It’s a Baby! It Always Was. But Now We Can See It.

How can anyone say that an unborn baby is not a human being?

I don’t know, even though I once did it myself. Based on my memory of myself at that time in my life, I would guess that people who say this are focused on what they see as the welfare of the pregnant young woman to the exclusion of the life of the child.

Even though they say that the baby is not a human being, what they really mean is that the human being who is standing right in front of them seems more important than the human being who is largely a hypothetical to them. It’s easy to be pro choice, or pro abortion, when you focus exclusively on the pregnant woman.

On the other hand, it’s easy to be anti-abortion (as opposed to pro life) if you focus entirely on the unborn child.

True pro life people can not ignore the welfare and lives of either one of them. That is our task.

The task of recognizing the humanity of the baby gets easier every day, thanks to technological advances which allow us to see this child for what he or she really is — a fellow human being. We can look into the womb and see the unborn child in ways that were unimaginable when the abortion movement began.

Back in those days, what we knew of human embryology was based largely on a study of the embryos of animals, or even insects. Human embryos simply weren’t available for wide scale study. The only way to peer into the womb was surgery.

Thanks to advances in ultra sounds and 3d scans, that is no longer true. New advances in this technology have just raised the bar even higher for those who want to deny the humanity of the unborn child.

I am going to link to an article from Mail Online which has some incredible photos and a video of an unborn baby taken using this new technology. Please go there and look at all these photos. You’ll be oohing and aahing over this baby just like I was.

Hello baby! Incredible 3D scans allow

parents to see foetus SMILING and

MOVING in stunning detail

  • The state-of-the-art software adds extra detail to 3D ultrasound scans
  • Software developed by Dr Bernard Benoit to help detect malformations
  • Expectant parents can see unborn baby smiling and kicking in the womb

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

PUBLISHED: 06:23 EST, 29 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:39 EST, 29 March 2013

A blurry blob on a hospital screen is the first view most expectant parents get of their child.

But new state-of-the-art imaging software is now able to map a foetus in incredible detail.

The software takes a conventional 3D ultrasound scan and adds colour, skin texture, lighting and shadows.

Scroll down to watch video

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2300983/Incredible-3D-scans-allow-parents-foetus-SMILING-MOVING-stunning-detail.html#ixzz2PPzQTrvf
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

The Media is Not “Biased” Toward Gay Marriage. It is Promoting It.

Marriage is gay

So … what happened at the March for Marriage last week? 

If you know, you must have been there because the various news media enforced a near-total blackout on the event. 

Let’s think about that for a moment.

Gay marriage is what you might call a “big” story. The Supreme Court was hearing two cases that have the potential to upend 2,000 years of teaching, law and culture concerning the fundamental unit on which all of Western civilization is built. That makes it an important story. Public conversation about this issue is focused and combative. That makes it a ratings grabber. The March for Marriage was the “other” side of the argument finally getting its act together and stepping up to public protest, which made it a man bites dog story, providing a new twist to a story that had already been done to death. That makes it interesting.

So. We have a story that gives a new angle to an important topic, that draws widespread public interest at a time when public interest is already focused on the issue. Sounds like a win-win-win for the media. All they had to do was cover it.

Which they did not.

I repeat: What happened at the March for Marriage last week? I would not be surprised if most of the coverage of that event that you saw was right here on Public Catholic and other Christian blogs and web sites. You may have, as I did, had to go to the Facebook page sponsored by the March for Marriage organizers to get any news of the event.

This was the news story that wasn’t. Because the media is promoting gay marriage. They are hard-selling it. And this march ran counter to their true objectives, which appear to be not so much to inform the public as to propagandize the public. 

There are a number of reasons why public support for gay marriage appears to be reaching a tipping point in favor of it. The continuous, completely biased and often inaccurate media propaganda in favor of it is one of them.

From The World Tribune:

 

By Cliff Kincaid

Significant news came out of last Tuesday’s March for Marriage demonstration in Washington, D.C. But it didn’t make “news” in the major media.

