Thursday, January 29, 2009

St. Thecla

Next up is St. Thecla. A first century martyr, convert of St. Paul's.
Feast Day: September 23
Patroness of purity

Saint Thecla is one of the most ancient, as she is one of the most illustrious Saints in the calendar of the Church. It was at Iconium that Saint Thecla heard the preaching of Saint Paul, who kindled the love of virginity in her heart. She had been promised in marriage to a young man who was rich and generous, but after hearing the discourses of the Apostle’s word she died to all thought of earthly espousals. She forgot her beauty; she was deaf to her parent’s threats, and at the first opportunity fled from a luxurious home and followed the Apostle.

The rage of her parents and of her suitor followed hard after her, and the Roman power did its worst against the virgin whom Christ had chosen for Himself. She was stripped and placed in the public theater, but her innocence shrouded her like a garment. Then the lions were let loose against her; they fell crouching at her feet and licked them like a house pet. Even fire could not harm her. Torment after torment was inflicted upon her without effect, until finally the divine Spouse of virgins spoke the word of deliverance and called her to Himself, with the double crown of martyrdom and virginity upon her head.
Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates her feast day on September 24th and calls her "Protomartyr among women and equal to the Apostles". (Catholic Encyclopedia online)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

St. Vitalis

Now to continue our tour of the 140 saints portrayed in stone on St. Peter's collonade...

Feastday: July 10
died about 165?

One of the 'seven holy brothers', saints, martyred in Rome, in 150. According to legend, they were the sons of Saint Felicitas, and suffered martyrdom under Emperor Antoninus. Januarius, Felix, and Philip were scourged to death; Silvanus was thrown over a precipice; Alexander, Vitalis, and Martialis were beheaded.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Feast of St. Paul's Conversion

We read in the Acts of the Apostles three accounts of the conversion of St. Paul (9:1-19; 22:3-21; 26:9-23) presenting some slight differences, which it is not difficult to harmonize and which do not affect the basis of the narrative, which is perfectly identical in substance....

All efforts hitherto made to explain without a miracle the apparition of Jesus to Paul have failed. Naturalistic explanations are reduced to two: either Paul believed that he really saw Christ, but was the victim of an hallucination, or he believed that he saw Him only through a spiritual vision, which tradition, recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, later erroneously materialized....

Paul is certain of having "seen" Christ as did the other Apostles (1 Corinthians 9:1); he declares that Christ "appeared" to him (1 Corinthians 15:8) as He appeared to Peter, to James, to the Twelve, after His Resurrection. He knows that his conversion is not the fruit of his reasoning or thoughts, but an unforeseen, sudden, startling change, due to all-powerful grace (Galatians 1:12-15; 1 Corinthians 15:10). He is wrongly credited with doubts, perplexities, fears, remorse, before his conversion. He was halted by Christ when his fury was at its height (Acts 9:1-2); it was "through zeal" that he persecuted the Church (Philippians 3:6), and he obtained mercy because he had acted "ignorantly in unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:13). All explanations, psychological or otherwise, are worthless in face of these definite assertions, for all suppose that it was Paul's faith in Christ which engendered the vision, whereas according to the concordant testimony of the Acts and the Epistles it was the actual vision of Christ which engendered faith.

After his conversion, his baptism, and his miraculous cure Paul set about preaching to the Jews (Acts 9:19-20)....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

St. Petronilla, Virgin, 1st c. Martyr

Petronilla's name does not appear in martyrologies before the 4th century. Probably because there are no martyrology lists for the 1st and 2nd c. martyrs before that time. Little is known about Petronilla. What we do know is that she was a real person and a martyr. Probably one of the vast numbers of Christians who would rather be torn apart by the wild beasts in the arena than give up their belief in the Saviour of the world. A basilica was erected over her remains, along with those of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, and her cult (devotion) was widespread.

There is an apocryphal story that she was the actual daughter of St. Peter. In some early apocraphal 'Acts' a daughter of St. Peter is mentioned but not named. However, the rumor that St. Petronilla was that fictional daughter did not come about until centuries later probably only due to the fact that her name is so similar to his. It is much more likely that she was a "spiritual" daughter--one of the hundreds or thousands converted to Christianity by St. Peter.

