Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Replacements

For once, can't a democratic president appoint a justice to the Supreme Court who is believed to be a liberal but in fact turns out to be a closet conservative? Republican presidents, one after another after another (Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, yes even Reagan-O'Connor Oh My! and lastly, Bush Sr.) screwed up enough on that front, when is it their turn. Don't count on it.

Angels and Demons

(In Spanish)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

100 Days

"Nothing in politics breeds corrective antibodies more quickly than overreaching arrogance. And by that measure, Obama’s first 100 days have been a huge down payment on the inevitable correction to come."

A comforting aperçu from conservative writer Jonah Goldberg

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Now Meaningless Award

In light of Mary Ann Glendon's wise decision to turn down Notre Dame's Laetare Medal and Fr. Jenkins' curt response, indicating that the search for a new recipient has already begun, I think it's appropriate to ask whether or not there is any meaning to the award anymore. The Laetare Medal is frequently touted as one of the most prestigious Catholic recognitions in the nation and, yet, the increasingly isolated Fr. Jenkins has made it clear through his actions that his priorities and concerns reside decidedly outside the boundaries of the teachings of the Catholic Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. So what significance does a medal carry if, in the final analysis, those awarding it opt to discard the values and principles traditionally associated with that same recognition? Until Notre Dame rectifies this snafu, which it has brought upon itself, I think it's fair to say that the Laetare Medal is a hollow, fatuous, hypocritical prize. A blue ribbon at a county fair talent show carries far more worth as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Making Catholics Proud

News that is sure to rock Notre Dame and its president, Fr. Jenkins: Mary Ann Glendon has announced that, in light of the university's sickening decision to award President Obama, she will not attend Notre Dame's commencement ceremonies in May. Good for her. Glendon's decision will serve to greatly bolster and encourage the burgeoning number of Catholics voicing outrage over this scandal.

Atlas Shrugged, Redux

A noteworthy piece on the political "signs of the times."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More on the "Change" Front

Georgetown U shamelessly and yet not surprisingly capitulated to a White House request that the IHS inscription behind the president be covered during his speech. Is this a harbinger in America of the French version of laicisme? Time will tell.
Georgetown University hid a religious inscription representing the name of Jesus during President Obama's address there Tuesday, has confirmed, because White House staff asked the school to cover up all religious symbols and signs while the president was on stage.

The monogram IHS, whose letters spell out the name of Jesus, and which normally perches above the stage in Gaston Hall where the president spoke, was covered over with what appeared to be black wood during the address.

"In coordinating the logistical arrangements for the event, Georgetown honored the White House staff's request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind the Gaston Hall stage," university spokesman Andy Pino told

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tea Party Day

Altar Girls, etc.

I came across this brilliant elucidation on the male-female role within the Church as it applies to the roles of priest and acolyte. It was written by Fr. Fessio back in the late 80's and appeared in the Catholic journal Fidelity.
While the entire Church is feminine and maternal, the clerical ministry within the Church is by nature masculine and paternal. Because the Bishop, the priest (and by participation the deacon) not only represent Christ but act as Christ in the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Sacrament and Word, only the masculine sex can represent sacramentally in an adequate way the male Christ Who Himself as male represents God facing creation and the bridegroom facing His bride the Church.

The sanctuary, and in particular the altar, is the sacred place, the Eucharist is the sacred act, its celebration the sacred time, and the priest the sacred person in the most profound and mysterious center of the entire Christian religion. The acolyte participates in this most Holy of Holies—most holy of times, places, and persons—by being the immediate assistant at the altar of the Priest acting in persona Christi. This he does especially by helping to prepare the sacrificial gifts. In this role as a helper or assistant of the priest he becomes as it were, the hands of the priest. For this reason, while it would not lead to the invalidity of the Sacrament for a woman to act as acolyte, it would be in serous disharmony with the very nature and character of the whole order of grace and redemption, the mediation of the priest and the symbolic character of men and women. In addition it would be a confusion of the role which is specifically that of the woman as representative of creation and the Church.

Put this way, the silly arguments from the left about alleged discrimination, patriarchy and sexism in the Church seem quite small and intellectually barren.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Not Everyone Loves Him

From a friend in the Czech Republic regarding Obama: Dont worry, i am not even watching the news today and i hope your president will leave our country soon!


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Notre Dame, Part II

Solicitous Catholics committed to the defense of the unborn—those with no voice and no vote, have directed a maelstrom of criticism at the University of Notre Dame and in particular its implacable president, the Rev. John Jenkins, over the university’s decision to award President Obama with an honorary degree in May. Bishops have chimed in as well to vent their frustration. Bishop John D’Arcy, head of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese, voiced his disapproval with the university and indicated that he will not attend the Commencement ceremony, an unprecedented move in the history of Notre Dame. The bishop of Austin, Gregory Aymond, made his thoughts clear in a matter-of-fact style when he said, "In my opinion, it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support.” Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix penned a terse obloquy to the president of Notre Dame, in which he called the decision a, "public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States." For his part, Fr. Jenkins has cocked a snook at all episcopal admonishments and forged ahead with his plans. Notre Dame’s line of defense takes shape in the form of three straw man talking points: First, the university traditionally invites presidents of both political parties to address the students, so why stop with the forty-fourth? Second, this decision shouldn’t be interpreted as an endorsement of President Obama’s views on abortion. Third, the event offers us the opportunity to “engage” the president on the important issues, especially those things about which we may disagree; an Obama-esque apologia if ever there was one, as we shall see later.

Regarding the first point: It is true that the university’s tradition calls for the cordial invitation of the nation’s chief executive to attend the Commencement ceremonies. Catholics know a thing or two about traditions. But what about Notre Dame’s higher loyalty to the Tradition of the Catholic Church? Why are Notre Dame and its president inescapably hidebound to a lesser form of tradition? Why relegate Tradition to sloppy seconds in favor of a polite but ultimately expendable custom? Surely Fr. Jenkins knows that the Tradition of the Church comes before the tradition of a university; if the former is sacrificed in the name of the latter, its significance is deflated and hypocrisy inevitably seeps through.

The second argument emanating from the enlightened apparatchiks of Notre Dame is probably the most flimsy and groundless of all. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, writing in 2004, issued the following unequivocal statement. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” If, by honoring President Obama, Notre Dame isn’t guilty of taking part in exactly what the bishops warned against in their missive, I would be curious to see how the above statement would be interpreted by Fr. Jenkins and co.

The third argument offered by Fr. Jenkins, the line about not being afraid to engage those with whom we disagree, is most revelatory. Back on the campaign trail, then-candidate Obama articulated virtually the same point when he promised to hold high-level meetings with the leaders of Iran and North Korea, all in the name of fearless dialogue. Fr. Jenkins and President Obama apparently attended the same dated, 1960's School of Diplomacy. But both President Obama and Fr. Jenkins sorely miss the larger point. The question is not whether or not we should engage at all, or at some level. Of course we should. But at what level and on what stage should such meetings unfold? Before a public meeting or an awards ceremony take place (whether in the Oval Office or at a Commencement ceremony), certain pre-conditions must be guaranteed. In the political arena, during the '08 campaign, conservatives, and even Hillary Clinton, argued in favor of low-level talks between underlings. However, in the absence of concrete steps taken and pre-conditions met by the other side, the high office of the presidency must be carefully insulated from external manipulation and the machinations of propaganda. The Obama attitude toward global realities was, as Mrs. Clinton correctly painted it, hopelessly, even dangerously, naïve. How does this lesson in diplomacy relate to Notre Dame? Before the university reaches a modus vivendi with President Obama, he should first publicly renounce his views supporting abortion. This should be seen as a prerequisite. It is reckless and scandalous for the Catholic university to bestow a high honor on a man so conspicuously at odds with the most fundamental tenets of the Church’s teaching on the respect for life. Notre Dame’s logic, if it were to be applied consistently in the political realm, would advocate for the President of the United States to bestow the Medal of Freedom on any elected political leader, no matter how offensive his beliefs may be. And heck, as long as he’s in town, why not let him address a joint session of Congress, all in the name of dialogue and engagement.

There comes a time when shallow euphemisms and hollow excuses simply run their course, when the anodyne effects of circular rationalizations wear off, and truth stands alone under the glare of the spotlight. In the case of Notre Dame, it has become painfully obvious that the allure of prestige, the cult of personality and worldly honor have supplanted the timeless principles still held inviolate by the Catholic Church. These eternal principles, these pearls of great price, were held in high esteem long ago by those academic pioneers who forged the noble institution of Notre Dame.

Trouble in Paradise

Pelosi and Read: at Loggerheads?

An interesting piece on the catty squabbling going on among congressional democrats from Politico.
Unfortunately, the reality does not match the rhetoric. Democrats’ infighting — behind the scenes and in public — is stalling their agenda. It is why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said of the Obama administration’s top-down approach: “If Obama steps over the bounds, I will tell him.” Going much further than the typical “muscle flexing” seen between the executive and legislative branches, Reid twice remarked to the press that he does not work for President Barack Obama.

This tension is reflected in the current intraparty squabbling over the administration’s $3.6 trillion budget proposal. As Obama is learning, the old budget adage is true: The White House proposes, while Congress disposes — even when controlled by the same party.

An Alternative Plan

Representative Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin native and rising star in the GOP, has an excellent editorial in today's Wall Street Journal.
In a nutshell, the president and Democratic leaders in Congress are attempting to bring about the third and final great wave of progressivism, building on top of the New Deal and the Great Society. So America is placed in a special moment in our history -- brought about by the deep recession, Mr. Obama's ambitious agenda, and the pending fiscal tidal-wave of red ink brought forward by the looming insolvency of our entitlement programs. If this agenda comes to pass, it will mark this period in history as the moment America turned European.

Our [Republican] budget applies our country's enduring first principles to the problems of our day. Rather than attempting to equalize the results of peoples' lives and micromanaging their affairs, we seek to preserve our system of protecting our natural rights and equalizing opportunity for all. The plan works to accomplish four main goals: 1) fulfill the mission of health and retirement security; 2) control our nation's debts; 3) put the economy on a path of growth and leadership in the global economy; and 4) preserve the American legacy of leaving the next generation better off.