‘Faith can move mountains’: Come join the EWTN Family Celebration in Denver

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Families are invited to come and grow in faith as a family at the 2019 EWTN Family Celebration, coming to Denver Sept. 21.

From inspirational talks by EWTN TV and radio hosts to activities for the little ones in the family, this year’s celebration promises to be full of excitement and spiritual growth.

The celebration will be held at the University of Denver’s Magness Arena Saturday, Sept. 21 at no cost. Doors open at 8 a.m., and the event will conclude with Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Jorge Rodriguez.

The theme of the event is “Faith can move mountains,” and headline speakers include Father Mitch Pacwa and Johnnette Benkovic.

Father Mitch Pacwa is the host of “EWTN Live” and “Scripture and Tradition.” Father Pacwa began hosting series for EWTN back in 1984. He was chosen by EWTN founder Mother Angelica to teach and share the Gospel during his appearance as a guest on “Mother Angelica Live” that same year. In the year 2000, he established Ignatius Productions, a Catholic media production apostolate, whose mission is to teach people the Sacred Scriptures, educate Catholics about their faith and promote unity and understanding within the Mystical Body of Christ. In addition to his work at EWTN, Father Pacwa also leads pilgrimages to and writes books about the Holy Land, and travels around the country to give retreats.

Johnnette Benkovic, host of EWTN’S radio and television show “Women of Grace,” will be sharing her testimony and presenting spiritual topics. In addition to her own television and radio shows, she is also a popular conference speaker, retreat master, and seminar presenter. She has written several books on topics including prayer and spirituality, authentic femininity, conversion and the dangers of new age movements.

Other presenters that will be part of this event will include Dr. Davis Anders, host of “Called Communion”; Fathers Agustino Torres, Angelus Montgomery, and Innocent Montgomery, hosts of “Icons”; as well as the Chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw, among others.

The host of the Family Celebration will be President of EWTN Doug Keck, who is well-known as host of “EWTN Bookmark” and many of the Global Catholic Network’s live events.

This event is for the whole family. Children will get to see and talk to some of their favorite characters from EWTN’s Kids Faith Factory and learn more about the faith in an interactive learning environment at the EWTN Kids Booth.

In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to spend time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and go to confession during the family celebration.

For more information about the event, or to register your family, visit ewtn.com/familycelebration or call 1-800-447-EWTN (3986).

COMING UP: A last chance for Australian justice

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My late parents loved Cardinal George Pell, whom they knew for decades. So I found it a happy coincidence that, on November 12 (which would have been my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary), a two-judge panel of Australia’s High Court referred to the entire Court the cardinal’s request for “special leave” to appeal his incomprehensible conviction on charges of “historic sexual abuse,” and the even-more-incomprehensible denial of his appeal against that manifestly unsafe verdict.

Thus in 2020 the highest judicial authority in Australia will review the Pell case, which gives the High Court the opportunity to reverse a gross injustice and acquit the cardinal of a hideous crime: a “crime” that Pell insists never happened; a “crime” for which not a shred of corroborating evidence has yet been produced; a “crime” that simply could not have happened in the circumstances and under the conditions it was alleged to have been committed.

Since Cardinal Pell’s original appeal was denied in August by two of three judges on an appellate panel in the State of Victoria, the majority decision to uphold Pell’s conviction has come under withering criticism for relying primarily on the credibility of the alleged victim. As the judge who voted to sustain the cardinal’s appeal pointed out (in a dissent that one distinguished Australian attorney described as the most important legal document in that country’s history), witness credibility – a thoroughly subjective judgment-call – is a very shaky standard by which to find someone guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” It has also been noted by fair-minded people that the dissenting judge, Mark Weinberg, is the most respected criminal jurist in Australia, while his two colleagues on the appellate panel had little or no criminal law experience. Weinberg’s lengthy and devastating critique of his two colleagues’ shallow arguments seemed intended to signal the High Court that something was seriously awry here and that the reputation of Australian justice – as well as the fate of an innocent man – was at stake.

Other recent straws in the wind Down Under have given hope to the cardinal’s supporters that justice may yet be done in his case.

Andrew Bolt, a television journalist with a nationwide audience, walked himself through the alleged series of events at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne, within the timeframe in which they were supposed to have occurred, and concluded that the prosecution’s case, and the decisions by both the convicting jury and the majority of the appeal panel, simply made no sense. What was supposed to have happened could not have happened how it did and when it did.

Australians willing to ignore the vicious anti-Pell polemics that have fouled their country’s public life for years also heard from two former workers at the cathedral, who stated categorically that what was alleged to have happened could not have happened how it did and when it did, because they were a few yards away from Cardinal Pell at the precise time he was alleged to have abused two choirboys.

Then there was Anthony Charles Smith, a veteran criminal attorney (and not a Catholic), who wrote in Annals Australasia that the Pell verdict and the denial of his appeal “curdles my stomach.” How, he asked, could a guilty verdict be rendered on “evidence….so weak and bordering on the preposterous?” The only plausible answer, he suggested, was that Pell’s “guilt” was assumed by many, thanks to “an avalanche of adverse publicity” ginned up by “a mob baying for Pell’s blood” and influencing “a media [that] should always be skeptical.”

Even more strikingly, the left-leaning Saturday Paper, no friend of Cardinal Pell or the Catholic Church, published an article in which Russell Marks – a one-time research assistant on an anti-Pell book – argued that the two judges on the appellate panel who voted to uphold the cardinal’s conviction “effectively allowed no possible defense for Pell: there was nothing his lawyers could have said or done, because the judges appeared to argue it was enough to simply believe the complainant on the basis of his performance under cross examination.”

The Australian criminal justice system has stumbled or failed at every stage of this case. The High Court of Australia can break that losing streak, free an innocent man, and restore the reputation of Australian justice in the world. Whatever the subsequent fallout from the rabid Pell-haters, friends of justice must hope that that is what happens when the High Court hears the cardinal’s case – Australia’s Dreyfus Case – next year.

Photo: CON CHRONIS/AFP/Getty Images