As one who covered the event, it was significant that there were so many members of minority groups. This was not a mostly white crowd. In addition to the presence of black, Hispanic and Asian supporters of traditional marriage, there were some notable Democrats, such as New York State Senator Ruben Díaz, and he let people know he was several minorities in one.

Proponents of traditional marriage participate in the March for Marriage in Washington, D.C. on March 26.  /Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

“I’m Puerto Rican,” he said. “I’m black, with kinky hair. I am a Democrat and I am a senator. I’m against abortion. I’m against same-sex marriage, and I won the last election with 89 percent of the vote.”

J.C. Derrick of World magazine has a good analysis of how the major media, led by The Washington Post, virtually ignored the March for Marriage. But unless you actually see what happened on the ground, as the thousands of traditional marriage supporters held their demonstration, you would miss the true significance of how dishonest the media’s coverage of this issue has become …

… The video excerpts are interesting, in that a self-proclaimed homosexual man, Doug Mainwaring, co-founder of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots, was also shown opposing homosexual marriage …

… His speech at the March for Marriage included the admonition that the Supreme Court should “ignore the media’s relentless, manufactured urgency to institute same-sex marriage.”

That media campaign, as we revealed in a recent column, includes the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), funded by all of the major news organizations. Natalie Morales of NBC’s Today Show was the host of the March 21 New York fundraiser for the group 

… But the omissions and distortions don’t end there. On the NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night, host Brian Williams claimed that a majority of Americans now support homosexual marriage. But the Reuters Corporation recently released the results of a huge poll finding only 41 percent of America supports it.

The company tried to mask the results by highlighting majority support for benefits for “same-sex couples.” But the story about the poll notes in the fourth paragraph that only 41 percent of people say same-sex couples should be permitted to marry …

… Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council commented, “If 41% was all the support Reuters could scrounge up for same-sex ‘marriage,’ then you know they exhausted every avenue trying to push that number higher — and couldn’t.”

NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren did a story on Tuesday’s Brian Williams newscast on “TV’s impact on the gay marriage debate” which totally ignored the role of NBC News, which like CBS News and Fox News, funds one side of the debate — the NLGJA. (Read more here.) 

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the Accuracy In Media Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at cliff.kincaid@aim.org

Monsignor Meth Pleads Guilty

It looks like Kevin Wallin, the breaking bad priest known in the press as “Monsignor Meth,” is going to prison.

Wallin, who was on suspension from the priesthood at the time of his arrest, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 25 and is expected to receive a sentence of between 11 and 14 years in prison. Since this is a federal crime, he may serve most of his sentence behind bars. 

Wallin, who is 61, will probably be an elderly man if he ever goes free again. 

In addition to taking up drug trafficking, Wallin had also opened an adult video and sex toy shop named Oz & Dorothy’s Place. He is accused of using the shop to launder the drug money.

From the Associated Press: 

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A suspended Roman Catholic priest accused of making more than $300,000 in methamphetamine sales out of his Connecticut apartment while running an adult video and sex toy shop pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal drug charge.

Kevin Wallin, 61, of Waterbury, admitted to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was scheduled to be sentenced June 25. The prosecution and defense agreed on a sentence of 11 to 14 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the 61-year-old Wallin had meth mailed to him from co-conspirators in California and sold the drugs out of his Waterbury apartment last year. He also bought an adult video and sex toy shop in North Haven named Land of Oz & Dorothy’s Place, apparently to launder the drug money, authorities said.

Wearing a beige prison jumpsuit and sporting a goatee and close-cropped hair, Wallin acknowledged in court that the drug operation involved nearly four pounds of methamphetamine. He said “yes” several times as the judge asked whether he understood the consequences of his plea.

Wallin, former pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Bridgeport, appeared to have no supporters in the courtroom. He was led out of the room in handcuffs and remains detained. (Read the rest here.) 

