Monday, October 31, 2011

Liturgy and Change

Continuity

If It Ain't Broke...

Bishop James Edward Slattery, of the Diocese of Tulsa, was interviewed by the National Catholic Register. I was struck, in a positive sense, by his wise observations on Liturgy
You’ve made public statements about problems with the liturgy. What changes would you like to see?:

I would like to see the liturgy become what Vatican II intended it to be. That’s not something that can happen overnight. The bishops who were the fathers of the council from the United States came home and made changes too quickly. They shouldn’t have viewed the old liturgy, what we call the Tridentine Mass or Missal of Pope John XXIII, as something that needed to be fixed. Nothing was broken. There was an attitude that we had to implement Vatican II in a way that radically affects the liturgy.

What we lost in a short period of time was continuity. The new liturgy should be clearly identifiable as the liturgy of the pre-Vatican II Church. Changes, like turning the altar around, were too sudden and too radical. There is nothing in the Vatican II documents that justifies such changes.

It's rare to hear a bishop speak so candidly about what went on, and wrong, after Vatican II. His observation about losing a sense of continuity with the radically altered liturgy is crucial.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Link to the Past


From the Associated Press:
JERUSALEM – A tiny, exquisitely made box found on an excavated street in Jerusalem is a token of Christian faith from 1,400 years ago, Israeli archaeologists said Sunday.

The box, carved from the bone of a cow, horse or camel, decorated with a cross on the lid and measuring only 0.8 inches by 0.6 inches, was likely carried by a Christian believer around the end of the 6th century A.D, according to Yana Tchekhanovets of the Israel Antiquities Authority, one of the directors of the dig where the box was found.

When the lid is removed, the remains of two portraits are still visible in paint and gold leaf. The figures, a man and a woman, are probably Christian saints and possibly Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Our First Responders

Green Berets: De Oppresso Liber

A unique honor is set in New York for the United States Army Special Forces, the very first to touch down in Afghanistan in the wake of 9-11.

From The Washington Times:
NORMAN, Okla. — The first statue near ground zero to salute the heroes of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will not depict a New York firefighter or policeman — but a lone U.S. commando on horseback in the Afghan mountains.

Titled “De Oppresso Liber” — “to free the oppressed,” the Green Berets’ motto — the 3-ton, 18-foot-tall bronze monument was forged to honor the troops who first responded to al Qaeda’s attack from its safe haven in Afghanistan. ...

In forging the statue, Mr. Blumberg paid attention to the commandos’ stories and included tiny details: In the tread of the soldier’s boots are pieces of gravel from Afghanistan that a Green Beret gave the artist for inspiration.

Another detail: On the soldier’s left hand is the outline of a wedding band under his glove. “That’s my way of tipping my hat to wives, marriages and strain on families,” Mr. Blumberg said. “It’s to acknowledge the stresses caused by multiple deployments.”

Noonan Contrasts Obama, Ryan


An excerpt from an excellent piece by Peggy Noonan, appearing in The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Ryan receives much praise, but I don't think his role in the current moment has been fully recognized. He is doing something unique in national politics. He thinks. He studies. He reads. Then he comes forward to speak, calmly and at some length, about what he believes to be true. He defines a problem and offers solutions, often providing the intellectual and philosophical rationale behind them. Conservatives naturally like him—they agree with him—but liberals and journalists inclined to disagree with him take him seriously and treat him with respect.

First Lady Assails GOP on Race and Religion


Showing her true colors yet again (remember the infamous "For the first time in my life, I'm proud of my country" cri du coeur) Michelle Obama made the following remarks during a fundraiser for her husband.

From the White House Dossier:
From the White House transcript:

Let’s not forget about what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices — (applause) — and for the first time in history, our daughters — and our sons — watched three women take their seats on our nation’s highest court. (Applause.) But more importantly, let’s not forget the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come — on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and love whomever we choose. That is what’s at stake here. (Applause.)

Mrs. Obama’s contention that Republican justices would curtail people’s abilities to “love whomever we choose” appears to suggest Republicans would go beyond opposition to gay marriage and move to limit gay relationships. President Obama himself claims he opposes gay marriage, so her suggestion that Republican-selected justices would jeopardize the ability to “love whomever we choose” cannot possibly refer to gay marriage.

As she has previously, Michelle also posits racism on the part of Republicans, indicating their policies would lead to discrimination against children based on “what they look like.”

Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just the few at the top? Who are we? Or will we give every child a chance to succeed no matter where they’re from, or what they look like or how their money parents are — have. Who are we?

It's not too hard to read between the lines on this one: we're for equality, they are for the old order. The election has nothing to do with "what they look like" and everything to do with salvaging our economy and national prestige from the brink of total collapse.

Ironically, it's the left, under their Generalissimo and his incompetent Justice Department, that is attacking conservatives, the Catholic Church in particular, on matters relating to freedom of religion, especially when it comes to defending the institution of marriage and the right of children to be raised by a mother and a father.

Comments like these are vulgar, and quite unbecoming for a First Lady of the United States, but they are most characteristic of the antagonistic, race-baiting, angry left, of which Michelle, despite the herculean efforts of her image handlers, is a paragon.

The underlying point here is obvious: Republicans = Evil bigots, Democrats = Virtuous laborers in the field

Another point that is worth making, in light of Obama's comments, is that the left in America is not in the least interested in moving beyond race and division. That's because the left thrives and utterly depends on keeping these issues continually active. To the left, fomenting racism and discord is a legitimate business endeavor. It's Saul Alinsky 101. Their political survival hinges on the degree to which they can convince/brainwash certain segments of society (blacks, the poor, women, etc.) that they are helpless victims solely because of the injustices of 'the system' managed for decades, if not centuries, by white Republican males.

The left's modus operandi is so transparent, so worn-out and desperate that I'm surprised it still gains traction. Why aren't more people, i.e., GOP leaders and commentators, calling out M.O. on this?

Defending Christ in Paris

Outside the theatre...

Christian youth in Paris recently made a dramatic demonstration against a smutty blasphemous play making the rounds in France. They are described as 'fundamentalists' etc., but I applaud them for taking a stand against the disgusting degree to which Christ is openly mocked by intolerant, fundamentalist atheists and agnostics in our secular society.

You can watch a video of the young, 'very well-dressed' demonstrators, who stormed the stage, knelt down and prayed the rosary to the angry jeers of the crowd, here.

