“If history teaches us one lesson, it must surely be a call to be careful about the canonization of political leaders. Even Hitler had to face that reality. A cautionary tale.”
Thursday, July 28, 2011
“If history teaches us one lesson, it must surely be a call to be careful about the canonization of political leaders. Even Hitler had to face that reality. A cautionary tale.”
The tomb of St. Philip the Apostle, one of the original 12 disciples of Christianity's central figure Jesus Christ, has been discovered during the ongoing excavations in Turkey's south-western province of Denizli.
Italian professor Francesco D'Andria, the head of the excavation team at the Hierapolis ancient city in Denizli, told reporters on Tuesday that experts had reached the tomb of St. Philip whose name is mentioned in the Bible as one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus.
Professor D'Andria said archeologists had been working for years to find the tomb of the Biblical figure, and finally, they had managed to reach the monument while working on the ruins of a newly-unearthed church in Hierapolis.
D'Andria said the structure of the tomb and the writings on it proved that it belonged to St. Philip the Apostle, who is recognized as a martyr in the history of Christianity.
Describing the discovery as a major development both for archeology and the Christian world, D'Andria said the tomb, which had not been opened yet, was expected to become an important Christian pilgrimage destination.
Hierapolis, whose name means "sacred city", is an ancient city located next to the renowned Pamukkale, white Travertine terraces, in Denizli province. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city, famous for its historical hot springs used as a spa since the 2nd century, is a mixture of Pagan, Roman, Jewish and early Christian influences.
Ancient tradition associates Hierapolis with St. Philip the Apostle, who is believed to have died in the city around 80 AD. The follower, who is known as the apostle who preached in Greece, Syria, and Phrygia, is said to have been martyred in Hierapolis. The legend is that St. Philip was crucified upside-down or martyred by beheading.
After the apostle's death, an octagonal tomb named "The Martryium" was erected for him where he is believed to have been martyred.
An extensive online book written by Anders Behring Breivik criticizes Pope Benedict XVI for defending the rights of immigrants, especially Muslims.
In his manifesto, “2083—European Declaration of Independence,” Breivik calls Benedict XVI “God’s Rottweiler,” and accuses him of “embodying elements of the sensible and the silly Christian ways of treating the Islamic threat.
“Although Benedict has stressed the need for 'reciprocity' in Christian-Muslim relations and urged Islamic countries to ensure religious rights for Christian migrants, he has also said that Christians should continue welcoming Muslim immigrants with open arms,” Brievik wrote.
Breivik was arrested for detonating a car bomb at the government headquarters in downtown Oslo on July 22. That attack took the lives of eight people and injured many more.
Hours later he appeared at a youth camp for the children of the political Labour Party on Utoya Island. Dressed as a police officer, he began a shooting spree that killed 68.
Massimo Introvigne, a sociologist and representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, recently spoke with Vatican Radio and responded to reports labeling Breivik as a fundamentalist Christian.
Introvigne said it was ironic that Breivik’s book was posted online by a minister of the “Church of Satan,” which is legally recognized in Norway. He added that Breivik, who was baptized in the Lutheran Church of Norway, is not a fundamentalist Christian, but rather a ‘cultural Christian’ who uses the Christian heritage of Europe as a pretext for attacking Islam.”
The sociologist also pointed out that Breivik belongs to the Grand Masonic Lodge of Norway.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Below is the account, preserved in the correspondence of Pope Saint Leo III, concerning the discovery of the relics of Saint Anne in the presence of the Emperor Charlemagne.
Fourteen years after Our Lord’s death, Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint Martha, Saint Lazarus, and the others of the little band of Christians who were piled into a boat without sails or oars and pushed out to sea to perish — in the persecution of the Christians by the Jews of Jerusalem — were careful to carry with them the tenderly loved body of Our Lady’s mother. They feared lest it be profaned in the destruction, which Jesus had told them was to come upon Jerusalem. When, by the power of God, their boat sur vived and finally drifted to the shores of France, the little company of saints buried Saint Anne’s body in a cave, in a place called Apt, in the south of France. The church, which was later built over the spot, fell into decay because of wars and religious persecutions, and as the centuries passed, the place of Saint Anne’s tomb was forgotten.
The long years of peace, which Charlemagne’s wise rule gave to southern France, enabled the people to build a magnificent new church on the site of the old chapel at Apt. Extraordinary and painstaking labor went into the building of the great structure, and when the day of its consecration arrived [Easter Sunday, 792 A.D.], the beloved Charlemagne, little suspecting what was in store for him, declared himself happy indeed to have jour neyed so many miles to be present for the holy occasion. At the most solemn part of the ceremonies, a boy of fourteen, blind, deaf and dumb from birth — and usually quiet and impassive — to the amaze ment of those who knew him, completely distracted the at tention of the entire congrega tion by becoming suddenly tremendously excited. He rose from his seat, walked up the aisle to the altar steps, and to the consternation of the whole church, struck his stick re soundingly again and again upon a single step.
His embarrassed family tried to lead him out, but he would not budge. He continued frantically to pound the step, straining with his poor muted senses to impart a knowledge sealed hopelessly within him. The eyes of the people turned upon the em peror, and he, apparently in spired by God, took the matter into his own hands. He called for workmen to remove the steps.
A subterranean passage was revealed directly below the spot, which the boy’s stick had indicated. Into this pas sage the blind lad jumped, to be followed by the emperor, the priests, and the workmen.
They made their way in the dim light of candles, and when, farther along the pas sage, they came upon a wall that blocked further ad vance, the boy signed that this also should be removed. When the wall fell, there was brought to view still another long, dark corridor. At the end of this, the searchers found a crypt, upon which, to their profound wonderment, a vigil lamp, alight and burning in a little walled recess, cast a heavenly radiance.
As Charlemagne and his afflicted small guide, with their companions, stood before the lamp, its light went out. And at the same moment, the boy, blind and deaf and dumb from birth, felt sight and hearing and speech flood into his young eyes, his ears, and his tongue.
“It is she! It is she!” he cried out. The great emperor, not knowing what he meant, nevertheless repeated the words after him. The call was taken up by the crowds in the church above, as the people sank to their knees, bowed in the realization of the presence of something celestial and holy.
The crypt at last was opened, and a casket was found within it. In the casket was a winding sheet, and in the sheet were relics, and upon the relics was an inscription that read, “Here lies the body of Saint Anne, mother of the glorious Virgin Mary.” The winding sheet, it was noted, was of eastern design and texture.
Charlemagne, over whelmed, venerated with pro found gratitude the relics of the mother of Heaven’s Queen. He remained a long time in prayer. The priests and the people, awed by the graces given them in such abundance and by the choice of their countryside for such a heavenly manifestation, for three days spoke but rarely, and then in whispers.
