Friday, November 30, 2012

Liturgical Clarification

(A note: I had barely taken the first sip of my coffee this morning (French press, by the way) when I noticed a rather surprising admonition in my comment section from Cathy Caridi, J.C.L., asking that I remove the excerpt from her well-written article regarding Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. I am happy to oblige. I leave my other points to stand on their own, as they are perfectly clear without Caridi's observations. It is a pity, as I am sure that visitors to this site appreciated her professional take, and also since I was agreeing with her point. When we're fighting the same battles, and when the stakes are as high as they are, my attitude is, let's help each other out! I cited Caridi and linked directly to her piece.

I've written a good deal over the years and published here and there, whether working at the Vatican or in the states. My pieces have often been linked or cited on other sites and I would never have thought to send a terse copyright notice to any of those people, hard-working Catholics trying to make a difference, getting out the message. Quite the contrary, I was extremely grateful and humbled that others took an interest in what I had to say and highlighted it on their site. I was/am far more concerned about getting the message across, rather than scoring points or getting attention. As the saying goes, there's always the first time, right? Have a great weekend, Ms. Caridi. Come back and visit us soon. Feel free to cite any of my writings. You have my permission.)

One of the overarching themes that inform my view on Church life in America is the extent to which liturgical abuses, and things that were considered strictly verboten for centuries and centuries, have become normative, to the extent that most Catholics simply don't even know that such things are liturgical anomalies. Much of our liturgical culture has been transformed.

One of Archbishop Jerome Listecki's frequent sign-offs when writing an article or appearing on an archdiocesan video is "See you at Mass!" That's great. Catholics should, of course, go to Mass. But in the back of my mind, I'm also thinking, "We've gotta start educating Catholics about what Mass is! What does it mean to be in the state of grace to properly receive Communion? What is the Real Presence? Why is the reception of Communion on the tongue still, according to the Church, the preferred way to receive? What is Confession? How do you make a good Confession? What is an examination of conscience?" Those who shrug their shoulders, scoff and say "Big deal!" about these issues prove my point.

As a friend in Saint Louis, a saintly septuagenarian, once lamented to me, "We've lost our Catholic vocabulary in the United States!" And the implications for losing that go beyond just an abbreviated list of words from which to choose. It cuts to the core of our identity as Catholics! We have to go all the way back to square one, and can no longer assume that Catholics know the fundamentals of the faith.

N.B. to Priests

Confessional at Saint Joseph Chapel in Milwaukee

J.Q. Tomanek has some succinct advice, in the form of a list, to priests regarding what they need to start providing more of to their parishioners during the Year of Faith. I've selected a few of the most important, based on my own experience. The flock is thirsting for grace. Priests need to take it up a notch. From Ignitum Today:
2. Confession times. We need more. An hour a week is not cutting it. Lately, I can show up on time for the beginning of Confession and still be waiting 30 minutes later and sometimes I have been in line for over an hour and failed to receive the Sacrament because Mass started. I really don’t mind people receiving some sort of direction in the confessional, but please keep in mind there are others behind them that really want to receive our Lord but must confess mortal sins. 
3. Absolution. Yes, we want to hear those words “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We also want to pray the Act of Contrition even if we forget it on the spot. We don’t mind you helping us pray it. 
4. Penance. This is completely up to you. It is your territory. But please consider that my sins should not be taken lightly. Those mortal sins I just confessed, yes those alone were capable of crucifying Jesus. 
5. Homily. I can get the latest sports on ESPN. I can read the bulletin after Mass. I don’t need a reminder to go to the Church festival at a neighboring parish. What I really need is Jesus. I need him preached from the mountaintops. I need the Gospel explained so that I go out into the world and live His Word. Remember, you have 30 minutes per week to teach me the Faith, please do so like this is last chance you get to convince me to keep practicing my Faith.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Good Samaritan

Change the world

This photo is making the rounds. A great story, from The Lookout:
A photo of a New York City police officer kneeling down to give a barefoot homeless man in Times Square a pair of boots on a cold November night is melting even the iciest New Yorkers' hearts online. 
On Nov. 14, NYPD officer Lawrence DePrimo, who was on counterterrorism duty in Times Square, saw the older homeless man without shoes sitting on 42nd Street. DePrimo, 25, left and then returned with a pair of $100 boots he bought at a nearby Skechers store.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Taxing the rich" accomplishes...nothing

"If you took every single penny that Warren Buffett has, it'd pay for 4-1/2 days of the US government. This tax-the-rich won't work. The problem here is the government is way bigger than even the capacity of the rich to sustain it. The Buffett Rule would raise $3.2 billion a year, and take 514 years just to pay off Obama's 2011 budget deficit." -Mark Steyn
Remarkable. Can someone tell me why this simple fact was never raised by the GOP during the campaign, like during a debate???

