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Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – July 19, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on July 19

4:00 – Sisters in Crisis Revisited: From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal
Fifty years ago, nearly 200,000 religious sisters worked in Catholic schools, hospitals and other institutions throughout the United States. American Catholics honored these women of faith who founded and built these flourishing works of mercy. Then came the ideological shifts and moral upheavals of the 1960s, and ever since, most women’s orders in the United States have been in a state of crisis. Using the archival records of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and other prominent groups of sisters, journalist and author Ann Careyshows how feminist activists unraveled American women s religious communities from their leadership positions in national organizations and large congregations. She also explains the recent and necessary interventions by the Vatican. 

5:00 – Encyclopedia of U.S. Catholic History
Catholics have always played a critical role in the forward progress of the United States in every area of our society – science, industry, philosophy, business, medicine, entertainment, and even politics. Matthew Bunson’s Encyclopedia of the American Catholic Churchis a valuable and unique reference guide. And is the first ever handy, accessible, affordable, and unbiased reference to American Catholicism. With over 2,000 entries from A to Z, you’ll be amazed by the depth and breadth of information that will illustrate the Church’s contribution to each state in the Union. Plus you’ll be able to research your own special interests, such as the history of your own diocese. This is the most thorough treatment of American Catholic history you’ll find! Matthew joins us.

Jihad Story of the Day: "Allah is my lawyer"

Georgia: Muslim accused of murder tells judge that Allah is her lawyer and would seek vengeance if judge didn’t release her

Robert Spencer
I look forward to Allah’s opening statement. I wonder if he will be tough during jury selection. Anyway, once again we see a Muslim believing herself to be above the law of the land, and not subject to its laws, in line with basic Muslim beliefs about owing allegiance only to the umma, and not to any earthly authority, particularly an Infidel one. “Murder suspect: Allah will take vengeance on judge,” from WYFF.com, July 18.
DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. —A Georgia woman accused in her neighbor’s stabbing death appeared in court, threatened a judge and demanded to be released from jail.

Sahara Tabriz Fakhir, 32, is charged with murder in the death of Jerry Wheeler, 66. Fakhir appeared in court Thursday morning.

When a judge asked if Fakhir planned to get an attorney, she said Allah was representing her and would seek vengeance if the judge didn’t release her from jail. 

Wheeler, who owned an auto shop, was found dead June 19 when his son came to check on him. Authorities have not disclosed a motive in the homicide.

Jail records show Fakhir is being held without bond on a murder charge. She is charged with giving a false name, birthdate or address.

Mainstream Media Utterly Incompetent When Reporting on Church

Once again the mainstream media has demonstrated in a big way the they are just completely devoid of any ability to report on the Church. Apparently “The Vatican” and Pope Francis have announced that if you follow the Pope’s Twitter feed you will go straight to heaven – “do not pass go, do not collect $200.” Of course this is ridiculous on its face, but does anyone try to get the facts straight – of course not. Why would we try to get it right when that may get in the way of a sexy headline. Here is just a sampling of the headlines.

Twitter Might Get You Into Heaven a Little Faster, Vatican Reveals
ABC News

Pope Francis: Vatican’s Twitter Followers Can Now Spend Less Time in Purgatory

Vatican: Shorten Time in Purgatory By Following Pope on Twitter
CBS News

Pope Francis Offers Catholic Forgiveness for Their Sins on Twitter During World Youth Day
UK Daily Express

Pope to Grant Plenary Indulgences by Twitter
Des Moines Register

And my favorite:
Follow the Church on Twitter…Or Burn In Purgatory
Huffington Post


Read this from the Register for the REAL story.

National Catholic Register

LINCOLN, Neb. — In contrast with media reports of “time off of purgatory” for Pope Francis’ Twitter followers, a canon lawyer explained that indulgences are a way that the Church encourages Christians to prayer.

“Because the Church has the spiritual authority that Christ has given it, the Church can invite us to particularly sanctifying moments and particularly sanctifying opportunities,” JD Flynn, special assistant to Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Neb., explained to CNA July 18.

An indulgence is defined as the remission of the temporal punishment — the required atonement by which an individual makes reparation — due to sins that have already been forgiven.

The Vatican announced July 9 that Pope Francis had mandated that the faithful can receive indulgences through participation in World Youth Day.

A plenary indulgence is offered once a day to those who “devoutly participate in the sacred rites and exercise of devotion” taking place as part of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro from July 22 to 29. The announcement was made June 24 by decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican office dealing with indulgences and confession.

