Friday, July 31, 2009

Pope calls staff at Les Combes his 'invisible and efficient angel

The following comes from the CNA:

As Pope Benedict XVI departed from his vacation villa in northern Italy, he thanked the staff that attended to him and called them his “invisible and efficient angels.”

From the balcony where he prayed the Angelus on Sunday, July 26, the Holy Father addressed police officers, firefighters, and staff from the Vatican Health Care Services and said, “Dear friends, at the conclusion of these two weeks of vacation, I thank you from my heart for such competent, discreet and efficient service.”

“You have been like angels: angels are invisible but at the same time efficient. You have been such as well. You were invisible to me, but always efficient,” he added. The Pope said he spent his vacation in “heavenly peace” and in silence interrupted only be “the sounds of the Creator,” such as the singing of birds.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pope Benedict invites priests to Rome!

The following comes from the Zenit site:

Benedict XVI is inviting priests from around the world to Rome next June to close the Year for Priests.

The International Conference for Priests will be held June 9-11, 2010, culminating with a Mass presided over by the Pope.

The theme for the conference, like that of the priestly year, is "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests." The program includes moments of prayer, reflection, the chance to go to confession, and the papal Mass.

The organization of the event has been entrusted to Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican institution whose mission is to evangelize through pastoral tourism and the ministry of pilgrimage.

More information on the program and registration (for now, only in Italian) can be found at their Web site.

Wow, 500,000 hits! Let's do that again!

Thanks to all of you who frequent this blog site! 500,000 hits is pretty amazing! Let's do that again! God bless!

Indulgence and the Year for Priests

Pope Benedict says his guardian angel allowed accident to teach him humility

This is the whole story of the Holy Father's injured wrist! The news comes from CNA:

Pope Benedict XVI said today that his guardian angel did not prevent him from fracturing his wrist earlier this month. He suggested his angel was “certainly following superior orders” in order to use the accident to teach him humility and to provide him with more time for prayer.

Speaking at the Alpine resort Les Combes, where he tripped and injured his wrist ten days ago, the Pope thanked law enforcement officials for being “like angels” in their response to his accident.

"Unfortunately, my own guardian angel did not prevent my injury, certainly following superior orders," Pope Benedict said, according to the Associated Press.

If you've never failed...

Hat tip to Jackie for this one!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Myth of Overpopulation

The pilot episode of PRI's POP 101 series, this video takes a fresh, humorous approach to the demographic issues facing the world today. Visit and spread the word: the world is not overpopulated!
Hat tip to Patrick Madrid!

Priests beaten, one thrown from hospital window as Vietnamese Catholics protest

Please pray for the Church in Vietnam as things seem to be deteriorating. Please pray especially for Fr. Peter Nguyen who is critical condition after being beaten by plain-clothes police and a government paid mob. The following comes from CNA:

Two priests were hospitalized in the central Vietnamese coastal city of Dong Hoi after being beaten brutally by plain-clothed police and a gang employed by the local government. One of the priests, who is now comatose, was thrown from the second floor of the hospital where he was visiting the first victim.

On Sunday, Fr. Paul Nguyen Dinh Phu, parish priest of Du Loc, was attacked by a group of plain-clothed police and thugs when he was travelling to Tam Toa parish to concelebrate morning Mass with five other priests of Trooc Deanery.

At 7 a.m. that morning, 170 priests and 420 women religious led hundreds of thousands of Catholics from the Diocese of Vinh and neighboring dioceses in peaceful protests throughout Vinh's 19 deaneries. The protesters were demanding justice for victims assaulted by police on July 20 as they were trying to rebuild their place of worship at Tam Toa parish. Seven of the Catholics arrested by the police on July 20 remain in custody.

On their way to protest at Tam Toa with the Trooc Deanery on Sunday, three Catholic women were beaten by a group of men. Fr. Paul Nguyen reported that he tried to intervene to rescue the women.

“Before I could open my mouth, they left the women and turned on me as they recognized me as a Catholic priest,” he said. “They kicked me brutally.”

“There were at least 30 police in full uniform standing nearby,” the priest added, but “they looked indifferently at the attack.”

The gang kicked Fr. Paul Nguyen in his ribs, in his face, and on his head until a group of Catholics managed to rescue him and take him to a nearby hospital.

The gang returned to the hospital with more people and more weapons. They have since surrounded the hospital, Fr. An Dang says.

The Bishop of Vinh’s office made an urgent complaint to the People’s Committee of Quang Binh and asked Fr. Peter Nguyen The Binh, pastor of the close by parish Ha Loi, to accompany Tran Cong Thuat, Deputy Governor of Quangh Bin, to visit the injured priest.

Fr. An Dang tells CNA that during the visit to the hospital, Thuat secretly withdrew. When he left, the gang jumped on Fr. Peter Nguyen and cruelly beat him before throwing him from the second floor of the hospital.

Fr. Peter Nguyen is presently in critical condition in a coma and is not responsive.

For more on this story click here.

Pelosi Doubletalks on Abortion in Health Care

This is amazing. This woman is the third most powerful person in America. Hear House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) duck, weave, stammer, and prevaricate in response to a question from CNN's John King about whether the Obama health bill will pay for abortions (July 26, 2009). Check out more on this here.

VIETNAM: Death threats against believers in Dong Hoi, as the police arrest a Catholic

Here is the latest from the situation in Vietnam. The Catholic faithful continue to be harassed by thugs and by police for simply wearing Catholic religious symbols. We need to pray for the faithful in Vietnam during these days. Here is the story from

A Catholic from Dong Hoi was arrested yesterday by police and groups of thugs – in the service of law enforcement - shouted death threats against the faithful. The city of Dong Hoi is located about 500 km south of Hanoi and the Local Government (found in Quang Binh) has declared there are "no Catholics" in the area, even if there are at least three thousand faithful.

Fr. Vo Thanh Tam, secretary of the College of Priests of Vinh Diocese (to which Dong Hoi belongs) confirmed that several Catholics were arrested a few days ago and that yesterday “Mr. Nguyen Cong Ly was arrested. His house is frequently used by the faithful for liturgical services”. In fact there are no churches in the area, the only one being Tam Toa, which is in ruins and which the government wants to use as a "memorial" to the war against the United States. Other sources say that the area is being used to build a tourist village (see AsiaNews 21/07/09 - Beatings and arrests of priests and faithful in the historic church of Tam Toa).

