Tuesday, November 18, 2014

“This is the Good News!” Courage Movie 'Desire of the Everlasting Hills' at Faith Formation Conference Friday

On Friday, November 21 and Saturday, November 22, the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the Dioceses of Monterey, Oakland, San Jose, and Stockton will sponsor the 2014 Faith Formation Conference. This year’s conference, the ninth annual event, will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Over 50 different workshops will be offered.

This year’s conference includes an added ‘special event’ on Friday, November 21: two screenings of the 2014 movie Desire of the Everlasting Hills, produced by Courage International, the church-approved ministry to and by people with same-sex attraction. The screenings will be at 5:30PM and at 7:30 PM in Ballroom H at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Each screening will be followed by a question and answer period with two of the three people profiled in the film, Paul and Rilene. From the Faith Formation Conference website:

“The film Desire of the Everlasting Hills delivers three intimate and candid portraits of Catholics who try to navigate the waters of self-understanding, faith and homosexuality. Dan, a gregarious musician who spent his life hiding a deep sense of isolation from those who loved him; Rilene, a successful businesswoman who realized that twenty-five years with her partner did not provide the fulfillment she had longed for; and Paul, an international model who, after a life of self-indulgence, found grace in the last place he expected….” 

The movie’s website, www.everlastinghills.org, includes a welcome from Fr. Paul N. Check, Executive Director of Courage International. Fr. Check writes:

“It… takes humility and courage to face certain questions about our lives. One such question is, ‘How do I know if I am designing my life well? By what standard can I come to a conclusion?’ This question is closely linked with another, ‘What is the purpose of my life? What does it mean to be fulfilled and at peace?’ And these are the central questions around which the film Desire of the Everlasting Hills turns. The film does not claim to answer these questions completely. They have been mulled over, talked over, even fought over, for as long as humanity has found its home in this world. Anyone who has ever thought about whether he or she has “done the right thing,” has started to think about these questions.

I admire the three people whom you will see in this movie—Rilene, Dan and Paul. I admire them because of their humility and courage. I realize—and more important, they realize—that some viewers may be troubled, offended, or even angered by their stories. No one involved in making this film wishes to cause anyone distress. On the contrary. But if we are free to design our lives, then each of us will have a story, and whether or not this story is welcome, it deserves respect. It deserves respect not only for the unique mind and heart the story reveals, but also for what it may contain for others.”

Austin Ruse, reviewing the movie in Crisis Magazine, wrote “It is impossible to watch this important documentary without tears, and not sad tears either, but happy ones, tears that come from a joyful movement of the spirit. These are people who have been deeply wounded by the choices they have made and who have struggled through to a profound peace.”

As Dan, one of those profiled in the film, says “Chastity isn’t a consolation prize. Our lives are better because of the Church’s teachings. The Church shouldn’t be embarrassed. They should shout it from the mountaintops. This is the Good News!”

A trailer for the movie may be seen at the website www.everlastinghills.org

The Santa Clara Convention center is located at 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Walk-ins to the Conference are welcome.

Note: An email from Rilene Simpson, one of those profiled in the movie, was published in today's California Catholic Daily.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Catastrophic Catholic Fall-Off in Latin America

Yesterday, Pew Research released a new study which documents the catastrophic fall-off among Catholics in Latin America (via Rorate):

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population – and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic (See History of Religious Change). Today, the Pew Research survey shows, 69% of adults across the region identify as Catholic. Emphasis added.

The worst fall off is in Honduras, where, since 1970, Catholics have fallen from 94% to 46% of the population. Honduras is home to our Salesian Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga. His Eminence has been a bishop in Tegucigalpa, Honduras' capitol, since 1978. If he is not already, he needs to do some reflecting on why this is happening. The author at Rorate opines that the falling away is the result of the Second Vatican Council. I think that is right. He also notes that while the increase in secularism during that time "...would explain the collapse in Western Europe, North America, and Australia. But in Latin America (where the current pope studied to be a priest during the 1960s, being ordained in December 1969), what happened instead during the same period was an intense religious revival."

Except it was not a Catholic revival, but one among the various Protestant denominations. The fall-off is not from religion, but from whatever it is that the Church in Latin America is offering. Reflection and soul-searching are in order--that is, if the Latin American hierarchy considers this to be a problem. If they don't consider this to be a problem, that is a real problem.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Steve Sailer reflects on the 2014 elections

The interesting Steve Sailer analyzes the recent elections, and the direction American society is taking.