The emperor had an exact and detailed account of the miraculous finding drawn up by a notary and sent to Pope Saint Leo III, with an accom panying letter from himself. These documents and the pope’s reply are preserved to this day. Many papal bulls have attested, over and over again, to the genuineness of Saint Anne’s relics at Apt.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
On July 26 the Roman Catholic Church commemorates the parents of the Virgin Mary, Saints Joachim and Anne. The couple's faith and perseverance brought them through the sorrow of childlessness, to the joy of conceiving and raising the immaculate and sinless woman who would give birth to Christ.
The New Testament contains no specific information about the lives of the Virgin Mary's parents, but other documents outside of the Biblical canon do provide some details. Although these writings are not considered authoritative in the same manner as the Bible, they outline some of the Church's traditional beliefs about Joachim, Anne and their daughter.
The “Protoevangelium of James,” which was probably put into its final written form in the early second century, describes Mary's father Joachim as a wealthy member of one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Joachim was deeply grieved, along with his wife Anne, by their childlessness. “He called to mind Abraham,” the early Christian writing says, “that in the last day God gave him a son Isaac.”
Joachim and Anne began to devote themselves to rigorous prayer and fasting, in isolation from one another and from society. They regarded their inability to conceive a child as a surpassing misfortune, and a sign of shame among the tribes of Israel.
As it turned out, however, the couple were to be blessed even more abundantly than Abraham and Sarah. An angel revealed this to Anne when he appeared to her and prophesied that all generations would honor their future child: “The Lord has heard your prayer, and you shall conceive, and shall bring forth; and your seed shall be spoken of in all the world.”
After Mary's birth, according to the Protoevangelium of James, Anne “made a sanctuary” in the infant girl's room, and “allowed nothing common or unclean” on account of the special holiness of the child. The same writing records that when she was one year old, her father “made a great feast, and invited the priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and all the people of Israel.”
“And Joachim brought the child to the priests,” the account continues, “and they blessed her, saying: 'O God of our fathers, bless this child, and give her an everlasting name to be named in all generations' … And he brought her to the chief priests; and they blessed her, saying: 'O God most high, look upon this child, and bless her with the utmost blessing, which shall be forever.'”
The protoevangelium goes on to describe how Mary's parents, along with the temple priests, subsequently decided that she would be offered to God as a consecrated Virgin for the rest of her life, and enter a chaste marriage with the carpenter Joseph.
St. Joachim and St. Anne have been a part of the Church's liturgical calendar for many centuries. Devotion to their memory is particularly strong in the Eastern Catholic churches, where their intercession is invoked by the priest at the end of each Divine Liturgy. The Eastern churches, however, celebrate Sts. Joachim and Anne on a different date, Sept. 9.
In an exceptional move, the Vatican has recalled its nuncio to Ireland so that he could participate in meetings aimed at drafting a formal response to an Irish government report on clerical sex abuse.
The Vatican said that following the publication of the Cloyne Report “and, particularly, after the reactions that followed, the secretary of state has recalled the apostolic nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, for consultations”.
Passionist Fr Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, said recalling the nuncio “denotes the seriousness of the situation, the desire of the Holy See to face it with objectivity and determination, as well as a certain note of surprise and disappointment over some excessive reactions” to the report and its accusations against the Vatican.
The Cloyne Report, which examined how the Diocese of Cloyne handled accusations of clerical sexual abuse, said the bishop paid “little or no attention” to child safeguarding as recently as 2008 and that he falsely told the government his diocese was reporting all allegations of abuse to the civil authorities.
The report also accused the Vatican of being “entirely unhelpful” to Irish bishops who wanted to implement stronger norms for dealing with accusations and protecting children.
Addressing parliament last week, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the Cloyne Report “exposes an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic as little as three years ago”.
“And in doing so, the Cloyne Report excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and the narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day,” the prime minister said.
After the prime minister spoke, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, issued a statement calling for greater objectivity in discussing “topics so dramatic” because the first concern of all should be “the safeguarding of children and of young people and the renewal of a climate of trust and collaboration” between Church and state.
In announcing the recall of the nuncio, Fr Benedettini said the Vatican Secretariat of State wanted to ensure its response to the Cloyne Report was serious and complete, and to do that it was necessary that “the person on the scene”, Archbishop Leanza, took part in drafting discussions along with officials from the congregations for the doctrine of the faith, religious, clergy and bishops.
He said the Vatican expected to forward its formal response to the Irish government before the end of August.
In a statement Irish foreign minister Eamon Gilmore said: “The decision to recall the papal nuncio to the Vatican for consultations is a matter for the Holy See. The government is awaiting the response of the Holy See to the recent report into the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne and it is to be expected that the Vatican would wish to consult in depth with the nuncio on its response.”
A day earlier, Mr Kenny told a crowd during a visit to County Donegal he had received “thousands of messages from around the world” supporting his comments.
“The numbers of members of the clergy who have been in touch in the last few days, to say it is about time somebody spoke out about these matters in a situation like you are, has astounded me,” Mr Kenny added.
“I haven’t made any other comments except to say that we await the response from the Vatican,” he said.
Contributing to this story was Michael Kelly in Dublin.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Norwegian, 32, arrested over 'holiday island massacre' and linked to Oslo car bomb blasts. Pictured in what could be Masonic Apron.
The 32-year-old Norwegian man arrested for gunning down children on a holiday island and detonating a car bomb in Oslo has been named locally as Anders Behring Breivik.
Any Catholic American who lived through the Long Lent of 2002 can sympathize with the beleaguered Catholics of Ireland today. Especially for someone like myself—a native Bostonian, who saw the sex-abuse scandal erupt from a ground-zero perspective—the scenes that are playing out now in Dublin look depressingly familiar.
In Ireland, as in Boston, a society that was until recently dominated by Catholic influence is now in full angry rebellion against the Church. Politicians who curried favor with the hierarchy just a few years ago now compete with each other to take the toughest public stand against the bishops and the Vatican. The media are in attack mode, ready to lash out at any sign of Catholic misconduct, and let subtle distinctions be damned. The public is angry—so angry, in fact, that a remarkable transformation has occurred: Queen Elizabeth is more welcome in today’s Ireland than Pope Benedict.
Catholicism dominated in Ireland much more fully, and far longer, than in Boston. So since the pendulum of public opinion swung, the results have been even far more extreme. Politicians in Boston slapped aside Catholic objections to ratify same-sex marriage, but they have never (not yet, anyway) proposed legislation that would threaten a priest with prison if he refused to violate the confessional seal.
“This is not Rome,” said the Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny, in an angry tirade against the Church. “This is the Republic of Ireland in 2011: a republic of laws.” It seems clear that the Taoisech saw himself as bravely defying the power of the Vatican—although it is far from clear that the Vatican has had any practical control over Irish political affairs in recent years. Kenny’s speech was not logical, nor did his political proposals answer any real need, as we shall see below. The purpose of his broadside, it seems, was not to solve problems for the government but to create problems for the Church. And God knows, the Church has enough problems of her own.
The drama in Ireland includes one element that was missing from the sex-abuse scandal in the US: the presence of an influential and outspoken prelate who has frequently criticized his colleagues for their mishandling of the problem. Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is himself immune from criticism on the handling of old sex-abuse cases, since he was serving at the Vatican, in offices that had nothing to do with clerical misconduct, until he was sent to Dublin in 2003. Since his arrival there, he has clashed repeatedly with his brother bishops: demanding release of documents, criticizing past administrations, prodding for resignations, and pointedly declining to issue expressions of support for embattled colleagues.
By meeting with abuse victims, underlining the gravity of the problem, frankly acknowledging past failures, and pushing for candor, Archbishop Martin has undoubtedly helped to ease public outrage a bit, and to give troubled Catholics a welcome sense that someone, at least, understands their horror at the stories of betrayal that continue to emerge. Yet the archbishop has been far better at citing problems than finding solutions—far more likely to bewail the past misconduct of others than to show the way forward. "I find myself asking today, can I be proud of the Church that I'm a leader of?” he told an RTE broadcast audience this week. Coming from the Primate of Ireland, that is hardly a statement calculated to boost Catholic morale.
In that RTE interview, Archbishop Martin might have helped to restore a bit of needed perspective to public discussions by challenging some of the illogical points being made by Enda Kenny and his political supporters. The Taoiseach lambasted the Irish hierarchy for not requiring bishops to disclose reports of sexual abuse in the 1990s, when his own government had not made any such requirement until recent weeks. He tore into the Vatican for failing to approve policies that the Irish bishops had devised in 1995, while at the same time making it quite clear that he did not trust the bishops who had drawn up, and would carry out, those proposed policies.
Kenny’s speech was most remarkable, however, in that it focused criticism not on the Irish bishops, but on the Vatican. (As the invaluable Irish Catholic commentator David Quinn has pointed out, hostility toward the Church always emerges as hostility toward the Vatican.) The Irish government leader condemned the Vatican for disapproving of the Irish bishops’ policies without bothering to examine the reasons for that disapproval.
In 1997 the Vatican—or to be more accurate, one office within the Vatican, the Congregation for Bishops—said that the proposed Irish policies did not include adequate canonical safeguards for the rights of accused clerics. As a result, the Congregation for Clergy warned, a priest guilty of sexual abuse might appeal a disciplinary sentence and escape punishment. That is a real, legitimate concern; a fair-minded critic would have acknowledged as much. In his unofficial response to Kenny’s diatribe, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, explained that the Vatican’s action in 1997 should not be interpreted as an order to continue covering up sexual abuse.
Nevertheless, a fair critic should also acknowledge that the Vatican response was disappointing—or, as the Cloyne report put it, “entirely unhelpful”—to advocates of real reform within the Irish Church. While the Congregation for Clergy had real enough concerns about the Irish bishops’ proposal, the substance and tenor of the response from Rome (again quoting the Cloyne report) “effectively gave individual Irish bishops the freedom to ignore the procedures which they had agreed and gave comfort and support to those who… dissented from the stated official Irish Church policy.” That too is an accurate assessment.
In appraising the Irish bishops’ policies, the Congregation for Clergy might have pointed out the problems and then offered potential solutions. The Vatican office might have encouraged the Irish hierarchy to refine the proposal before putting it into effect. No such encouragement is evident in the 1997 message from Rome.
Unfortunately, as we now know, there was a serious split within the Vatican, through the late 1990s, on the proper handling of sex-abuse cases. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was pushing for a strong disciplinary response. The Congregation for Clergy, under Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, took a much more casual approach to the problem—as did the powerful Secretariat of State under Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
The Vatican’s attitude toward sex-abuse cases has undergone two major changes in the past decade: both of them clearly changes for the better. In 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger gained sole jurisdiction for such cases for his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and began taking every instance of clerical abuse seriously. Then in 2005 Cardinal Ratzinger—who was now even more acutely conscious of the severity of the problem, having sifted through the avalanche of troublesome personnel files coming from the US—became Pope Benedict XVI. Since his election there have been no more examples of Vatican sympathy for priestly abusers and their defenders in the hierarchy.
Enda Kenny, in his outburst against the Vatican, neglected to mention the clear change in policies emanating from Rome—and, for that matter, the clear change within the Irish hierarchy. The errors of the past are gross and undeniable. But are they continuing? The Cloyne report exposed a lackadaisical attitude toward abuse reports in that diocese, as late as 2008. That is appalling. But let’s not forget what happened in the Diocese of Cloyne. Bishop John Magee—a very influential man in Rome, who had served as private secretary to three Popes—was forced to resign in disgrace, even before the Murphy commission began its investigation. In other words, the Vatican took action before the Irish government did.
The Vatican has subsequently accepted the early resignations of three other Irish bishops. More changes may be coming, as the result of an apostolic visitation: a thorough Vatican investigation of the Church in Ireland. The Vatican is now demanding accountability of Church leaders. It can certainly be said that in the past some Vatican officials supported Irish bishops who covered up sexual abuse. Not today.
Why, then, are Irish government leaders lashing out at the Vatican? To gain political advantage? No doubt that is part of the explanation. But I think there is more. I think that Kenny’s fulminations against Roman influence betray a mounting hostility toward the Church which has been growing in Ireland for years, and has only burst into prominence now because of the sex-abuse scandal.
Years from now, I suspect, historians will say that the public influence of the Church in Ireland fell sharply in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal. But that will be a very superficial analysis—just as it is superficial to say that Catholic influence in Boston has plummeted since 2002. In both cases, the public influence of the Catholic Church was manifestly in decline for years before the scandal emerged. Indeed the scandal itself is a manifestation of a deeper problem within the Church. A healthy Catholic community would not accept misguided attacks on the Vatican. And a healthy Catholic hierarchy would not include bishops who believe that welfare of predatory priests takes precedence over that of innocent children.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has strongly criticised the Vatican for what he said was an attempt to frustrate the Cloyne inquiry, accusing it of downplaying the rape of children to protect its power and reputation.
Mr Kenny was speaking during Dáil statements on the report.
Never before has a Taoiseach used such language in criticising the Catholic Church.
Mr Kenny told the Dáil that the Cloyne Report highlighted the 'dysfunction, disconnection, elitism and narcissism that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.'
The rape and torture of children had been downplayed or 'managed' to uphold, instead, the primacy of the institution, which are its power, standing and 'reputation'.
The hierarchy had proved either unwilling or unable to address what he called the horrors uncovered in successive reports, a failure which he said must be devastating for so many good priests.
Mr Kenny said that the Catholic Church needed to be truly and deeply penitent for the wrongdoing it perpetrated, hid and denied.
'Instead of listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal,' Mr Kenny pointed out that the Vatican's reaction had been to parse and analyse it, with the eye of a canon lawyer.
'This position is the polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the Church had been founded on.'
