“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)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who Inspired Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen?

This month, Masses across America marked the 30th anniversary of the passing of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Servant of God. On a televised show he was asked who inspired him, the answer was riviting:

"A couple of months before his death Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this: "Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?"

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly the number of Hosts in the ciborium; thirty-two.

When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn't pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back.

Slipping past the guard at the priest's house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred. After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, since (at that time) it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.

The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle. This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.

When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The little girl showed the Bishop what true courage and zeal really is; how faith could overcome all fear, how true love for Jesus in the Eucharist must transcend life itself. What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love. The sun in the sky is symbolic of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why most monstrances are in the form of a sunburst. As the sun is the natural source of all energy, the Blessed Sacrament is the supernatural source of all grace and love."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obama's Core is now Deserting Him

Completely delusional and hysterical columnist Maureen Dowd - to be only on the par with the likes of say Eleanor Cliff - is now feeling the hangover effects of the Obama Kool Aid wearing off. This was just one guest opinion column in the NY Times, but it is so much more. If Maureen Dowd is now criticizing Obama, who is next, Hugo Chavez?

"Before he left for vacation, Obama tried to shed his Spock mien and juice up the empathy quotient on jobs. But in his usual inspiring/listless cycle, he once more appeared chilly in his response to the chilling episode on Flight 253, issuing bulletins through his press secretary and hitting the links. At least you have to seem concerned.

...But in a mystifying moment that was not technically or emotionally reassuring, there was no live video and it looked as though the Obama operation was flying by the seat of its pants.

...the president intoned: “It now appears that weeks ago this information was passed to a component of our intelligence community but was not effectively distributed so as to get the suspect’s name on a no-fly list.”

In his detached way, Spock was letting us know that our besieged starship was not speeding into a safer new future, and that we still have to be scared.

Heck of a job, Barry."

I Triple-dog-dare-you on the breach of etiquette, calling Our Commander and Chief by his pre-Obama-Cult childhood name, Barry. Also interesting that she nailed the Spock comparison twice. For non-Trekies, Spock was a character on Star Trek whose race prided themselves with being non-emotional under any circumstances. Detached as mentioned in my prior post.

Too funny, and more notably his extreme liberal wing is now flanking him.

Friday, December 25, 2009

7 Centuries Foretold of the Messiah

Bishop Sheen once gave a sermon that if he was at the beginning of a human search to look for a true Messiah to follow, he would look for signs from the Almighty that the Messiah he chose was without a doubt from God, His Chosen One. No other religion can claim such specific and fulfilled prophecies on the central figure of their Faith. They were so specific that the Roman authorities, Jewish community and traveling wisemen all knew that the birth had happened without firsthand knowledge.

700 years before the birth of Christ, Christ's lineage was from the House of David was prophesied:
"In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it--one from the house of David--one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness." Isaiah 16:5

700 years before Christ's birth in Bethlehem the location was prophesied:
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come . . . one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." Micah 5:2

700 years before the Blessed Mother conceived from the Holy Spirit it was prophesied:
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 (Blogger Note: Bishop Sheen always pointed out that this unthinkable notion of a virgin birth has always been accepted as an unquestioned truth in world history. Unbelievers will argue many ways that Christ was not Divine, but surprisingly will rarely argue that a virgin can't conceive, which would seemingly be an easier argument to win for a non-believer - again reinforcing the Doctrine's world acceptance. In fact, St. Luke who wrote about the virgin birth was a doctor, and one would think he would be the most skeptical out of the four evangelists, but he actually gives the testament.)

700 years before Christ's birth the incarnation was prophesied, that our God would become human... "a child is born"... that would be called "Mighty God":
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. ..." Isaiah 9:6-7

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Worth of a Soul

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the lost of my brother, who died instantaneously at age 18 with a hidden heart condition. Anyone who goes through something like this knows how it forever alters your life. It also makes your awareness heightened to people’s struggles, especially those grieving. It makes you a better person.

Death at Holiday time is such an oxymoron. It definitely compounds the sadness as external Holiday joy takes juxtaposition against your internal grief. I remember my mother having to decide which siblings she would give my brother’s wrapped gifts to - that were left under the tree - as there was nothing else left that she could do. Some gifts obviously were not a perfect matches for the recipients, but they were warmly accepted with the realization of how much my brother wanted them and how we felt they were a link to him.

I also remember my parents getting us all gifts, and getting a grave blanket for my brother because again, that was all that was left that could be done on the material side. I remember the great personal sadness I had when reflecting on this forced, only pragmatic gift.

However, with every cross there is a blessing.

I remember listening to the car radio and hearing "Oh Holy Night" between my brother’s passing and that first Christmas without him. I have heard that song a countless times and it has always been one of my favorite songs. But at that moment I truly heard for the first time the line, "’Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth…" With this line the magnitude of the meaning of Christmas, with reflecting on my brothers’ soul and passing, was overwhelming realized and finally crystal clear. Without Christ’s birth and eventual accepted sacrifice, the soul had no worth, no graceful consideration or purpose, nor any final reward. No hope for happiness, basically no hope for anything. Abraham, Moses and even St. Joseph were not in a place of eternal happiness prior to Christ's victory.

So all who grieve this holiday season, take heart. The birth of a poverty-stricken baby, in a remote, outcast province of the Roman Empire two-thousand years ago changed eternity for all faithful people. This singular birth out of billions of historical births made a joyous afterlife and reward possible for all who struggle, care and mourn trying to actively live His Gospel. It was the greatest holiday gift for those in mourning by providing them THE eternal consolation.

Matthew 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Theater Play on the Life of St. Jean/John Vianney

I have access to a very impactful play of the life of St. Jean Vianney. The play is truly Catholic and features multiple, actual homilies from this saint addressing many core beliefs in our Faith. It is meant for a cast of around twenty, so would be best served as a high-school, college or theater group play.

There are so few truly Catholic plays out there, this is one.

Along with Vianney's beautiful sermons it highlights his mysticism as well as his confrontations with the devil. Everyone can take something spiritual away with them from this play.

If you are interested in getting a copy of this play for consideration, please contact me through the comment link on this post, and include your e-mail contact information. I will not publish your comment, but send a copy of the play to you for your use free of charge.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bishop Tobin Bans Patrick Kennedy from Communion

When Bishop Tobin mentioned the word "scandal" below, it should have been a hint of what was coming. You can't have a dogmatic head of a diocese mention public scandal without an appropriate public remedy.

As I mentioned, the Catholic Church in America has turned a corner. The stakes have been raised. Patrick Kennedy's office vs. his soul.

"Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin has banned Rep. Patrick Kennedy from receiving Communion, the central sacrament of the church, in Rhode Island because of the congressman's support for abortion rights, Kennedy said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.

The decision by the outspoken prelate, reported on The Providence Journal's Web site, significantly escalates a bitter dispute between Tobin, an ultra orthodox bishop, and Kennedy, a son of the nation's most famous Roman Catholic family.

"The bishop instructed me not to take Communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me Communion," Kennedy told the paper in an interview conducted Friday.

Kennedy said the bishop had explained the penalty by telling him "that I am not a good practicing Catholic because of the positions that I've taken as a public official," particularly on abortion."

All weary pro-lifers should write Bishop Tobin a letter of support for this decision. There are many Catholic politicians who have been destructive towards human life for far too long who are cringing this morning with this story.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Buchanan: Some Good Questions

Pat Buchanan asks a lot of very thought provoking questions, that he knows the answers to, in his recent column showing the lunacy of a civil trial for enemy combatants. It is a good read with historical basis.

If you want to notice something as interesting as telling, type Pat Buchanan's name in your Google search field and see how nothing automatically comes up. Every other public figure and columnist comes up as an autofill, even remote people when I search for them. Apparently, Google does not like Pat very much.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bishop Tobin Sets Patrick Kennedy Straight

Back in October of 2008, I said that the Pelosi Heresy would be the turning point for the Catholic Church in America. Clerics would no longer leave blatant, public distortions of our Faith unchallenged when made by bold, Catholic-in-name-only, posturing politicians.

