Donald R. McClarey
“Concelebration, whereby the unity of the priesthood is appropriately manifested, has remained in use to this day in the Church both in the east and in the west. For this reason it has seemed good to the Council to extend permission for concelebration…”
Back just prior to the Protestant Reformation a Jewish merchant in Florence was friends with a Catholic merchant. The Jewish merchant expressed a desire to convert, but decided to go to Rome to observe the workings of the leadership of the Church. The Catholic merchant was dismayed, assuming the corruption at Rome would convince his friend to have nothing to do with Catholicism. To the contrary! A month later the Jewish merchant was back in Florence and told his Catholic friend that he was going to be baptized next Easter. When his friend cautiously inquired about what he had seen in Rome, his Jewish friend said that what he saw there convinced him to convert. If he ran his business the way the Church in Rome operated he would be bankrupt and in jail in a week. Yet the Church had survived for 15 centuries with such villainy at the top! It must be from God!
Little has apparently changed in 500 years:
The authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels, out next week, is even more of a bombshell than expected. Not only do the two authors, Jürgen Mettepenningen and Karim Schelkens, reveal that the Cardinal was a regular member of a secret pressure group of Churchmen that met in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen, but the Cardinal himself has publicly and good-humoredly admitted the fact.
Danneels even said that what was officially but discreetly labeled “the Sankt-Gallen group” was referred to by its members as “the Mafia”. Its self-imposed aim was to counter the growing influence of Cardinal Ratzinger under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II, serving as a sort of outlet where handpicked cardinals and bishops could express their impatience at the traditional mindset of the Pope and his closest counsellor.
The Belgian press doesn’t hesitate to say that one of the group’s primary goals was the promotion of Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) in view of John Paul II’s nearing death – something the book itself, which is not yet available in bookstores, perhaps clarifies. The Sankt-Gallen group certainly aimed to promote the ideas and preferences for which they had found a champion in Pope Francis.
Said Schelkens in an interview this week: “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt. And the main lines of the program the Pope is carrying out are those that Danneels and Co were starting to discuss more than ten years ago.”
“They wanted Church reform, they wanted to bring the Church closer to the hearts of people; they moved forward by stages,” commented Mettepenningen. “At the beginning of the year 2000, when John Paul II’s end was becoming more foreseeable, they thought more strategically about what was going to happen to the Church after John Paul II. When Cardinal Silvestrini joined the group it took on a more tactical and strategic character.” Continue reading
Benjamin Franklin had ceaseless energy to match his brilliant mind. In 1779 while our ambassador to France, and involved in ceaseless negotiations to make sure that the new found alliance did not founder, he found time to write a brief monograph on chess, perhaps his favorite game:
The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement. Several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired or strengthened by it, so as to become habits, ready on all occasions.
1. Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action; for it is continually occuring to the player, ‘If I move this piece, what will be the advantages or disadvantages of my new situation? What use can my adversary make of it to annoy me? What other moves can I make to support it, and to defend myself from his attacks?
2. Circumspection, which surveys the whole chessboard, or scene of action; the relations of the several pieces and situations, the dangers they are respectively exposed to, the several possibilities of their aiding each other, the probabilities that the adversary may make this or that move, and attack this or the other piece, and what different means can be used to avoid his stroke, or turn its consequences against him.
3. Caution, not to make our moves too hastily. This habit is best acquired, by observing strictly the laws of the game; such as, If you touch a piece, you must move it somewhere; if you set it down, you must let it stand. And it is therefore best that these rules should be observed, as the game becomes thereby more the image of human life, and particularly of war . . .
And lastly, we learn by Chess the habit of not being discouraged by present appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favourable change, and that of persevering in the search of resources. The game is so full of events, there is such a variety of turns in it, the fortune of it is so subject to sudden vicissitudes, and one so frequently, after long contemplation, discovers the means of extricating one’s self from a supposed insurmountable difficulty, that one is encouraged to continue the contest to the last, in hopes of victory from our own skill, or at least of getting a stalemate from the negligence of our adversary . . .
