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Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – November 7, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on November 7

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:20 – Evangelist Billy Graham turns 95: Looking at his relationship with Catholics, Blessed John Paul II and his influence on American culture
Billy Graham, the famed evangelist and reverend turned 95 today. For decades, U.S. Presidents have sought spiritual council or spent time with the celebrate Reverend Billy Graham. To celebrate his lifelong career as a spiritual adviser to several presidents, his hundreds of crusades all across the world and his work as a Christian evangelist, more than 800 invited guests will celebrate with his tonight. The event willalso debut his video message titled "My Hope America." The message is scheduled to air on numerous national networks including FOX News tonight. We talk with his biographer, Dr. William Martin.

4:40 – Of Course Euthanasia is About Mental Illness
It really is astounding how the media continue to assume that assisted suicide/euthanasia is only for the terminally ill. Here’s the latest example: Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphry was in Arizona advocating for assisted suicide for the mentally ill. Our guest, bioethicist Wesley Smith, says he is convinced that the grass roots of the assisted suicide movement are enthusiastically on board with the eventual spread of euthanasia to mentally ill people. He joins us.

5:00 – Vatican directs faithful not to host Medjugorje 'seers'
The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has instructed the Catholic faithful not to participate in events in which the "seers" of Medjugorje promise apparitions of the Virgin Mary. For years, the group of people who have reported visions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje have made public appearances in churches, announcing in advance that "apparitions" will take place. Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the prefect of the CDF, has called for an end to church sponsorships of these events. We address the Vatican statement with the Vice-President for Theology at EWTN,Colin Donovan.

5:40 – Kresta Comments

Open response to: “Overpopulation: Should America have a one-child policy?

Last Tuesday, the Washington Times published an article by Joseph Cotto entitled, “Overpopulation: Should America have a one-child policy?” Despite the provocative title, the article does not present a stimulating thought-experiment, but rather a series of half-truths and inconsistencies with dangerous implications.

Because such half-truths have been at the ideological root of every forced abortion this century, we at Population Research Institute drew up a list of the claims made in the article—and countered them with facts to expose their fallacies.

Claim 1: Cotto commences his article by citing Michael Arth, a controversial gubernatorial candidate who advocated the imposition of birth credits. Arth argued that although human innovation often “increases under pressure,” the pressure which inspires it is worse than the innovation itself. The article cites, “One of the most innovative periods of human history was WWII...However, we also had the wholesale destruction of cities, untold suffering and the massacre of at least 60 million people.”
Reply: World War II was indeed a period of both ingenuity as well as suffering. However, Mr. Joseph Cotto confuses correlation with causation. Ingenuity and suffering are not inextricably related. There have been periods of misery without ingenuity, and periods of ingenuity without suffering. For instance, the Silicon Valley technology boom of the 1990s did not produce “misery and sorrow for the sake of innovation.”
Read the rest here: http://pop.org/content/open-response-“overpopulation-should-america-have-one-child-policy

Overpopulation: Should America have a one-child policy?

Overpopulation begs such controversial questions to be asked.
Photo: Associated Press
Washington Times

OCALA, Fla., October 29, 2013 — Today, America is more secular of a nation than ever before.
With secularism’s rise has come a scientific wave — some might even call it a tsunami — that is answering life’s toughest questions in a fact-based fashion. Of course, scientific inquiry has no shortage of foes; the most prominent of whom tend to be hardline followers of supernaturalist religions.
Beyond the stereotypes of Bible thumpers and pseudo-intellectual creationists, though, one sector of modern science tends to attract derision from across the board. This, as more than a few might have guessed, is overpopulation.

The very concept of overpopulation is so controversial that some deny its existence. These people run our society’s socioeconomic gamut; from poor immigrants to public intellectuals to high-profile politicians. Their overarching claim is that as populations grow, human innovation will increase; thus creating a higher quality of life.

What can be said about their perspective?

“There’s no doubt that innovation increases under pressure,” urban designer and public policy analyst Michael E. Arth tells The Washington Times Communities. In 2010, he launched a quixotic bid for Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nomination. While this was not a success, it set the ball rolling for discussion about the role special interests play in politics.

Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/conscience-realist/2013/oct/29/should-america-have-one-child-policy/#ixzz2jvaeu5ED
Follow us: @wtcommunities on Twitter

CDF bars participation in events assuming truth of Medjugorje

The complete letter from the papal nuncio to the Catholic Bishops in the United States (click to enlarge)
The complete letter from the papal nuncio
to the Catholic Bishops in the US
Photo from Medjugorje Today
At the direction of the Vatican's head for doctrine, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S. has written a letter stating that Catholics “are not permitted” to participate in meetings which take for granted that the supposed Marian apparitions in Medjugorje are credible.

“The Congregation (for the Doctrine of the Faith) has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the 'apparitions' in question, all should accept the declaration … which asserts: 'On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations,'” Archbishop Carlo Vigano wrote in an Oct. 21 letter to the bishops of the U.S., sent to the general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“It follows, therefore, that clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such 'apparitions' would be taken for granted.”

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the papal nuncio to the United States, is in effect the Vatican's US ambassador
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the papal nuncio to
the United States, is in effect the Vatican’s US ambassador
EWTN News confirmed that the letter was sent to every diocese in the U.S.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/US.php?id=8768#ixzz2jvW9GdHY

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – November 6, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on November 6

4:00 - Toronto mayor vows to stay on after admitting crack use: Substance abuse by those in the public eye.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized yesterday after admitting that he once smoked crack cocaine, but vowed to stay in office in Canada's largest city and even seek re-election. The stunning admission by the 44-year-old came after repeated denials, and six months after a video surfaced that allegedly showed him consuming the illicit drug. This raises the question of why those in the public eye have a higher rate of substance abuse. Michael Vasquez of the St. Gregory Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehab is here to answer that question.

5:00 – Vatican is not 'polling' Catholics on marriage, family
It is “not true” that the Vatican is taking a poll to assess Catholics’ opinions on marriage issues in preparation for the 2014 Synod on the family, the Vatican press office has clarified. Responding to stories that appeared worldwide, Father Federico Lombardi said that a series of questions issued by the Synod office was “sent to bishops’ conferences throughout the world,” rather than an opinion poll. The Vatican spokesman also pointed out that the questions asked by the Synod “are not regarding the doctrinal position of the Church,” but aimed to solicit information about pastoral practices and public attitudes in different societies. Phil Lawler is here to discuss this “non-story.”
5:20 – Election Analysis: Chris Christie Wins Big, Terry McAuliffe takes VA. What does this mean for the future?
The 2016 overtones were clear in this year's two most high-profile elections. Republican Gov. Chris Christie's resounding re-election victory in Democratic-leaning New Jersey sets the opening argument for a possible White House run while Terry McAuliffe's gubernatorial victory gives fellow Democrats — if not his confidante Hillary Rodham Clinton, herself — a road map for success in the pivotal presidential swing-voting state. Christie became the first Republican to earn more than 50 percent of the New Jersey vote in a quarter-century. McAuliffe is the first member of the party occupying the White House to become Virginia governor since 1977. Catholic columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez reads the tealeaves. 
5:40 – Kresta Comments

For all the Saints – Reflecting on a Great Hymn of the Church

Archdiocese of Washington
October 31, 2013

One of the greatest English hymns ever written, is “For All the Saints.” It is a wide and sweeping vision of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. It’s imagery is regal and joyful, it’s poetry majestic and masterful. A vivid picture is painted in the mind as the wondrous words move by. If you ask me it is a masterpiece. Many people know the opening line, but most have never sung it all the way through and thus miss its wondrous portrait. A number of years ago I committed words of this hymn to memory, very much like my father who loved to memorize things that moved him.
Spend a few moments now reflecting on this masterwork. It was written in 1864 by William Walsham How, an Anglican Bishop. Ralph Vaughan Williams set it to a stirring melody in 1906. I love to play this hymn at the organ since it has a challenging but exciting “walking base” played by the feet and big rich chords in the hands. In his recent outreach to the Anglicans the Pope speaks of the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion as a “precious gift” and treasure to shared”. This hymn from the Anglican tradition is surely one of those treasures. Permit me to set forth each verse and then comment.
First we cast our eyes heavenward to the Church Triumphant:
For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,

Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.


Here then in the first verses is stated the purpose of the hymn. Namely, that we sing to and praise God for all those saints who have finished their course here and entered into the rest of the Lord. Like the the Lord they can say, “It is finished.” Like St. Paul they can say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day (2 Tim 4:7-8). These saints declared to world the holy and blessed name of Jesus by their words and deeds. They confessed and did not deny him. To them and us Jesus made a promise: Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven (Matt 10:32). And we too are summoned to take up the cry: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord!”
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Salvation and the living of a holy and courageous life is only possible by the grace of God. Only if God be our rock, our defender and our strength can we stand a chance in the battle of this earthly life. Jesus said, “Without me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) St. Paul taught that the ancient Israelites made it through the desert only by Christ for he wrote: they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them in the desert, and that rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:4). So Jesus is a rock in a weary land, a shelter in a time of storm! Only in Christ and by his light could they have the strength for the battle and win through to the victory.

Read the rest here: http://blog.adw.org/2013/10/for-all-the-saints-reflecting-on-a-great-hymn-of-the-church/

Pope wants to step up fight against modern slavery

Pope Francis celebrates mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on November 4, 2013Pope Francis celebrates mass in St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on November 4, 2013
Pope Francis celebrates mass in St Peter's Basilica
 at the Vatican on November 4, 2013
AFP - Pope Francis wants action against modern forms of slavery including forced labour and prostitution, the Vatican said Monday after a meeting of experts called by the pontiff to debate the problem.

Dozens of academics, doctors and clerics were hosted by the Vatican to discuss issues close to the pope's heart, including the struggle against organ trafficking and people smuggling.

"Some experts believe human trafficking will overtake drug and arms trafficking in a decade, becoming the most lucrative criminal activity in the world," Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, told reporters.

Sorondo said the pope was heavily invested in a subject he knows well from his years in Latin America and had even invited two experts on human trafficking that he knows from Buenos Aires.

Further meetings are planned in 2014 and 2015.

Read the rest here: http://www.france24.com/en/20131104-pope-wants-step-fight-against-modern-slavery

African-American Religious Leaders Ramp Up Campaign Against Marriage Equality

Mike KrauserReporting Mike Krauser
(CBS) — With an expected vote on same-sex marriage in Springfield next week, African-American clergy members campaigning against the issue are threatening to unseat lawmakers who vote in favor, reports WBBM’s Mike Krauser.
Bishop Larry Trotter, of Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago, is vowing that there will be consequences for those lawmakers who support same sex marriage.

“I think that they will feel the crunch. I think that they cannot take for granted that they can come to the church; and get the church’s sanction, and votes, and signatures; and then go to Springfield, and don’t speak what the people want them to speak. And so now, if that’s how we have to be heard, we will be heard,” Trotter said.
Bishop Trotter and Bishop Lance Davis, of New Zion Covenant Church in Dolton, are planning the next moves in their campaign to defeat the measure, which appears closer to reality.

“There’s no steamroller. There was a steamroller in place that was supposed to pass a bill by May 31st of 2013. It was stopped then, and it can be stopped again,” Davis said.

The House sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), didn’t have the votes in the spring to pass legislation allowing same-sex marriage in Illinois, but he said he’s feeling good about the support today. Lawmakers return to Springfield for the final three days of veto session starting Tuesday.
Harris has declined to discuss specific vote totals for the same-sex marriage legislation, but has said he’s feeling good about its chances.

Audio of this story available at: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/11/02/african-american-religious-leaders-ramp-up-campaign-against-marriage-equality/

Principals of Top Catholic High Schools Fear ‘Common Core’ Would Harm Their Schools

Principals of America’s leading Catholic high schools are concerned about the impact that adopting the national “Common Core” standards could have on their schools’ Catholic identity, according to a survey of Catholic High School Honor Roll winners conducted by The Cardinal Newman Society.
The principals oppose Catholic schools rushing to adopt the Common Core standards, which are not yet completed and have been criticized by a growing number of education experts and parent organizations. There is no legal requirement for Catholic schools to adopt these standards.
The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic High School Honor Roll is a national program that has recognized secondary schools for strong Catholic identity and academic excellence since 2004.
In October, the Newman Society surveyed principals of the Top 50 high schools that were recognized by the Honor Roll in 2012, as well as 23 schools that received “honorable mention” for Catholic identity, academic excellence or civic education. Of the 73 schools surveyed, 60 responded. The survey results are statistically accurate at a 95 percent confidence level with a 5.38 percent margin of error.
Only 13 percent of the principals think the Common Core standards would improve the education at their schools, while nearly half (48 percent) think it would do harm.
See more at: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CatholicEducationDaily/DetailsPage/tabid/102/ArticleID/2654/Principals-of-Top-Catholic-High-Schools-Fear-%E2%80%98Common-Core%E2%80%99-Would-Harm-Their-Schools.aspx

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – November 5, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on November 5

4:00 - God's Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian's Fight for Freedom
Tens of millions of Christians live in China today, many of them leading double lives or in hiding from a government that relentlessly persecutes them. Bob Fu, whom the Wall Street Journal called "The pastor of China's underground railroad," is fighting to protect his fellow believers from persecution, imprisonment, and even death. God's Double Agent is his fascinating and riveting story. He is here to chronicle his conversion to Christianity, his arrest and imprisonment for starting an illegal house church, his harrowing escape, and his subsequent rise to prominence in the United States as an advocate for his brethren.

5:00 – The New Evangelization: What It Is and How It Affects the Life of Every Catholic – Continued Conversation From Last Week
"No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples."-- Blessed John Paul II. With the encouragement of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, discover a renewed urgency and growing enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel with those in your life, both non-believers and those who are no longer practicing their faith. In The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call, Ralph Martin explains: It's not just a churchy buzzword, It's not just for priests and missionaries to carry out, YOU and every individual Catholic play a role, it is literally a matter of life or death for everyone in your life, And… it's not as hard as you think. Ralph joins us to continue a conversation we started last week.
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