30 May 2009
“And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days
I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
And I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth beneath,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
the sun shall be turned into darkness
and the moon into blood,
before the day of the Lord comes,
the great and manifest day.
And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
27 May 2009
24 May 2009
23 May 2009
New songs throughout the world shall ring:
Christ, by a road before untrod,
Ascendeth to the throne of God.
The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand;
And with His followers they see,
Jesus’ resplendent majesty.
To whom the angels, drawing nigh:
“Why stand and gaze upon the sky?”
“This is the Savior,” thus they say,
“This is His noble triumph day.”
“Again shall ye behold Him so
As ye today have seen Him go,
In glorious pomp ascending high,
Up to the portals of the sky.”
The Venerable Bede (673-735);
Trans. by Benjamin Webb, 1854
22 May 2009
Jesus said to his disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”
18 May 2009
Duped at Notre Dame
Barack Obama says he wants abortion to be safe, legal, and rare, while doing everything in his power to advance it.
by Paul Kengor
5/18/2009 11:15:00 AM
For a long time in America, the Religious Left, Catholics and Protestants alike, have been duped, played like fiddles. It happened again at Notre Dame yesterday.
President Barack Obama received an honorary degree amid a firestorm of controversy generated by his unprecedented extremism on abortion--an issue where he stands further to the left than any president in history, and in crystal-clear opposition to core Catholic Church social-moral teaching. Not one to back down, Obama addressed the matter head on at Notre Dame, feeding the faithful the left's standard abortion canard. He explained that he wants to "reduce the number of women seeking abortions."
This should have elicited gasps from an educated audience. After all, one of Obama's first acts as president--on January 23, the day after the annual March for Life in Washington--was signing the Mexico City policy. That means that groups like International Planned Parenthood will be subsidized with taxpayer dollars to perform and promote abortion overseas--to vigorously push for legalization, at all stages of pregnancy, in countries that have banned the procedure. Under relentless assault are nations like Mexico itself, home of Our Lady of Guadalupe, an image every faithful Catholic knows.
This unique form of American "foreign aid" was notably excluded from President John Jenkins' reverential statement glorifying Obama's commitment to human rights.
Recall, too, that on March 9, only a few weeks after rescinding the Mexico City policy, Obama authorized federal dollars to promote the deliberate destruction of human life at its earliest stage of development (as embryos) for research purposes. To borrow from Pope John Paul II, the state will thus deny its unborn this "first of freedoms," this most fundamental freedom, from which there can be no other freedoms--with your tax dollars.
Yes, yes. And so the crowd, en masse, let out a collective gasp, right? No.
When President Obama declared that his goal is to reduce abortions, the "social-justice" Catholics at Notre Dame clapped and cheered.
They were taken--hook, line, and sinker.
As I struggled to absorb this bewildering spectacle, I tried to think of a scenario more absurd. I thought of other presidents who spoke at Notre Dame: George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter. Obama's speech came close to one of his predecessors--Reagan--but only by reversing the terms; and then the absurdities snowballed into an avalanche.
Reagan, coincidentally, did Notre Dame's commencement the exact same day, on May 17, in 1981. It was one of his finest speeches, written by a Catholic speechwriter, Tony Dolan. It is most remembered for this passage:
The years ahead are great ones for this country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West won't contain communism, it will transcend communism.... It will dismiss it as some bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written.
It was one of Reagan's first presidential predictions of communism's demise, and a prophetic one, dismissed by elites. Indeed, those last pages were being written, though no one else sensed or said it. Communism would not survive the decade.
It was a stunning declaration, both at the time and especially in retrospect. Notre Dame's graduates were treated with a historical gem, a truly special send-off. They witnessed a statement they now understand was profound.
And that was for reasons beyond that declaration, as Reagan challenged the graduating seniors to join him in this great cause. He drew on remarks by Churchill during the Battle of Britain: "When great causes are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
To Reagan, their shared duty was to fight expansionistic, atheistic Marxism. Were they worthy of that challenge? He hammered home the theme with other quotes and metaphors, including a personal story from his movie, Knute Rockne, All-American.
Think of all this in light of Obama's comments. In Obama's speech at Notre Dame, the salient issue was abortion. For Reagan, it was communism. But unlike Obama with abortion, Reagan spoke with moral clarity--with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, as Lincoln once said--and then proceeded to do everything he could to halt the evil of communism, to reverse it, to stem the tide.
As Ronald Reagan spoke that day, he was laying out a multi-layered assault to win the Cold War, done through a group of key advisers: Bill Clark, Bill Casey, Cap Weinberger, Ed Meese, Jean Kirkpatrick, Richard Pipes. There was economic warfare. There was the aiding of rebels and freedom fighters from Poland to Afghanistan to Nicaragua. There was a rhetorical war to expose the inherent immorality of the Soviet system. There were crucial alliances, with Margaret Thatcher, with Pope John Paul II. There was peace through strength, from the 600-ship Navy to Pershing IIs to SDI. There were actual, official NSDDs, produced under Bill Clark's tutelage at the NSC, which articulated a formal policy of undermining Soviet communism and bringing "political pluralism" to Eastern Europe and the USSR itself.
My point with these examples--which is far from a comprehensive list--is that when Ronald Reagan spoke at Notre Dame on May 17, 1981, he was deadly serious about pursuing a course that would seek to achieve the goal he set forth in the speech: to dispatch communism to the ash-heap of history.
For Barack Obama, on the other hand, there is no such list for the goal that he articulated on abortion. Quite the contrary, beginning with his co-sponsorship of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act--which would abolish most of the few restrictions on abortion--or with promises he made to Planned Parenthood in July 2007 to require abortion coverage in his national health care plan--or, earlier, votes against the Born Alive Infants' Protection Act as a state senator in Illinois--Obama has done, or has promised to do, many things that would radically expand abortion to levels where it has never gone before in American history.
In a July 2007 speech, Obama described Planned Parenthood as a "safety-net provider." He believes that abortion services constitute a "safety net," and views abortion as a fundamental human right, one that he would like to sanctify with taxpayer funding. If Barack Obama got everything he ever wanted on abortion, we would face taxpayer funding of unlimited, unrestricted abortion at all stages of pregnancy at home and abroad.
That would not reduce the number of abortions.
Like many pro-choice politicians, Barack Obama says he wants abortion to be safe, legal, and rare, while doing everything in his power to advance it. He pays lip service to these canards when he needs political cover. Not surprisingly, that's what he did at Notre Dame on Sunday. Shame on Father Jenkins, the trustees, and the faculty, for giving Obama a podium--and honorary degree--to make fools of a sea of undergraduates at America's most celebrated Catholic college.
It would be like Ronald Reagan at Notre Dame saying that he wanted to take down Soviet communism while simultaneously subsidizing it with taxpayer dollars throughout Eastern Europe and the USSR. It would be like Reagan calling on Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall while sending in cement trucks and rolls of barbed wire.
What was done by the American president at Notre Dame on May 17, 2009, as opposed to what was done by the American president at Notre Dame on May 17, 1981, was not fact but farce, not history but dupery. And yet again, the Religious Left has offered up itself in the ignominious role of sucker.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (HarperPerennial, 2007) and The Judge: William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand (Ignatius Press, 2007).
15 May 2009
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem...
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
14 May 2009
And it sure looks to me like it'll open up a whole new series of Star Trek productions.
13 May 2009
12 May 2009
Here is the text of the prayer he placed in the wall:
God of all the ages,
on my visit to Jerusalem, the “City of Peace”,
spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike,
I bring before you the joys, the hopes and the aspirations,
the trials, the suffering and the pain of all your people throughout the world.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft;
send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East,
upon the entire human family;
stir the hearts of all who call upon your name,
to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him!” (Lamentations 3:25)
09 May 2009
07 May 2009
Psalm 122. Lætatus sum.
I WAS glad when they said unto me, * We will go into the house
of the LORD.
2 Our feet shall stand in thy gates, * O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city * that is at unity in itself.
4 For thither the tribes go up, even the tribes of the LORD, *
to testify unto Israel, to give thanks unto the Name of the LORD.
5 For there is the seat of judgment, * even the seat of the
house of David.
6 O pray for the peace of Jerusalem; * they shall prosper that
7 Peace be within thy walls, * and plenteousness within thy
8 For my brethren and companions’ sakes, * I will wish thee
9 Yea, because of the house of the LORD our God, * I will seek
to do thee good.
You’re St. Melito of Sardis!
You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.
06 May 2009
Ok, so there are no sacramental or moral reasons why women couldn't become members of the Swiss Guard. But does every tradition have to be maimed? Can't there just be some "guy things?" The Swiss Guard has a fascinating and venerable history. Can't we just leave it at that? Not everything is a barrier to be breached. Some things should just be left as they are because that's what makes them what they are.
The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a met amphetamine lab had been found in an old farm house in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, ”Why didn’t we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?” I replied: ”But I did have a drug problem when I was a kid growing up on the farm.”
I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.
I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher. Or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me. I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profane four letter word. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flower beds and cocklebursout of dad’s fields.
I was drug to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline or chop some fire wood. And if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the wood shed.
Those drugs are still in my veins; and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, and think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin, and if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America might be a better place today.
05 May 2009
04 May 2009
02 May 2009
(Above) Several of the Poor Clare Nuns prepare to witness the Vows of Sr. Mary Peter.
(Below) Sr. Mary Peter is covered with the pall, signifying her death to the world, and her new life as a consecrated Religious.