Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cardinal Egan's Comments on the Unborn: "They Are Human Beings With an Inalienable Right to Live"

Senator Nancy Pelosi, along with many of her Democratic Party allies, would like to distort the facts of their political positions in support of abortion by "spinning" their messages to make their positions appear to be based upon solid Catholic teaching. Do not be taken in by their rhetoric. They could not be more wrong.

Here is the statement Cardinal Edward Egan of New York released today in which he clarifies the stance of the Church against abortion.

Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokow of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb.

In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

Edward Cardinal Egan Archbishop of New York

August 26, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Our Lady of America Devotion at Tipping Point

It has been an uphill climb for Our Lady of America lately with many false claims being made about those who have been working in concert with American Bishops to further this devotion. As these claims have been made, it has, in some ways, polarized the faithful into two camps of supporters.

After plenty of discernment of the actual facts surrounding these allegations by bishops and lay persons with incredible integrity, it appears that many of these false allegations are being cast aside as the true rubbish that they are and we are getting down to a solid foundation upon which to continue to build this movement for Our Lady of America.

Please pray that the final resolution to the current disagreement is settled, not in a court of law, but in reasonable and charitable discussions between parties who profess to be concerned about this devotion.

Nobody owns our Lady of America. That is why She said "Bring me My Children. Bring Me ALL of My Children!"

As news of recent events is made available to us for posting, OLTIV will make it available to you, the faithful, in an effort to keep you as informed as possible on the truth of what is happening, in concert with the bishops supporting this cause.

It is our hope that shedding light on these false claims will help those who have been misdirected by disinformation will come to know, and trust, the path that is being laid out by our bishops. We pray that everyone will work together for OLA and set aside personal desires in obedience to Our Lady's requests.

Keep checking back here and at for exciting updates on the progress.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Catholics who support abortion should not receive Communion, says Archbishop Burke

Aug 19, 2008 / 10:00 am

The prefect of the Apostolic Signature, Archbishop Raymond Burke, said this week that Catholics, especially politicians who publically defend abortion, should not receive Communion, and that ministers of Communion should be responsibly charitable in denying it to them if they ask for it, “until they have reformed their lives.”

In an interview with the magazine, Radici Christiane, Archbishop Burke pointed out that there is often a lack of reverence at Mass when receiving Communion. “Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ unworthily is a sacrilege,” he warned. “If it is done deliberately in mortal sin it is a sacrilege.”

To illustrate his point, he referred to “public officials who, with knowledge and consent, uphold actions that are against the Divine and Eternal moral law. For example, if they support abortion, which entails the taking of innocent and defenseless human lives. A person who commits sin in this way should be publicly admonished in such a way as to not receive Communion until he or she has reformed his life,” the archbishop said.

“If a person who has been admonished persists in public mortal sin and attempts to receive Communion, the minister of the Eucharist has the obligation to deny it to him. Why? Above all, for the salvation of that person, preventing him from committing a sacrilege,” he added.

“We must avoid giving people the impression that one can be in a state of mortal sin and receive the Eucharist,” the archbishop continued. “Secondly, there could be another form of scandal, consisting of leading people to think that the public act that this person is doing, which until now everyone believed was a serious sin, is really not that serious - if the Church allows him or her to receive Communion.”

“If we have a public figure who is openly and deliberately upholding abortion rights and receiving the Eucharist, what will the average person think? He or she could come to believe that it up to a certain point it is okay to do away with an innocent life in the mother’s womb,” he warned.

Archbishop Burke also noted that when a bishop or a Church leader prevents an abortion supporter from receiving Communion, “it is not with the intention of interfering in public life but rather in the spiritual state of the politician or public official who, if Catholic, should follow the divine law in the public sphere as well.”

“Therefore, it is simply ridiculous and wrong to try to silence a pastor, accusing him of interfering in politics so that he cannot do good to the soul of a member of his flock,” he stated.

It is “simply wrong” to think that the faith must be reduced to the private sphere and eliminated from public life, Archbishop Burke said, encouraging Catholics “to bear witness to our faith not only in private in our homes but also in our public lives with others in order to bear strong witness to Christ.”

Keeping the faith: A family journey

This article originally appeared in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel on June 4. We are repeating it again because SpiritDaily has run it today and we still think it is an awesome testimony. No matter what some bishops may currently think and say, Our Lady is waiting for you at Sylvan Springs. "Bring Me My Children. Bring Me ALL of My Children!"

The Fean Family believes a strong faith and divine intervention helped keep them together

By Kevin Kilbane
of The News-Sentinel

Tom and Kathy Fean of Fort Wayne believe divine intervention following prayer at Sylvan Springs resulted in their son's healing from cancer.

In June 2001, their son, Greg, then age 5, began having pains in his legs and chest.

“It would come and go,” Kathy Fean recalled.

A blood test showed no problem. A visit to a chiropractor didn't help. A September visit to a local hospital for arm pain resulted in a diagnosis of overextended elbow.

Right after they returned from a family vacation, however, Greg laid on the couch and couldn't move, his parents said. They took him back to the hospital Sept. 18, 2001.

“We got the call at 4:30 in the afternoon,” Tom said. “There were ‘blast' cells in his blood.”

