Sunday, July 31, 2011

Holy Communion with "an Exclamation Point"

How he received

For the past several months, I have occasionally turned to one of the Holy Father's recent books, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times. This short book is billed as "a conversation with Peter Seewald," a well-known journalist who has, over the years, conducted a series of thoughtful interviews with the current Pope. The question-and-answer format of the book and the Holy Father's fascinating observations on a wide rage of topics all make for quick reading, but it is also ideal for a prolonged, leisurely period of ingestion. It is a gem that the reader can pick up and put down again over the course of many weeks and months.

One of the questions put to the Holy Father by Seewald deals with a directive issued by the Pope that Holy Communion is to be received on the tongue in Saint Peter's Basilica. The Holy Father's answer is insightful and worth a citation.
I am not opposed in principle to communion in the hand; I have both administered and received communion in this way myself. The idea behind my current practice of having people kneel to receive communion on the tongue was to send a signal and to underscore the real presence with an exclamation point. One very important reason is that there is a great danger of superficiality precisely in the kinds of mass events we hold at Saint Peter's, both in the Basilica and in the Square. I have heard of people who, after receiving communion, stick the Host in their wallet to take home as a kind of souvenir. In this context, where people think that everyone is just automatically supposed to receive communion-everyone else is going up, so I will, too-I wanted to send a clear signal. I wanted it to be clear: Something quite special is going on here! He is here, the One before whom we fall on our knees! Pay attention! This is not just some social ritual in which we can take part if we want to.

I thought these observations were noteworthy for several reasons.

As an aside, I am always somewhat surprised by the negative reaction some have to the growing movement, especially among younger Catholics, to receive on the tongue. I once was told by a priest friend how, during a high-profile mass, another priest concelebrating next to him voiced his displeasure that so many (if not all) of the seminarians were receiving on the tongue. Heaven forbid! I suppose that when someone who is attached to a vision of how things "should" be observes things slipping away, frustration and condescension are the natural result.

The problems that the Holy Father detected at Saint Peter's Basilica, with regard to unintentional (and sadly, intentional) abuses of the Blessed Sacrament, are not limited to the walls of Michelangelo's basilica or the colonnades of Bernini's piazza. The serious reality of sacrilege against the Eucharist exists everywhere.

It is one thing for Catholics who actually believe in the Real Presence to receive in the hand. The problem, as I see it, is when non-Catholics and Catholics who do not believe in the Real Presence (for whatever reason) approach communion. They observe believing Catholics receive in the hand, and, as a result, it becomes much easier for them to simply get in line and expect to receive, no questions asked. Obviously, receiving/taking in the hand is a more casual, routine way of doing day-to-day business. A static frame of mind accustomed to holding out the hand and taking is jolted a bit when asked to kneel and to receive on the tongue. "Something quite special is going on here!" No, this isn't just business as usual.

I noticed this just the other day at mass. Two young ladies, twenty-somethings, were seated a couple of pews in front of me. It was obvious that one was not in the know, in terms of knowing what to do during mass. Sit, stand, kneel? Glance about conspicuously to see what everyone else is doing to figure it out, right? Then came time for communion. Both ladies got in line, the non-Catholic was behind the Catholic and, as usual, many of the regulars at mass received in the hand, the non-Catholic observed this and so, when her time came, she simply put out her hand in a clumsy way and took the Host. Thankfully, the priest asked her pointedly, "Are you Catholic?" She was a bit stunned and offered an awkward smile. How dare anyone question her 'right' to receive! He commanded her to put the Host in her mouth, which I think she did. As she and her friend settled back in their pew, I could see the Catholic giving the still-shocked friend instructions on how to properly receive in the hand, perhaps for the next time. You know, one hand under the other, and so on. The point of this anecdote is that the non-Catholic, by observing the faithful receive in the hand, felt much more confident and comfortable to receive the Host in her own hand. It very well could have been the vigilance of the priest that prevented her from walking off with and pocketing the Blessed Sacrament. Many, if not all of these kinds of incidents, which surely happen regularly, would be completely avoided if, following the Holy Father's example, receiving on the tongue was more widely encouraged. Let's say that someone who should not receive, a non-believer, a Satanist, whatever, is determined to receive communion. If receiving on the tongue is the norm at a parish, it goes without saying that it is extremely difficult to remove a thin Host from a moist tongue. The probability of further abuse is greatly mitigated.