Core Vs. Fringe, Cont'd: Media Starts To Catch Up On Sailor Strategy

"I’ve been analyzing elections since 2000, [GOP Future Depends on Winning Larger Share of the White Vote.November 28, 2000] and, ever so slowly, some of my insights are starting to become conventional wisdom.

For example, following the 2014 elections and the sputtering of the Democrats’ 'Republican War on Women' strategy, it’s not quite as much of a secret anymore that the little known Marriage Gap is usually larger than the celebrated Gender Gap. George Hawley, a professor of political science at the U. of Alabama, writes in his informative new book White Voters in 21st Century America:

'Steve Sailer is one of the few journalists who began writing extensively on the marriage gap long before the 2012 presidential election.'[P. 125]

(I find Sailor's novel breakdown of statistics to be fascinating. Example: following the 2004 elections, David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, said "As Steve Sailer pointed out in The American Conservative, George Bush carried the 19 states with the highest white fertility rates, and 25 of the top 26. John Kerry won the 16 states with the lowest rates.")

Moreover, it may finally be sinking in that the Hispanic Tidal Wave doesn’t really look like the one in Interstellar.

What other ideas might pop up next? Perhaps the inherent fragility and divisiveness of the Democrats’ Coalition of the Diverse? ...."

Read the whole thing.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reality of Marriage recognized by Sixth Circuit Court

A refreshing dose of sanity, via Catholic News Agency:

Seismic court ruling affirms link between marriage, kids

Defense of marriage advocates lauded a major 2-1 decision by a federal appeals court that noted the importance of children and sexual complementarity in upholding state laws defining marriage.

“We are particularly heartened by the Court’s acknowledgment of the reasonable arguments for preserving the true definition of marriage and by the Court’s respect for the self-determination of states on this issue,” said Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chair of the U.S Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage.

(You can read His Excellency's statement here.)

On Nov. 6, the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld state laws in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee that defined marriage as the unique relationship of a man and a woman.

The ruling is the first big victory for marriage defenders at the federal circuit court level. It comes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear cases involving marriage laws in five states early in October.

The ACLU, representing the plaintiffs, has said it will ask the Supreme Court to review the case, and the National Organization for Marriage has also called on the Court to hear the case and uphold the marriage laws.

“We have been awaiting this decision for some time and welcome it not only as a tremendous victory, but as a common sense recognition that it is not for the federal courts to substitute their judgment about whether same-sex 'marriage' is a good idea or not, but to leave it to the people to make the decision about this fundamental institution,” the organization’s president Brian Brown stated.

The circuit court judges ruled that they did not have the constitutional authority to overturn a legal definition of marriage as determined by the citizens of a state.

The majority opinion, authored by Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton and joined by Judge Deborah Cook, ruled that the state has the valid authority to regulate or define marriage, and that a fundamental right to marriage for every person does not exist in the Constitution.

“Of all the ways to resolve this question, one option is not available: a poll of the three judges on this panel, or for that matter all federal judges, about whether gay marriage is a good idea,” they stated. Such a determination would make a “vital policy call for the thirty-two million citizens” of the circuit.

“Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political processes, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way,” the opinion concluded.

Archbishop Cordileone’s statement, issued through the U.S. Bishops Conference, singled out one passage from the decision as worthy of particular praise, grounding the state’s authority to define marriage as between a man and a woman in the natural law.

That passage stated, “It is not society’s laws or for that matter any one religion’s laws, but nature’s laws (that men and women complement each other biologically), that created the policy imperative.”

In addition, the ruling noted the role of government in encouraging people “to create and maintain stable relationships within which children may flourish.”

“By creating a status (marriage) and by subsidizing it (e.g., with tax-filing privileges and deductions), the States created an incentive for two people who procreate together to stay together for purposes of rearing offspring. That does not convict the States of irrationality, only of awareness of the biological reality that couples of the same sex do not have children in the same way as couples of opposite sexes and that couples of the same sex do not run the risk of unintended offspring. That explanation, still relevant today, suffices to allow the States to retain authority over an issue they have regulated from the beginning.”

The states taking their time to consider the redefinition of marriage is not a violation of 14th Amendment rights of same-sex couples wishing to marry, the judges added.  

