Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why we spent Good Friday on the streets of Akron, Ohio doing reparation for blasphemy

The Akron Good Friday Blasphemy

On Good Friday, April 22, First Grace United Church of Christ in Akron, Ohio held a blasphemous homosexual mockery of Our Lord called “Corpus Christi.” The play used Gospel passages in a contrived way to portray Christ and the Apostles as degenerates.

2011-04-22 Corpus Christi Play Protest Akron OH Good Friday Anti-Blasphemy (25)


As Saint Veronica did during the passion, 27 brave Catholics gathered at the place of infamy to pray and humbly offer reparation. A cold wet April shower did not dampen the singing of hymns or prayers but instead displayed the seriousness and resolution of those present.

2011-04-22 Corpus Christi Play Protest Akron OH Good Friday Anti-Blasphemy (32)

“This is the best way to observe Good Friday,” said Christopher Henderson from Cleveland, Ohio. “We doing a real ‘Way of the Cross’ by standing here and defending the honor of Our Lord Who in a will be crucified and mocked by this production.”

Tens of thousands of America Needs Fatima members e-mailed or phoned the First Grace United Church of Christ to peacefully voice opposition to this insensitive attack. On Good Friday they were also asked to make an act of reparation to the Sacred Heart.

Three Hecklers

Three homosexuals, attempting to disturb the rally, accused everyone of secretly being homosexuals or of abusing children. One, a former Catholic, diabolically tempted 16-year-old Joseph Jordon to also “leave the Catholic Church in order to freely enjoy all pleasures.” Joseph retorted, “True happiness does not come from the pursuit of sin but in following Jesus and carrying one’s cross.” The ex-Catholic then began mocking the rosary by crawling on the ground repeating, “Worship the goddess; holy goddess, worship the goddess.”

The other hecklers, one dressed in a rainbow colored jacket, verbally attacked the Church and held signs saying “Jesus loves fags gays” and another saying “God is here and boy is she p***ed.”

After 20 minutes of unsuccessful heckling, the rally continued without them for an additional two more hours. The gathering solemnly ended with the Consecration to Our Lady by Saint Louis de Montfort and a procession with Our Lady to the sound of Hail Holy Queen and Throne above.

2011-04-22 Corpus Christi Play Protest Akron OH Good Friday Anti-Blasphemy (50)

Saint Augustine helps us understand collective chastisements, such as tornadoes and tsunamis

Saint Augustine Explains Collective Chastisement

The great Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa, and Doctor of the Church, lived during the barbarian invasions that brought about the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Indeed, the Vandals were storming at the city gates as he died.

During this troubled period, pagans blamed the Church for the collapse of Empire and civilization. If the Empire had not become Christian, they argued, Jove and the other gods of Rome would have saved it from destruction. Moreover, they added, the God of the Christians was no god at all since He had not spared the Christians from the barbarians.

Saint Augustine wrote The City of God to defend the Church and shore up the faith in hearts. In his masterwork, he explains the reason for collective chastisements. His reasoning can be summed up as follows:

1. Since nations as such do not pass to eternal life, they are rewarded or chastised in this life for the good or evil they practice; good and bad alike feel the effects of both reward and chastisement.

2. As for the good, the chastisement purifies their love of God, and may even take them from the tribulations of this life to the eternally happy life of Heaven; “Job’s case exemplifies that the human spirit may be proved, and that it may be manifested with what fortitude of pious trust, and with how unmercenary a love, it cleaves to God.”

3. On the other hand, very often the good are justly chastised for a certain selfishness, a lack of courage and apostolic fervor, that prevents them from pointing out to the bad, the evil of their ways: “Because they weakly relish the flattery and respect of men, and fear the judgments of the people, and the pain or death of the body; that is to say, their non-intervention is the result of selfishness, and not of love.”

4. As for the bad, they are chastised by “Divine Providence, which is wont to reform the depraved manners of men by chastisement.”

Such is also the teaching of Saint Thomas who says: “Justice and mercy appear in the punishment of the just in this world, since by afflictions lesser faults are cleansed in them, and they are the more raised up from earthly affections to God. Likewise, Saint Gregory says: ‘The evils that press on us in this world force us to go to God.’”

Devotion to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament


St. Peter Julian Eymard (1811 – 1868) was a priest from France who wrote developed devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament to a very high, sublime degree.

He also coined the title Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, and wrote this beautiful piece about this devotion.

Eucharistic adorers share Mary’s life and mission of prayer at the foot of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is the most beautiful of all missions, and it holds no perils.

It is the most holy, for in it all the virtues are practiced.

It is, moreover, the most necessary to the Church, which has even more need of prayerful souls than of powerful preachers; of men of penance rather than men of eloquence. Today more than ever have we need of men who, by their self—immolation, disarm the anger of God inflamed by the ever increasing crimes of nations.

We must have souls who by their importunity reopen the treasures of grace which the indifference of the multitude has closed. We must have true adorers; that is to say, men of fervor and of sacrifice.

When there are many such souls around their Divine Chief, God will be glorified, Jesus will be loved, and society will once more become Christian, conquered for Jesus Christ by the apostolate of Eucharistic prayer.

O Mary! teach us the life of adoration! Teach us to see, as thou didst, all the mysteries and all the graces in the Eucharist; to live over again the Gospel story and to read it in the light of the Eucharistic Life of Jesus. Remember, O our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, that thou art the Mother of all adorers of the Holy Eucharist.

He also composed this prayer to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament:

Virgin Immaculate, perfect lover of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we ask you to obtain for us the graces we need to become true adorers of our Eucharistic God.  Grant us, we beg of you, to know Him better, to love Him more, and to center our lives around the Eucharist, that is, to make our whole life a constant prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Amen.

V. Pray for us, O Virgin Immaculate, Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

R. That the Eucharistic Kingdom of Jesus Christ may come among us!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament – inspiring!

Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, it is to you, who are the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the world, the advocate, the hope and the refuge of sinners, that I have recourse today, I, who most of all am deserving of pity.
Most humbly do I offer you my homage, O great Queen, and I thank you for all the graces you have obtained for me until now, and particularly for having saved me from Hell, which, by my sins, I have so often deserved.
I love you, O most lovable Lady, and because of my love for you, I promise to serve you always and to do all in my power to win others to love you also. In your hands I place all my hopes; I entrust the salvation of my soul to your care.
Accept me as your servant, O Mother of Mercy; receive me under your mantle. And since you have such power with God, deliver me from all temptations, or rather, obtain for me the strength to triumph over them until death.
Of you I ask the grace of perfect love for Jesus Christ. Through your help I hope to die a happy death. O my Mother I beg you, by the love you bear my God, to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life.
Do not leave me, I beseech you, until you see me safe in Heaven, blessing you and singing your mercies for all eternity Amen, so I hope, so may it be.
By St. Alphonsus Liguori

Saint Joseph: Prince of the House of David, carpenter, legal father of the Word Incarnate and chaste spouse of the Queen of all Angels and Saints

We celebrate the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker on May 1, during which time we should contemplate the marvelous qualities of this great saint.

He is a true father, yet not according to the flesh.  He is the model of all warriors, princes, wise men and workers that in throughout the ages the Holy Church would beget on this earth for everlasting happiness in Heaven.


In this card, we see St. Joseph in his poverty and simplicity, a worker from Nazareth.  But he is also an intelligent man, wise and strong. 

He is not a scholar. Yet he is endowed with the credentials to be the trustee of God’s most precious secrets. What is needed for this? To be a soul of fire, a soul of contemplation, a soul full of tenderness.

Russia considering abortion restrictions to slow population collapse

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that measures must be taken in the Russian Federation to boost the birth rate.

April 28, 2011 ( – In a speech last week Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that measures must be taken in the Russian Federation to boost the birth rate.

Putin said that 1.5 trillion roubles will be invested in “demography projects,” to improve the average life expectancy and to boost the birth rate by 25 to 30 percent over three years.

Following Putin’s speech, the Russian parliament, the Duma, introduced a bill to disqualify abortion as a medical service in the national health plan. It would also allow doctors to refuse to commit abortions.

“The bill aims to create the conditions for a pregnant woman to opt for giving birth,” Yelena Mizulina, head of the State Duma committee for family, women and children, said.

