As Country Club Republicans Link Up With The Democratic Ruling Class, Millions Of Voters Are Orphaned
By Angelo Codevilla
On January 1, 2013 one third of Republican congressmen, following their leaders, joined with nearly all Democrats to legislate higher taxes and more subsidies for Democratic constituencies. Two thirds voted no, following the people who had elected them. For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a “country class.” Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan Administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based “ruling class.” They have relished that role despite their voters. Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.
The ever-growing U.S. government has an edgy social, ethical, and political character. It is distasteful to a majority of persons who vote Republican and to independent voters, as well as to perhaps one fifth of those who vote Democrat. The Republican leadership’s kinship with the socio-political class that runs modern government is deep. Country class Americans have but to glance at the Media to hear themselves insulted from on high as greedy, racist, violent, ignorant extremists. Yet far has it been from the Republican leadership to defend them. Whenever possible, the Republican Establishment has chosen candidates for office – especially the Presidency – who have ignored, soft-pedaled or given mere lip service to their voters’ identities and concerns.
Thus public opinion polls confirm that some two thirds of Americans feel that government is “them” not “us,” that government has been taking the country in the wrong direction, and that such sentiments largely parallel partisan identification: While a majority of Democrats feel that officials who bear that label represent them well, only about a fourth of Republican voters and an even smaller proportion of independents trust Republican officials to be on their side. Again: While the ruling class is well represented by the Democratic Party, the country class is not represented politically – by the Republican Party or by any other. Well or badly, its demand for representation will be met.
Representation is the distinguishing feature of democratic government. To be represented, to trust that one’s own identity and interests are secure and advocated in high places, is to be part of the polity. In practice, any democratic government’s claim to the obedience of citizens depends on the extent to which voters feel they are party to the polity. No one doubts that the absence, loss, or perversion of that function divides the polity sharply between rulers and ruled.
Representation can be perverted. Some regimes (formerly the Communists, and currently the Islamists) allow dissent from the ruling class to be represented only by parties approved by the ruling class. Also, in today’s European Union the ruling class’ wide spread and homogeneity leaves those who do not like how their country is run with no one to represent them. Though America’s ruling class is neither as narrow as that of Communist regimes nor as broadly preclusive as that of the European Union, the Republican leadership’s preference for acting as part of the ruling class rather than as representatives of voters who feel set upon has begun to produce the sort of soft pre-emption of opposition and bitterness between rulers and ruled that occurs necessarily wherever representation is mocked.
To see how America’ country class can be represented, let us glance at how the current division of American politics into a ruling class and a country class came about and why it is inherently unstable.
Ins and Outs
Those who attribute the polarization of American politics to the partisan drawing of congressional districts at the state level have a point: The Supreme Court’s decision in Baker v. Carr (1962) inadvertedly legalized gerrymandering by setting “one man one vote” as the sole basis of legitimacy for drawing legislative districts. Subsequent judicial interpretations of the 1965 Voting Rights Act demanded that districts be drawn to produce Congressmen with specific features. No surprise then that Democratic and Republican legislatures and governors, thus empowered, have drawn the vast majority of America’s Congressional districts to be safe for Democrats or Republicans respectively. Such districts naturally produce Congressmen who represent their own party more than the general population. This helped the parties themselves to grow in importance. But the U.S. Senate and state governments also have polarized because public opinion in general has.
Political partisanship became a more important feature of American life over the past half-century largely because the Democratic Party, which has been paramount within the U.S. government since 1932, entrenched itself as America’s ruler, and its leaders became a ruling class. This caused a Newtonian “opposite reaction,” which continues to gather force.
In our time, the Democratic Party gave up the diversity that had characterized it since Jeffersonian times. Giving up the South, which had been its main bastion since the Civil War as well as the working classes that had been the heart of its big city machines from Boston to San Diego, it came to consist almost exclusively of constituencies that make up government itself or benefit from government. Big business, increasingly dependent on government contracts and regulation, became a virtual adjunct of the contracting agents and regulators. Democrats’ traditional labor union auxiliaries shifted from private employees to public. Administrators of government programs of all kinds, notably public assistance, recruited their clientele of dependents into the Party’s base. Democrats, formerly the party of slavery and segregation, secured the allegiance of racial minorities by unrelenting assertions that the rest of American society is racist. Administrators and teachers at all levels of education taught two generations that they are brighter and better educated than the rest of Americans, whose objections to the schools’ (and the Party’s) prescriptions need not be taken seriously.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of American education’s centralization, intellectual homogenization and partisanship in the formation of the ruling class’ leadership. Many have noted the increasing stratification of American society and that, unlike in decades past, entry into its top levels now depends largely on graduation from elite universities. As Charles Murray has noted, their graduates tend to marry one another, perpetuating what they like to call a “meritocracy.” But this is rule not by the meritorious, rather by the merely credentialed – because the credentials are suspect. As Ron Unz has shown, nowadays entry into the ivied gateways to power is by co-option, not merit. Moreover, the amount of study required at these universities leaves their products with more pretense than knowledge or skill. The results of their management– debt, decreased household net worth, increased social strife – show that America has been practicing negative selection of elites.
Nevertheless as the Democratic Party has grown its constituent parts into a massive complex of patronage, its near monopoly of education has endowed its leaders ever more firmly with the conviction that they are as entitled to deference and perquisites as they are to ruling. The host of its non-governmental but government-financed entities, such as Planned Parenthood and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, argue for government funding by stating, correctly, that they are pursuing the public interest as government itself defines it.
Thus by the turn of the twenty first century America had a bona fide ruling class that transcends government and sees itself at once as distinct from the rest of society – and as the only element thereof that may act on its behalf. It rules – to use New York Times columnist David Brooks’ characterization ofBarack Obama – “as a visitor from a morally superior civilization.” The civilization of the ruling class does not concede that those who resist it have any moral or intellectual right, and only reluctantly any civil right, to do so. Resistance is illegitimate because it can come only from low motives. President Obama’s statement that Republican legislators – and hence the people who elect them – don’t care whether “seniors have decent health care…children have enough to eat” is typical.
Republican leaders neither parry the insults nor vilify their Democratic counterparts in comparable terms because they do not want to beat the ruling class, but to join it in solving the nation’s problems. How did they come to cut such pathetic figures?
