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Monday, December 29, 2008

We Survived Having A “Merry Christmas”


Contributor Doug writes: As a practicing Christian, one blessing I appreciated this year leading up to Christmas was the pleasant surprise that wherever I went, I heard and read much more of “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year” than “Happy Holidays.” At last, the battle to preserve Christ in Christmas while also now truly respecting the faiths of others has won some ground, and somehow, we’ve all survived.
The United States is comprised predominantly of Christians. Even many Christians who do not practice their faith, and even non-Christians recognize and/or celebrate “Christmas.” Besides, “Happy Holidays” is as potentially offensive to Jews as it is to Christians. It recognizes no specific holiday, and in fact, pointedly avoids it. If we are in fact trying to avoid giving offense, then it is far more prudent and polite to make an effort to get to know another’s faith and then take the time and thought to extend to that person the far more personal and welcoming greeting appropriate to his or her faith or culture. I have found that both my Christian and Jewish friends and associates alike have responded gratefully to this more direct, respectful, and intimate alternative.
Contrary to popular but erroneous belief, “Happy Holidays” was never intended to be sensitive to the feelings of non-Christians. This agenda has been promulgated and thrust onto us by the secular and particularly anti-Christian group, the American Humanist Association. Various other secularist groups and individuals with a vitriolic agenda against our Savior, His Church, and His birthday have since jumped on the bandwagon and snowballed this agenda right on queue. I have yet to ever hear any protest to the public display of a Menorah anywhere, nor would I ever welcome hearing any such protest. Yet such cannot be said of a publicly displayed Nativity scene. Instead, we Christians are told to take it or leave it with snowmen and so-called “Holiday” trees, whatever they are.
Our much abused and often maligned First Amendment merely states that specifically the Congress shall not make any law respecting the establishment of any religion, such as was the case in Mother England before our Revolution, and ironically, for a quite a long time here in Connecticut after the colonies won their independence. What secularists conveniently forget however, is that the First Amendment also states that Congress shall not ban the free exercise of any religion, which is to say that all religions should be mutually respected.
Political correctness for the myopically misled is as deceptively dangerous as the alluring Sirens of Greek mythology were for the lonely ship captains navigating toward the shallow shoals beneath them. In our obsessive quest for so-called “diversity,” and “equality” we often sidestep our na├»ve but well-intended efforts and only wind up discriminating against a group different from the one we were originally trying to protect. Our Declaration of Independence articulates our correct recognition of our God-granted rights and human dignity that (in the vernacular of that period), all “men” are created equal, and yes, you ladies as well. Yet “affirmative action” equates to quotas limiting opportunities for different types of individuals, and in employment, often while turning a blind eye to qualifications. “Hate crimes” elevate the status of one type of citizen over another by increasing the penalty for a crime that already appears elsewhere in the Penal Code, but for everyone else except for the synthetically special citizens cited. And last but not least, the “Happy Holidays” hyperbole, and all the ridiculous litigation that has sprung from it from municipalities and school boards across the country effectively bans all semblance of Christianity within their purview while giving a wink and a nod to other more favored denominations and trendy causes.
The engraved verbiage on the currency of our nation, a nation founded on Judeo/Christian principles, has it right twice: 1.) “In God we trust,” and 2.) “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for “Out of many, one.” Those ignorant of the true meaning and history of the term, “separation of Church and state” would do well to edify themselves accordingly, and then reflect on what they read on their pocket change. As for those who do know but don’t care, or intentionally manipulate the separation principle to forward their own devious agenda, they should be openly identified, consistently challenged, and zealously chastised.
Lastly, it would behoove all of us to reflect upon the sage poem, “First They Came..” from Martin Niemoller, a Lutheran theologian imprisoned in Hitler’s concentration camps for turning against the Nazi’s. In our “United States,” when we so sanctimoniously and cavalierly justify persecuting one group of people for the perceived and /or contrived sake of another, like blind lemmings for the politically correct cause celebre’, history brutally dictates that we earnestly ask ourselves, “When am I next?”
To all of my fellow citizens, Happy New Year, and may God bless you.

