Thursday, May 31, 2007

Less Spam For Everyone!!

According to Feds responsible for this case, everyone will see a reduction of that dreaded spam in their e-mail inbox. A 27 year old man described as "one of the world’s most prolific spammers" was arrested Wednesday sparking the comments from the afore mentioned government officials.

MSNBC reports:

Robert Alan Soloway is accused of using networks of compromised “zombie” computers to send out millions upon millions of spam e-mails.

“He’s one of the top 10 spammers in the world,” said Tim Cranton, a Microsoft Corp. lawyer who is senior director of the company’s Worldwide Internet Safety Programs. “He’s a huge problem for our customers. This is a very good day.”

A federal grand jury last week returned a 35-count indictment against Soloway charging him with mail fraud, wire fraud, e-mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

Soloway pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to all charges after a judge determined that — even with four bank accounts seized by the government — he was sufficiently well off to pay for his own lawyer.

He has been living in a ritzy apartment and drives an expensive Mercedes convertible, said prosecutor Kathryn Warma. Prosecutors are seeking to have him forfeit $773,000 they say he made from his business, Newport Internet Marketing Corp.

The story continues by explaining what exactly Soloway was doing to send his spam e-mails:

Prosecutors say Soloway used computers infected with malicious code to send out millions of junk e-mails since 2003. The computers are called “zombies” because owners typically have no idea their machines have been infected.

The Santa Barbara County, Calif., Department of Social Services said it was spending $1,000 a week to fight the spam it was receiving, and other businesses and individuals complained of having their reputations damaged when it appeared spam was originating from their computers.

“This is not just a nuisance. This is way beyond a nuisance,” Warma said.

Soloway used the networks of compromised computers to send out unsolicited bulk e-mails urging people to use his Internet marketing company to advertise their products, authorities said.

So, I guess at the end of the day this will mean less spam for you and more jail time for this guy who made loads of cash ripping people off...

[Picture credit: MSNBC]

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dr. Death To Be Released On Parole

Here in the lovely state of Michigan we claim to be the home of many things. We've got the car capital of the world, Motown, Kellogg's Cereal, 4 of the biggest lakes in the world, and, count em', not one, but two peninsulas. (I know, it's great...)

We are also home to some other things. Among them, Dr. Jack Kevorkian: Dr. Death himself. A man who has become, in the words of a CNA article, the icon of the culture of death. I bring this up because this coming Friday, Kevorkian will be released from prison after serving 8 of his 10-25 years.

Imprisoned in 1999 for killing a man on national television, the 79 year old doctor seems to know what he'll be doing on his early leave. He told WJBK TV in Michigan that he will not be assisting in suicides anymore but he plans to begin a speaking circuit to push for more states to follow the lead of Oregon and pass pro-death or "right to die" laws. These types of bills have been circulating through many of the states' legal processes in recent years. One FoxNews story stated:
Opponents defeated a measure in Vermont this year and are fighting similar efforts in California. Bills have failed in recent years in Hawaii, Wisconsin and Washington state, and ballot measures were defeated earlier by voters in Washington, California, Michigan and Maine.
Kevorkian hopes to change those trends: "It's got to be legalized," Kevorkian said in a phone interview from prison aired by a Detroit TV station on Monday. "I'll work to have it legalized. But I won't break any laws doing it."

Opponents of so-called "right-to-die" laws say that physicians shouldn't be looking to kill their patients but help them die with respect and dignity.
Opponents and supporters of physician-assisted death say more needs to be done to offer hospice care and pain treatment for those who are dying and suffering from debilitating pain.
"The solution here is not to kill people who are getting inadequate pain management, but to remove barriers to adequate pain management," said Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee, which opposes assisted suicide.
"We need to come up with better solutions to human suffering and human need," Balch said.
For Dr. Death, those solutions are found in the prick of a needle or swallowing a little pill...

Time Is Running Out To Register For The Eucharistic Congress!!!

Time is running out! Don't miss your chance to attend one of the biggest and most important events for the Diocese of Saginaw in recent memory!

The Eucharistic Congress is for every age group, every vocation and way of life, it is for those who are very active in their faith life and for those who would like to do something a little more in their faith. In a word, the Eucharistic Congress is for YOU! Don't miss out on the chance to worship Jesus in a new and wonderful way along with folks from all over the Diocese and the state of Michigan.

Registration forms can be found on-line here or you can get in touch with your local parish office.

Be There!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

"This Kind Of Thing Doesn't Happen Every Day"

Imagine waking up to this!

