Tuesday 22nd January 2019

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The Monsters Of Christmas Past

December 25, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on The Monsters Of Christmas Past

By RAY CAVANAUGH Santa Claus has generally been a good deal for kids, who either get a load of presents and sweets or, at the very worst, a lump of coal. Things were far more ominous in the pre-Santa era: Children, instead of anticipating a jolly fat gift-giver, had to contend with a sinister collection that makes Ebenezer Scrooge seem like a cuddly old piker. Behold this unsavory crew. . . . Belsnickel Arriving with gifts in one hand and a whip in the other, Belsnickel was decent enough toward well-behaved kids. But — as related by Bill Toland’s 2012 article, “Meet Belsnickel, the Counter Claus,” in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — naughty kids faced threats of being beaten, kidnapped, or…Continue Reading

The Insuppressibility Of Christmas

December 24, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on The Insuppressibility Of Christmas

By DONALD DeMARCO The current attempts to downplay Christmas range from the ineffectual to the ludicrous. In many circles “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” replaces “Merry Christmas,” although President Trump, himself, has vowed to say “Merry Christmas” often. Starbucks, not wanting to offend anyone, came up with a coffee cup design that emphasizes winter weather and social harmony over Christmas greetings. Coloring cookies green and red at “Mid-winter” parties has been prohibited in certain places. A parish assistant was rebuked by her minister for selecting Away in a Manger for the choir to sing. The dreaded prefix — “man” — was forbidden even though it had no gender implication but referred to a place of eating. A principal of an…Continue Reading

Christmas: Our Lady’s Perspective

December 23, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on Christmas: Our Lady’s Perspective

By JOHN YOUNG When the Angel Gabriel appeared to her how much did the Blessed Virgin already know about herself? We know that she was conceived without original sin, that she never committed even the least venial sin, that she was holier than all the angels and saints. But what was her own perception? We don’t know exactly, but we can form some idea. She must have been aware that she was without any personal sin, yet keenly aware that other people sinned. Nor could she be ignorant of the lukewarmness of most people, in contrast with her own total commitment to God: She had all the virtues perfectly and all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. All faithful Jews…Continue Reading

The Choice That Changed The World

December 22, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on The Choice That Changed The World

By DONALD DeMARCO The world continues to underappreciate Mary’s fiat (“Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word”). The error persists on a wide-scale level that choice is self-justifying and is not validated or invalidated by what is chosen. Combined with that error is the mistaken notion that Mary’s assent was not made with either sufficient knowledge or adequate personal freedom. These are most unfortunate errors and undermine the personal avenue through which Christ chose to come into the world. Bishop Fulton Sheen, recognizing the unique freedom of Mary’s assent, avers that “she uttered words which are the greatest pledge of liberty and the greatest charter of freedom the world has ever heard.” Psychiatrist Karl Stern agrees that…Continue Reading

What To Do In Nazareth . . . When A Press Conference Barges In On The Orange King?

December 21, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on What To Do In Nazareth . . . When A Press Conference Barges In On The Orange King?

By DEXTER DUGGAN “Run and get the door, please, Jesus,” His Mother said. “Sure, Mom,” the three-year-old boy replied. His human nature always was eager to see what was new today in the earthly world that His existence had forever preceded. Such a noise outside, even louder than the persistent banging on the door. He reached way up and pulled on the latch. Such a big man standing out there, apparently with an orange turban on his head. Oh, wait, Jesus’ human nature thought, isn’t this the king from another time in history who visited me to pay homage when I was born? Mom and Dad told me about him, and how he left us what he called his precious…Continue Reading

The Loveliest Lullaby

December 20, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on The Loveliest Lullaby

By LAWRENCE BRAZIER Could there be a song that is universally known to all Christians and many more of other denominations? It is said that the Advent classic, Silent Night, is sung in 52 languages. It was composed 200 years ago this coming Christmas. Here is the story of how it all began. + + + Consider the catastrophe. A performance is expected, everything is set, anticipation runs high and then your organ breaks down on Christmas Eve. A mouse nibbling at the bellows was suspected. One might consider some hopeful tinkering, but all is to no avail and there are worshippers waiting to give praise. What is to be done? Most church members would fall on to their knees…Continue Reading

Christmas In Stone Harbor

December 19, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on Christmas In Stone Harbor

By FR. MICHAEL P. ORSI “The ocean clean, the evergreen, the prettiest picture you’ve ever seen. It’s Christmas in Stone Harbor, with all the Kernans at the rectory” (to the tune of Christmas in Killarney). + + + Christmas is a special holiday for families. People travel far and wide to celebrate with the ones they love. Because of church services, it is often difficult for a priest to enjoy kith and kin. But, that never stopped the clan Kernan from sharing this special time together. Fr. Gene was the oldest of eight children. He often said, “We didn’t have much, but we had each other.” The size of the family gave them a tremendous sense of an open house.…Continue Reading

’Twas The Week Before Christmas

December 18, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on ’Twas The Week Before Christmas

By MIKE MANNO Well, next week is the big day and we eagerly await the annual visitation of that jolly fat man who brings Christmas cheer around the world. Yes, it’s that jolly fat man that is the center of our season; we used to think it was Jesus and His Birth that we celebrate. Apparently, that’s wrong. You see, the mere mention of the name Jesus will bring you condemnation. Interestingly, reference to God, or the Almighty doesn’t seem to have the negative connotation that the mention of Jesus does. Now it’s perfectly normal to wonder why, after all, the jolly fat man is based on a saint, but nobody says that anymore. Saint is a reference that is…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Proclaim The Humanity Of The Unborn Child

December 17, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on A Leaven In The World… Proclaim The Humanity Of The Unborn Child

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK You know the stereotype: hidebound, uneducated Christians clinging to their guns and religion, rejecting new ideas, and particularly science, out of fear of being wrong or found guilty of enslavement to mere superstition. When it comes to the humanity of the preborn boy or girl, however, the Christians have science on their side. You don’t have to read Catholic sources to learn this. Take a look at theatlantic.com: “The first time Ashley McGuire had a baby, she and her husband had to wait 20 weeks to learn its sex. By her third, they found out at 10 weeks with a blood test. Technology has defined her pregnancies, she told me, from the apps that track…Continue Reading

First Christmas… Was Hardly Only Time When Rulers Persecuted Their People

December 15, 2018 Frontpage Comments Off on First Christmas… Was Hardly Only Time When Rulers Persecuted Their People

By DEXTER DUGGAN The first Christmas wasn’t surrounded by a welcoming world but hostility and oppression that bore down not only on the manger but most people beyond it, who endured as they could. The society was under Roman rule that, personified in King Herod, feared the birth of a helpless baby, much like today with Planned Parenthood on the throne. Cruel kings maintaining their rule worry about rivals. When the wise men departed after worshipping Jesus, they took a different route toward home lest Herod learn of the Child’s location and have Him slain. How long will people in each era endure the oppression of burdensome rulers and their servile courtiers who proclaim only what the rulers want announced?…Continue Reading