"In 757 the coffin containing the mortal remains of the saint was transferred to an old circular building (an imperial mausoleum dating from the end of the fourth century) near St. Peter's. This building was altered and became the Chapel of St. Petronilla.... At the rebuilding of St. Peter's in the sixteenth century, St. Petronilla's remains were translated to an altar (still dedicated to her) in the upper end of the right side-aisle (near the cupola). Her feast falls on 31 May."

Patroness of the treaties concluded between the popes and the Frankish emporers, the dauphins of France, mountain travellers, and against fevers.

Information and quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia with additional information from the Patron Saints Index.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

St. Leonard

St. Leonard is the next statue you would see as you enter St. Peter's square. He stands to St. Gallicano's right. "St Leonard, being a patron of prisoners, is generally represented holding chains in his hands, although his statue here seems to hold a book..."

St. Leonard
Feastday: November 6

According to [11th centruy] legend, Leonard belonged to a noble Frankish family of the time of King Clovis, and St. Remy of Reims was his godfather. After having secured from the king the release of a great number of prisoners, and refused episcopal honours which Clovis offered him, he entered a monastery at Micy near Orléans. Later he went to Aquitaine and there preached the Gospel. Having obtained, through prayer, a safe delivery for the Queen of the Franks in her confinement, he received as a gift from the king a domain at Noblac, near Limoges, where he founded a monastery. [Legend states that he got all the land he could ride around on a donkey in one day]. The veneration of this saint is as widely known as his history is...uncertain....little by little churches were dedicated to him, not only in France, but in all Western Europe.... Pilgrims, among them kings, princes, and high dignitaries of the Church, flocked to Noblac (now St. Leonard). Numerous miracles are attributed to him, and in one small town alone, Inchenhofen, Bavaria, from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, there are records of about 4000 favours granted through his intercession. The saint wrought the delivery of captives, women in confinement, those possessed of an evil spirit, people and beasts afflicted with diseases. At the end of the eleventh century his name had already become renowned among the Crusaders captured by the Mussulmans. He is generally represented holding chains in his hands.
[From Catholic Encyclopedia]

Died c.559 of natural causes
Patronage: childbirth; blacksmiths; captives; Castelmauro, Italy; coal miners; coopers; coppersmiths; greengrocers; grocers; horses; imprisoned people; Kirkop, Malta; locksmiths; miners; porters; prisoners; prisoners of war; against burglars; against burglaries; against robberies; against robbers
Representation abbot holding chain, fetters or lock; chain; fetters; manacles

Friday, January 16, 2009

St. Gallicanus

I became fascinated with the statues on the collonade of St. Peter's square in Rome today while doing some research. I decided I would share the identity of the 140 saints with my readers. I want to try to show the statues themselves but cannot access all of them, yet. We'll see how it goes. (St. Macrina from a previous post is one of the 140 also).

Here is the first seen on the eastern wing of the portico. Without further ado. I present St. Gallicanus...

"He is also referred to as St. Gallicanus of Ostia. As the first statue on the right (north) colonnade, St. Gallicanus doesn't actually face into the Square, but toward the front opening. His statue was carved between 1670-1673 by Lazzaro Morelli, who was the most prolific of the artists working for Bernini on the colonnade statues, with over 45 of the saints attributed to him."

From Catholic Encyclopedia
Roman Martyr in Egypt, 362-363, under Julian. According to his Acts (in "Acta SS.", June, VII, 31),...he was a distinguished general in the war against the Persians, was consul with Symmachus, 333 (perhaps also once before with Bassus, 317). After his conversion to Christianity he retired to Ostia, founded a hospital and endowed a church built by Constantine. Under Julian he was banished to Egypt, and lived with the hermits in the desert. A small church was built in his honour in the Trastevere of Rome. His relics are at Rome in the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle. The legend of his conversion was dramatized by Roswitha.

St. Teresa of Avila's Peace

"Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who has God
Finds he lacks nothing.
God alone suffices."

--Taken from St. Teresa of Avila's breviary at the time of her death.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

RIP Bette Novak

Bette, you will be missed. We pray for your soul and rejoice that you will soon be with Our Lord in Heaven. With all your work with children, as teacher and principal, I thought this holy card of Mary with young angels/children was quite appropriate. You loved all children as Mary did. Rest in peace.

"The Holy Mass would be of greater profit
if people had it offered in their lifetimes,
rather than having it celebrated
for the relief of their souls after death."

