Friday, July 29, 2011

Today on Kresta - July 29, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 29

Live from the Napa Institute Conference in Napa, CA

Today we broadcast from the first Napa Institute Conference whose goal it is to promote excellence in Catholic thought and apologetics. Today we talk with Archbishop Alexander Brunett on Living ‘Charity in Truth’ in an age of Secular Humanism, Archbishop Jose Gomez about Immigrants and Catholic Evangelization, Dr. Tim Gray on A Catholic Vision of Immigration, Mother Regina Marie about the state of women religious in the US and Tim Busch about his vision for this Institute.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

North Carolina lower house overrides abortion bill veto


(Reuters) - The North Carolina House of Representatives narrowly overrode a veto on Tuesday of a bill requiring women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion and be presented with a ultrasound of the fetus.

Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue, the state's first female governor, vetoed the measure on June 27 and reiterated her opposition to the bill on Tuesday.
"The Republicans' social agenda has, with this bill, invaded a woman's life as never before -- by marching straight into her doctor's office and dictating the medical advice and treatment she receives," Perdue said in a statement.
The bill now moves to the state Senate, where it passed in June just one vote shy of the three-fifths majority needed to override the governor's veto.
Should the Senate also override Perdue's veto, the bill would become law 90 days after that vote.
Under the bill, women seeking an abortion must wait 24 hours after requesting an abortion before undergoing the procedure. Women would also have to be advised of the alternatives to abortion and presented with an image of the fetus and a chance to hear its heartbeat.
Carey Pope, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina, said her organization would try to persuade the Senate to uphold the governor's veto but was "not optimistic." Planned Parenthood complained that women don't need "state-scripted" counseling to consent to an abortion.
Republican Representative Ruth Samuelson, the bill's primary sponsor, has defended it as providing crucial information for women who are making a major and irrevocable decision.
Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate with Guttmacher Institute in Washington, said 25 states require counseling before an abortion, but an ultrasound requirement was fairly unusual.
She said several states required an ultrasound image be offered, but not that it be shown. The North Carolina bill requires that the ultrasound image be presented and the sound of the fetal heartbeat be offered, though the woman is free to look away and ignore a simultaneous explanation and medical description of what is on the screen.
"What you're left with is the woman can close her eyes and try to shut her ears," Nash said. She said similar laws face court challenges in Oklahoma and Texas.
According to the latest figures available from the Guttmacher Institute, there were 33,140 abortions in North Carolina in 2008.
Huffington Post:


The nation's Roman Catholic bishops are urging the GOP-led House to reject a cuts-only approach to the budget as Washington tries to avert an unprecedented government default on its multi-trillion-dollar debts.
"A just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons," wrote Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., and Bishop Howard Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., in a Tuesday (July 26) letter to House members.
The bishops said balancing the budget "requires shared sacrifice by all," and called for raising revenues, eliminating unneeded military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.
Blaire heads the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Hubbard the Committee on International Justice and Peace.
The bishops' call for balancing spending cuts with new revenues tends to echo the approach of President Obama and other Democrats.
That stance has been rejected by the House, including Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Budget Committee Chair Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., both of whom are Catholic.
In their two-page letter, the bishops also write that the bill being considered by the House requires "massive cuts" in international assistance to the poor that they find unacceptable.
The bishops say they recognize "the difficult challenges" of getting the nation's financial house in order, but they echo the arguments of many other religious groups by declaring that the budget is a moral document.
"The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first," the bishops said.

Vietnam Rebuts US Criticism Over Jailing of Priest


Vietnam is rejecting U.S. charges that dissident priest Nguyen Van Ly was returned to prison for expressing his opinions.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said Thursday that the ailing Catholic priest was returned to prison Monday on the orders of a provincial court. She noted that Ly had been released on humanitarian grounds to receive medical treatment, but that the release was only temporary.
The U.S. government and human rights groups have criticized the latest arrest, arguing that Ly is still sick and that his original sentence was undeserved. The U.S. State Department said Wednesday that no one should be imprisoned for exercising the right to free speech.
The Vietnamese spokesman rejected that Thursday. She said that in Vietnam, no one is punished for expressing their opinions, only violators of the law are punished.
Father Ly has been a long-time critic of Vietnam's ruling communist government, and was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2007 for his pro-democracy activism. He was granted medical parole last year to receive treatment for a brain tumor and put under house arrest.
The medical parole expired at the end of March, but Ly was not immediately re-arrested. Vietnamese state media said he was re-arrested after he continued anti-government activities, such as criticizing the government's response to a maritime dispute with China.
Ly has spent more than 16 years in jail since the 1970s. He is one of the co-founders of the pro-democracy movement known as “Bloc 8406.”

Archbishop Sambi, US nuncio since early 2006, dies at age 73



BALTIMORE (Catholic News Service) -- Italian Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the Vatican nuncio to the United States, died late July 27 at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore after a hospitalization that began with lung surgery. He was 73.

On July 22, the apostolic nunciature in Washington announced that the archbishop had been "placed on assisted ventilation to attempt recovery of his lung function" two weeks after undergoing "a delicate lung surgery." 

A veteran Vatican diplomat, Archbishop Sambi was appointed as U.S. nuncio, or ambassador, in December 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI. Prior to the U.S. appointment, he had been nuncio to Israel and Cyprus; he was the second Vatican ambassador to Israel, after the Vatican and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1994.

Today on Kresta - July 28, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 28


The Best of "Kresta in the Afternoon"

4:00 - Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War
David French picked up the newspaper in the comfort of his penthouse in Philadelphia, and read about a soldier - father of two - who was wounded in Iraq. Immediately, he was stricken with a question: Why him and not me? This is the story of what happens when a family answers the call to serve their nation. David and Nancy French chronicle not just a soldier at war, but a family at war - a husband in Iraq, a wife and children at home, greeting each day with hope and fear, facing the challenge with determination, tears, and more than a little joy.

4:40 - Providing Spiritual Nourishment to Soldiers on the Front Lines
The Frontline Faith Project delivers compact MP3 players preloaded with spiritual content, especially as it pertains to military service, to members of our armed forces currently deployed or returning from deployment, with special emphasis on injured troops and troops stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The FRONTLINE FAITH Players include an audio rendition of the Mass (Provided By EWTN); various homilies; prayers just for those serving, including a recitation of the Rosary; Christian music; prayers from children; and testimonies from soldiers about the struggles and victories of their faith journeys. We talk with the founder of the project, Cheri Lomonte

5:00 - What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song
As we prepare for the 4th of July weekend, we look at a wonderfully rich anthology which uses the soul-shaping power of story, speech, and song to help Americans realize more deeply-and appreciate more fully-who they are as citizens of the United States. What So Proudly We Hail features dozens of selections on American identity, character, and civic life by our country's greatest writers and leaders-from Mark Twain to John Updike, from George Washington to Theodore Roosevelt, from Willa Cather to Flannery O'Connor, from Benjamin Franklin to Martin Luther King Jr., from Francis Scott Key to Irving Berlin. Editor Leon Kass joins us.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Favorable, Yet Telling Profile of John Corapi

In 2007 Stephen Klaidman published “Coronary: A True Story of Medicine Gone Awray.” He offers a journalistic, but favorable, profile of then-Fr. John Corapi who is a central figure in the book. Corapi was awarded over $2.7 million for his role as a whistle-blower in the “False Claims Act Lawsuit” as well as another $500,000 in a case against an insurance company. The book is also a telling look at Corapi’s concerns about living in community and the financial side of his speaking ministry years before the present controversy.


