Bravery? Admiration?

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/05/07/lily-tomlin-jane-fonda-grace-frankie

First off I apologize for the angry attitude to folks with same sex attraction who I know and love, especially those who heroically choose to live a chaste life.  Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin were interviewed on National Public Radio’s ‘Here and Now’ show about their Netflix sitcom ‘Grace And Frankie’ which debuted May 8th.  The show is about these two older women (Fonda & Tomlin) whose husbands are business partners. The women find out that the men are lovers and leave their wives for each other.  About 4 minutes into the 11 minute interview the show’s host makes the statement that it’s hard to know which of the show’s characters to sympathize with. Fonda states that all of the characters deserve sympathy. Then she makes a statement that really chaps my ass. She states, “The men are brave enough to come out and stand up to who they are, and ah, that’s to be admired.”

So, if a man leaves his wife for another woman he’s a two-timing son of a bitch. But if he leaves his wife for another man, he’s considered “brave” and “to be admired.”

I would love to ask Ms. Fonda that if I left my wife after 32 years of marriage for another man would she consider me “brave” and “to be admired.” Leaving one’s spouse for another violates a God made covenant, wrecks lives and contributes mightily to the moral and economic decay of society. Have we been sufficiently bludgeoned with fear of retribution from the homosexual agenda movement that we now give a free pass to persons with same sex attraction to behave terribly? Could someone PLEEEEZE help me make some sense of this?

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Happy Puppets

‘Blind Man’s Zoo’ by 10,000 Maniacs; 26 years after this CD came out I still like listening to it, Natalie Merchant is such a distinctive vocalist/performer. I was listening to this CD the other day on my way to Cle. Hts. to  see my beautiful daughter & her family when the lyrics to the song ‘YOU HAPPY PUPPET’ really struck me. Merchant sings,

            “HOW DID THEY TEACH YOU TO BE JUST A HAPPY PUPPET DANCING ON A STRING? HOW DID YOU LEARN EVERYTHING THAT COMES ALONG WITH A SLAVISH FUNNERY? TELL ME SOMETHING, IF THE WORLD IS SO INSANE, IS IT MAKING YOU SANE AGAIN TO LET ANOTHER MAN TUG AT THE THREAD THAT PULLS UP YOUR NODDING HEAD?”

It occurred to me that when we slavishly follow our progressive culture it is the popular ‘fashions & trends’ that pull the threads that  nod our heads. They teach us how to behave, what to say, how to look, what to believe. They do this by persuading us to abandon our true identity for a false & fleeting lie, a lie that tells us our value is based on something other than our inherent dignity & worth as a beloved daughter or son of the Author of Life.

Merchant continues;

“HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO LIVE IN THIS TINY STAGE YOU CAN’T LEAVE?… A DULLARD STRUNG ON THE WIRE. WHEN THE MASTER’S GONE YOU HANG THERE WITH YOUR EYES AND YOUR LIMBS SO LIFELESS.”

We create our ‘tiny stage’ when we make ourselves the center of the universe believing that everything begins and ends with me. It is ironic that when we push aside objective truth and create our own truth we weave the threads that control our heads. Threads that are firmly attached to a world that cares little for our well-being and has no clue as to what we truly need.

Enjoy the song, listen to the lyrics. The late Robert Buck’s guitar work is always a treat for the ears.

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What Happened to Common Sense?

 “Common sense could not understand that it was possible to exterminate tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews,” —Yitzhak Zuckerman, a leader of the Jewish resistance in Warsaw (US Holocaust Memorial Museum)

Above is a picture of a pile of corpses in the Buchenwald concentration camp after liberation in May of 1945. If you have the stomach for it, you can search for pictures of a late-term aborted baby.  One is thought of as a horrible crime against humanity and the other is a legally protected right.  Yom Ha Shoah, or Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, was Wednesday, April 15th.  PBS had some very good TV specials in remembrance of what happened 70 years ago. While watching some of these programs my wife and I were mystified as to how it was possible for an entire class of people to have absolutely no rights, to be thought of as disposable.  It is difficult for us to comprehend how the Nazis were able to accomplish this in a civilized culture.  What did people know at the time?  Were people aware of what was happening?  If they knew about it, why wasn’t there more resistance?  If they didn’t know about it, how were they deceived

“The (Nazi) regime practiced a propaganda of deception by hiding specific details about the “Final Solution,” and press controls prevented Germans from reading statements by Allied and Soviet leaders condemning German crimes.”  (From ‘Deceiving the Public’ United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.)

