Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Statue of the Virgin Mary is Left Miraculously Intact After Fire

The events took place at the El Goloso military base, located near the Spanish capital, seat of the nation's armored infantry brigade "Guadarrama."

According to several Spanish news sites, including Infovaticana and Religión en Libertad, a fire broke out that was impossible to control, burning most of the surrounding vegetation. Once the flames were extinguished, to the soldiers’ surprise, in the middle of the charred area, stood a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes—totally undamaged!

What's more, the soldiers were shocked to see that the grass near the statue had not been touched by the flames and that it was even still surrounded by vases filled with flowers, also intact, as if the flames had respected the space around the statue.

 Read the rest of the story and see the amazing picture by clicking here

Friday, August 21, 2015

The “Communist Crucifix”: Are Socialism and Catholicism No Longer “Contradictory Terms”?

The “Communist Crucifix”: Are Socialism and Catholicism No Longer “Contradictory Terms”?
On analyzing current events, a Catholic journalist should follow the directive of Pope Leo XIII to scholars studying Church history: “Say nothing false, hold back nothing true[1] as “God has no need of our lies (Job 13.7) [our emphasis].”[2]

A “Communist Crucifix”
We should therefore bear in mind the words of the renowned Pontiff as we analyze the highly symbolic act by Pope Francis during his recent trip to Bolivia. He agreed to be “decorated” by socialist President Evo Morales with a medallion depicting Our Lord Crucified upon the communist symbol of the hammer and sickle. On the occasion, he also received the same depiction in the form of a sculpture (photos herehere, and here; video here).

Many people, such as for example Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., and media outlets have called it a “Communist Crucifix [our emphasis].”[3]

A “Marxist Decoration” Created for the Pope
It is well to note that the bestowal of the above-mentioned medallion was no surprise. Indeed, Bolivia’s newspapers reported in advance that the country’s Legislature had approved the creation of a decoration in memory of Fr. Luis Espinal Camps, S.J. — who had sculpted Christ upon a hammer and sickle — to be delivered to Pope Francis during his visit.

In the Pontiff’s surprised look and in the words he was said to have uttered on the occasion (“eso no esta bien”, “this is not okay”) some people wished to see a certain rejection of the socialist dictator’s offer. But that was denied by the Vatican spokesman, Fr. Lombardi, and also implicitly by Pope Francis when responding to journalists on his flight back to Rome.

The Pope Did Not Feel Offended
Journalist Aura Vistas Miguel asked: “Your Holiness, what did you think when you saw the hammer and sickle with the Christ on it?” The Pontiff answered he did not know that Fr. Luis Espinal had made that sculpture of the Crucified upon a hammer and sickle and he was surprised to learn about it. But he commented that he knew well that the priest was an adherent of Marxist liberation theology.
Leo XIII (1877-1903) communism, socialism, nihilism are hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin
Leo XIII (1877-1903): “...communism, socialism, nihilism” are “hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin.”

“Espinal,” the Pope said, “was an enthusiast of this Marxist analysis of the reality, but also of theology using Marxism [our emphasis]” and that is why “he came up with this art piece.” However, Francis believes that this priest “was a special person, with so much human geniality, who fought in good faith [our emphasis].” And he explained, “One could categorize it [the crucifix] as a kind of protest art” so that, he added, “for me it wasn’t an offense [our emphasis].”

A Peculiar Example of Protest Art
Francis explained that “protest art” “in some cases can be offensive” but went on to qualify it by repeating “in some cases [our emphasis].”[4] Nevertheless, he did not clarify if in this case the gift was offensive.

To better illustrate what “protest art” is, Pope Bergoglio mentioned a sculptor from Buenos Aires who was “a good sculptor, creative,” and whose art “was protest art.” He gave as an example of this “creativity”: “a crucified Christ on a bomber that was falling down.” With that work, he sought to criticize “Christianity allied with imperialism, represented by the bomber [our emphasis].”

The pro-communist artist he referred to is Léon Ferrari. A photo of the work to which the Pope alludes can be seen in Ferrari’s obituary published by the The New York Times in 2013. According to this paper, Ferrari employed his “art” “against war, government and religion [our emphasis].” The report also says that “Mr. Ferrari started a club for ‘the impious, heretics, apostates, blasphemous, atheists, pagans, agnostics and infidels’ [our emphasis].”
Pius XI (1922-1939): Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.
Pius XI (1922-1939): “Socialism...cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth.” (Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, n. 111)

Medallion Placed at the Feet of Our Lady 
The Pope placed the hammer and sickle medallion at the feet of a statue of Our Lady of Copacabana, patroness of Bolivia, and took the sculpted one with him to Rome.

