Keep your eyes open!...


January 29, 2010 


(Jas 1:27) Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation and to keep one's self unspotted from this world.

VIA ZENIT: Benedict XVI to Haiti: We Won't Abandon You


Caritas feeding 50,000 in Haiti
Out of the rubble, a miracle named Karen
Amazing rescues, heroic Haitians and hard lessons from the past
Man Pulled Alive From Haiti Rubble 14 Days After Quake

OPINION: Haiti's hope and faith by Rev. Donald Maldari

MORE: Haitian sisters say quake victims need long-term help

The effects of the massive earthquake Jan. 12 in Haiti have been felt well beyond the borders of the island nation.

On Sunday, the University of Saint Mary conducted a prayer service for victims of the quake and its aftershocks, with two special guests — Sisters Melicia Singelus and Myrland Moise, both of whom had been personally affected by the disaster.

They are members of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Anthony of Fondwa, Haiti, and first learned of the destruction in their homeland the evening of Jan. 12 during the television news.
“What are we going to do?” Singelus said she asked herself that day.

About two hours from the capital of Port-au-Prince in rural Haiti, the sisters said Fondwa has been ravaged by the quake, which had a magnitude of 7.0, according to the United States Geological Survey.

In their religious community, there are 13 sisters and more than 60 orphans — all now sleeping and living outside, as the earthquake destroyed all of the buildings in the community.

“If they’re not knocked down, they’re severely damaged,” said Sister Katherine Franchett, community treasurer for the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

At the prayer service on Sunday in Annunciation Chapel on the Saint Mary campus, donations were taken for Catholic Relief Services in Haiti. Singelus said a lot of help is needed right now to get essential supplies like water and food to the country. Franchett said some of the rural areas in Haiti, like Fondwa, which lies in a valley and has suffered from what she called some “ferocious aftershocks,” have not been as quick to receive aid as major cities like Port-au-Prince.

“Many emergency supplies have gone in,” Franchett said. “But they have to get it to them.” As the rainy season approaches, Singelus said those made homeless by the quake will also need shelter.

OF CONCERN: Is Haiti just a passing fad? Donations are already slowing


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

41. Humility is Christ's spiritual doctrine, noetically introduced into the inner chamber of the soul by those who accounted worthy of it. It cannot be defined by perceptible words.

January 28, 2010 

(John 17:20-22) And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me. That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them: that, they may be one, as we also are one.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "The communion and the unity of the disciples of Christ is... a particularly important condition for greater credibility and effectiveness in the their witness."

In his homily Benedict XVI explained how the choice of the theme for this year's Week of Prayer - "that is, the invitation to a offer shared witness of the risen Christ in accordance with the mandate He entrusted to His disciples" - is linked "to the hundredth anniversary of the missionary conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, which many consider as a decisive event for the birth of the modern ecumenical movement".  "It is precisely the desire to announce Christ to others and to carry His message of reconciliation to the world that makes us aware of the contradiction of division among Christians".  he said.  "The communion and unity of the disciples of Christ is, then, a particularly important prerequisite for a more credible and effective witness".  The Holy Father explained how, "in a world characterised by religious indifference and even by a growing aversion towards the Christian faith, what is needed is new and intense evangelising activity, directed not only at peoples who have never known the Gospel, but also at those among whom Christianity is present and has become part of their history".

After then referring to "questions that still separate us from each other, and that we hope may be overcome through prayer and dialogue", the Pope explained how there nonetheless exists "a core content of Christ's message that we can announce together: the paternity of God, Christ's victory over sin and death with His cross and resurrection, and trust in the transforming action of the Spirit.  "As we journey towards full communion", he added, "we are called to present a joint witness in the face of the increasingly complex challenges of our time, such as secularisation and indifference, relativism and hedonism, delicate ethical questions concerning the beginning and end of life, the limits of science and technology, and dialogue with other religious traditions".  Pope Benedict continued: "There are other fields in which we must already show our joint witness: protecting creation, promoting peace and the common good, defending the centrality of the human person, and the commitment to defeat the poverties of our time such as hunger, indigence, illiteracy and the unequal distribution of wealth".  And he concluded: "Commitment to the unity of Christians is not just a task for the few, or an appendage to the life of the Church.  Each is called to offer his or her contribution to help take those steps towards the full communion of all Christ's disciples, never forgetting that it is, above all, a gift constantly to be implored from God".

EDITORIAL: "The Pope Is the First Among the Patriarchs" by Sandro Magister

THE CATHOLIC HERALD: In Russia, the path to unity is defrosting

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Why the Anglicans are Coming?- Full Text of the TAC Petition to the Holy See Released

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

37. A holy team is love and humilty; the one exalts, and the other, supporting the exalted ones, never fails (1Cor 13:8).

