Sunday, December 26, 2010

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

The Holy Family by El Greco (circa 1585)
The Hispanic Society of America

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Blessed Christmas From Our House To Yours

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Another Reason for Me to Despise Mark Cuban ...

... he's meddling in NCAA Division 1-A football by trying to start up a playoff.

My Comments:
Hey, I have an idea, numbnuts. Why don't you focus your efforts on bringing an NBA Championship to Dallas and quit meddling in other sports?

(With owners like Jerry Jones, Tom Hicks, and Mark Cuban fouling the air in the D-FW Metroplex, thank God for Nolan Ryan!!!)


Rachel Campos Duffy: "Being a Mom is the Best Job in the World!"

Rachel Campos-Duffy writes about her recent appearance, along with her husband Congressman-elect Sean Duffy, on "The View":
During my appearance on The View this week, Barbara Walters asked me, "Did you ever think, 'I wish I had a career and I didn't have six kids?"

It was a provocative question, especially since baby #6 was sitting on my lap at the time. I simply responded, "Being a mom is the best job in the world!"

Politico called the answer "diplomatic", and National Review's Kathryn Lopez tweeted that it was "graceful," but I couldn't help being disappointed with my response. Not that it wasn't true – being a mom is the best job in the world - but I felt that a question as culturally loaded as this one deserved a better answer, especially from someone who has written countless columns and an entire book on the subject of at-home motherhood and the sad fact that our culture does little to applaud or elevate this noble calling.

So, if I had it to do over again, what would I say to Barbara? I'd say, "Barbara, I consider it a privilege and a blessing to have six kids and watch them grow up. As fun as it is to be here with you all (and it is!) I wouldn't trade the precious and fleeting time I have home with my kids for anything."

My Comments:
In "my view" (which I consider to be much more authoritative than anything emanating from "The View"), Rachel's answer was perfect. Being a parent IS the best job in the world (the toughest, too).

However, I do agree with the assessments that Rachel was and is being "diplomatic" and "graceful" in her response. I have little tolerance for the bigoted anti-family hags that infest that particular program and their complete disdain for the people and the values that inhabit the vast region of this country between the two coasts. (Even Elizabeth Hasselbeck has finally been cajoled into being "pro-choice" and pro-same-sex marriage.)

Considering that Rachel was, unfortunately, passed over for the role of token conservative on "The View" in favor of Hasselbeck (I mean, they couldn't have an actual articulate conservative woman who was passionate about her views and could strongly defend them against the 3-1 onslaught), she is far more gracious than I would be to the women on that program who have shown nothing but derision over the years toward her faith and her values.

Keep up the good work, Rachel. You DO have the best job in the world.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Mr Duffy Goes to Washington [UPDATED]

Washington Post Profile of Catholic Father of 6 Running for Congress

Rachel Campos-Duffy: "Have We Become Too Casual? Why I Dress My Kids Up for Church"

Catholic Father of 6 Running for Congress Accused by Opponent of Being "Too Busy" With Kids to be Effective Representative

Rachel Campos Duffy: A Real Housewife of Wisconsin

Rachel Living in the Real World; The View Hags, Not So Much [UPDATED]

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Bishop Blair: "Facts Rather Than Fiction" Regarding Pope's Condom Comments

Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair writes in the December 12, 2010 issue of The Catholic Chronicle:
Facts rather than fiction

Written by Bishop Leonard P. Blair
Saturday, 11 December 2010

... As I considered what to write for the December Chronicle, the recent controversy regarding Pope Benedict’s remarks about condoms immediately came to mind. I had to ask myself whether this was really an appropriate topic just before Christmas. However, today we cannot afford to look at Christmas in an overly sentimentalized way, stripping it of its power to change the world through the conversion of human hearts to the truth and love made flesh in Jesus Christ. What Christmas teaches us about life and love embraces every aspect of human existence, including sexuality and the crisis of AIDS, which is a moral crisis as much as a medical one.

In 2009 Pope Benedict made the claim that condom distribution is not helping, and may actually be worsening, the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Now in 2010, he reaffirmed this claim in a recent book interview in which he repeats what he has said in the past, namely, that condoms are not the answer morally or otherwise to the scourge of AIDS.

