Food of the Day

"Never address your words to God while you are thinking of something else.

-- St. Teresa of Avila"

Food of the Day

"o you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, 'I will never abandon you, I will always be with you' If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it, and do you doubt? Do you seek a support more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain.

-- St. Augustine"

Food of the Day

"Human nature grows tired of always doing the same thing, and it is God's will that this should be because of the opportunity of practicing two great virtues. The first is perseverance, which will bring us to our goal. The other is steadfastness, which overcomes the difficulties on the way.

-- St. Vincent de Paul"

Paraguay Offers To Hold Debate On Legalization Of Abortion

"Paraguay may move toward the legalization of abortion, according to the country's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva.

Federico Gonzalez said that while abortion is illegal in his country, 'An open debate is going to take place in order to analyze this issue in depth.' He made his comments while attending the 17th session of the U.N. Human Rights Council taking place May 30-June 17.

The Universal Periodic Review is a mechanism of the United Nations which consists of the review of the human rights practices of all countries in the world.

The reviews take place once every four years.

During the current review taking place in Geneva, the country of Norway recommended that Paraguay study 'the scope of illegal and unsafe abortions taking place and introduce measures to protect the universal right of women to life and health.'

'Paraguay is grateful for the 124 recommendations received during its participation in the Universal Periodic Review. All of the recommendations have been accepted,' Gonzalez said."

The Universal Periodic Review is a mechanism of the United Nations which consists of the review of the human rights practices of all countries in the world.

The reviews take place once every four years.

During the current review taking place in Geneva, the country of Norway recommended that Paraguay study "the scope of illegal and unsafe abortions taking place and introduce measures to protect the universal right of women to life and health."

"Paraguay is grateful for the 124 recommendations received during its participation in the Universal Periodic Review. All of the recommendations have been accepted," Gonzalez said." target="_blank"> -Read More...

NY Archbishop Warns Lawmakers Not To Reinvent Marriage Ahead Of Vote

"New York Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan is concerned that state senators might 're-invent the very definition' of marriage-society's basic institution-as five more lawmakers pledged to support a same-sex 'marriage' bill.

'Not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a 'right,'' the archbishop explained in his June 14 blog post titled 'The True Meaning of Marriage.' True freedom, he said, is not 'the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought.'

Later that day, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented the 'Marriage Equality Act' to the state legislature after a key Republican senator voiced support for it. Four Democrats who previously voted against same-sex 'marriage' said on June 13 that they would support the bill.

Governor Cuomo's administration is reportedly pursuing a strategy of gradually pressuring lawmakers to give their support.

'We're in a very precarious situation,' New York Catholic Conference director Dennis Poust told CNA on June 15. According to a New York Times tally, the law needs only one more committed vote to ensure its passage."

"Not every desire, urge, want, or chic cause is automatically a 'right,'" the archbishop explained in his June 14 blog post titled "The True Meaning of Marriage." True freedom, he said, is not "the license to do whatever we want, but the liberty to do what we ought."

Later that day, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo presented the "Marriage Equality Act" to the state legislature after a key Republican senator voiced support for it. Four Democrats who previously voted against same-sex "marriage" said on June 13 that they would support the bill.

Governor Cuomo's administration is reportedly pursuing a strategy of gradually pressuring lawmakers to give their support.

"We're in a very precarious situation," New York Catholic Conference director Dennis Poust told CNA on June 15. According to a New York Times tally, the law needs only one more committed vote to ensure its passage." target="_blank"> -Read More...

Supreme Court Rejects Atheist's Latest Challenge To Pledge Of Allegiance

"On June 13, the Supreme Court ruled against atheist activist Michael Newdow's latest attempt to remove the words 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance.

'Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court has again rejected the argument that saying the Pledge of your own free will creates an official state religion,' said attorney Eric Rassbach, litigation director at the religious liberty defense group the Becket Fund.

'The words 'one nation under God' make clear the bedrock American principle that our rights come not from the State, but are endowed by our Creator.'

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected Newdow's appeal from the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Newdow had attempted to halt the ability of schoolchildren in Hanover, New Hampshire from reciting the Pledge voluntarily.

In March, the Supreme Court also rejected Newdow's appeal from a loss in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco."

"Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court has again rejected the argument that saying the Pledge of your own free will creates an official state religion," said attorney Eric Rassbach, litigation director at the religious liberty defense group the Becket Fund.

"The words 'one nation under God' make clear the bedrock American principle that our rights come not from the State, but are endowed by our Creator."

On Monday, the Supreme Court rejected Newdow's appeal from the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. Newdow had attempted to halt the ability of schoolchildren in Hanover, New Hampshire from reciting the Pledge voluntarily.

In March, the Supreme Court also rejected Newdow's appeal from a loss in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco." target="_blank"> -Read More...

Us Bishops’ Immigration Campaign Urges Opposition To E-Verify Expansion

"The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign is urging Catholics to oppose the expansion of E-Verify in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. E-Verify is the federal government’s Internet-based system that allows employers to determine whether workers are eligible to work in the United States.

“Unless Congress legalizes unauthorized immigrants, mandatory E-Verify will begin with a handicap of 8 million unauthorized workers who will be driven further into the underground economy, hurting both the US economy and workers by decreasing federal tax revenue by more than $17.3 billion over ten years, creating an unequal workplace, and lowering labor standards for all workers,” according to Justice for Immigrants. “Because of well-documented flaws in the Government databases upon which it relies, E-Verify does not detect over half of the undocumented workers entered in the system, yet results in false positives for hundreds of thousands of American workers.”"
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US Bishops Approve Statement On Physician-Assisted Suicide

: "By a vote of 191-1, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved “To Live Each Day with Dignity: A Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide” at its June meeting in Seattle.

In the statement’s first section (“A Renewed Threat to Human Dignity”), the bishops discuss the resurgence of the assisted-suicide movement in recent years. In the next section (“The Illusion of Freedom”), they offer three arguments against the notion that “the drive to legalize physician-assisted suicide really enhance[s] choices or freedom for people with serious health conditions.”

First, suicidal persons are typically not truly free; rather, they “need help to be freed from their suicidal thoughts through counseling and support and, when necessary and helpful, medication … They need care and protection. To offer them lethal drugs is a victory not for freedom but for the worst form of neglect.”"
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Fr. Corapi Announces He's Leaving The Priesthood

"In the wake of being suspended over what he claims are unproven allegations, popular speaker Fr. John Corapi announced that after 20 years in ministry, he is leaving the Catholic priesthood.

'I am not going to be involved in public ministry as a priest any longer,' he said in an online post. 'There are certain persons in authority in the Church that want me gone, and I shall be gone.'

In a June 17 post on a website with the title of his new ministry 'Black Sheep Dog,' and a related YouTube video clip, Fr. Corapi outlined his reasons for leaving.

He said that he feels unjustly accused, that the process of clearing his name has been too sluggish and that there are authorities in the Church who are intentionally trying to oust him.

Fr. Corapi's decision comes while he is on administrative leave, which his religious superiors placed him on this past March, following allegations of misconduct."

In a June 17 post on a website with the title of his new ministry "Black Sheep Dog," and a related YouTube video clip, Fr. Corapi outlined his reasons for leaving.

He said that he feels unjustly accused, that the process of clearing his name has been too sluggish and that there are authorities in the Church who are intentionally trying to oust him.

Fr. Corapi's decision comes while he is on administrative leave, which his religious superiors placed him on this past March, following allegations of misconduct." target="_blank"> -Read More...

Food of the Day

"Strive to acquire the virtues you think your brothers lack, and then you will no longer see their defects, because you yourselves will not have them.

-- St. Augustine"

The Power Of Intercession: The Prophet Elijah's Prayer

"In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope resumed his series of catecheses dedicated to the subject of prayer, focusing today on the Prophet Elijah 'whom God sent to bring the people to conversion'.

The Holy Father explained how 'upon Mount Carmel Elijah revealed himself in all his power as intercessor when, before the whole of Israel, he prayed to the Lord to show Himself and convert people's hearts. The episode is recounted in chapter 18 of the First Book of Kings'.

'The contest between Elijah and the followers of Baal (which was, in fact, a contest between the Lord of Israel, God of salvation and life, and a mute and ineffective idol which can do nothing for either good or evil) also marked the beginning of a confrontation between two completely different ways to address God and to pray'. The oblations of the prophets of Baal 'revealed only the illusory reality of the idol ... which closed people in the confines of a desperate search for self'."
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Pope Recalls That June Is The Month Of The Sacred Heart

EWTN.com - Pope Recalls That June Is The Month Of The Sacred Heart: "At the end of his catechesis this morning, Benedict XVI addressed greetings to various groups present at the general audience. Speaking English he expressed his best wishes to 'members of the Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue ... for the next phase of their work'. He also welcomed 'the Fiftieth Conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, now meeting in Rome."
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Hungary’s New Constitution Protects Life From Conception

"The revised Hungarian constitution, which will take effect on January 1, declares that human life will be protected from the moment of conception.

“Human dignity is inviolable,” the constitution states. “Everyone has the right to life and human dignity; the life of a fetus will be protected from conception.”

“Eugenic practices aimed at selection of persons, making the human body and its parts a source of profit and the reproductive cloning of human beings are prohibited,” the document adds.

The new constitution also states that “Hungary protects the institution of marriage between man and woman, a matrimonial relationship voluntarily established, as well as the family as the basis for the survival of the nation. Hungary supports child-bearing.”"
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Vatican Daily: Embryonic Stem Cells Only Create False Hope

"Research demonstrates that embryonic stem cells are not an effective resource for treatment and create false hope for a cure, according to a professor from the University of Milan, in Italy.

'This situation helps to nourish the uncritical mentality that demonizes any attempt at regulation as anti-scientific and against progress. Moreover, 'stem' has become a sort of magic word that gives added value to everything from cosmetics to the most absurd therapeutic ideas,' said professor Augusto Pessina of the University of Milan.

The professor's remarks were published in a June 14 article in the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano.

In May of this year, the German government ordered the closure of the XClinic, which provided treatment for cerebral palsy, Parkinson's and spinal cord conditions, after an 18-month-old baby died in October of 2010 from an injection of embryonic stem cells into the brain.

A few months earlier, a 10-year-old child was left severely disabled after undergoing a similar procedure.

Pessina pointed to these cases in his article titled, 'Hope is not nourished by lies.'"
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Massive 'Christ Of The Pacific' Statue To Be Unveiled In Peru

"The 121-foot-tall 'Christ of the Pacific' statue will be unveiled on a hilltop overlooking the city of Lima, Peru on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The inauguration of the massive statue was announced on June 10 by President Alan Garcia of Peru, who said it was his dream to raise a statue on the Pacific coast similar to the one atop Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. 'I have dubbed it the Christ of the Pacific … and on June 29, the day of the Pope and of Sts. Peter and Paul, we will inaugurate this statue.'

The inauguration will also coincide with the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's ordination to the priesthood. The Pope was ordained together with his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, at the Cathedral of Freising in Germany on June 29, 1951."
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Spanish Lawmaker Takes Oath Of Office Before Crucifix

"Catholic lawmaker Juan Cotino took his oath of office for parliament in Spain before a crucifix to show that the faith must not be excluded from public life.

Cotino made 'an eloquent and courageous public gesture manifesting his own religious convictions, which he did not want to hide upon exercising his new mission as a political representative,' said Father Jose Maria Gil Tamayo, a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

The priest spoke in an article for the June 12 edition of L'Osservatore Romano.

