Friday, December 21, 2007

The Budding Computer Guy

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, as I was preparing dinner, the twins went down to the basement to play. After a short while, Anne came up to the kitchen and said, "Mommy, Dominit being Daddy." What? "Dominit sitting Daddy's chair." Uh-oh. I went downstairs and what did I see? A little boy sitting in Daddy's computer chair, pointing and clicking with the mouse like he had done it a thousand times. When did he learn that? When I could see the screen, I found that he was surfing the JCPenney website. How did he do that?!! My two year old son is going to pass me up in a few years in computer skills!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Science 101

Yesterday we had our first science lesson. The kids and I discovered what happens when Mommy gets distracted and forgets to put the baking soda in the pumpkin bread. A humble ingredient, but oh, so necessary. Out of the oven came two large pumpkin bricks. Dan thought maybe it would still taste okay, but after a small sampling, I regret to say, we had to throw the bricks away.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Vatican Nativity according to St. Matthew

The Vatican's nativity is breaking from tradition and will feature St. Joseph's home instead of the typical Bethlehem manger scene.

Read full story here.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Was I Crazy?

Yesterday I decided that I must get the kids out of the house as they had not been out the door all week. The weather has been icky and yesterday was going to be the only halfway decent day all week. Dominic had been sick with a cold but seemed okay except for a runny nose. So armed with my list of errands, I got everyone dressed, baby fed, socks and shoes on, then the big winter coats, and then the prolonged buckling of everyone into the mini-van. Whew! I was already tired!

The first place we went was the post office. Let's just say I never realized how many doors you have to go through to get to the counter to buy your stamps! I got a few looks of "You must be nuts!" Luckily the line was small and no one had time for a meltdown. I've never taken them all to the post office before but we just had to get stamps for the Christmas cards. The postal worker gave them all coloring books, so they were excited about that. Then it took another 10 minutes or so to get back out all the doors and into the van. At least I had people jumping to open doors for me on the way out.

The next place we went was our local crisis pregnancy center where I over-read sonograms they do there. They send me a little thing I plug into the computer and I can luxuriously look at them whenever convenient at my own home. (Don't you love my high-tech names? I am definitely not a computer guru.) Then when I am out running errands, I drop it off. I didn't have to get the kids out at this stop because I just ring the doorbell and they come get it.

Then it was time to go the library to return some books, pick up one on hold, and most important, let the kids play for a while in the kids area with the puzzles and books. We stayed for a while until they had gone through all the puzzles and they each took a turn on the "computer." (an old thing not plugged in and put low for the kids) I only got one comment: "Wow, you have your hands full!" Then the woman proceeded to tell me she has 2 year old twins and we figured out that our sets of twins were actually born 1 day apart! Isn't that neat?! She said, "One baby must be easier after two," and I heartily agreed.

By the time I got all the coats back on and everyone loaded up in the car, I was worn out and it was time to go home. That cured me of my need to get out for a while!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ridiculous ACOG Position

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has just put out a statement that all doctors should be required to refer patients to a doctor who will do abortions. Not only that, but they recommend that pro-life doctors move their offices closer to abortion clinics so that the women won't have far to go. Oh my! Read an article about it here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas goodies

Today I started making Christmas goodies. I made gingersnaps, which are one of Dan's favorites. The first year I made them I looked through all of our cookbooks to find a recipe (At that time I never looked up recipes on the internet because I never thought about it and the computer was too slow anyway!). Finally I found the recipe in the Victoria, KS church cookbook (that is the Cathedral of the Plains for anyone who has driven across Kansas on I-70). Then I looked at who contributed the recipe and wouldn't you know, it was Dan's Mom. So now I make them every year at Christmas. And they are very good!

Then I made some Fudge, great for a homemade gift! And finally, I made something new: Cream cheese mints. I even colored them green. Yummy!

So I had lots of little "helpers" this morning. The resounding theme was: "I want to taste!" "I want to taste!" Don't worry though, nobody got to taste out of the bowl! And hey, I can't think of a better way to spend a morning stuck inside during an icestorm. As long as we don't lose the electricity.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Psycho Potty Chair

Today while Dan was getting ready for work, I got up to get things started for the day. Make coffee, get breakfast going, etc. I heard Dominic and went to check on him as he went to bed last night with a low-grade fever. He felt hot again so I checked his temperature, then gave him some Tylenol, got him some juice and snuggled up with him in the rocking chair with a blanket. Then we heard it: clap, clap, clap, "All done!" And then: clap, clap, clap, "Nice job!" Our psycho potty chair was at it again. Nobody is even close to the bathroom and the little handle that "flushes" goes off by itself. Spooky! One evening, when all the kids were in bed, it starting "flushing" over and over again all by itself. As I walked over to investigate I could hear Catherine in the girls' room say, "Who did that?!" Maybe we have a ghost who is trying to potty-train! Ha-ha-ha! Maybe it is trying to tell me it is time to potty-train the twins. :(

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Catherine Elizabeth!


Our sweet little Lady Catherine turned 4 on Tuesday...



Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Religion called Environmentalism...

...where Abortion is one of its most Sacred Sacraments ...

from the DailyMail.co.uk

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly
By NATASHA COURTENAY-SMITH and MORAG TURNER
Last updated at 22:05pm on 21st November 2007

Click here for original article

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.
But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet.
Desperate measures: Toni Vernelli was steralised at age 27 to reduce her carbon footprint
Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible "mistake" of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time.

He refused, but Toni - who works for an environmental charity - "relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery.
Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".
Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.
While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.
"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."
While most parents view their children as the ultimate miracle of nature, Toni seems to see them as a sinister threat to the future.

It's an extreme stance which one might imagine is born from an unhappy childhood or an upbringing among parents who share similar, strong beliefs.
But nothing in Toni's safe, middle- class upbringing gave any clues as to the views which would shape her adult life. The eldest of three daughters, she enjoyed a loving, close-knit family life.
She excelled at her Roman Catholic school, and her doting parents fully expected her to grow up, settle down and start a family of her own.

"When I finished school, I got a job in retail and at 19, I met my first husband," says Toni.
"No sooner had we finished our wedding cake than all our relatives started to ask when they could expect a new addition to the family.
"I always told them that would never happen, but no one listened.
"When I was a child, I loved bird-watching, and in my teens that developed into a passion for the environment as well as the welfare of animals - I became a vegetarian when I was 15.
"Even my parents used to smile and say: 'You'll change your mind one day about babies.'
"The only person who understood how I felt was my first husband, who didn't want children either.

"We both passionately wanted to save the planet - not produce a new life which would only add to the problem."
So, instead of mapping out plans for a family, Toni and her husband began discussing medical options to ensure they would never reproduce.
Toni, from Taunton, Somerset, says: "When I was 21, I considered sterilisation for the first time.

"I'd been on the Pill for five years and didn't want to take hormone-based contraception indefinitely.
"I went to my GP, but she wouldn't even consider the idea.
"She said I was far too young and told me I could 'absolutely not' be sterilised, and that I was bound to change my mind one day.

"I found her attitude frustrating.

"We decided my husband would have a vasectomy instead. He was 25, just a few years older than me, but the GP allowed him to go ahead.
"I found it insulting that she thought that, just because I was a woman, I'd reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought."
When Toni was 23, her marriage ended. She says: "We married very young and grew apart."
Toni found herself young, single and with a new life in London, working for an environmental charity.

But while other young women dream of marriage and babies, Toni was convinced it was her duty not to have a child.
She claims she was far from alone.
"Through my job I made many friends who, like me, were more interested in campaigning, trying to change society and save the planet rather than having families of our own.
"We used to say that if ever we did want children, we'd adopt, as there are so many children in need of a loving family.

"At least then, we'd be doing something positive for the world, rather than something negative."
Toni was happy, at last, with fellow environmentalists who shared her philosophy. But when she was 25, disaster struck.
"I discovered that despite taking the Pill, I'd accidentally fallen pregnant by my boyfriend.
"I was horrified. I knew straight away there was no option of having the baby.
"I went to my doctor about having a termination, and asked if I could be sterilised at the same time.
"This time it was a male doctor. I remember saying to him: 'I want to make sure this never happens again.'
"He said: 'You may not want a child, but one day you may meet a man who does'. He refused to consider it.

"I didn't like having a termination, but it would have been immoral to give birth to a child that I felt strongly would only be a burden to the world.
"I've never felt a twinge of guilt about what I did, and have honestly never wondered what might have been.
"After my abortion, I was more determined than ever to pursue sterilisation.
"By then, I had my mother's support - she realised I wasn't going to grow out of my beliefs, and was proud of my campaigning work."
At the age of 27, Toni moved to Brighton, where her dream of medical intervention was realised.
Toni says: "My new GP was more forward-thinking and referred me to hospital. I couldn't wait for the operation."
As Toni awaited the surgery which would destroy her fertility, she met her future husband, Ed, 38, an IT consultant.
"A week before my sterilisation, I went to an animal rights demonstration and met Ed.
"I liked him immediately, and I told him what I was doing straight away - because if he wanted children then he needed to know I wasn't the woman for him," she says.
"But Ed was relieved when I told him how I felt and said he didn't want children for the same reasons."

On the morning of surgery, Ed gave Toni a card saying "Congratulations".
Toni says: "After the operation, which is irreversible, I didn't feel emotional - just relieved.
"I've never doubted that I made the right decision. Ed and I married in September 2002, and have a much nicer lifestyle as a result of not having children.
"We love walking and hiking, and we often go away for weekends.
"Every year, we also take a nice holiday - we've just come back from South Africa.
"We feel we can have one long-haul flight a year, as we are vegan and childless, thereby greatly reducing our carbon footprint and combating over-population.
"My only frustration is that other people are unable to accept my decision.
"When I tell people why I don't want children, they look at me as if I was planning to commit murder.

"A woman who does not have maternal-feelings is seen as some sort of anomaly.
"And a woman like me, who is not having children in order to save the planet, is considered barking mad.
"What I consider mad are those women who ferry their children short distances in gas-guzzling cars."
But Toni is far from alone.
When Sarah Irving, 31, was a teenager she sat down and wrote a wish-list for the future.

Sarah Irving and Mark Hudson were adamant they would live the greenest possible lives
Most young girls dream of marriage and babies. But Sarah dreamed of helping the environment - and as she agonised over the perils of climate change, the loss of animal species and destruction of wilderness, she came to the extraordinary decision never to have a child.
"I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet - and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do."

Sarah's boyfriends have been less understanding than Toni's, with the breakdown of several relationships.
"I've had boyfriends who wanted children, so I knew I couldn't be with them long term,' says Sarah.
"I've had to break up with a couple of boyfriends because I didn't think it was fair to waste their time.
"In my early 20s I had a boyfriend who I really liked, but he wanted to start a family as soon as possible.

"I was tempted to stay with him and hope he would change his mind, but I knew I couldn't provide him with what he wanted so I walked away."
Sarah started work for the Ethical Consumer magazine, and seven years ago she met her fiancÈ Mark Hudson, a 37-year- old health- care worker.
When they started dating in 2003, they immediately discussed their views on children.
"To my relief, Mark was as adamant as me that he didn't want a family. After a year of dating, we started talking about sterilisation," says Sarah.
"I didn't want to have an 'accident' if contraception didn't work - we would be faced with the dilemma of whether to keep the baby."

While other young couples sit down and discuss mortgages, Sarah and Mark discussed the medical options for one or the other to be sterilised.
"We realised it was a much more straightforward procedure, safer and easier, for a man to be sterilised through a vasectomy than a woman to be sterilised," says Sarah.
"In January 2005, Mark had a vasectomy and we both felt incredibly relieved there was no chance of us having a baby."
Ironically, the couple who have decided to deny themselves children for the sake of the planet, actively enjoy the company of young children.
Sarah says: "We both have nieces who we love dearly and I consider myself a caring, nurturing person.
"My sister recently had a little girl, and that has taken the pressure off me because my parents wanted to be grandparents.
"At first, they were surprised by my decision, but they have never criticised us.
"I'd never dream of preaching to others about having a family. It's a very personal choice. What I do like to do is make people aware of the facts.
"When I see a mother with a large family, I don't resent her, but I do hope she's thought through the implications."
Mark adds: "Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don't have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly.

"We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food.
"In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.
"That's why I had a vasectomy. It would be morally wrong for me to add to climate change and the destruction of Earth.

"Sarah and I don't need children to feel complete. What makes us happy is knowing that we are doing our bit to save our precious planet."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No more Kumbaya?


I hope this is true...

Pope to purge the Vatican of modern music
By Malcolm Moore in Rome
Last Updated: 2:30am GMT 21/11/2007
Source: UK Telegraph

The Pope is considering a dramatic overhaul of the Vatican in order to force a return to traditional sacred music.
Damian Thompson: Why the Pope is right

The Pope wants to widen the use of Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music

After reintroducing the Latin Tridentine Mass, the Pope wants to widen the use of Gregorian chant and baroque sacred music.

In an address to the bishops and priests of St Peter's Basilica, he said that there needed to be "continuity with tradition" in their prayers and music.

He referred pointedly to "the time of St Gregory the Great", the pope who gave his name to Gregorian chant.

Gregorian chant has been reinstituted as the primary form of singing by the new choir director of St Peter's, Father Pierre Paul.

He has also broken with the tradition set up by John Paul II of having a rotating choir, drawn from churches all over the world, to sing Mass in St Peter's.


The Pope has recently replaced the director of pontifical liturgical celebrations, Archbishop Piero Marini, with a man closer to his heart, Mgr Guido Marini. It is now thought he may replace the head of the Sistine Chapel choir, Giuseppe Liberto.

The International Church Music Review recently criticised the choir, saying: "The singers wanted to overshout each other, they were frequently out of tune, the sound uneven, the conducting without any artistic power, the organ and organ playing like in a second-rank country parish church."

Mgr Valentin Miserachs Grau, the director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, which trains church musicians, said that there had been serious "deviations" in the performance of sacred music.


"How far we are from the true spirit of sacred music. How can we stand it that such a wave of inconsistent, arrogant and ridiculous profanities have so easily gained a stamp of approval in our celebrations?" he said.

He added that a pontifical office could correct the abuses, and would be "opportune". He said: "Due to general ignorance, especially in sectors of the clergy, there exists music which is devoid of sanctity, true art and universality."

Mgr Grau said that Gregorian chant was the "cardinal point" of liturgical music and that traditional music "should become again the living soul of the assembly".
The Pope favoured the idea of a watchdog for church music when he was the cardinal in charge of safeguarding Catholic doctrine.

He is known to be a strong supporter of Mgr Grau, who is also in charge of the Cappella Liberiana of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Scientists Guide Human Skin Cells To Embryonic State

ScienceDaily (2007-11-21) -- Scientists have genetic reprogrammed human skin cells to create cells indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells. The finding is not only a critical scientific accomplishment, but potentially remakes the tumultuous political and ethical landscape of stem cell biology as human embryos may no longer be needed to obtain the blank slate stem cells capable of becoming any of the 220 types of cells in the human body. Perfected, the new technique would bring stem cells within easy reach of many more scientists as they could be easily made in labs of moderate sophistication, and without the ethical and legal constraints that now hamper their use by scientists.

Read the article...

Stem Cell Research - Looks Promising!

From the Wall Street Journal


Advance in Stem Cells Avoids Ethical Tangles
By GAUTAM NAIKNovember 20, 2007 7:36 p.m.

The promise of using cells from human embryos to treat disease has moved a tantalizing step closer to reality – but without the ethical shackles that have long hindered its progress. The breakthrough is likely to bolster the cause of those who oppose embryo research, and accelerate the pace of stem cell research as scientists rush to build on the new approach.

In a compelling scientific feat, independent teams of researchers in Japan and the U.S. created human embryonic stem cells without destroying any human embryos. The technique appears to be easier, cheaper, and more ethically appealing than an alternative approach that involves a controversial form of human cloning.

Scientists said they "reprogrammed" mature human cells in such a way that they reverted to a primordial, embryonic-like state in a laboratory dish. The hope is to some day convert those cells into fresh heart, nerve or other tissue and transplant them into patients to treat diabetes, Parkinson's and other ailments.

The achievement won accolades from Catholic groups and leading scientists. "I suspect this will completely supplant the need to use [cloning techniques] to achieve tissue regeneration," says Sir Martin Evans, a British stem-cell pioneer who shared this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine. "We've all been waiting for this."

