The Contraceptive Vote

October 16th

Women  want more than “pelvic politics”.  Newest Gallup poll indicates women in swing  states are taking a new look at the Romney/ Ryan positions.   It is important that Catholics make their voices heard–too many women, even Catholics, have the impression that a Romney victory means the end of access to birth control.  Not so. The Republican platform says nothing about contraceptive access. Rather it defends religious freedom–the right of people of conscience to not be coerced into paying for an immoral act. Contraception will be just as available as it is now– it simply protects Catholics from coercion.

Obama: Catholics and other Christians will be forced to pay for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion inducing drugs under  Obamacare. Thus, over 50 dioceses and catholic organizations have filed suit against the administration  seeking relief under the   religious liberty provision of the Constitution.

Romney:   Contraceptives remain available as they are today. Catholics and others not forced to pay for such services.

More Election entries here.


Who Should Catholics Vote for On November 6th?

In the coming weeks there will be posts of interest  to those who want to make an honest appraisal of the candidates and the party platforms.

It is no secret that both campaigns have identified Catholics as the key to their success.  But the candidates view Catholics very differently.  The Democratic campaign is certain that Catholic women are not disturbed by the Democratic platform’s  commitment to abortion, free contraceptives  and sterilizations(paid for by the taxpayers under Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act). The Republican  campaign views Catholics as a block that is–or should be–very alarmed by the HHS mandate’s assault on Religious Liberty, a pillar of the Constitution.    Please visit often to read how each side seeks to secure the crucial Catholic vote.

In the meanwhile, to this post will be added  new snips and clips from news features and  Church issues to address the issue of  the “Catholic vote.” Please scroll down to read each day’s entry.

October 16th

Women  want more than “pelvic politics”.  Newest Gallup poll indicates women in swing  states are taking a new look at the Romney/ Ryan positions.   It is important that Catholics make their voices heard–too many women, even Catholics, have the impression that a Romney victory means the end of access to birth control.  Not so. The Republican platform says nothing about contraceptive access. Rather it defends religious freedom–the right of people of conscience to not be coerced into paying for an immoral act. Contraception will be just as available as it is now– it simply protects Catholics from coercion.


October 8th

“In the words of “Faithful Citizenship,” how we should respond is clear. The document says, “Our focus is not on party affiliation, ideology, economics, or even competence and capacity to perform duties, as important as such issues are. Rather, we focus on what protects or threatens human life and dignity.” As you consider these concerns, I will be praying for you in Rome that the humble, joyful Poverello of Assisi intercede for us, and that Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States and Star of the New Evangelization, will inspire in us wisdom, prudence, and courage.”

————–Timothy, Cardinal Dolan, president of the USCCB

October 1st

September 30th

Want Peace? Vote for Religious Liberty

Pope Benedict XVI’s 2011 World Day of Peace message called religious freedom the “path to peace.” Since “religious freedom is at the origin of moral freedom,” the Pope taught it should be understood “not merely as immunity from coercion, but even more fundamentally as an ability to order one’s own choices in accordance with truth… When religious freedom is acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root, and the ethos and institutions of peoples are strengthened. On the other hand, whenever religious freedom is denied, and attempts are made to hinder people from professing their religion or faith and living accordingly, human dignity is offended, with a resulting threat to justice and peace….” ( More here)

It’s a fundamental break with reality to think that peace on earth can begin with nations that abort their own children. Such nations demonstrate their domination over the most vulnerable. A domination ethos never leads to peace.  A government that then attempts to force people of faith to live at the margins of society by means of coercive power simply provokes  rebellion.

Want peace?  Vote to protect religious liberty.



September 29th, Feast of the Archangels

Novena for Religious Liberty Begins Today!

Please join millions today for the Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation.

During the Novena, leading bishops from across the nation will be celebrating the televised Mass from Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, Alabama at 8 a.m. ET each day. Each bishop will deliver a homily highlighting the importance of prayer in the fight for religious liberty and will lead the novena prayers for that day. Celebrants will include Most Rev. James D. Conley, Bishop-designate of Lincoln (Neb.), who will open the novena; Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann; Mobile (Ala.) Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi; Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput; and Birmingham (Ala.) Bishop Robert J. Baker, who will close the novena.

