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

June 30, 2010

Get Yer Beatles On

June 29, 2010

The true story of a real smart ass

Forget about Joe Biden. This fellow here is much more interesting.

June 28, 2010

Things could have worked out differently

I'll bet that, in retrospect, Dave Thomas was pretty glad he opted to name his hamburger chain after his daughter instead of his son. Just a thought.

June 24, 2010

This is not a blog post

Contempervent Sunday: Come as you are

Whoo boy, do these guys really capture the empty essence of the Evangelical megachurch phenom. Humorous but dead-on accurate. That's my take. What do you think?

Update (suggested by a reader):

Coming soon to a doorbell near you: Mormon missionaries

Here's yesterday's "Catholic Answers Live"
radio show in which I discuss some general principles for Catholics who want to evangelize Mormons, especially their missionaries who will, sooner or later, show up on your doorstep, ready to talk religion. Be ready for them!

Also, as an aside, here's a tract I wrote on this subject many years ago, and here's an article on "The Great Apostasy" that I mention during the show. (It's a crucial Mormon doctrine which Catholics should clearly understand so they can zero in on it when missionaries show up at the door).

N.C. Abortuary Hammered by Pro-Life Prayers Ceases Abortions

Check out this very encouraging story out of North Carolina. It recalls to my mind St. James' teaching on prayer and its effects:

“The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:16-20).

A Raleigh abortuary that has seen constant prayer from pro-lifers with the popular 40 Days for Life campaign has ceased performing abortions.

The Raleigh News and Observer reported Wednesday that National Women's Health Organization of Raleigh is, in the words of one local pro-abortion affiliate, "in transition." The affiliate, Ann Rose, said that the last abortions would be conducted on Saturday, but she would not explain what other changes the “transition” would entail.

The paper reports that the abortuary was generally thought to be for sale after its founder, pro-abortion activist Susan Hill, passed away of breast cancer in February. There are two other facilities in Raleigh where abortions are performed.

David Bereit, the national director of 40 Days for Life, praised the end of the destruction of unborn life at a building where prayer witnesses with the nationwide campaign have kept vigil. North Carolina was one of the first states ever to conduct a 40 Days for Life campaign.

"Even as we praise God for this victory, pray that this center, which has done so much harm, completely closes and that the workers experience conversions!" said Bereit.

Bereit also lauded statistics cited by the News and Observer story, which show that abortions have been declining in North Carolina; the abortion rate dropped 4.6% between 2007 and 2008.

"Your prayers and faithful efforts continue to bear great fruit!" Bereit told supporters. (source)

A little dose of St. Thomas for those who think faith is nonsense

During yesterday's general audience at St. Peter's, Pope Benedict delivered the third of three installments of his catechesis on the perennial importance of St. Thomas Aquinas. The whole message is excellent, and I would like to draw your attention to a few things he said about the rationality of belief in God and the irrationality of atheism. This is just a morsel, of course, but I thought you might find the Holy Father's simple yet cogent point to be interesting and useful, as I did.
“To those who object that faith is nonsense, because it makes one believe something that does not fall under the experience of the senses, St. Thomas gives a very articulated answer, and recalls that this is an inconsistent doubt, because human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything.

“Only in the case that we could know perfectly all visible and invisible things, would it then be genuine nonsense to accept truths purely on faith. However, it is impossible to live, St. Thomas observes, without trusting the experience of others, where personal knowledge does not reach.

“Hence it is reasonable to have faith in God who reveals Himself and in the testimony of the Apostles: they were few, simple and poor, dismayed by the Crucifixion of their Teacher; and yet many wise, noble and rich persons were converted in a short time upon listening to their preaching. It is, in fact, a historically striking phenomenon, to which with difficulty one can give any other reasonable answer, other than that of the Apostles' encounter with the Risen Lord” . . . (continue reading)

June 23, 2010

Behold the destruction that Marcial Maciel hath wrought

By now, a year and a half after the well casing of Marcial Maciel's double life finally blew apart, wrecking the Legion-of-Christ rig he had constructed to house and conceal it, and gushing a torrent of nauseating revelations into the public consciousness, we all have a bad case of Maciel-fatigue. I know I do. I'm sick of it. (And if you aren't sick of it, watch the video at the bottom of this post and I predict you will be sick of it too — sick at heart.)

And yet, we should shake off the fatigue, brace ourselves, and take stock of just how widespread the damage could become that this man (and whoever knowingly abetted him in his depredations) has inflicted on the Church.

