Sunday, November 30, 2008

Novena for the Immaculate Conception

"Holy Mary, Immaculate Mother of God, most pure and holy, in union with all the saints in heaven and the just on earth and with the most heartfelt ardor, I consecrate my heart to you and implore you to receive my homage of respect, love and confidence. I come to you, O refuge of sinners in my present distress and implore you to exert in my behalf the full measure of your influence in heaven.

Present my earnest petition to God and obtain for me (here name your request), protect me, O holy and Immaculate Mother of God, watch over me, love me, now and forever.

Three Hail Mary's. One Glory Be.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you."

Pray this Novena for the nine days preceeding the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th. (Begin on November 30th as you also begin the Christmas Novena till December 24th)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We're going to miss him . . .

He was classy.


A gentleman.

Ripped for being out of touch, he chose just the right touch.

A man who critics say only mangled his words.

Conjured just the right ones.

I'm not talking about John McCain yesterday...

I'm talking about President Bush today.

McCain gave a classy speech.

The president made a classy gesture.

Offering only good words for the man who repudiated his run of the White House.

But going one better -- inviting Barack and Michelle Obama to the White House.

To see the place, and talk about the place, and the pressures of the place, in private.

These were not empty words.

The president took care months ago to put a transition team in place, so that a smooth transfer of power could take place.

President Bush wasn't so lucky when he was coming in.

Maybe things were different then.

A lot of ill will then.

Lots of hurtful words since then.

He wasn't even running this year but it seemed everyone, including his own party's nominee, was running against him all year.

If he minded, he didn't show it.

I remember even talking to the president on the White House south lawn about it.

"Does it all bug you?," I asked.

"Nah," he said, shrugging his shoulders and adding simply, "I understand."

A man at peace with a nation seemingly at war… with him.

Some for good reason, others apparently lacking reason.

He took nothing personally, always handling himself with dignity.

Not by what he said, but precisely what he did not.

I've read that the president is as kind to the elevator operator at the White House as he is a visiting head of state to the White House.

I've seen it myself.

Every time I've interviewed him, he sticks around and personally shakes the hands of each member of my crew, and then hangs out for pictures.

Lots of pictures.

I know, little things.

But to me, big things.

That bespeaks of a man far bigger than the petty things I see in the press.

Or hear in a harsh campaign year.

That ended today, with a quiet gesture today.

From a president who'd be in his right to wag a finger.

But instead, simply offered his hand.

by Neil Cavuto, Fox news

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama/McCain Girl

8th Grader Learns Lesson About Intolerance

by Marcia Segelstein

Catherine Vogt is an 8th grader in Oak Park, Illinois. Just before the election, Catherine, with the approval of her history teacher, decided to conduct an experiment about tolerance at her school.

As John Kass wrote in the Chicago Tribune, “She noticed that fellow students…overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama for president. His campaign kept preaching ‘inclusion,’ and she decided to see how included she could be.” So one day she wore a T-shirt to school on which she’d written “McCain Girl.” She carried a journal with her to record the reactions she got. And what was the response? She was called stupid, very stupid, and told that she shouldn’t be wearing it. Then fellow students told her to “go die.” In fact, she reports that she was told many times she should be killed. One student told her she should be “crucifixed” for wearing the shirt. Catherine found it almost funny that he didn’t even know the word “crucified.” One teacher also remarked on the shirt, telling Catherine that she wouldn’t judge her for her choice, but “she was surprised that I supported McCain.”

Catherine got very few even remotely positive comments. One girl privately told her that she liked the shirt. The next day, Catherine wore a T-shirt on which she’d written “Obama Girl.” The response to that? “People liked my shirt. They said things like my brain had come back, and I had put the right shirt on today.” After the experiment was revealed, her history teacher engaged her class in a debate. “I said, here you are, promoting this person [Obama] that believes we are all equal and included, and look what you’ve done? The students were kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ I think they got it.”

And the teacher who had expressed “surprise” when Catherine wore the McCain shirt? When she found out about the experiment “she was embarrassed because she knew I was writing down what she said.”

Catherine turned the experiment into a report for her history class and got extra credit. (booklady note: well we are sheep afterall, right?)

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Great Idea!

This is a GREAT IDEA! I hope you agree!!

When doing your Christmas cards this year, take just one card and send it to this address. If we pass this on and everyone sends just one card, think of how many cards these men and women would get.

These are wonderful special people who have sacrificed so much. What a nice surprise it would be.

When you are making out your Christmas card list this year, please include one card to the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

God bless you for your generosity to our military heroes!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Message from a Patriot

Blessings on the Feast of Christ the king! Long may He reign! A friend sent the following e-mail to me recently.

The message below is from Russ Bentz, to a string of correspondents discussing the election results.

You don’t know Russ, or even whether Russ is his real name. But Russ is a real person; he grew up overseas (graduated from an American high school in Lebanon) went into the United States military, and then into our clandestine service. Russ was one of the men who serve out there on the ramparts of the real world, keeping the killers with guns, bombs, radiation, and just plain old razor-sharp knives, from coming for you and your children while you’re asleep.

