Syte Reitz

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

Browsing Posts tagged Pope Francis

Elections 2016 (and 2014)


Taming the Black Swan


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.


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.


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?

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.


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.”


(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?

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

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


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?




Setting the Record Straight II-
CNN Criticizes ‘Lavish’ Archbishop Residences


CNN Versus the Catholic Church

-dedicated to Saint John Paul II, whose first feast day as a Catholic Saint is celebrated today!


Sociology 101


Status Symbols

Like it or not, status and the symbols associated with status play crucial roles in society.

  • Wealth in the form of cars, houses and fine clothing  elicits respect in a commercial society.
  • Battle scars, medals and rank elicit respect in a military society.
  • Publications in erudite journals reflect status in an academic 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 Respect

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.

  • A gold watch might be given to a faithful employee upon retirement.
  • A bouquet of roses is be given to a sweetheart or to a mother.


    Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City

  • Magnificent buildings are constructed for societal institutions–
    the World Trade Center was a symbol of America’s flourishing economy,
    the monuments of Washington, D.C. reflect our respect for government,
    European Cathedrals testify to Christian Europe’s devotion to God and to Faith,
    and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City reflects the reverence New York Catholics had for their Faith in 1858 when it was built.

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.

CNN Attacks Catholic Symbols of Respect

Archbishop's Residence adjacent to St. Patrick's Cathedral Think Pope Benedict stayed here?

Archbishop’s Residence adjacent to St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Could Pope Benedict have stayed here?

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.

Cardinal Dolan’s Living Quarters


CNN would like Cardinal Dolan demoted to less impressive living quarters

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!

Why is CNN Attacking the Catholic Church, Anyway?

Slide1Why is CNN attacking the Church?

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.

So Where Does Ted Turner Live?

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.Slide1

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.

Why Would Mr. Lavish Criticize Archbishops’ Residences Which Are So Much Humbler Than His Own?Slide1

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.

Ted Turner’s Revision of the Ten Commandments

Slide1Richard Branson, business magnate and friend of Ted Turner, describes Ted Turner’s philosophy like this:

“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.

Ted Turner Talks Summarizing Why CNN Criticizes the Residences of Catholic Archbishops

  • Ted Turmer, founder and owner of CNN, hates the 10 Commandments and hates the Catholic Church.
  • Ted Turner has even suggested replacing the 10 Commandments with 11 Initiatives of his own.
  • Ted Turner clearly resents the teachings and the moral authority of the Catholic Church and of her Archbishops, and would like to replace religious authorities with the United Nations, where he himself has status.
  • This is why Ted Turner routinely attacks the symbols of respect which the world awards to the Catholic Church.
  • Ted would like to be less biased in his bellicose attacks toward religion, but Catholicism is his favorite target due to the size of it’s membership, high degree of organization ( hence attacking Archbishops) and global influence.ROSARY IS 'FAVORITE PRAYER' OF POPE JOHN PAUL II


Saint John Paul II, Pray for us!


The Rosary, Saint John Paul’s favorite prayer:

Free downloadable mobile PDF – How to Pray the Rosary.




A Contagious Passion for God

Slide1An  Ursuline Sister on The Voice Italia !

Even the ultra-liberal Huffington Post was wowed by a young Italian nun’s passionate belting out of the Alicia Keys love song No One at The Voice Italia (Voice of Italy)  singing competition last week.  The Judges, who vote “yes” by swiveling their chairs around to see the performer when they like what they are hearing, displayed priceless surprise and emotion when they set eyes on 25 year old Sister Cristina Scuccia, an Ursuline Sister of the Holy Family, dressed in a black habit and silver cross, delivering her performance. One tattooed judge’s eyes were glistening, and he wiped tears away clandestinely before telling Sister Cristina “If I had met you during the Mass when I was a child, now I would be Pope!  I would surely have attended all the functions.”  Sister Cristina replied “Well, you have met me now.”..

The Rapper



When time came for Sister Cristina to choose a voice coach from among the judges, she chose that tattooed judge, who had been first to turn around, who told Sister Cristina “We, together, are the Devil and the Holy Water!  You have to choose me,” and who turns out to be the Italian rapper J-Ax.  In response to her choice, J-Ax ran up onto the stage, grabbed and lifted the nun, swinging her around dramatically before putting her down again.

The Video

Watch the video- through to the end- and make sure to click the CC closed captioning at the bottom of the screen after the video starts to play to get English subtitles (video in Italian).  This video has gone viral, with over 33 million views in less than a week:

Why Did She Do This?

Saint Peter

Saint Peter

When asked why she was there at Voice Italia, Sister Cristina said “I have a gift and I am giving it to you.  Shouldn’t things be this way?” – paraphrasing 1Peter 4:10, in which Peter says “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Sister Cristina also told the judges she was there to evangelize.

Where Does the Passion Come From?

Few have speculated on where the Sister’s obvious passion and energy come from, focusing instead on the Sister’s talent and surprising choice of song and forum. The words of the Alicia Keys love song No One, however, sung so passionately that it brought tears to a tattooed Italian rappers eyes, could easily be understood as the passion of this bride of Christ for her Groom Jesus Christ; a passion for God which can match and exceed any possible passion between human beings, a passion that has given numerous saints throughout the ages the strength to face death:

No One

I just want you close
Where you can stay forever
You can be sure
That it will only get better
You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don’t worry ’cause
Everything’s gonna be alright
People keep talking
They can say what they like
But all I know is
Everything’s gonna be alright
And no one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you
Can get in the way of what I feel for you
When the rain is pouring down
And my heart is hurting
You will always be around
This I know for certain
You and me together
Through the days and nights
I don’t worry ’cause
Everything’s gonna be alright
People keep talking
They can say what they like
But all I know is
Everything’s gonna be alright
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you, you, you
Can get in the way of what I feel
I know some people search the world
To find something like what we have
I know people will try, try to divide something so real
So till the end of time, I’m telling you that in the world
No one, no one
Can get in the way of what I’m feeling
No one, no one, no one
Can get in the way of what I feel for you
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh


New Evangelization, here we come!


Pope Francis’ down to earth “field hospital” attitude, and now Sister Cristina’s “soulful performance,” are pointing the way for an engaged and passionate evangelization that stuns and attracts, and in which we are all called to participate.

Going Viral

The remarkable story was reported everywhere-

There was much surprise, much discussion, and she trended on Twitter after her unbelievable performance, with many Italians sowing their love for “#suorcristina” (Sister Cristina).
Less than a week later, one video of Sister Cristina’s performance has already had over 31 million views.

You Tube EvangelizationSlide1

How’s that for evangelization?

As always, God works in the most mysterious and unexpected ways, touching the most unexpected people, and using the most unexpected means.

No committee on evangelization could have come up with wowing J-Ax on TV with a song belted out by a religious sister wearing a habit and a cross.

Choice of Song

Just wait until they ask Sister Cristina about her choice of song!

When asked about her choice of song, perhaps Sister Cristina will refer them to Psalm 62(63),which expresses feelings remarkably similar to those expressed in Alicia Key’s song, only they are directed at God:

Thirsting for God

O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.


A Local Plug for the New Evangelization

And now,  a plug for some passionate local Madison, WI Catholic rock music by Oremus (Latin for Let us pray) from 2007:

Oremus Catholic Rock
Holy Mary You Tube performance
Grapevine Magazine article
Free player and downloads

Oremus album at iTunes
Oremus album at CD Baby
Song of Benedict single at iTUnes
Song of Benedict single at CD Baby



The Holy Season of Lent: Time for Bashing Catholics in Madison Wisconsin


The Wisconsin State Journal Defiles Itself Again

Common Knowledge

rapunzel-warriors-attack-cartoon-miscellanea-686632-1024x640It is common knowledge among people of faith that “enlightened” irreligious progressives who do not engage in customary Lenten spiritual sacrifice/self-improvement, frequently spend Lent attacking Christians and attacking the Catholic Church in the media and elsewhere.

Why? Anybody’s guess.  Too much free time?  Subconscious guilt?  Satan preying on undisciplined minds and spirits?  Conscious exercise of Alinsky Tactics by progressives who want to damage the reputation of the Church?|

After all, the Catholic Church is the largest, most organized and most effective opponent of the radical agenda in the world today, and Madison, home of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the place where embryonic stem cell research was developed and patented, is not a welcoming place for Catholics or for their philosophy.

Predictable Lenten Attacks

So, in predictable fashion, Lenten attacks against Catholics have been escalating in progressive Progressive tactics

Madison in recent weeks, led by the Wisconsin State Journal (WiSJ), which seems bent on self-destruction, like it’s partner publication the Cap Times, which is no longer available in print.

The Wisconsin State Journal just published an interview with Madison’s Bishop Morlino about Pope Francis’ teachings.  Although not biased in itself, the interview spawned vicious online discussion attacks on the Bishop, with “enlightened,” highly educated and “tolerant” Madisonians dredging up old false myths and accusations against the Catholic Church, denigrating Madison’s Bishop, and even ridiculing Catholic liturgical vestments.

Unbiased, or Set Up to Spike?

This Wisconsin State Journal’s “unbiased” interview actually only looked unbiased to those uninitiated to Madison and it’s WiSJ. The interview article was actually a set up, like a volleyball play set up by one player for another to spike the ball.  Once the interview was placed by 0420-1007-3011-4011_man_spiking_a_volleyball_over_the_net_oreporter A (Doug Erickson, who incidentally tried just last month to associate the Bishop of Madison falsely with child abuse allegations elsewhere in the US), attackers followed.  The attackers included a second WiSJ reporter B (Chris Rickert), who ridiculed the Bishop’s interview and questioned his motivations in a second article, in which Rickert presumed to know the mind of God.  The Editor John Smalley participated by publishing three letters from angry readers ( 1,  2,  3 ) who attacked the Bishop and the Diocese.  And finally, attackers included the “regulars;” anonymous Madisonians who attack the Catholic Church, the Diocese, and the Bishop routinely in the discussion forums after each WiSJ article published about Catholics.  These “regulars” include Madison’s biggest bullies hiding their true identities behind screen names, lacking the courage to spread their hateful slander undisguised.

Obama Sets Up and Spikes

This set-up-and-spike tactic is not uncommon among progressives; it was the very tactic used by President Obama to attack the Catholic Church in the early planning stages of ObamaCare.  President Obama invited Cardinal Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic dolan-obamaBishops to the White House, assured him that ObamaCare will respect the religious rights of Catholic institutions, invited Cardinal Dolan to relay the message to the other bishops to put the Catholic Church at ease, unprepared for what was coming next.  The axe fell a few months later, when President Obama issued the Contraception Mandate, to which many other groups were exempt, but to which the Catholic Church received no exemption, thus requiring Catholic institutions to violate their religious beliefs or be punished financially and cripplingly by law.

At present, President Obama is fighting 91 Religious Liberty lawsuits, and the Vatican’s Chief Justice, Cardinal Burke, has declared that Obama’s policies are “Progressively More Hostile Toward Christian Civilization.”

Slide1Intolerant Progressive Dogmatist Attacks

So these set-up-and-spike tactics are not new to progressive politics.  Not too surprising, for a group that advocates free birth control and promiscuity, followed by abortion which perpetrates eugenics, lack of fiscal accountability either in government or in citizenry, and numerous other unethical policies which violate the Ten Commandments and the Constitution of the United States.   The WiSJ simply appeared to be mimicking President Obama in it’s use of tactics against the Catholic Church.

Second Round of Attack – Who Ridicules Victims of Arson?
Stations of the Cross?

The above series of attacks stemming from the interview with Bishop Morlino about the Pope was then followed by reporter B’s (Chris Rickert’s) publishing a very disrespectful piece about the Diocese of Madison’s burnt down Cathedral site in Madison, which now houses a temporary outdoor Stations of the Cross until the economy permits the rebuilding of a Cathedral

Chris Rickert

Who ridicules? Chris Rickert does

downtown.   In this second round of attacks, Rickert failed to even mention that the plot of land had housed a Cathedral burned down by arson, he showed no sympathy for his fellow Christians (he actually claimed to be a Christian in the piece!) for the tragic loss of their Cathedral, and made wise-cracks about the tax-ability of the land, suggested its use for public bathrooms, lamented that the land was not used for soup kitchens, Girl Scout and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and suggested it would be more useful for tossing a football or for “smooching under the stars.”

If Rickert is truly a Christian, he could look into some Lenten spiritual self-improvement rather than ridiculing the Stations of the Cross during Lent.

Professional Journalism, or Professional Suicide?

a9780a28cc69ed355daac0804dc7b679ab81beac_fullThe level of misinformation and disrespect delivered by Rickert’s piece was pretty remarkable for someone who claims to be a journalist and claims to have a “laser-like perspective.”  More remarkable is the fact that his editor, John Smalley, allowed it to be published. Finally, most remarkable of all, is the fact that the second largest newspaper in Wisconsin publishes such literary offal.  Offal which insults the 25% Catholic population of Madison, of Wisconsin and of the United States.  All the while claiming to be a mecca of tolerance, intellectualism and enlightenment.

The Wisconsin State Journal is likely to go the way of other progressive organizations that have imploded from their own boomeranging tactics.  That would include the Capital Times of Madison which abandoned print editions in 2008, and the plunging ratings of MSNBC, CNN, and even of President Obama himself, whose lies and misrepresentations are coming home to roost, both at home and abroad.

More Disgruntled Progressives During Lent

Wisconsin State Journal is not alone in their nefarious activities this Lent.  Apparently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison also got a bee in it’s bonnet over religion recently.  They were incensed to hear that (Christian) Governer Scott Walker tweeted a scripture reference recently  (Philipians 4:13), and demanded removal of the tweet.  The scripture verse reads “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”Slide1

Why would the Freedom From Religion Foundation be in such a quandary over the tweeting of a scripture reference?  Because the scripture reference summarizes the Power of Religion and alerts people to the fundamental reason why Freedom From Religion wants eradication of religion from public life—the fact religion advocates an inviolable moral code, which places limits on the actions in which all, including the powerful, can engage. The Freedom of Religion Foundation is terrified of nice men who are powerful; for politicians, these men are dangerous.  Such men include Pope Francis and Scott Walker.  In actual fact, the Freedom From Religion Foundation represents only 1 out of thousand atheists, and only one out of 10,000 Americans, so they do not represent a serious threat to the rest of 80% Christian America, unless we allow ourselves to be bullied into submission by a pathetic and angry minority.  Most atheists (999 out of 1,000) are quite happy to coexist with Christians without demanding to control their tweets.

Have a Good Productive Lent, Everyone

holy-redeemer-churchSo, as the disgruntled media and progressives continue their customary attacks on Christians in Madison this Lent, let’s remember that Religion is Power, and including God in the plan helps us to win the war.  Our opponents can attack and sputter as much as they want during Lent, but as Governor Walker reminds us, in Christ, we can do all things.  Lent is our training camp, the Way of the Cross is our salvation, and the Resurrection and Easter are not just symbolic; they are very, very real.Slide18-e1376614703643-300x190

No wonder the Enemy is sputtering at the approach of Lent and Easter each year!

Have a good and spiritually productive Lent, everyone!

Praise be to God!



Want to Complain?


Want to Pray for Our Bishops?Slide1

Check out the cool global map  at Rosary for the Bishop, a website organized in 2005 to help support Bishop Morlino against the attacks he was suffering in Madison, and which now coordinates 1580 members from 258 dioceses and from 996 parishes, who have prayed 278,300 rosaries for 456 bishops globally since then.

