Friday, February 28, 2014

Matt C. Abbott: "Jesus the Christ: no saccharin Savior"

Matt C. Abbott column
Jesus the Christ: no saccharin Savior

Matt C. Abbott
Matt C. Abbott
February 28, 2014

We often hear modernist Christians – and some non-Christians, for that matter – describe what amounts to a "sugar-coated" version of Our Lord Jesus Christ who is supposed to unite everyone and get us all to love one another in a nonjudgmental fashion. Not to mention that everyone goes to heaven no matter what!

Of course, we know from Scripture that Our Lord taught the following:
I asked Father John Trigilio Jr., author, theologian and president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, how he would place the aforementioned scriptural passage in its proper context (from an authentically Catholic perspective) and in regard to the cultural and spiritual wars that rage around us.

Father's response is as follows (slightly edited):

Check out the website

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He has been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR and WLS-TV in Chicago, and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at

© Copyright 2014 by Matt C. Abbott


Come to a Holy Family Fest for the time of your life

June 14-20; June 28-July 4; July 12-18
July 26-August 1; August 9-15

Each day begins with Mass and
then opens up to a day of
faith-filled, fun and
family-friendly activities...

After Mass, the family spends the morning in age-specific activities all geared to teach, strengthen & share the Faith.
Throughout the afternoons and into the evenings, enjoy family activities such as: Bonfire Sing-Along, Family Rosary, Family Dance Night, Family Games, Jungle Gym, Swimming, Horseback Riding, action-packed sporting tournaments that include softball, basketball, volleyball & more!

Our cozy cabins sleep a family of nine comfortably. Tent & camper site also available.

Entertainment Night
June 14-20; June 28-July 4; July 12-18;
July 26-August 1; August 9-15

There are still many cabins available in the
1st and 5th Holy Family Fests!

Click here to register online

Our mailing address is:
Apostolate for Family Consecration
3375 County Road 36
Bloomingdale, OH 43910

Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/28/2014

Witness God!  
 (c)Mary TV 2014

February 28, 2014
Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! You see, hear and feel that in the hearts of many people there is no God. They do not want Him, because they are far from prayer and do not have peace. You, little children, pray - live God's commandments. You be prayer, you who from the very beginning said 'yes' to my call. Witness God and my presence and do not forget, little children: I am with you and I love you. From day to day I present you all to my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 2014)

A dear friend, Sandy, told me about a prayer called "The  Radiating Christ Prayer" which reflects Our Lady's plea to us: "Witness God..." It is a remarkable prayer! This  prayer was written by Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman and was recited daily after Communion by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her Sisters of Charity. This Prayer is also known as the Fragrance Prayer.  

Thank you, Sandy, for sharing this incredible prayer with us, and may we all breath in the words of this prayer and let them form us:

The Prayer Radiating Christ  by Blessed Card. John Henry Newman  

Dear Jesus,  
help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus, will be all from You;
none of it will be mine:
it will be You shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You in the way You love best:
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words, but by my example,
by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.
Our witness can only be real when it is Jesus witnessing through us. Jesus is the light, we can only carry it. Jesus is the joy, we can only receive it. Jesus is the hope, we can only live it. May we all witness God!   

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2014

PS. Today the parish will climb Mt. Krizevac, praying the Stations of the Cross. We will stream it if the weather permits. 8:00 am EST (2:00 pm Medjugorje time).

Sunday, March 2, Mary TV will stream Mirjana's monthly apparition live (circumstances permitting). Streaming will begin at 2:00 am EST (8:00 am Medjugorje time).

Sunday, March 2, 2014 the Parish will climb Mt Podrdo praying the Rosary at 8:00 am EST (2:00 pm Medjugorje time).  Mary TV will stream it, live! 


 "Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!"   
Blessed John Paul II  -
Be connected! 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

These Stone Walls: Deals Behind Doors

"Part II of Ryan MacDonald's two-part post on These Stone Walls might fire you up with righteous Indignation.  We hope so, because it is the truth. Please help us share that truth by sharing a link to  " The Prison of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Silence."

The Prison of Father MacRae-  A Conspiracy of Silence s
The Diocese of Manchester demonstrates the difference between the stated rights of accused Catholic priests in Church law and actual observance of those rights.

