-dedicated to Saint John Paul II, whose first feast day as a Catholic Saint is celebrated today!
Like it or not, status and the symbols associated with status play crucial roles in society.
Status and symbols of status stand for our achievements and testify to the credentials we have acquired. They are often earned and are often very meaningful.
Symbols of status are not only earned, but are also given as signs of respect to those whom we revere and to whom we are grateful.
So in effect, lavish symbols do not reflect decadence in the person holding the symbol, but often reflect the respect that society has awarded to the authority represented, or to the person representing that authority.
This brings us to a recent CNN article which upbraided several Catholic Archbishops for the lavishness of their residences, implying that the Archbishops were decadent individuals because of where they lived.
First on the list to be criticized by CNN was the residence of the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Dolan, the previous President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)– the top authority of the Catholic Church in the United States. This is the man who represented the Catholic Church in America as he challenged President Obama over the Contraceptive and Abortion Mandate that was added to ObamaCare in 2012.
Apparently CNN would like to see this Archbishop/Cardinal/President of the USCCB demoted to less impressive living quarters. CNN complains that Cardinal Dolan shares the rectory pictured above with 3 other priests. This is the rectory that housed Archbishop Fulton Sheen in the 1950’s, New York’s Archishop who’s sermons routinely drew 6,000 people to St. Patrick’s and whose television appearances competed with Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra. On Good Friday, his sermons were broadcast outdoors to the thousands standing outside St. Patrick’s. Cardinal Dolan today has comparable national and international visibility, meets routinely with political figures and celebrities, and has to plan the visits of religious leaders, including Pope Francis.
CNN would like Cardinal Dolan to run these operations from residence humbler than the rectory pictured above.
If we listened to CNN and tried to demote Cardinal Dolan from his residence adjacent to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, what should be done with that residence, which was built by Catholics for the Archbishop in 1858, and is now a national historic landmark?
Shall we demolish it and put up a tent?
That won’t work, the value of Manhattan real estate is so high that the value of the lone tent could be criticized as lavish!
Shall we make the Cardinal live in the suburbs in Queens, schlepping through the subways to get to his Cathedral each morning?
CNN might like that; less time for the Archbishop to celebrate Mass, teach morality and train/ordain priests!
If we did banish the Cardinal’s living quarters to humbler suburbs, what is to be done with the land that had housed his demolished rectory residence?
Open a soup kitchen? That won’t work- not many homeless on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, across the street from Rockefeller Center.
Perhaps we should adopt the ex-mayor of Madison, Wisconsin’s suggestion, who proposed replacing Madison’s Catholic Cathedral with a shopping mall and parking ramp when it was destroyed by arson.
A Saks Fifth Avenue branch might be the New York City equivalent?
CNN might like that!
Because Ted Turner is the founder and owner of CNN.
Ted Turner hates the Catholic Church, openly opposes the Ten Commandments (he makes particular mention of the commanment relating to adultery), makes a habit of mocking religious people, and has openly mocked Pope John Paul II, who is now a saint. Today, October 22, 2014, the Catholic Church celebrates the first feast day of Saint John Paul II.
The following passage is from CNN’s tribute to Turner which was published on the occasion of his 75th birthday:
“He revised the Ten Commandments, which he considered outdated, coming up instead with his Eleven Voluntary Initiatives, which he printed on cards small enough to carry in a wallet. He tossed out the commandments that struck him as outdated — a host of the “thou shalt nots,” particularly the one banning adultery. “People have had a lot of fun breaking that one. I know I did.”
(Ted Turner is)… a man who has been married and divorced three times and keeps four girlfriends in a “loose” weekly rotation, believes people are meant to find a lifetime soul mate. He thinks he still has time to find his.”
Aside from being passionately anti-Catholic, Ted Turner is also one of the world’s richest men, and one of the most overtly anti-Catholic promoters of eugenic population control.
So it comes as little surprise that Ted Turner likes to attack the Catholic Church.
One might think, based on CNN’s criticism ofArchbishops’ residences, and based on Ted Turner’s self-description as “environmentalist and pioneer in sustainability,” that Ted Turner might occupy modest living quarters.
But no, he does not.
The man who attacks the residences of Catholic Archbishops as being “lavish” has more than 20 “major” residences himself. His residences are routinely featured in architectural magazines.
Ted Turner is the second largest individual landholder in North America, and brags on his website that he owns over 2 million acres of personal and ranch land.
Ted Turner is a billionaire worth more than 2 billion dollars.
Ted Turner is about as lavish as a human being can get. Mr. Lavish personified, in fact.
So when it comes to CNN criticism of Archbishops and their residences, it becomes pretty clear that CNN is just making feeble attempts to demote the Catholic Church and to reduce the moral sway the Church holds in the world.
Despite the efforts of CNN and the liberal media, the Catholic Church and the Ten Commandments continue to command respect and are widely acknowledged for the moral authority they rightfully represent.
No matter how many plush residences Ted Turner builds for himself, no matter how many millions of acres and billions of dollars he owns, and no matter how many times he suggest that Catholic Archbishops should move into hovels or tents, Ted Turner will never command the respect, nor be acknowledged as the moral authority that he so clearly envies in the Archbishops of the Catholic Church.
“I wrote recently about staying with Ted Turner for a few days at his stunning estate in Florida. Was struck by his incredible wit and passion for life, and we got talking about his philosophy for living life to the full.
