Deborah Gyapong: May 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Waking up the morning after---or falling out of love

Remember Chris Matthews? He's the MSNBC host who said he got a thrill up his leg listening to Obama. He was among the many mainstream journalists who were gaga over this guy who was going to bring hopenchange to America.

Well, Matthews is one of many blindly infatuated Obama lovers who has awakened with a broken heart and outraged dismay that his knight in shining armor is not who he purported himself to be, but a peddler of cheap sweet nothings. He is comparing Obama's handling of the Gulf oil well blow out not to Katrina, but to the Iran hostage crisis.

Watch this video (h/t The Anchoress), who writes:

In all seriousness–because this is a very serious situation–it seems that Chris Matthews’ heart is breaking, too:

Allahpundit writes of Matthews:

But now that I’ve watched and seen the hurt in his eyes when he says “idiotic cerebral meritocracy,” I fear something’s died here that can never be rekindled.

Matthews’ whole remark was:

“. . . this idiotic cerebral meritocracy has got to step aside and let the people who do things take over…”

And that is the problem in a nutshell. Our government is top-heavy with people who have never “done” anything.

The Obama administration is loaded down with academics and lawyers who have spent their lives theorizing about things like economics, markets, social order and crisis management–and criticizing methods with which they disagree–but who have little practical experience in doing.

Obama had less experience in doing anything or running anything than Sarah Palin. Think about that.

Ezra's conclusion, in case you missed it

How do you feel about people being blacklisted because they're Catholic? How do you feel about MPs calling different religions "creepy"? How about a leader of a party declaring certain private religious rituals "questionable"? How about the condemnation of even inviting such people to lunch?

If your answer is anything different than it would be if Marci McDonald and Pat Martin and Gilles Duceppe were counting Jews or Sikhs or Muslims, then shame on you.

Dr. Roy pushes back against anti-Christian bigotry

He wrote this to the Montreal Gazette:


Re: "The religious right and Harper" (Opinion, April 28).

What a surprise. Tory- hater Josée Legault is enraptured by Marci McDonald's, factually challenged paranoid delusion, The Armageddon Factor. It seems that religious people need to stay out of the public square because only followers of the secular humanist cult should be listened to.

But religious people have as much right to speak and to lobby the government as anyone else. Perhaps one reason that religious people are more likely to vote Conservative is the disrespect shown them by the Grits, the Dippers, and the Bloc.

To those who wish to silence religious voices, I say, we will not be silenced. We have every right to speak out, and we are certainly not all of one opinion, even on social issues. I, for example, am pro-life, but I don't have any problems with same-sex marriage.

Roy Eappen

Ezra Levant goes nuclear on the Duceppe and Martin attacks

Here's a small excerpt of a long blog post. Please read the whole thing and share the link:

Pat Martin is the NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre. Last week he told reporters that members of the Catholic lay order, Opus Dei, "give me the creeps".

I'm sure that's true. Martin doesn't like Christians in general, even when they're doing social services in his own decrepit downtown, a downtown that has got more decrepit under his watch as MP. Martin would rather have urban decay than development, if the developers are Christian. Here's his own hometown paper calling him out as "irrational" for his anti-Christian outburst earlier this year.

But Martin went further this time. In response to news that fifteen or so MPs and staff had a meeting in the Parliamentary restaurant with the Canadian vicar of Opus Dei, Martin didn't just call conservative Catholics creepy, he expressed his objection that any MP would invite such people to soil the sacred precincts of Parliament Hill. Martin "certainly wouldn't attend anything associated with them," he said. Here's a video of Martin's comments:

As you can see from the rest of that segment, Martin wasn't the only one who expressed his distaste for Catholics -- so did Gilles Duceppe of the xenophobic Bloc Quebecois, the party that gave us Jacques Parizeau and his "money and the ethnic vote" gibe against the Jews. Plus ca change.

Look, we know that Martin and Duceppe don't like Christians. No surprise there. But there is a new aggression to their comments. They don't just disagree with Christians. They don't just shun Christians themselves. They believe that Christians should be kept out of the public square altogether. That is, they are aggrieved that anyone would truck with them. And to effect a Christian-free government, these new McCarthyists of the left believe that Christians in public life have to be named, outed and denounced.

Pro-Israel blogger assaulted in Toronto

Michael Coren writes:

Canada really has become an odd place. A blogger who films anti-Israel demonstrations - where Jews are often called the most obscene names – was assaulted this weekend by a leading member of the Canadian Arab Federation and CUPE. He wasn’t hurt but the attacker pushed him and tried to stop him using his camera. Surely this isn’t legal – at least not in countries where Sharia Law doesn’t apply. The bully then told the police that the awful man with the camera was a racist and the cop told the blogger to “keep things peaceful.”

Only in Canada.

Thankfully, Blazing Cat Fur was not hurt. More at his site, with more video.

Update: Mark Steyn comments.

I'm afraid Mr Coren's view of law enforcement is hopelessly outmoded. The enforcers of the modern "tolerant" "multicultural" society will tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, but they won't tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance. From Rushdie to van Gogh to the Motoons, law enforcement has guarded the thugs and harrassed those who draw attention to the thuggery. This is PC policing: There are identity groups who merit the solicitude of the constabulary, and there are the rest of you who don't. Mass Muslim immigration will impose severe strains on the Euro-Canadian welfare states in the years ahead. In increasingly fractious societies, the police will be out in force - upholding not the law but the dopiest fatuities of the multiculti delusion.

Here in Ottawa we recently had Ann Coulter's speech at University of Ottawa cancelled because police said they could not guarantee her safety but warned her security guards that if they laid a hand on a disruptive demonstrator the police would charge them.

On the rise of Pentecostal Christianity

Most interesting essay over at First Things. An excerpt:

God may have (and I believe that He does have) a special love for the poor, but that does not mean that the poor get sophisticated religion. They get strong religion and hot religion more than they get subtle religion and sophisticated religion. Pentecostal preachers all over the world are casting out demons, speaking in tongues, healing the sick and in some cases raising the dead. While many African Christians have broadly positive views of Muslims, I have heard African Pentecostals describe Muslims as demon-possessed; I have heard Nigerian Christians (in a country where interfaith violence has taken thousands of lives) singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” in a very non-metaphorical sense. The Muslims across town are getting a similar version of their faith; stripped of nuance, ready for combat. The backwoods Nigerian imams who tried to block a polio vaccine on the grounds that the vaccine was a western plot against Muslims were no more learned or sophisticated than some of the neighboring Christian pastors who tell their flocks that if they will only believe, God will bless them with good jobs and fancy cars.

Many western observers have a ‘pox on both your houses’ attitude toward the competition between these two versions of the great monotheistic faiths. Whether it is a judge in predominantly Christian Malawi sentencing an engaged homosexual couple to a jail term for public indecency or Muslim theologians in other parts of the continent claiming that the sexual mutilation of young girls is sanctioned by the Koran, many westerners find both traditions so distasteful that there is nothing to choose between them.

Whether that is true morally and spiritually I do not venture to say. But when it comes to politics and to the future of American foreign policy, the competition matters a great deal.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

On Christian persecution

Over at The Anglo-Catholic, I write:

We as Traditional Anglicans also have known what it is like to face unjust criticism, demonization and marginalization because we take having an orthodox catholic faith seriously. What is sad is that often this comes from fellow Christians!

The NDP MP made a point of saying he too is Catholic. (A pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage Catholic, but hey! ) And Marci McDonald says she is a Christian, too.

I call people like this the "eat me last" Christians. You know, the ones who see the hungry crocodile and they try to feed others to his gaping maw, hoping the beast's appetite will be filled.

