Friday, October 31, 2014

The Smartphone: A Double-Edged Sword

TFP_2146Written by Evan Olwell
Technology, the work-saving redeemer of previous centuries, seems to be backfiring. As workers become more dependent on the modern equivalent of the steam engine, the smartphone, one should presumably find more time for recreation, rest and family interaction. After all, machines were meant to make work easier and free up time. Nevertheless, a tool can be as harmful as it is helpful.

The rise of the smartphone might be traced to a few old maxims that state, “time is money,” and “money makes the world go round.” For many employers, profits are seen as all important. Of course, to keep up with competition, the latest and greatest of machines are needed. Many workers find it helpful, if not essential, to have smartphones to keep up in their work.

A recent study in Germany examined 57,000 people and found that more than half of those who had smartphones worked longer hours. The study, done by the Society for Labour, Industrial and Organizational Psychological Research in Oldenburg, published in the online journal, Chronobiology International, found that those who worked longer hours were affected by myriad health complications. Among the medical problems were insomnia, cephalalgia, fatigue, anxiety, stomach and even cardiovascular problems.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Lady Who Snubbed the Rosary

The Lady Who Snubbed the Rosary

In his book, The Secret of the Rosary, St. Louis de Montfort writes of a pious but self-willed lady who lived in Rome. She was so devout that she put many a religious to shame.

One day, hearing of the holiness of St. Dominic, great apostle of the Rosary, she decided to make her confession to him. For penance the saint told her to say a Rosary and advised her to make it’s
recitation her daily practice.

“But, Father, “ she protested, “I already say so many prayers and practice so many exercises…I walk the Stations of Rome every day, I wear sack-cloth and a hair-shirt, I scourge myself several times a week, and often fast…”

St. Dominic insistently advised that she adopt the recitation of the Rosary, but she would not hear it. Moreover, she left the confessional horrified at the methods of this new spiritual director who wanted to impose on her a devotion for which she had no taste.

One day, when she was saying her prayers, she was shown a vision. In this vision she saw her soul appear before the Supreme Judge. She also saw St. Michael holding the scale of her life. On one side he placed all her prayers and penances, and on the other all her sins and imperfections.

Down went the scale on the side of sins and imperfections, outweighing all her good works.

Wide eyed, the good lady cried out for mercy, and turned to Our Lady imploring her help. Our Lady then gently set down on the tray of her good works the only Rosary she had ever said, which was the one St. Dominic had imposed on her as a penance.

This one Rosary was so heavy that it outweighed all her sins as well as good works.

Our Lady then reproved her for having refused to follow the counsel of her son Dominic and for refusing to adopt the practice of the daily recitation of the Rosary.

When the lady came to, she rushed to St. Dominic and casting herself down at his feet, told him what had happened. She begged forgiveness for her unbelief, and promised to say the Rosary faithfully every day. By this means she grew in holiness, and finally attained the glory of eternal life.

Thus says St. Louis de Montfort, “You who are people of prayer, learn from this the power, the value and the importance of this devotion of the holy Rosary when it is said with meditation on the mysteries.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The ISIS Problem: Wrong Beliefs Expressed Savagely

deaths-head-487276_640The late Sen. Eugene McCarthy once said that only two kinds of religion are permitted in America: strong beliefs vaguely expressed or vague beliefs strongly expressed. In a similar way, it could be said that the same formula applies to political beliefs.

Keeping everything vague is the basis of a general consensus which supposedly allows everyone to get along. It appeals to a broad sector of American society that wants to neatly sidestep sticky theological and political issues, and pragmatically get around to the business of the pursuit of happiness and the prosperity of the nation. Such an attitude facilitates a willingness to work with anyone who will make a deal.

With such a mindset, it is no surprise that many Americans are experiencing difficulty understanding the ISIS threat. Having so long followed a “get-along” policy, they find it inconceivable that someone would deliberately break all the rules and not seek to get along. Indeed, such Americans are prepared to be very flexible by considering all sorts of bizarre alternatives as long as they are vaguely expressed, but they are mystified when strong beliefs are strongly expressed.