UK's Overdue Change


The last line interests me most. From the BBC:
Sons and daughters of any future UK monarch will have equal right to the throne, after Commonwealth leaders agreed to change succession laws.

The leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries where the Queen is head of state unanimously approved the changes at a summit in Perth, Australia.

It means a first-born daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would take precedence over younger brothers.

The ban on the monarch being married to a Roman Catholic was also lifted.

And from the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols:
I welcome the decision of Her Majesty's Government to give heirs to the throne the freedom to marry a Catholic without being removed from the line of succession. This will eliminate a point of unjust discrimination against Catholics and will be welcomed not only by Catholics but far more widely.

British Prime Minister David Cameron made the announcement today, From the Telegraph:
Speaking before the meeting in Perth, the Prime Minister said the rules are “outdated and need to change”.

"The idea that a younger son should become Monarch instead of an elder daughter, simply because he is a man just isn’t acceptable any more. Nor does it make any sense that a potential Monarch can marry someone of any faith other than Catholic."

“The thinking behind these rules is wrong. That’s why people have been talking about changing them for some time. We need to get on and do it."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

US Military: Back to Africa


From the Associated Press:
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — By the time U.S. military forces left Somalia in 1994 after entering the lawless nation more than a year earlier to stop a famine, 44 Army soldiers, Marines and airmen had been killed and dozens more wounded. Thus ended America's last large-scale military intervention in Africa.

But the U.S. has come back, using special forces advisers, drones and tens of millions of dollars in military aid to combat a growing and multifaceted security threat. This time the United States is playing a less obtrusive role but is focusing once again on Somalia.

EU Bomb

John Bolton explains how Europe's chickens have come home to roost in this piece, appearing in the New York Post:
This ongoing turmoil over EU finances is directly traceable to basic flaws underlying “the European project.” Not only is the common currency, the euro, flawed conceptually and structurally, but the larger political dream to make “Europe” an alternative “pole” to the United States internationally was mistaken from the outset.

Europe’s political leaders have tried to make EU headquarters in Brussels into the centralized government an alternative pole requires, but average citizens of EU members have never seen this as a critical objective.

If anything, voters in nation after nation (not just longtime skeptics in Great Britain) have grown ever more dubious. Each effort by European centralizers to overcome the flaws in their design only enhances the concern that EU leaders are making decisions with little or no democratic legitimacy. The EU’s awkward compromises invariably create cumbersome, inadequate institutions, further antagonizing average Europeans.

On Wisconsin

A short video highlighting the successes of Governor Walker's administration.

Next for Libya

In this article appearing in National Review Online, Andrew C. McCarthy discusses the post-Qaddafi era in Libya. From the perspective of an American, it doesn't look too bright.
And now that the Islamists have won, the first order of business, naturally, was to install sharia — Islam’s politico-legal framework that oppresses non-Muslims, women, homosexuals, and apostates. To install sharia, by the way, is the reason jihadists engage in violence — it is the prerequisite for Islamizing a society. On Sunday, before a crowd still giddy over Qaddafi’s murder, Transitional National Council leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil proclaimed, “This revolution was looked after by Allah to achieve victory.” Allah will thus be honored, he elaborated, by making sharia the “basic source” of Libyan law. Polygamy for men has already been reestablished, and lenders have been banned from collecting interest on loans. Happy democracy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Muslims at CUA


Some Muslims at the Catholic University of America, feeling slighted and uncomfortable with the Catholic ethos at the university, are taking formal action to demand change. Hard to believe, right? From Jihad Watch:
Crucifixes? At a Catholic university? How about that.

Of course, at the heart of this complaint is the hope of establishing a Muslim prayer space on the campus that would be subject to different standards than the rest of the university -- a little enclave of Islamic law where its ban on the display of crosses would be "respected." ...

The official allegations claim that CUA, “does not provide space – as other universities do – for the many daily prayers Muslim students must make, forcing them instead to find temporarily empty classrooms where they are often surrounded by Catholic symbols which are incongruous to their religion,” according to a press release on PRLOG.com.

Read more about this incredible story on CUA's The Tower.

Kill the Death Tax


Newt Gingrich explains why in this piece from Human Events:
The federal government would take in about $362 billion more than currently projected over the next ten years if the death tax was eliminated entirely, allowing people to pass the fruits of a lifetime of labor on to their families as they chose. There would be a direct revenue loss but, as the report estimates, U.S. Gross Domestic Product would increase 2.26 percent in a decade just by eliminating the tax. New revenues generated by the economic activity that would result from the elimination of the death tax would be almost twice as much as the revenue derived from it.

New/Old Atheism

From Tim Stanley, writing for the Telegraph:
The most frustrating thing about the New Atheism is that it rarely debates theology on theology's own terms. It approaches metaphor and mysticism as if they were statements of fact to be tested in the laboratory. Worse still, it takes the crudest equations of faith (total submission to an angry sky god) and assumes that they apply to all its believers at all times equally. That most Christians living in the 21st century don’t know who the Canaanites were and only go to church because it brings them an intangible inner peace, totally escapes these atheist pedants.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Fallacy of a Global Bank

Thomas E. Woods wrote an excellent piece addressing the document from the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace that called for a new centralized global banking system.
The document released yesterday by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace calling for a world economic authority and condemning the "idolatry of the market" could have been written by any number of secular think-tanks in the United States.

It is also deeply confused. On the one hand, it speaks of excessive money growth as a problem that can lead to "speculative bubbles" whose bursting can do significant damage to economies around the world. On the other, it calls for a world economic authority that will…what? Be exempt from the errors and hubris of government officials and national central banks? ...

It’s been idolatry not of the market but of central banks, institutionalized sources of moral hazard and financial instability around the world, that has yielded us the boom-bust cycle.

Church on the Defensive


Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles explains the increasingly difficult situation the Catholic Church finds itself. More and more, as the Church defends its moral teachings in the public square, it is curtailed and harried by offensive court rulings and portrayed as an institution of intolerance to be marginalized. From First Things:
We are slowly losing our sense of religious liberty in America.

There is much evidence to suggest that our society no longer values the public role of religion or recognizes the importance of religious freedom as a basic right. As scholars like Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon and Michael Sandel have observed, our courts and government agencies increasingly treat the right to hold and express religious beliefs as only one of many private lifestyle options. And, they observe, this right is often “trumped” in the face of challenges from competing rights or interests deemed to be more important.

The warnings spelled out by Archbishop Gomez shouldn't be taken lightly. It is, of course, no coincidence that these subtle and not-so-stubtle assaults on the prerogatives of the Church are taking place while Obama is at the helm.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Racism and Population Fears

Here's an excerpt from an excellent, hard-hitting article by Brendan O'Neill on the unspoken message behind the population control frenzy. From the Telegraph:
PC lingo can't disguise the racist Malthusian subtext of the '7 billionth baby' panic

With the seven billionth human being due to be born this week, the media is assaulting us with Malthusian-minded articles about the dangers of "too many people". And aside from their mean-spiritedness, what do these nauseating news reports have in common? They're illustrated with pictures of black people. Or sometimes brown people. If it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, then the stock photos used in articles about overpopulation – Indians squeezing on to a train, Chinese women going shopping, black babies sleeping – frequently reveal more about the modern Malthusian outlook than the articles themselves do.

King, Queen and Emperors


An impressive mosaic in the sixth century church-turned-museum Hagia Sophia, depicting the Virgin Mary with Christ, flanked by Emperor Justinian, presenting the Church of Hagia Sophia, and Emperor Constantine, presenting the city of Constantinople.

The World Bank Bandwagon

While I have not read the original document, early reports on calls from the Vatican's Department of Justice and Peace for a new world bank, of sorts, is another manifestation of the confusion that follows when people who do not understand economics get involved in economic policy. From CNBC:
The 18-page document, "Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority," was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions. ...

"If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid," it said.

It called for the establishment of "a supranational authority" with worldwide scope and "universal jurisdiction" to guide economic policies and decisions.

I cannot believe what I'm reading, and I'm hoping that it is not as bad as this. It's actually embarrassing. The notion of a new world bank is a terrible idea. Regulations lead to Crony Capitalism, creating so many of the economic problems we see today. Regulations created the housing bubble, distorted prices and other market indicators. Those in power have a vested interest in picking winners and losers, a far worse scenario than the so-called 'chaos' of the free-market, which is, of course, not chaos at all. Seriously, the U.N. is supposed to oversee this project? Which pure as the wind-driven snow individuals would manage this byzantine boondoggle?

It should be noted that this world bank business does not represent 'official' Church teaching. The bureaucrats working at the Department of Justice and Peace are not in the least immune from the common, repeatedly tried and failed economic fallacies that have all but brainwashed most European minds, a fact made painfully clear with the breaking of this story.

Facing God

Bishop Alexander Sample gave an excellent homily on the orientation of prayer during Mass and the misconceptions about this, that is to say, the tradition of the priest facing God and facing east when offering Mass. "Where is the focus" when the priest faces the people rather than God? He singles out the problem of the "inward focus" of the people that naturally results when the priest faces the people, rather than faces God with the people. So often, you'll hear tried and tested criticisms from people who are offended that "the priest's back is turned toward them." Bishop Sample addresses this baseless, yet widespread critique head-on.

I think this misplaced grievance is a direct result of the catechetical meltdown in this country when it comes to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Once you have a correct understanding of the Eucharist and a correct understanding of the Liturgy, it makes little sense for the priest to face the people. In fact, what is odd is to see the priest facing the people while praying to Christ, behind him in the tabernacle, or off to the side, in an inconspicuous Blessed Sacrament Chapel. These same people who talk about the grave offense of the priest "turning his back to them" are silent about the turning of the priest's back to Christ in the Eucharist!

For further enlightenment on this, read the Pope's excellent book, The Spirit of the Liturgy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Disorder

Politico relates that some 130 Occupiers/Marxist sympathizers were arrested in Chicago earlier today. Question: How many tea party demonstrators have been arrested over the past three years or so that they've been out there? Can't recall reading about those arrests.

Obama's Record: Sharia Law Advances

Is this another incarnation of the 'Arab Spring' touted by Obama's defenders? As in Egypt, just what are we supposed to celebrate in Libya? A dictator is gone, but what will follow in his absence? From the Associated Press:
The transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil set out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying that Islamic Sharia law would be the "basic source" of legislation in the country and that existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing in the air, but rather to chant "Allahu Akbar," or God is Great. He then stepped aside and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.

"Islamophobia"


Writing for National Review Online, Andrew C. McCarthy gets to the bottom of use of the term "Islamophobia" in our current discourse. This is an excellent article, well worth reading.
Islamophobia is a neologism coined by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is as practiced at the art of deception as any organization on Earth. It should come as no surprise, then, that Islamophobia is a smear, intended to discredit a phenomenon that, in truth, is neither a phobia — i.e., an irrational fear — nor concerned about Islam in general. The phenomenon, instead, is a quite rational disquiet about Islamists – fundamentalist Muslims, some of whom are violent jihadists and some stealth jihadists. They seek incrementally to implant sharia principles in the West.

Islamist organizations abound in the United States. Like IIIT, many of them are affiliated with the Brotherhood and collaborate regularly with leftist organizations such as CAP. Reciprocally, CAP, like many in the Obama administration, advocates the Brotherhood’s acceptance as a legitimate political party.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thomas at 20


John Yoo, writing for the The Wall Street Journal, gives a short rundown of the extraordinary twenty-year tenure of Justice Clarence Thomas. Here's an excerpt:
This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of Clarence Thomas's appointment to the Supreme Court. In his first two decades on the bench, Justice Thomas has established himself as the original Constitution's greatest defender against elite efforts at social engineering. His stances for limited government and individual freedom make him the left's lightning rod and the tea party's intellectual godfather. And he is only halfway through the 40 years he may sit on the high court.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stealing the Spotlight

Nile Gardiner is one of the best writers for The Telegraph. In this piece, he predicts the shameless spectacle of spotlight grabbing and back patting on the part of the Obama Administration that is sure to come regarding Muammar Gaddafi's demise.
In the coming months I expect we will see the White House starting to rewrite history when it comes to Barack Obama’s role in the Libyan operation. There will no doubt be numerous references in his upcoming speeches to his supposedly decisive “leadership” in bringing down Gaddafi, and his imaginary rallying of the international community. In reality, President Obama dithered for weeks, and initially projected a great deal of confusion and mixed-messaging on Libya, in marked contrast to key US allies. During the war itself the president preferred to be largely an observer rather than a robust commander in chief with a clearly defined mission.

