"The function of the two-party system in our republic---where numerous unique interests compete, yet strive to coexist in peace---is to muster consensus along the broadest possible lines. Those lines in the United States are Left and Right: destruction or conservation, secularism or faith, death or life, dependency or responsibility, pessimism or optimism, relativism or objective truth, anarchy or the rule of law, state control or personal freedom.
Sure, you can form your own political party with the 5 other guys in the world who think precisely as you do, but your effect on the culture is bound to be nil, or close to it; to affect society, you must team up with people of dissimilar interests, and a two-party system is the most efficient way of doing this.
Christians like Sensing don't seem to realize that the Perfect is not just an enemy of the Good, but its deadliest enemy, and that petulantly withholding their votes until Perfection or Apocalypse comes not only hurts their fellow Christians, but also hurts every other innocent person in the world who relies upon the prevalence of Christian ideals to make their lives bearable. Think, for a moment, of the tens of thousands of Yazidis, secular Iranians, Iraqis and Syrians, and Middle Eastern Christians who would still be alive today if the Left had not prevailed in our last presidential election. They prevailed because Christians like Sensing refused to participate over some self-righteous and, frankly, selfish reservation about a candidate.
In this instance, Donald Trump, however absurd it may seem to us, is currently bearing the standard for American Christians. Voting for him is voting against all the injustice and misery that will be caused if the Left prevails---all the evil, all the chaos, all the innocent blood that is bound to be shed.
I would remind Reverend Sensing and other Christians---who really ought to know better---that the Jews of Christ's time had such a fixation on the Messiah appearing in the form of a strong military commander that when he ultimately appeared in the form of a carpenter, they were unable to recognize him. Some---hell, all---of the greatest figures in the Bible are deeply flawed: murderers, adulterers, liars, etc.
"...my power is made perfect in weakness..."
"...the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom..."
Withholding your vote is not a sign of virtue; in fact, it may be the exact opposite. Selfish pride is the worst of all sins.
Voting for the side that best represents Christian interests, however imperfectly, allows the Christian point of view to stay in the game. Abandon the field, and we lose all possibility of influence on the greater society.
I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian who is sick to death at the cowardice and sanctimony of American Christians and their self-absorbed rationalizations for not participating in the current political battles shaping our society. Because they insist on operating at such an 'exalted' ethical level, America now has atheists, statists and terrorists running the show.
Do you really believe that's something of which to be proud?"
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.
Via FoxNews comes an incredible story of an incredible man.
The bravery of Conner, who died in 1998 at the age of 79, is well-documented. The first lieutenant, who was wounded seven times, earned an incredible four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his World War II heroism. But it was what he did on Jan. 24, 1945, near Houssen, France, that elevated his courage to mythical status.
And the story would have remained in obscurity, alive only in Conner’s mind and packed away in a cardboard box near his Albany, Ky., home, were it not for Chilton.
Chilton, a veteran of the Korean War who later trained Israeli fighters during the Gulf War, wanted to learn more about his uncle, Army Pfc. Gordon Wesley Roberts. All he knew was that the brave man he remembered from his boyhood had served in the 3rd Infantry Division and had never made it home from World War II. It was 1995, and Chilton, now 82, started tracking down men from the division, which included movie star Audie Murphy – himself a Medal of Honor recipient – and which lost more men than any other in the war.
“I’d called about 200 men, and no one really was able to tell me much about my uncle,” Chilton recalled. “I was ready to give up but I tried one more. I left a message with Garlin Murl Conner.”
A few days later, Chilton got a cryptic message on his answering machine.
“I knew your uncle,” Conner said. “I was with him the night he died. He died from small arms fire. More to follow.”
The Medal of Honor is the military's highest honor, and is awarded by the Commander-in-Chief.
“I knew your uncle,” Conner said. “I was with him the night he died. He died from small arms fire. More to follow.”
But that was the last Chilton heard from Conner. When he finally mailed a letter to him, Conner’s wife, Pauline, wrote back to say her husband had had a stroke days later and could no longer speak. Chilton, who lives in Genoa City, Wis., drove more than 500 miles to Conner’s home in the desperate hope that a face-to-face meeting might yield information.
But it did not. As a dejected Chilton was walking out the door of the Conner home, Pauline suggested he look through her husband’s records. Maybe there would be a clue about his uncle there, she said. She emerged from a back room with a box full of medals, commendations, yellowed newspaper clippings and faded photographs.
Chilton found nothing on his uncle, but his amazement grew as he spent the next few hours digging through the box.