Cotino asked for a small crucifix to be placed next to the Constitution and the Bible before being sworn in on June 9. Since one could not be found, he brought a crucifix from his own office.

Several left-wing lawmakers and organizations in Valencia, as well as the newspapers El Pais and El Plural, criticized Cotino for the act."
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Food of the Day

Accordingly, just as Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This he did so that they might preach the Gospel to every creature and proclaim that the Son of God by his death and resurrection had freed us from the power of Satan and from death and brought us into the Kingdom of his Father. But he also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves.

-- Sacrosanctum concilium"

Food of the Day

To recollect oneself means to turn from the outward to the inward life. The first stage of recollection is the attentiveness to the voice of duty, to the law of God. What is commanded, what is forbidden by the law? Is this or that thought, desire, or action in accordance with the divine law? The recollected conscience asks itself these questions, and its answer is our guide. This recollection in the law is easy, because the least transgression is followed by torment and trouble of spirit, as our conscience cries out,' You have done wrong'. Be attentive to its first warning. Bind the law of the Lord on your arm and let it be ever before your eyes and your heart.

-- St. Peter Eymard"

Catholic Sculptor Seeks To Reflect God's Work In His Art

Ten years ago, Dave Hanson retired from his job as a corrections officer at California's Folsom State Prison. Now the 71-year-old works full-time to create sculptures of Padre Pio, St. Francis and other figures for schools and institutions across the country.
'At one point, I began to inquire about Padre Pio,' Hanson told CNA. 'I knew only that he was a saint and had displayed the Lord's stigmata. The more I studied him, the more committed I became.'

'After completing the bust, I was able to place copies in various Catholic schools in the Sacramento area, and am currently placing one at the Padre Pio Academy in Ohio,' he explained.

Hanson's years as a corrections officer made him want to bring beauty and goodness into the world through his art. But his Catholic faith also helped him see his 'day job' as a calling from God.

'If you wish to provide a Christian service to someone, prison is the place to work,' he noted.

A turning point in Hanson's career came when he made a sculpture of an angel, in response to a heartbreaking case in which a mother was convicted of beating her son to death.
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Litany of the Lost

Birth of the Church

Bishop Urges Parents To Enroll Children In Religion Classes

Bishop Vicente Jimenez of Santander, Spain has issued a pastoral letter calling on parents to enroll their children in Catholic religion classes.

The right to educate their children 'according to their own convictions' is a 'fundamental parental right' recognized by the Spanish Constitution, said the bishop.

Classes in Catholic religion and morality provide a benchmark for understanding human existence in light of the Christian faith, the bishop stressed.

The Church teaches by responding to 'the problems and deepest questions of students, while at the same time laying the foundation and giving reasons for the loftiest of values, such as love, justice, freedom and forgiveness,' he continued.

Bishop Jimenez said his message was aimed particularly at Christian teachers, but also 'at all those teachers who, although they do not confess our faith, nevertheless value the good that it promotes and contributes to the comprehensive formation of students.'"

Classes in Catholic religion and morality provide a benchmark for understanding human existence in light of the Christian faith, the bishop stressed.

The Church teaches by responding to "the problems and deepest questions of students, while at the same time laying the foundation and giving reasons for the loftiest of values, such as love, justice, freedom and forgiveness," he continued.

Bishop Jimenez said his message was aimed particularly at Christian teachers, but also "at all those teachers who, although they do not confess our faith, nevertheless value the good that it promotes and contributes to the comprehensive formation of students."" target="_blank"> -Read More...

Archbishop Nienstedt Offers Reasons To Back Minn. Marriage Amendment

Minnesota's proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman should be passed to help children flourish and to defend God's plan for man and woman, Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul says.

