John Jalsevac

An unbelievable story: Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu discovers her long-lost ‘secret’ sister

John Jalsevac

Over at, LauraLoo has posted a video that is so astonishing it’s hard to believe that it’s true. It’s all about Olympic gold-medallist gynmast Dominique Moceanu and her discovery of a sister she never knew she had, because she was given up for adoption at birth.

But it’s not the mere fact that she had a sister who was adopted as a baby that is so amazing. What’s so unbelievable is that her sister was born with no legs, but despite her disability, has gone on to become a competitive gymnast. In fact, long before Dominique’s sister ever knew that the two were related, she had idolized Dominique as her favorite gymnast.

It’s a pretty incredible, and very heartwarming story. Check it out.

LAST CALL! Can you donate $5?

Today is the last day of our fall fundraising campaign. Can you help us reach our goal?

Share this article

Featured Image
The prime inequality in its goodness confronts us at every moment of our lives. God is God: He made us, we did not make ourselves.

‘Equality’: the most potent of the infernal lies

Anthony Esolen Anthony Esolen Follow Anthony
By Anthony Esolen

I've been writing here about how to build up in young people a vital and dynamic Christian imagination. But since Christ, the consummation of all that is human, reveals man to himself, to have a Christian imagination is to have a fully human imagination. It is to see the truth about man, both in his fallen state and in his God-ordained orientation towards heaven.

It follows then that we must reject, categorically, all lies about man. And the governance of the world about us is a most efficient machine for the production and proliferation of lies. We cannot preach truth in the language of lies, no more than the martyrs of old could find a “Christian” way to offer incense to the emperor. Jesus bore with the weakness of man. But he did not ever compromise with a lie. He did not cut a bargain with Satan.

If we are to speak to our children in the language of truth, we have to be, as Jesus says, as wise as serpents. That is, we have to identify the lies, and we have to be courageous in revealing them for what they are.

Yet the devil comes to us in the guise of an angel of light. Few people at any one time are so far gone down into the spirals of evil that they embrace what is hideous for its own sake. So we must ask: in a world organized or disorganized by the lie, what are the slogans that everyone has come to accept without thinking about them? They are the most likely carriers of the lie. And if we ignore them, our children may well be inspired by Milton or Shakespeare, so long as they are reading them, but will revert to the slogan as soon as they close the books. 

Perhaps the most potent of the lies is “equality.”

Envy insists upon equality. Love admires excellence, and is grateful for it in others. So it is, as the acute philosopher Plinio Correia says, that we begin by speaking of equality and end in the hatred of God.

The Christian imagination recognizes more than equality: it recognizes and honors excellence, wherever it may be found. This is true both in the Church's history and in the arts she has inspired. The saints are our aristocrats, and the knights who lead us to battle. Joan of Arc, the peasant girl, shines with a crown of glory, she who gave her life to restore a rightful crown to the timid French dauphin. John Vianney searches our hearts with the wisdom of holy simplicity, and before his steady gaze the theologians and philosophers stammer and fall silent. The noble-born Thomas Aquinas becomes a mendicant friar, and in the humility of his ceaseless submission to and search for what is true, he becomes the patron of Catholic scholars and a prince of clarity.

All men are equal in their having been made by God for bliss. They have an equal right to what is good and true and beautiful. Each of them, made in the image of God, is a more glorious creature than all the rest of the physical universe. For any one of them, as for a universe, the Son of God came down to shed His blood. 

Follow Anthony Esolen on Facebook

The terrible irony is that the Liars of Equality deny what I have just said, or, if they still call themselves Christian, they confound these truths with falsehoods. For human beings are manifestly not equal in intelligence, skill, perseverance, virtue, health, beauty, wisdom, and the accidental blessings and trials of life. These inequalities are also to be cherished and honored. They too have been willed by God.     

Even if Adam and Eve had not fallen, the human world would have been abundantly blessed with inequalities, with the wise and the simple, the skilled hand and the blunt, the soul in which the love of God burns with a steady glow, and the soul so inflamed with that love that it seems to consume all the world about it. “Various voices make the sweeter song,” says Dante.

The inequalities are more than differences. They imply order and hierarchy. It is no shame to serve. Man is made to serve. The only shame is to serve an unworthy master.

God has made us to thrive by and within structures of order; that is one of the lessons of Saint Paul's teaching, that we are incorporated as members of the Body of Christ. A body is not an amalgam of atoms. It is not a collective of self-willed individuals. It possesses order and hierarchy. The hand is a hand, not a foot or a head, but it is for the foot and the head, as the food and the head are for it. Each member is most itself when it most subserves the health of the body; and the body is healthy when, so to speak, each member is so honored that the body seems to live as much for each as for all together. 

If it's too neuralgic to speak about the goodness of inequalities among persons, we should begin by affirming inequality and hierarchy within the person. Our opponents are consistent in this regard: their insistence upon a radical social equality is matched by a radical leveling of the faculties of man. Reason is dethroned, and her rightful servant, the calculative faculty, is set up in her place, as if the only truth we can discover is what can be measured or reduced to mathematics. Love of beauty is displaced, and her rightful servants, the pragmatic skills, are set up in her place, as if the only things worth making are those that serve utilitarian ends. The virtues are dethroned, so that the vices can run free. In the end, unreason and a positive desire for ugliness come to rule the day.

What would we think of someone blessed with strong passions, who does not order them but lets them go wild, so that in the end he is a raddled old man dabbling in porn to keep himself awake in the afternoon? Or someone blessed with a thirst for righteousness, who does not order that thirst according to what is good and true, but instead begins to thirst for ambition instead, so that his path to a “rightful” place of honor is littered with the wreckage caused by his injustice? What should we think of the plain and ordinary man, who in a sane age would work hard at an ordinary job, be the head of a good family, and pass on to his children and grandchildren the wisdom of his church and his culture's traditions, sunk instead into the vulgar and the trivial?

We see in such cases that there should be order among the faculties; they are not equal; and people who observe the order in their souls are not the mere equals of people who do not. Why should this trouble us? Isn't the superiority of someone else a gift to the rest of us? What envy is it, what hatred of the excellent, that would cause me to desire that everyone else be only as wise, as virtuous, and as holy as I am? 

After all, the prime inequality in its goodness confronts us at every moment of our lives. God is God: He made us, we did not make ourselves. Envy insists upon equality. Love admires excellence, and is grateful for it in others. So it is, as the acute philosopher Plinio Correia says, that we begin by speaking of equality and end in the hatred of God. The cure can only begin by exposing and rejecting the lie.

Follow Anthony Esolen on Facebook

Share this article

Featured Image
We don’t kill problems anymore. We kill people, and pretend that it is the same thing.

First we killed our unborn children. Now we’re killing our own parents.

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

In a culture that elevates transient pleasure as a “value,” while reducing “value” itself to a subjective and utilitarian status, I suppose it should not be surprising that the worth of human beings is now constantly in question.

We once lived in a culture that drafted laws to protect “dependents”: the very young, the very old, and the disabled. This was done in recognition of the fact that a human being’s increased vulnerability correspondingly heightens our moral responsibility to that human being.

Now, however, the exit strategists of the Sexual Revolution are burning the candle at both ends - abortion for children in the womb, euthanasia and “assisted suicide” for the old. Both children and elderly parents, you see, can be costly and time-consuming.

We don’t kill problems anymore. We kill people, and pretend that it is the same thing.

I noted some time ago that the concept of “dying with dignity” is rapidly becoming “killing with impunity,” as our culture finds all sorts of excuses to assist “inconvenient” people in leaving Planet Earth.

There is a similarity to abortion, here, too—our technologically advanced culture is no longer looking for compassionate and ethical solutions to the complex, tragic, and often heartbreaking circumstances. Instead, we offer the solution that Darkness always has: Death. Disability, dependence, difficult life circumstances: a suction aspirator, a lethal injection, a bloody set of forceps. And the “problem,” as it were, is solved.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

We don’t kill problems anymore. We kill people, and pretend that it is the same thing.

There is something chilling about the intimacy of these killings. As Gregg Cunningham noted, “Ours is the first generation that, having demanded the right to kill its children through elective abortion, is now demanding the right to kill its parents through doctor-assisted suicide.” The closest of human relationships are rupturing under the sheer weight of the selfishness and narcissism of the Me Generation.

The great poet Dylan Thomas is famous for urging his dying father to fight on, to keep breathing, to live longer:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Such sentiment is not present among the advocates of euthanasia. In fact, the tagline “dying with dignity” is starting to very much sound like, “Now don’t make a fuss, off with you now.” Consider this story in The Daily Mail from a few days ago:

An elderly husband and wife have announced their plans to die in the world's first 'couple' euthanasia - despite neither of them being terminally ill.

Instead the pair fear loneliness if the other one dies first from natural causes.

Identified only by their first names, Francis, 89, and Anne, 86, they have the support of their three adult children who say they would be unable to care for either parent if they became widowed.

The children have even gone so far as to find a practitioner willing to carry out the double killings on the grounds that the couple's mental anguish constituted the unbearable suffering needed to legally justify euthanasia.

… The couple's daughter has remarked that her parents are talking about their deaths as eagerly as if they were planning a holiday.

John Paul [their son] said the double euthanasia of his parents was the 'best solution'.

'If one of them should die, who would remain would be so sad and totally dependent on us,' he said. 'It would be impossible for us to come here every day, take care of our father or our mother.'

I wonder why no one considers the fact that the reason some elderly parents may experience “mental anguish” is that they have come to the sickening realization that their grown children would rather find an executioner to dispatch them than take on the responsibility of caring for their parents. Imagine the thoughts of a mother realizing that the child she fed and rocked to sleep, played with and sang to, would rather have her killed than care for her: that their relationship really does have a price.

This is why some scenes in the HBO euthanasia documentary How To Die In Oregon are so chilling. In one scene, an elderly father explains to the interviewer why he has procured death drugs that he plans to take in case of severe health problems. “I don’t want to be a burden,” he explains while his adult daughter nods approvingly, “It’s the decent thing to do. For once in my life I’ll do something decent.”

No argument from the daughter.

If we decide in North America to embrace euthanasia and “assisted suicide,” we will not be able to unring this bell. Just as with abortion and other manifestations of the Culture of Death, the Sexual Revolutionaries work hard to use heart-rending and emotional outlier examples to drive us to, once again, legislate from the exception.

But for once, we have to start asking ourselves if we really want to further enable our medical community to kill rather than heal. We have to ask ourselves if the easy option of dispatching “burdensome” people will not impact our incentive to advance in palliative care. And we have to stop simply asking how someone in severe pain might respond to such a legal “service,” and start asking how greedy children watching “their” inheritance going towards taking proper care of their parents.

And to the pro-life movement, those fighting to hold back the forces of the Culture of Death—the words of Dylan Thomas have a message for us, too.

Do not go gentle into that good night…
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Follow Jonathon van Maren on Facebook

Featured Image
Unfortunately, I meet so many young men and women who have rarely ever heard the word “modesty” and have never understood they are a great mystery and the need to protect that mystery.

A modest proposal

Melanie Pritchard Melanie Pritchard Follow Melanie
By Melanie Pritchard

“Brady, Meghan is sick; we should pray and ask Jesus to go be with her. Will you lead the prayer?”

This is the simple question I asked my then three-year-old son one morning while we were sitting at breakfast. He took a breath, contemplated for a moment (he was in deep thought apparently coming up with a plan for how Jesus would literally “go be with” Meghan).  He folded his hands and said, “Jesus, get off the cross…(pause)….get modest…(pause)…and go be with Meghan.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at his innocence and call one of my mom friends. I told her the story and said, “What kid says this?” She laughed and replied, “Well, the kid of a mom who speaks about modesty!”

This was a proud moment in my life knowing that what I am trying to instill in my son was working!  

Brady knows that Jesus isn’t modest on the cross, so Jesus would need to put some clothes on before He left the house. At the time, I couldn’t really explain to Brady the circumstances of his wise observation of Jesus not wearing very many clothes. Now that he is six, I have been able to share that Jesus isn’t wearing clothes, not because he chose to be immodest, but it was done to Jesus in order to humiliate Him and to strip Him of his dignity.

Interesting how this was such a punishment in Jesus’ time, but in this day and age, people do it to themselves—not realizing how it compromises their own dignity and their own mystery.

Modesty means to refuse to unveil the mystery of who you are. Unfortunately, I meet so many young men and women who have rarely ever heard the word “modesty” and have never understood they are a great mystery and the need to protect that mystery.

I always want my son and daughter to look at others and themselves in the most authentic way - as bodies with a mind, a heart, and a soul. I am realizing as a mother just how hard that is, even at their young ages. 

Since I started speaking to teenagers on moral issues 20 years ago, I have heard so many stories of pain over being used, abused, and bullied. I have heard so many stories from distraught and broken teenagers who chose to have sex before marriage and those who became addicted to pornography. Many of the girls I have spoken with have shared how they used their bodies by dressing scandalously to get a guy to like them. They were so desperate for love, they settled for use, pretending it was love.

I firmly believe that modesty protects. It protects the one who dresses in a way that discourages another from viewing them as an object for self-gratification. And it protects those who see a person dressed modestly against impure thoughts and the desire to lust. Modesty builds strength by protecting a person’s chastity and helping one to speak a language with their own body and clothing.

Follow Melanie on Facebook

I meet tons of young people and married couples who feel duped because they were never told about the importance of who they are. They say that they would have understood their value and the beauty of their mystery, they would not have made some of the troubling choices they did.

Before marriage, I decided that when I had children, I was going to teach them about important words and concepts from the beginning, hoping that one day when challenges arose like a desire to dress skimpy or use their body to attract someone, that they would know their worth.

I still want my son, who may not struggle with modesty as much as my daughter (being a girl in the USA), to know the beauty of modesty. I hope when he one day encounters overly-sized Victoria Secret models on billboards while walking through a mall, or when a girl he likes dresses too sexy, that he will know that there is something wrong. As he grows, I will teach him why modesty is important and why desiring others to dress modestly is important to his own virtue and theirs as well.

If my son or daughter is tempted or pressured to view pornography, I will share with them what I heard Saint John Paul II say once. He said, “Pornography is not wrong because it shows too much, it’s wrong because it shows too little. It shows a body without a soul and that is counterfeit.”

I always want my son and daughter to look at others and themselves in the most authentic way - as bodies with a mind, a heart, and a soul. I am realizing as a mother just how hard that is, even at their young ages. All I can do is keep trying to help them form their consciences to know why certain things are wrong - wrong because they attack the dignity of souls. It is incredibly difficult to shield my children’s eyes from immodesty when we are surrounded by it, from magazines in the grocery stores, girls at the local coffee shop, and even kids’ books.

One day when Brady was younger, he opened a book a friend sent us from Australia as a gift. It was about a girl whose family kept giving her all these clothes, so by the end of the book, she had layers of clothes on. On the last page she is in a tank top and underwear, all the clothes are on the floor, and she says, “Can I just get a pair of jeans.”  I was shocked to find the girl in the children’s book was so revealing.

Brady noticed it too and spoke up about it, saying, “Momma, she is not modest.” I said, “Well Brady, maybe she doesn’t know about her mystery; what do you say we draw some clothes on her and help her to be modest?” His eyes lit up, he ran and got me a black marker because he wanted her new outfit to be all black. We decided what kind of outfit we would draw on her, and so I drew right there on the book! I loved the teamwork Brady and I had in doing this project. I also like that he saw that there isn’t anything we shouldn’t do to help others protect their dignity—even if it means drawing on a book. For weeks, when people came over, he would show them our great artwork and how we made “Jesse” (the main character) modest.

About a year later, a friend gave Ella a few Barbie dolls for her 3rd birthday; I cringed a little. I didn’t want a bunch of naked Barbies lying around the house to tempt my son’s curiosity. Since I had already been speaking about modesty and using markers to draw clothes on characters in a children’s book, it only seemed fitting I draw modest bathing suits on the Barbies or any small doll that showed up at our house without proper attire. This time I used colored nail polish. Problem solved! And, in doing it, it provided a great teaching moment as I explained that I was covering up the Barbie to protect her virtue.

Now, some of you may be thinking that I’m crazy talking about a doll’s virtue; it’s not that I believe she has virtue…that is reserved for real humans. But when my children play with dolls, they play with them as if they are real people as most children do. I want their playtime to reflect the morals and values we are trying to instill at home.

Modesty is a virtue. Some virtues can be given by God (i.e. faith, hope, and charity (love)), others must be cultivated, mature, and allowed to flourish in order to attain and maintain. Modesty falls into the second category and therefore requires much work, sacrifice, and perseverance in order to overcome the constant temptation to swim with the current cultural tide instead of against it.

We are trying to help our children to keep their eyes on the prize. The prize is fulfilling and loving relationships with others, which are never self-centered, objectifying, or based on their usefulness. This is the ideal, and I know that sadly it is more the exception than the rule today, but without seeking the ideal, we lose hope.

My children will have far more temptation and pressure to abandon this quest for virtue than either me or my husband had, which requires us to be constant examples, models, and mentors for them. We must continue to encourage them in their trials, support them in their defense of virtue, and give them all the tools necessary to help cultivate the great virtue of modesty for them and for everyone they encounter.

My prayer and hope is that this simple teaching will expand the minds and hearts of my children to be an automatic thought as they grow older. I pray they will never view another human being - another human soul! - as an object or thing to use. I pray they will always protect their modesty in order to protect their dignity and that they will do the same for others! And finally, I pray they will never judge those who are immodest, but seek to teach them about their beautiful and special mystery.

Follow Melanie on Facebook


Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook