Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Meaning of Obama Election: “America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

November 20, 2008

“America suffered a cultural earthquake.” That’s the point of view of some leaders…. 

A leader in the pro-life and anti-abortion Catholic Church cautioned of a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.

Catholic News Agency

Cardinal James Francis Stafford, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, delivered a lecture on Thursday saying that the future under President-elect Obama will echo Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane. Criticizing Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,” he went on to speak about a decline in respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the values of marriage and human dignity.

Delivered at the Catholic University of America, the cardinal’s lecture was titled “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul,” the student university paper The Tower reports. Hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, his words focused upon Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, whose fortieth anniversary is marked this year.

Commenting on the results of the recent presidential election, Cardinal Stafford said on Election Day “America suffered a cultural earthquake.” The cardinal argued that President-elect Obama had campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform” and predicted that the near future would be a time of trial.

Cardinal James Stafford / President-elect Barack Obama

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” he said, contrasting the year of Humane Vitae’s promulgation with this election year.

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Cardinal Stafford told his audience. Catholics who weep the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” should try to identify with Jesus, who during his agony in the garden was “sick because of love.”

The cardinal attributed America’s decline to the Supreme Court’s decisions such as the 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which imposed permissive abortion laws nationwide.

“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” Cardinal Stafford commented, according to The Tower.

His theological remarks centered upon man’s relationship with God and man’s place in society.

“Man is a sacred element of secular life,” he said, arguing that therefore “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

Cardinal Stafford also touched on the state of the family, saying that the truest reflection of the relationship between the believer and God is the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit within that relationship.

Read the rest:
http://catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=14355

How Old is Too Old? You Make Your Case and You Stay Or Go….

November 15, 2008

College football coach Steve Spurrier said today on the ESPN pre-game show that he would stop coaching before he was in his 70s.  He said he could never be a “figurehead” football coach like Joe Paterno at Penn State or Bobby Bowden at Florida State who both “let their assistant coaches do everything.”

Spurrier in March 2007
Spurrier, head coach of the University of South Carolina football team.

I was taken aback by what, to me, seemed an insult from Spurrier to the older men.  But I am not a rabid football fan any longer and somewhat detached from the sports news.

Apparently Bowden and Paterno have taken a lot of heat and grief for their age, longevity and fading football glory.

Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post wrote on September 26, “Bowden should have been escorted out the door a few years ago surrounded by garnet-and-gold pomp and circumstance for all the glory he has brought the Seminoles. Instead, he’s wandering in the wilderness in his 33rd season at Florida State after warm-up acts at Samford and West Virginia.”

Joe Paterno has suffered similar attacks.

I say if the coach is breathing, enjoys his work and can convince a school that he is important to have in their program then that is between the coach and the school.  Oldster John McCain couldn’t convince voters to elect him but apparently Paterno and Bowden have made their cases successfully so far.

It should be all about performace and never about age.

But we do seem to live in an American culture that dismisses older people quickly; and often too quickly.  My Asian relatives and friends respect, hold close and love their elders much better and longer than many Americans and would never think of sending Mom or dad to a nursing home.  My 90 year old Grandmother makes the food, shops, does laundry and has a bunch of household jobs she would never surrender.

An Ethiopian friend said when he gets older he’ll return to Ethiopia where the older men are respected and not rejected…..

Religion Now Appears to be Dominating Life in Pakistan

November 9, 2008

Returning to Karachi after many years abroad, Mohammed Hanif reflects on how religion now appears to be dominating life in the country.

BBC

Twelve years ago, just before I left Pakistan to work for the BBC in London, an old friend from school tried to recruit me into a militant anti-Shia organisation.

After dropping out from high school, Zulfikar Ahmad had started a motorcycle garage in my native city in central Punjab, and joined one of the sectarian organisations that were flourishing in the area.

Above: Badshai Mosque, Lahore.  By: Geert Vanden Wijngaert 

We had a heated discussion over his politics and I reminded him of a number of common friends who were Shias and were as good or bad Muslims as any of our other classmates.

Visibly unconvinced, Zulfikar gave up on me and wished me luck for my life in London.

His attempt at converting me was one of the many signs of religious intolerance creeping into our lives.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_
correspondent/7715343.stm

Election Will Be Closer Than Many Think

November 3, 2008

It is painless and safe to make public predictions months away from Election Day. But on November 3rd, there’s nothing safe about it.

Yet if there’s any value in handicapping political outcomes beyond the lure of self-promotion—and I think there is—why are so many analysts hiding now?

By Father Johathan Morris
Fox News

I include myself in this gang of suddenly-quiet pundits. In both private conversations and on-air, I’ve wiggled out of many pleas for prophecy. I’ve learned to respect polls as a snapshot in time of a given population and to look beyond them as insufficient barometers of what the sum of voters will do behind the curtain. We mostly hide, or become uncharacteristically nuanced, on November 3rd because we simply don’t know what will happen, and the chances of people remembering our ignorance is just too high.

But today I’ll throw caution (and self-defense) to the wind in the name of the greater good and towards a more honest post-election analysis of where we are as a nation and what matters to us. Once again, if I am reading this correctly, I will repeat what I said on October 16th — the 2008 election will be closer than many polls are saying it will be on the eve of the election.

Today The Huffington Post prominently and proudly displays two of the newest and last polls of the election season, drawing samples from Saturday and Sunday polling results: CBS News gives Senator Obama a thirteen point lead among likely voters and USA / Gallup puts Senator Obama up by eleven points in the same group. Three days ago The New York Times also gave Senator Obama an eleven point lead nationally.

These polls understandably tempt journalists to suggest the race has been “clinched” by Senator Obama (as John King did recently did on CNN). — I hope such predictions won’t affect anyone’s interest in voting.

Here are my reasons for believing the race will be closer than these polls indicate:

1) According to varied professional sources with whom I have spoken, there exists a proportionally high number of potential voters who are refusing to be polled or express their opinion publicly. In a historic, high-octane race like 2008, I believe there are more reasons for a McCain supporter to stay silent than for an Obama supporter. It is understandable to imagine McCain supporters fearing labels such as “racist,” “homophobe,” “single-issue-voter,” “warmonger,” or “against change,” even if the voter is none of these.

2) Similarly, pollsters have reported higher than usual numbers of undecided voters or voters still capable of changing their minds. People know Senator McCain. Do they know Senator Obama well enough to break for him this late in the game?

3) Most importantly, in 2004, pollsters were caught by surprise by the amount of voters who left the polls saying “social issues” were most influential in determining their vote. In 2008, the media has been mostly silent on these causes, focusing instead on the economy and Iraq. This focus ignores an important reality. The “Value Voters” block of mostly Evangelicals and a good percentage of conservative Catholics and others, may indeed be wrapped up in these urgent headlines, but there is no convincing data to suggest they have inverted their voting priorities, turning away from abortion, traditional marriage, limited government, etc. If Senator Kerry’s policy proposals were enough to get this voting block to the booth, Senator Obama’s policies should bring them out in droves.

So there you have my November 3rd take.

And if I’m right and the vote is close in 2008, when the Democratic Party has every political reason to wipe out the Republicans, it will mean our country rejects major elements of Senator Obama’s plan to revolutionize important American values, beginning with the right to life. Then the Democratic Party may see the benefit of freeing itself from the stranglehold of the culture of death, forced upon it by extreme, and extremely powerful, interest groups. What a relief it would be for “Values Voters” to have a viable alternative to the very imperfect Republican Party.

And what is your November 3rd prediction?

God bless,

Father Jonathan

Click here to watch Father Jonathan discuss “value voters” with FNC’s Bill Hemmer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EmBhM4HLL0

Father Jonathan Morris is author of the new book, “The Promise: God’s Purpose and Plan for when Life Hurts”. For more information click here.

Transcript of Pope Benedict’s Remarks to Young Americans on Life, Hope, Prayer

April 20, 2008

From Peace and Freedom

On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI addressed compelling remarks to all young Americans while appearing at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Yonkers, New York.

We at Peace and Freedom believe this address, among all the Pope’s fine talks and sermons this week in the United States, provided the most stirring message. 

Below is a sample of that sermon and then you’ll find a link to the entire text.

Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary ... 
Pope Benedict XVI waves before leaving Saint Joseph Seminary following a meeting with the youth in New York April 19, 2008. Pope Benedict visited Ground Zero, site of the World Trade Center destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, on Sunday to pray for the nearly 3,000 victims and their families and for an end to hatred and violence.REUTERS/Max Rossi
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On April 19, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI gave the remarks below at the Seminary of St. Joseph in Yonkers, New York.

“What happens when people, especially the most vulnerable, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope? A first group of examples pertains to the heart. Here, the dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed. I am thinking of those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation — especially of girls and women. While the causes of these problems are complex, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects ? a callousness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being….”

“At times…  we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage!”

“What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer. God by his very nature speaks, hears, and replies. Indeed, Saint Paul reminds us: we can and should “pray constantly” (1 Thess 5:17). Far from turning in on ourselves or withdrawing from the ups and downs of life, by praying we turn towards God and through him to each other, including the marginalized and those following ways other than God’s path (cf. Spe Salvi, 33)….”

“There is another aspect of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3; Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness….”

Related:
Pope at St. Patrick’s in New York: We Owe Bishop Hughes

Read the entire transcript of the Pope’s remarks:
Papal Message at St. Joseph’s Seminary, New York
http://peace-and-freedom.blogspot.com/2008/04/papal-message-at-st-joshephs-new-york.html
Petersdom von Engelsburg gesehen.jpg
St. Peter’s, Rome

Pope Benedict Encourages Young Americans, Seminarians

April 20, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI focused on the future of his American church Saturday as he marked the third anniversary of his election as pontiff, rallying young people, priests and seminarians and assuring them of his support as they dealt with the damage from the clergy sex abuse scandal.

On a highly personal day, Benedict spoke of suffering under Nazism in his youth and, at another point, touched on his own “spiritual poverty.” He added that he hoped to be a worthy successor to St. Peter, considered the first pope.

Benedict began the day with a Mass at St. Patrick’s cathedral. The building was packed with cardinals and bishops, priests and nuns, who cheered him to mark the day he succeeded Pope John Paul II on April 19, 2005.

The German-born pope lamented that what he called “the joy of faith” was often choked by cynicism, greed and violence. Yet he drew an analogy to show how faith can overcome distractions and trials.

In America, he has said repeatedly, the religious intensity stands out in marked contrast to the tepid spiritual emphasis in his native Europe. That makes the U.S. a testing ground for him in his bid to counter secular trends in the world.

Benedict later was driven to St. Joseph’s Seminary in nearby Yonkers, for a rally with young Catholics and seminarians. Upon arriving he blessed about 50 disabled youngsters in the seminary chapel. Two small girls gave him a painting and a hug.

The pope got a hero’s welcome at the youth rally from a festive crowd of 25,000, which burst into wild cheers when Benedict first acknowledged them from the stage. The shy theologian took time to reach out and shake hands with the ecstatic faithful in the front rows.

During his speech at the rally, Benedict reflected on the repression of his own youth under Nazism. He urged the young people and seminarians to carry on the faith while enjoying the liberties that they were fortunate to have.

“My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers,” he said making a rare reference to his own life. “Its influence grew — infiltrating schools ands civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion — before it was fully recognized for the monster it was.”

At the end of the St. Patrick’s service, Benedict was clearly moved when his top assistant, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, read a tribute for the third anniversary.

Benedict told the crowd of 3,000 that “I am deeply thankful” for the support they showed him, and for “your love, your prayers.” The pope said that he, like St. Peter, was a “man with his faults.”

Read the Pope’s remarks:
Transcript of Pope Benedict’s Remarks to Young Americans on Life, Hope, Prayer

God Is On The Battlefield; Troops Have to Be Ready

March 10, 2008

By William Blazek 
Washington Post – Newsweek

Their sudden departure from this world reminds me to keep myself in right relationship with God….

You may want to say this prayer yourself, in case your chopper goes down tonight. Given the way the end surprised my men, I certainly will. Eternal rest give unto them, O
Lord….

Read the rest:
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guest
voices/2008/03/preparing_for_the_end_death_
in.html

UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter

Harry Potter, Gay Life and “Question Authority”

October 24, 2007

By Ben Shapiro
Townhall
October 24, 2007

I  am not a fan of the Harry Potter series. Nonetheless, I, like every other sentient human being, know something about Harry Potter. Most of my friends are fans. My three younger sisters are fans. I’ve seen the movies. I’ve read small portions of several of the books.So when J.K. Rowling announced last week that Albus Dumbledore, the aged headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was gay, I was somewhat confused. When did the old dude with the funky beard turn into Gore Vidal?  

According to Rowling, Dumbledore was always Gore Vidal. At a Carnegie Hall reading, one of Rowling’s fans asked whether Dumbledore had ever found “true love.” “Dumbledore is gay,” Rowling gleefully responded. Dumbledore was apparently in love with his rival, Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling explained. Dumbledore’s homosexual crush, Rowling stated, was his “great tragedy.” Rowling went on to label the Harry Potter books a “prolonged argument for tolerance” and told her fans to “question authority.”

Read the rest:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/BenShapiro/
2007/10/24/dumbledore_waves_the_rainbow_flag

Related:
Another Reason to Avoid “Harry Potter” Books

Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Kids reading fewer books despite Harry Potter hoopla

Priest Says Harry Potter Helps Devil, Evil

Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction

Winning is the only thing: Ambitious to a Fault

October 18, 2007

By Robert J. Samuelson
The Washington Post
Thursday, October 18, 2007; Page A25

A great strength of American society is the drive to succeed — well, not just to succeed but to do better than anyone else; to be a star, a tycoon, an authority, a power, a celebrity or a leader; to be admired, respected, feared or obeyed more than your peers. It is the belief in these possibilities that motivates countless Americans to strive for excellence, to work hard, and to search for new discoveries and inventions. As for one of the great weaknesses of American society, see all of the above.

It is an enduring paradox of the American condition. There is a point at which ambition and the determination to succeed, which generally serve us well, turn destructive, corrupting and dishonest. Success becomes its own god. Winning is what matters; the methods or consequences count little or not at all.

The latest reminder of the paradox comes from three recent cases: Bill Belichick, the coach of the New England Patriots; runner Marion Jones; and trial lawyer William Lerach. Belichick had opponents’ defensive signals videotaped, contrary to explicit National Football League rules; Jones admitted taking illegal drugs around the time of the 2000 Olympics; and Lerach pleaded guilty to illegally hiring plaintiffs as fronts for filing suits against companies. Belichick got off fairly easy (a $500,000 fine), but the others did not. Jones has returned five medals (three gold, two bronze) won at the Sydney Olympics, and Lerach faces $8 million of penalties and at least a year in jail.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/17/
AR2007101702117.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction

July 23, 2007

94 percent of the Founding Fathers’ quotes in 15,000 documents were based on the Bible.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 23, 2007

Because of an essay of mine about the Harry Potter book series (link at the end of this essay), I have already received many emails asking, “What makes you think the Founders of our nation really believed in God? Many didn’t go to church.”

Well, here is some of what I do know, based upon years of reading history (and not fiction and fantasy like the Harry Potter books).

Prayer goes hand-in-hand with hope; and America was founded by men deeply governed by their hope and prayer and belief in God.

The Founding Fathers established the United States, wrote the Declaration of Independence; the Bill of Rights and the Constitution; and created a nation firmly rooted in the belief in God and freedom of religion protected by the separation of church and state.

Many of the Founders and their forefathers fled Europe to escape religious persecution.  They wanted this new nation to allow them freedom of religion and thus the very nation is rooted in a belief in God.

The Declaration of Independence starts this way: “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

After signing the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, who was called “the firebrand of the American Revolution,” affirmed his obedience to God by stating, “We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom alone men ought to be obedient. From the rising to the setting of the sun, may His kingdom come.”

James Madison, the fourth president, made the following statement, “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

Madison is often referred to as “The Father of Our Constitution.”
Page one of the original copy of the Constitution
Page one of the original copy of the Constitution

When historians at the University of Houston conducted a 10-year study of the ideas that shaped our republic, they found 94 percent of the Founding Fathers’ quotes in 15,000 documents were based on the Bible.

“God created all men equal,” one of the most fundamental and important acclamations of our government, became an underlying reason for the Civil War, a fundamental reason for the Emancipation Proclamation and a keynote of equality ever since.

Every president of the United States is sworn into office, by reciting an oath while he has one hand on the Bible. The oath ends, “So help me God.”

Every session of Congress since 1777 commenced with a prayer by a minister paid by the taxpayers. (Just today my wife and I attended Catholic Mass at the “Cathedral” adjacent to Catholic University in Washington D.C.  The celebrant was the Catholic Chaplain to the U.S. Congress.)

Every military service of the United States pays uniformed religious ministers for the officers and men in service. These ministers are from all faiths that recognize the importance of God in human life.  Nearly every base has a chapel.

The Ten Commandments are carved into the doors of the Supreme Court and appear prominently in the court’s chambers.Every piece of U.S. currency bears the words “In God We Trust.”

In America, you are even free to start your own religion. Nobody (except possibly the Internal Revenue Service) will interfere, so long as you don’t do anything outside the normal bounds of decent behavior.

So, as we all celebrate the blessings of American freedom, justice and government every day, perhaps we should reflect upon the roots and tenets of our democracy. We are not a Godless people. Or are we?

Yes, our democracy is evolving and we are open and accepting to that evolution. But let us not allow the evolution to turn into a careless revolution or even an unintended erosion of the principles by which we live and we are governed.I am one of those historians that thinks the Founders were pretty smart. Their belief in God, hope and prayer encourages me every day.

Sadly, some and maybe many in our society have moved away from a belief in God and toward beliefs in other things. Money? Drugs? Sex? Harry Potter? I don’t know what all.

I just think there is some merit in reviewing the work of our Founders. It’s time well spent. And certainly time better spent than reading Harry Potter.

The essay that prompted the one above is:
Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Related:
Priest Says Harry Potter Helps Devil, Evil

“The great good news about America — The American gospel, if you will – is that religion shapes the life of the nation without strangling it. Belief in God is central to the country’s experience, yet for the broad center faith is a matter of choice, not coercion and the legacy of the Founding is that the center holds.”
–John Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek, is also the author of, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation.