Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our Lady's Advice to St. John Bosco

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Our Lady's Advice to Saint John Bosco
January 31 is the feast day of Saint John Bosco.

Here, the great saint recounts a vision in which the Blessed Mother emphasizes how important youth education is, as well as its inherent dangers

We must not worry about appearances when it comes to what people may think of us when doing our duty.

The great Saint John Bosco, founder of the Salesian Congregation, disclosed to a small group of friends an important supernatural vision he had. A priest in attendance took note of his words, which we transcribe below:
One day in the year 1847 the Queen of Heaven appeared to me and led me to a lovely garden. A gorgeous porch opened onto a beautiful avenue which prolonged, with a broad perspective, an alley worth seeing, flanked by and covered with marvelous roses in full bloom.

The ground was completely covered with roses. The Blessed Virgin told me: “Take off your shoes.” After I had done it, she added: “Go ahead down that alley; that is the way you should go.”

I started walking but suddenly realized that these flowers concealed extremely sharp thorns, to the point that my feet began to bleed. After taking a few steps, I had to turn back. “At this point I need shoes,” I told my guide. “Of course,” she replied.

I put my shoes on and kept walking down that way with a number of friends who appeared at that very moment, asking to walk with me.

Meanwhile, all those friends – they were very many – watched me walk on the rose bushes and said: “Wow! Look how Don Bosco walks always well over the roses! And how tranquil he remains! For him, everything is easy.” They did not see the thorns tearing up my poor feet.

Many clerics, priests and laity, whom I had invited, were pleased to follow me, attracted by the beauty of those flowers. But as soon as they realized they would be walking on thorns, they retreated and left me alone.

However, I took comfort in the arrival of a new group of excited followers who, having traveled with me all the way down the alley finally arrived at another extremely pleasant garden.

Then the Blessed Virgin Mary — my guide — asked me: “Do you know the meaning of what you have just seen?” I answered. “I beg you to explain it to me.” “You should know that the path you have walked among roses and thorns symbolizes the care you must take of the youth; you must walk in the shoes of mortification.

The thorns on the ground represent the sensitive human affections, sympathies and antipathies that divert a teacher from his true goal, hurt him, hinder his mission and prevent him from forming and reaping wreathes for eternal life. Roses are the symbol of the ardent charity by which you and your associates must distinguish yourselves. The thorns symbolize the obstacles, sufferings and sorrows that await you. But do not lose heart. With charity and mortification you will overcome everything and will have roses without thorns!”

As soon as the Mother of God finished speaking, I came to and found myself in my room.(*)
For starters, it is interesting to note that it is Our Lady who points the way to the saint. She does not say: “Go wherever you want,” but shows him the right path, for God has chosen a path for each one of us; a path which, if we are faithful, we must tread all the way to the end.
Saint John Bosco prays to Our Lady Help of Christians

In the case of Don Bosco, his path was not without many crosses and suffering, symbolized by the thorns that afflicted the great saint. In our earthly life, God wants us to face and overcome obstacles in order to sanctify ourselves and gain merits for Heaven.

As one can see from the words of the saint, people can sometimes wrongly assess the situation of others, seeing only roses and no thorns. In any case, what matters is not the concept that others have of us but what we do before God, Who judges our right intention regardless of what others may think.

Thus, while giving alms to the needy is of itself a good deed, anyone can do it for ostentation instead.
The final comment of the Mother of God is symptomatic in this regard. She warns Saint John Bosco about the dangers inherent to his well-deserving activity of educating the young. Indeed, educators can have attachments, preferences, ulterior motives, dislikes, and so forth. However, when doing something for the love of God, the latter must be our sole motivation, without mixing emotions and movements of the soul that distract us from that love, depriving us of the merits we would gain for our actions.

It is worth noting that Our Lady promises happiness — the rose without thorns — but only at the end. In this earthly life we will face greater or lesser problems and sufferings. Perfect happiness is attained only in the eternal life, for which we must constantly prepare ourselves. Let us emulate Saint John Bosco by doing what God asks of us with courage and perseverance: we will not lack the means to do it. And finally, we will receive the prize that Our Lady has prepared for us: eternal bliss.

(*) Juan B. Lemoyne, Vida de San Juan Bosco, Ed. Don Bosco, Buenos Aires, 1954, pp. 170-172.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Researchers Puzzled About Global Warming Standstill

How dramatically is global warming really? NASA researchers have shown that the temperature rise has taken a break for 15 years. There are plenty of plausible explanations for why global warming has stalled. However, the number of guesses also shows how little the climate is understood.
Bojanowski calls “NASA scientists” on their predictions:
…it has become common knowledge for some time that the climate has recently developed differently than predicted. The warming has stalled for 15 years; the upward trend in the average global temperature has not continued since 1998 (sic). “The standstill has led to the suggestion that global warming has stopped,” NASA admit.

