Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Poll Tumble

From Yahoo! News:
After a brief resurgence earlier this year, President Obama's poll numbers are back in the dumps. A new Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday finds Obama's approval rating at the lowest point in his presidency, thanks in part to voter angst over the economy and his handling of the situation in Libya.

Just 42 percent of those polled approve of the job Obama is doing, compared to 48 percent who disapprove, according to Quinnipiac. And in a bad sign for his upcoming 2012 re-election campaign, 50 percent of those polled say he doesn't deserve another term in the White House.

How will the GOP capitalize? So far, I'm not at all impressed with the current crop of contenders. Those who should be running have so far expressed little interest, i.e., Chris Christie, Paul Ryan (am I alone here?), and yes, even Marco Rubio. I mean, if Obama can run and win after just two years in the Senate, why not?

Judges and the Stakes for WI

Want to know what's going on politically in the great state of Wisconsin? Read this. From the editors of National Review Online:
What is at stake in Wisconsin is not just one piece of legislation or one bill restoring a measure of sanity to the state budgeting process. The question to be answered in Wisconsin is: Who works for whom? Do the public employees work for the citizens, or are the citizens mere cattle to be disposed of at the pleasure of the bureaucrats and their union bosses?

Race and Abortion

From the Yahoo! News Blog:
Yesterday, Arizona became the first state in the nation to outlaw abortions performed on the basis of the race or gender of the fetus. And an anti-abortion billboard that uses an image of President Obama to target Chicago's black community has sparked a furor.

The Arizona bill, signed into law on Tuesday by Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, makes it a felony for doctors or other medical professionals to perform an abortion in order to help parents choose their offspring on the basis of race or gender. The law does not punish the woman having the abortion.

"Governor Brewer believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable -- the unborn -- and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record," a spokesman for Brewer told Reuters.

Good to Hear

From Catholic News Agency:
Philadelphia, Pa., Mar 30, 2011 / 05:57 am (CNA).- When bishops and priests are hesitant in exercising their authority, the “father of lies” takes hold of the hearts and minds of the faithful, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo warned recently.

“One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called ‘right to abortion’ … and still be able to receive Holy Communion?” the bishop said.

The continual reception of Communion by those who “so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil” creates “grave scandal” and undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church, he warned. The faithful can interpret these actions as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have “the responsibility to govern.”

Amen to that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flickers of a Bad Thing

Terrorists fighting with the rebels in Libya? I never would have imagined that! Right...

From the Telegraph:
Admiral James Stavridis, Nato's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said that American intelligence had picked up "flickers" of terrorist activity among the rebel groups. Senior British government figures described the comment as "very alarming".

The admission came as the American, Qatari and British Governments indicated that they were considering arming rebel groups, who yesterday suffered a series of setbacks in their advance along the Libyan coast towards Tripoli.

The plan is likely to spark further splits in the international coalition, with Nato and Italian sources indicating the move would require another United Nations resolution.

Ad Orientem

A priest offers his thoughts on celebrating Mass facing east. Here's an excerpt:
For two reasons, I doubt that the Mass was ever said completely facing the congregation. Facing east, which usually means facing away from the people is the usual posture in liturgical prayer of the Byzantine, Syriac, Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopian traditions. It is still the custom in most of the Eastern rites, at least during the Eucharistic prayer. They have done this from time immemorial and still do. They wouldn’t have changed it just to accommodate the Frankish barbarians of the west, 700 years after Christ. This custom of congregation and clergy facing the same direction in prayer was universal until about 1967. The first Christians were Jews for a century after Pentecost, at least according to sociologist Rodney Stark. Facing a sacred direction and not a congregation was normal in the synagogue services from which the Mass developed. Orthodox Jews still face east, or more precisely toward Jerusalem, away from the congregation for much of the service. It is a natural gesture.

Not too long ago, I overheard a tour guide at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis say to his band of visitors, "Before Vatican II, the priest had has back to the people. But Vatican II changed that, and now, the priest faces the people." Deep breath. Why not say, "Before Vatican II, the priest and the people prayed together, facing the same direction. After Vatican II, priests decided on their own authority, and completely contrary to the teaching of Vatican II, to change their orientation and face the people for the entire Mass, with their backs to God in the Eucharist."

Rand Paul on Libya

Check it out. Sen. Paul makes some good points here.

Coming Soon: Cloud Girlfriends

Yesterday I commented on the "new low" of diagnosable "Facebook depression" among teenagers. I didn't think it could get any worse than that. It only took 24 hours. From ABCNews:
Any Facebookers out there feeling lonely?

A new start-up says it can create your perfect girl, as long as you tell it what you're looking for you. But don't expect to snuggle up with this mate because she's only going to be accessible via Facebook.

Still in pre-launch mode (the site says "coming soon"), Cloud Girlfriend claims to generate a virtual girlfriend who can interact with you publicly on your favorite social network.


I think the question must be asked: Is social media (working in tandem with a ubiquitous and shallow pop-culture) contributing to the cementing of an entire generation in a state of perpetual immaturity?

The New Way of War

Here's an excerpt from a right-on-the-money article by Mark Steyn, appearing in National Review:
It is tempting and certainly very easy to point out that Obama’s war (or Obama’s “kinetic military action,” or “time-limited, scope-limited military action,” or whatever the latest ever more preposterous evasion is) is at odds with everything candidate Obama said about U.S. military action before his election. And certainly every attempt the president makes to explain his Libyan adventure is either cringe-makingly stupid (“I’m accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace”) or alarmingly revealing of a very peculiar worldview:

“That’s why building this international coalition has been so important,” he said the other day. “It is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally.” ...

But, as I said, it’s easy to mock the smartest, most articulate man ever to occupy the Oval Office. Instead, in a non-partisan spirit, let us consider why it is that the United States no longer wins wars. Okay, it doesn’t exactly lose (most of) them, but nor does it have much to show for a now 60-year-old pattern of inconclusive outcomes. American forces have been fighting and dying in Afghanistan for a decade: Doesn’t that seem like a long time for a non-colonial power to be spending hacking its way through the worthless terrain of a Third World dump? If the object is to kill terrorists, might there not be some slicker way of doing it? And, if the object is something else entirely, mightn’t it be nice to know what it is?

Read on...