One institution after another...

From NBC News:
Military women sue over 'combat exclusion' rule 
A group of female pilots, Marines and soldiers gathered in San Francisco on Tuesday to announce the filing of a lawsuit challenging the military's policy of excluding women from many combat positions. 
The four women plaintiffs, along with the Service Women's Action Network headquartered in New York, are suing the Department of Defense, and the suit names Defense Secretary Leon Panetta specifically. A representative at the DOD in Washington, D.C., was not immediately available for comment, but he did say it is common policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.
The disciples of political correctness will go after every institution standing in its way. The military, with Obama as Commander in Chief, is already ensnared. This ridiculous story is only another manifestation.

You have to hand it to liberals in the way that they manage this relentless and simultaneous assault on so many of our cultural institutions: academia, the entertainment industry, politics, media, sports, the military, and even religion. All have been, to a greater or lesser degree, infected by liberalism's sting.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gumming up the works

If we can't beat it (for now) then bog it down. From The Hill:
Obama faces huge challenge in setting up health insurance exchanges 
The Obama administration faces major logistical and financial challenges in creating health insurance exchanges for states that have declined to set up their own systems. 
The exchanges were designed as the centerpiece of President Obama’s signature law, and are intended to make buying health insurance comparable to booking a flight or finding a compatible partner on 
Sixteen states — most of them governed by Republicans — have said they will not set up their own systems, forcing the federal government to come up with one instead. 
Another five states said they want a federal-state partnership, while four others are considering partnerships. It's a situation no one anticipated when the Affordable Care Act was written. 
The law assumed states would create and operate their own exchanges, and set aside billions in grants for that purpose.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Washington's Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. 
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:” 
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. 
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. 
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. 
Go. Washington

Yawning Away

From Reuters:
LONDON (Reuters) - Growing into a fully formed human being is a long process, and scientists have found that unborn babies not only hiccup, swallow and stretch in the womb, they yawn too. 
Researchers who studied 4D scans of 15 healthy fetuses also said they think yawning is a developmental process which could potentially give doctors a new way to check on a baby's health. 
While some scientists have previously suggested that fetuses yawn, others disagree and say it is nothing more than a developing baby opening and stretching its mouth. 
But writing in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, British researchers said their study was able to clearly distinguish yawning from "non-yawn mouth opening" based on how long the mouth was open.
What a perverse culture! On the on hand, we read scientific reports like this one, which give no doubt about the life and viability of the baby in the womb, and yet our nation just reelected a man who is perfectly fine putting out commercials and campaigning on the "right" to terminate their lives.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tradition and Truth

Bringing it back

From Thomas Pascoe, writing for the Telegraph:
Hallelujah! Rejoice! The progressive instinct which has brought the Christian churches to their knees in the West over the last century has at last been stymied. Not, of course, stymied by the priesthood, but by a laity which has had enough of seeing Christian dogma play second fiddle to the demented social engineering foisted on the church by a secular world which holds it in contempt. ... 
One of the reasons we have lost sight of this is that all the Western churches have accepted a general need to liberalise in response a society which has paired the loss of political liberty with expansive sexual liberties. The notion that without stigma we often act against our own interests is not new, it dates back to Aristotle's discussion of the akratic. But our loss of shame as a society, and the social breakdown which has ensued, has derived from an absentee church which has resiled its duties in favour of chasing the zeitgeist. 
There is a story, perhaps apocryphal, of Pope Leo XIII appearing to fall into a trance shortly after he finished celebrating Mass in Rome in 1884. When asked later what had happened, he reported hearing two voices, one gruff and coarse, one kind and gentle, transact a conversation in which the frightening voice was given between 75 and 100 years to bring about the collapse of the Church. 
What ensued was a steady erosion of doctrine. Practices established from time immemorial were dispensed with because they were no longer seen as relevant. The efficacy and the beauty of the Catholic rites has been diminished by this process, as much as is the case in the Anglican communion.
So true. Please CC to the American bishops, and every pastor at every Catholic parish.