(One of the worst cases I heard took place at a local Catholic high school. A friend visiting the school for the day watched in utter shock as a girl carelessly dropped the Host, while another gum-chewing teen stopped the Host from rolling away by putting out her foot and stepping on the Blessed Sacrament! This disgrace would have been averted had the students been accustomed to receiving on the tongue.)

Back to the Holy Father's remarks. I think it is noteworthy that Pope Benedict XVI says, "I am not opposed in principle to communion in the hand..." and then goes on to limn the abuses and misconceptions that have germinated in the communion in the hand era. His decision for communion on the tongue at Saint Peter's Basilica was based on the reality of the problems that had become ubiquitous over the years, and his desire to reorient people's frame of mind as they approach the Blessed Sacrament. Since many of the problems discussed by the Holy Father are not limited to Rome, perhaps a similar approach should be embraced by the leadership of the Church in the United States.

Anticipating 2012: Courting Ryan


I don't always agree with William Kristol, but he hits the bull's-eye with this piece in The Weekly Standard:
Paul Ryan can’t accomplish much over the next year in the House. He should run as a candidate who’s shown leadership (the Ryan budget), who has successfully taken on Obama (at the House Republican retreat, the health care summit, and in the White House about two months ago), and who has the best chance of uniting the establishment and Tea Party wings of the GOP. If not Ryan, how about Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, or someone else who is young, sane, and unafraid?

It’s one thing for House Republicans to go through an awkward patch. It would be another thing entirely to fumble away the 2012 presidential election.

Each of the aforementioned individuals would be a very strong candidate, and how frustrating that none are expressing even the slightest interest in running! At the very least, one of them should appear on the ticket with the eventual nominee.

Few are better at the art of delivery than Gov. Christie

Saturday, July 30, 2011

To Do in St. Louis

CNN's travel section featured a nice rundown of things to do during a visit to Saint Louis.

Phony 'Cuts'

Andrew McCarthy launches devastating salvos against Speaker Boehner's debt plan in this National Review Online piece. Senator Rand Paul made the same objections last week. The most objectionable part of this plan is the chicanery regarding the so-called "cuts" which, as McCarthy points out below, are not real cuts at all, but merely a slowdown in the rate of increase. It borders on the insulting to make the claim that cuts are actually taking place. If you're lost, the first thing you want to do is stop going down the wrong road and then find the correct way forward. The one thing you do not do is pursue the same incorrect path, only at a slower pace! Sadly, that seems to be the rule of thumb behind the Boehner plan, simply easing up on the bad medicine, not a clean break from it. As a conservative, it is impossible to disagree with these objections and it is easy to understand why a vote against the Boehner plan is the correct course of action for the genuine conservative. When it comes to facing the reality of the makeup of the federal government however, i.e., that the Republicans control one-half of the Congress while the Democrats control the rest, pragmatism cannot always be scuttled for purity. It presents a difficult situation for Republicans, and underscores why the next election will be pivotal.

Here's an excerpt from McCarthy's piece:
House Speaker John Boehner has a plan that he touts as slashing about $900 billion in government spending — shy of his original claim, only two days earlier, that cuts would amount to $1.2 trillion. It’s nonsense, of course. In Washington, unlike the rest of the known universe, a “cut” is a reduction in the rate of increase. There are never real cuts. In reality, Speaker Boehner’s plan would add $9.1 trillion to the national debt. It is a “cut” only in the sense that the Obama Democrats have rigged matters so that, if nothing changes, autopilot would add $10 trillion.