How bizarrely ironic that the order Maciel established to be a vanguard of joyful, militant, conquering supporters and defenders of the pope should now be one of the present pope's biggest headaches. This thought undoubtedly torments many Legionary priests and affiliated laypeople who've been wondering whether to abandon the burning rig or stay put and, hoping against hope, wait for the fire that threatens to consume everything to be extinguished.

In my estimation, amidst all the uncertainty, at least one thing is certain: The Legion of Christ as we have known it is over, and it's not coming back.

Most people's guess is that the house that Marcial Maciel built will either be completely rehabbed from its foundation to its gables — everyone knows that a fresh coat of paint won't do the job — or it will be razed and rebuilt from the ground up with fresh materials. Some are clamoring for it simply to be razed, plowed over, and sown with salt. I doubt that will happen. Pope Benedict is benevolent and sagacious, and he knows that while the organization's founder had a rather Molochian appetite for children, the Legion is not Carthage.

Three scenarios seem possible, either of the first two being far more likely, it seems to me:

1) The Legion may be radically reformed and reoriented and thus salvaged;
2) It may be drastically reduced in size (i.e., personnel), scope of activities, and influence, due to continuing defections of its priests, a drying up of new vocations, and the vigorous pruning by the pope and his collaborators;
3) It may go away altogether.

If the last scenario plays out, the Legion's far-flung empire of schools, seminaries, apostolic enterprises and, most importantly of all, priestly vocations, would all have to be somehow absorbed en masse into the infrastructure of the Church.

Just a few years ago, heck, one year ago, such a notion would have been unthinkable. Like BP, the Legion of Christ was just too big to fail.

Well, stranger things have happened. Stranger things might yet happen.

What's really strange, and I mean "strange" in the baleful and sinister sense, is how Fr. Maciel's cerement-swathed hand reaches out from the grave to besmirch the memory of Pope John Paul II — the pope he feigned such adoring dedication to for all those years. While he surely harmed many men, women, and children by exploiting and devouring their trusting innocence and generosity in order to sate his own appetites, it seems that what distinguishes him as a truly implacable sociopath whose life was "devoid of scruples" is that he preyed upon even his own children.

The more it goes, the more it seems as if the trail of destruction lying in the wake of this man's astonishing 87 years of bustling activity on this earth doesn't just diminish, but dwarfs, whatever good he may have done along the way in the greedy, grubby pursuit of his goals.

As the pope and those who are helping him weigh the options and pray for divine guidance, I have no doubt that they are doing some pretty intense cost/benefit analyses.

St. Paul reminds us that where sin abounds, God's grace abounds all the more (Rom. 5:20). I believe this with all my heart. Which is why I also believe the Church will need an immense amount of grace if it is to repair and restore what has been lost here.

If you have trouble viewing the above video link (apparently some of my foreign readers have), here's another one which should work:

WWII Nurse in famous "Kiss" photo dies at 91

The end of an era, then and now. What an iconic moment this famous picture captured. It was snapped 15 years before I was born, but it's been an image I've seen all my life.

Edith Shain was a slender, leggy 26-year old nurse on V-J Day 1945. She died today at age 91. May she rest in peace.

June 22, 2010

Oldest Known Painting of Apostles Discovered

AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito

A cameraman films a painting discovered with the earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul in a catacomb located under a modern office building in a residential neighborhood of Rome, Tuesday, June, 22, 2010. Restorers said Tuesday they had unearthed the 4th-century images using a new laser technique that allowed them to burn off centuries of white calcium deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath. The paintings adorn what is believed to be the tomb of a Roman noblewoman and represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity.

ROME — The earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter and Paul have been discovered in a catacomb under an eight-story modern office building in a working-class neighborhood of Rome, Vatican officials said Tuesday.

The images, which date from the second half of the 4th century, were discovered on the ceiling of a tomb that also includes the earliest known images of the apostles John and Andrew. They were uncovered using a new laser technique that allowed restorers to burn off centuries of thick white calcium carbonate deposits without damaging the dark colors of the original paintings underneath.

The paintings adorn what is believed to be the tomb of a Roman noblewoman in the Santa Tecla catacomb and represent some of the earliest evidence of devotion to the apostles in early Christianity, Vatican officials said in opening up the tomb to the media for the first time.

