June 2014

This is very sad news and deplorable. These three teenage boys were hitchhiking and called the police with a distress call that they had been kidnapped. They had not been heard from for several weeks and have just now been found in a shallow grave north of Hebron in the Palestinian West Bank.

This is quite amazing for us since we were filming the life of Abraham in the area where they found the bodies today. We were looking for the authentic site of the Oaks of Mamre which is mentioned in Genesis 18. Two weeks ago we were in this part of the Palestinian West Bank filming those scenes for our movie.

This makes the peace process in Israel very difficult. Since the kidnappings are the result of Hamas who has just partnered with the Palestinian Authority, it will make any further discussions of peace nearly impossible in the coming months or even years.

One thing people are not mentioning is that these boys were part of families who are settlers. That means that they are Jews infiltrating and setting up settlements inside the Palestinian West Bank which is a very provocative endeavor. Settlers live in risk by the very nature of their lifestyles of trying to appropriate Palestinian lands.

However, this is no excuse for murdering three young teenagers and burying them in unmarked graves. Israel has every right to defend themselves.

I do want to make one very important comment for those who are considering a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The areas where these kidnappings took place are NOT in the itinerary where we take our groups. The holy sites in Israel that we visit are completely unaffected by this situation which is far removed from areas where we visit on pilgrimages.

{ 1 comment }

Hobby Lobby Wins; Religious Freedom Wins!

by Steve Ray on June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby just got a victory from the Supreme Court. This is a HUGE legal decision which punches Obamacare right in the face. It is a ruling which defends religious liberty. Any business that objects to abortion and birth-control no longer has to pay it in their health insurance.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Hobby Lobby

In 5-4 Decision, Court Says Family Businesses May Claim Religious Exemption from Mandate on Contraception Coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 30, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Religious groups in the United States are celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court decision today which has ruled that closely held companies can claim a religious exemption from the requirement that they offer contraception coverage in their worker health plans.

The justices voted 5-4 in favour of family-run businesses, including the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., saying that on religious grounds they do not have to mandate the free provision of contraception to their employees, according to Bloomberg News.

The court majority concluded that the Obama administration failed to prove that the so-called HHS mandate is the least restrictive means of advancing its interest in guaranteeing the provision of free access to contraception in health insurance plans.

It also said the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires that closely held companies receive the same accommodation the administration has already granted to nonprofit organizations that object to the mandate on religious grounds.

The ruling is a significant advance in the expansion of corporate rights, showing that for-profit companies as well as individuals can claim religious freedoms under federal law.

Safeguarding the religious rights of corporations “protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.

Bloomberg News said the case divided the court along ideological lines. Alito’s majority opinion was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

The case centered on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says the U.S. government may “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” only when it meets a demanding test.

The Obama administration argued that the law doesn’t cover corporations and that the government’s interests outweighed any religious rights the corporations possess.

Responding to today’s decision, Human Life International President Father Shenan J. Boquet said the full implications of this decision are not yet known, but this appears to be “at least some good news in the fight for religious freedom.”

“What many found deeply disturbing about this case was not only the assault on religious freedom, but the manipulation of scientific facts in order to support a radical political agenda promoting abortion,” he said in a statement.

“There’s scientific consensus that when sperm meets egg and fertilization occurs, a new human life begins. Yet we see our own government and pro-abortion lobbyist groups like American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) play games with the words ‘fertilization,’ ‘conception,’ ‘pregnancy,’ and even ‘abortion’ to make it seem as though the drugs and devices in question in the Hobby Lobby case don’t kill innocent human life-when it’s scientific fact that they can, and do destroy new life in the womb.”

Fr. Boquet said not only does the “HHS contraception/sterilization/abortifacient mandate seek to undermine our God-given freedom to practice our faith, the mandate furthers U.S. government support for the greatest human rights abuse in history, using taxpayer dollars to kill preborn human life.

“There’s no doubt that legal action will continue on this mandate, and the many other troubling provisions of Obamacare,” Fr. Boquet said. “The American people must make clear to our elected representatives that we will not allow our religious liberty to be violated by our own government, especially in pursuit of an immoral agenda that furthers the erosion of human rights, and ends human lives.”

