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Obama Lied to Notre Dame, Cardinal Dolan, and Probably the Pope

Ashley McGuire writes at CNN:

It was the 2013 Politifact "Lie of the Year," our president's now infamous line: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." Now all Americans are realizing what Catholics have known from the beginning: President Barack Obama is a master of deception. Lest people forget, passage of the Affordable Care Act happened in part because Obama struck a deal with a single Catholic holdout: Bart Stupak, D-Michigan. Stupak agreed to vote for the bill in exchange for an executive order protecting conscience rights and preserving the Hyde Amendment's ban on the use of federal funds for abortion. Stupak had insisted on an amendment. Instead, he took the President's word.
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NY Times Says Obama's Faith "Less Visible"

How about non-existent? The Obamas skipped Christmas services this year.

President Obama celebrated a low-key Christmas in Hawaii this year. He sang carols, opened presents with his family, and visited a nearby military base to wish the troops “Mele Kalikimaka” — the Hawaiian phrase meaning “Merry Christmas.” But the one thing the president and his family did not do — something they have rarely done since he entered the White House — was attend Christmas church services.
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Jesuits Introduce Psychologists into Confessionals?

The Eponymous Flower reports:

Mind Bending Psycho-Confessionals: Jesuits Introduce Lay Psychologists to Confessionals in Linz
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Bob Newhart and the Narrowing of Freedom

Sad.

Humor “makes us free.” That was Bob Newhart’s observation during a commencement address at my alma mater, the Catholic University of America in 1997. “As long as the tyrant cannot control the minds of free men, they remain free,” the comedian continued. “Humor abounded behind the Iron Curtain and in POW camps. Humor is also our way of dealing with the inexplicable. We had an earthquake a couple of years ago in Los Angeles, and it wasn’t more than three or four days later that I heard the first earthquake joke. Someone said, ‘The traffic is stopped, but the freeways are moving.’”
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Texas Man Wants Pregnant Wife Taken off Life Support

Prayers for the entire family. What a tough time.

Erick Munoz and his wife Marlise, both paramedics, had spoken of a 'do not resuscitate' plan before a tragic incident in late November left Marlise brain-dead. Now her distraught husband is unable to carry out her wishes because of a Texas law that dictates she must be kept alive until the fetus is viable.
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Novena for Christ-Mass: O Emmanuel

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Spain Moves to Restrict Abortion

Good news from Europe. Heh. I never get to say that anymore.

For anti-abortion activists, it has been an historic day for Spain. They are delighted that the government wants to change the law back to what it was in 1985, making it much harder for women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. New legislation proposed by the ruling conservative People’s Party would see abortions allowed only for victims of rape or where there is a risk to the mother-to-be’s physical or psychological health.
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A New Ultramontanism

The uncertainty of the last nine months seems to have affected younger clergy most of all, I mean those who studied for the priesthood under the later papacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Some might say much that Benedict built has already been dismantled. The careful beautifully crafted liturgies we saw in in Peter's that spoke eloquently of 'the hermeneutic of reform in continuity' have disappeared. Even that phrase has gone, so much of the language Pope Francis uses seems to be a dog whistle to the sixties and seventies, to the point where contemporaries of the Pope both clerical and lay are given more comfort than the young.

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Church Could Learn Something From Phil

Coarse or no, he says it like it is.

Wake up Catholic Church, there is a lesson you could learn here.

Duck Dynasty’s patriarch Phil Robertson isn’t a man to waste words, he says it like is and stands by his faith and he uses Sacred Scripture to back up what he professes as his faith. How many Catholic clergy and religious do the same?


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Fr. Volpi's accusations "totally unfounded" say Franciscan Sisters

IMPORTANT: Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate fight back
Call Fr. Volpi's accusations "totally unfounded"
Volpi's comments "offend our entire Institute, and consequently, we refute them completely"

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Priests for Life Vows Not to Comply

Despite a judge's ruling against them.