And if you think that the killers with guns, bombs, radiation, and just plain old sharp knives are going to go to sleep because Obama won the election and Democrats are singing their siren song in Washington, you’re delusional.

This strong stuff, from a man who has seen death and evil up close. Read it and weep, boys and girls. Read it and weep.

From: Russell Bentz Sent: Saturday, November 8, 2008 9:56 AM Subject: Hi all: Russ Bentz here.

I wrote this email Wednesday morning and decided to sit on it for a day or two, reread it and make any changes required. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Here goes.

Have been reading with great interest comments on both sides of the McCain/Obama issue and in all likelihood, you are not interested in my comments but I thought I would add them anyway

Not many of you know much about me except I graduated from high school with you. Following graduation, I served my country for 12 years. Four years were spent in the United States Navy and I might add aboard a ship similar to the one John McCain flew from. I served aboard the USS Independence. Then eight years working in covert operations for the Central Intelligence Agency, in Southeast Asia, South America, Europe, etc.

My Navy time was uneventful, but it prepared me for the work I did with the CIA. Yes, there is a place called ‘The Farm', written about in spy novels; I was trained there. I escaped near-death four times - once in an airplane over the North Sea, with an emergency landing in Newfoundland, once in Southeast Asia, once again on a flight from Honolulu to Tokyo, and once in Brazil.

Eventually I decided not to give Fate another shot at me, and resigned my work with the Fed.

During my time serving in covert operations our goal was to thwart the efforts of Socialist/Communist countries: Russia and China, as well as developing Communist efforts in South America. In short, I spent eight years of my life fighting to preserve Democracy, the way my father and grandfathers wanted me to. In those eight years I served in 42 countries, Third World, and some so poor it would make you sick if I described in detail what I witnessed.

While some of you were enjoying the life style of the Sixties, smoking pot and God knows what else, I was wandering around the jungles in Southeast Asia in God-forsaken places: Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Burma and Viet Nam.

My grandfather on my mother’s side came to America because there was a bounty on his head from a regime that considered him a threat - a regime that was part of the USSR. Why, I do not know; but I exist today because my grandfather chose to come to America and escape death.

My mother was born in the United States to an illegal immigrant.

While serving abroad, I witnessed first hand what Socialism meant to the average person.

I walked the streets in Eastern Germany, now unified with West Germany as a result of the Berlin Wall coming down.

I was in Prague in 1968 when the Russians invaded Czechoslovakia and I saw the looks on the people’s faces following a military takeover of the country.

In 1991 I was in Slovakia and saw the aftermath of what Socialism did to a beautiful people. I wish you could have heard my friend 'Flado' tell you his story of being sent to prison and tortured for two years. His crime? He refused to renounce his faith as a Christian.

A dear, close friend of mine from the Ukraine is an internationally-known and published scientist; I broke bread with him and his family and saw the pathetic result of his ‘success’ in a Socialistic nation where the wealth was 'shared by all', and where health care was provided by the State. I visited him and his wife just last year in the Ukraine and little has changed, thanks to the bungling of a Socialist society that now claims to be 'Democratic'.

Obama represents 'Change' that goes against everything I believe Democracy should be founded on. The American people don't understand it, but a curse has just been released on the United States. We already are seeing the results of his election. A few examples: the very wealthy are transferring their wealth out of the United States as fast as they can. Why is that? There is a dramatic surge in the purchase of weapons from Maine to California, and not for shotguns to hunt rabbits. The media isn’t reporting it, but sales of semi-automatic weapons are drastically up: AK-47’s and others, that are the choices of combat soldiers in the Communist world. Why is that? In my adult life I never heard an American talk about ‘revolution’ except when referring to other countries or to our fight to break away from England two hundred and more years ago. But sadly I’ve heard it discussed here in America, while getting my tires rotated last week. I heard it again today, while sitting at a counter in a restaurant having a cup of coffee. Why is that?

I have never seen our country as fragmented as it is today.

Laying all that aside, an experience in Southeast Asia put me on track to becoming a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. I saw Protestant and Catholic missionaries being hunted down by a Socialist junta in a country I will leave unnamed, and I asked myself the question: why would these men and women, hunted like rabbits, be willing to lay down their lives for their faith? I saw French Catholic nuns literally thrown into the street from their maternity hospital and beaten with rifle butts, because the junta wanted to purge the country of any Western influence. I was exempt because I was in that country under ‘diplomatic immunity’. I was willing to lay down my life for my country, but my reason was patriotic. Their reason was faith in a far higher Power. In the years since, I have been a follower of Jesus Christ, and I take my faith very, very seriously.

You might think, what does this have to do with the election? and why is Russ telling us his life's history? The answer is quite simple: God is in control. I firmly believe that after forty million murdered babies (I hate the word ‘abortion’ - lets call it what it is: murder), that God has lifted His hand from our country. God says murder a sin. Forty million babies murdered in the US alone has God weeping. The Democrat party calls murder “choice', and there are many Republicans who do the same.