From CNN:
(Wired) -- Most bullets make small sonic booms when flying through the air, which to our ears sound like a loud, distinct "crack!" For the Pentagon's special forces, that makes it hard to be sneaky about what they're shooting. Now the commandos want to be sneakier with slower, quieter bullets. 
In its latest round of small-business solicitations, the Pentagon's Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, is seeking out subsonic ammunition. The reason, according to the solicitation, is to "provide superior covert and stealth capabilities" for not only the military, but police forces and the Department of Homeland Security. In theory, and for rifles in the 5.56, 7.62 and .338 calibers, the bullets will travel at low enough velocities to avoid breaking the sound barrier, thus creating no "crack" noise. Breaking the sound barrier also pretty much negates the use of a sound suppressor, or "silencer," which the special forces would likely want to use against militants in Afghanistan and around the world.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

States take on Obamacare (the fight continues)

A fascinating article from Michael Cannon, writing for the CATO Institute:
Obamacare: The Road to Repeal Starts in the States 
States that have refused to implement the Obama health law have already blocked $80 billion of its new deficit spending. If more states follow suit, they can block the other $1.6 trillion and force Congress to repeal the law. 
The law relies on states to implement two of its most essential pieces: health-insurance "exchanges" and a vast expansion of Medicaid. Exchanges are government agencies through which the law channels $800 billion to private health-insurance companies. ... 
In total, state officials can block $1.6 trillion of deficit spending simply by sitting on their hands. According to CBO estimates, the handful of states that have already refused to expand Medicaid are saving taxpayers $80 billion. 
Blocking these provisions will expose the full costs of the law, instead of allowing the federal government to shift those costs to taxpayers. The resulting backlash will push members of Congress to switch their votes and support repeal, just as two House Democrats did during the latest repeal vote. A critical mass of states could literally force Congress to repeal the Obama health law.

The Liberal-Christian Conundrum

So for now, the fissure-prone church of England will not move ahead with female "bishops." A truly surprising move, given the direction they've been moving over the past several decades, which is to say, embrace and conform to every trend demanded by the sirens of political correctness. Interestingly, the opposition emanated from the laity, not the enlightened church leaders.

Writing for the Telegraph, Tim Stanley takes on the the fallacious arguments liberals often rely on when taking up theology. In politics, their sophistry and rhetoric will sometimes have a certain logic, but when dealing in the category of immutable truth, they run into some awkward situations.
The Synod really was Anglicanism in the raw – and seen from the outside it is a very strange creature. As a Roman Catholic, I don't understand its "evolving" attitude towards scripture and tradition. God, I always thought, is not for turning. But the Anglicans not only allow for change (which surely concedes that God makes mistakes?), but it also seem to have decided that building a consensus that accommodates that change is a sound alternative to a consistent theology. “Whatever happens, no matter how far we depart from Scripture or tradition … we must all stand together!”...
And how achingly liberal the church has become. The words “respect” and “equality” were used so often that the Synod sounded rather like a Labour conference fringe meeting. From the pro-women bishops side, the argument was often made that Christianity’s relevance lies in it reflecting the society around it (tell that to the Christians who were fed to the lions by pagans). Tim Stevens, the Bishop of Leicester, said that the Synod was not listening to the voices of the young unemployed or displaced children – as if the number one issue that the starving or the homeless are worried about is the gender of the Bishop of Leicester. Sally Muggeridge of Canterbury helpfully pointed out that the Queen is a woman. I would like to point out to Mrs Muggeridge that while it might be unjust that Elizabeth Windsor cannot be a bishop … a bishop cannot be a Queen either. I'll leave the door open to innuendos on my way out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Uncomfortable Asymmetry

A young man told me recently that all sex-based social norms should be abolished.  He said that a sex-blind society would be incomparably better than our own.  I suppose this view is common today.  I responded to the young man, however, with a little skepticism.  I asked why he was so sure that a sex-blind society would be a better society, and I suggested that every flourishing society to date has distinguished the social roles of the sexes.  In fact, all societies have distinguished the social roles of the sexes.  I asked if it wasn't naive--perhaps foolish--to abandon a deep structure that has shaped every successful, just, and happy society.  Shouldn't we fear losing what we have?  Shouldn't we at least be wary of unexpected ill consequences, as we tear out a piece of the framework of every extant and past society?