Editor’s Note: This is Part Two of a guest post by Ryan A. MacDonald. Part One was “The Trial of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Fraud.”
“I don’t share your belief in Father MacRae’s innocence. I just don’t believe a judge and jury would sentence a priest to life in prison with anything less than clear and compelling evidence.”
The above quote was the reply of a prominent American Catholic writer when I challenged him to take a closer look at the trial and imprisonment of Father Gordon MacRae. There is nothing to be gained by publishing the writer’s name. I still hope he might accept my challenge to study this matter with more depth than the New Hampshire news media and priests of the Diocese of Manchester have given it. I have asked the writer to show me the evidence he feels so certain must exist. He is wrong about this. There is simply no factual evidence to support this conviction.
But for some, the absence of evidence is evidence of evidence. That Catholic writer’s presumption about evenhanded justice and due process reflects the naiveté of the innocent and just. I once shared such naiveté, but I have since learned that ignorance is not bliss. I know too much about this case to cling to any delusions that everyone in prison must be guilty, or that a Catholic priest, while actually innocent, could not be railroaded into prison based on false witness.
So does The Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz, one of the most just and courageous journalists I know. She has a talent for enabling readers to place themselves in the shoes of the falsely accused, and it’s a terrifying place to be. A recent article, “On Woody Allen and Echoes of the Past” (, February 9, 2014), had that same effect. It isn’t long, but it’s compelling and powerful.
Despite its title, the article’s great power is in its depiction of falsely accused men and women – such as Violet, Cheryl, and Gerald Amirault of Massachusetts and Kelly Michaels of New Jersey – who were ripped from ordinary lives to be tried and sent to prison because of trumped up charges, lots of media hype, and the ambitions of prosecutors.
No-Crueler-TyranniesThese same people were profiled in No Crueler Tyrannies (WSJ Books, 2005), a book by Dorothy Rabinowitz that has opened many eyes, including mine. She found a common denominator among those falsely accused and betrayed by the justice system during the “child terror” prosecutions of the 1980s and 1990s, the same era, and the same terror, that convicted Father MacRae. Rabinowitz wrote,
“Those who are falsely accused often naively believe that their innocence is obvious, that the allegations will be dropped.”
In “Judge Arthur Brennan Sentenced Fr Gordon MacRae to Die in Prison,” I wrote that plea deals work well for the guilty but not for the innocent. The guilty come before the justice system prepared to limit punishment by accepting any reasonable plea deal offered. The innocent cannot fathom such twisted justice, and therefore often spend far more time in prison than the guilty.
For preserving his right to a presumption of innocence and a fair trial – though he got neither, as you will see, from either Church or State – Father Gordon MacRae was sentenced by Judge Arthur Brennan to more than 30 times the sentence offered by prosecutors in the plea deal he refused. As I wrote in part one of this article last week, it is a perversion of justice that, had he been actually guilty, this priest would have been released from prison 17 years ago.
In the above article, Dorothy Rabinowitz cited that some of the innocent accused were anxious to take lie detector tests (aka polygraphs). Those who passed them, however, did so to no avail as prosecutors refused to consider, or even hear, the results. Father MacRae also voluntarily submitted to two lie detector tests conducted by an expert who reviewed the claims of Thomas Grover and his brothers, Jonathan and David Grover, who also accused the priest for settlement money from his diocese. I have repeatedly called upon MacRae’s accusers to agree to lie detector tests, a challenge met only with silence.
Had Father MacRae failed the polygraphs administered before his trial, you can be certain that fact would have found its way into court, or at least into the newspapers. He passed them conclusively, but the results were ignored, and not only by state prosecutors. The most difficult act of suppression to comprehend came from his bishop and diocese.
Defense attorney Ron Koch (pronounced “Coke”) often appeared to be as naive and trusting as his client. He seemed to believe that the Diocese of Manchester might be more inclined to defend its priest if clarity about his innocence could be established. However passing pre-trial lie detector tests, and making that fact known, actually proved disastrous for the defense of Father MacRae.
Within weeks of the defense lawyer’s effort to have polygraph results reviewed by Church lawyers, the Diocese of Manchester issued a press release that inflicted a mortal wound to MacRae’s civil and canonical rights. Plastered in the news media throughout New England before jury selection in his trial, this press release destroyed his defense in the court of public opinion, and influenced jurors in the court of law:
“The Bishop and the Church are saddened by and grieve with the victims of Gordon MacRae…and he was ultimately removed from his status as one who could ever function as a priest again…The Church is a victim of the actions of Gordon MacRae as well as the individuals… [The Diocese] will defend its officials who have been falsely accused [and] it will continue to cooperate in bringing those who have harmed others to light.” (Bishop of Manchester Press Release, Sept. 11, 1993)
Canonical Advocate, Father David Deibel, J.C.L., J.D., protested this gross violation of Church law and civil liberties. He was reportedly told that the press release “was a carefully crafted statement meant to respond to media concerns” about the MacRae case. When defense attorney Ron Koch called to protest, he was told that Father MacRae was the sole priest to have been so accused in the Diocese of Manchester.
Nine years later, officials for the Manchester Diocese worked out a plea deal of their own to avoid a misdemeanor charge based on a theory of law the state’s Attorney General admitted was “novel.” The published files as a result of that deal revealed that 62 New Hampshire priests had been accused, and some $23 million changed hands in mediated settlements.