Join the effort by signing up to pray as little as one rosary per month for the bishop of your choice. Note: Pope Francis is also a bishop, and you can sign up to pray for him.

Against odds like this, Chris Rickert, Doug Erickson and the Wisconsin State Journal have little chance.


See what happened the last time we took to global prayer: Making Sense of Syria.











Questions from Michael- What’s So Great About Catholicism?- Why Does God Permit Misery and Evil?

Using the contact me link at the top of my webpage, Mike sent me the following question:

Hello, miss.  I’d like to ask you some questions, if I may.  Why do you assume a person has a political agenda when he or she comments on the church?  Are religion and politics intertwined?  Did God say they are?  
It’s my personal belief that politics are disgusting, for the most part, and relating the church to politics soils the church in every way.  Politicians are paid to lie, but of course the church doesn’t lie, does it?
Reading your opinion on matters, I took from you that anyone who even questions the Catholic religion is a hate speaker.  Am I wrong?  Right?
And the truth that you so passionately speak of, which I do appreciate, for not many people believe in anything anymore- how do you claim that your beliefs are the truest?  You have no proof, you have nothing that says truth besides what a group of men said was true thousands of years ago.  

Slide1Finally, one last thing, a thing that no theologian or Christian believer has EVER been able to answer- why does God let children be raped and/or killed?  Why does God let wars happen so frequently and so willingly?  Why does God let supposed “Christians” murder homosexuals and set aflame the very cross they pretend to worship?  Why does God let groups of happy teenagers die in car accidents and leave their parents and families to grieve for the rest of their natural lives?  Why does God let hearts die of grief?  Will hearts be healed only if they give themselves to Him?  If not, are ordinary, decent people left to rot in sadness if they don’t believe? Why does God let darkness overcome the lives of happy people?  Why does God leave people abandoned and ill?  Why does God let people abuse animals?  Why does God let children be hit, abused and used, treated like garbage, burned, whipped, starved, etc..
Why does God just let things go as if there’s nothing wrong with you, me and the entire world?
Why does everyone just say free will and God will judge?  It seems like you do a whole lot of judging on your own. God is supposed to be GOOD.  I don’t know a damn person worth knowing who wouldn’t take their own lives before allowing any of those sad things to happen.

I know I didn’t make my questions easy to answer, being that they are mostly in paragraph form, but if you’re a true Christian, I’d imagine you’d take the time to answer it all, honestly, as a human being.

Syte Answers

Dear Mike,

You have asked so many questions, the reply could fill books!

Some Humor

Before I start with the serious reply, I have to inject some humor provided by my husband over coffee this morning.  As I told him of your questions, Rolf suggested I answer your last question first, regarding why God permits evil.  Explaining that, he said, would clarify some of your subsequent questions on the existence of politics and politicians!

The Questions

Jesus, Apostes, Scripture, Handing the Keys to Peter

Jesus, Apostes, Scripture, Handing the Keys to Peter

But back to your questions, in the order in which you asked them.  Thank you for your interest, and I will make a stab at answering you.
Let me also say that I am not the expert, just one Catholic who loves Christ and loves my Church.
If you want better expert answers, you should talk to a good Catholic priest and look at some good Catholic books/media.
Contact me again via my contact form if you want suggestions, and mention the city you live in if you want suggestions for resources.

Politics and Religion

Mike, you claim that I assume that a person commenting on the church has a political agenda.   I often do assume that, because I live in Madison, WI, where politics and religion are very intertwined, and where very liberal (“progressive”) politicians and media do routinely misrepresent and attack the Catholic Church unfairly.  Defending my Church against the media in Madison and against hateful people, including the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, who attack my Church both publicly and in discussion forums with name calling and lies, was the initial reason why I started my blog. One of the first categories created in my blog was “Don’t Diss My Church.”
I don’t know where you are from, but perhaps you have noticed that prejudice against the Catholic Church is the last acceptable prejudice, and seems to be fair game for ridicule and misrepresentation, especially by media and on university campuses nationwide?

Church_StatePolitics and religion ARE actually very intertwined, whether we like it or not.
Politicians make laws – are we allowed to kill, are we allowed to steal, are we allowed to perform abortions, how much of our paycheck are politicians entitled to take in taxes?
Religion addresses what is right and wrong- from the perspective of what God has informed us, like the Ten Commandments, and also from the perspective of Reason, which is why we have an institution of experts in philosophy and ethics, called the Church, to help us determine what is right and what is wrong in every age.
So our beliefs on what is right and wrong, in a democracy, determine what laws we pass, and religion and politics become inextricably intertwined, whether we like it or not.

Religion is Power

Politics also becomes intertwined with religion because politicians recognize that Religion is Power, and they do their best to stamp it out. History books are filled with the persecutions of religious people, and numerous despots have tried to eradicate religion, because religious people try to tell the politicians what is right and what is wrong, and to limit what politicians can do.  Religion also gives people the courage to do what you suggested– to risk their lives to correct injustices, knowing that the power of God is behind them and that one righteous man can change history.

Even Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous atheist, just acknowledged that Pope Francis is dangerous because “We don’t want nice men in the Vatican.”  Nice men like Pope John Paul II and President Reagan can topple political empires.  John Paul II and President Reagan did  just that with the Soviet Union, dissolving the empire without war. ( Time Magazine’s Holy Alliance.)
David, from the Biblical account of David and Goliath, was also a “nice man” who brought down the Philistine army.  An illustration for all of us of what a principled conscience combined with courage can accomplish.

Religion in the World Today

The Pope often holds more sway in global politics than Presidents and Dictators do, as evidenced by Pope Francis’ taking on of President Obama during the  recent Syria crisis.  The Pope has no army, no nukes, 135 Swiss Guards, and who just won against the Obama Administration?  Pope Francis.  One minute we were about to bomb Syria, the next minute Secretary of State Kerry makes a gaffe, Putin positions himself as a savior, and the Syrian crisis is over!  (One very cool thing about God is his wickedly keen sense of humor.)

Swiss Guards

Vatican Swiss Guards

What does the Pope have that President Obama does not have? Moral authority, the ability to request prayer from 1 billion people, and the ear of God.
Wait, don’t we all have the ear of God?  Doesn’t President Obama have the ear of God?
Not according to Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous atheist, who claims that President Obama is an atheist.
And even if Richard Dawkins were to be wrong, if President Obama is not praying for something that is good, he will get no Divine assistance.

The threat that religions hold for politics is still evident in the United States today, as we citizens try to tell our politicians in Washington to be honest and responsible, and as Washington tries to muzzle the voice of the Catholic Church (the most centralized and organized of the Christian opposition) to restrict the religious freedoms of Christians.  Christians who oppose paying for the agonizing dismemberment of  a million infants in the womb each year.  Dismemberment in the womb is no different from the grisly drawing and quartering of tyrants in England, legal until 1867.  The fact that the infants cannot scream in the womb does not diminish the pain or grisliness of abortion.

Those Christians who have moral objections to abortion have now lost their religious freedom in the U.S., since the government has unilaterally decreed (without input from citizens) that abortion will be included in ObamaCare, which is universally required.  The original ObamaCare bill, when first passed, did NOT include abortion.  Abortion, in the form of the HHS (contraception and abortifacient) Mandate, was added later, unilaterally, by left wing politicians, against he wishes of 72% of the American population, who oppose the funding of abortions through any federally run health plan.

Your Judgements


What is Truth?

You stated some extreme judgements, which it’s tempting to agree with when I’m feeling emotional, but I must point out that they are exaggerated.
Not all politicians lie.
Not all members of the Church tell the truth.
All human groups include a variety of members, good, bad and in-between.
I do NOT claim that anyone who questions the Catholic religion is a hate speaker.  If questions are polite, as yours are, I welcome them. If “questions” involves ridicule and calling the Church primitive and medieval, as they often do in Madison, WI, I do claim that reflects a certain degree of hatred.  Does anybody in 2013, particularly “tolerant” liberals in “tolerant” Madison, call women, blacks, native Americans, the Dalai Lama, gays, or anybody else “primitive and medieval?”
That same modern tolerance (in the absence of a double standard) should be extended to the Church founded by Jesus Christ, which represents the largest religion on earth, upon whose principles the legal systems of Western civilization have been based, and which has provided a successful voluntary framework for global charity, healthcare and education for two thousand years, way before feeble secular attempts at charity systems such as ObamaCare were proposed.
Aside:  If President Obama were not so busy trying to stamp out religion, the very charity that he is trying to provide through ObamaCare would continue to be provided by the churches of America.  Now, the ability of churches to do charity work is being shackled by government regulation, and Christian hospitals, adoption agencies and universities are being crippled by government regulations which violate the religious freedoms of Christians in the United States.

Which Religion is the Truest?

Regarding my assumption that my beliefs are the truest, as a product of the American university system, I have spent many years questioning Catholic Church teachings myself, and after much research and homework, I have been persuaded that the Catholic Church has very convincing arguments for her teachings, more convincing than any other set of beliefs I have encountered.  You might look at a short You Tube video where a young man in search for truth came to the same conclusion as I have- so convinced that he’s studying to become a Catholic priest, in order to spread the Good News.  The You Tube’s only 5 minutes long and is pretty interesting and convincing:

Church Teaching and Truth

Your statement questioning truth based on “what a group of men said was true thousands of years ago” is oversimplified.
In politics, the equivalent would be to discard the Constitution of the U.S. Because it was  “what a group of men said was true two hundred years ago.”
For millennia people, including Pontius Pilate, have been asking the question “What is Truth?” 
It is admirable that you are also asking that question today.

Slide1The truth of what the Catholic Church teaches today is based on many things, including first of all the Divinity of Jesus Christ, which would distinguish Him from “a group of men.”  The Divinity of Jesus Christ can be confirmed by each and every one of us by beginning a relationship of prayer with Him.  Everyone who has asked God for faith and who pours out their heart to God (as you did to me, on the devastating injustices in this world), gets help and gets a reply.  Not a booming voice from heaven which caters to our every demand.  But a loving fatherly response that is less noticeable than a breeze and that sends peace (and solutions) to our hearts.
Faith is based on interaction and a positive response.  The testimony of billions of people is not wrong. 82% of Americans pray and say that God answers their prayers, and 47% of Americans pray daily.

If you take the time and trouble to research and learn about the Church, you will realize that the teachings of the Catholic Church are also based on a tremendous amount of reason, logic, history, and success stories, not to mention scientifically inexplicable miracles that have been documented by scientists who are not Catholics at all. God is the inventor of reason, logic, and truth, so it is not surprising that His teaching is reasonable, logical and true.

Using the Same Standards – It’s Only Fair

You do not presume to dismiss all of science or all of history as “what a group of men said was true,” and so you should not dismiss all of religion, either.
If you accept the testimony of men in history books and in science labs, you must accept the testimony of men in religion. Despite the fact that some historians spin the truth, and some scientists forge their results, we can still come up with a consensus based on numbers of reports and numbers of witnesses.
If you accept the existence of George Washington, Alexander the Great, or the Pharoahs of Egypt, you should accept the existence of Jesus Christ, and the 2,000 year treasury of testimony on the work of His Church.
The historical record of Christ and His Divinity is every bit as real and well-documented as the historical record of any other individual.








 44 BC – 14 AD  4 BC – 29 AD
 SOURCES: Caesar Augustus Autobiography,Nicolaus of Damascus SOURCES: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
Paul (-the Bible), Tacitus, Seutonius,
Pliny the Younger, Josephus
STATUS: Universally Accepted Historical Figure  STATUS: Existence Frequently Questioned


Since media in 2013 is not inclined to respect religion with all its prohibitions on selfishness and the seeking of pleasure first, you have to do the work of investigating religion yourself.
It’s not as hard to do as you imagine, because the head guy, God, has infinite time and will lead you when asked.  That’s the definition of prayer:  “God, give me Faith, and lead me to your Truth.”
You can also talk to people of faith, you can talk to experts (priests), and you can read books.

It is true that some people make mistakes in defining God and defining what is right and what is wrong, and there will be some inconsistencies in what different religions teach.  But that is true of science and of history, too, and you have to dig for the details if you are interested.  Many Christian religions have some degree or some piece of the Truth, and as Christ said, you will know them by their fruits.

Descent of the Holy Spirit- Nérac, France

Descent of the Holy Spirit
St. Nicolas Church, Nérac, France


What Fruits Do We Look For?

We look for charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity. These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit, and you will find these where you find Christ.

The Evidence

For me, the fact that one man, Jesus Christ, was able to establish a religion based on love two thousand years ago, which thrives today, which is the largest religion on earth (Christianity), which caters equally to all of mankind with missionary work both materially and spiritually, regardless of politics, and which has saintly leaders like our recent 3 Popes, one of whom brought down the Soviet Union, is pretty impressive.  It impresses me more than any other human institution- the U.S. Government, the Smithsonian Institution, NASA, Universities, or MicroSoft.

The philosophy brought by Christ, of devoting one’s life to redeem those in pain with one’s own service, suffering and mercy, to the point of death on a cross, is more than a human philosophy.  It’s a superhuman Divine example of love.  I find this love so compelling that I feel compelled, in my own imperfect way, to join in the effort.

And in terms of choosing which Christian religion to follow, I look at the fruits.  The largest, most centralized, poised to respond globally to human events and tragedies, and responsible for the largest portion of charity work on earth, is the Catholic Church.  It’s open to all, free of charge, available in every nation on earth, and now headed by Pope Francis, who is reaching out lovingly to atheists and calling himself a sinner. I know of no other religion as all-encompassing and as loving as the Catholic Church.

Other Christian Faiths

With all due respect and love for other Christian religions, I believe they hold a great portion of the Truth, but sometimes neglect to cover some basic human spiritual needs, which the Catholic Church is able to cover.Christian faiths

Protestantism focuses very heavily on the Bible, which, although wonderful for us educated Europeans/Americans, actually neglects the masses of humanity who are illiterate and who need the liturgy/art/statuary that the Catholic Church has provided for milennia to learn about Jesus Christ.
Protestant critics of the Catholic Church sometimes forget the fact that before the Protestant Reformation, which was, incidentally, at the same time as the invention of the printing press, ownership of individual Bibles was not humanly possible for every household. Bibles were transcribed by hand with quill pens, paper was not available, and parchment was made of animal skin.
One Bible would require the skins of flocks of animals.   One single copy of the Bible took the work of an entire monastery scriptorium  for a year.  By modern standards, using the average American wage, that would correspond to  $1.5 million in salaries alone.  One Bible would cost, by modern standards, 2 to 3 million dollars.  It was only the dedication of celibate monks devoted to lives of poverty that made any copies of the Bible available at all.


Scripture Only?

Between historical illiteracy of populations throughout history and the lack of availability of Bibles, the Catholic Church had to summarize, simplify and deliver Christ’s teachings to people, much as teachers simplify and deliver knowledge to students today.
Today, about 1 billion people on earth continue to be illiterate.  The Catholic Church continues to cater to this poorest 20% of the earth’s population.

Many Christian religions also allow divorce, which deprives children of one parent, and destroys their hope and optimism for their own future marriages and families. The family is the primary source of the sacrificial love and nurturing which is essential for the formation of a happy and productive human being.  Both parents play a crucial role in the raising of children.  Divorcebrokenfamily deprives children in a very fundamental way. The Catholic Church focuses on repairing marriages instead of dissolving marriages at the first sign of trouble.  This farsighted wisdom benefits not only the children, but also benefits women who are not left to struggle as single mothers, and men, who are not left struggling to support two households financially for the rest of their lives.  Saving marriages is  a win-win-win strategy, and divorce is a lose-lose-lose strategy.

Many Christian faiths allow contraception.  Predicted by Pope Paul VI in 1968 in the encyclical Humanae Vitae (On Human Life), the damaging effects of 50 years of contraception on our society are now being realized, as we lack young people to support our society, to look after the elderly, and to pay the taxes.   Those are just the material effects of 50 years of contraception.  The spiritual effects of eradicating untold millions of tiny human beings and of encouraging men and women to view each other as objects to be used, and the resulting babies as objects to be aborted, are equally alarming.  The Catholic Church realized and taught these things, and all this misery could have been averted from the start.


The Eucharist

Finally, and most important of all, many Christian faiths do not provide the physical Presence of Christ for their members.
For anybody who loves Christ and the philosophy He taught, His physical Presence (John 6:50-70), instituted by Him at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26) and available to all Catholics in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, is as essential to relationship with God as the presence of a human being is essential to relationship with a human being.

Why Does God Permit Evil?

Your last question is the biggest one- which as you say, no theologian has been able to answer:  Why does God permit evil?
BTW, the list of evils you mention shows that you have a compassionate and loving heart.
You are already ahead of many people when it comes to getting closer to God.
According to Pope Francis, “Atheists who do good are saved.

The reason everybody says “free will” when you ask why evil is permitted, is that we can see that free will exists in the world.  It’s part of the way that God created the world. We can watch everyone around us exercise their free will, no matter what we tell them, no matter what authority  tries to order them.  And the vast majority of evils that you could cite are the result of some person’s poor exercise of their free will.

Let’s ask the question another way: what if we had no free will?
If we had no free will, the world would function like a computer or like an Energizer bunny, wound up and performing only the tasks that its creator specified.
There is a world of difference between an Energizer bunny and a real bunny (created by God).
There is a beauty and a warmth and a capacity for love in the way the world was created to include free will, that would be cold and absent if God had created us to be automatons incapable of free will.  Without free will, there can be no love.  Love is a choice, and love is the most beautiful thing in the world.
I can’t do much better than that, when it comes to explaining evil.
You could try reading Why Does God Permit Evil? for a better explanation of the question of evil.


St. Benedict Crucifix

“A Damn Person Worth Knowing”

You say “I don’t know a damn person worth knowing who wouldn’t take their own lives before allowing any of those sad things to happen.”
Well, what do you think Jesus Christ did?
True, He did not come to eradicate free will, turn us into Energizer bunnies, and eliminate the possibility of love.
But He did something better- in love, He came here to give us His Divine example of sacrificial love, to give us His eternal Presence in the Eucharist, and to give us the other Sacraments (very roughly translated as magical spiritual energy pills) to help us make our way through this difficult maze of good and evil on earth.

Jesus Christ, although definitely not a “damn person,” is very well worth knowing.

A Game Changer

One thing that non-believers forget, is that the concept of eternal life alters everything completely.
The length of our lives here on earth are negligible when compared with eternity.
Religion, and God, the author if religion, promise us the paradise that you are asking for here on earth— but that paradise is delayed, and will be enjoyed for eternity.
Incidentally, there are plenty of rewards enjoyed here in earthly life by the faithful, as well. Not all rewards are delayed. Living a virtuous life has it’s earthly rewards as well, among them love, family and stability.
Most people, religious or not, understand the concept of “no pain, no gain.”
If athletic or intellectual training (which includes sacrifice and pain) is worth the future rewards, then so is earthly life worth enduring, considering the future rewards in both the present and the after-life.

That’s part of the reason why despots are so terrified of religion and why religion has so much power.  Religion is the ultimate game-changer.
Religion holds out a promise that enables ordinary people to make heroic sacrifices for good, which any atheist in his/her right mind would never make.
Religion gives hope and courage in the face of adversity.
And aside from the philosophical attitude adjustment advantages that religion provides, it actually provides ordinary people with an ally that dwarfs the most powerful people on earth.  It puts God in everybody’s corner.

Adam, Eve and the Serpent Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Adam, Eve and the Serpent
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

The Choice

Finally,before we attack God for permitting evil to exist here on earth, let’s remember that evil was not part of the initial plan.
Every single one of us has used our free will to make some selfish choices in our lifetimes which hurt others.  How can we expect God to exercise mercy towards us, while eradicating sinners who have committed sins that might be larger than ours?  Where should God draw the line?   If He drew a line, which side of the line would we be on?  So before condemning God for exercising mercy for bigger sinners, we should tread carefully, be thankful for the mercy that was shown to us, and be willing to forgive the trespasses of others as we want our trespasses forgiven.

The Lesser Evil

You may also notice that it is often in times of devastating injustice that people turn to God for No-Atheists-in-Foxholes-9780849919985help, and receive it. Much like a parent who lets the middle-schooler exercise free will and sustain a few injuries mis-using their bicycle, God permits bad choices to be made, allows evil to occur, and then turns that evil to a good purpose.  When evil causes people to turn to God for help, people set themselves on a path toward eternal happiness, not just temporary short-sighted happiness, followed by misery, which most temporary impulsive pleasures lead us to.

The horror of evil on earth might alert us to the greater horror of misery in eternity.  When God allows evil on earth, could He be choosing the lesser of evils, temporary evil over eternal evil?

Either You Believe or You Don’t

Ultimately, either you believe in God or you don’t.
Either the Universe, the Grand Canyon and the beauty of nature are accidental and came out of nowhere, or God created them.
And if you do believe in God, then that God is Someone who is wise and powerful enough to create a universe, yet still cares enough about us to interact with us personally with prayer.  We might cut Him some slack and allow that maybe His intellect has a better plan than our intellect can come up with.
We understand the plan of God about as well as the newborn Prince George, who was Christened last week, understands his future status as King of England.

May God Bless You, Mike

Mike – I hope my thoughts have given you some insight into the questions you had about my beliefs.
I will pray for you in your search for Reason and Truth, as I hope that you will pray for me.
May God bless you, Mike, and may St. Michael the Archangel guide and protect you!


 Appendix: The Will, The Church, and Human Imperfection

Pope Benedict:  the Will Obscures Perception of Our Responsibility to Our Neighbor:


Pope Benedict

Even if such values as solidarity, commitment to one’s neighbour and responsibility towards the poor and suffering are largely uncontroversial, still the motivation is often lacking for individuals and large sectors of society to practise renunciation and make sacrifices. Perception and will do not necessarily go hand in hand. In defending personal interests, the will obscures perception, and perception thus weakened is unable to stiffen the will. In this sense, some quite fundamental questions emerge from this crisis: where is the light that is capable of illuminating our perception not merely with general ideas, but with concrete imperatives? Where is the force that draws the will upwards? These are questions that must be answered by our proclamation of the Gospel, by the new evangelization, so that message may become event, so that proclamation may lead to life.

How can we address Pope Benedict’s concerns?   If we all made use of the teachings and sacraments offered by the Church, we could tame our Wills, and devote ourselves to the service of fellow human beings to the point of sainthood.  If more of us did that, how much more Evil would be vanquished in the world?
Unfortunately, even those of us who do not reject the teachings of the Church outright, often do not succeed in implementing Christ’s teachings very well in our lives.
We should have the humility of Pope Francis, who admits that he is a sinner, and we should keep trying to seek truth and to live it with love.

The Church, Imperfections and All

Those interested in Truth and in Charity (love) should recognize the Catholic Church’s role as curator of all that Christ brought to the world-  first of all, Himself, available to each human being throughout history in the Eucharist.  Also, scripture, history, tradition, wisdom, the example of saints, and priests who come to us in an unbroken, direct line of ordination from the Apostles.

Members of the Catholic Church may not be perfect, any more than the Apostles were perfect.
If honest, members of all other Churches and all other organizations will admit they are not perfect.
But just at a doctor who smokes can still give you good advice on your health, or a prof who makes some mistakes can still teach you mathematics, or a President who is not perfect can still defend the Constitution of the United States, the Catholic Church, staffed with imperfect people, can still hold and administer the treasury of riches left to us by Jesus Christ.

Abortion and Homosexuality –So What Did the Pope Actually Say?


When Two Jesuits Talk


assissi 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)
(from Universalis)
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
papa-francescothousands 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.


Is the Pope Reversing the Catholic Church’s Ban on Abortion and Homosexual Marriage?

e2c2477d41Recently 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.

Apparent Contradictions

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.Slide1

Also, the same Pope Francis just excommunicated a dissident priest in Australia the same month, who advocated gay marriage and female priests.

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, What’s the Story?

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.

Ignorance, Wishful Thinking or Deceitful Intent?

times square billboards1So 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?


What did the Pope actually say?
When Two Jesuits Talk

The Pope is a Jesuit, America is a Jesuit magazine, and the interviewer, Antonio Spadaro, is a Jesuit with an impressive Jesuit resume.Pope-with-Fr.-Spodara

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!

Bottom Line, When Two Jesuits Talk

When two Jesuits talk,

i.e. when Antonio Spadaro (Editor of the influential Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica)  interviews Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis),Slide1

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.


Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison

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 Controversial Paragraph

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

heartThe 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

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.”

No, instead the Pope said “I am a sinner.”Slide1

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.

What Does It Mean for a Jesuit to be Bishop of Rome?

Early in the interview, Pope Francis was also asked “What does it mean for a Jesuit to be Bishop of Rome?”

Blessed John XXIII

Blessed Pope John XXIII

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.

The Church as  a Field Hospital

The Pope gives us a third window into his philosophy in this interview, in his comparison of the Church with a field hospital:21nnkfm

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?).

Take Home Message

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.

Pope reaches outThe 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.

A Club of 1 Billion

The Catholic Church is a global club of of 1 billion people.

Like any other large group, including large nations, we have our  conservatives and we have our liberals.  Some liberals and conservatives make good points.  Others take a good thing too far.Shepherd

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 Jesuits Do

What do Jesuits Do?

Jesuit PopeJesuits 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.

The Best is Yet to Come

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.

Not Just for Catholics

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.

Summing Up

Pope Francis’ interview can be summed up pretty simply-

  • Drop the finger-wagging, get out the smiles, treat people with respect, pray hard, pray globally, and correct just a little at a time.
  • Remember, respect includes not calling people out publicly for their sins, at least not as the first resort.
  • We attract more bees with honey than with vinegar.
  • Sin is still sin, what’s wrong is still wrong, but let’s not forget the beam in our own eye when pointing out the splinter in someone else’s eye.

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.


Appendix:  More VIRAL QUOTES from Pope Francis:

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.
Pope with Italian Youth2
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.
 Kisses baby
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. Speaking
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.
Global Adoration
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.  Slide1
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.
Speech in 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.
Pope Francis reaches for babies




Does Prayer Work?

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Does Prayer Work?

Following Pope Francis’ call to Global Prayer and Fasting on Sept 7, 2013, two very unexpected developments:
. -Suddenly Iran’s president is vowing “no nukes'”
. -The House of Representatives voted to defund ObamaCare:



Any Questions?

See Related Articles, explaining the crucial interconnection between Church and State:





Making sense of Syria

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Syria Explained – the New Politics
Mixing Politics and Prayer

To Separate or Not to Separate, Church and State?

Church_StateWhile Presidents and lawmakers have no power or right to impose a specific religion or set of beliefs on our nation (try as they might, as Obama is presently doing with secularism and with socialism), individual citizens would be remiss if they failed to consult their code of ethics before voting or before supporting a particular political candidate or policy.  And that code of ethics is, in all probability, derived from their religion.

Hence, in a democratic republic composed of 80% Christians, the law will be, and the law ought to be, based on Judeo-Christian principles.  Not by decree, but democratic determination.  Also by choice of the Founders, who unquestionably founded this nation on Christian principles.

Christian Morality Undermined

Recent attempts to undermine this foundation by those who argue separation of Church and State have been misguided.  Separation of Church and State is not defined as prohibition of public discussion of what is right and wrong, but is defined as refraining from imposing a forced set of beliefs on citizens – whether those be Lutheran, Catholic, Muslim, or atheist beliefs.  Our determination not to jail a person for not sharing our Christian beliefs is not to be confused with our right to legislate ‘thou shalt not kill’ and ‘thou shalt not steal’ by a majority vote, and to encode these values into our laws.  And when citizens do encode their Christian values into law, as in the case of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), it is not for politically motivated, unelected, appointed “judges” to reverse the will of the electorate by decree.  To allow a minority to dictate the lives of the majority is foolhardy, and represents a misguided definition of tolerance.

Grass Roots Reclaim Morality

Now, as a nation,  we are suffering the results of our previous misguided “tolerance” of things we know to be wrong – of lying, of killing, of abuse of power by the elite.  And now, the people of the United States are beginning to take matters back into their own hands.  They are getting more involved, and they are participating in the democratic process with renewed vigor.  They are not afraid to demand ethical solutions to pressing problems.  Examples can be seen in recent successes of the 23402940_BG1Pro-Life movement, the Tea Party movement and in the 2 Million Biker ride taking place in Washington DC today.  Despite attempts by those in power to steer our nation in a less democratic and less Christian direction, ordinary citizens are waking up and are taking charge.

Religious Leaders Call the World to Public Prayer

This awakening and new-found activism, in addition to including political action, also includes prayer.  In the United States, 80% of people pray, and say that their prayers are answered.  So it would be logical to pray about the the things that are important.  Catholics have been participating in organized prayer efforts for religious freedom frequently during the past year. Catholics are centrally organized and thus may be more visible, but they are not alone.  Americans of all faiths have been praying and have been becoming more active in politics.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has become more outspoken, and the Pope has become more outspoken.

The USCCB has called for numerous Freedom of Religion rallies across the United States, and Catholics have gathered to pray for the restoration of religious freedom which was violated by the HHS Mandate.
Catholics in Madison, WI, started praying the rosary en masse every week on the Wisconsin State Capitol Steps in 2012.
For the first time in history, Pope Francis called for a Global Adoration effort, in which millions of Catholics participated on June 2, 2013.


Slide1Now, in the face of the Syria crisis, Pope Francis called for a Global day of Prayer and Fasting for peace on Saturday night, September 7th. He wrote a letter to Putin calling on G20 leaders to seek Syria peace talks, and tweeted against a US military strike in Syria. Millions participated in the global vigil, with 100,000 people gathering for 5 hours of vigil and prayer with Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.  The rosary was prayed.



So, Are We Surprised?

Within two days of the global vigil involving millions of people, we went
Obama pushing military strikes, Syria vowing retaliation on Israel,  Iran vowing revenge and threatening

Syria Vigil at Vatican to rape and kill Obama’s daughter, US Senators saying we could be nuked if we don’t play this right, and Russia announcing that she would shield Syria from US attack,
a gaffe made by Secretary of State John Kerry (aka “Lurch”), picked up by Putin, who took advantage of Kerry’s blunder to demand that Syria surrender chemical weapons, to Assad agreeing to surrender chemical weapons, to Congress, including the Democrat-contolled Senate backing off approval of Obama’s proposed military strikes, to Obama speaking to the nation and announcing that everything is on hold.

No military action, no political plan, no battle, no delegation needed.  Most surprising, with the most unlikely players.
From the brink of World War III involving the U.S., Syria, Iran, Israel, and Russia, to a defused situation and Vlad (Putin), the knight in shining armor, moralizing at Americans in the New York Times.

cosmic-640The hand of God in human events is most obvious in those events which defy the laws of probability, in those events which accomplish far-reaching, perhaps even global results, where human effort seems to play little or small part in accomplishing the result, and in those events where politicians and battles play no significant role.  Nobody anticipates the result, everyone is surprised by the result, the result is truly remarkable, and no fingerprints are left behind.
That is God’s style and His trademark.
-from The Missing Link- Redefining How We Approach Politics

This week’s events in Syria illustrate one clear case of God’s such involvement in human history.
When we pray and work against all odds, God helps.
And He usually does it in an unexpected way and with a great sense of humor-
Putin, the peacemaker, to the rescue, calling on the Nobel Peace Prize President Obama not to trigger World War III.

No Rose Colored Glasses3531123548_51d7ff0d2c

Make no mistake, the story is not over.
The idea of trusting Syria or Russia, and numerous other complexities and hurdles still have to be considered.
But the bottom line is that three days ago we were almost bombing Syria against the will of the people of the United States, and now Barack Obama has called for a pause.
I, for one, have certainly breathed a sigh of relief.

Thanks be to God!

 Future Plan

Quoting from  The Missing Link – Redefining How We Approach Politics, in which this new approach to politics, politics from an educated religious perspective, was outlined:

Future Directions

The answers are pretty simple, and are available to anyone.

View all of life, including American politics, from a educated religious perspective, and thus refuse to separate Church and State.

Quote from the Liturgy of the Hours, a set of daily prayers based on Holy Scripture and available to all:

If the Lord had not been on our side….
Then would the waters have engulfed us,
the torrent gone over us;
over our head would have swept
the raging waters.
……………………………………...-Psalm 123 (124)

It’s very simple: stick strictly to God’s law, pray, and wait.
So cool to watch as it works!

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?


Wisconsin State Journal Flunks Journalism Again!
What’s Wrong With Gay Marriage?

Two days after getting some praise for their balanced article on Bishop Morlino, the Wisconsin State Journal was back to its old games, misrepresenting the Bishop yet again.
They managed to shoot themselves in the foot quite handsomely this time.

Here’s a cartoon they published, quoting both Pope Francis and Bishop Morlino out of context, in an attempt to make it seem that Bishop Morlino is in disagreement with the Pope:


How Does This Cartoon Shoot WSJ in the Foot?

How does WSJ shoot itself in the foot with this cartoon?Slide1
Let me count the ways:

  1. It’s unprofessional to nest your references so deep that the original source being quoted can hardly be found.
  2. It’s unprofessional to compare apples and oranges.
  3. It’s unprofessional to quote your sources out of context.
  4. It’s unprofessional to ignore the Bigger Story
  5. It’s unprofessional to contradict yourself.
  6. It’s unprofessional for a journalist to spin the news.  (And it’s triply embarrassing when you spin it badly and get caught.)

This unprofessional behavior would be more suited to the grapevine whispering game, in which messages become unrecognizably altered as they are whispered from person to person in a chain, than to a professional journalist.


  •  It’s unprofessional to nest your references so deep that nobody can find the original source being quoted.

So, in his efforts to malign and misrepresent Bishop Morlino, Phil Hands had to dig far and deep, and ended up quoting out of context from a homily given by Bishop Morlino in 2006.
In fact, Phil Hands quoted Doug Erickson’s artilce, who quoted a 2006 Bill Wineke article, who quoted Bishop Morlino’s homily from the 2006 Madison Catholic Herald, out of context.

  • It’s unprofessional to compare apples and oranges.

apple-vs-orangePhil Hands was comparing Pope Francis’ comments about a Catholic homosexual who is following Church teaching on chastity, with Bishop Morlino’s comments on the the legal repercussions of governmental redefinition of marriage.  Those repercussions have already violated the religious freedom rights of Catholics and have already closed Catholic adoption agencies.  More on the legal details in the Appendix below.  But suffice it to say that comparing discussion of chaste Catholic homosexuals with discussion of the legal implications of redefining marriage is not a very professional move on the part of Phil Hands.

  • It’s unprofessional to quote your sources out of context.

Pope Francis’ statement in context:

In these situations, it’s important to distinguish between a gay person and a gay lobby, because having a lobby is never good. If a gay person is a person of good will who seeks God, who am I to judge? The Catechism of the Church explains this very beautifully. It outlines that gays should not be marginalized. The problem is not having this [homosexual] orientation. No, we must be brothers and sisters. The problem is lobbying for this orientation, or lobbies of greed, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies. This is the most serious problem for me. And thank you so much for this question. Thank you very much!

Slide1Bishop Morlino’s statment in context:

I’m spending time on this today because we’ve got a battle. We’ve got a battle at the federal level in June and we’ve got a battle at the state level in November. And I’m serious about it, I can’t imagine what happens if marriage goes down the tubes. If marriage goes down the tubes, life will become one big custody suit. And who will decide who raises children and how they get raised? The State, more and more and more. Marriage goes down the tubes, the State will be deciding who gets custody and how the kids get taught. And when the State does that, rather than the natural parents, that’s the end of democracy.

In context, both Pope Francis’ comments and Bishop Morlino’s comments mean something quite different than what Phil Hands tried to imply in his cartoon.

  • It’s unprofessional to ignore the Bigger Story


Madison, WI Masonic Temple

Anybody who reads the Pope’s comment above will notice that the Pope made some pretty newsworthy statements.
The Pope’s claim that his most serious problems come from lobbies of greed, political lobbies and Masonic lobbies should raise a few eyebrows.
Apparently Cybercast News Service (CNS) found the Pope’s Freemasonry comment worth reporting. And exploring the reasons for such a comment.
Madison, with it’s giant Masonic Temple one block from the Wisconsin State Capitol building, might be more interested in hearing why Freemasonry might pose a threat to Pope Francis, than hearing old 2006 quotes from Bishop Morlino being compared out of context with the Popes’ comments.
Misquoting Bishop Morlino’s 2006 homily is not news.


  • It’s unprofessional to contradict yourself

Jack Russell Terrier SnarlingSloppy reporting has a way of coming back to bite the journalist.
Ironically, the very homily that Phil Hands was  misquoting from, that Bill Wineke misquoted from and Doug ERickson misreported on, that very homily is one in which Bishop Morlino actually does the opposite of what WSJ claims.  In that homily, Bishop Morlino spends two paragraphs emphacising how Catholics must treat the gays with whom we disagree with love and respect, and undescores how Catholics must avoid association with gay-bashing in any shape or form.

  • It’s unprofessional for a journalist to spin the news.  (And it’s triply embarrassing when you do it badly and get caught.)

So there we have it.
Phil Hands’ best effort to spin the comments of Pope Francis and Bishop Morliino, a painful stretch, involving  a 100% reversal of what Bishop Morlino actually said in the homily from which Phil Hands is quoting.
Meager attempt to malign Madison’s Bishop Morlino, and to make him look heartless.

Bad spin.
Caught, and (hopefully) embarrassed.
Although with progressives these days, you never know.  Some of them are very proud of their Alinsky (crooked) tactics.


Grading the Wisconsin State Journal on this one:  F-

In fact, WSJ’s journalism license should  be suspended for this one.


Appendix– Why Bishop Morlino is Right in His End of Democracy Comment
The Legal Repercussions of Government Redefining Marriage


What Changing the Definition of Marriage Does

For millennia, marriage has been defined by religion, and government has rarely tried to challenge that definition.
The biggest challenge to date by government was by Henry VIII, who introduced divorce, and how has that worked for our society?
Women and children are no longer guaranteed stability, most women must work, and most children are virtually raised by the State (by the Obama Administration).

The redefinition of marriage  by government to include marriages between persons of the same sex would have, in addition to numerous moral repercussions (on which people disagree), a large number of legal repercussions, which have nothing to do with opinion, but stem from law and from fact, and are inevitable.

Legal Details for Lawyers

For the lawyers among us who want this from the legal “horse’s mouth,” (unlike the WSJ, we make the original sources available), the legal impact of the redefinition of marriage is described at:


Layman’s Summary

For the rest of us, I will attempt a layman’s summary of the logic involved:

Legal Definition of Marriage Alters Impacts Many Areas of the Law

The legal definition of marriage does not exist in isolation; changing it alters many areas of the law.
The definition of marriage plays an important role in the laws of :

  • adoption
  • Education
  • Employee benefits
  • Employment discrimination
  • Government contracts and subsidies
  • Taxation
  • Tort law
  • Trusts and estates.

These laws, in turn, impact the ongoing daily operations of religious organizations of all kinds, including:Slide1

  • Parishes
  • Schools
  • Temples
  • Hospitals
  • Orphanages
  • Retreat centers
  • Soup kitchens
  • Universities

Complex Intertwining of State, Federal, and Religious Definitions of Marriage

Current law, particularly law on child custody, provides little room for non-uniform definitions of marriage within a state and across states.

As a result, changes in marriage law impact religious institutions disproportionately because their role is so deeply intertwined with the institution of marriage.
Religious institutions have been regulating marriage since time immemorial, and law has adopted and accommodated religious conventions.

As a result, if the legal definition of marriage is changed to differ dramatically from the religious definition of marriage, all the religious institutions mentioned above will be negatively impacted.

Can Government Compel Religious Institutions to Act Against Their Conscience-  Accomplished

Changing the legal definition of marriage will likely  result in government compulsion of religious institutions to accommodate same-sex couples, something contrary to their beliefs, and public benefits will likely be withdrawn from religious institutions which provide preferential treatment to traditionally married couples.

Already, failure to participate in the HHS “Contraceptive” Mandate, which requires religious employers to provide contraception and abortifacients to employees against the employer’s conscience, is likely to subject all religious individuals to legal penalties for failure to provide HHS Mandated services.

Threats to religious liberty can come both directly and indirectly.  They include court ordered injunctions or fines in retaliation for following one’s religious beliefs, particularly for violating anti-discrimination laws in employment, housing,public accommodations, as well as labeling the statement of religious beliefs as hate speech.

How Christians Become Excluded From Many Professions – Accomplished

It quickly becomes clear how a Christian can no longer become an employer or a pharmacist because they will not dispense abortifacient pills, how a Christian cannot become a doctor because they will not offer abortion services, a Christian cannot rent out half of their duplex because they don’t want the gay lifestyle in close proximity to their family home, a Christian cannot become a public school teacher because they are required to teach acceptance of the gay lifestyle, and so on.

Financial Crippling of Christian Institutions – Accomplished

And the lawsuits, injunctions, penalties and legal bills required to fight these battles are likely to cripple Christians financially, and are likely to bankrupt religious service institutions.  The Catholic Church has already been forced to abandon adoption and foster services in Boston, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Illinois as a result of their policy to make sure children are placed with a mom and a dad who are married.

When You Force Christians Out of Service in an 80% Christian Country, Who Takes Over Providing Services?

When service institutions have traditionally been operated by volunteer religious institutions, and now religious institutions are forced out of these ministries, there is only one option– for government to take over providing these services.
The history of government performance, in the absence of financial pressure and accountability, in providing essential services has had a very bad track record, both in the United States and abroad.  The U.S. Postal Service, Medicare, and UK Medicine are all examples of services that fail abysmally when operated by government.
The control of everything by government is the definition of totalitarianism.Slide1

Totalitariansim: Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed.

Bottom Line

  • Religious people (90% of US) can be forced against their conscience
  • Christian (80%) excluded form many professsions
  • Financial crippling of Christian Intitutions
  • Totalitarian control of everything by government

= End of Democracy

And the good Bishop was right.
Wisconsin State Journal, grow up and do your homework!



Addendum: WSJ Editor Responds to Our Criticism:  Stands His Ground

(For anybody interested in contacting this editor about the Bishop Morlino Cartoon he published:

From: Syte Reitz
Sent: Thursday, August 08, 2013 1:53 PM
To: John Smalley
Subject: Defamatory Cartoon in WSJDear Editor Smalley-Phil Hands’ cartoon published in the WSJ August 1st was a gross misrepresentation of Bishop Morlino.
There was no option provided for discussion or comments, so my comments can be found in a blog article which outlines the reasons why publication of that cartoon was such a poor choice on  your part.

Many Catholics had become hopeful of getting fair treatment in the WSJ following your publication of Doug Erickson’s article on Bishop Morlino’s 10 year anniversary in Madison.
As a Catholic blogger who was first motivated to blog by seeing media misrepresentation of Catholicism, I’m very sorry to see you returning to WSJ misrepresentation of Catholics so soon.

Please share my comments with the cartoonist, Phil Hands.

Syte Reitz


Syte Reitz
Madison Catholic Blogger

From: John Smalley
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2013 14:45:30 -0500
To: Syte Reitz
Subject: RE: Defamatory Cartoon in WSJSyte,

Thanks for your note, and your comments on the recent cartoon by Phil Hands.

We will have to agree to disagree on this topic, in that I don’t think we’ve misrepresented Catholics in the past, or that we’re doing so now. I’m sure you understand that editorial cartoons are meant by their nature to exaggerate to the extreme. We publish many cartoons on the page that I would personally disagree with, but we think it’s important to represent a full spectrum of thoughts and opinions on the page. In fact, we always give preference to letter writers who disagree with our editorials.

It sounds like you thought Doug’s anniversary story on the Bishop was a worthy effort. I certainly felt that way.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Best wishes,

John Smalley
Wisconsin State Journal

John Smalley

John Smalley
WSJ Editor

From: Syte Reitz
Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2013 13:54:57 -0500
To: John Smalley
Cc: Reitz Rolf
Subject: Re: Defamatory Cartoon in WSJ


You gave me no substance in your response.
If you “agree to disagree” without supporting your position, you come across as a low-information thinker, something I hope the editor of Wisconsin’s second largest newspaper is not.

You are in a unique position to moderate a serious and important cultural debate, and you should not be pandering to pressure from Madison’s progressives.
A newspaper professional should not show bias.
Your newspaper would benefit by hosting lively cultural debates, and your newspaper only suffers when you diss the leaders of Madison’s and Wisconsin’s leading religion without substance.

Honestly, that was a blatant misrepresentation of Bishop Morlino that you published, and you should retract or apologize for it.
You could also consider publishing arguments from the blog critique of the cartoon, which illustrate why the cartoon was such a bad misrepresentation.

The Wisconsin State Journal purports to serve the entire population of Wisconsin, and Madison claims to champion tolerance, so who better to show some respect for Catholicism and it’s leaders than the State Journal?

God bless,


Syte Reitz
Madison Catholic Blogger

From: Romulus
Date: Friday, August 09, 2013 9:57 AM
To: John Smalley
Subject: Bishop Morlino Cartoon

Dear Mr. Smalley:   The Phil Hands smear of Bishop Morlino is in no sense an exaggeration.  It is a lie.  If you lack the sense or else the integrity to grasp this distinction, you belong in a different line of work.  Since your heart seems to be in the field of dishonest advocacy, public relations for a really sleazy organization might suit your talents.

Or you could man up and apologize.  Your call.










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.


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.


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:



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–


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?”


Perpetual Adoration Chapel in Madison, WI

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

(Blessing Madison and it’s people)

See also an article about this event by Sofia Guerra at


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!




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