“The rules/commandments we live by were written some two thousand years ago. Rules shouldn’t be written in stone. They should be updated with time. Here are Ted Turners 11 voluntary initiatives:”
|Ted Turner’s Voluntary Initiatives||(Syte’s) Translation of Initiative|
|1. I promise to care for planet earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings.||1. My definition of “caring” will include eliminating all unwanted human beings by abortion or by euthanasia.|
|2. I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect and friendliness.||2. I am SO naive that I even plan to treat ISIS with friendliness. I am sure that my friendliness will dissuade them from beheading my fellow Americans and journalists.|
|3. I promise to have no more than one or two children.||3. I will kill all the rest of my children, eitner as embryos with contraception, or as fetuses with abortion. But actually, no! Too late for me. I already have five children. These rules are actually only for other people, not for me.|
|4. I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world in its undisturbed state and to restore degraded areas.||4. As the second largest landowner in the nation, I will keep most of those undisturbed areas for myself.|
|5. I promise to use as little of our non-renewable resources as possible.||5. Please don’t ask me how operating more than 20 principal residences for one person fits into using as few resources as possible.|
|6. I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides and other poisons and to encourage others to do the same.||6. Fortunately, surrounded by millions of acres, nobody will see what I am doing to get rid of the scorpions and other pests on my numerous ranches which are featured in Architectural Digest.|
|7. I promise to contribute to those less fortunate, to help them become self-sufficient and enjoy the benefits of a decent life including clean air, and water, adequate food, health care, housing, education and individual rights.||7. My biggest charity is the United Nations Foundation, to which I gave $1Billion. As Chairman of the Board of this Foundation, I am donating to something I head and control myself. In essence, I am my own favorite charity. My UN foundation furthers “empowering women and girls,” a buzz phrase for global abortion. I don’t give a hoot about the rights of unborn human beings.|
|8. I reject the use of force, in particular military force, and I support United Nations arbitration of international disputes.||8. I will repel ISIS with my niceness and my friendliness in place of force. And the whole world will have to listen to the United Nations Foundation, in which I am conveniently at the helm. In essence, international disputes should be solved by rich and powerful people like me.|
|9. I support doing everything we can to reduce the dangers from nuclear biological or chemical weapons and ultimately the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.||9. By disarming America I will let the bad guys of the world be the only ones with weapons of mass destruction. Isn’t that a brilliant idea? Then I will ask ISIS nicely not to use their weapons of mass destruction on me. Islamic ISIS is really likely to approve of me and my promiscuous lifestyle.|
|10. I support the United Nations and its efforts to improve the conditions of the planet.||10. As chairman of the board of the United Nations Foundation, I will get to define what is an improvement for the planet and what is not. I’m not power-hungry; I just want to rule the planet!|
|11. I support clean renewable energy, and a rapid move to eliminate carbon emissions.||11. Since carbon emissions are directly proportional to degree of civilization, this means I advocate reducing prosperity and power in today’s leading nations. And who should have power instead? Why me, of course, through the United Nations.|
|Today, October 4th, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Francis of Assissi. Our Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit, made a bold gesture of love in adopting the name of St. Francis, patron of the Franciscans. St. Francis is commonly pictured with animals. He was renowned for his love, not only of animals, but more importantly, of all human beings. St. Francis lived his love to the extreme of adopting poverty himself. This discussion of Pope Francis’ controversial America Magazine interview is dedicated to this unbelievable Pope on his feast day.|
|St Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226)
Francis was the son of a prosperous cloth merchant in Assisi. When his father objected to having his goods sold without his
consent to pay for the restoration of a church, the bishop commanded Francis to repay the money. He did. He also renounced his father and gave back everything he had ever been given, even his garments.
He began a life of perfect evangelical poverty, living by begging and even then only accepting the worst food that people had to give. He preached to all the love of God and the love of the created world; because, having renounced everything, he celebrated everything he received, or saw, or heard, as a gift.
A rich man sold everything and joined him in living next to a leper colony; a canon from a neighbouring church gave up his position and joined them also. They looked into the Gospel and saw the story of the rich young man whom Jesus told to sell everything; they saw Jesus telling his disciples to take nothing with them on their journey; they saw Jesus saying that his followers must also carry his cross.
And on that basis they founded an order. Francis went to Rome himself and persuaded the Pope to sanction it, though it must have seemed at once impractical and subversive, to set
|thousands of holy men wandering penniless round the towns and villages of Europe.
Because Francis was wearing an old brown garment
begged from a peasant, tied round the middle with string, that became the Franciscan habit. Ten years later 5,000 men were wearing it; a hundred years later Dante was buried in it because it was more glorious than cloth of gold.
There is too much to say about Francis to fit here. He tried to convert the Muslims, or at least to attain martyrdom in doing so. He started the practice of setting up a crib in church to celebrate the Nativity.
Francis died in 1226, having started a revolution. The Franciscans endure to this day.
Recently there has been a media stir reflecting some confusion on Pope Francis’ position on abortion and on homosexuality, based on an interview he recently gave to America magazine.
Some in the media implied that the Pope is directing the Church not to concern herself with the issues of abortion and homosexuality.
ABC went so far as to say that Pope Francis wants the Church to shake off “small-minded” rules on abortion and homosexuality.
Bloomberg claimed “Pope Says Church Should Stop Obsessing Over Gays, Abortion.”
Reuters reported somewhat more correctly that the Pope is asking for a change in tone.
And yet, the same Pope Francis, in the same America magazine interview in question, in the same paragraph, two sentences later, stated “The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church,” thus confirming his loyalty to Catholic Church teaching.
A Pope who just excommunicated someone for their stance on gay marriage is not likely to announce any changes in Church teaching on gay marriage, as liberal media seems to hope. Excommunication by the Vatican is very rare; there have only been 5 since the year 2000, and this is the first one under Pope Francis.
So is the Pope for abortion and gay marriage, or against?
Is the Church changing age-old teachings, is the Pope a radical progressive, or is the media botching their reporting?
Short answer: the media is botching their reporting.
Longer answer? Keep reading.
So the media is botching their reporting, yet again.
Out-of-context quotes from Pope Francis have gone viral a number of times already this year, and it’s hard to guess what the media is thinking by reporting so sloppily.
It’s difficult to determine whether the liberal media’s unprofessional reporting is due to ignorance of religion, to wishful progressive thinking, or to a deceitful intent to recruit more Catholics into the progressive political agenda, by leading them to think that the Pope approves progressive thought.
But far more interesting than speculating on media motivation is to ask what did the Pope actually say, and what is he trying to tell Catholics and the world?