If your adversary is long in playing, you ought not to hurry him, or express any uneasiness at his delay. You should not sing, nor whistle, nor look at your watch, not take up a book to read, nor make a tapping with your feet on the floor, or with your fingers on the table, nor do anything that may disturb his attention. For all these things displease; and they do not show your skill in playing, but your craftiness or your rudeness.
You ought not to endeavour to amuse and deceive your adversary, by pretending to have made bad moves, and saying that you have now lost the game, in order to make him secure and careless, and inattentive to your schemes: for this is fraud and deceit, not skill in the game. Continue reading
17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
2 Peter 2: 17-22
Both the videos should be parodies, but sadly only the one below from those brilliantly twisted folks at The Lutheran Satire is an intentional one:
You know it is bad when even CNN notices it:
Francis paid historical homage to those values, citing, for example, the Quakers who founded this city. But there were no explicit references to any of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ recent battles over religious rights.
There was no mention, for example, of the Little Sisters of the Poor’s lawsuit against the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act. (On Wednesday, though Francis did meet with the nuns in Washington — a “show of support,” according to a Vatican spokesman.)
Francis never mentioned the Catholic adoption agencies that have closed rather than place children with gay couples. Nor did he explicitly allude to the “Fortnight for Freedom” that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have held to rally support against “current threats to religious liberty.” Continue reading
To one who turns the pages of your history and reflects upon the causes of what has been accomplished it is apparent that the triumphal progress of Divine religion has contributed in no small degree to the glory and prosperity which your country now enjoys. It is indeed true that religion has its laws and institutions for eternal happiness but It is also undeniable that it dowers life here below with so many benefits that it could do no more even if the principal reason for its existence were to make men happy during the brief span of their earthly life.
Pius XII, SERTUM LAETITIAE (1939)
The first papal visit to the United States is usually thought to be that of Pope Paul VI in 1965. However, Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pius XII, visited the United States in October-November 1936, becoming the first man who served as pope to set foot in the land of the free and the home of the brave. As Papal Secretary of State, foreign travel came as part of the job, but the purpose behind his visit is still something of a mystery. Some historians have claimed that he struck a deal with FDR by which the United States would establish diplomatic relations with the Vatican in exchange for the Church silencing radio priest Father Coughlin, initially a supporter of FDR but by 1936 a fierce critic.
It was usual for Pacelli to take an annual vacation and he changed plans to visit Switzerland for the United States on short notice. He met with FDR on November 5, the day after his re-election. He did secure a promise that he would appoint a personal representative from him to the Vatican, although this promise was not fulfilled until 1939, after Pacelli was elected Pope.
Pacelli never met with Father Coughlin. During his tour of the US, Pacelli brushed aside questions about Coughlin from newspaper reporters, although he made it clear that the Vatican did not agree with his criticisms of Roosevelt.
After the election Coughlin did cease broadcasting briefly, although he returned to the radio in 1937. As for Pacelli, he came away with a keen perception of both the strengths and weaknesses of the Church in the US. His comments in Sertum Laetitiae, issued in 1939 on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the US hierarchy, now seem prophetic:
12. Among the associations of the laity – the list is too long to allow of a complete enumeration – there are those which have won for themselves laurels of unfading glory – Catholic Action, the Marian Congregation, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; their fruits are the cause of joy and they bear the promise of still more joyful harvest in the future. Likewise the Holy Name Society, an excellent leader in the promotion of Christian worship and piety.
13. Over a manifold activity of the laity, carried on in various localities according to the needs of the times, is placed the National Catholic Welfare Conference, an organization which supplies a ready and well-adapted instrument for your Episcopal ministry.
14. The more important of these institutions We were able to view briefly during the month of October, 1936, when We journeyed across the ocean and had the joy of knowing personally you and the field of your activities. The memory of what We then admired with Our own eyes will always remain indelible and a source of joy in Our heart.