IPCC meeting
Scientists previously thought 14 years without further warming could be brought into line with their forecasts – but not “15 years or more,” as NASA scientists stated four years ago in the journal “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society”. In an email to colleagues a renowned scientist wrote on 7 May 2009, at a time when the warming standstill had already lasted for eleven years: “the ‘no upward trend’ has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.”

Now, 15 years without warming has happened. The warming standstill of the global surface temperature shows that the uncertainties of climate predictions are surprisingly large. The interested public anxiously awaits whether the IPCC’s new Assessment Report, which is due in September, will address the warming pause – the discussions are ongoing in Australia’s Hobart. The researchers are discussing several cogent reasons that might have slowed the upward trend of temperatures.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Miraculous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue at 2013 March for Life in Washington

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima graced the 40th March for Life in Washington, D.C. with her maternal gaze.

As the massive sea of humanity made its way up Capitol Hill to the steps of the Supreme Court, members of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP) marched with red standards flying, and the ever-popular marching band, complete with brass, bagpipes and drums to encourage the crowd. International delegations of sister TFPs from Belgium, Germany and Italy joined the march.

Piping on Capitol Hill to make abortion unthinkable.

This news comes as a growing number of states have succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood. Ten states have successfully ended funding for the abortion giant, with many more plans to do so in other states during the legislative sessions of 2013. The amount of taxpayer dollars from the above mentioned states alone which are no longer going to fund abortion amounts to more than $60 million.

Perspective of the number of marchers at this year's March for Life.

As America is threatened by enemies both internal and external, we know the great battle before us cannot be won by mere human efforts. Devotion to Saint Michael in the highest degree will ensure victory not just in the fight against abortion, but in the battle for America’s soul, the spiritual combat of the 21st century.

As the forces of darkness increase their efforts to destroy all that remains of good in America, let us increase our confidence all the more in the certain victory of the Prince of the Heavenly Armies.
As this 40th March for Life falls on the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle, let us pray that America become like a new Saint Paul, zealously fighting all the errors she has promoted, and the instrument of extraordinary grace in the restoration of Christian civilization.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Praise for Return to Order — The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt

"By calling the reader to embrace the cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, prudence and fortitude, Return to Order suggests a practical pathway to avoid the economic and spiritual crises that are looming before us and, by means of religious conversion, reestablish a right order for human flourishing. I hope that this work will receive the attention it so deserves."

—  The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Praise for Return to Order — The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt - Return to Order

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Problem of Hollow Elites

Written by John Horvat II
The Problem of Hollow Elites

There are those who normally play a leadership role in society by representing the community. Such representative characters are those leaders who perceive the ideals, principles, and qualities that are desired and admired by a community or nation, and translate them into concrete programs of life and culture. Their importance cannot be underestimated since they play a major role in the progress of any community or nation.

The problem today is that the relationship between these figures and their communities has been broken. The decline of civil life in the last decades has led members of communities to no longer think in terms of society but in their isolated individual lives.

However, what has been especially devastating is the role of what sociologist Charles Murray calls “hollow elites.” These representative figures often live financially successful lives, but are dysfunctional in relation to their social responsibilities. Murray notes that, “They have abdicated their responsibility to set and promulgate the standards. The most powerful and successful members of their class increasingly trade on the perks of their privileged positions without regard to the seemliness of that behavior” (Charles Murray, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010, New York: Crown Forum, 2012, p. 294).

In other words, Murray claims American society is coming apart because both the members of communities and hollow elites have failed in their responsibilities. This failure underscores the need for a return to order.

Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Create Monsters

How_to_create_monsters_Imagine if police in a major city were to uncover a plot in which a serial killer was found to be planning to use the Internet to unleash a cult of followers who would also engage in serial killings. Imagine further, if police found as evidence an ice pick impaling a woman’s eye.

Such a revelation would be enough to dominate the headlines at least for a couple days even in our sensationalist culture. It would unleash calls for limiting the use of weapons employed in the planned crimes. It would give rise to endless commentary and futile soul-searching by those who would ask how society failed the unfortunate individuals involved. And then all would fade into the background without resolution.

The above mentioned plot was not uncovered by police. It is, however, the plot of a new television series that premiers this January on Fox television. The 15-episode series called “The Following” has in its first show the image of an ice pick impaling a woman’s eye. Apparently the show would have been even grislier had not the network itself stepped in and insisted that the program conform to certain “guidelines.” The producers were asked to tone down a slit-throat scene.

“The Following” is not a particularly exceptional program; it is one among many such shows that producers hope will boost ratings. Not even the recent massacres seem to have hindered its release. For producers, it is blood and gore as usual.

Such a program should raise questions as to the higher purpose of the arts, what lessons are to be learned or what values are being imparted to the audiences. However, the media admit no high purpose to the arts they produce. They claim such programs are there to entertain or amuse. It’s just entertainment. “The Following” is a thriller that must produce thrills. In a society where the sense of horror is dulled, programs must present ever more grisly scenes to produce its thrills. Media claim they are simply following the market.

