Obama Meets the Pope: the Spin Begins

by Steve Ray on March 27, 2014

By Phil Lawyer | March 27, 2014 2:07

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Pope Francis, President Obama said that Church concerns about religious freedom and individual conscience were “not really a topic of conversation” during the exchange.

Sorry, but I can't help asking myself, "What is wrong with this picture? The Pope and the ... "

That’s funny. The Vatican summary of the discussion mentioned “questions of particular relevance for the Church, such as the exercise of the rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection..” Since the entire Vatican summary of the conversation encompassed just 98 words, that suggests that the Pope laid heavy emphasis on those questions. Maybe the President wasn’t listening carefully.

Obama did say that he spoke with the Holy Father about “the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality.” That sounds entirely plausible, doesn’t it? And yet here’s the interesting thing: The Vatican statement doesn’t mention any of those topics. Not a single word.

If the subject of economic inequality was the main topic of the conversation, why didn’t the Vatican even mention that subject? I can think of two possible explanations:

1) The people who prepared the official Vatican statement aren’t terribly enthusiastic about promoting the Pope’s agenda.

2) The people who prepared the official Vatican statement aren’t terribly enthusiastic about promoting someone else’s agenda.

Read CWN article HERE.

Zenit Article


85% Express Favorable View of Him After 1 Year on Throne of St. Peter

By Kathleen Naab

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 06, 2014 (Zenit.org) – The Pew Research Center released today results on surveys about Pope Francis. Among the findings, the survey shows that a large majority of American Catholics feel favorably about the Pope and that many of them (71%) think he represents a “major change in direction” for the Church.

The study considers attitudes and opinions about the Pope in the lead-up to the one-year anniversary of his election, March 13.
The survey considers the so-called Francis effect, a term to describe a reported upsurge in Catholics practicing their faith, for example, by going to confession after a long time away, or going to Mass more regularly. The study did find that some 40% of American Catholics report praying more regularly in the last year, but that numbers are not significantly up when it comes to confession or Mass attendance.

“There also is broad consensus among Catholics that Francis represents a major change in direction for the church, and that this is a change for the better. Large majorities of men and women, Catholics in all adult age groups, and both regular Mass attenders and more infrequent Mass-goers express this view,” Pew reports.

Reflecting the way American Catholics understand Church doctrine, as many as 56% of those polled expected that by the year 2050, the Church will have definitely or probably changed her teaching on birth control. Some 36% have that same expectation regarding same-sex “marriage.”

The full results of the poll, as well as a look at media coverage of Francis’ first year, can be seen here: http://www.pewforum.org/2014/03/06/catholics-view-pope-francis-as-a-change-for-the-better/



Following Footprints: Filmmakers Retrace Abrahim’s Journey in Iraq
Native Detroiters Stephen and Janet Ray spent part of January in Iraq retracing Abraham’s journey in filming the seventh installment of a 10-part video series titled, Footprints of God – The Story of Salvation from Abraham to Augustus.

In filming the documentaries, the Rays hope their work will serve as a proof point of Christianity and the existence of Jesus.

“The purpose of the series to show the lands of the Bible and that they truly existed and to be a defense mechanism for apologetics (defenders of the faith),” said Stephen Ray. “It also explains the force of the Catholic Church.”

Iraq was crucial to the story of Abraham because it’s where his story begins in the land of the Chaldeans.

“Iraq is the cradle of civilization,” Ray said. “It’s where the Garden of Eden, Babylon, Nineveh all were and where the Bible begins. Every Christian should go there and see it.”

The Rays were in Iraq January 7-11. They landed in Basra, traveled to Nasiriyah and filmed in Ur, the homeland of Chaldeans. The Rays are following the same exact path and filming the very places Abraham visited.

“Abraham was a pagan idol worshiper,” Ray said. “In Joshua Chapter 24, Abraham was told his father and ancestors lived beyond the (Euphrates) river and served other gods. Then, God’s glory called Abraham to leave his heritage, graves of his ancestors in Mesopotamia and go to Haran (present-day Turkey) then to Canaan (modern-day Israel).”

“We will next travel to Haran where Isaac and Jacob met their wives and then Bethel, Hebron (where his tomb is), and Mount Moriah where Abraham offered up his son Isaac in a sacrifice to God.”

The Rays filmed in Iraq without any security. They were accompanied by a two-person film crew, a driver, guide and Ministry of Tourism official. Ray said they never felt unsafe and had a wonderful time.

“We liked it so much, I plan to go back and take 25 people on a pilgrimage there, likely in 2016,” he said. “It’s been a fun adventure. I’ve fought snakes, ridden camels and fell in the mud. It’s good family entertainment.”

Ray said they video will be completed by Christmas of this year. It will be the seventh of 10 and can be purchased through his website, www.catholicconvert.com.

“It’s going to be a busy year,” Ray said. “I also have 10 pilgrimages including Rome, the Holy Land and Ireland; 30 speeches at parish missions; and two books to finish. Plus my daughter is getting married this year.”

