It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Saturday, December 31, 2005

'ABC News' Broadcasting Pure Anti-Catholicism

Here we have yet one more example that America's alphabet networks (ABC in this case) have become little more than a seething cauldron of anti-Catholic bigotry. The mythic legend of Pope Joan is a favorite of anti-catholics everywhere, who frequently mix this tale with their accusations of Mary worship and papal idolatry. Now ABC News joins the ranks of Chick Publications and Bob Jones University. Indeed, politics makes strange bedfellows....

ABC News airs 'female pope' claim
Catholics say 'Joan' a myth used historically to ridicule church

Similar to its take on the controversial "Da Vinci Code," ABC News "Primetime" gives credence to the claim that a woman disguised as a man served as pope in medieval Rome.

Titled "On the Trail of Pope Joan," an ABC promo says, "Diane Sawyer takes you on the trail of a passionate mystery. Just as intriguing as 'The Da Vinci Code.' Chasing down centuries-old clues hidden even inside the Vatican. Could a woman disguised as a man have been pope? Thursday night. One astonishing Primetime."

But the media-watchdog weblog Newsbusters points to research by scholars hundreds of years ago that debunked the claim and cites recent books that have repudiated it further.

Catholic Church records have no indication of a pope by any of the names ascribed to her, and there are no gaps in the history. Another problem, scholars say, is there was no mention of such a pope in any historical account until the 13th century, about 400 years after her presumed reign...

read full story here

I don't know what it's going to take to get Americans to stop watching the trash now broadcasted by our nation's alphabet networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC). In this case, ABC couldn't have done a better job slapping Catholic Americans in the face, unless they just came out and said the following. "We here at ABC News absolutely despise the Roman Catholic Church and everything it represents. So to show our disdain for our Catholic Americans viewers, and everything their vile religion stands for, we promise to air any story (truth or fiction) that puts Catholicism in as bad a light as possible. Goodnight, Happy Holidays, and thanks for watching ABC."

Friday, December 30, 2005

More European Women Converting to ISLAM

I've been saying it for years! I've mentioned it in this blog. I've warned this would eventually happen, and now it's coming true, right on schedule. No, I'm no prophet. I just have a little understanding of human nature.

Unless there is a massive revival of Christianity in Europe soon, a good number of nations within the EU will become Islamic within a half-century (just 50 years). That's not an vain threat or a wild speculation. That is a promise! And it's a promise guaranteed by the seal of human nature. Most human beings naturally gravitate toward large organized religions. Guess what? It's been that way for some ten-thousand years, and guess what? It's not going to change. When western civilization entered the 20th century, many of our forefathers foolishly thought that the technological wonders of modern science would virtually eliminate the need for God. The biggest fools of them all were the Marxists, who actually founded an empire (Soviet Union) on this very principle. The modern world did deliver on this promise -- for a while. Each western nation managed to produce at least one generation, during the 20th century, that subscribed to the slogan "God is dead." But what our foolish forefathers failed to take into consideration was the ten-thousand year old lesson of human nature. That lesson is simply this. It doesn't matter if God exists or not -- because human beings will worship him anyway. For ten-thousand years brilliant and powerful men have sought ways to eliminate deity from societal consciousness. Guess what? Every attempt has failed. No generation has ever been able to produce a truly atheist (or at least secular) culture. The children of the 20th century (our forefathers) thought they were different. Many of them believed they could succeed where thousands of generations had failed before them. They were wrong. The real question is not whether God exists. The real question is whether mankind can help but worship him? The answer is "no," we cannot help it. Whether God exists or not, human beings will always worship him, in one way or another. If they don't worship God, than they will worship many gods, and if no gods at all, then they will claim to be gods and worship themselves. Human beings have "worship" DNA built right into our genetic code. We can't help it because it's part of who (and what) we are. It may be possible to get some individuals to deny the existence of God, but it's impossible to get an entire culture to deny it. The secular experiments of the 20th century failed, just as they all have for thousands of years. What western Europe managed to create in their secular experiments was nothing more than a spiritual vacuum in their society. As you know, all vacuums must be filled, and so what followed the secularization of Europe in the 1950s-70s was the unorganized mythic religions of occultism (Neopaganism, Wicca and New Age) in the 1980s-2000. But as history has demonstrated time and time again, small unorganized religions always give way to larger organized religions. In the case of Europe, Christianity had already been swept aside over the previous five decades. So only one organized religion remained poised to fill the void -- Islam. Now European youths are turning to Islam for answers, and surprisingly more women than men. But you know what this means don't you? The men will soon follow. Eventually these female converts will want to marry, and young European men, looking for brides, will also find themselves converting to win their favor. Muslim women raise Muslim children and Muslim children grow into Muslim adults. The battle for Europe is nearly over already, and Islam has won! All the 20th century secularists managed to accomplish in Europe was the exchange of one organized religion for another -- Christianity for Islam. I wonder if they think that was a good trade?

We Americans ought to read the following article carefully, and take heed, if we want to prevent this from happening here...

Why European women are turning to Islam By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PARIS - Mary Fallot looks as unlike a terrorist suspect as one could possibly imagine: a petite and demure white Frenchwoman chatting with friends on a cell-phone, indistinguishable from any other young woman in the café where she sits sipping coffee.

And that is exactly why European antiterrorist authorities have their eyes on thousands like her across the continent.

Ms. Fallot is a recent convert to Islam. In the eyes of the police, that makes her potentially dangerous.

The death of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert who blew herself up in a suicide attack on US troops in Iraq last month, has drawn fresh attention to the rising number of Islamic converts in Europe, most of them women.

"The phenomenon is booming, and it worries us," the head of the French domestic intelligence agency, Pascal Mailhos, told the Paris-based newspaper Le Monde in a recent interview. "But we must absolutely avoid lumping everyone together."

The difficulty, security experts explain, is that while the police may be alert to possible threats from young men of Middle Eastern origin, they are more relaxed about white European women. Terrorists can use converts who "have added operational benefits in very tight security situations" where they might not attract attention, says Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.

Ms. Fallot, who converted to Islam three years ago after asking herself spiritual questions to which she found no answers in her childhood Catholicism, says she finds the suspicion her new religion attracts "wounding." "For me," she adds, "Islam is a message of love, of tolerance and peace."

It is a message that appeals to more and more Europeans as curiosity about Islam has grown since 9/11, say both Muslim and non-Muslim researchers. Although there are no precise figures, observers who monitor Europe's Muslim population estimate that several thousand men and women convert each year.

Only a fraction of converts are attracted to radical strands of Islam, they point out, and even fewer are drawn into violence. A handful have been convicted of terrorist offenses, such as Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" and American John Walker Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan.

Admittedly patchy research suggests that more women than men convert, experts say, but that - contrary to popular perception - only a minority do so in order to marry Muslim men.

"That used to be the most common way, but recently more [women] are coming out of conviction," says Haifa Jawad, who teaches at Birmingham University in Britain. Though non-Muslim men must convert in order to marry a Muslim woman, she points out, the opposite is not true.

Fallot laughs when she is asked whether her love life had anything to do with her decision. "When I told my colleagues at work that I had converted, their first reaction was to ask whether I had a Muslim boyfriend," she recalls. "They couldn't believe I had done it of my own free will."

In fact, she explains, she liked the way "Islam demands a closeness to God. Islam is simpler, more rigorous, and it's easier because it is explicit. I was looking for a framework; man needs rules and behavior to follow. Christianity did not give me the same reference points."

Those reasons reflect many female converts' thinking, say experts who have studied the phenomenon. "A lot of women are reacting to the moral uncertainties of Western society," says Dr. Jawad. "They like the sense of belonging and caring and sharing that Islam offers."

Others are attracted by "a certain idea of womanhood and manhood that Islam offers," suggests Karin van Nieuwkerk, who has studied Dutch women converts. "There is more space for family and motherhood in Islam, and women are not sex objects."

read full story here

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

'The Catholic Knight' Endorses Brownback for President in 2008


C-SPAN interview...

