World Youth Day called successful, but “dangerously chaotic”

A constant feature of last week’s World Youth Day was that events were oversubscribed and completely chaotic. I don’t want to be critical of World Youth Day as I wholeheartedly support this Pope and the principle behind the event. But our capacity for joy was continuously stifled by the shambolic organisation.

Introducing the word “queue” into the World Youth Day vernacular and then directing the volunteers to enforce this principle would, for instance, have avoided the carnage at the portaloos on the morning of the papal Mass. Furthermore, if enough loos had been provided the chaos that emerged would have been less likely and pilgrims would have been more inclined to drink water in the baking heat, as opposed to sitting crossed-legged, opting for dehydration and paralysis rather than rugby-tackling their way through the hopping crowds.

What was most appalling was the fiasco surrounding the papal Mass at Cuatro Vientos airfield on Sunday morning. I was one among an estimated 200,000 Catholics who were turned away. Although many young people carried pilgrim passes and were allocated an area in advance, they found there was no way of making the event they had so looked forward to, despite arriving at the crack of dawn that morning or camping outside overnight.

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Editor’s note: Kind of makes you wonder what Judgment Day will be like, with an assemblage of 20 billion or more.

Shea vs. Voris (don’t miss the reader comments)

Last week I wrote a defense of Michael Voris and Simon Rafe (a defense I stand by, despite what follows). Catholic News Agency was, I felt, jumping on the story a bit prematurely and critics of Voris and Rafe were, it seemed to me, being rather hasty both in seeing something sinister in his failure to keep up with complicated paperwork and in their demands that a penitent Rafe be punished for writing a role-playing game with a few rather ambiguous naughty bits. I say “ambiguous” because we simply don’t know how the game proceeded.

If you write a game in which a character you are playing does something you know you shouldn’t do and you get rewarded for it, that’s one thing. If you write a game in which evil choices ultimately lead to bad consequences or to repentance, forgiveness and redemption, that’s another.

Many readers were quite ready to huck Simon Rafe under the bus merely because of a pull quote in a story, devoid of information about how the rest of the game went. Worse, even with his apology, contrition, and promise of firm purpose of amendment, a number of Voris fans were not satisfied. They wanted Rafe fired or punished in some way. I thought the accusations against Voris and Rafe were a bit breathless, so I spoke.

This week, however, there is a different pattern emerging that I find equally disturbing, and frankly, related to Mr. Voris’ standard methodology.

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It’s official: Head of Democratic Party is also head cheerleader for the Culture of Death.

The chair of the national Democratic party headlined a small rally in Florida yesterday for Planned Parenthood, in what is the latest event having Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz working with the abortion business.

Wasserman Schultz was named by pro-abortion President Barack Obama recently to take over as the head of the Democratic Party nationally and prepare for his re-election campaign next year. At the time of her appointment to the position, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards praised Wasserman Schultz as a “heroine” for her extensive abortion advocacy. The appointment made it clear Obama would not run from his lengthy pro-abortion record.

Now, Schultz is continuing that abortion advocacy, appearing in the event sponsored by Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, a local abortion affiliate.

“Show your support for Planned Parenthood, and tell your elected officials that women’s health matters,” an announcement of the rally read, without mentioning abortion. “We’re so excited to co-sponsor a rally in Ft. Lauderdale during the August Congressional recess with all our wonderful coalition partners – and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congressman Ted Deutch, and Congressman Alcee Hastings in attendance. We’re going to turn downtown Ft. Lauderdale pink, and thank our elected officials who have defended women’s health care.”

Schultz tweeted about the rally afterwards — providing a picture and saying she was “with Rep. Red Deutch at the Planned Parenthood rally in south Florida. We are truly fighting for women’s lives. This is personal.”

“I joined my colleague Rep. Ted Deutch and others from the FL State Legislature at a rally with Planned Parenthood in South Florida tonight,” she added on her Facebook page. “This year, we’ve experienced some of the most severe attacks on women’s rights since Roe v. Wade. I was six years old when Roe v. Wade was handed down. And never in my life have I felt my constitutional rights as a woman were threatened like I do right now. The women who came before us faced tough times too, but they stayed with it – because they knew that it was up to them to ensure that they left us a better world. And now it’s our turn to carry the torch.”

