Congrats to Notre Dame Law professor Amy Coney Barrett, an accomplished academic, attorney, mother of seven, and devout Catholic who was nominated by President Donald Trump to be a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge and received confirmation Tuesday from the Senate in a 55-43 vote.
Professor Barrett’s confirmation hearing was infected by controversy, as she was interrogated by prominent Democrats for her Catholic faith and beliefs, to the point that her attackers have been characterized as expressing “[anti]Catholic bigotry” during the hearings. The presidents of the University of Notre Dame and Princeton University have criticized how a nominee’s religious beliefs were used against her during her hearing.
U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein attacked the validity of Professor Barrett’s nomination on the basis of Professor Barrett’s Catholic faith, explaining: “When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
The Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, wrote an open letter responding to the attacks against Professor Barrett’s faith as a means to disqualify her from serving as a federal judge. “It is chilling to hear from a United States senator that this might now disqualify someone from service as a federal judge. I ask you and your colleagues to respect those in whom ‘dogma lives loudly’ which is a condition we call faith,” he wrote. “For the attempt to live such faith while one upholds the law should command respect, not evoke concern.”
Here’s a great short film, titled “I Needed a Supernatural God,” about the spiritual journey of Kristene Di Marco, Christian praise and worship leader and musician. Gives a deeply personal and spiritually edifying portrait.
Here’s a rare and touching video of First Lady Melania Trump being moved to tears during the singing of the Christian hymn “How Great Thou Art” at a prayer service.
In a major victory for religious liberty, the Trump administration issued new regulations allowing more employers to opt out of providing contraception coverage that the Obama administration imposed on businesses and non-profits through the Affordable Care Act.
According to Christianity Today the Trump administration’s new “regulations exempt employers who object to treatments like birth control pills, emergency contraception, and sterilization due to ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ or ‘moral convictions.'”
“The new rule is a victory for common sense,” said attorney Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with the Becket law firm, which represents the Little Sisters of the Poor. “The previous administration pursued a needless and divisive culture war. . . It should be easy for the courts to finalize this issue now that the government admits it broke the law.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor came to symbolize the opposition to the Obama administration’s mandate that would coerce the Sisters’ nursing homes — and similar Christian non-profits, hospitals, and businesses — to finance procedures that violate deeply cherished religious beliefs.
While Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case in 2014 that allowed religious exemption for certain private companies, according to Christianity Today “Christian colleges, charities, and non-profits have been battling the mandate in court ever since, and last year, the Supreme Court sent their cases back for more review.”
The rules of the Trump administration’s new policy are said to go into effect immediately once on display at the Federal Registrar’s office.
It has struck me as fascinating how certain mystics have received incredible artistic gifts in addition to the mystical graces that God has granted them. Two contemporary examples of this are Fr. Zlatko Sudac, the Croatian stigmatic priest, and Akiane Kramarik, visionary, child prodigy, and artist. In this post I concentrate on Fr. Sudac.
Fr. Sudac received the stigmata wounds in May 1999, a year after being ordained a priest, when the first wound appeared on his forehead in the shape of a cross. One year later bleeding wounds appeared on his wrists, feet, and side. In addition to being known worldwide as a stigmatic priest and a charismatic preacher, what is less known is that Fr. Sudac is an artist and a sculptor who has created beautiful Christian art with striking detail.
Here are two works that Fr. Sudac has painted of Our Lady, to whom he has a strong devotion.
And finally here is an interesting video that captures some of Fr. Sudac’s work as a sculptor creating sacred art.
An inspired song from Kristene DiMarco, “Jesus, Your Love.”
Dear children, Today I am calling you to be people of prayer. Pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and a meeting with the Most High. He will transform your hearts and you will become people of love and peace. Do not forget, little children, that Satan is strong and wants to draw you away from prayer. You, do not forget that prayer is the secret key of meeting with God. That is why I am with you to lead you. Do not give up on prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call.
– Message of Our Lady of Medjugorje, August 25, 2017