Fooling Themselves

Once again, the disciples of political correctness score a victory in the fight against terror. From The Daily Caller:
Obama administration pulls references to Islam from terror training materials, official says

Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole confirmed on Wednesday that the Obama administration was pulling back all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive. ...

“I want to be perfectly clear about this: training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for,” Holton [Dwight C. Holton, the U.S. Attorney in Oregon] said Wednesday. “They will not be tolerated.”

I would expect this kind of drivel from a 'World Religions' class at a public high school, but not from our nation's top enforcers of justice.

Biden's Ad Hominem

Conservative activist and writer Jason Mattera confronted the VP for his assertion that rapes will increase, get this, because Republicans are withholding their support for Obama's so-called jobs bill. Even for Joe B., that's low. Mattera stood his ground, flummoxing the characteristically imperial Biden. Some of our elected reps., not to mention the crop of GOP candidates, need Mattera's chutzpah and backbone.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sacrifice

I was surprised to see this reported on NBC. A mother forwent lifesaving cancer treatments to protect her unborn child.
Stacie Crimm didn’t get to share much time with her infant daughter, Dottie Mae — she’d made the ultimate sacrifice to give the little girl life.

Diagnosed with head and neck cancer just months after her little girl was conceived, 41-year-old Crimm opted to skip chemotherapy to protect her growing fetus.

Crimm survived long enough for the baby to be delivered. But shortly after holding her daughter for the first time, the Oklahoma woman slipped into a coma and died.

Bishop Morlino on Beauty


Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison penned a great article on authentic beauty and truth. Incidentally, his take on the saccharine and yet inexplicably popular liturgical song, "All Are Welcome" is priceless. Appearing in the Catholic Herald, here's an excerpt:
Beauty is not, in fact, simply in the eye of the beholder, from the viewpoint of reason. For reason tells us that beautiful, good, true, and one are interchangeable; therefore, whatever is beautiful is also good and true, and expresses unity and harmony.

Beautiful can never be mistaken as an indicator of what pleases some majority of people somewhere. The fact that our parish likes to sing a particular song at the liturgy cannot, of itself, make that song beautiful. To be beautiful, indeed, is to be good and is to be true. As much as some people may enjoy the musical antics of Lady Gaga, these cannot honestly be described as beautiful.

Beautiful means, in the first place, embodying the truth. Some of the songs that we sing at liturgy contain lyrics which clearly are not true — for example, the song “All Are Welcome.” As a matter of fact, the liturgy takes place mystically in the heavenly sanctuary. All are welcome at the liturgy who truly seek salvation in and through Jesus Christ, by following God’s Will, as spelled out through His Son’s very Body, the Church. People who have little interest in doing God’s Will don’t fit at the liturgy. And certainly, by their own choosing, the poor souls who suffer in Hell for all eternity are not welcome. Those are simple, but true facts. Thus the song, “All Are Welcome,” gives an impression that the choice for the Will of Jesus Christ, as it comes to us through the Church, makes no difference; and nothing could be further from the truth. It could therefore be concluded that the song, “All are Welcome,” is not beautiful so as to be appropriate-for-liturgical-use. Being true is necessary before anything can be beautiful.

It's a breath of fresh air to come across a thoughtful, philosophically imbued teaching from a bishop that clearly defines important terms that are so often misused and misunderstood.

Iran's Shadow

There are many reasons to be concerned about last week's outing of an Iranian-orchestrated assassination plot in the United States. Clifford D. May, writing for National Review Online, unpacks those reasons:
Last week, the Revolutionary Guards were implicated in a terrorist plot targeting the Saudi ambassador and anyone else who happened to be in or near a posh Washington, D.C., restaurant that was to be bombed while he was dining. Among the key characters involved are Mansour Arbabsiyar, an Iran-born American citizen, his cousin, senior Quds commander Abdul Reza Shahlai, his deputy, Col. Gholam Shakuri, and a Mexican drug trafficker who, it turned out, was working undercover for U.S. authorities.

Had the plan succeeded, it would have appeared to be the work of a Mexican drug cartel — though Iran’s rulers, their friends, and some of their enemies, would have known better.

Ron Paul and the Fed.


Showing off his dyed-in-the-wool schooling in Austrian economics, Representative Ron Paul accurately explains the perils of the Fed and the reason for money in this insightful article appearing in The Wall Street Journal:
To know what is wrong with the Federal Reserve, one must first understand the nature of money. Money is like any other good in our economy that emerges from the market to satisfy the needs and wants of consumers. Its particular usefulness is that it helps facilitate indirect exchange, making it easier for us to buy and sell goods because there is a common way of measuring their value. Money is not a government phenomenon, and it need not and should not be managed by government. When central banks like the Fed manage money they are engaging in price fixing, which leads not to prosperity but to disaster.

The Ghosts of RomneyCare

An excellent editorial from The Wall Street Journal:
Federalism is a virtue, yet Mr. Romney did previously promote his plan as a model until Democrats took his advice. "How much of our health-care plan applies to other states? A lot," he wrote in these pages in 2006. Mr. Romney repeated those sentiments in the hardcover version of his book "No Apology," though he cut them from the paperback.

But the larger and more important point is that Mr. Romney continues to defend his Massachusetts plan as a success for precisely the same reasons that President Obama says it should be imposed on all states. In reality, the Massachusetts plan is not a success and its problems are the best refutation of the duo's arguments.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Light From Madison


Good things happen when Republicans win elections. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Madison - Schools could again teach abstinence-only courses under a bill moving through the Legislature that would also require any sex education courses to promote marriage.

A law approved last year when Democrats controlled state government requires sex education courses in public schools to be age appropriate and comprehensive, covering issues like sexually transmitted diseases and how to use birth control. Under that law, schools can choose not to offer sex education, but they cannot offer abstinence-only courses, as they previously could.

Now, Republicans run the Legislature and they hope to pass a bill that would repeal many of the aspects of the law and allow local school districts to set up abstinence-only programs. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for noon Wednesday before the Senate Education Committee.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

1,000 Days


Golfing while Rome burns
White House Photo

The Telegraph's Nile Gardiner takes Barack Obama to task for his feckless three years in office.
If recent polls are any indication, it is doubtful that President Obama will enjoy another 1,000 days in the White House. And looking at his track record over the course of his first 33 months in office, it is not hard to see why. It is hard to think of a presidency in modern times that has done more to damage the United States both at home and abroad than the current one, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter’s. Like his Democratic predecessor in the 1970’s, Barack Obama has left the world’s dominant superpower on its knees, with faith in US leadership now being questioned across the globe. ...

As Barack Obama approaches the remaining 14 months of his presidency, there is a distinct air of US decline. It is of course a state of decline that can be reversed with the right policies and leadership in place. There is nothing inevitable about the demise of the United States, but its renewal must rest upon a dramatic reversal of the most Left-wing agenda of any American presidency since 1979. As Gallup’s polling has emphatically demonstrated, Americans are overwhelmingly rejecting the Big Government agenda of the Obama presidency, which has spectacularly failed to create jobs, generate wealth, and instill economic confidence.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pro-Life Gains

From the Associated Press:
JACKSON, Miss. — A national effort to put abortion bans into state constitutions is looking for its first victory next month in Mississippi, where voters are being asked to approve an amendment declaring that life begins when a human egg is fertilized.

Supporters hope the so-called personhood initiative will succeed in a Bible Belt state that already has some of the nation's toughest abortion regulations and only a single clinic where the procedures are performed. ...

Any victory at the state level would likely be short-lived since a life-at-fertilization amendment would conflict with the U.S. Constitution. Leaders of the movement say their ultimate goal is to provoke a court fight to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a legal right to abortion.

Opponents say defining life as beginning at fertilization could block some common forms of birth control and deter Mississippi physicians from performing in vitro fertilization because they'd fear criminal charges if an embryo doesn't survive. They also say supporters of the amendment are trying to impose their religious beliefs on others to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies, including those caused by rape or incest.

It's curious to read the word choice calisthenics journalists undertake to avoid putting two and two together, i.e., that the thing in question is not a thing but a person.

9-9-9: Pluses and Minuses


Larry Kudlow, writing for National Review Online, unpacks the good and the unclear of Herman Cain's plan for the economy. Here's the lead-in:
Herman Cain is the only GOP presidential candidate who wants to kill the tax code. That’s right. Put a knife in it. Junk the entire system. And people are cheering as he rises in the polls in his quest for the nomination.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is not perfect. But then again, the good should never the enemy of the perfect.

Public vs. Private Morality

A timely article that specifically touches on the harm caused to our culture by pornography, from scholar Robert P. George, appearing in Public Discourse:
Theorists of public morality—from the ancient Greek philosophers and Roman jurists on—have noticed that apparently private acts of vice, when they multiply and become widespread, can imperil important public interests. This fact embarrasses philosophical efforts to draw a sharp line that distinguishes a realm of “private” morality that is not subject to law from a domain of public actions that may rightly be subjected to legal regulation.

In my memory, the question of public and private morality really come to the fore during the Clinton impeachment proceedings. Interestingly, I just came across a headline relating that the grotesque and outlandish celeb. Lady Gaga serenaded Bill Clinton à la Marilyn Monroe. Remember all that talk about 'the dignity of the office'? A sign of the times, I suppose.

Population Worries

From the halls at the United Nations to the press offices at the AP, condescending elites view booming populations in the third world as a major cause for concern.
Is catastrophe inevitable? Not necessarily. But experts say most of Africa — and other high-growth developing nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan — will be hard-pressed to furnish enough food, water and jobs for their people, especially without major new family-planning initiatives.

"Extreme poverty and large families tend to reinforce each other," says Lester Brown, the environmental analyst who heads the Earth Policy Institute in Washington. "The challenge is to intervene in that cycle and accelerate the shift to smaller families."

The problem, of course, is accessibility to food and other resources, which is impeded by governmental corruption, not the higher birth rate. The agenda here is clear as daylight: more birth control on demand so that these countries will more closely mirror the dismal birth rates of Western countries.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rome Burns


Maniacal brethren of the Occupy Wall Street miscreants ravaged Rome today in disgusting displays that bring to mind the rampaging Vandals and Visigoths centuries ago. These frenzied mobs, whether in Rome, New York or London, are dangerous anarchists, drunk on Marxism, and it's time leaders in the West confront them as such.

Drawing heavily from its Jacobin roots, contemporary liberalism feeds off of chaos, rage, societal agitation, class warfare and envy, and these protests prove this point marvelously. It is not at all surprising that Democrats, true blue sons of Rousseau, are cozying up to these demonstrators. The media's fawning fascination with this bunch is a sad example of how far journalistic standards have fallen.

From the Telegraph:
Inspired by the Occupy Wall St movement and Spain's "Indignants", demonstrators from Asia to Europe took to the streets.


Riot police in Rome charged hundreds of protesters and fired water cannons, while a group of activists set alight a defence ministry annex nearby.

Since when did we start calling criminals and thugs 'activists'?

This is how the AP desperately tries to defend the Occupy Wall Street movement by depicting the mob as unwelcome invaders of the peaceful protests!
ROME (AP) — Italian riot police fired tear gas and water cannons Saturday in Rome as violent protesters hijacked a peaceful demonstration against corporate greed, smashing bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles.

Elsewhere, hundreds of thousands nicknamed "the indignant" marched without incident in cities across Europe, as the "Occupy Wall Street" protests linked up with long-running demonstrations against European governments' austerity measures.

Of course, not all of the protestors are violent criminals, but it would be jejune to think that the two groups don't share common goals, albeit with different means.

From Occupy Wall Street, New York, Reuters photograph

And more from Rome

Friday, October 14, 2011

SEAL Valor

A nice post to follow the last one. This Navy SEALs-based film looks pretty good.



"An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs in a powerful story of contemporary global anti-terrorism." -From Act of Valor website

Mission Capodanno

Mission Capodanno is a great organization that looks after the spiritual welfare of our troops, namely,
-to spiritually edify military personnel, and military families that have an immediate member serving on active duty

-to promote vocations to the U.S. Chaplain Corps

-to provide needed and requested Catholic supplies to military chaplains of all faiths currently ministering to those serving in the U.S. armed forces

-to make known the life and sacrifice of Fr. Vincent Robert Capodanno, LT, CHC, USNR

Now in our tenth year as a non-profit corporation, Team Capodanno continues to support active duty and reserve US military personnel and chaplains stationed around the world. Acknowledging "war is hell", Mission Capodanno likewise affirms the warriors home is Heaven. Mission Capodanno provides US military families spiritual edification through the teachings of the Catholic Church, specifically paragraph 2310 of the Catechism, the writings of Fulton J. Sheen and St. Jose Marie Escriva, the lives of saints in time of war, the witness of today's mlitary chaplains and families, and the exemplary life and sacrifice of Servant of God Fr. Vincent R. Capodanno, LT, CHC, USNR. (From the Mission Capodanno website)

Check out the Mission Capodanno website. You'll find some interesting links, news stories and video testimonials. Consider supporting this worthy apostolate. Here's a short video on Father Vincent Capodanno's work as a chaplain.

