November 30, 2018

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (113018)

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Positivity: Pro-life students ask Trump to defund Planned Parenthood

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Washington:

Nov 28, 2018 / 04:40 pm

Students for Life has urged U.S. President Donald Trump to defund Planned Parenthood, and encouraged pro-life advocates to ask the administration to do so.

The pro-life organization issued a letter to President Trump Nov. 27 signed by the Kristan Hawkins, president for Students for Life of America.

In the message, Hawkins thanks Trump for pro-life measures he has undertaken, and invites him to pursue five steps to defund Planned Parenthood.

The letter challenged the president to keep his “promises and defund Planned Parenthood across the board, redirecting those resources to places and programs that actually serve the medical needs of women and their families.”

The five steps called the administration to refuse to sign any budget that does not defund abortion providers; to formalize the Protect Life rule for Title X regulations; to appoint pro-life judges; to stop funding fetal tissue research that pays for parts of aborted infants; and to sever the abortion providers’ connection to sex education.

The letter highlights the last stance, stating that Planned Parenthood uses sex education to fuel its own marketing schemes, “to instruct teens to buy their products and engage in behaviors they endorse, and then selling abortions to those same students when their advice and products fail.”

Hawkins emphasized Planned Parenthood’s role in providing abortion, noting the organization falsely promotes itself as a major supporter for women’s healthcare. She said the group’s marketing department has publicized that abortion is not its number one seller. This is not true, she said.

Comparing Planned Parenthood to other community health centers, Hawkins said Planned Parenthood provides fewer services, is inefficient in its spending, and serves millions fewer patients.

She said Planned Parenthood receives more than $500 million a year from federal funding. This money should be distributed to programs and places which better serve women, she said.

Students for Life gave directions for citizens to help promote this cause as well. The organization urged people to tweet to President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and to call the White House switchboard.

At the end of her letter, Hawkins challenges Trump to focus funding on more pro-life health services, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers and Pregnancy Resource Centers. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 29, 2018

Thursday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112918)

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Positivity: Young man healed by Padre Pio recounts story of miraculous cure

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Madrid, Spain:

Nov 19, 2018 / 07:46 pm

Matteo Pio Colella was just 7 years old when he contracted a deadly disease. Doctors believed there was no hope for the boy, but he made a full recovery. His cure was the miracle that paved the way for the canonization of St. Padre Pio by Pope John Paul II in June 2002.

Colella, now 27, gave an exclusive interview to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister agency, on the occasion of the pre-release of the film “El Misterio del Padre Pío” (The Mystery of Padre Pio) in Madrid.

The documentary is directed by writer and filmmaker José María Zavala and includes Colella’s testimony.

“I wasn’t feeling well,” he recalled. “I told my mother that I didn’t want to go to school, but she made me go because at that time I didn’t like school. That same night, when my mother came to say goodnight, I didn’t recognize her, and so they immediately took me to the hospital.”

On Jan. 20, 2000, Colella was diagnosed with acute fulminant meningitis, caused by bacteria. The disease had affected his kidneys, his respiratory system and blood clotting. He was immediately admitted to the hospital founded by Padre Pio, the “Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza” (Home for the Relief of Suffering), located in San Giovanni Rotondo where the saint’s monastery is.

The following day, Colella went into a coma. His health deteriorated drastically, and doctors considered him a lost cause, thinking he would die within a few hours.

While Colella was in this critical condition, his mother Maria Lucia went to pray over the tomb of Padre Pio to ask for her son’s healing.

“During the coma,” Colella recounted, “I saw Padre Pio in a dream on my right and three angels on the left. One with golden wings and a white tunic and the two others with white wings and a red tunic. Padre Pio, on my right, told me not to worry because I would soon be cured. In fact, my cure was like the resurrection of Lazarus.”

And that’s exactly what happened. The doctors considered Colella to be clinically dead, but he came back to life.

The young man is grateful to Padre Pio for his intercession. He said he considers the saint to be like a grandfather in whom he can confide. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 28, 2018

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112818)

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Positivity: Polish nun who helped saved Jews during Holocaust dies at 110

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Krakow, Poland:

Nov 21, 2018 / 01:45 pm

Believed to be the “oldest nun in the world,” Polish Dominican nun Sister Cecylia Maria Roszak has died at the age of 110, the Archdiocese of Krakow has announced.

Sr. Cecylia was born Maria Roszak on March 25, 1908 in the town of Kielczewo in west-central Poland. After graduating from trade school at the age of 21, she entered a cloistered convent of Dominican sisters in Krakow, at the “On Gródek” monastery, as it is commonly called.

