Thursday, May 31, 2012

Treatise on True Devotion: A “Nuclear” Bomb That Does Not Destroy but Resurrects

by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Providence decided to throw a “nuclear” bomb on the enemies of the Church.  The havoc wreaked in Hiroshima and Nagasaki is only a minor fever compared to this bomb.  The “nuclear bomb” of Catholicism has been ready to explode for two centuries now. When it does, we will understand the full meaning of the expression from Scripture, "Non est qui se abscondat a calore ejus" [no one can escape its heat].

This bomb has a very sweet name: It is called the Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. In it, every word, every letter is a treasure. It is the book of the new times that are coming.

                                                *     *     *


Eighteenth century painting kept in the Hospital of the Daughters of Wisdom in Rennes, France

In his work, Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort expounds in what perfect slavery of the faithful to Our Lady consists. He shows the fundamental role of the Mother of God in the Mystical Body of Christ and in the spiritual life of every Christian. He teaches us to live our spiritual life in consonance with these truths. And he sets us in motion on the most sweet and absolutely marvelous and perfect path to unite us with the Blessed Mother so completely, as no piece of Christian literature has ever done.

By uniting the world to Our Lady, Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort says, this devotion will unite it with God. The day when men know, appreciate and live this devotion, Our Lady will reign in all hearts and the face of the earth will be renewed.

How? Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort clarified that his book would give rise to unrelenting opposition, would be calumniated, hidden and denied; that his doctrine would be defamed, covered up and persecuted; that it would automatically cause profound hostility in those who do not have the spirit of the Church. But that one day would come when men would finally understand his work. On that day chosen by God, the restoration of the Kingdom of Christ would be assured.

We repeat: this True Devotion is the real nuclear bomb which does not destroy but resurrects; the bomb that God has placed into the hands of the Church, foreseeing the bitter events of this century.

We confide incomparably more in Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort’s “nuclear” bomb and its power, than we fear the devastating action of all human forces. (adapted from Legionário, no. 689, Oct. 21,1945).

Planned Parenthood’s ‘Margaret Sanger’ clinic in NY welcomes sex-selection abortion

by Kathleen Gilbert

NEW YORK, May 31, 2012 ( - An employee at the flagship abortion clinic of Planned Parenthood in New York has been caught on tape telling a woman how to be sure of her unborn baby’s female sex in order to abort her in a second undercover video released Thursday morning.

The footage shows the undercover investigator, walking past a sign on the wall that reads “WOMEN COUNT,” meeting Planned Parenthood social worker Randi Coun at the Margaret Sanger Center International on Bleecker St.

Coun walks the investigator through obtaining a CVS test to determine gender as early as the first trimester, but assures the potential patient that it would be just as safe to obtain an abortion as late as 24 weeks.

“Yeah, so, you know, with—an abortion at any stage up to 24 weeks is considered a safe procedure. Um, the biggest difference is that after 16 weeks, the procedure becomes a 2-day procedure, rather than a procedure that’s done just on one day,” says the social worker. “It’s just there’s more steps involved and it’s just a little more complicated.”

Unborn children younger than 16 weeks are aborted by either dilation and curettage (D&C) or dilation and evacuation (D&E), in which the body is cut into pieces to ease removal from the womb. After 16 weeks a saline abortion can be used, in which a strong salt solution is injected into the amniotic sac. This kills the baby by burning its outer layer of skin and poisoning it when the solution is swallowed, a process that takes around an hour. Labor to expel the body normally sets in naturally within 24 hours, completing the abortion procedure.

Coun tells the investigator that Planned Parenthood would not question her sex-selection motivations. “I can tell you that here at Planned Parenthood we believe that it’s not up to us to decide what is a good or a bad reason for somebody to decide to terminate a pregnancy,” she said.

Pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, who is a nurse, notes the CVS suggestion is an extreme one that puts the baby at risk. “CVS tests have a risk of miscarriage of about 1 in 100, which Coun did not mention, and are typically done to test for genetic disorders,” wrote Stanek.

The video was released two days after footage from a Texas clinic showed a counselor helping a potential client get an ultrasound to determine the baby’s gender for a sex-selective abortion, and warning her not to tell doctors of her intentions. “A lot of doctors will place judgment because the brain is already developed, a lot. Pretty much everything’s already developed.”

Planned Parenthood issued a statement the same day announcing the counselor had been fired, but also confirmed that it is willing to perform sex-selection abortions. Meanwhile, the abortion chain is opposing a bill set for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday that would ban sex-selection abortions.

‘Moscow is not Sodom’: Orthodox Christians disrupt illegal ‘homosexual pride’ demo in front of city council

by Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MOSCOW, Russia,  May 30, 2012 ( - Orthodox Christians blocked an attempt Sunday by homosexuals to demonstrate outside of the Moscow City Council in response to the city’s ongoing refusal to permit a “gay pride” parade within its jurisdiction.

Calling the event “Gay Pride 2012,” despite the ban, protesters held rainbow flags and signs, and made declarations to the media. At least one wore a Wicca symbol on her neck.

According to video posted on YouTube by march supporters, Orthodox activists disrupted the event by snatching the signs from the protesters, and even splashing holy water on them.  Some scuffled with demonstrators and took swings at them, although there were no reports of injuries. Moscow police followed up by arresting the homosexual protesters, although some Orthodox were arrested as well.

Pro-family activist Dmitry Tsarionov told reporters: “I will not allow perverts to bring the wrath of God onto our city,” and added: “I want our children to live in a country where a sin that so awfully distorts human nature is not preached in schools,” according to the Associated Press.  He held a sign that read: “Moscow is not Sodom.”

Homosexual leader Nikolai Alexeyev was one of those arrested, claiming that Russia is a “totalitarian state” because of its refusal to permit him to speak to reporters during the demonstration.

Alexeyev’s arrest at the demonstration follows another arrest in April in St. Petersburg, where he violated the law against exposing minors to homosexual propaganda by holding a sign on a public street that read “Homosexuality is not a perversion.”

Recent polls indicate that a majority of Russians are in strong agreement with the government’s opposition to the homosexual political agenda.

A national poll conducted by state-run pollster VTsIOM in April, showed 86 percent of 1,600 respondents nationwide said they supported a ban on the promotion of homosexual relationships. A 2010 poll found that 74 per cent of Russians said homosexuals are “morally dissolute or deficient” and believe that homosexuality is “an amoral mental deviation.”

Although sodomy has been legal in Russia since 1993, city governments have acted to prevent homosexuals from advocating their lifestyles in public, banning “gay parades” and passing laws against propagandizing in favor of homosexuality in the presence of minors.

Legislators at the national level are preparing to debate a bill that would outlaw such propaganda throughout the country.

Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

* Russians overwhelmingly endorse ‘gay propaganda’ ban
* Despite threat of fine from eurocrats, Moscow government again prohibits ‘gay pride’ parade
* Madonna may be fined if she promotes homosexual agenda while performing: Russian official
* Russian Orthodox Church calls for nationwide ban on homosexualist propaganda aimed at minors

‘For Greater Glory’: Film about Mexican fight for religious freedom opens in U.S. theatres June 1

by Thaddeus Baklinski

May 30, 2012 ( - A movie described by its lead actor as the epic story of the fight for religious freedom in Mexico is set to open in theatres across the US this Friday, June 1. Already the film is earning enthusiastic accolades from religious leaders, who say that the film couples Hollywood-quality production and acting with a powerful story of faith and freedom that is surprisingly relevant.

Starring Andy Garcia, and co-starring Peter O’Toole and Eva Longoria, “For Greater Glory” is a movie about the true story of the Cristeros, the rebels who fought against Mexican dictator Plutarco Calles who banned religion in the country in the 1920s.

At a time when the debate is raging over the Obama administration’s birth control mandate and its threat to religious freedom, numerous commentators have drawn a parallel between the religious oppression of the Mexican dictatorship and the subversion of religious freedom by the U.S. government.

Oscar-nominee Andy Garcia told CNSNews recently about the film, “It’s a fight for religious freedom, but really a greater umbrella it sits under is the concept of absolute freedom. There are countries all over the world right now that are still fighting, in the middle of a fight for those rights, and people have been deprived of those rights.”

When asked, “if there was a timeliness in the release of For Greater Glory in that Americans today are talking about the same question Mexicans were talking about in the 1920s: Can government order people to act against their faith?” Garcia answered, “There could be a parallel drawn there. Sure.”

“There seems to be a coincidence that these things are being discussed and debated right now,” said Garcia.

“It wasn’t planned out to be that way when we made the movie, and there are similar issues being discussed even in Mexico today in relationship to the church and the state. So, it’s a coincidence, and it’s important, too, I think, to recognize that if you don’t agree with something you have the right, you must, we must, have the right to protest.”

The movie portrays the Cristero War, also know as the Cristiada, of 1926 to 1929, which was an uprising and counter-revolution set off by the bloody persecution of Roman Catholics due to the strict enforcement of anti-religious provisions in the Mexican Constitution.

The film has been acclaimed by religious leaders and pro-family groups who are urging all those concerned about the future of religious liberty to support the movie by going to see it and encouraging others to do so.

Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, called the film “transformational.”

“All I can say is that the movie is must see for anyone concerned about the future of religious liberty. It is an epic true story about religious persecution which is as culturally relevant today as when the oppression occurred in 1920’s Mexico,” Brown said in an email to LifeSiteNews.

“I encourage you to see it, absorb it and talk about it. Get your fellow church members out to see it. This film has the potential to light a fire under those who have been sitting on the sidelines in the fight to protect religious liberty.”

“To describe this film as stirring or powerful would do it a disservice,” said Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, in a news release from the Maximus Group. “For Greater Glory is much more than an exercise in piety; it’s an extraordinary portrait of ordinary people struggling to defend their convictions. It’s among the most absorbing films by any director or movie studio that I’ve seen in the past few years.”

“As a nation established on the principal of freedom for all people, For Greater Glory reminds us of the important values that we as Americans and Catholics share and must be willing to protect,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston. “This film helps us to understand the history surrounding the Cristero War and its importance in the Mexican Catholics’ efforts to fight for religious freedom and tolerance. Those values are as relevant today as they were almost one hundred years ago.”

“It is not often that a film opens a window into the past that casts so much light on the present,” said Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Ariz. “For Greater Glory depicts a courageous struggle for religious freedom that was inspired by love of Christ and love of country. The Cristeros of Mexico have much to teach us today.”

For Greater Glory opens in theatres Friday, June 1.

To watch the trailer and find out more about the film and where it is playing in your area, click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30 – Maid of Orleans: St. Joan of Arc

Statue of St. Joan of Arc in New Orleans, Louisiana

In French Jeanne d’Arc; by her contemporaries commonly known as la Pucelle (the Maid).

Born at Domremy in Champagne, probably on 6 January, 1412; died at Rouen, 30 May, 1431. The village of Domremy lay upon the confines of territory which recognized the suzerainty of the Duke of Burgundy, but in the protracted conflict between the Armagnacs (the party of Charles VII, King of France), on the one hand, and the Burgundians in alliance with the English, on the other, Domremy had always remained loyal to Charles.

Jacques d’Arc, Joan’s father, was a small peasant farmer, poor but not needy. Joan seems to have been the youngest of a family of five. She never learned to read or write but was skilled in sewing and spinning, and the popular idea that she spent the days of her childhood in the pastures, alone with the sheep and cattle, is quite unfounded. All the witnesses in the process of rehabilitation spoke of her as a singularly pious child, grave beyond her years, who often knelt in the church absorbed in prayer, and loved the poor tenderly. Great attempts were made at Joan’s trial to connect her with some superstitious practices supposed to have been performed round a certain tree, popularly known as the “Fairy Tree” (l’Arbre des Dames), but the sincerity of her answers baffled her judges. She had sung and danced there with the other children, and had woven wreaths for Our Lady’s statue, but since she was twelve years old she had held aloof from such diversions.

Apparition of St. Michael Archangel and St. Catherine to St. Joan of Arc. Painting by Hermann Anton Stilke

It was at the age of thirteen and a half, in the summer of 1425, that Joan first became conscious of that manifestation, whose supernatural character it would now be rash to question, which she afterwards came to call her “voices” or her “counsel.” It was at first simply a voice, as if someone had spoken quite close to her, but it seems also clear that a blaze of light accompanied it, and that later on she clearly discerned in some way the appearance of those who spoke to her, recognizing them individually as St. Michael (who was accompanied by other angels), St. Margaret, St. Catherine, and others. Joan was always reluctant to speak of her voices. She said nothing about them to her confessor, and constantly refused, at her trial, to be inveigled into descriptions of the appearance of the saints and to explain how she recognized them. None the less, she told her judges: “I saw them with these very eyes, as well as I see you.”

Great efforts have been made by rationalistic historians, such as M. Anatole France, to explain these voices as the result of a condition of religious and hysterical exaltation which had been fostered in Joan by priestly influence, combined with certain prophecies current in the countryside of a maiden from the bois chesnu (oak wood), near which the Fairy Tree was situated, who was to save France by a miracle. But the baselessness of this analysis of the phenomena has been fully exposed by many non-Catholic writers. There is not a shadow of evidence to support this theory of priestly advisers coaching Joan in a part, but much which contradicts it. Moreover, unless we accuse the Maid of deliberate falsehood, which no one is prepared to do, it was the voices which created the state of patriotic exaltation, and not the exaltation which preceded the voices. Her evidence on these points is clear.

Although Joan never made any statement as to the date at which the voices revealed her mission, it seems certain that the call of God was only made known to her gradually. But by May, 1428, she no longer doubted that she was bidden to go to the help of the king, and the voices became insistent, urging her to present herself to Robert Baudricourt, who commanded for Charles VII in the neighbouring town of Vaucouleurs. This journey she eventually accomplished a month later, but Baudricourt, a rude and dissolute soldier, treated her and her mission with scant respect, saying to the cousin who accompanied her: “Take her home to her father and give her a good whipping.”

Charles VII, King of France

Meanwhile the military situation of King Charles and his supporters was growing more desperate. Orléans was invested (12 October, 1428), and by the close of the year complete defeat seemed imminent. Joan’s voices became urgent, and even threatening. It was in vain that she resisted, saying to them: “I am a poor girl; I do not know how to ride or fight.” The voices only reiterated: “It is God who commands it.” Yielding at last, she left Domremy in January, 1429, and again visited Vaucouleurs.

Baudricourt was still skeptical, but, as she stayed on in the town, her persistence gradually made an impression on him. On 17 February she announced a great defeat which had befallen the French arms outside Orléans (the Battle of the Herrings). As this statement was officially confirmed a few days later, her cause gained ground. Finally she was suffered to seek the king at Chinon, and she made her way there with a slender escort of three men-at-arms, she being attired, at her own request, in male costume — undoubtedly as a protection to her modesty in the rough life of the camp. She always slept fully dressed, and all those who were intimate with her declared that there was something about her which repressed every unseemly thought in her regard.

Painting by Sir John Gilbert

She reached Chinon on 6 March, and two days later was admitted into the presence of Charles VII. To test her, the king had disguised himself, but she at once saluted him without hesitation amidst a group of attendants. From the beginning a strong party at the court — La Trémoille, the royal favorite, foremost among them — opposed her as a crazy visionary, but a secret sign, communicated to her by her voices, which she made known to Charles, led the king, somewhat half-heartedly, to believe in her mission. What this sign was, Joan never revealed, but it is now most commonly believed that this “secret of the king” was a doubt Charles had conceived of the legitimacy of his birth, and which Joan had been supernaturally authorized to set at rest.

Letter written by St. Joan of Arc to the people of Riom, November 9, 1429.

Still, before Joan could be employed in military operations she was sent to Poitiers to be examined by a numerous committee of learned bishops and doctors. The examination was of the most searching and formal character. It is regrettable in the extreme that the minutes of the proceedings, to which Joan frequently appealed later on at her trial, have altogether perished. All that we know is that her ardent faith, simplicity, and honesty made a favorable impression. The theologians found nothing heretical in her claims to supernatural guidance, and, without pronouncing upon the reality of her mission, they thought that she might be safely employed and further tested.

Returning to Chinon, Joan made her preparations for the campaign. Instead of the sword the king offered her, she begged that search might be made for an ancient sword buried, as she averred, behind the altar in the chapel of Ste-Catherine-de-Fierbois. It was found in the very spot her voices indicated. There was made for her at the same time a standard bearing the words Jesus, Maria, with a picture of God the Father, and kneeling angels presenting a fleur-de-lis.

Statue of St. Joan of Arc with her banner in the Notre-Dame Reims Cathedral, France

But perhaps the most interesting fact connected with this early stage of her mission is a letter of one Sire de Rotslaer written from Lyons on 22 April, 1429, which was delivered at Brussels and duly registered, as the manuscript to this day attests, before any of the events referred to received their fulfillment. The Maid, he reports, said “that she would save Orléans and would compel the English to raise the siege, that she herself in a battle before Orléans would be wounded by a shaft but would not die of it, and that the King, in the course of the coming summer, would be crowned at Reims, together with other things which the King keeps secret.”

Before entering upon her campaign, Joan summoned the King of England to withdraw his troops from French soil. The English commanders were furious at the audacity of the demand, but Joan by a rapid movement entered Orléans on 30 April. Her presence there at once worked wonders. By 8 May the English forts which encircled the city had all been captured, and the siege raised, though on the 7th Joan was wounded in the breast by an arrow. So far as the Maid went she wished to follow up these successes with all speed, partly from a sound warlike instinct, partly because her voices had already told her that she had only a year to last. But the king and his advisers, especially La Trémoille and the Archbishop of Reims, were slow to move. However, at Joan’s earnest entreaty a short campaign was begun upon the Loire, which, after a series of successes, ended on 18 June with a great victory at Patay, where the English reinforcements sent from Paris under Sir John Fastolf were completely routed. The way to Reims was now practically open, but the Maid had the greatest difficulty in persuading the commanders not to retire before Troyes, which was at first closed against them. They captured the town and then, still reluctantly, followed her to Reims, where, on Sunday, 17 July, 1429, Charles VII was solemnly crowned, the Maid standing by with her standard, for — as she explained — “as it had shared in the toil, it was just that it should share in the victory.”

Coronation of Charles VII with St. Joan of Arc by his side. Painting by E. Lenepveu.

The principal aim of Joan’s mission was thus attained, and some authorities assert that it was now her wish to return home, but that she was detained with the army against her will. The evidence is to some extent conflicting, and it is probable that Joan herself did not always speak in the same tone. Probably she saw clearly how much might have been done to bring about the speedy expulsion of the English from French soil, but on the other hand she was constantly oppressed by the apathy of the king and his advisers, and by the suicidal policy which snatched at every diplomatic bait thrown out by the Duke of Burgundy.

An abortive attempt on Paris was made at the end of August. Though St-Denis was occupied without opposition, the assault which was made on the city on 8 September was not seriously supported, and Joan, while heroically cheering on her men to fill the moat, was shot through the thigh with a bolt from a crossbow. The Duc d’Alençon removed her almost by force, and the assault was abandoned. The reverse unquestionably impaired Joan’s prestige, and shortly afterwards, when, through Charles’ political counselors, a truce was signed with the Duke of Burgundy, she sadly laid down her arms upon the altar of St-Denis.

The inactivity of the following winter, mostly spent amid the worldliness and the jealousy of the Court, must have been a miserable experience for Joan. It may have been with the idea of consoling her that Charles, on 29 December, 1429, ennobled the Maid and all her family, who henceforward, from the lilies on their coat of arms, were known by the name of Du Lis. It was April before Joan was able to take the field again at the conclusion of the truce, and at Melun her voices made known to her that she would be taken prisoner before Midsummer Day. Neither was the fulfillment of this prediction long delayed. It seems that she had thrown herself into Compiègne on 24 May at sunrise to defend the town against Burgundian attack. In the evening she resolved to attempt a sortie, but her little troop of some five hundred encountered a much superior force. Her followers were driven back and retired desperately fighting. By some mistake or panic of Guillaume de Flavy, who commanded in Compiègne, the drawbridge was raised while still many of those who had made the sortie remained outside, Joan amongst the number. She was pulled down from her horse and became the prisoner of a follower of John of Luxemburg. Guillaume de Flavy has been accused of deliberate treachery, but there seems no adequate reason to suppose this. He continued to hold Compiègne resolutely for his king, while Joan’s constant thought during the early months of her captivity was to escape and come to assist him in this task of defending the town.

On December 29, 1429, in praise of her great deeds, King Charles VII officially ennobled the d'Arc lineage in perpetuity by granting them the surname "du Lys". At the request of St. Joan of Arc, King Charles also remitted the taxes on the people of Domrémy, which was upheld until the French Revolution.

No words can adequately describe the disgraceful ingratitude and apathy of Charles and his advisers in leaving the Maid to her fate. If military force had not availed, they had prisoners like the Earl of Suffolk in their hands, for whom she could have been exchanged. Joan was sold by John of Luxembourg to the English for a sum which would amount to several hundred thousand dollars in modern money. There can be no doubt that the English, partly because they feared their prisoner with a superstitious terror, partly because they were ashamed of the dread which she inspired, were determined at all costs to take her life. They could not put her to death for having beaten them, but they could get her sentenced as a witch and a heretic.

Moreover, they had a tool ready to their hand in Pierre Cauchon, the Bishop of Beauvais, an unscrupulous and ambitious man who was the creature of the Burgundian party. A pretext for invoking his authority was found in the fact that Compiègne, where Joan was captured, lay in the Diocese of Beauvais. Still, as Beauvais was in the hands of the French, the trial took place at Rouen — the latter see being at that time vacant. This raised many points of technical legality which were summarily settled by the parties interested.

The Coat of Arms given to St. Joan of Arc and her family by King Charles VII of France.

The Vicar of the Inquisition at first, upon some scruple of jurisdiction, refused to attend, but this difficulty was overcome before the trial ended. Throughout the trial Cauchon’s assessors consisted almost entirely of Frenchmen, for the most part theologians and doctors of the University of Paris. Preliminary meetings of the court took place in January, but it was only on 21 February, 1431, that Joan appeared for the first time before her judges. She was not allowed an advocate, and, though accused in an ecclesiastical court, she was throughout illegally confined in the Castle of Rouen, a secular prison, where she was guarded by dissolute English soldiers. Joan bitterly complained of this. She asked to be in the church prison, where she would have had female attendants. It was undoubtedly for the better protection of her modesty under such conditions that she persisted in retaining her male attire. Before she had been handed over to the English, she had attempted to escape by desperately throwing herself from the window of the tower of Beaurevoir, an act of seeming presumption for which she was much browbeaten by her judges. This also served as a pretext for the harshness shown regarding her confinement at Rouen, where she was at first kept in an iron cage, chained by the neck, hands, and feet. On the other hand she was allowed no spiritual privileges — e.g. attendance at Mass — on account of the charge of heresy and the monstrous dress (difformitate habitus) she was wearing.

The Trial of Joan of Arc, Painting by Louis Boutet de Monvel

As regards the official record of the trial, which, so far as the Latin version goes, seems to be preserved entire, we may probably trust its accuracy in all that relates to the questions asked and the answers returned by the prisoner. These answers are in every way favourable to Joan. Her simplicity, piety, and good sense appear at every turn, despite the attempts of the judges to confuse her. They pressed her regarding her visions, but upon many points she refused to answer. Her attitude was always fearless, and, upon 1 March, Joan boldly announced that “within seven years’ space the English would have to forfeit a bigger prize than Orléans.” In point of fact Paris was lost to Henry VI on 12 November, 1437 — six years and eight months afterwards. It was probably because the Maid’s answers perceptibly won sympathizers for her in a large assembly that Cauchon decided to conduct the rest of the inquiry before a small committee of judges in the prison itself. We may remark that the only matter in which any charge of prevarication can be reasonably urged against Joan’s replies occurs especially in this stage of the inquiry. Joan, pressed about the secret sign given to the king, declared that an angel brought him a golden crown, but on further questioning she seems to have grown confused and to have contradicted herself. Most authorities (like, e.g., M. Petit de Julleville and Mr. Andrew Lang) are agreed that she was trying to guard the king’s secret behind an allegory, she herself being the angel; but others — for instance P. Ayroles and Canon Dunand — insinuate that the accuracy of the procès-verbal cannot be trusted. On another point she was prejudiced by her lack of education. The judges asked her to submit herself to “the Church Militant.” Joan clearly did not understand the phrase and, though willing and anxious to appeal to the pope, grew puzzled and confused. It was asserted later that Joan’s reluctance to pledge herself to a simple acceptance of the Church’s decisions was due to some insidious advice treacherously imparted to her to work her ruin. But the accounts of this alleged perfidy are contradictory and improbable.