January 27, 2010 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: “In a nuclear war there would be no victors, only victims.”

NEWS REPORT: Report says Iran Working on Nuclear Bomb

Iran is serious about developing a nuclear bomb and has the ability to produce a primitive, truck-sized bomb this year, the German magazine, Der Spiegel, reported on Monday, citing secret intelligence information handed over to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

According to the report, Iran now needs to work on compressing such a bomb so that it can be fitted on a ballistic missile. Experts said Tehran could reach that stage by sometime between 2012 and 2014.

An intelligence dossier, portions of which were obtained by Der Spiegel, shows that there is a secret military branch of Iran’s nuclear research program that answers to the country’s Defense Ministry.

Officials who read the document, which is currently under review by the United States, Germany, Israel and the IAEA, claim that it shows that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing a nuclear bomb and that its plans are well advanced, said the report.


Iran crosses red line, can enrich uranium up to 20 pc
Iran to unveil missiles during anniversary
Iran to start new missile projects next month

EDITORIAL: Much bigger than soccer, the Israel-Iran game is afoot

OPINION: Who will blink first?


China says still time for diplomacy on Iran nuclear row
Iran nuclear negotiator postpones Russia visit
Israel says Iran using nuclear talks “to buy time”
Iranian Spokesman Reiterates Peaceful Nature of Iran's N. Program

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

39. What are the particular offspring of the eight deadly sins? Or which of the three chief sins is the father of the other five (minor sins)?  I learnt from the holy men the following: 'The mother of lust is gluttony, and the mother of despondency is vainglory; sorrow and also anger are the offspring of those three (i.e. cupidity, sensuality, ambition); and the mother of pride is vainglory.'

January 26, 2010 

(Psa 127:3) Behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.

BALTIMORE SUN BLOG: March for Life unreported

As I marched up Constitution Avenue last Friday, I felt small among the crowd, the banners and the signs, yet united with my fellow man, we were massive. We came from parishes, communities, colleges and high schools from all over the United States. We were all ages, every race, many religions, or unaffiliated. When the road began to rise toward Capitol Hill, I looked ahead and saw people as far as the eye could see, and I looked back to find more people as far as the eye could see. We were marching for all life -- unborn, elderly, disenfranchised or infirm -- not just those who can voice a choice. There is no better feeling than standing up for what you believe in and knowing that what you believe is right and just, even if you hear nothing of it from the mainstream media.


Hundreds of Thousands Join 37th March for Life
Citizens pray at abortion clinic on anniversary of Roe v. Wade
52 Million Abortions Since Roe v. Wade
Participants at annual March for Life urged to keep up their efforts

VIA NEWSMAX: Justice Roberts Hints He Could Overturn Roe

Chief Justice John Roberts last week made it clear that the Supreme Court over which he presides will not hesitate to sweep away its own major constitutional rulings when doing so is necessary to defend America’s bedrock governing document.

The announcement of that guiding core principle means two very big things. First, Roberts and his fellow strict constructionists on the court are now armed and ready with a powerful rationale for overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling if Justice Anthony Kennedy or a future justice becomes the fifth vote against Roe.

Secondly, successfully placing Roberts atop the high court is beginning to look like former President George W. Bush’s most important legacy – a gift that will keep on giving for conservatives for decades.

In last Thursday’s 5-to-4 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling dismantling the McCain-Feingold campaign law, Roberts joined with fellow Bush appointee Justice Samuel Alito to issue a separate concurrence “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case.” While Roberts conceded that “departures from precedent are inappropriate in the absence of a ‘special justification,’” he quickly added that “At the same time, stare decisis is neither an ‘inexorable command’… nor ‘a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision’ … especially in constitutional cases,” noting that “If it were, segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants.”

If Roberts really did just establish clear restrictions on the power of faulty Supreme Court precedents, it might not just mean a mechanism for the eventual conquest of Roe v. Wade, and victory for pro-lifers; a whole series of widely ranging liberal decisions going back to the activist Warren Court era could eventually be in jeopardy too.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

38. It is difficult to overcome former bad habits; and those who keep on adding further new ones to them either fall into despair or get no benefit at all from obedience. But I know that to God all things are possible, and to Him nothing is impossible (Cf. Job 42:2, Luke 1:37).

January 22, 2010


(Mat 19:13-14) Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.

THECATHOLICSPIRIT: White House protest new to March for Life activities, Roe anniversary

Pro-life activists flocking to the nation's capital for the 37th March for Life Jan. 22 will be buoyed by recent polls that say they are among the majority of Americans who identify themselves as pro-life.

Organizers of the massive demonstration also have scheduled -- for the first time in its history -- a two-hour rally at Lafayette Park, across from the White House, the evening before the march, in an effort to demonstrate their commitment to the pro-life movement to President Barack Obama.

