some of these parents would proceed to share their own heart-breaking stories when their child had been pulled out of the Church. These discussions with parents spurred him to act and the result is the book How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic. Gary joins us to discuss it and answer your questions.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Gary Michuta
        Founder of Thy Faith, Inc., participated in “The Great Debate Series,” contributing editor to Hands on Apologetics magazine.
      • Resources:
        • Book(s):
          • How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic
            Buy this resource now. Click here to purchase.

    + Segment #2 of 3

    How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic (continued)

  • Today on “Kresta in the Afternoon” – July 22

    Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on July 22, 2014

     4:00 – Mackerel Snappers: How to explain even the toughest teachings about God and his Catholic Church

    Where is Purgatory in the Bible? Why does the Catholic Church oppose in-vitro fertilization? Catholics were once labeled “mackerel snappers” because of their regular consumption of fish on Fridays. Abstinence from meat is just one of many often misunderstood Catholic teachings. Rather than shy from that old derogatory nickname, Spencer Allen claims it as a badge of pride as it explains and defends the teachings of God’s one, true Church. Spencer is here to offer systematic explanations invaluable in their own defense and practice of the faith.

     4:40 –Exposing the Lie: Marriage and Manipulating the Media

    Many of you have probably seen the headline “Marriage Not An Antidote to Poverty” which has been all over the news.  As you might have guessed, there is more to the story.  The truth is, the “study” is actually a position paper that presents no new data and, in fact, supports a foundational assertion of the marriage movement’s campaign against poverty; namely, that to be effective as an anti-poverty initiative, marriage must come before baby. Dr. Greg Popcak joins us to discuss the facts behind this latest PR campaign against marriage.

    5:00 – How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic

    Gary Michuta has long worked in the field of apologetics and evangelism. A few years ago, he gathered his experiences and ideas into a series of talks titled “How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids.” Catholic parents around the country were extremely enthusiastic about the talks. Parents frequently approached him after his talks and encouraged him to put the information into book form because their own experiences so closely mirrored what he said. Some of these parents would proceed to share their own heart-breaking stories when their child had been pulled out of the Church. These discussions with parents spurred him to act and the result is the book How to Wolf-Proof Your Kids: A Practical Guide for Keeping Your Kids Catholic. Gary joins us to discuss it and answer your questions.

  • Federal appeals court deals blow to health law

    via ABC News

    A federal appeals court delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law Tuesday, potentially derailing billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    In a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a group of small business owners argued that the law authorizes subsidies only for people who buy insurance through markets established by the states — not by the federal government.

    A divided court agreed, in a 2-1 decision that could mean premium increases for more than half the 8 million Americans who have purchased taxpayer-subsidized coverage under the law. The ruling affects consumers who bought coverage in the 36 states served by the federal insurance marketplace, or exchange.

    The majority opinion concluded that the law, as written, “unambiguously” restricts subsides to consumers in exchanges established by a state. That would invalidate an Internal Revenue Service regulation that tried to sort out confusing wording in the law by concluding that Congress intended for consumers in all 50 states to have subsidized coverage.

    The administration is expected to appeal the ruling.

    The issue is crucial to the success of the health law because most states have been unable or unwilling to set up their own exchanges. The inaction stems in many instances from opposition by Republican governors to the Affordable Care Act.

    The small business owners filing the lawsuit say the tax credits enacted by Congress were intended to encourage states to set up their own health benefit exchanges and that the penalty for not doing so was withdrawal of tax credits for lower-income residents.

    Supporters of the act say the purpose of the tax credit was not to promote the establishment of state exchanges, but rather to achieve Congress’s fundamental purpose of making insurance affordable for all Americans.

    The case revolves around four words in the Affordable Care Act, which says the tax credits are available to people who enroll through an exchange “established by the state.”

    The challengers to the law say a literal reading of that language invalidates the IRS subsidy to people in the federal exchanges. The opponents say that people who would otherwise qualify for the tax credits should be denied that benefit if they buy insurance on a federally facilitated exchange.

    “It is implausible to believe that Congress gave the IRS discretion to authorize $150 billion per year in federal spending, particularly when Congress had directly spoken to this issue,” the challengers to the IRS subsidy said in a court filing. “Major economic decisions like these — indeed, any decisions granting tax credits — must be made unambiguously by Congress itself.”

    The Obama administration and congressional and state legislative supporters of the Affordable Care Act say the challengers are failing to consider the words of the statute in its entirety.

    “Congress did not provide that the tax credits would only be available to citizens whose states set up their own exchanges,” says an appeals court filing by congressional and state legislative supporters of the Affordable Care Act. Congressional lawmakers and state legislators supporting the act said that limiting the subsidies to state exchanges could destabilize important aspects of the law, such as the individual mandate requiring most people to buy insurance.

    The judges on the case were Thomas Griffith, an appointee of President George W. Bush; A. Raymond Randolph, an appointee of Bush’s father; and Harry Edwards, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, who dissented.

    A lower court had ruled that the law’s text, structure, purpose, and legislative history make “clear that Congress intended to make premium tax credits available on both state-run and federally-facilitated Exchanges.”

    But the appeals court concluded the opposite — that the letter of the law “unambiguously restricts” the law’s subsidies to policies sold through exchanges established by the state.

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – July 21, 2014 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – July 21, 2014 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    What is Russia Trying to Hide?

    • Description: Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was shot out of the sky on Thursday near the Ukraine-Russia border. The investigation is just beginning but many world leaders suspect Russian rebels in Ukraine, possibly with the support of the Russian military, are responsible for the attack. Russian rebel fighters in the region have been criticized for removing evidence and tampering with the crash site. President Obama has demanded to know what the fighters are trying to hide and has requested that Russia use its enormous influence to persuade the fighters to cooperate with the investigation. Leon Aron, Resident Scholar and Director of Russian Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, joins us.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Digging out of the Dungeon of Self: On the Fundamental Evil of Fragmentation

    • Description: Our society is becoming increasingly more isolated. Technology allows us to spend our entire day looking at a screen without ever interacting with the people around us. Schoolteachers are finding it increasingly difficult to hold their students’ attention for even an entire lecture, much less an entire day. We are losing our ability to truly see, hear, and understand. This problem is paralleled in the fight for the unborn—if we can’t even see our relation to the family member sitting across the dinner table, how will we ever see our relation to the inner-city teen mom’s unborn child? Edmund Miller, president of Guadalupe Partners, a sidewalk counseling ministry in Detroit, and a teacher at Spiritus Sanctus Academy, joins us.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Edmund Miller
        President of Guadalupe Partners, sidewalk counseling ministry in Detroit. Teacher at Spiritus Sanctus Academy
      • Resources:

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Digging out of the Dungeon of Self: On the Fundamental Evil of Fragmentation

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – July 21, 2014 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – July 21, 2014 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Correcting Catholic Blindness: What Catholic Social Teaching Doesn’t Know

    • Description: Modern Catholic Social Teaching tells us to approach political and economic challenges by seeing, judging, and acting. We are to look at the situation through the eyes of Christ, free from our own ideologies. However, this approach entails choices regarding what we look at and how deep we examine it, thus limiting our field of vision. Dr. Sam Gregg of the Acton Institute argues that the imperatives of Catholic social doctrine still apply because they are grounded in integral human development. He believes that it’s possible to adhere to these principles and also widen the scope of our views on economic life. Sam joins us.
    • Segment Guests:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Correcting Catholic Blindness: What Catholic Social Teaching doesn’t know

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Cant Pass as Legislation? Then I'll Issue and Executive Order. President Obama Signs ENDA Executive Order – No Religious Exemption

    • Description: For 20 years, Congress failed to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), suggesting that the legislation must be burdened with more than just a few controversial features. President Clinton and President Bush respected the right of the legislature not to pass the bill, but President Obama is different: he said he signed it because the bill had stalled in the Congress. Why we need the Congress at all he did not explain. The president not only issued an Executive Order imposing ENDA, he chose to sign that version of the bill which fails to grant a religious exemption. We talk about it with Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Eric Stanley
        Serves as senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom at its Kansas City Regional Service Center in Kansas, where he heads the Alliance Defending Freedom Pulpit Initiative to empower pastors across the nation to speak freely from their pulpits on all matters of life, including how Scripture and church teaching have application to candidates and elections
      • Resources:
  • Muslims in Baghdad Express Solidarity With Christians

    via Aleteia 

    A group of about 200 Muslims joined Christians in solidarity in front of the Chaldean Church of St. George Sunday to condemn the attacks on the Christian community in Mosul carried out by the Islamic State.

    Some Muslims held up signs or wore shirts with the words “I am Iraqi, I am Christian,” written on them. Others marked themselves with a “nun,” the first letter of the Arabic word for Christian, “Nasrani” or Nazarene. The Islamic State has been putting “nuns” on Christian property marked out for seizure.

    The Chaldean faithful who joined them after Mass sang the national anthem along with them, as Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans Louis Raphael I Sako thanked them: “This brings hope for a new Iraq. I think especially of the young people, who have the task and the duty to change the situation.”

    During the Mass, Patriarch Sako said that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad, according to Reuters. “The heinous crime of the Islamic State was carried out not just against Christians, but against humanity,” he said. “This has never happened in Christian or Islamic history. Even Genghis Khan or Hulagu didn’t do this.”

    Hulagu Khan led a Mongol army which sacked Baghdad in 1258, killing tens of thousand of people, destroying a caliphate which lasted nearly 600 years and leaving the city in ruins for centuries.

    According to the patriarch, it “is a shame and a crime to force innocent people from their homes and confiscate their properties because they are ‘different,’ because they are Christians. The whole world must rebel against these abominable acts.”

    Christians, he said, “love Muslims and consider them our brothers and sisters; they must do the same. We are all equal in dignity, all citizens of the same country. We must unite to create a new Iraq.”

    Outside, Christians prayed the Our ​​Father and the Muslims the sura al Fatiha, the summary of the Muslim creed from the Quran.

    Meanwhile, Auxiliary Bishop of the Chaldean Patriarchate Shlemon Warduni called for an international response. “The world must act, speak out, consider human rights,” he said, adding that the Iraqi state was weak and divided and Muslim leaders had remained silent.