Monday, March 28, 2011

A New Low

Now there are concerns from doctors about "Facebook depression" among teens. When I think about past generations, and the real hardships that the youth had to deal with, this kind of stuff just sounds pathetic. What is going to happen to this younger crowd when it has to face a real hardship?

This story reads like a joke.

From the Associated Press:
With in-your-face friends' tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don't measure up.

It can be more painful than sitting alone in a crowded school cafeteria or other real-life encounters that can make kids feel down, O'Keeffe said, because Facebook provides a skewed view of what's really going on. Online, there's no way to see facial expressions or read body language that provide context.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Obama, the NeoCon...?

Provocative, to say the least. From Richard M. Salsman, writing for Forbes:
In violation of the U.S. Constitution, President Obama has launched a semi-war against Libya, a nation that did not attack the U.S. and was not a threat to its self-interest or national security. But Obama and the neoconservative warmongers who inspire his unjust actions don’t even pretend to put America first. They presume foreign policy is morally “noble” if it sacrifices America’s self-interest, her wealth, her soldiers and even her national security. And the more such values are sacrificed, the more “success” they presume.

Although the U.S. Constitution properly designates the president as the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, it also specifically states (in Article I, Section Eight) that the power “to declare war” resides solely in the legislature – in the U.S. Congress — the body that also has the “power of the purse,” to provide funding for legitimately-declared wars. In the same section Congress is given the power to “suppress insurrections and repel invasions,” which implies that foreign nations properly may do likewise.

Attacks, Again

From FoxNews:
Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.

At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran.

Manning Up

Here's an interesting interview between Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review and Kay Hymowitz, author of an intriguing new book entitled, Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.

An excerpt:
LOPEZ: Did you know all this before you sat down to write? Or were you truly surprised by some of your findings?

HYMOWITZ: I wrote an article called “Child-Man in the Promised Land” for City Journal in 2008. It described the new media — Maxim magazine, the Comedy Central and Spike networks, video games (men in their twenties and thirties are by far the biggest consumers of video games) — that arrived in the 1990s to entertain young single men. I saw that these new media were related to what I now call pre-adulthood — that the entertainment industry was recognizing a large consumer niche that hadn’t existed before. And I was pretty harsh about both the media and their audience.

Men were furious at me. But they were also — and this I wasn’t prepared for — furious at women more generally. It’s not our fault if we’re not behaving, they said — it’s the women. They’re entitled, they’re bitchy, they’re hypocritical. They want it both ways: They want to be equals, and they want us to pay for them. They want gender neutrality, and they want us to have the muscles of Stallone. I interviewed some of the men who had written to me, and I started spending a lot of time on dating websites (reading comments, I mean) and pondering the personal blogs of twenty-somethings. I was pretty taken aback by the toxic level of bitterness and confusion about the opposite sex among pre-adults.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


From Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Only 17 percent of Americans see President Barack Obama as a strong and decisive military leader, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the United States and its allies began bombing Libya.

Nearly half of those polled view Obama as a cautious and consultative commander-in-chief and more than a third see him as indecisive in military matters.

Obama was widely criticized in 2009 for his months-long consultations with senior aides and military chiefs on whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. Critics called it dithering, but he said such a big decision required careful deliberation. He eventually dispatched 30,000 more troops.

But Obama is facing mounting discontent among opposition Republicans and from within his own Democratic Party over the fuzzy aims of the U.S.-led mission in Libya and the lack of a clearly spelled-out exit strategy for U.S. forces.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kursk Icon visit to Nativity Convent in Saxonburg, PA

Watch this. The Orthodox have such a beautiful appreciation for mystery. For many years now, I've been fascinated by Byzantium. Maybe that's why I love Venice: a Byzantine soul and yet with the Pope.

The nuns here are so reverent. My favorite part is at the 4 minute mark, when they incense the holy Kursk Icon.

Rethinking Support of Obamacare

From Politico:
Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz says the health overhaul law's employer requirements will impose "too great" a pressure on small businesses.

Schultz supported the law as he watched his company's health insurance tab — $250 million as of last year — surmount its coffee bill. But he told The Seattle Times in an interview published Tuesday that he's now worried about what happens when it takes full effect in 2014...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


From the BBC:
A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.

The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team's mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

There Be Dragons

Resolutions and Revolutions

Mark Thiessen has some difficult questions for Barack Obama, as he tries to unpack the puzzling wording contained in the U.N. Resolution regarding Libya. From The Washington Post:
It tells you everything you need to know about Barack Obama’s worldview that he sought authorization from the United Nations, and not from Congress, before launching military action in Libya. (The fact is, as commander in chief, he required neither.) But putting aside the president’s obeisance to an international body over one representing the American people, the U.N. resolution he secured could prove to be a disaster for the Libyan people and American national security.

The U.N. Security Council’s stated objective is “the immediate establishment of a cease-fire and a complete end to violence.” This is entirely incompatible with President Obama’s stated objective of getting Moammar Gaddafi “to step down from power and leave.” If the violence ends, Gaddafi will not leave. To the contrary, if military intervention succeeds in achieving the United Nations’ goal of forcing a cease-fire on the warring parties, it will lock in the status quo on the ground.

Libya and Our Unclear Objectives

George Will addresses some salient points regarding the intervention in Libya. Appearing in The Washington Post:
The missile strikes that inaugurated America’s latest attempt at regime change were launched 29 days before the 50th anniversary of another such — the Bay of Pigs of April 17, 1961. Then the hubris of American planners was proportional to their ignorance of everything relevant, from Cuban sentiment to Cuba’s geography. The fiasco was a singularly feckless investment of American power.

Does practice make perfect? In today’s episode, America has intervened in a civil war in a tribal society, the dynamics of which America does not understand. And America is supporting one faction, the nature of which it does not know. “We are standing with the people of Libya,” says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, evidently confident that “the” people are a harmonious unit. Many in the media call Moammar Gaddafi’s opponents “freedom fighters,” and perhaps they are, but no one calling them that really knows how the insurgents regard one another, or understand freedom, or if freedom, however understood, is their priority.

Hot Water

Cue Ricky Ricardo: "Senator Claire McCaskill, you have some splainin to do."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hard to Deny

Ron Paul asks some pretty tough questions here regarding our involvement in Libya.

"It's rather insulting to the American people that this authority [to enforce the no-fly zone] comes from the United Nations and not the Congress."

