The priest had mentioned his fatigue. I think that’s something everyone who bears a responsibility for other people can understand.
Here are the Holy Father’s comments.
The priest had mentioned his fatigue. I think that’s something everyone who bears a responsibility for other people can understand.
Here are the Holy Father’s comments.
European pro life people have successfully gathered the 1 million signatures needed for a petition to protect life. This is only the second time in history that any group has achieved this.
The video below gives details.
If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay married.
That’s how the slogan goes.
But … who really believed they meant it?
Not, evidently, the Church of Scotland. The Kirk, as it’s called, is considering a move to discontinue performing marriage services “rather than face a slew of lawsuits from homosexual couples demanding to be wed.”
Read about it here.
They don’t know us.
They are our own government, our elected officials, our press.
They claim to speak for us and to inform us. But they don’t know us. Not at all. Not even a little bit.
We are not their sheeple to manipulate and lie to and send to die. We do not and will not endlessly respond with Pavlovian obedience to the bells they ring for us.
That truth is slowly dawning on the insulated and isolated minions who run our cable news networks, sit in our seats of power and claim they speak for us with absolute accuracy. We are not their toy soldiers they move about in a game.
How could they be so wrong about us? After all, they’ve been successfully lying to us and manipulating us for decades. They’ve convinced us to fight and die for no reason at all time and again all over the globe. What is different now?
Perhaps the difference is the price. Aside from phonied-up claims that “supporting our troops” means we have to keep them at war and in war in perpetuity, these people don’t know much about the price. They were beamed into their elected offices and sit in front of cameras that were paid for by beams of corporate money that comes from the same, or interlocking boards of the same, corporations that are making money off these wars.
Their world is not the world of paying the price. It is the world of reaping the benefits.
Prince Harry, third in line to the British throne, fought on the ground in Afghanistan. But the moguls of our war machine did not send their young princes to the front. They were too busy getting the finest educations and living the best life, preparing to be the decision makers who send others to die in their place.
The “news” arm of this complex harangues us every night about the high cost of social security and how keeping our word to retirees is fiscal suicide for this country. Simultaneously, they batter us with constant calls for ever higher “defense” spending.
We are armed past imagining. We have more aircraft carriers and all that goes with them than we did when we were fighting the Germans and the Japanese combined. We buy weaponry that actual combat soldiers say fails in the dust, heat and impact of real warfare. But we don’t buy enough body armor for our troops. We don’t provide returning soldiers with adequate medical and psychological care.
And we can’t rebuild our roads or put together meaningful public transportation. This same country that built a railroad that went from coast to coast in the 19th century, that created a national highway system, suddenly cannot spare the cash to develop a national public transportation system that would lower our dependence on the foreign oil that drives these wars. It appears that the same companies that build the bombs can no longer build the roads.
We do not make the goods this country consumes. We import them. Our industry is weaponry. Our export is war. We are breaking our own backs as a nation to feed a war machine we do not need to keep us safe. We are endangering the future of this nation to enrich a few by engaging in endless random wars that enrich a few and impoverish the rest of us.
Maybe it goes back that those beams of money that beam our elected officials into office. Maybe it has its roots in who is signing off on the enormous checks those talking heads are pulling down.
While our standard of living declines, they are living large.
While we fight these wars, they incite them.
And that is the reason why now they are so gobsmacked to find that We the People don’t want to make war no more.
They don’t know anything about the price that we’ve been paying for their wars. Because they don’t know anything about us. We are another country to them. They manipulate us. They patronize us. They don’t respect us. In fact, all they know about us is what they learn from reading polls.
It’s time someone tried to explain this to them. They need to understand The Price.
It seems that the US and Russia have brokered a deal to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by 2014.
Presumably, this is the way to avoid America going to war in Syria.
One question I have: Where is Syria in all this?
The United States and Russia brokered this “deal.” That’s interesting. But it’s even more interesting that the two 800 pound gorillas did all this “brokering” on their own.
I am glad beyond glad that we’ve side-stepped this particular war. However, I feel just as strongly now as I did before about the things I’ve written concerning our self-destructive spiral of over-emphasis on “defense” to the exclusion of building our economy here at home. We have got to take a look at ourselves. Or we will perish.
After days of intense negotiations, the United States and Russia reached agreement Saturday on a framework to secure and destroy Syria‘s chemical weapons by mid-2014 and impose UN penalties if the Assad government fails to comply.
The deal, announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, includes what Kerry called “a shared assessment” of the weapons stockpile, and a timetable and measures for Syrian President Bashar Assad to follow so that the full inventory can be identified and seized.
The U.S. and Russia agreed to immediately press for a UN Security Council resolution that enshrines the chemical weapons agreement under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which can authorize both the use of force and nonmilitary measures.
President Barack Obama made clear that “if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.”
Russia, which already has rejected three resolutions on Syria, would be sure to veto a UN move toward military action, and U.S.¬ officials said they did not contemplate seeking such an authorization.
Christians in Syria have enjoyed relative tolerance under the Assad regime. My questions earlier were Who are the rebels and Why is our government willing to go to war to help them win? Do we really want them to win?
I still don’t know the answers to those questions.
An Italian atheist I’ve never heard of published an open letter to Pope Francis with a string of questions (challenges, is probably more like it) to the Pope.
The Holy Father astonished everyone, including, I am sure, said Italian atheist, by answering him.
The letter Pope Francis wrote is, like so much else he does, deeply pastoral. It’s clear when you read it that he was responding as a pastor of souls.
However, there was one paragraph that has gotten the whole internet in one of its kerfluffles. The atheist had evidently asked one of the usual atheist questions about can they, with their unbelief, go to heaven. For all I know, this question with its unadmitted longing for grace, was what caught the Holy Father’s attention in the first place.
I know, based on the large number of similar comments I get both here and in my public life, that this particular question is almost ubiquitous among atheists. They ask it — or rather, they use it as a means of denunciation — almost constantly. I’ve often thought that there was an underlying hunger for all the things that Christ offers — forgiveness, grace, peace that passes understanding and eternal life — in the way they fling this particular challenge down so reptitively.
Maybe the Pope saw the same thing I do and his Pastor’s heart reached out to this man in response.
I don’t know if that’s true. I only know that I often have an impulse to comfort them when they do this, but I do not have the pastoral tools to do it.
The Pope obviously was trying to tell this man one of the great truths of the universe with his answer: Christ’s grace and love are for everyone. He loves us all. He loves us every one. And yes, that includes atheists, unbelievers and people who spit on Jesus’ name.
The beautiful parable we call the Prodigal Son is Jesus’ way of telling us this. God loves us, even when we don’t love Him. He yearns for us, even when we turn our backs on Him.
So of course atheists can go to heaven. Heaven was made for them, just the same as it was every other human being.
The question is not can they, but will they?
Pope Francis comments in his letter that “God’s mercy has no limits if he who asks for mercy does so with contrition and a sincere heart.” This is something every Christian knows and has experienced. I can attest from my own life that God’s mercy is indeed limitless.
But the Pope adds something else after that and this has set the internet on its ear all day long.
“… the issue for those who do not believe in God is in following their own conscience,” he wrote.
This one sentence has set the bells ringing since it sounds for all the world like a direct admonishment to practice self-referencing moral relativism by the Pope himself.
After all, if all that’s necessary is to never violate your own personal code of conduct, then a universalist understanding of heaven and the Almighty become (excuse the pun) absolute. We go to heaven in just the way that the punsters and social experimenters have been telling us we do: By “self-actualization” and following a self-referencing, self-promoting, self-idolizing version of morality that is a-ok because it checks with our “own conscience.”
The question is, did Pope Francis really mean that?
Is he telling us that heaven is a slam-dunk for everybody, so long as they don’t cross their own conscience? Considering the messy and highly personal things that consciences are, I certainly hope not. If the unrepentant self-worshipping are going to heaven, then heaven would be pretty much like the world we have now: Mean, selfish, ego-driven, bloody and cruel.
More to the point, it would be a place where God Himself would be most uncomfortable.
Let’s go back to the question I asked a moment ago. Atheists most assuredly can go to heaven. The question I asked, and I think it’s the salient one, is, Will they?
If someone has never heard the name of Christ, then they have to function by the light they are given, and the Church teaches that they are judged according to that light. However, even for them, their only hope is through this Jesus they do not know. There is one Way, and that is Jesus Christ and the atonement he bought for us with his shed blood on Calvary.
But if someone who knows of Christ and has heard of Him all their lives, openly and dramatically chooses the darkness over the light, is God going to throw a net around them and drag them to heaven?
Did the father chase down the prodigal son, hog-tie him and drag him home?
In my opinion that pretty much describes folks who defame Christ while they abort, euthanize and plunder their way through life.
So what did the Pope mean?
I don’t have a full answer for that, although I’m sure one is coming. I am also not a theologian. But I think what he meant is that someone who does not believe in God still has a responsibility to follow the inherent dictates of right and wrong that are planted in every heart. We call this natural law. It’s what tells everyone, everywhere, that murder is wrong. It’s how we know, without complex moral reasoning, that killing innocents, rape, and cruelty in all its forms are wrong.
This runs deeper than any commandment. It is written by the hand of God on each individual heart.
Even an atheist knows these things, and when they use their verbal skills to frame arguments denying these basic truths of moral existence, they are denying, in fact and in truth, their own God-given consciences. When they replace the truth of God that is encoded into their souls, with their own self-referencing anti-God, anti-life morality, there is no second chance for them without repentance and contrition.
At the least and at the beginning, every person must heed this internal voice, which is, whether they will admit it or not, the voice of the Divine. That is the beginning of our lives as moral beings.
Which of course we are. Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, which means that we are also moral agents — free moral agents — acting in the universe.
We know what is right and wrong. We know it because it is part of our very being to know it. But we also have the verbal skills to weave mental sophistry that we claim exempts us from accepting these dictates of our true nature.
That is the beginning of sin, the first and primary rebellion against the God Who made us. It’s only remedy is to go back where Pope Francis began his discussion on this topic; to the point where we approach God through the open doorway of Christ’s sacrifice with true contrition and ask forgiveness, which, as the Pope says, He is always ready to give us.
First the good news.
Syria said it would abide by an international treaty banning chemical weapons
Now the bad news.
But it linked this to demands that the United States stop threatening military strikes and arming the rebels in the Syrian civil war. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected these demands.
And finally, the confusing news.
Which is not so much news as a question: Why are we arming the rebels in Syria? Which leads to another question: Doesn’t this indicate that the real reason for wanting to fire missiles at Syria was to help the rebels win the war and not because of chemical weapons?
Read all about here.
Frank Weathers has the story.
It seems that President Vladimir Putin is breaking new ice for Russian heads of state. He is now an op-ed author for the New York Times. Frank has nothing but praise for President Putin’s prose. I, on the other hand, look at it a bit differently.
President Putin wrote an op-ed piece in which he discussed America’s recent foreign policy. He accurately said that we’ve gotten into too many random military encounters lately, and that we are turning too often to force in our international engagements.
He also said that America’s way of dealing with other countries has become a matter of “relying on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan ‘you’re either with us or against us.’” I think he may have been talking about things like the obvious bullying that President Obama engaged in to coerce foreign nations to refuse sanctuary to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
It is interesting indeed that this particular strategy backfired with President Putin, who, alone of all the heads of state in the world, took Mr Snowden in. President Obama was so miffed by this that he canceled a pre-G20 meeting with the Russian President, an action that, honestly folks, sounded personal and grade school to me.
President Putin goes on in his op-ed to remark about something that is quite serious: Nuclear proliferation. He evidently sees this growing push to develop the bomb by impoverished countries who cannot feed their own people as a defensive measure on their part. He is right again when he says, “If you have the bomb, they can’t touch you.”
In other words, nobody talks about randomly lobbing Tomahawk missiles at nations who have the bomb, no matter how egregious we find their behavior in other matters.
This raises an important question: Is America’s international policy, with its bully-boy tactics and constant deployment of force against small nations who can’t fight back, actually pushing smaller nations to follow a policy of developing nuclear weapons?
That is a discussion for another day, but it is certainly one worth having.
Having said all this, there is one thing I want Public Catholic readers to understand about President Putin’s op-ed piece. That one thing is that President Putin is using the op-ed to side-step our president and lobby the American people directly.
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing.
After all, he’s not paying a bunch of lobbyists to slime their way around the Capitol greasing campaign accounts and non-campaign pacs with their donations in order to convince our elected officials to vote against us. He is going out there in the court of public opinion and making his case in a straight-forward and direct way. We know where he’s coming from and what he’s saying. We do not have to listen to hours of lies from bought and paid for cable news talking heads interviewing bought and paid for think-tankers and bought and paid for politicians while they try to propagandize us.
We don’t have to sort through what President Putin is saying to decide what he really thinks. It’s all there, for the reading.
But we should be aware and never forget that he ain’t us.
He is the President of Russia and the interests he’s promoting are the interests of Russia. That doesn’t make what he’s saying wrong, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to him. Quite the contrary. That makes what he’s saying important and worthy of our thoughtful analysis.
Odd as this sounds, I have a higher opinion of his motives than I do our cable news people. He, at least, is working for his country.
What a bitter cup.
It appears this nation will drink it to the dregs.
And then lick the cup.
As far as I’m concerned, the best moment of this whole thing was when I heard that Osama bin Laden was dead. Dead and dumped into the ocean to swim with the fishes.
I have no use for murdering monsters.
9/11 cost this country dearly. We have given up so much freedom to these murdering monsters. We are surveilled and patted down and searched; not to mention the lost lives, arms, legs and emotional wholeness of those we sent to fight this evil for us.
I remember the morning of 9/11. I watched the second plane hit the second tower and I knew; this was not random and it was not an accident. I heard that the Pentagon had been hit. I saw the towers fall. I heard there was another plane that had crashed.
And that was the miracle.
Once we saw through their lies, they couldn’t even handle our unarmed civilians. That planeload of people on Flight 93 fought back with boiling water and a food tray and they took those terrorists out on their way to destroy the Capitol.
That crash into the Pennsylvania countryside was the beginning of our resistance. It was the first time they faced Americans who knew the truth of who they were. It was the indicator of how badly they had miscalculated who we are and what we will do if war is forced upon us.
I was in the mood to do whatever after 9/11. I would have been willing, in the first rush of rage, to melt down the mountains of the Middle East to glass. But our president reacted like a president and not an enraged citizen. His initial response, to go into Afghanistan, was not only appropriate, it was controlled, considering what had happened.
This is America. Step on this soil to do harm and take the consequences.
That is my feeling.
Do not attempt, as Lincoln said, “to take a drink from the Ohio by force.”
We welcome people from all over the world. We help people all over the world.
But do not — ever — think that our kindness and our hospitality betokens an unwillingness to defend this country. That would be a mistake.
Today, on this anniversary of that day when someone dared to come onto American soil and kill 3,000 Americans, we are considering whether or not we should advance what has become an unending bleed of random military actions into yet another country. This time we are talking about military action in Syria.
We could, if we wanted, kill everything, everywhere. This country has that kind of power.
But the question is, should we? Not, should we kill everything, everywhere, which I think we all agree is not a good plan, but should we constantly and without much thought zap this little problem and that little problem and go here, there, and everywhere, firing off missiles and sending in troops for various, decidedly random, reasons?
Touch this homeland, defile America itself with your ancient hatreds and tribal feuds, and you will face us. That much is certain and non debatable.
But we need lines — bright, shiny lines — about when enough is enough to our endless military engagements overseas. We need to understand, for ourselves and not for anyone else, what we are doing and why we are doing it when we use our military force.
Random wars are an inexcusable misuse of the lives and treasure that the American people have invested in their military and entrusted to their elected officials.
If I will not sacrifice one of my children to your random war — and I will not — then I do not have the right to sacrifice other people’s children to it, either. So long as the board of directors of General Dynamics and Raytheon and Halliburton and all their almost numberless cohorts do not have their children wearing those “boots on the ground” we keep talking about, then any war we engage in is unjust at the outset.
Take their kids out of their expensive private schools, take away the keys to their cars that cost more than my house and send them to Syria alongside the inner city kids and working-class kids who fight these wars. Insist that the newscasters who are pushing so hard for war, war, any war with anybody anytime, send their children to fight.
That might change the rhetoric a bit. If the people who are benefitting from these wars actually started paying part of the cost of them, it might adjust their thinking.
9/11 still makes me angry. Sadly, that anger is mixed now with a sense of betrayal by my own government.
I pray that this changes.
I don’t think there are any lambs in this particular gathering, but it appears as if the lions may decide to, if not lie down together, at least make war another day.
Presidents Putin of Russia, Rouhani of Iran and Assad of Syria have been talking about a proposal to remove chemical weapons from Syria to Russia for several days now. I first read about this before the weekend, but didn’t write about it because the sources were publications inside Russia that I didn’t know anything about.
Haaretz, an Israeli news outlet, has also been running stories about it. The proposal became quasi official yesterday and today the New York Times wrote that President Obama has “tentatively embraced” the idea.
I expect that the war-promoting members of the press (which is a substantial portion of the press) will react to this with an analysis that President Obama has been “weak” and went to Congress “looking for a way out,” etc. I want to say, in anticipation of that, that if this compromise works, a good portion of the reason why is that this president made the decision to involve the American people, through their representatives, in this debate.
I’ve been critical of this attempt to take this country into another unnecessary war from the outset. I expect that I am going to be equally critical of the inevitable future attempts to do the same thing. Our press has become a powerful lobby for armed intervention all over the globe. There is one cable news network in particular that never stops agitating for war. The place where they want this country to use armed force changes, but the demand that we do it is almost constant.
I am not a pacifist. I believe in self-defense.
I am most definitely a patriot. From the soles of my feet to the hair of my head, I am an American.
I believe without equivocation that if we do not take an honest and critical look at this situation, we are dooming ourselves. I’ll write more about this, but we are spending ourselves into bankruptcy to finance a war machine that is out of touch with reality. Then, we are being sold on wars and “military actions” one right after the other to use it and justify it.
War has become our major industry.
This cannot go on if we are to survive. We need an economy that is based on manufacturing the goods and services of the people of this country, not an economy that is based on manufacturing weapons.
As I said in the title of this post, Don’t stop Praying.
We are not out of the woods on this yet.
And the peacemakers in this situation are hardly peaceable people.
But it looks as if there is a real possibility that we will be able to avoid firing Tomahawk missiles at the people of Syria. There may even be a possibility that we can let them work out their own civil war without shedding American blood.
We need to continue praying for peace, and for our Christian brothers and sisters who are so very vulnerable in this war. I’ve read that President Assad has treated the Christian minority in Syria with tolerance and that the rebels have targeted Christian villages for attacks and attempts at forced conversions to Islam. Again, this information has come largely from the Russian press and the Russians have a stake in this war, so I’ve been slow to write about it.
But, the Christians in Syria who have contacted me have said much the same thing.
I am grateful to the Holy Father for his powerful leadership in this matter. I am also grateful to President Obama for making the decision to allow Congress to vote on it.
I hope that is a precedent-setting move that future presidents will take seriously.
Don’t stop praying. It appears to be working.
I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every Friday. I also pray the main prayer after Communion. It is a beautiful prayer of atonement and Christ’s unending mercy towards us.
The Marine Times answered a couple of the questions I have about this rush to war in Syria, and they didn’t even know I was asking.
Frank Weathers, a former Marine who served in the Middle East, passed the article US considers training Syria rebels along, and the minute I read it, I thought So that’s why we’re being pushed to war in Syria.
It turns out that the president is
“… considering a plan to use US military trainers to help increase the capabilities of the Syrian rebels, in a move that would greatly expand the current CIA training being done quietly in Jordan.”
That one sentence answers just about all the questions I raised in this morning’s post. I asked what we would accomplish by hitting the people of Syria with Tomahawk missiles, given the paucity of legitimate military targets in the country.
While I was typing and musing, I wondered aloud, Is the plan to devastate the infrastructure so that the government crumbles and the rebels win this civil war?
Then, this afternoon, I had time to read the article Frank had found and it was one of those Spoing! moments when the pieces fall into place.
Of course the plan is to destroy the infrastructure of Syria so that the government falls and the rebels win. That is the only military objective for firing Tomahawk missiles that makes any sense. All this stuff and nonsense about “red lines” and “chemical weapons” has always had a How dumb do they think we are? quality to it.
After all, chemical weapons have been used on civilian populations a number of times in past years and there were no “red lines” and no talk about bombing people for humanitarian purposes. That never added up.
Our government knows the goodness in the American people. They know that we can be motivated, even against our own self interest, by calls to save innocent people from terrible suffering. They know that we are ignorant about our military, how much it costs us in dollars and lost growth to our economy and our nation. They know that we are so disconnected from these realities that they can feed us any sort of gobbledy-goop imaginable about how bombing people “helps” them, and we will believe it.
I don’t think there is any other people on this planet who are willing to sacrifice so much to help others as the American people. Our government knows this and it is using it to try to push us into intervening in the civil war in Syria to help the rebels win.
I have a small question. Who are these rebels?
Do we really want them to win?
Why do we want them to win?
And don’t give me any more lies about humanitarian needs. Tell me the truth.
That would be refreshing, wouldn’t it, if our government tried telling us the truth?
Blessed are the peacemakers. Jesus Christ