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, why do you want to be president someday?

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: To be able to serve the people and to be able to renew the society and the culture. There are lots of reasons why one wants to do something like this. And I haven‘t made a formal announcement or a formal declaration. I have been traveling to a number of the early primary states.

But at the core of it, I just see that the country really needs to renew its basic structures. We have got — I chair the D.C. Appropriation Committee, and we have got over — just right at 60 percent of the children born to single mothers. A child can be born in that situation and do well, but the numbers generally move against him.

And I think we have really got to renew just these basic structures within the society. And that‘s at the core. I‘m also an economic conservative. I push things like the flat tax. I‘m a strong proponent of the military and a robust foreign policy. I‘m a full scale conservative in that sense.

But at its core I think we have to renew the society and renew the culture...

LAMB: When did you decide to become a Catholic?

BROWNBACK: It was about three years ago that I actually joined the Catholic Church. And I had thought about it from about four years prior to that. So it has been seven years that I‘ve thought, studied, considered doing that.

LAMB: What were you before?

BROWNBACK: I grew up a Methodist. Parker, Kansas, where I‘m from, that a town of 250 people, we kid that we lived up in the suburbs of Parker, we were a mile-and-a-half out of town, but we were on city water, so we thought, that‘s — we were in the suburbs of Parker that — on a farm there.

It‘s a one-church town, the Methodist church, and so I grew up a Methodist, then went to college and got involved with some of the youth groups on the college campus. The Navigators was an organization. And went to a Baptist church there for a period of time.

And most recently, before I joined the Catholic Church, was attending and still attend an evangelical — free, independent evangelical church in Topeka. My family didn‘t join the Catholic Church and so we go — I have a great Sunday morning.

I‘ll go to Mass, then I go to evangelical church. I get the Eucharist and the proceedings from the Catholic Church and the preaching and singing of an evangelical church, and it‘s really — it‘s a beautiful mix.

LAMB: Why Catholic and what lead to that? Who introduced you to it?

BROWNBACK: Really nobody did. It was a personal searching that took place. And you know, a deep feeling and calling. I did have a chance to meet Mother Teresa about eight months before she died. We hosted her here for a Congressional Gold Medal.

And I had read many of her writings, her speeches. She didn‘t write a lot. She gave a number of speeches and a lot of really piercing comments. And I was very attracted to the depth and beauty of the faith that she saw.

The Christian faith is a very hard faith to practice and to get it right. There — I guess, we‘re always practicing and never quite getting there. And yet, you know, you look at a person like her, and I‘ve seen others that seem like they have gotten an awful long ways along it.

And they still have problems. They still have difficulties, but seem to have perfected more the faith within them. And it was a beautiful thing to see.

LAMB: Why is the Christian faith hard to practice?

BROWNBACK: Actually, I think it‘s impossible to practice. Gandhi actually was quoted as saying this, that — and I‘m going to butcher this quote, but that would become a Christian if he could ever see one fully practiced.

It‘s a very self-sacrificing faith. It‘s premise is to love God and love one another. And that love is not limited. In its practice of love, it seeks fruit, it seeks you to show that fruit by caring for other people.

And these are all things generally really against human nature. So it has to be a real, you know, flowing through you for that to take place. And it‘s so easy for us to get our eye back on ourselves and our own selfish interests and desires and ways of doing things....

read full interview here

Baptists, Lutherans join Catholics Opposing Embryonic Research

ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- As the debate on embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning continues as a hot topic in Missouri, several other Christian denominations in the state are voicing their opinions on the issue.

The Missouri Baptist Convention has joined the Catholic bishops of Missouri in challenging an initiative that would amend the state constitution to allow embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning.

In addition, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was preparing to release a report in January condemning embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning.

The two actions are a sign that Christian denominations are becoming even more vocal in speaking out on an issue that they feel harms the sanctity of human life, said Deacon Larry Weber, executive director of the Missouri Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state's bishops....

read full story here

Here we have yet one more example of why conservative Christians need to unite in these dark times. The strategy of the Enemy against God's chosen has always been to divide and conquer. When we are united in faith and morality we can change the world, but when we are divided, the world will conquer and overtake us on every issue. I have always held that the reason why western civilization is in such moral chaos is because of divisions within the Body of Christ. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If western civilization falls, the blame will be laid squarely at the feet of Christian sectarianism. The fate of our world hinges on whether or not conservative Christians can overcome their differences and work together to form a culture of life and family.

Some might ask; "what about liberal Christians?" Answer: We need not concern ourselves with them, because they've already sold-out to the evil "god" of this world. The reason why they advocate the politics of the enemy (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) is because they're working for the enemy. Their "Christianity" is only skin deep, and their days are numbered. Liberal Christian denominations don't last. History is already proving that. The only reason why they've been able to unite in ecumenical accords is because their numbers are shrinking so fast they have no choice but to unite. Yet consider what they are uniting under. They unite under the banners of sexual indecency, murder and marxism. Are these not the same banners under which the world unites against God? Good Christians eventually leave these denominations, bad Christians remain within them, and sooner or later, most of the latter will realize that they can unite under the same banners without the baggage of Christianity to hold them back. So many of them do, and their denominations shrink even more. Liberal Christian denominations are irrelevant, and they have consigned themselves only to a future of greater irrelevancy. Conservative Christians no longer need concern themselves with them.

We conservative Christians need only concern ourselves with two things. The first is keeping liberalism OUT of our denominations by sticking to the traditional values taught by our Christian forefathers, and dealing soundly with those within our denominations who would seek to subvert this. The second is uniting with other like-minded conservative Christians, regardless of their denomination and sect, to form a culture of life and family.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

MERRY CHRISTMAS


Remember the Octave of Christmas lasts eight days.

From Christmas Eve to New Years Day
As we celebrate the birth of Christ
and dedicate the new year.
O' Come Let Us Adore Him!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Big Changes On the Way for American Catholics

On December 22nd Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Curia, with an imposing speech, to mark the exchange of Christmas greetings, in which he said the following....
Why has the reception given to the Council (Vatican II) so far, in large sectors of the Church, been so difficult? Well, all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or -- as we would say today -- on its correct hermeneutic, on the right key to interpretation and application. The problems of reception derived from the fact that two contrasting hermeneutics found themselves face to face and battled it out. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit. On one hand, there is an interpretation that I would like to call "hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture"; it was frequently able to find favour among mass media, and also a certain sector of modern theology. On the other hand, there is the "hermeneutics of reform", of the renewal of the continuity of the single Church-subject, which the Lord has given us: it is a subject that grows in time and develops, remaining however always the same, the one subject of the People of God on their way. Hermeneutics of discontinuity risk leading to a fracture between the pre-Council and post-Council Church. It asserts that the Council texts as such would still not be the true expression of the spirit of the Council. They would be the result of compromises within which, to reach unanimity, many old and ultimately useless things had to be dragged along and reconfirmed. It is, however, not in these compromises that the true spirit of the Council would be revealed, but instead in the drive toward newness that underpin the texts: only this would represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from it and in conformity with it, it would be necessary to go forward. Precisely because the texts would reflect only imperfectly the true spirit of the Council and its novelty, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts, making room for the new, in which the more profound, even though still indistinct, intention of the Council would express itself. In short: it would be necessary to follow not the Council texts, but its spirit. In this way, of course, a huge margin remains for the question of how then to define this spirit and, as a result, room is made for any whimsicality. With this, however, there is a basic misunderstanding of the nature of a Council as such.

read full speech

As the pope brings the Second Vatican Council into focus for its 40th anniversary, it's becoming increasingly clear that big changes are on the way. The pope contrasted what he called the hermeneutics of reform with the hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture. By this he describes the problems associated with Catholicism in the United States and other western nations. According to Wikipedia the term hermeneutics is defined as a "theory of interpretation and understanding of a text through empirical means." When it comes to the Second Vatican Council, two forms of hermeneutics were used to implement its changes in the Church -- the right kind (reform) and the wrong kind (discontinuity and rupture). In western nations, like the United States, it would seem that the latter has become the norm.