Ian Wilmut, who famously got the ball rolling a decade ago by cloning Dolly the sheep, is so impressed that he plans to abandon cloning experiments altogether. In his quest to find new treatments for motor neuron disease, he's now betting on the newer, reprogramming approach. "Cloning has had its impact," says Prof. Wilmut. "It seems we should all focus our efforts on reprogramming."

Still, many scientists want reprogramming techniques to be pursued alongside more embryo-based stem cell research. But in Washington, where stem cell research has long been the subject of bitter disputes, the new findings are certain to galvanize policymakers who believe it is immoral to destroy human embryos for research.

Since 2001, the Bush administration has decreed that federal funds may only be used to pay for research using roughly 60 or so stem-cell lines obtained from human embryos that existed at that time. Many Bush supporters – especially those on the religious right – would like that constraint to remain, and possibly even be tightened.

One set of experiments, published Tuesday in the journal Cell, was led by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, a pioneer in the reprogramming field. A second paper was published in Science by researchers at the lab of James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, who isolated the first human stem-cell line in 1998.

In both cases, the scientists inserted several genes into a mature human cell. For reasons that no one can yet fully explain, this reset the molecular clock and turned older, mature cells into embryonic-like cells. Even among researchers, the result has a touch of science-fiction.
"You have this extremely strong arrow of time -- and it's going completely backwards," said Dr. Thomson.
(my emphasis)

Douglas Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute says: "You have to give Yamanaka enormous credit. Most people, including me, wouldn't have thought about using this approach."

But reprogramming has plenty of hurdles to overcome before it can yield useful medical treatments. To ferry the genes into the cells, both teams had to use dangerous viruses as a transport mechanism. Unfortunately, the DNA of those viruses gets incorporated into the genetic structure of the cells, causing cancer or other unwanted side-effects. Dr. Yamanaka and others are now racing to find a virus that doesn't trigger those problems.

The most famous reprogramming experiment was the cloning of Dolly the sheep, in 1996. However, in that case, a sheep's egg mysteriously reprogrammed a mature sheep's cell and returned it to an embryonic state known as a blastocyst. When that cloned blastocyst was carried to term, it yielded Dolly.

Some researchers then began to wonder whether it would be possible to avoid eggs and reprogram a cell by introducing genes. In a paper published in 2006, Dr. Yamanaka and a colleague showed how four specific genes could do exactly that in a mouse cell. But the fresh mouse cells failed to be successfully incorporated into mouse embryos – a vital test.
Then, in June 2007, Dr. Yamanaka and two other independent teams of researchers published another set of studies showing that they had surmounted the earlier problem. Each team used the same four genes to reprogram a mouse cell and return it to its youthful, embryonic stage. When implanted into embryos, the cells produced healthy mice.

That result set off a global race among scientists seeking to replicate the mouse results with human cells. But almost nobody predicted that the human barrier would fall quite so quickly.
"We were very surprised because human and mouse embryonic cells are very different," says Dr. Yamanaka, who is also a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco.

Dr. Yamanaka's discoveries have sparked a flurry of fresh research. Some scientists are introducing different kinds of genes, in the hope of improving the reprogramming process. Dr. Melton says his colleagues want to see if they can pull off the same trick by using chemicals instead of genes.

Unlike cloning, "the wonderful thing about this approach is that it's easy. You're going to see lots and lots of labs give it a try," predicts Robert Blelloch, a stem cell biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who recently published his own reprogramming experiments partly based on Dr. Yamanaka's breakthroughs.

However, the nuclear transfer approach – which uses a cloning step to get embryonic stem cells – isn't likely to disappear. Just last week, researchers in Oregon used the technique to create embryonic clones of monkeys.

Of course, trying nuclear transfer with human cells is harder. Human eggs are in short supply; the technology is tricky and expensive; and funding isn't so readily available. A major scandal has hurt, too. In 2005, a Korean researcher published a study that appeared to show how he'd used the approach to create human-embryonic clones. The claim turned out to be fraudulent.
By contrast, "any scientist with basic technology in molecular and cell biology can do reprogramming," says Dr. Yamanaka. "If we can overcome the issue [of using dangerous viruses to ferry the genes into cells], many more people will move from nuclear transfer to this method."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Mass Dilemma

It is always a dilemma at our house whether or not to take the whole family to Mass together. With a 3 & 1/2 year old, 2 year old twins, and a 5 month old baby, if one thing goes wrong, a disaster can ensue. Our parish church is only 2 minutes away, but with 3 diapers to change, 4 kids to dress, 2 girlie hairdos to do, one baby to nurse once or twice, not to mention breakfast and getting ourselves ready, the 8:30 Mass seems out of reach. Heck, it takes at least 10 minutes just to get everyone in their jackets and buckled in their car seats.

The second Mass is at 11:00 and then we have trouble because that gets into lunch time and naptime. So our last resolve was to try to go as a family at least once a month. When we do that we go to a different church which has a 10:00 Mass. When we go separately, Dan takes one of the twins when he goes and I take the baby and the oldest child.

Right now the tough ones at Mass are the baby, who sometimes gets very cranky and requires a speedy exit, and Dominic, one of the twins, who has a tough time sitting still and being quiet. The cry-room is not an option because it is a zoo of running, crying, eating, or playing kids. There is a nursery, but I would rather the kids learn to be with us at Mass and be quiet.

I don't bring books anymore to occupy them because then a war breaks out over who gets which book. I even tried getting two of the same book which didn't help much. We also don't do snacks or drinks in church, except for the baby who gets to nurse, of course. Dan is always in charge of Dominic and I usually have the baby, and the girls do fairly well, but half the time we sit in fear of everything slipping over the edge into total meltdown. I just hope and pray that there are special graces for parents who are unable to pay attention as well as they would like!

I do pray to their guardian angels to help them be good. Last time when we got there, I whispered to Dominic to pray to Jesus and then you could hear this little voice saying, "Pay, Jeziz!" I had also told them to listen for the bells and when they started ringing, the twins got excited and proclaimed, "Terch bells!" We are working on it. Hopefully, when the twins get a little older, we can all go together more, but right now I think we have to, at least most of the time, divide and conquer.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Art Class is now in session

Professor Daddy will be teaching "Introduction to Art" this fall. Class will meet every weekend in the kitchen. Required attendee is Lady Catherine. Optional attendees are Mr. Dominic and Sweet Little Anne. Professor Mommy will be the substitute teacher when required.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Flu Shots, Halloween, and All Saints Day

Whew, what a crazy few days it has been. Tuesday I had scheduled the older 3 for flu shots. Luckily, Dan was able to take the morning off, so we all went to the doctor's office. As we were waiting, I saw a couple struggling to get their little daughter out of the door. I thought, "What are we going to look like coming out of here with a 3 year old and two year old twins all crying from their shots?!" I could just imagine. Fortunately, it was better than expected. Dan took Dominic back by himself so the girls wouldn't see. Then I took the girls back and boy did they holler, but not for very long. Of course, the candy they got sure helped! As did the little rings the nurse gave them. All in all, it was okay. At least the baby didn't need anything.

Then, yesterday was the big Halloween adventure. Catherine was a Dalmatian, Dominic was a parrot, Anne was a Care Bear, and Joseph was a lion. Dan took the older 3 out in the wagon trick-or-treating for about 45 minutes and I handed out candy with Joseph. Joseph got very grumpy, so I took off his costume. That didn't help much, so I thought I would feed him, hoping the doorbell wouldn't ring while he was nursing (It didn't, thank goodness). Then he was still fussy, so I ended up carrying him in the sling while answering the door. He settled down and then finally fell asleep. The kids came back and the candy monsters emerged! It was a feeding frenzy until Mom and Dad said enough! It is once a year after all. I'll have to have Dan put on a picture.

Today we met Dan at noon Mass for All Saints Day. I parked the mini-van, put Joseph in the sling, took a twin by each hand, then had Catherine hold Anne's hand and we made it inside. That is always a trick! I think I spent half the morning preparing to go to Mass. Of course, it was worth it. The kids were pretty good today, too. I prayed to their guardian angels, so that must have helped!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

Here is an article I came across about a Polish Catholic woman who dramatically rescued Jewish children during WWII. She was recently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and deserved it far more than Al Gore!