A thought occurred to me: the same thing is happening today in 2015.  Once again, an entire class of people have no rights and are considered disposable.  The difference is that today, a majority of people are aware of what’s happening.  But, like 70 years ago, I believe that many people are again being deceived by a “propaganda of deception.”  Only this current “propaganda of deception” is perpetuated by the media and politicians. Expectant mothers are deceived and victimized by influential  politicians and an agendized media; they and their babies are the casualties of a new holocaust.

Consider the “press controls” exercised by our media during the Dr. Kermit Gosnell murder trial.  In her USA Today op-ed piece, Kristen Powers questioned why there was such media hysteria when Rush Limbaugh verbally attacked Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke but “accusations of babies having their heads severed — a major human rights story if there ever was one — doesn’t make the cut.”  Conor Friedersdorf, staff writer at The Atlantic, questions why, in Gosnell’s medical office, the fact that “white women were attended to by a doctor and black women were pawned off on clueless untrained staffers” was not considered newsworthy.  Since when is such a blatant example of racial prejudice not worthy of media attention?  If this happened anywhere else other than in the office of an abortionist it most surely would have been front-page news.  Why all the secrecy?

The Nazis also prevented the public from details of their “Final Solution” the same way that our media and politicians ‘protect’ the general public from the details of what happens to millions of children during abortion procedures. The Nazis effectively used deceptive euphemisms to hide their murderous intentions:

 “German officials stamped ‘evacuated,’ a word with neutral connotations, on the passports of Jews deported from … Germany and Austria to the ‘model’ ghetto at Theresienstadt, near Prague, or to ghettos in the East. German bureaucrats characterized deportations from the ghettos as ‘resettlements,’ though such ‘resettlement’ usually ended in death.”  (See above)

German officials used words like “evacuated” or “resettlement” which usually meant starvation or gas chamber.   Politicians today also use words with neutral connotations like ‘reproductive rights,’ ‘terminate a pregnancy,’ and ‘choice.’ When Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz speaks of ‘reproductive rights,’ she may be referring to the saline injection procedure where “The doctor inserts a long needle through the mother’s abdomen and injects a saline solution into the sac of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. The baby is poisoned by swallowing the salt and his skin is completely burned away. It takes about an hour to kill the baby.” (prochoice.com). When Hillary Rodham Clinton mentions “terminating a pregnancy,” she could be referring to the dilatation and curettage procedure, where the baby is cut into pieces and scraped out through the cervix. When our president uses the word “choice,” he could mean the suction aspiration procedure, where the child is torn into small pieces by a powerful vacuum, sucked through a tube into a bottle, and discarded.

Seventy years ago the Nazis used the words “evacuated” and “final solution.”  Today politicians use the words “choice” and “reproductive rights.”  Do they mean the same thing?  They both result in the death of millions of innocent people.  So for the people to whom these words were intended – 70 years ago to the Jews, and today to the unborn – these words definitely do mean the same thing.

If Hillary Clinton decided to exercise her “reproductive rights,” would she be at peace with her decision to have her daughter Chelsea poisoned, then burned to death with a concentrated saline solution? Would Barack Obama be at peace if Michelle exercised her “choice” to have their daughter Malia torn into small pieces, sucked into a jar, and thrown away with bio hazard trash?  I wish I could have the opportunity to ask them that question.

In his March 31, 2015 column in “The Blaze” Matt Walsh puts our present day holocaust into perspective:

“About 60 million have been exterminated in this country since 1973, and not a single murder charge was handed down. Sixty million. Think of the Holocaust repeated every decade for one hundred years. That’s the body count we’re dealing with. Only, many of the German Nazis were eventually tried and executed for their crimes, while the American Nazis are treated to banquets with the president.”

Surely what happened 70 years ago could never happen again today, could it?  We live in a much more civil and enlightened culture. Could it ever be possible for a large segment of our society to be sanguine with the knowledge that the law of the land permits the mass destruction of human beings?  It has already happened and a large number of people have indeed been fooled by a “propaganda of deception.”

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Is the visual ‘pop’ really gone?

Here’s the story; the other day Linda and I received our Ursuline Sisters magazine in the mail. The Ursulines have such a rich tradition of serving the needs of people in the Cleveland Diocese since 1850. However with a median age of 75 one wonders how long the sisters will be able to continue to minister in our diocese. This particular issue included an interview with Sr. Erin Zubal. At age 31 Sr. Zubal is the youngest Cleveland Ursuline. She is also Beaumont School’s athletic director. Sr. Zubal said that the number of sisters serving in schools today is far fewer and that they don’t wear habits. “Sisters don’t stand out in appearance,” she notes. “The visual ‘pop’ is gone. The ‘mystery’ of how we live is gone. Our lives are no longer hidden behind a wall, a convent door or a habit. We are living like everyone else, doing the best we can on behalf of the Gospel.” Sr. Zubal believes that the visual ‘pop’ of today’s Ursulines is apparent in the way that they serve mankind. She also believes that the Ursuline legacy will live on with or without Ursuline presence.

1382898_679189625433233_62936160_nHowever, we know of several women’s religious orders which still have the visual ‘pop’ of the habit. The women in these orders also do the best they can on behalf of the Gospel. They are in classrooms, food pantries, drug treatment facilities, and battered women’s shelters.. The big difference between the Ursulines and the orders which still have that visual ‘pop’ of the habit is that the ‘habited’ orders are flourishing. Can it be that simple? Can it be that the reason these orders are growing is because the women in these more orthodox orders wear the traditional habit, live in community – in monasteries or convents – and share time between communal prayer and community service? I’m not a theologian and may be wrong but in my opinion (for what it’s worth) I believe it goes deeper than the chosen dress of different orders. Ursuline President Sr. Susan Durkin gives what I think is a more plausible reason as to why the Ursulines are moving toward extinction. In the magazine she stated “Vowed religious life is undergoing a major change, and our Ursuline life is no exception. We are carefully reading the signs of the times and discerning what God is calling us to do and to be in our world today and in the future.” Like I said, I’m no theologian, however in my experience and from what I know about history, institutions that change with the times rarely survive. I believe that young people today are attracted to authentic, unmovable truth and not the shifting fashions and trends that slavishly follow the “signs of the times.”

Today’s younger generation have witnessed the societal carnage brought about by the seductive lies that my generation bought in the 60s and 70s which told us that we can live as we please without any consequences. Young people thirst for unchanging truth and radical love. The definition of the word radical includes ‘of or going to the root or origin; fundamental.’ G.K. Chesterton once said “People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy.” The more society becomes secularized, the more radical these traditional orthodox orders become. During His public ministry Jesus was considered a radical, and I believe this is why young people are attracted to these radically traditional orders.The_Flying_Nun

So does the religious garb (visual ‘pop’) of these orders matter? I’ll finish with two stories which answer the question for me. Several years ago our family was visiting our oldest daughter who was doing missionary work with an order of Franciscan friars in the South Bronx in New York. One evening our family was walking with some of the Friars in an area that was probably not advisable to be in after dark if you were alone or unarmed. But as we passed one person after another in this rough area of the South Bronx we heard ‘hey Father, how ya doin?’ and ‘good to see ya, Father’ and ‘God bless ya, Father’ and so on. The Friars were immediately recognized as friend, helper, and advocate. And they were not armed with a kevlar vest and side arm, just a grey robe with a white rope tied around the waist, sandals and that awesome beard. At another time our family was walking on Coventry Blvd. in Cleveland Hts. with our oldest daughter who is a Franciscan Sister, TOR. The TORs wear the grey robe, white cord and sandals. It was summer and as we approached a group of young ladies I noticed that they all just kind of looked curiously at our daughter as they walked by. But one of the girls adjusted her skirt a bit so that it was a little less revealing.

Wasn’t it St. 21299_596674097018120_1108203257_nFrancis who said “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words?

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The Wonderful (and terribly misunderstood) Paradox of Catholicism

In my humble opinion “I WILL WAIT” by Mumford & Sons is one of the best love songs out there. It’s a powerful song about how a REAL man sacrifices and controls himself for… his beloved bride. My favorite line in the song goes like this;
“SO TAME MY FLESH / AND FIX MY EYES / A TETHERED MIND FREED FROM THE LIES”
In that line are the words “TETHERED” and “FREED” which represent the awesome Paradox of Catholicism. To tether someone means “To restrict with a tether” (rope or chain). To free someone means “To release or rid from tyranny, to untangle.” How can something that’s tethered be free? Doesn’t make sense, or does it? The world’s idea of freedom is that there should be no restrictions on me and that I should be able to do whatever I want. But as we know this only leads to the “tyranny” of sin, undesired consequences and heartache. In Her wisdom our Mother Church protects us with loving arms to keep us from harm; these loving arms are called Catholic doctrine and discipline. As long as we stay within the loving arms of our Mother Church we’re truly free to enjoy all the wonders of life, but if we push through our Mother’s arms we become entangled in things that hurt us because we are no longer “freed from the lies” of Satan. Make sense?
G.K. Chesterton said that “Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground” and inside these playground walls is where true freedom and authentic joy are found. The next time you’re near a playground with children playing listen for the laughter and screams of delight. Though the children are “tethered” by the playground fence, they are “freed” from the dangers of automobile traffic or abduction, so inside of those playground walls the children are free to be whoever they want, joy overflows and imagination runs WILD!
Enjoy the video; these guys really do kick some ass on stage.

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Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-Mad Madness.

Doing the same thing over & over and expecting different results, or demanding something that is harmful to us; madness or insanity. Why do we continually do this to ourselves? It’s been going on for t…housands of years, you’d think we’d have learned by now. We demanded to worship a freaking golden calf instead of the Author of Love (Ex.32). We demanded a king to enslave us instead of the Giver of authentic freedom (1Sam.6-22). We demand to absolve ourselves of any responsibility for any of our actions & enslave ourselves to inevitable consequences, “The Internal Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a research arm of the World Health Organization classifies estrogen-progestin hormonal contraception as Group 1 Carcinogens. This group of cancer causing agents also includes cigarettes & asbestos.” So what, I demand to put this into my body! MADNESS!!
This video really has nothing to do with the previous words, cept the title & I like the song, also, Muse’s Matthew Bellamy hits some amazing notes.

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We Build Our Own Prisons

In 1982 Peter Gabriel released a solo album titled Security. On that album is a song called Wallflower, which is about the treatment of political prisoners in Latin America in the 1980s.  Gabriel chose that song to appear on his latest release, New Blood, where he sings with an orchestra. His phenomenal voice together with the haunting melody of that song make it incredible to experience.  Google the lyrics, read along, watch, listen & enjoy! 
 

To me the song parallels the self-imposed prison where many of us find ourselves today, particularly if we’ve fallen under the influence of ‘the world.’ Some of the lyrics from Wallflower are:

“They put you in a box so you can’t get heard,
They feed you lies
Loaded questions from clean white coats
They tell you how to behave.”

THEY put you in a box, THEY feed you lies, THEY tell you how to behave. Who the hell are THEY?  For the people in Latin America THEY are political thugs who imprison those who think differently than they do. However, for many people today in free, wealthy, industrialized nations, THEY are us: We who have departed from who we truly are, and who now espouse and follow a hedonistic ideology which places pleasure as the supreme good. An ideology which is easier, more seductive, and as old as humanity. We search for freedom down the wrong path while we build our own cages. Blessed John Paul II once said “The Ten Commandments are the law of freedom: not the freedom to follow our blind passions, but the freedom to love, to choose what is good in every situation, even when to do so is a burden.”      

There’s less resistance in following our blind passions, but we inevitably end up imprisoning ourselves. “Hedonism is not an expression of freedom, it is a passport to the enslavement of a thousand addictions” (Matthew Kelly).  For instance, we insist on the right to violate the sixth commandment so that we are “free” to have indiscriminant sexual encounters. But we then enslave our bodies to cancer causing hormonal contraceptives and mess up the environment. St. Vincent de Paul once said “He who allows himself to be ruled or guided by the lower and animal part of his nature deserves to be called a beast rather than a man.”  Beasts belong in cages. 

But there is always hope, Gabriel sings, “Hold on, hold on…Let your spirit stay unbroken, may you not be deterred…They do not see your road to freedom, that you build with flesh and bone.”  John Paul II’s words dovetail beautifully with Gabriel’s. “Only his death and resurrection represent true liberation from evil and death.”  The road to freedom was already built with HIS flesh and bone. 

Life and Peace,
Rich & Linda

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