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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
FBI agent Nick Pellisante has been pursuing Mafia don Dominic Cavello for a long time, and Cavello is finally on trial for the terrible, heinous crimes he is responsible for.
Andie DeGrasse, an aspiring actress and single mom, does her best to not get picked for the jury, but she is chosen nevertheless.
During the trial. an unexpected, terrible event shocks everyone and Andie and Nick must join forces to make sure that justice is done.
Mr. Patterson expertly combines the human interest of Andie and Nick's relationship with the suspense of pursuing Cavello. It is a gripping story that you won't want to put down.
Content warnings include language and one brief bed scene.
Mr. Patterson expertly combines the human interest of Andie and Nick's relationship with the suspense of pursuing Cavello. It is a gripping story that you won't want to put down.
Content warnings include language and one brief bed scene.
May 31 is the Feast of the Visitation.
And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. [Lk. 1:39]
How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. "Those days" in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.
Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.
The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth's need—almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.
She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy.
I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10, 10] Even before He was born His presence gave life.
With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child's heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother's womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.
How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?
She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.
If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.
If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, "in haste," to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.
And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.
Monday, May 30, 2011
The Saint of the Day for May 30 is St. Felix I
The son of Constantius, Felix was a Roman by birth. He was elected to the papacy shortly after the death of St. Dionysius. It was Felix who received the letter from the Asiatic bishops announcing the deposition of Bishop Paul of Antioch, Dionysius having died before its arrival. Felix was also informed of the election of Domnus I to replace the deposed heretic. Unfortunately, Paul refused to vacate the church building and denied entrance to the newly appointed Domnus. Emperor Aurelian, who then sat on the throne, happened to be passing through Antioch when he was asked to intervene in the matter. Aurelian ordered the see to be turned over to whichever bishop was in true communication with the bishops of Italy and Rome. At long last, Paul was forced to make an undignified exit, while Timaeus, Domnus' successor, was able to take his rightful place among his flock.
Felix is said to have ordained that the celebration of Mass take place over the graves of martyrs. Although Felix reigned for nearly six years, little else is know of his pontificate, except that it was free from persecution. Felix died in December and was buried in the papal crypt located in the cemetery of Calixtus. His feast is kept on May 30.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Just when I thought porn pervert Flynt couldn't be more disgusting, he shows us he can be. This just shows how much pro-aborts hate life and want a culture of death.
Sarah Palin’s son Trig is in the news again following the liberal blog Wonkette bashing her and saying her son, who has Down Syndrome, is “retarded” and “somewhat alive.” Now Hustler publisher Larry Flynt has gotten in on the attacks.
Flynt is no stranger to controversial comments over the years as the head of the soft-core pornographic magazine and a free speech advocate, but his comments about Sarah Palin’s son may be some of the most over-the-top remarks he’s made to date.
In a new interview with the London Independent newspaper, Flynt rambled from topic to topic until he settled on Palin, who is considering whether to run for the Republican nomination for president this year.
“Sarah Palin is the dumbest thing. But I made a fortune off of her. [He made a porn film called Nailin' Palin, based on her],” he said.
Then, he went after Trig, saying, “She did a disservice to every woman in America. She knew from the first month of pregnancy that kid was going to be Down’s Syndrome. It’s brain dead. A virtual vegetable.” Not only is Flynt vile, he's 100% wrong. Trig is a living little boy, despite Flynt referring to him as 'it'
Limited theater release, also available on DVD and Netflix.
Human Dignity + Compassion = Peace
That is the theme of this story, and one lesson that Mr. Simon (Ed Harris) shares with his class. The story takes place around 1965. 12 year-old Andy Nichol is disappointed when he is paired on a school project with Stanley Minor, known as 'Big G' because he is the resident school 'geek'. Stanley has bright red hair, big ears, and handles being the target of school bullies with dignity, and his head held high. In addition to learning from Stanley, Andy also has a crush on Mary, who he pursues.
Andy really matures in this story,and he is able to help Stanley as well. But he can't help when another character is unjustly accused of something.
I found the family interactions in 1965 especially interesting. Randy Orton from the WWE has a role as one of the student's father. This story was much more emotionally gripping than I expected.
A very family-oriented movie that you'll want to watch with your kids.
The Saint of the Day for May 28 is St. Bernard of Montjoux.
Bernard may have been the son of Count Richard of Menthon. It seems more likely though that he was of Italian birth. Nothing is really known of his parentage and early life.
Tradition reports that a marriage was being arranged for young Bernard and he fled so as to be free to give his life to God. We do know that he was ordained to the priesthood and that he was appointed Vicar General of the diocese of Aosta, Italy. For approximately forty-two years he traveled throughout the country, visiting the remotest Alpine villages. He would sometimes extend his missionary journeys into the neighboring dioceses of Geneva, Novara and Tarentaise. Bernard had the reputation for enforcing clerical discipline and he built several schools.
He is probably most famous for the hospices he built on the summits of passes over the Alps. Many pilgrims from France and Germany would travel over the Alps on their way to Rome, but it was always a possibility that one would die from freezing along the way. In the 9th century a system of hospices had been attempted, but had lapsed long before Bernard's time. Bernard's hospices in the 11th century were placed under the care of clerics and laymen and were well equipped for the reception of all travelers. Eventually these caretakers became Augustinian a monastery was built close by, still exists today
At some point in time Bernard traveled to Rome to receive formal recognition of the hospices and community and to obtain permission to accept novices. Bernard lived to the age of eighty-five and is believed to have died on May 28, 1081 at St. Lawrence Monastery in Novara, Italy.
A now-famous breed of dogs, known for its endurance in high altitude and cold, was named in honor of this saint. Bernard's life has been the focus of many romantic plays and stories. Many of us may remember childhood stories of St. Bernard dogs coming to the rescue of stranded or injured victims on Alpine slopes. The dogs almost always seem to have a cask of Brandy attached to their collars and when the victims were revived by a good drink the dogs would lead them to safety.
However romance was not what Bernard's life was about. He was strongly committed to the ideals taught by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Bernard dedicated his life to bring the message of Christ to all and to correct the abuses of clerical life which he saw. He was deeply concerned for the care of the poor and disadvantaged. Living his life in the Alps he knew the dangers present and did what he could to relieve them. He is a model, not of romance, but of deep love and compassion, in imitation of God whom he loved and served with all his heart.reprimanded.
Friday, May 27, 2011
KUDO's to Kathy!
Former supermodel, now pro-life advocate, Kathy Ireland added her voice this week to those calling on Congress to eliminate federal funding of Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider.
“I think Planned Parenthood needs to reassess and look at what their values are, what their mission is, what their goals are, and do they deserve government funding? For example, there are non-profits that I’m involved with, and we don’t get government funding,” Ireland told FoxNews.
“We go out there, and if you really believe in this strongly enough to fight it for it, go get the funding,” she continued. “To force people who don’t agree with some of the practices, I don’t believe in that. I don’t think taxpayers need to fund something as controversial as [Planned Parenthood].”
Ireland, who became famous in the 1980s and 1990s through numerous appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition, has become an ardent promoter of the right to life in the last decade or so.
So far, Boehner has been pretty pro-life in his role as Speaker.
The lead author of a letter criticizing House Speaker John Boehner on “matters of faith and morals” says the letter was a bid for dialogue, not a political stunt. But Dr. Stephen Schneck's own critics say he promotes a distorted version of Catholic social teaching.
Professor Schneck, who directs the Catholic University of America's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, was the top signer of a letter protesting Boehner's May 14 commencement speech at the institution where Schneck works as a political scientist.
Schneck told CNA on May 23 that he did not intend to cause the “crazy media frenzy” that arose when the letter was made public three days before Boehner's address.
“We were completely caught off guard,” he said. “Faculty sign letters all the time. With this one, I don't quite understand how it became 'viral' so quickly.”
The letter's provocative language drew national attention. Signed by more than 75 academics from various Catholic colleges, it described Republican budget proposals as “anti-life” for their possible effect on the poor and elderly.
The Saint of the Day for May 27 is St. Augustine of Canterbury.
St. Augustine was the agent of a greater man than himself, Pope St. Gregory the Great. In Gregory's time, except for the Irish monks, missionary activity was unknown in the western Church, and it is Gregory's glory to have revived it. He decided to begin with a mission to the pagan English, for they had cut off the Christian Celts from the rest of Christendom. The time was favorable for a mission since the ruler of the whole of southern England, Ethelbert of Kent, had married a Christian wife and had received a Gaulish bishop at his court. Gregory himself wished to come to Britain, but his election as pope put an end to any such idea, and in 596 he decided to send an Italian monk following the comparatively new Rule of St Benedict. Augustine set out with some companions, but when they reached southern Gaul a crisis occurred and Augustine was sent back to the pope for help. In reply the pope made Augustine their abbot and subjected the rest of the party to him in all things, and with this authority Augustine successfully reached England in 597, landing in Kent on the Isle of Thanet. Ethelbert and the men of Kent refused to accept Christianity at first, although an ancient British church dedicated to St Martin was restored for Augustine's use; but very shortly afterwards Ethelbert was baptized and, the pope having been consulted, a plan was prepared for the removal of the chief see from Canterbury to London and the establishment of another province at York. Events prevented either of these projects from being fulfilled, but the progress of the mission was continuous until Augustine's death, somewhere between 604 and 609.
The only defeat Augustine met with after he came to England was in his attempt to reconcile the Welsh Christians, to persuade them to adopt the Roman custom of reckoning the date of Easter, to correct certain minor irregularities of rite and to submit to his authority. Augustine met the leaders of the Welsh church in conference but he unfavorably impressed them by remaining seated when they came into his presence — it is likely that in this he unfavorably impressed St Bede too. Augustine was neither the most heroic of missionaries, nor the most tactful, but he did a great work, and he was one of the very few men in Gaul or Italy who, at that time, was prepared to give up everything to preach the gospel in a far country.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to ban federal funds for teaching abortion techniques to medical students at public health centers. Good. We do not need any more abortionists.
The House voted 234-182 for the amendment proposed by pro-life U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.). Thirteen Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the bill, while ten Republicans voted with Democrats against it. (See roll call here)
Foxx’s amendment (HR 1216) changes a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which had created a line of direct funding for qualified teaching health centers (including Title X “family planning” clinics) to establish or expand programs for medical residents.
The Saint of the Day for May 26 is St. Philip Neri.
This gracious, cheerful saint was Rome's apostle of the sixteenth century (1515-1595). A peculiar charism was his burning love of God, a love that imperceptibly communicated itself to all about him. So ardently did this fire of divine love affect him during the octave of Pentecost in his twenty-ninth year that the beating of his heart broke two ribs. It was a wound that never healed.
For fifty years the saint lived on in the intensity of that love which was more at home in heaven than on earth. Through those fifty years his was an apostolate to renew the religious and ecclesiastical spirit of the Eternal City, a task he brought to a happy conclusion. It is to his credit that the practice of frequent Holy Communion, long neglected in Rome and throughout the Catholic world, was again revived. He became one of Rome's patron saints, even one of the most popular.
Philip Neri loved the young, and they responded by crowding about him. As a confessor he was in great demand; among his penitents was St. Ignatius. To perpetuate his life's work, St. Philip founded the Congregation of the Oratory, a society of secular clergy without religious vows. The purpose of his foundation was to enkindle piety among the faithful by means of social gatherings which afforded not only entertainment but religious instruction as well. Joy and gaiety were so much a part of his normal disposition that Goethe, who esteemed him highly, called him the "humorous saint." It was his happy, blithe spirit that opened for him the hearts of children. "Philip Neri, learned and wise, by sharing the pranks of children himself became a child again" (epitaph).
As a youth Philip Neri often visited the seven principal churches of Rome. He spent entire nights at the catacombs, near the tombs of the martyrs, meditating on heavenly things. The liturgy was the wellspring of his apostolic spirit; it should likewise motivate us to Catholic Action.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
In the aftermath of the deadly Sunday tornado in Joplin, Missouri, Bishop James V. Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau tried to comfort survivors and expressed gratitude that more were not killed.
“We’re just encouraging survivors of the prayers and the support of the Body of Christ. We’re just trying to bring the charity of the Church to bear in the suffering of the people here. We’re just trying to reassure and comfort the people here right now, because there’s still just a lot of recovery to continue,” he told CNA from Joplin on May 24.
The bishop and Kyle Schott, executive director of the local Catholic Charities agency, surveyed the damage of the deadly tornado.
“It’s just so hard to fathom the destructive power of the storm,” the bishop said, describing the scale of the destruction as “mind-boggling.”
“When you’re out there in the middle of it, you can’t see anything but devastation: leveled houses and rescue crews trying to find people in the mess,” Schott said.
At least 117 people died in the Joplin tornado on Sunday, the deadliest single tornado in almost six decades.
The Saints of the Day for May 25 are St. Bede the Venerable and St. Gregory VII.
Bede occupies an important niche in Church history by bridging the gap between patristic and early medieval times, the era when the Germanic nations had just been Christianized. Through him Christian tradition and Roman culture came to the Middle Ages. He is also honored as the "father of English history." His writings were read publicly in churches while he was still alive; but since he could not be called "Saint," the title of Venerable was attached to his name, a usage which continued down through the centuries.
True Benedictine that he was, his life revolved around prayer and work. On the vigil of the Ascension he felt death approaching and asked to be fortified with the last sacraments. After reciting the Magnificat antiphon of the feast's second Vespers, he embraced his brethren, had himself placed upon a coarse penitential garment on the earth, and breathed forth his soul while saying softly: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost."
How St. Bede loved the Bible! Anyone who intends to live with the Church must keep the Scriptures near — day in, day out. St. Bede explained the Bible to others. At times you too will have this privilege. Use it.
St. Gregory VII
Gregory VII — his name had been Hildebrand before becoming Pope — was born about the year 1020. For two years he was a Benedictine monk of Cluny (1047-1049), then he became a cardinal, and finally, in 1073, Pope. A strong character with a remarkable personality, he easily takes a place with the greatest popes in the Church's history.
His life was one long struggle to purify and unify the Church, and to make her free and independent of secular powers. He enacted strict prohibitions against simony (the purchasing of ecclesiastical preferments), clerical concubinage, and lay investiture (appointment to ecclesiastical offices by civil authorities). On this later score he soon became involved in a dispute with the Emperor Henry IV which caused him untold trouble and which finally resulted in banishment and death. But his stand cleansed the Church and restored its status. Gregory died in exile with these words on his lips: "I loved justice and hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile."
Concerning him the Protestant historian Gregorovius wrote: "In the history of the papacy, there will always be two shining stars to reveal the spiritual greatness of the popes. The one is Leo, before whom the terrible destroyer Attila drew back; the other is Gregory, before whom Henry IV knelt in the garb of a penitent. Each of these world renowned men, however, engenders a different reaction. Where Leo inspires highest reverence for pure moral greatness, Gregory fills one with admiration because of an almost superhuman personality. The monk who won without weapons has more right to be admired than Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon.
"The battles fought by medieval popes were not waged with weapons of iron and lead, but with moral weapons. It was the application and operation of such lofty, spiritual means that occasionally raised the Middle Ages above our own. Alongside Gregory, Napoleon appears as a bloody barbarian. . . . Gregory's accomplishment is a distinctly medieval phenomenon, to study it will always be exciting. The history of the Christian world would lose one of its rarest pages if this stalwart character, this artisan's son in the tiara, were missing."
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I hope that 'Father' Pfleger is sincere and decides to promote the teachings of the Church rather than oppose them. I suggest that NOT endorsing Obama for 2012 would be a good start. We'll see.
Cardinal Francis George has reinstated controversial Chicago priest Fr. Michael Pfleger. The St. Sabina pastor said he did not intend a public remark to be a threat to leave the priesthood and that he was sorry for how his comment appeared.
“I am committed to the priesthood and the Catholic Church,” Fr. Pfleger said in a May 20 statement. “I believe all who know me know well that I want to be a Catholic priest. I have spent the last 36 years of my life trying my best to preach the Gospel, be a voice for justice and the poor, and build up the Church.”
He said he and the cardinal recognized that the Church has been “hurt.” Fr. Pfleger pledged to do “all in my power to foster healing” for the people of his parish, St. Sabina’s, and for the Church as a whole.
Cardinal George said the statement was “a genuine step toward healing the hurt and clarifying the confusion.”
The Saints of the Day for May 24 are Sts. Donatian and Rogatian.
Donatian and Rogatian were brothers who were martyred for their faith in the third century, about the year 287. They were born to a Roman family in Nantes, Brittany and Donatian was the first to convert to Christianity, becoming an ardent witness to the faith after receiving baptism. His witness was said to be so inspiring that his brother, Rogatian, who had been resistant or indifferent at first, was moved by his example to convert. However, the persecution of Diocletian was underway at this time, and both were arrested before the bishop, who had gone into hiding, was able to baptize Rogatian. The brothers spent the night in jail together in prayer. The next day, after refusing to deny their faith, they were tortured on the rack, and then beheaded. Thus the baptism of Rogatian was a baptism of desire, that is, by the blood of martyrdom.
In the fifth century a church was built over the tomb where they were buried together. In 1145, the Bishop Albert translated their relics to the Cathedral of Ostia.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota and a pro-life advocate, made his presidential campaign official today with an announcement speech an rally in Iowa, the site of the first votes in the GOP campaign.
Pawlenty has spared no punches over the last few months as he’s prepared for the official announcement to seek the GOP nod to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama and today’s speech was no exception.
“We live in the greatest country the world has ever known. But, as we all know, America is in big trouble, and it won’t get fixed if we keep going down the same path. If we want a new and better direction, we need a new and better President,” he said. “President Obama’s policies have failed. But more than that, he won’t even tell us the truth about what it’s really going to take to get out of the mess we’re in. … I’m going to take a different approach. I am going to tell you the truth.”
“We’ve tried Barack Obama’s way — and his way has failed. Three years into his term, we’re no longer just running out of money. We’re running out of time. It’s time for new leadership. It’s time for a new approach. And, it’s time for America’s president – and anyone who wants to be president – to look you in the eye and tell you the truth,” Pawlenty added.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels surprised the political world with a surprise weekend announcement that he will not run for the Republican nomination for president after approximately a year of speculation he would run.
Saying his wife and daughters were not interested in being subjected to the media spotlight and attention that comes with a presidential campaign and potential life in the White House, Daniels said “I will not be a candidate,” in a statement he sent to the Indianapolis Star newspaper very late Saturday night.
The Saint of the Day for May 23 is St. Jane Antide Thouret.
On May 23 the universal Church celebrates the feast day of St. Jane Antide Thouret, a Sister of Charity who worked tirelessly for the faith amidst persecution during the French Revolution in the 18th century.
Jane was born in Sancy, France, in 1765 to a poor family and her mother died when she was 16 years old. The saint took on many family responsibilities until she joined the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris at the age of 22, working among the sick in various hospitals.
During the French Revolution, when many religious and priests were killed, she was ordered to return home to a secular life. Jane refused, and when she tried to escape the authorities, she was badly beaten.
St. Jane Antide Thouret finally returned to Sancy, where she cared for the sick and opened a small school for girls until she was forced to flee to Switzerland. She fled to Germany before returning again to Switzerland to found a school and hospital in 1799 and a congregation called the Institute of the Daughters of St. Vincent de Paul. The community eventually expanded into France and Italy.
She died 30 years after the founding of her community, in 1828 of natural causes.
In 1934, she was canonized by Pope Puis XI.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
The Saints of the Day are St. Christopher Magallanes and his companions.
Like Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, S.J. (November 23), Cristobal and his twenty-four companion martyrs lived under a very anti-Catholic government in Mexico, one determined to weaken the Catholic faith of its people. Churches, schools and seminaries were closed; foreign clergy were expelled. Cristobal established a clandestine seminary at Totatiche, Jalisco. Magallanes and the other priests were forced to minister secretly to Catholics during the presidency of Plutarco Calles (1924-1928).
All of these martyrs except three were diocesan priests. David, Manuel and Salvador were laymen who died with their parish priest, Luis Batis. All of these martyrs belonged to the Cristero movement, pledging their allegiance to Christ and to the church that he established to spread the Good News in society—even if Mexico's leaders had made it a crime to receive baptism or celebrate the Mass.
These martyrs did not die as a single group but in eight Mexican states, with Jalisco and Zacatecas having the largest number. They were beatified in 1992 and canonized eight years later.
