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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Signs of the times

By Connecticut Catholic Corner Contributor Tim Siggia

"These are the times that try men's souls." -- Thomas Paine

A most disturbing incident occurred this week at Florida Atlantic University, when students were given an exercise by their professor, Diandre Poole, which consisted of a physical act of blasphemy toward our Lord and Savior.  The students were instructed to write the name Jesus in large letters on sheets of paper.  They were then told to place those sheets on the floor by their desks, with the name facing up, and then stand up.  The professor then ordered his students to stomp on those sheets.

One student refused.  Rather than do as he was directed, Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, picked his sheet up off the floor and placed it on his desk.  He later reported the incident to Poole's superior at the university.  For this act of courage, Rotela was suspended from the university.  The story was picked up by Fox News, and broadcast on several of their programs.  In response to the negative publicity, Florida Atlantic University issued a public apology to Rotela, and ordered him to be reinstated and allowed to retake the course in question -- but without Poole, an activist for the Democratic Party, as his instructor.

Though Ryan Rotela is certainly to be commended for having acted courageously and in keeping with the tenets of his faith, the incident raises a number of questions.  First, why was Rotela the only student to protest this professor's actions?  Could he truly have been the only professed Christian in the class?  Was the name of Jesus merely one more name to the other students?  Second, why was no disciplinary action taken against Poole, who is still teaching at Florida Atlantic?  Rotela rightly called his actions unprofessional, and his criticism apparently was ignored by the university staff.  And third, why was Fox the only broadcast news network to report this story?  The "mainstream" news media -- ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and PBS, as well as the far-left network MSNBC -- have all conspicuously ignored it.

This is just one instance of a rise of secularism not only in academia, where all but "progressive" thinking has for generations been suppressed, but within our society as well.  For nearly 50 years now, atheist groups have been working to get the motto, "In God We Trust," expunged from our currency.  Efforts to replace the traditional greeting of "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays" have lessened in recent years in reaction to public protests, though in Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee refused to call the state Capitol's Christmas tree a Christmas tree, calling it instead a "Holiday Tree."  Now, in some parts of the country, similar efforts are being made to eradicate Easter, giving rise to such absurdities as "Spring Egg Hunts" and the "Spring Bunny."  It would be comical were it not so tragic.

The issue of same-sex marriage now has found its way to the Supreme Court, where justices are currently deliberating over whether Proposition Eight, which bans same-sex marriage and was passed by the California legislature in accordance with the wishes of the people there, is constitutional.  It is also considering, again on constitutional grounds, an overruling of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by President Bill Clinton with popular support.  The secular "progressive" line here is that opposition to so-called gay rights is bigotry and comparable to racism.  Our Catholic teaching in this as in other matters is to hate the sin but love the sinner.  Most of us do not hate those whose sexual orientation is toward those of their own gender.  We do not, however, want to see the institution of marriage, known to us as the holy sacrament of matrimony, redefined in the name of political correctness.

Unfortunately, here in Connecticut that has already happened.  By judicial fiat, same-sex marriage is now the law of the land in the Constitution State, where liberalism has taken on the force of a state religion.  For over 40 years now abortion has been legal in the United States.  As if that weren't enough, our legislature is now considering legalizing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.  It is one thing to allow those whose time has come to die naturally, and quite another for physicians to assume the role of God in deciding who is fit to let live, and whose life must be ended.  The moral teaching in such matters actually predates Christianity.  It was first formulated by a Greek physician named Hippocrates, whose oath to make every effort to preserve life is still taken by doctors to this day.

Unfortunately, in today's Connecticut, the doctrine of liberalism seems to trump all other considerations in this and other matters.  I have written to my state representative on the subject of physician-assisted suicide, and I have yet to hear a response from him.  I'm not holding my breath.

Most practicing Catholics I am sure will agree with me that it isn't easy to live in a Blue state such as Connecticut and remain faithful to the teachings of the Church.  Consider, for instance, how many of our legislators identify themselves as Catholic in the face of what they profess politically.  As Thomas Paine so eloquently put it back in the days of our country's beginnings, these are indeed the times that try men's souls.  It is also the time to choose sides:  shall we be Catholics, or shall we be Progressives?  It is becoming increasingly clear that in today's society one cannot be both.

-by Contributor Tim Siggia -

EWTN Press Release: Don't miss these EWTN television shows...

EWTN: Father Barron's "Seven Last Words of Christ;" Three Types of Human Hearts;
Divine Mercy Series & More!


Irondale, AL – What was Christ trying to tell us as he was dying? Fr. Barron explains the powerful meaning behind “The Seven Last Words of Christ.” Look for it when it airs at 8 a.m. ET, Friday, March 29—exclusively on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      
 
Witness the mystery of God’s Divine Mercy: Fr. Bal Udumala begins his series on Divine Mercy with a biography on St. Faustina, and how her visions have forever altered the way Catholics view final judgment and salvation. Watch the first episode of “God of Mercy,” at 6:30 p.m. ET, Monday, April 1—exclusively  on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      
Do you have what it takes to be a “good knight?” According to Thomas Sullivan’s latest book, “The Sacrament of Confirmation in the Kingdom Family of God,” all confirmed Catholics have taken a vow of knighthood to protect and serve the Church—and must act now! To find out more, watch  “EWTN Bookmark” with Host Doug Keck at 9 a.m. ET, Sunday, March 31—exclusively on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      
Bishop Fulton Sheen delivers a “heart-to-heart” talk on Good Friday! Join Bishop Sheen as he mediates on the “three types of human hearts” that were involved during Christ’s crucifixion. “Life is Worth Living”  airs at 10:30 p.m. ET, Friday , March 29—exclusively on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      
 
Have you seen Doug Barry’s one-man Passion Play? If not, you don’t know what you are missing! See Radix’s “Passion,” an emotional one-man show performed by “Life on the Rock” Co-Host Doug Barry, which follows Christ’s life from His birth to His resurrection. The program airs at 10 p.m. ET, Thursday, March 28—exclusively on EWTN!   Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      
 
Join Pope Francis as he celebrates his first Easter Vigil Mass from St. Peter’s Square! Airs live at 4 p.m. ET, Saturday March 30, with an encore at midnight. Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      
 
EWTN celebrates Easter with Pope Francis! Don’t miss our new Pope’s first Easter Sunday Mass. Airs live from St. Peter’s Square at 4 a.m. ET, with an encore at 7 p.m. ET, Sunday, March 31. Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.      

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

EWTN Press Release: EWTN Lawsuit Dismissed...

EWTN Lawsuit Against HHS Mandate is Dismissed

Network Will Continue to Oppose Unjust Rules


Irondale, AL – Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala. issued an order March 25 dismissing EWTN’s lawsuit challenging the government mandate that employee healthcare plans must provide coverage for contraception, voluntary sterilization procedures and abortion-inducing drugs. 
 
Judge Blackburn’s order found that the “real prospect of harm from a concrete regulatory mandate” gives the Network adequate legal standing to file the lawsuit.  However, because the government has promised to yet further amend the mandate’s rules, Judge Blackburn’s opinion held that the moving target of the mandate was not yet “ripe” for review.  The promise of future revisions to the mandate thereby makes the court reluctant to rule today. Blackburn’s opinion concludes that “in this case, common sense weighs in favor of withholding judicial review until the new regulations are created and finalized.  At that point, if EWTN still has objections, it may then file suit.”
 
“While we are extremely disappointed that Judge Blackburn did not rule on the constitutional issues that were at the heart of the EWTN lawsuit, we are not surprised by the decision,’ said EWTN President & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “In every lawsuit filed against the mandate, the government has made promise after promise to amend its unjust rules. As a result, nearly everyone, including the courts, is left waiting to see what the government might or might not do to address the serious issues of conscience that have been raised since the first set of rules were published over a year ago.
 
“EWTN has consistently maintained that contraception, voluntary sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs are not healthcare. EWTN cannot andwill not compromise on our strongly held beliefs on these moral issues,” Warsaw continued. “We are consulting with our legal team at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty about our available options as we go forward.”
 
