Stuff you need to know today…

Getting some hate mail from my piece up at Pajamas Media. I’m being accused of wanting an “American theocracy”. Not at all. I simply am pointing out that a determinedly secular mindset will not make much of a dent against an equally determined supernatural mindset, and so the West should not be so dismissive of the power and usefulness of the vocabulary of faith. And I can’t be completely wrong since, as we see here at Hot Air, most Americans are open to that vocabulary.

Today is the feastday of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who just before the 2000 elections was named by Pope John Paul the Great as “Patroness of the Americas and Patroness of the Unborn.”

Her feast day was immediately notable in 2000 as the day the SCOTUS finally settled the Election Imbroglio of 2000.

Julie has a definitive piece on the feastday and links us to Curt Jester who clears away some of the mundane human detritus that has attached itself to the miraculous

Julie also has a really great Catholic round-up of thoughtful pieces, and I’m not saying that because she links to me for one of them. She also brings to our attention this wonderful testimony of a confession experience and this reflection on Christmas through atheist eyes, and much more.

On a purely personal note: I usually go to confession 4-5 times a year. In the past two months I’ve gone three times. Can’t explain it – have simply felt the need – and the sense of grace, settling down and centering, the precious sense of containment and quiet that has resulted in my spirit has been enormous. And other people have told me this – that they’re feeling drawn to the sacrament and finding enormous fruitfulness from it. I’m going again, before Christmas.

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. a great American theologian, convert to Catholicism, reached his cumulation and passed on.

I liked him the way I liked John Cardinal O’ Connor, who was a very different man from a different background. Dulles was an elegant man from the “upper” classes (he was the son of former U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles – yes, of the airport), who was completely comfortable with the rest of us commoners. O’ Connor was from the Irish working-class but equally at ease with “paupers and princes” as the cliche’ goes. Both great men. Fr. James Martin re-posts a thoughtful interview with Dulles. More on Dulles here, here, here, here and, comprehensively, here. Yet more here. Read about Cardinal Dulles. He’s one of those quiet hero-types.

Speaking of Jesuits, President Bush honored one of them the other day, along with many others including actor Gary Sinese, who seems like a guy I’d like to meet. I didn’t know it but he, like Dulles, is also a Catholic convert.

The other day, we read a terrific article about a group meeting for lunch in Washington DC specifically to share some good food and read aloud some Christmas poetry. You can take part in something like that tonight over at Fausta’s radio show, where she and Jane Goodwin will be reading Christmas poems and letting callers read, too! Sounds like great fun!

Snowed in by soap orders: The Nuns at Summit are closing orders for their soaps, lotions and balms on the 14th of the month, rather than the 17th, so they can ensure delivery. In an email, Sr. Blogger – who stresses how grateful they are for all the orders – writes:

We’re so snowed under that we’re going to stop taking orders on the 14th instead of the 17th…our volunteer ladies have been coming to help package. I’ve got all the sisters doing it at recreation at night! The poor novices are exhausted! [We made] 300 lip balms in the last 2 days and I’ve got everyone labeling and shrink wrap wrapping. And then the soap!

I bet they’re very grateful for their prayer time, as as outlined here. As one of my in-laws is stubbornly refusing to go along with the “no gifts for grownups” rule we’ve tried to instill, and since she has three dogs, I think I’ll hurry over there and order some room spray!

No word, yet from the Carmelite Monks as to whether they’re feeling snowed in with orders for their incredible coffees (I wish they’d offered those gift cards back when I had placed my big Christmas gift order!), but I know the mustard nuns are seeing lots of action in their kitchen from this post, and I feel happy about that!

Where to put it? I say get rid of it altogether. Never liked it.

Oy, I’ve been working for HOURS on this post – the day is almost gone and I still need to record Vespers. Okay, so I will not get to link to all of these stories emphasizing the lack of transparency that is defining Barack Obama’s presidency before it even begins. And his party isn’t helping him as they prove that their “culture of corruption” is at least as deep, wide and thick as any in the GOP. At least he has the press covering for him as much as they can.

And has anyone else noticed it? For the last 8 years, the Dems have been saying, “don’t question my patriotism” when no one was, now everytime you turn around, the patriotism bell is being rung. Classic projection.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jeanette

    How nice of the Canadian-born governor of Michigan to tell Americans who is and who is not patriotic.

    The auto companies have to solve this themselves, along with the union.

    What they are asking for right now will not rescue them, but will just put off the inevitable.

    It’s a shame to think of the loss to workers all the way down the line, but in these times the governor has no right to question any person’s patriotism unless said person commits an act of treason.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Keep an eye out for the on-line posting of the instruction “Dignitas Personae,” which was released today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on certain bioethical questions. A synthesis of the document is here at Zenit.

    The document is an Instruction of a doctrinal nature, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and expressly approved by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The Instruction therefore falls within the category of documents that “participate in the ordinary Magisterium of the successor of Peter” (Instruction Donum veritatis, n.18), and is to be received by Catholics “with the religious assent of their spirit” (Dignitas personae, n. 37). . . .

    The Instruction is meant for “all who seek the truth” (n. 3). Indeed, in presenting principles and moral evaluations regarding biomedical research on human life, the Catholic Church “draws upon the light both of reason and of faith and seeks to set forth an integral vision of man and his vocation, capable of incorporating everything that is good in human activity, as well as in various cultural and religious traditions which not infrequently demonstrate a great reverence for life” (n. 3).

    The Instruction has three parts: “the first recalls some anthropological, theological and ethical elements of fundamental importance; the second addresses new problems regarding procreation; the third examines new procedures involving the manipulation of embryos and the human genetic patrimony” (n. 3).

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    Those lowly UAW workers ain’t so lowly. They make two to three times the national average income. Certainly, they make two to three times what I make. Even the “retirees” make more than I do.

    So I am really not all that sympathetic to their situation. I am really not all that eager to be forced to give money to folks richer than I am. Their union thuggery may have worked when they were extorting GM and Ford (including going on strike last year!), but it has little effect on us now.

  • tim maguire

    Through your post here, I read your PJM post and some of the repsonses. Well said. I’m reminded of the excerpt in Cryptomonicon where Stephens explains why religious people are often more open minded and tolerant than secular people who dedicate themselves more consciously to open mindedness and tolerance. There is a stability in faith that is absent in secularism and that stability can be a source of freedom.

    I believe many of your critics at PJM miss, as they insist that they oppose terrorism too, that this is not merely a battle of attrition between jihadists and christians, where we win when they are all in jail or dead. The legions of future suicide bombers and their supporters come not so much among people who have already chosen a side, but among people who just want to peacefully live their lives and better their family’s situation but for one reason or another are susceptible to the jihadist fervor (there are many possible reasons and I won’t get into them here).

    These “regular” people are the lifeblood of jihad, which must constanly replenish its ranks after the losses to the bomb or the policeman. The war against terror will largely be won not when we kill all the terrorists, but when these people turn against the fundamentalists, drive the violent Imams from the temples and raise their children to love their neighbos, even the infidels.

    These people can be won over more easily by those who share the deep-seated humility of faith, they identify more closely with those who do not imagine themselves the highest form of life. People comfortable with faith and fluent in its words and thoughts are in a position to convince; the secular world is not.

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