Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jun 4, 2016 / 05:11 am (CNA).- What began with glowing rosaries and the rediscovery of a statue of the Virgin Mary in Argentina has now been approved by the local bishop as a series of apparitions that are “of supernational origin” and worthy of belief. And the designation is deeply significant, recognizing the messages of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas, which exhort peace and give dire warnings, one miracle researcher says. Bishop Hector Cardelli of San Nicolas in Argentina’s Buenos Aires province made the announcement May 22 at the conclusion of a Mass during the well-attended pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas. The bishop has investigated the contents of the apparitions through 1990. “(I)n my twelfth year of pastoring San Nicolas and, having followed with faith and responsibility the Marian events that I have known about since the very beginning, I have reached the decision to recognize them for my diocese,” Bishop Hector said. “I recognize the supernatural nature of the happy events with which God through his beloved daughter, Jesus through his Most Holy Mother, the Holy Spirit through his beloved spouse, has desired to lovingly manifest himself in our diocese.” Michael O’Neil, a miracle researcher and author who runs the website MiracleHunter.com, told CNA that the approval is significant. It means that the messages from the apparitions are not only approved for the faithful to read, he explained: the bishop is saying the events were in fact actual miraculous apparitions. “That puts it on par with Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe,” O’Neil said. <blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”es” dir=”ltr”>12.00 Santo Rosario <br>12.30 Santa Misa pedimos por las intenciones pedidas a la Virgen del Rosario de San Nicolás. <a href=”https://t.co/oUymGE2za9″>pic.twitter.com/oUymGE2za9</a></p>&mdash; BasilicaNtraSra BsAs (@BasilicaSraBsAs) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BasilicaSraBsAs/status/691397156025036800″>January 24, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script> The apparitions began after some rosaries in homes throughout San Nicolas de los Arroyos in Buenos Aires Province began to glow without any explanation. A wife and mother named Gladys Quiroga de Motta saw these glowing rosaries and began to pray to the Virgin Mary. The Virgin appeared to her on Sept. 25, carrying the infant Jesus and wearing a blue gown and veil. Her figure glowed with light. With only a fourth-grade education, Gladys had no great knowledge of the Bible or theology. She is a mother of two daughters and a grandmother.   At various times, the Virgin Mary apparition referred the woman to several Bible verses. One month after the first appearance, the apparition gave Gladys a white rosary and said, “Receive this Rosary from my hands and keep it forever and ever. You are obedient; I am happy because of it. Rejoice, for God is with you.” The Virgin Mary asked Gladys to go look for a statue that had been blessed by a Pope and was forgotten away in a church. She found the statue on Nov. 27, 1983. It was in the belfry of the diocesan cathedral. The statue in question was of the Mother of God holding the Child Jesus. It had been brought from Rome after it was blessed by Pope Leo XIII. Following the Virgin’s instructions, it was found in the bell tower of the church. The statue resembled the apparition. Gladys also received 68 visits and messages from Jesus. According to reports, Gladys shared the apparitions’ messages from the beginning. She was always at the disposal of the church authorities. Gladys now lives a life of great devotion, always keeping a low profile. She reportedly received the stigmata on her wrists, feet, side and shoulder. There have been several documented healings related to the apparitions, including the healing of a boy with a brain tumor. Gladys has shared about 1,800 messages from the Virgin Mary, O’Neil said. Many focus on topics like peace, repentance, returning to the sacraments, and drawing people closer to Christ. But there are also messages in an apocalyptic theme, predicting great turmoil for humanity ahead. “So that’s the tricky part with all of this,” O’Neil said. “It’s not as simple as some of the other apparitions that just draw people closer to Christ… there are some dire warnings as well.” Father René Laurentin, an expert on Marian apparitions, recounted the apparitions’ messages in his book, “An Appeal from Mary in Argentina.” At one point, Mary said, “Many hearts do not accept my invitation to prayer and to conversion. That is why the work of the devil is growing and expanding.” The warnings said that mankind