Doug

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

O' Holy Night


Luke 2 The Story of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ
(click the Youtube video to hear "O' Holy Night" while reading the story of Christ's birth.) Merry Christmas Everyone and May God Bless You All!

1 "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."

Friday, December 19, 2008

EWTN's Christmas Program Schedule


NEW! The San Juan Children’s Choir Presents: Siempre Navidad (Always Christmas) This festive concert, with music from around the world, displays the joyful spirit of Christmas in Puerto Rico. (30-minute version: 9 a.m. Dec. 20. 60-minute version: 6 p.m. Dec. 22 and 4 p.m. Dec. 27)

NEW! Catholic University of America Christmas Concert; This annual concert presents a brilliant blend of angelic voices and the wonderful sounds of the Christmas season. (11 p.m. Dec. 23 and 2 p.m. Dec. 25)

NEW! Candles & Carols; This annual Christmas program from Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana features Scriptural lessons and a candle lighting ceremony with more than 200 participants performing in a wide variety of choral and instrumental groups. (8 p.m. Dec. 21 and 6 a.m. Dec. 24)

NEW! The Fowler Sisters Christmas Gift; The four talented daughters of Suzanne Fowler, founder of “The Light Weigh,” present viewers with a musical gift as they celebrate the birth of Christ. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 25 and 2 p.m. Dec. 26)

NEW! The World is Born: Christmas with the Louisville Chorus; The Louisville Chorus celebrates the sounds of the season in this special presentation of Christmas favorites. The choir performs in the historic St. Martin of Tours Church in Louisville, Kentucky. (10 p.m. Dec. 23, 2 p.m. Dec. 27, and 11 a.m. Jan. 1)

NEW! Heralds of the Gospel; In this Christmas special, the Heralds of the Gospel, an International Association of the Pontifical Rite, perform an array of exquisite Christmas music from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama. (5 p.m. Dec. 21, 11 p.m. Dec. 22, 4 a.m. Dec. 26)

Highlights from the Birth of Christ: A Christmas Cantata; Recorded live in Ireland, this inspiring and historic presentation of Andrew T. Miller’s “Birth of Christ” brings together a chorus of singers who powerfully bring the Christmas story to life. (10:30 p.m. Dec. 23, 4 a.m. Dec. 24, and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 27)

Joy of Music: Christmas in Germany; Diane Bish hosts this special celebration from Germany featuring Christmas music from some of the greatest classical composers in history. (2:30 p.m. Dec. 21)

Music for Advent and Christmas; A TV special of Advent and Christmas music from St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Church in Dunmore, Pa. (4 a.m. Dec. 22)

Dana: Our Family Christmas; Join Dana, her family and friends as they present an old-fashioned family Christmas. Hear the meaning of many traditional customs, and gather new ideas for you and your family. (9 a.m. Dec. 24 and 4:30 a.m. Dec. 27)

Cousins in Christ: Family Christmas; Let the Cousins in Christ fill your home with songs celebrating the birth of our Savior, as they share with you a collection of favorite Christmas songs, including “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger,” “O Holy Night,” “Joy to the World,” and many others. It’s a musical family celebration you don’t want to miss. (2 a.m. Dec. 24 and 9 p.m. Dec. 25)

In Concert: Bach’s Christmas Oratorio; Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is performed by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, performed in the historic Weimar Herder Church in Weimar, Germany. (3 a.m. Dec. 21)

The Great Mr. Handel; This classic film reveals how the great composer Georg Friedrich Handel rose above the personal anguish and difficulties in his life to create the sublime musical composition, “The Messiah.” (8 p.m. Dec. 20)

Father Rutler: Stories of Hymns (O Come, O Come Emmanuel) Father George Rutler reflects on the hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and shows how the coming of Christ destroys our fears about the past and the future. (11 a.m. Dec. 22)


Want to learn something about Christmas that will increase your faith? Check out these programs:

NEW! The Star of Bethlehem; From “The Passion of the Christ” Producer Stephen McEveety comes a documentary that proves the existence of the Star of Bethlehem, whose existence has been debated for centuries by historians, scientists and scholars.“Either they believe the Star is true or they thin, it was made up by the early Church,” says Texas A&”M Professor Rick Larson. “I took a different approach in my research and treated the Star as a mystery or puzzle, looking at the bible and comparing the facts of Scripture with facts from science and history.” (10 a.m. Dec. 21, 11 p.m. Dec. 25, 8 p.m. Dec. 27, 3 a.m. Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m. Dec. 29, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 31)

