“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Three Campaign Thoughts this Tuesday

Here is something extremely interesting. Investors Business Daily, who had the most accurate Presidential Poll in 2004, gives access to their polling demographic data to their respondents. Let’s look at what happened to the Catholics polled over the past few days as to whom they were voting for:

October 20th:
Obama: 49% of Catholics Polled
McCain: 38% of Catholics Polled

October 21th:
Obama: 46%
McCain: 41%

October 22th:
Obama: 39%
McCain: 48%

October 25th:
Obama: 40%
McCain: 47% (McCain lead held)

So what happened to the Catholics responding to the poll ending October 22nd that caused the huge flip to McCain? Well, since it is a rolling 3-day average poll, this means the poll dated the 22nd, with the flip, would have been started on Monday, October 20th. Here is my guess as to what happened. All those Sunday bulletins with Bishop letters on the 19th.

2) Major Garrett brought up a good point tonight on Fox News. Obama has spent the last 2 days in Pennsylvania. Bill Clinton will fly in tomorrow and bang the drum for Obama, with Joe Biden returning to his hometown PA area to campaign in the next day or two. The in-state polls say Obama is up by 10 points in the Keystone State. The Obama campaign is not acting like these numbers are true. If they were up by 10 points they would not be spending so time in Pennsylvania, they would have a comfortable lead. The Obama campaign is forecasting a much closer race in Pennsylvania than the polls and media would have you believe. Please remember, Obama lost to Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania when he outspent her in the state.

3) I had a whimsical thought last night. Lorne Michaels, the creator of Saturday Night Live, mentioned Sarah Palin would do well with her own talk show, and there might be opportunities for her in this venue. Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if Palin took 50% of Oprah’s audience away. Oprah would not interview Palin due to her blatant support of Obama. There is a large portion of her audience who is getting tired of her new age sales pitches and her liberal colors. Her audience is core, middle-American, stay-at-home woman, which is more aligned with Palin’s views and personality.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Sleeping Giant Will Sleep No More!

I have referenced in a prior post that the "Pelosi Heresy" will be a defining moment and turning point for the Roman Catholic Church in America. The past practice of the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S. privately trying to counsel pro-abortion, Catholic politicians to see the error in their ways while these politicians politely deflected the issue to seem passive came to a blazing, Hindenburg-like end one Sunday morning. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated in front of all America that St. Augustine’s writings would have permitted a pro-abortion position.

This scandal, as literally defined by the Catechism, was unleashed across the airways and country and could not be recoiled back into the bottle by private actions. In trying to confuse the issue for her political gain, Speaker Pelosi actually did the complete opposite by invoking the 2,000-year teaching authority of the Catholic Church to starkly publicize her error. It was the arrogance of a conditioned politician who thought she would have free range without hierarchy interference.

An unending list of Who’s Who of American Prelates (Chaput, Wuerl, Lori, Rigali, Egan, Niederauer, Zubik, Sheridan, etc…) soon followed denouncing Pelosi and her lack of understanding of the Catholic Faith. It was obvious that our Cardinals and Bishops now had their kid gloves off. Enough was enough with this prolonged, American farce that adamant, pro-choice politicians could claim that they were devout Catholics in good standing with their Church.

The clerical outrage that started with the "Pelosi Heresy" has continued and broadened through this whole election season as Church leaders are not remaining silent anymore. Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput has not minced words, or dabbled in vagueness, citing specifically that Barack Obama, by name, is the "most committed" abortion-rights candidate for the presidency since abortion became legal.

Knowing the Archbishop, his vocal amplification of the Gospel of Life will not stop on Inauguration Day, if the unspeakable does happen. He will be as much as a nemesis of Barack Obama as he was when the DNC were putting up those "Styrofoam pillars" in the Archbishop’s backyard. Obama greatly underestimates Chaput’s conviction and the Archbishop’s not caring whether or not he is ever invited to a Heads of State dinner. This core of character cannot be understood by most expedient politicians. It is contrary to their very existence. They sniff the air for something they can use. Similar to an indicted mobster not understanding how a district attorney making $45,000 a year cannot be bribed but will do what is just and bring him down while continuing to live below the poverty line because of his conviction. Chaput will be Obama’s ongoing nemesis.

Anyone who travels a lot for business has travel horror stories. Four hours out on a tarmac; a twenty-hour layover; and things not going quite right at 30,000 feet in the air. When these latter prayerful moments come, as they will, I always look at the flight attendants faces to reveal the seriousness of the situation. These reactions of those in charge will tell you more than any group announcement by the pilot.

This strategy holds true as well in the religious realm as we have witnessed the reaction of the leaders of our Faith over the past few months. This election is a very serious moment for the pro-life movement and there has been a plethora of prelate statements reinforcing this view. Rocco Palmo of the UK Tablet has documented that some 50 active, U.S. bishops have issued statements that abortion is the key issue of this election and that it should dictate how Catholics vote.

The latest entry in this catalog of conscience has been Cardinal Justin Rigali, again not mincing words:

"At this moment in our country’s history, defense of innocent human life is a moral responsibility for all of us. The same God who thundered from Mount Sinai: "Thou shalt not kill," thunders still. When life in the womb is destroyed, God thunders: "This is a child!" When by the most barbaric means, unworthy of any civilized people, the brain of a child is sucked out of his or her head by a vacuum, God thunders: "This is a child!" When a baby is left to die of exposure on a shelf because of a failed abortion, and this is considered a "right" by any leader, God, the Source of all law and authority, thunders: "This is a child!" When we are faced with every modern means of education and communication, in addition to the law placed in our hearts at creation, no one, and most especially, no Catholic, can ever say: "I did not know."