“I discovered the most decorated soldier I’d ever heard of,” Chilton said. “I was blown away. I’ve never seen a man with four Silver Stars.”
“Is the purpose of the Church simply to draw in as many people as possible, at all costs? …If the Church changes to suit us, then it cannot change us, because all we will have done is created a Church in our own image and after our likeness. Ever since Christ entered the world, the Church has called all people to repentance, to a change from within. But what can repentance mean if we not only say ‘come as your are’, but then add ‘and stay that way’? How can we raise people up to heaven if we assure them that it is okay to keep their hearts on earth?
And what of the argument, that the Church is irrelevant if it is out of sync with secular society? This is, quite frankly, stupid. Nothing makes the Church less relevant than being just like secular organizations, which are far more effective at achieving secular goals than the Church is. In this way, the Church gives up its purpose and uniqueness, and becomes nothing more than a quaint organization that serves to sanction the views of secular society.
Fr. Vassilios Papavassiliou
At times, the struggle to follow the Church's teaching is too much. The pressure to conform to the world's ways too strong. The ease by which we succumb to tensions too tempting.
I'm the kind of person who hates not to get along with others. But I'm also the kind of person who desires strongly to adhere to the short and long term good I've come to believe firmly comes from Church doctrine and dogma.
I tire at times of the inward battle and how it inevitably leads to outward friction which in turn leads to thoughts of failure, failure to be what the world believes the faithful ought to be, someone who is the epitome of kindness, niceness and virtuousness. And quaintness, as the good priest here alludes. Someone I'm too often not and likely never will be.
So what does one do with this struggle? How does one handle this clash of cultures?
The question of the age for every faithful believer, the question at this particular moment for which I have no easy answer though seeing quotes like this one from Fr. Papavassiliou helps.
"Before he became immortalized as the “Lone Survivor,” a Navy SEAL who escaped a 2005 Taliban ambush on a mountain slope in Afghanistan, Marcus Luttrell was a broken man in search of a haven.
He found it one day in the spring of 2007 when, struggling to recover his body and mind and with the horrors of war still raw, he showed up unannounced at the Texas governor’s mansion and asked to see Rick Perry.
Over the ensuing months, a virtual father-son relationship blossomed, the two men said. The governor and his wife, Anita, helped bring Luttrell back to health"
“Father … I have a problem with forgiving” said Sonia as she folded the last of the vestments and put them away in their cupboard in the Sacristy.
“What do you mean? A problem with forgiving …”
“I know you’ve always said we should forgive with all our heart … unreservedly … if we want God to forgive us our sins. I understand that … and I try as best I can to forgive wholeheartedly.”
“But …” smiled the priest, “but in this case …”
She smiled back.
“But in this case it is different. There’s this woman at work who has hurt me really bad. She lied about me Father. And as a result I was severely reprimanded by our manager and I was made to lose a day’s pay, which I cannot afford. We used to be friends, but she lied to cover up her mistake and I got unfairly punished.”
“This is terrible,” said Father Ignatius frowning at the unfairness of what he’d just heard. “Is there not some sort of appeal procedure at your workplace?"
“No, ” Sonia said. “The thing is, this woman came to see me yesterday and apologized profusely for what she had done. She cried her heart out and said she could not have been found out to have made yet another mistake. She was on her last warning and another mistake would mean losing her job. That’s why she lied and put the blame on me. She begged me to forgive her, which I did straightaway Father. I told her to think no more about it and that all was now OK.”
“That’s very generous and loving of you, so what is the problem?” asked the priest.
“She wants us to be friends again, as before. We used to visit each other at our homes, go shopping together, or pick up each others’ children from school and so on. She wants everything to be as before.
“I find that very difficult. I just can’t trust her anymore and I want us to keep our distance. I forgive her as I said; but I can’t go back as before. I think I can speak and be nice to her at work but that’s as far as it goes; I can’t be friends again. Is my forgiveness worthless?”
“No … it is not worthless,” replied Father Ignatius gently, “when we forgive someone else, we touch their very soul with the merciful love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
“You’ve been hurt Sonia … hurt and punished unfairly and undeservedly.
“When we forgive people it means that we no longer hold their wrongdoings to account. We no longer bear them any malice or ill-feelings or ill-will. We acknowledge that we forgive them and we let them go their own way free from any fear of punishment or retribution on our part.
“This doesn’t mean however that we forget the pain caused to us. How can we? The hurt is imprinted in our memory and try as we might the chances are that we’ll remember it time and again. It’s only natural. You forgave her and told her so …”
Sonia nodded; holding back her tears.
“And that’s all that is expected of you,” continued the priest gently, noticing that she was very upset at the mere thought of the event.
“We all have a right, a duty even, to protect ourselves and to protect our loved ones. If we feel uncomfortable about a particular situation or relationship, we have every right to distance ourselves from it.
“For very understandable reasons you feel uncomfortable at being friendly with this person as you were before; visiting each other and picking each others’ children from school and so on.
“There’s nothing wrong with that. Tell her politely that you’ve forgiven her and that you feel both of you should leave it at that.”
“But,” Sonia interrupted, “how can that be forgiveness? By keeping my distance implies that I’m still holding something against her. She knows that, you and I know that, and God knows that.”
Father Ignatius smiled.
“Oh yes. God knows that all right; and He knows the reason behind it too.” he said.
“Let me tell you a story. Jesus once taught His disciples and His followers about Himself. He said, ‘whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him.’
“A number of His followers found this difficult to understand. What does He mean? Eat His flesh and drink His blood? Even today, many find this very concept difficult to understand; so you can imagine how it was in those times.
“So a number of Christ’s followers decided to leave and no longer follow Him. What did Jesus do?
“He didn’t call them back. He didn’t say, ‘Wait, let me explain. This is what I meant to say.’ He didn’t compromise His position in any way.
“He just let them go. He even asked His twelve disciples, ‘How about you, do you want to go as well?’
“You see Sonia; Jesus forgave them and let them go. He didn’t curse them and send plagues and pestilence on them and their families for generations.”
She smiled again feeling a little calmer.
“He just forgave them and let them go. Which is what you should also do.” said Father Ignatius serenely.
Military service members’ annual pilgrimage to the Marian shrine of Lourdes can be a time of healing and peace, especially during the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the head of the U.S. Archdiocese for Military Services has said.
“Lourdes is a place where healing occurs. It might not be the dramatic throwing away of crutches, or breaking a cane, but there is always that interior peace when we put ourselves in our mother's hands,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio told CNA May 14.
“And that's my hope, that everyone experiences that serenity and goes home enriched and strengthened with that serenity of a mother's care.”
The event brings together both active duty and retired American military personnel, including veterans who have been wounded while on their military tour.
The archbishop said that it was a blessing to have so many “wounded warriors” join the pilgrimage.
“If there's anything I've learned in the last seven years, it's that the people I'm privileged to serve desperately want peace,” he said.
“They are the first people to pay for that, so coming here and asking Our Lady to look with love upon all of us and perhaps to bring us together… I think that’s a fervent prayer that’s raised on the part of all of us.”
The Warriors to Lourdes Pilgrimage is part of the annual International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes, which was established in 1946 in order to pray for global peace, healing and reconciliation after World War II. Military personnel from 35 nations gather in Lourdes in May, representing the military branches of their respective countries.
Lourdes is one of the most well-known pilgrimage destinations in the world following a series of Marian apparitions in 1858 in which the Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous.
The apparitions were approved by Pope Pius IX in 1862. Millions of pilgrims flock to the shrine each year to visit the grotto where Mary appeared to Bernadette, who is now a canonized saint. Pilgrims take water from a spring Bernadette dug at Mary’s request. The shrine’s waters have resulted in various types of healing for those who drink it or are immersed in it.
The pilgrimage for U.S. service members and veterans is organized jointly by the Archdiocese for the Military Services and the Knights of Columbus.
The pilgrimage was previously only open to active members of the military, but in recent years the pilgrimage has opened participation to retired soldiers.
Archbishop Broglio spoke of the importance of bringing the “wounded warriors” to the holy site, especially in honor of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.
For the military personnel and veterans to come on such an important anniversary is “extremely significant” since they have not only paid the price for freedoms that others enjoy, but also so they can “participate in that healing process, because Lourdes is a place of healing.”
“Allowing them to come here, facilitating their participation here, is a participation in that healing ministry of which the Church is very much a part and which Pope Francis has stressed very much during his pontificate,” the archbishop said.
Archbishop Broglio said that the number of Americans going on the pilgrimage, which has previously drawn mainly European participants, has increased in recent years.
He credited the increase to a growing consciousness among Americans about participation in international events. He also noted an increase in welcoming attitudes on the part of other participants.
“This began as a discourse of reconciliation, so obviously the more participants you have the better prospects of reconciliation there are,” the archbishop noted, explaining that the goal of the pilgrimage is to be “as universal as possible.”
Pray that all who've served honorably, sacrificially, heroically, experience the inner healing only God can give.