“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

April 30, 2009

As a Catholic Apologist, This Is Not What I Mean By "Apologist"

But it's pretty hilarious, even so!

Shut Up

Does it Count? Here's the Bottom Line on Sunday Obligation

Most Catholics find themselves, from time to time, feeling a little blasé about fulfilling their “Sunday Duty.” No, that doesn’t refer to getting coffee and donuts on the way home from Mass, it refers to going to Mass. Sometimes Catholics slip into a minimalist mindset about their Sunday obligation of going to Mass, wondering to themselves, “What’s the absolute minimum of time I have to put in to ‘make it count’?”

Do you feel that showing up for weekly Mass is often no more than a roll call? And when it does feel that way, then are the spiritual goods still evident in your life? Do you ever find yourself asking, “Does it Count?” Do you struggle with some of the “requirements” of being Catholic? Come on . . . not even with one or two? Aha! That’s what I thought. So check out this very helpful Envoy Magazine article by Eric Scheske . . .

We Are At War! Are You Ready to Fight the Good Fight?

Bishop Robert Finn recently declared: "We are at war!" I couldn't agree with the good bishop more, and in response to his rallying cry, I have devleoped a plan to help Catholics everywhere get into high gear as the "Church Militant." Please click the banner to see how you can take part in this new apostolic project to combat error with truth and darkness with light. Join me!

Extreme Home Makeover — Depression Edition

I’m a California native, born & raised, and lived there most of my life. I never imagined I would ever see anything like this. Could it be a bizarre portent of worse things to come? I am starting to become inclined to think so. I hope I'm wrong. What do you think?

More Proof that Contraception & Abortion Are Killing Our Culture

For years, I've been giving lectures at parishes and conferences warning about the dire demographic consequences we are going to experience as a result of the blight of contraception and abortion. Here's a good depiction of what I've been saying, with a twist.

April 29, 2009

Extreme Shepherding

April 27, 2009

Israel Security Agency Expresses Concern About Assassination Plot Against Pope Benedict

As Pope Benedict's long-awaited visit to Israel nears, a new worry has emerged in the Israeli press about what some security experts fear will be an attack on the Holy Father during his stop in Nazareth.

The Pope will be in Bethlehem and Nazareth on May 13, the date which marks two important anniversaries in the Catholic Church: First, the 92nd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, on May 13, 1917; and second, May 13, 1981, the date on which Muslim hitman Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assasinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square.

In 2000, I co-hosted the EWTN coverage of Pope John Paul II's Holy Land visit. I recall our being very alert to the possibiliy of an attack on the pope during that trip — keep in mind that this was pre-9/11 — and many were praying especially for his safe travel. Thank the Lord, nothing terrible happened.   

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz posted an eyebrow raising article on its website yesterday, saying:  

The Shin Bet security service does not want Pope Benedict XVI to use his so-called pope mobile in Nazareth next month, saying it may not be enough against any attack by radical Islamic groups. Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov will discuss the issue at Sunday's cabinet meeting.

The Holy See told the Israeli government that the pope wants to get as close as possible to his followers, so the Vatican hopes the pope will use the vehicle.

But the Shin Bet opposes this, citing pamphlets in Arab towns in the north calling for demonstrations during the visit. Other pamphlets by radical Islamists allegedly call for physical attacks on the pope.
(read article)

Pope Benedict XVI Could Really Use Your Prayers

Click the image to open the PDF of this prayer. Please share it with your friends & family.

April 23, 2009

My Newest DVD Now Available: The Persecution of the Catholic Church in Mexico

April 21, 2009

Father Jenkins' Continued Descent Into Madness

Notre Dame Prez Father John Jenkins seems to have lost all touch with reality, at least if his latest comments about the impending visit of Dear Leader to address the university's 2009 commencement audience are any indication: 

"We are very proud and honored to welcome the first African-American President of the United States in a few weeks as our commencement speaker. . . . This is a tremendous event for us.  We're tremendously proud. . . . President Obama clearly could have chosen any university in the country to give a commencement address, and they would have been just delighted to have him, but he's coming to Notre Dame, and we're exceptionally proud."