'The Minnesota Catholic Conference, made up of the seven Catholic bishops from the state, support this amendment not for prejudicial or political reasons, but rather for reasons that are theological, biological and pastoral,' Nienstedt wrote in his June 9 column for The Catholic Spirit.

While Minnesota law already defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, backers of the amendment say it is needed to prevent marriage from being redefined through lawsuits or legislative action.

In May the state legislature approved a bill to place the amendment on the 2012 ballot.

The archbishop said that the definition of marriage predates any government or religious denomination. Marriage 'reflects God's plan for man and woman to share in his creative power of bringing new life into the world.'"

While Minnesota law already defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, backers of the amendment say it is needed to prevent marriage from being redefined through lawsuits or legislative action.

In May the state legislature approved a bill to place the amendment on the 2012 ballot.

The archbishop said that the definition of marriage predates any government or religious denomination. Marriage "reflects God's plan for man and woman to share in his creative power of bringing new life into the world."" target="_blank"> -Read More...

Strong Faith, Prayer Help In Young Girl's Cancer Recovery

With quiet confidence Sydney Khoury climbs each step of a metal ladder as she positions herself to place a crown of flowers atop a statue of the Blessed Mother at St. Philip Church in Greenville, R.I.

It's a bit of a reach for Sydney, but with determination, the nine-year-old extends her arms, carefully placing her tribute atop the head of the Mother of Jesus.
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A short distance away, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, R.I. watches admiringly as the St. Philip School second-grader successfully overcomes yet another obstacle in her young life. Three years ago, Bishop Tobin also witnessed Sydney overcome one her greatest challenges. At that time, as she lay in the Intensive Care Unit of Hasbro Children's Hospital with her life hanging in the balance, the bishop prayed over her with a relic of Mother Teresa.

Sydney's parents say the prayerful intervention yielded results nothing short of miraculous.

In November 2007, Sydney was diagnosed with a Stage 3 malignant tumor on her kidney. Two days later, doctors removed her kidney and started her on a treatment regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. The overall success rate of the treatment was only 42 percent they were told.

For nearly three months, her condition was stable. Then, a robust round of chemotherapy quickly took its toll on her."

Father Of Nine Preparing To Be Ordained Catholic Priest

There can't be many Catholic priests who have a wife and nine children present at their ordination. But that's exactly what awaits Deacon Ian Hellyer next week.

'I'm currently experiencing a funny combination of peace and excitement - with just an occasional moment of fear,' says the 44-year-old from Devon in England who, until a few months ago, was the Anglican vicar of five rural parishes.

'Over the past 10 years, though, I'd increasingly felt uncomfortable in the Church of England and found myself questioning more and more of its decisions and the direction it's going in,' he told CNA June 9.

Just before Lent this year, Hellyer made an announcement to his Anglican parishioners - he was leaving to become a Catholic.

'They were somewhat shocked, not least because my Anglican bishop wouldn't let me warn people about the announcement beforehand.'"
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Food of the Day

We must unite ourselves to God's will. Even those that we suffer from man...for example, contempt, injustice, loss of reputation, loss of temporal goods and all kinds of persecutions. On these occasions we must remember that whilst God doesn't will the sin, He does will our humiliation, our poverty, or our mortification, as the case may be. It is certain and of Faith, that whatever happens, happens by the will of God. Our conduct in such instances is the true measure of our love for God.

-- St. Alphonsus Liguori

Pakistani Christians Shocked By Proposed Bible Ban

A Catholic bishop in Pakistan is expressing concern about an Islamic group's petition to ban the Bible. The extremist group says the Christian scriptures contain 'blasphemy' and 'pornography.'

'We Christians are in Pakistan, and we have a right to our Bible,' said Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore. On June 6, he told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that people were 'very shocked' by the campaign.

The Islamist political party Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islami has asked Pakistan's Supreme Court to declare certain Bible passages as 'blasphemous.' If their demand is not met, the political party will request that the Bible be formally banned in the country.