In this latest event, the son of Ted Kennedy, Patrick (the apple doesn't fall far..) Kennedy, said publicly that “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.”

Providence Bishop Thomas J. Tobin definitively set the record straight:

"... Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn’t choose those particular words, when someone rejects the teachings of the Church, especially on a grave matter, a life-and-death issue like abortion, it certainly does diminish their ecclesial communion, their unity with the Church. This principle is based on the Sacred Scripture and Tradition of the Church and is made more explicit in recent documents.

For example, the “Code of Canon Law” says, “Lay persons are bound by an obligation and possess the right to acquire a knowledge of Christian doctrine adapted to their capacity and condition so that they can live in accord with that doctrine.” (Canon 229, #1)

...But let’s get down to a more practical question; let’s approach it this way: What does it mean, really, to be a Catholic? After all, being a Catholic has to mean something, right?

Well, in simple terms ...being a Catholic means that you’re part of a faith community that possesses a clearly defined authority and doctrine, obligations and expectations. It means that you believe and accept the teachings of the Church, especially on essential matters of faith and morals; that you belong to a local Catholic community, a parish; that you attend Mass on Sundays and receive the sacraments regularly; that you support the Church, personally, publicly, spiritually and financially.

...Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” [Blogger Note: Ted Kennedy used the term "imperfect" in his final letter to the Vatican to explain 40 years of voting in favor of abortion on demand] Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous [Blogger Note: There he said it!] to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

...I invite you, as your bishop and brother in Christ, to enter into a sincere process of discernment, conversion and repentance. It’s not too late for you to repair your relationship with the Church, redeem your public image, and emerge as an authentic “profile in courage,” especially by defending the sanctity of human life for all people, including unborn children. And if I can ever be of assistance as you travel the road of faith, I would be honored and happy to do so."

Bravo Bishop, thank you for your courage, leadership and preaching the unfiltered Gospel.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Love, Worship, Truth and Freedom Cannot Be Surpressed

Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. We all know one of the most famous speeches of Ronald Reagan's life... and we all know this part:

"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

But do we know this part?

"Today the city thrives in spite of the challenges implicit in the very presence of this wall. What keeps you here? Certainly there's a great deal to be said for your fortitude, for your defiant courage. But I believe there's something deeper, something that involves Berlin's whole look and feel and way of life--not mere sentiment. No one could live long in Berlin without being completely disabused of illusions. Something instead, that has seen the difficulties of life in Berlin but chose to accept them, that continues to build this good and proud city in contrast to a surrounding totalitarian presence that refuses to release human energies or aspirations.

Something that speaks with a powerful voice of affirmation, that says yes to this city, yes to the future, yes to freedom. In a word, I would submit that what keeps you in Berlin is love--love both profound and abiding.

Perhaps this gets to the root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction of all between East and West. The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront. Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexander Platz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower's one major flaw, treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere--that sphere that towers over all Berlin--the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed.

As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner: "This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality." Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom."

Within 2 years of this speech, the Wall dividing the German people was no more.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

2009 Election Night: The Season of Our Discontent

A few thoughts should be mentioned on last night’s elections.

First, Governor Corzine lost by 4 points to Chris Christie despite President Obama frequently stumping for him, and outspending Christie an incredible 4 to 1. Now a 4 percent victory only requires 2.1 percent of the population to change their mind to swing the election.

Was it the case that our President didn’t have the goodwill and/or influence to swing this small percentage of voters in a historically Liberal state? This answer could be very telling. Or was it a matter of Obama's frequent fundraising and photo op’s with Corzine did influence the race, but Corzine was so far behind Christie that it did not matter? Pretty much all polls were aligned saying this race was neck and neck coming into the election. This leaves the first choice, that Obama has no influence, as the more realistic choice. This is a very bad position for the President of the free world to be in. It is too bad this election was not held in France where Obama’s influence means something.

Bill Bennett on his radio show this morning humorously said, paraphrasing, “ the anti-bodies are kickin’ in to fight was is not supposed to be in America.” My personal opinion is that we have not had an extremely, full-fledged Liberal president in a generation. Bill Clinton was a social liberal, but fiscal moderate as he balanced the budget with Newt Gingrich. Jimmy Carter was the last Liberal flame thrower. When Carter was president, I was still not allowed to write in pen, and I was 5 years away from getting braces. It has been a very long time. Americans have completely forgotten -- due to time or for the younger voters, they have never been exposed to an uncontrollable tax-and-spend Liberal on the level of Obama --what it is like having a unapologetic Liberal calling the shots. Every day we see Obama's new spending in the news... 700 Billion here, or 400 billion there, as the black whole of debt that we and our children will have to dig out of gets deeper and deeper. Our collective memory does not recall, or is somehow not convinced, that tax increases targeting the private sector and spending increases targeting and benefiting the government sector will always destroy an economy. Very quietly, Johnson and Johnson yesterday announced layoffs for 8,000 employees. This is a premier health care company, and a premier consumer products company in the U.S. Just ask Warren Buffet who owns a good amount of its stock. If you think that Obama has done anything to help this economy a year after being elected take a look at Johnson and Johnson.

Extreme Left-Wing, diatriber Alan Dershowitz mentioned the public was having ‘buyer’s remorse” in regard to electing Obama a few months back. It is similar to having a whirlwind courtship and marrying someone, then finding out the person has an extremely violent temper and you are stuck with them. The year following this realization is the most fearful time. We are now in this time, the time of our discontent, with Obama, realizing he is not the package that was promised or advertised, we are stuck with him, and the fear is overwhelming.

Virginia had a 25 point swing towards Republican voters last night for the Gubernatorial vote when compared to what Obama carried last year. One out of four voters went running to the door. Close to 50% of the voters that elected Obama! Laughably, the White House says this does not reflect on Obama.

In upstate New York, a Conservative third-party candidate took on both establishment Parties with far less financing and was leading in the polls as of yesterday. If Democrats see the election outcome last night as a victory, they do it to their peril.

It seems that every generation needs to make their own mistakes and get their own wake up call. I predict that the next two Presidential elections will be won by the Republicans, possibly three. America has realized their mistake and the aftertaste will last at least ten years. On January 21st, Obama had 68% approval rating and 12% disapproval rating per Gallop. Now it is 50% approval (down -18%) verses 43% disapproval (up +31%). Overwhelming buyer’s remorse.

I also predict that Democrats will start fleeing Obama and his agenda to save their own hides. You don’t have to be Nostradamos to predict this. The movie Mississippi Burning has a very accurate quote in it, “Rattlesnakes don’t commit suicide.”

Friday, October 30, 2009

Archbishop Timothy Dolan: Anti-Catholicism is America's Pastime

New York's Archbishop showed me something here, no mincing words. Maureen Dowd finally held accountable for her incoherent rants. Click on the above link, a very worth-while read.

"...Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.

True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today."

10/31 Post note: Archbishop Dolan confirmed he submitted this piece to the New York Times and they declined to print it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two Years From Now, These Will Be Considered the Good Ol' Days for Obama

I don't understand. President Obama does nothing in his first 12 days in office and wins the Nobel Peace Prize, but then legitimately sets a true record for approval rating plummet and no one gives him any credit???

From Gallup:

"...the 9-point drop in the most recent quarter is the largest Gallup has ever measured for an elected president between the second and third quarters of his term, dating back to 1953

...More generally, Obama's 9-point slide between quarters ranks as one of the steepest for a president at any point in his first year in office."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Liberal Tenet of Work vs. Jobs

The Obama administration reported yesterday that it has saved or created 30,000 jobs by awarding $16 B-B-B-Billion to federal contractors in government projects. With a calculator, it comes out to a cost of more than $500,000 per job created which again shows you the inefficiencies and incompetence of this administration.

Now, let’s take that $16 Billion and try to stimulate this economy another way. Let’s give out 160,000 one-hundred thousand dollars low-interest loans, that should be noted have to be paid back, to small business entrepreneurs wanting to open a business. If each hires 2 people, when grouped with the entrepreneur, this would create 480,000 new jobs. Now what happens if one percent of the 160,000 companies actually become large companies down the road (Apple computers started in a garage). Take 1600 companies and times that by 10,000 jobs as well. 16 million new jobs.

The basic truth about Liberals is that they are very good at creating work for their constituencies, and very bad at creating established, long-term jobs. They can create a $60,000 job for a person directing traffic at a highway work site holding a stop sign, but this job is gone the day the work is completed.

Here is a great example of this using Boston’s Big Dig in the epicenter of Liberalism. The government wanted to move a highway underground that went through the middle of the city. It was originally budgeted for $2 Billion, and came in at a final cost of over $22 Billion. In the year 2000, 5,400 workers were hired for the job and at the end, in 2004, only 1,000 were still employed, and they were on short-term, mop-up duty.

Last week, in a poll of CEO’s only 13% expect to offer more jobs in the short term, although the majority expect their sales to grow in this same period. This, coupled with the Dow Jones hitting 10,000 this week, leads more credibility and concern to a job-less recovery, and very big problems for the Obama administration.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Best of VCR: What's the Nobel Prize Worth?

Originally posted June 5, 2008. Thought I would dust it off with our President's recent honor. I read today that the nominations for this year's award we due Feb. 1st, 2009, so Obama was nominated 12 days into Office. This shows you the obsession in making sure Obama got this award regardless of achievements. This award is even more completely meaningless going forward than it was in the past, if that is possible.

This week, MSNBC.com ran a cover story on the downfall of Dr. James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.

Long-time pro-lifers are very familiar with Dr. Watson but not for his scientific advancements. They are familiar with him for his extreme culture-of-death philosophies:

In Prism magazine (1973), Dr. Watson suggests that children not be declared alive until three days after birth so that doctors may allow severely deformed children to die if their parents so choose.

Decades later, in an interview with the Australian paper The Sunday Age, Watson was quoted saying: "Any time you can prevent a seriously sick child from being born, it is good for everyone..."

What makes this man so incredible is not his accolades, but the place our society give him. He is an esteemed Nobel Laureate.

In researching the history of the Nobel Prizes, you will find such dark names in the ranks of the Nobel nominees as Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin. As the ol’ Yankee manager, Casey Stengel, said, "You can look it up."

What you will not find on the list of nominees are the names of Mahatma Gandhi nor Pope John Paul II.

In regard to the Holy Father, the Nobel organization did not believe embracing your assassin in a jail cell, speaking out for the most helpless and downtrodden members of society over the span of 30 years and being at the epicenter of the fall of Communism (bringing it down without a shot being fired) worthy of their recognition.

Despite what Al Gore and Jimmy Carter would tell you, this clearly defines how political these Nobel awards are.

So back to Dr. Watson… What finally brought down his career? He made racist remarks against the African American and Jewish communities.

One of the benefits of being pro-life is that your views allow you to quickly identify what kind of person is standing in front of you. Through our commitment to life, we knew the kind of man Dr. James Watson was in 1973; it took the rest of the world more than 30 years to catch up.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grief: The Battleground between the Divine and the Mortal

Mary Ellen Barrett is a Catholic writer and a homeschooling mother of seven on Long Island. I have quoted her writing previously on my blog.

In August, while on a camping trip, it is believed her fourteen-year-old son, Ryan, had a seizure that resulted in his drowning. As a parent who shares with her a deep love of our Catholic Faith and for our children, we all share in this heartache.

Ryan was very loved within his community, and aspired to become a priest. When Auxiliary Bishop Peter Libasci came to Ryan’s wake, he told a mourner, "I just had to come and see the little priest."

Mourning directly exposes our souls and our hearts to the presence of God without any obstructions. There are no pretenses or falsehoods in mourning; no rhetoric, no social pleasantries, no cosmetic appearances, no designer clothes, nor teeth whiteners. Nothing but the true essence of human struggling and emotions with all else stripped away.

Grieving is the battleground between the Divine and the mortal. Our mortal nature and senses tell us that our loved one is gone forever because we no longer have their physical presence; and our Faith tells us that they are in God’s embrace and that we are called to believe the nonphysical and things that can't be seen -- what our senses can’t perceive and hearts can't prove. It is a very tough battle.

This struggle is what Mary Ellen calls "sitting at the foot of the cross" in this beautiful piece where she wrote about her grief. You will see there are no pretenses in her words, just her struggling with her essence and the belief in her God. It is a very worthwhile read:

Triumph of the Cross
"One month. It's been one month since our world came crashing down around us and we began our vigil at the cross of Christ.

To learn to embrace the suffering and turn it to some use has been, at times, a nearly impossible task for me. I miss my Ryan so badly it is a physical pain that just will not go away. A stabbing knife in my chest that often makes it hard to catch my breath.

To sit at the foot of the cross in the real way that Dave and I have this past month, it is necessary to surrender to God and to just trust that His plan is for our ultimate salvation. I confess to having my moments of bewilderment/anger at why God called Ryan home but I pray through that and ask Ryan to pray for me. I know that Ryan is happy in heaven, that he is doing good there. There have been several little intercessions he has accomplished for his mom and dad and I'm told others have had little prayer requests granted. I am so comforted by the knowledge that he is home with Our Lady, helping his family and friends.
I still want him home with me. That is me, my fallen, broken nature. To be aware of his joy and yet want him here. I can't help it. I don't think I ever will be able to feel differently.

Still we chug along here, life still happens. Babies need feeding and changing, toddlers require care, older kids need to do school and go to music and soccer and other places. I am sometimes annoyed that the world hasn't stopped, frozen in time because my son died, but then I see that going to dance and soccer is good for the kids and visiting with family heals me.

So the grief crashes over us in waves. Mind numbingly, over-powering waves and then we gasp and stick our heads up and catch our breath. We see the world around us and the love being bestowed on us and we know it is good.

Sitting at the foot of the cross gives others the opportunity to minister. We have been so cared for and generously provided for in the last month. I still receive a delicious hot dinner every evening at 5:00 pm. I We spent this last weekend in a beautiful New England resort owned by my cousins, being catered to as if we really deserved such treatment. The dearest friend in the world and her husband and children still take care of so many details of daily living for us so that we no longer have to think. The generosity of our parish family, community and homeschool group have been unimaginable. Thank you all dear people.

This community too, this blogging world with is so "real" in spite of it's "unrealness" The cards, letters, donations, emails, gifts and prayers have overwhelmed us in their love. Thank you all so much.
I have almost 1,000 thank you notes to write. Yes 1,000. Between the wakes and the funeral and the giving that followed almost 1,000 people expressed their gratitude for Ryan's life and love for our family.
If you know me, you know how long that it is going to take to get that done. If you don't know me, let me tell you it's going to be a while.

I want to assure everyone that this blog is not going to become a constant outpouring of grief. I won't be able to keep it out entirely but I still want this to be a happy place that records what we do here and how we do it. I still will rant politically over at CatholicVote.org and I still intend to keep up with other writing commitments. Soon.

For today, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, let me assure you that the suffering we embrace does in fact unite us to Christ. While I think I have felt every emotion going in the last month the one that prevails is unity to Christ. A comforted, loved feeling. Knowing that my Father in heaven has embraced my family and I and is holding us close is a warmth I can't describe. To witness and experience the Body of Christ in the real, powerful and practical way that we have is evidence of the suffering doing good. It is evidence that God is in His heaven, that my son is there too and he is caring for Dave and I.

The cross will be triumphant, we shall all be united again.

Until then I can't wait to hug my boy."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Be Proud of Who You Are, America!

Mark Steyn had a very powerful statement yesterday on Bill Bennett's radio show that I have been thinking about all day. He said all over the world (Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas), hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets protesting their governments are not doing enough for them -- providing for their needs. In America, hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets protesting their government is too involved in their lives and needs to get the heck out of their way.

Steyn mentioned this independence streak was born from the original American colonies having to be self sufficient, then after accomplishing this feat they came together and formed a national government - making sure it was limited in its interference through the Constitution. All other places came from a monarchy or dictatorship where the population looked upward and waited for crumbs to fall from a royal plate to take care of them.

Be proud of who you are America!

Friday, September 11, 2009

George W. Bush's Speech at the National Cathedral

A few days after our country was attacked, on Sept. 14, President Bush came to a national cathedral in Washington D.C., and gave what I believe was the greatest speech of his Presidency. It received very little accolades from the press, probably too many references to God. It is a very worthwhile read on this 8th anniversary.

"We are here in the middle hour of our grief. So many have suffered so great a loss, and today we express our nation's sorrow. We come before God to pray for the missing and the dead, and for those who loved them. On Tuesday, our country was attacked with deliberate and massive cruelty. We have seen the images of fire and ashes and bent steel.

Now come the names, the list of casualties we are only beginning to read:

They are the names of men and women who began their day at a desk or in an airport, busy with life.

They are the names of people who faced death and in their last moments called home to say, be brave and I love you.

They are the names of passengers who defied their murderers and prevented the murder of others on the ground.

They are the names of men and women who wore the uniform of the United States and died at their posts.

They are the names of rescuers -- the ones whom death found running up the stairs and into the fires to help others.

We will read all these names. We will linger over them and learn their stories, and many Americans will weep.

To the children and parents and spouses and families and friends of the lost, we offer the deepest sympathy of the nation. And I assure you, you are not alone. Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history, but our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.

War has been waged against us by stealth and deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing. Our purpose as a nation is firm, yet our wounds as a people are recent and unhealed and lead us to pray. In many of our prayers this week, there's a searching and an honesty. At St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, on Tuesday, a woman said, "I pray to God to give us a sign that He's still here."

Others have prayed for the same, searching hospital to hospital, carrying pictures of those still missing. God's signs are not always the ones we look for. We learn in tragedy that His purposes are not always our own, yet the prayers of private suffering, whether in our homes or in this great cathedral are known and heard and understood. There are prayers that help us last through the day or endure the night. There are prayers of friends and strangers that give us strength for the journey, and there are prayers that yield our will to a Will greater than our own.

This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance and love have no end, and the Lord of life holds all who die and all who mourn.

It is said that adversity introduces us to ourselves. This is true of a nation as well. In this trial, we have been reminded and the world has seen that our fellow Americans are generous and kind, resourceful and brave.

We see our national character in rescuers working past exhaustion, in long lines of blood donors, in thousands of citizens who have asked to work and serve in any way possible.

And we have seen our national character in eloquent acts of sacrifice:

Inside the World Trade Center, one man who could have saved himself stayed until the end and at the side of his quadriplegic friend.

A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter.

Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down 68 floors to safety.

A group of men drove through the night from Dallas to Washington to bring skin grafts for burned victims.

In these acts and many others, Americans showed a deep commitment to one another and an abiding love for our country.

Today, we feel what Franklin Roosevelt called, "the warm courage of national unity." This is a unity of every faith and every background. It has joined together political parties and both houses of Congress. It is evident in services of prayer and candlelight vigils and American flags, which are displayed in pride and waved in defiance. Our unity is a kinship of grief and a steadfast resolve to prevail against our enemies. And this unity against terror is now extending across the world.

America is a nation full of good fortune, with so much to be grateful for, but we are not spared from suffering. In every generation, the world has produced enemies of human freedom. They have attacked America because we are freedom's home and defender, and the commitment of our Fathers is now the calling of our time.

On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask Almighty God to watch over our nation and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.

As we've been assured, neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth can separate us from God's love. May He bless the souls of the departed. May He comfort our own. And may He always guide our country.

God bless America."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Krauthammer: Obama the Mortal

A few days back, Charles Krauthammer had a piece on how President Obama is now being seen as human with all his warts. Here are some excerpts from his piece:

"What happened to President Obama? His wax wings having melted, he is the man who fell to earth. What happened to bring his popularity down further than that of any new president in polling history save Gerald Ford (post-Nixon pardon)?

...Obama imagined that, as Fouad Ajami so brilliantly observed, he had won the kind of banana-republic plebiscite that grants caudillo-like authority to remake everything in one's own image.

Accordingly, Obama unveiled his plans for a grand makeover of the American system, animating that vision by enacting measure after measure that greatly enlarged state power, government spending and national debt. Not surprisingly, these measures engendered powerful popular skepticism that burst into tea-party town-hall resistance.

...Obama fancies himself tribune of the people, spokesman for the grass roots, harbinger of a new kind of politics from below that would upset the established lobbyist special-interest order of Washington. Yet faced with protests from a real grass-roots movement, his party and his supporters called it a mob -- misinformed, misled, irrational, angry, unhinged, bordering on racist. All this while the administration was cutting backroom deals with every manner of special interest -- from drug companies to auto unions to doctors -- in which favors worth billions were quietly and opaquely exchanged.

...But what has occurred -- irreversibly -- is this: He's become ordinary. The spell is broken. The charismatic conjurer of 2008 has shed his magic. He's regressed to the mean, tellingly expressed in poll numbers hovering at 50 percent.

...For a man who only recently bred a cult, ordinariness is a great burden, and for his acolytes, a crushing disappointment."

Monday, September 7, 2009

Should We Ever Publicly Criticize Priests?

Over the past few months, many Catholics in the pro-life movement have felt abandoned by some of our clerical leaders as the issues of Barack Obama’s Notre Dame speech and Ted Kennedy’s funeral forced a spotlight on what should it mean to be a true, pro-life Catholic.

I have been very disappointed by more than a few prelates over the years in regard to the pro-life cause in as I firmly believed these prelates were giving mix signals to both the pro-life, pro-abortion and Catholic communities by their words and actions.

It is very hard for me not to be outwardly critical of these events because of the deep injustice I feel. In addition, it is very hard for me not to say anything because I am an Irishman. Only one of these ailments is curable.

The quote that remains with me, an alters my tongue to a large extent, is what God said to St. Catherine of Siena, as quoted in her Dialogue, in regard to criticizing priest, even those worthy of the criticism:

"…[It] is my intention that they be held in due reverence, not for what they are in themselves, but for my sake, because of the authority I have given them. Therefore the virtuous must not lessen their reverence, even should these ministers fall short in virtue. And, as far as the virtues of my ministers are concerned, I have described them for you by setting them before you as stewards of ... my Son’s body and blood and of the other sacraments. This dignity belongs to all who are appointed as such stewards, to the bad as well as to the good.

…[Because] of their virtue and because of their sacramental dignity you ought to love them. And you ought to hate the sins of those who live evil lives. But you may not for all that set ourselves up as their judges; this is not my will because they are my Christs, and you ought to love and reverence the authority I have given them.

You know well enough that if someone filthy or poorly dressed were to offer you a great treasure that would give you life, you would not disdain the bearer for love of the treasure, and the lord who had sent it, even though the bearer was ragged and filthy... You ought to despise and hate the ministers’ sins and try to dress them in the clothes of charity and holy prayer and wash away their filth with your tears.

Indeed, I have appointed them and given them to you to be angels on earth and suns, as I have told you. When they are less than that you ought to pray for them. But you are not to judge them. Leave the judging to me, and I, because of your prayers and my own desire, will be merciful to them."*

Enough said, you cannot disagree with Divine wisdom that God reveals to a saint as holy as Catherine of Siena. (As a side note on Catherine, one of my favorite stories on her was that she was so holy at an early age that she would levitate up the stairs (her feet not touching the stairs) as a child, causing her parents a great amount of anxiety for her safety - - too funny as all those overprotective parents out there can relate.)

In realizing that God always gives you what you need, yesterday I receive a mailing from the Cardinal Kung Foundation which has close ties to the persecuted, underground Church in China. In the mailing was a beautiful prayer that his Eminence wrote in 1953 in regard to elevating priests:

By His Eminence, the late Ignatius Cardinal Kung
"All powerful and eternal God, through the merits of your Son, Jesus, and through your love for him, I implore you, have pity on the priests of the Holy Church. In spite of their sublime dignity, they are fearful and weak, like all created beings. In your infinite mercy, inflame their hearts with the fire of divine love. For the sake of Jesus, your Son, bestow grace on the priests and uphold them. Do not let them fall into temptation and tarnish their noble vocation.
O Jesus, we implore you. Look with pity on the priests of the Holy Church: those who are serving you faithfully and proclaiming your glory; those who are persecuted for tending your flock; those who are abandoned, weary, and sorrowful; those who are lukewarm, confused and who have denied their faith; those who are sick, dying or in Purgatory. Lord Jesus, we entreat you. Listen to our supplication, have pity and console them.
O Jesus, we entrust to you the priests of the whole world: the priests who baptized me, absolved my sins, offered Holy Mass and consecrated the Eucharist to nourish my soul. We entrust to you the priests that instructed me when I was ignorant, gave me strength in my weakness, showed me the Way and the Truth and comforted me in my sorrow and affliction. For all the blessings they obtained for me, I implore you to support them in your loving kindness.
O Jesus, shelter our priests in your Sacred Heart. Let them take refuge in your mercy and love, in this life and to the hour of death. Amen."
We must realize that for every priest that may disappoint us, there is an equal number that are imprisoned, persecuted and face hostilities because they preach the unfiltered Gospel. As both sides of this priestly spectrum are irreversibly linked to Christ, they all deserve our prayers.
*Catherine of Siena; The Dialogue, translated by Suzanne Noffke, O.P., New York: Paulist Press, 1980, pp. 229-231

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cardinal O'Malley Responds to Critics

On his blog yesterday, his Emminence justifies his actions of officiating at Senator Kennedy's funeral:

"...There are those who objected, in some cases vociferously, to the Church’s providing a Catholic funeral for the Senator. In the strongest terms I disagree with that position. At the Senator’s interment on Saturday evening, with his family’s permission, we learned of details of his recent personal correspondence with Pope Benedict XVI. It was very moving to hear the Senator acknowledging his failing to always be a faithful Catholic, and his request for prayers as he faced the end of his life. The Holy Father’s expression of gratitude for the Senator’s pledge of prayer for the Church, his commendation of the Senator and his family to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and his imparting the Apostolic Blessing, spoke of His Holiness’ role as the Vicar of Christ, the Good Shepherd who leaves none of the flock behind.

As Archbishop of Boston, I considered it appropriate to represent the Church at this liturgy out of respect for the Senator, his family, those who attended the Mass and all those who were praying for the Senator and his family at this difficult time. We are people of faith and we believe in a loving and forgiving God from whom we seek mercy.

At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness, it will be doomed to marginalization and failure. Jesus’ words to us were that we must love one another as He loves us. Jesus loves us while we are still in sin. He loves each of us first, and He loves us to the end. Our ability to change people’s hearts and help them to grasp the dignity of each and every life, from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death, is directly related to our ability to increase love and unity in the Church, for our proclamation of the Truth is hindered when we are divided and fighting with each other."

I think the issue that needs to be addressed here is scandal. By giving Kennedy this send off, O'Malley is encouraging other Catholic, pro-abortion politicians to sin and promote legislation that kills millions of innocent children and still be confident they are in good Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. That is the real sin here, not prayers for a flawed, 77-year old.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Kennedy's Letter to Pope Benedict XVI

Here is Ted Kennedy's final letter to Pope Benedict XVI as detailed on America.

Most Holy Father,

I asked President Obama to personally hand deliver this letter to you. As a man of deep faith himself, he understands how important my Roman Catholic faith is to me and I am so deeply grateful to him. I hope this letter finds you in good health. I pray that you have all of God’s blessings as you lead our church and inspire our world during challenging times.

I am writing with deep humility to ask that you pray for me as my own health declines. I was diagnosed with brain cancer over a year ago and although I am undergoing treatment, the disease is taking its toll on me.

I am 77-years-old and preparing for the next passage of life. I’ve been blessed to be part of a wonderful family and both my parents, specifically my mother, kept our Catholic faith at the center of our lives. That gift of faith has sustained and nurtured and provided solace to me in the darkest hours. I know that I have been an imperfect human being, but with the help of my faith I have tried to right my past.

I want you to know, your Holiness, that in my 50 years of elected office I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I’ve worked to welcome the immigrant, to fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I’ve opposed the death penalty and fought to end war. Those are the issues that have motivated me and have been the focus of my work as a U.S. Senator.

I also want you to know that even though I am ill, I am committed to do everything I can to achieve access to health care for everyone in my country. This has been the political cause of my life. I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field and I’ll continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone.

I’ve always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness. [Blogger Note: Excuse me for a minute... I have to pick my 75-year-old, pro-life, Irish-Catholic father off the floor.] And though I have fallen short through human failings I’ve never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith.

I continue to pray for God’s blessings on you and on our church and would be most thankful for your prayers for me.”

Although a very heartfelt letter, both the Vatican and Senator Kennedy knew the 800 pound gorilla that had to be addressed in this final letter, and this correspondence with its obvious omission - almost insultingly so -does not make me feel any more confident that Senator Kennedy came to terms with the evil he had entrenched himself with for 30 years and left this world in a state of grace. It is a very sad letter, for multiple reasons.

Thoughts on Ted Kennedy's Funeral

After seeing that dog and pony show yesterday, I don’t know how this country survived 150 years prior to the birth of Ted Kennedy.

I was greatly saddened by seeing Cardinal O’Malley presiding at the Mass. (As a technical note, even through O’Malley did not say the Mass, the ranking prelate is considered the one who presides.) There was quite a lot of pressure put on His Eminence not to show up. American Life League actually sent a letter to O'Malley and started a petition. In the end, O’Malley gave the final invocation committing Senator Kennedy to God’s Mercy, which was OK, but his presence at the Mass gave Kennedy’s funeral in a Catholic Church a legitimacy. I am a great fan of Cardinal O’Malley and will defer judgment until I learn more about the situation hopefully through his blog. O'Malley did not look overly happy to be there.

Very noteworthy, O'Malley did not change into his vestments until right before he gave the final blessing. He changed post-Consecration, which I have never seen a priest do in my life. This could have been his way of portraying he was not partaking in the funeral mass, just the blessing of mercy. We also do not know if a supervisory request was made of him to be present.

When O’Malley greeted the Obama’s prior to Mass, Joe Biden extended his hand to O’Malley. O’Malley abruptly walked away, but then did shake hands with everyone in the first row at the Sign of Peace, including Biden’s. Joe Biden did receive Communion. The wide angle shot had the Obamas letting Biden out for Communion, and then cut away. It was a day of scandals. It was noteworthy also that no cameras were on the politicians receiving Communion. If you think this was random, think so more.

Fr. Mark Hession giving the Homily reminded me of Fr. Jenkins give his address at Notre Dame, trying to justify what he was doing and the life of Ted Kennedy. Maybe if you have to justify a life in a homily, you should take a step back.

George W. and Hillary where getting along swimmingly. I have a strong belief the George W. Bush will convert to Roman Catholicism. Love the fact that four former Presidents had to listen to the Ave Maria.