Plenary indulgences are also offered to those who cannot attend the event yet who “participate in spirit in the sacred functions,” provided they follow the rites and exercises by television, radio, or “always with the proper devotion, through the new means of social communication.”

Some mainstream media outlets proclaimed Twitter followers were getting out of purgatory.

Flynn, who holds a licentiate in canon law from Catholic University of America, explained that “a better way to say it would be that the Vatican recognizes that the more time we spend in prayer, the less time we spend in purgatory.”

Allowing indulgences to those who follow World Youth Day through “the new means of social communication,” is “really an invitation to spend time in prayer with the pilgrims of World Youth Day,” he said.

“And because of the Church’s authority, that prayer comes with the special graces of an indulgence.”
Indulgences are based on the Church’s “special recognition … that certain activities, and activities especially at certain times, can be particularly sanctifying,” Flynn said.

Continue reading this article here.

Texas Governor Rick Perry Signs Bill Banning Late-Term Abortions

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/18/13 10:51 AM

Governor Rick Perry of Texas today signed the ban on late-term abortions into law at a bill signing ceremony. The signing came after weeks of debate in the state legislature and passage of the bill despite an unruly pro-abortion mob.

“Today’s signing builds on our continued commitment to protecting life for more than a decade. This is an important day for those who support life and the health of women in Texas,” Perry said. “Signing HB2 further solidifies the foundation on which the culture of in Texas is built.”
“HB2 brings improvements to the quality of care women receive,” Perry added. “HB2 protects unborn babies after the fifth month of pregnancy.”requires a doctor providing abortions to secure admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and lastly, requires a doctor to personally administer the abortion-inducing drugs to the patient.

After a day filled with pro-abortion threats, pro-life people hiding in secure areas of the capitol fearing for their safety and protestors disrupting the Senate proceedings, democracy finally prevailed. Members of the state Senate approved the bill to ban late-term abortions on a 19-11 margin on second reading. The chamber then approved the bill in third reading by the same 19-11 vote.

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, issued the following statement today in support of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s signing: “Governor Rick Perry and the Texas legislature have done what they were elected to do, that is, safeguard the well-being of Texans. The new law Governor Perry signs today will advance the protection of women from the unscrupulous practices of abortionists, and the protection of children from the deadly weapons of those same abortionists. Those who were so vociferous in their opposition to this law are on the wrong side of morality and of history,” he told LifeNews.

He added: “We at Priests for Life will continue to expose the horrors committed by Texas abortionists like Douglas Karpen. This law will make that task much easier.”

Leading pro-life activists from Texas Right to Life and former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson attended the ceremony and tweeted pictures from it.

Click on LifeNews to see the tweeted pictures and read more.

Sorry, retweeting the Pope won’t get you out of hell

07:45 PM ET
By the Rev. James Martin, SJ, special to CNN

(CNN) –Here were the tantalizingly weird headlines: “Follow pope online, get to heaven sooner – Facebook likes don’t count.” “Cut your time in purgatory by following pope on Twitter.” And, worst of all, from Slate: “Pope now offering indulgences in exchange for Twitter followers.”

Similar headlines popped up on more than 190 news sources on Wednesday.

Sorry, retweeting the pope won't get you out of hell

Ha ha. Is the Catholic Church offering time off in hell– or purgatory, depending on the website – just for checking your Twitter feed every few hours? Is the church really that dumb? And here I thought Pope Francis was cool, or as Esquire recently termed him, “awesome.”

This is (another) case of how the media misunderstands and misreports a story from “The Vatican.”

Here’s how it seemed to have happened.

On June 24, the Apostolic Penitentiary (the Vatican office that deals with matters concerning sin,) issued a document that said the faithful who attend the upcoming World Youth Day in Brazil would receive a “plenary indulgence” for their efforts during pilgrimage.

That’s a traditional Catholic term for the full remission of the “temporal punishment” in the afterlife due to sin. The theological idea is that by doing good works on earth, or by engaging in pious practices like a pilgrimage, you can help “work off” some of the temporal punishments that may await you after death.

But just from checking Twitter every few hours? Let’s leave aside the very complicated theology of the plenary indulgence for a moment, and see how this story got out of hand…

Read more at CNN’s Belief Blog.

James Martin is a Jesuit priest, editor at large at America magazine and author of “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.” He tweets, but won’t promise to get you out of purgatory, at @JamesMartinSJ .

