Saturday, June 30, 2012

Over 3,000 attend anti-HHS mandate rally in Topeka, despite 100 plus degrees temperature

Topeka, Kansas: Saturday, June 29:  All four Catholic bishops of Kansas spoke at the rally against the HHS mandate, as did others including Governor Brownback and Senator Jerry Moran.  Small American flags were distributed as well as water.

The crowd was enthusiastic despite the heat.  When we arrived the police told us that we could not bring the banner and standard and flag on the Capitol grounds since they were attached to poles.

So, we stood on the sidewalk and greeted and encouraged people as they arrived for the rally.

The Marquis de Chastellux draws a sketch of General Washington

François Jean de Chastellux, Marquis de Chastellux

Painting by Charles Willson Peale

As de Chastellux rode up, he observed Lafayette in front of the house, conversing with an officer, tall of stature, with a mild and noble countenance. It was Washington. De Chastellux alighted and was presented by Lafayette. His reception was frank and cordial. Washington conducted him into the house. Dinner was over, but Generals Knox, Wayne, and Howe, and Colonels Hamilton, Tilghman and other officers were still seated round the board. Washington introduced de Chastellux to them, and ordered a repast for the formed and his aides-de-camp: all remained at table, and a few glasses of claret and Madeira promoted sociability. The marquis soon found himself at ease with Washington. “The goodness and benevolence which characterize him,” observes he, “are felt by all around him; but the confidence he inspires is never familiar; it springs from a profound esteem for his virtues and a great opinion of his talents…”

We have been tempted to quote freely the remarks of de Chastellux, as they are those of a cultivated man of society, whose position and experience made him a competent judge and who had an opportunity of observing Washington in a familiar point of view.

Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon, 1784. Painted by by Rossiter and Mignot.

Speaking of his personal appearance, he writes: “His form is noble and elevated, well-shaped and exactly proportioned; his physiognomy mild and agreeable, but such that one does not speak in particular of any one of its traits; and that in quitting him there remains simply the recollection of a fine countenance. His air is neither grave nor familiar; one sees sometimes on his forehead the marks of thought, but never inquietude; while inspiring respect he inspires confidence, and his smile is always that of benevolence.

“Above all, it is interesting,” continues the marquis, “to see him in the midst of the general officers of his army. General in a republic, he has not the imposing state of a marshal of France who gives the order; hero in a republic, he excites a different sort of respect, which seem to originate in this sole idea, that the welfare of each individual is attached to his person.”

Painting of George Washington by Rembrandt Peale.

He sums up his character in these words: “Brave without temerity; laborious without ambition; generous without prodigality; noble without pride; virtuous without severity; he seems always to stop short of that limit where the virtues, assuming colors more vivid, but more changeable and dubious, might be taken for defects.”

Washington Irving, Life of George Washington (New York: The Co-operative Publication Society, Inc., n.d.), Vol. I, pp. 420, 422-423.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 190

Catholic Health Association ‘pleased’ by Obamacare ruling

by Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2012 ( - Sr. Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, has said her group is “pleased” that the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a separate, simultaneous response the U.S. Catholic bishops pointed to the bill’s “fundamentally flawed” treatment of conscience rights and urged passage of legislation to fix the massive reform bill.

“We are pleased that, based on an initial read of the ruling, the ACA has been found constitutional and will remain in effect,” said Sr. Keehan in a statement Thursday. She noted that CHA supported the health care law so strongly that “we signed onto amicus briefs encouraging the Court to find in favor of the ACA’s individual mandate and the Medicaid expansion.”

The Catholic Health Association’s support of ACA deepens a rift between the hospital association and the Catholic bishops that traces back to at least 2009, when the group pledged its funding and support to the Obama administration for the reform effort.

Since then, Sr. Keehan and CHA have repeatedly been used by ACA’s liberal supporters to downplay the strong protests of the Catholic bishops, who have blamed Sr. Keehan both for the passage of the bill and for the “wound to Catholic unity” caused by her dissent on the issue.

CHA recently reversed its position on the controversial HHS mandate to comport with nationwide Christian protest against forcing religious employers to cover contraceptives and abortifacients, but began pushing a compromise that U.S. bishops had deemed inadequate last September.

CHA concluded its Thursday statement by saying the group “will continue working closely with our members, Congress and the administration to implement the ACA as fairly and effectively as possible.” The group said its position may be updated as it “tak[es] time to carefully read and evaluate the decision,” although the CHA website showed no change as of Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued its own reaction on Thursday noting that, although the bishops had no position on the issue before the high court, the result ended in upholding a bill fundamentally flawed in other respects.

“USCCB’s position on health care reform generally and on ACA particularly is a matter of public record,” the group wrote. “The bishops ultimately opposed final passage of ACA for several reasons.”

The bishops go on to list the bill’s use of federal funds to pay for abortions and abortion insurance, emphasizing that “the risk we identified in this area has already materialized,” as well as the bill’s lack of basic conscience protection language, “illustrated in dramatic fashion” by the HHS mandate. The bishops also point to the ACA’s neglect of immigrant workers and families, including those using their own money.

Although they do not aim to repeal the entire health care law, the bishops said, “The decision of the Supreme Court neither diminishes the moral imperative to ensure decent health care for all, nor eliminates the need to correct the fundamental flaws described above. We therefore continue to urge Congress to pass, and the Administration to sign, legislation to fix those flaws.”

Vienna priests will not be forced to renounce dissident anti-Catholic group

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

VIENNA, June 29, 2012 ( – Months after Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials demanded action, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, has told a group of priests that they do not have to renounce their membership in a dissident organization opposed to Catholic teaching. A spokesman for the cardinal said that priests involved in the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, who issued a letter last year titled “A Call to Disobedience,” must only renounce the letter initiative and the use of the word “disobedience.”

“You can easily remain a member of the Priests Initiative. You must only distance yourself from the ‘Call to Disobedience’ in an appropriate way,” Church spokesman Nikolaus Haselsteiner said in a public announcement.

“In an average company, a department head can’t say he doesn’t care what the CEO says,” he added.

Cardinal Schönborn told priests last month that supporters of the manifesto would not be appointed as heads of local deaneries, or groups of parishes, or have their title renewed if they are existing deans.

The leader of the Priests’ Initiative, Father Helmut Schüller said that this announcement was the first sign that the Catholic leadership of Austria was taking action against them. Fr. Schüller said his group represents 10 percent of the Austrian clergy.

In June 2011 the Austrian Priests’ Initiative issued their letter demanding “reform” of Catholic teaching and practice to allow married and female priests and the reception of Holy Communion by non-Catholics and divorced and remarried Catholics. In the intervening year it has remained essentially unchallenged by Vienna’s Catholic authorities and has gained support from groups of priests in Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the United States.

The lack of action on the situation in Vienna has angered the pope and Vatican officials. This Easter, in a nearly unprecedented move, Pope Benedict used one of the most important liturgical celebrations of the Catholic year, and the one most closely pertaining to the nature of the Catholic priesthood, to forcefully correct the Austrian situation that had by then remained unaddressed for ten months.

Following reports that the cardinal had received a letter from Rome demanding action, Schönborn told media that he would be requesting a “clarification” from the group. Vienna Church officials said repeatedly that only the use of the term “disobedience” was problematic.

“There must be a clarification here about the ‘Call for Disobedience’. We bishops have said this from the beginning, the word ‘disobedience’ cannot be allowed to stand. I think we need a clarification, a public statement and I think we need to address this matter soon,” the cardinal said.

One priest, a founding member of the Initiative, who responded with defiance to the new rule , told Reuters that he would be staying on as parish priest in two parishes of the archdiocese of Vienna. Fr. Peter Meidinger, said he stepped down from the post of dean after the cardinal made the announcement.

“I spoke to the archbishop and perhaps you cannot say I had to choose, but I had the impression that there was no way out for me so I am stepping down and freeing up the spot,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.

“For me what is important is the Priests’ Initiative and not the term ‘disobedience’,” the priest said. “The term civil disobedience is used when the leaders are simply not prepared to listen to people.”

Planned Parenthood, NARAL overjoyed by Supreme Court ruling

by Ben Johnson

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, June 29, 2012, ( – While pro-life, pro-family activists lamented Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the health care bill, the abortion industry welcomed the 5-4 ruling in favor of a bill that could lead to the federal funding of abortion.

The nation’s pro-abortion organizations weighed in with a series of similarly worded press releases recycling many of the same phrases and talking points.

Planned Parenthood called the bill “the greatest advance in women’s health in a generation.” Echoing President Obama, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said, “This is a victory for the American people, and we thank President Obama and the members of Congress who passed the Affordable Care Act for their leadership on this issue.”