On Wednesday the Duma also introduced a bill to restrict advertising for abortion.

Anton Belyakov, author of the bill and deputy from the Just Russia Party faction, told journalists, “The bill also commits doctors to warn women who decided to have an abortion that it may cause infertility, death or negatively affect physical and mental health.”

Russia has the highest rate of abortion in the world at 53 abortions per 1000 women between 15 and 44, according to UN statistics. Abortion is a key issue in Russia’s plummeting population that has seen a drop from 148.5 million in 1995 to 143 million today.

Belyakov said Russia’s abortion rate is “unacceptable.” The country’s own statistics show that there are 1022 abortions committed for every 1000 births. Official numbers show between 1.6 and 1.7 million abortions per year, but unofficial estimates put it at closer to 6 million per year, 90 percent of which are done, as in most of the developed world, at the woman’s request for “social,” not medical reasons.

Commenting on Russia’s birth crisis, Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families NGO, said, “It’s not Russia alone that’s experiencing demographic winter.”

“Worldwide, birthrates have declined by more than 50 per cent since the late 1960s. By the year 2050, there will be 248 million fewer children under 5 years old in the world than there are today. This birth dearth will be one of the greatest challenges confronting humanity in the 21st. century.”

Study: homosexual teens five times more likely to attempt suicide

by Kathleen Gilbert

NEW YORK, April 29, 2011 ( - Teens who self-identify as homosexual are five times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to attempt suicide, according to a study released last week.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics online on April 18, was conducted in order to determine whether living in a gay friendly social environment affected the risk of a teen identifying as homosexual committing suicide. It found that teens in “unsupportive” social environments were 20 percent more at risk of attempting suicide than those in “supportive” environments.

“This study documents an association between an objective measure of the social environment and suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth,” concludes the study abstract, adding that the results “have important implications for the development of policies and interventions to reduce sexual orientation–related disparities in suicide attempts.”

But Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council pointed out that the takeaway finding from the study is not that gay teens are marginally less likely to commit suicide in a “supportive” environment, but that overall gay teens are so many times more likely to commit suicide than their non-gay peers – “a difference that far overwhelms any difference caused by the ‘social environment.’”

The study gathered self-report data from nearly 32,000 grade 11 students in Oregon. The findings also revealed that 21.5 percent of the gay teens surveyed reported suicidal tendencies, while only 4.2 percent of straight teens did the same.

The study author, Mark Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University, told Reuters, however, that no studies have been able to pinpoint the root cause of suicidal tendencies in gay teens.

From a psychological point of view, the study appears to leave open many questions: Cornell University psychologist Dr. Ritch Savin-Williams suggested to Reuters that gay teens may report as suicidal based on their own stereotype.

“We have given them the message that they are suicidal,” said Savin-Williams, who wasn’t involved in the study.

Sprigg, however, said that the “logical take-away” of the study might not suit the author’s original intention.

“The most effective way of reducing teen suicide attempts is not to create a ‘positive social environment’ for the affirmation of homosexuality. Instead, it would be to discourage teens from self-identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual,” he said.

Oklahoma, Texas tighten RU-486 regulations

by Peter Jesserer Smith

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, April 29, 2011 ( – Lawmakers in Oklahoma and neighboring Texas are taking steps to make sure that abortion providers stop ignoring Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines established for the abortion drug RU-486.

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Senate passed a measure that prohibits abortion providers from deviating from FDA guidelines, which bar vaginal intake of the abortion drug and limit the drug’s safety to 7 weeks (or 49 days) into pregnancy, starting from the woman’s last menstrual period.

The Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act also mandates that abortion doctors give a woman a health exam before dispensing RU-486: both to assess how far along she is into pregnancy, and to screen for health problems which could lead to life-threatening complications. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Randy Grau (R-Oklahoma City) and Senator Greg Treat (R-Edmond).

The Senate passed the bill by a strong bipartisan majority of 39-6 on Tuesday. The House had already passed the same measure by an 83-5 majority.

House lawmakers will now vote to approve HB 1970 with the amendments added by the Senate.

Once approved, the measure is expected to be signed into law by pro-life Republican governor Mary Fallin.

Kate Neary-Pounds, director of Tulsa Reproductive Services, told the Tulsa Herald that she believed lawmakers were merely trying to make the lives of abortionists harder.

“Barring women from having a medical abortion after seven weeks’ gestation forces women to undergo a surgery procedure when they otherwise would have the option of a safe procedure using the medications alone,” said Neary-Pounds.

The National Abortion Federation has guidelines encouraging abortionists to prescribe RU-486 within 63 days of the last menstrual period – an extra two weeks beyond the FDA’s safety guidelines.

RU-486 was made legal in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000, and since then at least six American women have died of complications from medically induced abortion. Abroad, the Italian Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics in 2008 reported 16 maternal deaths associated with RU-486, leading the Italian Senate to delay sale of the chemical abortion drug.

“For too long, abortion providers have been dispensing abortion-inducing drugs in an unsafe manner that serves only to boost their own profit margins and it must stop,” said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, which helped work with lawmakers in passing the measure. “We are proud to have assisted in the passage of this bill,” she added.

Lawmakers in Texas are considering similar legislation that would prevent abortion providers from following the NAF or Planned Parenthood protocols over the FDA standards.

Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life leader, was slated to speak before the state Senate on Tuesday about the dangers of RU-486 and her experience with Planned Parenthood’s distribution protocols – and her own RU-486 abortion.

AUL Vice President for Government Affairs Dan McConchie said the pro-life group had partnered with Johnson to advance this legislation, which he said would help to “protect women and save lives in Texas.”

“Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers routinely dispense RU 486 off-label in a manner that expands their profits while undermining women’s health. It is important for the legislature to take action now to rein in these dangerous practices.”

BREAKING: Indiana gov. will sign bill defunding Planned Parenthood

by John Jalsevac

April 29, 2011 ( – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has put an end to speculation about whether or not he would sign a bill that would make Indiana the first state to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

Pro-lifers were on pins and needles over the bill, which passed the House earlier this week, and the Senate on the 20th, due to past controversial remarks from Daniels calling for a “truce” on social issues such as abortion, in order to focus on other issues, like the economy.

The country has also been watching to see Daniels’ decision, due to the fact that he is a possible contender for the 2012 GOP ticket.

“I will sign HEA 1210 when it reaches my desk a week or so from now. I supported this bill from the outset, and the recent addition of language guarding against the spending of tax dollars to support abortions creates no reason to alter my position,” said Daniels today.

“The principle involved commands the support of an overwhelming majority of Hoosiers, as reflected in greater than 2:1 bipartisan votes in both legislative chambers.”

The legislation bars the state from entering into contracts with abortion providers aside from hospitals, and includes a ban on abortion past 20 weeks gestation, but with an exception for the health of the mother.

NARAL Pro-Choice America blasted the decision to sign the legislation.

“Gov. Mitch Daniels has put his presidential ambitions above thousands of Hoosier women, who, as a result of his actions, will lose access to birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health care,” said Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL.

“Daniels now will distinguish himself as a governor who defunded Planned Parenthood.  He will also open the door to further political interference in women’s personal, private decisions. With the stroke of a pen, Daniels will declare his truce on social issues to be over.”

This saint could not sleep until he had given away every last penny in his possession – amazing!

                   April 30 --------- St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo

   St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo was born in 1786 near Turin in Italy.  After studying in the seminary in Turin, he was ordained in 1811. 

When cholera broke out, he opened a hospital for needy of all kinds and classes.  His "Piccola Casa" became one of the greatest medical institutions of the time.

St. Joseph had a great charity but his confidence in Divine Providence was his greatest characteristic.  Our Lady revealed to him that no money should be kept overnight in his house.

Therefore if he experienced insomnia, he immediately looked into every drawer to find any money that may have been overlooked.  Upon finding it, he would travel the streets to give it to the first needy person.

Because of St. Joseph's fidelity in this request, Our Lady rewarded his work with extreme generosity, giving all the means of sustenance as well as the means of expansion.

Sometimes, Our Lady may ask us to do something for the Catholic cause that seems difficult or even absurd.

But with prayer and reflection, if she asks an heroic confidence, we should remember the life of St. Joseph Benedict and proceed with all certainty of her unfailing assistance

Friday, April 29, 2011

Amazon erases our anti-blasphemy comments – why?

Dozens of Catholics had written comments on the website of the bookstore, towards the bottom of the page where the porn-blasphemy book “Our Lady of Controversy”is being sold. 

Actually, of all the comments on that page, the immense majority were against the book.

Well, those anti-blasphemy comments didn’t last long. 

Most were deleted by Amazon, and in their place, in a short period of time, several pro-blasphemy comments were posted. 


Not that I recommend people go to the Amazon and see this porn-blasphemy book against Our Lady of Guadalupe.  NO!

But I mention this fact to show how “less than honest” the promoters of blasphemy can be in their efforts to “make believe” that most people have nothing against porn-blasphemy.  And that this blasphemous book “Our Lady of Controversy”is just like any other.

In my opinion, the promoters of blasphemy would like to make out people who care about the honor of Mary Most Holy as a few crackpots left over from the Middle Ages, who will soon fade away and never be heard from again.

So, when a whole lot of  Catholics react against blasphemy, this reaction needs to be silenced.  Interesting.

I wonder why our voices irritate them so much… 

“Call to chivalry” camps and more news from St. Louis de Montfort Academy


Special greeting on this feast of St. Louis de Montfort, our patron.

Several of us from the Academy are celebrating the date here in Lafayette, La., with a Call to Chivalry day-long program.

Visit their website:

Besides the four students (Msts. Roberto, Jesus, Lee, and Reese) who came to Louisiana with Mr. Whitcraft and me, there are another eight or so young men. Of course, Mr. Thomas Drake and Mr. Cesar have been gracious hosts throughout our stay in Louisiana and on today’s feastday.

Earlier in the month, several of us came to Louisiana for a previous visit and Call to Chivalry day. The one day program was held at the Gosset property in Texas. There were approximately a dozen young men, about a dozen parents, and members of the TFP to help run the event. Several presentations, games and a bountiful Texas barbecue filled the day. Our Lady blessed everything abundantly.

Just before the Easter break, several students were able to go on an overnight hike with Messrs. Matthew and Michael Shibler. Despite a few slight showers and overcast weather, the camping trip was quite enjoyable.

On March 28, we had the pleasure of a brief visit to the Academy by our state representative, Mrs. Lynda Culver. She was kind enough to pass by after a local town hall event, answering questions and informing us of her work to protect the family, help education, and incentivize job creation.

At the Carmel of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, on Palm Sunday after Mass, we had the opportunity to attend a reception for Fr. William Walterscheid, soon to be consecrated auxiliary bishop of Pittsburg. We expressed our joy to serve at the Holy Sacrifice with Father over the last few years and how happy we were for him to be raised to such an honorable position. He promised his prayers and requested ours.

During Passion Week we received the news of the hospitalization of Msgr. Michael Fedorowich, longtime friend of the Academy. Many of you will remember him as Pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Shamokin. He provided the Sacraments almost daily for us from the beginning of the Academy until he retired, 2006. He also allowed us to hold our graduation ceremonies at that church every year.

During his hospitalization and convalescence we visited him almost every day. He was later moved to a nursing home in Sunbury, and on Easter Monday he entered eternity. He was given Last Rites on the afternoon before he died by Fr. Van Vliet, FSSP, whom we thank wholeheartedly.

As the year winds down, we ask you prayers for the upcoming graduation ceremonies and summer activities, including a trip to Europe with campaigns and pilgrimages and several Call to Chivalry Summer Camps.

New Poll says most Americans against promoting homosexual agenda to children in schools

Please this see this very interesting study at:

Communist President of China confirms unnatural abortion policy

Chinese President: one-child policy stays

by Patrick B. Craine

China will “uphold and perfect reproductive policies [to] earnestly stabilize a low birth rate,” said President Jintao.

BEIJING, China, April 28, 2011 ( – While a new census shows that China is experiencing a dramatic drop in population growth and an increasingly aging population, the country’s president has insisted that its brutal population control policies will still remain in force.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics released the results of the country’s first census in a decade on Thursday, revealing that its population growth was cut to almost half the pace of the previous decade.  In the last ten years, the population grew to 1.34 billion, a rise of 5.8 percent.

Some experts are saying the figures could increase pressure on the government to relax its tight thirty-year-old population control policies, which in many cases have been enforced through forced abortion and sterilization, imprisonment, and fines many times greater than a family’s annual income.

But in advance of the data’s release, President Hu Jintao said Wednesday the country would “uphold and perfect reproductive policies [to] earnestly stabilize a low birth rate,” according to Xinhua news agency.

According to the government’s statistics head, Ma Jiantang, the census results actually vindicate the government’s draconian policies.  “These figures have shown the trend of excessively rapid growth of China’s population has been under effective control,” he said.

The census shows that the population of those aged 60 or older rose 2.93 percent to 13.26 percent since the 2000 census.  The number aged 14 or younger dropped 6.29 percent to 16.60 percent.

The continuing demographic shift threatens to weigh heavily on the country’s youth, with many fearing the future effects of the so-called upside-down pyramid, where one child must care for two parents and four grandparents. Additionally, some experts are speculating that the huge gender imbalance in the country, thanks to sex-selective abortion, will lead to social unrest, with millions of young men unable to find brides.

Women entering workforce major contributor to plunging Italian birth rates

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, April 28, 2011 ( – The decision by most women to delay childbirth for work and careers is the main cause of Europe’s birth rate crisis, a report from an international economic organization has said.

The report found that Italy experienced one of the largest jumps in the number of women entering the workforce between 1995 and 2009, from about 38 percent to 46 percent of the female population.

This increase has coincided with the fall in the birth rates that has left Italy one of the fastest aging countries of Europe. The decision to delay having children has resulted in many women having no children at all. Twenty-four percent of Italian women born in 1965 are childless, compared to 10 percent in France.

Gone are the days of the big Italian families gathered around the dinner table.

In its report the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), an international economic organization of 34 countries, highlights the coming demographic crisis in many European countries.

The report notes that “almost no OECD country has a total fertility rate above the population replacement rate of two children per women.”

In these countries more women say they want to “first establish themselves in the labour market before founding a family.” This has pushed up the median age of women entering motherhood and put pressure on women to continue earning even while they raise children.

The Italian birth rate, which hit an all-time low in 2004 of 1.23 children born per woman, had climbed slightly in 2009 to approximately 1.32. But although Italy’s fertility rate is creeping up, it is still near the bottom with this year’s statistic of 1.41 children per woman, a figure that will still result in dramatic reductions of population over time.

Of the 34 OECD countries, only Israel, Iceland, New Zealand and Turkey are above the replacement birth rate of 2.1 children per woman. Mexico, Ireland and the U.S. come close with 2.08, 2.07 and 2.01 respectively.

Recent national statistics show that 25 percent of Italian women have no children and another 25 percent will have only one child. The Italian region of Liguria in northwestern Italy now has the world’s highest ratio of elderly to youth and has closed ten percent of its schools since 2000.

Social scientists speculate that the low Italian birth rate has a number of causes, including a new consumerist mentality that holds the acquisition of goods to be the higher social goal than family.

Far from the widely accepted traditional model of large, boisterous families, Italian society is rapidly becoming one of singles and two-job, one-child married couples.

Families remain close-knit and parents routinely buy apartments or houses close to the family home for their grown children. But expensive gifts like cars, motorini and electronics are considered the norm and it is considered impossible to provide these comforts for more than one or two children.

Italy’s economic boom, which started in the 1970s, has coincided with the plummeting birth rates. The OECD report says that for the countries of Southern Europe, including Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, the birth rate plunge started earliest, in 1970, dropped the lowest – hitting bottom at 1.2 in 1994 – and has recovered the least.

Between 1970 and 2008, across the OECD, the average age at which women have their first child increased from 24 to 28. The average age of first childbirth of women is even higher, at just below 30 years of age, in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

Rev. Michael Pfleger known for his outspoken support for pro-abortion politicians is suspended by Cardinal

Cardinal George suspends controversial Obama-supporting Rev. Pfleger

by Kathleen Gilbert

CHICAGO, April 28, 2011 ( - Arrangements to shift a controversial Chicago priest out of his pastoral position fell apart after his bishop suspended him in response to combative remarks.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago drew the line against Rev. Michael Pfleger, who is known for his outspoken support for pro-abortion politicians, after the latter said that he would leave the Catholic Church if he were removed from his position as head of Chicago’s St. Sabina parish, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday.