And her story only came to light because of 4 Kansas high school girls working on a class project. How cool is that?

"How Holocaust heroine rescued 2,500 children"

Visit their website: Life in a Jar

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rudy worse than Hillary

Why Dr. Dobson's right
Posted: October 23, 20071:00 a.m. Eastern
By Joseph Farah
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com-->© 2007

Focus on the Family's James Dobson has been getting a lot of heat lately for taking a principled stand – that he will not support any candidate for president who is pro-abortion.
For the life of me, I can't figure out what is controversial about this position.
This is my position. And I think it's healthy that the Republican Party knows there are people like me and James Dobson – I strongly suspect millions like us – who will not vote for Rudy Giuliani over Hillary Clinton.

We can't do it. Our consciences do not permit us to do so. It's just that simple.
I believe not voting for either candidate is the right thing to do in that scenario. I believe announcing it, as Dr. Dobson did, is the right thing to do. And, I believe saying it early and often is the right thing to do.
There are some practical reasons for doing this besides being faithful to one's principles – and, I believe, God's principles.

We will never get better candidates if we accept lesser candidates. It's simple market politics. If Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican nomination, it will represent the first time in 30 years that an avowedly pro-abortion candidate did so. Don't expect that pendulum to swing back for another 30 years.

And, if Giuliani should, by some twist of fate, win the presidency, it will mean the end of Reaganism. It will represent a turning point in the history of the Republican Party and our nation. It will mean the continued deaths of tens of millions unborn babies when we are closer than ever to defeating the abortion culture that Roe v. Wade initiated in 1973.

Should Giuliani succeed, it will represent the end of any hope for the Republican Party to serve as an alternative to the Democratic Party for millions of people like me and Dr. Dobson. That's bigger than two terms of Hillary Rodham Clinton. That's worse even than four or eight more years in the wilderness.

I'll go even further than Dr. Dobson. Not only will I not support any candidate who is pro-abortion, I won't support any candidate who is not doing his or her absolute best to uphold, support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
That shouldn't just be my prerequisite. It should be the prerequisite of every American.
Yet, it is very difficult to find among the front-runners candidates who respect and revere and understand the Constitution.

I also won't vote for any candidate who says he's against abortion and same-sex marriage and higher taxes and Second Amendment restrictions but whose actions as an elected public official betray his words. That means you, Mitt Romney.

As voters, we should raise our standards. Otherwise, we will get candidates whose standards reflect the lowest common denominator – not the ideals of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Dr. Dobson is right. More of us should take that principled stand. More of us should let the whole world know what that stand is. More of us should hold politicians accountable to higher standards.

If they want our votes, they should have to earn them.
What is so hard to understand about that?
I actually believe it would be worse for America if Rudy Giuliani were elected president than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
If Hillary wins, the reaction to her predictable overreaching will be similar to what we experienced in 1994 – a "Republican revolution."
If Rudy wins, millions will simply defect from the Republican Party. If you want to see the rise of a third party, just be sure to nominate Giuliani and elect him as president.
The long-term consequences of a Giuliani victory are far worse than the consequences of a Clinton victory.

So let's avoid that dire choice now. There's still time to avoid such an unpleasant scenario. Let's just nominate a Republican the Republican base can support.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rosary Time!

We have started trying to say a decade of the rosary with the kids. It is so sweet to watch them each hold a rosary and pray with us, at least for the first 30 seconds that their attention is held!

Today I was holding the baby at the computer and letting him hold the rosary case and before I realized it, he had dropped it on the floor. Next thing I know I hear the older three praying a Hail Mary and I look down and they are sitting there, each with a rosary in hand, praying their "Rosey," as Dominic calls it.

Wow!

I wish I had a picture, but I knew if I left to get the camera, the moment would be lost, so I just sat and enjoyed it. It is amazing what kids will pick up and how quickly, without you realizing it!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pumpkin Patch


Catherine, Anne, and Dominic found their pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch (and Mommy's pumpkin is at Catherine's feet - the little green one!)


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Are there no Catholic Billy Mitchells?

This is a great article I read on WND:


Are there no Catholic Billy Mitchells?
Posted: October 15, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By James Welsh

The recent blasphemous reception of holy communion by two homosexual "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" in San Francisco, actually administered by the archbishop of San Francisco himself, has set a new low in the sorry history of pastoral care and example that United States Catholics have received in the recent past from their apostolically appointed shepherds.


There is no need to list the numerous scandals that the Catholic laity have had to bear and finance in the last 20 years (some would say longer). For the "average" Catholic, the cry is repeated, "How long, O God, how long?" We suffer, but it seems no one on this earth listens to our laments.


The offending or, occasionally, incompetent bishop or cardinal will continue to promote this or that questionable liturgy or liberal policy or abuse blithely dismissing orthodox or traditional or conservative (take your pick) complaints as the rantings of malcontents or, even worse, bigots or haters. And what can we do? We occupy pews, they sit in chairs.


Oh, yes, the Internet is full of websites and blogs that list the latest outrages. They do yeoman's work for us. And we need them to stay informed. But we need more. We need the voices of the more powerful of our faith to lead us. Our pikes and plowshares are not enough. We need knights and ladies to rally us to follow them and to publicly confront the clergy who are squandering the inheritance our Catholic forbearers bequeathed to us.

Many of our Dioceses are now in hoc to pay for sexual scandals. The beautiful churches and schools that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents built with money they really could not afford to give (somehow they would always survive the inevitable next "pledge") are closed and empty. And there is no end in sight and, as the saying goes, "And the band played on."

Now, what does this have to do with Billy Mitchell?

For those unfamiliar with Billy Mitchell, or who are too young to have seen the film "The Courts-Martial of Billy Mitchell" starring James Stewart, he was a decorated Army Air Force pilot who, after World War I, tried in vain to convince the civilian and military leaders of our country that air warfare would be the deciding factor in future wars. His efforts to have more military investment in fighter and bomber research were repeatedly rebuffed by his superiors. In frustration, in 1921 and 1923, against orders, he equipped aircraft with large bombs and, in full view of a large group of high civilian and military officials, sank several large German warships that had been seized after WWI. His efforts to work within the Army were rebuffed and ignored.


In 1925 Mitchell went public with charges of incompetence and "almost treasonable administration of the national defense." Rather than reexamine their prejudices against Gen. Mitchell's prophesies of future warfare, Mitchell's superiors in the Army brought charges against him and court-martialed him. He was found guilty of insubordination and left the Army Air Corps in disgrace.


Through the '20s and '30s, the Army Air Force (and Naval air units) became a backwater of our military establishment. On Dec.7, 1941, a large force of modern Japanese naval aircraft attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor( as Mitchell had prophetically predicted). Much of our Pacific fleet was destroyed. The rest is history. Billy Mitchell had been vindicated, but at great price for himself and for his country. It is true that Mitchell had many faults, but no great man is perfect. We must ultimately judge them on their singular greatness.


And what does Billy Mitchell have to do with the average Catholic? Nothing because this writing is not directed to average Catholics. Few of us ever achieve high rank in life. We live, by God's intention and design, ordinary lives. But for some, He has given special talents in politics, arts, communications and finance. It is to that distinct group of our Catholic brethren that I address this question:
Are there any of you willing to publicly begin to stand up to the continuing lack of pastoral care by our clergy, both hierarchal and ordinary, and begin to publicly call for those offenders to be recalled and replaced by Rome?


The second part of the question is the issue at hand. Certainly many (most?) have at times been publicly critical of actions and policies of Episcopal authorities. But calling for removal and replacement? A strong question, I acknowledge. Perhaps even shocking. Maybe even outrageous. Who are we to call for a bishop's replacement? Well it is our church also. It does not just belong to the hierarchy. There was a time when temporal authorities had influence on canonical appointments. I will acknowledge there were abuses, but in light of actions such as recently occurred in San Francisco and the woeful state of the church in the United States in general, would more input from the lay faithful be worse?

Now, who are these Catholics that I address these words to?

