Archives for November 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #80)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: Scott Hahn’s awesome video on the New Evangelization (and our faith in general). Father Barron addresses extreme secularism as illustrated by a Chicago Sun-Times columnist. A proposed documentary on same sex attraction and genuine Church teaching. An amazing image from hurricane Sandy. Another 90 second creation story. A recent surprise for one military family. Miracle invention – The Popinator (as in “popcorn”, not “pope”).

— 1 —

Scott Hahn speaks here about the New Evangelization, but it is sooooo much more than that! He beautifully presents our faith, covering a lot of ground, in just a few minutes. I was expecting this to be interesting, but it is awesome.

Spotted by Marcel

— 2 —

Father Barron is unimpressed with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberger’s uninformed, anti-religious, secular mind. “I think what we ought to do, we religious people, is engage in a kind of non-violent resistance to this very violent, very aggressive move. We should” …   “bring religious language very much into the public conversation.”

— 3 —

How do we reach the masses (and for that matter, many Catholics) with genuine Church teaching? Projects like this. I donated (via this link).

Spotted by Fr. Z

— 4 —

Only hurricane Sandy’s outer bands swept over NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. A thin haze of ice crystals in cirrus clouds produced an interesting natural phenomenon:

NASA Luminous Arcs

We will see in it what we will. Some see a mouth receiving the Blessed Sacrament. Thanks to Elizabeth Scalia for spotting it.

— 5 —

Another creation in 90 seconds video:

Spotted by Father Zuhlsdorf

— 6 —

The sound quality of the following video is horrible. Fortunately, you will not need it…

Spotted by Matthew Archbold

— 7 —

Your hands are full, but you need a piece of popcorn. How can technology solve this problem?

(Don’t rush out to buy one – they don’t really exist.)

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!

Elsewhere: so many converts!


It is intriguing to me why so many people become Catholic. These are adults who were in other Christian communities, other religions or none at all. Common threads run through their stories, but each remains unique – and a deliberate, personal, informed choice to be Catholic.

Brantly Millegan, a young, Evangelical convert himself, continues to write some excellent pieces on his blog Young, Evangelical, and Catholic. I last featured aspect one of his pieces on the early Church and in some 7 Quick Takes Fridays (here and here).

This is his latest on piece – this time on converts, complete with a zillion links:

Yes, people do choose to join the Catholic Church.

Both my wife and I joined the Catholic Church as adults (see My Faith Story). The website Why I’m Catholic has a great (and growing) collection of stories of people who joined the Church. There are so many great stories. Obviously, there’s the stories of people like Paul, Augustine, Ambrose, Emperor Constantine, John Cardinal Newman, Dorothy Day, Alasdair MacIntyre, Edith Stein, and G.E.M. Anscombe, Francis Beckwith (who was president of the Evangelical Theological Society when he converted), Scott Hahn, and Richard Neuhaus.

There’s also the bisexual atheist blogger who just became Catholic this last summer, the former evangelical/emergent church co-author of the book Jesus for President who found his way back to the Church via Catholic Social Teaching, the pro-life leaders Lila Rose, Abby Johnson, Bernard Nathanson, and Bryan Kemper, the Wheaton College Bible professor who crossed the Tiber a year and a half ago and the steady stream of disaffected Anglicans joining the Catholic Church. Even former speaker of the house and recent presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (who produced a great documentary on John Paul II) and former prime minister of the U.K. Tony Blair have jumped aboard.

Below are four stories of people who joined the Catholic Church as adults who I think many people probably don’t know about (at least I was surprised to learn about their stories!). One was a convicted homosexual playwright who converted on his death-bed, another was an ex-Marxist who authored the “eco-Bible,” the third was a drafter of the U.N’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the last one was the founder of a whole new academic discipline.

Death-bed conversion of a homosexual playwright: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

A contributor to the aestheticism movement and best known for his play The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde is also a well-known example of a famous person convicted under laws in the 19th century that punished homosexual acts. What is not as well-known, however, is that he joined the Catholic Church literally on his death-bed. Though born into an Anglican family, his interest in the Church started as a young man. A meeting with Pope Pius IX left a big impact on him, and he read the writings the Cardinal Newman, another great convert to the faith. At the age of twenty four, he actually was set join the Catholic Church, but decided against it at the last minute.

