I can’t write about what’s happening to Christians in Iraq.
I have no words.
I can not forget that America contributed to this situation with our war on Iraq earlier in this century.
Again, I have no words.
Here are links from around the internet.
I can’t write about what’s happening to Christians in Iraq.
I have no words.
I can not forget that America contributed to this situation with our war on Iraq earlier in this century.
Again, I have no words.
Here are links from around the internet.
You gotta remember: Ann Coulter called erstwhile presidential candidate and famous adulterer John Edwards “a faggot.”
I do not think she was referring to a torch that people carry when they go to a lynching. I’m pretty sure that Ms Coulter was trying to say that former presidential candidate and besotted adulterer John Edwards is a homosexual.
Aside from the fact that Mr Edwards’ flaming heterosexuality gifted him with a love child and put him in federal court defending his freedom, the salient point for the purpose of this post, is that Ms Coulter says stupid, mean things for their shock value. She also makes a lot of money doing this.
Her latest sally into stupid meanness kinda goes off the cliff on the cold-blooded indifference to human suffering side of arguing. Ms Coulter is a beautiful woman, and she’s certainly talented, but her public utterances are so mean that she’s made herself into a caricature of meanness.
In her latest sally down I-won’t-lift-my-little-finger-off-my-Bible-to-help-anybody lane, Ms Coulter levels a blast of what is almost incomprehensible hate at ebola-virus-victim Dr Kent Brantley. Her reason? His illness cost the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA a lot of money, and, oh yes, America needs help, too.
She soundly and roundly condemns Dr Brantley for going to serve in Africa, asking the question “Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?”
Then she goes off on a round of arm waving and diatribing about how god (little “g” god) is an american (little “a” american), and america’s got problems and we need to take care of our problems and let the rest of the world go to hell. What she leaves out of this nifty little analysis is that if we do that, we won’t have to go to hell. We’ll already be there.
Because that’s what hell is: A world without the real (big G) God.
You know: The God who stepped down from heaven (a higher plane than america, by the way) to become one of us. The God who worked as an ordinary carpenter and consented to be tortured, mocked, shamed and murdered to save us from the exact kind of world Ms Coulter is lobbying for: A world where the biggest and meanest make all the rules and the rest of us are bugs that get squashed under the wheels of the biggest and the meanest’s overweening greed, indifference and narcissism.
Why did Dr Brantley go to Africa? I don’t know the man, but I think it’s just possible that he went there because God called him to go there. It’s also more than likely that the reason these Christian charities spent all that money is because God has also called them to do things like that.
It may be that the reason God allowed Dr Brantley to get sick in the first place was to give those of us in the “developed” world at poke in the side; a wake-up call that we need to get serious about stopping the suffering in Africa.
Of course, there is nothing new under the sun. Everything Ms Coulter spits out has already been said, and not in a “letter” to the public. The first time these words of Ms Coulter’s were spoken, they came out in one sentence in a very private conversation.
Am I my brother’s keeper?
The answer to that question is the same today as it was then: Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
You either believe God meant what He told us, or you don’t. You either follow Him and do as He commands, or you won’t. Justifying your refusal to follow the real, big “G” God by waving around little “g” god rules some little g god media preacher made up to lead you astray doesn’t get you out of anything. It only hardens you in your sin.
What have you done? Where is your brother?
How should I know where he is? Am I my brother’s keeper?
Don’t follow Ann Coulter and her little g gods of narcissistic greed and indifference to human suffering.
Political gods are demonic gods.
All of them.
From Human Events:
I wonder how the Ebola doctor feels now that his humanitarian trip has cost a Christian charity much more than any services he rendered.
What was the point?
Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan’s Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America’s premier hospitals. (This trip may be the first real-world demonstration of the economics of Obamacare.)
There’s little danger of an Ebola plague breaking loose from the treatment of these two Americans at the Emory University Hospital. But why do we have to deal with this at all?
Why did Dr. Brantly have to go to Africa? The very first “risk factor” listed by the Mayo Clinic for Ebola — an incurable disease with a 90 percent fatality rate — is: “Travel to Africa.”
Can’t anyone serve Christ in America anymore?
For more on this topic, check out Elizabeth Scalia, whose book Strange Gods is about our practice of turning away from God to follow little g gods, rightly labels Ms Coulter’s “schtick” as a danger to our souls while Simcha Fisher contrasts Coulter’s message with that of Jesus.