The hubris at work here is simply breathtaking. The fact that, to date, nearly 50 U.S. Bishops have publically denounced his decision to invite a notorious pro-abortion politician to address the graduates and receive an honorary doctorate from the university seems not to have fazed him in the least. And the fact that over 325,000 other Catholics have signed a petition denouncing his actions seems lost on him.

He doesn't seem to realize that, with each new self-congratulatory utterance he makes about this debacle — e.g., "To welcome the first African-American president will be . . . gratifying for all of us" — he only confirms the suspicions of scores of bishops and hundreds of thousands of other Catholics; namely, that he is incompetent and clearly the wrong man for the high position he's been entrusted with. His ability to polarize and antagonize is stupendous.

It's no wonder that the "replace Father Jenkins" train is swiftly gathering momemtum.

Anyway, pop some Tums if you want to read the latest twist in this tortured Notre Dame saga. And let's not forget to pray, pray, pray for this man. Let's remember him in our Mass intentions and pray the rosary for him.


Wikipedia, of All Things, Finally Destroys the Culture of Death!

This is so absurd. And funny. And irritating. 

Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson Named New Archbishop of St. Louis

The wonderful, long-anticipated news is breaking this morning. And I am particularly happy about Archbishop-elect Carlson's elevation to the See of St. Louis because he has been a long-time member of the episcopal advisory board of Envoy Magazine, the Catholic journal I publish. 

Check out this early info available at the St. Louis Catholic blog. Here's a snippet:

The Holy See announced today that the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI, has been chosen to succeed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke as Archbishop of Saint Louis.

His Excellency until recently had not been mentioned on the usual lists of rumored candidates for the vacant See. Archbishop Carlson's name began to be discussed in earnest after the appointment of Bishop Stika to the See at Knoxville, TN.

Archbishop Carlson, who will turn 65 in June, has been Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI since 2005. Before that he served as Bishop of Sioux Falls, SD for about ten years, and prior to that was Auxiliary Bishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

His Excellency's episcopal motto is "Ante crucem nihil defensionis," or "Before the cross there is no defense."

April 20, 2009

Fr. John Hardon: The Strategy of the Devil in Demonic Temptations

It was divinely providential that Christ allowed Himself to be tempted by the devil at the beginning of His public ministry. He is teaching us one of the most important lessons we need to learn in life. If He, the living God in human form, was tempted by the evil spirit, then we must expect to be tempted as well. In order to imitate Christ, we must resist the devil as Christ, Himself, resisted the devil.

As St. John tells us, we are tempted from three sources: by the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world is the attractive sinful conduct of other people. The flesh is our concupiscence, the natural inclination that we now have after the fall of the human race, to follow what appeals to us even though it is displeasing to God. The devil is, in some ways, the most powerful enemy we have in the spiritual life.

If there is one thing we learn from the masters of the spiritual life it is to expect to be tempted by the evil spirit. It was the evil spirit who tempted Eve and brought on the fall of the human race. As we reflect on temptations by the devil in our own lives, we must keep in mind who the devil is. He is the evil spirit. Spirit because he is not sensibly perceptible. We cannot hear him with our bodily ears or see him with our bodily eyes. He is an evil spirit whose number is legion and who has been phenomenally successful in seducing untold numbers from their allegiance to God.

St. Ignatius has a key meditation in the Spiritual Exercises on what he calls the Two Standards. The Two Standards correspond to the two leaders in the world who are drawing people to follow them. One leader is Jesus Christ, who inspires believing Christians to dedicate themselves to the extension of His kingdom throughout the world. The other leader is Satan, who is trying to seduce people to follow him for the extension of his demonic kingdom, which, in the words of St Augustine, is the City of Man, which is in constant conflict with the kingdom of Christ. The devil knows that you get nowhere alone, you inspire others to follow you. Then you train your followers and disciples and they will carry on your work. The devil trains his followers to seduce not just people or cities, but whole nations. . . . (continue reading)

Looking for Love in China and Not Finding It

Communist China's "One Child Policy" isn't just stupid, it's extra-strength stupid, as more and more panicked Chinese parents are discovering.

