Monthly Archives: October 2010
You know, it looks like I might have to change my mind on gay marriage. I’ve been opposed to the concept for some time, but this video has completely changed my mind thanks to its persuasive logic. WARNING: Extremely not safe for work or probably your own house language at this video. Do not click on this link if you do not tolerate cussing, because there’s a lot of it.
The video, for those that didn’t feel like clicking over and having their audio canals violated, was essentially a bunch of really peeved off gay marriage advocates engaging in a collective primal scream. The long and short of it is that gay marriage opponents are bleeping hypocrites because Rush bleeping Limbaugh has been married four bleeping times, and also because we don’t bleeping oppose no fault bleeping divorce, and bleep bleep bleep we’re just a bunch of bleeping bleeps.
I have to say that this video does hammer home one thing for me: the most convincing opponents of gay marriage are gay marriage supporters.
Dr. Mildred Fay Jefferson, tireless crusader for the unborn, died on Saturday October 16, 2010 at age 84. Born in Carthage, Texas in 1927, she overcame all the disadvantages of being black in the Jim Crow South to be the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School in 1951 and, additionally, the first female surgeon to graduate from that school. She was professor of surgery at Boston University. After Roe she helped found the National Right to Life Committee and was President of the Committee for three terms. She never ceased to speak out for the unborn. Continue reading
The fifth in my series of posts in which I give rants against trends that have developed in society since the days of my youth, the halcyon days of the seventies, when leisure suits and disco were sure signs that society was ready to be engulfed in a tide of ignorance, bad taste and general buffoonery.
We have started off the series with a look at seven developments that I view as intensely annoying and proof that many people lack the sense that God granted a goose. I like to refer to these as The Seven Hamsters of the Apocalypse, minor evils that collectively illustrate a society that has entered a slough of extreme stupidity. Each of the Seven Hamsters will have a separate post. We have already discussed here the Tattooed Vermin, here the Pierced Vermin , here the F-Bomb Vermin and here the Texting Vermin. The fifth of the Hamsters is the Trashy Vermin.
I grew up in a blue collar family in which money was never plentiful. ( I loved the old Jackie Gleason show The Honeymooners. It was a howlingly funny show and they were more broke than we were.) However, my parents always found money in our budget to make sure that all of us had good clothes to wear for Church and special occasions. “Good clothes” meant a suit and tie for Dad, a nice dress for Mom, and sports jackets and ties for myself and my brother. Now I know those of you born after 1980 will find this hard to credit, but we were not uncommon in that regard. At Mass virtually every one was dressed that way. (I still dress that way, and it is uncommon enough today that a visiting priest brought how I was dressed to my attention as I entered Church with my family a few weeks ago.) Evidence of this is clear in the movies from the period. For example, we have the film Blackboard Jungle (1955), which at the time was thought to be a shocking look at juvenile delinquency. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Conquest theme from the 1947 film Captain From Castile. As all University of Southern California alums know, the work was composed by Alfred Newman who bequeathed all rights in the work to the University to play at football games.
The movie Captain From Castile, based on the novel of the same name by Samuel Shellenbarger, is quite worth watching. Tyrone Power plays Pedro de Vargas, a nobleman on the run from the inquisition who becomes one of Hernan Cortez’ captains. Cortez is portrayed by Caesar Romero who steals every scene he is in. He captures Cortez perfectly: larger than life, endlessly innovative, always optimistic no matter the challenge, and overflowing with raw charisma. The film ends before the campaign to conquer Tenochtitlan which is a disappointment. Continue reading
Well it looks like Cynthia Tucker has been beaten out for the most obtuse observation of the past 24 hours. Let’s hear from Chris Mathews, who decided to turn a great story about survival into a partisan political point.
Down 2,000 feet in the ground, a group of 33 men not only survived for 69 days but prevailed. What a story of human faith, hope, charity and yes, community. I know that last word drives people on the right crazy: community.
Theirs is the popular notion that it`s every man for himself. Grab what you can, screw the masses, cash out of the government, go it alone — the whole cowboy catechism.
But how would those miners have survived, the 33 of them, and their loved ones living above if they`d behave like that with the attitude of every man for himself. This is above all, and deep down they`re in the mine about being in all there together. It`s about mutual reliance and relying on others. Not just to do their jobs, but to come through in the clutch.
Not only is this a sophomoric and shameful bit of analysis, but it further proves the point that great swathes of the left fundamentally do not understand what is meant by “community.” Continue reading
It’s good to know that the term “Beltway Bubble” applies beyond just the circular roadway a mile from my house out in the suburbs of Washington DC. It looks like there is another cocoon in another old dwelling of mine in the city of Atlanta, as evidenced by this bit of insanity from Cynthia Tucker. Ms. Tucker’s thesis is that President Obama’s political problems stem from trying too hard to cooperate with Republicans. Buckle yourselves in for a ride aboard the crazy train.
It’s Friday, so it’s our normally scheduled time for pro football rankings! Ok, this is a few days late, but I had a monstrous week.
That’s something almost all NFL teams have dealt with. Everyone know has a loss, and most of those losses weren’t pretty. A few teams are really plagued with injuries (Packers & Saints), a few teams look really overrated (Vikes & Cowgirls), and a few teams puzzle (Pats & Colts). Where this end up is anyone’s guess, as this is a year for parity. Continue reading
My credentials as Chief Geek of this blog need refreshing. The smartest, and best written, science fiction show currently on the air is The Fringe. The show relates the adventures of a team working for the FBI that explore fringe events involving advanced science, extra-terrestrial aliens and other paranormal events. It is a much better written and funnier X-files. The team consists of two FBI agents, a mad scientist, the mad scientist’s son and a cow. John Noble does a superb job as mad scientist Walter Bishop as indicated in the above video where he engages in an inflora experiment on the friendliest of fruits. Go here for some of the best of Walter clips. Continue reading
In the Early and Medieval Church future saints seemed to often cross paths. However in our day and age this is a rarity. On a sunny Detroit afternoon in the summer of 1935 two potential saints did just that. If they lived today they would stand out like sore thumbs, two men belittled by some of their superiors who took no umbrage and continued on with their duties. In today’s world someone who chose the same path would be looked at as if they had written kick me on their backsides. After all this is the age, when our popular culture demands that any slight be met with a meltdown or protest, the louder the better. However, (Venerable) Father Solanus Casey OFM and (Blessed) Brother Andre Bessette CSC were holy men. Brother Andre will be made a saint October 17 (or is already a saint depending upon what day you read this.) Perhaps in his humble way Father Solanus Casey will be gently nipping at his heels.
Alfred Bessette (he would take the name Andre when he was ordained) was born in 1845 to a large Quebec family. Sadly for young Alfred, he would lose both parents by age 11 and would spend the rest of his childhood raised by an older sister. Twenty five years later, and several hundred miles west, Barney Casey (he took the name Solanus when he was ordained) was also born to a large family, in rural Wisconsin. He was the eldest of 16 children. His childhood was filled with hard family farm work, while at the same time that work was done under the umbrella of a faith filled home, where the Church was the glue that held the family together through tough times.
Both the young Casey and Bessette toiled at many jobs, ranging from farm labor to lumberjacks. While many were not surprised at their eventual vocation, both men carefully discerned their calling and concluded they were called to Holy Orders. Their lives wouldn’t be any easier once they were seminarians, or even after they were ordained. Ironically both men for many years worked as door men and porters, helping those who were visitors at their respective religious orders’ seminaries and monasteries. Continue reading
A roundup of recent political news.
1. O’Donnell-Coons race- Christine O’Donnell takes aim in the above video at the major weakness of Chris Coons in the Delaware Senate race: he does have a history of being in favor of tax increases. Saturday Night Live mocks O’Donnell’s “I am not a witch” ad here. Polls show O’Donnell some 16-20 points behind Coons. In a normal election year I would assume that she had no chance, but this is far from a normal election year. Additionally Mike Castle had a substantial lead over O’Donnell in the polls until a few days before she beat him in the Delaware primary.
My co-blogger Paul Zummo’s post here on When God Says No caused me to think again of a theme that has alway intrigued me: the problem of God allowing terrible things to happen to innocent people. Endless words have been written on this subject, but I have always found moving the thought process of Abraham Lincoln as he addressed this complex subject.
The American Civil War has become such a part of American folk-lore, and so romanticized by reenactments, films, movies, etc, that we sometimes risk losing sight of just how dreadful it was. The death toll in the war would be the equivalent of us losing some six million killed in a war today and some ten million wounded, many of those maimed for life. One quarter of the nation was devastated, a huge war debt had to be repaid and regional hatreds created that only time would heal. Americans tend to be optimists and to view themselves as blessed by God. How had this dreadful calamity come upon the nation was the cry from millions of Americans at the time. Continue reading
Msgr. Charles Pope is a Priest in the Archdiocese of Washington. In addition to his duties as pastor at a parish in southeastern DC, he regularly celebrates High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s in Chinatown once a month. He is perhaps the finest homilist I have ever had the privilege of hearing on a regular basis, and he demonstrates why in this blog post from the Archdiocese’s website. He tackles what may be one of the most difficult subjects that Catholics and indeed people of all faith struggle with: why does God seemingly say no to some of our prayer requests? He provides a fantastic answer, and in the process gives some guidance on he proper disposition we should have when praying.
1. Sometimes, “No” is the Best Answer – We often think we know what is best for us. We want to have this job, or we want that person to fall in love and marry us. We want to be delivered from a certain illness or receive a financial blessing. We see these as good outcomes and are sure that God must also see them this way. But God may not, in fact agree with our assessment as to what is best for us. And thus his “No” is really the best answer to our prayers.
For example we may always prefer that God answer our prayer that none of our children be born with any disabilities. But God may see that the experience of disability may be just the thing that we or the child may need in order to be saved ultimately. St. Paul prayed for deliverance from some sort of physical affliction: Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:7-10).
QUARTO ABEUNTE SAECULO
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON
THE COLUMBUS QUADRICENTENNIAL
To Our Venerable Brethren, the Archbishops and
Bishops of Spain, Italy, and the two Americas.
Now that four centuries have sped since a Ligurian first, under God’s guidance, touched shores unknown beyond the Atlantic, the whole world is eager to celebrate the memory of the event, and glorify its author. Nor could a worthier reason be found where through zeal should be kindled. For the exploit is in itself the highest and grandest which any age has ever seen accomplished by man; and he who achieved it, for the greatness of his mind and heart, can be compared to but few in the history of humanity. By his toil another world emerged from the unsearched bosom of the ocean: hundreds of thousands of mortals have, from a state of blindness, been raised to the common level of the human race, reclaimed from savagery to gentleness and humanity; and, greatest of all, by the acquisition of those blessings of which Jesus Christ is the author, they have been recalled from destruction to eternal life. Europe, indeed, overpowered at the time by the novelty and strangeness of the discovery, presently came to recognize what was due to Columbus, when, through the numerous colonies shipped to America, through the constant intercourse and interchange of business and the ocean-trade, an incredible addition was made to our knowledge of nature, and to the commonwealth; whilst at the same time the prestige of the European name was marvellously increased. Therefore, amidst so lavish a display of honour, so unanimous a tribute of congratulations, it is fitting that the Church should not be altogether silent; since she, by custom and precedent, willingly approves and endeavours to forward whatsoever she see, and wherever she see it, that is honourable and praiseworthy. It is true she reserves her special and greatest honours for virtues that most signally proclaim a high morality, for these are directly associated with the salvation of souls; but she does not, therefore, despise or lightly estimate virtues of other kinds. On the contrary, she has ever highly favoured and held in honour those who have deserved well of men in civil society, and have thus attained a lasting name among posterity. For God, indeed, is especially wonderful in his Saints – mirabilis in Sanctis suis; but the impress of His Divine virtue also appears in those who shine with excellent power of mind and spirit, since high intellect and greatness of spirit can be the property of men only through their parent and creator, God.
Recently two momentous events in Western and Church History passed with hardly a mention. Actually, these events may be better known in the Muslim world than the Christian world; the Islamic army’s desecration of St. Peter’s in Rome, along with St John Lateran and other churches in 846, and the stunning defeat of the Islamic military onslaught by Charles the Hammer Martel at Tours, France in 732. Though these two events occurred over 100 years apart, they do point out that until the Ottoman-Turkish Islamic defeat in 1683 at the gates of Vienna; Europe was facing a never ending threat from radical Islam. Yet how is it that according to the mainstream media it was the fault of Christians, and specifically Catholics? In my last article, I wrote of the naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the land at the Gates of Vienna in 1683. Some wondered why I didn’t right about Charles the Hammer Martel and some of the earlier Islamic incursions into Europe. Now is a good time to delve into that subject. (For more on Charles the Hammer Martel and the Battle of Tours please read this excellent article by my colleague Donald McClarey.)
Ask most practicing Catholics, Evangelicals and mainline Protestants who Charles the Hammer Martel was and you would probably get blank stares. Perhaps a few young people might be under the false impression that he is some sort of up and coming professional wrestler. However, you would probably stand a better chance of having someone in the Islamic world tell you about Charles the Hammer Martel. The same might be true for the sack of Rome in 846 by Muslim forces who disembarked at Ostia (the Tiber port) and marched right into Rome desecrating holy sites like St Peter’s and St John Lateran and leaving the Eternal City with their plunder. Many in the western world might be surprised why they have never heard this and why those who reside in the Islamic world are better informed of these events than in the Western World. Let us peer back into time to see what we can learn about the past and what it might mean for the future.
It is said that God can make the best out of the worst. As Charles Martel grew older and realized that his mother was simply a consort of his regal father, Charles must have realized that he could have been abandoned to poverty, or worse yet aborted (if that had happened Christianity might have been confined to Ireland!) Charles must have developed a thick skin and a courageous spirit that enabled him not to run at the first sign of trouble. Europe was in a state of near panic by 730 as the well seasoned professional Islamic Army had laid waste to much of the Middle East and North Africa leaving the homes of those past saints like Augustine in ruins. Europe was in the Dark Ages, armies were merely feudal in their makeup, a far cry from the type of regimented units needed to stop the largest invading armies Europe had seen since the days when Rome ruled the world. Continue reading
With a certain frequency, commentators see fit to worry as to the extinction of the US middle class. One among these, it seems, is one Edward Luce, who composed a piece on “The crisis of middle-class America” for the Financial Times. The piece profiles two families making about $70k/yr each, and worries as to the future of them and families like them. Both are, by coincidence, families of loyal Democrats, and the piece sports the requisite concerns about the potential dangers of tea party barbarians howling at the gates of the US order.
I feel myself in an odd position in regards to such stories. The particular definition of “middle class” picked for the story is a family income threshold which five years ago was frustratingly above our families income, and which now is embarrassingly below it. In this regard, I recognize myself to be uncharacteristically fortunate. However, having recently made a good deal less than this (and coming from a family which never exceeded such a total, even adjusting for inflation) I feel that I have some familiarity with the sort of middle class world being discussed — while I can’t escape the feeling that this seems a very squalid and foreign world to the Financial Times writer.
Added to this sense of class conflict is that Luce seeks to build up his story with juxtapositions of facts which sound like they mean more than they do. Continue reading
CatholicVote is mounting a campaign to bring attention to 3 Catholic Hospitals that are closing. The CEO said that ObamaCare “absolutely” factored into the decision.
This is certainly a troubling concern, made more so by the allegations that the White House, the local media, and Sr. Keehan have tried their best to quiet the story.
However, one has to be cautious. The report that CV apparently relies on is based on a doctor’s opinion-a doctor that does not appear to have any knowledge of the actual discussions at the hospitals in question. This unnamed doctor alleges that it is due to Obamacare restricting the ability of the hospital to collect Medicare reimbursements and thereby making its debt unbearable.
There are few stories, if any, better in college football than Jarrett Lee. A guy booed off the field in 2007 for his INTs, including a game where he got crushed in the Swamp, comes back to lead LSU to come from behind wins against Tennessee and then again at the Swamp. The Mad Hatter is 6-0.
Mad props to South Carolina. Used the bye week to perfection and embarrassed a team last week had their fans booking trips to Glendale.
Finally, some real chaos. Bama’s lost their margin for error. Ohio St., Oregon, and Nebraska look like the favorites to finish undefeated in their conferences. LSU & Auburn remain undefeated in the SEC. Oklahoma and Michigan St. also remain underdogs to win out their conference. And the BCS Busters remain undefeated (Boise St., TCU, & Utah). Apparently, Boise St. is likely to be #1 when the BCS comes out next week but truly only LSU & Auburn control their own destiny.
So who gets #1? Is a one-loss Bama team better than an undefeated BCS Buster? This is a week to fight over the rankings, so let’s get to them after this reminder that LSU inspires its fans to pursue holiness!