Saturday, April 19, 2014

Haven’t sent an Easter gift to your friends? No problem. Here’s a free gift that you can send them…

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At Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

At this most holy time of year, we look around and clearly realize that America is in bad shape; in desperate need of moral restoration.

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Have a holy Easter season.

The Resurrection represents the eternal and definitive triumph of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the complete defeat of his adversaries, and the supreme argument of our faith

The True Meaning of Easter

The True Meaning of Easter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Resurrection represents the eternal and definitive triumph of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the complete defeat of his adversaries, and the supreme argument of our faith. Saint Paul said that, if Christ had not resurrected, our faith would be vain. The whole edifice of our beliefs is founded on the supernatural fact of the Resurrection. Let us then meditate about this highly elevated subject.

                                            *          *          *

Christ Our Lord was not resurrected: He resurrected. He was dead. Lazarus was resurrected. Someone other than him, in this case, Our Lord, called him back to life. As for the Divine Redeemer, no one resurrected Him. He resurrected Himself, needing no one to call Him back to life. He took his life back when He so willed.

Everything that is said about Our Lord can be analogically applied to the Holy Catholic Church. We often see, in the history of the Church, that precisely when She seemed irremediably lost and all the symptoms of catastrophe seemed to undermine Her, events took place that kept Her alive against all the expectations of Her adversaries. A rather curious fact is that sometimes it is the Church’s enemies that come to Her aid, rather than Her friends.

For example, in a most sensitive time period for Catholicism like Napoleon’s era, an extremely unusual episode took place: a conclave was convened for the election of Pius VII under the protection of Russian troops, all of them schismatic and under the command of a schismatic sovereign. In Russia itself, the practice of the Catholic religion was curbed in a thousand ways. Yet, in Italy, Russian troops ensured the free election of a Sovereign Pontiff precisely at the moment when a vacancy in the See of Peter would have caused such grievous damages for Holy Church that, humanly speaking, she might never have been able to overcome them.

Such are the marvelous means that Divine Providence employs to demonstrate that God has the supreme government of all things. However, let us not think that the Church owed Her salvation to Constantine, Charlemagne, John of Austria, or Russian troops. Even when She seems to be entirely abandoned and when She lacks the most indispensable natural resources for survival, let us be certain that Holy Church will not die. Like Our Lord, She will rise with Her own, divine strength. And the more inexplicable the seeming resurrection of the Church may be from the human standpoint (we say seeming, because, unlike Our Lord, the Church will never die a real death), the more glorious Her victory will be.

In these murky and sad days, let us thus confide. However, in order to restore all things in the Kingdom of Christ, let us confide not in this or that power, man, or ideological current but in Divine Providence, which will once again force the sea to open wide, move mountains and cause the whole earth to tremble if necessary to fulfill the divine promise: “The gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her.”

By Plinio Correa de Oliveira

Holy Saturday -- At the feet of Our Lady, the true followers of Thy Church always regroup, for new victories

Fourteenth Station
Jesus Is Laid in the Sepulcher

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

The stone is rolled into place. Everything seems to have ended. But, it is the moment when everything begins. It is the regrouping of the Apostles. It is the rebirth of dedication, of hope. Easter draws near.

At the same time, the hatred of Thine enemies surrounds the sepulcher, Mary Most Holy, and the Apostles.
But they do not fear. In a little while the dawn of the Resurrection will break.

Let me not fear either, Lord Jesus, not fear when everything seems irremediably lost, not fear when all the power on earth appears to be in the hands of Thine enemies. Let me not fear because I am at the feet of Our Lady where the true followers of Thy Church always regroup, for new victories.

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.
V. Have mercy on us, Lord.
R. Have mercy on us.
V. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

By Plinio Correa de Oliveira

From Holy Saturday to Pentecost we pray the Regina Coeli instead of the Angelus

From Holy Saturday to Pentecost we sing or recite one of the Church’s most joyful anthems, the Regina Coeli (O, Queen of Heaven), customarily said in place of the Angelus at twelve noon.

According to the Golden Legend, a thirteenth century work on the lives of the Saints, Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century was leading a procession asking for relief from a pestilence afflicting the population of Rome.  Being carried in the procession was an icon of the Blessed Virgin reputedly painted by St. Luke.  Suddenly, the air was filled with a heavenly perfume dispelling the pestilence.  Looking up, St. Gregory beheld angels singing: “O, Queen of Heaven rejoice, Alleluia! For He whom you deserved to bear, Alleluia! Has risen as He said, Alleluia! " To which the holy Pope added: “O, pray to God for us, Alleluia!”

At the same time, the holy pontiff saw the angel of death sheathing his sword atop the Hill of Hadrian, today the Castle of Sant’Angelo.

Since then this story has been associated with the origins of the Regina Coeli.

The idea is to rejoice with Our Blessed Lady that her Son, after a grueling passion and frightful death, is alive again.  While the prayer of the Angelus celebrates Jesus’ Incarnation, the Regina Coeli celebrates His Resurrection and “congratulates” the Mother on her Son’s victory over sin and death.

Regina Coeli (O QUEEN OF HEAVEN)

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Regina Coeli, laetare, alleluia

Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia

Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

Let us pray:

O God, who gave joy to the world through the
Resurrection of Thy Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we
Beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin
Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting
Life. Through the same Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Holy Shroud of Turin: God's Gift for Our Time

Holy Shroud of Turin: God's Gift for Our Time
The negative image on the photographic plate in which the body shows a positive image. Note the blood from His arms and scourge marks appear as they should.

Through the centuries the miraculous aspects of the Holy Shroud of Turin have awed believers and skeptics the world over. Even modern technology has proven the authenticity of the Holy Shroud time and again, as well as unlock many hidden features including the three-dimensional qualities of Our Lord's bodily imprint. This inspired several scientists, mostly pathologists, chemists and physicists, to form a group known as STURP to make a detailed study of the phenomenon.

Toward the end of Our Lord’s life, several heated confrontations between Him and the Scribes and Pharisees occurred in the holy precincts of the Temple. Our Lord patiently asserted that He and the Father possessed the same Divine Essence. But the Scribes and the Pharisees refused to believe the Truth that stood before them and maneuvered to have Him executed in the most barbarous and agonizing manner.

Christ suffered the brutal tortures, blows and floggings to His sacred flesh, then the savage crucifixion and death to rescue mankind from an avalanche of sins that had placed a curse upon them. So bad had his condition become that only through Our Lord’s enormous suffering could mankind be reconciled with God.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took Our Lord’s body, bound it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb recently cut into rock.

On Easter Sunday morning, some Apostles and disciples discovered that the body of Jesus had left the tomb, leaving behind the 14 foot by 3½ foot linen cloth, but on that cloth He left a minute record of His Passion to show His infinite love for us.
During His lifetime and after the Resurrection, Christ pursued His profound occupation as a teacher only with some difficulty, not because He lacked the ability to teach—certainly not—but because carnal man is slow to accept supernatural truths.

Moreover, there is always an influential, perverse element in society that fights against transcendental verities as the Scribes and Pharisees have illustrated. And so Our Lord with loving patience found innovative ways to continually teach His profound truths to a slow and preoccupied audience. The Shroud of Turin falls into that category.

Shroud Reaches European Perception
Although evidence of the Shroud’s existence can be traced back to the early days of the Church, it did not enter in the historical cognizance until it came into the possession of the House of Savoy in 1453. The Savoyard dukes kept the winding sheet at the beautiful Sainte Chapelle next to their castle at Chambery, high in the French Alps. There a disastrous fire broke out in 1532 and melted the silver reliquary. The already burning Shroud was pulled free and doused with water, but some damage had occurred. Nevertheless, the image of Christ remained virtually unharmed.

Duke Emmanuel Philibert (1528–80), a talented commander who served both Charles V and Philip II with distinction, transferred his seat and Christ’s burial wrap to Turin on the Italian side of the duchy, where it has remained ever since. After the transfer, the Shroud gained widespread acceptance among Catholics as the holy relic that enveloped Our Lord’s lacerated body before His Resurrection. Kings and queens, members of Christendom’s most noble families, illustrious prelates and pious religious, some since canonized, traveled to Turin to venerate the blood-stained linen, which attests to their belief in its authenticity.

Shortly after the transfer, Saint Charles Borromeo made a pilgrimage on foot from his diocese in Milan for a private showing, followed by a public exhibition with 40,000 in attendance. Early in the seventeenth century, the Shroud was viewed by Saint Francis de Sales and then some years later by his spiritual protégé, Saint Jane de Chantal, foundress (along with Saint Francis) of the Order of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary. Pope Pius VII venerated the Shroud with great tenderness on his way from Rome to Paris to crown Napoleon at the latter’s insistence. Eventually arrested and transported to Fontainebleau in France for several months, he again venerated the relic with tender devotion upon his return to Italy after Napoleon’s defeat.

Twice in the next century, Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesians, venerated the Shroud, on the second occasion with boys from his Oratory.

The foregoing record has been inserted to indicate the outstanding reputation the Shroud had acquired over the centuries. But it can be argued that it shows little else than admirable Catholic piety. Then, beginning in 1898, scientific and medical revelations provided authenticating certainty.

10_ab.jpg
Left: How the Shroud appears to the naked eye. Right: The Shroud with its colors inverted as it would appear on a film negative.

First Photographs
A scientific breakthrough of monumental proportions occurred in 1898 when Secondo Pia, an Italian lawyer who had experimented extensively with the recently discovered art of photography, took a photo of the Shroud. In the darkroom, as he immersed the plate into the chemicals for development, astonishment and excitement arose in him, for instead of the usual negative he saw a positive image of Christ’ lifeless body.

After comparing the bodily image on the linen with what was produced on the plate, he then realized that as far as the body was concerned the Shroud was equivalent to a negative plate.
To any reasonable mind, this certainly precluded any medieval forgery. It was simply impossible for a forger or any other artist to anticipate the photographic developing process centuries before it was invented. The great artists, Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, have all admitted the utter futility of trying to render even a reasonable likeness of God the Son, but that is precisely what Christ has done for us. Moreover, He succeeded in showing us the serenity, nobility and power of His nature, even after the disfigurement of a terrible beating.

Shroud of Turin - detail of the Face in 3-D

The VP-8 analyzer, designed to map craters on Mars, produced a three-dimensional image of Our Lord. The VP-8 analyzer computes distance and elevation, properties not contained in any known paintings or photographs.

Two young scientists, Paul Vignon, a Catholic, and Yves Delage, an agnostic, championed the new discovery, but ran into a wall of obstruction and skepticism. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the French scientific community for the most part refused to accept their conclusions, a scenario of disbelief that will continually play itself out in the future as it had in the past.

Although the image of Our Lord’s body showed up reversed in the photographic negative, the second image, the bloodstains appeared as one might expect, i.e., as white spots. However, the positive print provided a wealth of information for medical investigators unobservable on the cloth itself.

What the Bloodstains Tell Us
After the photographic sessions of 1898 and the subsequent dispute, the Shroud lay undisturbed in its reliquary until two public exhibitions in the early 1930s. During this period, another series of photos were taken and intensive research conducted by Dr. Pierre Barbet, chief surgeon and professor of anatomy at one of Paris’ leading hospitals.

Adjusting the evidence on the Shroud to the chronological order of Christ’s Passion, we can start by analyzing the head wounds. Abrasions and swelling cover Our Lord’s entire head, especially the right side of His face below the eye. The cartilage in His nose had been fractured close to where it joins the bone. These injuries had been caused by a heavy stick about two inches in diameter wielded as a club.

Christ was scourged by a Roman flagrum that had two balls of lead shaped like a dumbbell at the end. The beating must have been severe (far worse than the Jewish 40 lashes minus one) for obviously only those bruises that drew blood showed up on the linen. Yet over a hundred have been counted, mostly on the backside. The blood flows emanating from the scalp indicate the Crown of Thorns was actually a cap of long, sharp thorns beaten against the head with sticks. So graphic are the resulting rivulets that many physicians can distinguish between blood flows from arteries from those of the veins.

Finally, the blood flows on the arms and the stains from the wounds on his wrists reveal the acute agony that Our Lord endured during the three to five hours that He had hung on the Cross. We must keep in mind that He was attached to the wood by only three nails, or more properly, spikes. These spikes carried the entire weight of a 175-pound man who was forced to constantly change positions. When a man is hung by his arms, the body sags, acute pains develop and he begins to suffocate (asphyxia). To alleviate this condition, he pushes up against the spike driven through his feet, which just transfers the agony elsewhere. And so the victim of this cruel torture keeps changing his position until exhaustion or the unendurable pain, or both, overtake him.

Modern Technology in Agreement
In the early 1970s, technological advances unlocked many hidden features. The body image lies only on the topmost fibrils of the threads and does not penetrate any deeper as paint or any liquid substance would. Moreover, since the image without any enhancing equipment could not be seen within six feet and required a viewer to stand beyond that distance, any forger would need a very long paintbrush. But the value of this information went far beyond any refutation of a forgery. Further studies of the body image when analyzed by the VP-8 analyzer equipment that uses light waves produced a three-dimensional image. The intensity of dark and light represented the distance which part of the body lay from the Shroud covering at the moment of impression. When that information was entered into a special computer, a three-dimensional image resulted.

