Archives for 2016

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #195)

7 Quick Takes Friday

This week: The latest issue of New Evangelists Monthly awaits your perusal. Fr. Paul Scalia gives an outstanding homily at his father’s funeral Mass. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee produced a wonderful video on the beauty of the Church. A new film explores the true artwork of St. Faustina’s Divine Mercy image. Jeff Harris illustrates the Protestant concept of salvation by “faith alone.” A funny take-off (very well done too) of Mel Brooks’ The Producers. Two creepy videos showing the latest advancements in robotics.

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New Evangelists Monthly

Issue #39, March 2016, of New Evangelists Monthly is ready for your enjoyment! Scores of faithful Catholic bloggers have contributed their very best pieces from February. Contributing authors this month include:
Virginia Lieto, Chris Capolino, Birgit Jones, Dave Wanat, Fr. Stephen Morris, Carolyn Astfalk, Melanie Jean Juneau, Matthew Coffin, Ellen Kolb, Bartimaeus Timeo, Ellen Gable Hrkach, Nancy Ward, Melissa Overmyer, Denise Hunnell, Michael Seagriff, Roxane Salonen, Fr. Errol Fernandes, John Schroeder, Nancy Shuman, Tony Agnesi, Blythe Kaufman, Larry Peterson, Kirby Hoberg, Joyce, Jennifer Short, Kathleen Laplante, Rick Becker, Brian Mullins, Christian LeBlanc, Sharon Babineau, Michael Brandon, Jamie Jo, Elizabeth Reardon, Matthew Plese, Anthony Layne, Jennifer Elia, Robert Collins, Mike Landry, Laura Pearl, Rose O’Donnell, David Torkington, Fr. Ben Hadrich, Dn. Scott Dodge, Thomas and Deborah Richard, Catherine Prady, Mary Cooper, Chibuzor Ogamba, Melody Marie, Rich Maffeo, Laura Kazlas, John Donaghy, Sue Elvis, Leslie Klinger, Susan Fox, John Zwicker, Sr. Maresa Lilley, Tom Perna, Tom Ponchak, Gregory Watson, De Maria, Rita Buettner, Fr. Gilles Surprenant, Barbara Hosbach, Lyn Mettler, George Sipe, Msgr. Charles Pope, Joseph Shaw, Jessica and Manny Archuleta, Jeff Walker, Lianna Mueller, Ruth Ann Pilney, Larry T, Bonnie Way, Julian Barkin, Allen Hebert, Debbie Gaudino, Fr. Richard DeLillio, Frank Rega, Rick Rice, John Russell and Erin Cupp.

This monthly “meta-magazine” showcases faithful Catholicism from theology to family life and “everything in between.” Enjoy it now at

Read Now

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It has been a couple weeks now since the death and funeral of Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia. His loss is large. The homily at the funeral Mass was given by his son, Fr. Paul Scalia and is widely viewed as excellent on many levels.

We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.

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The Archdiocese of Milwaukee produced this wonderful video on simply the beauty of the Catholic Church:

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A new film is available to organizations on the story surrounding the original Divine Mercy work of art commissioned by St. Faustina. It looks really interesting:

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Jeff Harris at Sword of Peter illustrates the Protestant doctrine of Sola Fides (“faith alone” – which is in direct opposition to James 2:24, even in their abbreviated Bibles):

Sword Of Peter Faith Alone

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This is just funny, whether you are a Trump fan or not. It helps if you saw the 2005 remake of The Producers staring Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. The movie plot was a get rich scheme for a Broadway producer Max Bialystock and his timid accountant Leo Bloom. Here is the updated version:

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Finally, from the Convert Journal robot desk are these 2 stories. First, Boston Dynamics (part of Google) has come up with this creepy robot to terrorize us:

Additionally, they came up with this one to terrorize our pets:

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was begun by Jennifer Fulwiler and is now continued by Kelly Mantoan. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Thank you Kelly for hosting this project!

New Evangelists Monthly – March 2016, Issue #39

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From the archive (set #16)


Tomorrow is time for New Evangelists Monthly to begin a new edition. Today, I would like to bring to your attention 3 original, brief essays that you may have missed. If you don’t have time to read all three, I especially recommend the first one — Public sinners. It is a good reflection for this political season.