A quarter of a century later, after serving his prison sentence, he unsuccessfully tried to go on a six-month Jesuit retreat. He later developed cerebral meningitis. With his health deteriorating, a friend called for a priest. The priest conditionally baptized him (Wilde had a vague memory of being baptized as a child) and gave him Last Rites. He died the next day.

The liberal environmentalist nobody knew was Catholic: E. F. Schumacher (1911-1977)

Schumacher was a protégé of John Maynard Keynes as a young man and had an accomplished career as an economist. For much of his adult life, he was an avowed Marxist atheist. But a visit to Burma in the early 1950s and seeing how Buddhism shaped the economic life of the country got him to start rethinking his atheism. Upon returning to England, he decided to look into the Christian tradition and read the writings of St Thomas Aquinas, St Teresa of Avila, and St John of the Cross, and the lives of other saints. He also read modern Catholic thinkers Rene Guenon, Etienne Gilson, G. K. Chesterton (another convert), and Jacques Maritain (another convert, see below). A friend eventually persuaded him to read the papal social teaching encyclicals. A friend of his relates how he responded:

He replied, ‘No, no, I’m sure that the Popes are very holy men living in their ivory tower in the Vatican but they don’t know a thing about the conduct of practical affairs…   But this friend…   insisted that he should read the social encyclicals, Rerum Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno above all…   He did so and was absolutely staggered. He said, ‘here were these celibates living in an ivory tower…   why can they talk a great deal of sense when everyone else talks nonsense’…   (source)

Pope Paul VI’s encyclical reaffirming the Church’s stance against the use of contraception Humanae Vitae came out as he was getting closer to wanting to join the Church. Though many criticized the teaching, Schumacher was in full support: “If the Pope had written anything else, I would have lost all faith in the papacy.” (source) For his wife and daughter, who had also been considering Catholicism, Humanae Vitae was the final assurance that the Catholic Church was the right place to be. After years of being intellectually convinced of Catholicism, he was eventually received into the Church.

Two years later, he published the book Small is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. Touted by TIME magazine as the “eco-Bible”, the best-seller simply explained in non-theological language the ideas of Catholic social teaching. When he died four years later a celebrity among liberal environmentalists, most still didn’t know he was Catholic. His daughter has related that, as word got out, many were “astounded” and “thought it was a real let-down, a betrayal.” (Read more about his conversion here.)

There is more in Brantly’s full piece, including pictures at: The Converts to Catholicism You Didn’t Know About.

UPDATE: Brantly continues with 4 more notable, interesting converts in More Converts You Didn’t Know About.

My special interest is in those who blog, telling their story and continuing journey. I have assembled a good list, along with links to other good sources of online convert stories. There is also a good list of convert stories published in book form. Explore it at Convert Stories.

Elsewhere: election reflections


Like all of you, I am tired of the election and happy it is over. For better or worse, elections have consequences. This one will be no different.

The big losers are children in the womb. Individual “choices” will be made continuing to snuff-out over 3,000 lives per day in the US alone. In addition to the immediate death of the child, long lasting (possibly eternal) effects will be felt by the mother and others directly involved. Reversing the faulty legal basis for this will now take much, much longer as more intransigent pro-abortion judges are certain to be appointed to the Supreme Court over the next 4 years.

The next set of losers are families who want to protect the sanctity of marriage. Their children will be taught in school that homosexuality is good and normal. Their businesses will be forced to participate (photographers, bakeries, wedding halls, etc.) in these unnatural unions. Coercive pressure will be applied to churches to perform “gay weddings.” Discrimination laws will be perverted to accomplish this. Do not believe anything you have been told about conscience protections, as we have seen again and again, they will be false.

All people of faith are big losers as “freedom of religion” (to live by your faith) becomes “freedom of worship” (something you can do only privately). Religious charities and institutions will shrink and be poorly replaced (if at all) by radically secular, bloated government programs.

There are other big losers too, starting with our children. They will inherit an enormous debt. That debt will be a permanent drag on the economy, impacting their quality of life in numerous ways. We will exchange a broken, but working healthcare system for an even more expensive, dysfunctional bureaucratic one. In the short term, we will all suffer through a recession that will not end.

