17

Real Men, Manly Men

It’s ok for men to seek positions of authority, speak their mind, and help damsels in distress.  It’s in our DNA and that’s what God wants from us.

Be men.  Be manly men!

Here is a fine blog I recommend for those wanting to rediscover their masculinity and return on their path to manhood.  It’s called The Art of Manliness.

_._

To view more commentary on Catholicism from RealCatholicTV click here.

To read more about the movie, Robin Hood Men in Tights, where the second video is taken from, click here.

10

How To Solve Health Care

Pro-life liberal Catholic writer Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter argues that because Catholic conservatives find themselves opposed not only to a universal health care bill that funds abortion, but also to the idea of centralized health care in general, they are in fact playing into the hands of the pro-abortion lobby.

It is strange indeed to see conservative Catholics unwittingly aiding and abetting the agenda of the pro-abortion organizations they oppose. And stranger still that conservatives who spent the last election cycle saying that no political issue mattered as much as abortion are suddenly putting their idolatry of the market before adopting a sound strategy for keeping abortion coverage out of the health care reform effort. They have provided ample reason for the administration and Congress to ignore their pleas on abortion. The may see themselves as the “loyal opposition” but they are not being loyal to the pro-life cause they espouse. They are undermining it.

Natlamp73His argument is basically that since health care reform is currently on the table, if conservative pro-lifers do not promise to support it if it doesn’t fund abortion, then they are therefore helping those who want it to fund abortion. I can’t help like feeling that this is a bit like the old National Lampoon cover: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog.”
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15

My Reaction to the Shooting of Jim Pouillon

It has already been confirmed that Jim Pouillon was shot to death for his pro-life views.

Jim Pouillon was a pro-lifer advocate that would stand outside of abortion mills hoping in turning away women from killing their unborn children.  He wore leg braces, was dependent on an oxygen tank, and was a “wonderful, Christian, peaceful man.” as described by close friend Cal Zastrow.

Jim Pouillon was also a Catholic and was remembered by his parish priest, Father John Fain of Saint Paul Church in Owosso, Michigan as “a good Christian and a faithful Catholic.

For self-disclosure I am very active in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in the pro-life movement.  One of the many activities that I participate in is peaceful prayer in front of Planned Parenthood.  So when I heard of the shooting I was deeply shocked at the news.

Even more shocking was the reaction in the secular world, particularly from the political extreme left as this example displays from the notorious Huffington Post:

“…with the way the fake news pundits will run with this one, we might as well get a good laugh out of it now.”

Though what was most disturbing at all was what emanated from various dissident Catholics and blogs when they began smearing the pro-life movement immediately after the attack by claiming that many pro-lifers are violent.

What can we do?

Pray for them.

Follow Jim Pouillon’s example of peaceful protest and prayer.  As our Lord and Savior told us, close the door behind us and pray in private.

Ora pro nobis.

7

Of Tea and Elections

I have had my eyes on the tea party movement protesting government spending since the beginning of the movement.  On Saturday a huge national tea party protest was held in Washington.  Estimates of crowd size range from 500,000 to 2.3 million.  Some organs of the mainstream media are attempting to downplay the significance of this event.  Politicians on both sides of the aisle are not so gullible.  They realize that a political storm is brewing.  Perhaps even more significant than this show of strength by the forces opposed to the drunken sailor spending of the Obama administration are the state tea parties taking place each week.  For example in the completely blue state of Illinois, my home state, there was a tea party at New Lennox near Joliet last week that drew 10,000 people.   This weekend a tea party at Quincy, Illinois drew 12000 people.   Receiving scant coverage from the national media, these parties are are becoming a real factor in the 2010 elections.

Charlie Cook is one of the best political prognosticators in the business.  Here is what he is seeing:

 

“Even in the best of times, Congress is unpopular. And now voters see Obama as having sent suggestions rather than proposals to the Hill, staking his future and reputation on a body that they hold in low regard. (On foreign-policy matters, where Congress plays a small role, Obama’s job-approval ratings remain quite good. It’s on the domestic side that his numbers are dismal.)

With 14 months to go before the 2010 midterm election, something could happen to improve the outlook for Democrats. However, wave elections, more often than not, start just like this: The president’s ratings plummet; his party loses its advantage on the generic congressional ballot test; the intensity of opposition-party voters skyrockets; his own party’s voters become complacent or even depressed; and independent voters move lopsidedly away. These were the early-warning signs of past wave elections. Seeing them now should terrify Democrats.”

43

White House Clueless on Health Care Protests

“A mob”

“Astroturf”

“Nazi’s”

President Obama and Speaker Pelosi are trying their hardest at imitating an ostrich sticking its head in the sand.  It continues still today.

When White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod was asked for his opinion concerning the large number of protesters that marched on Washington on Saturday, he replied:

“I don’t think it’s indicative of the nation’s mood . . . “You know, I don’t think we ought to be distracted by that. My message to them is, they’re wrong.”

After tens of hundreds of tea party and town hall protests, the Obama administration seems to purposely be ignoring what Americans demand, no more government intrusion and spending.

The tone deafness of this administration and their proxies is simply stunning.