According to witnesses, the police and groups of thugs are roaming the streets and attacking those who visibly wear Catholic religious symbols.

In recent weeks a group of faithful tried to repair the ruins of Tam Toa, but were stopped by police, brutally beaten and arrested. To demand their release impressive demonstrations were held by Catholics in the diocese of Vinh, in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), in Hanoi and other cities.

Immediately after the episode in Tam Toa, hundreds of Catholic families fled Dong Hoi to find refuge in Ha Tinh and Nghe An (also in the diocese of Vinh).

Meanwhile more than 600 state media began a campaign of disinformation against the Catholics of Tam Toa, demanding they be charged and inciting hatred toward Catholics.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Commentary on Caritas in Veritate from Cardinal Bertone and Father Barron

The following comes from the CNA:

The Italian Senate took time on Tuesday to hear about a topic not usually on their agenda—a papal encyclical. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican's Secretary of State, addressed the senators about "Caritas in Veritate" and how it can help them respond to the "ethical, cultural and social challenges of today."

The speech by Cardinal Bertone was delivered at the invitation of the president of the Italian Senate on Thursday morning.

Cardinal Bertone highlighted some of the anthropological and theological aspects of the Pope's latest encyclical, which is devoted to encouraging countries to promote the true development of man, a development that encompasses the material, spiritual and moral arenas.

The Secretary of State also recalled that in 2004 the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had given a "lectio magistralis" in the Senate library on the theme: "Europe. Its spiritual roots, yesterday, today and tomorrow." On that occasion, he reminded, the future Pontiff had focused on certain themes that are now contained in his third Encyclical, such as "the affirmation of the profound reasons behind the dignity of individuals and their rights," and marriage and the family as elements that have forged European identity.

The cardinal said that he believes the representatives of the Italian people will find the Pope's words to be "an exalted and profound source of inspiration when carrying out their mission." Hopefully, the encyclical will enable them to respond "adequately to the ethical, cultural and social challenges of today."

New technologies and new relationships from the Salesian Perspective!

The Councilor for Social Communications for the Salesians of Don Bosco is
Fr. Filiberto Gonzalez SDB. Here he writes an article for Salesian News Service on the new developments in technology and the development of a culture of respect and faith:

For the Salesian world there is a fine coincidence: the Feast of Mary Help of Christians and the 43rd World Day of Communications with the theme “New technologies, new relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship." which points out how “new digital technologies are bringing about fundamental shifts in patterns of communication and human relationships.”

In his message Benedict XVI, following in the steps of Vatican II and his predecessors, addresses young people inviting them to open themselves up to the new technologies in order to promote hope in God made Man.

Included in the Pope’s message are typically Salesian approaches: confidence in the young and inviting them to take the lead in the evangelisation of the “new digital continent”. Pope Benedict writes: “In this year’s message, I am conscious of those who constitute the so-called digital generation and I would like to share with them, in particular, some ideas concerning the extraordinary potential of the new technologies, if they are used to promote human understanding and solidarity.”

“New technologies, new relationships” ought to lead us to take up with courage and creativity the challenges of education and evangelisation in the “new virtual playgrounds”. The Pope says: “It is up to you young people, who have an almost spontaneous affinity for the new means of communication, to take on the responsibility for the evangelization of this "digital continent."

The coincidence with the Feast of Mary Help of Christians gives this 43rd World Day of Communications a special significance. As Mary knew how to accept the Word in order to give Him to the world, young people are invited by the Pope to take up with enthusiasm the proclaiming of the Gospel to their own peers. “You know their fears and their hopes, their aspirations and their disappointments: the greatest gift you can give to them is to share with them the "Good News" of a God who became man, who suffered, died and rose again to save all people.”

The Salesian world entrusts this World Day of Communications which invites us to join the “digital continent” to the Help of Christians who guided the founding and the history of the Congregation of Don Bosco.

Hillsong: With all I am

John Paul II: An example for priests

Hat tip to Let's Get it Right on this one!

Eucharistic adoration leading to booming vocations in Uganda

If you are like me then you love to hear good news about vocations! This is a story about the affect of eucharistic adoration on the young people of Uganda. We need to encourage more and more of this in our own country as well! The following comes from the Catholic Online site:

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in Uganda is attracting more and more lay people to prayer and encouraging vocations to the religious life.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), nuns from two separate contemplative orders described how prayer before the Eucharist was proving increasingly popular. Sister Consolate Shirima, of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, in Arua, on Uganda’s north-west border, described how over the last five years increasing numbers of lay people have been joining the Sisters for adoration.

Sister Shirima said that the number of visitors to the chapel throughout the day has led the order to appoint a Sister to look after the laity coming to adoration. She went on to say that another 300-400 join the monastery for prayers on Sundays. The nun said, “They come for adoration on their own at any time they want to. There are some hours where you find two or sometimes three people or even groups of 10.”

Holy Trinity Monastery, where the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration are based, has now become too small to house the increasing number of nuns. Sr. Shirima said, “Still the number is growing, but because of the lack of rooms we have to turn people away, so we are looking to extend the monastery.”

Aid to the Church in Need will be helping with a grant of just over $7,000, enabling the Sisters to extend their small monastery and allow new-comers to join the community including 12 professed nuns and one novice. The modest size of the community is considered enormous in Africa where contemplative orders are generally very small most are joining active apostolates instead.

According to the nun, one reason people come is they are seeking solace in prayer because of the difficulties and poverty in the local area. She said, “When you have problems you are easily drawn to God through adoration, some of them get consolations, even though these may be small.”

Sr. Shirima also described how the impact of AIDS in Uganda had contributed to much of the suffering. The nun said, “Poverty comes because people have died from AIDS leaving children living with their grandparents….Usually in Africa we have large families with up to 10 children, now because of deaths from AIDS you find one person bringing up over 20 children.”

Alcohol and drug-taking are also among the problems facing local people. “They have completed school, but there is a lack of employment, so they get frustrated,” said Sr. Shirima, “And out of frustration they turn to drink and drugs.”

Sr. Marie Claire who comes from another congregation, the Benedictine Nuns of the Blessed Sacrament, described the calming effect of prayer on worshipers. She said, “After adoration they feel peace, and when they have been having wrangles they would like to be reunited.”