Grunt Padre Preview from Mission Capodanno on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pro-Life Push


The Republican led House of Representatives voted to cut off funding of abortions in Obamacare. Kudos to them for sticking to their convictions. For her part and not surprisingly, Nancy Pelosi, who never tires of reminding us of her fervent Catholicism, came out swinging against the bill to protect unborn babies, saying,
Every woman in America should be very concerned about this assault on women’s health. A woman could be dying on the floor of the hospital, and when you vote for this bill, you will be saying the caregivers would not [be able] to treat that woman and keep her from dying.

Spare me the histrionics and hackneyed nonsense about the "assault on women's health." Question: Where is the Church leadership in all of this? When will Pelosi finally be disciplined by her bishop for this egregious public scandal? We're still waiting.

Obama Uses the Race Card (again)

Barack Obama and his close pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright (watch video links)

From Real Clear Politics:
I ran for President for the same reason many people came to this country in the first place: Because I believe America should be a place where you can always make it if you try; a place where every child, no matter what they look like, where they come from, should have a chance to succeed. -B.O.

Because, as we all know, Republicans run for President so that only white children can succeed. The self-righteousness of this man is limitless.

Liberal Apoplexy

As I write this, I am reading a leading story in the Shepherd Express, a popular newspaper that can be picked up for free at local Milwaukee cafes like Alterra. The paper is notoriously liberal and unabashedly so. The story I am referring to reads as follows:
Republicans Could Ban Stem Cell Research In Wisconsin

More than 60 Republican legislators have signed on to a bill that would ban stem cell research in the state. Supported by extremist anti-abortion group Pro-Life Wisconsin, the bill would criminalize the sale or use of tissue from a fetus that had been aborted.

The bill doesn't stop there.

The bill is so vaguely worded that it could ban and criminalize embryonic stem cell research in the state...

And so the rest of the article goes. You know, I think most sane people would find the sale of human tissue absolutely abhorrent. It is remarkable that liberals, who claim to be the most stalwart defenders of the rights and freedom of the individual against any external idea of a universally applicable code of ethics, turn a blind eye to those individuals who have been aborted, all in the name of the greatest good for the greatest number.

The ripples of the 2010 election continue to register.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Consequence of Silence

Defending the defenders

Complaisant church leaders in America need to step up. From LifeSiteNews:
Army general flares: ‘where were the churches’ in fight against Don’t Ask repeal?

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - One of America’s most seasoned war generals expressed frustration at the silence of Christian churches as the U.S. military’s ban on open homosexuality fell to a repeal effort earlier this year.

Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin described at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday the exasperation of pro-family leaders in Washington who found themselves abandoned by church leaders unwilling to make a stand for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. ...

Notably, while the Vatican had released a statement in 1992 supporting a ban on open homosexuality in the military, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops remained silent on the repeal effort, leaving military Archbishop Timothy Broglio to defend the ban alone. When questioned on the controversy in December 2010, Washington’s Cardinal Donald Wuerl demurred, saying “there isn’t a specific Catholic Church position” on the issue.

Nice work, Cardinal Wuerl. That's the way to lead. Cardinal Wuerl should know better. The repeal of DADT is an obvious step in a wider, nationwide movement toward the normalization, integration and acceptance of homosexual activity. Not to get that manifests a stunning, almost incomprehensible naiveté on the part of the prelate. A scintilla of leadership and moral clarity from someone of Cardinal Weurl's influence and stature would have been expected. Sadly, he equivocates and disappoints.

Marquette University's Identity Problem

A puff-piece recently appeared in Milwaukee's Catholic Herald introducing the new president of Marquette University, Father Scott R. Pilarz. I don't know a thing about the new leader of Marquette. I wish him well, but for what it's worth, here are some thoughts for him to consider:

How about making Marquette University an authentic Catholic university once again? Put the faith and the teaching of objective morality above the basketball team and the almighty dollar sign.

How about ending the disgusting partnership between the university elites and the 'dictatorship of relativism'? It goes without saying that Marquette has abandoned the sacred responsibility to form students in virtue, in the classic sense of the word.

Like most ersatz Catholic universities today, Marquette bandies about its Catholic and Jesuit tradition, but that tradition has been eviscerated of any substantial meaning. I would love to see poll taken of the administration and faculty of Marquette University on the question of agreeing or disagreeing with the fundamentals of Catholic moral teaching, especially regarding sexual ethics. Does anyone seriously doubt that the results would show a gaping disparity between the views of those working for Marquette and the teachings of the Church? Why doesn't anyone ask the hard questions about places like Marquette? Why the rote puff pieces from Catholic news sources that routinely turn a blind eye to the real questions confronting Marquette? In short, why is Marquette treated as a serious Catholic university by people who should know better? Where is the evidence that loyalty to the core teachings of the Church at Marquette is paramount over cash and hoops?

Is it in the fact that Marquette was on the verge of hiring an avowed, militant lesbian to serve as dean of students, and only pulled the plug on the deal at the eleventh hour because of outside pressure and embarrassment? How did the hiring process get as far as it did in the first place?

Is it in the fact that Marquette hired Russ Feingold, who, as senator, was one of, if not the most liberal, pro-abortion politicians in Washington, to teach at its law school?

Is it in the fact that Marquette props up an LBGTQ support group on its campus? By the way, how many more letters are they going to tack onto that acronym?

The list could go on. It is a disgrace. It is disgusting. It is a betrayal. I would say it is a betrayal of the students, and that it is, but most students probably don't opt to attend Marquette because of a desire for a strong Catholic, liberal arts education, which proves my point about Marquette's public image. If the pooh-bahs at Marquette University care more about accommodation and rank inebriation on relativism, why not just come out and say it? Say "We are not Catholic." "We find the teachings of the Church to be way outside the mainstream, and not particularly helpful when raising money is our primary concern."

Drop the facade. That would be more intellectually honest than their shameful hiding behind the mantra of some tradition that they really don't care a wit about. It's sad that so many Catholics live in an alternative reality, either believing Marquette to be a real Catholic university, or are so apathetic so as to not care enough to ensure that it is.

Don't take my word for it. Here's an interview I conducted with a friend who attended Marquette for four years. He shares his frank views on the moral confusion and Catholic identity crisis that permeates Marquette's campus.

From Hope to Nihilism

A well-written piece by James Taranto, appearing in The Wall Street Journal:
The left got what it wanted in 2008: a liberal president with a sweeping agenda and big Democratic majorities capable of enacting it. The result has been a great and failed experiment in progressive politics and governance. In due course, one hopes, the left will absorb some lessons--but for now, they seem to be suffering a nervous breakdown.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shut Out

From CNSNews:
(CNSNews.com) -- There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.

In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan's new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.

The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department's latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”

Money well-spent?

Cold Shoulder

From Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four years ago, Senator Claire McCaskill was one of Barack Obama's biggest boosters in his presidential campaign. But when he recently visited her state of Missouri, she did not have time to join him.

Many of McCaskill's fellow Democrats in Congress may also decide they are too busy to be with Obama, whose approval rating of about 40 percent as the economy struggles threatens to be a drag on their own reelection chances next year.

"You may see a number of Democrats say 'Sorry, I have a scheduling conflict,'" said a senior Democratic lawmaker.

On the Wall Street Occupiers

A short video that is well worth watching.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finding Byzantium In Milwaukee

Saint George Melkite Church, Milwaukee

For quite some time, well over a decade to be sure, I've cultivated a deep interest in Byzantine spirituality. Truth be told, I am captivated by Byzantine liturgy and history. Loyal visitors to this site will probably not be too surprised by this little confession. I never tire of reading about the magnificence of Constantinople and the sheer beauty of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy. Whenever I pop into a used book store, I snatch up every book I can find on the history of Byzantium. I've always thought it a shame that so many Catholics do not have even the slightest knowledge of this remarkable culture.

About ten years ago I discovered a small, simple Eastern-rite Catholic Church in Milwaukee called Saint George Melkite Church. Located on Milwaukee's ever frenetic State Street, Saint George is easy to drive right by and miss altogether. But if you look carefully, you'll see the church's three distinct, golden onion domes from a distance glistening in the sun. I don't even remember how I came across this treasure, but I'm happy that I did. Whenever I visited Milwaukee during college and grad. school, I would always try to make it to Saturday evening vespers at 6:00pm, and now that I'm back home, I try to be a regular there.

During those short visits home over the many years away from Milwaukee, attending evening prayer at Saint George provided a much needed sense of continuity and stability in my hometown. To this day, the same good priest, a tall, bearded, black robed man with a billowing bass that is perfect for chanting through the ancient, earthy prayers, presides at vespers. Sometimes, he'll approach me and ask in his deep voice, "Do you have a book?" He wants to make sure I will follow the prayers.

In the summer months, the setting sun passes through the stained-glass windows, piercing the church with a golden beam that beautifully enhances the mesmerizing icons of Christ and the Saints. The ray of light is outlined by the clouds of sweet scented incense that quickly fill the small church. Sometimes, the priest will burn more incense than usual, and the pluming clouds rapidly escaping the golden censer meet the sunlight and the effect is remarkably captivating. The censer swings about, and the small bells attached to its chains make an enchanting sound with the flick of the priest's wrist, as he intones the supplicatory hymns and processes around the church. The experience is a feast for the senses. The priest constantly prays a litany of intentions. He stands with his hands out, in the ancient manner, representing a pleading disposition before the Holy of Holies and the imposing icon of Christ Pantocrator.

During the cold, long winters, the darkened church is all the more inviting and warm. While there is no sun to illuminate the wonderful iconostasis and ignite the billowing clouds of aromatic incense, the soft glow of the candles that fills the church reflects off the gold panels and the faces of Christ and the Virgin Mary, breathing an unmatched sense of calm. The outside darkness and chill contrast mightily with the warmth of the candle-lit church interior. The cadences of the intercessory prayers envelop you as you are brought deeper into the mysteries. The profound bows and repeated signing of the cross bring the body into greater harmony with the soul's orientation. We are usually a very small group on Saturday, but there seems to be an unspoken solidarity among those of us who make it for vespers week after week, as one season changes to another. I know that we're all happy to see each other.

It is an experience of undeniable beauty to partake in a tradition that has its origins in the ancient rituals of the hallowed church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and the great Saint John Chrysostom. The glorious building of Hagia Sophia is now, sadly, a museum, a shell of its former self, after having served as a mosque in the wake of the Ottoman conquest. But to have a taste of this timeless tradition and to experience a clear glimpse into that noble past at Saint George is a true blessing.

Communion Protocol

Writing in the weekly bulletin for the Cathedral Parish of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, Msgr. Kevin D. Holmes instructs the reader on the changes that are due regarding the reception of Holy Communion under both species. Here's an excerpt:
In the last couple of decades, Communion under both species (with the congregation able to receive the Precious Blood as well as the Sacred Host) has become routine in our experience. I knew (as many of you do) that Communion under both species was first introduced, on a limited basis, after the Second Vatican Council, and that it has become much more common since. What I did not know was that the widespread American practice of offering both species at most Sunday Masses began here under an indult (special permission) given by the Vatican in 1975, which expired in 2005.

Almost no one realized that until very recently. Maybe we can be forgiven for forgetting that we were operating under a temporary indult. After thirty years, something can seem pretty permanent. But it wasn‟t. The bishops of our country did apply for an extension of the 1975 indult, but that was denied.

So for about six years now, parishes that have been offering the Precious Blood on regular basis on Sundays and weekdays (which is probably most parishes in the US) have been doing so despite the expiration of the indult and the denial for an extension. One can only hope that, as this garners more attention, bishops across the nation will follow Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison and demand that their priests follow the proper instruction on this matter.

Addendum: Bishop Morlino offered some clarification in this letter.

Defending Columbus

The Landing

Father John A. Hardon S.J., wrote a powerful defense of the great explorer, Christopher Columbus. Sadly, it is all too common today to hear and read unwarranted attacks on Columbus by the minions of political correctness. He was European, he was Catholic, he was self-assured and he introduced the faith to the allegedly pure and pristine New World, so he must be suspect. Here's an excerpt from the article.
There are those who say that Christopher Columbus died a saint. Certainly the sufferings he experienced, especially from those to whom he was most devoted, chastened his heart and brought him close to God before he entered eternity. One thing we can say: his phenomenal career on earth was a heroic response to a sublime vocation. He was the destined herald of the true faith to half of the human race.

Gingrich and the Courts

Wow. Historian Newt Gingrich takes CBS' Bob Schieffer to school on the Supreme Court. Enjoy this.



"Justice Kennedy is a one person constitutional convention." Brilliant!

Andrew C. McCarthy unpacks the nucleus of Gingrich's correct reading on judicial authority.
For more than a half-century, it has been monotonously proclaimed that the judges are the last word on what the law is, and, therefore, that not only the litigants in the case but the whole of society must yield to their decisions. It has become easy to forget — or to have never known — that it was not always this way. As Gingrich argues in a position paper he rolled out with a speech on Friday, there is nothing in the Constitution that stands for this proposition. It is a promotion the Warren court gave itself in 1958, in a gambit Stanford Law School dean Larry Kramer aptly described as “not reporting a fact so much as trying to manufacture one.”

In his famous Marbury v. Madison opinion, Chief Justice John Marshall reasoned that it was the task of judges to say what the law is. This was not, however, the declaration of “the basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution” — the lavish gloss the Warren court put on it in Cooper v. Aaron.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Next Phase

American Special Forces

From the Associated Press:
(AP) FORT BRAGG, North Carolina - They were the first Americans into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and will probably be the last U.S. forces to leave.

As most American troops prepare to withdraw in 2014, the CIA and military special operations forces to be left behind are girding for the next great pivot of the campaign, one that could stretch their war up to another decade. ...

Another branch of special operations would continue to support the Afghans in remote locations, trying to keep the Taliban from spreading. The bare bones of that force have been put in place over the past two years — a scattered framework of small teams of U.S. operators paired with Afghan local tribesmen trained by the Americans.

Christians Feeling the Heat In Egypt



From the Associated Press:
CAIRO (AP) — On her first day to school, 15-year-old Christian student Ferial Habib was stopped at the doorstep of her new high school with clear instructions: either put on a headscarf or no school this year.

Habib refused. While most Muslim women in Egypt wear the headscarf, Christians do not, and the move by administrators to force a Christian student to don it was unprecedented. For the next two weeks, Habib reported to school in the southern Egyptian village of Sheik Fadl every day in her uniform, without the head covering, only to be turned back by teachers. ...

Habib's was allowed last week to attend without the scarf, and civil rights advocates say her case is a rare one. But it stokes the fears of Egypt's significant Christian minority that they will become the victims as Islamists grow more assertive after the Feb. 11 toppling of President Hosni Mubarak.

'Anarchists for big government'

Mark Steyn, writing for National Review Online, exposes the facts surrounding the young anarchists occupying Wall Street.
In the old days, the tribunes of the masses demanded an honest wage for honest work. Today, the tribunes of America’s leisured varsity class demand a world that puts “people before profits.” If the specifics of their “program” are somewhat contradictory, the general vibe is consistent: They wish to enjoy an advanced Western lifestyle without earning an advanced Western living. The pampered, elderly children of a fin de civilisation overdeveloped world, they appear to regard life as an unending vacation whose bill never comes due.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Seeing Blue

Surge for Cain



This is pretty stunning, and encouraging, from The Daily Caller:
In news sure to inject shock and awe into the Republican political primary season, a Zogby poll released Thursday showed Herman Cain leading the Republican field, topping former front-runner Mitt Romney by an astonishing 20 points. Cain would also narrowly edge out Obama in a general election, the poll found, by a 46-44 margin.

Correction

The Associated Press highlights some of Barack Obama's inaccurate statements from his press conference yesterday:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Are President Barack Obama's ideas for job creation really bipartisan as he claims? Not when the means for paying for them are put in the equation.

The president dodged various facts and and left some evidence in the dust in his latest challenge to Republicans to get behind his jobs program or offer a real alternative.

Cain on Leno

Thursday, October 06, 2011

October 7 History

Vision of Pope Saint Pius V of the victory at Lepanto


Today marks the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, formerly known as Our Lady Queen of Victory. The feast was established by Pope Pius V to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for delivering victory to the Christian fleet over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The battle probably saved Europe from eventually being overrun by the forces of Islam, as tens of thousands of the most elite and experienced soldiers and sailors of the Ottoman Empire perished that day.

Interestingly, today also marks the tenth anniversary of the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, pitting the United States and the West against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Corrective Measure

Catholic news from Arizona:
Plans are underway in the Diocese of Phoenix to implement new local norms for the distribution of Holy Communion that will bring the local Church in line with universal Church guidelines.

As a result, the Precious Blood will not be offered at every Sunday Mass, but instead be reserved for special occasions, left to the determination of each parish pastor.

The change will bring local Catholic celebration of the Eucharist into union with the practice of the faithful around the world. Receiving Communion under both kinds is uncommon in most countries.

"What many people don't realize is that we've had experimental privileges," said Fr. Kieran Kleczewski, executive director of the Office of Worship. "We're now under the same norms as the Church in the rest of the world."

Little by little, things are turning around in the Catholic Church in the United States (a bit slower than I would like, but hey, it's a good thing).

Next up: bye-bye altar girls, adios Communion in the hand, see-ya armies of unnecessary lay 'Eucharistic ministers'. One can only hope. As an aside, this is exactly why going to Mass in the extraordinary form is so edifying. As someone who was reared in the ordinary form, replete with all of the customary abuses (which I incorrectly thought were normal), I can attest to this. With the extraordinary form, I simply don't have to worry about the scads of liturgical abuses that have gradually become so commonplace in the novus ordo. It's possible to simply relax, in the spiritual sense of the word, without the endless distractions, the spectacles, the overtures for me to "get involved" in this or that way. "Getting involved" of course usually means breaking down so-called barriers by doing something that has traditionally been reserved for the priest or deacon.

Some may point out that the things I mentioned aren't necessarily abuses. Perhaps, because they technically are allowed, but remember, most of them were born from outright disobedience.

I'm thrilled to see that abuses or excesses in the ordinary form are (slowly) being corrected. And I'm happy that the new translation is on the horizon so that liturgical English more closely matches the Latin, something that should have been done at the beginning. That said, one can certainly understand why so many people (myself included) have long since decided to take advantage of the Holy Father's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and track down a Latin Mass parish in their neighborhood.

Home for Liturgy in Milwaukee: Saint Stanislaus Oratory