“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)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Score of Compassion and Jubilance; Touchdown!!!

From Fox News:

"Scoring the team's only touchdown in a 35-6 loss is normally nothing to celebrate. But sometimes the touchdown counts as more than six points on the scoreboard.

In a high-school game in Snohomish, Wash. on Friday, the hometown Snohomish Panthers avoided a shutout in inspirational fashion as junior Ike Ditzenberger -- a 17-year-old with Down syndrome -- scored on a 51-yard touchdown run after entering the game for the first time with just 10 seconds remaining.

Opposing players and coaches of Lake Stevens were apprised of the play beforehand, dubbed "The Ike Special" by his team. According to the The Daily Herald (Everett, Wash.), the play resembles the final snap of each Snohomish practice as his Panthers teammates allow Ditzenberger to score each day.

It was 45 seconds that was insignificant in the scope of the game, but I am sure led to a flow of tears from his parents and left a big impact on Ike's life and self esteem. Kudo's to the Coach and Opposing Coach for leaving the spartan element of football behind and seeing an opportunity for kindness and love.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bastille Day 2010!

This was the best story of the day, maybe the month.

Robert Rizzo, a city manager in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell, decided to give himself a $787,000 annual salary without taxpayer approval and get fat on the public trough. The per capita income of the people in his district that he was supposed to be representing is $24,800 a year.

Rizzo's hacks on the council provided Rizzo with 107 days of vacation and 36 sick days in 2008 as part of his cushy package.

Rizzo also gave himself two $80,000 personal loans as well.

Today, he and seven of his political minions were taken away in handcuffs this morning. Rizzo faces 53 charges of misappropriation of public funds.

It is a different day in America. The corrupt politicians have been put on notice and the exhausted and exploited peasants are coming with their pitchforks. Sic semper tyrannis!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Catholic Motherhood: Two Souls; One Heart

A great article from CNA. It is absolutely a must read for Catholic mothers, and every Catholic should get something out of this:

"September is the month of Our Lady of Sorrows. In his fourth meditation on the "Seven Sorrows of Our Lady," St. Alphonsus Liguori describes the pain, horror, and pity that the Blessed Virgin Mary experienced as she anticipated Christ's crucifixion, and encountered him on his way to Calvary:

All mothers feel the sufferings of their children as their own. Hence, when the Canaanitish woman entreated our Saviour to deliver her daughter from the devil that tormented her, she asked Him rather to pity her, the mother, than her daughter: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David, my daughter is grievously troubled by a devil." But what mother ever loved her son as Mary loved Jesus?

Let us only imagine what a flame He must have enkindled in that pure heart of His holy Mother, void as it was of every earthly affection. In fine, the Blessed Virgin herself told Saint Bridget, "that love had rendered her heart and that of her Son but one." That blending together of Servant and Mother, of Son and God, created in the heart of Mary a fire composed of a thousand flames.

But the whole of this flame of love was afterwards, at the time of the Passion, ranged into a sea of grief, when Saint Bernardine declares, "that if all the sorrows of the world were united, they would not equal that of the glorious Virgin Mary." Yes, because, as Richard of St. Lawrence writes, "the more tenderly this Mother loved, so much the more deeply was she wounded." The greater was her love for Him, the greater was her grief at the sight of His sufferings; and especially when she met her Son, already condemned to death, and bearing His cross to the place of punishment.

The Blessed Virgin revealed to Saint Bridget, that when the time of the Passion of our Lord was approaching, her eyes were always filled with tears, as she thought of her beloved Son, whom she was about to lose on earth, and that the prospect of that approaching suffering caused her to be seized with fear, and a cold sweat to cover her whole body.

Saint Bonaventure, contemplating Mary on that night, says: "Thou didst spend it without sleep, and whilst others slept thou didst remain watching." In the morning the disciples of Jesus Christ came to this afflicted Mother, the one to bring her one account, the other another; but all were tidings of sorrow, verifying in her the prophecy of Jeremias: "Weeping, she hath wept in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; there is none to comfort her of all them that were dear to her."

Mary goes with Saint John, and by the blood with which the way is sprinkled, she perceives that her Son has already passed. This she revealed to Saint Bridget: "By the footsteps of my Son, I knew where He had passed: for along the way the ground was marked with blood."

Alas, what a scene of sorrows then presented itself before her! the nails, the hammers, the cords, the fatal instruments of the death of her Son, all of which were borne before Him. And what a sword must the sound of that trumpet have been to her heart, which proclaimed the sentence pronounced against her Jesus! But behold, the instruments, the trumpeter, and the executioners, have already passed; she raised her eyes, and saw, O God ! a young man covered with blood and wounds from head to foot, a wreath of thorns on His head, and two heavy beams on His shoulders.

On the one hand she desired to behold Him, and on the other she dreaded so heart-rending a sight. At length they looked at each other. The Son wiped from His eyes the clotted blood, which, as it was revealed to Saint Bridget, prevented Him from seeing, and looked at His Mother, and the Mother looked at her Son. Ah, looks of bitter grief, which, as so many arrows, pierced through and through those two beautiful and loving souls.

The Mother would have embraced Him, as Saint Anselm says, but the guards thrust her aside with insults, and urged forward the suffering Lord; and Mary followed Him. Ah, holy Virgin, whither goest thou? To Calvary. And canst thou trust thyself to behold Him, who is thy life, hanging on a cross?

"We even pity wild beasts," as Saint John Chrysostom writes; and did we see a lioness following her cub to death, the sight would move us to compassion. And shall we not also be moved to compassion on seeing Mary follow her immaculate Lamb to death? Let us, then, pity her, and let us also accompany her Son and herself, by bearing with patience the cross which our Lord imposes on us.

Saint John Chrysostom asks why Jesus Christ, in His other sufferings, was pleased to endure them alone, but in carrying His cross was assisted by the Cyrenean? He replies, that it was "that thou mayest understand that the cross of Christ is not sufficient without thine."

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2010: The Calling of Our Time

A few days after our country was attacked, on Sept. 14, President Bush came to a national cathedral in Washington D.C., and gave what I believe was the greatest speech of his Presidency. It received very little accolades from the press, probably too many references to God. It is a very worthwhile read on this 9th anniversary.

"We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation's sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead, and for those who loved them. On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes and bent steel.

Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read:

They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life.

They are the names of people who faced death and in their last moments called home to say, be brave and I love you.

They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers and prevented the murder of others on the ground.

They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States and died at their posts.

They are the names of rescuers -- the ones whom death found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others.

We will read all these names. We will linger over them and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone. Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history, but our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing. Our purpose as a nation is firm, yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there's a searching and an honesty. At St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, on Tuesday, a woman said, "I pray to God to give us a sign that He's still here."

Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing. God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that His purposes are not always our own, yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral are known and heard and understood. There are prayers that help us last through the day or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey, and there are prayers that yield our will to a Will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end, and the Lord of life holds all who die and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded and the world has seen that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave.

We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion, in long lines of blood donors, in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice:

Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end and at the side of his quadriplegic friend.

A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter.

Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down 68 floors to safety.

A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burned victims.

In these acts and many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another and an abiding love for our country.

Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called, "the warm courage of national unity." This is a unity of every faith and every background. It has joined together political parties and both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils and American flags, which are displayed in pride and waved in defiance. Our unity is a kinship of grief and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for, but we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America because we are freedom's home and defender, and the commitment of our Fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask Almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.

As we've been assured, neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.

God bless America."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Archbishop Sheen on Antique Road Show

I joke with my wife I know I am getting old because I am finding myself watching the Antique Road Show more and more. Just a few years back my preference was watching contestants eat live scorpions on Fear Factor, but with the demands of 4 children I now need a more peaceful intake of viewing on my down time.

Last week they ran an older show on one of the weekend editions. Here is a great story about Archbishop Sheen and a little Iowan girl. Now 60 years old, the woman on the show reflected back to her childhood in 1953:

"I was in the Brownie Scouts. And we had moved from Chicago, and mother had packed the Brownie uniform. We had found the dress, but not the hat. So every day, I came home from school saying, "Mother, have you found the hat yet?" This went on for several months, and every day, it was, "No, I haven't found the hat." So one night, I was watching Bishop Sheen on “Life is Worth Living,” black-and-white TV, and I saw his hat. And I ran into the kitchen, and I said, "Mother, I found my Brownie hat." And she said, "Well, where is it?" Because she was very relieved. I said, "Well, Bishop Sheen stole it." And she thought that was so funny that she wrote him a letter explaining the story. But she changed it slightly and didn't tell him that I said he stole it, that he had it, or he took it. So for Christmas, he inscribed [his zuccheto/skull cap], "To Frances, God Love You-- Fulton J. Sheen," and sent it to me as a Christmas present."

For those of you dying to know, the zuccheto was appraised for between $2,000-$4,000.

It has definitely been an Archbishop Sheen stretch for me lately. Here is a little Catholic trivia: Archbishop Sheen's baptized name was Peter John Sheen. Fulton was his mother's maiden name and became the Archbishop's preference.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Best of VCR: American Pro-Life Hall of Fame Inaugural Class

Originally Posted Sept. 22, 2008:

I recently had an idea for a post. My concept was that if an American Pro-Life Hall of Fame existed, who would be the inaugural class? Who would be the first five people to be honored based on the last 30+ years of the pro-life cause? The most influential individuals involved with the cause?

The guidelines would be that an eligible person for election would have to be American born and have exposure at a national level. To come up with this list, I spoke with someone whom I believe is a leading authority on the pro-life cause, and its history, in America. We bounced ideas off each other, and came up with the following list of whom we would select as the inaugural class trying to cover the multi-facets of the cause and our society:

Scientific Community:
Bernard Nathanson:
A founding member of NARAL and responsible for 75,000 abortions during his OBGYN career, Nathanson’s heart and views were converted as ultrasound became more sophisticated. He became a leading voice in the vanguard of the pro-life cause. His VHS video, The Silent Scream, was widely distributed in the early 1980’s where he gave a detailed window to the womb showing the viability of the baby and the horror of the abortion procedure.

Legislative Community:
Henry Hyde:
A congressman who represented the 6th district of Illinois. Author of the Hyde Amendment that in 1976 prevented federal funds being used for abortion. With this signed legislation, he became the first person to register a victory against the Roe v. Wade decision. For over 30 years Hyde was a stalwart for the defense of unborn children on Capitol Hill.

Public Activist:
Randall Terry:
Founded Operation Rescue in 1987. Arrested over 40 times for civil disobedience at abortion clinics across America. Terry and his organization provided the activist wing of the pro-life movement an existence and created havoc for the abortion industry saving thousands of babies. Served as a spokesman for the Terri Schiavo family.

Religious Community:
Cardinal John O’Connor:
One of the strongest pro-life voices for the Catholic Church in America in the past 30 years. The Archbishop of the Diocese of New York City for 16 years and made the pro-life cause a cornerstone of the Diocese. Told any woman who was thinking of an abortion to come to him personally and he will get her help to her keep her baby. Caused fits for Catholic politicians Mario Cuomo and Geraldine Ferraro and their political deflection that they're "personally opposed to, but publically in support of abortion" stating this view was morally unacceptable.

Media Community:
Patrick Buchanan:
For over 40 years represented an unyielding pro-life voice in Republican administrations, print and television media. For seventeen years, appeared on Crossfire and defended and explained the pro-life position to America. Flanked George H.W. Bush in a 1992 Presidential run causing him to strengthen his social conservative positions. Gave one of the defining pro-life speeches in memory stating we are in a "cultural war for the soul of America," at Republican National Convention the same year.

A few notes of interest with this list. Although religious affiliations were not a consideration while compiling this list, all five listed ended up being Catholic. Nathanson and Terry converted. Some of the above listed did have problems within their personal lives but we have to give them their due in the pro-life cause.

Please understand this is one opinion of who should be honored. In no way do I want to take away from acknowledging anyone’s pro-life efforts or dedication to our cause . There were so many other names mentioned in the discussion (honorable mentions) including: Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Rush Limbaugh, Fr. Frank Pavone, Ronald Reagan, Sam Brownback, Alan Keyes, Judie Brown, Gov. Robert Casey, Dr. Carolyn Gerster, Rev. Billy Graham, Fr. Weslin, Joan Andrews, etc…

I would love to hear if you think we got it right, or anyone else’s list.