In 1938, she traveled with a group of her sisters to Vilnius (now in Lithuania, but at the time a part of Poland) where the nuns were hoping to establish another convent. However, the outbreak of World War II prevented them from doing so.

For two years, Vilnius was under Soviet occupation, and then under German occupation after the invasion of the Nazis. During this time, Sr. Roszak and her sisters, led by their superior, Mother Bertranda, hid 17 members of the Jewish resistance in their convent, risking their lives to do so.

According to The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the Jewish people who found refuge in the convent were members of the illegal Jewish Zionist underground movements.

“Despite the enormous difference between the two groups, very close relations were formed between the religious Christian nuns and the left-wing secular Jews. The pioneers found a safe haven behind the convent’s walls; they worked with the nuns in the fields and continued their political activity. They called the mother superior of the convent Ima (Mother in Hebrew),” the Center states in a biographical page on Mother Bertranda, who eventually left the convent and became known as Anna Borkowska.

In 1941 the Jewish refugees decided to leave the convent and return to the Jewish ghetto to help establish the resistance there. Borkowska begged them to stay, and then begged to join them in the ghetto, and helped her friends smuggle weapons and supplies inside.

In September 1943, Mother Bertranda was arrested, the Vilnius convent was closed and the nuns were dispersed. Sr. Roszak returned to Krakow, although due to the war, her sisters had been expelled from their motherhouse “On Grodek” and were staying with some other sisters at the time. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 27, 2018

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112718)

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Positivity: Dinners, deliveries and drives: how some Catholics serve up Thanksgiving for the poor

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Denver:

Nov 22, 2018 / 03:00 am

While many will gather for Thanksgiving this year around tables filled with food and family, the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul has set out to make sure that the poor and homeless will also experience a holiday filled with community.

“Society members work with people in poverty and the homeless 365 days a year. Our parish-based Conferences operate food pantries, dining facilities, and shelters year-round to help people in need with food and shelter,” said Dave Barringer, the National CEO of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“In addition to our year-round efforts, many St. Vincent de Paul Conferences and Councils do extra work around Thanksgiving,” Barringer told CNA in a 2017 interview.

The Society’s many councils and conferences across the country annually host or partake in local efforts to serve the poor and homeless for Thanksgiving, Barringer said.

For example, the Society’s Baton Rouge Council in Louisiana annually hosts a Thanksgiving meal for the community’s poor and homeless. They usually feed more than 600 people at the St. Vincent de Paul location, and last year, they also teamed up with the city’s Holiday Helpers to feed an additional 1,000 people.

“That is such a fantastic tradition for our community,” said Michael Acaldo, who works for the Baton Rouge Council, according to local news. “Over 1,000 people are served there. We serve over 600. When you put the two together, it’s a magnificent example of our community in action.”

In Arizona, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Phoenix Council also helps with the community’s annual turkey drive, in what locals calls “Turkey Tuesday.”

Every Tuesday before Thanksgiving, locals bring turkeys to designated grocery stores to donate them to those in need. In 2016, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul received more than 26,000 donated turkeys. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 26, 2018

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112618)

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November 25, 2018

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112518)

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Positivity: Algerian martyrs are models for the Church, archbishop says

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From Algiers, Algeria:

Nov 16, 2018 / 03:01 am

Archbishop Paul Desfarges of Algiers has said that Bishop Pierre Claverie and his 18 companions, who were martyred in Algeria between 1994 and 1996, are “models for our lives as disciples today and tomorrow.”

The Algerian martyrs will be beatified Dec. 8 at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Cross in Oran.

“The beatification of our brothers and sisters is a grace for our Church,” Archbishop Desfarges wrote in a November pastoral letter.

He urged the local Church “to love as they did in the freedom that the Holy Spirit gives” because the martyrs “go before us on the path of witness that our Church is called to give in this land of Algeria, which from the first century has been watered with the blood of the martyrs.”

Archbishop Desfarges said that the 19 martyrs “still continue their mission” and noted that “their lives were given to God and to the people to whom love had united them.” He encouraged the faithful to pray to them “asking for the grace of fidelity for our Church in its mission.”

The archbishop said that the witness of the future blesseds “takes us down the path of ordinary holiness.”

“Life is given to us in order to live it giving ourselves in the everyday…holiness is not a perfection in virtue or morals” but “is a matter of giving your own life, loving and serving in the ordinary things of every day life,” he stressed.