“A Burkean sense of caution does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment, least of all when measured by a timeline less than a dozen years long and when assessed by a system of government designed to foster step-by-step, not sudden winner-take-all, innovations to policy problems.”

Not everyone has the fundamental right to marry, they stated.

“But the right to marry in general, and the right to gay marriage in particular, nowhere appear in the Constitution. That route for recognizing a fundamental right to same-sex marriage does not exist.”

Another organization praising the decision was the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief alongside state legislators or pro-marriage groups upholding the state marriage laws in Tennessee, Ohio, and Kentucky.

“The people of every state should remain free to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws. As the 6th Circuit rightly concluded, the Constitution does not demand that one irreversible view of marriage be judicially imposed on everyone,” Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Brian Babione responded to the decision.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Attention Young Pro-Life Artists!

More great outreach to the young from the Walk for Life West Coast! From Friday's California Catholic Daily:

Walk for Life West Coast asks youth for help
Design-a-shirt contest

"From its inception, San Francisco’s Walk for Life West Coast has been notable for the presence of thousands of pro-life youth. The attraction of the pro-life cause to young people is pretty clear: in addition to the obvious moral objections, anyone born after Roe v. Wade understands that had they been killed through abortion it would have been perfectly legal. That attitude is well expressed though groups like the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. But it is also true that Walk for Life West Coast organizers have consciously reached out to the young, counting on them for important functions at the Walk, such as the distribution of signs and with college age students, helping with security.

For the 2015 Walk, organizers have provided the youth with another opportunity to contribute: a pro-life Design-a-Shirt contest. From the Walk’s website:

“As we prepare for the January 24, 2015 Walk, we are offering a great opportunity for all young artists to use their creative talents in the service of the littlest among us. We are sponsoring a new Walk for Life West Coast Design-a-Shirt Contest.

There will be two divisions: one for high school age artists and one for college-age artists. The winning graphic will adorn Walk for Life West Coast t-shirts, which will be offered through the Café Press website.

Winning entries in both age categories will receive a prize of $500; second place, a prize of $350; and third place, a prize of $150. What’s more, First Place winners who are attending the Walk will be interviewed live on EWTN’s January 24, 2015 Life on the Rock pre-walk television show.

Asked what inspired the idea, Walk co-chair Eva Muntean said “I remember about five years ago during San Francisco’s 40 Days For Life a bunch of young people from St. Peter’s Parish came out to join the vigil at Planned Parenthood. This one kid had this unbelievably cool hoodie. It was black with a violet silhouette of Padre Pio. It was so cool! I asked him where he got it and he said he and his friend had designed it and had it printed.”

Submissions are due on December 15, 2014 and winners will be notified on December 22.

For more information, visit www.walkforlifewc.com/event-info/design-a-shirt-contest/

And remember, the Walk for Life is on January 24, 2015!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Equality at the expense of sanity, epidemiology division part 3

Air travel from West African countries stricken by ebola must be stopped NOW. It won't solve everything, not by a long shot, but will allow the international community to at least attempt to get a handle on the epidemic, by restricting possible vectors.

Today's news--and it's not even from Africa, but from the US:


We saw how many people in Texas were required to take care of ONE ebola patient. Many more than one or two will be infected. Air flights WILL be restricted from the West African countries. It's just a question of how many people will die first.

2,000 Faithful--Bishops, Priests, Students, Novices, Laity--at SF Rosary Rally!

Great event! I'm sorry I missed it--we had the Columbus Day bazaar at Saints Peter and Paul the same day.

Below is Valerie Schmalz's article in this week's edition of Catholic San Francisco. You can see more photos at the "gallery" page of the Rosary Rally website.

Archbishop leads Eucharistic Procession

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone carried the exposed Eucharist in a monstrance through the streets of San Francisco, as more than 1,000 Catholics processed in a public display of faith from St. Mary’s Cathedral to United Nations Plaza for the fourth annual rosary rally Oct. 11. 

Procession down Van Ness Avenue (photo courtesy Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco)

“Pope Francis prays three rosaries a day,” said keynote speaker Father Andrew Apostoli, co-founder with Father Benedict Groeschel in 1988 of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, urging the about 2,000 people gathered in the Indian summer sun at the noon rally to pray the rosary daily. 

“The key to world peace is to be praying the rosary,” said Father Apostoli, an expert on the 1916 revelations of the Blessed Mother to the three children at Fatima, Portugal. 

The day’s events begin with 10 a.m. Mass in Spanish for Hispanic Ministry Day at the cathedral, followed by a procession past City Hall to U.N. Plaza. The rally included reciting the luminous mysteries, speeches, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and benediction.

The Archbishop and the faithful in Adoration of Our Lord. (photo courtesy Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco)

“Our Lady’s great concern was to save souls from being lost,” Father Apostoli told rally participants, repeatedly urging all to pray the rosary daily as the Blessed Mother told the children in each of her six appearances at Fatima. “She even let those three children see a vision of hell so that they could tell us hell was a real thing and we don’t want to go there.”

 The rosary rally, held near San Francisco’s City Hall, is a renewed tradition aimed at bringing public expressions of faith back to the Bay Area. In 1961, Father Patrick Peyton’s Rosary Crusade drew a half-million people to Golden Gate Park.

Fifty years later, in 2011 the Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus, Immaculate Heart Radio, Ignatius Press and the Archdiocese of San Francisco began a new rosary rally tradition in downtown San Francisco. This year the Guadalupañas joined as official sponsors.

 In a letter to pastors urging participation, Archbishop Cordileone wrote, “Our rosary rally is a good example of what the Holy Father calls ‘the evangelizing power of popular piety.’”

 Jerick Rea, a St. Dominic parishioner and member of the parish’s young adult group, saw the flyer at church and came with friend Rose Aerubi. “I felt it would be great,” said Rea who noted that eight novices from the Dominican Priory who he sees at daily Mass were also present. “I came to support the archbishop and to pray the rosary.”

 As they have every year, administrators and students from San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan High School volunteered to walk with the archbishop from the cathedral and took up a collection at the rally’s conclusion. 

“It’s important because our school is sponsored by the Society of Mary,” said Riordan president Joseph Conti, many of whose students present were football players who had competed late the night before. “We are very happy to support the archbishop in this endeavor to bring the rosary rally back to life in San Francisco.”

 “In this very biblical prayer we turn to Our Lady so that she may direct us to her son,” Archbishop Cordileone said in a talk that explained the Hail Marys in the original joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of the rosary total 150, the same number as the number of Psalms. The luminous mysteries, instituted by St. John Paul II in his 2002 Apostolic Letter on the Rosary of the Virgin Mary, focus on five key parts of Jesus’ public ministry.

 St. John Paul II called the rosary a “school of Mary,” the archbishop said – “a school in which he says the Christian people are led to contemplate the beauty in the face of Christ and experience the depths of his love.”

 Father Apostoli told those gathered that even carrying a rosary brings a blessing. “The rosary is a prayer to bring God’s mercy for the salvation of souls,” he said. “I put a rosary in a little pocket in my pajamas.” 

Confessions were heard throughout the two-hour event, and even after the rally concluded at 2 p.m., there were lines of people waiting for confession administered by the four priests sitting on folding chairs on the tree-lined side of the plaza. 

Father Joseph Illo, administrator of Star of the Sea Parish in San Francisco, and co-founder of a new venture to institute an Oratory of St. Philip Neri in the archdiocese, emceed the event. Father Illo introduced the archbishop, leading the crowd in a chant “Viva” for the archbishop, adding in a nod to the city’s hopes for the National League playoffs against the St. Louis Cardinals, “I know some of you were secretly praying for the Giants during your rosary.” 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

'Cohabitation?' Do you mean fornication, Eminences?

Interesting fact: the word 'cohabitation' appears in this week's relatio for the synod on the family 10 times, but the word 'fornication' not even once.

The word cohabitation refers to people living together. If the authors of the relatio are just referring to people living together, why is it there in a document of a synod purportedly about the family? I cohabited with my friend Kevin when we were in our early 20's. Our roommate situation would not belong in a synod on the family.

On the other hand, I know people who do not cohabit, yet have been having "regular, consummating sex" for years. There is a word for that: fornication, and it is absent from the relation. Are those people of any concern to you, Eminences?

The authors of the relatio are poisoning thought by political correctness--the unwillingness to call a thing by its true name, but the problem goes deeper. That's the narcissistic belief that we have a right to our own reality.

At Synod, divorce IS on the table--but whose?

Going into the current Synod on the Family one of the most publicized issues (rightly or wrongly) was whether or not to give communion to divorced and remarried Catholics. I have a disturbing sense that this is because some of the clergy at the synod are trying to divorce the Church, the Bride of Christ, from her groom, Jesus.

The big news yesterday was the bizarre paragraph 50, from the recently released relation, which asserting that the Church should accept sin.

"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

A church document asserting that we should value sodomy. Only a Bishop or Cardinal who has divorced himself from Jesus Christ could have written that.

The authors are now scrambling for cover.

From Catholic News Agency earlier today:

1) First they report what the Holy See's Press office said:

"The General Secretariat of the Synod … reiterates that it is a working document, which summarizes the interventions and debate of the first week,” said an Oct. 14 declaration of the Holy See press office on behalf of the secretariat of the Synod of Bishops."

2) But the Synod declines responsibility:

"Cardinal Napier, a moderator of one of the small circles at the synod, openly dismissed the relatio during an Oct. 14 briefing with journalists, saying, 'that’s Cardinal Erdo’s text, not the synod text.'

The cardinal questioned whether 'some expectations of the synod are unrealistic,' and underscored that 'the synod is not called to discuss contraception, abortion, same-sex marriages. It was convoked to speak about the family.'

 'How it is written, the relatio conveys that there is an agreement on issues, on which there is not in fact an agreement' the Archbishop of Durban underscored.'

3) But Cardinal Erdo says:

"Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest and general rapporteur of the synod, said the relatio may not be completely attributed to him.

When asked about legislation regarding homosexual couples, Cardinal Erdo did not respond and instead gave the floor to Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, saying 'who has written the paragraph must respond.'

However, after Archbishop Forte’s response, Cardinal Erdo wanted to point out that the relatio lacks a mention of 'the disorder' of some behavior, even though synod fathers had stressed it."
Some Cardinals, Bishops, and Priests of course still respect their vows:

"In an Oct. 13 interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, told CNA the relatio 'is simply riven with very serious difficulties, and I'm deeply, deeply concerned and I'm not alone.'”

Indeed, he's not. Here's the comment of Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. From La Repubblica, via Rorate:

"Undignified, Shameful, Completely Wrong."

 Vatican Radio (again, via Rorate):
"The document summarizing the first week of the synod is not acceptable to many bishops - so says Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki." 

 Archbishop Gadecki is the President of the Polish Bishop's Conference.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Supreme Court justices wash hands over fate of family

What an abdication of responsibility. Our good Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Bishop Richard J. Malone, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth released this statement today.

Their Excellencies highlight the justices abdication of responsibility, and articulate the truth of what marriage is.

"Upholding the inviolable dignity of every human person is a duty for all, and this duty entails the defense of the unique meaning of marriage as between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court’s decision not to take up any of the cases striking down state laws reflecting the authentic meaning of marriage in five states is extremely disappointing and surprising. All of these state laws were democratically enacted, including most by the direct vote of large majorities within just the last decade. Millions of Americans had looked to the Court with hope that these unjust judicial decisions might be reversed. Instead, as a result of the Supreme Court’s action today, those decisions are allowed to take effect. Furthermore, marriage laws in six other states are now in jeopardy.

Marriage is and can only be between a man and a woman—a unique relationship in which the state has a vested interest. It is the only institution that unites a wife and a husband together for life and unites them to any children that come from their union. This truth presumes and supports the equal dignity of all people, especially of children whose right to a mother and a father deserves the utmost legal protection. The Supreme Court’s action fails to resolve immediately the injustice of marriage redefinition, and therefore should be of grave concern to our entire nation.

Globally, we are at a time of recognizing the decisive importance of marriage and the family when it comes to addressing challenges of poverty and serving the good of all. This is a time when marriage needs to be strengthened, not redefined. Our young people need encouragement to embrace the gift and responsibility of marriage as it truly is—a permanent, faithful, and fruitful gift of self between a man and a woman. May all of us continue to work to strengthen and protect marriage and stand for justice for all, especially children, who are the most vulnerable."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hundreds of thousands march for marriage and family in France

Wow! Check out these pictures, as the French stand for the rights of children. Marches took place today in Paris and Bordeaux.

And very interesting commentary at English Manif.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Charming photos from the Feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

On a happier note, Father Z. passes along photos from a lovely Mass celebrated yesterday:

"In the Diocese of Lincoln, where it is still okay to be a faithful Catholic openly, there is a school where, on the Feast of St. Therese, the girls dress as the Little Flower for the day.  Bp. Conley celebrated Mass for the school.

(More) Photos HERE."