“If that is your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to Pfleger. George’s office had been planning to transfer Pfleger to a local Catholic high school.

Pro-life Catholic leaders have criticized Pfleger for outspokenly supporting Barack Obama as a candidate despite his solidly pro-abortion record, calling the future U.S. president “the best thing to come across the political scene since Bobby Kennedy.”

Pfleger has handed over the pulpit at St. Sabina to several pro-abortion figures, such as singer Harry Belafonte, who criticized George W. Bush for threatening a “woman’s right to abortion,” as well as former Democrat presidential candidate Al Sharpton.

The priest became known for his ability to bridge the racial divide, winning inroads with the predominantly African-American St. Sabina congregation. However, Pfleger’s relationship with the archdiocese has been a different story, causing friction after he publicly criticized the Catholic practice of a male-only, celibate clergy.

Pfleger later apologized for the remarks, but then withdrew the apology.

The archdiocese in April 2010 honored the priest with its Racial Justice Lifetime Achievement award. When asked about Pfleger’s questionable support of the pro-abortion Obama, Anita Baird, the founding director of the Office for Racial Justice, told that the president was “not pro-abortion,” but “pro-choice,” a “very different thing.” Baird later retracted the claim in a statement on the archdiocese’s website.

At the awards ceremony two days later, Cardinal George emphasized that abortion was incompatible with racial justice, but also defended the volatile Pfleger against negative news coverage.

“Fr. Pfleger has been a controversialist; and controversy is easier to report on than is love,” said George. “Fr. Plfeger has spoken in anger, sometimes unjustly or uncharitably; and anger is easier to capture on the camera than is love.  But Fr. Pfleger is a Catholic priest and a pastor, and in that capacity, like all good priests and pastors, he acts out of love.”

Bipartisan lawmakers call for defunding of ‘disgusting’ Massachusetts sex-ed site

by Kathleen Gilbert

BOSTON, April 28, 2011 ( - Lawmakers in Massachusetts have reacted to a state-funded sex education website that encourages teens to circumvent state abortion laws, calling it “disgusting” and demanding that it no longer be granted funding. However, the state health department has stood behind the project as a source of “medically accurate health information.”

Maria Talks, a project of the AIDS Action Committee sustained with the help of an annual $100,000 annual grant from the Public Health Department, caught the attention of the Boston Herald this month with its assurance to teens that it’s quick and easy to get a judicial bypass to circumvent the state’s parental consent law for abortion.

Lawmakers on Tuesday called upon Gov. Deval Patrick to defund the site, the Herald reported yesterday.

“When the story hit the Herald, I received a number of e-mails and calls from constituents who were outraged that this is how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Republican Rep. Marc Lombardo in a bipartisan press conference on Wednesday.

Democratic Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) called the site “a blatant agenda by the liberal part of our society to introduce children to sex and give them the opportunity to have an abortion without their parents’ involvement.”

The Department of Public Health, however, defended the site, saying that it helped “ensure that medically accurate health information continues to be available and accessible to individuals across the Commonwealth.”

The site, which also provides extremely explicit details on oral sex technique and other similar matters, discourages raising a child or giving it up for adoption should an unmarried teen become pregnant. One of the external sites endorsed by the project as providing “accurate, non-biased information on pregnancy options,”, is heavily pro-abortion.

“Ok, I totally know that this information can sound pretty intimidating and overwhelming, but I promise you the reality of getting an abortion is much easier than it sounds here,” states the site’s mascot, “Maria.” Massachusetts law requires that at least one parent consent to a minor’s abortion procedure.

The website directs teens to the local Planned Parenthood both directly and through other links.

While having a baby is described as “really stressful” and adoption “pretty tough for some people, especially emotionally,” the abortion section fails to mention even the possibility of physical or emotional side effects.

This Pope attended noble wedding, later preached the First Crusade

Photo by Denys

The intellectual and moral leadership of Europe passed into the hands of Blessed Urban II, a Pope who was uniquely qualified to bring the crusading idea into reality. As a Frenchman and former Cluniac prior, he had the gift to awaken the religious fervor of the French, Lorraine, and Norman knights that formed the core of the crusading movement. When Emperor Alexius requested military assistance to protect his crumbling empire, Urban saw an opportunity not only to try to heal the Eastern Schism, but also to strike a blow at the resurgent Moslem threat against Western civilization.

In the summer of 1095, Urban traveled through Southern France, visiting Cluniac houses and attending the wedding of the son of Count Raymond IV of Toulouse, where he conferred with many who were active in the Spanish Reconquest. Only a few years earlier, that effort received a serious setback when the Almoravid Moors wiped out the army of Alfonso VI of Castile whose daughter had just recently married the powerful and wealthy Count of Toulouse.

Painting by Emile Signol

As the eloquent Pope moved on towards a Church council at Clermont in Auvergne, a growing excitement of anticipation moved with him. At the end of eight days of routine business, the Pope and his entourage of 14 archbishops, 225 bishops, and 90 abbots, all wearing their robes of office, went in solemn procession to a public gathering outside town. There a scarlet-covered platform had been erected, for the assembled crowd was huge. Urban, an orator of impressive talent, described the desecrations by the Moslems and urged his listeners to rescue the Holy Land. A great shout of “Deus vult!” broke out. “Yes, God wills it,” he exclaimed in reply, “and let that divinely-given cry be yours in battle.” Hundreds of knights tore up strips of red cloth to form crosses, which became the emblem of their service to the Crucified. Raymond of Toulouse announced that he had taken the Cross and would support the Crusade with all his power.

That impassioned call for a holy war reverberated throughout Western Christendom.

Photo by Damien

Jeremias Wells, History of Western Civilization (n.p., n.d), p. 232.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 51




Tagged as: Crusades, History of Western Civilization, Leader, Leadership, Short Stories

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This saint reminded people about death, punishment for sin and the importance of attaining indulgences for one's salvation

                           April 29 ----- St. Catherine of Siena

Catherine of Siena was born on March 25 in 1347 in Siena, Italy.  Although her parents tried to marry her off, she resisted and became a third order Dominican at age 16. As a layperson, St. Catherine became one of the greatest saints of the 14th century.  Her confessor, Blessed Raymond of Capua wrote her biography.         

The 14th century was a time of tremendous abuse among the clergy.  The degeneration was a result of ecclesiastical adherence to luxury and riches. Unfortunately, this tragic state of affairs extended to Cardinals and even to the Pope. St. Catherine was called by Divine Providence to orientate and to transmit the mystical revelations she had received regarding the future of the Church.  Since she worked tirelessly for the cause of the Church, she exerted a considerable influence on Christendom, helping to end the general confusion at the time.

St. Catherine did much to keep the reality of death and of punishment for sin before the public by stressing the importance of attaining indulgences for one's salvation. What is an indulgence?  Sin carries with it a moral guilt and a corresponding penalty. 

The moral guilt is absolved by the sacraments of Penance or Extreme Unction.  But reparation sufficient for the sin is necessary to avoid payment in purgatory. Since the pains of purgatory are the same as those in hell, St. Catherine in her charity, warned the faithful to mitigate those sufferings by means of indulgences. 

Therefore, it was a common practice to make pilgrimages in order to obtain indulgences to shorten one's time in purgatory.

Let us pray to St. Catherine as a Patroness of those who work to restore Christian Civilization, to achieve victories over the decadence and abuses of our times.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two Catholic universities are sponsoring a lecture series to make homosexual sin more acceptable


Fordham and Fairfield University (both Catholic), together with Yale Divinity School and Union Theological Seminary are sponsoring a lecture series themed: “More than a monologue: Sexual diversity and the Catholic Church.” 

The rebellious nun, Sr. Jeannine Gramick, is scheduled to speak despite the fact that she was formally condemned by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1999 because of her erroneous doctrine.


You’ve probably noticed how there’s an alarming effort to force teenagers and college students to accept homosexual behavior as normal; sadly, even on many Catholic campuses.

Never has so much sin been promoted in the name of diversity. In fact, according to TFP research, 41% of Catholic universities and colleges allow pro-homosexual clubs to freely operate on their campuses. (See research report)

It’s so basic, but I think well worth repeating. God created male and female: Adam and Eve. Tampering with that reality – which is rooted in nature itself – only favors moral confusion and sinful activity.

So, let’s proclaim the truth. And protest and pray.

I invite you to sign a peaceful online protest, urging the presidents of Fordham University and Fairfield University not to host this lecture series.

Voice your peaceful protest here – now


April 29: St. Hugh the Great – In 11th century Christendom, no king or bishop dare oppose him

The Burgundian town of Semur where St. Hugh the Great was born. Photo by Christophe Finot

Saint Hugh the Great, Abbot of Cluny, born at Semur (Brionnais in the Diocese of Autun), 1024; died at Cluny, 28 April, 1109.

His early life

(From www.NOBILITYorg)

The eldest son of Count Dalmatius of Semur and Aremberge (Aremburgis) of Vergy, Hugh was descended from the noblest families in Burgundy. Dalmatius, devoted to war and the chase, desired that Hugh should adopt the knightly calling and succeed to the ancestral estates; his mother, however, influenced it is said by a vision vouchsafed to a priest whom she consulted, wished her son to dedicate himself to the service of God. From his earliest years Hugh gave indication of such extraordinary earnestness and piety that his father, recognizing his evident aversion from the so-called gentle pursuits, entrusted him to his grand-uncle Hugh, Bishop of Auxerre, for preparation for the priesthood. Under the protection of this relative, Hugh received his early education at the monastery school attached to the Priory of St. Marcellus.

Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, from the Abbey of Cluny. Photo by Harmonia Armand.

At the age of fourteen he entered the novitiate at Cluny, where he displayed such religious fervor that he was allowed to make his vows in the following year without completing the severe novitiate usual at this monastery. The special privilege of the Cluniac Congregation enabled him to become deacon at eighteen and priest at twenty. In recognition of his wonderful zeal for the discipline of the order, and of the confidence awakened by his conspicuous talent for government, he was quickly, in spite of his youth, chosen grand prior. In this capacity he was charged with the whole domestic direction of the cloister in both spiritual and temporal affairs, and represented the abbot during his absence (Cfr. D’Achery, “Spicilegium”, 2nd ed., I, 686). On the death of St. Odilo on 1 January, 1049, after a prolonged administration of nigh on half a century, Hugh was unanimously elected abbot, and was solemnly installed by Archbishop Hugh of Besançon on the Feast of the Chair of Peter at Antioch (22 February), 1049.

Very little of the original Abbey of Cluny survived the ravages of the French Revolution. This reconstructed model is by Hannes72

Hugh as abbot

Hugh’s character bears many points of resemblance to that of his great contemporary and friend, St. Gregory VII. Both were animated with a burning zeal to extirpate the abuses then prevalent among the clergy, to crush investiture with its corollaries, simony and clerical incontinence, and to rescue Christian society from the confusion into which the reckless ambition and avarice of rulers and the consequent political instability had thrown it. The emperor claimed the right to appoint bishops, abbot, even the Pope himself, and in too many cases his selection was swayed entirely by political motives to the exclusion of every thought of religious fitness. To prevent the Church from lapsing into a mere appanage of the State and to re-establish ecclesiastical discipline were the great objects alike of Gregory and Hugh, and if, in certain cases, Gregory allowed his zeal to outstrip his discretion, he found in Hugh an unflinching ally, and to the Benedictine Order, particularly the Cluniac branch, belongs the chief credit of promulgating among the people and carrying into effect in Western Europe the many salutary reforms emanating from the Holy See. In founding Cluny in 910, and endowing it with his entire domains, William the Pious of Aquitaine had placed it under the direct protection of Rome. Thus Cluny, with its network of daughter-foundations (see Cluny, Congregation of; Gallia Christ., II, 374), was a formidable weapon for reform in the hands of the successive Popes. Hugh entrusted the election of the superiors of all cloisters and churches subject to him into spiritual hands, promised them — in addition to the privileges of the congregation — the support and protection of Cluny, and thus saved hundreds of cloisters from the cupidity of secular lords, who were very loath to interfere with the rights of a congregation so powerful and enjoying such high favor with emperors and kings. To secure this protection numbers of cloisters became affiliated with Cluny; new houses were opened in France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, while under Hugh was also founded at St. Pancras near Lewes the first Benedictine house in England. (See, however, St. Augustine of Canterbury; St. Dunstan.) Since the superiors of most of these homes were either directly or indirectly nominated by Hugh, and since, as abbot, he had to ratify the elections, it is easy to understand how important a role he played in the great struggle between imperialism and the Holy See.

Simony was widespread and was one of the evils being addressed by the Church in the Investiture Question. In this woodcut, a king invests a bishop with the crozier and other insignia of his episcopal office, usurping the Pope's sole right to do this.

As early as 1049, at the age of twenty-five, Hugh appeared at the Council of Reims. Here, at the request, and in the presence of Leo IX, he expressed so energetically against the reigning abuses that even the simoniacal bishops could not withstand his zeal. This advocacy contributed largely to the passing of many remedial ordinances concerning church discipline (cfr. Labbe, “Conc.”, IX, 1045-6), and led Leo IX to take Hugh with him to Rome that he might have the assistance and advice of the young abbot at the great council to be held in 1050, at which the question of clerical discipline was to be decided and the heresy of Berengarius condemned (cfr. Hefele, “Conciliengesch.”, IV, 741). Leo’s successor, Victor II, also held Hugh in the highest esteem, and confirmed in 1055 all the privileges of Cluny. On Hildebrand’s arrival in France as papal legate (1054), he hastened first to Cluny to consult with Hugh and secure his assistance at the Council of Tours. Stephen IX, immediately on his elevation, summoned Hugh to Rome, made him the companion of his journeys, and finally died in his arms at Florence (1058). Hugh was also the companion of Nicholas II, and under him took part in the Council of Rome which promulgated the important decree concerning papal elections (Easter, 1059). He was then sent to France with Cardinal Stephan, a Monk of Monte Cassino, to effect the execution of the decrees of the Roman synod, and proceeded to Aquitaine, while his colleague repaired to the northwest. The active support of the numerous cloisters subject to Cluny enabled him to discharge his mission with the greatest success. He assembled councils at Avignon and Vienne, and managed to win the support of the bishops for many important reforms. In the same year (1059) he presided over the Synod of Toulouse. At the Council of Rome in 1063 he defended the privileges of Cluny which had been recklessly attacked in France. Alexander II sent St. Peter Damian, Cardinal Bishop of Ostia, as legate to France to adjudicate in this and other matters, meanwhile ratifying all the privileges held by Hugh’s predecessors. After a stay at Cluny, during which he conceived the high admiration and veneration for the monastery and its abbot reflected in his letters (cfr. “Epist.”, VI, 2, 4, 5 in P.L., XCLIV, 378), the legate held a council at Châlons, which decided in favor of Hugh.

Pope Saint Gregory VII

Scarcely had Hildebrand ascended the Chair of Peter as Gregory VII when he wrote to Cluny to secure Hugh’s cooperation in promoting his various reforms. Hugh was entrusted to deal with the delicate case of the unworthy Archbishop Manasse of Reims, as well as with commissions in connection with the expedition of Count Evroul of Roucy against the Saracens in Spain. Frequently urged by Gregory to come to Rome, Hugh was unable to leave France until after the lamentable occurrences of 1076, but then hastened to visit the Pope at Canossa. With the assistance of Countess Mathilda, he managed to bring about the reconciliation — unfortunately of short duration — between Gregory and Henry IV, who had already addressed a letter full of affection declaring his great desire for the peace of the Church (cfr. “Hist. Lit. de la France”, loc. cit. infra). Hugh was subsequently engaged with the papal legate in Spain in the matter of ecclesiastical reform, and, as a result of his diligence and the high favor he enjoyed with Alphonsus VI of Castille, the Mozarabic was replaced by the Roman Ritual throughout that monarch’s realm. Thanks to the assistance of the many Cluniac foundations in Catalonia, Castille, Leon, Aragon, etc., and the many bishops chosen from their inmates, he was also enabled to give a great impetus to ecclesiastical reform in these countries. In 1077 he was commissioned to presides over the Council of Langres, and later to undertake the removal of the Bishop of Orleans and the Archbishop of Reims. Gregory wrote him many affectionate letters, and at the Roman synod in 1081 referred to Hugh in terms of praise seldom used by a successor of Peter concerning a living person. That this appreciation was not confined to the Holy Father is evident from the fact that, when asked by Gregory whether his opinion was shared by them, all present answered: “Placet, laudamus” (Bullar. Clun., p. 21).


On the revival of the quarrel between Henry IV and the Holy See, Hugh set out immediately for Rome, but was seized on the way and conducted before the monarch. So earnestly did he urge Henry to make his submission to Peter’s successor that he seemed again to have bridged the quarrel, if this were not another example of the king’s well-known duplicity. It is scarcely necessary to state that Hugo’s intimacy with the Holy See continued unchanged under Urban II and Paschal II, since both issued from the ranks of his monks. Surrounded by cardinals and bishops, Urban consecrated on 25 October, 1095, the high altar of the new church at Cluny, and granted the monastery new privileges, which were augmented by Paschal during his visit in 1107.

Monument to Blessed Pope Urban II at Clermont-Ferrand. Photo by Mussklprozz

At the great Council of Clermont in 1095, whose decision to organize the First Crusade was a clear indication of the great religious enthusiasm resulting from Gregory’s and Hugh’s labors, the abbot performed most valuable services in the composition and promulgation of the decrees, for which he was specially thanked by the Pope. Until the death, in 1106, of Henry IV, who in that year addressed two letters to his “:dearest father”, begging for his prayers and his intercession with the Holy See (cfr. “Hist. Lit. de la France”, loc. cit. infra), Hugh never relaxed his efforts to bring about a reconciliation between the spiritual and temporal powers.

In the spring of 1109, Hugh, worn out with years and labors, and feeling his end approaching, asked for the Last Sacraments, summoned around him his spiritual children, and, having given each the kiss of peace, dismissed them with the greeting: Benedicite. Then, asking to be conveyed to the Chapel of our Blessed Lady, he laid himself in sackcloth and ashes before her altar, and thus breathed forth his soul to his Creator on the evening of Easter Monday (28 April). His tomb in the church was soon the scene of miracles, and to it Pope Gelasius I made a pilgrimage in 1119, dying at Cluny on 20 January. Elected at the monastery on 2 February, Callistus II began immediately the process of canonization, and, on 6 January, 1120, declared Hugh a saint, appointing 29 April his feast-day. In honor of St. Hugh the Abbot of Cluny was henceforth accorded the title and dignity of a cardinal. At the instance of Honorius III the translation of the saint’s remains took place on 23 May, 1220, but, during the uprising of the Huguenots (1575), the remains and the costly shrine disappeared with the exception of a few relics.

Hugh’s personality and influence

St. Hugh the Great played a crucil part in the historic clash between Pope St. Gregory VII and the Emperor Henry IV. In this medieval illustration, St. Hugh and Countess Matilda of Tuscany meet with Henry IV

In the case of comparatively few of our saints has the decision of their own and subsequent ages been so unanimous as in that of St. Hugh. Living in an age of misrepresentation and abuse, when the Church had to contend with far grater domestic and external inimical forces than those marshaled by the so-called Reformation, not a single voice was raised against his character — for we disregard the criticism of the French bishop, who in the heat of a quarrel pronounced hasty words afterwards to be recalled, and who was subsequently one of Hugh’s panegyrists. In one of his letters Gregory declares that he confidently expects the success of ecclesiastical reform in France through God’s mercy and the instrumentality of Hugh, “whom no imprecation, no applause or favors, no personal motives can divert from the path of rectitude” (Gregorii VII Registr., IV, 22). In the “Life of Bishop Arnulf of Soissons”, Arnulf says of Hugh: “Most pure in thought and deed, he as the promoter and perfect guardian of monastic discipline and the regular life, the unfailing support of the true religious and of men of probity, the vigorous champion and defender of the Holy Church” (Mabillon, op. cit. infra, saec. VI, pars II, P. 532). And of his closing years Bishop Bruno of Segni writes: “Now aged and burdened with years, reverenced by all and loved by all, he still governs that venerable monastery [sc. Cluny] with the same consummate wisdom — a man in all things most laudable, difficult of comparison, and of wonderful sanctity” (Muratori, “Rerum Ital. script.”, III, pt. ii, 347).

Emperors and kings vied with the sovereign pontiffs in bestowing on Hugh marks of their veneration and esteem. Henry the Black, in a letter which has come down to us, addresses Hugh as his “very dear father, worthy of every respect”, declares that he owes his own return to health and the happy birth of his child to the abbot’s prayers and urges him to come to the Court at Cologne the following Easter to stand sponsor for this son (the future Henry IV). During her widowhood Empress Agnes wrote to Hugh in terms no less respectful and affectionate, asking him to pray for the happy repose of her husband’s soul and for the prosperous reign of her son. Reference has been already made to the letters sent to Hugh by Henry IV, who, notwithstanding his prolonged struggle to make the Church subservient to the imperial power, seems never to have lost his affection and profound respect for his saintly godfather. In recognition of the benefits derived from the Cluniac foundations, Ferdinand the Great of Castille and Leon (d. 1065) made his kingdom tributary to Cluny; his sons Sancho and Alfonso VI doubled the tribute, and the latter, in addition to introducing the Roman Ritual at Hugh’s request, carried on a most affectionate correspondence with the abbot. In 1081 Hugh was chosen by the kings and princes of the various Christian kingdoms of Spain as arbiter to decide the question of succession. When Robert II of Burgundy refused to attend the Council of Autun (1065), at which his presence was necessary, Hugo was sent to summon the duke, and remonstrated with him so eloquently in the interests of peace that Robert accompanied the abbot unresistingly to the council, became reconciled with those who had put his son to death, and promised to respect thenceforth the property of the Church.

William the Conqueror and English leaders

William the Conqueror of England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings (1066), made rich presents to Cluny and begged to be admitted a confrater of the abbey like the Spanish kings. He subsequently begged Hugh to send six monks to England to minister to the spiritual needs of the Court, and renewed his request in 1078, promising to appoint twelve of the Cluniac Congregation to bishoprics and abbacies within the kingdom. Hugh disabused his mind on the subject of ecclesiastical appointments, and, when founding a little later the Priorate of St. Pancras at Lewes, took every precaution to secure in the case of it and its dependent cloisters freedom of election and respect for canon law. How necessary this precaution was, the Investiture war, which broke out under William’s sons, clearly indicated. The champion of the Church in this struggle, St. Anselm of Canterbury, was one of the many bishops who consulted Hugh in their difficulties and trials, and on three occasions — once during his exile from England — visited the abbot at Cluny.

For the monks under his care Hugh was a model of fatherly forethought, of devotion to discipline and prayer, and unhesitating obedience to the Holy See. In furtherance of the great objects of his order, the service of God and personal sanctification, he strove to impart the utmost possible splendor and solemnity to the liturgical services at Cluny. Some of his liturgical ordinances, such as the singing of the Veni Creator at Tierce on Pentecost Sunday (subsequently also within the octave), have since been extended to the entire Roman Church.

Until the construction of St. Peter's Basilica in the Renaissance, the Abbey Church of Cluny was the largest church in Christendom. It was destroyed during the French Revolution

He began the magnificent church at Cluny — now unfortunately entirely disappeared — which was, until the erection of St. Peter’s at Rome, the largest church in Christendom, and was esteemed the finest example of the Romanesque style in France. For the part played by Cluny in the evolution of this style and for its special school of sculpture, the reader must be referred to treatises on the history of architecture. Hugh gave the first impulse to the introduction of the strict cloister into the convents of nuns, prescribing it first for that of Marcigny, of which his sister became first prioress in 1061 (Cucherat, op. cit. infra), and where his mother also took the veil. Renowned for his charity towards the suffering poor, he built a hospital for lepers, where he himself performed the most menial duties. It is impossible to trace here the effect which his granting of personal and civic freedom to the bondsmen and colonists feudatory to Cluny, and the fostering of tradesmen’s guilds — the nuclei from which most of the modern cities of Europe sprang — have had on civilization.