No Abortion Workers = No Abortions

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April 8, 2013 is National Leave the Abortion Industry Day.

Abby Johnson and her coworkers at And Then There Were None picked the date at random

And Then There Were None is a pro-life ministry created by Johnson to give abortion workers who want to leave the industry the tools to do so. Johnson and her co-workers created National Leave the Abortion Industry Day, also known as Exodus 2013, to encourage abortion workers seeking to get out of the industry by giving them a day they could band together in solidarity. 

They didn’t realize that April 8 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord as well as Holocaust Remembrance Day. On top of that, Exodus 2013 is the Bible verse that says Thou shalt not kill.

Johnson said that when she and her coworkers discovered all these connections, they “didn’t think there was any coincidence,”

All I can say is that And Then There Were None is a much-needed ministry. People who leave the abortion industry are wounded. Those who tried to leave in the past had to walk out alone. This often meant losing every friend and every bit of emotional support they had, in addition to losing their livelihoods.  

I believe many more abortion workers would leave, but they are afraid. Abby Johnson, by showing them that there is support  waiting for them, is doing a wonderful pro life work. 

The equation is simple: No abortion workers = No abortions

From CNA/EWTN:

Abby Johnson 2 CNA US Catholic News 5 30 12

.- Former abortion clinic manager Abby Johnson is organizing a day – called “Exodus 2013” – for abortion workers seeking to leave the industry to band together in solidarity and encouragement.

“We kind of thought picking one particular day might bring about a sense of camaraderie,” Johnson told CNA, “that they might all feel a little more courageous if they know they’re doing it with other people.”

“Exodus 2013 – National Leave the Abortion Industry Day” will take place across the country on April 8, helping workers wishing to leave the abortion industry to gather both the courage and resources to do so.

Johnson said that contact with pro-life organizations, including 40 Days for Life, helped her to leave her job as the director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in 2009.

She later became a pro-life advocate and founded an organization called “And Then There Were None” to help abortion workers find the information, support and funds to leave the abortion business. 

The group offers emotional support and arranges for counseling, because “these workers have seen and participated in things the general public wouldn’t be able to stomach,” Johnson explained. In addition, spiritual care from one’s religious tradition can be arranged for those who want it.

The organization is also able to provide pro-bono legal assistance through its partnership with legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom for individuals who are prosecuted by the abortion clinics. Since the ministry’s start last June, 47 abortion clinic workers have left the abortion industry with Johnson’s help.

“We’ve had amazing success through our ministry,” she said, “and we just kind of thought – maybe if we could get a day where we asked people to just pick up and leave the abortion industry…it would at least be good exposure to let clinic workers know that there is a resource for them.”

The name “Exodus 2013” was initially chosen simply to suggest a large number of people leaving the abortion industry in 2013, Johnson explained, and the date of the event was picked purely at random.

Later, however, Johnson realized that April 8 would be the celebration of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, which was moved in the Catholic liturgical calendar from its normal date of March 25 due to Holy Week and the Octave of Easter. The Catholic feast day celebrates the announcement of the archangel Gabriel to Mary that she was to conceive Jesus by the Holy Spirit. (Read the rest here.) 

Journalism Done Ugly: Piers Morgan on Gay Marriage

It wasn’t an interview. 

It wasn’t journalism

It was a professional talker using his podium to hector/lecture/cross examine Ryan Anderson.

Ryan Anderson is co-author of a well-written book called What is Marriage: A Man and a Woman, a Defense. All I can say is that it took a lot of courage for him to go before this hanging judge and allow himself to be treated the way he was on CNN Live.

His attackers were Piers Morgan and Suzie Orman. I think Ryan Anderson handled himself well. When you consider that he was up against two television professionals, he handled himself very well.