Gay Agenda Suffers Big Loss in Europe‏

Countries Reject Declaration of Homosexual Rights at OSCE  

The Interpreter: Lowy Institute for International Policy

Written by Stefano Gennarini, J.D.

ISTANBUL, July 19 (C-FAM) Homosexual groups were dealt a humiliating blow at the end of last month by the world’s largest regional security organization.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE) shot down a resolution recognizing a controversial declaration on homosexuality by a vote of 24 to 3. Even countries that are usually friendly to homosexual groups deserted them.

The non-binding declaration, known as the Yogyakarta Principles, declares comprehensive special new rights for individuals who identify as lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). The 29 principles were prepared in 2006 by activists, academics and former unelected officials of international bodies.

Proponents insist the principles are authoritative interpretations of existing international law, and have asked international organizations to endorse them. They have had varying success, mostly with unelected officials. Getting the OSCE on board would have been a significant victory for homosexual groups and their international friends because representatives at OSCE meetings tend to be elected officials.

Belgium was confident the resolution could pass. The Council of Europe, with almost the same countries as the OSCE, recognized some of the principles in a 2010 resolution. But the initiative turned into a nightmare when even countries that usually side for LGBT rights refused to support it. Chief among its opponents, and surprisingly to many, was the United States.

Only three of the twelve original co-sponsors of the resolution maintained their support after the resolution was discussed. When it came up for debate, the atmosphere in the room suddenly became tense.

Read more here.

An Explosion of Light from Rio’s New Cathedral Will Greet WYD Pilgrims

By Kathy Schiffer
Ave Maria Radio

As World Youth Day pilgrims descend upon the city of Rio de Janeiro, I thought you’d enjoy a peek at the city’s great cathedrals.

First the old one:  The Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel of the Ancient See.
The Old Cathedral, located in the Praça XV square in downtown Rio, is one of the most important historical buildings in the city.  It served as the diocesan See from 1808 until 1976, and was also used in the 19th century as the Imperial Chapel by the Portuguese royal family and the Brazilian imperial family.
And now, the new one: The Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro was built between 1964 and 1979. The modern, conical structure has a standing-room capacity of 20,000 people.
Designer Edgar Fonceca was inspired by the Mayan pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. At its base, the pyramid is square; but it narrows as it rises toward the sky, forming a plateau at the top. Unlike the pyramids of the Maya, Rio’s Cathedral is circular and tapered, symbolizing the proximity of the people to God, and reminiscent of a bishop’s mitre.
The interior of the Cathedral features a vast Greek cross hovering above the main altar, suspended by six steel cables.
The cathedral’s four rectilinear stained glass windows soar 210 feet from floor to ceiling. They represent the four “marks” of the Church: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

Dangers to the Faith – Article by Catholic News Agency

Book aims to help Catholics transform culture for Christ

By Kevin J. Jones
Catholic News Agency

.- Radio host Al Kresta’s new book is meant to help Catholics respond to the arguments of their opponents, stressing the need to love one’s enemies so as to transform a culture hostile to Jesus Christ.

“It’s clear that Catholicism, especially in America, is under increased attack. And it isn’t as though somebody’s discovered some truth about the faith that is now rejected,” Kresta told CNA July 16. “It’s just that Catholicism has fallen out of favor.”

“American Catholics, I think for the first time since the 19th century, need to take stock and recognize that we do have enemies.”

Kresta’s new book, “Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st-Century Opponents,” is published by Our Sunday Visitor Press and aims to respond to the contemporary world’s prominent rivals of Catholicism.

“There are right now in our society academic elites, business elites, people of great profundity, who are committed to undermining the social and cultural influence of the Catholic Church,” Kresta said. “For some of them, that’s what they live for.”

“Sometimes they attack by abusing journalism, sometimes they abuse history, they abuse the natural sciences, and they abuse spiritual and revelational claims.”

Kresta is a former Protestant minister who converted to the Church. For more than a decade he has hosted the nationally syndicated Catholic talk show “Kresta in the Afternoon.”

His latest book examines and critiques the claims of New Age beliefs such the “law of attraction”; reincarnation, and other Western adaptations of Eastern beliefs; and Islam. Kresta’s book examines disputes about the origins of Christianity, especially those that put forward heretical views or reject the text of the New Testament.

In talking to CNA, Kresta emphasized the Christian duty to love one’s enemies and to give them a fair hearing.

