Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
We have a real problem with bureaucrats in this country thinking they rule the roost. Think of the back door gun registry which continues despite laws passed by Parliament. Think of the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa which thinks it runs Canada’s foreign policy regardless of who is actually running the elected government.
But I’m still stunned to see Barbara Hall, the Chief Commissar of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, change the law by decree.Hall was appearing before the Queen’s Park Social Committee which was conducting hearings on Bill 13, the Liberals “anti-bullying” act which manages to bully anyone that gets in its way.There are few things wrong with what she said but here is the key paragraph.
“Ontario’s Human Rights Code is, in a sense, Ontario’s highest law. All schools—including public, Catholic and private—have a legal duty to provide students with an educational environment free from harassment and other forms of discrimination because of their race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status, disability and sex, including gender identity.” Barbara Hall, May 15, 2012
Wow! is right.
There is also two theological reasons for using "Holy Ghost" from time to time.
1) First, we live in a culture where being "spiritual" is increasingly popular and increasingly vague. Just think about that horrid song "Spirit in the Sky," and you know what I mean. In neo-pagan parlance, "being spiritual" and "the spirit" have nothing to do with the personal God fo the Sacred Scriptures. This "spirit" is more like "the force" in Star Wars than it is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. So when you say "Holy Ghost," you're clearly referring to traditional Trinitarian theology.
2) In English, "spirit" has always had a vague meaning and this is likely why the translators opted for "ghost." Spirt is not wrong. In fact, the Latin spiritus is almost identical to the Greek pneuma. But spirit in English can refer to abstractions or it can refer to a person.
"We've got spirit, yes we do! We've got spirit how 'bout you?" Spirit, here, refers to vigor and enthusiasm. Nobody assumes that the cheerleaders are possessed by a "ghost" or "spiritual being.""the spirit of Vatican 2"
I think every magisterial Catholic from Pope Benedict XVI on down knows that the so-called "spirit of Vatican 2" is certainly not the "Holy Spirit." Here, "spirit" refers to a way of interpretation or a movement.
"Play this song with spirit!"Here again, this doesn't mean to invoke an immaterial person. It means to play a song with a certain tempo or feeling.
So then, "spirit" can be ambiguous. Ghost is not ambiguous. Ghost always refers to "immaterial person."
So when people speak of the Holy Ghost, the orthodox theology of His status as a Divine Person is highlighted. .
In the interest of doing my little bit to flesh out Mitt Romney’s character, let me share a couple of first-hand observations of Romney at Cranbrook:
The one quality about Mitt Romney that stood out more than the others was his abundant joy. He was one of the happiest guys I’ve ever seen, although he had his serious side, too. His love for life was palpable.
I’d surmise that Mitt’s joy stemmed from his happy family life. When the demagogues sneer that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, they are right, but not in the way they mean. Mitt’s good fortune wasn’t his father’s money, but that his parents imparted to him great emotional wealth. He had to have a lot of emotional security and self-knowledge to be able to enter into such a successful, enduring marriage at such a young age, and I think that was George and Lenore Romney’s truly valuable bequest to him.
Romney’s joy is no mere trivial factoid. It has relevance for this presidential race. I would prefer POTUS to be a happy, secure individual, and one who has loved and been grateful for his country all his life.
Let me share another vignette with you, one that speaks to Romney’s character: At Homecoming of his senior year, a couple of the regular runners on Cranbrook’s cross country team couldn’t compete that week. That meant that Mitt, who was further down the depth chart of a very strong team, would finally get to run in a varsity race. When the runners burst into view on the far side of the football field during halftime, Mitt astounded everyone by being near the lead. He had pushed himself to run the race of his life. But then, about 100-150 yards from the finish line, he reached his physical limit. Starved for oxygen, his legs started to shut down. His stride gave way to an unsteady stagger. Runners started to race past him. Then, winded and ashen, his face contorted in acute distress, he collapsed on the track some 30 yards from the finish line.
