Saturday, April 19, 2008


CBNNews.com - ROME, Italy - In this predominantly Catholic nation the devil is gaining a foothold.

"There is a greater openness towards the devil," Rev. Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's chief exorcist, said.

In fact, Rome has been called the most 'satanized' city in Italy.

There are an estimated 800 satanic cults operating in the country, with more than 600,000 followers. And their numbers are growing.

"The devil's diabolical influence is growing in so many areas of our society. He needs to be driven out!" Pastor Silvano Lilli of International Evangelical Church said.

Leading the battle to drive the devil out of Italy is 82-year-old Amorth.

"This is the room where I do my exorcisms," he said, indicating a small room, not too far from the Vatican. There Amorth uses the practice of exorcism to drive out the devil from possessed souls.

Read the rest...


From a New York Times article sent in by a reader...

After three days in which Pope Benedict XVI has persistently addressed the scandal of child sexual abuse by priests, a top Vatican official said on Friday that the church was considering changes to the canon laws that govern how it handles such cases.

The official, Cardinal William J. Levada, would not specify which canons were under reconsideration. But he suggested that they related to the church’s statute of limitations, saying that his office has frequently had to judge allegations from years before because the victims “don’t feel personally able to come forward” until they are more mature.

The comments by the cardinal, who heads the Vatican office that rules on cases of sexual abuse that are forwarded to Rome by bishops throughout the world, were apparently spontaneous, and came in response to questions from three reporters as he left a luncheon in New York given by Time magazine.

The Vatican has been reluctant to focus attention on the scandal until this trip. But in what appears to be a carefully scripted effort, Benedict brought the scandal up on each of the first three days of his trip, his first visit to the United States as pope, underscoring the message that he understands the lingering bitterness over the church’s handling of the issue.

“It has overshadowed the trip,” said the Rev. Joseph M. McShane, the president of Fordham University, who attended the luncheon with Cardinal Levada. “None of us expected it, but everyone is grateful that he did. What he realized is that this is a pastoral visit and he must be pastor to those who are hurt most — and that is the victims.”

Continue reading...


From Chiesa:

4. – Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, after the November 28, 2006 meeting between Benedict XVI and Erdogan:

"The Holy See has neither the power nor the specific task of intervening on the precise point of Turkey's entry in the European Union. It is not its responsibility. However, it regards positively and encourages the path of dialogue and rapprochement to Europe in virtue of common values and principles. In this connection, the pope expressed his appreciation for the initiative of the Alliance of Civilizations promoted by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

From "How the Sabbateans Will Destroy Israel" - Barry Chamish's website:

Presently the invisible rulers of Turkey are not real Turks but rather infiltrated secular "Turks" who are the secret followers of the anti-Mohammed and anti-Christ prophet Zabbatai Zevi, who was the founder of the Turkish Donmeh Zabbatean sect and of the Zabbataean movement in general....

Tony Blair, the British prime minister, welcomed a Spanish proposal to create an "Alliance of civilizations" between Western and Muslim countries in the fight against terror in a meeting with Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, his Spanish counterpart, on Wednesday.

Mr Blair, who also held talks on Wednesday with RecepTayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said that Turkey is particularly involved in this initiative.

From IslamOnline.net:

Borrell said Turkey's bid will put Europe's secularism to the test and show whether it is really secular or Christian, in reference to rejectionists of Turkey's efforts chiefly Pope Benedict XVI.

The new pope had said that allowing the predominantly Muslim nation into Europe ’s club would be "an enormous mistake."

Europe is a "cultural continent, not a geographic one," he said in 2004, and Turkey has "always represented another continent... in permanent contrast with Europe ."

The European Union finally agreed Wednesday, September 21, a hotly-contested declaration on Turkey , voicing confidence that it would clear the way for talks with Ankara next month despite lingering problems.

The Libertarian Heritage Foundation's Position:

The United States should oppose these proposals to give the alliance a permanent mandate, establish a permanent funding stream, and create new sup­porting mechanisms.

The article also contains a very brief history of the Alliance of Civilizations:

The notion that the U.N. could somehow alleviate these poor public opinions through international conferences dates back to the Dialogue Among Civ­ilizations, a U.N. program that was first proposed by Iran in 1998 and launched by Annan in 1999. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.N. decided to replace the dialogue with the Alliance of Civilizations in 2005. Although former Iranian Pres­ident Mohammed Khatemi, who initiated the Dia­logue Among Civilizations, remains prominent,[6] Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zap­atero and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the proposal to create the alliance at the 59th U.N. General Assembly and were subse­quently backed by former Secretary-General Annan....