In a case that has implications for Catholic schools, colleges and other religious nonprofits seeking exemption from the Obama administration’s mandatory insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortifacients, a federal judge has denied religious freedom to the overtly Catholic group Priests for Life. Priests for Life is vowing not to comply with the HHS mandate, even after a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed its lawsuit seeking exemption and protection of its religious freedom
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Make the Church Beautiful

Sherry writes a wonderful piece:

This time of year, people understand that beauty helps us to celebrate. They buy new dresses, they trim the house, they hang up festive lights and look for ways to dazzle the eyes. We understand when we get a dozen roses, beauty brings with it, a joy. If we are created in God's image, then we share in His Divine beauty, for we know via creation, our God loves beauty. If every one of us is part of the Body of Christ, then we share something of His Divine luminous nature. If this is so, then to the extent possible, we must radiate that loveliness, that light to others. How? is the question.
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School Removes Christ from Silent Night

Todd Starnes reports:

A New York school district is in hot water with moms and dads after educators removed all religious references in “Silent Night,” a religious Christmas carol about the birth of Christ. “It’s kind of insulting,” parent Robert Dowd told television station WCBS. His child attends Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School in Kings Park, Long Island. Many parents and concert goers were stunned last week when boys and girls sang the familiar Christmas carol – sans the references to Jesus. The words “Holy Infant,” “Round yon virgin” and “Christ the Savior” were taken out. Instead, the phrase “sleep in heavenly peace” was used. School Superintendent Susan Agruso told the Kings Park Patch that the words were removed to prevent non-Christians from being offended.
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Barbara Walters: I Regret Not Having More Children

I think when we look back on life we very rarely wish we spent less time sharing love and more time working.Continue reading>>>

Even Vanity Fair Notices the Lethality of Contraceptives

These women are allowable casualties for our culture's pursuit of the perennial orgasm.

When 24-year-old Erika Langhart—talented, beautiful, bound for law school—died on Thanksgiving Day 2011, she became one of thousands of suspected victims of the birth-control device NuvaRing. Elite army athlete Megan Henry, who survived rampant blood clots in her 20s, is another. With major suits against NuvaRing’s manufacturer, Merck, headed for trial, Marie Brenner asks why, despite evidence of serious risk, a potentially lethal contraceptive remains on the market.
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Hey, Why Don't Catholic Talk About Jesus When Discussing Abortion?

A theologian responds:

As I flew from New Orleans to Pittsburgh this week, I was reflecting on my past airline travel experiences and recalled a particular incident that seems perfectly suited to this time of Advent longing for the coming of Jesus. Here are some of the fragments of my wandering thoughts. Faith and Reason at 35,000 Feet Years ago I had a gentleman from Brooklyn, who was sitting next to me during a flight, ask me what I do for a living. Usually when I tell people I’m a Catholic theologian, or that I teach religion in a Catholic institution, one of two things happen. Either they will get an awkward look on their face, ask me some superficial question about my job, say something vaguely relevant about religion or Catholicism and then withdraw into their magazine never to speak again or they will unload their entire life story. But in this case, my Brooklyn neighbor skipped over the awkward niceties and asked me point-blank why, as a Catholic theologian, I believed that abortion was wrong.
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I Found the "I" in Team

Jamie, the very worst missionary, writes.

Everybody's heard that saying, right? “There is no 'i' in team” Well, it's true. It's literally spelled t-e-a-m. ….Soooo... there's no 'i'. Obviously. But the heart of that expression is that a team must work together and the success of the team isn't dependent on the work of any one individual. When a team wins or loses it counts for or against every team member, no matter how well they played. There's no “i” in team. Nobody knows that better than I do. It just so happens, I am the worst soccer player ever to strap on cleats and shin guards (to pick daisies and make shadow puppets on a field in the middle of a game).
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Bioethicist Pushes Death Panels

He wants more.

I think the bioethics left has a bit of an identity crisis going on. On one hand, they decry those who warn against death panels. On the other, they often turn around and say we need death panels. Alexander Pope, a law professor and believer in medical futility, has a post on bioethics.net describing where we already have and don’t (yet) suffer from death panels. I basically agree with his analysis (although Hawaii has not legalized assisted suicide and the state of Montana law is a muddle).
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Where are the "Save the Christians" Signs?

The slaughter escalates. The silence continues:

In the coming days we’ll hear many times the story of the birth of Christ with its inspirational meaning for the faithful and the world. Here’s a story not so uplifting, but horrific: Jihadists in Syria slit the throat of a Christian and told his fiance, “Jesus didn’t come to save him.” That report from the Washington-based Christian Post is a reminder in this Christmas season that Christians are persecuted in more than 60 countries, according to Open Doors, an organization formed to aid oppressed Christians around the globe.
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Pro-Life Teacher Fired for Kicking Planned Parenthood Out of Class

Do you know how hard it is to get fired as a public school teacher? Well, it seems one easy way is to be pro-life.

