Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm not the only one who cried (UPDATED with new photos)

I can't help it. I have to post this. I have watched the video several times now, and I have seen others post it on their facebook pages and on their blogs, and they've said the same thing: They cried. Yes, even grown men.

And for what?

An old man and a young boy, complete strangers, except that they know each other. Watch and you can see that they know each other. You and I know what we are witnessing: This is pure love. It's agape love. These two share one Faith, united in the love of Christ, and it's a love so primordial, so transcendent, so universal, that non-Catholics and non-Christians are caught up in it as well.

According to Catholic News Agency, this is the exchange that took place between little Nathan de Brito, age 9, and the Vicar of Christ, his Papa:
“Your Holiness, I want to be a priest of Christ, a representative of Christ,” de Brito whispered in the ear of Pope Francis July 26, after jumping hurdles and making his way to the Popemobile in his Brazilian national soccer team jersey. 
“I am going to pray for you, but I ask you to pray for me,” Pope Francis responded, moved to tears and embracing him. 
“As of today, your vocation is set.”

Be sure to watch the video all the way to the end, where you will be hit at the level of your soul:

**New photos

Zenit News Agency

This is the love of Christ. This is what it's all about, folks. Agape love, pure love, and nothing more and nothing less.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wanna see what three million people look like?

All you have to do is look to the "dying, irrelevant" Church and the elderly man who leads her.

Last week I had a man tell me (as so many have before him) that the Catholic Church would have to change her outdated teachings "if it is to survive".

This week, the AP reports that 3 million young people attended the final Mass of World Youth Day in Rio. Yep, the Pope -- that old man in charge of the decaying Church-on-life-support -- drew 3 million youth.

Take a look:

Catholic Universe Newspapers
They say the crowd of pilgrims stretched for two miles.

Felipe Dana/AP

I can't help but think of my favorite description of the papacy, written by 19th century English historian Thomas Macaulay and excerpted here:
There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church.  
The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. 
The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable…. 
Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all….

As I've said before, there is no earthly explanation for the fact that the Catholic Church, grounded in the office of the papacy, survives and thrives after 20 centuries, but there is a supernatural explanation:

And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. -- Matthew 16:18

My dear friends, Jesus Christ is a Man of His word.


PS: If you want to see mobs of wholesome, Christ-centered, youthful joy, go here. What fun!

PPS: What Pope Francis really said about gay people, here. And the video, here.


Friday, July 26, 2013

Quick Takes: Vindication, and other cool stuff.

I can't believe it! My Quick Takes are on time!

1) Is it wrong to be a tad happy for vindication? A few months back I wrote a post for Catholic Exchange called, Three Things People Don't Know About Same-Sex Marriage, the last item being:

3. Those who decry the slippery slope argument often confirm the slippery slope.

In the over 500 comments that followed, some chided me for this assertion (including our own Miss Gwen, whom I miss on this blog!); however, I recently came across an interesting couple of articles by gay "marriage" proponent Professor Kent Greenfield of Boston College Law School. Just a few months before the Supreme Court's ruling on DOMA, Mr. Greenfield mocked the many friend-of-the-Court legal briefs opposing gay "marriage", including the idea that gay "marriage" would lead to a slippery slope:
Then there’s the fixation on how a ruling in favor of gay marriage will start the nation down a slippery slope toward polygamy and incest. Adam and Steve today; tomorrow Adam, Steve, with Cain and Abel along for the ride as well. But no one seems to notice that the slippery slope worries are as great with heterosexual marriage as same-sex marriage. The slope between gay marriage and polygamous or incestuous gay marriage is no steeper and no slicker than between heterosexual marriage and polygamous or incestuous heterosexual marriage. 
So how would this “slippery slope” danger play out? Is the worry that recognizing marriage equality for gays and lesbians will drive straight men into the arms of their sisters? Well, now you’ve lost me.
The guy just can't see it, apparently! Then four months later, just after the gay "marriage" rulings, our good professor has suddenly, inexplicably reversed himself:
It’s been a few weeks since the victories in the marriage cases at the Supreme Court, and maybe it’s time for the political left to own up to something. You know those opponents of marriage equality who said government approval of same-sex marriage might erode bans on polygamous and incestuous marriages? They’re right. As a matter of constitutional rationale, there is indeed a slippery slope between recognizing same-sex marriages and allowing marriages among more than two people and between consenting adults who are related. If we don’t want to go there, we need to come up with distinctions that we have not yet articulated well.
I feel like I could have written his next paragraph, after having so many debates about this very issue (my words in blue):
In private conversations with leaders in the [gay] marriage movement [with me, the conversations have been online and public], I often hear two responses. The first is that there is no political energy behind a fight for incestuous or polygamous marriages. [Oh my gosh, we hear that all the time on the Bubble: "I don't see people clamoring for incest!" as if they forget that until recently no one was clamoring for gay "marriage" either.] The second is that they would be fine if those restrictions fell as well but, in effect, “don’t quote me on that.” [Similar to what I assert in the CE article: 'The same people who mock me for bringing up the “slippery slope” will ultimately admit that “it doesn’t matter” and they “don’t care” if polygamy is legalized or if two sisters marry or if Aunt Frannie wants to marry her dog. And it’s clear that they aren’t kidding. They really don’t care.'] The first of these responses, of course, is a political response but not a legal one. The second is to concede the point, with hopes that they won't have to come out of the closet on the concession until more same-sex victories are won in political and legal arenas.
Maybe soon the professor will admit that these guys and these guys are queueing up for some recognition as well and might just well have a legal case! Welcome to progressive Utopia.

