It takes a holiday village

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Most Christmas decorations didn’t get out of storage this year and what went up was simple and nice and enough. But one little string of lights I couldn’t get to turned out to be more illuminating that I could have imagined.

For years while my sons were growing up, we collected heritage Christmas villages and their assorted delightful trimmings and townfolk and had great fun setting it all up on blankets of puffy ‘snow’ on different table tops in the house each year.  We lit each building by connected strings of lights so that each home, church, station, shop, bakery, pub, tavern, business or townhouse was lit from inside and the windows glowed and the overall effect was just wonderful.

Over the years the project grew more modest by necessity since they were away studying and living elsewhere, but some of the village has continued to go up each year. This year, I almost… click here to read whole article and make comments



What Child Is This?

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That’s the name of a Christmas hymn. But like so many others this year, hymns I’ve heard all my life and I know by rote, it’s striking me as profound.

With the birth of this child, history was changed.

Despite the tension and violence that shook the Holy Land this year, Christians from around the world flocked to Manger Square in Bethlehem on Monday to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the ancient West Bank town where he was born.

Others traveled to Vatican City, where Pope Benedict XVI had lit a Christmas peace candle set on the windowsill of his private studio. Pilgrims, tourists and Romans gathered below in St. Peter’s Square for the inauguration Monday evening of a Nativity scene and cheered when the flame was lit…

In his homily, Benedict cited the Gospel account of Mary and Joseph finding no room at an… click here to read whole article and make comments



End of the World

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Being a pop culture, it’s no suprise that everyone seemed to get on the bandwagon that the Mayan calendar pointed to December 21st, 2012 as the end of our time. It was likely just the end of their space on that wheel. And they thought they’d get around to continuing it later, since they had plenty of time.

The topic of time has people riveted whenever these prophecies come around again. But the ‘again’ is a reminder that they’re never right. After all, Jesus Christ said no one knows the day or the hour, not even him.

Vladimir Putin said he knows.

“I know when the end of the world will come,” Putin said with his usual confidence during a press conference on Thursday. “When?” asked a nervous journalist. “In about 4.5bn years,” he replied. Sighs of relief were breathed across Russia.

…Putin urged a scientific approach. Calculating… click here to read whole article and make comments



Obamacare HHS mandate gets judicial correction

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It was always wrong. But because it was issued by executive fiat, its violation of law had to go through the process of being tried, and there are many lawsuits standing against it.

This one scored a victory.

Today, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. handed Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College a major victory in their challenges to the HHS mandate.  Last summer, two lower courts had dismissed the Colleges’ cases as premature.  Today, the appellate court reinstated those cases, and ordered the Obama Administration to report back every 60 days—starting in mid-February—until the Administration makes good on its promise to issue a new rule that protects the Colleges’ religious freedom.

This is major.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius cannot enforce the Obamacare contraception mandate as it is written, but must follow through on a promise to rewrite the rule to accommodate… click here to read whole article and make comments



Judge Robert Bork, R.I.P

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May the tributes this great jurist deserves establish his legacy, and may the caricatures fade away.

On the day of his passing, I’m not giving any space or time to the story of the calculated politics of personal destruction and character assassination that destroyed his nomination to the Supreme Court. Historians will give account of that, along with the assassins.

All these years, I continued to slip and almost refer to him as Justice Bork when speaking of him or calling him to arrange an interview. He always deserved that position.

As soon as news broke that he had passed away, commentaries from those who knew him and his record started to emerge. Like this one at First Things.

Bork was a frequent contributor to these pages, never more famously than in “The End of Democracy: Our Judicial Oligarchy,” the lead essay of this magazine’s most famous symposium.

click here to read whole article and make comments



In the aftermath of horror

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Here we are again. Collectively crying and praying and consoling and grieving after another massacre, and this one in a school with innocent little children brutally slaughtered. When will this end? How can we change things enough to bring this to an end? Or can we?

We couldn’t even keep the post-9/11 goodwill going, which brought the people of this nation to our knees and back to church and made politicians drop their partisan bickering because we’re all Americans and we had just been attacked like never before. After the Tucson shootings politicians and media elites, worried about increasingly heated rhetoric, called for greater civility in the way we talk with and deal with each other, and that lasted a few days. We’ve suffered through Columbine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, the Amish community attack for crying out loud, the Colorado movie theater massacre followed by the Wisconsin church shootings, last week’s shopping mall shooting… click here to read whole article and make comments



Human Rights Day

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Did you know that December 10th is International Human Rights Day?

What’s that?

The United Nations’ (UN) Human Rights Day is annually observed December 10 to mark the anniversary of the presentation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The one continually being relativized and corrupted by agencies within the UN, as they export abortion and contraception across the globe, and under the cause of ‘reproductive rights’ push the sexualization of young girls. Like this USAid effort.

The US Agency for International Development announced on World Contraception Day a partnership with international donors to distribute Jadelle, a second-generation of Norplant, to poor women in developing countries. The contraceptive is not distributed for use in more affluent countries.

Jadelle was developed by the Population Council, a group known for its eugenics roots. “Eugenic goals are most likely to be achieved under another name than eugenics,”… click here to read whole article and make comments



Babies survive abortion, left to die

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Sounds terrible, doesn't it? Well, it is. And we’re supposed to stop talking about abortion, as a matter of political expediency.

While this is going on.

Figures from Statistics Canada, a federal government agency, show 491 babies were born alive following botched abortions during the period from 2000-2009 and left to die afterwards.

This is precisely what got nurse Jill Stanek involved in pro-life work.

Last year alone, of the 16 babies that Christ Hospital states were aborted, I am aware of four who were born alive. Each of these babies – two boys and two girls – lived between 1-1/2 and 3 hours. At Christ Hospital one of these babies once lived for almost an entire eight-hour shift. At least two of the second-trimester babies who were aborted last year at Christ Hospital were completely healthy.

One night, a nursing co-worker was taking… click here to read whole article and make comments



The royal baby

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The announcement that Prince William and Princess Kate have conceived a child, an heir to the throne, has been most providential.

It rivets global media attention, easily fixated on the cult of celebrity anyway, on two of the world’s most popular young stars because not only are they going to have a baby, but because (as any pregnancy means) they have one now.

“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby,” the announcement said. “The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry and members of both families are delighted with the news.”

There’s such simple clarity in the jubilation over this new life present in the royal family, new and growing and building anticipation. Is the baby a boy or girl? What will be his or her… click here to read whole article and make comments



American culture and politics going forward

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The president made that word his campaign slogan followed by a period. Now it should be followed by a question mark.

So in line with the last post, the ruminations continue. Some are worth lining up and considering, especially for the people behind the candidates and especially the causes that did not prevail. There’s great benefit in studying what works and what doesn’t in reaching people and influencing their decisions. Which doesn’t mean relativizing the message. It means getting better at persuading people of it.

Top pro-life advocates are calling on the Republican Party to maintain its pro-life stance despite calls from some to back off from the position in the wake of the presidential election.

“A real soldier doesn’t stay on the defensive,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which works to promote pro-life candidates and policies. “You go out and state your… click here to read whole article and make comments


Sheila Reports promises a perspective here that you may not be getting in mainstream media and the politically charged blogosphere. Don’t expect political correctness, because politics doesn’t determine what’s correct. This space is grounded in the natural law and moral order. And it expects civility, goodwill and an openness to truth and reason.

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