Pro-Life Battleground: the States

From CBS News:
In Ohio on March 2, two fetuses "testified" before the Ohio House on behalf of the so-called "heartbeat bill." The hearing room was packed with spectators who listened to the rapid, gentle pulsing of the heartbeat from a 15-week old fetus, and the barely audible heartbeat of a nine-week old fetus.

Ohio's "heartbeat bill" would ban abortions in the state as soon as a heartbeat could be detected, with exceptions for medical emergencies. But while a heartbeat may make for compelling "testimony," even most anti-abortion rights activists acknowledge the "heartbeat bill" wouldn't hold up in court.

So why push this bill? Some anti-abortion activists may answer, why not?

Libya: An Overview

A good analysis from Praveen Swami, appearing in the Telegraph.

Marriage: Re-evaluated, Defended

Christopher Wolfe penned an exceptional essay entitled "What Marriage Has Become", appearing in Public Discourse. Highly recommended.
It has been said that marriage has survived many social events, including the sexual revolution, and it will survive gay marriage too. I don’t think marriage survived the sexual revolution. Every war has winners and losers, and, as others have argued, the boys [or rather, the bad boys] won the sexual revolution (since it legitimized non-marital and recreational sex, gave them the option of deserting their wives for younger and better offerings, and even induced many women to adopt more male attitudes toward sex or accede to male demands in the sexual marketplace). The most prominent victims of the sexual revolution were the children who have been deprived of the enduring husband-and-wife family that should ordinarily be their birthright.

Losing Their Religion

Westminster Abbey

From the BBC:
Nearly two-thirds of people do not regard themselves as "religious", a new survey carried out to coincide with the 2011 Census suggests.

The British Humanist Association (BHA), which commissioned the poll, said people often identified themselves as religious for cultural reasons.

The online poll asked 1,900 adults in England and Wales a question which is on this month's census form.

The Office for National Statistics has defended the wording of the census.

While 61% of the poll's respondents said they did belong to a religion, 65% of those surveyed answered "no" to the further question: "Are you religious?"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

American Idol Nation

From Newsweek:
They’re the sort of scores that drive high-school history teachers to drink. When NEWSWEEK recently asked 1,000 U.S. citizens to take America’s official citizenship test, 29 percent couldn’t name the vice president. Seventy-three percent couldn’t correctly say why we fought the Cold War. Forty-four percent were unable to define the Bill of Rights. And 6 percent couldn’t even circle Independence Day on a calendar. ...

In March 2009, the European Journal of Communication asked citizens of Britain, Denmark, Finland, and the U.S. to answer questions on international affairs. The Europeans clobbered us. Sixty-eight percent of Danes, 75 percent of Brits, and 76 percent of Finns could, for example, identify the Taliban, but only 58 percent of Americans managed to do the same—even though we’ve led the charge in Afghanistan. It was only the latest in a series of polls that have shown us lagging behind our First World peers.

Very disappointing, but not in the least bit surprising. Thank you public school system. Thank you banal entertainment industry. Thank you mind-numbing social networking, and related online trinkets.

The Left's Fury

From Politico:
A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Rhetoric from the Left

Is this the new civility, the new tone, in our public discourse that we hear so much about these days? From the Scott Walker/Adolf Hitler analogies in Madison, to the vitriol emanating from our own Vice President, Americans can see quite clearly just where the rage truly resides.

From The Daily Caller:
Biden compares Republican economic policies to blaming rape victims

At a Friday fundraiser in Philadelphia, Vice President Joe Biden said that Republicans are employing a “blame the victim” strategy in addressing falling government revenue by cutting taxes and reducing spending.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Biden compared Republicans’ economic policies to insensitivity toward rape victims. “When a woman got raped, blame her because she was wearing a skirt too short,” Biden said, drawing a parallel. ...

Penny Nance, CEO of the conservative Concerned Women for America, responded to Biden’s comments calling them classless and “childish.”

“Vice President Joe Biden is proof that success doesn’t necessarily guarantee class,” Nance wrote. “His remarks on Friday using the issue of rape for political points is beyond tasteless; it’s downright ignorant.”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Louis Farrakhan Speaks to Obama Re: Libya, Etc.

Obama's ole pal Louis has some tough words of advice to pass along. There is just so much in this clip to unpack...where to even start?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Revisiting the Reception of Communion

I posted this excellent analysis by Matthew Schultz a while back, and thought it was worth another look. I was raised very much in the "Communion in the hand" mentality/era, but eventually left it behind in favor of reception on the tongue. Catholics should really meditate on this topic. I hope to write my own thoughts on this most important subject in the coming days. Stay tuned...
Communion in the Hand: What Says Catholic Tradition?
By Matthew Schultz

In an interview with Mother Teresa of Calcutta on Good Friday of 1989, Father George Rutler asked, "Mother, what do you think is the worst problem today?" Without any hesitation, Mother Teresa said, "Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand." For most of us, Mother Teresa's comment is startling-why does she not name one of the more obvious candidates: famine, disease, abortion? And, if Mother Teresa is right to identify communion in the hand as "the worst problem today," why does holy mother Church permit it? Perhaps our surprise at Mother Teresa's intense dislike for communion in the hand is because of our own ignorance on this issue.

Communion in the hand was never a universal custom or practice in the history of the Church. Popes St. Sixtus (115-165 A.D.) and St. Euchtyian (275-283 A.D.) both forbade the faithful from receiving communion in the hand; St. Basil (330-379 A.D.) permitted this practice only in times of persecution; St Leo the Great teaches, "one receives in the mouth what one believes by faith." Eventually, communion in the hand was forbidden universally because, as Paul VI states, "with the passage of time as the truth of the Eucharistic mystery, its power, and Christ's presence in it were more deeply understood the usage adopted was that the minister himself placed the particle of the consecrated bread on the tongue of the communicant" [Memoriale Domini, 8].

If Catholics did not believe in the Real Presence, then to argue over which mode was more reverent would be superfluous and ridiculous. The Protestant Reformers were keenly aware of the great significance attached to receiving the Eucharist on the tongue --witness how Martin Bucer ordered Cranmer to change the rubric in his 1552 Common Book of Prayer by enjoining the faithful to receive Communion in the hand because to receive on the tongue would be to fall prey to Romish superstition (i.e. belief in the Real Presence). Throughout the centuries, the prevailing opinion of the Church has been that greater reverence is shown to the Blessed Sacrament when one receives on the tongue. Has the Church changed her opinion on this matter of discipline?

In 1965, Cardinal Suenens, Archbishop of Belgium, introduced the practice of receiving Communion in the hand to his diocese. Pope Paul VI addressed this flagrant act of disobedience in 1969 with the release of his encyclical Memoriale Domini. Pope Paul VI explains in his encyclical why Communion on the tongue is the norm of the Church and enumerates the many dangers attached to receiving Communion in the hand. Communion on the tongue is the preferred norm of the Church because it "more effectively ensures that Communion is distributed with the required reverence, decorum, and dignity; that there is less danger of disrespect for the Eucharistic elements...[and so] caution is exercised which the Church has always counseled regarding the particles of the consecrated bread"[11].

In addition to Pope Paul VI's concern for the safety of the Eucharistic elements, by receiving Communion directly on the tongue one also recognizes and gives reverence to the consecrated hands of the priests ("because out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it but what is consecrated" [Aquinas, S.T.,VIII,Q.82, Art.13]).

Pope Paul VI's abundant praise for Communion on the tongue is withheld when he turns to speak of Communion on the hand; his tone changes to one of caution and worry: "A change in so important a matter that has its basis in an ancient and honored tradition does not simply affect discipline, but can also bring with it dangers that, it is feared, may arise from the new way of administering Communion.

In particular, these dangers are both the possibility of a lessening of reverence toward the august Sacrament of the Altar, its profanation, and the watering down of the true doctrine of the Eucharist" [12, emphasis mine]. Paul VI is concerned that the changing of this discipline will cause a weakening of faith. So great was his concern over the question that he polled his entire episcopate. The results were overwhelming: 1,233 bishops opposed such a measure compared to 567 in favor. Having examined the issue at length and having consulted the counsel of the bishops, the pontiff decided "not to change the long-accepted manner of administering Communion to the faithful"[18]. He then urges the faithful "to obey conscientiously the prevailing law, now reconfirmed" [19]. Paul VI closes his encyclical by permitting Communion in the hand not as a preferred practice but only in "special circumstances"[20]. The widespread extension of this practice, then, attests to the failure of the clergy and laity to heed the counsels and intentions of the Church on this matter.

To understand why Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of the most remarkable woman of the 20th century, could declare that Communion in the hand gave her the greatest sadness, Father John Hardon, S.J., writes, "Behind Communion in the hand --I wish to repeat and make as plain as I can-- is a weakening, a conscious, a deliberate weakening of faith in the Real Presence." Communion in the hand, even though it is currently permitted, departs radically from Catholic Tradition as expressed in the teachings of the popes, the writings of the saints, and the councils of the Church.

The Crucifix and the Classroom

From the BBC:
School crucifixes 'do not breach human rights'

Displaying crucifixes in schools in Italy does not breach the rights of non-Catholic families, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

The court ruled there was no evidence that a crucifix hung in a classroom would influence pupils.

The ruling overturned a previous decision made in November 2009, which angered the Roman Catholic country.

Once and a while, these Euro-Courts demonstrate moments of sanity and surprise the world.

Leo XIII, John Paul II and Italy

A well-written piece by George Weigel, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, appearing in National Review Online:
Rather than behaving like a petulant dispossessed minor Italian noble, Leo set about engaging modernity in his own distinctive way, thereby laying the groundwork for the exercise of new forms of papal power. He thought through the challenges of political modernity and the modern, secular state in a series of encyclicals; their literary style tends toward the higher baroque, but the trenchancy of Leo’s thought makes them worth plowing through today. Leo fostered a Catholic intellectual renaissance by encouraging study of the original texts of Thomas Aquinas, whose political theory he himself used to launch modern Catholic social doctrine, one of the three mega-proposals for ordering the human future on offer in the world today (the others being jihadist Islam and the pragmatic-utilitarian ethos embodied in American consumerism and popular culture).

None of this would have been possible if Leo had been stuck managing a minor European state in the middle of the Italian peninsula and trying to reconcile his evangelical functions as Successor of Peter with the requirements of daily statecraft. Nor would we have seen the historic accomplishments of the man who brought the Leonine papacy to its apogee, John Paul II, the pivotal figure in the collapse of European Communism.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walker's Bargain

This is a must-read. Governor Scott Walker offers a defense of his law, appearing in The Washington Post:
Imagine the outrage if government workers did not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. Consider the massive protests that would be staged by labor leaders all across the country.

Think I’m talking about Wisconsin? No, I’m talking about the federal government.

Contrary to what the Obama administration would lead you to believe, most employees of the federal government do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits. That means the budget reform plan we signed into law in Wisconsin on Friday is more generous than what President Obama offers federal employees.

Catholic News Live

Read more about a great app for Catholic news and related miscellany HERE. A friend worked hard on this, and I'm happy to give it a Forum shout-out. From the site:
Catholic News Live allows you to read through all the latest Catholic news from around the world. You can view the news in a list or on a map, and share stories with your friends through Facebook, Twitter, and other services. You can even send stories to Instapaper or Read It Later if you'd like!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All About Him

Once again, Obama's narcissism seeps through. Discussing the upcoming election to a DNC crowd, he said the following, from
My hope is that the same spirit that helped change this country in 2008, that that spirit is still in each and every one of you. Obviously the first time around it’s like lightning in a bottle. There’s something special about it, because you’re defying the odds. And as time passes, you start taking it for granted that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama is President of the United States. It’s not -- but we should never take it for granted.

We should never take him for granted, is what he's saying. Just astonishing. I am convinced that Obama believes this country is great only insofar as it elected him as president. Is there any record of a past president talking this way... the constant referring back to self, and how great a nation this is, because he is president?

Prediction: Embarrassment

What is our president doing? With all of the tumult around the world right now, he takes time to appear on ESPN to give us his predictions for a basketball tournament?! I could care less about what sport he wants to follow, but to make such fanfare over his predictions (again, the narcissism is so evident) is distasteful, given the events around the world and the uncertainty at home with the economy. He attempted lessen the awkwardness of the moment by pitching donations to help those in Japan, right before diving into his game picks. How gauche!

This weekend, he heads to Rio de Janeiro with the fam., because Rio is the epicenter of all international, geopolitical events at the moment, right?

How many days until the '12 election?

Someone Like Her

A timeless clip of Margaret Thatcher at her best, as she dices a couple smartypants liberals in the House of Commons. The subject: Socialism

Just for fun, imagine a Thatcher vs. Obama debate. She'd make him look like she made these libs. look, that is to say, clueless.

Following Fisher

Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland is an example of a fearless bishop in the mold of Cardinal John Fisher. Here, he speaks out to defend marriage.

From The Catholic Voice:
It is a curious irony that in this moment of history, when people in a number of countries in the Middle East are agitating for change from dictatorship to democracy, here in our own country, the oldest democracy with a written constitution in the world, there is a movement of the ruling class toward taking more and more power into its own hands. The flashpoint for this movement? The hot-button issue of our day: marriage.

The comparison of the Middle East and the United States, though, is just irony No. 1 among many others in the ongoing saga of the inter-relation between the marriage issue and democracy. The examples are legion, and it would not be possible to list all of them here. I will, though, mention some of the more salient ones.

...after decades of hearing Catholic legislators (whose job, admittedly, is to make the law, not enforce it) claim that they could not let their personal views on a public issue (in this case, abortion) influence their public role, we now have the chief law enforcer in the state doing exactly that.

Read on...


More evidence that our president is not a leader, from John Podhoretz, writing for the New York Post:

Where is the president? The world is beset. Moammar Khadafy is moving relentlessly to crush the Libyan revolt that once promised the overthrow of one of the world's most despicable regimes.

So where is the president?

Japan may be on the verge of a disaster that dwarfs any we have yet seen. A self-governing nation like the United States needs its leader to take full measure of his position at times of crises when the path forward is no longer clear.

This is not a time for leadership; this is the time for leadership.

So where is Barack Obama?

It's a darn good question.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thomas More's Warning to Bishops, Then and Now

I am reading, and greatly benefiting from, Saint Thomas More's final work, The Sadness of Christ, which is a solemn meditation on the final hours of Christ's life. It was written in the Tower of London, while More was preparing for his own death and martyrdom. He dedicates a good deal of time discussing the agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, the sleepiness of his select apostles, and the busybody-ish activity of Judas Iscariot, who, far from indulging any inclination to sleep, was hyperactively carrying out his black perfidy against Our Lord. More offers a comparison that should give all bishops good reason to reflect on their own actions, or better said, their inaction.
Why do not bishops contemplate in this scene their own somnolence? Since they have succeeded in the place of the apostles, would that they would reproduce their virtues just as eagerly as they embrace their authority and as faithfully as they display their sloth and sleepiness! For very many are sleepy and apathetic in sowing virtues among the people and maintaining the truth, while the enemies of Christ, in order to sow vices and uproot the faith (that is, insofar as they can, to seize Christ and cruelly crucify Him once again), are wide awake--so much wiser (as Christ says) are the sons of darkness in their generation than the sons of light.

One thing I love about Saint Thomas More is that he never minced words when writing about the faith. He wrote clearly, brilliantly and quite often harshly against those who undermined the Church and the society upon which it was built. But this rebuke of bishops is nevertheless extraordinary, as so many in his own day were shamefully and cowardly betraying the bishop of Rome and the Church of Christ in favor of worldly prestige and to placate the unhinged King Henry VIII. There were notable exceptions like Cardinal John Fisher who, like More, would pay the ultimate price and gain the ultimate crown as a result of his loyalty to Christ and to His Church. But England was lost, in large part because of the conspicuous failure of the bishops of the day to lead the faithful.

One must ask: Did the USCCB get the memo? With notable exceptions (and there are some excellent bishops who truly shine), so many American bishops are neglecting to fearlessly lead by example, and as a result, the faithful are left confused or indifferent as to how seriously the Church actually believes what it preaches. How many prominent Catholics routinely and without reservation flout the Church's teaching on life and the family, all the while boasting of their Catholicism, and thereby give grave scandal? I've lost count, to be frank. And what do the bishops do when faced with this kind of disobedience? Pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Sure, a statement may be issued to "clarify" what the Church teaches (as though we can't simply read the Catechism for ourselves) but then, life goes on as though everything is just fine in Catholic world. Anyone who urges more definitive action (usually devout laymen) is summarily and condescendingly dismissed as radical or divisive.

The "new normal" is a popular catchphrase today to describe the bad economy and high cost of living. Well, the "new normal" in the Church in the United States is, unfortunately, what I'm describing here. It's maddening, but it's deeply comforting to know that Saint Thomas More perceived this centuries ago, and answered it with prayer, personal sanctity, and a pen. He felt the same frustration as a layman that so many of us feel in the Church, a Church he loved and for which he gave everything.

Saint Thomas More, pray for us.

The Missing President

From FoxNews:
A conflict approaching civil war in Libya. An end-times tsunami in Japan. A Congress that can't reach a budget.
And ... gender inequality?

The topic of President Obama's weekend radio address has raised some eyebrows, as Obama has met mounting crises with the same restraint and cool that characterized his slow-and-steady campaign for president. To some critics, the tone set by the White House in light of recent upheaval may hurt the president's public image.

Amid chaos around the world and on Capitol Hill, Obama's Saturday radio address was devoted to Women's History Month and a call to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a proposal meant to address the income gap between men and women. Then, the president went golfing at Andrews Air Force Base.


John Bolton offers a characteristically sobering report on Obama's murky position regarding Libya. From The Daily:
Momentum in Libya’s civil war has recently shifted to Moammar Gadhafi, although the final outcome remains uncertain. Nonetheless, President Obama’s indecisiveness has unquestionably limited American options, making almost any potential intervention riskier and less likely to succeed. His preferred course, yet again, has consisted of rhetoric combined with studied inaction. This may meet the White House objective of “No Drama Obama,” but it does not constitute a foreign policy.

Shades of Red

Michael Moore weighed in on the public-sector union controversy in Madison, and it was not at all surprising which side he cozied up to. So what does he really believe? Here's an interesting take.

From The Daily Caller:
Donald Trump’s off-the-cuff remark labeling activist filmmaker Michael Moore as a “communist” during an appearance on Fox News earlier this month may not be too far off, according to observers and documentation.

The Donald made the comment responding to an accusation from Moore that Wisconsin and the rest of the nation were not broke because the wealthy were not fairly distributing their money.

“This is like in other words: ‘Everybody’s cash is everybody’s cash’. It’s sort of interesting. Castro in the good old days used to say the exact same thing, right?” Trump asked.

