Sunday, September 28, 2008
What America's Warriors Read
In many ways the book is one about love, agape, self-sacrificial love. The men of the 1st. Cavalry Division in Vietnam understood what Jesus Christ said when he stated that there is no greater example of love than laying your life down for a friend.
In 1983 the Marine Corps leadership recommended that Marines read this book. Here's what the Marine Corps reading list looks like right now.
Labels: The Military
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Bishop Soto Proclaims Church's Teaching on Homosexuality
In a compassionate and reasoned presentation of the Church's teaching, Bishop Soto reminded us that Bishops are truly the successors to the apostles. During the course of his speech Bishop Soto said:
"Sexual intercourse, outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, can be alluring and intoxicating but it will not lead to that liberating journey of true self-discovery and an authentic discovery of God. For that reason, it is sinful. Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all. For this reason, it is sinful."
Please click here to view the full text of the speech.
Labels: Catholic Church
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Spielberg, Pitt Support Gay Marriage in California
This November Californians will vote on Prop. 8 which would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. By giving money to defeat this measure, these two Hollywood men are supporting the radical homosexual agenda that seeks to vilify the traditional Christian understanding of marriage, as well as force our society to embark on a social experiment with no precedent in history.
Spielberg had this to say about his support: "By writing discrimination into our state constitution, Proposition 8 seeks to eliminate the right of each and every citizen in our state to marry regardless of sexual orientation," the statement said. "Such discrimination has NO place in California's constitution, or any other."
The Hollywood elite once again are looking down at Americans and their commonsensical, traditional beliefs. According to Spielberg, Christians, orthodox Jews and others, who vote to define marriage as it has always been understood everywhere in every human civilization (name one civilization that has every done this before), are nothing more than bigots.
I urge Christians to boycott all entertainment productions that involve Mr. Pitt and Mr. Spielberg. Our money should not be used to pay for attacks on our religious beliefs. Americans are tired of liberal, immoral Hollywood using their celebrity soapbox to condemn traditional Christian morality.
Labels: Protect Marriage
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Feminist Camille Paglia Right, Then Wrong
God gives each member of the mystical body of Christ a gift to be used for the benefit of the Church and God appears to have given Ms. Paglia a great gift of intellect, courage and a strong sensitivity to the nuances of the culture she lives in. The power of reason, as well, is strong in Ms. Paglia's writings and analysis, making her a person that both atheist and Christian intellectuals interested in the "culture wars" should read and consider well. In the end, however, what seems missing is perhaps an ethical or moral adhesive to close the gaps in Ms. Paglia's word-view; in the end, it appears what's missing is the grace of Christ's church and the ethical wisdom that 2,000 years of dealing with humanity brings to an institution.
A recent article on the website Salon.com entitled "Fresh Blood for the Vampire" is a powerful example of her acute understanding of presidential politics and the underlying cultural factors that are at play. Yet it is with the issue of abortion, where some hope for Ms. Paglia's return to the Church exists.
Ms. Paglia states: "Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue."
She goes on to state: "But the pro-life position, whether or not it is based on religious orthodoxy, is more ethically highly evolved than my own tenet of unconstrained access to abortion on demand."
It's worth noting that for a feminist moving in the academic and political circles she does, these are a courageous set of assertions. There is almost an evangelical strength to such statements - opinions that even orthodox Christians are sometimes afraid to admit in mixed company for fear of "offending people." Perhaps it is the remnants of Ms. Paglia's Catholic childhood in up-state New York, or the lingering grace of her baptism into Christ, but Ms. Paglia is clear on the reality of abortion.
What's far more puzzling is that, despite her admission that abortion is murder, she believes that women have the right to choice murder for the infants in their womb. Perhaps this odd "tolerance" of murder is related to her atheism. One thinks of Dostoevsky's famous statement, "If God is not, then all things are permitted." Perhaps if there is no divine justice, then it simply doesn't matter. People choice, things happen, but there are no eternal consequences.
Ms. Paglia is right to understand that Gov. Palin's pro-life stance is one of the main reasons that liberals and many feminists have attacked her. Ms. Paglia is also right to point on that feminists have no consistency in their outlook. "Bill Clinton's support for abortion rights," she writes, "gave him a free pass among leading feminists for his serial exploitation of women -- an abusive pattern that would scream misogyny to any neutral observer."
Ms. Paglia nailed much of what's happening among the left in American with her observation: "Democrats are quick to attack the religiosity of Republicans, but Democratic ideology itself seems to have become a secular substitute religion."
I urge Catholics to pray that Ms. Paglia receives the grace to return to the Catholic Church where she can use her intelligence, writing ability and public profile to speak about Jesus Christ and the culture of life to those who may not have heard a sophisticated, intellectual presentation of such beliefs before.
Click here to read Ms. Paglia's article in salon.com.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Why The Left Must Destroy Palin
And yet now, with another women - Gov. Sarah Palin - running for the country's second-highest office, these same people are doing everything they can to destroy this woman's historic run. In addition to the usual left leaning writers and politicos, female celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Jamie Lee Curtis have been making sure American women get the message that Palin "isn't welcome into the feminist club."
All of this was fairly clear to me right away. It wasn't Clinton gender's that was important, is was her feminist credentials: pro-abortion, pro-gay rights, clearly more identified with career aspirations than family (one child is enough for any woman!) as well as being a person shaped by 1960s-era politics and themes.
I then guessed that the attacks on Palin were centered on her solid pro-life credentials, or perhaps it was her Christianity (although I haven't heard her talk about her faith in any detail), but somehow I couldn't put my finger on the exact reason she was such a threat to the left. And then I read Deal W. Hudson's article in InsideCatholic.com.
Mr. Hudson sums it up all so clearly:
"The Palin factor, in this way, introduces something entirely new in American politics. Until now, a traditional woman was never envisioned as the leader of a major political party, because feminism was assumed to be a requirement for women leaders in cultural and political life.
The viciousness of the media attack surrounding Palin's nomination was fueled by its implicit repudiation of the feminine mystique. Whether they are aware of it or not, I believe the thousands of Republicans who cheered Governor Palin were expressing their relief at a woman political leader created outside the mold of Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi."
What if a Christian, pro-life, rural mom with five kids, who was also smart, attractive and professionally successful, became vice president? Young American girls might have a new role model for success other than the 60's era dinosaurs - now that's the threat.
Labels: Presidential Election
Monday, September 1, 2008
Politicians Muddying the Waters of Faith
It seems safe to argue that one's political viewpoint is shaped by one's worldview, which in itself is informed by one's station in life, family attitudes, personal experiences, education, independent thought, etc. And it seems equally clear that one's religion touches upon all the aforementioned criteria, making it a fairly sound way to reason one's way through the political landscape.
An orthodox Catholic, for example, is one who is in communion with the magesterium of the Church. One who, in the words of St. Ignatius of Loyola "thinks with the Church." When such a Catholic approaches the voting booth, he is not looking to learn that a candidate is Catholic, or even Christian, but whether this person will protect the most vulnerable in society, defend the right of all human persons to live, preserve and protect the nation, form legislation in accordance with the natural law, and allow for liberty and religious freedom for all men across the board. To evaluate a candidate in such a way, in my mind, does not seem either narrow or parochial.
Last week, when Speaker Pelosi incorrectly stated that there was confusion in the Catholic Church about abortion, this was not an instance of religion tramping into the political sphere, but of politicians mucking about in the religious doctrine. Fr. John De Celles, STL, associate pastor at Old St. Mary’s Church in Alexandria, Va., illuminated this point brilliantly in a recent Sunday homily touching on the Pelosi issue.
Fr. De Celles said, "Now, some will want to say that these bishops—and I—are crossing the line from Religion into to politics. But it was the Speaker of the House who started this. The bishops, and I, are not crossing into politics; she, and other pro-abortion Catholic politicians, regularly cross over into teaching theology and doctrine, And it’s our job to try clean up their mess."
I'm not sure if the issue of politics and religion in present-day American has ever been summed up any better.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Pelosi and Palin: A Tale of Two Women
Speaker Pelosi made headlines last weekend when she described herself "as an ardent, practicing Catholic" on TV, and then went on to misrepresent the Catholic Church's two-centuries old condemnation of abortion. Citing the theological writings of St. Augustine, she said that the Church has always been in doubt about when life begins, and that it is still a "controversy" in the Church. A quick read through the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes it clear that there is no confusion - the Church definitely declares abortion to be a grave, mortal sin that involves the killing of innocent life.
It's worth noting that for all the treasures the Church has gleaned from the writings of the Church Fathers, including St. Augustine specifically, Catholics should know that the trump voice in the Catholic Church has been, and always will be, the infallible voice of the Pope in communion with the Bishops of the universal church. And there is no question that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is clear that abortion is a no-no for Catholics: and that Catholics who publicly say otherwise risk causing scandal. Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, made it very clear how wrong Pelosi was in her remarks; read his affirmation of the Church's teaching and his correction of Pelosi.
And then, a week later, into the national spotlight walks Gov. Sarah Palin - the Republican vice presidential nominee. She is someone, though a newcomer to public service, who has been consistent in her opposition to abortion. And for Gov. Palin, this national debate is not an abstraction - it is a personal reality. When she learned she was carrying a baby with Down Syndrome, she chose to have the baby instead of getting an abortion. This is walking the talk. This is the culture of life actualized. This is the true strength and power of femininity revealed, proving that politics is simply the expression of one's deepest values into the civil discourse. If you hold to the truth that life begins at conception, then it must carry through and inform your political and governmental actions. This is not an example of religion muddying the waters of civil society, it's an example of people of faith using their values to influence the debate in a pluralistic, democratic society.
Yet for many liberal politicians and feminists, the pro-abortion dogma is something that defines their entire worldview and understanding of freedom. Already the writers on the Huffington Post have begun to label Gov. Palin as an extremist and an enemy of women. I wonder how a mother who chooses to defend her child's right, and the right of all children to be protected in the womb, is an enemy to women? The insanity of abortion, contraception, pornography, homosexuality and no-fault divorce has become a kind of mental and spiritual addiction for many on the left in this country. With this peculiar lust for licentiousness, many politicians have begun to ignore the teachings of their faith and the dictates of logic.
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