Such groveling to base instincts is not the purpose of the arts. Art used to express the spirit and beauty of a culture. Today, the arts, if they can be called such, are made to produce sensations and thrills. Arts should inspire and uplift. They now fascinate and degrade.

The object of the arts should be toward those sublime things that should serve to inspire society toward the good, true and beautiful. A culture turned towards the sublime uplifts those who would otherwise detain themselves with the purely ordinary and common. Art should draw individuals outside themselves in wonder, and so opposes the inward egoistic vices that drive people to disgrace. Such inspiration makes men capable of dedication, admiration and great feats. It ultimately leads men to God.

Modern programming does the opposite. It serves to break down the barriers that separate men from the horrors of their basest acts and instincts. It encourages and glorifies the breaking of taboos, conventions and morals. Despite denials from the media, these programs do impart a wrong message and a macabre agenda that tends to the bad, the false and the ugly.

In the soul-searching over how America has become a land of violence, people ask how it is possible that society has produced individuals capable of such monstrous crimes. Part of the answer lies in the fact that television and media have become the how-to manuals of those who become monsters.

We need a return to order.

Get 30% OFF if you order of the book, Return to Order, by January 28. Click HERE to get your discounted copy.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This is NOT the Blessed Virgin Mary:Please Protest

"The Testament Of Mary"

Published By Simon & Schuster

Depicts Mary As A Bitter Unbeliever

Send Your Instant E-PROTEST Message NOW
Deeply Disturbing!
This new book is very disturbing.

If you prefer, you can send your protest message to Simon & Schuster and not read below about its contents.

Tell Simon & Schuster to stop distributing this anti-Mary book

We must react and reject blasphemy. To do nothing is to acquiesce to the offense.

In the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Mother Church invokes her as “Virgin most faithful.” -- most faithful to her Son and His mission of Redemption.

According to Media Research Center’s press report, in the book “The Testament of Mary”…
  • an alienated Mary flees the scene of her Son’s death in fear for her own life
  • Mary is filled with bitterness and rage
  • Mary describes herself as “unhinged” and bubbling with contempt for her Son’s demented followers, to the extreme that she threatens the Gospel writers with a knife
  • Mary lives as a bandit, stealing to survive
  • e-protest NOW
  • Mary’s point of view is that her Son’s followers must be stopped from making Jesus a god, “or else everything that happened will become a sweet story that will grow poisonous as bright berries that hang low on trees.”
  • Mary thinks Christ’s disciples are “fools, twitchers, malcontents, stammerers”
  • Mary's Son’s preaching sounded to her “false, and his tone all stilted, and I could not bear to hear him, it was like something grinding and it set my teeth on edge.”
  • Mary proclaims of the death of Jesus only that “when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say that it was not worth it. It was not worth it.”
  • e-protest NOW
  • “The making of the Gospels is portrayed not as an act of sacred remembrance but as an invasion and a theft. The Evangelists are portrayed as menacing intruders on Mary’s privacy after Our Lord’s death.
In light of all that and seemingly happy with it, the New York Times reviewer Mary Gordon, in evident praise of the idea that Our Lady is finally portrayed accurately, proclaims, in reference to the book, that…
  • “Mary, the mother of Jesus, has given Christianity a good name. None of the negatives that have made Christianity a byword for tyranny, cruelty and licensed hatred have attached to her,” Gordon began. “The problem with all this is that it has led to centuries of sentimentality — blue and white Madonnas with folded hands and upturned eyes, a stick with which to beat independent women.”
Tell Simon & Schuster to stop distributing this anti-Mary book

Truly, this is book is blasphemy!

And it shows that Catholics cannot become complacent when the Faith of the very Mother of God is attacked.

Otherwise, the promoters of blasphemy keep on pushing the envelope with new and more outrageous insults to the Catholic Church.

Yet they don’t attack Muhammad’s mother in this same way, do they?

It’s good that we recognize their strategy: unceasing repetition of blasphemy of every kind to demoralize Catholics and people of good will.

Let us peacefully and prayerfully protest and speak out against these assaults on the faith of our “Virgin most faithful”.

Tell Simon & Schuster to stop distributing this anti-Mary book

And please do an act of reparation for this most terrible blasphemy against Our Lord, Our Lady and the Catholic Faith.

Suggested Act of Reparation: using your rosary, go through the beads of each decade saying on each bead “Virgin most faithful, pray for us.” Or “Jesus I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

God bless you!
And may Our Lady reward you!

Friday, January 18, 2013

French Catholic bishops Endorsing Homosexual Unions, Undermining Pro-family Cause

PARIS, January 16, 2013 ( - The Conference of the Bishops of France (CEF) is making a mistake in endorsing an improved "Pact of Civil Solidarity" for homosexuals as an alternative to instituting homosexual 'marriage', in contradiction to Catholic teaching, warns the French pro-family association Avenir de la Future.
(Note: Avenir de la Culture, Future of the Culture, is a campaign of the French TFP)

The organization of faithful Catholics are reacting to a document published recently by the Bishops' Conference's Family and Society Committee, which says homosexual relationships could be given a strengthened legal recognition, while not going so far as to equate such unions with marriage.