In the interview the pope also said that the use of a condom by a prostitute with AIDS might represent a first step toward his or her moral awakening, toward a realization that the other person matters. In the context of all that the pope has said and continues to say about AIDS and condoms, there is no basis for asserting that either the pope or the church has changed Catholic teaching. All the pope did was to express a hope that maybe in the hypothetical situation he describes the use of a condom might be the first stirring of a conscience on the long road to conversion.

Let us look at the whole issue of condoms on the basis of facts. After Pope Benedict was roundly condemned, ridiculed and censored for what he said in 2009, the Washington Post published an op-ed piece by Professor Edward Green of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at Harvard University and author of a monumental study on the AIDS situation in Uganda. His op-ed piece, titled “The Pope May Be Right,” provided the following information:

“In 2003, Norman Hearst and Sanny Chen of the University of California conducted a condom effectiveness study for the United Nations’ AIDS program and found no evidence of condoms working as a primary HIV-prevention measure in Africa. UNAIDS quietly disowned the study. (The authors eventually managed to publish their findings in the quarterly Studies in Family Planning.) Since then, major articles in other peer-reviewed journals such as the Lancet, Science and BMJ have confirmed that condoms have not worked as a primary intervention in the population-wide epidemics of Africa. In a 2008 article in Science called ‘Reassessing HIV Prevention,’ 10 AIDS experts concluded that ‘consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level, even after many years of widespread and often aggressive promotion, to produce a measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics of Sub-Saharan Africa.’ ”


As I indicated in a previous article, it is estimated that one in four of the 33 million AIDS patients worldwide is being cared for by the Catholic Church, including almost half of the total treatment efforts in Africa, where two-thirds of those afflicted with AIDS live. In Africa the Catholic Church is tremendously active in the fields of education, medicine and relief efforts. To the cries of those who call out for help in the face of AIDS, the church speaks and acts on the basis of moral and medical truths, not ideologyand fiction.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

2000-Year-Old Glastonbury Thorn Cut Down by Vandals



The Holy Thorn of Glastonbury - a site of pilgrimage for 2000 years - has been cut down by what may be anti-Christian vandals:
Standing proudly on the side of an English hill, its religious roots go back 2,000 years. But a single night of vandalism has left an ancient site of pilgrimage in splinters.

The Holy Thorn Tree of Glastonbury has been chopped down in what is being seen by some as a deliberately anti-Christian act.

A feature of the skyline surrounding the Somerset town, the tree has been visited by thousands retracing the steps said to have been taken by Joseph of Arimathea, who some say was Jesus’ great uncle

According to legend, Saint Joseph travelled to the spot after Christ was crucified, taking with him the Holy Grail of Arthurian folklore.

He is said to have stuck his wooden staff – which had belonged to Jesus – into the ground on Wearyall Hill before he went to sleep. When he awoke it had sprouted into a thorn tree, which became a natural shrine for Christians across Europe.

To add to its sacred status, the tree ‘miraculously’ flowered twice a year – once at Christmas and once at Easter. It survived for hundreds of years before it was chopped down by puritans in the Civil War, but secret cuttings of the original were taken and planted around the town.

It is from one of the new plants that a replacement tree was planted in the original spot over 50 years ago.

Yesterday residents of Glastonbury wept as they surveyed the damage done to the tree on Wednesday night. Katherine Gorbing, curator of the town’s abbey, said: ‘The mindless vandals who have hacked down this tree have struck at the heart of Christianity.

(Hat tip: Creative Minority Report)

My Comments:
For additional background on this holy tree, I recommend The Flowering Hawthorn by Hugh Ross Williamson (published by Neumann Press). See also the links below.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Joanna Bogle on Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury, Once England's Foremost Pilgrim Shrine, Today Linked to New Age (Vatican Radio)

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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Virgin of the Immaculate Conception" by El Greco

Antiphon: I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels.

~ Isaiah 61:10 (Douay-Rheims)

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Public Discourse: “William Brennan and the Creation of a Right to Abortion”

Gregory J. Sullivan writes:
No matter how heavy the theorizing may get, the project of interpreting what is known as the “living” Constitution is nothing more than the dishonest use of the law to reach ideologically pleasing results. This is one of the salient lessons of a new biography of Justice William Brennan, Jr., Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion, by Seth Stern and Stephen Wermiel. This book, though not without flaws, provides a balanced and lucid portrait of this masterly behind-the-scenes law bender whose influence is, alas, alive and well on the current Court.

This biography confirms the most essential point about the internal workings of the Warren Court. Although the Court was nominally under the leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the revolutionary jurisprudence that emanated in such profusion from it was orchestrated by Brennan. Though not a profound thinker, Brennan knew exactly where he wanted the Court to go. He used his considerable charm and shrewd capacity for self-effacement to form the majorities that transformed judicial review into the most potent instrument of liberal social engineering in American government.

Brennan’s interpretive approach was to consider the Constitution a “living” document that should be construed with current, as opposed to original, meaning. When the Constitution lives, judicial discretion is maximized. In one area of law after another, Brennan used this virtually boundless discretion to make his extremely left-wing policy preferences those of the nation—not all at once but carefully, incrementally. It was a revolution in slow motion. Brennan cared very little for the legal reasoning required in a case: whatever his clerks could use to justify the result he wanted and keep a majority together sufficed for him.

Abortion is the classic example of this process...


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The 12 Days of a Large Family Christmas

Check out this video at Faith & Family Live!, which puts all the comments that one large family receives from strangers on their 7 children to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas".

We only have 4 children, and we've received most if not all of the same comments.

(Hat tip: Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report)

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PETA Objects to "Sarah Palin's Alaska"

Palin Eating Tasty Animals:
It was only a matter of time before People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) responded to the fourth installment of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” that aired Sunday night.

In the episode, Palin went hunting in the Alaskan tundra and shot, killed and skinned a caribou with her father and family friend.

On Monday, PopEater printed a statement released by PETA Vice President Dan Mathews, who said, "Sarah seems to think that resorting to violence and blood and guts may lure people into watching her boring show. But the ratings remain as dead as the poor animals she shoots.” The show’s ratings have indeed fallen since its premiere, but with 3.5 million viewers last week, the program is hardly “dead.”

Of course, both the network and Palin knew that an episode about hunting would stir controversy. They had Ted Nugent talking about the merits of hunting on before the show aired, and Palin posted a message about her intolerance of the anti-hunting brigade on her Facebook wall. “Tonight’s hunting episode ‘controversial’?” Palin asked on Sunday. “Really? Unless you’ve never worn leather shoes, sat upon a leather couch or eaten a piece of meat, save your condemnation of tonight’s episode. I remain proudly intolerant of anti-hunting hypocrisy.”

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Hypocritical Malthusian Nonsense: Father of 5, Ted Turner, Wants U.N. to Institute World-Wide 1-Child Policy

The former Mr. Jane Fonda, Ted Turner — father of five — thinks there's too many of thee, but obviously not enough of he:
Climate change and population control can make for a politically explosive mix, as media mogul Ted Turner demonstrated Sunday when he urged world leaders to institute a global one-child policy to save the Earth’s environment.


Mr. Turner – a long-time advocate of population control – said the environmental stress on the Earth requires radical solutions, suggesting countries should follow China’s lead in instituting a one-child policy to reduce global population over time. He added that fertility rights could be sold so that poor people could profit from their decision not to reproduce.

“If we’re going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we’re not going to do it with seven billion people,” Mr. Turner said.

Former Irish president Mary Robinson warned that radical prescriptions for population control would backfire, ensuring that the subject will remain off the agenda of international climate talks.

“If we do it the wrong way, we can divide the world,” Ms. Robinson said. “A lot of people in the climate world could communicate this very badly.”

China boasts that its controversial one-child policy has helped limit emissions growth in that rapidly industrializing country. At the Copenhagen climate summit last year, national planning official Zhao Baige said Chinese population policy has resulted in 400 million fewer births since 1979, with a population that now stands at 1.3 billion. The lower birth rate converts to a reduction of 1.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, Ms. Zhao said.

But critics contend it has not only interfered with reproductive choice, but contributed to high levels of female infanticide and abortions.

My Comments:
"Former Irish president Mary Robinson warned that radical prescriptions for population control would backfire, ensuring that the subject will remain off the agenda of international climate talks."