Mark Steyne brought up a very good point this week. The animosity and polarizations of America’s political parties origin can be traced precisely back to Ted Kennedy at the Judge Bork hearings:

"But leaving aside for the moment Chappaquiddick, which I think is, would be a stain on any man’s record, and the way he dealt with it, in a way, is an even greater stain, putting that to one side, I think I would credit him, by and large, with the politics of the modern era. And when I listen to Orrin Hatch talking about his terrific geniality and bipartisan spirit and all the rest of it, I think back to what he said about Judge Bork at those confirmation hearings twenty years ago, and I think actually a lot of the poison in our politics dates from that. I mean, it was an absurd caricature of Judge Bork’s views, it was utterly false in many respects, the idea that Robert Bork is in favor of segregated lunch counters and all the rest of it, I think it was a disgusting act from a disgusting man. But it helps you understand that a man who could behave as he did at Chappaquiddick would think nothing of doing what he did to Judge Bork in 1987."

So to say Kennedy reached out to the other side of the table, as much as I heard this yesterday, if fiction. He reached out to the other side when he needed something done.

To have his grandchild read a petition in the middle of the mass praying that we pass National Health Care and excepting the gay community more was an outrage and the exploitation of a minor. It is par for the course because the Kennedy’s have always used the Catholic Church to their benefit when needed.

Very surprisingly, Obama's Eulogy was very lacking. His oratory skills took the day off. I was expecting him to bring the place down. He seemed tired and not engaged. Could be the stress of the office is taking a tole. This could have been such a moment to seize for him with his popularity plummeting. Ted Kennedy Jr. stole the show and the limelight from the President. Maybe the wrong Ted Kennedy son is in politics.

Archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick oversaw the grave site service. Another thing that needs an explanation.

Fox news mentioned the Vicki Kennedy carried herself with all the grace and dignity as the former Kennedy widows at their husband’s funeral. I totally agree.

Fr. Euteneuer from Human Life International has some worthy thoughts on the subject of Ted Kennedy being burried in a Catholic Church:

"...There was very little about Ted Kennedy's life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.

...Ted Kennedy's positions on a variety of issues have been a grave scandal for decades, and to honor this "catholic" champion of the culture of death with a Catholic funeral is unjust to those who have actually paid the price of fidelity.

...Senator Kennedy needs to be sent to the afterlife with a private, family-only funeral and the prayers of the Church for the salvation of his immortal soul. He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans."

Euteneuer has a little bit of Chaput in him. He drives a truck of truth through the veils of deceipt.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Grieve An Asterisked Life

Today I grieve over a life that did not reach its true potential. Today I grieve over a life that will forever have an asterisk associated with it.

It was a life that chose not to speak with the absolute conviction of the Divine Truths that had been revealed to it through its heritage, but instead chose to attenuate the voice of a secular confusion at the altar of man-made power.

It was a life that could have been a Profile in Courage by delivering his Party of millions to a culture of setting a place at the table for even the most defenseless members of our human family but in its stead chose to support, entrench and perpetuate the destruction of the innocent as part of his Party's platform.

It was a life that lovingly and profoundly penned in 1971:

"... it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized—the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.

...When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception."

It was a life that after accepting this written truth, then turned from it.

It was a life that will forever will be known as a tireless worker on behalf of the poor and the disadvantaged, but in the same breath will always have a scarlet asterisk anchored to it. The asterisk will forever acknowledge that this life was politically selective in his care towards society's most downtrodden when they were placed before him - - framed by his meditated, complete abandonment of the unborn.

I grieve this asterisk mostly today and the true 'Lion of the Senate' that could have been.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pat Buchanan: Obama's Option A

In my post on the Catholic case against Obamacare, I mentioned that Euthanasia would be the demonic offspring of Obama's new health care system. Pat Buchanan sees this coming as well. He wrote a very powerful column a few days back. Here are some excerpts:

"…[the] Washington Post [had a] story about Obamacare’s "proposal to pay physicians who counsel elderly or terminally ill patients about what medical treatment they would prefer near the end of life and how to prepare instructions such as living wills," and there is little doubt as to what is coming.

…Three weeks ago [under a socialize health care system], Sir Edward Downes, the world-renowned British orchestra leader, who was going blind and deaf, and his wife of 54 years, who had terminal cancer, ended their lives at a Zurich clinic run by the assisted suicide group Dignitas. They drank a small amount of liquid and died hand in hand, their adult children by their side.

This is the way of de-Christianized Europe. For years, doctors have assisted the terminally ill in ending their lives. Indeed, it has been reported that indigent, sick and elderly patients who could not make the decision for themselves had it made for them.

…To traditional Christians, God is the author of life and innocent life, be it of the unborn or terminally ill, may not be taken. Heroic means to keep the dying alive are not necessary, but to advance a natural death by assisting a suicide or euthanasia is a violation of the God’s commandment, Thou shalt not kill.

To secularists and atheists who believe life begins and ends here, however, the woman alone decides whether her unborn child lives, and the terminally ill and elderly, and those closest to them, have the final say as to when their lives shall end. As it would be cruel to let one’s cat or dog spend its last months or weeks in terrible pain, they argue, why would one allow one’s parents to endure such agony?

In the early 20th century, with the influence of Social Darwinism, the utilitarian concept that not all life is worth living or preserving prevailed. In Virginia and other states, sterilization laws were upheld by the Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said famously, "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

…Revulsion to Nazism led to revival of the Christian ideal of the sanctity of all human life and the moral obligation of all to defend it. But the utilitarian idea — of the quality of life trumping the faith-based idea of the sanctity of life — has made a strong comeback.

And the logic remains inexorable. If government intends to "bend the curve" of rising health care costs, and half of those costs are incurred in the last six months of life, and physician-counselors will be sent to the seriously ill to advise them of what costs will no longer be covered, and what their options are — what do you think is going to be Option A?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Barack Obama Persona, Part I: A Detached President

As aforementioned, here is my take as to what the driving forces that makes up Barack Obama’s persona. Admittedly, I have absolutely no clinical training and my psychology classes numbered two in college, but hey… that never stopped an Irishman before.

My first observation is that I believe Barack Obama is a very detached person. Detached in many ways, but first and foremost detached from his emotions.

Sadly, his father abandoned his family when he was only two years old, which left the President without a male role model and the chance of forming this primary attachment in his life.

In addition, his mother sent him to live with his grandparents in Hawaii when he was ten, but permitted his half-sister to stay under her care. The separation was only one year, but again it strikes me as unusual and was probably not the best scenario to enhance the attachment of a maternal bond in Obama's life.

A few years back, I read the book Snakes in Suits. The book described at length how to spot psychopaths in the workplace. According to the book, one characteristic that distinguishes this group of people is that they are usually great public speakers. The philosophy behind this line of thought is that psychopaths do not have any connection to the words that saying; they are just words with no attachment to a conscious, emotion or to their feelings so the words freely flow unobstructed producing a great result.

When a normal person has to talk in publicly there is frequently stuttering and nerves that come out. These normal people have attachments to their words and emotions.

Now let me say very clearly I DO NOT BELIEVE our President is a psychopath, and I do not believe all great public speakers as psychopaths, but I do believe that the President’s emotional detachment may be a contributing force in allowing him to excel in public speaking.

Multiple political pundits have cited that Obama delivers his speeches in a way that a college professor would instruct a class. I think this is a fair observation. College professors instruct those around them at an elevated, professional level, void of interpersonal interaction. This again is where Obama excels.

During New York’s 2008 Al Smith Dinner (a dinner where presidential candidates humorously roast each other), Republican-nominee John McCain freely cracked jokes at the podium, even defaming himself often, frequently breaking out into laughter and shared his enjoyment with the whole room. When it was President Obama’s turn, to date, I have never seen Barack Obama appear more uncomfortable and squeamish than when he tried to deliver pre-written humorous punch lines at this dinner. Humor is an emotion, if you are detached from your emotions it is very difficult to laugh and be comfortable with your humorous side.

Moreover, cited repeatedly on this blog was the fact that Barack Obama was the only representative in the Illinois State Legislature to vote AGAINST the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. This piece of legislation protected babies that survived botched abortions and were breathing on their own. You really have to have ice in your veins to vote against this bill with no pings of conscious… or be very detached from any emotion.

I had a good amount of fun in this blog goofing on Obama’s Styra-foam pillars at his Denver convention speech. If you think about the back drop that Obama chose on this most important night of his life... it was a visual back drop of hard, cold, impersonal stone. Am I reading too much into this?

The Obama camp will tell you they copied JFK’s theme at his 1960 convention, but I would argue that Kennedy was a very detached person as well. Detached from his emotions and conscience. Multiple mistresses, shady dealings, etc... Kennedy was also a dynamic orator.

Obama was very comfortable with this colossus Coliseum theme, and the large-scale scope of this production also protected him from any smaller intimate setting that could possibly leave him exposed.

We have a very detached President.

Friday, July 24, 2009

America Shrugs with Consequences

Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged has been getting an intense amount of play over the past year. For those who are not familiar with the book, the WSJ’s Stephen Moore does a good job in giving an overview of Rand’s writing:

"… the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism."

The 30-thousand-foot overview behind the selected title of this book revolves around the mythological figure Atlas, who held up the burden of the whole world on his shoulders, and what happens if all the hardworking people who contribute all the tax dollars that make everything run and provide for so many non-contributors decide to "shrug" one day and not do it anymore, or by the growing tax burden of the government eventually fail in their responsibility.

All Americans should take note of what is now happening in California. The social programs and government spending have exploded so much in the past decade -couple with the state taking in less tax revenue due to the downturn in the economy - that it has left a $24 billion dollar short fall.

As a result, on May 18th, Governor Schwarzenegger had Californians go to the polls to see if they can be tapped a little more on the tax side to compensate for the state’s fiscal irresponsibility. The Times Union reports:

"Just weeks ago, California voted down by an almost 2-to-1 margin their political leaders' grand compromise to stop the state's fiscal hemorrhaging. The compromise comprised six ballot initiatives. Of these, five lost with at least 63 percent voter rejection. The only one that did pass -- with 74 percent support -- was one prohibiting state lawmakers from raising their salaries if the state budget was not balanced."

Atlas shrugged, government's taxation of "We the people" had hit the bottom of the tank. Taxpayers sent a clear message to Sacramento that it was time to address the issue of their uncontrolled spending -- they would not give one more dime in taxes. The awful reality of the non-sustainable fiscal course that California chose to take will now result in their day of reckoning and have dire repercussions, hit harshly, and sadly target many of those most in need, as the Mercury news reports :

"Schwarzenegger has proposed dropping 500,000 families from the welfare rolls and wiping out Healthy Families, a program that subsidizes health insurance for children of people who work but are still poor. One million poor children would lose their health insurance in that little sleight of hand."

Alan Keyes many years back stated that if Americans knew the enormous amount of taxes they contributed to our government would go to those in most need, they would be OK with the tax burden because America has a very good heart at the end of the day. I totally agree with him.

California's day of reckoning is a direct result of the abuse of greedy government spending, political payoffs and non-deserving individuals and organizations who all milked the system. Heartbreakingly, those is desperate need of society's care will be clumped in with welfare-light cases as the California's buzz saw comes.

Pat Buchanan has a very sobering column showing the striking similarities between the course that California has been on for the past decade, and where the country of America right now is heading. Reading this column was an extreme downer, but doe not make it any less noteworthy.

Social programs now are over 60% of the U.S. budget, so these cuts will be inevitable as the interest on our trillion dollar debt grows to a higher percentage of our budget and the government needs to compensate from somewhere.

While America's day of reckoning is not here yet, it is without a question coming. We would be wise to review and revamp these programs now, carefully taking the time and diligence to protect those in real need. Maybe we should come up with a numeric rating system, putting those severely handicap at the top priority of the list, and able-body people who have been on welfare for more than a year at the bottom. This is a far more compassionate and moral solution then to arrive at the point where we have to throw hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people off these programs indiscriminately, on a moment's notice, five years from now. This is where we are sadly heading.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Barack Obama: A Six Month Pause Comparison

On the morning after the 2008 Presidential election, a wildly-enthusiast Obama co-worker told me he was going to be one of the greatest presidents in American History. In order to temper this blind affection, I made a bold statement to him that I believed, within four years - or the end of Obama’s first term, the George W. Bush Presidency would have a higher approval rating than the Obama presidency. At that time, Barack Obama had an 80% approval rating in some polls, while the departing President Bush was at the extreme other end of the approval rating with only 20%.

As I made this bold statement, I thought of a quote by Richard Nixon in his autobiography. At the 1959 kitchen debate with Russian Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev was waiving his "We will Bury You!" bravado as Nixon recounts:

'Khrushchev arrogantly predicted to me,' writes Nixon, ' your grandchildren will live under Communism.' I responded, Your grandchildren will live in freedom.' At the time,'Nixon now concedes, 'I was sure he was wrong, but I was not sure I was right."

I felt the same way about my Bush/Obama approval rating prediction. I knew he was wrong, I wasn't sure I was right.

Well, this morning while making a 4AM escape from a Nashville hotel, I was greeted with today’s edition of USA Today. The front page listed a Gallup comparison on all the Presidents’ approval rating since Harry Truman after their first 6 months in office:

Truman: 82%
Kennedy: 75%
Johnson: 74%
Eisenhower: 73%
Carter: 67%
Bush Sr.: 66%
Nixon: 65%
Reagan: 60%
Bush Jr: 56%
Obama: 55%

Clinton: 41%
Ford: 39%

As you notice, right now Obama is tracking behind GW Bush. Maybe I should have 'gotten odds on my statement.

Last month, Peggy Noonan conveyed the thought that all great Presidencies are to known by just one sentence:

"The Sentence [philosophy] comes from a story Clare Boothe Luce told about a conversation she had in 1962 in the White House with her old friend John F. Kennedy. She told him, she said, that "a great man is one sentence." His leadership can be so well summed up in a single sentence that you don't have to hear his name to know who's being talked about. "He preserved the union and freed the slaves," or, "He lifted us out of a great depression and helped to win a World War." You didn't have to be told "Lincoln" or "FDR."

Noonan says Obama’s great sentence should be: "He brought America back from economic collapse and kept us strong and secure in the age of terror."

Sadly instead, Obama’s statement will read, "He was responsible for double-digit inflation due to the Fed's printing of money to cover his unprecendented, drunken-shopaholic-type spending on his failed fiscal and social programs."

After watching Barack Obama for the past 6 months, I finally understand what makes him tick. I am going to lay out my thoughts on what I believe are the three elements that make up his persona over the next few days.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

President Obama Met America Tonight

Away from his Washington Press Corps enablers, President Obama threw out the ceremony first pitch at tonight's baseball All-Star Game in St. Louis.

I told a co-worker today it will be a referendum on Obama, to see how America's heartland greeted him.

The Wall St. Journal confirms he was booed:

"Obama is still wearing jeans as he runs out of the dugout for the first pitch. And they’re booing him. Because he’s wearing a White Sox jacket. You have to admire the President of the United States running out to the pitcher’s mound in St. Louis while wearing a Chicago jacket."

Yeah, it was the jacket, not the 16% under/unemployment rate and the fact that the deficit passed a trillion dollars this week.

I carefully listened to the crowd reaction, and I would put the negative reaction at 60-70%.

The President offered the National League Sonya Sotomayor's empathy ruling for not winning in eleven years, and ignored a groundskeeper who asked him where all the other shovel-ready jobs were.

The Sports Examiner: "Obama booed more at All Star game than Manny in New York return"

Liberty and Tyranny

I am currently making time in my overloaded schedule to read Mark Levine’s book Liberty and Tyranny.

Being a frequent listener to Levine's radio show, what struck me the most about his book is how truly scholarly this undertaking was. It has close to 40 pages of footnotes and documentations in the rear of the book. I know that Levine has an incredibly bright legal mind, but he is also an entertainer and humorous talk show host so I was expecting this book to be somewhat an extension of his persona and his radio show. However, this book reads like a dissertation. It is full of Federalist history, noted democratic philosophers and pertinent, historic quotes. Being 40% through this book, I am beginning to think that this is a book for the ages. Similar to Adam's Smith's Wealth of Nations. It is not your usual let me cash in on my fame by offering my thoughts bounded. This book is far above any book written by his contemporary talk show hosts or present day politicians. ("There, I said it!")

One of Levin's points that made me reflect the most was the notion that property is an essential part of Liberty. Being a Social Conservative, I always gravitate towards the “Freedom of Religion,” “Freedom of Speech”, “Inalienable Right to Life” as my prime definition of Liberty, but Levine made me pause on the concept of property.

And more than my layman’s definition of property, which I think is anything that I have to mow on Saturday, Levin is talking about any fruit of your labor. Your house, your salary, your business, your retirement accounts - - the legal definition of property which is anything that is owned by a person or entity (real and personal).

Levin states:

"In the civil society, private property and liberty are inseperable. The individual's right to live freely and safely and to pursue happiness includes the right to acquire and possess property, which represents the fruits of his own intellectual and/or physical labor. As the individual's time on earth is finite, so, too, is his labor. An illegitimate denial or diminution of his private property enslaves him to another and denies him his liberty."

Levine makes a very compelling argument that as our government assaults and commandeers our individual property through taxes and regulation we move from a state of Liberty to a state of Tyranny.

It made me rethink property in relation to Liberty. I should not have been surprised by this, the American Revolution was based on Taxation without Representation, a government that was attacking the patriot's personal property. The Founding Fathers for the most part had Freedom of Religion, and Ben Franklin was turning out his free speech daily newspapers. These were not the problem in 1776.

Another very interesting point Levine made was that our Constitution is a bedrock set of principles that can not be open to each generation's interpretation. The Liberal's bogus, “Living, breathing document” claim is just that:

"The Conservative may ask the following questions: If words and their meaning can be manipulated or ignored to advance the Statist's [read Liberal] political and policy preferences, what then binds the allegiance to the Statist's words? Why should today's law bind future generations if yesterday's lawy does not bind this generation? Why should judicial precedent bind the nation if the Constitution itself does not?"

The argument is that if one generation interprets the Constitution in a certain way, and the next generation then comes and interprets it in a completely opposite way, the legal document then conflicts itself and has no true meaning. He points out The U.S. Constitution is in fact a legal document with words that have a bedrock, absolute and a contractual meaning.

I would highly recommend this book for your beach reading.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Love Affair with Unions

One hundred years ago, unions served such a vital and necessary role in our society. They prevented low-level employees from being mangled in heavy machinery and made sure that the owners of businesses did not view human employees as a disposable, replaceable commodity and just a means to their financial wealth. “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work ,” or something like that…

Today, the very unions that once protected people from be exploited, now have become the exploiters themselves.

For two of the last three weeks on my way to work, I passed union members making a significant presence outside a local business that is apparently not in any rush to negotiate a new contract with them. These members have blown up about six 10 ft.-tall inflatable rats on the business’ lawn, hoping to draw attention to this business and embarrass the management into signing their probably over-reaching contract.

Unbeknownst to these members, is that the general perception of those of us who work in the non-union sector have towards unions is being reinforced 10-fold by their protest.

Each morning, I, and all other numb commuters, drive past this protest and see all the union members sitting on their comfy fold-out chairs, chatting to each other as they slowly drink their morning coffee. Not a care in the world. To expand any effort to even form a picket circle and exert any spec of energy is completely out of the question. Too much sweat. Not their gig.

I think it is a good time here to draw a comparison from one of my past experiences.

While attending a Catholic college during my formative years, a large donation was received by my college from a donor who was involved with U.S.’s campaign in Nicaraguan. Due to some horrible violence towards some nuns in this country, the Dominican Sisters at my college were enraged and all up in arms. They planned to picket everyday in front of the college to show their extreme displeasure at the college accepting this contribution. Needless to say it is a Public Relations nightmare to have nuns picketing in front of your establishment. They get paid next to nothing, and spend most of their time praying for others. Most of these dear sisters were in their later years, and had to hobble with their self-made picket signs (might I say with excellent penmanship) as best they could because of their declining health. They were very determined to forcefully and energetically show their displeasure by a lot of effort!

It was such an upsetting scene, that some students who could not watch anymore of this spectacle decided to help these sisters carry their picket signs, not even understanding where Nicaragua was or what their beef was. Nothing less than a visual on this could do this scene justice, believe me...once again a complete P.R. nightmare.

Getting back to our IHOP-rat-inflators, now compare those seventy-year-old nuns to these group of thirty and forty-year-old men sitting on their , er…., lawn chairs eating a buttered bagel as traffic rolled by going to their livelihoods. On one morning, I saw all of these protesters finally display significant movement as they abandon their posts to attempt to form an orderly line - - at the coffee truck. (Hence my IHOP reference)

Finally, this protest ended last week. My morning commute was met by the first morning in two weeks without the enormous snarling rats lunging at my car as they bounced on the lawn. No one missed them except for the guy who owned the coffee truck. I sadly concluded the business must have buckled.

Imagine my surprise when this last Monday morning, the rats were back with all of their helium glory. Each protester found their chair-leg-marks in the lawn from 10 days prior and once again set up their defiance "sit-in" (bonus points on the pun) on the same exact spot where each member sat previously. This week of absence didn't make sense to me, then it hit me. It was like a light bulb going off. Last week was a holiday week. The union couldn’t get enough men to picket on days that would interfere with their member’s own holiday plans, or even worse their union did not want to pay these men time-and-a-half for picketing and working on a quasi-holiday (July 4th was a Saturday, making the prior Friday the observance), a condition that I am sure is in the contract that they are demanding from the targeted business.

My Irish grandmother always used to say there is always something to laugh at. She was so right. It is really comical.

So all your union protestors infront of Clare Rose in Melville, NY, try to sell your grievances with a little more effort, and just do not sit there waiting for your benefits.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 2, 2009: The Date of the Washington Press Corp's Independence

Congratulations to the Washington Press Corp for striking a blow for their Independence and finally being weened off the Obama Kool-Aid. They are getting fed up with these pre-canned press conferences where the Obama Administration has previews of the questions to be asked and personally hand selects the reporters to called on. Chip Reid from CBS opened Wednesday's confrontation with Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, then Helen Thomas woke up from her 11AM nap and drove a truck through it:

"This is an open forum for the public to ask question," said Chip Reid of CBS News. "But it's not really open?"

"Based on what?" responded Gibbs.

"Based on the information ... on how the audience and the questions are being selected," said Reid.

"How about this: I promise we will interrupt the AP's tradition of asking the first question. I'll let you ask me a question tomorrow on whether you thought the questions at the town hall meeting that the President conducted at Annandale...."

"That's not his point," interrupted Helen Thomas, correspondent for Hearst Newspapers. "That's, that's not his point. His point is the control from here. We have never had that in the White House. I'm amazed at you people who call for openness and transparency and control.

"You have left open the suggestion that you are pumping the answers," Thomas continued. "It's shocking. It's really shocking."

"Let's have this discussion at the conclusion of the town hall meeting," Gibbs said.

"No, no, no. We are having it now." claimed Thomas. "It's a pattern. It's a pattern. It isn't the question. It's a pattern of controlling the press."

I would highly recommend that you follow this link and watch the video of this exchange. This truly marks a turning point in Obama's relationship with the Press. Nothing will demise this Presidency quicker than losing his love affair with the press. They have been the front line in concealing all of Obama's warts.