Planned Parenthood is after the career and livelihood of a distinguished, highly-qualified, good high school teacher, Bill Diss, who had the audacity to tell Planned Parenthood that they were not allowed in his classroom.After a second hearing last night, that pro-life teacher, Bill Diss, has been fired. The school board for the Portland Public School District voted to terminate Diss’ contract after Planned Parenthood’s lobbying effort.
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Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis

Bret Stephens writes at the Wall Street Journal:

In the same week that Pope Francis was named Time's Person of the Year, word arrived of the charitable contributions made by the Jane Fonda Foundation. Grand total for the years 2007 to 2011: zero dollars. The last time Ms. Fonda's Foundation made a charitable gift, reports the Smoking Gun website, was in 2006, to the tune of $1,000. The Foundation itself has $800,000 in assets. Ms. Fonda's representatives insist she's made larger gifts, particularly through her family foundation, which in 2011 made about $350,000 in contributions from $7.2 million in net assets. But even that's not quite 5%, the legal minimum required to remain a private foundation.
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North Dakota to Let Man in Same-Sex Marriage Wed Woman, Too

Wait, what? Oh I see now. North Dakota doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. So if a guy who's married to a dude in another state comes to North Dakota, he can marry a girl.

North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem filed a legal opinion last week confirming that the state does not recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages, allowing a man married to another man to come to North Dakota and marry a woman without divorcing his husband.
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Why Ritalin Rules

Mary Eberstadt writes:

Almost 14 years ago, the inaugural issue of Policy Review under newly appointed editor Tod Lindberg ran an essay of mine called “Why Ritalin Rules.” It observed that American children were taking psychotropic drugs at (then-) record rates; that some doctors and other experts believed methylphenidate (the generic name for Ritalin) was being over-prescribed; that the disorder for which it and related stimulants were given — Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder — included a uniquely protean symptoms checklist; and that the line between science and advocacy was hard to find in the bustling pediatric zone of the psychotropic universe.
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Ridiculous Charges Against 2 Pro-Lifers Tossed Out of Court

Good news.

Today in St. Louis Circuit Court, Associate Circuit Judge Michael Noble dismissed charges against pro-life activists, Brian Westbrook, executive director of Coalition for Life St. Louis, and Rita Sparrow, veteran sidewalk counselor, after testimony and arguments this morning. The cases had been brought by the City of St. Louis, which stretched ordinances beyond their intended scope in order to charge Mr. Westbrook and Ms. Sparrow for simple, peaceful demonstration outside the local Planned Parenthood.
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God Told Me to Hold a Sign

An amazing story at Word on Fire. Must read of the day:

“Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give.” My phone told me it was three degrees when I woke up at 7 A.M. This was the gospel reading at Mass, which seemed fitting as I prayed my holy hour afterward. Once I was done, I set to making the sign I had thought of just a few days before – a large white foam-board rectangle that read, “Free Blessings.” My friend Deacon Brian and I clumsily affixed a wooden handle to it with a combination of glue, nails, and duct tape, and then shoved it in the back of my truck.
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Kidney Grown from Adult Stem Cells

What?! No human beings were killed in the creation of this kidney? Bah!

Scientists in Australia have grown the world's first kidney from stem cells – a tiny organ which could eventually help to reduce the wait for transplants. The breakthrough, published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, followed years of research and involved the transformation of human skin cells into an organoid – a functioning "mini-kidney" with a width of only a few millimetres.
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What's Really at Stake in the Communion for Divorced and Remarried Catholics

Ed Peters writes:

I suspect we’ll see more of this in coming months: certain Catholics, including some prelates, calling for the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to holy Communion, which calls will be lionized by the secular press, of course, and only occasionally countered by other Catholics, such counters being dismissed by the secular press. Pope Francis’ governing style seems unlikely to put the kibosh on pro-reception agitation or, for that matter, to discourage its occasional rebuttal. So we’ll just have to deal with it. To me, though, the whole thing is rather simple: either holy Communion is Who the Church says it is or it isn’t; either typical divorce and remarriage by Catholics constitutes objective grave sin (nb: no one is reading souls here, rather, one is noting public conduct) or it doesn’t; and, either those manifestly remaining in objective grave sin are prohibited from reception of holy Communion, or they aren’t.
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Teen who killed four people in drunk-driving accident gets probation due to … “affluenza”

I almost can't believe this is true. Sadly, it is.