Jesuits are not feebleminded. In fact, Jesuits are renowned for their scholarly talent.
When two Jesuits talk, not everybody can follow.
When two Jesuits talk, the discussion is rarely short.
The conversation in question here, the interview between these two Jesuits was 12,000 words long.
If we typed that up as a college paper, it would be 50 pages long.
In the age of tweets and texting, that’s TMI (too much information) for most people.
We need an interpreter, and the one-liner produced by the mainstream media might not be very representative of what the Pope was really trying to say.
When two Jesuits talk, the discussion is always quite intellectual. In addition to using theological references, biblical references, Latin phrases and Italian phrases, Jesuits also use references to the classics, to music, to literature, to history, and to numerous other things that leave most of us in the dust.
Pope Francis’ 50-page interview included references to Puccini, Alessandro Manzoni, Caravaggio, Chagall, Mozart, Beethoven, Prometheus, Bach, Wagner, La Scala, Knappertsbusch, Fellini, Anna Mabnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Cervantes, and El Cid, in addition to his theological and biblical references, and references to saints.
I’ll be up front and admit that I had to do some googling on more than a couple of those!
When two Jesuits talk,
i.e. when Antonio Spadaro (Editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica) interviews Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis),
we are not on the View with Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, and Barbara Walters. Whoopi might give a brilliant performance in Sister Act, but in real life, she’s no Jesuit.
When two Jesuits talk, the conversation will be deep, it will be significant, it might take the rest of us some ploughing to get through it, but what we unearth will be worth the effort.
So my recommendation would be to read Pope Francis’ interview in it’s entirety. Pope Francis is inspired, and he’s delightful. I enjoyed the experience. The interview can be found at America Magazine.
Failing that, if you’re looking for some Cliff notes and an interpreter, where better to get that than from Jesuit #3, Madison’s Bishop Robert Morlino?
Bishop Morlino’s synopsis and observations on the Pope’s interview can be found at the Catholic Herald’s Bishop’s Column, September 26th, 2013. Bishop Morlino’s got it down to under 2,000 words, or about a 7 page term paper. Bishop Morlino is always a good read. And he’s very good at bringing it to our level.
Finally, if you want the perspective of one in-the-pew-Catholic like me, read on at your own (spiritual) peril. It will probably be way longer than Bishop Morlino’s version, and way less accurate. But here we go… thoughts from the pew…
The media had to dig through half of Pope Francis’ 12,000 word interview, or through about 25 pages, before they could find one sentence that could be morphed by media into being “controversial,” albeit out of context. Here is the relevant paragraph (highlighting mine):
We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
Note that the first highlighted item is the primary one reported by the media, while the second one, asserting that Church teaching has not changed and that Pope Francis is faithful to that unchanged teaching, was ignored by the media.
Rather then focusing on this out-of-context media implication that Pope Francis may be open to changing fundamental Catholic Church teaching, which is clearly disproved by the second highlighted sentence and by the recent excommunication, I’d like to focus instead on the title of the Pope’s interview, and on three points that leaped out at me when I read the interview document. These items illustrate very clearly and succinctly the message the Pope was trying to send us.
The title of the Interview, approved by Pope Francis, was A Big Heart Open to God.
O.K., the Pope is saying we must have a big heart. A big heart means love, self-explanatory. No small hearts in the Church, please. We do everything with love.
The Pope is also saying that we must be Open to God. What does that mean, to be open to God? Well, we should be listening and seeking what God wants of us, as opposed to demanding what we want from God. We should not ordering God, not ranting against God. Open to God means obedience to Christ’s teachings, obedience to the Church. Our hearts should be open, waiting to be filled.
A Big Heart Open To God.
In six words, the Pope has managed to teach lovingly to both extremes in his unruly Church. Disciplinarian dogmatists are reminded to have a big heart. No Pharisees, please. And liberal progressives are reminded to listen to God, to obey God. No rebellion against Christ’s Church.
Pope Francis, the good parent, has spoken kindly and gently to his unruly bickering children, calling for unity, and reminding us in six words what we have to do.
The first question asked of the Pope was “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?”
Of all possible answers, Pope Francis chose “I am a sinner.”
Not “I am the grand high exalted holy ruler of 1 billion people.”
Not “I am a holy man.”
Not “I am a priest.”
Not “I am a Jesuit.”
Not “I am an Argentinian.” or “I am an Argentinian-Italian.”
Not “I am the son of Mario and Regina Bergoglio.”
This Jesuit was not faking humility. His words were carefully chosen, not to be about him, but to teach us.
The good gentle shepherd is reminding us “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) By calling himself a sinner, he is reminding us not to throw stones at each other.
Pope Francis is telling us to treat sinners with mercy, because we are all sinners.
He is teaching gently by example, by announcing that he too is a sinner.
We must all remember that we are sinners, if we want to attract anyone to the Truth.
There is no room in the Catholic Church for holier-than-thou condemnation.
We must start with compassion, and not with condemnation.
In the interview, Pope Francis identifies his own calling with the calling of St. Matthew, the tax collector. Our Pope says “ I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” Pope Francis wants to reach out lovingly to other sinners, and he wants us to do the same.
Early in the interview, Pope Francis was also asked “What does it mean for a Jesuit to be Bishop of Rome?”
The Pope’s answer, quoting Pope John XXIII’s philosophy and motto, jumped out at me as illustrating his loving and nurturing approach to exercising authority, and as illustrating what he is asking of us:
The Pope said See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.
Again, our Pope, like a good shepherd, guides gently and slowly, rather than overwhelming us with condemnation and criticism. He asks us to extend the same courtesy to each other.
The Pope also emphasized the importance of prioritizing discernment (discernment always done in the presence of the Lord). This means that time and prayer are the most appropriate means for approaching problems, and we must be wary of impulses and hasty decisions.
This is how Pope Francis sees the role of a Jesuit in the Chair of Peter.
I see clearly, that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds…. And you have to start from the ground up.