“Catholics have always turned instinctively for help to the Mother of God in times of need,” says Fr. Miller, “And so, in 2012, we turn to Our Lady for help. Many of the values that have shaped our country from the beginning seem to be at risk. Pope Benedict XVI and the American Bishops have noted the erosion of religious freedom, the first value guaranteed by the Constitution. This novena challenges all of us to a deeper conversion to Christ and a more generous life of charity. The proximity of this novena to the 2012 Presidential Election also offers an opportunity to pray for all of our government officials and to seek Divine assistance in the election.”

Novena may be downloaded here.


September 28th

The Poor and Me. And you.


“In voting, consideration must be given to the poor and measures to help them. Though direct government assistance is sometimes necessary, it is not the only solution in assisting the poor and needy. Society should never fail in its fundamental task of creating an environment in which the poor and needy can prosper and reach a sense of security and freedom for themselves and for their families. This necessitates that all join in helping the poor and needy and the government must respect the freedom of institutions involved in this work.”

—- Frank J.Dewane,  Bishop of Venice Florida

One of the more sobering consequences of  increased government assistance to the poor is that it makes too many of us–Christians– complacent about the plight of the poor.  “I’m sure there is a government program for that,”   is a refrain we frequently hear. It’s a polite way to say, ” I need not trouble myself over this man’s circumstance.”

But Jesus said, “Feed them yourselves.” (Matthew 14:13-17) Simply stated, we’ve have sub-contracted out  to the government a direct command that Christ gave us to fulfill.    We are flaccid. We lack virtue when we fail to engage the “least of our brothers” ourselves. The context of the Feeding of the Multitude is interesting–Jesus is with His disciples in a large crowd.  “The people” are engaged directly with Jesus and his followers.  There is no government-run hamburger stand. The crowd is listening and watching: “Who is this Teacher who speaks as no other has spoken?”   Is it such a stretch for third millennium Christians to see that our own direct hands-on service is a far more compelling voice for what we profess than a grinding government bureaucracy?

In the clip above Bp. Dewane points out that direct government assistance is not the only solution to care of the poor. I would suggest it is the least effective method ; too much overhead, too much fraud, too much waste. Ah, but, it affords complacent American Christians  a measure of comfort –I care for the poor!–without the human element, that is, without ever having to interact with the poor.  We may tickle our “compassion” button with that claim, but it is false. True compassion comes alongside the one who suffers. Compassion is personal.

The Catholic Church provides more social services for the poor  than any other entity in the nation–except the US government.  If the HHS mandate is not overturned, those services to the poor will be shuttered. Who then will the poor have?  A  faceless leviathan with a monopoly on “the poor.”  We may ignore Christ’s  command to “feed them yourselves” but there will be consequences for the poor –and for those of us impoverished of virtue.


September 27th

Here is a snip from a U.S. News and World Report article:

“With most of the national polls showing the race to be one or two points either way, the fight over the Catholic vote is heating up. In Cleveland, Ohio, the local chapter of Right to Life has issued a formal letter to Bishop Richard Lennon asking him to suspend the Diocese’s “Faithful Citizenship” meetings because of their disregard for pro-life issues.

“As a pro-life woman and a Catholic, I am appalled,” Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith said in a release. “Our Church is under attack by the most liberal, pro-abortion leadership in history. The Cleveland Catholic Diocese is missing a great teaching and unifying opportunity by responding in this manner.”

According to Smith’s group, “Faithful Citizenship meetings were organized by the Diocese of Cleveland with the goal of aiding Catholics in preparing themselves to vote this November. The forums, led in part by open Obama-supporter Karen Leith, downplay abortion and religious freedom, issues of irreducible importance to Catholic voters.”  Read more here

More on the CATHOLIC VOTE here.

Keep the faith!


Cardinal Dolan, Prayer of a Righteous Man

In the months ahead, Cardinal Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,  must have the wisdom of Solomon.  The Church in America faces severe trials over the HHS mandate  which assaults our constitutional right to religious liberty.

Please pray for our shepherds.

Archbishop Charles Chaput and other US bishops have called for a rosary novena to begin on the Feast of the Archangels, September 29- October 7, Feast of the Rosary and the Victory of the Battle of Lepanto.

Christopher Hitchens, I wish I’d known you personally

A very public anti-God figure, journalist, author and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens, has a vicious form of cancer.  Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great gave an interview to Anderson Cooper that is worth viewing.

Hitchens notes that people are praying for him, and that some are praying he will “suffer and die.”

How ghastly.

Others, he admits, are praying in a more charitable manner, if–to his mind– without effect.

Oddly, the fellow enrages me or engages me–I enjoy Hitchens when I can mentally block the vulgarities he employs.  I cannot fathom how his famed intellect was seduced by Socialism, though it can indicate an idealistic hope for a better world. His attack against Mother Teresa is crude and unwarranted.  His excessive life style is one my Southern Propriety finds oppressive, even slavish. I cringe, yes, when he resorts to what many Christians think is blasphemy ( he cannot mean it if he does not in fact believe there is a God).

But on the whole I find him to be a St. Paul-like figure–an energetic  mind, a man very proud of his native talent, not shy about his certainties and possessed of a certain type of humor that amuses even when one disagrees with his premise.  I wish I had known him personally.

I’d like to know the off camera Hitchens. I imagine we could find areas of interest just shy of “religion” that would fill a couple of hours over a plate of risotto ai carciofi.  But I’d forfeit my dinner with Christopher Hitchens if I could offer my chair to Hillaire Belloc. Wouldn’t that be an intriguing conversation?

Perhaps, in view of Belloc’s  heavenly residence, I might arrange an evening for  Hitchens with that incredibly “lightsome” soul,  James V. Schall, S.J. of Georgetown University.    What Mr. Hitchens would enjoy is an erudite exchange with good minds melded to good souls. No “religious” topics, of course.  And none needed, because, after all, to Schall and Belloc, any and everything interesting is “of God.”

Somehow, despite my own adamant and nearly (?) smug orthodoxy, I’m not moved to pray for Mr. Hitchens’ conversion. I do not want to see him humbled or in any manner flattened into a desperate last minute- hedge-your-bets-Pascalian repentance.  I do not want the man’s chemo weakened, cancer ravaged “half demented” mind pushed to submit to an evangelist’s zealous belt notching.   It is not that I don’t wish his salvation. I do.

But a man who has spent decades as an “anti-theist” and who thinks that belief in God is the loss of individual freedom cannot be reached by a last minute assault on his freedom to reject God.  I believe God is a Lover.  I pray that  Hitchens can assent to his “aha!” moment, that he can see that ineffable beauty, the Love of God Himself,  that permits, for love’s sake,  Hitchens’ freedom  to rail against the very source of his freedom.  God never wanted a host of puppets; bobbing their mindless wooden noggins, they’d be utterly uninteresting. St. Paul was not uninteresting.  Perfect Love took the risk that man’s freedom entails–rejection.

I want for Mr. H  that recognition of a pattern that is of its own exquisite perfection after all, when seen from the distance.

And so… I pray that the most curmudgeonly saints in heaven–and there are quite a few!–come quickly to the side of  Mr. Hitchens, whose guardian angel will surely welcome their unique intercession for this most stubborn of charges.

Book of Hours

Few people keep Easter as the octave that it is.  Simply, we should celebrate for the full eight days, from Easter Sunday through the Sunday we now celebrate as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Some years ago one of my sisters sent me a lovely small book published by the British publisher, Phaidon Press Limited. Its title is Descent. It is described as “An intimate survey of images of the Descent from the Cross.”  The book is perhaps 5″ by 6″ and thus fits in one’s hands easily. There are two others in the series, Annunciation, and Crucifixion.

I mention this set of books because for me they offer a very personal means of meditation and –somehow–a sense of the whole Christian community that has “kept Easter” for 201o years.  These volumes are reminders of the imagery that our forebears in the faith found compelling.

All of this puts me in mind of the Book of Hours.  According to the Frick Fine Arts Library,

“From the large number still surviving, we know that the Book of Hours was the most popular book of the Middle Ages. Books of Hours were produced throughout Europe, but were especially popular in France and Flanders. These manuscripts were modelled on the Breviary used by the clergy, but in a shortened form and were used by the laity for their daily devotions. The core of the Book of Hours is the Hours of the Virgin divided into eight parts to be said at different times or hours of the day. The eight “hours” of prayer are matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, vespers and compline. Several other prayers and texts accompany the Hours of the Virgin.”

The illuminations from some of the more famous Book of Hours are breathtaking in their beauty, content and sense of Divine Order.  And the  colors! How exquisite– particularly the intense blue derived from ground lapis lazuli.

Of course, in a book of hours, the  illuminations are not limited to Easter themes, but depict the lives of the saints, the liturgical seasons, great feast days and even local life including the harvest or a wedding–again underscoring the Medieval worldview that all human endeavors can and should be sanctified.

Here is an endearing image of St. Francis and St. Clare preaching to creatures. Notice the stigmata on his foot.

St Francis

As Easter draws to a close and we journey toward Pentecost, I put away the eggs and images of new life. But I leave out the small books of  illuminations that remind me that each hour of the day was once passed in “ordinary” work and life by the Blessed Virgin and her son, who is both Man and God. Because Christ did not shrink from “ordinary” human activities, He sanctified those same daily chores, those same family gatherings, the same passing of the seasons.  One might say that Jesus “saved”  us from ordinary work, renewing  human acts  as worthy of our time. As Easter people we too can sanctify our daily lives by offering every moment to Christ our Savior.

A blessed Easter Octave to all!

Population Bomb? It’s a Myth

The discussion of population / overpopulation comes in many guises other than simply claiming that the world has too many people: birth control, abortion, euthanasia, and now “health care”  that forces Americans to undergo “end of life”  counseling.

Many already know the history of Margaret Sanger, the woman behind the modern American eugenics movement–and with the advent of the Nazi eugenics program, eugenics  was suddenly such an ugly word.   Thus, Sanger was rehabilitated as  a great proponent of birth control because she feared the increase in the ” wrong” kind of populations. But her sentiment was polished up and dressed in fancy “freedom from fertility” language when the Rockefeller pharmaceutical interests pushed “the pill” on America.  It is important to note that  the Rockefeller interest in population control preceded the development of the pill–meaning that the pill was not developed to give women “control over their fertility” but to introduce the idea of the two child family as the morally responsible thing to do for the good of your fellow man.

big family

The pill just made it so easy to do. Then  the next step was to program Americans to think and feel,”How dare you  consume more than your fair share of the earth’s resources?”  That is a breach of  decent civic behavior, you see?   Never mind that those who bear and educate  three, four or nine well adjusted and contributing new citizens, in fact ADD to the common good.

But the impression remains that the earth is groaning under the weight of six billion mouths to feed.

Is it so?


cherry harvvestWe Americans can feed the entire world.  We have sufficient land under cultivation and the technology to harvest, store, preserve  and ship vast quantities of food.  I am not necessarily making the case that we should do so, but that we could do so–thus it is a myth to think the earth cannot feed the current population (and more!).

Why then are there people going hungry each night?  Why is there famine in some areas of the world? The answers are complicated, but reduced to a few words, the problem is not capability but political will. Food is used as a carrot and a stick by international cartels and by dictators and tyrants. How do you subdue a people? Starve them. Control their food and access to land and seeds.

I have written about how and why the United Nations pushes abortion as a “universal human right.” It is crucial to understand that the U.N. is not concerned about actual freedom or rights, but instead uses abortion as one of the main methods to control the world’s families.    The U.N. is itself controlled and funded by those who want to curb world population (Ted Turner donated one billion dollars to the United Nations Population Fund). Here is a good article by Bishop John Nienstedt on the “word games” played by the U.N. to tighten the noose over the world’s people.

Whenever you hear a talking head or a co-worker insist that the world is overpopulated, do you assume the comment is aimed at you because you are Catholic and / or a “life issues voter”?    Informed people must begin a cogent and persuasive campaign that smashes the myth of overpopulation.  Because behind every push for abortion and euthanasia there is more than the Madison Avenue promise of “freedom over your body.”  There is population control.

This video is from the Population Research Institute, but I grabbed it from the Inside Catholic site.  In a brief 90 seconds you’ll see that the truth is that population has increased in proportion to  man’s advancement in his ability to produce food.


None of the dire predictions of  the population scaremongers has ever come to pass.

Is the Pope right about AIDS in Africa?

At least one liberal Harvard professor thinks so:

According to Harvard professor Edward Green, Benedict XVI tells the truth about fighting the plague of the millennium in Africa: fidelity and abstinence promotion are better weapons than preservatives

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