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History Channel uses 21st century computer technology to reveal the face on the Shroud of Turin

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The little known story of Polish Catholicism in the United States

Not too long ago I received a copy of a history of the sixteen Polish parishes in Milwaukee. It is a tremendously moving story of how the poorest of the immigrants from Europe built the most spectacular churches, at incredible cost. The Basilica of St. Josaphat, most imposing of the structures, at one time boasted the second largest dome in the nation after the U.S. Capitol Building. The people who built it were the most despised of the European immigrants, taking dangerous and unsavory jobs no one else would take, huddled in crowded conditions. And yet the parishioners of that parish took out second mortgages on their homes, and contributed up to a year’s factory wages, in order to build the church to the glory of God.

It is said that when the Germans came to Milwaukee they built factories, and when the Polish came to Milwaukee they built churches. The church was at the very center of the life of the Polish community. And soon there were schools — grammar and high schools — and benevolent institutions, orphanages, and cultural organizations, including an opera company.

This is only Milwaukee. There are a dozen cities, mostly the Lake Cities — Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo — where more or less the same phenomenon occurred. And then a hundred other small towns and villages, from Texas to Nebraska to New England, where coal miners, farmers, and other working folk gave their best to the Church, which had been their spiritual home for a millennium.

In the nineteenth century, a great crisis erupted in the American Catholic Church. It centered around the issue of who would control the churches. Called the “Trustee Controversy,” the issue of church ownership was aggravated by the practice of the American Church hierarchy of removing Polish pastors from their immigrant flocks and imposing non-Poles as the leaders of those flocks. This was especially painful in a city like Milwaukee where the Church leadership was German; the Poles had immigrated from Prussia, fleeing German cultural oppression. (Poland had been partitioned a century before, between Prussia, Russia, and Austria, so no one came from Poland in “the Great Immigration” since that country did not exist.) The Poles were seen as fractious and quarrelsome, in America as in Europe; in other circumstances, this characteristic was lauded as “freedom-loving.” To wit, a fairly recent history of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, commissioned by former Archbishop Rembert Weakland, describes them as “intractable.”

The Poles, for their part, felt that, because by the 1920s they constituted twenty percent of the American Catholic Church, they should have at least some representation in the hierarchy. That representation was very late in coming, too late for the members of the Polish National Church, who had gone into schism by the turn of the nineteenth century.

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Submitted by Doria2

Read the Pope’s World Youth Day 2011 Homily

FINAL MASS

WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION

Cuatro Vientos Air Base, Madrid
Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dear Young Friends:

I have been thinking a lot about you during this time in which we have been separated.  I hope you have been able to get some sleep in spite of the weather.  I am sure that since dawn you have raised up your eyes more than once, and not only your eyes but above all your hearts, turning this occasion into prayer.  God turns all things into good.  With this confidence and trusting in the Lord who never abandons us, let us begin our Eucharistic celebration, full of enthusiasm and strong in our faith.

***

HOMILY

 Dear Young People,

In this celebration of the Eucharist we have reached the high point of this World Youth Day.  Seeing you here, gathered in such great numbers from all parts of the world, fills my heart with joy.  I think of the special love with which Jesus is looking upon you.  Yes, the Lord loves you and calls you his friends (cf. Jn 15:15).  He goes out to meet you and he wants to accompany you on your journey, to open the door to a life of fulfilment and to give you a share in his own closeness to the Father.  For our part, we have come to know the immensity of his love and we want to respond generously to his love by sharing with others the joy we have received.  Certainly, there are many people today who feel attracted by the figure of Christ and want to know him better.  They realize that he is the answer to so many of our deepest concerns.  But who is he really?  How can someone who lived on this earth so long ago have anything in common with me today?

The Gospel we have just heard (cf. Mt 16:13-20) suggests two different ways of knowing Christ.  The first is an impersonal knowledge, one based on current opinion.  When Jesus asks: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”, the disciples answer: “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets”.  In other words, Christ is seen as yet another religious figure, like those who came before him.  Then Jesus turns to the disciples and asks them: “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter responds with what is the first confession of faith: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”.  Faith is more than just empirical or historical facts; it is an ability to grasp the mystery of Christ’s person in all its depth.

Yet faith is not the result of human effort, of human reasoning, but rather a gift of God: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven”.  Faith starts with God, who opens his heart to us and invites us to share in his own divine life.  Faith does not simply provide information about who Christ is; rather, it entails a personal relationship with Christ, a surrender of our whole person, with all our understanding, will and feelings, to God’s self-revelation.  So Jesus’ question: “But who do you say that I am?”, is ultimately a challenge to the disciples to make a personal decision in his regard.  Faith in Christ and discipleship are strictly interconnected.