15. It is proper then that, with sentiments of adoration, We offer with you thanks to God and that We raise to Him a canticle of thanksgiving: “Give glory to the God of heaven; for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalms cxxxv: 26). The Lord Whose goodness knows no limits, having filled your land with the bounty of His gifts, has likewise granted to your churches energy and power and has brought to fruition the results of their tireless labors. Having paid the tribute of Our gratitude to God, from Whom every good thing takes its origin, We recognize, dearly beloved, that this rich harvest which We joyfully admire with you today is due also to the spirit of initiative and to the persistent activity of the pastors and of the faithful; We recognize that it is due also to your clergy who are inclined to decisive action and who execute your orders with zeal; to the members of all the religious Orders and congregations of men who, distinguished in virtue, vie with each other in cultivating the vineyard of the Lord: to the innumerable religious women who, often in silence and unknown to men, consecrate themselves with exemplary devotion to the cause of the Gospel, veritable lilies in the Garden of Christ and delight of the Saints.
16. We desire, however, that this Our praise be salutary. The consideration of the good which has been done must not lead to slackening which might degenerate into sluggishness; it must not issue in a vainglorious pleasure which flatters the mind; it should stimulate renewed energies so that evils may be avoided and those enterprises which are useful, prudent and worthy of praise may more surely and more solidly mature. The Christian, if he does honor to the name he bears, is always an apostle; it is not permitted to the Soldier of Christ that he quit the battlefield, because only death puts an end to his military service.
17. You well know where it is necessary that you exercise a more discerning vigilance and what program of action should be marked out for priests and faithful in order that the religion of Christ may overcome the obstacles in its path and be a luminous guide to the minds of men, govern their morals and, for the sole purpose of salvation, permeate the marrow and the arteries of human society. The progress of exterior and material possessions, even though it is to be considered of no little account, because of the manifold and appreciable utility which it gives to life, is nonetheless not enough for man who is born for higher and brighter destinies. Created indeed to the image and likeness of God, he seeks God with a yearning that will not be repressed and always groans and weeps if he places the object of his love where Supreme Truth and the Infinite Good cannot be found.
18. Not with the conquest of material space does one approach to God, separation from Whom is death, conversion to Whom is life, to be established in Whom is glory; but under the guidance of Christ with the fullness of sincere faith, with unsullied conscience and upright will, with holy works, with the achievement and the employment of that genuine liberty whose sacred rules are found proclaimed in the Gospel. If, instead, the Commandments of God are spurned, not only is it impossible to attain that happiness which has place beyond the brief span of time which is allotted to earthly existence, but the very basis upon which rests true civilization is shaken and naught is to be expected but ruins over which belated tears must be shed. How, in fact, can the public weal and the glory of civilized life have any guarantee of stability when right is subverted and virtue despised and decried? Is not God the Source and the Giver of law? Is He not the inspiration and the reward of virtue with none like unto Him among lawgivers (Cf. Job XXXVI:22)? This, according to the admission of all reasonable men, is everywhere the bitter and prolific root of evils: the refusal to recognize the Divine Majesty, the neglect of the moral law, the origin of which is from Heaven, or that regrettable inconstancy which makes its victims waver between the lawful and the forbidden, between justice and iniquity. Continue reading
When MacArthur took up his command as Supreme Commander Allied Powers it was suggested by aides that he summon Hirohito to appear before him. MacArthur rejected that suggestion, stating that it was important that Hirohito come to him voluntarily. That he did on September 27, 1945, the first of eight meetings between the Emperor and the American Shogun. The meeting lasted only a few minutes with Hirohito taking complete responsibility for the War and requesting that any punishment for the War fall on him. MacArthur said that the War was over and that he wished to work with the Emperor for the betterment of Japan. Continue reading
A telling symbol for this pontificate:
As Congress members rushed to touch Pope Francis after Thursday’s historic address on the House floor, Rep. Bob Brady reportedly made a beeline for the podium to swipe the Holy Father’s discarded water glass.
The Pennsylvania congressman immediately took a sip out of the glass and brought it back to his office, ABC News reported.
“The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,” Rep. Brady’s Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC.
His office confirmed that Mr. Brady drank from the water and shared it with members of his staff and his wife, Debra Brady.