11_a.jpg
This positive image shows the damage and repairs caused by the 1532 fire.

Examination of the three-dimensional image also reveals two small coins over His closed eyes. One gives every indication of being minted in Palestine around 29A.D. The smallness of the coin and the meaning of its inscription leave some room for argument, but it provides another line of evidence.

News of the three-dimensional qualities of the Shroud’s bodily imprint inspired several scientists, mostly pathologists, chemists and physicists, to form a group known as STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) to make a detailed study of the phenomenon. They made arrangements for a hands-on examination at the conclusion of a scheduled exposition in 1978. In October, 32 scientists, engineers, and photographers arrived in Turin with 72 crates of equipment weighing eight tons.

Religious orientations ran the gamut from Catholic to Protestant and Jewish to non-believers and most were highly skeptical. The pathologists and other physicians, however, noticed that the wounds were anatomically accurate and precise in their details.

They confirmed that the nails went through the wrist, not the palms as conventional artists before the twentieth century depicted. The chemists revealed that the bloodstains were composed of actual blood and after careful study determined that the victim died a violent death after being scourged and beaten. Dr. John Heller, a physician and biochemist from Yale summed up the team’s findings: “It was evident from the physical, mathematical, medical, and chemical evidence that there must have been a crucified man on the shroud.” If that is indeed the case and all evidence supports that conclusion, the question remains: Who was it? The historical record, which includes the New Testament, allows for only one answer: Jesus of Nazareth.

Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating
This is not the end of the story because life on earth is not a fairy tale where everybody lives happily ever after, but rather one of conflict between acceptance or rejection of supernatural truth. On the morning of October 14, 1988, the world awoke to shocking newspaper headlines on a subject that rarely even makes the front pages: “The Shroud of Turin declared a fake.” This bit of hyperbole resulted from three badly managed carbon 14 tests of cloth snipped from the Shroud. Since the casual, unsuspecting reader thinks such tests are hallowed science at its best, everybody thought the case was closed, especially when the Archbishop-Cardinal of Turin put up a rather weak defense.

Not only is the case not closed, but because of the sloppy, unprofessional conduct of those involved, the result can easily be challenged. Because new procedures of testing small samples were going to be used, a trial run was prepared, the results of which turned out to be unacceptable. In one recorded instance, testers misidentified the age of a specimen by as much as a 1,000 years.

Prior to the tests, a series of safeguards known as scientific protocols were to be incorporated. Seven laboratories were chosen to do the testing, whose work would then be analyzed by three oversight institutions. As part of the original arrangement, STURP was to participate in the choice of location for the cloth sample for radiocarbon dating and then to proceed with another intense round of examination to supplement the results of 1978. None of this ever occurred.

12_a.jpg
From left to right: Edward Hall (Oxford testing laboratory) and Michael Tite (British Museum) announcing the carbon 14 dating results. Notice the self-satisfied exclamation mark. For a TV interview, Hall called the significance of the Shroud “a load of rubbish.”

Instead, three laboratories were chosen (out of the original seven) with no oversight analysis. STURP, whose expertise and professionalism had generated all this activity, was quietly removed from the scene. The principal problem for dating came from the location of the sample: the worst possible place was chosen by two textile experts who had never seen the Shroud before. At least four or five repairs had been done in the area, which also had been contaminated by wax and starch, which usually distorts the results. Dr. Alan Adler, a STURP chemist, after noting that the sample contained a different chemical composition than the rest of the cloth, warned: “This calls into question the accuracy of the radiocarbon dates.”
During the 1980s, while STURP was preparing for an even more comprehensive examination of the Shroud, a counter-movement developed opposed to their activities. Harry Gove, a nuclear physicist from Rochester University and a promoter of a new method of carbon dating, took over the leadership of this movement and aligned himself with Edward Hall of the Oxford testing laboratory and Michael Tite of the British Museum, among others. Despite STURP’s monumental achievements in proving that the Shroud enveloped the body of a man consistent with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, Gove began a scurrilous campaign of shameful duplicity to eliminate them from any further testing. He boasted of his success in this endeavor in a memoir published in 1996.
What Caused the Images?
To arrive at the cause of the two distinct images, the body image on the topmost fibrils and the blood, which soaked into the linen, leads to speculation or, to be more accurate touches on the miraculous. The most reasonable explanation for the former came from Joseph Heller who stated, “It is as if every pore, and every hair of the body contained a microminiature laser,” paraphrased by another scientist as a “burst of collimated radiant energy.” Since some of the anatomically and precise and complete blood marks appeared on the Shroud without having any contact with the cloth, the conclusion can be reached that once the blood soaked into the cloth it was no longer on the body as some scientists have theorized.
Finally, one question must be asked. Several lines of evidence, at least 10 to 15, have ascertained the authenticity of the Holy Shroud and one controversial procedure claims the opposite. Why does the world believe the latter?
Editor’s note: The bulk of the material for this essay came from: Mark Antonacci, The Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical and Archeological Evidence (New York: Evans, 2000) and the works of Ian Wilson, principally, The Blood and the Shroud, 3rd ed. (New York: Free Press, 1998).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Say “NO!” To Satan Statue