Annan's endorsement raises other concerns be­yond simply embedding a pet project into the U.N. system. For instance, Annan appointed his former deputy Iqbal Riza--who was deeply embroiled in the Oil-for-Food scandal for allegedly shredding documents related to the investigation--as Spe­cial Advisor of the Secretary-General for the Alli­ance of Civilizations.[9] Moreover, Annan is rumored to be one of the individuals being con­sidered for the post of High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations.

Frederico Mayor is the Co-Chair of the High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations. He is a member of Opus Dei. Source

Friday, April 18, 2008


I hope victims are deriving some consolation from his willingness to listen and not to pretend it didn't happen as his predecessor did.

WASHINGTON -- Pope Benedict XVI spoke Thursday with victims who as trusting children were sexually abused by their priests, an unexpected gathering that was the Roman Catholic Church's most dramatic step yet to acknowledge the harm caused by the clergy.

The unscripted meeting at the Vatican Embassy was facilitated by Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley and involved victims from the Boston area, viewed as the seat of the widespread scandal, which involved 12,000 children and teenagers being violated by 5,000 priests in Catholic parishes nationwide.

"They prayed with the holy father, who afterward listened to their personal accounts and offered them words of encouragement and hope," said a statement from the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.

"His holiness assured them of his prayers for their intentions, for their families and for all victims of sexual abuse," Lombardi said.


Check out the "Yes 2 Marriage" campaign.


An article in NCTimes.com describes for the non-Jew how Passover is celebrated, and some of the pitfalls that could end up embarrassing the uninitiated. Also included in the article are a couple of recipes for Passover food. The Potato Kugel sounds good.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


In a speech made public last Saturday, Benedict called for a “new humanism” that includes moral and spiritual development, to combat the spread of warfare." He further added:

Certainly, joint action on a political, economic and juridical level is needed but, even before that, it is necessary to reflect together on a moral and spiritual level. What is ever more vital is to promote a 'new humanism'.

Those are the words of Freemasonry, but they are coming from a Roman Catholic pope's mouth. Have the Masons gotten it right all along, and now the Catholics are going to catch up? It almost sounds like a call for some sort of universal spirituality that can be used to interrupt recourse to violence. According to the Catholic News Agency Benedict explained further:

"True and lasting peace is unimaginable without the development of each person and of all peoples," Pope Benedict asserted. Yet, is it inconceivable “to think of reducing arms if first we do not eliminate violence at its roots, if man does not first turn decisively to searching for peace and for what is good and just"....

"The future of humanity depends upon a commitment on everyone's part. Only by pursuing an integrated humanism of solidarity, in which disarmament assumes an ethical and spiritual dimension, can humanity progress towards the true and lasting peace for which it longs,” the Pope concluded.

This Catholic openness to a new spirituality was represented recently at Emergent Church Leaders' InterSpirituality Talks by Sr. Joan Chittister.

The participation of emergent church leaders in an interfaith dialogue raised flags for some conservative Christians who have been concerned over a growing cooperation of emergent church leaders with New Spirituality/New Age leaders.

Prior to Tuesday's InterSpirituality Day panel discussions, hosted by Seeds of Compassion, Christian talk show host Ingrid Schlueter of Crosstalk Radio warned the public that emergent leaders Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church and Doug Pagitt of Solomon's Porch would promote universalism.

The panel included various Christian leaders, a Muslim scholar, a Sikh, and the Dalai Lama, among others, who spoke on compassion and spirituality....

"We say we are created by one god. We say we are all the human family. That makes us interdependent. That is the basis of compassion because it is the basis of the morality of the world," said Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Catholic nun.

"The morality of the world"...who is the Prince of this World? Is a morality without God even a possibility? Can man construct his own moral system without recourse to his Creator? What would it be grounded on--public opinion? Majority rule? The high-minded ideals of Pope Benedict and Sr. Joan sound nice until we get down to specifics.

Sr. Joan is thought to be on the far left, yet she is promoting ideas that are so similar to those being proposed by Benedict. How can this be possible? How can it be reconciled with Catholic Tradition?

Together they seem to be undoing 2000 years of an established religion and proposing a morphing of that religion into something alien. Yet war in a nuclear age is not a viable alternative. To make matters worse, this is coming at the very time when many Catholics are so disillusioned by the sexual abuse scandal that they are walking out. There is a noticeable reduction in warm bodies in the pews at the parish where I'm registered.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Those who are walking away are going to walk toward something, and Benedict would seem to be offering some sort of syncretistic alternative to Roman Catholicism for those who don't wish to be Roman Catholic. As I try to sort out the implications of these two articles, my head starts to spin. I can't pin down a Catholic philosophy to live with. The pins insist on popping out. The spirituality Benedict seems to be speaking of is fluid. It accommodates, changing and shifting. The center doesn't hold. It is possible to reshape it to fit the circumstances.