“Love means listening. It means being able to represent your opponent’s position in a way your opponent will recognize as fair and accurate.”

He took as an example the talk show host Oprah Winfrey, whom he said has become an icon of an “American spirituality” that puts forward a “false Jesus” found neither in the New Testament nor Catholic history.

He said his book first tries to represent her views, before critically engaging her positions from a Catholic perspective.

Kresta said he needs to portray her justly: “I need to be able to say she’s a generous, tolerant, energetic, entrepreneurial person – a person you’d like to be living next door to you.”

Kresta added that the abuse of scientific arguments has become stronger than it had been in recent decades.

“People were very clear that science couldn’t answer all questions,” he said. “By the time I got to college, the idea that science could explain everything was no longer fashionable.”

Yet the pendulum has swung the other way in recent years.

He credits the rebound in this view’s popularity to the rise of a new, combative form of atheism after the September 11th terrorist attacks. He said the coupling of this attitude with the benefits of technology has also made it more believable for some.

“It’s not uncommon to find people, including late adolescent Catholics, thinking that science is the definer of reality. They reject religion, they reject philosophy, it’s all about science. I think that’s growing.”

There has also been a decline in the respect the Catholic tradition’s art and social achievements once enjoyed.

“This new bunch doesn’t even respect the Church for its music, its art, or its Mother Teresas,” Kresta lamented.

To respond to these trends, Kresta advised Catholic evangelization

“We have to be able to joyfully say ‘hey, you guys are missing out’,” Kresta continued, saying Catholics must show critics that the faith offers “a richer life,” based in Truth.

“The Catholic Church’s teaching is good news; it’s not bad news. That’s what we have to stress.”

Kresta saw the decline of Protestant nativism – the belief that America is a country primarily for white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants – and suspicion of Catholicism as an area where a formerly strong opponent of Catholicism has weakened and changed.

“Overall, our relation with evangelical Protestants has really improved in the last generation. On the life issues, we’ve learned to pray together, we’ve learned to talk about our differences in civil, rational ways.”

He said that criticism of the sexual revolution has also become easier because its negative consequences are now more obvious.

However, he saw ominous signs both in the Obama administration’s refusal to respect Catholic conscience concerns about the HHS mandate and in states’ increasing refusals to work with Catholic agencies on adoption placements.

“It’s shocking to see the Obama administration regard the Catholic Church as a ‘bad neighbor.’ That’s very different. I don’t know that we’ve ever seen that in America,” Kresta said.“I think what we see is the government erecting itself as the highest source of social morality.”

Barring major changes, Kresta expects that the American government will tend to become a “new Caesar” that presents itself as “the central organizing point of our lives.” This move would displace the morality of the church, the synagogue, and the family.

“I think American Catholicism is in a desperate situation. I think it’s a great time to be Catholic in America, but I think it’s a great time to be Catholic in America because the battle rages so clearly, and we know we have a moral clarity in what we are to do.”

He saw hope in a “growing group of Catholics” committed to the Catholic faith and to being a “faithful witness” in the culture.

Kresta encouraged Catholics to stress the truth of the Catholic faith when in dialogue with others, in an effort to transform the culture for Christ.

“Once we begin backing away from the Church’s teaching as true, once we begin to say that it can be tweaked and modified to suit the culture, I think we’re digging our own grave.”

“And I think that’s what the last generation of Catholics did.”

Rather than engaging and evangelizing the world, he said, Catholics began accommodating it.

“We’re not separatists, we’re not accommodationists – we’re transformationists.”

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – July 18, 2013

Talking about the “things that matter most” on July 18

4:00 – Kresta Comments

4:40 – Praying For 2 Tragic Situations and Remembering a Deceased Hero
We ask for prayer in two tragic situations here in MI and in DC. We also remember a lifetime G-Man who left behind a trail of fascinating tales that merit remembrance.

5:00 – Celebrity Substance Abuse – Lessons to Learn?
Cory Monteith, who played heart throb Finn Hudson in the Fox hit “Glee,” was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday. He was 31. He died of a drug overdose after years of substance abuse dating back to high school. We look at celebrity drug deaths, why they seem common and what lessons we can learn. Mike Vasquez of the St. Gregory Center for Drug and Alcohol Rehab joins us.

5:20 – Kresta Comments

5:40 – The Conjuring” – A Review
It’s the latest “paranormal, exorcism, supernatural” thriller and is hitting theaters tomorrow. It’s “The Conjuring” and Nick Thomm is here to discuss it with Al.