The Sister continued, saying, “So after an hour of adoration they feel that they want to make peace with that person. They feel the Eucharist makes them reunited with others and the whole Church that is what they say they feel when they come before the Blessed Sacrament….Some come afterwards and say, ‘Yes, I am now alright with my brother/husband/wife who has not been talking to me for two or three days’ they continue with real life in peace.”

Not only in Uganda but across the African continent adoration is growing in popularity, and in Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, new adoration chapels have been built.

In addition to the $7,000 for the extension of Holy Trinity Monastery, ACN has, since 2000, supported 359 projects in Uganda totaling over $4.2 million including Church-run AIDS awareness programs. Last year, ACN supported 69 projects across the country totaling $919,357.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Perpetual Adoration in Boston

I think the more we see of this the more vocations we will see as well! The hat tip to the Anchoress on this one.

To see the image of God in Boston, a passerby need only look up.

Two billboards featuring the Eucharist displayed in a monstrance tower over the streets in Brighton and East Boston. The words under the image read, “The Son’s rays for your soul.”

These advertisements are meant to get the word out about the return of perpetual adoration to Boston after a 40-year absence. St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine on Boylston Street will mark the start of adoration with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley on Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption.

From then on, the Eucharist will be exposed in a monstrance all day, every day, apart from regularly scheduled Mass times. Currently, the shrine offers adoration six hours or more daily.
Tim Van Damm, coordinator of the effort, said the grace at the already vibrant St. Clement community will be multiplied.

“Anytime the Lord is present 24-hours a day, seven days a week, people are changed,” he said. “This is a way to build spiritually and bring people together in prayer.”

Van Damm said that St. Clement, a community he has been active in since 2000, was a natural choice for perpetual adoration because it is a eucharistic shrine.

Cardinal Richard Cushing made St. Clement into a eucharistic shrine, staffed by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, in 1945. The sisters maintained perpetual adoration from 1945 to the late 1960s. The Oblates of the Virgin Mary began staffing the shrine in 1976.

The effort to bring perpetual adoration back to Boston is a direct response to the call of Pope Benedict XVI to have spaces dedicated to prayers for vocations and the sanctity of priests during the Year for Priests which began in June and runs to June 2010. St. Clement’s will be the designated site in the Central Region of the archdiocese.

Van Damm said the inspiration for his involvement came from his own need to adore the Lord in the Eucharist. Van Damm said adoration has “re-ignited” his faith and given him much peace.

Marie Baranko, another member of the St. Clement’s community, agreed. Before she came to the shrine, Baranko said she did not believe in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Raised Catholic, she had never before seen adoration. After being invited to the shrine by a roommate, she attended adoration and recognized Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

“When you seek the truth, God honors that,” she said. “He reveals Himself to you.”

Her experience has also resulted in the discernment of her vocation. She will be entering the Sisters of Life order in September. She will be praying for the success of perpetual adoration at St. Clement’s from New York, she said.

“The shrine has played a major role in my vocation,” she said. “It’s centered around the Eucharist.”

She hopes that perpetual adoration at St. Clement’s will help others to “fall more in love with the Lord.”

Director of the shrine, Father Peter Grover, OMV said perpetual adoration has a “powerful effect” wherever it is instituted.

“Any church that emphasizes prayer is going to affect the Church of Boston as well as the community,” he said. “It will be a big grace in the city.”

In order to invite everyone to adoration at St. Clement’s, in addition to the billboards organizers are sending e-mails and posting signs in neighboring parishes. Van Damm has been a guest on two national radio shows and will be featured on CatholicTV’s “This is the Day” on Aug. 4 at 10:30 a.m. Organizers also hope to be able to buy advertising space on the MBTA’s Green Line subway trains.

Van Damm said the costly advertisements are “a leap of faith.”

For more information, to download a sign-up sheet or to donate to the effort, visit the Web site at

Half a million Vietnamese Catholics march through the streets against police violence

The story continues to unfold in Vietnam. We need to pray for the Church there in a special way these days. There were peaceful marches in the streets with a half million Catholics taking to the streets! The demonstrators protest against the arrests and police violence against Catholics last week, who were attacked by security forces at the ruins of the Tam Toa church. The following comes from the AsiaNews:

Half a million Catholics in Vietnam took to the streets of their cities to protest against police violence and the attack on hundreds of faithful July 20, at the ruins of Tam Toa church (see AsiaNews 21/07 / 09 - beatings and arrests of priests and faithful in the historic church of Tam Toa).

The diocese of Vinh, 300 km south of Hanoi, and other neighbouring diocese organized 19 parades in as many deaneries, demanding the immediate release of the faithful, beaten and arrested by security forces at Tam Toa. About 170 priests and 420 religious led the peaceful protests that took place simultaneously in yesterday morning, at various locations in the provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh.

Organizers report some clashes between police and groups of demonstrators, in areas of the country where police had ordered people not to take part in the procession. Despite these threats, the faithful marched on, creating an event that some people are calling the greatest to ever take place in the country for religious reasons. The Tam Toa episode and these Sunday parades have rekindled tensions between the government and the Vietnamese Christian community regarding the issue of Church property confiscated by Hanoi. Nhan Dan, the newspaper of the Communist Party, launched a slander campaign against Catholics after the events of Tam Toa accusing the faithful, who had erected a cross and an altar there, of "counter-revolutionary activities, disturbance of public order and violence against public officers in service”. The bishop of the diocese of Vinh, where the ruins of the church at the centre of the debate are found, has begin a tug of war with local officials in Quang Binh, who have jurisdiction on the case, accusing them of hiding the truth and breaking the law.

In a letter sent to local government, the Diocese of Vinh calls for the release of Catholics arrested in Tam Toa, medical care for the wounded beaten by police and the return of the cross and liturgical furnishings brought by the faithful to the ruins of the church and confiscated by police after the clashes. The silent protest marches organized yesterday reiterated the demands of the diocese of Vinh to the authorities. And the community of Vietnamese Catholics around the world have expressed their support for the event by observing a minute silence during Sunday masses.

VIETNAM: Police stop Catholics from building makeshift worship venue

I posted a bit on this earlier in the week. Here is more on the ongoing drama that is unfolding in Vietnam for the Catholic faithful. The following comes from

Over 100 policemen and security officials attacked Catholics from a parish in central Vietnam as they were erecting a temporary structure for worship.

In a message posted on Vinh diocese's website, diocesan secretary Father Antoine Pham Dinh Phung said that "more than 20 local Catholics were hit severely, pushed into military vehicles and detained" in the incident.