One of the few remaining original structures of Cluny that survived the French Revolution

Although his favorite study was the Scriptures, St. Hugh encouraged science in every possible way, and showed his deep interest in education by teaching in person in the school attached to the monastery. Notwithstanding the exceeding activity of his life he found time to carry on an extensive correspondence. Almost all his letters and his “Life of the Blessed Virgin”, for whom as well as for the souls in purgatory he had a great devotion, have been lost. However, his extant letters and his “Sermo” in honor of the martyred Saint Marcellus are sufficient to show “how well he could write and with what skill he could speak to the heart” (Hist. Lit. de la France, IX, 479).

Kennedy, T. (1910). St. Hugh the Great. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 28, 2011 from New Advent:




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Baldwin I of Jerusalem receives help from King Sigurd and his 10,000 Vikings

After the fall of Jerusalem, a large number of the crusaders returned to Europe, leaving the remainder in a precarious position. On the land they were completely surrounded by hostile Moslems, who viewed the militant Christians as sworn enemies of Islam.

To the north and east, the territory of the Seljuk Turks had broken down into city-states but were loosely unified under the sultan in Baghdad. To the south and west, the Fatimid Egyptians had formed an empire with Cairo as its capital. Any unification of the Saracens and Turks under one strong, capable leader could prove to be disastrous, for they greatly outnumbered the Christian soldiers.

Baldwin of Boulogne, second King of Jerusalem

Godfrey of Bouillon was elected King of Jerusalem but refused the title and crown in a city where Christ had worn thorns. His brother Baldwin returned to the County of Edessa which he had carved out earlier. Bohemond, of course, had remained in Antioch, but soon he went to Europe, unsuccessfully seeking after other ambitions. Just to the south of the Norman principality, the Provençals of the contentious Raymond of Toulouse prepared to attack the fortified city of Tripoli and form the county of that name. In theory, the last three vassal states recognized the King of Jerusalem as their suzerain, but the arrogant, grasping nature of most of the princes interfered with any complete cooperation. Only Godfrey made any attempt to practice virtue in his relations with others, but unfortunately he was dead within the year.

The nobles of Jerusalem chose Baldwin to replace his brother. His elevation to the throne brought an amazing transformation of a selfish landowner into a fighting crusader. Anything less than maximum courageous leadership would have brought down the crusader states. When the Rhinelander prince assumed control with only 3,000 fighting men, his power did not extend more than 12 miles outside Jerusalem.

In order to secure his kingdom, Baldwin fought several pitched battles against enormous odds with the surrounding Mohammedans, losing some and winning most. Completely landlocked at the beginning with the exception of the harbor at Jaffa, the dedicated King achieved his greatest success in the capture of the fortified cities along the coast. Arsuf and Caesarea fell in 1101 with the help of a Genoese fleet. Another Genoese fleet aided in the capture of Acre in 1104. The Italian merchantmen received ample commercial concessions for their effort.

The most colorful assistance came from Norway and their King Sigurd, who had taken the Cross. Ten thousand Viking-crusaders in sixty ships followed their King around Spain, fighting many battles with the Moors, and into the eastern sea where they spotted a Moslem fleet blockading Acre. When the Saracens saw the lines of dragon ships moving towards them with their long oars sparkling in the sun, they quickly raised the siege and fled. The Northmen then feasted with their grateful host and went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Painting by Henry A. (Harry) Payne

After the Norwegians prayed at the Holy Sepulchre and said the Stations of the Cross, they asked Baldwin to name one city he most desired to conquer. He named Sidon, the impregnable ancient citadel. From the sea the Northmen, using ropes and scaffolding, scaled the massive walls and with their fearsome axes cut through the Moslems. Sidon surrendered and the surviving defenders left with their lives and whatever they could carry. Laded with spoils and gratitude, the hearty Norwegians returned home. Along the coast only Ascalon and Tyre remained in Moslem hands when Baldwin died in 1118.

Jeremias Wells, History of Western Civilization (n.p., n.d), pp. 241-242.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 61




Tagged as: Chivalry, Crusades, Elites, Leaders, Nobles, Short Stories, War, World of nobility

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Powell’s City of Books carries book that has impure photos of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Now the book called Our Lady of Controversy: Alma Lopez’s Irreverent Apparition, is being offered for sale by Powell’s City of Books and on the cover is a photo of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a floral bikini.

Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books.

On their website, they refer to Our Lady of Controversy: Alma Lopez’s Irreverent Apparition in these terms:

“…the provocative image of la Virgen de Guadalupe (hands on hips, clad only in roses, and exalted by a bare-breasted butterfly angel) remained on exhibition.”

Do you think Powell’s would carry a similar book about Mohammed’s wife or daughter?

Of course, they would not. Then why is Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother of God, blasphemed? And this is considered acceptable.

Please ask Powell’s to get rid of this blasphemous book called Our Lady of Controversy: Alma Lopez’s Irreverent Apparition.

Email address for Powell’s:

Sample Message:

To Powell’s City of Books:

This is a respectful request, asking you to remove the book Our Lady of Controversy: Alma Lopez’s Irreverent Apparition from your inventory.

This book is blasphemous and highly offensive to Catholics, especially to Mexican-Americans who dearly love Our Lady of Guadalupe.

It would be much appreciated if you would respect our religious and ethnic sensitivities and STOP offering this book on your website and in your store.

Thank you.


This saint told the King to “Burn what you have adored and adore what you have burned.”

Obey in Order to be Free

No, dear atheist. Giving a distant echo to the words of the Bishop Saint Remigius upon baptizing Clovis, the first Christian King of the Franks, I say to you: “Burn what you have adored and adore what you have burned.”

Yes, burn egoism, doubt, apathy, and, moved by the love of God, love and serve and fight for the Faith, for the Church, and for Christian civilization. Sacrifice yourself. Renounce yourself.
How? As they did throughout the ages, those who fought for Jesus Christ the “good fight” (2 Tim. 4:7).

And you will do it remarkably well if you follow the method defined and justified by Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort. It concerns the “slavery of love” to the Most Holy Virgin.

Slavery... a harsh and strange word, especially for modern ears, accustomed to hearing talk at every moment about disalienation and freedom, and increasingly inclined to the grand anarchy which, like the grim reaper with scythe in hand, seems to laugh sinisterly at men as it waits for them at the threshold of the exit from the twentieth century.

Now, there is a slavery that frees, and a freedom that enslaves.
A man fulfilling his obligations was formerly said to be a “slave of duty.”

In fact, he was a man at the height of his liberty, a man who, through a completely personal act of will, understood the ways that befell him to follow, deliberated with manly vigor to pursue them, and overcame the assaults of the disorderly passions that tried to blind him, weaken his will, and block the way he had freely chosen.

Free was the man who, having gained this supreme victory, walked with a firm step in the proper direction.
On the contrary, he who allowed himself to be dragged by the unruly passions in a direction neither approved by his reason nor preferred by his will, was a “slave.” These really defeated people were called “slaves of vice.” By slavery to vice, they had “liberated” themselves from the wholesome dominion of reason.

With his brilliant skill, Leo XIII explained these concepts of liberty and servitude in his encyclical, “Libertas.”
Today everything is inverted. A “hippie” going about aimlessly with a flower in his hand, or spreading terror at his pleasure with a bomb in his hand, is regarded as a model of a “free” man. On the contrary, whoever lives in obedience to the laws of God and of men is considered to be bound rather than free.

In the current perspective, free is one whom the law permits to buy the drugs he wants, to use them as he wishes, and, finally, enslave himself to them. Enslaving and tyrannical is the law forbidding man to become enslaved to drugs.

In this cross-eyed perspective derived from an inversion of values, the religious vow by which a monk, in all awareness and freedom, renounces any step backward and surrenders himself to the abnegated service of the highest Christian ideals, is enslaving.

In that act to protect his decision against the tyranny of his own weakness, the monk subjects himself to the authority of vigilant superiors. Today, whoever thus binds himself to conserve himself free from bad passions is liable to be considered a vile slave, as if his superior imposed upon him a yoke that cut off his will.

Instead, the superior serves as a handrail for elevated souls that aspire, freely and fearlessly – without yielding to the dangerous vertigo of the heights – to reach the top of the stairways of the highest ideals.