Rather than go on about this, I going to provide you with links to excerpts of the interview and let you decide for yourself. I need to warn you that it’s tough going. This “interview” is one-sided and rude to say the least. If you are interested in supporting Ryan Anderson, you can buy his book on Amazon.com. Or, you can go to a Facebook page supporting him here.

American Christians need to stop focusing on the nit-picking nonsense we allow to divide us and stand together. 

Ryan Anderson on Piers Morgan, Part 1 YouTube Preview Image

Ryan Anderson on Piers Morgan, Part 2 YouTube Preview Image

 

It’s Easter … and the Fight for Religious Freedom Continues

Hobby lobby decal

I focused on Holy Week issues last week.

I would love to continue doing the same thing this first week of Easter. In fact, it might be nice to never do anything else. But the world and our duty to engage the world for Christ goes on.

Challenges to the HHS Mandate continue to wend their way through the judicial process. 

Hobby Lobby was granted a hearing of its appeal against the HHS Mandate before a full federal panel of nine judges. Most appeals are heard by three judges. The fact that the whole panel will hear this one reflects the seriousness of the issue involved. I can think of few issues more serious than whether or not the First Amendment applies to applies to everyone.

Hobby lobby shelves

We need to continue to support both EWTN and Hobby Lobby, as well as all others who have stepped up to fight for our freedoms.  I got paid today. I’ll be too busy to do any shopping for a few days, but the first chance I get, I’m heading to Hobby Lobby. I may top it off with lunch at Chick Fil-A. I hope you do the same.

From CNA:

.- Christian-owned craft giant Hobby Lobby will be able to make its appeal against the federal contraception mandate before a full federal panel of nine judges, rather than the usual three.

“Full court review is reserved only for the most serious legal questions,” explained Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in a press release on March 29. The Becket Fund is representing the owners of Hobby Lobby in court.

Duncan said that the decision to grant a full nine-judge hearing speaks to the gravity of the issue.

“This case asks whether the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to religious freedom, or whether it leaves out religious business owners like the Greens,” he explained.

As its religious freedom case comes before a federal court, Hobby Lobby had petitioned for an “en banc” hearing, or an appeals hearing before the full bench of nine judges.

“We are grateful that the court granted Hobby Lobby’s petition,” said Duncan. (Read more here.)

EWTN Logo

Meanwhile, EWTN’s lawsuit against the HHS Mandate was dismissed by an Alabama court because the court said the case “wasn’t ripe.” I would make a comment about the choice of the word “ripe,” but it’s too easy. EWTN has vowed to fight on.

If you’re getting the idea that going to court is a roll of the dice, you’re right. It all depends on which judge you draw and if their lunch agreed with them.

EWTN mother angelica

From CNA:

.- The EWTN Global Catholic Network is “extremely disappointed” by a Monday court ruling that dismissed as “unripe” its lawsuit against a federal mandate that could require the organization to violate Catholic teaching.

“Contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs are not healthcare. EWTN cannot and will not compromise our strongly held beliefs on these moral issues,” EWTN President and CEO Michael P. Warsaw said March 25.

On Monday Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham dismissed the Irondale, Ala.-based organization’s lawsuit until new regulations are “created and finalized.” The March 25 court decision agreed that EWTN has standing to sue, but it sided with Obama administration lawyers who contended that the case is not ripe for review. (Read more here.) 

 

Creating a Culture of Christian Persecution in the West

Instead of bashing one another, maybe Christians should unite against the barbarians at the gate.

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This is a Catholic Blog. I am a Catholic Woman.

They should be ashamed. 

I watch The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson at some point during Holy Week each year. The movie, whatever the much-publicized weaknesses of its producer, is deeply meaningful to me.

This year I ended up watching it late, late Good Friday and early, early Holy Saturday, after my family had gone to bed. Earlier in the day I had shared a meal with one of my dearest friends. This lady is a cradle Catholic who doesn’t analyze the Church, she just believes it. She also uses her computer for work and turns it off. She’s not an internet junkie. Since we are blessed to live in a diocese where the bishops have always allowed women’s feet to be washed along with men on Holy Thursday, she had never encountered the discussions about this that float around the internet.

