May you have a happy and holy All Saints Day.
Pope Francis managed to make Forbes most powerful list, and he did it without a single Tomahawk missile.
I would guess that this is a bow to the pope’s worldwide popularity. What is ironic is that despite the fact that the pope has none of the trappings of raw power that the other members of the Most Powerful list possess, he really does have a kind of power.
The power to persuade through love and hope is and always has been the most potent kind of power that anyone can possess. What these other people have is the power to destroy — through weapons, taxes regulations., or expenditures of monies. They can, if they are careful, creative and deeply good people, shape this power to the purposes of good.
But Pope Francis has the healing power of Christ at his disposal. This acts on the many cruelties and sins of individual lives in the same way that water acts on stone. It slowly wears away the rough edges and transforms, but it does it so gradually and painlessly that the observer can not see it as it happens.
What is interesting is that every Christian has access to this same healing power, if they will just use it. Scripture tells us that love is stronger than death. I don’t think this refers only to physical death. I think it refers to our whole death-worshipping culture and, on a personal scale, to the many little deaths of cruelty and indifference that we encounter in our daily lives.
Love is stronger than death. God’s love is stronger than the entropy of decaying civilizations and the slow deconstruction of wasted lives. His love cancels out the annihilation that is the core craving of all deep evil.
God’s love is the not just the transforming power in human society. It is the glue that holds everything, everywhere, together. We see the corrosive effect that rejecting God has on individuals, on their belief systems and their overall behavior. We see it writ large on societies that fall away from Him. But the truth is, God is still holding those people and this world in existence, even as they reject Him. If God ceased to love existence into existence, there would be nothing, absolutely nothing, anywhere. Existence itself would cease to exist without the power of God holding it in place.
When the scriptures tell us that He holds us in the palm of his hand, they are telling a truth that is simultaneously metaphorical and literal. We exist because He wills existence itself into being. And yet, for all that incomprehensible power and grandeur, He cares for and knows each of us as the individual lights that we are.
The Holy Father, who speaks for His Son’s Church, does have power. It is the power of the words that lead to eternal life spoken to a world dedicated to following after its own death.
The new bishop at the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis was marked for death before he was born.
If his mother had listened to her doctor, she would have aborted her baby. “You’re carrying a freak,” the doctor told Judy Cozzens during her fifth month, “you shouldn’t continue this pregnancy.”
When Mrs Cozzens refused to have an abortion, the doctor told her she would have to get another physician. She did, and the baby was born reasonably healthy. He suffered from the skin disease eczema and developed asthma in his childhood.
Now, he is the new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.
Freak becomes a bishop. That’s the quick and easy storyline describing the path Father Andrew Cozzens took to becoming the next auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
But, here’s the strange part — the person who called him this name was a doctor. And, he pinned this label on Father Cozzens, called Drew throughout his childhood, without even seeing him.
In fact, Father Cozzens was still in his mother’s womb.
This takes some explaining, and so it was that his parents, Jack, 75, and Judy, 69, took a good chunk of time on a recent afternoon recalling the circumstances surrounding the birth — and life — of their No. 2 child, a boy who remarked to another doctor when he was just 4 years old that he was going to “do the Lord’s work” someday.
The drama began during Judy’s fifth month of pregnancy. She was teaching part time at a Catholic school in Connecticut. Her stomach hurt, and she figured she was getting the stomach flu that had been going around the school.
“Then, all of a sudden, I realized I’m getting my pains every five minutes, and I realized I was in labor,” she said. “So, Jack met me at the hospital and we went in. I almost lost [the baby], but they stopped the labor.”
She felt relief, but only momentarily. The tension over her son’s condition skyrocketed the following morning when the doctor came in to talk to her about what was happening.
“He said, ‘You’re carrying a deformed fetus, and you need to not continue with the pregnancy’” she said. “And, I said, ‘What do you mean? This is my baby.’ And, he said, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re carrying a freak, and you shouldn’t continue with this pregnancy.’” (Read the rest here.)
According to the Telegraph, the United States government spied on Pope Francis during the conclave preceding his election as pope.
I can think of only one reason to do something like this and that reason is schoolboy voyeurism. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again right now: We have elected people who do not belong in office.
Things have gotten so bad that the United Nations put out a story saying that the United States has pledged not to spy on them and the NSA is now saying that President Obama didn’t know they were spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Uh-huh. And Bill Clinton didn’t have sex with that woman, and Richard Nixon had no idea what was on that 18 minutes of blank tape.
Even some members of Congress are upset about all this spying on our allies.
Interestingly, even as the government skitters around, trying to cover its garbage, the spin machine is already beginning to churn out explanations as to why we are going to keep on doing it to “keep Americans safe.”
Of course none of this explains why these dead-from-the-neck-ups need to spy on Pope Francis. Babies aren’t even afraid of Pope Francis. Little kids steal his chair and intellectually challenged people take over his popemobile.
There is no reason to be spying on Pope Francis, except, perhaps, his predilection for standing up for peace and the rights of poor people all over the world. That Jesus stuff can be, in fact always has been, revolutionary.
But, as the Communists learned when they bugged Cardinal Wojtyla in Poland, spying doesn’t intimidate the Holy Spirit.
I imagine these idiots have thoroughly embarrassed themselves by spying on the Pope. I also imagine that they will keep it up.
I don’t think they are going to stop until the people who pay the bills and write the laws stop them. That, in case you don’t know, would be Congress.
What’s missing in this whole thing is the representation that we the people deserve from those we have elected. Nobody is speaking out for the American people. Why aren’t the people we sent to Washington to represent us in the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives speaking up for our rights to privacy?
Why is it ok for our government to build a huge … spy thing … in Utah to house the information it has gleaned from listening in on our cell phones and reading our emails?
How long are we the people going to stand for this?
From The Telegraph:
The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.
The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.
The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.
At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.
Update: NSA denies spying on Pope Francis.
How many times have you heard a bishop try to explain away his actions concerning a child-molesting priest by saying “But we got him counseling. It was what the experts advised?”
And how many times, when you heard that, did you think, “Mr Bishop, nobody’s that dumb?”
There appears to be a growing move to legitimize child sexual abuse in our culture. It started a long time ago with the book Lolita and moved forward through lots of movies, books and plays such as American Beauty and others. I remember quite clearly the outrage in certain quarters when the government took a stab at holding Roman Polanski accountable for raping a 13-year-old girl.
In the words of one famous comedienne “It wasn’t rape-rape.”
It is increasingly becoming a fact rather than a conjecture that the sexual abuse of children is only really terrible in our society when it is committed by a Catholic priest, or occasionally, a famous football coach.
My colleague Dr Gregory Popcak has published a post raising the question of whether or not the DSM has moved pedophilia into the gray area of “orientation.” The phrase “orientation” is loaded up to the top with political correctness. It has become something of a synonym in the popular imagination for an inborn trait or illness, like, say, Down’s Syndrome.
Dr Popcak makes clear that the DSM has not changed its definition. The gray area was there all along. It comes from the dilemma of how to define people who are sexually attracted to children but don’t molest them. My understanding is that the DSM considers the sexual attraction to children as an orientation and the practice of molesting children a disorder.
That’s a fine cut for a layperson, and it explains much of the confusion in the public mind.
All this takes us back to the cry of so many anguished bishops that they were just doing what the “experts” told them when they gave child molesting priests a dose of counseling and then put them back into parishes where they could molest again. The confusion about whether or not the DSM has moved pedophilia into the gray area of “orientation” is freighted with questions that can lead to all sorts of wrong-headed actions on the part of people ranging from law enforcement, to legislators and on to Catholic bishops.
We need to temper our enthusiasm for advice from various professional associations with the awareness that many of them are too much the captives of political pressure and public opinion. This can hamper the genuine scientific value they offer. Some of the psycho-babble we read is more an attempt at political blackmail aimed at changing laws or “normalizing” destructive behavior than it is actual scientific understanding.
If trendy public opinion is going to be the guide of our professional associations, then those associations become worthless except as dues vacuums to pay for junkets, staff and glossy publications.
The bishops were wrong when they drop-kicked the Scriptures in order to follow the psychologists, especially since many of these psychologists were themselves hand-picked employees. They were morally wrong and they failed in their charge to be shepherds of the people God gave them to care for.
The fact that some of them can’t seem to get the message is not only infuriating, but it raises — at least for me — serious questions about the commitment to Christ on the part of these specific bishops. I am not talking about all bishops everywhere. But if, after all this time, a bishop still can’t figure out that priests should keep their hands off the children in their parishes, I am out of patience with them.
However, if Catholic priests are the only ones who are treated with public approbation because of their child molesting, then there’s something wrong with our mechanisms for public approbation. I read recently about a famous disk jockey who had made plans to meet a woman overseas so he could have sex with her seven year old daughter. British celebrities also come to mind. Where’s the approbation to equal the appall at priest child sexual abuse over these things?
One thing I’ve learned from my time as a member of the board of directors of an organization that rescues trafficked women is that men purposely buy children for sex, and pimps purposely sell them right here in America. They do it all the time. Where, gentle reader, is the outrage over that?
The question — which is the same question each of these satanic moves backward into the pit asks of us — is are the victims of this things, or are they people? In this instance, the question is, are children things, or are they people?
When someone does something so terrible to a child, their “illness” becomes an academic question in my mind. As a lawmaker, my response is that they should be put in prison and never let out again. I mean that. They should live out the rest of their days and die in prison.
If that sounds harsh, so be it. I am not going to change. Not on this.
I know of no other way to keep our children safe from these people than to lock the predators up.
I admit it.
Much of my reluctance to trust Obamacare is built in. President Obama’s previous “reforms” are the beasties that built this mistrust.
You see, my bank hates me.
What were once simple transactions have become lengthy sojourns in red-tapesville. It literally takes me about 15 minutes to cash a check. I’m not talking time spent in lines, I’m talking about 15 minutes from the moment I hand them the check to the minute I get my money.
All this is complicated by my mother’s dementia, which means it takes about 30 minutes to cash one of her checks. She has to sign. I have to sign. My goldfish has to weigh in.
It is a red-tape mess to go to the bank these days.
Are we safer because the normal American now finds that their itty-bitty, almost-empty-by-the-end-of-the-month checking accounts are decorated with regulations like a bureaucratic Christmas tree?
I doubt it.
I learned at my book club this week that one of the member’s sons had his checking account hacked and emptied by someone that the the FBI tells him sent the money to Egypt. All this for the convenience of using a debit card at a gas station. Where were the endless regulations and red tape to block this little bit of larceny? Is that money going to end up in the hands of terrorists?
You got me.
Another area of my life that makes me doubt how well Obamacare is going to work is my Benny card. My job gives me the option to take a set amount of money out of my paycheck each month (before taxes) and set it aside in an account that is dedicated to medical expenses. My employer (the state of Oklahoma) issues me a “Benny Card.”
Benny Cards are supposed to work like a credit cards, only I use them to draw money out of my medical savings account rather than to run up charges. For instance, when I go to the dentist, I hand them the Benny Card to pay for my deductible.
In theory, this is a wonderful way to those of us who don’t itemize on our tax returns to get some of the benefits of itemizing. Instead of taking it off the back end at income tax time, we take if off the front end by paying in advance for our yearly medical expenses.
It sounds wonderful.
And it should be.
But in actual practice, it is a little slice of hell.
I had the misfortune to break a few bones in my foot a year ago. I thought at the time that the Benny Card was going to be a fantastic aid and simplification in paying all the deductibles and such that went with this incredibly expensive experience.
But no. It’s not.
You see, my Benny Card has been frozen for going on a year now. When I go to the dentist and hand them my Benny Card, they try to use it and then hand it back.
“It’s been denied,” they tell me.
I can’t use my own money to pay my own medical expenses, because the government has it, and they won’t give it back to me. Why? You got me.
According to the government functionaries (who appear to have a power over my Benny Card that is absolutely absolute) they can’t “verify” that the surgeries I had on my foot were, in fact, medical in nature.
I had surgery. Hear that word? Surgery — with scalpels and anesthesia and stuff.
I had surgery in a hospital where injured football players travel great distances to have their surgeries. It’s well-known and widely accepted and has been for generations as a medical institution where they do medical stuff. The guy who worked on my foot is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who only does surgeries on people’s bones. That’s what he does.
Where is the question?
But somehow the red-tape mavens don’t see it that way. They can’t accept that this is a legitimate medical expense. No matter what amount and type of documentation they get, it turns out that there is one more piece of documentation with some number nobody on this earth but them ever heard of that they need. Otherwise, the pins and such that were put into my bones were not part of a medical procedure. They were some sort of joyride I took through a masochist’s fun park masquerading as a hospital.
In the meantime, my Benny card for 2013 (I broke my foot in 2012) is frozen.
What that means is that the money I put into it out of my own paycheck now belongs to the government and I can’t use it. It’s not a savings account. It’s a gift to the gov.
My doctor wanted me to have a colonoscopy. In June.
I haven’t done it because my Benny Card — and the money to pay for the colonoscopy — is locked up in red tape hell.
I was supposed to have a mammogram. In June.
I haven’t done that either.
Benny Card, again.
To make things worse, if I don’t use the money locked up in that account, I lose it. The government just … takes it.
How does this affect Obamacare?
To answer that question, consider this: The administration that passed these fool banking regulations that make it a little dose of aggravation to cash a check at my own bank where I have banked for over 20 years also created Obamacare.
Or, consider this: The administration that enacted regulations that make sure I can’t get my own money to pay for “questionable” medical expenses such as surgery, colonoscopies and mammograms, also enacted Obamacare.
Same folks. Same mindset. Same love of red tape.
We are all going to die — literally — of the delays and yammering demands for sign this, sign that, fill this out while you’re bleeding to death over the clip board.
One thing I have learned from my mother’s many close calls is that medical care from the patient’s perspective always and everlastingly involves answering the exact same questions on the exact same questionnaire over and over and over again. I’ve gotten so I can barely be polite when the receptionist hands me another form to fill out detailing when my 88-year-old mother had her first menstrual period and all about her appendectomy at age 18. And I haven’t even gotten into the repetitive, abusive, yackety-yack about “advance directives.” They drive you totally nuts with that stuff.
Obamacare is the brain storm of the same guy who gave us My-Bank-Hates-Me banking and Benny Card Hell.
Will it work?
In my humble, totally inexpert opinion, only when pigs fly in tight formation and they’re eating snow cones in the infernal regions, it will work. Otherwise, to even ask the question, you gotta be kidding me.
Will Obamacare provide affordable health care or not?
If it does, who will get it?
I received a link to this video in a White House broadcast email today. I think you need to see it and add it to your list of considerations concerning this plan.
I have no idea how accurate it is, or what parameters are being used to come up with these figures. Feel free to add links to other legitimate information in the com boxes.
Why do non-Catholics want so desperately for the Catholic Church to change its teachings?
It’s fascinating, the amount of emotion at least some non-Catholics seem to have about Catholic teaching. I can tell you that when I was in the anti-God period of my life, I did not give one whit what any church taught. I paid them the ultimate diss of not giving a care.
But from what I’ve seen on this blog, there are a large number of people who claim to be atheist or some what-not version of what I was in my anti-God period, who appear to think about Christianity, the Catholic Church in particular, 24/7. They appear to be, in a word, obsessed with the minutiae of Catholic teaching.
If you doubt this, go to some of the atheist blogs. All they ever talk about is God, Christian teaching, and the Bible.
There are a few issues in particulate that really rev their engines. They are:
When someone confronts them with the obvious inconsistency implied in their obsessive demands that a Church they claim is a stupid cult alter teachings that they claim are based on a myth, they start denouncing Catholics for using their rights as American citizens to vote and advocate according to their consciences.
It’s as if it offends them that Catholics have the same rights to vote, free assembly and to petition their government as other citizens. I suppose it’s true that it does offend them. Because one takeaway I get from reading the comments from most (not all, there are a couple of clear exceptions) of these people is that they are, at base, bullies.
I also think that the core reason they keep coming around here to drop off their load of insults (most of the truly insulting ones never see the light of day on this blog) is that they are either mental on some level, or, whether they will admit it or not, they are God haunted people who desperately want what the Church offers, which is peace with God, eternal life and a spiritual home. It’s just that they can’t bring themselves to go to God on God’s terms. They want Him — meaning His Church — to come to them on their terms.
These are people who refuse to be forgiven for their sins. What they want is to have the Almighty ratify their sins. They are obsessed with finding, not absolution, but vindication, from a Church they claim they believe is a fraud.
However, that’s just my reaction. Yours may be different. I’m going to throw this open for discussion.
Why do you think nonbelievers are so obsessed with the Catholic Church?
It took me a while to figure this out, and now that I have, I’m still trying to figure it out.
It begins with the simple facts that I love the sound of rain and we’re now in the fall rainy season here in Okieland.
What that means in practical terms is that I often open the back door and shove up a couple of windows so I can hear the rain. I’ve found that I especially love the sound of the rain while I play the piano. It’s a kind of unexpected bliss.
But here’s the weirdo catch.
I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my piano had gone out of tune. It has migrated a tiny bit since I had it tuned when I first got it, but this was so gecky that I would hit a key and then hit it again and go bleh. Then, I’d decide that, even though I don’t have a piano tuning in my budget until January, I am going to call and get the blamed thing tuned because I. Cannot. Stand. This. Ugly.
The next day, it would be back in tune.
This happened repeatedly.
I began to think my piano had a poltergeist. I decided that maybe, instead of a piano turner, it needed a priest.
Then, I began to see a not-so-subtle correlation. On rainy days, when I open the door and windows and turn off the central heat and air, the piano goes out of tune. On dry days, it goes back in tune.
It’s raining today, but, in deference to my piano, I’ve left the doors shut, the windows down and the central stuff on. So far, it’s in tune.
My piano does not have a poltergeist.
It does, however, appear to have arthritis.
As we would describe it here in Oklahoma, Pope Francis said a mouthful.
His comments on family life have been spot on. Here are a few from a discussion he gave Friday to the XXI Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family:
The family is the “community of life,” the “natural center of human life,” the “engine of the world and society,” and the “place (where) you learn to love.”
Each of us builds his own personality in the family.
In the family a person becomes aware of his own dignity and especially if his education is Christian, recognizes the dignity of every human person.
Marriage is the ‘first sacrament of humanity.’
A society that abandons its children and marginalizes the elderly severs its roots and obscures its future.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called the family a “community of life with its own consistent autonomy”, and that it is the “natural centre of human life”, “the engine of the world and history”, and the “place you learn to love”.
He was speaking on Friday to participants of the XXI Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family. The Assembly has been looking at the theme “Family, Live the Joy of Faith” and also marked the 30th Anniversary of the Holy See’s 1983 Charter on the Rights of the Family.
“Each of us builds his own personality in the family, growing up with their mother and father, brothers and sisters, breathing in the warmth of the house,” Pope Francis said. “In the family, a person becomes aware of his own dignity, and especially if his education is Christian, recognizes the dignity of every human person, and in a special way, that of the sick, weak and marginalized.”
The Holy Father reminded the participants the family is based on marriage, which he called “like a first sacrament of humanity”.
“In marriage, we give ourselves completely without calculation or reservation, sharing everything – gifts and sacrifices – trusting in God’s Providence,” Pope Francis said. “This is the experience that young people can learn from their parents and grandparents. It is an experience of faith in God and mutual trust, of profound freedom, of holiness, because holiness pre-supposes giving of yourself with faithfulness and sacrifice every day of your life!”
The Pope then spoke briefly about two stages of family life: childhood and old age.
“Children and the elderly are the two poles of life and also the most vulnerable, often the most forgotten,” he said. “A society that abandons children and marginalizes the elderly severs its roots and obscures its future. Whenever a child is abandoned and an old person is marginalized, is not just an act of injustice, but it also demonstrates the failure of that society. Taking care of children and the elderly is the only choice of civilization.”
There is much more than I have put here. But one point I want to make is that we have a habit of talking about these things as if they occur only in other parts of the world rather than here the West.
But this is not true. We treat our little girls very badly, even here in America. We begin grooming them to be sexually available and to be sexually used from the time they are very little. We use trollop fashions and cultural images which degrade and sexualize even the most serious and unlikely of female role models such as presidential candidates to send a clear message that little girls are sexual things to be exploited and used.
Our public school systems push dangerous forms of contraception on young girls in a manner that I can only describe as misogynist and destructive to both their humanity and their physical well being.
The feminist movement has become such a sham that it joins in with these actions and promotes them as “women’s rights” and “reproductive health.” Now the move appears to be to normalize, excuse and ultimately accept sex selected abortion.
The response from those who are either doing this or are supporting it is the same as I have seen in other forms of outrageous behavior: They justify it with reference to extreme cases that appeal to misguided compassion, by talking about babies that suffer from sex-linked genetic disorders. Then they circle around and claim that it isn’t happening at all.
Both these tactics are accompanied by the usual insults directed at people who try to speak out against sex selected abortion. I’ve encountered similar opposition in discussions of rape back when I helped found the first rape crisis center in Oklahoma and wife beating when I passed the original law that created the protective order in Oklahoma.
I even got a smattering of it when I passed the law making female genital mutilation a crime in Oklahoma. That particular bill was killed so many times I lost count before I finally got it through. I went through a legislative nightmare, fighting it through both houses past the mindless opposition of the back room legislative “advisers” who actually make most of the decisions in the Oklahoma legislature.
I think it’s telling that one year after I passed this law, the American Academy of Pediatrics actually came out in favor of a limited form of FGM. Their reason? They were trying to “contain” the problem that a year ago some folks were claiming did not exist.
The fact that Britain has been forced to acknowledge what was already a fact, namely that their law regarding sex-selected abortion has so many loopholes that it is not enforceable, is no surprise to me. If that law is the way it has been presented in Crown Prosecution Service documents, it was always a sham.
Evidently in Britain as well as here in America, the desire to protect women’s “right” to abortion trumps everything else, including women’s health and lives.
I’ve found this to be true in my own life. The one person I can always count on is my husband. Marriage provides stability and security that people cannot find in any other human relationship.
Rumors aside, it appears that Pope Francis is not going to overturn the 2,000-year-old Church teaching on the sanctity of Holy Matrimony.
The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller published an article in the Vatican newspaper, putting that story to rest.
Archbishop Muller writes that marriage is indissoluble as is testified in both Scripture and Tradition.