As a result, most people do not have an explanation for ISIS. They simply attribute the problem to “extremism” that results in irrational behavior. Extremism happens when confused young people undergo a mysterious process of radicalization that turns them into terrorists. The solution offered is to eradicate extremism (using extreme means if necessary) and support any form of moderate alternatives (even to the point of using immoderate means).

There are two problems in dealing with the extremist threat in this manner.

The first is that it fails to delve deeply into the reasons why extremists believe in what they do. It does not consider what is believed but rather how it is believed. The issue is the intensity of belief, not its radical message.

The danger in holding such a position is that its advocates tend to assume that any belief strongly held is irrational and must be eradicated. Thus, for example, they will attach the extremist ISIS label to Christians and any others who believe in something strongly. In so doing, it makes any proportional reaction very difficult since it is hard to fight if one believes in nothing.

The second problem is that advocates of this position go to the extreme of assuming that the only way to fight strong beliefs expressed strongly is to hold vague beliefs expressed vaguely. Thus, they will do anything to return to the blessed ambiguity in which they find safety. They will, for example, insist that the Islamic State is not really Islamic or hold that more inter-religious dialogue is needed. In any conflict, they will frantically look for “moderates” to support with the wishful thinking that they will prevail over the radicals and the whole thing will go away.

But alas, in this new world of extremists who behead journalists, the rules have changed. The politics of vagueness is a losing strategy that leads to concession, naiveté and defeat. There is no getting along with those who do not wish to get along no matter how hard one tries to wish it away.

Extremism exists because today’s postmodern world fails to provide meaning to life. Young people desire something to live for, and thus look for strong ideals expressed strongly. Extreme Islam provides them with not only strong ideals but wrong ideals to fill the void. Its tech-savvy militants express these ideals not strongly but savagely by breaking the civilized rules that still govern the world and using the very technology of progress to broadcast their barbarism across the hated West.

What is missing are right beliefs expressed strongly that are worth fighting for. And the West has those right ideas that now more than ever need to be expressed rationally, strongly and apologetically. These ideas include the rule of law, a strong moral code based on natural law, representative government, Christian charity and a passion for justice—all the fruits of Christian civilization.

But the West has lost the will to fight for these ideas, which are the very foundation of the present order. And that is the greater threat. Much more dangerous than the paltry army of ISIS terrorists is the West’s fear of affirming Christian principles strongly.

As published in TheBlaze.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Catholic College to Host Pro-Abortion Speaker (protest here)

 Written by John Ritchie
While dedicated pro-lifers work to save babies, St. Norbert College will be doing something oddly different:
Welcoming a radical pro-abortion promoter to campus.
St. Norbert College -- a Catholic institution in Wisconsin -- has invited avowed abortion activist, Gloria Steinem, to speak next semester.
It’s so wrong and scandalous. Especially at a Catholic campus.
But I still think that you and I have enough time to make a real difference if we peacefully protest today and call the college to cancel Gloria Steinem's talk.
In fact, similar TFP Student Action petitions were really successful in getting other Catholic colleges to cancel pro-abortion speakers on campus.
So let’s do it again.
Because Gloria Steinem is like Margaret Sanger. Or even worse.
She boasted about her own abortion, saying: "it felt positive."
On another occasion, she said: “There is no organization in this country or the world that is more important than Planned Parenthood.” (, Sept. 17, 2011)
And she also said this:
"Approximately one in three women in this country needs an abortion at some time in her life. It should be a part of reproductive rights." (The Washington Post - Nov. 19, 2013)
So, I'd like to ask you:
How on earth can a woman like Gloria Steinem with such a public pro-abortion record be invited to give a lecture at a Catholic institute, which ought to be a cornerstone in the defense of innocent life?
The unborn depend on you and your voice.
Thank you for defending innocent life.
John Ritchie

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Seemed Impossible was Possible: Astounding 12,629 Rosary Rallies (video)

 Yes, with God all things are possible.  The sheer number of rosary rallies held this year across America is unprecedented in history: 12,629.  That means in all fifty states, in over 12,000 highly visible locations from coast to coast, groups of faithful gathered to pray the holy rosary in the public square and celebrate the 97th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. (To become a rosary rally captain in 2015, please click here.)

