The Coming Open Rebellion Against God

Tuesday, February 9, AD 2010

The title of this article almost sounds surreal. At first one could be forgiven for thinking it was some sort of low budget End Times movie seen on some local cable access channel. However, the information contained within this article is real, fortunately, as believers and specifically those of us who are Catholic we know that Jesus promised that His Church would not fall despite the attempts of those working for the evil one. God is the truth and God is love, but the mere fact that He is both has caused many rebellions against him literally from day one. Sadly, those who often claim to be the smartest act the most childish, by at first claiming God doesn’t exist and then claiming if He does exist, He doesn’t make sense at least to them. This article will look at this behavior from the world’s earliest moments, but will mainly focus on what has happened in the last few years, right up until this very moment.

Continue reading...

61 Responses to The Coming Open Rebellion Against God

Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

Friday, January 15, AD 2010

Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco addressed on January 13, 2010 a free will defense of abortion by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:

In a recent interview with Eleanor Clift in Newsweek magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Speaker Pelosi replied, in part: “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have the opportunity to exercise their free will.”

Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond. For this reason I believe it is important for me as Archbishop of San Francisco to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches about free will, conscience, and moral choice.

Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that the human person, endowed with freedom, is “an outstanding manifestation of the divine image.” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 17) As the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, makes so beautifully clear, God did not want humanity to be mere automatons, but to have the dignity of freedom, even recognizing that with that freedom comes the cost of many evil choices.

Continue reading...

5 Responses to Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

  • So what next? Nice statement and all, but what hapens, in the highly probable event that this goes in one Pelosi’s ear and out the other (there being nothing in between to catch it)? What will he do when she comes back with some form of I politely disagree but must follow my own reason and conscience which tells me campaign fund– I mean, a women’s right to choose, is an inviolable right necessary for her dignity?

  • To answer the question posed by the title of this post: No.

  • What a great statement by the bishop! And thanks for posting it in its entirety, Donald.

  • Thank you Pinky!

  • Even though Speaker Pelosi may not take the archbishops instruction, this is a positive sign that many bishops in America are finally defending life in a public manner in the correct circumstances.

    Especially from this archbishop who is breaking the stereotype of a “personally orthodox” but “episcopally lax” mold a la Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

Of Geese and God

Sunday, December 27, AD 2009

I had a pleasant surprise yesterday morning as my family and I were readying ourselves to go out of town to see a movie.  Flights of several hundred geese in their V formations flew over the town of Dwight, Illinois, heading south and honking their heads off.  This was at 8:00 AM and no doubt some of the citizenry who had made merry on Christmas did not find all the honking welcome, but I thought it was delightful and awe-inspiring.  Dwight is not on any major migratory flight paths for geese, so this was a rare event.  As I do whenever I see something in nature that inspires awe in me, I quickly thought of the Creator of nature, and I mused that after celebrating the Nativity yesterday, God deigning to become part of Nature, this sight reminded me of the delight that God takes in His creation, and why He marks the sparrow’s fall, and the honking of a goose.

Continue reading...

8 Responses to Of Geese and God

  • Hi Donald–

    I happened upon your blog at the global tags…

    In any event, I am attempting to locate articles, essays, etc., which treat of the topic of abortion being an infamy even to save the life of the mother.

    If you have seen such an argument please advise.

    Cheers! for the Holiday…

    Dean Taylor

  • derrida you will find many good articles regarding abortion on The American Catholic, but I don’t recall one treating that particular topic. Here is a good overview of the teaching of the Church.

    http://www.catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=177

    Fortunately with modern obstetrics, the situations where it could be argued that an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the mother, are virtually non-existent.

  • Speaking of birds… I have been noticing lots of red-tailed hawks perched on signs along central Illinois highways of late. It used to be pretty rare to see them and now I’m seeing them all the time. They are a pretty majestic sight when they fly (unless you’re a mouse or a rabbit or some other critter right in their line of sight, of course).

    Also bald eagles should soon be evident along the Illinois and Mississippi rivers… in late January or early February there are eagle spotting festivals in river locations such as Starved Rock, Pekin and Havana.

  • “They are a pretty majestic sight when they fly (unless you’re a mouse or a rabbit or some other critter right in their line of sight, of course).”

    LOL Elaine! I imagine they would call the sight heart-stopping!

    I’ve been noticing more red-tails the past few years too. They can almost hover when they are riding the convection currents on a hot summer’s day. A marvelous predator, as long as we are not on their bill of fare!

  • Migratory birds are fairly common here. The only geese we get here, other than domestic geese, are the Canadian geese that migrate from way up north to down under here. They cause a huge destruction to the crops in the South Island, so the farmers aren’t that welcoming toward them – many find their way to the cooking pot. But they are also a game bird here in season, but we don’t see them here on the coast – mainly inland around the aforementioned farms in the North Island as well.
    I think its marvelous to see them in their V formations, the lead birds changing from time to time, doing the hard work, so that the trailing birds get a lift off the currents set up by the bird in front.
    So that skill of the birds, getting a lift from the bird in front, is that by design, or has it merely evolved? 🙂
    And tame geese are marvelous “watchdogs”, giving warning of strangers, and are quite fearless in attacking any percieved ‘enemy’. In my boyhood I was on the end of such an attack, and it wasn’t an endearing experience. I have long since forgiven the goose, but I think it ended up in the pot anyway.

  • Near Dwight Don we have a man-made lake called Lion’s Lake which was constructed only about 15 years ago. We have a few geese that stop off there to have goslings. The family and I throw bread to them several times during the year and love to watch their antics. Wild geese do not have the mildest disposition on Earth and we are careful not to try to pet them.

  • In late March of 2008 we saw a curious phenomenon involving geese. Though large numbers of Canadian honkers and snows are common enough hereabouts, just south of Lake Ontario, this time the flocks seemed to stall out right in our neighborhood. Seemed like it was too icy cold for them to travel any farther north.
    It was an exceptional experience to go for a walk on a sunny day, the snow still deep underfoot, and see and hear hundreds of thousands of snow geese settling and launching continually from the surrounding cornfields. A cacophony, yes, but thrilling in its sheer intensity.
    And there is something truly special about the sight of snow geese flying against a brilliant blue sky.
    Whenever Nature offers up one of these simple moments of magnificence, I tend to think…. “thanks, God!”

  • I’m not up on the stats, but I’m sure I see more raptors today than I recall seeing 20 years ago. I don’t think it’s just improved powers of observation, though location could be a factor. Our neighborhood has plenty of mature trees; we get red-tails, red-shouldered, small hawks (Cooper’s or sharp-shinned; I can’t say for sure because they’re always moving too fast) and hear barred and great horned owls from time to time. My next-door neighbor swears a young bald eagle stopped by his backyard for a rest recently (scouting out his privet for small critters, no doubt!)

    We are currently having Mass in our social hall pending construction of the church; the hall has several large west-facing windows behind the dais where the altar stands. Once, a flock of Canada geese grazing nearby decided to take off just as evening Mass was beginning. It was quite awe-inspiring to see those majestic birds crossing the windows with the sunset behind right at that moment.

Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

Monday, December 7, AD 2009

17 Responses to Pope Benedict Warns Against Marxist Liberation Theology

  • Leftist Catholics rightly identify Christ as the savior of human beings, body and soul alike. What they fail to understand is the consequences of Original Sin for the body, and the limitations on human life imposed by sin and finitude. They wrongly think that if everyone on Earth was a Saint, there would be no more suffering. Leftist Catholics think that there are no limits to human progress, which is to say they are very modern.

  • Some Leftist Catholics remind me of the Zealots who thought to bring about the Kingdom of God through the sword. A communist dictatorship though is a funny sort of Kingdom of God.

  • Such words for the “Catholic Left.” Then what is wrong with the “Catholic Right,” I wonder? Or does the “Right” comprise of the Catholics who “get it?”

  • Selective interpretation of the social teaching of the Church… which ultimately stems from liberalism as Leo XIII and Pius XI understood it.