No sooner than the Council had finished its work, American Church leaders went to work interpreting its meaning. Some of this interpretation was reform, but a good deal of it was discontinuity and rupture. For decades now, American Catholics have been under the impression (a false impression) that Vatican II radically changed the Church, creating a new kind of Catholicism that is all together different than the old. In America, these changes were made under the banner of the "Spirit of Vatican II," because the letter of Vatican II had not directly mandated them. All the while, more conservatively minded Catholics protested, quite correctly pointing out that if the Holy Spirit of God speaks to us through the ecumenical council of bishops (as Catholic doctrine tells us), than indeed the "Spirit of Vatican II" IS the letter of Vatican II. Anything more than that is just human innovation. So it seems the implementation of Vatican II in the United States has been largely dominated by human innovation, rather than actual conciliar reforms. I believe the pope is telling us what he's been consistently hinting at for a long time. The Catholic Church we are familiar with in the United States IS NOT the ideal of what Vatican II intended to accomplish. The Catholic Church many Americans are familiar with is actually one made more by human innovation than actual conciliar reform. This American Church, dominated by human innovation, has created more discontinuity and rupture than reform. The recent sex-abuse scandal of 2002 is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, because the problems go much deeper than that. They are liturgical in some areas, procedural in others, and in some cases even doctrinal in nature. These innovations have even gone so far as to create conditions ripe for schism. In the case of traditional Catholic liturgy and procedure, some of our most pious adherents have gone out from us, creating their own communions where they feel more free to express the traditional Catholicism they have known and cherished since childhood. In the case of doctrine, many of our most trusting and amiable have been deceived by the lure of Evangelicalism, which offers them the illusion of simplicity at the cost of accurately interpreting the word of God. Finally, in the case of those who have blindly put their faith in American interpretation of the Council, it has created a circumstance where human innovation is loved more than the Church itself, giving the false impression that the Church is conceding to the trends of the modern world, and sin is relative to the eyes of the beholder. Because of all this, it is the opinion of this blogger that the days of "discontinuity and rupture" are coming to an end in the American Church, and the Vatican will see to it. No longer will human innovation be the rule of the day. For once in American Catholicism's post-conciliar history, the spirit of Vatican II WILL BE the letter of Vatican II.

What does this mean for the laity? I cannot say with absolute certainty, but I would surmise we should look for something like the following in the years ahead...

  • Changes in the English liturgy of the contemporary Novus Ordo mass to reflect a more accurate translation from the official Latin Novus Ordo text.
  • More use of Latin in the contemporary English Novus Ordo mass.
  • More use of the actual Latin Novus Ordo mass text itself.
  • Greater accessibility to the traditional Tridentine Latin mass for all who miss it and want to see its revival.
  • A newly revised translation of the New American Bible, which more closely reflects the English lectionary reforms recently approved by the Vatican.
  • Stronger ecclesiastical control by the Vatican over internal matters within the American Church in particular.
  • Greater obedience expected among the clergy.
  • The absolute rejection of homosexual men to the priesthood (already underway).
  • Greater continuity of teaching among the bishops, especially regarding the "tyranny of relativism," especially the evil it imposes on the Church and the world.
  • Greater accountability of Catholic public figures, especially politicians, who espouse teachings the Church considers immoral.
  • Stronger catechesis of the laity on social and moral issues. (look for the Church to get more involved in political issues)
  • A greater emphasis on traditional (pre-Vatican II) Catholicism and the continuity between it and contemporary Catholicism.
  • A general swing back to traditional (pre-Vatican II) Catholicism on everything from Church architecture to customary practices.
The message of this pope appears to be telling us that Vatican II was designed to reform the Church that already existed, not change it into something different than what it was before. The Church is still the same as it was before the Second Vatican Council, but its understanding of its relation to the world has been reformed and updated. For American Catholics, this will undoubtedly seem like the Church is taking steps backward, but in reality it was American Catholics who took too many steps beyond what Vatican II permitted. I believe the pope is calling American Catholics to reform their ideas of reform, bringing them into line with what the bishops of the Second Vatican Council actually wrote, and not what we assume they intended to mean.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Here Comes Santa Pope?


Practice Christmas traditions, not consumerism, Pope says

Vatican, Dec. 21 (CWNews.com) - In his last public audience before Christmas, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) urged the faithful to maintain their "interior wonder" as they celebrate the Nativity.

Breaking from his weekly series of meditations on the Psalms, the Pope dedicated his December 21 talk to preparation for Christmas. He told the 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square that Christian traditions help to illustrate the meaning of the holy day, and among those traditions, "the richest in spiritual significance" is the symbolism of the light that shines in the darkness.

In the northern hemisphere, the Pope observed, Christmas comes at a time when the daylight hours are shortest. The festive lights of Christmas help break the darkness, and remind believers to "let our souls open to the true spiritual light" that comes with the Incarnation.

Warning once again that "modern consumer culture tends to remove Christian symbols from the Christmas celebration," the Pope encouraged his listeners to maintain the traditions of a Christian celebration, using time-honored practices to point toward the spiritual significance of the feast.

source

--------------------------

Christmas Sacred and Secular
by Rev. Robert A. Sirico, Acton President


Christmas in America is done in a way that offends many people around the world, and also many Christians in the United States. The mega-bucks shopping, the over-the-top promotion, the non-stop jingles and carols, the light displays, yard decorations, huge inflatables everywhere -- must Christmas really be like this?

No, it doesn’t need to be. But neither should we be quick to take offense.

A big Christmas need not be an insincere Christmas. This point was made by Benedict XVI before he became Pope. He noted in a 1977 essay that “nowadays a theologian or a preacher is all but expected to heap more or less sarcastic criticism on our popular way of celebrating Christmas ... Christmas, we are told, has been commercialized irredeemably and has degenerated into a senseless marketing frenzy; its religiosity has become tacky.”

“Of course,” he continued, “such criticism is largely justified, even though it might too readily forget that, behind the facade of business and sentimentality, the yearning for something purer and greater is not entirely extinguished; indeed, that the sentimental framework often provides the protecting shield behind which hides a noble and genuine sentiment that is simply reluctant to expose itself to the gaze of the other.”

He is speaking about the core of good and virtuous intentions behind much of what is assailed as “commercialism.” Much of what people buy is for others. But what people do to commemorate Christmas reflects an inner sense that something extraordinary is occurred and continues to occur on the night of Jesus’ birth. All this fuss would not take place over a fat man in the red suit; it takes more than that to create the astonishing display that Christmas has become.

“The hectic commercialism is repugnant to us,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “for it is indeed utterly out of place as a commemoration of the hushed mystery of Bethlehem, of the mystery of the God who for us made himself a beggar (2 Corinthians 8:9). And yet, underneath it all, does it not originate in the notion of giving and thus the inner urgency of love, with its compulsion to share, to give of oneself to the other? And does not the notion of giving transport us directly into the core of the mystery that is Christmas?”

We might reflect too on the reality that charities raise more money during this season than any other of the year -- many times more. This too reflects the cultural reality that all this spending isn’t so much based on greed or materialism as it is based on generosity and liberality. Money is not the object but the conduit that makes this possible.

It also stands to reason that Christmas would somehow be bigger in the United States than in many countries in the world, simply due to the fact that there are more resources available here -- a consequence of an economic system that rewards innovation and wealth creation. This is also the most generous country in the world, with a charitable sector that is far larger than any other nation’s.

What about the complaint that Christmas has lost its religious import? We need to remember that culturally significant holidays develop both a religious meaning and a secular meaning. This is an inevitable consequence of a faith that is willing to share itself with the world. Because we enjoy the secular aspects (Santa, reindeer, elves, Frosty) doesn’t preclude us from also finding true meaning in the genuine religious meaning as well.

From the earliest centuries, Christmas was not merely a private affair for homes and parishes. Christians obtain grace from reflecting on the miracle of the Incarnation but they have given the event called Christmas as a glorious gift to the world. This is why this holiday can be so secular and yet remain so sacred. There is a distinction between the two but not always a battle between the two.