“Women who come into Planned Parenthood health centers often struggle to balance paying for birth control and health services with paying for textbooks, groceries, or gas for the car. The Affordable Care Act will make those decisions easier for women across the country,” she said.

A Planned Parenthood press release states that one of the “key benefits” of the health care bill is that, starting in August, “birth control will be treated like any other preventive prescription under the Affordable Care Act, and will be available without co-pays or deductibles.”

Judy Tabor, president of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, shared identical sentiments. “This is the greatest advancement for women in a generation,” she said. She said, thanks to the bill, women “won’t have to make a decision about whether to buy their birth control, or pay for their groceries or fill their tank with gas.”

The bill may pad the billion-dollar abortion industry’s bottom line. Planned Parenthood’s press release notes, “49 percent of Planned Parenthood health centers have contracts with private insurance companies”

Nancy Keenan, the departing president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said, “The Affordable Care Act marks the greatest advancement for women’s health in a generation.” She called the decision “a tremendous victory for American women” that “will bring 30 million Americans into a health-care system that includes affordable family-planning services [and] better access to contraception.”

As implemented, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), conventionally known as “ObamaCare,” would allow insurance agencies that participate in the state exchanges the bill creates to charge women a $1 surcharge for abortion coverage, effectively underwriting the ghastly procedure with federal funds.

Homosexuals disrupt hearings in Brazilian Congress on psychological treatment for homosexuality

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BRASILIA, BRAZIL, June 29, 2012, ( - Homosexual activists disrupted a hearing on Thursday in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies on proposed legislation to permit psychologists to treat homosexuals who wish to change their orientation, an activity currently prohibited by the country’s Federal Council of Psychology (CFP).

The bill, known as Legislative Decree 234/11 and derided by Brazil’s leftist media as the “gay cure” bill, would also overturn a CFP regulation that prohibits psychologists from publicly speaking of homosexual orientation in a negative way.

Homosexual protesters began to interrupt the hearing when psychologist Marisa Lobo spoke to defend the rights of homosexuals to receive treatment for their condition, calling her “homophobic,” “fundamentalist,” and “blabbermouth.”

“Everyone in the world who disagrees with you, you call ‘homophobic,’” retorted Lobo, according to the Correio de Bahia newspaper.

Lobo noted that the CFP’s prohibition of reparative therapy for homosexuals “injure the autonomy of the patient, because it prohibits treatment for homosexuals,” and that as a psychologist, she must “listen to that psychological suffering” when homosexuals wish to change their orientation.

The homosexuals in the audience continued their interruptions, and were ultimately expelled from the chamber when they began to read aloud a statement by the CFP repudiating the hearings. Christian supporters of the bill remained, however, cheering on the author of the legislation, Federal Deputy João Campos, a leader of the National Congress’s Evangelical caucus.

Lobo was also attacked by Deputy Jean Wyllys, the leader of the Mixed Parliamentary Front for LGBT Citizens, who said he felt “uncomfortable” because of Lobo’s statements, according to the Diario do Grande ABC newspaper.

“I didn’t offend the deputy,” Lobo responded. “It is he who tried to diminish me, trying to say that my positions can’t be considered, just because I am religious.”

The CFP itself refused to participate in the hearings, claiming that the issue is scientifically settled and that the roster of those called to testify was stacked against it. The organization has historically taken an ideologically affirmative position towards homosexuality, declaring in 1999 that “homosexuality does not constitute an illness, nor a disturbance, nor a perversion,” and claiming that those who disagree are guilty of “prejudice.”

The CFP’s decision to boycott the hearings followed a letter written to the organization by Toni Reis, president of the Brazilian Association for Gays, Lesbians, and Transsexuals, “suggesting” that the “Federal Council of Psychology not present itself in said Public Hearing, because of the understanding that it is an affront to science, human dignity, human rights, secular government and the autonomy of the Federal Council of Psychology.”

The letter, a copy of which has been obtained by LifeSiteNews, also asks the CFP to “pronounce officially in an emphatic and decisive way against this hearing and against this initiative, for violating human rights.”

Brazil’s Federal Council of Psychology, unlike other psychology associations such as the American Psychology Association (APA), has the power to deprive a therapist of his right to practice if its rules are violated.

The CFP used its powers to censure psychologist Rozangela Justino in 2009 for conducting reparative therapy for homosexual clients who wished it, and ordered its Rio de Janeiro division to enforce the ruling prohibiting the treatment.

Recent studies indicate that some homosexuals can learn to resist their homosexual urges and even develop opposite-sex attraction through therapy. The American Psychological Association claims the existing evidence is not sufficient to determine the efficacy of such therapy,  although it admits that among those who have received it, “some individuals modified their sexual orientation identity (i.e., group membership and affiliation), behavior, and values (Nicolosi, Byrd, & Potts, 2000).”

The World Health Organization continues to recognize the category of “Egodystonic homosexuality” for those who suffer from unwanted same-sex attraction, and also recognizes the use of therapy in such cases.

It also recognizes “sexual relationship disorder,” in which sexual orientation interferes with existing relationships. Transvestitism and transsexualism are also acknowledged as mental disorders by the organization.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Preacher censored for ‘discrimination’ back on air

by Peter Baklinski

TORONTO, Ontario, June 28, 2012 ( – A prominent Canadian evangelical minister is back on TV after having his show dropped in December 2010 after industry watchdogs targeted his show for what they said was discrimination against homosexuals.

“After being attacked by big government censors for speaking the truth and removed from TV, we are back,” said Dr. Charles McVety, former host of Word TV and new host of The Canadian Times, in a press release last week.

Charles McVety

McVety’s show Word TV was forced off the air after the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council (CBSC) rebuked the preacher for claiming that the homosexual movement was driven by a “conspiratorial” agenda, suggesting homosexuals prey on children, and labeling the annual Pride events “sex parades”.

McVety believes that Crossroads Television System, which carried his program, was pressured by the CBSC to cancel his show for his preaching against what he called “the radical sex agenda of the elites,” according to the press release.

A CBSC panel ruled at the time that McVety was “utterly wrong” to claim that Ontario’s failed sex-ed curriculum, which was pulled in April 2010 after outcry from parents, was meant to “teach” homosexuality. The panel pointed out that the “proposed curricular revisions are intended to teach tolerance.”

The panel also objected to a statement made by McVety on his show that homosexual activists were seeking to indoctrinate children because, as he said, “unfortunately they have an insatiable appetite for sex, especially with young people.”

McVety criticized the CBSC panel’s censorship as a “gross breach of democracy”.

“We should not have [the CBSC] tell me what my opinions can be and what my opinions can’t be,” McVety said at the time. A statement appearing on the website of the preacher’s show referred to the CBSC as “thought police” who had launched “a vicious attack against Word TV”.

The Canadian Times, McVety’s new show, made its debut earlier this month on Vision TV. It airs every Sunday evening at 11 PM. The show sports the same look and flavor of the old show, just with a different name. McVety is as outspoken as ever.

“Freedom is making a comeback in Canada,” he said in the press release.

“There really is sort of a wave that says ‘enough is enough,’” he said to OneNewsNow. “Free speech is a vital component of democracy, because if the government has unchecked power and you’re not even allowed to voice opposition, then you lose your freedom.”

McVety said that despite the Canadian Government recently having removed the controversial Section 13 ‘hate crimes’ provision of the Canadian human rights code (Section 13), what he called an “Orwellian clause” that “threaten[ed]” preachers, there is still much to be done to “fight this fight of being free to preach the gospel”.

“And even if it’s politically incorrect, we still must have the freedom to speak truth and to speak righteousness to a nation,” he said.

Repackaging the Free Market in Zimbabwe

by John Horvat II

Repackaging the Free Market in Zimbabwe
When Zimbabwe’s socialist government decreed a land reform program in 2000, revolutionary mobs invaded farms and evicted from their lands almost all of the nation’s white commercial farmers.

These farmers, African-born and raised, turned the landlocked southern African nation into the breadbasket of the region. Their production of corn, tobacco and other crops supplied all the needs of the population with a surplus for export.

But when the socialist land reform swept the country in 2000, these farmers were thrown off their farms often without any compensation. Squatters occupied the farms and destroyed vital infrastructure systems. Predictably, as in all countries where socialist and confiscatory land reform has been implemented, agriculture production plummeted. Zimbabwe went from breadbasket to basket case.

Many of the white commercial farmers who were thrown off their lands went to neighboring Zambia who welcomed them. They reestablished themselves in lands similar to those which they had known in Zimbabwe. Now these farmers are thriving and producing huge harvests.

And in Zimbabwe, the government will need to import 2.2 million tons of grain to feed millions of its starving population. Zimbabwe is importing some 300,000 tons of maize from Zambia — and much of this maize was raised by the displaced farmers.

Recipients of Zimbabwe’s grain loan scheme in Matabeleland were shocked to discover the names of the former white farmers on the identification stickers put on the grain bags.

The reaction of the Zimbabwean government is perhaps predictable. Instead of celebrating the hard work and enterprising spirit of their former citizens, they are ordering villagers to destroy all the Zambian bags and repackage the grain in local bags.

The fact that some former Zimbabwean farmers were supplying maize to the government is yet another proof that socialist land reform does not work. One way to hide this fact is to repackage free market grain in the empty bags of socialism.

Emotional goodbye for young Italian mother who died for unborn child

Rome, Italy, Jun 21, 2012 / 04:01 pm (CNA).- Hundreds of Italians gathered at the Church of St. Francisca Romana in Rome on June 16 for the funeral Mass of Chiara Corbella, a young Catholic woman who died after postponing her cancer treatments in order to protect her unborn child.

See more here:

American Muslims Stone Christians in Dearborn, Michigan

See this video.


In it, a small number of Christians who gathered holding Christian signs at the 2012 Dearbor, Michigan Arab festival are assaulted by Muslims with bottles, stones, and other objects.

The police do not protect the Christians or take action against the perpetrators; in the end, they reprimand the Christians and instruct them to leave. Ever since, there has been no coverage of this outrageous event in our media.

March For Life In Brazilian Capital

About 10,000 people participated in the March For Life in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil.

Thank God, each year, the number of participants grows.

Members of the Institute Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira joined in the March with their massive golden banners and carrying the Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kraft defends rainbow-stuffed homosexual “pride” Oreo as ‘reflection of our values’

by Kathleen Gilbert

June 27, 2012 ( - Kraft Foods, the company behind the Oreo cookie, has defended a promotional image of the cookie stuffed with rainbow filling as “a fun reflection of our values,” even as the gay rights endorsement triggered boycott threats within hours of appearing on the Internet.

The Photoshopped image of “America’s favorite cookie” caused a stir on the brand’s Facebook page Monday evening when it appeared with the caption, “Proudly support love!”

The image had garnered nearly 220,000 Facebook “likes” by Wednesday morning, 66,600 shares, and 35,850 comments fueling an unending flame war over the cookie’s stand in favor of the homosexual movement.

“LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Good job Oreo!” wrote one commenter, while another said, “I will not purchase another Nabisco/Kraft product. I am fairly ambivalent about the homosexual marraige/union issue but I will not go along with using an Iconic Children’s snack to promote one side of it.” While most comments praised the image, a large number were dedicated to retaliating against those objecting on Biblical grounds.

“Anyone who still believes in Christianity and the bible is as thick as two short planks and needs to get an education as they were clearly raised by idiots,” wrote one commenter. “What a gaggle of hateful retards,” said another. “All you who are bashing Christians is that fair?? What if they put a cross on there I bet you all would be complaining as well….Just saying,” responded a third.

Kraft spokesperson Basil Maglaris said in a statement that the rainbow cookie, which won’t have a variant for sale, was created to honor the celebration of LGBT Pride Month in June.

“We are excited to illustrate what is making history today in a fun and playful way,” said Maglaris in an email to ABC News. “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness.  We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values.”

Kraft Foods owns a number of brands, including Capri Sun, Nabisco, Philadelphia cream cheese, Ritz, Baker’s chocolate, Triscuit, Cool Whip, Grey Poupon, and Wheat Thins.

The Oreo endorsement is not the only gay pride endorsement to come out from a major brand in tandem with LGBT Pride Month. Earlier, Minnesota-based General Mills’ publicly endorsed same-sex ‘marriage’ in response to the state’s ballot initiative to protect the definition of marriage. In addition, Target stores this Spring sparked a boycott from pro-family leaders after it launched a line of gay pride t-shirts at the end of May.

About the Tremendous Power of Music

Philip Calder

Philip B. Calder,
musician & composer

This interview with musician and composer, Philip B. Calder, will help you discern between good music and what might be called noise for the soul.
From a Catholic perspective, discover why good music is a reflection of the order God created.

Related podcast: The Power of Music
Crusade Magazine: What could you say in general about the nature of music and its workings?

Philip Calder: Through the centuries, music has been one of the highest arts, and perhaps one of the most abstract, in the sense that you can hear it but not touch it. By its nature, music is very impalpable, very ethereal and very abstract, yet it moves us so deeply that it touches the human heart and soul. Saint John Chrysostom, in the early Church, said that music was invented in heaven; and that if man is a musician, he is so by revelation of the Holy Spirit.

We can trace the origin of music back to the beginning of humanity. From the earliest times, man has always desired to express himself, hence all the different arts. And most of us, whether musicians or not, have tried humming a melody, or finding a tune, and these are the first efforts of musical composition.

There are many places in the Old Testament where musical instruments appear, such as the harp and the lyre, and King David is recorded as singing with instrumental accompaniment. The ancient Greeks were among those who discovered the seven scales, which were later used by the Catholic Church in the formation of Gregorian chant. So since the beginning, we can see the deep place music has had in man’s life on this earth.

CM: During the splendorous Christian civilization of the Middle Ages, how far was music developed?

Philip Calder: Music is a basic component in the salvific and wondrous influence of the Catholic Church, which has always aimed not only at giving people the true religion, but also at forming an entire civilization. Hence the development of all the arts and crafts that, under the Church’s influence, soared higher and higher. We think right away of Gregorian chant, which was codified by Pope Saint Gregory I in the sixth century. In fact, by the Middle Ages, this was the music that had developed the most. Gregorian chant at the service of the sacred liturgy has never been equaled, and expresses very much the unity of God.

In the secular realm, music was not so developed, though we find, in the last century of the Middle Ages, the beautiful example of the music for the coronation of King Saint Louis IX in 1226, which has two clear musical lines. There is the main line, along with an accompanying line, which is the beginning of a type of harmony. This definitely shows a further development of music, which we see much more of as we go on.

CM: Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira makes explicit three depths of the Revolution: in the tendencies, in the ideas and in the facts. What role can music play in all this?

Philip Calder: To answer this question it is necessary to understand what he means by these three depths and the one that is most applicable here is the first: the tendencies. Professor Corrêa de Oliveira’s thesis is that if you have an environment like a room in a home, or perhaps a town square, the kind of structure and how it is decorated will affect the movements of soul that people will have within that environment. And in any such environment, if we have music playing, the characteristics of that music are going to influence the way people respond. Professor Corrêa de Oliveira’s analysis shows that the tendency precedes an idea. The person is moved to have a tendency in one direction or another, and that usually precedes a conscious idea that the person has, and once the person gets the idea, this in turn precedes an act, a fact or actual happening.

Movement in the tendencies usually precedes everything, and that is where music really comes into this equation. Music can be very good, very bad or anything in between. A music that is very good tends to influence a movement of soul of everyone within the environment toward good things. If the music is not good, that will tend to influence people in a wrong direction. And so, as Professor Corrêa de Oliveira shows, the Revolution used all the arts very successfully in motivating mankind from one decadence to the next. Music was not at the forefront of this process, because music still went on to develop in a very fine way long after the Middle Ages. But gradually, as music began to decline and become more Revolutionary in various aspects, it moved to the forefront of influencing people in one direction or another because of its power of expression. And what is so powerful is that, being the most abstract, it speaks to the subliminal aspect of our soul, an area where we can be influenced without even realizing it. Music can be effective wonderfully in moving people toward the good, and it can be effective devastatingly in moving people toward the bad.

CM: Do you think music is in the forefront of the Revolution today?

Philip Calder: It is definitely in the forefront and I am sorry to say in a very bad way. One of the main reasons this happens is because people are not generally accustomed to analyzing how they respond to things. They tend to just respond. If you respond to something without asking yourself, “Why am I responding to this that way?” you can find yourself being lead down a path much farther than you would have otherwise realized.

CM: One of the most poisonous aspects of the Revolution is its desire for total equality. Can music debunk that idea and reveal the harmonious inequality of God’s order?

Philip Calder: Well, before I had the privilege to meet and know Professor Corrêa de Oliveira, I always had a clear notion of why I liked a piece of music. But all the deeper reasoning, influenced by studying his work Revolution and Counter-Revolution when applied to the history of music, becomes very enlightening.

One of the examples I like to use very much is a famous example from a piece which demonstrates irrefutably how God’s order intended to have a harmonious inequality.

We are all given repeatedly that noxious and poisonous precept that everything has to be equal at all levels and on all fronts. It is simply not true. Let the first movement, or the allegro, of Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C major, K. 545, speak for itself. It is the most famous piano sonata Mozart wrote.  Everyone who has studied piano and gets to a certain degree of accomplishment will play this sonata, and the melody is in the right hand, and the accompaniment is in the left. If you take the right hand alone it is perfectly evident that it controls the melody. But if you play the accompaniment in the left hand alone, it is nice, but it is just the figuration of some chords over and over again. And this by itself would become very tiresome, very quickly.

However, if you play just the melody by itself, you perceive that there is less beauty there than when you play the melody with the accompaniment, that is, the two hands together. As such the whole is much greater than the parts, though you also perceive that the melody is superior, or is higher, than the accompaniment that supports it. The accompaniment is not crushed by the melody, nor is it put aside by the melody, but they work perfectly together. The accompaniment supports and elevates the melody and the melody in turn lifts up the accompaniment. The two together are a perfect example of harmonious inequality. So we can show that the whole idea that everything should be entirely equal is simply fallacious.

CM: So, could we say that God wrote His signature in the harmonious inequality of the world of sound? And to what lengths have Revolutionary musicians of the twentieth century gone in denying this hierarchical world of sound?

Philip Calder: There are two distinct questions here, but they are very much related. There are a number of examples to show how God wrote His signature in the hierarchical world of sound. If we take any musical sound, on any instrument, the human ear hears that one sound. But, physics has shown that when that one sound is vibrating, there are actually 15 other sounds, inaudible to the human ear, that are sounding higher at the same time. That’s called the overtone series. The pattern is always the same.

Without getting too technical, you start from the given tone, and the number two sound, which is the first of these other 15, is an octave. So if you have a C, the next tone is going to be a C. The third one will be the G above that. The fourth will be the C above that G. So, you perceive already here, that there is an order. All those first four basic tones are in the same key. You are not going to have a C, a C-sharp, a G-sharp and a D-flat, because those would not be sympathetic tones.

God puts His signature in this, because He constructed nature, which of course includes the science of sound. We only discover the things He already made. And it is interesting how this overtone series has definite bearing to religion, to Catholic doctrine, because the tone that is given could be like the visible world. The 15 others are the invisible. People who don’t have faith will say, “What are you talking about? It’s not there!” But we know that they are there.  The angels are there.  The overtones are there.

Another example of God’s signature would be the common scale, because He made the scale, the major scale. We see the major scale most easily in the notes on the piano from C to C.  Just the white notes.  Now anyone who hears that, if they have never had any musical training, they will notice that it has a certain rightness. If you depart from those eight white notes, and all of a sudden go from E to B-sharp to B-flat, to end up in D-flat, they will ask: “What are you doing? Why did you do that? It doesn’t fit.” So that series of keys carries an order within itself.  It speaks for itself.  The proof is in the sound.

Now, the second part of the question, the old masters understood this in many ways and built their great musical structures what we could call, “musical truths.”

Nobody is going to write a symphony in C major and end it in B major because that would jar the very identity of that piece. B major is a beautiful chord, but it doesn’t belong in ending a symphony in C major. As time went on, composers found more ways to modulate, going from one key to another, and coming back again. But, all of the great ones would reaffirm philosophical truths, good sense, balance, rightness, symmetry, by starting in one place, performing a tremendous variety and coming back to the main. If we didn’t do so it would start to dislocate, and unsettle something deep within the listener.

Anyway, as time went on and the Revolution went further in leading man away from God, the modern musicians – as well as the modern painters, sculptors and architects – became infected with this idea of doing something completely different. They became less humble, as it were, to build upon the great things of the past.

All the masters of the past in any of the great pursuits of art would build upon the good things that had been done before. In music, if you didn’t have Palestrina, Corelli and all those great masters, you wouldn’t have had Bach and Handel. There’s no way. And, you certainly wouldn’t have had Mozart. Mozart didn’t just come out of nowhere and start writing his music. The modern idea of total equality and everybody being independent gave musicians this idea that unless they did something totally different than anyone had ever done, they wouldn’t have any value. Well, in the twentieth century this went completely wild.

For example, Arnold Schoenberg came up with this idea that he called the “12-tone rule.” He didn’t invent these 12 tones, what he did was come up with an arbitrary rule that said the person writing the music could not reuse any of the 12 tones, until he had used all the others. This was something not only arbitrary but fatal to any recognizable work of music, because in any great piece of music, even a chant, there is that beautiful repeated progression. So, it is only natural for the human soul to hear beautiful music and say, “I want to hear it again.”

Now you can ask: “What’s the Revolution got to do with it?” To say that something must be completely different and never return again jars the whole notion of order. So, under this 12-tone rule, composers began saying that the relationship of those chords we talked about has to be denied completely. In other words, there’s no order, no hierarchy, no inequality, nothing.
Now, if you reduce everything to the same plane in any sphere, as the great Saint Thomas said, you’ll never find God. You’ll only find God at the height of a long hierarchical series, going up. And the only way you can have a hierarchy of things is when things are different. If things are the same you cannot sort them, because they’re all the same. Nothing has preeminence over anything else, nothing serves anything else, everything has its own beginning and end, and there’s a total breakdown. That’s what’s happened in society, and that’s what’s happened in music. The twentieth century musicians have gone mad in trying to devise new ways of doing things. The end result of what they do is chaos, which is the absolute opposite of the tremendous ordering of civilization and the arts, which the Church has always done.

CM: Can you give us a means by which we can objectively analyze a piece of music, to see to what degree it is good or bad?

Philip Calder: There are – thanks to the luminous wisdom of the Catholic Church – several things that can help us. Of course we have to apply those things to music. One is what’s called in theology, the four attributes of being. If we analyze anything in God’s creation and anything that man has done that it is good, it will have these four attributes: unum, verum, bonum and pulchrum.

The unum means the oneness of something. Anything that is good and right in God’s eyes has a oneness. You are not going to see a rose stem coming out of an oak tree. The tree has a oneness unto itself. Similarly, in a good piece of music, you will perceive how the different parts fit together and form a unified whole.  If something suddenly disrupted that unity, it would break the unum, the oneness.

The second quality, the verum, is the truthfulness. Anything in God’s creation has a truth unto itself, it has a right reason for being. And so anything good that man has done reflecting God’s order has this verum. A good work of music, as well as the other arts, will have a truthfulness, a true purpose, a good purpose.
Now, the bonum is the goodness. Anything that God made in the universe has a goodness. The things man has done which are good, that is, pleasing in God’s sight, will have a reason for being. And so, for example, a good piece of music is going to be very out of place in a discothèque.

The fourth quality is the pulchrum, which means beauty. And what the great Catholic philosophers have shown is that if you have the first three, that is, the unum, the verum and the bonum, you have the conditions for beauty. If you are missing any one of the first three, you will not have the fourth. That’s why that famous phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” can be quite deceiving, for if the beholder is not grounded in these good principles, the beholder may have a distorted idea of what beauty is.

There is another point that also comes from the Catholic theologians. Saint Thomas makes explicit what he calls the three faculties of the soul: intelligence, will and sensibility. Intelligence gives the understanding the ability to analyze and grasp something. If these faculties are in their right order, the intelligence enlightens the will so that a person is directed to want things that the intelligence has shown to be good. The lowest of the three faculties is the sensibility, that is, the way the soul responds to exterior stimuli. Here we are talking about music. So the way our soul responds to a certain series of sounds pertains to the sensibility.

Now, if the intelligence and will are in the right order, and if we’re facing a series of sounds deemed to be objectionable, the will orders the sensibility of the soul to reject it. If our intelligence and will have not done what they should have, then the sensibility is allowed to reign. So what the Revolution did gradually was to invert these three, because it got people used to not using their intelligence to get to the bottom of something. The less people use intelligence, the less the will has the ability to discern.

That explains why this whole gradual process over a long time resulted in what has been called the “civilization of the image.” This encompasses not only physical, palpable images, but images of sounds, whatever sounds the person happens to like because his friends like it, and he does not make any conscious analysis or rejection of it. That’s what’s happened in our modern age; it has gone completely wild.

In the context of this interview here, people need to start meditating about a piece of music and ask: “Why do I like this?” How does this piece of music hold up under the four attributes of being? Does the composer or performer have the faculties of their soul in the right order or has everything been entirely inverted? And, if people begin to do that enough they’re going to have a more objective approach to the music they like, and not just say, “I like the music.” Why? “I don’t know, I just like it.”  That’s not enough.

I don’t want to give the idea here that these things are all black and white. They are not. There are degrees. How far can one go with something having undesirable degrees before saying, “That’s it!”? The more a person can put these things in focus, the more their soul is going to grow, their interior life is going to grow, and the more their preferences are going to be refined. There are preferences in music.

CM: A collateral question: Can good musical fruits be produced in societies existing solely in the natural order?

Philip Calder: The great missionary efforts of the Church through the ages have shown that when the Church has reached out to people of all backgrounds, we see that God, as the Father of all, never abandons anyone. In the billions of people God has created from the beginning, one can see an infinite number of degrees, as each one is unique. God will not fail to give each one, on whatever level they are at, the means to know Him. One of the ways the Church shows us that God reveals Himself is through the Ten Commandments.

However, even in primitive people who have never heard of them, the Ten Commandments are written in their hearts. Each one knows what is right and wrong.

Societies—I’d rather reserve “civilization” for that which the Church has developed—that didn’t have the supernatural influence of the Church, but just existed in the natural order, are going to have all different degrees of these things. For example one of the oldest societies, China, even without the civilizing and salvific influence of the Church, did many beautiful things. Of course there were disorders, but the Chinese have tremendous refinement and intelligence, with a great appreciation of beauty.
Now, coming to the specific point of music, I cite an example of an instrument that they developed, the erhu (pronounced ARE-who), a string instrument with a bow. It appears that the Chinese developed this after seeing a lute, which is a string instrument of European origin. The erhu in its range is almost identical to that of the violin. It has only two strings, which are the D above middle C and the A above that. The violin has the G below middle C, then the same two middle strings, and the upper string E. Now, the difference in sound is very interesting. The erhu is very expressive of the Chinese people, with a sound that is quite beautiful, almost like an instrument that mirrors the way they sing.

For a long time, until about 30 years ago, the erhu has been more of a popular, folksy type of instrument as compared to one capable of great virtuosity. But it’s interesting that the Chinese have now developed a tremendous love and admiration for Western culture and music, and this has motivated them to begin learning Western musical instruments. And they have become extraordinary in their musical capacity, and students of music in the West can almost wonder at the degree of perfection that these Chinese have attained, especially with the violin. Now under this impulse, the erhu players have developed a tremendous degree of virtuosity, on two strings. You could almost say that a virtuoso erhu player can do almost what a violin can; and that is saying a lot.

CM: Considering the vast universe of music we have discussed here, what would be your summarizing comments?
Philip Calder: Music has great importance for all of us. Most everyone is moved by music of some kind. Everything in our environment influences us in one way or another, so the arts, decoration, the way we talk, our clothes, and so forth, are all relevant. Music, as I have tried to show here, influences us very profoundly. It is hard to put your finger on why music affects us as it does. For that very reason, it seems absolutely essential that everyone begin analyzing the type of music they like, and to try and determine why they like it, because it is going to help them morally and spiritually. It takes a little time, because it is not a mathematical science.
To anyone who doesn’t know the great masterpieces of the past, the great music of Palestrina, down through the history of music before it started to go off base, we can say that a wonderful world awaits them. So, I would strongly encourage everyone to go deeper into music, and the understanding of the music they are hearing.

About Mr. Philip Calder

Philip Calder

Born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Mr. Philip Calder already displayed great musical talent at age 7 when he began piano lessons.  He completed his first composition at 11.  And at 13 he became a favored pupil of internationally renowned composer and conductor, John Duffy, and soon joined the famous Tanglewood Music Festival.
“Philip was a child prodigy, my foremost student,” said Mr. Duffy.
At the Julius Hartt Conservatory of Music, Mr. Calder studied under piano master Leo Rewinski. Then he went on to study organ with Ernest Nichols, highly regarded disciple of the legendary Virgil Fox.
Composer of hundreds of works for solo piano, instrumental ensemble and orchestra, Mr. Calder has performed throughout the Western and Eastern Hemispheres as pianist, organist and conductor, including featured appearances at Carnegie Hall and with the Metropolitan Opera.  Mr. Calder is one of the founding members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property and currently teaches at the Calder Academy of Music.

Is Hell Really A Deterrent To Crime?

By Gary Isbell: A recent study by psychology Professor Azim F. Shariff from the University of Oregon, supports in part what the Catholic Church has been teaching for the last 2,000 years about justice and Hell.

Professor Shariff made a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people from 67 countries and discovered that “a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates.”[1]

Imagine that. He also goes on to observe that people with an one-sided idea of a forgiving God that does not punish are inclined to commit crime based on a distorted view of the forgiveness of God.

It is refreshing to see that someone has taken the time to study available data regarding criminal activity and its relationship to the idea of Hell. Shariff affirms, “These effects remain after accounting for a host of covariates, and ultimately prove stronger predictors of national crime rates than economic variables such as GDP and income inequality. Expanding on laboratory research on religious pro-sociality, this is the first study to tie religious beliefs to large-scale cross-national trends in pro and anti-social behavior.”

It is interesting to note that the data does not make a correlation to support the claim that poor people are driven to commit crimes because of poverty. Although this is a familiar mantra espoused by liberals in mainstream media, the truth is that poor people commit crimes for the same reason that wealthy people commit crimes; they have bad morals.

There is an old saying that there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole. We might say that the time for playing games is over when faced with death, judgment and Heaven or Hell. Throughout history, men have had an ingrained notion that they will be judged for their actions for which they will receive either an eternal reward or punishment. Death makes us think about Heaven and Hell and these considerations can have a healthy effect upon society.

No one can successfully argue that the notion of Hell is a sufficient deterrent to stop every single person from committing crimes since some are hardened in their ways. However, for a great part of mankind, the idea of eternal punishment is a great deterrent. There is one small caveat: the idea of hell is only really effective when a person makes a serious examination of conscience, which helps the person see his defects and fear their consequences.  It would then follow, that the most efficient way to prevent crime would be to promote an examination of conscience and the idea of Hell.

Unfortunately, modern psychologists are not versed in theology. If that were the case, perhaps Professor Sharriff would have designed his study differently. The question should not have been a choice between a punishing and a forgiving God. Rather, it should have presented the balance that has always been taught by the Church; our moral behavior is judged by an infinitely merciful God who punishes those hardened of heart and unrepentant.


A Divine Miracle For Skeptics Who Do Not Believe In Miracles

A historically-documented true story of 8 Jesuit priests who survived the 1945 Hiroshima atomic bomb blast.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why We Love True Heroes

True Glory Can Only be Born of Pain
From every side of the parade grounds, with habitual and quite natural enthusiasm, a huge crowd watches a trooping of the Queen’s Royal Grenadiers in their ceremonial uniforms. New military tactics forced uniforms like these into obsolescence long ago.

Nevertheless, these black trousers, red coats with white belts, gloves and ornaments topped with distinguished bearskin hats, are preserved for higher moral ends. Maintaining the tradition of the armed forces and showing people the splendors of military life.

Glory must be expressed in symbols. Indeed, God uses symbols to manifest to men His own grandeur. In this, as in all else, we must imitate God. Thus we see the Royal Grenadiers’ uniforms and their impeccably rhythmic and aligned marching. One senses the pride with which the standard-bearer carries the national flag and the troop commander indicates the direction of the parade.

One can almost hear the beating of the drums and the sound of the trumpets. All of these symbols express the moral beauty inherent in military life along with the elevation of sentiments, the willingness to shed one’s blood; the strength for striving, risking and winning; the discipline, gravity and heroism.

There is glory, and true glory, shining in this whole ambience.
But after all, is glory only this? Does glory consist just in dressing in anachronistic uniforms, executing maneuvers having no relation to modern battle, playing drums and trumpets and advancing with firm step to give oneself and others the impression that one is a hero? Does glory consist in advancing “courageously” on a field without obstacles or risks, launching attacks against a nonexistent enemy, having the only reward the inebriating applause of a crowd?

Is this glory, or is this theatrics?

Young American soldier from Korean War - True Glory Can Only Be Born of Pain
The young American soldier seen here from the Korean War illustrates another aspect of military glory. Entirely immersed in the tragedy of armed warfare, he seems not to have a defined age; he has the vigor of youth, but his freshness and brilliance are gone.

His skin, toughened by endless days under the sun and endless nights of wind and storms, seems to have taken on an almost leather-like firmness. He hasn’t the least concern about the elegance of his attire. His clothing serves to shield him from the harsh elements and to facilitate quick and agile movements whether he is in the mud, thickets or advancing over steep hills — all under the relentless action of battle.

Everything in this man is ordered towards fighting, resisting and advancing. The light of a smile is rarely seen on his face. His gaze appears to be fixed in ceaseless vigilance against men and the elements.

This man is not concerned with grand movements or theatrical gestures. He concentrates on the thousand details characterizing the real daily life of soldiers. He does not want to play a great role, showing off for himself or for others. He wants only the victory of a great cause. It is this that explains his seriousness, his dignity, and his will to resist.

Although permeated to his last fibers by great exhaustion and pain, his inflexible resistance of soul and body overcomes his weariness. He feels his pain vividly, but accepts it to its ultimate consequences out of love for the cause for which he fights.

This is the painful and perhaps tragic face of military life. Yet, this is where the merit is and where glory is born.

Beautiful uniforms, gleaming weapons, cadenced marching, great parades with trumpets and drums and the endless applause of enraptured crowds are legitimate and even necessary appearances, but only to the extent that they express a desire to fight and sacrifice for the common good. All of these would amount to nothing but theatrics were it not for authentic and proven courage, such as that of the Queen’s Royal Grenadiers.

True, these are considerations of a natural order. However, from them we may draw conclusions that reach a higher sphere.
The life of the Church and the spiritual life of each faithful Catholic are ceaseless struggles. Sometimes God gives souls admirable moments of interior or exterior consolation, and sometimes He gives His Church days of splendid, visible and palpable grandeur.
However, the true glory of the Church and of the faithful comes from suffering and from fighting.

It is an arid fight, with neither palpable beauty nor defined poetry. In this fight, one sometimes advances in the night of anonymity, in the mud of indifference or misunderstanding amidst storms and bombardment unleashed by the conjugated forces of the devil, the world and the flesh. Be certain that this fight fills the angels of Heaven with admiration and attracts the blessings of God.

True Glory Can Only Be Born of Pain

    Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

    7 Reasons Americans Are So Complacent About Our Country's Impending Bankruptcy

    By John Hawkins: America is on track to go bankrupt. Just like Greece. The signs are all around us. We've lost our AAA credit rating. Trillion dollar deficits are the new normal. The Fed is buying 61% of our own debt.  Nobody on the Left or Right seems to believe we'll ever pay off all of the money we owe. Life as we know it is very close to ending and yet Americans seem to be infected with a tragic...

    51 million pilgrims and tourists visit religious sites in France each year

    Jovens romeiros indo de Paris rumo a Chartres

    Young pilgrims walk from Paris to Chartres

    In 2010, almost 51 million pilgrims and tourists visited sanctuaries and religious sites in France, according to World Organization of Tourism, “Le Figaro” reported. 

    “There’s an evident and deep trend towards spiritual tourism”, said Géraldine Ballot, president of the French Association Villes-Sanctuaires.

    The annual growth in the last few years has been between 5 and 10%, depending on the site.

    The two most visited sanctuaries are Our Lady of Lourdes (over 7 million each year) and the Abbey of Mount Saint Michael (3,5 million).

    A cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris has 13 million annual visitors, although many of them are not pilgrims.  The Church of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre in Paris has  10.5 million visitors.

    A cathedral of Chartres and the sanctuary of Our Lady of Rocamadour are each visited by 1.5 million people.

    Peregrinação de estudantes ao Monte Saint-Michel

    Student pilgrims arrive at Mount  Saint-Michael

    France has more than 50,000 religious buildings that are visited by people who are interested in them for spiritual reasons.

    It’s noteworthy that the number of people involved in this spiritual visiting are far greater than those who actually practice their faith.  The exception to this are the most famous sites of Lourdes, Lisieux, Paray-le-Monial and Rue du Bac, where pilgrims go only for religious reasons.

    The greatest increase is found among the non-believers and the fallen away.  What we are seeing  is a trend of people who are tired of today’s modern lifestyle and who seek a spiritual option to fill the void of their daily lives.

    “Pilgrimages are one facet of this emerging phenomenon”, Geraldine added.  Nearly 500,000 people participate in pilgrimages that last 5 days and nights on average.

    From Lights of Hope:

    Does music REALLY shape ideas & culture?

    Yes.  This great interview with musician and composer Philip Calder will help you discern between good music and that other stuff.  Here it is:

    About the Tremendous Power of Music

    From a Catholic perspective, discover why good music is a reflection of the order God created.  I think you will thoroughly enjoy it.

    I've also posted a podcast about the

    Power of Music here.

    In the struggle for moral values, it's important to know (especially if you're in college) why lots of music tears down the same values we’re fighting for.

    Let me know what you think of the

    Power of Music

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Supreme Court won’t rule yet on embattled Soledad Cross war memorial

    by Kathleen Gilbert

    The Mount Soledad Cross

    WASHINGTON, June 25, 2012 ( - The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal seeking to keep a 29-foot cross that serves as a tribute to fallen soldiers on federally-owned territory in California, against complaints that the symbol implies a state preference for Christianity.

    The large cross, which was erected at the Mt. Soledad War Memorial in 1954, has been the subject of years of controversy. In 2006 a lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. The current cross, erected as a tribute to fallen Korean War veterans, replaced an earlier version honoring World War I soldiers in 1913, and is now surrounded by over 3,200 plaques honoring the fallen from the Civil War to Iraq.

    A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a U.S. district court’s ruling in 2008 in favor of the cross, saying that the cross “conveys a message of government endorsement of religion,” and that the history of anti-Semitism in the area undermines its claim to secularity. The court did not say that the cross needed to be taken down, but remanded the case back down to the same district court for reconsideration.

    The full Ninth Circuit Court in October refused to retry the case, as did the Supreme Court this week, after both sides of the suit had asked the high court to weigh in.

    Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Tuesday stated in a three-page ruling that although “the constitutionality of the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial is a question of substantial importance,” the case was not yet ripe for review, “because no final judgment has been rendered and it remains unclear precisely what action the Federal Government will be required to take.”

    Once a final judgment has been rendered by the lower court, wrote Alito, plaintiffs would be “free to raise the same issue in a later petition,” and noted, “Our denial, of course, does not amount to a ruling on the merits.”

    The federal government, joined by 34 members of Congress, have joined the fight to protect the memorial.

    “Nothing in the Establishment Clause compels that [the cross be removed], because the Establishment Clause does not require eradication of all religious symbols in the public realm,” stated the Justice Department in a petition to the Court submitted by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.

    The cross has been rescued by Congress before: in 2006, following 17 years of wrangling to bring the cross into safer hands, the United States Senate voted unanimously to transfer the Mt. Soledad Cross onto federal property after an atheist San Diego resident convinced a federal judge to order its removal by the city. The year before, the city of San Diego had voted 75 percent in favor of a ballot measure to transfer the memorial to federal hands, but Superior Court Judge Patricia Yim Cowett declared the ballot measure “an unconstitutional aid to religion” and struck it down.

    Illinois school district ejects homosexual activist curriculum

    by Ben Johnson

    ERIE, ILLINOIS, June 25, 2012, ( – An Illinois school district has bucked the national homosexual lobby by voting to remove books that promote same-sex “marriage” or mainstream alternate lifestyles.

    After parents complained about The Family Book, which the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) recommends “to naturalize and celebrate family diversity,” the Erie Community Unit School District 1 voted to remove all GLSEN curriculum from the district. The vote was 5-2. 

    Ann Schipper, the mother of three children in the system, said the curriculum “completely wipes away what my kids have learned at church and at home, and it creates confusion in them.”

    GLSEN’s “Ready, Set, Respect!” curriculum, aimed at elementary school students as young as kindergarten, intentionally hopes to alter young children’s definition of family and sexual identity.

    Its toolkit states: “The elementary school years offer a wonderful and important opportunity to instill and/or nurture positive attitudes and respect for individual, family and cultural differences, including diversity related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.”

    The guidelines recommend books like Cheryl Kilodavis’ My Princess Boy, intended for grades K-2, or Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, which introduces students to the idea of same-sex “marriage.”

    Other suggested activities include having children draw pictures of “Cinderella in a knight’s armor, Spiderman wearing a magic tiara,” and other gender-bending storybook heroes.

    Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, has written that the attempt to foist this curriculum on unsuspecting children is significant, because “cultural change rarely happens through dramatic, single events, but rather through the slow, accretion of little events that we ignore or dismiss as minor…Once in, they gradually increase the number and directness of homosexuality-affirming messages.” 

    GLSEN called the parent-directed vote “deeply counter-productive” and is urging fellow homosexual activists nationwide to pressure the school district to reverse itself.

    “It’s tragic that selfish adults deliberately create motherless or fatherless family structures,” Higgins wrote, “but schools have neither the obligation nor the right to affirm those immoral structures.”

