Monthly Archives: June 2011

Martino Resigns from Notre Dame Board

For those of you who have been following the controversy of the appointment of Emily’s List booster Roxanne Martino to the Notre Dame Board  (background here and here), this is some welcome news.

Roxanne Martino has resigned from the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees, effective immediately, in the wake of reports criticizing donations she has made to organizations that characterize themselves as pro-choice.

“In the best interests of the University, I regretfully have decided to step down from the Notre Dame Board of Trustees,” Martino said. “I dearly love my alma mater and remain fully committed to all aspects of Catholic teaching and to the mission of Notre Dame. I had looked forward to contributing in this new role, but the current controversy just doesn’t allow me to be effective.”

“Ms. Martino has served Notre Dame in many ways over the years and is highly regarded as someone who is absolutely dedicated in every way to the Catholic mission of this University,” said Richard C. Notebaert, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “She has lived her life and faith in an exemplary way, including the counsel and support she has provided to Notre Dame, many other Catholic institutions and Thresholds, an organization that provides programs for thousands of people with severe mental illness.”

Note the weasel words here.  She doesn’t apologize for donating to an overtly pro-abortion organization – oh no, she resigns because the controversy is too much.

Whatever.  At least she’s out.  But the fact that she was even appointed says all you need to know about the current state of this “Catholic” university.

Interview On the Radio Today at 5pm Eastern

I will be interviewed on the radio today at 5pm (Eastern) on the In His Sign Network radio station.  They are a lay Catholic radio apostolate located in Rosemont, PA.  They broadcast daily live from 5 to 6pm (Eastern) WTMR-800 AM and on the Internet at www.inhissign.com.

The interview will be about The American Catholic and the other Catholic websites that I operate as well as my work on the National Catholic Register.

This is my first interview and it is an already humbling experience.  Pray for me that I won’t make a fool of myself!

Recessional

The fifth in my ongoing series examining the poetry of Rudyard Kipling.   The other posts in the series may be read here, here , here and here.

Kipling is often denounced as a thoughtless imperialist.  That is a remarkable charge to make against the author of the poem Recessional.

More than once Kipling was offered honors from the British government, including the post of Poet Laureate of Great Britain, all of which he steadfastly refused.  On the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 he composed one of his most powerful poems, Recessional, which perhaps helps explain why he never took up the post of Poet Laureate for the nation he so deeply loved.

God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Amen.

The poem opens with no patriotic effusion or praise of the Queen, but with a stark prayer to the God of our Fathers that Britain not forget something.  What?

Continue reading

Individualism vs. Inheritance

Libertarian blogger Megan McArdle is in a contrarian mood, so she makes the case for a 100% estate tax as a nod to good ideas with a leftist slant:

Luckily, I have a bit of contrarianism that I’ve wanted to air, and a series of Kevin Drum posts on using estates to pay for Medicare that has inspired me to make (drumroll please) . . . the case for the 100% estate tax.

No, really, I’m serious. After all, why should kids be allowed to inherit? I know, you are about to say something along the lines of “I worked hard so that my kids could . . . ” That is a noble emotion. But at the point at which this question becomes relevant, you will be dead. And dead people don’t have rights. They don’t own property. They don’t get to make decisions.

This is one of those ideas which combines a leftist desire for leveling of economic and social classes with a strongly individualist line of thinking: Sure, your parents saved up a lot of assets, but what does that have to do with you?

In a world in which each person is a social atom, the idea of money or property being handed down through families is necessarily repulsive. If you didn’t earn it, why should you have it? Perhaps this is why this particular leftist idea has a certain appeal to McArdle’s libertarian sensibilities. Continue reading

You May Be a Neo-Confederate If:

As faithful readers of this blog know, I am not a fan of Neo-Confederates.  These are individuals who are still fighting the Civil War on behalf of the Confederacy.  They are to be distinguished from those who honor the Confederates who fought an uphill gallant struggle for a cause they believed right.  Here follow helpful tips on discerning who the Neo-Confederates are.  If you believe most of these you are probably a Neo-Confederate:

1.  You deny that the Civil War was caused by slavery in the face of statements by virtually all the civilian leaders of the secession movement and the Confederacy at the beginning of the War that secession was undertaken to protect slavery.

2.  You claim that the Union was fighting because Northerners were greedy for tariffs on the South,  thereby showing  ignorance that at the time of the secession movement of 1860-61 tariffs were at a historic low for the Nineteenth Century, and that tariffs were a relative non-issue North and South.

3.  Your favorite Civil War “historian” is Thomas Dilorenzo.

4.   The first thing that comes into your mind when you hear “Abraham Lincoln” is “dictator”.

5.   You are absolutely certain that the Constitution grants an explicit right to secede if it is held up to a light and has lemon juice smeared over it. Continue reading

Welcome Home

It looks like we’re going to be gaining a new Church in the Archdiocese of Washington.

After a period of deep discernment, the rector and parishioners of St. Luke’s Episcopal parish in Bladensburg, Maryland have decided to seek entry into the Roman Catholic Church through a new structure approved by Pope Benedict XVI called an ordinariate. Saint Luke’s is the first church in the Washington metropolitan area to take this step.

The transition is being made with the prayerful support of Bishop John Bryson Chane of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Catholic Archbishop of Washington.

“We welcome the St. Luke community warmly into our family of faith. The proposed ordinariate provides a path to unity, one that recognizes our shared beliefs on matters of faith while also recognizing and respecting the liturgical heritage of the Anglican Church,” Cardinal Wuerl said. “We also recognize the openness of the community to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their faith journey.”

Now if only some of those gorgeous cathedrals in the UK can take this step . . .

Optics

Mitt Romney is far from being one of my favorite presidential hopefuls, but I agree with Jim Geraghty that this Newsweek cover, portraying Romney as a dancing lunatic, is fairly appalling.  Geraghty says that the article itself is very fair, but that doesn’t matter.   Roughly 99% of the people who see this cover will never read the article.  For better or worse – and almost certainly worse – our politics are dominated by optics.  The story is secondary to the substantive issues.

One of my grad school professors, Mark Rozell (now at George Mason) liked to talk about an evening news report done on Ronald Reagan’s economic policies during the 1984 campaign.  I don’t recall which network it was,  but the report just decimated Reagan on the economy.  It was a voice-over piece, and most of the images were of Reagan in various settings, mostly in places like Yellowstone or other grand settings.  After the network aired the report, the head of the news division was contacted by a member of Reagan’s staff, and was thanked for the report.  Why was this network being thanked for a hit piece?  The images.  The text of the story didn’t matter.  What would stick in viewer’s minds were the images, and these were images of the president in majestic settings, showing off the trappings of power.  Many viewers would tune out the content of the story and instead focus on images that were greatly favorable to Reagan.

It’s human nature to focus on imagery, and so I don’t necessarily fault those who ignore the broader context of such stories.  That being said, I’m sure Newsweek didn’t choose this particular photo by accident.

Henry David Thoreau: A Rant

I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau has always struck me as one of the most buffoonish and over-rated characters in American history. His aunt paying his taxes for him so his great tax protest over the Mexican War lasted all of one night, his accidental setting of a fire that consumed 300 acres of Walden woodlands, Thoreau contracting the tuberculosis that would kill him as a result of a middle of the night excursion to count tree rings and the pacifist Thoreau writing a pamphlet in which he claimed that John Brown, a murderer, embezzler, cattle thief and congenital liar, was humane are only a few of the many episodes in his life that are worthy of a great satirical novel.  Continue reading

Twin Lives, One Love

 

Julian and Adrian Riester were identical twins.  They came into this world 92 years ago, on March 27, 1919.  Their advent probably surprised their parents after a run of five daughters!  They attended Saint Joseph’s Collegiate Institute.  They attempted to join the military during World War II, but were turned away due to poor eyesight.  They became Franciscan Friars of the Holy Name province in New York. Continue reading

That Stupid Palin, Getting Her History Right

I guess there’s a new kerfuffle related to Sarah Palin.  This video was linked at NRO “without comment” by Andrew Stiles.  It’s more evidence that she’s some kind of historical illiterate, or something, as she supposedly claims that Paul Revere rode to warn the Brits.

Admittedly Palin’s wording is incredibly garbled and she did not give a very articulate response.  Here’s the thing: her comments are completely accurate.  Here’s a letter written by Paul Revere himself:

“I observed a Wood at a Small distance, & made for that. When I got there, out Started Six officers, on Horse back,and orderd me to dismount;-one of them, who appeared to have the command, examined me, where I came from,& what my Name Was? I told him. it was Revere, he asked if it was Paul? I told him yes He asked me if I was an express? I answered in the afirmative. He demanded what time I left Boston? I told him; and aded, that their troops had catched aground in passing the River, and that There would be five hundred Americans there in a short time, for I had alarmed the Country all the way up. He imediately rode towards those who stoppd us, when all five of them came down upon a full gallop; one of them, whom I afterwards found to be Major Mitchel, of the 5th Regiment, Clapped his pistol to my head, called me by name, & told me he was going to ask me some questions, & if I did not give him true answers, he would blow my brains out. He then asked me similar questions to those above. He then orderd me to mount my Horse, after searching me for arms.”

Again, though spoken in mangled English, Palin’s comments are pretty much right on the money.  Revere was in fact warning the British, but more as a way of bragging.

But hey, it’s so much easier to call Sarah Palin an idiot than bother with facts.

We Shall Never Surrender

 

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old. “

Seventy-one years ago today, on June 4, 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill rallied Great Britain to the coming Battle of Britain with his “We Shall Never Surrender” speech.  In the face of an overwhelming  defeat in France, Churchill gave no thought of peace with Hitler, but rather called his people to a hard uphill fight against evil.  It is simple to call a nation to take an easy, expedient, at least for the short term, path.  It is difficult to call a nation to a path filled with danger, and with the issue of the struggle quite in doubt, in order to defeat a great evil.  Any politician can do the former;  only a statesman can do the latter.  Here is the text of the speech: Continue reading

James Arness, Requiescat in Pace

 

For all of my childhood, James Arness, and the show he starred in, Gunsmoke, were a constant presence.  The television show, a sequel to the radio show of the same name, came on the air in 1955 and ran for 20 years.  I was born in 57 and graduated from high school in 75.  Each week my family would watch the show, even the reruns.  We  had a slight personal connection to the show, my grandfather, a shoemaker, making a pair of boots for James Arness to wear in his role of Matt Dillon.  Continue reading

Fifth Circuit Overrules Judge’s Anti-Prayer Ruling

This is an update to the story Don blogged about earlier.  The Fifth Circuit has now overruled Judge Biery’s decision.

A federal appeals court ruled on Friday afternoon that students may pray and mention God at Saturday night’s graduation at a high school in a San Antonio suburb, overturning a district judge’s ruling.

“Texas will continue to fight for the rights of all those who wish to pray in our state,” Governor Rick Perry said in a statement commending the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

. . . The appeals court ruled that the order restrained the free speech rights of the students, who “are in fact not school-sponsored.” The court also noted that the school had already changed the name of the name of the invocation and benediction.

A rare judicial victory for common sense.

Increasing Inequality and Winner-Take-All Economics

One of the mildly worrying economic trends of the last thirty years has been the increasing gap between rich and poor in the US. Many policy analysts conclude that this is the clear result of not following whatever policies they advocate, and thus demand quick action. However, as a recent OECD study shows, most countries have seen increases in inequality since 1980:

Given that countries as varied as Israel, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Finland have all seen increases in inequality of similar or greater scale (though not to the same absolute level, since they started lower) to that of the US over the last 30 years, it seems hard to imagine that it is simply a matter of US tax or social safety net policy which is the cause of the trend. Continue reading

One of Our Black Robed Masters at Work

Fred Biery, a Bill Clinton appointee, is a Federal District Judge down in Texas.  In order to satisfy two village atheist parents of a student who contend that their 18 year old “child” will be irreparably damaged if any prayer escapes any lips during his high school commencement ceremony, Biery has banned all prayer at the high school commencement of the Medina Valley Independent School District on Saturday.  This includes the Judge censoring the speech of the valedictorian of the graduating class, Angela Hildebrand, a Catholic, who wished to say a prayer in her speech.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery’s order against the Medina Valley Independent School District also forbids students from using specific religious words including “prayer” and “amen.”

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by Christa and Danny Schultz. Their son is among those scheduled to participate in Saturday’s graduation ceremony. The judge declared that the Schultz family and their son would “suffer irreparable harm” if anyone prayed at the ceremony.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said the school district is in the process of appealing the ruling, and his office has agreed to file a brief in their support.

“Part of this goes to the very heart of the unraveling of moral values in this country,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told Fox News Radio, saying the judge wanted to turn school administrators into “speech police.”

I’ve never seen such a restriction on speech issued by a court or the government,” Abbott told Fox News Radio. “It seems like a trampling of the First Amendment rather than protecting the First Amendment.”

Judge Biery’s ruling banned students and other speakers from using religious language in their speeches. Among the banned words or phrases are: “join in prayer,” “bow their heads,” “amen,” and “prayer.”

He also ordered the school district to remove the terms “invocation” and “benediction” from the graduation program.

“These terms shall be replaced with ‘opening remarks’ and ‘closing remarks,’” the judge’s order stated. His ruling also prohibits anyone from saying, “in [a deity’s name] we pray.”

Should a student violate the order, school district officials could find themselves in legal trouble. Judge Biery ordered that his ruling be “enforced by incarceration or other sanctions for contempt of Court if not obeyed by District official (sic) and their agents.”

The Texas attorney general called the ruling unconstitutional and a blatant attack from those who do not believe in God — “attempts by atheists and agnostics to use courts to eliminate from the public landscape any and all references to God whatsoever.”

“This is the challenge we are dealing with here,” he said. “(It’s) an ongoing attempt to purge God from the public setting while at the same time demanding from the courts an increased yielding to all things atheist and agnostic.”

Continue reading

Follow The American Catholic
Bookmark and Share
Subscribe by eMail

Enter your email:

Recent Comments
Archives
Our Visitors. . .
Our Subscribers. . .