Archives for February 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #130)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The Son of God is released TODAY. The warm and funny story of how a doctor was engaged to treat Mother Theresa. Father Gordon MacRae’s federal appeal will be heard for his 20 year (so far) unjust imprisonment. The short, beautiful life of Zion Isaiah Blick. Chris Stefanick talks about tolerance. The swift loss of our freedoms to an increasingly authoritarian state.

— 1 —

Released TODAY is Son of God, just in time for Lent. It looks good and has some big league Catholic endorsements. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this will be a powerful, truthful movie. Usually this time of year we expect to see the History Channel and the like releasing their latest heretical, often blasphemous, “documentary”.

— 2 —

This is a wonderful story, told with much humor, by a doctor called to attend to Mother Theresa.

Thanks to Russ Rentler (himself a faithful physician) for spotting it.

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Father Gordon MacRae

Father Gordon MacRae is still serving his 67 years sentence, convicted of being a Catholic priest in New Hampshire in 1994. If you haven’t read about this gross miscarriage of justice, see Ryan MacDonald’s two part The Trial of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Fraud here and here. I contributed to his federal appeal and urge you to also.

— 4 —

Speaking of injustice, did you ever throw a snowball as a child? In Chicago, that gets you charged with a felony. You may think “there has to be more to it than that”. Not really, as one unfortunate 13 year old kid learned. Really, no harm, no intent to harm, no endangerment, nada — just a thrown snowball. This absurd story is here.

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This is the beautiful story of Zion Isaiah Blick, who was permitted to live the life God gave him. He lived a life of love and dignity, touching many people, and standing in stark contract to the usual medical advice to “terminate” the pregnancy (a poor euphemism for killing the child). The Christian Post has more on the story.

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Labeling views you disagree with as “hate speech” is, of course, simple intolerance of all views that differ from theirs – those in the “tolerance” crowd. Chris Stefanick takes a closer look:

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If they are not stopped, they will keep pushing the envelope. The envelope, constitutional freedoms, has already been pushed so far as to be completely tattered. Religious liberty continues under very serious attack.

Free Speech

Free speech, once a cherished ideal, is becoming a shadow of its former self. It started with IRS *regulation* of the pulpit: no commentary which could conceivably be considered political unless it is for liberal candidates and causes (for example). Conservative viewpoints, including fundamental Catholic beliefs, are “hate speech” which will soon enough be subject to prosecution. The overwhelmingly liberal media may not be liberal enough, so the FCC wants to monitor newsrooms with government tenders. The University of Alabama recently ordered the removal of a pro-life display finding it “offensive” (it was not graphic). Public high schools such as this one have censored pro-life groups but are completely OK with open, active, enthusiastic promotion of the homosexual agenda.

BTW, while the IRS unconstitutionally regulating speech in churches is bad enough, under this administration they have powerful, new ObamaCare enforcement authority. Do not expect fair treatment, as nothing has changed in IRS targeting of groups opposed to the administration:

People need to wake-up before it is too late (if it isn’t already).

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!

What could have been…

What Could Have Been

Abortion has robbed the world of so much. We are much, much poorer for it. Taken away from us are statesmen who could have guided us to a more peaceful world. Doctors who would have found cures that elude us. Artists who would have elevated us through beauty we will never experience. Maybe the first woman president. Even those who would become successors to the Apostles. God knows the specifics now. We will not know until the general judgment. It will be huge.

Those of us who fight the culture of death are horrified at the scale of this genocide. We have plenty of facts, including science and statistics, to support our “side”. For example, The Looking Spoon published this graphic last week to illustrate that scale:

Abortion Claimed 56 Million Lives

Some would say this is a good thing, an accomplishment. The world’s resources are limited and we are overpopulated. Out-of-control population growth is contributing to global warming and the destruction of the environment. Total BS. The Population Research Institute, among others, has debunked these lies (see my 7QTF items here, here, here and here; or or their YouTube channel).

Others may have a different population control agenda. Margaret Sanger, esteemed founder of Planned Parenthood certainly did. Her racist plans, underlying Planned Parenthood, put the efforts of the KKK to shame (to which she appeared as a featured aspect speaker). Surprised? See or Suffice to say, Sanger’s Negro Project has been a complete success. Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke of Roe v. Wade acknowledging “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.”

Somehow, the obvious truth is unconvincing to those who champion this (non-existent) “right” to take innocent human life. It is confusing to us (me at least) why they can’t see it. It is almost like they are surrounded by some sort of bubble which filters-out the truth (or if you prefer, scales cover their eyes).