Review: Dangers to the Faith

Dangers to the Faith

| July 17, 2013  

It is holy to love our enemy, but we must recognize him. The guy who takes our parking spot, the cranky neighbor, the difficult in-law…they are not the ultimate enemy. Yes, they are personal challenges, but they are also opportunities for grace—“The measure with which you measure, will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38).

The ultimate enemy is the darkness that siphons off Godly values and rejects Christianity as silly or even dangerous to an indulgent society. We are called to love the misguided ones who fall for the clever disguises of darkness. By knowing the truths of our faith, we can shed light on the darkness and redirect them.

In his new book, Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st-Century Opponents, Al Kresta shines a spotlight upon our culture. The President and CEO of Ave Maria Radio, and host of “Kresta in the Afternoon,” takes on our feel-good, self-empowerment world and challenges every Catholic not to just live their faith, but to defeat the enemy through our examples and defense of the truth.

“Baptism identifies every Catholic with the mission of Christ,” he writes. “The question isn’t whether or not we are involved in the mission of the Church. Baptism has already involved us.”

“Jesus said, we would have tribulation, but be of good cheer for he has overcome the world,” Kresta writes. “Our aim is not separation from the world, nor accommodation to the world but rather, to the degree that God gives us the grace, transformation of the world to resemble the Kingdom.”

The challenge is that much of the world presents an easier, more enlightened way that tramples on God’s truth. There lies our challenge because so many are following the Pied Piper of false enlightenment into darkness. Kresta tells us that Christ sent us into the world to imitate him so we must take our cues from a Kingdom not of this world.

The first enemy Kresta takes on in his book is “New Age,” as well as a mix-and-match spirituality. “Oprah cheerleads this individualistic, eclectic spirituality which challenges and, for many, replaces the more traditional denominations,” he writes. “Thirty-three percent of people polled say Oprah has ‘a more profound impact’ on their spirituality than their pastors.” Kresta warns that the problem is the misconceptions about the faith she promotes thinking she’s helping people.

New Age spirituality is about human potential, self-improvement, and success motivation. Kresta explains that the New Age movement has evolved into a quasi-science that rests on claims of mesmerism, spiritualism and animal magnetism. An example is the claim that the human mind receives and transmits vibrations that influences the environment so that positive thoughts can change physical reality. A popular mantra is, “What you conceive and believe, you will achieve and receive.”

The purported “Law of Attraction” also exaggerates our control over life, claiming that we are creators of our own reality. Kresta counters with God’s truth. “The Scripture presents a very different sovereign,” He writes. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.”

New Age, according to him, tells the same old lie told in the Garden of Eden, that rather than relying on God, man can discover his own divinity. Or as New Age enthusiast Shirley MacLaine puts it: “Know that you are God; know that you are the universe.”

Kresta counters with the words of St. Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13). He writes, “For Christians, it is not me vs. Christ, but Christ in me, the hope of glory. The source of our strength comes from another. He indwells us, but doesn’t displace us.”

In the Dangers to the Faith, Kresta treads where the secular media is afraid to go including: dissecting Islam and it’s contradictions to Christianity; exposing the abusers of science and reason, because nature and scripture do not contradict; and the irrationality of relativism since we are an inescapably moral people yet the secular culture dictates which moral concerns are acceptable. He even takes on consumerism, a part of the Western lifestyle many fail to recognize arrests our development by continually weakening impulse control.

Kresta’s book shows the superiority of God’s absolute law over false teachings and temptations. Biblical principals are brought to bear to show the glory of the cross over the veneer of a make-believe world. Kresta offers us no promises or easy fixes in life but rather that of the ultimate fix: a life full of value based on Jesus in the Eucharist.

“Catholic teaching best corresponds to life as we experience it,” Kresta writes. “It best explains human aspirations for love, life, significance, and meaning, the appearance of design in the cosmos, the function of conscience, the rise of modern science, the persistence of the Jews and the papacy, the rise of the Christian Church and a God who reveals himself as Love, is Infinite and Personal, who is both one and many and who we are called upon to image.”

About the Author:

Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is an award-winning author and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. She has just released 2 new books. Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families is a collection of stories on love and life. Dear God, I Don’t Get It is children’s fiction that presents faith through a fun and exciting story. Read more at Catholic News and Inspiration and follow her at Twitter. Please “Like” her Facebook pages: DearGodBooks, BigHeartedFamilies, and A GPS Guide to Heaven and Earth.
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