God says homosexuality is a sin, too. The Democrat party calls it ‘a lifestyle’.

Do you realize that the United States of America is the only country in the world that is currently referred to as a ‘Christian’ country? But believe me; calling America ‘Christian’ is as far from the truth as the Earth is from Jupiter.

This nation was founded on Christian principals. No, the founding fathers were not all Christian, but the country was founded on Christian principals. I believe God for a long time kept His hand over our country and protected it, but for years I have felt that He has removed his hand of protection. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, God will allow America to be destroyed.

If you look at history, every nation that was once great has imploded from within. They were not defeated militarily; they died a slow, agonizing death resulting from their moral decay. How we deceive ourselves, in thinking the United States is any

Most certainly, we will reap what we have sown. God is in control, and it will be interesting to see what happens to the rights our forefathers placed their lives on the line for.

My advice to Tony and other Democrat voters who fell for the seduction of Obama: watch the laws that come out of Washington. First they will silence the Christian and conservative radio talk shows. In the Democrat-controlled Congress they are calling this the 'Fairness Doctrine'. They tried it in 2007 and failed, but now with a Democrat leadership the handwriting is on the wall. It will happen. It happened in the USSR. The government-controlled media in Russia was called 'Pravda'. I expect Obama to sign the paperwork as one of first acts as President of the United Socialist States of America. That’s the new abbreviation for America: ‘USSA’ - get used to it.

Then they will require gun registration. Then they will require that guns be turned over to the authorities. And that is probably when the bullets will start flying.

Oh, and yes, let us not forget euthanasia. If you think they will protect your rights as senior citizens with rising health care costs and Medicare, you are sadly mistaken. Look what has happened in the Netherlands. A real demonstration of the term "slippery slope". Already the State of Oregon has assisted suicide and euthanasia laws on the books. New York has tried unsuccessfully to pass euthanasia law numerous times. To date most efforts have failed, but national euthanasia laws are currently being discussed behind closed doors in Washington DC by a Democrat caucus.

For years I have clamored that the Democrat party should be renamed to the Socialist party. Everything they stand for represents Marxism and is something I spent a good portion of my life fighting against. For those of you who have not experienced it, you won’t recognize it until it’s too late.

Sadly, people voted for Obama because he was eloquent, or black, or because he was attractive looking. Many voted for 'Change'. And Change is what they will get. Unfortunately, if Obama delivers all that he has promised, it will near impossible to turn the clock back, just as has been experienced with Roe vs. Wade.

"WE RISE OR FALL AS ONE". That is a direct quote from Obama. And that quote is prophetic. This country will not survive taking us down a Socialist path. One of our founding fathers, John Adams, said "it might be good to have a revolution every other generation". Maybe that might turn the clock back.

However, if I am right, and God has lifted His protecting hand from the United States, sit back and watch what Man will reap. You’d better pray for your children and your grandchildren. The United States will not be the same country in which we have been able to enjoy the results of the blood, sweat, tears and sacrifices of our forefathers. It will be sad to watch.

Obama has won the Presidency but not by an overwhelming margin in the popular vote. For every one vote for Obama, there was one against him. The sad thing is that the majority of votes for Obama came from people who don't have a clue what they’ve done. They’ve never witnessed, first hand, the aftermath of a Socialist takeover of a society.

Ladies and gentlemen - just read a little bit of history. It’s happened twice in the 20th century. One regime was the Communist-controlled USSR, and the other was Hitler’s Third Reich. Between them, it is estimated they killed over one hundred million people in seventy years. That’s one within a single adult lifetime: One hundred million people. Killed by Socialists and Communists.

As for me, I will not give up any of my rights afforded me by the Constitution of the United States.

To Tony and other Democratic voters: congratulations. I think you can feel very proud of your vote. You well may have helped usher in the demise of the United States of America.

Have a good day in the Lord, and may God bless you all.

Russ Bentz

P. S. - Tony - I understand your frustration and I agree that the Republicans have had ample opportunity to turn the clock back on the murder of unborn children. Adolf Hitler's Third Reich pales, when comparing the murder of six million Jews to forty million babies murdered in America.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Call Your Child By Name

This article was written by my dearest friend Lucy and I liked it so much, I asked her permission to use it here.

The growing trend towards the culture of death seems to be increasing exponentially. The pro-life advocates working against incredible odds are in disbelief that so many would prefer a culture that celebrates the basest of all human behaviour. Many Catholics have included themselves in the wave of the “pro-choice” movement supposing it as a means of showing compassion and care for others. The argument goes that once social programs and education have been put into action abortion will become a rare occurrence. Interesting argument but upon closer inspection all should realize this has been one of the arguments from the beginning based on false compassion. As abortion became legalized and almost ‘glorified’ the vast numbers of abortions committed worldwide boggles the mind; we can say whole nations have been annihilated because of this atrocity called "choice". We have all been affected by this mass destruction of the most innocent of human beings; no one is immune from its devastating consequences. We either know someone who has had an abortion, maybe several or we ourselves have committed it. Having worked in the pro-life movement I have been privileged to meet women who courageously came forward to speak of the horrors they have had to live with because of their "choice" to abort. Only by confronting the truth have they been able to begin to heal their wounds. False compassion is neither healing nor unifying. It is not compassionate to allow countless women to sweep their knowledge of destruction into a dark corner where they in their longing sorrow and loneliness abide. It was said recently that it is a punishment for a daughter to carry a baby to term, but in reality the punishment is in condemning any young girl or woman to a life of suffering because of the “choice” of abortion.