And, since faith involves following the Master, it must become constantly stronger, deeper and more mature, to the extent that it leads to a closer and more intense relationship with Jesus.   Peter and the other disciples also had to grow in this way, until their encounter with the Risen Lord opened their eyes to the fullness of faith.

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The real story of World Youth Day

Let us take our eyes away from the news for a moment, in order to look at the news. That is to say, let us ignore for a moment how it is being reported, and look instead at what is happening.

A very large public Mass is taking place, today, in Madrid, the capital of a once very great, and once very Catholic country. It is held outdoors, because there is no building in the world that can accommodate (way) more than a million people.

This Mass is to be sung by a gentleman who is in his 85th year. There are few progressive intellectuals (including nominal Catholics) who will not assure us that he is totally out of touch with our times.

According to official estimates, some 1,500,000 young persons – most, I should think, of the Roman persuasion – had checked into the Madrid area at the outset of “World Youth Day.” If you have ever been to a hockey game in Ottawa, you may know what roughly 20,000 people looks like. Assuming, of course, a full house. Now multiply that by 75 to get some idea. Then add those who did not need to find a bed, in the Madrid area.

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Inspiring video from World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid

Visit the Rome Reports You Tube Site

Submitted by Doria2

Related reader comment:

The Popemobile stopped at least 40 times for babies to be kissed and blessed, at a totally packed air base in Madrid, Spain. Over one million young people came to hear the  84 year-old  Pope in a rain and wind  storm  [that  was  mitigated  by prayer]. And  pray  they  did … all  night long. If these young people are like those at the other world youth days, they will be  on fire with the faith and like seed corn, will grow the faith. I hope to see some news media in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013, for the next World Youth  Day.

GOD BLESS,

Ed S

Michael Voris clarifies reported Real Catholic TV “issues”.

First .. the official status of St. Michael’s Media as a 501(c) 3. The article called into question our official standing as a non-profit with the State of Michigan. It reported that according to the state. St. Michael’s Media is not in good standing. That is true.

What the article did not make clear is that this is the case because St. Michael’s Media has not filed the annual reports that were supposed to be filed. That is entirely my fault. I have oversight to do that. I did not do that. The reason is simply because I did not know that had to be done.

Again totally my fault.

When St. Michael’s Media was established back in 2006 .. we had a short term helper who was handling all the paperwork issues with the state. When that worker left .. I did a poor job and allowed things to get sloppy. We are now in the process of getting our records up to date and will file the appropriate back records.

The State of Michigan website that addresses these sorts of issues clearly states that when the paperwork is corrected .. the company is re-established in good standing as though nothing had gone wrong. There is a small $5 fine to have to pay for each back annual report and we will of course pay that along with filing the reports and bringing St. Michael’s Media up to speed.

Again .. totally my fault and I accept the responsibility. I am working to fix the situation which was caused by me, and I will have it all done in as short a time as possible.

Secondly .. regarding the issue of Simon Rafe and his online writings in question, which he has since taken down. I spoke with Simon at some length on a couple of occasions here from Madrid when this was first brought to my attention.

He was immediately forthright and admitted they were his and that they were very inappropriate. He said he should not have written and published them. He expressed his great sorrow. He has in fact issued a very specific apology on the web on his own with no prompting from anyone.

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Submitted by Nancy W.

Making the Sign of the Cross is absolutely ancient, rooted not only in the Old Testament but the New.

The Catholic Sign of the Cross is absolutely ancient, rooted not only in the Old Testament but the New (Apocalypse speaks of those who have the sign of God in their foreheads — and those who have the sign of the Beast in their foreheads).

When Catholics undergo the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Bishop (sometimes a priest) seals the sign on our foreheads with holy chrism. St. John of Damascus wrote:

This was given to us as a sign on our forehead,
just as the circumcision was given to Israel:
for by it we believers are separated and distinguished from unbelievers.

Crossing one’s self recalls this seal, and the invocation that is said while making this holy sign calls on our God — the Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost — and is a sign of our of belief; it is both a “mini-creed” that asserts our belief in the Triune God, and a prayer that invokes Him.

The use of holy water when making this sign, such as we do when we enter a church, also recalls our Baptism and should bring to mind that we are born again of water and Spirit, thanks be to God.

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Submitted by Doria2

Father Z: How anyone can perform a baptism in an emergency

In case of an emergency, anyone – even a non-believer – can baptize an infant validly.  They must cause water to flow on the head while saying – and it must be the same person – the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  That short form and the pouring of water on the head is all that is needed for valid baptism in an emergency.  Some medical personnel, such as nurses, will often be sensitive during emergencies and will even know what to do.

If the water cannot for some reason be poured on the head, then it can be poured over another part of the body.  If that is the case, however, then there must be a conditional baptism performed if the child survives.

In either case, when the child survives the full rites surrounding the baptism should be celebrated when possible.

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The Bellarmine Report: New name. New look. More convenient. Same solid, conservative Catholic content.

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This Week’s Ask Alice: What happened between the Old Testament and the New that changed God’s behavior?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

D.T. Asks: What happened between the Old Testament and the New that changed God’s behavior?

Alice Answers: In a word, “Jesus” happened!

It was the sacrificial death of His only Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ that resulted in the apparent change of God’s behavior towards mankind, from the Old Testament to the New.

God spent the entire Old Testament dealing with the originally sinful behavior of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the inherited concupiscence, i.e., tendency to sin, of their descendents.

The result was many centuries of disobedient, sinful behavior, committed by human beings who were under the evil domination of Satan the devil … who was, in those days … the undisputed “Prince of This World”.

Refusing to obey God and lacking grace, they brought upon themselves certain divine chastisements (most notably death, which is the universal penalty for sin) as duly recorded in all 46 books of the Old Testament.

Fortunately: “In the fullness of time God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law: That he might redeem them who were under the law: that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

Thus, the New Testament began. The foundation of these 27 books is love personified, in the fully divine and fully human Jesus Christ … the Prince of Peace and the Holy Redeemer of all mankind.

Jesus came, not to abolish the Old Testament,
but to save mankind and fulfill all the sacred Scriptures.

Throughout his earthly life, Jesus taught us how to live and love. By his saving death, Jesus destroyed Satan’s evil dominion and satisfied the debt (owed to God alone) that we could never pay, making possible the forgiveness of sins and reopening the gates of heaven.

Most importantly, Jesus obtained the sanctifying grace that we all need, in order to obtain heaven.


At the Sermon On the Mount Jesus preached the true path to righteousness (Matthew 5:3-10). He also taught us how to pray (Matthew 6: 5-14).

When Jesus, our brother, walked on earth with His disciples, it was no longer necessary for God to appear to His people in a mysterious burning bush or a column of cloud.

The risen Jesus … the Logos … the Eternal Word … the holy, perfect and authentic image of God, who is truly God himself … finally made the primeval foolishness of “idol worship” distinctly apparent to all.

“Philip saith to him: Lord, show us the Father; and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou: Show us the Father?” (John 14:8-9)

Jesus was not a military leader fighting battles for control and power. His Kingdom is not of this world (this present system of things) but of the world to come. Jesus taught His followers, by word and deed, precisely how the power of love would save souls and forever change our world, for good.

Shortly after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit appeared (Acts 2: 1-13) and set the apostles’ hearts on fire with love.

With Satan’s evil dominion destroyed, heaven reopened, man’s redemption obtained, and Jesus suitably installed as the new and sinless head of all mankind … grace … not wrath … was the new order of the day … and it was typically no longer necessary to smote and smite the rebellious Israelites (or anyone else.)

In these grace-empowered New Testament times,
the final battle already won by Jesus Christ,
the Holy Spirit prefers to lovingly inspire, teach,
correct, and sanctify by indwelling human hearts and souls.

Instead of fighting wars, and thanks to the inspired evangelism of disciples like Saint Peter, Saint Paul and others, the Church of Jesus Christ sprouted up all around the world, soon to be “watered” by the blood of the martyrs.

Saint Stephen, “full of grace and fortitude” was the first of many holy men and women who would be faithful witnesses for their Christian faith, even in the face of imminent (and often gruesome) death. (Acts 6:8 and 7: 54-60)

“This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Related links:

The “Fine Points” of Our Redemption In Jesus Christ

Sacred Art, Statuary, and Catholics

Old Testament God = Wrath. New Testament God = Love?

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

Is the “Green Movement” a biblical sign of the end?

Revelation 9:1-12
(1)  And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet: and I saw a star fall from heaven upon the earth. And there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit.
(2)  And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit arose, as the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit.
(3)  And from the smoke of the pit there came out locusts upon the earth. And power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

(4)  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth nor any green thing nor any tree: but only the men who have not the sign of God on their foreheads.

(5)  And it was given unto them that they should not kill them: but that they should torment them five months. And their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man.
(6)  And in those days, men shall seek death and shall not find it. And they shall desire to die: and death shall fly from them.
(7)  And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle. And on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold: and their faces were as the faces of men.
(8)  And they had hair as the hair of women: and their teeth were as lions.
(9)  And they had breastplates as breastplates of iron: and the noise of their wings was as the noise of chariots and many horses running to battle.
(10)  And they had tails like to scorpions: and there were stings in their tails. And their power was to hurt men, five months. And they had over them
(11)  A king, the angel of the bottomless pit (whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek Apollyon, in Latin Exterminans).
(12)  One woe is past: and behold there come yet two woes more hereafter.

Real Catholic TV legal and staff troubles come to light

Denver, Colo., Aug 17, 2011 / 06:12 pm (CNA).- Michael Voris, the founder and host of RealCatholicTV, says he was completely unaware of recently discovered troubles within his organization, involving a staff apologist’s sexually explicit writings, and his nonprofit corporation’s loss of legal status two years ago.

“I don’t know what the issue is on any of this stuff,” said Voris, who is currently in Spain promoting his unofficial “No Bull in Madrid” meetings during World Youth Day.

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Editor’s note: Paperwork is the bane of every organization, especially when it comes to keeping the government satisfied. Real Catholic TV needs to work on securing their finances, so they can afford competent, reliable, accounting and legal assistance.

Everybody should send them $20 to help get this done (link).

Then, there should be no further reason for missing any form filing dates.

As for the staffing issue … Real Catholic TV has been operating on a “shoestring budget” for quite some time. Nobody there is making any money, so it’s not surprising to find people “freelancing” to help make ends meet. Sure there was some bad judgment, but it looks as though the problem is already well on its way to being corrected, so “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

Kreeft: The Twelve Most Important Things to Know about Angels

  1. They really exist. Not just in our minds, or our myths, or our symbols, or our culture. They are as real as your dog, or your sister, or electricity.
  2. They’re present, right here, right now, right next to you, reading these words with you.
  3. They’re not cute, cuddly, comfortable, chummy, or “cool”. They are fearsome and formidable. They are huge. They are warriors.
  4. They are the real “extra-terrestrials”, the real “Super-men”, the ultimate aliens. Their powers are far beyond those of all fictional creatures.
  5. They are more brilliant minds than Einstein.
  6. They can literally move the heavens and the earth if God permits them.

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An Unpopular Teaching On Marriage in the Light of Recent Debates and Interviews

On of the issues is of a wife being submitted to her husband. Mrs. Bachmann at first indicated support for this biblical principle but has since, in the face of questioning backed off from it more than a little. You can read more of that in yesterday’s post here: Michele Bachmann Interview A portion of the video interview on marriage is also at the bottom of this post.

In yesterday’s post I indicated I wanted to spend some time today setting for this biblical principle of the headship of the husband. It is a headship rooted in love and service, not in power, but it is a headship.

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Australian Catholics: Spain will greatly benefit from WYD in many unexpected ways.

Madrid, Spain, Aug 16, 2011 / 08:18 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Catholic Church in Spain will benefit greatly from this week’s World Youth Day – and in ways that can’t be imagined yet, say Australian Catholics who hosted the 2008 gathering in Sydney.

“God works in many and mysterious ways – but God is at work,” said Cardinal George Pell of Syndey, after attending a rally of over 4,000 Australian pilgrims in Madrid on August 16.

“One of things we’ve learned in Sydney is that so many spontaneous growths and activities have sprung up themselves since World Youth Day. We haven’t really organized them, but when you plant seeds in the hearts of people they germinate and flower in very different ways,” he told CNA.

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Billboard: African-Americans Leaders Betrayed Black Community on Abortion


Another new campaign produced by black pro-life advocates says African-American political leaders have betrayed the black community with their support for abortion, which has destroyed millions of black Americans.

Catherine Davis, founder of the Restoration Project, has joined with other pro-life African-Americans to launch a new billboard today in downtown Atlanta. The “Betrayed” billboard calls attention to the pro-abortion views of many African-American leaders. The billboard is posted on the corner of Spring and Marietta Streets and is linked to www.abortioninthehood.com.

“Something is wrong,” Davis says, “when those elected to protect the interests of their constituents turn a blind eye to the horrific impact that abortion is wreaking on the black community. In New York City, for every 1,000 black babies born alive, 1,489 are aborted. In Washington, D.C. for every 100 black babies born alive, 165 are aborted. Something is wrong.”

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John Corapi (a.k.a. The Black SheepDog) launches new website

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