Pope Benedict XV

Holy card image from: 'Holy Cards for Your Inspiration' at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Saint for Today

**NOTE: I just found out today that St. Macrina is one of the 140 saints standing on top of the colonnade in St. Peter's square. She stands to the right of St. Dominic himself (who is next to St. Francis). Pretty cool, huh?

January 14
St. Macrina

Grandmother of Saint Basil the Great, Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Peter of Sebaste, and Saint Macrina the Younger, and apparently raised Basil. Spiritual student of Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus. She and her husband lived in hiding in a forest at Pontus for seven years during the persecution of Diocletian, nearly starving several times. Widowed.

On January 2, we celebrated the feast of a grandchild of today's saint. St. Basil the Great, who was born around 329, came from a family of saints. Macrina, his father's mother, was one of his favorites. She seems to have raised Basil. As an adult, he praised his grandmother for all the good she had done for him. He especially thanked her openly for having taught him to love the Christian faith from the time he was very small.
Macrina and her husband learned the high price of being true to their Christian beliefs. During one of the Roman persecutions of Galerius and Maximinus, Basil's grandparents were forced into hiding. They found refuge in the forest near their home. Somehow they managed to escape their persecutors. They were always hungry and afraid, but they would not give up their faith. Instead, they patiently waited and prayed for the persecution to end. They hunted for food and ate the wild vegetation and somehow survived. This persecution lasted seven years. St. Gregory Nazianzen, who shares Basil's feast day on January 2, recorded these few details.
During another persecution, Macrina and her husband had all their property and belongings taken from them. They were left with nothing but their faith and trust in God's care for them.
St. Macrina survived her husband but the exact year of each of their deaths is not recorded. It is believed that Macrina died around 340. Her grandchild, Basil, died in 379.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mary, Queen of Heaven

"The Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen to be the Mother of the King of Kings. Accordingly, holy Church honors her, and wants everyone to honor her, with the glorious title of "Queen.""

"Saint Athanasius mentions how proper this is...: "If he who was born of the virgin is king, then the one who bore him is rightly called a lady and a queen." Ever since the moment that Mary gave her consent to be the Mother of the Eternal Word, adds Saint Bernardine of Siena, she deserved to be called queen of the whole world and of every creature in it. If Jesus took his flesh from Mary, how can Mary be disjoined from the royal dignity of her son?...We conclude...that not only the kingdom's glory, but the very kingdom itself, belongs to both the Son and the Mother."

From: "The Glories of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori

I just started reading this wonderful book. I can't wait to share it.

The irony is that I was introduced to this work by an anti-Catholic bigot on one of the discussion forums in which I participate. I am sure that was not his intention when he mentioned this book, as he was trying to say that St. Alphonsus was going against Catholic teaching on Mary with his words. It just showed me how very little that person knows about the Church or Mary's role therein.

St. Alphonsus wrote this work as a series of sermons on the Salve Regina or 'Hail Holy Queen' plus other writings on Marian prayers, feasts, and other aspects of the devotions to Mary. So far, I can find absolutely nothing that goes against any ancient or modern Church Teaching or practice. I can also absolutely see how an anti-Catholic who abhors any honor given to Mary could read the wrong things into the context of St. Alphonsus' works. I was one of those people once upon a time...

More on this work later.

Let us pray:
Hail holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, Our Life, Our Sweetness, and Our Hope, to you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Most gracious advocate, turn then, your eyes of mercy toward us and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed Fruit of your womb, Jesus. O Clement! O loving! O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Holy Card image courtesy of 'Holy Cards for your Inspiration' at

Monday, January 12, 2009

Psalm 116

Latin words (which are from a translation of Psalm 116, verses 12 and 13):
"What reward shall I give to the Lord?
I shall accept the chalice of salvation,
and I shall call upon the Name of the Lord."

Holy Card image courtesy of 'Holy Cards for Your Inspiration' at

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pray for Vocations

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. What a wonderful thing to celebrate today. After all, He asked His disciples to go and do likewise. "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15,16)

The Mass readings today were: Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7;
 Psalm 29:1-4,9-10;
 Acts 10:34-38
" let’s reflect on another dimension of Jesus’ baptism: It marked his entry into the community of those awaiting the kingdom of God. When Jesus was baptized, he joined a community of Jews who believed that repentance had the power to bring them into a new time of God’s favor and blessing. By accepting baptism, Jesus was telling his people that he was one with them, that he wanted to share in their lives, and that he wanted them to share in his life.

