Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The SHOCKING New Videos from Live Action

It is getting harder and harder to say "this is just one bad abortionist off his rocker"...Abortion is a culture of death, and these people need to be prosecuted. It is so sad to see people standing up and defending people like this, and it is a shame to see prosecutors failing to do something about these crimes.

“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” - Romans 12:19

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Mark of the Beast Follow-up

When I wrote my post "The Mark of the Beast", it became, in 24 hours, my most read blog post in the history of my blog.

My intended audience was fellow Catholics who can see the writing on the wall: "persecution is coming."

While strengthening the "brethren" struggling with where our country is going, I wanted to clarify that the Church's opposition to same-sex "marriage" is NOT rooted, FIRST AND FOREMOST, in the concern that if it passes, our religious liberty will be threatened.

Would "redefining marriage" be a direct attack on the religious freedom of the Catholic Church - ABSOLUTELY! 

Is that the number one reason the Church opposes "redefining marriage" - ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Catholicism doesn't want to run a country - we have been better off since we got out of the state-running business.  Nonetheless, the Church still attempts to guide and help countries make solid policies, policies that will allow countries to flourish and not implode. 

The Church basically says: "Here are some basic questions that you, as a country, have to get right.  If you do, you will flourish.  But if you get these basic issues wrong, your country will collapse soon enough."

One of those is the issue of marriage.

The Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching notes:

"If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties.

If, from the legal standpoint, marriage between a man and a woman were to be considered just one possible form of marriage, the concept of marriage would undergo a radical transformation, with grave detriment to the common good. By putting homosexual unions on a legal plane analogous to that of marriage and the family, the State acts arbitrarily and in contradiction with its duties."

Some Catholics have said "why should Catholics care what the state or country think about marriage?"

Answer: "If the state or country gets the marriage question wrong, the state or country will implode."

HOMILY: Immigration is a Catholic Issue

One thing that I miss-quoted in my homily: the first substantial restrictions on immigration began in 1921, not in the 1960's as I stated originally.  The history of how our country began to restrict immigration is an important history, and you can read more by clicking here to access the article "Why Don't They Come Here Legally?" - an article that can be found on the US Bishops' website.  I've included an excerpt of the history below:

"Yet, until the 1870’s, the federal government did virtually nothing to restrict immigration to the United States. In most cases, immigrants who arrived to the United States in search of work or a new life simply settled in the country and became citizens after a period of time.vi In 1875, Congress passed the Page Law, restricting immigration of women engaged in polygamy and prostitution, with enforcement provisions particularly focused on Chinese women.vii Seven
years later, in 1882, Congress promulgated the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, restricting
immigration of Chinese laborers.viii Congress eventually expanded these restrictions on Chinese immigration to exclude Asian immigrants generally.ix However, immigration by those arriving from non‐Asian countries was not significantly restricted until the 1920’s, by which time many of our immigrant ancestors had already arrived. 

Indeed, during that period immigration from various parts of the world to the United States was widespread; by 1870, forty percent of the residents of New York, Chicago, and other major
metropolitan areas were foreign born. x In 1921, beginning with the Emergency Quota Act, the
United States began to restrict immigration through the use of national origins quotas.xi The
quota system was restructured multiple times in subsequent years, leaving some regions of the
world at a disadvantage at certain points.xii In 1965, amendments to the Immigration and
Nationality Act of 1952 abolished the quota system, prioritizing instead family‐based immigration.xiii  