    She wrote that since “so few public school administrations and teachers with the wisdom and spine to oppose the efforts of homosexual activists to impose their beliefs on public schools — or infuse curricula with their beliefs — the courage of the Erie Community Unit School District stands out.”

    Where's The Outrage Over CHRISTIANS Being Killed?

    There was something about the way Hillary Clinton said it that touched a nerve.  “People are dying,” the Secretary of State said forcefully and finally – with an emphasis on the word “dying” that can only be born of outrage.  She was talking about Syria and the brutal repression by embattled President Bashar al-Assad against a popular uprising – an uprising that Clinton and President Obama hope leads to the toppling of the Assad regime.

    By Pete Winn

    More here:

    Poll: Young Voters Lean Conservative on Abortion, Religious Freedom

    ( – The results of a poll commissioned by Students for Life of America (SFLA) show that likely voters in the 18-24 age demographic express support for conservative social issues, including the rejection of abortion on demand and government regulations that impose restrictions on individuals’ religious freedom.

    Full story here:

    Greek Orthodox diocese encourages protests against Homosexual “Pride” parade

    CWN - June 25, 2012

    Greek Orthodox officials in Thessalonika decried plans for a Homosexual “Pride” march, and encouraged residents to join in protests of the event this past weekend.

    More here:

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    This priest was more heroic than his heroic soldiers

    By John Horvat

    Fr. Vincent Capodanno

    Fr. Vincent Capodanno

    Americans love heroes.

    Something about them grips the American soul. Perhaps the attraction lies precisely in going against the zeitgeist of this hedonistic age. Heroes are outside the box.

    They do not fare well in a culture where real living has been reduced to pre-packaged experiences and media-generated events. They get lost in consumer mazes where they are constantly told to enjoy life. Heroes do not sign multi-million dollar sports or advertising contracts.

    Heroes rise above mass-markets and mass media and quench the thirst of postmodern man by speaking of honor, courage and sacrifice.

    Above all, heroes, especially those in combat, rise above complacency, self-interest and comfort. They completely mobilize all their resources, with the highest degree of dedication for a determined ideal. And that is why they are held in awe.

    A Catholic Hero

    While American heroes somehow still sprout from the sterile soil of a hostile culture, it is not often that one finds a Catholic hero.

    That is why the recently-published book The Grunt Padre is a pleasant surprise. It is the thrilling narrative of American Catholic heroism without Hollywood embellishment or sentimentality.

    The story could not be more American. Vincent Capodanno grew up in the thirties and forties in a large Italian-American family on Staten Island. His was a typical education of an ordinary American of his time. He responded to the call of his vocation and joined the Maryknoll missionary order. Upon ordination in 1958, he served in Taiwan and later Hong Kong.

    His life might well have ended in the quiet dedication required of missionary life in faraway lands. However, in the mid-60's, the direction of his life abruptly changed when he volunteered to serve as a Naval/Marine Corps chaplain in Vietnam. While studying history at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in the nineties, author Fr. Daniel Mode unexpectedly uncovered the deeds of the remarkable Fr. Vincent R. Capodanno.

    The Grunt Padre

    Fr. Vincent Capodanno

    Fr. Capodanno (left) stands outside his makeshift
    chapel in Vietnam.

    In his new assignment as a Navy/Marine Chaplain, Father Capodanno found a parish among the "needy." He sought the lonely Marines, the "grunts" who were exposed to death, suffering and sacrifice. He felt a compelling desire to be with these forgotten parishioners in their greatest hours of need.

    On April 30, 1966 Father Capodanno began a sixteen-month tour with the 7th and 5th Marine Regiments where he became "the best known and sought after chaplain in the Marine Corps.”

    "What set Father Vincent apart was the way he lived his ministry with the Marines," writes Father Mode. "He was not a religious leader who did his job and then returned to the comfort of his own circle. He lived as a grunt Marine. Wherever they went, he went. Whatever burdens they had to carry, he shared the load. No problem was too large or too small to take to Father Vincent - he was available to them day and night."

    The soldiers responded to his devotion and soon he became affectionately known to his Marines as "the Grunt Padre."

    Beyond the Call of Duty

    Thus began an active life of dedication and service that went beyond the call of duty. He became a true father to young boys on the front lines. He was "out there" with his men where he lived, ate, and slept as they did. To the young recruits thrust into the terrifying reality of battle, he was always available in his tent where anyone could drop in for comfort and guidance.

    He shared his salary, rations and cigarettes with anyone in need.

    He could always be counted upon for a cold soda or a book from his reading library. When Christmas came around and soldiers felt forgotten, Father Vincent saw to it that no Marine was without gifts which he obtained through a relentless campaign from friends and organizations all over the world.

    More importantly, he heard confessions for hours on end, instructed converts, and administered the sacraments. His granting of General Absolution before battle unburdened the consciences of the Marines and instilled in them the courage to fight. His mere presence in a unit was enough to lift the morale of all on patrol.

    When men died, he was at their side so they would not die alone. He gave them Last Rites encouraging them to repent and persevere. In addition, he wrote countless letters of personal condolence to parents of wounded and dead Marines and offered solid grounding and hope to fellow Marines who lost friends.

    When the pseudo-peace movement began to oppose the war, Fr. Vincent raised the spirits of demoralized soldiers in the field. He encouraged his men to oppose that same brutal communist system, which still oppresses Vietnam today.

    Battle Missions

    However, it was in battle where Father Capodanno excelled and inspired. He would find out from friends in military intelligence which unit was most likely to encounter the heaviest contact and volunteer for those assignments.

    Fr. Vincent Capodanno

    The Grunt Padre leads his men in prayer on the battlefield.
    Fr. Capodanno went into the jaws of danger to be with his men,
    anointing the dying and caring for the wounded.

    Marines would find him walking dangerous perimeters and keeping company with them in distant jungle outposts. The Grunt Padre could be seen leaping out of a helicopter in the midst of battle. He would care for the wounded, bless troops, and give Communion to Catholics, before taking off for another battle zone.

    When his tour of duty came to an end, he obtained an extension. Despite the prosaic conditions of battle and an ecumenical chaplain corps, nothing could turn him away from his burning desire to give everything in the service of God, the Church and his men.

    Faithful to the End

    On September 4, 1967, the helicopter carrying him to the site of battle crashed during a large-scale offensive named Operation Swift. The 5th Marines found themselves in dire straights, outnumbered 5-to-1 by 2,500 North Vietnamese regular troops.
    Although wounded three times in the course of the battle, Fr. Capodanno refused to be medi-vacked. Like a ray of hope in the midst of the storm, he went up and down the line caring for the wounded and anointing the dying.

    During the fierce fighting, the chaplain spotted a wounded corpsman hit by a burst of automatic fire and unable to move. Fr. Capodanno ran to his aid and began to care for his wounds. A Viet Cong machine gunner opened fire. With 27 bullet wounds in his spine, neck, and head, the Grunt Padre fell in battle, serving his men to the end.

    All over Vietnam, the Marines mourned their Padre.

    Beyond Death

    Fr. Vincent Capodanno

    The memory of Father Capodanno's sacrifice went beyond his death. His actions on the field of battle that day won him the nation's highest honor, The Congressional Medal of Honor.
    Despite the pacifist objections of 73 Maryknoll priests, brothers and seminarians, the Navy commissioned a destroyer escort in 1973: the U.S.S. Capodanno. Numerous other memorials and statues have gone up in his memory.

    The book, The Grunt Padre has served to inspire many Catholics who hunger for stories of Catholic heroism. His memory pierces through the cynical protests of the sixties and seventies that together with defeatist politicians consigned Vietnam to its present fate.

    Above all, the story of Father Capodanno is a striking reminder that the time of the Catholic hero is not over. When imbued with total dedication, each and every Catholic can have an enormous value in the life of the Church. Modest though they may be, men like Father Capodanno can obtain the fire, integrity, dedication and conviction whereby they want their ideal, want it entirely, seek nothing else but their ideal and do everything to obtain it. Men like these move history. They strike that deep chord that awakens admiration and awe.

    Those are the souls that have always characterized the Church. They reserve nothing for themselves, and give everything to God.
    On May 21, 2006 Fr. Capodanno was declared Servant of God and his cause for canonization is currently under way.

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    Web site dedicated to Fr. Capodanno:

    The Grunt Padre
    by Fr. Daniel L. Mode
    Paperback - 212 pages (2000)
    CMJ Marian Publishers;
    ISBN: 1891280082

    Crusader and Hero – Simon de Montfort

    A statue of Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, on the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower in Leicester, England.