Steven Mosher shares his thoughts on the election at Catholic Lane. He asks “Question: What Can we Expect From a Second Obama Administration on the Life Issues?”

  • Answer: More of the Same
  • Supported Sex-Selection Abortion
  • Supported Abortion Funding
  • Promoted Abortion Overseas
  • Eliminated Conscience Protection
  • Appointed Abortionistas to the Supreme Court
  • Promoted Abortion in ObamaCare
  • Funded Planned Parenthood
  • Funded Embryo-Killing Research
  • Advocated Abortion

Read the full piece for all the details.

Devin Rose writes on his excellent blog (St. Joseph’s Vanguard):

The U.S. has gone over the tipping point. It happened years and years ago, but the evidence for it is in the reelection of Obama.

Sure, Romney lost by a fairly small margin, popular vote-wise. But upon what principles were people voting for him? Based on the correct understanding of the order of truths? Largely, no, and that’s more evidence of the problem.

For example, how many Republicans believe that the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death, is the most important issue? Probably 5%, if that.

So while those who voted for Obama certainly have a wrong understanding of natural law and the order of truths, not to mention divine revelation, the majority of those who voted Republican similarly have a wrong understanding of these things. Many of them don’t give a lick about 3,500 children aborted each day in our country, or about euthanasia, embryo-destructive stem cell research, traditional marriage, and so on.

They were more likely voting with the idea that the economy was the main issue, or because they think Romney will be better for their pocketbook.

And in spite of the bad economy, the ineptitude that left four of our people dead at Benghazi, the forcing of people to pay for others’ contraception, a (slight) majority of people in our country voted for Obama again.

Truth is, we as a country have cut ourselves adrift from the moorings of natural law and divine revelation. Our ship, rudderless in the ocean, will eventually hit a big wave and founder. It is not a question of if, but of when, and reelecting Obama just speeds the day. On balance, Romney would not have slowed this catastrophe by much, but he was the lesser of the two evils.

There is more. Read Over the Tipping Point.

Dr. Paul Kengor, as always, has some insightful reflections as well about what just happened:

Fortunately for Obama, two forces intervened to rescue him. One was the mainstream media, which ensured that Benghazi, Hurricane Sandy, and the increase in the unemployment rate wouldn’t be used to undermine Obama. As for Hurricane Sandy, Obama flew in for a photo-op and then immediately returned to campaigning. If George W. Bush were president, a relentless media would have ensured that Bush didn’t return to the campaign trail.

The second force was David Axelrod and the campaign machine. I stand in awe at what they pulled off. They managed to push considerably more Democrats than Republicans to the polls (38-32 percent margin), closer to the 2008 turnout that favored Obama than the 2010 mid-term turnout that favored Republicans. Because they did, the predictions of an easy Romney victory by the likes of Dick Morris, Michael Barone, George Will, and Newt Gingrich (and myself) were dead wrong. We were certain that pollsters were oversampling Democrats. The pro-Republican, pro-Romney, and anti-Obama enthusiasm we were seeing was extremely intense. It was inconceivable to us that it could be overcome by a higher Democrat turnout. Somehow, however, it was, obliterating Romney’s five-point victory among independents. It erased Romney’s 50-49 percent edge in the final polls by Gallup and Rasmussen.

I stand in stunned disbelief. David Axelrod, you are a miracle worker.

How much of a miracle worker? Consider:

The American people reelected a man who presided over one of the worst four-year economic records in American history. By every objective measurement, the economy is far worse than four years ago: 47 million on food stamps (up from 32 million); all-time record deficits and debit (dwarfing the Bush numbers); chronic unemployment; a prolonged non-recovering recovery; 636,000 homeless; a doubling of gas prices; and on and on.

For historical perspective, consider this: No president since FDR in 1940 won reelection with an unemployment rate above 7.1 percent. And for FDR, that number was a huge improvement from four years earlier.

How did Obama and his team overcome this? The answer: they successfully blamed it on George W. Bush, with Bill Clinton aiding and abetting the process. There were no limits to how much they blamed Bush, and how much it worked. The Democratic base swallowed it hook, line, and sinker.

There is more, so read it in America’s Fundamental Transformation.

