“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Race to Name and Define an Issue

In the political arena, victory on issues by public opinion is not always won by the validity of the issue, but rather which side names and defines the issue in the public's psyche first.

In the political realm, there are hundreds of examples of both sides of an issue trying to name and define the issue to best position their side to eventually win the battle on the issue: Pro-life vs. Pro-choice; Physician-Assisted Suicide vs. Mercy Killing, etc...

Where the pro-life movement did this so perfectly and to such a success, was Partial Birth Abortion. During the initial public discourse, when America was making up their minds on this issue, the Pro-life movement wanted to accurately label this procedure, “Partial Birth Abortion,” where liberals constantly tried to label this horrific procedure “Late Term Abortion,” to lessen the reality of what happens during this procedure and make it more palatable. The Pro-Life side was the first side to successfully stake their naming flag in this issue and own the issue by making their title stick.

Moreover, I remember seeing multiple Pro-life guests on news talk shows jabbing scissors into the back of the neck of plastic baby dolls with loud audio “pops” sending shivers up the viewers' spines - - which secondly allowed us to define the brutality of this issue in people’s minds as gruesome.

We had the NAME and we DEFINED the issue. The public discussions and battles were over. The Pro-Life cause did it so well, and public opinion swelled so much against this procedure, that even extreme left-wing ideologists crossed the isle to speak out on this issue.
For instance, pro-abortionist Daniel Patrick Moynihan stated this procedure was "only minutes away from infanticide."

What should concern all of us on the issue of Gay Marriage, is that the conservative movement is neither naming nor defining this issue. Recently, with all these bombs exploding everywhere this past week, a defining term emerged from the opposition: “Marriage Equality”. I saw it in print media and heard it on the news. You would think that it was distributed as a talking point to news organizations -- maybe it was. I mean who can be against marriage, or equality? It is a perfect populist term.

The pro-family side is yet to come up with a sticking term. I am not sure what it is or should or shouldn't be. Maybe something like, “Fruitless Marriage”- - nothing can come from it, or “Biologically-Incompatible Marriage”, but they better name it soon.

Secondly, even people with deep convictions against Gay Marriage can not define clearly why it is so bad for society. Other than citing the Bible, they can not articulate what is known as a truth in their hearts and persuade the large voting group in the middle whom may not be evangelicals. VCR friend, and President of the N.Y. Chapter of the AFA, Frank Russo mentioned on his broadcast that if Social Security and Medicare take on domestic partners benefits as well, both funds will be bankrupted 5 years earlier than their target date now. Mr. Russo was skillfully defining one aspect of the issue and is on the right track, but more of a true essence, the center point definition of this issue is needed for others to easily understand and be against it.

Maybe defining it involves stating repeatedly the same one or two bi-products of gay marriage that shows quantifiable harm on society.

I am not sure how to correctly name or define this issue, but we are not doing it now and we better soon!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Second Catholic U.S. President

I believe I know who will be the second Catholic U.S. President.

The second U.S. President will be George W. Bush. Upon leaving office, he will follow his good friend, ex-British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and convert to Roman Catholicism.

I base my feelings on several observations:

First, true Conservatism, is based on principles, unyielding and unchanging truths, that are valid yesterday, today and tomorrow. Believing this mindset is the fast road to the Roman Catholic Church. Beside being aligned with Conservatives on many of the social issues, the Church offers centuries of continuity in Her teachings and never bends Her eternal truths based on the trade winds of public opinion or current events. This is the reason why so many high- profile Conservatives find their way to Roman Catholicism: Larry Kudlow, Robert Bork, Sam Brownback, Laura Ingraham, Robert Novak, etc...

Second, the proper, heads-of-state protocol for addressing a Pope is for Catholics to use the greeting, "Holy Father," and for non-Catholics to use, "Your Holiness." Bush repeatedly addressed BXVI as "Holy Father" during his U.S. visit. It is a very small innuendo, but you can be sure with the etiquette staff at the White House it was not an oversight. In addition, Bush announced on his "Farewell Tour" of Europe this summer he is stopping at the Vatican to visit BXVI. He just saw him on BXVI's U.S. trip. There is no need to visit again so soon. No secular reason.

Third, during the night of the 2004 Presidential election returns, cameras where set up in the private residence of the White House. As the Bush family watched the returns, I saw a picture of the Blessed Mother on the Bush's end table. A picture of the Blessed Mother on a Protestant's end table? What gives?

Fourth, GW Bush's brother Jeb Bush, the popular ex-Governor of Florida, converted to Catholicism. He has set a precedent (no pun intended) and the trail is blazed already in the family.

A Washington Post article in April of this year cited many clues as well including: GW Bush telling his cabinet that he was reading BXVI's book; Fr. Richard Neuhaus tutoring the President on Catholic doctrines; Karl Rove incredibly getting a priest to bless the White House; the President freely using terms coined by the papacy (culture of life/dictatorship of relativism) and Bush having a personal respect for the concept of the primacy of the Papacy.


Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was the first to joke that Bush was a Catholic president. Many a truth is said in jest, Senator.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

Tomorrow, May 30th, is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. It is a worthwhile post to remind everyone what Christ promised to give to all of those who have a special devotion to his Sacred Heart as told to St. Margaret Mary in 1675: (For all those with problems in their homes, please note numbers 2 and 9 in particular.)
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.

5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.

9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.

12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.

A Slippery Slope...

From the Associated Press yesterday, telling how California is changing their marriage application to meet their new acceptance of gay marriage:

"The guidelines from Janet McKee, chief of California's office of vital records, contained copies of new marriage forms that include lines for "Party A" and "Party B" instead of bride and groom. The gender-neutral nomenclature was developed in consultation with county clerks, according to the letter."

Reading this caused such a dark, surreal moment for me. Who would have thought that it took just changing a few print characters on a government form to cause one of the oldest, most sacred institutions in society to crumble? It’s mind-blowing how easy it was. Really, mind-blowing...

Here is one of the problems with this “progression:”
First, let’s take a look at the some most compelling reasons why society says we should permit gay marriage:

1) It is better for society to have committed, documented relationships, than not.
2) It permits health care plans to be extended to significant others.
3) It permits the easy transferring of assets to the other person upon death.
4) People should be permitted to live the way they want.
5) People should be able to love whom they want.
6) People shouldn't be discriminated against.
7) In the case of a hospital emergency, significant others should have the same visitation rights as heterosexual spouses.
8) They should be able to experience parenthood and raise children the same as anyone else.

Here's the problem:
Every justification above, EVERY ONE, can without a doubt also be used to justify the distortion of the definition of marriage even further to extend to beyond just limiting marriage to between two people. Read the reasons again with an understanding that it is referencing a marriage with three people. You will see that everyone of these reasons, validated by a minority in society, that got us to this crazy point can easily take us further into the abyss. What is to stop this? Can adding “Party C” to the form as well be far behind?

I say this to make a point. Once the institution of marriage is destroyed by altering it to the point where is does not match the essence of its definition anymore, it is no longer marriage and anything goes.

The only true way to protect this institution, and society, is to define marriage in a way that assures that the validity of both the term and institution come together - - by giving it a definition that "pseudo-marriages" can never live up to and get it back to its essence: Marriage is between a man and a woman, committed to each other, who have the potential to procreate children whom have the best chance to be stable, contributing and beneficial members of society because they were brought up in a secure environment that was framed by a true marriage.

Unfortunately, the genie is already half way out of the bottle. It’s a very slippery slope.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Human Rights after the Birth Canal

Today, Amnesty International issued a report today blasting the U.S. for their treatment of terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay:

"The U.S. must close Guantánamo detention camp and secret detention centres, prosecute the detainees under fair trial standards or release them, and unequivocally reject the use of torture and ill-treatment,"

One year ago, Amnesty International issued a statement moving from an abortion-neutral stance, to committing themselves completely to the Pro-Abortion cause:

"Amnesty International committed itself to strengthening the organization's work on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and other factors contributing to women's recourse to abortion and affirmed the organization's policy … emphasizing that women and men must exercise their sexual and reproductive rights..."

Now let's get this complete farce straight: Amnesty is FOR giving complete rights to terrorists who would unleash chemical and biological warfare on innocent people if they could, but AGAINST giving the most innocent of human life any rights whatsoever.

As a side note: Upon last year's statement and to his credit, Catholic Bishop Michael Evans, of Cambridgeshire, England, decided to resign the organization after being a member of Amnesty for 31 years. Kudos Bishop.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spiritual Warfare

I have always read with great admiration of the spiritual battles that the saints have had with the devil. Our present society does its best to discount the possibility of even the devil's existence, and explains individual people who do evil acts as just being “bad seeds” (inherent in them), or a victim of their upbringing (a product of their environment). There is never a reference to the reality that the devil works throughout our society. I think of this constantly whenever I see an atrocious crime on the news that it is so evil it could not have had a human origin.

Of special interest to me, were the battles between Padre Pio and the devil. This holy man came away from a lot of these confrontations with tangible, physical injuries. Cuts and bruises. I often marvel at the strength and grace that St. Pio must have had to consistently reject any and all of the devil's temptations and affronts and what level of intensity this spiritual warfare must have reached for it to have actually escalated to a point where it would spill over into the physical/tangible world. Can you imagine the level of frustration the devil must have been at in his non-ending and failed attempts to influence this Capuchin priest to finally go this route, to finally physically assault Padre Pio?

One absolutely fascinating story about this saga was that the devil would appear to St. Pio as the Blessed Mother. Talk about something that should put fear in our hearts. Padre Pio gave a pearl of wisdom to us in how he cleverly discerned which visits were the devil and which visits were the true Blessed Mother. He said when the true Blessed Mother appeared to him, there was a peace that came upon him before, during and after the visit. When the devil appeared as the Blessed Mother, there was a complete overflow of euphoria during the visit, turning to complete emptiness and wanting after the visit.

Such invaluable guidance from this great saint! When our lives are in unison, and close, with God, we have a sense of peace, even during tribulations. When we go the secular, worldly route, we have spikes in our excitement from world "toys" to get pleasure, but these are short lived as we soon need another material fix to feel any pleasure again. Such real world advice to recognize what we should be doing and shouldn't be doing from this great saint.

Padre Pio, Pray for us and Protect us!

Conviction Comes in All Sizes!

Here is a story about an autistic, 5 year-old boy that disrupted a class in Port St. Lucie, FL. The teacher stood the child in the front of the class, letting each student to have the opportunity to tell him in detail why they didn’t like him. Then the teacher had the kids vote to kick him out of the class, which they approved by a vote of 14-2.

A few thoughts:
1) I once heard a parent of a handicapped student tell a teacher who was complaining about their child, “we send to you the best we have”. This comment puts everything in perspective.
2) The real story here, that every news source missed, was that there were two 5 year-old children, not even old enough to read or write fully, who would not partake in this cruelty, despite the fact it was being orchestrated by a figure of authority to them and this figure was coercing them to do so. God Bless them!

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Honor of the Feast of Corpus Christi

A recent, grieving, Protestant widow in a foreign country saw a Corpus Christi procession outside her window. In her overwhelming grief she wrote to her sister-in-law (Protestant as well), "How happy would we be, [if we] believed what these dear souls believe: that they possess God the Sacrament, and that He remains in their churches and is to them when they are sick! … The other day, in a moment of excessive distress, I fell on my knees without thinking when the Blessed Sacrament passed by, and cried in an agony to God to bless me, if He was there-that my whole soul desired only Him."

The grieving widow was Elizabeth Ann Seton, who later became the first American to be canonized. Faith is a journey.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pray for us.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Militant Feminists' Lack of Wisdom and Vision

I wish I had the money to buy a billboard on the Long Island Expressway a mile or two before the Midtown Tunnel. It would go something like this:

"144 male births to every 100 female births in Guangdong province, China. Feminists thought abortion would free them, now it targets them!"

Once a holocaust is unleashed there is no assurance it will not turn back at you with a fury.

A Sacrifice Accepted

Recently, with the many pressures of fatherhood, I have come to the awareness and appreciation of how extremely fortunate I have been to have so many superior role models of Catholic fathers in my life.

There was a very great man, Tom, that I had a good amount of exposure to in my youth because was he heavily involved in the local parish's CYO group and friends with my parents.

What made this man so special was that in 1971 he was shot five times while on duty as a policeman, with one bullet hitting him directly in, and passing through, his neck. It is hard to believe that someone can survive this, or not be a paraplegic. He, through the grace of God, survived this horrible event and began his extremely difficult and painful road back to recovery to try to lead as normal a life as possible. He had three small children, one just born, who needed him.

I remember in early grade school seeing Tom at my sporting events, on the sideline, spinning a football with his fingertips then catching it while standing still. Being so young I did not realize his difficulties, but did realize that it was strange that he was never able to turn his head without his shoulders moving in lockstep as well.

Many years later in 2003, one of the nicest surprises on my wedding day was to see Tom and his wife in a pew next to a side door in our church. He had deteriorated quiet a lot and it was no small task for his wife to assist him in moving from his parked car to the pew. I sat down in the pew in front of him and reached for his hand, giving him a soft handshake. I could not make out anything that he said to me, but gave him a smile and pat on the shoulder to show my appreciation he came. His wife apologized to me for not being able to make the reception because of her husband's condition, and he was not doing well.

This man had daily suffering in his life, suffering that would have turned many against God.

His faith was a core aspect to his life, and I have absolutely no doubt that his suffering was offered up daily to Christ.

Upon his passing, countless friends and family came to pay their respect to this great man. The priest presiding at his funeral Mass made the trip in from Pennsylvania. It was proper that this priest was to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass in Tom's memory, because this priest knew Tom well and witnessed his sacrifices over many, many years.

Tom would not have any other priest say his funeral because this priest was very close his heart. It was his oldest and only son, Thomas Jr. It is moving that his son offered the the same sacrifice that was at Calvary, to memorialize his father's personal sacrifice and his Calvary.

I can't help but believe that his many years of suffering and sacrifice yielded a blessing worthy of the challenges and pain he went through. A son who had the powers of consecration and to save souls. God never gives a cross without a Grace.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Acid Test

I have always believed if you want to know how holy someone is, look at how tired they look. (I believe it more now more than ever being a father going on three kids). They say a picture is worth a thousand words:

An Unfiltered Gospel

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, from Human Life International, posts a gutsy letter in the same line of thought as my Ted Kennedy thoughts below:

"While I pray for Sen. Kennedy’s recovery from a brain tumor, I pray more for his recovery from the cancerous metastasis of abortion ideology in his soul."

On an exciting note, he references a letter sent by Kennedy to a constituent stating Kennedy's strong pro-life position more than 30 years. I was 3 years old when this letter was delivered to my house, addressed to my father.

I often think of developing a web site called VianneysList.com, that recognizes outstanding priests who preach the unfiltered Gospel. Fr. Euteneuer would be in the inaugural class, as well as priest like Benedict Groschel, Fr. Corapi, Fr. Frank Pavone, etc...

Fr. Euteneuer also wrote an outstanding, and once again gutsy, column that called Bishop Lynch of St. Petersburg to the mat on fleeing his diocese in silence while Terri Schiavo starved to death.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stigmata of the Holy Spirit

Monday, May 26th, along with being the birthday of my son, Peter, is the feast of St. Philip Neri, the "Apostle of Rome."

In 1544, the saint was praying at a catacomb in Rome, when he pleaded to the Holy Spirit to send him His gifts. A globe of fire appeared in front of him, entered his mouth and eventually lodge itself into his breast filling Neri with a non-ending, burning love in his heart.

Those who had contact with Neri after this event reported that his heart could be seen protruding out of his chest and could be heard loudly; beating uncontrollably during his spiritual ministries. Neri would frequently be seen walking through the town in the dead of winter without a coat because the fire in his chest was too hot for him to put on any additional clothing.

Upon his death, doctors who examined his body testified that his heart was dilated in size many times that of a normal heart, and that two of his ribs had been cracked and repositioned within his chest to assist in supporting this enormous heart.

I once heard this condition of Neri beautifully described as he received the "Stigmata of the Holy Spirit."

One of my favorite stories of Neri happened in the confessional. This saint had the divine gift of reading penitents' hearts, similar to what Padre Pio and St. Jean Vianney were known for.

One penitent, trying to win Neri's admiration, mentioned that he practiced mortification constantly by wearing a shirt of animal fur underneath his clothes, against his skin. Neri discerning his true intentions, directed him to immediately begin wearing his fur shirt on the outside of his clothes - - to experience the ridicule of the town - - so he could truly begin suffering for his Faith.

Do we wear our fur shirts on the inside or outside?

St. Philip Neri, pray for us, and pray for my beautiful son.

"Shedding of their Blood..."

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has declared May 24th, as a day of prayer for the Catholic Church in China:

“It must not be forgotten that many Bishops have undergone persecution and have been impeded in the exercise of their ministry, and some of them have made the Church fruitful with the shedding of their blood,”

“Dear Pastors and all the faithful, the date 24 May could in the future become an occasion for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China. This day is dedicated to the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.”

The persecution continues this very day against the underground Catholic Church in China. In September of last year, Bishop Han Dingxiang, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Yong Nian, died in the custody of the Communist government after 9 years of captivity at 71 years of age. He died shortly after midnight. The government cremated his body within hours to destroy any evidence of torture.

According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, a watchdog organization for the underground Church in China, "currently, every one of the approximately 35 underground bishops of the RCC is either in jail, under house arrest, under strict surveillance, or in hiding."

Keep these martyrs in your thoughts and prayers and call China's U.S. Ambassador and tell him this persecution has to stop!
(202) 328-2500

That's the Ticket!

As news stories that John McCain is holding a weekend retreat with VP contenders to help facilitate his decision on who shares the ticket with him, I have a perfect VP candidate that is being overlooked:

Former 9-Term Ohio Congressman John Kasich. My reasons are as follows:

1) He has national name recognition and is known through his “Heartland” show on the Fox News Channel, coming into millions of homes every night and establishing an anchorman’s relationship of trust.
2) With this show, he has elevated his communication skills to that of a broadcaster and has polished the ability to talk to the common man in his language. Through this show he is abreast of all the issues that may come up in a VP debate.
3) He is a favorite son of, and very popular in, Ohio, which no Republican presidential candidate has ever been elected to the office of the Presidency without winning. The danger here is that current Ohio Democratic Governor Ted Strickland is very popular and is on Obama’s short list.for VP.
4) He is from a working class, Catholic background and will appeal to the middle class “Reagan Democrats”(Kasich is now non-denominational evangelical). With the last two elections being so close, the swing vote becomes a major issue. Kasich is also of Slovak decent that will have appeal in western Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is also a battle ground state with 21 electoral votes. Kasich grew up in Pennsylvania before becoming a Buckeye at Ohio State. Chicago and Milwaukee also have large Slovak demographics.
5) He will sure up the social conservative base that McCain needs, but who acknowledge McCain as a moderate conservative as best. Kasich is thought as one of their own.
6) Kasich was Chariman of the Ways and Means Committee while in Congress where he balanced the budget and his reputation as a hawk will make fiscal conservatives happy. Note that he is also enough of a Washington insider to run this committee.
7) He is squeaky clean in reputation, no baggage. He has a mantra that he stumps with often that he is “son of a mailman”, in other words of humble descent. Honesty just beams from his face, and his lanky-ness is Lincoln-esque.

It would be a perfect pick.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Even Kings....

I have been hearing one quote over and over in my mind since hearing the sad new of Senator Ted Kennedy’s terminal illness.

The quote comes from the 1966 academy award winning film, “A Man for All Seasons.” In the film, St. Thomas More would not deny his Faith by accepting the invalid, second marriage of King Henry VIII despite enormous secular influence.

When pressured to modify his beliefs by the short-sightedness of human persuasion, he gives a quote that conveys he will never deny his Faith because one day he will stand in front of God for his final judgment, as will his King, Henry VIII.

St. Thomas More says in a stern voice “Death comes to us all, even Kings!”

I think about Senator Kennedy’s full-fledged promotion of the abortion industry during his life and the blood of the many unborn babies that he has drenched on his hands. I hope that he takes his last few moments on this earth to denounce his culture-of-death positions publicly and reconcile himself to God, allowing him to die in grace.

Death comes to us all, Senator Kennedy.

What's in a Name?

I have always been fascinated on the words that come out of someone’s mouth who know they are facing death. Their words are not controlled by filters or pretense, they’re not concerned about backlash from what they say or being politically correct, absolutely nothing left to hide or protect. They are speaking what they believe as truth from their hearts through their last moments of their mortal existence.

Moreover, and more notably, there can be found a lifetime of wisdom in these statements when they come from Saints. Those who lived not of this world; but now are leaving it.

It was reported that Pope John Paul II said during his last moments, “ I have searched for you, and now you have come to me, and I thank you.” I remember thinking that this comment was beautifully directed to the huge crowds outside his Vatican apartment who kept steadfast vigil. This failing Pontiff, who once tirelessly searched for anyone and everyone who would listen to his message in every corner of the globe, now acknowledged the outpouring of love that his flock returned.

A few years later, my biased understanding of this was shattered when I read a deathbed comment from St. John Vianney. Known as “The Cure of Ars”, Vianney was a French mystic priest, an incorruptible and one of my favorite saints.

Vianney said, “And how kind the good God is! When I cannot go to him any longer, he comes to me! But my body now is not much to present to Our Lord.”

These phrases were too similar to be different. It was a realization moment for me that both these ‘saint’s’ comments were directed solely to God.

Two 20th century priests who, I believe, will follow the same trail to sainthood are Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest from Mexico, and Cardinal Ignatius Kung, a Chinese priest who suffered through 30 years in a communist jail because he would not deny the Papacy.

In 1927, after being railroaded through a fixed trial, Fr. Pro faced the firing squad without a blindfold at his request. He outstretched his arms as if being crucified in unison with Christ, forgave his executioners, then emptied his heart by screaming the creed that was most dear to him.

In 1955, then Bishop Ignatius Kung, was brought in handcuffs and pajamas by the Chinese Government in front of a microphone at an outdoor stadium to renounce his Faith before tens of thousands of Chinese. Understanding that this was in all probability his last moment of life if he would not appease the Communists and deny his Faith, Cardinal Kung released from his heart the same exact words as Miguel Pro said decades earlier.

"Vive Chistus Rex!/Long Live Christ the King!” I can think of no better name for a blog.