For his first six years in prison, 17 miles from the Chancery Office of the Diocese of Manchester, Father MacRae was summarily abandoned. The company line was that it was MacRae himself who refused to be visited in prison by any priest. The bitter refusal was reportedly issued through unnamed third parties who have never been identified. However, the prison’s Catholic chaplain during Father MacRae’s first years in prison saw this differently:
“I have been told by priests that Diocesan officials claimed that Father MacRae refused, through unnamed third parties, to be visited by a priest…During my tenure as chaplain, no one representing the diocese ever asked me to arrange a visit with Father MacRae [who] indicated to me he would welcome such contacts….It remains my belief that Father MacRae is for some reason viewed differently from other priests that are, or have been, incarcerated.” (Prison Chaplain John R. Sweeney, Sept. 20, 2004).
Two years ago, I wrote an article for Spero News entitled “To Azazel: Father Gordon MacRae and the Gospel of Mercy.” It was about some shockingly uncharitable conduct toward this imprisoned priest, but the offenders were not other prisoners trying to make names for themselves in the brutal prison culture. They were priests of the Diocese of Manchester.
In the year 2000, however, Diocesan interest in Father MacRae was radically altered when it became known that two media giants, Dorothy Rabinowitz at The Wall Street Journal, and PBS Frontline, expressed interest in the facts of this case. You may read for yourselves the manipulation aimed at this imprisoned priest, and the devastation of his rights in my article, “Bishop Takes Pawn: Plundering the Rights of a Prisoner Priest.”
Msgr Edward ArsenaultThroughout this period, the official Delegate (2000 until 2009) for the Bishop of Manchester was Monsignor Edward Arsenault. His published resume reveals that he personally negotiated mediated settlements in 250 claims against Diocese of Manchester priests. At the same time, Monsignor Arsenault was wearing another hat – some might say a highly conflicting one.
While negotiating settlements in the MacRae case and hundreds of others on behalf of the Diocese of Manchester, Arsenault was also Chairman of the Board of the National Catholic Risk Retention Group, an organization underwriting insurers of Catholic institutions and dioceses across the U.S. It is unclear which of these hats Monsignor Arsenault was wearing when he negotiated this typical round of mediated settlements described in David F. Pierre’s 2012 book, Catholic Priests Falsely Accused:
“In 2002, the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, faced accusations of abuse from 62 individuals. Rather than spending the time and resources looking into the merits of the accusations, ‘Diocesan officials did not even ask for specifics such as the dates and specific allegations for the claims,’ New Hampshire’s Union Leader Reported. ‘Some victims made claims in just the past month and because of the timing of negotiations, gained closure in just a matter of days,’ reported the Nashua Telegraph. ‘I’ve never seen anything like it!’ a pleased and much richer plaintiff attorney admitted.” (Catholic Priests Falsely Accused, p. 80)
In 2001, Monsignor Edward Arsenault developed a policy statement for the Diocese of Manchester. As Bishop John McCormack’s Delegate, Monsignor Arsenault published the “Diocese of Manchester Statement of Rights and Obligations of Persons Accused of Sexual Misconduct.” The document was straightforward, and listed, in accord with Canon law and Diocesan policy, the rights of the accused and the obligations of the Diocese:
The Delegate (Monsignor Edward Arsenault) will:
Inform the person being interviewed of the process to be used;
Inform the person being interviewed what information will be shared with whom;
Inform the person being interviewed that he [the Delegate] is acting in the external forum on
 behalf of the Bishop of Manchester;
Inform the person being interviewed that any and all information disclosed will be treated with discretion, but not subject to confidentiality…
Rights of the Person Accused: The accused cleric or religious has:
The right not to implicate oneself;
The right to counsel, civil and canonical;
The right to review the results of one’s own psychological evaluations;
The right to know what has been alleged and to offer a defense against the allegations;
The right to know and understand the review process;
The right to discretion in the conduct of the investigation and to have his/her good name protected.