2) I like this, as it explains the state's three options regarding any activity.

Marriage = Biology (Not Bigotry)

3) And from Fr. Barron: Why the Church sometimes has to be a fighting Church:

Clarity. Logic. Ahhhh!

4) So, I've been reading through the Pope's first encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith), and this paragraph struck me as reflective of the conversations we have here on this blog! Don't you think so, too? 
25. Today more than ever, we need to be reminded of this bond between faith and truth, given the crisis of truth in our age. In contemporary culture, we often tend to consider the only real truth to be that of technology: truth is what we succeed in building and measuring by our scientific know-how, truth is what works and what makes life easier and more comfortable. Nowadays this appears as the only truth that is certain, the only truth that can be shared, the only truth that can serve as a basis for discussion or for common undertakings. 
Yet at the other end of the scale we are willing to allow for subjective truths of the individual, which consist in fidelity to his or her deepest convictions, yet these are truths valid only for that individual and not capable of being proposed to others in an effort to serve the common good. But Truth itself, the truth which would comprehensively explain our life as individuals and in society, is regarded with suspicion. Surely this kind of truth — we hear it said — is what was claimed by the great totalitarian movements of the last century, a truth that imposed its own world view in order to crush the actual lives of individuals. 
In the end, what we are left with is relativism, in which the question of universal truth — and ultimately this means the question of God — is no longer relevant. It would be logical, from this point of view, to attempt to sever the bond between religion and truth, because it seems to lie at the root of fanaticism, which proves oppressive for anyone who does not share the same beliefs. In this regard, though, we can speak of a massive amnesia in our contemporary world. The question of truth is really a question of memory, deep memory, for it deals with something prior to ourselves and can succeed in uniting us in a way that transcends our petty and limited individual consciousness. It is a question about the origin of all that is, in whose light we can glimpse the goal and thus the meaning of our common path.
Isn't that beautiful? Identify the problem, and ultimately give hope (which in turn reminds me of this great post from Dr. Stacy). 

5) So excited to report on the Nigerian pro-life conference that we have promoted and supported here in the Bubble! Uju's summary of those amazing days is on the COLAfrica blog, and if you watch the following video, you will see Uju and Nicole (at the 0:27 mark) on the day they attended a five-hour, joy-filled, life-filled mass, which included Confirmations for the children in white!

From the article:
As we got the privilege of spending time with the amazing people of Enugu and Owerri, we found them to be warm, kind, resilient and yes, pro-life to the core. It was as if every single encounter we had was a balm to the soul and a shot in the arm at the same time.  
But one of the highest points of our journey happened on a bright Sunday morning when our gracious Host, Archbishop Anthony Obinna, of Owerri Archdiocese, took us to Mass (worship) with him to a rural Catholic parish in a small village called Orodo. 
To get to Orodo, we journeyed an hour on the dirt-road, passing by small scenic villages, catching a glimpse of rural Africa and seeing the glorious beauty of nature in the African landscape. But the summit of our experience was in meeting the people of Orodo and experiencing first-hand their vibrant faith and their inexplicable joy.  
The men, women and children we met at this local Catholic parish did not have much in terms of material wealth but they had more zest and grace than anyone you'll ever know. And they welcomed us with the warmth and cheer of real family. 
Their faith and fervour were palpable. Their zeal and passion for God was abundantly obvious. Their music was as melodious as any grand choir in any part of the world. The Mass, which lasted for all of 5 hours, was a profound faith experience that will remain emblazoned in our hearts for years and years to come.  
And as the Catholic way of worship is universal, we prayed, we sang, we danced and we listened to the Liturgy along side everyone else. Yes, we sat, stood and knelt with everyone else! So we got to see what we already knew in our hearts - that the Church is a family with one worship and one love for God. In America, Africa, Europe or anywhere else, the worship is the same, from Orodo to Ottawa the Liturgy is the same - pristine and life-giving.  
And we counted it a real blessing for us to experience this in the midst of pure joy and in the embrace of true catholic family that transcends race and nation! 
I cannot say it enough: Uju and Nicole are warrior heroes in this battle for life and love around the globe, and I feel privileged to occupy the same planet as they do. To think it's only been one year since the Blessed Mother inspired Uju to write her open letter to Melinda Gates. Thank you again to all of you who helped with financial assistance and so many prayers. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this apostolate!

