28 August 2009

"This is indeed a miracle baby and I have seen nothing like it in my 27 years of practice."

A few years old, but no less worthy a read:

Parents' ‘Last Good Bye’ Saved Their Baby’s Life
Sometimes a preemie doesn’t need to be hooked up to 10 different machines to be given the chance to survive.
When Carolyn Isbister put her 20oz baby on her chest for a cuddle, she thought that it would be the only chance she would ever have to hold her. Doctors had told the parents that baby Rachel only had only minutes to live because her heart was beating once every ten seconds and she was not breathing.

Mrs. Isbister remembers saying:

“I didn’t want her to die being cold. So I lifted her out of her blanket and put her against my skin to warm her up. Her feet were so cold.

“It was the only cuddle I was going to have with her, so I wanted to remember the moment.” Then something remarkable happened. The warmth of her mother’s skin kick started Rachael’s heart into beating properly, which allowed her to take little breaths of her own."
You can read the rest here.

(via Fr. Mercer)

26 August 2009


St. Thérèse of Lisieux was named by Pope Pius XII secondary patron of all of France, after Mary. Though we're all familiar with her Story of a Soul, which some unfortunately interpret as revealing a saccharinely sweet, tender, and weak saint, we are less familiar with the fiery aspect of her soul, the one that longed to "die in a battlefield, arms in hand.” St. Joan of Arc as her model, St. Thérèse had a burning desire to literally go to war for Christ:
Oh no, I would not fear going to war. With what joy, for example, at the time of the Crusades, I would have gone to combat heretics. Yes! I would not have been afraid to be shot; I would not have feared the fire!
And later,
When I think I’m dying in bed! I would want to die in an arena!
Those who knew her testified, "Under a suave and gracious aspect [she] revealed at every instant, in her actions, a strong character and a manly soul." Pope Pius XI even called her “a manly soul, a great man.” This iron resolve was channeled into conquering sin and striving with her utmost toward sanctity, offering herself as a victim soul to suffer and atone for others' sins.

Her wish to do battle, however, was fulfilled, but only after her martyrdom. She prophetically dreamed once:
I went to sleep for a few moments during prayer. I dreamt there were not enough soldiers for a war against the Prussians. You [Mother Agnes] said: We need to send Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus. I answered that I agreed, but that I would prefer to fight at a holy war. But finally I went all the same.

Well known to the French, there were numerous reported apparitions of St. Thérèse on the French battlefield during WWI. All of them were recorded in the little book PLUIE DE ROSES: Interventions de Sr Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésus pendant la guerre in 1920, before her canonization. As far as I know, there is no English translation, but for those who can read French, the accounts are online and prove fascinating and inspiring reading.

In 1914, when the First World War breaks out,
Saint Thérèse appears some forty times in various battlefields, at times holding a cross in her hand, at times a saber! The soldiers see her; she speaks to them matter-of-factly, resolves their doubts, overcomes their temptations and calms their fears. She protects, consoles and converts them.

French soldiers would invoke her as “my little sister of the trenches,” “my war patroness,” “the shield of soldiers,” “the angel of battles” and “my dear little Captain.” A soldier wrote, “In fact, that gentle Saint will be the great heroine of this war.” Another commented, “I think of her when the cannon thunders with great roar.”

Countless were the artillery pieces and planes named after Sister Thérèse; whole regiments were consecrated to her. Countless relics of the saint that miraculously stopped rifle bullets like real shields, saving the lives of the soldiers who carried them, are in her convent of Lisieux, a testimony to the great prodigies of the one who, in fact, “died with arms in her hand.”
Novena to St. Thérèse

25 August 2009

La Messe dans la forme extraordinaire à Lisieux

For those making a pilgrimage to St. Thérèse's hometown, Mass in the extraordinary form will be offered in the adoration chapel in the crypt of the Basilica Sunday, August 30, 2009, at 9 a.m.


La Messe sera célébrée dans la forme extraordinaire du rite romain, le dimanche 30 août à 9h, à la Chapelle de l'Adoration dans la Crypte de la Basilique de Lisieux.

Merci de vous associer très nombreux par vos prières ou votre présence à cette célébration.

A Saint's Mother

Coronation of Louis VIII and Blanche of Castile in 1223, Miniature from Les Grandes Chroniques de France

Today is the feast day of King St. Louis IX of France, who embodied all that a king ought to be: he ruled with justice, integrity, generosity, and holiness. He and Queen Margaret of Provence bore eleven children, their line reigning over France until the French Revolution put an end to it. (As the guillotine fell onto the neck of King Louis XVI, Abbé Edgeworth, his confessor, cried, Le fils de St-Louis, montez au paradis!)

It was St. Louis' mother who left the deepest impression on his faith. She told him often as a child, Je t'aime, mon cher fils, autant qu'une mère peut aimer son enfant; mais j'aime mieux que tu soit mort à mes pieds que tu commettes un péché mortel. ("I love you my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin.")

Many years later, St. Louis would write in a letter to his eldest son, Phillip III, "You should, with all your strength, shun everything which you believe to be displeasing to Him. And you ought especially to be resolved not to commit mortal sin, no matter what may happen and should permit all your limbs to be hewn off, and suffer every manner of torment , rather than fall knowingly into mortal sin."

Quel saint! Quelle mère!

Obama's Friends

In spite of the left's best efforts to defend Science Czar John Holdren from attack, his writings are simply indefensible. Read them for yourself (all quotations are taken from the book he co-authored with overpopulation terrormonger Paul Erlich, Ecoscience):
Why should the law not be able to prevent a person from having more than two children?" -p. 838

"Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society." -p. 837

"One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption—especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone." -p. 786

"The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births." -p. 787

"Perhaps those agencies, combined with UNEP and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime—sort of an international superagency for population, resources, and environment.... The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries' shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits." -p. 942-3
Lest readers complain these passages are taken out of context, you may read the entire pages quoted at this website; you will find that there is no context to change the meaning of the above passages, and that they mean exactly what they appear to mean.

16 August 2009

Pope Pius XII's Meditations on the Large Family

"[A]s long as there is no sincere determination to let the Creator carry on His work as He chooses, then human selfishness will always find new sophistries and excuses to still the voice of conscience (to the extent it can), and to carry on abuses.
[O]verpopulation is not a valid reason for spreading illicit birth control practices. It is simply a pretext used by those who would justify avarice and selfishness — by those nations, for instance, who fear that the expansion of others will pose a danger to their own political position and cause a lowering of the general standard of living, or by individuals, especially those who are better off, who prefer the greatest possible enjoyment of earthly goods to the praise and merit of bringing new lives into existence. The final result is that they break the fixed and certain laws of the Creator under the pretext of correcting supposed errors on the part of His Providence.
As for you, parents and children of large families, keep on giving a serene and firm testimony of your trust in divine Providence, and be assured that He will not fail to repay you with the testimony of His daily help and, whenever necessary, with those extraordinary helps that many of you have been happy to experience already.
The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end. The brows of these fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness, Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren.

Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them.
With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children, that of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five, St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten.

Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values."

--Pope Pius XII, The Large Family.

13 August 2009

Effective Writing

It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say "The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment," you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin "I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out," you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think. The long words are not the hard words, it is the short words that are hard. There is much more metaphysical subtlety in the word "damn" than in the word "degeneration."
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, VIII

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
William Strunk, The Elements of Style, III.13

Prefer the short word to the long.
Henry Fowler, The King's English, Ch. I

If ever you start feeling sorry for yourself...

If ever you start feeling sorry for yourself for hardships you're enduring, think of Mary Queen of Scots, and count your blessings. Here was a woman who:

was widowed by the age of nineteen;

inherited a throne of a people who did not want her because she was "foreign" and Catholic;

married a man who plotted to overthrow and imprison her while she was pregnant with his child;

was forced to marry her third husband, after her second husband's untimely death, because he had allegedly taken her by force;

was betrayed by her closest advisors in an uprising, and deposed;

when seeking refuge in England under her cousin Queen Elizabeth, was imprisoned unjustly instead;

languished in prison for nineteen years, much of that time suffering from gastric disorders that occasioned bouts of vomiting and fever, only to be told by her jailers she was faking it;

was betrayed by her only son (raised a Puritan in Scotland) when he secured an alliance with Queen Elizabeth;

was lured into the Babington plot by the machinations of Walsingham, and beheaded for it;

and whose last wishes, including a Catholic burial, were never honored by Queen Elizabeth.

