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  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 28, 2015 – Hour 1

    Kresta in the Afternoon – May 28, 2015 – Hour 1

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Christian Persecution in the Middle east: A 21st Century Tragedy

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Christian Persecution in the Middle east: A 21st Century Tragedy (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Kresta Comments: Papal Grousing: Fruitful or Unfruitful?

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 28, 2015 – Hour 2

    Kresta in the Afternoon – May 28, 2015 – Hour 2

    + Segment #1 of 3

    Will All be Saved?

    • Description: How many people are going to heaven when they die? The culture seems to think that all religions are “basically the same” and any person can achieve salvation so long as they are a “good person.” What does the Church teach about Salvation? We discuss this essential question with Ralph Martin.
    • Segment Guests:
      • Ralph Martin
        Ralph Martin is the president of Renewal Ministries and the Director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. He was named by Benedict XVI as a Consulter to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. Ralph is the host of The Choices We Face and the author of many books including “The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call,” “Will Many Be Saved: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and its Implications for the New Evangelization” and “The Fulfillment of All Desire.”
      • Resources:

    + Segment #2 of 3

    Will All be Saved? (continued)

    + Segment #3 of 3

    Will All be Saved? (continued)

  • Secret Meeting to Sway Synod

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    A note from Al:

    These kind of secret meetings articles usually overstate the danger and can engender needless fear. Part of the reason is that suspicious minds project into unknown situations their suspicions. Nevertheless, the basic point is worth making. Groups of bishops or cardinals or members of the curia do try to push the Church in accord with their vision of the Church. Mature Catholics learn to live with this very human and often sinful reality. Pride, arrogance, careerism, backbiting, backstabbing and, in the past, worse goes on in high as well as low places.

    Remember, however, that this kind of internecine conflict has always, even from apostolic times, been part of the way history is moved along. Read Paul’s letters. Very ugly churches, especially Corinth and the Thessalonians. Remember that he and Barnabas had such a quarrel about Jon Mark that they split their missionary travels together. I’m sure books have been written on who was right, Paul or Barnabas? I’ve seen many Christians come into the Catholic Church thinking they are escaping the kind of intraChurch wrangling that they were tired of in their denomination. The Eagles had a new song released when they held their comeback “Hell Freezes Over” tour: It was appropriately titled “Get Over It.” The Catholic Church has all this wrangling and unsavory conflict too. BUT with two mighty big differences, one cultural and one theological.

    First, the cultural. Catholic church culture is highly educated, more so than any other Christian tradition. This means that the arguing will, ultimately, be better. When argument is good, truth prevails. Not necessarily so, but more likely to so. Second, the Catholic community is the only one that has the divine promise that the gates of hell won’t prevail against it. For this reason, we should let our theological worries subside and joyfully abide in Christ. We should still make our arguments but with the confidence that Christ wins because it is His Church and he’s promised its indefectibility.

    This doesn’t mean that the Church always does the right thing at the right time in the right way. At this moment, we are seeing the universal collapse of Catholic culture. It is heartbreaking. It is terribly disappointing. But we have brought this judgment on ourselves. We have tolerated an intolerable degree of pastoral neglect- not universally, but enough to bring the Church into disrepute, damage its moral authority and impede is ability to preach the gospel with plausibility, let alone authority.

    We are not immune from the moral failures of our clergy or our laity. The failure to treat the laity as adults is connected to the failure to teach them like adults. The laity remain ignorant and dependent on Father so and so who is glad to have sheep who don’t ask too many questions. This is the truth in many parishes.

    We are in that painful period between mere compliance and a new catechesis. In America, I trust we are at the end. The New Evangelization is working wherever it get to the parish level. Never have we had a better educated laity. Never have we had lay driven Catholic media. Never have we had encouragement from our Popes to take co-responsibility for the Church.

    AL’S EXHORTATION: So for the most part stop fretting about the Pope and start worrying about your parish. Agonize over the places where you can make a difference but aren’t doing so. Having opinions about the German bishops is inherently no more praiseworthy than having an opinion about your favorite or hated sports teams. An interest in religion or ecclesiastical affairs is a mere human interest or curiosity. It is not inherently spiritual or life affirming. Praying for these problems is inherently spiritual. Actually doing something to correct problems is inherently spiritual. But arguing, moaning, fretting about who’s in and who’s going to win, who’s out and who’s stock is down… Kasper is up this week, booo. Burke is down boo. Burke is up this week, Kasper is down yeah is not the Catholic way. In fact, it could  be opposed to the Catholic life because it often leads to speculations that open the door to gossip. Gossips often don’t know the truth but construct their claims from fragmentary knowledge about a situation and a person. “Don’t be that person.”

    All this to say, there is a difference between a healthy interest in the affairs of one’s church and an unhealthy grousing and fear that can impede one’s spiritual growth and development.

    Read the article from NC Register here.

    - Al Kresta

  • Confidential Meeting Seeks to Sway Synod to Accept Same-Sex Unions

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    by Edward Pentin via NCRegister.com

    ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.

    Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.

    One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church.

    Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.”

    One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?”

    Marco Ansaldo, a reporter for the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, who was present at the meeting, said the words seemed “revolutionary, uttered by clergymen.”

    French Biblicist and Ratzinger Prize-winner Anne-Marie Pelletier praised the dialogue that took place between theologians and bishops as a “real sign of the times.” According to La Stampa, another Italian daily newspaper, Pelletier said the Church needs to enter into “a dynamic of mutual listening,” in which the magisterium continues to guide consciences, but she believes it can only effectively do so if it “echoes the words of the baptized.”

    The meeting took the “risk of the new, in fidelity with Christ,” she claimed. The article also quoted a participant as saying the synod would be a “failure” if it simply continued to affirm what the Church has always taught.

    The closed-door meeting, masterminded by the German bishops’ conference under the leadership of Cardinal Marx, was first proposed at the annual meeting of the heads of the three bishops’ conferences, held in January in Marseille, France.

    The study day took place just days after the people of Ireland voted in a referendum in support of same-sex “marriage” and on the same day as the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops met in Rome. Some observers did not see the timing as a coincidence.

    The synod council has been drawing up the instrumentum laboris (working document) for the October synod on the family. Integrated into the document will be the responses of a questionnaire sent to laity around the world. Those responses, particularly from Switzerland andGermany, appeared to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Church adapting her teachings to the secular world.

    Why the Lack of Publicity?

    No one would say why the study day was held in confidence. So secret was the meeting that even prominent Jesuits at the Gregorian were completely unaware of it. The Register learned about it when Jean-Marie Guénois leaked the information in a story in Le Figaro.

    Speaking to the Register as he left the meeting, Cardinal Marx insisted the study day wasn’t secret. But he became irritated when pressed about why it wasn’t advertised, saying he had simply come to Rome in a “private capacity” and that he had every right to do so. Close to Pope Francis and part of his nine-member council of cardinals, the cardinal is known to be especially eager to reform the Church’s approach to homosexuals. During his Pentecost homily last Sunday, Cardinal Marx called for a “welcoming culture” in the Church for homosexuals, saying it’s “not the differences that count, but what unites us.”

    Cardinal Marx is also not alone, among those attending the meeting, in pushing for radical changes to the Church’s life. The head of the Swiss bishops, Bishop Büchel of St. Gallen, has spoken openly in favor of women’s ordination, saying in 2011 that the Church should “pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to read the signs of the times.” Archbishop Pontier, head of the French bishops, is also known to have heterodox leanings.

    The meeting’s organizers were unwilling to disclose the names of everyone who took part, but the Register has obtained a full list of participants. They included Jesuit Father Hans Langendörfer, general secretary of the German bishops’ conference, who has been the leading figure behind the recent reform of German Church labor laws to controversially allow remarried divorcees and homosexual couples to work in Church institutions.

    Father Schockenhoff

    Among the specialists present was Father Eberhard Schockenhoff, a moral theologian. Faithful German Catholics are particularly disturbed about the rise to prominence of Father Schockenhoff, who is understood to be the “mastermind” behind much of the challenge to settled Church teachings among the German episcopate and, by implication, at the synod on the family itself.

    A prominent critic of Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), as well as a strong supporter of homosexual clergy and those pushing for reform in the area of sexual ethics, Father Schockenhoff is known to be the leading adviser of the German bishops in the run-up to the synod.

    In 2010, he gave an interview in which he praised the permanence and solidarity shown in some same-sex relationships as “ethically valuable.” He urged that any assessment of homosexual acts “must take a back seat” on the grounds that the faithful are becoming “increasingly distant from the Church’s sexual morality,” which appears “unrealistic and hostile to them.” The Pope and the bishops should “take this seriously and not dismiss it as laxity,” he said.

    Father Schockenhoff has also gone on record saying that moral theology must be “liberated from the natural law” and that conscience should be based on the “life experience of the faithful.”

    He has also insisted that the indissolubility of marriage is “not seriously called into question” by admitting remarried divorcees to holy Communion, writing a book to push his thesis in 2011 entitled “Opportunities for reconciliation?: The Church and the divorced and remarried”. He has further proposed that the term the “official Church” should be done away with because of a growing gap between the institutional Church and the Church of the faithful.

    Also present was Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Sant’Egidio lay community; Jesuit Father Andreas Batlogg, professor of philosophy and theology and chief editor of the liberal periodicalStimmen der Zeit (Voices of the Time) — the journal has devoted its June issue to same-sex relationships and the synod — and Salesian Msgr. Markus Graulich, prelate auditor of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, one of very few Curial officials to attend. Some of those participating, such as Msgr. Graulich, took part in the previous synod.

    Media Participation

    Also noted were the large number of media representatives. Journalists from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German broadcasters ZDF and ARD, the Italian daily La Repubblica and French-Catholic media La Croix and I-Media were also present. Their presence was “striking,” said one observer, who predicted they will be used to promote the agenda of the subject matter under discussion in the weeks leading up to the synod.

    Monday’s meeting is just the latest attempt to subtly steer the upcoming synod in a direction opposed by many faithful Catholics. A statement on the study day released by the German bishops’ conference May 26 said there was a “reflection on biblical hermeneutics” — widely seen as code words for understanding the Bible differently from Tradition — and the need for a “reflection on a theology of love.”

    Critics say this, too, is undermining Church teaching. By replacing the theology of the body with a “theology of love,” it creates an abstract interpretation that separates sex from procreation, thereby allowing forms of extramarital unions and same-sex attractions based simply on emotions rather than biological reality. Gone, say critics, is the Catholic view of marriage, which should be open to procreation.

    The statement, which conspicuously failed to mention sin, ended by saying that “further discussion on the future of marriage and family is necessary and possible” and that it would be “enriched by a further, intensive theological reflection.”

    This, too, is code for wanting a change in teaching, giving the impression that the doctrine in these areas is open to change. But for the Catholic Church, it is a settled issue.

    “Imagine if the Church accepted homosexual relationships,” said one source speaking on condition of anonymity. “Ultimately, that is what these people want.”

  • A 21st Century Tragedy

    A note from Al:

    George Marlin is an astute analyst. I’ve interviewed him before but on domestic politics and the “Catholic vote”.  He has served as board chairman for Aid to the Church in Need so this book is born out of an area of expertise. For years, I’ve repeated Saint John Paul II’s statement that the twentieth century was bloodiest century for Christians in our history. More martyrs, more persecution, more harassment, more marginalization. The 21st, because of the rise of more jihadist Islamic groups and their public prominence, may be much worse.  I don’t expect American persecution will be bloody. I think it will be achieved without the sword. However, Jesus did say that the world, i.e., the corrupted world system built on money, sex and power, hates the gospel. James taught that friendship with the world is enmity with God. The opposite is true: friendship with God is enmity with the world. It has never been clearer in my lifetime.

    - Al Kresta

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    by Fr. C. John McCloskey via TheCatholicThing.org

    As anyone who is paying attention today knows, Christians in the Middle East are undergoing widespread persecution – and even martyrdom. Our Western media don’t much report on it, and our political leaders don’t much notice, however, because it might require them actually to do something. And as a result, it’s not always easy to get a detailed picture of exactly what’s going on.

    George Marlin – a noted former public official, author of many books, board chairman of Aid to the Church in Need, USA, and sometimes TCT columnist has provided a remedy. His latest book, Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy, is a thorough history of the ongoing persecution, along with some useful documents and statements by Church figures both there and here.

    Marlin opens with an overview of the birth and rise of Christianity in the Middle East, and then follows that up with the birth of Islam and the rise of Islamic terrorism in the region. He provides a well-researched account of persecutions of Christians in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and finishes with Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

    As the reader will see, this is not a book merely about the more recent episodes in places like Libya or Pakistan. Marlin situates the present troubles in a wider examination of the recurrent persecution of Christianity by Islamic forces throughout the centuries, country by country, backed up frequently by documents, particularly from the last several centuries, and not only persecution of Catholics, but of Protestants as well.

    Indeed, attacks on Christianity by Muslims have taken place not only in the Middle East, but in countries such as the Philippines, an historically Catholic nation, and also in other places in Asia that have a large Christian presence.

    Marlin puts all this very well in his introduction, in which he expresses the need for a “testimonial to the real suffering, courage, and faith of those Christians who have chosen to remain in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, amidst the chaos of civil war in the shadow of the constant and still growing threat of ISIS. The church leaders who speak in these pages are risking their lives to remain with their people. The faithful, living under constant threat and in chaotic conditions, often without work or proper sustenance, are choosing to remain where they have lived for centuries as a witness to the gospel.”

    This book fervently implores Christians in the West never to forget the suffering of their persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East who, in addition to struggling with discrimination, persecution, and actual martyrdom, also often feel that they have been abandoned by their fellow believers. Indeed this is among the greatest crosses they have to bear. “We feel forgotten and isolated, we sometimes wonder that, if they will kill us all, what would be the reaction of the Christians in the West? Would they do something then?” Such is the plea from the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako.During the Cold War, Christians behind the Iron Curtain would sometimes complain that it was not they who were the Silent Church. It was we, in the West, who remained silent while their freedoms and faith were insulted and suppressed.

    So it is very helpful to have a comprehensive account about a Holocaust, which over many centuries has taken millions of Christian lives and is threatening many more. In God’s inscrutable wisdom, he has fated us to live in an era of rejuvenated Islamic aggression and religious fundamentalism, while Western Christianity shows signs of imploding due to unrestrained materialism and a refusal to acknowledge the moral norms of the natural law.

    I sometimes ask myself how we, in what remains of Christendom, cannot at the very least offer refuge in the United States for any Christian family prepared to become citizens? I am not at all sure that military action is a proper or effective solution. But we cannot stand by doing nothing. We have a responsibility, not only to defend our own religious freedoms from the inroads of Obamacare and the assaults of those who do not recognize our right to oppose same-sex marriage, but also to accept fellow Christians from nations with no legal or actual defenses against religious persecution.

    Even if our opportunities to pressure or influence Islamic governments are minimal, we can offer sanctuary and religious freedom to others, while we still have it. In fact, seeing the threats to religious belief around the world may help us to become more appreciative ourselves of the protections afforded faith groups by our Constitution.

    And let us not be blind to the fact that, while it may be happening in the Middle East now, it can also happen here.

  • Ireland is for gay marriage because it is Catholic

    Before you read this wrongheaded analysis, you should know something about the background and self-interest of the author. Read Al Kresta’s thoughts here.

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    by Fr. Paul Morrissey via USAToday.com

    How is it possible that Ireland, one of the mostCatholic countries in the world, voted overwhelmingly to legalize gay marriage in an historic vote on May 22?

    Throughout the world, the Roman Catholic Church has made opposition to gay marriage its hallmark for the past few years, even as the momentum for “marriage equality” has grown in leaps and bounds. One reason that this stunning two-to-one approval has taken place in Ireland, the first country on the world to do so, is precisely because Ireland is so overwhelmingly Catholic.

    Ireland, the source of Catholic missionaries throughout the word for hundreds of years, has suffered a drastic exodus of people from its church-going ranks since the sexual abuse scandal broke into public view during the past decade. The majority of Irish men and women may still call themselves Catholic, but they no longer accept the hierarchy as believable, particularly in matters of sexual morality. Thus, the stunning rejection of the Church’s view of gay marriage as an invalid relationship in the eyes of God and the Church. What the Church teaches about sexuality is rejected almost as a duty. The Church has no credibility in matters of sexuality in Ireland.

    Because the Irish have been brought up by the Catholic Church to view marriage as a sacrament is the reason they can shift sideways to see a same-sex relationship in the same God-blessed way. Because marriage is a beautiful commitment of love, taught to them by the Church, is why the Irish can make the connection to two people of the same sex loving each other with a similar commitment. It is the love commitment they value, and have come to see in their friends and family members who are gay and lesbian as well. Love conquers. The Irish are lovers. It doesn’t matter who the partners are — “I promise to love you all the days of my life, so help me God.”

    If one is a leader of the Catholic Church, what can be done? Maybe it is a wake-up call that is necessary. If the Catholic Church wants to be taken seriously in any conversation about sexuality, especially to young people, it needs to be honest about the sexual abuse crisis first, including the cover up by its bishops. It also needs to be honest in its dialogue about sexual morality issues with the laity, and to invite them to speak out of their experience as Pope Francis has encouraged. This is not to say that “whatever goes” as the practice of sexual relations by someone is to be accepted, but any teachings by a Church that do not have the experience of its people taken into consideration is like a mind without a body, a set of laws without a basis in people’s actual lived experience. The Catholic Church has much to offer the world in terms of our beliefs on sexuality, loving commitment, sacraments, procreation and family, but we remove ourselves from the conversation when we present ourselves as having all the answers before the conversation begins.

    If the Catholic Church in the United States does not want to lose its entire younger generation, not to mention the older ones who are still trying to hold on and be faithful, we will take this vote for gay marriage in Ireland as a call to open up a discussion in our country about sexuality and where God is calling us now.

    Why Ireland? It’s because of their faith in God, which is bigger and deeper than the Catholic Church, especially when many believe the Church has betrayed them.

    Father Paul F. Morrissey, Order of Saint Augustine, is an ordained Roman Catholic priest and author of the recently published novel, The Black Wall of Silence.

  • Santorum Comes Out Swinging in Second Bid for Republican Presidential Nomination

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    by John Burger via Aleteia.org

    Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the Catholic, pro-life candidate who showed early promise in the 2012 election cycle that eventually nominated Mitt Romney, is taking a second shot at the White House.

    Santorum, 57, announced Wednesday in his hometown of Butler, Pa., that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination, saying he will make working families the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

    “I believe that the right to life must be protected for all Americans – especially those who have not yet been born,” he said.

    The GOP field already has six declared candidates and could grow to at least twice as many in the lead-up to primary season’s beginning in January.

    ABC News opined that “several contenders are expected to give [Santorum] tougher competition this time around for the Christian conservative votes he relied on in 2012.”

    Santorum was declared the winner of the Iowa caucuses in 2012 after a 16-day delay. He acknowledged that this time around, he needs more money for his campaign and will need to make a stronger showing right out of the gate. “You gotta do well in Iowa,” he said in an interview with ABC News chief anchorman George Stephanopoulos. “You gotta win on election night as opposed to two weeks later.”

    The former senator has already come out swinging, taking issue with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, another declared presidential candiate, who suggested that the Islamic State group came into existence, in part, because of the sometimes hawkish nature of the Republicans in the US. The exchange also revealed Santorum’s thinking about radical Islam.

    “ISIS didn’t come about because of … the arms that America left behind,” Santorum said. “ISIS came about because they hate everything that we believe in and we stand for,” Santorum added. “I think the idea that we accept now that this tripe from the left that it’s our fault that ISIS exists—go back to the thousand-year history of Muslim expansionism, and look at some of the horrible things that were done to spread radical Islam. That is not something that America had anything to do with.”

    And, if Santorum succeeds in securing the nomination, he may go head-to-head with a certain former colleague from the Senate.

    “We’ve taken her on, on everything from moral and cultural issues on the floor of the United States Senate,” Santorum said of current front-runner Hillary Clinton, who represented New York in the upper chamber in the early 2000s. ABC News noted another rivalry the two have had in the past:

    Santorum – who wrote “It Takes a Family,” a treatise on the ills of big government, in response to Clinton’s 1996 book, “It Takes a Village” – also touted his book’s success as an indicator of his ability to defeat Clinton.Critics are saying, “‘you know what, this breakdown of the family that Rick Santorum talked about 12 years ago is really one of the central issues in rebuilding America again,’” he told Stephanopoulos.
  • Santorum is a Changed Man

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    Since Rick Santorum last sought to be the Republican presidential candidate, something changed in him. That is the way he seems to me. I’ve interviewed him a few times over the years. I’ve read his books. In the last year I’ve had opportunity to interview him twice and a long conversation off the record once.

    In the past I was not especially convinced that he would be a great presidential choice in spite of the fact that our politics often tracked together. Talking to him today, however, he seems different. Similar wine but better aged. He seems more comfortable “in his skin” as people say. He has always been one of the most articulate voices for social conservatism. But he is now becoming equally articulate on issue of political economy.

    He is now a serious advocate for blue collar workers and is one of the most articulate champions of how America can renew its heavy manufacturing industries. Some are calling him an economic populist. Sometimes that is code for unprincipled. This means “just give the masses what they want and if you can’t get anything substantial for them keep them angry and hopeful by feeding them red meat with your rhetoric. Santorum will have to deal with the conflict between what is called free trade and what unions call “fair trade”.  The related issues have to do with how open should America be to foreign imports.  How can we encourage American companies to find workers in the U.S. rather than New Delhi or Singapore? What are optimal tariffs and intolerable trade imbalances? These are not the issues most social conservatives agonize over.

    He might change that.

    On the other hand, Santorum might be able to increase his support beyond social conservativism. This is absolutely necessary. Let me be clear: America will not elect a candidate whose primary issues are abortion, gay rights, religious liberty. This has been known for a long time but I still hear people saying that if we just had an articulate champion for the unborn the American people would elect him. This is not going to happen as much as I believe that abortion is the morally defining issue of this generation like race was the morally defining issue of last generation. The American people, even though over half now call themselves “pro-life”,  simply don’t care about the issue enough for it to be a deal-maker or deal breaker.  Only about 7 percent think abortion is a major political issue that could decide their vote. Homosexual so-called marriage may be a moot civil issue after the Supreme Court decision [moot for society, never moot for the Church] but candidates who put opposition to same-sex so-called marriage out front will probably not be able to even win the Republican nomination. They may win some primaries but they won’t get the nomination if they make opposition to homosexual marriage near the top of their concerns. It is absolutely lethal. The hatred from the other side and their money will no longer respect even private moral opposition to same sex marriage. They will humiliate, embarrass and if possible get you fired for your position. Remember the new CEO of Mozilla. He lasted a week when it was learned he had given a thousand dollars to Californias Prop 8 campaign. This fellow never believed that homosexuality should ever be an issue in the workforce. It was irrelevant for his public life. Nevertheless, Mozilla fired him within a week and then said what a wonderful world this is with the Internet because we can discuss these things openly. This wasn’t a discussion it was a high tech lynching.

