Taking off from and landing on an air craft carrier is not for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of person.
President Obama, the most virulent anti-Catholic President in modern history, took another shot at the Church when he closed the US Embassy to the Holy See.
In one of the most specious explanations I’ve read in quite some time, the administration says that the United States needs to close the US Embassy at the Vatican because of — get ready for this now — “security reasons … because of last year’s attack on the American facility at Benghazi.”
When someone comes up with a “reason” as stupid as that, they’re trying to insult you.
Former American Ambassador to the Holy See, Raymond Flynn, said what I think has become obvious when he stated that this action “reflects this administration’s hostility toward the Catholic Church … It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedom and close down our Embassy to the Holy See.”
This president is not just pro abortion or pro gay marriage. He is aggressively and actively anti-religious freedom and anti-Catholic.
From the Washington Times:
The Obama administration, in what’s been called an egregious slap in the face to the Vatican, has moved to shut down the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See — a free-standing facility — and relocate offices onto the grounds of the larger American Embassy in Italy.
The new offices will be in a separate building on the property, Breitbart reported.
And while U.S. officials are touting the relocation as a security measure that’s a cautionary reaction to last year’s attacks on America’s facility in Benghazi, several former American envoys are raising the red flag.
It’s a “massive downgrade of U.S.-Vatican ties,” said former U.S. Ambassador James Nicholson in the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s turning this embassy into a stepchild of the embassy to Italy. The Holy See is a pivot point for international affairs and a major listening post for the United States, and … [it’s] an insult to American Catholics and to the Vatican.”
Mr. Nicholson — whose views were echoed by former envoys Francis Rooney, Mary Ann Glendon, Raymond Flynn and Thomas Melady — also called the justification for closing the existing facility a “smokescreen,” Breitbart reported.
“That’s like saying people get killed on highways because they drive cars on them,” he said in the report. “We’re not a pauper nation … if we want to secure an embassy, we certainly can.”
Moreover, the existing facility has “state of the art” security, he said.
“It’s not just those who bomb churches and kill Catholics in the Middle East who are our antagonists, but it’s also those who restrict our religious freedoms and want to close down our embassy to the Holy See,” he said in the National Catholic Reporter. “[There’s no] diplomatic or political benefit to the United States” from the relocation at all, he added.
This is a video summary of Evangelii Gaudium, written by Pope Francis and issued by the Vatican yesterday.
It is, among other things, our — yours and mine — marching orders.
So I was steam-cleaning the shower; giving the house it’s Thanksgiving go-over.
I have an industrial-strength steamer that, when it’s fully rigged up, looks a lot like one of the bugs in Starship Troopers. It produces hot, hot steam in violent jets that dissolve dirt and slay bacteria with a single hiss.
I was running it with the squeegee attachment, going up and down the shower walls, steam coming out in an angry zzzzzzzz, my laboriously straightened hair collapsing into tight little curls, when my youngest son popped his head around the bathroom door.
“Whachadoin’?” he asked.
“Cleaning the shower.”
“I want you to come do that to my shower,” meaning, the shower in the house he shares with his brother, a shower so dirty that there’s no way to be sure what color the enamel might be; a shower so dirty that self-respecting bacteria moved out months ago; a shower so dirty that I wouldn’t use it to bathe a dog.
“Nope. But you can borrow the steamer.”
“But I want you to come do it.”
“All right then,” he said, wandering off.
I guess I’m responsible. After all, I raised him.
When he marries, I plan to begin my relationship with my new daughter-in-law by apologizing.
I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channeled for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
Pope Francis has issued a beautiful new document, called an Apostolic Exhortation, and a wonderful exhortation it is.
Needless to say, the popular press has already begun issuing their skewed interpretations of what he said.
I think the reasons for this constant re-writing of the Holy Father’s message is twofold. First, they are literally putting words in the pope’s mouth to advance their own social/political agendas. Second, the drive to pick out the most compelling headline and pull readers into their publication leads them to sensationalize Pope Francis’ statements.
I’m not going to write in detail about Evangelii Gaudium until after Thanksgiving. We’ve all got turkey on the brain right now. I’ve been steam cleaning and dusting and vacuuming. Then I’ve got to start preparing food for a small army of hungry family and friends.
That’s why I put the quote above. I can’t take the time to analyze the Holy Father’s statements until after Thanksgiving, but I can, and have, let him summarize himself.
The Holy Father did not, as one press report I’ve read claims, call for the dissolution of Vatican authority in the Church. What he did do was call each and every one of us to our universal Christian vocation of living for Christ and sharing the Gospel with the world. It’s a beautiful document that spoke to my heart as I read it.
He’s so right about what ails us and what we have to do to live out our vocation as Christian evangelists in this fallen world. Those of us who live in the post Christian West have our own unique challenges. Our first challenge — and it appears to be a tough one for most Christians — is to know and to believe that we live in a culture that is hostile to Christ and His message and to us as Christians. We have to choose this day whom we will serve. That choice has eternal consequences.
A lot of us don’t want to believe that uncomfortable fact. We don’t want to chose and make people mad at us by our choice. We want to slip by without incurring the wrath of the culture and still slide home to heaven after it’s all done.
We’d rather compromise our faith than face the wonderful fact that we are a new First Century generation, called to evangelize a libertine and openly anti-Christ culture. We have been entrusted with the gift of being able to stand up for Jesus and take a couple of verbal brickbats for him from our child-sacrficing, marriage-and-family-destroying, women-and-children-selling culture.
Our grandparents didn’t have the opportunity to stand for Him that we’ve got. They lived in the days of ez-pz faith in a country where saying you were a Christian opened doors instead of shutting them.
But we can stand for Jesus in a way that makes a difference. That is the challenge of, and the gift to, our generation.
Pope Francis is all about issuing that call to stop hiding our light and make a stand for Jesus. He is leading us to give up passively sitting in the pews and watching self-absorbed priests wave around incense and preach feel-good homilies that don’t address the human meat market world in which we live. We are, all of us, from the bishops on down, being challenged by a pope who sees the problem and knows that the solution is us and our fidelity to Christ.
The time for lukewarm ministers, politically correct bishops and social club laity is past. It is no longer a get out of jail free card to be a Christian. In fact, proclaiming your faith in Christ and the teachings of His Church will get you reviled, mocked and attacked.
Pope Francis has written a wonderful, much-needed document calling you and me, our bishops, priests and all the religious to our true vocation, which is proclaiming the Gospel of Christ by how we live, what we say, and what price we are willing to pay.
You can find Evangelii Gaudium: On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World here.
Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, is paying a visit to the Pope.
According to Vatican Radio, this is the fourth time President Putin has visited the Vatican. He met twice with Pope John Paul II and once with Pope Benedict XVI.
President Putin, who is an Orthodox Christian, has said through his spokespeople that he and Pope Francis will focus on, among a couple of other things, “the protection of Christian minorities in the Maghreb and the Middle East.”
Hopes were high for warmer relations between the Russian Orthodox and Catholic churches as President Vladimir Putin flew Monday to Rome for his first audience with Pope Francis. Topping the agenda is likely help for Christians in the Middle East.
Putin, an Orthodox Christian, has repeatedly said that he is a man of faith and his administration has consistently sought closer ties with the Russian Orthodox Church.
His policies “have brought religion to the forefront and triggered positive change in ecumenical relations,” said Natalya Pecherskaya, rector of the St. Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy.
But state interests will come first on the visit, officials said.
“Putin will be meeting Pope Francis as the president of Russia, and then only secondly as a Russian Orthodox [Christian],” said Father Kirill Gorbunov, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow.
As well as his visit with the Holy Father in the Vatican, Putin will meet with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano and Romano Prodi, the country’s former premier and a special UN representative, in Rome. On Tuesday, Putin will travel to Trieste for talks with the Italian government.
The Kremlin announced ahead of the visit that Putin and Pope Francis would focus on the state of international institutions and their ability to respond to crises, as well as the protection of Christian minorities in the Maghreb and the Middle East.
Does the First Amendment apply to individual people or only to the institutional church, inside its church building?
This question would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. But that was before President Obama used Obamacare as a method to coerce churches and private citizens in areas where it had never gone before.
The HHS Mandate was the brainchild of a star chamber committee at the Department of Health and Human Services. It was signed by the president. It has the force of law, but it is not a law. It is a regulation, that was not written by elected officeholders who are answerable to the people. In fact, it is in direct violation of public promises that President Obama made to elected officials in order to get the votes to pass Obamacare.
As such, the HHS Mandate was, from its beginning, an end-run around Democracy.
It was and is an autocratic attack on religious freedom by a few people with a vested interest in the outcome.
It also ushered in an era of direct attacks on religious freedom by government such as has never been seen in America since its founding.
One manifestation of this is the demand by gay marriage advocates that the government force one-person business owners to provide services such as cake-baking, flowers and wedding photography for their “wedding” services. They have managed to successfully use the government to coerce people, even in states where same-sex marriage is not legal.
I recently wrote a post asking the if it was possible to have personal freedom of conscience and gay marriage. In other words, is it possible to find a compromise between gay marriage advocates and traditional Christians that would allow both to exist without government coercion? If the response to that post is in any way indicative of the larger culture, the answer is no.
Gay marriage advocates swarmed the post. Most of them got deleted, but there weren’t any serious attempts to even address the issue of how to balance rights. Instead, the combox response to the post devolved down to the question of homosexuals’ “rights” in this matter trumping everything else.
Rather than give up, I’m going to ask the question again. Are religious freedom and gay marriage intrinsically inimical?
To put it another way, are we bound to decades of warfare over this issue in much the same way that we’ve suffered through the abortion debacle? The salient point is that this gay marriage debate comes after forty years of bad blood. This country is already divided in a dangerous manner. Can the government maintain its authority if those who seriously profess Christ come to believe that they have to chose between obeying their government and following their Lord?
The games that certain people in insulated thought communities are playing with these matters are far more dangerous than they allow themselves to understand.
The Supreme Court needs to turn back the HHS Mandate with a clear-cut decision that leaves no questions. Anything less will precipitate a Constitutional crises of generational proportions. Elected officials need to refuse to accede to demands from gay marriage advocates that they use the power of government to force people to participate in gay marriages against their will. We are talking about one-person or small family businesspeople who are being faced with losing their livelihoods if they do not violate their faith. There is no legitimate reason for this.
The questions at hand are not, as some like to claim, questions of civil rights such as that engendered by segregation. They do not pertain to basic matters of accommodation for a group of people who are forced to drink at separate drinking fountains, attend separate schools, sleep in separate hotels and watch movies in separate rooms. We are talking about isolated instances of one baker out of many or one photographer out of many saying they will not participate in a specific event based on their religious belief.
The businesses in question that I’ve read about have routinely served homosexual people. They just do not want to participate in this one specific event because it violates their religious teaching.
In this instance, the shoe of persecution and discrimination is on the other foot. Using the government to force people to violate their faith so that you feel validated is not only coercive, it is bigoted.
Gay marriage advocates have every right to advocate for their position by petitioning their government and working through the courts. But elected officials have a responsibility to honor the Constitutional freedom of religion of all citizens, including Christians.
No government can successfully enforce any law if a committed minority of people refuse to accede to it. That is a fact. The two political parties have manipulated and exacerbated the culture wars in order to get campaign donations and win elections until they have seriously damaged this country and all but destroyed themselves.
The political parties, for all their power and destructive force, are nothing. They do not care about this country or its people. Their silo mentality has contributed to this situation we now face in so many ways I cannot enumerate them all.
Given all this, it takes a person of stubborn hopefulness to ask the question: Can we reach a compromise?
I’ve never thought of myself that way, at least not the hopefulness part. But I’ve always had stubbornness aplenty. It would be easy to say that stubbornness is what drives me to put this question out there again.
However, that’s not true.
I am motivated by the stakes. I know which side I will come down on if I must choose.
I choose Christ.
But as an American, I do not believe that I should have to make that kind of choice. I believe that it is my right — my Constitutional right — to follow the dictates of my faith without government interference.
Which leads me back to the question with which I began: Are religious freedom and gay marriage intrinsically inimical?
Are gay marriage advocates and their allies in government seriously going to force me, and every other committed Christian, to chose between our country and following the Lord Jesus Christ?
Pope Francis on confession. I included two videos because together they give a fuller understanding of what the Holy Father said.
Pope Francis displayed St Peter’s bones at the closing mass of the Year of Faith.
These pitiful shards of bone are all that’s left of the earthly body of St Peter. But the Church which Christ built on his efforts is vast and growing.
Albuquerque voters recently came out in support of late-term abortion in all its grizzly inhumanity.
The only explanation offered in the comments on an earlier post about this vote was a bogus bit of nonsense about how late-term abortion was “necessary” because of a “medical emergency.” I say this is bogus, because, well, it is bogus.
Look at the video below and tell me how the procedures these people describe are in any way medically better for the woman than simply delivering the baby and then trying to save it?
Among other things, the video describes a week-long procedure, having the baby alone in a hotel room, and birthing a dead baby while alone on a toilette. According to their web site, the abortion clinic in question does abortions up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, which is a viable baby. I keep wondering if the people who make these comments actually know what an abortion is, and how it’s done.
The pro abortion movement sells — quite successfully, I might add — abortion as a magical re-wind which just — poof!! — makes the woman un-pregnant. They cook up fantasy scenarios where a late-term abortion is actually necessary to save the woman’s life, when in truth it layers another load of medical procedures, as well as much less medical supervision, on top of what the woman would go through if she simply delivered her baby.
Abortion is not a magical re-wind. It does not undo pregnancy and make it never have happened. It kills the baby. That is the whole purpose of an abortion. Late-term abortions do this in a way that is both graphic and cruel to the woman, as well as the baby.
It is amazing to me that the same medical profession that lobbies so aggressively against home births based on how dangerous a home birth is, turns around and lobbies with equal vigor for women delivering dead babies alone on a hotel room toilette when the procedure is called an abortion.
One of the women in this video convinced the medical staff that she was 27 weeks pregnant, which is actually one week earlier than Southwestern Women’s Options does abortions. Twenty-seven weeks is a viable baby that would most likely survive delivery and go on to a normal life.
This circles back around to what I think is an important question: Why did Albuquerque voters come out in support of late-term abortion?
A lot of things influence elections. People tend to forget that elections are not decided by public opinion. Elections are decided by the people who vote. Politicians influence the outcome of elections by when they hold the election (Certain dates tend toward lower turn-outs, which are much easier for special interest groups to win.) and by how a ballot question is worded.
Advertising is also a major influence on elections, as is how strongly community groups such as the Chamber of Commerce come into the debate. If Albuquerque is anything like Oklahoma, the Chambers of Commerce in the big cities are pretty much owned by pro abortion Republicans with a smattering of pro abortion Democrats. There is a good bit of inter-locking between the Chamber’s inside group and the boards of organizations such as Planned Parenthood.
This is not true of the smaller chambers around the state, but they don’t appear to be taken all that seriously by the two biggies, at least not here in Oklahoma.
One question I have is how much the Albuquerque-Santa Fe chambers of commerce influenced this vote. Since this was a local vote, their influence would matter. I would guess, based on what I heard back when I was pro choice, that the Santa Fe chamber is pro abortion. That may not be true now, but it was true in the 80s and 90s. I don’t know anything about the Albuquerque chamber.
I would guess that the rank and file Albuquerque voter did not vote for late term abortion as it actually is, but rather for some fantasy version of late-term abortion that doesn’t exist outside of pro-abortion polemics. There is no question that late-term abortion is infanticide for the sake of committing infanticide. It has no other purpose. If people fully understood this, only pro abortion fanatics, eugenicists and those who gain from the procedure would be in favor of it.
I don’t think that describes the citizenry of Albuquerque. My question from an earlier post remains: What were the voters told and how were they influenced to vote in favor of the horror of late-term abortion?
If anyone has links to ads or other ways in which this vote was put together, I would love to see them.
From Live Action:
Would John Kennedy have kept us out of war in Viet Nam?
Any reply is conjecture. However, he had actually been to war. That is a far different perspective from the one we find in the long string of draft dodgers and never-serveds we’ve had in recent years.
My friends who’ve seen war are far less eager to commit American troops than my other friends who view combat from an armchair perspective. There was a time when the sons of presidents and men of great wealth and power, such as a vastly wealthy former American ambassador to England, fought and died in defense of this country.
Kennedy was of that time. He had experienced combat and nearly died as a result of it. His older brother had been killed in combat.
He knew the price.
How those life experiences would have influenced his decisions concerning Viet Nam, no one can say. But they would have been an enormous factor. Of that much, I am sure.
I lost people I care about in Viet Nam. I think their lives were wasted by incompetent military commanders and bad presidents of both political parties.
Here is a long speech from President Kennedy, talking about peace. I wish we had presidents today who felt the same regard for peace as this man.
This video is not a speech, but it gives a good idea of how President Kennedy was presented to the world back then, through the eyes of a more current journalist.
I have always found it difficult to comprehend the gulf between the fairy-tale photos of President Kennedy’s family life and the sordid tales of his personal sexual behavior.
I think the overall effect of learning that their beloved president had lied to them in such a fundamental way contributed to the cynicism about government that has grown in this country since his death.
Was everything what we thought we knew about him as a person a lie?
Who was this man?
(If you click on the link, it will give you a second link. Click on that, and it will take you to the video.)
JFK will be remembered long after the other dramas of the twentieth century are as obscure as the Hundred Years War is to people today.
This speech and the actions that followed it.
For the first time in history, human beings left this planet and stood on another part of the universe. It was a baby step, since where we went was our own moon. But it was the beginning of something that, if it plays out in future generations, will inevitably lead to JFK getting a mention in the children’s history lessons of the future.
If, on the other hand, humanity does not follow up on this first adventure into space and we simply molder here, this speech will be forgotten, along with everything else people did in the past century. Events seem all-powerful when you’re close to them. And then they fade. As people die and new adventures come about, they fade away altogether.
Here is Kennedy’s speech announcing the push to put Americans on the moon.
My mother’s comment after this speech was “the president taught the nation a Sunday school lesson.”
The question which I wonder about all these years later is whether or not President Kennedy would have been able to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act if he had lived. President Johnson used the grief of Kennedy’s assassination to help pass the bill. Also, President Johnson’s many years in the Senate leadership gave him enormous legislative skills and power that came into play in the passage of this law.
(It is a phenomenal speech, btw. Just ask any black person who lived under segregation. This speech was a white man, speaking to their hearts.)
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