Seven or more hours of daily screen time may be changing your kid’s brain

Early results of a cognitive development study shows that excessive daily screen time might be causing premature thinning of the brain’s cortex.

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(Credit: Quintanilla/iStockphoto)

Technology, like anything else, must be used in moderation for kids, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study suggests that excessive screen time is changing the physical structure of children’s brains.

The study is still in the preliminary stages: NIH just completed enrollment, and for the next 10 years, scientists will track more than 11,000 children aged nine to 10 years old. However, scientists have already drafted a few hypotheses. Brain scans of 4,500 children found that those participating in more than seven hours of daily screen time showed “premature thinning of the brain cortex.”

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Source: Seven or more hours of daily screen time may be changing your kid’s brain | The Download Blog – CNET Download.com

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With Mary, I have the strength to forgive

When I turn the matter over to Mary, I’m implicitly asking her to shelter my enemy as well as me, even if I’m too weak to ask for protection for my enemy explicitly. I can trust that Mary will make the prayer I was too worried or spiteful to offer, and thus I’ve found a way to minimally consent to that prayer. By putting myself under her protection, I’ve asked her to strengthen my heart, so that I can eventually echo her prayer with an undivided heart.

But sometimes, even that circuitous route to grace is too difficult to walk… Maybe I can’t even honestly ask Mary to shelter me because I’m reluctant to accept her loving help, or am too mired in self-pity to feel worthy of her attentions, or because I’m so furious with my antagonist that I’d rather refuse help than receive healing alongside him. In those times, I have to find an even easier way to make a tottering approach to God.

When I can’t honestly ask Mary to guide us both, I may be able to step back and say that I would like to be able to honestly ask Mary to guide us both, even if it’s impossible for me to say at present. Well, if God grants that prayer, I will be able to return honestly and without reservations to implore Mary to guide us both, and then, when he grants that one, I can rely on Mary to undo the original knot.

by Leah Libresco

Taken from Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic prayers that even I can offer, Ave Maria Press AVE Notre Dame, Indiana, 2015

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Source: With Mary, I have the strength to forgive

Catholic Heroes … Servant Of God Walter Ciszek

Walter Ciszek

Unless people are faced with no choice in hardship, they will never know just how much pain and suffering they are able to endure, especially with the help of God’s grace. The concentration camps of World War II, the flotillas of Vietnamese boat people escaping a repressive regime, and the horrors of fighting in armed combat bring out the hero in a person.
Fr. Walter Ciszek persevered through the frigid winters of Siberia wearing little more than rags, survived on starvation rations, and withstood countless brutal interrogations. Enduring such things is amazing enough, but loving those who perpetrated such treatments is most heroic.

Read more about this courageous priest and one of my favorite Saints here:

Source: Catholic Heroes … Servant Of God Walter Ciszek | The Wanderer Newspaper

Robert Spaemann, the Last Great Catholic Theologian – Settimo Cielo

He was the philosopher closest to Benedict XVI, his friend and peer. He died at the age of 91 on December 10, in the light of the season of Advent.

In a few lines further below a profile of him is sketched by one of his most faithful disciples, Sergio Belardinelli, a professor of the sociology of cultural processes at the University of Bologna and the scholarly coordinator of the “Cultural Project” of the Italian episcopal conference during the years of Cardinal Camillo Ruini’s presidency.

But it must be noted that Spaemann was both a philosopher and a churchman, a Catholic through and through, very severe with the tendencies of the current pontificate, especially after the publication of “Amoris Laetitia.”

Continue reading here:

Source: Robert Spaemann, the Last Great Catholic Theologian – Settimo Cielo – Blog – L’Espresso

The Lord and his Mother filled this soul with immense graces

Mr. Joly was an elderly man, the last of the royal ministers of the martyr king Louis XVI (the French king killed during the French Revolution). Attached to the sect of the so-called philosophers of the 18th century, he had practiced no religion since his youth. Although recently blind and sick—and over 80 years old——his intellectual faculties had not diminished at all. He still worked as a legal consultant for many households whose interests he governed.

The man’s parish priest had called on him a dozen times, but each time had been turned away. On Monday, December 12th, the priest returned, and this time insisted on being let in. After a few minutes of merely polite conversation, Mr. Joly suddenly told the priest:

“Father, would you be so kind as to give me your blessing?” Then he added: “Your visit does me much good, Father! I cannot see you, but I feel your presence. Since you came to me, I have been experiencing a peace, a calmness, an inner joy that I have never known.”

The priest began to pray ardently to the Virgin Mary. Grace was making its way into the man’s heart, so he didn’t want to leave without hearing Mr. Joly’s confession. The Lord and his Mother filled this soul with immense graces—the life of the sick man was prolonged by many years, and afterwards all the days of his life were dedicated to the faith, to the love of God and to submission to his divine Will.