“The concept of gift-giving is squarely anchored in this liturgy of the Church,” writes the Pope, “and, at the same time, we are made aware of the primal mode of all giving at Christmas: that God, on this holy night, desired to make himself into a gift to mankind, that he turned himself over to us.

“The one genuine Christmas gift to mankind, to history, to each one of us, is none other than Jesus Christ himself. Even those who do not believe him to be God incarnate will have to admit that he has enriched and gifted the inner existence of generations upon generations.”

So let us put aside our tendency to dismiss and put down our culture’s embrace of this holiday. Let us participate with joy and generosity, bringing gifts to others just as we have been given so much by awesome fact that Eternity became Time to dwell among us.

source

To me, it seems the message of the pope is simply to put Christ back in Christmas, and remember the reason for the season. There is nothing wrong with gift-giving, but at the same time, we must not get so caught up in the process that it becomes the only thing we think about. On a personal note; I think the Santa Claus myth can cause potential problems for young children, especially when it becomes the central focus of the holiday. In my own family, I have resolved to let my kids know about the Santa Claus legend, telling them the stories, and letting them get their pictures taken with him. But at the same time we don't reinforce it by letting the kids think Santa is really going to come down the chimney and deliver gifts. When they ask about Santa Claus, we'll tell them the truth, but at the same time let them know that it's a make-believe story designed for fun and enjoyment -- sort of like 'Frosty the Snowman.'

Military Chaplains Told to Shy Away From Jesus

To pray -- or not to pray -- in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday.

"I am a Navy chaplain being fired because I pray in Jesus' name," said Navy Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who will be holding 6 p.m. prayer vigils daily in Lafayette Park.

The hunger strike is intended to persuade President Bush to issue an executive order allowing military chaplains to pray according to their individual faith traditions. The American Center for Law and Justice has gathered 173,000 signatures on a petition seeking an executive order.

Seventy-three members of Congress have joined the request, saying in an Oct. 25 letter to the president, "In all branches of the military, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christian chaplains to use the name of Jesus when praying."

About 80 percent of U.S. troops are Christian, the legislators wrote, adding that military "censorship" of chaplains' prayers disenfranchises "hundreds of thousands of Christian soldiers in the military who look to their chaplains for comfort, inspiration and support."

Official military policy allows any sort of prayer, but Lt. Klingenschmitt says that in reality, evangelical Protestant prayers are censored. He cites his training at the Navy Chaplains School in Newport, R.I., where "they have clipboards and evaluators who evaluate your prayers, and they praise you if you pray just to God," he said. "But if you pray in Jesus' name, they counsel you."

Muslim, Jewish and Roman Catholic chaplains are likewise told not to pray in the name of Allah, in Hebrew or in the name of the Trinity, he added....

read full story

Protect Military Prayer!

A group of Congressmen, led by Rep. Walter Jones, has come together to call on our President to protect by Executive Order the constitutional rights of military chaplains to pray according to their faith. The ACLJ supports this brave group! We stand with them and call concerned citizens everywhere to let their voices be heard on this critical issue. Today, we ask you to join us in our efforts. Please read the form carefully and declare your membership with the ACLJ by signing the Petition to Protect Military Prayer to President Bush below.

Petition to Protect Military Prayer

To the Honorable President George W. Bush

We are disappointed and gravely concerned to learn that the right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith is in jeopardy.

It has come to our attention that in all branches of the military, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christian chaplains to use the name of Jesus when praying. We believe this suppression of religious freedom is a pervasive problem that must be dealt with and eliminated immediately.

Throughout our nation's history, chaplains not only have remained an integral part of our military, but they also have always prayed according to their faith's tradition. We believe that if chaplains are chosen to pray before a professional setting, they have a constitutional right to adhere to the religious expressions of their faith. Furthermore, such censorship of Christian beliefs is a disservice to Christian chaplains as well as the hundreds of thousands of Christian soldiers in the military who look to their chaplains for comfort, inspiration, and support, just as our military soldiers of other faiths look to their chaplains.

We respectfully request that you, as Commander and Chief, protect by Executive Order the constitutional right of military chaplains to pray according to their faith.

sign petition here

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

NBC Demeans Christian Faith

Writer for new series is practicing homosexual

NBC is promoting the network's mid-season replacement series "The Book of Daniel" with language that implies it is a serious drama about Christian people and Christian faith. The main character is Daniel Webster, a drug-addicted Episcopal priest whose wife depends heavily on her mid-day martinis.

Webster regularly sees and talks with a very unconventional white-robed, bearded Jesus. The Webster family is rounded out by a 23-year-old homosexual Republican son, a 16-year-old daughter who is a drug dealer, and a 16-year-old adopted son who is having sex with the bishop's daughter.

At the office, his lesbian secretary is sleeping with his sister-in-law.

Network hype – and the mainstream media – call it "edgy," "challenging" and "courageous." The hour-long limited drama series will debut January 6 with back-to-back episodes and will air on Friday nights. The writer for the series is a practicing homosexual.

The homosexual son will be network prime-time's only regular male homosexual character in a drama series.

Please use the link below to send a letter to NBC Chairman Bob Wright.

Next, please forward this to your family and friends today!

Those at NBC responsible for this program consider it a good, religiously oriented show typical of Christian families.

Click Here to Email NBC Now!

Study Shows Most News Media is Leftist and Biased

Yet one more reason why you CAN'T trust the mainstream media...

All Major U.S. Media Lean Left Except Fox News and Washington Times, UCLA Study Finds

WASHINGTON, DC, December 19, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

read full story here

I would have to say that those who rely on mainstream networks, and national newspapers, are probably the most poorly informed people in the country. They might do better just reading the supermarket tabloids alone. I don't get my news from the television anymore. I haven't for years. I don't watch any of the alphabet network news (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, etc.), nor do I even watch Fox News Channel, though I hear that's supposedly better than the rest. I haven't read any of the major newspapers in years. Though I do occasionally use USA Today for rapping fish before I store it in the freezer. The last time my local newspaper called me for a subscription, I told them I didn't need one because my puppy is house-broken and my bird is dead. That about sums up the respect I have for the mainstream media.

I do occasionally listen to some news radio, such as NPR, as well as some radio talk shows, such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Neal Bortz. All of these will give a much more detailed version of events, and at least the conservative bias is openly admitted by the talk show hosts. So you know what you're getting in advance. Beyond that, about the only place to get accurate news is from the Internet. I have about two-dozen sources I check, along with a few blogs. I do my best to share some of those stories with you here. Americans would be doing themselves a huge favor if they would just stop watching all those alphabet networks and reading those liberal rags they call "newspapers." Being informed these days requires personal initiative. Surf the Internet for news sites not affiliated with any major media outlet, and start reading some blogs. Then start listening to NPR and AM talk radio. I guarantee, within a matter of days, you'll probably be one of the most well-informed people in your neighborhood, and at the workplace.

US Judge Rules: 'No Seperation of Church and State'

Judge: ACLU not 'reasonable'
Court whacks civil-liberties group, OKs Ten Commandments display

A U.S. appeals court today upheld the decision of a lower court in allowing the inclusion of the Ten Commandments in a courthouse display, hammering the American Civil Liberties Union and declaring, "The First Amendment does not demand a wall of separation between church and state."

read full story here

Finally! There is a voice of reason crying out in the wilderness!

SECULAR LEFT CENSORS CHRISTIAN VOICE

Catholic League president Bill Donohue commented today on the two latest examples of attempts by the secular left to censor Christians:

“New York and California are among the most left-wing states in the nation, and now they have added to their legacy by trying to shut down Christian speech in two unrelated incidents.

“In New York, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer unleashed his lawyers yesterday in an effort to stop a pro-adoption group from suing the state on First Amendment grounds: the group, Children First Foundation, wants ‘Choose Life’ license plates to be legal. Spitzer wants the phrase censored.