is “in the process of falling in to a progressive self-destruction” and the Virgin Mary represents hope. “It is up to you to set your eyes and your heart on God,” she said. “I want to cure my children from this illness which is materialism; an illness which makes many suffer. I want to help them discover Christ, and I want to make it known to them that Christ prevails over everything,” Mary said in the apparition. She stressed the importance of prayer, especially the rosary. The apparition of Jesus told Gladys, “If this generation will not listen to my mother, it will perish. I ask everyone to listen to her. Man’s conversion is necessary.” “Today I warn the world, for the world is not aware: souls are in danger. Many are lost,” Jesus said in a 1987 apparition. “Few will find salvation unless they accept me as their Savior. My mother must be accepted. My mother must be heard in the totality of her messages. The world must discover the richness she brings to Christians.” “The children of sin will grow up in sin if their unbelief increases. I want a renewal of the spirit, a detachment from death, and an attachment to life. I have chosen the heart of my mother, so that what I ask will be achieved. Souls will come to me through the means of her Immaculate Heart.” The diocese’s successive local bishops have discussed the apparitions several times. Bishop Domingo Salvador Castagna ordered the construction of a shrine as the Virgin had requested. Construction began in 1987 and the shrine was consecrated in 1990. That year, he approved the publication and dissemination of the messages of Our Lady of the Rosary in San Nicolas. Every year, a massive pilgrimage to the shrine takes place on May 22. O’Neil said it is unique that the bishops have approved the apparition messages from 1983-1990, even though the apparition is continuing today. “So we have an apparition where we have a living visionary, who’s approved as authentic by the bishops,” he said. “Usually they wait until the messages end or the visionary dies, but in this particular case they decided to go ahead with the approval.” Bishop Cardelli explained the process that led him to make his latest decision. He consulted experts and witnesses and was conscious of his duty to monitor or intervene in such apparition claims. He said that he judged the events according to two criteria: “Positive and negative, and in both cases there were not, nor are there errors.” He said that he made his discernment using three specific criteria: “Were the events of natural origin? Could it be a work of the Enemy? Are they of supernatural origin?” “The answers to these questions gave me the certainty that the fruits are real and positive and go beyond mere human action,” the bishop stated. O’Neill said that the process for approving apparitions evaluates their messages to ensure there is nothing to contradict Scripture, tradition or the faith and morals of the Catholic Church. Apparitions are “private revelation” that do not add to the public revelation of Sacred Scripture. The investigation also evaluates the visionary to confirm that they are of sound mind and moral character. The declaration that an apparition is “worthy of belief” does not mean the faithful are obliged to believe the apparition or that it happened. O’Neil said that there was no evidence that Pope Francis was involved in evaluating this apparition when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Bishop Cardelli’s decree states that he recognized the apparition with “moral certitude, good intention and hope” and after fulfilling the Holy See’s suggested requirements for discernment. He said the decree is “seeking the greater glory of God and the good of our Church.” Accompanying the bishop’s decree is the presentation of the book “The Spiritual School of Our Lady of the Rosary of San Nicolas.” The book says the most important teachings in the Virgin Mary’s messages are that “she offers us for our adherence to everything He tells us, because He is the culmination of revelation.” “Finally, and as Our Holy Mother has requested, I implore Heaven in the name of the entire diocese, that she be forever the Queen and Lady of San Nicolas de los Arroyos,” the bishop concluded.Credit: Myibean via www.shutterstock.com. Read more

Atlanta, Ga., Jun 3, 2016 / 04:59 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The head of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has resigned after a scare with her daughters involving men entering a women’s restroom. Maya Dillard Smith had been int… Read more

Vatican City, Jun 3, 2016 / 03:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis emphasized that priests must be joyful, stubborn shepherds who take risks and seek out even those who are most distant from God, in imitation of the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. &ldquo… Read more