It's common knowledge that the government forces abortion on couples who cross the line and conceive more than the one child legally allotted to them. This disastrous stricture, combined with socio-economic factors, has resulted in a disproportionate number of abortions of female babies, in favor of males.

This Asian behemoth huddles in the shadow of the culture of death — a shadow that in great part it is responsible for casting — because its institutional family planning policies have turned China into one of the lonliest of all lonely hearts clubs.

Let's start with the money quote from this article, as it points out the key reason why these Chinese parents are getting really jittery about their adult sons' inability to find a wife:

"As a result of the one-child policy introduced in China in 1979 and a cultural predisposition for males that has lead to forced abortions and female infanticide, there is a disproportionate number of eligible young men in the country.

In the year 2000 there were 117 boys for every 100 girls – and that ratio is believed to have grown.  Worrying about your child’s marriage prospects has long been a major part of Chinese culture, but the striking statistics have compounded the issue."

BEIJING – On Sunday afternoon thousands of people gathered near Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium for a mass blind date.

But the scene was not the usual one of young swinging singles mixing and mingling; rather, it was full of anxious parents looking for love for their still single adult children.

At the entrance a billboard with heart shaped signs gave attendees instructions: "If you are a parent of a son looking for a girlfriend, please wear a blue ribbon. If you are a parent of a daughter looking for a boyfriend, please wear a red ribbon. If you are a single, please wear a tag [saying] ‘I’m looking for you!’"

Parents strolled around hunting for different colored ribbons, striking upconversations and asking for details such as "How old is your daughter?" or "How tall is your son?" They exchanged information, complete with pictures and resumes, in the hope of finding their son or daughter the perfect spouse. . . 

All Information Highways Lead to Rome

This is the true story of a young woman who abandoned the Catholic Church of her upbringing and careened through a spiritual wilderness for years. With stops at abortion, contraception and Evangelical church-hopping, she was finally guided back home to Christ's Church and His sacraments by, of all things, the signposts on the information superhighway.

A cradle Catholic, I'd spent my early years in an Irish-American ghetto in inner-city Boston. Here, during the pious '50s, I'd developed an awed fascination with Catholic culture. I loved its mysterious milieu: the statues, votive candles and stained glass...the Latin hymns, May processions and novenas...the dimly-lit churches filled with incense during High Mass and Benediction. I eagerly read Lives of the Saints, borrowed from the public library's bookmobile. And like many little girls of that era, I dreamed of becoming a nun.

But after we moved to the suburbs when I was eight, the Catholic influence faded. My mom, who'd always inclined toward skepticism, gradually withdrew from parish involvement. By my teens, I too had become a skeptic. I stopped attending Mass and drifted into unreflecting agnosticism.

Then, in my late teens, something happened. After a disastrous semester at an "experimental" college, I was living at home, listlessly looking for a job. On weekend nights, my hippie friends and I hung out at a "coffeehouse" sponsored by the local Congregational church. Soon several friends invited me to a Bible study at the home of a local lady who'd helped organize the coffeehouse. I had nothing better to do, so I tagged along. In the weeks that followed, as we plowed through the Synoptic Gospels, I found myself powerfully attracted to Jesus.

I argued, balked, objected; but I kept coming back for more. Finally, our hostess took us for an overnight trip to a Christian coffeehouse in western Massachusetts. There, when the youth ministers asked if I was ready to receive Jesus, I surprised myself by saying yes. The next morning, on the trip back home, I felt elated, freed. I knew little about the faith I'd just embraced, but I did know I'd passed a turning point. Everything seemed fresh and new.

