Sunday, June 30, 2013

Admiration is the beginning of love -- Even God admires

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.”

Photo: God Admires

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labor not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.”  

When Our Lord spoke of the lily He was admiring it.

He was admiring something smaller than Himself. To literally admire and sing the glory of what was smaller than Him by saying: "consider the lilies of the field; they neither labor nor spin.” 

And now comes the glorification: “not even Salomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these”! 

Note how His infiniteness looks down on Creation.  How beautiful it would be to watch Him saying, “consider the lilies of the field” and taking and caressing a lily petal with His fingers.  And extraordinary scene! A lesson for us! 

We are at a loss for words to characterize this lesson.  Our vocabulary is exhausted and we do not know what to say.

When Our Lord spoke of the lily He was admiring it....

He was admiring something smaller than Himself. To literally admire and sing the glory of what was smaller than Him by saying: "consider the lilies of the field; they neither labor nor spin.”

And now comes the glorification: “not even Salomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these”!

Note how His infiniteness looks down on Creation. How beautiful it would be to watch Him saying, “consider the lilies of the field” and taking and caressing a lily petal with His fingers. And extraordinary scene! A lesson for us!

We are at a loss for words to characterize this lesson. Our vocabulary is exhausted and we do not know what to say.

Cardinal said pro-abortion politicians won’t be excommunicated, politician claims

by Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ARMAGH, June 27, 2013 ( – An Irish member of parliament has claimed that the head of the Catholic Church in the country has said there would be no ecclesiastical penalty of excommunication for those TDs who vote in favour of the government’s proposed abortion bill.

Fine Gael TD Tom Barry announced in May that he had sent a letter to Sean Cardinal Brady, the archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of Ireland, asking what the consequences would be for Catholics supporting the government’s bill. The bill proposes to legalize abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

According to the Church’s Code of Canon Law, anyone formally cooperating with the “grave sin” of abortion is automatically excommunicated.

Barry, who claims to be pro-life, said he objected to being called “baby-killer” for his intention to support the bill. He said he wrote to both the papal nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown and Cardinal Sean Brady.

“I received responses from both,” Barry told the Irish Examiner. “But in particular, Cardinal Brady’s letter was very decent, telling me not be to be concerned but outlining his and the Church’s views on the matter.”

Deacon Nick Donnelly, who maintains the ‘blog Protect the Pope, wrote that if Barry was telling the truth about the contents of the letter, Cardinal Brady “is not following the guidance given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.”

“If Enda Kenny’s abortion bill passes with the support of practicing Catholic politicians it is not only those politicians who will answer for this mortal sin before God but also those Catholic prelates and clergy who abysmally failed to defend the unborn babies of Ireland and who utterly failed to convey to these politicians the gravity of the mortal sin they committed,” Deacon Donnelly said.

In May, in an interview with the state broadcaster RTE Radio, Cardinal Brady, the head of the Irish Catholic bishops’ conference, said that the Irish bishops have “not considered” barring politicians from receiving Communion if they support the bill. contacted Martin Long, media spokesman for the Archdiocese of Armagh, for a clarification. Long said, “We’re not going to comment on private correspondence between the cardinal and an individual TD. The position of the Irish bishops has been made available in numerous venues.”

The Irish bishops have issued a statement saying that the bill will “make the direct and intentional killing of unborn children lawful in Ireland” and must be defeated.

“The bill as outlined represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law and is unnecessary to ensure that women receive the life-saving treatment they need during pregnancy,” the statement said.

In 2004, then-Cardinal Ratzinger issued a letter to the U.S. bishops who were meeting during a presidential election campaign to discuss the problem of persistently pro-abortion Catholic politicians. In it, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said that when a politician persists, after receiving due instruction, in supporting abortion, he “must” be refused Holy Communion.

Meanwhile, the government is learning that more and more TDs will refuse to back the bill.

The Irish Independent reported on Friday that Wicklow TD Billy Timmins has become the latest deputy to say he is voting against the bill. The government had hoped to keep the number of opposed down to three, but Timmins makes three already, and more are reported to be “considering their options” the Independent reports.

The other two are Galway West TD Brian Walsh and Dublin South’s Peter Mathews and Walsh has said that as many as ten more will vote against. Prime Minister Enda Kenny has refused to allow a conscience vote.

In a debate on the bill, Timmins cited inclusion of the threat of suicide as grounds for an abortion, saying, “I cannot support this bill as it requires legalize the intentional destruction of unborn human life where there is a real and substantive risk of loss of a woman’s life by way of suicide.” He added that he could support the bill if the suicide elements were removed.

To contact the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops:

Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
00193 Roma, Italia
Phone: +
Fax: +

To contact Cardinal Brady:

Ara Coeli, Cathedral Road
Armagh, Northern Ireland
BT61 7QY
Diocesan Secretary:
Rev. Michael Toner - email:
Phone: (028) 3752 2045
Fax: (028) 3752 6182

Saturday, June 29, 2013

When I think of the ideal man, I think of this Saint-King elected to lead the First Crusade

St. Ladislaus (or Ladislas)

St. Ladislaus the First, called by the Hungarians László, and in old French, Lancelot, was son of Bela king of Hungary, and born in 1041. By the pertinacious importunity of the people he was compelled, much against his own inclination, to ascend the throne in 1080, the kingdom being then elective.
He restored the good laws and discipline which St. Stephen had established, and which seem to have been obliterated by the confusion of the times. Chastity, meekness, gravity, charity, and piety were from his infancy the distinguishing parts of his character; avarice and ambition were his sovereign aversion, so perfectly had the maxims of the gospel extinguished in him all propensity to those base passions. His life in the palace was most austere: he was frugal and abstemious, but most liberal to the Church and poor. Vanity, pleasure, or idle amusements had no share in his actions or time, because all his moments were consecrated to the exercises of religion and the duties of his station, in which he had only the divine will in view, and sought only God’s greater honor.
He watched over a strict and impartial administration of justice, was generous and merciful to his enemies, and vigorous in the defense of his country and the Church. He added to his kingdom Dalmatia and Croatia, drove the Huns out of his territories, and vanquished the Poles, Russians, and Tartars.
He was preparing to command as general-in-chief, the great expedition of the Christians against the Saracens for the recovery of the Holy Land, when God called him to himself on the 30th of July, 1095. He was buried at Waradin, where his relics continue “still to be illustrated by miracles,” says the Roman Martyrology, on the 27th of June, on which day, on account of their translation, it celebrates his festival. He was canonized by Celestine III in 1198.
(from Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints, by Rev. Alban Butler, Vol VI, John Murphy Publisher, 1821, pp 348-349).

Our Lady’s Volunteers With “Return to Order” on Fifth Avenue in New York City

We had a long discussion on how to market the book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here and Where We Need to Go. One thing we decided was that we couldn’t afford an expensive Madison Avenue advertising firm to get the message out to the nation. We would have to find another way.

About the last thing I expected to do as the author was to find myself not on Madison Avenue but rather on Fifth, promoting the book. But there I was, having joined 18 others in full street campaign handing out flyers and inviting the passersby to buy the book. To say that one of the world’s most famous streets became the place for a book signing would be an exaggeration. Nevertheless, it was an extremely interesting experience.

For some weeks, members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) have been travelling around the country promoting the book in busy downtowns. I decided to join them in midtown New York to get a feel for the public reception of the book and its message.

The book talks about the “frenetic intemperance” of modern economy. What better place, I thought, than the very center of frenzied markets?

We began the campaign on 42nd street, and straddled both Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It is easy to use the adjective frenetic since everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get where they needed to go. It was hard to make an impact on the sea of people that were constantly coming at you. Adding to the difficulty was the fact that a majority of the people were with cell phones in hand, checking their emails, text messaging or talking. But we did make an impact. Large TFP standards and an American flag dominated two corners. A large banner, a bagpiper and shouted slogans are all designed to turn the head of even the most inveterate and wired New Yorker.

For the most part, we handed out a flyer promoting the book to the passersby without much commentary. People would take the flyer with different degrees of interest ranging from asking for it to merely accepting it. You could perceive many simply did not care to know about an economic crisis and pledged their unquestioning trust in the status quo. Others seemed so engrossed and exhausted by the daily battle for survival that they could not make the effort to expand their horizons.

But to those who did stop to discuss the book, it gave much insight as to what people were thinking. Those who were unfavorable to the positions found in the book were quick to appear. Particularly curious were the homosexual activists who in their obsession to turn everything into their agenda found a way to bring the book into the debate about this sinful lifestyle.