The diagnosis: acute lymphocytic leukemia — cancer of the blood.

The local hospital referred Greg immediately to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. There, doctors started chemotherapy Sept. 19, and 90 percent of the “blast” cancer cells in his blood had been destroyed when Greg was discharged from Riley Sept. 23.

Greg was due back at Riley on Sept. 28 for a follow-up check, the Feans said. Typically, blast cells continue to show up in a patient's blood off and on for the first 28 days after the initial chemotherapy treatment, Kathy said.

The trip to Sylvan Springs

Right after Greg's diagnosis with leukemia, Kathy had called friends to ask them to pray for Greg. One of them recommended she call Irv Kloska of Elkhart. Kloska is a layman who often prays with and over people in need of spiritual or physical healing. Tom Fean had met Kloska briefly once previously at a presentation.

Kloska believes Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, continues to have a presence at the Sylvan Springs property in Rome City, and that she intercedes with God to bring about people's healing or spiritual conversion.

After talking with Kathy Fean and learning more about Greg's situation, Kloska asked the Feans to meet him Sept. 27 at Sylvan Springs, which is about halfway between Fort Wayne and Elkhart.

The night before, Kathy said she felt she received a message from Mary.

“I was awakened at night by the Blessed Mother,” Kathy recalled. “She said nothing. I smelled roses. She appeared as Queen, covered in regal jewels.”

Though she didn't hear anything, Kathy sensed a message from Mary: “This is my thing. You are going to be OK.”

A divine meeting

The next day at Sylvan Springs, they met Kloska and went to the main building's small chapel. There, they prayed the Rosary, a devotional series of prayers and meditations. Kloska then consecrated Greg to Mary.

During other prayers, he asked the late Sister Mary Ephrem — the religious sister who said Mary appeared to her at Sylvan Springs in the 1950s — to intercede with God for Greg's healing. Kloska also had Tom Fean lift up his son so Greg could touch the crucifix that once hung in the chapel room in Ephrem house in Fostoria, Ohio.

The next day, as they drove down to Riley Hospital, Greg asked his parents why they were going, Kathy recalled. He said he no longer had leukemia.

After they arrived at Riley and the staff ran some tests on Greg's blood, they didn't find any sign of blast cancer cells, Kathy Fean said. In addition, the platelet count in his blood had soared to 137,500. That number surprised doctors, Kathy said, because they thought Greg would need a blood transfusion to boost his platelet count, which had totaled 96,000 when he left Riley on Sept. 23.

Riley transferred coordination of Greg's care back to an oncologist in Fort Wayne. At that doctor's advice, the Feans continued chemotherapy treatment over the next three and half years — just as a precaution.

“We believe he's healed,” Kathy said.

The doctor who coordinated Greg's treatment, Dr. James Hill, attributes Greg's recovery to the medical care he received and to the Feans' strong faith. Hill formerly was part of the Pediatric Associates group in Fort Wayne and now practices at Riley.

The Feans believe other odd coincidences were intended as signs of divine intervention. They included: A book on consecrating families to Mary showed up at their house a couple of weeks before Greg's diagnosis, without any indication of who sent it or a return address. A star decoration on Greg's birthday cake bore the words, “You Have Been Chosen.” The day they prayed with Kloska at Sylvan Springs happened to be the 45th anniversary of one of Mary's reported appearances to Sister Mary Ephrem at Sylvan Springs.

The January after Greg was diagnosed with leukemia, the Feans also learned Kathy was pregnant. Their daughter, Mary, was born Sept. 3, 2002, the Catholic feast day commemorating St. Gregory the Great, Kathy said.

They stored Mary's cord blood in case it could be used if Greg ever needed a bone-marrow transplant, Tom said. A doctor called later to say it was a perfect match with Greg.

“This is just another indication they are taking care of us up there,” Kathy said.

Word of Greg's suffering, apparent healing and the family's faith also resulted in Greg receiving letters from about 100 people and many said his story strengthened or rekindled their faith.

“It wasn't until the end of chemo that we fully realized the Blessed Mother simply used us to help build an army for her son, Jesus,” Kathy Fean said.

“Yes, our son suffered through 80 chemotherapy treatments for three and a half years in order to do her work, but in some strange way that's OK with us,” she added. “We still have days that are emotionally painful from memories, or even fear of being summoned to such a quest again, but somehow Jesus and his mother calm us again.”


Now age 12, Greg has been treatment-free for more than three years.

He played in a local flag football league this past fall. He also started snow skiing.

A book Greg wrote three years ago about his experiences also has been published. Designed to help other children fighting cancer, “God Healed the Little Boy” (, $12.99), tells Greg's story in simple terms, accompanied by colorful illustrations created by Kathy's mother.

Greg's cancer and recovery also have changed his family.

“We learned a lot about faith,” Tom said.

The Feans volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and American Cancer Society, Kathy said. They also speak frequently to faith groups.

“We are much more content with family time,” Tom added, saying he used to be more focused on his job and career growth.