A few months later, when I returned to college, I discovered that some of my classmates had also "accepted Jesus." But after flirting with Pentecostalism, these friends had hankered for a richer, more liturgical tradition. Now they were attending a local "high church" Episcopal parish. Under their influence, I too journeyed from Fundamentalism to Anglicanism -- and eventually back to Catholicism. . . . (continue reading)

It's Game Time. Are You Ready to Help Fight the Good Fight?

Consider these dismal realities we face today:  The "Notre Dame Scandal," FOCA, rampant moral relativism, militant atheism, anti-Catholic attacks in the media, apathetic and confused Catholics . . . The list of such contemporary problems is a long one. 

If the above challenges bother you as much as they bother me — and I personally believe that they should bother each and every committed Catholic — then I have no doubt that you'd like to do something to help correct the serious problems they represent.

You want to help spread the Truth of Jesus Christ far and wide. You want the Truth to shine even more brightly into this present darkness that is steadily enveloping our world.

Well, now there is a simple, highly effective way for you can join me and many other dedicated Catholics in becoming part of the solution: You can become a member of
the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College — a vibrant, thoroughly Catholic apostolate dedicated to the promotion of Truth to the modern world. . . . please click the banner to see how you can help . . .

Join Patrick Madrid

April 13, 2009

Are You A Bad Samaritan?

We all know the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37.  But have you ever considered what it means to be a bad samaritan?

A bad Samaritan is one who sees the needs of others and, whether because of laziness, greed, prejudice, pride or some other failing, refuses to help. A bad Samaritan recognizes that he can and should act to help someone out of a predicament but he stifles the voice of his conscience, that's telling him to do something. A bad Samaritan is the embodiment of one who, by his refusal to act on behalf of another, commits sins of omission. In the Confiteor prayer at Mass, we tell publicly proclaim:
I confess to Almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault.
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and what I have failed to do . . .” (continue reading)

There was not a dry eye in the room as these women spoke from the heart

My son Timothy, coordinator of the Bethesda Healing Ministry, writes about a recent training session for Catholic seminarians who, when they become priests, want to more effectively counsel and minister to women who have had abortions.

Formation Day on October 4th, which included talks and presentations on topics related to post-abortion ministry, mass, testimonies from several women who have gone through the healing journey with Bethesda and now serve as Companions for others, and a panel discussion with Q&A. Theresa Shively, the Companion Coordinator for Bethesda, facilitated the day’s events and Fr Dean Mathewson, Bethesda’s Ministry Chaplain, offered advice to the seminarians on how they might incorporate these ideas into their priestly ministry in the future, teaching them how to approach and handle pastoral situations with the heart of Christ, and how to make sure the mercy of God does in fact reach souls. These were priests and future priests once more listening to the heart of Christ.

Nowhere was this more evident than when the Companions gave their testimonies. These women shared with everyone present their heart-rending stories of having made the sorrowful decision to abort their babies, the subsequent grief it caused them, and the effect it had on their lives. They spoke of the painful period - often years — when they struggled and grieved until they finally came to rediscover the love and forgiveness of God. They summoned the courage to start on the difficult journey of healing. They sought to come home to be made whole, to be forgiven. And they were.
There was not a dry eye in the room as these women spoke from the heart.
Afterward, one seminarian commented, “Now I know what my priesthood is for; now I know what it’s all about.” His classmates nearby all agreed and voiced similar sentiments. (continue reading)

NB: If you'd like to be in touch with Tim about this vital apostolate (timothymadrid at gmail dot com),visit  http://bethesdahealing.org.

April 10, 2009

A Catholic Kid Asked Me, "Will there be Internet in Heaven?"

Here's a snippet from a call I took yesterday on my "Open Line" radio show. Samuel, a precocious 11 year old, asks an interesting question, and I'm not sure my answer was all that satisfying to him . . .


To subscribe to my Thursday show as a podcast, just copy the URL below into your preferred podcasting tool software (e.g.  iTunes, Juice, Odeo, Winamp, etc.), and you'll automatically receive this podcast each time it's published:


April 8, 2009

What can BROWN Do For You? Here's what:

Some of the coeducational denizens of Brown University have sunk a little deeper into the mire of ridiculousness and irrelevance. Observe the university's Undergraduate Council of Students' new manifesto condemning the institution's recognition of Columbus Day. And here is a snippet from a news report about it:

"Hundreds of Brown students had asked the Providence, R.I. school to stop observing Columbus Day, saying Christopher Columbus's violent treatment of Native Americans he encountered was inconsistent with Brown's values. . . ." (continue reading)

When you get over your headache from reading that, you may want to avail yourself of some anti-venom for this latest round of anti-Columbus silliness, which can be obtained here, here, and here.

April 6, 2009

Article: Why the Human Mind is a Terrarium for So Many Lies

Consider the following statements:

  1. Neil Armstrong never landed on the moon but was bouncing around in a TV studio on July 20, 1969, with Walter Cronkite in a nearby booth to report on the alleged event.
  2. The baby baptized as William Shakespeare on April 26, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon grew up illiterate and thus never wrote any of the works attributed to him.
  3. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were brought down on September 11, 2001, not because two planes, gorged with jet fuel, flew into them but because the federal government had planted explosives in them at strategic locations.
  4. Jesus Christ never existed.
  5. The Holocaust never happened.

Strange to relate, each of these sentences has found advocates somewhere in contemporary society. Now of course there are varying degrees of moral turpitude involved in subscribing, however sincerely or disingenuously, to these sentences. Despite that moral variety, however, they all have at least this in common, besides their flagrant falsity: It is impossible to convince those who propound these statements of their falsity, partly (but only partly) because the events being denied lack analogies to the everyday world of predictable events.

These denials, in other words, are not solely due to malevolence, although in many cases ill will must be present in the person who voices such views. My concern here is more with the epistemology (loosely defined) that lurks behind the inability to refute such statements. In other words, I want to ask: Why, besides obvious mendacity, does contrary evidence never count with people who claim they sincerely believe these assertions?

The reason I wish to describe these five sentences (needless to say, I could generate a larger list) as “epistemic pathologies” can best be seen from an incident in the life of Albert Einstein. After the Nazi takeover of the German government in 1933, over two hundred German scientists signed a public letter condemning relativity as “Jewish physics,” which for that reason had no place in the science curriculum of the Third Reich. To which Einstein dryly retorted: If these advocates of “German physics” were right, one signature would have sufficed.

True enough, and brilliantly riposted. But what an ironic comfort his retort must be to contemporary Holocaust-deniers! What does it matter, they will retort in turn, if far more than two hundred historians say the Holocaust happened? One would suffice if it had really happened. So here I stand contra mundum, brave Holocaust-denier that I am, forthrightly facing the world of false consensus! (continue reading)

Cardinal George Speaks to the Press About the Notre Dame Scandal

It's Time to Come Clean. It's Time for "Soul Wow"

Here's a very, very clever outreach by the Catholic Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Center to all those sinners who need to go to confession. (That includes you and me, by the way).

Listen to the man and git er done. This week. Before Easter. Don't forget.

April 3, 2009

Vatican Review of the Legionaries of Christ an "Act of Love"

Below is my translation from the original Spanish of yesterday's article in the Mexican press reporting on recent developments in the Fr. Maciel scandal and its implications for the Legionaries of Christ:

The Mexican Bishops' Conference (CEM) endorsed the apostolic visit that will
be a mission of the Vatican to the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ
in Mexico to clarify, among other matters, accusations of sexual abuse
against its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, who also had a daughter.

Leopoldo Gonzalez, secretary general of [the Conference] expressed his
approval of the announcement, assuring that the review is being treated as
an "act of love."

In a press conference announcing the activities of the "Consecration of
Mexico to the Holy Spirit," he referred to the apostolic visitation and
confirmed that these visits are being undertaken to review the work of the
congregations [e.g., the Legionaries of Christ], not only "when the ship is

On another theme, he defended the fact that Carlos Aguiar, president of the
[Bishops' Conference] was driven in a luxury automobile on the eve of his
elevation as Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, comparing it with the entrance of
Jesus into Jerusalem [saying], If they offer you a donkey, you have to get on


An Elderly Priest Get's His Dying Wish

An old Catholic priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people of the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

He motioned for his nurse to come near.

"Yes, Father?" said the nurse.

"I would really like to see Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi before I die," whispered the priest.

"I'll see what I can do, Father," replied the nurse.

The nurse sent the request to them and waited for a response. Soon the word arrived. Harry and Nancy would be delighted to visit the priest. As they went to the hospital, Harry commented to Nancy "I don't know why the old priest wants to see us, but it will certainly help our images." Nancy couldn't help but agree.

When they arrived at the dying man's room, the priest took Nancy 's hand in his right hand and Harry's hand in his left. There was silence and a look of serenity settled across the old priest's face.

Finally Nancy spoke. "Father, of all the people you could have chosen, why did you choose us to be with you as you near the end?"

The old priest slowly replied. "I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." His voice trailed off . . .

After a brief pause, he continued . . . "The Lord died between two lying thieves, and I would like to do the same."

April 2, 2009

2012 may bring the “perfect storm” – solar flares, systems collapse

Mainstream scientific concern about 2012 has grown since a recent National Research Council reportfunded by NASA and issued by the National Academy of Sciences, entitled “Severe Space Weather Events: Understanding Economic and Societal Impact” which details the potential devastation of 2012 solar storms on the current planetary energy grid and because of the inter-linkages of a cybernetic society, on our entire human civilization.

Is There More Trouble Ahead for the Legionaries of Christ?

According to this Mexican news source, yes. "We have testimonies that there have been other Legionaries who followed Maciel's example," said Jose Barba, the legal representative of eight former Legionaries who started court proceedings against Maciel in 1998. "The ramifications of the problem exist throughout the Legionaries of Christ," he added.

Only time will tell if there is any truth to this new accusation. And believe me, I sincerely hope and pray that there isn't. But time will tell. In any case, this scandal is not merely a wound to the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement — I am inclned to think that it will eventually prove to be a mortal wound, though I have spoken to some LC priests and RC laypeople who strongly disagree — it is a severe wound to the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church as a whole. And as members of the Catholic Church, we should all be praying that this "gangrene," as José Barba calls it, is eradicated, however far it may (or may not) have spread across this group. There simply cannot be a "business as usual" approach to this mess.

Ever since the Fr. Maciel fraud scandal became widely known a few months ago, I've kept an eye on the Spanish-language press in Spain and Mexico to see how this story developed. It is definitely getting more on-going investigative coverage there than here in the U.S. If anything substantive on this new development turns up, I'll bring it to your attention.

"Mexican Catholic sex abuse probe could uncover more victims"

By Miguel Angel Gutierrez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) — Pope Benedict's probe into an influential Roman Catholic priestly order could uncover more cases of sexual abuse similar to those committed by its founder, a victims' group in Mexico said on Wednesday.

Pope Benedict ordered the investigation into the Legion of Christ last month following a string of scandals tied to its founder, Father Marcial Maciel, a Mexican, who died last year at the age of 87.

"We have testimonies that there have been other Legionaries who followed Maciel's example," said Jose Barba, the legal representative of eight former Legionaries who started court proceedings against Maciel in 1998. "The ramifications of the problem exist throughout the Legionaries of Christ," he added.

Barba, who says he was abused by Maciel when he was in the order as a teenager training to be a priest, said he expected the investigation would take months.

"What they have to investigate is to what extent the evil, the gangrene was spread through the Legionaries of Christ and didn't end just because Father Maciel died," Barba said. (continue reading)