Below is a brief excerpt from page 61 of the book. Click here to read the full 13-page profile of Corapi.

Coprapi: “[In 2003] the website [Corapi set up to sell his DVDs and tapes] had been bringing in over $100,000 at month. It would be $2 million a year in sales very quickly. Someone will figure that out sooner or later, and decide that they want some of it. But they won’t get it.”…

Corapi said that a long time ago he decided not to let himself get backed into a corner where the Church could manipulate him with threats like denying him a pension or a home or an assignment.

He worried that it would be a real test of faith for him if the Church asked him to go live in a monastery and give up his worldly goods. “Hopefully I would do it,” he said years later, with an inflection in his voice suggesting he might not. When pressed, however, he conceded that he had superiors like everyone else and if they said “You’re finished,” he’d be finished. But when really pushed about what he would do if ordered to turn over his assets, he said he had concluded that because of his status – somewhere between a member of a religious order and a parish priest – canon law was ambiguous on this question.

Christianity Didn't Inspire Norwegian Nut

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

Attempts to brand the Norwegian madman, Anders Behring Breivik, a Christian-inspired terrorist are wholly unpersuasive. Perhaps the most obnoxious piece on this subject was written by Stephen Prothero in his CNN blog: he actually thinks that "Christians have a responsibility to speak out forcefully against [Breivik], and to look hard at resources in the Christian tradition that can be used to such murderous ends." It is telling that he does not direct us to repair to the teachings of Jesus, when, of course, we would have no problem directing him to Muhammad's appeals to violence. If he expects a mea culpa from me, he should brace himself for disappointment.

Similarly inane is the religiondispatches.com column by Mark Juergensmeyer. "If bin Laden is a Muslim terrorist," he writes, "Breivik and [Timothy] McVeigh are surely Christian ones." Wrong. McVeigh was a self-described agnostic who boasted, "Science is my religion." Breivik said he strongly rejects the teachings of Christianity and held that the religion of his upbringing, Protestantism, was "a joke." His affiliation with Christianity was purely cultural: he opposed the ideology of multiculturalism that has overwhelmed Europe. So do the leaders of Britain, France and Germany. The famous Italian journalist, Oriana Fallaci, went to her deathbed fighting the incursions that militant Islam was making in Europe, and she was an atheist.

Susan Brooks Thislethwaite and Sally Quinn both engage in moral equivalency by associating radical Christianity with radical Islam. They fail to distinguish between the handful of Christians who murder—none of whom ever cite Jesus—and the legions of Muslims who murder, habitually invoking Muhammad. The ringleader of 9/11, Mohamed Atta, told his colleagues how to proceed: "Seconds before the target, your last words should be there is no God but Allah. Muhammad is his messenger." There is no Christian analogue.

We now know that Breivik was "high on drugs" when he struck. No word yet on what those who want to blame Christianity for his actions were on.

Today on Kresta - July 27, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 27

4:00 – Business for the Common Good: A Christian Vision for the Marketplace
Is business just a way to make money? Or can the marketplace a venue for service to others? Scott Rae is here to explore this and other critical business issues from a uniquely Christian perspective, offering up a vision for work and service that is theologically grounded and practically oriented.

4:40 - Faith Without Illusions: Following Jesus as a Cynic-Saint
Call it burnout. Call it enlightenment. Call it whatever you like--it's plaguing the contemporary church. Andrew Byers calls it cynicism--the state we all too easily arrive at after passing through disillusionment. Too many saints in the making are having their wings clipped in this painful process. But wait--there's hope. Disillusionment is, at its heart, the dispersal of illusions, pointing us toward what's really real--a great cloud of hopeful realists who have gone before us and welcome us into their number. There is a way beyond cynicism, and if we follow Jesus through it, we'll find faith and life at their fullest.

5:00 – The Future of Catholic Press in America
Veteran journalist Greg Erlandson, president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, has been elected president of the Catholic Press Association. The Association just held its annual Convention in Pittsburgh last week and Greg is here to discuss the future of the Catholic Press in America.

5:20 – The Four Causes of the US Financial Crisis
Over the last 6-9 months we have conducted a series intended to fully explore the practical, political, moral and philosophical underpinnings of the financial meltdown of 2008. Our guide has been Dr. Max Torres and each segment we used, as a base of discussion, one book written on an aspect of the financial crisis. Today, we wrap up the series with a look at the 4 main causes of the US financial crisis – lessons learned and not learned from the evens of 2008.

Thomas More Law Center’s Challenge to Obamacare First to Reach the U.S. Supreme Court After Appellate Court Decision

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced this morning that it has filed a petition in the U. S. Supreme Court, asking the highest court in the land to review its constitutional challenge to Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The Law Center’s petition, coauthored by attorney David Yerushalmi, is the first to reach the U. S. Supreme Court following a decision by an appellate court.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was the first appellate court to reach a decision on whether the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to force private citizens to purchase healthcare insurance under penalty of federal law. In a divided opinion, the Sixth Circuit held that it did.

The Law Center’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari claims, “Review is necessary to establish a meaningful limitation on congressional power under the Commerce Clause.” In the Petition, the Law Center warned, “If the Act [Obamacare] is understood to fall within Congress’s Commerce Clause authority, the federal government will have absolute and unfettered power to create complex regulatory schemes to fix every perceived problem imaginable and to do so by ordering private citizens to engage in affirmative acts, under penalty of law…”

The Law Center’s case, Thomas More Law Center v. Barack Hussein Obama, was the first case filed in federal court to challenge Obamacare.

On June 29, 2011, in a split 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare. Judge Boyce Martin, a Carter appointee and Judge Jeffrey Sutton, a George W. Bush appointee, upheld the individual mandate of the Act under Congress’s Commerce Clause power. Judge James Graham, a Reagan appointee, dissented.

However, both Judge Sutton and Judge Graham agreed that the Supreme Court needed to address the limits of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause. Judge Graham wrote, “I believe the [Supreme] Court remains committed to the path laid down by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas to establish a framework of meaningful limitations on congressional power under the Commerce Clause. The current case is an opportunity to prove it so.” And Judge Sutton noted that the Supreme Court should “either stop saying that a meaningful limit on Congress’s commerce powers exists or prove that it is so.”

