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

Talking About the Things That Matter Most on December 19

COUNTDOWN OF THE TOP 40 INTERVIEWS OF 2013

#40  --  10 Honorable Mentions
Angela Franks             Contraception and Catholicism                                
Teresa Tomeo             Bucket List                                                     
Michael Coren            The Future of Catholicism                            
Sarah Reinhard           Catholic Apps                                                
Michael Novak           Writing from Left to Right                           
Gary Muchuta             Making Sense of Mary                                              
Mark Shea                  By What Authority?                                      
Conor Gallagher          If Aristotle had an IPod                                            
Elizabeth Scalia           Strange Gods                                                 
Mary Eberstadt          How the West Really Lost God        

4:00  - #39 – Pope Benedict XVI Resigns
It was a shock to the world – even the head of the Vatican Press Office. On Feb. 11 Pope Benedict XVI resigned the office of Pope. It triggered an amazing series of events that, of course, brought us to Pope Francis. That afternoon we compiled some of the great minds and analysts of Church affairs for a roundtable discussion: Matthew Bunson, Jimmy Akin, Ralph Martin and more.

5:00- The Charismatic Renewal, the Pope, and the Church 
When the newly elected Pope Francis appeared at the window before the cheering crowd in St Peter’s Square, and promptly bowed down asking the people to pray for him, most of the public at large was charmed, but puzzled. Pope Benedict too had asked the people to pray for him from the outset, but without the bowed head. To some spectators, however—including the members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and their counterparts in the Protestant and Orthodox worlds—the gesture came as something surprisingly familiar.  In the “charismatic” galaxy, prayer is offered and asked for in this way by people of all levels—specifically, prayer for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We talk to Dr. Mary Healy, head of the Doctrinal Commission of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services

5:40 – Innocence: A Novel

He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen. She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found. But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance—and nothing less than destiny—has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching. It’s the latest novel from the Catholic bestselling author Dean Koontz who blends mystery, suspense, and acute insight into the human soul in a masterfully told tale that will resonate with readers forever. He joins us.

Prayer Need: Man Sets Himself on Fire in St. Peter’s Square

This morning in St. Peter’s Square, a man doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire.
A Jesuit priest standing nearby attempted to smother the flames with a jacket, before police officers stepped in with fire extinguishers.  The two police officers were successful in extinguishing the flames, but they suffered smoke inhalation and burns to their hands and are now hospitalized for treatment.
The 51-year-old man was treated at a nearby hospital, then transported to a larger one.  He is reported to be suffering from serious burns to his upper body.
In his pocket was a note with his daughter’s contact information; but there has been no explanation for why he set himself afire.
This is not the first time an individual has self-immolated in St. Peter’s Square.  On January 13, 1998, an Italian writer by the name of Alfredo Ormando set himself on fire in the Square to protest the Catholic Church’s opposition to the homosexual lifestyle.  He was rushed to Sant’Eugenio hospital in critical condition, but died eleven days later.

Poverty Sucks! The Pope, Research, and Fatherhood The Pope –Guest Post by Dave McClow.

The following is a guest post by Pastoral Solutions Institute clinical pastoral counseling associate, Dave McClow, MDiv, LCSW, LMFT. The Pope It seems that Pope Francis’ favorite topic is the poor.  His new Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of Evangelism, is not even the latest evidence, because every other homily or statement includes the [Read More...]

Catholic League Supports Archbishop Nienstedt, Seeks Information

Following Archbishop Nienstedt's decision yesterday to step down from his post as Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis during an investigation into a scurrilous allegation of sexual impropriety, Bill Donohue at the Catholic League has published a statement praising the Archbishop, and asking for anyone with information about the case to contact him personally.

Here is the full statement.

December 18, 2013

ARCHBISHOP NIENSTEDT DESERVES JUSTICE

Bill Donohue comments on the decision by Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archbishop John C. Nienstedt to temporarily step down:

Archbishop Nienstedt has been the subject of a non-stop crusade orchestrated by ex-Catholics, and Catholics in rebellion against the Church, simply because he stands for everything they are not: he is a loyal son of the Catholic Church.