St. Joan of Arc being led to her execution in Rouen. Painting by Isidore Patrois

The examinations terminated on 17 March. Seventy propositions were then drawn up, forming a very disorderly and unfair presentment of Joan’s “crimes,” but, after she had been permitted to hear and reply to these, another set of twelve were drafted, better arranged and less extravagantly worded. With this summary of her misdeeds before them, a large majority of the twenty-two judges who took part in the deliberations declared Joan’s visions and voices to be “false and diabolical,” and they decided that if she refused to retract she was to be handed over to the secular arm — which was the same as saying that she was to be burned. Certain formal admonitions, at first private, and then public, were administered to the poor victim (18 April and 2 May), but she refused to make any submission which the judges could have considered satisfactory. On 9 May she was threatened with torture, but she still held firm. Meanwhile, the twelve propositions were submitted to the University of Paris, which, being extravagantly English in sympathy, denounced the Maid in violent terms. Strong in this approval, the judges, forty-seven in number, held a final deliberation, and forty-two reaffirmed that Joan ought to be declared heretical and handed over to the civil power, if she still refused to retract. Another admonition followed in the prison on 22 May, but Joan remained unshaken. The next day a stake was erected in the cemetery of St-Ouen, and in the presence of a great crowd she was solemnly admonished for the last time. After a courageous protest against the preacher’s insulting reflections on her king, Charles VII, the accessories of the scene seem at last to have worked upon mind and body worn out by so many struggles. Her courage for once failed her. She consented to sign some sort of retraction, but what the precise terms of that retraction were will never be known. In the official record of the process a form of retraction is in inserted which is most humiliating in every particular. It is a long document which would have taken half an hour to read. What was read aloud to Joan and was signed by her must have been something quite different, for five witnesses at the rehabilitation trial, including Jean Massieu, the official who had himself read it aloud, declared that it was only a matter of a few lines. Even so, the poor victim did not sign unconditionally, but plainly declared that she only retracted in so far as it was God’s will. However, in virtue of this concession, Joan was not then burned, but conducted back to prison.

Enveloped in flames, Joan cried out the name of Jesus six times before dying.

The English and Burgundians were furious, but Cauchon, it seems, placated them by saying, “We shall have her yet.” Undoubtedly her position would now, in case of a relapse, be worse than before, for no second retraction could save her from the flames. Moreover, as one of the points upon which she had been condemned was the wearing of male apparel, a resumption of that attire would alone constitute a relapse into heresy, and this within a few days happened, owing, it was afterwards alleged, to a trap deliberately laid by her jailers with the connivance of Cauchon. Joan, either to defend her modesty from outrage, or because her women’s garments were taken from her, or, perhaps, simply because she was weary of the struggle and was convinced that her enemies were determined to have her blood upon some pretext, once more put on the man’s dress which had been purposely left in her way. The end now came soon. On 29 May a court of thirty-seven judges decided unanimously that the Maid must be treated as a relapsed heretic, and this sentence was actually carried out the next day (30 May, 1431) amid circumstances of intense pathos. She is said, when the judges visited her early in the morning, first to have charged Cauchon with the responsibility of her death, solemnly appealing from him to God, and afterwards to have declared that “her voices had deceived her.” About this last speech a doubt must always be felt. We cannot be sure whether such words were ever used, and, even if they were, the meaning is not plain. She was, however, allowed to make her confession and to receive Communion. Her demeanor at the stake was such as to move even her bitter enemies to tears. She asked for a cross, which, after she had embraced it, was held up before her while she called continuously upon the name of Jesus. “Until the last,” said Manchon, the recorder at the trial, “she declared that her voices came from God and had not deceived her.” After death her ashes were thrown into the Seine.

The beatification of St. Joan of Arc

Twenty-four years later a revision of her trial, the procès de réhabilitation, was opened at Paris with the consent of the Holy See. The popular feeling was then very different, and, with but the rarest exceptions, all the witnesses were eager to render their tribute to the virtues and supernatural gifts of the Maid. The first trial had been conducted without reference to the pope, indeed it was carried out in defiance of St. Joan’s appeal to the head of the Church. Now an appellate court constituted by the pope, after long inquiry and examination of witnesses, reversed and annulled the sentence pronounced by a local tribunal under Cauchon’s presidency. The illegality of the former proceedings was made clear, and it speaks well for the sincerity of this new inquiry that it could not be made without inflicting some degree of reproach upon both the King of France and the Church at large, seeing that so great an injustice had been done and had so long been suffered to continue unredressed. Even before the rehabilitation trial, keen observers, like Eneas Sylvius Piccolomini (afterwards Pope Pius II), though still in doubt as to her mission, had discerned something of the heavenly character of the Maid. In Shakespeare’s day she was still regarded in England as a witch in league with the fiends of hell, but a juster estimate had begun to prevail even in the pages of Speed’s “History of Great Britaine” (1611). By the beginning of the nineteenth century the sympathy for her even in England was general. Such writers as Southey, Hallam, Sharon Turner, Carlyle, Landor, and, above all, De Quincey greeted the Maid with a tribute of respect which was not surpassed even in her own native land. Among her Catholic fellow-countrymen she had been regarded, even in her lifetime, as Divinely inspired.

At last the cause of her beatification was introduced upon occasion of an appeal addressed to the Holy See, in 1869, by Mgr Dupanloup, Bishop of Orléans, and, after passing through all its stages and being duly confirmed by the necessary miracles, the process ended in the decree being published by Pius X on 11 April, 1909. A Mass and Office of St. Joan, taken from the “Commune Virginum,” with “proper” prayers, have been approved by the Holy See for use in the Diocese of Orléans.

HERBERT THURSTON (Catholic Encyclopedia)

Photo of the Canonization of St. Joan of Arc on May 16, 1920. Editorial Comment: —

Unquestionably, St. Joan of Arc was invested with a divine mission to save France. Nevertheless, she used natural as well as supernatural means to pursue it.
Among the natural means, her leadership merits close analysis. She captured the imagination of the French, she pulled them out of their despondency and gave them a courage they thought was lost forever. She encouraged them to dream anew and strive for an audacious, beautiful, if seemingly impossible dream, always reminding them of the need of divine help to crown the efforts they must make: “Soldiers must fight, but God gives the victory.” The French, who respond well to this form of inspired leadership, were brave as in the best moments of their History, and the tide of war changed for good for the English.

Of interest:

Saint Joan of Arc’s military genius was of divine inspiration

Saint Joan of Arc: Enduring Power

January 6 – St. Joan of Arc was born on this day 600 years ago

Video – Festivals Begin to Commemorate Saint Joan of Arc

1,049 Reasons to Oppose Same-Sex “Marriage”

1,049 Reasons to Oppose Same-Sex “Marriage”
In the continuing debate on same-sex “marriage,” proponents commonly highlight the 1,049 benefits extended by the federal government to couples united in marriage. They claim that such benefits and those of the states should also be extended to homosexual couples.

Indeed, this was the reasoning of the New Jersey’s Supreme Court judges who ruled that the state must extend state benefits to same-sex couples by the mere fact that they are analogous couples. In the name of a supposed equality of relationship, they mandated same-sex “marriage” or its exact equivalent on the Garden State.

In face of this ruling, some fundamental questions need to be asked: why does the government bestow so many rights upon two individuals in the first place? What possible vested interest does the state have in promoting marriage? How does it serve the common good?

If such rights are extended simply to facilitate the mutual affection between two individuals, there is no real benefit to society in such an arrangement. The state is not in the business of making people feel good or subsidizing personal happiness. If that were the case, then any group of people or even business partnerships could claim benefits.

It is exactly because traditional marriage goes far beyond the mutual affection of the two parties that makes it an irreplaceable social good and necessitates the conferring of those 1,049 benefits.

Families Not Individuals
Marriage is not about individuals but families. It is an institution that predates the State whereby a man and a woman mutually agree to give themselves to each other until death principally for the sake of the interest of the children born to them.

The State extends benefits not only to make couples happy but to facilitate the often arduous task of creating a stable, affectionate and moral atmosphere for the upbringing of children — the future of civil society.

Thus, it is the procreation and upbringing of children that makes marriage such a social good. The state accordingly invests in marriage between a man and a woman because it knows that it is the ideal and best possible method of insuring its future through the procreation and education of children.

The state accordingly invests in marriage between a man and a woman because it knows that it is the ideal and best possible method of insuring its future.

Comparing the Options
Indeed, traditional marriage is so fecund that those who would frustrate its end must do violence to nature to prevent the birth of children by using contraception. The natural state of marriage is to produce not only children but many children to populate the state.

On the contrary, same-sex unions are so sterile that those who would circumvent nature must employ costly and artificial means or employ surrogates to bring about adoptive children. The natural state of such unions is not to produce any children, much less many children.

Such unions therefore fail to fulfill marriage’s social good since most simply have no interest in either procreating or employing costly artificial substitutes.

Welfare of Children
However, marriage is more than just children. Mere procreation cannot possibly be the only end of marriage for this can be done without the matrimonial bond. Marriage must insure the best possible environment for the growth, development and future of children which in turn increases the spouses’ mutual love.

Again, the state knows that marriage between a man and a woman is the best possible means of insuring this goal which benefits the common good. Historically, the State has invested heavily in insuring this bond.

The reasons are many. First the children of such unions are normally the flesh and blood of both parents who see their offspring as extensions of themselves. Such unions provide a father and a mother, complimentary role models that perform different functions in child development. The children also can have the added intense affection of numerous siblings of those same parents.

The parties of traditional marriage make a life-long commitment to maintain this bond to provide a stable atmosphere for the children to develop. Moreover, they agree to exercise moral restraint and fidelity to their marriage vows to prevent outside elements from interfering in their union and thus disturb the moral well-being of their offspring.

The experience of centuries gives irrefutable testimony as to how these blood relationships inside a stable moral climate naturally lead to affection and the creation of the best possible conditions for the upbringing of children.

Deprived of Models
The same cannot be said for the few homosexual households with children. The conditions that are universally recognized as extremely beneficial to the child in traditional marriage are patently absent in same-sex unions.

When not adopted, the child will necessarily be deprived of either his natural mother or father. He will necessarily be raised by one party who has no blood relationship with him. He will always be deprived of either a mother or a father role model. The number of siblings or half-siblings is necessarily reduced.

Same-sex relationships, which developed from a lack of moral restraint toward social norms and fidelity, cannot guarantee the same moral atmosphere of harmony crucial to the moral development of children.

Moreover, any children inside such unions must adapt to sectors of the populations that suffer from abnormally high levels of health problems, infectious social diseases, mental health problems, alcoholism, drug use, suicide rates, domestic abuse, child abuse and pedophilia. In the absence of long-term studies, no one knows all the effects of such abnormal conditions on the development of the child. In effect, these children are being made the guinea pigs of a cruel social experiment.

Design Cannot Be Changed
In short all the indications show that such relationships naturally lead to serious risk in the upbringing of the child.
In short, same-sex unions fulfill none of the requirements that would make them a social good necessitating state benefits.
Advocates will object that traditional marriage has its abuses and exceptional cases.

It is true that many abuse the institution by deciding not to procreate or fail to provide a proper atmosphere for the upbringing of children. Sterility exceptions or the marriage of elderly people too old to conceive, on the other hand, are exceptions accidental, not essential to marriage. Neither the sterility nor the abuses by some in marriage change the design of the institution or become the rule.

Duties of the State
The State therefore does well to bestow numerous benefits on an institution that by its very nature and design are proven to provide all the condition for the mutual affection of the spouses and a stable, affectionate and moral atmosphere for the upbringing of children.

However in the case of same-sex unions, the State is not giving its support to the fruit of that union — the children — but to the “love” of two individuals.

The State cannot show support for a union which by design will not perpetuate society. It cannot in justice confer benefits upon those who cannot, by the same nature of their relations, fulfill the function for which the benefit was created. It cannot turn the exception of some kind of surrogate parenthood into part of the general rule.

Moreover, the State cannot actively promote a state of affairs that puts at risk in any way or creates obstacles to the natural development of those few children that are thrust into this anti-natural family model.

By conferring benefits on this flawed design, the State becomes its active promoter and works against the common good.

Indeed, the very 1,049 federal benefits that same sex “marriage” advocates claim as the grounds for a misplaced and misunderstood “equality” become 1,049 reasons for opposing such specious unions.

By John Horvat II

Teens having as many as 7 abortions: UK stats

by The Editors

LONDON, UK, May 28, 2012 ( - National Health Service (NHS) data for abortions carried out in 2010, the most recent year for which figures are available, have revealed that of the 38,269 teenagers who aborted their children, three had seven previous abortions and two had had six.

According to the statistics, another fourteen teenage girls had their fifth abortion in 2010, 57 teens aborted for the fourth time, 485 for a third time, and more than 5,300 were committed on teenagers who had already had at least one abortion.

In all, repeat abortions accounted for about a third of 189,574 abortions carried out in 2010 for women of all ages.

‘‘There is something seriously wrong with a country where teenagers are having even one abortion, let alone repeat abortions to this extent,” Rebecca Mallinson of the UK’s Pro Life Alliance, told the Telegraph.

“We are failing these young people in an appalling way, and storing up serious sexual health problems for the future, whether the direct issue of sexually transmitted diseases, but also the effects that multiple abortions can have on future fertility.”

“Abortion is a serious procedure, one which all sides of the abortion debate agree should not be undertaken lightly. Yet here we have young women, still not fully mature physiologically and emotionally, undergoing abortions numerous times,” a spokeswoman for the UK’s LIFE charity, a pro-life organization that provides support for mothers, children and young families, told the Telegraph.

LIFE issued a statement warning that the high numbers of repeat abortions are symbolic of a wider problem - that abortion is being used as a publicly funded form of birth control in a society that no longer views the killing of the unborn “as a last resort in uniquely difficult situations.”

Josephine Quintavalle, founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), a public interest group focusing on ethical dilemmas surrounding human reproduction, said the number of repeat abortions “is simply extraordinary.”

“Abortion is an unpleasant and harrowing experience for women and to hear it is happening repeatedly makes your hair stand on end.”

The Daily Mail reported that the NHS spends £1million a week on repeat abortions, with some women returning for as many as nine abortions in their lifetime.

“The figures will fuel the debate on whether abortions, which cost the NHS up to £1,000 each, are being sanctioned as more of a lifestyle choice than a medical requirement,” the Mail suggested.

North Korea's brutal prisons threaten political dissidents, religious believers

CWN - May 29, 2012

Writing for Catholic World Report, Brian O'Neel reports on thekwalliso system in North Korea: the system of prison camps that house an estimated 200,000 people under brutal conditions.

More here:

The Population Control Holocaust

There is a single ideological current running through a seemingly disparate collection of noxious modern political and scientific movements, ranging from militarism, imperialism, racism, xenophobia, and radical environmentalism, to socialism, Nazism, and totalitarian communism. This is the ideology of antihumanism: the belief that the human race is a horde of vermin whose unconstrained aspirations and appetites endanger the natural order, and that tyrannical measures are necessary to constrain humanity.

More here:

Planned Parenthood: We Won't Deny Women Sex-Selection Abortions

Planned Parenthood officials have responded to today’s expose’ video showing how a staffer at an Austin, Texas planned Parenthood clinic encouraged a woman inquiring about an abortion to determine the gender of her unborn child to have one. Planned Parenthood officials responded to the video in a statement to the liberal Huffington Post and admitted they will not deny women abortions for any reason, including sex-selection abortions.

More here:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sigh: As Catholics Sue Obama over Contraception,Vatican Continues to Pursue Government Healthcare

Despite the tribulations the American Catholic Church has been suffering with the Obama administration, the Vatican continues to pursue government-enforced universal healthcare. Its ambassador to the United Nations recently issued a statement encouraging all member nations to move toward a system of universal healthcare, implemented by government.

The Vatican said the Catholic Church is "committed to universal healthcare coverage" in a release Thursday that described a speech by one of its leaders before the World Health Assembly.

More here:

Undercover video: Planned Parenthood coaches on sex-selection abortion of baby girl

by Kathleen Gilbert

May 29, 2012 ( - A Texas Planned Parenthood counselor speaking to an undercover investigator posing as a mother hoping to abort her baby if it’s a girl has been caught on video giving advice on how to abuse Medicaid to obtain an ultrasound to determine the baby’s sex, and then abort if it’s a girl before the legal cutoff at five months’ gestation.

“I see that you say that you want to terminate if it’s a girl, so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime, or what?” Planned Parenthood counselor Rebecca casually asks the Live Action undercover investigator in the video released Tuesday morning.

The counselor is seen discussing the difficulty of obtaining an abortion after the baby is old enough to determine its gender by ultrasound, and confirms the investigator’s stated fears of encountering bias against her sex-selective abortion.

“A lot of doctors will place judgment because the brain is already developed, a lot. Pretty much everything’s already developed,” she says.

“Just keep it quiet and then come here?” the woman asks.  “Yeah, I would,” Rebecca replies.

Rebecca, who says she has had two abortions herself, describes how she successfully applied for Medicaid “as if I was gonna continue my pregnancy, went through the OB/GYN, and then me and my husband decided we were gonna go ahead and terminate. We terminated, and I still stayed on Medicaid and just got on birth control.”

Live Action in a press release this morning said Planned Parenthood “betrays its own supposedly feminist ideology” by supporting the selected abortion of girls, a practice as many as 77 percent of Americans oppose.

“Planned Parenthood claims to oppose ‘gendercide.’ So, why was Planned Parenthood staff so focused on aborting a baby girl, just because she was a girl?” said the group.

Last month, Planned Parenthood told the Huffington Post that it suspected another Live Action sting, and pre-emptively announced that they condemned “sex selection motivated by gender bias” and found sex-selective abortion “deeply unsettling,” but did not say the group refused to perform such abortions.

Live Action’s previous undercover sting operations against Planned Parenthood have gained national attention for revealing several embarrassing details of the abortion group’s treatment of potential patients, including non-reporting of child rape, coaching young patients to cross state lines to avoid parental notification laws, and helping sex traffickers looking for abortions for their underage prostitutes.

Gallup: 82% of Catholics say contraception is ‘morally acceptable’

by Patrick B. Craine

May 28, 2012 ( – Mere days after 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations launched an unprecedented mega-lawsuit against the Obama administration over its contraception mandate, a new Gallup poll found that 82% of Catholics in America believe contraception is “morally acceptable.”

While critics say the poll is more evidence that the Church hierarchy is out of touch with its people in its fight against the Obama administration, Catholic commentators have responded that the data doesn’t affect the debate over the mandate, which is about religious freedom.

The poll, released May 22nd, found that 89% of all Americans believe contraception is morally acceptable. Overall, 8% of all Americans and 15% of Catholics said they believe contraception is morally wrong.

“Catholic leaders are no doubt aware that many of their parishioners use birth control, but these data underscore the divide between official church teaching and Catholics’ day-by-day behaviors,” write the pollsters.

At the same time, they noted the backlash against the Obama mandate has centered on “the broad separation of church state” rather than the morality of contraception, and point out that their polling in February showed 56% of Catholics sympathized with the bishops and only 39% sympathized with the Obama administration.

In April, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who heads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, admitted that Church leaders failed in recent decades to teach Catholic doctrine on contraception, which he said means they “forfeited the chance to be a coherent moral voice when it comes to one of the more burning issues of the day.”

“I’m not afraid to admit that we have an internal catechetical challenge—a towering one—in convincing our own people of the moral beauty and coherence of what we teach. That’s a biggie,” said Dolan. “We have gotten gun-shy ... in speaking with any amount of cogency on chastity and sexual morality.”

Numerous Catholic commentators have observed that priests and bishops across the country have been stepping up in homilies, statements, letters, and even Youtube videos in recent months not only to defend the Church from government intrusion, but also its teachings on contraception.

“It is a lamentable fact that most Catholics have never heard contraception mentioned from the pulpit. And now, thanks to President Obama, they have!” wrote famed moral theologian Dr. Janet Smith at in February. “How very, very devious of the Holy Spirit to use the insidious HHS mandate as a means of getting the Church’s teaching on contraception not only before the public, but before Catholics,” she added.

“Now would be a great time for priests, bishops and cardinals to preach about why contraception is morally unacceptable,” wrote Matthew Archbold of Creative Minority Report. “Let’s use this government overreach as an opportunity to spread the message of the Catholic Church. We must remember that winning politically is great but winning souls is what we’re all about.”

Gallup surveyed 1,024 American adults by telephone from May 3-6.

Bishops against passage of homosexual union law

The bishops of Bolivia told the country's lawmakers that the State has the duty to protect marriage between a man and a woman, urging them to not adopt a that a bill allowing same-sex unions.

In a statement issued May 23, the bishops warned that the bill is "a grave threat to the family" as it has been understood throughout Bolivian history and society. The proposed bill is currently in committee and no date has been set for it vote before the full congress.

More here:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Children Throw Grenades, And Worse, At Jesus’ Face In New Blasphemous Play

Stand Up For Our Lord And
Protest Today

Please join our protest of the blasphemous theater play called On The Concept of the Face...

Because in the play the Holy Face of Jesus is subjected to the most vile possible insults and mockeries!

Now this terrible desecration of the Holy Face of Jesus [PROTEST NOW] has been brought to Montreal, Canada, at the venue of Place des Arts as part of the “Festival TransAmeriques”. It shows from May 31 – June 3.

(READ WITH CAUTION... this is highly blasphemous!...and also vulgar, and disturbing.)

According to reviews of the theater play On The Concept of the Face... in the play:

  • “…a son taking care of his incontinent father. He wants to go to work, but his father ***** himself again and again. You see the brown stains on his diaper … You even smell the horrible stench.
  • “Then nine kids walk on stage. They take off their backpacks and start taking out grenades. They take out the pin and start throwing them at the face of Christ. Each time they hit the painting you hear a loud bang.
  • “The last scene is entirely about that painting.”

Protest! Now
     The Last Scene:
     (The review’s wording is too vile to repeat.)

     It looks like a large knife slashes the face of Christ. Large, red-brown streaks, a nod to the feces in the previous scene, ‘bleed’ out and spread over His face, before a black veil of the ‘tears’ entirely covers the portrait of the Son of God.

     The painting is finally torn up, giving way to a large black panel.

    Above, in large letters, one can read, You are my shepherd. There’s another word that comes into view as well: not. You are not my shepherd.

  You and I both know that it makes no difference whatsoever where the Satanic head of blasphemy rears itself...

If we know about BLASPHEMY, we MUST defend the honor of God.

     Hopefully, if many peacefully and legally defend Our Lord’s honor and protest, then we will have a very practical effect upon the administrators of the Place des Arts and the “Festival TransAmeriques” and maybe they’ll stop the blasphemous play from showing.

               If not, at least we will have done our duty to God.

The death of Saint Ferdinand III, the very noble King of Castile and Leon

Saint Ferdinand III of Castile. Painted by Spanish School.

The preparations for the conquest of Moslem Africa were in advanced stages. The good King Don Ferdinand, close to embarking, spoke to the two Alfonsos, his son and his brother, during one warm evening while walking through the gardens, trying to convince one of the two to remain in Spain to govern it. However neither would yield in their insistent desire to go to Africa with him….

The month of May was ending and the weather was very hot in Seville. That morning the King had gone to see the various projects on the docks, and was returning tired, but happy, when suddenly an attack of his old sickness assaulted him. It was so terrible and accompanied by such a sharp pain that he clearly realized that this time he would not escape. He was taken to bed, and as soon as he recovered somewhat and was able to talk, he said to Alfonso and all there present:

“Time is running out and the hour for me to die has come.”

Saint Ferdinand of Castile, his crown and scepter resting on a draped table. Painting by Karel Skreta

Thus, with simple naturality and with no sign of sorrow, he renounced his glorious dreams. For him the will of God was everything….

Ferdinand, in the meantime, requested the Viaticum to be brought to him. While a procession was being organized in Santa Maria, the humble King was preparing himself to receive his Lord and his God in the palace. He asked to be dressed in the beautiful white and gold rich silk shirt he wore on feast days, and, in reverence to Christ’s royal dignity and power, he ordered every reminder of human majesty to be removed from his chamber. He no longer wanted to see his crown or his scepter, or to think about government or honors of this world. Facing the bed where he was lying his men erected a beautiful altar with purple damasks and fine linens whiter than snow. On it they placed a sacred crucifix and six great silver candlesticks with lighted candles. One after another, the sons and brothers of the King arrived. The Queen was shedding tears of great affliction, and Teresa, Aldonza and Urraca shared her grief. With them were their husbands and the other noblemen of the King’s house and wise men of his council. Don Ferdinand’s eyes were closed, and, absorbed in prayer, he was oblivious to the things of this world. The only sounds in the large room were the difficult breathing of the patient, the crackling of a sputtering candle and unrestrained sobbing.

The last Communion of St. Ferdinand. Painting by José Gutiérrez de la Vega

Suddenly the silvery sound of a distant bell was heard approaching. King Ferdinand opened his eyes and looked at the door. Clergymen, friars and knights entered, all bearing lighted candles whose small golden flames wavered with mysterious restlessness in the darkness of the large room. And, after them, carried in a gold ciborium wrapped in silk cloths by a devout and recollected priest of a military order, was the Most Holy Body of Christ. Seeing Him, a powerful surge of love revived Ferdinand, who lifted himself from the bed, knelt on the hard marble tiles, and placed a rope he had prepared around his neck as a sinful penitent. Thus, contrite and humiliated, King Ferdinand laid down his royalty before the divine royalty of Jesus Christ. Near the altar Don Remondo waited dressed in the pontifical vestments; before the ceremony began, the voice of the King rose: “Give me first the Holy Cross so that I may repent for my sins before It.”

They placed It in his hands, and, fixing his eyes on It, he began to shed bitter tears while he said:’

“Look at me here, my Lord Jesus Christ, in Thy presence as a wicked sinner, for I know well the many sins with which I have offended Thee. But great as they may be, I trust in Thy mercy that, through the merits of Thy holy Passion and Thy most precious death, Thou wilt forgive me of them. Remember, Lord, the many outrages and torments Thou suffered for my sake and by which Thou hast the name of Savior, and deliver Thy servant of his sins, which were the cause of Thy sufferings.”

At this point the King’s voice faltered, breaking in a sob. Recovering, he continued:

“I regret these offenses very much, Lord, and I grieve also for the death Thou suffered for me; and since Thy Holy Church forgives these sins, I want to confess them, to erase the bad example I have given to these my vassals here present, knowing that I detest these sins most heartily and would that I had never committed them…”

And humbly, painfully, he manifested in a loud voice all the sins of his life, from his childish actions as a boy to his last faults of yesterday. The noble countenance was covered with shame, because, although his sins were the inevitable weaknesses of which only the Mother of Christ was free, they seemed to him like great sins and, as such, he felt great sorrow. But because he understood the infinite holiness of God and because of the ardent love he had for Him, he performed this work of justice to satisfy the divine majesty he had offended. In his contrition, he continued:

“I well deserve every humiliation for my sins, yet Thou, Lord, wanted to suffer the humiliation of making them Thine and of appearing in the presence of the Father covered with them, and because of the great shame Thou didst shed blood.… And then Thou wast betrayed by one of your men, and imprisoned by the executioners and tied with rough ropes… And Thou suffered this so that I would be free! And Thou wert taken, Lord, to be judged by Annas and Caiphas and Pilate, and there Thou didst stand like a criminal… And I, who have performed so much evil, have judged Castile and León! So many outrages and so many blows Thou didst receive, and they spit on Thy Face so that I, a sinful man, would be honored by all… And Pilate’s soldiers seized Thee and scourged Thee fiercely; and while Thou were suffering it, I was in the midst of pleasures!… And they placed on Thee a crown of thorns and gave Thee a reed scepter and an infamous mantle, and while Thou wast thus mocked, I have been obeyed by all! And Thou, my Lord, wast condemned to death on the cross that I would live, and Thou carried the cross up the hill of Calvary, and on it Thou didst let Thyself be nailed and Thou didst die so that I would have Paradise with Thee!”

Painting by Virgilio Mattoni

a powerful surge of love revived Ferdinand, who lifted himself from the bed, knelt on the hard marble tiles, and placed a rope he had prepared around his neck as a sinful penitent. Thus, contrite and humiliated, King Ferdinand laid down his royalty before the Divine Royalty of Jesus Christ.

At this point, tears choked Ferdinand’s voice again, and the lofty head, always erect in battle, fell defeated on his chest, vanquished by love and grief, the tears sliding like a string of pearls onto the silk of his shirt down to the floor. And striking his breast with great blows, he ended his confession:

“And because by Thy death Thou earned life for me, I request, O Lord of Thy Holy Church, and you, my Father Archbishop, that you would absolve me of my sins.”

Don Remondo absolved him, and then asked him if he believed in God One, and Triune.

“I believe in Him Who is God, true and eternal, and Who gave to us of His glory; I believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. And I believe that the Son made Himself man in the womb of the Glorious Blessed Virgin Mary; and I believe in and consent to all the doctrines of our Holy Mother the Church.”

Don Remondo took the Host in his hands and approached the King who lifted his head and gazed at the Host with an indescribable expression of faith and desire. He received the Body of Christ and remained absorbed in a true union with his King: it was the supreme communion between the Lord of Lords and His lieutenant in Castile.

As if he were a third person and witnessing from a distance, Ferdinand saw the devout procession leave his room. Then he ordered to have the precious tunic he had worn to be taken off him and went back to his bed. He remained motionless for sometime, his head inclined on the pillows that kept him half-raised in calm and quiet prayer. The Queen cried at his side, and his sons surrounded his bed, awaiting the moment of the last blessing.

Statue of Alfonso X of Castile in Spanish Plaza, Mobile, Alabama.

Finally Don Ferdinand opened his eyes and called his eldest: “My son, Alfonso, come here!”

The Infante knelt at his father’s side. Ferdinand lifted his right hand, and, very slowly because his strength was already seeping away, made the Sign of the Cross on him as a blessing. Then, taking his right hand between his, the King said:

“Son, you well see how my life is ending, and I am leaving to give my soul to Him Who created it and redeemed it. Tomorrow you will be King of all these realms of Castile and León. Fear, love and obey God and join your will and deeds with Him and you will have a good end. Do not fail to do good while you can, as these good works will save your soul, and everything will pass before you like a dream. Rule the people justly and follow my instruction to continue the task of compiling the laws so we can govern all the people with the same consistent code. Take care of your brothers and strive to improve their situations and treat them in such a way that they do not regret having been born second. Consider the Queen like a mother and give her all the honor appropriate for a queen. I also recommend to you Don Alfonso my brother, and all my other brothers and sisters. Honor all the noblemen of your kingdoms and always favor the knights, and faithfully follow their laws and their exceptions and freedoms and those of all your people.”

The King paused briefly to regain his strength because life was leaving him; he looked in Alfonso’s eyes again and added with an effort that made him tremble convulsively: “If all this that I entrust to you, plead with you, and order you to fulfill is accomplished you will have my full blessing, and if not, my curse.”

“Amen,” answered Alfonso, his voice also somewhat choked from the emotion of that supreme moment.

Then the other children who were in Seville began to approach: Fadrique, Henry, Felipe, Manuel, Ferdinand, Doña Eleanor and Luis; each one the king blessed, making the Sign of the Cross on them with his own hand. Manuel, in his turn, approached with his tutor Don Peter López de Avala who said to Ferdinand when the Infante knelt: “Lord, if I have served you well, I beg of you as a favor not to leave Manuel without an inheritance.”

Don Ferdinand was nearing his end, exhausted by the effort of being on his knees for such a long time, the emotional confession and the farewell to his sons. Such was his condition that he could only speak with great effort. He lifted his hand, purple as a lily, and placing it with a gesture of a caress on the head of the distressed young man, said: “Son, you are the last son I had of Queen Doña Beatrice, who was a very good and holy woman, and I know she loved you very much. However, I cannot give you any inheritance, but I give you my sword Lobera, which has religious significance and with which God did much good for me.”

Interior of the Royal Chapel of the Cathedral of Seville. St. Ferdinand's reliquary is behind the main altar.

He then wished to be alone. Watching them leave, he again called Don Alfonso, his firstborn, whom he had loved and honored so much and whom he so greatly trusted.

“Son, you will be rich in land and in many good vassals, more than any other king in Christendom. Try hard to do good and be good; I leave you lord of all the land this side of the sea that the Moors won from the Visgoth King Roderick. All of it remains under your lordship, either conquered or tributary. If you maintain the boundaries of the state as I am leaving them to you, you are as good a king as I; if you conquer more, you are better, and if the boundaries decrease, then you are not as good as I.”

The incorrupt body of St. Ferdinand in the Royal Chapel at the Cathedral of Seville.

The Queen was supported by her ladies. After his sons had left, Alfonso de Molina, Rodrigo Alfonso and his other brothers, the noblemen, his companions in toil and glory, all passed before him, kissing as farewell the rigid hand that had fallen on the sheet. The dying King looked at them, saying his goodbye with his eyes because the fatigue of his heart, which no longer wanted to beat, was choking him like a halter. The Mayor Chamberlain dared to ask him: “Do you want us, Lord, to make a statue of your sepulcher?”

The King, sincere and contemptuous of all human vanities, gave him this reply: “Let my life and my works be my sepulcher and statue!”

Don Remondo, the other priests of Santa María and the friars of the monasteries of Seville remained in the royal chamber. After having bid final farewell to all those whom he loved and associated with in this life, now these religious were the only companions that he wanted in this supreme hour. On a small table at his bedside was the Virgin of the Battles, helping him to win this last one. Suddenly Ferdinand looked fixedly on high, his face transformed by an ineffable happiness that swept away the pain of his final agony. He was like this for some time, and the churchmen surrounding him even believed he had died. Coming back from his ecstasy, he smiled joyously and said to them: “The hour has come…give me the candle!”

Lifting his eyes, he continued speaking to God: “Lord, Thou gavest to me a kingdom I did not have and more honor and power than I deserved. Thou gavest me life as long as it was Thy pleasure. Lord, I give Thee thanks; and I surrender to Thee and deliver to Thee the kingdom Thou gavest me, with the improvements that I was able to achieve, and I offer Thee my soul.” Then he looked at those present. “If, through my fault, you have any complaint, please forgive me for it.”

Shedding many tears they answered: “We pray to God to forgive you and know that you depart forgiven by us.”

Then he took the candle with both hands, and somehow found strength in his moral energy to lift it on high while he said: “Lord, naked I came out of my mother’s womb which was the earth, and naked I offer myself to her; and, Lord, receive my soul in the company of Thy servants.” He lowered the candle and adored it as representative of the Holy Ghost.

Incorrupt body of Saint Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon

The sounds of his final agony began. Perspiration made his hair adhere to the livid forehead, and large drops fell and soaked the pillows. Their voices dulled by tears, the choir intoned the Litany of the Saints. Toward the end, Ferdinand fixed his sight on that point where heaven opened for him.

“Sing the Te Deum!” he ordered in a rapture of joy.

What was he seeing? Was it the angels and saints whom God was sending to receive him? Was it his Lady Holy Mary? Or the Eternal King Jesus Christ coming to receive his knight? Don Ferdinand very simply and gently lowered his eyes, wishing to lock forever in its pupils that last and sweetest vision of his life. The purple face became white, the fine whiteness of ivory; the lips remained half-open with an expression of both supreme desire and ineffable enjoyment…. The holy King Don Ferdinand was entering the last and noblest of all of his conquests, the Kingdom of Heaven. “Te Dominum confitemur,” the choir continued singing near his body.

And there above the white roofs of Seville, in the star-filled sky of that May night, they say the angels were heard singing a song that human ears had never before heard.

Sr. Maria del Carmen Fernández de Castro Cabeza, A.C.J., The Life of the Very Noble King of Castile and León, Saint Ferdinand III (Mount Kisco, N.Y.: The Foundation for a Christian Civilization, Inc., 1987), pp. 272-278.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 181

Queens abortion mill shut down after 37-year-old mother dies in horrific botched abortion

by Operation Rescue staff

QUEENS, NEW YORK, May 25, 2012, ( – Robert Hosty, who ran the A-1 Women’s Center abortion clinic in Queens, New York, has had his license revoked after Operation Rescue staff filed a complaint against him for the death of Alexandra Nunez, a 37-year old single mother of four. The revocation order, dated February 6, 2012, was only recently obtained by Operation Rescue.

Nunez went to Hosty for an abortion when she was about 16-17 weeks pregnant. She had a history of two C-Section deliveries and a condition where the placenta was more deeply embedded in the wall of the uterus than normal. Hosty spent nine minutes aborting her baby. Near the end of the procedure, she began to bleed uncontrollably. Nunez went into cardiac arrest from loss of blood, and no one bothered to administer chest compressions. Hosty waited an hour before calling 911 for help.

The revocation documents stated the following:

Paramedics arrived at A-1 Women’s Center on Roosevelt Avenue at 4:58 p.m. (almost one hour after the surgery ended.) They say Patient B [Nunez] on an exam table/chair with her legs open. They saw blood on the floor and blood coming from Patient B. They also saw bloody clothes in the corner. They noted that Patient B was grey and ashen, meaning that she was likely dead. She was cold to the touch.

Paramedics never saw or interacted with Hosty. After the abortion, he left it to his assistant to attempt to revive the patient, who was pronounced dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Two other women are also listed as victims of Hosty. One woman suffered permanent brain damage after she went into respiratory distress and cardiac arrest during surgery to remove a gynecological cyst. Another woman was given a full hysterectomy by Hosty, who discharged her from the hospital even though she suffered a fever of 102 degrees. She was forced to return to the emergency room for proper treatment.

Operation Rescue initially filed the complaint against another abortionist who was thought to have been involved in Nunez’s death, but submitted information about Hosty to the Board after the other abortionist contacted Operation Rescue to say the one involved was actually Hosty.

“We are very grateful that Hosty has been held accountable for his negligence. Hosty’s conduct in each case demonstrated a cold-hearted disrespect for the lives of his patients. Once their conditions became complicated, it was as if he was just done with them. We are glad to see that he will never be able to hurt women and their pre-born babies again,” said Cheryl Sullenger, Senior Policy Advisor for Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation.

Read Hosty’s Revocation Order.

Stealth Islamic Propaganda Shown to Six Million American Students

By Larissa Scott: On May 16 and 17 of 2012, Channel One Network, a national distributor of educational videos and newscasts viewed daily by over 8,000 middle and high schools, aired a two-part video series, titled "Young and Muslim in America" and "Islam in America."

In "Young and Muslim in America: How being a part of Islam changed ten years ago, Part 1," students watch as Muhtasham Sifaat, 18, kneels on a prayer rug inside an empty classroom.  His voiceover explains how he moved around a lot when he was younger, but Islam has given him stability. 

Read more here:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mahomet II conquered Constantinople but could not subdue Scanderbeg and Albania

Seal of Scanderbeg

The morning of the 30th of May 1453, saw the Crescent floating over Constantinople. The caliph [Mahomet II] entered it as conqueror. Before his death if he did not quite succeed in subjecting the world, he could boast that he had subdued Constantinople and Trebisond, overcame at least a dozen kingdoms, and took innumerable fortresses. Why he did not succeed to the full extent of his desire was, that God had raised up against him Hunyadi, who overcame him at Belgrade in 1456, and Scanderbeg, who occupied him from that until 1467.

From the death of Amurath in 1450 to 1461, Mahomet sent several armies under his ablest commanders against Albania. His policy, moreover, of bribery, after the fall of Constantinople, caused the faithless chiefs of Epirus to desert their national standard, and even to join the Turks against their king. But the moment these apostates left the Christian cause, the spirit that made them formidable, departed, and when they appeared amidst the thousands of Mahomet, they were mowed down by the faithful Mirdites of Castriota, like grass before the scythe. On one of these occasions, over thirty thousand Turks and apostates fell before the little band of Scanderbeg. At length Mahomet gave up the task of subduing the great leader, in despair; and agreed to a kind of armed truce in 1461.

Msgr. George F. Dillon, The Virgin Mother of Good Counsel: A History of the Ancient Sanctuary of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Genazzano, and of the Wonderful Apparition and Miraculous Translation of Her Sacred Image From Scutari in Albania to Genazzano in 1467 (Rome: Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda Fide, 1884), pp. 129-130.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 180 Editorial Comment: —

In History, Scanderbeg stands out like a giant.
His Catholic faith, love of Mary Most Holy, and fidelity to the nobility’s purpose and mission were so extraordinary that he will be remembered and celebrated forever more.
Odds meant very little to him. He defeated wave after wave of Turkish invaders. Ever vigilant, brave, and unpredictable, his gold-striped, white helmet, with its gilded horned goat atop, was the terror of the Turks. Nothing daunted him, not even the betrayal and apostasy of former brothers-in-arms. He fully merited the praise of the Popes and History and was called “The Sword and Shield of Christendom.”