Syte Reitz

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world…….

Browsing Posts tagged Battle of Lepanto

Elections 2016 (and 2014)

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Taming the Black Swan

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Selling Out vs Sticking to Principles

 

Back to Politics

Despite the fact that this blog was originally established for the purpose of discussing and defending traditional ethics and morality in our modern culture, we keep digressing into politics.

Who's in Charge?This may be fitting, since what is politics, after all, if not the interaction of human beings on an organized group level; an interaction that certainly ought to be subject to the same rules of morality and decency that apply to individual human interactions?

And since what goes around comes around applies to our personal lives, guess what?  What goes around comes around applies to politics as well.Church and State  (The expression means that bad things you do come back to bite you later, and the good things you do come back to reward you later.)

Readers Demand Political Philosophy

Readers seem to know this, and as elections approach, they keep returning to those old articles here which discuss political philosophy, which explore the crucial interconnection between morality and the State (i.e., interconnection between Church and State).

Such discussions are not commonly available in the public arena in the present political atmosphere, which is so often controlled by fear of political bullies like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and their ilk, who attempt to eradicate all mention of right and wrong from the public forum. These bullies who attack religion are effectively advocating the absence of all morality from government, from law, and from public life.

So after a hiatus following the ethically dubious 2012 Presidential election in which Barack Obama purchased votes by bribery with Obama-phones and other lollipops, and in which conservatives tossed the vote by staying home in disgust, this blogger returns again to discussion of politics, of coming elections, and of election strategies for Elections 2016.

Why the Hiatus?

Slide1The results of the 2012 Presidential election made clear several important facts, which required some time to resolve:

  • The people had spoken, and the Obama administration now had four more years to deliver on its campaign promises.  The United States is, after all, a democracy.  The fair loser steps aside gracefully and lets the wheels of democracy turn.
  • Those people who were foolish enough to vote for Obama needed to experience more Obama consequences, to experience a rise in personal misery index, before they could be persuaded to vote for someone more responsible who does not promise lollipops and who does not lie.  And 2013/14 certainly provided ample rise in personal misery index generated by government; now even Democrats are calling Obama incompetent and are distancing themselves from him before the 2014 elections.  Meanwhile, we conservatives take an imposed rest and simply watch the inevitable  and painful implosion. We don’t enjoy it any more than parents enjoy watching their teens making painful mistakes.
    What goes around comes around. But it takes time.  We all hurt, we all suffer, but nothing can be done to circumvent some suffering in this life.
  • The Republican establishment, which was foolish enough to cheat in order to change Republican convention rules so they could nominate their favorite Compromise Candidate, Mitt Romney, needed to figure out that there is a limit to the degree of compromise their conservative supporters will tolerate before they rebel.  There was great surprise and shock in November 2012, when 4 million registered Republicans failed to come to the polls, handing the election to Barack Obama.

Jumping into PoliticsSo now two years have passed, and we have experienced some of the consequences of the 2012 election.  We have experienced more of Obama’s administration, ObamaCare failures, VA scandals, IRS scandals, implosion of Iraq, border crises, and numerous other debacles.  Establishment Republicans have experienced 4 million registered Republicans staying home from the polls, and losing the election.
During all of which, Nero fiddled as Rome burned.
Political puzzle pieces have been falling into place.
We need to redefine how we approach politics. 

So now it’s time to end the hiatus and time to address the future.
Back into politics!

Confusion Reigns

First observation on returning to politics in 2014: confusion reigns.

Democrats are suffering from the deluge of scandals befalling President Obama as the fruits of his erroneous policies and his lies mature. Today, 58% of Americans, including 30% of Democrats, say that the Obama administration is incompetent at managing the government.  Now, even New York Times correspondents are saying that the Obama administration’s ebola response is another example of Obama not running a competent governmentLiberals have begun to acknowledge Obama’s incompetence.  

Republicans are suffering from highly disfunctional infighting, seemingly incapable of choosing between continuing moral compromise with the opposition, and their fear of unpopularity if they choose responsible conservative policy.

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Support is at an all-time low for both parties, and nobody seems to know how to attract the independent voters from the middle.
Only 24% of American voters identify as Republicans, 31% as Democrats, and a whopping 43% identify as Independents.

This bears repeating: a whopping 43% of Americans identify as Independents!
There are way more independents than Democrats.
There are way more independents than Republicans.

THE LEADING POLITICAL FACTION IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY IS INDEPENDENT.

What does it mean to be Independent?
Being Independent means that nobody tells these voters what to think; they think for themselves, and they owe allegiance to neither party.
If Independents could only agree on a candidate, there would be a landslide election and an Independent victory!

Potential Strategies

How can the two major parties recruit from the 43% of  uncommitted electorate in the middle?
With more lollipops and promises?
With an offer of responsible tough government appealing to those who have suffered enough in this economy?
Will a third party succeed in stealing the election?
Is the time ripe, with broadening disgust with both major parties, for the introduction of a third party?
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Birth of the Republican Party

Looking at history, the founding of the present Republican party occurred under similar conditions, and resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency.

640px-Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863The Whigs seemed incapable of coping with national crisis over slavery, so the Republican Party was established (in Wisconsin!) with the primary goal of opposing slavery. (Yes, contrary to what today’s progressives want you to think, the Republican Party was the first to oppose slavery!) The Whigs lost power, and Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was elected.

So there is historical precedent for the birth of a third party; provided the nation is sufficiently disgusted with the two existing parties.

Are we sufficiently disgusted with the two existing parties today?

Can a third party rise to the occasion in present divided times and succeed in election 2016?

Or would a third party simply divide the conservative vote and hand victory to Democrats?

The Republican Split Today

The Buckley Rule

Slide1Some conservatives advocate nominating a moderate candidate with whom one does not agree (compromising one’s values), as Republicans did in nominating Mitt Romney in 2012, in order to capture the votes of moderate independents, rather than nominating a strong responsible conservative who would capture the conservative independent vote and who is more likely to salvage our nation, as Scott Walker recently salvaged a damaged Wisconsin.

This philosophy, nominating the most conservative person who “can win,” has been called the Buckley Rule, after Bill Buckley, who advocated this approach in 1967.

The problem with this principle is that it assumes that we know who can or cannot win, an quite frankly, we don’t know.  Mitt Romney’s failure to be elected was a prime example of this.  An additional problem with this philosophy is that when conservatives continually sell out and compromise, it allows government to drift permanently towards the left, abandoning important conservative values and allowing the passage of laws which make it impossible to recover conservative ground.

Apparently 4 million Republicans rebelled against the Buckley Rule in November on 2012, and more are likely to follow in 2014 and 2016.

The Limbaugh RuleSlide1

Many who rebel against business as usual in the Republican Party (i.e. rebel against continual and unending compromise) advocate instead voting for the most conservative candidate in the primary and risking losing the moderate vote. This has recently been called the Limbaugh Rule –“in an election year when voters are fed up with liberalism, vote for the most conservative Republican in the primary.”

This is a variation of the Tea Party philosophy, and a variation of my philosophy, which is ALWAYS, not just in an election year when voters are fed up with liberalism, vote for the most conservative candidate in the primary who will uphold traditional Judeo-Christian values, pro-life topping the list, followed by fiscal responsibility.