New! The Shrine of the Holy Family, Provence, France; The Shrine of the Holy Family in Cotignac, Provence marks the site of the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph’s appearance to a 17th Century French shepherd and his wife. The couple's prayer for a child was answered, along with Our Lady’s promise of succor to all who would seek her intercession. To honor this apparition and the heavenly importance of the marital union, the Church erected a shrine to the Holy Family, and has since welcomed thousands of pilgrims to Cotignac from all over the world. (11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 28)

The Legend of the Christmas Flower; This Yuletide tale traces the holiday tradition of the poinsettia plant to its roots in the heart of Mexico, where it is known as “la Flor de Navidad,” the Christmas Eve flower. Watch as young Juanito’s cherished dream of a sombrero to call his own blossoms into understanding the true meaning of Christmas. (4 p.m. Dec. 22 and 6 p.m. Dec. 26)

My Daughter and the Madonna; This is the fascinating story of a group of citizens of Monopoli, Italy, who organized a living nativity in 1999, and the obstacles they had to overcome to celebrate the birth of Jesus. (4:30 a.m. Dec. 24)


Yearning for a heartwarming Christmas story? Set your recording device for one of these great programs, for children and children at heart:
A Time to Remember; This Christmas favorite tells the story of a young boy, a budding opera star, whose parents have different ideas about his future. He is helped by a beloved priest on a journey that requires faith, perseverance and a Christmas miracle. (1 p.m. Dec. 22, 6 p.m. Dec. 25, and 10:30 p.m. Dec. 26)

The Story of the Selfish Giant; A grandfather uses Oscar Wilde's timeless tale to unlock the true meaning of Christmas for his granddaughter. This is a charming story with a strong Christian message about the meaning of love and sacrifice. It is bound to become one of your Christmas favorites. (10:30 a.m. Dec. 20 and 4 p.m. Dec. 26).

Go Look in the Manger; Eight year-old Ricky Meyer has a misadventure that threatens to darken his Christmas joy, but he soon finds the true meaning of Christmas is in the manger. (9:30 a.m. Dec. 20, 5 p.m. Dec. 23 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 25)

The Chimes; Written by Charles Dickens and narrated by Derek Jacobi, this is the story of a poor and discouraged 19th Century porter. Chiming church bells magically transport him to the future where his hope is renewed. (4 p.m. Dec. 23 and 6 a.m. Dec. 27)

NEW! We are Catholic: Christmas Special; The town of St. Claire is preparing to celebrate Christmas. The mayor wants to have a taller Christmas tree while Manuel and Phillip leave to find moss for the Nativity set. When the owner of the factory surprises everyone by shipping the largest Christmas tree in a helicopter, he is informed that Manuel and Phillip are lost in the forest. In a generous way, he uses the helicopter to rescue them. (5 p.m. Dec. 22 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 30).

Hermie & Friends: A Fruitcake ChristmasHermie and his bug friends have a Christmas mystery on their hands when Granny Pillar’s long-anticipated fruitcake disappears. An adventure ensues that leads everyone to make a decision between selfishness and sharing. (4 p.m. Dec. 24 and 10 a.m. Dec. 27)

Kingdom Under the Sea: The GiftIts Christmas time in the Kingdom, but somewhere between the presents and decorations, everyone has forgotten what Christmas is really about until the town’s arch enemy, Professor Pinch, tries to destroy it. (5:30 p.m. Dec. 24 and 11 a.m. Dec. 27)

The Candy Maker’s Christmas; August, the candy maker, attempts to make the perfect Christmas present, which teaches him that Jesus alone is the perfect gift. (6:30 p.m. Dec. 23 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 26)

Image of God: Christmas Mary Jo Smith and the Faith Factory kids discuss the meaning of Christmas and how our hearts should be full of joy that God became man to save us. (11 a.m. Dec. 20 and 10 a.m. Dec. 26)