6

Irena Sendler

Some people just make you proud to be a human being, and the incredibly heroic Irena Sendler is in that category.  When asked why she saved 2500-3000 Jewish kids she said simply:  “I was taught that if you see a person drowning, you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not.”  The acclaim she received late in life bothered her somewhat:  “Every child saved with my help is the justification of my existence on this Earth, and not a title to glory.” 

When any of us confront evil and think, “What can I do?”, may the example of Irena Sendler cause us to do the very most that we can.  Irena Sendler did not think of herself as a heroine.  She said that she could have done much more.  I find that hard to believe, but with such a conscience to guide her I can understand how she accomplished the near miraculous.

1

God Save The Tsar

Something for the weekend.  God Save The Tsar, the national anthem of pre-Revolutionary Russia.  As a whole the members of the Romanov dynasty who ruled Russia for three centuries prior to 1917 were a rather bad group of rulers, with the exceptions of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Alexander II, the Tsar Liberator who freed the serfs, and seemed to specialize in inept mediocrities,  especially poor doomed Nicholas II, the last Tsar, who lacked the ability to run a town let alone a vast empire.  However, they were fortunate in their successors.  They shine when compared to monsters like Lenin and Stalin.  Perhaps the Obama administration could revive the song and have it played when some of their “tsars” consult with the President?

24

There's No Such Thing as a Monarchist

I’ve been on an early modern French history kick lately, reading The Battle: A New History of Waterloo, Alstair Horne’s The Age of Napoleon, and now Paul Johnson’s Napoleon: A Life, and Alistair Horne’s La Belle France. All this has led me towards a contention — though I suppose one on a quirky enough topic few will be interest.

It seems to me that there can be no such thing as a “monarchist”. An -ist indicates some sort of intentional form of government which one may support establishing or working towards. Yet looking at the various attempts to bring back the ancein regime or something like it, it strikes me that monarchy is not something which can be intentionally established, except as a cultural and political figurehead of sorts. Monarchy must necessarily be an unintentional form of government, and so while one may admire it where one finds it in history, it doesn’t seem like something one can be a supporter of establishing. An intentionally established monarchy would not be a monarchy in any sense worth valuing.

70

Pro-Life Protester Shot and Killed

In Michigan, a man is in custody after shooting and killing well known local abortion protester:

Owosso police chief Michael Compeau said Jim Pouillon, 63, was outside the school Friday morning with a sign when a man drove by and shot him. No one else was injured.

Michigan State Police have taken a suspect into custody, the Flint Journal reported.

The school was placed on immediate lockdown, though no students were hurt or involved in the shooting, Ossowo Hish School officials told the paper.

When authorities were responding to the first shooting, officials received a report that another man had been shot and killed at a gravel pit business in Owosso. Shiawassee County Sheriff George Braidwood said Mike Fuoss was found dead in his office.

Perhaps I’m cynical, but I doubt that there will be nationwide hand-wringing over whether pro-choice rhetoric has been too violent, and is thus at fault for the killing. Satisfying as that might be for those of us who are frustrated at being accused of being violent simply for opposing the idea that killing the unborn is a constitutional and moral right, it is probably as it should be since, as I’ve said when the shoe is on the other foot, broad political movements cannot be held responsible for the actions of lone crazies who happen to do something vaguely related to their aims.

Further details on the murdered pro-life activist from LifeNews. May God welcome the dead into the eternal kingdom.

4

Bishop Gracida: Sensus Fidelium

Bishop Rene Gracida

Over on his blog, Abyssus Abyssum InvocatBishop Rene Gracida, retired bishop of Corpus Christi, explains why he thinks it is the duty of the laity to speak out against the Kennedy Funeral:

“OVER ON THE “PRIESTS’ SECRETARY BLOG,

http://4thepriests.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/first-bishop-to-express-concerns-with-kennedy-funeral/

some of what I had written about the scandal of the Ted Kennedy funeral was reproduced and posted on that Blog.
One person, Drew Black, sent in a comment to that Blog:

“Drew Black

Thank-you, Excellency for the courage to speak out, to put the truth into print. May I ask why it is the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of  Boston?     It would seem that the most efficacious means of correction would come from the top. Authority in the church lies with its leaders. You must stand up publicly to one another. Please. We pray for you in this year of the priest.?Mary help you.

Thinking that others might be asking themselves the similar question “why did Bishop Gracida consider it the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of Boston?” I decided to send an answer to Drew Black on that same Blog.  Here was my answer:

September 9, 2009 at 2:16 pm

abyssum

Drew Black,

You ask “why is it the laity’s duty to formally criticize the Cardinal of Boston?”?In response I would refer you to the Historical Tracts written by the Servant of God, John Henry Cardinal Newman, in which he describes the situation in the Fourth Century when, he says, practically all of the Church’s bishops were tainted either with Arianism or Semi-Arianism, all except for the Pope and Saint Athanasius. The “sensus fidelium” of the laity saved the Church because they would not follow the lead of their bishops. The Pope and Saint Athanasius, relying on that “sensus fidelium” were able to carry the day at the Council of Nicea. Sometimes, history does repeat itself.

My point in referring to what Cardinal Newman wrote was that there are times in the life of the Church when the laity needs to make known to the Church’s hierarchy exactly what the sensus fidelium is with regard to whatever burning issue is affecting the unity of the Church at that moment.”

