CNN’s Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery Premieres March 1



With the onset of Lent, a new CNN series on Christ called, Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery, premieres on March 1 at 9 p.m. ET.  With the objective of discovering new insights about the historical Jesus, the series utilizes the latest state-of-the-art scientific techniques and archaeological research.

Each episode of the six-part series investigates the value and authenticity of a historical object which is connected to Jesus: the Shroud of Turin, relics venerated as part of the True Cross, the gospel of Judas, relics believed to be of John the Baptist, the burial box of Jesus’ brother James and the gospel of Mary Magdalene.

Part documentary – part emotional drama, the series not only examines some mysterious artifacts from the world of the Bible, but also the Gospel characters and stories related to the artifacts. In the episode about the Shroud of Turin, their dramatized reenactment of the Passion of Christ packs a powerful punch. As the narrator says, “the Shroud of Turin appears to be a silent witness to all the final sufferings of Jesus.”

“It is extraordinary to find an archaeological piece that is proof of his existence, his death, and his resurrection,” said Erwin MacManus, one of CNN’s panel of experts.

The panel includes academics from the world’s best universities including Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Oxford, providing historical and theological insight and also features Father James Martin SJ (the editor of ‘America’ the United States’ national Catholic magazine), the Rev. Paul Raushenbush (executive religion editor of the Huffington Post), and Erwin MacManus, senior pastor of MOSAIC Los Angeles.

These are not necessarily the theologians I would have chosen, but after watching  The Shroud of Turin, I can vouch for their scholarly and respectful treatment of the fascinating material.

The series also features award-winning journalist and filmmaker David Gibson, who specializes in covering the Catholic Church.

Gibson co-wrote the series’ companion book from St. Martin’s Press, also titled Finding Jesus, that was released on Feb. 24.

Here is the Trailer:

Again, this premieres Sunday, March 1 at 9 p.m. ET. I’ll definitely be tuning in with my family.


Father James Martin, CNN: Five things you didn’t know about Jesus


What the Heck, Pope Francis?


It gives me no pleasure – in fact – it saddens me greatly to have to criticize my Pope but he gives me no choice with his latest utterings. I am through holding my tongue. It is clear to me that Pope Francis lacks the intellectual heft of our last two excellent popes.

I can’t believe he actually said this.

Asked by a French reporter to compare freedom of religion and freedom of expression as human rights, Pope Francis linked his answer to the Jan. 7 attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, apparently in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” the pope said. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.”

So far, so good…but this would be an obvious thing for a pope to say.

The pope said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” like freedom of religion, but one that must be exercised “without giving offense.”

Offering a hypothetical example that referred to the Vatican’s planner of papal trips, who was standing beside him as he spoke, the pope said: “It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”


That is just so dumb.

Noah Rothman at Hot Air explains…

No, it’s not “normal.” The individual moved to violence over an insult has lost control, and that’s unacceptable. It is unequivocally wrong to hit someone in the face regardless of the circumstances that led to that outburst, which is a lesson that parents around the world teach their children every day. Good luck now, mom and dad. When even the Pope says it’s “normal” to go on a violent rampage because your feelings were hurt, those opposed to this uncivilized behavior have lost the ability to appeal to moral authority.

When broadcasters effusively praise the bravery of the Charlie Hebdo journalists but refuse to show the work they are praising for fear of retribution from either extremists or attorneys; when the head of the Catholic Church can find some sensibleness in religious violence; when those who speak their minds are imprisoned for doing so, you know that Europe is on the verge of a new dark age.

Somebody is going to come up with a more nuanced translation for what he said, but I’m sick of the “bad translation” excuse. We didn’t have this problem with the last two popes. What is wrong with this man?!

Whether he’s talking about economics, social issues, immigration, Islam, or the obviously fraudulent “climate change” hysteria – this pope has both feet planted firmly in the world. He seems to care too much about worldly opinions and gravitates toward left-wing solutions.. Worst of all, on many issues, he appears to be an ally of our current president. Proof positive that something is very very wrong…

That was apparent to me early on when he made a big show of eschewing the popemobile and his lavish Papal accommodations in favor of a more humble mode of transportation and personal abode.  I was looking at his “open sided” popemobile in the Philippines. It looks more expensive than the old one. But then, I never cared about any of that. I think the pope should be kept safe. His acclaimed “modesty” always looked like moral preening to me.

A good Catholic lives IN the world – but is not OF the world. We will always be in conflict with worldly opinions. But that’s okay. The eternal TRUTH is what matters.

The problem with Pope Francis is he seems to be wrong about a lot of important stuff and that’s a terrible thing for a Catholic to have to say about a pope. I want to be wrong about this. I truly do.


Pamela Geller: Here are the Pope’s Top Seven Most Outrageous Statements on Islam 



Good Friday Hymn: O sacred head now wounded

The tune of this remarkable reflection of the death of Christ, O Sacred Head Now Wounded, comes from the Passion Chorale, by J. S. Bach. The poem in the original Latin is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but is now attributed to the Medieval poet Arnulf of Louvain (died 1250).   It was translated into German by Lutheran hymnist Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676).

There are several English translations:

The hymn was first translated into English in 1752 by John Gambold (1711–1771), an Anglican vicar in Oxfordshire. His translation begins, “O Head so full of bruises.” In 1830 a new translation of the hymn was made by an American Presbyterian minister, James Waddel Alexander (1804-1859). Alexander’s translation, beginning “O sacred head, now wounded,” became one of the most widely used in 19th and 20th century hymnals.

Another English translation, based on the German, was made in 1861 by Sir Henry Baker. Published in Hymns Ancient and Modern, it begins, “O sacred head surrounded by crown of piercing thorn.”

In 1899 the English poet Robert Bridges (1844-1930) made a fresh translation from the original Latin, beginning “O sacred Head, sore wounded, defiled and put to scorn.” This is the version used in the 1940 Hymnal (Episcopal), the 1982 Hymnal (Episcopal; stanzas 1-3 and 5), and the Church of England‘s New English Hymnal (1986) and several other late 20th-century hymn books.

The DePaul Community Chorus sang “O Sacred Head”  at its Fall 2008 Concert in Chicago. Stephen Blackwelder, conductor. Lisa Kristina, accompanist.

Continue reading

Video: The Pope and the Pentecostals Unite

Via Elizabeth Scalia, a wacky and wonderful video for a Sunday afternoon.

To watch only the pope is to be moved, but to ultimately miss the point. To watch the whole thing is to be blown away; Pentecostals, praying for the pope! The tongue-speaking is odd for most of us to witness, for sure. But as I did, I kept thinking, “Is that what the wind sounded like, at Pentecost, as the Holy Spirit approached?”

Marcel writes:

This is what Christian unity looks like. It doesn’t ignore the differences that we have with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. It isn’t triumphalistic. It isn’t us vs them.

Rather, it is the love of Christ for all people. Jesus prayed for Christian unity and we must all acknowledge that the fact is – division within Christianity is both scandalous and a counter-sign to a God of unity to a world that needs Him.

So, Pope Francis recorded a video for his friend, Tony Palmer (An Anglican Episcopal Communion of the CEEC (Celtic Anglican Tradition) Bishop.) He took the video to show to Kenneth Copeland Ministries and the unthinkable has started to happen – we actually pray for one another and acknowledge one another as true brothers and sisters.

Scalia recommends that you don’t fast forward to the pope – ‘watch it from the beginning and hang in there through the parts that can feel challenging to watch and might seem (to us, as Catholics and as jaded Americans) like “Protestant weirdness”’.

Another inspiring video for a Sunday afternoon,  via Geo:

Should this man get the Nobel Peace Prize?

Baby Box – South Korea: Hundreds of babies are abandoned every year, but this brave men is trying to save them. So why is the government trying to stop him?

In this heart-breaking report, we follow a man who’s dedicated his life to saving South Korea’s unwanted babies. With hundreds of them being abandoned every year, why has the government ordered him to stop?

Video: Scott Hamilton Talks About His Faith

I’ve been enjoying former Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton’s excellent commentary for the figure skating events at this year’s Olympics. He’s a likable guy – always has been.

I didn’t know anything about his back-story. Until now.

I think you’ll be as moved as I was to hear him explain in his own words his journey of faith through life’s triumphs and tragedies.

“The only true disability in life, is a bad attitude. God is there to guide you through the tough spots.”

Via Beyond the Pale, H/T Kathleen McKinley on Facebook.

Judge Jeanine Torches Obama For Going After the Little Sisters of the Poor (Video)

Judge Jeanine started her show, Saturday night with a lengthy list of New Year’s resolutions for the country (pretty much Obama, actually) culminating in her wish for a country that respects religious freedom.

Then she addressed Obama directly: “Mr President”, Pirro purred, “now that you’re back from your Hawaiin vacation, how’d you hit em? How’s that  handicap? You come back, and you try to take away from the Little Sisters of the Poor – a 175 year old religious organization that cares for low income elderly who are dying –  their right to exercise their 1st Amendment freedom of religion.”

She continued, “you PROMISED the Catholic church you would not, under Obamacare, force those with religious objections to provide contraception to employees, which of course,  is contrary to their fundamental beliefs and their exercise of religion. In spite of your promise, you’re spending millions in legal fees to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, who spend their lives serving the sick and the elderly, to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients to their employees?!”

The judge marveled that the president, supposedly a constitutional scholar, refuses to exempt the Little Sisters of the Poor from the contraception mandate. “YOU!” She exclaimed incredulously.  “The same guy who grants exemptions and waivers left and right to unions, political buddies, bundlers…..but not to the women who devoted their lives to God and caring for the sick?!”

Concluding her opening statement, she declared, “Mr. President, it’s 2014, and we are NOT getting off to a good start.”