St. Louis, Mo., Jun 3, 2016 / 02:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Mother Angelica, the nun who founded EWTN, has been posthumously honored for her lifetime achievement in Catholic communications. One of her close collaborators said she wanted Catholic media to … Read more

Denver, Colo., Jun 3, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA).- By now, everyone’s probably seen the ads on YouTube touting the “romantic comedy of the year.” A young, shapely woman in a red dress, and a handsome man – in a wheelchair? The short clips are brilliant, and the intrigue is palpable. Could it be? A mainstream, box-office hit that portrays a person with disabilities as a desirable partner? The answer is both a yes, and a horrifying no. While everyone can handle death as a tragic but compelling end of a good romance, it’s a bit different when a character – despite being happy in love – chooses to kill himself. But this is the premise of “Me before You,” originally a best-selling book in the U.K. before it was made into a film with breakout stars Emelia Clarke and Sam Claflin. When a cautious small town girl takes a caretaker job for a moody business mogul paralyzed in a recent accident, their unlikely relationship becomes a friendship that eventually blossoms into love. He teaches her to broaden her horizons and abandon the timid outlook that has been holding her back in life, while she helps him find happiness despite disability. In the end, he admits that his six months with her have been the best months of his life, and acknowledges that he could have “a very good life” going forward. But it is not the life he wants – and so he kills himself, ultimately with her support. Released this week, it’s already garnering rave reviews along with some tough criticism over how it plays into some unfortunate stereotypes of persons with disabilities. Yet beyond this, there’s something eerily familiar about the movie. The youth, beauty and gripping narrative recall another campaign for assisted suicide, and that was the very real death of Brittany Maynard in 2014. After receiving a grim prognosis of six months to live due to an aggressive brain tumor, Maynard and her husband relocated to Oregon in order to take advantage of the Death with Dignity law, which legalized physician-assisted suicide in the state. Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group for right-to-die causes, latched on to Maynard’s youth and beauty after she approached them, asking how she could advocate for rights to assisted suicide for other people. They produced a video featuring Brittany and her family, complete with soothing music and beautiful photos, in which she calmly explains her situation and decision to kill herself. So what do these two have in common? Both attempt to normalize assisted suicide by taking the “ick” factor out. A glittering romantic blockbuster, a heart-wrenching People magazine spread with gorgeous photos of the brunette sufferer – both say “look at these beautiful people doing this – you can too.” How else is anything advertised to us? But when emergency hotlines exist for those on the same edge, how do we differentiate between rescuing someone from the depths and “respecting their decision”? Take the real story of Luke, a fresh-faced, 19-year-old man with a full life ahead of him. Luke was depressed for four years and tried to kill himself by crashing his car at 60 miles an hour. He survived. He wants to live now. And what he said about the assisted suicide movement was stark: if someone was on a bridge and wanted to jump, we’d try to save them, right? Right? Perhaps it’s the violence that makes us shudder. Putting a gun to your head, throwing yourself off a building, slitting your wrists – what if Claflin’s character or Maynard chose one of these methods? What would the narrative be then? But no, taking a lethal dose of barbiturates and passing “in peace” as your vital organs shut down one-by-one makes all the difference. And yet, there is no difference. All we’ve done is put lipstick on something which, despite our glamorizing attempts, is the same awful, isolated despair. What’s arguably most insidious about the character’s decision to kill himself is the tired but re-dressed “quality of life” argument: that existence isn’t worth it if it’s not on our ideal terms. Never mind that this logic justifies ethicists such as Peter Singer making the case for selective infanticide. The most important thing is that we actualize ourselves the way we see fit – and that anything less renders us the right to shut it down, to call it all off. Let’s be clear: suffering is real, suffering is hard. Suffering makes us not want to live. But when did we determine that life could be without it? It simply can’t. And it’s the ones who’ve chosen to keep existing through great adversity that ironically show us how much life is worth living. When we make reality our enemy, anything is justifiable if it threatens what we’ve imagined for ourselves. And so we don’t flinch at anyone – a fictional hero, a beautiful brunette, a victim of horrific sexual abuse – pulling the trigger. Read more