Public sinners

Hollywood is a rich source of examples. Professional athletics is another. Popular music performers still another. As upsetting as so many of these individuals often are, theirs is a context that at least numbs our reaction. They are usually acting as individuals, representing only their own moral depravity and directly affecting only their own sad lives. They generally do not claim to be followers of Christ. There is another group of public figures who share the attributes of the others noted above, but unlike them have a special trust with the public.

…read it all:   Public sinners

Membership available

All membership levels offer a path to eternal life. While the highest level is recommended for best results, any level is preferred to non-membership. Disclaimer: membership alone (at any level) does not automatically assure salvation. Act NOW. This is a limited time offer which expires with each life. Do not miss this great opportunity while you still have time. Priests and pastors are standing by.

…read it all:   Membership available

The Body of Christ

Amen! That simple response says a great deal when we present ourselves to receive the Holy Eucharist. The priest holds our Lord’s most holy body or most precious blood and says to us “the Body of Christ” or “the Blood of Christ.” Our response affirms many things, all expressed humbly and fully by “Amen.”

…read it all:   The Body of Christ

Elsewhere: falsely accused


The sexual abuse scandal was real and hurt people. “Scandal” is the key word in that it pushed victims away from the Church they trusted and the wider public as well. It was not a failure of the Church founded and protected by Christ until the end of time, but rather sinful acts by individual members and poor judgment by others.

Enemies of the Church have used this scandal to diminish her influence to the great loss of many. The Church is hated for remaining true to Christ on moral issues such as abortion, divorce and homosexuality. Because of this, these enemies keep even decades old cases in the news while ignoring much more common sexual scandals outside the Church (e.g. Forgotten Study: Abuse in School 100 Times Worse than by Priests).

When a priest is merely accused of such crimes, whenever the claim has any possibility of being true (however remote), they have been quickly convicted by the media and subsequently by their influenced juries. Often these priests are abandoned early by their bishop and the alleged victim paid significant “damages”. This attracts many con-artists who could not care less about truth or the harm they cause on innocent priests and the Church. This has NOT been rare. You might be surprised how often it happens (ref e.g. False Accusations of Sexual Abuse Can Leave Lasting Scars, *FACT CHECKER* SNAP and the TRUTH About False Abuse Accusations Against Priests or Catholic Priests Falsely Accused: The Facts, The Fraud, The Stories).

The reality for falsely accused priests is that they must prove their innocence more than the state must prove their guilt. Priests can be convicted on nothing more than the (well coached) claims of an alleged victim. You should find that shocking.

Falsely accused priests are strongly pressured to accept plea deals admitting their “guilt” in exchange for reduced charges and little or no jail time. If they accept this lie, the prosecutor chalks up another win, the media celebrates, another “proven” example can be used against the Church, and the “victim” goes on to claim their lucrative damages. This has happened many times.

Not all falsely accused priests will bend to follow this script. Some, despite the great risk, have had the audacity to insist on their innocence and fight all the powers arrayed against them. This usually ends tragically for them, resulting in DECADES of imprisonment for a crime they did not commit. A good example is Fr. Gordon MacRae, currently 22 years into his 67 year sentence (see my piece Throw away the key).

Imagine my surprise when Newsweek recently published a piece acknowledging that this happens. This is a fairly long piece (below is just a sample) on the recent Philadelphia cases in the headlines. It gives good insight to how such injustice happens.

(Warning:   the Newsweek text below contains graphic language.)

The sexual assaults of Gallagher allegedly occurred during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years, when he was 10 and 11 years old. From the beginning, he told an incredible, lurid story, the details of which were often changing. When he first reported his abuse to two social workers for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on January 30, 2009, Gallagher claimed Engelhardt had accosted him after a 6:30 a.m. Mass. He said the priest plied him with sacramental wine and then anally raped him behind locked doors in the church sacristy in a brutal “ramming” attack that lasted from 7 a.m. until noon. After the rape, Gallagher claimed the priest threatened him, saying, “If you ever tell anyone, I will kill you.”

But Gallagher told Mechanick a different story, the same one he told a grand jury and at the criminal trial – that he and the priest had engaged in mutual masturbation and oral sex. Gone were the five hours of anal rape and Engelhardt’s threat to kill him.

Gallagher told the two archdiocese social workers that in the second attack Avery “punched him in the back of the head, and he fell down.” And when he woke up, “he was completely naked, and his hands were tied with altar boy sashes.” Gallagher claimed the priest then anally raped him, smacked him in the face and “made him suck all the blood off his penis.” When this vicious assault was over, Gallagher said, the priest threatened that if he ever told anybody, he would “hang him from his balls and kill him slowly.”

But when Gallagher talked to the police and testified before a grand jury, he dropped the punch in the head, as well as the claims about being tied up with altar sashes, smacked in the face and forced to suck blood. He also omitted the priest’s threat to “hang him from his balls.”

Instead, Gallagher said he’d engaged in mutual masturbation and oral sex with Avery and described a subsequent attack in which the priest forced Gallagher to perform a striptease.

Gallagher at first told the social workers that his third attacker, homeroom teacher Shero, asked him to stay after class and offered to drive him home. In the teacher’s car, Gallagher claimed, Shero punched him in the face, attempted to strangle him by wrapping a seat belt around his neck, performed oral sex on him and made Gallagher masturbate him.

Gallagher claimed that this attack took place in the parking lot of an apartment building near his home and that Shero told Gallagher if he told anyone, “I will make your life a living hell.”

But when Gallagher testified in court in 2013, he didn’t say Shero made him stay after class. This time, he said Shero pulled up across the street from a strip mall and offered him a ride home, and the attack took place in a parking lot. Gallagher dropped from this new version of his story the punch in the face, the seat belt wrapped around his neck and the threat to make his life a living hell.

It goes on like this. This fantastic, constantly shifting story without corroborative evidence (actually, there was evidence against it) was enough to send 4 good men to jail (where one priest died due to lack of medical care). It also made this con-man a multimillionaire. His lawyers did well too.

The whole article is worth your attention: Catholic guilt? The lying, scheming altar boy behind a lurid rape case.

Also interesting is Fr. MacRae’s comments on the Newsweek article at The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy on the Cover of Newsweek.

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.

Whoever hates me also hates my Father. If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But in order that the word written in their law might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’

Elsewhere: paying their fair share


Government costs a lot of money, in its administration and its programs for the common good. As Catholic citizens, we have a moral responsibility to pay taxes — to pay our “fair share.” This ever-popular topic is once again in the spotlight as we hear from presidential hopefuls during this tax season.

One of the most frequent uses of the phrase “pay their fair share” is in reference to the upper few percenters not doing their part. It often seems that these cries are loudest from those who are chronic beneficiaries of politically motivated government largess. Regardless, is it true?

YES! — but in exactly the opposite sense from what they mean…   the upper 20% pay 87% of federal individual income taxes — far more than their fair share — while almost half of all Americans pay NOTHING. This is exactly opposite of the general perception. Catey Hill has written about this recently for Market Watch:

An estimated 45.3% of American households – roughly 77.5 million – will pay no federal individual income tax, according to data for the 2015 tax year from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan Washington-based research group. (Note that this does not necessarily mean they won’t owe their states income tax.)

Roughly half pay no federal income tax because they have no taxable income, and the other roughly half get enough tax breaks to erase their tax liability, explains Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

Despite the fact that rich people paying little in the way of income taxes makes plenty of headlines, this is the exception to the rule: The top 1% of taxpayers pay a higher effective income-tax rate than any other group (around 23%, according to a report released by the Tax Policy Center in 2014) – nearly seven times higher than those in the bottom 50%.

On average, those in the bottom 40% of the income spectrum end up getting money from the government. Meanwhile, the richest 20% of Americans, by far, pay the most in income taxes, forking over nearly 87% of all the income tax collected by Uncle Sam.

The article has more information along with interesting tables and graphs: 45% of Americans pay no federal income tax.