Teaching Through Symbolic Gestures
Having summarily described the facts, and with due respect to the Pope, it is necessary to analyze them according to the advice of Pope Leo XIII, making use of the freedom of the children of God (Rom. 8:21).[5]

It is well to emphasize that Pope Francis exercises his Ordinary Magisterium above all through symbolic gestures.[6] Even Vaticanist John L. Allen, who is not a conservative, expressed his difficulty in attempting to analyze the teaching of the present Pontiff:
“Parsing the words of Pope Francis is a notoriously hazardous undertaking, as he tends sometimes to say things that seem almost deliberately open to multiple interpretations — remember “Who am I to judge?” — and then play his cards close to the vest in terms of what policy implications, if any, may ensue.

A Confused Explanation
Among Catholics, the disconcertment caused by the Pope’s symbolic gesture of accepting the communist crucifix medallion and sculpture was made even worse by the explanations he gave journalists implying that sacrilegious irreverence toward the Savior loses its seriousness when it is a case of protest art:
“Under this kind of hermeneutic, I understand this work. For me it wasn’t an offense, but I had to apply this hermeneutic, and I am telling you this so that there aren’t any misguided opinions [our emphasis].
God in Heaven as Judge: “Say nothing false, hold back nothing true”  as “God has no need of our lies”
“Say nothing false, hold back nothing true.” “God has no need of our lies (Job 13.7).”

Sacrilegious Irreverence
Catholics have always treated the adorable figure of Our Lord Jesus Christ with utmost respect.

The sensus fidei, the faithful’s sense of the faith — “a sort of spiritual instinct that enables the believer to judge spontaneously whether a particular teaching or practice is or is not in conformity with the Gospel and with apostolic faith [our emphasis]”[7] — was shocked by the Pope’s acceptance of irreverently sacrilegious depictions of the sacrosanct figure of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Could there be greater irreverence than associating the symbol of God’s infinite love — the immolation of his Incarnate Son — with the symbol of communist class hatred?

At the same time, the communist crucifix episode tends to weaken the constant and traditional teaching of the Popes that “...communism, socialism, nihilism” are “hideous deformities of the civil society of men and almost its ruin”[8] and that Catholicism and socialism arecontradictory terms.[9]

The Pope’s inflammatory speech to socialist “social movements” added to the shock;[10] Fr. Schall called it “a very apocalyptic and utopian address [our emphasis].”

The Holy Ghost Is a “Spirit of Truth”
A well formed Catholic should not become scandalized when episodes such as the communist crucifix, involving a Pope, occur in the Church. Our Lord’s promises as to the indefectibility of the Church and the assistance of the Divine Paraclete do not preempt the existence of crises in the Church but mean that she will always overcome such crises, shining once again with full brilliance.

On the other hand, one cannot attribute to the help of the Holy Ghost (whose help man can reject) actions that our Catholic sense and our intelligence tell us are wrong, for the Holy Ghost is a “Spirit of Truth” (John 16:13).

Confidence in Divine Providence Through Mary Most Holy
It is in these hours of crisis that we must have the greatest confidence in Divine Providence and have recourse more than ever to the intercession of the Spouse of the Holy Ghost and Mother of the Church, Mary Most Holy. Let us hold fast, as Our Lord Jesus Christ will not abandon us: “Behold, I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (Apoc. 3:11).
Brief Saepe numero, Aug. 28, 1883. 
Encyclical Depuis Le Jour, Sept. 8, 1899. 
For example, CBSNEWS July 13, 2015, 11:16 AM has the title, “Pope weighs in on ‘Communist crucifix’ and U.S. critics” accessed 8/15/15 at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-talks-communist-crucifix-and-us-critics/; NPR July 10, 2015, 11:29 AM ET entitles, “Bemused Or Irritated? Pope Reacts To Gift Of ‘Communist Crucifix’” accessed 8/15/15 athttp://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/10/421747520/bemused-or-irritated-pope-reacts-to-gift-of-communist-crucifix (our emphasis). 
The English translation of this interview on the Vatican web site leaves out the repetition of “in some cases,” which reinforces the idea that this “art” is offensive only in some cases. The Italian text reads: “... io lo qualifico come arte di protesta che in alcuni casi può essere offensiva, in alcuni casi.” 
Incidentally, this freedom and even obligation of the baptized is dealt with in the Code of Canon Law, Can. 212, § 3; Can. 225 § 1; Can. 229 § 1. 
Cf. Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, “The Ordinary Magisterium Can Teach Through Actions and Gestures,” http://www.arnaldoxavierdasilveira.com/2012/05/o-magisterio-ordinario-pode-ensinar-por.html. 
“It is compared to an instinct because it is not primarily the result of rational deliberation, but is rather a form of spontaneous and natural knowledge, a sort of perception …. [it] arises, first and foremost, from the connaturality that the virtue of faith establishes between the believing subject and the authentic object of faith, namely the truth of God revealed in Christ Jesus.” International Theological Commission, “Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church” 2014, nos. 49-50, accessed Aug. 13, 2015,http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_cti_20140610_sensus-fidei_en.html#1._The_sensus_fidei_as_an_instinct_of_faith. 
Leo XIII, Encyclical Diuturnum, June 29, 1881; Cf. Gustavo Solimeo, “What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism” athttp://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism.html. 
Pius XI, Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931. 
Cf. “Quo Vadis, Domine? Reverent and Filial Message to His Holiness Pope Francis from Prince Bertrand of Orleans-Braganza,” athttp://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/quo-vadis-domine-reverent-and-filial-message-to-his-holiness-pope-francis-from-prince-bertrand-of-orleans-braganza.html. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dodd-Frank: Another Name for Socialism

Written by John Horvat II

As we sail on the choppy seas of a questionable economic recovery, we can look back upon a storm of our own making that has wreaked havoc upon our financial system. That storm is the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Enacted five years ago, the mammoth law of all laws to fix our financial system has only succeeded in leading us down the road to socialism.

This can be seen by looking at what Dodd-Frank has “accomplished” to date. Since 2010, some 1,341 commercial (usually smaller) banks have simply disappeared. By contrast, only two new banks were chartered in the same period.

This is not normal. Even in the worst of times, like that of the Great Depression of the ’30s, there was an average of 19 new banks chartered every year. Prior to the financial crisis, the market gave rise to nearly 100 new banks annually.

Of course, while small banks are getting fewer, big banks are getting bigger. This is another “accomplishment” of Dodd-Frank. It has led to the establishment of a financial system dominated by a few big banks and increasingly controlled by regulators.

The Dodd-Frank law mandated the implementation of a massive body of new regulations that requires an army of compliance officers from banks. While big banks had the resources to absorb this great weight, compliance overwhelmed the ability of many small banks. The problem is confounded by the fact the regulations themselves are ill-defined and ambiguous; regulators make their own rules as time goes on.

Moreover, those surviving banks deemed systemically important are subject to even more stringent regulations and capital requirements. On top of massive compliance obligations, Dodd-Frank goes yet further by embedding regulators or commissars inside the highest levels of firms where they even advise and monitor executives.

In such an atmosphere of insecurity and ambiguity, the financial system and consequently the economy as a whole is deprived of legal and regulatory certainty that is needed to return the economy to prosperity. Banks cannot fulfill their functions of employing capital where needed in an economy. The recovery has thus been choppy and unsteady.

Some might think it strange that a government policy that favors giant “capitalistic” banking institutions might be termed socialistic. In this case, it would seem that big government is favoring big business and thus pushing the “capitalist” agenda ahead. Such was the rant of Occupy Wall Street activists against the 1 percent.

Yet the concentration of gigantic banking blocs into the hands of a privileged few only favors socialism. This is because the industry becomes much easier to target. A few giant surviving banks become vulnerable targets to be confiscated or controlled by intrusive governments.

By suppressing all intermediary leaders who might come to his defense, for example, the absolutist king prepares his own way to the guillotine. Likewise, when huge commercial banks devour smaller banks, they prepare their own way to socialist confiscation since it is much more difficult to confiscate a 1,000 medium-size banks than a single huge one.

Afterwards, when such blocs falter, as they often do, they are deemed “too big to fail,” and the government is already in position (indeed embedded in the CEO’s office) to be the only player big enough to bail out the ailing industry—and put it under its control. In this way, private property easily becomes collective property.

The evil genius of Dodd-Frank is that it did not directly destroy the smaller banks but rather created conditions whereby the bank establishment itself would have to destroy or absorb its own intermediary structures. The small banks themselves left the market to those better able to adjust to the government-created conditions.

Eerily similar is the way Obamacare is leading to the concentration of insurance and health care providers, or how Common Core seeks to override local and state intermediary educational institutions.