When Benedict speaks to the world, he blurs the distinctions that are the ground of faith on which we build our lives. When he speaks just to Catholics he uses familiar words of doctrine. Is it possible to hold both concepts in tandem? Is it possible to be both a Roman Catholic and a universalist? Is that where he is going with this developing spirituality? Is Benedict encouraging us to move from "either/or" to "both/and"?

"Both/and" is what occultist Rene Guenon lived by. Pick your tradition and live it. Recognize that others are going to do the same. The idea was rejected during Guenon's lifetime. Is it becoming the new Catholic spirituality? If it is, the lodge has become us; and as with the lodge, evangelization will have to become anathema.

As I think about these things, the prophecy of St. Malachi continually interrupts my thoughts. If St. Malachi was correct--and there is no guarantee that he was--Benedict is the last pope. He is 80. That would mean that either we would live in a world without Roman Catholicism, or Christ is about to return. Either would fit the prophecy which does not have Church approval in any case, and so its only purpose, if it is a true prophecy, could be fulfilled only in retrospect.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The Cleveland trial of Joseph Smith,former finance chief of the Cleveland Diocese, will be delayed until May 12 to avoid unfair bias toward the Church generated by the publicity surrounding the papal visit.

Seems unlikely to me that the unfair bias fallout will vanish instantly on May 12, and this is one trial in which I would especially like to see truth prevail.



Here is the Plain Dealer's report on the postponement which seems to indicate the Judge has not yet made a decision.


John O'Sullivan, the executive editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the author of "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World", offers commentary on the changing papal perspective on European and American civilization. Though he doesn't say it, in the process he is also offering a changing attitude toward Freemasonry, since liberty, equality, and fraternity are its hallmarks.

The piece is the most interesting commentary I've read on the Holy See in quite some time. I'm not going to quote passages. The whole thing deserves to be read.


At the Opus Dei run University of Navarra is a program called the Business Angels Network. The program is explained here.

Essentially the plan is to link investors with start-up businesses. The title of the program is something of an oxymoron given that business - the activity of those pursuing Mammon - is rather incompatible with the work of God which is the work of the angels, as Matt. 6:24 tells us. Of course there are those "other" angels who might see benefit in pursuing the work of Mammon.


In a transatlantic meeting with reporters aboard his chartered Alitalia aircraft, the Pope described his personal difficulty in understanding how clergy could have so betrayed their callings, and he declared it far better for his priest-short church to live with empty pulpits than to again risk letting sexual abusers into its seminaries.

"It is a great suffering for the church in the United States and for the church in general and for me personally that this could happen," he said in English, in response to a written question submitted to him in advance of his meeting with journalists.

"We are deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible that this cannot happen in the future."...

Michael Higgins, president of St. Thomas University in Fredericton and one of the world's foremost authorities on the contemporary Catholic Church, said the Pope's politically astute, forthright statement on his aircraft underscored how differently Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II viewed sex scandal and the priesthood in general.

"Benedict has a less romanticized, more grounded view of the priesthood than John Paul," Dr. Higgins said. "And I don't think John Paul ever grasped the enormity of what took place in the American church. Benedict is much more pragmatic."

He suggested that the Pope's statement, instantly transmitted to U.S. radio and television stations, likely had lanced criticism against him for not including Boston, the epicentre of the sex scandal, on his itinerary, an omission that Dr. Higgins suggested was outside the Pope's control.

Read the story here.

For me JPII's failure to confront the scandal in such a forthright manner as Benedict has done with this statement has damaged my ability to believe in and trust the contemporary Church and completely undermined my confidence in the papacy. I still believe in the archetype of Roman Catholicism. I am painfully doubtful of its present earthly manifestation.

If JPII had made the sort of statement early in the scandal that Benedict has made from his airplane, I would be able to recover my trust in the Church and her leaders. As it is, they all appear suspect to me and have to prove themselves before I will consider trusting them. Even then a shadow of suspicion remains. For me, Benedict's statement is at least a first step toward rebuilding trust. There are many, many more steps to go, and every incident like the ones Neiderauer presents in San Francisco and the one Father presented last Sunday at Mass are a step back.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


I met with my oncologist this morning. Almost her first words were "You didn't have the biopsy done?" Well no, I didn't, because my surgical oncologist with whom she had spoken examined me and then told me that her examination and the CT Scan showed that the cancer had returned and there was no reason to do a biopsy. Then she told me she was sorry but there was nothing more she could do for me, which I took to be her dismissal.

I explained all that to my oncologist who said that the CT Scan showed mostly what it had showed previously and that the PET Scan didn't show any changes either, but sometimes cancer doesn't show up on a PET Scan.