During our conversation, I told her about the happenings on Public Catholic, including the debate about washing women’s feet on Holy Thursday. When I mentioned that some people don’t think that women’s feet should be washed, she stopped and stared for a moment, then said, “Reaalllllyyyyy?”

It was the first time in all the years I’ve known her that I’ve ever seen this woman, who once thought about becoming a nun, angry over her faith. Why? Because she understood instantly that this attitude put her, as a woman, outside the circle of grace that the servant priesthood and the eucharist are meant to create for all humanity.

I explained it as best I could and moved on to other topics.

Later that night, as I was watching Jesus, standing before the Sanhedrin, something changed in me. Specifically, it was that moment in the film where He is condemned to death and the mob begins spitting on Him, hitting him and pummeling Him. He is surrounded, almost lost in the mob, fists coming at him from every direction. It was, as He said earlier that same evening, “Satan’s hour.”

I wasn’t thinking about my conversation with my friend. I wasn’t thinking about the outrageous attacks on the Holy Father because he had the temerity, by his actions, to include women in the whole of the humanity the Church serves. It was as if all the pieces clicked together by themselves with an almost audible snap.

This blog is a Catholic blog. I am a Catholic woman. 

If you want to put the “teachings” of self-annointed internet magisteriums ahead of the legitimate authority of the bishops and the pope to determine the order of the mass and the liturgy, I can not stop you. But I will not publish you. This behavior is harming my Church, and I will not open my house to anything that furthers it. 

You do not have to love the Holy Father to comment on Public Catholic. But you do have to refrain from disrespecting him, including posting links to those who are trying to make themselves his teachers in the rubrics of the mass.

I am not expert on this, but I’ve read that the girm that these people claim cancels out the teaching authority of the pope and bishops (not to mention the Gospels) was written around 50 short years ago in the 1960s. If I understand it correctly, the bishops have clear authority to modify certain things (including this one) in the girm, as part of their pastoral calling. I’ve read that Cardinal O’Malley of Boston specifically queried the Vatican about this issue after he was appointed to the Archdiocese of Boston and that this was the answer. He subsequently allowed women’s feet to be washed on Holy Thursday.

Presumably, other bishops, who had years more experience in this office than the Cardinal did at this time, already knew this. I know that (then) Bishop Bevilacqua asked the USCCB to clarify this issue as long ago as 1987, and got the same answer as Cardinal O’Malley received from the Vatican later.

I would guess that if I’m aware of this, the self-annointed internet magisteriums of which I speak are also aware of it. Since they’re making what is probably a very good living based on their supposedly superior knowledge of what they imply is the absolute and infallible dogma of the girm, they certainly should.

This fixation on one word and the obvious misogyny that fuels it are both serious problems for the people who are encouraging it. I mean they are serious spiritual problems for them. They are leading people away from obedience to their bishops and the pope in the name of the girm. They are appealing to the dark temptations of self-righteousness and clannish cliquishness that destroy community, limit faith and — worst of all — deny the core message of the Gospels.

I’ve been warned that by criticizing these people I am making myself the target of on-line attacks and defamation. If that doesn’t tell you that they are not of the Lord, then what does? 

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Here is an excerpt from a Washington Post article describing the picayune grievances against the Holy Father by these people. Read it and weep.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has won over many hearts and minds with his simple style and focus on serving the world’s poorest, but he has devastated traditionalist Catholics who adored his predecessor, Benedict XVI, for restoring much of the traditional pomp to the papacy.

Francis’ decision to disregard church law and wash the feet of two girls — a Serbian Muslim and an Italian Catholic — during a Holy Thursday ritual has become something of the final straw, evidence that Francis has little or no interest in one of the key priorities of Benedict’s papacy: reviving the pre-Vatican II traditions of the Catholic Church. (More here.)

