Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baptists and War Conference ( Audio From Conference)

I took an interest in this conference that took place at THE ANDREW FULLER CENTER FOR BAPTIST STUDIES when I saw it tweeted last year.

Thankfully all the presentations can be listened to here and there are a ton.

If you are a theology and/or history buff like me you are going to busy for a while.

The Liberal Betrayal of Progressive Christians ( HHS MANDATE )

Last year there was emotional business involving Liberal Baptist Jim Wallis. See Liberal Christians Attack Obama Spiritual Adviser Jim Wallis

Looking back it seems it was a sign of things to come. That is we have moved in certain Progressive Christians circles from a preferential option for the poor to a preferential option for certain sexual viewpoints which will always trump the former.

The HHS Mandate has brought this fight out in spades. I started thinking about that again today when I read Get Religion's piece on a " Conservative " Episcopal Socialist Bishop who was killed along with his wife. See The Curate’s Egg: Political Language in Religion Reporting.

Fours ago there was no hint that the Obama campaign thought the lack of contraception services was a clear ,and present health danger. In the last midterm election it I can't recall it mentioned once in the MSM. Yet now we are lead to believe since the administration has announced this rule that failure to implement it will endanger the "Separation of Church and State" and bring back to the dark ages of 2009!!

It should have been clear to anyone that opening this can of worms would lead to a lot of anti Catholicism. We have seen this before.

In the immigration reform fights there were hints of it. The Catholic Church just wants more butts in the pews etc we heard . However for the most part it was muted. Beside the utterances of Rep Tom Tancredo the default position of most conservative officeholders to immigration reform and the Church was an agreement to disagree. There were a few conservative pundit that might have crossed the line. But in places like National Review and others they adopted the same tone of agreeable disagreement for the most part.

The HHS mandate fight has been quite different sadly . Everyday brings a new attack from Liberals on the Bishops and other Catholics that portray them as some right wing tea party faction. This I am afraid will have consequences that will go beyond the Catholic Bishops.

I have little doubt that as too many social and economic issues the Catholic Bishops remain fundamentally liberal in orientation. I am not thrilled with that , but on the other hand I don't want the Bishop Conference to become a religious Heritage foundation.

Today I was reviewing the Funeral Mass Homily for Archbishop Hannan of New Orleans.

God had prepared Archbishop Hannan in a singular fashion as he imbibed the philosophy of his father in caring for the less advantaged. His mother’s love for education guided Philip to provide opportunities for the poor to whom opportunities were not available. His experience as a Paratrooper instilled in him what he had seen in his home, discipline and hard work. His graphic witnessing of the sufferings in the Concentration Camps and the need to care for all moved him from vision to action. Government with all of its cumbersomeness was able to achieve so much, provided people work together. Many times the key to success is the contact in the governmental offices and a generous sharing of the glory. Food for the Poor – the Supplemental Feeding Program with the Infant Formula flowed out of programs that the US Department of Agriculture had been using for the Navajo Nation. Archbishop Hannan said, why can’t we avail ourselves, of this food for the needy in New Orleans. Off we went to Washington to meet in the Capitol with Senators Russell Long and Bennett Johnson, with Congressman Eddie Hebert, Lindy Boggs and the whole Louisiana Delegation.

We got our programs. Second Harvest expanded the feeding of the infants and children to now include the elderly and the needy. Members of City, State and National Government all helped to bring to fruition many a needed program.

When the poor were going to march on Baton Rouge from New Orleans for rent subsidy and needed housing, the members of the Louisiana Legislature had to act. So many Legislators were in the New Orleans Area. The Archbishop was told, that the only way they would come would be if he get them together. He opened the doors of Notre Dame Seminary to meet with the protesters and the Legislators -averting a tragedy. Work together and so much can be accomplished!.

Yet today we see this Government assistance for the Church Programs used as political weapon in a attempt to silence the Church or make it go against it's beliefs. As Archbishop Chaput noted recently :

Philadelphians may wish to reflect on the following facts: The Archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Human Services spends $278 million annually on services to the community. About 4,000 employees make up our secretariat's workforce. Catholic Social Services is the largest social-service agency in Pennsylvania and the largest residential care/social-service subcontractor with the Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia.

There's more. Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Services is the largest faith-based provider of long-term-care services to the poor and elderly in the five-county area, and the seventh-largest nationally. And our Nutritional Development Services ministry serves more than eight million meals a year to schoolchildren, summer programs, and child-care centers. It also provides 2 million pounds of nonperishable food to needy families and the elderly through its Community Food Program.

Much of the money used by these ministries comes from public funding. But of course, the reason these ministries are trusted with public funding is that they do an excellent job. The service relationship works well without compromising the integrity of either the government or the Church. In fact, in a practical sense, government often benefits more than the Church.

It's breathtaking that many Progressives I see want to threaten this . Again it appears a preferential option for certain sex matters has trumped the preferential option for the poor.

But the issue goes beyond the mandate. Is this attack on the Catholic Church and people of faith we are seeing worth losing such a valued voice on other matters of social justice. If you wish to decapitate the Church on this matter you might be decapitating it on others.

What about the on fire Methodist that is Orthodox in fundamental Christian believe but has a very "progressive" outlook on the poor. Is there room for him or her at the table.

I am afraid this will not be able to be contained. Social conservatives politicos will observe the new ground rules and launch their own attack on the Liberal Churches. This tit for tat may be never ending .

If you think the Church should told to heel on contraception perhaps others will tell it to heel on matters such as the environment, State Execution, economic social justice. The careless talk of "losing tax exemptions" goes both ways.

I am not a liberal progressive Christian , but I value their voice. I don't want them to pushed out of the public square nor the Church on these issues and more. But it appears that is where we might be going. How bad the collateral damage is we have yet to see.

" Masculine " Catholicism Come to Diocese of Lafayette Louisiana - The King's Men

The Diocese of Lafayette now has a group I have never heard of till today forming in Lafayette. See “Iron sharpening Iron!”—The King’s Men

Bishop Duca of Diocese of Shreveport Louisiana - Smokescreen Being Thrown At Church Over HHS Mandate

Bishop Duca talks at length about the problems of HHS mandate and what it means this month in the Diocese Magazine that is going out in the mail today. See Bishop’s Reflection (March)

A Look At Catholics Justices On the U.S. Supreme Court in Recent Decades

A series of that Kevin Walsh is doing at the CLR FORUM Center for Law and Religion at St. John's University School of Law looking at the Catholic Supreme Court Justices on the Roberts and Rehnquist Courts Courts.

So far he has From Roper to Rosie to . . and Justice Brennan and Justice White from the Catholic Bishops’ Point of View

The Murder of An Conservative Episcopal Socialist Bishop

Get Religion has a good column relating to a rather tragic event. See The Curate’s Egg: Political Language in Religion Reporting

I might talk about this limitation of political languare as to the Catholic Bishops later today.

Racial Integration of Louisiana High School Sports - Catholic League and St Augs

A Shreveport Times journalist has a nice and interesting piece up on the integration of Louisiana High Schools Sports. See A rocky road leads to LHSAA integration

Part of the story also deal with the role of St Augustine's and the Catholic League down in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

I found this part interesting and a tad depressing:

St. Augustine High School's application did not come up for a vote before the 10-man executive committee in 1965, but rather the LHSAA amended its constitution to require two-thirds approval of schools in the applicant's would-be district and then two-thirds approval of the membership.
St. Augustine received district approval but had its application rejected by the LHSAA membership, 185-11.

Which seems to indicate there was not a lot of Louisiana Bishop solidarity on this issue at the time. Seem like most Catholic Hight school outside Nola must have voted St Augs down at the time,

New Orleans Native Jeanette De Melo Named Editor In Chief of National Catholic Register

It is not not mentioned in the bio they put out on her , but the Archdiocese of New Orleans on the twitter informed me she was a New Orleans girl and had attended Archbishop Chapelle High School

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev On How Music and Bring Christian Unity

Great post and interview here. The Anchoress has Hilarion Alfeyev on Music and Unity

Eastern Catholics Ignored In HHS Mandate Fight ( As In Everything Else ? )

As I have followed the HHS mandate fight I find it curious how the Eastern Catholic Bishops and many of the their advocates viewpoints and statements seem to be ignored.

When I was researching this I came upon this thread CatholicVote intentionally ignoring Eastern Catholics? . Peters of Catholic Vote deals with this issue as to him here.

Still the absence of media coverage of the Eastern Catholic American Church is well quite glaring as to this affair.

They are not a insignificant number of Citizens nor a insignificant amount of Catholic USA citizens.

Where are they?

Of course one problem is " Latin Rite" Catholic themselves here in most of the USA seem to have an ignorance of the Eastern Catholic Church is sad. Which is one reason I was thrilled to see a huge effort at last year's World Youth Day for it to have a more Eastern Church component.

Returning to the religious liberty debate needless to say "Latin Rite" Catholics and Eastern Catholics are in the same boat. Hopefully the media and GOVT officials will start giving them a hearing as to this matter.

The King Has No Clothes!! Jesuit Run America and It's Editors Throws Catholic Laity Under the Bus

I share with the Chronicles from the Front an astonishment at the Jesuit Run America magazine servile almost chaplain to the King approach to the Administration and the HHS mandate. See A reply to the editors of America.

A non Catholic was not quite as polite. See EPISCOCATS via MCJ.

Today Robert George and other gave quite a reply to the America editors. See The Bishops and the Mandate: Principled Witness vs. Politics as Usual

If the editors at America were a lobby for lets say Retired people ( A Catholic AARP) no doubt people would not be able to get SSI until they are 90. This trust us we are from Government attitude would be endearing if not so dangerous.

Regardless It appears we truly have a Emperor has not clothes moment as to America magazine. America that often regards itself as the voice for the Laity and against Clericalism appears to thrown us not working in the 4 Walls of the Church folks under the bus.

Hopefully soon we shall see this "compromise" the administration has said it has. I know it's tiresome for some that we keep pointing out there is no "compromise" on paper yet.

However we have little indication that this compromise will protect the rights of Catholics employers outside the physical Church and associated bodies itself if it even does that.

America Editors might need to review some recent Church Documents that states the "Church" , AKA the Body of Christ , is a tad more than the physical Institutions that are are found in articles of incorporation .

As George and company points out:

Imagine too that the “compromise solution” were more than the election-year I.O.U. of a politician who had already revealed himself to be reckless about religious freedom (and even averse to that term). We still face the fact that the mandate would require Catholic and other religiously opposed employers to provide plans that cover services they find morally abhorrent, or else pay crippling fines. Insurance companies would be the ones to advertise (and, officially, to fund) the plans’ controversial parts, but objecting employers would in practice bear their costs. Which of these tweaks, we wonder, moved Dionne, Shields, Kaine, and Casey from indignant opposition back to gushing support? The America editorial, long on assertion and innuendo but short—very short—on argument, doesn’t say. Let’s go through the possibilities.

The Bishops at the very least seem not to have forgot at least this is not only about their own rear ends but the butts in the pews too. Something again the apparent Jesuit chaplains to the court have forgot.

This fight is also about precedents and rights for the future. Both for the Church and the ability of individual members to live their Catholic vocation whatever that may be. We saw a case of this last week as to Pharmacists out west .

This fight is just beginning , and unlike the Editors at America I would suggest a laid back approach is not going to help.

As Professor Vischer noted last year:
This language seems to suggest protection for a provider’s conscience beyond abortion and sterilization. Perhaps the existing law puts greater constraint on current office-holders than culture war combatants would wish?

The second question: how did rolling back – or at least holding the line on – conscience protections become a hallmark of a progressive political agenda? This is a much trickier inquiry than parsing regulatory language. One relevant development is progressives’ tendency to conceive of freedom – and the government’s responsibility to safeguard that freedom – in terms of positive liberty, not just negative liberty. Negative liberty requires protection against interference with the pursuit of basic goods; positive liberty requires affirmative assistance in securing basic goods. As progressives have tended to expand the range of goods for which the government’s affirmative assistance is required, the potential for conflict with a provider’s liberty becomes greater. Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the debates over reproductive rights. Arguments for conscience protection emerge from a long tradition of negative liberty; arguments for guaranteed access to a particular good or service – backed up in many cases by state power – emerge from a much more recent tradition of positive liberty.

A closely related development is a shifting view of professional licenses. Generally the state’s licensing authority has been viewed as a means by which to ensure a provider’s competence. As access to goods and services becomes an essential dimension of meaningful liberty (in progressives’ eyes), there is a stronger justification for viewing licensed providers as quasi-public officials, and the license becomes a means of ensuring that governmental objectives are met.

Progressives are quick to rally to the defense of a student forced to violate her conscience by participating in the pledge of allegiance. Few progressives have rallied to the defense of pharmacists required by state law to sell the morning-after pill. In my view, this is a progressive blind spot that stands in tension with the overarching progressive commitment to freedom from state coercion in matters comprising a person’s moral identity and integrity. Progressives have shown a steady shift in their willingness to accept incursions on conscience in order to further other socially desirable goals. Progressives may eventually come to regret this shift – state power unbounded by conscience protections is not necessarily captive to progressive causes – but so far there is very little indication of remorse. President Obama’s foray into the debate, though certainly not a disastrous turn of events, shows little indication that the partisan presumptions about conscience will change anytime soon

It's not clear if this insight has even occurred to the editors of America , but if it has not they need to get themselves informed

Pope Benedict To Be Sixth Oldest Pope in History

An interesting piece from Rome Reports though it is written like Wednesday has already happen.

Infanticide Comes Out of Closet - Culture of Death Rolls On

In twenty years if not less I predict Planned Parenthood will be supporting this and ranting against the "theocracy" opponents of it .

Mirrors of Justice has It is not surprising that Peter Singer is no longer alone in advocating infanticide .Once the culture of death gets rolling as a legal right to oppose it will be like talking into a hurricane. See also Robert Georges piece How did the advocacy of legalized infanticide become respectable?

Is the Right Inconsistent on the Religious Liberty Rights of Muslims and the Catholic Church

The site Think Christian and it's contributor Stephen P. Hale rightly point out there seems to be a double standard among some on the "right" and the fight over Catholic Religious Liberty and the HHS Mandate. See Birth control, Catholicism and Sharia law.

There is also no doubt that all the Cable networks and much of the media will present stories that seem validate the views of their audiences sadly.

But is should be recalled that Constitutional rights are not predicated on one FOX news or Maddow at their opposite number MSNBC says. At least we hope not. Also just because the media in its headlines make this a "birth control" controversy instead of a fundamental religious liberty controversy does not make it so. See from Get Religion Media shirk debate on religious liberty on that score.

It goes beyond notice in the media sound bites that the lead legal voices such as the Becket Fund have are a lot more consistent than Sean Hannity. Strangely the Beckett Folks are portrayed as a bunch of right wingers at times.

One question Think Christian should be asking is why major league Catholic voices that have devoted themselves to religious liberty for both Catholic and Muslim rights are not being heard. I include in that list Law Prof Rob Vischer ( see Anti-Sharia Law 2.0 ) , Prof Francis Beckwith ( see The Dangers of Anti-Sharia Laws) , and last but not least the respected and influential Robert George ( See All American Muslim: An Open Letter). There are many others.

These people and many others are not getting on the TV or being consulted as to religious liberty issues in the MSM. Now in a sense this is understandable. I suppose Christians in the legal academy make boring TV. However they do make a case that must be heard. I applaud Think Christian for pointing out the obvious inconsistency. However lets works to get these voices heard that point out major problem with anti Sharia laws and the HHS mandate. There is a need for Religious liberty sake that they be heard. I would submit the issues are that important as to the HHS mandate.

Monday, February 27, 2012

In Diocese of Shreveport Patrick Madrid On Abortion and The HHS Mandate

Catholic speaker and apologist Patrick Madrid was in my Diocese recently. He took some time for a short interview with the Truth and Chirty Folks. The interview is at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans

Conference to Look At Computer Hacker Anonymous Cyber Attack On the Vatican

It appears the Holy See will be contributing to computer and Internet security in a big way this. It deals with the well known infamous Anonymous. Who is described as " a handful of geniuses surrounded by a legion of idiots,”

See the NYT piece In Attack on Vatican Web Site, a Glimpse of Hackers’ Tactics

It appears to Vatican had enough advance warning to hire a California Computer firm by the name of Imperva to block and monitor the attack.

..Though Imperva declined to identify the target of the attack and kept any mention of the Vatican out of its report, two people briefed on the investigation confirmed that it had been the target. Imperva had a unique window into the situation because it had been hired by the Vatican’s security team as a subcontractor to block and record the assault....

Its an interesting article and it appears the paper to be presented this week ( which can be downloaded at the link) takes the cyber attack on the Holy See as an rare glimpse of a Anonymous attack from start to finish.

Oh a good note it appears the Holy See survived the attack because of major investment in security infrastructure.

Three Cheers for The Emperor Constantine On His Birthday

The Gospel Coalition note a important Birthday today we might should ( or maybe some will not) observe. See Constantine's Birth: Cause for Celebration?

I am in the general yes camp for wishing Happy Birthday wishes. Constantine is the subject of let's very well established anti Catholic myths. He invented the Catholic Church and Catholic doctrines some still say. A charge that anyone with a basic knowledge of Church Fathers can easily dispute. But myths die hard. Despite the good work of Dr. Peter Leithart’s book, Defending Constantine.

A massive review which was done here. For instance we learn there is not too much substance that Constantine controlled the council of Nicea or interfered much at all. He also despite the myths was much more tolerant of non Christian religions as than many believe.

But Constantine's greatest contribution to the Western World was he starting the trains in motion that would put Sacrifice in the ash bin of Western history.

One of the problems in evaluating Constantine and the impact of his reign is that edicts and promulgations by Emperors didn’t function in the same way that laws do today. By this I mean that provincial governors tended to take such things as moral exhortations or good rules of thumb, and they were honored in the breech sometimes as much as in the observance. When it came to sacrifices, Constantine did specifically prohibit his provincial governors from offering pagan sacrifices at official functions, and the specific reason for this was so Christians could be civil servants without violating their consciences. Here is one place where Eusebius has over-egged the pudding. Constantine did not prohibit all sacrifices under all situations or occasions or in all pagan temples in the Empire. He did make clear that he found such sacrifices abhorrent, but the so-called Edict of Milan was his real view, and so he tried to persuade out of existence these practices, not legally bring the hammer down in every conceivable place and circumstance. Constantine knew in any case that his vigorous anti-pagan legislation would not necessarily be vigorously enforced in various provinces anyway. It was a question of how much change could be implemented without violating conscience, and how quickly.

Later Dr Witherington hit this point again:

I think Leithart is right to stress that perhaps the most significant thing Constantine did besides stopping persecution and allowing Christianity to exist as a legal religion was his ending of sacrifice as a central religious ritual in the Empire. When Leithart talks about Constantine baptizing Rome what he means is this: “when a people, nation, or empire receives the gospel of the victory of Jesus and is blown by the Spirit from the world of sacrifice, purity, temples and sacred space and is transferred into a new religio-socio-political world. It is a baptism out of the world of the stoicheia, which at least for Gentiles involved the worship of not-gods, into a world without sacrifice, a world after the end of sacrifice. “ (pp. 326-27). It would be a mistake to under-estimate the importance of this shift, since sacrifice was right at the heart of Roman civilization and it was believed that sacrifice secured favor with the gods and survival of the empire. Constantine did not create a secular state, he just created a different sort of religious one. One could say Constantine stopped the sacrificing of animals, of Christians, of gladiators in the arena and he refused to sacrifice when he had his Roman triumph entering Rome as a conquering hero. All of this was a momentous religious shift, but it was not the one Yoder thought happened. Leithart calls it the establishment of a desacrificial society.

Election Day Sunday For Catholics Worldwide- The Season of the Convert

Sunday Was Election Day in Catholic Church. Whispers in the Loggia has Forget the Primaries and Oscars -- In the Church, It's "Election Day"

This is the time of year I start keeping a look out for Convert stories. Looking much further ahead. I have a feeling the numbers mights show a slight increase next year

Louisiana Brings Home the Oscar - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore ( Newspaper Front Page)

A rather big deal last night for Louisiana and the Louisiana film and artists community. The Shreveport Times has Shreveport's Moonbot Studios brings home Oscar.

As the New Orleans Picayune noted yesterday this was important. See Oscar-morning analysis: Why 'Morris Lessmore' matters

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Impressive Catholic Blog in the Diocese of Shreveport

I have to say I am pretty shocked I have just found out that very well done Catholic web site in my own Diocese of Shreveport. See Truth and Charity. They are on several forms of social media. Their twitter account describes them as Five guys, one blog, one faith, two virtues, lots to say.

The list of contributors are pretty impressive. It will be in the Shreveport Diocese links.

More Episcopalian Nonsense on Obama 's HHS Birth Control Mandate

The Catholic Bishops are very polite folks God bless their souls , and they still have a tendency not to talk in public about upsetting things. Such as the Episcopal Church through a reproductive rights lobby is pushing to limit Catholic religious freedom.

It is indeed ironic that the Episcopal Church whose social justice ministry has much to be admired can't see the long term threat the precedents in the HHS birth control mandate have as to them. But when a President yells jump and your first response is "how high" it's understandable how that happens.

We have more of this nonsense on display today. See MCJ's post at MAINSTREAMING. Also at the Episcopal Cafe link MCJ tells it like it is at the first comment.

Gary Hart Exploits Possible Execution of Pastor In Iran to Attack Christians In Politics

SICK SICK SICK that is all I have to say. Reformed Pastor has The Exploitation of Pastor Yousef

Media Does Not Understand Non Catholic Support of Rick Santorum

As a Catholic living in the Bible Belt I am constantly amazed how the media does not get my Evangelical and Protestant neighbors.

Santorum benefits from mistaken religious identity an Associated Press headline tell us.

Get Religion has Someone’s confused about Santorum

Friday, February 24, 2012

Has Pope Benedict Appointed Too Many Outsiders To " Run " the Vatican ( Leak Crisis)

That certainly seems to be the indication that John Allen gives as we deal with this silly leak scandal. A problem that is really frustrating some of Pope Benedict's real good he is doing.

See Is it time for a Jacobin pope? Plus, musings on an American

Air Force Loved LSU and LINKS Galore For Baseball Series With Appalachian State

The Air Force Coach heaped a lot of praise on the LSU baseball Programand fans in a letter to the Baton Rouge Advocate .

So LSU fans are the most likeable well behaved fans in the Country - Signed USA MILTARY. Debate over

Moving on too other topics. No. 7 Baseball Pounds McNeese St., 11-4 this past Wednesday. So we move and see if we can keep this undefeated thing going on this weekend. See No. 7 Baseball Welcomes Appalachian St. to 'The Box' .

This is the Appalachian Baseball site. See their take at Baseball Poised for No. 7 LSU .

Here is a quick fact sheet they have on the team. If they have a more extensive media guide online I can't find it. App State baseball is on twitter here. Their facebook page is here and they have a good many photos of this practicing at the Box last night.