Photo from Vinh diocese’s website showing police
with batons at the Tam Toa parish compound on July 20

The priest said that on July 20 morning, 150 Catholics from Tam Toa parish were setting up a temporary worship structure in their church compound when they were prevented from doing so by the officials.

He urged "all local Catholics to pray for Tam Toa parishioners," especially those who have been hurt and detained in the incident.

Father Pierre Le Thanh Hong, who provides pastoral activities to the parish, said many people resisted and were hit.

He said the officials pulled down a wooden cross and even attacked women who tried to prevent them from carrying it away. They also carried away iron sheets and other building materials as well as two generators, he added.

Father Hong, who is pastor of Sen Bang parish, said many Catholics' cameras were also confiscated.

The parish is in Dong Hoi city, capital of Quang Binh province.

According to local Church records, Tam Toa church was damaged during the Vietnam War (1959-1975). Only its bell tower and walls are presently standing.

Local Catholics have been attending Mass held in the open in the church compound or at their homes since the end of the war. The parish also has not had any resident priest from 1964 to 2006, until Father Hong was assigned to serve the area, which now has about 1,000 parishioners.

In 1997, the government declared the place a historical site without the approval of the local Church. Declaring a place a historical site implies that it is public property. The church was damaged by American bombing in 1968.

However, parishioners insist that the property belongs to the Church.

Father Hong said that he has also sent a report on the incident to Bishop Paul Marie Cao Dinh Thuyen of Vinh, 82, who has been abroad since June 19.

In a July 21 letter to the People's Committee of Quang Binh province, Father Phung said the local Church strongly opposes and condemns the violent police action, the arrests and confiscation of Church belongings. He also urged the provincial authorities to immediately release those detained, saying the injured people have to be given medical care.

He also asked for Church belongings to be returned.

"If our requirements are not fulfilled, the provincial government has to be held completely accountable to the law," he stated.

Redemptorist Father Vincent Pham Trung Thanh, provincial superior of the Redemptorists, also sent a message to diocesan officials and Catholics. He asked local authorities to provide a list of the injured and ensure they receive medical care.

Father Thanh said Redemptorist-run parishes will hold gatherings and pray for the injured and detained.


Photo from Vinh diocese’s website showing
Catholics erecting a temporary structure in the
Tam Toa parish church prior to the police action

Vicar General Father Francis Xavier Vo Thanh Tam has asked Catholics in the diocese to express their solidarity with Tam Toa parishioners by praying for the injured and supporting them materially and spiritually.

On July 21, 50 Catholics from Hanoi visited the scene of the incident.

Earlier reports on the diocesan website said that Bishop Thuyen has had discussions with provincial authorities regarding Church property. However the details of the discussions are not known.

Father Hong said he and local Catholics wanted to erect the temporary structure for their urgent religious needs. They also plan to build a new church on the foundations of the old one.

This was the first time such a structure had been built in the Church compound.

In January, Bishop Thuyen decided to establish one parish and re-establish five sub parishes whose buildings were in ruins.

More on Vietnam here

and here as well.

John Piper on St. Augustines Battle with Sin

Catholic Schools Are Saving New Orleans' Children

I am really glad to see the Catholic Schools are coming back strong in New Orleans! We need to continue to support them and pray for them as their resources shrink and their student population swells. The following comes from Inside Catholic:

Catholics Teach the Children of New Orleans
Since the Katrina disaster, the schools of the Archdiocese of New Orleans have swelled to double the enrollment of the local public schools -- 40,000 to 20,000. Rev. Neal McDermott, O.P., superintendent of the Catholic schools, told me yesterday that the archdiocese is facing a financial crunch when the $10 million in Catholic Charities money, allocated in 2006 to help the schools following the hurricane, runs out.

"Beginning in June 2010, we will have to find $700,000 a year to replace those funds," he said. (Gov. Bobby Jindal eased some of the financial burden by getting a voucher bill passed for kindergarten through fourth grade.)

Since all the public schools in New Orleans have been officially pronounced "failing," parents have been moving their children to charter schools and private schools, but above all to Catholic schools, where 60 percent of the 40,000 students are non-Catholic.

This past spring the Catholic high schools graduated 2,785 seniors, with an amazing 96 percent being admitted into college and another 2 percent into the military. That compares with a 40 percent graduation rate in the public schools. "We teach students from the same neighborhood as the public schools, but we act in loco parentis, because many of these children get little supervision or food at home," Father McDermott explains. The Catholic schools provide their students breakfast, lunch, a snack, and afternoon supervision so that homework is completed before the students go home.

Father McDermott had to consolidate a number of "central schools" in the inner city to accommodate the demand for Catholic education. One of the archdiocesan schools is the Cathedral Academy in the French Quarter, where five Nashville Dominicans are teaching. These five sisters walked through the streets of the Quarter recruiting students, including some from a cruise ship docked in the harbor, where the families of firemen and other service personnel were living after the floods.

"The sisters are applauded wherever they go," Father McDermott told me.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Senator Kyl: Dem Health Care Legislation Will Force Providers to Perform Abortions

This whole "health care" mess is a stunt to move forward the left wing agenda regarding abortion and euthanasia. Mandatory language on performing abortions is in the bill. The government and our tax dollars will be funding this heinous activity. Hat tip to Gateway Pundit on this!

Funding on abortion is required--
Senator Jon Kyl was on FOX News Sunday today and admitted that the Democratic health care legislation passed in the House and currently being discussed in the US Senate will require all health care providers, including Catholic institutions, to perform abortions.

Sarah Palin's Farewell Speech

God bless her! Here is the whole story on Brietbart.

Tim Tebow, Faith and the Media

I am an avid LSU Tiger fan and I hope we beat the Gators on October 17, but it is hard not to pull for Tim Tebow. This committed young Christian doesn't shy away from living his faith despite the great pressures put upon him by the press. I found this at the Get Religion site:

If you are a college sports fan of any kind, then you already know about Tim Tebow, the muscular Christian who plays quarterback for the University of Florida Gators. He’s already won the Heisman Trophy and two national titles and now he’s back again as a senior, trying to build on that amazing foundation.

Of course, he is also the outspoken missionary kid who wrote John 3:16 in the black patches under his eyes in a national championship game, which inspired roughly 94 million Bible-challenged viewers to Google that very, very famous Bible passage. You may also remember the media storm when he turned his brief Heisman acceptance speech into an evangelistic rally.