This approach encourages voting for Tea Party candidates at Republican primaries, hoping to steer the Republican Party establishment in a more conservative direction. This approach appeals to more voters as they become fed up with liberalism and its consequences, and may work in 2016, provided the Republican Establishment does not use it’s power to force through the Buckley Rule (which the “Establishment” apparently favors) over the heads of increasingly conservative American voters. This is what the Republican Establishment did in 2012 to nominate Mitt Romney, by hook or by crook. And it got them exactly nowhere.

The Limbaugh rule says stick to your principles, especially in 2014/2016, when voters are fed up with liberalism.

Third Party Option

tea_party_logoThe Republican split today appears to be so serious that many serious conservatives are considering abandoning the Republican party altogether.

Some are considering the creation of a third party. In this case, there is the danger that this would split the conservative vote, handing victory to the Democrats.

Depending on how stubborn the Republican Establishment (John Boehner, Reince Priebus and other RINOS, Republicans in Name Only) prove to be in the time between now and November 2016, this might sadly become an attractive option for more and more Americans.

OLiberty-Amendments-230

Amendment of the Constitution via Article V

Finally some, like Mark Levin, are so fed up with American politics on both sides of the aisle that they are considering extreme measures like amending the Constitution through Article V of the US Constitution, so that U.S. citizens could override their Senate and their Congress, which have ceased representing them (details at The Liberty Amendments).

This approach would involve returning to much more fundamental founding values and very limited federal government.

The Conservative Dilemma

With four factions advocating four different approaches, the solution to this conservative dilemma is not obvious.
The above four approaches are mutually exclusive, and getting conservatives to agree on one approach would pose quite the obstacle.

  • Those favoring the Buckley Rule would nominate someone like Mitt Romney or Chris Christie again.
  • Those favoring the Limbaugh Rule would nominate someone like Scott Walker or Ben Carson.
  • Those favoring the Third Party Option would replace the Republican Party by a group like the Tea Party.
  • Article V supporters, if successful, would provide an opportunity for radical change and decentralization of government, returning much power to the states and reducing the power of the federal government.

Slide2The first option (Buckley Rule) has already been tried and failed in Election 2012.

Many conservatives favor the second option (Limbaugh Rule) right now. Stick to your principles an nominate the most conservative candidate in the primaries.

But as discontent with Washington continues to grow, it becomes more and more likely that some Americans may abandon business as usual and may opt for the more startling last two options- third party or even overriding Washington DC via Article V.

One thing is certain- the 4 million disgusted registered Republicans who stayed home in November of 2012 are not likely to change their minds and get back on board with John Boehner and the Buckley Rule.

It is much more likely that an additional 4 million will join the first 4 million in boycotting the Republican establishment’s cowardly and ever-compromising path towards defeat.  Yet staying home OR voting for a third party can hand the election to Democrats, even if they do not have majority support.

So What’s a Conservative to Do in 2014/2016 ?

There will be much discussion, much angst, andSlide3

much disagreement among conservatives over which of the above four approaches should be followed in 2016.
There will be even more anxiety over whether the guaranteed lack of unity will defeat us, handing victory to progressives.

But an examination of history, an examination of the forces that determine the fate of nations and of elections, reveals that perhaps we need not worry.
There is a simple and practical approach that may reassure those so very worried about the future.
Hint: it involves simply sticking to your principles and not selling out.
-The approach the Almighty might suggest if anybody bothered to ask Him.

The Determinants of History

What determines history?
What determines the fate of a nation or the fate of an election?

It may surprise some to hear that the determinants of history, the elements that identify or determine the nature of events or that fix their outcome, are not usually voters, nor are they politicians.Slide1

Many historians acknowledge that much of history is determined not by careful planning and strategy, but by fluke events called Black Swans.

Black Swan theory is taught at universities, and Black Swan theory was discussed by the New York Times in connection with the  9/11 Commission, which sought “to provide a ‘full and complete accounting’ of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future.”

Black Swan theory is not a joke; it’s a sobering and probable reality.

So when we talk about the 2016 election, it is wise to consider whether a Black Swan event will be the determinant of the election, and to ask whether it is possible for us or for our politicians to influence that Black Swan event.

 

What IS a Black Swan?

How do we define a Black Swan?

JJPThe Cambridge Japanese Journal of Political Science refers to these unpredictable big events that shape human history, or Black Swans (emphasis mine):

The nonlinear dynamical process of self-organized criticality provides a new ‘theory of history’ that explains a number of unresolved anomalies: Why are the really big events in human history usually unpredictable? Why is it impossible to anticipate sudden political, economic, and social changes? Why do distributions of historical data almost always contain a few extreme events that seem to have had a different cause from all the rest? Why do so many of our ‘lessons of history’ fail to predict important future events? As people, organizations, and nations become increasingly sensitive to each other’s behavior, trivial occurrences sometimes propagate into sudden changes. Such events are unpredictable because in the self-organized criticality environment that characterizes human history, the magnitude of a cause often is unrelated to the magnitude of its effect.

Nassim Taleb is a Black Swan specialist.  He is a scientist, essayist, businessman, mathematical trader and scientist-philosopher who studies the epistemology of randomness and the multidisciplinary problems of uncertainty and knowledge, particularly in the large-impact hard-to-predict rare events called “Black Swans”.

Taleb seeks to create a “platform for a new scientific-minded public intellectual dealing with social and historical events — in replacement to the ‘fooled by randomness’ historian and the babbling journalistic public intellectual.”

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(Nassim Saleb feels morally bound as a professional philosopher and historian to acknowledge that history is driven by Black Swan events.)

In his book Learning to Expect the Unexpected, Taleb defines the Black Swan like this:

A black swan is an outlier, an event that lies beyond the realm of normal expectations. Most people expect all swans to be white because that’s what their experience tells them; a black swan is by definition a surprise. Nevertheless, people tend to concoct explanations for them after the fact, which makes them appear more predictable, and less random, than they are. Our minds are designed to retain, for efficient storage, past information that fits into a compressed narrative. This distortion, called the hindsight bias, prevents us from adequately learning from the past.

“Much of what happens in history”, he notes, “comes from ‘Black Swan dynamics’, very large, sudden, and totally unpredictable ‘outliers’, while much of what we usually talk about is almost pure noise. Our track record in predicting those events is dismal; yet by some mechanism called the hindsight bias we think that we understand them. We have a bad habit of finding ‘laws’ in history (by fitting stories to events and detecting false patterns); we are drivers looking through the rear view mirror while convinced we are looking ahead.”

So when it comes to elections, whether they be 2014, 2016, or any other election, it would be wise to remind ourselves that Black Swans are often determinants of the outcome.

That’s why nobody can predict election results.

By definition, a Black Swan is an unexpected and surprising historical event that plays a giant role in altering the course of history, yet could not have been predicted, and is not pre-planned by politicians or governments.

Role of the Black Swan in History

remembering-9-11-attacksHistorians and economists both acknowledge the role of Black Swans in human history.

There are many examples of Black Swan events in history, recent and ancient.
Remember the definition: nobody saw it coming, nobody could have seen it coming, it could not be planned for.

Some examples of Black Swan events:

Biblical examples of Black Swan events:holy-cross-justice-icon-of-the-resurrection

Aside: The Bible is a valuable source of political instruction for those who realize the wisdom contained in it.

The above examples of Black Swan events occurred against all odds, were so unlikely that they could not previously be imagined, and they changed the course of human history dramatically.

Black Swans- Good or Bad?

Black Swans can be either good or bad.
To qualify as a Black Swan, an event simply has to lie beyond the realm of normal expectations.
The Christianization of Europe was good.
The terror attacks of 9/11 were bad.
Both were Black Swan events.

Black Swan events can occur not only in politics and in global events, but in our personal lives as well.  One unexpected event frequently steers the subsequent course of a person’s entire lifetime.

Taming the Black Swan

Once one accepts the existence and powerful role of Black Swan events in human history, the next logical question becomes- can we possibly prepare for these events and/or influence these events?
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By human reason, no.
By definition we cannot expect and prepare for the unexpected.

However, in a nation like ours, in which 80% of citizens believe in God, 80% of citizens pray daily and believe that God answers their prayers, in a nation whose government has been founded on the inalienable rights given to man by God, in a nation structured after Christian morality, it is not unreasonable to bring into this discussion the interaction between God and History, and the interconnection between Church and State.
And this changes the picture dramatically.

In fact, when we acknowledge the interconnection between God and the world, Black Swan events become more easily understood as the intervention of God and of Satan in human affairs.

This view does not refuse to discuss the battle between of Good and Evil battle in our world.  In times of history like the present one, while ISIS mercilessly terrorizes Europe without intervention,  events becomes less mystifying when viewed in their proper light.

Back to Who Is In Charge?

Does this mean that we are helpless pawns at the mercy of warring supernatural forces of Good and Evil, much like the ancient Greeks who believed they were subject to the capricious whims of their warring and jealous gods?Slide1

No!
Unlike the ancient Greeks, we have the ability to steer supernatural events indirectly through our personal choices of good and evil and through our prayers.  We have a direct line to God via saintly lives and prayer, through which we can access the most powerful forces in the universe.  This is the power God has given to human beings. A power, incidentally, resented tremendously by Satan.

Unfortunately, some of us also choose to have a direct line to Satan. The Enemy is unleashed and empowered whenever we shun God’s directives and defy God, particularly when we try to be little gods ourselves.

And so, through moral choices and through prayer, we humans do have great influence on the war between Good and Evil.
Why do you think that Pope Francis’s reaction to the crisis in Syria was to call for global Adoration?
The holy man kwows how to fight spiritual warfare.

Satan always baits us with promises and with lies, but ultimately he delivers misery to all human beings, particularly to those who fell for his ploys.  But God limits Satan’s power, and teaches us how to chain the Evil one, by following the guidelines left to us first by the Ten Commandments, and then by Jesus Christ.

And so the mysterious struggles of Good and Evil are played out in our world, while many of us are unaware that victory is really within our grasp and that we have much more power over world events than we realize.

The Solution

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Taming the Black SwanAmerica Prays

The solution is simple;

  • Stay close to God through prayer
  • Trust God with patience
  • Play by God’s rules, even in the face of impossible odds (God does the rest)

Simple formula for Elections

The formula for victory is simple- vote for the wisest and most moral candidate, whether you are voting in elections or in primaries, and forget about arguments on capturing independents in the middle by making moral compromises.

Follow the Limbaugh rule, not only when voters are fed up with liberalism, but ALL the time.
It worked for Abe Lincoln, it worked  for Ronald Reagan, and it worked for Saint John Paul II in the dissolution of the Soviet Union.Slide1

Most of America (Independents) needs to reclaim a political party and make it our own.
Both existing parties have failed us abysmally.
Democrats have completely sold out Christian values by promoting abortion and redefining marriage.

In 2014, Independents should go to the polls and vote for Republicans, because they oppose abortion (killing over a million citizens each year), and represent fiscal responsibility as well.
Perhaps the Republican party might be willing to shift to the right.

ballotpedia2-630x286Do your homework; use a neutral source like BALLOTPEDIA.

In 2016, if the Republican establishment resists a shift to conservative values and if the field is littered with numerous conservative candidates who split the vote up as they did in 2012, conservatives should not fear a brokered convention in which many conservatives are pared down to a few with numerous rounds of ballots.
We should not let the Republican establishment force the Buckley Rule, as they did in 2012, forcing the nomination of Mitt Romney against the majority of their party, who supported conservatives.

A message to the Republican establishment: don’t sell out your base and your ethics in some misguided attempt to capture some Independent votes from the middle.
Most Independents want a shift towards conservatism, reality and responsible behavior.Slide1

In 2016, if the Republican establishment tries to force liberalism and the “Buckley rule” as they have in the past, we move to a third, more moral and more conservative party.

Independents think, they admire justice, and they rally behind upstanding candidates.
Independents come in riding on black swans.

Reporting History

Most historians separate history and philosophy/theology into distinct and separate compartments, and only rarely do they acknowledge that human beliefs exert a powerful influence on human behavior and on human history.

It is even more rare for an historian to acknowledge that those humans actions which stem from religious belief (such as prayer or such as heroic action) can actually be effective in dealing with a global or political problem.
The political correctness of today does not permit the inclusion of God, moral choices, or prayer in any analysis.

But those who take their heads out of the sand and realize that this nation was founded on Christian principles and that this is still a nation of God-fearing and freedom-loving people in both parties, will realize that this nation’s history has been and will continue to be be steered by ethics, by prayer, and by God.
Unless the minority, the radical progressives who want to eradicate any mention of God from our lives and from our history, are allowed to intimidate the rest of us into inaction and into silence.God Bless America

The reading of history cannot be partial and biased to exclude the fact that this nations was shaped by Christians, still consists of Christians, and that it’s history has been guided and protected by a very good God.
The role of the supernatural must be acknowledged, if Truth is to be known.
The secularization of human history neglects to consider man’s strongest motivations, denies his noble struggle between the Truth and the Father of Lies, and dismisses his most powerful ally – the Almighty.

Col 2:8 See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.

Interconnection Between Church and State

The interconnection suggested here between Church and State is not the top-down dictation of moral values by Executive Order that is being attempted by President Obama, dictating what newly invented progressive morality the citizens of the United States must follow.  Nor is it a government-imposed State Religion imposed from above.

The interconnection is a democratic one.

When it comes to refining the relationship between government and religion, or between Church and State, the key is for ethical values to flow from the bottom up, not from the top down.

Nobody wants a specific government-imposed religion. But people clearly do want a code of morality and ethics on which most reasonable citizens can agree.

Instead of eliminating morality altogether from public life, and instead of government (King Obama) dictating his own brand of morality, citizens need to vote their personal religious moral beliefs into law.
The Constitution provides the mechanism by which this fundamentally Christian nation, still identifying itself as 80% Christian, can choose representatives in government who reflect their ethical beliefs.

