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In the Back Pew: A New Catholic Family Blog

Check it out. It's first post is on the 12 days of Christmas:

Dec. 26, ‘Boxing Day,’ is the day when every toy gets played with, every box opened, and every treat tasted. Halfway through the day, the emptiness of stuff starts to sink in, even if you got something really cool. It doesn’t quite satisfy, because it can’t. As Catholics, we’re supposed to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, to feast on the joy of Christ’s birth from Dec. 25 through the feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6). This tendency to look for the next thing, to try everything, trying to find pleasure as a substitute for joy is very common for everyone. So here are a few suggestions to make sure you celebrate the 12 days of Christmas even as you climb out from the mountains of boxes and ribbons the day after Christmas. Dec. 26: Yesterday, you received without asking, today you should give as freely. Consider signing up to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food pantry or shopping for the food pantry alone. Today, as you put away the largess you've received, consider giving some away. Having the children give, reminds them that all that we have is a gift, and that there is a great joy and freedom in giving.
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Patrick Reilly: School Ground Bullies in the Nation's Capital

The stripping of religious freedom:

On Dec. 2, the Council of the District of Columbia passed an amendment to the D.C. Human Rights Act, repealing protections for religious schools and colleges to determine their own rules regarding gay and lesbian student activities. If the current or incoming mayor signs it, the amendment will become law and likely force the Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington schools to provide recognition, facilities and perhaps even funding to gay and lesbian student clubs that oppose Catholic teachings. The D.C. Council approved the amendment unanimously, despite vigorous opposition from Catholic University, the D.C. Catholic Conference and the Alliance Defending Freedom, among other religious groups.
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Salon: God Raped Mary

I'm not linking to the original piece because...asshattery but I'll link to Hot Air's take:

Salon: Have a rapey Christmas, you religious dinosaurs Ah, Christmas — the season for joy, tolerance, and goodwill amongst all. Usually in these days, media outlets queue up the glurge — the sappy stories, the tearjerker videos, and the essays about finding meaning in a season defined by religion and its observance. Everyone likes to tap into the happy memories and high ideals of the Christmas season. Well, almost everyone. For some reason, Salon chose this week to offer two dyspeptic and nonsensical takes on religion, the most outrageous of which argues that one has to support rape in order to be Christian. God raped the Virgin Mary, so they argue, apparently without one single clue as to what the Annunciation actually was or what it means in Christian belief, as well as most other religions:
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Marquette suspends prof’s teaching, orders him off campus. You Won't Believe Why.

Please recall that Marquette is a Catholic university.

In November, Prof. John McAdams (Marquette political science) — who blogs at Marquette Warrior — wrote a post critical of a philosophy instructor, Cheryl Abbate. (Abbate is a graduate student but was apparently the sole instructor for the particular section of the Theory of Ethics class, as is not uncommon for undergraduate courses at research universities.) The post faulted Abbate for allegedly not allowing criticism of homosexuality in class discussions (the quotes appear to be from the student who had approached McAdams to complain about Abbate):
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New disciplinary action looming for Father Pavone?

This doesn't seem good.

Father Frank Pavone, the founder of Priests for Life (PFL), once again faces possible disciplinary action because of his refusal to allow episcopal oversight of his organization’s finances. New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan has revealed, in a letter to the bishops of the US, that the Vatican conducted an apostolic visitation of Priests for Life last year. After that investigation, the cardinal says, he was asked by the Congregation for the Clergy to “assist Father Pavone with several necessary reforms.”
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Horrifying: Flawed Pre-Natal Tests Led to Abortions

Terrible.

Medical science and diagnostics have advanced significantly over the last few years, but they aren’t perfect. Unfortunately, some doctors and patients are making life-and-death decisions based on claims of accuracy that don’t match up to performance, especially when it comes to pre-natal testing for birth defects. Genetic tests that should be preliminary have been used to make final decisions, resulting in unnecessary abortions, the Boston Globe reported this weekend:
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Vid: Christian Man Asks Gay Bakeries To Bake Pro-Traditional Marriage Cake, And Is Denied

Some really bad language here from the bakers.

Christian bakeries that refuse to make pro-homosexual marriage cakes are persecuted throughout America. They get sued, they get fined, they get death threats, and they lose their businesses. So we at Shoebat.com called some 13 prominent bakers who are either gay or pro-gay and requested that they make a pro-traditional marriage cake with the words “Gay marriage is wrong” placed on the cake. Each one denied us service, and even used deviant insults and obscenities against us. One baker even said that she would make me a cookie with a large phallus on it. We recorded all of this in a video that will stun the American people as to how militant and intolerant the homosexual agenda is:
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Fr. Damian Ference Reviews Taylor Swift's Latest CD

My girls are listening to this CD non-stop. Non. Stop.

In an age when fewer and fewer people are buying full albums, Taylor Swift’s 1989 sold 1.287 million copies in the first week of its release. That’s impressive, considering that in this iTunes era, more and more people are buying single songs than complete albums. With 1989, Swift left the comfort of country for a new pop adventure. And so far, it seems to be working out quite well. First, let me commend Taylor Swift on being able to reinvent herself without compromising her integrity or the minds and hearts of her fans, especially the young ones. Unlike Madonna, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus, who have reinvented themselves through shock and skin, Taylor Swift has (for the most part) kept it classy. As one of my seminarians pointed out, Swift used to sing about how other girls wore short skirts while she wore t-shirts, but now she’s the one in the short skirt – but at least she’s not twerking. Too, I read recently that Swift finds it immodest to expose her bellybutton, which I found fascinating. There’s something about a navel, and Swift knows it. But I digress.
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Chaplain Punsihed for Sharing his Faith

What else was the chaplain supposed to share?

An Army chaplain was punished for discussing matters of faith and quoting from the Bible during a suicide prevention training session with the 5th Ranger Training Battalion -- leading to outrage from religious liberty groups and a Georgia congressman. Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn was issued a Letter of Concern that accused him of advocating for Christianity and “using Christian scripture and solutions” during a Nov. 20th training session held at the University of North Georgia. “You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side,” Col. David Fivecoat, the commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Ft. Benning, Georgia, wrote in the letter to the chaplain. “This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information.”
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Catholic Bishops: Obama's 'Gender Identity' Regulation 'Serious Threat to Freedom of Conscience'

Why they hatin' on Obama. Prolly racists.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) condemned new regulations to implement President Obama’s July 21 executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating "on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” These regulations were put in place by the Department of Labor last week in an update “to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes it protects” against discrimination.
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The Mean Priest on Missing Mass

Fr. John Hollowell:

I've had a very similar conversation with several different people at multiple parish assignments. The same person will ask two questions maybe a few days or weeks or months apart: 1) "Father, why do you talk about missing Mass and mortal sin? It's so off-putting and mean." and then, at some other point: 2) "Father, why have my kids stopped going to Mass?" Hello!
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Finally! Notre Dame Offers Class on "White Privilege"

Promises "personal transformation."

Next semester, Notre Dame will offer a class that aims to help students acknowledge and understand their so-called “white privilege” and – as a result of their “personal transformation” – find ways to “disrupt … oppression,” a description of the class states. “The goal for each participant is personal transformation: to leave the class… more aware of injustices and better equipped with tools to disrupt personal, institutional, and worldwide systems of oppression,” according to a description of the six week, one-credit sociology course titled “White Privilege Seminar.”
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20 of Steven Wright's Funniest Jokes For His 59th Birthday

Heh.

Don't get too excited, but today is the deadpan comedian's 59th birthday. 1. It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it. 2. I almost broke both my arms trying to hold open a revolving door for a woman. 3. I got a new dog. He’s a paranoid retriever. He brings back everything because he’s not sure what I threw him. 4. Every morning I get up and make instant coffee and I drink it so I have the energy to make real coffee.
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“If your church was built on Simon Peter you have a rough foundation.”

Wonderful

In a debate between Karl Keating and Dr. Peter Ruckman the latter stated the following: “If your church was built on Simon Peter you have a rough foundation.” The thing is that God can use anyone he wants to do his will without defeating their own free will, but he always chooses the least so they can be seen as magnifying his glory.
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Planned Parenthood: We’ll have to close our clinics if Gov. Walker investigates us for Medicaid fraud

They believe they're above the law...because they supply the sacrament of abortion.

