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.
I get that everyone is interested in the satanic black mass that is scheduled to happen next month in Oklahoma City.
Satan is real. I believe that. There is a malicious presence which attacks and tempts us to do horrific things, including hate the God Who made us in His own image.
The “black mass” is being advertised as a mockery of the real mass. The satanists claim that they have a consecrated Host that they are going to defile. They evidently even have a real live sex offender to do the honors.
Believe me, I “get” the symmetry of a sex offender, an assaulter and degrader of other humans and of the life force itself, “presiding” over a mockery of the mass in order to defile the Lord of all Life.
I’m there. I get it. I get it in aces and spades.
However, does anyone think that there is something new about defiling the Host? Have we all forgotten the atheist numbskulls who skulked their way into Catholic Churches to obtain consecrated Hosts in order to video themselves urinating on the hosts, flushing them down the toliet, driving nails into them and taking them to atheist conventions to be autographed by their atheist heroes? For a while there, YouTube was littered with the videos these folks made of themselves as they “performed” their act.
I grant you that this is not a deliberate calling up of Satan himself, but it was certainly a desecration.
As far as I’m concerned, every rape, every abortion, every act of egg harvesting, every time someone is subjected to medical murder by euthanasia, is a type of black mass. We are made in God’s image and this defilement of the humanity of human persons is also a defilement of Him.
Black masses, from what little bit I know about them, are a form of worship of the author of this destruction of human worth and value. These people don’t just do Satan’s work unaware like the atheist poseur videoing him or herself as they defile a consecrated Host in their bathroom, or the abortionist who thinks he or she is just performing a medical procedure, or even the rapist, who very well knows that what he is doing is evil to the core but somehow or other doesn’t think this evil defiles and damns him.
Nope. Your basic satanist calls out Satan on purpose, kneels down before him and then offers up the living Christ in a consecrated host for his mockery and defilement.
The real mass re-enacts Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary for our healing. Heaven touches earth in a real mass.
Satan’s mass tries to crucify Him again for real, in order to seduce us into wallowing in the pit of despair and damnation that Jesus lifts us out of. It is an attempt to bring hell out of the shadows and down off the television screens and catapult Satan without the disguises, Satan as himself, into our daily lives. This is a mirror image of heaven touching earth as it does in the real mass.
All this black smoke and slimy terror seduces a lot of people. It seduces them in much the same way that pornography and illicit drugs seduce, by rewarding at first with voyeuristic titillation.
My message to you is simple. Don’t be seduced.
Don’t be seduced by petty voyeurism and actually go near this slimy pit of defilement.
And don’t be seduced into feasting your prurient fantasies on the whole situation.
This is not a movie. There won’t be spinning heads and levitating beds.
This is a sex offender worshipping the malicious presence that enjoys sexual violence because of the degradation and pain it unleashes. This is an unrepentant sex offender worshipping at the only altar where his actions will be applauded. This is worship of death, pain, suffering and human destruction by defiling the Lord of Life and bending the knee to the author of death.
The symmetry is exquisite, in the same way that venom, dripping off a fang is exquisite. It is ugly as hate, revolting as a charnel house and black as annihilation.
Do not be seduced by this. Do not focus on it or give it your attention. Focus instead on the true meaning of the Eucharist in which we all are welcome to touch Him and be healed.
Pray to St Michael. Pray your Rosary. Go to mass.
Think on Christ and His sacrifice, and the salvation He offers. Bask in the light that shines in the darkness and do not let yourself be seduced by evil.
Also, don’t be afraid. Satan has already lost. He has been cast out of heaven. On Calvary, the lies he used to chain us to our destruction were broken forever. This black mass is an expression of hate directed at God through us. Its mockery is the spite of a loser who has already lost.
The fact that it is happening is, more than anything else, the culmination of all the little black masses we have allowed for decades in our society, each one pulling the door a bit wider to let the blackness through
We’ve been calling evil good and good evil at least since the Final Solution. We claim that wanton killing is a “right” bestowed on the killer in the name of “compassion.” Rape, which is a direct attack on the life force and on Our Lady who represents that life force, has been excused, promoted and used as entertainment since the curse of the Fall.
For decades now, sophisticated Christians have denied Satan’s existence. I’ve had more than one member of the clergy tut-tut at me because I say that Satan is real and active in our world today. Now, after decades of working through us to do his harm, Satan is pulling off the mask and coming out as himself.
Do not be seduced into thinking this is a side show or a form of entertainment. Do not be seduced into focusing on the evil of this mass instead of the great light that shines on us from Calvary.
Scriptures tell us in 2 Timothy, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Trust that spirit of power to uphold you, give free rein to the spirit of love and exercise your God-given spirit of self-discipline.
Instead of running in circles and giving Satan your attention and thought, do these things:
1. Go to confession. I mean that. GO TO CONFESSION. Treat this time as a little Lent and get yourself cleaned up.
2. Forgive your grudges. Again, I mean that. Forgive anyone you’re holding a grudge against, and that includes your ex-spouse and the guy who fired you. Do not give the devil a toehold in your heart by clinging to bad feelings about other people.
3. Pray the Rosary, the St Michael prayer and the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
4. Show up for those processions Archbishop Coakley has announced. Be there and participate. Show solidarity with our Church and Our Lord.
5. Go to the Holy Hour Archbishop Coakley also announced.
6. If you do not live in Oklahoma, join us spiritually by going to Confession and Adoration and praying the St Michael Chaplet.
7. Read the Bible. Every day.
8. Go to mass. If Satan thinks so highly of the Eucharist that he wants to defile it this way, it must be important. You are cheating yourself if you don’t partake of it.
9. Never forget: This black mass, with its mockery and sacrilege, is a public acknowledgment and a testimony of how life-saving and important the real mass and Eucharist really are.
You have before you life and death.
It’s been cooking for months.
The question now is whether it will get out of the box.
“It” is the long-smoldering Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The box, of course, is West Africa itself.
Will a disease vector — meaning, an infected person — manage to infect someone else who is going to, say, Sudan, who infects someone else who is going to Egypt, who manages to get on a plane and end up in Instanbul?
There are many routes this disease could take out of that box. In this age of air travel and high mobility, disease can spread at the speed of a jet engine. But that is the worst one I can imagine. If, through one of the many routes available to it, this thing ends up unnoticed in Istanbul, the potential for it to go on to the airport in Frankfurt, and from there to the whole wide world is enormous. Istanbul is the roadway between Africa and Europe. Always has been.
That’s the nightmare scenario. It’s the one that tantalizes us like a real-life disaster movie as we watch this unfold. I’ve been reading about this killer disease as it has slowly built itself into an out-of-control epidemic for a long time now. The death toll kept rising, the affected area kept spreading. But it was slow. It sludged from one godforsaken arm pit of a country to another and nobody much cared.
The world has become inured to horror stories from Africa. We don’t know what to do about these things, and it beats us up to watch them. So we watch, feel bad for a moment, and then go on. What else can we do?
But the trouble with these human horror stories is that, if they are allowed to fester, they reach a critical mass and begin to spread. It doesn’t matter much if the illness is terrorist serial killers posing as religios, or an actual virus that we can only see with an electron microscope, the death and sickness will fester and smolder like a fire in the attic until it bursts out and takes somebody’s house down in a conflagration.
Ebola is out of control in West Africa. I read today that Sierra Leone is using troops to quarantine the sick. Medical teams from all over the world, but most especially the United States, are out there fighting the fight in their hazmat soldier suits. At the same time, frightened villagers have been known to turn on the docs and even burn down aid stations.
I’m guessing that these villagers have their reasons for feeling this way. But I don’t know enough to speculate what those reasons might be.
All I know for sure is that there’s a fight going on to stop a virus before it gets out of the box and begins a run down pandemic highway, killing a huge percentage of humanity as it goes.
I honestly think that the boys and girls in the hazmat suits will shut this thing down. It’s almost never the thing we see coming that gets us. It’s the blind-side that takes us down.
But the lessons in this horror story are obvious. You can’t consign any part of humanity to the waste bin and get away with it. Not forever. Like it or not, these people in West Africa are part of the human family. That’s why their long-smoldering virus scares us. Because what kills them will also kill us, and — here’s the big one — what kills them will spread to us just as if we were the same as them.
Which, of course, is the point. We are the same as them. Same DNA. Same human body. Same human immune system. We are them. They are us. These aren’t a bunch of infected bats or monkeys. These are human beings. Just like us.
And what kills them, can and will kill us.
There’s a moral here, and it’s not hard to find. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the blight of inner city neighborhoods, drug cartels in Central America or a killer virus in Africa, what happens to other people will come around and happen to us if we ignore it.
Take, for instance, the blight in inner city neighborhoods. Much — not all, but much — of that soul-killing blight is linked to the use of addictive and illegal drugs. These drugs come from South of the Border. The drug cartels south of the border, who are financed by our drug use north of the border, kill and terrify whole populations, who in turn head up north to get away from the violence and hopelessness. We, in turn, stand at the border with signs, yelling at them and telling them to go back where they came from.
We’re all connected. What happens to them, will bite us too.
A virus in the poorest and most hopeless countries on the poorest and most hopeless continent in the world is cooking up a storm that will kill a lot of us if we don’t shut it down. The immediacy and the terror of this virus has our attention and we’re doing what has to be done to get it stopped. We are racing against time. Hurrying to get this thing pinned to the ground before that one infected person takes a pickup ride into the Sudan and meets someone else who goes to Egypt, who talks to someone who decides to take a short flight to Istanbul.
Because if that happens, we’re staring down the gun barrel of a conflagration.
We. Are. One. Highly-Dysfunctional. Family.
That is not poetry. It is absolute biological fact.
My religious leader, Archbishop Paul Coakley has called for a season of “prayer, procession and benediction” due to the scheduled black mass here in Oklahoma.
Self-identified satanists have held a black mass in the Oklahoma City Civic Center for the past several years in a row. Last year, no one — zero — turned out for their little show. Hopefully, Okies will continue with this no-response this year.
Archbishop Coakley has called for Oklahoma 250,000 Catholics to join together in prayer, processions and attendance at Eucharistic Adoration in response to this black mass.
I am sure that your local parish will have events. Archbishop Coakley invites all of us to join him for prayer and a holy hour on September 9, at 3pm at St Francis of Assisi Church at 1901 NW 18th. That is the day of the satanic mass.
For my part, I would encourage Okies to participate in all these events. I sincerely hope that St Francis overflows that day.
There are also a few things I would ask you not to do:
1. Don’t obsess over this. Satan is alive and well and walking our world on two feet. If you doubt that, just watch the news. A black mass is just him, taking off the clown face and coming out.
2. Don’t engage with the satanists. Don’t talk to them or go around them. Stay away.
3. Ditto for the black mass. This is not entertainment. It is evil. Stay away from it. Do not go down there.
4. Do not make it the center of your thoughts or your activities. Keep your thoughts Christ-focused.
5. Pray and trust Christ. You cannot fight Satan, so don’t try. Let God do your fighting for you.
One thing we need to remember: The reason everyone from, atheists to satanists, attacks the Catholic Church is simple. The Catholic Church teaches the whole truth of Christ. Trying to make a mockery of the mass is a back-handed acknowledgement that the mass is real, the Eucharist is the presence of Christ. Satan hates Jesus. He also hates us. Mocking the mass is just the venomous spite of the loser in the great cosmic war.
Here is Archbishop Coakley’s letter:
I didn’t know “trickle down economics” was in the Ten Commandments.
I also didn’t know it was in the Sermon on the Mount.
I remember things about “blessed are the poor” and “depart from me I never knew you.” But I missed that “trickle down economics” part. I guess it must be in the part that says that government should transfer the wealth of generations to a few corporatists under the guise of corporate welfare and “privatization.” Or maybe it’s under the demands that economies should only be built on making war and not manufacturing goods, providing for infrastructure and growing the nation.
I read the Bible every day. I read through the Bible — the Catholic Bible, complete with all those books that Martin Luther took out — every year and a half or so. But I don’t remember anything about taking from the poor to give to the rich, or trickle down economics being a requirement for heaven.
I have heard these claims. I heard them just about every single day I spent in the business of legislating. They are part of the wing nut teachings which political nut jobs on the right use to replace the Scriptures. Left wing nut jobs do the same thing, only in reverse.
In the left wing political religion, moral values only apply to economics. Everything else — sexuality, family, basic honesty, even human life itself — are fixed on their own, selfishly-defined constructs. In the right wing political religion, moral values only apply to sexuality, family and, human life — when it fits their vote-getting expedience. Economics is a absolute morality-free zone.
The one thing the right and left wing political religions both agree on is basic honesty. Neither one of them have any use for it at all.
Which leads us to what has become an entertaining stand-off in the United States House of Representatives.
House Speaker Boehner invited Pope Francis to speak to the House when he visits the US next year. It’s customary when dignitaries come by like this to pass an attaboy resolution and present it to them with suitable legislative fanfare. Nobody takes this resolution stuff all that seriously. It’s just being polite; kind of like offering your neighbor a glass of iced tea when she drops by to say howdy. Neither you nor your neighbor think all that highly of the tea. The only issue would be your rudeness if you didn’t offer it.
In a show of bi-partisanship, the resolution slotted for Pope Francis has both an R and a D as primary co-authors. It congratulates Pope Francis on being elected Pope and compliments him for his “inspirational statements and actions.”
That sounds like plain vanilla do-dah politicking to me. You’d think the resolution would sail through without a comment, that even the pope-hating bozos would chill and keep their mouths shut.
But the true-believers of wing nut political religion can never be underestimated. Their breathtaking self-importance is only exceeded by their equally breathtaking self-righteousness. The pro forma attaboy resolution for Pope Francis’ possible visit to the House may not pass. It will not pass if the true believers of right-wing-nut political religion prevail.
Meanwhile, the Ds are giving the resolution a big huzzah. The party whose national convention booed God is all for Pope Francis as he is defined by their press right now. Their press has edited and parsed Pope Francis into what he is not, which is to say an apologist for laissez faire morality in all areas except economics.
That’s heady stuff for a party that’s been damned and consigned to hell-fire in the public imagination. Pope Francis may not be their cheerleader, but unlike every other pro-life, pro-marriage religio on the planet, he has not washed his hands of them and told them to go to hell. He thinks they’re still people that Christ died for who are in need of salvation. Over 200 Ds jumped on the resolution with co-authorship. They’d co-author the thing twice each, if they could.
The party that claims it speaks for God is all in a pope-hating funk because, as it turns out, he thinks that they are also people that Christ died for who are in need of conversion. They’re not used to being told they need conversion. And they don’t like it.
While anyone can see that the lefty press is twisting statements to lie about the Holy Father, there is no denying that he is laying claim to all those troublesome things Jesus (and the prophets before Him) said about rich men having a tough time getting into heaven and how we all have a responsibility to care for the poor. That’s discombobulating to a party that (1) is corporatist to its core, and (2) has made its vote-getting bones by self-deification.
So, this do-nothing, attaboy, courtesy resolution has become another opportunity for the two political parties to proclaim their own righteousness and teach morality to God. Or, as the case may be, teach morality to the Vicar of Christ.
Rather than just hold their little noses and rise about the stink of their own self-importance, the Rs have used their power as the majority party to sideline the resolution in committee where it is intended to quietly expire. About 19 brave Rs stepped up to co-author. Most of the rest — many of whom are Catholic — have folded their hands and are now studying their shoes.
There are a few convinced and convicted right-wing-nuts who are so apoplectic at the Holy Father’s confrontational attitude toward right wing nut political religion as it concerns economics that they’ve stepped up to set the record straight. They are against the resolution because, they say, “the pope sounds a lot like Obama” (Obama = Satan in their parlance), that he has “denounced trickle down economics” and that he “supports civil marriages.”
In the first place the pope did not say he “supported civil unions.” Go back and read the post about that and see.
But I’m pretty sure, based on dealing with these kinds of birds, that what’s got their feathers in a ruffle is not “civil unions.” They’re on their soapboxes because the pope “denounced trickle down economics.” The reason I say that is twofold. First, it’s what has given well-paid corporatist mouthpieces the temerity to say that the pope is “a marxist,” “following Lenin” and some other thing that’s too stupid to even talk about.
Those media moguls are the corporatist-apologists-without-any-pretense in today’s media. The nut-job Congresspeople are the corporatist-puppet-people-with-loads-of-pretense in elected office. They were beamed into office on a beam of corporate money. They are wholly owned subsidiaries of corporatist thinking and activism. If they weren’t, they’d be pulled and replaced like a bad spark plug.
As for me, I’m not all that alarmed about this resolution thingy. As we say here in Oklahoma, it don’t mean nothin’. The resolution is just a piece of paper with no force of law of any kind. It’s a Congressional attaboy that they hand out to visiting dignitaries and such like gum drops.
Pope Francis is the Vicar of Christ. He answers to Our Lord. I doubt very much that he’s going to cry himself to sleep because a bunch of political puppets with delusions of grandeur do not deign to gift him with a meaningless attaboy filled with compliments they clearly do not mean.
It’s entirely possible that the press flurry may embarrass these Congresspeople’s corporatist owners enough that they tell them to go ahead and vote the resolution through and be done with it. If that happens, it’ll slide through and we’ll go on to the next Congressional stupidity. If it doesn’t, no matter.
The beauty of this particular incident is that these folks have demonstrated rather candidly what they are and who they follow. In terms of its impact, the resolution itself is worthless. But in terms of its teaching powers, it’s priceless.
I keep putting this message out there. I’m going to continue putting it out there until it gets through.
Repeat after me: Political parties have nothing to do with righteousness. Political parties are about power; about getting power and keeping power. Everything else they say is a lie.
Do not follow the R or the D.
Follow the whole Gospel of Christ, all of it, including the parts that disagree with your political religion. The simplest and surest way to do that is to follow the teachings of our Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church constantly irritates both the R and the D. If you believe Jesus, you will not agree with either political party most of the time. If you follow Jesus with your life, you will not and cannot follow either political party.
There is one Way. The R and the D are not it.
From The Hill:
A popular piece of legislation that seeks to honor Pope Francis is stuck in Congress.
With time running out on the Capitol Hill calendar, the lawmakers who crafted the bipartisan measure are getting impatient with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The resolution, written by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.), congratulates Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizes “his inspirational statements and actions.”
The seemingly innocuous resolution was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which hasn’t acted on it. The panel didn’t comment for this article.
The inaction and the lack of a white smoke signal from Boehner have sparked speculation that politics is at play.
Only 19 of the 221 co-sponsors are Republicans. The dearth of GOP members on the measure could be attributable to assertions that the pope is “too liberal,” according to a Republican backer of the legislation.
The source noted that Francis last year denounced “trickle-down economics.”
Some Republicans believe the pope is “sounding like [President] Obama. [The pope] talks about equality — he actually used the term ‘trickle-down economics,’ which is politically charged,” the GOP official said.
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.
You won’t be seeing me around these parts this week.
I’ll be at the Catholic Writer’s Conference at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center and Hotel in Schaumburg, IL.
The Catholic Writer’s Conference is sponsored by The Catholic Writer’s Guild.
If you’re a Catholic writer, consider joining this fine group. If you’ll be in the Chicago area this week, stop by and say hello.
Your favorite Catholic Patheosi just might be there.
Seasoned Catholic writers will lead sessions on writing fiction, action-adventure, Christian art and composition, dealing with rejection, writing mechanics, blogging and self-publishing. Lisa Hendey’s keynote will be on the most important trait any writer can have: Perseverance.
There will be daily Rosary and Mass and a Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Stop be and be blessed by an event that sharpens Catholic writers professionally while it also feeds us spiritually.
As I said, I’m taking off from regular blogging this week.
I want to drink down the whole Catholic Writer’s Conference experience. I will stop by to monitor your comments. I may post a few photos or observations as the week goes by. I don’t know yet.
But I’ll be back next Monday, rarin’ to go.
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.
Our war in Iraq was a totally unnecessary war fought on false premises that has led directly to the present-day genocide of Iraqi Christians.
We invaded Iraq on the premise that the leader of the country was a murderous crazy man who had “weapons of mass destruction” (read that nukes) at his disposal and we had to stop him before he … I dunno … he killed even more people than he had killed up to then. We got over there and couldn’t find these weapons of mass destruction.
I have always thought — oddly enough — that the simple fact that he didn’t plant weapons of mass destruction and then claim he’d found them, that he actually told the truth about this horrible mess, was President Bush’ finest moment. It vindicated his bad judgement in going to war in Iraq in the first place, at least so far as my opinion of him as a person.
However, we had gone to war when we didn’t have to, and now we had a destroyed country to deal with. Before the invasion, I had several arguments with gung-ho family members who were all for invading Iraq.
This is going to be a long-term, horrible mess, I told them.
Nah, they replied. We’ll go in there and whip them in short order.
That’s not the problem. The problem is the occupation.
My family members didn’t get it then, but they’ve figured it out by now. Before you go to war with anybody, don’t just think about delivering that first-round knock-out punch. Give a thought or two to the long-term follow-up. There are plenty of countries where the real price of going to war with them are the long-term consequences of winning. Iraq is just that sort of country.
We knocked them out, presto-chango.
But we didn’t fix anything. The idea that everyone, everywhere, is ready and waiting to take on American democracy just isn’t true. Democracy doesn’t seem to work in tribal societies. It doesn’t gain traction in places that are still stuck socially and culturally in the world of 900 AD.
We had great success “planting” democracy in Japan after World War II. But Japan, while it had tried to cling to its old social order, was far different from Iraq. Japan was a country that was able to stand on its own two feet. Japan built its own planes, ships, bombs and bullets. Japan trained a military that was able to conquer vast regions of the South Pacific, go across that big ocean and sink the Sixth Fleet.
They didn’t get their weapons from other people. They built those weapons themselves. They trained and equipped their own troops. They had the discipline and the social organization to wage a world war.
In addition, by the end of World War II, Japan was utterly friendless and destroyed. Everybody they had ever beaten in any war hated them, which is to say every country in their region of the world. Their industry was rubble, their people would have starved without us.
Japan adapted and learned and grew and became a great industrial power. Once again, and unlike China, they built their own factories and developed their own industry. Honda, Toyota, Sony are not American companies who’ve moved their plants to Japan to use slave labor. They are Japanese companies who’ve managed to develop superior products that are purchased because of their high quality the world over.
You can’t compare our success in transplanting democracy to Japan with the situation in Iraq. Iraq is a mess largely because it is a country and a place that has no real interest in building anything. Iraq does not want to go forward. It wants to go backward to the ninth century.
We went over there with the naive idea that we could knock Iraq out with a massive military throw down, find and destroy those fictional weapons of mass destruction, then pour a few billion dollars into the place and have another successful “save” of a country. We could transplant the world of democracy and economic growth into Iraq and build a great friend for ourselves in the region … just like Japan.
But Iraq isn’t Japan, and what we got was a country that can not function as a democracy, that, in fact, appears to be unable to function without a strong-arm dictator. Iraq can and will hold elections so long as American troops are there to keep the killer sharks who swim in their culture from stopping it from happening. But the minute — or, a couple of years after — we leave, what you get is what we’ve got.
What we have is a bunch of killers who’ve obviously gotten their arms from countries who are capable of making armaments, who are running around Iraq, engaging in mass murder as a quasi military tactic in another of those wars of civil destruction the region can’t seem to avoid. They are also killing every Christian in sight.
What we have is an on-going, real-time genocide of the Christians in Iraq.
We made this mess my friends. We pulled the Saddam Hussein stopper out of the bottle and now we’ve got something even worse. What we never considered, and what I hate to say and hope I’m wrong about, is that the only kind of government that can control these murderous mobs that run throughout society in this part of the world is a government that is under the thumb of a murderous dictator.
It appears that there is a large faction within this society that only understands and gives way to the tip of the sword.
We can talk all day about the obvious fact that most Muslims are good, kind people who would build a decent society if they had half a chance. The fact is, they don’t have half a chance. What passes for politics in this whole region of the world appears to be outside interests arming murderous thugs who then proceed to destroy whole countries by murdering at will.
Meanwhile, the Christians of Iraq are being raped, tortured and murdered. We are witnessing a genocide.
We made this mess.
What are we going to do about it?
Talk about giving the last drop of political blood.
President Obama defended the HHS Mandate until it got swacked at the Supreme Court, then he and his supporters in the United States Senate tried to kill the court decision with statutes. Now, after all that, the White House announces that it will come up with an “opt-out alternative for Catholic and other religious employers.”
I am guessing this is in advance of what he sees as a catastrophic (at least to him) spanking from the Supremes over the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Watch the videos below and consider this: Our government puts $542 million into Planned Parenthood each year. And that’s just federal dollars. Many states add their own $$$ to the pile.
Also the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare, has large amounts of monies for block grants for education. Planned Parenthood will probably end up with a lot of this money, as well.
The ignominious HHS Mandate was written by a committee that was overloaded with representatives from Planned Parenthood and organizations that have interlocking boards with it.
How much damage are we going to all Planned Parenthood to do in the name of birth control? The services which Planned Parenthood provides that people want — pap smears, contraception — can be provided by other agencies. Remember: Planned Parenthood not only gets huge amounts of federal dollars to “provide” these services, it charges its clients for them, as well.
This government money could be better used to provide the services that people want. The savings by eliminating the rest of it — including the “counseling” in these videos — would be enormous. There are no reasons except political payback to give this funding to Planned Parenthood.
I also want to mention that while I linked to Fox News’ outrage-filled coverage of these videos, Fox is the network that gives us Family Guy and American Dad. I haven’t watched Family Guy, but when I was researching this article, I read comments directing people to view it in order to learn about some of the activities described in the videos below.
I did watch part of an American Dad episode. I quit watching because the episode had two fathers, joking about having sex with their daughters. I’m not entertained by that. Here in Oklahoma City, American Dad runs in the early afternoon — primetime cartoon-viewing hours for young children.
The government is not using our tax dollars to pay for teaching perversion to kids on the Fox network. However, when you consider the damage done, that difference becomes a bit academic.
Teaching it to kids is … well … I have no words.
Patheos is doing geek surgery on itself today, and I’ve been advised to stay away.
I’m going to kick back and enjoy.
See you tomorrow!
There are two kinds of people who obsessively watch porn.
Those who enjoy it.
Those who believe it.
Either way, porn is addicting and degrading. Porn is based on degrading a group of people for the titillation of those who get off on the degradation.
Both those who watch porn because they enjoy it, and those who believe it, will become addicted to it if they don’t pull back from it. That alter world where degradation of other people reigns will take them over and the day will come when they find they can’t just turn it off.
The difference between those who watch it for the titillation alone, and those who get so wound into it that they believe it, is the difference between doing harm to oneself and doing harm to others.
The porn believers can become dangerous as they seek to act out the things they have watched. Every prostitute I’ve ever known has told me about painful and rather hideous things johns did to them in attempts to live out things they’d seen in porn. Rape victims report the same stories.
I would guess that the international sex tourism industry finds its customers among porn believers. Acting out fantasies of degrading other people can take porn believers over. That leads to every kind of horror for their victims.
These same assessments also apply to intellectual porn. All the demagogues of all the eras and epochs of history instinctively knew this. They could, by producing the mind porn of hate politics, gain power. It was — and is — as seductive to the demagogue as to the demagogues’ followers.
The practice of moral and intellectual demagoguery gets votes. It ups ratings, sells books and pleases advertisers. It also confers a kind of heady, ego-driven power over other people.
There are, as usual, two kinds of people who obsessively watch this intellectual porn or listen to it on the radio.
Those who get off on the titillation it provides.
Those who believe it.
The trouble with demagogic porn is that it never, ever, claims to be a fantasy. Point a finger at sexual pornographers and one of their first defenses is that “it’s not real.”
But the purveyors of intellectual porn always, always, always claim that what they are saying is factual and true. They can get away with this because it usually is based on facts. What they leave out is that the facts are carefully selected to promote one viewpoint and that the facts are mixed with a lot lying implications.
Here is a case in point:
The sudden incessant discussion of the supposedly all-new “border crisis” is moral and intellectual porn. It is obvious demagoguery.
This story gets ramped up every bi-election season. Then, after the votes are counted, it goes away. It is being put out there right now because we are in a bi-election season.
It is political demagoguery, designed to gain power. It is also intellectual and moral porn of the worst sort.
The problem of people coming over America’s southern border illegally is real. The trajectory of children crossing the border alone has taken on a 70 degree angle. It has gone up, and is going up.
However, the wild stories about gangs meeting them at the border to recruit them and how one in four of them are “criminals” are untrue. They are being told to ratchet up the emotions and build the outrage past rational thought. The constant 24/7 drumbeat of hysteria about this issue is manufactured for political reasons.
One of the simplest and most effective things we could do to stem this tide of people crossing into our country illegally would be to severely punish the business interests who hire them. If they couldn’t find jobs, a lot of this would go away.
If you try to pass a law like this, the business interests will work against it with all they’ve got. And they will win, especially if the people who are running the show at the time are Rs. I’m not just saying this. I’ve seen it. I can also verify with court actions taken by business interests to attack such laws.
We also need to look past the Rio Grande and consider why they’re coming. We spend billions “building” countries in other hemispheres. Perhaps we should take a more serious look at our own.
However, this is all talk. Nobody is going to fix the border problem. Nobody wants to fix it. Just try to act on either of these two suggestions and watch who will object. It will be the same people who own the media that runs this bi-election immigration frenzy.
This reportage is demagoguery for political purposes.
It is moral and intellectual porn designed to whip people around. It uses fear and hatred of other people to get viewers worked up past the thinking point and keep them there until November. It turns good people into the face of ugly. At that point, it is impossible to reason with the viewers and believers of this porn. They are irrational.
The easiest and simplest way to avoid falling into the porn trap (whatever the type of porn) is to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church.
No other church will take the stands on issues where the public is all whipped up against them. Other denominations follow the zeitgeist. It pains me to say this, but all I have to do is consider the sounding silence I’m hearing from everyone but the Catholic Church right now, and the ugliness I’ve seen on this one issue from various clergy in the past.
If you want to go to heaven, do what the Church teaches. If you want to follow Christ, then turn off the porn.
What these media people are doing by deliberately whipping people up into mass hatred in order to change how they vote is deeply immoral. It is anti-Christ.
If you blindly follow them, you become immoral and anti-Christ, right along with them.
My delete file is bulging with ugly, bitter and downright crazy diatribes against both me and the Catholic bishops because I dare to say this.
So be it.
I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. I choose Christ.
It is my responsibility as a Christian, Catholic blogger who chooses Christ to say this. If nobody listens, that’s on them.
The Civil War split the Southern side of my family.
My great-great grandfather was from the South, but fought on the side of the North. This sheared him from his family, his people, his past.
It, in a round-about way, is why I am an Okie today.
My family has others who fought in that war, Southerners who fought for the North. My grandfather’s father was a drummer boy. My family tends to have children late, which is why the generations are so short. That drummer boy great grandfather lived to be 101.
My husband’s family was also deep in it. They saluted the Stars and Bars. We sometimes joke that it took over 100 years for the two of us to marry across that divide.
America has seen worse than the problems she faces today.
Lincoln, whatever else he did, saved the Union. I do not think anyone else would have stood in that breach and doggedly kept on. If he had not done this, America would never have become the great power she is and the history of the entire world would be vastly different.
Without a strong America to lend-lease arms to the Soviets and Brits, and then to join the fight, would Hitler have won? Our entry in WWI was certainly a turning point, as well.
What about the peace that followed? What would have become of a world without the Marshall Plan, the rebuilding of Japan and America’s stalwart stand against Communism across the decades?
Lincoln saved the Union, and changed world history.
His great short speech at Gettysburg captured the tragedy of the Civil War in a few words.
This is the story that irony built.
It seems that Sara Hellwege is a nurse-midwife in Tampa, FL. She applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers. In an email exchange Tampa Family Health Center’s HR director, Chad Lindsey, quizzed her about her affiliation with the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Ms Hellwege said that she would not prescribe chemical birth control. She was told that this was part of the job. They didn’t hire her.
Or, case not closed, as it turns out. Ms Hellwege has filed suit.
And I can’t stop laughing.
We’ve been peppered with one idiot lawsuit after another by people demanding that the courts force Catholic organizations, particularly schools, to employee them while they get gay married in defiance of Catholic teaching.
Anyone who objects to one of these lawsuits is treated to an arm-waving smack-down with words like , “tolerance” and “rights” flying through the air like bullets.
Now, it seems, the shoe is on the other foot.
Google gave me a whole page of links on this lawsuit. The most apoplectic commentary I saw was coming from the same folks who are soooo supportive of every lawsuit filed to force the Catholic Church to violate its beliefs.
Several posts I read tried to claim that the lawsuit is based on the Hobby Lobby decision. Unless Ms Hellwege is a privately-held corporation who is being forced by the HHS Mandate to buy insurance that pays for four kinds of abortifacient, the Hobby Lobby decision has nothing to do with her.
Having said all that, I don’t really have any quarrel with these opinion pieces. They are, after all, opinions.
I just can’t stop laughing.
One of my Facebook friends called him “the great divider.”
Even though I am both aware and horrified by the endless hatred directed at whoever sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, I think that’s a fair thing to say about President Obama. His penchant for one man sledgehammer legislating against the First Amendment is a particular case in point.
So far as I am concerned, the HHS Mandate is a permanent blot on his presidency.
I’ve spent the morning, sifting through the product of our President’s mighty pen from yesterday. I’ve been sitting in front of my computer with the screens littered with copies of the executive orders he amended, wondering, where, exactly, is this one man show pointing us?
My best guess, based on what I see, is that it’s pointing us toward court. The reason is the lack of a specific religious exemption in President Obama’s verbiage.
What he has done with this executive order is to amend two previous executive orders from the 1960s. These 1960s executive orders provided direction to the Department of Labor on the question of discrimination in employment. The orders dealt with employment discrimination because of “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap or age.” President Obama’s executive order adds “sexual orientation, gender identity” to that list.
Executive Order 11478 deals with direct federal employment by direct government agencies. I think it will stand and basically have no big problem with the order as I understand it now. I may change my opinion when I see the rules promulgated by the Department of Labor.
However, Executive Order 11246 deals with federal contractors. This could be construed to include grantees and, if you want to stretch it, any entity that receives federal money for anything.
President Obama did not address a third executive order by President Bush, Executive Order 13279. President Bush’s order was designed to protect the religious freedom of entities that receive grants, contract with the government or otherwise receive government monies. It contains a laundry list of sorts of the types of services which it covers. It also specifically addresses the entities covered by Executive Order 11246, which applies to federal contractors. Executive Order 11246 is one of the orders President Obama amended yesterday.
The assumption being made in various press outlets that I have read is that President Bush’s executive order provides the religious exemptions needed to keep President Obama’s ENDA order from turning into another HHS Mandate.
Is that true?
Only somewhat, and, depending on the regs the Department of Labor comes up with, maybe not at all.
The reason I say that is two-fold. First, and scariest, President Obama’s order calls on the Department of Labor to promulgate rules. This is normal and necessary. What makes it scary is the big time precedent of this administration using rules and regs to attack religious freedom.
The disastrous HHS Mandate is a rule, not a law. Of course, if the president sincerely wants to avoid another HHS Mandate, he can use his powers to encourage sensible regulations that ensure religious liberty. He also has the power to deep-six any reg or rule by not signing it.
I’m taking a wait and see position on how those rules are going to look and what this president signs. He lied about religious freedom to get the votes to pass the Affordable Health Care Act and he’s consistently lied about the impact of the HHS Mandate. So, I don’t trust him.
The second reason I think this may end up in court is that court cases and various agency rulings have already attacked Catholic institutions and successfully stripped them of federal grants because of the Church’s adherence to 2,000 year-old consistent teachings. There is also a lawsuit in the courts attacking the Catholic bishops for teaching Catholic teaching concerning abortion in regards to Catholic hospitals.
Both Robert George, Vice President at United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the Catholic Bishops have issued statements opposing President Obama’s ENDA order precisely because it lacks a religious exemption. I think they are on solid ground.
Based on that litigious impulse to attack Catholic teaching through the courts, I think the chances of ENDA ending up in court are quite good. What we will probably have at that point is adjudication based on dueling executive orders. President Obama could have stopped this before it got out of the gate by simply adding a religious exemption to his orders yesterday.
I going to let you read both Robert George’s complete statement and the complete statement from the USCCB without edits.
From the USCCB:
USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented And Extreme’ Executive Order
I have, up till now, avoided the “war on this,” “war on that,” rhetoric. But now there is no avoiding it. Today Barack Obama declared war on the Catholic Church and people of other faiths who hold to traditional beliefs about marriage and sexual morality. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the situation in a statement responding to the executive order the President issued today. There is no way for religious people to defend themselves against being reduced to the status of second-class citizens except by electing to office, first in 2014 and then in 2016, men and women who will repeal this executive order and other governmental acts that undermine their religious freedom and rights of conscience. But that is only part of the picture. The reason that Catholics and other people of faith seek government contracts is to carry our their mission of serving people in need, orphans, the poor, refugees and the dispossessed, persons suffering from afflictions and addictions. It is the people who are served who are secondary victims of this war on conscience when faith-based providers are forced out—as Catholic Charities was forced out of providing adoption services in Massachusetts, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. We must defeat the enemies of conscience—at the ballot box—not only to protect our own freedom and that of our fellow citizens, but also to protect the interests of those served so well by faith-based institutions. This is a war we must win for their sake as well as our own.
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