Rep. Brady “was immensely moved by the speech. He thought the Holy Father spoke to issues he cared deeply about … especially caring about the poor and the Holy Father’s concern about our environment,” Mr. White told ABC.
The congressman kept the remainder of the water and plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren, Mr. White said. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
In a strategic attempt to speak about abortion at the White House without being “lambasted” by the media Wednesday, Pope Francis spent the majority of his time substituting the words “environment” and “climate change” for the actual subject of his address: abortion.
“It seems clear to me that abortion, I mean climate change, is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” Francis said, catching his gaffe, the first of many, during the talk. “Mr. President, I find it encouraging that you are proposing an initiative for reducing abortions, excuse me…that is, air pollution,” Francis said. “Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that killing babies in the womb, sorry, I had a long flight…I meant climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”
Francis twice quoted his own encyclical on the environment, which many believe was actually an encyclical on abortion.
“When it comes to the care of our ‘common home’, which is not unlike that of a womb if you kinda think about it, not that I’m talking about abortion right now, of course, we are living at a critical moment of history,” he said. “We still have time to make the changes needed to bring about an end to this genocide…excuse me, did I say genocide? Weird. By genocide, I meant, a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. Such change demands on our part a serious and responsible recognition of the kind of world we may be leaving to our children. Children that are procreated from the love of a man and a woman, and that are defenseless inside their mother wombs and should be protected from abor…climate change.” Continue reading
Something for the weekend. I am in a disgusted mood at the papal events of this week, and when I am in such a mood it is time for a little Irish rebel music, and nothing fits the bill better than The Rising of the Moon. The song, written around 1865, celebrates the Irish rising of 1798, when Protestant and Catholic Irishmen, with the help of a small French invasion force, launched a rebellion, probably the largest and most hard fought revolt against English rule in the history of Ireland. Like all such Irish revolts, except for the last one, it was defeated and drowned in blood. However, the Irish have ever celebrated their defeats even more than their victories, and The Rising of the Moon is a fitting tribute.
Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Tell me why you hurry so?”
“Hush ma bouchal, hush and listen”, And his cheeks were all a-glow.
“I bear ordhers from the captain, Get you ready quick and soon,
For the pikes must be together At the risin’ of the moon”.
At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,
For the pikes must be together at the risin’ of the moon.
“Oh! then tell me, Shawn O’Ferrall, Where the gatherin’ is to be?”
“In the ould spot by the river, Right well known to you and me.
One word more—for signal token Whistle up the marchin’ tune,
With your pike upon your shoulder, By the risin’ of the moon”.
By the risin’ of the moon, by the risin’ of the moon,
With your pike upon your shoulder, by the risin’ of the moon.
Out from many a mudwall cabin Eyes were watching thro’ that night,
Many a manly chest was throbbing For the blessed warning light.
Murmurs passed along the valleys Like the banshee’s lonely croon,
And a thousand blades were flashing At the risin’ of the moon.
At the risin’ of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,
And a thousand blades were flashing at the risin’ of the moon.
There beside the singing river That dark mass of men was seen,
Far above the shining weapons Hung their own beloved green.
“Death to ev’ry foe and traitor! Forward! strike the marchin’ tune,
And hurrah, my boys, for freedom! ‘T is the risin’ of the moon”.
‘T is the risin’ of the moon, ‘t is the risin’ of the moon,
And hurrah my boys for freedom! ‘t is the risin’ of the moon.
Well they fought for poor old Ireland, And full bitter was their fate
(Oh! what glorious pride and sorrow Fill the name of Ninety-Eight).
Yet, thank God, e’en still are beating Hearts in manhood’s burning noon,
Who would follow in their footsteps, At the risin’ of the moon!
At the rising of the moon, at the risin’ of the moon,
Who would follow in their footsteps, at the risin’ of the moon. Continue reading
It has long been a pretense of Mark Shea that he does not read The American Catholic. That pretense slipped today:
So the Pope spoke to Congress yesterday and the righties of St. Blogs are going mad because, just like Benedict XVI addressing European Parliamentarians, he never mentioned the word abortion. But, of course, since he’s Francis and not Benedict, we are to conclude that this makes him (I am not making this up) the worst Pope since Alexander VI as well as Che Guevara’s Pope according to the not-at-all-unhinged assessment of the Rightwingosphere. Moral: If you say, ““The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development” nobody will understand that the Church still opposes abortion.
And so the Rightwingsophere is awash with outrage today because the Pope, in the ear of the Right “failed to mention abortion”.
Yet strangely, the ears on the Left had no difficulty hearing his mention of abortion and are under no illusion that he has somehow changed the Church’s teaching on the matter. Indeed, some on the Left are still furious at him for saying that there is any sin to forgive at all.
So why is it that Francis, doing the same thing Benedict did, is The Worst Pope Since Alexander VI?
Go here to read the rest. Well, I’ll tell you why Mark. Because Pope Benedict made this statement:
“protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death;” while Pope Francis, in the middle of giving a big air kiss to every piece of the leftist agenda before Congress, immediately segued into a rant against the death penalty:
The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”
He could not expend even some hot air in defense of the unborn for fear it would offend his Democrat allies on issues obviously much more important to him than the defense of the weakest among us. Imagine if he had called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood! Pope Francis is the perfect leftist Catholic: a man who cares deeply for leftist initiatives and will not even pay lip service when it counted, and when he had a national audience, on behalf of the unborn. He is either a coward or he simply doesn’t give a damn about the unborn, at least in comparison to such monumental Catholic moral issues like global warming. That is where his heart is and he will prostitute his papacy to advance the leftist agenda he so fiercely embraces. Bend yourself into a pretzel Mark in defense of Pope Francis all you wish, and I suspect that you will have far more contortions to do before this pontificate is concluded.
Facing a revolt among House conservatives that would likely have toppled him, House Speaker John Boehner has announced his resignation:
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement:
“My mission every day is to fight for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government. Over the last five years, our majority has advanced conservative reforms that will help our children and their children. I am proud of what we have accomplished.
“The first job of any Speaker is to protect this institution that we all love. It was my plan to only serve as Speaker until the end of last year, but I stayed on to provide continuity to the Republican Conference and the House. It is my view, however, that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution. To that end, I will resign the Speakership and my seat in Congress on October 30.
“Today, my heart is full with gratitude for my family, my colleagues, and the people of Ohio’s Eighth District. God bless this great country that has given me – the son of a bar owner from Cincinnati – the chance to serve.”
And we ask all you who suffer to support us. We ask precisely you who are weak to become a source of strength for the Church and humanity. In the terrible battle between the forces of good and evil, revealed to our eyes by our modern world, may your suffering in union with the Cross of Christ be victorious!
John Paul II, SALVIFICI DOLORIS
“Be Not Afraid”, the words of a very great Pope. Something to remember during these days under a very bad Pope. In 1993 John Paul II said the following with a tight lipped Bill Clinton standing uneasily by his side:
“America has a strong tradition of respect for the individual, for human
dignity and human rights. I gladly acknowledged this during my previous
visit to the United States in 1987 and I would like to repeat today the
hope I expressed on that occasion: “America, you are beautiful and blessed
in so many ways … But your best beauty and your richest blessing is
found in the human person: in each man, woman and child, in every
immigrant, in every native born son and daughter … The ultimate test of
your greatness is the way you treat every human being, but especially the
weakest and most defenseless ones. The best traditions of your land
presume respect for those who cannot defend themselves. If you want equal
justice for all, and true freedom and lasting peace, then, America, defend
life! All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to
the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human
In the cant phrase of the left that was “speaking truth to Power.” That is the power of Catholicism under a Pope who is not seeking to emulate the worst of the secular left, but rather to remind the world of the timeless message of Christ.
In 2012 there were 1.05 million abortions in the United States. In that same year there were 42 executions of convicted murderers in the United Sates. From the speech of Pope Francis to Congress yesterday:
“This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.