Where do we go from here? Since the biopsy had been an ordeal, I wasn't anxious to repeat it. I told my oncologist I thought it had returned. She agreed to go ahead with the next chemo based on my assessment and the surgeon's diagnosis. She indicated that in about 95% of cases she takes a "leap of faith" when this happens.

So...the next chemo will be Xeloda, a medication taken twice a day for 14 days, followed by 7 days rest, and then a repeat of that schedule. The reason for the rest is that this one causes hand and foot problems including redness, burning, peeling skin and sometimes sores on the tips of the fingers. The extent of this varies with each patient, and the dosage will be adjusted to accommodate it. The other common side effect is diarrhea. I won't be starting this medication until next Monday.

Since I'm not supposed to wear tight fitting shoes, and since the inserts in my shoes that are meant to address the heel problems caused by the Femara cause my shoes to be tight, we were not able to resolve what I'm going to do about footwear. Xeloda requires bedroom slippers at home. Podiatrist requires that I not wear bedroom slippers at home.

I didn't ask whether this one causes chemobrain. God I hope not!

My husband and I stopped for lunch on the way home. He drank Dr. Pepper. I had a beer.


"la Caixa" Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Governance is an interdisciplinary effort at IESE, University of Navarra, chaired by Antonio Argandofia. His profile is given in this website. It includes the following:

He is also a member of numerous international academic organizations, notably: Mont Pelerin Society, American Economic Association, International Society of Business, Economics and Ethics, European Business Ethics Network, Society of Business Ethics, etc. [bolding mine - ct]

Acton speaks of Mont Pelerin at its website:

Immediately after World War II, the old liberals, joined by “new liberals,” founded the Mont Pelerin Society in Switzerland. Its leading “brains” –Friedrich A. v. Hayek, Ludwig v. Mises, and Wilhelm Roepke – wanted to call it “de Tocqueville-Acton Society,” whereupon Professor Frank Knight of Chicago protested violently against naming the Society after “two Roman Catholic aristocrats.” It was finally called “Mont Pelerin Society” after the hotel where the first meeting took place.

The March - April 2007 Newsletter of the Research Division of U. of Navarra's IESE Business School indicates on pg. 13 that Antonio Argandofia

On March 12, attended in Barcelona, the presentation of the "Instituto von Mises", where he gave the lecture "Exigencias morales y eticas del liberalismo".

Participants in the conference deliberations at The Witherspoon Institute conference "Rethinking Business Management: An Examination of the Foundations of Business Education" included

Antonio Argandofia - IESE Business School professor, Chair of Corporate Social Responsibility; previously the Ethics and Economics Chair.

Sam Gregg — Director of Research at the Acton Institute.

The Acton Institute's Novak Award was given to an IESE professor:

Maximilian B. Torres, a visiting scholar at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, has been selected from a large field of international nominees as the winner of the Acton Institute's 2003 Novak Award. ...

Professor Torres is an outstanding emerging scholar in the area of business ethics and organizational behavior. A former financial services executive, he quickly established a formidable reputation in North America and European circles for the conciseness of his thought, the quality of his refereed publications, and an excellent rapport with students. Torres holds a professorship at the University of Navarra's IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.

From Professor Torres CV at the IESE website which contains the following:

He has received numerous awards and prizes both as a student and a professional. Most recently he was awarded the 2003 Novak Award for outstanding new research into the interrelation of religion and economic liberty by the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids

Both Action Institute and IESE operate in the same orbit, and Acton, via the Novak Award, evidentially shares an economic philosophy with IESE. There is no doubt that IESE is part of the University of Navarra, and that University of Navarra is an Opus Dei university.

Draw your own conclusions.



The following comes from Chiesa. Sandro Magister reviews a book titled MONEY AND PARADISE: THE GLOBAL ECONOMY AND THE CATHOLIC WORLD, with a preface by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Bishops. According to the review:

The book was written in the form of a conversation, with the questions posed by Rino Cammilleri, a Catholic writer and historian with a traditionalist outlook. The one responding is Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Italy's president for the Banco Santander Central Hispano, the leading bank in Spain and one of the greatest in Europe. Gotti Tedeschi is also an administrative consultant for Sanpaolo IMI, the only Italian bank quoted on Wall Street, and for the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, the bank of the Italian government. He teaches at the Catholic University of Milan.

Gotti Tedeschi denies that there is any such thing as a "Catholic economy." It is enough for him that he can work in the economy as a Catholic – and he does not hide his faith. He cites with admiration José Maria Escrivá de Balaguer, the canonized founder of Opus Dei, and Fr. Luigi Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation. The scholars he says he agrees with the most are the Catholic free-market supporters Michael Novak, Robert Sirico, Dario Antiseri, and Flavio Felice, in addition to Friedrich Hayek (1899-1992), the master of the Austrian school of economics, and Samuel Huntington, author of "The Clash of Civilizations." Gotti Tedeschi vindicates without hesitation "the superiority of an economy inspired by Christian morality."

I don't see any qualifications about Randians in there. A bit further into the report he does offer a sort of qualification:

...since Keynes – Gotti Tedeschi maintains – "Catholic morality was definitively asked to occupy itself no more with economic matters, leaving the task to scholars." Since then there has prevailed an "economic Machiavellianism" that sacrifices man to power and profit.

But this outcome – Gotti Tedeschi says – is not the unalterable destiny of the market economy. "Capitalism was born in the home of Catholicism, for the exaltation of the dignity of man"; it was born in Italy in the 13th century with the theories of Franciscan theologians, "when Protestantism, to which Max Weber's famous thesis attributes the birth of the 'spirit of capitalism', was yet to arrive." And Protestantism was responsible, if anything, for the later defects of capitalism: profiteering, determinism, laissez-faire, the law of the strongest. In England, where the modern industrial revolution arrived together with its exploitations, the Catholic Church had disappeared. And this explains why the Catholic world became increasingly diffident and hostile toward the free market economy. It took John Paul II, with his 1991 encyclical "Centesimus Annus," to summon Catholics to have faith again in the value of capitalism and profit.

There is another indication that Acton may have more than a passing interest in Opus Dei.

At the Acton Institute website is a tribute to Rafael Termes (1918-2005). There you can read

He was an integral developer of the IESE Business School in Spain since its founding in 1958, and served as director of its Madrid campus. Termes served on the board of Banco Poplular, and from 1977 to 1990, he led the Spanish Banking Association. He was also a member of the Royal Academy of Economic and Financial Sciences and the Royal Academy of Moral Sciences and Politics. Among the many awards Don Termes was awarded in his life are the Spanish government's Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and the French government's Knight of the Legion of Honor.

Termes was among the first members of the prelature Opus Dei in Barcelona.


Today is day one of Benedict's visit. The Cleveland Plain Dealer tells us

A first: President Bush has never before given a visiting leader the honor of picking him up at the airport. In fact, no president has done so at Andrews Air Force Base, the typical landing spot for modern leaders.


The hit counter has reset itself yet again. This time I thought it was actually going to make it to 50,000, but alas it's not to be. Yesterday it was at 49,736 when I last checked it. This morning it's at 12. This has happened sooooooooo many times. If it weren't so much trouble, I'd go looking for a different hit counter; but it's just too much trouble.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I recently came upon an unexpected association. It seems that the/a manager of the Templeton funds has spoken at a University of Virginia conference, and a trail can be uncovered from the conference to an Opus Dei university. Perhaps it's a spurious connection. Perhaps it means nothing. Or perhaps it does. Here are the links:

First the conference:

Valuation in Emerging Markets. It took place in May 2002. On the first-day speaker's lineup in the #6 slot was Mark Mobius, PhD, Managing Director, Templeton Asset Management.

A brief bio of Mobius can be read here, including his connection with John Templeton. Templeton, funder of the Templeton prize, the largest in the world, which is given for research in the field of religion-science interface, has an interest in the Swedenborgian Church as I reported earlier this year on

January 10 - The Libertarian Right

January 25 - Swedenborg to New Thought and Beyond

January 26 - Sir John Templeton

January 28 - Templeton Continued

February 1 - Swedenborg and Freemasonry

February 4 - Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton

February 5 - Templeton Supported Science and Religion Lecture Series

The conference, as you can see by the upper left-hand insignia on the conference website, was given by the Batten Institute at the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, at the University of Virginia. Among the graduates mentioned in the Wiki entry is Mark B. Templeton. The Batten Institute is mentioned in the entry. It was founded by UVa alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., retired Chairman and CEO of Landmark Communications.

The Batten Institute is mentioned in a communication from the IESE Business School.

IESE and Batten Institute Sign Research Agreement
April 28, 2004

IESE and the Batten Institute of the University of Darden have recently signed a research agreement. This agreement joins IESE with a team of global research partners working to complete a study in Europe about leading growth companies. IESE Professors Rama Velamuri and Maria Julia Prats lead IESE's participation in the study.

This project, which is in line with other research projects IESE has been working for several years, examines business leaders in established organizations who have sustained high levels of growth.

This is where Opus Dei steps in. Notice in the lower left corner, the top left corner, and the top right corner of that website that IESE belongs to the University of Navarra.

University of Navarra is an Opus Dei University.


The Catholic Church is increasingly coming under fire as indicated in the story blogged below and in two other stories linked at NOR.

First in the Philippines:

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Suspected al-Qaida-linked militants bombed a Roman Catholic cathedral compound and a bank in the southern Philippines, police said. No one was injured in Sunday's blasts.

Police have been placed on the highest level of security following the dawn explosions in Zamboanga city, regional police Chief Superintendent Jaime Caringal said.

Read it here.

Then here in the States a Catholic college closes under threats:

CHICAGO (AP) — Officials of a Catholic liberal arts college shut it down indefinitely Friday and told students to leave campus after threatening messages were found scrawled in the bathroom of a freshman dorm.

Graffiti were found twice this month at St. Xavier University's Regina Hall, including a message Thursday that read, "Be prepared to die on 4/14," President Judith Dwyer said in a statement.

Officials closed down campuses in Chicago and suburban Orland Park, along with classroom space in downtown Chicago, and canceled all classes for the school's 5,700 students. Buildings where community events are planned will remain open, Dwyer said.

"In this day and age, given Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, when you have a threat made against students or other members of the university community, you have to take steps to ensure that everyone is safe," university spokesman Joe Moore said Friday. "Even if that means erring on the side of being overly cautious."

Read the rest...

Not only the Catholic Church is coming under fire. In Russia the Orthodox are experiencing something similar:

Police in at least one Russian region are advising priests to buy guns to protect themselves and churches from thieves in the area. The suggestion comes after icons worth thousands of dollars were stolen from churches.

During the latest raid in the Kostroma region, a gang of ten men believed to be organised criminals, blocked the nearby bridge, cut the electricity supply and phone lines and poisoned a guard dog before storming the church.

But what they hadn’t expected were the powers of a particularly brave priest, who’s lucky to be alive after being shot at when he confronted the mob.

The men though fled with eight religious icons worth about $US 300,000.

The story is here.

Add to these stories the implications of Father's change in the distribution of the Eucharist because of "incidents" taking place in the area here.


In a World Net Daily story linked at NOR the very religious freedom that was the impetus for the colonization of America has been shot down in a New Mexico court:

The state of New Mexico has ordered a family owned photography company to pay more than $6,600 for declining a demand to take pictures at a same-sex ceremony, and a lawyer who is working on an appeal says it is an example of how "non-discrimination" or "hate" laws can be weapons in the hands of homosexual activists.

"The Constitution prohibits the state from forcing unwilling people to promote a message they disagree with and thereby violate there conscience," said Jordan Lorence, senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, which is working on an appeal.

"The commission's decision shows stunning disregard for our client's First Amendment rights, and we will appeal…," he said.

The case before the New Mexico Human Rights Commission was brought by Vanessa Willock against Elane Photography LLC, which is run by owners Jon and Elaine Huguenin.

The couple that included Willock approached Elaine Huguenin and wanted the Huguenins to photograph a "commitment ceremony" the women wanted to hold.

"Huguenin declined because her Christian beliefs are in conflict with the message communicated by the ceremony," according to the law firm.

Read the rest...

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Before leaving for Mass this morning, I read an article titled "Missing Fathers of the Church" by Leon J. Podles. The article discusses the feminization of Roman Catholicism, tracing its history which is probably a longer history than most pewsitters realize. It's an interesting article in light of some of the discussion that has taken place over the last week in Running Off. By the end of the article I was once again convinced that the problems in our Church can largely be laid at the feet of women, because of their influence on pastors, and at the feet of men who have used those feet to exit the Church, leaving the women in charge.

Ironically, during Mass today my husband whispered to me "The Church is being taken over by women." He hadn't read the article. He was basing that comment on what was taking place during Mass--specifically the number of feminine Eucharistic Ministers.

An example of women impacting the Church was borne home even more emphatically to me in today's bulletin. The woman who brought Opus Angelorum to the parish is now bringing in Ivan Dragicevic. From today's bulletin:

Join us as we gather to honor The Blessed Virgin Mary. Ivan Dragicevic, Visionary, our featured speaker, is one of the six people who continues to have apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He will be here at St. Joseph, Saturday, April 26th. Mass At [sic] 5:00 PM [sic]; followed by the roasary at 6:00 pm with the Presentation at 7:00 pm. For further information please contact ---- ------ @ 330-+++-++++.

This is Good Shepherd Sunday. The Pastor is the parish shepherd. As such I would have very much liked to have talked with him about this after Mass. Alas he was not available after Mass. He has informed the parish that he no longer is able to read because of failing eyesight. When phone calls are made to the rectory he is seldom available. Thus discussing this with him is not an option.

When Opus Angelorum was brought in, I attempted to communicate the problems with this organization to the deacon. He brushed it off as of little importance. It doesn't seem to be an action worth repeating.

Medjugorje is an unapproved apparition. Does it honor the Blessed Virgin to present a counterfeit seer to speak for her? I would think not. Yet until the Church speaks, we have no way of knowing whether Medjugorje seers are the real thing or a counterfeit. What sort of shepherd offers his flock stones when they ask for bread? Has the pastor stopped caring, or is he taken in by what might very well be fraud and willing to approve it for the spiritual development of his parishoners?

Until the recent unconfirmed claim by Michael Brown that Medjugorje has been removed from the Bishop's jurisdiction and taken to Rome, Bishop Peric of Medjugorje had the responsibility for determining the status of the vision. Here is what the bishop said on May 31, 2004:

some Franciscans in Herzegovina as well as a number of priests throughout the world promote the concept of Medjugorje as the site of "supernatural visions and messages". A number of the faithful moreover persist in visiting Medjugorje, not only so as to bear witness to how "Our Lady appears" despite the Church's cautious stance, but also to bring pressure to bear on the Church authorities, not excluding even the very highest, to recognize the events at Medjugorje as visions worthy of credence.

I have to ask how Christ's Church could on the basis of such pilgrimages to a single parish, motivated by a range of emotions from mere curiosity to fanatical zeal, proclaim such "visions" to be supernatural, when three ecclesiastical commissions of inquiry into the events at Medjugorje lawfully constituted on the direction of Bishop Zanic, the local bishop, and the Conference of Bishops [of the former Yugoslavia] in 1991 confirmed that they could find no proof that there had been "supernatural visions and messages"? How could the Church, which is the pillar and support of the truth, recognize such more than questionable "visions" under pressure from such petitioners?

In an article at Catholic World News dated June 16, 2006, John Thavis writes:

According to Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, whose diocese includes Medjugorje, the messages now number more than 30,000, a fact that only increases his own skepticism about the authenticity of the apparitions.

Bishop Peric discussed Medjugorje with Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year during a visit to the Vatican. In a summary of the discussion published in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Peric said he had reviewed the history of the apparitions with the pope, who already was aware of the main facts from his time as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"The Holy Father told me: We at the congregation always asked ourselves how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years?" Bishop Peric said.

Bishop Peric noted that Yugoslavian bishops in 1991 issued a statement that "it cannot be confirmed that supernatural apparitions or revelations are occurring" at Medjugorje.

With so many authenticated apparitions abounding, why would any pastor allow this questionable apparition to be promoted in his church. Ironically this particular pastor spoke on the deception offered by the world and the devil in his homily at Mass today. Perhaps he might take a moment to review the situation right under his own feet.

E. Michael Jones had this to say about the very early days of the apparition in 1982 when the Bishop was named Zanic:

The roles which the seers would play would change with time. They would become messengers of tolerance, to the point of religious indifferentism, fund-raisers, promoters of books on the Index, and finally advocates of Croatian nationalism, to the point of writing to President Bush and calling for air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs, but their first mission was getting the Blessed Mother on the side of the Franciscans Prusina and Vego in their battle against the bishop....

[Bishop] Zanic had come to the conclusion that the Franciscans were manipulating the seers from behind the scenes for their own benefit, and that the messages of the Gospa were tantamount to an attack on the hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church.

The credibility of the seers continued to decline apace. On May 10, 1982, Zanic sent two members of the commission he had formed to investigate the apparitions to interrogate the visionaries about the miraculous sign. When asked point blank to describe the sign, all of the visionaries refused. Zanic later surmised that Rev. Ivan Dugandzic, OFM, a Franciscan on the commission, had warned the visionaries in advance that something was afoot. Unfortunately for the visionaries and their Franciscan handlers, seer Ivan Dragicevic
[who is the seer scheduled to speak at the parish I am writing about - ct] was incommunicado in the Franciscan seminary in Visoko at the time. When he was asked about the sign, he obligingly complied and wrote down something on two separate pieces of paper, which he placed in separate envelopes and then sealed, one copy being put in the seminary archives and another in the files of the chancery at Mostar. On August 3, 1982, Bishop Zanic invited all of the seers to Mostar to discuss "the great sign." On this occasion, he again asked all of the seers to write their version of the sign on a [sic] separate pieces of paper and put them in separate envelopes. All of the seers, including Ivan, refused, claiming that to do so was contrary to the Gospa's explicit instructions. Taken aback by Ivan's refusal to describe what he so willingly described at the seminary in Visoko in May, Zanic asked Ivan if the Gospa had reproached him for writing down the sign at Visoko, and Ivan answered, "No."

Almost three years later, on March 7, 1985, Zanic's episcopal commission was in session in Mostar, and three of its members went to Bijakovici to interview Ivan, who now under the impression that Father Vlasic had returned the envelope he had sealed in Visoko, insisted; "I put a blank piece of paper in the envelope; then I sealed it' then the Gospa appeared to me and she smiled." When the commissioners returned to Mostar, Ivan's envelope was retrieved from the chancery files and opened. The paper was not blank; in fact on it was a statement signed by Ivan and dated May 9, 1982, which stated that "the sign is: There will be a huge shrine in Medjugorje in memory of my apparitions and this shrine shall be [dedicated] to my person." The sign, Ivan also wrote, "will appear in June." Needless to say nothing happened in June of 1982 or any subsequent June either...

As E. Michael Jones relates concerning this seer:

Ivan Dragicevic married Loreen Murphy, the former Miss Massachusetts, in a Catholic ceremony in Boston. Ivan always claimed that the Gospa had a plan for his life. As of 1994 that plan included flunking out of two seminaries, taking an oath of allegiance to the officially atheist communist government to serve in their military, and now marrying a beauty queen and acquiring homes and expensive cars and furnishings on two continents. (ibid. p. 300)

This is the seer Father will apparently permit to speak on behalf of the Blessed Virgin at the church where I am registered.

What conclusion can one draw about a pastor who allows this? I confess to being unable to come to any rational conclusion at all either for or against him. Neither will I accept his spiritual guidance as reliable in the future after two such very disturbing incidents.

One more thing occurred at Mass this morning. It was announced both in the bulletin and from the pulpit that the communion ritual would be changed "because of a number of incidents" when receiving communion in the hand. Now we must place the host into our mouth directly before stepping aside for the next person to receive. Stepping aside before placing the host in our mouth will no longer be permitted.

"Incidents" were not explained. Father seemed to be hoping we would read between the lines, indicating there have been incidents not only at this church but at other places within the area. He referred to his responsibility and the responsibility of all of us "to 'protect' the Blessed Sacrament." Given that his homily was about the influence of the world and the devil, one could make obvious assumptions. I applaud his efforts to safeguard the Sacrament. I wish he could have been more forthright in explaining its motivation.


Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)

Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 03, Number 15 | Friday, April 11, 2008


A Mexican Roe on the Horizon?

At this writing I am able to say that HLI's pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a phenomenal success! The forty pilgrims spent three days in prayer and immersion in the "Guadalupe Event" and emerged as energized and transformed as I have seen any group of people. I wish to thank Ms. Anne Lotierzo and Ms. Anthaunette Hidalgo for their phenomenal work in organizing the myriad logistical details of such a trip and made it possible for the rest of us to pray! I also want to thank the more than 240 people who submitted prayer intentions to last week's Spirit and Life®. We got every single one of them, even those who wrote at the last minute, and all were duly offered through Our Lady to the Throne of Grace.

The highlight of the trip for most of the pilgrims was easily the few hours spent praying a Rosary in front of the most notorious abortion hospital in Mexico City. For those who don't know, the extreme leftist Mexico City government legalized abortion on demand in the Federal District last year and put the whole force of government behind the business of killing. HLI's pro-life allies in Mexico, the National Pro-Life Committee, estimate that there were some 6400 abortions in the city this year alone with at least 22 injuries and eight deaths. This is utterly revolting for a medical procedure that is always touted as "safe" when it becomes legal. In fact, the one documented death officially recognized by the government, was of a 15-year old girl. As usual, women continue to be the victims of abortion, not its champions.

The men and women doing the sidewalk counseling that day told us the same story that we have heard in literally every country that has legalized abortion. Once legalized, the numbers of abortions jump exponentially. The women being brought into the killing center are younger and younger and are almost universally the victims of sexual abuse. Abortion is used to protect the abusers, and always helps men, not women. It preys on the vulnerable; it lies to the impressionable and makes false promises to those in situations of poverty. Worst of all, it pushes a society into an intolerable contradiction where the same institutions become battlegrounds of life and death. As we watched women entering the hospital to kill their babies, many other women were exiting through the same portal carrying their new-born babies, radiant with the hope of new life.

While the city government of Mexico City legalized abortion last year, there has been a constitutional challenge to that illegitimate law. We found out during the pilgrimage that on Friday, April 11th the case will being taken up before the Mexican Supreme Court which will debate the matter and issue its opinion probably some time within the next three months. In other words, Mexico's Roe is on the horizon and the next several months will be a matter of life and death for Mexican babies and perhaps all of Latin America.

We can only entrust this additional most urgent prayer intention to all of our readers. Please pray, in the Name of Jesus, that the Mexican Supreme Court will overturn this cruel and inhumane law and re-establish constitutional protection for all unborn children in the land of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Our Mexican pro-life friends are working hard on the front lines of this battle here in Mexico, and they need all of our prayers. Please join me and the whole HLI family in keeping this intention on the top of our prayer list in the next few months.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

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