The Advocate has their article up here at Tigers want to develop offense full of ‘tough outs’

So in all things GEAUX TIGERS .

Catholics In Northern Ireland Prefer The Queen to Dublin In Defending the Faith and Country ?

Get Religion has an interesting look at Northern Ireland and in particular journalism issue surrounding the world's most well known Anti Catholic politico in the Anglo world. That is Northern Ireland politician Ian Paisley who we learn recently had a serious health challenge. See Croppies lie down (no more).

The piece goes into Protestant / Catholic relations in Northern Ireland that are more complex than we in the USA might think. I was struck by this part :

....Perhaps the use of the word was deliberate. Was Paisley’s volte face a result of his Protestant Christian faith, or was it a political calculation? As an aside, I believe the image many Americans have of Northern Ireland misses the changes that have taken place over the past twenty years. While you can still buy bumper stickers in South Boston that read 26+6=1, you will find only a few takers in Belfast.

The News Letter, a Belfast newspaper, ran a fascinating interview with a young Roman Catholic priest entitled “Border debate is irrelevant — Priest” on the same day as the AP story.

No Roman Catholic priests under the age of 45 are interested in removing the border and many Catholics are re-thinking their nationalism, a Catholic priest has said.
Fr Eugene O’Neill said that many Catholics were questioning whether as Catholics they necessarily had to be nationalist and look to Dublin when the United Kingdom was more respectful of Christian churches.

Fr O’Neill was speaking to the News Letter following a broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster’s Thought For The Day earlier yesterday morning.

In comments backing up polls which suggest that many Catholics would now vote to retain the border, Fr O’Neill said that as an Irish passport-holder he saw the Queen and senior British government figures as defenders of faith in the UK.

And, in a blistering attack on the Dublin government which shows how far the church and the state have moved apart in the Republic, Fr O’Neill claimed that there were similarities between how the Irish government is making life difficult for churches and how repressive communist regimes have persecuted Christians.

The Republic is now “a cold house for Catholicism”, he told the News Letter, singling out the atheistic Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore for particular rebuke.

By contrast, he said that the UK Government had demonstrated a respect and appreciation for the role of Christian churches which Catholics could support.

The Jesuits at America Take A Catholic Look At Downton Abbey

Well this will forgive the Jesuit people that run America a whole mulitiude of sins they might commit today in their writings. A Catholic look at Downton Abbey!! See

A Catholic Look at 'Downton'

Update- I enjoyed listening to this podcast. It's worth investing 25 minutes of your life listening too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pray Parents That You Don't Have An Upset Writer Child

Rod Dreher had an interesting column about a gay food writer that gets his issues out with family while writing about cake. See Mama Said ‘Let Him Eat Cake’

When I read this my first thought was of Frank Schaeffer son of late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. The way he dealt with Father and Mother issues in print just gave me the impression of a very angry not very nice man.

There is a balance. I do not deny there is not a place for books ,and articles that deal with internal family issues so to be a help for others.

However I do think that does not should give every writer carte blanche that writes on recipes, auto mechanics, or ham radio to expose their family to that. Especially in this social media age. I read the comments sections to these pieces and everyone is giving gushing approval. I am not so sure. Families are complicated and not every hurt should be broadcasts to countless tens of thousands maybe millions . Like Rod notes I think many will regret it.

Maureen Dowd Uses Inflammatory Anti Muslim Rhetoric To Attack Catholics And Rick Santorum In New York Times

I recall about 4 years ago a good and entertaining article at Slate called the What's Huck Hiding?
Searching for the lost Huckabee tapes.
Huckabee and his friends were very wise to perhaps not make those tapes that available.

Non Christians cannot grasp the concept of fired up Christians talking to other Christians. The fact that Huckabee did not run the State of Arkansas as his little Theocratic nation would not matter.

They can't grasp that a person can have some personal religious beliefs and convictions ,and they they know would be improper to use in Governing!! Now this is no big deal for us Deep South Catholic, Protestants, and Pentecostals. We get this. Other places do not it appears. Like Huckabee it appears Santorum has the same problem. Unlike Huckabee the recordings have been found.

Which brings us to Santorum , Catholics, and the respected mainstream media.

Now I guess Maureen Dowd and her slams at Catholicism in the New York Times are so boring now no one even links it. I did not realize she wrote on matters Catholicism related till I saw this post Some In Mainstream Media In Full Anti-Catholic Meltdown Mode at American Catholic.

I have noted with some alarm that supposed tolerant anti bigoted Progressive and liberals are using Islamic terms in a misleading and inflammatory way against the Catholic Church on the HHS birth control mandate. I am not alone in this concern. See via Mirrors of Justice Sharia and claims of conscience.

Today latest entry in the Progressive ranks is Rick’s Religious Fanaticism.

Now Dowd does call label him Pope, Bishop, Father, Deacon etc as relation to his Catholic Faith. She does not call him "Pastor" or "Preacher" Rick. But calls him REPEATLY Mullah Rick. In fact she calls him a small town Mullah.

What is a Mullah?

Mullah ( ملا) is generally used to refer to a Muslim man, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law. The title, given to some Islamic clergy, is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā , meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian". In large parts of the Muslim world, particularly Iran, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Turkey, Central Asia, Somalia and South Asia, it is the name commonly given to local Islamic clerics or mosque leaders.[1]
The title has also been used in some Sefardic Jewish communities to refer to the community's leadership, especially religious leadership.[2]
It is primarily understood in the Muslim world as a term of respect for an educated man

Mullah to say the least in the USA does not elicit good feelings. Mainly because through the media we often see only Mullahs doing bad things. It's like the term Sharia Law that is often misunderstood and used often incorrectly. Again it does not elicit good feeling because only the bad situations are conveyed.

Now in some ways I am not feeling too bad for Santorum here. I think he indulges a little too much in this too. But that is beyond the point ,and it's evident not the purpose of Dowd's piece .

Dowd realizes the context her readers will hear Mullah as. In fact that context just jumps off the page. That is FOREIGN, FANATICAL , UN AMERICAN , and YOU JUST CAN'T TRUST THOSE FOLKS.

It is indeed interesting that we see in Dowd's minds ,and those of her very progressive readership. While they might rightly call out some conservative folks for preying on some unfounded fears about the majority of American Muslims they seem to have the same fears. Perhaps they are not so tolerant and open minded as they think they are.

Regardless I find this rhetoric distasteful ,and I really wonder when anyone in the liberal community or media watchdogs will start calling this out.

I share the concerns of Catholic Law Prof and religious liberty defender at his post on a related subject at Tweet of the day when he said :

..I fear, though, that it is a harbinger of sincere arguments to come, as reasonable, right-thinking folks are asked to line up in either the Enlightenment camp or the Theocracy camp. Nuance may be in short supply.

In this case I find little nuance at all.

Empire State Building Declines To Light Up For Their New Cardinal - Archbishop Dolan

Well that is kinda of sad ,and I say that knowing they get countless requests a year to light up special for someone. However its not so much for the man but the fact that New York City is again a Cardinal See. That is a quite a honor in the World still I think . Something that perhaps should not be taken so much for granted.

..This secularization calls for a creative strategy of evangelization, and I want to detail seven planks of this strategy.1. Actually, in graciously inviting me to speak on this topic, “The Announcement of the Gospel Today, between missio ad gentes and the new evangelization,” my new-brother-cardinal, His Eminence, the Secretary of State, asked me to put in into the context of secularism, hinting that my home archdiocese of New York might be the “capital of a secular culture.”As I trust my friend and new-brother-cardinal, Edwin O’Brien -- who grew up in New York -- will agree, New York -- without denying its dramatic evidence of graphic secularism -- is also a very religious city.There one finds, even among groups usually identified as materialistic -- the media, entertainment, business, politics, artists, writers -- an undeniable openness to the divine!..

United Methodist Church Doubles Down On Repressing Catholic Religious Freedom

I am really beyond words. I have a hard time thinking these words were not cleared by other people either.

Just because someone says their religious liberty is being infringed upon does not make it so. Just because the Catholic hierarchy says that birth control is a sin against God does not make it so.

My Dear Methodist friend that is not the point. We are arguing the right of a Church to conduct it's mission, to govern itself, and among other things the First Amendment , and the Freedom of Restoration Act.

Reformed Pastor has the rest at Master of the Irrelevant Analogy

I have no doubt my Methodist neighbors are all OK on birth control, sterilization, and perhaps a few on the morning after Pill. But from what I have heard from them they are pretty appalled that the Government is forcing this on a Church.

Congress Can Kill Obama Birth Control Mandate By Majority Vote If It Moves Fast

This sounds very simple . However like many things it's not often as simple as it sounds. However if we move fast enough it APPEARS HHS Mandate can be repealed by simple majority vote. Moving fast is the keysince there is a deadline and clock is ticking . Is the Church and it allies urging this. See Congress Can Kill the HHS Mandate
The law allows 30 senators to discharge any committee action and bring it to the Senate floor, where it can be passed with a majority vote after no more than five hours of debate.

So no filibuster? No need for 60 votes? Lets roll.

The Occupy Movement And The Anti Obama HHS Birth Control Mandate People of Faith

If you are not reading Mirrors of Justice on the HHS mandate issue you should. Great reading every day. Today want to engage this post HHS vs. OWS: On the Prudence in First Amendment Jurisprudence

It is interesting too consider how the First Amendment issues of the OCCUPY movement are similar , and dissimilar to the trial that Faith groups are going through as to the Obama HHS Birth Control Mandate.

Through social media I am aware of some very devout Catholics that are a part of Occupy.

By "devout" I also mean Orthodox. I do get the sense though that many in Occupy see the Church as part of the oppressive 1 percent. I have engaged many that are cheer leading the Obama White House moves. I think this is folly.

A Methodist minister very involved in the Seattle Occupy movement had this article up the other day.
Occupying Faith: What Occupy Can Learn From the Mistakes of The Church A celebrated Occupy chaplain weighs in on Jesus, the failures of Christianity, and the future of Occupy.

Now there is a lot I disagree with in that article , but for this post that is not the point. Some of the aims of Occupy as you can see in his piece are well radical to many ears. Such as :

Will it offer a whole new way of life, a new vision of how society is structured, a value system of meaning that pulls people together towards common purpose and desire? Will it, for example, redefine property rights to include the right of a river to run free of pollutants? Will it redefine borders so that immigration is no longer a relevant word? Will it redefine wealth so that neither an aristocracy nor generational poverty exist? Will it redefine economy so that commonwealth trumps segregated wealth? In other words, will the Occupy Movement evolve into a vanguard that fundamentally transforms, and radically restructures the American way of life?

Well Godspeed if that is your view. However I might suggest to OCCUPY that some of these ideas ( as well as others) might be vastly unpopular. They might need the 1st amendment sanctuary of a a Faith community for assistance. However more to the point as Prof Vischer pointed out last year:

...The second question: how did rolling back – or at least holding the line on – conscience protections become a hallmark of a progressive political agenda? This is a much trickier inquiry than parsing regulatory language. One relevant development is progressives’ tendency to conceive of freedom – and the government’s responsibility to safeguard that freedom – in terms of positive liberty, not just negative liberty. Negative liberty requires protection against interference with the pursuit of basic goods; positive liberty requires affirmative assistance in securing basic goods.

As progressives have tended to expand the range of goods for which the government’s affirmative assistance is required, the potential for conflict with a provider’s liberty becomes greater. Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the debates over reproductive rights. Arguments for conscience protection emerge from a long tradition of negative liberty; arguments for guaranteed access to a particular good or service – backed up in many cases by state power – emerge from a much more recent tradition of positive liberty.A closely related development is a shifting view ofprofessional licenses. Generally the state’s licensing authority has been viewed as a means by which to ensure a provider’s competence. As access to goods and services becomes an essential dimension of meaningful liberty (in progressives’ eyes), there is a stronger justification for viewing licensed providers as quasi-public officials, and the license becomes a means of ensuring that governmental objectives are met.

Progressives are quick to rally to the defense of a student forced to violate her conscience by participating in the pledge of allegiance. Few progressives have rallied to the defense of pharmacists required by state law to sell the morning-after pill. In my view, this is a progressive blind spot that stands in tension with the overarching progressive commitment to freedom from state coercion in matters comprising a person’s moral identity and integrity. Progressives have shown a steady shift in their willingness to accept incursions on conscience in order to further other socially desirable goals. Progressives may eventually come to regret this shift – state power unbounded by conscience protections is not necessarily captive to progressive causes – but so far there is very little indication of remorse. President Obama’s foray into the debate, though certainly not a disastrous turn of events, shows little indication that the partisan presumptions about conscience will change anytime soon.

OCCUPY needs to think about that part I bolded IMHO.

Which brings us to today's piece by Prof Robert Hockett at HHS vs. OWS: On the Prudence in First Amendment Jurisprudence.

This is where I disagree that the same concerns are present in all things.:

... I thought Mayor Bloomberg's 'crackdown' on the movement this past November wrong-headed. One upshot of that conviction was this OpEd published in the New York Daily News at the time, a longer rendition of which was posted on Dorf on Law here.

It strikes me now that there is an instructive analogy to be drawn between that case and the case of the first rendition of the HHS's mandate - 'Mandate 1.0' - that we've all discussed here over the past several weeks. The link has to do with the 'prudence' one might hope to find in such government actions as sometimes implicate First Amendment jurisprudence or the values given expression in that jusrisprudence. Pursuant to this prudence, wise government functionaries accommodate exercises of First-Amendment-implicating freedoms even when not, strictly speaking, constitutionally required to do so. Why do we hope, as I put it, to find this form of prudence in government decisions? I think there are are least two complementary reasons. One is that our political society at large often learns much from that 'witness' which is the flowering and flourishing of 'alternative' takes on many practices and lifeways that majorities have come to take for granted. Another is that individual citizens often grow and flower as human souls both through witnessing and through participating in such experiments - recapitulating, in their less fateful and momentous but nevertheless important ways, the transformative experience of the 'upper room.'

I think to be honest we are dealing with two different first amendment concerns here. First there is no doubt that in our tradition we have the Government exercising prudence to First Amendment religious liberty concerns when legally they do not have to do so.

However does this work for speech and protests? Again we come to the issue I have blogged about the most as to Occupy. That is the emerging problem of viewpoint discrimination.

I noted the problem of viewpoint discrimination during the Wisconsin protest over actions of the Governor and the State legislature that basically took over the State Capitol last year.

See Ann Althouse' post Is it viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment for Wisconsin to permit the protesters to use the Capitol building as it has over the past 10+ days?

...In the current Wisconsin situation, the protesters are being allowed to do many, many things that ordinarily no one does. It's hard to imagine how the state could operate in the future if other groups were given equal treatment and permitted to stay overnight for days on end, to post thousands of signs all over the historic marble walls and pillars, to prop and post signs on the monuments, to bang drums and use a bullhorn in the rotunda to give speeches and lead chants all day long for days on end. Tell me then, what will happen when the next protester comes along and the next and the next? Hasn't the state opened the Capitol as a free speech forum in which viewpoint discrimination will be forbidden under the First Amendment?...

.....UPDATE 2: Prof. Downs emails:
Ann raises points that merit serious First Amendment attention. In my talk last Wednesday, I raised the concern about viewpoint discrimination, but said it was outweighed at that point by public necessity. But the necessity position loses force as time passes, and police are able to adjust to the situation. Regardless of where one stands on this particular issue, it is never a valid or good thing if government grants special First Amendment rights to one group or set of protesters that it would not extend to all other groups. This is bedrock First Amendment principle based on a long history of experience. And police need to maintain a position of absolute neutrality in such matters. And it doesn't matter how peaceful or respectful a group might be behaving, for such otherwise laudatory behavior does not entitle anyone to special treatement under the law. The First Amendment either applies equally to everyone, or it is subject to political barter

I largely agree with, and as too Occupy we have this in spades. Lets say for instance at the next National Right To Life Rally a few hundred souls decide to stay behind and pitch some tents. Let's say right in the place is OCCUPY right now. That is McPherson Square near the White House.

In fact for all practical purpose it become the National Outside Cathedral of protesting the" Birth Control Mandate ". Let's say this happened nationwide!

Count me skeptical ,but the Pro Life movement does not exactly have the same cool influential allies in the media . I suspect the National Park Service would take a dim view of this ,and the "Cathedral" would be shut down. But how are we different than Occupy?

This example becomes much more vivid if this was let's say the KLAN or P.E.T.A. We have the Government in other words protecting certain kinds of speech and not others.

Now it's true as Professor Downs said in all protests some accommodation can be had. For instance to give a chance for things to cool off ,or for public safety. But at some point public order must be restored . If not we shall basically be in violation of the First Amendment for all practical purposes. Prof Hockett might visualize the community being tolerant of such diversity , but history shows us it's now. So the need for even application of the law as time and space requirement for Speech.

There are liberty concerns with both speech ,and religion in the First Amendment. I just say at times though they are different somewhat on occasion.

Huffington Post's Red Letter Fundamentalist and Literalist Religion Writers

It is really amazing how many that disparage some Christians for taking the Bible literally or being Fundamentalist turn around and do the same thing they are criticizing . I have noticed that many ( not all) Huffington Post writers do this a lot. MCJ has and example at AND NOW…IDIOTS.

I can recall a evangelical sex book aimed too teenagers my parents bought me. On the subject of masturbation it was well the Bible does not mention it so whatever. Well I think there can be quite a case that the scriptures allude to it. But regardless we see in the Christian Holy Tradition a pretty strong denunciation of the practice. Where oh where did this come from? Perhaps from the Apostolic age?

The writer here mentions abortion. Jesus did not mention it so it's fair game. So where this quite aggressive stance against it we see in the Church Fathers come from then?

But as we see the writer has another problem. That is he is a really what some call a Red Letter Fundamentalist or Literalist. Now I have no problem with Bible's that mark the words of Jesus in red. Though this is of a very recent date. At times they can be helpful to me in reading Scripture.

But I do agree that this at times presents problems ,and not just with Huff Post writers which is a more serious concern. See Red Letter Literalists .

Returning to progressive Christians and Huff posts like writers it's indeed ironic that they make the teaching of Christ divorced from HOLY TRADITION like some very conservative Christians do.

If they did not they could perhaps find a Christian witness that would buttress their case on their ideals. But to do that means acknowledging all this "sex" stuff and that wins out over the poor.

Notice Change in Catholic Ash Wednesday Liturgy ? - It 's WAR !!

I was struck last night that the Ash Wednesday service sounded a tad different from last year. A tad more robust a tad more it's war on the devil. A more CALL TO ARMS!!

I could not hit on what was different till I read Father Z's piece today.

See WDTPRS – Ash Wednesday (2002MR) – WAR! which focuses on the the Collect and the new Liturgy translation.

It appears the old translation of the collect we were using said:

Father in Heaven,Protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent,make this season holy by our self-denial.


NEW CORRECTED ICEL (2011):Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils,we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint.

Wow so much better ,and even as just to the collect I am struck how it affected the tone of my outlook of the liturgy and indeed Lent itself.

Father looks at the literal translation of the Latin which would read :

Grant us, O Lord, to commence the defenses of the Christian field campaign by means of holy fasts,so that, we who are about to do battle against spiritual negligences,may be fortified by the support of continence.

Kind of wish " Christian campaign" was in the new translated corrected correct. I like the word continence too. As Father Z points out

the virtue of continence is described with the same word used to describe the auxiliary troops that supported the legion’s regulars. While it could simply refer to “abstinence”, continence is the virtue which restrains the will from consenting to strong impulses of sexual desire.

Anyway read all his post where he examines all the military like language . I also agree that , besides it being spiritually a lot more meaty, this is an example of how the old translations really missed the mark.

So here is hoping we do our part to make "war" during lent

Mexico governement Makes Small But Historic Steps Toward Religious Freedom

I hope everyone had a Happy Ash Wednesday. LENT DAY 2 here we go.

Vatican Insider has a an article talking about how the governement of Mexico is making while incomplete some historic change on Freedom of Religion. See Religious freedom in Mexico: A halfway reform.

Again showing in a vivid way there is a difference between Freedom of Worship and Freedom of Religion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Full Text of Pope Benedict's Ash Wednesday Audience and Later Homily

Well Lent 2012 has arrived so I guess it's apt to see what the Pope preached to on this Ash Wednesday.

I thought a couple of weeks ago the 2012 Lenten message released by Pope was one of his best. See Re-reading the Pope's Message for Lent

The Pope started at his public appearance with his traditional Wednesday audience. Full text here at Pope: Lent a time for mature decisions

In the evening he conducted the Ash Wednesday Liturgy at a Church in Rome . Full text if the homily at Pope: Homily at Santa Sabina . There is some background on this Roman Basilica from the 5th century at Pope: the Basilica of Santa Sabina

I will try to put some pictures on this post later.

What Do Progressives and Payday Loan People Have In Common This Week ?

A lot of careless uniformed talk that if the Church speaks in the public square it should lose it's tax exemption .

See Churches Warned to Back Off of Payday Lenders

Thousand Year Old Sermon - Skip Ash Wednesday Service and Bad Things Happen ( Abbot of Eynsham )

Welcome to LENT 2012. Not Another Episcopal Church Blog has nice post that not only is testament to how ancient sshes in our liturgical rite is today , but also has a rather "friendly" warning if you decide too skip out on today.

From a thousand years ago Abbot of Eynsham informs us of the consequences at "Because He Had Refused Those Few Ashes"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Documentary Looks At Impact of the Spreading Divine Mercy Devotion In Catholic Louisiana

Update- I fixed the link. It appears they moved it to another section. Just in case it disappears again pasting whole thing below.

Well it's not even Lent yet but it's never too early too be thinking about Divine Mercy Sunday .and the Divine Mercy devotion that of course is a everyday thing.

The Diocese of Baton Rouge Newspaper notes how big ( and how it's spreading even more) this is in South Louisiana. In fact there has been a documentary made that we shall be able to view soon. See

Documentary shows impact of Divine Mercy Novena on people of South Louisiana

In the 1930s Polish nun St. Maria Faustina Kowalska received messages from Jesus of his divine mercy that were to be spread throughout “the whole world.” From this message St. Faustina painted an image of Christ with rays emanating from his heart and introduced a chaplet that continues to inspire many today.

QuickHelp Productions and FOCUS Worldwide Network have co-produced a 30-minute documentary to capture how the mission of fostering the message of divine mercy is growing in the Baton Rouge area.
“Living Mercy” features interviews with parishioners, staff and friends of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Baton Rouge, which will mark its seventh year of praying the nine-week devotional. The novena, which is held on Tuesdays, begins the week before Mardi Gras and ends on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday after Easter.

Among those featured in the documentary is OLOM Pastor Father Miles Walsh, who said the Lord moved him to introduce the novena to his church when a woman who knew nothing about the Divine Mercy chaplet told him about a vision she had in the church’s adoration chapel that depicted St. Faustina and the Lord.

He explained that people are tempted to live apart from Christ, through drugs, alcohol and other addictions. Christ, through the Divine Mercy Novena, draws them away from those temptations and closer to himself. “I look at divine mercy as God pouring out his grace on the world,” he said.
As discussed in the documentary, the Divine Mercy Novena powerfully aids the suffering. Father Walsh noted that the devotional started at OLOM in 2006, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He said people filled the pews at the 8 a.m. and noon daily Masses, and the church was packed each week of the Divine Mercy Novena, even on Mardi Gras. People have continued to fill the church each week of the novena since then.

Father Walsh added that the novena, in the nine-week format, is spreading to other churches in the diocese. St. John the Evangelist Church in Plaquemine is in its fourth year of hosting the novena and St. Thomas More Church in Baton Rouge and Ascension of Our Lord Church in Donaldsonville are introducing it this year. Other diocesan churches pray a nine-day Divine Mercy Novena.

In the documentary, Joshua Johnson, seminarian for the Diocese of Baton Rouge, also discusses the Lord’s mercy toward the suffering. “As humans, we all experience hurts, pains and wounds throughout our lifetime.It is my hope that through this video, people will come to experience the love and mercy that our Lord has for them personally. After a personal encounter with our Lord’s love and mercy in our lives, it is my hope that those who have received this gift will spread his love and mercy to others in the midst of their brokenness.”

Johnson added that at the bottom of apicture of Jesus depicted by St. Faustina are the words, “Jesus, I Trust in You.” He said people must ask themselves daily if they love Jesus and trust him.

Others appearing in the documentary are OLOM staff members Father Arun John, parochial vicar; Deacon Richard Grant, pastoral associate; Mary Rosenbloom, cantor of the Divine Mercy chaplet; Deacon Eugene Brady, diocesan nursing home coordinator; OLOM church members Margaret Bieser, Carol Dazzio and Lloyd Plaisance; and coordinator of the Baton Rouge chapter of Magnificat, Theresa Henderson.

Filming the documentary helped Eric Antoon of MR2 Productions learn more about his faith. Over the course of eight months, Antoon filmed interviews, two Divine Mercy novenas, and the OLOM church building. “Hearing real accounts about how the novena has impacted people was inspiring. Everyone had a personal story,” Antoon said.

Catholic Life Television, which has ties with FOCUS, will premier “Living Mercy” nationally on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 15, 2:30-3 p.m. FOCUS will continue to air “Living Mercy” via its national network, beginning with WLAE TV, New Orleans, on Thursday, April 19, 8 p.m.
Those who want to learn more about“Living Mercy” can visit quickhelpproduc

Meet Mitt Romney 's Secret Catholic Weapon - Peter G. Flaherty

The Deacon Bench highlights a good NYT article on Mitt Romney's secret Catholic weapon. When one thinks of a high profile Catholic most linked with Mitt Romney is Harvard Law Prof and former Envoy to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon.

It appears there is a more crucial one. That is Peter G. Flaherty. See the Deacon's Bench post and link at Meet Mitt Romney’s Catholic connection.

The article is good. I take just as a clarity matter this :

"Mr. Romney’s unseen but crucial weapon this campaign season: his liaison to the Republican Party’s right wing, Peter G. Flaherty, a former homicide prosecutor who keeps a statue of the Virgin Mary on his desk" .

He very well might be "Right Wing" but some examples of that would be nice. Unless being prolife puts you in the "right wing " alone.

Of course Romney has other Catholic problems. I am not sure how Romney's immigration stance is going to play among Catholic Latinos to name just one group. How has he handled that? That would be interesting to go into.

When Does A Protestant Church's " Excommunication " Process Merit First Page News

I think this is a interesting issue Get Religion looks at in their post When gossip makes the front page . Appears an internal discipline proceeding of a big Presbyterian Church ( A part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church ) is making headlines in the big Memphis newspaper

As one comment person points out when Catholic do excommunication it's a rare event and is thus news. In fact the Protestant church discipline procedures have SOME similarities to Catholic Church communication. Of course the issue here is this is much more local. Some protestant and evangelical faith communities kick members out all the time. That appears to me not to be news.

But as this comment points out reading between the lines there appears to be a Church leadership and politics at question at the heart of this so maybe it's appropriate.

Pope Makes For Another Bishop For Texas - Monsignor George Arthur Sheltz for Houston

The Pope announced is making another Bishop for the USA today. That is Monsignor George Arthur Sheltz who will become auxiliary bishop to Cardinal Daniel DiNardo down in the Archdiocese of Houston - Galveston.

It's amazing for that a Archdiocese of that size that Cardinal Dinardo has not had any Bishop help since 2010. ( at least to me it is)

Whispers has In H-Town, Finally, Merry Auxmas

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Book of Maccabees and the Obama HHS Birth Control Mandate - The Pork Precedent

A good post at Public Discourse. See Obama’s Contraception Cram-down: The Pork Precedent

There is sadly rarely nothing new in history , and we have been here before.

Unwelcome Economic Development - World Headquarters of Aryan Nations Coming to Louisiana

Well this is all rather unfortunate. My Bossier has a good post on some unwelcome migration to Northwest Louisiana. See Aryan Nations: A history of hate and violence

There is not much I think we can do legally to stop this. However I think the people of that Parish will do their best to make them social pariahs .

As My Bossier noted:

I find it somewhat ironic that they have decided on Sabine Parish, which has a lot of Spanish and Native American descendants.


Southern Baptist Louisiana College Joins Fight Against HHS Birth Control Mandate

We learn :

ADF attorneys have also filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana College. The new lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Louisiana College v. Sebelius, argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law, said, “The Obama administration has purposely transformed a non-existent problem–access to contraception–into a constitutional crisis. This mandate offers no choice; Americans either comply and abandon their convictions or resist and be punished.”

More here with Lawyer quotes.

Former Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Democrat Jim Brown Explodes Free Birth Control Myth For Catholic Organizations ( HHS MANDATE )

Jim Brown who was a major player in Louisiana Democratic politics as we as being our past Commish of Insurance has a column up. See THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!

First he explodes the fiction that the Catholic Church will not be in the contraception business as to the supposed compromise.

...The White House has offered a birth control alternative that allows a religious employer to decline contraception options, but requires that the employer’s insurance company make these same options available directly to the employee. If any employee of such an institution desires the birth control option, the insurance company has to supply it free of charge to the employee. But no service is free. Somebody has to pay for it. If the insurance provider cannot charge additional cost to the religious based plan, the new charges will end up being paid by the other policyholders buying health insurance. Like you and me. There’s no free lunch.
To say that a religious institution is not supplying contraceptives to their employees under such a plan is nothing more than an accounting gimmick. If you’re the boss and you make arrangements for your employees to be covered by some outside source, you’re the one making the decision. Call the process what you will, but under this new plan, religious institutions are not really exempt from the new federal rule

He then goes into matters I slightly disagree with.

..So should any institution be exempt from the birth control rules? It may be reasonable, as a guideline for any future legal challenge, to consider the purpose of the institution. The mission of a church is to teach religion. Therefore, any employee of a church would come to work knowing that the focus of such a religious entity is to teach religious doctrine. And part of that doctrine may be the prohibition of contraception.
But the primary purpose of a hospital is healthcare. In my hometown of Baton Rouge, we are fortunate to have a first rate catholic hospital called, The Lady of the Lake. It is an outreach commitment of the Franciscan Missionaries. The medical care is excellent. I’ve visited The Lady of the Lake Hospital numerous times, and never once have I gotten the impression that there is an effort to spread catholic doctrine. The mission of Lady of the Lake and other religious affiliated hospitals I have visited is to provide healthcare

But is it really that clear cut . See my post on this subject from this past weekend .So Catholic Hospitals Don't Teach Catholicism Huh

Brown then goes on to say the Religious Liberty can not and never has been a trump card over all Government regulation. Well who is arguing that?

When we consider these weightily matters of religious liberty , accommodation, and public policy we usually have a discussion first. There are town halls, House and Senate hearings, an discussion in the academy. Then there is a vote. Here we got the policy first and then the the purported discussion. The exact opposite of how this is suppose to work. The Church is literally having to make it's case with a gun to its head.

Unless you were in the Catholic and religious weeds most Americans had no idea this coming. In fact the Bishops were assured unofficially that the passage of the Heath Care bill would not bring these concerns.

This is part of the problem.

LSU Baseball Sweeps Alcorn and Air Force In Opening Weekend ( Links )

Nice opening weekend for the LSU Baseball team. A full sweep.

And the Valley Shook has First Thoughts on the First Weekend

From the LSU Baseball site see :

No. 8 Baseball Completes Unbeaten Weekend, 4-0 , LSU Baseball Report - Feb. 20 , Baseball Batters Alcorn St., 19-0 , , No. 8 Baseball Puts Away Air Force Early, 10-2

From the Advocate see :

McCune, Tigers blank Air Force LSU fans give deserved respect to Air Force , LSU pitching staff impresses , Solid starting point , LSU romps by Alcorn St., 19-0 Mainieri gets view from third

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Orleans Catholics Engaged In Second Battle of New Orleans

Vox Nova highlights the Battle of New Orleans. No not that one against His King's army but a MUCH MORE BLOODY one and what the Archdiocese of New Orleans is doing about it.

See The New Battle of New Orleans

I will just pass on the commentary she has to sayon the first one except to say Thank Our Lady of Prompt Succor :) . She would really flip out if she knew we had a special Mass each year that been going for like forever to commerate our victory .

So Catholic Hospitals Don't Teach Catholicism Huh

Or so the meme is ,and since they are just a "business" they are different according to the supporters of the birth control mandate.

Archbishop Dolan soon to be Cardinal Dolan gave quite a speech in Rome today . I might hit on a few parts of it later. However this part seems apt to this issue at hand :

So, point five: the missionary, the evangelist, must be a person of joy.“Joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence,” claims Leon Bloy.When I became Archbishop of New York, a priest old me, “You better stop smiling when you walk the streets of Manhattan, or you’ll be arrested!”

A man dying of AIDS at the Gift of Peace Hospice, administered by the Missionaries of Charity in Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s Archdiocese of Washington, asked for baptism. When the priest asked for an expression of faith, the dying man whispered, “All I know is that I’m unhappy, and these sisters are very happy, even when I curse them and spit on them. Yesterday I finally asked them why they were so happy. They replied ‘Jesus.’ I want this Jesus so I can finally be happy

.A genuine act of faith, right?

Quite true.

As Pope Benedict as noted:

"The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need....
In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3) – a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Encyclical Letter, Deus Caritas Est, n. 28, December 2005


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Adding a Louisiana Priest Blog From Lake Charles - A Priest Life

Just found this one tonight. Will be in the Priests and Diocese of Lake Charles links.

Should the Catholic Church Go Out To The Streets and Gives Ashes To Everyone ( Lent 2012)

Over at the Episcopal Cafe I saw this post Gearing up for Ashes to Go.

If you notice they have a link at the bottom where they focused on Ashes to Go last year. The pros and cons are given in the opinion of various Episcopalians.

Question ? Should the Catholic Church do this?

My closest experience to this was in Shreveport and Bossier City Louisiana at Midnight on Fat Tuesday night ( the end of Mardi Gras and Start of Lent ). One Krewe float would come to the top of the bridge over the red river from Shreveport and the other from Bossier City. There was a toast to end the season. Then a Catholic Priest would distribute ashes ( there was a short prayer) to everyone present.

So if this was totally licit or not I am not sure. Do Priests and Deacons go out and give ashes in Nursing Homes and Hospital w/o a liturgy? Again I don't know.

I actually like this idea though I am not that comfortable with a total divorce from the Liturgy. Also I am not aware ( thought their might be one) of a abbreviated service.

Ashes are a sacramental and can be used by anyone. Even a non baptized person.

So what do Catholics think about this. Besides Church services should we go out to the malls, the strip malls, the grocery store , the streets, the bus station , the Walmart ,etc and just give out ashes?

Go 'you are dust and to dust you will return' do the ashes and it's over. I generally find those 9 words very well thought provoking and prayerful.

I would perhaps be against this in a very Catholic area where Catholic might think of this as a short cut. But for a non Catholic or un churched area maybe so.

I might throw this post around to some Priests and Deacons on the TWITTER and see if I can get some answers to these questions.

Score- Missouri Synod Lutherans 1 Jesuits 0 As to Religious Liberty Today ( Birth Control Mandate )

LCMS President Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday, Feb. 16., to discuss the recent U. S. Health and Human Services Ruling regarding contraceptives. On behalf of the LCMS, Harrison spoke to the issue violating citizens' freedom of religion and freedom of conscience

I sometimes don't think Catholics of some relative importance realize the Constitutional issues , and the historic moment we the Church are in as to the birth control mandate as Americans.

This issue is much bigger than the Catholic Church. Which is one reason why so many diverse faith communities are coming together on this.

I was reminded of this yesterday when I read R. Jeffrey Grace post yesterday at The Editors of AMERICA magazine think the USCCB goes too far. I think Mr Grace points out so well the faults of their argument.

To a put more charitable face on it the political naive of the editors at American would be amusing if it was not so dangerous.

We are dealing :

-with an administration that took a major federal grant away from services to the most vulnerable because of our beliefs

-that basically misled ( lied if I may be so bold) to the highest leaders of the American Church that we would be facing this issue if the Health Care Bill passed

- In a major Supreme Court case argued there is no such thing as the ministeral exception

The Bishops at the very least have a reason to be wary or "Trust and Verify". The forces that are pressing this are veterans. This will not be romper room

Which bring us to a rather historic moment today that occurred in Congress today. Get Religion has a good overall post called In HHS flap, media prefer politics to religion . In part of this piece:

...Earlier today, the head of my church body did something that may be a first: testified before Congress. It may have happened before but I doubt it. We just don’t believe the job of the church is to testify about a given bill or not. We’re steadfastly bipartisan. We took no position on the health care bill that has yielded this situation. It was a pretty big day for Lutherans of my stripe. The Rev. Matthew C. Harrison testified (view/read) along with a Catholic bishop, an evangelical professor of moral philosophy, a rabbi and Torah scholar, and a Baptist professor. They were all united in their view that religious liberty is under threat. Precisely one of the witnesses has the same position as the Catholic Church on birth control, so it was clearly not a hearing on religious views of birth control. ...

Pretty important

Recall all the stories how Michelle Bachmann might have a Catholic problem because of past Church's views.

The Missouri Synod hold similar views that so many were calling problematic for Congresswoman Bachmann.

However I have huge doubts neither the media , nor many Catholics of , will get the importance of this speech by the leader of the Missouri Synod Lutherans. This again is not a "contraception issue" but a much bigger religious liberty issue. It is time some get out of the very small Catholic bubble and realize that. Vid is above . Here are his remarks in full.

Good Look At Media Coverage of the TAX THE CHURCH issue in Italy

Everytime the Church raises it's voice in the public square voices come to say TAX the Church.

We in the USA have been hearing a good bit of that this year.

Get Religion has a great piece looking at the Tax the Church issue in Italy. See Idealism and Italian taxes . I like this article because it looks at the different stances of the Italian papers which is fun in itself. I noted with amusement a major Church owned paper has to point out what I point out here to the Tax the Church crowd. That is you can't really tax the Church and not other stuff. They say

it should be remembered for the umpteenth time, this category [tax exempt institutions] is not identical with the Catholic Church, it includes properties of faiths who have registered with the the state and extends to all non-profit entities. Without this necessary clarification (that often the media tends to “forget” as happened yesterday), they will want to read the full official statement

It's an interesting article plus in the last paragraph they talk perhaps bigger issues that lurking under the surface.