I saw something about “affluenza” on Twitter yesterday and ignored it, assuming it was a portmanteau coined by Salon or Slate for an article about income inequality that the left had collectively decided was clever. Today I googled it and realized why people are talking about it. Friendly advice: If you’re planning on drinking tonight, go ahead and start before you watch the clips. Trust me.
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Tony Rossi Reviews Dean Koontz' Latest

I can't wait to read it.

Reviewing Dean Koontz’s Novel “Innocence.” A few weeks ago, Pope Francis made news for spontaneously embracing a severely disfigured man named Vinicio Riva during a public audience at the Vatican. According to CNN, Riva, “has long been accustomed to the unkindness of strangers. He suffers from a non-infectious genetic disease, neurofibromatosis type 1. It has left him completely covered from head to toe with growths, swellings and itchy sores.”
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Tolkien and the Long Defeat

Wonderful piece.

The night is silent and the forest dark; the kind of darkness only found away from the world of street lamps and meals that stretch into the late hours. The trees have been stripped bare, and the space between them is starkly empty; emptiness made more devastating by the hint of past glory. jrr-tolkien-colourInto this scene steps a regal figure, one of authority and accustomed to praise. With only a glance, we can see her connection to this place. For she too seems only a remnant of past majesty and life. We wait to see if she will be joined by another, for certainly royalty and elegance of this kind should be attended to, even in such a diminished state.
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Judge Orders Removal of San Diego Cross

Separation of state and sanity.

A judge on Thursday ordered that a war memorial cross atop a San Diego mountain be removed from federal property in 90 days but said the ruling would be put on hold if it is appealed. U.S. District Judge Larry Burns wrote that "it's time for finality" in the case, 22 years after another judge ordered the 43-foot cross atop Mount Soledad to be taken down. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2011 that the cross violated the constitutional separation of church and state. After the Supreme Court declined review, the case went back to Burns to consider possible alternatives.
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Their Father Kept them Alive and Well

Amazing.

“Their father kept them alive and well,” said Patty Bianchi, CEO of Pershing General Hospital, where the six were taken. “Everybody is in good shape. There was no frostbite. They are stable. They suffered a little exposure and dehydration, but that is all.”
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ESPN Does 180 on Allowing Catholic Commercial to Mention Christ

The public had an effect on this. Good news.

Following public outcry on Thursday, ESPN tells TheBlaze it has reconsidered its position and will run a Christmas ad from the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation, which the network initially said failed to meet “commercial advocacy standards.” ESPN Does 180 on Catholic Groups Christmas Ad First Deeming Mentions of Jesus and God Problematic As TheBlaze’s Billy Hallowell reported on Thursday, a spokesman with the Catholic organization said ESPN rejected their Christmas-themed commercial due to its mention of the “birth of Jesus” and “God’s healing message.”
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Must See Vid of the Day: Thomas Aquinas Students' Choral Flash Mob

Joy to the world!

Thomas Aquinas College In Santa Paula, Calif., reports that more than 100 students visited Pacific View Mall in Ventura recently to enact a choral "flash mob."
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Please Pray for Me...I am Losing My Insurance

Jim Hoft needs your prayers.

In August 2013 I became very sick with what I thought was a cold. After a few days I lost vision in my left eye and I checked into the hospital. I soon found out that what I thought was a summer cold was actually Strep bacteria poisoning my blood stream. The bacteria blinded my left eye, ate a hole through my heart, caused five strokes on both sides of my brain and forced the removal of my prosthetic left knee.
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Shocking New Report on Planned Parenthood

Adoptions down, abortions up. And taxpayer money up to $1.5 million per day.

Today Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) released its 2012-2013 annual report. In response, the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List has released a fact sheet on the information, revealing that while Planned Parenthood’s abortion rate declined by 2 percent, abortions still accounted for 93.8 percent of Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy services. Prenatal care services dropped 32 percent in one year, and 52 percent since 2009. Adoption referrals are also down 4.5 percent in one year. For every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood performed 149 abortions.
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NY Times Journo Can't Believe Pope Francis Named Person of Year

She's in shock.