In his strongly worded dissent, Judge James Graham reflected the Law Center’s primary concern and the reason it brought this case in the first instance: “If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress’s Commerce Clause authority would be. What aspect of human activity would escape federal power? . . . To approve the exercise of power would arm Congress with the authority to force individuals to do whatever it sees fit. . . .”

The government will now have 30 days to file a response, and the Law Center will have approximately 10 days to file a reply. The case will then be submitted to a conference for a decision by the Justices as to whether the petition should be granted. If granted, the case will in all likelihood be briefed, argued, and decided in this upcoming term, with a decision rendered prior to the Court recessing next summer.

Click Here to Read the Law Center’s Entire Petition for Writ of Certiorari.

Gay couple asked to reverse shirt at Dollywood

"Families come in a wide range of definitions these days and we were with our family."

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)

A lesbian couple is asking for changes at Dollywood after an employee asked one of the women to turn her T-shirt reading "marriage is so gay" inside-out to avoid offending others on a recent visit to the Tennessee theme park complex.

Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton said Tuesday they want the park to be more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families after Odom was asked to reverse her shirt when they visited Dollywood Splash Country next to the Pigeon Forge amusement park. The story was first reported by WBIR-TV in Knoxville.

Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens said on Tuesday that Dollywood is open to all families, but their dress code policy is to ask people with clothing or tattoos that could be considered offensive to change clothes or cover up.

Owens said the couple was not asked to leave and complied with the rules to reverse the shirt when asked.

"The park is open every day to everybody," Owens said. "We try to provide an environment for families of all shapes and sizes to enjoy themselves.

Owens said park officials were discussing the matter and would speak with the couple directly.

Odom said that they visited the water park July 9 with friends and their friends' two children when she was asked by a person at the front gate to turn her shirt inside out because it was a family park.

Odom said she complied so as not to make a scene in front of the children, but felt offended.

"That's what we found so offensive — that he said it was a family park," Tipton said. "Families come in a wide range of definitions these days and we were with our family."

The two said they felt they needed to file a complaint with Dollywood because they believed it was important to stand up for their beliefs in marriage equality.

"If marriage equality is going to happen, it's not going to happen if people sit at home quietly," Odom said.

Odom said they understand the park can have dress code policies, but she felt Dollywood needed to make their policies clear and provide better training for employees when determining what is considered offensive.

Odom and Tipton are not legally married, but held a ceremony last year in North Carolina. They wrote an email to the park asking the park "to implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families."

Owens said the couple's complaints have sparked discussion at the park about the dress code, a policy that park employees deal with frequently because of the thousands of visitors every year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Outrage of the Day - NBC News’ Latest Hire Vowed Not to Criticize Obama Over Anything

Recently ousted NBC News host Cenk Uygur tells CNN's Howard Kurtz why he thinks he was replaced by Rev. Al Sharpton. You can write-off Uygar's criticism as sour grapes, but after watching Sharpton's appearance a few months ago on 60 Minutes it is remarkable to think that NBC News has hired him to host a political show as President Obama enters his re-election campaign.


CNN Host - Not Commentator - Gushes of Gay "Marriage" in NYC

Openly-gay CNN anchor Don Lemon, who told HLN's Joy Behar back in May that he would try to be objective on the gay rights debate, devoted much of Sunday's 6 p.m. EDT news hour to the same-sex marriages in New York. He gushed over the weddings being conducted and capped off the hour with live coverage of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg marrying two of his male aides.


Cartoon of the Day - Norway killings

Catholic Church is Booming

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on new survey data profiling Catholicism:

All we ever hear from the wild-eyed critics of the Catholic Church, including the dissidents within, is that the Church had better "get with it" and change its teachings on abortion, homosexuality and women's ordination. Yet it is precisely those religious institutions that are the most liberal on these issues—the mainline Protestant denominations—that are collapsing. Not so the Catholic Church. Indeed, its numbers are going north while the mainline denominations are going south.

The latest findings by the "Emerging Models of Pastoral Leadership" project, a collaborative effort with Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, are illuminating. In the last 40 years, the Catholic population has increased by 75 percent; it has grown by 50 percent since 1990. More important, Catholic attendance at Mass is up 15 percent since 2000. And in the last five years, contributions have increased by 14 percent. It is also important to note that there has been a 40 percent increase in Latinos in the Church over the past five years.

Shedding more light on the statistics is a study released a few months ago by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion. Its "Landscape Survey" found that of those Catholics who have left the Church, roughly half became unaffiliated while the other half became Protestant. Regarding the latter half, only 23 percent did so because of the Church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality; only 16 percent left because of the way women are treated. Importantly, two-thirds of these Catholics elected to join a Protestant evangelical church.

In other words, disaffected Catholics who left for another religion opted to join a more conservative church. That they did not run down the block in search of a mainline denomination—one that entertains the liberal agenda on issues governing sexuality and women—is telling.

It's time some people took a hard look at the data and made some hard choices. This is great news for the Catholic Church.

Today on Kresta - July 26, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 26

4:00 – Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture
A variety of perspectives exist within the Christian community when it comes to political issues and political involvement. Wayne Grudem is here to present a political philosophy from the perspective that the Gospel pertains to all of life so Christians should be involved in political issues. In brief, this is an analysis of conservative and liberal plans to do good for the nation, evaluated in light of the Bible and common sense.

5:00 – Anders Breivik and his “Re-Founding” of the Knights Templar
In his 1,500-page "manifesto", Anders Behring Breivik described attending a meeting in which he helped “re-found” the Knights Templar in London in 2002 and wrote that his “assigned mentor” was “referred to as Richard (the Lionhearted).” He said he had a “relatively close relationship” with the Englishman, who first described the concept of the “perfect knight”. Sandra Miesel, medieval historian and expert on the Knights Templar, joins us.

5:20 – Feast of St. Ann – Patroness of the Archdiocese of Detroit
We check in today with Archbishop Allen Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit for our monthly discussion. The Archdiocese recently named St. Ann as its patroness and today is her feast. We talk with the Archbishop about why St. Ann as a patroness and we also talk about Cardinal Edmund Szoka’s 40th Anniversary of Episcopal Ordination.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cartoon of the Day - Can't happen

Program Offers Cash Incentives To Live In Downtown Detroit

CBS Detroit:


DETROIT (WWJ) – Employees of five downtown-based companies are being given financial incentives to live where they work. DTE Energy’s Paul Hillegonds says the trend is already there, with a number of young professionals and creative types hanging their hat in downtown Detroit lofts and apartments.

Now, the plan is to create greater density in surrounding neighborhoods, but not just for the younger set.

“We have a number of probably empty-nesters, but also a number of retirements ahead with younger people who will be coming to work in Detroit at DTE headquarters,”  Hillegonds told WWJ Newsradio 950's Ron Dewey. “And I think we’re going to see growing interest in living in Detroit,” he said.