    “We haven’t heard from clerics from all sects or from the government,” he told Reuters on Sunday. “The Christians are sacrificed for Iraq.”

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned the treatment of the Christians and what he described as attacks on churches in Mosul, saying it showed “the extreme criminality and terrorist nature of this group,” according to Reuters. He said he instructed a government committee set up to support displaced people across Iraq to help the Christians who had been made homeless, but did not say when the army might try to win back control of Mosul.

    “What is being done by the Daesh terrorist gang against our Christian citizens in Ninevah province, and their aggression against the churches and houses of worship in the areas under their control reveals beyond any doubt the extremist criminal and terrorist nature of this group,” al-Maliki said in a statement released by his office, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned “the systematic persecution of minority populations in Iraq by Islamic State and associated armed groups,” in particular the recent threats against Christians in Mosul, according to a statement released Sunday.

    He also said the U.N. would intensify its efforts to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the displaced.

    The Islamic State group claimed responsibility late Saturday for four bombings in Baghdad which were among a string of attacks that killed at least 27 people earlier in the day. It said two of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers — Abu al-Qaaqaa al-Almani and Abu Abdul-Rahman al-Shami. The names indicate they were German and Syrian respectively.
    The authenticity of the Islamic State group’s statement could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a militant website frequently used by it.
    One Christian who left Mosul last week described how he fled with his family when he learned of the Islamic State deadline. “We gathered all our belongings and headed for the only exit. There was a checkpoint on the road and they were stopping cars there,” 35-year-old Salwan Noel Miskouni said, according to a Reuters report.

    Read More

  • On Poverty: Erroneous Ideas on how to Help the Poor are a Major Cause of the Problem

    via Aleteia

    by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.

    james schallAt Jerusalem, St. Paul was admonished to be “mindful of the poor.” He was “happy” to do so. He also thought he should work so he would not be a burden on others. We are often advised to “identify” ourselves with the poor. Is a poor man helped or insulted when someone tells him that he wants to “identify” with him? A well-off man who “identifies” with the poor will seem condescending to the poor man who suspects that the man is merely pretending. The poor want not to be poor. They are not helped by those who, even with the best of intentions, merely identify or pretend.

    While some think that everyone ought to be poor in principle as riches are dangerous, half the turmoil in the world concerns controversy over the two questions: “Why are the poor ‘poor’?” and “How do we not be poor?”. Major causes of poverty arise from unworkable or erroneous ideas about how to help the poor. “Wanting” to help the poor is not necessarily to help them. It depends on the workability of what we advise, suggest, or endow.

    Poverty is not merely a question of need but of ideas. Indeed, need-povertypoverty is usually a product of poverty caused by lack of ideas. Well-intentioned ideas, however, do not in practice often work to alleviate poverty. Intention and good will are not enough. All the “identification” with the poor in the world will not help them unless the identifiers know, and the poor know, what causes them to be not poor. If the poor knew this reason and were disciplined enough to follow it, they would soon not be poor. The vast reduction of poverty in the world in recent decades has occurred because of this knowledge and the discipline it takes to put it into practice. Though we need public order and law, the worst way to help the poor is to turn over the task of helping them to a government and its bureaucracy. This move will usually result in a political control of the poor. The poor will continue to be poor but now dependent on a dole of government. This way is little better than a modern form of serfdom.

    We are also told that the poor would “always” be with us. Certainly there will always be those who think that, relative to others, they are deprived of what others have and of what they are “owed”. They think themselves to be comparatively poor even if they possess many things. But modern economists do not think this is wholly true—that poverty cannot be basically eliminated. In fact, the number of poor in the world, as a percentage of the world’s population, has rapidly declined in recent decades. China, India, and much of the world have learned not to be poor. The face of poverty is a rapidly changing thing. The poor in many countries are rather well off compared to poor in more destitute countries. Poverty is thus often relative to what we are comparing it with.

    II.

    The question of poverty cannot be totally disassociated from the question of envy. Envy allows us to feel poor when someone more successful than we are appears next door. And not everyone wants to be or needs to be rich. A sufficiency or comfortable wealth is often to be preferred to much wealth. One can be very wealthy without being unjust. He can in fact be most generous to others. Wealth generates wealth. Savings when invested can lead to wealth. The generation of new wealth is always to be preferred to a theory of redistribution of existing wealth. The usual effect of confiscating and redistributing the goods of the wealthy is to make everyone poor. Through unwise taxes and other disincentives to penalize those who produce new ideas and goods is to undermine the motives for producing new ideas and products. Man has to learn and distribute most of what he needs and wants.

    Paul also said that he who would not work, “neither let him eat.” This blunt admonition sounds cruel to us today. We routinely feed those who will not work. They have a “right” to be taken care of, whatever they do. We take great pains to see that everyone eats whether he works or not. Yet, the problem of what are known as “freeloaders,” —that is those who know how to work a system without actually doing anything—plagues every economy. In the modern welfare state, not a few have found that, by government largess, they can live better by not working than they can by working. Unemployment becomes a function of the ability of receiving more income from not working than from working.

    Read More

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