You are the Catholics who are elected to political office and are faithful to the magisterium, but are silent when an outrage is perpetrated by a bishop such as described above. You are the Catholics in the media who often defend the church from attacks from without but are publicly silent when the outrage is from within. You are the Catholics who occupy esteemed positions in think tanks and educational institutions who often bring to light abuse, but never call for penalties for those who allow them. You are the Catholics who are CEOs and board members of corporations that often raise monies for diocesan organizations that are diverted to questionable or even sometimes immoral activities. You are the Catholics in powerful Catholic fraternal organizations who regularly meet and socialize with pastoral shepherds who permit scandal within their dioceses and say nothing.


I will not name any Catholics who are among the above groups. You know who you are. And average Catholics know who you are. We look up to you to carry our banners in the public square. It is now the time for you to do more, to answer the second part of the question. You are the potential Catholic Billy Mitchells.


Our church is a hierarchal organization, and we are taught and conditioned to respect our superiors. We understand the difficult situations and scorn and contempt that public appeals to Rome will put upon you. But as Christ says, "To whom much is given, much will be expected." We are properly taught reverence and obedience to our superiors just as was Gen. Billy Mitchell. But Mitchell knew that his superior's blindness to the future required his sacrificing all that he had achieved for a greater good – that of his country.


So we arrive at the question: Are there any among you, individually or in group, who will now say "Enough is enough" and begin to publicly appeal to Rome for relief from hierarchy and clergy who subject us to the outrages such as occurred in San Francisco on Oct. 7, 2007? Yes, you may lose access to the chancelleries. You may lose prestige among your peers. You may face cancellation of your columns from diocesan publications. You may be dismissed from your board chairs in Catholic charities and organizations. All these may happen. But who else, at this point, can carry our pain to those in the seats of power in our church.


Will you accept your commissions in this great battle for the soul of our church?


Friday, October 12, 2007

Bella

We were watching EWTN's The World Over with Raymond Arroyo, and he had on an actor named Eduardo Verastegui to talk about his life story and his movie called "Bella".

Please visit the website, go see the movie, and purchase the DVD. We need more decent, pro-life films like this!




http://www.bellathemovie.com/site/#/home/

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Overwhelmed by homeschooling information

Our oldest child will soon be 4 and I have been researching homeschooling off and on for the last few years. Until recently I kept telling my husband that I was only considering it (he would really like us to do it). Now I am acknowledging that I want to homeschool and will do it. At the least I want to try it. And it seems that it may be God's will for our family. I don't know if I have the patience, but I suppose that is something I will get better at over time. I have always loved to learn things and study, and what better thing to share with my children.

However, I am feeling quite overwhelmed with all of the information out there about homeschooling. I guess it is a good problem to have so many great Catholic homeschooling resources to choose from. Now we have to decide whether to use a home-study school fully or partially, or to select our own curriculum. I guess that is my project for the next year or so. Anyone have any tips on how to choose? I know each mom (or dad) will have their own teaching style and you have to find what works for your family, but it seems hard to decide where to begin.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Time for Confession

Last month I posted a comment about "Protestants embracing confession." This is a related article from Zenit:

For the full article: http://www.zenit.org/article-20707?l=english

Confession Comeback
Efforts to Stimulate Interest in Reconciliation
By Father John Flynn, L.C.
ROME, OCT. 8, 2007 (Zenit.org)

Confession is undergoing a revival of sorts after a long period of neglect. There has been a spate of recent press articles on the sacrament of confession, or reconciliation, as it is often termed. On Sept. 21 the Wall Street Journal reported that more than 5,000 people turned up at a Reconciliation Weekend held in March in the Diocese of Orlando, Florida. A column dated March this year by Bishop Thomas Wenski, posted on the Orlando Diocese's Web page, spoke about the need for confession. The loss of the sense of sin was termed "the spiritual crisis of our age," he said.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal article explained that interest in confession is rising among some Protestant denominations. This summer, a North American branch of the Lutherans passed a resolution at a meeting supporting the rite of confession, after more than a century of neglect.

Some of the Protestant versions of confession being popularized are, however, notably different from the Catholic sacrament. The Wall Street Journal mentioned practices such as individuals coming clean in videos that are even posted on sites such as YouTube, for all to see. Other initiatives include a confession Web site, set up by an evangelical congregation in Cooper City, Florida, which according to the Wall Street Journal has postings from 7,700 people who list their faults.

The rising interest in confession marks a turnaround, the article observed. A 2005 survey reported that only 26% of Catholics in the United States went to confession at least once a year, down from 74% in the early '80s. (My emphasis...Note that 74% of Catholics don't go to confession at least once a year! )

The Catholic Church is also trying to promote interest in confession. "It remains one of the great marvels of God's love that God would make forgiveness so readily available to each of us," Archbishop Wuerl commented. "The sacrament of reconciliation is the story of God's love that never turns away from us," he said. "Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, God waits, watches and hopes for our return every time we walk away."

Benedict XVI reflected on the importance of confession, in words directed to the youth of Rome, gathered March 29 in St Peter's Basilica to prepare for the local diocesan celebration of World Youth Day on April 1. God's love for us, expressed by the death of Christ on the cross, has obtained for us the gift of the Holy Spirit through which our sins are forgiven and peace granted, the Pope commented. "Christ draws us to him to unite himself with each one of us so that, in our turn, we may learn to love our brothers and sisters with this same love, as he has loved us," the Pontiff added. Once we are filled with this love, Benedict XVI recommended to the young people, we are called upon to make an impact in the world by means of an authentic Christian witness. Valuable words of encouragement to encourage participation in a sacrament neglected for too long.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Justice Thomas


I was able to listen to some of Justice Clarence Thomas' interviews on Rush, Hannity, and CSPAN last week (he has been promoting his book "My Grandather's Son"), and am once again reminded of how fortunate we are to have him as a Supreme Court Justice.
If only we could get a few more like him (or Scalia or Roberts or Alito for that matter)!


I am looking forward to reading his book - if I can ever find the time...


Dan

Friday, October 5, 2007

The War

Instead of blogging in the evenings this week, Janet and I have been watching (after the kids have all gone to bed) the PBS documentary by Ken Burns called "The War".

There has been some interesting comments in the blogosphere and on the Internet and printed media about this documentary. I don't want to get into that now - maybe on another posting.

I recommend that everyone watch this film. It's a great chance to get a reality check and realize that our problems we encounter in our everyday lives are quite trivial compared to what the WWII generation had to endure.

The documentary has a lot of actual footage from WWII that will make your heart break. There are some interesting things that I didn't know happened during the War. So it is a good history lesson as well (assuming these things in the film actuallly happened - I have to assume they did).

It is easy to forget about the wars we have fought in our young history as a nation. This film is a good reminder of why we are and should remain "One Nation Under God."

God Bless our WWII veterans, and all veterans of this country!

Dan

Friday, September 28, 2007

Plan B and Catholic Medical Ethics

In regards to the Connecticut Catholic Bishops statement on Plan B (morning after pill) and Catholic Hospitals: As a family practice physician who has been trained as a medical consultant for the Creighton Model NFP, I am appalled at this statement. It says that Catholic hospitals will be allowed to give the MAP to rape victims and all they have to do is have a negative pregnancy test. It claims that giving the morning after pill (MAP) would not be considered an abortion. This is misleading, because the MAP can act as an abortifacient.

What is the MAP? It is the same hormones as are in the oral contraceptive (OCP), only a much, much larger dose.

How does it work? There are 3 ways. 1)Prevent the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation); 2)Slow down transport of the sperm or egg (or the fertilized egg, also called a baby); and 3)Change the lining of the uterus to prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg (also called the blastocyst, also known as a baby). Preventing the implantation of the blastocyst (baby) is an abortion! There is no getting around this.

One problem is that the manufacturers and other interested parties (oh, I don't know, lets see, maybe... Planned Parenthood? Just a wild guess) are trying to change the definition of conception to mean implanting in the uterus, that way they can say that the MAP only prevents conception. Conception is when the sperm and egg unite in the fallopian tube and a new human being is now present. Therefore the MAP can and does act as abortifacient.

That said there is no reliable means to discern whether or not a woman is pregnant when she asks for the MAP. For example a woman could be 4 days pregnant when she is raped and an ovulation test and a pregnancy test would both be negative and if given the MAP an early abortion could ensue. Alternatively, a woman could have ovulated 12 hours prior to the rape and the egg is making its way toward the uterus and by the time the woman comes to the hospital she could already be pregnant (it has been shown that sperm can make it to the fallopian tubes within 5 minutes) and there would be no way to know this. If you could know with 100% certainty that a woman was not pregnant, then there would be no problem with administering the MAP.

