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Wednesday 15 August 2012

Cardinal Dolan's Reply to Critics

Cardinal Dolan answered critics on the Obama. I do not find his arguments convincing.
I am afraid he is a product of post-Vatican II theology. Pray for him.
For one, an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner is not an award, or the provision of a platform to expound views at odds with the Church. It is an occasion of conversation; it is personal, not partisan.
Two, the purpose of the Al Smith Dinner is to show both our country and our Church at their best: people of faith gathered in an evening of friendship, civility, and patriotism, to help those in need, not to endorse either candidate. Those who started the dinner sixty-seven years ago believed that you can accomplish a lot more by inviting folks of different political loyalties to an uplifting evening, rather than in closing the door to them.
Three, the teaching of the Church, so radiant in the Second Vatican Council, is that the posture of the Church towards culture, society, and government is that of engagement and dialogue. In other words, it’s better to invite than to ignore, more effective to talk together than to yell from a distance, more productive to open a door than to shut one. Our recent popes have been examples of this principle, receiving dozens of leaders with whom on some points they have serious disagreements. Thus did our present Holy Father graciously receive our current President of the United States.  And, in the current climate, we bishops have maintained that we are open to dialogue with the administration to try and resolve our differences.  What message would I send if I refused to meet with the President?
Finally, an invitation to the Al Smith Dinner in no way indicates a slackening in our vigorous promotion of values we Catholic bishops believe to be at the heart of both gospel and American values, particularly the defense of human dignity, fragile life, and religious freedom. In fact, one could make the case that anyone attending the dinner, even the two candidates, would, by the vibrant solidarity of the evening, be reminded that America is at her finest when people, free to exercise their religion, assemble on behalf of poor women and their babies, born and unborn, in a spirit of civility and respect.
Some have told me the invitation is a scandal. That charge weighs on me, as it would on any person of faith, but especially a pastor, who longs to give good example, never bad. So, I apologize if I have given such scandal. I suppose it’s a case of prudential judgment: would I give more scandal by inviting the two candidates, or by not inviting them?
No matter what you might think of this particular decision, might I ask your prayers for me and my brother bishops and priests who are faced with making these decisions, so that we will be wise and faithful shepherds as God calls us to be?
In the end, I’m encouraged by the example of Jesus, who was blistered by his critics for dining with those some considered sinners; and by the recognition that, if I only sat down with people who agreed with me, and I with them, or with those who were saints, I’d be taking all my meals alone.

I have a few thoughts. One, those of us in the pew who fought for pro-life in Illinois when POTUS was in power in that State, have consistently felt let down. This man has a long history of fighting against the Church. Second, if we are the Church Militant, and I am from my baptism and confirmation, am I not supposed to fight against error and evil? When does one keep silent? Even Christ spoke harshly to the leaders of the Jewish religion of His time and over dinner as well.
Third, do not the bishops have a lawsuit against Obamacare? Four, what about the Obama camps use of the photo opps to yet confuse more Catholics in the pew? Some will say “See, His Eminence is with Obama, so why can’t we vote for him?” Photos are stronger than words, in this post-rational society. The media is the message, remember? Five, it is a fund raiser, and I would not give money to a fund with the president as the speaker. Who gives money to the Archdiocese? Are these all pro-Obama backers and pro-abortion backers and pro-civil marriage backers? Six, if His Eminence wanted to do the right thing for all of us lowly ones watching him, he could make a prayer for all the 50 million plus aborted babies in the beginning of the dinner and ask POTUS to give money to pro-life activities in front of all. Challenge the man right then and there. Six, too many bishops are caving into the lie of “engaging the culture” instead of “changing the culture”, and this dinner invitation is engaging in the culture without any indication of changing the culture of death. Call it for what it is, and this does not cover all the other issues this president holds dear, including civil unions and the taking away of our religious rights. Seven, I pray for His Eminence. I call his position on the site a dance of compromise. Either we are hot or cold, not lukewarm. Christ set the bar, not us. I am grieved at this decision.

Good News for Romney and Ryan from the Washington Examiner

A Romney first: over 40% of youth vote back him

Photo - Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
For the first time since he began running for president, Republican Mitt Romney has the support of over 40 percent of America's youth vote, a troubling sign for President Obama who built his 2008 victory with the overwhelming support of younger, idealistic voters.
Pollster John Zogby of JZ Analytics told Secrets Tuesday that Romney received 41 percent in his weekend poll of 1,117 likely voters, for the first time crossing the 40 percent mark. What's more, he said that Romney is the only Republican of those who competed in the primaries to score so high among 18-29 year olds.
"This is the first time I am seeing Romney's numbers this high among 18-29 year olds," said Zogby. "This could be trouble for Obama who needs every young voter he can get."
Zogby helped Secrets dig deeper into his weekend poll, which we reported on earlier. The poll had Romney and Obama tied at 46 percent.
Zogby has been especially interested in the youth vote this election. In 2008, 66 percent chose Obama over Sen. John McCain,the highest percentage for a Democrat in three decades. But their desire for hope and change has turned to disillusionment and unemployment. Zogby calls them "CENGAs" for "college-educated, not going anywhere."
In his latest poll, Obama receives just 49 percent of the youth vote when pitted against Romney, who received 41 percent. In another question, the independent candidacy of Gary Johnson is included, and here Obama wins 50 percent, Romney 38 percent and Johnson 5 percent.
But while taking Johnson out of the equation in the past has seen a surge in support for Obama, now the numbers for Romney--and undecideds--increase.
Zogby speculates that Romney's selection of 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan helped turn more younger voters to him. "It could be his youthfulness," said Zogby of Ryan. Plus, he said, more younger voters are becoming libertarian, distrustful of current elected officials and worried that they are going to get stuck with the nation's looming fiscal bill.
"They want change," said Zogby.

An answer to those leftists who claim Ryan is a Randist...

Ryan Shrugged
link is on name of author

and Father Z has some comments related to this link
Representative Paul Ryan debunks an “urban legend.”
By Robert Costa
'You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine,” chuckles Representative Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, as we discuss his purported obsession with author and philosopher Ayn Rand.
Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, recently called Ryan “an Ayn Rand devotee” who wants to “slash benefits for the poor.” New York magazine once alleged that Ryan “requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s gospel of capitalism. President Obama has blasted the Ryan budget as Republican “social Darwinism.”
These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature. As a practicing Roman Catholic, Ryan says, his faith and moral values shape his politics as much as his belief in freedom and capitalism does.
“I, like millions of young people in America, read Rand’s novels when I was young. I enjoyed them,” Ryan says. “They spurred an interest in economics, in the Chicago School and Milton Friedman,” a subject he eventually studied as an undergraduate at Miami University in Ohio. “But it’s a big stretch to suggest that a person is therefore an Objectivist.”
“I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas,” who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he says.
Ryan enjoys bantering about dusty novels, but it’s not really his bailiwick. Philosophy, he tells me, is critical, but politics is about more than armchair musing. “This gets to the Jack Kemp in me, for the lack of a better phrase,” he says — crafting public policy from broad ideas. “How do you produce prosperity and upward mobility?” he asks. “How do you attack the root causes of poverty instead of simply treating its symptoms? And how do you avoid a crisis that is going to hurt the vulnerable the most — a debt crisis — from ever happening?”

Church-Going Chicago Style

A woman in Chicago had her purse stolen when going up for Communion. Now, for over twenty years, I have taken my purse up when I receive in rural as we.ll as urban areas.

Chicago has one of the highest crime rates of all cities in America. I have even heard good priests remind women to take their purses, or handbags, as these are called in England, with them.

The thief was driving a car. Not really poor. Some of us are too poor to own a car. She may have been drunk, according to witnesses. But, we must not pretend or be naive, or give a thief a chance.

It takes seven seconds to snatch a handbag and leave.

Take your bags with you, ladies and especially your laptops. Maybe it is because I lived in Europe so many years ago that I got in the habit of doing this.

We need to stop being naive, whether in suburbia or the county.

Take your belongings with you to the front of Church. Now, the woman was new to America and as an American, I apologize for her rude awakening to Chicago-style living.

We do not belong to ourselves--thoughts on the Feast of the Assumption

Laurence Whistler Window, St. Nicholas, Moreton, Dorset

I have been ill with a virus. This is very inconvenient for me, as I have work to do. I do not like being ill. I hate it. To be ill, however reminds me of two things I want to share with you on this Feast of the Assumption.

The first thought begins with a verse from 1 Corinthians:

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 6:19-20

Glorifying God in my body does not mean merely staying away from sins of the flesh, although that is important. That is the beginning step. As my body does not belong to me, this bold statement from the Holy Spirit shows me that I belong to God in my flesh.

If He allows illness, we must accept it. Sometimes this is easier when big illnesses hit us. For example, I am a cancer survivor. Before I heard the bad news in 2009, I prayed. I prayed afterwards. I grieved at the loss of parts of my body which God had created. But, I knew, in my heart, that this was God's Will for me to endure all of this. I had complications and missed work. I was fired for having cancer and being ill, which is legal in some states. It was like being on a long retreat. God was there in the loss and in the suffering.

Before two operations, I looked in the mirror and said goodbye to those important parts of my body I was losing on this earth. To dust and shadow, these are gone. I am not the same physically or mentally. But, these losses are gifts, as I slowly approach the great loss of my body in death. I consider the steps a blessing. I know how to give up the flesh and live more in the spirit.

My body does not belong to me. God owns me. He can do whatever He Wills. I was bought, not like a slave out of the slave markets of Rome, or Bristol, but out of deadly sin which would have sent me to hell. But, the slave price was the Passion and Death of a God, the Son of God, Who as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity suffered for me. His Father allowed this in order to free me, and to free you.

My body, now incomplete, is glorified in Christ only partly now on earth, but in Heaven, I hope to see the glorification of this body, through Christ, again. As St. Paul states, we do not know exactly what we will be like, but the Church teaches we shall have, at the end of time, our bodies restored to us. This is one of the messages of today's feast. Our Lady went before us and her purity demanded that her body did not see corruption. We shall follow her at some time, as we allow God to make us pure, slowly but surely.

The smaller illnesses, like flu or a broken toe are in some ways harder to deal with, which is why God sends these to me, to learn patience. Irritating interruptions of our way of life mean we have to adjust to remembering Who is in control and what it is He wants. Patience, love, contentment in small things...

We do not own ourselves. The second point is that we shall be like God, as we were intended to be. We were made in the Image and Likeness of God and as St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote, "We have kept the Image but lost the Likeness." Body and soul are somehow reflecting God.

Those of us who sometimes see our bodies as "getting in the way", especially as we grow a little older, know deep down inside that we are moving towards death. But, this is not scary and there is a wonderful movement of the soul towards God as the body loses its, my, power and potency. A woman who was beautiful in her youth see this daily, as beauty fades. But, with God, this foreshadows a new interior life, one of interior beauty, the life of the virtues.

But, today's Feast of the Assumption points us to the real end of all things.

And remember, the Assumption is connected with the Immaculate Conception and the Annunciation. Mary was the first person to experience the Indwelling of the Trinity, which we all have.

Mary is our Queen, as the prayers state today, she reigns in Heaven. She reigns over us.

She is the only Queen to whom we can honestly say, "Long live the Queen". She lives now, showing us the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I write this for all my baby-boomers friends whom I love so much. May we approach the next life realizing that  we glorify God in our bodies and souls here and beyond.

Happy Feast of the Assumption.

The Labor Day Statement from the USCCB

The USCCB's statement on economics this holiday includes some ideas not seen before in documents. In Placing Work and Workers at the Center of Economic Life, there is a criticism of unions I have not seen coming from the American bishops before this document. This is a fair statement. Unions have not only been partisan, but leaning towards Marxism, using Marxist language and symbolism and blatantly socialist, which should concern the Church in America.

Unions and other worker associations have a unique and essential responsibility in this needed economic renewal. Our Church has long taught that unions are "an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies" (Laborem Exercens, no. 20) and are examples of the traditional Catholic principles of solidarity and subsidiarity in action. At their best, unions demonstrate solidarity by bringing workers together to speak and act collectively to protect their rights and pursue the common good. Unions are a sign of subsidiarity by forming associations of workers to have a voice, articulate their needs, and bargain and negotiate with the large economic institutions and structures of government.
Like other institutions, including religious, business and civic groups, unions sometimes fall short of this promise and responsibility. Some union actions can contribute to excessive polarization and intense partisanship, can pursue positions that conflict with the common good, or can focus on just narrow self-interests. When labor institutions fall short, it does not negate Catholic teaching in support of unions and the protection of working people, but calls out for a renewed focus and candid dialogue on how to best defend workers. Indeed, economic renewal that places working people and their families at the center of economic life cannot take place without effective unions. This renewal requires business, religious, labor, and civic organizations to work together to help working people defend their dignity, claim their rights, and have a voice in the workplace and broader economy.

The bishops seem to be working on a longer document. Let us hope it is much better than the paper from the Vatican which created the debacle surrounding the unapproved economic paper released last autumn. I suggest the bishops read some of the books on Father Z's reading list....

Two Cute

Cold birds
Jumping bird
Webcam bird

Happy Feast of the Assumption

I love the icon symbolism of Christ holding the precious, Immaculate Soul of His Mother in the Dormition of Mary icons.

Wednesday as "cute day" two