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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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.

—–MJA

 

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.

—-MJA

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.

—-MJA

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!

MJA

Catholics on Nov.4th

More is at stake than our economy.  If Americans and particularly Christians vote to protect their pockets we will have no recourse to God’s mercy.  If we vote to defend innocent life in all it’s stages God will honor how we used our freedom to choose the moral path! His Providence will then provide for our “daily bread.”

Deuteronomy 30

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You, however, must again heed the LORD’S voice and carry out all his commandments which I now enjoin on you.
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Then the LORD, your God, will increase in more than goodly measure the returns from all your labors, the fruit of your womb, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil; for the LORD, your God, will again take delight in your prosperity, even as he took delight in your fathers’,

I do not downplay the economic crisis. More afterward, but first:

If you have not seen this excellent video, please visit Catholicvote.com

The economic crisis of the past few weeks is alarming. Naturally many of us are anxious. Some have already lost jobs, others fear large losses in IRAs and other retirement accounts. These are serious conerns. However, they will pass.  We cannot–as Catholics and decent citizens–we cannot vote based on the economy when there are far more grave issues of morality at stake. The moral issues will not easily pass–history shows that it takes generations for a moral turn around–if ever. Many nations simply fall into gross immorality and perish. That is where we stand now isn’t it? On the literal brink of gross immorality–how so?

Simply said, it is one thing to have in your culture persons who commit grave offenses against life–it is a wholly other thing to LEGALIZE such offenses as a “right”–this in effect attempts to set forth a whole new order of being-ness. That new order is an anti-God , anti-life ordered society.  If we do nothing to stop this assault on God’s moral order we too are held responsible.  This gravely so for those who live in free societies where we can choose our leadership at the local, state and national level.

What are  those non-negotiable issues?

As identified by the Catholic Bishops these issues are:

ABORTION

EUTHANASIA

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH

HUMAN CLONING

HOMOSEXUALITY

Do you notice that each of these directly impacts LIFE ?  Directly.

Deuteronomy 30:19

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants…”

Here are the key points for all who are tempted to not to vote at all out of pure disgust, or those tempted to vote for Obama because they hope he will turn the economy around or end the war–remember he is the candidate whose sworn first act as president is to enact a universal “choice”  (abortion) act.

The next president is likely to appoint at least two Supreme Court justices–these justices serve life terms. Yes, for life. This means that the next president could appoint a 45 year old candidate who might serve 40 years! That is a generation.   How much damage to our moral fiber can be done by a court determined to engage in social engineering?

The two candidates differ on homosexuality and its legal “rights”.  Obama supports legal parity for homosexual unions, though he stops just short of letting them call it “marriage.”  But never forget that once homosexual unions are legalized under ANY form, those unions are then normalized and taught in school, portrayed in movies aimed at the PG-13 group and represented in all forms of culture.  Is this the culture you want to vote in for your own children and grandchildren?

Obama supports embryonic stem cell research.

Obama said this about Oregon’s assisted suicide decision:
“I am in favor of palliative medicine in circumstances where someone is terminally ill. … I’m mindful of the legitimate interests of states to prevent a slide from palliative treatments into euthanasia. On the other hand, I think that the people of Oregon did a service for the country in recognizing that as the population gets older we’ve got to think about issues of end-of-life care…”

Obama pushes for universal health care–do you think that when the government controls health care that it will legalize euthanasia for patients that are very old, ill or disabled so as to not “drain” the care coverage for healthy working people?

ON every one of the non-negotiable issues Obama fails.

Scripture is clear. Where people choose death, death of the nation follows. Where the people choose life, God’s mercy is upon them.

WANT MORE STRAIGHT TALK?  Please visit this website from a correspondent:

http://suewidemark.com/the-catholic-vote/

Keep the faith!

Understanding the Crisis on Wall Street

This is a video that is worth its 9 minutes.   This storm has been brewing for 12 years–guess who is behind it??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5tZc8oH–o&eurl=http://

Hinge Moments in History

NOTE: Henry V & St. Crispin in SnapShots

Over the years I’ve read historians who surmise that our forebears rarely knew when they stood at the hinge of history–those key moments that made the turn for this or that direction for a people, a nation, an era.

I’m not so sure. In Shakespeare’s Henry V (see Snapshots) King Henry is portrayed as having known full well that he and his “band of brothers” stood athwart just such a moment in history.

The journals of Lewis and Clark indicate they understood that their efforts would have national and historic import.

In some lives of saints we glean that they too knew–even if for the moment hidden from view–that their sufferings and sacrifices tipped the world and history the right way…and we can surmise that where saints are lacking that events take an unholy turn.

We could list a dozen such moments and people…but what of us??

The prior post feature’s a comment about Europe and how Pope Benedict XVI sees this era in Church history. It is sobering. It seems to me he is calmly announcing that we are standing at a hinge moment.

We Americans are on a precipice. We are headed into an election cycle that could determine our history for a century to come.

Unless we muster saints-in-the making to actively combat the spectre of same-sex marriages, children raised and abused in polygamous camps, abortion, cloning , embryonic stem cell research–the whole horrific assault on the human family–we will have only ourselves to blame for the rapid plunge into gaping atheistic darkness.

We’ve had the fight bred out of us with mushy platitudes of political correctness, misquoted scripture and multicultural threats.

I appreciate the call to pray, and to pray more fervently. We must. But history is summoning us to active combat too.

When out children where in their early teens they had a Catholic version of THE WAY, a vernacular translation of the bible. For the most part this version is woefully insufficient. But For our purposes in this reflection let me quote from THE WAY ‘s translation of Exodus 14:

The Children of Israel have fled, Pharaoh is hot pursuit, and the people are wailing and moaning, crying out to God in despair. Moses yells out “Just stand where you are and watch…you won’t need to lift a finger!”

Then God corrects Moses, “Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward March!”

Get the people moving. That means YOU and ME, we must get people moving. It is much harder to regain ground you’ve lost (think abortion) than to hold the ground you have–ask any soldier. If we lose what is left of a Christian culture in this nation, the momentum of the slide becomes sucking vortex downward. It will be centuries before we can recover what we so callously refuse to defend now.

Speak out, speak up, speak everywhere. Wrote editors, call radio talk shows, email the TV talking heads, hold sessions at the water cooler…we must get moving.

Hillary by Design

Journalists meet and greet a wide variety of sources, some sought, some sought the scribe.

A trio of US senators explained soto voce to a lady in a trench coat(some years back) trench-coat.jpg

why Bill Clinton would take a public tar and feather run through the Monica /perjury scandal, but would not be removed from office—the Republicans had too many rattling bones in their closets and Hill/Bill knew precisely which knobs to turn.

So.

Flash forward a almost decade and the trio has changed by one name, but the trench coat is told again: Hillary is assured the nomination, all else is bread and circuses.

hillary.jpe

And you thought American Idol was rigged?

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