The idea of supporting the troops is not one where you find a whole lot of argument. Of course in the Vietnam era there are the stories of how hippies used to spit on servicemen, calling them “baby killers”. I’ve heard that scenario repeated so many times, I’m starting to wonder if this reaction was really so widespread, or if it got an urban legend boost at some point. I’m sure this type of thing happened, I was too young to take in the riots, the protests against the Vietnam War to fully appreciate the dynamic of the times. But in any case, we are now pretty much united in the notion that while a given war may be unjust, we don’t blame the average man or woman in uniform. In fact, we seek ways to honor or show respect for them, even if we are seeking to end the conflict in which they are engaged. This is a good thing on the whole. Continue Reading
Hattip to the ever eagle-eyed Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, ex-Lieutenant governor of Maryland, and oldest of Bobby Kennedy’s offspring, has a screed in Newsweek where she explains how Obama represents American Catholics better than the Pope. As one reads the article it becomes clear that the ex-Lieutenant governor actually means liberal Catholics like her when she says American Catholics, no surprise since she has always been a vociferous supporter of abortion.
Paul Zummo gets to the heart of the matter nicely:
“It really isn’t about whether or not Catholics in America view the Pope or the President more favorably, it’s about a faux Catholic’s outrage that the Church refuses to change its core teachings and mission on the say-so of irate children like Townsend. We’ll leave aside the sheer duplicity in the statement that Obama actually listens to different points of view and focus instead on the shrill cri de couer of another bitter progresso-Catholic who believes she knows better than the Magisterium. I guess when you’re the spoiled child of a family that hasn’t contributed anything to the American polity since her grand-dad built his fortune by exploiting the 18th Amendment, you’re pretty used to getting your way. But here we have the Pope, head of an institution that has the temerity to say “NO!” emphatically to the progresso-Catholics who just stomp their feet in anger over the Pope’s refusal to give them condoms and let their gay friends get married.”
I have long suspected that for some, by no means all, Catholics on the Left in this country their true Pope’s last name begins with an O rather than a B. I therefore have to give KKT credit for honesty if for nothing else.
Update: Good commentary on the Townsend article by Ed Morrissey here at Hot Air.
Here is Archbishop Chaput with a worthwhile reflection on how Catholics should think about the media. A few excerpts:
Most of what we know about the world comes from people we’ll never meet and don’t really understand. We don’t even think of them as individuals. Instead we usually talk about them in the collective – as “the media” or “the press.” Yet behind every Los Angeles Times editorial or Fox News broadcast are human beings with personal opinions and prejudices. These people select and frame the news. And when we read their newspaper articles or tune in their TV shows, we engage them in a kind of intellectual intimacy in the same way you’re listening to me right now….
…The media’s power to shape public thought is why it’s so vital for the rest of us to understand their human element. When we don’t recognize the personal chemistry of the men and women who bring us our news – their cultural and political views, their economic pressures, their social ambitions – then we fail the media by holding them to too low a standard. We also – and much more importantly — fail ourselves by neglecting to think and act as intelligent citizens…
From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion. One of the difficulties of being a parodist in rather absurd times is that reality tends not to be that far removed from parody. Such is the case with this video which might be easily mistaken for a “news” show where pundits are doing their best, or worst, to adjust to new technology.
Hattip to Notes on the Culture War. A follow up to this earlier post. Eric McFadden, founder of Catholics for Kerry in 2004, a Democrat political operative, former director of Democrat Ohio Governor Ted Strickland’s Faith-Based and Community initiative and head of the Catholic outreach of the Clinton campaign last year, pleaded guilty on Thursday in a plea bargain to two felony counts of pimping for prostitution a 17 year old girl on the internet. Sentencing will occur on August 20.