Christians who criticize Islam already face persecution under Pakistan's 'blasphemy law.'"

"We Christians are in Pakistan, and we have a right to our Bible," said Auxiliary Bishop Sebastian Shaw of Lahore. On June 6, he told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that people were "very shocked" by the campaign.

The Islamist political party Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islami has asked Pakistan's Supreme Court to declare certain Bible passages as "blasphemous." If their demand is not met, the political party will request that the Bible be formally banned in the country.

Christians who criticize Islam already face persecution under Pakistan's "blasphemy law."" target="_blank"> -Read More...

Catholics Should Lead Political Defense Of Life And Marriage, Panel Says

Freedom Coalition Conference and Strategy Briefing discussed Catholic action in defense of life and marriage ahead of the 2012 presidential election. Speakers urged Catholics to take leadership on these issues and to participate in the political process.

'Many Catholics are frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of intensity in Catholic leaders about the issue of abortion and same-sex marriage,' panelist Deal Hudson, president of Catholic Advocate, told attendees. 'Some faithful Catholics become confused about the priority they give to life and marriage when they see so much energy being spent on other issues like immigration and universal health care.'

This 'lack of leadership' on issues of life and marriage causes Catholics to join political groups that have no Catholic affiliation. However, this creates a vacuum in the Church which benefits a truncated idea of social justice 'that has distanced itself from the protection of the most vulnerable among us, the unborn,' Hudson said."

This "lack of leadership" on issues of life and marriage causes Catholics to join political groups that have no Catholic affiliation. However, this creates a vacuum in the Church which benefits a truncated idea of social justice "that has distanced itself from the protection of the most vulnerable among us, the unborn," Hudson said." target="_blank"> -Read More...

Cathedral In Nigeria Destroyed By Extremist Attacks

An extremist Islamic group is being held responsible for a series of recent attacks in Nigeria, which have left 16 dead and destroyed the Catholic Cathedral of St. Patrick in the northern capital city of Maiduguri.

'St. Patrick's Cathedral was seriously damaged, windows and doors destroyed, the whole building was shaken to its foundations by the violence of the explosion,' said Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri.

On June 7, an armed group suspected to be members of Boko Haram set off a bomb at the cathedral as well as two police stations. The damage is the latest in a series of coordinated attacks by Boko Haram, which claims to seek a more widespread application of sharia (Islamic law) in Africa's most populated nation."

On June 7, an armed group suspected to be members of Boko Haram set off a bomb at the cathedral as well as two police stations. The damage is the latest in a series of coordinated attacks by Boko Haram, which claims to seek a more widespread application of sharia (Islamic law) in Africa's most populated nation." target="_blank"> -Read More...

New Jersey Nun Fighting To Clear Pius XII's Name

She may turn 90 next year, but Sister Margherita Marchione still has pretty important work to do - clearing the name of the wartime Pope Pius XII and seeing him beatified.

'I for one will fight to the very end to make sure that that happens because no one deserves it more than he,' the New Jersey sister told CNA June 7, during a visit to Rome.

Sr. Marchione is in Rome to address a conference on Pope Pius XII, which is being hosted by the Italian Senate. Pope Pius occupied the papacy during the Second World War. His critics accuse him of not taking a stand against the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

But Sr. Marchione says this is nonsense.

"Actually an Italian historian, Enzo De Felice, stated that at least 5,000 Jews were saved through the efforts of Pope Pius XII," she said.

"And how did he do it? He asked all the convents and monasteries in Rome to open their doors to the Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis and to give them the possibility of remaining there," said Sr. Marchione, a member of the Religious Teacher Filippini order." target="_blank"> -Read More...


Sr. Marchione is in Rome to address a conference on Pope Pius XII, which is being hosted by the Italian Senate. Pope Pius occupied the papacy during the Second World War. His critics accuse him of not taking a stand against the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

But Sr. Marchione says this is nonsense.