An Optimistic Future

When the interconnection between Church and State is implemented, not from the top down, but  from the grass roots up,
when we all pray and go to the polls and vote for what is right and what is moral, our nation will heal and will get back on the right track.

David will slay Goliath, and Red Sea will part.

That power is in our hands.
We can marshal powerful forces into play that could never be predicted or imagined on a human level alone.

We can steer the Black Swans- provided we don’t throw away the reins.

 

Related Posts:

The Missing Link – Redefining How We Approach Politics

Pope Francis Takes On Obama

Political Puzzle Pieces Falling into Place

Enjoying the Progress? Join the Prayer

Global Adoration- Say What?

 

 

 

Praying the Rosary- As Pertinent Today As Ever

Slide4May 13, 2014: In honor of Our Lady of Fatima, the Lady of the Rosary

A Personal Story

I don’t make a habit of baring my soul; conservative Catholics learn to hold what’s important close to the heart.

But last month, when fellow Serra Club member and friend Mary Uhler, Editor of the Madison Catholic Herald,  asked to interview me on why I make rosaries, it was time to crystallize my thoughts and to tell this particular story. It is a story illustrating how God works very quietly, yet powerfully in people’s lives today.

Most of us, if we reflect back on our lives, particularly on difficult or anxious times in our lives, will realize how God was actually walking along with us in our pain, was limiting our suffering, and was putting that suffering to good use.  He was definitely answering our prayers, provided we prayed.  This is the brilliance of God’s redemptive plan; that he transforms the evil perpetrated by Satan into good, provided we invite His help.  And what better invitation to God

Our Lady of Fatima can there be than the Rosary, the prayer which contemplates the life of Christ through His Mother Mary, whom He shared with us from His cross?

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13th.  This miraculous appearance of Our Lady in 1917 in Portugal is one of the most famous appearances of Our Lady, which skeptics would be hard-pressed to refute, given the remarkable evidence.  The miracles of Fatima were witnessed by 70,000 people, and were documented in the press.  The messages of Fatima predicted World War II and the Soviet domination of Russia.  Pope John Paul the Great, now Saint John Paul, attributed his survival of a near-fatal shooting on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981 (May 13), to Our Lady of Fatima.

And what was the message of Our Lady of Fatima?
In this apparition, the Blessed Mother declared herself “I am the Lady of the Rosary.”
The central message was to pray, to devote ourselves to the Holy Trinity, and to pray the Rosary every day, to bring peace to the world and an end to the war.
At Fatima, Our Lady gave us the Fatima prayer, which is often incorporated into prayer of the rosary:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.

My Story- What the Rosary Has Done for and Means to Me

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Slide1Here is the story Mary Pubished in the  May 8, 2014 issue of the Madison Catholic Herald, in the Mother’s Day section: Visit the Catholic Herald to see the article, or read an extended version below, which includes numerous photos.

Thank you so much Mary, and thank you so much Catholic Herald!

Extended Version

Why do I make rosaries, and what does the rosary mean to me?

The short answer is that I have discovered that the rosary is one of the most powerful ways that we can tap into the power of God, and I look for ways to share this discovery with others.

That might sound somewhat exaggerated and melodramatic, but those who are aware that historical battles have been won through the power of the rosary (such as Battle of Lepanto) might not be surprised that our own personal battles can be won through the power of the rosary as well.

Homeschooling Mom

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Copy of the Rosary made for me by my son

As a cradle Catholic I was taught to pray the rosary.  But my passion for the rosary, my desire to make rosaries, and my commitment to promoting prayer of the rosary began much later, while a homeschooling mother.

Our Holy Family Catholic Homeschoolers were being taught to make simple string rosaries at St. Michael’s in Dane many years ago, when my children, older than most in the group, took an interest, instead, in an old man sitting in the corner, quietly making chain rosaries for the Missions with a pair of pliers.

My 12-year-old son became so interested that he resolved to learn how to make chain rosaries, and eventually made a beautiful blue crystal chain rosary for me, a copy of which I still carry with me every day.

Experience in Hospital

DSCN6209

20 Decade Rosary (Olive wood from the Holy Land and St. Benedict Crucifix),made for son Chris when he was at seminary.

Soon after that, my son was struck by juvenile diabetes and was hospitalized, in very serious condition.  Since I stayed with him, the doctors asked me to wake him every hour all night long, to make sure that it was possible to wake him.

I lay on a cot next to him all night, but I doubt whether I got one minute of sleep.  I prayed the rosary in my pocket, which he had made for me, over and over again, and did not stop all night.

In the morning, the resident doctor told me that we were finally out of the woods, but that my son had come within a hair’s breadth of going in to a coma.

Back then, with less technology, the job of keeping oneself alive daily with juvenile diabetes by balancing insulin injections, food and exercise was a challenging one, and my 13-year-old son no longer had time to make rosaries.

I’m not sure why, because I don’t generally think in these terms, but it dawned on me that Satan probably wanted to stop a young man from making rosaries.

My reaction was to get mad, resolving quietly to myself that Satan was not going to stop us; if my son cannot make rosaries, I will make them instead.

Making Rosaries

So, I got my son to teach me, and I started making chain rosaries myself.

At first I made Mission rosaries to send overseas, and then I realized that Madison, Wisconsin also had a need for rosaries, so I made rosaries for anyone who was interested, free of charge.

DSCN5615sm

Rosaries made for Cathedral Parish

Today I still provide free rosaries for my parish (Cathedral parish in Madison), which welcomes new parishioners with a gift package containing among other things, a rosary.

Importance of Prayer

But there is more to the story. First of all, the anxiety and terror a parent naturally feels in the face of something like juvenile diabetes (JD) was gradually dispelled.

Our son has not had one single emergency room visit (common for most JD patients) now in 14 years, and is healthier and happier than most people are.

I now realize that when we walk with God, ordeals are not terrifying; they become easy.  What should be living hell, instead becomes a joy.

Prayer of the rosary, especially before the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration, has become an essential part of my spiritual life, and of my survival of the challenges of this life. In any crisis, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament brings resolution.

Rosary for the Bishop

Our family’s involvement with the rosary also took some other interesting turns.  Five years after I started making rosaries, I attempted to round up 31 women from the Madison Catholic Woman club to pray the rosary for our Madison Bishop Morlino, who was being attacked unfairly in the local media.

logo_blue_reflectedI wanted to organize one rosary to be prayed for Bishop Morlino each day of the month.  My son Tom, then an 18-year-old college student with an interest in computers, suggested that we put the Rosary for the Bishop program up online to facilitate membership, and he built a website for me –Rosary for the Bishop, http://rosaryforthebishop.org/.

Pretty soon, we added another great brave outspoken bishop to the website, who was in need of prayer. This was Bishop Nickless from Sioux City, Iowa.  We became aware of Bishop Nickless through our other son Chris, who was building and managing the local Catholic radio station in Sioux City.

Spreads Thoughout the World
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It was not long before Tom decided to add all the US bishops and our Pope to the Rosary for the Bishop website.  From there on, the Rosary for the Bishop website soon took on a life of it’s own.

Out of the blue, we got a request from the editor of the UK Catholic Herald to put all the UK bishops up on the website, and Rosary for the Bishop was featured in the UK Catholic Herald.