The First Christmas; This colorful animated production tells the traditional story of the birth of Jesus. Witness the encounter with the innkeeper who has no rooms, but provides shelter in a stable where Mary gives birth. Watch the Magi follow the star that led them to the Baby Jesus. Narrated by Christopher Plummer. (4:30 p.m. Dec. 24, 11 a.m. Dec. 25, and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 27)

We Celebrate Christmas: The Birth of JesusLammy, the loveable puppet, guides children through the nativity story, and helps them to understand the true meaning of Christmas, with lots of singing, dancing, and good old fashioned fun. (5:30 p.m. Dec. 23 and 9 a.m. Dec. 27)

Loretta Young: 3 & 2 PleaseAcademy Awarding Winning Actress Loretta Young as “Sister Ann,” a nun who brightens the lives of patients in a Catholic hospital at Christmas. (6:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 11 a.m. Dec. 23, 2:30 a.m. Dec. 26, and 2:30 a.m. Dec. 27)


Want to hear the thrilling story of the Nativity? Tune into one of these specials:
The First Christmas; The timeless Nativity story, narrated by Christopher Plummer, was produced for the enjoyment of the whole family. With a musical background of familiar carols, this engaging special will be a favorite in your home. (4:30 p.m. Dec. 24, 11 a.m. Dec. 25, and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 27)

Life of Christ: The SaviorPart one of the "Life of Christ" trilogy, this Family Theater docudrama shot entirely in Spain, highlights the events told in the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. (5:30 a.m. Dec. 23 and 1 p.m. Dec. 27)

The Promise;A dramatization from 1967 of the Annunciation and Nativity, followed by a brief discussion of the film by Father Patrick Peyton and Frankie Avalon. (2:30 p.m. Dec. 22, 3:30 a.m. Dec. 24, 5:30 a.m. Dec. 27, 3 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29)


In the mood for an old-fashioned variety show? Try this:
NEW! Christopher Close-Up: Christopher Classic Christmas; Christopher Founder Father James Keller, M.M. celebrates Christmas with stars of yesteryear, including Snooky Larson, June Valli, Mario Lanza, Rosalind Russell and more. (6:30 a.m. Dec. 21, 9 p.m. Dec. 22, and 3 a.m. Dec. 24)


Want to celebrate the Christmas liturgy with Catholics around the world? Don’t miss these special Masses:Christmas with the Nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery (2001)

Join the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration from Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama USA for special Christmas music and devotions. (5 p.m. Dec. 24 and 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2 a.m. Dec. 28)

Solemn Mass of Christmas from EWTN (Live)

Join the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word as they celebrate Solemn Christmas Mass from EWTN’s Chapel in Irondale, Alabama USA. (1 a.m. Dec. 25 (live), 12 p.m. Dec. 25, and 12 a.m. Dec. 26)

Solemn Mass at Midnight with Pope Benedict XVI (Live from Rome)

Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord: Midnight Mass with the Holy Father from St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. (6 p.m. Dec. 24 (live), 8 a.m. Dec. 25, and 4 p.m. Dec. 25)

Choral Meditations and Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Live from Washington, D.C.)

From the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, USA. (10 p.m. Dec. 24 (live))

Urbi et Orbi from Rome: Pope Benedict's Christmas Message to the World (Live)

From St. Peter's Square. Join the Holy Father for his inspiring Christmas Day message to the world on the celebration of Christ’s birth. (6 a.m. (live) Dec. 25, 10 p.m. Dec. 25, 3 a.m. Dec. 26, and 5 p.m. Dec. 26)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

World Youth Day Themes Released


The Vatican has released the themes of the next 3 World Youth Days that the Pope has chosen.