“I don't have to control everything,” he said. “You have to give up your life to God and let him lead you.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Archbishop Burke's Farewell Mass in St. Louis

In the minutes before the farewell Mass for Archbishop Raymond Burke on Sunday, well-wishers hurried to find what few seats were left inside the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica.

On the cathedral's steps, the Knights of Columbus, the Knights and Ladies of Peter Claver, the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and the Knights and Dames of Malta, lined up to begin the processional. Their swords gleamed in the afternoon sun. Sweat dripped below their white-tufted chapeaus.

Inside, nuns in white and blue habits sat next to little girls with black lace head coverings. Organ music, trumpets, bells and the voices of a choir mixed with the fragrance of incense.

Burke, wearing a golden miter, gripped his golden crosier with both hands, eyes closed in prayer as his priests and seminarians filed by him in procession before the Mass began.

About 1,500 people squeezed into every corner of the cathedral. Some watched on two large-screen televisions. Others kneeled on the church's marble floors.

Seven bishops, including those from the dioceses of Jefferson City, Kansas City-St. Joseph, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Springfield, Ill., concelebrated the Mass with Burke.

In June, Pope Benedict XVI named Burke, 60, to lead the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura -- the first American to hold the position. Bishop Robert Hermann, 74, is serving as the archdiocesan administrator until Benedict names Burke's successor as leader of the roughly 450,000-member archdiocese.

That announcement could come in the next three to six months.

Outside the cathedral, Karen Heiby, 35, of Belleville, said she'd come to the Mass to see Burke off on his way to the Vatican. "He's in this high office in Rome now, and I'm really happy for him," she said. "It's a big deal for the Catholic community here and I want to see what he has to say."

Bishop James Johnston of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau diocese said he was sad to see Burke go. "I'm happy he'll serve the church in a wonderful new way," he said. "But I'll miss his support, his leadership and his friendship."

For many St. Louisans, Burke's name has been associated with controversy -- from numerous excommunications in the battle over St. Stanislaus Kostka Church to his statements saying he would deny Holy Communion to Catholic politicians Sen. John Kerry and former New York Mayor Rudy Guliani, both of whom publicly supported abortion rights.

In an interview last week with the archdiocesan newspaper, the St. Louis Review, Burke said he would want his critics "to see that what I did in terms of discipline in situations, to see it in a context of pastoral charity, really, of pastoral love."

"I want them to see the challenge that the Church faces in our society, which has so many agendas and ideas which are really quite hostile to the Catholic faith," he said in the article. "I think sometimes we're so caught up in the culture in which we live, with this kind of political correctness, that we expect our priests and bishops to act that way. And if they do, then we're in troubled times."

Outside the cathedral, Ronald Hitschler, 59, of Wildwood, said he admired Burke for "holding the hard line, which a lot of Catholics needed."

In his homily, Burke spoke of the "relatively brief time" he spent in St. Louis, telling his former flock that God "never ceased to increase my pastoral love for you."

Burke is scheduled to leave St. Louis later this week.

The timing of Burke's transfer to the Vatican -- not even five years into his tenure in St. Louis -- was more of a surprise than the position itself. The archbishop, widely acknowledged as one of the most accomplished canon lawyers in the world, worked on the staff of the Vatican's high court, called the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, for five years before being named bishop of LaCrosse, Wis., his home diocese, in 1995.

The Signatura is an appellate court that hears disputes among Vatican tribunals and offices. In 2006, Benedict named Burke to be one of the 15 judges on the Signatura.

Just before tapping Burke to lead the court, the pope also named him to two Vatican offices, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which interprets canon law, and the Congregation for the Clergy, which regulates the formation and training of diocesan priests and deacons.

Burke's connections with St. Louis won't be severed completely. At the end of the two-hour farewell Mass Burke said that the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, told him several weeks ago that he would not be receiving a titular see attached to his new job.

Bishops who work in the Vatican as administrators or diplomats and who therefore don't head their own dioceses, or sees, have an extinct diocese attached to their title. But Bertone told Burke he would not receive an extinct see. Rather, he would become the emeritus archbishop of St. Louis -- "to my great joy," Burke said.

The cathedral erupted in applause.

"I'm proud to be identified with the blessed years I've spent as your archbishop. I love you all," Burke said, his voice breaking. "I will never cease to pray for you. Please do not forget me in your prayers."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tomorrow, August 15, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We remember Our Lady in a special way, as we celebrate her perfect example of discipleship of her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Assumption is a Holy Day of Obligation for Roman Catholics.

Prayer Intentions and special offerings

Beginning on Friday, and continuing for the next eight days the National Shrine will offer a special Novena of Masses in honor of the Assumption of Mary. We invite you to submit your prayer intentions for this special Novena using our website, so that we might remember you in prayer. And please, share this good news with a friend.

May God bless you richly on this Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and may you be open and responsive to God’s call to live and share the story of our salvation and redemption with the whole world.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Messages heard by local Catholics put Lubbock in spotlight across nation, world


Sunday, August 10, 2008

For one day almost two decades ago, a West Lubbock church found itself at the epicenter of Catholicism.

Thousands journeyed from across the country to St. John Neumann Catholic Church, traveling on faith and awaiting a miracle.