Although the March for Life is not linked to a particular faith group or ethnic community, a variety of organizations are holding multiple events in the nation's capital and throughout the U.S. in the days surrounding the march.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, will begin with a 6:30 p.m. EST Mass Jan. 21 and conclude with a 7:30 a.m. EST liturgy Jan. 22. Both will be broadcast live on the Eternal Word Television Network.


At 84, pro-life leader and March for Life pioneer Nellie Gray marches on
Abortion's 'other wounded souls'
Significance of Western World's Largest Abortion Facility

LINK: Join The Virtual March

Can't make it to Washington, DC this year? No problem. Here's your chance to defend life and say "no" to the health care reform bill by signing up for the Virtual March for Life. It's easy. In Step 1, enter your contact information (please enter all required fields, marked with a red asterisk if not completed correctly). In Step 2, create your own "avatar" and invite your friends and family to participate in the Virtual March for Life.


EWTN Complete Coverage of Coast to Coast Pro-Life Events
Priests for Life: Pro-Life Activities in Response to 37 Years of Roe vs. Wade
International Pro-Life Leaders Come to US Capitol to Protest Aggressive US Anti-Life Policies
40 Days for Life Campaigns to Oppose Abortion in 156 Cities

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

37. A holy team is love and humilty; the one exalts, and the other, supporting the exalted ones, never fails (1Cor 13:8).

January 21, 2010 

(Isa 58:6-10)  "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.


Baby Elisabeth brings hope to quake-hit Haitians
Tales of the survivors in Haiti
Hard Times at Home Don't Crimp American Generosity for Haiti

Bascom Palmer Communications: Update from Haiti

I returned early yesterday morning from Haiti, and Drs. Richard Lee and Julie Spielman were kind enough to meet me at MIA to give me a ride home.  Dr. Banta was definitely a hard act to follow, as I heard him praised over and over by the doctors and nurses who had worked with him.  There have been a lot of changes since then, as medical workers were pouring into the make-shift hospital.  Similar to James' experience, we were involved in a lot of non-ophthalmic care, including assisting in some of the many amputations being performed.

Tom Shane and I rounded on all of the approximately 200 patients to survey for eye injuries.  Many patients had severe facial swelling from blunt trauma as well as cellulitis.  Fortunately, most patients had only minor ocular injuries such as subconjunctival hemorrhages, infected lid abrasions, and facial cellulitis.  We did evaluate a woman with a naso-ethmoidal and left orbital fracture with decreased ocular motility, a traumatic optic neuropathy, a post-operative posterior ischemic optic neuropathy, and conjunctivitis.  Tom Shane and I helped transfer five critically ill patients to the Israeli field hospital, and found it to be quite impressive with an imaging center, lab, NICU, and ICU with ventilators.  The hospital was located off the airport, and we saw first hand some of the devastation as well as a huge tent city housing the displaced Haitians.

The conditions at our field hospital were quite primitive and basic.  The first night we were there, I helped with an amputation by holding a flashlight over the surgical area while the trauma surgeon amputated an arm with the patient under ketamine anesthesia on the concrete behind one of the two hospital tents.  Conditions improved on our second day there as we arranged an OR area in one of the tents using two folding tables as operating tables and divider walls.

Our minor OR nurse Ashlee Vainisi scrubbed on approximately 10 amputations the first day, and surgery proceeded well into the evening.  She did an absolutely outstanding job.  On our second day, Tom Shane, Ashlee, and I set up an eye clinic and wound care clinic between the two hospital tents.  We provided shade by spreading large tarps over the area, cleaned up the trash and moved boxes, and made a quite nice little clinic. Part of this area was reserved for the wound care doctors who performed dressing changes.  We did visual screening, used the auto refractor, and provided glasses (mostly readers), artificial tears, vitamins, and anti-allergy drops when needed to over 140 patients.  We also attended to dressing changes on our inpatients, performed dilated exams, and received a few emergencies including a reporter with a conjunctival foreign body and pain, as well as a young girl transferred from another clinic with a large infected cheek laceration extending into the maxillary sinus combined with swollen eyelids on the involved side.

Tom Shane was excellent with his boxes of glasses and organizational skills.  He is now working as the UM envoy to the organizational meetings being held throughout the day at the UN between all of the ngos (approximately 30) involved in the efforts.  The whole hospital is soon to be moved to a different area, with large air-conditioned tents paid for by Miami Heat's Alonso Mourning.  Presently conditions are quite cramped, and most of the staff sleeps when they can on the floor of a stage at the end of one of the tents.  Tom, Manny, Ashlee and I found a place to lie down between the tents on tables the first night.  The second night we camped outside near the tents for a while.  Drinking water arrived at the hospital on a regular basis, and patients and medical staff had adequate water to drink.  Food consists mainly of power bars, peanut butter, crackers, and occasionally bagels and bread, and is spread out on a table where staff members sleep and keep their personal belongings.