- 24th World Youth Day (2009): "We Have Set Our Hope on the Living God" (1 Tim 4:10)

- 25th World Youth Day (2010): "Good Teacher, What Must I do to Inherit Eternal Life?" (Mk 10:17)

- 26th World Youth Day (2011): "Rooted and Built Up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith" (cf Col 2:7). The 2011 WYD will
take place in Madrid, Spain from 16 to 21 August, 2011.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time for Christmas Youtube Videos

My yearly favorite:


For the beer drinkers:


For animal lovers:


Being a huge fan of Trans-Siberian Orchestra I have to include:


Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Griswold, CT


Remembering our Troops:


Merry Christmas in Middletown, CT


House in Stratford, CT


House in Derby, CT (Christmas Vacation song)


Ave Maria

Friday, December 12, 2008

More on "Twilight"


I've gotten a request to revisit my thoughts on the popular book "Twilight" from a reader who left a comment on: "Twilight" Movie Review". This revisited review of "Twilight" includes several quotes from the book that some might find offenisive, so think about it before you decide to read this.


Anonymous writes: "were the [Twilight] books realy that detailed my parents checked other sites that blew parts in the book way out of proportion like bella cliff diveing would you post a new blog for me please explaining the story line of what was going on for my parents instead of other sites where they took things out of context[not saying that you did] i would realy appreciate it but understand if you dont thanksasking for a favor."


My response: Thanks for writing, and I will happily respond to your request anonymous- though this may be a very lengthy post as the series of books have a lot of material to cover. Let me start by saying if you are over 17 years old (in my opinion) the "Twilight" series is age appropriate for you if you like fantasy romance type novels. The author is talented in weaving her story and more than any other element in the books, her characters are endearing and that is what I think the "hook" is more than anything else. If you took Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" characters stripped them of being vampires and werewolves and made them into Cornish Pixie's or Leprechaun's they would still be appealing without the 'vampire' or 'werewolf' themes because the characters have depth and come to life in the story. It's the chemistry of the characters more than the fantasy vampire element that have made this so popular. People are crazy about Bella and Edward and Jacob for who they are, not what they are. That said, the chemistry, desire and hunger (Edward for Bella's blood and Bella for intimacy with Edward) that covers each book is not appropriate for younger readers. Period. Which is why I wrote my original article (Connecticut Catholic Corner: Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" Series Book Review ) warning parents about the series and young children reading it. Especially starry eyed impressionable young girls who fixate on this type of stuff.

What I find the most disturbing about the story is Bella herself. Bella is obsessed with Edward and not in a healthy way (as if there is a healthy way to be obsessed!). She is willing to throw away her life, her family and her very soul to hell, just to be with Edward. Death means nothing to her most of the time and her life has no value to her at all. Being with Edward and becoming a vampire and getting to have sex with Edward is a driving force for her. This obsessive type relationship is not healthy for anyone, let alone young teens to read and think this is "true love" and healthy or right. It's not. That said, here are some quotes from the book that reflect her obsession:

"About three things I was absolutely positive. First Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him- and I didn't know how potent that part might be- that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him." [Bella speaking] Twilight, page 195.

This next quote is about how Bella so easily succumbs to Edward, that his appearance and smell entice her into losing her reasoning and not being able to think when she is close to him. This situation repeats its self numerous times in the series. It is Edward who has to repeatedly back off Bella's aggressiveness to be closer to him.

"His golden eyes mesmerized me. 'What are you afraid of, then?' he whispered intently.
But I couldn't answer. As I had just that once before, I smelled his cool breath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. It was unlike anything else. Instinctively, unthinkingly, I leaned closer, inhaling
." Twilight page 263

And this next quote is after Edward tries to explain to Bella how her blood and only her blood drives him wild. She, Bella, is Edward's perfect brand of heroin. (Bella says, "So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" I teased, trying to lighten the mood. He smiled swiftly, seeming to appreciate my effort. "Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin." Twilight pages 267-268)

Here Edward is trying to explain the day he first smelled her and plotted to kill all the children in the classroom and the teacher just to have her blood. This is Edward speaking to Bella:

"To me, it was like you were some kind of demon, summoned straight from my own personal hell to ruin me. The fragrance coming off your skin...I thought it would make me deranged that first day. In that one hour, I thought of a hundred different ways to lure you from the room with me, to get you alone. And I fought them each back, thinking of my family, what I could do to them. I had to run out, to get away before I could speak the words that would make you follow..." He looked up then at my staggered expression as I tried to absorb his bitter memories. His golden eyes scorched from under his lashes, hypnotic and deadly.
"You would have come," he promised.
I tried to speak calmly. "Without a doubt.
" -Twilight pages 269-270


For more on Bella and Edward's first meeting, the author Stephenie Meyer has published an online chapter of this from Edward's vampire point of view in "Midnight Sun". This is not in the original Twilight book, but can be read online here:
http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/midnightsun.html

The other issue that I have with young teens reading the book series is the sexual tension between Bella and Edward and later with Jacob wanting Bella nearly as obsessively as Bella wanting Edward.

