Monthly Archives: November 2011
Just listened to parts of the Newt Gingrich tonight by Sean Hannity while I was working and Speaker Gingrich said in the most Catholic language imaginable how receiving the Eucharist brings him peace and comfort.
That was an incredible line. As soon as I can find it on YouTube, I’ll post it, but I may begin budging towards Gingrich based simply on his faith!
Nothing like partying at a facility dedicated to slaying the most innocent among us to get some Democrats apparently in the holiday mood.
The women’s auxiliary of the Harris County Democratic Party will hold their politically correct-named “Holiday Party” on December 8 at the late-term abortion business Planned Parenthood runs in the southeast party of Houston that has gained national attention and controversy.
The location is no surprise given the close relationship the Democratic Party has with abortion advocates, especially in Houston. Houston Mayor Annise Parker spoke at the opening of the massive new Planned Parenthood abortion business (the location of the party) in June 2010, saying, “It’s not about the building; it’s about people’s lives; it is not about women, it is about families; and it’s not about what we do here today, it’s about our future.”
Thank you Cartoon Klavan! Green jobs aren’t quite as rare as unicorns, but they are quite expensive. The notorious right wing rag, The Washington Post, has reported that the Obama administration has spent 19 billion of our money creating a grand total of 3, 545 green jobs. One cannot say of course that the White House has not been trying to create green jobs. For example, just look at the Solyndra company, now in bankruptcy. The Obama administration sent that company 535 million of taxpayer money, and agreed to a restructuring plan for the company’s debt which allowed two private investors to move ahead of the taxpayers. Then when the company began to imitate the Titanic, Energy Secretary Steve Chu had his minions thoughtfully contact Solyndra and had them hold off on employee layoffs until after the mid-term elections last year, lest voters be unduly alarmed at another half a billion down a green rathole. Continue reading
The freedom fighter and former President of Poland, Lech Walesa, has offered a thoughtful reflection concerning the protests occurring across the Arab world, Europe, and the United States.
In a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, Mr. Walesa sides with the protesters. But, he also takes them to task:
What has struck me the most as I have followed the protests on television and in the social media is that the protesters generally know that the status quo should not be tolerated, but are a lot less clear and unified about what they want to replace it with.
What idea that unifies the protesters?
In the United States, The Motley Monk would observe that there is little if any talk about God-given rights or inalienable freedoms. Instead, the Occupy Wall Streeters talk mostly about “economic justice” for the 99% and rail against the evils being perpetrated against them by the 1%. In this regard, Walesa observes:
Today’s protests seem more focused on the problems that are plaguing many of the world’s advanced economies, with little regard to the impact of government in creating these problems. What is needed in addition are sound solutions that are mindful of both the effects of government powers and the importance of vital freedoms. These solutions have to be earned through dialogue between bankers, entrepreneurs, public administrators, labor unions and social organizations….I do not support solely the idea of overthrowing those who are in power. I support the processes that would lead to new orders guaranteeing individual liberty, democracy, civic virtue, equality and the rule of law.
Absent an inspiring idea to unify people, protests are just that. Eventually, they peter out. And then, they die as the protesters depart for their homes dejected that their once glorious “movement” failed under the oppressive weight of the powers they were protesting. In the end, nothing changes because the protesters—who have legitimate concerns—stood against something but stood for nothing. Mr Walesa observes:
While today’s protesters have many legitimate concerns, let me assure them that instead of either cronyism or greater government control, it is dialogue and solidarity leading to freedom that we should all strive for.
Let’s hope that the people can come together to solve our shared problems. Otherwise they will have to contend with mere turmoil against the status quo without benefit of a clear, rational and productive alternative for a better future of freedom for all.
It might be beneficial for members of the Occupy Wall Street “movement” to read Lech Walesa’s biography. He has a few lessons to teach them about hope and change:
Before you set out to alter the status quo, you ought to know how to replace it—and you need to be convinced, intellectually and in your heart, that the new system will actually be better.
Let the discussion begin…
To read the Lech Walesa’s op-ed, click on the following link:
Audie Murphy’s appearance on the What’s My Line television show on July 3, 1955. It is striking to me how well-mannered and modest he was. Compare and contrast with the behavior of many modern celebrities. Continue reading
Msgr. Pope addresses some of the common concerns about the new translation. In particular he discusses the charge that it is difficult to understand the new prayers because of the subordinate clauses.
Now, if the priest who recites or sings the prayer is careful with the commas, and alters his tone of voice properly, the new translation is quite intelligible, and also quite beautiful. My own mind lit up as I recited the new prayer above, this morning.
That said, it may still be harder for some in the pew to attend the words of the priest, even if it is well spoken, since the use of sentences with subordinate clauses requires the listener to hold one thought, while a subordinate thought is articulated, and then the speaker branches back to the main thought.
So lets grant that it is a little harder.
But here we come to an important insight that, though it is not politically correct, is still true: The priest is not talking to you. He is not directing the prayer to you, and the first purpose of the prayer is not that you understand it perfectly. The prayer is directed to God, (most often, to God the Father). The priest is speaking to God, and is doing so on your behalf, and that of the whole Church. And God is wholly able to understand the prayer, no matter how complicated its structure.
Too often in modern times we have very anthropocentric (man-centered) notions of the Sacred Liturgy. With the return to the vernacular, and mass celebrated toward the people, (neither intrinsically wrong), there is often the wrongful conclusion that the Liturgy is about us, the gathered assembly. Surely there are aspects celebrated on our behalf and for our benefit, especially the Liturgy of the Word and the reception of Holy Communion, but the prayers of the Sacred Liturgy are addressed to and focused on God.
More at the link. As much as we’ve touted the new translation and have psyched ourselves up for the new responses, the really radical change is not what we’re saying but what the Priest is saying. It became immediately obvious that we had something very new with the first prayers. The very tone of the prayers is completely different. The language is so much more elevated and distinct. Even if you had no idea that there was a new translation in effect surely you would have noticed something had changed.
Anyway, that is what struck me with my initial Mass with the new translation. I’ve been reading over the responses and getting ready, so finally saying “And with your spirit” wasn’t as novel to me as hearing the words of the consecration for the first time. That’s when it really hit me that we have something much more special here.
Of course I still managed to mess up and began responding “and also with you” at the conclusion of Mass. Something tells me it might be a while before even those of us who are the happiest about the revisions really settle in and adapt to it fully.
Excellent takedown from Jonah Goldberg of an excruciating bit of historical illiteracy written by Kevin Boyle. Boyle had written a review in the Times of a couple of books about the Klan, and led with this laugher:
Imagine a political movement created in a moment of terrible anxiety, its origins shrouded in a peculiar combination of manipulation and grass-roots mobilization, its ranks dominated by Christian conservatives and self-proclaimed patriots, its agenda driven by its members’ fervent embrace of nationalism, nativism and moral regeneration, with more than a whiff of racism wafting through it.
No, not that movement. The one from the 1920s, with the sheets and the flaming crosses and the ludicrous name meant to evoke a heroic past. The Invisible Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, they called it. And for a few years it burned across the nation, a fearsome thing to behold.
There’s a lot more silliness, including a whopper of a closing paragraph that both Jonah and Daniel Foster rightfully mock. At any rate, Jonah responds:
The average reader with no specialized knowledge and an unhealthy faith in the wisdom and accuracy of the New York Times might find in all of this reinforcement of the conventional liberal tale of the KKK as a quirky and extremist conservative organization.
But that’s simply not the story of the second Klan. I don’t expect Kevin Boyle to hammer home the Klan’s progressive and Democratic ties. But he manages to make them all sound conventionally conservative. He doesn’t acknowledge that Woodrow Wilson was Birth of a Nation’s most famous booster. Nor does he mention that World War One was the Progressives’ war and that “100% Americanism” was touted and promoted by Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson — our two progressive presidents. He doesn’t mention that evil spirits of World War One were orchestrated by progressive wordsmiths, activists, and artists.
The Klan of the 1920s and 30s would have had more sympathy for the populist sentimentality of the Occupy Wall Street crowd than with the tea parties. Like the OWS group, they thought the reforms instituted by the Democrat in the White House to be not radical enough. But acknowledging as much would derail an “academic” with an ideological axe to gore.
We live in a low, dishonest age where blatant evil is protected with euphemisms. I take heart whenever anyone stands up against this meretricious trend. I therefore applaud Dr. Peter Kreeft, Boston College Philosophy Professor and a Catholic convert, for his remarks at a speech sponsored by the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin on the subject of whether a Catholic can be a liberal. He minced no words when the subject of abortion and the Kennedy clan came up:
During the Q&A, an audience member brought up the Kennedy political dynasty and how a group of leading theologians and Catholic college professors had met with Kennedy family members in the mid-1960s and came up with a way for Catholic politicians to support a pro-abortion rights platform with clear consciences.
Kreeft said these Catholic advisers “told the Kennedys how they could get away with murder.” Kreeft then made one of his boldest comments of the evening, suggesting the theologians who first convinced Democratic politicians they could support abortion rights and remain Catholic did more damage to the Catholic Church than pedophile priests.
“These were wicked people. These were dishonest people. These were people who, frankly, loved power more than they loved God,” Kreeft said. “Sorry, that’s just the way it is. In fact, I’d say these were even worse than the child molesters — though the immediate damage they did was not as obvious — because they did it deliberately, it wasn’t a sin of weakness. Sins of power are worse than sins of weakness. Cold, calculating sins — that’s straight from the devil.”
A few minutes later, the talk over, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.
Having sat through some pretty dreadful masses since Vatican II, I guess I have a wee bit of schadenfreude right now. The National Catholic Reporter has an editorial that has to be seen to be believed. This is a choice paragraph:
The Vatican issued new translation guidelines, Liturgiam authenticam, in 2001, reorganized ICEL to report not to the English-speaking bishops but to the Curia, and appointed a committee, Vox Clara, to advise it on the approval of English translations. All this was done ostensibly to ensure the authenticity of the translation, but it was clear from the beginning that a clerical, imperial ideology was being imposed on the translation. The poetry of language and beauty of prayers were secondary concerns.
James B. Sheeran knew many roles in his life: husband, father, Catholic priest and soldier, and whatever his role he gave everything he had. Born in Temple Mehill, County Longford, Ireland, in either 1814 or 1818, he emigrated to Canada at the age of 12. Eventually he settled in Monroe, Michigan and taught at a school run by the Redemptorist Fathers. He married and he and his wife had a son and daughter.
Tragedy stalked the family. Sheeran’s wife died in 1849 and his son also died of illness. His daughter became a nun, but also died young of an illness. Rather than retreat into bitterness, always a temptation for a man afflicted with so much sorrow, Sheeran decided that God was calling him to a new path and joined the Redemptorists, being ordained a priest in 1858. He was sent to a parish in New Orleans. In the Crescent City he found that he liked the people and became an ardent Southerner. When Louisiana seceded, he became a chaplain in the 14th Louisiana, which served in the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee.
Father Sheeran was a priest who believed in speaking his mind. An example of this was caused by his habit of helping enemy wounded after he had helped the wounded Confederates. His unit had captured a Union field hospital and Father Sheeran went over to it and was appalled to see that the wounded were not being cared for. He kept a diary throughout the War and he recorded the following:
The union soldiers “told me that they had no bandages to dress the wounds, no instruments to operate with, and that they were fatigued from the labors of the night.”
“I remarked it would be some consolation to their wounded if they would but visit them and wash the wound of those who were bathed in their own blood. I next went to their men paroled to attend to the wounded, asked why they did not wait on their companions, many of whom were suffering for a drink of water. They told me that they had no one to direct them, that their surgeons seemed to take no interest in the men.”
“I became somewhat indignant to hear the excuses of these worthless nurses, and putting on an air of authority ordered them to go to the rifle pits filled with the dead bodies of their companions and they would find hundreds of knapsacks filled with shirts, handkerchiefs and other articles that would make excellent bandages.”
“They obeyed my orders with the utmost alacrity and soon returned with their arms full of excellent bandage material, and bringing them to me asked: ‘Now sir, what shall we do with them?’” Sheeran was fully prepared to give the required final direction. “Go and tell your surgeons that you have bandages enough now.”
“Off they went to the surgeons….”. “In about two hours I returned and was pleased to find the surgeons and nurses all at work attending to their wounded.”
Father Sheeran did not restrict his outspokenness only to Union soldiers. His friend Father James Flynn in 1892 wrote about one memorable run in Father Sheeran had with the legendary Stonewall Jackson:
“Going to his [Father Sheeran’s] tent one day, General Jackson sternly rebuked the priest for disobeying his orders, and reproached him for doing what he would not tolerate in any officer in his command. [The exact offense is unknown.] ‘Father Sheeran,’ said the general, ‘you ask more favors and take more privileges than any officer in the army.’ [Sheeran apparently replied] ‘General Jackson, I want you to understand that as a priest of God I outrank every officer in your command. I even outrank you, and when it is a question of duty I shall go wherever called.’ The General looked with undistinguished astonishment on the bold priest and without reply left his tent.”