You could call this a cruel joke on a country that is already well over $14 trillion in debt — a country in which every newly born child opens his eyes as a debtor, well over $30,000 in the hole. But that would be premature, because I haven’t gotten to the punchline yet. The reason Speaker Boehner and the Republican establishment have suddenly stirred themselves to “cut” spending is their determination to keep the Ponzi scheme going. The “cuts” — less than $100 billion of which are real (the rest are consigned to the illusory “out years,” meaning they’re the responsibility of some future Congress) — are to be made in exchange for giving the government the authority to borrow another $2.5 trillion.

Friday, July 29, 2011


George Weigel has written a good piece for National Review on the growing trend of unabashedly anti-Catholic flare-ups in nations that were once considered safe havens for the Church. It's well worth a read. Here's an excerpt.
Sixty years into the 20th century, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Quebec were among the most intensely Catholic nations on the planet. Fifty years later, Quebec is the most religiously arid space between Point Barrow and Tierra del Fuego; Portuguese Catholicism, outside the pilgrimage shrine of Fatima, is hardly robust; Spain has the most self-consciously secularist government in Europe; and Ireland has now become the epicenter of European anti-Catholicism. What happened?

Perhaps some comparative history and sociology suggest an answer. In each of these cases, the state, through the agency of an authoritarian government, deliberately delayed the nation’s confrontation with modernity. In each of these cases, the Catholic Church was closely allied to state power (or, in the case of Quebec, to the power of the dominant Liberal party). In each of these cases, Catholic intellectual life withered, largely untouched by the mid-20th-century Catholic renaissance in biblical, historical, philosophical, and theological studies that paved the way toward the Second Vatican Council.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


A short, informative video on the gold standard and our departure from it.

Philip Found?

Saint Philip, Apostle and Martyr

A remarkable story to follow, from FoxNews:
HIERAPOLIS, Turkey – A tomb believed to be that of St. Philip the Apostle was unearthed during excavations in the ancient Turkish city of Hierapolis.

Italian professor Francesco D'Andria said archeologists found the tomb of the biblical figure -- one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus -- while working on the ruins of a newly-unearthed church, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported Wednesday.

"We have been looking for Saint Philip's tomb for years," d'Andria told the agency. "We finally found it in the ruins of a church which we excavated a month ago."

The structure of the tomb and the writings on the wall proved it belonged to St. Philip, he added.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wake-up Call

Here is a powerful excerpt from an address given by Robert Cardinal Sarah to ordinands of the Community of Saint Martin:
In effect, we live in a world where God is more and more absent and where we don’t know our values are and we don’t know our landmarks. We no longer have common moral reference points. We no longer know what is evil and what is good. There are a mulitude of points of view. Today, we call white what we once called black, and vice versa. What is serious, and make no mistake about it, is the transformation of error into a rule of life. ...

If we have fear of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, if we are ashamed of denouncing grave deviations in the area of morality, if we accomodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to energetically denounce the abominable laws regarding the new global ethos, regarding marriage, the family in all of its forms, abortion, laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and that the western nations and cultures are promoting and imposing thanks to the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezechiel will fall on us as a grave divine reproach. “Son of man, prophetize against the pastors of Israel to pastor themselves. Should not the pastors feed the flock? You have been fed with milk, you have dressed yourselves with wool. You have not strengthened the weak lambs, cared for those who were sick, healed those who were injured. You have not restored those who have strayed, searched for those who were lost. But you have governed them with violence and hardness.” (Ez. 34: 2-4)

Monday, July 25, 2011


Read Pope Benedict's reflections on Saint James the Greater, apostle, martyr, and Patron Saint of Spain, whose Solemnity we commemorate today.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

'Don't Ask' Chicanery

From LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 22, 2011 ( - An explosive document from the U.S. military’s top investigative office has revealed evidence that a Pentagon survey pivotal to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal was engineered months prior to its release, and deliberately skewed in later media leaks, to sway Congress towards repeal despite opposition from combat troops.

An unredacted version of the April 2011 report by the Defense department’s Inspector General was leaked to the conservative Center for Military Readiness, and a slightly redacted version was confirmed as authentic by a Defense spokesperson to

The authors found that Jeh Johnson, a co-chair of the commission handling the survey, had breached the document’s non-disclosure agreements by discussing an early draft of the document with “a former news anchor” and “close personal friend” on or around July 4, 2010. The purpose of the meeting, almost six months before the survey’s official end, was to obtain “suggestions for persuasive writing” in addition to syntax and sentence structure, according to investigators.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Refuting the "Tax Cuts for the Rich" Canard

Writing for Investor's Business Daily, economist Thomas Sowell puts forth a brilliant three-part series of articles refuting the all-too-common line of attack from the left regarding Republican plans to give "tax cuts for the rich".
Another consequence was that people in higher-income brackets paid not only a larger total amount of taxes, but a higher percentage of all taxes, after what were called "tax cuts for the rich." It was not simply that their incomes rose, but that this was not taxable income, since the lower tax rates made it profitable to get higher returns outside of tax shelters.

The facts are unmistakably plain, for those who bother to check the facts. In 1921, when the tax rate on people making over $100,000 a year was 73%, the federal government collected a little over $700 million in income taxes, of which 30% was paid by those making over $100,000.

Revenue spiked as tax rates were slashed.

Class Act Diamondback

What a great kid. Enjoy!

On the Mass

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki offers a clear, back-to-basics meditation on the new translation of the liturgy. This is welcome news to come across because I often get the impression that many well-intentioned lay Catholics are simply unaware of what liturgy actually is. Catholic liturgical culture in America has been heavily diluted by Protestant terminology, even theology, not to mention the soft-sofa, new age spirituality/psychobabble most conspicuously embodied and pushed by Oprah. The result of this assault has been a sad and widespread undermining in belief in the Real Presence and a loss of our authentic Catholic culture and identity.

Here are some choice excerpts from Archbishop Listecki's piece, from the Catholic Herald:
The new translation gives us an opportunity to think and reflect about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our Sunday worship is the central act of worship of the Catholic Church. It is the highest form of prayer. There is nothing more important in our lives than worship. When we worship God, we acknowledge he has supreme dominion over our lives. ...

When a priest celebrates Mass, he is at one with his ordained calling. At Mass, the priest offers the unbloody sacrifice of Christ on Calvary for our good and the good of the whole world. Christ is freely offering himself to the Father as an appeasement for our sins and the sins of all. Hopefully, this will be an opportunity for the priest himself to deepen his personal relationship with the Holy Sacrifice and enhance his role as leader of the community in prayer. ...

The Mass is also a sacred banquet at which we receive his Body and Blood, the heavenly food. I recently heard a TV talk show host and his panel member openly mock the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They both were former Catholics who obviously never understood the nature of the sacrament or integrated that reality into their faith lives. Their mocking anger was a demonstration that their faith was weak and their lives were based in a rejection of “mystery.” How sad! ...

How do we approach the second person of the Blessed Trinity who comes to us under the form of bread and wine? Of course we should approach with profound reverence. What the General Instruction recommends is a bow before reception. I have noticed that only about a third of those who are receiving Communion bow before reception. I do not attribute any disrespect, but it is a missed opportunity by some to acknowledge the reality of Christ’s presence and to witness that reality to others.

Sen. Rand Paul: Take Default Off the Table

A good interview:

Turkish Oppression

From the AFP:
A US congressional committee on Wednesday urged Turkey to ensure religious freedom and return church properties to their "rightful owners" in a vote opposed by the Ankara government.

After a spirited debate, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a text that says Turkey should "end all forms of religious discrimination" and "return to their rightful owners" all churches and other Christian historic sites.

"Religious minorities are under grave threat in today's Turkey," said Representative Ed Royce, a Republican from California.
"Rather than enjoying protection, very vulnerable religious minority groups including the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church are denied full legal status," he said.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Fruits of Obamacare

Stories like this one, from ABCNews, serve to underscore how urgently Obamacare needs to be repealed:
A report released today and requested by the government recommends that the “full range” of birth control methods, including the “morning after pill” known as Plan B, and oral contraceptives, should be offered to “all women with reproductive capacity” at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.