Pitiful: Here’s what a NY Times journo focused on after Pope Francis’ Person of the Year win
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Former Anglican Priest and Army Chaplain Ordained Catholic

A Priest Life has the story:

Father Jerry Sherbourne, an active-duty U.S. Army Chaplain, and former Anglican priest, was ordained a Catholic priest Sunday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the imposition of hands, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., ordained him during a 10:00 a.m. Mass. Father Sherbourne becomes a Catholic priest, incardinated in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a special Church jurisdiction established by Pope Benedict XVI for those of the Anglican heritage entering full communion with the Catholic Church while maintaining distinctive elements of their theological, spiritual, and liturgical patrimony.
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Let Catholic Hospitals Be Catholic

The ACLU suit is not frivolous. It's a serious attempt to erase religious liberty.

At first glance, the recently filed ACLU lawsuit against the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) looks more like a publicity stunt than a legitimate lawsuit. The suit was filed in a federal district court in Michigan and arises out of the alleged negligent management of a miscarriage suffered by the plaintiff when she was 18 weeks pregnant. The complaint alleges that the plaintiff came to the emergency room of Mercy Health Partners (MHP), a Catholic hospital and the only hospital within 30 miles of her home, on three occasions after her water broke and she experienced bleeding and painful contractions. It is claimed that instead of being admitted to the hospital, the plaintiff was sent home from the hospital despite the fact that her treating physician suspected she had chorioamnionitis, a serious bacterial infection. It is also alleged that she was not informed that it was unlikely her baby would survive and that abortion was an appropriate treatment option. All of this sounds like it could be the basis for a traditional malpractice action against the treating physician and the hospital. But the hospital and the physician aren’t named as parties in this action. Instead the only defendants are the USCCB, and current and former officials of Catholic Health Ministries (CHM), a public juridic person organized under Canon law that sponsors Trinity Health, the owner of MHP. Thus instead of a conventional malpractice action, this lawsuit is a broadside attack on religious liberty.
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Have The Arians Won?

Fr. Ray Blake writes:

I am sure it is not by accident that we have two Saints who fought to defend the divinity of Christ in the first week of Advent. St Nicholas's legend tells us he tore the beards of Arians at the Council of Nicea and Ambrose confronted an Arian Emperor and an Arian court. Arianism says that the Son is less than the Father, he was not born before time began, that hence the Nicean Creed proclaims
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Pope Francis' Life Was Saved by Nun

Interesting.

In a new book, I Fioretti di Papa Francesco, (The Little Flowers of Pope Francis), Andrea Tornielli, a veteran Vatican journalist, the pontiff speaks of his gratitude to the nuns who worked in the hospital where he was ill as a young man. “I am alive thanks to one of them,” Pope Francis said. “When I had lung problems in the hospital, the doctor gave me penicillin and antibiotics in small doses. “The nun who was on the ward tripled that because she had an intuition, she knew what to do, because she was with the ill all day long,” the pope said. “The doctor, who was very good, spent his time in a laboratory, but the nun was living on the front line and talking with those on the front line every day.”
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Barbara Walters Doesn't Like Presidents Swearing in on the Bible

Don't worry Barbara, they don't mean it anyway.

As a host of the daytime talk show "The View," Barbara Walters questioned why politicians, including the presidents, swear on a Bible while taking office when there is separation of church and state.
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An Obamacare Advent Calendar

An Advent calendar you didn't see coming. Some fun. Continue reading>>>

Why Does God Let Us Suffer?

New Advent has the video:

Jesus didn't suffer so we wouldn't have to. Jesus suffered so we'd know how to. So even when you're in the darkest moments of life, when you just want to cry out to God, do you know where He is? He's on the Cross right next to you, saying...
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Two Nuns Honored for Hiding Jewish Families in WWII

Wonderful story from CWR:

Reaching out to the marginalized was and is one of the great charisms of the Bridgettine Order, as evidenced by an event at Rome’s Casa di Santa Brigida on November 14, 2013, when the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Institute gave two medals to the present abbess general of the order, Mother Tekla Famiglietti, in memory of Blessed Mother M. Elisabeth Hesselblad and Servant of God Mother M. Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough. The medals were in recognition of what the two sisters did for two Jewish families during World War II. Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Dr. Piero Piperno, representing the families, were also in attendance.
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Sound of Music Scores Huge Ratings!!!

Everything I've read from the media was nasty about it but the ratings were huge. That's good news.

NBC executives are toasting this morning with tea (a drink with jam and bread): “The Sound of Music Live” gave the network its biggest non-sports Thursday since the finale of “ER” in 2009. The holiday special, starring Carrie Underwood, earned a 4.6 rating/13 share the key 18-49 demographic, and 18.5 million viewers overall. That gave NBC its highest Thursday total viewership since the “Frasier” finale in 2004.
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Father Freaks at Christian School Quiz Which Says Gravity Designed by God

Wait until he hears that he was created by God too.

A debate has ensued online after a Florida man expressed his outrage over his daughter’s recent science quiz, which asserted that gravity ‘was designed by our God.’ The man, who uploaded a photo of the quiz to Reddit, declined to provide the name of the school for privacy reasons, but contended that the photo was indeed real. He said that his daughter attends a private Christian school because he and his wife believe that the public schools in their area are substandard. He stated that he does not mind the she is being taught about God, but became angry when he saw the content of her recent science quiz. “My daughter (3rd Grade) has been at this school since kindergarten and things have been going well. Most doctrinal issues were handled delicately without fundamentalism and allowed parents the option to discuss differences of opinion with their children,” he wrote. “This week she brings this monstrosity home. I am livid!”
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Father Nicholas, the Real Santa Claus

David L. writes:

When I was very young, some of my classmates would leave their shoes outside the bedroom door on the night of the fifth of December, so that Saint Nicholas would leave them treats. We never did that at our house, but I did ask Mom how it was that Saint Nicholas got to be called Santa Claus. By this time I had already determined a connection between the two.
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Man Survives Three Days At Bottom of Ocean, Credits Prayer and the Bible

This would definitely be a made for television movie...if you took out all that icky prayer stuff:

A Nigerian man who miraculously survived after spending three days at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean is crediting God for sustaining his life. In May of this year, 12 men aboard the Jacson 4 found themselves in the fight of their life when their tugboard capsized off the African coast. One man, Harrison Odjegba Okene, who was the cook for the team, was in the bathroom when the incident occurred. It was very early—approximately 4:30 a.m.
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Chris Christie Opposes Doctor Prescribed Suicide

This legislation should be stopped. I'm glad he's voice his opposition to it. I hope he pushes this hard:

At a press conference held Tuesday, Governor Chris Christie said that he opposes legislation in New Jersey that would legalize doctor-prescribed suicide. The “New Jersey Death With Dignity Act’’ is sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli. The assisting-suicide advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, has been at work in New Jersey on this dangerous legislation. The bill pending in New Jersey has essentially the same language that governs both Oregon and Washington. The language, developed initially for Oregon, purports to “safeguard” the practice and restrict it to the terminally ill and the competent.
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Vandals Trash Church, Deface Picture of Pope

Tolerance.

Police are searching for answers after a Brighton church was vandalized by three teenagers. Police say sometime between 3 p.m. on November 23 and 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 25, the teens damaged three doors and broke into Our Lady Of Presentation Church on Washington Street. Residue from two fire extinguishers was found all over the church floors. A portrait of Pope John XXIII was found on the second floor, cut up and defaced with phrases such as “Devil’s Star,” “(Expletive) God” and “Scooby Doo.”
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The Four Best Beards in the History of Christendom

Melissa Keating writes a great and funny piece.

The rest of the world is buzzing about no-shave November right now. However, as Catholics, we belong to a long history of beards so magnificent they could never hope to be confined to single month. The face furniture of our early Fathers alone is resplendent enough to make Gandalf weep with envy (looking at you, First Council of Nicea). I'm not saying that God gives the best beards to Catholics. I just want to point out the long standing correlation between Christianity and luxurious lip locks. In fact, if you pay attention to hagiography, you can't help but come to the conclusion that the Church Triumphant strongly resembles an NHL team during playoffs.
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Former Baywatch Beauty Says Hollywood Thinks Religious People Are Crazy

Big Hollywood reports:

Former Baywatch beauty Brooke Burns doesn't hide her faith, but the actress admits that causes friction on the set. Burns told Fox News she grew up in a Christian family and kept her faith when she started getting work in Hollywood. She quickly learned being open about her spirituality made her persona non grata at times.
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Planned Parenthood Official: Birth Control Doesn't Reduce Unintended Pregnancies

Duh! So is Planned Parenthood ready to say the Church was right? Yeah, probably not.