The entire series so far has cost more than $2 million to produce with each video costing between $200,000 and $250,000. It’s mostly funded by San Francisco co-based Ignatius Press, the largest Catholic publisher in the United States. Ray also has done some fundraising on his own to the tune of more than $100,000. People can donate through the website www.foghelp.com.

Ray said the cost is attributed to the high quality of the series.

“We are doing this professionally and it costs a lot of money to move a thousand pounds of video equipment across countries,” he said. “It’s an expensive project but we want it to be a top-notch production.”

The idea of producing the video series came to Ray in the middle of the night in fall 2000, six years after the Ray family converted to Catholicism from Baptist.

“I am not sure if it was a dream, a revelation or indigestion,” Ray said. “I woke up and shook Janet and told her we have to do a 10-part video series on salvation from a Catholic perspective. That night, it was as if the Holy Spirit filled my mind. I typed out the whole outline of the video series and I knew what I had to do, the titles of all the videos, and called Ignatius Press and they said, ‘let’s do it.’”


Funny Short French Ad: “Is Paper Dead?

February 26, 2014

Have iPads replaced paper? :-) Watch this!

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3-D Printer Helps Blind Parents Feel Unborn Baby Before She’s Born

February 25, 2014

by Steven Ertelt | LifeNews.com | 2/21/14 6:56 PM The marvels of modern technology are bringing the experience of pregnancy to people who may otherwise not able to enjoy the same kinds of ultrasound pictures the rest of us get to enjoy and appreciate. The use of 3-D printers is helping blind people who can’t [...]

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Giving Talks in the Great Northern Plain States and Seeing Magnificent Sites along the Way

February 23, 2014

Last night I gave two talks at a wonderful parish called St. Matthews Catholic Church in Gillette Wyoming. It was an amazingly enthusiastic and excited group of Catholics with a great priest. I gave my talk on the Eucharist and Mary. I had to drive there and back through the Black Forest National Park. The [...]

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Catholic Answers Live Tonight

February 21, 2014

I will be joining Patrick Coffin on Catholic Answers Live tonight to take questions from Non-Catholics Only. You can join us online at www.Catholic.com/Radio. If you’d like to join Patrick Coffin and I on a pilgrimage to Ireland, or join us for a St. Paul cruise to the Mediterranean, check out my website at www.footprintsofGod.com.

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Look What I Caught on our Porch this Morning

February 20, 2014

A naughty opossum eating out cat food (and our chicken eggs).

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While President Obama calls religious freedom a “key objective of US foreign policy,” experts question how high a priority combating persecution really is.

February 14, 2014

Janet and I spend a lot of time in countries where the Christians are the minority, mistreated and persecuted. We see it first hand. In fact, I am writing this from Bethlehem where the Christians are leaving in droves because if the mistreatment they suffer. We have not been to Syria or Egypt lately but [...]

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Excellent Response the the UN’s Intrusion into Catholic Church Issues and Freedom

February 7, 2014

Dr. Anne Hendershott, director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville, has written a pointed response to the statement concerning clerical sex abuse issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Her commentary in Crisis Magazine points to many flaws in the UN statement [...]

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Investigation on Medjugorje Complete, Findings to be Sent to Vatican

January 20, 2014

After CDF Examination, Pope Will Take Final Decision VATICAN CITY, January 20, 2014 (Zenit.org) – The Vatican has confirmed that the international Vatican commission investigating the events at Medjugorje is ready to submit its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In a statement released Saturday, the director of the Holy See [...]

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Excited Young Catholics and Reunion of Pilgrims

January 19, 2014

Today I gave my talk on St. John here in Omaha with a church FULL, with over 900 enthusiastic Catholics excited to learn the Bible, apologetics and how to defend their faith. It’s always exciting to see young people and teenagers come up and want to talk with pages of notes they just took. Also [...]

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Pope Benedict XVI Defrocked Nearly 400 Priests in Two Years

January 18, 2014

Nearly 400 Catholic priests were laicized in a 2-year period during the pontificate of Benedict XVI because of sexual abuse of children, according to a Vatican document obtained by the Associated Press. The document, covering the years 2011 and 2012, is the first Vatican account of the number of priests disciplined because of sex-abuse charges. [...]

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I Love the Universality of the Catholic Church – Love Being Catholic!

January 12, 2014

We went to Mass today and could not understand a word! It was all in French. We are celebrating Mass with a church FULL of French-speaking Africans with a white French bishop with an Italian parish priest in a church built by Italians in the heart of Istanbul which is 99.9% Muslim. We are all [...]

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Finally Leaving Iraq

January 11, 2014

We just boarded Turkish Air – most beautiful plane I’ve ever seen! After cancelled flights and much stress it looks like we are on our way out of Iraq – finally! On the positive side it was a wonderful experience being in Iraq. The people were friendly and kind. It was a very backward country, [...]

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Started Filming at Tigris and Euphrates Today

January 7, 2014

We arrived in Iraq this morning at 7:30 AM. It took 1 1/2 hours to get out of the airport while they “checked” our visas. Lots of security. So gar all is well. Our hotel is the best in Basra but I’d rate it a 4-star by American standards. We began filming today at the [...]

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