'Actually an Italian historian, Enzo De Felice, stated that at least 5,000 Jews were saved through the efforts of Pope Pius XII,' she said.

'And how did he do it? He asked all the convents and monasteries in Rome to open their doors to the Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis and to give them the possibility of remaining there,' said Sr. Marchione, a member of the Religious Teacher Filippini order."

Surfing Madonna' Graffiti Gets Calif. Beach City Talking

A mosaic of the Virgin Mary riding a surfboard in Encinitas, Calif. has won admiration from many residents and prompted some concerns about whether the display is irreverent.

But city officials may have the last word: they say the 'Surfing Madonna' was installed illegally and has to be taken down.

The artwork shows the Virgin of Guadalupe riding a cresting blue wave. Her hands are clasped in prayer and her green robe billows from the wind. One side of the mosaic reads: 'Save the Ocean.'

The 10-by-10-foot rock and glass mosaic was affixed to a wall under a train bridge in April by unidentified artists disguised as construction workers.

Thousands of people have come to see the work. Some brought flowers and lit votive candles. Supporters have created Twitter and Facebook accounts to support the work, calling her the 'Surfing Madonna.'"

The artwork shows the Virgin of Guadalupe riding a cresting blue wave. Her hands are clasped in prayer and her green robe billows from the wind. One side of the mosaic reads: "Save the Ocean."

The 10-by-10-foot rock and glass mosaic was affixed to a wall under a train bridge in April by unidentified artists disguised as construction workers.

Thousands of people have come to see the work. Some brought flowers and lit votive candles. Supporters have created Twitter and Facebook accounts to support the work, calling her the "Surfing Madonna."" target="_blank"> -Read More...

Novenas

Texas AG And Valedictorian Fight To Overturn Graduation Prayer Ban

Texas' Attorney General has asked an appellate court to overturn a federal judge's decision banning prayer at a public school graduation. The school's valedictorian has also taken legal action against the decision, saying she has the right to speak to God during her remarks.

'Just as the U.S. Supreme Court has held that Congress can convene each day with a prayer, Medina Valley High School students have a constitutionally protected right to pray during their graduation speeches,' Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said on June 2, summing up the amicus brief he filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The Medina Valley School District is appealing against U.S. District Judge Fred Biery's May 26 decision, which held that an agnostic student and his family would suffer 'irreparable harm' if students and other speakers were allowed to pray, or ask the audience to join them in prayer during the ceremony."

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Pope Upholds Primacy Of Gregorian Chant

Pope Benedict XVI has reminded church musicians of the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Mass, describing it 'as the supreme model of sacred music.'

The Pope set out his views in a letter for the 100th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music. The letter was read at the institute on May 26 and made public on May 31.

He praised Gregorian chant as being 'of huge value to the great ecclesial heritage of universal sacred music.' But Pope Benedict also noted that sometimes it was erroneously 'considered an expression of an idea corresponding to a past, gone and to be forgotten, because it limited the freedom and creativity of the individual and the community.' This was a view he wanted to counter. 'We always have to ask again: who is the true subject of the Liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is the individual or group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church, which has its own history, its rich tradition and creativity.'"

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EWTN.com - Poll Finds Americans Widely Accepting Of Divorce, Premarital Sex

A recent Gallup poll found that while Americans remain largely split on several moral issues, the majority in recent years have become increasingly accepting of what were once considered social taboos, such as divorce and sex outside of marriage.

'Americans in 2011 widely view divorce, the death penalty, gambling, embryonic stem cell research, and premarital sex as morally acceptable,' said researcher Lydia Saad in the study, published on May 31.

According to the poll, 69 percent of the nation's citizens view divorce as permissible while just 31 percent are morally opposed to it.

Additionally, 60 percent of respondents found premarital sex as morally acceptable and 36 percent viewed it as wrong.

On the topic of the stem cell research, 62 percent Americans approved of harvesting cells from human embryos while just 30 percent opposed it.

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