Slide1We also got requests from people in South Africa, from Australia, South America, and from various places in Europe.  Today, the Rosary for the Bishop website organizes global prayer of the rosary for bishops, with email reminders available, and with maps and statistics, for over 1580 members from 26 countries, 258 dioceses and from 1,001 parishes, who have prayed over 297,000 rosaries for 453 bishops globally since then.

Bishop Morlino now has over 500 rosaries prayed for him each month, and has had over 45,000 rosaries prayed for him through this program since it began in 2005.

It’s even become a challenge to keep the website updated with all the changes in bishop appointments, and we are currently looking for volunteer help.

My son, who was forced to quit making chain rosaries at age 12, is now a professional web developer who has facilitated global prayer of the rosary in a way I never imagined possible.

Rosary in Lithuanian

Over the years I became more and more aware of the power of the web.  With my Lithuanian roots, I had learned my prayers as a child in Lithuanian, and still pray the rosary in Lithuanian.

St. John Paul the Great Praying at Lithuania's Hill of Crosses, 1993

St. John Paul the Great Praying at Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses, 1993- his mother was of Lithuanian ancestry.

 

When I searched for Lithuanian prayers on the web, I was amazed to find that very few were available, and no audio was available at all.

The 50-year occupation of Lithuania by the Soviet Union following World War II had almost eradicated religious material from print, and this shortage was reflected online.

So I asked my son Chris, then operations manager of Catholic Relevant Radio in Madison, to record some Lithuanian rosary prayers, and I posted those on my website at www.SyteReitz.com.

Later, as this old lady became more “wired,” and as I got requests from people through the website, I recorded more Lithuanian prayers myself, and posted those as well.  Today, quite a few visitors download Lithuanian rosary prayers from my website.

(See free Lithuanian Rosary mp3s, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 2-16)

Rosary Resources

I also collected rosary resources from the web in English for my website.  I combined instructions on how to pray the rosary with sacred art and with Bible quotes for each of the mysteries, creating a detailed instruction manual.

Slide1A staff member from our parish suggested that I should turn that into a downloadable pdf for mobile devices, so guess what, my favorite web developer Tom was pressed into service again!

The free downloadable How to Pray the Rosary Mobile PDF is one of the most downloaded pages at http://sytereitz.com/2013/10/how-to-pray-the-rosary-mobile-pdf/ .

A Prayer for Children and for Popes

To me, the Rosary is one of the most powerful ways that Jesus Christ, through His Church and through His Blessed Mother, offers us to tap into the power of God through fervent prayer. The rosary invites us to prayer on many levels.  Beginning each decade with the Our Father given to us by Christ Himself, the rosary continues with other beautiful traditional Catholic prayers, which teach us many truths of the Faith. The rosary inspires us to reflect on the life of Christ, and ultimately invites us into contemplative meditation. The brilliance of the rosary is its adaptability to whatever level of spiritual maturity or frame of mind we are in, ranging from panicked repetition to collected meditation.  It is equally appropriate for children and for Popes.   With God, all things are possible, and our rosaries are always as close as our pockets.

The Beauty of the the RosaryDSCN5865sm

The realization that Jesus Christ is just as present, accessible, and willing to be involved in our lives today as He was 2,000 years ago, via something I carry in my pocket or count on my fingers, is something that I treasure and that I want to share with others.  Much as I value my own personal interaction with God, the cumulative talents of the Church and her tradition, as encompassed in the Holy Rosary, surpass any prayer I could personally compose.

Anybody who listens to Bach instead of composing their own melodies will be able to appreciate the availability of beautiful majestic prayer such as the Rosary, that comes from the Church’s 2000 year tradition and has received the stamp of approval from our Blessed Mother.

Even my husband Rolf, who is not Catholic, has encouraged our family in our devotion to the Rosary.  His support and his company at events like the Madison Capitol Rosary Rally for Religious Freedom have been most appreciated.

My favorite Rosaries

ChrisRebeccaRosary

Chris and Rebecca’s Rosary

On a personal note, some of the rosaries most precious to me include the rosary my son first made for me at the age of 12, the 20-decade Holy Land olive wood rosary I made for another son when he attended seminary, the rosary made by me which was buried with my brother 3 years ago, and the sterling silver and Swarovski pearl and crystal rosary I recently made for my son and his wife for their wedding, which they designed for use with their future children during family prayer.  I also treasure the thought that some of the other rosaries I have distributed might be instrumental in bringing others closer to Christ and to His Blessed Mother.

More Photos of My Rosaries:

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Stainless Steel Rosary

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Brown Cocoa Bean Rosary

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Rosaries for Cathedral Parish

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Large black religious habit rosary

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Fire polished glass, olive wood

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Rosary pliers and wire

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Fire Polished Glass

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 DSCN5651sm

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Olive Wood

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Brown Cocoa Beans

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 DSCN5628sm
 DSCN5625sm

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Blessed Mother Centers

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Sterling Silver, Swarivski Crystal and Pearl

ChrisRebeccaRosaryCloseUp

Sterling Silver, Swarovski Crystal and Pearl

 

 

How to Make a Rosary

Here are some resources that will help anyone interested in making wire rosaries:

Our Lady’s Rosary Makers HOW TO VIDEOS:

Part 1 –
Part 2 –
Part 3 –

TOOLS: Pliers and Wires
Rosary Maker’s Guide – http://www.rosarymakersguide.org/plierswires.htm

PDF instructions w/ diagrams
http://www.olrm.org/publications/pdf_files/wire_inst.pdf

How to Pray the Rosary: http://sytereitz.com/2013/10/how-to-pray-the-rosary/

How to Pray the Rosary mobile PDF :   http://www.sytereitz.com/2013/10/how-to-pray-the-rosary-mobile-pdf/

 

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for Us!

 

 

 

 

 

Adoration

130602-holyhour-hmed-3p.photoblog600Pope Francis invited all Catholics to join in a global Holy Hour of Adoration on Sunday, June 2, 2013, Corpus Christi Sunday, or Body of Christ Sunday. (More info on what adoration is below and at Explaining Adoration.)

The Pope’s Invitation

The Pope’s invitation received global response, and 77 Catholic parishes in the Diocese of Madison, WI alone, participated. Worldwide, there were probably hundreds of thousands of parishes participating.
It was a big deal, and a global deal.
Even secular  (non-religious) MSNBC reported, publishing a photo of participation in  Hanoi Hanoi 130602-holyhour-bcol-3p.photoblog600(below).

Media Reports (or Doesn’t)

Despite the fact that Catholicism is the largest religion in Madison, in Wisconsin and in the United States, Madison’s Wisconsin Sate Journal (WSJ) did not report on the historical global holy hour.  Clearly hostile to Catholicism, WSJ prefers to report on Catholic dissidents, often on as few as two of them,  rather than to report on thousands of Madisonians participating in a historical global prayer effort.

Historic Event of Biblical Proportions

The image of the entire world kneeling in adoration of Our Lord, led by the Pope, imploring God’s assistance, presents a picture of historical and Biblical significance.  It calls to mind events such as God’s call of Nineveh to repentance, or the miraculous Christian victory at the Battle of Lepanto, attributed to God’s intervention after massive prayer of the Rosary.

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The assembly of all Catholics in simultaneous global prayer represents no small effort.  There are about 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, and about 2,800 Catholic dioceses, so the number of  people participating in this global holy hour was likely in the millions. Pope Francis requested feedback on participation, so details on participation may soon be available.

Rome Reports:

 

Putting Religion into Context in 2013

The secular (non-religious) “progressive” world, i.e. Madison’s Wisconsin State Journal’s (WSJ) world, despite their minority status in the United States, views religion as archaic and primitive.  Their “enlightened” modernists ridicule religious beliefs and rituals, and try to reinterpret traditional belief in the light of new and modern philosophies.  WSJ articles either ignore the existence of religion altogether, or attempt to spin (not very subtly)  their reports to discredit proven and established religion.

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A short visit to the WSJ discussion forums demonstrates the lack of tolerance and the air of conceit exhibited by many Madison progressives who use the forums for anonymous hate-mongering, particularly hate-mongering directed at the Catholic Church.  A little participation in those forums (plus a bit of detective work) often reveals some major participants of those forums to be members, or even staff of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). To read those WSJ forums, one would think religion to be an embarrassing and primitive Medieval error, which has now been corrected by enlightened modernists, who are themselves the infallible source of all wisdom and knowledge.

Secular (Non-Religious) Culture: the Rule or the Exception?

In reality, these sceptic/atheists constitute only 10% of America.  And the angry, intolerant brand of atheist like FFRF constitutes only one out of 1,000 atheists, or one out of 10,000 Americans:

FreedomFromReligionFoundation

 

999 out of 1,000 atheists are tolerant, nice atheists, many of whom, according to Pope Francis, are candidates for salvation.  Too bad the squeaky wheel, FFRF, often gives them all a bad name.

What Americans Actually Believe

In the United States, the most educated and technologically advanced nation in the world, 90% of Americans believe in God, 82% of Americans pray regularly, and 47% pray daily.
Why would they do that?
Because it works.

St. Patrick's Cathedral NYC

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, the symbolic seat of American Catholicism, where Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass, and where Cardinal Dolan, the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops now serves. Catholicism is the largest religion in the United States; 25% of Americans are Catholic.

82% of Americans say that God answers their prayers.

The “enlightened” modernists would claim, of course, that the 82% of Americans who believe in God and who pray must be the primitive uneducated fools of America, while the 18% who do not believe in God and do not pray are the intelligent educated Americans.

But no.
There is no correlation between belief/unbelief in God and smarts or education.
Gallup polls tell us that 71% of Americans with postgraduate education believe that God is responsible for creating human beings (Gallup, 2010).
78% of all Americans (of any educational level) believe the same thing.
Only 16% of Americans believe in evolution without any involvement of God.

Proverbs 2

Proverbs 2:5-8

The knowledge of God comes from observation, experience, and common sense, and is available to the simplest of us.  That knowledge is not lost by those who are get some formal education.  We can all see that the sky is blue, whether we get graduate degrees or not.  The brainwashing that often does occur on modern US campuses and is carried out by progressive minorities, evaportes quickly as soon as college kids leave the campus environment and start experiencing real life.
You couldn’t get numbers like 82% and 78% if the progressive brainwashing in college lasted.

What Do Believers Do When the Going Gets Rough, and Does it Work?

So, despite what mass media tells us, despite what Hollywood and television shows us, despite what agenda progressive governments try to push in our schools and in our legislation, Americans continue to believe in God and to pray.

9-11 cross

When faced with powerful opposing forces, the now Progressive (previously Democrat) party, which tried to eliminate mention of God from their platform in the last election, desperately reaches for underhanded and unethical methods to win, believing that the ends justify the means. But those who believe in God and know that God’s power dwarfs our own, double down and pray.  Pray hard, and wait.

We pray, and prayer works. The Alinsky tactics of the radical left backfire, progressives fall into their own traps, the silent 82% majority starts organizing, and hope returns. We are now in the midst of witnessing the progressive Obama administration tripping on their own crooked Alinsky tactics, while conservative people of faith respect the rules of democracy, wait for the next election, and continue to pray.

A concerted global prayer effort in these difficult times is an even better idea than individual prayer.  The Catholic Church is one of the most populous and organized groups capable of of arranging concerted global prayer, and that is what our very wise Pope Francis has just arranged.

If you think that the prayer and peaceful activism of the last few  years are bearing fruit in unexpected ways today, with new Obama administration scandals surfacing almost daily and shocking even the mainstream (liberal) media, just wait until the fruits of this week’s Global Adoration begin to arrive.  The radicals who have tried to strong-arm America into expansion of national and global federally-funded abortion, redefinition of marriage, and Slide1violation of religious freedom, will stand no chance against a praying American electorate.

For Skeptics

A reminder for skeptics of the mysterious mechanisms behind global change–

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The demise of Communism and the end of the Cold War were not the result of politics, plans, troop movements, or elections.  The Soviet Union was brought to it’s knees in 1991 without bloodshed because it fell into it’s own traps, while two courageous religious men, Pope John Paul the Great and “born-again Christian” President Ronald Reagan, stood up for what was right, while Catholic Poland resisted peacefully, and while the world prayed. See The Holy Alliance.

Concerted prayer efforts work just as well in the 20th and 21st centuries as they did in Biblical and Medieval times; God is outside of time. Those who don’t know history do not know this.

Why Some Don’t Believe

We don’t want to dismiss those good people who lack faith, or the reasons for their lack of faith.  Those reasons can include a failure to understand why God does not always answer our prayers exactly the way we wanted Him to, and a failure to understand why God would permit evil to exist in the world.  These are important questions addressed elsewhere,  but can be summarized by making an analogy between God and a good parent.

My wayThe fact that God has not always given you what you want does not mean that He is not there, or that you cannot tap into His power if you approach Him the right way.  Presumably your parents did not always give you what you wanted, particularly if you did not approach them in the right way, and you have not concluded that your parents do not exist.

God might also, like a good parent, allow you to experience a limited brush with evil, if that inspires you to make a course correction which will transform the rest of your life.

One more factor contributing to lack of faith in the world can be “religious” people who fail to live up to their professed beliefs.  Religious people do make mistakes, much as math professors and doctors can make mistakes.  Their mistakes (sins) do not invalidate the truth and beauty of Christ’s message or of His Church, but they do give non-believers a bad image of that message.

One good resource on understanding evil and suffering: How to Make Sense of Suffering – Marguerite Duportal

What Was The Pope Calling Catholics to Pray For?

The intentions for which the Pope requested this global prayer were:

  • For the obedience of the Church so that she appear before the world as “beautiful,without spot or wrinkle,holy and without blemish.”
  • For victims of violence, drugs, human trafficking, economic insecurity and social marginalization.

Paraphrased, first for the holiness of the Church, so that the beauty of her message might be more apparent to the world, and also for the masses of humanity who are suffering from the sins of the world.