Subsequent immigration laws have been increasingly restrictive. For instance, in 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed to control and deter unlawful immigration to the United States, making it unlawful to knowingly hire unauthorized immigrants and increasing border enforcement.xiv Ten years later, the Illegal Immigration
Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) created penalties for those who had been “unlawfully present” in the country, establishing three and ten year bars to lawful

vi Kevin J. Fandl, Immigration Posses: U.S. Immigration Law and Local Enforcement Practices,
34 J. Legis. 18 (2008) (“The United States passed its first immigration law in 1790, which
formally moved the topic of immigration from state to federal control and which established a
uniform rule of naturalization by requiring residence for two years. This residence requirement
was expanded to five years in 1795, where it remains today. It was not until 1798 that an alien
registry was established and records of arriving aliens were kept. . . .not until 1862 was a
prohibition on a type of immigrant enacted. Thus, all non‐dangerous immigrants were allowed
entry into the United States and an opportunity to become citizens through the beginning of
the Civil War.”).
vii Kerry Abrams, Polygamy, Prostitution, and the Federalization of Immigration Law, 105
Colum. L. Rev. 641, 643 (April 2005).
viii Id. at 645.
ix Kerry Abrams, The Hidden Dimension of Nineteenth Century Immigration Law, 62 Vand. L.
Rev. 1353, 1354 (October 2009). See also Act of Feb. 5, 1917 (Immigration Act of 1917), ch. 29,
§ 2, 29 Stat. 874, 876 (repealed 1952) (restricting Asian immigration).
x Id.
xi See Act of May 19, 1921 (Quota Act (Three Per Cent Act)), ch. 8, § 2, 42 Stat. 5, 5 (repealed
1952) (establishing the three percent immigration quota limit).
xii See, e.g., Act of May 26, 1924 (Immigration Act of 1924), ch. 190, § 11, 43 Stat. 153, 159
(repealed 1952) (reducing the quota to two percent).
xiii See Pub. L. No. 89‐236 , 79 Stat. 911 (Oct. 3, 1965).
xiv See Pub. L. No. 99‐603 (Act of 11/6/86).
xv See Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(I)‐(II).

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Best Thing You Can Do To Foster Priestly Vocations

Well, actually it is a three way tie for "Best Thing You Can Do To Foster Priestly Vocations"

They are
1) Pray that all those whom God is calling to be priests will hear his call and respond
2) Tell a young man that would make a good priest that you think he would make a good priest.

The third thing is something that I did this past weekend...
3) Take young men from your parish for a tour and a meal at a seminary

Here are some photos from our trip

A couple of seminarians talking about their call to the seminary and what seminary life is like

"We love your music Fr. Hollowell!"  Actually, I'm sure it was simply because we had stopped at Dairy Queen on the way home, and the guys were just on a sugar low!

Jacob stayed awake and kept me company on the road!

Thanks to Fr. Bob and the guys at Brute Seminary for showing us around and feeding us.  It was a great trip.

Is God calling you to lead a similar trip for your parish?  You don't need to be a priest, just tell your pastor you'll coordinate the trip.  Most seminaries are THRILLED to host groups of young men, and I promise that the guys will have a good time going.

All of the guys that went with us said they were skeptical beforehand, but afterwards they were very glad they went. 

The Catholic Bob Ross

Who is Bob Ross?  If you don't know Bob Ross, you need to!  Bob Ross is the painter who, for so many years, worked his tradecraft on PBS.  In college I encountered Bob Ross for the first time, and it was awesome!

a) he has an awesome 'fro haircut
b) his voice is the perfect voice for taking a nap to.

Here's a quick video of Bob Ross in action:

When I was in New Zealand, I had the pleasure of spending a morning talking with Michael Pervan, who I like to call the "Catholic Bob Ross".  Michael is an iconographer and a sacred artist who owns a small little sacred art workshop that I could have spent many many more hours touring around.

As I've noted on the blog elsewhere, I've had a serious conversion over the past few years concerning sacred art, and have come to recognize how important sacred art is, and how needed it is in our world today.  Chatting with Michael, I realized that he is teaching and talking about and creating beauty from the heart of the Church.

Here is Michael's talk that he gave at the New Zealand Eucharistic Convention in 2007 where, like Bob Ross, he puts together an icon during his talk, and he also talks a lot about what motivates him in his work.  It is DEFINITELY worth a watch.

