Jul 15, 2006

Demographics and Religion

The Adherents website has this interesting chart of major world religions. As shown there are approximately 33 Christians for every 21 Muslims. I decided to try a very simple projection. In the Christian group, assume 28 of 33 Christians (14 couples) reproduce with an average two children for each couple. Also assume 18 of the 21 Muslims have an average of five children for each of the nine couples.

Now let's assume all the Christians and Muslims parents are 20 years old and all of their children will be born within the next 20 years. Assume no one dies until they are at least 40 years old. [Demographic calculations are far more complex than this exercise.]

At the end of 20 years, there will be the original 33 Christians plus (14 x 2) children = 61 total Christians. There will be 66 Muslims, 21 original parents plus (9 x 5) children. Other factors not considered, this very simplistic calculation shows the Muslim population greater than the number of Christians within one generation.

Advice from a Protestant Pastor

Once a young Protestant pastor gave a talk at a pro-life conference I attended. When his speech ended, several people had questions. The pastor was asked how to find a church that was pro-life without compromise. His response was that to find a pro-life church, you must find a church with a pastor that preaches against sin. "If you find a church where the pastor doesn't preach against sin like Jesus did, then you won't find that church opposing abortion." The answer was one I will not forget.

Explosive Prayers !

Short indulgenced prayers were taught to us as children. They were called ejaculations, but that name has reasons for being changed. I suggest we call these short prayers EXPLOSIVE PRAYERS, ones that you can say in one expelled breath.

Many times my short prayers have more meaning than longer prayers. Often, explosive prayers are cries that tell God you need immediate help. I remember my Grandma discovering (over 50, no it was over 60 years ago) that I had misbehaved or again created some mess. As she looked upward to heaven (seriously!), her cry was a prayer--Mary, help me! Mary help me!-- and it was said in a foreign language. I knew she was calling on the Mother of God, but I didn't know the rest of it until years later. [Maybe her short, explosive prayers are the reason I have not yet been condemned to hell. Grandma, keep saying those prayers!]

Here are some of my favorite EXPLOSIVE PRAYERS.
  • O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, all praise and all thanksgiving be every moment Thine.
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee. [my personal favorite]
  • Sweetest Jesus, be to me not a judge, but a Saviour.
  • Divine Heart of Jesus, convert sinners, save the dying, set free the holy souls in purgatory.
  • My God and my All!
  • Jesus, Help me!
  • My Jesus, mercy!
  • Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
  • By thy Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy.
  • Mary, have pity on me.

Jul 14, 2006

Shari'ah--Muslim Law

I first learned of "shari'ah" at a pro-life conference sponsored by Fr. Paul Marx. He invited a Muslim spokesman, a California doctor (if I remember correctly), to attend because Islam also opposes abortion. The Muslim doctor talked about Islamic opposition to abortion. His speech clearly promoted respectability for Islamic teachings.

A Catholic Bishop from Nigeria, Africa was visibly ill at ease. He peppered the Muslim doctor about why Muslims attacked Catholics in his diocese. The Bishop said Muslims were trying to impose Shari'ah--Muslim law--on non-Muslims. The doctor responded that this was not the way of Islam, that Islam allowed freedom of conscience. The Bishop pressed on, "There is no Islamic country where Christians have freedom of religion. What Islamic country follows the good principles that you have outlined in your talk?" The doctor seemed non-plussed and answered "Switzerland" and the room erupted in laughter at the ridiculous answer.

Some of the precepts and punishments of Shari'ah:
- The killing of the enemies of Islam is encouraged (fatwas and jihad)
- Theft is punished by cutting off hands
- The eating of pork is prohibited
- The legal status of women is minimized
- Husbands can divorce their wives by "I divorce you"
- Women may not be prominent in the public world
- Women must cover their hair
- Husbands may physically discipline their wives by beating them
- Females are genitally mutilated
- Conversion of a Muslim to Christianity is punished by death
- Freedom of speech is restricted
- Public practice of Christian religion is severely restricted, if not forbidden

Northern Nigeria is a good example of Islamic repression of non-Muslims. The harsh code of Shari'ah has resulted in brutal punishments for minor infringements. For example, a woman who rides a bicycle can earn a flogging. Many Christian women have been brought before Islamic courts charged with non-compliance of the Muslim dress code . Female students at the University must wear Islamic-approved dresses to sit for exams or they will be expelled. Female nurses have been fired for not changing their nurse uniforms for Islamic attire. Other Shari'ah approved discrimination occurs in education, freedom of speech, employment, access to the media, and in the provision of burial sites.