But Jesus didn’t just enter this community of believers; he transformed them. Through his miracles, his teachings, and the witness of his love, he raised the people’s expectations. He showed them that the new era they were awaiting was one of closeness to him. It was an era marked by the power of God active in their lives. And it was an era filled with the promise of a new heart and a new mind."

Our priest used the celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord to talk not only about how Jesus showed the way to a new community of believers. Jesus also called certain men to follow in this act and on to the priesthood. Men who were to follow Him and imitate Him in the Holy Priesthood of Melchizedek of which He is the 'First' member. Let us pray that the call to the priesthood will be felt and followed by all those chosen by God. Let them say, as Jeremiah said, "Here I am, Lord, send me."

Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood
Lord Jesus, High Priest and universal Shepherd, You have taught us to pray, saying: "Pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest" [Matt. 9: 38]. Therefore we ask You graciously to hear our supplications and raise up many generous souls who, inspired by Your example and supported by Your grace, may conceive the ardent desire to enter the ranks of Your sacred ministers in order to continue the office of Your one true priesthood.

Although Your priests live in the world as dispensers of the mysteries of God, yet their mission demands that they be not men of this world. Grant, then, that the insidious lies and vicious slanders directed against the priesthood by the malignant enemy and abetted by the world through its spirit of indifference and materialism may not dim the brilliance of the light with which they shine before men, nor lessen the profound and reverent esteem due to them. Grant that the continual promotion of religious instruction, true piety, purity of life and devotion to the highest ideals may prepare the groundwork for good vocations among youth. May the Christian family, as a nursery of pure and pious souls, become the unfailing source of good vocations, ever firmly convinced of the great honor that can redound to our Lord through some of its numerous offspring. Come to the aid of Your Church, that always and in every place she may have at her disposal the means necessary for the reception, promotion, formation and mature development of all the good vocations that may arise. For the full realization of all these things, O Jesus, Who are most zealous for the welfare [and] salvation of all, may Your graces continually descend from Heaven to move many hearts by their irresistible force: first, the silent invitation; then generous cooperation; and finally perseverance in Your holy service.

Are You not moved to compassion, O Lord, seeing the crowds like sheep without a shepherd, without anyone to break for them the bread of Your word, or to lead them to drink at the fountains of Your grace, so that they are continually in danger of becoming a prey to ravening wolves? Does it not grieve You to behold so many unplowed fields where thorns and thistles are allowed to grow in undisputed possession? Are You not saddened that many of Your gardens, once so green and productive, are now on the verge of becoming fallow and barren through neglect?

O Mary, Mother most pure, through whose compassion we have received the holiest of priests; O glorious Patriarch St. Joseph, perfect model of co-operation with the Divine call; O holy priests, who in heaven compose a choice choir about the Lamb of God: obtain for us many good vocations in order that the Lord's flock, through the support and government of vigilant shepherds, may attain to the enjoyment of the most delightful pastures of eternal happiness.

Composed by Pope Pius XII
Nov. 6, 1957
[Revised slightly by yours truly from thees and thous to yous and yours]

Friday, January 9, 2009

Pill inventor slams ... pill

Published: January 08, 2009
Eighty five year old Carl Djerassi the Austrian chemist who helped invent the contraceptive pill now says that his co-creation has led to a "demographic catastrophe."
In an article published by the Vatican this week, the head of the world's Catholic doctors broadened the attack on the pill, claiming it had also brought "devastating ecological effects" by releasing into the environment "tonnes of hormones" that had impaired male fertility, The Taiwan Times says.

The assault began with a personal commentary in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard by Carl Djerassi. The Austrian chemist was one of three whose formulation of the synthetic progestogen Norethisterone marked a key step toward the earliest oral contraceptive pill.

Djerassi outlined the "horror scenario" that occurred because of the population imbalance, for which his invention was partly to blame. He said that in most of Europe there was now "no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction." He said: "This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete."

He described families who had decided against reproduction as "wanting to enjoy their schnitzels while leaving the rest of the world to get on with it."

The fall in the birth rate, he said, was an "epidemic" far worse, but given less attention, than obesity. Young Austrians, he said, were committing national suicide if they failed to procreate. And if it were not possible to reverse the population decline they would have to understand the necessity of an "intelligent immigration policy."