Friday, May 20, 2011
“Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? Job 24:1-3
The claim being circulated that May 21 will mark the end of the world and be a day of judgment by God has no basis in Scripture or authentic Christian teaching, according to Catholic scholar Dr. Jared Staudt.
The professor of theology at the Augustine Institute, located in Denver, said that Biblical teaching and Church tradition show “it's clear that it is not scriptural to seek for a date for the day of judgment.”
“It sometimes can be easy to ridicule groups like this for coming up with such calculations, but we should remember that this is a perennial problem,” Staudt told CNA.
“In the end, I think it is a problem of faith. We have a hard time simply trusting in the Lord and waiting for Him.”
Family Radio, a religious group out of Oakland, California that has been broadcasting for several decades, recently launched a nationwide campaign claiming that May 21 at 6:00 p.m. will signal the beginning of hell on earth for non-believers, and a day when Christians around the world will be “raptured” into heaven.
The Saint of the Day for May 20 is St. Bernardine of Siena.
Bernardine was born in Carrara, Italy, in 1380. Even as a boy he nursed the sick during a time of pestilence in Siena. During a severe illness he decided upon entering a monastery and becoming a Franciscan. His superiors assigned him the task of preaching, and he submitted humbly despite a throat affliction. God heard his petition, and the ailment was miraculously cured.
A powerful and eloquent preacher (Pius II called him "a second Paul") and a zealous apostle, Bernardine traveled the length and breadth of Italy, inculcating love and reverence toward the holy Name of Jesus. He exerted a powerful influence upon his contemporaries, inaugurating a genuine reformation within the Church. Seldom has a saint had so many and so distinguished followers (including St. John Capistran). Upon entering a city, Bernardine had a standard carried before him upon which was the holy Name of Jesus (IHS) encircled with twelve golden rays and surmounted by a cross.
When he preached, this symbol was placed alongside the pulpit; or he would hold in his hand a tablet bearing the divine monogram in letters large enough to be visible to the entire audience. It was also his zealous appeals that induced many priests to put the Name of Jesus on the altars and walls of their churches, or to have little cards with the inscription distributed among the people. At his instigation the public buildings in many cities of Italy were adorned with the monogram suitably enlarged, as can still be seen in Siena. At the Council of Florence St. Bernardine labored strenuously to end the schism (1439).
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Those of us who practice punditry, or who are serious students of politics, are familiar with the term “wave” election. We have just experienced three of these in a row.
In 2006, Democrats and Independents rose up and smacked the majority Republicans in Congress, reducing them to a minority in both houses. In 2008, Democrats and Independents united again to produce a strong wave for President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies on the Hill. So strong was this wave that states like Indiana and Virginia, which had not gone for the Democrats in decades, were swept into the winner’s column.
The 54 percent of the popular vote won by Barack Obama was not as impressive as the 59 percent that backed Ronald Reagan in 1984 or the 61 percent that gave Richard Nixon forty-nine states, but in governing terms it was truly a wave. That’s because it gave the incoming new president an historic opportunity to govern with strong liberal majorities in both houses of Congress.
Now, it’s becoming clear that 2008 was also a “waive” election, our first. That’s because the strong liberal majorities that came in with President Obama swept opposition before them in passing the historic health care takeover in March, 2010. It was the first time in modern history that a Congress ignored public opinion polls that had shown consistently for a year that the American people were opposed to the step they were about to take.
The Saint of the Day for May 19 is St. Celestine V.
Born 1215, in the Neapolitan province of Moline; elected at Perugia 5 July, 1294; crowned at Aquila, 29 August; abdicated at Naples, 13 Dec., 1294; died in the castle of Fumone, 19 May, 1296.
A saint who will always be remembered for the bizarre manner in which he was elected Pope, his spectacular incompetence in that office, and for the distinction of being the only pontiff ever to have resigned.
Pietro di Murrone was born in Born 1215, in the Neapolitan province of Moline; elected at Perugia 5 July, 1294; consecrated and crowned at Aquila, 29 August; abdicated at Naples, 13 Dec., 1294; died in the castle of Fumone, 19 May, 1296. He was of humble parentage, became a Benedictine at the age of seventeen, and was eventually ordained priest at Rome. His love of solitude led him first into the wilderness of Monte Morone in the Abruzzi, whence his surname, and later into the wilder recesses of Mt. Majella. He took for his model the Baptist. His hair-cloth was roughened with knots; a chain of iron encompassed his emaciated frame; he fasted every day except Sunday; each year he kept four Lents, passing three of them on bread and water; the entire day and a great part of the night he consecrated to prayer and labour. As generally happens in the case of saintly anchorites, Peter's desire for solitude was not destined to be gratified. Many kindred spirits gathered about him eager to imitate his rule of life, and before his death there were thirty- six monasteries, numbering 600 religious, bearing his papal name (Celestini). The order was approved, as a branch of the Benedictines, by Urban IV, in 1264. This congregation of (Benedictine) Celestines must not be confounded with other (Franciscan) Celestines, extreme Spirituals whom Pope Celestine permitted (1294) to live as hermits according to the Rule of St. Francis, but were pendent of the Franciscan superiors. In gratitude they called themselves after the pope (Pauperes eremitæ Domini Celestine), but were dissolved and dispersed (1302) by Boniface VIII, whose legitimacy the Spirituals contested [Heimbucher, Orden und Kongregationen (2nd ed. Paderborn, 1907); I, 280; II, 360]. In 1284, Pietro, weary of the cares of government, appointed a certain Robert as his vicar and plunged again into the depths of the wilderness. It would be well if some Catholic scholar would devote some time to a thorough investigation of his relations to the extreme spiritual party of that age; for though it is certain that the pious hermit did not approve of the heretical tenets held by the leaders, it is equally true that the fanatics, during his life and after his death, made copious use of his name.