Is the Shroud of Turin the Burial Cloth of Christ?

3638 shroud of turin claims

I first read about the Shroud of Turin when I picked up a book about it in the library. I was deep in my anti-religion period at that time, struggling to find arguments against the existence of God.

 I read most of the atheist literature, both of that time and of earlier decades. I wanted to be convinced. But the things I read just weren’t all that convincing. Since I’m neither a scholar nor an intellectual, I usually employ a vacuum cleaner approach to learning about a subject that interests me.

I read everything I can get my hands on, then track down the original sources that the first books referenced and read them. It’s a process that can go on for a while. I plumbed through atheist thinking all the way to its bottom in my search to prove there was no god and found nothing but the authors themselves.

I’m not a scholar or an intellectual, but I’m also not flat-footed stupid. The arguments by the old atheists are like the arguments of the new atheists. They don’t hold up if you think about them. Most of them are self-refuting. In fact, based on the books by the so-called “new atheists” that I’ve read, I don’t see their thinking as thinking. It’s just a rehash of what has been said before, topped off with insult and rudeness. 

I did not want to believe in god back in those days. I was so cynical about god and so disappointed in him and his people that I would have preferred it if I had been able to not believe in him in some absolute and rock solid way. I wanted to cast god and what I saw as his failure out with the orange peels and old paycheck stubs in my trashcan. He seemed as spent and meaningless to me as they were.

However, reading atheist thought was not a convincing exercise. If my understanding of god made me cynical about him, my exposure to the thoughts of those who denied him actually made his existence sound almost unavoidably possible.

One thing that sharpened my understanding was my propensity to go back and forth. I would read the arguments against, then read the documents these arguments were critiquing.

I invariably found that those arguments against that I had read were based on partial quotes taken out of context and given meaning they did not mean, or facts that were likewise taken out of context and given meaning they did not mean. Atheist arguments fell apart when I traced them back to their original sources.

I had never heard of the Shroud of Turin when I plucked that book off the library shelves. i didn’t expect to be impressed by the book. But, well, my vacuum cleaner mind sweeps up everything, including the trivial. I took it home, and since it was a short book, read it before bed that night. 

The book was written by one of the members of a group of scientists who had examined the Shroud in the 1970s’ STURP investigation. It didn’t claim the Shroud was the burial cloth of Christ. It simply described the experiments. The thing about the book that impressed me the most is that I didn’t see any hint that its author was lying. I didn’t know what to make of the Shroud itself. But I felt that if the author of this book was telling the truth — and I thought he was — then the Shroud was a lot more than a fake miracle made with pigeon’s blood and a shadow box. 

I returned the book to the library and thought no more about Shroud until I heard that carbon dating experiments indicated that it was a fake from the Middle Ages. I had experienced my conversion to Christ between when I read the book and when these results were announced. But that wasn’t why the carbon dating results perplexed me. I believed almost immediately that the results were inaccurate.

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I felt this way because I still believed that the author of that original book I had read was telling the truth about his experiments on the Shroud. I just didn’t see how the artifact described in that book could be a Medieval forgery. Forgeries of that era were crude compared to the Shroud on so many levels. In fact, the Shroud would have been a poor forgery by the standards of that day, with its faint negative image. From what I’d read, you can’t even really see the thing until you see it as a negative from a camera. And the anatomical details, including those of the damage done to the man in the Shroud’s body went way beyond what a Medieval forger would need or even have the knowledge to fake. 

Add to that the simple fact that no one could figure out how to re-create the Shroud using the tools of any century, much less tools from the technologically weak past of 800 years ago, and I simply did not believe that the carbon dating results were accurate. I didn’t think they were forged or deliberately falsified. I didn’t think the protocols used in doing the dating had been bad. But I still didn’t think things added up.

All this led me, for the first time, to stop and think, Is this cloth really the winding sheet of Christ? Is the face on that cloth the face of the Lord Jesus as He lay in the tomb?

