For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crucifixion Legalized By Hamas

By now you have heard about the renewed jihad of Hamas, along with a strong reaction (finally!) from Israel. Much of it has made the news, courtesy of the Main Stream Media. Here are a couple of tidbits that haven't caused waves, but should have:

On Christmas Day the Jerusalem Post published the following by Caroline Glick:

[Both Iran and its Hamas proxy in Gaza have been busy this Christmas week showing Christendom just what they think of it. But no one seems to have noticed.

On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.]

I wonder why the legalization of crucifixion by Hamas would be ignored by the MSM at Christmas time? Is it simply one more example of the Press taking sides against Israel? Or is the MSM merely afraid of making Hamas angry? Maybe the MSM feels that if the majority of Americans (Christians) got angry enough at Hamas, President Bush's approval ratings might increase as the country unites again. That could spell more trouble for Democrats in 2010...

Yesterday in New York City, Urban Infidel risked her life taking pictures of a demonstration put on by pro-Israel protesters, which also attracted some pro-Hamas protesters, resulting in an, at times, dangerous clash of ideologies. See her photo essay HERE.

(h/t: Brutally Honest, XtnYoda, Urban Infidel)

Happy New Year? Better than '08, We Hope

From Paul.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Feast Day Of Christ The King

Father Brankin of The Shrine (St. Odilo Parish in Berwyn, IL) delivers a stirring homily in which he pulls no punches. While some might find it a dangerous mixture of things which should not be mixed (P+R), I find it to be quite refreshingly honest and overdue at a time in which our culture deems itself too busy and too important for God.

I know the actual feast day was November 23rd, but this homily was too good to pass up.

[Ramblings-- Fr. Brankin
Imagine what Europe must have been like after the Fall of the Roman Empire. The barbarians—some of our ancestors—had invaded and destroyed as much as they found. There were no great nations and kingdoms—just areas ruled over by strongmen—chieftains—gang leaders basically.

When you think about it—all the present noble families of all the kingdoms of Europe-- probably most of them were just families who along time ago were able to beat up other families. And that’s how they became rulers and nobles. It was not much more than that.

It took many centuries to sort out how to live peacefully in the aftermath of the Fall of the Roman Empire because there was precious little order or civilization or even government left. But the Church was right there to pick up the pieces.

This is the Era often called the Dark Ages—where the Church was faced with the dual task of preserving and re-civilizing whatever was left from the old days. At the same time she had to replace terrible pagan customs like abortion and exposure, divorce and ritual suicide with something Catholic—something Christian.

The so–called Dark Ages were not as dark as they were the streaks of light in the Dawning of a new day. Christian Civilization was being born.

This was the time—and it took more than a few hundred years—that Christians learned how to live in peace and charity and in the love of Christ. They learned how to pray and how to live as families and members of villages.

They learned how to farm and make all the things we take for granted—like wine and cheese and
various kinds of foods and breads.

The monasteries and cathedrals were all being built. Art and music began to flower, and people were learning how to live together in some measure of co-operation. Kings and princes, dukes and thanes, were judged in the glow of Christ’s holy light as taught by the Church.

In those days, if a king was unjust to his people—if the poor citizens chafed under the king’s rules and were burdened by his taxes and harassed by his soldiers— if the king was immoral in the conduct of his life—the Church through the bishops and Pope—would stand in front of that king and tell him “No, you may not do that to the people—it is immoral and unseemly for a Catholic king to legislate and behave in such a way.”

In fact if a king in that era were to be excommunicated by the Church because of his conduct and policies—then all his people were absolved of any allegiance to him. This threat pretty much kept these former barbarian strongmen from hurting the people too much. The Church was not only the teacher of civilization but also the leader of kings.

But she could be so because the kings and leaders and people of that era actually believed in Christ and truly did acknowledge Him as Lord.

And they obeyed when the Pope spoke because they knew that he spoke for Christ—and in their heart of hearts they knew that one day it would be Jesus Himself who would judge whether or not they led their people morally and properly.

This was what we mean by the rule of Christ the King. And His Kingdom has been traditionally been called Christendom—where Christ teaches us a way of life. Christendom is a Christian civilization where families and leaders and laws reflect the teachings of the Catholic Church. It means morals and customs life and culture are fashioned and molded by Christ Himself through the Church.

To say that Christ is our King is not to say that the Church should run the government. But it is to say that a government runs best—and helps its people the most if its policies and provisions follow Christ and His Church. Any government that dismisses the Church is not just dismissing the pope and few loud Catholics—it is dismissing Christ and therefore God and places itself on the road to its own self-destruction and the destruction of its people.

And I do not care if the government is the government of the United States—its rules and laws must be Made under God—under Christ the King— whether it acknowledges Him or not. And no politician—even Barack Obama— can deny the Authority of God. That’s why the bishops told Obama recently—“If you sign the Freedom of Choice Act as you have promised and force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions—we will close those hospitals down—and will not resell them to you or anyone else. We will not knuckle under to laws that are anti-life, anti-love, and anti–Christ.

Now we as a country have not bound ourselves or our politicians to Christ the King for many years. This actually is not a Christian country—even though it is loaded with Christians. As Americans we do not follow Christ. Let’s face it. He is not our King. We got rid of George III and Jesus all at the same time.
Every time the media prattles on about the separation of church and state—and how the Church should keep out of politics—especially abortion or gays—they are actually saying how we should not follow Christ.

Which is when we have to ask ourselves that same question: Do we follow Christ? Do we listen to His Church? Or is our real allegiance to some petty politician who promises us more money in return for our silence about the immoral things he wants to do.

If the Feast Day of Christ the King is supposed to mean anything more than “blah blah blah—Christ must be the King of our hearts—blah blah blah,” it is supposed to mean that we citizens must pay close personal attention to the teachings of the Church especially when it comes to war or our abortion or pornography or family or immigration policies. What does the Church say? What does Christ say? and then after we have accepted those teachings, then we must do all in our power to get our government to observe those same teachings.

If Christ is to be our King then we owe allegiance to Him and Him alone—and our loyalty to Christ will be proven by our believing and practicing the faith in our own lives and then by voting and campaigning for the public implementation of the moral teachings of His Church in the life of this country. That’s what the Pope meant in 1920 when he began this Feast day of Christ the King.

And when that happens in big enough numbers then we might see the rebirth of Christian civilization once again—where we become a people once again for whom Christ is truly King.]

...And A Happy New Year To Our Soldiers Serving Overseas

From former Senator Fred Thompson.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Hilarity

From Rick @ Brutally Honest. Very Funny!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from St. Blogustine

Make the time to attend Mass tonight. Yule be glad you did.
(pic borrowed from Jeff)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis The Season...

From Jill Stanek, who got it from Dana Summers at

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fr. Brankin's Homily--- Feast Day Of Our Lady Of Guadalupe

[Ramblings - Fr. Brankin

How pleased and proud I was this week to celebrate this wonderful Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since I was a child—of Irish and Italian parents—born on the South side of Chicago-- I and my brothers and my sister and all our friends—every year—thrilled to hear of the marvels of this Feast Day.

We were amazed at the story—at the miracles—at the love shown by Our Lord and Our Lady first to Juan Diego and to the Mexican people and then to us—her children in the rest of America.

Yes, we heard those stories in school and in church. We thrilled to hear of the Aztec Juan Diego,
humble, poor, full of love and faith—making his 14 mile trip to church—to receive God’s Body and Blood at Mass.

We heard how he was stopped in his tracks—transfixed by a flood of light and color from which a
beautiful Princess from heaven emerged.

She told Juan Diego that she was the ever-virgin Mother of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ—that she wished to reveal the True God to the people—because she was their true mother—and the mother of all.

Our hearts melted when we heard her say that. She was just like a mother-- she would hear her children’s crying and know their sadness and relieve all their sufferings and miseries and misfortunes.

And all our lives—we little Irish—Italian children—and Polish and Bohemian and German and whatever---have thrilled to hear this story—because we have known all our lives that she is our mother too, and we all rest in the crossing of her arms and in the folds of her mantle and we all need – desperately--the protection of our heavenly mother.

And why?

Because the Ancient Serpent whose head the Virgin Mary crushes— is still loose in the world. And every generation of every nation is in danger from him at every moment. How carefully we must place our feet lest we step wrong and be bit by this Ancient enemy. And he has grown so much more subtle and deadly and poisonous in our modern era.

He comes to us not as he is—an evil snake—but he comes to us as our friend and our helper; and even though we know there is only one Messiah—he tells us that he is one who will save us.

But he is the Father of Lies—and he tempts us just as he tempted Adam and Eve and hissed in their ears:

“You don’t need God. All you need is yourselves. You can do whatever you want. You can take what you want—because you shall be as gods.”

We don’t even notice it, but he slithers into our homes and begins to live right there in our families. He talks to us every day and every night. He teaches us all we need to know to become just like him; and he does so through the television and radio, in the movies we watch and in the newspapers we read.

You know, he is the one who made those movies and he is the one who has written those newspapers. He sings to the children all the songs they know—the ones they won’t sing for you. He sits behind each laptop and keyboard and helps us type out all the pornography we can use to scar our brains.

