Weigel: How Cardinal Pell reformed much of the Australian church

When Pell became archbishop of Melbourne in 1996, Catholic Lite was the order of the day throughout the country, with the usual results: goofball liturgy (one bishop celebrated Mass made up as a clown); dumbed-down catechesis; a collapse in religious vocations and seminary applications; the Church bureaucracy joined at the hip to the hard left in Australian public life. Reversing this drift toward theological and moral incoherence and public irrelevance was going to be very hard work.

Then Pell caught a break: when his seminary faculty threatened to resign en masse because he insisted that the seminarians attend daily Mass, Pell called their bluff, accepted their resignations, filled the seminary with new faculty — and never looked back.

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Gingrich’s unlikely conversion to Catholicism: Genuine, merely convenient … or politically motivated?

Gingrich didn’t convert to Catholicism in a sudden swell of emotion. Rather, it seemed a slower and headier process. Like many adult converts, Gingrich was drawn by the philosophical richness of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Let’s not forget this is a Ph.D., a former professor, a man who loves books and loves big ideas, and there is of course a very deep intellectual tradition within Catholicism,” says Mark Rozell, a political scientist at George Mason University. “And perhaps Gingrich found a natural connection there. It connects with his persona.”

Gingrich began studying the history of the Catholic Church and its influence on Western civilization, especially the church’s role in the fall of communism. In 2010, Newt and Callista Gingrich produced a documentary about Pope John Paul II’s historic trip to Poland. But for Gingrich, the turning point was Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the U.S. in 2008.

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Obama admin’s idea of “freedom of religion” gets curiouser and curiouser

Minister Told He Will Face Potential Arrest for Reading Christmas Story from the Bible at Capitol Christmas Tree

December 21st … one of my favorite days of the year.

Dec. 21st. One of my favorite days of the year. I drive to work around 7 AM and it’s usually around sunrise. In October and November I can actually see the days getting shorter as my drive gets darker and darker. Well it gets no darker as of today. Now the days start getting longer again. Pretty soon the sun will be up when I get into the car.

I always pointed this fact out to my children as they were growing up hoping they would enjoy this day too.

The ancients also noticed this. They had no TV, or movies or X boxes. When the sun set, they had that big screen TV called the sky and they became good at studying planetary motion, the stars, astrology, etc. They knew that at the end of December, the days light lasted longer. They even made our Lord Jesus Christ’s birthday December 25th. They knew that the light of the world and the lengthening daylight had something in common. No one really knows the exact date of our lord’s birth.

It’s also one of the main reasons we put up lights and light candles in our Churches. These are all symbolic, and are constant reminders of the true light of the world – Jesus the Christ.

Also, December 25th is the day the pagan Romans celebrated the feast day of Sol Invictus (The sun god). We made it the feast day for the birth of the Son OF God.

So happy first day of winter and enjoy December 25th when the true Light of the world became man and enjoy the lengthening (where we also get the word Lent) of days.

AndyP/Doria2

Advent poem – from the inside out


ADVENT

I live my Advent in the womb of Mary.

And on one night when a great star swings free

from its high mooring and walks down the sky

to be the dot above the Christus i,

I shall be born of her by blessed grace.

I wait in Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place,

with hope’s expectance of nativity.

I knew for long she carried me and fed me,

guarded and loved me, though I could not see.

But only now, with inward jubilee,

I come upon earth’s most amazing knowledge:

someone is hidden in this dark with me.

Submitted by Joan V.

How Christ was (miraculously) born of the Virgin Mary


The Savior, rather, passed through the womb of the virgin Mary without causing any damage whatsoever. Indeed, as he passed through the closed walls of the room after his Resurrection (without breaking the walls themselves), so too did he pass through the closed wall of our Lady’s virginity (without causing any rupture or break).

This is the constant teaching of the Fathers of the Church and of the Popes and Councils. Indeed, it is worth noting that the Apostles’ Creed specifically names the virginity of Mary in relation to the birth of our Savior: “Born of the Virgin Mary”.

By his power as God, the Savior passed through the closed womb of the Virgin Mary as light passing through glass, as thought proceeding from intellect. He did no harm to the physical integrity of our Lady’s virginal cloister, but rather consecrated it!

It is this reality, that Jesus came forth from the womb of Mary without rupturing her virginity, which is the miracle of the birth of Christ. Pope Pius XII (in 1943) refers to this miracle in the encyclical Mystici Corporis, paragraph 110.

If Jesus was born according to the ordinary mode, then we may wonder what exactly is the “mystery” of the third joyful mystery?! But Jesus was not born in the ordinary way, rather he was born in a marvelous and miraculous manner – for he passed through the walled enclosure of his Mother’s virginity causing neither rupture nor pain unto the Virgin.

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Obtuse spirit of Vatican II led Dutch clerics to condone a myriad of sexual abuses and perversions

In 1993, the head of the diocese of Rotterdam suddenly left his post and retired to the Benedictine abbey of Chevetogne in Belgium. In the Netherlands, the Catholic Church is heading deeper into the storm.

After the Irish drift, the Netherlands too is seeing a rise in the number of “unfaithful clerics”. First came the shocking conclusions of an independent commission on paedophilia (one out of five children who have come into contact with ecclesiastical institutions have been molested); now, the bishop emeritus of Rotterdam is being accused of sexual abuse.

Read more (if you dare)

Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen conducted the first religious service broadcast on television, won Emmy, bested ratings of biggest stars.


Sheen was what we would call today a multimedia personality — from 1925 until 1968, he wrote over seventy-three books, hosted his own radio show, and later, two television shows.

His weekly Sunday night radio broadcast was The Catholic Hour, and he even conducted the first religious service broadcast on television.  In 1951, his television show, Life is Worth Living, consisted of him and a live audience, occasionally speaking with a chalkboard.

It was fairly well known for being able to stand against ratings giants Milton “Uncle Milte” Berle and Frank Sinatra, leading Berle to joke, “He uses old material, too.” Sheen responded in jest that people should start calling him “Uncle Fultie”.

When Sheen won an Emmy in 1952, he accepted the acknowledgment by saying, “I feel it is time I pay tribute to my four writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.”

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Washington D.C. National Christmas tree leans to the left

The first National Christmas Tree was placed on the Ellipse south of the White House in December 1923. The tree was a 48-foot Balsam fir donated by the President of Middlebury College in Vermont. At 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, President Calvin Coolidge walked from the White House to the Ellipse to light the tree from his native state. But that was back in 1923.

This year there were no ornaments about Christ… just Obama.

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Politically incorrect: Republican candidate Gov. Rick Perry publicly calls homosexuality “a sin”

Read more. Watch the video clip.

What happens when you put a “live” nativity scene in the middle of the Occupy D.C. camp?

See for yourself

Illinois’ Pat Quinn nominated for title of worst governor in the nation

In a crowded field, Pat Quinn, Democrat Governor of Illinois, can now officially be proclaimed the worst governor in the United States.

He has been vying for the title ever since he took over from impeached and removed Governor Blagojevich, currently bound for a long stay in federal prison.  Since taking over from his felon predecessor, he has the following accomplishments to his discredit:

Link to article

Quinn’s latest hijinks

Padre Pio, Blessed Virgin Mary, Medjugorje implicated in 2 year-old’s miraculous healing

For eight months, 2 years old Joshua battled a last stage cancer that brought him through a transplantation, 80 chemotherapy cures, and 17 radiotherapy sessions. When nothing worked, his parents took their son to Medjugorje. Back home, tests showed 19 tumors and all bone metastases to be gone as the beginning of Joshua’s now complete recovery.

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Russian Orthodox Church Asserts Role in Civil Society

MOSCOW — Just over 20 years ago, any religious education outside church walls was still banned in the Soviet Union. Today, churches are being built on state university campuses, theology departments have opened around Russia, and the Russian Orthodox Church has built its own educational network with international contacts and even become something of a model for the secular system.

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85-year old Pope Benedict is slowing down, needs prayers

“Benedict turns 85 in the new year, so a slowdown is only natural. Expected. And given his age and continued rigorous work schedule, it’s remarkable he does as much as he does and is in such good health overall: Just this past week he confirmed he would travel to Mexico and Cuba next spring.

But a decline has been noted as Benedict prepares for next weekend’s grueling Christmas celebrations, which kick off two weeks of intense public appearances. […] Back at home, however, it seems the daily grind of being pope — the audiences with visiting heads of state, the weekly public catechism lessons, the sessions with visiting bishops — has taken its toll. A spark is gone. He doesn’t elaborate off-the-cuff much anymore, and some days he just seems wiped out.

Link

Editor’s note: Pope Benedict is probably tired from writing all those personal theological books, in his spare time … books that he says no one, especially Catholics, need consider as anything other than his own personal opinion … not to be confused with the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church … or the papacy. Working two jobs is tough … especially at eighty-five!