The problem is for those Christians who try to be "nice" and "progressive" and appeasing and like the crew at Notre Dame that welcomed President Obama's divide and conquer strategy of 'you are nice Catholics over here, but those others who don't like my abortion policies or health care statism are bad Catholics" will soon find that the encroachment of Leviathan extends to their Catholic institutions and hospitals and other realms in ways that will soon violate their consciences as well.

And as our Ottawa priest Fr. Peter Jardine, who works with Voice of the Martyrs, reminds us, those who want to persecute Christians don't care what denomination you are, or whether you are a good Catholic or a bad Catholic or Pentecostal. When the pogroms come, your being Christian is enough for your house to be burned down.

Ottawa Citizen columnist David Warren, a former Anglican now Catholic convert, writes about all this in today's paper, and has this advice:

How should Christians respond to such attacks? To fellow Catholics, I would suggest, take the Rosary out of your pocket and wave it in their faces. To all other Christians, likewise: do not be cowed, do not retreat an inch. You have every right to maintain the beliefs that built Western Civilization against the beliefs that are taking it down and a duty in good conscience to affirm Christ, regardless of the consequences.

Read more:

If you are using Explorer and find the links will not work, try this:

hit the little "back" arrow up at the top left-hand side of the screen to navigate away from the site. Then come back and the link should work. It seems the links usually only work once and you may have to do this several times. Download Firefox and the site will behave properly.

You can also try right-clicking over the link you want and there is an option to open up the link in another window.

Ouch! Vintage Mark Steyn on Obama's way with words

"America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of cooperation — we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice."

"Steering those currents"? How could even a member of the president's insulated, self-regarding speechwriting team be so tin-eared as to write that line? How could the president be so tone-deaf as to deliver it in May of 2010? Hey, genius, if you're so damn good at "steering currents," why not try doing it in the Gulf of Mexico?

Like those of many great "thinkers," words for Barack Obama and his coterie seem to exist mostly in the realm of metaphor rather than as descriptors of actual action actually occurring in anything so humdrum as reality.

And so it is that, even as his bungling administration flounders in the turbulent waters of the Gulf, on the speaker's podium the president still confidently sails forth deftly steering the ship through the narrow ribbon of sludge between the Scylla of sonorous banality and the Charybdis of gaseous uplift.

Two years ago this week, then Sen. Obama declared that his very nomination as Democratic Party presidential candidate (never mind his election, or inauguration) marked the moment when "our planet began to heal" and "the rise of the oceans began to slow."

"Well, when you anoint yourself King Canute," remarked Charles Krauthammer the other day, "you mustn't be surprised when your subjects expect you to command the tides."

Outing and hounding Christians out of public life

Marci McDonald's Armageddon Factor is triggering a wave of McCarthy-style attacks on Christians who are in public life or who work in the public sector. David Warren adds his take in today's Ottawa Citizen (my bolds):

Now, let me confess I have given McDonald's book, The Armageddon Factor, only a quick peruse. Being familiar with several of the Christian, semi-Christian and non-Christian organizations she is lumping together in some fundamentalist conspiracy, I could see immediately that she does not know what she is talking about. Life is short, and I refer my reader to the National Post and elsewhere for articles that detail how reckless the book is with facts.

Yet the author takes only softball questions from like-minded colleagues when she appears on air for the publicity rounds.

Imagine the outrage the same hosts might express had she instead attacked gay or feminist activists or had alleged dark Jewish or Muslim conspiracies. Except, in that case, she wouldn't be invited to appear on CBC. Nor would the book have been published by such as Random House Canada.

But the nonsense here goes deeper than mere indifference to fact. Beneath the rubbish on the surface is a profoundly malicious and bigoted attack on the legitimacy of Christian belief. And foolish on its own premises: for the Christian reader is almost invited to consider what steps, if any, may be necessary to defend himself, his family and his co-religionists against what amounts to a call for persecution.

The notion that, simply because people are Christian, they should be "exposed" and hounded out of public life, or dragged before human rights tribunals, is becoming a commonplace of "progressive" thinking. It is hardly confined to Canada: the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing an astounding case (Christian Legal Society v. Martinez), in which the most basic right of free association could be denied to Christians on university campuses; the ACLU has made the removal from public property of all visible evidence of America's Christian heritage an expression of "civil rights."

In Ottawa this week, a "scandal" has been alleged because the member of Parliament for Regina-Qu'Appelle (a Catholic!) arranged a lunch with colleagues (not all of them Catholic) to meet the Canadian vicar of the Catholic lay organization Opus Dei. Neither the organization nor the lunch was in any way secret, unprecedented, nor otherwise abnormal, and yet it was presented in Le Devoir with the gravity of the Spanish Inquisition.

This is an example of the sort of thing that promises to become, in the shadow of McDonald's much-touted book, a "meme" of agenda-driven, liberal journalism: "outing" those who quite openly practice the Christian religion and advocate for its long-received views as if they were subversives.

Read more:

Yesterday, after Question Period, NDP MP Pat Martin said the following about the meeting with Opus Dei Vicar Msgr. Fred Dolan and some parliamentarians.

"I think Opus Dei is creepy and, you know, you can’t account for some people’s taste but I can’t imagine why a Member of Parliament would invite them for a meeting on Parliament Hill. I certainly wouldn’t attend, you know, anything associated with them. I think they – they give me the creeps," he said.

Then when asked why, he answered: "Opus Dei gives me the creeps because I don’t trust these kind of, you know, creepy fundamentalist types and, you know, I’m a Catholic myself and I’ve got no use for the Opus Dei."

You can watch Msgr. Dolan on Power and Politics with Evan Solomon here. Ezra Levant also weighs in.

What a picture of grace Msgr. Dolan is on that program. No rancor, no anger, no hitting back, just an offer to meet with Duceppe and Martin.

I took the photo of Msgr. Dolan in Dec. 2008 after a luncheon in the Parliamentary dining room.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Interesting profile of the Vancouver Archbishop

It's long. Here's a taste.

If Archbishop Michael Miller is piloting the car you’re riding in, never, ever ask if he’s been in love. Chances are he’ll blush, then sputter something like “I haven’t been asked that since I entered the novitiate” before almost veering into oncoming traffic. Miller, who replaced Archbishop Raymond Roussin in January 2009, is notoriously difficult to pin down. This makes him appear the consummate Vatican politico, hoarding his privacy like myrrh and wielding his irony like a sword. Yet others have a different view. “Miller has a great sense of humour,” the American Catholic commentator John Allen said. “He’s down to earth and he’s approachable. He’s not a theoretical prelate living on a self-made planet surrounding himself with flunkies.”

What "I'm spiritual, not religious" means

Rod Dreher writes:

Whenever I hear "I'm spiritual, but not religious," I think that the person saying it just wants to get laid or avoid religious services without feeling guilty about it.

I might not have put it quite that way, but I totally agree!

My interview with Cardinal Ouellet

Is up at the Western Catholic Reporter:

"What I see in the country is the fact that we have for 40 years legalized abortion without any restriction, it has a great effect on conscience," he said, referring to the role the law plays as teacher. There are about 30,000 abortions a year in Quebec, more than 100,000 in Canada as a whole.

Ouellet said as a bishop he had a duty to teach Catholics the moral law. The Church also has to call for justice in society, he said. "For the unborn, there is not justice. He is the weakest human being; nobody is protecting him.

"After these four decades the moral state of our culture, it has become unthinkable to revise the law, it is also symptomatic of the effect of the law on the culture," he said. "In the future we should be more prudent on what kind of laws we pass in Parliament."

The cardinal recognized, however, merely passing a law would not solve the problem. "I am aware that in Canada, in Quebec in particular, you will not reform society at the moral level by teaching morals first," he said.

"It will be through a new evangelization. If you do not meet Jesus Christ, it is very difficult to accept the teaching, the moral teaching of the Church. I am aware of that, even if what we teach is coherent at the rational level."

The cardinal was saddened that he has been accused of condemning women. "I have condemned nobody, not even the women that go to abortion."

Great comment at Hot Air

h/t Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury:

I always ask the social justice advocates in my circle (principally my nephew who is still too young to know any better, and my best friend) if they think paying every higher taxes counts as “good works” in the eyes of God. They always look at me like I have three heads. Of course not. Well, that’s good, I tell them, because then otherwise people would be getting admitted into Heaven based on how much friggin’ federal tax they pay and not so much on what they give from their own hearts. The answer is always that people won’t give from their own hearts. Yet for all of recorded human history, this is exactly what happened. A drop off in charitable giving is inversely proportional to the rise of the welfare state. I can assure you that if I had more of my income to take home every month, I would give more than I already do. I dare say that’s true of most people, esp. Americans who are the most generous people on the planet.

As someone once said, a government cheque is no replacement for a father; a hand out is no replacement for a mentor and the loving, reciprocal relationships that build in real gestures of charity

Sex ed working or is abortion used for birth control?

Barbara Kay asks the important questions:

The bottom line of the study is: Fewer young people are having early sex, slightly more of those who have sex are using contraception and a critical mass of those who are having sex, in spite of a tsunami of education on birth control, still do not use contraception, but use abortion as retroactive contraception.

It seems to me on the evidence that Western sex-ed programs must be something like dietary information programs to combat obesity that present a list of healthy foods on one side of a blackboard, and a list of practices like anorexia and bulimia on the other side, making no moral distinction between them. How otherwise to explain the acceptance of abortion as birth control?

I don't think the absolute decline in sexual experimentation has anything at all to do with sex education in the schools, but rather with shifting cultural mores.

Mark Steyn on why we're too broke to be stupid

In Maclean's he writes:

When Michelle Obama turned up to serve food at a soup kitchen, its poverty-stricken clientele snapped pictures of her with their cellphones. In one-sixth of British households, not a single family member works. They are not so much without employment as without need of it. At a certain level, your hard-working bourgeois understands that the bulk of his contribution to the treasury is entirely wasted. It’s one of the basic rules of life: if you reward bad behaviour, you get more of it. But, in good and good-ish times, who cares?

By the way, where does the government get the money to fund all these immensely useful programs? According to a Fox News poll earlier this year, 65 per cent of Americans understand that the government gets its money from taxpayers, but 24 per cent think the government has “plenty of its own money without using taxpayer dollars.” You can hardly blame them for getting that impression in an age in which there is almost nothing the state won’t pay for. I confess I warmed to that much-mocked mayor in Doncaster, England, who announced a year or two back that he wanted to stop funding for the Gay Pride parade on the grounds that, if they’re so damn proud of it, why can’t they pay for it? He was actually making a rather profound point, but, as I recall, he was soon forced to back down. In Canada, almost every ethnocultural booster group is on the public teat. Outside Palestine House in Toronto the other week, the young Muslim men were caught on tape making explicitly eliminationist threats about Jews, but c’mon, everything else in Canada is taxpayer-funded, why not genocidal incitement? We’re rich enough that we can afford to be stupid.

Vintage Peggy Noonan in the WSJ

On Obama:

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.
he American people have spent at least two years worrying that high government spending would, in the end, undo the republic. They saw the dollars gushing night and day, and worried that while everything looked the same on the surface, our position was eroding. They have worried about a border that is in some places functionally and of course illegally open, that it too is gushing night and day with problems that states, cities and towns there cannot solve.

And now we have a videotape metaphor for all the public's fears: that clip we see every day, on every news show, of the well gushing black oil into the Gulf of Mexico and toward our shore. You actually don't get deadlier as a metaphor for the moment than that, the monster that lives deep beneath the sea.

Leviathan. Leviathan.

Ezra Levant on the Mexican president

Ezra's on a roll:

Mexico City smog.jpg
President Felipe Calderon of filthy Mexico has come to Canada to lecture us on the environment.

Perhaps Iran's president will be next in line, to teach us something about the treatment of women, and China's president will come to give us tips on a free press.

Holy Post looks at the news conference in Quebec City

Thank God for the National Post. Though I have not done an exhaustive search of the media coverage of Cardinal Ouellet's and Archbishop Prendergast's news conference in Quebec City this week, what I did see seemed to miss a stress on what I thought was the most newsworthy part.

In the Holy Post blog today:

Two senior Catholic Church officials did something remarkable this week, though it barely got noticed and chances are it will easily be forgotten or written off as some weird “Catholic thing” irrelevant to the rest of society. They proposed a way to re-frame the discussion about abortion and it would be to the benefit of many to pay attention to what they had to say before dismissing them because they wear clerical garb.

At a press conference on Wednesday in Quebec City, Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec City and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa spoke about the need for governments to lend a hand to pregnant women who want to have their babies.

Two weeks ago, Cardinal Ouellet said that abortion in the case of rape was wrong. That triggered predictable stories that talked about the ensuing “firestorm of virulent reaction” against the Church, even though Cardinal Ouellet was simply repeating Catholic moral teaching and not proposing an amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada.

And as a Cardinal, it would have really been news if he had said he was in favour of abortion.

But this is all to make the point that ridiculous push and pull does nothing to reduce the estimated 100,000 abortions that take place in this country every year. So this week two unlikely men opened the door to doing that without the usual rancor and finger pointing.

“We know for now the law is not going to change in the short-term,” said Archbishop Prendergast said in a phone interview Thursday. “So what can we do to help women in difficulty now? If you pushed people on the pro-choice side they too would want to see fewer abortions. So we need to ask them to participate. Of course, we would like to restrict abortions and do away with them if we could, but in the short-term we should work together to reduce the number of abortions.”

Archbishop Prendergast is a realist. He noted that “this debate is so loaded with rhetoric it’s hard to get beyond fears and do positive things.”

The question remains whether on this last point he is right or wrong.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gilles Duceppe goes after Opus Dei

In my role covering the Catholic Church, I run into people who belong to Opus Dei. There is absolutely nothing scary about this organization that urges Catholics (and other Christians) to seek holiness in the performance of their daily work, no matter what it is--in law, business, in the home, whatever. But Bloc Quebecois Gilles Duceppe brought up Opus Dei membership in Question Period today as if this should be some kind of disqualification for participation in public life.

M. Gilles Duceppe (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, BQ): Monsieur le Président, l'évêque d'Ottawa a déclaré hier qu'un important caucus pro-vie au sein du gouvernement travaillait dans l'ombre. Le premier ministre, qui contrôle tout, doit connaître l'existence de ce caucus. Il doit aussi savoir que Kara Johnson, qui a été présidente de l'exécutif national du Parti conservateur, est membre de l'Opus Dei et que Mme Nicole Baron-Charbonneau, qui sera à nouveau candidate pour son parti dans Saint-Bruno — Saint-Hubert, fait aussi parti de l'Opus Dei et qu'un député conservateur a invité ses collègues à dîner avec des dirigeants de l'Opus Dei.
Le premier ministre admettra-t-il que sa politique est influencée par la droite religieuse fondamentaliste?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what our policy is influenced by is people like Sharon Marshall from World Vision Canada who is telling us that over 24,000 children under the age of five will die in the developing world. Our government is bringing the G8 leaders together in June to help save the lives of women and children. We have an obligation to try and protect and save the lives of women and children in the developing world. It is a noble initiative. It is an honourable initiative and I ask the opposition to support us instead of engaging in this divisive debate.

