Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Real Marie-Antoinette

HERE is a conversation I had with author Genevieve Kineke about the book Marie-Antoinette, Daughter of the Caesars. Share

Three-Parent Babies

From Through Catholic Lenses:
First of all, three-parent children involve procreation outside of a loving marital act which is the moral way to make babies. Every baby deserves to be the fruit of an act of parental love. Second, this inevitably kills half the babies created while they are still one-day-old embryos and puts other embryos at high risk of death.

 Also, children have a right to know their parents. Any use of donor eggs means that someone they don’t know is a parent. Children also have a right to two parents but this procedure makes them the product of three parents. However, there is a new issue regarding modifying genes in heritable ways. We all inherit our mother’s mitochondrial DNA so mixing it with different nuclear DNA creates a range of issues. Will it create health issues down the road? What will the result be a few generations down the road from the passing on of this combination of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA? (Read more.)

Norbert McAuliffe

From Aleteia:
On May 19, Pope Francis issued a decree that recognized the heroic virtues of Br. Norbert McAuliffe, an American missionary in Africa. This declaration is a vital part McAuliffe’s cause for canonization, granting him the title of “venerable,” the next step before being beatified. McAuliffe was born in 1886 in Manhattan, New York, and eventually joined the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a relatively new religious congregation at the time. The congregation was founded by in 1821 by Fr. André Coindre in France and by the time of his death was beginning to spread around the world. According to their website, “Father Coindre had envisioned a community of brothers trained to work with the poor through the establishment of schools.” Furthermore, their Rule of Life explains, “Our love for our brothers and the young people in our care radiates from the love Jesus has for us. Our dedication to others, marked by respect, kindness, and concern, will be a sign to them of the compassion of Christ.”

The congregation is primarily made up of religious brothers, with only a few members being ordained priests. Initially McAuliffe served as a director of their house in Metuchen, New Jersey, for about six years before being sent as a missionary to Africa. He was sent to Gulu, Uganda, where he established the congregation’s first mission there. The country at the time was under British rule and the people were receptive to McAuliffe’s missionary activities. He remained there for 20 years until his death on July 3, 1959 at the age of 72. (Read more.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The King's Touch

I knew the French and English monarchs prayed over those afflicted with scrofula but I did not know it was done in Scotland. When Charles I was crowned King of Scots in June, 1633, he continued the ancient ceremony. From The Scotsman:
Charles had already been crown by the English in 1626, this was the first coronation in Scotland since that of King James VI in 1567, and more notably, the first time an adult had been crowned as our monarch since that of James IV in 1458, who was 15, not an adult? Okay let’s go further back to King James I, he was 30, happy now? The abbey of Scone, traditional place of coronations up to 1424, had been destroyed, and for this occasion the ceremonial was located in the remains of Holyrood abbey, which had seen the coronation of King James II in 1437.

All that remained of the abbey was the nave, the remainder of the church having been demolished in 1570, and the structure was now restored for the occasion. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal at Holyrood Palace in 1600 by David Lindsay, Bishop of Ross, and created Duke of Albany, the traditional title of the second son of the King of Scotland.


While researching this I found an article about Charles and the “laying on of hands” a ceremony he performed while at Holyrood, a practice said to have been performed by all the Stewart monarchs but discontinued by the Hanoverian’s. Bonnie Prince Charlie though is said to have performed it during the 45. (Read more.) 
This is of particular interest to me since Louis XVI was a direct descendant of Charles I. King Louis treasured the ancient healing ceremony and celebrated it several times a year, not just at his coronation, as described in my book. Share

#MeToo for Every Woman

From Vatican News:
“Dear Asia, Meryl, Sharon, Uma, and all of you who have called the world’s attention to the scandal of the violence endured by women in the West”. So begins the appeal, an open letter written by the Pontifical Foundation Aid to the Church in Need. It appeared as a one-page, full color ad in a recent Italian edition of Vanity Fair. The letter goes on to say that thanks to the #MeToo initiative backed by these four celebrities, public opinion has been sensitized regarding the horror of rape, and other forms of sexual assault endured by women. The Pontifical Foundation then states that they have been helping persecuted Christians in every corner of the globe for over 70 years. In addition, the letter says, they “denounce the violation of the freedom of whatever faith”.