Finally, Father John Hollowell talks about his call to the priesthood and the future of the Church:

I’m a bigger fan of authentic peace, but I’d rather have a battle than surface level passive-aggressive “peace” that simply masks evil. I’ve seen, in 3.5 years of priesthood, that perhaps a battle would do us all some good. If the stats hold true, 40% of Catholics who go to Mass every week just stood in open defiance of their bishops and the Church in voting in the affirmative for a candidate who:

  1. supports redefining marriage
  2. supports forcing the Church to do something it will never do
  3. is for abortion through all 9+ months of pregnancy
  4. is for the government helping people procure abortions if they can’t afford one
  5. provides for the destruction of human embryos for research

Please draw me up a candidate who could more completely embody the opposite of Catholicism.

The Catholic Church in the United States is a cage that needs rattling, and the coming battle will provide just such a shake-up. The days of bishops and cardinals yucking it up with anti-Catholic politicians will soon be at an end. The days of bishops and cardinals wagging fingers at anti-Catholic “catholic” politicians and telling them not to cross this line again…   and then redrawing the line further back…   those days will soon be at an end.

And I guess what I’m saying is that there is a lazy part of me that prefers comfort and wishes it never had to come to blows like this surely will…   but there is another part of me that realizes God is doing something in the hearts of faithful priests and Catholics and I think we’re on the edge of something that will be unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace. I’ve come not to bring peace but rather the sword.” — Jesus Christ. He brings the sword because the sword wakes people up, and it is better to be awakened at the last moment so that one can still repent than it is for a person to gain the whole world but lose his soul.

Read all of Father’s comments in Election Reflection for Warrior Catholics.

Who Is Your God?

Who Is Your God

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

“I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3)

The first of the Ten Commandments seems pretty simple. God saved the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt and they were to worship him and him alone.

Unfortunately, the Israelites couldn’t seem to follow this simple rule. They found any number of gods to worship other than the one true God. Even while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Commandments, the Israelites were already melting gold and shaping it into a bull for them to worship. In most every place they journeyed, they found other gods to worship. God punished them when they turned from him; they repented; God forgave them and the cycle began all over. You would think that at some point God would simply give up on them and let them go their own way and worship whatever they wanted.

But God loves his people and wants them to share eternity with him. So every time the Israelites strayed, God welcomed them back with open arms.

Things haven’t changed so much since the time of the Israelites and the exodus from Egypt. Today we also find other gods to worship. We may not worship golden bulls or Baal or some of the other pagan gods that the Israelites worshiped but we still have our gods that we put in place of the one true God whom we should worship in all we do. Satan is well aware that we, just like the Israelites, can be tricked into worshiping other gods.

What are our false gods today? In reality, anything that interferes with our relationship with the one true God can be seen as a false god. For some it may be their looks; maybe their car or home. Even our family, that God wants us to love above anyone other than him, can become a false god if we place them on a pedestal above God. Virtually anything can become a false god if we allow it to become the focus of our happiness and satisfaction. True happiness is only attainable through a strong, loving relationship with God.

I think three of the biggest false gods today are money, sex and pride. Each of these can have elements of good and can be used to accomplish good; however, they can very easily obtain god-like status when used for selfish purposes. Satan is aware of our attraction to certain things and will use that attraction to place it between us and God.

“And behold, one came up to him saying, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?’ And he said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The young man said to him, ‘All these I have observed; what do I still lack?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:16-22)

This scripture has always interested me. There is nothing here to indicate how the young man had gained his wealth or for what purpose he used it. If anything was standing in his way to perfection it was his love of his wealth. He was sad at the thought of selling everything and giving it away. Notice, however, that we are never told whether or not the young man actually did what Jesus had told him he must do to gain eternal life. Even though he went away sad, it’s possible that he followed Jesus’ advice, sold everything he had, gave the money to the poor and returned to follow Jesus.

God loves us, so he wants us to be successful. In our society today money is often equated with success. Does that mean that having lots of money is an indication that God has blessed the rich? It certainly may be a blessing, but we can turn that blessing into evil by misusing it. What of those who gain riches illegally or through unfair treatment of others? While God may bless us with money, he expects us to obtain it honestly and use it properly.