The Plan B birth control pill is supposed to be a panacea for lowering the number of abortions and unplanned pregnancies — so much so that the Obamacare health care law forces religious companies and organizations to pay for such birth control in their employee health insurance plans. But a Planned Parenthood official is admitting that the Plan B drug Sandra Fluke worked so hard to force Americans to pay for is not getting the results the abortion business promised. NPR interviewed one of the top officials at the nation’s biggest abortion corporation: “While there’s a lot of data to show it can prevent pregnancy in individual women, we’ve all been disappointed that on the population level, it just hasn’t had the effect we hoped,” said Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The unintended pregnancy rate hasn’t changed at all.”
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Church Removes Pews to Make Room for Social Gatherings

I bet you wouldn't be able to find the tabernacle there if you had all day.

The Catholic Church on the campus of Jesuit-run University of San Francisco is redecorating by removing pews to make room at the back of the church, near a statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, for “social gatherings.” The University of San Francisco celebrates its weekly 8 pm Sunday student Mass at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, which is located on the school’s campus.
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Pope Francis: 2015 will be devoted to consecrated life

They could always use our prayers.

Pope Francis announced that the year 2015 will be specially dedicated to consecrated life, as he met on November 29 with leaders of the Union of Superiors General. The Pope surprised the religious leaders by meeting with them for a 3-hour discussion, rather than settling for the usual papal audience. He did not speak from a prepared text, but answered questions in a lengthy session that the Vatican described as “colloquial and fraternal.”
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College Offers Applicants Seven Gender Choices

That'll make bathroom symbols a little confusing, won't it?

Recently, Ron’s wife was filling out an application for Bellevue College when she noticed something interesting. Instead of the standard “Male” and “Female” boxes that one checks on applications, there was the question: What is your ‘gender identity’? And seven different options: Feminine, Masculine, Androgynous, Gender Neutral, Transgender, Other and Prefer Not To Answer. Under that is the question: “What is your sexual orientation?” Where you can then check Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Straight/Heterosexual, Other or Prefer not to answer.
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Hey Rhode Island Has a Christmas Tree Again, Not a Holiday Shrub

Christmas makes a comeback.

”Christmas” is returning to Rhode Island’s capitol building. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee put out a statement Monday announcing that the tree at the State House will be called a “Christmas tree,” ending a two-year long controversy.
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Jesus Christ, Modernist

Mark Judge writes:

Liberals have it exactly backwards. Conservatives engaged in the culture war are not against modernity. We’re against pre-modernity. We’re against returning to a culture that values only science but not spirit, that worships the false god of government, and that thinks that other people can be used for sexual pleasure without love or consequence. Human beings have already been there. And we don’t want to go back.
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Study: Prayer Helps People

Hey, science says so.

Praying helps people stay in control of their emotions and behaviour, according to a new study. People turn to prayer 'as a coping response to the high demands in life' and are rewarded with increased strength and ability to resist temptation, researchers said. Previous findings have shown that when people try hard to control their emotions and thoughts, the risk of aggressive outbursts and binge drinking or eating rises.
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Only Gays Can Get Angry?

Austin Ruse writes about the scandal of a Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school.

It’s a Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school. It’s touchy,” said Tym Moss of the Bronx LGBTQ Center. Linger over that. A Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school is touchy? You’d think that priests speak at Catholic schools every day and it would be completely unremarkable. But you don’t live in gay world. Well, actually you do. You just don’t know it yet.
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Man Suffers Concussion, Becomes Musical Genius

Just a crazy story.

If getting hit on the head means that I’d get to be a kickass musician for the rest of my life, I think I would seriously consider it. It sounds impossible, but something of the sort happened to 41-year-old Derek Amato. He really didn’t have a choice about it, though. Derek had no idea his life was about to change forever when he dove into the shallow end of a pool to catch a football at a party. He hit his head and had a concussion, resulting in Acquired Savant Syndrome – a rare condition where people display profound abilities (called savant skills) after suffering head trauma, abilities that they didn’t have at birth. In Derek’s case, the acquired ability is music.
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