Archbishop Desfarges recalled that the Gospel of following Christ “invites us, encouraged by our blesseds, to live welcoming others to the point of completely divesting ourselves. To welcome the other person is to be totally present to his presence.”

He recalled that “there is no greater love than to lay down your own life for your own friends,” and emphasized the invitation to “endure humiliations” because “to welcome Jesus means to be welcoming to the enemy,” for “the Cross is lifted up when at the moment you are loving the most, you are rejected.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 24, 2018

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112418)

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Positivity: Cadets rescue family after vehicle falls down 100-foot ravine

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 5:55 am

From the US Air Force Academy in Colorado, concerning an incident near Breckinridge (video at link; HT Weasel Zippers):

Posted: Nov 15, 2018 12:02 PM MST
Updated: Nov 16, 2018 12:16 AM MST

Five Air Force Academy Cadets are being called heroes for saving a family trapped inside their car after they slid off the road and fell down a 100-foot ravine.

KRDO spoke to the cadets who are all Sophomores at the Academy and are on the same squadron. Cadet 3rd Class Antonino Del Rossa, Karl Broerwinkle, Connor Settle, Joel Krause, and Joseph Canoy were driving back from a ski trip in Breckenridge on a cold and snowy Veterans Day.

While on CO-9 just West of Fairplay, the car in front of them started fishtailing and took a sharp turn launching the car off the side of a ravine.

“The best way to describe it, it was there then it was gone,” said Cadet Del Rossa.

Cadet Broerwinkle says he was sleeping when he woke up and saw what happened, “I saw them on the road for like half a second and then I saw them go airborne and disappear off the cliff.”

The car fell about 80 feet before coming to a stop at the bottom. Cadet Settle says they were the only ones who saw it happen.

“We were the only ones out there at the time of the accident and if no one else had seen it, then they might have not helped so we felt like we had to take action,” said Cadet Settle.

After the shock wore off from what they just witnessed, Cadet Krause says they realized somebody was in need below and that’s when they stepped into action without any hesitation.

Krause stayed by the car and called 911 while the other four raced down the steep incline to get to the car.

“On our way down, the driver was honking the horn,” said Cadet Canoy “They were stuck and couldn’t get out.” When they reached the bottom the car was completely flipped over.

Cadet Canoy said his adrenaline turned into fear once he saw the damage.

“Once we got down there and saw the car, that was the first time I felt scared because I didn’t know what we would find when we opened the doors,” Cadet Canoy said.

What they found was a man, a woman, and their teenaged daughter alive, but trapped inside the car. They were able to get the parents out but their child was still stuck.

Cadet Settle then picked up a rock and smashed the window open. They helped the family back up the ravine where an ambulance was waiting, never actually learning the names of the people they saved.

As for the cadets being called heroes, they say they were just doing what anyone else would do in that situation. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

November 23, 2018

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112318)

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Positivity: Mother who was encouraged to abort her unborn baby because medics thought he had Downs Syndrome warns others to get a second opinion after he was born perfectly healthy

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

From London, England (Headline is from the UK Daily Mail’s coverage):

NOV 16 2018, 11:13AM

The extent to which the medical community now pushes abortion for unborn babies with disabilities is alarming.

Jordan Squires, of Middlesborough, England, told the UK Daily Mail that she was infuriated when doctors pressured her to abort her unborn son because he might have Down syndrome.

Squires refused, and she is so glad that she did. Her son Jay, now a toddler, was born healthy.

The pressure to have an abortion began at Squires’ 12-week pregnancy scan. She said she realized something was wrong when the medical staff took her and her partner, Johnathan, into a room after the ultrasound.

“They told us that the baby was highly likely to have Downs Syndrome due to the large amount of fluid that was placed high on the back of his neck,” Squires said.

“Straight away I was told that they advised terminating the pregnancy without giving us any other options or support,” she continued. “We were so angry … There was no way I was going to do that, we had waited so long for this baby and we would love our child regardless of the disability.”

The couple refused an amniocentesis test, which would have given them a better idea if their son had Down syndrome, because it also would have put his life at greater risk, according to the report.

Squires continued with her pregnancy, thinking her son would be born with Down syndrome. But to her great surprise, Jay was born healthy, weighing 9 pounds, 2 ounces, the report states. He now is a toddler.

Thinking about mothers in similar situations, Squires said she understands why some choose abortion: Medical professionals often encourage it.

“I was furious that they were encouraging people to do that and if it had been someone different then they could of been persuaded by the doctors, then they would have ended a healthy pregnancy,” she said.

The young mother urged other families to get a second opinion if they feel pressured to have an abortion. …

Go here for the rest of the story.