Baptism of desire: Still controversial.


The sedevancantists at Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) claim that a Catholic should not attend the Novus Ordo Mass unless/until the priest affirms his personal belief that “Outside the Church There is No Salvation”.

However here in Rome there are Catholic priests who offer Mass in Italian. They affirm the dogma in public. They also correctly assume that the baptism of desire is implicit and so does not contradict the dogma.The MHFM on the contrary, imply that the baptism of desire is defacto known to us and so being explicit, contradicts the dogma. So the sedevancantists reject the baptism of desire. They believe every one, without exception, needs to enter the Church visibly and they imply that the baptism of desire taught by Trent etc., is an exception to the dogma.

Those who accept the baptism of desire (explicit or implicit) are called heretics by the MHFM. However there are priests from different countries here, who know that the baptism of desire can only be implicit and is never visible. So how can it be an exception to the dogma ?

If the MHFM, American sedevancantists, innocently, like so many Catholics assume that the baptism of desire is visible it is understandable. If they choose to continue in this error even after being informed, then it is heresy. This would apply also to Catholic non-sedevacantists, as they are rejecting the Council of Trent on the baptism of desire and they assume wrongly that the baptism of desire is an exception to the dogma.

Daphne McLeod,Chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, England says there can be non-Catholics saved with the baptism of
desire and in invincible ignorance, and this is not an exception
to the dogma “Outside the Church There is No Salvation”.
– Lionel Andrades

Visit Lionel’s Catholic blog

*****

Editor’s note: The term “sedevacantist” essentially means “empty chair” … referring particularly to office of the papacy. With some variations, sedevacantists believe, due to various heresies and apostasy in the modern church, that we no longer have a valid pope sitting in the authoritative chair of St. Peter.

Depending on which group of sedevacantists you encounter, the list of recent, false popes varies, but most begin with Pope John XXIII and go from there. The Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) is a relatively “high-profile” example of this type of groups … which are (hopefully) … pretty “far out there” in their theology.

The dogma “Outside the Church there is no salvation” (extra ecclesiam nulla salus) is both ancient and logical. Jesus Christ founded only one Church for the purpose of our salvation, so it just makes good, logical sense to believe that membership in the Catholic Church is (typically) required, in order for a soul to one day, be invited into Heaven.

The Church also rightly admits that our all powerful God is sovereign, and he can choose to save anyone he cares to … for any reason … or for none at all … whether that person is Catholic, Protestant, Pagan, or none of the above. But in any event, salvation remains solely dependent upon the divine application of that saving grace which Jesus obtained for us on the cross, at Calvary.

Yet, the Sacrament of Baptism remains the typical and ordinary means (the door) by which anyone may freely expect to become a member of the Church. And this forms the basis of the controversy!

Traditional Catholics, bolstered by some 1900+ years of consistent church teaching and practice, understand that sacramental baptism is a public, permanent, and very definitive event … for a number of very good reasons.

Alternatively, “baptism of desire” and similar types of “non-standard”, “special arrangements” are typically known only to God, and subject exclusively to his divine prerogatives and will.

Since no man … not even a pope, bishop, or priest … should be so presumptuous as to claim to understand the mind of God … these matters remain extraordinary events, similar to miracles, subject only to God’s inestimable love and incalculable mercy, and closely linked with his divine, all-knowing, eternal system of perfect justice.

In this, the best we can do is hope, since none of us can know … this side of Judgment Day … precisely whom God may have “singled out” for this non-standard “form” of divine mercy.

Yet many Catholics … including some popes, bishops, and priests … claim that God is love, and a loving God would never knowingly permit a soul that might otherwise be saved … to go to hell … simply due to what they consider to be a mere “technicality”. These folks maintain that something well short of the Sacrament of Baptism … “Baptism of Desire” … defined only according to various, theoretical, man-made criteria … is all that’s actually required.

I maintain that anyone who knows (or should know) the constant and traditional teachings and practices of the Catholic Church would be a fool to take any chances at all, when it comes to matters of his/her own, personal salvation. If water baptism was good enough for Jesus (and just about everyone else we know of) then that is obviously the “smart” way to go!

The divine “tie-breaker” in all of this, strongly in favor of reliance on the traditional sacrament, whenever possible, is the power of water baptism to instantly and definitively “wash away” all pre-existing sins of every kind … making the baptized a living temple of the Holy Spirit … an adopted child of God … a member of the Church … a citizen of Heaven … and co-heir with Jesus Christ … right here and right now, with no waiting.