"There were miracles all over the place," said Monsignor Joseph W. James, who was pastor of the church on that sweltering August day in 1988.

"The greatest miracle of all that day was having that many people together in faith to see what God had for us," said Mary Constancio, one of three St. John Neumann parishioners who was thrust into the role of messenger.

The road to what would become the largest Catholic event in the history of the Lubbock diocese - although it remains unacknowledged by church hierarchy - began several months earlier when Constancio said she was receiving messages from the Virgin Mary during Monday night rosary recitations.

"I am still in awe of that and honored by it," Constancio said. "The humanness inside of you wants to ask, Why me?' But I also knew I had to accept that calling."

In the ensuing weeks, two other members - a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant and a housewife - also said they were receiving messages, which pointed toward a significant event occurring Aug. 15 during the Catholic church's celebration of the Feast of the Assumption.

The annual event, which dates to the 7th century and has been a teaching of Catholicism since 1950, commemorates Mary, the mother of Jesus, being taken into heaven at the end of her life.

Despite insistence from Michael J. Sheehan, Lubbock bishop at the time, to keep the messages low key, word spread quickly, and the city became a flashpoint for the faithful as people all across the country began planning their pilgrimages. James said the Virgin Mary's messages told them to prepare for a crowd of at least 20,000.

"We were told through the messengers (the three parishioners) there would be 20,000 there," James said. "We received specific instructions what to prepare in terms of aid stations, water stations, stations to serve people in need. We were given specific instructions on all of the things."

The church and the city received extensive news coverage from around the

country as well as from local media outlets, although James said not all of it was flattering.

"We had a couple of parishioners on NBC for an interview on national television, and they were asked, Why Lubbock?' " James recalled. "Their answer was, Why not Lubbock?' A few months afterward, Texas Monthly (magazine) said there were reports of miracles, but they said the miracle was getting 20,000 people to Lubbock."

The expansive crowd began forming early that day, and the throngs of people were greeted by a cloudless West Texas sky promising lots of sun and little relief. Official estimates that day put the number of attendees at 13,000. James, however, said the size of the crowd was closer to 22,000.

Despite what soon would become sweltering conditions, Constancio said excitement and enthusiasm grew in anticipation of a visit from Mary, as promised by the St. John Neumann messengers.

An early afternoon shower provided the crowd with a brief respite from the merciless heat.

"This morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky," James said in an A-J article. "This isn't enough to wash away the curious, but I had to chuckle. It was just kind of a sign."

The feeling reached a crescendo around 6:30 p.m. when, according to the A-J article, clouds began moving across the sun, creating patterns in the western sky that, for many, signaled Mary's presence.

"Somehow I knew she was in a cloud," Constancio recalled. "A little while later, around 7:30 or 8, is when all kinds of things started to happen. We saw it, and everyone out there got very excited. We saw the sun coming down out of the sky. It was a real manifestation of God. That's the only way I can explain it."

Constancio said other events occurred as well such as rosaries changing colors, the sun casting different colors on people in the crowd and no one suffering eye damage as a result of looking at the sun, a practice discouraged in a pamphlet commissioned by the diocese prior to the celebration.

James said medical miracles also occurred that day, describing one involving a boy.

"He was suffering from muscular dystrophy," James said, "and that caused him to have his hand against his chest. He was unable to open his arm out. When the Blessed Mother came to the fountain at St. John Neumann, he extended out his hand."

"A lot of people were healed that day," added Constancio.

The miraculous reports, however, were met with skepticism by those not familiar with charismatic Catholicism and by the diocese, which did not participate in the observance, citing the church's official position on apparitions and messages. Sheehan, who had been scheduled to celebrate the Feast Mass, changed his mind and did not attend out of concern for the appearance of lending official approval to the messages, according to A-J reports.

"The biggest Catholic event in the history of the diocese didn't happen," James said, adding that he understood why Sheehan, whom he said was a friend, could not attend that day.

In the aftermath of the event, Sheehan assembled a team of experts to investigate whether any miracles had occurred. The Catholic church's official definition of a miracle is a suspension of the laws of nature in some way that is not explainable by physical science.

In the end, the panel of experts rejected the claims of miracles taking place or messages being received.

"A lot of good things have happened," Sheehan said in an A-J story published two months later. "The only thing we're saying is it doesn't take a miracle. It doesn't take a suspension of the laws of nature to explain these good things that have happened at St. John Neumann."

Almost 20 years later, Sheehan, now archbishop of the Santa Fe diocese, said that day was a heartfelt expression of faith and devotion, despite the lack of miracles.

"Miracles would be a very rare sort of thing the Catholic church would recognize," he said. "The team of experts that we brought in felt it was not a miracle, but rather sincere people overstating their spiritual experience. There was no sign of miraculous intervention."

James, now the director emeritus of the Mercy Retreat Center in Slaton, said he was angry for years at the way the event was covered by many media outlets and handled by the church.

"I felt like good spiritual fruit had been squashed," he said. "Ultimately, they said no miracle occurred. I remember we met with the panel. All the messengers were there. I was there. Before the investigation started, the bishop asked me, Where is your miracle?' The way I define a miracle is it is an awesome event that brings people to God."

