Saturday, May 10, 2008

Eduardo Verastegui on the Todays Show

What can I say? I am impressed every time I hear him speak. Bella is now out on DVD, and is available at Walmart and other places.

God bless!

Canon Law Blog Update (Abp. Joseph Naumann and the Kansas' Catholic Governor Kathleen Sebelius

On his blog, Edward Peters also points us to Fr Z's blog, with a very good commentary on the Archbishop's Pastoral Action. Fr Z begins his commentary with:

What is going on here?  I explain it in this PODCAzTEssentially, this is not just about the Governor's position on abortion, though that is key.  What makes this a matter of public statement is that the Governor is a public figure who, by words and actions, gives scandal to the faithful.  Were the Governor doing some other thing very publicly that defied the Church's teachings or laws, the same remedy would apply.  In this case it is abortion, but it could be, for example, divorce and remarriage, or belonging to the Masons, or actively homosexual lifestyle, etc.  When public figures create public scandal, they must make public reparation before they may return to the sacraments.  The reparation must be proportionate to the scandal.  Were this person a private person no one knew or watched, it might be handled in a different way.

He goes on to make explanatory comments embedded in the Archbishop's annoucement.

Bravo, Archbishop Naumann!! Bravo!!

God bless!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Edward Peters
Date: May 10, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Staunching the wound of Bleeding Kansas
Abp. Joseph Naumann has applied a Canon 915 tourniquet to the wound inflicted on the Body of Christ by the Catholic governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius. His actions are a model to emulated.

Read more about it here:

LightoftheLaw URL:

Friday, May 09, 2008

From Auschwitz, a Torah as Strong as Its Spirit

To everything there is a season... so says Ecclesiates 3:1.

I have always liked those words, but even more so when I could sing them (The Byrds "Turn, Turn, Turn"). But when I was reading this story, they came back to me...

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap that which is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to get and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Ecclesiates 3:1-8

One could almost say A time to hide, a time to find, a time to lose, a time to find, a time to search, a time to find....

April 30, 2008

From Auschwitz, a Torah as Strong as Its Spirit

The back story of how a Torah got from the fetid barracks of Auschwitz to the ark of the Central Synagogue at Lexington Avenue and 55th Street is one the pastor of the Lutheran church down the street sums up as simply "miraculous."

It is the story of a sexton in the synagogue in the Polish city of Oswiecim who buried most of the sacred scroll before the Germans stormed in and later renamed the city Auschwitz. It is the story of Jewish prisoners who sneaked the rest of it — four carefully chosen panels — into the concentration camp.

It is the story of a Polish Catholic priest to whom they entrusted the four panels before their deaths. It is the story of a Maryland rabbi who went looking for it with a metal detector. And it is the story of how a hunch by the rabbi's 13-year-old son helped lead him to it.

Click here to read the rest of the story.....

God bless!!

More on Tube Feedings

Two very good articles on Tube feedings can be found here and here.

The first:

On Basic Care For Patients In The 'Vegetative' State
A Response to Dr. Hardt and Fr. O'Rourke

Cardinal Rigali is archbishop of Philadelphia and chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); and Bishop Lori is bishop of Bridgeport , Conn. , and chairman of the Committee on Doctrine, USCCB.

In a 2004 address on care for patients diagnosed as being in a "vegetative state," Pope John Paul II affirmed the human dignity of these patients and the obligation to provide them with ordinary care, including food and water, even with artificial assistance. On Sept. 14, 2007, through its "Responses to Certain Questions of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Concerning Artificial Nutrition and Hydration," the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, reaffirmed and further explained this papal teaching. (The CDF's "Responses" was accompanied by a "Commentary," which offered further explanation.) The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has welcomed this important clarification of Catholic Church teaching and has provided its own set of questions and answers to promote a better understanding of it in the United States. 1

Unfortunately, confusion about this teaching and opposition to some aspects of it persist in some quarters. For example, a recent Health Progress article by John J. Hardt, Ph.D. and Fr. Kevin D. O'Rourke, OP, JCD, STM, titled, "Nutrition and Hydration: The CDF Response, In Perspective," misinterprets the Holy See's documents in important respects, and even makes the charge that the CDF interprets euthanasia in a way that is "at odds with the traditional teaching of moral theology." 2

As chairmen of the U.S. Bishops' Committees on Doctrine and on Pro-Life Activities, we offer the following points to prevent misunderstanding and to help those involved in Catholic health care ministry more fully understand the church's teaching.