This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty. I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. Recently my brother bishops here in the United States renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. Not only do I support them, but I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.” Continue reading
Pope Yammers Full Paragraphs About Immigration, Dialogue with Cuba, and Global Warming; Mentions Protecting the Unborn in a Single Sentence
For some time, I’ve heard conservative Catholics defend the Pope by saying that the left amplifies and celebrates the Pope’s left-leaning cant, but ignores the things that appeal to traditionalists.
The problem with that is that while he does occasionally say things that appeal to traditionalists, he rarely says them, as if he’s obligated to say such things as the cost of getting to talk about what he really wants to talk about, which is Income Inequality and Global Warming.
Yes, he made an allusion to abortion, not daring to speak it by name, and similarly made the vaguest allusion to gay marriage (not actually even taking a stance on it).
Then he yammered for long stretches about Nancy Pelosi’s agenda.
I’ve tried to not speak much about the Pope due to 1, respect for my Catholic readers, 2, my complete lack of knowledge of the sorts of things Popes typically say, and 3, generally not caring, but it seems impossible at this point to continue to indulge the optimistic wishcasting of right-leaning Catholics that Francis is merely “complex” and sometimes “misunderstood.”
I think we understand him just fine.
The left media is not just hallucinating this, or presenting a biased version of the Pope as they wish he were. He is in fact on the left on every single position he’s liturgically permitted to be on the left on.
Here is my fisk of the Pope’s address to Congress:
Honorable Members of Congress,
I am most grateful for your invitation to address this Joint Session of Congress in “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. I would like to think that the reason for this is that I too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.
You would be wrong on that score Your Holiness. You have bonehead Boehner to thank for this invitation.
Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.
Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses. On the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of Israel symbolizes the need of peoples to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. On the other, the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work: you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.
I can think of few figures who have less in common than Moses and the average Congress Critter.
Today I would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the United States. Here, together with their representatives, I would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and –one step at a time — to build a better life for their families. These are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. They generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need.
I would also like to enter into dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. I know that many of them are retired, but still active; they keep working to build up this land. I also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. I wish to dialogue with all of you, and I would like to do so through the historical memory of your people.
My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice — some at the cost of their lives — to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people. A people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity. These men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. In honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves.
I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.
An odd assortment.
This year marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that “this nation, under God, [might] have a new birth of freedom”. Building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.
It also meant fighting the bloodiest war in our history, using the weapons that the Pope decries.
All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.
The Pope definitely has a bug about “fundamentalists”. I doubt if a major problem in the world is dividing the world into good and evil, rather the problem is that too many people have lost the ability to distinguish between the two. Continue reading
Live Action, the Green Berets of the pro-life movement, President Lila Rose has written an open letter to the Pope:
Live Action is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting for the rights of the most vulnerable among us — especially women in crisis and preborn children. We truly appreciate the Catholic Church’s unwavering teaching on the sacredness of life, the dignity of every person, and the rights of the preborn, as well as your recent declaration meant to further ease the way for priests to absolve women seeking forgiveness for their abortions.
As you likely know, the U.S. Congress is now debating whether to fund the largest abortion corporation in America with a half billion dollars in taxpayer funding. By its own admission, Planned Parenthood kills over 327,000 children a year in America, leaving behind their deeply wounded mothers and fathers. This is the same abortion chain where recent and horrific undercover videos have shown its employees harvesting and negotiating the sale of the body parts of aborted children for profit.
While many pro-abortion members of Congress have made excuses for Planned Parenthood’s illegal activities and say they will vote to continue its taxpayer funding, we hope that your visit with them this week will inspire a change in their hearts.
Likewise, President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that does not fund Planned Parenthood, as well as vetoing legislation that criminalizes the act of killing a child after it has been born alive in an abortion facility. It is frightening to think that our leaders are so committed to the genocide of the preborn that they are also unwilling to put abortionists in jail who murder children who have made it outside of the womb.
In a recent interview, you said you hoped Americans would pray for you. Your Holiness, Americans of all faiths are praying for you, and we ask that you continue pray for us and speak out for a culture that truly respects life.