"He lifted his glorious, agonized eyes to mine. 'You are the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever.'
My head was spinning at the rapid change in direction our conversation had taken. From the cheerful topic of my impending demise, we were suddenly declaring ourselves. He waited, and even though I looked down to study our hands between us, I knew his golden eyes were on me.
'You know how I feel, of course,' I finally said. 'I'm here...which, roughly translated means I would rather die than be away from you.' I frowned. 'I'm an idiot.'
'You are an idiot,' he agreed with a laugh. Our eyes met, and I laughed, too. We laughed together at the idiocy and sheer impossibility of such a moment.
'And so the lion fell in love with the lamb...,' he murmured. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
'What a stupid lamb," I said.
'What a sick, masochistic lion.
' - Twilight page 273-274

"He raised his free hand and placed it gently on the side of my neck. I sat very still, the chill of his touch a natural warning-a warning telling me to be terrified. But there was no feeling of fear in me. There were, however, other feelings..."
"You see," he said. "Perfectly fine."
My blood was racing, and I wished I could slow it, sensing that this must make everything so much more difficult- the thudding of my pulse in my veins. Surely he could hear it
." -Twilight page 275

"With deliberate slowness, his hands slid down the sides of my neck. I shivered, and I heard him catch his breath. But his hands didn't pause as they softly moved to my shoulders, and then stopped.
His face drifted to the side, his nose skimming across my collarbone. He came to rest with the side of his face pressed tenderly against my chest.
Listening to my heart.
"Ah," he sighed
." -Twilight page 276

"He opened his eyes, and they were hungry. Not in a way to make me fear, but rather to tighten the muscles in the pit of my stomach and send my pulse hammering through my veins again.
"I wish," he whispered, "I wish you could feel the...complexity...the confusion...I feel. That you could understand."
He raised his hand to my hair, then carefully brushed it across my face.
"Tell me," I breathed.
"I don't think I can. I've told you, on the one hand, the hunger- the thirst- that, deplorable creature that I am, I feel for you. And I think you can understand that, to an extent. Though"- he half-smiled- "as you are not addicted to any illegal substances, you probably can't empathize completely. But..." His fingers touched my lips lightly, making me shiver again
.

"There are other hungers. Hungers I don't even understand, that are foreign to me."
"I may understand that better than you think."
'I'm not used to feeling so human. Is it always like this?"
"For me?" I paused. "No, never. Never before this."
He held my hands between his. They felt so feeble in his iron strength.
"I don't know how to be close to you," he admitted. "I don't know if I can.
"
-Twilight pages 277-278

"Edward hesitated to test himself, to see if this was safe, to make sure he was still in control of his need.
And then his cold, marble lips pressed very softly to mine.
What neither of us was prepared for was my response.
Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wild gasp. My fingers knotted in his hair, clutching him to me. My lips parted as I breathed in his heady scent
."
-Twilight page 282

This is the type of sexual tension that as a parent I feel is totally inappropriate for young teens. This is the mildest of it as it's only the first book, the tension and pushing the limits grows with each book in the series (see the quotes below). While there is no graphic blow by blow of explicit sex, the point and sexual tension and frustration is clearly depicted between the characters. And each night, the never-goes-to-sleep-vampire Edward, climbs into bed with Bella so they can be close and he can watch her sleeping. She tries several times to talk Edward into being intimate with her, but he refuses saying his vampire strength could kill her if he loses control of himself for even a moment (Twilight pages 309-311).

Later in the series, Edward's resistance to Bella's near constant demand for intimacy begins to crack as they push the limits further:

"His mouth was not gentle; there was a brand-new edge of conflict and desperation in the way his lips moved. I locked my arms around his neck, and, to my suddenly overheated skin, his body felt colder than ever. I trembled, but it was not from the chill.
He didn't stop kissing me. I was the one who had to break away, gasping for air. Even then his lips did not leave my skin, they just moved to my throat. The thrill of victory was a strange high; it made me powerful. Brave. My hands weren't unsteady now; I got through with the buttons on his shirt this time easily, and my fingers traced the perfect planes of his icy chest. He was too beautiful. What was the word he'd used just now? Unbearable- that was it. His beauty was too much to bear...

I pulled his mouth back to mine, and he seemed just as eager as I was. One of his hands still cupped my face, his other arm was tight around my waist, straining me closer to him. It made it slightly more difficult as I tried to reach the front of my shirt, but not impossible.
Cold iron fetters locked around my wrists, and pulled my hands above my head, which was suddenly on a pillow
." -Book #3 "Eclipse" pages 449-450

Clearly this stuff is NOT for young teens to be reading, yet I see girls as young as ten walking around with these books and saying things like "Edward is so hot!". This is why I originally wrote my article warning parents to PLEASE read these books FIRST. Know what your children are reading. It's great to see kids reading instead of sitting in front of television or computer screens all day, but parents have a responsibility as parents to filter out inappropriate reading material. I can't imagine parents reading these quotes and still saying "There's nothing wrong with my ten or thirteen year old reading these books!". Now I might be very naive, I could be, I just can't imagine it. My view is this, if YOU as a parent wouldn't be willing to read this stuff OUT LOUD to your child, then why would you let them go read it to themselves?

You mentioned Bella's cliff dive in your comment to me. Bella was not attempting to commit suicide, she had at this point in the series (book #2 "New Moon") become an adrenalin junky. She was riding motorcycles and once jumped off the cliff into the ocean after watching other teens do it (later you find out the other teens are werewolves/shape shifters who heal quickly should they get hurt). This was during her deep depression phase because Edward had left her. The only time she felt anything (or heard what she thought was the voice of Edward in her head) was when her adrenalin was going, so she sought out dangerous things and situations. They stimulated her and made her feel again. So Bella's reckless behavior was a side effect of her severe depression at Edward leaving her. Again, not a good thing for impressionable young teens to embrace as a way to handle break ups. Though Meyer does not show it as a good thing, she shows it for what it is; stupid. But how many young teens with stars in their eyes over this love story are going to grasp that fact in light of Bella's heartbreak? Not many probably. Older teens will get it, I think- I hope.

So again, my issue with the series is not so much about vampires and werewolves as it is the adult content of sexual situations and young teens. It's just not appropriate for young teens in my opinion as a parent. The Twilight series while well written with interesting and endearing characters, has just too much adult content for young teens. Parents need to know what their kids are reading so they can actually parent their kids (now there's a concept, eh?). It's as simple as that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Workshop: Strengthening the Catholic Viewpoint in the Political Arena


HEAR US NOW!!

"Strengthening the Catholic Viewpoint in the Political Arena"

Workshop sponsored by the Connecticut Catholic Conference

This workshop is for anyone interested in bringing the Catholic viewpoint to our elected officials,
organizing a parish advocacy group, and learning about the Conference’s 2009 legislative priorities.

Some of the topics covered will be:

- Overview of the Legislative Process
- The political challenges faced in making the moral and social concerns of the Church heard at the Capitol
- How to effectively interact with your elected officials and make them more responsive
- Organizing an advocacy group in your parish
- Coordinating our efforts at the parish and state levels (Speaking as one voice)
- 2009 Legislative Agenda of the Connecticut Catholic Conference

Registration 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. (light supper provided)
Program 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Dates and Locations:

Monday, January 5, 2009 – St. James Parish, 767 Elm Street, Rocky Hill

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 – St. Joseph Parish, 11 Baltic Road, Norwich (Occum)

Thursday, January 8, 2009 – St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, 203 East Avenue, Norwalk
(Parish Center across the street from the Church)

PLEASE RSVP BY DECEMBER 19, 2008 ONLY IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND .

Email the Connecticut Catholic Conference at: ccc@ctcatholic.org

Or Call: 860-524-7882
**This announcement comes from the Connecticut Catholic Conference**

Monday, December 8, 2008

Immaculate Conception of Mary


Today is a holy day of obligation for Catholics. Today is the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


Catholic Catechism #491

"The centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:
"The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Road to Healthcare4every1 Announcement


The following is an announcement from Connecticut Catholic Conference:


Access to quality and affordable health care for every one of Connecticut’s citizen is the goal of many health care advocates around the state. The Connecticut Catholic Conference has been an active participant in the call for health care reform in our state. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has also been supportive of reform efforts on the national level. Catholic social teaching holds health care to be a basic human right. This is reflected in the long history of the Catholic Church’s involvement in providing health care services within our own state and throughout the world.

The continuing increase in medical costs and its financial burden on business and family budgets, and the large number of uninsured persons, are the two primary factors pushing the calls for reform. These calls are being slowly answered by Connecticut’s General Assembly and Governor. During the 2007 session of the General Assembly two special health care authorities were established to examine various aspects of the health care issue in Connecticut. The HealthFirst and Primary Care Access Authorities having been recently holding public hearings around the state and will be reporting their findings to the legislature in 2009.

Also, at the strong urging of the Governor the Charter Oak Health Plan was established in 2008 to help cover uninsured persons. This plan has encountered a slow and problematic start, but is beginning to build momentum. However, this plan still falls short of the goal of affordable and quality health care for everyone.

The 2009 legislative session is expected to see intense activity on the issue of health care reform. The reports from the special state health care authorities and a major proposal from the Connecticut based Universal Health Care Foundation are sure to stimulate intense discussion. The reality of an ever increasing state budget deficit is also expected to impact the debate and any possible outcomes. However, the need for health care reform is clear as thousands of people within our state lack employer sponsored insurance or can not afford to purchase their own health care coverage. The uninsured also cause a continuing strain on our health care system as doctors and hospitals continue to provide care, but with little or no compensation for their services. These providers are dependent on the state and its taxpayers to help cover these uncompensated expenses.

The Connecticut Catholic Conference is a member of a special committee of faith based organization sponsored by the Universal Health Care Foundation. The purpose of this committee is to raise the moral issues and questions surrounding the right to quality health care. The Connecticut Catholic Conference and this committee look forward to addressing and endorsing a workable solution to this very complex problem. (reprinted from the November issue of the Connecticut Catholic Conference Advocacy Network Newsletter)


Please try to attend one of the events below to show support for health care reform and learn more about the issue.


Special Note: The Connecticut Catholic Conference has not endorsed a particular health care proposal at this time, but urges action on this critical issue. Although an increasing state budget deficit may make addressing this issue difficult, it needs serious legislative discussion and consideration. As the economy worsens so will the number of people without health care coverage.


On the Road to Healthcare4every1
Healthcare4every1 campaign road shows coming to a town near you…
The Healthcare4every1 Campaign will be taking the show on the road starting December 9th in Torrington (see schedule below).

The Road Show will be crossing the state and ending in Hartford on January 13th with the unveiling of the complete Healthcare4every1 proposal.


Save the Date
Tuesday, December 9th 5:30pm – Torrington – Torrington City Hall at 140 Main St.


Wednesday, December 10th 6:00pm – Hamden – Hamden Middle School at 2623 Dixwell Ave


Tuesday, December 16th – Willimantic – Capitol Theater at 896 Main Street


Wednesday, December 17th 6:00 pm - Meriden – John Barry School at 124 Columbia St.


Thursday, January 8th 6:00 pm – Norwalk – Norwalk City Hall Community Room at 125 East Ave.


Tuesday, January 13th 5:30pm – Hartford – Union (Train) Station at 1 Union Plaza

Monday, December 1, 2008

BENEDICT XVI'S PRAYER INTENTIONS FOR DECEMBER


VATICAN CITY, 1 DEC 2008 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for December is: "That, faced by the growing expansion of the culture of violence and death, the Church may courageously promote the culture of life through all her apostolic and missionary activities".

His mission intention is: "That, especially in mission countries, Christians may show through gestures of brotherliness that the Child born in the grotto in Bethlehem is the luminous Hope of the world".

The Advent Wreath

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