There were others that had a problem with the term in the subtitle: organic Christian society. Some of these might have even agreed with many of the book’s economic positions but were determined that any solution must exclude God. The word “Christian” rankled one of them to the point of advocating an Islamic society in the name of diversity. To this very liberal person, I would like to have asked what was the part of sharia law he found so fascinating.

There was the “normal” opposition that resorted to insults, labels and cursing. Such people usually unload their message and scurry off quickly. They never engage in real debate. Veteran TFP campaigners have long learned to disregard their tactics.

The favorable reactions were much more interesting. Throughout the day, we were often greeted by the simple encouragement of people asking us to keep up the good work. Others said that they have long followed the activities of the American TFP and support our work. These may have participated in our protests or public square rosary rallies.

Others stopped and talked at length. One could note a great concern among these passersby. They were searching for solutions. They were looking to God and prayer. They truly wanted a return to order and said as much. Some bought the book saying that it addressed issues that they have often pondered. An economist wanted a different perspective. A city policeman bought the book because he sensed a lack of leadership in the country.

All this was a normal day in the life of the TFP campaigners who are visiting busy downtown areas. This exposure to hundreds of thousands of passersby is part of the “Fifth Avenue” marketing plans that is bringing the ideas of Return to Order to Americans that we would never have reached had we chosen the Madison Avenue option.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Obama provokes clash with African host over homosexuality

by Ben Johnson

DAKAR, Senegal, June 27, 2013 ( – On the first leg of his $100 million African tour, President Barack Obama opened a dispute with his host country over the issue of homosexuality.

President Obama landed in the nation of Senegal overnight, the first stop of a three-nation tour to include Tanzania and South Africa.

At a press conference on Thursday, the president hailed two U.S. Supreme Court decisions liberalizing gay “marriage” in the United States and made a not-so subtle criticism of his host nation.

"People should be treated equally, and that's a principle that I think applies universally," Obama stated.

Homosexuality is illegal in Senegal, which bans any “improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex.”

Obama reportedly did not raise the issue of homosexuality in his private discussions with Sall. But he raised it in a public venue.

Senegalese President Macky Sall did not overlook his guest's critique, saying his nation “is not homophobic” and is “very tolerant.” In his own pointed retort, Sall said that Senegal did not practice capital punishment.

The backlash called to mind a similar response to President Obama in Ireland, where he blamed the nation's century-old strife on the existence of parochial schools in a speech to the nation's schoolchildren.

The president put the promotion and normalization of homosexuality worldwide at the heart of U.S. foreign policy in his first term, often straining relations with traditional Muslim and Catholic nations that reject what they regard as Western “cultural imperialism.”

At the same press conference, President Obama stated the justices' rulings were “a victory for American democracy.”

The High Court ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry allowed a judge to overturn the decision of a statewide election, as 7 million Californian voters endorsed Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

The 5-4 ruling held that the people had no standing in court to defend the result of their election from a ruling made by Judge Vaughn Walker.

The president called the plaintiffs of both cases from Air Force One as he was en route to his trip.

Barack was not the only Obama to show his support for redefining marriage, and for the spread of homosexuality in Africa.

As they boarded Air Force One, 12-year-old Sasha Obama carried a rainbow purse to express her support for redefining marriage.

The Holy Mother of God: “Madonna della Fiducia” — Our Lady of Confidence.

On June 25, 1697, a Catholic home in the Eternal City celebrated the birth of a daughter!  Little did the happy parents know that Divine Providence had destined this little girl to be a noble instrument in His hands to introduce into the Church one of the most beautiful invocations to the Holy Mother of God: “Madonna della Fiducia” — Our Lady of Confidence.

While still a youth, Clare Isabella Forani became a religious and eventually became the venerable abbess of the convent of Poor Clares of Saint Francis in the city of Todi, Italy. She courageously adopted a severe life of penance from the outset and bore unspeakable trials for many years. Her sacrifices purified her soul and prepared her to receive the highest of mystical graces, and her visions and ecstasies were numerous. Such was the intensity of her participation in the suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ that she received the Holy Stigmata of His Passion.

Sister Clare also nourished a very special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a devotion represented in sacred pictures which the talented servant of God painted with her own hand.

Many of Sister Clare’s pictures of the Madonna, either copies or originals, circulated widely due especially to her confessors who gave them to friends and acquaintances. The recipients always found succor in their needs.

Until her death in the odor of sanctity in 1744, Sister Clare always kept with her an oval picture portraying the maternal figure of the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus in her arms. Most extraordinary graces are attributed to this picture, which remains in the city of Todi. Especially benefited were the sick who had recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Mother before it.

Order your complimentary copy of Book of Confidence today!

My Mother, My Confidence
A copy of the picture is venerated today in the Major Seminary next to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran. It gave rise to a devotion to Our Lady under the title of Mother of Confidence. This renowned reproduction of Our Lady of Confidence arrived at the capital of Christendom accompanied by a copy of a document written by the Servant of God with a promise to those who venerate the picture. The parchment is conserved today in the archives of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which is examining the case for Venerable Sister Clare Isabella’s beatification.

The seminary has always held the picture in great esteem. The students, having recourse to the miraculous image in their most pressing needs, always had their prayers answered by Our Lady. Noteworthy was the complete protection granted by Our Lady of Confidence to the seminarians against the scourge of Asiatic Cholera that claimed thousands of lives throughout Italy in 1837. When a new outbreak devastated the south of the country thirty years later and reached the City of the Pope, the protective mantle of the Madonna was again felt, granting immunity to the students of the seminary. During the First World War, the Blessed Virgin watched over the more than 100 seminarians who had recourse to her with redoubled confidence. Many seminarians were sent to the war and there are numerous letters written from the battlefield recounting the marvels worked by the Madonna for those who had sought her intercession.

The Promise
The greatest graces reserved for all those who have this devotion are contained in the promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the venerable Sister Clare Isabella. Below is a translation of this marvelous promise taken from an old parchment containing the consoling words of the Blessed Mother to Sister Clare:

“The divine Lady deigned to reveal to me that every soul that confidently presents herself before this picture will obtain from her Divine Son the general pardon for all her sins. Moreover, my divine Lady assured me with the love of a true mother that she would grant a special tenderness and devotion toward her to everyone who contemplated this picture.”

With the ejaculatory prayer, “My Mother my Confidence,” explains a pamphlet published by the Roman seminary, Mary offers everything but asks for nothing. It is a most ardent and efficacious expression of complete abandonment and confidence in the hands of the Blessed Mother. Just as the Apostle Saint Thomas at the feet of the resurrected Redeemer exclaimed with confidence, “My Lord and my God!” so also should devotees of the Virgin, before this miraculous picture, repeat with heartfelt confidence those sweet words, “Mater mea Fiducia mea!” (My Mother, my Confidence!).

Order your complimentary copy of Book of Confidence today!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supreme Court’s Decisions Must Strengthen Pro-Family Resolve

Men_of_Honor_I_templateThe American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) has issued the following statement about the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court’s decisions on same-sex “marriage”:

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) strongly decries the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court decisions on aspects of same-sex “marriage.” The first decision struck down section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that confers federal benefits only to the marriage of one man and one woman. The second decision nullified the votes of a California state referendum that enshrined the definition of marriage as the union of a man and woman in the state’s constitution.

Read more:

BREAKING: Supreme Court strikes down part of Defense of Marriage Act as ‘unconstitutional’

by John Jalsevac

June 26, 2013 ( - In what some have said may prove to be the equivalent of the Roe v. Wade for marriage in the United States, the Supreme Court has just ruled that a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act is "unconstitutional."

A part of the Clinton-era law that prohibited "married" homosexual couples from receiving federal benefits was struck down 5-4. The majority decision was authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” says the decision.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," it continues. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”
The dissenting Justices were Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito.
Besides codifying the definition of marriage in federal statutes, DOMA protects states from having to recognize as valid within their own jurisdiction any same-sex “marriage” contracted in other states.
While under normal circumstances the U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for defending federal laws in court, in this case the Obama administration declined to do so. Instead, the administration filed papers aruging that the law is unconstitutional.
In an unusual move the U.S. House of Representatives stepped up to fill the void.

Pelosi laughs off priest’s letter challenging abortion views, says he ‘was acting hysterically’

by John Jalsevac

June 25, 2013 ( - Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has laughed off a starkly worded letter from Priests for Life Founder Fr. Frank Pavone, challenging the self-professed Catholic congresswoman to discard her strongly pro-abortion views.

In an interview with Think Progress, Pelosi said she thought Fr. Pavone was being "hysterical," saying, "The arrogance of it all! It’s like something ancient, medieval." She also said that while she understands what the Catholic Church teaches on abortion, "my faith isn't about what their position is."

Fr. Pavone wrote the letter in response to Pelosi's recent comments describing the issue of late-term abortion as "sacred ground." She made the remarks in response to a question from a reporter about the late-term abortion ban that was recently passed in the House.

During the exchange the congresswoman also described herself as a "practicing and respectful Catholic," but expressed her opposition to the bill, saying, "This shouldn't have anything to do with politics."

In his letter, Pavone had written: "Mrs. Pelosi, for decades you have gotten away with betraying and misrepresenting the Catholic faith as well as the responsibilities of public office. We have had enough of it. Either exercise your duties as a public servant and a Catholic, or have the honesty to formally renounce them."

In the interview with ThinkProress, Pelosi insisted, "My faith is very deep and has been my whole life. I love my faith and my faith has nothing to do with whoever he [Father Frank Pavone] is."

She added, "The Church taught me as I was growing up that every person has a free will and has the responsibility to live up to a moral standard. And I respect women’s judgment and values to do that. Whether this priest thinks his judgment should be another woman’s judgment is absolutely ridiculous to me. But nonetheless it’s what they say."

She said that rather than what the Catholic Church teaches, her faith is "is about, Christ is my savior, the church is his church, and has nothing to do with Priests for Life…"

She concluded saying she "wouldn't even dignify" what Fr. Pavone wrote in his letter. "It was a highly emotional statement that they made. If it were more intellectual I might have paid attention to it. He was acting hysterically."

Fr. Pavone had accused Pelosi of making "a mockery of the Catholic faith and of the tens of millions of Americans who consider themselves 'practicing and respectful Catholics' and who find the killing of children -- whether inside or outside the womb -- reprehensible."

"Whatever Catholic faith you claim to respect and practice, it is not the faith that the Catholic Church teaches," he wrote. "And I speak for countless Catholics when I say that it's time for you to stop speaking as if it were."

6-year-old 'transgend​er' boy must be allowed to use girls' bathroom: Colorado officials A Colorado governing body has ruled that a 6-year old boy, who his parents claims is ‘transgender,’ was discriminated against when officials at his elementary school prohibited him from using the girls’ restroom.

In 2011, when Coy Mathis started elementary school, his family and school agreed to treat Coy as a girl and let him use the girls’ restroom.  However, the school decided to ban Coy from his continued use of the girls’ facilities this past winter break.

The reason for the school’s change has not been made public.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Supreme Court vs. Supreme Authority


Matt Barber

“If the Supreme Court were to issue a decision that redefined marriage or provided a precedent on which to build an argument to redefine marriage, the Supreme Court will thereby undermine its legitimacy,” it notes. “The court will significantly decrease its credibility and impair the role it has assumed for itself as a moral authority. It will be acting beyond its proper constitutional role and contrary to the Natural Moral Law which transcends religions, culture, and time.”

Indeed, according to the unequivocal precepts of moral truth – reflected explicitly throughout both the Old and New Testaments – homosexual behavior is sin. Sin is evil. Homosexual behavior is the central, defining characteristic of so-called “gay marriage.” Therefore, “gay marriage” is evil.

Read more:

Lourdes is underwater -- A Different Flood, the Same Rainbow

by Lauren EnkFor the second time in less than a year, the little French mountain town is submerged in an unexpected and dangerous deluge. Dark, muddy waters of the Gave de Pau roar around—and almost above—the rocky little grotto where the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernadette Soubirous.

These latest flash floods come just after the French government let loose a different kind of flood—the legalization of gay marriage.

Read more:

Monday, June 24, 2013

Shocking new opera insults Our Lord and St. Mary Magdalene

The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, by avowed homosexual Mark Adamo, is debuting at the San Francisco Opera House. It is not gospel, it is not Our Lord and it is not Saint Mary Magdalene. It is pure rubbish!

In Adamo’s attempt to re-write history, Our Lord is portrayed as having a marital relationship with St. Mary Magdalene, Our Lady is portrayed as having doubts of her Son's divinity and the Resurrection is denied.

Sign your protest here

Mr. Adamo adopts the same approach as Dan Brown's blasphemous Da Vinci Code, by using texts from the gnostic “gospels” to create a story to “explore” the possible relationship that Our Lord had with St. Mary Magdalene. Not only is this historically inaccurate and an affront to universally accepted truths, it is a blatant blasphemy against the sacred person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Adamo was raised a Catholic, became a militant homosexual and is “married” to his “husband,” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Corigliano. He knows the Catholic faith therefore he knows the terrible offense this is to create this “fiction” using the most sacred person of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

Blasphemy is not art, and artistic license is not absolute! We as Catholics cannot remain silent as Our Lord, Our Lady and the saints are misrepresented and abused with lies called fiction. We must let the San Francisco Opera House know that we Catholics value our Faith and all of our holy and sacred traditions.
Will you sit in silence as Our Lord is offended?

He awaits your defense of His Divine honor.

Sign your protest here

Irish Bishop Blasts Obama’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

David Greenfield, FrontPage Magazine:

What strikes me about this is that Obama is obscenely eager to describe the troubles in Northern Ireland in religious terms, but completely refuses to acknowledge that his Syrian Civil War is a religious conflict.

Conflicts involving Christians can be religious, but not conflicts involving Muslims. Muslims never kill for religious reasons.

A bishop in Northern Ireland accused President Barack Obama of a “hackneyed” analysis of the political situation in the region.

Auxiliary Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor said some parts of the president’s June 17 speech in Belfast, Northern Ireland, echoed “the Protestant/Catholic caricature that has actually receded into the background in Northern Ireland.”

Read more:

Priest slams Nancy Pelosi: Stop 'betraying​' Catholicis​m, or renounce faith

By Washington Times -- Friar Frank Pavone, national director for Priests for Life, isn’t pulling any punches in a letter he penned to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a self-proclaimed Catholic: Either comply with the teachings of the Church, or renounce your faith.

The priest was especially outraged at Ms. Pelosi’s open pro-choice abortion views, seen as a direct conflict with Catholic teachings, Breitbart reported. His letter came on the heels of her recent explanation to a reporter that abortion was in line with her religious views.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Blessed Ferdinand of Portugal – It is in adversity that we test friendship

Infante Ferdinand the Saint, Master of the Order of Aviz, Painted by Nuno Gonçalves.Infante Ferdinand the Saint, Master of the Order of Aviz, Painted by Nuno Gonçalves.

Prince Ferdinand is called “O Santo” (the Saint) in Portuguese history and literature.

What virtue, heroism, and honor! He becomes a captive and a victim in the hands of his cruel enemies. One of his entourage reneges the Catholic faith to escape the suffering. But not the Prince. He ever gives the example of honor.

He will never betray his Faith, nor his beloved land of Portugal. His “troops” now are his fellow Christian captives, subject to abject slavery in Muslim lands. He rallies and leads them on with all the valor and noble dignity he would display on the battlefield. At last he succumbs to disease and dies alone in a dungeon, far from his native land. Only his heart ever makes it back to Portugal where it receives honorable burial. His soul flies to Heaven to join the court of the King of Kings, while on earth, his immortal example inspires men of good will to admiration.



Prince of Portugal, b. in Portugal, 29 September, 1402; d. at Fez, in Morocco, 5 June, 1443. He was one of five sons, his mother being Philippa, daughter of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, and his father King John I, known in history for his victories over the Moors and in particular for his conquest of Ceuta, a powerful Moorish stronghold, and his establishment of an episcopal see within its walls. In early life Ferdinand suffered much from sickness, but bodily weakness did not hinder his growth in spirit, and even in his boyhood and youth he gave evidence of remarkable qualities of soul and intellect. With great strength of character and a keen sense of justice and order he combined an innocence, gentleness, and charity which excited the wonder of the royal court. He had a special predilection for prayer and for the ceremonies and devotions of the Church. After his fourteenth year he recited daily the canonical hours, rising at midnight for Matins. Always severe with himself, he was abstemious in his diet and fasted on Saturdays and on the eves of the feasts of the Church. He cared for the spiritual as well as the corporal necessities of his domestics, while his solicitude for the poor and oppressed was unbounded. His generosity towards the monasteries was impelled by his desire to share in their prayers and good works. He had himself enrolled for the same reason in all the pious congregations of the kingdom.

Edward, King of Portugal, brother of Bl. Ferdinand

Edward, King of Portugal, brother of Bl. Ferdinand

Upon the death of his father in 1433, his brother Edward (Duarte) ascended the throne, while he himself received but a small inheritance. It was then that he was induced to accept the grand-mastership of Aviz, in order that he might be better able to help the poor. As he was not a cleric, his brother, the king, obtained for him the necessary papal dispensation. The fame of his charity went abroad, and Pope Eugene IV, through the papal legate, offered him the cardinal’s hat. This he refused, not wishing, as he declared, to burden his conscience.

Though living a life of great sanctity in the midst of the court, Ferdinand was not a mere recluse. He was also a man of action, and in his boyhood his soul was stirred by the heroic campaign against Ceuta. His mother, the queen, had nurtured the martial spirit of her sons, and it is even said that on her deathbed she gave them each a sword, charging them to use it in defence of widows, orphans, and their country, and in particular against unbelievers. An opportunity soon presented itself. In 1437 Edward planned an expedition against the Moors in Africa and placed his brothers Henry and Ferdinand in command. They set sail 22 Aug., 1437, and four days later arrived at Ceuta. During the voyage Ferdinand became dangerously ill, in consequence of an abcess and fever which he had concealed before the departure, in order not to delay the fleet. Through some mismanagement the Portuguese numbered only 6000 men, instead of 14,000, as ordered by the king. Though advised to wait for reinforcements, the two princes, impatient for the fray, advanced towards Tangiers, to which they lay siege. Ferdinand recovered slowly, but was not able to take part in the first battle.

The Portuguese fought bravely against great odds, but were finally compelled to make terms with the enemy, agreeing to restore Ceuta in return for a safe passage to their vessels. The Moors likewise demanded that one of the princes be delivered into their hands as a hostage for the delivery of the city. Ferdinand offered himself for the dangerous post, and with a few faithful followers, including João Alvarez, his secretary and later his biographer, began a painful captivity which ended only with his death. He was first brought to Arsilla by Salà ben Salà, the Moorish ameer. In spite of sickness and bodily sufferings, he continued all his devotions and showed great charity towards his Christian fellow-captives. Henry at first repaired to Ceuta, where he was joined by his brother John. Realizing that it would be difficult to obtain the royal consent to the restoration of the fortress, they proposed to exchange their brother for the son of Salà ben Salà, whom Henry held as a hostage. The Moor scornfully rejected the proposal, and both returned to Portugal to devise means of setting the prince free. Though his position was perilous in the extreme, the Portuguese Cortes refused to surrender Ceuta, not only on account of the treachery of the Moors, but because the place had cost them so dearly and might serve as a point of departure for future conquests. It was resolved to ransom him if possible. Salà ben Salà refused all offers, his purpose being to recover his former seat of government.

Subscription5Various attempts were made to free the prince, but all proved futile and only served to make his lot more unbearable. On 25 May, 1438, he was sent to Fez and handed over to the cruel Lazurac, the king’s vizier. He was first condemned to a dark dungeon and, after some months of imprisonment, was compelled to work like a slave in the royal gardens and stables. Amid insult and misery Ferdinand never lost patience. Though often urged to seek safety in flight, he refused to abandon his companions and grieved more for their sufferings, of which he considered himself the cause, than for his own. His treatment of his persecutors was respectful and dignified, but he would not descend to flattery to obtain any alleviation of his sufferings. During the last fifteen months of his life he was confined alone in a dark dungeon with a block of wood for his pillow and the stone floor for a bed. He spent most of his time in prayer and in preparation for death, which his rapidly failing health warned him was near at hand. In May, 1443, he was stricken with the fatal disease to which he finally succumbed. His persecutors refused to change his loathsome abode, although they allowed a physician and a few faithful friends to attend him. On the evening of 5 June, after making a general confession and a profession of faith, he peacefully gave up his soul to God. During the day he had confided to his confessor, who frequently visited him, that the Blessed Virgin with St. John and the Archangel Michael had appeared to him in a vision. Lazurac ordered the body of the prince to be opened and the vital organs removed, and then caused it to be suspended head downwards for four days on the walls of Fez. Nevertheless he was compelled to pay tribute to the constancy, innocence, and spirit of prayer of his royal victim. Of Ferdinand’s companions, four shortly afterwards followed him to the grave, one joined the ranks of the Moors, and the others regained their liberty after Lazurac’s death. One of the latter, João Alvarez, his secretary and biographer, carried his heart to Portugal in 1451, and in 1473 his body was brought to Portugal, and laid to rest in the royal vault at Batalha amid imposing ceremonies.

Bl. Ferdinand's remains were transferred to the Monastery of Batalha in 1471, where they lie in the Founder's Chapel.

Bl. Ferdinand’s remains were transferred to the Monastery of Batalha in 1471, where they lie in the Founder’s Chapel.

Prince Ferdinand has ever been held in great veneration by the Portuguese on account of his saintly life and devotion to country. Miracles are said to have been wrought at his intercession, and in 1470 he was beatified by Paul II. Our chief authority for the details of his life is João Alvarez, already referred to. Calderon made him a hero of one of his most remarkable dramas, “El Principe Constante y Mártir de Portugal”.

ALVAREZ, in Acta SS., June, I; OLFERS, Leben des standhaften Prinzen (Berlin, 1827); DUNHAM, History of Spain and Portugal (New York), III.

HENRY M. BROCK (Catholic Encyclopedia) Editorial comment:

Prince Ferdinand is called “O Santo” (the Saint) in Portuguese history and literature.
What virtue, heroism, and honor! He becomes a captive and a victim in the hands of his cruel enemies. One of his entourage reneges the Catholic faith to escape the suffering. But not the Prince. He ever gives the example of honor. He will never betray his Faith, nor his beloved land of Portugal. His “troops” now are his fellow Christian captives, subject to abject slavery in Muslim lands. He rallies and leads them on with all the valor and noble dignity he would display on the battlefield. At last he succumbs to disease and dies alone in a dungeon, far from his native land. Only his heart ever makes it back to Portugal where it receives honorable burial. His soul flies to Heaven to join the court of the King of Kings, while on earth, his immortal example inspires men of good will to admiration.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

St. Thomas More – He Confronted the Mandate

Saint, knight, Lord Chancellor of England, author and martyr, born in London, 7 February, 1477-78; executed at Tower Hill, 6 July, 1535.

Judge More - Sir Thomas More's father

Judge More – Sir Thomas More’s father

He was the sole surviving son of Sir John More, barrister and later judge, by his first wife Agnes, daughter of Thomas Graunger. While still a child Thomas was sent to St. Anthony’s School in Threadneedle Street, kept by Nicholas Holt, and when thirteen years old was placed in the household of Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Chancellor. Here his merry character and brilliant intellect attracted the notice of the archbishop, who sent him to Oxford, where he entered at Canterbury Hall (subsequently absorbed by Christ Church) about 1492. His father made him an allowance barely sufficient to supply the necessaries of life and, in consequence, he had no opportunity to indulge in “vain or hurtful amusements” to the detriment of his studies. At Oxford he made friends with William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre , the latter becoming his first instructor in Greek. Without ever becoming an exact scholar he mastered Greek “by an instinct of genius” as witnessed by Pace (De fructu qui ex doctrina percipitur, 1517), who adds “his eloquence is incomparable and twofold, for he speaks with the same facility in Latin as in his own language”. Besides the classics he studied French, history, and mathematics, and also learned to play the flute and the viol. After two years’ residence at Oxford, More was recalled to London and entered as a law student at New Inn about 1494. In February, 1496, he was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn as a student, and in due course was called to the outer bar and subsequently made a bencher. His great abilities now began to attract attention and the governors of Lincoln’s Inn appointed him “reader” or lecturer on law at Furnival’s Inn, his lectures being esteemed so highly that the appointment was renewed for three successive years.

