Cardinal DiNardo Rebukes Critics on Health Care Involvement

Monday, November 30, 2009 \PM\.\Mon\.

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo defended the Church’s involvement in removing abortion from the House version of the health care bill after a storm of criticism was leveled against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) of “lobbying” concerning the last minute addition of the Stupak Amendment.

“We would say: If you call it lobbying, we’re lobbying on moral issues that relate to the public square and we feel we have, as religious leaders, a place in that debate with others,”

Cardinal DiNardo became chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities at the USCCB.  He is also the ordinary of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  His Eminence represents a growing cadre of bishops that are leading their flocks out of the wilderness bravely in a fallen world.

All throughout 2009 many bishops have entered the national debate in regards to defending fundamental moral values and rectifying misinformation from wayward Catholics in political life.  This year seems to be the year the bishops found their voice.  Not since Francis Cardinal Spellman graced the New York Archdiocese have we seen the faithful being led with strong ecclesial leadership from all parts of the country.

Read the rest of this entry »


Women Religious: No Transparency Necessary

Monday, November 30, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

I have to say, I’ve been a little surprised by the reaction of many left-leaning Catholics to the Apostolic Visitation of women’s religious congregations. If history is any guide, whether inside the Church or outside, a resistance to third party scrutiny is not a sign of organizational vitality. This resistance is particularly odd in an ecclesiastical context, where one would have thought the bonds of communion between the Holy See and religious orders are fairly strong. Moreover, the reasons proffered for refusing to answer the questions range from unconvincing (‘they don’t understand us’) to the self-indulgently bizarre (‘Women religious…are asking if there is a “Ghandian or Martin Luther King way” to deal with violence they felt is being done to them’). In any case, I think it would be good to offer prayers on their behalf. There are clearly difficult issues here that need to be resolved; and it seems to me that the reaction to the Apostolic Visitation has gone a long way towards demonstrating the need for it in the first place.


Helicopter Parents Armed With Internet

Monday, November 30, 2009 \AM\.\Mon\.

From the only reliable source of news on the net, the Onion.  My oldest son goes off to college next year.  I will do my level best to remember how glad I was when I was 18 to be living on my own at college, and to also recall the difference between sage parental advice, and a futile attempt at parental long distance control.


Fundamentalism Reclaimed

Sunday, November 29, 2009 \PM\.\Sun\.

One would be hard-pressed to find a term more frequently abused in recent years than ‘fundamentalism’. More often an insult than anything else, it’s been used to describe figures ranging from Pope Benedict XVI to Richard Dawkins to Osama bin Laden. One refreshing exception to this imprecision is Cardinal George of Chicago, who offers what I think is a fairly useful definition in his recent book:

“Fundamentalism is a self-consciously noncritical reassertion of identity and autonomy by selecting certain antimodern, antiglobal dimensions of local (especially religious) identity, and making them both the pillars upon which identity is built and the boundary against further global encroachment.”

What I like most about this definition is that it is descriptive rather than pejorative. It restores a content to the word beyond lazy journalistic slang for ‘someone I don’t like.’ For instance, Richard Dawkins is not a fundamentalist. He may base his identity on what appears to me to be an insufficiently self-critical foundation, but he is neither antimodern, nor antiglobal, nor entirely noncritical. Similarly, as any familiarity with his writings will attest, neither is Pope Benedict XVI.

Read the rest of this entry »


Advent and Anti-Christ, Part I

Sunday, November 29, 2009 \AM\.\Sun\.

Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, John Henry Cardinal Newman, soon to be Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman,  preached in 1835 a series of Advent Sermons on the Anti-Christ.  I have always found them extremely intriguing, and I am going to present them on each of the Sundays in Advent this year.

In this first sermon Newman gives us an overview of the Anti-Christ and the time of his appearance.  We see in this sermon Newman’s total command of history and how he uses this knowledge to draw out the implications of the few mentions of the Anti-Christ in Scripture.  Newman intellectually was always first and foremost a historian of the highest order and he puts this talent to good and instructive use in this sermon.  When Newman converted the Church gained one of the finest intellects of the Nineteenth Century or any century for that matter.  Much of Newman’s work concerned the working out of God’s plan for salvation through human history, and his examination of the Anti-Christ places that mysterious part of revelation into that plan.

“Let no man deceive you by any means:
for that Day shall not come,
except there come a falling away first,
and that man of sin be revealed,
the son of perdition.”

Read the rest of this entry »


If You Could Read My Mind

Saturday, November 28, 2009 \AM\.\Sat\.