Vatican City, Jun 3, 2016 / 12:03 am (CNA).- Thirteen-year-old Veronica Cantero Burroni fulfilled a dream on Wednesday, when she got to see Pope Francis, who offered her a warm embrace at the end of his general audience. Veronica, who turns 14 this month, lives in the Argentine city of Campana and gets around in a wheel chair due to a neurological disease. However, this has not stopped her from becoming a writer and publishing five books. One of them is entitled “The Thief of Shadows.”  On May 30 in Naples, it was awarded the “2016 Elsa Morante Award for young people,” one of the most prestigious literary honors in Italy. Speaking to the Argentine daily La Nación, Veronica said she told the Pope “that I loved him a lot. And he told me that they had told him that I was very good at writing and asked me to pray for him. And through his embrace, I realized that he loved me a lot.” Niña argentina que escribe desde los 7 años, regaló al Papa su libro “El ladrón de sombras” https://t.co/kUBthWQpHH pic.twitter.com/SOjV2ntqhe — ACI Prensa (@aciprensa) June 1, 2016 She also gave him a copy of her fifth book with a special dedication. “At an encounter with young people in Cuba, he said that all of us have an eye of flesh and an eye of glass: the eye of flesh to see the reality of what surrounds us, and the eye of glass to dream with. And so I dedicated the book to him, telling him I was thanking him for teaching me to use the eye of glass because this for me was a dream that I was living, as well as using the eye of flesh,” she related. Veronica was accompanied by her mom, Cecilia Burroni, who said that “what’s beautiful is that her physical limitations don’t stop her.”  #PapaFrancisco saludó a Verónica Cantero ganadora de premio Elsa Morante en sección niños https://t.co/kUBthWQpHH pic.twitter.com/bL8GBC5byU — ACI Prensa (@aciprensa) June 1, 2016   Read more

Vatican City, Jun 2, 2016 / 03:53 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis spoke candidly to thousands of priests this week during a special retreat for the Year of Mercy. The upshot of what he told them? We as priests are sinners, and we need God’s mercy as much as everyone else. The Pope encouraged them to look to the Prodigal Son as a way to overcome the scandal of sin and celebrate God’s mercy and forgiveness in their lives and their ministry. “If we start by thanking the Lord for having wondrously created us and for even more wondrously redeemed us, surely this will lead us to a sense of sorrow for our sins. If we start by feeling compassion for the poor and the outcast, surely we will come to realize that we ourselves stand in need of mercy.” He told the priests “we are at one and the same time sinners pardoned and sinners restored to dignity.” The Jubilee of Priests began on Wednesday June 1 and will end on Saturday, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The three-day period offers the priests chances for prayer and reflection, Eucharistic Adoration, and confession. They may also make pilgrimages to designated jubille churches and pass through the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The jubille will conclude with a June 3 Mass with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis delivered his Wednesday remarks at the Basilica of St. John Lateran. “God’s name is mercy,” he said in his first meditation. “If we reflect on this natural feeling of mercy we begin to see how God Himself can be understood in terms of this defining attribute by which Jesus wished to reveal Him to us.” He said that mercy leads to immediate action. It is not productive to “intellectualize things” during prayer. Rather, prayer must focus immediately on those sins for which we most need God’s mercy, are most ashamed, and most desire to make reparation. He also encouraged the priests to “speak of what most moves us, of all those faces that make us want to do something to satisfy their hunger and thirst for God, for justice, for tenderness.” “Mercy engages our whole being – our feelings and our spirit – and all other beings as well,” he said. The Parable of the Prodigal Son shows the power of homesickness and nostalgia, which make us “think back to our first experience of goodness – the homeland from which we went forth” and awakens the hope of returning there. The prodigal son’s nostalgia helped him realize he was miserable. He returned to his father with “embarrassed dignity,” but his father restored this dignity. According to the Pope, mercy maintains the balance between acknowledging ourselves as sinners and recognizing our dignity as children loved by God the Father. We will be led to be merciful to others if we can see ourselves in the place of the prodigal son. “If we can serenely keep our heart balanced between those two extremes – dignity and embarrassment – without letting go of either of them, perhaps we can feel how the heart of our Father beats with love for us,” the Pope told the priests. The prodigal son’s father celebrated as a way to show that everything could be restored to his son at once. Mercy makes us pass “from estrangement to celebration” and can only be understood through hope. “Mercy is the genuine expression of life that counters death, the bitter fruit of sin,” the Pope said. Mercy is not naïve or blind to evil, but it sees “how short life is and all the good still to be done.” “That is why it is so important to forgive completely, so that others can look to the future without wasting time on self-recrimination and self-pity over their past mistakes,” the pontiff continued. “Mercy is always tinged with hope.” The Pope described the tension in the person of Simon Peter, the apostle and first Pope. He was “an ordinary man with all his faults and inconsistencies” as well as the bearer of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. “That is how we have to see ourselves: poised between our utter shame and our sublime dignity. Dirty, impure, mean and selfish, yet at the same time, with feet washed, called and chosen to distribute the Lord’s multiplied loaves, blessed by our people, loved and cared for,” he told the priests. “Only mercy makes this situation bearable. Without it, either we believe in our own righteousness like the Pharisees, or we shrink back like those who feel unworthy. In either case, our hearts grow hardened.” For Pope Francis, the only way to be excessive in responding to God’s excessive mercy is “to be completely open to receiving it and to sharing it with others.” He cited the many examples of this excessive mercy in the Gospels. The Pope’s second reflection, given Thursday at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, compared sin to “the vessel of mercy” that is like a leaky bucket from which grace quickly drains. He invoked the Prophet Jeremiah’s imagery of a people who have forsaken God, the fountain of living water, and dug for themselves “cracked cisterns that can hold no water.” “God keeps forgiving, even though he sees how hard it is for his grace to take root in the parched and rocky soil of our hearts.   He never stops sowing his mercy and his forgiveness,” he added. The Pope said that the heart redeemed in Christ is “no longer battered and leaky.” “It feels the balm of grace poured out upon its wounds and its sinfulness; it feels mercy assuaging its guilt, watering its aridity with love and rekindling its hope,” he said. When this heart forgives other sinners and treats them with compassion, this mercy “takes root in good soil, where water does not drain off but sinks in and gives life.” The best practitioners of mercy are those who know themselves to be forgiven. He used the example of addiction counselors who have themselves overcome addiction and can best understand, help and challenge others. “So too, the best confessors are usually themselves good penitents.    Almost all the great saints were great sinners or, like Saint Therese, knew that it was by sheer grace that they were not,” he said. The wounds of Jesus Christ on the Risen Lord “remind us that the traces of our sins, forgiven by God, never completely heal or disappear; they remain as scars.” “God’s mercy is in those scars. In the scars of the risen Christ, the marks of the wounds in his hands and feet but also in his pierced heart, we find the true meaning of sin and grace.” While Jesus’ heart was pure love and wounded willingly, the heart of fallen humanity is “pure wound” that was healed “because it allowed itself to be loved.” The Pope encouraged the priests to look to the saints who “let their hearts be re-created by mercy.” “Paul received mercy in the harsh and inflexible vessel of his judgement, shaped by the Law. His harsh judgement made him a persecutor,” he commented.   Mercy so changed him that he sought those who were far off, from the pagan world, and, at the same time showed great understanding and mercy to those who were as he had been.   “ He also spoke of other saints. “Peter was healed of the deepest wound of all, that of denying his friend,” he said. John the Apostle was “healed in his pride for wanting to requite evil with fire.” The Pope said that the Virgin Mary is “the simple yet perfect vessel that both receives and bestows mercy.” “Her free ‘yes’ to grace is the very opposite of the sin that led to the downfall of the prodigal son,” he said. “Her mercy is very much her own, very much our own and very much that of the Church.” The Pope spoke of special ways in which the Virgin Mary looks upon priests. Her gaze “makes us feel her maternal embrace” and her eyes “open up a space that is inviting, not at all like a tribunal or an office.” “If at times people realize that their own gaze has become hardened, that they tend to look at people with annoyance or coldness, they can turn back to her in heartfelt humility,” he said. “She can remove the myopia that fails to see the needs of others.” She can also cure the far-sightedness that cannot see the details “where the truly important things are played out in the life of the Church and of the family.” She helps find “a way to bring good out of all the things that her people lay at her feet.” Her gaze is one of “complete attention” and she is concerned only with the person in front of her. Her gaze is “all-embracing” and brings everything together: our past, present and future. “It is not fragmented or partial: mercy can see things as a whole and grasp what is most necessary,” he said. At the wedding at Cana, Mary foresaw with empathy what the lack of wine would mean and asked Jesus to solve the problem without anyone noticing. “We can see our entire priestly life as somehow ‘foreseen’ by Mary’s mercy; she sees beforehand the things we lack and provides for them,” the Pope said. He said any “good wine” in priests’ lives is due not to their own merits but to her anticipated mercy. Pope Francis concluded his Thursday remarks with a prayer: “Remember, Lord, your covenant of mercy with your sons, the priests of your people. With Mary, may we be the sign and sacrament of your mercy.” Read more

Paris, France, Jun 2, 2016 / 12:43 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In recent weeks, Catholics in France and Belgium – countries still recovering from brutal ISIS attacks – have been hit with numerous acts of violence and aggression, including fires set in churches, an assault on a priest, the desecration of a tabernacle and the hacking of more than 100 Catholic websites. In the French periodical La Provence, local priest Father Benoît Delabre reported that two weeks ago, the altar at the Church of St. Madeleine-de-l’Île was set fire in Martigues, about 800 kilometers south of Paris. “The altar…is marble, which prevented the fire from spreading. I can’t imagine what would have happened with a wooden altar. The consequences for our church would have been tragic.” He also said that on May 15, another unknown person desecrated the tabernacle which contained the consecrated hosts in the church at Jonquières in the same region. Additionally, Father Delabre himself was attacked last Sunday by a man he caught at the church door who appeared to be “trying to steal something.” “We know just how serious these attacks are on signs and persons because of their faith…The Catholic faith, its symbols and those that profess it, deserve to be respected just like every kind of religious expression that does not disturb the public order,” he said. Gaby Charroux, the mayor of Martigues, said in a statement that “thefts of every kind in churches in France are more and more frequent” and promised the police will curb the attacks. The publication La Croix reported that in April, more than 100 websites of churches and congregations were hacked by suspected Tunisian cyber-jihadists who call themselves the Fallaga Team. In Belgium, on the afternoon of May 24, two fires considerably damaged the church in Mont-Sainte-Geneviève which dates from the 16th century. The first one began in the sacristy. The fire fighters had barely left the scene after managing to control that fire when another much bigger fire in the church roof was reported. The police from Hainut, 37 miles southeast of Brussels, are looking for the culprits. Read more

Washington D.C., Jun 2, 2016 / 06:15 am (CNA/EWTN News).- For two years, the ChurchPOP website has sought to craft faithful, fun content for the social media age. It hopes to do even more now that it has been acquired by the EWTN Global Catholic Network. “ChurchPOP seeks to evangelize by spreading Catholic culture in a way tailored to the online social media world,” said Brantly Millegan, the editor-in-chief of ChurchPOP.com. “We’ve developed a certain flavor that’s faithful, accessible, and interesting that seems to have resonated with lots of people.” “Thanks to the backing of EWTN, we have big plans for the future of ChurchPOP,” he added. He credited the website’s success to “the great writers who contribute to ChurchPOP and to our readers, who help spread the word about the website.” Millegan said he launched ChurchPOP in August 2014, envisioning it as a Christian culture website in the style of BuzzFeed. He said that while BuzzFeed has created and perfected a popular new genre of online content, it uses it to promote a harmful secular worldview. “I thought we could use their methods, as well as creatively develop our own, to spread Christian culture,” he reflected. Michael Warsaw, EWTN Chairman and CEO, said the acquisition would expand EWTN’s mission and reach. “The content available on the ChurchPOP platforms provides a terrific vehicle to engage millennials and others who might not be reached by more traditional religious media,” Warsaw said in a June 2 announcement. “Throughout our 35-year history, EWTN has always been at the forefront of the new evangelization, using every possible form of media to carry out our mission. The addition of ChurchPOP to the EWTN family will enable us to continue to expand our audiences around the globe.” The ChurchPOP site has one main goal, Millegan said: “Ultimately, we want to win souls for Christ.” The site hopes to expand the kinds of content it can offer and to grow into more languages. In addition to English, ChurchPOP currently has a Spanish-language edition, edited by Yhonatan Luque of Lima, Peru, and a Portuguese-language edition, edited by Cleiton Ramos of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. EWTN Global Catholic Network is the largest religious media network in the world. Its television broadcasts reach over 265 million homes in over 145 countries and territories. Its radio broadcasts include SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, over 500 AM and FM radio affiliates and a worldwide shortwave radio service. It also has a publishing arm and news outlets including the National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency.   Read more

Cincinnati, Ohio, Jun 2, 2016 / 03:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- An Ohio judge sentenced a 23-year old Catholic man to 12 consecutive Baptist Sunday services after an altercation in downtown Cincinnati in January. It was dollar beer night at the Cincinnati Cyclones vs. Fort Wayne Komets hockey game on January 23, and Jake Strotman and his buddies had had a few before heading downtown after the game (a Cyclones victory). Strotman and his friends came across a group of Baptist street preachers, who Strotman claims were condemning him, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Already a curious and outgoing person, Strotman engaged with the preachers and “gave them my two cents worth.” “They were telling me I was going to hell,” Strotman told Enquirer reporters. “I was asking them: ‘Why do you think you can condemn people?’ I didn’t understand why they thought they could judge me.” Hearing the argument, another man approached the street preachers and “started going off like a ball of fire,” Strotman said. Amidst threats, shouting, pushing and shoving, Strotman ended up face-down on the asphalt and pushed his hand down on one of the preacher’s face, Joshua Johnson, as he was getting back up. Johnson claims that in doing so, Strotman shoved Johnson’s own glasses into his face, cutting him. Last week, Ohio Judge William Mallory, convicted Strotman of attempted assault, a misdemeanor. Mallory, who reportedly enjoys handing out creative sentences, said in the courtroom that while 90 days of jail time was an option, he was open to other ideas. “I’m trying to get to something reasonable here. And I’ll be honest with you guys, sometimes in certain places people don’t want to be preached to. You agree with that right?” Mallory reportedly said to Johnson in court. That’s when Strotman, a self-employed salesman of windows, siding and doors, proposed his own alternative sentence: serving at a church of Mallory’s choosing. Mallory approved, and sentenced Strotman to attend 12 consecutive Sunday services at Morning Star Baptist Church. He must attend each entire 90-minute service (for a total of 18 hours) and have the weekly program signed by the minister. He also paid $480 in court fines and a $2,800 lawyer bill. “Three months, that’s not that bad,” Strotman told the Enquirer. “I think it’s a nice example of hearing people out instead of getting angry and jumping to conclusions.” “I’m going to listen with both my ears and keep my mouth shut,” he said. “Then, maybe I’ll try to sell them some windows.” Read more

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