Mme Christiane Gagnon (Québec, BQ): Monsieur le Président, la ministre de la Coopération internationale a dit en comité que c'est l'ensemble du gouvernement qui a refusé d'inclure l'avortement dans l'initiative sur la santé maternelle. C'est donc dire que les supposés ministres québécois pro-choix sont complices de cette décision niant ainsi des droits fondamentaux des femmes.
Le premier ministre peut-il nous expliquer les raisons qui l'ont amené à exclure l'avortement des mesures visant à favoriser la santé maternelle?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, CPC): Mr. Speaker, what led us to decide to save the lives of mothers and children was people like Sharon Marshall from World Vision Canada who has said that she is outraged that this debate is being raised in order to distract from the real issue on the table. The real issue is that 8.8 million children are dying every year from causes that we could easily prevent with intervention that costs pennies. We are listening to people like Sharon Marshall with World Vision Canada. We want to save the lives of mothers and children in the developing world. We have a consensus with our G8 partners and we ask the opposition to support this great initiative.

In the post Question Period scrums, a reporter asked Duceppe whether his questions was a little "McCarthyite."

The Bloc leader said the McCarthyism was on the other side of the aisle.

"But the fact is and what I want to prove is that there’s the fundamentalist religious right is acting within that party and in a modern society religion and the state and politics should be separated," he said.

The Leader was then asked if he thought people who were members of Opus Dei shouldn't be in politics.

"I mean not as a group," he answered. "Individually certainly but not as a group." Then he goes on to "out" people who are members---one he says is on the national executive of the Conservative Party, and that someone in the Tory Party invited someone from Opus Dei to the Hill. He says: "The Bishop of Ottawa said that there’s a pro-life caucus acting behind the curtains within that party. So a lot of things that prove that something’s going on."

Sad. Who is forcing their religion here? Are only secularist views allowed in the public square?

For the record, here's what the Ottawa Archbishop said in Quebec City:

1) Two weeks ago, nearly twelve thousand people gathered on Parliament Hill and thousands more in several Canadian cities to stand up in defence of the unborn. These people represent many in the silent majority who are on the side of life. The significant Pro-Life caucus of our Federal Government works quietly, day after day, to keep human life at the top of the Government agenda.

So? What's wrong with that? There was nothing shadowy about them, as about 20 or so appeared on stage at the March for Life. Do they not have a right to be at the table? Apparently not in a Bloc Quebecois world.

Marci McDonald is on the Agenda

And boy oh boy is she seemingly trying to launder her book, which I have now read. As Chris Stockwell said just now on the show, she is trying to back up so fast, she's almost beeping.

But this quote from page 359 of The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada is the crux of her argument:

Waving their bright flags on the lawns of the Parliament Building, extolling the country's Christian roots to a compelling soft-rock beat, they might seem to offer a refreshing recipe for morality and national pride, but their agenda---while outwardly inclusive and multi-racial--is ultimately exclusionary. In their idealized Christian nation, non-believers--aetheists [sic], non-Christians and even Christian secularists--have no place, and those in violation of biblical law, notably homosexuals and adulterers, would merit severe punishment and the sort of shunning that once characterized a society where suspected witches were burned. Theirs is a dark and dangerous vision, one that brooks no dissent and requires the dismantling of key democratic institutions.

That, my friends, is hate. Pure, unadulterated hate and scaremongering. That is the conclusion of this book. And she says she is a journalist and not a polemicist?

I have never met ANY Christian who has urged severe punishment for gays or adulterers or.
In fact, for me personally, I am glad that there are not laws against everything I may consider immoral, even though the law is a teacher. Why is that? Because people who are hemmed in by laws are not virtuous people. If a law forces you to be good through external pressure, it may protect you for a season from transgressing and heaping worse consequences on yourself, but it does not make you good, it does not make you a Christian, it will not save you!

Where the law of the Lord is, there is liberty. A true Christian understands that God wants us to love him freely and not use the levers of state power to force us. Jesus never forced anyone to come to him. He gives us a choice.

No one I know urges the kind of dark, dangerous vision she speaks of.

She concluded the program by saying something about if we can have a debate about how much religiosity we will accept in the public square, she will have done her job or something.

Religiosity. That is a perjorative term. Why should someone who is a secularist have the say over who has a right to the public square? Should only atheists, secular humanists and progressive Christians be allowed?

I as a Christian am part of the secular world that we all inhabit. I am a citizen. I have a right to be here and to have my say in a democratic and pluralistic society. If any other group were singled out the way she singled out Christians, there would be human rights complaints.

The whole thing makes me sad. And it makes me sad that some Christians I know contributed to her work. I call them the "eat me last" Christians, who assume that if they play up, appease and show how "nice" they are, that they will be spared.

Marci has a breezy, readable style, as befits her years as a magazine writer. There is lots of interesting and useful material in the book, I will grant her that--if you can overlook the many factual errors. But what is striking is her lack of insight and conflation and confusion of very different positions Christians hold on a range of issues, including how one interprets the Bible, and the so-called End Times.

Come to think of it, anyone who prays the Lord's Prayer with sincerity would probably fall into the category of a theocrat in her books.

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Theocracy, by definition, is the rule of God. Sadly, the history of theocracies, of any religion, are horrific tyrannies, because thugs who claim to know the will of God take power and force their usually narrow views on others. Which is not Christian! Sorry! Even if people who call themselves Christians do it, it is not Christian!

But having Christian principles and foundations for a secular state? Gee, who do you think invented the idea of the secular, huh? (answer: Christians).

Fresh Victor Davis Hanson

A great look at the death of a postmodernist dream over at the National Review Online:

The new world order as envisioned by Obama in January 2009 was, I think, supposed to look something like the following: A social-democratic America would come to emulate the successful welfare states in the European Union. These twin Western communitarian powers would together usher in a new world order in which no one nation was to be seen as preeminent. All the old nasty ideas of the 20th century — military alliances, sovereign borders, independent international finance, nuclear arms, religious and cultural chauvinism — would fall by the wayside, as the West was reinvented as part of the solution rather the problem it had been in its days of colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation. A new green transnationalism would assume the place of that bad old order, a transnationalism run by elite, highly educated, and socially conscious technocrats — albeit themselves Western — supported by a progressive press more interested in effecting social change than in merely reporting the tawdry news.

Obama can still push that story, but more and more Americans disagree with his 21st-century vision. Stuck in the past, they instead believe that capitalism, not socialism, brings prosperity; that to reach a green future we need to survive for now in a carbon and nuclear present; that all, not some, laws must be enforced; that our country is different from others and needs to maintain the integrity of its borders; and that there are always going to be a few bad actors abroad who must be deterred rather than appeased.

The underlying totalitarian impulse of utopian minds

Must-read words from non-religious British columnist Melanie Phillips on what happens when you undermine the religious foundations of a western nation (my bolds).

PHILLIPS: You don’t have to be a religious believer to understand that if religion — more specifically, the Hebrew Bible and the Christianity that built upon it — underpins Western civilization and the codes of right and wrong — putting others above yourself, freedom and equality, and belief in reason — that form the bedrock of that civilization, then eroding or destroying that religion will erode or destroy those virtues and the civilization they distinguish.

LOPEZ: You write that progressives, Islamists, environmentalists, fascists, militant atheists, and religious fanatics are “united by a common desire to bring about through human agency the perfection of the world.” Is this becoming more apparent?