    All this to say, Rick Santorum is more practical and wide ranging in his political interests than he seemed to be in the past. He is more comfortable with himself. For what it’s worth, I believe his spirituality, which has always been important to him, seems more winsome and friendly than years ago.  I hope his time hasn’t passed because we need statesmen more than we need politicians running for office and Rick now seems to me more of a statesman.

    For additional reading, check out this piece by John Burger from Aleteia.org:

    Santorum Comes Out Swinging in Second Bid for Republican Presidential Nomination

    - Al Kresta

  • A Wrong-Headed Analysis on Ireland

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    Before you read this wrongheaded analysis, you should know something about the background and self-interest of the author. He is a priest of the Order of Saint Augustine with nearly 50 years of ministry behind him. Much of it was in hospice and prison ministry apparently. He is also a novelist responsible for The Black Wall of Silence. Here is the amazon description. “In the midst of the sexual abuse crisis that is tearing the Church apart, a Catholic priest is caught between fighting for the victims of sexual abuse and his bond of loyalty to the Church. What makes the conflict unique is the internal struggle of the priest who is a gay, in a Church that is ashamed of his orientation and rewards him for his silence.”

    New writers are always told “write about what you know.” While I don’t know if Fr. Morrissey identifies as “gay” or if this book is autobiographical, I would lay serious money down that it is filled with autobiographical references.

    To the article itself: He claims Ireland’s populist demand for homosexual marriage was because of, not in spite of, its Catholicism. Huh? Yes, according to this man, the Catholic Church teaches that marriage that marriage is a sacrament and that’s why Catholics “can shift sideways to see a same-sex relationship in the same God-blessed way.” This of course is patent nonsense. Compared to sacramental marriage, gay marriage seems as much a desecration of the sacrament as an extension of it. Not because homosexuals don’t experience love, not because love has no gender, but because marriage does have gender. Male and female are not arbitrary categories. They are rooted in our very being. That is why homosexual acts often elict the “ick factor” from people. That is not bad. The majority of people find the unnatural repulsive.  

    There is also the widespread testimony of homosexuals themselves that permanence and monogamy don’t hold the same importance for their unions as it does in the Catholic sacrament of matrimony.

    He also blames the coverup of the sexual abuse crisis in Ireland on the bishops and their loss of moral authority. I don’t doubt there is some of that but not enough to jettison the sexual morality taught by Jesus and St. Paul in the New Testament or to overcome the natural sense of order that sees male and female as complementary not arbitrary.

    Remember this man is an active priest with, I’m sure, many decent and noble qualities. But he is unfit to teach Catholic doctrine and those responsible for his own spiritual well-being are not showing him love by permitting him to affirm what the Church teaches is sin.

    Read the article here.

    - Al Kresta

  • Kresta in the Afternoon – May 28, 2015

    Talking about the “Things That Matter Most” on May 28, 2015


    4:00 – Christian Persecution in the Middle east: A 21st Century Tragedy  

    Worldwide, Christianity is the most persecuted religion. It’s especially bad in the Middle East. In many Middle Eastern countries, Christians cannot build or repair a church without obtaining permission from the government. Christians are regularly attacked by mobs. ISIS and another terrorist groups proudly showcase their brutal murder of Christians. George Marlin joins us today to talk about the brutal challenges our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing.

    4:40 – Kresta Comments: Papal Grousing: Fruitful or Unfruitful?

    5:00 – Will All Be Saved?

    How many people are going to heaven when they die? The culture seems to think that all religions are “basically the same” and any person can achieve salvation so long as they are a “good person.” What does the Church teach about Salvation? We discuss this essential question with Ralph Martin.

     

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