In brief, some consider him free who, with his reason fogged and his will shattered and driven by the madness of his senses, is capable of sliding voluptuously downward in the toboggan of bad manners. And he is a “slave” who serves his own reason, overcomes with his will power his own passions, obeys divine and human laws, and puts order into practice.

In that perspective, “slave,” above all, is he who, in order to more completely guarantee his liberty, freely chooses to submit himself to authorities that guide him toward his goal. This is how far we are led by the present atmosphere, impregnated with Freudianism!

It was from another perspective that Saint Louis de Montfort devised the “slavery of love” to Our Lady, a slavery proper to all ages and to all states in life: layman, priest, religious, and so on.

What does the word “love” mean here, joined to the word “slavery” in a surprising way, since the latter is dominion brutally imposed by the strong upon the weak, by the egotistical upon the wretched whom he exploits?

In sound philosophy, “love” is the act by which the will freely wants something. In this way, also in current language, “to want” and “to love” are words that can be used in the same sense. “Slavery of love” is the noble apex of the act by which someone freely gives himself to an ideal or a cause, or, at times, binds himself to another.

The holy affection and the duties of matrimony have something that bind, that join, that ennoble. In Spanish, handcuffs are called “spouses.” The metaphor makes us smile; and since it alludes to indissolubility, it can bring a chill to those who believe in divorce. In English we speak of the “bonds” of matrimony. More binding than the state of a married man is that of a priest.

And, in a certain sense, still more binding is that of the religious. The higher the state freely chosen, the stronger the bond, and the more authentic the liberty.

So, Saint Louis de Montfort proposes that the faithful consecrate themselves freely to the Blessed Virgin as “slaves of love,” giving her their bodies and souls, their goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all their good actions, past, present, and future, so that Our Lady might dispose of them for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity (cf. Consecration to Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Wisdom, through the Blessed Virgin Mary).

In exchange, as a sublime mother, Our Lady obtains for her “slaves of love” the graces of God that elevate their intellects to the most lucid understanding of the highest themes of the Faith, that grant their wills an angelic strength to rise freely to those ideals and to conquer all the interior and exterior obstacles that unduly oppose themselves to them.

But, someone will ask, how will a monk, already subject under vow to the authority of a superior, be able to begin practicing this diaphanous and angelic liberty?

Nothing is easier. If he is a monk through a call of God (vocation), it is therefore by the will of God that the religious obeys his superiors. The will of God is the will of Our Lady. In this way, whenever a religious is consecrated as a “slave of love” to Our Lady, it is as her slave that he obeys his own superior. The voice of this superior is, for him, like the very voice of Our Lady on earth.

Calling all men to the heights of liberty afforded by the “slavery of love,” Saint Louis de Montfort employs terms so prudent that they allow ample room for important nuances. His “slavery of love,” so replete with special meaning for the persons bound by vow to the religious state, can be equally practiced by secular priests or laymen because, unlike the religious vows that bind for a certain period or for an entire life, the “slave of love” can leave this most elevated condition at any moment without ipso facto committing sin.

And while the religious who disobeys his rule incurs a sin, the lay “slave of love” does not commit any sin by the simple fact of contradicting in something the total generosity of the gift he made. The layman maintains himself in this condition of slavery through a free act, implicitly or explicitly repeated each day, or better, at each instant.

The “slavery of love” is, then, for all the faithful that angelic and supreme liberty with which Our Lady awaits us at the threshold of the twenty-first century, smiling and attractive, inviting us to her reign, according to her promise in Fatima: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

Come, dear atheist, convert and walk with me, with all the “slaves of love” of Mary, toward that reign of supremely ordered freedom and of supremely free order, to which the Slave of Our Lord, the Queen of Heaven, invites you.

Turn aside from the threshold at which the devil, like the grim reaper with his macabre laugh, holds in his hand the scythe of supremely enslaving freedom and of supremely libertarian enslavement, the scythe of anarchy.

By Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. First published in the Folha de S.Paulo on September 20, 1980. It has been translated and adapted without his revision. –Ed.

Click Here to read “To You, Dear Atheist”, the first article in this trilogy.
Click Here to read “Service, a Joy”, the second article in this trilogy.

Bus driver fired for refusing Planned Parenthood trip wins $21K settlement

by Kathleen Gilbert

Ed Graning

AUSTIN, Texas, April 26, 2011 ( - A Texas bus driver who was fired for refusing to drive a woman to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility has been awarded a $21,000 settlement, although he has been barred from seeking employment at his former position.

Kyle resident Ed Graning, 63, filed a federal suit against the Capital Area Rural Transportation System (CARTS) after his former employer terminated him for refusing to drive a woman to a local Planned Parenthood that he discovered performed abortions. The woman quickly received a ride from another bus.

Graning, a former pastor and grandfather of three, told in July that he felt acquiescing to the woman’s request was irreconcilable with his Christian faith.

“I’m a Christian ... I love the Lord and I’m not going to be a part of something like this,” he said.

Graning says that when he told his supervisor of his refusal, the latter replied, “Then you are resigning.” When Graning refused, the supervisor terminated him, even though Graning said he had had an otherwise spotless record at the company.

According to a report by the Austin American-Statesman Monday, officials with CARTS, a nine-county public transportation system, said they agreed to the settlement as a means of avoiding the cost of litigation, but Graning has been barred from seeking employment at CARTS.

At least one member on the CARTS board, Burnet County Commissioner Ronny Hibler, said he still supports the decision to fire Graning.

“There’s a lot of things as a county commissioner that I don’t like, but I do it because it’s my job,” Hibler said, according to the Statesman.

I’m glad I ‘got rid’ of my unborn child: pro-abort Green Party candidate

by Patrick B. Craine

Green Party candidate Roger Benham

TERRACE, British Columbia, April 27, 2011 ( – A British Columbia Green party candidate in Canada’s upcoming federal election said he’s glad he decided to “get rid of” his unborn child and appeared to imply that pregnant women look “like the back end of a bus.”

“I am sick to death about hearing murdering babies,” said Roger Benham, Green candidate for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, in a candidates’ debate April 20th.  He told the audience that he had conceived a child with a woman when he was 25.  “Thank God we decided to get rid of it,” he said, according to the Terrace Standard.

Still speaking on abortion, Benham said: “Really, we do silly things when we’re young. ... and I’m sorry, but a lot of us men are bloody selfish when it comes to having sex. “

“We think it’s nice enough to have a condom on and lo and behold ... we get with a woman who looks like the back end of a bus,” he added.

Benham’s support for abortion aligns with the Green party’s policy, which states that they “oppose any possible government move to diminish the right of a woman to a safe, legal abortion.”

The party is also committed to ensuring that Canada’s maternal health programs “do not limit access to any form of family planning and primary health care, including access to safe, legal abortions.”

The party’s position was reinforced earlier this month by Green party leader Elizabeth May, who said that she was anxious to correct the false impression that she’s anything less than fully supportive of abortion.  Insisting she’s “very militant” in promoting access to abortion, May told the Georgia Straight that there is “no room for going backwards” on abortion. 

“A women has a right to make that choice, and it’s not a morally wrong decision by any means,” she said. did not hear back from Benham or May by press time.

Benham’s comments sparked a firm rebuke from Rod Taylor, candidate for the Christian Heritage Party (CHP).  “No human being is the back end of a bus, and that includes the unborn child in the womb,” Taylor said, according to the Terrace Standard.

“We need to show compassion to the young and we need to teach them good choices,” he added.

The CHP is Canada’s only federal party dedicated to promoting the right to life of the unborn and reinstating the true definition of marriage.

While the Green party expects its candidates to uphold its position on abortion, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin Green candidate Mark Bigland-Pritchard told Campaign Life Coalition that the party does allow “conscientious dissent.”  In a written response to CLC’s election questionnaire, Bigland-Pritchard said he believes that life begins at conception and that despite his disagreement with their policy the Green party allowed him to run.

Bigland-Pritchard added, however, that he opposes the criminalization of abortion, maintaining that such a law couldn’t be enforced and abortions would continue under “substantially less safe conditions (for the mother).”  He said he would instead strive to eliminate the reasons that lead to women choosing abortion, naming “inadequate sex education” and, particularly, poverty.