  • In regard to the Catholic Right Eric, I can’t think of a comparable attempt by Catholic conservatives to trojan horse a body of doctrine completely inimical to Catholicism into the Church as has been the ongoing effort of some Catholics on the Left to baptize Marx. The nearest parallel I can think of predates the French Revolution with the unfortunate throne and altar doctrine of many clerics, although at least they could make the argument that the states they sought to wed the Church with were not anti-Catholic. In the case of Marxism, its overwhelming anti-Christian praxis should have innoculated Catholics from it without the necessity of papal intervention, but such was not the case.

  • Tito,

    No. 🙂

  • I think there’s a pretty strong throne and altar doctrine on the Catholic Right today, at least in the U.S., where the throne takes the form of military power.

    A case could also be made for a “‘Shut up, your Excellencies,’ he explained” doctrine, which denigrates the role of the bishops, individually and especially collectively, in developing social policies.

  • I read the Pope’s document carefully.

    Now I’m perplexed:

    1. Exactly what is objectionable in what he said?

    2. Has the Pope not condemned, in this very document, the arms buildup and the disgrace of military solutions? He only appears as a right winger if you’re looking from the vantage point of an extreme left wing ideologue.

    Maybe a few here ought to put down their Che Guevara coffee mugs read it again. The Holy Father is spot on.

    It is simply a fact of history that collectivist movements have enslaved the very people they promised to liberate.

    I am frankly a little more than concerned at the prideful inability of many leftists to acknowledge this fact of history, nay, the desire to whitewash this disgrace from history.

  • Who here is attacking the Pope?

  • MI,

    They participated and got deeply involved with Marxist governments. Dissidents such as Jesuit “Father” Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua who was involved with the Communist government then.

  • I’m always amused when people, especially conservatives who decry the tactic in others, appoint themselves the experts of All Things Liberal.

    I don’t think that Acts 4:32 is a bad things for which to strive. Certainly better than cuddling up to Pinochet or Cheney.

  • I’d rather cuddle up to Cheney than Karl Marx or Joseph Stalin any day of the week.

  • The early Christians quickly abandoned common ownership as completely unworkable Todd. Outside of monasteries and convents it has only been revived by Christians for short periods, usually with dire results. The Pilgrims tried it, and almost starved to death. William Bradford, the governor of the colony relates what happened next:

    “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.

    The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labours and victuals, clothes, etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Upon the point all being to have alike, and all to do alike, they thought themselves in the like condition, and one as good as another; and so, if it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men, yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And would have been worse if they had been men of another condition. Let none object this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

  • Michael I.,

    Donald will delete it at his leisure.

    For the time being I’m just amusing myself by reading your comments, thanks!

Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Thursday, November 26, AD 2009

On this Thanksgiving I’d like to convey my heartfelt thanks to my brother Nathan (currently overseas – prayers requested) and all those in service. I am forever conscious of the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, including much time spent away from their loved ones.

God bless, God speed — and may you all enjoy such a welcome home.

Continue reading...

3 Responses to Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Magnificent

Monday, October 26, AD 2009

The song is called Magnificent by the musical group U2.  It was a minor hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States in A.D. 2009 (and a major hit in Greece).

Some entrepreneurial YouTuber recreated the music video and turned it into a pretty decent contemporary ‘Christian’ music video.  The music video now celebrates the Triune God, the Eucharist, of course the love of God all coupled within a strong Pro-Life message.  There’s even a guest appearance of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI!

(Biretta Tip: Meg)

Continue reading...

8 Responses to Magnificent

  • Thanks Tito, that was awesome.

    I suspect a couple of scenes from Godzone.

    The budding tree fern – known as pikopiko – from which the ensignia, the koru, is designed – the ensignia on Air New Zealand aircraft, amonst other things.
    And secondly, the huge tree. I think it is a photo of our two thousand year old kauri tree – known to the maori as Tanemahuta – the “god” – or old man , of the forest, situated in the Waiapu forest in Northland, NZ. This tree was just a seedling when Christ was born.
    Thanks.

  • Don the Kiwi,

    Thanks for explaining some of those scenes from the music video.

    You live in a beautiful country.

    By the way the name of the Waiapu forest is very similar to Hawaiian. Are Maori of Polynesian descent? I grew up in Hawaii and I recognize the word structure of many of the Maori words and they are strikingly similar to Hawaiian!

  • Isn’t Bono, U2’s lead singer, Catholic?

    I have caught him several times wearing a rosary around his neck during a concert or other public performance.

  • Hi Tito.

    Yes, Maori are Polynesian. They call themselves “Te Maori” which simply means “the people”.
    Go to Wikipedia or google, insert “Polynesian Triangle”. This is a vast area of the Pacific, drawing lines from NZ in the Sth. west, to Hawaii in the North, and Easter Island in the Sth.East. Maori populated all these islands, and those in between – Tonga, Saomoa,Cook Is., Tahiti etc. They were amazing navigators. NZ was settled by maori from around the 8th century AD, in large ocean going canoes – two lashed together forming catamarans – the bulk of them arrived in 12th and 13th centuries.
    e.g. the Takatimu canoe – or “waka” the maori word – which landed here at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, left Takatimu beach on the island of Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, probably in the 12th.century. A young maori guy who worked for me, his tribe have in their verbal history the canoe leaving Takatimu beach. About ten years ago he went over to Rarotonga – the people there (who also call themselves “Te Maori”) recounted virtually the same story in their verbal history. He met all his relatives. Maori have a strong family association – they know their family history – or “whakapapa” – very well ; the old ones teach it to the young ones still. Maori culture is very strong and has undergone a revival over the past 50 years, to the extent that now, we use the maori language in some of our prayers at Mass – especially the Sign of the Cross.
    I was in Hawaii in 2002 – spent a week on Oahu, mainly in Honolulu. I also noticed the similarity in the languages. Its interesting, that before Europeans “discovered” the Pacific, a maori from NZ could have gone to Tahiti (whence Hawaii was populated) or Hawaii, and would have been understood. (provided they didn’t eat him first 😉

  • Not sure about the accuracy, but I read somewhere this summer that “Magnificent” is based on the Magnificat…sure can make the heart swell the same way!

  • I was wondering if it was a play on words done by the songwriter regarding Magnificat and Magnificent.

  • It was a minor hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States in A.D. 2009 (and a major hit in Greece).

    Your tone here suggests that you are now approaching blogging as a sort of time capsule, speaking to aliens from the future. Why?

  • Michael,

    Illegal or legal aliens?

Chivalry: A Personal Definition

Sunday, October 25, AD 2009

Chivalry to me is the call for men/boys to respect women/girls even if they apparently don’t respect themselves, or even aggressively market themselves as mere sex objects. The visual hardwiring for males is tough to short-circuit since it is there for some very excellent reasons- but a boy in-training to become a good man, must develop the capacity to say “No” the same as for the girls- and he must learn to divert his eyes rather than feasting on the nearly ubiquitous female forms in various stages of undress parading by our senses. It is no wonder that St.Paul said it was better to marry than to burn, and Jesus laid out some very high standards when He said that lusting for a woman in your mind was adultery- pretty clear advice from someone whose opinions form my own.

I know that girls who don’t have close and affectionate relationships with their own fathers will act out sexually at earlier ages to try to fill in a spiritual hole in their hearts. I hope that with my own girls I can reinforce their beauty and worth in the world by showering them with my attentions, my hugs and kisses, and all the verbal and non-verbal affirmations of their excellence and my love for them- with the added bonus of giving all praise and glory to God for them as gifts to me and their mother and the world. They should never have to feel that they “need” some sexually-charged teen to give them the idea that they are special and deserve physical and spiritual affection from a male in their life. I hope and pray that this gives them some invisible support to make the correct choice to wait until marriage for the very special gift of their physical selves to another.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Chivalry: A Personal Definition

  • I’m also under the impression that how the father treats his wife affects the perception of young little boys and girls. Especially when they mature themselves, they mimic, imitate, and follow many of the same traits and behaviors their parents act out towards each other when they have spouses of their own.

  • I like your definition, but why do you subjectivize it? Why is it “chivalry … to you”? Why isn’t it just chivalry?

  • Zach-
    Because too many folks have re-defined “chivalry” for their personal use, meaning everything from “oppressing women” through “treat women like smaller, weaker men” and up to more sane definitions.

  • It is a “personal” definition in the sense that I take what I know about chivalry and describe it in my own words and way. Additionally, I add some personal detail by bringing it home to my own relationship with my daughters- so I am not saying that one can view chivalry apart from it’s classic definition- but in application to modern society and one’s own family experiences, there is bound to be some individual touches in the description of one’s personal definition.

  • “Chivalry to me is the call for men/boys to respect women/girls even if they apparently don’t respect themselves…”–Tim Shipe

    …or men and boys.

    Thanks, Mr. Shipe, for re-affirming that the expression “male chivalry” is redundant. And oh, does a female counterpart to chivalry even exist?

  • I think it’d be “polite.” Possibly “being a lady” or “decent.”

    I can think of a lot of examples of things that violate it– from false rape accusations through chewing someone out for holding the door, all the way up to demanding concessions for being female while demanding that everyone ignore that fact….

Miracles

Saturday, June 13, AD 2009

The zeal for living that my 1 year old son exhibits inspires me. He wants to explore everywhere, he is so quick to find something hilarious, he loves craziness, and he cries with passion whenever he sees his sister crying. One word keeps coming to my mind when I just look at the faces of my kids- Miracle. They keep growing and changing, but this thought keeps coming at me- they weren’t even in existence just a few short years ago- but now I can’t imagine the universe without them. They started off life as something so tiny they couldn’t be seen without a microscope- now they are undeniably eternally significant forces of life and love.

Continue reading...

6 Responses to Miracles

  • “Forget the political and legal stuff for the moment, and just remember this- our children are not our enemy, they are our greatest gift”

    I definitely agree on this. In whatever circumstance having a child is the greatest gift from God. And in any manner abortion is anti life, anit God. I guess that is true in all religion.

  • Each child is God’s vote of confidence in the human race; each abortion is our way of telling God that His confidence is misplaced.

  • I worked for awhile at a middle school and I had never been around children. Even while working there, children didn’t effect me. And then, I went on to another job. But about 3-6 months after, it really hit me how sweet all these little people were though already above the grade school level.

    Again, hearing it on Relevant Radio, it was summed up well, the Miracle is often the birth and a new baby coming into the world, crying or however.

    Partial birth is also the birthing process and yet, that beautiful act, is perverted with the acts of the surgeons. It is just the opposite.

  • The proudest moment of my life is and always will be the day I gave birth to my daughter. I regret that I never got to have that experience again, but I thank God I had that privilege at all, since I have relatives and friends who wanted children and never got to have any.

    Tom brings to mind something else that has been on my mind lately. In Springfield school kids on field trips and families on vacation are everywhere, touring Lincoln sites, museums, and the Capitol. Large groups of middle school age kids come through the Capitol complex nearly every day during the “spring rush” season.

    When I see little kids climb up on the Lincoln statue in front of the Capitol to get their pictures taken, or chase each other around the oak trees on the lawn, or file into one of the elaborately decorated hearing rooms to listen to one of the tour guides, sometimes, maudlin though this sounds, I get moved to tears by it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why until I read this post.

    I think it’s because everything is still new and wonderful to them, they haven’t been worn down by cynicism and scandal yet, and they don’t care about corruption, pay to play, reform, taxation, and all the other stuff that keeps us grownups tied up in knots. They just know that something really important goes on there, and that important people once walked these halls and these streets, and it’s a privilege to get to see it.

    We often say that elected officials should act more like grownups. I agree, yet in some ways, maybe they ought to act more like children. At the very least maybe they ought to give more weight to what those children will think of them 20 or 30 or 40 years from now, than what the voters will think of them next year.