6) Rejoicing with all our readers in the UK on the birth of the new little prince, George Alexander Louis! What joy to celebrate new life on a global scale and to remember that every human life, whether king or peasant, is unrepeatable and of infinite value. I particularly love this picture, as I am old enough to remember when George's father was born:

And readers in the UK should consider attending the following conference on September 27 & 28, hosted by the Anscombe Bioethics Centre:

If you can't attend, please get the word out, and pray for its success!

7) Speaking of unrepeatable, invaluable lives, meet Grant! This little guy was doing well in his baby house when this photo was taken, but since then he has been transferred to an adult mental institution where things are very bad. No child should be in a place like that.

Click my photo for more details!

Please, someone, go get him out. He is eight years old and may not have much time left to be saved. Pray for Grant and all those children with him in that very horrible place. Where there is life, there is hope! 


Have a great weekend everyone, and thanks to Jen for hosting!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Any pro-"choice" secularist want to defend this lady?

Wow! And we Catholics are "anti-science"? I cannot stop laughing…. Anyone want to defend Ms. Harris-Perry (the same lady who ironically said that children don't belong to their parents, and who thankfully has removed the tampon earrings from her ears for this segment)?

The crazy part, of course, is that it's the pro-"choice" crowd that wants laws to be made based on feelings, not the pro-life side -- since our side sticks with science! How on earth can she be missing that? Sorry, but I am laughing at this!! It's insanity!

Friday, July 19, 2013

"I am Woman" -- ironic ode to the embryo

My husband is the early riser in the family, and on most weekend mornings I stumble downstairs, bleary-eyed, as the kitchen radio screams out the hits of the 1970s. This can be torture or it can be wonderful, depending on my mood and the song.

On a recent morning, my positive energy surged I when I recognized the first notes of the feminist anthem, I Am Woman. Helen Reddy was belting it like a boss, and I was right there with my sista singing along...

Yes, I am wise! But it's wisdom born of pain! Yes, I paid the price, but look how much I gained!

Dancing around, remembering how I learned this song as a little girl, and how much my strong, conservative mother loved it...

If I have to, I can do anything! I am strong! I am invincible! I am wooooomaaaan!!

Dancing more, humming the next lines because I did not know the lyrics...

I am woman watch me grow, see me standing toe to toe, as I spread my lovin' arms across the laaaand!

And then -- I did a double-take. No, that can't be, can it? I couldn't have heard that word, not in a feminist anthem! "Dean, did you hear that? In this song?" I quickly googled the lyrics and there it was:

But I'm still an embryo…

*blink, blink*

Whoa! Ms. Reddy said "embryo"! She just compared herself to an embryo!

But I'm still an embryo, with a long long way to go, until I make my brother understaaaand!

I googled again. The song topped the Billboard charts in December 1972. Mere weeks before Roe v. Wade became the horrific, bloody law of the land on January 22, 1973.

Could it be that in those weeks prior to Roe, it was still okay to be an embryo? Even in the minds and vocal cords of feminists?

If we assume that feminists still had hearts of flesh and not stone back then, we could translate the lyric like this:

"I'm here! I'm small, I'm insignificant to some, you can't see me yet, but I'm on my way. I have so much to offer, so much to show you, and once I make that long, long journey to visibility, my brothers will understand that I have been here all along! I am worthy, I have dignity, and I am just like them!"

However, if we were to translate it as feminism stands today, it would have to go like this:

"I'm a non-human parasite with no rights, a dangerous, dreaded burden sucking the life out of women and society, a piece of garbage to be killed at will and thrown into the trash with the rest of the medical waste. Nothing is as worthless as I am."

But honestly, that latter interpretation does not seem to fit with the spirit of the song, nor does it make any sense in that line, does it?

Therefore, I'm siding with the embryo-as-our-young-hero scenario, just as Helen Reddy presented it back in the more civilized, less blood-thirsty days of feminism. Back when we women could sing and remind others of our own worth and dignity without crushing the worth and dignity of other weak and fragile members of our human family. Feminists back then (I'm going to tell myself) still had love enough to speak the name of embryo without contempt and as a logical metaphor for the underdog -- whom we women naturally, instinctively nurture and protect, cheering him forward until he finds his own voice.

Oh, you embryos in 1972, you slipped by just in the nick of time! You were still the good guys then!

Ah, what feminism coulda, shoulda been! Sing it, Helen!


Related post: The Sheer Idiocy of "Every Child a Wanted Child"


Friday, July 12, 2013

Quick Takes (which will cover all your weekend reading needs)

1) Wow, I have not posted in a while, but that doesn't mean the Bubble hasn't been hopping! As of today, there is still a conversation going on at the last post, and if you haven't read through the almost 500 comments, you should fix yourself a cup of tea and get started. Remember to hit "load more" after the first 200 comments (ugh, Blogger!!), and then again and again and again, until there is no more option to "load more".

The sad part is that after all that, it seems that most gay "marriage" supporters still really do want these kids to sit down and shut up.

2) A powerful companion piece to the last post is this piece by Robert Oscar Lopez. It's hard to read, heartbreaking really, but in this day when gay "marriage" is seen as such a beautiful, just, and ordered thing, we have to open our eyes and see, and open our brains and think:

And as Catholics, we are required to speak, and not remain silent. Speaking can be in the form of facebook links, discussions with family and friends, letters to the editor, blog posts, tweets, whatever. When the issue comes up, don't be silent. Say something, even if it's simply: "I disagree with same-sex marriage. It's just not right."

Remember, Jesus is not interested in whether or not you get along with the world.

To that end, this short piece at First Things, by Robert P. George, is worth a full reprint here (emphases mine):
A little Sunday sermon from a guy with no license to preach: For those of us who are Christian—and I suspect the same is true of our friends of other religious traditions—it is tempting to embrace those doctrines and teachings of our faith that are acceptable to the “beautiful people,” to the trend setters and opinion shapers, to the powerful and influential, while going silent on, or even denying, those teachings that will mark us as standing in opposition to the values that are dominant in elite sectors of the culture. We’re all-too-willing to be “tame” Christians. We want the comforts and consolation of religion, but we’d like to have them without risks or costs. We don’t want to jeopardize friendships, family relationships, professional and economic opportunities, prestige, social status, and the like. We don’t want people to think of us as retrograde or “out of touch with the times,” much less as intolerant or prejudiced. So we are tempted to pick and choose—to be “cafeteria Christians.” 
But if we are serious about our faith, we will understand that a true Christian is never a “tame” Christian. A true Christian will stand up and speak out for what is good and true, what is right and just, both in season and out of season. He or she will not go silent, even when bearing witness is unpopular—even when it is personally or professionally risky. He or she will know that there truly is a “cost of discipleship,” and will be prepared, with God’s help and by His grace, to pay that cost—whatever it turns out to be. A faithful Christian will be ever mindful of the words of Christ himself, “If anyone would be my disciple, then let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
One man who did just that is a courageous mayor in France who refuses to transgress the Natural Law and is willing to face five years in prison for not going along with what he calls the "farce" of gay "marriage" in his town. Jean-Michel Colo says he "will not perform an illegal act", reflecting perfectly the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
[I]t may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." 
Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. 

Okay, and since we are on the subject (don't you long for the recent days when we didn't have to talk and hear about homosexuality all the time and when it didn't permeate every aspect of our culture?), here are two more worthy links about gay "marriage":

(Because we hear, reflexively and repeatedly, that it most certainly won't.)

And the great piece by the brilliant Mary Rice Hasson:

As one commenter stated of Hasson's analysis, this is "undoubtedly the most concise, cogent, coherent explanation for how the contraception pandemic has given rise to the fallacy of same-sex marriage."

3) Oh my gosh, have you seen Pope Francis' first encyclical, written largely by his predecessor, Pope Benedict?