She had on the Pastor of the Church of the Holy Family, Father Gerald Murray, to talk about the case.”

“The message here is, if you like your religion, you can’t keep it”, Father quipped. “That is a horrible message from the president of the United States and members of his administration.”

She had the always excellent Trey Gowdy on to talk about the widely panned NYTs Benghazi report, and the Regime’s attack on the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Always good for a few good soundbites, Gowdy quipped, “up until two weeks ago, Susan Rice was the only person on the planet who thought that a video had something to do with the attack, and now that number has increased by 100% – it’s gone from one to now two.”

On the HHS mandate, he said “this is not a complicated legal analysis…..legally they lose and you would think a constitutional law scholar would know that.”

“This is not about the law – it’s about politics”, Gowdy explained. “They want us to carry the burden of persuasion for political reasons.”

He pointed out that “the last time this administration went before the Supreme Court on a religious liberty case, it was Hosanna Tabor,  and it was nine to nothing against the administration. You can’t get the Supreme Court to agree nine to nothing on which direction the sun rises…but nine to nothing they said the administration was wrong.”

” It’s not about the law”, he reiterated, “it’s about politics and trying to gin up this manufactured ‘war on women,”  and shame on us if we let them get away with it.”

Video: Priests for Life Wins Emergency Relief From HHS mandate

On Saturday, December 28, Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, was on Fox News with  Mike Huckabee to talk about the contraceptive mandate and explains why it is an important issue. A federal judge in the NY Archdiocese had recently granted an injunction against the contraception mandate, but on Dec. 19, a judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had ruled in favor of the government in the Priests For Life case prompting Pavone to  file for an emergency injunction.

“I love my Church and I love my country and I want to be able to do both at the same time,” Pavone told Huckabee. “I do not want to be told that I have to choose between being a faithful Catholic and being a good citizen.”

Priests for Life’s  emergency injunction was  granted on New Year’s Eve.

Father Pavone released the following statement on his Priests For Life website:

4:58pm  An emergency injunction granted just moments ago in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit means that Priests for Life will not have to obey the contraception mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act as its appeal is being heard. It also means that, tomorrow, Priests for Life will not have to cancel health insurance for its employees.
Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said he is grateful  his organization is free, temporarily at least, from having to comply with the unjust mandate or face steep fines by failing to comply when the ministry’s new insurance policy goes into effect on Wednesday.
“We would not have complied with this mandate in any case, as it promotes the very culture of death that Priests for Life works to combat,” Father Pavone said. “We are grateful for this temporary relief and look forward to a permanent injunction once the appeal is fully heard.”
“Our lawsuit was among the very first ones in the country and the necessity to launch it shows that religious freedom in America is in grave danger.  We have to take action.”
On Dec. 19, Priests for Life learned that the judge in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had ruled in favor of the government. Within an hour Priests for Life filed for the emergency injunction that was granted today.
Father  Pavone said that what the Obama administration has tried to do through the HHS mandate – which he called a “blatant act of tyranny” – is to give the federal government the power to determine what is and what isn’t important in an individual’s religion; that is not the government’s role.
Father Pavone concluded, “There have already been significant victories in the courts against the HHS mandate, and we have no doubt that Priests for Life ultimately will prevail in this historic fight.”
Andrew McCarthy explains what the ruling means….
The ruling holds that, at least for now, the government may not coerce religious believers, against the tenets of their faiths, to provide coverage for abortifacients and contraceptives. (The religious liberty position would not prevent those who want abortifacients and contraceptives – which are very affordable and easily accessible – from obtaining them; it would just prevent the government from forcing religious believers violate their beliefs by providing them.) Of course, as we’ve seen before, President Obama often does not deem himself bound by such trifles as judicial rulings and congressional statutes, so we’ll have to see how the administration reacts.

Father Pavone thanked  Rob Muise and his team at the American Freedom Law Center in his video announcement of the ruling:

On New Years Eve, Justice Sotomayor also granted a temporary Obamacare exemption to Catholic nuns who would have faced ‘draconian fines’ if they had failed to provide contraceptive coverage, as the healthcare law requires.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary exemption late Tuesday to a small group of Catholic nuns that shields it from having to comply with a part of President Obama‘s healthcare law that requires it to provide contraceptive coverage in its insurance plans.

She acted on an emergency appeal from lawyers for the group who said the nuns faced “draconian fines” beginning on New Year’s Day if they failed to comply with the law widely known as Obamacare.

Sotomayor gave the government until Friday to file a response in the case. Her order extends only to the group of nuns and does not apply more broadly to the Affordable Care Act and its requirements.

The Regime’s contraception mandate isn’t even central to the law – it’s not necessary for ObamaCare to survive — but out of anti-Christian hostility, they’re fighting like Demons to force Americans to violate their conscience, anyway. Forcing people to violate their beliefs and pay tribute to the almighty State is crucial for the forces of tyranny, and I fear,  a harbinger of a terrible things to come, if they succeed.