Immaculate Conception

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8th.

Immaculate Conception by Murrillo

Immaculate Conception by Murrillo

Bartolome Esteban Murillo painted several versions of The Immaculate Conception–I like this one the best.

The United States Bishops consecrated the nation to the Immaculate Conception in 1954.

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Domenico Piola, Genoa

Piola fills his painting with the salvation story: The sinless daughter, crowned  by God the Father with stars as Queen of the Universe;  Eve, with the apple of temptation, is overshadowed Mary, full of grave; Satan defeated by the cross of Christ’s crucifixion.

Tiepolo’s enigmatic Immaculate Conception is a favorite, the expression seems to communicate an intense awareness of the sorrow and joy to come–and the solemnity of the eternal significance.

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She stands on the earth crushing the dragon, the lily of purity carried by her angel…

Jose Ribera’s grand and flourished Virgin foreshadows her title Mother of the Church, as she stands above the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.

http://www.allpaintings.org/d/27443-2/Jos_+de+Ribera+-+Immaculate+Conception.jpg

Next, El Greco’s depiction of the Immaculate Conception:

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In Martino Altomonte painting, the action of conception takes place in the heavens, Mary, free of original sin,  stands upon the earth, crushing the head of the dragon and the apple of temptation, his tail entwines the world.

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez:The Immaculate Conception c. 1618

Velasquez’ Virgin stands in dark endless cosmos…on a rising moon, crowned with stars, her presence illumines the world that awaits her intercession.

http://www.terminartors.com/files/artworks/9/3/9/9391/Zurbaran_Francisco_de-Immaculate_Conception.jpg

Zurbaran’s Immaculate Conception crushes the dragon-headed snake with its sin-poisoned apple.

Catechism of the Catholic Church,# 492:  The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.” The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.”

Republicans Wander in the Wilderness

The shock of losing the 2012 presidential election set the GOP back on its heels. Many in GOP leadership are wandering in the wilderness–lurching from one foolish idea to the next.  Oddly, they are deaf to their true base and have  no idea which path leads to a victory for 2016.

“Ken Mehlman is either deluded or disingenuous. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee is among those now trying to bring the Republican Party around to the cause of gay marriage.”  More here.

Mehlman  and his ilk are 180 degrees off base.  The Democrats “own” the permissive sexual platform. No GOP  who chirps “me too!” and hops aboard the wagon to social decay will win a single Republican Senate seat, much less the White House. Republicans will fail again in 2014 and 2016 if they head down the path of Republican Lite. (see Social Decline and the GOP)

The road ahead is a steep arduous journey.  And,  one wonders if Republicans have the stomach for it.  Notice that the “progressive” Americans won’t vote for decent moral values unless and until leadership– cultural, political and most of all, religious–calls the nation back to the founding morality.  Let’s dispense with any illusions that the country was built by free-thinking deists. That there were such persons of influence is true. But their views were not codified in the Constitution.  The far greater weight goes to those Founders and early leaders who insisted that as a nation we must be virtuous citizens, self reliant,  and faithful to God.

Social Decline and the GOP

Oh, there is a whole lotta wailing still goin’ on.

Post election finger pointing is tiresome after a second week of the rehash, rehashed.   Many party wonks and hand wringing “conservatives” think the Republican Party must capitulate on the social issues (Natural marriage, abortion, euthanasia)  in order to appeal to the handful of independents and the Hispanic block.

Balderdash!  The social issues won the day for the Democrats.  Democratic blogs and PACs, media pundits and such clearly crow that their social issues, not the economy, won the day.

Those “moderate” Republicans who think that  the GOP had better adopt  same-sex unions, euthanasia and abortion while they retain a fiscally conservative platform, need to rethink their game-plan.  Such a move simply creates two Democrat parties: Democrat Light and Democrat.  Trouble is, once  the Republicans travel that path, they can kiss all hope  of election good-bye.  There are simply  too many hard ideological Democrats who worship at the altar of State.  The rest are receiving a major portion of their sustenance from the government– they are not interested in fiscal sobriety.  They have no use for Democrat Light (formerly the GOP)

Here’s the real problem  that few in office are willing to acknowledge:You cannot have a healthy economy in a nation where natural families are in decline.

Consider this statistic: Entrepreneurship  and innovation is  predominant among 25-45 year -old citizens.  We have fewer 25-45  year -old people entering the workforce, sufficient to alarm the Bureau of Labor   New ideas and risk taking do not generate in retirement communities.  Some have put the estimate of economic loss from abortion at $45 TRILLION !

Nations in decline cannot repair an ailing economy.

Marxists and Socialists –our enemies–know this. Hence their agenda to destroy the moral codes that protect marriage and family, including sufficient births to people the nation generation after generation.  When a people are “freed” from  natural marriage and family, debt increases.  A debauched culture pursues pleasure and immediate material excess rather than invest for the future (with far fewer babies born) to the detriment of the next generation, because–bluntly–they won’t have to pay the tab–your kids will be hung with the bill.  Those who have no faith in the ideals of family, patriotism and the Judeo -Christian moral code that built Western Civilization, have zero scruples about saddling your children as their beast of burden.  They frankly do not care what happens after their own death–it means nothing to them if the nation dies.

“But,” you may object, “there are plenty of Democrats with families who surely must care.”   Maybe.  We’ve all met those looney parents who teach their youngsters that baby seals are entitled to protection but baby humans are not.  I do not doubt that some Democrat parents care for their children’s future in theory, as long as that future includes  Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi’s moral code: birth control pills and abortions for 12 year olds.  For many on the left, the ideals of permissive sex, same-sex unions, abortion and euthanasia are more important than the chaotic decline such tenets bring  to the coming generation. In short, these parents will offer up the future of their own children, fully confident that –some how — the coming age will be tolerant and peaceful–or else.

Else?   Yes, Virginia, they will use the force of government to coerce this chaos on all–so much for tolerance.  The intolerance  of “progressives” toward Christians and others of  traditional moral wisdom is gathering speed. Catholics and all citizens of good will and a stiff spine must jab right  back against the growing claim that the GOP can only survive if it capitulates on the social issues.

What can you do? Contact your Republican elected officials-- state and national– and tell them the social issues matter to the base–Just say NO to  Democrat Light.

What’s the Message? Reflection on the Lost Election

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Let us set aside the debate about any Republican tactical missteps or the general question of Nice Guy against Street Fighter.

More profitable for Catholics may be the reflection on what it means that 50% of us–our nation– are willing to sacrifice economic stability in order to insure liberal social mores. Exit polls indicate a majority of voters listed the economy at the top of their worry list, yet, still preferred Obama to Romney. Their reasons essentially came to this: Women’s rights, same-sex unions, and “fairness” by which most mean income redistribution.

Here is a clip from the oh-so-erudite New Yorker Magazine:


Nearly as pleasing as Obama’s surprisingly easy reëlection—and, to me at least, rather more surprising—was the electorate’s nearly across-the-board embrace of cultural and social liberalism and, implicitly, of secularism… In Maine, Maryland, and Washington, for the first time anywhere, initiatives to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples were on the ballot. All three passed—a gigantic breakthrough. In a fourth state, Minnesota, voters rejected a ban on gay marriage. This had never happened before, either; what had happened before, thirty-two times, was that such bans were approved, sometimes overwhelmingly. The pro-equality majorities this time were small, between fifty-one and fifty-three per cent, but they were unprecedented. The change is stunning. It’s epochal. And it shows signs of being permanent.

Author Hertzberg  is effusive–the victory is a “gigantic breakthrough” and “the change is stunning…epochal”

………………I fear he is correct.   Notice–it was NOT about the economy for them.  The Republicans utterly missed that.  No, Democrats understood that Obama is wrecking the economy but they did not care. Simply stated, for many of them the compelling  issue is the culture war.   And it should have been for us too–the nation is so divided, now, that a even the hemorrhaging economy is tolerable, but Christian values are not.

The bishops begin their November deliberations on Monday, and “what do we do now?” is the subtext of every agenda item.  What we may need is a blueprint for charitable but firm civil disobedience.

Link to upcoming USSCB meeting http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-156.cfm

 

******** some have emailed to ask where they may find my article from 2008 0n Obama and Saul Alinsky. Here is a link to “The Other Side of Change:”

http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/mjanderson/04417.html

More past articles can be found here http://www.catholicity.com/commentary/mjanderson/

Blunt Bishops—Thank God!

Recently a shiny new priest used a daily mass homily–five minutes, max–to read a few choice writings  from St. John Vianney.  Fr. Newly Ordained marveled at the boldness of the Curé d’ Ars,  who is the patron of priests.  The young priest observed that in some dioceses you’d be sent packing just for reading those lines.

Sadly, this is so. But as often we are inspired  by a “holy boldness” when a bishop speaks out forcefully and, dare I say, bluntly.  We need plain speech when souls are in the balance.

Here is one such statement from Bp. David Ricken:

“Calling the 2012 election “a turning point in our country’s history,” Bishop David Ricken urged Catholics of the Diocese of Green Bay to remember “the set of non-negotiables” as they cast their ballots.

“These are areas that are ‘intrinsically evil’ and cannot be supported by anyone who is a believer in God or the common good or the dignity of the human person,” said Bishop Ricken. “They are:

  • 1. abortion
  • 2. euthanasia
  • 3. embryonic stem cell research
  • 4. human cloning
  • 5. homosexual “marriage”

“Some candidates and one party have even chosen some of these as their party’s or their personal political platform,” Bishop Ricken added. “To vote for someone in favor of these positions means that you could be morally ‘complicit’ with these choices which are intrinsically evil. This could put your own soul in jeopardy.”

The full story is here.

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Obama’s Contraception Ads

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Perhaps nothing has been as deliberately misleading as the Obama campaign’s “war on women” rhetoric. Each preys on a woman’s supposed fear that contraception will go the way of the Dodo bird ( make that Big Bird)

Now comes a new ad for Obama written by HBO’s Lena Dunham, creative “talent” behind the channel’s Girls program. The ad suggests a girl’s “first time”  should be…Obama. OK, it only hints that “first time” is a loss of virginity, then, SURPRISE!  No no, silly, the first time a college age contraceptive using girl becomes a woman is when she votes for Obama. You decide:

Nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker calls Obama’s contraception ploy a “pseudo -debate.”  She wrote;

“The contraception issue never would have come up but for Obama’s decision to force the hand of the Catholic Church. By placing religious institutions in the position of having to provide health insurance to pay for contraception as well as sterilization, which, agree or not, are against church teaching, Obama created the conversation…many religious institutions, including University of Notre Dame, that have sued the Obama administration on First Amendment grounds.”

About Dunham’s ad for Obama, Parker wrote, “A message to young women that losing one’s virginity is top of the bucket list, but first you gotta vote for the president who will give you free contraception.

The same ol’ culture wars. But, of course, women have had access to birth control for decades and no one is trying to take it away. Anyone who suggests otherwise may have been spending too much time with Big Bird.”

Bravo Ms. Parker!

Archbishop of Miami Files Suit Against HHS mandate

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of  Miami has filed suit against the Obama Administration’s Health and Human Services Mandate–a directive about compulsory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and chemical abortifacients  within Obamacare.

“The HHS mandate represents a real threat … we cannot just sit back and let our religious freedoms be taken away from us,” Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami told CNA Oct. 19.

The archdiocese in the person of Archbishop Wenski, Catholic Health Services, and Catholic Hospice are the plaintiffs in the suit. It challenges the mandate as a violation of Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and of three parts of the First Amendment: its free exercise, establishment, and free speech clauses.

“If we can rescind the mandate, we will be able to maintain our freedom to serve in ways that are congruent with our Catholic identity and our Catholic principles, and therefore (the rule) will not present us with an obstacle that could in fact jeopardize our individual salvation,” Archbishop Wenski said.

Archbishop Wenski emphasized that the suit would help the Church in Miami continue providing health services and other care to the people of southern Florida.

“These health services that we offer and our Catholic charities … are a witness to what we believe about the human person, about human dignity, which is informed by our faith,” he explained.

Full Story here

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