Here is the website for Michael's Icon Shop, "The Studio of St. John the Baptist."  Click here to check it out.

Pray for more sacred artists, whether it is chant, icons, sculpture, painting, organists, etc.  As Dostoevsky notes, "Beauty will save the world."

VIDEO: Abby Johnson on Working at Planned Parenthood

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Marathons: Solidarity Made Flesh

I can still vividly recall my first marathon.  They had, up to that point in my life, struck me as quite odd.  Being a sprinter on the track team, racing over the course of 26 miles and several hours seemed quite strange, and it seemed like people were just dragging things out way too long.  The first time I attended a marathon, my perception changed dramatically.

I went to Louisville to watch my brother's girlfriend run the Kentucky Derby Marathon, and I fell in love instantly (with the concept of a marathon, not my brother's girlfriend, that would be weird!).

In talking with other people about this, I've realized that the thing that strikes most people about marathons is how inspiring the dang things are.  First of all, the lead runners are inspiring because they are running so fast and have trained their body so well that they can run 5 minute miles for two straight hours!

As inspiring as the lead runners are, the real inspiration comes when you stick around and watch the middle to the back of the pack.

As the middle of the pack comes through, you start to see the T-shirts - "I'm running for Mom" - "RIP Dad...this one's for you" - you see people running to raise money for causes - or to celebrate the fact that they just kicked some disease square in the teeth and are on the mend.  You see firefighters walking in all of their gear in memory of a fallen comrade, periodically pulling their masks off to throw up.  You see army vets thankful to put their hard fought freedom to use by simply going for a jog.  You see wheel chair racers fighting up hill with sheer exhaustion in their faces as they try to do with their arms what everyone else is struggling to do with their legs.  You see people struggling, you see people running for a purpose and wavering on falling short of their goal...

And you see the supporters.  The throngs and throngs of supporters.  At my first marathon, I cried to myself on at least 5 different occasions because I saw the pain and the fear of failure and the fear of not accomplishing a goal on the face of someone I'd never met, and I started cheering and clapping and screaming my head off for that person.  And I was surrounded by lots of other fans doing the same thing.

A marathon is all that is good about sports.  At the very front of a marathon, you have about 10 people who are competing against each other, but the other 25,000 people are all on the same team, and every fan is cheering loudly for every runner. 

Having run in a few half-marathons in Indy now myself, I can say that the energy is like a 20 gazillion watt electrical current running through the whole city.  Whatever speed I've been running at by myself during training, I run SO much faster during the race because of all the cheering, all the music, and all the inspiration that comes from watching my fellow racers gut it out.

I run the Indy half-marathon for one reason; I run because it is an intensely special reminder that I am united with this group of people, this city, this community, and that we are so much more than just a group of people who have entered into a Hobbesian social contract with each other - we stand in solidarity together with each other.  

I'm not surprised that someone hell bent on spreading fear and destroying all that is good in the world would choose a marathon because it is one of the most amazingly positive events that any city experiences each year.

The Church teaches that "solidarity" is one of the important things for Catholics to come to an awareness of - the idea that we are all one.  Obviously this is a message that runs throughout Jesus' teachings and indeed throughout the Old and New Testaments as a whole.

The Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church states: "Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person...and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity" (paragraph 192)

If you need a lesson in solidarity, if you feel like you aren't part of something bigger, civilly speaking, find a marathon or a half-marathon near you, and go cheer your fanny off.  You won't regret it one bit.  And don't let fear, terror, or evil keep you away.  If those things keep you away, then the bad guys have won yet again.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Signing Off From New Zealand

Here are some photos from the second half of my trip.  After the Eucharistic Convention I headed to the wilderness of New Zealand for some hiking, and for some Hobbit time!  I heard from multiple people that the Hobbiton set was worth a visit, and it most definitely was.  The entire two weeks were very blessed.  Here are some pictures below.

