Elena Maria Vidal's Blog
July 12, 2014
Aleteia on the Catholic response. To quote:
According to immigrants themselves, they are fleeing to the United States to avoid violence inflicted by the deadly street gangs that have all but taken over El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Young people in those countries are routinely intimidated into joining the gangs, and those who resist recruitment are frequently killed or their families attacked. So they flee.
The United States isn’t the only country seeing an increase in these refugees. The relatively gang-free Central American nations of Panama, Belize, Costa Rica and Nicaragua have also been struggling with the influx. Along with Mexico, these countries have reported a 432% increase in migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras since 2009.
According to US law, unaccompanied minors can’t simply be turned around and immediately deported, which is what usually happens with adults. Instead, they are temporarily detained in a network of over 100 family shelters while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notifies any relatives they may have here, or arranges for placement with foster families. They are then permitted to stay while their cases proceed through the legal system. Much the same treatment is accorded to mothers with minor children.
In this case, the Obama Administration’s hands are tied. The present system was established by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008, both signed by President George W. Bush.
What is so remarkable about the current crisis is that the crush of immigrants is stretching resources and tempers to the breaking point in the American Southwest. According to HHS, their network of family shelters can accommodate about 6,000 people at any one time. With ten times that number of immigrants, those shelters have been overwhelmed, leading to cramped and unsanitary conditions. In response, the federal government has been using other facilities – schools, military installations, even prisons – as temporary shelters.
One such facility is located in Murietta, CA, an inland town about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. On July 1, local citizens carrying signs reading “Illegals Out” blocked roads and hurled insults as buses full of mothers and children attempted to make their way to the Border Patrol processing station in that city. Fearing for the safety of the immigrants, officials rerouted the buses to San Diego. Rumors spread that more buses would arrive on Friday, July 4. Pro- and anti-immigration activists converged on the town and though no buses arrived, clashes between the two groups resulted in the arrest of six persons.
For their part, the Catholic bishops have called on the government and indeed all Americans to exercise compassion and patience for children and families in detention. That theme continued this week during the National Migration Conference, co-sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services (USCCB/MRS), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA). (Read more.)
From Crisis :
Eugenie-Maire Pascaline Feneglio was born at Toulon on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1866. Her family life was miserable, and was to shatter calamitously. Her father a depressive with a temper, her mother tried to placate; for years, together with her older brother, the girl lived in dread. The mounting misery erupted on another Sunday—March 6, 1884—in what would be a deadly climax.
All day a stream of invective had rained down upon Eve’s mother. By late afternoon, the children were growing ever more alarmed for her safety. In the end their instincts proved right, as, after a crack of a pistol, they saw her lying mortally wounded upon the floor. As Eve stared in disbelief at the bloodied face of her mother, an altogether new fear suddenly gripped her. She was right to be frightened, for, as she turned, she was staring down the barrel of a pistol now pointing directly at her. A shot discharged, ricocheting off the wall as its intended target dived for cover. That was not to be the end of the blood lust, however, as, on that accursed Sabbath, a demon was loosed, and soon after another shot rang out. This time it found its target, and her father lay dead. The two children ran from the house, with her brother never seen again. On that tragic March evening, with her childhood now ended, yet barely a woman, Eve Lavalliere was left to face the world alone.
The next years can be summed up as follows: drab jobs in provincial obscurity fueling a longing for the Paris stage; an increasingly eye-catching face combined with an ever growing vivacity, all enveloped with a will of iron matched only by one burning ambition: to “escape.” And escape she did; along the way, taking the stage name “Eve Lavalliere.” Thereafter, like some fairytale, all her wishes came true, but wishes are not prayers, and the realization of her dreams gradually turned to nightmare.
Playing before packed, adoring audiences, with even Crowned Heads bowing, the very world appeared to be at her feet. No one but she, however, knew of the shadows that grew increasingly darker as the stage lights dimed, and as the darkness descended so too did the demons that relentlessly tormented her.
Superficially, the truth appeared simple enough: by the turn of the century she was the toast of Paris and much of Europe. And yet, by then, she knew nothing but an aching emptiness, something that would persist for years. An incident in 1916 reveals its depths. After a performance in London to aid the war effort, and while the audience were still standing and applauding she left the stage and made straight for the banks of the river Thames with one intention: to drown herself.
As she stood watching the lights of the city playing on that dark river’s ever-onward course, she relented, but only just. Sadly, it had not been the first time such thoughts had driven her to the brink of annihilation. It would be the last, however. Less than a year later, an event occurred that was to change her life forever, and in the process the world would be shocked, and its overlord angered.
This tragic first act now closes as we move on to the strange second one. (Read more.)
July 11, 2014
It is about having fun and obviously has nothing to do with women's health. So why should citizens be forced to pay for it? From ALL :
The recent Supreme Court Ruling on the Hobby Lobby case presents a unique look at what the hard left is attempting to force employers to pay for. Many of the talking points claim that, by siding with Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court has “taken away” women’s access to “essential health care.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg even went so far in her dissent from the decision to suggest that the decision would “extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah's Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations.”
But, to borrow a favorite phrase from the current occupier of the White House, “let’s be clear” about what we’re REALLY talking about. Contraceptive drugs and devices are not healthcare; they are not essential. In fact, they are for no other use than recreation. Contraceptive drugs are recreational drugs and contraceptive devices are recreational devices.
All sexual activities conducted with the intention of excluding the creation of a new person are recreational. They are done purely for enjoyment and self-gratification—the very essence and nature of recreation. Contraception is only useful when sexual activities are being conducted. And since the sexual activities are recreational, so is the accompanying contraceptive drug and/or device.
Some claim that contraception is a part of “women’s reproductive health.” The problem with this claim is that health, as properly defined, is the state of “well-being” or “freedom from disease.” When one is healthy, all of the processes of the body are performing properly and according to their design. What hormonal contraception does, however, is cause a malfunction in a woman’s reproductive organs, forcing them to either not perform or to perform in a manner that is not ordinary to their design. (Read more.)
From Aleteia :
Demonic possession is not only real, but as the practice of Christianity fades and fascination with the occult increases, the need for exorcism becomes more pressing. This week the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican approved the statutes of a new Catholic organization, the International Association of Exorcists. Founded by the well known exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Association of Exorcists fosters awareness of the spiritual problem, trains exorcists and holds conferences which bring together theologians, medical practitioners, psychiatrists, and clergy.
Fr. Francesco Bamonte, an exorcist from the Diocese of Rome told L'Osservatore Romano that the Holy See’s approval of the new organization “is cause for joy." He explained, "God calls some priests to the precious ministry of exorcism and liberation, giving them the task of accompanying” those people who require specific spiritual and pastoral attention. The ministry of exorcism is an exercise of Christ’s ministry of deliverance and a sign of his victory over evil in the world.
That this organization should be approved at the top level of the Vatican show the seriousness with which the Catholic Church takes the reality of demonic forces.The ministry of exorcism is often associated with “conservatives” in the church while “progressives” prefer to dismiss demonic possession as no more than epilepsy or mental illness. The fact that Pope Francis takes the problem so seriously shows that the reality of demonic evil is not limited by labels.
In this report from the Washington Post it is pointed out that Pope Francis speaks literally and openly about the devil more regularly than any pope since Paul VI. He publicly laid hands on, and prayed for a man who it was claimed was demon possessed, he refers to the devil regularly in his homilies and speeches, dedicated a new image of St. Michael in the Vatican gardens -- praying especially for Michael’s protection in the battle against Satan.
In a homily last April Pope Francis quoted his critics, “ 'But Father, how old-fashioned you are to speak about the Devil in the 21st century!' ” The pope reminded his listeners not be fooled by the lies of Satan. “Look out because the Devil is present,” he warned.
Pope Francis is often hailed as a pope of surprises, but his open belief in a personal devil may be one of his most surprising characteristics. In modern church circles it is more fashionable to speak of “evil” than to refer to a personal devil. Pope Benedict XVI, who was regarded as an arch-conservative tended to refer to evil in these general terms, while Pope Francis is unembarrassed about referring to Satan the Father of Lies. The Post reporter quotes a Vatican insider, “Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant. Had Pope Benedict done this, the media would have clobbered him.”
The Holy Spirit guides the church to the right Pope for the times. Could it be that Pope Francis’ greatest legacy will not be his inclusive attitude, his open spirit and his admirable embrace of poverty, but his constant reference to the great battle between good and evil? (Read more.)
July 10, 2014
How Mother Mectilde de Bar found her vocation during a turbulent era in France's history. God can raise up saints even in the worst of times. To quote:
The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was raging at the time, pitting France against the House of Austria. When Swedish soldiers, many of them fanatical Lutherans fighting for the French, invaded Lorraine, they had no scruples about sacking churches and desecrating the Most Blessed Sacrament. After the Swedes, notoriously undisciplined French mercenary soldiers tore through Lorraine, completing the utter devastation of the country. One of these was a former suitor of Catherine de Bar. Donning masculine attire, Catherine and a companion, also disguised as a man, fled. A farmer hid them under bales of hay loaded on his cart. When Catherine’s pursuer, alerted to her escape, pierced the bales with his sword, not one thrust touched Catherine and her companion. They had prayed continuously to the Blessed Virgin to protect them.