Last June, the Vatican announced the discovery of the icon of Paul — timed to coincide with the end of the Vatican's Pauline year. At the time, Pope Benedict XVI also announced that tests on bone fragments long attributed to Paul "seemed to confirm" that they did indeed belong to the Roman Catholic saint. . . . (continue reading)

A Primer on the Persistent Myth of "Pope Joan"

Dude (looks like a lady).

Have you heard that the Catholic Church is covering up the existence of a female pope? Don't worry, if you haven't yet, you will be hearing a lot about that in the coming months. I did a lot of research on this subject, including spending time in Rome tracking down various claims contained in this legend, and I can assure you that there never was a Pope Joan.

It's worth your time, though, to become familiar with the basic claims of this legend because, as I say, you will be hearing your friends and family and the world at large chattering about it — much like you heard all the crazed (and wildly inaccurate) chattering about the Catholic Church in The Da Vinci Code, through the book and the movie by that name. So here is the basic outline of the myth. Please share this info with your family and friends. Inoculate them.

The legend of Pope Joan can be summarized this way:

In the middle ages, there was a "Pope Joan," a woman who hid her gender and rose through the ranks of the Church, became a cardinal and was elected pope. No one knew she was a woman until, during a papal procession through the streets of Rome, she went into labor and gave birth to a child. She and the baby were killed on the spot by the mob, enraged at her imposture.

A lot of things are said about the alleged "Pope Joan." Depending on who is telling the story, she was a courageous feminist, a clever opportunist, a brilliant scholar who couldn't make it as a woman in a man's world. She is said to have been a wise ruler and an astute theologian, though, oddly, no decree or theological teaching purporting to have come from her has made its way down to our day.