Here is a good portion of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis written in 1987 and is followed up by Pope Benedict’s most recent. It is a relevant passage because it deals directly with the subjects dealt with in the ongoing discussion on “Guatemala” et al, on the debated need for apology/examination of our American conscience for abuses- or some would argue not- by our American leadership and elite interests, in regard to other nations- particularly poorer, weaker ones. There seems to be the idea floating around in conservative political circles that Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan were cut from the same cloth. I do not believe the approach to foreign relations by those who praise the Reagan/Bush years, holds up to Catholic scrutiny. But here are the words of our previous Holy Father- and no I do not accept the argument that we can distinguish where the Peace and Justice crowd at the Vatican is speaking and where the Pope is- that sort of treatment of these official Encyclicals is beneath my contempt. I will offer commentary on the latest encyclical after I have time to digest it, I refuse to rush my judgment on such important Church offerings. : Continue Reading
Something for the weekend. A departure from my usual selections of Irish songs against the English! I have always been a sucker for the Age of Fighting Sail, and Heart of Oak , written by David Garrick in the Annus Mirabelis of 1759, captures the spirit of that age when the Royal Navy transformed the seas into an English lake. Continue Reading
During the 30 minute meet and greet audience today at the Vatican, the Pope pressed Obama on abortion and embryonic stem cells. The Pope gave Obama a copy of Dignitatis Personae, which I hope he will read. He indicated that he would.
Here is the statement of the Vatican on the meeting, hattip to Catholic Key Blog.
“This afternoon, Friday 10 July 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in Audience the President of the United States of America, His Excellency Mr. Barack H. Obama. Prior to the Audience, the President met His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and also His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.
In the course of their cordial exchanges the conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defence and promotion of life and the right to abide by one’s conscience.
Reference was also made to immigration with particular attention to the matter of reuniting families.
The meeting focused as well upon matters of international politics, especially in light of the outcome of the G8 Summit. The conversation also dealt with the peace process in the Middle East, on which there was general agreement, and with other regional situations. Certain current issues were then considered, such as dialogue between cultures and religions, the global economic crisis and its ethical implications, food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, and the problem of drug trafficking. Finally, the importance of educating young people everywhere in the value of tolerance was highlighted.”
Sometimes you run across an argument which strikes you as wrong in such a way as to crystallize and clarify your thinking on a topic. Such a case, for me, was running into this debate from last week at InsideCatholic on the topic, “Is NFP Misogynous?”
The “yes it is” argument contained the following key elements:
Assuming any methodized sexual intercourse devised to avoid pregnancy by an otherwise open-to-life-marital-couple can actually “work,” who bears responsibility for the method? I seriously question whether NFP, for many, isn’t a misogynous practice — imposing upon women an undue share of the physical and emotional burden of the theologically questionable quest of planning pregnancy.
First, we must be real. Modern NFP practices demand daily bodily measurements of women, not men…. A woman most desires sexual intimacy when she is at her most fertile…. This is also the moment when we are most likely to conceive a child. It’s the moment NFP-practicing women measure and chart and predict as “fertility awareness,” a “maybe-child” zone. For NFP-practicing women avoiding pregnancy, it is the moment they must say “no” to both themselves and their spouses….
I don’t buy it. It sounds like a scheme to impose on women who wish to time pregnancies an almost penal practice of self-measurement, self-control, and self-denial, while requiring, at a minimum, a sort of suffering acquiescence from a spouse whose interest in the chart becomes rather strategic….
NFP needs to go the same way as the rhythm method — which did not “work” and was, more importantly, female unfriendly. In its place, perhaps we all need to suck it up and admit what the theology asks of us: Have sex whenever you both want to… and expect a baby every time. Otherwise, don’t copulate. That’s a fair burden on both spouses.
The woman presenting the “no it isn’t” view did a perfectly decent job of presenting the standard arguments for NFP, but I’d like to dig into one aspect in particular, especially given that by the sixth comment on the article we already see a theology student trying to argue that the “planning” involved in Natural Family Planning is really no different than the use of barrier methods of contraception since it involves “the intention of having sex without baby” and is thus “using one’s intellect to create a tool which limits the possibility of procreation”.
It’s been a rough time going for me these past few weeks financially, but I’m still in good spirits thanks only to God. In the meantime it is Friday and I’m in the mood to dance!
There has been an interesting discussion going on that began with a little mockery of Obama’s propensity for offering collective apologies around the world for various things out of the American past or present. I am a big proponent of apologies- but they must be prudent and truly repentant- not some mixed-motive posturing like former President Clinton seemed inclined. A great Catholic example of what I am seeking is found in a great book entitled “Guatemala Never Again!”. This is no Leftist diatribe, this is (REMHI) the Recovery of Historical Memory Project. This is the Official Report of the Human Rights Office, Archdiocese of Guatemala. Let me quote from the back cover:
Here is another proposal I set forth in my previous campaign for Florida State House- this was published as a guest column by Florida Today Newspaper. This was also the straw that broke the camel’s back in my bid to run again- as the Unions refused to endorse me- and liberal Democratic activists could not stomach a candidate who was pro-life and pro-private school options. I was especially disappointed with the teacher union reps since my proposal is one that is so totally win-win from a teacher perspective, and it is obviously something in the interests of parents and their children. Pope Benedict has recently commented that Catholic schools should receive some state funding given the benefit these schools offer society. Here is the text of my proposal: Continue Reading
Here’s something light for your Friday. We all knew what sort of guy French president Nicholas Sarkozy is, but few realized that our own president has similar aesthetic sensibilities.
The king is but a man, as I am: the violet smells to him as it doth to me: the element shows to him as it doth to me; all his senses have but human conditions:
Presidents are a lower species than kings, but the principle applies. And we must recall that the wisdom of the American people has given us a president who hasn’t yet had years of practice in checking out passing babes without allowing it to be obvious to the camera. Give it some time and when his senses kick in with human conditions as the element shows to him, he’ll gaze upon it with the same cool aplomb as Sarkozy.
Hattip to Paul Zummo, the Cranky Conservative. The event in the video above occurred two years ago on Disability Awareness Day at Fenway Park. The way in which the crowd joined in to help the young man gives me optimism as to the basic decency of much of the human race. I have heard many renditions of the Star-Spangled Banner, but as the father of an autistic son I have never heard one which moved me more.
Hattitp to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. In spite of the Iranian regime cutting off text messaging and cell phone service throughout the country, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Tehran on Thursday chanting “Marg bar Diktator!” , Death to the Dictator! First rate coverage of today’s developments here at Gateway Pundit. Great coverage here at Atlas Shrugs. Continue Reading
This gave me a chuckle as our President Obama continues to blame America for every ill in the world.
It has become popular to sound the death-knell of Conservatism. I believe the evidence indicates otherwise.
At 40% self-identified conservatives are almost twice as numerous as self-identified liberals at 21%.
As readers of this blog know I have a series of posts, Jesuitical, in which I have highlighted follies of some modern day Jesuits. This series will put the spotlight on great Jesuits of the past and present. First up is Father Andrew White, SJ.
As California continues on a course that may well end in bankruptcy, the indispensable Iowahawk decides to give us a sneak peek of the future California funeral here. Any relation between California’s funeral and the funeral of a pop singer this week is purely intentional. After all, they both died broke!
Given that the Church offers no exacting technical program for getting the job of the common good accomplished in any given state or global community. But does offer a blueprint of values and insights into the necessity of applying the Gospel to our social conditions- to include economics- I offer this past guest column I wrote shortly after my run for Florida state house. It addresses some conditions particular to the state of Florida, but it contains an outline of general responsibilities that could be applied at any level of governance.
[Updates at the bottom of his post]
Governor Sarah Palin recently announced her resignation as governor of the great state of Alaska and there has been a flurry of analysis of her motives, her character, and her future plans. Some of this analysis were sincere, others were borderline antagonistic.
This is all occurring in the midst of an Obama presidency steering both Democratic controlled chambers of Congress that have substantially increased spending and enlarged the government to the detriment of our freedoms. Couple this with the lack of a clear Republican plan to challenge all of this, the American people are in need of a leader to guide us out of this wilderness.
I believe Governor Palin can and should play this important role. She stated in her final address as governor of Alaska that she wants to do what’s best for her state. If she is a person of principle and a patriot then it is logical to presume that she wants what’s best for America. And what’s best for America right now is to have a strong and vigorous counterweight to the liberal agenda of President Obama and his enablers in the Congress.
The plan that Governor Palin should pursue is to proactively lead Americans to take back Congress as part of the pact with America. She should do what then House Leader Newt Gingrich did in 1994 with the Republican Party’s Contract with America that gave the Republicans control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.
A helpful post courtesy of Father Z here on the major points of Caritas gleaned from L’Osservatore Romano. I found this very useful.
Thus far I’ve only had the chance to read the first couple pages of Caritas in Veritate, however seeing the first rounds of blog and media reaction rolling forth from both sides of the Catholic political spectrum I would like to indulge in revisitting a prediction from the beginning of the year:
9. The much discussed social encyclical will finally be issued — and all sides of the Catholic political spectrum will within several days claim that it supports the positions they already held.
Regardless of one’s political position, if the main thing one gets from reading the encyclical is, “I am right, and my opponents are all fools or villains” then you probably aren’t reading very carefully. Hopefully most Catholics taking the time to discuss Caritas in Veritate will take the time to read at a deeper level than that.
As a result of previous discussion on this blog, I invited one of our regular commentors, Anthony Chelette, who works as an advertising agency art director, to read the Pontifical Council on Social Communications document Ethics In Advertising and write his thoughts on it as a person working in the field. He was kind enough to do so, and thus results the following guest post.
I’d like to thank Anthony for taking the time to read the document and write this response over the last several weeks. I hope this will lead to fruitful discussion and greater understanding of the field and this response to it.
–Brendan Hodge (DarwinCatholic)
Certain ideas are intrinsically a part of being American. Liberty. Individualism. Capitalism. But often another ‘ism’— consumerism— is associated with the American experience. Catholics appropriately abhor what consumerism is — an insatiable search for happiness through material gratification— and some point a finger at advertising as a pusher for ‘unneeded’ products of questionable value. Such opinion holds advertisers partially responsible for behavior that distracts from moral progress and discourages the ordering of economies.
The Church has always had a keen eye on how the desire for material satisfaction erects walls between the human person and his true destiny in Heaven. Jesus himself recognized that love for possessions easily make men willing slaves. Suddenly, man is more obedient to besting his Guitar Hero score than Christ’s teachings.
Link here. As with all of Benedict’s encyclicals, I am sure there will be much to reflect upon. Let the discussions begin!
Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. No doubt in part a response to the declaration on Saturday of the prestigious Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum that the election was illegitimate, spokesmen of the Revolutionary Guards, formally known as the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, announced on Sunday that the Guards had taken charge of all security in Iran and that no further debate over the Presidential election would be tolerated.
The Shia revolution of 1979 was based on the idea that a government controlled by the mullahs, motivated by pure Islam, would provide the best form of government in Iran. Now each day brings more news of mullahs speaking out against the current regime in control of Iran.
“Over the weekend, Grand Ayatollah Assadolah Bayat Zanjani launched a broadside against the mass arrest of reformist activists and protesters.”
“Every healthy mind casts doubt on the way the election was held,” said the high-ranking cleric in a statement distributed online. “More regrettable are post-election large-scale arrests, newspaper censorship and website filtering, and above all the martyrdom of our countrymen whom they describe as rioters.”
The walls are closing in on Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guards member, and his puppet masters. Mullahs speaking out have destroyed any remaining illusion that this regime is blessed by God. The Revolutionary Guards is the last remaining support that this government has, and, if the Guards falter, Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Khamenei and their cronies better have their bags packed and a plane warming up. This could all happen quite swiftly. The Resistance has called for mass rallies on Thursday. If the dissident mullahs join them, the Iranians could witness mullahs being beaten by Revolutionary Guards. Once that happens, I think armed revolt will not be far off.
Regular readers of this blog know that I am a big fan of Father Z at What Does The Prayer Really Say. Today he has a post on calls to tone down the rhetoric of those who oppose abortion. He eloquently explains here why he probably will not heed these calls. Let me associate myself with Father Z’s remarks. I have a great many interests and a great many opinions on a lot of issues, but for me abortion will always be THE ISSUE. I am never going to stop speaking out against the obscenity of abortion. I will never stop making abortion THE ISSUE on which I vote. Sometimes in life you simply have to call a spade a spade, and to call abortion the deliberate taking of innocent human life.
Based on the just war doctrine first enunciated by Saint Augustine, the American Revolution was a just war.
Over the centuries the precise content of the just war doctrine has varied. The classic definition of it by Saint Thomas Aquinas is set forth in Part II, Question 40 of his Summa Theologica:
“I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”
Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (Questions. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”
Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine’s works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”
The most recent formulation of the Just War doctrine for the Church is set forth in the Catechism at 2309: Continue Reading
Yesterday the most important group of clerics in Iran, the Association of Researchers and Teachers of Qum, called the Presidential election in Iran illegitimate. It is now impossible for the Iranian regime to claim the Iranian Resistance is restricted to a handful of malcontents or foreign agents. This is the grimmest news yet since the election for the Iranian regime, and the best news that the Resistance has received. Good analysis here at Hot Air by Ed Morrissey. Now the Iranian regime has to decide if they are going to arrest and hang these clerics who have been the mainstay of the regime as they have been hanging protesters. The clerics speaking out indicates clearing that there is a strong division among the ruling elites in Iran as to whether Ahmadinejad and his puppet masters can stay in power. This coming week could be decisive in Iran.
From the only reliable news source on the net, the Onion. Fess up. Haven’t you sort of suspected this as you’ve been choking down a soft taco at Taco Bell?
Charles Carroll of Carrollton was a delegate to the Continental Congress and later United States Senator for Maryland. He was also the only Catholic to have signed the The Declaration of Independence. One of the wealthiest men in the colonies, it is reported that — upon fixing his signature,
a member standing near observed, “There go a few millions,” and all admitted that few risked as much, in a material sense, than the wealthy Marylander.
(The Life of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, 1737-1832, by Kate Mason Rowland).
A new biography, American Cicero: The Life of Charles Carroll (Lives of the Founders) (ISI) will be published in February 2010. (Tip of the hat to Carl Olson). The author, Dr. Bradley J. Birzer, was recently interviewed by the Washington Times:
The 4th of July is the primary patriotic holiday of our country, and yet the event it commemorates (the publication of the Declaration of Independence) was just the first step on our road to nationhood. Although the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Articles of Confederation were not adopted until November of 1777 and were not ratified until March of 1781 — the year that the Revolutionary War was finally won, with the surrender of General Cornwallis in Yorktown. Yet the Articles turned out to be a fairly unworkable practical form of government, and Shay’s Rebellion of 1786-1787 demonstrated that to many of the new country’s citizens, armed revolt was still a standard form of political expression.
The ratification of the US Constitution in March of 1789 represented a significant step, creating a stronger central government with more clearly defined powers, and a model for federal constitutions to this day. Yet, whether the words on paper could be translated into a lasting and stable government remained yet to be seen.
To my mind, one of the major milestones was reached in 1794, when President Washington put down the Whiskey Rebellion.
In the midst of his election campaign for the US Senate in 1858, Lincoln gave an address on July 10, 1858 in Chicago in which he spoke about the Fourth of July:
“Now, it happens that we meet together once every year, sometime about the 4th of July, for some reason or other. These 4th of July gatherings I suppose have their uses. If you will indulge me, I will state what I suppose to be some of them.
Something for a Fourth of July weekend. A musical tribute to the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Here is a list of the Signers by State with short bios. The last survivor of the Signers was Charles Carroll of Carrollton from Maryland who died at 95 on November 14, 1832. Carroll also had the distinction of being the sole Catholic Signer of the Declaration and one of two Catholic Signers of the Constitution. If he had lived four more years he would have been the last surviving Signer of the Constitution also. That honor fell to James Madison, who died on June 28, 1836 at 85, the last of the Founding Fathers to die.
Governor Sarah Palin announced today that she will not run for a second term as governor of Alaska, and that she will be stepping down shortly and handing the reigns over to the Lt. Governor. Among reasons cited are desire to take public scrutiny off her family, and the fact that Alaskan law does not allow a sitting governor to collect any kind of donations or outside payments — which means that her personal legal bills in defending herself against frivolous ethics complaints have left the family in very significant debt. (The resignation would allow her to make money from a book contract or speaking events.)
Governor Palin provoked a wide range of reactions as McCain’s running mate during the ’08 campaign, and provoked a truly revealing hate-fest among some partisan Democrats which was deeply revealing about their real attitudes towards class and women. Many Republicans hoped to see Gov. Palin make a run for the presidency in 2012 or 2016, while many others questioned whether she had the abilities and experience to be president.
Others may disagree, but I would tend to think that resigning before the end of her first time as governor indicates that she does not have future political plans. I don’t see the “quitter” reputation as being something one could overcome, regardless of the reason.
Douglas Kmiec, betrayer of the pro-life cause, has received his reward for his slavish support of President Obama. He has been nominated to be ambassador of the proud, small and Catholic country of Malta. Malta has a very strong and active pro-life movement, so this might get interesting! Bon Voyage Doug! We’ll stay in touch, and so, I am sure, will our colleagues in lovely Malta!
Other Kmiec related posts on American Catholic:
11. Heee’s Back!
More years ago than it would be legal for me to confess, I fell in love with beer brewing as a result of reading the charmingly entitled An Essay on Brewing, Vintage and Distillation, Together With Selected Remedies for Hangover Melancholia: Or, How to Make Boozeby John Festus Adams. Adams opens with an extended discussion of what sort of hobby book this will not be, recounting his experience with a book on growing mushrooms. Written by the Brit who Took Food Seriously, it eventually became clear to Adams while reading this book that the author did not actually expect him to be able to master this most occult of gardening hobbies. It took skill. It took patience. It took a ton of fresh horse manure which simply be be obtained fresh (preferably from a ladies’ riding academy) and in the quantity of about half a ton. And it must be composted for six months — no more and no less. It must be turned every four weeks — not three weeks and certainly not five. And if you weren’t prepared to do all these things Right, there was really no point in doing it at all, because your mushrooms, if they even grew, would be No Good At All.
This, Adams promised, was not the sort of book he was setting out to write. His book was a book about brewing for those who actually wanted to brew. And it was based on the theory that they would brew, and the resulting beer would be pretty good when they did.
A number of feature films and miniseries have been made about the events of the American Revolution. Here are my top ten choices for Fourth of July viewing:
10. The Devil’s Disciple (1959)- I am not a big fan of the plays of George Bernard Shaw, but this film has its moments. Set during the Saratoga campaign of 1777, Laurence Olivier was an inspired choice as General “Gentleman Johnnie” Burgoyne, and Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas as the two American protagonists have their usual fine chemistry together on film. Not a classic but certainly an overlooked gem.
It is oft observed that we have a consumption problem. Various people come at this from various angles. Health experts warn that we have an obesity epidemic. Religious leaders warn that consumerism can be a threat to one’s real moral priorities. Environmentalists warn that we are consuming the earth’s resources at an unsustainable pace.
All of these are true to one extent or another. The fact of the matter is, the human animal is not well set up to deal with situations of long term abundance. In nature, lack almost invariably follows abundance in the natural cycle, and so our evolutionary heritage tends to tell us, in the presence of obvious plenty, “Eat up now, there may be nothing later.” For animals this is likely to be the case. The plants which are in season now will not be later, and the predator who has made a kill one day may well not another.
[Updates at the bottom of this posting.]
The much anticipated new encyclical that Pope Benedict XVI recently signed, his third, on June 29th titled Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth, will be released soon by Ignatius Press (the English version) on July 6th or 7th of 2009 A.D. In searching for information regarding this encyclical I found bits and pieces here and there but nothing exhaustive or concise that came close to satisfying my curiosity. So I’ve gathered all of my information and have presented it the best way possible in this posting. With tongue in cheek I labeled this preview of Caritas in Veritate as an ‘Exclusive Sneak Peek’*.
Caritas in Veritate will be a social encyclical examining some of the social changes that have occurred since Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio, particularly globalization. The encyclical will have Pope Benedict XVI articulating the need to bolster humanism that brings together the social and economic development of humans and to reduce the disproportionate gap between poor and rich. One other major theme of this encyclical will be that of global justice.
Hattip to Creative Minority Report and to Father Zimmerman. As I detailed here, a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father Emil Kapaun, the heroic Army Catholic Chaplain who died in a Chinese POW camp during the Korean War, has been under investigation by the Vatican. As reported here, the Vatican investigator Andrea Ambrosi has apparently found indications of the miraculous having taken place. Perhaps one day I will be able to refer to Father Kapaun not as the POW Servant of God but as the POW Saint!
Part of my ongoing effort to have people read the Declaration on the Fourth. This video demonstrates two things. First, that even Hollywood can’t foul up the Declaration when Mr. Jefferson’s words are allowed to speak for themselves. Second, that the Declaration is very much a speech, and is best understood when read aloud. In the ealier days of our Republic, a public reading of the Declaration was usually a part of the festivities on the Fourth. It is a tradition that I wish we would return to.