It’s pretty clear that the Pope is not advocating or approving high cholesterol, but he recognizes that wounds have to be prioritized over cholesterol concerns. He’s telling us to examine what we prioritize when we look at each other. Do we turn a blind eye to much, identify the biggest wounds, and tend to those, before launching into overwhelming criticism?
We are not likely to get our culture on board with giving up abortion and homosexual marriage by condemning them. It is by offering the love and peace of Christ that we will attract them, and the rest will follow in due course.
Respect for others does dictate kindness and a gentle approach. Which one of us would like to be approached first with recriminations about our sins? Who are we to decide that the degree of evil in the sins of others (gay lifestyle, abortion) is greater than the degree of evil in our own sins (pride, greed, lust, anger, gluttony, envy and sloth?).
We could go on, quoting from and discussing the Pope’s interview. But then this article would become longer than the Pope’s interview, and you are much better served reading Pope Francis’ actual interview yourself.
The biggest take home message this Catholic found in reading the Pope’s interview was that when evangelizing, our Church needs to proceed with love, humility, and gentleness, and we need to prioritize humanity’s biggest wounds. We also need to work on obedience and on unity.
And what are humanity’s biggest wounds?
Our Pope, discerning carefully in the presence of the Lord, will help us to identify those.
He’s been remarkable so far, flooding the world with his love, and including all of humanity in his flock.
His outreach to atheists is symbolic of his profound love for all of humanity.
The Catholic Church is a global club of of 1 billion people.
The person in charge of 1 billion people, in this case the Pope, should be a unifier, an educator and a leader, not a divider. He should not start with criticism, blame and attack. A good leader observes, waits, and corrects a little at a time; he breaks up job assignments into small manageable parcels.
This is what Pope Francis is doing, and his approach should not be taken to mean that he approves sin or that he has changed Catholic Church teaching.
The Pope has given us our marching orders in the gentlest manner: time for authoritarians to tone it down and to lead with love, and time for rebels to prioritize the will of God over their own will.
What do Jesuits Do?
Jesuits were founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, and are noted for their educational, missionary, and charitable works.
Then we should not be surprised when Pope Francis, a Jesuit, wants to teach, to teach the faith, and to teach the faith with love.
Pope Francis’s interview illustrates that he is a deep thinker, a compassionate shepherd, and a well-educated intellectual.
He’s made a great start in less than one year, with discernment, with humility, and with love.
Few of us are qualified to judge a Pope.
Those of us who think we are probably have an issue with pride.
So when the Pope says something that surprises us, we need to examine what he said with an open heart, and have the humility to admit that his correction may be deserved.
In my judgement, this Pope is remarkable. As were the previous ones in my lifetime.
Pope Francis’ Global Adoration effort and his day of prayer and fasting for Syria are among his first official actions.
With these actions, the Pope illustrated to us the importance of bringing faith into life, and into public life.
Pope Francis demonstrated the urgency of interconnection between Church and State. Interconnection not from the top down, but from the bottom up. The State does not dictate the faith of the citizens, but the citizens must use their faith and their God-given conscience and must stand up for what is right.
The results global prayer and fasting combined with interconnection between Church and State are just beginning to roll in. The best is yet to come.
This is not just for Catholics. Everyone should get on board.
This Pope is reaching out to all of humanity, including atheists.
He seems to be getting a very positive response to his call.
Pope Francis’ interview can be summed up pretty simply-
Does that mean that we give up the struggle to eliminate abortion or to preserve marriage?
But those are not our opening efforts, before we break out mercy and love.
We don’t lead with those items while evangelizing.
From the Washington Post: Pope Francis’ Viral Quotes on Wealth, Abortion, Atheists, War and Gay Catholics.
|We can never serve God and money at the same time. It is not possible: either one or the other. This is not Communism. It is the true Gospel!
Pope Francis poses for a photo after meeting with young people in downtown Cagliari, Italy, on Sept. 22, 2013. He spoke of the ‘idol’ of money during a trip to the region, one of the poorest areas in Italy.
|Every unborn child, though unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of the Lord, who even before his birth, and then as soon as he was born, experienced the rejection of the world. . . . They must not be thrown away!
Francis spoke about abortion on Sept. 20, the day after the publication of an interview in which he said that abortion, gay marriage and contraception should not become “obsessions” for faithful Catholics.
|We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible, Pope Francis said in an interview that appeared in Jesuit publications around the world on Sept. 19, 2013. “I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear, and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.|
|If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? Francis remarked to reporters aboard the papal flight on its way back from Brazil on July 29, 2013.
Pope Francis reached out to gays during the news conference on the plane, saying he wouldn’t judge priests for their sexual orientation in a remarkably open and wide-ranging conversation as he returned from his first foreign trip.
|War is madness. It is the suicide of humanity. It is an act of faith in money, which for the powerful of the Earth is more important than the human being.
Pope Francis celebrates a worldwide Eucharistic adoration ceremony after his comments on war at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on June 2, 2013.
|Eternity “will not be boring,” Francis declared May 31, 2013. Later that day, nuns held up candles during a ceremony led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.|
|The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone. ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! Pope Francis said during Mass on May 22, 2013.
In the photo, Pope Francis delivers a speech during a meeting with young people in September 2013 in Cagliari, Italy.
|If the investments in the banks fall slightly . . . [it is] a tragedy . . . what can be done? But if people die of hunger, if they have nothing to eat, if they have poor health, it does not matter! This is our crisis today!
Pope Francis speaks after meeting with the faithful of ecclesial movements on the occasion of a Pentecost vigil in St. Peter’s Square on May 18, 2013.
TV star Phil Robertson is a successful businessman whose family owned company makes duck calls and other products for duck hunters. The Robertson men, Phil, his brother and his three sons, are known for their long beards. They also star in the reality TV show Duck Dynasty, the most-watched nonfiction cable telecast in history.
Here’s what Phil has to say about abortion:
President Obama on protecting our children from violence:
“They had their entire lives ahead of them; birthdays, graduations, weddings (wipes away a tear), kids of their own…
This is our first task – caring for our children. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.
That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we honesty say that we are doing enough, to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is NO.”
See 2-minute video:
Is intentional death by firearms the best place for President Obama to focus if he wants to protect children?
Shouldn’t the focus be accidents, or motor vehicles, or drowning, or suicide?
Why is President Obama focusing on one of the smallest dangers and the least of possibilities?
See graph for comparison:
Now, let’s add a bit more data: children’s lives lost by abortion:
See what the graph looks like now:
President Obama is actually promoting the leading cause of child death in the United States, abortion, which outnumbers the sum of all other child deaths by a factor of more than one hundred!
-An event ignored annually by the mainstream media, despite attendance by 500,000 Americans who travel to Washington to protest Roe v. Wade each year.
January 12th, 2013
The 4oth anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion in the United States was commemorated today in Madison, WI, with the prayer of 15 decades of the Holy Rosary on the State Street steps of the Wisconsin Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.
The event was sponsored by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Vigil For Life Madison, and the Diocese of Madison.
Father John Sasse led the prayers, and mentioned the progress our prayer has made in winning Americans over to the defense of life.
Despite the ‘flu epidemic, the cold and the wind, scores of people braved the elements for this event to pray together.
Faithful Catholics knelt and stood with rosaries in hand on the Capitol steps.
Hecklers arrived, too, shouting rudely and trying unsuccessfully to disrupt our prayer. Two were led off in hand-cuffs by police.
No media coverage was apparent. Madison’s media, like much of the secular media, neglects to cover events which reflect the spiritual life of Americans.
Click images or arrows below to advance slideshow:
of the Wisconsin State Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin
Bette Wiessharr of Vigil for Life Madison bravely holds the Crucifix for an hour in the frigid wind. The crucifix was damaged by wind at the start of the Rosary Rally.
To date, 55 million infants have been aborted in the United States, and are missing from our ranks as a nation.
55 million of us were not born, were not baptized, did not graduate, did not marry, did not have children, and did not contribute to the world in all areas, including philosophy, science, art, and religion.
At least one out of 6 Americans is missing. If these children, who would now be 40, also had children, as many as one quarter of all Americans could be missing by now.
One person who escaped abortion very narrowly, yet lived to contribute mind-boggling contributions to our society’s present capabilities, was Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple. What would our world be now, without Steve Jobs?
President Obama is another example of a person who might have been aborted, if Roe v. Wade had been legal at the time he was born. As the black child of a single mother, his chances of being aborted would have been extremely high. 77% of African-American pregnancies are aborted right now, a black child is 5 times as likely to be aborted as a white child.
Numerous potential Presidents may have been aborted in these past forty years.
The number 40 is a very meaningful number in Judeo Christian history.
Madison will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 12, 2013, by praying the rosary on the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol. This event is sponsored by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Vigil for Life Madison, and the Diocese of Madison.
Details can be found in the flyer pictured below and the PDF flyer here.
The Purple Heart is a medal awarded to soldiers for being wounded or killed while fighting an enemy of the United States.
I’ve already seen several Catholic Bishops this week, courageous spiritual warriors who have risked all in defending the values encoded in the Constitution of the United States – the defense of life, liberty and property. The wounds they suffer may not be physical, but courageous Catholic Bishops suffer death threats, and many other forms of abuse.
I am sure there will be more reports of courageous Bishops before November 6th. Send me reports, and I will add them to this list.
Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, WI – for a courageous election homily delivered on October 28th, 2012, entitled Lord, I Want to See.
Audio at Madison Cathedral Parish website.
Bishop Morlino spoke about the November 6th election, on Benghazi, on gay marriage, on cafeteria Catholics, on abortion, on the Wisconsin State Journal, on the media, on a candidate who promotes abortion without restraint and at no cost:
As a result of this election, our country could become more and more inhuman in it’s soul, and the consequences of that, foreseen and unseen, would be catastrophic.”
“This is the most important election in my lifetime, the essence of what it is to be human is what’s at stake. That’s far more important than the economy. Because if humanity is under attack, nothing can go right with the economy.
Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois:
Your vote will affect the eternal salvation of your own soul. – Breitbart.com
Bishop Walker Nickless of Sioux City, Iowa– will be publishing the following ad in newspapers all across Iowa (click picture to enlarge):
(thanks to Tom Reitz for this info on facebook)
Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay, Wisconsin: Voting Democrat Puts Soul in Jeopardy
Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colorado: Biden Should Not Receive Communion
When I started on this article, I had 3 Catholic Bishops.
Now I have 5.
I thought I was finished with this article… Breitbart.com informs us that many Catholic Bishops are beginning to unite publicly against the Democratic Pary’s championing of abortion.
Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia Pennsylvania is included, #6
Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois… # 7
Lord, I want to see.
Bishop Robert Morlino’s Sunday Homily, October 28, 2012
Based on the Gospel reading, Mark 10:46-52
Bartimaeus was not born blind, like the man in the gospel according to John, whom we always recall one of the later Sundays during Lent. Bartimaeus was not born blind. He had his sight for many years, and then lost it. So he knew what he did not have. And on top of it, he was reduced to begging by his blindness and disability, so that he was without human dignity.
Bartimaeus is sitting there in his misery, and along comes Jesus. And Bartimaeus can’t control himself, because all of a sudden, hope invades his misery, and he cries out to Jesus. Jesus says “Bring him over here. What do you want from me?” Bartimaeus is s plainspoken man. “Lord, I want to see.” He receives his sight, and what does he do? Go back to his former life? No. With his new sight, he immediately follows Jesus.
That’s what our New Evangelization during the Year of Faith is all about. So many once had their sight, but have become blind. The problem is, they don’t know enough to say, “I want to see.” And somehow, we are to be the instruments of the hope of Jesus Christ that moves them to say that. But we have a major problem in our country and in our society, with people, including many Catholics, who simply do not want to see.