Blue cross Blue Shield President CEO Dan Leopp thinks the program will work. “Our first application came in via email at 10 a.m., and we’ve already gotten about a half-a-dozen phone calls. So, I think clearly I believe the demand is there,” Leopp said.

Blue Cross is offering incentives to their 16,000  employees to buy or rent downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. It’s a seed program to attract more development and more people to the city.

In the five-year, $4 million “Live Downtown” program, first-time home buyers will get a $20,000 forgivable loan. Renters will get a $2,500 first year allowance, and $1,000 the following year. Employees who already own a home in the city will be given up to a $5,000 grant for exterior improvements. “Everything is market, and if you’ve got bodies and you’ve got volume, it’s gonna attract business, it’s gonna attract retail. You’ve gotta have that density and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Loepp said.

Other companies taking part are Compuware, Quicken Loans and Strategic Staffing Solutions.

California diocese offers $50M for Crystal Cathedral

The Diocese of Orange has offered $50 million to purchase Crystal Cathedral, the 3,000-seat Protestant church built by televangelist Robert Schuller. (Pictured here) Below is a statement by Orange Bishop Tod Brown. What do you think of this plan?


Continuing the lay-inspired effort to seek a pragmatic alternative to construction of a new cathedral, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has submitted a formal bid for the Crystal Cathedral, adjacent campus property, buildings and memorial grounds. The all-cash offer to purchase has been presented to Crystal Cathedral Ministries (CCM) Counsel and CCM Board of Directors.

"Regardless of the final outcome, this offer and its enabling process are important developments in the history of the Diocese of Orange. The vision, skills and eloquence of the many lay advisors I rely upon for counsel have resulted in a bid that respects the legacy Rev. Schuller worked so hard to establish. Our offer also clearly accommodates future diocesan needs for a cathedral and modern administrative campus," said The Most Reverend Bishop of Orange, Tod D. Brown.

Following review of the offer by the CCM Board of Directors, the diocesan plan would be presented to the Committee of Creditors and the Bankruptcy Court. The offer is straightforward and would provide creditors maximum relief in the shortest possible time. If the proposal is accepted, creditors could see resolution within the year and possibly sooner.

The $50 Million cash offer calls for an immediate deposit of $250,000 and a secondary payment of $750,000 once certain achievements have been recorded. Should CCM elect to maintain an active ministry and utilize some campus assets for an interim period following acceptance of the diocese offer, a lease-back provision at below market rates would be available to CCM. As shared use of the CCM property would eventually terminate, the diocese offer further specifies an option to facilitate relocation of some CCM religious, educational and administrative departments to a nearby diocesan venue. With the diocese’s own long term cemetery experience, a specific provision provides for excellent ongoing care of the Memorial Garden and ancillary interment sites.

Should the Diocese offer be accepted by the CCM Board, creditors and the court, resolution could be completed by year-end. During that time, the Diocese would attend to the many necessary steps required to consecrate the buildings and property for use as a Catholic cathedral and worship site, move key diocesan operations to the Garden Grove campus and assist CCM with the possible relocation of some CCM activities to a diocesan venue also located in Garden Grove.
“When I first heard of their financial difficulties, I was distressed. Crystal Cathedral Ministries has been a valued religious resource for many, many years in Orange County and, through the Hour of Power, around the globe. Like our own Mission San Juan Capistrano, its historic and cultural links are important to Orange County. Under this plan, we hope that that ministry can continue. Dr. Schuller built up this ministry from the humble roof of a drive-in snack stand, and that constant faith in God’s providence, I believe, will sustain their community through these current trials. The Crystal Cathedral underscores the vitality of faith in our modern society and with our offer we will enable this beacon of faith to continue to influence others as an important place of worship," Bishop Brown concluded.

China scolds Vatican for 'rude' response to illicit ordinations

The Chinese government's ministry of religious affairs has denounced the Vatican for an "extremely unreasonable and rude" reaction to the illicit ordination of new bishops by the Catholic Patriotic Association.

In a statement marked by its patronizing language, the Chinese government said that the priests who had been ordained as bishops were “devout in their faith, their integrity and competence,” and the Vatican had hurt the feelings of many Chinese Catholics by refusing to accept the new bishops’ authority. “The majority of priests and believers will more resolutely choose the path of independently selecting and ordaining bishops,” the government insisted.

(Father Bernardo Cervellera of the AsiaNews service remarked that “it is somewhat curious that two of the priests of Catholic Church should need a license in orthodoxy from an association composed of atheist secretaries, led by an atheist Party!”)

The government statement contained what appeared to be a demand: that the Vatican must rescind the “so-called excommunications” of the illicitly ordained bishops in order to allow progress in relations between Beijing and Rome. The Chinese government has previously said that diplomatic relations will be possible only if the Vatican breaks off ties with the government of Taiwan and pledges not to “interfere” in the internal matters of the Chinese Catholic Church.

Vatican recalls nuncio from Ireland

The apostolic nuncio in Ireland has been recalled to Rome for consultations, after a week in which Irish political leaders denounced the Vatican and the Catholic hierarchy.

The Vatican announced on July 25 that Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza had been recalled, in reaction to the July 13 release of the Cloyne report "and in particular in the wake of the subsequent reactions"--a clear reference to angry public statements by Irish leaders including Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny.

Father Ciro Benedettini, the deputy director of the Vatican press office, told reporters in Rome that the unusual move should be understood as a sign of "the seriousness of the situation, and the desire of the Holy See to deal with it objectively and with determination, as well as a certain note of surprise and regret regarding some excessive reactions."

In Rome, Archbishop Leanza will join other Vatican officials in crafting the Vatican's response to the Cloyne report and to the hostile public statements from Irish government officials.

Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore said that the government would await the Vatican response, declining to comment on the recalling of the papal representative. Immediately after the release of the Cloyne report, Gilmore had summoned Archbishop Leanza to deliver an official expression of the government's displeasure with the Church's handling of sex-abuse complaints.

In a related development, a report in Dublin's Sunday Business Post revealed that in the 1990s the Irish government had considered, but rejected, a proposal to require mandatory reporting of sex-abuse complaints. The government is now vilifying Church leaders who did not report such complaints to law-enforcement officials. But the Cloyne report itself notes that such reports were not required by law. In fact, the Cloyne report stated:
The commission recognises that the church guidelines were far more stringent that those adopted by the State in that they required that all allegations against priests operating in a diocese be reported to the health authorities as well as to the gardaĆ­.