The thing that brought me to this question was that I thought I could see the logic behind obscuring the truth about a genuine Shroud from a Divine viewpoint. I think proof of this simple type would obviate faith for a lot of people. It could also lead many of us to fall into superstitions about the Shroud instead of a dynamic faith in Christ. 

These thoughts went through my mind and then I stopped speculating and went on with my life. I didn’t need the Shroud to prove anything to me. The conversion experince I’d had was enough proof for my lifetime. 

When I first read that Pope Benedict XVI had granted a televised viewing of the Shroud on Holy Saturday March 30, I thought it was nice. Then, the Pope resigned and everything he had done or said seemed outlined in high-lighter for me. I read a lot about him, and during the reading I learned that Pope Benedict had come just about as close as he could to saying that he believed the Shroud was genuine without actually using those precise words. I also kept seeing comments about “new evidence.”

Ok, I thought. New evidence. What is it? I’m still trying to get sufficient information to answer that question. I need more information than a scientist would, simply because it takes more information for me to understand what I’m reading,. 

All I know for sure is that Pope Benedict seemed to be leaning heavily toward a belief that the Shroud is genuine and that Pope Francis, while more circumspect, did not gainsay him. 

I don’t think it matters whether you believe that the Shroud is the burial cloth or not. The only danger would be if  you fell off the horse and started regarding it as an idol and a superstition. Faith in Jesus does not need the Shroud; not if you’ve encountered Him personally. 

Shroud

On the other hand, it is tantalizing. I look at the photos of the man in the Shroud, at his torn body and the obvious torture he suffered, and then I contrast that with the serene expression on his face. I can look at that face for quite a while and, despite it’s swollen eye and battered condition, I never see anything but peace. 

Who are you? I wonder.

So far at least, there is no answer. 

 

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The Old Dragon Misogyny and the Resurrected Lord

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It goes on all evening, begins in the church parking lot with a tub of lumber set to burn and is full of screaming babies and non-Catholics who watch the rest of us with dazed embarrassment as we kneel, stand, bow, greet and respond.

It is the Easter vigil, and I love it.

The Easter vigil is the liturgy, done large. We plow through the Scriptures, from the Creation to the cross and right on to the resurrection. It is a lesson in where we came from and whither we are tending. It takes us from the garden to the cave where Christ the Risen Lord first revealed HImself.

Jesus didn’t reveal Himself to just anybody that Easter morning. He chose, as He always does, the people who will say yes to Him.

People willing to keep on saying “yes” to Our Lord were few indeed that First Easter. The ignominy of His death hung like fog. He had fallen so low that one of the criminals who died with Him joined the crowds in mocking Him. Crucified — hanging naked between two thieves; tortured, and humiliated on a hill called The Skull — the defeat of their hero seemed absolute.

I don’t think that the women who came that first Easter Sunday were motivated by any residual belief in His messiahship. They came to that grave for the same reason they stayed at the foot of the cross when everyone else ran way: They loved Him.

They loved Him more than they feared the Romans or the Pharisees. They loved Him past any concerns they might have had of being put out of the Temple. They loved Him beyond their natural modesty about seeing a naked man hanging from a cross and right through their repugnance toward what they must have expected to find in that grave:  the carrion stink of a body that had been lying dead for three days.

They loved Him with the love of women and they stayed beside Him with the courage of women when the men ran away. 

I have worked with 90 men for much of my working life. It has taught me that men have greater physical courage than women. They respond to physical threats more quickly and more aggressively than women. We can do it if we have to, but we have to work ourselves into what comes naturally for men.

On the other hand, women have greater moral courage than men. Women are more willing to stand alone for someone they love than men; much less likely to run away from social approbation and less likely to be bulled by the crowd into going along with something they know is wrong. Men can exhibit the moral courage that comes naturally to women, but they have to work themselves into it.

The women who stood at the cross and who came to His grave were teachers to the men in those days of His death and resurrection. They were showing them the kind of moral courage it would take to build His Church.