Now, a reporter has gone and done it, asking the quarterback a controversial question that, dang it, Tebow answered without a flinch. Here’s a piece of a typical weblog item on the fiasco, which is still leading the South Florida Sun-Sentinel sports page online. Check out the headline.

Spiritual Florida quarterback Tim Tebow admits he’s a virgin

You no longer need to wonder if the devoutly spiritual Tim Tebow is a virgin.

Now you know. Responding to a question from radio reporters at SEC Media Days Thursday about whether he is saving himself for marriage, Tebow laughed initially and then said seriously, “Yes, I am.”

When another reporter stumbled through and couldn’t finish a follow-up question, the 21-year-old University of Florida quarterback laughed and said, “I think you’re stunned right now. You can’t even ask a question. … I was ready for that question, but I don’t think ya’ll were.”

Here is more on the Tebow affect and the night before the National Championship Game:

Even Meyer would admit, however, that the Tebow Effect can be disruptive. Various Gators assistants were approaching DefCon 1 in the hours before last January’s BCS title game against Oklahoma: Fifteen or so players were not in their rooms at the team hotel and couldn’t be found. It turned out they’d been summoned to Tebow’s room, where the quarterback admitted that the immense pressure of the looming title game had begun to distract him, wear him down. Thumbing through his Bible (the one with timmy inscribed on the cover), he’d chanced upon a passage in Matthew that gave him a measure of calm and that he wanted to share with them: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The verses had the desired effect, relaxing the assembled Gators so much that a kind of impromptu revival meeting broke out. Soon the entire group had broken into song.

To read more on this story please click here.

The Priest is an Instrument of Salvation if He Trusts in God

There was great anticipation this Sunday for the Popes Angelus in Les Combes, as it was the village where the Holy Father has been spending his holidays. The Bishop of Aosta, Giuseppe Anfossi, after celebrating mass, welcomed Pope Benedict on behalf of his diocese and on behalf of everyone who had come from near and far to be in Les Combes for the Angelus. The Bishop also thanked the Holy Father for his visit to the Cathedral of Aosta on Friday where he presided over Vespers. Before reciting the Marian Prayer the Pope referred to a passage in St Johns Gospel which recounts the miracle of the loaves and the fishes.

True Power is Mercy and Forgiveness

Pope Benedict celebrated Vespers in the Cathedral of Aosta on Friday evening. During his homily, the Holy Father told the 400 priests, religious, and lay faithful gathered in the Church that Christ suffered for the salvation of the world, because there is an ocean of evil, hatred and injustice, and many victims of this evil find a path on the river of goodness, truth, and a love greater than injustice.

The pope remarked on his encyclical Caritas in veritate, saying he wanted to show that God comes first in the personal lives of mankind and in history. He said that the omnipotence of God does not work against our freedom, love and truth, because God is freedom, love, and truth.

Hat tip to Let's Get it Right on this one!

Health care mess: Devil in the details!

The devil really is in the details! My cousin sent this to me today and I thought it would be good to share. We have to pray this "health care" is stopped. There is so much on the line, including the right to NOT pay for abortions! Here are a few one liners from the health bill:

Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benes u get

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!!

Pg 42 of HC Bill - The Health Choices Commissioner will choose UR HC Benefits 4 you. U have no choice!

PG 50 Section 152 in HC bill - HC will be provided 2 ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise

Pg 58 HC Bill - Govt will have real-time access 2 individs finances & a National ID Healthcard will b issued!

Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Govt will have direct access 2 ur banksaccts 4 elect. funds transfer

PG 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan 4 retirees and their families in Unions & community orgs (ACORN).

Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Govt is creating an HC Exchange 2 bring priv HC plans under Govt control.

PG 84 Sec 203 HC bill - Govt mandates ALL benefit pkgs 4 priv. HC Plans in the Exchange

PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will ration ur Healthcare!

PG 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill - Govt mandates linguistic approp svcs. Example - Translation 4 illegal aliens

PG 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Govt will use groups i.e., ACORN & Americorps 2 sign up indiv. for Govt HC plan

PG 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs of Ben Levels 4 Plans. #AARP members – U Health care WILL b rationed

PG 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill - Medicaid Eligible Indiv will be automat. enrolled in Medicaid. No choice

PG 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No judicial review against Govt Monop

PG 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill - Doctors/ #AMA - The Govt will tell YOU what u can make.

Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into pub Opt plan. NO CHOICE

PG 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay 4 HC 4 part time employees AND their families.

PG 149 Lines 16-24 ANY Emplyr w payroll 400k & above who does not prov. pub opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll

PG 150 Lines 9-13 Biz w payroll btw 251k & 400k who doesn’t prov. pub. opt pays 2-6% tax on all payroll

PG 167 Lines 18-23 ANY individual who doesnt have acceptable HC according 2 Govt will be taxed 2.5% of inc

PG 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from indiv. taxes. (Americans will pay)

PG 195 HC Bill -officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access 2 ALL Americans finan/pers recs

PG 203 Line 14-15 HC - The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax. Yes, it says that!

PG 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Govt will reduce physician svcs 4 Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected

PG 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill - Doctors, doesnt matter what specialty u have, you’ll all be paid the same

PG 253 Line 10-18 Govt sets value of Drs time, prof judg, etc. Literally value of humans.

PG 265 Sec 1131Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries

PG 268 Sec 1141 Fed Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven wheelchairs

PG 272 SEC. 1145. TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS – Cancer patients --welcome to rationing!

PG 280 Sec 1151 The Govt will penalize hospitals 4 what Govt deems preventable readmissions.

PG 298 Lines 9-11 Drs, treat a patient during initial admiss that results in a read miss-Govt will penalize u.

PG 317 L 13-20 OMG!! PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Drs. what/how much they can own.

PG 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating hospitals cannot expand

PG 321 2-13 Hospitals have oppt to apply for exception BUT community input required. Can u say ACORN?!!

PG 335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339 - Govt mandates estab. of outcome based measures. HC the way they want. Rationing

PG 341 Lines 3-9 Govt has authority 2 disqual Medicare Adv Plans, HMOs, etc.. Forcing peeps in2 Govt plan

PG 354 Sec 1177 - Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs people!