Bravo Bishop!  It is all too easy for we laity to sit back and leave protecting the teaching of the Church to the clergy.  Rubbish!  The teachings of Christ apply to the laity and the clergy both, and the laity cannot shirk the duty to point out when events are taking place within the Church that are in flat contradiction to that teaching.  The Church, the Bride of Christ, is no less precious to the laity, and when the clergy neglect their duty, that is no excuse for faithful members of the laity to forget theirs.

13

Health Care Now

Blackadder pointed out elsewhere that for all of the insistence that people cannot wait and absolutely need reform right now in order to alleviate the suffering of the uninsured, the health care bills currently under consideration are designed not to begin to go into effect until 2013, conveniently after the next presidential election. It is, I’m sure, a matter of opinion whether this is a cynical political attempt to avoid the consequences of people actually experiencing one’s health care reforms, or if its the necessary time to enact all 1100+ pages of regulations in the current plan. Either way, perhaps there’s a better way if people are really serious about helping people quickly and avoiding partisanship.

By most counts, there are actually around 12-15 million Americans who are uninsured for more than a few months, do not have the financial ability to buy their own insurance (make less than 75k), are legal residents, etc. This 12-15 million includes some people who are simply poor and can’t afford insurance (perhaps it’s not provided by their employers, or perhaps they’re unemployed) and others who are middle class (but without employer coverage) and have medical conditions which make it impossible to get individual health care insurance.

Let’s assume it’s 15 million. If we also assume that they’re fairly expensive to insure ($5000/person/year) the cost of simply paying to buy them all private insurance would be $75 billion per year, or $750B over ten years — actually less than the estimated cost of the current health care reform bill. (Heck, you could pay for the first 4-5 years by canceling all stimulus spending which is not scheduled to happen until after 1-1-2010.)
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8

Income Gap Narrowing

A year into the economic downturn, the much decried income gap has narrowed.

The deepest downturn in the U.S. economy since the Great Depression may finally shrink the gap between the very best-off Americans and everyone else.

If so, it won’t be by lifting up the bottom. It will be by pulling down the top.

Over the past 30 years, chief executives, Wall Street bankers and traders, law-firm partners and such amassed ever-greater incomes, while the incomes of factory workers, teachers, office managers and others in the middle grew much more slowly. In 2007, the top 1% of U.S. families accounted for 23.5% of all personal income in the U.S., according to economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics. That was a level not seen since the Roaring Twenties.

The top 1%’s share appears to be falling fast. Mr. Saez and other economists expect income going to the top 1% of taxpayers — currently, those with about $400,000 a year — will drop to somewhere between 15% and 19% of all income by 2010. That still would leave income distribution more top-heavy in the U.S. than in many other countries.
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3

Bishop Gracida on the Kennedy Funeral

Bishop Rene Gracida

Hattip to the ever vigilant Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia, who I really should put on retainer for the number of blogging ideas I steal, that is borrow, from him each month.

Bishop Rene Gracida is the retired bishop of Corpus Christi.  He has a blog called Abyssus Abyssum Invocat.   During World War II he was a tail gunner with the 303rd Hell’s Angels B-17 bomb group.  Why does that come as absolutely no surprise to me?  When it comes to speaking out in regard to the Kennedy funeral, I suppose it requires little courage for a Bishop who faced the skies of WW2 Europe.  The Bishop minces no words:

“WHERE DO I BEGIN

There was so much wrong with the funeral liturgy celebrated in Boston last Saturday for Senator Edward Moore Kennedy that I hardly know where to begin.  Aside from the impropriety of such a grandiose celebration for one of the country’s most notorious dissident Catholics, the ‘celebration’ was filled with liturgical errors and transgressions against the General Instruction of the Roman Missal which governs every celebration of the Church’s liturgy.  I am afraid that if I, a bishop, were to go into the details of the scandal it would only add to the scandal and so I will let the laity speak to it.”

The Bishop then places on his blog critical articles about the funeral from many sources.  Go here to read the articles at his blog and then place the Bishop’s blog under your “Favorites” list.  It is definitely a blog to check in at on a regular basis.

27

Analyzing Bishop Morlinos Chastizement of Catholics Critical of the Funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 1:08pm CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

Michael Voris, S.T.B., breaks down Bishop Morlino’s chastizement of those Catholics that were scandalized by Ted Kennedy’s funeral Mass.

LifeSiteNews.com has the following commentary by Patrick B. Craine and John-Henry Westen concerning the very same issue of Bishop Morlino chastizing Catholics critical of the pomp and ceremony bestowed upon the abortion advocate Ted Kennedy during the funeral Mass.

Bishop of Madison, Robert C. Morlino, expressed his support for the Kennedy funeral in a column last Thursday, basing his approval on the claim that the funeral was celebrated “in a subdued fashion,” and that this “low key” approach was appropriate due to the Senator’s support for abortion and other issues.

. . .

“All of this is leading me up to the expression of my contentment with how our Church, in a subdued fashion, celebrated the Rites of Christian Burial for Senator Kennedy,” he said. “The proclamation of God’s Mercy was powerful, the prayer for forgiveness of his past sins was clearly offered, and all of this in a subdued way because of his long-standing and public holding of pro-abortion and other stances which have been a scandal in the literal sense.”

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39

Obamas Speech: Dem Health Care Bill Now, With Or Without GOP

[Updates at the bottom of this posting as of 3:03am CDT on AD 9-10-2009]

President Obama’s speech covered many topics, lets first layout our President’s plan:

I. Keep the health insurance you have now.

1.  Pre-existing symptoms or disabilities no longer will disqualify anyone from coverage.

2.  No spending caps set by insurance companies.

3.  No drop in coverage in the middle of an illness.

4.  Limit on out of pocket expense.

5.  Minimal requirements of coverage.

II. Public Option & Exchange

1.  When losing your job you have the Public Option if you can’t afford insurance.

2.  Insurance exchange markets will be required for insurance companies to participate in.

3.  Tax credits for small businesses.

4.  In theory this will not lead to a government take over.

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5

Smith, Hume and the Servile State

I was recently listening to an interview with Stanley Engerman, co-author of Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Slavery. It was an interesting discussion overall, but what particularly caught my attention was basically a side-note.

Engerman referenced Adam Smith’s understanding of slavery which he described as being that slaves had no incentive towards greater productivity, with the result that using slave labor rather than free labor was inefficient. Smith thus attributed the fact that people use slavery despite it’s inefficiency to the will to domineer over others:

But if great improvements are seldom to be expected from great proprietors, they are least of all to be expected when they employ slaves for their workmen. The experience of all ages and nations, I believe, demonstrates that the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. A person who can acquire no property, can have no other interest but to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible. Whatever work he does beyond what is sufficient to purchase his own maintenance can be squeezed out of him by violence only, and not by any interest of his own. In ancient Italy, how much the cultivation of corn degenerated, how unprofitable it became to the master when it fell under the management of slaves, is remarked by both Pliny and Columella. In the time of Aristotle it had not been much better in ancient Greece. Speaking of the ideal republic described in the laws of Plato, to maintain five thousand idle men (the number of warriors supposed necessary for its defence) together with their women and servants, would require, he says, a territory of boundless extent and fertility, like the plains of Babylon.
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17

Pro-Abort Catholic Politicians and the Church

Pro-abort Catholic PolsFather Roger J. Landry concludes here that the strategy of the Church to privately persuade Catholic pro-abort pols of the errors of their ways has been a flat failure.

“Let us take an honest look at the numbers. When we survey the long list of pro-choice Catholic politicians from both parties — Kennedy, Kerry, Giuliani, Schwarzenegger, Daschle, Dodd, Durbin, Leahy, Mikulski, Pelosi, Delahunt, Capuano, Markey, McGovern, Meehan, Granholm, Sebelius, Pataki, Richardson, Cellucci, Cuomo, and Biden to name just a handful — is it possible to say that the strategy has worked with any of them? Over the last three and a half decades, can we point to even one success story?

Another way to assess the results of the education-alone strategy is to measure the direction that pro-choice Catholic politicians have moved over the years. Even if they haven’t experienced a total conversion, have they moved closer toward limiting abortions or toward making abortions easier to access? The facts show that the vast majority of personally opposed, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators have become far less personally opposed and far more publicly in favor over the duration of the strategy.

In the initial years after Roe versus Wade, publicly pro-choice Catholic legislators generally whispered their support for abortion. They displayed a palpable sense of shame, letting their abortion position out just enough so that it wouldn’t cost them the votes of abortion supporters. That discomfort began to dissipate after Governor Mario Cuomo’s 1984 pro-choice defense at Notre Dame. We’ve now come to a situation when pro-choice Catholic legislators vigorously curry the favor of Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Emily’s List;  scores of Catholics in Congress have the chutzpah to co-sponsor the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate almost every abortion restriction ever passed at the federal or state level; and 16 out of 25 Catholic Senators vote against conscience protections to prevent their fellow Catholics in the medical field from being forced to participate in abortions and sterilizations.”

Father Landry ends by suggesting a new approach, perhaps we might call it the “more than hot air” approach:

“Jesus spoke of a different way in the Gospel (Mt 18:15-18). It involves not merely general educational statements that we hope offenders will apply to themselves in conscience, but the type of one-on-one instruction traditionally called fraternal correction. If that fails, and fails repeatedly, Jesus enjoined us to regard the offender as someone who no longer belongs to the community, who is no longer a member in good standing. This may seem harsh, but we should remember that Jesus always seeks nothing but the best for his Church and for individual sinners, even obstinate sinners. Implied in Jesus’ strategy is that education involves not just information, but formation, and that you can’t form disciples without discipline. This is a lesson that, after four decades of the undeniable failure of another approach, we need to consider anew.”

Hattip to my friend the ever vigilant Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia,  and please go here to read his comments on Father Landry’s argument.

15

Obama Speech: Public Option Now

Obama speech

[Updates at the bottom of this post as of 5:52am CDT on AD 9-9-2009]

News is emanating from the White House that President Obama’s monumental speech will push for the infamous public option.  It is well known that most Republicans will call this a deal breaker but at the same time liberal Democrats will say the opposite that no Health Care bill will get through if it doesn’t contain a public option.

Jonathan Weisman and Janet Adamy have reported in the Wall Street Journal that President Obama will be pushing for the public option.  It is also being reported that there will be penalties imposed to those that are not paying for Health Care, regardless of the reasons.

White House aides acknowledged they expect little Republican support if any.

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2

Faster, Higher, Stronger… in Faith

Next month, the International Olympic Committee will decide whether the 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, or Tokyo. The Windy City’s Olympic bid is believed by many to have a good chance of succeeding, although others predict Rio will get the nod in order to bring the Games to South America for the first time.

Supporters of Chicago’s bid (the most ardent among them being Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley) say the Games will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase the city to the world, increase tourism, and promote economic development.

Those who don’t want the Games, however, argue that it will burden the city and the entire state of Illinois with years of additional taxes and debt, displace poor and vulnerable people from their homes and places of employment, leave behind crumbling “white elephant” venues, and promote exactly the kind of pay-to-play corruption that has made Chicago and Illinois infamous.

Whatever the outcome of the Olympic bid (which we will know on Oct. 2, when the IOC meets in Copenhagen), the competition for the Games has gotten me to thinking about another world-class event that has been proven to have lasting positive effects on the communities and countries that host it: World Youth Day.

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47

McBrien to Eucharistic Adoration: Step Backward

Father Richard McBrien, Professor of Theology at Notre Dame, boy that comes as a shock doesn’t it, doesn’t think much of eucharistic adoration.  McBrien of course has been a fierce defender of the secular zeitgeist for decades, and has done his very best to wean generations of Catholics from anything in the Faith that would not pass muster at fashionable parties in academia. 

For myself I love eucharistic adoration.  I never have done it without feeling much closer to God.  Since John Paul II also approved of it in his letter DOMINICAE CENAE, I guess I will just have to bear up under the strain of being thought backward by Professor McBrien.  Father Z gives McBrien his patented fisking here

You know, tenured dissenters like McBrien have a real problem on their hands in the age of the internet.  It is very easy now for ordinary Catholics to have access to church teaching by a few clicks and read what John Paul II wrote:

“Adoration of Christ in this sacrament of love must also find expression in various forms of eucharistic devotion: personal prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, Hours of Adoration, periods of exposition-short, prolonged and annual (Forty Hours)-eucharistic benediction, eucharistic processions, eucharistic congresses.”

Of course Pope Benedict’s views are well known and are set forth here.  When we have such easy access to the words of Peter, it is much harder for Catholics to be bamboozled by flim-flam artists like McBrien seeking to distort the teaching of the Church in service of their personal agendas.  The modern world provides many challenges to the Church, but I think in the long run the internet may become a great advantage to the magisterium of Holy Mother Church.

8

Bad Luck vs. Bad Design

In a post on the topic of health care rationing (responding to a progressive post which argued that denying care to people unlikely to see much return was one of the benefits of a centralized health system) Megan McArdle of The Atlantic makes the following observation:

There’s another intuition that at least libertarians have, which is that it is not as bad to have undesirable things result from an impersonal process than from an active decision. It is bad if someone’s house burns down and they couldn’t afford insurance. It’s worse if someone’s house burns down, and they were in the class of people deemed unworthy by a bureaucrat of having their house rebuilt.

I think almost all progressives have the opposite intuition. They think it’s better to try to produce an optimal result, even if that results in individual injustices (which it will–government rules are very broad brush, and will always involve error at the margins). I’m not sure how to bridge that intuitive gap.

It strikes me this is indeed one of the determining differences between those skeptical of and those confident in the ability of a centralized beaurocracy to actually improve the administration of health care (as opposed to its availability, which obviously could be improved simply by throwing enough money around.)

Given the range of viewpoints found around here, I’m curious what others think of this. Is this indeed one of the major dividing lines between progressive and libertarian/conservative viewpoints?

Spending Spree

Broke Uncle Sam

 

Hattip to Instapundit.  John Steele Gordon has a first rate article here detailing how we landed in the debt morass our nation is now bogged down in.    His last sentence is a completely accurate assessment of our options: ” Only necessity will force Congress to control long-term spending on its own.  And unless the body politic forces the needed changes, that necessity in the form of overwhelming debt is inescapable.”

2

Anteaters? Who Cares?

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  How terrible to devote one’s life to a study only to end up completely bored by it.  Lawyers of course never have that problem.  Well, at least he made the talk show host look foolish so he did not live in vain!   For those considering anteaters as pets, this article does a good job of putting some lipstick on the ant chow hounds.

33

Overreacting, The Left Needs To Wake Up To Reality

GOP overreaction to Obama speechLiberals and Democrats have accused many Americans of overreacting to the speech that President Obama will be delivering to school children today (at 11:00 am Central Daylight Time).

On the surface this would seem a fair evaluation but if you dig a little deeper, those on the Left may well be making another crucial misdiagnosis of the source and cause of this reaction.

First lets examine the prism that those on the Left have viewed this reaction.

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6

Subsidiarity at Work

dilbert subsidiarity

Everyone here at the American Catholic hoped that you all have had a happy Labor Day weekend.

The principle of Subsidiarity states that government should undertake only those initiatives which exceed the capacity of individuals or private groups acting independently.

Pope Leo XIII developed the principle in his AD 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum.  The principle was further developed by Pope Pius XI in his AD 1931 encyclial Quadragesimo Anno.

_._

To learn more about Subsidiarity click here.

To read Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum click here.

To read Pope Pius XI‘s encyclical Quadragesimo Anno click here.

For more Dilbert funnies click here.

4

The Dignity of the Working Man

It is perhaps not a bad time to devote a few thoughts to the dignity of work. Work is not always seen in a wholly positive light. Many of us don’t like going to work, and the rigors of labor are reflect in Adam’s curse, when after the fall he is told that he shall eat only by the sweat of his brow, struggling to win sustenance from an unfriendly soil.

Yet we also recognize that that is an essential dignity to labor. Through labor we meet the essential needs of life, and labor is frequently a service: Husbands and wives labor for each others’ sake, parents labor to support children, we share the fruits of our labor with our churches, with the less fortunate, with our friends and family. We rightly take great pleasure and pride in serving others this way. As a father, even the most tiresome or repetitive task can be a source of satisfaction to me when I know that by this means I am providing for the needs and pleasures of my wife and children.
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2

Saint Isidore the Laborer

Saint Isidore the Laborer

On this day on which we celebrate the workers of America, it is good to recall a simple day laborer who became one of Spain’s most beloved saints.  Also known as Saint Isidore the farmer,  he was born around 1170 and lived his entire life in the vicinity of Madrid, in service as a farm laborer to the family of Juan de Vargas.  Some of his fellow workers complained to Vargas that Saint Isidore was late for work due to his habit of attending Mass each day.  Checking up on his worker, he found Saint Isidore praying while an angel was doing the plowing!  Eventually Vargas made Saint Isidore bailiff of his entire estate.  Tales of miracles surround Saint Isidore.  One relates how he brought the daughter of his employer back to life.  Another tells how he found water during a time of drought.  He was noted for his charity to the poor and to animals.

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1

Res et Explicatio for AD 9-7-2009

Salvete AC readers!

Buckle Up! Because here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:

1. Sadly most of us will miss the Catholic Report blog run by Dave Hartline.  Due to pleasant new circumstances of a new member of the family, Dave will be rolling back some of his extra-curricular activities to attend to his growing family.  In addition Dave will be the newest contributor to the American Catholic website and joining our family of writers.

2. Since First Things began gobbling up good bloggers such as Spengler, Wesley J. Smith, and Elizabeth Scalia and adding writers such as the American Catholic’s own Christopher Blosser, Jay Anderson, and Joseph Bottum under the First Thoughts blog, their website has gotten a WHOLE lot better.  Many interesting stories and newsbites all neatly marketed in a spiffy new look.

I suggest you all check it out here.

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On the troubles within the ELCA

I attended a Lutheran (ELCA) college, where I majored in theology and philosophy. Much of my junior and senior year, however, were spent engaged in study of Catholic teaching (thanks to the fortunate discovery of Dorothy Day and Cardinal Ratzinger), culminating in my conversion.

In much the same manner as my familial background leads me, even as a convert, to take an interest in Mennonite affairs, I try to stay abreast of Lutheran matters and Lutheran-Catholic relations.

News of late has made for rather grim reading.

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Prayer to Saint Joseph the Workman

Saint Joseph and Jesus

O Glorious St. Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations, to work with gratitude and joy, in a spirit of penance for the remission of my sins, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God, to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, without ever shrinking from weariness and difficulties, to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account that I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thine example, O Patriarch, St. Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death.
Amen

Pope Saint Pius X

21

Obama Green Czar Van Jones Resigns Under Pressure

Obama Adviser Resigns

Van Jones resigned under pressure from conservatives and Republicans as more information leaked out concerning the character of his person.

After insulting Republicans and being found out as a “Truther”, someone who believes President Bush allowed 9/11 to occur, his past transgressions and militant associations became to much for the Obama administration to bear.

Being a self-avowed Communist and a black nationalist also contributed to his downfall despite the mainstream medias blackout of reporting any news that may harm President Obama.  In the end the American people were able to relay their displeasure at another Obama mishap without ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post doing their best at doing a horrible job of journalism.

This says a lot about President Obama’s character and vetting process.  Especially after spending 20 years attending the racist Jeremiah Wright’s church and his ties to the Weatherman Underground terrorists, it is becoming troubling that our own president even associates with people of such poor character.

A bitter and disturbed Van Jones wrote in his resignation letter that ordinary Americans are “… using lies and distortions to distract and divide.”jimmy-carter

It not only looks like our president shows signs of incompetence, but he also makes some pretty poor choices when it comes to choosing members of his administration.  His vetting process is a lark and the rest of America is finally realizing the nightmare we have on our hands.

Jimmy Carters second term.

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To read more on Van Jone’s resignation go to the Washington Times article by Christina Bellantoni by clicking here.

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Health Care Bites

The limits of civic discourse and modern medical science were tested in Los Angeles on Wednesday when a MoveOn.org protester whose feelings became inflamed over the issue of providing health care to all was moved to bite off part of the finger of a by-standard during the course of an altercation which broke out at a protest. Since the victim was 65, government health care was able to step in (in the form of Medicare) to provide care, but failed to succeed in reattaching the finger, which was severed at the first joint.

One man bit off part of another man’s finger when a health care reform demonstration turned violent.

William Rice said doctors did not reattach the bitten-off part of his left pinky after he got in the middle of a Southern California rally Wednesday night that he said was ”very scary.”

”I didn’t go out to demonstrate my beliefs, I happened to be driving by and I stopped to ask people what their purpose was,” Rice, 65, said in a telephone interview Thursday. ”I had no signs, I was not part of the demonstration.”

About 100 demonstrators in favor of health care reform had gathered on a Thousand Oaks street corner for an event organized by MoveOn.org. About 25 counterdemonstrators gathered across the street.

Rice declined to say Thursday which side of the debate he falls on.

Ventura County sheriff’s spokesman Eric Buschow said a confrontation erupted after the biter crossed from the MoveOn.org side of the street to the counterprotest, where Rice was standing.
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Saint Josemaria Escriva Film In The Works

St. Josemaria Escriva audience

A film based on Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, is being filmed in Argentina titled, There Be Dragons.  The movie is set in the years running up and including the Spanish Civil War.

There Be Dragons is being directed by Roland Joffe, the same director who filmed The Mission which starred Robert Di Niro and Jeremy Irons about Jesuit missionaries in 18th century South America.  The movie will Scottish star Dougray Scott of Mission Impossible II fame as a reporter and English star Charlie Cox as the saint himself.

Father John Wauck of Opus Dei seems to be the adviser to Mr. Joffe.  Mr. Joffe rejected an earlier script provided by Opus Dei for one that he wrote and has said he experienced no interference whatsoever from the personal prelature which is funding the film.

The expected release date is Summer or Autumn of next year (2010).

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To read more about the film, There Be Dragons, by The Catholic Herald of Britain click here.

To learn more about Saint Josemaria Escriva de Blaguer click here.

To learn more about Opus Dei click here.

To read more about the film The Mission click here.

For more information on There Be Dragons click here.

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Don't Flatter Your Honor Roll Student

I came across this book review last week in the Wall Street Journal, and thought it was interesting:

Now, in “NurtureShock,” Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman survey the newest new findings about child development. Little in the book is all that shocking, but given our enthusiasm for turning tentative child ­research into settled policy, the studies that the ­authors discuss are of more than passing interest.

A striking example is the latest research on ­self-esteem. As Mr. Bronson and Ms. Merryman remind us, the psychologist Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” in which he argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life. The theory became a big hit in the nation’s schools; in the mid-1980s, the California Legislature even ­established a self-esteem task force. By now, there are 15,000 scholarly articles on the subject.

And what do they show? That high self-esteem doesn’t improve grades, reduce ­anti-social behavior, deter alcohol drinking or do much of anything good for kids. In fact, telling kids how smart they are can be ­counterproductive. Many children who are convinced that they are little geniuses tend not to put much effort into their work. Others are troubled by the latent anxiety of adults who feel it necessary to praise them constantly.

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Cardinal O'Malley: Apologia Pro Sua Teddy

Cardinal O'Malley

Cardinal O’Malley of Boston defends his participation at the funeral Mass for Ted Kennedy here.  Erin Manning at her blog and sometimes tea, gives his remarks a fisking to be remembered here.  The master of the fisk, Father Z, also puts the Cardinal’s remarks through his patented fisk machine here.

The simple truth of the matter of course is that Ted Kennedy, in so many ways, was a disgrace to the Catholic Church in this country.  As a Catholic who received the Last Rites, it was right to give him a funeral Mass.  It was wrong to allow that Mass to be transformed into a “Tribute for Teddy” and a Democrat Party infomercial.  Archbishop O’Malley sat there and allowed this to take place and now he has the audacity to defend his nonfeasance.  One would have thought that silence would have been a wiser course rather than attempting to defend the indefensible.

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Obama The Theologian

It’s interesting that during a Ramadan dinner at the White House President Obama mentioned that Islam is a great religion.

Since when is he qualified to make such theological statements when questions of this magnitude are above his pay grade?

Did President Obama mean how the followers of Islam subjugated the Christian lands of the Middle East, North Africa, Anatolia, the Balkans, and Spain?

Enslaved millions of black Africans in the slave trade to Europeans?

Not to mention defiling the Hagia Sophia, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and many, many more Christian shrines and churches.

President Obama you have no idea what you’re talking about.

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To go to the RealCatholicTV.com website click here.

To download the Vortex by Michael Voris, S.T.B., on RealCatholicTV.com click here.

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Torture: Wrong Regardless of Effectiveness

Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia has a post up whose title says its all: Torture … Excuse Me … the Use of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” Works! And We Should STILL Oppose It.