Where do I start?
Last week was the best. I’m still a wee bit tired from it, still absorbing and processing it. Where do I begin to tell you about it? I guess I’ll begin with the high point.
The high point wasn’t spending time with my Catholic Patheosi sisters in Christ, although I can tell you that was a blessing all in itself. The high point wasn’t meeting other Catholic writer/publishers/artists from all over the country, although again, that was an immersion in generous and loving like-mindedness that this outlier in the Oklahoma wilderness has never experienced before.
Margaret Rose Realy, being interviewed by EWTN.
The high point, the Everest, of this entire week was the Thursday mass.
I almost didn’t go.
It had been such a full day. I “pitched” a book to an editor, presented an hour-long presentation and participated in a panel discussion. Between lunch and the panel discussion, I went to my room to take off my blazer and sat down in a chair.
Just for a moment.
I woke up an hour and half later. I had to scoot to get to the panel discussion in time and my neck was in permanent crick from sleeping pretzel-sytle in that chair.
Soooo, after the panel, I thought I’d just go up to my room, put on something comfy, order up room service and relax. No reason, I decided, to go to mass.
I got as far as the elevators, and in that hotel, the distance between our conference rooms and the elevators is a good hoof. I punched the up button. Then, while I was waiting for the door to open, I turned around and hoofed it back to the conference rooms.
I didn’t make a decision to go to mass. I just automatic-piloted my way down the hall, over the connector tunnel and then clomped down the stairs.
Father Frank Pavone, who was the celebrant, was already processing in when I slid into the last vacant seat on the back row between a couple of nuns and an elderly gentleman. I sometimes have mass troubles, and I braced myself, as tired as I was, for major mass troubles that day.
My mass troubles have been hitting me hard the past few months. What happens is that I sit in mass and am overwhelmed by a pounding sense that I am too unworthy to be in that room. It can, and sometimes does, reduce me to tears. It can and sometimes does, drive me away from mass. There are days when I get up and leave, mid-mass.
I’ve learned that if I can hang on and force myself to go forward and accept the Host, Jesus will heal me. When my mass trouble comes on me hard, I am like the woman with the hemorrhage who touched the hem of His garment and was healed, over and over, mass after mass, week after week.
But getting there, making it through mass without running away and then progressing up to the front of that line, many times making a humiliating spectacle of myself because tears keep leaking out of my eyes and dripping down my cheeks, can be an act of endurance, and, since I’ve learned that the Host heals, trust.
I’m like that woman from long ago, thinking If I can just touch the hem of His garment; if I can only touch Him; I will be healed.
I slipped into that room, sat on that chair at the very back, and, while I didn’t think it in words, the thought was there: I hope I can get through this. There was safety in that door, a few steps away. I could leave if I had to, before anyone was the wiser.
But, after months of this on-going battle with the devil every time I go to mass, this time was different. There were no hants rising from the swamps of memory, no feeling of unworthiness. It was just me; solid and whole, standing in a roomful of other Jesus lovers, participating in the sweet miracle of heaven touching earth in bread and wine.
I have memories of such a solid sense of self as I felt then, but I have to go far back to find them.
Father Pavone brought a gift to us at that mass. He had what I think he called a “First class relic” of St John Paul II. I’m not up on my relic rules, but I think that’s what he said. It was a small spot of blood on a postage-stamp sized bit of cloth. The blood came from St John Paul’s body the day he died.
Kathy Schiffer and Gary Zimak.
Father Pavone took the time — and it was quite a bit of time — to stand at the front of the room and give each of us an opportunity to venerate this relic. It worked out that I was the last person in the last line, the last one to do so.
I brought home a lot of work to do. I now have two books to write instead of just one, and I have a real hope that they both will be published. I’m not excited. I am … sure.
I am sure that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and that Our Lord has both me and this work in the palm of His hand. This morning, while I was praying my Rosary, I felt St John Paul, sort of coaching me about what I should do. It neither surprises nor awes me that he came home with me from that mass.
That is the order of things. The spiritual world is as real and reliable as our physical world we inhabit in this life. An ice cube will melt in a glass of warm water. Always. And God comes to those who love Him. Always.
