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

July 29, 2010

Dramatic Pictures of Recent Storms and the Damage They Caused

Click here for 35 more pictures.

July 28, 2010

A visual reminder of the importance of 1 Peter 5:8-9

For the purposes of this video, I offer an analogy:

Alligators are to humans in a boat on a river what the devil and his minions are to humans in the Barque of Peter steering toward salvation. They can't get you if you're close to the Lord, are properly armed, and remain inside the boat. But heaven help him who loses his weapons of the spirit and ventures out of the boat into the water. Just listen to what Fr. Corapi says about that.

It's a potent reminder of why, after imploring the Lord for our spiritual safety, we should also remember to invoke the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Michael the Archangel. After all, they know how to deal with the infernal "alligators" out there right now, just looking for someone to devour.

Do you ever feel like telling someone to shut up and sit down?

That's basically what canon lawyer Edward Peters did the other day to Steve Kellmeyer, though he did it temperately, which I'm sure gave his message all the more impact. Dr. Peters reacted to Kellmeyer's vituperation against Dr. Janet Smith, a widely respected professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, and one of Christopher West's defenders in the recent imbroglio over the latter's "Theology of the Body" methods and message. Kellmeyer has been a fierce and persistent critic of West, as Mark Shea recently observed with great bemusement.

(Note: Legitimate criticism of Christopher West's methods is not the problem. Plenty of thoughtful Catholics have come down on both sides of that controversy. Rather, the problem is the acrimonious way in which some, such as Steve Kellmeyer, have prosecuted the issue.)

I cannot say that I know Dr. Smith well, though I have had brief conversations with her, here and there over the years, and my wife and I once shared a very pleasant private meal with her in Munich after a conference at which Dr. Smith and I spoke. I have nothing but respect and admiration for her and her long history of excellent service to the Catholic Church, and thus it pained me, as it obviously pained Edward Peters and, I'm sure, her many friends and admirers, to see her unjustly attacked. That's why I'm glad to see people come to her defense, especially Dr. Peters' response to the canon law argument which Steve Kellmeyer unwisely employed in his recent foray against her.

As for Steve, I've known him for many years, though not well, and my impression of him has always been that he is a highly intelligent and gifted man with a sincere desire to explain, defend, and promote the Catholic Faith. To the extent he uses his gifts prudently and charitably to accomplish that goal, I applaud him and wish him all success, especially of the spiritual variety. But to the extent that he undermines that worthy goal by being gratuitous, mean-spirited, petty, and querulous (as, sadly, he has been toward people like Janet Smith and Christopher West) Peters, Shea, and the others who are telling him, essentially, to shut up and sit down are rendering a much needed service. Not everyone who is nice to you is a friend, and not everyone who is harsh with you is an enemy. I hope he heeds their admonitions, cools down, and then resumes his work calmly and without the acerbity from which it currently suffers.

Did you hear the one about how Archbishop Burke was "promoted out" of the US?

That's what a great many of his Stateside critics would have you believe. But given the Archbishop's steady rise in prominence, influence, and his accumulation of real power within the Roman curia, I'd say his critics are really just whistling past the cemetery. They know that he represents and champions the very things that a great many of them are implacably opposed to (e.g., the Usus Antiquior Missae, a clear, unambiguous, orthodox presentation of Catholic doctrine, confronting obstinately dissenting "Catholic" politicians and others who promote abortion, Catholic moral teaching on issues on sexual issues, etc.).

Thus, the higher Archbishop Burke rises and the more powerful he becomes, Deo volente, the more effervescently will evaporate their hopes and dreams and fantasies of such things as women in the priesthood, the Church's abandonment of its teaching on the immorality of contraception and homosexual acts, etc.

Catholic commentator Diane Korzeniewski provides the salient facts about His Grace's ascendancy plus a thought-provoking question about just how high he might rise.

To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;
Beans don't burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin',
Just to get up that hill.
Now we're up in the big leagues,
Gettin' our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby,
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

Well, we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

July 27, 2010

Do kids really need a dad AND a mom? Why not two dads or two moms?