JERUSALEM — A man clad only in underwear and a T-shirt wrestled a wild leopard to the floor and pinned it for 20 minutes after the cat leapt through a window of his home and hopped into bed with his sleeping family.
"This kind of thing doesn't happen every day," said 49-year-old Arthur Du Mosch, a nature guide. "I don't know why I did it. I wasn't thinking, I just acted."
Raviv Shapira, who heads the southern district of the Israel Nature and Parks Protection Authority, said a half dozen leopards have been spotted recently near Du Mosch's small community of Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert in southern Israel, although they rarely threaten humans.
Shapira said it was probably food that lured the big cat. Leopards living near humans are usually too old to hunt in the wild and resort to chasing down domestic dogs and cats for food, he added.
Du Mosch's cat was in the bed with him at the time, along with his young daughter who had been frightened by a mosquito in her own room.
Shapira said the leopard was very weak when park rangers arrived at Du Mosch's home after the surprise late-night visit. He said nature officials would likely release it back into the wild.
Du Mosch said he probably would not have been able to control the big cat were it in better health. As a nature guide, he said, he was familiar with animals and did his best to hold down the leopard without harming it. He said he took it all in stride, "but the kids were excited."

A few funny things to note:
  • "A half dozen leopards have been spotted recently...they rarely threaten humans" I guess this one didn't care about the status quo
  • "It was probably food that lured the big cat", yeah...
  • His daughter was in bed with him because "she had been frightened by a mosquito in her own room." Do you think mosquitoes are going to bother that little girl anymore?

Is This Even Real???

Sorry I just couldn't leave this ABC News story unblogged...

An 11-year-old boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9 feet 4, from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires.

Jamison is reveling in the attention over his pig.

"It feels really good," Jamison said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It's a good accomplishment. I probably won't ever kill anything else that big."

Jamison, who killed his first deer at age 5, was hunting with father Mike Stone and two guides in east Alabama on May 3 when he bagged Monster Pig. He said he shot the huge animal eight times with a .50-caliber revolver and chased it for three hours through hilly woods before finishing it off with a point-blank shot.

Through it all, there was the fear that the animal would turn and charge them, as wild boars have a reputation for doing.

"I was a little bit scared, a little bit excited," said Jamison, who lives in Pickensville on the Mississippi border. He just finished the sixth grade on the honor roll at Christian Heritage Academy, a small, private school.

His father said that, just to be extra safe, he and the guides had high-powered rifles aimed and ready to fire in case the beast, with 5-inch tusks, decided to charge.

With the animal finally dead in a creek bed on the 2,500-acre Lost Creek Plantation, a commercial hunting preserve in Delta, trees had to be cut down and a backhoe brought in to bring Jamison's prize out of the woods.

It was hauled on a truck to the Clay County Farmers Exchange in Lineville, where Jeff Kinder said they used his scale, recently calibrated, to weigh the hog.

Kinder's scale measures only to the nearest 10, but Mike Stone said it balanced one notch past the 1,050-pound mark.

"It probably weighed 1,060 pounds. We were just afraid to change it once the story was out," he said.

The hog's head is being mounted by Jerry Cunningham of Jerry's Taxidermy. Cunningham said the animal measured 54 inches around the head, 74 inches around the shoulders and 11 inches from the eyes to the end of its snout.

"It's huge," he said. "It's just the biggest thing I've ever seen."

Mike Stone is having sausage made from the rest of the animal. "We'll probably get 500 to 700 pounds," he said.

Declaration On The Limbo of Infants Published...

The Vatican got this finally posted up on their website earlier...

While I haven't had the chance to read it carefully, I did skim it and here is the section most of you will be interested in:
102. Within the hope that the Church bears for the whole of humanity and wants to proclaim afresh to the world of today, is there a hope for the salvation of infants who die without Baptism? We have carefully re-considered this complex question, with gratitude and respect for the responses that have been given through the history of the Church, but also with an awareness that it falls to us to give a coherent response for today. Reflecting within the one tradition of faith that unites the Church through the ages, and relying utterly on the guidance of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised would lead his followers “into all the truth” (Jn 16:13), we have sought to read the signs of the times and to interpret them in the light of the Gospel. Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the Beatific Vision. We emphasise that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge. There is much that simply has not been revealed to us (cf. Jn 16:12). We live by faith and hope in the God of mercy and love who has been revealed to us in Christ, and the Spirit moves us to pray in constant thankfulness and joy (cf. 1 Thess 5:18).
103. What has been revealed to us is that the ordinary way of salvation is by the sacrament of Baptism. None of the above considerations should be taken as qualifying the necessity of Baptism or justifying delay in administering the sacrament.[135] Rather, as we want to reaffirm in conclusion, they provide strong grounds for hope that God will save infants when we have not been able to do for them what we would have wished to do, namely, to baptize them into the faith and life of the Church.
Notice that the document states that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge. Ultimately no one but God almighty knows what happens to these little ones. The commission is simply stating that it is reasonable to believe that God would provide a means of salvation.

Oklahoma Takes a Pro-Life Step

Via CNA:

Oklahoma City, May 28, 2007 / 12:30 pm (CNA).- Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry did not veto a pro-life bill on Wednesday, making Oklahoma the only state this year to pass legislation that would prohibit certain abortions in state-funded medical facilities, reported CNHI News Service.

Senate Bill 139 prohibits abortions in state medical facilities or by state employees, unless the life of the mother is threatened, the pregnancy poses the risk of impairment to major bodily functions, or in the case of rape or incest.

Henry recently vetoed another bill, Senate Bill 714, which did not allow the provision on rape or incest. Democratic senators sustained the vote during two override attempts. Henry, a Democrat, may not have had the votes this time around to sustain his veto had he made that decision.

Henry said he would challenge proponents of the bill to work with the medical community and other interested parties to address the absence of a concession in the bill for lethal birth defects in the next legislative session.

Joseph Scheidler, national director for the Pro-life Action League, believes using the risk to the mother or the chance of these fatal anomalies as a reason to allow abortions is an emotional ploy.

“Abortion is not a life-saving surgery,” he said, adding that medicine is sophisticated enough now that very few women die because of a pregnancy.

American Idol Winner is Pro-Life

This is the only way anything from American Idol ends up here...

Hollywood, CA ( -- After coming under fire last month for an anti-povery campaign that funneled money to pro-abortion groups, the popular musical talent show American Idol has produced a new winner in Jordin Sparks who is a long-time pro-life advocate. Sparks has repeatedly participated in pro-life conferences as a volunteer and singer.

Sparks was the recent winner of the sixth season of American Idol but her fans and supporters may not know that she strongly opposes abortion.

Sparks, the daughter of Phillipi Sparks who played professional football for the New York Giants, sang at Arizona's Right to Life 2005 conference. The New York Giants were formerly owned by the late Wellington Mara who founded the pro-life group Life Athletes and was known for his strong pro-life beliefs.

She attended the conference with Dr. Alveda King, who was the keynote speaker at the event.

Sparks hasn't been shy about her pro-life beliefs either.

She appears on Fox & Friends this week with Brian Kilmeade who asked her questions based on emails from viewers. Sparks was asked about a ring she wears on her wedding ring finger even though she is 17 year-old and unmarried.

She said, without hesitation, that it was her Purity Ring, and that it says she waiting until she is married, and saving herself for true love.

Meanwhile, the Internet has been full of talk in recent days about a photo that appeared on Sparks' personal Myspace page with her holding a sign from National Right to Life saying Stop Abortion Now.

In fact, those gigs at pro-life rallies are credited with getting a buzz about her and catching the eye of well-known Christian singer Michael W. Smith, with whom she performed.

Her singing in contemporary Christian circles won her enough praise that she won the Gospel Music Association Spotlight Award in 2004.

Sorry For The Unscheduled Interruption...

So, its been way too long since we've had a post...

My apologies...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Planned Parenthood About To Sue Girl Who Exposed Their Lies

Planned Parenthood is in a tight place at the moment. They've been caught covering up statutory rape. Now, at the moment, if you did a google search on the topic you'd find that none, I mean none, of the major news media is covering this story. However, if they go through with this lawsuit it could catch fire.

So, what exactly happened here? An 18 year old investigative journalist named Lila Rose walked into a Planned Parenthood office in California posing as a 15 year old. She told the councilors there that she was pregnant by a 23 year old man and instead of contacting the proper authorities, they taught her how to cover up her age to make it look as if she were a year older and thus save her and her "boyfriend" from any criminal charges. Here is part of the transcript:

Planned Parenthood staff: “If you’re 15, we have to report it. If you’re not, if you’re older than that, then we don’t need to.”

15-year-old: “Okay, but if I just say I’m not 15, then it’s different? So I could just say…”

Planned Parenthood staff: “You could say 16.”

15 year old: “I could say 16.”

Planned Parenthood staff: “Yes.”

15 year old: “Okay, yeah. So I would just write 16?”

Planned Parenthood staff: “Well, just figure out a birth date that works. And I don’t know anything.”

The Abortionist is threatening a lawsuit (this just shows how sick and twisted they are) because Miss Rose did not "respect California laws" concerning undercover journalism. As Dom over at Bettnet said so well, "Pot, meet the kettle. It’s black." It will be interesting to see how this all plays out, in the meantime here is the youtube link to the actual video that was made. It is a very choppy and sometimes hard to understand but you'll get the point.

Also, here is a site that has been dedicated just to this topic and their attempts to expose Planned Parenthood and this is a youtube link to a video they made of phone conversations of Planned Parenthood councilors covering up statutory rape. This is sick stuff...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

American College of Pediatricians Fights to Defend Children: At All Stages Of Life

There is a growing organization of physicians out there which has decided to defend an all but abstract idea of family life.

The American College of Pediatricians, sporting the tag line: The Best For Children, defends such concepts as a married male-female unit as an environment most suited for proper development and the idea that children need protection from the time of their conception until their natural death.

From their website:

The Mission:

  • "The Mission of the American College of Pediatricians is to enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being. To this end, we recognize the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for childhood development, but pledge our support to all children, regardless of their circumstances."

The Vision:

  • "The American College of Pediatricians promotes a society where all children, from the moment of their conception, are valued unselfishly. We encourage mothers, fathers and families to advance the needs of their children above their own. We expect societal forces to support the two-parent, father-mother family unit and provide for children role models of ethical character and responsible behavior."