I believe that's the first time I've ever found myself agreeing with something Mary Robinson said.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Man vs. Nature: the Inhuman Agenda Behind the Fight Against “Climate Change”

What the One-Child Policy Has Wrought

Baby-Hating Malthusian Nonsense Goes Mainstream at Copenhagen

China Begins to "Figure it Out" on Demographics

Obama Culture of Death Update™: President's "Science Czar" Supports Forced Population Control Measures [UPDATED]

UK Government Official Says Having More Than 2 Children "Irresponsible"; Catholics Respond

Rich Leonardi on the "Obnoxiousness" of the Concept of "Carbon Footprints"

Malthusian Nonsense Alert: "Save the Planet — Have Fewer Kids"

Deacon Fournier Reviews Population Controllers

Malthusian Nonsense Alert: Babies a Drag on the Economy, Report Says

Darwin Catholic: "Want Sustainable? Try a Family"

Malthusian Nonsense in the Extreme: "When Should You Die?"

Population Control Movement is "Number One Violator of Human Rights," Author Claims

USAToday Columnist: Religion is Killing the Planet

The Pitter-Patter of Carbon Footprints ...

Cardinal Pell Criticizes Australian Medical Ass'n for Publishing Letter Advocating Carbon Tax on Children

Professor Solves Global Warming: Let’s Tax Reproduction

Global Alarming Update: Focus on So-Called "Carbon Footprint" Anti-Family

Malthusian Nonsense from "Global Warming" Alarmists

Cardinal Pell on Global Warming Alarmists: "Scaremongers" and "Zealots"

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Meet the Catholics in Congress

National Catholic Register lists the Catholics in Congress and ranks them according to their pro-life voting records:
WASHINGTON — Catholics make up about 28% of the members of Congress, compared to 30% when the 111th Congress began. But both figures are higher than the percentage of Catholics in the U.S. population, 24%.

Following is a list of the members of the 112th Congress who refer to themselves as Catholics.

The percentage next to them is their pro-life rating since 1997, as compiled by National Right to Life. Information prior to 1997 was unavailable at press time. They are listed from the highest pro-life rating to the lowest.

Of course, the newly added Catholic members of Congress do not have congressional voting records on life issues thus far.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Digest of Today's Posts (2 December 2010)

  • Ohio State President Apologizes and Makes Donation to Religious Order for Sticking Foot in Mouth About Non-BCS Schools' Football Schedules

  • Vindicated

  • New Music Recommendations for the Season
  • Labels:

    Ohio State President Apologizes and Makes Donation to Religious Order for Sticking Foot in Mouth About Non-BCS Schools' Football Schedules

    Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee says in the future, he will stick to running the university and leave comments about college football to the experts.

    "What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football," he said Wednesday, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

    More than a week ago, Gee said teams in the major conferences such as the Big Ten and SEC are more deserving to play for the BCS national championship because they play tougher competition every week. "We do not play the Little Sisters of the Poor," he said.

    That didn't go over very well at TCU and Boise State, both of which at the time were hoping to turn undefeated seasons into a case for inclusion in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.


    Gee told the Dispatch he has since decided, "I need to keep my mouth closed."

    "I'm very blessed to have the best athletic director and best football coach in the country," Gee said, the newspaper reported. "They run the athletic program and I run the university, and I should have stayed out of there. What I should do is go over to the surgical suites and get my foot extricated from my mouth."

    As for the real Little Sisters of the Poor -- a Roman Catholic women's religious order serving the elderly -- Gee said he had reached out to one of the order's homes in Ohio.

    "I sent a [personal] check to the Mother Superior up there and invited her to a ballgame," he said, according to the report.

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    Or is it "vindifudiated"?

    Either way, Palin was right.

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    New Music Recommendations for the Season

    Every year at this time, I make recommendations for seasonal music appropriate either to Advent, Christmas, or both. You can find past recommendations in the links below. I encourage you to check them out. (You'll notice that there are three ... count 'em ... THREE ... separate posts dedicated to, and a grand total of five ... count 'em ... FIVE ... posts in which I very highly recommend, a CD titled "Tydings Trew". This makes the sixth post in which I do so. If you haven't bought this recording yet, what ARE you waiting for?)

    This year, I would like to suggest a couple of new music offerings that I recently purchased.

    The first is one that my wife, Sarah, is just wild about. She says it is her new favorite recording of holiday music. It is "Welcome Yule: An English Christmas Revels".

    Here is a description of the recording from the Revels website:
    This joyous new holiday CD highlights the best of Revels' most popular English-themed Christmas productions and features stunning music, songs and holiday carols from Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian periods. The Christmas Revels Chorus and Children's Chorus are joined by a host of wind, string and brass instruments in a wide array of festive music for the season. Particularly moving is the thrilling live sound of 1,000 audience members filling Sanders Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with their voices on the peace round, "Dona Nobis Pacem," one of several live cuts found on this new recording. Other live cuts include "The Sussex Mummers' Carol" and The Christmas Revels' iconic signature piece, "The Lord of the Dance."

    Featuring music from this year’s show at Sanders Theatre.


    1. On Christmas Night
    2. Te Deum
    3. All Hail to the Days
    4. The Cries of London
    5. Tomorrow the Fox Will Come to Town
    6. Renaissance Dances
    7. Salutation Carol/Bring Us In Good Ale
    8. In the Bleak Midwinter
    9. The Lord of the Dance
    10. Ther Is No Rose of Swych Vertu
    11. Holly and his Merry Men
    12. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
    13. English Country Dances
    14. While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night
    15. Dona Nobis Pacem
    16. There Shall a Star from Jacob Come Forth
    17. Come and I Will Sing You
    18. Rejoice, Ye Tenants of the Earth
    19. The Sussex Mummers' Carol
    In the past, I have highly recommended other offerings from "The Christmas Revels" collection, and I give their latest recording an even stronger recommendation than I gave to their past efforts.

    Very Highly Recommended (must buy).

    The other new music offering I wish to recommend is "The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols & Ballads for Christmas" by Anonymous 4.

    Here is the product description from
    Back in the studio after a four year hiatus, Anonymous 4 returns with The Cherry Tree, an instant holiday music classic featuring medieval English carols and Anglo-American spiritual songs. It is the eighteenth original recording for the renowned vocal ensemble and their first since 2006's Gloryland, which debuted at number three on the Billboard classical chart. Anonymous 4 has been a perennial presence on Billboard s Top Classical Albums chart and hit number one with their folk-inspired American Angels in 2004. The Cherry Tree is named after the miracle ballad of Joseph and Mary, the earliest text of which survives from a Coventry Play from around 1400. The 'Cherry Tree' story persisted in many forms, making its way into medieval British carols of the mid-15th century and into British and American traditional ballads. In it, Joseph doubts the divine origin of Mary's pregnancy only to hear Jesus speak from within Mary's womb, causing a cherry tree to bend its branches and offer his mother its fruit. The 2011-12 season marks Anonymous 4's 25th anniversary and the group will be on tour in the US this fall.
    You can read more about this recording at the Anonymous 4 website:
    Track List
    1 Prophetarum presignata
    2 Nowel syng we bothe al and som
    3 Alma redemptoris mater
    4 The Shepherd's Star
    5 Newell - Tydings trew
    6 Mervele noght Iosep
    7 Synge we to this mery cumpane
    8 Qui creavit celum
    9 A Virdin Unspotted
    10 Now may we syngyn
    11 Lullay my child - This ender nithgt
    12 Star in the East
    13 Veni redemptor gencium
    14 The Cherry Tree Carol
    15 Salve mater misericodie
    16 Hail mary ful of grace
    17 Bethlehem

    This is the third Christmas recording by Anonymous 4 that I have recommended, having suggested both "On Yoolis Night: Medieval Carols & Motets" and "Wolcum Yule: Celtic and British Songs and Carols" in the past. "The Cherry Tree" definitely surpasses "Wolcum Yule", but no Anonymous 4 recording, in my view, comes close to the transcendant "On Yoolis Night", which , along with Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song", is my choice for music on Christmas Eve at the Anderson household (although I usually get outvoted by those who'd rather hear Gene Autry or Burl Ives sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"). If you can only own one Anonymous 4 Christmas recording, buy "On Yoolis Night".

    But fans of Anonymous 4 will obviously want to own "The Cherry Tree"; and I also recommend this recording for anyone who is interested (as I am) in listening to medieval and renaissance English and early-American Advent and Christmas carols and ballads.

    Highly Recommended (you really should buy).

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Music Review: Sting's If On a Winter's Night

    Tip of the Day: Buy Tydings Trew ... Cheap!

    MUST BUY: A Christmas Recording to Celebrate All 12 Days of Christmas

    Favorite Christmas Music

    Tydings Trew

    Favorite Christmas Recordings

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