Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Thursday that he respects Pope Francis after bashing the pontiff earlier in the day for criticizing his plan to build a border wall.
"He has a lot of personality," Trump said during the CNN town hall on Thursday night in South Carolina. "He's very different, he's a very different kind of a guy, and I think he's doing a very good job. A lot of energy."
Earlier on Thursday, Trump said the pope publicly questioned his faith with a statement that said building walls "is not Christian." Trump called a religious leader questioning a person's faith "disgraceful."
But he told CNN's Anderson Cooper that after seeing the pope's actual statements, it seems nicer than what was originally portrayed.
"I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media," he said.
Trump added that the pope only knew one side of the story.
"Somehow the government of Mexico spoke with the pope. I mean, they spent a lot of time with the pope, and by the time they left, they made the statement," he said.
Asked what he thought the Mexican government's role was, Trump said, "they probably talked about 'isn't it terrible that Mr. Trump wants to have border security,' " he said.
"I think that he heard one side of the story, which is probably by the Mexican government," he said.
But Trump said the bottom line is that the country needs stronger border security.
"I don't like fighting with the pope, actually. I don't think this is a fight," he said.
The Vatican has also weighed in after the fact:
Spokesperson for @Pontifex clarifies: comments on Trump weren't "personal attack"
In a shallow waste of time, energy, effort, and taxpayers’ money, KY State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian introduces this vindictive idiocy as legislation, even though she “concedes her bill will have little practical effect on the new law, she said the measure was written to hit opponents where it hurts”.
(CNN)Angered by a new law requiring women receive medical counseling at least 24 hours before an abortion, a Kentucky lawmaker decided she was going to "strike a nerve" with her political opponents -- in particular, the men.
State Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Louisville Democrat, has introduced a bill that would require any man seeking a prescription for drugs to treat erectile dysfunction -- such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra -- to "have two office visits on two different calendar days" before receiving the desired medication.
Marzian's House Bill 396 would only allow married men access to the treatments and call on them to "produce a signed and dated letter" demonstrating the consent of their current spouse. They would also have to give a sworn statement -- "hand on a Bible" -- that the prescription would only be used for sex with their legal partners.
"As a woman and a pro-choice woman and as an elected official, I am sick and tired of men -- mostly white men -- legislating personal, private medical decisions," Marzian, a retired nurse and 22-year statehouse veteran, told CNN. "It's none of their business."
Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law a bill beefing up the state's "informed consent" requirement for women seeking an abortion. Previously, patients could listen to a phone recording that listed the potential health risks associated with the procedure. Now, women will have to speak to a medical professional in person or via video teleconference.
Passage of the new restriction set off a social media campaign against Bevin and anti-abortion lawmakers, and while Marzian concedes her bill will have little practical effect on the new law, she said the measure was written to hit opponents where it hurts.
"When I put this out here, I thought, you know, I will strike a nerve because what is more sacred to men than their ability to have sexual intercourse?" she said with a laugh. "Let's regulate that."
"I think it illustrates how intrusive it is," Marzian continued, "how wrong it is, for any type of government, whether it's state legislature, whether it's Donald Trump, inserting themselves into personal, private medical decisions."
Flippant attitudes and petty actions like this are not helpful. Not helpful to her own cause (no tragedy there), but also not helpful to women in general. I wish women would quit doing things that reinforce the stereotype already.
It was not his vulgarity, his coarse language, his sexist attacks, or his crude aggressive name calling.
It was not his lies, mendacity, manipulation and innate dishonesty.
It was not his fake tan, fake teeth, fake hair and fake face.
It was not his history of buying politicians, scheming to grab property from old ladies, planned bankruptcies and running casinos.
It was not his bragging, racism, boasting and megalomania.
It was that little question thrown at him which turned out to be a curve ball.
The question was something like, “Who in your life is able to challenge you and say you are wrong? From whom do you take criticism?”
He stuttered and stammered before hemmed and hawed after saying weakly that his wife tells him when he’s wrong. He then went on to his usual line about how his is a winner, he is a billionaire. He is a successful businessman.
This, combined with his admission that he has “never said sorry to God” and “never apologized for anything” shows the true heart of darkness in Donald Trump.
If a man cannot see that he has done wrong and apologize and accept an apology, then it is impossible for him to repent, and if it is impossible for him to repent, then that man is lost. His heart is the same as that other beautiful created being who, from the beginning and forever is not able to bow his head or bow his knee.
Then someone else noticed a chilling detail from the first moments of the debate.
I was not sure what to expect from one of the most influential Catholics in the country. Scalia has a son who is a priest, so I assumed his faith would be alive. But I wondered if it would be the dry faith of a powerful intellectual or a faith that would inspire. It turned out to be the latter.
Scalia began his talk by considering the etymology of the word cretin and pointing out that the origins of the word may have derived from the French word for Christian, chretien. And truly, Scalia pointed out, members of Christianity, from the beginning of its history, have been considered fools for believing such things as miracles, particularly the miracle of the Resurrection.
But Scalia argued that it isn’t irrational to accept the testimony of eyewitnesses to miracles. “What is irrational,” he said, “is to reject a priori, with no investigation, the possibility of miracles in general and of Jesus Christ’s resurrection in particular — which is, of course, precisely what the worldly wise do.”
Scalia then went on to discuss the roots of this scorn for deep faith, even in the United States, a country that is widely considered to be deeply Christian from its very beginning. But Scalia pointed out that even among our Founding Fathers, this scorn for anything without sound rational basis (in their opinion) was evident.
Thomas Jefferson, a son of the Enlightenment, once revised the Gospels to “remove the gold from the dross.” Jefferson was convinced that the Gospels had some worthy information and some information that was added later by his “superstitious biographers.” Jefferson’s version of the life of Jesus removed the miracles, included some of Jesus’ ethical teachings, and then ended abruptly with Jesus’ death and the stone rolling over the tomb.
Scalia then went on to talk about a more modern example of the blindness of a rationalism gone too far. A priest near his home in DC was discovered to have the stigmata and statues would weep when he was near them. A Washington Postreporter witnessed the statue weeping and could only say, “There has to be a trick here.” Scalia asked the crowded room why non-believers don’t flock to places like this to verify for themselves. The answer is obvious he said, “The wise do not investigate such silliness.”
The wise do not investigate such things as the Resurrection or miracles because they believe they are informed enough about the world to know that such things are impossible. Therefore, they assume that people who actually believe in miracles are foolish and peasant-like. But they base their beliefs, not on investigation, but on flat out rejection of the possibility.
I can certainly relate to this arrogance. When I was an atheist, I disdained Christianity and believed that Christians were ignorant because their views did not fit in with my world view. This type of thinking is rampant in our society and is only too evident with discussion regarding such things as the Catholic view of contraception or Christian beliefs regarding marriage. The point of view of the wise is that only bigoted idiots would believe the things we believe. There can be no other explanation in the minds of the worldly wise. Our point of view is not even thought of as rational enough to be considered.
Scalia ended his talk by considering St. Thomas More, a man who died to defend a corrupt Church and papacy, and considered by many, including his wife, to be a fool for accepting martyrdom. More gave his life because he refused to sign an oath that disparaged the pope and Henry VII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Scalia pointed out that Pope Clement XII, the pope during the time of More, was not one of the most reputable popes in history. And yet, More saw beyond the current circumstances and believed in the permanence of the Church that Jesus established.
As Scalia’s talk came to a close, he said to the crowded room, “I hope to impart to you the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity.”
She's got more and it's well worth the link click to read the rest.
May the good Lord grant perpetual rest to Justice Scalia. And may He grant wisdom to this country in finding a replacement.
I drink coffee only on Thursdays. This is partly because I am a weirdly patterned person. It’s also because I feel insecure ordering my preferred tea at a coffee shop; it’s like ordering a salad at a steakhouse. But the main reason I drink coffee on Thursdays is because that’s the day I take a little sign that says “Free Prayer”and sit at a local coffee shop for a few hours.
I like to think I have great ideas, but good advice gets all the credit for my work as a first-call parish pastor. One mentor and professor, for example, shared this: “As pastors, the first thing we have to do is take care of our people.” With that in mind, I focused my first year of ministry on spending time at people’s homes, setting up several visits a week to meet their dogs, applaud their children’s artwork and pray with them around their dinner tables.
A second bit of advice came from a clergyman who offered this: “A pastor is doing the job well when at least half of his or her time is spent outside the office.” Pastors regularly go out on hospital visits or stop by the homes of newcomers, but the administrative demands of parish ministry otherwise keep many of us shackled to our swivel chairs. For me, come Thursday mornings, after too much time within my office walls, I become cantankerous. So for everyone’s sake, I heed that good advice and break out of my sacred confines, fleeing to a local coffee shop for reading and sermon writing.
When I first started doing this last summer, I felt insecure and self-indulgent -- an incognito clergyman in shirt and tie munching an “everything” bagel with cream cheese and calling it work. I had to legitimize pastoring in Panera.
That’s when I began wearing my clergy collar each Thursday and setting up at any one of my church’s dozen or so “satellite campuses” (i.e., the coffee shops where I typically run into several parishioners I’ve missed the previous Sunday morning). I bring with me a sign that says “Free Prayer,” with a quote at the bottom from Martin Luther: “Pray, and let God worry.”
And people stop to pray with me every time.
One brisk October morning, a man I had not met walked through the ever-swinging door of the local Starbucks. Amari, from West Philadelphia, had business at the courthouse in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the town where I serve. He looked at me and asked, “‘Free prayer’? What’s that?” I explained that I’m a pastor in town who goes out to where people are during the week to offer prayer. Tears welled up in his eyes. He placed his coffee and courthouse papers on my table and walked outside.
Many of those walking by were overtly averting their eyes, not wanting to allow me into their space, into the hustle and bustle this season brings into people's worlds. I was absolutely ok with this. After all, many of us mistrust, suspect, even judge men with cardboard signs on busy street corners. I certainly do.
Occasionally, I would cry out to the averters within earshot and say simply, I'm not here for your money, I'm simply looking for people who need hugs or prayers or both. Some would pretend I had not been heard. Others would look my way quickly then just as quickly look away. A few would smile and one or two, without stopping, would simply say, yes, pray for me. And I would.
As mentioned in that piece, most people ignored the offer, walking past as if I wasn't even there but a few did stop and I was rewarded greatly by those brief encounters.
It all brings me back to the title of this post. Should you encounter someone on the streets or in a coffee shop offering prayer, particularly someone wearing the telltale collar, what would be your response? Would you take advantage of the offer? Would you walk on by?
It's intriguing to me to know what the reasons would be for either stopping for prayer or deciding not to.
No, that's not a description of the New Hampshire voter though after yesterday's results. one could be excused for thinking so.
It's actually a description used by Carl Trueman, a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church who also teaches history at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, to describe non-Catholics who've adopted Ash Wednesday (and other Lenten practices) borrowed from the Catholic tradition.
If you’re thinking of the somewhat wooly-minded, generically Protestant Presbyterians in the church in middle of town, you’re not thinking of Carl’s kind of Presbyterian. The mainline Presbyterians are the ones in tweed and corduroy; Carl’s type are in biker leathers. He’s one John Calvin would have recognized as a brother.
Writing on Reformation21, the website of the Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, Carl notes that Evangelicals have started observing the season and then lets loose:
American evangelicals are past masters at appropriating anything that catches their fancy in church history and claiming it as their own, from the ancient Fathers as the first emergents to the Old School men of Old Princeton as the precursors of the Young, Restless, and Reformed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer as modern American Evangelical.
He is a genial and liberal-minded man. His office bookshelf has very large Aquinas and Newman sections along with the works of Luther, Calvin, and their descendants. (He’s just written a book titled Luther On the Christian Life.) I have spent a pleasant night in the Truemans’ home after speaking at the seminary at his invitation. He is generous to Catholics. But Evangelicals observing Lent, this sets him off. “I also fear that it speaks of a certain carnality,” he continues:
The desire to do something which simply looks cool and which has a certain ostentatious spirituality about it. As an act of piety, it costs nothing yet implies a deep seriousness. In fact, far from revealing deep seriousness, in an evangelical context it simply exposes the superficiality, eclectic consumerism and underlying identity confusion of the movement.
They shouldn’t do this. Their “ecclesiastical commitments do not theologically or historically sanction observance of such things,” he writes in a second article on the website, “Catholicity Reduced to Ashes.” Ash Wednesday is “strictly speaking unbiblical” and therefore can’t be imposed by a church, treated as normative, or understood as offering benefits unavailable in the normal parts of the Christian life. That would be a violation of the Christian liberty the Reformation so stressed (against “the illicit binding of consciences in which the late medieval church indulged,” as he puts it).
The “well-constructed worship service” and “appropriately rich Reformed sacramentalism” render the observance of Ash Wednesday “irrelevant.” Infant baptism, for example, declares better than the imposition of ashes once a year “the priority of God’s grace and the helplessness of sinless humanity in the face of God.” The Lord’s Supper does as well.
Worse, Carl argues, these Evangelicals pick from the Catholic tradition the parts they like when that tradition is an indivisible whole. In for a penny, in for a pound seems to be his understanding of Catholicism. He finds it “most odd,” he writes in the second article, that some might “observe Lent as an act of identification with the church catholic while repudiating a catholic practice such as infant baptism or a catholic doctrine such as eternal generation or any hint of catholic polity.” (The lower-case “c” is his but he means the upper-case.) “The notion of historic catholicity itself has become just another eclectic consumerist construct.”
Mr. Mills has much more, including a beautiful reference to the Church offering "riches like an over-loaded wagon in a fairy tale, spilling gold coins every time it hits a pothole."
I, like David, think it a good thing when Protestants find these Catholic gold coins, after all, there's plenty of them. I consider it a rare day when I don't come across something new and fresh in the writings of the historical Church, the Catechism, or in published Papal writings and based on David's piece alone, it seems many a non-Catholic believer is experiencing similar things.
More power to them, and less to people like Mr. Trueman.
Here's hoping for a movingly productive Lenten season to each one of you, whether you're Catholic or not.
"Just as sex is a God-given instinct for the prolongation of the human race, so the desire for property as a prolongation of one's ego is a natural right sanctioned by natural law. A person is free on the inside because he can call his soul his own; he is free on the outside because he can call property his own. Internal freedom is based upon the fact that "I am"; external freedom is based on the fact that "I have." But just as the excesses of flesh produce lust, for lust is sex in the wrong place, so there can be a deordination of the desire for property until it becomes greed, avarice, and capitalistic aggression."
"We all have guns," said Nancy Fine to an NPR interviewer yesterday. Fine lives in Burns, Oregon, where protesters have been congregating in solidarity with the militants who have been occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for a month. Fine went on:
"But none of us wear them on our hip and kind of flaunt them around. We consider that extremely rude and ungentlemanly at best."
Fine says one sure way of identifying an outsider is a prominently displayed sidearm. She shoots a scornful glance at a trio of men standing in front of her, their arms crossed, their holsters hanging out.
According to the story, a good many of the residents of Harney County, Oregon, agree with the protesters who've descended on their
Burns resident Leon Pielstick carries a sign outside the Harney County Courthouse on Monday. Martin Kaste/NPR
town -- but they would rather deal with their concerns on their own, in their own way, without the help of a crowd of noisy strangers. According to the story,
most [local] people here do think the federal government overreaches, especially when it comes to environmental rules and land use. But they're also sick of outsiders hanging around, trying to start a movement.
The occupiers and protesters, in their ostensible fight to preserve liberty, have made it harder for the citizens to live their lives.
In New Hampshire, where I live, a few anti-government militia types are always drifting around town. They love to hang around street corners near the library, or browse around Walmart, letting their guns swing with elaborate casualness. The bigger the gun, the better.
If you asked them why they do it -- why they make such a show of being armed -- they'd say that they're signalling to criminals that the place is protected, or, more likely, that they're doing it because they can. They have the right to open carry, and they're going to, end of story, no other reason necessary. Many of these folks are Freestaters, who have come uninvited from elsewhere in the hopes of instituting some kind of libertarian paradise in our state.
Well, it is rude. And that's bad enough. Don't come into my town and be rude!
But worse, it doesn't make anyone feel safer when they wave their giant guns around. It makes the world feel crazier and more out of control. It adds tension and fear to a situation that ought to be peaceful and mundane. It makes it harder for me to pursue happiness as I shop for dog food and laundry detergent.
I was struck by the incredulity and soft contempt in the voice of the Oregon woman they interviewed on NPR. "We all have guns," she says -- but for the locals, those guns are quietly integrated into their lives. They are in service of the kind of life they are trying to lead, which includes a cultural tradition of hunting, self-sufficiency, self-defense, and independence.