My priest this morning, during his homily, referenced ABC 20/20's airing Friday night of Pope Francis and The Peopleand I was moved by his words, so moved in fact that I made the decision to watch the show for myself as soon as I could. I finished doing so just moments ago.
It was all that Father Mike had portrayed it to be and more. You should set out to watch it yourself. It'll enhance the faith of the faithful and should give food for thought to those who might consider themselves something other than faithful.
During a “townhall” styled meeting the pope singled the nun out before the crowd.
“I want to thank you,” Francis said. “And through you to thank all the sisters of religious orders in the U.S. for the work that you have done and that you do in the United States. It’s great. I congratulate you. Be courageous. Move forward.
And then the pope, 78, said something she could never have imagined: “I’ll tell you one other thing. Is it inappropriate for the Pope to say this? I love you all very much.“
ABC and multiple other news outlets presented this little scene as if the Pope just somehow happened to spot Pimentel on a TV monitor “hiding” in the crowd and that it was all a big, heartwarming surprise. But, it is obvious that this was an orchestrated event and not spontaneous at all. Francis set this up ahead of time in order to give the USA another jab in the ribs, something he has become well known for at this point.
If you've not watched the referenced segment on 20/20, you might be excused for the kind of attitude and cynicism on display here but, if you did indeed watch it and you continue to be this disdainful, it's an indication of a hardness of heart that Christ alone will have to pierce. To suggest that the Pope's singling out of this nun during the virtual audience was anything but spontaneous is to have watched a show I didn't see and seemingly, to make things up out of whole cloth. It's a baseless and shameful charge.
But no more baseless and shameful than Huston's attack against this faithful nun merely carrying out her vocation faithfully, lovingly and diligently.
Mr. Huston, and the stone-hearted who applaud his thinking, have indicted her because she dared to see Christ in the least of these, she dared to assist those fleeing their homelands and the infestation of gangs and violence therein, she dared to set aside politics, she dared to see their humanity, she dared to be Christ to them.
In other words, this nun acted out her faith, acted like her savior Jesus Christ, and in that acting, committed the cardinal sin of offending Huston's idol, political ideology. How dare she? Who does she think she is?
But wait, there's more that offended Mr. Huston's sensibilities, more that upset his applecart of ideological idolatry.
Mr. Huston was deeply offended by the Pope's plan to use his native tongue at the Mass to be held in DC during his U.S. visit later this month:
"... in order to scold the U.S.A. over its already too generous immigration policies, Francis is purposefully giving a Mass in Spanish despite that less than 15 percent of the United States even speaks the language.
Next Francis has decided to rub America’s nose in its immigration problems by giving his Papal Mass in Washington in Spanish instead of English.
This is a purely political move, one meant as a slam on one of the most generous nations on the planet, one that already ranks number one in the world in the sheer number of legal immigrants is allows in, not to mention illegal ones.
Certainly there is good reason for a religious leader to speak up in the USA–what with the Obama administration’s campaign to put an end to religious liberty and to destroy Christianity–but what is the red pope doing? He’s attacking Americans for wanting to have some control over their own immigration policy and essentially calling the whole country a bunch of racists.
Instead of being a religious leader, this pope is using his position to play anti-American politics.
This pope is a disaster."
By speaking Spanish, the man's native tongue, the Pope according to Huston is rubbing America's nose in its immigration policies, scolding the U.S.A., slamming America, attacking America, calling Americans racists and playing anti-American political games.
By. Speaking. Spanish.
His. Native. Tongue.
With all due respect to Mr. Huston and those who find his writing fruitful and productive, his thinking on this is banal and infantile, beyond comprehension for those who think rationally.
To read the sort of mindlessness referenced into the circumstance of a nun living out her faith and the rather natural act of a Pope speaking in his native tongue, is to stretch the limits of credulity.
You'd have to live in a cave not to realize we've entered with gusto the political season. The trek toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has begun and in earnest.
Many (too many in my view) are looking to Donald Trump as the means by which this country might make a much needed comeback.
Some are putting their hopes in Ted Cruz. Still others in Marco Rubio. I'm personally looking closely at Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and Ben Carson though they each have their flaws.
On the other side of the equation, many think Hillary will continue the 'progress' made by the current occupant of the White House. And Bernie Sanders seems to be gaining some steam though I doubt seriously he has any staying power. Either would be disastrous in my view.
Bottom line is that again, we're looking to change the country by changing her leadership at the top.
Which brings us to the reason for the post.
Anthony Lilles has written a piece likely to set some people off, likely to cause many to turn away, because he's thinking counter-culturally, he's thinking there's a different way to rediscovering the land of the free and the home of the brave.
As it abandons Christianity, America is diminished under the weight of bad religion. Religion vulnerable to the latest cultural and political fad denigrates the worship of God, making it into a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. It imposes myths that appeal to the imagination in order to raise false hopes about prosperity and security. It takes advantage of those who think that they can keep their faith pure without the authority of the Church. It wants piety locked behind the doors of a Church and kept within the confines of our private lives.
The altar of such political avarice can only bind us to all kinds of heartless programs of social reengineering.
Only the Truth provides the solid ground on which alone human dignity stands. This is the ground on which the authority of the Church rests too. This is why the Church must speak out whenever human dignity is on the line. Anything else is just a slippery slope. Because it offers only a slippery slope, bad religion is always dehumanizing.
All too often, our leaders refer to God with manipulative sentimentality, cloaking their hidden agendas with pious jargon. What is more, our branches of government usurp the very place of God, desecrating the most sacred institutions of human existence, declaring not as blessings but as burdens the dying, the unborn and the stranger. They have rendered marriage, motherhood and family life vulnerable to the latest whims of the politically powerful, while scoffing cultural thugs shame us into silence.
Everyone is afraid of being labeled intolerant even when the most tender truths about human existence and freedom are on the line. The greatest sin in America today, however, is not intolerance. Indeed, intolerance toward Christians is heralded as a great social virtue. Such bigotry toward people of faith is presumed so righteous and sophisticated that not to hold it is regarded with surprise and dismay. So blinding is this deadly prejudice that, even as Christians forgive their murderers and bury their martyrs, national figures cannot see this growing evil for what it is. They ignore, redirect and spin, but refuse to confront this grave social evil whether within our borders or beyond them.
Since bad religion has gained the upper ground in the United States, people of faith who dare to question the wrong cultural conventions are deemed anathema. To dare to defend the integrity of marriage or the sacredness of human life is an unforgivable social crime. It is considered a threat to all civil discourse to suggest that there is another standard in such matters beside the whims of the elite. Because Christians propose otherwise, they have become the special targets of social hatred.
If you're not willing to overlook the man's shortcomings, his rudeness, his crudeness then you are part of the problem and you must necessarily be an Obama sympathizer.
It's what I'm learning as I interact on social media, as I read the tweets, posts and blogs, as I peruse the reactions to what's took place in the recent debate. It's a befuddling thing, a surreal thing, a baffling thing.
So now The Donald is in hot water for making a crude menstrual insult. This is as good a time as any to make a simple point, one I make to young conservative activists all the time. Just because being rude or crude is un-PC that is not, in itself, a defense of being rude or crude. You would think social conservatives in particular wouldn’t lose sight of this. But many have, at least going by my email and twitter feed. In the debate, Trump defended his long record of piggish comments about women on the grounds that we don’t have time for political correctness. I agree with that. But surely we have time for a modicum of good manners? We are now in the crazy stage where people are shouting at me that I (or Charles Krauthammer, or George Will or Erick Ericson or Kevin Williamson) must be a liberal if I don’t support Trump. Never mind that the objective evidence leans overwhelmingly that support for Trump puts your conservative convictions in doubt. Are we really going to go down the insane path of saying that real conservatives must abandon good manners and respect for women to demonstrate their purity? Count me out of that nonsense.
Count me out as well. And nonsense it is.
I'm not sure I understand fully what it is I'm seeing. I'm not sure if I'm moving in a particular direction on the political spectrum or if others are dong the moving. But the polarizing is getting worse, the extremes on either end beginning to meld.
I don't consider myself a moderate. I think I'm more conservative than I am anything else.
But if Donald Trump is going to be the candidate around which conservatives need to rally, rally without me.
We've elected one too many a narcissist in my view, I'm not about to do anything that would lead to our electing another.
Decisions and resolutions taken during an enthusiastic moment mean little unless tested by time and by waiting. The immediate request for places on the right and left side of the kingdom by James and John he ordered tested by the ability to bear sacrifice and to drink the cup of His Passion and Crucifixion. When after multiplying the bread, the multitude wished to make him a bread king, Our Lord fled into the mountains alone. It is always a good policy never to choose the most enthusiastic person in a gathering as a leader. Wait to see how much wood there is for the flame.”
She told attendees at the sixth annual Women in The World Summit that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” for the sake of giving women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”
“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.
“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she explained. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”
While Catholics have been swing voters since Richard Nixon’s second term, white Catholics are now identifying as Republican by historic margins. According to the most recent polling from the Pew Research Center, 53 percent of white Catholics now favor the GOP, versus 39 percent who favor the Democrats—the largest point spread in the history of the Pew poll. And for the first time, white Catholics are more Republican than the voting group usually considered the ultimate Republicans: white Protestants (a designation that includes both mainline and evangelical Protestants).
These are ominous signs for the Democrats, evincing a new and growing allegiance with the Republican Party that has long-term implications.
So why are white Catholics abandoning the Democratic Party? There are some long-term trends at play.
Interesting piece. Some might even call it hopeful.
For anyone expecting postelection contrition at the White House or vows to change course after a disastrous election for Democrats, President Barack Obama had one message Wednesday: Think again.
A day after Democrats lost control of the Senate and suffered big losses in House and governors' races across the country, Obama struck a defiant tone. He defended his policies, stood by his staff and showed few signs of changing an approach to dealing with congressional Republicans that has generated little more than gridlock in recent years.
Rather than accept the election results as a repudiation of his own administration, the president said voters were disenchanted with Washington as a whole. And rather than offering dour assessments of his party's electoral thrashing, as he did after the 2010 midterms, the president insisted repeatedly that he was optimistic about the country's future.
"It doesn't make me mopey," he said of the election during a news conference in the East Room of the White House. "It energizes me because it means that this democracy's working."
The president's sunny outlook stood in sharp contrast to the gloomy electorate. Most voters leaving polling places said they didn't have much trust in government and felt the nation was on the wrong track. Those feeling pessimistic were more likely to vote for Republican congressional candidates, according to exit polls.
To some Republicans, the gulf between the public's mood and the president's outlook suggested a White House that's out of touch and refusing to recalibrate after getting a clear message from voters. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, wondered whether Obama was "detached or in denial."
"In word and tone, he refused to take responsibility or even express humility," Priebus said. "He seemed to suggest the only ideas he's willing to listen to are his own, old, failed ones."
Indeed, Obama spoke only broadly about the need to reassess as he heads into his final two years in office. He said it was "premature" to discuss overhauling his staff or shifting positions on policies. He reasserted his pledge to move forward with executive actions on immigration before the end of the year, despite strong opposition from Republicans. And he rejected the notion that his limited relationships with Republican lawmakers, including the likely Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would hamper potential compromise with the Congress.
I don't believe I could have a more visceral dislike of the man or what it is he stands for.
It is seriously depressing to think there are people who still support someone so loathful.
President Barack Obama on Friday turned to a trusted adviser to lead the nation’s Ebola response as efforts to clamp down on any possible route of infection from three Texas cases expanded, reaching a cruise ship at sea and multiple airline flights.
Facing renewed criticism of his handling of the Ebola risk, Obama will make Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, his point man on fighting Ebola at home and in West Africa. Klain will report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, the White House said.
Klain does not have a medical or a health care background.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., slammed the decision on Twitter.
“Worst ebola epidemic in world history and Pres. Obama puts a government bureaucrat with no healthcare experience in charge. Is he serious?” Harris tweeted.
This is the most unserious President ever elected. He has but one interest and his chosen Ebola czar is proof. He's not the President of these United States. He's the leader of ideologues hell-bent on making this country what it's never been before.