PHILLIPS: It may seem strange to lump all these ideologies together since they are all so different. But, when you look at them, it is immediately apparent that they are all at root utopian, millenarian visions of the perfection of the world through human agency — the age-old recipe for totalitarian terror. The idea that fascism is in a wholly different place from the Left is in my view quite misplaced: Although conventionally one is described as “right” and the other as “left,” this is historically and philosophically inaccurate; they share common roots in the repudiation of individual reason and liberty.

Yes. Read the whole interview.

Spreading the news about Alpha

I am a big fan of the Alpha Course, having done it many times over the years both at Kanata Baptist Church and my Anglican Catholic Church of Canada parish. It is an excellent tool for evangelization, for building fellowship, for training leaders in ministry.

My friend Tony Copple has been heavily involved in Alpha at an organizational level for years. He and his wife Laurie Ann and two others, one Dwight MacDougall, a wonderful Christian man from KBC, were recently in Sierra Leone as part of Global Alpha Training, an effort to train people all over the world on how to run Alpha courses.

Tony has a journal of the trip, which he told me yesterday was was of the high points of his life. Scroll down for some wonderful photos.

Why the Pope is not a CEO

Excellent teaching by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver via First Things:

In reality, each diocese is a separate, autonomous community of believers. Each bishop in a province is an equal. Each is a successor of the apostles. And each is the chief teaching and governing authority in his own local church. Of course, the bishop of Rome, who is also the pope, is uniquely different: He is first among brothers, and yet he also has real authority as pastor of the whole Church. But he is not a global CEO, and Catholic bishops are not—and never have been—his agents or employees.

It’s useful to remember this today as lawyers try ingeniously to draw the Vatican into America’s ongoing sex-abuse saga. In O’Bryan v. Holy See, currently being heard in the U.S. district court in Kentucky, plaintiffs’ attorneys are seeking to depose Vatican officials—including, potentially, the pope himself—to determine what they allegedly ignored or covered up about the handling of clergy sex-abuse cases by American bishops. The plaintiffs’ legal argument hinges on the premise that bishops are, in effect, Roman-controlled employees or officials.

That argument is not merely false in practice. It is also revolutionary in consequence. In effect, it would redefine the nature of the Church in a manner favorable to plaintiffs’ attorneys but alien to her actual structure and identity. To put it another way, plaintiffs’ attorneys want a federal court to tell the Church what she really is, whether she agrees or not, and then to penalize her for being what she isn’t.

Every bishop in the United States has a filial love for the Holy Father and a fraternal respect for his brother bishops. But these familylike words—filial, fraternal, brother—are not simply window dressing. They go to the heart of how the Catholic community understands and organizes itself—and, more important, to how the Church actually conducts herself, guided by her own theology and canon law.
Please read this carefully and really ponder this sentence: "To put it another way, plaintiffs’ attorneys want a federal court to tell the Church what she really is, whether she agrees or not, and then to penalize her for being what she isn’t."

Why I am glad I am not a bishop

Reason number 6,204. They have to make tough calls involving Catholic teaching has it applies to messy circumstances, where eternal life is at stake for everyone under their care.

Case in point. The dioceses of Boston and Denver are both wrestling in their various ways about whether to allow children of a same-sex couple to enroll in a Catholic school. Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley writes on his blog:

In Boston we are beginning to formulate policies and practices to deal with these complex pastoral matters. In all of our decision making, our first concern is the welfare of the children involved. With that in mind, the essence of what we are looking at is the question of how do we make Catholic schools available to children who come from diverse, often unconventional households, while ensuring the moral theology and teachings of the Church are not compromised? It is true that we welcome people from all walks of life. But we recognize that, regardless of the circumstances involved, we maintain our responsibility to teach the truths of our faith, including those concerning sexual morality and marriage. We need to present the Church’s teachings courageously and yet in a way that is compassionate and persuasive.

The Archdiocese of Denver has formulated a policy that calls into question the appropriateness of admitting the children of same-sex couples. It is clear that all of their school policies are intended to foster the welfare of the children and fidelity to the mission of the Church. Their positions and rationale must be seriously considered.

The comments are interesting. Some trouble me. I'm troubled by some of the people who are so concerned about maintaining their Catholic purity and their children's that they would wall themselves off from the chance of any contamination. Would they also exclude me, too?

I confess, I'm a rather liberal conservative and here is what I would hope for. I would hope that Catholic schools have deeply faithful Catholic teachers and administrators. They are the ones that set the tone for the students. Alas, these days there are stories that people are attending mass just to get a job in the Catholic school system, as a kind of hoop to jump through. Start with making sure the teachers love and serve the Lord and love the Catholic faith.

Then I would say, throw open the doors to parents who may be in all kinds of problematic relationships --divorced and remarried, shacking up, you name it---but who sincerely desire their child be brought up Catholic. But at the same time, I do not recommend naivete. If some couple is trying to use their children as a political wedge to undermine Catholic teaching, then that should not be allowed. This is a pastoral decision that cannot have a one-size fits all approach.

Geoge Weigel on defending religious freedom

Via the excellent CERC (Catholic Education Resources Centre):

Religious freedom in full also means that communities of religious conviction and conscience must be free to conduct the works of charity in ways that are commensurate with their conscientious convictions. This is neither the time nor the place to discuss the problems that have been posed by tying so much of Catholic social-service work and Catholic health care to government funding – save, perhaps, to note that these problems did not exist before the Supreme Court erected a spurious "right to abortion" as the right that trumps all other rights, and before courts and legislatures decided that it was within the state's competence to redefine marriage and to compel others to accept that redefinition through the use of coercive state power. What can be said in this context, and what must be said, is that the conscience rights of Catholic physicians, nurses, and other health-care professionals are not second-class rights that can be trumped by other rights claims; and any state that fails to acknowledge those rights of conscience has done grave damage to religious freedom rightly understood. The same can and must be said about any state that drives the Catholic Church out of certain forms of social service because the Church refuses to concede that the state has the competence to declare as "marriage" relationships that are manifestly not marriages.

The defense of religious freedom by the younger generation will be the work of a lifetime. But it must begin sooner rather than later, for the threats to religious freedom in our country are great, and are likely to get greater before they abate. At stake is nothing less than the long-term integrity of the American experiment in ordered freedom.

In praise of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast

Over at the Anglo-Catholic blog.

For those of you who find my links don't work, try using Firefox as your browser instead of Explorer and they should work okay. If Explorer is your only choice, usually a link will work once, then after that they freeze. So try using the "back" arrow to navigate away from the site, then return and you'll free up one link!

The blog will present better visually in Firefox, too.

Religion and politics

Fox News host Glenn Beck has been excoriated for urging Christians to flee churches that talk about "social justice."

I must confess that when I hear words like "social justice" or "structural sin" my spiritual radar go up and I tread cautiously lest I find more Marx than Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

A Southern Baptist theologian R. Albert Mohler, Jr. has this to say, h/t

“The urgency for any faithful Christian is this – flee any church that for any reason or in any form has abandoned the Gospel of Christ for any other gospel,” Mohler stated.

While Beck’s statements suggest that his primary concern is politics, Mohler said his concern is about the “primacy of the Gospel of Christ.”

“The church’s main message must be that Gospel,” he stated. “The New Testament is stunningly silent on any plan for governmental or social action. The apostles launched no social reform movement. Instead, they preached the Gospel of Christ and planted Gospel church.”

But in spite of the church not adopting a social reform agenda, Mohler believes that a church that is faithful to the Gospel will naturally reform society through the lives of its congregants.

“The Gospel is not a message of social salvation, but it does have social implications,” maintained Mohler.