This video captures scenes of the rosary rally held in New York City where TFP Student Action volunteers carried a statue of Our Lady of Fatima in ceremonial habit. The protective case shielded the statue from the light rain.

 For the full story and a video, see the link below

What seemed impossible was possible: Astounding 12,629 Rosary Rallies (video)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Doing Business Differently: A Free Market Fable -

Written by John Horvat II
A review of Nothing is Free: The Price Only Business Leaders Can Pay to Protect Free Markets by Dave Geenens (Atchison, Kans.: Inhance Press, 2013).

* * *
Modern economics tends to reduce what happens in business to numbers and formulas. The human element is taken out, and all is left dry and lifeless. It is not without reason that economics is often called the “dismal science.”

That is why it is refreshing to read an economic book that injects the human side of things into business. Dr. Dave Geenens has done this masterfully with his book, Nothing is Free: The Price Only Business Leaders Can Pay to Protect Free Markets.

The principles he espouses are not just presented in textbook fashion. Rather, they are interwoven into a fictional story of an entrepreneur that finds herself in a dilemma over whether to put profits over principle, earnings over workers. Set in the small college town of Atchison, Kansas, where Dr. Geenens actually lives and teaches, the other protagonist in the story is a Benedictine monk from the nearby abbey. The narrative of this “free market fable” centers on the dialogue between the two main characters about work ethics and the unlikely topic of the role of God in business.

While the characters and plot of this short work are captivating, the ideas presented are much more important. Dr. Geenens makes the right connections and inserts Church teaching into the marketplace.

Thus, he concludes that money is not the bottom line in real business, but rather the human relationships that make business possible. Wealth generation is important but it only comes from proper values creation. Business may resent government intervention, but such intrusions can only be avoided by the practice of the cardinal virtues. Real business leaders are not those who increase earnings by any means, but rather those that build talent and encourage cooperation inside the enterprise.

The lessons in his narrative highlight the wrong course found in so many modern economic models. In their zeal for maximum efficiency and production, many businessmen have cut themselves off from the natural restraining influence of human institutions, especially those of morals, family, community or religion. They have severed their link with Christian tradition, and have lost the anchors of the cardinal virtues that should be the foundation for any true economy.

The result is a society where money rules. People attach undue importance to quantity over quality, utility over beauty, and matter over spirit. Free of traditional restraints, those under this rule favor the frenetic intemperance of frantic dealings, speculation, and exaggerated risks which have sent the nation’s economy into crisis and ruin.

Something needs to be done to introduce attractive new models that run contrary to many of the business practices that now prevail. The terms of the debate need to be changed. Indeed, ever since economic thought broke free from its original moorings in moral philosophy and ethics, there have been those who have sought to keep considerations like those of Prof. Geenens out of this debate. The time has come for such reflections to return. Nothing is Free is a good start.

To buy the book, click here.

Doing Business Differently: A Free Market Fable -

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Rosary Story to Warm Your Heart

 It happened on a freezing night in Ohio.  See, the family only had enough coal to last them until dawn.   
     Little Mary, huddled with her parents and eight siblings, wondered if the coal truck would come in the morning.  But there was no guarantee. 
     So the family decided to say a Rosary and ask for heavenly help.  
     As they finished, they heard the rumble of the coal truck outside and Mary’s Dad ran out to help unload.  When he came back in, he commented to his wife and said, “funny, I never saw that delivery man before.”  
     But the family was now safe and warm.  So nobody really stopped to think about the delivery man.
     But things changed the next morning when another coal delivery truck arrived. 
     This time it was Mary’s Mom who went out to tell the driver that they had a delivery the night before.  
     The driver, her cousin, chuckled, and said, “I’m the only coal man in the area…If you got a load last night, St. Joseph must have brought it!” 
     Mary’s family never did discover who the delivery man was, nor did they ever get a bill.  But they did learn one thing:
     The Rosary is powerful!   And today more than ever. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Protest Satanic Coloring Books in Public Schools