The patients were stoic and calm, but one could hear the constant cries of pain as analgesics wore off and dressings were changed.  Even with the hell they were going through, patients rarely complained and were happy each time we examined and cared for them.  On our rounds Tom and I encountered an 18-month old baby girl with cerebral palsy and scalp lacerations who was alone.  We were walking by and heard her crying.  We picked her up, fed her and held her, and she seemed very happy.  Thereafter we made it a point to round on her and feed her several times each day.  Patient family members provided basic care to the injured patients including feeding them, cleaning them, and emptying their bedpans.  Two infectious disease doctors from UM help coordinate the intravenous antibiotic therapy that most patients need due to infected wounds, amputations, and crush injuries.

Reporters were constantly touring the facility, and the President of Haiti stopped by Monday evening.  Emmanuel Paz ("Manny") from anesthesia has been an extremely hard working member of the team, providing ketamine and propofol anesthesia for amputations with basically no monitoring equipment except for a pulseoximeter.  On our first morning, a woman was rushed in who had been trapped under the rubble of the Caribbean Supermarket for four days in a couched position.  She was obviously very dehydrated, but fortunately had no major injuries.  Manny managed to start a 14 gauge IV, and she was quickly hydrated.  You could see life coming returning to her, and her relief to be alive and under medical care.  Later in the day we loaded her into a truck to be air-transferred to JMH. I'm going to try and locate her today at Jackson.

Many major problems persist.  Patients with pelvic fractures have no place for treatment, as neither our hospital nor the Israeli hospital is equipped to deal with them. They may die of injuries that would be easily treated in the US.  The same goes for spinal injuries.  Fortunately, fewer patients are dying now because they are receiving their needed surgeries quickly.  Immediate hospital needs include monitoring equipment, intravenous antibiotics, narcotics, ventilators, a laboratory, and imaging equipment. Ophthalmic needs include more antibiotic ointments and glasses.

My patient in Haiti asked me to call family members when I returned to Miami.  It was a very moving experience to call them and let them know he is alive and being well cared for in our hospital camp, as they had not heard any news of him since the quake.  It looks like the UM involvement in this effort will be a long term commitment, and I'm glad to see Bascom Palmer is able to play a vital role in the delivery of health care to this devastated country.  I want to go back, and I hope our residents, fellows, and faculty members will also give of some of their time and skills.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

33. Most of us call ourselves sinners, and perhaps really think it; but it is indignity that tests the heart.

January 20, 2010 

(Isa 38:18-20) For hell shall not confess to thee, neither shall death praise thee: nor shall they that go down into the pit, look for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall give praise to thee, as I do this day: the father shall make the truth known to the children. O Lord, save me, and we will sing our psalms all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.


Catholic Relief Service Helps Set up Displaced Camp on Port-Au-Prince Golf Course, Gets Haitian Hospital Running
Woman found alive in ruins of archbishop's residence
Conn. man trapped under Haiti quake rubble for 10 hours says miracles helped save his life

Bascom Palmer Communications:

I just wanted to let you know I safely returned from Haiti tonight (Saturday). The extent of devastation visited upon the people of Haiti is difficult to describe. I helped staff a makeshift hospital in two airport hangers caring for around 250 patients. The vast majority had major orthopedic injuries. Of the 48 hours I was there, I spent nearly all of my time simply doing what I could with the limited supplies we had. The first night I could do nothing but dress wounds, administer IV fluids, and give pain meds along with 2 other doctors and 2-3 nurses. We had an excellent trauma surgeon who did a good job of keeping on top of everything. UM Orthopedist David Pitcher arrived yesterday and was simply amazing. I spent most of the last 24 hours splinting and casting badly broken extremities under his direction. I sewed up a few lids and facial lacs, but fortunately dealt with few eye-related problems. It is a desperate time for that poor country and the desperation is going to reach a fever pitch in the coming weeks as sanitation and morale drop. I don't fully comprehend how the situation can be remedied. My sincere hope for Haiti is that when the rebuilding occurs, it will be with the appropriate infrastructure to push the country to higher places. It will be a long and arduous process, but one I hope can move quickly with the international attention that has been garnered.

Haiti needs money for supplies and housing. The injured need orthopedic and trauma surgeons with OR support (which is currently minimal--the first field ORs were to be opened today) and quality nursing (which is a severe deficiency currently). Security is going to be a major problem as a desperate group of people cling to the shards of their severely broken lives. An entire generation of orphans and disabled has been introduced into an already strained, deficient system. As I look at the last 48 hours, of which I only slept about 3, the extent of the task at hand appears beyond daunting. There were times of hopelessness as I watched people suffer and sometimes die. Possibly even more difficult to remove from my thoughts were the cries of the orphaned or displaced children who were often inconsolable at bedtime, their fairly resilient natures not enough to overcome the physical pain of the injuries for which they were hospitalized as well as the emotional upheaval of losing their parents. There were some fleetingly hopeful times. Last night, a 15 year old girl was miraculously removed from the rubble of what was her secondary school after 4 days without food or water. Her left arm was crudely amputated in order to allow her escape. After a rather spartan surgery on a folding table sitting outside the hanger, her bleeding was addressed and her fluids replenished. When I left today, she was awake and talking, although very uncomfortable. She still might not survive. Her arm is still in horrible shape and she was found to have a heinous laceration of her lower back that might be infected--yet she was alive and talking. It was to be but a brief respite from the reality of the situation. As I smiled and felt proud of my part in her recovery, she began to ask me about her friends with whom she attended school. Sadly, I knew from the rescue team that she was likely the only survivor, and from the emotionless way in which she recited their names, she almost certainly knew as well. In Haiti today, even the hopeful moments are tinged with a stinging, painful reality.

You are welcome to circulate this report to the faculty and staff if you see fit to do so. I wish I could make it more hopeful, but the current reality is bleak. The outpouring of aid and volunteers is heartwarming and will eventually give way to a new, improved Haiti. If anyone would like to do something to help the situation, give money to a trusted charitable organization such as the American Red Cross or the UN's World Food Program.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

32. It is impossible for snow to burst into flame; still more difficult is it for humililty to dwell in an an un-orthodox person. This is something which the pious and faithful achieve, and then only when they have been purified.

January 19, 2010 

(Col 1:23-24) If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven: whereof I Paul am made a minister. Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church:

ESSAY: What is God's Answer to Human Suffering? by Peter Kreeft

BLOG: Redemptive Suffering with help from John Corapi


Haitians praise God after apocalyptic quake
And yet, the Haitians praise God
Many Haitians' religious faith unshaken by earthquake

EDITORIAL: Why does Haiti suffer so much?

SAINT LOUIS REVIEW: Brazilian Catholic doctor known for work with children dies in Haiti

Haitian Baby Delivered in Israeli Field Hospital to be Called Israel

CRS: Collection for Haiti earthquake

As the official relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, Catholic Relief Services is on the ground and already reaching out to the victims. CRS has made an initial investment of $5 million and will need our help to continue their work in the coming weeks.


"It is in suffering that we are withdrawn from the bright superficial film of existence, from the sway of time and mere things and find ourselves in the presence of profounder truth."  + Fr. Yves Conger, French priest-theologian.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

31. We who wish to understand must not cease to examine ourselves; if in the perception of our heart we consider that our neighbour excels us in all things, then Divine mercy is near us.

January 14, 2010 

(Mat 25:37-40) Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry and fed thee: thirsty and gave thee drink? Or when did we see thee a stranger and took thee in? Or naked and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison and came to thee? And the king answering shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

HEADLINE: Pope activates world Catholic charities for Haiti

Pope Benedict on Wednesday ordered that the Roman Catholic Church's extensive worldwide charity network be immediately activated to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Speaking at his weekly general audience, the pope also appealed to the international community and individuals to be quick and generous in their aid.

"The Catholic Church will immediately activate (its aid) through its charity institutions in order to respond to the most urgent needs of the population," he said.

A major earthquake struck the capital of impoverished Haiti on Tuesday, flattening buildings and burying hundreds, possibly thousands, of people under the rubble, witnesses said.

The Catholic Church has one of the world's largest and most capillary charity networks.

"I appeal to everyone's generosity, so that these brothers and sisters of ours who are living through a time of need and pain receive our concrete solidarity and the effective help of the international community," he said.

MORE: Archbishop of Port-Au-Prince Dies in Haiti Quake

RESPONSE: 'We Are Working Against the Clock': World Rushes Aid to Shattered Haiti

: Catholic Relief Service workers in the field are reporting unprecedented devastation in Haiti's capital city Port-au-Prince following yesterday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Karel Zelenka, CRS's country representative for Haiti told CRS spokesperson John Rivera the devastation is unlike anything he's ever seen. "I've been in  earthquakes before," Zelenka told Rivera. "This was a major earthquake and a direct hit [on the capital]. There must be thousands dead."


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

29. He who has come to know himself by discerning each feeling of his soul has sown on earth; but those who have not thus sown cannot expect humility to blossom forth.

January 13, 2010 

(Tit 2:11-14) For the grace of God our Saviour hath appeared to all men: Instructing us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly and justly and godly in this world, Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works.

HEADLINE: Pope says gay marriage threat to creation

Pope Benedict on Tuesday linked the Church's opposition to gay marriage to concern about the environment, suggesting that laws undermining "the differences between the sexes" were threats to creation.