Trent Horn at Catholic Answers has an interesting take on this. He argues that the numbers are simply overwhelming. In essence, people can not internalize the impact. This makes sense to me as it also explains why people can not understand the scope of the budget deficit. Trent urges that we make it more personal by showing individual impact.

Two examples quickly come to my mind. First, Abby Johnson (an ex-director of a Planned Parenthood facility) tells the story of Hillary Clinton’s White House lunch with Blessed Mother Theresa. Hillary asked Mother why she thought that we had not had a woman president. I’ll let Abby tell the story:

I’ll conclude with the difficult story Judy Cozzens. Judy was pregnant with their second child but went into premature labor in the 5th month. The labor was stopped, but the doctor had devastating news: “You’re carrying a deformed fetus and you need to not continue with the pregnancy.” Judy didn’t understand, so the doctor was more blunt: “You’re carrying a freak, and you shouldn’t continue with this pregnancy.”

A FREAK. How crushing that news must have been.

The next step would be to schedule the “procedure” to take care of “it”. Judy and her husband Jack are faithful Catholics and understand abortion, any abortion, is intrinsic evil. That is, it is NEVER justified to take an innocent life – even if some consider that life should be discarded. They would have their “freak” if that is what God gave them. The doctor walked away. (The story of Judy and Jack’s trial is here.)

Today that “freak” is His Excellency Andrew Cozzens, Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #129)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: A lingerie company produces videos featuring beautiful women, unlike what you might assume. A liquor company produces a video with a touching story. (Some ads are getting better!) Father Barron explores what it means to be called by God. Another wreckovated church works to restore beauty dedicated to the Glory of God. The Girl Scouts, doing what they do these days.

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A lingerie company features beautiful women in its video promotion. Nothing new there, we expect to see pretty young models, photo-shopped to impossible physique and scantily clothed for all to see. That is not what Wacol (a Thai company) had in mind. They show REAL beauty in their Beauty Inside campaign. Definitely counter-cultural, just like the Church.

Each video tells a touching story showing strength of character, humility and charity. There is a subtext that runs through these videos: real men notice real beauty. Watch for it. There are 3 in total, 6 to 7 minutes each. Inspiring.

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2 of 3 (yea, I didn’t have enough 7QTF notes for this week so am padding this one out).

— 3 —

3 of 3 (still padding, but good enough to warrant their own 7QTF item numbers).

— 4 —

Speaking of advertisements, Bell’s (a hard liquor purveyor from South Africa) has this touching ad. It’s viral at over 1.2M views.

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Father Barron’s latest video examines God’s calling. BTW, by virtue of our own baptisms and confirmations we too are called as priests, prophets and kings. How have you been answering that call?

— 6 —

Another post Vatican II wreckovated church is being restored. The once very beautiful Holy Name of Jesus in Brooklyn has raised $2.35M to begin undoing the “modernization” damage:

Gregory Dipippo covers this story at the New Liturgical Movement.

— 7 —

Girl Scouts Tears

People are beginning to understand that the Girl Scouts USA organization (the one who gets 85% of cookie sale proceeds, not the local troops) of 2014 is not the one of old. You will find that spirit in the American Heritage Girls and others who have sprung-up as moral replacements for today’s GSUSA.

Naturally, GSUSA wants to protect their revenue stream. To that end, they are threatening LifeNews, a news organization, linking the girl scout logo to their articles (not an infringement). The story with background info is at: Girl Scouts USA Threatens LifeNews After Reporting Its Link to Planned Parenthood.

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: demonic possession


In our sophisticated, modern world the concept of demonic possession seems like religious kookiness to many. That is understandable for those who do not believe in God and Satan. For the rest of us, our personal experience with it is typically non-existent so we too often see it as far-fetched. Even the Church is prudently very cautious in reaching such a conclusion. While rare, it does exist and is quite serious. All the psychiatrists, drugs and restraints in the world can not “cure” the truly posessed.

The Ammon family of Gary Indiana found this out first hand. Everyone tried to pin their behavior and physical problems on something else. Child Protective Services suspected the mother of mental illness or abuse, probably both.

New Evangelists Monthly contributing author Patti Armstrong covered the story in an exclusive interview for the National Catholic Register. Father Michael Maginot, the investigator and exorcist, recounts the events:

What had been happening to the Ammon family?

The Ammon family had gone to their physician out of desperation, not knowing what to do about the strange behaviors and occurrences in their family. The children went into trances and spoke with demonic voices, reported being choked, levitated and were thrown into things. The youngest boy claimed to see another little boy who visited with him in a closet. No one else saw the visitor, who would talk about what it was like to be dying or getting killed.