In light of the CIA Inspector General report which indicates that, at least in the case of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, torture worked pretty well in extracting information, Jay says:

I’ve said before that Catholics (and others) opposed to torture should not resort to arguments against its effectiveness since: (a) when something is intrinsically evil, whether it works or not is completely irrelevant; and (b) those making the argument that torture is ineffective may turn out to be wrong, and then our ethical and moral arguments against torture are thereby undermined. See my comments here, here (agreeing with my friend Paul Zummo), and here for more details.
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Obama and the Kiddies

Obama on September 8 is going to have a large audience for one of his speeches.  This in itself is unusual in view of the declining TV ratings of his speeches.  Even more unusual is the audience: most of the elementary public school kids in the nation.  Why is he doing this?  The US Department of Education has  thoughtfully prepared a study guide for teachers here.  It is untrue that it comes bound in a little red book. Continue Reading

Pange Lingua Gloriosi

Composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Office of Corpus Christi (see CORPUS CHRISTI, FEAST OF). Including the last stanza (which borrows the words “Genitori Genitoque”—Procedenti ab utroque, Compar” from the first two strophes of the second sequence of Adam of St. Victor for Pentecost) the hymn comprises six stanzas appearing in the manuscripts

Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi Rex effudit gentium.

Written in accentual rhythm, it imitates the triumphant march of the hymn of Fortunatus, and like it is divided in the Roman Breviary into stanzas of six lines whose alternating triple rhyming is declared by Pimont to be a new feature in medieval hymnody. In the  Roman Breviary the hymn is assigned to both Vespers, but of old the Church of Salisbury placed it in Matins, that of Toulouse in First Vespers only, that of Saint-Germain- des-Prés at Second Vespers only, and that of Strasburg at Compline. It is sung in the procession to the repository on Holy Thursday and also in the procession of Corpus Christi and in that of the Forty Hours’ Adoration.[1]

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[1] Henry, H. (1911). Pange Lingua Gloriosi. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 3, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11441c.htm

Note: For more information click here.

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Obama Ditches Youth Indoctrination Program

Obama Youth Organization

[Updates at the bottom of this article as of 9-3-2009 AD at 4:39am]

In what is a growing sign that President Obama is showing more signs of incompetence, the White House withdrew the requirement that school children write a paper supporting President Obama and his socialistic policies.  This was going to be a requirement after viewing an indoctrination video showing President Obama pushing his plan for socialism to school children nationwide.

President Obama’s plan to inspire the nation’s schoolchildren with a video address next week erupted into controversy Wednesday, forcing the White House to pull out its eraser and rewrite a government recommendation that teachers nationwide assign students a paper on how to “help the president.”

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Debate on Armed Protesters at Townhall Meetings

[Updates at the bottom of this article]

Though long (my solution was to download the MP3 and listen to it in the background throughout the day) this BloggingHeads discussion between Megan McArdle of the The Atlantic (libertarian) and author Michelle Goldberg (left-ish) about protesters carrying guns at townhall meetings was very interesting. Michelle takes the position (which I imagine we’ve all heard somewhere) that these open carry protesters are trying to exert political intimidation through threat of violence and are indeed likely to commit violence. Megan explains why she thinks it much more likely that they’re simply gun nuts trying to make a point about 2nd Amendment rights. (In a way, incidentally, which neither McArdle nor I support, but still almost certainly not in fact a violent threat to the nation with whose brush the entire right side of the political spectrum can be tarred by association.)

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Movie Review: District 9

MrsDarwin and I grabbed a rare chance to take an evening out last night and went to see District 9, a science fiction movie that came out a couple weeks ago. Contrary to stereotype, it was actually MrsDarwin who had latched onto this as the movie to see, and I’m glad she did as it was one of the more enjoyable SciFi flicks that I’ve seen in a while. (Movie Trailer here.)

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Which Comes First, the Church or the Party?

Well, I’ve read and talked more than I ever cared to about Ted Kennedy recently, may he rest in peace. And Darwin has already ably responded to this defense of the late Senator Kennedy from Michael Sean Winters. But something about Mr. Winters response has been ringing in my ears, and I think it’s because it summarizes in a few sentences what I perceive to be the tragedy of Catholic Democrats in the U.S.: they could have taken a stand for unborn life but were unwilling. As a result, faithful Catholics have either been driven into the Republican Party, become independents, or become disconcertingly comfortable with the status quo on abortion. Currently I think both the first and last options are incompatible with Catholic thought – at least without substantial departure from party orthodoxies. Where familiarity (with both parties) should have breed contempt, it has instead yielded unconscionable familiarity and acceptance. And Mr. Winters’ post provides a clear illustration of this reality:

To dismiss his [Senator Kennedy’s] career because of his stance on abortion is to be ignorant of the complicated way the issue of abortion manifested itself in the early 1970s: I think Kennedy got it wrong but I do not find it difficult to understand why and how he got it wrong.

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Dueling ObamaCare Videos!

Hattip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air.    Youtube videos for political arguments is one of the more fascinating developments of the internet age.  At little cost anyone can become a participant in a political debate, post a you tube video and have it seen by potentially millions of viewers.  I like it!  It interjects citizen particpation in what had been a big money game.  The pro-ObamaCare video is from “Engio”.  The video response is from “How the World Works”. Continue Reading

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Obama Drops Public Option, Showdown With Pelosi Looms

Obama Pelosi

President Obama will be dropping the socialistic Public Option from his government-run health care plan.  This will certainly anger the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and make for some interesting showdowns with both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (emphasis mine).

“…Obama’s willingness to forgo the public option is sure to anger his party’s liberal base. But some administration officials welcome a showdown with liberal lawmakers… …The confrontation would allow Obama to show he is willing to stare down his own party to get things done.”

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