Monthly Archives: October 2009
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The Founding Fathers left no doubt which freedoms they held most important. They inserted them into the First Amendment to the Constitution. Freedom of speech and of the press come right after freedom of religion. These freedoms, and all the others set forth in the Constitution, are the birthright of all Americans and a precious example to the rest of the world. That is why I am bemused by the manner in which the Obama administration appears to be indifferent to attempts to undermine freedom of speech and of the press at the UN.
“The new resolution, championed by the Obama administration, has a number of disturbing elements. It emphasizes that “the exercise of the right to freedom of expression carries with it special duties and responsibilities . . .” which include taking action against anything meeting the description of “negative racial and religious stereotyping.” It also purports to “recognize . . . the moral and social responsibilities of the media” and supports “the media’s elaboration of voluntary codes of professional ethical conduct” in relation to “combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”
What! me worry?
¡No se puede!
(Biretta Tip: Lucianne)
Sometimes it’s all in the phrasing. The other day I read a mention of the annual Red Mass celebrated in Washington DC which quoted Justice Ginsburg’s explanation of why she no longer attends (though Justice Breyer, also Jewish, attends). The quote in full:
“Before every session, there’s a Red Mass,” Ginsburg said. “And the justices get invitations from the cardinal to attend that. And a good number of the justices show up every year. I went one year, and I will never go again, because this sermon was outrageously anti-abortion.”
Outrageously anti-abortion. Well.
I find it hard to believe, but The American Catholic is celebrating its one year birthday today. I’ve enjoyed writing for the blog over the past year immensely, and I hope our readers and commenters have also had some fun. Contributors will be linking to some of their favorite posts. Here are two of mine:
1. report-to-the-emperor-first-draft-I posted this on Good Friday and I think I will make this a blog tradition of doing so each year.
2. triumph-of-the-king-This I posted on Palm Sunday.
My friend and colleague Christopher Blosser is having some computer trouble. Two of his posts that I greatly admire are:
In regard to Chris this list would be quite lengthy if I included all the posts he has written which I wish I had written! Writer envy, it is a terrible thing!
I am sure the next year will be as crowded with events as the last one was. The American Catholic will be here to comment on the passing scene, as Americans and Catholics, with, I trust, a leavening of humor and at least a dash of common sense.
“THE FROGS WHO WISHED FOR A KING
The Frogs were tired of governing themselves. They had so much freedom that it had spoiled them, and they did nothing but sit around croaking in a bored manner and wishing for a government that could entertain them with the pomp and display of royalty, and rule them in a way to make them know they were being ruled. No milk and water government for them, they declared. So they sent a petition to Jupiter asking for a king.
Jupiter saw what simple and foolish creatures they were, but to keep them quiet and make them think they had a king he threw down a huge log, which fell into the water with a great splash. The Frogs hid themselves among the reeds and grasses, thinking the new king to be some fearful giant. But they soon discovered how tame and peaceable King Log was. In a short time the younger Frogs were using him for a diving platform, while the older Frogs made him a meeting place, where they complained loudly to Jupiter about the government.
To teach the Frogs a lesson the ruler of the gods now sent a Crane to be king of Frogland. The Crane proved to be a very different sort of king from old King Log. He gobbled up the poor Frogs right and left and they soon saw what fools they had been. In mournful croaks they begged Jupiter to take away the cruel tyrant before they should all be destroyed.
“How now!” cried Jupiter “Are you not yet content? You have what you asked for and so you have only yourselves to blame for your misfortunes.””
Like most conservatives, after last year’s election I thought that Obama would prove a President Crane as far as conservatives were concerned. With large Democrat majorities in the House and Senate I assumed that Obama would implement changes in this country to send it on a left-ward trajectory. Instead, other than passing the Bankrupt the Nation Act of 2009, sometimes erroneously called the Stimulus bill, Obama has accomplished virtually nothing, a fact which even Saturday Night Live is now mocking. This is astonishing considering the size of his victory last year and the strength of his party in Congress. Or is it? I believe there were clear clues from the background of Obama that this might occur.
The alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje have had a sordid history. Much of it to some extent successfully glossed over or reinterpreted by the Franciscans that run the parish at Medjugorje. A document was put out by Bishop Ratko Peric, the ordinary of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno that encompasses Medjugorje, which was translated by Richard Chonak of the Catholic Light blog, that put to record of what actually occurred in Medjugorje and how the alleged apparitions were fabricated and manipulated by dissident priests such as Tomislav Vlasic and Slavko Barbaric.
I want to briefly summarize some highlights from this translated document first, which then be followed by the translated document in full.
1. Tomislav Vlasic, in collusion with his superior, undermined the authority of the bishop by relocating himself to Medjugorje without asking permission. They waited an entire year to do so.
2. Tomislav Vlasic and Slavko Barbaric, the spiritual directors of the alleged seers, did not allow the seers to report any alleged messages from the Madonna without coming to them first so they can have their stories straight.
3. A grave theological error that the alleged apparition stated that all people in Heaven have their souls and their bodies with them. I guess Tomislav Vlasic never studied the Nicene Creed.
4. Tomislav Vlasic claimed to have visited the Pope (John Paul II) when he never did.
5. The Madonna wanted Slavko Barbaric to replace Tomislav Vlasic as the spiritual director so he could document the entire episode of the visions. Slavko Barbaric passed away in AD 2000, and the alleged apparitions continue to this day… without Slavko Barbaric. Another “vision” that never came true.
There are many more, but I just highlighted the big ones that I thought were prescient. The following is the completed translation of Bishop Ratko Peric’s documentation of the many errors of the apparitions in Medjugorje:
Just as last year, when the Holy See sanctioned the Rev. Vlasic with interdict, warning him of more severe penalties if he would not obey, once again numerous comments have appeared in the mass media to proclaim the non-connection between the “Medjugorje phenomenon” and the “Vlasic case”. If in both the letter and in reference to the two more serious penalties there is an explicit reminder of the “Medjugorje phenomenon”, in which Tomislav Vlasic in involved, why is there never any connection between the one and the other? We would like to recall just that undeniable connection, from the beginning.
A spoof on ObamaCare by Paul Shanklin via Don McLean’s American Pie.
Richard Eden of the Daily Telegraph has reported that Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, who is also the head of the Church of England, is “appalled” at what has happened to the Anglican Communion.
The usually well-informed newspaper adds that the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the C(hurch) of E(ngland), is “also said to have an affinity with the Holy Father, who is of her generation”.
Quite good stuff to hear of the affinity that Queen Elizabeth has for Papa Bene.
Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon, a major proponent of union between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, has addressed the virulent opposition among the Metropolitans of Greece by stating that reunion is not imminent.
It is being propagated very falsely and conspiringly that the signing of the union of the Churches is imminent! A professor emeritus of Theology, who is well known for his ill-will towards my person, had visited a Hierarch of the Church of Greece and had told him that he knew with certainty (!) that the union had already been signed (in Ravenna!) and that the relative announcement was a matter of time!!! Clergy and laity have approached me and asked me if it is true that the union is to be signed in Cyprus, in October! Obviously, a feeling of unrest is being attempted among the people of God through this behaviour, with unpredictable consequences for the unity of the Church. However, those who are disseminating these things are fully aware (as long as they have not been blinded by empathy, fanaticism or a mania for self-projection), firstly, that the ongoing theological Dialogue has yet to span an extremely long course, because the theological differences that have accumulated during the one thousand years of division are many; and secondly, that the Committee for the Dialogue is entirely unqualified for the “signing” of a union, given that this right belongs to the Synods of the Churches. Therefore, why all the misinformation? Can’t the disseminators of these false “updates” think of what the consequences will be for the unity of the Church? [He who agitates (God’s people) shall bear the blame, whoever he may be — Galatians 5:10]
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey attracted quite a bit of ire a few months back when he wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal in which he advocated that Obama and the congress consider an approach to health care reform similar to the health benefits which Whole Foods provides its employees (centered around high deductible coverage and health savings accounts.) Within days, several progressive sites were calling for boycotts of Whole Foods, seeing Mackey as giving aid to anti-Obama forces. Mackey himself is somewhat bemused by the firestorm his editorial caused.
“President Obama called for constructive suggestions for health-care reform,” he explains. “I took him at his word.” Mr. Mackey continues: “It just seems to me there are some fundamental reforms that we’ve adopted at Whole Foods that would make health care much more affordable for the uninsured.”
Though he’s not gunning to cause any more controversies, Mackey has an interesting weekend interview in the Journal where he talks, among other things, about his philosophy regarding capitalism and business, and how it’s changed over the years since he founded Whole Foods with $45,000 in friends and family-raised seed funding in 1978.
“Before I started my business, my political philosophy was that business is evil and government is good. I think I just breathed it in with the culture. Businesses, they’re selfish because they’re trying to make money.”
The Red Mass is celebrated annually at the Washington, D.C. Cathedral and hosted by the John Carroll Society, a group of Washington area legal professionals. The Mass is normally for for judges, attorneys, law school professors, students, and government officials. The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Ghost for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Catholics believe is the God-given power and responsibility of all in the legal profession.
The Red Mass is so-called from the red vestments traditionally worn in symbolism of the tongues of fire that descended on the Apostles. The most significant difference between the Red Mass and a traditional Mass is that the focuses of prayer and blessings concentrate on the leadership roles of those present. Guidance from the Holy Ghost is asked to be bestowed on the congregants. Other blessings that are commonly requested to prevail in the minds, offices, and court rooms are Divine strength, wisdom, truth, and justice.
Ah Will Ferrell, little did you know when you made your fake psa attacking opponents of ObamaCare that you would spawn a cottage industry responding to you! From those creative folks at CatholicVoteAction.Org.
Many Americans have been accusing President Obama of steering the country away from democracy and towards a more autocratic form of government. Well, Obama made a special televised message to the American people to address their concerns.Here is the video: [vodpod id=Groupvideo.3570303&w=425&h=350&fv=]I hope you enjoyed it!
(Biretta Tip: Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters)
The Emperor was widely regarded as the savior of Rome. The son of slaves he had fought his way to power against the enemies of Rome. After a half century of chaos he brought order and unity to Rome, crushing pretenders to the imperial purple and restoring the borders of the Empire against the barbarian tribes. Under his tetrarchy system Rome would be ruled by two Emperors and two Caesars who would eventually succeed the Emperors. Peace now reigned in the Empire after decades of strife. Small wonder that Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, better known to history as Diocletian, was hailed as a second Romulus, a second founder of Rome. Continue reading
No joke, the man wanting to “wipe Israel off the map” was born Jewish.
Earlier this morning the Daily Telegraph of London reported,
A photograph of the Iranian president holding up his identity card during elections in March 2008 clearly shows his family has Jewish roots.
A close-up of the document reveals he was previously known as Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.
“By making anti-Israeli statements he is trying to shed any suspicions about his Jewish connections. He feels vulnerable in a radical Shia society.”
A London-based expert [Ali Nourizadeh] on Iranian Jewry said that “jian” ending to the name specifically showed the family had been practising Jews.
“He has changed his name for religious reasons, or at least his parents had,” said the Iranian-born Jew [Ali Nourizadeh] living in London. “Sabourjian is well known Jewish name in Iran.”
Now that is revealing.
For more on this article from Damien McElroy and Ahmad Vahdat of the Daily Telegraph of London click here.
Something for the weekend. An offbeat version of Jerusalem. I think that half madman, half genius William Blake would have appreciated its quirkiness. Compare and contrast with this more mainstream version.
And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold:
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.
Here’s Prof. David Post at the Volokh Conspiracy describing politics through an analogy to sports (the easiest way to explain anything to me):
I then said something like – “but it does seem like the overall level of defense is improving all over – I see so many great plays these days . . .” before I recognized how stupid a comment that was. Of course I was seeing more great defensive plays than I had 10 or 20 years before – because 10 or 20 years before there had been no Sportscenter (or equivalent). In 1992 (or whenever exactly this was), I could turn on the TV and catch 20 or 30 minutes of great highlights every night, including 5 or 6 truly spectacular defensive plays; in 1980, or 1960, to see 5 or 6 truly spectacular defensive plays, you had to watch 20 or 25 hours of baseball, minimum. [That’s what ESPN was doing, in effect – watching 10 or 12 games simultaneously and pulling out the highlights]. It was just my mind playing a trick on me; I had unconsciously made a very simple mistake. The way in which I was perceiving the world of baseball had, with Sportscenter, changed fundamentally, but I hadn’t taken that into account. Without thinking about it, I had plugged into a simple formula: Old Days: 5 spectacular plays in 25 hours of baseball watching. New Days: 5 spectacular plays in ½ hour of baseball watching. And I had reached the obvious (and obviously wrong, on reflection) conclusion that the rate of spectacular playmaking had gone up.