This incident obviously left an impression on General Jackson. Just before the battle of Chancellorsville he had ordered that all baggage be sent to the rear which included tents. Chaplain Sheeran immediately sent in his resignation, claiming that his tent was necessary for him to perform his duties as a priest. Dr. Hunter McGuire, chief surgeon of the Second Corps, reported on what happened next:
“I said to General Jackson, that I was very sorry to give up [the] Father–; that he was one of the most useful chaplains in the service. He replied: ‘If that is the case he shall have a tent.’ And so far as I know this Roman Catholic priest was the only man in the corps who had one.” Continue reading
An e-mail birdie has informed me of a new Catholic blog which looks quite interesting: Over the Rhine and into the Tiber. Go here to take a gander at it. Judging from its initial posts, I believe that I will be putting it on my personal list of Catholic blogs that I read daily. Here is a description of the blog from the e-mail which I received: Continue reading
A follow up to my post, which may be read here, regarding Steve Jobs, Adoption and Abortion. Pro-lifers have gotten some static for bringing up the fact that Steve Jobs could have ended up aborted if his mother had not chosen life for him. Well, it appears that Steve Jobs was thankful that his mother did not choose to kill him through abortion.
“I wanted to meet [her] mostly to see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion,” he said. “She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me.” Continue reading
Red Skelton rose from poverty to become one of the most popular comedians of his day. A comedic genius, he created a gallery of comedic personas: Clem Kaddidlehopper, the Mean Little Kid, San Fernando Red, Freddie the Freeloader and others, which allowed him not only to amuse but also to engage in wry commentary about some of the foibles of his time. Skelton the man was fairly simple: he liked to make people laugh, and he loved God, Country and Kids. The love of God and his dying son I have written about in the post The Pope, the Clown and the Cross. Skelton’s love of God and Country shines through in his rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance which I have written about here.
His love of kids was no mere entertainer’s pose as the following anecdote illustrates:
“Funny how you can go to a doctor’s offices and find magazines that are years old in the lobby. I had to go to a dentist two week ago and found a Golf magazine from the 80’s. I also found a magazine that told me the following story:
Decades ago, a young American was flying across the mountain ranges of Europe on his way to London. Accompanying his friend, a Catholic priest, the two were scheduled to have a meeting with the Pope in England. As the priest talked, the plane suddenly rocked. Then rocked again. Something told the priest the plane was not destined to ever touch land again.
The passengers, busy in their individual conversations, failed to notice, the priest observed, until a flight attendant made an announcement of impending doom. The plane was over a mountain range and losing altitude.
Something for the weekend. O Come, O Come Emmanuel. We start Advent tomorrow, and my thoughts have been turning to the many messianic prophecies in the Old Testament that are applicable to Christ. I do not think there is adequate treatment in contemporary catechesis of the remarkable string of prophecies in the Old Testament that find their completion in Christ. All Catholics need to be familiar with these prophecies, for they are an anchor for our Faith. One example is Wisdom 2:12-20: Continue reading
Ah, nothing quite says Thanksgiving like a pro-abort attempting to defend the indefensible while the turkey is being carved! Worse Than Murder, Inc., a\k\a Planned Parenthood, lest a pro-life word be uttered around the Thanksgiving table, has some talking points for its supporters to mutter :
1. Avoid bumper speak talk. A slogan might work for a poster or a button, but in a conversation it just leads to a heated back and forth. Try to steer clear of catchall phrases—they very rarely lead to common ground or change anyone’s mind.
2. Remember the big picture. Debating when life begins or whether or not abortion is federally funded may get you nowhere. Instead focus on your shared values and the big picture—for instance, talk about how you believe everyone should be able to afford to go to the doctor, or how the decision about when and whether to become a parent is a personal one. You never know, you just may find yourself actually agreeing with your relatives. Continue reading
After General Douglas MacArthur, over his fiery objections, was ordered to leave Bataan during the Japanese conquest of the Philippines, Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright was left in command, putting up a heroic fight until forced to surrender his starving, diseased ridden force. Wainwright was the only American general to be captured by the Japanese and he endured the hell on earth that was Japanese prison camps, where some 37% of Allied prisoners died of starvation and the brutality of their captors. Wainwright insisted on sharing the privation of his men, and risked his life many times to intervene on behalf of his fellow prisoners with their captors.
After he was liberated, he was a walking skeleton. Douglas MacArthur gave him the signal honor of featuring prominently in the surrender ceremony by which Imperial Japan capitulated.
After he returned home he was promoted to four star rank and retired to a successful business career. He received the Medal of Honor as a tribute to the heroic leadership he displayed during the battle for Bataan. In the fall of 1945 he wrote the following Thanksgiving Prayer: Continue reading
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” Continue reading