Through the Catholic centuries, as veneration of Our Lady has grown, many titles have been added to Marian litanies and devotions. The hurricane that ravaged the eastern seaboard of the United States at the end of October 2012 may have given us another one: Our Lady of the Storm.
The news media covered every imaginable aspect of Hurricane Sandy, showing us houses lifted off foundations, roller coasters blown into the ocean, boardwalks snapped like matchsticks, entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble. The most horrific images were of Breezy Point, a neighborhood in Queens where more than 100 homes burned to the ground.
Firefighters were unable to reach the homes, due to the flood waters, and had to watch helplessly while the winds whipped the flames into a hellish firestorm. In the aftermath, the area was literally flattened, but one thing stood out.
At the corner of Oceanside Avenue and Gotham Walk, amid the devastation, a statue of Our Lady remained upright and intact. It withstood the winds and water and flames and falling debris. It was now conspicuous as the one recognizable feature in a field of smoldering destruction. (See: “Amid the Ashes, a Statue of Mary Stands as a Symbol of Survival”.)
An Associated Press photographer, a non-Catholic and admittedly not religious, happened upon the statue in the aftermath of the fire. He was fascinated by the image and took the photo which has become the most memorable and viewed photo of the storm. As of this writing, more than 432,000 news reports and commentaries of what is being called the Breezy Point Madonna have appeared on the Internet.
The statue was set up in the garden of the McNulty home many years ago. Now, it has become a symbol of faith and hope — a reminder that no matter what we may suffer in this world, Our Lady will never abandon us. The statue has attracted many people, some of whom offer a prayer; others leave candles, flowers, written requests or notes of thanksgiving.
The local pastor of St. Thomas More Church, Monsignor Michael J. Curran, visited the site and had this to say: “It will be a symbol of the suffering, but also of our rise from the ashes. It will be a symbol of what we've been through but also of our resurrection. It will be a reminder that for all the property we lost, God never left.”
We can only pray that our Church leaders will show as much fidelity to Our Lady as She shows toward us, as we still await the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart that Our Lady of Fatima requested.
Reparations Needed for Latest
Dishonor to Our Lady
Meanwhile, as the Madonna of Breezy Point gave courage and hope to so many, Simon and Schuster chose early November to release a blasphemous attack on Christianity called “The Testament of Mary.” This novella, written by Irish ex-Catholic Colm Tolbin, is a fictional account of the contempt the mother of Christ is imagined to have felt toward the self-proclaimed followers of Jesus.
Brent Bozell offers an insightful critical commentary on this outrage. (See: “The Malicious Mangling of the Virgin Mary”.) The New York Times, however, gave an approving review. The gist of Tolbin's attack on the Faith is that the apostles hijacked the Crucifixion and invented the Gospels for their own self-aggrandizement.
One wonders if the New York Times would have been so laudatory of a book that attacked Islam and portrayed Mohammed's followers as fools and scoundrels. But, as always, it is open season on Catholicism and, regrettably, on Our Lady, whom the enemies of the Church want to dishonor. Now is the time to make reparations for these insults to Our Lady, especially by making the First Saturday devotions. (See: “First Saturday Communion of Reparation Checklist”.)
We must work and pray ever more fervently that the Holy Father and the bishops will heed the requests of Our Lady of Fatima. (See: Petition to Our Holy Father — The Consecration of Russia and Petition to Our Holy Father — The Release of the full Third Secret.)
We must also keep informed. Read the recent “Fatima Perspective” articles listed below.
Laughing Off the Election
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, with what can charitably be described as cheerful non-chalance, weighed in on the disaster of the 2012 elections in Catholic New York, the official publication of the Archdiocese of New York, of which he is the Ordinary.
He says he is writing about it because people ask him about it, after they inquire about the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The clear implication is that he is commenting, not on his own initiative, but in response to those worry-warts who nag him about it. His overall assessment of the election is, in His Eminence's expression: “You win some, you lose some.” (See: “Looking Back at Election Day” and “Another Election in Flatland”.)
Unfortunately, this is the kind of superficial banality that we are now used to hearing from this media-anointed leader of the Catholic Church in the U.S. He reminds us — almost chides us — to remember that Our Lord said His kingdom is not of this world. So, it would seem, those of us upset about the re-election of the anti-Catholic, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage Barack Obama are getting too invested in this world. If only we had Cardinal Dolan's superior detachment, we could put things in their proper perspective and imitate his perpetual smile and ever-ready belly laugh.
The Cardinal does lament certain things, such as the California electorate voting in favor of the death penalty, which he characterizes as “lethal and unjust.” The Cardinal may be forgiven for not being much of a writer, but he should at least be attentive to what he is saying. Forget the embarrassing redundancy of calling the death penalty “lethal”; let's concentrate on his labeling it as “unjust”. Apparently, the Cardinal either is unfamiliar with Church teaching on the matter, or he dissents from the magisterium on the morality of capital punishment. (See: “The Fifth Commandment”.)