St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More

It is clear however that law did not absorb all More’s energies, for much of his time was given to letters. He wrote poetry, both Latin and English, a considerable amount of which has been preserved and is of good quality, though not particularly striking, and he was especially devoted to the works of Pico della Mirandola, of whose life he published an English translation some years later. He cultivated the acquaintance of scholars and learned men and, through his former tutors, Grocyn and Linacre, who were now living in London, he made friends with Colet, Dean of St. Paul’s, and William Lilly, both renowned scholars. Colet became More’s confessor and Lilly vied with him in translating epigrams from the Greek Anthology into Latin, then joint productions being published in 1518 (Progymnasnata T. More et Gul. Liliisodalium). In 1497 More was introduced to Erasmus, probably at the house of Lord Mountjoy, the great scholar’s pupil and patron. The friendship at once became intimate, and later on Erasmus paid several long visits at More’s Chelsea house, and the two friends corresponded regularly until death separated them. Besides law and the Classics, More read the Fathers with care, and he delivered, in the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry, a series of lectures on St. Augustine’s De civitate Dei, which were attended by many learned men, among whom Grocyn, the rector of the church, is expressly mentioned. For such an audience the lectures must have been prepared with great care, but unhappily not a fragment of them has survived. These lectures were given somewhere between 1499 and 1503, a period during which More’s mind was occupied almost wholly with religion and the question of his own vocation for the priesthood.

This portion of his life has caused much misunderstanding among his various biographers. It is certain that he went to live near the London Charterhouse and often joined in the spiritual exercises of the monks there. He wore “a sharp shirt of hair next his skin, which he never left off wholly” (Cresacre More), and gave himself up to a life of prayer and penance. His mind wavered for some time between joining the Carthusians or the Observant Franciscans, both of which orders observed the religious life with extreme strictness and fervor. In the end, apparently with the approval of Colet, he abandoned the hope of becoming a priest or religious, his decision being due to a mistrust of his powers of perseverance. Erasmus, his intimate friend and confidant, writes on this matter as follows (Epp. 447):

Meanwhile he applied his whole mind to exercises of piety, looking to and pondering on the priesthood in vigils, fasts and prayers and similar austerities. In which matter he proved himself far more prudent than most candidates who thrust themselves rashly into that arduous profession without any previous trial of their powers. The one thing that prevented him from giving himself to that kind of life was that he could not shake off the desire of the married state. He chose, therefore, to be a chaste husband rather than an impure priest.

Portrait of Christopher Cresacre More (1572‒1649), great-grandson and biographer of St Thomas More.

Portrait of Christopher Cresacre More (1572‒1649), great-grandson and biographer of St Thomas More.

The last sentence of this passage has led certain writers, notably Mr. Seebohm and Lord Campbell, to expatiate at great length on the supposed corruption of the religious orders at this date, which, they declare, disgusted More so much that he abandoned his wish to enter religion on that account. Father Bridgett deals with this question at considerable length (Life and Writings of Sir Thomas More, pp. 23-36), but it is enough to say that this view has now been abandoned even by non-Catholic writers, as witness Mr. W.H. Hutton:

It is absurd to assert that More was disgusted with monastic corruption, that he ‘loathed monks as a disgrace to the Church’. He was throughout his life a warm friend of the religious orders, and a devoted admirer of the monastic ideal. He condemned the vices of individuals; he said, as his great-grandson says, ‘that at that time religious men in England had somewhat degenerated from their ancient strictness and fervor of spirit’; but there is not the slightest sign that his decision to decline the monastic life was due in the smallest degree to a distrust of the system or a distaste for the theology of the Church.

St. Thomas More and his family, painting by Rowland Lockey.

The question of religious vocation being disposed of, More threw himself into his work at the Bar and scored immediate success. In 1501 he was elected a member of Parliament, but as the returns are missing his constituency is unknown. Here he immediately began to oppose the large and unjust exactions of money which King Henry VII was making from his subjects through the agency of Empson and Dudley, the latter being Speaker of the House of Commons. In this Parliament Henry demanded a grant of three-fifteenths, about 113,000 pounds, but thanks to More’s protests the Commons reduced the sum to 30,000. Some years later Dudley told More that his boldness would have cost him his head but for the fact that he had not attacked the king in person. Even as it was Henry was so enraged with More that he “devised a causeless quarrel against his father, keeping him in the Tower till he had made him pay a hundred pounds fine” (Roper). Meanwhile More had made friends with one “Maister John Colte, a gentleman” of Newhall, Essex, whose oldest daughter, Jane, he married in 1505. Roper writes of his choice: “albeit his mind most served him to the second daughter, for that he thought her the fairest and best favored, yet when he considered that it would be great grief and some shame also to the eldest to see her younger sister preferred before her in marriage, he then, of a certain pity, framed his fancy towards” the eldest of the three sisters. The union proved a supremely happy one; of it were born three daughters, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Cecilia, and a son, John; and then, in 1511, Jane More died, still almost a child. In the epitaph which More himself composed twenty years later he calls her “uxorcula Mori”, and a few lines in one of Erasmus’ letters are almost all we know of her gentle, winning personality.

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam by Hans Holbein

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam by Hans Holbein

Of More himself Erasmus has left us a wonderful portrait in his famous letter to Ulrich von Hutten dated 23 July, 1519 (Epp. 447). The description is too long to give in full, but some extracts must be made.

To begin then with what is least known to you, in stature he is not tall, though not remarkably short. His limbs are formed with such perfect symmetry as to leave nothing to be desired. His complexion is white, his face rather than pale and though by no means ruddy, a faint flush of pink appears beneath the whiteness of his skin. His hair is dark brown or brownish black. The eyes are grayish blue, with some spots, a kind which betokens singular talent, and among the English is considered attractive, whereas Germans generally prefer black. It is said that none are so free of vice. His countenance is in harmony with his character, being always expressive of an amiable joyousness, and even an incipient laughter and, to speak candidly, it is better framed for gladness than for gravity or dignity, though without any approach to folly or buffoonery. The right shoulder is a little higher than the left, especially when he walks. This is not a defect of birth, but the result of habit such as we often contract. In the rest of his person there is nothing to offend . . .He seems born and framed for friendship, and is a most faithful and enduring friend . . .When he finds any sincere and according to his heart, he so delights in their society and conversation as to place in it the principal charm of life . . .In a word, if you want a perfect model of friendship, you will find it in no one better than in More . . .In human affairs there is nothing from which he does not extract enjoyment, even from things that are most serious. If he converses with the learned and judicious, he delights in their talent, if with the ignorant and foolish, he enjoys their stupidity. He is not even offended by professional jesters. With a wonderful dexterity ha accommodates himself to every disposition. As a rule, in talking with women, even with his own wife, he is full of jokes and banter. No one is less led by the opinions of the crowd, yet no one departs less from common sense . . . (see Father Bridgett’s Life, p. 56-60, for the entire letter).

Lady Alice Middleton More

Lady Alice Middleton More

More married again very soon after his first wife’s death, his choice being a widow, Alice Middleton. She was older than he by seven years, a good, somewhat commonplace soul without beauty or education; but she was a capital housewife and was devoted to the care of More’s young children. On the whole the marriage seems to have been quite satisfactory, although Mistress More usually failed to see the point of her husband’s jokes.

Sir Thomas More’s Estate at Chelsea, sketch by Colleen Westman, based on a 1695 engraving of the property.

More’s fame as a lawyer was now very great. In 1510 he was made Under-Sheriff of London, and four years later was chosen by Cardinal Wolsey as one of an embassy to Flanders to protect the interests of English merchants. He was thus absent from England for more than six months in 1515, during which period he made the first sketch of the , his most famous work, which was published the following year. Both Wolsey and the king were anxious to secure More’s services at Court. In 1516 he was granted a pension of 100 pounds for life, was made a member of the embassy to Calais in the next year, and became a privy councilor about the same time. In 1519 he resigned his post as Under-Sheriff and became completely attached to the Court. In June, 1520, he was in Henry’s suite at the “Field of the Cloth of Gold”, in 1521 was knighted and made sub-treasurer to the king. When the Emperor Charles V visited London in the following year, More was chosen to deliver the Latin address of welcome; and grants of land in Oxford and Kent, made then and three years later, gave further proof of Henry’s favor. In 1523 he was elected Speaker of the House of Commons on Wolsey’s recommendation; became High Steward of Cambridge University in 1525; and in the same year was made Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to be held in addition to his other offices. In 1523 More had purchased a piece of land in Chelsea, where he built himself a mansion about a hundred yards from the north bank of the Thames, with a large garden stretching along the river. Here at times the king would come as an unbidden guest at dinner time, or would walk in the garden with his arm round More’s neck enjoying his brilliant conversation. But More had no illusions about the royal favor he enjoyed. “If my head should win him a castle in France,” he said to Roper, his son-in-law, in 1525, “it should not fail to go”. The Lutheran controversy had now spread throughout Europe and, with some reluctance, More was drawn into it. His controversial writings are mentioned below in the list of his works, and it is sufficient here to say that, while far more refined than most polemical writers of the period, there is still a certain amount that tastes unpleasant to the modern reader. At first he wrote in Latin but, when the books of Tindal and other English Reformers began to be read by people of all classes, he adopted English as more fitted to his purpose and, by doing so, gave no little aid to the development of English prose.

