Italian Parliament Backs Same-Sex Union Bill

05/11/2016 Comments (4)
Wikipedia

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

– Wikipedia

Italian lawmakers all but passed legislation today to allow same-sex civil unions in the country.

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi won a confidence vote this afternoon that he had called to push through legal recognition for same-sex couples.

The vote passed 369-193 in favor, allowing those in homosexual unions the same legal protections as heterosexual married couples.

To become law, the bill, which also gives some rights to unmarried heterosexual couples, must be formally approved by the lower house later today. However, this is considered to be a mere formality as the confidence vote was seen as the major hurdle to overcome.

Renzi called today “a day of celebration” on his Twitter...READ MORE

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Swiss Guards Carry the “Combat Rosary” Into Spiritual Battle

05/11/2016 Comments (4)

(YouTube)

Each year on May 6 about two-dozen Swiss Guards are sworn into service, pledging to protect and defend the Pope at all costs. This year the Commander of the Swiss Guards, Col. Christoph Graf, highlighted the importance of the Rosary to the new recruits, holding aloft a “combat rosary” that was donated to them by Father Richard Heilman, priest of the Diocese of Madison, Wisc.

Col. Graf referred to the Rosary in his speech, saying:

At the right time, at the beginning of the year, a generous donor has surprised us with a gift. He sent the Swiss guard the most powerful weapon that exists on the market: the ‘Combat Rosary’, Literally, the rosary for the fight. Now it was given in allocation...READ MORE

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Giving Birth? Who DOES That Anymore?

05/11/2016 Comments (50)

(Image Credit: “WiLPrZ”, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Indiana has installed two Safe Haven drop boxes for unwanted newborns, and the Knights of Columbus have pledged to fund the installation of one hundred boxes in the state. There are safe haven laws in all fifty states, allowing parents to leave their unharmed newborns in a designated spot without being prosecuted for abandonment. 

I first saw the story in reported in Gawker. The title and tag are defensively jocular, but the story itself is delivered fairly straight:

Republican state Rep. Casey Cox told the AP at the time that the book drop for babies was a “natural progression” of safe haven laws that permit parents to give up their newborns at hospitals and police stations without fear...READ MORE

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The Strange Case of Robert Louis Stevenson and Rev. Dr. Hyde

05/11/2016 Comments (6)

Saint Damien of Molokai in 1889

Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous author of Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde, suffered from tuberculosis (who wasn't back in the 19th century?) and believed that journeying to the South Pacific would be good for his health. Stevenson loved to travel and was glad to depart.

He once wrote, “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.” So off he went and eventually ended up meeting one Rev. Dr. Charles McEwan Hyde.

Now, to be clear, Hyde, a Presbyterian, was no monster like the Hyde that Stevenson had written about years earlier in his famous novel. Dr. Hyde was working on getting smallpox vaccinations for the natives there as well as...READ MORE

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A Wish For Death Becomes Gratitude For Life

05/11/2016 Comments (4)

ABOVE: The Gary Family; BELOW: The Mahala Family

Being prolife means abortion is not an option. It does not mean, however, that you can’t hope your baby will die. It sounds harsh. But when the doctor says, “I’m sorry, but your baby will not have a normal life,” happy anticipation can dissolve into fear. 

When the discovery that health, beauty or intelligence will not be a part of their child’s life, a death wish may arise. Dear God, please take this child—it will be easier that way.  Don’t we pray for all our fears and problems to go away?

As shocking as a death wish sounds, it belies a faith in God as the Creator and the understanding that life and death belong to him alone.  It includes an understanding that heaven is part of the...READ MORE

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It Is Time to Pray For Our Country With a Fool’s Hope

05/11/2016 Comments (30)

For more than 150 years, the Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception, has been the official patroness of the United States. (Image Credit: “Immaculée Conception”, Eglise Saint-Georges, Alsace, via Wikimedia Commons)

With the way the 2016 presidential election is going, things really do seem bleak when it comes to the direction of our country’s political future. Catholics are wondering is there any viable option of whom to vote for for president this autumn. My conscience will not let me vote for any of the two major parties. Neither likely candidate is worth the risk for my soul.

So, what is left for us? What can we do? I think the best analogy is that of a hobbit waiting on the edge of a battle that he cannot escape. He looks up at his friend the wizard, and asks if there is any hope.

There never was much hope, and there is just a fool’s hope now.

And I am ready to do something that seems foolish...READ MORE

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What to Say to That Bible Christian

05/11/2016 Comments (21)

“Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch”, from the Menologion of Basil II (via Wikimedia Commons)

We had some fun with the eighth grade class this week. As they’re getting ready to go to high school here in the Bible Belt, I take a few sessions to teach them some basic Catholic apologetics. 

I began by explaining how Baptists and Bible Christians originated, why they believe in sola Scriptura and the best way to counter their most common challenges.

So often the secularists mock Christianity by pointing out that Christians don’t actually obey the Bible. They dig up verses from Leviticus banning pork and shellfish and calling for adulterers and witches to be stoned to death. Then they say, “Ha! Why do y’all use the Old Testament ban on homosexuality when you’re not willing to keep...READ MORE

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Teaching Children to Pray the Rosary in Small Steps

05/11/2016 Comments (2)

I am not a teacher. Let me rephrase that: I am a terrible teacher. Ask any poor undergraduate who suffered under my lame attempts to impart knowledge. Indeed, my end-of-semester teacher evaluations were so poor I didn’t keep them, as they could only prevent me from ever teaching in the future. Mercifully, my future didn’t include teaching.

But as a father I am, by default and design, a teacher to our twins. And one thing I have to teach the twins is how to pray. In particular, how to pray the Rosary. This is not easy. Or maybe it is and I’m just as bad at teaching “How To Pray the Rosary” as I was at teaching “Introduction To Poetry” and “English Composition 101”.

That said, I think I’ve...READ MORE

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