Vatican recalls envoy to Ireland over priest abuse scandal

(CNN) -- The Vatican on Monday recalled its envoy to Ireland in the wake of a blistering report accusing church leaders of covering up extensive papal abuse of young people.
Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza was recalled to Rome "for consultations with the (Vatican) Secretariat of State," the official Vatican Information Service said in citing a statement from the Roman Catholic Church's leadership.
The move came in reaction to this month's release of the Cloyne report about "allegations of abuse of minors by clergy ... and, in particular, in the wake of subsequent reactions."
Released July 13, the 421-page report into abuses in the diocese of Cloyne -- near the southern city of Cork -- demolished claims by the Catholic Church in Ireland that policies it put in place in 1996 had enabled it to get a handle on the problem. It details how complaints against 19 clerics in the diocese were dealt with between 1996 and 2009.
It also accused Bishop John Magee, who was responsible for policing abuse in his diocese, of not backing the policy himself and failing to take action against abusers.
The Vatican last week had promised action, with the Rev. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See press office, saying in a statement the church "will respond appropriately." He added the Vatican's aim is to promote the protection of children and restore "an atmosphere of trust and collaboration in the Church and in society."
His comments came days after Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched a stinging attack. He claimed that the Cloyne report exposed the Vatican as seeking to frustrate an inquiry into child sex abuse for its own benefit, even after the scandal blew up worldwide.
On listening to the evidence of humiliation and betrayal, Kenny said, "The Vatican's reaction was to parse and analyze it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer ... this calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded."
The report exposed "a tale of a frankly brazen disregard for protecting children," the prime minister added, as he praised the courage of the victims of abuse who had spoken out to investigators.
Lombardi responded in a statement saying some criticisms of the Vatican went too far and "demonstrate little awareness of what the Holy See has actually done over the years to help effectively address the problem."
One point of contention is a 1997 letter from the Vatican's envoy to Ireland that warns bishops to follow church law while investigating cases of suspected child sex abuse by priests. The envoy expresses "serious reservations" about requiring that such cases be reported to the police.
That letter, since being revealed recently, has stoked harsh criticism in Ireland. Numerous Irish victims of sexual abuse, for example, wrote collectively in January that they are "disgusted" by the message.
The Vatican, in turn, has called the letter "deeply misunderstood."

Pope condemns violence and Oslo killings

Today on Kresta - July 25, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 25

4:00 – Zimbabwe’s “Surprising” AIDS Success
The earnestness with which the worldwide media scrutinizes Church statements about AIDS can only mean that they are deeply interested in promoting what has been most responsible for major reductions in its prevalence. Right? Then why haven’t you heard about the plunging prevalence of AIDS in Zimbabwe? It dropped almost in half, from an astonishing 29 percent of all adults nationwide in 1997 to 16 percent in 2007, according to an important study published in February. The study was briefly summarized by the New York Times, but its findings generated little buzz because the decline did not occur the way it is supposed to. We talk to Matt Hanley, author of Avoiding Risk, Affirming Life: Science, Love, and AIDS about this “surprising” success.

4:20 – Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age
We live in a politicized time. Culture wars and increasingly partisan conflicts have reduced public discourse to shouting matches between ideologues. But rather than merely bemoaning the vulgarity and sloganeering of this era, says acclaimed author and editor Gregory Wolfe, we should seek to enrich the language of civil discourse. And the best way to do that, Wolfe believes, is to draw nourishment from the deepest sources of culture: art and religious faith. Gregory is here to make his case.

4:40 – Family Honor
In the 22 years since Family Honor, Inc. was established, the organization has grown to fill the many needs expressed by parents, decision-makers in faith communities, adolescents, young adults, and many other adults who want to do something positive in their own community. In addition to family-centered programming and a college-level course for those who are interested in becoming chastity presenters, they also offer a wider variety of educational resources than ever before. Executive Director Brenda Cerkez is here to explain.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Christians Be Blamed for Oslo Shooting?


5:20 – Oslo Suspect Wrote of Fear of Islam and Plan for War
Shortly before his deadly rampage on July 22, Anders Behring Breivik did something millions of people do today — he checked in one last time with his friends on Facebook. The farewell message he posted was just as much a part of his murderous plan as the carnage he was about to unleash in Oslo. Breivik's final Facebook entry was a massive 1,516-page document and a video link to YouTube. He created the manifesto and the video long before the attacks in order to control what would be said about him in the media after he had committed his slaughter and was free to post no more. He also encouraged his more than 7,000 Facebook friends to use his manifesto as a blueprint for action. We talk with Robert Spencer.

5:40 – TBA

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pope’s brother to reveal previously unknown facts about Benedict XVI

Monsignor Georg Ratzinger will share his experiences as the older brother of Pope Benedict XVI in a new book titled, “My Brother, The Pope.”

The elder Ratzinger, the closest family member to the pontiff, recounted his memories to German writer and historian Michael Hesemann. Hesemann will write the book with previously unknown details about the personality of Pope Benedict XVI.

German publisher Herbig Verlang announced on July 18 that it will print the book.

“My Brother, The Pope,” will hit bookstores in Munich in September, coinciding with Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany set for September 22-25.

The 256-page book will be published first in German and will include the memories of Georg Ratzinger from his earliest age up until today.

Malaysian Muslims object to Christian use of word 'Allah'

Muslim leaders in Malaysia are insisting that Christians must stop using the word “Allah” in reference to the Christian God.

The use of “Allah” as a translation of “God” in the Malay Bible “must be abandoned because it erroneously represents the two religions as equal,” said Mohd Sani Badron, a leading Islamic scholar.

Malaysia’s Catholic newspaper has won a decision in the nation’s supreme court, allowing the use of “Allah” in its pages to refer to God. But the paper is still unable to use that word, because government officials have appealed the decision. Christians explain that “Allah” has been used routinely as a word referring to the Supreme Being—not necessarily the Islamic deity. The renewed dispute comes during the same week when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak met with Pope Benedict XVI and made a commitment to establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican. The Malaysian leader said that his visit to the Vatican shows that although the country is officially Islamic, “we are an inclusive government.” Speaking of the nation’s Christian minority, he said: “We accept them. We can engage with them. We can have dialogue with them because we want to uphold peace in this world.”

Australian priests will defend confessional seal, bishops' spokesman assures

A spokesman for the Australian Catholic bishops’ conference has warned that Catholic priests would not comply with a proposed law requiring them to break the confessional seal—a suggest brought forward by Senator Xenophon as a response to the sex-abuse scandal.

"His proposal does nothing to protect children and flies in the face of a fundamental right of people to practice their religion," said Father Brian Lucas. He said that priests would refuse to comply with the law, noting that priests have “gone to their death” rather than violate the confessional seal.

Related to this story - The Herald Sun report on the topic betrays ignorance of the subject in two ways. First, the headline says that the “Catholic Church won’t give up its secrets” [emphasis added], when it is the secrets of those making confessions that are in question. Second, the report refers twice to “penitence” in contexts when it is obvious the proper word would be “penitent” or “penitent’s.”