St. Thomas More Defending the Liberty of the House of Commons, painting by Vivian Forbes, 1927, St. Stephen's Hall, English Parliament, London.

St. Thomas More Defending the Liberty of the House of Commons, painting by Vivian Forbes, 1927, St. Stephen’s Hall, English Parliament, London.

In October, 1529, More succeeded Wolsey as Chancellor of England, a post never before held by a layman. In matters political, however, he in nowise succeeded to Wolsey’s position, and his tenure of the chancellorship is chiefly memorable for his unparalleled success as a judge. His dispatch was so great that the supply of causes was actually exhausted, an incident commemorated in the well-known rhyme,

When More some time had Chancellor been No more suits did remain. The like will never more be seen, Till More be there again.

As chancellor it was his duty to enforce the laws against heretics and, by doing so, he provoked the attacks of Protestant writers both in his own time and since. The subject need not be discussed here, but More’s attitude is patent. He agreed with the principle of the anti-heresy laws and had no hesitation in enforcing them. As he himself wrote in his “Apologia” (cap. 49) it was the vices of heretics that he hated, not their persons; and he never proceeded to extremities until he had made every effort to get those brought before him to recant. How successful he was in this is clear from the fact that only four persons suffered the supreme penalty for heresy during his whole term of office. More’s first public appearance as chancellor was at the opening of the new Parliament in November, 1529. The accounts of his speech on this occasion vary considerably, but it is quite certain that he had no knowledge of the long series of encroachments on the Church which this very Parliament was to accomplish. A few months later came the royal proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as “Supreme Head” of the Church “as far as the law of God will permit”, and we have Chapuy’s testimony that More at once proffered his resignation of the chancellorship, which however was not accepted. His firm opposition to Henry’s designs in regard to the divorce, the papal supremacy, and the laws against heretics, speedily lost him the royal favor, and in May, 1532, he resigned his post of Lord Chancellor after holding it less than three years. This meant the loss of all his income except about 100 pounds a year, the rent of some property he had purchased; and, with cheerful indifference, he at once reduced his style of living to match his strained means. The epitaph he wrote at this time for the tomb in Chelsea church states that he intended to devote his last years to preparing himself for the life to come.

St. Thomas More and his daughter Margaret in his prison

St. Thomas More and his daughter Margaret in his prison

For the next eighteen months More lived in seclusion and gave much time to controversial writing. Anxious to avoid a public rupture with Henry he stayed away from Anne Boleyn’s coronation, and when, in 1533, his nephew William Rastell wrote a pamphlet supporting the pope, which was attributed to More, he wrote a letter to Cromwell disclaiming any share therein and declaring that he knew his duty to his prince too well to criticize his policy. Neutrality, however, did not suit Henry, and More’s name was included in the Bill of Attainder introduced into the Lords against the Holy Maid of Kent and her friends. Brought before four members of the Council, More was asked why he did not approve Henry’s anti-papal action. He answered that he had several times explained his position to the king in person and without incurring his displeasure. Eventually, in view of his extraordinary popularity, Henry thought it expedient to remove his name from the Bill of Attainder. The incident showed that he might expect, however, and the Duke of Norfolk personally warned him of his grave danger, adding “indignatio principis mors est”. “Is that all, my Lord,” answered More, “then, in good faith, between your grace and me is but this, that I shall die today, and you tomorrow.” In March, 1534, the Act of Succession was passed which required all who should be called upon to take an oath acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, and to this was added a clause repudiating “any foreign authority, prince or potentate”. On 14 April, More was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath and, on his refusal, was committed to the custody of the Abbot of Westminster. St. Thomas More Four days later he was removed to the Tower, and in the following November was attainted of misprision of treason, the grants of land made to him in 1523 and 1525 being resumed by the Crown. In prison, though suffering greatly from “his old disease of the chest . . .gravel, stone, and the cramp”, his habitual gaiety remained and he joked with his family and friends whenever they were permitted to see him as merrily as in the old days at Chelsea. When alone his time was given up to prayer and penitential exercises; and he wrote a “Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation”, treatise (unfinished) on the Passion of Christ, and many letters to his family and others. In April and May, 1535, Cromwell visited him in person to demand his opinion of the new statutes conferring on Henry the title of Supreme Head of the Church. More refused to give any answer beyond declaring himself a faithful subject of the king. In June, Rich, the solicitor-general, held a conversation with More and, in reporting it, declared that More had denied Parliament’s power to confer ecclesiastical supremacy on Henry. It was now discovered that More and Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester, had exchanged letters in prison, and a fresh inquiry was held which resulted in his being deprived of all books and writing materials, but he contrived to write to his wife and favorite daughter, Margaret, on stray scraps of paper with a charred stick or piece of coal.

On 1 July, More was indicted for high treason at Westminster Hall before a special commission of twenty. More denied the chief charges of the indictment, which was enormously long, and denounced Rich, the solicitor-general and chief witness against him as a perjuror. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to be hanged at Tyburn, but some days later this was changed by Henry to beheading on Tower Hill. The story of his last days on earth, as given by Roper and Cresacre More, is of the tenderest beauty and should be read in full; certainly no martyr ever surpassed him in fortitude. As Addison wrote in the Spectator (No. 349) “that innocent mirth which had been so conspicuous in his life, did not forsake him to the last . . .his death was of a piece with his life. There was nothing in it new, forced or affected. He did not look upon the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that ought to produce any change in the disposition of his mind”. The execution took place on Tower Hill “before nine of the clock” on 6 July, the body being buried in the Church of St. Peter ad vincula.

Margaret Roper Rescuing the Head of Her Father.

Margaret Roper Rescuing the Head of Her Father.

The head, after being parboiled, was exposed on London Bridge for a month when Margaret Roper bribed the man, whose business it was to throw it into the river, to give it to her instead. The final fate of the relic is somewhat uncertain, but in 1824 a leaden box was found in the Roper vault at St. Dunstan’s, Canterbury, which on being opened was found to contain a head presumed to be More’s. The Jesuit Fathers at Stonyhurst possess a remarkable collection of secondary relics, most of which came to them from Father Thomas More, S.J. (d. 1795), the last male heir of the martyr. These include his hat, cap, crucifix of gold, a silver seal, “George”, and other articles. The hair shirt, worn by him for many years and sent to Margaret Roper the day before his martyrdom, is preserved by the Augustinian canonesses of Abbots Leigh, Devonshire, to whom it was brought by Margaret Clements, the adopted child of Sir Thomas. A number of autograph letters are in the British Museum. Several portraits exist, the best being that by Holbein in the possession of E. Huth, Esq. Holbein also painted a large group of More’s household which has disappeared, but the original sketch for it is in the Basle Museum, and a sixteenth-century copy is the property of Lord St. Oswald. Thomas More was formally beatified by Pope Leo XIII, in the Decree of 29 December, 1886. [Note: St. Thomas More was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935.]


Signature of St. Thomas More

Signature of St. Thomas More

More was a ready writer and not a few of his works remained in manuscript until some years after his death, while several have been lost altogether. Of all his writings the most famous is unquestionably the Utopia, first published at Louvain in 1516. The volume recounts the fictitious travels of one Raphael Hythlodaye, a mythical character, who, in the course of a voyage to America, was left behind near Cape Frio and thence wandered on till he chanced upon the Island of Utopia (“nowhere”) in which he found an ideal constitution in operation. The whole work is really an exercise of the imagination with much brilliant satire upon the world of More’s own day. Real persons, such as Peter Giles, Cardinal Morton, and More himself, take part in the dialogue with Hythlodaye, so that an air of reality pervades the whole which leaves the reader sadly puzzled to detect where truth ends and fiction begins, and has led not a few to take the book seriously. But this is precisely what More intended, and there can be no doubt that he would have been delighted at entrapping William Morris, who discovered in it a complete gospel of Socialism; or Cardinal Zigliara, who denounced it as “no less foolish than impious”; as he must have been with his own contemporaries who proposed to hire a ship and send out missionaries to his non-existent island. The book ran through a number of editions in the original Latin version and, within a few years, was translated into German, Italian, French, Dutch, Spanish, and English.

A collected edition of More’s English works was published by William Rastell, his nephew, at London in 1557; it has never been reprinted and is now rare and costly. The first collected edition of the Latin Works appeared at Basle in 1563; a more complete collection was published at Louvain in 1565 and again in 1566. In 1689 the most complete edition of all appeared at Frankfort-on-Main, and Leipzig. After the Utopia the following are the most important works:

Tomb of St. Thomas More,Tower of London

Tomb of St. Thomas More,Tower of London

  • “Luciani Dialogi . . .compluria opuscula . . . ab Erasmo Roterodamo et Thoma Moro interpretibus optimis in Latinorum lingua traducta . . .” (Paris, 1506);
  • “Thomae Mori v.c. Dissertatio Epistolica de aliquot sui temporis theologastrorum ineptiis . . .” (Leyden, 1625);
  • Epigrammata…Thomae Mori Britanni, pleraque e Graecis versa. (Basle, 1518); Eruditissimi viri Gul. Rossi Opus elegans quo pulcherrime retegit ac refellit insanas Lutheri calumnias (London, 1523), written at the request of Henry VIII in answer to Luther’s reply to the royal “Defensio Septem Sacramentorum”;
  • “A dyaloge of Syr Thomas More Knyght . . .of divers maters, as of the veneration and worshyp of ymages and relyques, praying to sayntys and goyng on pylgrymage . . .” (London,1529);
  • “The Supplycacyon of Soulys” (London, 1529), written in answer to Fish’s “Supplication of the Beggars”;
  • “Syr Thomas More’s answer to the fyrste parte of the poysoned booke . . . named ‘The Souper of the Lorde’ ” (London, 1532);
  • Subscription4
  • “The Second parte of the Confutacion of Tyndal’s Answere . . .” (London, 1533); these two works together form the most lengthy of all More’s writings; besides Tindal, Robert Barnes is dealt with in the last book of the whole;

Among the other writings in the collected volume of “English Works” are the following which had not been previously published:

  • An unfinished treatise “uppon those words of Holy Scripture, ‘Memorare novissima et in eternum non peccabis’ “, dated 1522;
  • “Treatise to receive the blessed Body of our Lorde, sacramentally and virtually both”;
  • “Treatise upon the Passion” unfinished;
  • “Certein devout and vertuouse Instruccions, Meditacions and Prayers”;
  • some letters written in the Tower, including his touching correspondence with his daughter Margaret.

G. Roger Hudleston (Catholic Encyclopedia)


Margaret Roper, the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas More. Painted by Holbein.

Margaret Roper, the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas More. Painted by Holbein.

Letter to his daughter, Margaret

Written the night before his execution in 1535. This was Thomas More’s final writing:

Our Lord bless you, good daughter, and your good husband, and your little boy, and all yours, and all my children, and all my god-children and all our friends. Recommend me when ye may to my good daughter Cecily, whom I beseech Our Lord to comfort; and I send her my blessing and to all her children, and pray her to pray for me. I send her a handkercher, and God comfort my good son, her husband. My good daughter Daunce hath the picture in parchment that you delivered me from my Lady Coniers, her name on the back. Show her that I heartily pray her that you may send it in my name to her again, for a token from me to pray for me.

I like special well Dorothy Colly. I pray you be good unto her. I would wot whether this be she that you wrote me of. If not, yet I pray you be good to the other as you may in her affliction, and to my good daughter Jane Aleyn too. Give her, I pray you, some kind answer, for she sued hitherto me this day to pray you be good to her.

I cumber you, good Margaret, much, but I would be sorry if it should be any longer than to-morrow, for it is St. Thomas’s even, and the utas of St. Peter; and therefore, to-morrow long I to go to God. It were a day very meet and convenient for me.

Sir Thomas More Bids Farewell to his Daughter

I never liked your manner towards me better than when you kissed me last; for I love when daughterly love and dear charity hath no leisure to look to worldly courtesy. Farewell, my dear child, and pray for me, and I shall for you and all your friends, that we may merrily meet in heaven. I thank you for your great cost. I send now my good daughter Clement her algorism stone, and I send her and my godson and all hers God’s blessing and mine. I pray you at time convenient recommend me to my good son John More. I liked well his natural fashion. Our Lord bless him and his good wife, my loving daughter, to whom I pray him to be good, as he hath great cause; and that, if the land of mine come to his hands, he break not my will concerning his sister Daunce. And the Lord bless Thomas and Austin, and all that they shall have.

Celebrating the Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary – Free wallpapers

Celebrating the Month of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - See more at:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Prayer for Purity

Jesus, Lover of chastity, Mary, Mother most pure, and Saint Joseph, chaste guardian of the Virgin, to you I come at this hour, begging you to plead with God for me. I earnestly wish to be pure in thought, word and deed in imitation of your own holy purity. Obtain for me, then, a deep sense of modesty which will be reflected in my external conduct. Protect my eyes, the windows of my soul, from anything that might dim the luster of a heart that must mirror only Christlike purity. Heart of Jesus, Fount of all purity, have mercy on us.

Virgin: It's Not a Dirty Word - See more at:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How Souls Exclude Themselves From Heaven

Unless thou avoidest every voluntary sin, thou shalt labor in vain, whatever efforts thou mayst make.

Photo of Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue

1. The voice of Jesus. My Child, cleanse thy heart from every fault: and keep thyself carefully from the stain of even the least sin.

There is nothing, there can be nothing, for the sake of which it is allowed to commit a sin, however light.

Wherefore, although thou mightst thereby save the whole world from ruin, it would be unlawful to offend Me, even in the least thing, since I am infinitely more excellent than the whole universe.

Some guard themselves against grievous offenses, but of light faults they render themselves guilty without scruple; a clear sign that they are rather governed by self-love, than by love for Me.

Deluded souls! they will learn, at their cost, how greatly they have deceived themselves.

2. Whoever overlooks little things, will gradually fail in great ones: and, having accustomed himself to think everything little, he will still fancy that all is well with him; when, without much uneasiness of conscience, he commits great sins.

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New Zealand abortions decline for the 5th consecutive year

by Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

AUCKLAND, 19 June, 2013 ( - The downward trend for induced abortions in New Zealand has continued for the 5th consecutive year and numbers have now have dropped to their lowest since 1995.

Figures released today reveal that there were 14,745 induced abortions in the year ended December 2012. This is 1,118 less than the previous year, where 15,863 induced abortions were recorded.

While abortions in most of the age categories have declined, there has been a small rise in women having abortions in the 30-34 and 45 years-plus brackets.

The highest numbers of abortions occurred in the 20-24 year old age group (4,560) a trend that is consistent year on year. The abortion rate in general is 16.1 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, but for the 20-24 age group the rate is 29 per 1,000 women.

The average age of a woman receiving an abortion was 25.

Just over half (55%) of all abortions were performed by 10 weeks of pregnancy. When more detailed information is released later this year by the Abortion Supervisory Committee it is expected that the number of medical abortions will have increased significantly from the 1,000 performed in 2011.

The majority (62%) were first time abortions, although 24.7% had had one previous abortion and 13.1% had had two or more previous abortions.

Abortion is legal in New Zealand throughout pregnancy under the grounds of mental and physical health or when there is a serious threat to the life of the mother. There are further grounds for abortion if under 20 weeks, which include rape and incest, intellectual disability of the mother, physical or intellectual disability of the unborn child. 97.6% of all abortions performed in 2011 were solely on the grounds of “danger to mental health.”

Numerous studies have linked abortion to a greater incidence of anxiety, illicit drug use, suicidal behaviour and other mental health issues. One of the most recent studies from New Zealand concluded, "The growing evidence suggesting that abortion does not have therapeutic benefits cannot be ignored indefinitely, and it is unacceptable for clinicians to authorize large numbers of abortions on grounds for which there is, currently, no scientific evidence”.

The decline in abortion numbers is being credited to some degree to the rising use among New Zealand women of long-acting reversible contraception such as Jadelle and IUDs. Jadelle, a contraceptive implant, has been funded by Pharmac since 2010. Since then, the number of Jadelle implants inserted had risen from 0 to 13,600 in 2012.

Annabel Henderson Morrell, National Secretary of the Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ) declared that “spending money on funding contraception and improving contraceptive access was both fiscally smart and socially responsible.”

Family Life International NZ’s National Director, Dame Colleen Bayer, noted that the long-acting contraceptives actually work, at least in part, by preventing newly conceived human life from implanting in the womb. In this way they can cause chemical abortions.