At the doctor’s office, the boys growled and cursed in demonic voices. The medical staff saw the youngest one thrown into a wall. Then the boys passed out. An ambulance and police were called to take the children to the Methodist hospital. Then CPS was also called to investigate LaToya for suspected mental illness or abuse of the children.

The oldest boy woke up at the hospital, but the younger one screamed and acted like [he was] in a trance. He was waiting in the psychiatrist’s office with his grandmother when he walked up the wall backwards, then flipped over his grandmother and landed on his feet. The nurse and CPS worker ran from the room. When the psychiatrist came in, he tried to get the boy to do it again, but it was impossible, and the boy could not even remember doing it.

What was your first meeting with the family like?

LaToya and her mother were staying with a relative, but they agreed to meet me at the house the next day, Sunday, at 6pm to tell me their story. Both women were Baptist and said they never dabbled in anything occult. The mother never missed church on Sundays, and LaToya sometimes went.

They told me their story. It all started when the family moved into the house in November 2011. The first day, something strange happened. There were horseflies everywhere in their screened-in porch, even though it was almost winter. They cleaned them up, but then, for several more days, there were flies again. In the basement, sand appeared all over the floor – around two buckets full.

One time, the grandmother woke up at 3am and saw the shadow of someone in her house. The next morning, she checked to see if anything was taken, but only saw muddy boot prints that seemed to come from the basement. Later, the family would sometimes hear footsteps coming up from basement. Sometimes there was knocking on the door or growling like a dog, but, when it was opened, nothing was there.

The family started getting sick. The kids were waking up with bloody gums, noses and ears. Sometimes they went to school, and there would be blood, but the school nurse would find no reason for it. At one point, the grandmother saw the daughter levitate over her bed then fall back down.

Family and friends were afraid to come to the house. LaToya and her mother could not afford to move. They asked people from their church to help, but they refused. A group from a charismatic church agreed to come to pray. A lady with the group, who said she was clairvoyant, claimed there were 200 demons in the basement. She ran from the house, with the others following close behind.

Around Easter time, everyone was watching TV, and a Febreze bottle lifted in front of them. It was thrown into the mother’s bedroom, smashing her lamp. When they got up to look, a black figure looked out at them from an open closet. The mother yelled for everyone to pack some clothes and get out of the house. They stayed in a hotel that night; then LaToya’s brother agreed to take them in.

Did anything strange happen when you were there?

Yes, around 8:30pm. It was then that LaToya told me that things got much worse, right after her ex-boyfriend came by the house in March. He said he wanted to give something to the boys. He gave them both $5 to remind them to be good and said the girl did not need anything to be good.

I said I wanted to know more about the boyfriend, and that’s when a series of interruptions occurred. The bathroom light flickered. Every time I went to investigate, it stopped, but started again when I walked away. “Well, I guess it’s scared of me,” I said. Then it started flickering again, as if in defiance.

I ignored it and said, “Let’s get back to the boyfriend.” That’s when the Venetian blinds in the kitchen started to sway back and forth. The strings for pulling them up were perfectly still; just the blinds swayed. The swaying kept the same speed, then the swaying went from window to window, room to room.

Find out what happened in the complete interview at the Register: Parish Priest Aids Family in Fight Against Demons. The Indy Star also has coverage of this story, including a video.

New Advent has Catholic Encyclopedia articles on exorcism and exorcists. Catholic Essentials also has a good piece on possession and exorcism. Catholic Doors has a FAQ.

A Sacramental Marriage

A Sacramental Marriage

Guest contributor:   Ed Trego

“This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24)

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:5-6)

“My dear friends, you have come together in this church so that the Lord may seal and strengthen your love in the presence of the Church’s minister and this community.” (Catholic Rite of Marriage)

Of the many vocations of the Church, marriage is by far the most common. Unfortunately, it seems many people don’t look at marriage as a vocation these days. It is rare to see a priest abandon his vocation; Deacons don’t usually resign; Sisters and Brothers rarely call it quits. But marriage has a failure rate near 50%. Catholic marriages, a sacramental covenant of God, suffers a divorce rate just over 21%.

If God cries, I think he must be weeping over what has been done to the sacrament of marriage. Marriage is under attack in today’s society. If you doubt that fact, simply look at the divorce rate, the out-of-wedlock birth rate, the number of people who choose to live together without benefit of marriage, the push to recognize homosexual marriage and the general degradation of human sexuality exhibited virtually everywhere you look.

God created marriage and endowed it with certain characteristics which are necessary to the continued well-being of the human race. Marriage is intended to be the building block of a successful society. It provides a basis for family life and allows for the procreation of children in a safe, nurturing environment. Any society that chooses to disregard the sanctity of a covenantal marriage cannot long survive. Without the loving and giving environment of marriage as intended by God, society risks deterioration into an amoral, selfish environment which cannot long sustain itself.