In any case, the fact is, there was no Pope Joan. She exists only as pure legend, but one that makes for a sexy story. And when it comes to sexy stories, you know Hollywood will try its hand at making a blockbuster out of this piece of pope fiction.
New Line Cinema (that's right, the same good folks who produced The Last Temptation of Christ) has reportedly bought the movie rights to Pope Joan, the best-selling 1996 novel by Donna Woolfolk Cross. Her book is couched as an historical "novel" — embellishing on a grand scale the rather sparse details that have clung to the legend of a brilliant, plain girl who rises to the highest levels in Church service, culminating in her being elected pope by an unsuspecting college of cardinals.
The way the book is written and the way it's being promoted support my concern that it will be seen by most of its historically ignorant readers, not as a novel, a fiction, but as a real biography of the one woman who "made it to the top." When the movie comes out, this problem will certainly grow in proportions.
It's important to remember that even if there had been a female impostor pope, this would just mean that an invalid election had taken place, nothing more. Other invalidly elected claimants to the papal office have come and gone over the centuries, and the fact that a woman made that list would simply mean that a woman made that list, She would not have been pope - no one invalidly elected would be. And nothing in the Church's teachings about the papacy would be injured or disproved.
But in reality, the Pope Joan story is all sizzle and no steak. The basic outline of the main legend (actually, there have been several competing legends over the centuries) has it that in the ninth or tenth century, a plain but extraordinarily brilliant young woman contrived to enter the university disguised as a man. Her intellect outstripped her male classmates and she shot to the top rank of students. Talk of her prowess in law, science, rhetoric, philosophy and languages was widespread.
In another legend, popularized by several 13th century works such as the Chronicle of Martin Polonus, theUniversal Chronicle of Metz and Wonders of the City of Rome, she traveled first to Greece with her boyfriend (why he wanted a girlfriend who disguised herself as a man is unknown), made a name for herself in the university there, then traveled to Rome.
Here all the legends converge into the main one that has come down to our day. Once in Rome, Joan managed to enter religious life (although no legend is able to say which order she entered), was ordained a priest and earned a high reputation as a notary in the papal court.
Eventually, she was noticed by the pope and made a cardinal. You can guess what happens next. She is eventually elected pope, takes the name John, and sets about skillfully ruling the Church, It's at this point that the most dramatic scenes of the story unfold.
The legends vary as to how Joan's gender and identity were discovered. One holds that she was granted a vision by God in which she was shown two options for her fate, being discovered and disgraced by the world or roasting in hell for her crime. She chose the former. Another version says she got pregnant by one of her curial advisors and somehow was able to maintain the charade until she gave birth to the baby.
At that point her secret was discovered and she was deposed as pope and sent to a convent to do penance for the rest of her life. According to this legend, the child she bore went on to became the bishop of Ostia, about 30 miles southwest of Rome, and when she died, he had her body buried there. Of course, no evidence exists to support this.
The main detail these legends have in common is that Joan was discovered because her hanky panky with a cardinal or secretary resulted in pregnancy, and the childbirth exposed her fraud. The main legend is the most gory on this point. In it, Pope Joan goes into labor while riding in her sede gestiatoria - the portable throne in which popes were carried - as her procession passed the Coliseum on its way from St, Peter's Basilica to St. John Lateran Cathedral.
The procession halted, the baby was born, and the confused and angry onlookers killed Pope Joan and her baby on the spot. Most accounts say she was killed by stoning, another says she died in childbirth as the mob watching the spectacle shouted and insulted her. Still another says she was dragged to death behind a horse as punishment. Either way, the legends agree that the Romans didn't appreciate the unpleasant discovery.
Several odd historical details gave weight to the legend, including the fact that among the carved busts of the popes in the cathedral of Sienna was one of an unnamed woman, No one knows who created it or how it was put there, but when Pope Clement VIII (reigned 1592 - 1605) discovered it, he ordered it reworked enough to represent Pope Zacharias, whose image had not previously been included in the collection.
This is not surprising, though, given the widespread belief in Europe in the Pope Joan legend during the 13th through 18th centuries. Versions abounded, and many credulous folk, Catholics included, were sincerely convinced that there had indeed been a female pope.
But the facts of history show otherwise. The primary proofs that this is all just a fable are these: First, the earliest point that we can trace the legend to is the mid-13th century, but the legend didn't really gain wide currency until the late 14th century.
No evidence of any kind exists from the ninth century (when Pope Joan was alleged to have reigned), nor do we see any in the 10th through 12th centuries. None of the annals or acts of the popes that were written between the ninth and 13th centuries (and none after that, either) mention her.
Church historian J. P. Kirsch wrote that "Not one contemporaneous historical source among the papal histories knows anything about her, also, no mention is made of her until the middle of the 13th century. Now it is incredible that the appearance of a 'popess,' if it was a historical fact, would be noticed by none of the numerous historians from the 10th to the 13th century.
In the history of the popes, there is no place where this legendary figure will fit in. Between Leo IV and Benedict III, where Martinus Polonus places her, she cannot be inserted . . ."(Article on Pope Joan, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913).
So where did the legend come from? There are two likely possibilities, The first is that the Roman population became disgusted with the corrupt influence wielded over Pope Sergius (reigned 904-911) by the powerful and wealthy Theodora Theophylact, and more specifically by her young daughter Morozia, a cunning and exceptionally attractive woman. It appears that Morozia was Sergius' mistress and bore him at least one son (the future Pope John XI).
The fabulously wealthy and prestigious Theophylact family wielded immense power in Rome during the 10th century, even, sadly, over several popes. This is a sorry episode in the history of the Church, one which displayed a decadence and immorality that even popes, at times, could fall prey to - a reminder to us all that men, even the holiest of men, are not invulnerable to temptation and personal weakness. Despite their sins, Christ's promise that the Church would be protected from error was not, nor has it ever been, broken.
From the details of Sergius III's pontificate, it seems clear that he was a vain, violent and sensuous man. It's quite possible that the disgusted faithful took to mocking him or one of his immediate successors because he was perceived to have been under the influence of the Theophylact women.
Some historians trace the legend of a female pope to Morozia, saying the people called her "Pope Joan" to mock the weak popes she controlled, in the same way some American first ladies have been called "president" to mock their perceived weak husbands.

Another possible explanation for the Pope Joan legend lies in the conduct of the much maligned Pope John VIII (reigned 872-882). He appears to have had a very weak personality, even perhaps somewhat effeminate.

Cardinal Casesare Baronius, in his history Church Annals, suggests that John VIII's reputation as effeminate gave rise to the legend. Indeed, it would seem that over time, the common folk added ever more lurid embellishments until the vulgar jokes about the hapless (and certainly male) pope ballooned and metamorphosed into a female "popessa."

— Patrick Madrid, adapted from my book Pope Fiction.

June 17, 2010

Pro-choice? Pro-life? Undecided? Here's something to consider

A young woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy seeks an abortion. As the abortion takes place, she hears her unborn daughter describing what it's doing to her.

June 15, 2010

Did you hear the one about how Catholics "worship" statues?