Last week, on my “Open Line” radio show (Thursdays, 3-5 ET), I took a call from a listener who wanted some advice on how to talk to a “gay marriage” proponent about why it's better to have a mom and a dad versus some other combination. I tried to offer a few points for consideration. Please click the image to launch the audio clip, or click

Meet Rory

I admit, when I first saw this satirical GOP-sponsored commercial, I thought it was pure satire. In other words, I thought there was no way that Harry Reid's son, Rory Reid, the Democrat candidate for governor of Nevada, was really dropping his last name from much of his public campaign outreach. But then I checked out his official campaign website and was . . . not really surprised, actually . . . to see that that's pretty much what he's doing — campaigning mainly as "Rory."

True, that move has worked in the past for well-known and widely admired political icons like Teddy (Roosevelt), Ike and, more recently, Hillary. But Rory? Mmm, not so much.

July 23, 2010

A Secular Media View of the "Catholics Come Home" Campaign

Catholics everywhere are deeply distressed by the priestly sexual abuse scandals that have convulsed the Church over the past decade, but it seems that Boston-area Catholics have been among the most traumatized by them. In a certain sense, Boston was the epicenter of the scandal-quake that rocked the Church in the U.S., its aftershocks reverberating in Ireland, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere.

This was made clear to me several years ago when I arrived at a suburban Boston parish where I was to give a lecture that evening. To my astonishment, about two dozen men and women were demonstrating with chants and protest signs on the front steps of the church. I had never seen anything like it in all the years I've been doing this work. Drawing closer, I read the signs and saw that they were protesting Cardinal Law and the Archdiocese for their handling of the whole mess, especially of notorious offenders such as John Geoghan, Paul Shanley, Robert Gale, etc. Most likely, it was a contingent of "Voice of the Faithful" folks waving the signs. I didn't ask. But it definitely made an impression on me.

Sadly, many thousands of demoralized New England Catholics have left the Church in the wake of the scandals. Last November, and again this past March, during two week-long speaking tours of parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston, I had the occasion to talk with many Catholics who confirmed that. It seemed that practically everyone had a friend or family member who abandoned Catholicism and who identified the scandals as a major reason, if not the reason for their departure.

Well, there is a new and encouraging chapter being written in the history of the Church in the Northeast in part due to a highly effective media outreach being undertaken in the Archdiocese of Boston aimed at encouraging fallen-away, alienated, angry, and/or in some other way disaffected Catholics to come home. Appropriately enough, the media outreach is called Catholics Come Home, and their extremely well-produced commercials and other resources have already helped literally tens of thousands of former Catholics and a significant number of non-Catholics come home to the Catholic Church. I've been personally affiliated with Catholics Come Home, both as a supporter and as a consultant, for the past 3 1/2 years. (My work for them took place 3 years ago, when I authored all the original content for their website.)

I'm keenly interested in seeing how things go with their ongoing media outreach in major metropolitan areas around the U.S. That's what this video clip caught my eye. It's a news report by WGBH, a Boston-based radio & television conglomerate that blankets New England. I found their coverage of the recent Catholics Come Home campaign in the Archdiocese of Boston to be quite interesting, especially as it came at this issue from a decidedly secular vantage point. Check it out.

July 22, 2010

Photo of the Day

For your captioning pleasure . . .

July 21, 2010

Practical advice from a former atheist on how to evangelize atheists

N.B.: Jennifer's conversion story — from a born-&-raised atheist to a convinced Catholic — will appear in the next issue of Envoy Magazine (vol. 9.4). Her website is conversiondiary.com.

And now, ladies and gentlemen . . . . Jennifer FULLLLwiler!

In case you haven't yet seen this hard-hitting commentary by Jennifer Fulwiler on the importance of blogging and bloggers, here it is. Let it sear into your memory so that you can pass down to your children and your children's children what she said. Seriously. This is heady, serious stuff that might require that you re-watch it a few times to allow the import of her message to fully sink in.

Okay, now that we've dispensed with that, I want to shout out a "thank you" to Jennifer for having done two things. 1) For accepting my invite to join the creative team at Envoy Magazine as a writer and regular columnist. She is an excellent writer with a capital grasp of what's going on in the world of Catholic new media. And 2) for announcing to her own blog followers (she has many more than I do) that she's now writing for Envoy.

Jennifer's first feature article, our cover story, will appear in the next issue of the magazine. I know you'll enjoy it, though I fear that atheists will not, at least if the comments about The Godless Delusion at RichardDawkins.net are any kind of barometer of their tolerance for any kind of criticism of atheism. You see, Jennifer was a cradle-atheist and raised an atheist until her conversion to Catholicism a few years ago. I'm sure that will raise a few eyebrows among atheists who read her story.

And in the most recent issue of Envoy, she launched her new department, "Site Seeing," in which she covers the Catholic blog & podcast beat, bringing to our attention some of the hot spots in Catholic new media. And she's got plenty more ahead where that came from.

It's great to have you aboard, Jennifer!

P.S. If you'd like to order a copy of the aforementioned most recent issue of Envoy (vol. 9.3) or start a subscription, please call us at 800-55-ENVOY (800-553-6869) or visit our website.

July 20, 2010

God bless "Anonymous" for reminding me of my manifest defects

I am grateful to the Lord for providing people like "Anonymous" to help me never lose sight of my own faults and failings. The most recent blessing of this type comes to me courtesy of a kind soul who made the following comment on the equally kind National Catholic Reporter blog:
“Ah,yes. Patrick Madrid, the ever obsequious EWTN lap dog.
No spine in his body, not an original thought in his head!”
Readers of this blog will know that this kind of thing has happened before with the author of that particular blog.

July 18, 2010

Chaos, panic, and disorder. My work here is done.

Those jungle drums you heard beating furiously today were the atheists who have just discovered "The Godless Delusion." Judging from their jeering comments, we can safely conclude that they don't like it -- not one little bit -- a colossal understatement. From the 50 or so comments that I've perused today on RichardDawkins.net (the notice about the book was posted there early this morning), a few things are clear:

1) The atheists who've savaged the book based on reading the first dozen or so pages which are visible on Amazon (most of them haven't even read that) demonstrate that they really don't understand what my co-author, Ken Hensley, and I are doing with The Godless Delusion. They seem convinced that ours is a book which rehearses the standard proofs for the existence of God, proofs for the Christian religion and the divinity of Christ, etc. They're certain that all we do is quote Bible verses at them, defend creationism, flee from reason, shelter ourselves behind blind superstition, and deny the importance of science. You know, all the low-brow, knuckle-dragging, anti-intellectual Christian stuff like that.

Reality check. That's not at all what the book is about, either in the real or the caricatured sense.

The Godless Delusion is, rather, a direct critique of atheism, and only indirectly a defense of theism. But then, the atheists posting there don't know that because they've let their emotions run away with them and have fallen prey to typical atheist thought-stopping sloganeering to reassure themselves that they have a valid reason for dismissing our critique of atheism without even knowing what it entails. They're a pretty agitated bunch, judging from their comments.

If just the idea of a Catholic book challenging atheist claims is enough to touch off the festival of odium and contempt that we see among the God-deniers in this thread at RichardDawkins,net, one can only imagine the paroxysms that would ensue once they actually read the book in its entirety and had to contemplate its philosophical critique of atheism.

2) Our atheist detractors are heavy on pompous rhetoric and light on actual substantive argumentation. The latter is due in part to the fact that they don't understand the focus of the book, and that, of course, is because they haven't read it. And it's also due to the fact that, even if they did read the book, I'm confident that they wouldn't be able to effectively respond to, much less refute, our critique of atheism. Let's see what they come up with.

3) These atheists seem to think that their grievances against the Catholic Church (the priest scandals, the crusades, etc.) somehow vindicate atheism. A number of their comments are laced with shouts of "women-haters and child molesters!" and that sort of thing. Apparently, they think that whooping and hollering about the crimes committed by Catholics somehow disproves the existence of God, which of course it doesn't. The evils perpetrated by Catholics, Protestants, and others who believe in God have no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether or not God exists and, more importantly and more to the point, they are completely irrelevant to the question of whether atheism itself is true. But they don't seem to understand that.

4) The atheists who've commented thus far seem to have gotten practically everything they think they know about The Godless Delusion flat wrong. For example, several have been going on about how the book was published by a "vanity press." Um, no. It was published by Our Sunday Visitor, which is one of the top 2 or 3 largest mainstream Catholic publishers in the United States. I don't know the stats, but they might even be the largest. Also, at least one of these atheists are confused about when the book was released, scoffing that it is "copyright 1999-2006" when, had they only actually read the front matter at Amazon, they'd have seen that it just came out two weeks ago.

Anyway, the bulk of their scoffing is predicated on erroneous assumptions like those two, highly charged emotionalism and anger, and a general unwillingness to actually deal with the arguments (which, again, they have not bothered to explore, beyond the first 12-15 pages of introductory matter), etc.

I'm hopeful that some atheists somewhere will rise above the puerile antics of the ones who have been posting in this "kick the can" thread about The Godless Delusion. We'll see. In the meantime, here's just one example of the kind of "enlightened" atheist responses to the book:

Comment 38 by Logicel

There is no Christian as obnoxious, as smug, as conceited, as vain, as dense, as repellent, as chillingly impervious to reality, as oppressive, as mean, as cruel, as unethical as a Catholic.

These two idiots are just a pair of wannabee crusaders.

There is no discussion possible--all they have left is indignation and obfuscation in addition to a good dose of fear-mongering with a great dollop of guilt of course.

It is great that they keep opening their pie-holes and the crapola spews out. Keep blathering, Catholics, as your microphone is the shovel digging the grave for your dangerous, superstitious set of beliefs.

I hope there are atheists out there who will respond with something more substantive than that level of mindless invective. Surely there must be. Perhaps some of them will calmly accept the challenge of The Godless Delusion, will read the book, and then respond seriously to our critique of atheism. We'll see.

July 16, 2010

Here lies the man who has everything . . . but Christ


On yesterday's EWTN "Open Line" radio show, I received two interesting calls on the same subject: the recent plague of priest scandals. The first caller, a layman named Grant, asked why Catholic priests don't preach more on this subject from the pulpit and how parents can explain this subject to their children. As you'll hear, we soon moved off that issue and in the direction of what appear to me to be some of the root causes of the scandals. A bit later in the same show, a former Catholic priest named Dwayne called in to express his thoughts on this subject. I found his comments to be quite interesting, and I'm very interested in knowing what you think of this discussion. [I host "Open Line" every Thursday from 3-5 pm ET). Click the image above to listen, or click here.

Find a Catholic radio station in your area!

Hey parents, here's reason # 999,999 not to let your children watch MTV

It's teaching them atheism (among other things) with blasphemous songs like this one. Don't underestimate the potential for your children to become corrupted and their faith in God wrested away from them by the popularization of atheism through things as simple as songs and videos. If you have MTV and its affiliated stations coming into your home, cut it off now. Don't wait. Don't dither. Don't accommodate this malignant evil even for another second. And let's also all take a moment to pray for the deluded atheists who produced this song and all those whom it is affecting.

Is Yoga incompatible with Catholicism?

The venerable Catholic priest of blessed memory, Fr. John Hardon, S.J., says it is, and he explains why:

Yoga is incompatible with Catholicism because the best known practice of Hindu spirituality is Yoga. “Inner” Hinduism professes pantheism, which denies that there is only one infinite Being who created the world out of nothing. This pantheistic Hinduism says to the multitude of uncultured believers who follow the ways of the gods that they will receive the reward of the gods. They will have brief tastes of heaven between successive rebirths on earth. But they will never be delivered from the “wheel of existence” with its illusory lives and deaths until they realize that only “God” exists and all else is illusion (Maya). To achieve this liberation the principal way is by means of concentration and self control (yoga).

Indian spirituality is perhaps best known by the practice of yoga, derived from the root yuj to unite or yoke, which in context means union with the Absolute. Numerous stages are distinguished in the upward progress toward the supreme end of identification: by means of knowledge with the deity; the practice of moral virtues and observance of ethical rules; bodily postures; control of internal and external senses; concentration of memory and meditation–finally terminating in total absorption (samadhi), “when the seer stands in his own nature" . . . (continue reading)

July 15, 2010

Renowned exorcist, Fr. Thomas Euteneuer, defines the meaning of "demonic possession"

Catholic Apologetics Summer Camp for Students 15-19

Half-Price Scholarships Now Available for
the 2010 Envoy Institute Apologetics Summer Camp

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, half-price scholarships for the first-ever Envoy Institute Summer Apologetics Camp August 15-21 are now available for up to 25 lucky students, ages 15 to 19.

Here’s how to make a half-price scholarship possible for a student you love: contact Joan Bradley at (704) 461-6009 or JoanBradley@bac.edu today! She can explain the total cost (less than $400 with the scholarship), payment plans and other important details.

Look at what is awaiting students aged 15-19-years:

7 days and 6 nights in an inspiring setting in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, lodging (in separate camps for girls and boys), three meals a day, lots of fun outdoor activities, and eight great teaching seminars delivered by several of America’s leading Catholic apologists – Jim Burnham, Ken Hensley, Dr. Ben Wiker, and Dr. Paul Thigpen – plus talks and a workshop on apologetics that I'll be presenting. Msgr. Stuart Swetland, S.T.D., will also be speaking to the attendees.

During the week, our excellent team of speakers will help young Catholics address issues like these: How do you pull the rug out from under an atheist who wants to weaken or destroy your faith (gently and with love, of course)? What is your answer when someone asks, “Have you been saved”? What does the Bible really say about the “End Times,” the “rapture,” the anti-Christ, etc.? What does the Catholic Church actually believe about evolution? What should your response be when a Protestant friend throws certain Bible verses at you that seem to refute certain Catholic beliefs?

All of our talks on these and other subjects will be presented the “Envoy way,” with our patent-pending mixture of reverence, good-and-sometimes-even-bizarre humor, inspiration, devotion and fun. And in between sessions, there’ll be fun activities like swimming, hiking, whitewater rafting, an ice cream social, plus an evening of karaoke.

Mass will be celebrated every day as well, including one by our special guest Monsignor Stuart Swetland, who will also be giving a talk afterwards.

To take advantage of this special limited-time half-price scholarship offer, please contact Joan Bradley at (704) 461-6009 or JoanBradley@bac.edu today!

(Also, if you are interested in making a donation yourself so that we can extend additional scholarships so even more students can attend, please call or email Joan about making a donation for additional scholarships. We greatly appreciate your support in any amount!)

July 13, 2010

The Legion of Christ to Meet in Extraordinary General Chapter

Let this be known far and wide: BELGIAN CARDINAL CLEARED OF PORN CHARGES

Zenit reported some very good news yesterday:

The Brussels public prosecutor's office confirmed Friday that Cardinal Godfried Danneels, retired archbishop of the city, did not download pornography to his computer.

The authorities' clarification, however, comes after the "Het Nieussbald" newspaper accused the cardinal of using pornography.

In fact, authorities affirmed that a pornographic picture on the cardinal's computer was downloaded automatically.

Jean Marc Meilleur, spokesman of the office of the public prosecutor, confirmed the existence of the "suspicious" photograph, but clarified that "anyone who surfs the Internet can find this type of photograph among his temporary files."

Cardinal Danneel's spokesman, Hans Geybels, announced that legal action will be made regarding the accusation being sent to the press. He has called for a serious investigation to clarify what happened.

This case comes on the heels of a similar violation, when the press was told that the archbishopric of Malines-Brussels was linked to a serial killer, Marc Dutroux. That information was also subsequently shown to be falsified... (continue reading)

July 10, 2010

Ear Candy

Bach: Cello Suite No.1, Prelude

A Plethora of Catholic Movies Available on Netflix

One of my Facebook Friends brought this to my attention today. Seems that Netflix, which our family uses almost exclusively to stream movies directly to our TV, carries a plethora of good Catholic movies. (Think of that scene in "The Three Amigos" when you say the word "plethora," mkay?) If you use Netflix, here are some worthy Catholic titles to add to your queue:

A Hand of Peace
A Man for All Seasons
After the Truth
Don Matteo
Father of Mercy: The True Story of Venerable Don Gnocchi
God in China
Into Great Silence
Karol: The Pope, The Man
Love is a Choice
Maria Goretti
Our Father's Plan
Padre Pio Between Heaven and Earth
Paul VI: The Pope in the Tempest
Pope Benedict XVA
Road of Hope
Saint Anthony
Saint Francis
Saint Rita
Saints and Soldiers
St. Giuseppe Moscati: Doctor to the Poor
St. Teresa of Avila
The 13th Day
The Jeweller's Shop
The Miracle of Marcelino
The Reluctant Saint
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius