15

Open Letter to President-elect Barack Obama

President-elect Barack Obama,

As American Catholics, we, the undersigned, would like to reiterate the congratulations given to you by Pope Benedict XVI. We will be praying for you as you undertake the office of President of the United States.

Wishing you much good will, we hope we will be able to work with you, your administration, and our fellow citizens to move beyond the gridlock which has often harmed our great nation in recent years. Too often, partisan politics has hampered our response to disaster and misfortune. As a result of this, many Americans have become resentful, blaming others for what happens instead of realizing our own responsibilities. We face serious problems as a people, and if we hope to overcome the crises we face in today’s world, we should make a serious effort to set aside the bitterness in our hearts, to listen to one another, and to work with one another

One of the praiseworthy elements of your campaign has been the call to end such partisanship. You have stated a desire to engage others in dialogue. With you, we believe that real achievement comes not through the defamation of one’s opponents, nor by amassing power and using it merely as a tool for one’s own individual will. We also believe dialogue is essential. We too wish to appeal to the better nature of the nation. We want to encourage people to work together for the common good. Such action can and will engender trust. It may change the hearts of many, and it might alter the path of our nation, shifting to a road leading to a better America. We hope this theme of your campaign is realized in the years ahead.

One of the critical issues which currently divides our nation is abortion. As you have said, no one is for abortion, and you would agree to limit late-term abortions as long as any bill which comes your way allows for exceptions to those limits, such as when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. You have also said you would like to work on those social issues which cause women to feel as if they have a need for an abortion, so as to reduce the actual number of abortions being performed in the United States.

Indeed, you said in your third presidential debate, “But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’”

As men and women who oppose abortion and embrace a pro-life ethic, we want to commend your willingness to engage us in dialogue, and we ask that you live up to your promise, and engage us on this issue.

Continue Reading

12

Cardinal: Obama "Aggressive … and Apocalyptic"

His Eminence the polite and soft-spoken James Francis Cardinal Stafford head of the Supreme Tribunal of james-francis-cardinal-staffordthe Apostolic Penitentiary gave a lecture on November 13 at the Keane Auditorium at Catholic University of America last week titled, “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul“.  In it Cardinal Stafford critiqued President-elect Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and he further added that Obama ran an “extremist  anti-life platform”.

Here are some highlights of his lecture:

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”

Continue Reading

4

The War on Joe the Plumber-Update

 joe-and-obama

Previously I had posted about government snooping on Joe the Plumber here.  Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles has now reported that no fewer than six governmental agencies, including the office of the Attorney General of the State of Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Taxation, accessed state records on Joe Wurzelbacher.  The lesson is obvious:  ask an inconvenient question of President Obama and agencies that your tax dollars support will be used as a weapon against you.

19

Obama and Consequences

penance

My friend Jay Anderson over at his always well worth reading blog, has a story about Father Jay Scott Newman’s controversial decision that voters for Obama should do penance before receiving communion.  The anonymous comments are priceless.  Perhaps some of our readers would care to share their thoughts pro and con over there?  For the record, my guess is that Father Newman will quickly be taken to task by his Bishop and rightly so, but the howls of the Obamabots have to be read to be believed!

Update:  Good analysis by Ed Morrisey over at Hot Air.

23

Rescue Packages & the Automobile Industry

Smart takes from Manzi and McArdle. A question: I understand the political argument for an automobile industry bail-out. Unions are a valued Democratic constituency, and many of the potentially affected employees and suppliers live in swing states.

But is there a good argument for the bail-out on policy grounds? If GM can’t convince investors to buy additional equity or debt in the corporation, why should the U.S. government tax other companies (struggling in the same economy) to make an investment the market is unwilling to make? Is Congress better at spotting good investments?

Update I: See also Ryan’s comment on the National Money Hole” thread.

Update II: Blackadder has a good post up about the administration of the bailout.

1

Not One Dime

dime

I have never given a dime to the Campaign for Human Development.  The always indispensable Father Neuhaus explains why here:

“Which brings me, finally, to another and related matter that will surely be discussed in Baltimore and deserves to be on the agenda. The Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops* no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.

Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.

Continue Reading

16

Thomas Merton, American Catholic

merton_woodsBy way of Carl Olson comes Can You Trust Thomas Merton? – an evaluation of the Trappist monk and contemplative Thomas Merton which appears in This Rock, by Dr. Anthony E. Clark.

As with most critical evaluations of Merton, Clark mentions some by-now-familiar pieces of controversy in Merton’s life — His fathering a child during his hedonistic and womanizing years in Cambridge, where to quote him directly, he “labored to enslave myself in the bonds of my own intolerable disgust” and his on-again, off-again relationship with his superior, abbot Dom James Fox.

But it is not so much Merton’s “sins of the flesh” which are perceived as a danger (something which even the greatest saints were certainly not immune — is it more than coincidence that Merton’s Hindu friend Brahmachari would recommend Augustine’s Confessions?) as his exploration of the world’s religions, particularly Buddhism, the character of which, according to Dr. Clark, “often appears more like replacement than rapprochement.”

Continue Reading

3

FOCA meet the USCCB

images3obama

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have made fighting against the Freedom of Choice Act a high priority in their current meeting.  The Catholic Church and the incoming Obama administration are on a  collision course in regard to abortion.  For every American Catholic the choice couldn’t be starker:  which side are you on?

28

A Coalition For Me, But Not For Thee

Morning’s Minion over at Vox Nova, recently argued that the pro-life movement should disentangle itself from the Republican party. I think a fairly good argument can be made for this position, although I don’t find it entirely convincing. As anyone familiar with the blogosphere is aware, however, the fact that a good argument can be made for a position does not mean that a good argument currently is being made. Here’s the post:

Continue Reading

10

General Lee's Greatest Victory

robert-e-lee-hosrseback

“It’s a warm spring Sunday at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. As the minister is about to present Holy Communion, a tall well-dressed black man sitting in the section reserved for African Americans unexpectedly advances to the communion rail; unexpectedly because this has never happened here before.

Continue Reading

Veterans Day 2008

veterans_day

Lord Jesus, Mighty Warrior and Prince of Peace, through the intercession of St. Michael and Our Lady of Victory, we pray for the protection of our loved ones called to serve in time of war. By Your grace, o Lord, may they be strong and of good courage. And by your grace also, may we at home renounce all fear and anxiety, place our trust fully in your most Merciful Heart, and await in hope. For though we may walk through the shadow of the Valley of death, we shall fear no evil- You are with us.Grant a decisive and just end to this war, lasting peace for all nations, and the safe return home of all our loved ones. AMEN. (CatholicMil.org)

15

Narrative of a Defeat: Why the Republicans Lost (It Wasn't Pro-Lifers)

One of the primary tasks of a historian, as I understand it, is to craft a coherent narrative out of the available facts. These narratives are important, as people are often suspicious to the point of irrationality when presented with information that contradicts their preconceptions. For this reason, I think it is worthwhile to push back on a few of the narratives that have been circulating over the past week about the reasons for the Republican defeat. A number of commentators have suggested that the Republican party’s anti-abortion position is hurting the party with social moderates, and that the party going forward needs to distance itself from pro-lifers.

One way to evaluate this advice is to identify the primary causes of the recent Republican loss. Why did 53% of voters choose Barack Obama, when 51% had voted for George Bush four years ago? It seems to me that the three primary reasons were Iraq, the economy, and the McCain campaign, in that order.

Continue Reading

4

Lest We Forget

gkcmarines

TO THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR
by G.K.Chesterton

You whom the kings saluted; who refused not
The one great pleasure of ignoble days,
Fame without name and glory without gossip,
Whom no biographer befouls with praise.
Who said of you “Defeated”? In the darkness
The dug-out where the limelight never comes,
Nor the big drum of Barnum’s show can shatter
That vibrant stillness after all the drums.

Though the time comes when every Yankee circus
Can use our soldiers for its sandwich-men,
When those that pay the piper call the tune,
You will not dance. You will not move again.

You will not march for Fatty Arbuckle,
Though he have yet a favourable press,
Tender as San Francisco to St. Francis
Or all the angels of Los Angeles.

They shall not storm the last unfallen fortress,
The lonely castle where uncowed and free,
Dwells the unknown and undefeated warrior
That did alone defeat Publicity.

65

Truth and Consequences

Cardinal Ratzinger once said in an interview that the Church may have to shrink, but it would be a purer more faithful Church if this were to happen (1).  I’ve been reflecting on these words since Election Day, especially in reference to the many Catholics that voted for the most unabashedly pro-choice (pro-abortion) candidate in memory.  A vote for Obama by a Catholic says something about the Catholic, meaning they were poorly catechized.  Why then are these Catholics still in the Church if they don’t believe even the basic tenets of faith?

Well it’s a complicated issue to tackle and one that I have been muddling through recently.  But first I want to make it clear to my readers that I don’t want a smaller Church.  Though I do want the majority, if not all, Catholics to love their faith and practice it.  Yet we don’t have that in the American Church.  Whose responsibility, and/or blame, should this be assigned to?  How do we respond to this predicament?

I wish I had the answers and unfortunately I have more questions.  Is it our parents that failed to pass along the faith along with the parish priest and school?  Or does it reside with the bishop?  What I do have is some analysis and commentary, and it isn’t pretty.

Continue Reading

1

Thou Shalt Not Run Smear Campaigns

So the Republican Party is reeling, trying to find its voice and a clear path forward in the aftermath of a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad defeat. While initially we hear that the party will be led by fresh faces, such as Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal, and that forerunners for 2012 will also include Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, this brief noise has been covered over with the deafening sounds of ligaments snapping from too much finger-pointing. These days, if you want to know who is old-guard in the Republican party, you merely need to see who has his index finger splinted and bandaged.

Continue Reading

5

Ross Douthat: Not Backing Down

Today, regarding Kmiec (et al.):

But to claim that a candidate who seems primed to begin disbursing taxpayer dollars in support of abortion and embryo-destructive research as soon as he enters the White House somehow represented the better choice for anti-abortion Americans on anti-abortion grounds is an argument that deserves to met, not with engagement, but with contempt.

He echoes my weekend frustration.

3

Cardinal George Issues Congratulations & Challenge to Obama

John Allen provides an encouraging report on Francis Cardinal George’s remarks as USCCB president regarding the election of Senator Obama to the presidency:

Cardinal Francis George, speaking this morning as president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, said all Americans should “rejoice” that a country which once tolerated slavery has elected an African-American as president – and, in the same breath, he issued a blunt challenge to the new administration on abortion.

“If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons, were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be President of the United States,” George said.

“Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good,” he said.

Continue Reading

21

Are Pro-Lifers Stuck With the Republican Party?

Every election cycle, the New York Times and similar publications run op-eds or features discussing the ’emerging trend’ (always emerging, never quite emerged) of pro-lifers reconciling themselves to voting for the Democratic party. These articles vary widely in quality, and range from intelligent and provocative (if flawed) to embarrassing, but the most common feature is disenchantment with the current state of the Republican party. I will grant that the case has been easier to make this year given the widespread dissatisfaction with the Republican party (particularly among the chattering classes).

Nevertheless, I think the answer to the title of this post is that, yes, pro-lifers are stuck with, or at least would be best served by, support for the Republican party. Some points for consideration:

Continue Reading

13

A Persecuted Church?

st_petertotal

A very liberal friend in California challenged my support of Proposition 8 and homosexual “marriage” by stating that the faithful would still be able to “discriminate” against them in churches. Well, beside the utter ridiculousness of her statement, it looks to me like she was wrong. Los Angeles saw a massive gathering in front of the Mormon Temple on Santa Monica Blvd. From what I saw in the video tape, there were folks trying to scale the gates surrounding the building. Now from World Net Daily comes proof that the most militant of homosexual rights activists are calling for violence against Christians and destruction of our places of worship. One person quoted in the article stated:

Continue Reading

3

Scandal

So I sit on the couch watching Thursday Night Football, cringing at the poor performance of the Denver Broncos, and alternatively trying to work on my writing and my reading. And then it pops up during one of those lulls in action. Spicy chicken nuggets from Wendy’s. My stomach rumbles, and I immediately consider the benefit of running down to Wendy’s and ordering some. The store is just a few blocks away, the nuggets are only 99 cents a pack, and I haven’t eaten dinner yet. I stand up, contemplating, and then with a sigh I decide to eat the leftover stew from the previous night.

Continue Reading

3

Examining the "Youth Vote"

Ever since McGovern, Democrats repeatedly staked their electoral hopes on an expended avalanch of young voters. This year, it appeared to happen, with Obama winning the votes of 18-29 year olds in a landslide:

Democratic brand domination was the corollary to Obama’s 66%-32% blowout among 18-29 year-old voters. The youth also voted 63%-34% for House Democrats. So, young voters also voted straight ticket for the Democrats down ballot. The real story about the youth vote is not how many “new” voters Obama got to show up, but rather how he produced a gargantuan 34% differential in the youth, versus a 9% margin for Kerry in 2004.

In 2008, 18% of the electorate was comprised of 18-29 year-olds. That figure, when multiplied by the 34 percent differential in Obama voting equals 6.1 points, or a majority of Obama’s popular vote margin. Had the Democratic 18-29 year-old vote stayed the same as 2004’s margin, Obama would have won by about 1 to 2 points, and would not have won 73 electoral votes from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, or Indiana. “The Electoral College result would not have been the same, nor can we say that Obama would have won the election,” said Greenberg.

Does this overwhelming Obama victory among young voters represent a strong likelihood that the Democrats have a long rule ahead of them?

Continue Reading

32

Team Sarah

teamsarah

An important component of a political comeback for conservatives will be grass roots organizations.  During the campaign Team Sarah sprang up to support Governor Palin.  The campaign is over but Team Sarah is still going strong.  It is a predominantly female group, my wife and daughter belong, but men are welcome too.  Here is their website if you would care to take a look.

20

Douthat Puts Kmiec in His Place

Many of us on the conservative side of the spectrum have been sounding a tad cranky the last couple days.  Still, occasionally this frustration is channeled into well deserved directions.  Commenter and fellow Steubenville alumnus FUS01 pointed me towards a great piece by Ross Douthat, part of an open discussion on the future of the GOP over on Slate.  In response to Kmiec’s now familiar comlaint that GOP pro-lifers are unrealistic in wanting to defeat Roe, and his claim that Obama is a natural for pro-life voters, Douthat dishes it out to him in a way that Kmiec richely deserves:

Continue Reading

27

America's First Secular President?

president-elect-obama

 

Damian Thompson from the Holy Smoke blog in London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper has declared Barack Obama as America’s first secular president.  Not far from being the truth some would say that Bill Clinton was pretty secular as well.  But I believe the point that Mr. Thompson was attempting to get across was the simple fact that the majority of church-going Christians voted for Senator McCain than did Senator Obama.  What is more revealing is that ‘Christians in name only’ voted overwhelmingly for Senator Obama.

The breakdown of voting figures in the US election indicates an extraordinary gulf between churchgoing and non-churchgoing voters. Barack Obama hoovered up the votes of non-churchgoers to an unprecedented extent: 65 per cent of them voted for him. I’ve thought for a long time that American agnostics and atheists are a growing force, under-represented in opinion polls. Obama will be their president.

 

He’ll also be the president of non-practising Catholics who, according to Beliefnet figures, voted 61 to 37 per cent for Obama. That’s no surprise: the Democrats were always the party of Catholics.

 

Continue Reading

4

Obama Broken Promises, A Continuing Series

crying-jackass

Shazam, as Gomer Pyle used to say in the Sixties!  The Iraqi government claims that Senator Obama has reassured them that he will not precipitously withdraw troops from Iraq, and it appears that the end of 2011 might be a target date.  To my anti-war friends on the Left I suggest that if I were in your shoes I would not hold my breath about US troops being removed from Iraq even before the 2012 election.  You were useful to Obama to win this election, but you will be of little use to him now that he is President.

22

Reflections on a Defeat

So we lost. I don’t like it a bit, but it’s not exactly a surprise, and there it is. What is one to make of it all?

The Historic Moment
A great many people have commented on the historic nature of a black man being elected president of the United States — when in some states he would not have been served at many lunch counters fifty years ago.

I’m glad that those who are deeply inspired by that are having their moment — people should realize that skin color is not a barrier to achievement in the US and if this helps people (black, brown and white) realize that, all to the good. I must admit, as a 29-year-old who grew up in the working class suburbs of Los Angeles, I’ve figured for basically all my life that it was simply a matter of time till we had our first black president, our first hispanic president, out first female president, etc.

Continue Reading

13

Marriage Looks to Win in California

While there is generally little to rejoice at in the results of yesterdays elections, there is a glimmer of light on the West Coast for those who believe in Christianity and Western Culture: As of this morning California Proposition 8, which would amend the California state constitution with the words “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” looks to be winning out after a hard fought campaign. The LA Times refuses to call it yet, but with 91% of precincts reporting, Prop 8 leads by 350,000 votes, 51.9% to 48.1%.

President Elect Obama had opposed the measure calling it “divisive”, but although Obama won California by 2,400,000 votes, Californians refused to allow to stand to a court ruling earlier this year in which 2000’s Proposition 22 defined traditional marriage by statute.

14

Remember, Remember…

washington1

Today is Guy Fawkes’ Day in England.  This Catholic-bashing holiday is not observed in America and the Father of Our Country is largely the reason why.

“As the Commander in Chief has been apprized of a design form’d for the observance of that ridiculous and childish custom of burning the Effigy of the pope – He cannot help expressing his surprise that there should be Officers and Soldiers in this army so void of common sense, as not to see the impropriety of such a step at this Juncture; at a Time when we are solliciting, and have really obtain’d, the friendship and alliance of the people of Canada, whom we ought to consider as Brethren embarked in the same Cause. The defence of the general Liberty of America: At such a juncture, and in such Circumstances, to be insulting their Religion, is so monstrous, as not to be suffered or excused; indeed instead of offering the most remote insult, it is our duty to address public thanks to these our Brethren, as to them we are so much indebted for every late happy Success over the common Enemy in Canada.”

Order in Quarters, November 5, 1775

— George Washington

After the election results of last night, for those of us on the losing side, it is good to remember just how wonderful a nation America truly is.