The authors then go on to list SIX disagreements with John J Hardt and Fr O'Rourke, saying that there are other areas as well... to read those six (the rest of the article) go here.

The second:

A Pope's Teaching Closes A Loop

Fr. Smith is senior director, ethics, Catholic Health Association, St. Louis.

The papal allocution of 2004 regarding tube feeding does not contradict the teaching of Pope Pius XII, but rather compliments it by closing a loop that completes a doctrine about the dignity of human life and appropriate medical treatment. Pius XII addressed himself to this by considering invasive measures of resuscitation to save a life and John Paul II did so by rejecting measures used to terminate life.

Since Aristotle, the moral act is said to be composed of three essential elements: the end (or purpose), the object (the action) and the circumstances. Most of us who study the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary means do so with the understanding that the distinction hinges on the circumstances of a given case. And those who recognize the evil of euthanasia realize that intentions and actions directed at the termination of life (as opposed to the question of termination of treatment) confine our consideration to this third font of morality, circumstances.

This article ends with:

So, the dignity of human life has been addressed on two fronts. Pope Pius XII defends life's dignity in light of aggressive attempts to preserve life. Pope John Paul II does so in light of attempts to legitimize of all means of preserving life precisely to achieve the death of the patient.

There is NO QUESTION that Nutrition and water via Tube feeding is NOT extraordinary means, and should NOT be stopped to end a life.

God bless!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Caviezel Shares Fears, Joys in Adopting

Another article on the Caviezel's adoption from China. Use the hyperlink at 'Permalink' for the rest of the article!

God bless!

ZE08050703 - 2008-05-07

Caviezel Shares Fears, Joys in Adopting

Mel Gibson's "Jesus" Takes in Boy and Girl With Tumors

NEW YORK, MAY 7, 2008 ( Christianity is about living according to faith, even if certain decisions bring paralyzing fear, says actor Jim Caviezel, who played the role of Jesus in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

Caviezel, 39, affirmed this on a radio program with the Christopher Movement, during which he talked about overcoming fear to adopt two children suffering from brain tumors.

Caviezel and his wife, Kerri, adopted the children, a boy and a girl, from China. But the decision wasn't easy, the actor acknowledged.

Monday, May 05, 2008

"You have no idea the blessings that you have coming" says Caviezel to parents considering adoption

More about their adoption... and I have to agree with that quote!

God bless!

With Adoption of Second Disabled Child Jim Caviezel Makes Good on Pro-Life Convictions
"You have no idea the blessings that you have coming" says Caviezel to parents considering adoption

By Hilary White

April 29, 2008 ( - Jim Caviezel, the star of the blockbuster film The Passion of the Christ, told an interviewer that he had been challenged by a friend who was not pro-life to live up to his professed pro-life convictions and adopt a disabled child. The friend told Caviezel that if he did that, then he would change to the pro-life position. When Caviezel and his wife, Kerri, went to China to adopt not one, but eventually two orphans suffering from brain tumours, the friend reneged on the deal. Caviezel, however, said, "It didn't matter to me because the joy that we had from (Bo) - he's like our own."

The couple's first child, Bo, had been abandoned on a train, grew up in an orphanage until he was five and was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The Caviezels nursed Bo through his surgeries and he remains today at the centre of the family.

"We took the harder road," the actor said. "That is what faith is to me; it's action. It's the Samaritan. It's not the one who says he is; it's the one who does - and does without bringing attention to himself. I'm saying this because I want to encourage other people."

Handsome and a compelling actor, Jim Caviezel has taken leading roles in a number of mainstream feature films - The Thin Red Line and the Count of Monte Christo being the best known. But it is his role as the suffering Jesus in the Passion of the Christ that he has become best known for.

Caviezel spoke to an interviewer with the Christophers, a Christian leadership organisation that runs the Christopher Closeup radio, television and internet features. He spoke of the impact of his faith on his career and of the effect on others that his playing the part of Christ has had.