DEVIL WORSHIPPERS Work For Satan Idol On State Property -- Send Your Petition

God ALWAYS! Satan NEVER!

Against A Satanic Monument On State Property In Oklahoma to the Chair of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation
Commission, to the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate, and to the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

                                                            ***

I regret to inform you:

Members of a Satanic Temple are trying to build a Satanic Idol on State property in Oklahoma.

We must stop it before it happens!

And that is because we are one nation under God...

...not under Satan.

So please let me ask you:

  • Is Satanism an American value?
  • And are you going to allow DEVIL WORSHIPPERS To erect a Satanic Monument on State Property?

We must oppose what the Satanic Temple is trying to pull off in Oklahoma. 

So I urge you -

...sign the petition against the building of this Satanic monument.

Just listen to this:

According to press reports:

  • “The New York-based Satanic Temple… released design plans for a Satanist monument it hopes to place on the Oklahoma State Capitol grounds (ReligionNews.com, 1/7/2014).
  • According to ABC News online, Lucien Greaves, a spokesman for the Satanic Temple, hinted that his “favorite design, at the moment, is an interactive display for children” (AbcNews.com, 12/10/2013).

Can you believe this!

One:  “The monument has been designed to reflect the views of Satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond. The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation (NewYorkCBSlocal.com, 1/6/2014).

Two: “The plans show a 7-foot tall-statue of a seated Satan flanked by two children [seemingly ready to sit on his lap?] (ReligionNews.com, 1/7/2014).

Three: “The design includes two important Satanist symbols: the pentacle, located above Satan’s head, and the goat-headed Baphomet, a symbol of idolatry (ReligionNews.com, 1/7/2014).

Four: On its web site, the Satanic Temple says: “Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry, and the responsible pursuit of happiness” (NewYorkCBSlocal.com, 1/6/2014).

Five: “According to the group’s website, it also applied to adopt a highway in New York City, hoping to have a sign added to the road bearing The Satanic Temple’s name and “helping promote a message of Satanic Civic pride and social responsibility” (NewYorkCBSlocal.com, 1/6/2014).

Sign the petition: “God Always! Satan Never!”

HERE’S WHAT’S AT STAKE: a HUGE step forward for evil.

On a higher level, Satan is not seeking equality with God, but rather Satan wants to be openly worshipped by God’s rational creation.

But since you are a person with a deep faith in God and the Virgin Mary, I want you to have an opportunity to say: “God ALWAYS! Satan NEVER!”

P.S. – To help in the defense of our Christian Civilization, please consider chipping in $10 or $20 to help America Needs Fatima continue defending against public blasphemies and other objectionable public issues. When you do, you’ll get our free E-book by Fatima scholar and expert Luiz Sergio Solimeo, Fatima, A Message More Urgent Than Ever.

And whatever you can do to oppose this scandal will encourage Catholics all over the world to oppose blasphemy wherever Satan raises his deadly message.

To see our full financial disclosure, click here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Video: BEST Holy Week procession ever

You’ll love this uplifting Holy Week video

I really think you’ll enjoy watching this breathtaking footage:

Video: Stunning Holy Week Processions in Spain

When it comes to Holy Week, Catholic Spain is matchless. The public display of reverence, penance and devotion are simply inspiring.

So as we meditate on the Passion of Our Lord, please share this inspirational video with others who might enjoy receiving it.

Wishing you many blessings this Holy Week.