The view driving from the wrong side of the road from the wrong side of the car.  Question: "Was it weird?"  Answer: "Yes!"

The facial expression of a person in their first hour of driving on the wrong side of the road.  The rental car company didn't specifically say "Don't take a picture of yourself in your first hour of driving in New Zealand" so I don't think I was breaking any laws here.

 Hobbiton!  a view of the mill and the bridge

"And what about very old friends?" 

I'm hoping Peter Jackson sees some of my photos and brings me on board as a director of photography!

Bag end from a distance

 The view from the Green Dragon

 A Hobbit hole


An ale at the Green Dragon

Day 2 of exploration: Tangariro National Park
Tama Lakes Trail Hike


The volcano that I hiked to

A stream along the way


Lower Tama Lake as a panorama


A photo from upper Tama Lake.  The volcano is in the background.  The top was under cloud cover when I was up there

 Day 3: Hanging out in Auckland

Adoration followed by Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Auckland.  I didn't know the schedule when I got there at 11, but I was hoping for some adoration time and Mass.  Adoration began at 11, and Mass was at noon!!  God is good!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Update from New Zealand

 The discernment house I was staying with for a few days.  We headed out to the beach for the day and had a blast!

We got up early to try to catch the sun rise in Auckland.  The clouds failed to cooperate, but we had a good hike and prayed morning prayer on the beach!

A neat view from the beach 

 "Trekking" in the wilds around the beach

 Viewing the beach from above

The sign at the beach picnic area.  I vote that we ditch our word "trash" and immediately swap it for "rubbish"!  

 Fish n' chips on the beach.  I love the lack of pretense; the restaurant just wrapped it all up in news paper and that was that.

On to the Eucharistic convention this weekend.  This is the first sacristy with a Led Zeppelin poster in it in the history of Catholicism.

The Sisters of Life and Fr. Liszeck from Kibeho leading the convention in adoration.

Now it is off to Hobbiton, a national park, and some exploring for my final three days in New Zealand.  God bless!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

My Brother on the Events of the New Pope

My brother Tony was asked to reflect on all of the events of this past month in Rome.  He did so, and the article was published on ArchIndy's vocation website (Read the whole thing here)

"It has been busy and exciting times in the Catholic Church, particularly here in Rome where I began studying in July of 2012 at the Pontifical North American College (NAC).  At the NAC, we hosted all of the U.S. Cardinal-electors who were in town for the Conclave.  On the last day of their visit, four of the Cardinals met with students from the NAC to share their experiences with us (Cardinal O’Malley, Cardinal DiNardo, Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal George).  There are two things that came from this discussion that I think are of great importance to my own formation as a future priest and to all in the Catholic Church.
            The first overarching theme of the discussion is that all the Cardinals were convinced that the election of Pope Francis was the work of the Holy Spirit.  During the election, and afterwards, I heard comments from people who were NOT at the conclave explain that they think this election was spurned primarily by political concerns.  Before the election, many news agencies correctly reported that the Curia could use a bit of tidying up, and it takes very little understanding of human nature to know that “tidying up” is always resisted by those who created the mess.  This fact notwithstanding, the Cardinal-electors from the U.S. remain convinced that the election of Pope Francis was not a political decision spurred exclusively or even primarily by human motives.  They are convinced that his election was primarily the working of the Holy Spirit.  They made allusion to the fact that there is alot of discussion beforehand about who will vote for who, but they said that when the doors to the Sistine Chapel are locked and you have to proclaim an oath to God that the man for whom you voted is who you think could best fulfill the office of Peter, with Michaelangelo’s “Last Judgement” painting in the background, all pretensions quickly vanish.  The Spirit begins to blow, and his fire pierces the heart of the electors in a way that touched each one of the Cardinals in a profound and particular way.  I am strengthened in my confidence in the Church and in my faith that it is the Holy Spirit who guides her, for the four men who were locked in the Sistine Chapel testify that in that room, it was the Holy Spirit who was in control."

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