Archive for December, 2009

Associated Press reports:

Woman knocks down Pope at Christmas Eve Mass

By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer Ariel David, Associated Press Writer 20 mins ago

VATICAN CITY – A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter’s Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass on Thursday.

The 82-year-old pope quickly got up and was unhurt, said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. Footage aired on Italy’s RAI state TV showed a woman dressed in a red jumper vaulting over the wooden barriers and rushing the pope before being swarmed by bodyguards.

The commotion occurred as the pope’s procession was making its way toward the main altar and shocked gasps rang out through the public that packed the basilica. The procession came to a halt and security rushed to the trouble spot.

Benedettini said the woman who pushed the pope appeared to be mentally unstable and had been arrested by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a check up.

“During the procession an unstable person jumped a barrier and knocked down the Holy Father,” Benedettini told The Associated Press by telephone. “(The pope) quickly got up and continued the procession.”

After the incident, Benedict, flanked by tense bodyguards, resumed his walk to the basilica’s main altar to start the Mass. He did appear somewhat shaken and leaned heavily on aides and an armrest as he sat down in his chair.

Benedict made no reference to the incident as the service started. As a choir sang, he sprinkled incense on the altar before opening the Mass with the traditional wish for peace in Latin: “Pax vobis” (“Peace be with you”). The faithful responded: “Et cum spiritu tuo” (“And also with you”).

It was the second year in a row there was a security breach at the service. At the end of last year’s Mass a woman who had jumped the barriers got close to the pope but was quickly blocked on the ground by security.

Benedettini said it was not immediately known if the same woman was behind Thursday’s incident.


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Looks to be a fantastic school this year too.  Pray that it will work out and I will get to attend.

Here’s the promo on the Acton Institute‘s webpage:

2010 Acton University – June 15-18, 2010

Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics.

At Acton University, you will:

Build your own curriculum. Choose from more than fifty courses ranging from the theological and philosophical, to the policy-oriented and practical.

Learn from world-class faculty. Meet leading authorities on economics, theology, public policy, globalization, the environment, and other disciplines.

Network. Interact with people from diverse backgrounds who share a concern about issues at the heart of faith and freedom.

Equip yourself to engage in the debate. Better articulate your understanding of the Judeo-Christian view of liberty and morality and its application in a free and virtuous society.

<!– Download a printable pdf fact sheet for the conference here.
–>Contact Kara Eagle at (616)454-3080 or keagle@acton.org

Lecturers will include Rev. Raymond de Souza, Dr. Samuel Gregg, Dr. Daniel Mahoney and Rev. Paul Hartmann. 

Visit the Acton Institute website for more information.

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Pray for Christian leaders like Rev. Childress who are standing up for the unborn.

A black minister who founded a website called BlackGenocide.org charges the Obama administration’s health care reform legislation is designed to increase the number of abortions in the African-American community.

“It’s sinister, but President Obama has become the face of black genocide in America today,” said Rev. Clenard H. Childress Jr., senior pastor of the New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, N.J.According to Childress, about 35 percent of the nearly 4,500 abortions performed each day in the U.S. are on African-Americans, even though African-Americans are only about 13.5 percent of the population. 

Childress said 52 percent of all African-American pregnancies end in abortion, and three out of every five African-American women will obtain an abortion. 

He estimated 16 million African-American babies have been aborted since the passage of Wade v. Roe in 1973. 

Had the approximately 16 million African American babies aborted since the landmark Supreme Court decision been allowed to live, there likely would be more than 50 million African-Americans in the U.S. today. The last count, in 2007, was 40 million. 

The World Net Daily article continues: 

Statistics on abortion maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the rate of abortions for African-American women is three time higher than for white women. About 10.8 percent of white pregnancies resulting in a reported abortion, compared to 33.4 percent for African-Americans.If the Democrats’ health-care measure provides government funding for abortions, Childress expects the number of African-American abortions to increase dramatically. 

Childress pointed to a hidden “marriage penalty” included in the House-passed version of health care reform under which the cost for health insurance for two married individuals would exceed by approximately $10,000 the cost if the two individuals were single but living together. 