The pope made his comments in an address to diplomats in his yearly assessment of world events. The main theme of the address was the environment and the protection of creation.

"To carry our reflection further, we must remember that the problem of the environment is complex; one might compare it to a multifaceted prism," he said.

"Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes," he said.

"I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America," he said.

This was a clear reference to legislation either enacted or proposed in several part of the world.

Last month, Mexico City became the first capital in Catholic Latin America to allow same-sex marriage.

In California, the U.S. state's ban on gay marriage goes to trial on Monday in a federal case that plaintiffs hope to take all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and overturn bans throughout the nation.

Gay marriage is legal is several U.S. states and some European countries.

"Yet freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not God, but the image of God, God's creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or willfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator," he said.


Catholic Church under fire for stance on marriage
US bishops laud New Jersey, New York for rejecting same-sex marriage
Catholic Politicians Supporting Same-Sex Marriage Legislation

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

26. Humility is a Divine shelter to prevent us from seeing our achievements. Humility ia an abyss of self-abasement, inaccessibile to any thief. Humility is a tower of strength against the face of the enemy. No advantage shall his enemy have over him, nor shall the son, or rahter the thought, of iniquity avail to hurt him any more, but he will hew down his enemies before his face, and them that hate him shall be put to flight.

January 12, 2010 

(Rev 6:9-11) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (Holy and True), dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them one; And it was said to them that they should rest for a little time till their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be slain even as they, should be filled up.

HEADLINE: Pope condemns religious attacks after Copt deaths

Pope Benedict called on political and religious authorities on Sunday to prevent violence against Christians, in an apparent reference to recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt.

"Violence against Christians ... has caused indignation among many people, particularly because it has taken place on the most sacred days of the Christian tradition," Benedict said after his weekly Angelus blessing in Rome.

Six Coptic Christians were killed in drive-by shootings in the town of Nagaa Hamady in southern Egypt on January 6, just before midnight on Coptic Christmas Eve.

Three days later Muslims and Christians set fire to each others' homes and shops in nearby villages, injuring six people, as tension remained high in the area, 60 km (40 miles) north of the tourist and archaeological center Luxor.

"It is necessary that both political and religious authorities do not fail to live up to their responsibilities," the pope said. "We cannot have violence in the name of God."

IN THE NEWS: More Malaysian churches attacked in Allah dispute

There have been more attacks on churches in Malaysia, in a growing dispute over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

The police say petrol bombs were thrown at a church and a convent school in the state of Perak, and at a church in Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Another church in the south of the country was daubed with black paint.

The attacks come days after four churches near the capital, Kuala Lumpur, were hit by petrol bombs.

Religious tensions in Malaysia have increased since a court ruled last month that a Roman Catholic newspaper could use the word Allah in its Malay-language edition to describe the Christian god.


Malaysian Christians defy church attacks
Grenade hurled at cathedral in southern Philippines
Catholic Cardinal accuses Europeans of spreading Islam in Europe

REVIEW: Filipinos witness Christianity in Muslim countries

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

25. We cannot describe the power and essence of this sun, humility, but from its properties and effects we can explain its intrinsic nature.

January 08, 2010 


(1Ti 6:17-19) Charge the rich of this world not to be highminded nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living God (who giveth us abundantly all things to enjoy) To do good, to be rich in good work, to give easily, to communicate to others, To lay up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the true life.


CATHOLIC INVESTING: The St. Charles Group was formed in 2005 with the passion of creating investment and planning strategies to serve the needs of our Catholic community.  These services are designed to assist our Catholic clients in the stewardship of the resources in a manner consistent with the social teachings of the Catholic Church and the principles of human dignity and the common good.


Black Swans Abound as Year of Tiger Shows Teeth
'Double Dip' Warning Ahead Of Rate Decision
Potential for Double Dip Increases as Stimulus Fades

OP-ED: That 1937 Feeling

REVIEW: Why the US Economy will not recover

EXCERPT LIFESITE NEWS: Interview with Father Euteneuer

LSN: Can a line between legalized abortion and the financial crisis be drawn clearly?

TE: The line to me is the spiritual and moral dimension of it. The spiritual and moral affect everything that we do. But usually because there is a greater accountability in the financial and economic realm of things, it takes longer for that to degrade. When people start losing money, they begin to wake up. And God allows that because when people do not recognize the demands of morality and the demands of God, the only thing they're willing to listen to oftentimes is their pocket book. There's a great possibility in all these structural changes that are happening now that people could turn around and become moral again, because of the financial crisis. Also, any type of disaster turns people back to God, as we saw after 9-11. We didn't sustain that because we got back on our feet economically. more...