Only by seeking the truth can someone call abortion what it truly is, an abomination and a sin. Only by shedding light on this truth can those who promote abortion begin to heal. The babies aborted are not just numbers or a slice on a pie chart; they are victims of violence who through the injustice of abortion laws have had their lives cut short. They are victims which remain nameless to our society and yet are called by name by their very Creator. It is interesting to note that many countries keep the memory of fallen heroes or victims of disasters. Plaques with names are posted, books written, stories told and yet the innocent victims of abortion remain nameless. This is no accident. Society finds it easier to destroy people when they are not seen as humans; Nazi Germany is an example but not the only one. Throughout history this has been the case, whole classes of people have been disposed of using this ploy but none have been more vehemently exterminated as the innocent victims of abortion.

To you professors, theologians, doctors and nurses and all the rest who defend the so called “freedom of choice”, how many abortions have you committed? Do you remember the dates of your fallen babies? How often do you think of them; these babies without names? Be honest with yourselves. You justify your “choice” by economic standards, or some other weak excuse. Have you noticed the more vehemently you defend your abortion stance the angrier or more depressed you become? Little did you know the decision you made would cause you to become sorrowfully enslaved to a chain called “choice”. Name your child or children, the babies who died from “choice”. All efforts in justifying the means to the end will not bring you healing. The only way to be released is to come to terms with that “choice” and begin anew by the realization that your child has already forgiven you and awaits your decision to make the right and moral choice for life by an act of repentance.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

How many days does it take to celebrate a sixteenth birthday? Well around this hearth, four. A favorite trick of our girls is to schedule a mandatory good time (misnomer for one of those social things you have to go to) on your sister’s birthday. Michelle’s big Fall Choir Concert was on Meg’s birthday and –because sisters have to keep things fair –Meg’s Cross Country Banquet was on Michelle’s birthday. What to do, what to do?!

Oh I know! Just celebrate Michelle’s birthday all week-end! So we did! ☺

We started the week-end off with a sleep over with four of Michelle’s closest friends pictured above around her cake. The girls had a wonderful time and were the nicest young ladies we have ever had the pleasure to invite over! Jamie, Mickey, Felicia and Sam(antha) we love you and hope you will come back again soon! Thank you for helping us give Michelle a wonderful birthday! The fabulous five hung out together here on Saturday, doing whatever it is that teenage girls can do for hours on end and never get bored with . . . what else? Talk!

On Sunday afternoon after Mass for booklady (the rest of the family went to Saturday Vigil but I had to work then) we took Michelle in to have her hair done. As usual, Jamila worked her magic and Michelle was thrilled with her latest new look also pictured above.

Then we went shopping for Christmas clothes, out to dinner at Abuelos and to Barnes & Noble, a favorite book-family hangout.

On Michelle’s actual birthday, she woke up to find her sister had decorated the kitchen! The table was covered with little cars, there were balloons, streamers, cards, and even a collection can for her latest fund, 'Buy Michelle an IPOD'. Wanna contribute? I think I put in $1.87. ☺

At school, Michelle managed to get sung to in every one of her classes. Her sister surprised her again by decorating her locker and she received presents from more friends.

In the evening, Bear and booklady took Meg to her banquet but Michelle didn’t have to sit alone and feel sorry for herself. Both sets of grandparents called, plus her Aunt Patti, Debra and a friend of mine. Michelle was so busy answering the phone she hardly had time to watch the movie she’d gotten, 50 First Dates.

When we got home, Birthday Girl opened her cards and gifts. She is grateful to one and all! Thank you dear family and friends for your prayers, kind words, cards, e-mails, original poetry*, gifts, and most of all for your love! Michelle is a very blessed young lady and she knows it!

We are also blessed by and with the gift of her. Happy 16th birthday dearest Michelle! May this year be full of God’s Love, rich in His Grace and full of all the wonders and beauty this life has to offer.

All my love,

your book-mom
* My own mother has written each of the girls a personal poem for their recent birthdays. I was waiting for Michelle's birthday to feature these incredibly sweet and unique tributes both to the girls and their special relationship with their grandmother! God bless you Mom!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cocktail Shots

Take a look at what they put in the shots they give your little kids! Just some of the juicy 'goodies' they mix up and toss in:

  • glycerin and phenol--a compound obtained by distillation of coal tar
  • rhesus monkey fetal lung cells
  • some microbial contaminants
  • human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue*
  • varicella live virus
  • guinea pig embryo cells
  • fetal bovine serum
  • vesicle fluid from calf skins

And then there is my favorite: Mercury! Many vaccines still contain thimerosal (49.6% ethylmercury by weight.) While mercury is a highly toxic element second only to radioactive plutonium, when combined with other ingredients, specifically aluminum and formaldehyde, the synergistic effects increase 10,000-fold. Effects will vary from individual to individual, but mercury poisoning is chronic, cumulative, and so far as we know, irreversible.