In July, 1294, his pious exercises were suddently interrupted by a scene unparalleled in ecclesiastical history. Three eminent dignitaries, accompanied by an immense multitude of monks and laymen, ascended the mountain, announced that Pietro had been chosen pope by unanimous vote of the Sacred College and humbly begged him to accept the honour. Two years and three months had elapsed since the death of Nicholas IV (4 Apr., 1292) without much prospect that the conclave at Perugia would unite upon a candidate. Of the twelve Cardinals who composed the Sacred College six were Romans, four Italians and two French. The factious spirit of Guelph and Ghibelline, which was then epidemic in Italy, divided the conclave, as well as the city of Rome, into two hostile parties of the Orsini and the Colonna, neither of which could outvote the other. A personal visit to Perugia, in the spring of 1294, of Charles II of Naples, who needed the papal authority in order to regain Sicily, only exasperated the affair, hot words being exchanged betrween the Angevin monarch and Cardinal Gaetani, at that time the intellectual leader of the Colonna, later, as Pope Boniface VIII, their bitter enemy. When the situation seemed hopeless, Cardinal Latino Orsini admonished the fathers that God had revealed to a saintly hermit that if the cardinals did not perform their duty within four months, He would visit the Church with severe chastisement. All knew that he referred to Pietro di Murrone. The proposition was seized upon by the exhausted conclave and the election was made unanimous. Pietro heard of his elevation with tears; but, after a brief prayer, obeyed what seemed the clear voice of God, commanding him to sacrifice his personal inclination on the altar of the public welfare. Flight was impossible, even if he contemplated it; for no sooner did the news of this extraordinary event spread abroad than multitudes (numbered at 200,000) flocked about him. His elevation was particularly welcome to the Spirituals, who saw in it the realization of current prophecies that the reign of the Holy Spirit ruling through the monks was at hand; and they proclaimed him the first legitimate pope since Constantine's donation of wealth and worldly power to "the first rich father" (Inferno, Canto XIX). King Charles of Naples, hearing of the election of his subject, hastened with his son Charles Martel, titular King of Hungary, ostensibly to present his homage to the new pope, in reality to take the simple old man into honourable custody. Had Charles known how to preserve moderation in exploiting his good luck, this windfall might have brought him incalculable benefits; as it was, he ruined everything by excessive greed.
In reply to the request of the cardinals, that he should come to Perugia to be crowned, Pietro, at the instigation of Charles, summoned the Sacred College to meet him at Aquila, a frontier town of the Kingdom of Naples. Reluctantly they came, and one by one, Gaetani being the last to appear. Seated on an humble ass, the rope held by two monarchs, the new pontiff proceeded to Aquila, and, although only three of the cardinals had arrived, the king ordered him to be crowned, a ceremony which had to be repeated in traditional form some days later, the only instance of a double papal coronation. Cardinal Latino was so grief- stricken at the course which affairs were evidently taking that he fell sick and died. Pietro took the name of Celestine V. Urged by the cardinals to cross over into the States of the Church, Celestine, again at the behest of the king, ordered the entire Curia to repair to Naples. It is wonderful how many serious mistakes the simple old man crowded into five short months. We have no full register of them, because his official acts were annulled by his successor. On the 18th of September he created twelve new cardinals, seven of whom were French, and the rest, with one possible exception, Neapolitans, thus paving the road to Avignon and the Great Schism. Ten days later he embittered the cardinals by renewing the rigorous law of Gregory X, regulating the conclave, which Adrian V had suspended. He is said to have appointed a young son of Charles to the important See of Lyons, but no trace of such appointment appears in Gams or Eubel. At Monte Cassino on his way to Naples, he strove to force the Celestine hermit-rule on the monks; they humoured him while he was with them. At Benevento he created the bishop of the city a cardinal, without observing any of the traditional forms. Meanwhile he scattered privileges and offices with a lavish hand. Refusing no one, he was found to have granted the same place or benefice to three or four rival suitors; he also granted favours in blank. In consequence, the affairs of the Curia fell into extreme disorder. Arrived in Naples, he took up his abode in a single apartment of the Castel Nuovo, and on the approach of Advent had a little cell built on the model of his beloved hut in the Abruzzi. But he was ill at ease. Affairs of State took up time that ought to be devoted to exercises of piety. He feared that his soul was in danger. The thought of abdication seems to have occurred simultaneously to the pope and to his discontented cardinals, whom he rarely consulted.