Jerry Falwell, Jr., president of Liberty University and the son of the late Christian right leader the Rev. Jerry Falwell, also said Jesus taught that individuals, not governments, should help the poor.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is this a parody? No it's real

Uproar over fetus dolls distributed in school.


It's a jungle out there

Ugh. What a disgrace for a man. H/t pro-woman, pro-wife

Greg Bruell and his girlfriend of a year and a half, Sandra Hedrick, had a pact. “We agreed that if we got pregnant, we’d terminate because we were not in a stable family unit,” Hedrick says. Or as Bruell more starkly puts it, “I resumed sexual relations with her on the condition that were birth control to fail, she’d abort without waffling.”

“Resumed,” because nine months ear­lier Hedrick had conceived a child with Bruell and the couple decided to end that pregnancy. Or rather, he decided, and she went along. Their relationship was too rocky—a series of breakups followed by passionate reunions—for them to become parents together, Bruell argued. Plus, both were still in the process of finalizing di­vorces, and he was a newly single father struggling to balance his needs against those of his eight-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. Bruell wanted to steady their destabilized worlds before jumping into fatherhood anew.

A dead ringer for Woody Harrelson, with penetrating blue eyes, an athletic body splashed with freckles, and a diminishing crop of strawberry blond hair, Bruell wasn’t one to take becoming a dad lightly. Perversely, considering his new situation, he’d waged a two-year campaign—complete with “charts and graphs”—to persuade his former wife, Pam, to have their daughter and son. “Pam wasn’t sure she could balance her career with parenting,” Bruell says of his biology-professor ex (who seconded his version of events), “so the agreement was that I’d be the stay-at-home dad.” When their first child was born in 2001, Bruell quit his job as a software executive and, buttressed by a trust fund from his grandfather’s fragrance company, dedicated himself to parenting full-time.

Hedrick, a petite 39-year-old whose lively blue eyes, long blond hair, and curvy figure recall something of the high school cheerleader she once was, also already had a child, a five-year-old girl, and was still untying the emotional knots of her seven-year marriage. Her reaction to the pregnancy, however, had been one of “love, hope, happiness, and an overwhelming feeling that the baby was meant to exist.” But Greg’s logic and unwavering certainty that the baby was not meant to be ultimately carried the day for her. Still, Hedrick admits, “If Greg wasn’t beside me on the table, I don’t think I would have gone through with it.”

It gets worse.


Seen on Twitter


Did you hear the one about the Protestant with a depilatory? He believed in once shaved, always shaved.

In case you missed this Paul Water's column

Great column by Paul Water's about that furore over the fact that Cardinal Ouellet is Catholic. He writes:

This time, however, he really put his foot in it, musing aloud at a pro-life rally that abortion is wrong, even in those rare cases when pregnancy results from rape, and congratulating the federal government for leaving abortion funding out of its plan to finance maternal care in Third World countries.

Imagine that: a Roman Catholic cardinal articulating the teaching of the church to which he belongs before an audience of fellow travellers. In most other parts of the world, of course, that kind of story would get the same kind of ho-hum response as a feminist calling for more daycare places or a law-and-order Republican calling for more death penalties or a safety council recommending bicycle helmets. As one Montreal priest put it in response to a parishioner’s suggestion that Ouellet was courageous: “No, he’s not; he’s just doing what he’s supposed to do.”

And that’s the problem. Quebec’s chattering classes, and that would include Marois, aren’t used to such uppity talk from the mitred class. They’re accustomed to a far more supine brand of ecclesiastical leadership, one that makes occasionally comforting noises about the tragedy of war in Afghanistan and the evils of unbridled capitalism, but knows its place otherwise. For them, any sign of life from the old ancestral church is an affront.

Even Conservatives can fall into this knee-jerk, atavistic form of secularism. Josée Verner, member of Parliament for the Quebec City riding of Louis St-Laurent and minister of intergovernmental affairs in the Harper government, called Ouellet’s statements “unacceptable,” although quite what’s “unacceptable” about a citizen in a free country politely expressing his opinion on a matter that concerns him deeply she didn’t make entirely clear. Perhaps Verner could provide us with a list of “unacceptable” topics and opinions we should really keep to ourselves.

The irony here is that secularists usually argue that the only way to prevent religious intolerance from tearing our society apart is to banish religion entirely from the public square. But recently the most blatant examples of intolerance have come from the secularists themselves

Read more:

The other Wheaton and my Wheaton

Kathy Shaidle has an interesting link under her recurring headline "journalists: your moral and intellectual superiors! to a story about a graduation address at my alma mater. Heh heh heh. When I went to Wheaton, it was a woman's college, though it is now coed. I spent my senior year at Dartmouth in a coed exchange.

In her role as the co-host of "The Today Show" on NBC, Ann Curry is renowned for her grace and gravitas, reporting stoically on all sorts of calamities from far-flung places like the Congo, Iraq, and Darfur — in between the lighthearted palling around she often does on set with Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker.

Curry, in short, is a respected television journalist by just about any standard — which is why the gaffe she committed over the weekend while delivering the commencement address at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., is all the more shocking.

After taking the stage to launch into the school's 175th commencement address, she sought to drive home the inspirational content of her speech by ticking off the names of a few of the school's more illustrious alums. Among the entries on the Curry honor roll: "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl, evangelist Billy Graham, slasher-film director Wes Craven, and United Airlines Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer. There was just one problem: Apart from Stahl, everyone on that list actually graduated from another Wheaton College, the Christian liberal-arts college in Wheaton, Illinois.

Cardinal Ouellet responds to criticism

Here's an excerpt of story I did based on an interview with Cardinal Ouellet, now published online at The Catholic Register.

OTTAWA (CCN) — Cardinal Marc Ouellet, expressing surprise at harsh political and media reaction to his recent pro-life comments, has vowed not to be silenced on the “crime” of abortion.

“I will not leave things the way they are,” said Ouellet, adding that he is reflecting and consulting on a broader response.

“There is a legitimate debate about promoting human life, about respect for the unborn,” he said. “Our country is very weak on that.”

Ouellet was subjected to a wave of criticism when, in response to a journalist's question, he said abortion was a moral crime even in cases of rape. He was scorned widely in the media and one popular La Presse columnist called him an ayatollah and extremist and wished the cardinal would die from a slow, painful illness.

Provincial and federal politicians denounced his remarks, culminating in a unanimous resolution May 19 in the Quebec National Assembly that affirmed a woman’s right to free abortion, and also demanded the federal government end its ambiguity on the issue and stop de-funding to women’s organizations.

Ouellet was taken aback by the uproar.

“I have no power,” said the Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada. “The Church in Quebec has no power anymore.

Today, the Cardinal and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast made the promised response up in Quebec City. Their joint news conference can be viewed at

Highlights of Cardinal Ouellet's statement:

The abortion debate is on and we must not be afraid of it. Canada’s abortion rate, 100,000 abortions per year nationwide, more than 25,000 in Quebec, is much too high. The number could be reduced by half if only women in distress because of an unexpected pregnancy were welcomed, informed and accompanied in their choice with compassion and solidarity.

My interventions on behalf of a culture of life have been the subject of every sort of interpretation in Canada’s English and French media in the past ten days. That is why I wish to clarify the sense of my engagement in the current abortion debate. Thank you for accepting my invitation and allowing me to re-focus the debate on what is essential. The very exceptional cases must not prevent us from seeing the sad reality of abortion that has become too widespread.
I wish to thank Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast who joins me in launching an appeal for solidarity with the most helpless in our society: the unborn child and the woman who is forced to resort to abortion.

From the outset, I want to emphasize that my comment in defence of the innocent child, even in cases of rape, was motivated by the desire to call to mind the dignity of women in all circumstances, and the respect due to all new human life. I note that only part of my message has been received and interpreted. I wish to draw attention to the other part, in the hope of raising public awareness of the true issue in this debate: support for the pregnant woman by the father of the child, her family and society.

Nowhere did I state that I condemn a woman who has resorted to abortion. I have even asserted the opposite when speaking directly to one of these women during a television program. I have never declared that a woman who has undergone an abortion is a criminal. I am fully aware that the ultimate responsibility for this moral decision is a matter of personal conscience which acts on the basis of various factors, including the individual’s intentions and the circumstances. Only God can judge each person because He alone can assess all the elements of each case.
My intention has always been to call to mind the objective moral standard with concern for saving the life of the innocent child and sparing the mother the grave consequences of a deliberately provoked abortion: it is precisely concern for the physical, psychological and spiritual health of women in difficulty that motivated my interventions. I am genuinely sorry that my remarks, distorted or cited out of context, may have caused additional suffering to women facing such situations. I hope that this clarification will help set the record straight and re-focus the debate.

However, in view of the political and legal impasse in which we live, I am launching an appeal with my Ottawa colleague for an awareness campaign and more programs providing assistance for women in distress in Canada. There is a great scarcity of information, support and financial assistance to enable pregnant women to make an informed choice. It is vital that more effective aid programs for women facing a difficult pregnancy be implemented at every level, governmental, medical and social, so that the largest possible number may avoid abortion.

Archbishop Prendergast also had an excellent intervention. Here are some highlights:

Two weeks ago, nearly twelve thousand people gathered on Parliament Hill and thousands more in several Canadian cities to stand up in defence of the unborn. These people represent many in the silent majority who are on the side of life. The significant Pro-Life caucus of our Federal Government works quietly, day after day, to keep human life at the top of the Government agenda.

2) To be actively in favour of life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. There can be no true peace unless life is defended and promoted.

3) We must never lose sight of the atrocities against the unborn, the untold and too-seldom spoken of pain and lingering anguish experienced by those who have been involved in abortions; doing otherwise has severely narrowed our national discourse about moral values in the public square.

4) Whatever is opposed to life itself, whatever violates the dignity of the human person, whatever insults human dignity … all of these things and more poison human society. Concern about abortion and the implications for the mother and her child does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. We must strive to see the whole picture, not with tunnel vision. We cannot ignore the other great challenges faced by humanity today. But that is not our topic today.

5) For, the right to life is primordial. In Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, (Charity in Truth), the Holy Father addresses clearly the dignity and respect for human life: “Openness to life is at the centre of true development… When a society moves toward the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity toward the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.”

6) Favouring the cause of life is not an activity for a political party or a particular side of the spectrum. It is an obligation for everyone: left, right and centre! If we are in favour of life—pro-woman, pro-child, pro-family, we must engage the culture around us and offer positive solutions. It is this positive purpose that has brought me here today to join with Cardinal Ouellet to make an appeal on behalf of women who find themselves without helpful alternatives when they face an unanticipated pregnancy and on behalf of the child the woman carries in her womb.

7) All across Canada, there are public, Catholic and Christian centres
that reach out to help those in distress over pregnancy and new life. The outstanding work of Birthright cuts across all religious and sectarian lines and stands for life. Many cities, from Vancouver to St. John’s, have crisis pregnancy centres which provide safe places, welcome, and options for young women and men to preserve, protect and uphold the life of the newly conceived child as well as their own human dignity. There, ordinary people reach out to those in crisis and distress to save lives.

8) What His Eminence and I are asking today is that governmental agencies take on their proper role in affording help for pregnant women in distress—and others affected by new life in the womb—to reduce the extraordinarily high number of abortions in our country.

Some thoughts on truth and the Church and ARCIC

Fr. Sean Finnegan writes at The Anglo-Catholic:

A colleague, Fr Tony Churchill (no stranger to this debate), remarked to me in the early 1990s that Catholics and Anglicans in the ARCIC debates were trying to answer two different questions. Catholic theologians ask whether a doctrine is true (and therefore should be held by all); Anglicans ask the question whether one could hold this doctrine and still be an Anglican; can this doctrine be held within the breadth of Anglicanism? [Which is why we Traditional Anglicans left 30 years ago and the establishment of Personal Ordinariates inside the Catholic Church can't happen fast enough!]

I think also that the wrong issues were addressed by ARCIC, or at least addressed in the wrong order. Clearly, matters like the Eucharist, the Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary are crucially important, and have divided Protestantism and Catholicism for five hundred years. However, without examining the underlying principles, any agreement reached on these important subjects will prove to have been built on shifting foundations which could result (and, some would say, have resulted) in major cracks, even collapses, within the structure so carefully built by ARCIC.

The most important issue that should have been examined first is the nature of truth, and how we are to arrive at it. For a Protestant, a Christian himself (or herself) reads the Bible, and, illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and helped by the witness of tradition (for some) and reason, discerns God’s truth for himself. Within this system, there has to be a fair degree of toleration of difference, because Protestants had discovered within a couple of years that two earnest Protestants are going to have two different interpretations of pretty fundamental doctrines, and if they aren’t going to end up killing each other (which some did), they are going to have to accept that there can be room for honest doubt. This, I would contend, has eventually given birth to doctrinal liberalism, though it would be a mistake to conclude from this that all Protestants are liberals, though Protestantism is particularly prone to liberalism on the one hand (for the nice people) and bigotry on the other (‘my privately held opinion is better than your privately held opinion’).

To a Catholic mind, our Lord did not come to write a book, but to found a Church through the wisdom of which, guided by the same Holy Spirit, he would continue to guide his Church into all truth. That Church would, inspired by the Holy Spirit, write a book, (the New Testament) but the Church precedes the book and therefore authoritatively interprets it (as the Bible interprets the tradition). It is the Apostles who are to be listened to as one would listen to Christ (Luke 10:16), and the Church holds that they continue to teach through tradition with scripture and through their successors.

But then the Apostles also need to be listening to Christ and under his authority and the authority of the deposit of faith they have been entrusted to pass on.

Thankfully, I see evidence of that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Abortion and gay marriage--Canada at the vanguard

Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae after question period today argued that two of Canada's main contributions on the world stage should be (my bolds):

"I think it has to become a stronger priority for Canadian foreign policy generally and I think we have to understand that as Canadians, that having taken such an advanced position ourselves with respect to recognizing gay relationships in the Americas, that it would be – it would be a wonderful thing if we could champion this as a priority for our foreign policy."

Now, to be fair, he was speaking about the draconian punishment Malawi inflicted on a homosexual couple. A punishment I have previously deplored on this blog. But I think one can argue against criminalization without going to the other extreme of putting a state imprimatur on gay marriage and thus undercutting the biological basis of heterosexual marriage as the best institution for the procreating and rearing of children by parents biologically related to them. The state has no right to redefine marriage as marriage pre-existed the state. But statists like Bob Rae don't care about that. The state is always coming up with some new problem to solve, and wreaking havoc in the process.

Then this, on abortion (my bolds)

We ought to be able to have a vigorous discussion about the nature of Canadian foreign policy and how our foreign policy needs to reflect the deepest values and the deepest consensus that we have developed as a society on this – on this question, the right of women to choose has been a foundation of Canadian public policy. For the last 30 years.

Abortion and gay marriage, Canada's deepest values to be the cornerstone of our foreign policy? Blech!