The Department of Health and Human Services requested the study to determine which preventative services are vital to women’s health and well-being and should be added to the co-pay free list.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will make a decision by Aug. 1 on whether or not to include the recommendations. They would go into effect one year after Sebelius makes her decision.

“This report is historic,” Sebelius said in a statement today. “Before today, guidelines regarding women’s health and preventive care did not exist.” ...

The Family Research Council, a Christian advocacy group, said including Plan B in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance coverage “essentially would mandate coverage for abortion.”

“If HHS includes these mandates, the conscience rights of millions of Americans will be violated,” Jeanne Monahan, the director of the council’s Center for Human Dignity, said in a statement. “HHS should focus on items and services that prevent actual diseases, and not include controversial services just to placate the abortion industry.”

Getting to Know Him

Archbishop Charles Chaput

John Allen conducted a thorough interview with the next archbishop of Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput, for the National Catholic Reporter. Given the significance of the appointment, it is well-worth a look.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Get 'em while they're young

This is pretty bizarre, another sign of where things are headed. Of course, we're all supposed to laugh and think it's cute. From ABCNews:
For generations the view has held strong that while girls must dress in pink to be girls, boys can't do anything with pink, lest they turn into girls.

It's the view that's determined the color scheme in many a kids' bedroom, clothes and toy closets, and that has held strong through decades of change.

But, in today's 21st century world, is that view changing?

Take Gregory Jobson-Larkin's 6-year-old son, James, for instance.

"James' wardrobe choices are pink, purple and chartreuse," Jobson-Larkin, of New York City, told "Good Morning America" of the colors his son reaches for. "And he does have a pink pair of cowboy boots."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rubio Rolls

Marco Rubio takes Bob Schieffer to the woodshed. A Ryan-Rubio ticket somewhere down the road?


Debt Talk Nonsense

Here's an excerpt from a great piece by Mark Steyn, writing for National Review Online, in which he discusses the sheer insanity of these debt negotiations:
When the 44th president took office, he made a decision that it was time for the already unsustainable levels of government spending finally to break the bounds of reality and frolic and gambol in the magical fairy kingdom of Spendaholica: This year, the federal government borrows 43 cents of every dollar it spends, a ratio that is unprecedented. Barack Obama would like this to be, as they say, “the new normal” — at least until that 43 cents creeps up a nickel or so, and the United States government is spending twice as much as it takes in, year in, year out, now and forever.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gold Rush

Not at all surprising, but still fascinating. From the Telegraph:
Return of the Gold Standard as world order unravels

As the twin pillars of international monetary system threaten to come tumbling down in unison, gold has reclaimed its ancient status as the anchor of stability. The spot price surged to an all-time high of $1,594 an ounce in London, lifting silver to $39 in its train.

Don't Mess With Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday defended his upcoming Christian prayer gathering as a "simple," non-political event that has come under attack from intolerant atheists.

"I can't wait until the 6th of August rolls around and we fill up Reliant Stadium with people who are Christ-loving and realize that our country has gotten off track," Perry said a day after an atheists and agnostics group sued to stop the governor from using his government office to promote or recognize the Houston event, called The Response.

"Just like back in days of old, God is the same God we had from the days of Israel, and in the book of Joel it said to blow the trumpet and assemble the people and go into a day of fasting and prayer to ask for God's direction ... it's nothing more than that."

Senator Ron Johnson Unloads

Not only do I like Johnson's classic Wisconsin/Minnesota twang (listen to how he hits those "policies," "jobs," "constitutional" and "ohs"... reminds me of home!), his points on Obama and the economy are also right on the money. I see Johnson's profile rising in the future. At present, there is an amazing constellation of new Republican leaders who are authentic conservatives. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bottom Line

Senator Mitch McConnell, in an unusually blunt and remarkable statement on the senate floor today, admitted what we all know to be true. It is edifying to hear this from such a prominent elected Republican.

"After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable." -Sen. Mitch McConnell

Look to 2012. Delenda est carthago must be the unwavering, operative rule for the Republicans.

Noble Defiance

From Politico:
A rural New York town clerk has resigned her post rather than grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“I would be compromising my moral conscience by participating in licensing same-sex couples,” Laura Fotusky, the clerk of the Town of Barker, told POLITICO. “I had to choose between my job and my god.”

Read Fotusky's letter here.

Jefferson on Grammar

Writing to James Madison for editorial comments on his Annual Message to Congress, Thomas Jefferson offered an insightful rule of thumb that guided his own magnificent pen:
Will you give this enclosed a revisal, not only as to matter, but diction. Where strictness of grammar does not weaken expression, it should be attended to in complaisance to the purists of New England. But where by small grammatical negligences the energy of an idea is condensed, or a word stands for a sentence, I hold grammatical rigor in contempt.

The Next New "Marriage"

From ABCNews
The polygamist family portrayed on the TLC reality show "Sister Wives" said all along its main goal in going on national television was to gain public acceptance of its lifestyle.

Now family patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are moving from the court of public opinion to the court of law, arguing that criminalizing their lifestyle is unconstitutional.

Those of us arguing for the one and only true definition of marriage predicted the emergence of this kind of movement all along. If the fundamental redefinition of an institution is allowed in one case, thus establishing that there is no core, no essential edifice, then why not go whole hog with the wrecking ball? Indeed, in such a case, nothing can prevent those at the levers from granting sanction to any and every newfangled arrangement that might surface tomorrow.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Destination Rome

The Telegraph has a pretty slick piece on the ins and outs of the Eternal City. It's worth checking out (the article, but even better, the City).

Sunday, July 10, 2011

For Life

"Creating a culture of life is more than just words. It means we’ve got to fight to defend the lives of the most innocent and most vulnerable among us, especially unborn children. A civilized society is judged and will be judged by how it treats the weakest members of that society.” - Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

Read more here.

Debt, Jobs Roundtable

Well-worth watching. George Will carries the day.

Friday, July 08, 2011


Wisconsin joined the rest of the 48 today. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Madison - Wisconsin became the 49th state in the country to allow its citizens to carry undercover guns, after Gov. Scott Walker signed the measure Friday.

The law to allow the concealed carry of firearms and other weapons such as Tasers passed the Legislature last month on bipartisan votes, ending more than a decade of debate on the issue.

The bill, which takes effect Nov. 1, joins other long-sought measures that Republicans have passed this year, including requiring photo IDs from voters and making health savings accounts tax exempt.

Sen. Pam Galloway (R-Wausau), a lead sponsor of the measure, called its passage a "victory for individual rights."

"Concealed carry is not a Republican or Democrat issue - it's about personal safety and providing our citizens an opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm," Galloway said.

And here's a video of the signing. I could only laugh (call it schadenfreude) at the red-clad helpless liberals as they characteristically went into apoplexy outside the signing ceremony. Just the mention of Walker sends them into hysterics.


Church of England's Curtain Call

What happens to a church that replaces the pope with acquiescence?
From the Telegraph:
Church of England faces being wiped out, report warns
The Church of England faces being wiped out as a significant national force without an "urgent" campaign to recruit more believers, a report warns.

In the last 40 years the number of adult churchgoers has fallen by half while the number of children regularly worshipping in public declined by 80 per cent, the study says.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Surprise Tweet

House Speaker John Boehner surprised President Obama today during his sophomoric Twitter Town Hall meeting. The picture says it all. Nice one, Mr. Boehner! According to Politico, the president bristled at being caught a bit off guard. No teleprompter, you see.

Sometimes, the most simple questions are the most devastating. For the past couple years, at every possible media venue, John Boehner has relentlessly asked the president, "Where are the jobs?" One finally landed on Obama in real time. You'd think he'd have been better prepared.

Milwaukee Marred

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on the outrageous looting and beating that took place over the Fourth of July weekend in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood. In short, a large number of black youths stormed a gas station, created mayhem, stole numerous items and fled. Then, another group of misfits swept over, robbed and attacked a group of twenty or so young (white) adults who were at a local park to enjoy the evening's fireworks. One victim's jaw was broken and another was mercilessly taunted with, "Oh, white girl bleeds a lot." 