Over the next three years as the Diocese of Manchester submitted individual cases to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, every tenet of the above statement of rights was silently ignored or outright violated by Monsignor Arsenault and officials of the Diocese of Manchester in regard to the case of Father MacRae.
No investigations took place. No interviews took place. The imprisoned priest’s repeated requests for details of what has been represented in Rome in regard to this case have been ignored, and no right of defense has been honored. The promised assistance of legal counsel was never acted upon. Repeated and documented requests from Father MacRae that Bishop John McCormack and Monsignor Arsenault agree to confer with his Canonical Advocate to assure his rights under Church law were refused.
In the ultimate insult, when Monsignor Arsenault finally did agree to consult Father Deibel, the canonical advocate, he reportedly told the priest that, should Father MacRae be involuntarily laicized, “I’m sure Bishop McCormack will still send him $100 a month” to survive in prison. The suggestion that this was MacRae’s sole concern for the future of his priesthood left him feeling humiliated and violated.
A promise by Bishop McCormack to set aside $40,000 for Father MacRae’s appellate defense – on the condition that he set aside contacts with Dorothy Rabinowitz and The Wall Street Journal – was instead used to hire counsel to bypass MacRae’s lawyers and investigators, and to conduct a secret review of his trial and any chance of overturning the convictions. To this day, Monsignor Arsenault and the Bishop of Manchester have ignored requests to share that review with the wrongly imprisoned priest’s defense team struggling to afford his day in court.
In 2009, Monsignor Edward Arsenault was appointed Executive Director of Saint Luke Institute, a nationally known facility in Maryland for the psychological treatment of priests. Bishop John McCormack was the sole U.S. bishop on the Saint Luke Institute Board of Directors at the time Monsignor Arsenault took leave from the diocese to assume the post with an annual salary of $170,000.
Earlier this month, on February 4, 2014, the news media announced that Monsignor Edward Arsenault has accepted a plea deal to plead guilty to three felony charges. He was indicted on multiple counts, and has agreed to plead guilty to the theft of thousands of dollars from the Diocese of Manchester while serving as Chancellor and Bishop’s Delegate, from Catholic Medical Center Hospital where he served on its Board of Directors, and from the estate of a deceased priest of the Manchester Diocese for which he served as Executor. According to news reports, the theft of funds from the Diocese of Manchester continued until 2013, four years after Monsignor Arsenault began his $170,000 a year post at Saint Luke Institute.
The plea deal Monsignor Arsenault has entered into forgoes trial and any testimony under oath. The exact number of felony charges and the exact amounts of stolen funds involved have not been made public, and possibly never will be. The New Hampshire Attorney General stated that the plea deal, and the minimum four year prison sentence Monsignor Arsenault has agreed to, are in “recognition of the extensive cooperation of the defendant,” and in anticipation of his continued cooperation in the ongoing investigation of “improper financial transactions.”
The investigation into financial wrongdoing was launched, according to news sources, when the Diocese began investigating a “potentially inappropriate adult relationship.”
For at least the next four years, Monsignor Edward Arsenault will share the same prison as Father Gordon MacRae, a priest who – armed only with the truth and his faith – refused plea bargains to face the cruelest of tyrannies, wrongful imprisonment. This is the priest against whom Monsignor Edward Arsenault and his prosecutorial friends have worked so arduously, and in secret, to undo and discard.
There is more to come in the twists and turns of this story. Meanwhile, please continue to respond to, and share with others, my recent post, “News Alert: Federal Appeal Filed in Fr Gordon MacRae Case.” It falls to us to mend this gaping wound in the side of our Church.
thermometerEditor’s Note: This concludes a two-part guest post by Ryan A. MacDonald. Part one was “The Trial of Father MacRae: A Conspiracy of Fraud.” Please also consult Ryan MacDonald’s recent post, “News Alert: Federal Appeal Filed in Fr Gordon MacRae’s Case.”   Thanks to TSW readers for their generosity in responding to Ryan MacDonald’s appeal to help with the legal costs, at the Federal level. We haven’t reached our goal yet, so please share this link to Ryan’s news alert post!

Mary TV Daily Reflection 2/27/2014

Be prayer! 
 (c)Mary TV 2014

February 27, 2014
Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! You see, hear and feel that in the hearts of many people there is no God. They do not want Him, because they are far from prayer and do not have peace. You, little children, pray - live God's commandments. You be prayer, you who from the very beginning said 'yes' to my call. Witness God and my presence and do not forget, little children: I am with you and I love you. From day to day I present you all to my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call." (February 25, 2014)

Thank you, dearest Mother, for this message. How very much we need these words from you!

It is true that we encounter many people for whom God does not exist in our everyday lives. We encounter them at work, at school, in the stores, in restaurants, and even driving. We also learn of them through the media, in the news, in movies, in talk shows and in our political arenas...everywhere.

Our Lady doesn't want us to be swayed by those who do not know God. She doesn't want us to be discouraged or depressed by the atheistic currents in our societies. Far from it! She wants us to be the tide turners! She wants us to be the antidote to the sad world of disbelief. And so she tells us, "You, little children, pray - live God's commandments. You be prayer....Witness God and my presence..." This is a strong call from a mother who loves us and all those who do not know God yet. She is giving us our marching orders.

But we cannot be the tide turners without first having experienced the God we love. That is why prayer is essential, the starting point. We must pray.

I asked St. Faustina to help me with this reflection, because I feel a bit overwhelmed by this message. I opened in her diary and read this entry. It is an account of St. Faustina's incredible relationship with the Lord in prayer. I realized that this is what Our Lady wants for each of us, if we are to "be prayer":

March 21, 1935. Often during Mass, I see the Lord in my soul; I feel His presence which pervades my being. I sense His divine gaze; I have long talks with Him without saying a word; I know what His divine Heart desires, and I always do what will please Him the most. I love Him to distraction, and I feel that I am being loved by God. At those times, when I meet with God deep within myself, I feel so happy that I do not know how to express it. Such moments are short, for the soul could not bear it for long, as separation from the body would be inevitable. Though these moments are very short, their power, however, which is transmitted to the soul, remains with it for a very long time. Without the least effort, I experience the profound recollection which then envelops me - and it does not diminish even if I talk with people, nor does it interfere with the performance of my duties. I feel the constant presence of God without any effort of my soul. I know that I am united with Him as closely as a drop of water is united with the bottomless ocean.     

Last Thursday, toward the end of my prayers, I felt this grace, and it lasted for an unusually long time, for it was throughout Mass, so that I thought I would die of joy. At such times, my knowledge of God and his attributes becomes more acute, and also I know my own self and my misery much better. I am amazed at the Lord's great condescension to such a miserable soul as mine. After Holy Mass, I felt completely immersed in God and am still conscious of His every glance into the depth of my heart. (Diary 411)

This is what it means to "be prayer". May we all "be prayer"!!! May we all meet with God in the depths of our hearts, and be "so happy that [we] do not know how to express it."

This is the antidote for our times!!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2014


 "Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!"   
Blessed John Paul II  -
Be connected! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

News You May Have Missed



News You May Have Missed
A Work of Fiction?... Festive No More... And then There Were Five... It Pays to Be Polite... Competence: Only Skin Deep?... Behind the Swoosh... and more
Read all about it...

[Video] In God We Live

  In God We Live


Reflection for 2/26/14


Photos by Gerry Brague, Sharon Mollerus, Beaver w/ a Toothbrush, David Smith, University of Nottingham, Berkeley Unified School District, Elvert Barnes, Sudip Misra

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Feb. 25, 2014 Medjugorje Message

   Our Lady of Tijalina - Medjugorje  
  (c)Mary TV 2012

February 25, 2014

Dear Family of Mary!

The February 25, 2014 message of Our Lady, Queen of Peace given through Marija:

"Dear children! You see, hear and feel that in the hearts of many people there is no God. They do not want Him, because they are far from prayer and do not have peace. You, little children, pray - live God's commandments. You be prayer, you who from the very beginning said 'yes' to my call. Witness God and my presence and do not forget, little children: I am with you and I love you. From day to day I present you all to my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
Mary TV 2014

PS. "Child31" airs Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 8:00 am and 2:00 pm EST!


 "Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world!"   
Blessed John Paul II  -
Be connected! 


[Video] The First Should Be Last

  The First Should Be Last


Reflection for 2/25/14