Constancio, who with her husband, Henry, began the Ambassadors of the Flame Mercy Ministry in 1989. The organization is dedicated to healing and bringing families together in Christ.

"I believe a lot of things happened," she said, referring to that 1988 August afternoon, "and I believe in miracles every day".

For all of you who have been to Rome City and have witnessed similar events, and more, doesn't this whole scenario seem eerily familiar? Please tell us your story of how your visit to Sylvan Springs has changed your life or strengthened your faith.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Catholics for Obama? Life Matters!

By Michael Novak

Not long before he was elected pope (overwhelmingly), Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a public rebuke to the U.S. bishops. He reminded them that the question of abortion must be judged in a far different category from war and capital punishment. War is a question of practical wisdom, he observed, about which prudent Catholics may form opposing practical judgments. Same with capital punishment, which for centuries was rated by the church as just and sometimes necessary. By contrast abortion, Ratzinger wrote, is “intrinsically evil” and “always and everywhere” to be opposed.

Many Catholics on the left wing of the Democratic party have never accepted this rebuke. The most some of them will concede is that abortion is a “profound moral question.” Cardinal Ratzinger’s point is that that question was long ago answered: Abortion is intrinsically evil. Never to be cooperated with.

There are other Catholic leftists who are quite anti-abortion. Too often, these wiggle mightily to avoid so strong a condemnation of abortion that they must leave the Democratic party, or, at least, refuse to vote for a politician who cooperates with the evil of abortion. They want, for instance, to vote for Barack Obama, even to campaign vigorously for him.

Well, the Catholic ethic is an ethic of prudence, not an ethic of doctrinaire consistency. It is not an ethic whose rules are those of arithmetic or geometry. Rather, it takes into account all the important matters that bear upon such a decision as which political candidate to support or to vote for. It pays careful attention to each person and each peculiar angle of each rare situation. Catholic ethics is more like a many-seamed garment, with intelligently designed curves and angles, than like a seamless garment, constructed geometrically. It is meant to fit the whole range of human realities.

But it also recognizes that prudence can never be used as a cover for committing an intrinsic evil, such as the killing that occurs in abortion. Typically, one candidate takes a secular stance on abortion: “personally opposed, but not willing to legislate my morality on this issue.” On other issues important to Catholic leftists, however, this candidate may be perfectly willing to legislate his morality, and theirs. Americans are the most moralistic people in the world. Everything we touch tends to be discussed as a moral issue. Except abortion — many want to turn abortion into anything but a moral issue.

Despite the fact that Cardinal Ratzinger, not to mention John Paul II, forcefully reminded Catholics of their duty not to cooperate with the evil of abortion, many Catholic leftists continue to cite the same American bishops who were rebuked by the cardinal and the pope. Why, moreover, do these leftists argue from “the consistent ethic of life”? Under the flag of “consistency” they are able to put virtually every issue dear to them on the scales. The result is to downgrade the real, distinctive, sui generis evil of abortions, which are now performed at a rate of about 1.1 million a year. They put equal emphasis on capital punishment and the “unjust war in Iraq” — the very thing Cardinal Ratzinger said they cannot in good conscience do.

Thus, Catholic leftists need the “consistent ethic” argument to make any case at all in their support of a pro-abortion candidate. Conversely, they must also argue from an “ethic of prudence” in order to justify their peculiar calculation that abortion is not as important as war, capital punishment, and their (highly debatable) claims about the “common good.” Even in its logical form, their reasoning is a tangled mess: “Yes” to a consistent ethic of life when they need it, “No” when they don’t.

In the particular case of Barack Obama, their case is an even greater mess. Bill Clinton, the last Democratic president, frustrated the will of the U.S. Congress by refusing to sign legislation outlawing partial-birth abortion. Even though this procedure means — just before a full delivery — puncturing the head of the infant so that the brains may be suctioned out, Obama, as an assemblyman in Illinois, took the same position here as the Clintons did: in favor of this grim procedure.

Worse still, Obama strongly spoke out in opposition to legislation to disallow abortionists from putting to death infants who survived a first attempt at abortion. At the federal level, this legislation was called the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, protecting the human infant born alive despite a vigorous attempt to kill her in the womb.
There are many pretty words that politicians, some Republicans and some Democrats, use to mask their actual practice in regard to abortion. They call it “a profound moral issue,” and they say they seek to make abortions “safe, legal, and rare” — a particularly adroit example of rhetorically pleasing everybody. In actual practice, though, they manage to keep abortions going just as before.

Senators would never allow themselves such disgraceful compromise if they were speaking about slavery. In the case of slavery, being “pro-choice” is not moral, as Sen. Douglas learned to his sorrow from candidate Lincoln. An irreducible natural right is at stake.

Of course, the Republican party was the anti-slavery party. And, alas, the Democrats of recent times have allowed the Republican party to become the anti-abortion party. For the Democrats, that is a disgrace. As a result, many Catholics have reluctantly had to change parties — or at least to change their voting habits. As a violation of natural right, abortion is even more extreme than slavery.

Of course, the abortion question does not affect all Catholics equally. Catholics go on calling themselves “Catholic” long after they have ceased receiving the sacraments or darkening a church door. But abortion does affect some large minority of Catholics to the core of their being.