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said what was done was not just to avoid scandal - it involved the wilful refusal to respect basic moral and legal responsibilities.
Mr Martin said no-one had any excuse for not knowing what to do when there was even a suspicion of child abuse.
Sinn Féin's Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the report shows it had learned nothing since the Fr Brendan Smith scandal.
The all-party motion on the Cloyne report condemning the Vatican's role in child protection was discussed in the Dáil this afternoon.
The motion 'deplores the Vatican's intervention which contributed to the undermining of child protection frameworks and guidelines of the Irish state and the Irish bishops.'
One of the main findings of the report was that the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which 'very clearly should have been reported'.
Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, speaking in a personal capacity, has said that there was nothing in the advice given by the papal nuncio in 1997 to encourage bishops to break Irish laws.
He said that the Vatican's advice to Irish bishops on child protection policies could not be interpreted as an invitation to cover up abuse cases.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the comments were disingenuous and he said he expected a more considered, formal response from the Vatican.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
VATICAN CITY, July 18, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com)
“The positive review of the latest Harry Potter film in L’Osservatore Romano is symptomatic of serious problems in the condition of many modern Catholics,” Michael D. O’Brien, author of “Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture,” told LifeSiteNews last week.
In its review, the Vatican newspaper had called the film an “epic,” a “saga of unequalled planetary success,” and “another blockbuster.” The review is being reported by other Catholic services such as Catholic News Service and Canada’s Catholic Register, among many others - minus the balance of concerns that have been expressed about the Potter series by Christian critics.
While prior to becoming pope, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had expressed concern over the Potter books, the unsigned review in the Vatican newspaper says of the new film: “As for the content, evil is never presented as fascinating or attractive in the saga, but the values of friendship and of sacrifice are highlighted.”
O’Brien argues that the Vatican newspaper’s review springs from a “habit of making a split between faith and culture, and most strangely by straining to praise fundamentally disordered cultural material.”
The L’Osservatore Romano review, said O’Brien, begs the questions “Who is behind the editorial policies at the Vatican’s newspaper? Why would they posit as good a tale about a violent, morally confused sorcerer as a Christ-figure? Why, moreover, have they simply ignored Pope Benedict’s critical insight into the Potter series?”
In two letters first translated and published online by LifeSiteNews.com, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to a German writer of a book critically analyzing the Potter series. “It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly,” he wrote.
However, praise for the latest Potter film also came from the National Catholic Register which characterized it as “something approaching greatness.”
Cardinal Ratzinger’s was not the only Vatican voice to express grave concern over Potter. The Vatican’s chief exorcist, Rev. Gabriele Amorth, has repeatedly condemned the Harry Potter novels. In 2006 he said, “You start off with Harry Potter, who comes across as a likeable wizard, but you end up with the Devil … By reading Harry Potter a young child will be drawn into magic and from there it is a simple step to Satanism and the Devil.”
O’Brien, regarded around the world as an expert on children’s fantasy literature, explained the tendency for confusion. “All too often, when cultural material arrives in intense pleasure-inducing forms, and contains some positive ‘values’ mixed with highly toxic messages in its role modeling and its anti-values, we are easily seduced. To believe that the Potter message is about fighting evil is superficial. On practically every page of the series, and in its spin-off films, evil is presented as ‘bad’, and yet the evil means by which the evil is resisted are presented as good.”
O’Brien warns, “As charming as Harry may be (and in the films he is much more charming due to the persona of the actor who plays the role), he is a type or metaphor of Antichrist, mutating Christian symbols and then absorbing them into a more dangerous worldview — moral relativism saturated in the symbology of evil and various manifestations of the occult.”
“In the novels,” says O’Brien, “Harry is called ‘the Chosen One.’ He chooses to rise from the dead. He defeats evil with the instruments and gnostic powers of sorcery, wielding the ultimate instrument with which he saves the world because he has become ‘Master over Death.’ At the climax of the seven-volume Potter epic, having saved the world from evil, the resurrected Harry is treated with reverent awe, various characters pressing forward to touch him, ‘their leader and symbol, their saviour and their guide.’”
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wednesday, 13 July 2011
Pompeii has more to offer than dusty ruins filled with plaster casts of people, and one unfortunate puppy, frozen in time. It is also, coincidently, home to the only church in Christendom built by an ex-Satanist.
It’s the same old story: boy from a religious family goes away to university, falls in with a bunch of New Age Satanists, becomes a satanic high priest, thinks better of his decision and ultimately reverts to the Church; it’s the basic satanic-rags-to-saintly-riches story.
I didn’t believe this story when I first learned about Blessed Bartolo Longo either. Having grown up the son of Italian immigrants, I was regaled with all of the lurid stories of El Barto’s excesses, debauchery and general dissoluteness. I came to Pompeii not just for the ruins but also to see if the stories were true.
Bartolo Longo was born on February 10 1841 to a wealthy family in the small town of Latiano, near Brindisi in southern Italy. His parents, Dr Bartolomeo Longo and Antonina Luparelli, were devout Catholics who prayed the rosary together daily.
When Longo’s mother died in 1851, he slowly drifted away from his Catholic faith. He was left to his own devices when he studied law at the University of Naples and became involved with a New Age pagan group which ultimately “ordained” him a satanist priest. He participated in séances, fortune-telling and the de rigueur orgies. Unsatisfied with merely practising his new pagan religion, he felt it important to publicly ridicule Christianity and did everything within his power to subvert Catholic influence. He even convinced many other Catholics to leave the Church and participate in occult rites.
But none of these activities brought him joy. In fact, his life was marked by extreme depression, paranoia, confusion and nervousness. He even began to show signs of demonic obsession, as opposed to demonic possession, which included being inflicted by diabolical visions and continually declining poor health. He ultimately experienced a mental breakdown.
In his despair, he heard the voice of his deceased father urging him to “Return to God! Return to God!” In fear and desperation, Longo turned to Professor Vincenzo Pepe, a friend from his home town, for guidance. Vincenzo convinced Longo to abandon Satan and introduced him to the Dominican priest, Fr Alberto Radente. Fr Radente heard his Confession and helped him to further reclaim his life.
One evening, as he walked near-chapel at Pompeii, Bartolo had a profound mystical experience. He wrote: “As I pondered over my condition, I experienced a deep sense of despair and almost committed suicide. Then I heard an echo in my ear of the voice of Friar Alberto repeating the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary: ‘If you seek salvation, promulgate the rosary. This is Mary’s own promise.’ These words illumined my soul. I went on my knees. ‘If it is true… I will not leave this valley until I have propagated your rosary.’”
To prove his new-found commitment to Christ and His Church Bartolo even attended a séance. In the midst of it, he stood and raised a medal of the Blessed Virgin Mother and cried out: “I renounce spiritism because it is nothing but a maze of error and falsehood.”