Another piece of evidence that most media has no clue on how to report on Church matters. A great example is when the Pope was celebrating Mass on what happened to be Earth Day, there were widespread media reports that the Pope supported Earth Day by wearing green. It was, of course, Ordinary Time in the Church calendar.

China to ordain 7 more bishops

Father Joseph Guo Jincai, who was ordained a bishop in November 2010 without a papal mandate and now serves as vice chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, has announced that seven more bishops will be ordained in China at an unspecified time.

Guo’s announcement follows two illicit episcopal consecrations in recent weeks, both of which prompted strong Vatican statements that announced the automatic excommunications of the illicitly ordained prelates.

Irish analyst: Ireland's prime minister ignores important facts when criticizing the Vatican

Cain: Romney Can’t Win Because He’s a Mormon

Do you agree? Is Romney incapable of winning the South because of his faith tradition?

Cartoon of the Day - By-By Borders

Today on Kresta - July 22, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 22

4:00 – One Question for the Bishops About “Faithful Citizenship” in 2012
Every four years the Catholic bishops publish a document entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” If tradition holds, a new version of “Faithful Citizenship” is due to be approved at the bishops’ annual Baltimore meeting in November. We’re told that no substantial edits are being made to the 2008 version of the document, so that we can expect the 2012 version to be roughly the same as its predecessor. If so, our next guests say this is a problem and needs to be remedied. Deal Hudson and Matt Smith are here to tell us why.

4:20 – The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity
Arguing that many moms have gone overboard in their quest for perfection, Dr. Meg Meeker, pediatrician and mother of four, presents 10 "new habits" that will help moms maintain their passion, purpose, and sanity. Meeker addresses understanding your value as a mother, maintaining key friendships, valuing and practicing faith, saying no to competition, creating a healthier relationship with money, making time for solitude, giving and getting love in healthy ways, finding ways to live simply, letting go of fear, and embracing hope. Meg is with us.

5:00 – Bishop Cistone Makes Pastoral Visit to Ethiopia, Kenya
The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, has returned from a pastoral trip to Ethiopia and Kenya. As a member of the Catholic Relief Services Board of Directors, he was invited to visit several countries where CRS maintains emergency and long-term relief, food and clothing distribution centers and medical facilities. He joins us today to discuss the trip.

5:20 – Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics
Articles like a finger, a lock of hair, a crucifix, a chalice—if such items belonged to a saint, they are considered to be relics and as such are venerated by the Catholic Church. Anyone who thinks that relics are remnants of the Middle Ages should log on to eBay. On any day of the week the online shopper will find a thriving business in the sale of these items, ranging from the dust from the tomb of Christ to splinters of the True Cross to bone fragments of countless holy men and women. In Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics, author Thomas J. Craughwell takes us on an exhilarating journey through the life and death of more than three hundred saints and along the way enlightens us about the sometimes strange bits and pieces that the saints left behind.

5:40 – Pregnancy Center Leader Delighted by Ruling Against NYC Law
In March of this year, New York’s City Council approved a bill that tries to dictate what privately funded, pro-life pregnancy centers say to their clients. The bill demands that pro-life centers insert boilerplate language promoting abortion and contraception into their ads, and even into their conversations with pregnant women. Pro-life leaders charged that the bill violates New Yorkers’ right to free speech, and is designed simply to hamper the operations of pregnancy centers and increase the number of abortions in the city. Last week a federal judge approved a request filed by two pro-life legal groups for the New York pregnancy centers for a temporary injunction against a law. Chris Slattery, founder of Expectant Mother Care in NYC is here to explain this great victory.

5:45 – Judge Rules: Catholic Charities Will Continue to Receive Child for Adoption/Foster Care Services from Illinois State
This Monday, in response to an emergency motion brought by attorneys for Catholic Charities, attorneys for the State of Illinois, Office of the Attorney General, announced in court that the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) would reverse course and resume the referral of new foster care cases to the Charities. After Catholic Charities won a preliminary injunction last week, DCFS responded by ceasing referrals of children in need of foster care and adoption services to the Charities. The Charities' emergency motion presented today sought to clarify that the status quo under the preliminary injunction included the continuation of new referrals. Peter Breen, attorney with the Thomas More Society is here to discuss it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Australian man, convert to Islam, whipped for drinking

A Sydney man who was held down on his bed and whipped up to 40 times by strangers had recently converted to Islam and was reportedly being punished for drinking.

The 31-year-old was asleep in his apartment in Silverwater, in Sydney's west, when he woke to find four bearded men in his bedroom about 1am yesterday.

Three of the intruders restrained him on the bed while the fourth man used a cable to lash him 40 times.

The attack lasted about 30 minutes and left the man covered in welts, the Seven Network reported today.

The man reportedly told police he had only recently converted to Islam and that fundamental Wahabi Muslims were punishing him for having a few drinks with friends.

Members of Sydney's Muslim community have condemned the attack.

"This criminal act has no place in Islam. As Australian Muslims we are required to follow Australian law, not take the law into our own individual hands," Ahmed Kilami, from the Muslim Village, told the Seven Network.

"I hope these guys are caught and face the full force of the law."

The victim has moved out of his home but hopes what happens to him will not distort people's view of his adopted religion, the network said.

Pope's former students to gather for talks on New Evangelization

ACLU sues Vermont Catholic innkeepers who refused lesbian wedding reception

A lesbian couple is suing a Vermont inn, claiming it refused to host their fall wedding reception because of their sexual orientation.

Kate Baker and Ming Linsley filed the suit on Tuesday in Vermont Superior Court, accusing the Wildflower Inn of Lyndonville of abruptly turning them away after learning they are lesbians.

They claim the inn violated Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act, which prohibits inns, hotels, motels and other establishments with five or more rooms from turning away patrons based on sexual orientation. The law makes an exemption for religious organizations.

Twenty-one other states and the District of Columbia have similar laws. Greg Johnson, a law professor at Vermont Law School, said the suit could set a precedent as more states legalize same-sex marriage. Currently, same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, all of which protect gay men and lesbians in their public-accommodations laws.

“I think this case could set an important precedent not only for Vermont but for other states with marriage equality,” Professor Johnson said, noting that lawsuits like this are rare.

The Associated Press describes Jim and Mary O’Reilly, who own the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, as “devout Catholics.”

“We have never refused rooms or dining or employment to gays or lesbians,” the O’Reillys said in a statement. “Many of our guests have been same-sex couples. We welcome and treat all people with respect and dignity. We do not however, feel that we can offer our personal services wholeheartedly to celebrate the marriage between same-sex couples because it goes against everything that we as Catholics believe in.”

Legionaries' #2: I Had No Idea

In an exclusive interview with the National Catholic Register, the embattled Legionaries of Christ congregation’s No. 2 man discusses the founder, the scandal surrounding him and how the Legion is struggling through this period of reform.

by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 07/20/2011

Legionary Father Luis Garza was appointed director of the Legion of Christ’s newly combined North American territory July 15. He had served as the congregation’s vicar general, No. 2 in the congregation’s hierarchy under the general director and founder Father Marcial Maciel from 1992-2005 and Father Alvaro Corcuera from 2005-2011.

Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Father Garza attended the Legion’s primary and secondary schools in Mexico before earning an undergraduate degree in engineering at Stanford University. In Rome, he received licenciates in theology and philosophy and a doctorate in canon law.

Father Garza will oversee the newly combined Atlanta and Thornwood, N.Y., territories into one North American territory. He remains a consultor to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy; he was appointed to that five-year position by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008.

In his role with the once pre-eminent congregation that now faces demands for radical reform in the wake of revelations that for decades Father Maciel led a double life, Father Garza has managed the considerable logistical and personnel challenges generated by the scandal’s impact on the Legion and Regnum Christi.

Throughout the years since the scandal broke, Father Garza and other members of the congregation have been accused of ignoring credible allegations against the founder, while demonizing the victims who came forward over the years.

In a July 19 interview with Register senior editor Joan Frawley Desmond, Father Garza offers a startling portrait of his relationship with Father Maciel. The granting of this interview reflects Legionary efforts to increase transparency but it will likely raise more questions than it resolves. For example, Father Garza says that he didn’t question the founder’s innocence until almost the very end. Also troubling is Father Garza’s revelation that as yet, there has been no investigation to determine who may have known about and thereby been at minimum complicit with Father Maciel in his double life.

When, precisely, did you know about Father Marcial Maciel’s record of sexual abuse?

There had been accusations in the press since the 1990s. The Holy See issued a communiquĆ© in May 2006 that was more shocking. In fact, a month before, the Holy See communicated to us that the founder was found guilty of the charges against him. I didn’t believe that, I am sorry to say.

In June 2006, there was the appearance of a lady with whom Father [Maciel] had a child. At that time, I decided to do an investigation of my own, and by September of that year, I was sure he had fathered a child. Little by little, more evidence came in. By 2008, we had most of the picture.

Some have called for your resignation. Have you offered it?

After the 2005 general chapter [assembly of all members of the congregation], when Father Alvaro Corcuera took Father Maciel’s place, I told him that I was thinking about resigning. Given Father Maciel’s issues, we decided it would be better for me to stay on. Again, in 2009, I presented a letter of resignation to Father Alvaro, and he asked me not to resign during the ongoing investigation and visitation.

When Cardinal [Velasio] De Paolis was appointed the papal delegate, I offered to resign, but he asked me to stay on and help. I told him, “I’m ready whenever you want me to leave my post.” A month ago, the idea about moving to the U.S. came up, and I agreed to go.

Shouldn’t you have known about Father Maciel’s crimes and double life? It’s hard to understand how you and other leaders completely missed or ignored the inevitable red flags.

Continue reading here...

The Year of School Choice—But Not for African-American Kids in NYC

By Dr. John A. Sparks

In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal calls 2011 the “year of school choice.” Parents and the legislators who represent them, particularly in inner-city schools, are tired of waiting for the promised effects of “educational reform” on the public schools their children attend. Therefore, according to the Wall Street Journal, in one form or another, 13 states have passed school-choice legislation, and similar changes are proposed in 28 other states. Such legislation often permits the formation of publicly financed “charter schools,” which are run by new schools boards whose members insist upon an educational environment that will produce real learning.

Despite progress in many places, New York City children, many of them African-American, may not be able to return to charters or start in them anew in the fall due to a lawsuit instituted against the NYC’s Department of Education by what would seem to be a tragically ironic twosome: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

One would certainly assume that NYC’s charter program—which would allow parents to withdraw their children from the 22 poor public schools in New York and move them to effective charter or other schools—would be eagerly supported by the NAACP and the UFT. After all, these are schools deemed (by pre-established criteria) to be “failing.” But that is not the case. Why?

Perhaps one could understand the UFT, long an ideological champion of public schools, no matter how poorly they perform, engaging in such a suit, but why the NAACP, in light of its announced commitment to black and Latino youths and their parents? Here is a case where political/ideological dedication to the public-school monopoly is stronger than loyalty to the very people which the NAACP is pledged to help.

Fortunately, NYC parents with children attending or about to enter charter schools in the fall are not committed to this ideological blindness. They simply want the good schooling for their children that educational choice provides, and they are speaking out. Akeisha Adams, who has a child in Explore Charter School, recently spoke to a group of outraged parents in front of UTF headquarters. Her message was short and sweet to the UTF. “The UTF’s power just keeps growing and growing and growing, right? Now, that is what the teachers’ union is used to. They’re used to children and parents making sacrifices so the teacher’s union can keep its strong hold on public education. Guess what? We are here to tell them today, ‘no more!’”

The same could be said to the NAACP. How can an organization supposedly committed to helping blacks and other minority groups climb the educational ladder file a lawsuit to obstruct educational opportunities for what amounts to 7,000 of New York’s most disadvantaged kids? Black parents have a right to be perplexed, frustrated, and outraged by such a stance.

The Economist reports that another parent, Ny Whittaker, whose child attends a Harlem charter school, summarized it well: the “NAACP is on the wrong side of history.”

Precisely so, and the disgraceful stance of the NAACP and the UTF should be reassessed by its leaders. As a banner at a recent rally read: “UFT your lawsuit hurts my child.”

Dr. John A. Sparks is dean of the Calderwood School of Arts & Letters at Grove City College (Grove City, PA), where he teaches U.S. constitutional history and business law.

Gay Marriage and Religious Rights

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

The right of homosexuals to marry in New York begins on Sunday, and already the religious rights of those who conscientiously object are being threatened. The threats come from two New York public officials, both of whom identify themselves as Catholic: Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

When Cuomo was recently asked about the right of clerks, invoking their religious rights, not to issue marriage licenses to gays, he said, "The law is the law. You enforce the law as is; you don't get to pick and choose those laws." (Ironically, this could be read as an indictment of President Obama: he is under oath to enforce federal legislation, yet he manifestly refuses to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.)

Rice is even bolder. She has put clerks on notice: either grant homosexuals marriage licenses or else. In a letter she wrote to municipal clerks, she warned that not complying "may constitute official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor."

Cuomo and Rice are so committed to gay rights that they have little interest in religious liberty, even as defined by New York State law. Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer enthusiastically signed a law extending religious rights in the workplace, one that went beyond the "reasonable accommodation" provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Indeed, under New York State law, the onus is on the employer to show that it would cause "undue hardship" if an employee were to exercise his "sincerely held" religious beliefs.

Now it is fatuous to say that it would cause an "undue hardship" in the workplace if clerks, and deputy clerks, who do not have an issue with giving marriage licenses to homosexuals handled these matters for those who do. It cannot be said too strongly: Bullying those who have religious objections is despicable.

There is an obvious hole in New York's gay marriage law: religious exemptions need to be extended to lay people, not just the clergy.

Cartoon of the Day - Heat Wave

Today on Kresta - July 21, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 21

Guest Host: Steve Ray

4:00 – Archaeology and the Historical Jesus
Modern droughts have revealed harbors from Jesus’ time. Early 19th-century explorers, searching for places where Jesus had walked, attempted to locate the ancient harbors of the Sea of Galilee but failed. Now, after 25 years of searching and researching, they have been found. We talk to Fr. Eamon Kelly about the Magdala Project, an effort to promote this type of archaeology in the Middle East to uncover the Historical Jesus!

4:30 – Catholic Scripture Study
Catholic Scripture Study (CSS) is ideal for any parish or group looking for an inspiring Bible study that is completely faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The study commentaries are written by leading Scripture scholars and authors, and each study contains references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, and writings of the early Church Fathers and the saints. Additional resources are available to study leaders and students on the CSS Program Website, including an Ask the Author forum, as well as maps, pictures, and articles. The full-length program includes lectures on DVD that accompany each week's lesson. The lectures are given by Catholic priests. Best of all, because the program and Study Leader Kit provides all the tools, one need not be an experienced catechist to implement and lead a CSS class. Any lay person can establish this truly life-changing program in their parish or community. Founder Gail Buckley joins us.

5:00 – The Catholic Church in England & India
Almost 14 years ago the world, but especially Indians, lined the streets to honor Mother Teresa upon her death and her state funeral procession. In recent years her sisters, the Missionaries of Charity, encounter a rather different crowd. Threats, mobs, attacks, intimidation and Hindu nationalists threatening violence against the religious sisters who run orphanages. Sarat Fernandes is her to look at the Church in India.

5:30 – Biblical Archaeology and the Truth of Scripture
Jim Anderson is a former Methodist and Lutheran seminarian – now a Roman Catholic. He grew up in a nominally Evangelical United Brethren (later United Methodist) family and came to believe that Catholics are Christianized pagans who worship statues of Mary. He is now a convert and director of membership at the Coming Home Network. He is with us to talk a bit about his journey and the truth of Scripture.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Today on Kresta - July 20, 2011

Talking about the "things that matter most" on July 20

4:00 – Catholic Biblical School
The Catholic Biblical School offers adults a four-year course of study of Sacred Scripture in accord with the teachings of the Church and with reference to its application to contemporary life. Every book of the Bible is covered. The goal of the Catholic Biblical School is to make God's word alive and active in the Church. Started in the Archdiocese of Denver, it is now in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Peter Williamson and Deacon Jack Gardiner are here to discuss it.

4:20 – Clouds of Witnesses: Christian Voices from Africa and Asia
As Africa and Asia take their place as the new Christian heartlands, a new and robust company of saints is coming into view. In seventeen inspiring narratives Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom introduce pivotal Christian leaders in Africa and Asia who had tenacious faith in the midst of deprivation, suffering and conflict. Spanning a century, from the 1880s to the 1980s, their stories demonstrate the vitality of the Christian faith in a diversity of contexts. The book is Clouds of Witnesses and Carolyn joins us.

4:40 – Winnie the Pooh / Harry Potter / Zookeeper
Catholic Film Critic Steven Greydanus is here to review some recent films including the new “Winnie the Pooh”, Kevin James’ latest flick “Zookeeper,” and the final installment of the Harry Potter series “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”

5:00 – Gay “Welcoming” Mass Takes Place at Boston Parish
It made headlines last month when it was scheduled – then postponed - but the controversial “Rainbow Mass” finally happened on July 10 at St. Cecilia’s Parish in the Archdiocese of Boston. St. Cecilia’s congregation has a large gay and lesbian population, many of whom arrived after the South End’s predominantly gay Jesuit Urban Center closed in 2007, parishioners said. Almost 200 members of St. Cecilia’s are active in its Rainbow Ministry, which hosts events for members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Al has some comments.

5:30 – Mandate for Birth Control, Sterilization in Private Health Plans?
The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine has recommended that certain forms of birth control should be among the mandated services offered in basic health insurance plans under the new health care reform law. The recommendations were made to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and have not yet been approved by the government. Cardinal DiNardo, chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has issued a statement denouncing some of the provisions as they relate to contraception, sterilization and abortifacients. "I strongly oppose the Institute of Medicine's recommendation today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate coverage of three particular practices in almost all private health plans: surgical sterilization; all FDA-approved birth control (including the IUD, 'morning-after' pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella); and 'education and counseling' promoting these among all 'women of reproductive capacity.'" Richard Doerflinger, director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities is here to discuss this.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Outrageous Statement of the Day

"The Beckhams, and others like London mayor Boris Johnson, are very bad role models with their large families. There's no point in people trying to reduce their carbon emissions and then increasing them 100% by having another child... We need to change the incentives to make the environmental case that one or two children are fine but three or four are just being selfish."

—Simon Ross, chief executive of Optimum Population Trust, speaking in Britain's the Guardian about the birth of soccer star David Beckham's fourth child.

Of weeds and wheat and the troubles of the Church in Ireland

By Phil Lawler July 18, 2011

At Mass yesterday, as I listened to the Gospel reading, my thoughts turned toward the embattled Catholic Church of Ireland. To be sure, the enemy has had some great success there recently, sowing weeds amidst the wheat. And it seems that leading politicians are ready to adopt the same approach that the imprudent workers advocated in St. Matthew’s Gospel: they are eager to uproot the weeds, even if it means tearing up good wheat as well.

The public outrage is both real and reasonable. Church leaders failed to report the sexual abuse of children, and for that they richly deserve all the criticism they are now hearing. But the proposed solutions—which would include requiring priests to violate the confessional seal—would cause more damage, without addressing the real problem.

The problem exposed by the Cloyne report had nothing to do with confessional secrecy. The bishops and other diocesan leaders who covered for clerical abuse did not learn about that abuse in the confessional; they learned about it in their administrative capacities. A law requiring disclosure of child abuse, with the usual exemption for confessional matter, would give prosecutors all the authority they need to bring charges against any diocesan officials who did the same thing in the future.

Many Irish politicians today are ignoring the inconvenient truth that even if prosecutors had known what was happening in the Cloyne diocese in 2005, they might not have been able to bring charges; the law at that time did not provide a handy means for pursuing those who concealed evidence of abuse. So the law was partially at fault, too—and by extension the lawmakers. By all means, tighten the law to allow full prosecution of those who abuse, and all those who enable them. Certainly, demand accountability from Church leaders. But be careful to distinguish between the weeds and the wheat.

Unfortunately—as we American Catholics learned a decade ago—it is difficult to preserve these distinctions at a time when the media are howling for dramatic action, the politicians are eager to oblige, and the bishops themselves sometimes seem more anxious to avoid bad publicity than to serve the real needs of the faithful.