No matter what happens in November, let us remember who has the real power

For what it’s worth here’s my political commentary regarding the impending election this November, and beyond.

First and foremost, the love that we have for our friends, families, and neighbors will always remain, no matter what we hear on the “news” or read on social media. Human relationships are more important than politics. (Mt.22:39) It is important to stay engaged with one another and not shut each other out simply because we disagree. We can have our different opinions and still love one another.

So, from what perspective do I view the current state of our nation? A few Sundays ago, on July 24, in the first reading (Gen.18:20-32) we hear of the great “outcry against Sodom” where Abraham wonders if God will destroy the city if there are 10 innocent people in it. Of what great sin was Sodom guilty? The explanatory notes in my study bible state: “According to the present account of the Yahwist, the sin of Sodom was homosexuality (Gn.19,4f), which therefore also known as sodomy; but according to Isaiah (1,9f;3,9), it was a lack of social justice; Ezekiel (16,46-51) described it as a disregard for the poor, whereas Jeremiah (23,14) saw it as general immorality.”

I was thinking that in this country we are guilty of pretty much all of these. But how did this happen? How did we get to this point as a culture? Was it the government’s fault? Or ‘we the people’? Pope Francis stated that these atrocities often occur “under the silent gaze of all.” This “silent gaze” certainly can be attributed in part to the media or government when they intentionally withhold information that would benefit people for the purpose of forwarding an agenda.

However, I also am guilty of participating in this ‘silent gaze’ as well. I sometimes avoid my responsibilities and ascribe the problems in our country EXCLUSIVELY to those in power, our political leaders, or the media, which gives them more influence than they should have. This also absolves me of my responsibility to work for the common good.

I should make sure that my own house is in order, stay informed on important issues, engaged in our political process, speak the truth with love when needed, and vote with a properly formed conscience. For example, it is no surprise to those who know me that I do not support the taking of pre-born human life. But what am I doing to fight against what I believe is wrong? Do I leave it up to our government? Or do I volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers or houses of hospitality like Maggie’s Place to give women viable options or to provide a positive male role model ? Do I donate funds to help women acquire the necessities of child-rearing, diapers, food, clothing, etc.? Or do I depend on government programs to do this? The cumulative effects of these seemingly insignificant deeds are far more effective in transforming our culture than what any politician or government office can achieve. If I am passionate about problems that are vexing our culture – homelessness, human trafficking, child abuse, whatever it may be – than what am I doing about it? The more action that we take at the ground level instead of expecting government to take care of it will naturally siphon power and influence away from out-of-touch, unaccountable bureaucrats. This is known as the principle of subsidiarity and is the best way for a society to remain free. This is also where authentic change occurs, at the ground level, not in Washington. The alternative is an out-of-control, overreaching government that imposes its will on citizens, like we’re experiencing right now. Consequently, individual freedom is eroded and things don’t really improve.

Politicians will screw things up, they always do. Our forefathers knew this and set the framework intended to limit a tyrannical government in our founding documents. But we have to do our part as well. We cannot relinquish our responsibilities to fool-hearted politicians whose moral center shifts with the current fashions and trends or poll numbers. “But the heart of fools is inconsistent, because, in exhibiting itself as variable and changeable, it never remains what it was.” (St. Gregory The Great).

In the Gospel reading of ‘The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat’ (Mt.13:24-30) we hear about the present state of our world where there are both good and bad people, the wheat and the weeds. Just as the workers are told not to pull up the weeds because they might uproot the wheat with them, Jesus warns his disciples “not to attempt to anticipate the final judgment of God by a definitive exclusion of sinners from the Kingdom.” I do not hold many politicians in high regard, but it is not my job to condemn unscrupulous people. “The judgment of God alone will eliminate the sinful. Until then there must be patience and the preaching of repentance.” PATENCE! Oy-vey!

Still, I plan on voting, and not for the lesser of two evils. Fr. Frank Pavone, who works tirelessly for the millions of people who Hillary Clinton believes do not have constitutional rights, stated that we can never vote for evil, but that we can vote to limit evil.
Our bloated bureaucratic behemoth of a government is totally clueless as to the root problems that are tearing this country down. But a tiny nun from Skopje, Macedonia described exactly what ails our nation: “In developed countries there is a poverty of intimacy of spirit, of loneliness, of lack of love. There is no greater sickness today than that one. Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the worst, the most terrible poverty of all. One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.” (St. Teresa of Calcutta)

Government officials know very little about the “intimacy of spirit.” So, I’ll try my best to work at those little things that are insignificant in the eyes of the world, but are of great value in the eyes of God (1 Cor.1:25)…and continue to pray a whole lot.

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“We the people’

I’m going to anger both conservatives & liberals in this post, but I’m at the stage of life where I really don’t care. Remember in 1992 when Bill Clinton campaign strategist James Carville stated “It’s the economy stupid?” Well, it’s really not the economy that’s ailing our nation, it’s the “molten calf”  In Ex.32:7-14 we here, yet again how the Israelites “turned aside from the way I (God) pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf & worshiping it.”

There is a whole bunch of anger & consternation swirling around this impending election about who will be our next president. Both conservatives & liberals are convinced that if the other side wins it will mean the end of our nation. However, we’ve had our share of both left & right leaning presidents over the past 250 years of this nation’s history, yet I don’t think that any reasonably intelligent person would deny that our nation is in decline. We are no different than any other once great civilization that pushes aside God’s commands. We build up a military to the point where we fear no outside threat, yet we experience a gradual & persistent moral decay from the inside which leaves us vulnerable to any number of threats, physical & spiritual.

“The life of a country is much more than its material development and its power in the world.  A nation needs a soul.  It needs the wisdom and courage to overcome the moral ills and spiritual temptations inherent in its march through history.”St. John Paul II

Our nation’s fathers crafted a brilliant foundational document which fostered an individual freedom for her citizens unlike any other nation in history which allowed for the accumulation of personal wealth on an unprecedented scale. But we worship the ‘molten calf’ of material possessions when we think that we need a $50,000 SUV & 3,500 sq. ft. house for two kids when many of our neighbors are hungry or have no place to live. Maybe I could simplify my life to free up more of my resources to help the truly needy.
We worship the ‘molten calf’ of sodomy & death when our nation changes the God ordained institution of marriage & slaughters millions of children on the altar of ‘reproductive freedom.’

I’m not saying that we should abdicate our political involvement. Political apathy has contributed mightily to our nation’s decay. But it won’t be our political leaders who will make or break our nation. Many of them are willing to and already have sold their souls for corporate money & the support of powerful agenized activist groups. Just because some of our lawmakers have bowed to political pressure to enact unjust laws doesn’t mean that we have to follow them:

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We the people” are the soul of our nation. Our nation will survive or continue to rot from the inside because of her citizens, not the person in the White House. That’s the way our founding fathers designed it.
“Listen to my voice; then I will be your God & you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.
But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.”
(Jer.7:23-28)

 

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We cause most of our problems; no seriously, we really do!

 

 

This minute and a half clip from ‘The Passion of the Christ’ shows the Sanhedrin and crowd ignorantly demanding the release of Barabbas and condemnation of Jesus.  The Sanhedrin are only interested in protecting their narrow version of Scripture and fear this mysterious man who has the audacity to claim that He is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophesies.  The rabid crowd does not understand their inherent human dignity and worth as beloved children of God.  As we watch Barabbas, a murderous and vile man who will continue to hurt people walk into the midst of the crowd I cannot help but make the connection between the fact that we today, over 2,000 years later still ignorant of our inherent dignity & worth still demand things that ultimately hurt us. We welcome into our midst “reproductive rights” and end up constructing laws which permit the killing of tens of millions of innocent children and contribute to the dehumanization of the human person. We want rampant capitalism in order to maximize profits which often damage the environment and treats workers as if they’re commodities. In our selfish desire to redefine God’s wise design for marriage we blindly try to naturalize the unnatural & elevate sodomy, let’s be frank, anal intercourse, to the same level as the beautiful and holy one flesh union between husband and wife which is willed by God (Gn.2:24).  We continue to demand  unbridled sexual freedom which has decimated the human family, caused so much sexual confusion, pain and heartache with pornography, violence toward women & children, divorce, STDs, children growing up in chaotic home situations, men objectifying women & women willingly ingesting harmful artificial chemicals that alter the nature of their bodies. We demand the right to kill ourselves & those whom we deem as not worthy to live.

So why do we who are supposedly more enlightened than the rabid crowd in the courtyard of Pontius Pilot still clamor for ‘Barabbas’ to enter into our society, our homes, our personal lives?

 

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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, social 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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