Jul 13, 2006

Russian Orthodox Church in Rome

The news site of the SSPX is dici.org. This week there is an article on the dedication of a Russian Orthodox Church in Rome (http://www.dici.org/actualite_read.php?id=873&loc.us). I highly recommend reading the comments by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, President of the Department of Exterior Affairs of the Moscow Patriarchate.

Kirill noted in his address that Pope Benedict XVI “ had made some very profound and important statements concerning perspectives of common initiatives between our two churches.” What is the main initiative? Human morality, which is under attack in most modern countries.

Kirill declared “The time has come when the two churches must work together” in order to ensure that “the Christian roots of Europe” prevail. For when “Europe decides not to recognize its Christian roots, this is the time when the Catholic and Orthodox churches must work together in order to be able once again to defend the values of the Christian life in Europe”.

Jul 12, 2006

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 8: Conclusions

The Great Catholic Retreat can be interpreted as the fulfillment of the vision of Pope Leo XIII in 1884 when he saw Satan being given power over the church in the next century. In the Retreat, the Church actually retreated, but employed the “two steps forward, one step backward” approach. This strategy was used by Communists in the 20th century, with the one step backward a true retreat.

The step backward resulted in the trimming of many weak Catholics from the tree. [This historian believes the views of Fr. Origen Templeton of the Candlelight Society oversimplify the situation of that time. Fr. Templeton is well known for his belief that the Church should have issued and enforced strict edicts against heresy in the early 1970s when the rampages of Modernism became highly visible.]

e strategy of "two steps forward, one step backward" was employed successfully in the Great Catholic Retreat (although perhaps unintentionally). Previous condemnations and actions against Modernism, the synthesis of errors affecting Christian belief, were not effective. The defeat of Modernism came only after the 100-year reign by Satan when virtually all remaining Christians could finally recognize they were now living in the Belly of the Beast.

By all measures, Modernism was thoroughly defeated and no longer posed a threat to the Church after 2030. Secularism remains a threat to Catholic action in the U.S., but has been mitigated by the increasing threat of a all-out worldwide Jihad.

The reunion of the Western Church with the Eastern Churches slowly proceeds in 2098, and is being advanced by the new invigoration of the Western Church. Russia has been able to restore its population to levels of 2000, but remains at war with some of its southern neighbors.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 7: Residual Trials

Following Benedict XVI’s death, a seemingly more liberal Pope was subsequently elected, and his accidental death two years later is still being reviewed, although mostly as public entertainment. However, his short Papacy was unable to stop the swing of the Pendulum of the Church from modernism to traditionalism. The pendulum over-swing is now seen to have resulted in a renewed Jansenism in the Church that Pope Jeremiah addresses in his new encyclical, In Medio Stat Virtus (2097). This new encyclical has encountered the wrath of the reformed Jesuits who have declared it is inconsistent with prior Church teaching.

The SSPX remained fearful of a Vatican accord until 2020, when a Vatican conference clarified certain difficult theological issues initiated by Vatican II. Two new SSPX bishops were then approved by Rome. In 2024, the SSPX was fully approved to operate in most Catholic dioceses as an order of priests dedicated to evangelization of Muslims in the free world.

Death rattles by the last Kasparites continued until 2033, when no significant Modernist bishop remained active in the Catholic Church—either being retired because of old age and death, or being dismissed because of negligence of Church assets.

The destruction of seven Islamic cities and two Jewish cities led to the Time of Trial in 2022. For a 2-month period, worldwide terrorism disabled worldwide shipping and satellite transmission. This volatile situation was defused only by the strongest threats and two military thrusts from China (which desired continued economic and political growth in a peaceful world).