EXCERPT ANALYSIS by Robert McHugh, Ph.D., a Christian stock market technical analyst: The National Association of Realtors reported that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements fell an incredible 16 percent in November from October. It was the first decline in seven months. Not a small 2 percent drop after a string of rises, but a plunge. This came in spite of the continuation of the targeted $8,000 tax credit to first time homebuyers and the new $6,500 tax credit for relocating buyers. Further, the home loan modification program of the Central Planners, a $75 billion targeted use of your tax dollars, has been an abject failure. When first passed, we were told 5.0 million of the 80.0 million homeowners in trouble because of debt to home value ratios or income issues would be helped out of their mess. So far, only 50,000 have benefitted. One person on CNBC termed this program a massive "propaganda scheme." That pretty much sums up most of the programs the Central Planners have come up with for the little guy, the household. A few large corporations are getting the real goodies, with essentially nothing of note assisting consumers, small businesses, and small banks. They key to a true economic turnaround is to get these three groups back on their feet. They need meaningful tax rebates, marginal tax rate cuts, high income earning jobs, and in the case of small banks, relief from an onerous FDIC insurance surcharge, which I will discuss in a moment.

A little history from ancient Greece. A policy of allowing a few large and powerful individuals, or in our case banking firms, to drive government economic policy, which is what we see going on now, is called an oligarchy, not a democracy, not even a republic. "Oligarchy" means "rule by a few" in Greek. Almost the entire stimulus plan has been cash handouts to a few large financial corporations. Nothing of any substance has been provided to the masses of the people, who elect representatives, who elect our government. Somehow, the Central Planners are heeding the wishes of Goldman Sachs and friends, with ill-regard to moms and pops on Main Street. This was the politics of ancient Greece from 800 to 650 B.C.

Resentment of aristocratic power over the interests of the masses led to dictatorship. The age of the tyrants followed oligarchy in Greece from 650 to 500 BC. The policy and decision making road this Central planner group has chosen is a dangerous path.

Back to the markets. Our take on the Pending Home Sales Agreement plunge is that the third leg of this massive Bear Market, wave (C ) down, is close to starting. It is assured of coming due to the ignoring of the key generators of economic growth in the U.S. The household (consumer) is 70 percent of GDP. Small businesses generate 80 percent of all new jobs. Small banks provide the fuel for consumers and small businesses, small loans and safe returns on conservative investments.

Community Banks were recently assessed a prepayment insurance premium for the next 3 years in order to raise $45 billion into the FDIC insurance fund, which was due December 31st, 2009. Those fees are so onerous, so huge as compared to small community bank earnings, that it basically knocks the crap out of small bank earnings, which are critical for capital accumulation which drives lending ability. This is on top of an already increased premium by 200 percent in 2009. It drew $45 billion of liquidity from the banking system in stealth fashion at a time when banks need more liquidity to lend to consumers. It reduced capital levels in all banks. Another insane, stupid decision by the regulatory agency minions serving this Central Planner group. Why? Because the few large banks who are running our economy have no problem paying this FDIC prepayment fee thanks to all the cash they got from the Central Planners in the bailout plans. It is the small bank that did not need or desire to accept TARP funds that get punished. To quote the president of a community bank that I know well, "Unfortunately the community banks continue to feel the brunt of the financial crisis by bailing out the large banks and having to deal with the numerous new regulations enacted due to the actions of these large institutions. In addition, we are facing the possibility of yet another regulatory body, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The House recently narrowly passed the bill to create this agency. Hopefully you heard or read about Obama's "Fat Cat Bankers" interview. This just shows a complete lack of understanding by Obama regarding banking in that he continues to lump all banks together in his comments."

It is as if all economic policy has to be run by the few large Wall Street financial companies before adoption. They could care less what happens to the little guy. And, oh yeah, their earnings are just fine, thank you very much.

It this arrogance toward the masses and stupidity of economic policy that will ensure catastrophic wave (C ) down comes.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

22. It is a sign of the beginning of health when our thought no longer prides itself on its natural gifts. But as long as it has that stench in its nose, it cannot detect the fragrance of myrrh.

January 07, 2010  

(1Jo 4:20-21) If any man say: I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not? And this commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God love also his brother.

POPE BENEDICT XVI: Pope calls for brotherly love and tolerance

Dennis: As I set here writing this blog, the last few hours of 2009 is slipping by and I find it hard to believe how quickly the months have come and gone. As I look at 2009 and forward to 2010, I am not feeling very well about the future. Our country is still in Iraq and going deeper into Afghanistan. We are still killing many thousands of babies in their mothers’ wombs and our country is spending money like it is water. Unemployment is really bad and there doesn’t seem much hope left to go back to the way it was. This generation may be the last of the “Happy Motoring” generation. I must apologize for all the gloom, and I must admit what this country and world needs is a good place to find love.

It’s amazing where people seek love. You would think that something like that would be easy, and it is if you only look in the right places. I think there was a song “Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places”. With all the various religions, communication technologies, and other ways people socialize, you would think some where in there you could find love. It’s quite obvious that love does not exist in these places for if it did we would be a much better off world. Religion can gives us laws and tell us we should love, but that only operates at the surface. To really find love we must look deeply into the eyes of our Creator who is the Author and essence of love. To really see how love operates you must look into the very womb of Mary the mother of Jesus. There God the Father placed His Son not as a god, but as a simple helpless baby. If that does not make you stop and think I am not sure what would. Just what kind of God do we have that would do such things out of love for his children?

From the birth of Jesus until his death for us on the cross, Jesus was a pure example of love. Jesus came to serve, forgive and be an example of the very essence of His Father. If you are seeking love, then seek Jesus. If you want to be love then become Jesus like. There is no other place that one can find real love. If you want others to find love, then love them like Jesus loved and when they see your love you can point to the source, that is Jesus the Lord.

To all of you I wish a happy New Year, but I especially from deep in my heart wish all of you love. Don’t look in all the wrong places. Go directly to the Source.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

21. A horse when alone often imagines that it is galloping, but when it is with others it finds out how slow it is.

January 06, 2010  


BLOG: The position of the Church on Medjugorje

AUSTRIAN TIMES: Schönborn visits pilgrimage destination Medjugorje

Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn spent New Year's at Bosnia-Herzegovina pilgrimage destination Medjugorje.

Schönborn wanted his visit to be private since he wanted to spend time in silence and prayer.

The Roman Catholic Church has still not officially recognized the place where the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared to six school children in 1981.

Since then, over 30 million pilgrims have visited the location in the southern part of the country.

"BLOCKBUSTER" INTERVIEW: From Vecernji List the daily newspaper Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Question: "Medjugorje is again in the center of attention, church and public as well. Though the visit of Cardinal Shonborn is private, it did not leave anybody indifferent because he is the member of Congregation for Doctrine of Faith.  We talked to Cardinal while he was visiting Medjugorje.

"We came here to be close to the Lord's mother", you said during the Christmas Eve Mass, Your Eminence. These words had a great echo. We would like you to explain them?"

Cardinal: " We cannot deny that pilgrims have been coming over here for past20 years, as we can not deny what they experience in Medjugorje and how close they fell to the Blessed Mother. This is my first visit, but since I've been a Bishop from 1991. I have simply noticed the fruits of Medjugorje.  more....


"I am not a regular church-goer but witnessing the faith and devotion of the Northern Ireland pilgrims on this journey gave me a great respect for those who give their lives over to God. There are those who go to Medjugorje in search of apparitions of Our Lady, of phenomena like the spinning sun and the weeping knee, and I have no issue with this if it helps them strengthen their faith.

However, it's the people who go for their own personal reasons that I have most admiration. People like west Belfast man Emmanuel Strong whose mother died in Medjugorje whilst on a pilgrimage. He wanted to visit the place where his mother sadly passed away and takes great comfort in being there, feeling closer to her".

ZENIT.ORG: Cardinal Puljic on Medjugorje: God Blesses Prayer

CNA: Medjugorje bishop says Cardinal Schönborn's visit brings greater suffering to his diocese

CATHOLICCULTURE.ORG: Medjugorje: the message is unclear, but the differences are obvious

MEDJUGORJE.COM: Prophetic Message of January 2, 2010 Given by Our Lady Queen of Peace of Medjugorje's to Mirjana on the day for Non-believers
"Dear children, today I am calling you to, with complete trust and love, set out with me, because I desire to acquaint you with my Son. Do not be afraid, my children, I am here with you, I am next to you. I am showing you the way to forgive yourselves, to forgive others, and, with sincere repentance of heart, to kneel before the Father. Make everything die in you that hinders you from loving and saving – that you may be with Him and in Him. Decide for a new beginning, a beginning of sincere love of God Himself. Thank you."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 25- "On the destroyer of the pasions, most sublime humility"

20. He who has humbled himself within will not be cheated by his lips; for what is not in the treasury cannot be brought out through this door.
Links  E-mail Dr. Zambrano  Home

Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

The Tribulation Times Archives:

January July January July January July January July January July January July January July
February August February August Feb-March August February August February August
August February August
March September March September April September Lent September Lent September Lent September Lent September
April October April October May October April October April October April October April October
May-June November May November June November May November May November May November May November

December June December
December June December June December June December June December

1997 1998
June-July January July January July January July January July  January July
August February August February August February August February August February August
September March September March September March/April September March/April September March September
October April October April October May October May October April October
November May November May November June November June November May November
December June December June December
December June December

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more detailed information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.