PG 379 Sec 1191 Govt creates more bureaucracy - Telehealth Advisory Cmte. Can u say HC by phone?

PG 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life (assisted suicide)

PG 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

PG 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Govt provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding u in death

PG 427 Lines 15-24 Govt mandates program 4 orders 4 end of life. The Govt has a say in how your life ends

PG 429 Lines 1-9 An adv. care planning consult (assisted suicide) will be used frequently as patients health deteriorates

PG 429 Lines 10-12 adv. care consultation may incl an ORDER 4 end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOV

Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.

PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Govt will decide what level of treatment u will have at end of life

PG 469 - Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Svcs here!!?

PG 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment 2 a community-based org. Like ACORN?

PG 489 Sec 1308 The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. Which means they will insert Govt in2 ur marriage

PG 494-498 Govt will cover Mental Health Svcs including defining, creating, rationing those svcs

The Story of Adam Bender

John Paul II and Benedict XVI in the media

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Give Him what you have!

Archbishop Chaput on Catholics and the Mass Media

The media has certainly changed over the years. It is more important than ever for all of us to be careful about where we get our news. Archbishop Chaput speaks on the need for all of us, especially Catholics, to be more vigilant than ever in how we acquire our information.

The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, speaking at a meeting of “Legatus”, an organisation of Catholic business men, urged Catholics to understand how the media operates and what goes on behind the scenes.

In his address given on 8 July and reported by Zenit, Archbishop Chaput, referring to the current situation in the US, gave a very critical analysis of the media.

Internet and 24 hour news programmes have not only changed radically the production of news programmes, once limited to a morning, afternoon and evening edition of a newspaper, but also the way in which the public obtains its information. The Archbishop pointed out how visual and electronic media, today’s dominant media, need a certain kind of content. They thrive on brevity, speed, change, urgency, variety and feelings. But thinking requires the opposite. Thinking takes time. It needs silence and the methodical skills of logic.

While recognising the advantages of advances in technology which have increased the sources of human information, the Archbishop notes “they have also undermined the intellectual discipline that we once had when our main tools of communication were books or print publications. This is not a good development. In fact, it’s a very dangerous thing in a democracy, which is a form of government that demands intellectual and moral maturity from its citizens to survive.” Material progress gives, and it takes away. “And it always has unintended consequences, which means we need to be more – not less – vigilant about the way our news media form us, and how their influence shapes the content of our public life.”

Recalling that freedom of the press and freedom of religion are explicitly singled out for protection by the First Amendment, Archbishop adds: “The news media, despite their claims of impartiality, and despite the good work they often do accomplish, are just as prone to prejudice, ignorance, bad craftsmanship and tribalism as any other profession. But unlike other professions, the press has constitutional protections. It also has real power in shaping how we think, what we think about and what we like, dislike and ignore.”

He goes on to describe the media as “the greatest catechetical syndicate in history. And if that kind of power doesn’t make us uneasy, it should at least make us alert.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

North Korea Publicly Executes Christian Woman for Distributing Bible

We need to pray for the persecuted Church around the world. North Korean Christians really need our prayers.

This comes from Fox News:

Ri Hyon Ok, 33, was also accused of spying for South Korea and the United States and organizing dissidents. She was executed in the northwestern city of Ryongchon near the border with China on June 16, according to a report from an alliance of several dozen anti-North Korea groups.

Ri's parents, husband and three children were sent to a political prison camp in the northeastern city of Hoeryong the following day, the report said, citing unidentified documents it says were obtained from North Korea. It showed a copy of Ri's North Korean government-issued photo ID. It is virtually impossible to verify such reports about secretive North Korea, where the government tightly controls the lives of its citizens and does not allow dissent.

On Thursday, an annual report from a state-run South Korean think tank on human rights in the North said that public executions, though dropping in number in recent years, were still carried out for crimes ranging from murder to circulating foreign movies.

North Korea claims to guarantee freedom of religion for its 24 million people but in reality severely restricts religious observances. The cult of personality surrounding national founder Kim Il Sung and his son, current leader Kim Jong Il, is a virtual state religion.

The government has authorized four state churches, one Catholic, two Protestant and one Russian Orthodox, but they cater to foreigners and ordinary North Koreans cannot attend. However, defectors and activists say more than 30,000 North Koreans are believed to practice Christianity secretly.

The U.S. State Department reported last year that "genuine religious freedom does not exist" in North Korea.

"North Korea appears to have judged that Christian forces could pose a threat to its regime," Do Hee-youn, a leading activist, told reporters, claiming public executions, arrest and detention of North Koreans are prevalent.

Hat Tip to Patrick Madrid on this one.

Dem's Health Bill Promotes Euthanasia

Sadly, things keep getting worse in regard to this "health bill" and the sanctity of life. The Democrat's health bill promotes euthenasia.

Democratic Leaders, including House Speaker Pelosi and Cap-&-Tax author Henry Waxman, are excited about their socialized health care plan that promotes euthanasia. Life News reported:

Two Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are confirming reports that the health care restructuring bill the House is currently considering promotes euthanasia. A leading patients rights advocate is worried about the effects of the legislation. Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant government who is now a patient's rights advocate, notes that the government-run health care plan would require "end of life" counseling for seniors. The counseling, she says, would be focused on telling seniors how to end their lives sooner. In a statement sent to House Republican Leader John Boehner Republican Policy Committee Chairman Thaddeus McCotter confirm those fears. "Section 1233 of the House-drafted legislation encourages health care providers to provide their Medicare patients with counseling on ‘the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration’ and other end of life treatments,'" the pair say.

Henry Waxman today announced that the health bill may skip committee if the so-called moderates do not accept the deal democrats worked out. Hat tip to the Gateway Pundit on this one!

Another Pro-life ad from has put out another great and timely pro-life ad. Hat tip to Fr. Anthony Ho!

Vatican: Plenary Indulgence for Salesians on 18 December

This year is a special year for us Salesians. We celebrate this year the 150th anniversary of the founding of our congregation! For this reason the Rector Major has requested a special indulgence on December 18 of this year. The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

At the request of the Rector Major, the Apostolic Penitentiary has granted a plenary indulgence to the Salesians who will be renewing their religious profession on December 18.

The 150th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation will reach its climax on that day, commemorating the establishment of the Pious Salesian Society, as affirmed by the minutes drawn up by Fr. Alasonatti and countersigned by Don Bosco.