* Contained in the shots for Rubella, Hepatitis A, Haemophilus influenza Type B, the Merck & Co., Inc., MMR, and chickenpox

I don't know about you, but if I'd known then what I know now, my children wouldn't have been vaccinated! Check it out, be informed, think about it! You do have a choice . . . and a voice.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes that's right, we Catholics have another option now in addition to Eternal Word Network or EWTN. We can also watch The Vortex. Of course I'm the booklady and I do advocate books over television, but sometimes a little TV, of the spiritually educational sort, is acceptable.

(In this place I had the video clip but it was making an annoying static sound everytime I ckicked on my blog. I don't know if anyone else could hear it but I couldn't figure out how to make it go away so I removed the screen feature and have just left the link below. But do click on it and register!)
If you would like to watch more videos from you can register for FREE here.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Money Hole

Now here's a totally fresh approach to our nation's economic problems. No money? No problem! Just throw it into the money hole! See what they are saying at the Onion.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Litany of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

Will you join us in saying this beautiful litany for an end to abortion?

Litany of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us

Response: Have mercy on us
God the Father in Heaven.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world.
God the Holy Spirit.Holy Trinity, one God.

Response: Pray for us Holy Mary.
St. Michael the Archangel.
St. Joseph.
St. Gianna, filled with love for God.
St. Gianna, filled with love for children.
St. Gianna, filled with love for Our Lady and her Rosary.
St. Gianna, filled with love for the Most Blessed Sacrament.
St. Gianna, who sought the will of God in all things.
St. Gianna, generous with those in need.
St. Gianna, devoted to prayer.
St. Gianna, willing to lay down your life for the sake of the gospel.
St. Gianna, patient in suffering.
St. Gianna, united to Jesus on the Cross.
St. Gianna, called to the vocation of marriage.
St. Gianna, who welcomed children as a blessing.
St. Gianna, physician to the ill.
St. Gianna, faithful daughter of the church.
St. Gianna, witness to the sanctity of human life.

Response: Deliver us Lord through the
intercession of St. Gianna
From neglecting God through prayer.
From refusing to se God in the sick and poor.
From callousness to the sufferings of others.
From selfishness.
From a lack of trust in God’s providence.
From blindness to the dignity of the human person.
From denial that human life begins at conception.

Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Let us pray.
Lord of life, we thank You for the heroic witness of
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla. You have taught us that
there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life
for others. Saint Gianna did this, not only as she
gave birth to her last child, but also in her everyday
life as she died to herself so that she could live
wholly for You. What selflessness we see in her!
Help us, we pray, that through the intercession of
Saint Gianna, our society may regain a sense of the
sacredness of all human life. Fill us with her spirit
of courage to suffer any struggle rather than deny
You and the sanctity of human life. We ask You
this through our Lord, Jesus Christ, your son, who
lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one
God, forever and ever. Amen

(Composed by a priest from Alabama and offered to
the Society of Saint Gianna Beretta Molla)

Nihil Obstat: Rev. Joseph G. Prior,
Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: Justin Cardinal Rigali
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Sept. 29, 2004

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

God's Choice

by George Weigel

If you are looking for a book which is all biography on Pope Benedict XVI -- as I was -- you won't find it in George Weigel's God's Choice. If on the other hand you've read Weigel's masterly Witness To Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, it's possible to see this book as its conclusion and transition to the new pontiff. At first, I confess I was a tad disappointed--not that I don't love JPII (I do!) but I bought and was reading this book looking for insight into his successor. But as I read and listened to the last debilitating days our Polish Pope spent on this earth in humble suffering, I was gently chastised, and the stage was set for the book's overriding theme, which is, come what may, the Eternal King will have His Way, thanks be to Him. And gradually I came to see the wisdom, ne the necessity of such a beginning. Weigel is seeking to show through God's Choice how indeed -- strange and unexpected though it may have seemed to the world at large -- the selection of the Bavarian Cardinal as Pope was indeed Divine, and to do so he needed to set the stage.

Roughly the book can be divided into thirds.

The first third deals with JPII's last days, his death, funeral and the conclave. Gradually Cardinal Ratzinger is introduced by Weigel and event-by-event, he is shown to be the inevitable, the only, if the somewhat reluctant choice of his church to be their leader-the reluctance being mostly on his side. As a scholarly, quiet, professorial sort of priest, Cardinal Ratzinger tried to retire home to his library in Germany several times during JPII's pontificate and was not allowed to do so.

The middle third of the book provides a brief and rather unsatisfying biography of Pope Benedict. There are some amusing anecdotes, helpful spiritual insights and facts about the man himself. On the whole it is fascinating reading, but it only whets your appetite. My guess is Weigel plans a comprehensive biography of the reigning pontiff sometime down the road to complete the trilogy begun with Witness to Hope and continued here. But the little that I did learn about the man was so enlightening, inspiring and surprising, it left me wanting to know and read him more!