I’m telling you this intensely personal story for one reason. I want the people who are reading this post — and I trust that the Lord will send the right ones by — to know that, to paraphrase St Paul, nothing, not the things we do, not the things done to us, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
God uses us in the broken places. All we have to do is let Him.
This is my new photo for Facebook.
Patheos’ geek squad is still uber busy mopping up the big changes they made earlier this week. But I plan to change my photo as soon as they can do it for me.
ISIS is leaving this symbol on the bodies of the Iraqi Christians they murder. It is the the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet and is pronounced “noon.” The symbol stands for Nasara or Nazarenes, which is supposed to be a pejorative Arabic word for Christians.
But I can tell you that when I die, there would be no higher honor than to have my body labeled with the word Nazarene. What these murdering brutes intend as a dishonor is in fact, the highest honor. They are publicly labeling these people with the name of Christ the Lord. It is as if they are putting a sign on their bodies saying that, without doubt, the person whose body bears it is in heaven right now.
Pity the poor murdering wretches who martyr these Christians. Without repentance, they are going to hell.
Show your solidarity with the Christians of Iraq. Put this symbol everywhere you can; on your Facebook page, on your tweets.
If I can find something to put on my car, it’s going there.
It is an honor to stand with Iraq’s persecuted Christians in the face of this genocide.
I hate it when I have to spend my good time sweeping up the refuse from idiotic, politically-motivated attacks on our Catholic religious leaders.
Today, I’m going to address attacks from the right side of unreason, and to be honest, I’d rather not. Have to, that is. I’d much rather I didn’t have to keep doing this.
I’m not so pleased when I have to do the same thing for with the left side of unreason, either.
But … duty calls.
There have been a smattering of articles and combox vitriol floating around the internet accusing the Catholic bishops of all sorts of nasty things because they don’t/won’t/aren’t-going-to hate on Mexicans. After all, we’re deep into our bi-election brown-skin hate-off right now and every red blooded American is called to abandon all reason and blindly join in.
The cable news networks are discussing (they never report, they only discuss) the issue of large numbers of children coming over the Rio Grande. I watched a brief thingy on one of them Saturday night. They were proclaiming that one in four of these kids are “criminals” and that “gangs” are meeting them at the border to recruit them.
I know lots of people who’ve come over that border. Some of them are bad dudes. True. But most of them fall into the salt of the earth category of family-loving, deeply-religious goodness. You can hate me for saying it, but it’s just a fact.
To get back to the talking heads and their endless talk-talk on this border situation, I have one main point, and that point is …
They do this every single bi-election year.
I’m not saying that the problem with people flooding our Southern borders isn’t real. I am also not saying that this country should not control its borders. Far from it. A country that can’t control its borders is in big trouble.
What I am saying is that the this wall to wall reporting that has you so whipped up and miserable right now is politically-motivated. The cable news does this every bi-election The constant drumbeat of hysterical talk-talk-talking about “illegals” will stop like turning off a tap as soon as the votes are counted in November.
In the meantime, the good people of this country will have been ripped around and worked up into an emotional pitch for nothing. Again.
Because, you see, nothing is going to happen that will stop the flood of illegal immigrants coming over the border. Think about it. This big outrage has been whipped up every bi-election since the turn of the century. What good has come of it? Republican President/Democratic President/Republican Congress/Democratic Congress it doesn’t matter. Nothing changes.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops are doing their Jesus thing and insisting that these children are people and must be treated as people. If you will read the Bishops’ statements on this issue, they plainly support efforts to control the country’s borders. But they can’t very well drop kick the Gospels just to make the right wing side of unreason like them.
So … they get hit with the usual claptrap from the vicious pharisees to the right. I won’t go through the whole tired litany of hate talk. I’m going to focus on one bizarro statement that I’ve seen repeated enough to know it has traction in certain internet nut bins. That statement is the ludicrous claim that the Catholic bishops are “in bed” with President Obama.
That is so stupid that it deserves a trophy of some sort or other.
Have any of the little hive minds that are passing that around totally forgotten the dozens upon dozens of lawsuits filed against the HHS Mandate? How about the bishops’ requests for religious exemptions to ENDA and the fight brewing there? Who do you think was working against the Hobby Lobby vote last week?
The bishops are in bed with President Obama? Puleez.
What the bishops are doing with their support of the human rights of immigrants and their refusal to join in with the great bi-election immigration hate-off, is following Jesus.
You know, the Jesus Simeon said would be a “sign of contradiction.”
What Simeon didn’t prophesy, but which Christ the Lord promised when he said If they persecute me, they will persecute you, is that people who follow the Gospels, especially in a a post-Christian society such as ours, are also going to be signs of contradiction. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that our vocation as Christians in this post-Christian culture is to be signs of contradictions.
The bishops are succeeding in that vocation in a grand fashion. They are, for instance, being sued directly for their teaching that abortion is wrong. That’s from the left side of unreason.
Now, they’re being accused of pandering to our anti-Catholic president by insisting that people are people, no matter their legal status. That’s from the right side of of unreason.
What we are dealing with here is two sides of the same God-is-Made-in-My-Image coin. When people cut the Gospels down to fit their politics, they stop being a sign of contradiction to the sins of the world and become the sin’s enablers. They are salt that has lost its savor.
The followers of the politically-trimmed Gospel that does not allow for the sanctity of human life or marriage on the one side, and that tries to enforce economics as a morality-free zone on the other, are both examples of fallen and useless Christians. When I say “useless” I mean they are useless to God in His great work of Kingdom building.
Is there anything worse I can say about a Christian than that they are useless to God?
Jesus told us cannot follow two masters, and I think He meant it. When we trim our faith to suit our politics, we are running away from the cross, just like Peter, Andrew, James, James, Matthew, Philip, Thomas, Nathaniel, Simon the Zealot and Thaddaeus.
The Apostles repented of their shameful running away. They gave their lives for the same Jesus they had abandoned.
We can too.
I am not saying that we should not be concerned about the flood of illegal immigrants that have been coming over our borders for the past decades. This country needs to secure its borders. Period.
I am saying that we should stop letting ourselves be jerked around by the bi-election carrying on that happens so predictably that you could set your calendar by it.
This isn’t about shutting down our borders. In fact, the same corporatists who own the news outlets that are pushing this hysteria are themselves ardently opposed to shutting down the borders. They like and employ the cheap, off-the-books labor. I’ll write more on that in a day or so.
What this reporting and whipping Americans into a xenophobic hysteria are about is the universal goal of power politics: Getting power and keeping power.
Nobody is going to fix this problem, come November. The day after the elections, the talking heads will start talking about something else. Just like they do every bi-election.
In the meantime, the right-wing-of-unreason crowd will have scarred and defamed the name of Christ with their claims to be Christian while they say things that come straight from the pit.
The bishops are right about this, just as they are right about marriage and abortion and human trafficking and a whole host of other things.
They are being attacked because they are the sign of contradiction in American public discourse.
They get attacked from the left and right because they are not acolytes to either the right or left. Their job isn’t to give moral support to the immorality of power politics. Their job is to proclaim the Gospels and teach us what living for Christ means in this world.
When they tell us to treat immigrants as people, they are teaching us how the Gospels apply directly to us, in our current world. They are setting the cross before us and asking us to take up the unpopular position and lift the cross onto our shoulders and follow Him.
The Catholic bishops are in bed with President Obama? The plain facts of recent history make that charge ridiculous.
The fact that otherwise intelligent folks are bandying it about simply points to how nutty following the gods of this world can make people.
I am writing this with one goal, and it’s not to call in the lightning on my own head, although I will probably get a bit of that. I am writing it to urge you to regain your reason.
Think straight. Look at the simple fact that this happens every bi-election. Consider what that means in real life.
Look also at the fact that the bishops are hated on by both the right and left of the political spectrum. Consider for a moment that perhaps this is because they are actually being the “sign of contradiction” that we all should be.
If you follow Jesus, you’ll be treated the same way He was. That’s what’s happening to the bishops. It’s also what should be happening to you and me.
Use your minds and think people. Do not be whipped around by talking heads with a political agenda. Think. Connect the dots.
And support our bishops.
I received a blanket email from the USCCB last night, asking me to contact my United States Senator in opposition to S 2578.
S 2578 is the little ditty that Majority Leader Reid and his cohorts have dreamed up to overturn the Hobby Lobby decision.
The USCCB also has a notice on their web site that provides background and a clear-cut statement of reasons behind this opposition. As a member of the Democratic Party, I wish to apologize for this attack on religious liberty by some of my party’s leaders. I also ask all Catholics who read this to consider taking action at the grassroots level to begin to process of converting this party back to what it should be, which is the party of working people.