Their Values:

  • "Children are the future of our nation and society. As such, they deserve to be reared in the best possible family environment and supported by physicians committed to ensuring their optimal health and well-being. The members of the American College of Pediatricians are those physicians."

The great thing about this group of professionals is that they are not shy about stating the need for good science within the context of true natural and ethical law. This attitude is shown in what they call their "core values": a list of eight points which guide their operation. Highlights of these Core Values include: my comments in red

  • Recognizes that there are absolutes and scientific truths that transcend relative social considerations of the day. (just when you thought the dictatorship of relativism had taken over...)
  • Recognizes that good medical science cannot exist in a moral vacuum and pledges to promote such science. (*gasp* Science with morals?)
  • Recognizes the fundamental mother-father family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for the development and nurturing of children and pledges to promote this unit. (no mom and mom families here!)
  • Recognizes the unique value of every human life from the time of conception to natural death and pledges to promote research and clinical practice that provides for the healthiest outcome of the child from conception to adulthood. (finally doctors who try to keep babies alive and aren't ashamed to say that's the way it should be)
  • Recognizes the physical and emotional benefits of sexual abstinence until marriage and pledges to promote this behavior as the ideal for adolescence. (did I hear that right?)

Some recent articles they've published are starting to get some attention such as the article about adoption and homosexual couples and their call to stop embryonic stem cell research in favor of adult stem cell research.

Stop by and check out their website and if you can, support them!

Hamas Television Show Back On The Air

A reader tipped me off to this continuing story...

A Hamas-run television station defied Israel and the Palestinian government on Friday by continuing to air a controversial children's puppet show with a Mickey Mouse lookalike preaching resistance.

Israel and Jewish groups have slammed the Al-Aqsa programme over calls made by the copycat mouse named Farfur and by a little girl for resistance against Israel and the United States, and for its overtly Islamist message.

Complete with Islamic songs and calls for cities in Israel to return to Palestine, Friday's episode apparently sought to prepare children for their end-of-year examinations -- with Farfur being told that cheating is forbidden.

Asked why by an Al-Aqsa television reporter, he looked left and right to see what his friends were writing and answered: "Because the Jews destroyed my home and I left my books and notes under the rubble."

"I'm calling on all children to read more and more to prepare for exams because the Jews don't want us to learn," Farfur then said after being told he had failed the test.

On Thursday, the chairman of the board of Al-Aqsa television, Fathi Hamad, refused to bow to pressure to cull the "Tomorrow's Pioneers" programme or to doctor its content.

"This campaign of criticism is part of a plan orchestrated by the West and the occupying power to attack Islam on the one hand and the Palestinian cause on the other," he said.

Palestinian information minister Mustafa Barghuti had asked Al-Aqsa to withdraw the show, which he said adopted a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle, and said that it was wrong to politicise children's television programming.

Hamas is the senior partner in the Palestinian national unity government and is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation in the West.

I posted on this earlier with some footage from the actual show in question. It is disturbing to say the least...

[Thanks to Darin for the tip!]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Germans Encourage Women To Have Babies

This is actually old news but as far as I can tell, no one has covered the story.

It seems as if Germans are starting to feel the effects of contraception and they don't like it.

Faced with a population which has become more and more hostile to birth, the German government is realizing the only result can be the opposite: death. Death as a nation that is. Forget trying to have a growing population, they are simply trying to replace a population which requires each woman to have 2.2 children. Currently the actual birthrate is about 1.7.

In an article written almost two years ago, the blogsite "Chastity Revisited" cited this problem and pointed to some of its causes:
A study by Germany's federal institute for demographic research showed that 26 percent of men and 15 percent of women aged between 20 and 39 do not want to start a family, a sharp rise since 1992 when the figures were 12 percent of men and 10 percent of women."
There is an increasing belief that not having children is the ideal way of life," the authors of the study concluded.
So, "why," I guess is the question. Why don't people want to have children? Isn't it a natural desire? It seems the Germans are asking the same question as they try to get to the root of the problem. The story continues with quotes like these:
"Places in creches are hard to get, and expensive," said Andrea, 35, in the Brigitte chat room. "I just can't imagine myself having a child, staying at home and becoming financially dependent on my partner or the State."
"In Germany, having children isn't sexy," said Marie-Luise Lewicki, the editor of Eltern (Parents) magazine.
"We don't just need creches and day-long schooling, we need a change in society," she said.
And then the demographers have their say:
The federal institute for demographic research said the main reason cited for not having children was the lack of either a partner or a stable relationship, which accounted for 83 percent of respondents.
However, nearly 60 percent said concerns for the future of their potential children had dissuaded them.
In a different study, released by the Forsa polling institute in January, only 29 percent of women pointed to the financial burden of a child and only 39 percent named not wanting to give up their career as their reason for not having children.
Having a family "seems to have become an abstract idea", the federal institute concluded.
So, the problem seems to be a financial or social problem. What can the government do, you ask? Pay people to have babies.