Evidence shows Moore has a long history of pro-communist sympathies dating back to at least 1986 when he was fired from Mother Jones magazine for refusing to publish an article by Paul Berman that was critical of the communist Sandinistas’ human rights record.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Walker Fires Back

A good interview with Governor Scott Walker:

Just what were they thinking?

From CBSNews:
(AP) LOS ANGELES - Pilots on an Alaska Airlines flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles locked down the cockpit and alerted authorities Sunday when a flight crew grew alarmed at the behavior of three men who turned out to be conducting an elaborate orthodox Jewish prayer ritual, officials said.

The men, all Mexican nationals, began the ritual that involves tying leather straps and small wooden boxes to the body, and the crew of Flight 241 alerted the cockpit, airline spokeswoman Bobbie Egan said.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


From FoxNews:
The baby who was hours from being pulled off life support at his Canadian hospital has been rescued by the national director of Priests For Life.

Joseph Maraachli, 13 months old, who is currently kept alive by a respirator and was recently denied a transfer to a Michigan hospital to undergo a tracheotomy, is en route tonight to the U.S. with Fr. Frank Pavone.

Maraachli will be taken to a hospital that specializes in caring for children.

Friday, March 11, 2011

First in Photography?

New insights on Caravaggio, from the Telegraph:
The exhibition, in Rome's Palazzo Venezia, focuses on three great Caravaggio works – the Martyrdom of St. Matthew, the Calling of St. Matthew and St. Matthew and the Angel.

It supports a theory first put forward by the British artist David Hockney that the Renaissance artist used a primitive form of photography to create his paintings.

Oh, to be able to go to this exhibit!

Walker on MSNBC

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The Significance of Walker's Win

A good take on the victory in Madison, from The Wall Street Journal:
The collective bargaining reforms also mean that this won't merely be a one-time budget victory. Government unions know that financial concessions (and layoffs) they agree to during recessions are typically won back when tax revenues increase and the public stops paying attention. They merely need to elect a friendly governor. Mr. Walker's reforms change the balance of negotiating power in ways that give taxpayers more protection.

Unions can still bargain for wages, but annual increases can't exceed the rate of inflation. Unions will also have to be certified each year, which will give their dues-paying members a chance to revisit their decision to unionize. No longer will it be one worker, one vote, once. Perhaps most important, the state will no longer collect those dues automatically and give them to the union to spend almost entirely on politics. The unions will have to collect those dues themselves.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thoughts on the Hearing

Just a few observations on the congressional hearing today on the radicalization of Muslims in America: I was able to listen to a good portion of the hearing today, and to be frank, I was totally put off by the cantankerous moralizing of the Democrats sitting on the house committee, a distasteful trait they have perfected over the years. Time and again, Democrats sanctimoniously positioned themselves as the only true defenders of tolerance, diversity and of American Muslims (this, before a panel of American Muslims who completely disagreed with their take on Muslim radicalization in America!). It was a hilarious and somewhat maddening spectacle, as a Democrat, say Sheila Jackson-Lee, would, characteristically wave the flag of race, and the prospect of racism and bigotry, while calm, reasoned Muslims sitting in front of her contradicted everything she said. (Actually, she used practically all of her question time pontificating in almost incoherent babble, until the gavel of the chairman mercifully ended the diatribe, but I digress. It's Jackson-Lee, par for the course.)

It was however deeply frustrating to observe once more how Democrats operate when engaged in a debate they cannot win, so casually and recklessly firing off charges or insinuations of racism and bigotry. It's as though they collectively revert to the mentality of pouting grade-schoolers. It was not surprising, yet sad, to see the race card played over and over and over. The difference here was that the panel sitting before them was almost entirely composed of minorities, so their race antics lacked the adhesive quality they might have otherwise had. Another one of their tactics of choice was on full display as well, as they routinely accused Republicans of "demonizing" an entire group of people in the mold of Senator McCarthy. (Democrats crying "McCarthy!"... that never happens, right?) If anyone was actually listening to what Republicans were saying however, this was clearly a specious charge bordering on the insane, not to mention slanderous. In fact, Republicans went out of their way to defend law-abiding Muslims, and to praise the majority of Muslims who do not share the views of the radicals. But, predictably, this didn't matter in the least to the Democrats on the committee, who were probably too busy tweeting one another about who among them loves Barack Obama the most. For, as soon as the next Democrat had the chance to unload his staff-prepared remarks, the script went unaltered. It's right out of the old playbook, so hackneyed, so predictable, and so contemptible. It's as though no one on that side was paying any attention whatsoever to what the Republicans, or the Muslims on the panel were actually saying. It was almost surreal. When one Democrat quoted Barack Obama as though he were a prophet from the Old Testament (that's pretty much how they see the man after all), I almost turned off the live stream. It was that bad on the Democratic side of the committee.

That said, whether it's the union-inspired pandemonium in Madison, or haughty congressmen playing for the cameras in Washington, some Democrats, as though congenitally, cannot shake the habit of alleging that the opposition, namely the Republicans, are attempting to "demonize" someone. It is they however, the Democrats, who are guilty of demonizing, of ad hominem attacks, of generalizing and stereotyping. By their childish behavior, for which they should be embarrassed, but are not, they presented themselves today as paragons of the very people they warn against until they're blue in the face, who according to them, solely occupy the quarters of the right.

A bright spot: I was very impressed by the testimony of the panel, in particular that of Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He was calm, articulate, extremely informative on the issue at hand and, to top it off, he handled the condescending haranguing from the Democrats with admirable flair and icy disdain, as he threw it right back at 'em with the eloquence and level-headedness that they so conspicuously lacked. He raised concerns that most Americans, I believe, share regarding the radicalization of Muslims within our borders, and he offered ideas on what to do about it.

However, as the hearing made demonstrably clear, it will be very difficult to proceed with this discussion so long as political correctness seeps into the conversation.

How Low They Will Go?

A must-read from National Review Online on the shameless political theatre on full display at today's hearing on the radicalization of American Muslims.

King's Hearings

This is how CNN introduced the congressional hearings that began today to explore the threat posed by radical Muslims within the United States:
Washington (CNN) -- Hearings on the alleged radicalization of Muslim Americans are neither "radical or un-American," congressman Peter King said in opening the controversial House Homeland Security Committee session Thursday.

King, a Republican from New York, said recruiting young American Muslims is part of al Qaeda's strategy to continue attacking the United States and called on Americans to reject The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a prominent Muslim American advocacy group in the United States.

What is "alleged" about the radicalization of Muslim Americans? It's happening every day! I know legalese urges caution when assigning guilt or when making formal declarations about blame, but this is getting ridiculous. On that point, read more from Representative Peter King HERE.

Walker's Apologia

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker offers an excellent defense for his agenda in Madison regarding collective bargaining for public-sector unions.

A must-read, from The Wall Street Journal:
While it might be a bold political move, the changes are modest. We ask government workers to make a 5.8% contribution to their pensions and a 12.6% contribution to their health-insurance premium, both of which are well below what other workers pay for benefits. Our plan calls for Wisconsin state workers to contribute half of what federal employees pay for their health-insurance premiums. (It's also worth noting that most federal workers don't have collective bargaining for wages and benefits.)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Closing the Deal in Madison

It's about time the Republicans in WI did this. It has incited the rancor of the fiercest liberalism, as the Democratic Party's power will be severely hampered with the removal of collective bargaining, but so be it.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Madison — The Senate - without Democrats present - abruptly voted Wednesday to eliminate almost all collective bargaining for most public workers.

The bill, which has sparked unprecedented protests and drawn international attention, now heads to the Assembly, which is to take it up at 11 a.m. Thursday. The Assembly, which like the Senate is controlled by Republicans, passed an almost identical version of the bill Feb. 25.

The new version passed the Senate 18-1 Wednesday night, with Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) casting the no vote. There was no debate

It's About Time

Congress holds hundreds of hearings each year — and most generate more yawns than fireworks.

But the plan to hold hearings on the danger posed by radical Islam in the United States has inspired protest, counterprotest, debate, editorials, petitions and even pray-ins, before the first witness takes the stand.

The goal of the hearings, the first of which is being held Thursday, is "to establish and show the American people that there is a real threat of al-Qaida recruiting and of homegrown terrorists being self-radicalized within the Muslim community," according to Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the new chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.

Why is this controversial? Only in the surreal, p.c. Obama universe is something like a "hearing on the danger posed by radical Islam in the United States"- something that should be so obviously necessary, given the numerous incidents of attacks perpetrated by Muslims- taboo. My question is, what took this hearing so long to begin with?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

That $105 Billion, Explained

Bachman certainly is a live wire, and you have to admire her tenacity.

Paul Ryan Holds Class

Simply brilliant.

Debt's Toll on America

From Yahoo! Finance: (Click on the "clip" in the excerpt to learn more)
Debt, debt and more mounting debt is plaguing countries around the globe.

In this U.S., states across the country face a collective $125 billion shortfall for fiscal 2012, while Congress is facing a budget gap nearly 10 times that size.

PIMCO founder Bill Gross -- one of the world's largest mutual funds managers, who focuses mostly on bonds -- has previously said that if the United States were a corporation, no one in their right mind would lend us money. For the last decade, we’ve been “relying on the kindness of strangers” to help cover our debts, he tells Aaron Task in the accompanying clip.

Surreal Moment (again) in Washington

Actor/activist Ben Affleck pitched his aid-to-Congo appeal before a human rights subcommittee in Congress today. I'm sure his intentions are solid, but come on! Now, maybe it's the glass or two of wine talking, but really, is this what passes for serious geopolitical analysis in our nation's capital today? I would have thought things would be different under a Republican House, i.e., that the wave of uber-rich celebrities marching into Congress to ensorcell captivated politicians with their latest save the world ideas and tedious lectures would take a back seat to our actual priorities as a nation, and that the coquettish back and forth between Washington and Hollywood would be tempered somewhat by a sobering realism. Oh well...What do they say about old habits?


From ABCNews:
National Public Radio is finding itself in the spotlight once again after a hidden camera video today emerged of former executive Ron Schiller blasting Republicans and the Tea Party in a meeting with two members of a fictitious Muslim group.

Schiller, then-president of the NPR Foundation and senior vice president for development, calls the Tea Party "xenophobic," "seriously racist people," who are "fanatically involved in people's personal lives."

Political Correctness Besieges the Military

From the Navy Times
WASHINGTON — The U.S. military is too white and too male at the top and needs to change recruiting and promotion policies and lift its ban on women in combat, an independent report for Congress said Monday.

Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008.

One barrier that keeps women from the highest ranks is their inability to serve in combat units. Promotion and job opportunities have favored those with battlefield leadership credentials.

The report ordered by Congress in 2009 calls for greater diversity in the military’s leadership so it will better reflect the racial, ethnic and gender mix in the armed forces and in American society.

Who is selected to prepare this "independent report?" It would be interesting to see. What role does "diversity" have in fighting and winning wars? Black, white, whatever, as long as he can fight to win. But as for women in combat, not a good idea. The reasons should be obvious to anyone.

When will it end? November 2012? One can only hope.

Monday, March 07, 2011

On Things Abroad

As ever, John Bolton offers his brilliant observations on international affairs, and the current administration's dismal record. Appearing in the New York Daily News:
As Libya's bloody conflict rages on, important lessons for U.S. foreign policy are emerging from the past month's Middle East turmoil. Starting with Tunisia, the Obama administration has seemed repeatedly surprised by anti-regime demonstrations, unsure of the stakes for America and its allies and unprepared conceptually and operationally to deal with the consequences.

The REAL Jesus

Father Robert Barron, from the Archdiocese of Chicago, wrote an eloquent piece appearing on CNN to debunk the "Jesus was a nice guy, maybe even a philosopher, but he certainly wasn't divine," crowd of "Christians" (also known in faculty lounges as "historical Jesus" scholars). Such "biblical scholars" have an ax to grind against traditional Christianity and are more interested in advancing a political agenda, while they ignore glaring, conspicuous passages in the Gospels (and in Paul's Letters, and elsewhere) that unequivocally state that Christ is God and further, that He rose from the dead.
When the first Christians proclaimed the Gospel, they didn’t say a word about Jesus’ preaching; what they talked about was his resurrection from the dead. Look through all of Paul’s letters, and you’ll find a few words about Jesus’ “philosophy,” but you’ll find, constantly, almost obsessively, reiterated the claim that God raised Jesus from death.

The great New Testament scholar N.T. Wright points out, moreover, that the very emergence of Christianity as a messianic movement is practically unintelligible, on historical grounds, apart from the reality of the resurrection.

Read the rest of this great piece HERE.

WSJ: Obamacare "Mayhem" Abounds

Excerpts from an excellent piece from The Wall Street Journal:
Last year, President Obama gave Congress an arbitrary deadline to pass his health-care takeover legislation before the Easter recess at the end of March. This forced lawmakers to hurry their votes on a deeply flawed bill that very few of them had read. Worse, many made false promises to secure final passage.

We're already seeing ObamaCare's madness in its first year of implementation, which is why the American people continue to call for defunding, repealing and replacing it with more sensible reforms. Here are a few examples of the mayhem. ...

Read the rest HERE.

Meet the Priest of The Rite

There are some difficult and disturbing scenes in this clip dealing with exorcism, but it is certainly fascinating and something to be aware of.

Taking Aim at the Court

From Politico:
Still reeling from a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to an explosion of political ads from corporate interests, and fearful the court could overturn President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, liberal groups have launched an aggressive – and at times personal – attack on the court’s most conservative justices.

I'm telling you, the left, not least among them the president himself, is terrified of the Roberts Court, and with good reason.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

$105 Billion Already Appropriated for Obamacare

"Legislative Fraud"

On Cohabitation

Here's an excerpt from an article by Rob McNiff, writing for Relevant Magazine, on the many problems associated with cohabitation.
For those who marry first, the decision to give lifelong care and love to one's partner comes before the pleasures of married life, including sexual intimacy. The couple promises, in effect, not to seek the gratification of their strongest desires from one another until they commit to a life of mutual service and faithfulness.

Postponing intimate life becomes a way for the couple to express their devotion to one another. From the outset, commitment to the well-being of one's partner is given priority over personal satisfaction. The couple who marries first understands that devotion does not stem from the joys of intimate living, but serves as the foundation for those joys.

The couple who lives together before marriage proceeds from opposite direction. For them, the pleasures of intimate life are not a reward for devotion but serve, supposedly, as the basis for commitment. They measure their “compatibility” and, if satisfied, base their commitment to one another on the pleasure they extract from the cohabitation arrangement. Their courtship focuses not on learning commitment, but rather on critiquing and evaluating their union and their partners, measuring the costs and benefits of the relationship.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Rising to the Occasion

The Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) announced the first step that will allow the House of Representatives to be party to the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"I will convene a meeting of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group for the purpose of initiating action by the House to defend this law of the United States," Boehner said in a statement.

This comes after the Justice Department announced last week that they would no longer uphold the constitutionality of DOMA in court but "work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation."

Say what you want about the Republicans, but when it comes to the big issues, they're on the right side.

Nancy Pelosi, the arch-liberal Catholic who champions abortion and so many other societal toxins, isn't at all pleased with Boehner.
"Aside from standing up for a discriminatory law and failing to focus on jobs and the economy, this action places Republicans squarely on the wrong side of history and progress," Pelosi said in a statement in response.

When will the Church leadership in this country (i.e., her bishop in San Fran.) do something concrete to censure this scandalous woman?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

What so many of us are thinking

He knows how things should be in the Church

Thank God for Cardinal Raymond Burke L. Burke! From Catholic News Service:
ROME (CNS) -- A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass in many parts of the world can be traced to Masses that are not reverent and don't follow church rules, said two Vatican officials and a consultant.

"If we err by thinking we are the center of the liturgy, the Mass will lead to a loss of faith," said U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, head of the Vatican's supreme court. ...

Unfortunately, he said, too many priests and bishops treat violations of liturgical norms as something that is unimportant when, in fact, they are "serious abuses."

Seriously, how many of our bishops in the United States speak out like this? Far too few, I'm afraid. Maybe at least they'll start listening.

The Truth of the Matter

A scene from Madison, as a union protester takes a break.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Largest unions pay leaders well, give extensively to Democrats

Union treasuries - filled by dues paid by union members - not only fund programs benefiting union members and their families. The money they collect also pays six-figure compensation packages for labor leaders and provides millions of dollars for Democratic causes and candidates.

And that last sentence is the sole reason the left is in conniptions over Governor Walker's plans to weaken, just a bit, the power of public-sector unions.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Killed for Being Christian in Pakistan

Here's a clip from an interview with Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian cabinet minister in Pakistan, who was just murdered by fanatics for being a Christian. He opposed the tyrannical blasphemy law in that country; he was well aware of the danger that was closing in on him, as the interview shows, and yet he stood firm. May he rest in peace.

"I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ who has given His own life for us. I know what is the meaning of the cross."

It's something. A few posts down, I took note of how, in England, arrogant judges are determining that Christianity really has no part to play in contemporary British society, in effect, declaring it irrelevant, antiquated, null and void. And then there's this report coming out of Pakistan where outspoken Christians are being targeted one by one for elimination. These are trying times, indeed. Where is Christianity safe anymore?

Another Attack

From ABC News
A gunman shouting "Allah Akbar" opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. airmen in Frankfurt, Germany, killing two and wounding two others before his gun jammed and he was subdued, officials said.

An ethnic Albanian from Kosovo was taken into custody and the FBI was heading an investigation because U.S. citizens were killed and to determine whether the shooting was an act of terrorism. ...

When he opened fire, the gunman shouted "Allah Akbar," according to sources. He fired nine times, killling two and critically wounding two others before the gun jammed and he was subdued by other passengers. While being wrestled into submission, the suspect shouted either "Jihad Jihad" or "Allah Akbar," sources said.

Not hard to figure that out, in my view. Sickening.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Veronica's Veil

I am currently reading a truly fascinating book by Paul Badde, a well-known journalist and historian in Europe, called The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus. From the publisher:
In The Face of God: The Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus, Paul Badde reports in tantalizing detail on his exciting quest to discover the truth behind a rare cloth, housed in small church in the remote village of Manoppello, Italy. Better known as the Holy Face of Manoppello, this is a relic recently rediscovered and rumored to be "Veronica's Veil" — a cloth used to wipe the face of Jesus as he carried his cross on the way to Golgotha and His crucifixion.

Badde's research and reports on the Holy Face of Manoppello prompted a 2006 visit to the relic by Pope Benedict XVI — in spite of counsel against it by others in the Vatican. He compiles and expands on those dispatches in The Face of God.

One of the many (and I mean many) impossible to ignore revelations from Badde's research is that the image from the veil of Manoppello and the image from the Shroud of Turin match exactly. The book is well worth the attention of Catholics as we approach Lent.