While the Vatican teaches that "all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions," the French Bishops' document states that "the Catholic Church calls the faithful to live a [homosexual] relationship in chastity, but it recognizes, beyond its sexual aspect, the value of solidarity, of attention and of concern for the other that can arise in a durable affective relationship.

The Church intends to be welcoming regarding homosexual persons and will continue to make its contribution to the struggle against every form of homophobia and discrimination."

The document, entitled, "Extend marriage to people of the same sex?  Open the debate!,"  also states that "the request to extend marriage to people of the same sex challenges society to seek new ways to live out our differences within a state of equality," and "an evolution of family law is always possible."

The Catholic Church repudiated by its own bishops?
According to Avenir de la Culture, the document seems to reflect the sentiments of Gerard Daucourt, bishop of Nanterre, and numerous other bishops who have made even more explicit statements insinuating the endorsement of homosexual unions, including an "improved" Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS).

Prior to the Family and Society statement, Daucourt had told the news agency France Iter: "I, for my part, want to take heed of homosexual unions, I want to recognize them, accompany  them.  I have known a certain number of homosexual couples," adding: "I don't want it to be called marriage, that's all."

"So then, there is the PACS.  I think that they could improve it.  Look, I would be rather disposed to that (...) I myself have no desire for a direct opposition, but rather to dialogue, to explain," said Daucourt.

The Pact of Civil Solidarity (PACS) to which Bishop Daucourt refers is a contract, considered far less than a civil union, that can be granted both to homosexuals and heterosexuals, which can be dissolved at will by either party, and gives tax advantages to the couple as if they were married.

Daucourt also denounced the Catholic Church itself for what he regarded as "discrimination" against homosexuals.

"This has grave consequences, because we know that the people most directly concerned are homosexual persons, who have suffered so much and who have been condemned for centuries by the Church and by a certain number of people in the Church," the bishop said.  "I think that this is terrible for people who still suffer discrimination of which they have been the object on the part of the Church and by many others, and which they still suffer today."

Avenir de la Culture documents that numerous other French bishops have spoken similarly, expressing sympathy for homosexual unions and advocating legal protections for them, and denouncing what they regard as "persecution" of homosexuals historically, including Bishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont-Ferrand (vice-president of the Episcopal Conference), Bishop Bernard Ginoux of Montauban, Bishop Michel Pansard of Chartres, Bishop Bruno Grua of Saint-Flour, Bishop Francois Fonlupt of Rodez, Bishop Philippe Gueneley of Langres, Bishop Jacques Blaquart of Orleans, Archbishop Armand Maillard of Bourges, Bishop Vincent Jordy of Saint-Claude, Bishop Jean-Charles Descubes of Rouen, Bishop Bernard Housset of La Rochelle.

The organization also notes that while Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, Archbishop of Lyon, has ringingly denounced homosexual "marriage" as potentially leading to the approval of incest, other bishops failed to support him when he was condemned in the press for the comments and some even rejected his words publicly.

In response to the bishops' statements, Avenir de la Culture asks: "Should one conclude that, for a homosexual person, it is preferable to live in cohabitation, a permanent occasion of sin?" The organization notes that the bishops' Family and Society Committee has produced "six pages of unclear commentary to arrive at the same conclusion expressed in a more frank way by Bishop Daucourt: in place of marriage, we could agree to provide homosexuals with an 'improved PACS.'"

The organization also notes that "in 85 episcopal declarations regarding the 'marriage for everyone' bill, except for a few references (...) there is NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING religious in the argumentation of the French bishops!  Rather to the contrary, the majority have the obvious desire to emphasize that they are expressing themselves in strictly human terms."

The bishops contradict Pope Benedict XVI ... and even themselves
Avenir de la Culture observes that the bishops' approach is contrary to Pope Benedict XVI's clear rejection of all homosexual unions, made while he was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003, and also seems to contradict the French bishops' own statements denouncing PACS in the late 1990s, when they were first proposed.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, writing at that time with the authority of the Papal magisterium, declared in 2003 that "There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law.

Quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ratzinger noted that homosexual acts constitute "serious depravity" and "close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved."

He added that "all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions."
In 1998, the bishops of France themselves warned that PACS would be "worthless and dangerous" and would create "a new status of relationship that risks the further destruction of the meaning of the couple and of the family."

Contact information:
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
00193 Roma,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
Phone: (011) 39-06-6988-4217
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-5303
Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3357
phone: (011) 39-06-6988-3413
Fax: (011) 39-06-6988-3409

French Catholic bishops endorsing homosexual unions, undermining pro-family cause, warn activists |

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Praise for Return to Order from Edwin Meese III

Meese_endorsements"Return to Order provides an interesting analysis of how the United States has departed from the spiritual, cultural, and economic precepts that supported the founding and the early history of our republic. It also sets forth valuable recommendations for restoring our society to its foundation of ordered liberty and traditional values."

— The Honorable Edwin Meese III
Former Attorney General of the United States

To get the book, click here

Praise for Return to Order from Edwin Meese III - Return to Order

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Doctors Euthanize Deaf Belgian Twins Who Feared Going Blindo go blind

Identical twins have been killed by Belgian doctors in a unique case under the country’s euthanasia laws.

The 45-year-old brothers from the Antwerp region were born deaf and sought euthanasia after finding out that they would soon go blind. They told doctors that they were unable to bear the thought of not being able to see each other again.

The twins, who have not been named but have been pictured on Belgian television, had spent their entire lives together, sharing a flat and working as cobblers.

Belgium’s Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper reported on the weekend that doctors at Brussels University Hospital in Jette “euthanized” the two men by lethal injection on Dec. 14.

Under Belgian law, euthanasia is allowed if those wishing to end their lives are able to make their wishes clear and a doctor judges that they are suffering unbearable pain.

David Dufour, the doctor who presided over the euthanasia, said the twins had died together and had taken the decision in “full conscience.”

“They were very happy. It was a relief to see the end of their suffering,” he said. “They had a cup of coffee in the hall, it went well and a rich conversation. Then the separation from their parents and brother was very serene and beautiful.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What About Gun Violence in Brazil?

Written by John Horvat II
What About Gun Violence in Brazil?
There are plenty of people who point to countries with fewer guns as models for the United States. However, there are few who take notice of Brazil, a country with far fewer guns that still manages to have much greater gun violence and death.

No one seems to take note, but the numbers are there for those who want to see them. The conclusion is likewise obvious: fewer guns do not necessarily mean fewer deaths by guns.

According to UN statistics cited by the BBC of Brazil, Brazilians own 15 million firearms compared to 270 million held by Americans. Yet American deaths by guns in 2010 numbered 9,960, while Brazil listed close to 36,000 such deaths in 2009. It is also interesting to note that the population of Brazil is nearly 200 million while the United States has over 310 million.
Lodge at Dicks Sporting Goods
America has 18 times more guns than Brazil, yet proportionally, Brazil has 6 times more deaths by guns than America.

Put more simply, America has an 18 to one advantage over Brazil in the number of guns, yet proportionally, Brazil suffers six times more deaths by guns than America.

Why the difference? Brazil has something America does not have: gun control.

In Brazil, all firearms must be registered with the state. Minimum age for owning a gun is 25 and restrictions make it virtually impossible to have a carry permit. Owners must pay a $40 tax every three years. As a result of these and other restrictions, it is very difficult to own a gun in Brazil much less carry one.

Brazil also has gun control advocates. In 2003, the government passed legislation calling for the voluntary surrender of arms. Since that time 612,000 firearms have been surrendered.

The anti-gun mania reached such a point that in 2005, Brazil held a referendum seeking to ban the sales of all guns and ammunition. Against all expectations, the gun-ban was defeated with over 63% of the voters opposed.
Gun Store
Despite years of “Gun Control,” the facts from Brazil prove that less guns do not necessarily mean less gun deaths. Rather it is the law-abiding citizen who is left defenseless.

The fact is that the overwhelming majority of gun deaths in Brazil are committed with unregistered and illegal guns, especially high caliber guns. Meanwhile law-abiding citizens who wish to defend themselves suffer.

Obviously the facts from Brazil give proof that more guns do not necessarily equal more gun deaths. Yet the universal gun control mantra, “more gun control will stop gun deaths,” drones on.


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Paradox of Being Alone Together

Photo by Gareth Williams
One of the justifications for overuse of communication technology is that it saves time and increases contacts with others. Ever faster and efficient machines supposedly produce more possibilities to connect in less time, thus leaving more time for leisure.

However, this rationale does not always ring true. New phones and gadgets only encourage greater speed and volume. People begin to think in ever bigger terms. Instead of communicating with a small circle of intimate friends, they now convince themselves that they have a vast network of contacts who have “friended” them and must be cultivated at a distance often by conveying a distorted image of oneself.

This creates the postmodern paradox that psychologist Sherry Turkle calls being “alone together.” Far from uniting people, machines tend to separate them. She claims the result is a situation where people are “each in their own rooms, each on a networked computer or mobile device. We go online because we are busy but end up spending more time with technology and less with each other. We defend connectivity as a way to be close, even as we effectively hide from each other.” (Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, New York, Basic Books, 2011, p. 281).

The Paradox of Being Alone Together - Return to Order

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Patton: Inspiration Wins Wars

It’s the cold glitter of the attacker’s eye, not the point of the questing bayonet, that breaks the line. It’s the fierce determination of the driver to close with the enemy, not the mechanical perfection of the tank, that conquers the trench. It’s the cataclysmic ecstasy of conflict in the flier, not the perfection of his machine gun, which drops the enemy in flaming ruin. Yet volumes are devoted to armaments; and only pages to inspiration.

George S. Patton “The Secret of Victory,” quoted in Alan Axelrod, Patton on Leadership: Strategic Lessons for Corporate Warfare (Paramus, N.J.: Prentice Hall Press, 1999), 180.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Life of Saint Benedict Biscop

Image of St. Benedict Biscop carrying St. Peter’s Basilica to Britain.

An English monastic founder, born of a noble Anglo-Saxon family, c. 628; died 12 January 690.
He spent his youth at the court of the Northumbrian King Oswy. When twenty-five years old, he made the first of his five pilgrimages to Rome. On his return to England, Benedict introduced, whenever he could, the religious rites as he saw them practised in Rome. Soon afterwards he made a second pilgrimage, stopping on his return at Lérins, in 666, to take the religious habit.

When, two years later, he returned to Rome, Pope Vitalian sent him and the monk Adrian as advisers with Theodore, the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. After two years, in 671, he resigned this office and made another pilgrimage to Rome. During this and his two succeeding pilgrimages to the city of the Apostles he collected numerous relics, books, and paintings for the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, the former of which he founded in 674, the latter in 682. He also engaged Abbot John, Arch-cantor of St. Peter’s in Rome, to teach Roman chant at these monasteries. Benedict was the first to introduce into England the building of stone churches and the art of making glass windows.

MONTALEMBERT, Monks of the West (Boston), II, 493; HOPE, Conversion of the Teutonic Race (London), I, 400; STANTON, A Menology of England and Wales (London, 1892); ALLIES, Hist. of the Church in England (London, 1892), I, 59; MABILLON, Acta SS. O.S.B., saec. II. His biography in Latin by ST. BEDE is published in P.L., XCIV, 711-734.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Video Trailer: Is America Worth Fighting for? - Return to Order

Is America worth fighting for? That is the question addressed by a special video that outlines the challenges now facing America. The video points out those things that make America great—its vast panoramas, massive economic power and indomitable spirit of enterprise. However, the nation must now deal with threats like the towering weight of debt and the decay of morals. In this sense, America stands at a crossroads. It is time to return to order.
This special two-minute video trailer is part of a campaign promoting the soon-to-be-released book, Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society–Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go by John Horvat II.

Watch the video to get a perspective of what the book is about. Share the video with family and friends. Embed this video on blogs and websites. Better yet, buy Return to Order TODAY at the special 30% OFF pre-sales discount rate! Orders will ship January 28.

Video Trailer: Is America Worth Fighting for? - Return to Order

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Catholic Santa Clara University Invites Pro-Abortion Author Amy Tan: Protest HERE


On January 17, Santa Clara University will welcome Amy Tan, a novelist who has made no secret of her support for abortion “rights,” as well as the unfettered use of contraceptives. Ms. Tan has used her novels as a means to promulgate erroneous opinions, with abortion featuring prominently in one of her books, The Joy Luck Club.

Additionally, Ms. Tan has not shied away from announcing her anti-Catholic position. In a public Facebook post sprinkled with obscenities, she harangued pro-life politicians, accusing them of “wanting to pervert the lives of women.”  (Warning: foul language)

However, Santa Clara University -- a Catholic institution -- has invited Amy Tan for a lecture and book signing on campus.  "Tan’s work speaks to millions," claims a university statement, "with its universal themes of family relationships, generational change, and personal history.” It is unclear how abortion and misguided feminist theories could possibly qualify as a legitimate "family relationship."

Amy Tan
In light of the author’s avowed opposition to Church teaching, combined with her attack on the right to life, is she the type of role model the university wants to present to its students?  Should abortion advocates like Ms. Tan be given a platform on any Catholic campus?

On this issue, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is clear:  "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Santa Clara University's decision to feature an outspoken opponent of Church teaching in its Presidential Speaker Series throws a dark shadow over its Catholic identity.  Ironically, the theme of the 2012-2013 speaker series is "Enlivening the Whole Person: Head, Heart and Body."

"Abortion destroys the whole person," said TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie. 

"Abortion deliberately destroy heads, hearts and bodies.  It destroys God's plan for children.  It shatters motherhood, fatherhood, and families.  That's why I'm hoping that Santa Clara University will reconsider its invitation to pro-abortion supporter Amy Tan and replace her with a better speaker, a true role model, someone Catholic students can look up to and imitate, someone who respects the right to life," he said.  "I can't fathom why a Catholic university would give Amy Tan a platform."

According to its web site, Santa Clara University is "committed to faith-inspired values and educating leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion who will help fashion a more just, humane, and sustainable world."  Surely, in pursuance of those “faith-inspired values,” the University ought to maintain an environment in which Church teaching is respected, upheld and defended.