There are many revolting elements to this story:

- The widespread double standard among the elites in this country when it comes to talking about racism. (Just imagine the outcry if a frenzied white mob attacked a peaceful black crowd.) Note the bizarre editorial from the JSOnline, commenting on whether or not race was a factor:
Some witnesses and residents questioned whether race played a role in the looting and beatings. Witnesses say the attacks were unprovoked and that the victims were white and the attackers were African-American. But we'd agree with [Police Chief Edward] Flynn, who said crime is colorblind.

"Colorblind?" Seriously?

- The out of control breakdown of the most basic social mores within large segments of the black community, something that is regularly glossed over and totally ignored by most local and national political leaders. This contagion can be directly traced to the utter collapse of the core family unit, most significantly, the disappearance of the respectable, manly father figure. He has been replaced by the notorious, crude ghetto-thug male entertainment personality that constantly debases women and sexuality. (The gym I attend plays a veritable, maddening loop of offensive rap music and, in nearly all the "songs" the lead singer prattles on in the most vulgar, narcissistic and lascivious way about his series of sexcapades.) In fact, the paternal element (or lack thereof) has wreaked great damage across the board within society, regardless of race, but it is most conspicuously MIA in the black community. The reluctance to face this reality on the part of our nation's elites, and a good number of everyday citizens as well, solely out of fear of being labeled a "racist" will only contribute to the downward spiral well underway within the black community and, regrettably, will further dilate tensions between the races. Admitting the problem, they say, is the first step.

- There are many law abiding citizens of all races who simply want to enjoy the benefits of urban life and are utterly exasperated with this nonsense. Milwaukee has many great niches to enjoy during the pristine summer months, places that people should be able to enjoy to the fullest without fear of being swarmed and ravaged by a cadre of maniacal thugs. I am all for efforts to gentrify older parts of the city that were once thriving hubs of culture and activity (usually begun by quaint pockets of ethnic minorities), but witnessed a slow and painful decline during the 70s, 80s and 90s. During these years, "white flight" set in, and old school city life was, in many respects, abandoned in favor of land, safety and quiet.

Rather than fleeing to the boring, sterile sanctuary of the burbs, many have pondered, why not make it our aim to revitalize the older, time-tested centers of city life? The charming architecture is usually exceptional, the churches are stunningly beautiful, and the narrower streets, together with the close quarters of the various shops and cafes make for ideal evening and weekend strolls. On the flip side, if such places are surrendered over to crazed criminals and roaming delinquents, what hope will remain for any lasting urban renaissance? Here's the Gordian knot: How does one begin to revitalize a segment of a city if he cannot even venture out at night for a walk without constantly looking over his shoulder? What appeal does such a neighborhood possess?

Perhaps to an even greater degree, Saint Louis is facing a similar dilemma as Milwaukee. Saint Louis is a great city and, like Milwaukee, there are many parts where you can see the ghosts of a once-glorious past, but now decay has set in. With some degree of success, parts of the city have seen signs of a respectable restoration, but the feeling in those parts is always a bit tense because the looming danger that presses in around you is ever present, especially at night.

It is a worthy fight, but the challenges, and dangers, are many. Despicable incidents like the one that marred Milwaukee last weekend will either cause us to pack up and flee for the hills, or will steel our resolve to plant our flag and stand pat. I opt for the latter option.

Unpacking the Debt Debate

As convoluted as the issue is, MSNBC does a pretty good job with its "Users Guide" of breaking down the issues in the current debate over the nation's debt limit.

Still Not Getting It

Question: Where is the Catholic leadership in the Archdiocese of New York?

From LifeSiteNews:
July 5, 2011 ( - As LifeSiteNews reported last week, Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio has called on Catholic schools and parishes not to invite state legislators to speak at or attend any events, and to refuse any honors bestowed on them by the governor or any legislator responsible for the bill’s passage.

The sanctions, however, do not include refusing Governor Cuomo or other Catholic politicians who supported the passage of same-sex ‘marriage’ Holy Communion.

Msgr. Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn, told LifeSiteNews that “there are no plans to deny Holy Communion to elected officials at this point.”

This is pathetic.

Just what will it take then, for the leadership in New York to finally decide, for the integrity and protection of the Sacrament and the faithful, to deny Holy Communion to radically out of line politicians?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Pius XII...Nota Bene

As an aside, wouldn't it be great to see this again? I'm just saying...

From the Associated Press:
CASTELLAMMARE DI STABIA, Italy (AP) — Maria Esposito was ready to give up. Wasted away at 42 kilos (92 pounds), she couldn't bear another dose of chemotherapy to fight the Stage IV Burkitt's lymphoma that had invaded her body while she was pregnant with her second child.

But as she and her family had done since she was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive form of cancer in July 2005, Esposito prayed to the man who had appeared to her husband in a dream as the only person who could save her: Pope Pius XII.

Esposito survived, cured after a single, six-week cycle of chemotherapy — a recovery that, she says, stunned her doctors and convinced her that the World War II-era pope had intervened with God to save her.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

The Corporate Jet Canard

A brilliant piece from Mark Steyn, appearing in National Review Online:
In his bizarre press conference on Wednesday, Obama made no fewer than six references to corporate-jet owners. Just for the record, the tax break for corporate jets was part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009” — i.e., the stimulus. The Obama stimulus. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid stimulus. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Democratic-party stimulus that every single Republican House member and all but three Republican senators voted against. The Obama–Corporate Jet stimulus that some guy called Obama ostentatiously signed into law in Denver after jetting in to host an “economic forum.”

Charles Krauthammer did the math. If you eliminate the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Corporate Jet Tax Break, you would save so much dough that, after 5,000 years, you would have clawed back enough money to cover one year of Obama’s debt. Five thousand years is the year 7011.

OUCH! Why doesn't a clever reporter ever dare to confront the president when he makes such embarrassing platitudes?

Rubio on President's "Third World" Rhetoric

A pretty amazing speech on the Senate floor from Marco Rubio.

The Switch

From FoxNews:
The Rev. Mark Lewis now offers a prayer every Sunday morning that centuries ago would have been considered an homage to the enemy. It's a prayer for the bishop of Rome, the pope and all the Catholic bishops and priests.

Lewis chants, "For Benedict our Pope ... Let us prayer to the Lord."

And the congregation sings its answer, "Lord, have mercy."

The distinctly Roman Catholic offering is the outward sign of an inner spiritual journey. St. Luke's Church in Bladensburg, Md., will become later this year the first American Episcopal Parish to convert to Catholicism, Anglicanism's one-time nemesis. ...

Parishioner Randy King says for him the conversion brings needed certainty.

"We have a church that doesn't change. We don't have to worry one day or the other what is going to be said from the pulpit."

Friday, July 01, 2011


We need to hear more statements from bishops like the one offered by Bishop Thomas J. Tobin, of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. He responded forcefully to the state's passage of a civil unions law.
"Can there be any doubt that Almighty God will, in His own time and way, pass judgment upon our state, its leaders and citizens, for abandoning His commands and embracing public immorality? I encourage Catholics to pray for God’s patience, mercy and forgiveness in these distressing times.”

Read the full statement here

The World and Us

Victor Davis Hanson offers some insightful observations on the state of things in the world. From National Review Online:
In the last hundred days, the world has seen not only how weak and divided are the European members of NATO, but also how the once-celebrated European notion of “soft power” means very little in the world of perpetually savage nations. What stops China from carving out a new co-prosperity sphere in Asian waters, Russia from reconstituting a hegemony over the former Soviet republics, Turkey from ending the notion that the Aegean is a Hellenic lake, a new alliance of radical Arab states from attacking Israel, a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran from threatening its Jewish and Arab rivals, and North Korea from invading the south is only lingering worries over a U.S. military response or an American-led alliance of resistance — not international sanctions or condemnation, a U.N. decree, an Arab League resolution, an International Criminal Court writ, an IMF or World Bank reprimand, a lecture from an EU grandee, or the EU rapid response force.