There is an article in the State Journal today, and you can almost conclude from that that it’s unreliable, but it is, by a sociologist, about Vatican II. And Vatican II brought life to lay people. Vatican II took lay people seriously. All of that is right.
How did Vatican II take lay people seriously? Vatican II pointed out that lay people don’t simply obey the Church any more. They’re adult. They’re too adult for that. So what Vatican II said is the lay people are obligated to find out what the Church teaches, and then make up their own mind about it. Find out what the Church teaches, and then say yes or no. In other words, this sociologist, whose observations are included in the State Journal article, believes that what Vatican II did for the Church is make possible “cafeteria Catholicism.” Vatican II pushed “cafeteria Catholicism. O, you have to find out what the Church teaches, but then you decide whether you have to follow it or not.
If one is called to be Catholic, one follows what the Church teaches. That is the correct understanding of conscience. And if one really cannot follow what the Church teaches, then one’s conscience requires that one leave the Church. But one’s conscience does not require that one make up one’s own personal religion from A to Z, finding out the Church’s teaching, and then saying, “Well that’s O.K., that’s O.K., that’s O.K.; over here, I don’t like this, I will cast my line-item veto, on what the Church teaches.
Cafeteria Catholics were not always blind, but now they are, and they don’t want to see. And the reason they don’t want to see is that there are people around telling them the whole point of Vatican II was to create cafeteria Catholicism. How could that ever be true?
There are many Catholics who happen to be Democrats, who don’t want to see. There are many Catholics who happen to be Republicans, who don’t want to see.
What is there to see?
A candidate who promotes abortion without restraint and at no cost.
Promotes abortion. And on top of it, it’s free.
Promotes artificial contraception. And it’s free.
Sometimes I think to myself, “It would make sense that someone would not worry about the effects of colossal death on future generations if their policy discourages future generations.
If abortion is promoted, free, if artificial contraception is promoted, free, who are going to people future generations? The birth rate goes down, down, down, down, down. And so you worry less about handing on a debt to future generations because there might not be any, if we just abortion and artificial birth control ourselves as a culture and a society into oblivion.
This is very serious business. And yet there are many who call themselves Catholics who don’t want to see.
Written in our very human nature, in the language of our body, by the Creator, is that marriage means one husband, one wife, one lifetime, with openness to children. Every human being has the right to marry the person he chooses, or she chooses, of the opposite sex. No one’s right to marry a person of the opposite sex is threatened. But there is no right to redefine marriage as same-sex marriage.
To redefine marriage is to attack the essence of being human. “God made them human, male and female.” And He made them for marriage. He gave their bodies a nuptial meaning. That’s who we are as human. We are male and female. If that doesn’t matter, then humanity as it was created starts to ebb away. And now we have people who want to play some kind of a game that is deadly to humanity, that says, “Well, let the child be born, and after some years, let him or her decide whether he wants to be he or she.”
Instead of being what God created me to be, I become what I think I am. God is no longer in charge, what I think is in charge. I don’t want to see.
Many Catholics, unfortunately, are caught up in that.
And if someone does not want to see, there’s no hope for healing. Because they don’t know that they need to be healed, obviously.
And look at the press and the television, the mass media. We’re getting an overdose of it every day. “I don’t want to see what happened in Libya, in Benghazi. I don’t want to see it—at least until the election is over. Then, maybe. ”
Bartimaeus’ salvation turned out to be in those four words,, “I want to see.” Our country, and our culture, including many Catholics, proclaim, “I don’t want to see.”
That’s the challenge of the New Evangelization. And that’s the challenge that awaits our country that we have to face, ready or not, on November the 6th, and I’m terribly afraid that we’re not ready to face it. Because an electorate that doesn’t want to see, including Catholics, cannot elect wisely.
You and I have to be instruments of waking people up out of their blindness. They’re blind, and they think it’s fine. At least for right now. That blindness could lead our country more and more in the direction of inhumanity. As a result of this election, our country could become more and more and more inhuman – in it’s soul – and the consequences of that foreseen and unseen would be catastrophic. This is the most important election in my lifetime, the essence of what it is to be human is what’s at stake. That’s far more important than the economy. Because if humanity is under attack, nothing can go right with the economy.
We have to pray hard, and we have to speak up, in the next nine or ten days, to our friends, our neighbors, our fellow family members who don’t want to see. If the can discover that in not wanting to see there is no hope, there is no joy, maybe they would repent, by God’s grace. And so above all, we have to pray for them, pray for our country, pray for those who do not want to see. That they will decide in the favor of hope, and for the long-term future of our country they will choose life, rather than death, for humanity.
Praised be Jesus Christ.
The performances so far have been most entertaining.
Romney mopped the floor with Obama in the first presidential debate; even the liberal press agreed. Chris Matthews, not too pleased with Obama’s performance, had an epic meltdown, live, on MSNBC.
During the vice presidential debate last week, Biden put on a performance that elicited speculations on dementia and drunkenness, as well as a three-minute roast by the usually very liberal Saturday Night Live.
No comedy act, however, topped the actual video of the Vice President’s performance:
President Obama no longer looked like a deer in the headlights, and with the exception of one Drudge Report photo, he did not nervously leer, make faces at his opponent or the cameras (much), as Biden had done last week.
But now back to the substance!
More important than laughing or wondering at the performances, is to cut through the folly, and to analyze the substance.
And the substance consists of two major components in this election: policy and reliability.
Policy – how do the candidates and their party propose to solve our biggest problems today?
Reliability– will the candidates and their parties actually do what they say they will do, or are the candidates liars?
Yesterday’s MSNBC leading headline read: What readers want answered at the presidential debate: Gas prices, Social Security, jobs.
Translation: Economy is the primary problem facing our nation and concerning our voters today.
Aside: Some Americans, myself included, believe that abortion is the primary problem/issue facing our nation. That economy is actually dependent upon abortion. That a nation that kills its own children cannot prosper. That no amount of economic prosperity can justify the killing of 54 million human beings. That economic prosperity will not be bestowed on a nation that defies God’s fundamental commandments. But, although correct, that is not the dominating mainstream thought, and is a subject for a future blog article.
Back to Economy, the primary problem readers wanted answered at last night’s presidential debate.
The Obama-Biden team proposes to solve economic problems by raising taxes on the rich, in contrast to Ryan and Romney’s plans to solve economic problems by cutting spending, and cutting taxes, in order to create jobs, which would generate an expanding economy, resulting in increased government revenue.
Biden’s statement one week before the October 11th debate outlined and clarified the Obama-Biden position on the economy:
Biden clearly stated their intention to let the trillion dollar “Bush” tax cuts expire, effectively raising $1 Trillion worth of taxes. The tax cuts would only be extended for all households earning less than $250,000 per year, so those households would have no effective tax hike. The $1 Trillion tax would be paid only by people earning $250,000 or more per year.
The Slogan is catchy:
$1 Trillion Tax Hike for Top Earners
Sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?
We get Scrooge McDuck to fork over all the extra money we want to spend.
But is that possible?
Will it produce enough money to cover Obama’s spending?
How much will we be taking from the “rich guys”?
How will the “rich guys” respond to this maneuver?
Let’s look at some details.
Also, look at Thou Shalt Not Kill They Neighbor’s Cow
We want to take $1 Trillion from the rich, the top 1.5 %, those who earn over $250,000 per year.
Let’s see how much we have to take from each one, and what that will do to them.
First of all, Biden misled us with his $1 Trillion claim, since his proposal is to raise $1 Trillion of taxes over 4 years, not over 1 year.
So we are trying to take an extra $0.25 Trillion per year from the “rich guys.”
That won’t dent Obama’s annual $1.3 Trillion deficit much, but let’s continue with the analysis, because it leads to a surprising place.
For data on how many rich guys there are, and how much money they have, we looked at the Tax Foundation’s Data Tables. They don’t list Obama-Biden’s top 1.5%ers who earn $250,000 per year or more, but they do list the 1%ers, who earn $340,000 per year or more. Close enough for our purposes. The two sets of numbers are not likely to differ too much.
The top 1% group has a combined Adjusted Gross Income of $1.3 Trillion, of which they already pay 24%, or $0.3 Trillion in tax per year. In order to raise another 0.25 Trillion from this group as Biden proposes, they would have to be taxed an additional 19%, almost a doubling of their Federal tax bill. Their federal tax would go up from 24% to 43%.
So, the small businessman or doctor who now earns $340,000 per year already pays $82,000 in Federal income tax per year. Yes, that’s right, each small businessman or doctor first gives the federal government the equivalent of a Jaguar XF every year. Add Social Security, Medicare, and State and Local tax deductions, and rich guy’s annual take-home pay becomes about $227,000. Now he has given Uncle Sam about $113,000 per year; a Mercedes SL55AMG every year. (This car can do 155 mph.) On top of this now, the Obama-Biden proposal would raise these people’s federal taxes an additional 19% and would mean an additional $65,000 in taxes for that household. This would bring down their take-home income to $162,000. The total given over to the government would be $178,000 per year; like buying the government an Aston Martin DB9 Volante every year. This household is left with 48% take-home pay of $162,000 per year, after they started with $340,000.
This also changes the proportion of taxes that the 1%ers pay. Right now, as a group, they pay 37% of all federal income taxes. Yes, the 1% pays 37% of our bills. The new Obama-Biden proposal would change this to the 1%ers paying 66% of all of America’s federal taxes. WOW!
How many Americans in any income bracket can afford to have their federal taxes doubled and to have their take-home pay reduced to 48%?
Most people earning upwards of $250,000 don’t work 9-to-5 for a boss. Not too many bosses are that generous with salaries. Many of these “rich guys” own a small business and are working long hours. Evenings and weekends. Others are medical doctors, who are running an office and are paying off medical school loans. Whether they are businesses or doctors, they will have to come up with the extra $65,000 Obama and Biden want somewhere. Guess where that will be? They will hire less help at the business or office, and they will cancel any plans of expansion. Their actions will eliminate jobs, and will stifle the economy. The people working under them will lose their jobs.
Biden and Obama’s proposal to hike up taxes by failing to extend expiring tax cuts is often termed Taxmageddon. This plan could push the U.S. back into a recession, and the Taxmageddon expiration date is fast approaching – January 1, 2013, in two months.
Here’s a summary of Obama-Biden’s economic plans :
Big Bird and Planned Parenthood were 1%ers.
Solyndra and a series of over 20 green energy companies which received $4 Billion in federal grants? All 1%ers.
But they are Obama’s friends, so that’s O.K.
Anyone who supports Obama with donations or in the media is Obama’s friend. He will help them all become 1%ers. And they don’t need to worry about taxation, Obama will make sure his friends obtain or retain tax-exempt status no matter how rich they are, like Big Bird and Planned Parenthood.
That leads us to reliability and honesty, the second major component of importance in this election.
What good are promised policies, if they are never implemented?
What good are debates, if lies are used in the arguments?
The last two debates, Biden’s and last night Obama’s, were fraught with lies.
Not only Biden and Obama lied, but moderator Crowley lied and manipulated last night.
Biden was called out on his VP debate lies by lots of people during the past week.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The National Review Online accused Biden of intellectual dishonesty, and the White House Dossier called Biden a new Batman’s Joker nemesis: The Liar. Apparently Joe Biden has a history of law-school and campaign-trail dishonesty.
During the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden lied about religious freedom, about Libya, about Medicare, lied about his own voting record for the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war, lied about the Iranian nuclear program, lied about Ryan cutting embassy security budget, lied about his previous debate with Sarah Palin, and lied about the details of the Bush tax cuts. See the above links for details.
Obama lied about tax cuts made by himself, about Romney’s statements in interviews, about Romney’s immigration views, about mammograms provided by Planned Parenthood, about tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, about oil and gas production on federal lands, about women’s salary discrepancies, about Romney’s intentions toward auto manufacturers, and about his own misrepresentation of the Benghazi attacks as demonstrations against an anti-Islamic video.
Gaffe: Obama claimed that low gas prices cratered our economy and will crater it again if Romney is elected and gets gas prices down.
Yes, you read that right: President Obama seems to believe that low gas prices kill the economy. It’s not Obama’s economic policies that have damaged our economy, it’s the low gas prices that he inherited from Bush that have damaged our economy. And if you elect Romney, he will lower the gas prices again, and he will thus damage the economy again.
How did that come out of the mouth of the President of the United States?
Debate moderator Candy Crowley interrupted Romney when he accused President Obama of not acknowledging that the Benghazi attacks were acts of terror the day after the Benghazi attacks. She was wrong, admitted she was wrong after the debate, and it turns out that she had been in perfect command of these facts almost 3 weeks ago, but conveniently forgot the facts when jumping to silence Romney during the debate. She saved Obama with a false fact-check:
While moderating Tuesday’s debate, Crowley forgot the timeline and facts she commanded two weeks earlier, and she inexplicably took President Obama’s side when Obama and Romney were arguing about whether Obama referred to the Libya attacks as acts of terror on the day after. – Breitbart.com
There has even been a sugggestion that Candy Crowley may have acted in collusion with Obama in this interchange; the probability that Candy Crowley would have the text of the President’s Rose Garden speech handy and opened to the correct line on such short notice has been questioned.
Candy Crowley also interrupted Romney 28 times during the debate, contrasted with interrupting Obama 9 times, chose 2/3 of the questions to be favorable to Obama, and let Obama have the last word 8 out of 11 times. She also allowed, for the third debate in a row, the Obama/Biden ticket more debate time than the Romney/Ticket received.
Not too surprising for a biased reporter who had just called Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan the “death wish ticket.”
On Policy, Obama-Biden propose to continue the bulk of their present spending. The taxation of the “rich” which they propose will generate inadequate revenue to staunch the fiscal bleed, and will risk a second, larger recession.
Romney-Ryan propose the repeal of ObamaCare and tax cuts to spur the growth of business; when business grows, government tax income grows without increasing taxation.
History has shown repeatedly that reduction of tax rates generates more prosperity, so that a larger chunk of the tax burden is taken on by rich people when you lower rich people’s taxes, because their businesses start to flourish. They not only transact more business, and give the government more taxes, but they also create more jobs. This phenomenon was observed three times in the 20th century, in the 1920’s, and under Presidents JFK in the 1960’s and Reagan in the 1980’s; more tax revenue went back to the federal government each time the taxes were lowered.
The explanation for this seemingly contradictory phenomenon is that rich people reinvest more in their businesses, expand, generate more jobs, keep their businesses in the US, and thus generate a more thriving, larger economy when you lower taxes on the rich. Taking a smaller percentage from a larger number of rich guys give you more money in the end.
This is why nations do not overtax the rich. Overtax the rich, and they either go away or they close their companies and the nation loses jobs.
Here’s a listing of nations, and how much they tax their wealthiest 10% (for us, that would be those households earning above $80,000 per year): from No Country Leans on Upper-Income Households as Much as the U.S., 2011
|Who Taxes the Rich the Most?||Share of Taxes Paid by the Richest 10%|
Apparently, United States top earners already pay a larger share of taxes than any other industrialized nation. America’s top 10% earners pay 45% of the nation’s tax bill. President Obama apparently wants to hike up the amount that our top earners will pay to something on the order of 66%.
Any logical person must either challenge President Obama’s grasp of fundamental economics and arithmetic, or must challenge his dedication to his sworn duty to protect this nation as President of the United States. This has been suggested by some; 2016: The Movie points out the compatibility of President Obama’s actions during the past four years with an anti-colonialist philosophy that seeks to level the global playing field and to take away America’s economic advantage. But either way, one cannot rationally, based on economy, vote for Obama on Novemer 6th.
So take your pick: would you prefer that your job depends on “rich” people like small businesses or doctors hiring you and paying a competitive rate for your work, or would you rather have the government take the “rich” people’s money, squander much of it on creating 1%er jobs for previous campaign donors, and dole the rest out to you through meager welfare checks, which expire and no longer regard you as unemployed after 26 weeks, as Obama is doing now?
Reliance on our rich people for jobs = democracy.
Reliance on the government for jobs = communism.
Neither Obama, nor Biden have given America any reason to believe anything they promise. Few of their 2008 campaign promises have been fulfilled, and their debates are laced with lies and fallacious attacks on Romney/Ryan, rather than a focus on a serious plan for repairing the economy.
Sorry fellas, the Taxing the Rich slogan won’t work. We just disproved it with arithmetic, and Obama has disproved it in practice during the last four years. The Taxing the Rich slogan will only get you votes from those who don’t know their arithmetic, and who are bitter, envious, and who want to bite the hand that feeds them.
In the light of all that has been discussed, it is not surprising that as the debates progress, Romney is beginning to beat Obama in the polls.
And speaking of polls, and speaking as a person who has hung up the telephone on at least 40 pollsters during the last few months, and who as a conservative, in Clint Eastwood’s words, “plays it closer to the vest,” and as someone who has previously blogged about the disparity between poll results and election results, particularly in the Walker Recall Re-Election, I would not be surprised if President Obama is ousted by a landslide less than 3 weeks from now, by a much larger margin than any poll ever shows. Conservatives often refrain from participating in polls.
How sadly right Clint Eastwood was about the empty chair!
“When someone does not do their job, we have to let them go.”
Confirming my suspicions, later today, two pieces of news came out:
President Clinton, during a campaign event in Ohio today, acknowledged that the economy is not fixed:
Governor Romney’s argument is “We’re not fixed, so fire him, and put me in.” It is true, we’re not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man, who said, in the debate, “I had so much hope four years ago, and I don’t now,” I though he was going to cry. Because he knows that it’s not fixed. – Bill Clinton