The strategy of Dodd-Frank and other schemes is not divide and conquer, but concentrate and conquer. The result is the terrible and looming threat of socialism.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Video: On the Front Line for God's Marriage -- Amazing Support

TFP Student Action's latest tour for marriage in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi illustrates how the American public is not happy with the U.S. Supreme Court's immoral decision to redefine the meaning of marriage.  

In fact, everywhere we went, people expressed their positive support for God's marriage between one man and one woman.  Literally everywhere.  Even in unlikely places such as Austin, Texas.

For example, in Beaumont, Texas, a local journalist showed up.  After watching the TFP campaign for about 30 minutes, and hearing all the honks of approval we got, she asked:

"Do you ever get any negative responses?"

It was really overwhelming in some cities.  And the video shatters the myth that we should just wave the white flag of surrender and give up the good fight for the future of the family.  Give up -- says the liberal media -- and go along with the Supreme Court.

Give up?   No way.  Never.

Video: On the Front Line for God's Marriage -- Amazing Support in Texas & Louisiana

Monday, August 10, 2015

Eleven Floors Up... And One Miraculous Medal

Though the Miraculous Medal was given to Saint Catherine Laboure in 1830, Our Lady continues to give immense graces through it in our times.

A True Story

A few years ago, a Brazilian cleaning lady in the large city of São Paulo told the story of her son’s conversion.

Saddened by her son’s immoral lifestyle, she had obtained a Miraculous Medal and convinced the young man to wear it.  A construction worker by trade, he was in constant risk of being in an accident, and was therefore more likely to be killed in the state of mortal sin.

Although he tended not to listen to his mother’s advice, she often ordered him to pray, “O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.” While he did not mind wearing the medal, he continued to lead an immoral life.

Eleven Floors up

Soon after, he was guiding a huge bucket of cement into place on the eleventh floor of a new high-rise building. Motioning the bucket to come towards him, he momentarily lost his concentration. Before he realized the danger, the bucket had shoved him violently off the building.

From eleven stories up, the man fell onto the only standing tree left on the construction site and was tossed like a pinball from limb to limb until he dropped, unconscious, on the ground. Amazingly, he had not broken anything but was badly bruised. Extremely shaken, the young man asked his boss if he could go home. Of course, his boss acquiesced.

The Incredible Mercy of Our Lady

Upon returning home, his mother was horrified to see her son so bruised.

After her son recounted the ordeal, she asked if he had prayed. “No,” he said, “I just grabbed the Medal and yelled: Help! Help!”

Our Lady had saved him, not only from death, but also from his immoral life. He made a good confession and returned to his Catholic Faith.

Lessons to be Learned

This story should encourage us to have the highest degree of confidence in Our Lady. This did not happen five hundred years ago but in our twenty-first century. Even today, Our Lady wants to give graces of conversion to mankind but we simply do not ask.

When giving the medal to Saint Catherine, Our Lady said: “The whole world will be overwhelmed by misfortunes of all kinds… All will seem lost, but I shall be with you.”

All had seemed lost for this man, but he had recourse to the Blessed Mother. All seems lost for the world today, but we must simply increase our confidence in Our Lady who promised the triumph of her Immaculate Heart at Fatima.

Tradition, Family, and Property - Eleven Floors Up... And One Miraculous Medal

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Target Removes Gender Labels From Kids Sections

Target Corp. is removing gender labels from most of its children’s departments after customers complained about signs designating certain toys for girls.

The kids’ bedding section will no longer feature boy and girl signage, and the toy department will be without labels and pink or blue paper on the shelves, Minneapolis-based Target said on itswebsite Friday. Gender labels will remain in the kids’ clothing section because of sizing and fit differences.

Retailers have been moving away from gender stereotypes, and some startups have emerged to break down the divide in kids’ clothing and toys. The signage that sparked the dispute at Target was for building sets, like GoldieBlox, that are targeted at girls.

Read the full story here

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Audio Book Sample: How Frenetic Intemperance Dominates Economy -

Listen to a FREE sample of the Return to Order Audio book!

51oXwMB-RcL._SL300_To understand the present crisis, we must now see why our cooperative union is failing. We believe the cause is found in an element of imbalance called frenetic intemperance that has entered into the dynamic economic system that is the centerpiece of our American model. This, in turn, has had an effect upon our corresponding way of life.
For an explanation of this frenetic intemperance, we invite you to listen to Chapter 2 in the audio-book edition of Return to Order.

To buy and download the whole audio-book edition of Return to Orderplease click here.

Audio Book Sample: How Frenetic Intemperance Dominates Economy -