Ahhhh, I wish it could be required reading for all. It's called Lumen Fidei  (The Light of Faith).

And the popes quoting Dostoevsky (and Nietzsche) in the first few paragraphs is just too good to miss! I love that as Catholics, we never stop learning, we never plumb the depths of our Faith. Thank you, Jesus.

4) Speaking of the new encyclical, my friend Brandon Vogt got into a little bit of a pickle when he tried, in good faith, to spread Lumen Fidei far and wide. You can read about it on his blog, and then you can take steps to help us "Free the Word", as Brandon proposes a solution to a very unfortunate problem that is hindering evangelization in this digital world:

This is perhaps the only time you'll ever hear me say, the Church needs to get with the times (at least with regard to copyright rules)!

5) Okay, I know this is a few weeks old, but I can't get past it. I have said often on this blog that certain things have left me speechless, or that I just could not believe what I was hearing/reading/seeing. But this. This. This! This is really it. It's got to be a bad parody, a Saturday Night Live skit, bizarre dark humor, a joke of some kind.

Except that it's true!!!

This really happened!! 

We have arrived at the point where the head of a Christian denomination, female Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, is openly siding with the demons (yes, yes, I said that!) against a saint! A possessed and exploited girl is delivered from the demons by St. Paul, and Ms. Jefferts Schori slams St. Paul! As being intolerant!

Like Fr. Barron, I want to laugh out loud! I mean, it's come to this? Oh, wow, it can't get much crazier. The Episcopal Church is already dying out, but when its leadership literally sides with the devil, you've just gotta chuckle and shake your head!

And not to get back to the gay stuff (although how can we avoid it?), but this really is happening, too, in California!

All Same-Sex Couples are Infertile
(The gist? Insurers should be required to provide
"infertility" treatment to gay couples!!)

Another head-scratcher that makes me wonder if we haven't slipped right down the rabbit hole with Alice. Or arrived in the Twilight Zone. Jesus can't come soon enough!

6) As have many of you, I have learned so much from the saintly Karen Pullano in the aftermath of the loss of her oldest daughter in a car crash -- just a few years after she lost her small son to cancer. Her most recent post has really hit me at the level of my soul. She has lived through an earthly hell, and yet she is not angry at God. Listen to her tell it:
Last weekend we attended our oldest daughter’s high school graduation.  It was a lovely celebration honoring the class of 2013. Except for us, there was no graduate. I didn’t have a camera at the ready or flowers to give or anyone to meet for photo ops afterward. The classmate who was tragically killed in a car accident several months ago; that would have been, should have been, our girl walking across the stage. She was remembered and honored and greatly missed by her entire class and it was all very moving as I tried desperately to keep the tears in check. 
It was suggested to me, not for the first time in the last 5 years, that I could and should be angry. I’m told that it would be okay to yell and scream and rail at the Universe and at God. He’s a big God after all and can take it and will still love me despite it. 5 years ago we sat helplessly by our 4-year-old son as a brain tumor and chemotherapy ravaged his little body. For 9 months we watched him suffer and then die. 
I had no anger then and I have no anger now ….
Read the rest here.

I want to be like Karen. (Who is expecting her newest little girl any day now!)

7) Here is a sweet little princess to capture your heart! Meet Rebecca:

Click my photo for more info!

Rebecca has Down syndrome, and a heart condition; ASD, enlarged RA, mild insufficiency of TV, and mild pulmonary hypertension…the left side of her heart has normal function. A brain CT and EEG were both normal.
Rebecca is a precious little one who is just 2 years old. She was found abandoned at a bus stop when she was about 5 months old.  This sweet little girl has delays; to be expected, of course, but she does not seem to be receiving the therapy she needs to help her progress more quickly. Her heart condition is slowing her down, too. Imagine the great progress she will make when her heart is fixed, and she has someone to help her learn and develop! Rebecca is crawling now, and her fine motor skills are behind. She badly needs a loving family and the continued stimulation that will help her develop and improve her future. It is certainly not too late to begin working with her…at all! Rebecca is sweet, quiet, and loves to watch other children play. A family for Rebecca will help her join other kids at play!

Please consider Rebecca for your own family, or pray and share her with others!


Now, in the last few posts I think I have exhausted what I want to say about all the gay "marriage" fallout, and it's time to get back into what we should be doing spiritually. There is no new sin, and there is no new antidote to sin. We simply must get to the heart of what really matters. So, get ready for some of that.

Have a great weekend, and thanks to the wonderful Jen for hosting!