{ 1 comment }

Leonard Alt debates an anti-Catholic named Phil. He writes:

I have a choice: I can listen to the Evangelicals who confuse the blood of animals, with the blood of Christ and choose not to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Christ, or, I can listen to Jesus who said; “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54). Who will you listen too? 

Phil Wipperman in the Facebook group “The Catholic Church is NOT a Christian Church” says, “Leonard Alt claims that Jesus Christ endorsed sin by COMMANDING people to drink blood even though he has given CLEAR COMMANDMENTS in the Old Testament FORBIDDING the wicked behavior of the heathens. Why is this not shocking?” 

Phil Wipperman cites the Old Testament, out of context, not mentioning that the blood they didn’t drink was the blood of animals.  However, the drinking of blood of animals is a moot point because no one is recommending drinking the blood of animals in the New Testament.

Jesus commands us in the New Testament to drink of His blood and there is no prohibition against this.  In fact, it was Jesus who said, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55).  At the same time Phil Wipperman says; “Why is this not shocking?”  

Phil is actually correct; it was shocking.  In fact, Jesus asked the same of those who were having difficulty believing Him; “Does this shock you?” (Jn 6:51).   It was shocking because this is the only place in all of the Gospels where many of Jesus very own disciples “returned to their former way of life” (Jn 6:66).   Of course, as shocking as it was, His twelve Apostles did not leave Him.  Peter said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). 

When Jesus said “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55), it was very difficult for some of His disciples to believe; and it is difficult for some of us to believe today.  

When Phil and other Evangelicals oppose drinking blood, they are confusing the prohibition against drinking the blood of animals in the Deuteronomy 12:27, with drinking the blood of Christ, which was commanded by Jesus.  It was Jesus who said, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53).

Many claim that the drinking of the Blood of Christ is not Biblical, even Pagan; however, that is not the way Jesus saw it.  

  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID,Drink from it all of you, for this is my Blood, of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:28)
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID, after drinking from it, “this is my blood, of the covenant, which will be shed for many (Mk 14:24).
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID, “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53). 
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID,“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54).
  • IT WAS JESUS WHO SAID, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55). 

The Catholic Church follows Biblical tradition by echoing the words of Jesus “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”  However, this begs the question; is it possible for Phil and other Evangelicals to be following a Biblical tradition and at the same time not accept these words of Jesus?   Yes, they have a Biblical tradition as well; they are following the tradition of the disciples who could not accept the words of Jesus. 

These disciples were quoted as saying; “This saying is hard; who can accept it” (Jn 6:60).   These same disciples left Jesus and “returned to their former way of life” (Jn 6:66).   There is one difference between the disciples who left Jesus and todays Evangelicals.  The Evangelicals of today still claim to be followers of Jesus; however, they are not following Jesus when He says, “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink” (Jn 6:55).  

In fairness, it should be also said that there are many non-Catholics today, who while not having exactly the same understanding of Communion as Catholics, still believe in a real presence of Jesus in or around the elements of bread and wine during their liturgies.   Martin Luther and John Calvin believed in a real presence; Ulrich Zwingli did not.  Most Evangelicals today are coming from the Zwinglian tradition.  

I can listen to the Evangelicals who confuse the blood of animals, with the blood of Christ and choose not to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Christ.  Or, I can listen to Jesus who said; “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day” (Jn 6:54).   Who will you listen too?

FRANCIS CHOUDHURY COMMENTARY:  Any Christian who believes that God’s OT prohibition on eating blood still stands (after Christ), needs to explain why he/she eats normal meat (with blood in it), instead of eating only Kosher/Halal meat (drained of blood), as Jews and Muslims, who are stuck in the OT and do not accept Christ’s teachings, do.

{ 3 comments }

Questions I Answered on Catholic Answers Live – Link Now Available

June 25, 2014

It was one of the funnest and fastest shows ever! Great questions and lively discussion. Here are the questions I answered. The topic was “Abraham: Father of Faith and Works.” Here is the link for listening on-line and here for downloading as a podcast. 1) Did Abraham know that God wouldn’t have him actually go [...]

Read the full article →

Today on Teresa Tomeo, Al Kresta Show and Tomorrow Catholic Answers Live

June 24, 2014

Busy day. Just finished a show on Sts. Peter and Paul on Teresa Tomeo‘s show.  Al Kresta will interview me about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. We will discuss especially the new wave of Religious Orthodox Jews who despise Christians. We will emphasize the new problems at the Upper Room on Mount [...]