EWTN filed its lawsuit Feb. 9, 2012 against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies seeking to stop the imposition of the contraception mandate as well as asking the court for a declaratory judgment that the mandate is unconstitutional. The Attorney General of the State of Alabama filed a motion to join EWTN March 22, 2012 as a plaintiff in the lawsuit.  Judge Blackburn’s decision essentially dismissed that motion as well.
 
At the time EWTN filed its lawsuit, Warsaw noted that the HHS mandate is particularly hard on Catholics “because Catholic organizations, such as hospitals, schools, social service agencies, media outlets and others, serve people regardless of their religious beliefs.” However, since the filing, EWTN has been heartened by the response of religious groups around the country, as well as those who simply believe in the constitutional principle of religious liberty.
 
Said Warsaw: “We are grateful for the prayers and support of the EWTN Family over the past year – as well as all those who have written in support of our lawsuit and in support of religious liberty – and we ask for continued prayers as we consider our response to the court’s decision.”
 
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32nd year, is available in over 225 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.
 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

EWTN Press Release: What was it like...?

What Was It Like To Be In Rome During the Papal Conclave & Election?

Get the Answers to This & More, This Week on EWTN!

Irondale, AL – What was it like to be on location in Rome during the election of Pope Francis? Join “EWTN LIVE” Host Fr. Mitch as he welcomes our EWTN family back from the Eternal City! This very special “EWTN LIVE” airs at 8 p.m. ET, Wednesday, March 20—exclusively on EWTN!  Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.
Is belief in Jesus Christ necessary for eternal salvation? Join “EWTN Bookmark” Host Doug Keck as he interviews Author Ralph Martin about the correlation between evangelization and salvation. Drawing from both the Holy Scripture and Vatican II documents , Martin’s book expands on the book’s title question:“Will Many Be Saved?” Airs 9 am ET, Sunday, March 24 –exclusively on EWTN!  Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.
Catholic converts share their stories! Join “Journey Home” Host Marcus Grodi as he finds out what made Guest Shannon Kurtz, a former Southern Baptist, embark on her “Jounrey Home.” Airs 8 p.m. ET, Monday, March 25—exclusively on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.
Check out the "Rockhouse"  Rome Recap! “Life on the Rock’s” Fr. Mark shares highlights of his trip to the Vatican -- from the Conclave to the election of Pope Francis -- with Co-Host Doug Barry! Catch this special “Life on the Rock” when it airs live at 10 p.m. ET,  Thursday, March 21—exclusively on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.
What’s the difference between a Jesuit and a Franciscan? All priests and religious are united in the cause of serving Christ and his Church, but do so in different ways.  Fr. Charles Connor presents an informative look at how different orders serve the Church in unique ways in “The Major Religious Orders of Men”—Now available from EWTN Religious Catalogue, www.ewtnreligiouscatalogue.com.
Celebrate the Pope’s first Palm Sunday Mass! Wake up early to see Pope Francis  celebrate this special Mass LIVE from St. Peter’s Square at 4:30 a.m. ET, Sunday, March 24—or catch the encore later that day at 8 p.m. ET—only on EWTN. Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.
What value does suffering have? Follow along in the footsteps of Blessed Pope John Paul II as he echoes Christ’s call to the Church to serve those suffering from disease and poverty.  See how this beloved Pope reached out those less fortunate in “John Paul II and the Sick: The Value of Suffering;” Airs 10:30 a.m. ET, Monday, March 2—only on EWTN. Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.
Discover your Catholic roots! Did you know that many Catholic traditions and terminology are deeply connected to the Jewish faith and the Hebrew language – probably more than you would imagine! To learn more, watch Part One of Bob Fishman’s miniseries, “Jewish Roots of Catholicism!” Airs 6 p.m. ET, Monday, March 25—exclusively on EWTN! Find EWTN at www.ewtn.com/channelfinder.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

EWTN Press Release: Divine Mercy Mass & Preview Show

EWTN To Air Divine Mercy Mass & Preview Show
Live From The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy

Hear from Special Guests & Join the Initiative To
Place Divine Mercy Images in Every Home & Parish


Irondale, AL – The EWTN Global Catholic Network will air the Mass of Divine Mercy live from The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass. at 1 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 7 with an encore at 1 a.m. ET, Monday, April 8. The Mass will be preceded by a special Preview Show at noon on Sunday, April 7 with an encore at midnight – as well as several other specials!
 