In his letter announcing the anniversary, dated June 24, 2008, Fr. Chavez invited the Salesians throughout the world on that day to renew their consecration. This act bringing to its conclusion the “year of grace,” as Fr. Chavez describes it, will crown the spiritual journey undertaken this year in which Salesians have been re-examining their Constitutions.

In his request addressed to the Apostolic Penitentiary, Don Bosco’s ninth successor explained the motive for the request: “…so that the confreres of the Salesian Society may be even more open to the divine generosity and therefore draw more abundant spiritual fruits.”

“Hence the Apostolic Penitentiary, on the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, willingly grants the plenary indulgence, which may be gained by the confreres of the Society of Saint Francis de Sales who, truly repentant, having fulfilled the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff), on December 18, 2009, renew the promise to fulfill faithfully the commitments of their vocation, solemnly, or even privately for the members legitimately prevented.”

The decree was issued on June 22, signed by Cardinal James Francis Stafford, major penitentiary, and Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M. Conv., titular bishop Meta, regent.

Some provinces, are organizing solemn celebrations involving the various groups of the Salesian Family for the Salesians’ renewal of their consecration on December 18.

Pope Benedict continues to rest and work on his next book at Les Combes

Despite having his right arm immobilized, Benedict XVI is in good spirits, Since hes not able to write, hes recording his thoughts in order to keep the work flowing.

The pope even had time to receive Cardinal Bertone. The secretary of state has brought him some encouraging messages from the King and Queen of Spain and from German Chancellor Angela Merkel wishing him well after he fractured his wrist.

During the popes daily strolls, neighbors from the Aosta Valley greet him and ask him about his health. One of the children told the pope that during the winter there can be up to six meters of snow on the ground here.

During the next few days Benedict XVI will undergo a full medical examination to see how the injury is healing.

Chris Tomlin: I Will Rise

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Would you like to be like these Salesians?"

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB is the Vatican Secretary of State and close collaborator with our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. He spoke recently about his Salesian vocation! The following comes from the Salesian News Agency:

“The vocation to consecrated life,” - Cardinal Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State says , “came about when I was in school at Valdocco, with the Salesians. I was fourteen and I was thinking about starting Sixth Form studies. The path seemed clear. Having finished Fifth Year studies I would go into the Sixth Form and then specialise in modern languages.”
Replying to journalists waiting for the visit of Pope Benedict XVI last Sunday to Romano Canavese, his home town, Cardinal Bertone told the story of his childhood and of his vocation. Giacomo Galeazzi, from the daily “La Stampa”, after giving an outline of the events of the visit, gives a short account of the life and vocation of the Secretary of State.

It was the Salesian Fr Alessandro Ghisolfi who suggested to the young Tarcisio the idea of consecrating his life: “Would you like to be like these Salesians who devote their lives to the young? Haven’t you been happy here?” A three-day vocational meeting followed. “We spoke about the vocation to the priesthood, about Don Bosco,” the Cardinal recalls, “and I liked the idea. I went back home to tell my parents: that I wanted to go to the Salesian novitiate. It was the evening of 3 May 1949, the day after the plane with the Turin football team crashed into the hill of Superga”. “If the Lord wants you to take this path, then go,” – my parents said. We were all in tears, but the choice was now made.”

“I began on 16 August 1949. But after a few months when I got to know that I would have to prolong the novitiate until I reached sixteen, I wasn’t so sure. It seemed to me a rather oppressive atmosphere. I wrote home saying I wanted to leave but they didn’t come to collect me, so I phoned.” It was his mother who kept faith in the boy’s first decision telling him: “It was you who wanted to enter the novitiate and you should stay there until the end. Once the year is over decide whether you want to stay or not, but it’s not right for you to leave half way.”

“Today I can say that it was the right decision,” concluded Cardinal Bertone who, as the journalist Galeazzi observes, has always put after his signature “SDB”, Salesian of Don Bosco.

Little Sisters of the Poor celebrate profession of vows

The video celebrates the profession of four new Little Sisters of the Poor and introduces four new novices. This year their holy foundress will be canonized! They are trying to raise money to send the novices to that canonization:

“…we are in need of raising $4,000 to send novices and a Little Sister to the canonization of our Mother Foundress Jeanne Jugan in Rome on October 11! Each of our Homes is selling cookies, etc. to send Little Sisters and elderly Residents to Rome, but we don’t have the possibilities and contacts here in the novitiate that our Homes have. Any help would be more than appreciated. The young Sisters who attend the canonization will never forget this event, and will pass down their memories to younger generations—to keep the spirit of Jeanne Jugan alive!”

The incredibly inspiring story of their Foundress, Jeanne Jugan is here, and yes, she was something else! If you are inclined to help make this dream come true for these sisters and some of their residents, you can send a donation here:

Little Sisters of the Poor
St Ann’s Novitiate
110-39 Springfield Blvd
P.O. Box 280356

Queens Village, NY 11429-2513
Phone: (718) 464-4920

For more on this story check out the Anchoress!

Pro-lifers fight back against taxpayer funded abortion

Here is more on the disasterous "health" plan that will force all 0f us to pay for abortions! Hat tip to Catholic Fire on this one!

On “Fox News Sunday” this past weekend, budget director Peter Orszag said he is “not prepared to rule ... out” taxpayer financing for abortions.

This video accurately and concisely summarizes what Obama's disastrous health care reform legislation is trying to do -- force US citizens to pay for all abortions that will be financed by both public funds and private insurance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Could you survive without money? Meet the guy who does!

In Utah, a modern-day caveman has lived for the better part of a decade on zero dollars a day. People used to think he was crazy. This is very interesting! He may be crazy... or, does he have a point? The desert where he lives is filled with natural beauty and he seems to do ok for himself considering. Check it out. The story comes from the site:

DANIEL SUELO LIVES IN A CAVE. UNLIKE THE average American—wallowing in credit-card debt, clinging to a mortgage, terrified of the next downsizing at the office—he isn't worried about the economic crisis. That's because he figured out that the best way to stay solvent is to never be solvent in the first place. Nine years ago, in the autumn of 2000, Suelo decided to stop using money. He just quit it, like a bad drug habit.

His dwelling, hidden high in a canyon lined with waterfalls, is an hour by foot from the desert town of Moab, Utah, where people who know him are of two minds: He's either a latter-day prophet or an irredeemable hobo. Suelo's blog, which he maintains free at the Moab Public Library, suggests that he's both. "When I lived with money, I was always lacking," he writes. "Money represents lack. Money represents things in the past (debt) and things in the future (credit), but money never represents what is present."

On a warm day in early spring, I clamber along a set of red-rock cliffs to the mouth of his cave, where I find a note signed with a smiley face: CHRIS, FEEL FREE TO USE ANYTHING, EAT ANYTHING (NOTHING HERE IS MINE). From the outside, the place looks like a hollowed teardrop, about the size of an Amtrak bathroom, with enough space for a few pots that hang from the ceiling, a stove under a stone eave, big buckets full of beans and rice, a bed of blankets in the dirt, and not much else. Suelo's been here for three years, and it smells like it.

Night falls, the stars wink, and after an hour, Suelo tramps up the cliff, mimicking a raven's call—his salutation—a guttural, high-pitched caw. He's lanky and tan; yesterday he rebuilt the entrance to his cave, hauling huge rocks to make a staircase. His hands are black with dirt, and his hair, which is going gray, looks like a bird's nest, full of dust and twigs from scrambling in the underbrush on the canyon floor. Grinning, he presents the booty from one of his weekly rituals, scavenging on the streets of Moab: a wool hat and gloves, a winter jacket, and a white nylon belt, still wrapped in plastic, along with Carhartt pants and sandals, which he's wearing. He's also scrounged cans of tuna and turkey Spam and a honeycomb candle. All in all, a nice haul from the waste product of America. "You made it," he says. I hand him a bag of apples and a block of cheese I bought at the supermarket, but the gift suddenly seems meager.

Suelo lights the candle and stokes a fire in the stove, which is an old blackened tin, the kind that Christmas cookies might come in. It's hooked to a chain of soup cans segmented like a caterpillar and fitted to a hole in the rock. Soon smoke billows into the night and the cave is warm. I think of how John the Baptist survived on honey and locusts in the desert. Suelo, who keeps a copy of the Bible for bedtime reading, is satisfied with a few grasshoppers fried in his skillet.

World Soccer Authority Bans Religion

For an athlete, celebrating a victory is the best part of the game. But FIFA recently told its players to keep religion out of it.

The president of the John Paul II Foundation for Sports in Rome quickly responded when FIFA reprimanded Brazils national soccer team for celebrating with religious displays after a victory.

Edio Costantini, the President of the John Paul II Foundation for Sports (Roma):

Sports should be an expression of man. Soccer should be the expression of man and of a team. It cant be deprived of this strength, of this fire, and the capacity it has inside.

He says FIFAs move in reprimanding players for celebrating with religion is wrong. Because, as he sees it, religion is part and parcel of the world of sports.

FIFA cant stop a team from celebrating because it would deprive soccer from its strength and energy. This energy comes from the people, and the fans.

Costantini believes that the world of sports is plagued with many other problems, and that reprimanding players for displays of religion should be the last on the list.

If FIFA continues doing so, he says, the meaning of the sport can be lost.

If we reduce soccer to just a technical expression for the sake of the result, we render it neutral. We deprive it of that energy and the passion of man, the passion of the athlete, the passion of a city, a team and a country.

The only way for sports to undergo an anthropological revolution, as Costantini calls it, is to start by putting man at the center of sports, an idea shared by John Paul II.

Hat tip to Let's Get It Right on this one!

Vietnamese Catholics, suffering and a miracle?

The Church in Vietnam have had their difficulties of late. Recently we heard of the problems of those trying to live their Catholic faith and suffering for violation of the 2 child policy. Now we hear of those who were brutally beaten for simply erecting a cross and altar at the site of a bombed out church building. We need to pray for the Catholic Church in Vietnam as they continue to suffer for their fidelity!

The following comes from CNA:

On Monday morning Vietnamese police in the Diocese of Vinh brutally beat hundreds of Catholics who were erecting a cross and building an altar on the ground of a church that collapsed during the Vietnam War. Dozens of Catholics were arrested in the clash.

The incident took place at 9 a.m. at the church of Tam Toa. Rumors are circulating that the government is planning to convert the church into a tourist resort, Fr. J.B. An Dang tells CNA.

Hundreds of Catholics were attacked by police, as described by Tam Toa pastor Fr. Le Thanh Hong:

“The police, who far outnumbered parishioners of Tam Toa and neighboring parishes, had fired teargas canisters at the crowd before kicking and beating them brutally with stun guns, and batons. Numerous priests and lay people were wounded.

“Some were made to sit on the ground, where again they were beaten by a youth gang employed by police, while dozens were thrown into police trucks,” he added. “At the moment their whereabouts remain unknown.”

Tam Toa is an historic parish for Vietnamese Catholics and can trace its origins back to 1631, when the Church first appeared in the country. According to Fr. An Dang, the parish quickly grew during the 1600s and was the largest parish in its region, with 1,200 Catholics. It once had an orphanage and a school operated by the Sisters of the Lovers of the Holy Cross.

In 1886 a group of anti-Western men calling themselves Van Than attacked the parish, killing 52 parishioners in what the attackers believed was retaliation against the French presence in the country.

The most recent church of Tam Toa opened in 1887 to meet the spiritual needs of the faithful. Considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Vietnam, with Portuguese architecture and a large bell, it was largely destroyed in 1968 by U.S. Air Force bombing during the Vietnam War.

Only the church entrance and the bell tower still stand today. Parishioners had wanted to rebuild their church but were too impoverished.

Mass had been regularly celebrated on the grounds of the bombed church until March 1996. At that time the People’s Committee of Quang Binh confiscated the church, deeming it a “War Memorial Site” which must be preserved and protected “for future generations to remember American war crimes.”

The Archdiocese of Hue had protested the action without result. In May 2006 the parish was transferred to the Diocese of Vinh, whose bishop Paul Maria Cao has repeatedly asked for the return of the church.

On February 2, 2009 Bishop Cao and 14 priests of the diocese concelebrated Mass at the property. Thousands of Catholics attended to support the diocese’s efforts to reclaim the church.

Tam Toa is a home parish for more than a thousand parishioners, Fr. An Dang reports. However, their efforts to rebuild the church have been stalled by government interference.

The video below is a reminder of the struggle of the past year:

Finally, you can look at this video yourself and discern what you think. The halo around Our Lady seems to be glowing! Perhaps Our Lady is trying to encourage this suffering Church! Tell me what you think: