Saturday, November 29, 2008

Catholic Culture and the Election of Barack Obama

It is impossible to speak of a “Catholic culture” in America any longer. A whole segment of the populace who call themselves “Catholics” do not feel bound by any standard of Catholic orthodoxy or sanity. In fact, it is impossible to even speak of a Catholic culture in most parishes! At a recent “ministry faire” of a large Catholic parish in south Florida, the Respect Life ministry of the parish displayed its pro-life materials next to the table of the “social justice” committee of the same parish. Any commonality between the two ministries was simply in the space they shared. Their worldviews could not have been further apart, but they both call themselves Catholic.

In fact, the “social justice” people were positively aglow about the election of their new messiah, Barack Obama. Several of them were speaking of their plans to attend the Inauguration and were utterly unaware that there would be 100,000 people marching on the nation’s Capitol two days later for the right to life of unborn Americans which they had just voted into irrelevancy by electing Obama to the highest office of the land. One of them even expressed shock at the provisions of the upcoming Freedom of Choice Act until he was confronted with the nasty little fact that his messiah had been a sponsor of that pernicious bill in the last Congress. True to form, he steadfastly refused to allow that truth to have any effect on his euphoria. His mind was made up, and he would not let himself be confused by facts. Needless to say, the orthodox, practicing, believing Catholic pro-lifers will not be attending the Inauguration.

How can these two groups sit side-by-side in the same pews and display their ministries in the same space at the same Catholic parish? Simply because this contradiction has been tolerated for years by those in charge of our Church. In this election season neither of these two groups received any guidance about voting according to Catholic principles because, as per usual, there was silence from the pulpit on the issue. The absolute failure of our church leaders to define for us what membership in the Church means—and then to enforce it—has led to the degradation of Catholic culture and the loss of meaning for things that are sacred. When Christ and Belial are considered equal partners in the sanctuary, then nothing in the sanctuary means anything any more and no meaningful standard exists to distinguish a true Catholic from a false Catholic.
The degradation of Catholic culture is largely, but not exclusively, the fault of the clergy. For four decades in the Catholic Church in America we have seen:
Liturgical abuses run rampant, aided and abetted by those in charge
Two or three generations of Catholics left un-catechized or taught with flimsy, Protestantized fluff passed off as Catholic education
Sexual abuse by clergy excused and unaddressed by the hierarchy
A blind eye turned to high profile dissent and political class heretics
Wholesale attacks on sacred teachings that receive virtually no response from our pastors (and if it weren’t for Catholic Answers, EWTN and the Catholic League we would have no defense whatsoever)
The succumbing of our Catholic institutions of higher education to the ravages of political correctness, and the list goes on.

In the face of all this, should we be surprised that 54% of “Catholics” voted for Barack? Hardly.

The battle for Catholic culture begins with us, and there is no time like the present to don the armor of spiritual warfare. We either believe and practice what the Church teaches or we live as part of the shadow church, falsely trading on the Name Catholic for its benefits without at the same time shouldering the crosses that this entails.

There is, however, great hope for the future because the battle has already been engaged: new Catholic colleges are springing up to replace the old decrepit houses of heresy, new religious orders with abundant vocations and orthodoxy have arisen, home schooling families and strong lay movements are abundant now. Only when we take back our beloved Church from the false Catholics and clerics will our Church be able to stand up and rebuke the storm winds of paganism that are building faster than we care to admit. This project is not without its price, however. The cost of being a true believer will undoubtedly be much higher than ever before in our lifetime. Starting now and into the next generation we as Catholics will have to show the world not only what we believe but that we are willing to lay down our lives for it as a witness to the truth.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Priest Game Makes Catechism Fun!

By Caroline B. Mooney

LAFAYETTE - When Michelle Newcomb looked for a way to teach her 3-year-old son his colors through the vestments a priest wears, she never envisioned that it would become "The Priest Game," her new board
game which teaches young children about the Catholic Church.

"The whole project has just kind of evolved," said Newcomb, mother of six children and one foster baby and parishioner of St. Boniface Church here. "God kept inspiring me - he really molded and shaped this game.
Time and time again, he kept giving me what I needed."

Newcomb's 3-year-old, J.J., told his family he wants to be a priest. So, it seemed natural that Newcomb incorporate items from churches in her quest to teach him colors.

"My pastor, Father Timothy Alkire, agreed to let me take his picture and items in the sacristy," Newcomb said. "My original intent was to have something only showing him and a few other items. The focus would
be the colors of the chasubles, not the Mass. It would be something simple, homemade and only for our family.

"As it evolved, I was thinking of asking Father (Ambrose) Ziegler if I could take his picture for a green board," she said. "He was very helpful and gave me a 1957 version of My Catholic Faith which explained a lot of things I needed help with."

"With all of our technology today, we really need to get back to basic board games," Father Ziegler said. "The timing of this game is great - as summer starts, the kids will have it to play instead of watching reruns.We need more devices like this to get young people talking about religion."
"I think it's wonderful," said Kim Overmyer, principal of St. Mary Cathedral School in Lafayette. She helped proofread the game during its production. "It's great catechesis for the whole family. Younger children
can play with the pieces, and as they grow older they can learn more with the DVD. It would also be a great tool for someone coming into the Church.

"It is a good opportunity for families to spend quality time together, and talk about the faith," she said. "Hopefully, it will cause people to pray more and encourage vocations. It's fun, too, for children to see our bishop and priests that they know in the game. There's something for everyone."

The game, which is for up to six players, has 96 pieces with photos from inside St. Boniface and the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, and six, two-sided game boards. There are many ways to use the game. Players can spin a dial and match their spin with a game piece that is then placed on their board. Upon finding each match, they tell other players which piece they are putting down. For instance, a chalice is on one piece, and its definition is printed on the back.

Along with the matching pieces, the game includes "Did you know?" points that are interesting facts about the Catholic Church.

"This has been totally Michelle's idea," Ken Newcomb said. "She tries to come up with ways to teach our kids. We would love for our son to be a priest, but there was no way to nurse that on his level. We couldn't find any Catholic games to help teach traditional Catholic teaching. We saw a hole and this fits quite nicely."

"The Priest Game" sells for $25

For more information, go to

Friday, November 21, 2008

Another Healing Story

The following letter was sent to OLTIV by a woman who wanted to share her story with everyone she could. Here it is. Keep up the prayers and don't lose hope!

"I would love to tell the story, it is pretty simple. I have renal cell carcinoma stage 4 cancer, originally diagnosed in 1996. I had an 8 lb. tumor removed along with my left kidney. I was told to enjoy the next year, for I was supposed to die in that time."

"I survived (whew!), by the Grace of God, and the intercession of Mother Mary and St. Joseph. Then, 10 years later, it returned, near my right kidney in a lymph node. I survived once more, and am now cancer free."

"During that time, I was put on a prayer list through Many prayers were said for me, and I was given water to drink during and after my surgery from a "spring that sprung" at Sylvan Springs. I have prayed to Mother Mary, and I feel inside that through this, I survived. Thank you, OLTIV!!! Keep the prayers coming!" -Karen

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prayer Vigil Begins Tomorrow

Will you not wait and watch with Jesus,and pray for America? [Matt. 26: 38-40]

Vigil for America: 48 Hours of Eucharistic Prayer
From 6:00 p.m., Friday, November 21st (The Presentation of Mary)until 6:00 p.m., Sunday, November 23rd (Christ The King)

For Details see:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Too Sad For This To Be Funny

“I pick and choose”
California’s First Lady says she’s ‘a Cafeteria Catholic’

“I start every one of my days praying,” says Maria Shriver, wife of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I go to church every week. I went to Catholic schools my entire life.” But, says Shriver, when it comes to Church teachings, “I pick and choose… I think I’m probably a ‘Cafeteria Catholic.’” (You think?)

Shriver’s comments came during a lengthy interview on the Washington Post’s video blog ‘On Faith,’ taped during an Oct. 22 women’s conference at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Shriver, wearing a rosary around her neck (Maybe she didn't know how to plug it in?), was interviewed by Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn and co-host Jon Meacham of Newsweek.

Shriver and the governor are members of St. Monica’s parish in Santa Monica, and she told Quinn and Meacham during the interview, “My pastor (Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson) is a huge part of my life.” But her closeness to her pastor, her regular church attendance and her Catholic education don’t seem to have discouraged her from taking positions distinctly at odds with the magisterium.

“I have a dispute with a lot of the Catholic Church,” said Shriver in the interview. “Even though I consider myself a Catholic in good standing, I disagree with a lot of the teachings of the Church.” (Uh, Msgr. Torgerson, would you like to handle this or should we?)

Shriver spelled out some of her disagreements: “I don’t believe that if someone’s divorced they shouldn’t get Communion; I don’t believe that people who are gay shouldn’t be accepted into the Church… I’m pro-choice, I believe women should have that right.” She also said “women should have a larger role in the Catholic Church.” What she does like about Catholicism, said Shriver, are its teachings on “compassion” and “social justice.” (You left out Bingo Night)

Did I just hear Grandma Rose rolling over in her grave?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Our Lady, Her Work, and the Devil's Attacks

Members of the self-proclaimed "official" website out of Fostoria, OH have recently been making defamatory statements and declarations on theirs and others' websites in regard to statements allegedly made by Sr. Millie relating to a "ring of evil" she felt at Kneipp Springs (now Sylvan Springs) the day before Our Lady of America first appeared to her in the Our Lady Mother of Mercy Chapel. They want faithful believers to be swayed from even visiting Rome City to pray and learn the truth of these events for themselves. Their agenda appears to be geared towards discrediting our own Blessed Mother's choice of birthplaces for this devotion...just as was done in Lourdes back in the 1860's when locals tried to convince visitors not to go to the outskirts of town where Bernadette's visions took place in hopes of keeping them in town where merchants could hawk their trinkets more easily. They are after money and do not show concern with the condition of the pilgrim's souls or the bishops' directions in promoting this devotion.

This type of evil behavior was expected and has been experienced for several years now. This is how the "evil one" works. He is always on the attack against Our Lady and Her good works. He can make otherwise good people do evil things and convince them they are doing God's work. Such appears to be the case we have before us now.

Sr. Millie was very naive about the early apparitions she was receiving which lead up to the Our Lady of America apparitions. She thought all religious had these experiences. Keep in mind, this woman entered the religious life at the start of her teen years and really had no "real world" education. She lead a sheltered life. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just helps one to understand the circumstances surrounding her own experiences and how she perceived them.

When she said she felt a "ring of evil" at Kneipp Springs, it was because the devil already knew what she didn't. The devil knew Our Lady had great plans for this place...plans She had already ordained more than 50 years earlier when She had worked through John Noll (later to be known as Archbishop Noll who saved the National Basilica and defended the faith against the yellow journalists of 1914-1922).

The devil is always on the attack against Our Lady's work. It is one of the criteria well-balanced spiritual directors look for in discerning the veracity of events such as this. If Sr. Millie had not reported this ominous evil presence, it would have made her own experiences less credible. This fact would not have been lost on her own spiritual director of 32 years (Archbishop Paul Leibold).

The devil tries to scare off the faithful with lies, threats, and sometimes physical assaults. He will do all he can to get you to not do God's will and run away from what is about to happen. Sr. Millie may have been terrified, but she held her ground... and just look at what glorious things have happened as a result!

These attacks have not ended and probably never will as long as there is this battle between good and evil going on with this movement. Every time we suffer these attacks and call on Jesus to protect us, something beyond words takes place here. You just have to experience these things for yourself. It is part of being a spiritual prayer warrior for Our Lord:

It is why the Friday Night Rosary has endured for over 7 years since first started even though the local bishop and priests said the faithful would never continue with it "because it is too long".

It is why some faithful drive several hours each week just to come and pray the 1 hour rosary each Friday in the chapels where Our Lady of America was born.

It is this continued prayerful vigilance which has kept the devil at bay while Our Lady of America has attended to ALL of Her Children who have heard Her call to follow Her Son here in Rome City.

Padre Pio had many such stories of evil attacks. The following is an excerpt from Padre Pio's own remarks and is followed by a witness account:

This is the Father Pio’s testimony: “One day, while I was hearing confessions, a man came to the confessional where I was. He was tall, handsome, dressed with some refinement and he was kind and polite. He started to confess his sins, which were of every kind: against God, against man and against the morals. All the sins were obnoxious! I was disoriented, in fact for all the sins that he told me, but I responded to him with God’s Word, the example of the Church, and the morals of the Saints. But the enigmatic penitent answered me word for word, justifying his sins, always with extreme ability and politeness. He excused all the sinful actions, making them sound quite normal and natural, even comprehensible on the human level.. He continued this way with the sins that were gruesome against God, Our Lady, the Saints, always using disrespectful round-about argumentation. He kept this up even with with the foulest of sins that could be conjured in the mind of a most sinful man. The answers that he gave me with such skilled subtlety and malice surprised me. I wondered: who is he? What world does he come from? And I tried to look at him in order to read something on his face. At the same time I concentrated on every word he spoke, trying to discover any clue to his identity.. But suddenly; through a vivid, radiant and internal light I clearly recognized who he was. With a sound and imperial tone I told him: “Say long live Jesus, long live Mary!” As soon as I pronounced these sweet and powerful names, Satan instantly disappeared in a trickle of fire, leaving behind him an unbearable stench.”

Don Pierino is a priest and one of the father Pio’s spiritual sons who were present at the same time.
Fr. Pierino tells this story: “One day, Padre Pio was in the confessional, hidden by two curtains. The curtains of the confessional were not closed all the way and I succeeded in seeing padre Pio. The men, following the bookings, were prepared on a side, all in single row. From the place where I was, I read the Breviary and, sometimes I looked up to see the Padre. From the little church, through the door, a man came. He was handsome, with small and black eyes, grizzled hair, with a dark jacket and ruled trousers. I didn’t want him to distract me and so I kept on reciting the breviary, but an internal voice told me: “Stop and look!“ I stopped and looked at padre Pio. That man, while taking footstep back and forth and without waiting his turn, stopped just in front of the confessional, after the previous penitent went away. He immediately entered among the curtains, standing, up in front of padre Pio. Then I didn’t see the dark haired man after that moment. Following some minutes I saw that man sank on the floor with his legs widened. On the chair in the confessional, where Padre Pio had been sitting, I didn’t see padre Pio anymore; but, Jesus. He was blond, young and handsome and he gazed upon the man that had fell to the floor. Then again I saw padre Pio coming up from there. He returned to take a seat to in his place and his appearance melted with Jesus’ appearance. Then I saw only Padre Pio. I immediately heard his voice: “Hurry up, everyone.” Nobody noticed this happening! Everybody started with their turn again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Father Newman Under Attack

The Charleston Diocese came out with a statement repudiating Father Jay Scott Newman. This is a diocese currently without a bishop.

OLTIV believes Father Newman is correct in his statements and that Msgr. Martin Laughlin, along with any other bishop or diocese around this globe that is under the same misguided belief on this issue, needs to get it straight before it is too late. Better yet, they should admit that THEY ARE NOT TRUE CATHOLICS and they should go find another church!

The Catholic Church is not being well-served by these self-serving priests and bishops who are creating misunderstanding within the ranks for the sake of politics.

Please show your support for Father Newman, and your own parish priests in agreement, by writing them and making a public thank you for "holding the line" on this issue. This is an Our Lady of America issue. If the proponents of OLA don't stand up for purity, who will?

From Fox News Service

A Roman Catholic diocese in South Carolina officially repudiated a priest Friday after he told his parishioners that people who voted for Barack Obama had supported the "intrinsic evil" of abortion and should not seek Communion.

Father Jay Scott Newman, writing in the weekly bulletin of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., called Obama "the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president."

"Voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exits constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil, and those Catholics who do so place themselves outside of the full communion of Christ's Church and under the judgment of divine law," Newman wrote.
Exit polls suggested that a majority of Catholics voted for Obama in last week's election.
Click here to read the church bulletin.

Newman said he would not deny anyone communion because of their political choices, but he told his flock of 2,700 families that they should first seek penitence if they voted for Obama, who supports abortion rights. The Catholic Church considers abortion an act of murder.

"Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation," Newman wrote.

That view was rejected Friday by Newman's own diocese.

"Father Newman's statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church's teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated," said Msgr. Martin Laughlin, administrator of the Charleston Diocese, which is currently without a bishop.

Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have issued various rulings on whether Catholics who support abortion can receive communion.

"The Church hasn't said as a body what this individual priest has said, namely that anybody who has voted for Barack Obama shouldn't go to communion," said Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and FOX News contributor.

"If anybody voted for Barack Obama because he is pro-abortion, that would certainly be an objective moral wrong," he said. "There are a lot of discretionary areas in politics on which two good Catholics could differ, but the respect for life is not one of these."

Newman and his church have received a thunderous response -- and more than 4,000 e-mails -- both praising and deriding the priest for his comments.

At home in his parish, however, church members said the response has been mostly positive.

Chris Stansberry, the youth director at the church, said that the community had been "very supportive" of Newman's stance. "At St. Mary's we follow the teachings of the Church, which are very pro-life," he said. "I think everybody here in the parish is [behind him]," he told

Newman declined public comment Friday, but he wrote in a letter to his church that he had been misunderstood on matters of doctrine and was disappointed in the reception his words had gotten in the press.

"I knew that this might turn into a very ugly brawl designed to make me look like a raving lunatic seeking to coerce voters through spiritual blackmail rather than a shepherd warning his flock about the spiritual danger of supporting abortion, whether directly or indirectly," he wrote. "And my suspicion proved well-founded."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Priest in Greenville

A Greenville priest says that his parishioners should do penance if they voted for Barack Obama.

In a letter to his parishoners, the Rev. Jay Scott Newman, priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church, said that his congregants shouldn't take communion until they do penance for supporting "the most radical pro-abortion politician ever to serve in the United States Senate or to run for president."

Newman said that his statement is backed up by church teaching, but that church law doesn't allow him to refuse parishioners the sacrament.

The Catholic Church says that abortion is one of five "non-negotiable issues" for Catholic voters and that any church member voting for a pro-choice candidate would be disobeying the church. "Abortion is understood as intrinsically wrong, meaning it's not made wrong by intentions or circumstances, it's wrong in itself."

The other four issues are: euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and same-sex marriage.

Exit polling showed that most Catholics didn’t follow that church teachings this year, with a significant majority voting for Obama.

"If the pro-life candidate had been the Democrat, and the pro-abortion candidate had been the Republican, what I wrote to my congregation would have been exactly the same," Newman said.

In their annual meeting, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops vowed Tuesday to forcefully confront the Obama administration over its support for abortion rights.

The bishops said the church and religious freedom could be under attack in the new administration.

"President-Elect Obama wants to make it possible for a minor anywhere in the United States to get an abortion without her parents even knowing about it," Newman said.

Church leaders have said that they fear that the Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has supported, would lead to the removal of "conscience clauses" that allow Catholic hospitals to choose not to perform abortions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bishops Statement on Obama and Abortion

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops today wrapped up its semi-annual meeting in Baltimore by approving a statement expressing their hopes and fears about the incoming Obama Administration. The bishops are trying to balance an acknowledgment of the excitement in the nation about the historic nature of the Obama victory with their deep concern about the president-elect's support for abortion rights. The statement was drafted overnight by Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago, who is the conference president, after an open discussion yesterday afternoon about what the statement should say; today the bishops discussed the statement behind closed doors and then released it on their web site. George (at podium in photo above) is considered one of the leading intellectuals of the bishops' conference, and the bishops repeatedly expressed confidence in his ability to speak for them. Here is the full text of the statement:

"If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil." (Psalm 127, vs. 1)

The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States welcome this moment of historic transition and look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the members of the new Congress for the common good of all. Because of the Church's history and the scope of her ministries in this country, we want to continue our work for economic justice and opportunity for all; our efforts to reform laws around immigration and the situation of the undocumented; our provision of better education and adequate health care for all, especially for women and children; our desire to safeguard religious freedom and foster peace at home and abroad. The Church is intent on doing good and will continue to cooperate gladly with the government and all others working for these goods.

The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself.

In the last Congress, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced that would, if brought forward in the same form today, outlaw any "interference" in providing abortion at will. It would deprive the American people in all fifty states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.
Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated. The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.

FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil.

On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will. They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby. Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted.

The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve. Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.

This statement is written at the request and direction of all the Bishops, who also want to thank all those in politics who work with good will to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Those in public life do so, sometimes, at the cost of great sacrifice to themselves and their families; and we are grateful. We express again our great desire to work with all those who cherish the common good of our nation. The common good is not the sum total of individual desires and interests; it is achieved in the working out of a common life based upon good reason and good will for all.

Our prayers accompany President-elect Obama and his family and those who are cooperating with him to assure a smooth transition in government. Many issues demand immediate attention on the part of our elected "watchman." (Psalm 127) May God bless him and our country.

The Bishops Need Our Lady of America to be Their Inspiration

USCCB: No retreat on abortion, but no new communion ban

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR. Baltimore

“No retreat, no surrender” is perhaps the best way to sum up the spirit of the U.S. bishops’ discussion of abortion and politics this afternoon, though the bishops stopped short of adopting any new policy on the denial of communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians.

Meeting in Baltimore, the bishops embraced a full frontal challenge with regard to the abortion policies of the incoming Obama administration, especially its support of the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA), which would undo existing restrictions on abortion at the state and federal levels, and which, according to some interpretations, could actually penalize hospitals that do not provide abortion services.

Several bishops said that the church should not merely oppose FOCA, but actively work against its implementation should it become law. Several stressed the need to request freedom of conscience provisions for Catholic health care providers and facilities – and, in a worst-case scenario, warned that the church must be prepared to shut down its hospitals rather than provide abortions, or turn them over to other providers who would.

The bishops voted to authorize Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, as president of the bishops’ conference, to issue a "strong" and "prophetic" statement on “the present political situation,” and they offered George talking points for that statement.
Those points include:
• A willingness to work with the new administration on “economic justice and opportunity; immigration reform; health care for the poor, especially for women and children; education; religious freedom and working for peace.”
• “The church is also resolute in opposing evil,” and the bishops are “completey united and resolute in our teaching and defense of the unborn child from the moment of conception.” In particular, the bishops expressed opposition to FOCA, in part because health care workers and facilities could be compelled to provide abortion services.
• The recent election was not a referendum in favor of abortion, and “aggressively pro-choice policies” will alienate tens of millions of Americans and would be “interpreted by many Catholics as an attack on the church.”
• The bishops express the desire that “all Catholics in public life be fully committed to the common good,” and that communion in the church “may always be complete.”

That last point did not sit well with some of the most ardently pro-life voices in the conference, who favor denying communion to pro-choice Catholic legislators.

“At some point this conference will have to address its reticence to speak to Catholic politicians who are not just reluctant, but stridently anti-life,” said Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Martino argued that in an earlier era, when some Catholic politicians supported racist laws, Catholic bishops of the time “spoke strongly and took canonical measures against them.”

Martino clearly signaled he was ready to follow that example.
“I can’t have the Vice-President-elect coming to Scranton saying he learned his values there, when those values are utterly against what the church teaches,” Martino said.

Martino also criticized groups that made a Catholic case for Obama during the 2008 elections, saying they distorted the meaning of the phrase "common good."

"Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good," Martino charged, defined "common good" in terms of "utopianism and prosperity-oriented materialism, which is not at all what it means in Catholic teaching."

On the whole, the spirit of the bishops’ discussion signaled a clear determination not to back down from their opposition to abortion, despite Obama’s election to the White House.

“Some people may think it's time for a truce, but we’re dealing with a moral absolute,” said Bishop Robert Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio. “There’s nothing here that allows for common ground. We’re talking about a human being whose life cannot be compromised.”

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Hermann asserted that more lives have been lost to abortion than in America's wars, and called upon his brother bishops to be courageous.
"Any bishop here would be willing, would consider it a privilege, to die tomorrow if it meant ending abortion," Hermann said. "We should dedicate the rest of our lives to taking any kind of criticism, whatever it is, to stop this horrible genocide."

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, was equally adamant about the impossibility of compromise.

“There’s no compromise between the fire department and the fire, or between the fly and the fly-swatter,” Bruskewitz said.

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago raised the specter of potential threats to Catholic health care if hospitals were compelled under the law to offer abortions.

“It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our catholic hospitals entirely,” Paprocki said. “It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil.”

“I do not think I’m being alarmist in considering such drastic steps,” he said. “We need to respond in a morally appropriate, responsible fashion.”
Not every bishop, however, appeared comfortable with a combative approach to the new administration.

“A prophecy of denunciation quickly wears thin,” said Bishop Blase Cupich of Rapid Coity, South Dakota. “We need a prophecy of solidarity with the communities we serve and the nation we live in, which needs healing. We must be, and be seen to be, caring pastors as well as faithful teachers.”

Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha, Nebraska, struck a similar note.
“The atmosphere in the country right now is to bring about unity, to reach out to different points of view and different opinions,” Curtiss said. “It’s important for us not to be seen as being deliberately divisive now, or creating division by our actions.”

Curtiss suggested that perhaps one winning argument in opposition to FOCA is precisely that it would be “extremely divisive.”
The bishops’ comments this afternoon were intended as suggestions for George, who is expected to weave them into a statement to be released at the end of the conference.

If early reactions are any indication, the bishops' handling of the abortion question is unlikely to fully satisfy Catholics on either side of the debate.
This morning, Catholic Democrats, a group that backed Obama during the campaign, held a conference call with reporters. Patrick Whelan, the group's president, called upon the bishops "to reject the politics of confrontation, and the more vicious language that drives people out of the church."

Whelan asserted that the abortion rate in America fell twice as fast during the Clinton years as during the first five years of the Bush presidency, which means, Whelan said, that "274,000 additional children would be alive today" if the social policies of the Clinton era had continued.He suggested that the "reduction strategy" of the Democrats with regard to abortion represents a more effective approach.
Meanwhile, the American Life League organized a candlit vigil outside the bishops' meeting this evening, where the group's vice-president, Jim Sedlak, told the bishops "your actions bely your words."

Sedlak was particularly critical of recent comments by Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., that he will not seek to deny the Eucharist to Vice-President-elect Joseph Biden, the country's first Catholic vice-president, after he takes office in January.

"You cannot say that abortion is a sin against God, and then deliver that same God into the hands of politicans who support abortion," Sedlak said, calling the failure of the bishops to adopt a uniform communion ban "a scandal and a source of confusion to lay Catholics."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Lady's Message To Protect The Unborn?

This photo was submitted by a visitor who drove several hours with a large group for the Friday Night Rosary. They witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. The sun was pulsing at the time this image appeared.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Pay attention to the shape in the ball of light above the sun. What will the Bishops talk about this week?

This is where

Our Lady of America began.

This is where Dr. John C. Willke, who founded the National Right to Life Committee, grew up.

Protect the Unborn

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Part II An American Pilgrimage

If you are new to this website, read the previous post below this one first.

Sister Mildred and the Continuous Apparitions of the Virgin Mary
Aug 21, 07:56 PM
Well, I survived last night, and nothing out of the ordinary happened. I wanted to see the Virgin Mary, but I didn’t. But long ago, someone else did, and the Blessed Mother’s been coming back ever since.
Sister Mildred Neuzil, known then as Sister Mary Ephrem, was a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood which ran the sanitarium in Rome City, Indiana. An assiduous group, they spend all day working, rarely speaking, except to patients and to each other about their tasks. In fact, they only had a half hour of free time every day, when they could chitchat about whatever suited their fancy.
On September 25, 1956, the Virgin Mary appeared to Sister Mildred, or “Millie” as she is affectionately known here, after private prayer. It’s said that Sister Millie told the Blessed mother that she didn’t have time to talk, as there was work to do. But Mary stayed with Millie the rest of the day, waiting attentively.
Mary said she wanted to be known as Our Lady of America, and cradled in her hands a replica of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. According to legend, Sister Millie was later able to accurately describe the basilica, even though it hadn’t been built at the time of the apparition. Mary said that she wanted a statue of herself to be enshrined in the basilica, which is still in process today.
Here is the church on the sanitarium grounds where the Virgin Mary appeared: And here is a close-up of the exact spot. Note the swath of light in the lower right. It wasn’t there when I looked through he viewfinder, and remained in the picture, no matter from which direction I pointed the camera: The Blessed Mother continued to appear to Sister Millie five more times in the coming weeks, and had many lessons to impart to her. Here’s one of my favorites:
“It is the United States that is to lead the world to peace, the peace of Christ, the peace that He brought with Him from heaven,” Sr. Mildred Mildred quoted the Virgin as saying. “Dear children, unless the United States accepts and carries out faithfully the mandate given to it by heaven to lead the world to peace, there will come upon it and all nations a great havoc of war and incredible suffering. If, however, the United States is faithful to this mandate from heaven and yet fails in the pursuit of peace because the rest of the world will not accept or cooperate, then the United States will not be burdened with the punishment about to fall…”

“If my desires are not fulfilled much suffering will come to this land. My faithful one, if my warnings are taken seriously and enough of my children strive constantly and faithfully to renew and reform themselves in their inward and outward lives, then there will be no nuclear war. What happens to the world depends upon those who live in it. There must be much more good than evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching. Yet I tell you, my daughter, even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took my warning seriously, there will remain a remnant, untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following me and spreading my warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives.”
Have her desires been fulfilled? It’s a strong, and scary foretelling of the future of this country.
Anyhow, Sister Millie went to her priest, which told her to keep her apparitions to herself, lest others think she was crazy. She did, but when she told Bishop Paul F. Leibold of Cincinnati years later, he became convinced of their authenticity and published a book. Because she had guarded the secret so well, it was the first the people of Rome City learned of the apparitions.
To this day, the apparition is in the process of being approved, making it the first apparition of the Virgin Mary accepted by the Catholic Church in the United States.
The statue the Virgin Mary wanted has yet to be installed in the basilica, and there’s actually quite a bit of controversy around it. In the early 1970s, the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood ceased being contemplative, and took away their support of Sister Millie, who moved to Ohio with other sisters. (In 1976, they sold the sanitarum). In Ohio, Sister Millie and her compatriots lived as sisters, even though they were technically no longer part of an order, trying to further the cause of Our Lady of America.
Now, it’s a mess. Sister Millie died in 2000, and one of her comrades, Patricia Fuller ( aka Sister Joseph Therese) has taken up the cause. But so have elements within the Church, and the two sides are fighting. In fact, there are now two statues trying to be placed in the basilica by three different organizations. The Catholic Church says Sister Joseph is not a real nun, and misrepresents the Church. But Sister Joseph says that the Church is not holding true to the vision of Our Lady of America. It’s all very complicated, and I’m going to start researching it for a news story.
But here’s a drawing of the statue planned for the basilica based on Sister Millie’s description: Weird things are still happening in Rome City. It is said that this place can heal people, as a young boy was apparently cured of cancer a few years ago in this chapel: And people with cameras report seeing orbs that are reportedly the Virgin Mary. At dusk, they can be seen coming from the sun and approaching the door of the church, as if to say, “This is my home.”
I took pictures of the sun at sunset, and got this on the camera. It seemed to circle Nick Chester, my guide and the site’s historian: But there are also other things. One of the most interesting is the Wailing Room. When this was a retreat in the early 2000s, it was an average hotel room. But two years ago, strange drippings appeared on the wall.
The maid scrubbed them away, but two days later they returned. The drippings don’t start at the ceiling, and there is no difference between the pain in this room and any of the other rooms in Rome City. But they drip continuously, and are often still wet to the touch. Here is a close-up of the drippings: The owners stopped using it as a hotel room, and reportedly sent some of the substance to the lab, which said it was olive oil of Mediterranean origin. Weird.
Hundreds of pilgrims come to this site every month to press gauze to the walls and apply it to their ailing joints. They come, even though there are no advertisements of any kind to draw them. And the walls just keep oozing.
I don’t know what to make of them, but as Nick put it, “It’s true for those who come here and believe it. People will find what they want here.” That may sound skeptical, but Nick is a believer. He just knows that anyone can rationalize the occurrences as true or false, however they want to see it. I haven’t formed an opinion, but the sticky brown substance certainly was something else.
(By the way, I’ve seen what it looks like when oil paint is painted over with acrylic, and how it bleeds through. This did not look like that, if you’re wondering.)
On a completely unrelated note, I wanted to finish this posting with one of my favorite pictures of the day. It’s one of the stained-glass windows in the church, made in 1914 in Germany of traditional style. It depicts Jesus as a teenager. His parents lost him, and found him in the temple beginning his preaching to the elders there. Look at the gorgeous detail!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An American Pilgrim's Story

The following is a blog posting from an extraordinary young man who is biking his way across America and his experiences at Sylvan Springs in Rome City and his introduction to Our Lady of America's home and birthplace.

"Everyone always leaves America to find spirituality. From Delhi and Jerusalem to Guadeloupe and Lourdes, there are guides and travelogues of voyagers who have found themselves, found their ancestors, or found God.

But what about our country? Founded as a haven for the free practice of religion, the United States is the birthplace of the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Pentecostal movement, and the Nation of Islam.

There has yet to be an extensive exploration of the distinctive spiritual sites in America, and that is why I have set out on this journey. From the middle of June to the middle of March, I will traverse the country, north to south and east to west, exploring the great variety of faiths that have fostered our country’s four Great Awakenings.

I am Matthew Streib, a 26-year-old who studied the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as an undergraduate at Cornell University. I then went on to earn a master’s degree in religion and journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I have traveled through more than 30 countries, and my articles on religion have appeared in newspapers such as USA Today, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, and The Chicago Tribune.

I chose to undertake this journey by bicycle, because there’s so much you can miss speeding along the interstate. This is an exploration of average, everyday belief, the backbone that drives our nation. The destinations are only part of the trip. Along the way, I will be visiting churches, temples, synagogues and mosques, randomly sampling the tapestry of the American religious experience.

On my blog, you can read about my travels, discover the religious sites that I pass along the way, and watch videos where the people I meet describe the role of faith in their lives. And, if you subscribe to my podcast, you will receive more detailed, emotive descriptions of sites and experiences from the mouths of the people involved."

A Spooky Night by the Church with Healing Waters
Aug 20, 11:10 PM
As I write this, I am in a tent on the grounds of the Church of the Immaculate Virgin in Rome City, Indiana. It’s a bit creepy. This isn’t just any church. This is where the Virgin Mary appeared to a nun as Our Lady of America. This is a place with waters that are known to cure cancer. This is a place where a room oozes olive oil from its walls.

It’s also not in use right now. A huge estate with 480 beds just in its main building, it’s a little bit reminiscent of “The Shining.” I was taken on a long tour today by a wonderful man named Nick Chester, who volunteers his retired years acting as a guide, historian, and maintenance man for the place. He took me around for three hours, through empty cafeterias, hotel suites, prayer rooms, etc., telling me the glorious history of the place.

But while many good things have happened here, I was still a bit creeped out. There were abandoned wheelchairs from invalids who had come for healing. Floors were sealed off, everything echoed, and I expected to see a pair of troublesome twins any second. That, or the Virgin Mary. My imagination was imagining the worst, but my wiser side knew that if anything appeared, it probably wasn’t going to be malicious.
I couldn’t believe that Nick offered to let me sleep on the grounds even after he’d left. It’s a bit scary – there are red lights shining through the church windows. I know that they’re only exit signs, but still. And I’m right by the cemetery. Hopefully, I’ll last the night.

There is so much history here, that I can’t go into it in one blog post. So today, I’ll go over the earlier, pre-apparition stuff, and tomorrow I’ll tell about the really cool things.

The oldest part of the building was built in 1895, with the rest coming a few years later. It was founded as Kneipp Sanitarium by Dr. W.C. Geiermann. It had been named after Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian doctor who later became a Catholic priest. As a young man, he had consumption, and was not expected to survive. But he surmised that by bathing in the chilly Danube, he could make his heart improve his circulation, and cure himself. It worked.

There are tons of natural springs in Rome City, which produce a chilly water at a constant 54 degrees Fahrenheit. They’re rich in lithium, which acts as a mood enhancer, and had been used by American Indians as a peaceful, neutral healing spot among tribes for centuries before Europeans came.

As the beginning of the 1900s was much more prudish than than today, men and women waded separately, very far from each other so there could be no visible partial nudity (i.e. an ankle).

Soon after he opened the sanitarium, however, Geiermann found he had more clients than he could handle, and appealed to the Catholic Church for aid. Soon, an order of nuns, the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, moved in to study with him and help out. After a few years, however, they took over, and Geiermann moved on.

The Kneipp treatment was more than just water treatment, however, and included wholesome diet, hygienic clothing, and systematic regular exercise. Everything was regimented and scheduled, in the belief that it aids the body’s processes. Herbs were intrinsic in the healing, and were grown by the sisters on the land, which included a farm, a dairy, and a butchery so it could be self-sufficient. That ended with modern food laws, however, which made local production for restaurants impossible and enabled unhealthy food to dominate our national food supply.

Inside the buildings, there are remnants of a beautiful old retreat, such as tin ceilings, stenciling, wooden floors, and hand-laid tile. Much of that is not readily visible, as it was covered due to remodeling and modern fire-safety laws. Take a look at this restored sitting room for men. You can see the tin ceiling in the middle, but the rest has been covered to install a sprinkler system:

Despite the other offerings, water remained the centerpiece of the establishment, which included a bathhouse, steam room, ponds, and many other liquid amenities. The water is still actively flowing from the ground, and provides clean drinking water with no treatment necessary.
People come from all around to get some of the water from Rome City, as they believe it has curing powers, whether drunk or bathed in. Nick took me down into some old tunnels to the source of the spring to fill my water bottles: So, that’s some of the history of this place as a health resort. Tomorrow, I’ll get into the religious apparitions that occur here. If I make it through the night…

Friday, November 7, 2008

She IS Still Waiting

The following photos were both taken immediately after completion of The Friday Night Rosary at Sylvan Springs.

The first one was taken on August 15, 2008

The second one was taken on August 29, 2008
Both times, the visitors captured multiple photos of the same image.
Pray with us tonite at 6:30 pm. If you are unable to come in person, please come in spirit.
Our Lady of America is waiting for you!
"Bring Me My Children. Bring Me ALL of My Children!"

Thursday, November 6, 2008

From Jesus, Mary, Joseph Website








Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mark Mallett's Blog 11/05/08

SO... what if Obama begins to bring stability to the world? What if foreign tensions began to ease? What if the war in Iraq seems to conclude? What if racial tensions ease? What if the stock markets begin to appear more stable? What if there appears to be a new peace in the world?

Then I would tell you it is a false peace. For there can be no real and lasting peace when death in the womb is enshrined as a universal "right."

How happy I am, particularly for black Americans, that their country has taken such a huge step forward in mending the discriminations of the past which made a black presidency a near impossibility. But what a terrible irony it is that while one door of discrimination is closing, this election opens other, more horrifying violations of human rights.

For not only will Obama’s promise to pass the Freedom of Choice Act bring about infanticide in America, other states, such as Washington, have just passed resolutions to make suicide a legal right, and in Michigan, they passed an initiative to expand the use of stem cells from human embryos for research.

Already "change" is beginning to sweep the country! What a message this is to the youth: "Life is dispensable! Life, when it is an inconvenience is terminable!

Life, when it is deemed no longer worth living is endable!" I am crying out in unity with so many of you: death is not an answer to the suffering of this culture. Only Jesus! Only Jesus! Only He who is the way, the truth, and the life. Only He is "the One."

Peace is not the mere absence of war or the simple maintenance of a balance of power between forces, nor can it be imposed at the dicate of abolute power. It is called, rightly and properly, a work of justice. It is the product of order, the order implanted in human society by its divine founder, to be realized in practice as men hunger and thirst for ever more perfect justice. —Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Second Vatican Council, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol IV, p. 470-471


My dear brothers and sisters, we have journeyed on a pilgrimage of preparation during these past three years. Yes, the one word which sums up all these writings is "Prepare!" Prepare for what? Prepare for a final evangelization of this era; prepare for the changes which have already begun in nature; prepare for persecution; prepare for the "final confrontation" which will end in Triumph for all those who have entered the Ark in these days.

Is not this election a further sifting of the wheat from the chaff? For the last of the world’s Christian democracies has fallen into the hands of those who would abolish antiquated "theological ideals" and usher in a new age of thinking and structures. The political changes in North America are only one more of the gears in The Great Meshing, albeit, a fundamental one.

We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up. —Cardinal Karol Wotyla who became Pope John Paul II two years later; reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal

As mysterious and massive waves struck the coast of Maine prior to yesterday’s election, these words were sent to me by one of my readers. They were given to an American mother who goes by the name of "Jennifer." They are worth discerning since other "words" she has been given have already come to pass:

I come to you today to tell you that the waves of change are soon to come forth. There will be a great divide upon a nation as the earth continues to respond to the depths of man’s sin. In the west will pour forth earth trembling change and in the east will rise a sign of great light that will awaken My people to my mercy. When you begin to see major collapse of your financial institutions know that my plan for mankind is soon to prevail. —Words From Jesus, December 15th, 2005

Another harbinger, Jesus allegedly says, will be when Christian morality begins to be snuffed out of society:
My people, when the world seeks to silence My presence in your ways of living, know that justice is soon to prevail. My people, you are not in a time of calmness, rather a time when My Mercy is flowing out from the rays of My Most Sacred Heart. —Words From Jesus, December 15th, 2005

Yes, prepare to follow the Faith which Jesus handed on to us through His Apostles and for which He shed His blood—a shedding which He will ask of some of us as well:
Although all the Gentiles in the king’s realm obey him, so that each forsakes the religion of his fathers and consents to the king’s orders, yet I and my sons and my kinsmen will keep to the covenant of our fathers. God forbid that we should forsake the law and the commandments. We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree. (1 Macc 2:19-22)
But above all, prepare to love.

For years, it seems Our Blessed Mother has been calling us to "Pray, pray, pray. " But this day, I hear anew words in my heart that swell like a wave of joy:
Love, love, love!
Do not let apparent lost battles lead you to despair! The Hour of Mercy is nearing but also the hour when the Church must enter the Garden of Love and surrender all to the Father for the sake of saving lost souls. It is the hour when our enemy’s accusations will be answered with the wisdom of silence, with the antidote of forgiveness, and the blood of mercy.

One can only "love, love, love" if one has taken the time to "pray, pray, pray," for Love is the Holy Spirit, a Divine sap drawn through the Vine of Christ through prayer into we who are the branches. Through communion with God the fruit of love is born, a fruit that will last long after this era is over.

Peace is therefore the fruit also of love; love goes beyond what justice can achieve. Peace on earth, born of love for one’s neighbour, is the sign and the effect of the peace of Christ that flows from God the Father. —Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Second Vatican Council, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol IV, p. 471

But we must be realists, my friends. Unless the world embraces this true peace whose foundation is truth…
…mankind, already in grave peril, may well face in spite of its marvelous advance in knowledge, that day of disaster when it knows no other peace than the awful peace of death. —Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Second Vatican Council, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol IV, p. 475

From a reader:
As I watched the election results last night, and the crowd gathered to cheer for “Barack”… I heard in my heart, instead of his name, the crowd calling for “Barabbas!” The people of God, Christians, Catholics in this country have chosen Obama—ignoring our Holy Father’s, and our Bishop’s, and our Priest’s requests to vote to protect the sanctity of all human life—ignoring even the scriptures that say,

“If my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land.”
So, like Pilate, when he heard the cry for Barabbas, made his judgment and released to the people what they desired…. I believe God will also judge and give what his people have asked for.

It is the sense among many throughout the world that a chastisement may soon fall upon an unrepentant mankind. If so, God’s justice will be an act of mercy to put an end to the culture of death which has destroyed the innocence of so many living souls and taken the lives of countless innocents.

What if the world presents us with the prospect of peace, security, and stability? If it is without Christ, recognize the idol, and refuse to bow before it:
Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. (1 John 2:22)
When people are saying, "Peace and security," then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thess 5:30)

Is the time of preparation beginning to end? Read: The Eye of the Storm-Part II
On Prayer
More on Prayer

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Archbishop Burke talks to Inside The Vatican

On the eve of the presidential election November 4, Archbishop Raymond Burke, in the Vatican, has given an exclusive interview to Andrew Rabel, Australian Inside the Vatican Correspondent, on these and several other issues. Burke, 60, retired in June as archbishop of St Louis, Missouri to become Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in the Holy See, in what is effectively the Vatican's Supreme Court, along side other American curial heads Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal James Stafford, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary. Well known for his orthodoxy, deep piety, and encylopaedic knowledge of canon law (which obviously played a part in his current appointment) he, in 2004, barred US presidential candidate John Kerry, a Catholic, from taking Holy Communion when visiting St Louis, because of his prochoice stance on the issue of abortion rights.Despite a change in his work location, events at home are still very much in his thoughts and prayers.

1. How has your new position in Rome, been since you took over as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura in June?

Pope Benedict XVI transferred me from the office of Archbishop of Saint Louis to the office of Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, on June 27th last. I made my first visit, as Prefect, to the Apostolic Signatura, in early July, but I then returned to Saint Louis to put all of my papers pertaining to the Archdiocese of Saint Louis in order and to prepare my files, books and other personal effects for shipment to the Vatican. Also, I participated in the weeklong celebrations of the Dedication of the Church of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe at La Crosse, of which I am the founder. I returned to Rome on August 23rd last and began my full-time work at the Apostolic Signatura on August 25th last.

2. As archbishop of St Louis and bishop of La Crosse, your style of church leadership was very distinctive. Is something lacking in the way some other dioceses are administered throughout the world?

My leadership in the Diocese of La Crosse and in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis was inspired by the directives of the Holy See on the office and ministry of the Diocesan Bishop. I was also inspired by the Regula Pastoralis of Pope Saint Gregory the Great. In a world which is beset with the ideologies of secularism and relativism, it is more important than ever that the Bishop be a strong leader who teaches clearly, celebrates the Sacred Liturgy with the greatest possible reverence, directs and disciplines justly, and gives the best example of the Christian life, of which he is capable. I was trying to do my best, both in La Crosse and in Saint Louis. It is not my place to comment on the leadership of other Bishops.

3. In your country an election is about to take place in a couple of days. Archbishop Chaput says Obama is the biggest supporter ever of abortion rights, in a presidential candidate. Should Americans be concerned if he becomes president?

My fellow citizens of the United States of America should be deeply concerned about any candidate for the presidency who supports legislation which permits the destruction of human life at its very beginning, the killing of babies in the womb, or legislation which violates the integrity of marriage and family life. The safeguarding and promoting of human life, from the moment of its inception, and of the integrity of marriage must be the fundamental planks of any political agenda. A good citizen must support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life, and the integrity of marriage. To do otherwise, is to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence, even in the home and in educational institutions.

4. In a recent interview you were quoted saying the Democratic Party is fast becoming "the party of death". Is this a fair statement, when you consider that the Republican administration has become involved in an unpopular war?

It is not my intention to engage in partisan politics. I wish that both of the major political parties in the United States of America were more coherent regarding the right to life. The Democratic Party, however has, over the years, put forth and defended a political agenda which is grievously anti-life, favoring the right to procured abortion and "marriage" between persons of the same sex. One can legitimately question the wisdom of the decisions taken in the war in Iraq, but war in itself is not always and everywhere evil, as are, for example, procured abortion, human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research, and the so-called "marriage" of persons of the same sex. Engagement of the nation in a war cannot be placed on the same moral level as the nation making laws which permit the wholesale killing of the unborn or the artificial generation of human life or experimentation on embryonic human life or "marriage" between persons of the same sex.

5. By emphasizing the issue of abortion, are some of the US bishops taking single issue politics too far, when the world's economies are in financial meltdown, obviously a product in part of government policies?

Procured abortion is the fundamental moral issue in the safeguarding and fostering of human life. To make economics or the environment the fundamental political issue, when life itself, in its most innocent and defenseless form, remains unprotected is morally irresponsible. Yes, the government of the United States must address a number of critical issues, including the current and most serious economic crisis. But it must address first its duty to promote the common good by defending the life of every human being, from the moment of its inception, and by safeguarding the integrity of marriage and the family.

6. You mentioned Our Lady of Guadalupe in one of your answers. Was the decline in morals as you perceive it, one of the reasons why you approved devotion to Our Lady of America in the archdiocese of St Louis?

The Mother of God, by her apparitions as Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego, fostered, in a dramatic way, the respect for all human life. Devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe brought an end to the cruel practice of human sacrifice, and brought together into one race the Native American and the Europeans who were on the verge of a bloody conflict. I have been praying fervently, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that the citizens of the United States of America will vote, on November 4th, for the safeguarding of the right to life and of the integrity of marriage. The devotion to Our Lady of America is distinct from the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe who also has the title of Mother of America. Devotion to Our Lady of America was approved many years ago by the late Archbishop Paul Leibold of Cincinnati, Ohio. Having studied the devotion and noting, in particular, its emphasis on the gift of the divine life of grace in the individual soul, which is reflected, above all, in the practice of the virtue of purity, I encouraged the devotion in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. The new enthusiasm for the devotion to Our Lady of America seems providential to me, for it helps the faithful to fortify themselves against the evils of pornography and other violations of pure and selfless love.

7. You were also very supportive of groups in St Louis, wishing to make use of Summorum Pontificum. With the looser restrictions in the celebration of the Old Mass, is the movement for tradition likely to grow, and what effect is this likely to have on the liturgical reform?

Pope Benedict XVI has made clear his reasons for the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, among which is the enrichment of the Ordinary Form of the Latin Rite through the celebration of the Extraordinary Form. Such enrichment will be natural, since the Ordinary Form developed organically from what is now the Extraordinary Form. The more that the faithful come to appreciate the Extraordinary Form, the more they will also come to understand the profound reality of every celebration of the Holy Mass, whether in the Extraordinary or Ordinary Form. If I understand the Holy Father correctly, with time, a further reform of the Sacred Liturgy may take place, which more fully draws upon the richness of the Extraordinary Form. The legislation given in Summorum Pontificum, I am convinced, will foster greatly the liturgical reform which was the goal of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Washington Times Editorial Nov 2, 2008

Send This To Everyone You Know.

If you want to know Barack Obama's real views on abortion, you should meet registered nurse Jill Stanek.

Mrs. Stanek worked at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois from 1993 to 2001. When she worked in the hospital's Labor and Delivery Department she saw that babies who survived abortion attempts were left to die alone in supply rooms. They could linger for as long as eight hours, without medical care, without even the dignity of a warm blanket or a soft touch. Their tiny bodies were then dumped in the trash. Mr. Obama's spiritual mentor served on the board of the hospital. Mrs. Stanek went on a public crusade to protect these children.

At a 2001 Illinois legislature hearing, Mr. Obama questioned Mrs. Stanek. She insisted that children needed medical care if they were born alive. Mr. Obama said: "Ms. Stanek, your initial testimony last year showed your dismay at the lack of regard for human life. I agreed with you last year and we suggested that there be a Comfort Room or something of that nature be done. The hospital acknowledged that and changes were made and you are still unimpressed. It sounds to me like you are really not interested in how these fetus [es] are treated, but rather not providing absolutely any medical care or life to them."

Mrs. Stanek replied: "What the hospital did was try to make things look better. What it really is, is that the baby is still dead."

In committee testimony, Mr. Obama said it was sufficient to give "comfort care" to a baby that is born despite all the efforts to kill it.

"Comfort care" means giving the infant a warm blanket and permitting the baby to be held by someone as it dies. This is the most Mr. Obama could find in his heart to provide - a warm blanket for a child grasping for life. Mrs. Stanek told The Washington Times that Mr. Obama showed callousness when he questioned her in committee testimony: His inability to grasp that babies born alive need medical care was disturbing.

Despite all the details Mrs. Stanek provided in her testimony, Mr. Obama voted against the Induced Infant Liability Act in the Illinois legislature in 2002 - a bill that would give legal protection and medical assistance to a baby born from a botched abortion. Mr. Obama stated that he feared the bill could undermine Roe v. Wade. When a similar bill was put to Congress, other lawmakers had better sense and bigger hearts: The Born Alive Infants Protection Act passed the Senate with a vote of 98-0. It was signed into law by President Bush on Aug. 5, 2002. Infants born alive are now recognized as legal persons with full rights.

Mr. Obama even voted against banning partial-birth abortion - a radical procedure - in the Senate, in October, 2007. Since 2005, he has a 100 percent rating on pro-choice votes by NARAL, a leading, national pro-choice organization.

There is no doubt that Mr. Obama wants not only to uphold existing abortion laws, but a more radical view. At an address before Planned Parenthood on July 17, 2007, Mr. Obama said: "The first thing I will do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act." He received a standing ovation. FOCA was introduced in Congress in November 1989 by Rep. Don Edwards, California Democrat. The legislation has since been a focal point for staunch pro-choicers. The bill would codify the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, into law in all the states. This would overturn state laws that have been passed to limit or delay abortions. Contrary to Mr. Obama's pledges to reduce the number of abortions, he really wants to make them easier to get - while overriding state and federal laws.

Mr. Obama wants to uphold an abortion policy that has a disproportionate impact on blacks. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on sexual and reproductive health research, finds that 13 percent of the U.S. population is black, but 37 percent of all abortions are performed on black women and teens: Blacks are 4.8 times as likely as whites to have an abortion. A vote for Mr. Obama is, in effect, a vote that permits the disproportionate elimination of blacks in America.

Mr. McCain believes unequivocally that life begins at conception. Mr. McCain even supports requiring parental notification for underage girls who want to abort the fetus. His 0 percent rating by NARAL is perhaps one of his greatest achievements as a senator. On one of the fundamental moral questions of our time, the choice is clear: One man favors life, the other prefers a society that permits the death of the most innocent and vulnerable of us.

Mrs. Stanek told The Times that Mr. Obama's talk of compassion for the weak and underprivileged rings hollow to her: "Frankly, I think he is a liar."

It Is Time For Our Lady of America To Be Recognized By Pope Benedict XVI

The time is right for the Holy Father to make a statement to the American Bishops in support of the devotion to Our Lady of America.

We have a staunch supporter of OLA in the person of Archbishop Raymond Burke who is now working very closely with the Pontiff at the Vatican full time. Pope Benedict XVI has great respect and confidence in the former St. Louis Archbishop, so it would be reasonable to expect that if Archbishop Burke had the Pope's ear at this time, he would be able to explain to the Holy Father just how important it is for this devotion and Our Lady's call to purity, especially here in the United States, to be promoted with great vigor and determination by the American Bishops as a means of focusing the spiritual lives of American families and our youth.

With the start of the American Bishop's conference just days away, it would be a good thing to write your local bishop asking his support of OLA. Even better, if you can make it to one of his local Masses in your Diocese, go and greet him with information ready to put in his hand as he greets you as you leave the Church. Ask him to learn all he can about OLA and support this devotion. It is important!!

Now, more than ever, America needs to come together under Our Lady's mantle of purity and focus our attention on the "real" Messiah, Jesus.

"Bring Me My Children. Bring Me ALL of My Children."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Obama Could Close Catholic Hospitals

Steven Ertelt Editor
November 2, 2008

Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood in July 2007 that the first piece of legislation he would sign would be the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that would overturn pro-life laws nationwide. One little-discussed aspect of the ramifications of the bill could see the closing of Catholic hospitals.

The FOCA bill has been a priority of abortion advocacy groups since the Clinton administration, when pro-life advocates were successful in fending it off.

Given the prospects of a White House and Congress controlled by abortion advocates, the potential for resurrecting the bill has caused considerable concern within pro-life circles.

Both sides of the abortion debate readily admit the measure makes unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy a national law and legal right, and that it would invalidate virtually all abortion limits approved by state legislatures in all 50 states.

But the bill could have the affect of closing down Catholic hospitals that refuse to do abortions. Here's how:

As Cardinal Justin Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia warned in September, the FOCA bill "forbids government at all levels to 'discriminate' against the exercise of this [abortion] right 'in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.'"
"For the first time, abortion on demand would be a national entitlement that government must condone and promote in all public programs affecting pregnant women," the Catholic official explained.

Michael Moses, a top attorney for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, adds that the language of FOCA is so far-reaching that it will remove any conscience clause measures from state laws that protect doctors, hospitals and medical professionals who don't want to be involved in abortions.

Moses' reading of the proposed legislation is that if abortion is a fundamental right that can't ever be infringed, then every hospital and medical center must do abortions -- including Catholic and other religious or private hospitals that object to do them.

John Vennari, the editor of the Catholic Family News publication, points out that the measure could easily put Catholics hospitals out of business that want to continue opting out of doing abortions rather than violate their religious beliefs

"This aspect of Obama's candidacy has been eclipsed by endless talk about the economy," Vennari writes.

He urges Catholic leaders to discuss this very real threat.

"It is tragic that our own Catholic clergy have not effectively warned the people under their charge of this danger. This could be remedied if every priest in every diocese in the country would inform their congregations this Sunday of the grave threat to the lives of the unborn, and to the continuance of Catholic hospitals, that an Obama presidency poses," he concludes.