I’ll talk more about what Republicans need to change in their party in other posts.
Nobody gets off the hook here. We’re Americans. Government of, by and for the people, means that we are at least partly responsible for this mess, if for no other reason than that we haven’t used the power we have to set things straight.
I’m going to do my best to track votes on S 2578 for you. It’s a litmus test on religious freedom. If your senator votes for this thing, there are no ameliorating circumstances. R or D, it makes no difference. They have attacked our First Freedom.
In the meantime, here is the USCCB article, in full.
Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori To Senate: Oppose Bill That Attacks Religious Freedom
To join the discussion about Face to Face with Jesus, A Former Muslim’s Extraordinary Journey to Heaven and Encounter with the God of Love, or to buy a copy, go here.
Face to Face with Jesus is a book for our time. Not because it deals with a Muslim girl’s conversion to Christ, but because it teaches every Christian about our own call to faithfulness.
Samaa Habib met Jesus in a powerful conversion experience. I know from my own conversion experience that, once you meet the living Christ in this way, you will never be the same again.
Every convert who has walked a path outside Christ will be forced to choose Jesus again and again as the tentacles that link them to their other life are amputated one by one. My advice to all Christians is to read this book and do it like Samaa did it. Don’t do it in the step-by-step, trying-to-cling-to-the-people-of-your-other-life way that I did it.
Samaa never stopped loving her Muslim family, even when they beat her for her faith in Christ and tried to force her to renounce Him. Instead, she prayed and fasted for them. It took much tragedy and suffering, but in the end, her entire family came to know Jesus.
Instead of hiding her light under a bushel as most of us do, she spoke of her faith to everyone she met. This resulted in threats to her life, shunning and persecution. But she never stopped speaking of Jesus.
As I said, this is a book for our time. We are under attack here in America. This attack is relentless and it is gathering steam. Samaa’s witness is for us, as well as all the rest of the world.
I don’t have the native courage that Samaa has. From what I’ve seen, most other American Christians do not have it, either. But in Christ, we can do all things.
The keys to Samaa’s walk with faith are worship, prayer, study and fasting. She went to worship services, even when it meant risking her life. She prayed deeply and often. She studied Scripture. And she employed fasting as a means of intercession for the conversion of others.
Her route to God was through a charismatic congregation. She was introduced to Jesus by charismatic missionaries who had left the safety and comfort of America to go to her country and evangelize for Him.
Even when jihadists bombed their church and many people were wounded and killed, they did not stop. Samaa was terribly injured in this bomb attack. She experienced a near-death experience in which she made a choice to give up her martyr’s crown and come back to bring more people, her family in particular, to Christ.
Reading this book inspired me to pray more. The ever-growing evil in our society saddens me deeply. I need to talk about this sadness with Jesus.
I recommend Face to Face to Jesus to all Christians. It is an inspirational story that teaches courage in Christ for our times.
I know. I tell everyone not to call people names.
But there comes a time when “idiot” isn’t a pejorative; it’s an excuse.
Mr Limbaugh is doing his the-pope-is-a-marxist-communist-not-a-corporatist-like-me thing again. After reading this latest rather bizarre attack against the Holy Father, I am faced with three possibilities.
1. Mr Limbaugh has relapsed into his drug problem.
2. He’s an idiot.
3. He is deliberately baiting the Vicar of Christ for ratings, despite the fact that a grade-school child could read the interview he’s referencing and know that he’s misquoting and miscasting what the Holy Father said.
Given the choices, I’ve decided that, in charity, I will give Mr Limbaugh the benefit of the doubt and assume that he’s an idiot. I don’t, for instance, think that the fact that he makes at least $70 million per year in salary, or that his net worth is approximately $400 million, has in any way messed with his mind.
What set Mr Limbaugh off on another of his attack-the-Holy-Father spiels is an interview Pope Francis gave to Il Messaggero on Sunday. Rather than try to untangle the web of misquotes and confabulation that Mr Limbaugh has spun, I’m going to quote a couple of highlights, then put Pope Francis’ entire interview below and let you read it for yourself.
Here are what I think of as the lowlights from Mr Limbaugh’s latest attack piece on my spiritual leader, Pope Francis.
“The 77-year-old pontiff gave an interview to Il Messaggero, Rome’s local newspaper, to mark the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, a Roman holiday. He was asked about a blog post in the Economist magazine that said he sounded like a Leninist when he criticized capitalism and called for radical economic reform.”
Oh, yeah, some obscure blog post in the Economist said he sounded like a Leninist, that got everybody riled up. We remember that. Don’t you? I don’t remember. Anyway, he said, “I can only say that the communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel. Communists say that all this is communism. Sure, twenty centuries later. So when they speak, one can say to them: ‘but then you are Christian’,” he said, laughing.
I don’t know if the pope is saying that Jesus was a communist. I mean some people could read it that way. He says the communists stole our flag, and if our flag is rooted in solving poverty, and the communists want to claim that’s what they did, I mean, you connect the dots if you wish.
What Mr Limbaugh is doing here is quoting a misquote from an article headlined “Pope Says Communists are Closet Christians,” and then responding to it with the assessment, I don’t now if the pope is saying that Jesus was a Communist. I mean some people could read it that way.”
Ok, so he doesn’t know if Pope Francis is saying that Christ the Lord is a Communist? Are we supposed to believe that he’s serious?
Maybe he’s an idiot.
Or maybe this was an attempt to be sly and clever by attacking with innuendo.
Me, I’m going with idiot, because, as I said, it’s the kindest interpretation I can come up with.
Here, for those of you who would like to see it, is what the Holy Father actually said. It’s the whole interview, without cuts or edits.
I highlighted the part about Communism so you can want go straight to it if you want. If you can find the place where the Pope Francis said or implied that Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a Communist, let me know. Frankly, I think that all you have to do to understand what Pope Francis is talking about is to remember that he’s from a country where children live in garbage dumps and scavenge for survival; a country where Communists have tried to take over by appealing to these poorest of the poor and offering them help.
That, and read the interview yourself instead of miscasting misquotes in order to make a coarse point.
From Vatican Radio:
(Vatican Radio) The Rome daily “Il Messaggero” on Sunday published an interview with Pope Francis made by journalist Franca Giansoldati. In his responses to questions on a wide range of issues, the Holy Father focused, among other things, on the challenges of change in the current “era” and “culture,” which has consequences for political, financial, and social life. The Church, along with various civil and social institutions, must respond to these challenges by protecting the common good and defending human life and dignity.
“Always protecting the common good, which includes “defending human life and dignity” is “the vocation of every politician,” the Holy Father said. Today, the problem of politics – which Pope Francis called a “worldwide problem” – is that it “has been devalued, ruined by corruption, by the phenomenon of bribery.” This “moral decay, not only in politics but also in the financial or social” sector, is driven by “change of epoch” that we are experiencing today, which is also “a change of culture.” In this context, our anxieties about poverty are not concerned solely with material poverty.
“I can help someone who is hungry, so that they are no longer hungry,” the Pope said. “But if someone has lost his job,” he is involved in another kind poverty. He no longer has his dignity.” Helping families in need, then, requires a “joint effort.” Pope Francis recognized that this is an “uphill” journey, but insisted it must be undertaken, working above all for the good of children. “Starting a family is an effort,” he said, because of economic difficulties that “social policy does not help.” Commenting on the very low birth rates in Europe – which makes it seem “as if she were tired of being a mother, preferring to be grandmother,” the Holy Father noted that the causes of this phenomenon lie not only in a “cultural drift marked by selfishness and hedonism,” but also in the current economic crisis.
Pope Francis was asked how he would respond to being called “a communist.” “I would only say that the Communists have stolen the banner… The banner of the poor is Christian; poverty is at the heart of the Gospel.” The cause of the poor is pre-eminently a Christian cause. The Gospel cannot be understood “without understanding real poverty.” At the same time, the Pope said there is also a “very beautiful ‘poverty of the spirit’,” being poor in the sight of God because God fills you up. The Gospel, in fact, is addressed indiscriminately to the poor and to the rich and “does not at all condemn those who are rich,” but rather condemns their riches when they become the objects of idolatry.
To the question “Where is the Church of Bergoglio headed?” Pope Francis replied, “Thanks be to God, I don’t have any church – I follow Christ. I didn’t found anything.” He went on to say “my decisions are the fruit of the meetings before the conclave. I have done nothing on my own.”
The Church in Asia “is a promise,” he said, turning to his upcoming trips to Korea, in August, and to Sri Lanka and the Philippines, in January. He also spoke about China, saying it represents “a great, a very great pastoral challenge.”
During the interview, Pope Francis also took up a number of other themes already addressed during his pontificate, such as the place of women in the Church. Without an understanding of femininity, the Pope said, one “cannot understand the Church herself.” Women “are the most beautiful thing God has made. The Church is a woman.” He said that in doing theology, one must take account of this “femininity,” and that the Church must continue to work on and develop a “theology of the woman.”
Pope Francis spoke also about the corruption and the economic and sexual exploitation of children. The Pope speaks of incidents of child prostitution that were reported to him when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, involving even elderly men. “For me,” the Pope said, “people who do this to young girls are paedophiles.”
Finally, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of Rome, Pope Francis spoke about the everyday life and traditions of the City of which the Pope is the bishop. This role, the Holy Father said, is “the first service of Francis.” Pope Francis said Rome shares many of the problems of other cities “such as Buenos Aires.” He said a conference dedicated to the theme of “the pastoral care of the great cities” will take place in Barcelona in November. Pope Francis expressed his hope that the citizens of Rome, the inhabitants of a city “that should be a beacon in the world,” would not lose “joy, hope, confidence, despite difficulties.”
There is no getting around the fact that Jesus offends some people. Nevertheless, He is too important in my life for me to cower in fear of mentioning His name. David Green, owner, founder Hobby Lobby
The Green Family (who are Okies, by the way) risked everything they had worked for all their lives.
They put everything but their lives on the line by refusing to accede to the HHS Mandate’s requirement that they pay for insurance coverage for abortifacient drugs. The Greens, who are Southern Baptists, already provided insurance coverage for contraceptives for their employees.
But they would not be participants in the evil of abortion. It conflicted with their faith in Jesus Christ.
So, they took a stand that was, in terms of business, totally stupid. They refused to abide by the HHS Mandate. What’s more, they put the name of their company, which they had built themselves from a $600 dollar investment, on a lawsuit.
This wasn’t a roll of the dice. It was an act of faith. The lawsuit was turned back, then resurrected in other rulings. When it was first turned down, the Greens said they would not abide by the Mandate, even if it meant paying millions of dollars a day in fines to the government.
This was not grandstanding. It was a reality of their lives at that time. They were facing ruinous fines for following Christ. It would most likely have put them out of business.
Another court overturned the earlier ruling and they were granted a stay.
Their lawsuit made it’s way to the Supreme Court, and today, the Court ruled that the Green family, as well as other owners of privately-held corporations, are exempt from the contraceptive portion of the HHS Mandate.
I’ve been watching and reading a bit of the reaction to the news. It’s totally predictable claptrap about how this ruling allows corporations not to follow “the law” and how it “endangers women’s health.”
My reaction to this is give me a break. First, the Supreme Court’s ruling is the law, which is something the HHS Mandate has never been.
The HHS Mandate is an agency rule which has the force of law. It was never passed by elected officials. It was created by an appointed committee. To call this thing a law violates the underlying principles of government by representation on which this nation was founded.
Second, women’s health is not endangered by not being able to get insurance coverage for abortifacients. What endangers women’s health is allowing things like the morning after pill to be put on counters where everyone can buy and use them as many times a month as they want. The health consequences of using the morning after pill for birth control could be terrible for women’s health.
Also, as I just said, the stuff is available over the counter. If a woman uses it the way it’s intended, it would be a once in a lifetime deal. If they are using it repeatedly, they are endangering their health. Period.
I’ve read all sorts of comments attacking this ruling, but I think the ruling is wonderful.
It puts a couple of teeth back into what has rapidly been becoming a toothless concept of religious liberty in this country. The government — the government — does not have any business requiring people to violate their faith under threat of government penalties. The government also does not have any business passing draconian agency regulations that infringe on American liberties by the fiat of a hand-selected back-room committee and calling it “law.”
The Green family saved our First Amendment freedoms today.
They did it as an act of faith in which they put their entire life’s work on the line based entirely on their faith in Jesus Christ.
May their tribe increase.
Our family is overjoyed by the Supreme Court’s decision. Today the nation’s highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country’s founding principles. The Court’s decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey. Barbara Green, co-founder/owner of Hobby Lobby
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