    An Earl of Leicester, date of birth unknown, died at Toulouse, 25 June, 1218. Simon (IV) de Montfort was descended from the lords of Montfort l’Amaury in Normandy, being the second son of Simon (III), and Amicia, daughter of Robert de Beaumont, third Earl of Leicester. Having succeeded his father as Baron de Montfort in 1181, in 1190 he married Alice de Montmorency, the daughter of Bouchard (III) de Montmorency.

    In 1199 while taking part in a tournament at Ecry-sur-Aisne in the province of Champagne he heard Fulk de Neuilly preaching the crusade, and in company with Count Thibaud de Champagne and many other nobles and knights he took the cross. Unfortunately, the crusade got out of control, and the French knights, instead of co-operating with the pope, decided on a campaign in Egypt, and on their arrival at Venice entered on a contract for transport across the Mediterranean. Being unable to fulfill the terms of the contract, they compounded by assisting the Venetians to capture Zara in Dalmatia.

    In vain the pope urged them to set out for the Holy Land. They preferred to march on Constantinople, though Simon de Montfort offered energetic opposition to this proposal. Notwithstanding his efforts, the expedition was undertaken and the pope’s plans were defeated.

    In 1204 or 1205 Simon succeeded to the Earldom of Leicester and large estates in England, for on the death of the fourth Earl of Leicester in that year, his honour of Leicester devolved on his sister Alicia, Simon’s mother; and as her husband, Simon (III), and her eldest son were already dead, the earldom devolved on Simon himself. But though he was recognized by King John as Earl of Leicester, he was never formally invested with the earldom, and in February, 1207, the king seized all his English estates on pretext of a debt due from him.

    Shortly afterwards they were restored, only to be confiscated again before the end of the year. Simon, content with the Norman estates he had inherited from the de Montforts and the de Beaumonts, remained in France, where in 1208 he was made captain-general of the French forces in the Crusade against the Albigensians. At first he declined this honor, but the pope’s legate, Arnold, Abbot of Cîteaux, ordered him in the pope’s name to accept it, and he obeyed.

    Simon thus received control over the territory conquered from Raymond (VI) of Toulouse and by his military skill, fierce courage, and ruthlessness he swept the country. His success won for him the admiration of the English barons, and in 1210 King John received information that they were plotting to elect Simon King of England in his stead.

    Simon, however, concentrated his fierce energies on his task in Toulouse, and in 1213 he defeated Peter of Aragon at the battle of Muret. The Albigensians were now crushed, but Simon carried on the campaign as a war of conquest, being appointed by the Council of Montpellier lord over all the newly-acquired territory, as Count of Toulouse and Duke of Narbonne (1215). The pope confirmed this appointment, understanding that it would effectually complete the suppression of the heresy.

    It is ever to be deplored that Simon stained his many great qualities by treachery, harshness, and bad faith. His severity became cruelty, and he delivered over many towns to fire and pillage, thus involving many innocent people in the common ruin. This is the more to be regretted, as his intrepid zeal for the Catholic faith, the severe virtue of his private life, and his courage and skill in warfare marked him out as a great man.

    Meanwhile the pope had been making efforts to secure for him the restitution of his English estates. The surrender of his lands by John was one of the conditions for reconciliation laid down by the pope in 1213; but it was not till July, 1215, that John reluctantly yielded the honor of Leicester into the hands of Simon’s nephew, Ralph, Earl of Chester, “for the benefit of the said Simon”.

    Simon’s interest in England was shown by his efforts to dissuade Louis of France from invading England in July, 1216, in which matter he was seconded, though fruitlessly, by the legate Gualo. Having at this time raised more troops in Paris, Simon returned to the south of France, where he occupied himself in waging war at Nîmes, until in 1217 a rebellion broke out in Provence, where Count Raymond’s son re-entered Toulouse.

    Simon hastened to besiege the city, but was hampered by lack of troops. On 25 June, 1218, while he was at Mass he learned that the besieged had made a sortie. Refusing to leave the church before Mass was over, he arrived late at the scene of action only to be wounded mortally.

    He expired, commending his soul to God, and was buried in the Monastery of Haute-Bruyère. He left three sons, of whom Almeric the eldest ultimately inherited his French estates; the youngest was Simon de Montfort, who succeeded him as Earl of Leicester, and who was to play so great a part in English history.

    Battle of Muret

    CANET, Simon de Montfort et la croisade contre les Albigeois (Lille, 1891); DOUAIS, Soumission de la Vicomté de Carcassonne par Simon de Montfort (Paris, 1884); L’HERMITE, Vie de Simon, Comte de Montfort (s. l. a.); MOLINIER, Catalogue des actes de Simon el d’Amauri de Montfort in Biblioth. de l’école des Chartes (1873), XXXIV (Paris, 1874); NORGATE in Dict. Nat. Biog., s, v. Simon (V) de Montfort.

    EDWIN BURTON 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia Editorial comment: —

    Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester, was the great friend of St. Dominic, founder of the Dominican order and preacher against the errors of the Albigensians and Cathars. While St. Dominic prayed and preached against the heretics, Simon de Montfort led the Crusade against them.

    Some of his victories, like the battle of Muret, seem miraculous (1,600 Crusaders against an army of 32,000 under the King of Aragon and the Count of Toulouse), and the Crusader general attributed these improbable victories to the prayers of the man of God.

    The battle of Muret effectively crushed the Albigensian uprising and to commemorate this victory Simon de Montfort had a chapel built in the church of Saint-Jacques, within the town of Muret, dedicating it to Our Lady of the Rosary.

    Saintly princess ponders the horrors afflicting France during the Revolution


    To the Abbé de Lubersac.

    June 25, 1792

    Bishop Jean-Baptiste-Joseph de Lubersac, bishop of Chartres & chaplain to King Louis XVI

    This letter will be rather long on its way; but I prefer not to let this opportunity of talking with you pass. I am convinced that you will feel almost as keenly as ourselves the blow that has just been struck us; it is all the more dreadful because it lacerates the heart, and takes away our peace of mind.

    The future seems an abyss, from which we can only issue by a miracle of Providence. Do we deserve it? At that question I feel my courage fail me. Which of us can expect the answer, “Yes, you deserve it”? All suffer, but alas! none are penitent, none turn their hearts to God. As for me, what reproaches I have to make to myself! Swept along by the whirlwind of misfortune I have not asked of God the grace we need; I have relied on human help; I have been more guilty than others, for who has been as much as I the child of Providence? But it is not enough to recognize our faults; we must repair them.

    I cannot alone. Monsieur, have the charity to help me. Ask of God, not a change which it may please him to send us when, in his wisdom, he thinks suitable, but let us limit ourselves and ask him only to enlighten and touch all hearts, and especially to speak to two most unhappy beings, who would be more unhappy still if God did not call them to him. Alas! the blood of Jesus Christ flowed for them as much as for the solitary hermit who mourns for trivial faults incessantly. Say to God often, “If thou wilt, thou canst cure them,” and give to him the glory of it. God knows the remedies to be applied.

    Madame Élisabeth de France (1764–1794) Painted by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard

    I am sorry to write to you in so gloomy a style; but my heart is so dark that it is difficult for me to speak otherwise. Do not think from this that my health suffers; no, I am well; and God has given me grace to keep my gaiety. I earnestly hope that your health may be restored; I wish I could know that it was better; but how can one hope that with your sensibilities? Let us think that there is another life where we shall be amply compensated for the troubles of this one; and let us live in the hope of meeting there once more–but not until after we have the pleasure of seeing each other again in this world; for, in spite of my excessive gloom, I cannot believe that all is hopeless. Adieu, monsieur; pray for me, I beg of you, after having prayed for those others, and send me news of yourself at times; it is a consolation to me.

    signature of Madame Elizabeth

    The Life and Letters of Madame Elisabeth of France, trans. Katherine Prescott Wormeley (Boston: Hardy, Pratt & Company, 1902), pp. 84-85.

    Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 189 Editorial comment: —

    How does the French Revolution justify imprisoning and then executing the sister of King Louis XVI? What did she do to deserve this capital punishment?

    Nothing at all. She was killed solely because of what she represented: Aristocracy and nobility.

    She was virtuous, charitable, and elevated in her behavior and considerations. She could have saved herself at the beginning of the Revolution, fleeing into exile as many did. However, she knew her brother’s weak and vacillating will and resolved to stay with him. She was determined to help him face the Revolution as best she could, with her moral support and good counsel.

    She suffered under the guillotine because she was loyal and good. But her heroism received an eternal reward next to Him who said: “And do not fear them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. ” (Matt. 10:28)