About the adoption of his children, Caviezel was frank about his feelings, saying the challenge "completely terrified" him at first. "Yes, you do feel fear, you do feel scared but you have no idea the blessings that you have coming to you if you just take a chance on faith."

When the Caviezels went to adopt their second child, they were first offered a healthy baby girl, but a five-year-old girl with a brain tumour from the Guangzhou region of China also needed a home. The Caviezels reasoned that a healthy baby would be more likely to be adopted by another family and that the child with the tumour had a greater need for a home.

Caviezel's optimism and self-confidence showed early in his acting career, when many people in Hollywood told him to change his surname, "because no one will be able to pronounce it." He responded, "Well, you've learned to say Schwarzenegger." He was also told that as a devoutly believing Catholic he should be prepared to keep his beliefs quiet. But it was his openness about his faith that attracted the attention of Mel Gibson and led him to offer Caviezel the role of Christ.

Asked about the challenges of being a publicly Catholic figure in Hollywood, Caviezel responded, "It's part of the cross you take up when you choose to believe in Him...we all have this desire to want to be liked...but what we should be asking God is the desire for humility."

The strength of Christian faith, he said, is "in just giving it up and saying I'm going to be a servant of Jesus Christ, and my Father in heaven."

"We were not awarded any Oscars for the Passion, but do you think that's the important thing for God? Certainly if we received ten Oscars, it would not bring any more peace into the world."

"When the world looks at us, in complete and utter dismay, and asks why would you choose to suffer like this? But in that, that's where the great strength is when God starts to work," he said.

Caviezel spoke of the people who approached him after the release of the film and told him about its effects on their lives. "Even people who never knew Christ, who were secularized, said, 'Jim, I finally got what Christianity is,' and that gave me great hope and great joy."

As a serious actor, he said, being associated with the role of Christ has its burdens. "When I walk down the street, I can always see them mouthing. They don't mouth my name, they don't say 'That's Jim Caviezel'; they say, 'That's Jesus'. I can't take my face off...I wear my face everywhere, and when people look, they go, 'There's Jesus'."

But he joked, "I always tell them I'm still the Count of Monte Christo."
Caviezel has provided the voice part, in English, for Christ in the audio dramatization of the New Testament, "The Word of Promise", by Thomas Nelson publishers.

Caviezel said, "When you live in holiness, when you really try to stop sinning, you become braver. You become more courageous, you become a man of your word. You become a man of conviction that you're not willing to sell out and you're really a true knight in shining armour."

Read related coverage:

Star Studded Bible Story Project with Jim Caviezel as Christ Co-Produced by EWTN's Raymond Arroyo

Passion of the Christ Star Jim Caviezel Explains Opposition to Embryo Research

Jim Caviezel and wife respond to God's call, adopt two children

As the mother of two that joined our family through adoption, and one who entered the usual way, I can only admire the Caviezels for having the courage to choose to take two children with special needs. God knew every detail of their lives, each of them.

God bless this family in a special way!

Jim Caviezel and wife respond to God's call, adopt two children 

Hollywood, April 30 (CNA).-In an interview with "Christopher Closeup," a radio show for the media apostolate The Christophers, Jim Caviezel described both the deep fear he felt when adopting two children with brain tumors, and the joy he and his wife have received from doing the will of Christ.

Caviezel, best known in Christian circles for his role as Jesus in Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ", has been committed to his Catholic and pro-life beliefs for a while.  When he was challenged to prove his faith by adopting a disabled child, he and his wife, Kerri, traveled to China where they adopted a five-year old boy who was living in an orphanage.

Caviezel recalled that he was "completely terrified" at the possibility of adopting a child with a disability, but deep within his soul, he knew that God wanted him to do it. 

He compared the fear he felt at the prospect of adopting a child to other "fearful" times in his life.  Caviezel explained that in some of the "most important decisions" in his life, he has experienced a "huge fear" and found that he needed to trust God through his faith.

The boy, Bo, had been abandoned on a train as an infant and was raised in the orphanage where they children were told that they did not have a mother. Instead, orphanage workers told them they were born out of the dirt. 

Bo also struggled with a brain tumor that threatened his life.  Though surgery has not been able to remove the tumor, the Caviezels have been by Bo's side throughout the procedures.

Though there have been difficult times, Caviezel notes that the adoption has been a blessing from God.  "The joy that we have from this child, he's like our own…"

Later, the couple decided to adopt another child, a healthy newborn girl.  However, before the adoption took place, they met a five year-old girl – also with a brain tumor.

The couple stated that they knew the healthy baby would find a good home, however it was likely that the sick girl would not.  They decided to adopt the five year-old and have been blessed ever since.

Caviezel continued by discussing the courage it takes to do the will of Christ and encouraging those who may be scared to do what God is asking.  "When you have great fear, that is when you are a Christian…you have no idea the blessings you have coming to you if you take a chance on faith."

Reflecting on his earlier years, Caviezel stated that he has been a coward in the past – one who would run away from the will of Christ that seemed so difficult.  "I never want to do that again." 

Caviezel added that he prays every day that to have the courage to do the right thing and when considering whether or not to do the will of God, to never take for granted the sacrifices that He made for us.

Alaska governor balances newborn's needs (with Down Syndrome), official duties

Thanks, Nancy, for sending this article! I have a few more 'heroes' on my list now!

Many of my favorite patients over the years in both medical and dental world have Down's. I have learned only love (unconditional) from them!

God bless!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: nancyvalko
Date: Sun, May 4, 2008 at 9:51 PM;_ylt=AkCULYnAhDAMuwyzoIYE6OlvzwcF

Alaska governor balances newborn's needs, official duties

By STEVE QUINN, Associated Press Writer

The results of Gov. Sarah Palin's prenatal testing were in, and the
doctor's tone was ominous: "You need to come to the office so we can
talk about it."

Palin, known for a resolve that quickly launched her from suburban
hockey mom to a player on the national political stage, said, "No, go
ahead and tell me over the phone."

The physician replied, "Down syndrome," stunning the Republican
governor, who had just completed what many political analysts called a
startling first year in office.

She had arrived at the Capitol on an ethics reform platform after
defeating the incumbent Republican in the primary and a former two-
term Democratic governor in the general election. Her growing
reputation as a maverick for bucking her party's establishment and
Alaska's powerful oil industry quickly gained her a national reputation.

Now she is trying to balance caring for her special-needs child and
running a state.

The doctor's announcement in December, when Palin was four months
pregnant, presented her with a possible life- and career-changing

"I've never had problems with my other pregnancies, so I was shocked,"
said Palin, a mother of four other children.

"It took a while to open up the book that the doctor gave me about
children with Down syndrome, and a while to log on to the Web site and
start reading facts about the situation."

The 44-year-old governor waited a few days before telling her husband,
Todd, who was out of town, so she could understand what was ahead for

Once her husband got the news, he told her: "We shouldn't be asking,
'Why us?' We should be saying, 'Well, why not us?'"

There was never any doubt the Palins would have the child, and on
April 18 she gave birth to Trig Paxon Van Palin.

"We've both been very vocal about being pro-life," Palin said. "We
understand that every innocent life has wonderful potential."

Down syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in the
fetus' cells. It's a genetic abnormality that impedes physical,
intellectual and language development.

The mother's age is a large factor in the chances of having a Down
child. Once a woman turns 40, the chances of having a Down child is 1
out of 100, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development.

During her first year in office, Palin distanced herself from the old
guard, powerful Republicans in the state GOP, even calling on tight-
lipped veteran U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens to explain to Alaskans why
federal authorities were investigating him.

She asked Alaska's congressional delegation to be more selective in
seeking earmarks after what came to be known as the "Bridge to
Nowhere" turned into a national symbol of piggish pork-barrel spending.

She stood up to the powerful oil industry, and with bipartisan support
in the statehouse she won a tax increase on oil companies' profits.

She also found time to pose for the fashion magazine Vogue while she
was pregnant, and she has been mentioned as a potential running mate
for presidential candidate John McCain.

Three days after giving birth, Palin returned to work in her Anchorage
office, accompanied by Trig and her husband.