When they arrested her shortly before her execution, Mary cried, "I desire neither goods, honours, power nor worldly sovereignty, but only the honor of His Holy Name and His Glory and the liberty of His Church and of the Christian people." Queen Mary died with the courage of a martyr, and Pope Benedict XIV noted that nothing stood in the way of declaring her a martyr for the faith except for lingering historical doubts about her second husband Darnley's death. Mary's confessor, however, proclaimed her absolute innocence in the matter.

Maria Regina Scotorum, ora pro nobis.

12 August 2009

Section 1233 Written by Proponents of Assisted Suicide

Update: Section 1233 has been dropped.
Jill Stanek has a full report.
Compassion & Choices has worked tirelessly with supportive members of congress to include in proposed reform legislation a provision requiring Medicare to cover patient consultation with their doctors about end-of-life choice (section 1233 of House Bill 3200).
Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer wrote of section 1233, "Actually, I know a little bit about this section because it's a bill that I wrote which was incorporated into the overall legislation." Blumenauer wrote an amicus brief in favor of assisted suicide in the major Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006). Of the amicus brief, he writes, "The amicus brief I have filed with other members of the delegation supports the Court's decision to uphold Oregon's Death with Dignity law."

09 August 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe ‘completely beyond' scientific explanation

From Catholic News Agency:
Researcher and physicist Dr. Aldofo Orozco told participants at the International Marian Congress on Our Lady of Guadalupe that there is no scientific explanation for the 478 years of high quality-preservation of the Tilma or for the miracles that have occurred to ensure its preservation.

Dr. Orozco began his talk by confirming that the conservation of the Tilma, the cloak of St. Juan Diego on which Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared 478 years ago, “is completely beyond any scientific explanation.”

“All the cloths similar to the Tilma that have been placed in the salty and humid environment around the Basilica have lasted no more than ten years,” he explained. One painting of the miraculous image, created in 1789, was on display in a church near the basilica where the Tilma was placed. “This painting was made with the best techniques of its time, the copy was beautiful and made with a fabric very similar to that of the Tilma. Also, the image was protected with a glass since it was first placed there.”

However, eight years later, the copy of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was thrown away because the colors were fading and threads were breaking. In contrast, Orozco said, “the original Tilma was exposed for approximately 116 years without any kind of protection, receiving all the infrared and ultraviolet radiation from the tens of thousands of candles near it and exposed to the humid and salty air around the temple.”
Much more here.

(via Fr. Mercer)

05 August 2009

August 6, 1945

Nagasaki followed three days later. One witness remembers:
[T]he bomb instead of hitting at the heart of Japanese religion, struck the Catholic district of Nagasaki, the most numerous and important center for the Church in the Far East. The Catholic community then had more than 12,000 faithful. Almost all perished. The epicenter of the explosion was the cathedral which, among other things, at that time was crowded with the faithful in the queue in front of the confessional to prepare for the Feast of the Assumption.
When [Professor Nagai, dean of the faculty of medicine at the University of Nagasaki] was able to return [to the church] he found only ashes and bones. As an expert radiologist he had no difficulty in identifying the remains of his wife, Midori. Among the bones of the hand shone something: it was a circle of the rosary and a crucifix. He placed everything into a bucket and sad but not depressed, he made his way towards the graveyard. In the jingle of the rosary and crucifix he seemed to hear the voice of his bride giving him hope.

Remains of the Virgin Mary of Nagasaki, bombed in Urakami Cathedral
A small chapel has been completed to enshrine a part of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that was destroyed in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, to stand as a symbol for peace on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing.
In the cathedral, two priests hearing confessions and some 30 parishioners were killed by the atomic bomb, which exploded at 11:02 a.m.
Fragments of the head of the statue, whose face was badly burned on the right side, were found by Kaemon Noguchi, a monk at the Trappist Monastery in Hakodate, Hokkaido, while he was searching through the rubble during a visit to Nagasaki after World War II.

Noguchi took the head back to his monastery as a memento, but after learning that the church was looking for relics that survived the atomic bombing, he returned it to Nagasaki in 1975.

04 August 2009

Feast of St. John Marie Vianney