The Republican Party never fully adapted itself to the fact that modern big government is an interest group in and of itself, inherently at odds with the rest of society, that it creates a demand for representation by those it alienates, and hence that politicians must choose whether to represent the rulers or the ruled. The Republican Party had been the party of government between the Civil War and 1932. But government then was smaller in size, scope, and pretense. The Rockefellers of New York and Lodges of Massachusetts – much less the Tafts of Ohio – did not aspire to shape the lives of the ruled, as does modern government. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal largely shut these Republicans out of the patronage and power of modern government.
By the late 1930s, being out of power had begun to make the Republicans the default refuge of voters who did not like what the new, big government was doing. Some Republican leaders – the Taft wing of the Party – adopted this role. The Rockefeller wing did not. Though the latter were never entirely comfortable with the emerging Democratic ruling class, their big business constituency pressed them to be their advocate to it. A few such Republicans (e.g. Kevin Philips The Emerging Republican Majority) even dreamed during the Nixon-Ford Administration of the 1970s that they might replace Democrats at the head of the ruling class. But the die had been cast long since: Corporations, finance, and the entitled high and low – America’s “ins” – gravitated to the Democrats’ permanent power, while the “outs” fled into the Republican fold. Thus after WWII the Republican Party came to consist of office holders most of who yearned to be “ins,” and of voters who were mostly “outs.”
This internal contradiction was unsustainable. The Republican leadership, regarding its natural constituency as embarrassing to its pursuit of a larger role in government, limited its appeal to it. Thus it gradually cut itself off from the only root of the power by which it might gain that role. Thus the Republicans proved to be “the stupid party.”
n 1960 Barry Goldwater began the revolt of the Republican Party’s constituent “outsider” or “country class,” by calling for a grass-roots takeover of the Party. This led to Goldwater’s nomination for President in 1964. The Republican Establishment maligned him more vigorously than did the Democrats. But the Goldwater movement switched to Ronald Reagan, who overcame the Republican Establishment and the ruling class to win the Presidency by two landslide elections. Yet the question: “who or what does the Republican Party represent” continued to sharpen because the Reagan interlude was brief, because it never transformed the Party, and hence because the Bush (pere et fils) dynasty plus Congressional leadership (Newt Gingrich was a rebel against it and treated a such) behaved increasingly indistinguishably from Democrats. Government grew more rapidly under these Republican Administrations than under Democratic ones.
In sum, the closer one gets to the Republican Party’s voters, the more the Party looks like Goldwater and Reagan. The closer one gets to its top, the more it looks like the ghost of Rockefeller. Consider 2012: the party chose for President someone preferred by only one fourth of its voters – Mitt Romney, whose first youthful venture in politics had been to take part in the political blackballing of Barry Goldwater.
One reason for the Republican Party’s bipolarity is the centripetal attraction of the ruling class: In the absence of forces to the contrary, smaller bodies tend to become satellites of larger ones. Modern America’s homogenizing educational Establishment and the ruling class’ near monopoly on credentials, advancement, publicity, and money draws ambitious Republicans into the Democrats’ orbit. That is why for example a majority of the Republican Establishment, including The Wall Street Journal and the post-W.F. BuckleyNational Review supported the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and its premise that big, well-connected enterprises are “too big to fail” - which three fourths of the American people opposed vociferously. For these Republican cognoscenti vox populi is not vox dei, but the voice of idiots. Accordingly, after the 2010 elections produced a large contingent of Senators and Congressmen pledged to oppose measures such as the TARP, former Senate Republican majority leader Trent Lott expressed confidence that Washington would soon break the new members to its ways, that pledges to voters would count for little against the approval or disapproval of prestigious personages, against the profit to be made by going along with the ruling class and the trouble that comes from opposing it.
Some Democrats seem to believe that taking these Republicans unto themselves while deeming the remainder “unworthy,” withdrawing “tolerance toward [their] regressive opinions,” will crush serious opposition. Maybe. Surely however, incorporating the Republican Establishment into the ruling class leaves the dissidents free coherently to pursue their own vision, and with a monopoly of opposition. In two-party systems, the opposition eventually wins. Considering that, according to a 2013 Pew poll, 53% of Americans view the government as a threat to their welfare and liberties (up from 36% in 1995 and that a third of those who feel that way are Democrats); considering that government’s very legitimacy decreases as government grows in size, that victory may come sooner rather than later.
Because of the aforementioned, the political representation of America’s country class is fragmentary. But the uniformity of the ruling class’ pressure on the fragments is pressing them toward similar responses and perhaps unity.
It matters less whether two thirds of Republican congressmen vote against their leaders as they did on January 1, 2013 out of conviction or because their constituents demand it. Fact is, Republican leaders become less significant with every passing year because they have no way of reversing the intellectual trends from above or the popular pressure from below. Recent Presidential elections have shown that contemporary Establishment Republicans elicit scarce, unenthusiastic support even from longtime Republican voters because they are out of synch with their flock. In short, the Republican leadership finds itself in a position analogous to that of Episcopal bishops: They own an august label and increasingly empty churches because they have been chasing off the faithful priests and congregations.
This of course is what happened to the Whig party after 1850. After it became undeniable that party leader Henry Clay’s latest great compromise had sold the party’s principles cheap, the most vigorous Whigs, e.g. New York governor William Seward and national hero John C. Fremont – joined by an obscure Illinois ex-congressman named Abraham Lincoln whose only asset was that he reasoned well – looked for another vehicle for their cause. In 1854, together with representatives of other groups, they founded the Republican Party. Today the majority of Republican congressmen plus a minority of senators – dissidents from the Party but solid with their voters – are the natural core of a new party. The name it might bear is irrelevant. Very relevant are sectors of America’s population increasingly represented by groups that sprang up to represent them when the Republican leadership did not.
This representation is happening by default. It is aided by the internet, which makes it possible to spread ideas to which the educational Establishment gives short shrift and which the ruling class media shun. In short, the internet helps undermine the ruling class’ near-homogenization of American intellectual life, its closing of the American mind. Not by reason but by bureaucratic force majeure had America’s educational Establishment isolated persons who deviate from it, cutting access to a sustaining flow of ideas that legitimize their way of life. But the internet allows marginalized dissenters to reason with audiences of millions. Ideas have consequences. No surprise then that more and more of Republican elected officials seem to think less like their leaders and more like their voters.