What unbelievable "progressive" cultural imperialism. Let's just go into some of those Catholic countries where abortion is illegal and force them to become enlightened like us, to the tune of 100,000 aborted babies a year! Oh, and let's throw in a little sex selection abortion---get rid of those baby girls. And of course we don't want to have any Down Syndrome babies. It is of course a woman's right to choose, right up until the baby exits the birth canal.

Is Bob Rae going to pick only on Malawi because it is a Christian country? The gay men just got a long prison sentence there. Will he say something about the hangings of gay men in Iran?

That's a file photo of Rae. I worked from home today.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Youth Summit draws to a close

What an amazing weekend. The Youth Summit/ Montee Jeunesse ended today after four glorious days.

Archbishop Prendergast spoke about what a gift this has been to the Ottawa and surrounding dioceses.

Even though I was only in and out for short periods, it had a powerful effect on me.

The next Youth Summit is Montreal 2012. Soyez la! Be there~

The pictures show the Ottawa youth bringing the Ark of the New Covenant down the aisle of Notre Dame Cathedral before handing it off to Montreal youth.

Look for video of the Summit soon at

"Islam is fragile" says "Spengler"

Interesting (my bolds):

The strictures of traditional society are a flimsy defense against modernity. The moment that members of traditional society cease to live under a regime of compulsion, they tend to adopt the habits of the ambient culture. The most dramatic expression of this trend is the collapse of Muslim birth rates, especially among Muslims who have emigrated to the West. As Martin Walker wrote in the Woodrow Wilson Center Quarterly in 1999, “the birthrates of Muslim women in Europe—and around the world—have been falling significantly for some time. Data on birthrates among different religious groups in Europe are scarce, but they point in a clear direction. Between 1990 and 2005, for example, the fertility rate in the Netherlands for Moroccan-born women fell from 4.9 to 2.9, and for ­Turkish-­born women from 3.2 to 1.9. In 1970, ­Turkish-­born women in Germany had on average two children more than ­German-­born women. By 1996, the difference had fallen to one child, and it has now dropped to half that number.”

There is a straight-line correlation between literacy and birth rates in the Muslim world, as I documented here, which suggests that the moment that Muslims enter modernity, for example, through reading, the habits of traditional society die quickly. Islam is fragile, and that helps explain why radical Islam is so aggressive.

Go here if you don't believe radical Islam is aggressive for footage of a May 22 demonstration in London. H/t Blazing Cat Fur.

Excerpt of the transcript at the above link, my bolds:

"These people of the West, they like to come out naked, they like to come out nude whenever the sun comes out, .........our message to the Western people is that we are Muslims and we are not going to compromise."
"The hour will not be established until a group of Muslims conquer Rome."

But I wonder what Mark Steyn thinks of "Spengler's" demographic figures.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More on yesterday's Eucharistic Procession

At the Anglo-Catholic. Hopefully soon my little web elf over there will fix the sizing of the pictures.

I also write about Cardinal Ouellet's homily at the mass during the Youth Summit in Ottawa yesterday morning. I also write a bit about his response to the media attacks in recent days.

Yesterday morning, I attended a mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada. The Archbishop of Ottawa, Terrence Prendergast concelebrated. I found it deeply moving how much love both these bishops radiated to these dynamic young people, many who came down from Quebec, a province where the Catholic Church is in deep trouble. But there is revival and renewal happening; it felt like a new Pentecost.

For standing firmly for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, Cardinal Ouellet has been scourged in the news media in recent days, called an ayatollah, painted as an extremist. One columnist even wished that he would die of a slow, painful illness. But was he beaten down? Feeling cornered? Intimidated? No, he was bouyant, joyful, brimming with love. When I jokingly addressed him as Monsieur L’ayatollah, he laughed. Beautiful, mirthful laughter.

When I interviewed him about the over-the-top reaction in his province that led to the Quebec legislature’s passing a unanimous resolution affirming the “inalienable right to abortion” and asking the Parliament in Ottawa to do the same, he said he was surprised at the reaction. “I have no power,” he said. “The Catholic Church has no power in Quebec.”

But oh, the power of a few words of truth, spoken with courage, spoken with love. And yes, the reaction from the mainstream media and most of the public square is overwhelmingly hostile. But he does not respond in kind.

Yesterday morning, he gave a homily off the cuff -in both French and English–that was profound, and classical, in the sense that it broke open the texts, bringing them alive. Here are a few scanty highlights.

“We come here first to meet Jesus in the Holy Mystery of the Eucharist,” he said, noting how the Youth Summits represent a Eucharistic movement.

“We want to meet Jesus and we want to bear witness that He is among us and gives us Life.”

One text concerned Paul, who was imprisoned. “Paul is a prisoner, but he is free to evangelize. You can be in prison and evangelize. You can be completely cornered. He had no fear.”

He described Jesus, nailed to the Cross, as the ultimate prisoner.

“The one nailed on the Cross, he is prisoner but he is freeing the whole of humanity; he is giving freedom and real life,” he said. “This is the way of the Gospel.”

Should a mosque be put up at Ground Zero?

Canadian Talk Radio, the John Oakley show:

Let me just start by saying that Barbara Kay is a great listen at all times, and the subject of building a Mosque at the site of 9/11 is one of great interest to me and my kin. But listening to her slap around Toronto's own paragon of "bringin' the crazy", Imam Steve Rockwell, is a segment worthy of much snorting and high-fives! Even my 11-year-old, who is not the least bit interested in politics, thought this dude was seriously cracked.

Listen and enjoy...comedy gold, I tell you!


The takeaway quote from the moderate Muslim holy man..."She seems to be a banshee from the pit of Hell, sent by Lucifer". I think Barbara should put that endorsement on her byline.

Great Pentecost homily at the Archbishop's blog

Archbishop Prendergast writes:
To those familiar with the Old Testament, Luke's account of Pentecost Day would evoke the giving of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai. It might also suggest a reversal of the Tower of Babel story (Genesis 11:1-9).

Later, when Peter explained what was going on, he said that the prophecy of Joel ('your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams' [2:28-32]) had been fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the bystanders had witnessed (Acts 2:14-36).

The "Feast of Weeks" celebrated on the fiftieth day (Greek Pentekostes) of the spring harvest, marked the end of the celebration of God's blessings. Israel gave thanks not only for the agrarian bounty but also for the greater bounty of God's love in choosing a covenant people. God's election of Israel at Sinai came to be linked with Pentecost, just as the Exodus had been with Passover.

So, at Pentecost there was praise for God's self-revelation on Sinai in 'fire' and in 'wind' and, according to first century rabbinic writings, in 'tongues.' The Pentecost day following Jesus' resurrection and ascension, then, is described by Luke as God's newest self-manifestation. Through the Holy Spirit who is to carry the power of Jesus' ministry to the ends of the world and to all peoples on the face of the earth, God becomes present in this world in a marvellously new way.
Read the whole thing. I love the way he integrates the teachings of the Old and New Testament.

In the same post, he has some additional pictures from yesterday's Eucharistic Procession.

The pictures here come from yesterday's mass celebrated by Cardinal Marc Ouellet as part of the Montee Jeunesse/Youth Summit, a four-day event that has been like a new Pentecost for this city. At least that's what it has felt like for me!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jesus crosses from Quebec to Ottawa

Hidden in the form of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus crossed the Ottawa River from Gatineau to Ottawa this evening, in a joyous Eucharistic Procession. I could scarcely contain myself. And what was amazing was how this procession of young people wearing bright t-shirts saying "disciple" or "sent" and clergy wearing liturgical robes, elicited such a response of warmth and happiness in all the tourists who were attending the Tulip Festival.

The event was part of the 4-day Youth Summit/Montee Jeunesse, one of the fruits of the 2008 Eucharistic Congress.