Scripture, in both the Old and New Testament is filled with references to marriage and its proper use. Even after the fall of man brought about by original sin, the relationship between Adam and Eve remained permanent and fruitful. As a result of their sin, childbirth became painful for the woman, but the joy of motherhood overcame the pain of childbirth and the couple continued in God’s plan for procreation through the marital relationship.

God instructed Noah and his sons to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth”. Marriage and the resulting progeny are to fill the earth. A sacramental marriage is intended to be fruitful, producing children. By its very nature marriage and married love is intended for, in part, for the procreation and education of children and it is in them that it finds its true purpose and glory. To reject this purpose of marriage is to reject the original intent of marriage.

Efforts to redefine marriage as any relationship between any two people as well as the open acceptance of non-marital relationships has had a negative impact on marriage and the civilizing effect it produces in society. The current impetus to consider same sex relationships on an equal basis with marriage is just one more effort by the secular society in which we live to further dismiss and disregard the true meaning of a marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman. Under no other circumstances can a sacramental marriage exist.

However, same sex relationships are not the only, or even the biggest, threat to marriage in our society. A general disregard for the sanctity of the marital relationship throughout society is by far a greater threat to marriage than any one specific action. Indiscriminate sex and living in a sexual relationship with another is not the equivalent of living within the bond of a sacramental marriage regardless of the circumstances. Without the vows and the commitment of marriage, the relationship is sinful at best and seriously disordered and even dangerous at worst. Relationships of this type are frequently associated with violence. These non-marital relationships of all kinds present a serious abuse problem for both the man and woman involved. Children are especially at risk in these relationships. Hardly a week goes by that there isn’t a report of children being physically or sexually assaulted by a Mother’s live-in boyfriend, in many cases resulting in the death of the children. A person who is not willing to enter into a permanent relationship is not worthy of the trust necessary to allow access to innocent children.

The ease and frequency of divorce has also undermined the sanctity of marriage. Some are now even changing the wedding vows to “as long as we both shall love” rather than “as long as we both shall live”. There is a move to redefine marriage as a contract with an expiration date. If either of the partners chooses not to renew it, the contract expires and the marriage is defunct.

When is the last time you saw a series on television that portrayed a healthy marital relationship? Most don’t even include marriage, although there are always numerous references and depictions of sex. If a marriage is portrayed, it’s usually in tatters or is a caricature of a true sacramental marriage. If a character in the series is serious about marriage or morality they are normally portrayed as the “weird” one. The rest of the cast make fun and try any means possible to convert the person to their own secular, anything goes attitude toward sex and marriage. Are you old enough to remember the television shows where marriage was the norm and sex was not in your face from the opening to the closing scene”

Marriage, as it is intended, is more than a relationship between a man and a woman. The marriage vows are taken before God and witnesses for a reason. There are actually three partners to a marriage; a husband, a wife, and God. If the couple will keep in mind the third party to their covenant, they will always have an arbiter for disagreements. Through prayer and love of God and each other they will have a position of strength from which to build and maintain their commitment. If they honor God as part of their marriage, they should also honor each other as members of a holy covenant. If they exclude God from their relationship, they will lose a powerful ally in their married life.

The New Testament, through the teachings of Christ, re-emphasizes the sanctity of marriage. One of the first public appearances of Jesus was at the wedding in Cana. His presence and his miracle of turning water to wine speak to the importance of marriage in God’s eyes. He taught that marriage is permanent and should not be dissolved. “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matthew 1:9) Matthew records the questioning of the Pharisees concerning marriage and divorce. When asked if it was lawful to divorce, Jesus replied, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’? So they are no longer two, but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 1:4-6)

When the Pharisees pressed him about the laws Moses had given concerning divorce, Jesus said “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Matthew 19:8) Throughout both the Old and New Testaments there is consistent teaching of the permanence and sanctity of marriage.

If our society is to survive and continue to prosper we must recapture the glory, faithfulness and sanctity of a truly sacramental marriage. We cannot continue to disregard the wishes of God and expect to also continue to receive his blessings. The near total disregard of proper marriage in favor of the many distorted varieties of relationships is condemning us to failure as a people of God. For the sake of our society, our children and our future, we must turn to God and relearn His definition of marriage and make that the standard by which we live. Any other course is a path to the continued degradation of our society and culture. Cultures from the Greeks to the Romans and others throughout history discovered that a society based on humanism and the rejection of God’s will and purpose for man cannot long survive. When God is eliminated from the culture, the destruction of the society is not far behind.

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.