On March 25 1871, as part of his self-imposed penance, Longo became a Third Order Dominican, taking the name Brother Rosario in honour of the rosary. He joined a charitable group in Pompeii and worked alongside Countess Mariana di Fusco, a wealthy local widow whom he married a year later on Pope Leo XIII’s recommendation.
The happy couple decided to start a confraternity of the rosary. To serve as a spiritual focus for this group, Bartolo needed a painting of the Blessed Virgin. Sister Maria Concetta de Litala of the Monastery of the Rosary at Porta Medina offered him one that she got at a Neapolitan junk shop. She paid only 3.40 lire – a tiny, insignificant sum even at the time.
The painting portrayed Our Lady of the Rosary with St Dominic and St Catherine of Siena. Though it was of modest artistic accomplishment and in very poor condition, it served Bartolo’s purpose. He described it in his journal: “Not only was it worm-eaten, but the face of the Madonna was that of a coarse, rough country-woman … a piece of canvas was missing just above her head … her mantle was cracked. Nothing need be said of the hideousness of the other figures. St Dominic looked like a street idiot. To Our Lady’s left was a St Rose. This I had changed later into a St Catherine of Siena … I hesitated whether to refuse the gift or to accept … I took it.”
In addition, the sorcerer turned born-again Catholic restored a ramshackle church in October 1873 and then sponsored a feast in honour of Our Lady of the rosary. He installed the repaired painting in this very church. Within hours of its installation miracles began to be reported and people came to the church in droves. Seeing the devotion of the pilgrims, the Bishop of Nola encouraged Bartolo to construct a larger church. He approached architect Giovanni Rispoli to build it, making the following appeal: “In this place selected for its prodigies, we wish to leave to present and future generations a monument to the Queen of Victories that will be less unworthy of her greatness but more worthy of our faith and love.”
Work on the larger building began on May 8 1876 and was consecrated in May 1891 by Cardinal La Valetta who represented Pope Leo XIII. In 1906, he and his wife donated the Pompeii shrine to the Holy See but this didn’t diminish his evangelistic zeal. Bartolo continued promoting the rosary until his death in1926, at the age of 75. To spread devotion to the rosary and to the Blessed Virgin Mary Bartolo would evangelise young people at parties and in local cafes, explaining the dangers of occultism. He would witness continually as to the glories of Christ, the munificence of His mother and the beauty of the Catholic Faith.
In 1939 the church was enlarged and re-consecrated as a basilica and officially renamed the Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Pompeii. It soon became a focus of pilgrimages for more than a century as most Catholics and non-Catholics alike found a church built by a reformed ex-Satanist to be devilishly irresistible.
Bartolo had died a saintly death and his Cause for canonisation was almost immediately called for. He was beatified by John Paul II on October 26 1980 who called him the “Apostle of the Rosary”. More than 30,000 people attended the ceremony, and 50,000 pilgrims attended Pope Benedict’s historic pastoral visit to the shrine on October 19 2008. He consecrated the world, entrusting it to Mary’s hands, offering the Blessed Virgin a golden rose. In his homily, Benedict XVI likened Bartolo Longo to St Paul of Tarsus, who also initially persecuted the Church, described Bartolo as being “militantly anticlerical and engaging in spiritualist and superstitious practices”.
He continued by saying: “Wherever God comes in this desert, flowers bloom. Even Blessed Bartolo Longo, with his personal conversion, bears witness to this spiritual power that transforms man from within and makes him capable of doing great things according to God’s designs. This city which he re-founded, is thus a historical demonstration of how God transforms the world: filling man’s heart with charity.”
It’s not easy to get lost in Pompeii but I somehow managed to do exactly that. I finally spied the famous bronze cross that adorns the Basilica’s campanile. Apparently I am not the only person in the Sarno Valley to use it to orient myself. Technically speaking, every Christian uses the cross to orient himself so I wasn’t in the least bit ashamed for having to do so.
The white surface of the domed basilica and its lateral chapels both strike and comfort the visitor. The façade is only a little more than a century old, having been re-pointed by the architect Rispoli in 1901. As I passed the long passageways adjacent to the basilica, I noted that this is where Bartolo and his wife would stand to hand out food to the poor who would gather daily.
Upon entering the church one is struck not by its silence but rather the pervasive hushed susurration of pilgrims who stand in awe at the church’s beauty and God’s presence. The walls are replete with frescos, marble ornaments, mosaics, paintings and the ever-present votives. These small silver or tin plaques in the shape of heads, hands, legs and eyes hang everywhere as tokens of thanksgiving for Mary’s received protection and prayers.
The neoclassical Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii is decorated in the stereotypically exaggerated, over-the-top, pietistic art of the Italian peasantry that makes you smile and secretly wish you were Italian. It is, for good or bad, the art one associates with ancient churches and an even older faith. Stepping into this basilica reconnects one with 2,000 years of Christ’s presence in the world and in our hearts.
I asked as to the whereabouts of Blessed Bartolo and soon found myself face to beatified face with the Apostle of the Rosary himself. Like every other pilgrim standing next to me, I realised that this former, self-professed enemy of the Church rests peacefully in a tomb in its bosom of the very church he had hoped to destroy. More delicious and blessed irony one can hardly imagine.
As I looked at the oversized painting of Our Lady of Pompeii hanging over the church’s altar, I recalled St Maximilian Kolbe’s poignant words: “If anyone does not wish to have Mary Immaculate for his Mother, he will not have Christ for his Brother.”
One can’t but be moved when seeing this painting of him and recall the pain, horror and revulsion that this satanist-turned-saint experienced when he was confronted by his own sins.
Every student knows what happened to the city of Pompeii on August 24 79 AD. But most people don’t realise that the “new” Pompeii rose from the destroyed city’s ashes 1,796 years later because of Our Lady of the Rosary and her devotee. In his The History of the Shrine of Pompeii Bartolo wrote: “Next to a land of dead appeared, quite suddenly, a land of resurrection and life: next to a shattered amphitheatre soiled with blood, there is a living Temple of faith and love, a sacred Temple to the Virgin Mary; from a town buried in the filth of gentilism, arises a town full of life, drawing its origins from a new civilization brought by Christianity: the New Pompeii!… It is the new civilisation that openly appears beside the old; the new art next to the old; Christianity full of life in juxtaposition to long-surpassed paganism.”
The newly constructed basilica attracted new families, a railway station, postal and telegraph services, the police, roads, water, electricity, hotels, restaurants and shops. About three million pilgrims come to the basilica every year, thus bringing to life the long-dead city of Pompeii.
Thus, the resurrection and salvation of Pompeii is now eternally linked with the resurrection and salvation of Blessed Bartolo Longo; the prodigal son returned home.
In God, all things are possible. Thankfully.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Catholic News Service
The group that represents Ireland's Catholic priests says the secrecy of confession must be protected, despite government indications that confessions would not be exempt from rules on mandatory reporting of child abuse.