“California State University, San Bernardino wants to censor a student group, the Christian Student Association, because a) the group has a constitution that references sexual morality, and b) it wants to restrict leadership positions to Christians.

“One of Spitzer’s attorneys, State Assistant Solicitor General Jennifer Grace Miller, told a federal appeals court that the phrase ‘Choose Life’ might lead to road rage. Just think about this. A pro-abortion advocate, who probably owns two dogs and is driving while speaking to her therapist on her cell phone, may drive off the road if she sees a license plate that reminds her that it’s wrong to kill the kids. Quite a gal.

“Cal State at San Bernardino would no doubt find it perfectly acceptable, even commendable, if a group of lefties had a constitution that referenced sexual immorality and relegated all leadership positions to secular supremacists. But that may be redundant—they already have an Academic Senate.

“There’s another way around this. New York could issue ‘Choose Death’ license plates to please the pro-abortion enthusiasts, and Cal State could pressure the Women’s Resource Center to open its doors to Christian men.”

source


Left-Wing Anti-Catholicism

I just thought y'all might want to see what the new Secular LEFT is saying about us. This is what many of the new Left-wing Liberals really think about us folks....


Nazi Pope tightens fist around innocent Catholics

The Nazi Pope has authorized a US archbishop to EXCOMMUNICATE innocent Catholics because of a FINANCIAL DISPUTE!

Here the Nazi Pope's victims are Polish American Catholics.

For over a century, the St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church managed its own finances, independently of the archdiocese, to meet the specific needs of the Polish community to preserve its unique heritage.

The Stormtrooper Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Missouri, took power last year in 2004 and demanded Polish Catholics hand over all their property to his archdiocese.

The Nazi Pope just recently took power and uses the same tactics that Hitler did when he first took power.

The Stormtrooper Archbishop obeys unquestioningly the global effort to consolidate the Nazi Pope's tyrannical power over all Catholics, and by intimidating national governments, over all the human species. The Nazi Pope is the enemy of human rights.

read source here

Any thoughts?

Costco Fires Catholic For Just Being Catholic

Costco Fires Catholic Who Denied Knights of Columbus Hall for Lesbian "Marriage"
Man Struggling to Support Three Small Children Faces Loss of Home


PORT COQUITLAM, BC, November 30, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A member of the Knights of Columbus who is in charge of renting the fraternity's hall for weddings and other events alleges he was fired from his day job at Costco for his involvement in denying two lesbians the facility for their same-sex "wedding." The human rights case in which the lesbian couple successfully sued the Knights of Columbus over the denial of the hall made international headlines. (see coverage: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2005/nov/05113006.html )

LESBIAN WAS A CO-WORKER WITH KNIGHT OF COLUMBUS

David Hauser told LifeSiteNews.com in an exclusive interview that Tracey Smith, one of the lesbians involved in the human rights complaint against the Knights, was also a co-worker of his at Costco. Hauser related that Smith and many of the management at the Port Coquitlam warehouse were openly homosexual. He related that for months before Smith and her same-sex partner approached his wife for the hall rental, these same individuals had been asking him about his involvement with the hall, and knew that he was in charge of bookings....

read full story here

I knew it was just a matter of time before this would happen. The homosexual lobby has become so powerful that they can actually get a major retailer like Costco to violate somebody's civil rights over the fear of offending homosexuals if they don't. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Soon other companies will follow, and then we'll see government organization do the same. It won't be long before practicing Catholicism is unofficially "illegal" in Canada by virtue of the fact that practicing Catholicism is considered "discriminatory" toward homosexuals. Thus, being Catholic, will effectively be "illegal" without actually saying it that way. There are basically only two things we can do to fight this -- three if you live in Canada...
  1. Boycott Costco, and send their corporate headquarters a courteous letter explaining why.
  2. Send donations to the Canadian Knights of Columbus for their 'legal defense fund.'
  3. (If you live in Canada) lobby for changes in the law that protect religious freedom on homosexual matters.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Iraq: A Practicing Catholic's Perspective

A lot has been said about Iraq lately, and I think it's time for me to share my views on how I (as a practicing Catholic) see things. First of all, whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit that President George W. Bush was right about one thing. The Iraqi people have embraced freedom. Before the invasion in 2003, he told us the Iraqi people would eagerly embrace freedom once it was offered to them, and sure enough, they have. I applaud him for this. In a time when it seems like he's been wrong about so many other things, it's nice to know he got this one right, and I think the world will be better off because of it.

Second, from his purely historical perspective, in spite of all the problems with insurgents, the Iraq War has been a striking success. In just a matter of weeks, the regime of the dictator Saddam Hussein was toppled, and American troops took charge of the country. Then within three years after their liberation, the Iraqi people have voted on in interim government, ratified their own constitution, and now elected their own representatives under that constitution. That is virtually unprecedented in world history. Not even we Americans could make the transition so fast. It took us over ten years to draft our own constitution after our own liberation from the British Empire. It took another few years to ratify it and elect new representative under it.

Another forgotten fact of history is that the American Revolutionary War was extremely unpopular -- especially among Americans! During the course of the Revolution, less than 40% of the American population agreed with the founding fathers. Over 60% of Americans thought the colonies should remain under the English crown, and nearly just as many thought our nation's founding fathers were traitors! It wasn't until after the War had ended (in 1783) that public opinion changed dramatically. The men once viewed as traitors by most of their countrymen were then suddenly hailed as heroes. If history teaches us anything, it is that public opinion is no indicator of the success or failure of war. Had public opinion prevailed during the American Revolution, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would have been hung, and the East Coast of America would still be a British commonwealth. While the rest of America would still be divided up between France and Mexico. What a different world it would be if public opinion actually ruled the course of American history.

Third, regardless of what you might think of the man, one thing is certain. History will smile on President George W. Bush. Why? Because history will only remember him for one thing. He will be remembered as the man who against all odds, brought liberation to the Iraqi people, and introduced the whole middle east to the concept of freedom. You can love him for this, or you can hate him for it. But one thing is certain, history will treat him kindly because of it.

Fourth, as practicing Catholics, we are required to object to war unless it is a "just war" as defined by the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Catholic Church has simplified this matter for us by outlining the specific conditions of a "just war." The point of contention over the Iraq War was whether those conditions had been met. Many Christian theologians, including some Catholic ones, believed they had been met in the case for removing Saddam Hussein. However, the late Pope, John Paul the Great, disagreed. The Vatican's position was not that a "just war" wasn't possible with Saddam Hussein, but that more time was needed to insure that all the conditions of a "just war" were met. Therefore, the late pope took issue with the Bush administration over its policy in Iraq, stating that more time was needed, and American forces were prompted to invade too soon. To be clear, the Vatican position was never dogmatic. Practicing Catholics were never expected to agree with the Vatican on this issue, but as good Catholics we should have taken the pope's views seriously into consideration.

Since the war ended, however, the Vatican has put the issue behind it. Normal diplomatic relations have been restored between the Vatican and the Whitehouse, and the pope has made it clear to Catholics that our primary concern should no longer be the conditions of the war and how it started, but rather making sure the Iraqi people enjoy the full blessings of peace, liberty and freedom now that it's ending. This is the point of my post here. According to our pope, we as Catholics have no legitimate reason to be divided on this issue anymore. It no longer matters whether the war was just or not, because it's over. While philosophers and theologians can debate this issue for decades to come, we as lay Catholics should no longer let it get in the way of our Catholic duty to support peace, liberty and freedom for the Iraqi people. There has been a lot of talk about our policy in Iraq lately, and many politicians in both parties, have used the situation over there to capitalize on votes. Make no mistake it; playing politics with war is dangerous business, and one that is certain to backfire on those who do it. Right now there is much debate on how long our American troops should stay in Iraq. As Catholics our moral responsibility is to say that they should remain there until the job is done and the Iraqi people can fully defend themselves from terrorism. That is our duty as Catholics, and it's our responsibility as Americans. We can debate the start of the war all we want, but when it comes to its finish we must all be united in our moral responsibility to complete the job for the sake of freedom for the Iraqi people, as well as for the safety of Americans at home.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Gays Targeting Knights of Columbus

Lesbians Want More Than Just Fine for Knights of Columbus: Launch Appeal
Blogger captures “travesty” K of C v. lesbians Human Rights tribunal decision

Homosexual Advocate Lawyer Barbar FindlayEDMONTON, December 2, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Two lesbians, Tracey Smith and Deborah Chymyshyn, said yesterday that they are appealing a BC Human Rights Tribunal decision that granted $2,000 in damages for the “humiliation” they suffered for being denied a hall to celebrate their same-sex “wedding” from the Knights of Columbus.

“This is going to be the first real legal test of the (same-sex marriage law),” said the couple’s homosexual advocate lawyer, Barbara Findlay. Findlay is the founder of both provincial and federal “national queer lawyers’ groups” at the Canadian Bar Association. “We want the court to make the call – how far does freedom of religion extend under the charter? Where do we draw the line?”

“Basically the Knights were punished for bad manners, not discrimination,” Findlay emphasized. “We won the battle. We’re nowhere near winning the war.”

read full story here


Here's the deal. The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic religious organization. These two lesbians deceived the knights by reserving the knight's hall for a wedding reception. The knights were under the impression that this was a typical wedding between a man and a woman, and made the reservations for them. When it later came out that the wedding was for two lesbians, the knights returned their money and politely told them they could not host the event in good conscience because the hall is a Catholic religious facility, and homosexuality defies the teachings of the Church. So these two lesbians did what any good homosexual activist would do -- they sued! Thanks to Canada's liberal court system, they won the lawsuit -- sort of. They were awarded two-thousand dollars for the inconvenience placed on the lesbian couple. But like any good homosexual activist would do -- they appealed the decision because that wasn't good enough for them. They want to use Canada's new gay anti-discrimination law to bring the Knights of Columbus to its knees. They want bigger fines, more money, and perhaps even a chance to bring down the whole organization in Canada.

I submit to you the following. It is the opinion of this blogger that this was the intention of these lesbian activists all along. They intentionally hid the nature of their wedding from the knights, so they could get the reservation. Then they intentionally let the cat out of the bag, knowing the knights would cancel the reservation, so they could bring the lawsuit. This isn't about their stupid perverse "wedding" reception. This is about making an "example" out of the knights. They intended to bring this lawsuit from the very beginning, and they intend to take it as far as it will go. Their intention is to destroy the Knights of Columbus in Canada, and then as soon as they're done, other homosexual activists will go after other religious organizations. All other Christian organizations in Canada beware. You're next!

Catholic Church Is Cracking Down

San Bernardino Diocese Tries Priest on Heresy, Schism Charges
The intent is to defrock the Rev. Ned Reidy, who left the church to form his own Catholic parish.

In a rare move reminiscent of medieval times, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino convened a secret tribunal against a Riverside priest Tuesday after charging him with heresy and schism.

Meeting at diocesan headquarters in San Bernardino, the tribunal took up the case against the Rev. Ned Reidy, 69, who said he left the Roman Catholic Church five years ago and formed his own parish near Palm Desert. The parish later affiliated with a new denomination that holds services resembling those of the Roman Catholic Church but rejects the authority of the pope, mandatory priestly celibacy, and prohibitions against blessing same-sex unions and ordaining women...
read full story here

Alleged pope incarnate excommunicated
Bishop also issues warning to woman claiming to be Virgin Mary

MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A Roman Catholic bishop here has excommunicated members of a communal sect whose leader allegedly claims to be a manifestation of the late Pope John Paul II.

Sect leader Edwin Gonzalez Concepcion and his followers can no longer receive communion or participate in church activities, according to the order issued by Mayaguez Bishop Ulises Casiano Vargas.

Gonzalez, a former firefighter in the town of Aguada, has told his followers that he became a manifestation of John Paul when the pope died in April and that Pope Benedict XVI is the "antichrist," according to the order, which priests in the diocese read to their congregations Sunday.

Members of the group couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

The bishop also alleged that another sect leader, Gladys Miranda, claims she is the Virgin Mary, and that followers of the group make it hard for parishioners to receive communion by lying face-down in the aisle....
read full story here

And with that, all I have to say is God bless the reign of Pope Benedict XVI !!!! Let the inquisitions begin! I'm looking forward to them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Anti-Catholicism on the rise!

The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has blamed religious intolerance for a shooting attack on cars outside a Christmas carols ceremony in western Sydney last night. Cardinal Pell says those attending the service at St Joseph's Primary School at Auburn were harassed as it commenced. Towards the end of the event, the local priest heard gunshots....
read full story here

Vandals spray-painted satanic symbols on the exterior of a southeast Houston Roman Catholic church and defaced a statue over the weekend, police said. St. Alphonsus Church parishioners who arrived for services Sunday found the numbers "666" sprayed on the front door of the building at 9217 E. Avenue L. The word Satan and two five-pointed stars were also painted on the building...
read full story here

"Ken Schram, a commentator for the ABC affiliate in Seattle (KOMO), sarcastically complained yesterday about a piece of public art that the Seattle Art Museum wants to display. The work in question is that of a nude man reaching for a nude boy; it is to be displayed at a public park on the Seattle waterfront. Schram said that ‘a naked guy reaching for a naked kid has far more sordid interpretations in this day and age," and then said: ‘The sculpture might as well as be called the priest and the altar boy...."
read full story here

In addition to that, there have been many so-called "evangelists" who have been making the rounds at Evangelical Protestant churches all around the USA and Canada. They've been misrepresenting the teachings of the Catholic Church and labeled it a "cult." These "men of God' are encouraging Evangelicals to convert as many Catholics as possible in order to "save their souls from this evil religious system."

At the same time, the leftist groups in Europe and North America have become increasingly anti-catholic in their rhetoric as the Vatican takes a strong stand against gays in the priesthood.

Meanwhile, Catholics are being arrested in China simply for being Catholic, and Catholics (along with many other Christians) in Muslim countries are in danger for their lives every day.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pope says materialism pollutes Christmas spirit

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict warned on Sunday against rampant materialism which he said was polluting the spirit of Christmas...

read full story here

No kidding!

This is one reason why I love this pope. He's not afraid to just tell it like it is. For such a long time I actually dreaded the holidays, and in some ways I still do. They've always left me feeling tired and drained. Stress levels seem to go through the roof this time of year. Why is that? I was talking with an older gentleman the other day on this very topic. He was a self described scrooge. "Bah humbug!" he muttered in a half-joking, half-serious way. I stopped and thought about it for a few seconds and said: "You know I agree with you to a certain degree, but I don't hate Christmas. I just hate what they've done to it." When I say "they" I mean retailers. The older gentleman's eyes lit up like he knew exactly what I was talking about, and he snapped his fingers. "That's it!" he said. "You've nailed it."

The commercialization of Christmas has always been a problem, but in the early 20th century it rose to new levels unprecedented in history. The once beautiful holiday of evergreen and candlelight has been transformed into the commercial extravaganza of inflatable Santa Claus and plastic reindeer. The once pleasant custom of exchanging small gifts has morphed into the spoiling of young children with budget-busting toy binges. A holiday season that used to last a whole month, has now been truncated to just 25 days. While the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Christ) has been relegated to secondary status, trumped by the fabled tale of a jolly old elf and his eight flying reindeer. Er, excuse me, I mean nine flying reindeer. We can't forget Rudolph and his glowing red nose. Christmas at my parents' house has become the epitome of this. Practically the whole month of December is spent trying to get everything ready for this one special night -- Christmas Eve. As guests arrive, the presents under the tree pile up one by one, until there is barely enough room to walk around it. The whole evening is spent in anticipation as the nieces, nephews and grandchildren stuff dinner down their throats as fast as they can so they can hurry up and get back to the tree. The adults spend the second half of their dinner subjected to the whining of their children coming from the living room -- "Awh! Come on everybody. Can't you eat any faster?" Then, once everyone is done with dinner, and all are seated around the tree, a site unlike any other is witnessed. The children are unleashed! Like ravenous animals they leap toward the tree, each turning over boxes, and pushing the other out of the way, until they find a package marked for them. Then the shrill sound of paper ripping fills the room. Amidst all this ruckus an adult voice can occasionally be heard crying: "Wait! Who was that from?" Soon the living room is filled ankle deep in torn paper, and the kids go crazy with their new toys. Sometimes a "thank you" can be heard, sometime not. The ritual will be repeated one more time the next day in their own homes, and then it will be over. The radio stations will stop playing Christmas music. Retail stores will take down their Christmas displays. The decorations on the streets are removed, and the beautiful lights that filled our neighborhoods go off. Christmas is over, and we can all finally breath a sigh of relief.

Somehow, in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, we seem to forget the whole point. We hear the occasional mantra of "keep Christ in Christmas," but it's kind of hard to do that when you're having to navigate traffic while trying to get to the next shopping center. What is gift giving good for when the whole reason for giving is a fat elf in a red suit? We can fool ourselves and say there's more to it than that, but when you really stop and think about it, that isn't the message our kids are getting. To them; it's all about the toys, and the man of the hour is Santa Claus, not Jesus Christ. Retailers get the picture all too well. It's the most profitable time of the year. Their Christmas decorations aren't designed to make the neighborhood beautiful. They're designed to get you into their stores. Those who have the most elaborate Christmas displays can look forward to the most business, and that's what they're really after. To the children it's all about toys, but to the retailers, it's all about money. That's the spirit of Christmas folks. It's also the reason why so many retailers have tried to take the word "Christmas" out of Christmas. It's too sectarian, so they think, and they believe they can get even more business with the generic greeting of "Happy Holidays!" It seems the only people still fooled are the parents, who close their eyes, and keep telling themselves there's a deeper meaning. How many people really think about it though. I once randomly stopped a lady in a department store and asked her. (Don't ask me why I do these things, I'm just funny that way.) With a package of lights in hand, and plastic reindeer under her arm, she was yelling at her kids to hurry up. "We have to get these things up before it's too late!" Her strong accent gave her away. This was all somewhat new to her. I asked; "Hey, do you know what Christmas is all about?" She nodded her head quite firmly and replied; "Oh yes, I know all about it. My kids heard about it at school, and I asked my neighbors. We need to get these lights up quickly so Santa Clause will come to our house." Then she lowered her voice and whispered: "But I know he's not real. It's just to get the kids to be good. Then we'll reward them with their gifts. It's a great holiday. For three weeks my kids have behaved like little angels." "Funny you should say that," I responded, "because it was 2,000 years ago real angels announced the birth of Christ on Christmas Day." Suddenly she looked confused. She repeated back to me; "birth of Christ?" I could tell she wanted to ask me about it, but was quickly distracted by her kids waiting to check out at the cash register. She apologized for leaving so quickly and then scurried off. I wonder if she ever figured out what I was talking about.

C.S. Lewis wrote a short article about the commercialization of Christmas in England during the early 1950s. Europe was much more secularized than America, and so the story goes that he was riding in a bus when the two women seated in front of him were commenting on all of the beautiful Christmas decorations on the city streets. As they rounded a corner, they came upon a church, and there in front was a large nativity scene. Upon seeing it, the one lady turned to the other and said: "Oh gawd! Do they have to bring religion into everything!"

I shared some of these stories with the old man, the self-described scrooge, I was talking to the other day. I told him what I've done to remedy this situation in my own home, which is a work in progress. For the last five years or so I've resolved to do everything I can to celebrate Christmas like they did one-hundred years ago. The inflatable Santa and plastic reindeer are gone. What has replaced them is a glowing nativity scene, and I hope to replace it someday with a nice wooden one and small spotlights. The Christmas lights have come off the house, and have been placed in small evergreens planted in our front yard. The interior of my house is always dimly lit with candlelight, and decorated with evergreens. The Christmas tree is always lit with tiny white lights, creating a soft glow in the corner of the living room. The Advent wreath enjoys a prominent location. Each Sunday leading up to Christmas is marked with the lighting of a new candle, which we continue to light every night, until the next Sunday. The Christmas music played in our home is almost always classical. The sound of boys' choirs and instrumentals fill our house. In the days leading up to Christmas, and after, sacred scripture is read after dinner. Texts are selected based on their relevance to the season. When Christmas comes, we continue to celebrate it all the way through to January 1st. Because of the way commercialism has ruined Christmas, most Americans don't even know that Christmas is supposed to be a week long holiday, from Christmas Eve to New Years Day, not just one day (December 25th). So we stretch it out. The Christmas decorations stay up, and eight white candles are placed among the pieces of a beautiful nativity scene. Starting on Christmas Eve, one candle is lit for every night of the Christmas Octave until New Year's Eve. During that eight day period, we have guests over for dinner, attend mass regularly, and listen to Christmas music in the car and at home. We've tried to keep the gift giving down to a minimum. Each child gets one toy from each parent and relative, and most importantly, we tell them about the REAL Santa Clause -- who was the medieval St. Nicholas. We don't deprive our children of pictures with Santa or the Christmas specials that come on television. But at the same time, we let them know that the Santa Clause they see on television and in department stores is just for fun. There are no flying reindeer or toy-making elves, and Santa doesn't leave presents under our tree. Jesus is the reason for our season, and we make sure our kids know that. For us, Christmas is a truly CHRISTIAN holiday, and we try to make sure it stays that way. Each year I try to make it a little more authentic, and a little less plastic. Of course, this is all still a work in progress, and each year, I start to love Christmas just a little more.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

In Defense of Judge Samuel Alito

Fidelis has launched the first phase of an advertising campaign that celebrates America’s Judeo-Christian roots commemorated during this season, and defends Judge Samuel Alito.

click here to view the ad

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Russian Orthodox Church backs Vatican on Gay Seminarian Ban

Moscow, Dec. 09 (CWNews.com) - The Russian Orthodox Church has issued a statement of support for the Vatican's Instruction barring the admission of homosexual men to seminaries.

Father Igor Vyzhanov, a spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, told the Interfax news agency that while the Russian Orthodox Church differs with Catholicism insofar as married men may be ordained in the Eastern Church, the world's two largest Christian bodies "have a common approach to the problem of homosexuality."

read full story here

It's nice to get kudos from other churches on this. I wish other churches (like conservative Evangelical churches) would make similar public statements. Other Christians should keep in mind that the Catholic Church is going to come under serious attack by the Adversary for doing the right thing on this. It helps when other Christians (non-catholic) speak up in support.

Democratic Party Promotes Anti-Christian Bigotry

If ever there was a doubt about the Democratic Party pandering to anti-Christian elements of the extreme Left wing, it should all be dispelled now. It ain't your grandma's Democratic Party anymore! Democratic leaders all over America are reaching out to the most extreme and vile elements of our society. Where most people see a common thug or street punk, Democratic leaders now see votes. Radical socialists and devout atheists are all finding a new home in the Democratic Party. This bumper sticker is just the latest example of the contempt Democratic leaders now have for people of the Christian faith.


Democrats sell Christian 'hypocrite' sticker Fish symbol with hellish flames. It was removed from their website after exposure.

The official website of Washington State Democrats sold magnetic car stickers of the Christian fish symbol and cross emblazoned with the word "hypocrite" on a background of hellish flames.

The item was removed about mid-day yesterday after a weblog took note, calling it an example of Democrat Party hostility toward religious believers, especially Christians....

read full story here

Friday, December 9, 2005

Massachusetts Forces Catholic Hospitals to Provide Abortion Pills

Romney says no hospitals are exempt from pill law
He reverses stand on Plan B

Governor Mitt Romney reversed course on the state's new emergency contraception law yesterday, saying that all hospitals in the state will be obligated to provide the morning-after pill to rape victims.

The decision overturns a ruling made public this week by the state Department of Public Health that privately run hospitals could opt out of the requirement if they objected on moral or religious grounds.

