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Almost Orwellian

January 1, 2014 Featured Today Comments Off

By ANDREW P. NAPOLITANO “Almost Orwellian” — that’s the description a federal judge gave in mid-December to the massive spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on virtually all 380 million cell phones in the United States. In the first meaningful and jurisdictionally grounded judicial review of the NSA cell-phone spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, a George W. Bush appointee sitting in Washington, D.C., ruled that the scheme of asking a secret judge on a secret court for a general warrant to spy on all American cell-phone users without providing evidence of probable cause of criminal behavior against any of them is unconstitutional because it directly violates the Fourth Amendment. Readers of this page are familiar with…Continue Reading

Holy Father . . . Deflects Criticism In Interview With La Stampa

December 31, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By PAUL LIKOUDIS Pope Francis has given another interview, this time with Vatican Insider’s Andrea Tornielli, published December 14 in La Stampa, in which he deflects many of the criticisms made of him for allegedly charting the Church on a course away from that of his Predecessors. Most notably, he denied he was a Marxist — as U.S. radio personality Rush Limbaugh famously charged, though he did admit that he had Marxists among his friends. During the course of the hour and a half interview, the Pope also spoke about relations with other Christian denominations and an “ecumenism of blood” which unites all Christians, regardless of their denomination who are subject to persecution. Among the questions and answers were these:…Continue Reading

Reconnecting With Mary… Reflecting On St. Joseph At Christmastide

December 30, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY The main focus during the season of Christmastide is naturally on the newborn Christ, whose birth we are celebrating, and then in a secondary way on His Blessed Mother, our Lady, whose great faithfulness made the Incarnation possible. St. Joseph, though, tends to remain in the background. He is there certainly in the Christmas story, but he is overshadowed by the Child Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. Yet, the Holy Family was in Bethlehem because Joseph, who was of the House of David, had to travel to Bethlehem, the City of David, along with Mary, in order to register for the census called by the Emperor Caesar Augustus. Without this pressing necessity, Jesus would have been…Continue Reading

Bilingual In Canada

December 29, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By DONALD DeMARCO Canada is bilingual in the sense that it has two official languages, English and French. It is also bilingual in the sense that it endorses “Doublespeak,” a derivative of “Doublethink.” In his classic diatribe against dystopias, 1984, George Orwell defines doublethink as “the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” The three basic examples to which the novel gives primary place are: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.” Doublespeak, therefore, is the ability to enunciate contradictory positions about the same reality and believe that both are correct. According to Canada’s Criminal Code, Subsection 223(1), “A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this…Continue Reading

A Christmas Light To The Secular World

December 28, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By DEACON MIKE MANNO A deacon’s ministry can be as varied as the parish and the diocese he serves. During the past year I have presided over numerous marriages, ministered to felons suffering from addiction, whispered the commendation of the dying into the ear of a high school friend as he lay comatose, and assisted at the funeral of a law school classmate. I have hosted our bishop on his radio program, preached routinely, and served as director of a crisis pregnancy center. But of all the things that I do, baptizing children always has a special meaning at Christmas. There is something about the excitement of a new set of parents, especially those who are becoming parents for the…Continue Reading

Contemporary Modernism . . . And The Perpetual Virginity Of The Mother Of God

December 27, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By JAMES LIKOUDIS In some Catholic parishes will be found Give Us This Day: Daily Prayers for Today’s Catholics published by Liturgical Press of St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn. With such editorial advisers as James Martin, SJ, Timothy Radcliffe, OP, and Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, Give Us This Day may be regarded the liberal counterpart to Magnificat, a far more impressive monthly presentation of liturgical prayer for the laity. In its issue for December, James Martin, SJ, assures readers that the Holy Family “faced some of the same struggles that families do today — worrying about money, to begin with. The Greek word the Gospels use for Joseph’s profession (teknon) means not only carpenter but, more properly, craftsman. That meant working…Continue Reading

The Magical Journey

December 26, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By DEREK BECHER So many years have passed so quickly, quietly, somehow without notice. And though I’ve never returned to the wonderful, still countryside I called home throughout my youth, like yesterday, I remember being there, breathing, living there. And while my mind constantly strays to many of those marvelous memories, and my heart coincidentally feels the warmth of each, the fondest recollections I cherish now are of my childhood Christmases. Of these, the one I remember so vividly and right was our trip home every year from the Christmas Eve service. Small though it was, our church was always full, particularly on Christmas Eve. Friends and relations from miles around would gather to warm the church with their presence;…Continue Reading

Tanner’s Annunciation

December 25, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By JOANNE SADLER BUTLER This Christmas, I am meditating on what it was really like to be in Nazareth and Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The images we are familiar with are from the Renaissance era or later — and while they were reverently done, they also were done with an eye to pleasing the man or woman who was paying for the work. Thus, we typically see a nicely dressed Virgin, an ethereal Gabriel, a well-appointed room, with (sometimes) cherubs in the background prefiguring a Disney World display. These images are soothing, but the reality was quite different. If you want a glimpse of what life was really like back then, I suggest studying Henry Ossawa Tanner’s 1896 painting…Continue Reading

I Wanted That!

December 24, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By DEREK BECHER There’s no denying the innocence, the wonder, and the magic of Christmas that’s seen through a child’s eyes. With all of the decorations, the gatherings of family and friends, the baking, the music, the aromas, the laughter, and the anticipation stuffed into just a few days, one of the greater rewards of Christmas is the genuine, spontaneous reactions of children as they reach their Christmas climax and tear into presents on Christmas morning. I was at my parents’ home on Christmas morning in 2003, along with two of my brothers. The other five of our siblings and their families would not be arriving for another day or two, so we agreed to open gifts addressed to those…Continue Reading

Journeying To Christmas

December 23, 2013 Featured Today Comments Off

By DONALD DeMARCO Christmas is a joyful time. Indeed, “‘tis the season to be jolly.” It is the time, as Charles Dickens, has rightly remarked, for “many merry Christmases, friendships, great accumulation of cheerful recollections, affection on earth, and Heaven at last for all of us.” Surely, without Christmas, December would be the bleakest and most colorless month of the year, and the year itself would be deprived of an essential Light. No one in his right mind wants to diminish the joy that goes with the merriment of Christmas. But there is another side to Christmas that can easily escape notice. Christmas is about a birth, and births are difficult and are preceded by considerable travail. The first Christmas…Continue Reading