Rape is a terrible thing, but it doesn't justify the potential killing of a human life.

Posted by Janet

Thursday, September 27, 2007

6 Catholic Nuns in Arkansas Excommunicated for Heresy

When I first read this article I thought, "flaky new age nuns finally cross the line". But I checked out their website and was heartbroken when I found out they they are "old fashioned", as is evident by the picture below I took off their website:
http://www.adorationchapel.org/Sisters_of_Charity/sisters_of_charity.html





6 Catholic Nuns in Arkansas Excommunicated for Heresy
Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Six Catholic nuns have been excommunicated for heresy after refusing to give up membership in a Canadian sect whose founder claims to be possessed by the Virgin Mary, the Diocese of Little Rock announced Wednesday.

The Rev. J. Gaston Hebert, the diocese administrator, said he notified the nuns of the decision Tuesday night after they refused to recant the teachings of the Community of the Lady of All Nations, also known as the Army of Mary.

The Vatican has declared all members of the Army of Mary excommunicated. Hebert said the excommunication was the first in the diocese's 165-year history.
"It is a painfully historic moment for this church," Hebert said.

The six nuns are associated with the Good Shepherd Monastery of Our Lady of Charity and Refuge in Hot Springs. Sister Mary Theresa Dionne, one of the nuns excommunicated, said the nuns will still live at the convent property, which they own.

"We are at peace and we know that for us we are doing the right thing," the 82-year-old nun said. "We pray that the church will open their eyes before it is too late. This is God's work through Mary, the blessed mother, and we're doing what we're asked to do."
At a news conference, Hebert said the nuns "became entranced and deluded with a doctrine that is heretical." He said church officials removed the Eucharist — which Catholics revere as the body of Christ — from the monastery on Tuesday night.

Hebert said the sect's members believe that its 86-year-old founder, Marie Paule Giguere, is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary and that God speaks directly through her.
Excommunication bars the nuns from participating in the church liturgy and receiving communion or other sacraments.

The diocese said the action was taken after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a declaration dated July 11 that the Army of Mary's teachings were heretical and automatically excommunicated any who embraced the doctrine.
Hebert said the diocese had known for years that the nuns were following the sect and said church officials in the past had encouraged them to come back into the fold.
According to the Catholic News Service, the Army of Mary was founded in Quebec in 1971 by Giguere, who said she was receiving visions from God.
Dionne said she does not know if Giguere is the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary, but said she believes God communicates through the sect's founder.
"She is doing only what God and Mary tells her to do," Dionne said.

A spokesman for the Army of Mary called the excommunication of the nuns and the other members of the sect an injustice. Father Eric Roy said Giguere has not claimed to be the reincarnation of the Virgin Mary, and said the 86-year-old Quebec woman "receives graces" from the Virgin Mary and God.

"The Virgin Mary took possession of her soul. I would rather say it that way," said Roy, superior of the Sons of Mary, an associated group.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Big Babies!


Russian woman's 12th baby weighs in at 7.75 kg
Wed Sep 26, 10:16 AM ET

BARNAUL, Russia (Reuters) - A Siberian woman who gave birth to her 12th child -- doing more than her fair share to stem Russia's population decline -- was stunned to find that little Nadia weighed in at a massive 7.75 kg (17.1 lb).

Nadia was delivered by caesarean section in the local maternity hospital in the Altai region on September 17, joining eight sisters and three brothers, a local reporter said.
"We were all simply in shock," said Nadia's mother, Tatyana Barabanova, 43. "What did the father say? He couldn't say a thing -- he just stood there blinking."
"I ate everything, we don't have the money for special foods so I just ate potatoes, noodles and tomatoes," she told the reporter, adding that all her previous babies had weighed more than 5 kg (11 lb).
The Guinness World Records lists a 10.2 kg (22.5 lb) baby boy born in Italy in 1955, and a 10.8 kg (23.8 lb) baby boy who was born in the United States in 1879 but died 11 hours later.
The average weight for most healthy newborn babies is around 3.2 kg (7.06 lb), according to World Health Organisation figures.

12 babies totalling more than 138 pounds. We would need to have 20 babies to match that!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Pope was Euthanized!

Ok. A doctor who has a beef with the Church's teaching on euthanasia and other bioethics suggests JPII wanted to be euthanized, and his request was granted. How does she know this? She read a book, watched the pope on tv, and used her expertise. This one goes in the same category as "George Bush Knocked down the Towers". Sadly, millions will believe.


Report: Doctor Claims Pope Was Euthanized
Sunday , September 23, 2007

An intensive care specialist in Italy says that Pope John Paul II may have been euthanized after refusing a feeding tube while he was ill, Time magazine reported Friday.
In an article published in the bi-monthly Italian magazine MicroMega, Dr. Lina Pavanelli argues that the pontiff’s April 2, 2005 death was what the Catholic Church would consider euthanasia, Time reported. She came to the conclusion using her own expertise, media reports and a book written by the former pope’s physician.

Click here to read the Time magazine report.

When the pope’s health began to decline, the failure of doctors to insert a feeding tube would have accelerated his death, Pavanelli wrote. But she believes doctors explained John Paul II’s situation to him and that he may have refused the feeding tube himself.
The article, titled “The Sweet Death of Karol Wojtyla,” appears in the latest edition of the Italian magazine which has often scrutinized the Vatican’s view of bioethics, Time reported.

source: Foxnews.com
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,297743,00.html

Padre Pio

Today I am 38 years old, little Baby Joseph is 4 months old, and five years ago I proposed to Janet. But most notably, today is the feast of St. Padre Pio!

Padre Pio died on Sept 23, 1968, and was declared a saint by JPII on June 16, 2002.

My first introduction to Padre Pio was through my grandmother in the 1970's, who had a great devotion to him. My father had many videos and books about him, and so eventually I got to know more about him as I got older.

"The earth could exist more easily without the sun than

without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." - Padre Pio


The amazing stories about him are too numerous to list here. If you don't know about Padre Pio, do yourself a favor and learn more about this holy, mystic, beloved Saint!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

U.S. Protestants embrace confession

Granted the article is written by someone who is totally ignorant of the Sacrament of Confession, and Telegraph.co.uk is a typical UK liberal publication, but it is still interesting nonetheless.

My take on it is that:

1) Christ instituted the sacrament of confession 2000 years ago for a reason. Duh!

2) Protestants are realizing its not such a bad thing after all. Of course, their reasons for confessing their sins are not the same as us Catholics.

Side note: Isn't it interesting how the pews are emptied during Communion, but the lines for confession are short if non-existent? I guess people don't sin anymore!


From Telegraph.co.uk
Confessing to 'sins' is booming in America
By Tom Leonard in New York
Last Updated: 2:13am BST 22/09/2007

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/09/22/wconfess122.xml


Americans are flocking to confess their sins as Protestant churches have joined their Catholic counterparts in modernising the sacrament of penance.

Thousands of people are attending confession at weekends and just as many are posting their repentance on videos that are played back to congregations or shared on websites such as YouTube.

New technology is fuelling the boom, but so is clever marketing by Churches that are portraying confession as a form of self-improvement — always popular with Americans — rather than some sort of punishment.

Church leaders also attribute the boom to the fashion for self-analysis peddled by daytime television programmes such as The Jerry Springer Show and to a wider theological trend in which Christians are looking for firmer moral guidance.

Some Protestant churches are trying to make confession less forbidding, allowing people to shred their sins in paper shredders, for example.

In a shopping mall in Colorado Springs, three Catholic priests are available to hear confessions six days a week in a small office equipped with a box of tissues and the Ten Commandments.

The priests say they hear 8,000 confessions a year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Pope ordered priests to make confession a priority in February, but the changing attitude of Protestant denominations is more surprising.

Although some theologians say that Martin Luther opposed private confession to a priest, the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church – which has 2.5 million members – voted this summer to revive the ritual after ignoring it for a century.

The Catholic Church opposes group confessions and those conducted on the internet but some of its US parishes have had considerable success with special confession events.

More than 5,000 people attended a "reconciliation weekend" in Orlando, Florida. A "24 Hours of Grace" penitence open house held by five parishes in Chicago drew 2,500 people. A rotating team of 70 priests listened to their confessions.

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando sent out 190,000 pamphlets in March asking local Catholics to confess.

He told the Journal: "Every day on Jerry Springer we see people confessing their sins in public and, certainly, the confessional is a lot healthier than that show."

Protestant denominations are less averse to using new technology in their confession drives. More than 7,700 people have posted their sins on ivescrewedup.com, a confession website launched by the evangelical Flamingo Road Church in Florida.

The XXX Church, an anti-pornography Christian group, videotaped members confessing their use of pornography and put the video on YouTube. It has since been watched 15,000 times.

Jordy Acklin, 21, a student who appeared in the video, said: "There's a reason why they talk about confession in the Bible – you're not supposed to keep it inside you. The weight just goes off your shoulders."

Posted by Dan

Friday, September 21, 2007

Latin Mass Missal

Hopefully a sign of things to come!

E07092001 - 2007-09-20
Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-20547?l=english

Latin Mass Missal Sales Double
LONDON, SEPT. 20, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Since Benedict XVI's letter on the Latin Mass was released this summer, sales of the missal for the extraordinary rite have doubled, reported one publisher.

The London-based Baronius Press is reprinting an edition of the missal, which includes the full text of the papal letter "Summorum Pontificum."

John Newton, editor of Baronius Press, commented, "It would seem that 'Summorum Pontificum,' has generated a considerable amount of interest and excitement in the traditional Latin liturgy among the Catholic laity."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It Takes a Week

I spent much of last week preparing to go out of town to visit grandparents for the weekend. With each new child added, not only does the prep time increase, but also the brainpower expended. There should be some mathematical calculation to figure out how much prep time is required for a trip of this many days with this many children of such and such ages. I make lists to survive: a list of things to do before we leave, a list of errands to run, a list of things to bring, a list of the last minute things to do before we go out the door. And all of this was for a trip of 3 hours for 2 days and 1 night!

Travelling with 4 children under 4 can be very exhausting. Our 2 girls were terrible travellers between about 9 months and the age of 2. I don't know why, but the shrieking loud cries of the girls in the car were much worse than those of the boys. Now, the success of the trip depends more on whether or not the baby sleeps. We have 2 booster seats in the third row of the mini-van and there is just enough space for me to squeeze into to pass out a snack or try to pacify the baby for a while. One more child and I lose that. (Of course, if we have twins again next time, we're moving right to the big van!)

Yesterday we were in the post-trip grumpies. The kids are normally somewhat grumpy on Mondays since it is back to normal with boring ole Mommy, but after the excitement of going somewhere and getting lots of extra attention, the crankiness is quite magnified. Any tips on combatting Monday grumpies?

So here we are getting back to normal. The mountain of laundry is done and put away. We didn't leave anything at Grandma and Grandpa's house (at least nothing discovered yet!) and we had a wonderful visit. Now, if I could only get the baby to sleep all night...

Posted by Janet

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tiller the Baby Killer

Wichita's notorious TBK (not to be confused with BTK)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

ref: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=57603


Tiller abortion racket withers in the light
Posted: September 13, 20071:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jack Cashill
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com-->© 2007


After 22 year-old Michelle Armesto finished testifying last Friday, Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller had to wonder how much more money he would have to pump into Kansas politics to keep his late-term empire afloat.
Armesto testified on the third and last day of special legislative hearings in Topeka on the enforcement of Kansas late-term abortion laws.
With the help of the many politicians he has backed – including Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius – Tiller has turned this reddest of red states into the world's bloodiest. His clinic performed 380 late-term abortions last year alone.


That same year, 2006, Tiller money was instrumental in the undoing of then Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. Tiller pumped hundreds of thousands into the campaign against Kline to derail his dogged investigation of Tiller's clinic.
For all that, Tiller would not have prevailed without the full-throated support of the local media. In fact, for its repeated slander of the "anti-choice extremist" Kline, the Star won Planned Parenthood's top media honor last year, the "Maggie Award," named for its eugenicist founder, Margaret Sanger.


Despite Kline's defeat, some of the more stalwart Kansas legislators have refused to back down. They organized the hearings in question when the man who beat Kline, pro-choice Republican turned Democrat Paul Morrison, appeared to be dragging his feet on the investigation Kline had forced open.


Curiously, the Armesto file was not among those Kline had subpoenaed. Kline had been investigating only those abortions performed on healthy, viable babies. Unbeknown to Armesto, Tiller had recorded her unborn child as being non-viable.
This fact Armesto learned only after she had volunteered to testify. She fully believes her unborn baby to have been healthy at the time of the abortion.
Otherwise, the Armesto story is as heartbreaking as it is typical in this unholy industry. As she testified, her parents pressured her to abort what would have been her first child.
Armesto was 18 at the time and in the 24th week of her pregnancy. She told her mother, "It's murder and I will not do it."
Armesto's fiancé and his parents desperately wanted the baby as well. He was making decent money, and the parents offered a basement apartment and child care while she attended school.
Their support only aggravated Armesto's parents. "I was told that I would be kicked out of my family and to not come back," she told the legislators.
Tiller's clinic eased Armesto's conscience by citing a Catholic group that "believed in abortion" and promised baptism for the aborted baby. In reality, the Catholic Church considers abortion "murder" and "always morally evil."
Ordinary Kansans are no friends of abortion, either. Under Kansas law, a late-term abortion can be performed on a viable baby only if the woman would otherwise die or suffer "substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."
As Armesto would soon learn, Tiller honored Kansas law about as faithfully as he did Catholic doctrine. Not one woman in her group of five, herself included, risked physical or mental health impairment of any sort.
The women talked among themselves during their stay in Wichita. "All were there," Armesto testified, "because they thought [late-term abortion] would solve their problems." These problems ranged from unreliable boyfriends to socially ambitious parents.
After the group watched a video on "Dr. Tiller's legacy," a nurse took Armesto to a private room and prepared her for an ultrasound. When Armesto tried to look at the screen, the nurse abruptly moved the screen away.
Armesto was then taken to another room. There a female doctor inserted a large needle twice to make sure she injected the unborn child, "and that," said Armesto, "is when the baby was killed."
Only after this procedure did Armesto fill out the paperwork and meet with a counselor. She also met with a self-identified Unitarian minister who consoled her, "You have to take care of the ones who are here, not the ones who aren't born."
After the initial injections, Armesto underwent a variety of preparations to ease the delivery of the dead baby. A late-term abortion of this kind is a three-day ordeal with nights spent at a local hotel.


On her second day, Armesto met casually with Tiller for the first time but only for a few minutes. He talked to her about his own teenage children and how presumably, "if in the same situation, would do the same thing."
That evening, Armesto's fiancé got word of what was happening and finessed his way past her mother and into the hotel room where she was staying.
"He begged me not to go through with the abortion," Armesto lamented, "and I told him it was too late." The fiancé was sincere in his affection. Despite the abortion, he later married Armesto, and today the couple has two children.
By the third day, Armesto's labor had proceeded to the point where she was ready to deliver. What follows is not for the faint of heart.
"I remember yelling at the nurse and calling her names and telling her I did not want to be on the toilet," Armesto recounted. "I finally birthed the baby, and I distinctly remember seeing the baby on the floor to the left of the toilet."
Said Armesto, "That image haunts me daily." There was no follow-up care of any kind for Armesto. Nor did Tiller's clinic call to see that there was.
This would not surprise Dr. Paul McHugh. Before leaving office, Kline had contracted with the impeccably credentialed Johns Hopkins psychiatrist to review the subpoenaed Tiller files, all of which cited mental health exemptions.
After new AG Morrison ignored McHugh for six months, pro-life forces brought McHugh to Kansas City to share his findings.


When asked whether he had seen any one file that justified a late-term abortion under Kansas law, McHugh unequivocally responded, "I saw no file that justified abortion on that basis."
Nor did McHugh see any sign of medical follow-up with these women who had allegedly just been rescued from irreversible psychiatric damage.
The Armesto testimony adds heart and soul to McHugh's findings. From existing evidence, it seems likely that nearly all of Tiller's late-term abortions have been performed as a matter of coercion or convenience in full indifference to Kansas law.
Although the Kansas City Star is beginning to distance itself from the heretofore white-hatted Tiller, it still reserves words like "grisly" and "horrific" for editorials on Michael Vick.
For a Maggie winner, alas, this is not likely to change.
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Watch this video made by Kansas Teens for Life:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIzRPtsBSR8

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wow, you must have your hands full!