Listen to this shocking news:
The school board in Orange County, Florida 
Has approved a Satanist’s Coloring Book
For children!.
Instead of opposing the Satanists, the Public School Board Of Education CAVED in to the Satanists and, without a legal battle, has:
  • Given permission for the Satanic Temple to distribute literature to their school children
  • And this includes a children’s Satanist “coloring book.” 
We must not turn away and surrender our school children to the Satanists.  Just listen to this:
Page 1 of the coloring book has two almost identical pictures of a teacher and children in a classroom. A Satanist little girl is called Annabel. The caption reads: 
“Annabel is spreading knowledge and helping to dispel fear and ignorance by demonstrating her Satanic ritual for her class…”
Page 3 of the coloring book shows a picture of a cozy study with fireplace and book shelves. Annabel is sitting in a chair with a smile on her face reading a book with a pentagram on its cover.
 A large family picture hanging over the fireplace shows her Satanist mother with two large horns protruding from her head, and the bald-headed father Satanist sitting in an equally horned chair with an Anton LaVey Satanic ‘goat’tee, and Annabel is  holding what seems to be a chalice or wine glass.
 The caption reads: “Color Annabel’s study filled with Satanic literature and philosophy.”
Page 8 of the coloring book has a “secret code” for the children to de-code, with the caption:
“Annabel sent Damian a note in class, but it’s SECRET! Help Damian break the secret code to find out what Annabel wants to say to him.” 
The answer is even more shocking: Audi Preces Meas: [Hear my prayer:] Satana Blessed Be.
But here is even more that the Satanists say. (With the permission of the Orange County School Board!)
Page 5 of the coloring book says:
“Whopper is big and sometimes scary because he has trouble saying what’s on his mind. Help Damian and Annabel use their patience and open-mindedness to decipher what he wants to say.”
And on and on and on.  Is this educating the children, or introducing them to the Satanists?  Exposing them to paganism? 
Will you send the following protest, and express your indignation that a Satanist coloring book has been approved by the Orange County schools:    
To: William Sublette; Chairman, OCPS Board
Kathleen Gordon; Vice-Chair, OCPS Board
Your Petition Message will state:
It is with incredible dismay and disappointment that I have read press reports announcing that your school board is allowing or plans to allow, without any legal resistance whatsoever, the Satanic Temple to distribute its “literature” to the school children in Orange County Public Schools.
Shame! To setting such an evil precedent you should be heroically opposed!
Satan is the vile and eternal enemy of humanity’s welfare, both temporal and spiritual; and has no place in a civilized society, much less in its schools exerting an insidious corruption of society in its germ.
All educators are charged, in loco parentis, to protect their students.
I urge you, with all my heart, to at least try to save the children from this horror!
All you have to do to send this protest is just:
School children are too young and too innocent to be exposed to the evils of Satanism.  I urge you to help us protest this.
It’s a terrible precedent. It must be stopped! Before it spreads!
Your protest is urgently needed.
And may Our Lady reward you and protect our nation’s school children from the wiles, deceits, wickedness, and snares of the Devil and his Satanist fellow travelers. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Why Did God Establish Inequalities in Society? -

Why Did God Establish Inequalities in Society?Medieval men saw the inequalities that exist in nature as a cause of unity not division in society. Their realistic approach was far from the individualist mentality of the modern world that holds that each individual is a self-made and autonomous being in competition with others.

Typical of the medieval conception is this explanation by a theologian Ralph of Acton:

“When God could have made all men strong, wise, and rich, he was unwilling to do so. He wished instead that these men should be strong, those weak; these wise, those foolish; these rich and these poor. For if all were strong, wise and wealthy, one would not be in need of the other.”

The Dominican Giordano of Pisa, preaching in Florence in 1304, suggested that even the rich need the poor since by their generosity, the rich “might earn eternal life through them” (Diana Wood, Medieval Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p. 43).

Why Did God Establish Inequalities in Society? -