“We would like to introduce Rebecca, Dalal, and Sr Meena”....These are three of the faces of women who are persecuted because of their religious persuasion. Behind these faces tens of thousands of others remain hidden. “They are persecuted and assaulted without every receiving the slightest solidarity or visibility through social media or through other news outlets.”


Rebecca is a 28-year-old Christian who lives in Nigeria and was kidnapped by Boko Haram. “…they raped me, held me prisoner for 2 years. They killed one of my children and sold me as a slave…”.


Dala is now 21 years old and lives in Iraq. She experienced violence at the hands of Isis. “…I was 17 years old when I was kidnapped and sold as a sex slave to 9 different men within 9 months. My mother and sister are still being held prisoners by Isis”. (Read more.)

Faith-Based Films at Cannes

From The Hollywood Reporter:
Have the French found God?

Given the crop of projects being shopped at the Cannes film market that features Christian-themed narratives — notably An Interview With God, Samson and God Bless the Broken Road — and with Wim Wenders’ doc Pope Francis: A Man of His Word playing as an official selection at the festival, there are signs that fare once ignored by international buyers and Cannes programmers is receiving a warm welcome.

In addition, the U.S. breakout I Can Only Imagine is heating up the market, with Lionsgate scooping up rights for China, a once unthinkable territory for a faith-based film. The project’s producer Cindy Bond is selling overseas territories through her Mission Pictures International and has landed deals here on the ground for the U.K. (The Lighthouse Alliance) and Poland (Kino Swiat) after selling the film pre-Cannes in Latin America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, Singapore, Australia/New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, Russia and the Middle East. She is now negotiating for Scandinavia and Benelux.

Though I Can Only Imagine is the highest-grossing 2018 indie in the U.S. — with an $82 million haul so far — it doesn’t appear to be an outlier. An Interview With God, which stars David Strathairn and Brenton Thwaites, also is finding traction with foreign buyers. Film Bridge International’s Ellen Wander, who is selling the feature, is in the process of closing deals for the U.K., Australia, the Philippines, Germany and Latin America. (Read more.)

Monday, June 18, 2018

A New York Palace

From The Daily Beast:
In December 1878, The New York Times reported that the Vanderbilt of our concern—Cornelius II—had acquired two brownstones on the 57th to 58th Street block of Fifth Avenue for $225,000. He had been talking about building a new mansion and it was correctly speculated that this was a sign that his next big project had begun.

In 1882, the new Vanderbilt mansion was complete. It was fabulous, if modestly in line with the grandeur of the other mansions of the area. The outside was a distinctive red brick and limestone and it had already begun to have all the trappings of a French chateau (think crenellations and battlements and chimneys).

Over the next decade, the house would host more than its fair share of socialites and important players from around the world. Alice entertained lavishly in her new home. There were reports of the overflowing audience at a performance by a young piano prodigy who “showed his usual impulsive appreciation” of the treasures and finery that he saw on a tour of the house given by the young Vanderbilt children. He “would have wandered through the large apartments all day without tiring had he not been obliged to carry out his part of the programme.”

There was breathless reporting on how Mrs. Vanderbilt had decorated her quarters with soft mood lighting and a vast array of exotic flowers draped around the stairway, woven up columns, decorating paintings, and displayed in “extensive and beautiful” floral arrangements in order to entertain a French delegation for a breakfast. And, of course, there were balls. For one soirée thrown for 250 guests in 1891, a tapestry was arranged to separate the vestibule where guests arrived from the main hallway. When each attendee was ready to make their entrance, the tapestry curtain would separate, and the honored guest would step through.

It was an impressive mansion where many visitors “oohed” and “ahed” over the decor and design. But when several different branches of your very rich family are all building their massive homes—or, rather, palaces—on the same street, you have to wonder, is yours impressive enough? The answer to that question for our Vanderbilts was a resounding “no.” Only seven years after they moved into their grand home, The New York Times was reporting that Vanderbilt had purchased two more brownstones on the same block so that he could expand the home that was “already a favorite for society people to visit.” He would eventually acquire and tear down five homes, and his mansion would end up stretching the entire city block.

According to the book Fortune’s Children written by a later Vanderbilt relative, it was “common belief that Alice Vanderbilt set out to dwarf her sister in law’s Fifth Avenue chateau, and dwarf it she did.” By early 1893, the renovations were in full swing. The Vanderbilts were eager for the expansion to be completed as quickly as possible, so they arranged for more than 600 workers to labor day and night on the site under the light of electric lightbulbs when necessary. The job was scheduled to be completed in 18 months, although Vanderbilt allowed a two-month extension. The talk of the town was all about the new mansion being built, but the Vanderbilts wanted to keep their plans a secret. So they erected a giant wall along Fifth Avenue to shield the progress of the workers from the prying eyes of passersby. Even with this privacy guard, it was clear a massive project was underway. In the end, two major walls of the home were completely removed to make way for the addition and the still-new interiors were gutted.

By the end of the year, the house was complete and the reveal was jaw-dropping. The New York Times weighed in with the judgement that “it is a structure that would command admiration in any land of palaces and castles grand, for in its design, its noble proportions, and its artistic finish it is, in reality, a palace.” (Read more.)


The Child Migrant Crisis

It's more complicated than the mainstream media is describing it. From The National Review:
The latest furor over Trump immigration policy involves the separation of children from parents at the border. As usual, the outrage obscures more than it illuminates, so it’s worth walking through what’s happening here. For the longest time, illegal immigration was driven by single males from Mexico. Over the last decade, the flow has shifted to women, children, and family units from Central America. This poses challenges we haven’t confronted before and has made what once were relatively minor wrinkles in the law loom very large.

The Trump administration isn’t changing the rules that pertain to separating an adult from the child. Those remain the same. Separation happens only if officials find that the adult is falsely claiming to be the child’s parent, or is a threat to the child, or is put into criminal proceedings. It’s the last that is operative here. The past practice had been to give a free pass to an adult who is part of a family unit. The new Trump policy is to prosecute all adults. The idea is to send a signal that we are serious about our laws and to create a deterrent against re-entry. (Illegal entry is a misdemeanor, illegal re-entry a felony.)

When a migrant is prosecuted for illegal entry, he or she is taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. In no circumstance anywhere in the U.S. do the marshals care for the children of people they take into custody. The child is taken into the custody of HHS, who cares for them at temporary shelters. The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entity or another crime. The migrants generally plead guilty, and they are then sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day, although practices vary along the border. After this, they are returned to the custody of ICE.

If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children. (Read more.)

Children were held in cages under the Obama administration. From The Daily Caller:
 “It was kept very quiet under the Obama Administration. There were large numbers of people coming in. The Obama administration was trying to keep this quiet,” Cuellar told CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield. Whitfield displayed a 2014 image of migrant children held in cages at a detention center, and Cuellar said that he released similar photos of children separated from their parents.

Cuellar added that the number of children being held at the border right now is similar to the amount during the Obama administration. “We still see the numbers,” he said, adding that “not all of them are being separated. Some of them are coming alone.”

“Keep in mind that under the law, you can separate a child if that person, the adult, is not the real parent or the custodian because sometimes we see situations where they’ll bring a child because they know of the policy that we have over here with children.” Cuellar scrutinized the zero-tolerance policy for separation, suggesting criminal adult immigrants have previously taken advantage of it. (Read more.)

Meanwhile, American citizens are separated from their children, without public outcry. From PJ Media:
 Americans are in an uproar about illegal immigrant parents and children separated at the border. The level of hysteria surrounding this topic has reached a fever pitch with senators like Chuck Schumer mugging distraught for the cameras at every opportunity. While the shrill voices shriek loudly about the rights of Mexicans and other assorted border jumpers, American parental rights are being stripped from them, unconstitutionally, every single day. (Chuck Schumer has yet to freak out about it on national television.) American parents have lost their due process and Fourth Amendment rights, and most of them don't even know it. Most anyone who has been visited by Child Protective Services can testify to the absolute terror that the state can inflict on a family for very little or no reason at all.
Right now in the state of Mississippi, Michael Chambers is missing his little girl, Belle. When Belle was around two years old her mother abandoned her in the care of her grandmother. Chambers took custody of her after that. Lacking resources and the ability to track down his ex to serve her with custody papers, Chambers just took care of his daughter like a father should. Like many single parents, personal disputes often result in one parent harassing the other through any means possible. Belle’s mother would occasionally call Chambers and shortly after the calls CPS would show up knocking on his door. The social workers where he lived understood the nature of the calls but when he moved to Warren county, things changed. (Read more.)
More HERE and HERE. And Ben Shapiro has a lot to say HERE. Share