"The point is, if there is a law in the land, it has to be followed by everybody. There are no exceptions, there are no exemptions," said Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
Father P.J. Madden, spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests, insisted that the sacramental seal of confession is "above and beyond all else" and should not be broken even if a penitent confesses to a crime.
Father Madden said he would strongly urge and appeal to the penitent -- whether a priest or anyone else -- to confess a crime to the police and have the civil aspect dealt with, but that he did not approve of the idea of reporting what was said.
"If I'm breaking the law then somebody has to find a way to address that for me ... but in my own right as a priest what I understand is the seal of confession is above and beyond all else," he said.
"The seal of confession is a very sacred seal for lots of different reasons way beyond this one single issue, however serious this one single issue is," Father Madden insisted.
The Irish government said it would introduce legislation that makes it mandatory for priests to reveal details of child abuse, even if they become known in the confessional. The offense is punishable with up to five years in prison.
The announcement came after a judicial commission investigating the Diocese of Cloyne revealed July 13 that allegations of abuse were being mishandled and withheld from the police as recently as 2008.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said July 14 that canon law would not be allowed to supersede state law.
Fitzgerald said the government was not concerned about "the rules governing any body."
"This is about the law of the land. It's about child protection. Are we saying ... if a child is at risk of child sexual abuse that should not be reported? We cannot say that. The law of the land is clear and unambiguous," she said.
Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore told Catholic News Service that the bishops would await the publication of the legislation before assessing it. However, he said, he felt it was "unreal to suggest that the seal of confession has prevented the reporting of the abuse of children."
The new legislation is not expected to be published this fall, and sources close to the Irish bishops' conference expected that a heavy lobbying campaign will get under way to ensure that a suitable exemption is considered.
David Quinn, director of the think-tank the Iona Institute, called the proposal "unprecedented."
"This would make us the one and only country in the Western world to have such a law. Even revolutionary France in the days of its worst violence against the church did not pass a law requiring the breaking of the seal of confession," Quinn told Catholic News Service.
He said the government "is clearly missing something that every other government can see, which is that, at a minimum, such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and, at a maximum, will be counterproductive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe."
"No child abuser will go to a priest in confession knowing the priest is required to inform the police. But cutting off the avenue of confession to a child abuser makes it less likely that he will talk to someone who can persuade him to take the next step," he added.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Chairman of the Fine Gael parliamentary party Charlie Flanagan has called for the expulsion of the Papal Nuncio, following the revelations in the Cloyne Report.
Mr Flanagan, who is also a TD for Laois-Offaly, said the scandals uncovered showed the Vatican was guilty of a massive deceit.
He said that if any foreign government conspired with Irish citizens to break the law here, their ambassadors would be expelled and he believed the same standards should apply to the Papal Nuncio.
Earlier, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Leanza, that he wants a 'response' and an explanation from the Vatican as to why Irish church guidelines were ignored and allegations of abuse went unreported in the Diocese of Cloyne.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Gilmore said it was 'absolutely unacceptable' that the Vatican had intervened in Ireland and discouraged priests from reporting crimes against innocent children.
Mr Gilmore said what happened in Ireland was 'a totally inappropriate, unjustified, unacceptable intervention'.
'This is modern Ireland and this was a recent occasion of abuse of children and this was a recent intervention by Vatican authorities,' he said.
Mr Gilmore said the Papal Nuncio had expressed remorse about what had happened.
Asked whether the Government would be seeking an apology from the Vatican, Mr Gilmore said what he wanted first was a response to the findings in the report.
He said it was a matter for the Vatican to decide whether the Pope would respond himself.
The Tánaiste said this was a formal request from the State of Ireland to the Vatican state. He said he had not set a timeframe for the response, but that he would follow-up the request.
In his statement, Archbishop Leanza said he would immediately bring a copy of the report to the attention of the Holy See.
He said he personally was very distressed to learn that there had once again been failures in ensuring the protection of children within the church, despite all the good work that had been done.
Speaking to RTÉ News today, former child protection delegate of the diocese, Monsignor Denis O'Callaghan, said that he has major regrets about the way he implemented the church's child protection guidelines in the diocese.
The diocese's new designated officer for safeguarding children has said that no new reports of child abuse have been reported in Cloyne since February.
No exemptions on mandatory reporting
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said the new law on mandatory reporting of child abuse will apply irrespective of location or circumstance of the persons involved.
Mr Kenny was replying to a question from journalists as to whether the traditional Catholic seal of the confessional will be exempted from the law.
'The law of the land should not be stopped by crosier or by collar,' he said.
He added he hopes the response from the Government to the Cloyne Report will make it beyond a doubt that things are reported and the law of the land applies in situations where appalling actions took place.
The Taoiseach described as 'absolutely disgraceful' the attitude of the Vatican to complaints of child sex abuse in the Cloyne.
Mr Kenny also called on the Vatican to reiterate its view that civil law should always be followed and he hinted that Mr Gilmore may consider the future of the Irish Embassy to the Holy See.
The Cloyne Report is to be debated in the Dáil next week.
Fianna Fáil's Éamon Ó Cuív said his party would continue to support any initiative that would ensure that such acts would never happen again.
Mr Ó Cuív described what had happened as unforgivable.
Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said the report was another chapter in the 'sordid story of the violation of children and the sheltering of abuse perpetrators by the (Catholic) church'.
Ms McDonald said it needed to be recognised that to date the State has failed children.
She welcomed the Government's commitment to legislate to boost protection of children, but asked the Tánaiste to do it with urgency.
Socialist TD Joe Higgins said people were 'throwing their hands in the air' at the revelations in the Cloyne Report.
He said what was most shocking was that the subject matter was so recent and that the bishop at the heart of the report, Bishop John Magee, was also at the heart of Vatican bureaucracy for so long.
In Northern Ireland, the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said there is now a compelling argument for establishing a similar investigation into the Catholic dioceses in Northern Ireland.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
By Susan Tassone
"No one is more dead than a dead priest because no one prays for him!"
The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. Let us offer a great part of our Masses, Stations, Rosaries, Indulgences, and chaplet for the priests in purgatory and for these abandoned souls.
An ancient devotion is to offer these suffrages for 33 consecutive days for the most abandoned souls in purgatory in honor of Our Lord's 33 years on earth. I have received enormous graces with this powerful devotion. Be their liberators. They long for the door of heaven to be opened.
There is a great shortage of priests. We do not know whether we will have the privilege of having a priest at our side at the hour of our death. Pray for our deceased priests in purgatory. Beg them to intercede to grant the grace of final repentance for you and your whole family and all future generations until the end of time and in exchange you will pray for them. At the hour of your death, you will be surrounded by all the priests for whom you opened the door to Heaven.
In turn, they will escort you to the heavenly banquet.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#953) confirms: "Our prayers for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective."
Monday, July 4, 2011
About a hundred pro-choice protesters tried to counter the march outside the GPO with some using vulgar signs. I, myself, assisted in carrying a giant banner and packets of condoms were thrown at us and onto the banner by these ones. These were tossed off straight away, but their actions speak for themselves. Others tried to hand their own literature to people in the rally claiming to be in the right. The organisers estimated that between 7-8,000 people took part, however others there believed the true figure to be closer to 5,000.
Media coverage was very poor with those who did show it putting the rally in a negative light. RTE barely covered it, they underestimated the attendance putting it at 2,000 and gave uneven coverage in favour the other, pro-choice side. Some newspapers reported it but used language that sought to cast it in a negative light.
Here are some images taken at the rally:
Sunday, July 3, 2011
June 11, 2011 saw one more parade to glorify the vice of homosexuality. Dubbed, Europride or Eurogaypride, it was held in Rome, once known as the Eternal City, the center of Catholicism. The expression, “homosexual pride” summarizes the essence of the homosexual ideology. Let us see how.
Pride and revolt against God
Sin is a revolt against the order established by God and, therefore, a revolt against the Creator Himself. The more this revolt becomes manifest, the greater is the sin.
Man can sin out of weakness and feel shame for his sin and desire to make amends; or he can sin with special malice and take pride in his sin. In this case, revolt against the Creator becomes more manifest; for, as Saint Thomas says, “[it] is characteristic of pride to be unwilling to be subject to any superior, and especially to God.”
For this reason, the holy Doctor presents “pride or self-love as the beginning of every evil.” According to Scripture, "pride is the beginning of all sin."
Pride, the sin of Lucifer
Theologians commonly believe that the sin of Lucifer and of the evil angels was one of pride. Indeed, having no physical body, they could not be carried away by concupiscence as with man. Therefore, their sin had to be one of the spirit. Two passages from Scripture are usually mentioned to describe this sin. The first is from Isaias:
How have you fallen from the heavens, O morning star [Lucifer], son of the dawn! How are you cut down to the ground, you who mowed down the nations! You said in your heart: "I will scale the heavens; Above the stars of God I will set up my throne; I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly, in the recesses of the North. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!"
The second is from Prophet Jeremias:
Long ago you broke your yoke, you tore off your bonds, and you said: I will not serve.
The homosexual ideology’s Luciferian pride
To take pride in practicing the homosexual vice and to proclaim this in public in the streets and squares of the world’s leading cities is a sin of the spirit, a challenge to the Law of God. It is a denial of reality as such and an adhesion to a utopia and to a pathological fantasy. It is a manifestation of Lucifer’s pride and a repetition of his desperate cry of revolt, “I will not serve.”
Hatred of the Catholic Church
Let us return to Rome’s “Europride.” Italian newspapers and Internet blogs published hundreds of photos from the march. What stands out most—even more than the wild display of lust and the semi-naked bodies and obscene postures and gestures—is the hatred shown against the Catholic Church. A homosexual sacrilegiously presented himself posing as Our Lord Jesus Christ in dark glasses.
The offenses against the Sovereign Pontiff could not be more vile: a large banner at the front of the march showed a photomontage depicting the Pope with woman’s hair, wearing socks and skimpy lingerie. Below, the words, “[She] wears Prada but is a friend of Satan.”7]
Another banner showed a cartoon of Benedict XVI wearing a Nazi medal, holding a crosier with the Nazi symbol, and below the words, “Nazinger [Nazi+Ratzinger] attacks gays.” Another banner read, “Ratzinger, love your neighbor but not as Hitler.” And yet another, “Real Hell: The Vatican, mental Guantanamo.” Many homosexuals dressed up as bishops or priests in a ridiculous and debauched manner.
Destruction of the notion of good and evil
During the parade, the denial of all morality came across not just through the general in-your-face sexual license but also in scenes such as that reported on under the title, “Rome’s Europride amid Angels, Devils and Spouses,” by Italy’s ANSA News Agency. It carried a picture of two men kissing, one dressed as a devil, with horns and a trident and the other like a good angel, with white wings and halo.
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil”
Does this not remind us of the Prophet Sophonias and his rebuke to those “that say in their hearts: The Lord will not do good, nor will he do evil"? Unto them is the warning of the Prophet Isaias: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness."
Here is where the satanic pride of the homosexual ideology leads us: it transforms light into darkness and darkness into light and wants to impose this darkness on the world, through the dictatorship of law and the propaganda coming from liberal media.
Luiz Sergio Solimeo writes for Tradition, Family and Property.
 Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 84, a. 2, ad 2. See also: Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, Chap. VII, 3, at http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/books/revolution-and-counter-revolution.html.
 Ibid., ad 3.
 Ecclesiasticus [Sirach]:10:15.
 St. Jerome translated “morning star” into Latin as Lucifer, following the Greek translation of the Hebrew made by the Seventy: “phophorós”, light bearer.
 We use “she” because the original Italian says “amica”, girl friend, and not “amico,” boy friend. “Il fotomontaggio del Papa in mutande e reggicalze. E, sotto, la scritta: ‘Veste Prada ma è amica di Satana.’” Grazia Maria Coletti, “Lady Gaga lo ringrazia Alemanno fischiato Europride, comizio della popstar al circo Massimo. Al corteo fotomontaggi del Papa in reggicalze” in Il Tempo, June 12, 2011, 05:30, at http://www.iltempo.it/politica/2011/06/12/1264536-lady_gaga_ringrazia_alemanno_fischiato.shtml?refresh_ce.
ANSA, “Europride a Roma tra Angeli, diavoli e spose,” Updated: Sat, 11 Jun 2011 22:16:00 GMT, at http://notizie.it.msn.com/fotostory/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=158209692&page=14.
As the mainstream media continues to be obsessed with Anthony Weiner and his bizarre adventures on Twitter, much more serious events are happening around the world that are getting very little attention. In America today, if the mainstream media does not cover something it is almost as if it never happened. Right now, the worst nuclear disaster in human history continues to unfold in Japan , U.S. nuclear facilities are being threatened by flood waters, the U.S. military is bombing Yemen, gigantic cracks in the earth are appearing all over the globe and the largest wildfire in Arizona history is causing immense devastation. But Anthony Weiner, Bristol Palin and Miss USA are what the mainstream media want to tell us about and most Americans are buying it.
In times like these, it is more important than ever to think for ourselves. The corporate-owned mainstream media is not interested in looking out for us. Rather, they are going to tell us whatever fits with the agenda that their owners are pushing.
That is why more Americans than ever are turning to the alternative media. Americans are hungry for the truth, and they know that the amount of truth that they get from the mainstream media continues to decline.
The following are 12 things that the mainstream media is being strangely quiet about right now....
#1 The crisis at the Fort Calhoun nuclear facility in Nebraska has received almost no attention in the national mainstream media.
Back on June 7th, there was a fire at Fort Calhoun. The official story is that the fire was in an electrical switchgear room at the plant. The facility lost power to a pump that cools the spent fuel pool for approximately 90 minutes. According to the Omaha Public Power District, the fire was quickly extinguished and no radioactive material was released.