These sorts of concerns, however, did not move the young man with whom I spoke.  Progressives, I suppose, do not worry that their merely imagined futures will turn out to be unworkable, or less happy, or less just, than the world we have seen in the past and the world that we see today.  Perhaps it's laudable.  They are optimistic.  People are good, they say, we have well-intentioned goals, so the future--though radically different from what we've known--will bring new goodness, and new happiness.  My conversation  partner himself had no doubts.  His sex-blind world will certainly be better than any world we have yet seen.

I allowed those words to sink in.  And I began to think that all was well, all was right.  I was encouraged, I was heartened.  Yes, men are good, and their future is even now glowing just beneath the horizon of today.  But then the harbinger of newness and optimism whipped me around and faced me in the opposite direction from that glowing light.  Looking into the past was looking into a grey, receding storm.  It was all hail.  It was all wind.  And every person that I saw there was bent low under that oppressive weather--under the hammering of the rain.  This is how the young man with whom I spoke described the past.  All men, he said, have till now been brutes, and all women have been horribly, shamefully, consistently oppressed.  This is why, he said, any appeal to the past, on my part, leaves him unconvinced that the future should be anything like the past.  The past is horrible, horrible summarily, and the mores and standards of the past must be largely discarded. 

Suddenly, I was struck by an uncomfortable asymmetry in the doctrine of my new teacher--the young man--at whose feet I sat with all requisite docility.  Yesterday's men were monsters, tomorrow's men are heroes.  Every society till now has been deeply unjust.  But tomorrow's society, though wholly unrepresented, will be wholly better than those of the past.  The progressives have no need to test the workability of this new society.  They have already foreseen that it will be just and that it will be happy.

Intense pessimism about the past and intense optimism about the future.  Why isn't the progressive troubled by this troubling asymmetry?  I can only imagine one answer.  A simple answer.  He thinks his grandfather stupid, or perhaps even bad, and thinks himself such a source of luminous reason, that he has no need to see his social theories tested to see that they will work, and no need to see his own grandchildren to see that they will be good--like him.   

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Next Chapter

America Libre: Marco Rubio looks ahead

It's already underway. From Politico:
ALTOONA, Iowa — And so it begins again. 
Thirty-eight months before the next presidential vote is cast, Marco Rubio on Saturday night became the first of the potential 2016 contestants to swoop in to this first caucus state and test the GOP’s new rallying cry to broaden its appeal. 
Seven hundred people turned out to see the Florida senator at the annual birthday fundraiser bash for GOP Gov. Terry Branstad. Rubio had the spotlight all to himself — he said he was merely here to help the governor mark his 66th birthday, but no one believed it for a minute. 
The appearance of the Republican Party’s most prominent Latino face in Iowa — a state President Barack Obama won by six points on Election Day — was no casual drop-by after the drubbing Mitt Romney took among Hispanics nationally.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Golden Age in Venice

Here are a few images of the famous pala d'oro in the Basilica of Saint Mark in Venice, Italy. It is situated behind the main altar and is recognized as one of the most exquisite examples of Byzantine sacred art in the world. It was transported to Venice from Constantinople in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade. I was able to see it once during a visit to La Serenissima. Read more about this masterpiece at the link provided.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


There's no political or military solution to what is, at its core, a spiritual and cultural sickness

Canvassing the wreckage of last week's election, where contraceptives trumped a multi-trillion dollar debt, and the circus of a sex-scandal sweeping the military's top brass, you don't need lightening to strike you to arrive at the conclusion that the United States and Western society are knee-deep in the quicksands of moral decay and decline. It leaves no institution untouched. G. Murphy Donovan, a Vietnam veteran and former Intelligence officer, excoriates General David Petraeus and exposes the widening moral dissolution taking hold within the military. It jibes with what others who've served (Navy, USMC, Army) have told me. Here's an excerpt, from the American Thinker:
Ironically, cheating on your wife seems to be a moral misdemeanor in the Army; while cheating on your trigonometry quiz could lead to dismissal.
And be not distracted by any "honey trap" nonsense; cheating on wives is a military tradition, not a scandal. Officially, a remote tour is designated "unaccompanied," but overseas orders seldom require celibacy. Alas, unaccompanied officers are known in the trade as "geographic" bachelors. A senior officer is not busted for cheating; he gets drummed out of the corps for getting caught -- too visibly. ... 
And morality only becomes an issue when it embarrasses the Service. In this respect, contemporary military culture is no different than American political culture. If and when, Holly Petraeus, sings a few choruses of "Stand by Your Man," as did Hilary Clinton; the triumph of the bimbo ethics will be confirmed. Men behave like swine because the women in their lives, mothers and wives, have low or no expectations.