When I arrived one evening at a suburban Chicago parish to conduct an apologetics seminar, I noticed a life-sized statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the rectory lawn. Kneeling before that statue were three smaller statues of Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta – the children to whom Our Lady appeared. Their statues were kneeling in prayer, heads bowed before the larger statue.

Turning to my colleague in the car, I joked, “What a great religion Catholicism is. Not only can we worship statues, but our statues can worship statues.” We chuckled at the absurdity of the thought. Later, when I mentioned this incident during the seminar . . . (continue reading)

June 14, 2010

Don't be like this, mkay?

Gay Daze at Disneyland

This article and the video below explain how the GD@DL phenomenon got started.
Draw your own conclusions.

June 11, 2010

Italian Police Eavesdrop on the Pope's Phone Calls

Pope Benedict XVI has become the first Pope to be recorded during a corruption investigation by Italian police, it emerged yesterday.

The leader of the world's two billion Roman Catholics was unwittingly recorded by officers who were listening in on a suspect's mobile phone conversations.

The Pontiff made four telephone calls to Italy's civil protection chief Guido Bertolaso following last year's devastating earthquake in the centre of the country which left 300 people dead.

Bertolaso is at the centre of a corruption probe involving sexual favours and back handers for reconstruction projects in the L'Aquila region which was hit by the earthquake 14 months ago.

Pope Benedict is not suspected of any wrong doing - although Vatican officials are said to be furious that he was secretly taped - while it has also emerged that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also recorded speaking to Bertolaso.

Both had called Bertolaso to offer support and thanks for the efforts of his civil protection team who were providing rapid reaction relief in the devastated area.

Officers monitoring Bertolaso's mobile telephone were stunned when they heard the Pope's private secretary Georg Ganswein call and say: 'Hello. I have His Holiness the Pope on the line for you.'

The details of Pope Benedict's intercepted calls emerged in several Italian newspapers today/yesterday but the content was not reported although it is believed to have been fairly mundane and complimentary. . . . (continue reading)

June 9, 2010

Report: Bishop Padovese canceled Cyprus trip to avoid assassination of Pope

This is a new development in the story out of Turkey about the grisly stabbing-decapitation murder of Catholic Bishop Luigi Padovese by his Muslim chauffeur. Different theories for what happened have emerged in recent days (e.g., insanity, jihad, retaliation for abuse, etc.), and obviously it's not clear yet what exactly happened. But if what this Catholic News Agency report says is true about the chauffeur, then the Jihad theory may be the more likely scenario.
An Italian Vatican expert is saying that Bishop Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia and President of the Turkish Bishops’ Conference, canceled his trip to Cyprus because he feared that his driver –who later confessed to killing the bishop- might attempt an attack on Pope Benedict XVI during his stay on the island.

Analyst Fr. Fillippo di Giacomo, who writes for publications such as L’Unitá and La Stampa, revealed that “hours before Padovese was killed, the Turkish Government called him to say that his driver, who they themselves had put in his service four years before, had gotten out of hand. That is to say, he had embraced the fundamentalist cause.”

Speaking to the Spanish daily El Pais, Fr. di Giacomo added that “knowing this, Padovese canceled the tickets he had reserved to Cyprus for himself and Altun (his driver). He preferred to stay home rather than to make the trip because he feared that his driver would take advantage of his proximity to the Pope and make an attempt on his life. . . ” (continue reading)

June 8, 2010

Sometimes, a well-placed photon torpedo is the only answer

(Courtesy of Patrick Coffin)

Here's one flight attendant who'll never forget this particular flight

I just received the following note from Tom Peterson, president of CatholicsComeHome and Virtue Media. It's a great reminder of how important it is for each of us (this means you) to live out the message of 1 Peter 3:15-16, all day, every day: "Always be reading to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence."

I want to share a personal story with you that happened a few weeks ago while on a flight. It inspired our entire Catholics Come Home team, and I hope it inspires you, too!

I boarded an early morning flight to return home, following a Catholics Come Home presentation in Wichita the night before.

After take-off and the beverage service, I took a second to thank the two hard-working flight attendants for their exceptional hospitality. A little later, one of the flight attendants stopped to tell me how much she appreciated and needed that kind word of affirmation at this time in her life.

Prior to landing, I felt led to take out one of our CatholicsComeHome.org evangelization cards. On the back of the card, I wrote, “The hope you are seeking can be found only in Jesus and His Church.” I signed my name and held the card in my hand, waiting for an opportunity to hand it to her, if it was meant to be.

