Fortnight for Freedom: Bishop Sheen-Life of Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, June 30, AD 2015

Fortnight For Freedom 2015

In our current struggle in this country for freedom, it is good to recall champions of it.  Two names stand above all others:  George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

In that regard,  Bishop Sheen retold the life of Abraham Lincoln on his television show.  Originally broadcast in 1954, it is an interesting take on the Great Emancipator.  Completely fascinating.  A great tribute by a son of Illinois to the greatest son of Illinois.

As a native of Peoria, Sheen knew that Lincoln re-emerged into political life on October 16, 1854 when he gave a speech in Peoria that attacked the repeal of the Missouri Compromise by Stephen Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Go here to read that speech.  The rest of Lincoln’s political life was set by that speech that catapulted him into the challenge to Douglas for his Senate seat in 1858, and his Presidential campaign against Douglas in 1860.  For Lincoln personally, the Peoria speech was the most significant of his life.

Of course Bishop Sheen did not celebrate Lincoln simply because of his connection with Illinois and Peoria.  In addition to his winning the Civil War and freeing the slaves, Lincoln was also ever a friend to Catholics.

In the 1840s America was beset by a wave of anti-Catholic riots.  An especially violent one occurred in Philadelphia on May 6-8.  These riots laid the seeds for a powerful anti-Catholic movement which became embodied in the years to come in the aptly named Know-Nothing movement.  To many American politicians Catholic-bashing seemed the path to electoral success.

Lincoln made clear where he stood on this issue when he organized a public meeting in Springfield, Illinois on June 12, 1844.  At the meeting he proposed and had the following resolution adopted by the meeting:

“Resolved, That the guarantee of the rights of conscience, as found in our Constitution, is most sacred and inviolable, and one that belongs no less to the Catholic, than to the Protestant; and that all attempts to abridge or interfere with these rights, either of Catholic or Protestant, directly or indirectly, have our decided disapprobation, and shall ever have our most effective opposition. Resolved, That we reprobate and condemn each and every thing in the Philadelphia riots, and the causes which led to them, from whatever quarter they may have come, which are in conflict with the principles above expressed.”

Lincoln remained true to this belief.  At the height of the political success of the Know-Nothing movement 11 years later, Mr. Lincoln in a letter to his friend Joshua Speed wrote:

“I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that “all men are created equal.” We now practically read it “all men are created equal, except negroes.” When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read “all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.” When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty-to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy [sic].”

On July 4, 1864, when Lincoln had much else to occupy his mind, he attended a fundraising for a  Catholic church for Washington blacks.  Lincoln had given permission for the fund raiser to be held on the lawn of the White House.

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4 Responses to Fortnight for Freedom: Bishop Sheen-Life of Abraham Lincoln

  • “Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid…”

    How prophetic can one be? Welcome to the same nation after much more degeneracy….

  • Catholics have bought into the lie that one’s “right to conscience” is a sign of freedom. This false teaching is designed by the Devil and got us to where we are today-legalizing sodomite “marriage”. The “Catholic” U.S. hierarchy used this tool of Satan in its “seamless garment” heresy, giving the green light for using contraceptives and having abortions.

  • True freedom exists only when the mind settles on the Truth of God, who is Jesus Christ, and the act conforms to His will.

  • I will steal that opportunity to post ANOTHER awesome Sheen video:
    https://youtu.be/d3H7cQ_BaRw?t=1m51s

Carl Sandburg, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson and Bishop Sheen

Thursday, March 31, AD 2011

Oh the gems that can be found on Youtube!  From 1957, two legends discussing a third.  Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest American architects of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Carl Sandburg, poet and Lincoln biographer, talking about Thomas Jefferson!

Carl Sandburg, in his multivolume biography of Lincoln, got closer to the heart of the man than many professionally trained historians, telling the tale of a man’s life requiring the touch of a poet as well as a chronicling of facts.  Frank Lloyd Wright developed a style of architecture that causes his buildings to be treasured.  In my town of Dwight, the building of the First National Bank of Dwight was designed by Wright, and is a little gem of his style.  Go here to read all about it. 

It is interesting to hear two men who are now legendary themselves, discussing a third legendary American.  In the world beyond one can hope that Jefferson has since taken part in the conversation!

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7 Responses to Carl Sandburg, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson and Bishop Sheen

  • I met Bishop Sheen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral one evening in the mid-1950’s.

    My widowed Grandmother (RIP) worked in midtown Manahattan and bought tix for “Snow White” at Radio City. After the early evening movie, Mother (RIP) and Grandmother made the visit to the Cathedral with four young boys in tow. The youngest John, of course, was scooting around and not in sight. So, when trying to quietly call for him, Bishop Sheen heard “John” being called out. He graciously approached and introduced himself, saying his Mother had called him “John.” Grandmother and Mom were in Heaven.

    I remember his TV shows and have CD’s of a few. They broke the mold . . .

  • Don, good find! “My dear, Alistair…” Made me pine for more intelligent discourse on TV instead of cacophony of mumbo-jumbo on talk shows today. Say, Don, could you unearth some colloquies between Bill Buckley and Malcolm Muggeridge and post? They were real gems.

    Alistair Cooke had almost an obsession with Mencken, whom he mentions at the end of the vid. HLM, the “amiable skeptic,” is sorely missed today. Though an agnostic, he left a sliver of hope near the end of his life. He could be nasty, indeed, but beneath the curmudgeon was the soul of someone who thought man could be better somehow.

  • Don, I’m thrilled you share my interest in Frank Lloyd Wright.

    Wright designed his fair share of houses of worship. A Unitarian himself (grandson of a minister), he build Unitarian churches in Madison WI and Oak Park Il, a Greek Orthodox church near Milwaukee, a Jewish temple near Philadelphia and Protestant churches in Florida and Arizona.

  • They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

    I am from Galesburg, IL, the birthplace of Carl Sandburg.

    I had seen the Fulton Sheen clip before, but I can never help noticing how, as he is shaking hands with the panelists, one of them kisses his ring.

  • Now anytime a bishop is on TV the journalist is obliged – as a precept of their faith – to inquire about teaching on abortion, priestly celibacy, homosexuality, etc. And aren’t the journalists, to quote St Augustine, “ever more ready to ask questions than capable of understanding the answer.”

  • There’s a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit showing right now at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I haven’t been to it yet, but intend to visit it before it closes in May. I too am a Wright fan.

  • And don’t forget the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, which was one of Wright’s earliest Prairie Style projects. It’s closed for renovation right now but when open it’s probably the biggest (perhaps the only) non-Lincoln tourist draw in the city.

The Coming Open Rebellion Against God Part II

Sunday, February 6, AD 2011

In my first article The Coming Open Rebellion Against God, I spoke of a time where God would reveal his omnipotence and some would simply leave their faith behind.  Why? Because just as in John 6, some would say it simply doesn’t make sense and walk away. Some have prayed that if only God would show His omnipotence; many would fall on their knees and believe. I truly believe the time is coming when some of our intelligentsia, including clergy will see the hand of God and say; “No thanks, this doesn’t mesh with my worldview.”

Father Dwight Longenecker recently wrote a review of the movie The Rite Starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, a movie somewhat inspired by a real life Italian exorcist. The movie was given praise by many Catholic writers including Father Longenecker for actually showing the Church in a positive light. Perhaps this was due to the film’s producers using a California based exorcist Father Gary Thomas who actually was present at the filming of the movie. In a key passage Father Longenecker pondered the fact that far too many in this modern rationalistic world see the idea of the devil and demonic possession as beyond them, even though if they truly followed their rationalistic approach, they would come to see that there simply was no medical or scientific explanation for some cases. Sadly, for too many the sin of pride all too often is their downfall.

Recently Father Gary Thomas was interviewed by Leticia Velazquez of Catholic Exchange; some of his remarks about the way in which the teachings of the Church with regard to evil were defiantly rebuked by some within the Church including bishops were more than a little disconcerting. This movie review of The Rite by Father Raymond Schroth SJ associate Editor of America Magazine is one such example. As you can see, the devil is so passé to Father Schroth SJ. It hardly jibes with the high mindedness of those to which he and his urbane friends associate. Check out the comments section in the article, some of the comments left are as elitist and depressing as his treatise on who God is and who He should be.

George Weigel has noted the sad state of some quasi dissident bishops that Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI have had to confront. They came from a mindset that preferred the adulation of the dissident intelligentsia of the Ivy League rather than the working class Catholic roots from which many came.

With regard to Jesus and the devil, Jesus spent a good deal of his time fighting the devil and his minions, but alas those who don’t believe in such things seem to indicate that Jesus and the Gospel writers got it wrong, Jesus was not fighting demonic powers but those who were dealing with bouts of depression and epilepsy. According to these liberal dissident elites, Jesus was the precursor to Dr Phil and Deepak Chopra helping those poor seemingly possessed people get their groove back and find their Zen destiny. Never mind what the Church teaches on the subject or the fact that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have specifically spoken of evil and the needs for more exorcists in the Church, these elites know better. Talk about hutzpah, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been labeled as intellectually brilliant, even by their detractors, but no matter to those who don’t believe in such archaic things as the devil. Perhaps we should ask those in the Church, especially in the Church Hierarchy, if you don’t believe what Jesus said about the devil and the manifestation of evil, what else don’t you believe?

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5 Responses to The Coming Open Rebellion Against God Part II

  • Thank you for referring to my interview of Fr Gary Thomas. When I read the book, I was impressed at how deeply their experience of the devil moved both Fr Gary and the book’s author Matt Baglio. I was therefore thrilled to hear that the US bishops had a special meeting about exorcism before their general meeting last November.
    As you assert in your book, the tide is turning. Let us pray that it is in time to save our fellow Catholics, many of whom are hostage to the enemy, thanks to poor catechesis and their own selfishness.

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  • FIRST OF ALL THE RITE WAS AN EXCELLENT MOVIE….BUT TO SAY THE DEVIL IS PASSE IS SAY FOR ANY PRIEST….BUT KNOWING FR. SCROTH, SJ HE PROBABLY THINKS THAT GO IS PASSE TOO…SAD FOR ON JUDGEMENT DAY…HE MAY HAVE TO BEG TO THE MERCY OF JESUS….

  • Slight spoiler

    The Rite was very well done. Respectful of the Church and enough spookiness to keep you on edge without overplaying ala The Exorcist. Maybe overplayed the “doubting young priest out to prove science over belief” a bit, and showed the Church to be a little too “faith over reason,” in particular I am recalling a scene where our hero challenges his exorcism instructor with scientifically based rationals for the various instances of possession, and the intsructor’s comeback was rather weak – sort of a “you gotta have faith” and left it at that.

    I also think the movie left you with the impression that the Church believes possession occurs far more often than the Church actually believes it does. But then, they gotta sell tickets, don’t they.

  • and by faith over reason, I mean portraying the Church as pitting faith against reason, as opposed to recognizing them as complementing each other.