It's not even under investigation, but Planned Parenthood is worried it is coming to the end of the line in Scott Walker's Wisconsin. Investigators with the state's Department of Health Office of Inspector General (OIG) say that two family planning facilities alone have charged the Medicaid program more than twice their allowable cost for birth control, overbilling taxpayers by millions of dollars a year. A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Wisconsin admitted, if the state will demand that they follow the law as written, it would have to shut down its locations across the state. Inspectors say two facilities charged $3.5 million in fees they were not due for distributing contraception. Under state law, officials declare, the facilities may only charge taxpayers for the actual cost of the drug, plus a small distribution fee.
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Did the Church Change Its Doctrine on Usury?

A great question and good answers. Continue reading>>>

Benedictine Nun, Boys' Football Coach

She says it's an opportunity to pass on values, not just athletic skills.

Sr. Lisa Maurer is a Benedictine nun who lives at the St. Scholastica Monastery on the campus of the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minnesota. She works at the Benedictine Health Center next to the monastery, serving senior members of the community. She prays, studies and ministers at local parishes. She also happens to coach a men’s football team. “I was never involved in coaching football … until this year,” Sr. Lisa said in an interview with Catholic News Service. “I was around football only because my dad was a football coach, obviously my brothers played and, you know, football is a staple in America. So I’m a lover of football but never played or coached it until this year.” Sr. Lisa joined the monastery at St. Scholastica seven years ago, one year before the school established a football program. When the team began practicing in 2008 at a field right behind her residence, she said she would often go outside and watch. “The football practice field … is literally in the backyard of the monastery, so that was my connection,” she said. “I would just wander out to the football field if I had a free afternoon, if they were practicing, maybe walk around our grounds and say my rosary and kind of just watch the guys.”
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Florida Capitol to Display Satanic Diorama for Christmas

Jerks and malcontents.

Angels we have heard on high? The Florida Capitol will feature a new display this holiday season with an angel plummeting into a fiery inferno with the caption, “Happy Holidays From The Satanic Temple.” According the Naples Daily News, state officials have approved this week the diorama of a falling angel as a holiday display after rejecting it last year as “grossly offensive.” The Satanic Temple, along with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, announced this week that Florida officials had agreed to allow the temple’s holiday display at the state capitol in Tallahassee from December 22-29, in an area designated as an open forum for private speech, reports the Washington Times. The Department of Management Services said the move came after a threatened lawsuit. Department spokesman Ben Wolf said the proposed display was “grossly offensive during the holiday season.”
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School nativity scenes replace baby Jesus with Elvis, aliens and recycling bins!

Uhm, wrong King.

Schools are increasingly replacing the King of Kings with the King of Rock and Roll. As Great Britain continues to become a more “multicultural” society, school nativity scenes – a staple of the Christmas season – are becoming increasingly secularized.
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25 Things People With 5+ Siblings Know to be True

This is great. Love it. Lots of fun.

1. There will never be a meal where everyone is happy with the food. 2. Getting a table at a restaurant will take at least half an hour no matter where you go. 3. Car trips to far away places are more crammed than Target on Black Friday. 4. Someone is always around to watch a movie. 5. Someone will always being talking during that movie.
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Why a Lutheran Pastor and a Catholic Priest Tried to Save the Souls of Nazis

Tony Rossi writes:

If there are a group of people in modern history who are thought of as irredeemable, it’s the Nazis. Truth be told, the orchestrators of the genocide of the Jewish people and the murders of millions of others certainly didn’t “deserve” any kind of mercy. Yet at the end of World War II, two American Army chaplains – Rev. Henry Gerecke, a Lutheran minister, and Father Sixtus O’Connor, a Catholic priest – made an unprecedented attempt to save the souls of the Nazi leaders held at Nuremberg prison. Their little-known story has now been documented by award-winning journalist Tim Townsend in the book “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis.” During an interview on “Christopher Closeup,” Townsend admitted that prior to writing this book, he simply knew the “Hollywood” version of the trials and thought of the Nazis as a “stereotype of evil.” And while there were those like Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who seemed to revel in cruelty as he oversaw the extermination of the Jews, there were others, like Wilhelm Keitel, who didn’t fit so neatly into a preconceived box.
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Before Being Killed, Children Told ISIS: ‘No, We Love Jesus’

Martyrs.

Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” has seen violence and persecution against Christians unprecedented in recent decades. In the video embedded below, he recounts the story of Iraqi Christian children who were told by ISIS militants to convert to Islam or be killed. Their response? “No, We Love Yeshua (Jesus).”
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The Ugly Truth of Post-Abortion Syndrome: Testimony from Real Women Who Aborted their Babies

Breitbart reports:

In 2007, the New York Times stated that scientific evidence “strongly shows that abortion does not increase the risk of depression, drug abuse or any other psychological problem.” This confident assertion—already dubious when it was made—is being overwhelmed by reams of evidence suggesting the contrary: that abortion leaves a discernible wake of sorrow, suffering, and devastation.
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I Rejected Abortion After Rape, Then The Rapist Sought Custody of My Child

This is just nuts. Kudos to this woman though.

My custody case in Florida against my rapist started in 2010 and went on for a little over two years. Though I had a restraining order and had pursued prosecution, he was not convicted of rape. At the time he sued for custody, I did not know how many states had no or limited legal protection at that time from a rapist biological father when the child was conceived from his attack. Those states which had laws required a rape conviction. For me, all that counted at the time was that Florida had no legal protection at all for this. I recall the judge asking if there was any law to prohibit this — even a federal law –and me replying: “Not yet, but I am working on it.”
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Ferguson Schools Let Students Leave to Protest in Streets--Without Notifying Parents

Wow. Tells you all you need to know, doesn't it?

Hundreds of students were allowed to leave several high schools in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday morning to protest in the city’s streets--a decision the school district made without notifying the children’s parents before or during the protest. Teachers and administrators also walked with the students as they blocked traffic and clogged congested intersections.
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For the Public Good: The Shameful History of Forced Sterilization in the U.S.

“I never figured out why they did that to me.”
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This Interactive Map Tells You Whether Obamacare Makes You Pay for Abortions in Your State

The Daily Signal has it:

Pro-life Americans long have criticized the Obama administration for failing to disclose coverage of abortion under the Affordable Care Act, and now, taking matters into their own hands, they’ve come up with a solution. Two leading pro-life organizations, the Charlotte Lozier Institute and the Family Research Council, teamed up to design a state-by-state map that clearly tells Americans whether the Obamacare plan they’re considering covers elective abortions. The goal? To help individuals and families find abortion-free health insurance options that don’t require them to pay what many pro-life critics of Obamacare call a “hidden” or “secret” abortion fee.
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CDC: Abortion Rates Go Down

Wesley Smith writes:

The CDC has issued a report noting a steep decline in the number of abortions. From the report: For 2011, a total of 730,322 abortions were reported to CDC. Of these abortions, 98.3% were from 46 reporting areas that submitted data every year during 2002–2011, thus providing the information necessary for evaluating trends.
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Media is Indifferent to Euthanasia Victimized Families

Wesley Smith reports because nobody else will:

Imagine you are at work, going about your day. The phone rings. You pick up and it is a mortuary informing you they have your mother's body. "What do you mean you have my mother's body!" you exclaim in utter shock. "She was just euthanized today," the voice on the other end mildly answers. "What should we do with the body?" That is exactly what happened in 2012 to Belgian chemist Tom Mortier, who spoke (via Skype) yesterday at the very well attended East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide
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How Narnia and Middle Earth helped an atheist professor find her faith

Love this.

I have been reading Dr Holly Ordway’s Not God’s Type: an Atheist Academic Lays Down her Arms (Ignatius Press, or Gracewing in the UK). It is always uplifting to read books like this, not in a triumphalist way but because it is a reminder that underneath all the glaring human weaknesses in the Church as an institution, which we all know so well, there are still people out there who are searching for answers to fundamental questions and then finding them in the Church. Ordway, a professor of English and director of the MA in cultural apologetics at Houston Baptist University in the US, provides a very telling description of the atheist mindset (as opposed to those who drift along in agnostic indifference). There is a kind of fierce pride in telling yourself that you are “the product of blind chance”. The author saw herself, with all her rational self-sufficiency, as “standing on my lonely precipice, able to recognise my identity as a meaningless speck in an uncaring universe”. She notes her sense of superiority to people of faith, her cynicism about the myths they believed in; she even sensed her heart hardening, in her determination to quell any doubts in her dogmatic insistence on atheism.
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Scott Hahn Recommends Graduate Programs in Theology

The Cardinal Newman Society reports:

If anyone knows faithful theology, it would be Dr. Scott Hahn. So we asked him about faithful graduate programs in Catholic theology. Hahn, a prolific writer, television host and the Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization at Franciscan University of Steubenville, recently spoke with The Cardinal Newman Society about his recommendations and advice for students considering an advanced degree in theology.
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Seattle’s Lib Mayor Pardons A Tofurky…

Tofurky. Why? Because it’s Seattle.
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Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?

Crisis Magazine:

Pure myth! That is today’s typical view of a literal Adam and Eve. Yet, contrary to current skepticism, a real Adam and Eve remain credible—both in terms of Catholic doctrine and sound natural science. By calling the Genesis story a “myth,” people avoid saying it is mere “fantasy,” that is, with no foundation in reality at all. While rejecting a literal first pair of human parents for all mankind, they hope to retain some “deeper” truth about an original “sinful human condition,” a “mythic” meaning. They think that the latest findings in paleoanthropology and genetics render a literal pair of first true human parents to be “scientifically impossible.”
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G'town Student Says He Deserved to be Mugged Because "Privilege"

Blame the victim.

A Georgetown University (GU) student says he was mugged at gunpoint but in a recent editorial he says he “can hardly blame” his assailants.
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Bill Murray Misses the Latin Mass

Who knew?

If you didn’t already love Bill Murray, here’s something sure to make you repent: check out this excerpt from a Guardian piece on him and his new film: His parents were Irish Catholics; one of his sisters is a nun. This conspicuous religion adds to his broad church appeal (there’s a citation from the Christian Science Monitor on his golfing memoirs). You don’t need to ask if his faith is important to him. He talks about how 19th-century candidates risk not getting canonised because the church is keen to push ahead with the likes of John Paul II and Mother Teresa. “I think they’re just trying to get current and hot,” he smiles.
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Those Pathetic Millenial Moms

Calah Alexander writes:

A delightful comment on my post about sewing on buttons spawned a rather, uh, interesting facebook debate the other night. It began with an observation about this seeming trend for younger, millennial moms to act as though the domestic arts are an unattainable fantasy, yet at the same time unworthy of our brain power. Instead of attempting to learn them, we do things like blog about hiding in the bathroom and checking facebook while our kids destroy the house around us.
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16 Magistrates Retire After North Carolina Legalizes Same Sex Marriage

Higher than reported.

The number of North Carolina magistrates who have resigned or retired early because of their opposition to performing same-sex marriages is higher than previously reported.Last month, a federal judge cleared the way for same-sex marriages in North Carolina, prompting the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to direct magistrates. They are required by law to perform the wedding ceremonies, if asked.AOC reports between that ruling on Oct. 10 and the end of the month, 16 magistrates left their jobs, but the state wouldn't release why they left.
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Episcopalian Priest Compares ISIS Beheadings to Vandalism of Abortion Clinics

She seems to like Planned Parenthood better than most Christians.

In a recent essay, Rev. Susan Russell compares Muslims who “behead journalists” with Christians “who blow up women’s health clinics.” In doing so, she disingenuously attempts to make readers believe that Islam and Christianity are equally susceptible to violent extremism. “Yes,” Russell writes, “there are Muslims who advocate murder for ‘infidels,’ behead journalists and discriminate against minorities.” But, she continues, there are also “Christians who blow up women’s health clinics, burn crosses on lawns and lynch their African-American neighbors—using their religion as an excuse for their violent extremism.”
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How Revolutionary Were Ancient Christians Views on Sex

Still are, if you ask me. Eric Metaxas writes:

For the first seventy or so years of Christianity's existence, the Greco-Roman world paid it relatively little attention. There were persecutions here and there (like the one that claimed the lives of Peter and Paul). But, for the most part, it wasn’t until the second century that their pagan neighbors began to focus their attention on just how different Christians were. As Michael J. Kruger of Reformed Theological Seminary wrote at The Gospel Coalition, one major difference was that “Christians would not pay homage to the other ‘gods’ ” of the Roman world. Since paying homage to these “gods” was a civic as well as a religious duty, this refusal caused Christians to be viewed with suspicion. Incredibly, some pagans even accused Christians of atheism! As Kruger notes, there was another area in which Christians stood out like the proverbial sore thumb: and that was sex. As Kruger writes, “While it was not unusual for Roman citizens to have multiple sexual partners, homosexual encounters, and engagement with temple prostitutes, Christians stood out precisely because they refused to engage in these practices.”
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The Meanest Thing Jesus Ever Said

Msgr. Charles Pope writes:

The Gospel from today’s Mass (Wed. of the 33rd Week – Luke 19:11-27) is known as the “Parable of the Ten Gold Coins.” It is similar to Matthew’s “Parable of the Talents” from Sunday, but with certain significant differences and an ending so shocking that, when I read it at daily Mass some years ago, a young child said audibly to her mother, “Wow, that’s mean!” I’d like to take a look at it and ponder its shocking ending.
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Public School Refuses Girl to Create Christian Club

Lawsuit follows. Good. We've got to make these public schools as afraid of Christians as they are of atheists.

A New York high school has rejected a student's request to have a Christian club on campus, prompting possible legal action by a Texas-based organization. Wantagh High School of the Wantagh Union Free School District recently denied official recognition for Elizabeth Loverde's proposed club "Dare to Believe." In response to the rejection, Loverde and her family contacted the Plano, Texas-based Liberty Institute, which sent a letter Monday to the principal, as well as to other school district officials.
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Ostrich University

The venerable Oxford University does not want to debate the societal effects of abortion. Fr. Blake has the sad story.

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Passionate Perseverance: The Mission of Every Day

Must read of the day. Please say a little prayer for this family.

I am just going to write here and not edit or over-think things. This space has always been where I shared my heart for the last seven years. I have never met a coma I haven't abused in some horrific grammatical way, I make up words and sometimes I even curse. It's me and it's real and one day when we meat in person, you will have the same experience, maybe without the cursing. We are now at the end of the second month of Miss Courtney's "hospice" care. I don't know what I expected but I will admit that I am surprised that my daughter is still with us. I have watched her struggle many a day to breathe through her seizures only to be floored watching her chuckle and laugh the very next day. This girl of mine has a very strong will to live and boy does it shine through.
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Because Gay Marriage is Exactly Like Suicide...

Wesley Smith takes apart the latest pro-death argument:

Assisted suicide advocates continually try to link that agenda with other causes they deem to have greater public appeal. For example, doctor-prescribed/administered death has been called the “ultimate civil right,” in an obvious attempt to co-opt our high regard for the Civil Rights Movement. But many civil rights organizations such as LULAC and the disability rights community oppose the death agenda. Assisted suicide and euthanasia have been linked to abortion, in the belief that more people support that agenda than oppose it. But pro-choice people oppose assisted suicide as do pro-life people–for example the American Medical Association that is decidedly in favor of the right to an abortion.
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Pope Francis denounces “false compassion” behind abortion and euthanasia

The Pope welcomed the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors to the Vatican to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Continue reading>>>

First Do No Harm. A Catholic Physician Tells All

Tod Worner writes:

I am a Catholic and a physician. As a convert to the Catholic Faith, many have asked me to explain my faith and offer reasons for perceived shortcomings in the Catholic creed. “Why do you believe…?” “How can you justify…?” Rather than becoming defensive, I have found myself eager to answer such questions. After all, at one point, these questions were my own. I came to Catholicism, in part, because it is a beautiful repository of wondrous faith and scintillating reason. Curiously, however, no one has ever asked me as a practicing physician to explain my faith in medicine. An obvious question for a field that inaugurates its practitioners with an oath to “First, do no harm.” And yet, this question is taken for granted because medicine is a science. As such, it is considered honest, true and self-correcting.
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UNICEF Denies Catholic Bishops’ Claim that Vaccine Is Laced With Birth-Control Hormone

This is calling out for an objective investigation.

While the Catholic Bishops of Kenya, along with the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, assert that a tetanus vaccine sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is laced with a hormone that causes miscarriages and infertility, UNICEF denies that the vaccine is tainted and the WHO says the “allegations are not backed by the evidence.” Both the WHO and UNICEF say the vaccines “are safe,” and UNICEF states the “Catholic bishops are wrong” and are “putting children at risk.” Kenya’s Ministry of Health also asserts the vaccine is safe. The bishops, who help oversee 58 Catholic hospitals, 83 health centers, 311 dispensaries, and 18 medical training schools in Kenya – a country where the Church has been providing medical care for more than 100 years – say their independent tests of the vaccine show the hormone is present, and that the vaccination campaign is a “disguised population control program.”
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If My Child Marries Yours...