It is no surprise that He revealed Himself as the Risen Lord to women first. They were the ones who said yes. 

WomenAtTheTomb

It is also no surprise that the first Apostle was a woman. Mary Magdalene was the one He chose to carry the good news of His resurrection to “Peter and the others.” She was His Apostle of the Good News, signifying forever that women are co-inheritors of eternal life and purveyors and proclaimers of the Gospels the same as men. 

The human race is not male. The human race is not female. The human race is male and female, created each and every one of us in the image and likeness of the living God.

Jesus may have created the priesthood male, but He did not put women outside the circle of grace. He did not intend for women to be passive witnesses to the on-going drama of Kingdom building. He meant for them to be at the heart of it. 

I was disturbed by the callous misogyny and easy patronizing of women that I encountered in the comboxes of a blog I wrote a few days ago. As usual when something upsets me, I talked it over with my husband. He gave me wise advice that you will see acted out on this blog in the next few days. He also made an observation that I think bears repeating today: People who hate women, hate humanity, he said. 

Misogyny is a lie and lies are always the devil’s first weapon against us. Misogyny is a curse enacted on all of humanity. It is the first curse of the Fall. Misogyny is the human race, warring against itself. It is us, attacking our own life-bearers.

Cultural misogyny made Jesus’ choice of messengers a compelling statement. In those days, the testimony of women was not legitimate testimony. Yet the scriptures rely on it in the Gospel description of Jesus’ burial. “Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb, watching,” it says.  Women are the witnesses cited for this most important event in human history.

Jesus first revealed HImself as the Messiah to a woman, and not just any woman, but a member of the outcast Samaritan tribe; a sinful much-married woman who was living with a man who was not her husband. She came to the well to draw water alone instead of with the other women, probably because they thought her so disreputable that they wanted nothing to do with her. This sinful woman was the first one to whom He revealed that He was the Messiah, the son of the living God.

The Disciples’ reaction was typical then — and now — they “were surprised that He was talking with a woman.”

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So, there is a symmetry and a message in the Risen Lord revealing Himself first to a woman, and the choice of Mary Magdalene to tell “Peter and the others” of His resurrection.

“Those who are forgiven much, love much,” he said. Many people believe that Mary Magdalene was the woman who was taken in adultery. Whether this is true or not, there is no doubt that she loved much

This woman was the Apostle to the Apostles. The first bearer of the Good News that is the fulcrum of human history. On that first Easter morning, she was the first and the only Apostle.

Women are human beings, made in the image and likeness of God. Jesus came for women as much as He came for men. He died for women as well as men. He gave the Eucharist to women as well as men.

He instituted the priesthood to serve all of humankind, young and old, weak and strong, sinners and saints, men, and yes, women.  That is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets we read in the Easter vigil.

It is the snake, the old dragon misogyny, crushed beneath His foot. 

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Like a Stranger on a Bus

… like a stranger on a bus …

 

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News Coverage: Pope Francis’ First Chrism Mass and Holy Thursday Foot Washing

This video shows news coverage of Pope Francis’ first Chrism mass as Pope and the Holy Thursday mass at which he washed the feet of 12 prisoners, including two young women. I am so grateful to the Holy Father for doing this.

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English Translation: Pope Francis’ Easter Homily

The Holy Father looked weary when he began his homily. We are so blessed that the Holy Spirit has given us this wonderful man to shepherd us. He is in my prayers every day.

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He is Risen!

Jesus

The Tomb

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As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

The next day, on the Sabbath, the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he was raised from the dead! If that happens, we’ll be worse off than we were at first.”

Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

The worst crime in history

The worst crime in history was committed by:

A cowardly politician

A group of corrupt priests

A mob of good citizens who yelled

“Crucify Him!”

And soldiers who were just doing their jobs.

We were all there.

 

Were You There?

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See mother, I am making all things new

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