The head of Austria's Catholics, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, told an interviewer that the Vatican had forecast 40 years ago that the pill would lead to a dramatic fall in the birth rate in the west.

"Somebody above suspicion like Carl Djerassi ... is saying that each family has to produce three children to maintain population levels, but we're far away from that," he said.

Schonborn told Austrian TV that when he first read Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical condemning artificial contraception he viewed it negatively as a "cold shower." But he said he had altered his views as, over time, it had proved "prophetic."

Writing for the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, the president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Jose Maria Simon, said research from his association also showed the pill "worked in many cases with a genuinely ... abortive effect."

Angelo Bonelli, of the Italian Green party, said it was the first he had heard of a link between the pill and environmental pollution. The worst of poisons were to be found in the water supply.

"It strikes me as idiosyncratic to be worried about this," he said.

Catholic News Agency details the claims by the president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, Dr Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, who outlined a series of scientific arguments said to confirm the prophetic nature of Pope Paul VI's encyclical on artificial contraception.

In an article published by the L'Osservatore Romano, the Spanish doctor pointed to the Federation's recent document commemorating the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, which "irrefutably shows that the most widely used anti-ovulatory pill in the industrialised world, the one made with low doses of estrogen and progesterone, in many cases works with an anti-implantation effect; that is, abortifacient [effect], because it expels a small human embryo."

Castellvi also pointed out that "this anti-implantation effect is acknowledged in scientific literature, which shamelessly speaks of an embryo loss rate. Curiously, however, this information does not reach the public at large."

He also pointed to the "devastating ecological effects of the tons of hormones discarded into the environment each year. We have sufficient data to state that one of the causes of masculine infertility in the West is the environmental contamination caused by the products of the 'pill'." Castellvi noted as well that the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported in 2005 that the pill has carcinogenic effects.

After explaining that the "natural methods of regulating fertility are the ones that are effective and that respect the nature of the person," Castellvi stated that "in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man we can say that the contraceptive methods violate at least five important rights: the right to life, the right to health, the right to education, the right to information (its dissemination occurs to the detriment of information about natural methods) and the right of equality between the sexes (responsibility for contraceptive use almost always falls to the woman)."


Catholic Church renews its attack on contraceptive pill (Taipei Times)

Medical Association points out prophetic nature of Humanae Vitae (Catholic News Agency)

St. Walburga's blog: This is a good news/bad news kind of thing. Good news: The Church was right!! Bad news: The Church was right!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Pope John Paul II, Darwin, and Evolution Catholic Opinions on Evolutionary Origins

By Austin Cline,

In America one is accustomed to seeing religious figures condemn evolutionary theory and argue that teaching evolution is incompatible with Christianity. Catholicism, however, not only doesn’t reject evolution but in fact has supported evolutionary theory for quite some time - Pope John Paul II even expressed some support for it. This continues to surprise people because it’s simply not reported in the news very often.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical Humani generis:

“The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, insofar as it inquiries into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter.”
[The full encyclical can be read here:]

On October 23, 1996, Pope John Paul II said in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences:

“[N]ew findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”

“A theory is a meta-scientific elaboration, which is distinct from, but in harmony with, the results of observation. With the help of such a theory a group of data and independent facts can be related to one another and interpreted in one comprehensive explanation. The theory proves its validity by the measure to which it can be verified. It is constantly being tested against the facts; when it can no longer explain these facts, it shows its limits and its lack of usefulness, and it must be revised.”
[To read Pope John Paul II's words on the matter:]

None of this necessarily means that Pope John Paul II accepted evolution as a fact and it certainly doesn’t mean that Catholics are required to accept evolution as a fact. John Paul’s address was designed to explain the Vatican’s theological position on human origins, not the Vatican’s position on science. The address wasn’t meant to be either an endorsement or (obviously) a condemnation.

Instead, the address was meant to lay out for Catholics a basis for accepting evolutionary theory. There are many scientific facts that the Catholic Church doesn’t require Catholics to accept — that the Sun in as the center of the solar system and that the Earth is round, for example. The truth of these statements is obvious to everyone, but that doesn’t make them appropriate for religious doctrine either.

On a practical level, evolutionary theory is taught without reservation at Catholic educational institutions. This has been a problem because the general anti-evolution trends in American society has made teaching evolution more difficult, even at private Catholic schools. This has led to calls for more detailed teaching about evolution in these schools. David Byers, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Science and Human Values from 1984 to 2003, has said that, “Denying that humans evolved seems by this point a waste of time.”