Cardinal Dolan mixes it up with a number of other topics, such as: immigration, homosexual marriage, euthanasia, religious freedom, etc. This gives the impression that he is a “big picture” man, not a one-issue guy, that issue being abortion/contraception. When at last he brings himself, rather reluctantly, to address the elephant in the room, he offers us this unbelievable appraisal:
“It gets touchy when we try to analyze the presidential election with the lens of faith. Some assume that the re-election of the president was a setback for people of faith. That may be an exaggeration.”
I suppose the Cardinal and Obama may have gotten rather chummy rubbing elbows and breaking bread at the Al Smith Dinner (see: “His Eminence Laughs It Up”), but if he doesn't see the re-election of Obama as a “setback for people of faith,” what does he see?
The Cardinal's appraisal of the election is as sad, if not more so, than the election itself. If Cardinal Dolan represents Catholic leadership in the United States, as Barack Obama represents the anti-Catholic power of government and media, then the faithful will be pretty much on their own as far as help from the institutional Church is concerned. (See: “Of Penance and Pork Chops”.)
Our only help at this time is symbolized by that statue that withstood the flames and floods and fierce winds at Breezy Point. Our Lady of the Storm, Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Latest Fatima Perspectives
Another Election in Flatland — Another four years, another Presidential election in which Americans were presented with the choice between a liberal called a Republican and a more liberal liberal called a Democrat.
Putin's “Treason” Law Goes Into Effect — A recent story by Associated Press reported that the “conversion of Russia” is proceeding apace with the final passage into law of a bill which, as AP reports, expands the definition of “treason” against the Russian state “so broadly that critics say it could be used to call anyone who bucks the government a traitor.”
Of Penance and Pork Chops — As of this writing, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting in Baltimore to consider whether it might be a good idea to reinstate meatless Fridays. Cardinal Timothy Dolan is the man of the hour, beating the drum for penance, exhorting the bishops to live the Faith more deeply so they may be qualified to lead the laity to greater piety. All this is occurring in the wake of a presidential election that underscored the irrelevance of the bishops — and the Catholic Faith — as a determining factor in how most Catholics vote — and presumably live.
Rome Says SSPX “Reintegration” Still on the Table — In the midst of an apocalyptic collapse of the Faith in what was once Christendom, the Vatican continues to dicker with the Society of Saint Pius X about its “reconciliation... with the See of Peter.” Irony of ironies, while vast regions of the Catholic world no longer pay any heed to papal teaching deemed inconveniently restrictive of one's preferred “lifestyle,” the clergy and faithful of SSPX, who actually practice what the Popes preach, are deemed to be in need of “reconciliation” with Peter.
His Eminence Laughs It Up — Cardinal Dolan has had his fun with Barack Obama at the Al Smith Dinner, where he shared a few yuks with the proponent of government-subsidized “partial birth” abortion whom he honored by sitting next to him at the dinner. During an interview in the National Catholic Reporter, Dolan dared to justify this outrage by likening it to the Incarnation of Our Lord.
Democracy Goes Poof in “Converted” Russia: Radio Free Europe Banned Once Again — It is the supposed emergence of democracy in Russia that Fatima revisionists have been attempting to pass off as Russia's “conversion” in place of the real thing called for by Our Lady of Fatima — the idea of actually returning to the one true Church established by Christ to make disciples of all nations. Yet, an article at Investors.com reports that “this is no time to pretend Russia is free. Radio Free Europe's Radio Liberty is shutting down its Russian broadcasts after six decades. The official excuse ... is a new law endorsed by Putin barring foreign media from the AM dial.”
Breakthrough for Fatima — A remarkable article published at Zenit.org, that must be considered a minor breakthrough for the cause of Our Lady of Fatima, remarks the anniversary of Emperor Constantine's victory at the Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312, which the Emperor attributed to the miraculous intervention of God revealed to man in the person of Christ. Thus began his conversion and, with it, the conversion of the Western world.
Celebrating a Catastrophe — Traditional Catholics should be long past simply defending their position against the architects of destruction. The situation calls for an all-out offensive against the catastrophic Second Vatican Council...
October 13, 1962: The Day It All Went Wrong — During the opening days of the Second Vatican Council, the conservative pro-Prefect of the soon-to-be-abolished Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani, was “‘pleading for the bishops to consider the texts the curia has spent three years preparing [when] suddenly his microphone was shut off. He kept speaking, but no one could hear a word. Then, puzzled and flustered, he stopped speaking, in confusion. And the assembled fathers began to laugh, and then to cheer...' This was on day three.”
Be Still and Know That l Am God — Pascal once said most of the troubles in the world arise from the fact that few men are capable of sitting quietly in their own rooms. Of course, one might counter this observation by noting that Pascal himself failed to follow its counsel and spent much of the ebbing energies of his brief life in public argument with the Jesuits. But the truth of a principle should never be measured by the ability of its enunciator to adhere to it.
A Council Called for No Reason — In a recently penned preface to a collection of his writings as Father Ratzinger concerning Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI makes this startling admission about the calling of the Council: “The previous Councils had almost always been convoked for a precise question to which they were to provide an answer. This time there was no specific problem to resolve.” Why, then, did Pope John summon a Council?
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