The book concludes with a discussion of managerial, liturgical and inter-religious initiatives PBXVI will probably undertake during his years as pope, some of which have already been proven prophetic.

Below I have included some of my favorite anecdotal selections about Pope Benedict XVI:

In 1974, 'Josef Pieper, the German philosopher who Cardinal Ratzinger had admired during his student days urged him to get in touch with Cardinal Wojtyla who had made such a deep impression on Pieper. Ratzinger and Wojtyla began exchanging books!' ☺ (p. 178) A very propitious beginning to one of the most important friendships of the last century, don't you think?

In the post-WWII years when our current Holy Father was in seminary, he was a great lover of novels especially those by: Dostoevsky, Claudel, Bernanos and Mauriac. In fact, the book says, he "devoured" them"! ☺ (p. 164)

When his Pontificate was announced, 'amid the veritable hurricane of commentary, analysis, celebration, and toy- making*, an intriguing analysis came from what some might regard as an unexpected source: Professor Timothy George, a prominent American evangelical theologian and dean of the interdenominational Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, a Baptist institution in Alabama. Dr. George suggested to his fellow Protestants that Benedict XVI could be the "harbinger of a new reformation" and that, in any event, "his pontificate will be one of great moment for the Christian Church, not least for the evangelicals." Why?' Dr. George gave five reasons: 'because Benedict "takes truth seriously"; because his theology is Bible-focused"; because "his message is Christocentric"; because he is Augustinian in perspective"; and because "he champions the culture of life."' (p. 154) *there was a hand-made toy teddy bear made named Benedict XVI

Our current pope's 'parent's name's were Joseph and Mary (which provoked innumerable jokes in later life), and he was their third child, following his sister, Maria, born in 1921, and his brother, Georg, born in 1924.' (p. 159)

Pope John Paul's selection of Cardinal Ratzinger 'as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) disclosed several things about (his) thinking on the state of Catholic theology and its importance in the Church. The first was that John Paul II took theology very seriously indeed. Rather than appointing an experienced Church bureaucrat to head the congregation, John Paul chose a man whom everyone, including his critics, regarded as a scholar of the first rank, one of the finest Catholic theological minds of the 20th century. The appointment also suggested that the Pope, far from wanting to drive theology back into the lecture hall, wanted it to engage the world--but in a distinctively theological way. Thus he chose Ratzinger who had come to embody an updating of the Church based on a return to the sources of Catholic spiritual and intellectual vitality. And in the third place, the appointment underscored John Paul's commitment to a legitimate pluralism of methods in theology. Joseph Ratzinger was the first head of the Vatican's doctrinal office in centuries who did not take Thomas Aquinas as his theological lodestar. Both the Pope and his new prefect respected Thomas and Thomists. They also wanted a wide-ranging theological conversation to shape papal teaching.' (p. 181)

My favorite of all the stories Weigel has told about the Holy Father is this one. It concerns his choice of one of the symbols Pope Benedict chose to include in his episcopal coat of arms when he was 'appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising: a bear with a pack strapped to its back. The image came from the legend of St. Corbinian, the first bishop of Freising, who, as the legend goes, was on his way to Rome when a bear attack his horse and killed it. Corbinian scolded the bear and made it haul the pack the horse was carrying all the way to Rome. The story reminded Ratzinger of Augustine's reflections on several psalms in which the great patristic theologian speaks of having become a draft animal--a "good sturdy ox to pull God's cart in this world," as Ratzinger puts it. The paradox is that that was how the scholar, Augustine, who might have preferred not to be the bishop charged with pulling God's cart through history, came closer to God. "Just as the draft animal is closest to the farmer, doing his work for him, so is Augustine closest to God precisely through such humble service, completely within God's hand, completely His instrument." That was how Ratzinger understood his own translation from scholar to bishop: "The laden bear that took the place of Saint Corbinian's horse, or rather donkey--the bear that became his donkey against his will. Is this not an image of what I should do and of what I am?" As St. Augustine had put it, "A beast of burden have I become for you, and this is just the way for me to remain wholly yours and always abide with you." And that, in the end, was how Joseph Ratzinger had come to understand himself and his service to John Paul II.' (pp. 204-205)

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pro-Choice Violence

Interesting post by Father Frank at his blog, Priests for Life, called Pro-Choice Violence. It seems violence is only going to escalate and not only against the unborn, but also against those who get involved in the fight.

Especially disconcerting are the comments made by someone who identifies himself as Doctor Defense. Defense of what? Certainly not the un-born? Nor the family. What about Life? Nope! Oh, yes, the 'right' to kill a defenseless child. That is what this 'doctor' wants to defend. Please God, defend us from all such 'doctors'!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Vet's Reflections

When they ask the veterans to stand in church – and other public places – I never like to. My children give me a hard time about this. “You’re a vet too, Mom. Why don’t you stand up? You aren’t ashamed of it, are you?” On the contrary, I think serving our country is one of the finest things a person can do, but like James Bradley in Flags of Our Fathers, I don’t think I did anything special. Except of course that he really did do something special and I, on the other hand, know that I didn’t. I just did my job and for that I received a paycheck. It was a simple economic exchange, just like any other job.