Now—out of the blue—comes an unidentified male who claims he was touched on his buttocks in 2009 by the archbishop while posing for a group photo. Nienstedt denies the charge, adding that he has never inappropriately touched anyone. Moreover, he has not been told the identity of his accuser.

The Catholic League is asking those who were there to share with us any information they have. Specifically, we are interested in obtaining a tape recording, or set of photos, of any Confirmation ceremony in 2009 where Archbishop Nienstedt was present; presumably, the alleged victim was standing next to the archbishop. Also, we are asking anyone who knows anything about the accuser (someone knows who he is) to come forward.  Please email us at pr@catholicleague.org .

I know of no other leader, religious or secular, who would step down pending an investigation because some guy says he was touched on his behind four years ago in a group photo. It's time the bishops revised their "zero tolerance" policy. Too often, it means zero justice for the accused, thus undermining the legal principle of innocent until proven guilty.

When it comes to "zero tolerance" in the schools, every teachers union, as well as the New York Times, has counseled against it. With good reason: it does not allow for the nuances that color so many cases. The bishops ought to follow suit and junk this policy before it becomes the weapon of choice against them.



The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
450 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10123
Phone: 212-371-3191
Fax: 212-371-3394

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

Talking about the "things that matter most" on December 18

4:00 – Reflections on the Christian Life: How Our Story is
God’s Story
In our hearts, we know that every event in our lives is providential and that each of us plays a critical role in the unfolding of the story God has written. We believe that God's will is anchored deep within our soul, and so too is the desire to know it and to live it. Acclaimed Catholic author Anthony Esolen claims that the story of your life has already been written and can be discovered by considering the life and person of Jesus. Only in God does the world possess meaning, and therefore, only in relation to God, are our lives genuine stories. He is here to discuss his proposition.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

5:20 – Having an Incredible Impact on the Poor This Christmas
In Kenya, the Sacred Mercy Schools are located in the thick of abject poverty, where children beg on the streets and where a generation of parents has been virtually wiped out by AIDS. This is work done “in the trenches” where hunger, illiteracy and despair must be battled by the Catholic Church for hope to prevail. But Cross Catholic International Outreach is there to welcome children off the streets and provide them with a quality education, daily nutritious lunches and a firm grounding in Catholic moral values. Jim Cavnar of is here to talk about their partnership with Ave Maria Radio to provide scholarships for Kenyan children. And other practical ways to serve the poor this Christmas season with their catalogue of need. You select an item on the catalog and that item gets shipped to a poor family in need overseas. Shoes, powdered milk, Catholic children’s books, vitamins, seeds and more. Things we take for granted that they are overjoyed to receive for Christmas.

5:00 – Kresta Comments

Pope Francis Promotes Public Breastfeeding

Back in April, I posted a beautiful picture of, then, Cardinal Bergoglio,  blessing nursing mothers at a mass for newborns.  Yesterday, Pope Francis made a statement of public support for nursing moms and the witness they provide to the Corporal Work of Mercy that is giving food to the hungry.  In response to a question [Read More...]

Terrific (Free!) Catholic Parenting Reource! Check out Tender Tidings Winter Issue

More2Life contributor and IntentionalCatholicParenting.com founder, Kim Cameron-Smith has just posted the latest issue of Tender Tidings.  It’s a terrific (and free!) resource for raising awesome, Catholic kids.  Check it out!

For the Pope’s Birthday, the Vatican Releases a Photo Album


Just in time for Pope Francis’ birthday, the Vatican Internet Office created this special photo album.
Click here to see the entire 32-page album, featuring some of L’Osservatore Romano‘s best shots of the Holy Father at prayer, with children, waving to crowds…. in short, doing what he does every day. 
Happy Birthday, Papa Francesco!

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" – Dec. 17, 2013

Talking about the "things that matter most" on December 17

4:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Dissident Theologians and Cultural Leftists Regret Claiming Pope Francis as Their Own?
  
4:20 – “Christian privilege” Out – “Christian Bigots” In
It's settled, then: Christian conservatives use religion as a justification for their discriminatory behavior, and Americans will only enjoy true religious freedom when their so-called "religious liberty" claims are defeated. That was the consensus at a panel discussion recently sponsored by the Center for American Progress. We talk about how we got here and what can be done about it with Joel Gehrke of the Washington Examiner.

4:40 – What happened to Catholic & Protestant literature?
With much of the world’s attention focused on Pope Francis, matters concerning the Catholic Church and its teachings are attracting increased interest. Overlooked, however, is the decline of Christian influence on American culture, especially its literature. This, says Dana Gioia, a celebrated poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, is not only a demographic paradox -- Catholics constitute the largest religious group in America -- but it also marks a major historical change. “Sixty years ago,” says Gioia, Catholics played a prominent, prestigious, and irreplaceable part in American literary culture. Today, however, the only ones with significant influence are lapsed Catholics or ex-Catholics hostile to their former Church. Dana is here to discuss it.

5:00 – Kresta Comments – Will Dissident Theologians and Cultural Leftists Regret Claiming Pope Francis as Their Own?

5:20 – The Catholic “Hobbit”

Before you visit theatres for the second installment of the film based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved “The Hobbit,” brush up on your elvish and pack your “Baggins,” because Tolkien Scholar Joseph Pearce is here to take you on an extensive tour of the Catholic themes found in “the Hobbit” and in the life of JRR Tolkien

Church of the Nativity Gets a Facelift for Christmas


Pilgrims visiting the Holy Land this Christmas season will encounter an unfamiliar sight:  The historic Church of the Nativity, wrapped in scaffolding. 
The church was erected by St. Helena over a cave which is believed to have been the place where Mary gave birth to the Christ Child.  The Emperor Justinian I, Byzantine emperor who ruled from 527 to 565 AD, constructed most of the church as it is visible today. 
Parts of the Church of the Nativity date back more than 1,500 years; the last significant repair was in 1478, when Venetian carpenters painstakingly restored the ceiling.  Today, after 600 years of wind and weather, the rooftop is leaking—threatening the priceless mosaics and other artwork and sacred items in the church, as well as the plaster, floors and frescoes. 
First on the “To Do” list, according to the Palestinian engineering consultants hired to develop a plan for the repairs, are the rooftop and windows.  Once the building is protected from the elements, work can begin on the external facade, internal plastering, wall mosaics and paintings and wooden works.
The budget for the first phase of the project is expected to reach $3 million.  Of that, the Palestinian government has agreed to cover $1 million, with another $800,000 raised by private donors.  The rest will come from European nations including France, Hungary, Russia and Greece. 
According to a report in the Deseret News:
The first phase, expected to last one year, is being carried out by "Piacenti," an Italian firm that specializes in the renovation of historical sites. One by one, experts will repair the hundreds of wooden beams in the roof.
Company president Giammarco Piacenti said the rooftop was masterfully restored by Venetian carpenters in 1478. He said the project would be conservative and seek to keep as many original pieces as possible.
"We'll save as many parts, even those in bad conditions, as we can," he said. "We'll only replace pieces that are no longer functional and can no longer help hold the roof. They will be as few as possible and will be made of a compatible wood, of aged wood of the same type and quality.
Aside from the roof and windows, other elements that will need repair in the future are the external facade, internal plastering, wall mosaics and paintings and wooden works. If funding is secured, the work could take four to five years.
Not included in the restoration project is the area under the altar crypt.  On that spot, the highlight of the pilgrims’ visit to Bethlehem, a 14-point silver star marks the spot where, according to long tradition, the Baby Jesus was born. 

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