  • Good to hear the comments- again more universal insights I am not surprised- sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and just let the spirit flow in a more poetic direction. I didn’t start writing this post to have anything to do with abortion, I only had the first paragraph in my mind, and then something got me going thinking of the absolute opposite of the reality I experience with my children- abortion is the opposite of everything I have discovered about the joy of life in being a papa. I don’t want anyone to be misled, I don’t want anyone to have the kind of regret that comes from learning the truth about abortion after the fact. Children don’t always come at the time we plan or even seek them- and it is a 24-7 job once they are here- but my God they are the best thing ever- I don’t care how much personal freedom and space I have lost. I can’t even begin to describe the spiritual blessings I have received in accepting and loving my kids- and this is no male-only view- my wife feels exactly the same way I do- we are on exactly the same page where the children are concerned- and this is maybe where couples get into trouble- when one understands the godliness associated with parenting, and the other remains aloof and misses out by not seeing or feeling the miracle- I can see how traumatic that could be in a marriage. If my wife didn’t “get” it, I think I would feel like we were strangers somehow. Thanks be to God for my fireproofed marriage, and I pray for all those who are struggling, those marriages and relationships being challenged instead of strengthened by the children created in these unions- May the grace of God be theirs.

  • Tim, if you gave a speech like this before any group of dedicated pro-life PAC’s, I can’t help but think you’d get their endorsement immediately! Your political troubles would be over! I’m moved to tears by it!

4 Responses to Catholic View of the Political Community

  • “10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle [b] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

    19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” ”

    I’d say that the warnings about Kingship (Government), are some of the more accurate prophecies in the Bible.

  • Belloc however noted that the president of the U.S. acted as a prince [his word for the executive] and the country was thus spared the corruption and weakness of parliaments.

  • This may be rather more of a libertarian reading than you were thinking of — but one of the things that had always struck me about the list of evils surrounding having a king (which Donald quotes above) is that it underlines the trade off which communities make as they move from a society of direct personal relationships, to one of rulers, to one of laws.

    There is no state of primordial social goodness, in that humans as we know them are fallen creatures drawn to take advantage of others, but in the most basic organizational level of society we see people interacting with each other as people with direct relationships. However, in order to martial the centralized resources to achieve a certain level of power and prestige, a society must establish some sort of ruling power — which in turn is invariably abused to some extent.

    Those weilding power (whether kings or legislatures) are always capable of doing things that increase the common good — but also capable of either bumbling or actively abusing. There is, thus, a constant search for balance, whether to give more power to the ruler[s] so that they may try to improve society, or restrict their power to curtail their ability to harm society.

  • A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.

    Gerald Ford

8 Responses to God, Lincoln and the Second Inaugural Address

  • Something for Mr. Obama to consider following his Abe-O-Rama inaugural. Note the somberness and sobriety, not to mention economy, of Mr. Lincoln’s address. Reminded me of nothing less than Dr. King’s final speech in Memphis, the night before his assassination. Trusting in God’s Will, proclaiming that it didn’t matter his fate, having ascended to the mountaintop. Still not sure that Mr. Obama approaches his office with the grave responsbility as these two great Americans. Too much of the air of Bill Clinton’s Party Presidency about him. We pray he will get far more serious.

  • Donald, I think you underrate this. This was not just the greatest inaugural address over, I believe this was the greatest political speech in American history.

  • “I believe this was the greatest political speech in American history”

    I’m not sure the Gettysburg Address doesn’t merit that honor. Or King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

  • I’ve always preferred this to the Gettysburg Address, though, really, it’s like choosing between prime rib and porterhouse.

  • Since we’re on the subject of great speeches in American history, I have to say that the Virginian in me is also somewhat partial to Mr. Henry’s speech at St. John’s Church in Richmond.

  • I intend to do a fisking of the Gettysburg address prior to February 12. As for Patrick Henry, I have always regarded him as the greatest American orator of the Eighteenth Century. People who heard Henry speak reported that the cold text of the speeches failed to give any indication of the enormous impact he had upon his listeners.

  • One hesitates to deprecate so [rhetorically] fine an address but there are a few flaws. Thus: “One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it”.

    While slavery was generally localized in the rebellious Southern states, there were slaves in the Union border states. And there were slaves in New England and the North. The last auction of slaves in New Jersey was held in 1846.

    As slavery persisted until the 1960s [v. Douglas Blackmon’s SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME], there is little to congratulate ourselves upon. Roger Taney has been vilified for the Dred Scott decision. But all he did was to point out the truth: blacks were not recognized as full U.S. citizens in no state.

    Samuel Johnson sneered at the DECLARATION: “Virginia slavers preaching equality”.

  • Pingback: Now He Belongs to the Ages « The American Catholic