But is that true?

Do I really know that? And is any job, just ‘a job’? Isn’t everything we do, how we do it, far more than what we do?

One of the first things I learned as a young lieutenant is that I rarely got recognized, much less noticed, the times I went all out, but I sometimes received awards and notice when I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. I suppose that knowledge could have made me cynical, but I decided to look at it pragmatically, figuring there is some sort of rough justice in it all and we don’t work for awards anyway. We work for the certain knowledge it’s the right thing to do. We work for God . . . and country. In other words, we follow the first and second commandments.

I had the distinct pleasure of serving my country from 1979 through 1991, through the Cold War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I spent nine of my thirteen years of active service overseas and while it was far from glamorous or glorious, I never dreamed how much I would miss it when it was all over. The camaraderie is like nothing you will ever find elsewhere, the opportunities to learn –and fail—are endless, as are the chances to try new things, go all over the world and yet truly find what you are made of inside. The military was the best choice I could have made right out of college and I have no regrets, except that I didn’t do more for my country. I was – am – far too selfish. I was told that I needed to “watch out for myself”, to protect myself from ‘the system’. Perhaps I did. But, God save us from an entire unit, squadron or more of individuals with that attitude.

Today my daughters’ school had a nice tribute to Veterans. The Junior R.O.T.C. stood in formation, the colors were brought in, some decorated Vets were given special honors and the choir sang a medley of the military service songs. And when the familiar words were sung, “Off we go, into the wild blue yonder…” I stood up. I can’t tell you how proud I am—of my country, and how blessed I know myself to be—to have served her in this small way. But mostly, I am grateful to all who have worn and continue to wear the United States military uniform.

God bless the men and women serving on active duty, their families and the country we are all blessed to live in!
Here are the first verses (and refrains where applicable) of each of the military services’ songs:

U.S. Air Force
Off we go, into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun.
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, give 'er the gun.
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one hell-uv-a roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame,
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Army
First to fight for the right,
And to build the nation's might.
And the Army goes rolling along.
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting until the battle's won.
And the Army goes rolling along.

Then it's Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army is on its way,
Count off the cadence loud and strong
For where'er we go,
You will always know,
That the Army goes rolling along.

U.S. Coast Guard
From Aztec shore to Arctic zone,
To Europe and Far East.
The flag is carried by our ships,
In times of war and peace.
And never have we struck it yet,
In spite of foe-men's might,
Who cheered our crews and cheered again,
For showing how to fight.

U.S. Marine Corps
From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We will fight our country's battles
In the air, on land and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean.
We are proud to claim the title of,
United States Marines.

U.S. Navy
Stand, Navy, out to sea, fight our battle cry;
We'll never change our course,
So vicious foe steer shy-y-y-y
Roll out the TNT, Anchors Aweigh. Sail on to victory
And sink their bones to Davy Jones, hooray!

Anchors Aweigh, my boys, Anchors Aweigh.
Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay.
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam,
Until we meet once more. Here's wishing you a happy voyage home.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Freedom of Choice Act

Please register.

It only takes a second. Please forward it to all Pro-Life people in your email list.

"The first thing Iʼd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act," ~~Senator Barack Obama. Watch the video on this site and hear it for yourself.

With a single stroke of the pen, the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) would establish the right to abortion as a fundamental right (like the right to free speech) and wipe away every restriction on abortion nationwide.

FOCA Would Wipe Away Every Restriction on Abortion Nationwide.

This would eradicate state and federal laws that the majority of Americans support, such as:

  • Bans on Partial Birth Abortion

  • Requirements that women be given information about the risks of getting an abortion

  • Only licensed physicians can perform abortions

  • Parents must be informed and give consent to their minor daughter's abortion

FOCA would erase these laws and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

Friday, November 7, 2008

United Nations Petition for the Unborn Child


Dear Colleague, On December 10th, radical pro-abortion groups will present petitions asking the UN General Assembly to make abortion a universally recognized human right. We have met the challenge and you can help. We have initiated a petition drive that calls for governments to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. Along with a coalition of pro-life groups from around the world, we will present our petitions at a press conference at UN headquarters. So far, in only three weeks we have generated 46,417 names endorsing our petition; that is 15,000 a week! I now fully expect that we will present 100,000 names on December 10th, the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In order for this to happen, though, I need your help and I need it now. If you have not signed the petition, do so now HERE or by going directly to and clicking on the icon "UN Petition for the Unborn Child." Then, after you have signed the petition, send this email or one of your own to ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS! If you have already signed the petition, send this email or one of your own to ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS and urge them to sign it.

What we are trying to do is create a real global internet campaign that will shock the pro-abortion radicals at the UN on December 10th! To help you, the petition has been translated into 11 different languages and each can be found HERE. So, please act now. Go HERE and sign the petition. Then send this message or one of your own to ALL OF YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.