That the idea originated with Cardinal Gaetani the latter vigorously denied, and maintained that he originally opposed it. But the serious canonical doubt arose: Can a pope resign? As he has no superior on earth, who is authorized to accept his resignation? The solution of the question was reserved to the trained canonist, Cardinal Gaetani, who, basing his conclusion on common sense and the Church's right to self-preservation, decided affirmatively.
It is interesting to notice how curtly, when he became Boniface VIII, he dispatches the delicate subject on which the validity of his claim to the papacy depended. In the "Liber Sextus" I, vii, 1, he issued the following decree: "Whereas some curious persons, arguing on things of no great expediency, and rashly seeking, against the teaching of the Apostle, to know more than it is meet to know, have seemed, with little forethought, to raise an anxious doubt, whether the Roman Pontiff, especially when he recognizes himself incapable of ruling the Universal Church and of bearing the burden of the Supreme Pontificate, can validly renounce the papacy, and its burden and honour: Pope Celestine V, Our predecessor, whilst still presiding over the government of the aforesaid Church, wishing to cut off all the matter for hesitation on the subject, having deliberated with his brethren, the Cardinals of the Roman Church, of whom We were one, with the concordant counsel and assent of Us and of them all, by Apostolic authority established and decreed, that the Roman Pontiff may freely resign. We, therefore, lest it should happen that in course of time this enactment should fall into oblivion, and the aforesaid doubt should revive the discussion, have placed it among other constitutions ad perpetuam rei memoriam by the advice of our brethren."
When the report spread that Celestine contemplated resigning, the excitement in Naples was intense. King Charles, whose arbitrary course had brought things to this crisis, organized a determined opposition. A huge procession of the clergy and monks surrounded the castle, and with tears and prayers implored the pope to continue his rule. Celestine, whose mind was not yet clear on the subject, returned an evasive answer, whereupon the multitude chanted the Te Deum and withdrew. A week later (13 December) Celestine's resolution was irrevocably fixed; summoning the cardinals on that day, he read the constitution mentioned by Boniface in the "Liber Sextus", announced his resignation, and proclaimed the cardinals free to proceed to a new election. After the lapse of the nine days enjoined by the legislation of Gregory X, the cardinals entered the conclave, and the next day Benedetto Gaetani was proclaimed Pope as Boniface VIII. After revoking many of the provisions made by Celestine, Boniface brought his predecessor, now in the dress of a humble hermit, with him on the road to Rome. He was forced to retain him in custody, lest an inimical use should be made of the simple old man. Celestine yearned for his cell in the Abruzzi, managed to effect his escape at San Germano, and to the great joy of his monks reappeared among them at Majella. Boniface ordered his arrest; but Celestine evaded his pursuers for several months by wandering through the woods and mountains. Finally, he attempted to cross the Adriatic to Greece; but, driven back by a tempest, and captured at the foot of Mt. Gargano, he was delivered into the hands of Boniface, who confined him closely in a narrow room in the tower of the castle of Fumone near Anagni (Analecta Bollandiana, 1897, XVI, 429-30). Here, after nine months passed in fasting and prayer, closely watched but attended by two of his own religious, though rudely treated by the guards, he ended his extraordinary career in his ninety-first year. That Boniface treated him harshly, and finally cruelly murdered him, is a calumny. Some years after his canonization by Clement V in 1313, his remains were transferred from Ferentino to the church of his order at Aquila, where they are still the object of great veneration. His feast is celebrated on 19 May.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The once-ironclad Kansas abortion industry is being shaken up by more clinic regulations, a pro-life health insurance law, and a budget that would gut Planned Parenthood’s funding, all part of a seismic shift in the state’s abortion politics that followed the November elections.
On Thursday, the Kansas state legislature wrapped up the legislative session by passing a budget depriving Planned Parenthood of $334,000 in federal family planning funds. The budget cut was proposed by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who on Monday also signed a bill that calls for more oversight of abortion clinic practices, requires ultrasounds, and bans so-called “telemed” abortions.
The budget cut, once signed by Brownback, will make Kansas the second state in the nation to deprive Planned Parenthood of public funds based on its involvement in the abortion business.
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has said it would consider suing the state over the new budget, which CEO Peter Brownlie complained would “undermine women’s health” by defunding the abortion giant.
The bill signed on Monday, SB 36, will require that state abortion clinics be inspected at least twice a year, and will hand a wealth of additional oversight powers over abortion clinics to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The Saint of the Day for May 18 is St. John I
This Tuscan was destined to be glorified not only during his lifetime but after his death as well. Although peace with the East had been restored, a suspicious Theodoric grumbled in his castle at Ravenna. An Arian, the king saw the new friendliness between East and West as a serious threat to his reign. To further alarm him, Emperor Justin had reinstated the laws against heretics, Arians included, and had embarked on a campaign of confiscating churches and excluding heretics from public office, causing many Arians to abandon their faith. Infuriated, Theodoric summoned John to Ravenna and ordered him to head a delegation to the orthodox emperor to ask that the persecution stop and allow forced converts to return to Arianism. At first John refused, then fearing that the king's wrath would be taken out on Western Catholics, he agreed to do Theodoric's bidding on every count save one. He boldly told the king that he would not ask the emperor to allow converts to return to heresy.