The following sequence of events is directly from the Omaha Public Power District website....
- There was no such imminent danger with the Fort Calhoun Station spent-fuel pool.
- Due to a fire in an electrical switchgear room at FCS on the morning of June 7, the plant temporarily lost power to a pump that cools the spent-fuel pool.
- The fire-suppression system in that switchgear room operated as designed, extinguishing the fire quickly.
- FCS plant operators switched the spent-fuel pool cooling system to an installed backup pump about 90 minutes after the loss of power.
- During the interruption of cooling, temperature of the pool increased a few degrees, but the pool was never in danger of boiling.
- Due to this situation, FCS declared an Alert at about 9:40 a.m. on June 7.
- An alert is the second-least-serious of four emergency classifications established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- At about 1:15 p.m. on June 7, FCS operators declared they had taken all appropriate measures to safely return to the previously declared Notification of Unusual Event emergency classification. (See first item above.)
But the crisis at Fort Calhoun is not over. Right now, the nuclear facility at Fort Calhoun is essentially an island. It is surrounded by rising flood waters from the Missouri River.
Officials claim that there is no danger and that they are prepared for the river to rise another ten feet.
The Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, Nebraska is also being threatened by rising flood waters. A "Notification of Unusual Event" was declared at Cooper Nuclear Station this morning at 4:02. This notification was issued because the Missouri River's water level reached 42.5 feet.
Right now the facility is operating normally and officials don't expect a crisis.
But considering what has been going on at Fukushima, it would be nice if we could have gotten a lot more coverage of these events by the mainstream media.
#2 Most Americans are aware that the U.S. is involved in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. However, the truth is that the U.S. military is also regularly bombing Yemen and parts of Pakistan. If you count the countries where the U.S. has special forces and/or covert operatives on the ground, the U.S. is probably "active" in more countries in the Middle East than it is not. Now there are even persistent rumors that U.S. ground units are being prepared to go into Libya. Are we watching the early stages of World War 3 unfold before our eyes in slow motion?
#3 The crisis at Fukushima continues to get worse. Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, recently made the following statement about the Fukushima disaster....
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind"
TEPCO has finally admitted that this disaster has released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl did. That makes Fukushima the worst nuclear disaster of all time, and it is far from over.
Massive amounts of water is being poured into the spent fuel pools in order to keep them cool. This is creating "hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water" that has got to go somewhere. Inevitably much of it will get into the ground and into the sea.
Arnold Gundersen says that the scope of this problem is almost unimaginable....
"TEPCO announced they had a melt through. A melt down is when the fuel collapses to the bottom of the reactor, and a melt through means it has melted through some layers. That blob is incredibly radioactive, and now you have water on top of it. The water picks up enormous amounts of radiation, so you add more water and you are generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive water."
The mainstream media is not paying as much attention to Fukushima these days, but that doesn't mean that it is not a major league nightmare.
Elevated levels of radiation are being reported by Japanese bloggers all over eastern Japan. There are reports of sick children all over the region. One adviser to the government of Japan says that an area approximately 17 times the size of Manhattan is probably going to be uninhabitable.
Of course the mainstream media has been telling us all along that Fukushima is nothing to be too concerned about and that authorities in Japan have everything under control.
If the mainstream media is not going to tell us the truth, how are they going to continue to have credibility?
#4 Members of Congress continue to mention Christians as a threat to national security. For example, during a recent Congressional hearing U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee warned that "Christian militants" might try to "bring down the country" and that such groups need to be investigated.
#5 China's eastern province of Zhejiang has experienced that worst flooding that it has seen in 55 years. 2 million people have already been forced to leave their homes. China has already been having huge problems with their crops over the past few years and this is only going to make things worse.
#6 Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Act, over the counter trading of gold and silver is going to be illegal starting on July 15th. Or at least that is what some companies apparently now believe. The following is an excerpt from an email that Forex.com recently sent out to their customers....
Important Account Notice Re: Metals Trading
We wanted to make you aware of some upcoming changes to FOREX.com’s product offering. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act enacted by US Congress, a new regulation prohibiting US residents from trading over the counter precious metals, including gold and silver, will go into effect on Friday, July 15, 2011.
In conjunction with this new regulation, FOREX.com must discontinue metals trading for US residents on Friday, July 15, 2011 at the close of trading at 5pm ET. As a result, all open metals positions must be closed by July 15, 2011 at 5pm ET.
We encourage you to wind down your trading activity in these products over the next month in anticipation of the new rule, as any open XAU or XAG positions that remain open prior to July 15, 2011 at approximately 5:00 pm ET will be automatically liquidated.
We sincerely regret any inconvenience complying with the new U.S. regulation may cause you. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact our customer service team.
The Team at FOREX.com
Apparently, Section 742(a) of the Dodd-Frank Act prohibits anyone "from entering into, or offering to enter into, a transaction in any commodity with a person that is not an eligible contract participant or an eligible commercial entity, on a leveraged or margined basis."
So what impact is this going to have on the gold and silver markets?
Nobody is quite sure yet.
#7 All over the world, huge cracks are appearing for no discernible reason. For example, a massive crack that is approximately 3 kilometers long recent appeared in southern Peru. Also, a 500 foot long crack suddenly appeared recently in the state of Michigan. When you also throw in all of the gigantic sinkholes that have been opening all over the world, it is easy to conclude that the planet is becoming very unstable.
#8 According to U.S. Forest Service officials, the largest wildfire in Arizona state history has now covered more than 500,000 acres. But based on the coverage it is being given by the mainstream media you would think that it is a non-event.
#9 There are reports that North Korea has tested a "super EMP weapon" which would be capable of taking out most of the U.S. power grid in a single shot. The North Koreans are apparently about to conduct another nuclear test and that has some Obama administration officials very concerned.
#10 All over the United States, "active shooter drills" are being conducted in our public schools. Often, most of the students are not told that these drills are fake. Instead, students often go through hours of terror as they think a hostage situation or a shooting spree is really taking place.
#11 NASA has just launched a "major" preparedness initiative for all NASA personnel. The following is an excerpt about this plan from NASA's own website....
A major initiative has been placed on Family/Personal Preparedness for all NASA personnel. The NASA Family/Personal Preparedness Program is designed to provide awareness, resources, and tools to the NASA Family (civil servants and contractors) to prepare for an emergency situation. The most important assets in the successful completion of NASA’s mission are our employees’ and their families. We are taking the steps to prepare our workforce, but it is your personal obligation to prepare yourself and your families for emergencies.
#12 Over the past week over 40 temporary "no fly zones" have been declared by the FAA. This is very highly unusual. Nobody seems to know exactly why this is happening.
So what do all of these things mean?
It would be nice if the mainstream media would examine some of these important issues more closely and do some honest reporting on them.