He crawls into our minds and hearts and gives us ideas we never had before—to make us do things we never did before. He gives us visions of evil and dreams of death that make us sick and sour. His poison seeps through our veins and into the very lifeblood of our families.

It is the Ancient Serpent who creates all the discord and unhappiness in our modern families. He is the one who has littered our world with so many broken hearts. He is the one who has flooded this world and our lives with so many tears.

He laughs at the notion of family—father and mother and children all in sweet accord. He embarrasses us when we try to turn things around and change things in our homes-- like turning off the tv and eating together.

He makes us doubt ourselves and wonder if family really is a relic of the past.

And then the venom begins to paralyze us—and we begin to feel that we do not have to take care of each other—that we may ignore our grandparents, abuse our children, kill our babies and move on to the next adulterous affair.

We begin to believe the Ancient Serpent’s lies--that this modern life will fulfill us and make us happy.

But in our hearts we know that is a lie—because we know that living with no God—no love—no faithfulness—no sacrifice is the cause of all the sadness and anger and fighting we now see in our own homes. Who these days is untouched by Satan? What modern mothers and fathers and children are immune to the bitterness and resentment he has spread?

Our only hope against the Serpent’s venom of sin and suffering is to flee to the arms of our Mother. Because only Mary and Jesus can crush the head of the Serpent—as it was foretold in the Bible-- to save our families.

One of the other marvelous miracles that took place in connection with the tilma was the time when some anti-god anti- catholic political revolutionaries exploded a bomb in the sanctuary of the basilica. They were going to kill God and Mary His mother.

How stupid! The whole sanctuary was destroyed—all the marble and stone and plaster came crashing down-- but the beautiful Image of the beautiful virgin remained untouched.

That miraculous Image will never be destroyed because God cannot be destroyed. Therefore, when that Image—when that Virgin— is safely within our hearts as in a temple not built by human hands, but by God Himself, then Mary shines forth in the things we do and the things we say.

She and Jesus will live in our homes and in our families and cause all the joy and happiness we can stand. When the Image of Mary is deep within, it shows itself in our hands—on our faces —in our hearts.

And when that Image is imprinted on our hearts—not just on a wall in a building— then we cannot be harmed; for we go out into this world and confront the Ancient Serpent not alone, but protected by Jesus and Mary His Mother—who know exactly where he is and where he has always been. And what’s more, no one will have to go to Mexico City to see the beauty of the Virgin Mary—they will see her image in our faces and in our lives and in our homes. They will see in us—the Virgin of Guadalupe.]

We at St. Blogustine love Father Brankin and his homilies, and will post them from time to time. You can see him every Sunday at Mass at St. Odilo Parish (National Shrine Of The Poor Souls) in Berwyn, IL.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Indiana Planned Parenthood Caught On Tape AGAIN

On December 4th I posted a couple of You Tube videos detailing sting operations on Planned Parenthood's unofficial policy to not only ignore obvious examples of rape and/or sexual abuse of minors, but to encourage the minor to return to the abusive relationship after the abortion is completed. One of the videos was done by Lila Rose and the Mona Lisa Project in which she and an actress went undercover to a Planned Parenthood in Bloomington, IN. See both videos by clicking HERE.

Below is part two of the Mona Lisa Project, in which they drove 90 miles to Indianapolis, IN to another Planned Parenthood abattoir. Again the actress pretended to be a 13 year old girl impregnated by a 31 year old boyfriend, and again the Planned Parenthood reps reacted in the exact same way, as if they were trained to do so. They didn't want to hear how old the boyfriend was, and they "suggested" having the abortion done in a surrounding state in which parental consent is not required.

Lila Rose is a UCLA student who has earned the respect of pro-lifers everywhere with her undercover work with Live Action Films. Read her bio HERE.

Also see the Live Action Film videos censored by You Tube HERE. They include the racist donation investigation videos. Oh, what the heck, see one of the racist ones below.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pride Goeth Before Destruction...

...and a haughty spirit before a fall, which is the correct quote from Proverbs 16:18 and the best way to start a post about IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich. By now you have read and heard about the arrest of the soon-to-be-impeached governor of Illinois for trying to auction off Obama's former Senate seat. After being distracted by seasonal, health, and employment issues (all of which have been resolved), it is past time for me to weigh in.