Violence, drugs, human trafficking, economic insecurity and social marginalization are all products of humanity’s violation of the Ten Commandments and of Christian morality.  They are products of sin.  If humanity did a better job of recognizing and following the wisdom and beauty of Judeo-Christian morality, human suffering would be reduced drastically.

No Whale Needed

No whale needed for Pope Francis. Unlike Jonah, he offers no resistance and does his job.

The misery and immorality of the present world resembles that of Nineveh in the Bible.  The solution is a return to God’s law. Pope Francis is a modern Jonah, calling us to get down on our knees and to make the necessary corrections.

What is this Seemingly Archaic Rite of “Adoration?”

The word archaic , often  used by progressives to describe the Catholic Church, her teachings and her ceremonies, can be interpreted in a negative or positive way, depending on one’s reference point.  A narcissistic modern attitude might define archaic as old, out of date, or irrelevant.  But a more broadminded modern approach would suggest that something that has survived 2,000 years successfully must be pretty advantageous and pretty awesome.  Evolutionism is, after all, a popular modern mechanism for appraisal of ideas.

If the Church has persisted for two thousand years, and 1.2 billion people subscribe to it today, this Church would only be archaic in the very positive sense of being ancient, being respected, and being awesome.  And despite what the media would like to tell you, the Catholic Church is treated with great reverence and respect worldwide.  Why else would the funeral of Pope John Paul the Great draw over four million mourners, many of them not Catholic, and draw the world’s largest gathering of statesmen from over 200 countries to Rome?

What about this archaic word “adoration?”

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Perpetual Adoration Chapel in Madison, WI

 Adore:
to regard with utmost esteem, love and respect; honor.
-to pay divine honor to; worship;
-to adore God.
-to like or admire very much: I simply adore the way your hair is done!
-to worship
Origin: Latin ad + orare to speak; to speak to

So to adore God is to esteem, love and respect God.
To adore God is also to speak to God, i.e. pray.
Those who believe in God, in the Creator of the Universe and source of all that is good, adore God and pray to God.
That would be 90% of Americans (who believe) and 82% of Americans (who pray).

Catholics have a special opportunity to adore/pray to God in person, or face-to-face, since they have the Real Presence of God available to them in the Eucharist, or in Holy Communion.  They have access to God personally and physically just as much as the apostles did 2,000 years ago. They have the Mass, they have Holy Communion, and they have Adoration, sometimes called Exposition, of the Blessed Sacrament.
Why settle for virtual conversation with God (without the physical Presence), when you can have a face-to-face conversation?

Finally, regarding the pomp and ceremony with which Catholics treat the Blessed Sacrament-
If you were to meet face-to-face with God (not the Queen, not the President, not your future spouse at the wedding altar, but GOD), how much dressing up, bowing, kneeling, and reverence do you think would be warranted?

 So How Did This Call to Global Adoration Look in Madison?

1 Global Adoration Madison Cathedral Parish

Bishop Morlino leads Adoration at Madison’s Cathedral Parish

In Madison, Bishop Robert Morlino responded to Pope Francis’ call for global Adoration by leading his Sunday congregation in Adoration for one hour before Sunday Mass, before the exposed Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance (the big gold thing holding the small white Communion host).  The hour included scripture readings, a homily, and silent prayer.  The Bishop’s (June 2) remarks will soon be available at Madison’s Cathedral Parish’s media archive.

Following the Holy Hour of Adoration, Mass was celebrated, and then the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession through the streets of Madison, to the Capitol Building, where Catholics have been gathering to pray frequently throughout the last year (Last Year’s Corpus Christi Sunday procession, Freedom of Religion Rallies, Rosary at the Capitol). Benediction (a blessing with the Holy Host in the monstrance) at the State Street steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol in downtown Madison concluded the ceremonies.

Thanks to Tom Reitz of Reitz Internet for these great photos, which are taken from Tom’s Facebook page:

2 Procession to Capitol

Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) procession begins after the Holy Hour and Mass

3 Christ in the Streets of Madison

Christ, truly present in the Communion Host inside the gold monstrance, is carried through the streets of Madison

4 Knights of Columbus lead procession

Knights of Columbus lead the procession

5 Moving toward the Capitol

Christ approaching the Wisconsin State Capitol, alongside Ride the Drive bicyclists on June 2, 2013

6 on Capitol Square

On Capitol Square in downtown Madison

7  of Incense

Lots of Incense

8 Christ on the Streets of Madison

Christ on the streets of Madison, WI

9 On Capitol Square2

Processing on Capitol Square

10 Up the State Street Steps

Climbing up the State Street Steps

11 Processing up the Capitol Steps

Corpus Christi at the Wisconsin State Capitol Building

12 View down State Street

Looking down towards State Street

13 At the Capitol

At the Wisconsin State Capitol

15 Incensing the Monstrance

Bishop Morlino incensing the Monstrance

16 Benediction

Benediction
(Blessing Madison and it’s people)

See also an article about this event by Sofia Guerra at  AlwaysCatholic.com.

 

Prayer Can Work Miracles

ny-times-building-660-APNow, almost a week after the Global Adoration event, followed by worldwide Corpus Christi processions, a minor miracle occurred in the New York Times:  the New York Times took President Obama to task for his abuse of power, stating that the Obama administration has “lost all credibility.”  (NYT Article here.)

Of course, skeptics will correctly point out that cause and effect are hard to prove when it comes to prayer, but in one humble Catholic’s opinion, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, when it comes to the fruits of Global Adoration.
What worked for Reagan and for Pope John Paul II in 1991 (turning to God) will work for Pope Francis in 2013.
I’m bracing for the ride.
It should be a good one!

thorpestealth460

 

 

Americans Pray for Freedom Across the Nation

Or

Fortnight For Freedom

Or

Come and Join Us!

 (Fortnight for Freedom, 7PM July 21st, 2012, at the Wisconsin State Capitol, on the State Street steps.) 

Background

The First Amendment

President Obama’s Contraceptive Mandate has violated the First Amendment, depriving Catholics in the United States of their freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, by forcing Catholics institutions to provide abortifacient pills to employees of Catholic institutions, forcing Catholics by law to do something Catholics believe to be morally wrong.

Women’s Issue?

This is not a “women’s health” issue, because the pills are as affordable as aspirin, tissues, and other medical supplies which have often been considered “over-the-counter,” and which have frequently not been covered by insurance policies in the past.  In fact, women use numerous products that are not, and are not likely ever to be covered by insurance, including cosmetics, lotions and sanitary products.  All of the “services” covered by the “Contraceptive Mandate” are extremely affordable, and any woman who can afford aspirin or a meal at McDonald’s can afford to pay for these items herself.

By choosing to mandate (to require by law) the free provision of abortifacient pills, the Obama administration is not trying to help women.  The administration is trying to place financial strain on the Catholic Church, which is one of the largest and strongest opponents of the Obama administration’s “social” agenda.  If Obama succeeds in pushing through ObamaCare and the Contraceptive Mandate, Catholic institutions will be forced by their conscience, like Saint Thomas More, to break the law.  Cathoilics will be forced into civil disobedience, into not providing abortifacient services, and then into paying $2,000 yearly penalties per employee, which are estimated to bankrupt most Catholic institutions within two years. Goodbye Catholic universities, Catholic High Schools, Catholic Grammar Schools, Catholic hospitals, Catholic soup kitchens, Catholic adoption agencies, etc., etc.  Goodbye the role that Catholics and their institutions have played in our national life since the birth of this nation.