I went to the grocery store with our 4 kids the other day, which is always an adventure. Luckily our local grocery store got these nifty carts within the last year (just in time for #4) where you can put 2 kids side by side on the top and then 2 in a little fun car attached to the front. And you still have room for groceries in the main basket! Is Dillons becoming more in tune to families with lots of little ones? I think I will call them the pro-life carts. Although, most of the people I see using them have one child riding in the little car. Which brings me to the other day, when I got to the store, all those carts were gone! I was in a panic. How can I shop with a 3 and 1/2 year old, 2 year old twins, and a 3 month old baby? Not to mention compare prices and juggle coupons and my grocery list (which I write out in order of how items are arranged in the store). Luckily they still had some old nifty carts, which can fit 3 kids, so I let the oldest child walk and "help" Mommy. We managed to make do, although every New Nifty Cart I saw in the store had one kid in it! Then the comments started. Within minutes I heard the two most common. "Are they all yours?" "Wow, you must have your hands full!" I nod and smile and continue shopping. "Better you than me." Yes, probably so. Some people go so far as to ask, "Are you done yet?" Sometimes I'll just say I hope not, other times I'll say maybe we're halfway done. Some people are speechless, some look shocked, but I am surprised at the positive comments I get on occasion. It is interesting how a stranger will make a comment (very personal, sometimes!) in a disparaging way, then when she hears your pro-family answer, it seems to really make her think. I think perhaps my greatest pro-life work at this time in my life is just being there for people to see.

posted by Janet

Sunday, September 9, 2007

U2charist

Even though I am not Anglican, this is disturbing. As much as I like U2, to have this during the "Eucharist" seems wrong on so many levels. Another reason to leave the Episcopal church.

I am sure not a few liberal Catholic parishes will be jumping on this bandwagon. Coming to a Catholic Parish near you:

U2charists combine U2 music and worship in Wellington church
Click on link for a video:
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-flpu2charistpnsep09%2C0%2C3915376.story

By Stephanie Horvath South Florida Sun-Sentinel
September 9, 2007

Wellington - It started one Sunday when Deacon Charles Cannon noticed the iPods and Sidekicks coming out in church."I realized pretty quickly that the kids were disconnected during the service," Cannon said of the teenagers in his youth group at St. David's Episcopal Church. "I learned they didn't know what was going on in the service and the music didn't reach them."So on Aug. 19, Cannon brought in Bono to lead worship and made Where the Streets Have No Name the offertory song at St. David's. It was the first U2charist at an Episcopal church in Palm Beach County.
The services are Eucharists sprinkled with U2's music, and, like U2 frontman Bono, they carry a strong social justice message. They collect money to support developing countries and fight problems such as poverty and AIDS.U2charists have popped up in churches around the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Rock bands and loud music in church services is nothing new in some Christian circles. But for the Episcopal Church, heavily steeped in tradition, the U2charists offer a way for it to experiment with contemporary worship. And many of them find the services invigorate younger members and draw people who might not normally attend church."We love our tradition, and we love the fact we love our tradition. It's a big part of our identity," said the Rev. Paige Blair, the rector at St. George's Episcopal Church in York Harbor, Maine, which popularized the U2charists. "It's a safe way for Episcopalians to try these 21st-century ways to worship."That's what's happened since Blair's church started spreading the word about U2charists in 2005.

In the last year, churches across Florida in places as different as Fort Walton Beach, Tampa and Pompano Beach have held U2charists.At St. David's, David Hietapelto, a dad with shoulder-length hair and a rock-star stance, filled in for Bono, and Pride, One and Mysterious Ways replaced traditional hymns. About 120 people filled the pews; after the Sunday night service finished, most of them said they enjoyed it, including the very teenagers Cannon was trying to reach."When you have the rock music there, the church becomes more personal. It's music they like," said Edwin Morlu, 16, one of the church's members."They can hear it while still being able to hear the message and spread it in a more fun and enjoyable way."The teenagers weren't the only ones connecting with the songs. Two 10-year-old girls, one of them Hietapelto's daughter, threw their bodies into full-on dancing. Laura Thornton, 38, sang along with each song, her eyes pressed shut and face pointed heavenward."It's music that resonates with someone my age," she said after the service. "While I might hear a song from Bach, it doesn't resonate the same way, even though it's as gorgeous and beautiful as something I grew up watching, seeing and listening to."But it's more than just any rock music. U2's lyrics have long addressed spiritual issues, and most of the band's members are Christians. The band's song 40 is a version of Psalms 40, and some have interpreted Where the Streets Have No Name to be about heaven. Blair said U2 fed her spiritually as a teenager when she wasn't involved in church."People who are in church now and people who aren't will say going to a U2 concert is a spiritual experience," she said.Despite the Christian undertones, many of the churches, including St. David's, were a bit nervous initially about playing rock music.

The Rev. Bill Richter at St. Simon's on the Sound Episcopal Church in Fort Walton Beach said he held his first U2charist on a Saturday night rather than a Sunday morning because he worried it might not go over well. But 90 people showed up, a big turnout, and 40 percent of them weren't connected to the church."It was powerful. Just to see the kids excited about being at church was wonderful," said Richter, whose church is planning another U2charist. "I think it's a good way to appeal to a different segment of the community that like what we're doing but are a little off-put by the formality."Cannon had to enlist the help of the St. David's priest, the Rev. Steven Thomas, in order to serve communion at the U2charist. He was nervous, despite having already held three contemporary services during the past year, including one featuring Bob Marley's music."I was really afraid the priest wasn't going to go for it. He said, 'Why would I play that kind of music in church?'" Cannon said. "I said, 'If you read the lyrics of the songs, they all speak about the mystical experience of God.'"Thomas said he thought the U2charist was a good way to focus the church on social justice. St. David's collected money for Play Pumps International, a nonprofit group that builds water pumps in Africa."The music's not for everybody," Thomas said. "I told the congregation it's extreme liturgy."

Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Feast of the Nativity of Mary

http://www.catholicculture.org/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm


Mary was born to be the mother of the Savior of the world, the spiritual mother of all men, and the holiest of God's creatures. Because of her Son's infinite merits, she was conceived and born immaculate and full of grace. Through her, Queen of heaven and of earth, all grace is given to men. Through her, by the will of the Trinity, the unbelieving receive the gift of faith; the afflicted are tendered the works of mercy; and the members of Christ grow in likeness of their Head. In Mary all human nature is exalted. We rejoice in her birthday, as the Church has done from the earliest times. This is one of the three birthdays in the Church Calendar — the Birth of Jesus (December 25), the Birth of John the Baptist (June 24) and the Birthday of Mary. All three were born without original sin, although Mary and Jesus were conceived without sin, and St. John was cleansed of original sin while in the womb at the Visitation of Mary.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fr. Emil J. Kapaun - Servant of God

http://www.frkapaun.org/


Father Kapaun was born in Pilsen, Kansas in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas on Holy Thursday, April 20, 1916. He was ordained as a Priest for the Diocese on June 9, 1940 and entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 1944. Separated from the service in 1946, he re-entered the Army in 1948 and was sent to Japan the following year. In July of 1950 Father Kapaun was ordered to Korea. On November 2 of that same year he was taken as a prisoner of war.
In the seven months in prison, Father Kapaun spent himself in heroic service to his fellow prisoners without regard for race, color or creed. To this there is testimony of men of all faiths. Ignoring his own ill health, he nursed the sick and wounded until a blood clot in his leg prevented his daily rounds. Moved to a so-called hospital, but denied medical assistance, his death soon followed on May 23, 1951.

The Diocese of Wichita and the Vatican have begun the formal process that could lead to Father Kapaun's canonization. In 1993, it was announced that Fr. Kapaun would receive the title of "Servant of God".

Read more about Fr. Kapaun in "A Shepherd in Combat Boots"
http://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-Combat-Boots-Chaplain-Division/dp/1572493054/ref=sr_1_1/105-2966241-2338823?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1189218561&sr=8-1