Both Kevin and I grew up in Illinois (Kevin still lives there) and know full well that pay-to-play is nothing new. Many state jobs must be bid upon (literally by donating to campaigns and the like), and Blago is not the first IL governor to get in trouble. Assuming Blagojevich goes to prison (quite likely since it was all caught on tape), he would be the fourth of the most recent six governors of IL to be sent there for various reasons. Govs. Kerner, Walker and Ryan all went to jail, while Ogilvie, Thompson, and Edgar did not. In fact it was Thompson who put Kerner in jail. But I digress...

The reaction of the media is interesting in that it surprises me they devote so much time to this story. I would expect 24/7 coverage on this only if it were a Republican who had ties to Bush. But it isn't surprising the press is not pressing Obama more, considering that he came up through the same corrupt political cesspool from which Blago oozed.

The reaction of fellow Democrats is not surprising. Everyone wants to distance themselves from Blago as if they barely knew him, though several campaigned for him in return for his campaigning for them, or vice versa. The most interesting is from IL State Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, who is trying to get the courts to declare Blago "unfit to serve" as governor, as if Blago had suddenly acquired a mental disorder or had become demon possessed, rather than being corrupt from the get-go. The Democrats would never admit to having a "culture of corruption" of their own. It brings to mind Hitler and the other Nazis declaring Rudolph Hess "crazy" after the attempt by Hess to negotiate a separate peace with Churchill was deemed unsuccessful, except that, unlike Blago, Hess actually thought he was doing the right thing for his country.

Obama calling for Blago's resignation also has a hollow ring to it. As mentioned earlier, Obama rose up through the same system Blagojevich did, but Obama raised much more money for his presidential campaign. How much of the half billion did Blago help Obama get? And how much of it did Blago take home with him? One can only hope that an overly ambitious prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald, who went after Lewis Libby when he knew darned well it was Armitage all along, will not stop rounding them all up until he is sitting in the governor's mansion himself, and then fighting his own urge to be corrupt. Chicago Ray appears to be on top of each new development as it happens.

(pic h/t: American Power)

Friday, December 12, 2008

$677 MILLION In One Year! Illegal Alien Health Care Costs In TX

With hospital closings out in California and health insurance costs on the rise (along with my annual deductible), Texas has announced that illegal aliens cost that state $677 million in fiscal year 2006. And Harris County, by itself, provided $203.5 million in uncompensated care to illegals, most of whom were pregnant women (anchor babies anyone?). Read the whole article HERE in the Houston Chronicle.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

When Your Kid Thinks He's Got a Religious Vocation, What's a Parent to do?

Sadly, as many vocations directors would attest, many parents try to shoot it down. (Since my life has been blessed from youth with a bounty of indicators that I don't have a highly desirable genetic arrangement, vanity won't impede me from nourishing a vocation in any or all of my children. But I digress).

Our friend, Lisa Graas, has put a lot of work into an online vocations guide for American Catholics, with its particular focus on parents.

Says Lisa, "Jesus is calling LOUDLY through His Church. The Church is really doing Her part. We parents are the ones who have to step up to the plate."

You can see just how much work the Church has done toward welcoming those answering the Call online by checking out their vocations inquiry sites, some of which are very professionally done. The guide has a portal that lists vocation offices by clicking the states on a graphical map.

Ms. Graas was motivated to complete this project after reading the blog of a Passionist nun in Whitesville. "It was said by one of them that it is very common for parents to stand in the way of a child's vocation. I hope to be able to help dispel any misgivings among parents about religious life."

The site has sections on religious statistics, accounts from lives of the saints, good orders to check out, and lots of Church documents. Perhaps of greatest interest to both parents and exploring candidates alike are the personal vocation stories from nuns who, alas, weren't born in the convent. (In fact, one of the stories she links to was the prom queen.) (a project of Trinity Communications) issued Lisa's vocations guide a Fidelity Award for its reliably faithful Catholic content.

Nor has the site gone unrecognized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Father David L. Toups, an Associate Director at the Secretariate of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations surprised Lisa with an unsolicited word of thanks that ends with some sound advice for parents:

The line for parents to learn is to be able to say, "I see in you (ICNU) the qualities that would make for a good priest or religious" - never pushing but only eliciting the good that is already there and leaving God to be the primary Inviter. Then we pray.

Far be it for us parents to stand afoul of the plans the Almighty has in mind for our children, who after all are more His than ours. Most assuredly, parents not only wouldn't impede but would nurture vocations in their children if only they adopt a perspective largely lost in our times that earthly acquisitions and marks of prestige amount to nothing in the next world, and thus living by God's will is more important than our own.

Then again, our kids could always pick a good order and elope.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gay Bible Parody Tentatively Named After Princess Diana

Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto has a running feature he calls "Life Imitates The Onion," comparing actual news headlines side by side with "fake news" headlines that have run in the parody newspaper. This story feels like an Onion retread.

There's this film producer in New Mexico, see, and he's writing a sci-fi comedy, in which the whole world turns gay and the religious people burn all the King James Bibles. (If you need a moment to reattach your hind quarters after laughing at those burning bibles, go right ahead before reading on.)

Inspired by his own comic inspiration, writer Max Mitchell decided to retranslate the Bible itself into gay. From Genesis, we have the story of Aida and Eve (and you were expecting Adam and Steve):

"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Aida, and she slept:
and he took one of her ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from woman, made he another woman, and brought her unto the first. And Aida said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of me. Therefore shall a woman leave her mother, and shall cleave unto her wife: and they shall be one flesh.' And they were both naked, the woman and her wife, and were not ashamed."

While I'm not sure whether he's thought out how to resolve all that early business in Genesis of begetting, I am sure I don't want to know. Even more problematic with Christians is the planned gay New Testament, where things will surely progress from mere sacrilege to outright blasphemy, making us long for the good old days when the big outrage was a certain movie depicting Christ with Mary Magdalene.

Says Mitchell, "There are 116 versions of the Bible, why is any of them better than ours?" The glaring answer, of course, is that Mitchell's rewrite is neither a modern translation or revision of the text but a complete lampoon of what's in the Bible, which is not going to give any comfort to those gays and lesbians searching it for real answers.

Mitchell is calling his book the Princess Diana Bible, ostensibly because of "her many good works", but more likely to cash in on the capital of her good name for free at the sales counter. It remains to be seen how that will play out with the Royal Family and the princess's estate.

More on the "Princess Diana Bible":

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Santa's Little Abattoir???

Planned Parenthood...again...just cannot avoid controversy. And that is good. The more people learn about this multi-million dollar behemoth the better. Now they're giving out Christmas gift certificates for their "services," which guessed it, ABORTION.

In a shocking display of integrity, ABC News and Charles Gibson reported on this yesterday. We have yet to hear from them about the continued act of covering up underage rape. From Jill Stanek's blog, courtesy of Stand True, we have the new Get Out Of Jail Free card that Planned Parenthood may also wish to offer. Very clever!

Planned Parenthood Still Breaking The Law -- Not Reporting Child Abuse Or Rape

The above video is the latest example of Planned Parenthood's continued illegal activity, this time in Indiana, in which a 13 year old girl reports being impregnated by her 31 year old boyfriend to the Planned Parenthood nurse, who tells her to keep quiet about it or lie about his age. Apparently, killing her child in her womb is more imperative than prosecuting the 31 year old boyfriend for statutory rape and/or child abuse. Also, there is more money in it, too.

Officially, Planned Parenthood denies it is their policy to ask young girls to lie, in spite of numerous examples detailed in the year-and-a-half-old, local Dallas, TX TV news report shown below. Two Congressmen, one pro-life Republican and one pro-choice Democrat, are interviewed after being shown similar video, and both are appalled. But has anything been done? Apparently not. Have the big three networks picked up on it? Obviously not. And why not? If you don't know by now, you probably never will. If you haven't seen the video below, it is a MUST SEE.

(h/t: Laura Ingraham)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Arlington Bishop on FOCA: ‘Arrest Me, Go Ahead’

Had the Catholic Church not already defined cloning as immoral per se, Bishop Paul Loverde of Arlington would be a living argument in favor of its practice. We love this guy!

From Life Site News:

Bishop Paul Loverde of the diocese of Arlington weighed in on the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) last week, saying that if he oversaw a Catholic hospital he would neither close the facility nor allow it to perform abortions if FOCA were to become law.

Though there are currently no Catholic hospitals in the Arlington diocese, the bishop spoke defiantly against FOCA, which would force all health care providers to procure abortions at any stage of development, regardless of their moral or religious objection.

“I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m not going to close the hospital, you’re going to arrest me, go right ahead," Bishop Loverde told a group of mostly young adults at a diocesan event, according to a CNS report.

“‘You’ll have to drag me out, go right ahead. I’m not closing this hospital, we will not perform abortions, and you can go take a flying leap.’”

The full story is here on

Only if the entire body of bishops should rise up as one do they have a fighting chance of defeating FOCA. In that event, President (ugh) Obama and his Congressional Democrats would need to want their precious abortions enough to build a concentration camp for these prisoners of conscience, or stand down - which we think isn't the Change Obama had in mind (during his first year, anyway). But only if the bishops (and pro-lifers) stand united in their resolve will they be able to force the Dems to delete the conscience clause nullification from FOCA.

(Hat tip: Lisa Graas)