Can’t beat that!

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Tulsa is getting national attention for its rejection of government funding.

In nearly all of the 180 Catholic Charities organizations nationwide, one in each of the nation’s Catholic dioceses, most of the budget comes from government contracts, often as much as 80 percent, Sartorius said.

And that can create problems.

In Massachusetts and some other states, for example, local Catholic Charities have shut down their adoption and foster care programs rather than submit to new government requirements that they place children with same-sex couples, which violates the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality.

Tulsa Catholic Charities is not at risk of that because it does not receive government money to run its adoption and foster care programs, Sartorius said.

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Gov. Quinn ignores 2nd warning from Illinois Catholic Bishops

…after reading Quinn’s comments posted on the Sun-Times website Saturday, the bishops that met with Quinn issued a written statement saying Quinn characterized the meeting wrong:

The primary purpose of the sit-down, they said, was to admonish the governor for using his Catholic up-bringing to justify views that they say aren’t supported by the church.

It was the second time in the past two months the bishops have issued a statement blasting the Catholic governor.

“We share the Governor’s concern for the poor,” they wrote. “From our point of view, however, this was a meeting between pastors and a member of the Church to discuss the principles of faith, not the works of faith. On several occasions, the Governor has referred to his Catholic conscience and faith as the justification for certain political decisions.”

The letter continued: “As Catholic pastors, we wanted to remind the Governor that conscience, while always free, is properly formed in harmony with the tradition of the Church, as defined by Scripture and authentic teaching authority. A personal conscience that is not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching is not a Catholic conscience. The Catholic faith cannot be used to justify positions contrary to the faith itself. It is a matter of personal integrity for people who call themselves Catholic to act in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

The bishops said they were particularly concerned about Quinn’s influence on others “since he holds a highly visible and influential position.”

The letter concluded: “This concern on our part, as pastors of the Church, was the fundamental and primary topic of our conversation with Governor Quinn.”

Link

A quarterback who obviously knows how ro pray

As Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Bebow led his team to another improbable come-from-behind win against Chicago, not many realized he wore a microphone throughout the game that recorded a rare glimpse of his unusual faith.

Before the start of the game, he knelt on the sidelines in his trademark pose and uttered this prayer: “Lord, put a wall of protection around me and my teammates today. When we go out there let us honor you with everything we do and say. I love you. In Jesus name, amen.”

As he warmed up on the sidelines, Tebow sang: “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above, with wisdom…”

Link

Reasons to believe: The Catholic Church remains the only truly “non-denominational” Christian church.

by Doug Lawrence

In today’s increasingly confused, scandalized and secular culture, more and more people seem to be describing their religious inclinations as “non-denominational”.

Most seem to believe that “non-denominational” means to be associated with no particular Christian group, or to ascribe to no particular Christian creed.

As in most things however, the Catholic Church long ago correctly defined the meaning of the word “non-denominational”. It happened on Pentecost Sunday, the day the one, holy, apostolic, universal Christian church officially came into being.

Known then as simply “the Church” … Catholicism is most definitely not a mere denomination. It is the one and only true church, founded personally by Jesus Christ, while he still walked the earth, in the divine hope that all should be one, in him.

Thanks to the promised, continuing advocacy of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church continues to enjoy the fullness of all God’s truth, and the complete range of all God’s spiritual gifts, to this day.

One has to wonder, what could there possibly be to gain from membership in a “non-denominational” denomination? Wouldn’t that be a lot like intentionally patronizing a restaurant that regularly serves food of questionable purity and/or quality? The prospect boggles the mind!

Members of other Christian denominations also have to deal with certain fundamental  irrationalities. Various Protestant groups prefer to be called Evangelical, Pentecostal, Apostolic, Charismatic, Baptist, Full Gospel, Bible Church, and many other things, but in the end (or rather, the beginning) the Catholic Church was already all of that, and much, much more … which further points to the fullness of Catholic truth, as clearly manifest in the Bible, Sacred and Apostolic Tradition, the Sacraments, the Priesthood, the Papacy, the Magisterium, and so many other things.

From this we can determine beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Catholic Church is not merely the first and only truly “non-denominational” Christian church, it also remains the only authentic and original Bible Believing, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical, Apostolic, Full Gospel, Water Baptizing, Universal Church of Jesus Christ.

And that, my friends, despite the Catholic Church’s many and continuing difficulties and scandals, should provide more than sufficient reason to believe!