No matter if the propaganda in the press and the cinema mostly favors the pro-abortion side, many Catholics are so close to births and birthing, and so highly value each newborn child, that they will never be led to believe that abortion is anything but intrinsically evil. It’s just plain wrong. There is never any excuse for it (well, virtually never).

Whenever Catholics hear the phrase “consistent ethic of life,” they look for the coercion and self-deception implied in it. It is a made-for-all-purposes excuse. It does not describe the ethics of prudence taught by Thomas Aquinas and favored for many centuries by the Church, and by the Lord Jesus himself.

In addition, those who call the Iraq war “unjust” are entitled to their opinion, but they have no serious Catholic authority. Neither the pope nor the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith nor the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops, even when some of them opposed it as imprudent, have ever called the Iraq war unjust.

The other reason for supporting Obama that some Catholic leftists put forward is that very little in reducing abortions has been accomplished by the Republican party in the years since President Reagan. Is that claim true?

Well, President Bush did sign the two acts of legislation that Obama opposed in their state forms, the ban on partial-birth abortion and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. These acts do not seriously alter the number of annual abortions. But they do establish in law the fundamental principle of the natural rights of infants in the womb. They treat these human individuals as worthy of respect and they defend their rights to live and breathe and continue growing into adults.

Two formidable obstacles have prevented Republican presidents from going farther. The first is heavy resistance from most Democrats (who until recently were driving pro-life Democrats out of party leadership) and some Republicans (country-club Republicans, mostly). The second is furious resistance from the liberal judiciary (mostly country-club liberals) at almost every higher level.

It is mind-twisting for reasonable people to discern how leftist Democrats think Obama will change his abortion stripes, and then go farther than President George W. Bush (boo! hiss!) in promoting a culture of life. Most of those who will vote for Obama do not think Obama is pro-life. Why should a few leftist Catholics?

During the legislative debate in the House, Democrats decided overwhelmingly to just go ahead and vote for the “Born Alive” act. They wanted to repress all debate, lest that issue educate the public dramatically on what real abortions are like. Abortion is best approved of in the dark, not in the light of day, where full and open debate might turn the public against it.

On more and more refrigerators across America, photos of brothers and sisters in mommy’s womb from just a few weeks after conception are already encouraging children more and more to find abortion abhorrent. The young easily identify with their siblings with tiny fingers and toes in the womb, and perceive with dark dread what it would be like if they had been aborted. Children after 1973 are prevented from feeling that they are gifts of God by the large figure blocking that sun — their mother, with the power to have turned thumbs down on their very existence. Children do not feel that they depend on the will of God but on the will of their mother.

I wish Democrats had not ceded the anti-abortion position to Republicans. I hope that those Catholics among them look again at Abraham Lincoln’s Peoria Speech of 1854, brought to our attention in Lewis E. Lehrman’s brilliant new book, Lincoln at Peoria. And I urge my old friends on the Catholic Left to be careful what they wish for, in wishing for Obama. And to make better arguments for doing so.

And, please, to hurry the Democratic party back to natural-rights principles.

YouTube Video...Great Story!


Evil Rumors, Lies and Deceptions Clarified

Many new issues with the Our Lady of America devotion, most of them having little or no impact on Our Lady's truly faithful children, have sprung up over the past month. With the lawsuits has come a tirade of accusations and threats against many innocent people who have absolutely nothing to do with these mostly petty claims. So as to help dispel some of these awful rumors, lies, and attempts to deceive the community, we feel it necessary to, once again, shed light on some of these issues so that the truth will be made known.

Item #1: Patricia Fuller (aka Sr. Joseph Therese) was dismissed from religious life in 1982. This was previously stated in a letter from Bishop Leonard Blair dated Dec. 11, 2007 and has been reiterated by the Chancery in Toledo, OH as recently as this past week. Whether she is a nun or not has absolutely nothing to do with the veracity of the OLA apparitions and messages and Our Lady's request to be enthroned in the National Basilica in Washington, DC.

Item #2: Contrary to lies being posted by supporters of Patricia Fuller on other websites, Kevin McCarthy, Al Langsenkamp, and Patricia Fuller have absolutely nothing to do with OLTIV, Sylvan Springs, or any of the activities associated with pilgrims who visit this wonderful site. None of them have any ownership interest in the property.

Item #3: The volunteers and prayer leaders who give freely of their time to attend to the needs of our many visitors are not part of any organized effort to denigrate any of the aforementioned parties' roles in this movement. They do not deserve to be ridiculed by anonymous commenters on other websites. The people who are making these negative and libelous attacks are definitely not interested in furthering Our Lord's work on this earth. Our volunteers are!

We encourage those who seek the truth to continue to do so. We feel a necessary part of that process includes visiting the Rome City, IN site where Our Lady of America first appeared and Her central messages were delivered in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel. As always, there is no fee associated with your visit or tours. We only ask that you come expecting nothing and take what you are given. Our Lady said: "Bring Me My Children. Bring Me ALL of My Children!" She did not say this for Her benefit, but for yours!