The Grand Plan

Ann Coulter hits a home run in this excellent article on the changing face of America as the reason behind last week's election:
Most Americans don't realize that, decades ago, the Democrats instituted a long-term plan to gradually turn the United States into a Third World nation. The country would become poorer and less free, but Democrats would have an unbeatable majority! 
Under Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration act, our immigration policy changed from one that replicated the existing ethnic population to one that strictly favored unskilled immigrants from the Third World. Since 1968, 85 percent of legal immigrants have come from what is euphemistically called "developing countries." ... 
Because recent immigrants have no skills, they arrive in dire need of government assistance. Their desperation has been an enormous boon to the Democratic Party. 
Thirty-nine percent of native households receive some form of government assistance. By contrast, 57 percent of immigrant households -- legal immigrants -- get government assistance. We can't do anything about the native population, but why on Earth is America taking in immigrants who require taxpayer support? 
If you come to America and immediately go on welfare, by definition, you are not a desirable immigrant. Except as a voter for the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ron's Curtain Call

From ABC News:
Rep. Ron Paul, the iconic libertarian congressman from Texas, has delivered what will most likely be his final address to Congress. 
In a sprawling, 52-minute speech to the House chamber, Paul lambasted U.S. government, politicians and special interests, declaring that the U.S. people must return to virtue before the government allows them to be free, and that the Constitution has failed to limit the scope of an authoritarian bureaucracy. 
"Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed," Paul said. "The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified." ... 
"History has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled..."
On that, Paul couldn't be more right.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Responding to the Scott Browns out there

Nile Gardiner, writing for the Telegraph, offers a great rebuttal to those calling on the Republican Party to shift on the fundamentals.
Despite Romney’s defeat, the Right in America remains strong. There is no need for panic, or the adoption of short-term solutions that will weaken conservatism in the long-run. There is nothing wrong with the conservative brand itself, clearly demonstrated by the Republicans’ continuing dominance of the House of Representatives, as well as their 30 Governorships across the country (compared to 19 for the Democrats). The Republicans also possess a remarkably strong bench for the 2016 race, from Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush in Florida to Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Susana Martinez in New Mexico, as well as Paul Ryan in Wisconsin. This is not a party on the ropes, but one which retains great strength in depth, and the intellectual rigour to develop bold new ideas that advance the cause of freedom in America. Indeed, the conservative movement as a whole will only grow in opposition to the second-term policies of Obama’s imperial White House. As Obama advances his “transformational” presidency, it will be up to American conservatives to ensure that the flame of economic freedom and individual liberty is kept alive in the world’s only superpower.

Bad Advice

Scott Brown, exit stage right

Recently defeated pro-choice Republican Scott Brown is dispensing with advice on how the GOP can remain relevant. Are you ready? This metamorphosis involves, not surprisingly, Republicans embracing abortion, and other "moderate" stances on issues like gay "marriage," and so on. That's the ticket to electoral success, coming from a politico who just had his clock cleaned.

From Politico:
“We need to be a larger tent party,” he [Brown] said. “I’m a pro-choice, moderate Republican. There’s a vanishing breed here, we know that now.” 
“I’m hopeful we’ll be a more tolerant, open-minded party,” he added. “I plan to continue to play a role of some sort but I don’t know what yet, but I know I’ve been very happy to be here.” 
He cited other moderate senators in both parties that are leaving Congress as well – a list that includes Democrats Joe Lieberman and Kent Conrad and Republicans Richard Lugar and Olympia Snowe. 
“The group in the middle, it’s vanishing,” Brown said.
This is rich. A pro-abortion Republican, who just lost an election and is on his way out the door, is issuing dire warnings about, what exactly? "Vanishing."

The "You Republicans had better tack to the center, or else" line has got to be one of the biggest myths and hackneyed lines out there, and it's perpetuated continuously by liberal Republicans who, by the way, lose elections and, of course, the media. When Democrats lose, do we ever hear about the need for them to come to the center? To become more pro-life?

Yes, Brown-conquerer Elizabeth Warren (who from time to time thinks she's a Native American) is a joke and total embarrassment. That is beyond question. She is a socialist who will do nothing but harm from her new perch of power, but at least she's clearly aligned with the other side. Politicians like Brown, poisoning the wells from the inside, are more dangerous to our Party. Winnowing them from our ranks can't be considered a bad thing at all.

To borrow from Jefferson, "Good riddance to bad wear."


From the National Catholic Register:
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has told the University of Notre Dame that there is a concrete “menace” to religious liberty in the United States that is advancing in part because some influential Catholic public figures and university professors are allied with those opposed to Church teaching. 
“Evidence is emerging which demonstrates that the threat to religious freedom is not solely a concern for non-democratic and totalitarian regimes,” he said. “Unfortunately, it is surfacing with greater regularity in what many consider the great democracies of the world.” ... 
He cited Catholics’ duties to be disciples of Christ, not elements of a political or secular ideology. He lamented the fact that many Catholics are publicly supporting “a major political party” that has “intrinsic evils among its basic principles.” 
“There is a divisive strategy at work here, an intentional dividing of the Church; through this strategy, the body of the Church is weakened, and, thus, the Church can be more easily persecuted,” the nuncio said.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lessons Not Learned

And some bishops let him. This is a pretty hard-hitting story, but it's well-worth reading. It should aid in snapping some from their slumber.

Here's just an excerpt, from Real Clear Religion:
The most anti-Catholic American president ever scooped up the Catholic vote again, winning half of all Catholics. This is down four points from 2008, but it is still an impressive feat after four years of persecuting the Church. 
Historians will no doubt record the grim irony of his achievement with some wonder. He has now won the Catholic vote twice and boasts an honorary degree in law from one of the Church's most prestigious universities, all while breaking her. Saul Alinsky, who pioneered the technique of bamboozling and exploiting the Church, would be proud. ... 
The work of Obama's allies within the Church paid off. Obama's Fifth Columnists steered money into his campaign (Jesuit college and universities raised donations for him), honored his HHS secretary at Georgeown even after she hatched the contraceptive mandate, erected pro-Obama Catholic front groups like Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, motivated Catholic college students to get out and vote for him, and spread propaganda through Sisters Carol Keehan and Simone Campbell that Obama posed no threat to the Church. 
Hispanic Catholics, under the tutelage of the Catholic left, voted for Obama over Romney 75 to 21. That was up three points from 2008. 
Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, who is Congressman Paul Ryan's nemesis, complained earlier in the year that the bishops had given too much aid to "anti-Obama" forces. If that only were true. 
Once again, the bishops proved feckless and divided. Some bishops raised their voices against Obama; most didn't. Nor did the bishops counter Joe Biden's misrepresentations of "Catholic social doctrine" and "de fide" abortion teaching late in the campaign.
This disaster should represent an epic embarrassment for the USCCB. More can and will be written on this outrageous and sad story.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Czech mate

A friend emailed this to me.
Some people have the vocabulary to sum up things in a way that you can quickly understand them. This quote came from the Czech Republic . Someone over there has it figured out. It was translated into English from an article in the Prague newspaper Prager Zeitungon
"The danger to America is not Barack Obama, but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president. The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America . Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince. The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools, such as those who made him their president."
+ ObamaPhone Lady = QED

Remember Latin?

From the Associated Press:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is trying to resurrect Latin.
Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree Saturday creating a new pontifical academy for Latin studies to try to boost interest in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church that is nevertheless out of widespread use elsewhere. 
Benedict acknowledged Latin's fall from grace in his decree, saying future priests nowadays often learn only a "superficial" knowledge of Latin in their seminaries. The new academy will promote Latin through conferences, publications and instruction in Catholic schools, universities and seminaries, he wrote. 
As would be expected, the decree and its founding statutes were written in Latin. 
Benedict's move is further evidence of his attempt to restore the church to its traditional roots as it battles to prevent the faithful from straying in today's increasingly secular world.

"Lone Voice"

From the Associated Press:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is digging in after gay marriage initiatives scored big wins this week in the U.S. and Europe, vowing to never stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. 
In a front-page article in Saturday's Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition. In a separate Vatican Radio editorial, the pope's spokesman asked sarcastically why gay marriage proponents don't now push for legal recognition for polygamous couples as well. 
Catholic teaching holds that homosexuals should be respected and treated with dignity but that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered." The Vatican also opposes same-sex marriage, insisting on the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman as the foundation for society.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Bright Future

Yes, it is bad. As Peggy Noonan said last night, two billion dollars spent, and we're just where we were the day before the election: a divided government, stalemate.

But think of this:

- The Republicans still control the legislature. Not to be overlooked. Obama is a lame duck. Last night, John Boehner called his House the "last line of defense" against Obama. He is right, and I don't expect his members to give Obama an inch in the coming two years.

- If Republicans play their cards correctly, they could come back at the midterms in two years, padding their majority in the house and maybe, just maybe, take back the Senate, which seems to be a Gordian knot for Republicans lately... From now on, we'll have to take major advantage of midterm/off-year elections, when the Democratic base largely seems to tune out. Quietly, the GOP can go about adding to its numbers.

- Pelosi's term as a leader in Congress is likely over. Dems. are furious that poor planning on her part saw them lose their chance to take back the House of Representatives. (Imagine that nightmare scenario!)

- The Republicans control a majority of the governorships and, I believe, state legislatures in the nation. These states need to become redoubts of conservatism, filtering out, as best they can, federal advances.

- Fast-forward. Two words: Paul Ryan, President.

- Fast-forward. Two words: Marco Rubio Vice President. See below.

- After Obama, the Democrats will be leaderless. Joe Biden? Seriously? Mark my words, Benghazi will destroy any chance Hillary Clinton will have of running at the national level. The Democrats have ensured that their Party IS Barack Obama. Obama's narcissism and the nauseating, sycophantic cult of personality that shadows him only fuels this phenomenon. Once he runs his course (painful it will be) and can no longer run again, the Democrats will be totally adrift. Meanwhile, the GOP boasts an incredible amount of talent that will fully blossom in four years: Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal, and a host of amazing, young, attractive governors. We saw a hint of this Republican time-bomb at the GOP convention this past summer.

- Benghazi. This scandal will only expand.

- Sadly, things will get worse for the economy, but the Democrats will bear full blame for this next time, paving the way for a conservative wave.

Be of good cheer!

I'll try to add to this list.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Happy Thoughts

Fred Barnes, writing for The Weekly Standard, offers some encouraging insights about voter trends for tomorrow's election. He thinks Romney will win. Here's an excerpt worth keeping in mind:
Indicators. Many point to a Romney win. He does well among “high-propensity-voting” blocs such as, in the Battleground Poll, seniors (54 percent), married voters (56 percent), weekly church attendees (59 percent), white evangelicals (79 percent), and gun owner householders (60 percent). He also leads among key demographic groups such as suburban voters (54 percent), Catholics (53 percent), and middle class voters (52 percent). 
Obama has large leads among groups such as Hispanics with a lower propensity to vote. “If the president’s campaign is not able to replicate his 2008 electorate (which is looking increasingly unlikely), the president loses,” Goeas says.
I simply do not see a path to victory for Obama, given the huge swing in the voting blocs mentioned here, especially among Independents and white Catholics. Throw in the unrivaled enthusiasm of the Republican Party in general, and it sure looks good for Romney. It's not 2008 anymore, and that strikes utter fear in Democratic Party councils.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Liberal Paper Changes Tune, Backs Romney

From Poynter:
In the final hours of the presidential campaign, the largest endorsing newspaper in the swing state of Wisconsin has thrown its support to GOP nominee Mitt Romney
This endorsement may be even more significant since the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel decided not to endorse either presidential candidate this year. 
The State Journal becomes the eighth large paper in a Swing State to flip from an Obama endorsement in 2008. Newsday’s endorsement of Romney this weekend was also a reversal of the paper’s ’08 Obama endorsement, as was the New York Daily News endorsement.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Obama, Sandy and Benghazi

Once again, Mark Steyn strikes gold in this piece, appearing in National Review Online:
In political terms, Hurricane Sandy and the Benghazi-consulate debacle exemplify at home and abroad the fundamental unseriousness of the United States in the Obama era. In the days after Sandy hit, Barack Obama was generally agreed to have performed well. He had himself photographed in the White House Situation Room nodding thoughtfully to bureaucrats (“John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; Tony Blinken, National Security Advisor to the Vice President; David Agnew, Director for Intergovernmental Affairs”) and tweeted it to his 3.2 million followers. He appeared in New Jersey wearing a bomber jacket rather than a suit to demonstrate that when the going gets tough the tough get out a monogrammed Air Force One bomber jacket. He announced that he’d instructed his officials to answer all calls within 15 minutes because in America “we leave nobody behind.” By doing all this, the president “shows” he “cares” — which is true in the sense that in Benghazi he was willing to leave the entire consulate staff behind, and nobody had their calls answered within seven hours, because presumably he didn’t care. So John Brennan, the Counterterrorism guy, and Tony Blinken, the National Security honcho, briefed the president on the stiff breeze, but on September 11, 2012, when a little counterterrorism was called for, nobody bothered calling the Counterterrorism Security Group, the senior U.S. counterterrorism bureaucracy.
Read the rest. It's well worth it. Romney should have hired Steyn as his director of communications. Perhaps Press Secretary in a Romney Administration? We can dream, right?

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Vote

This article, from CNN, discusses the crucial role that Evangelicals and Catholics will play in Iowa. Certainly this theme can be extended to all of the battleground states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, etc.).
Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) -- From church pews to cheeseburger joints, Iowa's faithful are a major prize in the political ground war raging between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. 
Of the roughly 3 million Iowans, about 30% call themselves evangelical or Catholic. Fifty-seven percent of Iowans who voted in the caucuses this year were evangelical Christians. ...
Of course, given our numbers, if all Catholics (or at least the overwhelming majority) voted as they should, we'd never have to worry about abortion in this country.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Rare Court Win

From Reuters:
(Reuters) - A Catholic-owned family business in Michigan does not have to comply with the provision of the new U.S. healthcare law that requires private employers to provide employees with health insurance that covers birth control, a federal judge in Detroit has ruled. 
U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland, in a ruling late Wednesday, temporarily blocked the government from forcing the owner of Weingartz Supply Company, which sells outdoor power equipment, to include contraception in its health coverage of employees. 
The ruling only affects the company's Catholic proprietor, Daniel Weingartz, and the approximately 170 people who work for him. But it opens the door for other firms to seek relief on religious grounds.

Bishop Jenky Issues Warning to Voters

Courageous Men: Bishop Daniel Jenky and Cardinal Raymond Burke in Rome

From the Chicago Tribune:
CHICAGO — Joining the chorus of Roman Catholic clergy in Illinois criticizing President Barack Obama before next week's election, Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests to read a letter to parishioners on Sunday before the presidential election, explaining that politicians who support abortion rights also reject Jesus. 
"By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass," Jenky wrote in a letter circulated to clergy in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria. 
In the letter, Jenky cautions parishioners that Obama and a majority of U.S. senators will not reconsider the mandate that would require employers, including religious groups, to provide free birth control coverage in their health care plans. "This assault upon our religious freedom is simply without precedent in the American political and legal system," Jenky wrote. 
"Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord," Jenky added. "They are objectively guilty of grave sin."
THIS is what we need to hear from our leaders.

The bottom half of that Michelangelo fresco, which I left out, features those who do not make it, with the Father of Lies. It's not pretty. Grave sin = That.

Benedict XVI's All Saints Meditation



Too bad if the formatting isn't perfect. These masterpieces are worth it. 500 years later, the Sistine Chapel's frescos are still stunning. Ad multos annos!

From the National Catholic Register:
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said that the Solemnity of All Saints should help people reflect on the link between the Church on earth and the heavenly Church “that celebrates the never-ending feast.” 
“In the saints we see the victory of love over selfishness and death: We see that following Christ leads to life, eternal life, and gives meaning to the present, every moment that passes, because it is filled with love and hope,” the Pope said Nov. 1 from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square. 
“Only faith in eternal life makes us truly love the history and the present, but without attachment, with the freedom of the pilgrim, who loves the earth because his heart is in heaven,” he said. 
The Holy Father recalled that the feast of All Saints reminds us of the communion of saints, “a reality that begins here on earth and that reaches its fulfillment in heaven.”