That's right, the government of Germany is now offering incentives to people who have children.
The new "Elterngeld" _ or "parent money" _ program allows an adult who stops work after a child is born to continue to claim two-thirds of their net wage, up to a maximum $2,375 per month. Low earners can claim 100 percent compensation for lost wages.
One parent can claim for up to 12 months; if both parents take a turn, they can claim the benefit for a total of 14 months _ a tweak designed to encourage more fathers to help.
Germany previously paid a flat $400 a month in benefits to needy parents for up to two years. The change is expected to raise the annual outlay in direct payments for parents with infants by about $1.2 billion per year to $5 billion.
It seems as if Germany is not alone in these efforts to get people back to baby-making. There are efforts in other European countries to do the same:
France offers additional help to some families who need in-home care. The Swedes give either moms or dads 80 percent of their salary for a total of 480 days in a parental leave.
While the French had 12.7 new babies per 1,000 residents in 2004 and the Swedes 11.2, Germany recorded only 8.5 new births _ the lowest rate in Europe not counting Vatican City.
Britain introduced a so-called "baby bonds" scheme in 2004, giving a $490 voucher to every newborn to start a trust fund, while a new Russian law entitles families to a bonus of $9,600 following the birth of a second child and any subsequent children.
Wow, a crisis because people won't have children. Who would have ever thought that you would need to ask people to please have children and then offer them money to do it? Reading the quotes above and seeing things like, "I don't want to be dependant on my spouse" or "It's not sexy to have children" make me ask just how inverted has contraception made our priorities? Children used to be a blessing, something people prayed for, now its a disaster if you get pregnant.

Let the demographers and the social scientists continue to wrap their heads around this, but it seems that throwing money at problem never solved anything, it just helped us ignore it for a little while longer.

What really needs to happen is a re-awakening of the connection between love, sex, and babies.

Some related links:

Humanae Vitae
The Condom Debate over at American Papist
Debate between Dr. Janet Smith and Dr. Charles Curran on contraception
A collection of articles written by Dr. Janet Smith
The National Catholic Bioethics Center

Monday, May 14, 2007

Brazilian's Seek Miracle "Drug"

Now, I'm not talking about the popular U2 song, but a story that has gained attention since the Holy Father started planning his trip to Brazil and the canonization of St. Galvao.

These tiny pills are made out of rice paper and inscribed with the prayer: "After the birth, the Virgin remained intact; Mother of God, intercede on our behalf."

Brazilians swear by them and will wait hours in line at the monestary that makes them. CNS provides some stories of people claiming to have been healed by the intercession of St. Galvao through the pills:
"The first time I swallowed the pills I was 8 years old," said Marta Monteiro, who this time brought her husband and teenage son. "I was sick and some aunts came to the monastery to get the pills for me."
Monteiro said that when she was pregnant with her son she also came to receive the pills, which are said to help women in labor. Now, she said, she occasionally will stop by the monastery to obtain the pills.
Katia Cristina de Souza, 35, said she came to the monastery because she was unable to wait the long hours to see the pope and witness the canonization. De Souza was diagnosed with breast cancer in February; in March, when she started chemotherapy, she also started to come on a weekly basis to receive Frei Galvao's pills.
De Souza, wearing a green bandanna to hide her loss of hair from the treatment, said she has begun to feel better, and that this improvement comes from the blessing granted to her by St. Galvao.

The pills got started when a woman who was experiencing a difficult pregnancy came to the Friar asking for prayers. St. Galvao gave her a rolled up piece of rice paper with the prayer on it and told her to consume it. She did and experienced a miraculous healing. After that expectant mothers went to the Friar asking for the miracle pills and the tradition has grown to anyone who is sick and seeking healing. What is interesting is that both the miracles needed for his canonization included the consumption of these pills.

Now, I can see someone raising the red flag about superstitions and there may be some cases of superstition floating around down there. I think what is important is not the consumption of a rolled up piece of rice paper but rather the faith of the people and the prayer for Our Lady's intercession. Which, after all, is one of the things the Pope praised St. Galvao for in his canonization Mass.

Thomas has a very good post on this topic...

[photo credit: AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano via Thomas]

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Pope Canonizes First Native-Born Brazilian

Sao Paulo, May 13, 2007 / 02:33 pm (CNA).- The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, presided over Mass today before canonizing Br. Antonio de Sant'Ana Galvao, the first native-born Brazilian saint. During the Mass, he addressed the faithful with a brief homily.

Benedict began his homily by inviting all present to "rejoice in the Lord . . . Let all of us praise him, peoples of Brazil and America." The Pope momentarily turned his attention to those who were following his journey on television, saying, "Be sure of this: the Pope loves you, and he loves you because Jesus Christ loves you."

Turning his attention to Br. Galvao, the Holy Father asked all present to "give thanks to God for the lasting benefits obtained through the powerful evangelizing influence that the Holy Spirit impressed upon so many souls through Br. Galvao." Benedict said that Br. Galvao is an excellent of example of how people should behave before the Eucharist: they should be, like Br. Galvao, "in a constant attitude of adoration." This is because God "reveals Himself through His word, in the sacraments and especially in the Eucharist." The Eucharist "contains all the spiritual wealth of the Church . . . it is the source of Life for mankind."

Br. Galvao is also an example to all because of "his willingness to be of service to the people whenever he was asked." Because he truly loved those who came to him, "the conversion of sinners was therefore the great passion of our saint." By being united to our neighbor and our God, "we will thus become bearers of that peace which the world cannot give."

"Mary, Mother of God and our Mother," Benedict continued, "stands particularly close to us at this moment." Br. Galvao "prophetically affirmed the truth of the Immaculate Conception." Mary is the "definitive seal of our encounter with God our Savior."

Benedict then drew attention to a sentence found in Br. Galvao's consecration, "Take away my life before I offend your blessed Son, my Lord!" These words are "the words of an impassioned soul, words that should be part of the normal life of every Christian." In fact, "the world needs transparent lives, clear souls, pure minds that refuse to be perceived as mere objects of pleasure." Such clarity is "necessary to oppose those elements of the media that ridicule the sanctity of marriage and virginity before marriage."

According to the Holy Father, "Our Lady has been given to us as the best defense against the evils that afflict modern life." Moreover, "Marian devotion is the sure guarantee of her maternal protection and safeguard in the hour of temptation."

In closing, the Pope recalled his words from World Youth Day 2005, "Only from the saints, only from God does true revolution come, the definitive way to change the world!" He finished his homily by asking the faithful to "give thanks to God the Father, to God the Son, to God the Holy Spirit from Whom, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, we receive all the blessings of heaven."

Drug Dealers Will Face God's Judgement

I thought this was an interesting story from the Pope's trip to Brazil:

GUARATINGUETA, Brazil (CNS) – In a meeting with recovering Brazilian drug addicts, Pope Benedict XVI said drug dealers will face God's judgment for the damage they have inflicted on individuals and society.

The pope made the remarks during a visit May 12 to Fazenda da Esperanca, or Farm of Hope, a church-run drug rehabilitation center in rural Brazil.

After listening to emotional testimonials from young men and women who have struggled to break free of drug and alcohol dependency, the pope urged those helped by the center to become "ambassadors of hope" to other addicts.
The pope said the statistics on drug abuse in Brazil were alarming and that the rest of Latin America is not far behind.

"I therefore urge the drug dealers to reflect on the grave harm they are inflicting on countless young people and on adults from every level of society," he said.

"God will call you to account for your deeds. Human dignity cannot be trampled upon in this way," he said.

The pope spoke from a thatch-roofed platform to about 3,000 people who gathered on the grounds of the 40-acre farm, where residents grow vegetables and raise livestock.

The rest of the story

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Deacon Payne - Seminary Formationator

Here is a little video that shows the common formation practices at most seminaries. It was put together by the seminarians of Mundelein. Deacon Andy and Deacon Jose both give stellar performances.

Bishop's Charity Ball Gains More Than 700K For Catholic Schools

SAGINAW – The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw’s first Bishop's Charity Ball was a giant success Friday evening, collecting more than $700,000 for Catholic education.

"The response to this effort was wonderfully generous," said the Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of Saginaw. "Our Catholic schools are a valuable asset in our faith tradition.

"I am thankful that so many members of our diocese understand the need for strong Catholic schools and are willing to support this important investment in our children's education and our future. This event helps a great deal in our continued effort to make sure that a quality Catholic education is available for parent’s who want a Catholic school education for their child."

Nearly 800 people were in attendance for the diocese’s first Bishop’s Charity Ball held on Friday, April 20, 2007 at the Horizons Conference Center, 6200 State St. in Saginaw Township, to celebrate Catholic education and raise money to benefit Catholic schools.

Funds were raised through raffle tickets sold through the diocese’s participating parishes and schools, silent auction items provided by schools, dinner-dance tickets to the ball and other kind donations.

"We had an overwhelmingly positive response to this first major fund raising event for our Catholic schools," said Annette O’Brien, the diocese’s development director.

"I am amazed by the great generosity of people for this worthy cause of passing on our faith through the proud tradition of our Catholic schools. The legacy of our faith as is it taught in our Catholic schools really is priceless."

The 11-county Catholic Diocese of Saginaw consists of 106 parishes and 26 schools, including three high schools.

Jesus Jive

The rage is sweeping the nation!

Liberation Theology Has No Justification Today

Sao Paulo, May 9, 2007 / 01:15 pm (CNA).- In his talk with journalist aboard the plane taking him to Brazil, Pope Benedict told the reporters that “ the Liberation Theology was a sort of “Millenarism” that would find no justification in todays Latin America, especially before the great social concern the Church manifests today.

He further explained that “ the mission of the Church is a religious one, However It is open to solutions to the great social problems,” he added.

“There is always space for a legitimate debate on how to create the conditions for Man's liberation and how to make effective the doctrine of the Church on giving Man the human and social conditions, through which values can grow.”