Read the full article →

A Talk with 2 Purposes: Teach Foundations of our Faith & Demonstrate Verbum Catholic Software

June 23, 2014

Last month I gave a talk in Ann Arbor entitled “The Foundations of our Faith: Scripture, Tradition & Magisterium.” (Watch the video below.) As I love to do, I tied the Old and New Testaments together and showed the continuity that lays the foundation for who and what we are as Catholics today.  But my [...]

Read the full article →

For 1st Time in 1,600 Years, There Was a Sunday in Mosul With No Masses Offered

June 23, 2014

Bishops Seek ‘Rescue Plan’ as Iraq’s Christians Near Extinction For 1st Time in 1,600 Years, There Was a Sunday in Mosul With No Masses Offered ROME, June 23, 2014 (Zenit.org) – Catholic bishops from Iraq are meeting this week to come up with a “rescue plan” amid growing fears that the ISIS Islamist attacks have put [...]

Read the full article →

Karen Explains to Protestant Family Members Why She Became Catholic

June 23, 2014

Dear Family,  So that you know I have been vigilant in reading and studying about the Catholic Church.  Below are the many, many reasons why it is apparent to me that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church that he built, and why there is no doubt in mind this is where I belong.  Sorry it’s [...]

Read the full article →

St. Paul Street Evangelism – Catholics Preaching on the Street like St. Paul

June 21, 2014

If you are not familiar with St. Paul Street Evangelism they are worth getting to know – and worth joining. It was started a while ago by my friend Steve Dawson who said, “Why don’t we Catholics hit the streets and public squares like the early Christians and like the Apostles?”  So… …he started St. [...]

Read the full article →

Got Home Exhausted, Drinking Milk from the Goat, Riding Camel, Sacrificing Ram

June 20, 2014

We just got home yesterday after a long and grueling filming trip to Israel and Turkey. It will take us a few days to recover and catch up on everything. We got great footage and I think Abraham might be my favorite DVD yet. Being bitten by a camel five times, sacrificing a ram, getting [...]

Read the full article →

One Thing I Know About Abraham: He was Sweaty all the Time!

June 15, 2014

We flew from Israel to Istanbul and then from Istanbul Urfa. We then boarded the van for the one hour drive to Haran. It was 100° and the van didn’t have air-conditioning or windows that opened. It was a stifling trip but paid off with what we found.  Haran is mentioned 19 times in the [...]

Read the full article →

Should Priests Wear their Collars?

June 14, 2014

Msgr. Dolan always wears his clerical collar. In fact, when he was interviewed by CBC Television’s Evan Solomon last year during the height of "The Da Vinci Code" movie controversy, he showed his empty closet, bare except for a few black shirts and slacks off the sparely furnished bedroom bed at his residence in Montreal. [...]

Read the full article →

Pope Francis Says He will Renounce the Papacy in the Future

June 14, 2014

Interesting story. Looks like Pope Benedict started a trend. You can read about it at… …Pope Francis May Renounce the Papacy Someday: Six Things You Should Know and Share.

Read the full article →

Making the Case for Tea Party Catholics – recommended reading

June 12, 2014

ROME, December 11, 2013 (Zenit.org) – In his latest book Tea Party Catholic, Dr. Samuel Gregg develops a Catholic case for the values and institutions associated with the free economy, limited government, and America’s experiment in ordered liberty. He underscores the moral and economic benefits of business and markets, addresses the welfare state’s problems, and [...]

Read the full article →

Lawyers Team Up to Resist the Gay Mafia

June 11, 2014

A team of lawyers is being assembled to make sure there are no more cases like that of Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla. He was forced out of his position for contributing – years earlier — $1,000 to the Proposition 8 campaign in California in which voters themselves decided to define marriage in their [...]

Read the full article →

Prepare for a New America – Using Detroit as a Model

June 9, 2014

By Frosty Wooldridge (Frosty Wooldridge (born 1947) is a US journalist, writer, environmentalist, traveler). (I ,Steve Ray who is posting his article, was born in Detroit. My ancestors lived there since the 1700′s.)   For 15 years, from the mid 1970′s to 1990, I worked in Detroit, Michigan I watched it descend into the abyss [...]

Read the full article →