First Timothy, chapter 6, verse 10 is frequently misquoted when the discussion turns to money and its place in our life. “For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.” All too often the first four words of the verse are omitted, leaving “Money is the root of all evils”. With this omission this verse is often used to indicate that anyone with money must be evil. Even some politicians foster this misconception by pitting the rich against the poor for their own political gain. There is nothing wrong with having money or being rich. People of wealth have used their money to begin and support numerous charities, benefiting many. Universities benefit greatly from endowments from the rich, helping to provide scholarships and financial aid to those deserving of it. We used to hear stories celebrating these philanthropists and their generosity. It seems all we hear about the wealthy today is negative. People seem to have the idea that one person’s wealth necessarily means someone else can’t be wealthy. They forget that wealth is not a finite item, it can be grown through proper investment and provide many others the opportunity to increase their own wealth. Rather than envy or deride the wealthy for their success, we should look to how it was gained and how it is used. If gained honestly and used properly, we should applaud their success and even look to them as possible examples to emulate.

Of course, there are also those who have made their money through dishonorable means and cling to it rather than use it for the good of others. Unfortunately, these are the ones we hear of most often. For every story of wealth being used for the good of others, there are several told of how the rich got their money from the hard work of others. They refuse to recognize the great good accomplished by many of the wealthy. The fact is there is both good and evil in everything, including wealth.

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Sex and personal sexual gratification is another false god many people allow to interfere with their relationship with God. Human sexuality is a tremendous blessing from God when experienced as intended. The love, devotion, and oneness shared in the sexual life of a committed couple in a sacramental marriage are God’s intentions for the proper use of human sexuality. The problem arises when it is used for selfish gratification and pleasure. Sex itself isn’t the issue; sinfulness occurs in the misuse of God’s blessing.

Sex was never intended to be a spectator sport. Nor was it intended to be part of random encounters or traded for favors or money. The intensity of the emotion and love inherent in the properly exercised use of sexuality is one of the greatest blessings God has given mankind. When experienced as intended, within the bonds of a sacramental marriage, human sexuality is beautiful. Unfortunately, sex has been perverted by the open flaunting of sex in fashion, film, stage, music and most other aspects of our lives.

Sex, in its’ proper environment, provides an extreme physical and emotional high for the couple. This pleasure was intended by God. It not only helps solidify the covenant of marriage, it is the only appropriate means of procreation of humanity. It is perhaps the extreme high experienced by a couple in a truly loving, faith filled marriage that others are trying to find in their casual, meaningless sexual encounters. In a jealousy-driven effort to attain the beauty of sex as God intended, they pervert it into a sinful, lustful act of selfishness and degradation.

Sex is everywhere today. In books, magazines, movies, and on TV, it’s there, right in our faces. When we shop, sex is used to entice us to buy this particular dress or shirt or shoes or whatever we are shopping for. Some of the stores in our malls are virtually pornographic in their store front ads and displays. It’s not unusual to see glaringly sexual clothing even for pre-teen children. Multiple marriages, with multiple partners during marriage seem to be the norm for many of those who are considered heroes and stars of the entertainment industry.

Pornography is rampant in society today. What used to be the “family hour” on network television has disappeared and has been replaced by sexual innuendo, as well as barely hidden references to sexual activities of all types. The relationships that are depicted are more likely to be adulterous than sacramental in nature. Bed hopping is common and open presentations of sexual encounters, both heterosexual and homosexual, are the subject of the comedy in many popular sitcoms. In the sitcoms of today, those who refuse to engage in wanton sexual activity are portrayed as fools and the brunt of vicious jokes. Cable television and movies are even worse since they can be more blatant in the graphic presentation of sexual activity. Open, promiscuous sexual lifestyles are presented as the norm with few examples of committed, married relationships. In many cases it seems the more depraved the act, the more it is “honored” in the film industry.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

In our society we are taught in many ways that pride is a good thing. In some ways pride can be useful. It can motivate us to do better. It can help us resist temptation in some instances. It can serve to push us a little harder to do something to which we have committed. Sometimes our pride won’t let us quit when our body or our mind says we can’t go on. In these cases pride can be a good thing. It can be help us to be a better person. However, pride is also a very dangerous thing. Remember, Satan used pride to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. All of humanity suffers the results of their pride.