As we began our descent into the Atlanta airport, that flight attendant stopped one last time to thank me as she headed to the back of the plane for landing. I took a leap of faith and handed her the CCH evangelization card and note, asking her to read it when she got home.

Thanks to God’s abundant grace, last week our office received a wonderful letter from that flight attendant! In it, she explained that she had suffered loneliness since her divorce a year ago, and she was looking for answers. She went on to say that she desperately needed that Catholics Come Home card and hopeful note on the back, and that she hadn’t stopped crying since she received the little card. Amazingly, she confided that she had been away from the Catholic Church and from God for many years. After receiving the Catholics Come Home card and note, she returned to Mass last week, and had finally found exactly what she had been looking for—God!

I wanted to share this story with you as a reminder that each of us is called to share the Good News of Jesus and His Church to a world in need of hope. As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to work passionately to bring souls home to Jesus and His holy Catholic Church. And, it’s always incredible to witness the fruit that comes from being obedient to the will of God.

Likely, someone out there is waiting for you to invite them home too, whether on a plane, at the store, or at your child’s swim meet. So when the opportunity arises, take the time to answer the Holy Spirit’s call, and help change someone’s life forever!

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Tom Peterson

Is it just me, or doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose of "purity laws"?

Saudi Clerics Advocate Adult Breast-Feeding

Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said. They are at odds, however, over precisely how the milk should be conveyed.

A fatwa issued recently about adult breast-feeding to establish "maternal relations" and preclude the possibility of sexual contact has resulted in a week's worth of newspaper headlines in Saudi Arabia. Some have found the debate so bizarre that they're calling for stricter regulations about how and when fatwas should be issued.

Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and consultant to the Ministry of Justice, set off a firestorm of controversy recently when he said on TV that women who come into regular contact with men who aren't related to them ought to give them their breast milk so they will be considered relatives.

"The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman," Al Obeikan said, according to Gulf News. "He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam's rules about mixing."

Obeikan said the fatwa applied to men who live in the same house or come into contact with women on a regular basis, except for drivers.

Al Obeikan, who made the statement after being asked on TV about a 2007 fatwa issued by an Egyptian scholar about adult breast-feeding, said that the breast milk ought to be pumped out and given to men in a glass.

But his remarks were followed by an announcement by another high-profile sheik, Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, who said that men should suckle the breast milk directly from a woman's breast. . . .

The fatwa stems from the tenets of the strict Wahhabi version of Islam that governs modern Saudi Arabia and forbids women from mixing with men who are not relatives. They are also not allowed to vote, drive or even leave the country without the consent of a male "guardian."

Under Islamic law, women are encouraged to breast-feed their children until the age of 2. It is not uncommon for sisters, for example, to breast-feed their nephews so they and their daughters will not have to cover their faces in front of them later in life. The custom is called being a "breast milk sibling." . . . (continue reading)

If I ran Microsoft, Windows would act more like this . . .

June 7, 2010

When a father comes home from war

It's a wonderful, joyful thing when any military man or woman returns home to family and friends after a long separation imposed by war — a brother, sister, son, daughter — but there is something ineffably unique when dad comes home from war. The emotions written on the faces of these children say it all.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our military personnel and their families, for the sacrifices they make on our behalf. Enjoy this montage of homecomings.

June 3, 2010

The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism

“The New Atheists came on the contemporary scene with an unprecedented mixture of confidence and scorn. And, sadly, most of the books written in response have conveyed an impression of ad hoc defensiveness. But not this one. The Godless Delusion, by Patrick Madrid and Kenneth Hensley, wages a full-scale frontal assault on the tallest turret of the New Atheists’ stronghold — the claim to moral and rational superiority. With remorseless logic, wit, skill, and boundless, joyful enthusiasm it lays waste that stronghold, routs the enemy, occupies the high ground for Christ their king, and dares anyone to retake it. Books on philosophical apologetics don’t get more exhilarating than this.”

Ronald K. Tacelli, SJ, professor of philosophy, Boston College, co-author of Handbook of Christian Apologetics

Click the cover to see what others are saying about The Godless Delusion . . .

Coming soon to a bookstore near you, my new book on atheism (co-authored with Kenneth Hensley) is called The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism and will be released in the next two weeks. Pre-order your signed copy today.