The vast majority of Presidential polls point to the fact that the Pro-life cause may have lost the battle of the 2008 Presidential campaign. But take heart! As we continue to fight the "Cultural of Life" war we have a new era of bold, Catholic leadership who will preach the unfiltered Gospel and influence the 25% of the electorate under their pastoral care.

In the movie Tora, Tora, Tora, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto ceases the celebratory and congratulatory mood after his subordinates confirm that the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was a complete success. The Admiral laments, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

On that Sunday morning in August, Nancy Pelosi poked the sleeping giant that is the Roman Catholic Church in America in the eye, and the sleeping giant awoke. The sleeping giant will sleep no more. I do not doubt its resolve.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sarah Palin: A Compliment from an Adversary

Lorne Michaels, creator of Saturday Night Live, on his impression of Sarah Palin after his exposure to her during her cameo last weekend:

"I think Palin will continue to be underestimated for a while. I watched the way she connected with people, and she's powerful. Her politics aren't my politics. But you can see that she's a very powerful, very disciplined, incredibly gracious woman. This was her first time out and she's had a huge impact. People connect to her."

Sounds like Mr. Michaels doesn't think Palin is hurting the ticket. The mainstream media must not have gotten to him.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Charles Krauthammer: Case for McCain "Straight Forward"

Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated, national columnist and frequent guest commentator on Fox. His life has a truly inspiring story as he became paralyzed in a diving accident in college, still went on to earn an M.D. from Harvard; became the Chief Resident in psychology in Massachusetts General; then entered the world of politics as a speech writer for Jimmy Carter, followed by a political writer and commentator.

His writings have defined terms such as the Reagan and Bush Doctrines. He corrected Charlie Gibson’s understanding of the Bush Doctrine when Gibson used it against Palin citing Gibson did not understand the term himself. He is a very independent, non-partisan thinker. When reading the link above, you will see how his art has influenced life.

Unfortunately, he is pro-choice but I predict he will come around to the pro-life side eventually. I see some rumblings in his writings.

He had the quote of the week last week humorously stating the Joe Biden was a plant by the Republican Party after the umpteenth gaffe by Biden.

Krauthammer wrote a great column that should be read in its entirety, here are a few excerpts:

"The case for McCain is straightforward. The financial crisis has made us forget, or just blindly deny, how dangerous the world out there is. We have a generations-long struggle with Islamic jihadism. An apocalyptic soon-to-be-nuclear Iran. A nuclear-armed Pakistan in danger of fragmentation. A rising Russia pushing the limits of revanchism. Plus the sure-to-come Falklands-like surprise popping out of nowhere.

Who do you want answering that phone at 3 a.m.? A man who's been cramming on these issues for the last year, who's never had to make an executive decision affecting so much as a city, let alone the world? A foreign policy novice instinctively inclined to the flabbiest, most vaporous multilateralism (e.g., the Berlin Wall came down because of "a world that stands as one"), and who refers to the most deliberate act of war since Pearl Harbor as "the tragedy of 9/11," a term more appropriate for a bus accident?

Or do you want a man who is the most prepared, most knowledgeable, most serious foreign policy thinker in the United States Senate? A man who not only has the best instincts, but has the honor and the courage to, yes, put country first, as when he carried the lonely fight for the surge that turned Iraq from catastrophic defeat into achievable strategic victory?

There's just no comparison. Obama's own running mate warned this week that Obama's youth and inexperience will invite a crisis -- indeed a crisis "generated" precisely to test him. Can you be serious about national security and vote on Nov. 4 to invite that test?

And how will he pass it? Well, how has he fared on the only two significant foreign policy tests he has faced since he's been in the Senate? The first was the surge. Obama failed spectacularly. He not only opposed it. He tried to denigrate it, stop it and, finally, deny its success.

The second test was Georgia, to which Obama responded instinctively with evenhanded moral equivalence, urging restraint on both sides. McCain did not have to consult his advisers to instantly identify the aggressor.

Today's economic crisis, like every other in our history, will in time pass. But the barbarians will still be at the gates. Whom do you want on the parapet? I'm for the guy who can tell the lion from the lamb."

This column appeared in Krauthammer's 200 syndicated newspapers. I hope it gives people pause before they vote next week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Colin Powell: Four-Star Turncoat

I wanted to address the Colin Powell endorsement of Barack Obama.

It should always be understood that Colin Powell is a politician first, and a General second. Americans frequently confuse this order. Powell’s political instincts are a vital part of his core as a person and have served him extremely well in life. They have been constantly used as a tool for his advancement. After being a "C" student at City College in NY, he rose up the ranks in the military with his political skills and amazingly achieving the rank of Four-star General without ever being a divisional commander. This is an extremely rare military occurrence. This also happened to Dwight Eisenhower. Franklin Roosevelt needed a calm demeanor that he could trust directing his war efforts and he could not control the egos of Patton and MacArthur, so he appointed Eisenhower. Eisenhower was a politician as well, proven by he later became president.

To underscore this statement of Powell being a politician first, how many Generals do you know that have the political aptitude and diplomacy to be Secretary of State? I mean, can you image Norman Schwarzkopf sitting across the table, drinking tea, with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il? Schwarzkopf would lunge across the table and take him out. That is a general who is a general first. The spartan element.

I also believe Powell road the coattails of Normal Schartzkoft’s success in Desert Storm for his own benefit. At the press conference after the successful invasion of Kuwait, Powell’s handed off the press conference to Schwarzkopf to explain the invasion. He did this because Schwarzkopf knew it best to explain in, because Schwarzkopf was the mastermind behind it.

Powell has always been a Democrat in Republican clothing, His RNC speech a few years back could have been given word for word at the Democratic Convention, highlighted by his pro-abortion view, the same year and been well received. He was a Republican because that was the political party/administration that was in power for the 12 years when he needed to rise through the ranks, literally.

Powell saw his Obama endorsement as a way to find his way back to his true party, and advance the Powell cause at the same time. A perfect political move. He waited until Obama was up double-digits in some polls and there were only two weeks left to the election to endorse him. Not really a brave move of conviction; it was a political move of expediency. So goes Powell.

Powell endorsed Obama with talking points that seem as if they were directly taken from Obama’s campaign. Obama represents change - - a "transformation figure", is a dynamic orator, he has "style and substance" [Blogger Note: tons of style, no substance], and Powell didn’t like people mentioning Obama’s Muslim background (which is a electorate concern in middle America). Sarah Palin was a ditz, not ready to be President, which according to the polls is a deciding factor to undecided voters. Could not have been scripted better. On Meet the Press, no less.

The Monday after the endorsement, Obama stated that Powell would have a role in his administration. It was a Quid Pro Quo, nothing else. Nothing of courage, nothing of integrity, nothing of underlying principled value. Sadly, the endorsement will sway some people.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Old Guard Dies Hard

Two very similar stories that most people would not piece together.

First, in July of this year, Jesse Jackson blindsided his constituents with off-camera remarks about what he really thought about Barack Obama. For those who remember these comments, Jackson’s words left no room for opinion as how he felt about Obama.

It was a legacy leader of a movement showing hostility at the person who would replace his status as the leader of the African-American community.

In September of this year, Peggy Noonan was similarly caught off-camera telling her true feelings towards Sarah Palin, citing the election is "over" and McCain picked her only as a "narrative."

Make no mistake about it, this as well is a legacy leader of a movement showing hostility towards the person who is replacing her.

Palin is an attractive, articulate, talented woman who stirs Conservative hearts. This once was Peggy Noonan’s mantle.

I could accept and respect Ms. Noonan’s view on Palin if it was sincere by being consistent from the beginning. But it has been anything but consistent. As mentioned above, there was the off-camera "narrative" comment.

Then within the next few days, Noonan wrote a piece trying to water down her comments.

Then she turned and went into a pro-Palin phase of praise:

"That normality in turn highlighted the courage she showed in being there, on that stage for the first time in her life and under trying circumstances. Her averageness accentuated her specialness. Her commonality highlighted her uniqueness.

She seemed wholly different from, and in fact seemed a refutation to, all the men of Washington at their great desks who make rules others have to live by but they don’t have to live by themselves, who mandate work rules from which they exempt Congress, for instance. They don’t live by the rules they espouse. She has lived her expressed values. She said yes to a Down Syndrome child. This too is powerful."

Then followed it up with another Pro-Palin column saying how she is the star saving the McCain campaign:

"Sarah Palin saved John McCain again Thursday night. She is the political equivalent of cardiac paddles: Clear! Zap! We’ve got a beat! She will re-electrify the base. More than that, an hour and a half of talking to America will take her to a new level of stardom. Watch her crowds this weekend. She’s about to get jumpers, the old political name for people who are so excited to see you they start to jump."

Then yesterday she did the dirty. Rage and vanity are so erratic.

"But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office."

There are two types of people who are infuriated by Palin. The first group is liberals; the second group is elitists. Noonan is obviously not a liberal. But she does use terms like "averageness" and "commonality" to describe Palin as seen in the above quote. A normal person would never describe Palin in these terms. She went from PTA president to VP candidate in 17 years. There is nothing average and common about her. It is the difference between looking up at her, and looking down at her. Noonan obviously does the latter, proving she is the latter group.

Noonan runs in elite, literary circles of affluent writers and Washington power-brokers. When she talks, she is intensely listening to every word that comes out of her own mouth and sounds like she could be sipping tea on the Queen Mary.

It is a sad day for me. I used consider Peggy Noonan the female voice in the Conservative movement. Noonan’s actions alone can tell you she has been replaced.

Post Note 10/26: Tony Blankley agrees on Noonan:

"Peggy's unconscious fear may be that it will be precisely Sarah Palin (and others like her) who will be among the leaders of the about-to-be-reborn conservative movement. I suspect that the conservative movement we start rebuilding on the ashes of Nov. 4 (even if McCain wins) will have little use for overwritten, over-delicate commentary. The new movement will be plain-spoken and socially networked up from the Interneted streets, suburbs and small towns of America. It certainly will not listen very attentively to those conservatives who idolatrize Obama and collaborate in heralding his arrival. They may call their commentary "honesty." I would call it -- at the minimum -- blindness."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Always a Proponent of Free Speech...

As reported in USA Today:

"The teachers' union for the nation's largest public school system accused the city on Friday of banning political campaign buttons and sued to reverse the policy, declaring that free speech rights were violated.

United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten announced at a news conference that a lawsuit had been filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to challenge the enforcement of the policy.

"We couldn't believe it," said Weingarten, who wore a Barack Obama lapel button. The American Federation of Teachers, including its UFT delegates, voted over the summer to endorse Obama's presidential candidacy."

Today, Weingarten and the UFT had a ruling against their lawsuit:

"U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said the policy by the schools of banning campaign buttons seemed to reflect a good faith judgment by the Board of Education about the impact of teachers' political campaign buttons rather than a covert attempt to favor one viewpoint over another."

I am completely devastated with this ruling. I was so hoping to have 500,000 buttons made up saying "Support Vouchers and Help Me Escape this Failing Educational System" to be distributed to all the unfortunate kids trapped in NYC's school systems.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

20% Off Sales and Salvation

This is one of the absolute best developments in the Catholic Church in America that I have seen in a many years.

The Capuchin Franciscans in Colorado Springs are leasing space in a shopping mall to spread the Gospel. Through their Catholic Center storefront they offer Mass twice daily, every weekday, and confession to anyone who wants it during "store hours".

The major impact of this venture, I believe, would be to offer an open door to the masses and a much easier access to those in need of spiritual counseling and interested in learning about the Catholic Faith.

For many who feel a call to spirituality, going to a strange Church can cause paralyzing fear and inaction, people do not know where to begin the process. Here you have a smiling Capuchin inviting you in.

Such a wonderful idea, I have to run and get my checkbook! Such a great idea!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Archbishop Chaput: "Private, Legally-Protected Little Murders..."

Douglas W. Kmiec writes a farce of a column in the L.A. Times citing that a Catholic in good conscience can vote for Barack Obama:

"So can Catholics vote for a pro-choice candidate? The answer is yes, but as I found when I publicly endorsed Obama, you've then got "some 'splain'n' to do." It's a matter of conscience, but had Obama proclaimed himself to be pro-choice and said nothing more, it would have been problematic. But there are those additional words about appropriate education as well as adoption and assistance for mothers who choose to keep their baby."

Archbishop Charles Chaput recently spoke at a dinner answering this ludicrous column.

The Archbishop continues to be one of the blazing pro-life voices in America, cleaning house and setting everyone straight. He preaches the unfiltered Gospel; bringing Kmiec back to the Truth (capital "T"). This article should be read by every Roman Catholic in America and sent to every family member who tells you at a family gathering that Barack Obama is a legitimate Catholic choice:

"I believe that Senator Obama, whatever his other talents, is the most committed 'abortion-rights' presidential candidate of either major party since the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in 1973," he added. "Despite what [...] Kmiec suggests, the party platform Senator Obama runs on this year is not only aggressively 'pro-choice;' it has also removed any suggestion that killing an unborn child might be a regrettable thing.

"The prelate affirmed that the platform of the Democratic Party that emerged from its national convention in August "is clearly anti-life."

"Kmiec argues that there are defensible motives to support Senator Obama," continued Archbishop Chaput. "Speaking for myself, I do not know any proportionate reason that could outweigh more than 40 million unborn children killed by abortion and the many millions of women deeply wounded by the loss and regret abortion creates."

The prelate continued: "To suggest -- as some Catholics do -- that Senator Obama is this year’s 'real' pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse."

To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred 'pro-life' option is to subvert what the word 'pro-life' means."Archbishop Chaput said he thought Kmiec's endorsement of Obama has "done a disservice to the Church, confused the natural priorities of Catholic social teaching, undermined the progress pro-lifers have made, and provided an excuse for some Catholics to abandon the abortion issue instead of fighting within their parties and at the ballot box to protect the unborn.

The truth is that for some Catholics, the abortion issue has never been a comfortable cause," said the Denver prelate. "It’s embarrassing. It’s not the kind of social justice they like to talk about. It interferes with their natural political alliances."And because the homicides involved in abortion are 'little murders' -- the kind of private, legally protected murders that kill conveniently unseen lives -- it’s easy to look the other way."

The archbishop called it "wrong and often dishonest [...] to neutralize the witness of bishops and the pro-life movement by offering a 'Catholic' alternative to the Church’s priority on sanctity of life issues."

"As I suggest throughout 'Render Unto Caesar,' it’s important for Catholics to be people of faith who pursue politics to achieve justice; not people of politics who use and misuse faith to achieve power," he said.

Archbishop Chaput lamented that for 35 years he's watched the pro-abortion lobby fight tooth-and-nail against the pro-life movement: "Apparently they believe in their convictions more than some of us Catholics believe in ours. And I think that’s an indictment of an entire generation of American Catholic leadership."

The prelate continued by affirming that being pro-life is much deeper than looking to overturn Roe v. Wade, or being a "single issue" voter: "The cornerstone of Catholic social teaching is protecting human life from conception to natural death. [...] Every other human right depends on the right to life."

He added: "So I think that people who claim that the abortion struggle is 'lost' as a matter of law, or that supporting an outspoken defender of legal abortion is somehow 'pro-life,' are not just wrong; they’re betraying the witness of every person who continues the work of defending the unborn child."And I hope they know how to explain that, because someday they’ll be required to.""

I think if the unspeakable does happen, and Barack Obama is elected President, history will look back and Chaput's comments in Denver at the time of the Democratic Convention as the origin of a very long and adversarial relationship between these two. Chaput's conviction will not permit him to be silent, and he does not care if the truth upsets politicians or lessens his place in secular society.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Never Knew Bud Selig was a Marxist

Major League Baseball is delaying the first pitch of game six of the 2008 World Series at the request of the Fox Network in order not to interfere with Barack Obama’s quest for the Presidency.

And what is so important that it can affect our national pastime? Is it a Presidential debate, or a State of the Union address by either party’s President, no. It is a 30-minute, propaganda infommercial for Barack Obama.

Now, let’s turn back the clock a decade ago when Cardinal John O’Connor requested Major League Baseball push back some scheduled start times of games in order to observe the 3 hours designated for Passion on Good Friday. Major League Baseball then said it is "tough to reschedule games".

I guess the requesting party was petitioning on behalf of the wrong Savior.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

HABEMUS PAPAM 30 YEARS LATER TO THE DATE...

As the current political and financial situation of our great country seems to be very dim, I would like to reflect on a man up a balcony thirty years ago today who instructed us to "Be Not Afraid…"

As I am sure we can agree, God has a master plan for all of us. I think one of the greatest gifts from the life of this great Pope was that it assured and reminded us that God has a master plan for our "little lives" because we saw God’s master plan for Pope John Paul II’s majestic life so clearly. It is easier to see paint on the canvas when there are broad strokes rather than thin lines.

I heard many years back, and wish I could quote the source, maybe George Weigel, that it was very against the tradition of the Papacy to have a Pope call himself, the first. And yet in 1978, when Albino Luciani was elected Pope John Paul I, it happened. This unique situation in 2,000 years of Church history and the use of the Roman numeral was not a pointless effort because it foreshadowed a second to come. It was God’s plan to have Karol Wojtyla in the Papacy at that time as seen by how he called Pope John Paul I home after less than two months. Looking back, the first designation makes all the sense in the world now as we now know who was coming. For those trivia buffs out there, Wojtyla’s first instinct was to be called Pope Stanislaw, or Pope Stanley, to honor a very significant Polish saint and bishop of Krakow. He reconsidered and took the name John Paul.

When they announce "Habemus Papam", or Latin for "We Have a Pope!," on that night in St. Peter’s square the announcement of the non-Italian sounding name, "VOY-TEE-WHA." brought confusion and polite applause from the crowd in the courtyard. I often think he in his life went from polite applause that October night to 4,000,000 people coming to his Mass in the Philippines 15 years later. What an impactful life!

The two most incredible events that I have seen in my forty years of life, were both tied to this great man. One was the week of his funeral and viewing. The non-ending lines of mourners went on day, after day, after day. I remember telling a friend, the scene felt more like of a funeral for a beloved King, not a humble priest. I also vividly see as I write this post the page-flipping Bible on his plain wood casket during his funeral and the Cardinals holding on to their birettas/hats. A great wind was present at his funeral, a sign of the Holy Spirit.

The second most incredible world moment of my life was the week when the Berlin Wall came down. To see East-Germans sitting on top of the wall and swinging sledgehammers is an image that no one can ever forget. They were not breaking into tiny bits a structure, they swung their hammers thinking about smashing an evil regime and an ideology into tiny bits. An oppressive government collapsed and people were free.

Many do not know a story about John Paul that lead to this moment. When the Polish Solidarity movement was about to be crushed by Soviet tanks, John Paul II communicated to the secretary of the Soviet Communist party stating that if there was any Soviet aggression against the Poles, he would resign the Papacy and stand on the front lines with his people. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the Kremlin received that letter. This was not a political ploy, he was dead serious. He would resign the Papacy and stand with his people. It is somewhat of a global PR nightmare to run down a defenseless Pope in a tank. The Russians hands were tied and they continued to lose their control of Poland. As a historical note, the Kremlin feared the senior Cardinal of Poland, Stefan WyszyƄski, much more than Karol Wojtyla when they were Cardinals. They felt Wojtyla was less of a threat and could be reasoned with when comparing the two Polish Cardinals. I read a comment that was made within the Kremlin after Wojtyla's election, saying at least it was not Wyszynski. They could not have been more wrong.

I will finish this reflection with VCR friend Fr. Owens Kearns’ statement after the passing of John Paul II. He was a guest on a cable news network and was asked by the commentator what was the greatest achievement of this Pope’s life was. So many thoughts riffled through me head: defeating Communism, his encyclicals, the "Culture of Life" movement he established. Fr. Owen surpassed my thoughts. He said, paraphrasing, "The example he gave us of life’s beauty and value in its fading days, the way he accepted his suffering and died with grace." I was speechless and stunned. This was also more poignant because Terri Schiavo's life was being seen as having no value at the same moment down in Florida.

I think many parents have many things they want to teach their children. Being honest, how to play Sports, finances, relationships, family history, cooking, etc… Don’t ever underestimate the learning opportunity we can gift wrap to our children as they witness us meet our most difficult trials in our lives with grace, acceptance and Faith; offering everything up. John Paul,a spiritual parent to us, did not underestimate this teaching opportunity.

John Paul the Great, Pray for Us!

Monday, October 13, 2008

What John McCain Must Do at Final Debate

As anyone can see in the polls, Wednesday night's debate is a make or break for John McCain. He does not need a tie. He does not need to be a gentleman in a losing cause, ala Bob Dole. He needs to be an attack dog and deliver a knockout punch.

Here, in my opinion, are the three essential things he must do at Hofstra to right the ship than has recently been rudderless:

1) He must compound significantly the doubts that America has about Barack Obama becoming President

Dick Morris this weekend on Fox News summed up exactly the position that the average American voter is in regarding this election. He said the average voter is very disenfranchised with the direction the country is going in and they want to boot the Republicans and their administration (the buck stops at the presidency). At the same time, these voters have great reservations about Obama. They are stuck between rage and fear.

The Obama camp criticized the McCain campaign for not bringing up personal criticisms while he had the chance at previous debates. Implying McCain was two-faced, or a coward.

If I was McCain, I would start early in the debate with the comment, "With your campaign stating I do not bring up the concerns of your character when we are face to face... , let me ask you to confirm or deny, Senator, that one of your first political gatherings to launch your poltical career was in the living room of Bill Ayers in 1995, a terrorist who has blown up government buildings.” If Obama deflects this question, you go back to it two more times. By the third deflection, American will have figured out the truth. Then close, “Senator, I don’t blame you for not answering this question, a truthful answer to America on this would cause you this election.” This would be the sound byte played on every news cast. The debate would be won on this sound byte alone.

Morris also said something spot on (Palin term) this weekend. He said that if Obama had applied for any lower-level government job he would not pass the security check with his relationship to Bill Ayers. So we have a candidate who is not trusted enough to check your luggage at the airport, but might be entrusted with overseeing the free world. Incredible.

A caller on Bill Bennett’s morning in America radio show this AM, posed an insightful question, “Why is the Obama camp asking McCain to stop all the “negative campaigning” if it is hurting his poll numbers, as the Obama camp claims? Wouldn’t the Obama camp silently allow him just to self-destruct if this was true?" These “attacks” are helping McCain’s poll numbers because they are feeding into the uncertainty that America has already with Obama. Today, 3 likely-voters polls have the spread at around 5 points between Obama and McCain, it was an 8 point spread last week.

2) McCain must definitively hang the Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac scandals around Obama’s neck like an anchor.

My next purpose would be to nail Obama to the mortgage mess and the stock market collapse. Again with the “Since your campaign thinks I will not call you on this, please confirm or deny that only one Washington politician has received more ear-mark money than you from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . How did these ear-marks affect your judgment and behavior as this mortgage crisis destroyed millions of people’s 401K’s?”

I would then follow it up by saying:

“Senator Obama, please tell where the CEO’s of these corrupt companies, like Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, are employed today. Are not they senior advisers to your campaign? Please confirm of deny this.”

This would accomplish very efficiently nailing Obama to this mess.

3) Finally, I would make a clear-cut case that Obama is inexperienced, and a tax and spend liberal who will destroy the economy.

A final question, " Senator Obama, you were completely wrong in regard to the surge in Iraq. How do you believe the voters can support you knowing there are no "do-overs" in the Oval Office?" (This "do-over" term feeds into the inexperience fear, it is a child's game term). With this Obama will bring up McCain's misjudgments. One of them is always, "Senator McCain, you said we would be seen as liberators in Iraq, and we were not..."
McCain waits for this comment and pounces, "Senator Obama, tell the woman who were constantly raped by Sadam and his sons, and the families who had loved ones dragged out in broad daylight and shot in the back of the head, we are not liberators... shame on you Senator for discrediting the achievements of our service men and women!"

Then finish with the economy and how Obama voted 94 times for tax increases. I would say, "If you saw the sun rise 94 mornings in a row, would you be willing to bet the hard earned money in your wallet that it would not rise on the 95th day? That is what you are doing with a extreme liberal like Barack Obama..."

Obama would not know what hit him. Or even better during this beating he would lose composure on stage.

Debate over, election polls tied within 2 days.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Imagine Catholics Coming Together...

.The above map shows America's Catholic population. The dark red designations are areas where Catholics are strongly represented, more than 25% of the population.

Now imagine if Catholics were loyal to the Magisterium and voted in blocks, like any other ethnic or religious groups. Can you imagine New England being overwhelming Pro-life as this map shows it could be? What about the cities of New York or Chicago being against birth control? How 'bout California being in favor of traditional mariage? We have enough of the population in all these places to change the political landscape if desired.

The question should be asked, how did the Catholic Church in America lose its way?

I believe it did not have a large amount of Her leaders speaking out as Bishop Martino does below, preaching the clear, unfiltered Gospel. The Church in America became infiltrated by authority figures who watered-down their gospels to adjust to the times and make sure they did not offend anyone, parishioners in the pews or politicians at the podium.

Our Catholic universities became overflowed with educators who placed their own primacy and interpretations of their alle carte faith ahead of Rome's teaching and were permitted to continue teaching.

The seminaries were flooded by sub-standard applicants who were accepted because their numbers were dwindling and 30 years later this mistake would bring the darkest moment that the Catholic Church in America has ever seen.

The good news is I believe there is a new breath of life in the Catholic Church in America. Young leaders like Archbishop Chaput, Fr. Frank Pavone, Fr. Corapi, Fr Euteneuer, etc... are teaching the unfiltered Gospel nationally and this tells me now there is a different ballgame. Nancy Pelosi poked the sleeping giant in the eye, the giant awoke and said enough is enough. It's very encouraging.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bishop Martino: "“Pro-choice” Candidates... Support Homicide"

Bishop Joseph Martino directed all parish priests in the Diocese of Scranton to read to their congregations his pastoral letter in observance of Respect Life Sunday (last Sunday). It was posted in every bulletin in the diocese. I did not know of Bishop Martin before the Joe Biden reprimand, but I am starting to really like him and his unfiltered gospel.

Here are excerpts of Bishop Martino's letter:

"...Another argument goes like this: “As wrong as abortion is, I don't think it is the only relevant ‘life’ issue that should be considered when deciding for whom to vote.” This reasoning is sound only if other issues carry the same moral weight as abortion does, such as in the case of euthanasia and destruction of embryos for research purposes. Health care, education, economic security, immigration, and taxes are very important concerns. Neglect of any one of them has dire consequences as the recent financial crisis demonstrates. However, the solutions to problems in these areas do not usually involve a rejection of the sanctity of human life in the way that abortion does. Being “right” on taxes, education, health care, immigration, and the economy fails to make up for the error of disregarding the value of a human life. Consider this: the finest health and education systems, the fairest immigration laws, and the soundest economy do nothing for the child who never sees the light of day. It is a tragic irony that “pro-choice” candidates have come to support homicide – the gravest injustice a society can tolerate – in the name of “social justice.”

...While the Church assists the State in the promotion of a just society, its primary concern is to assist men and women in achieving salvation. For this reason, it is incumbent upon bishops to correct Catholics who are in error regarding these matters. Furthermore, public officials who are Catholic and who persist in public support for abortion and other intrinsic evils should not partake in or be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion. As I have said before, I will be vigilant on this subject.

...My dear friends, I beg you not to be misled by confusion and lies. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, does not ask us to follow him to Calvary only for us to be afraid of contradicting a few bystanders along the way. He does not ask us to take up his Cross only to have us leave it at the voting booth door. Recently, Pope Benedict XVI said that “God is so humble that he uses us to spread his Word.” The gospel of life, which we have the privilege of proclaiming, resonates in the heart of every person – believer and non-believer – because it fulfills the heart’s most profound desire."

Kudos, again, Bishop for your leadership, courage and Faith.

John McCain: "Show" Don't "Tell"

Starting with a past experience story, as I sometimes do, in college I took a Creative Writing class. The one thing I remember from this course was my instructor pounding into our heads the notion of when you write you are supposed to "show" and never "tell". For example, don’t "tell" that the main character in your writing is impoverished, "show" how she rips single tissues or slices of bread in fours prior to using them because she can’t afford to buy any more and has to make them last.

I thought about this lesson Tuesday night watching the debate. John McCain spent the whole debate telling and not showing.

He mentioned in the town hall forum that you don’t want to have our incompetent government regulating your health care. This did not resonate with the audience because he did not connect with them on an emotionally level. Everyone feels at some point that people deserve health care. He should have used this time to “show” instead of “tell” by saying, “People in places where they have nationalized health care pray they don’t get sick. In America, if a loved one (making it very tangible and personal to the listener) needs urgent, life-saving surgery they can have it within a week if they have employer coverage. With socialized health care, they will deteriorate for 6 to 8 months on some waiting list somewhere for this critical surgery, if they are lucky enough to ever get it.” Both the McCain statement and the story draw the same conclusion, only one will connect with voters with his position.

One of the first questions of the night had a blue-collar worker asking how this bail-out was going help him. McCain rattled off talking points, Obama said that small businesses sometimes are cash-strapped to pay their employees, where they need a short term loan from their local bank. Without this bailout, there are no loans and employees don’t get paid. Everyone has a fear of not getting paid and the devastating consequences that would bring. This is very tangible to people and an underlying fear. Obama made the connection.

I think what McCain has to do is starting “showing” instead of “telling." He needs connections with the voters, because right now it is not happening.

Here is the story I would "show":

Picture you and your love ones barely surviving on the side of a mountain as nighttime descends. The temperature is plummeting and the only thing you have to keep you warm and alive is a small, flicker fire that is struggling to stay lit. Someone comes from behind you and, not understanding the situation, throws a fire blanket over your live-protecting fire completely extinguishing it. This is what Obama’s tax increases will do to our struggling economy. You will be left on the side of that freezing mountain without a way to survive. As you thought you were in a bad situation that couldn't get worse before the fire was put out, you will then find yourself in a much more severe situation without experienced leadership that knows what it is doing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Major Progress on the War on Terrorism

Here are three huge victories in the War on Terror that the mainstream media will never stress:

1) "Mahir Ahmad Mahmud Al Zubaydi was killed in Baghdad this week. Al Zubaydi is thought to have been one of Iraq's most senior al Qaeda insurgents. He is also alleged to have directed the insurgent cell believed to be responsible for the Baghdad mosque bomb attacks that killed dozens of Shi'ite muslims on Thursday.The military also blames him for several car bombings and mortar attacks in Baghdad's main Shi'ite district of Sadr City in 2006 and 2007, killing hundreds of people.He is also believed to have planned and participated in abductions and videotaped executions, including one in which he was seen shooting one of four kidnapped Russians. (Blogger Note: Someone should tell Joe Biden that al Qaeda is in fact in Iraq.)

2) News this week about an al Qaeda capture two months ago. "According to a report in the Arab-language Syrian newspaper Al Liwaa, Syrian officials captured the leader of the Al Qaeda-linked militant group Fatah al Islam [Shaker Abssi] two months ago in Syria. The report says Abssi's loyalists were planning to carry out a suicide bombing at a Damascus soccer stadium during a game a month ago to avenge him, but were thwarted by Syrian security."

3) An most quietly, but possibly could turn out to be the biggest story, the Taliban is furious at a recent U.S. air strike in Pakistan that has been kept very quiet afterwards: "Based on information from informants and agents in the field, the intelligence officials said the Taliban appeared unusually perturbed over the latest attack. Their anger was a signal that a senior militant may have been killed, but that has yet to be confirmed, they said. ... The frontier region is believed to be a possible hiding place for the Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. Several Arab militants were said to be among the dead in the strike in North Waziristan on Friday." The U.S. Military has been very quiet on this strike. Another report said that the Taliban is forbidding people from searching the rubble. Could this have been the end of bin Laden or al-Zawahri? These would be huge stories and have an impact on the election.

I am not sure who would benefit more, McCain who would be tied to the Republican's war against terrorism, or Obama if the bin Laden threat ceased to exist, would this shift the election's focus back to bread and butter issues.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cubs Fans: The Game is Designed to Break Your Heart

A condolence for the special Chicago Cubs fan in my life, and all other Cubs fans across the county. Here is a writing by former Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti on how baseball is inherently designed to break your heart to show you are not alone:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October [5], a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone."

The Green Fields of the Mind - Bartlett Giamatti

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sarah Palin: A True Champion of the Middle Class

Governor Palin released her financials today. Last year, her AGI reported as a married couple was $166,000. Included in this was $46,600 that her husband made from working at BP and $15,500 he made from his commercial fishing business. In the prior year they made $128,000 AGI. I know for the many struggling out there this sounds like a lot of money, but she is probably the most impoverished person to be on a presidential ticket since Lincoln. In addition it should be noted that she has 5 children to provide for. This was reported in the Wall St. Journal.

By way of comparison, the Obamas made over $4 Million dollars of AGI last year. The article also cites that John McCain paid his household help more in total salary than what the Palin's earned last year.

The article lists Palin's largest asset as her home, very aligned with the middle class.

The Palins gave 1.5% of their income to charity last year. This is a truly authentic number because she could not have imagined that she would have to release her income specifics due to the fact that she would be named a vice-president candidate. Obama's charitable contributions went way up this year because he knew he was running for President.

By way of comparison, Dem VP Joe Biden made over $320,000 in AGI and gave less than $1,000 to charity last year. Blue-collar Joe has average $369 a year to charity over the past 10 years.

This VP charitable contribution comparison aligns with major studies than have been done that states Liberal compassion doesn't always make it to their check books.

Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" saw the following truth when running the data on how the different political ideologies give to charity:

"Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227)."

Back in December of 2006, John Stossel on 20/20 did a test that gauged similar patterns of giving. He put Salvation Army buckets in two different towns. One was very liberal and affluent San Francisco, the other was modest and church going Sioux Falls, SD. His findings:

"Well, even though people in Sioux Falls make, on average, half as much money as people in San Francisco, and even though the San Francisco location was much busier -- three times as many people were within reach of the bucket -- by the end of the second day, the Sioux Falls bucket held twice as much money."

This is why I usually give very little credence to Liberal-activist celebrities whom speak out as to how we should donate to charities.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah Palin: Spotting Dimes and Eating Onions

One of the best lines in the television series “Seinfeld” came when George Costanza went through an episode without his glasses. Midway through a conversation with Jerry, George, without his glasses, breaks away and spots a mercury dime on the floor completely on the other side of the room... being able to see that it is indeed a mercury dime. He follows up this eagle-sighted achievement by then proceeding to the refrigerator, opening it, and taking a chomp out of an onion thinking it was an apple. Jerry in a state of complete confusion and desperation pleads, “I don’t know what to make of you, you’re spotting dimes and eating onions…”

This is what the American public is going through with Sarah Palin right now. How can a person have difficulty with an one-on-one interview with dullard Katie Couric but then also be able to tear down a convention hall with a fiery and self-confident speech? They don’t know what to think of her, and this is making her so much more intriguing than anyone else on either ticket.

Joe Biden didn’t know what to expect or how to handle her. A hockey mom that is nonthreatening enough to deal with phrases like “You bet,” and give shouts out to a 3rd grade class in Alaska during a VP debate - - a time that historically has been serious - - but is also capable of disassembling her opponents with a smile and moving on before they realize what has happened.

Here is an interesting case and point of this in last night's debate. It was very audible when Palin greeted Joe Biden at the beginning of the debate and asked if she can call him, “Joe.” Biden melted to her request and broke a smile, nodding. Here is the insight. Sara Palin was not discretely asking Biden this question for etiquette purposes; she was saying it loud enough so that Alaska could hear it.

With this concession of Biden’s, Palin set him up for the sound byte line “Say it ain’t so, Joe...” close to an hour later. If Biden did not give permission, this would seem like a disrespectful way to address an U.S. Senator, but Biden melted in the moment to Palin’s charm and at the same time was set up like a fool. He was played. Very hard to do with a political master like Biden, but so much easier to do when someone underestimates their opponent.

This is case and point that Palin not a stupid woman as the media hopes you believe. Folksy, which is Palin’s essence, is widely believed to be stupid by elitist, while polished-speaking politicians in thousand dollars suits are taken as smart. My life has showed me the complete opposite is true.

Last night, folksy met a polished-speaking politician on stage. The politician stood there in handcuffs clawing to the podium as folksy repeatedly slapped him senseless. He attacked McCain as Palin attacked Biden. He could do nothing but take it. It was energy, youth and personality verses rigor mortis. She was winking to the audience; he was gritting his teeth privately knowing he was not able to attack her. With everything done, you could not say that the Governor lost the debate. It was a tie at best. And that tie always goes to the challenger, - - a victory for Sarah Palin. She stood toe-to-toe with one of Washington’s most glib, senior Senators and held her own for 90 minutes.

There were quite a few good quotes in the media today about Palin's comeback. Rich Lowry in the NY Post summed it up better than anyone on how the night went:

"One wonders if [Biden] ever realized that, even with 35 years in the Senate and all his expertise and fluidity in policy, he wasn't beating the hockey mom from Wasilla. "

Liberals have underestimated her twice now to their peril. It should not happen again, but it will. She will be dismissed again as just “folksy,” a simpleton, in Obama’s war room and an epicenter of a threat in the liberal media rooms across America. Expect an increase of attacks on her.

On election day we will see by exit polls if America's voting public believes she is spotting "mercury dimes or eating onions".

Sarah Palin Debate Thoughts

Two female perspectives on last night's debate:

First, from Peggy Noonan, trying to make amends for her off camera remarks:

"Sarah Palin saved John McCain again Thursday night. She is the political equivalent of cardiac paddles: Clear! Zap! We've got a beat! She will re-electrify the base. More than that, an hour and a half of talking to America will take her to a new level of stardom. Watch her crowds this weekend."

From Michelle Makin:

"Pause to reflect on this: She matched — and trumped several times — a man who has spent his entire adult life on the political stage, run for president twice, and as he mentioned several times, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sarah Palin looked presidential. Joe Biden looked tired. Sarah made history. Biden is history."

Archbishop Burke: Dems Becoming Party of Death

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, formerly the Archbishop of St. Louis and now head of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, clearly defined the last 30 years of history of the Democratic Party:

"At this point the Democratic Party risks transforming itself definitely into a 'party of death' because of its choices on bioethical questions ... the party that [once] helped our immigrant parents and grandparents better integrate and prosper in American society...is not the same anymore."Pro-life Democrats are "rare, unfortunately."

The Archbishop also reinforced not giving Communion to pro-choice politicians, citing Joseph Ratzinger's words in 2004:

"it is not licit to give holy Communion to one who is publicly and obstinately a sinner. And it is logical that one who publicly and obstinately acts in favor of procured abortion enters into this category."

Htip Causa Nostrae Laetitiae

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Barack Obama's Citizenship: The Missing Ruler

On Sept. 27th, the lawyers of Barack Obama and the DNC made a motion to dismiss Democrat Philip Berg's lawsuit claiming that Barack Obama is not a citizen of the U.S., and therefore ineligible to run for President:

"Senator Obama and the Democratic National Committee claim in the accompanying brief that any harm done to Mr. Berg "would adversely affect only the generalized interest of all citizens in constitutional governance" and, therefore, Mr. Berg, as an individual voter "does not have standing based on harm he would suffer.""

So what this is saying is that Obama's lawyers are not arguing the fact that Obama is indeed a citizen, they are saying if he is not Mr. Berg will not incur enough damages individually to be entitled to this lawsuit.

I don't know about you, but if someone sues me for lying about my height I bring a ruler to court and end the lawsuit.

Obama's lawyers are now asking that this lawsuit be dismissed.