Job’s pride put him in direct conflict with God. When tested, he complained to God and his friends of his hardships and blamed God. God replied to him, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:2-3) The Lord continues to question Job for the next four chapters of the book of Job. If you want to understand humility in your relationship to God and his creation, read Job 38 – 41. It is quite a lesson on exactly how little we understand of the true nature of God and his creation. If you can still be prideful after reading those chapters, you should probably read it again. You’ve obviously missed the point.

Pride can very quickly degrade most anything, regardless of its’ potential good, to sinfulness. Even the good of providing for the needy can become sinful if pride enters.

“Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward.” (Matthew 6:2-4)

This same principal applies to most anything we do. If you sing in the choir, or usher, or assist in the readings, is it to praise God or for the attention you receive? If you give large sums to the building fund, is it to get your name mentioned in the church bulletin? If you donate to a university, is it to help those who need it or to get a building named for you? If you knew that no one would ever know the good that you do, would you still do it? We need to understand that our purpose should always be to please God, not other people. We must always keep in mind that regardless the blessings, talents and success we may have, they come from God. Even doing good can become a false god when done for the wrong reasons.

Money, sex, pride; three of the greatest obstacles to keeping our focus on the one true God, rather than our selves. Those are only three, there are many others. Only you can say what interferes with your worship of God. Whatever that is, put it in its proper place. God should always be first in our lives. Everything, family, friends and self, especially self, should come after God. In this way we can be assured that we know who our God is and keep Him in the place of honor in all aspects of our lives.

The above meditation is a chapter from Ed’s new eBook “Thoughts of God”. Only $1.99 on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Sony and other fine publishers.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #79)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: A much needed prayer for America. Not forgotten – the millions of Americans who are suffering from unemployment and desperation. Without religious freedom, we lose the right to be Catholic. Robert Gieb’s sharp observations on “Gracelessness” in our society. Rapping on the Communion of Saints. Vatican II and the New Evangelization. A quote of the week.

— 1 —

Politics is important. How we vote is very important. But we must remember every day to pray for our country and to pray for our neighbors and our family. {{from CatholicVote}}

— 2 —

Do you really believe people are doing OK? Do you believe things are “just about to turn around”? If so, you are in denial. Just think about the person YOU know who is unemployed – your neighbor, your relative, your parent, your child…   maybe even yourself. This video says everything that needs to be said:

America desperately needs a change so that we may hope again. The massively expensive (dramatically increasing our debt to $16,000,000,000,000), failed programs of the last few years have only made things worse and will burden us for generations. We need someone who has actual, non-government experience like all of us. We can buy into the false class warfare rhetoric – and maybe even make some rich people slightly less so – but at the same time will make everyone else much poorer. Use your head.

— 3 —

We take so much for granted, particularly the freedoms that made America great. Religious freedom is so key, that it is the very first amendment to the constitution. It has allowed us as Catholics to feed the hungry, educate our children and care for the sick. For the first time in our history, religious freedom is under very serious attack. Unless reversed, this will be devastating to our faith, our good works and the nation. Without religious freedom, we lose the right to be Catholic.

— 4 —

Robert Gieb recently wrote an excellent piece about “Gracelessness” in our society. He touches on a number of areas, skillfully describing the stark situation we find ourselves in and our hope. This is one gifted writer. Here is a sample:

I had recently watched parts of the quadrennial convention of the national Democratic Party, and the truly exuberant celebration of the killing of unborn children by both speakers and attendees, not to mention the enthusiastic endorsement of sodomy and the end of marriage as being a union of only a man and a woman. That convention was followed an announcement that the local Planned Parenthood affiliate at its newly constructed, state of the art killing chambers would be licensed to kill babies up to six months old in the womb. This announcement was treated in the same way a hospital would announce the addition of a new hospital wing making available a new life saving treatment, or a company might announce an expansion of its commercial services. There was no evidence that either local community leaders or the local media had even the slightest ethical discomfort.

— 5 —

Father Dusty Burns (a/k/a Pontifex) raps on the Communion of Saints:

Spotted by Marcel

— 6 —

Vatican II and the New Evangelization:

— 7 —

The quote of the week:

The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Doctor of the Church

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Jen for hosting this project!