What if I cannot go to Rome City?
Consecrate yourself and your family to Our Lady of America. Ask your parish priest to do the same with your entire parish. It isn't so much that Our Lady wants to be recognized in the National Basilica so much as She wants to be held in your heart so that She may bring you to Her Son. Just as She was chosen to be the original tabernacle for Our Lord, she is asking you to hold Him close in your heart. To be enthroned in a beautiful Basilica and not held in the hearts of the faithful children would be shameful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

John M. Smith to the article on 'Faithful Citizenship' appearing in The Times

In past posts on this OLTIV website, we have tried to share with our community what the Church teaches us as far as "voting Catholic". We will be running more educational pieces as the critical November elections draw closer. Please be informed as to what a Catholic conscience must consider when voting this year. Souls are at stake!

As is often the case with liberal media reporting, only the parts of the story that "feels good" to readers is told. Many times, factual elements, key to full understanding of the Church's teaching, are left out of the articles. The following is a rebuttal to an article which appeared last week in a trenton newspaper. Many thanks to Bishop John Smith for standing up to clarify the situation.

The article in the 7/30 issue of The Times regarding the Diocese of Trenton’s presentation on the statement, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, failed to provide readers with an adequate understanding of this program and misrepresented the very spirit of the document.

“Vote your conscience,” as the Times’ headline says of the U.S. Bishops’ instruction, is a serious oversimplification that undermines the core message of their statement. In truth, the Bishops state that Catholics are called to form their consciences in order to exercise faithful citizenship. The very title of the document points to the centrality of this message. Numerous sections of the document are devoted to the “lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teachings of the Church” (Section 17). We are told that this requires serious engagement and commitment and that it does not begin or end at the polling booth. We are even told how to form our consciences, beginning with a “willingness and openness to seek the truth and what is right” through the study of sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church and continuing with an examination of the background related to the choices before us. We are told that forming our conscience also requires “prayerful reflection to discern the will of God” (Section 18).

And yet, nowhere in the article is the need to form one’s conscience ever addressed. Instead, readers are led to believe that they should vote on the basis of what they “think” or “feel”. There is no reference to this active process Catholics are instructed to perform. The very essence of what it means to be a “faithful citizen” is omitted.

Faithful Citizenship is the compilation of general principles applied to the obligation that Catholics have to exercise political responsibility in the light of their faith, regardless of whether it is an election year, and irrespective of the candidates who are running and the issues on which they are basing their campaigns. The unfortunate decision by The Times to insert the names of candidates where none had been given led readers to believe that the document and the presentation by diocesan representatives focused on candidates. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Times’ handling of the very delicate and complex challenge of voting also failed to represent the full scope of the Bishops’ instructions. The statement goes into great detail to emphasize that not all issues carry the same moral weight, and that “opposing intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions” (Section 37). The document further cautions against the “moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed” (Section 28).

These instructions were not included in the article and the true meaning of the language used in the document was subverted in The Times’ trivializing of the issues and voting choices facing Catholics this year. This handling may have succeeded in getting readers’ attention, but it did little to advance a full and accurate understanding of such an important and complex story.

We encourage readers to clarify the confusion generated through The Times’ article by reviewing for themselves the full statement, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, which is available on the website,, or through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,

Most Rev. John M. Smith
Bishop of Trenton

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pelosi Vows to Kill Defense of Marriage Act... and Still Receive Communion

Pelosi relieved no bishop has had the courage to call her to account for her strong abortion advocacy

By Peter J. Smith

SAN FRANCISCO, August 5, 2008 ( - US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to join Barack Obama's new crusade to kill the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and promises to continue to fortify herself with Holy Communion from the Catholic Church for the campaign.

Pelosi told reporters at a press conference last Thursday that she plans to support Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in his effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, should the American people elevate him to the presidency.

The Culture and Media Institute reports that Pelosi responded with a firm "yes" that she would lead the next Congress to repeal DOMA, which currently prevents same-sex couples who "marry" in either California or Massachusetts from suing and forcing states to repudiate their bans on homosexual "marriage."

As the Catholic Speaker pledged to knock out one of the remaining props of real marriage in the United States, Pelosi also told C-SPAN that she is thankful still to receive communion while crusading against all pro-life attempts to restrict or eliminate legal abortion.

In a C-SPAN interview released on Sunday, Pelosi explained that while other US politicians have had problems from their bishops denying them communion over abortion, she has continued to receive without any difficulty.

"I think some of it is regional," Pelosi stated. "It depends on the bishop of a certain region and fortunately for me, communion has not been withheld."

She added, "I'm a regular communicant so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case."

Pelosi is a Catholic whose legislative district is within the Archdiocese of San Francisco, led by Archbishop George Niederauer. However, Pelosi receives communion often in the Washington Archdiocese led by Archbishop Donald Weurl.

Many faithful Catholics have been appalled that neither Church leader has given any public rebuke to Pelosi, who wears her Catholic identity on her sleeve and claims it is compatible with her pro-abortion positions. The Speaker has gone so far as to say in her new book, "Know Your Power" that her parents "didn't raise me to be Speaker, they raised me to be holy."