The Preview Program, hosted by Fr. Michael Gaitley and Fr. Joseph Roesch, will feature Saint Luke Productions’ Leonardo and Patti Defilippis who produced the movie “Therese,” the one-man show “Vianney,” and “Benedictus Moments, short daily reflections of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
 
You’ll also hear the dramatic conversion story of Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, now a member of the Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception, but formerlya high school dropout who was kicked out of a foreign country, institutionalized twice, and thrown in jail multiple times. His story will probably move you to purchase his bestselling 2010 book, “No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy” (http://bit.ly/WsTQaN) and perhaps his latest release, “Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest,” http://bit.ly/XX0w22, which he will also be discussing.
 
Finally, you’ll hear from Mark Fanders, an associate lay member of the Marians, who will discuss the Marians’ important new initiative to place Divine Mercy images in every home and parish during the Year of Faith. (For Divine Mercy items, please go to http://bit.ly/ZG3y7g and type “Divine Mercy” in the search box.)
 
This is all followed by a “Divine Mercy Holy Hour” live from the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Ala. with EWTN’s own friars! Airs live at 4 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 7, with encores at 4 a.m. ET, Monday, April 8; 3:30 a.m. ET, Thursday, April 11; and 2 p.m. ET, Friday, April 12.
 
You also will not want to miss “Franciscan University Presents Divine Mercy and Mary,” in which Host Michael Hernon and Theology Professors Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Scott Hahn discuss questions related to Divine Mercy, Marian consecration and more with the Marians’ Fr. Michael Gaitley. Airs 10 p.m. ET, Sunday, April 7, with an encore at 5 a.m. ET, Thursday, April 11.
 
Our Lord promised St. Faustina: “I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy.” You can read more about the promises Our Lord made concerning this feast in “The Diary of St. Maria Faustina,” http://bit.ly/10RcSYg.
 
The Divine Mercy Mass and Preview Program may be watched or listened to live on EWTN television by cable or satellite (www.ewtn.com/channelfinder), streaming audio or video on the Internet (http://origin.ewtn.com/audiovideo/index.asp), shortwave (http://www.ewtn.com/radio/freq.htm), EWTN mobile (http://www.ewtnapps.com/), on the EWTN Radio Network via our affiliates (http://www.ewtn.com/radio/amfm.htm), on satellite radio (http://www.sirius.com/ewtn), or on iHeartRadio (www.ewtn.com/radio).
 
EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32th year, is available in over 225 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pope on the bus...

I couldn't help myself...


I saw this photo in email and this song just popped into my head! :)
Love you Pope Francis!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis!

Thank you God for giving us Pope Francis!!
I am thrilled with our new pope and pray he lives a long life and serves the Church well.

I (along with most of the world) spent the last two days staring eagerly at a chimney...complete with the cleverly named "SistineSeagull" perched upon the chimney top waiting eagerly for white smoke.

Between marathon emails with my Catholic friends, a tweeting Twitter account holding seagull and non-stop phone calls I am exhausted and I barely left the house!  I scheduled my work and plans to give me the most time in front of the television set during the 'burning of the votes' scheduled time slots so I would be sure to see the white smoke when it came.

When the white smoke came billowing out, my goosebumps had goosebumps!  I was so excited (and still am!) to know I had a pope.  My mind raced...would he be Italian?  Or American?  Or Polish?  Or German?  What name would he pick?  Would St. Malachy's prophecies be put to rest or pushed into full speed ahead?  The questions flooded my mind as I stared at that chimney pipe and seagull hour after hour.

Smoke...white smoke!  My heart thundered with excitement!

I could not have been more pleased with God's choice for our next Pope.  A wonderful humble man now takes up the Keys of Saint Peter and will lead our Church forward in the troubled times we live in. 

I like what I am hearing in the media about him... 'straight shooter'... 'conservative'... 'no nonsense' ... 'humble'... and more. 

We Catholics have truly been blessed today.

Long live Pope Francis!


Lenten funny...

From a friend who is as ready as this cat for Lent to be over with.
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