The Marie de Nazareth Team

Source: Collection of Marian Stories

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Source: The Lord and his Mother filled this soul with immense graces

Trump signs law regarding so-called “Genocide of Christians” in the Middle East

ASIA/MIDDLE EAST –
Washington (Agenzia Fides) – Yesterday the American President Donald Trump, signed the Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018. The law, which defines as Genocide crimes perpetrated in recent years by Jihadists on Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, commits the US government to supplying aid to victims of violence and pursuing those responsible for such crimes.
Among those present for the ceremony for the signing by the US President, Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Erbil Bashar Warda, Carl Anderson supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, US Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich and Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Military Ordinary of the United States of America.
The law increases US financial assistance for humanitarian projects, aimed at stabilising and rebuilding in favour of religious minorities in Iraq and in Syria. It ensures that U.S. aid may come through federal government or other entities, including faith-based groups.
It also enables the State Department, in collaboration with other federal agencies, to conduct criminal investigations and apprehend individuals identified as alleged ISIS members, and to identify warning signs of genocide and threats of persecution.
Aid may also come through channels and bodies that refer directly to the federal government or also through the mediation of other bodies including those of ecclesial and religious nature.
Moreover the act allows the US State Department to conduct penal investigations and aprehend individuals identified as presumed members of groups of Jihadist matrix, to punish or prevent violent actions towards religious minorities. President Trump himself, after signing the new law, confirmed US commitment to carry out procedures which commit US apparatus to pursuing those responsible for the crimes.
The US House of Representatives, 27 September last, unanimously approved the HR 390 bill. Previously unanimous support had also come from the US Senate.
The signing of the law by President Trump is the result of lobbying already under the precedent Administration by US organisations such as the Knights of Columbus, In Defense of Christians, Family Research Council, Commission for Ethics and Religious Freedom of the Southern Baptist Convention, Initiative Wilberforce of the 21st century, Centre for Religious Freedom Centre – Hudson Institute. On the occasion of the signing, the US media re-proposed words related in the past to US representative Chris Smith, by the Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda, “Christians in Iraq are still on the edge of extinction, and the HR 390 is vital for our survival. Its implementation must be complete and swift, otherwise the help it brings will come too late for us”.

USCIRF, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal independent and bipartisan institute of Congress, praised President Trump for signing the bill. “In this bill we recognise the message that those responsible for these crimes, including genocide, will not escape justice “, said Kristina Arriaga USCIRF vice president,.
The legislative move, consenting groups motivated by religious beliefs to receive financial help on the part of the United States, partly modifies the previous policy of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development, which for distribution used mainly United Nations channels – considered “neutral” from the religious point of view.
On 25 October 2017, US Vice President Mike Pence had preannounced this change in procedures used by US policy concerning funding for humanitarian emergencies (see Fides 27/11/2017). “We will no longer rely only on the United Nations organisation to assist persecuted Christians and minority communities” Pence said on occasion of the Christians in the Middle East Benefit Dinner, organised in Washington by the American organisation In Defense of Christians. The US vice President in that context, preannounced that US federal agencies would work “side by side with faith groups and private organisations to help people persecuted for their faith “.
Earlier Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako said in an interview “in recent years in the Middle East Christians have suffered because of injustices, violence and terrorism. But this happened also to their Muslim Iraqi brothers and sisters, and those of other religious beliefs. We must not separate Christians from the others because this only feeds a sectarian mentality”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 12/12/2018).

NATIVITY SCENE ERECTED IN CENTRAL PARK – Catholic League

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the legality of nativity scenes on public property:

Can religious symbols be displayed on public property? Yes, but it is a qualified yes.

Today, the Catholic League erected a life-size nativity scene in Central Park, on a piece of public property in front of the Plaza Hotel, between 58th and 59th Street on 5th Avenue. We received a permit from the New York City Parks Department, as we have for decades. Sitting nearby is the world’s largest menorah, which is also a religious symbol.

There are no Santa Clauses, reindeers, Jack Frosts, or any other secular symbols surrounding our religious display. We don’t need to have them. Why? Because Central Park is a public forum, a place that is open to all ideas, concerts, artistic exhibitions, and the like. So the government cannot stop us from erecting our crèche.

So why do some say that religious symbols cannot be displayed on public property unless they are accompanied by secular symbols? They would not be correct if they were referring to a public forum, but they would be correct if they were referring to a swatch of public land near a municipal building, such as city hall.

The difference there is that it could be argued that the proximity of the religious symbols near a municipal entity might be interpreted as government sanction of religion. That argument cannot reasonably be made if the land is a public forum. Practicing Christians, Jews, and others, need to understand the difference so as to avoid unnecessary problems.

Regrettably, there are still instances where the government is acting irresponsibly, such as the denial of a nativity scene at the Bandstand in Rehoboth: officials in this Delaware community should be challenged in court—the Bandstand is a public forum.

Another controversy has arisen this year in Springfield, Illinois when the Satanic Temple received permission to erect a Satanic display next to a nativity scene and a menorah in the Capitol rotunda. This mean-spirited “competition”—designed to neuter the religious displays—borders on hate speech and could be challenged on such grounds. Government officials said they had to honor the request. Really? Would they allow the display of a huge swastika to be placed next to a menorah?

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said several years ago that the high court has failed the public by not making clear what is permissible under the Constitution when it comes to religious expression. He was right then, and nothing has happened subsequently to invalidate his observation.

We hope that New Yorkers, and those visiting New York City this Christmas season, will stop by and see the Catholic League’s nativity scene in Central Park. It will be up through the New Year.

Source: NATIVITY SCENE ERECTED IN CENTRAL PARK – Catholic League