Yours sincerely, Austin Ruse President


We absolutely must submit more names to the UN than the pro-abortion radicals. They are bigger, richer and stronger than we are. So, act now; sign the petition HERE or go here

And send this message to everyone you know!

(c) Copyright 2008 Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Acceptance Speeches

Did you watch the Presidential Acceptance Speech last night?

Did you find it as eerie as I did? Did you watch the women in the audience carefully? They look at him with love-sick eyes. Their eyes look glazed over, almost like they are in a drug-induced trance. Either that or they are crying or swooning as if Christ had come. And then there is the rhythmic chanting of "Yes, we can!" Huh? What gives? Are we hearing a Presidential Acceptance Speech or is this a high school pep rally? I thought about posting it from YOUTUBE but after several aborted attempts (bad pun I'm sorry) decided I didn't want that clip on my blog anyway. If you do watch it, look for the close-up pans of Oprah and Jesse Jackson.

He wasn't kidding: Change Has Come!

But as a friend reminded me when we were discussing the bleak prospect of four years of this, really we should rejoice! Rejoice? Yes, rejoice! Let us offer up prayers of thanksgiving for all the Lord does and is doing for us. It may not seem like it today but remember He has overcome the world. It's a great day to be a Christian. Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord.

Now if you want to hear a real Acceptance Speech, try listening to this!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Hour of Decision

Today is the Day America.

Today is your day.

Today you will decide.

Will you choose . . . Life . . . or Death?

The Hour of Decision

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why your parental & homeschooling rights are in danger

If Senator Obama wins the presidential election, especially if a liberal majority takes over in the Senate, we can expect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Treaty to be brought up for ratification as soon as proponents (like Senator Clinton) believe it has enough support to pass. Since Madeline Albright signed the treaty on President Clinton's behalf while he was still in office, ratification by the Senate is all it needs to become the "law of the land."

From ParentalRights: If this treaty is made binding upon our country, the government would have the power to intervene in any child's life to advance its definition of "the best interests of the child."

The scenarios that could occur-and are occurring-as a result of this dangerous notion are both manifold and frightening. Under the UNCRC, instead of following due process, government agencies would have the power to override your parental choices at their whim because they determine what is in "the best interest of the child." Expect independent homeschooling to be outlawed and replaced by government school-at-home programs, where Bible-based curriculum and teaching any subject from a biblical perspective will be banned. Expect private schools to become government-run with the same restrictions. Expect the government to use overseeing & directing your homeschooling as an avenue to accuse you of false non-homeschooling allegations like abuse, neglect, etc., thereby having your children removed from you.

Please share this with friends who may not yet understand all that's at stake as we vote tomorrow.

For more information about threats to parental rights, visit Parental Rights and HSLDA.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Our Lady of America

ARCHBISHOP BURKE PROMOTES "OUR LADY OF AMERICA": His Excellency Raymond Burke, the Archbishop Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis, has approved, and is actively promoting, the devotion to 'Our Lady of America.' Archbishop Burke is a canon lawyer and Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura . . .

A movement of great consequence has commenced for a definite response by the United States Catholic Bishops in response to private revelations which long ago received official Church recognition as having occurred in the United States. The revelations included apparitions of Our Lord and St. Joseph as well as St. Gabriel and St. Michael, as well as apparitions of The Blessed Virgin Mary as "Our Lady of America" to Sister Mary Ephrem (Mildred Neuzil), of the Precious Blood Sisters (1933-1979) who was later a Contemplative of the Indwelling Trinity (1979 - until death) . Sister Mary Ephrem, deceased on January 10th, 2000, said she was asked by The Blessed Virgin Mary to draw a picture according to the vision of Our Lady of America and have a statue constructed accordingly and placed after a solemn procession into the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C.. The Blessed Virgin Mary wishes to be honored in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at Washington D.C. as Our Lady of America. Our Lady says that if this is done, the United States of America would turn back toward morality and the shrine would become a place of "wonders."

The visions of Sister Mary Ephrem are both wonderful and terrifying. In essence, they call Catholic Americans to conversion by displaying purity in their lives. They call upon the U.S. Catholic Bishops to place a statue of 'Our Lady of America' in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. If these things are done, the visions promised that greater miracles than those granted at Lourdes and Fatima would be granted here in the United States. However, if these things are not done, the United States will be engulfed in a nuclear war.

Our Lady of America says:

"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." - source

Considering the serious message of these visions, and the canonical approval of the visionary and devotion, 'The Catholic Knight' believes it to be necessary to make this known to my readers. The statue is currently on display at the John Paul II Cultural Center at Washington D.C. It has not yet made it to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, nor is there any significant evidence that Catholic Americans are converting to display purity in their lives. Some fifty years after the first visions given to Sister May Ephrem, the devotion to 'Our Lady of America' is still in its infancy stage, and her message to Catholic Americans remains virtually unknown. You can learn more about 'Our Lady of America' here, and here.

May Our Blessed Mother pray for all of us on this the Feast of All Souls!