My note: He expressed the Catholic position on the subject of evolution very well. This author is a contributor to is an Agnostic/Atheistic 'guide'. I wanted to show that someone who is NOT Catholic grasps the Catholic concept of the acceptance of the THEORY of evolution. I, even as a Catholic, am free to make up my own mind about it. As I have said, I believe there is a lot of validity to evolution within species, however, the THEORY of evolution does NOT account for the beginning of life nor does it account for the complexity thereof. [bolding, italics, brackets mine]

Saturday, January 3, 2009

For 'Bob' and All Those Ignorant of the Meaning of Intelligent Design

I got the following from I hope it will help those who are ignorant of the difference between Intelligent Design and so-called "creation science."

What is intelligent design?

Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Through the study and analysis of a system's components, a design theorist is able to determine whether various natural structures are the product of chance, natural law, intelligent design, or some combination thereof. Such research by observing the types of information produced when intelligent agents act. Scientists then seek to find objects which have those same types of informational properties which we commonly know come from intelligence. Intelligent design has applied these scientific methods to detect design in irreducibly complex biological structures, the complex and specified information content in DNA, the life-sustaining physical architecture of the universe, and the geologically rapid origin of biological diversity in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion approximately 530 million years ago.

Is intelligent design the same as creationism?

No. The theory of intelligent design is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism typically starts with a religious text and tries to see how the findings of science can be reconciled to it. Intelligent design starts with the empirical evidence of nature and seeks to ascertain what inferences can be drawn from that evidence. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design does not claim that modern biology can identify whether the intelligent cause detected through science is supernatural.

Honest critics of intelligent design acknowledge the difference between intelligent design and creationism. University of Wisconsin historian of science Ronald Numbers is critical of intelligent design, yet according to the Associated Press, he "agrees the creationist label is inaccurate when it comes to the ID [intelligent design] movement." Why, then, do some Darwinists keep trying to conflate intelligent design with creationism? According to Dr. Numbers, it is because they think such claims are "the easiest way to discredit intelligent design." In other words, the charge that intelligent design is "creationism" is a rhetorical strategy on the part of Darwinists who wish to delegitimize design theory without actually addressing the merits of its case.

Is intelligent design a scientific theory?

Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.

I hope you've learned something today.
Go in Peace.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ben Stein and Intelligent Design

We finally got around to watching Ben Stein's wonderful documentary "Expelled". I highly recommend this movie to anyone interested in the alternative to Darwinism taught as established fact. Since, it has never explained the origin of life, why can't some one put forth the idea that their is an intelligence behind life? PLEASE, please see this movie. If you homeschool, if you have teenagers with questions, if you are at all interested in the debate in the science community, see this movie! My son is studying Biology at this time in his 9th grade homeschool course. This movie fit in perfectly with the chapter on Darwin he just read. As can be predicted Darwin's unsubstantiated theory is presented as fact in his textbook. I was happy to present "Is Evolution Fit to Survive?" I am sure this informative book is available elsewhere but I got it through Kolbe Academy: It is $14.50. My son asked why he need to learn about it. I told him that if he were to get anywhere in any scientific field or study biology in college, I want him to be prepared for such a discussion. We do not believe in sheltering our kids behind a homeschool wall. They have to live outside that wall someday and I want them prepared for anything.
Trailer and image from Which also has the video for sale as well as wallpapers, academic freedom petition, and more. ONLY FOR THE INTELLIGENT AND OPEN MINDED!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mary, Mother of God, Solemnity

Prayer in Praise of the Mother of God

Mary, our Mother, the whole world reveres you as the holiest shrine of the living God, for in you the salvation of the world dawned. The Son of God was pleased to take human form from you. You have broken down the wall of hatred, the barrier between heaven and earth which was set up by man's first disobedience. In you heaven met earth when divinity and humanity were joined in one person,
the God-Man.

Mother of God, we sing your praises, but we must praise you even more. Our speech is too feeble to honor you as we ought for no tongue is eloquent enough to express your excellence. Mary, most powerful, most holy, and worthy of all love! Your name brings new life, and the thought of you inspires love in the hearts of those devoted to you.

St. Bernard

[Prayer: New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Co., NY]
[Painting: The Holy Mother of God, tempra on wood, Collection of Mr. Giovanni d'Alessandro, Italy]