ISIS Releases Video of Captured Brit. Says They Want to Play Nice.

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ISIS continues its shameless abuse of helpless prisoners with its latest video of one of its kidnap victims.

This time, instead of a beheading video, they put British journalist John Cantile in front of the camera to tell their “story.” His comments included an indirect demand from ISIS’ for ransom money to secure Mr Cantile’s freedom, as well as a veiled threat that he would be murdered if the ransom is not forthcoming.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I do not hold anyone responsible for what they do and say when they are the helpless pawns of satanic humans. I also don’t take anything they say seriously when they are used for propaganda purposes.

I think ISIS is responding to the brute force of American bombing by trying another tactic. They may also see the British reluctance to join the bombing as a weakness in the Western response to their barbarity that they can exploit.

They evidently are highly successful at communicating with twisted young men who want to join an organization that rapes and murders. But to people with less sociopathic personalities, this mistreatment of their kidnap victims is sadistic and crude.

France Launches First Air Strikes Against ISIS

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France bombed an ISIS depot in northeast Iraq today.  President Hollande issued a statement saying there would be more raids in coming days.

This makes France the first country other than the US to strike ISIS targets.

I watched the Senate hearings about ISIS earlier this week. One point that came up during the hearings is that ISIS is in control of at least one small oil field and that the revenues from these wells are helping to fund the terrorists.

I think that should make that oil field the primary targets for our bombers. We tend to treat oil producing sites as sacrosanct. I still remember the horror expressed about Saddam Hussein’s troops setting fire to wells during the first Gulf War over 20 years ago.

My feeling is that cutting off ISIS’ funding is the first and most important thing we should do. Anything that helps fund them and their murderous actions should be demolished, or if it’s a person, imprisoned for life.

From BBC News Middle East:

French jets have carried out their first strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the office of President Francois Hollande says.

A statement said planes had attacked an IS depot in north-east Iraq, and there would be more raids in the coming days.

The US has carried out more than 170 air strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq since mid-August.

IS remains in control of dozens of cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate.

France is the first of Washington’s allies to strike at IS targets. The mission underscores the perhaps surprising military activism of the socialist French president.

He has committed his country to military interventions in Mali, Central Africa and now Iraq. The French government has made it clear that its air strikes will be restricted to IS targets in Iraq and that there will be no French troops involved in fighting on the ground.

This geographical restriction of French air operations underscores the complexity of President Obama’s stated aim of degrading and disrupting IS activities in Syria too.

That is a mission that US air power may have to take on alone and, despite the fact that Congress is moving to back a “train and equip” programme for the “moderate” Syrian opposition, there are still many questions about how effectively the counter-IS struggle can be extended to Syrian territory as well.

Miriam Ibrahim Interview: My Faith was the Only Weapon I Had

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Miriam Ibrahim gave an interview to Megan Kelly. I pray that Holy Spirit will give each of us faith of this calibre.

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How to Retire and Keep on Working in Six Quick Steps.

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In November, my successor, Representative-elect Shane Stone, will take the oath and begin his new job of work as the Representative for District 89 in the Oklahoma Legislature.

Up until then, I’m still the Rep, even though session is over and I’m not doing much with it. I asked Shane to attend my committee meetings between now and when he assumes office, even though he can only sit in and is not allowed to vote. It’s a way for him to get his feet on the ground and look at the process without having to jump off into the deep while he’s doing it.

It’s a scary business, taking those first votes. Nothing prepares you for it. One day, you’re a private citizen, the next day you are making decisions, one after the other, for millions of people. The stress, the responsibility, and as time goes by, the battering, never let up.

I am glad to be out of it. In fact, I could write a book (or two) about all the reasons why I’m glad to be out of that pressure cooker.

However, with my never-give-myself-an-even-break way of living, I jumped from one competitive line of work to another without a breath between. In fact, I started this blogging thing years before I pulled up the legislative stakes. Then, within a month of casting my last vote for the people of District 89, I took on two full-blown book projects.

Somewhere in all this, I’ve lost my footing, so to speak. I’m still adjusting to the enormous change of life involved in walking away from the constant pummeling of full-contact politics, and, at the same time, I’m also trying to figure out a whole new line of work. Add to that my wandering Mama, and there are days when I feel like I’m thrashing and pawing the waves instead of swimming.

Obviously, I have a lot of learn about this “retirement” gig, including, it seems, how to retire and keep right on working without missing a beat.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned (and a couple I need to learn) about how to make this big life change.

1. Get the money part straight.

I put this first because it’s so critical. It’s a bit like slamming into a wall, looking at those figures on the balance sheet and realizing, this is it; this is what I have to spend for now and forever.

In my case, it’s been a mostly pleasant surprise. I’m a saver from jump street. I saved my allowance when I was a kid and bought a camera, a watch and other things. Other kids spent their allowances as fast as they got them on candy and stuff. I bought my first savings bond when I was in the first grade by purchasing a savings stamp each week with my allowance.

Needless to say, I’ve been rat-holing money away for decades. That means two things: I have enough saved back so that I can eat three squares and an occasional steak dinner for the rest of my life, and my income needs are relatively low because I’ve been reducing my income to save and already gotten used to living on less than my income.

Despite all that, there have been some negatives; primarily taxes. Nobody in my family ever made enough money in retirement to pay taxes before. I guess I thought retirement was tax free. I may end up paying more in taxes now than I did when I had a regular paycheck. Go figure.

2. Inhabit your new freedom.

Not a day goes by that I don’t have to remind myself that I am free of the old deadlines and go-go-go of constantly being under the gun. There is competition in writing. Of a sort. But comparing it to holding political office is like comparing blowing soap bubbles to a tornado. One delights. The other kills.

I had no idea how much pressure I was under until it stopped. I find myself feeling antsy and pushed, like I’ve got to get busy and hit the road running, and then I have to remind myself that I am free and I can stroll, not flail, my way through my day. For the first time in decades, nobody’s out to get me. Strange as this sounds, it’s devilishly difficult to get used to the idea that I’m not in the legislative jailhouse any longer.

3. Inhabit your freedom, but don’t become a slug.

My husband pointed out to me that I was getting up every morning and sitting down to write and that I would end up in the afternoon, still wearing my nightclothes.

You need a routine. He told me.

My sons let me have it for spending too much time in the house and too many hours sitting in the recliner. You need to get up and get going. I don’t want you to sit there and die. One of them told me.

So, I’m trying new things, like get up, eat breakfast, put on some clothes and then wander into my office and sit down to write. I’ve always been a self-motivator and a self-starter. So this deal should be ez pz for me compared to someone who has spent their life waiting to be told what to do next. I’ve already hatched up a couple of things I may take on, both of them involving my faith in Christ and my political skills. We’ll see. The point here that applies to everyone is don’t veg out. Move. And live.

4. You have to let go of the past thing to fully grasp the next thing.

While I’ve been trying to figure out the how-to-retire part of this deal, I’m also trying to figure out a brand new job of work that I’ve taken on. I’m already a blogger, and it looks like I’m also gonna write books.

(May I stop for a moment and tell you that I love the idea of this? I feel so blessed by the opportunities God has given me in my life and this new challenge is not the least of them.)

But, figuring it out while I’m dealing with figuring out everything else is confusing. I’ve got the letting go part down intellectually. But doing it 100% takes a bit of time. And grasping the new is a reach into unseen territory.

I feel a bit like a member of a high wire act who is letting go of the bar to reach for their partner’s hand. There is a moment when that high wire artist has let go of the bar and is reaching for but hasn’t touched their partner’s hand. In that moment, they are suspended in air, between the two. I’m in that moment right now.

What it takes to keep from panicking and going into a deadly free-fall is faith; faith in yourself that I can only describe as self-confidence and faith in God that this is His design, His plan and He is there with you, guiding your hand and the one reaching out to grasp it.

You have to let go of the old thing to reach out to the next thing, and when you do, there will be a moment when you are suspended, floating, between them. In the world of high wire acts and the laws of aerodynamics, that moment is just a blink. But in the world of major life changes, you will be suspended for weeks and months of confusing time.

There’s nothing for it. You just have to go through it. The trick, if there is one, is to really, truly let go of the last thing.

5. Re-learn time management for your new reality. 

This is akin to, but different from, #2 and #3. Yes, you must inhabit your new freedom. And Yes, you must also not be a slug about it. But there’s more. If you retire but keep on working, you are also going to have to re-learn time management. The keep-on-working part demands the new time management. But it is different work and a new reality. Or, at least it is if you switch from an all-inclusive high-powered my-job-never-ends line of work like elective office to a nebulous, make-your-own-hours, never-see-your-colleagues line of work like writing.

Time management for an elected official amounts to one thing: Choosing which of the endless list of things you need to do that you actually will do. You have to have a nose for what matters and what doesn’t because you can not do everything. As in, it is not possible. That may also be true of writing. I’m too new to the profession to say.

What I will say is that writing is a lot more demanding than I knew before I started it. I thought that when I left the House I would have time and more time for every little thing I hadn’t had time for in the past. Now, I find that I am having major problems getting everything done. I am right back at making choices and setting priorities all over again. True, it’s not the screaming triage of politics. But it is confusing to me, precisely because I’ve never done it before.

After 18 years in elected office, I could do that deal with half my mind. Figuring out this new thing is taking all my brain cells and a couple of them a smoking.

6. Realize that your life span is limited. 

I don’t mean that as a downer. I mean it as a simple fact. My productive years are limited. I’ve got a lot of things I want to accomplish (If I can.) before I stand before God. Most of the big ones are things that I want to do in response to what I think He’s asked of me.

I also need to get ready to die. I don’t mean so much the practical things like write a will and tell everyone I love them. I mean that I need to learn to be, as Margaret Rose Realy OSB says, “pleasing to God.”

That’s a lot easier for someone like Margaret than it is me. She’s gifted with a naturally sweet disposition. I’m what a priest friend of mine once called “edgy.” It was a back-handed compliment that I treasure: God loves to get His hands on edgy people like you because He can do so much with you.

That pleased me so much when it was first said to me. The idea that God might actually find me, with all my edginess, useful, was a ray of light. I’ve treasured the comment ever since.

However, being pleasing to God is not a thing that comes easily to someone as strong-willed, untrusting and downright contrary as I am. But I need to work at it. Because someday not so very far in the future, I will meet Him face to face.

These are the six quick steps I’ve learned that each person must take to retire and keep on working. I think that they apply, in one form or another, to anyone who is retiring, even if they don’t take up another gainful occupation. We all face the same challenges at every major change in our lives. If memory serves, the transition from legislator to full-time, stay-at-home mom involved these same things.

Life is change, and it has many seasons. The best overall advice is to follow Margaret Rose Realy’s admonition, no matter the season of your life, and strive always to be pleasing to God.

Pope Francis: If You Feel the Call to be a Missionary, Do It!

pope-francis.jpgPope Francis seems to be talking about missionaries who cross borders to share the Gospel. I agree with what he says about that. But I’d like to add that we need courageous people who will be missionaries for Christ to our own fallen culture, here in the “Christian West.”

Do you hear the call to speak more about your faith? Is God asking you to share Jesus with those around you? That is a tough call, but we all have received it by virtue of our own salvation.

We have the way to eternal life. If we do not share it with those who are perishing, we are not being polite, we are being terribly selfish.

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7 Reasons Why Doomsayers About the Catholic Church are Wrong.

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Brian Cahill, a former director of the San Francisco Catholic Charities, recently wrote an article which was published in National Catholic Reporter claiming that the Catholic Church is headed toward becoming a “shrinking cult.”

It appears that this is the latest in a number of salvos Mr CAthill has fired against the Catholic Church which once employed him. When Mr Cahill retired in 2008, he made a glowing statement about his 8 years of service as the Director of San Fran Catholic Charities. His turn toward bitter criticism seems, at least based on his articles in the National Catholic Reporter, to reflect a rather rancorous disagreement with the Church on issues such as gay marriage and contraception.

He refers to these teachings as the “party line” in one article, and criticizes various bishops for having “followed the party line” concerning them.

He bases his conclusion that the Catholic-Church-is-headed-toward-shrinking-cultism on those same issues. It appears, from the tone of the article, that Mr Cahill has a particular dislike of San Francisco Cardinal Cardileone. One of the more interesting points he raises is that, due to the apostasy exhibited by some high school students (as well as a couple no-spined bishops who backed down, I might add) it is clear that the Catholic Church is out of step with high school students.

Using that conclusion — even if it’s true — as a basis for claiming that the Church is headed toward shrinking numbers and obscure cultism is just, plain, daft. Here are seven quick reasons why.

1. First, the claim that the Church is out of step with high schools students is based entirely on the misbehavior of wealthy kids in a few sections of America. We are talking about a few Catholic schools here. There is nothing I’ve seen to indicate that all students who attend Catholic high schools in America are ready to walk out. There is also nothing I’ve seen to indicate that every bishop is as spineless as those this has happened to. Maybe somewhere there is a bishop with the guts to expel the kids and bring in students who actually want the fine future these schools offer. I know a lot of District 89 kids who are stuck in damaging inner-city schools who would be grateful for the chance.

2. Even if every Catholic high school student in America is ready to toss away the Church — which I doubt — high school students have a  habit of getting smarter as they mature. This is the first time in my little life that I’ve ever heard or read anyone seriously claim that we should allow high school students to make monumental decisions for our society.

3. The Catholic Church is growing rapidly worldwide, and it is growing the way Christianity always grows: By voluntary conversion. In 2012 alone, the Catholic Church grew by 14 million people, which outpaces the world birthrate.In 1910, Catholics were 48% of Christians worldwide. In 2013, that percentage had risen to 50%. About a third of the world’s population is Christian, making it the largest religious group.

4. The Catholic population is not declining; it’s shifting and becoming more diverse. In 1910, 65% of Catholics worldwide lived in Europe, and 24% lived in Latin America. Due to the rapid rate of conversions throughout the world, these concentrations of Catholics on one area of the globe are gone. For instance, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa was less than 1% Catholic in 1910. Today, there are 171 million Catholics (17% of the population) in that region.

5. The Catholic Church is always counter-cultural because Jesus Christ is counter-cultural. A church that follows the world — much less a bunch of over-privileged high school students — is not following Christ. This fact, despite its inherent capacity to raise difficulties for Christ’s followers, seems to have worked rather well for Christianity as a whole. What began as a mustard seed of 11 bedraggled fishermen, tax collectors and their former prostitute, misfit fellow believers has grown into a world-wide, universal Church. From dateline to dateline, pole to pole, you will always find two things: A MacDonald’s and a Catholic Church.

6. The Catholic Church has a two-thousand-year history of standing for the sanctity of human life, the sacrament of Holy Matrimony between one man and one woman and the value and power of the family. Somehow or other, it’s survived this counter-cultural prohibition against killing your unborn, exposing your born and dumping your spouse.

7. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, said to Simon, You are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I don’t now how the “gates of hell” stack up against a group of spoiled high school students and their rich-dad parents, but I’m willing to bet the Lexus that the gates of hell are worse.

Those of six reasons why I think Mr Cahill is wrong in his declaration that the Catholic Church is doomed to irrelevance if it doesn’t get with what’s happening now and change those 2,000 year old teachings to be more simpatico with the teachings of Catholic high school students.

I know it’s hard to deal with these teachings. The cost, especially if you run in the social justice circles of trendy San Francisco, would almost certainly be facing a barrage of insults, jibes and spiteful attacks on your character and good name.

But that is what we are called to do. Every day every Christian is called to stand for Christ. The brickbats that may come with this are what Jesus described as  our “cross.” I know this cross can be heavy. However, when I look at the price other Christians in other parts of the world are paying for refusing to renounce Christ, I lose patience with all of us pampered American Christians, including myself.

I’ve whined as much as anyone over the nastiness I’ve encountered because of my faith in Christ.

But no more.

I have photos that are branded into my mind of the price other people have paid for my Jesus. It’s way past time for American Christians to get real.

As for those who want to consign the faith to the garbage bin of what was but ain’t no more because it refuses to get with their trendy little sins, pay them no mind. They’re just engaging in wishful thinking.

Iraqi Ambassador to Holy See: ISIS Wants to Assassinate the Pope

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Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See says that stories of ISIS’ plans to assassinate the Pope are credible.

My personal reaction is that of course they want to murder the pope. They are evil right down to the ground, their real god who animates all they do is satan himself, so of course they would like to murder Jesus Christ’s own Vicar in the world.

But we don’t have to guess about this. According to an article in the The Telegraph, ISIS has said in plain language that they want to extend their “caliphate” to Italy, and their goal is to “plant the flag of ISIS atop the St Peter’s Basilica.” After watching the sadistic manner in which the murderer of James Cawthorne Haines laid his hand on his shoulder before beheading him, I believe these people are capable of anything.

The murderer who appears in these videos reeks of evil. He gives it off like an ice cube gives off steam. As do the ISIS fighters in every photo and video I’ve seen. They are sadistic murderers who take pleasure in degrading their victims as much as they possibly can. One of those photos in particular — I won’t describe it — haunts me for the massive cruelty and utter degradation these scum subjected their victim to, both before and during her death.

Every time I think of ISIS, I think of that photo. Their actions are evil absolute.

So am I surprised to hear that the Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See has gone public with his warning that the Holy Father is in danger?

No. Given that the Holy See has publicly denied that there is a threat, I would guess that he felt honor bound to take the next step and speak out.

I don’t know how you are going to respond to this, but I will pray daily for Pope Francis’ safety.

From The Telegraph:

Pope Francis is at risk of an assassination attempt by the Islamic extremists of Isil, the Vatican has been warned, ahead of his first visit to a Muslim-majority country this weekend.

As the 77-year-old pontiff prepares to travel to Albania on Sunday for a one-day visit, Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See said there were credible threats against the pontiff’s life.

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church could also be vulnerable when he travels to Turkey in November, the ambassador said.

Jihadists from Isil have in recent weeks boasted of wanting to extend their caliphate to Rome, the heart of Western Christendom, and have talked of planting the jihadist black flag on top of St Peter’s Basilica.

Habeeb Al Sadr said there were also indications of a more specific threat against Pope Francis, who recently spoke out in favour of the US and its allies halting the advance of Isil in Syria and Iraq.”What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the Pope. The threats against the Pope are credible,” the ambassador told La Nazione, an Italian daily, on Tuesday.

“I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome. There are members of Isil who are not Arabs but Canadian, American, French, British, also Italians.”Isil could engage any of these to commit a terrorist attack in Europe.”The ambassador said the Pope had made himself a target by speaking out against the human rights abuses committed against Christians in Syria and Iraq, as well as by his approval of attempts by the US to try to roll back Isil.

“In cases like this, where there is an unjust aggression, then it is licit to halt the aggressor,” he said in an interview during his flight back from a visit to South Korea last month.”But I stress ‘halt’. I don’t say bomb, or make war, but rather stop him,” the Pope said.

The ambassador, who has been stationed in Rome for four years, said: “This band of criminals does not just issue threats – in Iraq they have already violated and destroyed some of the most sacred sites of the Shiite faith. They have struck at Yazidi and Christian places of worship. They have declared that whoever is not with them, is against them. Either convert or be killed. And they are doing it – it is a genocide.”

Our Sorrowful Mother: Ndi Nyina wa Jambo

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Ndi Nyina wa Jambo — I am the Mother of the Word

Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

I remember years ago, a constituent of mine, a Hispanic gentleman of great faith, talking to me about all the visitations Our Lady had graced the world with in the past century.

Something’s going to happen. He told me.

I nodded and pretended to understand, but, in truth, I didn’t. It was only later, when I went to Fatima, that the great hidden truth of Our Lord sending His mother to warn and instruct us began to take hold in my thinking.

At that time, I was unaware that Our Mother had visited her children in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. I had never heard of her prophecy of the Rwandan genocide. But she had visited Rwanda and she did warn them. Our Lady spoke to the people of Rwanda 13 years before the genocide. This is from If Only We Had Listened, by Immaculee Ilibagiza:

… in 1982, all the visionaries reported horrid visions of unspeakable violence, bloodshed, torture, destruction, and thousands of dismembered corpses littering the landscape — it was a prophetic warning from the Virgin Mary that if Rwandans did not cleanse their hearts of hatred and fill their souls with God’s love, evil would win out and a genocide would sweep across the land. Sadly, the Virgin’s warning became reality: The terrible Rwandan genocide unfolded exactly as she prophesied. … In 2001, after a twenty-year investigation into the events of Kibeho, the Vatican formally recognized the original three visionaries: Alphonsine, Marie-Claire, and Anathalie. Kibeho has now become the only Vatican-approved Marian site on the African continent, placing the humble village on the same spiritual level … with … Lourdes and Fatima.

I didn’t know of this when my constituent talked to me about these things. Later, I only knew about Fatima, and what I knew about that was mostly from my personal experience. I knew that the place was God-soaked, and I knew that God had spoken to me there. From that vague nothing-much of an understanding, I began to learn.

What I learned was that Jesus repeatedly sent His mother to warn her children of the coming conflagrations of the 20th century. In each of these warnings, she spoke of the horrors of hell and of the great numbers of people who were going to end up there. She encouraged prayer for the conversion of these people.

Then, she gave what I tend to think of as political warnings: Of the fall of Russia into Communism, of the genocide in Rwanda. Along with the warning, she also provided a solution. Each time, this solution centered on prayer.

Pray the Rosary, she said at Fatima. Consecrate Russia to my Immaculate Heart, she instructed. She added a call to pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows at Kibeho. Turn to God and cleanse your hearts of hatred, she instructed Rwanda.

It is interesting — and powerful — that Our Lady spoke of the Divine Mercy when she spoke at Kibeho. The Divine Mercy comes to us through an obscure Polish nun named Faustina Kowalska. Sister — now Saint — Faustina was visited, not by Our Lady, but by Jesus Himself.

He dictated another Rosary to pray to her: The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. He also asked for a Divine Mercy feast day, which St John Paul II established.

The one who turns to God in this world, and lives according to God’s will, can, through Divine Mercy, shorten and even avoid his time in purgatory, Our Lady said at Kibeho.

Repentance, prayer, love and mercy: Can these things really be the answer to our miseries in this life? Mary said this at Kibeho:

When I visit someone and speak to them, I am openly addressing all people. If I am now turning to the parish at Kibeho, it does not mean that I am concerned only for Kibeho or for the diocese of Butare, or for Rwanda, or for the whole of Africa. I am concerned with and turning to the entire world. … Repent! Repent! Repent! … I am speaking this appeal to the whole world. Today man empties all things of their true value. Those who are continually committing sins are doing so without ever accepting that what they are doing is wrong.

The things Our Mother tells us do not change one word of the Gospels of her Son. They do not add to His teachings. They apply His teaching in a direct way to the challenges of our times. I think of them as the best sermons, the greatest Christian teaching, available to us in this world today.

Christ has sent us His own mother to teach us how to follow Him in these challenging times when, as the Anchoress said yesterday, the “center does not hold.” I both agree and disagree with what Elizabeth Scalia, aka, the Anchoress, said in that post.

Yes, we are flinging ourselves off into chaos, destroying our civilization with the glee of an angry child, knocking over a tower of blocks it took him all afternoon to build. But the center itself is unchanged by this. The center is Christ, and He is holding. We are simply refusing to take the outstretched hand of our Savior and be saved. We would rather thrash around in our self-centeredness and drown for eternity in the final and bitter desserts of our own caprice.

Repent! Repent! Repent! Our Lady tells us.

Devote yourselves to my Immaculate Heart, pray the Rosary, pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, pray the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. Cleanse your hearts of hatred. Fill your souls with God’s love. In other words, chose life, not death.

Because, Something’s going to happen. 

My constituent told me that, and I nodded in agreement without understanding what he was saying. Now I can answer him more honestly.

Something’s going to happen. 

Yes. It is.  

Oklahoma City High School Bans Firefox from Student Computers Because of Mozilla’s Support for Gay Marriage. (Not So.)

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Oklahoma City High School Bans Firefox from Student Computers Because of Mozilla’s Support for Gay Marriage. (Not So.) 

Did you do a double-take when you read that headline?

It is, I hasten to assure you, not true. As in, I made it up.

I made it up to make a point, and that point is that what’s good for the politically-correct goose ought to also be good for the traditionalist gander.

According to Fox News, California’s Ventura High School has “banned” Chick Fil-A chicken sandwiches for fear that the taste of a sandwich made by a company who held political views that run counter to … I guess the Ventura zeitgeist, if there is such a thing … might be “offensive.” Aside from the fact that this is a tempest in a crock pot kinda deal, it does tend to reflect the double standard we’ve got going here.

Imagine, if you will, if the made-up-by-me title to this post had been describing an actual/factual event. Can you wrap your mind around what would almost certainly be the plethora of critical blog posts denouncing “Christian bigots,” “dumb Okies” and probably the mothers of the school board members who had voted allowed this? I actually can imagine it, which is why I decided to write this post.

Because, you see, if it’s good for the politically-correct Ventura goose, then it should also be good for the traditionalist gander, wherever they reside.

From FoxNews:

Feathers have been ruffled at California’s Ventura High School, where the principal this week banned the football booster club from selling Chick-fil-A sandwiches over fears that people might be offended.

What, pray tell, could people find offensive about a plump juicy chicken breast tucked between two buttered buns?

Were English teachers put off by the restaurant chain’s grammatically challenged bovine pitchmen?Did the waffle fries and banana pudding milkshakes exceed the nutritional limits deemed acceptable by the federal government?

The answer, dear readers, is no. It seems Principal Val Wyatt’s ban has less to do with poultry and more to do with politics.

“With their political stance on gay rights and because the students of Ventura High School and their parents would be at the event, I didn’t want them on campus,” Wyatt told the Ventura County Star.

It was a sentiment supported by Trudy Tuttle Ariaga, superintendent of the Ventura Unified School District.

“We value inclusivity and diversity on our campus, and all our events and activities are going to adhere to our mission,” Ariaga told CBS News in Los Angeles.

Three Cardinals — and I Don’t Mean Baseball Players — and Their Grand Slam of Confusion

I’m late to the party.

But then, I often am.

It takes me a while to think through certain events. There are also times when it takes me a while to care about certain events.

The three cardinals — Dolan, Kasper and McCarrick — and their grand slam of confusion is a case in point. I’m going to take their statements/actions one at a time.

Lesseeeee ….

Cardinal Timothy Dolan CNA US Catholic News 3 23 12

Cardinal Dolan and his parade.

It seems that the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade is going to allow a group of gay people to join in the march. It has been noted in some circles that the writers here at the Catholic Portal at Patheos have been — up to now — silent on this subject. I guess they overlooked — or perhaps didn’t like — the commentary by the Anchoress on this subject. For my part, I’ll attempt to add a bit of perspective from fly-over America.

I’ve been writing a lot about beheadings, mass murder and possible war. So, when I read that homosexuals were going to march in a parade in New York (which I hasten to remind you is almost 2,000 miles and a whole culture away from me) I thought, ummm … it’s a parade. Big whooping deal.

Then I heard that Cardinal Dolan was going to be the grand master at this hoe down, and I thought ummm … it’s a parade. Big whooping deal.

Then, I heard the plunk, plunk, plunk of the sky falling in the New York outpost of the faithful Catholic blogosphere and I thought ummm … it’s a New York thing. Big whooping deal.

To be honest, I’m sorta stuck at it’s a parade and a New York deal.

We’ll see how it comes off. If Cardinal Dolan ends up two-stepping down the road leading the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or some such, I may decide that, in addition to being a parade, it is an embarrassment.

But basically, I’m still kind of caught up in the fact that we’ve got a blood-red Christian genocide going on and that, well, it’s not a parade. Or a New York deal.

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Cardinal McCarrick and his newfound universalism.

Cardinal McCarrick attended a press conference arranged by the Muslim Affairs Council and managed to do such a good job of  Muslim apologetics that one headline brayed that “Catholic Cardinal McCarrick Embraces Islam.” All in all, it sounds like the Cardinal put on a pretty good show. It might help if he gave another press conference with Eastern Church leaders to show solidarity with our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. You know; just to even things out.

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Cardinal Kasper and his protestantized view of the sacrament of marriage.

My colleague, Dr Greg Popcak already wrote a post about this, so I’ll pick up the salient quote from him. Here it is:

If a Catholic who is divorced and civilly remarried, without a decree of nullity, “repents of his failure to fulfill what he promised before God, his partner and the church in the first marriage, and carries out as well as possible his new duties and does what he can for the Christian education of his children and has a serious desire for the sacraments, which he needs for strength in his difficult situation, can we after a time of new orientation and stabilization deny absolution and forgiveness?”

I’m not any kind of theologian. In fact, I’m only a Christian and a Catholic due to enormous unmerited forgiveness. So, I “get” the desire to let people in, no matter what they’ve done. I also “get” that in this post-Christian world the Church is flat-out counter-cultural. I’m sure that these cardinals deal with the fallout of that counter-culturalism every day when they interact with civic and social leaders in the upper strata.

I’ve had a few doses of that poison myself.

I also “get” that, due to pew-sitting Catholics drinking great draughts of that cultural poison, divorce and remarriage are increasingly a source of alienation for many of the “faithful.”

However, I don’t “get” slam-dunking 2,000 years of Christian teaching in order to make the Church fit in with this fallen world.

I’m not big fan of the annulment process as it is used today, anyway. I know there are times when a sacrament may not have taken place at a wedding, and I also know that the Church always errs on the side of forgiveness and compassion.

I have benefitted from that forgiveness and compassion. When I accepted Christ and changed, no one else would forgive me. The Catholic Church, on the other hand, not only took me in, but treated what I had done as a thing of the past that did not pertain to me as I am now.

I will be grateful for this loving compassion and forgiveness to the end of my days.

I understand that this deep compassion and desire to forgive animates all that the Church does. But compassion can not overwrite the plain teachings of the Gospels. In fact, it is misguided compassion to try. The compassion that I received was a firm and abiding belief in the power of Christ to redeem sinners, including me.

If the Church had told me — as a number of denominations would have — that it was ok for me to be pro abortion (that was my public sin that others would not forgive) that would have been a terrible injustice to me, a false compassion that would have led me into deeper sign, and ultimately hell.

The Church has the same responsibility to the truth in the area of marriage, divorce and remarriage that it has about abortion.

The Church is bending over backwards to allow people who’ve divorced and remarried to come back into the fold. It does this via a somewhat complicated and terribly faulty annulment process.

As I said, I know that there are times when, for various reasons, a marriage is not sacramental and an annulment is justified. But I honestly believe that those times are much more rare than the number of annulments reflect.

I realize that this is one of the more contentious issues facing the Church today. But the fact remains that the facts remain. I know what I’ve seen. And what I’ve seen is people getting annulments for marriages that

they willingly contracted when they were free adults

they undertook after lengthy premarital counseling by the Church that took place in Catholic Churches

whose vows were given in front of many witnesses and before a priest

were not abusive but were cases where the people simply decided — for various reasons — to get out and go and get annulments so they could try again with someone else.

I know the annulment system is a mess because I’ve also seen people who entered into marriage

when both were drunk during the ceremony and they were both sleeping with other people at the time they married and they both knew it not getting an annulment  because they couldn’t get the paperwork filled out.

Add to that, I’ve also seen someone refused entry into the Church because they couldn’t get the paperwork filed out concerning a common law marriage from decades in their past.

The annulment process isn’t working for people who deserve annulments. And it’s chunking out annulments for people who should not get them.

But what the Cardinal seems to be suggesting is to toss the whole thing overboard and shake hands and call it even. In essence, what he’s leading up to is a revocation of the sacramental nature of marriage. I say that because, if marriage is a sacrament, you can’t undo it. Can’t. Not possible.

And if marriage, after 2,000 years, isn’t a sacrament, then what is? I mean, if marriage isn’t a sacrament, then why would Holy Orders, which is akin to it, be a sacrament?

The real problem with all of these actions taken by these various Cardinals is that they are deeply disturbing to the people who actually hold the Church together. I do not mean the hierarchy. I mean the pew-sitting Catholics who believe and try to follow what the Church teaches. It’s a mistake of Homeric proportions to abandon those people and go off chasing after the ones who have left the Church.

Remember when Jesus said, If you do not eat of my flesh and drink of my blood, you will have no eternal life within you? His frank discussion of the sacrament of the Eucharist, of which this statement is a part, caused a number of people to abandon Him. They went off muttering about cannibalism or some such.

But Our Lord didn’t go chasing after them and say, Wait a minute, I didn’t mean it that way.

No.

He let what He’d said stand and He allowed them to leave.

If the princes of the Church start teaching that 2,000 years of Christian teaching on the sacraments is up for grabs because it’s an embarrassment to them, we are in big trouble. In truth, sex outside of marriage, including homosexual sex, is a sin. In truth, marriage is between one man and one woman and it is for life. In truth, there are radical differences between Christianity and every other belief system. Christianity alone has the empty tomb and the words that lead to eternal life.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. There is no other.

On the other hand, it is just a parade and a New York deal, and it was just a speech, and then  another speech.

Confusing leadership is … well … confusing. In times such as these, it can be frightening. It seems to be almost impossible for the American bishops to give clear teaching on what is in fact the 2,000 year old teachings of the Church for which they claim to speak. They’re trying so hard to be loved by everybody that they trip over their own eagerness.

That scares people who’ve paid a great price to follow the Church, and it angers them. I think the best way to deal with that is to remember that it has always been so, and it will always be so until the Lord comes again. Your task is to stay faithful, in spite of it.

As for the New York parade deal; I just hope that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence stay away.

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