The internet also spread the power to organize. Already in the 1970s Richard Viguerie had begun to upset the political parties’ monopoly on organization by soliciting money from the general public for causes and candidates through direct mail. The internet amplified this technique’s effectiveness by orders of magnitude, making it possible to transmit ideas and political signals while drawing financial support from millions of likeminded people throughout the country. Thus informed with facts and opinion, sectors of the country class have felt represented and empowered vis a vis the ruling class. Those on the electronic distribution list of the “Club for Growth,” for example, are at least as well informed on economic matters as any credentialed policy maker. The several pro-life organizations have spread enough knowledge of embryology and moral logic to make Roe v. Wade, which the ruling class regards as its greatest victory, a shrinking island in American jurisprudence and society. The countless Tea Parties that have sprung up all over have added their countless attendees to networks of information and organization despite the ruling class’ effort to demonize them. The same goes for evangelicals, gun owners, etc. Though such groups represent the country class fragmentarily, country class people identify with them rather than with the Republican Party because the groups actually stand for something, and represent their adherents against the ruling class’ charges, insults, etc.
Since America’s first-past-the-post electoral system produces elections between two parties, it was natural for any and all groups who oppose the ruling class to gravitate to the Republican Party. But the Party’s leaders, reasoning that “they have nowhere else to go,” refused to notice that voters were lending their votes out of allegiance to causes rather than to the Party, and that Republican candidates increasingly sought votes through the medium of groups that advocate these causes rather than through the Party Establishment. It was shocked when candidates won Republican primaries by aligning themselves with such groups, against the Party itself. The flood of votes that such groups energized in 2010 signified that the groups, not the Party, had come to represent opposition to the ruling class. But post 2010, the Republican leadership continued to pretend to be the county class’ representative while not actually representing it. Its donors buried opposition to Mitt Romney in attack ads and picked its own kind of candidates wherever it could.
After the leadership’s electoral disaster of 2012 and its subsequent pathetic fecklessness the only vision of a possible future in Republican ranks – the only programmatic and organizational coherence –was among the Party’s dissident majority in the House and dissident minority in the Senate. By 2013 it was less meaningful to ask what the leadership would do with the dissidents than what the dissidents would do with the leadership. The answer seemed to be: increasingly to ignore it, to go one’s own way; more and more, to go along with conscience and with voters. By 2013 as their numbers continued to grow without counter trend, it was difficult to imagine how the leadership might reduce their numbers.
At the same time, the groups that represent the country class’ pieces were mounting and winning more primary challenges to Establishment Republicans. The establishment responded with its main asset: money. The New York Times reported a concerted effort by the Party’s biggest donors led by longtime Bush staffer Karl Rove (yes, the Rockefeller wing) to support Establishment candidates in the primary process. But establishment candidates are already better funded than dissidents, usually massively so. The establishment candidates who have survived dissident challenges have seldom done it through sheer cash, but rather by fuzzing the differences between themselves and the dissidents. Designating themselves formally as “establishment,” was almost sure to hurt them. Moreover to set up the Republican establishment as a separate caucus invites the dissidents to unite and present themselves united as an alternative. That is the natural path to the dissidents forming a new party while Republican leadership dissolves into the Democratic party. In sum, the value of the label “Republican” is problematic.
The instrument and its use
A new party is likely to arise because the public holds both Republicans and Democrats responsible for the nation’s unsustainable course. Indebtedness cannot increase endlessly. Nor can regulations pile on top of regulations while the officials who promulgate them – and their pensions – continue to grow, without crushing those beneath. Nor can the population’s rush to disability status and other forms of public assistance, or the no-win wars that have resulted in “open season” on Americans around the world, continue without catharsis. One half of the population cannot continue passively to absorb insults without pushing back. When – sooner rather than later – events collapse this house of cards, it will be hard to credibly advocate a better future while bearing a label that advertises responsibility for the present. Why trust any Republican qua Republican?
To represent the country class, to set about reversing the ills the ruling class imposed on America, a party would have to confront the ruling class’ pretenses, with unity and force comparable to that by which these were imposed. There will be no alternative to all the country class’ various components acting jointly on measures dear to each. For example: since the connection between government and finance, the principle that large institutions are “too big to fail,” are dear to America’s best-connected people who can be counted on to threaten “systemic collapse,” breaking it will require the support of sectors of the country class for which “corporate welfare” is less of a concern than the welfare effects of the Social Security system’s component that funds fake disability and drug addiction – something about which macroeconomists mostly care little – and vice versa. Similarly the entire country class has as much interest in asserting the right of armed self-defense as does any gun owner, because the principle of constitutional right is indivisible. Nothing will require greater unity against greater resistance than ending government promotion of abortion and homosexuality. Yet those whose main concerns are with financial probity cannot afford continuing to neglect that capitalist economics presupposes a morally upright people. All this illustrates the need for, and the meaning of, a political party: disparate elements acting all of one and one for all.
Diversity is not a natural barrier to pursuing common interests. Franklin Roosevelt’s Democratic party included every unreconstructed segregationist in the South, as well as nearly all Progressives in university towns like Hyde Park, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin – people who despised not only the segregationists but also the Catholic Poles, Italians, and Irish from Milwaukee to Boston whose faith and habits were as foreign to them as they were to Southerners. Yet all understood that being mutually supportive of Democrats was the key to getting what they wanted.
The common, unifying element of the several country class’ sectors is the ruling class’ insistence, founded on force rather than reason, that their concerns are illegitimate, that they are illegitimate. The ruling class demonizes the country class piece by piece. Piece by piece it cannot defend itself, much less can it set the country on a course of domestic and international peace, freedom and solvency. None of the country class’ politically active elements can, by themselves, hope to achieve any of their goals because they can be sure that the entire ruling class’ resources will be focused on them whenever circumstances seem propitious. In 2012 for example, the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms seemed politically safe. Then, one disaster brought seemingly endless resources from every corner of the ruling class to bear on its defenders. The rest of the country class’ politically active elements stood by, sympathetically, but without a vehicle for helping. Each of these elements should have learned that none can hope for indulgence from any part of the ruling class. They can look only to others who are under attack as they themselves are.
Far be it from a party that represents the country class to ape what it abhors by imposing punitive measures through party line votes covered by barrages of insults: few in the country class’ parts want to become a ruling class. Yet the country class, to defend itself, to cut down the forest of subsidies and privileges that choke America, to curb the arrogance of modern government, cannot shy away from offending the ruling class’ intellectual and moral pretenses. Events themselves show how dysfunctional the ruling class is. But only a political party worthy of the name can marshal the combination of reason, brutal images, and consistency adequately to represent America’s country class.
Angelo M. Codevilla is Professor Emeritus of international relations at Boston University and a fellow of the Claremont Institute.
Bishop confirms National Catholic Reporter is not a ‘Catholic’ publication : News Headlines – Catholic Culture
In a column appearing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Finn notes that he, as the bishop of the diocese in which the Reporter is located, has the duty to “call the media to fidelity.” He cites the Code of Canon Law, which (in #1369) calls for “a just penalty” for anyone who “excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”
The National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn remarks, has taken an editorial stance that puts the publication at odds with the Church, by “officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistent undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established Magisterial teaching, and a litany of other issues.” He reveals that he has received numerous complaints about the Reporter’s editorial policies.
Bishop Finn reminds his readers that in 1968 his predecessor, Bishop Charles Helmsing, directed the editors of the Reporter to remove the word “Catholic” from the title of their publication. The newspaper’s editors refused. Bishop Finn says: “From my perspective, NCR’s positions against authentic Church teaching and leadership have not changed trajectory in the intervening decades.”
The bishop discloses that soon after arriving in Kansas City, he sought to engage the Reporter editors in a discussion of their fidelity to the Catholic Church, but was rebuffed. “At other times, correspondence has seemed to reach a dead end,” he adds.
Bishop Finn concludes that “as the local bishop to instruct the Faithful about the problematic nature of this media source which bears the name “Catholic.” He says that he remains willing to discuss the issue with the Reporter staff, but as things stand, “I find that my ability to influence the National Catholic Reporter toward fidelity to the Church seems limited to the supernatural level.”
Before dealing with the nuclear arsenals of rogue nations, the U.S. and Russia must first lead the effort by phasing out their own nuclear weapons, argued Chuck Hagel in largely unreported remarks during a 2009 Al Jazeera interview.
Before dealing with the nuclear arsenals of rogue nations, the U.S. and Russia must first lead the effort by phasing out their own nuclear weapons, argued Chuck Hagel in largely unreported remarks during a 2009 Al Jazeera interview.
Margaret Sanger passed away in the year 1966, one week before her 87th birthday. Though she was an atheist, funeral services were held at the Episcopal Church in Tucson, Arizona where she was eulogized as a “good, fighting saint who experienced martyrdom.” The Reverend George Ferguson went on to say that “all the elements of sainthood were personified many times in her life.”
The made-for-television movie, Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story (1995) is a highly sanitized version of Sanger as a champion for women’s rights. New York Times television critic, John J. O’Connor, stated that the movie describes an “extraordinary woman whose contraception crusade eventually led to the founding of Planned Parenthood.” Upon accepting the Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger Award in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered high praise to the award’s namesake: “Now I have to tell you that it was a great privilege when I was told that I would receive this award. I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision . . . . I am really in awe of her.” The sentiments of admiration expressed by Clinton were shared by H.G. Wells: “The history of our generation when it is written will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine.”
Originally posted on Western Rifle Shooters Association:
Dear Mr. Security Agent,
Federal, state, or local. You, the man or woman with the badge, the sworn LEO or FLEA and those who inhabit the many law enforcement niches in between and on all sides. This essay is directed to you, because in the end, how this turmoil about gun control turns out will depend largely upon your decisions and actions over the coming months and years.
I sincerely wish that members of Congress—who may soon be voting on new gun control measures—would read this essay, but I realize that’s a pipe dream, considering the impenetrable bubbles around those exalted entities. So I’ll settle for you, Mr. (or Ms.) Security Agent, since you already gobble up everything on the…
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Paedophiles may be wired differently. This is radical stuff. But there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that paedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality. Two eminent researchers testified to that effect to a Canadian parliamentary commission last year, and the HarvardMental Health Letter of July 2010 stated baldly that paedophilia “is a sexual orientation” and therefore “unlikely to change”.
This isn’t news. We already know that those who abuse children sexually are always dangerous. That is why they must register with the police when released from prison.
Washington D.C., Jan 5, 2013 / 04:03 pm (CNA).- More than 64,000 people throughout the U.S. have signed up to support Hobby Lobby on Jan. 5 for risking millions of dollars in profit to follow its Christian principles.
A Facebook page dedicated to supporting the arts and crafts retailer called on “all Americans who value freedom of religion and oppose the HHS Mandate’s unfair impositions” to support the company on Jan. 5 by shopping at either their local Hobby Lobby store or online.
The national arts and crafts retailer could face fines of $1.3 million per day for following its owners’ religious beliefs, which conflict with a federal mandate requiring employers to offer health insurance plans covering contraception – including some drugs that can cause early abortions – and sterilization.
The Christian family that owns Hobby Lobby holds moral objections to facilitating any type of abortion, including those caused by “morning after” and “week after” pills.
“This will probably come as a total shock to most of my Western readers, but at one point, Russia was one of the most heavily armed societies on earth,” wrote Stanislav Mishin in his recent column on a news website that uses the same name as the longtime Soviet voice.
The “most interesting part” of Benedict XVI’s speech to the Curia in 2005, when he took stock of how the Second Vatican Council had been received, is the one concerning the relationship between the modern world and the Church as Ratzinger turned “the situation prospected by the traditionalists upside down”
In fact “ In order to explain to them the open-mindedness of the Vatican II, the pope stated that the Church did not forgo and did not change its (immutable) principles, but rather that the modern world has undergone unexpected developments”
The article entitled “ the Second Vatican Council prophecy” by Father Enrico Cattaneo also emphasizes that the pope’s recent decisions, such as liberalizing Mass with Pius V’s missal and lifting the excommunication of the Lefebvrian bishops, do not undermine the pope’s view of the Council as “beneficial to the Church” and his belief that “ the doctrine of the Conciliar documents is wholly Catholic”, despite some people interpreting Benedict’s choices as some sort of acceptance of the conservative idea connecting the Church’s crisis to the Council.
Today it seems that the condemnation of sin has disappeared from the Church.
We are not saying that it is, or that sin is no longer declared as such; we are simply saying that it is done timidly and sweetly, to appear, even for the Church, not a grave matter. Yes, generally speaking, today it is done so. If an action is still defined as sinful, instantly a work of softening up the accusation begins, so as not to frighten the sinner, so as to make him feel welcome, declaring immediately that mercy triumphs over (everything). However, the mercy of God is understood well only if the complete gravity of the sin has been grasped. Today, sadly, this line prevails in the Church and is disastrous from the point of view of the care of souls – disastrous for pastoral work – as it is typically called today.
It is not only the world that has wreaked the moral havoc of today. It is too easy to blame only those on the outside! It is we who have not spoken anymore with clarity on the gravity of sin – of mortal sin and of the danger to souls who die in a state of final impenitence. It is we who have “trifled” speaking of sin and mercy (almost as if this is a preventive concession in the betrayal of God) and thus not helping souls to mend their ways and live according to God. To live in sin means to lose your life. We no longer say that sin displeases God, that it ruins our existence here on earth and closes Paradise (to us). We no longer speak about the pain of sin, of contrition – and afterwards we are astonished that nobody confesses anymore!
The new line began when the (“modern”) Church started saying that the medicine of mercy is to be preferred to that of condemnation. Yes, even a Council was held in order to declare that [the Church] no longer wanted to condemn error. By authority it was decided , for example, to keep silent about the “religious” evil of the 20th century – atheistic communism with all its errors and horrors.
By contrast, the Church of the past never differentiated mercy from the condemnation of sin! They are both necessary actions in the work of God, in the work of the salvation of souls: the serious condemnation of sin opens the soul to the possibility of that sorrow which saves, and mercy bestows the grace of forgiveness to those who ask for it.
“And first, the initial doctrine of the infallible teacher must be an emphatic protest against the existing state of mankind. Man had rebelled against his Maker. It was this that caused the divine interposition: and to proclaim it must be the first act of the divinely-accredited messenger. The Church must denounce rebellion as all possible evils, the greatest. She must have no terms with it; if she would be true to Her Master, She must ban and anathematize it. […] The Catholic Church holds it better for the sun and moon to drop from heaven, for the earth to fail, and for all the millions on it to die of starvation in extremest agony, as far as temporal affliction goes, than that one soul, I will not say should be lost, but should commit one single venial sin, should tell one willful untruth, or should steal one poor farthing without excuse.”*
We see how Blessed Cardinal Newman, erroneously considered as a precursor of Vatican II, echoes the great Tradition of the Church, and also on the aspects of morality is of keen and simple clarity. Completely different are the pastoral lucubrations of today, which have produced parishes where the majority of the faithful live in structured, mortal sin.
Let us listen to Newman, let us listen to the Church: Mercy begins with the denouncing of sin, articulating it in all its gravity.
*Chapter 5, Apologia pro Vita Sua
[Editorial: Radicati nella fede, January 2013, bulletin of the Catholic community of Domodossola and Vocogno, Diocese of Novara, Italy - Translation and tip: Contributor Francesca Romana]
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Posted by New Catholic at 1/04/2013 11:00:00 AM
If you don’t live near a Hobby Lobby, you can still shop at their on-line site. Also, the family that owns Hobby Lobby also owns Mardels. Mardels is a Christian office supply/book-music-Bible/homeschooling supply store.
I shopped at Mardels for curricula and supplies back when I was homeschooling. I’ve also bought several Bibles, as well as Christian gifts, cards and Christmas ornaments there. It’s a great store. You can find it online, if there’s not a Mardel’s near you.
We need to stand with other Christians when they make a courageous stand for Christ. I’m going to buy something at either Mardel’s or Hobby Lobby this week, and every paycheck I get from now on until the government attack on them is over. They are my brothers and sisters in Christ and they are being attacked by our government for their faithfulness to Him.
Since Barack Obama has been president, he’s been showered with many such accolades – most recently when Newsweek crowned him “The First Gay President” for his election-year abandonment of his opposition to same-sex marriage. But the elite media, to commemorate other Obama affinities and policy positions, have also dubbed him “The First Hispanic President,” “The First Asian-American President,” “The First Jewish President” – and even “The First Female President.”
Germane to a discussion on conscience is John F. Kennedy, who, as a politician, ironically promoted an arguably anti-Catholic mentality in several of his views on the moral conscience and the role of religion in the public square.
Kennedy has, of course, subsequently become a prototype for others who have followed his style of Catholicism with regards to public life. His principles on this subject were mainly espoused in a presidential campaign speech to a group of Protestant pastors at the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960 while he was still a senator. Although much could be written both pro and con, about this “Speech on Faith” or “Ministerial Association Speech,” here the discussion is limited to merely addressing two false dichotomies.
The Catholic Church is the longest-enduring institution in the world, and her historical character is integral to her identity. The earliest Christians claimed to be witnesses to the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus, thereby making Christianity a historical religion, emanating from a Judaism that was itself a historical religion.
Christianity staked its claim to truth on certain events, notably that at a precise moment in history the Son of God came to earth. The Gospels have a ring of historical authenticity partly because of the numerous concrete details they contain, the care with which they record the times and places of Jesus’ life.
The devotion to the Child Jesus
Fr. Alban Cras, FSSP – Conference
The devotion to the Child Jesus goes back to the very origins of Christianity. There are somewhat legendary depictions of the Child Jesus in the Apocryphal Gospels (cf. Infancy Gospel of Thomas, that presents a super-hero Child Jesus). We then see the Child Jesus appear notably to Saint Jerome, and also to Saint Catherine of Alexandria.
In the Middle Ages, the entire world is aware of the closeness between Saint Anthony of Padua and the Child Jesus. But it was in the 16th century that the devotion to the childhood of Christ received a great boost thanks to the Theresian reform; therefore, it was mainly the Carmelite spirituality that favored it. In all her travels, Saint Teresa of Avila took with her a statue of the Child Jesus, and she placed a new one in each new Carmel. It was thus that the Child Jesus was considered the true founder of each new monastery.
You are aware perhaps of the famous apparition of the Child Jesus to Saint Teresa of Avila, whose name in religion was Teresa of Jesus. The Child Jesus appeared to Teresa on a staircase in the monastery of the Incarnation, and told her: “You, you are Teresa of Jesus, and I am Jesus of Teresa.”
In the ancient Church, and until rather recently, we genuflected at the two references to the incarnation in the Mass: at the Creed and at the Last Gospel (John 1). Why did we do this? It was explained to me that the mystery was so deep that one could only fall in silent reverence.
There are many paradoxes and seeming impossibilities in the incarnation. As mysteries they cannot be fully solved, so they claim our reverence. We genuflected in the past, and we bow today at the mention of the incarnation in the creed for it is a deep mystery.
The Linus Van Pelt Lesson on Translation Accuracy
Posted by Ann Barnhardt – December 24, AD 2012 6:35 PM MST
That really is a sweet little clip. The child who voiced Linus had such a quintessentially warm American accent, even down to the little lisp. Magic in a bottle – from the voices to the soundtrack. It was made in 1965 and stands as a marker of the end of the Christian American culture, only recognized now in retrospect.
But, a nit to pick, and a great lesson for all in how important an accurate translation of the Bible is. Most Bibles today read Luke 2:14 as:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
The last clause is totally wrong, and was mangled intentionally and with malice.
The Vulgate Latin, which is St. Jerome‘s inspired synthesis of the original source texts triple cross-referenced against each other in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew in preparation for the eventual setting of the canon of scripture at the Council of Carthage in 397 AD, reads thusly:
“…gloria in altissimis Deo et in terra pax in hominibus bonae voluntatis”
In English, in the Douay-Rheims translation this reads:
Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
These are two completely different ideas. Radically different. The bad, modern translation has peace and goodwill together as co-subjects, as unqualified universals: “peace, goodwill TOWARD men”. The accurate translation clearly has goodwill not as the COMPOUND SUBJECT along with peace, but as the QUALIFIER. To men OF GOOD WILL. Good will isn’t the subject, it is the OBJECT OF THE PREPOSITION.
The Peace of Our Lord is a massively qualified, and extremely rare and precious thing. When the priest says at Mass, “Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum” (The peace of the Lord be always with you), he isn’t just saying “nice things” as filler. This is a profound and precious prayer.
Why would God, in His Perfect Justice, wish good will towards those men who are at war with Him, and thus His Church? Is not the Second Person, God Incarnate in the Manger in Bethlehem, the Judge of mankind? Is not the Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes He who will sort the sheep from the goats? Is He not the One who is come to sift the wheat from the chaff? Did He not say:
“Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.”
Oh, but if we are under attack by Communist-homosexualist infiltrators, and we want God reduced to an abstract philosophical construct, an “I’m okay, you’re okay” joke of a deity, an effete, toothless “idea” that is merely an excuse for neo-pagan self-worship and narcissistic performance opportunities, then, by all means, mangle and rearrange the Word of God. As the infiltrators tell their victims, “It doesn’t really matter what the original texts said – all that matters is what today’s translation says to you . . . “
Luke 2:14 is a quick, easy way to check the veracity of any translation of the Bible. Break yours out and check right now. And then, when you find it incorrectly translated, as you almost certainly will, ask yourself what other verses have been mangled. And then ask yourself what you’re missing in the seven books that Luther removed. Uh-oh.
Then, just GET A DOUAY-RHEIMS and use the Church’s authoritative English translation without fear or worry that you are reading Communist-homosexualist agitprop.
(www.RemnantNewspaper.com) Fraud has been a part of human history ever since the fall of mankind. The very first fraud was that committed by none other than Satan, who convinced the woman Eve that by defiance of God, she and Adam could actually become as gods themselves, knowing good from evil. Whether or not Adam was fooled by this fraud or simply decided to die with his wife we are not told, but that original fraud occasioned the Original Sin, from which we have suffered ever since.
Perhaps the most famous of the biblical fraudsters were to be found among the Patriarchs. Chief among them was Jacob, who defrauded his brother of his birthright and blessing for a bit of pottage. Never mind that his mother put him up to it and his brother deserved it and providence had preordained the outcome; God had not approved their fraudulent means. And so mother and son suffered for their fraud: Jacob had to flee his homeland and never saw his mother again and he himself was the victim of fraud, at the hands of his uncle, who tricked him into marriage with a woman not of his choosing and several years of unjust labor. Fraud ran deep in that family.
(www.RemnantNewspaper.com) Why is it that every time one of these ghastly school shootings takes place ordinary law-abiding citizens find themselves with their backs up against the wall, defending the Second Amendment as if they were the culprits? Why are we always on defense?
It’s as if the media intentionally stir up these simmering pots over more guns, less guns, arming everyone, disarming everyone to somehow preempt any meaningful debate on the real issue at hand: The colossal failure of our national public schools system, whose extremist policies are demonstrably more to blame for all of this than anything Smith & Wesson did or ever could do.
While we go on and on in these media-directed sidetracks, the folks who actually get paid to guarantee the education and personal safety of our nation’s students seem to get off scott-free. Some Americans would like to know why?
It would be likening Advent to the state of a desert, which is precisely the meaning of Lent as a desert experience. But Advent has a different and bigger meaning.
Indeed, God has become man in Jesus Christ and is with us and continues to be with us. He has not gone “off to heaven,” leaving us alone in what can seem to be a desert.
Recall that the apostles returned from Olivet — the mount of the Ascension — rejoicing. Jesus continued to be with them invisibly in much the same way that he was with the two disciples — unrecognized — on the road to Emmaus.
It’s a sad irony that Charles Dickens, who most likely did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, is the English writer most identified with Christmas, while C.S. Lewis who is one of the most articulate literary proponents of the orthodox faith in his century, has left behind almost no contribution to the literature of Christmas.
Lewis’s main literary nod to Christmas is the leitmotif in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, that introduces Narnia as a land where it was always winter but never Christmas. After the children from England enter Narnia through the magical wardrobe, beginning events that culminate in the thaw of Narnia’s century-long winter, Father Christmas (as the English call Santa Claus) appears in his raindeer-powered “sledge” and delivers presents to all the good creatures, including the Pevensey children. But this is treated as something that could have taken place at any time or season, more because Father Christmas had been unable to visit for a hundred years than because it was Christmas.
Vatican City, Dec 20, 2012 / 10:29 am (CNA/EWTN News).-
Pope Benedict XVI authorized an investigation on Dec. 20 which could result in proclaiming the late pontiff, Paul VI, a saint.
The Pope formally allowed the move as the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints wrote a decree stating that Paul VI had “heroic virtue,” the first step necessary in the canonization process.
The pontiff met with congregation head cardinal Angelo Amato on Thursday to let him begin the review of the “Humanae Vitae” author.
I was asked by the Young Adult group in my parish to address some ads on our local buses and subway trains here in Washington. The members of the Young adult group found the ads offensive and troubling, especially since they were aimed at kids. The ads are posted by the American “Humanist” Association (AHA) and are indeed aimed at kids and teenagers. The focus of the message is “Kids without God: You’re not the only one.” I have altered the ad at the upper right of this post to avoid listing its website but as you can see God is represented by a seeming angry and/or accusing finger and a bemused teenager who says “I’m getting a bit old for imaginary friends.”
A man who, by FORBES’ careful measure, is one of the 50 most powerful people in the world, one of the 20 wealthiest–and one of the dozen most vilified–is perpetually in a position to reflect. But given it’s Charles Koch’s 77th birthday, the calendar demands it. Especially with the presidential election that Charles has called “the mother of all wars” less than a week away, and with Koch Industries, the firm he has built into the second-largest private company in America, considering several more big acquisitions, including an 18,000-employee automotive glassmaker, Guardian Industries.
Arlington, Va., Dec 20, 2012 / 04:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).-
“We will remember him with great fondness,” Ave Maria School of Law President and Dean Eugene R. Milhizer told CNA Dec. 19. “Judge Bork was a national figure, a very important jurist, writer and academic. It was a real privilege to be a colleague of his at the law school.”
Hollande referred the report to a national council on medical ethics which will examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised with a view to producing draft legislation by June 2013.
“The existing legislation does not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill,” Hollande said.
The report said physicians should be allowed to authorise interventions that ensure quicker deaths for terminal patients in three specific sets of circumstances.
AFP – Belgium is considering a significant change to its decade-old euthanasia law that would allow minors and Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek permission to die.
The proposed changes to the law were submitted to parliament Tuesday by the Socialist party and are likely to be approved by other parties, although no date has yet been put forward for a parliamentary debate.
“The idea is to update the law to take better account of dramatic situations and extremely harrowing cases we must find a response to,” party leader Thierry Giet said.
The draft legislation calls for “the law to be extended to minors if they are capable of discernment or affected by an incurable illness or suffering that we cannot alleviate.”
A few years ago, my small local hospital asked a Senate staffer if she could assist them in obtaining federal money for a new building. So she did, expediting the process by which that particular corner of northern New Hampshire was deemed to be “under-served” and thus eligible for the fed gravy. At the ribbon-cutting, she was an honored guest, and they were abundant in their praise. Alas, in the fullness of time, the political pendulum swung, her senator departed the scene, and she was obliged to take a job out of state.
An appeals court panel in Sweden has imposed the “death penalty” on a homeschooling family, granting the state full custody of their son, who famously was “state-napped” from a jetliner in 2009 as the family prepared to move to India.
The appeals panel reversed a lower court ruling that granted Annie and Christer Johansson custody of their son, Domenic. But if the decision is not reversed again by the nation’ Supreme Court, the Johansson’s will lose their son, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which has been working on the case with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Upon entering my former church, the first things one noticed were ten framed photographs displayed in a line on the opposite wall. They were all of white men in clerical collars, displayed to honor every reverend who had pastored the parish since its founding in 1887. I always found it interesting to see the societal transitions reflected in the photos. Arranged in chronological order, the first was of a stiffly Victorian-looking fellow, with each subsequent pastor looking more casual than the last. The final photo, the only one in color, was of the current pastor, who has been leading the church since 1982.When I arrived on the scene, circa 1995, the church was a vibrant and progressive parish with a strong outreach to the gay community and all others who felt wounded by what most viewed as the wrongful moralism of orthodox Christianity.
The secular media have an unending interest in things Catholic. A recent sampling includes a theology teacher allegedly dismissed for favoring the ordination of women to the priesthood, an announced lesbian (and, as it turned out, a Buddhist) refused Communion at her mother’s funeral, a music teacher dismissed from the Catholic schools because he planned to “marry” his male lover, and a priest disciplined by his bishop for refusing to recite the prescribed prayers of the Mass, extemporizing his own instead.
It is ironic that the scintillating Graeco-Syrian Saint Luke was martyred, according to tradition in Boeotia, a humid and swampy part of central Greece whose people were said to be not interested in philosophy or much of anything beyond their uneventful daily lives. That may have been the propaganda of the superior Athenians, who caricatured the Boeotians and indeed anyone not Athenian, the way some Irish make Kerrymen the butt of jokes. The great Pindar was Boeotian, but for the most part the fetid place was not considered a nursery of genius and the Boeotians remained the equivalent of people today whose cultural universe is confined to watching ESPN. The Romans absorbed the Greek prejudice and had an expression: “Boeotum in crasso jurares aere natum”— “You’d swear he was born in the thick air of Boeotia.”
One of these, Benedict XVI has said, is the use of public opinion against the magisterium of the Church. Another is the prejudice that faith in God generates violence. The lecture of the pope theologian to theologians
by Sandro Magister
ROME, December 14, 2012 – Last week, at its annual plenary session, the international theological commission made an unusual gesture.On December 6, the thirty theologians who compose it, with their president Gerhard L. Müller, cardinal prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, went in pilgrimage to the papal basilica of St. Mary Major.The commission had announced and explained the meaning of this gesture in a previous message released in mid-October:”To entrust its own work, and that of all Catholic theologians, to the faithful Virgin, proclaimed ‘blessed because she believed’ (Lk 1:45), model of believers and bulwark of the true faith.”But the central theme of the message – “theology does not exist except in relation to the gift of faith” – was also unusual:
Perhaps the timing was Providential, if one is still permitted to say that at a Quebec high school. I came here to Loyola high school in Montreal to give a lecture on faith in our common life, only one day after the Quebec government had won an appellate court victory that, in effect, said there was not much room for faith at Loyola, unless the teachers here pretended it wasn’t true. Comforting the afflicted is one of the traditional tasks of both priests and journalists, so I was happy to be on hand.
Thomas Howard is one of the most erudite and literate Catholic authors in recent history. He was raised in a prominent Evangelical home (his sister is well-known author and former missionary Elisabeth Elliot), became Episcopalian in his mid-20s, then entered the Catholic Church in 1985, at the age of 50. Dr. Howard was a highly regarded professor of English and literature for more than 30 years and is the author of numerous books, including Dove
Descending: T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” Evangelical Is Not Enough, Chance or the Dance?, Lead Kindly Light, On Being Catholic, and The Secret of New York Revealed. He recently was interviewed, by email, by Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, about the new edition of his book Hallowed Be This House: Finding Signs of Heaven in Your Home (Ignatius Press, 2012), as well as the state of American culture, secularism, Anglicanism, and great literature.
Blessed Pope John Paul II once proclaimed that our generation engages in a fundamental struggle, which is whether we believe in God or not. Love, as it is said, requires a self-emptying.
A teacher I know once asked this question to a student who wondered out loud whether he believed in God or not: “Do you believe that life is more than meets the eye?” she asked.
People of faith – and even atheists – are captivated by the fact that there is one Being who is the creator and the sustainer of the entire universe.
That same teacher said it this way: the first step to believing in God follows closely the second step, which is realizing that you are not God!
Since the presidential election, I haven’t been watching the American news channels much, I haven’t had the heart. The US appears to be about to go over something they are calling the fiscal cliff because of Obama’s triumphalistic behavior: he won, so he’s not compromising with congressional Republicans who want much-needed public spending cuts, and he’ll blame them if they do all go over this cliff (there are, I understand, other analyses of what is happening, but I like this one best). This cliff may not seem like our business, but it is: if they do go over it, it will have a very severe effect on the American economy and therefore on everyone else’s, including ours.