Join the protest

In the spirit of charity, for the sake of the Santa Clara's Catholic identity, and for the unborn, please join TFP Student Action in calling for the cancellation of Amy Tan's scheduled appearance on January 17.

Politely voice your peaceful protest with a phone call to:  408-554-4100

Santa Clara University

Fr. Michael E. Engh, S.J.
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: 408-554-4100

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Praise for Return to Order -- Gregor Hochreiter

“Return to Order is a very timely and valuable publication. The author Mr. Horvat does an excellent job in excavating the underlying root of the recurrent economic crises. It is the loss of the golden mean of virtuousness, the consequence of replacing prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance as the guiding principles of economic activity with the principle of income maximization.

“As a result of having abandoned the ethical anchor modern man fluctuates restless between the extremes, the business cycle being but the most prominent example of ‘frenetic intemperance.’ Anyone who considers the ongoing public debate as superficial—most reform proposals indeed merely want to cure the symptoms, yet do not address the underlying causes—should study Mr. Horvat’s Return to Order. It is to be hoped that this book reaches a large reading public and will have an impact on public policy, theoretical debates and personal decisions alike.”

- Gregor Hochreiter Director,
Institute of Applied Economics
and Western Christian Philosophy (Vienna, Austria)
Praise for Return to Order -- Gregor Hochreiter - Return to Order

Monday, January 7, 2013

Where Has the Music Gone?

Photo by Mark Kamin
A very tragic aspect of modern life is the decline of music as a popular art form. We are not saying that there is a lack of music. There is certainly plenty of plenty of music in all of its many forms, whether it be classical, country or rock. We are not referring to the pop music that crowds our airwaves and mass media. Nor is there any lack of more traditional folk music which largely reflects past times, peoples or ethnic identities. What is missing is that type of music that emerged from the work and culture of the people and makes music a spontaneous and meaningful part of our lives.

Today, music has become a passive pursuit performed by artists and played on myriad electronic devices. It serves as entertainment, stimulation or gratification and has little to do with time or place. We are used to mass-marketed music that has little connection with personal lives. Indeed, many would be hard pressed to name a popular local song or artist. Aside from a few patriotic songs or religious hymns, most people share no common musical heritage or engage in singing on a regular basis.

And yet, music used to be integrated into life and work. Before modern life changed our work rhythms and quicken the pace of life, people sang all the time. Everyone had their songs. Weavers, farm workers, travelers and even beggars had their music through which they told their stories and conveyed lessons.

In describing the role of music in nineteenth century France, historian Eugen Weber tells of how “sung dialogues engaged farmers or shepherds miles apart. Wives recognized their men returning home at eventide by their song. Old people remember that ‘as soon as we were two on the road, we began to sing’” (Eugen Weber, Peasant Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France 1870-1914, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1976, p. 429).

Weber notes how song was often functional since it set the pace for work. There were harvest songs, walking songs and working songs that all corresponded to the natural rhythms set by the human heart and lungs. We might also add that song also corresponding to the flux of human emotions so that they might express sorrow and joy, tragedy and celebration. Song was integrated into people’s lives serving to encourage, teach and unite. In the Pyrenees, for example, Weber tells of women who were hired at harvest time not to work but to follow the line of reapers while singing to give them rhythm and heart (ibid. p. 431).

With the introduction of industrial society, popular music was cut off from lived experience and locality. Labor was divorced from rhythm. The tempo of life changed preparing people for the abrupt and more agitated sounds of jazz and later modern music. Yet more significant, the values of life changed away from the transcendent and spiritual values of those times. Music came to reflect the materialistic, massified and more sensual lifestyles that mark our days. The result is a decline in music, and all the arts, that once formed an integral part of social life and now are treated as mere commodities to be sold on the market.
*          *          *
The book, Return to Order, deals with this abrupt change of life and how we have lost important elements like music that served to give meaning and purpose to life. While we cannot return to the historical circumstances of former epochs, we can return to those timeless principles that can be applied to our days.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Woman hiding with kids shoots intruder

A woman hiding in her attic with children shot an intruder multiple times before fleeing to safety Friday.

The incident happened at a home on Henderson Ridge Lane in Loganville around 1 p.m. The woman was working in an upstairs office when she spotted a strange man outside a window, according to Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman. He said she took her 9-year-old twins to a crawlspace before the man broke in using a crowbar.

But the man eventually found the family.

"The perpetrator opens that door. Of course, at that time he's staring at her, her two children and a .38 revolver," Chapman told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh.

Woman hiding with kids shoots intruder

Friday, January 4, 2013

To the French Bishops: Civil Unions are Unacceptable

Avenir de la Culture to the French Bishops: Civil Unions Are Unacceptable
Avenir de la Culture is the French TFP's cultural campaign that has long fought against moral degradation in society and especially as it appears in the media. The group recently sent a respectful appeal to every French Bishop to stand firm on the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church and natural law regarding homosexuality, and considers the bishops’ proposal for “improved civil unions” morally unacceptable. This proposal, it states, is detrimental because it causes division among Catholics and only widens the chasm between the shepherds and militant grassroots desirous of an uninhibited Church.

Avenir de la Culture to the French Bishops:
Civil Unions Are Unacceptable

Avenir de la Culture has just sent every bishop in France a copy of its “Respectful Appeal to the French Bishops: Have No Fear! – The proposal of an improved ‘civil union’ as an alternative to ‘marriage for all’ divides Catholics and weakens the reaction.”

The Respectful Appeal disapproves of a document issued by the French Bishops Conference (FBC) and individual statements by many bishops, including FBC vice-president Most Rev. Hippolyte Simon, Archbishop of Clermont, that the best way to oppose “marriage for all” is to allow the French Government to establish “improved civil unions.”

Avenir de la Culture recalls that the juridical recognition of same-sex unions runs counter to Church teaching that “there is no right at all to the practice of homosexual acts, which therefore cannot become a foundation for legal claims.”

Indeed, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by John Paul II teaches that “supported on Holy Scripture, which presents them as grave depravations, Tradition has always stated that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are opposed to natural law (no. 2357).

Avenir de la Culture is a French cultural organization that has long fought against moral degradation in society and especially as it appears in the media. The organization considers the bishops’ proposal for “improved civil unions” morally unacceptable and gravely damaging at a decisive moment of the resistance to the homosexual onslaught. It will eventually cause an unprecedented gap between the majority of the faithful and their shepherds.

The following day, December 20, 2012, Avenir de la Culture published a second Press Release reemphasizing the French bishops’ proposal for “improved civil unions” as morally unacceptable, and encouraging them to follow their Divine Master in preaching the truth from the housetops.

Avenir de la Culture to the French Bishops:
If the Salt Loses its Savor, What Will Replace It?

In its appeal to the French Bishops (press release of yesterday, Dec. 19) Avenir de la Culture considers the proposal for “improved civil unions” as an alternative to “marriage for all” as morally unacceptable.

On the strategic plane, this proposal is detrimental because:

 •  It causes division among committed Catholics who are most keenly aware of vital current issues;

 •  It widens the chasm between the shepherds and militant grassroots desirous of an uninhibited Church.

Another troubling aspect of the bishops’ statements on the Taubira projected bill is the complete absence of any religious argument as if the Catholic faith can no longer be affirmed in the public square.

In real life, this carefully secularist language of the vast majority of bishops creates an imbalance simply because the standard bearers of “modernity” are far from timid. They make no secret of their desire not only to shape society according to their ideology but also to cram the minds of our children and grandchildren with their education programs.

Much like Christian Democratic intellectuals, a majority of the French Bishops appear not to see that common ground for dialogue and collaboration between Christianity and the so-called human rights movement has long vanished. Thus, conflict between Christianity and secularist humanism becomes inevitable.

“Catholic grassroots are not of the same opinion [as most of their bishops.] They would like to see representatives of their Church also speak out on behalf of their Faith.

Are we not disciples of a Master who commanded us not to place a candle under a bushel and Who sent us to preach from the housetops?” states Avenir de la Culture in closing its “Respectful Appeal to the Bishops of France: Have No Fear!”

For further information on Avenir de la Culture and this struggle in defense of traditional marriage in France, please visit their web site at

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Obama: More Revenue Needed After 'Fiscal Cliff' Deal - Washington Times

Following the House vote that averted the “fiscal cliff” Tuesday night by raising taxes on the wealthy, President Obama warned lawmakers that he quickly will seek more tax revenue from high earners and corporations and that he won’t bargain in an impending battle over raising the nation’s borrowing limit.

While Republicans in Congress say the spending cuts that were missing from this week’s agreement must feature prominently in the next fiscal deal, Mr. Obama said future bargains must meet his definition of “balance.”

“Cutting spending has to go hand in hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans,” Mr. Obama said in a late-night appearance in the White House press briefing room. “We can’t simply cut our way to prosperity.”

Obama: More revenue needed after 'fiscal cliff' deal - Washington Times

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Constant Stimuli Stress People Out

Photo by pedrosimoes7

According to Nicolas Carr who wrote a book on the subject, too many external distractions inhibit concentration and contemplation. Thought becomes disjointed and shallow.

He reports, “A series of psychological studies over the past twenty years has revealed that after spending time in a quiet rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains become calmer and sharper” (Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2010, p. 219).

Carr claims such calm environments allow the brain to relax and ponder matters, thus restoring attention and depth to thought. The human brain is not made to process information like a computer. It needs to put things into context and make relationships that give meaning and purpose to life. Such conclusions are, of course, logical and even obvious. However, so many people simply do not take the time to consider these conclusions — until some scientific study gives them some kind of validity. Fewer take the time to implement the consequences that can be drawn from these conclusions since it would mean great effort and a rejection of much of today’s fast paced culture.