This is great.

If my child marries yours... I just want you to know that I'm praying for you. When I'm awake at night - feeding babies, burping babies, giving tylenol to a feverish toddler, covering up chilly toes, tucking green monkeys under little arms - I think of you. Because chances are, you're awake too, doing the same sorts of things. Taking care of tiny children that I already love because they will someday hold the hearts that are beating against my chest tonight.
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Pope Francis to Install Showers for the Homeless at St. Peter's

Wow.

A 20th century composer once wrote a symphonic work called "The Fountains of Rome." Apparently, there’s going to be a new “fountain” in the Eternal City. Under the direction of Pope Francis, showers for the homeless will be installed in St. Peter’s Square. Work will begin Monday.
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18 Signs You Might Have a Lot of Children

Funny 'cause it's true:

1) You take your two youngest children on dates – and it still feels like a date 2) You’ve mastered the art of maintaining a conversation while being interrupted every few seconds 3) You have a very high tolerance for chaos
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Marquette Prof: “Gay Rights” Can’t Be Discussed As Disagreement Would Offend Gays

John McAdams reports the latest absurdity from the Jesuit university:

A student we know was in a philosophy class (“Theory of Ethics”), and the instructor (one Cheryl Abbate) was attempting to apply a philosophical text to modern political controversies. So far so good. She listed some issues on the board, and came to “gay rights.” She then airily said that “everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it.”
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The Silencing of Sex Change Regret

The Federalist reports:

Everyone has regrets. Some of us have big regrets. Most everyone has some place to go to get help dealing with them. Except for, say, a guy who had sex-change surgery and now would like to have his penis back. (The one God gave him.) Our culture seems pretty much “to each his own” when it comes to elective bodily mutilation and the regret thereof. And there’s a lot of regret out there. According to a British poll, a whopping 65 percent of those who’ve had various cosmetic surgeries regret it. People who regret their tattoos, plastic surgery, or more extreme body modifications (here’s a sad Buzzfeed pictorial on the effects of ear gauges) can read up on the Internet and find an open array of remedies. Plastic surgeons make money both puttin’ it in and takin’ it out.
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Minneapolis Schools To Stop Suspending Black Students For Violations That Would Get White Kids Suspended…

Yet another reason to avoid public schools:

Minneapolis Public Schools are implementing a new policy aimed at eliminating the gap between the races when it comes to suspensions. Nothing will change for white students, they will still be suspended at the discretion of each school’s principal. But for minority students, specifically black, Hispanic and Native American students, the Minneapolis Schools Superintendent’s office will personally review each case. This new policy is part of an agreement with U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced last week after an investigation into why minority students made up such a high percentage suspended students in the past.
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School Forbids Students from Praying

This is crazy.

Christian students at a Colorado public high school were told they could no longer meet to pray, sing religious songs or discuss religious topics during free time – because such activity violated the U.S. Constitution, a lawsuit filed in federal court alleges. Chase Windebank is a senior at Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs. Three years ago he started meeting together informally with his classmates for prayer and religious fellowship. The young people would meet in an unoccupied choir room to sing songs like “Amazing Grace” and discuss the issues of the day from a religious perspective.
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Cardinal Burke Replaced

Disturbing news:

The Holy See Press Office announced on November 8 that Pope Francis has named Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, as the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura. Archbishop Mamberti replaces Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has served as prefect since 2008. No prelate has served in the position for longer than six years since Cardinal Dino Staffa, who was prefect from 1967 to 1977.
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What a Man Found When He Sought Revenge for the Holocaust

An amazing story:

He survived the savagery of the Holocaust, made it to America with barely a penny and became a world-famous tailor in Brooklyn, dressing celebrities and presidents. In his new memoir, “Measure of a Man,” Martin Greenfield tells the story of his extraordinary life. In this excerpt, he explains how the concentration camps nearly stripped him of his humanity at age 16 — and the day he got it back. While at Buchenwald, the SS assigned me to work in the munitions factory. But early one morning after roll call, a soldier placed me on a 12-prisoner team to perform repairs outside the camp in nearby Weimar.
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Poll: There Are More Christians in this Country Than You Think

On the one hand it's perfectly understandable that Christians feel like they're a minority.

Americans have some serious misconceptions about the number of believers there are in the country. According to a Global Survey from Ipsos MORI, Americans think 56 percent of the country is Christian, when it is actually closer to 78 percent, and 15 percent of the country is Muslim, when it’s really just 1 percent.
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Heroic Patience: Ten Virtues of Mary

A great read filled with wisdom:

I originally offered to write on heroic patience as a joke. While I couldn’t think of anyone who was bragging about their ample supply of patience, it seemed there should be some other woman, made of stronger stuff, who could withstand the slings and arrows of daily life better than I, and who should be called upon to share her wisdom. But, because my sarcasm was not made clear enough, here I am, the blackest pot, with the largest timber in my eye, writing about patience, and not just any patience, but patience in heroic proportions. Thank goodness I can yield the floor to one more suitable; the Blessed Mother.
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Christian Couple Killed by Mob

Genocide.

A Christian couple accused of desecrating a Koran have been killed by a mob of Muslim vigilantes in Pakistan. The husband and wife, known only as Shama and Shehzad, were beaten to death. Their bodies were then burned in the brick kiln where they worked. Policemen in Kot Radha Kishan, southwest of Lahore, were unable to save the couple, and are instead trying to arrest the ringleaders of the angry crowd.
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Catholic Bishop Joins Pro-Life Protesters

This is good to see.

Edward Scharfenberger, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, joined a small group of men praying in front of the Planned Parenthood offices on Friday afternoon. “Wow, we’re really surrounded by a lot of religious symbols,” said Scharfenberger when he arrived, pointing out statues of Mary and Jesus located on the second story of a building, once planned to house a Christian adoption agency, across Warren Street. Next door to Planned Parenthood, the Open Arms Pregnancy Center has offered alternative pregnancy counseling since 2007.
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High School Football Player Penalized After Bending Down To Pray After His First Touchdown…

No praying allowed.

When Fort Myers High school football player Sam Turner reached the end zone Friday night with the first touchdown of his high school career, he took a few seconds to bow down and thank the Lord, but that simple act ended up having a major consequence. Turner, 16, who briefly bent down on one knee, placed his finger in the air and prayed to the Lord, was dealt a 15-yard penalty, with an official dubbing the prayerful act unsportsmanlike conduct, according to the News-Press.
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Notre Dame’s ‘Gay in Christ’ Conference Aims for Fidelity, But Speakers Embrace ‘Gay Identity’

I'm a little late on this but it's worth a look-see.

A conference today at the University of Notre Dame will address “a pastoral strategy for parishes to be able to receive the gifts of self-identified gay Catholics,” while remaining faithful to Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality—but some speakers’ perspectives on “gay identity” may fall short of true orthodoxy. “Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity” is co-sponsored by Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the Gender Relations Center. ICL director Dr. John Cavadini poses the following question on the University’s website: “Can Church teaching support an ‘exchange of gifts,’ enabling a parish community to receive the gifts that such people bring to us, and, in turn, to make the gifts of ecclesial belonging more securely and fruitfully available to these Catholics?”
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I Don't Like the Rosary. 6 Reasons I Pray it Anyway

This is great.

A few months ago I went to confession at a conference where I was speaking and made the mistake of wearing my nametag into the confessional. Now, I’m not terribly concerned that Father would connect my name with my sins–it’s not like there’s anything he could do about it if he did. But my nametag identified me as a speaker at the conference, which evidently gave him the idea that I was serious about holiness because he gave me a rosary for my penance. You read that right. A whole rosary.
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Brittany Maynard Planned to Die on Nov. 1. Now, Her Plans Have Changed.

Keep the prayers coming.

Brittany Maynard, the Oregon woman who made news earlier this month with her plans to die on Nov. 1, has released a new video announcing a change in plans. Maynard, who has terminal brain cancer, still intends to choose when she dies, “I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” although “it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”
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City Reverses Itself, Won't Force Chapel to Perform Same-Sex Marriages

Good news. Hey, we'll take what we can get.

In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel across the street from the county clerk's office now seems in the clear to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. Earlier this month, the ministers filed suit against the city which had threatened to enforce its non-discrimination ordinance against the chapel. (See prior posting.) However now, as reported Friday by Boise State Public Radio, the city attorney says that the chapel is exempt, even though it is a for-profit entity. Last month it reorganized as a limited liability company and provided in its operating agreement: "The Hitching Post is a religious corporation owned solely by ordained ministers of the Christian religion who operate this entity as an extension of their sincerely held religious beliefs and in accordance with their vows taken as Christian ministers."
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Conversion Story: From Atheist to Catholic

I love conversion stories:

The upbringing I underwent in New South Wales, Australia —partly in Sydney, but mainly in the village of Mulgoa— was one of complete, although predominantly quiet and civil, atheism. Both my parents (who are now dead) spent their childhood as Presbyterians, but shed religious belief soon after attaining adulthood. My father was the philosopher and political polemicist David Stove. During his undergraduate years, he fell under the spell of the militantly atheistic guru John Anderson of the University of Sydney's philosophy department. Except that "fell under" seems a much too gentle phrase to describe what my father and thousands like him experienced at Anderson's none-too-scrupulous — and, where females were concerned, lecherous — hands.
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Answers I Wish I Had

This is just painful and beautiful. This is why blogs were made.

One night in September, right at the tail end of summer, I was exhausted. I had woken up before the sun, before my roommate, and before the birds - by 8pm, I was curled up in bed, ready to watch a chick flick, eat fancy sea-salted dark chocolate and end up crying. Sometimes that carefully buried bottle of tears just needs to be broken before the world can start looking better, you know?
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Shiny, Empty Uteruses

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway writes:

In the opening pages of her book Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, Katha Pollitt tells readers that her mother had an abortion in 1960. Her mother’s FBI file, which Katha read after her death, said she was in the care of a physician for “gynecological problems.” Pollitt says her father never knew about the abortion and neither did she, which made her angry “the way one can be angry at one’s mother for having a life outside her child’s ken.” (Yes, she manages to equate abortion with “having a life.”)
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Ross Douthat: Why I Am a Catholic

I'm still working through it but it's definitely worth sharing and reading:

Of all the columns I imagined writing when I started out at this job, it’s safe to say that Sunday’s piece, in which I suggested that conservative Catholics should “resist” their pope if he seems intent on leading the church off a doctrinal precipice, was not one of them. So it’s worth saying something briefly about my own personal religious perspective on the church to which I belong.
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Loyola Chicago Club Approves Pagan Student Club on Campus

Everything is permitted.

Loyola University Chicago (LUC) has recognized a student group on campus which was recently described as the Loyola Student Pagan Alliance, but is now approved under the name Indigenous Faith Tradition Alliance, according to College Fix. The group offers itself to students interested in “New Age” religions, despite the Catholic Church’s prohibition against associated practices.
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Pregnancy centers, not politics – the future of the pro-life movement

EWTN News:

Amid the chilling dark chaos of a woman’s unwanted and unexpected pregnancy, a group of pro-life Catholics try to be a light to both the mother and the unborn child. Their mission is in an unassuming plot in a modest town well outside the sprawling Washington, D.C. suburbs. Not much car traffic passes through town other than tourists on their way to see the mountain leaves turn every October.
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The Hideous Glee the Media Takes in a Palin Being Assaulted

The CNN video is sick. Just sick. Good for Matt Lewis for pointing this out.

Matt Lewis shames the press for laughing at Bristol Palin’s physical assault Apparently, the usual sober and fraught political commentary that often accompanies episodes of physical violence directed toward women disappears when the subject of that violence is a Palin. The political press had a hearty chuckle at the expense of the Palins when it first broke that the former first family of Alaska was involved in an alcohol-fueled brawl. The “thrilla in Wasilla,” some called it. One might, however, have expected the laughter to die down after local police released audio of Bristol Palin who described through hysterical tears how she had been assaulted, dragged through the grass, and robbed of her affects. It did not.
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20 Images that Prove St. John Paul II was the Coolest Saint Ever

A hipster even. The Catholic Gentleman thinks so.

Pope St. John Paul II was an extraordinary man. He traveled to more countries than any other pope. He helped bring communism to its knees. He was shot and lived to tell about it. He suffered a debilitating disease heroically. He inspired millions around the globe to pursue Jesus Christ and strive for holiness. And much, much more. Yet, there is one more more achievement than can be added to his long list of incredible accomplishments: He was cool. How many saints do you know who wore converse and hipster glasses? Even Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati can’t claim that.
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Feminist video of little girls highly offensive

This is child abuse.

[Warning: graphic language] This should be hard to watch for decent people- especially decent Catholic and all Christian parents. This is a video promotion to sell liberal/LBGT/feminist/gaylove/equality t-shirts using little girls dropping the f-bomb and other vile language.
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Peter Kreeft: To Save Your Soul, You Must Opt Out of the “Culture of Death”

Joy is possible.

“I should just always ask what God wants me to do and then do it. That’s all, isn’t it?” wondered a 6-year-old Peter Kreeft. A longtime Boston College philosophy professor, he cites this gift from God as his first “important conscious discovery.” Kreeft joined the BC faculty in 1965 and has written over 70 books, all building upon this first realization. The circumstances of this pivotal moment are somewhat surprising, according to Kreeft. It was a Sunday after church with his parents, who raised him as a Dutch Calvinist. He eventually entered Calvin College in 1955.
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Unrealistic Stock Photos Of Parenting With Hilarious, More Relatable Captions

Some of these are laugh out loud funny. Continue reading>>>

Raleigh Seminarian with terminal brain cancer responds to Brittany Maynard

Must read of the day:

Philip Johnson, a 30-year-old Catholic seminarian from the Diocese of Raleigh who has terminal brain cancer, has written an article responding to Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old woman who has publicly stated her plan to commit suicide due to the fact that she has a terminal brain cancer. Johnson is vocal about his disagreement that suicide would preserve one’s dignity in the face of a debilitating illness.
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So You Want Abortion Laws More Like Europe?

Penn Democrats haven't done their homework.

The Penn Democrats wrote an op-ed in defense of “reproductive rights” for the Daily Pennsylvanian, arguing that women have the right to employer-paid abortion drugs and that abortion-clinic safety rules are “unnecessary.” Fair enough. But these defenders of bodily integrity make a curious case for their contention that America’s abortion laws are “decades behind many other countries”:
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The New Yorker Profiles Women Against Abortion

The SBA List if profiled:

One afternoon in May, Lindsey Graham, the Republican senator from South Carolina, took the Senate floor to ask for a vote on a provocatively named bill: the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after twenty weeks of gestation. “There are only seven countries in the world that allow elective abortions at this stage,” he said. “At twenty weeks, people have been born and survived.” Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, offered a sharp rebuttal. The law would “drive more women to rogue doctors,” she said, and added a charge that is frequently aimed at Republicans these days: “It’s a war on women.” This was a spirited debate, though not a suspenseful one. Graham knew that Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, would not allow a vote on his bill. But he wanted to be seen trying to do something about abortion in America.
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Marriage Issue is For All The Marbles

John Zmirak states that what is at stake is the Papacy itself and the claim of the Catholic Church.

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Cybil Shepherd Dsicusses Rediscovering her Christian Faith

Nice to hear.

Cybill Shepherd was born into a Christian family and was even a staple in her church choir by age 8, but the actress recently revealed that she eventually stopped praying and lost touch with her faith — until recently. Cybill Shepherd visits ‘Extra’ at Universal Studios Hollywood on September 16, 2014 in Universal City, California. (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images) The entertainer, known for starring roles in shows like “Cybill” and “The L Word,” said during a recent panel discussion about her new, faith-based film, “Do You Believe,” that she’s feeling spiritually renewed. Shepherd described losing touch with her Christian roots before later rediscovering them through prayer and a reconnection with her childhood faith, according to the Christian Post. “I was born a Christian, sang in the choir then I lost touch with my savior Jesus Christ. I stopped talking to Him and praying,” she said. “Then I just started talking to Jesus and I started to feel really good and I got the offer to do this film.”
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Is Halloween an Evil Holiday?

Good answer.

Nope! The word itself means “All Hallows’ Eve” (“hallow” is an old-fashioned word for holy) because it’s the night before the feast of All Saints. There’s a lot of research that’s been done on the origin of this holiday but I’ll save you the long version and just tell you: it was always our holiday.
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A Bishop Who is Unapologetically Catholic

I got your ecumenism right here!!