By this time, the whole community of Annonciades was obliged to abandon the monastery of Bruyères. They elected 20 year old Mother Saint-Jean-l’Evangéliste superior of the group and, in search of safety and quiet, moved from one place to another until, in the end, they accepted the invitation of the Benedictines of Rambervillers to take refuge with them. These Benedictines had embraced the observance of Dom Didier de la Cour (1550-1623), founder of the reformed Congregation of Saints Vanne and Hydulphe. The Annonciades lived alongside the Benedictines for a year (1638-1639) during which Catherine de Bar discovered the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Profession as a Benedictine
After placing her five Annonciades in houses of their Order, Mother Saint-Jean was clothed in the Benedictine habit on 2 July 1639, receiving the name Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde. On the feast of the Translation of Saint Benedict, 11 July 1640, 25 year old Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde made her monastic profession. The Franciscan Friars Minor, charged with the oversight of the Annonciades, bitterly contested the validity of this Benedictine profession. Not until 1660 did a rescript of Pope Alexander VII settle the question by recognizing Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde as a proper Benedictine, owing no allegiance to the Friars Minor.
The Duchy of Lorraine, already ravaged by war, now fell to famine and plague. Saint Vincent de Paul, moved by so much suffering, sent a group of ten Lazarists to Lorraine to help the poorest of the poor. Learning of the plight of the itinerant Benedictines, Saint Vincent had them brought safely to Paris, where, on the evening of 29 August 1641, Mademoiselle Legras (Saint Louise de Marillac (August 12, 1591–March 15, 1660) received the exhausted travelers into her own home. The next day, Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde and her companion climbed to the summit of Montmartre where Lady Abbess de Beauvilliers was waiting to welcome them into the great Benedictine abbey that, at the time, covered la butte, close to the site of the present Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Normandy and Holy Gentlemen Friends
An opportunity to reconstitute her community in Normandy became the occasion for Catherine to meet some of the greatest spiritual figures of 17th century France’s mystical invasion: Saint John Eudes, Monsieur de Renty, and Monsieur de Bernières were among them. Normandy was, however, but another halt in the journey. In June 1643, Mother Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde, together with her companion, Bernardine de la Conception, returned to Paris, hoping to find there, a place that the whole community from Lorraine might finally call home.
Chrysostom of Saint Lô Makes His Prophecy
In Paris, Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde met the famous Father Chrysostom of Saint-Lô, provincial of the Franciscans of the Third Order Regular in France. Catherine wrote an account of her soul for Father Chrysostom. He was to be her spiritual guide until his death three years later in 1646. Father Chrysostom taught a contemplative prayer that was the pure abandonment of the soul to the action of the Divine Bridegroom. There was, however, nothing of the quietist about him; he enjoined Catherine to practise silence, withdrawal from the world, hiddenness, annihilation of self, abjection, obedience, and love of the cross. He imposed frightening practices of penance on Catherine: no more than three hours of sleep, the discipline, hair shirt, and a girdle of iron set about with points. Concerning Catherine de Sainte-Mectilde, Father Chrysostom made this astonishing prophecy: “God, by a most special providence, obliges you to honour the Blessed Sacrament with a particular devotion. It is in this sacrament that Our Lord Jesus Christ lives and shall live until the consummation of the ages in a life that is all hidden.” Father Chrysostom authorized Catherine to receive Holy Communion daily, something extremely rare at the time. (Read more.)
From Smithsonian :
Smith was an invited guest at the Algonquian settlement, Werowocomoco. He was escorted by Powhatan's son into the chief's longhouse, built of saplings, reeds and bark and set apart from the village. He promised to help subjugate Powhatan's enemies to the west, and Powhatan formally declared the pale-faced foreigner a weroance, or Algonquian chief.
The survival of Jamestown—established 400 years ago next month—hinged on this encounter at Werowocomoco. The English had unknowingly built their small rude settlement just a dozen miles from the center of Powhatan's confederacy. In the midst of their first long winter, with insufficient food supplies, the foreigners were depending on exchanging copper ware, glass beads and iron hatchets for Algonquian corn. But the peace did not hold, and within a year Powhatan relocated his capital farther west. Werowocomoco was abandoned, and the location of the dramatic confrontations between Smith and Powhatan that ensured the English foothold in North America was lost to history. (Read more.)