Something for the weekend.  If You Could Read My Mind, by the unforgettable Gordon Lightfoot,  one of the few musical bright spots in the wasteland that was the music of the Seventies.

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ever Alert Joe

Friday, November 27, 2009 \PM\.\Fri\.

Tareq Salahi and Michaele Salahi decided to go to  a White House state dinner on November 24.   In a stunning revelation of how lax White House security is, the fact that they were not invited proved to be no hindrance.  Our ever alert Veep and national clown Joe Biden immediately swung into action and had his picture taken with them.

    

Note to terrorists:  if you want to gain access to a private party at the White House, and the Veep will be there, a good looking blonde gal should prove helpful.  Keep ’em coming JoeYour antics are a bright spot during these dark economic days!


Ben Franklin and the Turkey

Friday, November 27, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.

 

After the American Revolution, former American officers in that struggle created a fraternal organization called the Society of Cinncinatus, named after the Roman consul and dictator, a constitutional office of the Roman Republic in emergencies, who saved Rome through his efforts in the fifth century BC and then retired to his humble farm.  The Society selected as its symbol a bald eagle.  In a letter to his daughter Sally Bache on January 26, 1784, no doubt with his tongue placed firmly in his cheek, Dr. Franklin indicated that he thought another bird would have been a better choice. Read the rest of this entry »


Abortion, Capital Punishment and War, One of these things is not like the other

Friday, November 27, 2009 \AM\.\Fri\.

Ed Stoddard of Reuters’ religion blog Faithworld carries a roundup of the skirmish between Congressman Patrick Kennedy, the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, has claimed that Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin.

In conclusion, Stoddard asks:

This leads to a question about the consistency of views in the U.S. Catholic Church leadership. The Church opposes abortion and therefore liberal politicians who support abortion rights risk being refused communion. The Church supports a healthcare overhaul that would make the system more equitable. So does a conservative Catholic politician who opposes this reform risk being denied communion for ignoring the Catholic social teaching that justifies it?

How about support for capital punishment, which the Vatican says is unjustified in almost all possible cases, or for war? In the build-up to the Iraq war, Pope John Paul was so opposed to the plan that he sent a personal envoy to Washington to argue against it. Did bishops threaten any measures against Catholic politicians who energetically supported that war despite Vatican opposition?

The author’s questions reveal an elementary ignorance concerning the moral issues in question and their relationship to varying levels of Church teaching. While I am disappointed by his answer (Faithworld is generally one of the better and more educational “religion blogs” in the secular media), it is understandable — as even many Catholics find themselves confused on this matter. Read the rest of this entry »


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009 \PM\.\Thu\.

A roundup from around the web …

1.  Jay Anderson gives us a history lesson on “The First Thanksgiving”:

Every gradeschool boy and girl in the U.S. will confidently tell you that their history books say that the very first Thanksgiving on American soil took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 when the English Pilgrims who had arrived the year before and the Patuxet Indians shared the food from their respective harvests in one great big happy feast.

As is often the case, however, the history books are wrong on this account…

2.  The Maverick Philosopher engages in a thanksgiving reflection:

We need spiritual exercises just as we need physical, mental, and moral exercises. A good spiritual exercise, and easy to boot, is daily recollection of just how good one has it, just how rich and full one’s life is, just how much is going right despite annoyances and setbacks which for the most part are so petty as not to merit consideration…

3.  How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims — When the Pilgrims landed in 1620, they established a system of communal property. Within three years they had scrapped it, instituting private property instead. Hoover media fellow Tom Bethell shares some economic history.

4.  News has it that President Obama’s decision whether to pardon a turkey could come at any day now!

5.  And it wouldn’t be the celebration of another American holiday without a screed from the Catholic Anarchist (reaching the height of self-parody).


Cardinal Rigali: Catholic Politicians Cannot Support Senate Health Care Bill with Abortion

Thursday, November 26, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Justin Cardinal Rigali of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia emphatically stated that no Catholic can vote for a health care bill that carries abortion.  He did say that the American bishops have been working diligently in getting health care for all individuals here in America and that the Catholic bishops do support a health care bill that does not provide or pay for abortions in anyway possible.

Cardinal Rigali’s comments came at the press conference announcing an unprecedented coalition of Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant leaders uniting behind a call to Christian conscious, the Manhattan Declaration.

Senator Bob Casey, Jr., I hope you’re listening, your soul is on the line.

_._

To read about the Manhattan Declaration click here.

(Biretta Tip: CNSNEWS.COM)


Thanksgiving 1863

Thursday, November 26, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Read the rest of this entry »


Have a Happy Global Warming Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

From all of us here at The American Catholic, Happy Thanksgiving!


Thank You to Our Men and Women in Service

Thursday, November 26, 2009 \AM\.\Thu\.

On this Thanksgiving I’d like to convey my heartfelt thanks to my brother Nathan (currently overseas – prayers requested) and all those in service. I am forever conscious of the sacrifices they make on behalf of our country, including much time spent away from their loved ones.

God bless, God speed — and may you all enjoy such a welcome home.


Junk Science Part II

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

A follow up to my initial post here on what is becoming known as Climategate.  Now news comes from New Zealand about massaging of data by global warming proponents.

The New Zealand Government’s chief climate advisory unit NIWA is under fire for allegedly massaging raw climate data to show a global warming trend that wasn’t there.

The scandal breaks as fears grow worldwide that corruption of climate science is not confined to just Britain’s CRU climate research centre.

In New Zealand’s case, the figures published on NIWA’s [the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research] website suggest a strong warming trend in New Zealand over the past century.

Read the rest of this entry »


Bishop Bruskewitz Brings the Smackdown on CCHD

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Diocese of Lincoln was one of only four* bishops in all of America to refuse collections to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).  The CCHD has been a great scandal because their funds go directly to paying for abortion and the promotion of same-sex marriage among other things.

Here is what Bishop Bruskewitz had to say [comments mine]:

“We question the ideology of [CCHD]” [of course the marxist and socialist leaning organizations that CCHD funds go to.]

“and … we are shocked at the scandalous participation with the ACORN organization and also the participation with other organizations of questionable moral values or standards.” [Bishop Roger Morin apparently sees no evil and hears no evil]

“It’s so extremely controversial,” [Yes it is!]

Read the rest of this entry »


Programmer Smack Talk and Global Warming

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 \PM\.\Wed\.

I’ve been amused to watch some of the arguments going on out in the blogsphere as discussion of the hacking of the climate change servers moves off into a discussion of the quality of the code being used by climate researchers to model global warming.

Example:

Commenter One: Much of the code in the academic world tends to be written by grad students that have taken a class in programming and get told to write it.

Commenter Two: This is totally untrue. I never took a class in programming before writing my crappy undocumented code.

There’s a certain wry self recognition for me here as well: I’ve never taken a class in programming, and I build mostly undocumented models to predict revenue and profits at specific price points based on past data. My results are directionally correct when you look at whole categories of products, but can be wildly off when projecting specific instances. (I try to make this clear to those who use my data, but people are always looking for certainty in life, even if they have to imagine it.)
Read the rest of this entry »


Bishop Tobin Action Alerts

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

This morning I woke up and checked my inbox to find an “action alert” from a group called Catholic Democrats urging me to support Patrick Kennedy. They want us to contact Bishop Tobin and ask him to “stop using the Eucharist as a political weapon.” The alert might as well have been composed by Catholics for a Free Choice.

Well, I decided to do the opposite. I sent the bishop an email of support. And I don’t think it would be a bad idea for the rest of us to do the same. The email address provided in the alert is: kdavis@dioceseofprovidence.org. This is for the communications office of the Diocese of Rhode Island.

The notion that Bishop Tobin is “using the Eucharist as a political weapon” is ridiculous. Bishop Tobin has simply held to the crazy idea that it does actually mean something to be a Catholic, and that the Eucharist is not something to be taken lightly. The complaining going on about this is like a child’s temper tantrum over not being able to have a cookie. Either you view the Eucharist as the body and blood of Christ, or you don’t. If you do, that means accepting what Scripture and Tradition have taught about what state a person must be in to partake of it worthily. If you don’t, then why be a Catholic at all?

No, I don’t want to be one of those “if you don’t like it, just leave it” people – but seriously, at what point do you just say, “this isn’t the Church for me?” Doesn’t one’s honor and dignity, their self-respect, rest upon making consistent moral decisions? Can one perpetually keep one foot in the Church and one in the pro-choice camp? If it really means that much to a person that they receive Holy Communion, shouldn’t they try to amend their lives in such a way as to be rendered worthy of it?

It is not Bishop Tobin that is using the Eucharist as a political tool, but Patrick Kennedy and all of his nominally Catholic supporters. They want the Eucharist because it will signify that there are no consequences for the reprehensible political positions they take. They want the Eucharist so they can continue milking the Catholic vote, so they can more easily call themselves Catholics when they go campaigning without having the awkwardness of a public scandal on their hands. Well I’m glad one bishop had the gall to stand up to them, and I hope he never wavers.


Great Turkey Disasters

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 \AM\.\Wed\.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and as we recall our blessings and thank God for each and every one, let us also remember the humble turkey and the various disasters that result when that proud bird is not treated with the care that it deserves, dead or alive.    Oldtimers like myself will recognize the above video as part of the famous “Turkey Drop” episode from WKRP, a sitcom from the Seventies.    Here is a video of the entire Turkey Drop.

Of course Turkey Disasters are not, unfortunately, restricted to the realm of fiction.    Deep frying a turkey poses various risks. Read the rest of this entry »


Bishop Tobin On The Factor

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Hattip to commenter Mr. H.  Here is how Bishop Tobin comes across when he is allowed to actually get a word in edgewise.  Compare and contrast his O’Reilly interview with his ambushview with Chris “Obama Makes My Leg Tingle” Matthews.


Thoughts on ‘Climategate’

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

I think Prof. Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy outlines a sensible approach to the recent ‘Climategate’ scandal:

Most of us, however, lack expertise on climate issues. And our knowledge of complex issues we don’t have personal expertise on is largely based on social validation. For example, I think that Einsteinian physics is generally more correct than Newtonian physics, even though I know very little about either. Why? Because that’s the overwhelming consensus of professional physicists, and I have no reason to believe that their conclusions should be discounted as biased or otherwise driven by considerations other than truth-seeking. My views of climate science were (and are) based on similar considerations. I thought that global warming was probably a genuine and serious problem because that is what the overwhelming majority of relevant scientists seem to believe, and I generally didn’t doubt their objectivity.

At the very least, the Climategate revelations should weaken our confidence in the above conclusion. At least some of the prominent scholars in the field seem driven at least in part by ideology, and willing to use intimidation to keep contrarian views from being published, even if the articles in question meet normal peer review standards. Absent such tactics, it’s possible that more contrarian research would be published in professional journals and the consensus in the field would be less firm. To be completely clear, I don’t think that either ideological motivation or even intimidation tactics prove that these scientists’ views are wrong. Their research should be assessed on its own merits, irrespective of their motivations for conducting it. However, these things should affect the degree to which we defer to their conclusions merely based on their authority as disinterested experts.

Read the rest of this entry »


An Interesting Thought on State Universities

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Some interestingly counter-intuitive thoughts on the UC student protests against rising tuition from David Henderson of EconLog:

Taxpayer funding of higher education is a forced transfer to the relatively wealthy

Socialist author Robert Kuttner once called Proposition 13, California’s 1978 property-tax-cut initiative, the revolt of the haves. The latest opposition by UC students to a 32% increase in tuition is a revolt of the “will-haves.”

Milton Friedman used to remark that the California government, with its state funding of higher education, taxed the residents of Watts to pay for the residents of Beverly Hills. I think Friedman exaggerated substantially. Even though the California’s tax system relies heavily on sales taxes, which probably makes the state tax system on net somewhat regressive, it’s still the case that a given Beverly Hills family pays much more in taxes than a given family in Watts. But Friedman also focused on family income of the student, and that’s misleading.
Read the rest of this entry »


Chris Matthews Talks Down A Bishop

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \PM\.\Tue\.

Bishop Tobin on MSNBC last night was treated awfully by Chris Matthews.


Zeitoun Marian Apparition 40 Year Anniversary

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 \AM\.\Tue\.

April 2, 1968 A.D. the Blessed Virgin Mary began appearing on top of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the Zeitoun District of Cairo, Egypt.  An estimated one million people were able to witness the numerous Marian apparitions that occurred during a two year stretch ending in 1971 A.D.

Both Christians and Muslims witnessed Our Lady of the Light appear on top of the domed church.  Even then President Nasser of Egypt witnessed it himself and ordered a complete investigation, intimidating and pilfering the church.  They came up with no evidence of any hoax.  In the end even he, a Muslim, admitted to this reality.

From my limited understanding, this is the only instance I can recall where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in front of largely non-Catholics.  In my humble opinion is that the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria was founded by Saint Mark the Evangelist, the one and only of the same gospel, and that many, many saints were buried beneath that church in Zeitoun, Egypt.

Hence the special importance of why the Blessed Virgin Mary chose that particular church, the Virgin Mary Church in Zeitoun.  Having an unbroken apostolic tradition with the blood of many martyrs sanctifying the beautiful church where these apparitions occurred.

(Biretta Tip: Canterbury Tales)

_._

To learn more about the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Zeitoun, Egypt, click here.

To learn more about the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria click here.  For the Wikipedia version click here.

To learn more about Saint Mark the Evangelist click here.  For the Wikipedia version click here.