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The Vindication of Christian Sexual Ethics

I do wonder if there is a recognizable "Christian Sexual Ethic" anymore in that some denominations have strayed so wildly but I think David French's point is well made.

Over at The Weekly Standard, Heather Mac Donald has penned an outstanding cover story chronicling the ongoing collapse of sexual-revolution values on college campuses. It turns out that sexual “liberation” has not led to sexual fulfillment, but instead to a landscape littered with broken hearts, long-lasting psychic pain, and a consequent desperate effort to create and enforce a bizarre “neo-Victorian” sexual ethic grounded not in any real morality, but instead in an effort to use institutional power to shift the emotional, psychological, and legal consequences of sexual regret and ambiguity to men and — as much as possible — men alone.
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'People stare at my baby and say I should have aborted him but he's a miracle'

It's almost like these parents believe life is sacred or something.

Lacey Buchanan and her husband Chris were thrilled when they were told they were expecting a son. But they had no idea of the heartbreaking struggle that lay ahead
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Why do so many liberals despise Christianity?

Damon Linker writes:

Liberals increasingly want to enforce a comprehensive, uniformly secular vision of the human good. And they see alternative visions of the good as increasingly intolerable.
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Pope Benedict’s private secretary speaks on Synod, divorce, same-sex relations

Interesting:

Pope Benedict’s private secretary has given a surprise interview on some of the hot-button issues at the Vatican’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family, advancing views aligned with those expressed by Pope Benedict during his time as cardinal and pope. In the interview published in the print edition of Chi magazine last week, Archbishop Georg Gänswein said, "The Church has always declared, based on the Scriptures and tradition, that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” The acts, he said, “are contrary to natural law, because they prevent the gift of life, the purpose of the sexual act.”
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Father Check from Courage Responds to Synod Report

This is important. Good job Register.

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Another College Joins the Trend: University of Mary Institutes Single-Sex Dorm Policy

Good news:

The University of Mary (Mary) in Bismarck, N.D., recently completed the transformation of student housing on campus and, starting this semester, now only offers single-sex residence halls. Single-sex housing serves as a “visible sign” that students “associate with Catholic identity,” explained Dr. Timothy Seaworth, vice president for student development, in an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Mary is recommended in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity. The Cardinal Newman Society released the 2015 edition of the Guide this week along with an innovative new “Recruit Me” program that lets students sign up so the recommended Catholic colleges can compete for them.
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84 Year Old Nun Makes Ironman History. Again.

Nice.

Next week, some of the toughest athletes in the world will compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Among them will be an 84-year old Catholic nun from Spokane who is about to make Ironman history - again. Sister Madonna Buder's story is part of Ironman lore. She says a message from God got her to take up running at age 49. 35 years and hundreds of races later, she's still going strong and has opened up several Ironman age groups for women. She says she keeps herself busy on the grueling Ironman course by keeping up a constant dialogue with God. "When they say 'you've got God on your side,' I say, so do you! You just have to refer to him," Sister Buder says.
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Cardinal Burke: Synod's mid-term report "lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium"

CWR:

The Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura says that a statement from Pope Francis "is long overdue"
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The Deadliest Words in the World: "It's a Girl"

Eric Metaxas writes:

Long-time listeners to BreakPoint will know that my colleagues and I consider the sanctity of life a global issue. Not only is abortion an injustice no matter where it takes place, but the social disasters wrought by killing millions of babies in the womb are hard to imagine. Nowhere is this truer than in China, where the government’s infamous one-child policy has snuffed out a generation of girls and left a gender imbalance probably without precedent in human history. Chillingly, on this year’s 34th anniversary of the policy’s enactment, 34 million Chinese boys face the fact that they’ll never find wives, because those women were simply never born.
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Cardinal Burke: Relatio Demonstrates Manipulation of Synod Reporting

Pastoral.

The reaction to the Relatio post disceptationem at the Extraordinary Synod on the family continues to be felt. In the Vatican press office today, John Thavis described these as the “aftershocks” to the “pastoral earthquake” of the release of the relatio yesterday. One of the more conservative members of the College of Cardinals called for the publication of all interventions in its aftermath. Cardinal Raymond Burke also accused the General Secretariat of the Synod of manipulating the document for its own favored outcome in an interview with Catholic World Report:
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I know I made the right call, says mum who reversed abortion pill

21st century technology helps to save a life.

A young American mum has spoken of her despair after she was convinced to take the controversial RU-486 abortion pill at a Planned Parenthood clinic – and immediately regretted it. “I was crying and I was alone,” recalled Chaveste, a 20-year-old college student who lives in the Sacramento area. Salvation came from that most unlikely of sources – a smartphone. “Thank God for smartphones,” she told Catholic San Francisco. Sitting in her car outside Planned Parenthood, “I googled ‘RU-486’ and found a website for RU-486 reversals. She thought it was fake but called anyway and even though the website was for an organisation in San Diego, the woman at the end of the phone found a doctor nearby to help her.
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Who's Your Favorite Christian Character on Television?

I can't think of any offhand:

Who is your favorite Christian character on television? That’s a tough one given the limited options, like the kind of choices you’d get in a socialist cafeteria. For years, the best we had going for us was The Simpsons’ Ned Flanders. And that’s not saying much … except that Christians can have neatly trimmed mustaches. Generally speaking, the rules of thumb for representing Christians in medialand go something like this:
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Why Have More Kids?

The answer is simple:

Recently, on an older post about exhaustion, I received this comment: “I don’t want to offend anyone but why do people keep having more kids if they are already exhausted with 1 or 2 they do have?” There are so many answers I could give, but for me, it all boils down to this: Anything of value is exhausting.
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Woman Writes Open Letter to Baby She's About to Abort

This is just heartbreaking. Awful.

A heartbreaking open letter posted to Reddit last night comes from a woman who claims she is pregnant and plans to abort her unborn child next week. In the note titled, “I am getting an abortion next Friday. An Open Letter to the Little Life I Won’t Get to Meet,” the writer — Reddit user scaredthrowingaway — spoke directly to the child, saying she simply isn’t ready to be a parent.
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Yes, Plan B Can Kill Embryos

Dr. Donna Harrison writes:

Some researchers and others have claimed categorically that Plan B — a high dose of Levonorgestrel — has no effect on human embryos. Media outlets in recent days have echoed these claims. The research studies, however, don’t support that conclusion.
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Why I'm NOT Going to Take My Own Life

A testimony of love and life.

By now, most of you have heard the story of Brittany Maynard, a glioblastoma patient, who is going to commit suicide. She has joined "Compassion & Choices" formerly known as the Hemlock Society, who advocates for legalized euthanasia. In fact, this group has made a video with sad and ominous music and a lot of words about "death with dignity", "compassion", "choice", "suffering", "enough is enough". Like Kara Tippetts, My heart goes out to Brittany and her family. I want Brittany to know that she is loved, not just by her family and friend, but also by me. I will keep Brittany and Kara in my prayers and good thoughts, just as I do Cheryl Broyles.
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Company Rejects, Maligns Applicant for Her Christian Beliefs and Education

Wow. This one just gets worse and worse. And then a little worse.

A graduate from Trinity Western University says that a hiring manager for Canada's North for Amaruk Wilderness Corp. informed her that her application for an internship at the company was rejected because of her Christian beliefs and education at a Christian university. In her complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, Bethany Paquette provided a series of discriminatory emails from executives at Amaruk.One of the emails was from hiring manager Olaf Amundsen, who told Paquette that she did not meet the minimum requirements to be a guide. He then callously added: “Additionally, considering you were involved with Trinity Western University, I should mention that, unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.
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An Open Letter to Parents Expecting a “Crippled Kid”

A must read. Truly.

Last weekend after wheelchair basketball practice, Ella and I were discussing her teammates and why they were in chairs. I explained to her that most of the kids had spina bifida, and what that meant. She asked why she’d never met anyone with SB before she was in a wheelchair herself. I explained that most parents of children with spina bifida, and other debilitating birth defects, choose to terminate their pregnancies rather than have children who are disabled. She was upset by the thought that anyone would think her life, or those of her friends, was somehow deficient, so she wrote a letter to parents who are expecting a “crippled kid.”
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Couple Welcomes Terminal 'Bucket List' Baby, Then Says Goodbye

Every life is sacred. Thanks for GMA for posting it.

The Pennsylvania couple that carried out a heartbreaking bucket list for an unborn baby with a terminal condition announced the birth of the boy today, and his death a few hours later. "Today at 6:15 a.m., after meeting his entire family and being baptized into the Catholic faith, baby Shane died peacefully in his Mother's arms," Jenna and Dan Haley of Philadelphia wrote in a Facebook message. "We are so grateful for the time that we were blessed to hold and hug our son." Touching Reason This Couple Completed a Bucket List for Their Unborn Child Shane was diagnosed with anencephaly, a brain defect in which a baby is born without parts of its brain and skull and isn't expected to survive. Almost all babies die shortly after birth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Pray for Brittany, Her Death Is Scheduled for November 1st

Sr. Theresa writes:

When I first read about Brittany Maynard on People.com I gasped. Brittany’s smile is beautiful and her life circumstance so tragic. At 29-years old Brittany has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given months to live. She has moved to Oregon where assisted suicide is legal so she can end her life as she says “on her own terms.” The article about her story has already been shared almost 100,000 times.
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Catholics Review "Thou Shall Not Steal" in Economics

I, for one, do not understand the affinity so many Catholics have for leftism:

The social teaching of the Catholic Church is a sizeable cloak of many colors. Its lineage is ancient and sacred, arising as it does from Biblical instruction and most emphatically from Jesus’ own words and example. These scriptural passages have been elucidated over many centuries by Church fathers and doctors and, since the late nineteenth century, by encyclicals or other formal papal statements. Inasmuch as the Church has been functioning (as Thomas Babington Macaulay famously put it) since cameleopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheater, the body of putatively authoritative social teaching is, as one might imagine, not merely copious but complex. One must say putatively because not everything passing under the label of “Catholic social teaching” (or “doctrine”: the terms are commonly interchanged) is necessarily binding on the devout conscience.
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Old Liberals, Young Liberals and the Breakdown of the Family

Catholic World Report:

A recent study by the Pew Research Center finds significant differences between younger and older liberals, differences that are not encouraging either to orthodox religious believers or to the older liberals. The Next Generation Left (NGL) are at one with older liberals on the social issues, notably abortion and homosexual marriage, and it is primarily those issues which hold the Democratic constituencies together. But the NGL is notably less liberal on economic issues. Only nine per cent of older liberals think America’s economic system is fair, while 36 per cent of the NGL does. Over 8o per cent of older liberals think the government should help the needy, as opposed to only 39 per cent of the NGL, 32 per cent of whom think the poor lack initiative and rely on handouts. As R. R. Reno of First Things says, the Pew study seems to show that the NGL “…marry free market individualism with an affirmation of lifestyle freedom unhindered by and sometimes antagonistic to religion, morality, and social solidarity.”
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Ross Douthat on Mercy and Marriage

Sometimes what seems like mercy is unmerciful.

In this particular case, the case of a contemplated change to church teaching on remarriage and divorce, that injustice might fall on those children (or spouses) who currently feel protected, secured, and supported by the line the church draws on marriage and the ideal it upholds, and who might be more easily betrayed or abandoned in a world where the church’s attitude toward divorce seems to be rapidly converging with the wider culture’s laissez faire. Or, in a more complex way, the injustice might fall on those Catholics, like Mensch, whose personal situation conflicts with church teaching in a way that feels like a cross, but one that seems to them worth carrying; or on those Catholics who stand to benefit in various ways, practical and spiritual, from going through an annulment process that, in a world where the remarried could take communion with having their prior marriage declared null, might atrophy and disappear.
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Saved by the Bell’ star: I would have become a father at 15, but my baby was aborted

A moving interview.

Former teen heartthrob Mario Lopez, who skyrocketed to fame in the late '80s and 1990s playing A.C. Slater in Saved by the Bell, has revealed he is a post-abortive father. In his newly published memoirs Just Between Us, Lopez comes clean about his hypersexual behavior, which began in childhood and cost him a child and a marriage. Sex became his “drug of choice” early in his life, he wrote.
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13 Warnings About the Devil from Pope Francis

Church Pop has the story:

So the greatest trick of the Devil is convincing people he doesn’t exist? Pope Francis is not impressed. Starting with his very first homily as the bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has regularly reminded believers that the Devil is real, that we must be on guard, and that our only hope against him is in Jesus Christ. Here are are 13 of Pope Francis’ most direct quotes on the matter.
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Why Do Catholics Have So Many Kids?

It ain't patriarchal oppression that's for sure.

"Wow, you've sure got your hands full." No matter how many times I hear this and no matter how well intentioned the speaker, it always rubs me the wrong way. One time in the grocery store I did actually lift my hands from the cart, bearing two blonde heads, and hold them up in the air whilst the baby dangled from the Ergo across my midsection and loudly announced "NOT RIGHT NOW I DON'T!" which sent the kindly fifty-something woman sharing the bread aisle with me scooting backward, nervously, laughing out of confusion and fear. But yes, I suppose my hands are full. I just feel like I'm in some kind of bizarre, narrative-driven ABC family drama when complete strangers announce it to me over and over again. Can you imagine yelling to a man walking his dog down the street "wow, you must pick up crap all day long!" or maybe suggesting to a person in a wheelchair "Man, I bet your arms are always tired!" Not that I'm comparing my children to dog poop or a mobility impairment, but come on people, let's try to be a little more creative.
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The New Newman Guide is Out!

With a great new "Recruit Me" program. Check it out.

An innovative new “Recruit Me” program gives high school students the opportunity to get recruited by the 27 faithful Catholic colleges, universities and higher education programs recommended in the 2015 edition of The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, which was released today by The Cardinal Newman Society. Families can view The Newman Guide and its companion magazine, My Future, My Faith, online for free or purchase print copies at TheNewmanGuide.com.
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October 7: Feast of Our Lady of Victory

The struggle continues:

For those who know little history, today’s battle with ISIS in the Middle East may seem new and unprecedented. It is not. In a.d. 622, Mohammed set out from Medina to conquer the whole Christian world for Allah by force of arms. Within a hundred years, his successors had occupied and pillaged every Christian capital of the Middle East, from Antioch through North Africa (home of Saint Augustine) and Spain. All that remained outside Allah’s reign was the northern arc from Southern France to Constantinople.
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Catholic Bishop: Fight ‘Satanist-Driven Islamic Organizations’

CNS News reports:

“Christians must do everything within their powers to protect their lives from being snuffed off by Satanist-driven Islamic organizations,” Bishop Joseph Bagobiri, the Roman Catholic head of Nigeria’s Kafanchan Diocese, said Sunday, according to Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper. Bishop Bagobiri also noted, according to the Vanguard, that Christians have a "grave duty" to use “moderate and proportionate force” to defend their families against Islamic groups such as Boko Haram, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians since 2009
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California Catholic Conference Files Federal Complaint Against State's Abortion Mandate

Fighting back. Something tells me that this won't be successful but perhaps this is merely the opening salvo.

California's Catholic leadership has filed a federal civil rights complaint over a state requirement that health insurance cover abortions. The California Catholic Conference, which represents the state's bishops and archbishops, sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It contends that California's Department of Managed Health Care discriminated against those morally opposed to abortion and requests an investigation. The complaint is under review, said Rachel Seeger, spokeswoman for the federal agency's Office for Civil Rights.
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Fr. Barron on Aquinas' Argument for God Through Motion

I was just going over these with my oldest daughter and found this new article by Fr. Barron interesting.

One of the unintended but happy consequences of the emergence of the new atheism is a renewed interest in the classical arguments for God’s existence. Eager to defend the faith that is so vigorously attacked today, Catholic apologists and evangelists have been recovering these rational demonstrations of the truth of God; and the atheists, just as eager to defend their position, have entered into the fray. In the process, these ancient arguments, long thought by many to be obsolete, have found a new relevance and have been brought to greater clarity through the give and take of both critics and advocates. Thomas Aquinas famously laid out five arguments for the existence of God, but he characterized one of them as “the first and more manifest way.” This is the proof from motion, which can be presented simply and schematically as follows. Things move. Since nothing moves itself, everything that is moved must be moved by another. If that which causes the motion is itself being moved, then it must be moved by another. This process cannot go on to infinity. Therefore, there must exist a first unmoved mover, which all people call God
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Young Catholics Want Truth on Marriage

The waiting is the hardest part.