This was not a mother's typical visit to the office to show off the
new baby; instead, she was serving notice that a child of special
needs would not hinder her professional commitments.

"It's a sign of the times to be able to do this," she said. "I can
think of so many male candidates who watched families grow while they
were in office.

"There is no reason to believe a woman can't do it with a growing
family. My baby will not be at all or in any sense neglected."

Neither, Palin said, will the state, as she prepares to lead
deliberations for a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline. She
calls it the economic future of the state, a means of getting North
Slope natural gas to consumers throughout North America.

"I will not shirk my duties," she said.

Other politicians have pressed forward with their careers despite
jarring personal news.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards continued with his
campaign despite the return of his wife Elizabeth's breast cancer,
though he eventually dropped out.

Another elected official who has a child with Down syndrome said that
Palin will probably have detractors, but that it shouldn't change
ambitions for the mother or child.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a Washington state Republican, has
just celebrated the first birthday of her son Cole, her first child,
who was born with Down syndrome. She is busy campaigning for a third
term, and Cole often travels with her between Washington, D.C., and
the Pacific Northwest.

"Cole opened my eyes to the pain and trouble a lot of families
endure," Rodgers said. "He's allowed me to see people and circumstance
more deeply, and the generosity of people.

"It's in human nature to focus on the negative, on what the person
can't do. In our mind, we are focused on what he can do, what he will
be able to do and do very well."

It's not unlike how Palin sees her child.

"I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said.
"Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what
is normal and what is perfect?"


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Fwd: ZE080503 (Father Cantalamessa on Marriage)

As far as I can find, Mark 10:2-16 is the only Gospel reading in a three year cycle that touches on the indissolubility of Marriage. I get the Zenit email alerts, which also include one that shows just readers' comments. I have deleted all the rest of the email, and changed the link below to the original article, from October 6, 2006, because it is an EXCELLENT article by Fr Cantalamessa. In today's 'throw away' society (which I have ALWAYS alluded to in relation to divorce...), he has a few good words to say. I would almost call it an admonition as much as an encouragement.  The comment from a reader isn't needed, so I have not included it.

God bless!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: ZENIT <>
Date: Sat, May 3, 2008 at 10:45 AM


A Deeper Marriage

Father Cantalamessa on Marriage

"Rediscover the Art of Repairing!" Says Pontifical Household Preacher

ROME, OCT. 6, 2006 ( Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.

* * *

The Two Shall Become One Flesh
Genesis 2:18-24; Hebrews 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16

Fwd: Bella update - DVD is released this Tuesday May 6th!

PLEASE note the PS at the bottom of this message!! Someone you know may be interested!

God bless!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bella The Movie
Date: Sat, May 3, 2008 at 9:32 AM

Thanks for helping Bella impact the lives of countless people.

We need your help to increase the impact now that this life changing film is coming out on DVD on May 6th.

Could you please help increase Bella's impact by taking these 3 easy actions:

1. Pre-Buy DVD

Click here to buy the Bella DVD
You can also buy the DVD in bulk (28 minimum order). Click here to buy in bulk

Note: please browse "Juno" before buying Bella because this could cause Amazon to recommend Bella to all Juno customers.

2. Recruit 10
Get 10 people to buy the dvd.

Visit to view the Promotional Plan for recruiting your 10.

3. Mobilize
Pay it forward!
Get the 10 you found to find their own 10 who will repeat these 3 steps.

Send this website to your entire database and promote it online. (view promo plan)

Visit to view more ways you can make a positive impact by promoting Bella and to enroll to win a Private Screening with the filmmakers.

We deeply appreciate all you have done.

The Bella Team
Love is a Movement - Find Your 10

PS: If you know anyone who would like to volunteer or join our internship program this summer please visit . Also, Eduardo will be on the TODAY show Tuesday May 6th at 10am if you want to see the interview. Finally, because of your help Bella was the #1 rated film of 2007 by the users of the biggest film review website in the world, Rotten Tomatoes with a 96.5 rating. Bella was also #1 while in theaters by users of Yahoo!, Fandango and NY Times Readers Poll. Now we are trying to become the #1 most pre-ordered DVD on Amazon so Bella make a bigger impact in peoples lives.