Anyway, that’s not what I wanted to write about: watching, for old time’s sake, the wondrous Megyn Kelly on Fox News the other day (she comes on at the most convenient time for English observers) I came across an interview with a Fox anchor called Bill O’Reilly, who seemed like a good egg, so I had a look at his own more primetime show, The O’Reilly Factor. This, according to Wikipedia, is “the most watched cable news television program on American television.” I found, interestingly, that he is not only currently running a campaign in defense of Christmas against the atheists who want any mention of it banned in all public places and institutions, but also one more broadly in defense of Christianity itself, against the increasingly aggressive secularism more and more endemic in American culture. Inter alia, he protested last week at having to lead such a campaign himself because of the total failure of leadership in all the mainline churches. He didn’t say so, but he sounded like a Catholic to me (Wikipedia confirms this). This is what he said: “There’s a lack of will and a lack of leadership in the Christian communities generally speaking. I have to lead this campaign. The biggest sinner in the world is leading this campaign. What God’s saying is, is there anyone else who can lead this campaign? Anybody except O’Reilly? Anybody? I have to lead this campaign. We don’t get, what we’re not getting, is organized leadership from any of the churches. They just don’t engage.”
I have rarely seen Fr Blake more passionate: “I cannot help but feel very angry,” he says, “that since the letter from the Archbishops of the four Provinces of England and Wales we have heard nothing officially from the Bishops or the Bishops’ Conference on ‘gay-marriage’. In the last few days I have received communications from several individual priests urging me to write to my MP or to the Prime Minister, I have also received emails from a few non-Catholic Ministers of Religion and a local rabbi, and as it is Brighton from a group of gay Christians who recognize the redefinition of marriage as an attack on the stability of the family but from the hierarchy there is only continuous silence.”
At that time, the year 1531, a few days into the month of December [December 9], it happened that there was a humble but respected Indian, a poor man of the people; his name was Juan Diego; he lived in Cuauhtitlán, as they say. …
It was Saturday, not yet dawn; he was coming in pursuit of God and his commandments. And as he drew near the little hill called Tepeyac it was beginning to dawn. He heard singing on the little hill, like the song of many precious birds; when their voices would stop, it was as if the hill were answering them; extremely soft and delightful; their songs exceeded the songs of the coyoltotl and the tzinitzcan and other precious birds.
December 10, 2012
The veil of mystery over the Council’s omitting any reference to Communism has gradually been lifted.
On Monday, President Barack Obama went to a campaign-style rally in Michigan and attempted to put pressure on Congressional Republicans to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 and railed against Michigan’s recently-passed right-to-work legislation.
Obama, instead of negotiating with Congressional Republicans on a budget deal, called the bill that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) may sign into law this week the beginning of a “race to the bottom.”
“If Congress doesn’t act soon, everyone’s going to see their income taxes go up,” Obama said. ““We can solve this problem — all Congress needs to do is prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income.”
Obama has insisted he will not sign a budget deal that does not raise taxes on those making more than $250,000. The president has indicated that he may even veto his own plans for tax increases if Congress does not give him unilateral power to raise the debt ceiling without Congressional approval.
A friend from Chicago, involved in Illinois politics who has known Obama since his early days in the Illinois State Senate, told me that two things that trump everything else in Obama’s mind: redistributing the wealth and empowering labor unions. Look at everything the President does, my friend says, and you will find one or the other lurking in the background.
My friend’s analysis may explain a lot about the current state of affairs concerning the standoff over the so-called fiscal cliff and Obama’s refusal to abandon the idea that he must raise taxes on the rich. The President and his henchmen certainly understand that raising taxes on the richest 2% of taxpayers (in reality these people are not the richest but those with the highest incomes) makes little economic sense – doing so would reduce the deficit for 2012 from $1.10 trillion to $1.02 trillion or, in these numbers, really not at all. So something else is going on.
As most of you know, there has been a rather vivid discussion recently in the blogosphere on the subject of hell. As one who has written rather substantially, on the topic of hell, and our need to recover a more biblical notion regarding judgment and hell, I pray that you will tolerate me adding my own voice to the recent discussions.
Those who read this blog regularly, will know that I have spoken on the topic of Hell on any number of occasions. For example:
The Hell of It ——–Hell Has to Be——Will Many Be Saved? ——–Sinner Please Don’t Let this Harvest Pass ——–The Fire Next Time ——–The Mystery of Iniquity ——–Ignoring Two Words Devastates Evangelization
Denver, Colo., Dec 9, 2012 / 06:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Dec. 14 is the liturgical memorial of Saint John of the Cross, a 16th century Carmelite priest best known for reforming his order together with Saint Teresa of Avila, and for writing the classic spiritual treatise “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
Honored as a Doctor of the Church since 1926, he is sometimes called the “Mystical Doctor,” as a tribute to the depth of his teaching on the soul’s union with God.
MARY IN OUR DIVINE HISTORYFather R. Plus S.J.
Lourdes, France, March 25, 1858
We should not be astounded at such a sublime privilege! Are not the reasons which wage battle in favor of the Immaculate Conception of Mary evident? Due to His holiness, Jesus had to be born of a sinless Mother; He ‘who finds specks in the Angels themselves’ and Who ‘takes delight only amongst the lilies’ would never have consented to have been born of a flesh tainted by sin.
The starting point of the elevation to grace is, for each one of us, Baptism. Every man, in fact, enters into existence with the consequences of original sin, and he does not possess that divine life which God wanted to give to humanity, because our first parents lost it. Therefore, born firstly to human life, it is necessary that he be born a second time to the divine life. This is the reason the baptismal rite exists: to introduce him into the Christian life, in the supernatural sphere, into the family of the children of God.
God the Father wants nothing less than heaven on earth. This is why he gave us his Son, and his many promises. Many people tend to believe that heaven—”eternal life”—is only to be enjoyed after we die. But Jesus came “that we might have life and life to the full.” The indwelling Trinity—the very atmosphere of heaven—means “eternal life” is already in us; “the kingdom of God is in your midst.” When asked how to pray, Jesus told his disciples to ask their Father “the kingdom of you–come! The will of you–be done! As it is in heaven—so on the earth!” His hope is that we all begin to experience the atmosphere of heaven, the presence and love of God, beginning now. Obviously, this worldview is profoundly different from one which is primarily focused on individual sanctification. Instead, as in Jesus’ ministry, its focus is to see the Father’s exciting love demonstrated, experienced, and advanced throughout the world.