Nevertheless, the Pope made clear that today, “ the situation has greatly changed from when the Liberation Theology started.” “It's obvious that the light promises that made believe that through revolution, the conditions for a fulfilled life could be reached, were false. Everybody is aware of that now, and the question now is how does the Church can still be present in the struggle for justice. On this point, theologians and sociologists diverge,” he added.

The Holy Father explained that before being Pope, as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, “we tried to free ourselves from false millenarism and politization. Millenarism is a heresy that believes in the imminence of the end of the World and the coming of a reign of peace and justice.”

During his May 9 flight to Brazil the Pope also spoke about Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was an outspoken voice for social change before he was gunned down by a right-wing "death squad" during a Mass at his cathedral in San Salvador. Commenting on a new book about the slain archbishop, the Pope said that the death of Archbishop Romero should not be seen simply as a political figure.

"He was killed during the consecration of the Eucharist," the Pope observed. "Therefore, his death is testimony of the faith.”

Recap: Day One

Pope Benedict arrived in Brazil yesterday and already he is making headlines.

He started off with a press conference which took place on the "Shepherd One" which covered topics ranging from liberation theology, the abortion situation in Mexico, and the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Here are his opening remarks to the press with a link to the whole transcript:

Good morning aboard this plane! We’re now above the Sahara, on our way to the Continent of Hope. I’m going with great joy, with great hope, to this meeting with Latin America.

We have various important moments, first in Sao Paulo, the meeting with the youth, and then this canonization in Sao Paulo. It’s the first saint born in Brazil, and it seems to me also an important expression of the content of this trip. It’s a Franciscan saint who made real in Brazil the Franciscan charism. He is known as a saint of reconciliation and of peace. This too seems to me an important sign, a personality who knew how to create peace, and therefore also human social coherence.

Then, the visit to the Farm of Hope is also important, a place where the forces of healing which are contained in the faith become clear, to open the horizons of life. All these problems of drugs and so on are born with an absence of hope in the future. A faith which opens to the future also knows how to heal, and this force seems to me important – the force to heal, to give hope, to provide a horizon of the future, is very important.

Finally, the primary aim of this trip is the meeting with the bishops of CELAM, which is the fifth continental conference of the bishops of Latin America, which in and of itself has a content that is predominantly religious – to give life in Christ, and to make ourselves disciples of Christ.

We know that everyone wants to have life, but life is not complete if it does not have content, if it lacks a sense or an orientation about where to go. In this sense, even if the meeting in the first place responds to the religious mission of the church, it also creates the conditions for necessary solutions to the great social and political problems of Latin America. As such, the church does not practice politics, we respect the secular nature of the state. But we offer conditions in which a healthy politics, and solutions to social problems, can mature.

Thus, we want to promote Christians who are conscious of the gift of the faith, the joy of the faith, who know God and who therefore also know the ‘why’ of our life. In this way, they’ll be capable of being witnesses of Christ, and they’ll learn both the necessary personal virtues as well as social virtues, the sense of legality that is essential for the formation of society. We know the problems of Latin America, and we want to mobilize the capacity of the church, its moral strength and its religious resources, to respond to the specific mission of the church and to our universal responsibility to the human person as such, and to society as such.

This press conference, because of some misunderstanding, has caused a stir over the issue of Abortion and Excommunication. When asked:

"Do you agree with the excommunications given to legislators in Mexico City on the question?"

the Holy Father responded: "Yes. The excommunication was not something arbitrary. It is part of the (canon law) code. It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in Communion with the body of Christ. Thus, they (the bishops) didn't do anything new or anything surprising. Or arbitrary."

This caused quite a stir and prompted a response from the Holy Father later on.

Benedict's spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the pope was not setting a new policy, and did not intend to formally excommunicate anyone — a rare process under church law that is separate from the doctrine of self-excommunication.
"Since excommunication hasn't been declared by the Mexican bishops, the pope has no intention himself of declaring it," Lombardi said in a statement approved by the pope.
But Lombardi added that politicians who vote in favor of abortion should not receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. "Legislative action in favor of abortion is incompatible with participation in the Eucharist. ... Politicians exclude themselves from Communion."
Pressed again to say whether the lawmakers were excommunicated, Lombardi reiterated: "No, they exclude themselves from Communion."

Dr. Ed Peters puts this all in the context of canon law...

What if Mickey Mouse were Muslim?

Here is the video I posted about yesterday. Remember, this is a real television show, not a fake.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mickey Mouse Teaches Muslim Children Violence

This is just scarry.

Here's the link I'll post the video when I get the bugs worked out. This is not a parody. This is a real children's TV show in Palestine. It has been pulled off the air tempoarily for "review". The problem runs so deep...

The Pope in Brazil: Day One

Well, il Papa arrives in Brazil today to take part in what has so far been the most distant apostolic journey he has undertaken. The trip to the "continent of hope" will include two public Masses, the canonization of Blessed Fre Galvao, and the meeting of the Latin American Episcopate which takes place every ten years.

This trip is getting plenty of coverage and I am vowing to watch this trip closely. I may even have some "on the ground" spot reporting. What Blog can boast that? (boasting in a purely virtuous way that is) EWTN starts their coverage this afternoon at 1:00. For the full schedule click here.

The Vatican has provided Benedict's full schedule.

It's great to have the Pope visiting different places in the world, really living up to the title of Universal Pastor. He's got some work to do to match his predecessor, although I don't think he's competing.

I'll be sure to keep you updated...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Protestants Publish Statement Condemning Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Via American Papist via AMDG:

As Protestant Christians and as Americans, we condemn the grotesque anti-Catholic bigotry that is now on display as a result of the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the constitutionality of the federal law prohibiting partial-birth abortion.
We believe it is our particular duty to condemn the bigotry we are now witnessing in view of the history of anti-Catholicism in our nation.
Just as Pope John Paul II acknowledged past injustices committed by Catholics, or committed in the name of Catholicism, against Protestants, Jews, and others and pledged to work against any revival of these injustices, we acknowledge past Protestant prejudices against Catholics and pledge to fight against the anti-Catholic bigotry we are now witnessing.

Read the rest here...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Update on Blooger's Choice

I've had a few people ask how the voting has been going on the Blogger Awards so I thought I'd give an update. I currently have 14 votes as you can see which puts me on page 13 surrounded by other Catholic Bloggers. Thank you to everyone who voted and if you haven't had the chance to vote just yet click here.

Whispers "Exclusive" Content Inaccurate

On Monday, the popular blog site "Whispers in the Loggia" made a report about the state of priestly vocations in the Saginaw Diocese. While the statistic he sites is impressive, they are not near the actual numbers. He reports:

and while Bishop Robert Carlson of Saginaw arrived in Michigan to find but two men in formation in early 2005, it's looking like he'll have something like 32 more in the fall. In just over two years. And with a new house of formation up and running, to boot.
Ordinarily I may just let that pass blaming it on a faulty source but now that the good people interested in the Saginaw Diocese are wondering where all these seminarians are coming from I thought it would be good to clarify the false report.
The projected number of seminarians for the fall of next year is not 34, or 33, or 32, or 31, or even 30. It is *gasp* quite a bit lower. Next fall the diocese will be looking at sending about 22 - 24, maybe a few more but as of right now there are only 22 confirmed.
I hope the mirror Rocco is looking into can still confirm the superiority of Bishop Carlson and yes B16 did want to meet with him and ask questions about the vocations in Saginaw but if one knows the good Bishop, I would hardly call it a "shock private audience" but more like an "inevitable private audience."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Monsignor Peter J. Elliot Named Auxiliary of Melbourne

Blogging has been slow this week and so I missed this piece of news earlier. Msgr. Elliot has been named an auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia.

The good Monsignor has worked for years in all matters liturgical and has published a few books: Liturgical Question Box, Ceremonies of the Liturgical Year, and Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite.

I got to have a conversation with him last year at the Sacraficium Laudis conference and he told us about how the Synod on the Eucharist, which he had attended, had been. If you go here you can see some of the pictures from that event and towards the bottom is a picture of the conversation I just mentioned.

It's safe to say I'm pretty excited for the Church of Melbourne.

thanks to Thomas for the photo links!

On-line Confessionals Become Popular Venues For Forgiveness

I guess Christ knew what he was doing when he instituted the Sacrament of Confession, 2000 years later people seem to be catching on:

Miami, May 1, 2007 / 12:52 pm (CNA).- Evangelical Christians seem to be finding the value of confession. But they’re not lining up for the confessional or for a minister — they’ve headed online.

Confession websites are not new — they’ve been around for at least a few years — but they continue to increase in number and popularity.

People post anything from abortion, lust, pornography, theft, lying and alcohol abuse — the list goes on.

One site, launched by the nondenominational Flamingo Road Church in Cooper City this Easter, is The 6,500-member church created the site as part of a 10-week series on the ways people make mistakes — in marriage, parenting, finances — and can learn from them.

There are actually a few of these sites around and the site that CNA is talking about has as its tag line: "Confession is good for the soul." It seems to me that they are simply trying to fulfill the need that confession ultimately does.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bishop Mengeling Diagnosed with Bladder Cancer

This is sad news...

From the Jackson Citizen Patriot:
Bishop Carl F. Mengeling of the Lansing Catholic Diocese has been diagnosed with bladder cancer.He will have surgery Tuesday afternoon in a Lansing hospital to remove his bladder, followed by six to eight weeks of recuperation and recovery.

"We know people have his best interests at heart, and cards and letters gratefully received," said Michael D. Diebold, director of communications for the diocese, a 10-county area that includes Jackson.Catholics were asked to pray for Mengeling, 76, at all weekend Masses.

Thomas over at American Papist wonders if this means the Vatican will be quick to assign a new bishop for Lansing seeing as the Bishop is 2 years past retirement already.

The diocesan webpage had no more details than the Jackson article