“Skillfully placed in the bill is an incentive not to marry,” Childress pointed out. “Unwanted pregnancies to unwed mothers are a major cause of abortion in the African-American community.” 

According to U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, 70.2 percent of all African American babies were born to unmarried mothers in 2006

“Few people appreciate the health risk a woman takes with an abortion,” Childress argued. “Abortions in first-time pregnancies increase the risk of breast cancer by as much as 66 percent. Abortions used as a contraceptive makes the woman a high risk for future illness, with the cost of her subsequent health care likely to increase by three or four times as a result of the abortion.” 

President Obama is on record arguing the right of a woman to choose an abortion is absolute. 

On Jan. 23, as one of his first acts as president, Obama issued an executive order rescinding the so-called “Mexico City Policy,” a Reagan administration-era prohibition against all non-governmental organizations receiving federal funding to perform or actively promote abortions. 

  via Minister: Obamacare kills African-American babies.

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Great article about paying it forward.  In this case, a preacher helps a man who needs helping, and several years later, the aided man is able to help other families in the minister’s care.  Great story of charity and love.

….Father Tim Jones, are you taking notes?

From a Fox 6 report via Black Christian News.   Watch the video here.

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I know this is off-topic for me, but I’m posting it anyway.  This is a post about the press.  The bias of the press.  The liberal bias of the press.

First, here is the news article from the Associated Press:

GOP senator: Democratic health care deals ‘sleazy’

Dec 22, 7:38 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Republican senator who has opposed President Barack Obama’s health overhaul effort said Tuesday that the deals Democratic leaders have cut to round up the votes they need to push the measure through the Senate have been “sleazy.”

Speaking Tuesday on NBC’s “Today” show, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina cited concessions won by Nebraska Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, whose support gave Democrats the 60th and final vote they need. Among other things, Nelson won an agreement that the federal government will pay to expand Medicaid services in Nebraska.

Said Graham: “That’s not change you can believe in. That’s sleazy.”

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa defended the concessions, saying: “The one that’s being talked about for Nebraska, it also benefits other states. It’s not just Nebraska.”

He also said he would vote for the package even if it didn’t contain concessions for Iowa. “The principle of this bill overrides everything,” Harkin told CBS'”Early Show.”

Graham rejected criticism leveled by some Democrats that GOP opposition to Obama’s health care effort is being driven by extremists.

“I’m not a member of a militia, I’m not a birther,” he said, referring to those who have questioned, inaccurately, whether Obama is an American citizen. “I’m a senator who wants to reform health care, but I’m not going to allow my country to become a socialized nation when it comes to health care.”

Harkin described the debate as “a demarcation line.”

He explained: “On one side is health care as a privilege. On the other side is health care as a right. With these votes, with the vote that we’ll take before Christmas, we will cross that line finally and say that health care is a right of all Americans.”

The Senate had procedural votes Tuesday morning on the overhaul bill and Democrats are pushing for final passage before Christmas.


Did you observe what I did in this article?  In discussing Sen. Graham’s denial that he is an extremist, he mentions the term “birthers” which the AP stringer then defines for readers.  But did you catch it?   The AP editorial insertion?

“I’m not a member of a militia, I’m not a birther,” he said, referring to those who have questioned, inaccurately, whether Obama is an American citizen.

How exactly do we know it is inaccurate?  Do you recall reading this sentence in any newspaper of oh, say 4 years ago:

“I’m  not a member of conspiracy groups who say that George W. Bush pulled strings to get out of going with the Air National Guard to Vietnam,” referring to those who claimed, inaccurately, that Bush used connections to get out of any Vietnam service.

No?  don’t remember that?   ‘Cause it was never written and never will be.  News articles will continue to be written that pass on speculation, gossip, lies and deceits — if the target is on the Liberals’ hit list –without any sort of helpful editorial comments willy nilly inserted into a fact piece.

Nice going, AP.

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I just read a beautiful story of grace, love and conversion and I want to share it with you.  The Diocese of Davenport‘s Catholic Messenger article came to my attention via the Catholic News Agency who reprinted it with permission.

Even a year after her passing, Nancy Graf’s work continues.

Only these days, it’s through her husband.

A formerly inactive Catholic, Bill Graf, 61, now plays the part once played by one of the most active members of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville. Filling Nancy’s spot in various ministries — including the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and parish council — is part therapy, part way to honor the memory of a woman he calls “the definition of a servant leader.”

Her gift for service began to appear to Bill when he was a junior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Nancy Lijewski, then a junior at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and an acquaintance of Bill, was visiting his apartment with friends when she slipped from his sight. Looking for her, he found her at the kitchen sink, washing his dishes.

Soon after, the two started dating. They wed when Bill was a senior, on Jan. 31, 1970.

When they moved to Iowa City in 1975, Nancy began teaching religious education and volunteering for other ministries at St. Thomas More Parish. But Bill, then an information system analyst at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, spent Sunday mornings working or sleeping in.

“I thought it was my duty to work and support my family,” says the father of four. “… I kind of floated away from the church.”

Nancy’s example left an impression on him, though. A researcher at the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice at the University of Iowa School of Social Work, she filled her free time volunteering for St. Thomas More.  What activities would give him purpose during retirement, he wondered as he grew older.

What happened Dec. 7, 2008, ultimately motivated him to make changes. That day, Nancy was returning home from her sister’s house near La Crosse, Wis., where Nancy was finishing her master’s degree in servant leadership at Viterbo University. While driving along U.S. 52 near Decorah in snowy weather, her minivan spun into the left lane and was struck by an oncoming car. When first responders arrived, Bill says, they couldn’t find Nancy’s pulse.

“Right after the accident I felt that a part of me died,” he says. He was plagued by guilt, too, and thoughts of how he might have prevented the tragedy.

But after talking with a friend who’d also lost his wife, Bill realized he had two options: “You can lose hope or you can continue. You can turn to despair or you can turn to the church.” 

In hopes of seeing Nancy again, in heaven, he chose the latter. So a few weeks after the accident, he asked his friend Lee Gullickson, a member of St. Thomas More, to tell him more about what Nancy had been involved in at the parish.

Bill wrote a list of her activities — including the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission, choir, Christian Experience Weekend, baptism preparation, knitting ministry, Church Life and Family Life Commission, and several other groups.

Then he got involved. He joined the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission. He served as a lector. He assisted the steering committee for the parish’s new church. He donated funds for a baptismal font. He gave a witness talk to a stewardship group.

“I told him once that Nancy must be channeling through him,” says Father Walter Helms, St. Thomas More’s pastor.  “… He has done so much for us.”

Bill’s relationship with God has changed, too. “I find myself talking to God more,” asking for strength, he says. “I find it much more personal.”

He recalls talking with Nancy a few years ago about their priorities; she listed God first. “To be honest, I was a little jealous,” he says. “She picked God over me.” But after he took part in the St. Ambrose Stewardship Institute earlier this year, he began to understand her choice.

Bill wishes he could talk about that new insight with Nancy. But he says that because they were “so close” for nearly 40 years, “over time I am realizing that Nancy lives within me, or at least part of her.”

Katie Graf, 25, and Joe Graf, 32, Bill’s two youngest children, say they’re proud of how their dad has responded to tragedy. Besides renewing his faith, he’s become more open, a better listener, Katie says — and their relationship has grown.

But it’s Bill’s growth in faith that answers a request Nancy had long prayed for, Katie notes. “That’s the one thing she really wanted for my dad,” she says. “She is really happy now.”

God works through each of us, everyday.  Do you know that?  Can you feel that?  Let us pray that we allow God to work through us and even more challenging, let us pray that we see God working through the people in our lives, and allow God’s grace to move our hearts back to Him.

See God in your family and friends today.  Allow God to work through them.

Wife’s passing inspires Iowa man’s renewal of faith.

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…would be activities like these:

Our parish and family also support and volunteer at HOPE Warming Centers in Pontiac, Michigan.  We’ll be manning the center in January.  Check out this video.

In other words, there are alot more things that Christians could be doing to support our communities, aide the sick and homeless and relieve hunger than whining about the failure of government and advising those entrusted to our pastoral care to go out and commit sins against God’s commandments.

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