Romney had initially supported that interpretation, but he said yesterday that he had changed direction after his legal counsel, Mark D. Nielsen, concluded Wednesday that the new law supersedes a preexisting statute that says private hospitals cannot be forced to provide abortions or contraception.

''And on that basis, I have instructed the Department of Public Health to follow the conclusion of my own legal counsel and to adopt that sounder view," Romney said at the State House after signing a bill on capital gains taxes...

read full story here

I was right. Nothing good comes out of Massachusetts anymore. The whole state government has become a sewer of "political correct" brainwashing. The City of Boston is the new Sodom and Gomorrah, where not even the Church is safe from its perversion. It's no wonder why the Archdiocese of Boston became the epicenter of the American-Catholic sex-abuse scandal in 2002. Massachusetts has become the first state in the Union to allow same-sex civil "marriage" and propose lower penalties for bestiality. Now the state government literally FORCES Catholic hospitals to commit the most egregious sin of our time -- the murder of innocent human life. Why am I not surprised?

Neither man nor beast is safe in Massachusetts. It brings to mind the image of young boys and sheep fleeing the state in a massive stampede. "Run for your lives!" "Bah Bah!" It would seem that in Massachusetts, the inmates are truly running the asylum. What's next? Will the state require that all hospitals (including Catholic ones) provide surgical abortion too? I wouldn't put it past them. I suppose after that, they'll force Catholic hospitals to provide sex-change operations as well.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

Pope to Reinterpret the Second Vatican Council

Forty years after the event, the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historic Sciences, Walter Brandmüller, clears up some historical issues. On December 8th, the Pope will give his assessment.

ROMA, December 5 2005 – Benedict XVI’s homily during the December 8th mass in Saint Peter’s, exactly forty years after the end of the Second Vatican Council, is eagerly awaited.

There are conflicting interpretations within the Church of this event and its consequences. One wide-spread idea is that Vatican II marked a “new beginning” in Church history, and that thanks to it – its “spirit” more than the words of its actual texts – the dogmas, laws, structures and traditions of the Church entered a phase of permanent reform. However, Joseph Ratzinger has shown on a number of occasions that he does not share this reading of the facts. And so has – amongst others – his cardinal vicar for the diocese of Rome, Camillo Ruini.

Only last June Ruini declared: “It is time for history to produce a new reconstruction of Vatican II – one that finally tells a true story”...
{read full story here}

This has the potential of becoming a VERY BIG STORY in the Catholic Church, with implications around the world for each and every practicing Catholic.

It has long been speculated that Pope Benedict XVI would direct the Church back toward a more traditionally Catholic understanding of the council and it's implications. There have long been two schools of thought concerning Vatican II. There are those who say the council kicked off a new age of reform and change which allowed the Church to transform into something totally different than what it was before the council. This was all done in the so-called "spirit of Vatican II." It is this first view that prevails in countries like the United States and Canada. While the second view is that the council says what it says, and the "spirit of Vatican II" is nothing other than the letter of Vatican II. There was nothing specifically wrong with the pre-council Church, and the goal of the council was to 'fine tune' the practices of the Church, not radically alter them. If the above article is accurate, it looks as if we'll get a glimpse of which view will prevail in the years ahead.

Vatican to Boston archdiocese: stop gay adoptions

Boston, Dec. 07 (CWNews.com) - The Boston archdiocese has received instructions to stop arranging adoptions for homosexual couples, the Boston Herald reports today.

The Herald, citing an anonymous Church source, said that Archbishop Sean O'Malley has received a letter from the papal nuncio in Washington, Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, saying that Catholic Charities must discontinue its current practice of helping same-sex couples adopt children....
{read full story here}

Does anything good come out of Boston anymore? Even the Church in Boston seems powerless to resist the influences of our morally decadent and "politically-correct" culture. From the sexual abuses that occurred under Cardinal Law's watch, to the Archdiocese' failure to excommunicate dissident heretics like John Kerry and Ted Kennedy; it seems that Boston has become the Sodom and Gomorrah of the United States. Let's just hope the Archdiocese heeds the Vatican instruction this time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Meet The REAL 'Santa Claus'

St. Nicholas
Feastday: December 6

Patron of Sailors,
Prostitutes and Children

The great veneration with which this saint has been honored for many ages and the number of altars and churches which have been everywhere dedicated in his memory are testimonials to his holiness and of the glory which he enjoys with God. He is said to have been born at Patara in Lycia, a province of Asia Minor. Myra, the capital, not far from the sea, was an episcopal see, and this church falling vacant, the holy Nicholas was chosen bishop, and in that station became famous by his extraordinary piety and zeal and many astonishing miracles. The Greek histories of his life agree that he suffered imprisonment of the faith and made a glorious confession in the latter part of the persecution raised by Diocletian, and that he was present at the Council of Nicaea and there condemned Arianism. He died at Myra, and was buried in his cathedral.

St. Nicholas would take nourishment only once on Wednesdays and Fridays, and that in the evening according to the canons. "He was exceedingly well brought up by his parents and trod piously in their footsteps. The child, watched over by the church enlightened his mind and encouraged his thirst for sincere and true religion". His parents died when he was a young man, leaving him well off and he determined to devote his inheritance to works of charity. An opportunity soon arose. A citizen of Patara had lost all his money, and had moreover to support three daughters who could not find husbands because of their poverty; so the wretched man was going to give them over to prostitution. This came to the ears of Nicholas, who thereupon took a bag of gold and, under cover of darkness threw it in at the open window of the man's house. (Some traditions say all the windows were closed, so he threw it down the chimney.) Here was a dowry for the eldest girl and she was soon duly married. At intervals Nicholas did the same for the second and third girl; and the last time the father was on the watch, recognized his benefactor and overwhelmed him with his gratitude.

Coming to the city of Myra when the clergy and people of the province were in session to elect a new bishop, St. Nicholas was indicated by God as the man they should choose. This was at the time of the persecutions at the beginning of the fourth century and "As he was the chief priest of the Christians of this town and preached the truths of faith with a holy liberty, the divine Nicholas was seized by the magistrates, tortured, then chained and thrown into prison with many other Christians. But when the great and religious Constatine, chosen by God assumed the imperial diadem of the Romans, the prisoners were released from their bonds and with them the illustrious Nicholas, who when he was set at liberty returned to Myra."

The accounts are unanimous that St. Nicholas died and was buried in his episcopal city of Myra, and by the time of Justinian there was a basilica built in his honor at Constantinople. An anonymous Greek wrote in the tenth century that, "the West as well as the East acclaims and glorifies him. Wherever there are people, in the country and the town, in the villages, in the isles, in the furthest parts of the earth, his name is revered and churches are built in his honor. Images of him are set up, panegyrics preached and festivals celebrated. All Christians, young and old, men and women, boys and girls, reverence his memory and call upon his protection."

It is the image of St. Nicholas', more often than that of any other, that is found on Byzantine seals; in the later middle ages nearly four hundred churches were dedicated in his honor in England alone; and he is said to have been represented by Christian artists more frequently than any saint except the Virgin Mary. St. Nicholas is venerated as the patron saint of several classes of people, especially, in the East, of sailors and in the West of children. The first of these patronage is probably due to the legend that during his life time, he appeared to storm tossed mariners who invoked his aid off the coast of Lycia and brought them safely to port. Sailors in the Aegean and Ionian seas, following a common Eastern custom, had their "star of St. Nicholas" and wished one another a good voyage in the phrase "May St. Nicholas hold the tiller." The legend of the three children nearly sold into prostitution gave rise to his patronage of prostitutes and children and various observances, ecclesiastical and secular, especially in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. This gave rise to the giving of presents in his name at Christmas time. This custom in England is not a survival from Catholic times. It was popularized in America by the Dutch Protestants of New Amsterdam who had converted the Catholic saint into a mythical Nordic magician (Santa Claus = Sint Klaes = Saint Nicholas) and was apparently introduced into the United States by Bret Harte in around 1869. It is not the only "good old English custom" which, however good, is not "old English", at any rate in its present form.