It always bothered Grace Raun when she heard her college classmates saying “nobody waits anymore” for marriage, because she knew it wasn’t true. As a practicing Catholic who had been dating the same person for five years, Grace knew all about waiting. But she said following the rules of the Church regarding premarital sex never felt oppressive. “I waited. I never felt like I didn’t ‘discover myself’ in college just because I was chaste,” she told CNA. “In fact, I felt like I knew myself better, because I wasn’t just looking for simple pleasures, but I was seeking a purpose to my life and the deeper meaning of who I was.”
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The Iraqi Christian who told ISIS: ‘If you want to kill me for my faith I am prepared to die here now’

Strength.

When Christian villagers from the Iraqi town of Caramles fled advancing IS forces, 80-year-old Victoria was among a dozen or so unable to leave. The widow, a Chaldean Catholic, knew nothing about the sudden evacuation that had suddenly emptied this ancient village she had known for so long. Next morning she went to church – St Addai’s – as she did every day. She found the place locked; the streets deserted. She knew IS had come.
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She Crawled Up the Stairs to Kiss Her Children Goodnight

Read this amazing story.

I didn’t know her. But, I knew her story. Her name was Lori. She was the friend of my friend, Sallie. Last year, Sallie shared Lori’s story with some of us from church. She was asking that we pray for her situation. She was battling inflammatory breast cancer, and she had been told that she would not live much longer. She had a husband and two small children under the age of seven.
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Video: ACLU Member Says Christians Just As Extreme As ISIS

Bonkers.

How does the left-wing ACLU weigh in on ISIS? Fox News’ Jesse Watters wanted to find out so he went to an ACLU conference in Princeton, N.J. and found out on Sept. 29’s O’Reilly Factor. Watters began by questioning members about the “war on terror.” After several members told Watters they couldn’t support it, he wanted to know how America should treat ISIS instead. “These ISIS members that are beheading Americans, what would you do with them?” One woman responded simply, “Nothing.” An ACLU representative also declared that the group “had no position on the conflict.” Watters declared incredulously, “You are fighting the war on Christmas harder than you are fighting the war on terror!”
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The Family that Prays Together Makes Saints

Kathryn Lopez writes:

“The house of Nazareth is a school of prayer where one learns to listen, meditate on and penetrate the profound meaning of the manifestation of the Son of God, following the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus,” Pope Benedict XVI told an audience gathered on the Feast of the Holy Family, just days after Christmas, in 2011. Getting to know Christ through the context of a family — knowing God as a loving Father and accepting the intercessory help and model of Mary and her courageous “yes” and Joseph and his quiet trust and leadership — can be challenging at a time when what exactly family is is a matter of some confusion and contention in the public square and foreign to the lived experiences of many (a point Mary Eberstadt explores in her How the West Really Lost God).
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Princeton Prof: Christians No Longer Tolerable

Robert George is brilliant.

Excerpted from The Daily Caller: Last May, one of the most influential conservative and religious intellectual leader in America gave a somber speech in Washington, declaring it to be “Good Friday in America for Christians.” In this exclusive two part video interview, Princeton’s Robert P. George admitted, “that was a hard speech to give.” “Christians, and those rejecting the me-generation liberal dogma of ‘if it feels good do it,’ are no longer tolerable by the intellectual and cultural elite,” says George, 59, director of the James Madison program at Princeton University.
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Can You be a Submissive Feminist?

A pretty well done piece. There's a bit of "oh wow look at these women who are traditional but still like to talk and debate. Weird, huh? But overall a good piece.

To Asma Uddin and Ashley McGuire, accomplished religious women working in Washington’s more conservative circles, there seem to be plenty of outlets for women focused on issues like access to abortion and wives who are breadwinners. But what about the issues they and their friends turn to when they get together, such as: Can you be a submissive feminist? Does being a hard-charging career woman make men think you don’t want to get married? And what if it doesn’t bother you at all if only men can be clergy?
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No Communion for the First Time in 2,000 Years

Prayers.

The ancient city of Nineveh in Iraq, one of the world's first Christian enclaves, has been emptied of its Christians. Islamic State terrorists have driven off or murdered the entire city's population of Christians. Across Iraq other Christians have fled en masse. Canon Andrew White, the only Anglican Vicar in Iraq told the Telegraph "Last week there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years. All are closed, all their people have run away." Despite the extreme dangers, Christians are permitted to live in the Islamic State, but only if they pay a punishing tax. All who could flee did so. Christians in other parts of Iraq have also fled, lacking confidence in that nation's security forces. According to Canon White, only the poor remain, without the means to flee or pay any taxes. Should the Islamic State resume its advance, these people will simply have to choose between conversion and martyrdom.
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Ravens player retires to give kidney to younger brother, a retired Steelers player

A heckuva story about a strong family:

Ma’ake Kemoeatu missed his final collegiate football game because the NCAA suspended him for improperly providing textbooks to his younger brother. He was a four-year starter at Utah on scholarship and his little brother Tevita was a walk-on. Their parents didn’t have enough money to buy books, so Ma’ake bought them for him and therefore couldn’t play in the Las Vegas Bowl against USC. But Ma’ake wasn’t trying to cause trouble. The oldest of seven kids, he steps up for his family when they need help.
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I Didn't Lose My Virginity on My Wedding Night

This is great.

I’ve never punched someone in the face, but there are definitely times I wish I could ignore the virtue of self-control and let a fist fly. A few months before my wedding, someone asked me (knowing that I was a 29-year old virgin by choice), “So, is your fiancé a virgin, too?” I replied, “Nope.” She responded, “Well at least someone knows what they’re doing.” I pretended not to care about this ridiculously ignorant statement and switched the subject quickly. But, really? Really?! My brain was reeling with anger and annoyance, while my will did all it could to prevent Jackie Francois from turning into Jackie Chan. That stupid response irked me on a few levels.
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Episcopal Pastor Pens Letter Supporting Planned Parenthood

The Screwtape Epilogue:

Yes, Rev. Baer, your words are purely wicked and your letter was written with the spirit and influence of the evil one. You are aiding and abetting a greedy, dishonest, predatory corporation. You have attempted to convey upon them the honor of good service and nobility, which makes you either pitifully deceived and blind or a stone-cold liar. Perhaps both.
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We Only Whisper It

Kevin Williamson on the very much alive eugenics movement:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, having decided for some inexplicable reason to do a long interview with a fashion magazine (maybe it is her celebrated collection of lace collars), reaffirmed the most important things we know about her: her partisanship, her elevation of politics over law, and her desire to see as many poor children killed as is feasibly possible. Speaking about such modest restrictions on abortion as have been enacted over the past several years, Justice Ginsburg lamented that “the impact of all these restrictions is on poor women.” Then she added: “It makes no sense as a national policy to promote birth only among poor people.”
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Note to Freedom from Religion Foundation: Removing the Cross is Un-American

Anti-Christian nutjobs have no idea of the country's history.

Trying to make sense of the buffoonery that is the daily behavior of the so-called "Freedom from Religion Foundation" is a monumental task. Far beyond just departing from basic common sense, these radical fools are an embarrassment to any form of critical thinking, historical understanding, or intellectual curiosity. They are anti-Christian zealots. And that's it.
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Gonzaga Prof on Bishop Cupich

Says he undermined Catholicism at the Jesuit University.

Now that he has been named archbishop of Chicago, many people have expressed interest in Bishop Blase Cupich’s time as bishop of the Diocese of Spokane. I should make clear that I barely know Bishop Cupich on a personal level. I am only a Catholic layman in the diocese of Spokane. I do, however, hold an endowed chair in “Christian Philosophy” at Gonzaga University, serve as academic advisor to Bishop White Seminary (an undergraduate college seminary at Gonzaga), and am a former director of Gonzaga’s small Catholic Studies Program. Gonzaga University is, primarily, a school of approximately 4800 undergraduates that calls itself Jesuit and Catholic and that operates within the Spokane diocese.
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School Wants To Teacher Kindergarteners to Masturbate

Seriously.

We suspect this won’t be going over too well with parents. Just a hunch. A drove of concerned parents descended on the Clark County School Board Monday to express their astonishment at the sex education material being considered for Clark County public schools that would expose students to a lot more a lot earlier. Considered changes include education of homosexuality as early as ages 5 through 8, and giving everyone “respect regardless of who they are attracted to.” School children of that age range would also be taught that “touching and rubbing one’s genitals to feel good is called masturbation.” “You want to teach my 5-year-old how to masturbate?” said parent Julie Butler, referencing the item getting the most attention Monday night.
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