To contact the Archbishop of San Francisco:

Most Reverend George Niederauer
1 Peter Yorke Way
San Francisco, CA 94109

Tele: (415) 614-5500

To contact the Archbishop of Washington:

Most Reverend Donald W. Wuerl
Archdiocese of Washington
P.O. Box 29260
Washington, DC 20017-0260

Tele: (301) 853-4500

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 5, 2008

It is time for everyone to come together as a fitting birthday present for Our Lady and for certain people to abandon their dubious (worldly) claims for the sake of this devotion.

This is from the SpiritDaily website.

We've been carrying a lot of stories about Our Lady of America. We'll be carrying more in the future. It's the case of a nun named Sister Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil of Ohio who had apparitions pertaining to the United States. One of her major apparitions, as it happens, occurred on August 5, 1957.

This is fascinating because years later, in the 1980s, it would be claimed at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina that the actual date of the Virgin Mary's birth is August 5 (and not September 8, as tradition has long had it).

Could that be? Is August 5 the Blessed Mother's actual birthday?

Both dates -- today and the one in September -- can be considered special. While maintaining the Church's tradition, and thus looking at September as the official one to celebrate, it's important to know that August 5 is also the day -- in A.D. 352 -- that a dramatic manifestation occurred in Rome. That was the day Mary appeared in a dream to a nobleman and his wife, as well as Pope Liberius -- telling all three to construct a church at a site she would designate with snow.

Though it was August, and in the Mediterranean climate, snow or frost was indeed reported the next day by those who flocked in amazement around Mount Esquiline, which became the site for the Basilica of Mary Major, now the greatest church in the Blessed Mother's honor!

So there we have it! A Pope had a revelation himself, and Mary's appearances go back many, many centuries. This may be news to those who think it's all a recent figment of the imagination. Indeed, the Virgin's appearances led to construction of hundreds of other Christian structures in Europe. That's why she's known as "Mother of the Church."

And now she seeks to install herself in the United States. She requests a statue. She wants the U.S. to turn back to purity and to her immaculate Heart (white as snow).

She wants America to spiritually lead the world.

"Though the serenity of her countenance never left her, she spoke with a gravity that made her words all the more solemn," Sister Mildred once recounted of the August 5 apparition. "She seemed anxious to impress me with some idea of the greatness of this gift of God to us, namely, His Divine Presence within our souls through sanctifying grace."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Your Photos

The following photos were submitted by recent visitors who were traveling across country and decided, on a whim, to make a 400 mile detour to visit Sylvan Springs in Rome City, IN. They wanted to share some of their photos with everyone as well as the news that a nearly lifelong medical condition has vanished from their lives. Life is good!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Archbishop Burke's Vision Becomes Reality

The Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse was dedicated Thursday. The shrine is the vision of former La Crosse Bishop Raymond Burke, from almost the time he was named bishop in 1994, he saw a need for a place of pilgrimage, where people could go anytime to be renewed in their faith.
For Archbishop Burke, this week's dedication of the church at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is beyond words.
"There's just a tremendous sense of gratitude for the blessing that God has given to the work and for all those who've helped to make it possible. It has just turned out to be something much more than I ever imagined but I can see how the hand of God has been at work in it throughout," Burke said in an interview.
Archbishop Burke first expressed his desire for a shrine in the mid 1990's. He says he had been thinking of it for quite some time because of his concern for families and the increasing violence in our culture.
"Why our lady of Guadalupe? Because our Blessed Mother, this is her appearance on our continent, in Mexico City, but she made it very clear when she appeared to St. Juan Diego, that she was coming for all the children of America," he said. "I'm deeply convinced that she will draw all of America together and integrate or unity, help us to overcome any kind of racial prejudice or hatred there might be and to form a stronger American continent."
Archbishop Burke envisions the shrine attracting people from all over the world.
"I believe it will become a major shrine in the U.S. with time. I just think because of the attraction of Our Lady of Guadalupe and because of the very beauty of this area and the very shrine itself that many will come here on pilgrimage," he said.
But the shrine hasn't gone up without controversy. Its $25 million price tag, which has grown a bit with additions to the original plans, has some still questioning whether that money could've been better spent.
"Could the $25 million better spent? It's very typical of shrines to inspire in pilgrims a deeper devotion to the church's works of charity and to our educational mission so to those who somehow believe that this shrine has somehow taken away something from those missions, I would just ask them to look again and see no in fact, it will inspire those missions very much more," he said. "All I can say is the shrine has no debt, it has a firm principal, it doesn't borrow money, it only does what it can through the donations of those who are devoted to the work so we'll continue to develop as we have, the gifts to do it."
As Archbishop Burke reflects on what has become a labor of love for him, he also looks ahead to a new chapter in his life. He'll head to Rome within the next few weeks to start his new position as head of the Vatican's high court. In many ways his life is coming full circle.
"I managed a book store in a seminary in the Vatican, I was a seminarian at the time studying, preparing for ordination, but I also served in the Vatican from Sept. 1989 to Feb. 1995 and I'm going back to serve in the same office."
"I'm very humbled and grateful for the Holy Father's confidence in me and I will do my best to serve him," Archbishop Burke concluded.