The pope arrived in Constantinople shortly before Easter in 526, and since he was the first pope to leave Italy, his reception was more than he could have dreamed. He had been met by the entire city at the twelfth milestone, where the clergy led the procession carrying candles and crosses, and even the emperor prostrated himself before the Holy Father. The day of Easter, John was seated in a throne higher than the one occupied by the patriarch, in the church of Sancta Sophia, where he celebrated Mass in the Latin tradition. John was accorded the highest honor when he placed the customary Easter crown on the head of Emperor Justin.
After meeting with Justin on Theodoric's behalf, the pope made the exhausting trip back to Ravenna. The king's fury raged. Jealous of the pope's grand reception in the East, Theodoric accused the pope of failing his mission by not securing all of the demands put to Justin. The king then ordered John to remain in Ravenna at his disposal. The aged pope was spent; the prospects before him were dismal. Already ailing, Pope John died and was hastily buried outside the castle walls. Pope John's body was exhumed and on May 27, 526, was returned to Rome and placed in the nave of St. Peter's.
— Excerpted from The Popes: A Papal History, J.V. Bartlett
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s attempt to push for “gay marriage” in New York state has again brought out supporters of traditional marriage who say the proposal threatens to create an “Orwellian” redefinition of the basic truth about marriage.
“Marriage is the fundamental building block of society. It has been from time immemorial,” New York Catholic Conference communications director Dennis Poust told CNA May 16. “We believe that what this bill would do is separate forever the link between marriage and procreation, which we think would have a devastating long-term impact on society.
“The state ought to be looking at ways to strengthen marriage as we know it to be, rather than changing it and watering it down and being politically correct and saying marriage is something other than what we know it to be.”
A New York bill to recognize same-sex “marriage” failed in the state Senate in 2009 by a vote of 38-24.
Gov. Cuomo, who took office this year, has characterized the issue as a “fundamental civil rights battle.” However, he will not introduce the bill unless he is certain it will pass. His administration is trying to coax more votes from undecided legislators by gradually increasing pressure instead of twisting arms, the Wall Street Journal reports.
And since Andrew is 'Catholic', here's a reminder from the catechism:
1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf. CIC, can. 1055 § 1; cf. GS 48 § 1).
Monday, May 16, 2011
Donald Trump said today he will not seek the Republican nomination for president, after stoking speculation with statements and speeches taking on pro-abortion President Barack Obama.
After months of speculation about his future plans, Trump released a statement today saying, “After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency.”
“This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country,” he added. “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”
Trump appears ready to endorse the Republican nominee against Obama.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio waves as John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington applaud during commencement exercises at the university May 14. The applause followed Boehner's commencement address. (CNS photo from Catholic University)
The Saint of the Day for May 16 is St. Andrew Bobola.
Andrew Bobola is a Polish-born martyr. He was born in Sandormir, Poland, in 1591 to a noble family. He was ordained a Jesuit in 1622 and three years later became a parish priest in Vilna, Lithuania, where he had studed. He had also served as superior of the Jesuit community. He worked with the sick and during a plague outbreak, but he is best known as a successful missionary to the Orthodox. He did this for almost 20 years, preaching along the roads and bringing whole villages to Catholicism.
However, he was captured after mass on May 10, 1657 by the Cossacks and brutally tortured. Six days later, he was beheaded and died a martyr, refusing to denounce his Catholic faith.
His tomb was opened in 1808 and his body was found incorrupt. He is now entombed in a Jesuit church in Krakow, Poland.
He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1938.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
The Saint of the Day for May 14 is St. Matthias.
Mathias was one of the first to follow our Savior; and he was an eye-witness of all His divine actions up to the very day of the Ascension. He was one of the seventy-two disciples; but our Lord had not conferred upon him the dignity of an apostle. And yet, he was to have this great glory, for it was of him that David spoke, when he prophesied that another should take the bishopric left vacant by the apostasy of Judas the traitor. In the interval between Jesus' Ascension and the descent of the Holy Ghost, the apostolic college had to complete the mystic number fixed by our Lord Himself, so that there might be the twelve on that solemn day, when the Church, filled with the Holy Ghost, was to manifest herself to the Synagogue. The lot fell on Mathias; he shared with his brother-apostles the persecution in Jerusalem, and, when the time came for the ambassadors of Christ to separate, he set out for the countries allotted to him. Tradition tells us that these were Cappadocia and the provinces bordering on the Caspian Sea.
The virtues, labor, and sufferings of St. Mathias have not been handed down to us: this explains the lack of proper lessons on his life, such as we have for the feasts of the rest of the apostles. Clement of Alexandria records in his writings several sayings of our holy apostle. One of these is so very appropriate to the spirit of the present season, that we consider it a duty to quote it. 'It behooves us to combat the flesh, and make use of it, without pampering it by unlawful gratifications. As to the soul, we must develop her power by faith and knowledge.' How profound is the teaching contained in these few words! Sin has deranged the order which the Creator had established. It gave the outward man such a tendency to grovel in things which degrade him, that the only means left us for the restoration of the image and likeness of God unto which we were created, is the forcible subjection of the body to the spirit. But the spirit itself, that is, the soul, was also impaired by original sin, and her inclinations were made prone to evil; what is to be her protection? Faith and knowledge. Faith humbles her, and then exalts and rewards her; and the reward is knowledge.