The world financial catastrophe of 2022-2026 and the growing spectre of Islam caused many families to conclude children were the only lifeline to their future. A high of 4.3 children per family in the U.S. was reached in 2065, and even larger Catholic families are now finally producing adequate numbers of priests for the U.S. Church in the 22nd century.

The relations between the secular U.S. state and the Church became more difficult in the 2010s, especially as the science/moral/political differences became more pronounced. One of the thorniest problems for the Catholic Church was and is “Super Children” (designer children). Many parents chose to procreate/engineer only highly intelligent and personable children. Even though the particular procedure does not involve an abortion, it involves immoral means according to a definitive Papal statement issued in 2021.

As the 21st century progressed, the Church welcomed increasing numbers into the Church, mostly by providing key leadership and witness to the Christian life of sacrifice, confronting the key errors of the day, and assisting the poor and other suffering peoples who became very numerous after the Time of Trial with its resulting financial catastrophe.

China's territory in the 1930's expanded by mostly bloodless intrusions into Vietnam, Korea, and several other southeast Asian countries. The Philippines, Japan, and Australia signed friendship pacts with China. Indonesia allied itself with Muslim countries that promised all-out war against China if China moved into Indonesia. India and Russia declined to sign a peace pact with China and incresing tensions led to the China-India-Russian War of 2047. The three countries signed a non-agression pact in 2049 that has been maintained until today (2098).

Democracy began to be viewed as unworkable in most countries. The European Union continued to fail throughout the first half of the 21st century. France expelled most Muslims in the 2020s, but not without much bloodshed. It now remains the only Christian country in Europe and has accepted many Christian immigrants from formerly Christian states. An intense revival of the Faith occurred during the Muslim attacks of the 2030s.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 6: New Growth

As the old traditional Church became young again, a relatively few Catholic families and communities exhibited a vigor beyond their numbers, and encouraged the growth of new religious orders and activities. [These communities provided the source of the “Martyr Bishops” of the Islamic Conflicts in the late 21st century].

Traditional lay-run communities and enterprises dominated Catholic evangelical activity in the early decades of the 21st century, with extensive expression on the Internet, TV, radio, and in several acclaimed movies beginning with The Passion of the Christ in 2004. This activity was severely restricted after a police state was implemented after the Great Trial of 2022 and during the severe financial disorder that immediately followed.

Pope Benedict XVI died in 2014 after a productive papacy, although statistics representing Catholic religious life did not begin to increase significantly until the next decade. He is remembered for his adroit establishment of control of the Curia and seminaries, significant revision of the Novus Ordo liturgy, and appointing mostly loyal and orthodox bishops.

Benedict XVI’s 2009 visit to China established the framework for a considerable growth of Catholicism in China. Even though the majority of Chinese has not been baptized [in 2098], they are mostly friendly to the Catholic Church and have assisted in critical peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.

Key results of the Papal visit were the official abandonment of the one-child family in 2010, a final agreement for the selection of new Chinese bishops and control of church property, and the partial freedom to evangelize including publishing Catholic newspapers. Perhaps most importantly, Pope Benedict and Premier PuLin Wao initiated regular communications on Islamic advances in Asia and other non-European countries.

In the U.S. and other countries of the Western Hemisphere, Catholicism did not grow much even during the Great Trial that began in 2022. Secularism remained very influential in people's lives. Protestant evangelical churches made large inroads into Catholic Latino populations beginning in the 1990s. This loss continued until 2030 when Latino Evangelical Churches in Mexico and Brazil agreed to meet the Pope and discuss a united front against the Muslim advance.

The results of that meeting were not foreseen. The first result was that key laymen within the evangelical congregations and the Catholic Church agreed to become co-leaders of the United Christian Front (UCF) within each country. This non-government organization (NGO) was responsible for insuring joint political actions that would adequately respond to increased Muslim agitation and advances.

The second result was that the UCF was populated with the Church's most energetic and personable Catholics who quickly brought several key Evangelical leaders into the Church. Others followed. [I will only summarize the story here because the full history of The Grand Alliance is described in my earlier book of the same title.] In short, the Pope and more than 20 important Evangelical leaders signed the Grand Alliance, a charter for the establishment of the New Catholic Evangelical Church in a 3-step program.

The Evangelicals insisted on keeping many of their own faith practices and church services, but agreed to institute reforms to bring their church services and teachings to minimum Catholic standards (Simple Catholicism: Essential Catholic teachings, which some say was based on Mere Christianity described by C.S. Lewis and an old Catholic Catechism used by the Church in the 20th century).

The Catholic Evangelical Church initially operated without properly ordained church ministers and were under the direct guidance, if not authority, of the Pope. Each evangelical congregation was instructed to study Simple Catholicism and worthily receive spiritual communion. This 'Communion of desire' wanted the grace of unity with God in Holy Communion. [The fruits of that desire are given to a good soul even before actually receiving Communion.] The ministers also encouraged the desire for perfect contrition among the souls under their care. A soul that has perfect contrition is absolved of all sin. Both of these activities prepared souls for the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Penance when the opportunity finally came.

The second step of the concord established a schedule for the training and priestly ordination of those ministers who agreed completely to Simple Catholicism, and who also agreed to study the full teachings of the Catholic Church under the personal direction of an advisor/director appointed by the Pope.

The third step was the priestly ordination of trained and loyal ministers who accepted the full teachings of the Catholic Church, followed by consecration of three bishops from the group. The zeal of the highly motivated new Catholic Evangelical Church led to almost half of South and Central American Latinos joining within the next 20 years. The evangelical churches who did not respond favorably were left on the fringe of the UCF which had become a critical factor in the preservation of all Christian populations.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 4: Pope John Paul II

John Paul II occupied the seat of Peter through the worst of the Great Catholic Retreat. Historians note that John Paul II was quite sympathetic to Modernism, especially in his appointment of many Modernist Bishops, his encouragement of false religions (e.g., Hinduism, Islam), and his particular reluctance to deal with Modernist seminaries, including their ordination of homosexual priests.

His positive legacy is considered to be (1) the acceptance of the Bishop of Rome as the recognized leader of virtually all Christians (even those not accepting all Church doctrines), (2) the prevention of a de jure schism in the Church, in spite of a de facto schism, and (3) skillful efforts to undermine Communism as a political force.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 5: The Wind Changes

The consecrations of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X and their excommunications in 1988 led to the formation of several new traditional Catholic communities approved by Rome. These communities (FSSP and others) were forbidden or discouraged by many local Bishops. Where allowed to be established, traditional priests provided great spiritual help to more and more Catholics who began to see vital differences between a traditional Catholic church and a local Novus Ordo church.

By the 1990s, young Catholic families began to find and encourage each other in pro-life activities, natural family planning interests, and especially home-schooling of children. Where a Latin Mass community was established, these Catholic families found each other and quickly and fervently embraced the traditional Church.

Also in that period, the Church had begun to ordain a few hidden Peter's, Paul's, James's, and John's who were called to enter Modernist-controlled seminaries, but somehow had the true faith through independent study and prayer. The prayers and sufferings of these loyal young priests were instrumental in the early, but partial, recovery of many local churches.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the wind direction had changed, and Modernism became “old.” In contrast, Catholic Tradition became “new” and exciting. Thus, Modernism reached its apex and orthodox Catholicism began to reappear and grow in some local Novus Ordo churches.

The great debacle of homosexual priests in the U.S. Church in the early 2000s provided a setback from which the Modernist Bishops never recovered. The result was a serious loss of Church funds and property, the removal of certain high-level bishops, and (because of loss of operating funds) the consequent removal of many hired personnel who controlled Church offices and organizations. In its public humiliation, the Church and many priests found a humility that began to bring them closer to Christ and his Cross.

Historians now identify specific times of recovery of local churches in documents and addresses issued by bishops. The recovery in a particular diocese can often be pinpointed to the time that the local bishop no longer references Vatican II in his major documents.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 3: Running Backward

Following Vatican II, all the Popes voiced Catholic teaching (rhetoric) but did not implement or advance it (action). Moreover, all the Popes of that era were silent on many, if not most, of the grave problems afflicting the Church. Only in a few instances did the Popes exercise their authority. Consequently, most local bishops believed they were emancipated from Papal interference, and looked instead to Modernist-controlled Bishops' conferences for leadership.

By the late 1980s, only one or two U.S. bishops were willing to clearly confront Modernism. A favorite often-told story is of the much arrested (for pro-life demonstrations) Auxiliary Bishop Austin Vaughn of New York. He declared at a national Bishops’ meeting in 1988 that his fellow bishops were like a committee of foxes. And in response to gasps and boos, added “But of course you are all friendly foxes!”

Church life declined precipitously over the forty-year period from 1969 through 2008. One small book of that time documents the statistical freefall of the Church, Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church since Vatican II

Following Vatican II, a few loyal Catholics found relatively safe havens where good and faithful pastors resisted many of the modernist innovations. Beginning in the 1970s, the Society of St. Pius X established unapproved chapels which provided sanctuaries where loyal Catholics could sustain and nourish the faith of their fathers. The FSSP and other traditional orders provided additional havens for orthodox Catholics beginning in about 1990.

Most periodicals were taken over by modernist editors. A few new Catholic journals and newspapers were founded to encourage faithful Catholics to reject errors that undermined the Catholic faith. These small publications placed particular emphasis on Catholic doctrine, morals, and history. Perhaps the most important result was that isolated Catholics were informed of the existence of others who were similarly concerned about the problems in the Church.

As in the 16th Century, many older Catholics initially tried to follow the Faith of their Fathers in Vatican II Churches. Some saw no more reason for going to Mass as they saw decay after decay in their local Church and they died estranged from the Church. Older Catholics had been taught not to question local Bishops and priests. Consequently, they accepted faulty liturgical prayers and homilies, lack of reverence in the Mass, Communion in the hand and while standing, loss of Benediction and other devotions, etc.).

In contrast, the younger Catholic populaltion was dispossessed of good instruction in the faith. Modernist thought and activities led young Catholics to embrace a cafeteria approach to the Catholic faith--choosing which doctrine to believe and which dogma to reject. Alternatively, young Catholics left the Church because it no longer suited their interests and provided spiritual nourishment of poor quality.

By the 1980s, the cancer had metastasized so that the entire Church was overrun with modernism—overwhelming and countless malignancies that could not be excised by however skillfully a hierarchial knife could be applied.

The Great Catholic Retreat --Chapter 2: Vatican II

Typically, a general Council of the Church is judged by the manner of its convocation, its membership, and its results. Vatican Council II is still disputed among Church historians of the late 21st century, especially as to whether a pastoral [as distinct from a doctrinal] council is protected by the Holy Spirit. Most agree Vatican II must be judged simply by Christ’s admonition in Matt 7:16, "By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles?"

Historians now compare Vatican Council II with the Council of Basle, a revolutionary conciliabulum. A time log is important for this analysis.

1378-1417: Great Western Schism with rival Popes
1414-1418: Council of Constance (the Council that resulted in withdrawal or deposition of the three rival popes)
1423-1424: Council of Pavia (later transferred to Sienna because of plague in Pavia)
1431-1449: Council of Basle

The basis for both the Council of Pavia and the Council of Basle was the Council of Constance , which promulgated Frequens. Frequens specified an ecumenical council should be held no less than once every ten years as a kind of religious parliament. The absolute Papal monarchy was to give way to a constitutional oligarcy. The governance of the Church was questioned. Was it to be the pope or the council?

The purposes of the Council of Basle were to reform the Church in its "head and members," to settle the Hussite wars, to promote peace among European nations, and to reunite the Western and Eastern Churches. The Council is questioned by historians on whether it should be regarded as a general council, especially during the period after Pope Eugene IV, in the Bull Doctoris Gentium of 9/18/1437, transferred the council to Ferrara. Dissident bishops continued to meet at Basle until 1449.

Church historians are mostly agreed that the Council of Basle was a legitimate Council until 1437, and that the decrees passed during that period, if they did not undermine the Apostolic See, are considered the decrees of a general council.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Chapter 1: Modernism

Modernism began to infect the Church in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The errors of modernism were condemned in clear documents issued by numerous Popes, especially Pius IX and Pius X. In the 1907 Encyclical "Pascendi", Pius X noted that modernism embraces every heresy. Other writers of that time correctly identified modernism with three spirits:

· Continual movement and change

· Complete personal emancipation

· Uncontrolled feelings of the heart

Detailed Papal condemnations did not destroy Modernism, but caused it to develop an imprecise language of mixed meanings. The new language was used to spread Modernist ideas, yet allowed Modernists to claim orthodox meanings. The most useful short history of Modernism is found in the 1981 edition of Christ Denied by Fr. Paul Wickens.

Modernists had enough influence by the early 1960s that they assumed control of Vatican II and almost all its implementation in local Churches. Consequently, the documents of Vatican II were written in the Modernist language of mixed meanings, and allowed Vatican II to be implemented as a Modernist council.

The Great Catholic Retreat is noted for departures from orthodoxy and Catholic practices, and by a significant loss of priests, religious, and laymen and women. The Retreat began during Vatican II, with the worst effects being felt in a 30-year period from the late 1960’s through the late 1990’s. Historians of today (2098) continue to explore how and why this council and its implementation resulted in severely declining statistics of Church religious members and a drastic weakening in religious belief and practice.

The Great Catholic Retreat--Preface

[dustiam presents this Catholic science fiction as one way to understand the Church's difficulties of the past 50 years, and possibly to foresee the history of the Church in the next 50 years. The Great Catholic Retreat is a 'work in progress.' Changes will likely be made when comments are received that say, "You are out of your mind to conceive this!" The book starts with this preface written by an unknown Church historian of the 22nd century.]

The Great Catholic Retreat was published by historian Pedro Maria Ruiz-Sanchez in the year 2098. Ruiz-Sanchez recounts the period in the 20th and early 21st centuries when the hierarchy of the Catholic Church was reluctant to battle the forces of Satan, and collaborated with them in several instances. He focuses on Church history in the U.S. which constituted a major force and population within the Church at that time.

Jul 11, 2006

Bad News for Movie Sanitizers

My grandchildren rarely turn on TV, except to see movies that are edited to remove profanity, sexual content, and other objectional materials. So they participate in programs where they pay a monthly fee to rent sanitized movies. The site Clean Edited Movies describes the different companies that offer sanitized DVDs.

The nasty movie industry includes the Directors Guild of America and eight studios (MGM, Time Warner, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures). These organizations want no one to remove objectionable material so children (and adults) can watch a clean movie. Since 2002, they have spent tens of millions of dollars suing the companies that clean up movies for parents and their children. Yet all the movie sanitizer companies purchase an original DVD for every edited DVD they rent or sell.

Regardless, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch in Colorado has ruled (see news article) that he doesn't believe in choice. All movie clean-up companies were told they must immediately cease all production, sale, and rentals of edited videos. They have only five days to turn over all existing copies of the original and cleaned-up DVDs. What a loss for my grandchildren whose parents regularly use Clean Films to obtain sanitized movies. And they had just ordered the edited version of Pirates of the Carribean!

ClearPlay may be the only option. The 2005 Family Movie Act passed by Congress protects ClearPlay and other software-based filtering companies. The ClearPlay System is a DVD system sold by WalMart and other stores that lets you censor DVD movies yourself. The system provides customization controls to allow parents to block up to 14 levels of violence, sex, nudity and profanity. ClearPlay also produces the MaxPlay DVD system, where software filters remove objectionable content from the computer monitor.

Update: Clean Flicks has decided to appeal the decision of a federal court judge who has ruled that production of "sanitized" movies violates federal copyright law and hurts the Hollywood directors and studios who own the movie rights. See news.

Jul 10, 2006

Self Genocide in Spain

The PBS report on Catholicism in Spain began with interviews to show just how dramatically this former bastion and master evangelizer of the Catholic faith is proceeding to commit self genocide. Spain has been converted to a predominantly lay society in less than a generation. Eighty percent of Spaniards now call themselves Catholics, but only 42 percent believe in God and 20 percent go to Mass.

The spokesman of the Catholic Church in Spain, Fr. Leopoldo Vives Soto, noted Spain's very low birth rate, among the lowest in the world. His words are stark, scary, and worth repeating.
If families don't have children and don't communicate values to those children, well then society, bit by bit, gets weaker. It's like cancer. It's not violent. It's not an illness that kills with one blow, but you have a body that slowly decays.
Go back to 1492--you remember the year that Columbus flying the flag of Spain discovered the new world. Well, 1492 was also the date when the Spanish army, under Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, marched into the City of Granada. They finally reconquered the last of Spanish lands seized by Arab armies seven centuries earlier. Spain is the only country to have ever successfully repeled an occupying Muslim force.

I've read historical speculation that if Spain had not been able to reconquer its lands for Christianity, then all of the Latin American countries would have been Muslim. Because Spain was successful in the Reconquista, the new world became Catholic.

Are the Muslims still upset about the Reconquista? More than you can imagine. Muslims believe any land they conquered is always theirs, even if reconquered by the original non-Muslim people. To Muslims, their old land is now 'occupied' and they are called upon to wage a jihad to subjugate the non-Muslim inhabitants and once again impose the rule of Islam.

The PBS interviewer in Spain concluded his report by stating "In the Spanish capital, the largest house of worship built in recent years wasn't a church, but this mosque and Islamic cultural center".

Jul 9, 2006

Confirmation in the Faith

My Catholic faith in Jesus Christ is my most valuable possession. I don't remember much about being confirmed by the Bishop, except for the gentle slap on my face to remind me to be ready to suffer for Christ. I do remember another confirmation in my faith.

When I was about eleven years old, I began to hear about doubts to the faith. Is Jesus Christ really the second person of the Blessed Trinity? Is the Catholic Church really the one true Church? Is there really a God?

One night as I lay in bed, I began to think about these questions. The Baltimore Catechism, the Bible, and nature were my main resources. I reasoned, if Jesus were not God, then how could He bring dead people back to life at His command? Alternatively, if Jesus were God, then He obviously came to teach men the truth. Truth and goodness exist, so a good and true God must exist. If God did not exist, then the universe would not be so beautiful.

I remember pondering all the questions that I could muster. Hours passed as I examined the implications of believing and not believing. At about 2 o'clock in the morning, I slept. God gave me great grace that night to decide that I would never doubt Him again.

Great Grandma's Prayers--Enlarged Print

Mother keeps her prayers in a three-ring binder. Some years ago she could no longer read the many small prayer cards she had collected. The prayers were then keyed into a rich text file and the font made significantly larger. Mother says these enlarged print prayers every morning. If anyone would like to have Great Grandma's prayers, please email me.

You Can Change the World !

In my Catholic high school of the early 1950s, one of the nuns recommended that I read a book by Fr. James Keller, You Can Change the World. The original book sold half a million copies and told stories about individual Catholic men and women who had changed the world for the better. I was so enthusiastic about the book that when it came time to give an oral presentation in the classroom, it was very easy.

I became a firm believer that one person can change the way things work out in life, and can affect many others as well. The actions of a single individual can be compared to the butterfly effect. The Butterfly Effect proposes that a butterfly in China can alter weather in the United States. The notion is that very small initial conditions can produce large variations in long term effects.

Many years ago I heard that the Christophers organization had been taken over by very liberal elements in the Church. Now the Christophers are publishing a new version of Fr. Keller's book that has been revised by U.S. Representative, Jerry Costello. Rep. Costello is a Catholic Democrat, whose record shows he votes pro-life almost all the time.

Does Costello introduce new stories about modern-day Catholics? Are they mostly Democrats? Maybe a test of Costello's fairness would be to determine if any new stories contained in the book describe the life of the founder of Domino's Pizza.

Tom Monahan says he intends to die poor, so he has donated millions and millions of dollars for pro-life activities and Catholic philanthropy. He now is spending his money building a Florida campus for Ave Marie University and Law School, which he founded. A new Catholic town (planned for 20,000 residents) is also being built adjacent to the campus and is said to be open to anyone aspiring to live in communion with traditional values. As a conservative Catholic, Monahan has suffered the sting of public rebuke. See his interview with Katie Couric described at Media Matters.