Max & Anna

May 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Joyous news. Our son, Max, recently got engaged to the lovely Anna Wagner. Though they haven’t set a date for their wedding yet, everything points to the happy occasion taking place this fall. Max is in the Navy, and doesn’t know yet what the exact dates of his leave will be. Hopefully, he’ll know soon, so he and Anna can begin planning in earnest.

"Inconvenient people" and the rising "Obligation to Die Movement"

May 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I’ve been warning about this for years in my lectures on global aging, about how what we currently know as the “right to die movement” is steadily morphing into what soon will be soon be the obligation to die movement, which will increasingly target old people and others whom our sick society deems to have “outlived their usefulness.” Authors such as Peter G. Peterson (Gray Dawn) and Ken Dychtwald (Age Wave), Patrick Buchanan (The Death of the West) and Wesley Smith (Forced Exit), have been ringing the alarm bells for years (much louder and more eloquently than I have been, to be sure), though it doesn’t seem like many are paying attention to what’s coming. Thomas Sowell is one of the few who is. Here are some of his thoughts about a common mentality that is paving the way for enforced euthanasia:

One of the many fashionable notions that have caught on among some of the intelligentsia is that old people have “a duty to die,” rather than become a burden to others.

This is more than just an idea discussed around a seminar table. Already the government-run medical system in Britain is restricting what medications or treatments it will authorize for the elderly. Moreover, it seems almost certain that similar attempts to contain runaway costs will lead to similar policies when American medical care is taken over by the government.

Make no mistake about it, letting old people die is a lot cheaper than spending the kind of money required to keep them alive and well. If a government-run medical system is going to save any serious amount of money, it is almost certain to do so by sacrificing the elderly.

There was a time— fortunately, now long past— when some desperately poor societies had to abandon old people to their fate, because there was just not enough margin for everyone to survive. Sometimes the elderly themselves would simply go off from their family and community to face their fate alone.

But is that where we are today?

Talk about “a duty to die” made me think back to my early childhood in the South, during the Great Depression of the 1930s. One day, I was told that an older lady— a relative of ours— was going to come and stay with us for a while, and I was told how to be polite and considerate towards her.

She was called “Aunt Nance Ann,” but I don’t know what her official name was or what her actual biological relationship to us was. Aunt Nance Ann had no home of her own. But she moved around from relative to relative, not spending enough time in any one home to be a real burden.

At that time, we didn’t have things like electricity or central heating or hot running water. But we had . . . (continue reading)

The Oldest Extant Video of a Pope

May 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

This video, recorded in 1896, shows Pope Leo XIII at about 85 years of age, seven years before his death. He reigned for 25 years! More info on this video here.

Gerald Celente Discusses His "Greatest Fear"

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

His really unpleasant predictions start kicking in around the 5:00 minute mark, but the whole message is dismal. I don’t know much about the host, so please don’t assume I’m endorsing him, because I’m not. But I do find Celente’s take on the economic crisis to be worth listening to.

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Michael O'Brien's Warning About Harry Potter and "Spiritual Nausea"

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

The “Harry Potter Wars” that raged for a few years awhile ago between Catholics who like and approve of the books and movies versus those who see them as dangerous and to be avoided (I myself am among the latter group) may likely flare up again with the release of a new book on the subject by the preeminent Catholic fiction author and artist Michael O’Brien (Father Elijah). I have known Michael personally for 15 years and can say without reservation that I admire and respect him tremendously and have learned a great deal from his gentle wisdom. (If you’ve never read any of his books, I’d suggest starting with his excellent Father Elijah and his new one [see below]).

Some years ago, Michael and I recorded our detailed discussion of the Harry Potter phenomenon and what we saw (and see) as the particular problems and dangers inherent in it. After its release on CD, I received a fair bit of reaction from people who strenuously objected to our negative take on HP, as well as others who shared our apprehensions. What struck me by these reactions was how strident, emotional and, at times, downright obstreperous some of Catholic supporters of Harry Potter could be. Not all of them reacted this way, to be sure, in fact most did not, but there were those whose snide and dismissive comments about those who see big problems with Harry Potter were eye-opening. (I hope we don’t see another outbreak of that unpleasantness in the comments of this post.)

Anyway, whether or not you have made up your mind about Harry Potter, pro or con, I do recommend spending some time reading and thinking about Michael’s eye-opening insights into this controversial issue. Here’s his introduction to a new book explaining why he believes that Harry Potter is not good, why it is pretty poison, and why Catholic parents should see that their children avoid it.

Preface to Harry Potter and the Paganization of Culture
by Michael D. O’Brien

[published May, 2010]

This book grew out of a series of articles which were written over a ten-year period for various Christian periodicals. At first, I had no interest in reading the Harry Potter novels, and indeed felt that I had already expended considerable time researching the field of fantasy literature when writing a book on the subject in the mid-1990’s. Moreover, the constant reviews of the Potter series had given me a general sense about the stories and the popular opinions. Oceans of spilled ink and electronic text seemed to cover the pros and cons well enough. No need for me to add my opinion.

However, the first volumes were often recommended to our family by well-meaning people, and seemed to be read in so many homes we knew, that I could hardly ignore the phenomenon. Then came letters and phone calls from friends wanting to know what I thought about the series, all describing their initial uneasiness about it. I replied that I really couldn’t offer an opinion without reading the books for myself, and besides, there was such a tsunami of neo-pagan fantasy novels, films, and e-games pouring into young people’s lives it would be a lifetime’s work just to keep abreast of it all, let alone thoughtfully discern each one. They agreed, but suggested that since this particular series was fast becoming the biggest best-selling publishing phenomenon of all time, it might be worth reading. They added that some writers whom they admired said that these books were seductive and potentially damaging; other opinion-shapers said they were harmless and got children reading, in fact were getting a whole generation of young people burying their noses in books!

Nevertheless, I still declined to read them. But then came a curious 24 hour period in which I spoke with three different people (in two telephone calls that came out of the blue and one chance meeting face-to-face). All three described a personal experience in very much the same words. I did not initiate the subject, nor did I prompt their thoughts on the matter. None of them knew each other. All were parents of healthy, happy families, and as far as I knew were emotionally and mentally well-balanced. These were people I respected for their mature stability as well as their gifts of wisdom and goodness. They had strong faith in Christ, were neither superstitious nor suspicious by nature, were not alarmists, and did not tend to hysteria or paranoia. They had provided a thriving cultural life for their families, books were treasured in each of their homes, and among their collections were many fantasy novels for the young. Yet, that day each of them said something like the following:

“I heard so much about the Harry Potter books, and very good people told me they’re great. So we bought one [or were given one] and I started to read it. At first I had no problems with it. Then something strange happened. In the middle of a chapter I was suddenly overwhelmed by nausea.”

“Nausea?” I asked.

“Yes, a kind of spiritual nausea. I didn’t see it coming because I wanted to like these books. The whole world’s in love with them, even a lot of good Christians, so I felt they were probably healthy enough to give to our kids. I just wanted to check it out first. I’m glad I did.”

Unknown to each other, these three spiritually awake parents were speaking about a “spiritual nausea.” All three encouraged me to read the books and write an assessment. Was it a coincidence, or was it one of those moments when the Holy Spirit was speaking, sending a nudge in triplicate?

Even so, I hesitated taking part in any kind of public response to the series. I simply had no time or energy for it. Yet I had learned to pay attention to such “coincidences,” and so took it to our Lord in prayer.

I prayed and listened and prayed—and didn’t like what I was “hearing.”

So I prayed more and listened more, hoping to hear something else, but to no avail. . . . (continue reading)

Envoy Institute Summer Apologetics Camp

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

Come enjoy deepening your faith and learning how to better defend it from some of America’s leading Catholic apologists, while having a blast in the great outdoors in a setting that’s close to heaven: nestled in the Pisgah National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. (Go to to check out our gorgeous conference site. Boys and girls will sleep in separate camps, but will be together during the day.)

Our first-ever Envoy Institute Summer Apologetics Camp is open to students ages 16-19 and will be held August 15-21. Sessions will be led by Dr. Ben Wiker, Jim Burnham, Ken Hensley, Dr. Paul Thigpen, and your host Patrick Madrid, Director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College. Other speakers will be finalized over the summer, and all reading materials, etc. will be supplied. And in between sessions you’ll have ample opportunities to enjoy fun activities like whitewater rafting, rope climbing, hiking, or just reading in the shade of a tree.

"Treasures Holy and Mystical"

May 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

A new book by our Catholic brother blogger Fr. Philip Neri Powell, O.P. has just hit the market and, judging from the impressive things he’s written on his blog, I have no doubt this book will be a welcome addition to my library of spiritually works.

Check it out, and help the good Padre help the Dominican Order by buying a copy or two. Says he: “All the royalties from sales go to support the preaching mission of the Order. . .and not to support my Nutella habit!”

Why Young Catholics Are Leaving the Church

May 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

Catholic Radio (finally) arrives in Washington, D.C., in a big way

May 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

The EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network announced some big news this morning:
W-M-E-T 1160 AM is now on the air… serving our nation’s capital — Washington DC!

Congratulations to Len Oswald, Toya Hall, Doug Pearson and all involved with Guadalupe Radio to help make this happen!

Washington DC is the number 9 ranked radio market in the country, and with a powerful 50,000 watts, the station will be available to an estimated 5 million people throughout the DC metro.

This is a great victory for Our Lord and His Church…. A big, big welcome to all our new listeners now hearing EWTN Radio on Guadalupe Radio in Washington, DC — WMET 1160 AM!

This is big news. The station’s 50,000 watts daytime signal— a blowtorch — will completely blanket all of DC, and will extend into large parts of the surrounding states of Maryland, Virgina, and Pennsylvania. This is muy good news, amigos. Muy, muy good.

It will be very interesting to see how this new influx of robust, orthodox, aredently pro-life Catholic voices (Fr. Corapi, Scott Hahn, Catholic Answers Live, etc.) will be received by the locals, especially by those CINO types who infest the corridors of power in that town. (Take note, Nancy Pelosi!)

On a personal note, I’m particularly pleased by this new station going live today because my own EWTN radio show, the “Open Line” broadcast (Thursdays from 3-5 p.m. ET) will have its debut today, the same day the station debuts its new format of 24/7 Catholic programming. Hoo ha.

And the secular media has picked up on this story.

Love Will Keep Us Alive

May 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

I’m sure the Eagles didn’t have any theological or eschatological thoughts in mind when they wrote this beaut of a song, but, even so, it seems to me that it inadvertently offers a flash, here and there, of a certain theological truth we Catholics should remind ourselves about frequently, especially as we move through difficult times in which “the world is changing, right before [our] eyes.”

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