“No one knows the true figure of human lives lost from the moment of conception in New Zealand. Let us not forget the ones whose lives will never be recorded” she said.

In 2011 almost 48% of women presenting for an abortion had been recorded as using contraception.

ProLife NZ’s spokesperson Mary-Anne Evers attributes the decline in abortions to “a greater awareness of the development of the child in the womb, and the ongoing work of pro-life groups around New Zealand”. She noted that “there is still much work to be done.”

Right to Life NZ’s spokesperson Ken Orr commended “those brave and courageous women who, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy chose life for their child.”

The news has encouraged pro-life groups to continue working to promote the sanctity of the unborn child and to “care for the woman, her present need and her future health and well-being,” Dame Colleen said.

“Our vision is for a country where no woman needs to choose abortion, where every woman feels supported to be able to choose life for their child” said Mary-Anne Evers of Prolife NZ. A vision echoed by all the pro-life groups in New Zealand.

St. Aloysius Gonzaga – He Was More Angel than Man

When we see a young prince, the darling of his family and country, sacrifice nobility, sovereignty, riches, and pleasures, the more easily to secure the treasure of divine love, and of eternal happiness, how ought we to condemn our own sloth, who live as if heaven were to cost us nothing!

When we see a young prince, the darling of his family and country, sacrifice nobility, sovereignty, riches, and pleasures, the more easily to secure the treasure of divine love, and of eternal happiness, how ought we to condemn our own sloth, who live as if heaven were to cost us nothing!

Aloysius Gonzaga was son of Ferdinand Gonzaga, prince of the holy empire, and marquis of Castiglione, removed in the third degree of kindred from the duke of Mantua. His mother was Martha Tana Santena, daughter of Tanus Santena, lord of Cherry, in Piedmont. She was lady of honor to Isabel, the wife of Philip II of Spain, in whose court the marquis Gonzaga also lived in great favor. When she understood this nobleman had asked her in marriage both of the king and queen, and of her friends in Italy, being a lady of remarkable piety, she spent her time in fasting and prayer in order to learn the will of heaven, and to draw down upon herself the divine blessing. The marriage was solemnized in the most devout manner, the parties at the same time performing their devotions for the jubilee.

Ferrante Gonzaga (1544-1586), the father of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

When they left the court and returned into Italy, the marquis was declared chamberlain to his majesty, and general of part of the army in Lombardy, with a grant of several estates. The marchioness made it her earnest petition to God that he would bless her with a son, who should devote himself entirely to his love and service.

The Mother of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Martha Tana Santena (1550-1605)

The Mother of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Martha Tana Santena (1550-1605)

Our saint was born in the castle of Castiglione, in the diocese of Brescia, on the 9th of March, 1568. William Duke of Mantua stood godfather, and gave him the name of Aloysius. The holy names of Jesus and Mary, with the sign of the cross and part of the catechism, were the first words which his devout mother taught him as soon as he was able to speak; and from her example and repeated instructions the deepest sentiments of religion, and the fear of God were impressed upon his tender soul. Even in his infancy he showed an extraordinary tenderness for the poor; and such was his devotion that he frequently hid himself in corners, where after long search he was always found at his prayers, in which so amiable was his piety, and so heavenly did his recollection appear, that he seemed to resemble an angel clothed with a human body.

His father designing to train him up to the army, in order to give him an inclination to that state, furnished him with little guns, and other weapons, took him to Casal to show him a muster of three thousand Italian foot, and was much delighted to see him carry a little pike, and walk before the ranks.

The child staid there some months, during which time he learned from the officers certain unbecoming words, the meaning of which he did not understand, not being then seven years old. But his tutor hearing him use bad words, chide him for it, and from that time he could never bear the company of any persons who in his hearing ever profaned the holy name of God. This offense, though excusable by his want of age and knowledge, was to him during his whole life a subject of perpetual humiliation, and he never ceased to bewail and accuse himself of it with extreme confusion and compunction.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Modesty & God

Is fashion just a matter of taste?

Get the answer here: Modesty & God

This post makes a powerful point: The struggle to restore the family will be much more effective if done together with efforts to restore sobriety, modesty and elegance in dress.

Fashions have become way too skimpy, vulgar or just ugly. Not to mention those strange face piercings or neo-tribal tattoos.

Tell me if you like it -- Modesty & God

Thank you so much for your friendship and support and for everything you do to defend and restore moral values in society.

Lourdes closed, 200 evacuated after flash floods

Agence France-Presse

TOULOUSE — French authorities Tuesday shut the grotto at Lourdes and evacuated about 200 people following flash floods at the Roman Catholic pilgrimage site.

The preventive measure came a day after heavy rain and unseasonal snowfall in the area led to rivers flowing well above their normal levels, even cutting off some roads.

“The Sanctuaries are closed,” the local prefecture of the Haute-Garonne area said in a statement.

There are 22 places of worship at Lourdes.

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House passes nationwide 20-week ban on abortion

by Ben Johnson

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 18, 2013 ( – The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would restrict all abortions nationwide to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (H.R. 1797), introduced by Arizona Republica Trent Franks, would end abortion after the point when scientists agree unborn children can feel pain.

In a nearly party-line vote, the measure passed 228-196.

Six Democrats voted yes. Six Republicans voted against the bill. Ten Congressmen did not vote. The full roll call, showing how every Congressman voted, is below.

Democrats who voted yes include: Henry Cuellar of Texas, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Collin Peterson of Minnesota, and Nick Rahall of West Virginia.

Republicans who voted against the bill include Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, Richard Hanna of New York, Jon Runyan of New Jersey, and Rob Woodall of Georgia.

"Passage of today's landmark bill marks the first time in history, in either chamber of the U.S. Congress, that affirmative protection has been extended to unborn children,” said Franks. “It is my prayer that today also marks a day when America finally opens her eyes to the humanity of these little victims and the inhumanity of what is being done to them."

Leaders in the pro-lifemovement expressed their joy at the bill's passage.

“This vote makes a statement in favor of life even though the Dem[ocrat]-controlled Senate likely won't move on it,” said Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy advisor for Operation Rescue. “Getting this far was a big deal.”

"This pro-woman, pro-science, Constitutional bill deserves an immediate vote in the U.S. Senate," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the SBA List. "It’s simple: children capable of experiencing unimaginable pain from abortion must be protected across the country."

The act's future is uncertain, as it lacks a companion in the Senate, and President Obama has threatened to veto it if the measure ever reaches his desk.

If the bill becomes law, abortionists who perform late-term abortions may face a fine or up to five years in prison.

The legislation would affect the 300 abortionists who perform abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization and an estimated 140 abortion providers who are willing to perform abortions at 24 weeks or later, according to a 2008 report from the Guttmacher Institute.

Some in the pro-life movement were outraged after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia added an amendment allowing abortion in the cases of duly reported rape or incest, a change he made in response to a media feeding frenzy over Franks' remarks about abortion and rape – remarks he says were misinterpreted.

The bill already allowed abortions to save the mother's life.

In response, Georgia Right to Life rescinded its previous support of the bill, saying it had been “hijacked.”

“Sadly, the politics of compromise has decided that one class of children—those conceived by rape or incest—do not deserve protection from the agony of literally being ripped apart,” said GRTL President Dan Becker.

Georgia Congressmen Paul Broun and Rob Woodall were two of the six Republicans to vote nay.

However, most of the nation's pro-life groups strongly supported the incremental measure as an improvement over existing policy. Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said, "Any lawmaker who votes to allow unlimited abortion in the sixth month or later is voting to encourage a continuation of the horrors associated with the likes of Kermit Gosnell."

During debate, Democrats seized upon the fact that Cantor had scheduled Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN, to manage today's vote instead of Franks. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, who has strong ties to the Democratic Socialists of America, was among those who drew attention to the fact that there are no Republican women on the House Judiciary Committee that passed the bill last Wednesday.

“Do you think it's fair or proper for a body of men to solely determine one of the most important and private decisions a woman can make in regard to her own health and body?” she asked.

President Obama issued a statement yesterday saying he“strongly opposes” the bill, which he said presents a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients' health care decisions, and the Constitution.”

Democrats shared his talking points in the hours prior to the vote.

“The bill is a direct threat to the privacy rights and health of every woman living in this country, and especially women of color,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA. She said minority members suffered even more “due to the terrible Hyde Amendment,” which forbids taxpayer funding of abortion.