Hello, one more segment of the economy that the Obama administration can take over, in addition to health care and General Motors.  Also, a blow to the Catholic Church, the largest (25% of Americans are Catholic), most organized and strongest institution involved in opposing the Obama administration’s “social” agenda, particularly abortion.  Two birds with one stone.  Isn’t the Obama administration wickedly clever!?

Obama’s strategy

The Obama administration’s biggest agenda, both nationally and worldwide, is abortion.  But they have realized from recent polls that Americans are increasingly opposed to abortion, and now a majority of Americans cannot be relied upon to support Obama’s, Hillary’s and Sebelius’ national and global abortion agenda.  To understand why abortion is so important to these people, see Abortion: a Much Bigger Deal Than You Think.

Since Americans are no longer likely to support the abortion agenda, the abortion agenda must be sneaked in under a less controversial issue, such as contraception. By sneaking in abortifacients under the phrase “Contraceptive Mandate,” the Obama administration hopes to get the support of the American majority against the Catholic Church.  It also hopes to divide the Catholic Church, and thus to reduce the power of the Catholic Church, rendering it less able to oppose Obama’s “social” (translated: moral) issues, such as abortion, gay marriage, and government funding of numerous medical strategies that facilitate promiscuity and discourage or demote traditional family life. Divide and conquer.  Isn’t the Obama administration wickedly clever!?

So Now, What’s Happening?

Americans Are Praying

So what do we do when the wicked set snares for us?

People praying the the Wisconsin State Capitol on Corpus Christi Sunday, June 10, 2012

Good Christians pray for God’s help:

For my eyes are upon you, O Lord,
in you I take refuge; do not take away my soul.
Guard me from the trap they have set before me,
From the snares of evildoers.
Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While only I pass over them safely.
– Psalm 141:8-10

When and Where?

Starting Tomorrow!

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has organized a national 2-week prayer effort, the Fortnight for Freedom, which starts tomorrow, June 21st, 2012.  It begins on the feasts of St. Thomas More  and St. John Fisher, who gave their lives for religious freedom. The Fortnight for Freedom ends on July 4th, our American Independence Day.

The bishops have called us to focus “all the energies the Catholic community can muster” for religious liberty during this time.
Special prayers, novenas, Masses, rosaries, and concerted ringing of Church bells, are planned.  Friday, June 28th, the Priestly Ordination Mass will be dedicated to Religious Freedom through Fortnight for Freedom:

Diocese of Madison, WI announcements, events and details (click).

USCCB National announcements, events and details (click).

What’s Going On in Madison?

In Madison, this begins with a Capitol Rosary Rally on Thursday, June 21st, 2012, at the Wisconsin State Capitol at 7:00 PM, on the State Street Steps of the Capitol Building.
Madison’s Bishop Morlino will join the first rosary event.

Rosary rallies will be held at the Madison Capitol every Thursday at 7 PM, through November 1st, 2012, until the General election.

Come and Join Us!

Come to help us Catholics pray, or come to watch, or come just to lend Catholics moral support.  You don’t have to pray the rosary to attend; you only have to be in support of religious freedom for all Americans, and be willing to ask God’s help.  Catholics happen to be the largest religious denomination in the United States, and are thus able to organize, but all who support religious freedom are welcome to attend.

Why Pray? Why the Rosary?

Catholics have found the Rosary to be a particularly powerful form of prayer throughout the ages.  The victory of Christian forces which prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was attributed to Pope Pius V’s call for all of Europe to pray the rosary.  The Christian fleet was at a material disadvantage, and the Turkish fleet had superior numbers, yet the Christian fleet won.

At the hour of victory, Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and exclaimed with supernatural radiance: “The Christian fleet is victorious!” and shed tears of thanksgiving to God.  – EWTN library 

The Battle of Lepanto was first celebrated liturgically as “Our Lady of Victory,” and was later renamed “Our Lady of the Rosary.”

Aside: to address some of the misinformation out there about Catholics, Catholics do not worship or deify Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.  They simply ask her assistance in pleading with her Son Christ, much as a child might ask their mother’s intercession when they ask their father for something.  Catholics presume that Christ has a soft spot in His heart for his Mother.

Isn’t the Rosary a repetitive prayer condemned by the Bible?

Pope John Paul II: “The rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at a heart a Christ-centered prayer. It has all the depth of the gospel message in its entirety. "

No, the Rosary is not simply a repetitive prayer.  It is a complex form of meditation, in which many of the events of Christ’s life and passages from the New Testament are contemplated.  The Rosary is a prayer that gives structure to the complex series of meditations that are going on in the hearts and minds of those who are reciting the rosary.

The Bible passage most often quoted by those who object to the rosary is Matthew 6:7, which objects to “empty phrases” and to “vain repetitions.” Neither of these applies to the rosary, which is neither empty nor vain.  Jesus Christ Himself used serious repetitive prayer during the Agony in the Garden (Matthew 26:39-44) and Christ instructed people to be persistent in their prayer (Luke 18:1-8).  More information.

Americans Have Been Praying
Before this Most Recent Effort

Americans have been praying for our government for quite some time now.  Many denominations are organizing and praying; please send in prayer programs and references if you want them added to this list.  Most of my references are Catholic, since that is what I know best.

Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies across the U.S.

March 23, 2012 Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally, also Madison’s Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally

Madison’s novena prior to the June 8, 2012 Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally

National headcount for June 8, 2012 Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies

Interfaith Novena:  – 9 days of interfaith prayer leading up to the June 8, 2012 Stand Up For Religious Freedom rally.

When will the media do their job, report on these national grass roots events, and give poor me a vacation from trying to compensate for their news blackouts?

Hey, Wisconsin State Journal (and all the rest of the media out there): I searched your site for “Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally” and it came up with Your search did not yield any results.
Really. Not surprised.
We’ll include some prayers for conscientious reporting by the U.S. media tomorrow, too.

.

Hat’s off to some media who do have articles on the Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rallies or Fortnight For Freedom this week:

.

Catholic Free Press
National Catholic Reporter
Family Institute of Connecticut Blog
Colorado Catholic Herald
AfricanAmreicanConservatives
TheCatholic Commentator……
added : WALL STREET JOURNAL just covered Fortnight for Freedom
added: CNS News covers Forthnight for Freedom

…. mostly religious, small and/or conservative organizations.

.

.

.

.

.

Boo to ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN; 160,000 people have been rallying in 161 cities across the US for religious freedom, and ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN gave us a news blackout.

Expecting a media blackout again for Fortnight for Freedom, but God plans to listen.

 

 Remember: Come to the Fortnight For Freedom, 7PM Thursday, June 21st, 2012, on the State Street steps of Wisconsin’s Capitol Building in Madison!

 

Added after the event: Some AUDIO resources for those who are interested in understanding what is in the Mandate and why the Catholic Church is concerned:

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