He could have quit and stopped the agony. He had nothing to gain, it seemed, for every other runner had passed him, but still he didn’t give up. Instead, he literally crawled and dragged himself yard after yard on the cinder track, until finally he crossed the finish line and received some first aid. It was a heroic effort.
The man cannibalizing another man's face in America
And as our social order breaks down, as the covering provided by Christian civilization is removed, I fear we will see more of these beastly and barbaric incidents which seem to me to be indications of a breakthrough from the demonic realm.
We live in a world which diminishes, or even condemns, this sacramental, transcendental role of the Church, because the world wishes to proclaim without opposition that this passing world is the only reality there is, that there is no transcendant order at all, at least none with any reality whatsoever. That eternal blessedness is only a pious dream -- that eternal misery, as well, is an illusion.
Any diminishment of the Church's authority, any blackening of the Church's reputation, any confusion sown in Church ranks, serves the purposes of those who do not wish their own immorality, or acts of fraud and oppression, to be condemned.
And if there is, either in a chaotic, unpremeditated, or in a coordinated, premeditated, way, a new world order coming into being which wishes to have free reign throughout the planet, and which, to that end, desires a Church passive, subordinate, divided, it serves the purposes of the architects of that order to have the Pope paraded before the world as an impotent old man, unable to care for the affairs of his own household.
The Curia and the Church seems to be in disarray, and so, in a sense, not qualified to offer advice, or direction, or wisdom, to a world sorely in need of all three.
In this sense, the effect of this "Vatileaks" scandal thus far, whether planned or not, may have been to diminish the dignity and authority of the Pope, of his Curia, and of the Church as a whole.
But that may not be the final result of this story.
The odd things about human affairs is that they can sometimes turn out differently than the planners of events intend.
And in this case, there is already emerging something entirely different than what seems likely to have been the original intent.
Instead of isolating the Pope even further, leaving him alone and impotent, the "Vatileaks" affair is winning sympathy and support for the aging Pope.
And therefore, if Benedict continues in the way he has up until now, steadily, patiently, wisely, speaking with authority, with eloquence, with charity but in truth, this strnage case may actually end up giving him an even larger and more attentive audience, so that his words, in our troubled 21st century world, where economic, social, envrionmental, and moral crises are deepen and intensifying, may find their way into hearts, and bear fruit.
This "Vatileaks" crisis might in this sense be a blow to the credibility of the Curia, but not a blow to the credibility of this Pope.
Indeed, Benedict's credibility seems day by day to be strengthened, as he stands, patient and often alone, againt the forces that would sow confusion, and reap the disintegration, of the Church he leads.
We were dining at a good bistro. The waiter — early 20s — accidentally knocked a glass of water onto my lap. Suppressing annoyance, I was summoning a gracious smile to acknowledge his forthcoming apology when instead he chirped, “It’s okay, stuff happens.” Stung, I responded, “You’re unclear on the concept. You’re supposed to say ‘I’m sorry,’ and I’m supposed to say ‘It’s okay, stuff happens.’ ”
Our narrowed eyes locked: the Senior and the Millennial (a.k.a Gen Y or Echo Boomers). I was thinking: Your teflon complacency comes from a lifetime of helicopter parents and teachers ensuring you were failure-proofed to protect your precious self-esteem. He was probably thinking: Why aren’t you dead yet so I can get a decent job and afford the meal I’m serving you.
has known Ratzinger from when they were both university professors in Bavaria and has a long experience of working in the Roman Curia.
You are German and have known the Pope for a long time. How do you think he feels? Why does he seem so calm?
Benedict XVI is obviously saddened, but is certainly calm because he totally trusts in the help of the Almighty. He is aware that the Church must cross the tempestuous sea of this world; it must face its problems. Difficulties are not ideal, but I think they are normal occurrences in life.”
In the book-length interview with Peter Seewald, “Light of the World” the Pope said that one must expect attacks and be ready to resist them.
“The Gospel is a sign of contradiction and the contradiction of the world almost seals the authenticity of the message. The destiny of the disciple of Jesus is that of sharing his experience of suffering. I believe that this certainty of faith is at the root of Benedict XVI’s tranquillity.”
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Behind certain articles I seem to see an underlying hypocrisy. On the one hand the central government of the Church is accused of being absolutist and monarchical, and on the other, people are scandalized because a few write to the Pope expressing ideas or even complaints about the organization of this same government. Many documents published do not reveal conflicts or revenge but rather the freedom of thought which, on the contrary, the Church is accused of not permitting. In short, we are not mummies; rather, different viewpoints or even contrasting evaluations are normal. If someone feels misunderstood he has every right to turn to the Pope. What is shocking about this? Obedience does not mean renouncing the right to have an opinion of one's own, but expressing one's opinions sincerely and fully, in order to adapt to the superior's decision. And not out of calculation but out of adherence to the Church that Christ desired. These are fundamental elements of the Catholic viewpoint.
The extent to which the communist secret police controlled Karol Wojtyla’s actions was incredible…” Marek Lasota who was born in 1960 and has a degree in Polish philosophy, with a specialism in history, lives among mounds of letters accumulated by the communist regime and kept in the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), where he is head of the Krakow section. After years of patient research, he has gathered a number of reports and dossiers on Wojtyla. Lasota’s “Karol Wojtyla spiato” (Spying on Karol Wojtyla), published by Intercienze, comes out in Italian in just a few days. The book is a collection of the regime’s secret documents on the pope who passed away in 2005.In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa the scholar also revealed the names of some collaborationist priests whom he mentions in the book.
“During the communist era, authorities saw all priests as enemies of the people and the party – Lasota explains – and they were placed under surveillance by the political police, the “Bezpieca”. Wojtyla had been under surveillance since 1946. This intensified in 1958 when he became Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. As an archbishop in the ‘60s, he was considered a dangerous political opponent. This is why he was ferociously monitored in everything he did.”
One of the documents presented in the book is particularly striking. It contains 98 questions which spies who kept an eye on the future pope had to answer: attention was paid to every minute detail of his daily life. From the time at which he got up in the morning to his morning activities and the order in which these took place; from how frequently he shaved to the “cosmetics” he used.
There were questions about his habits in the office, which documents he took home with him, whether he took the keys to his desk with him, what he talked about at lunch, whether he “liked playing bridge or other card games, or chess” and with whom he played, whether he smoked or whether he liked alcoholic drinks (“how much does he drink and how often”). The secret police even wanted to know “who supplied his underwear,” who “washed his underwear, socks etc.,” whether “he possessed a medicine cabinet and what medication it contained.”
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
Breaking news from The Star:
All schools, including those in the Catholic system, would be forced to allow anti-homophobic clubs to be called “gay-straight alliances” under dramatic changes to a proposed anti-bullying law.
The change of heart on the minority Liberal government’s Accepting Schools Act — which had allowed school principals a veto on names for any student club — was announced Friday afternoon by Education Minister Laurel Broten.
“We believe it’s up to the students,” she told reporters, saying it’s “important for students to have the freedom.”
The move, which has the support of the NDP, comes as an amendment to the government’s anti-bullying bill — which Broten hopes to pass before the legislature rises for its summer break June 7.
Her amendment follows legislative committee hearings on the controversial legislation, which has been a flashpoint at Queen’s Park since it was proposed following the suicides of two students last year — one gay and another with muscular dystrophy.
In a bid to curb bullying with more clout for schools to expel students who pick on others, the bill requires school boards to support student groups for “people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including organizations with the name gay-straight alliance or another name.”
That language gave schools an escape clause when it came to naming clubs, which can be formed for any common interest or need for mutual support that students identify.
The Progressive Conservatives and some parents and religious leaders have urged the government to remove any reference to gays, lesbians or transgendered students in the bill, saying the mention infers a special status not available to other children who might be victims of bullying for other reasons.
Interestingly, the father of one of the youths who committed suicide argued against one-issue clubs that did not serve to protect all victims of bullying:
The father of suicide victim Jamie Hubley made an emotional plea May 22 at an Ontario government social policy committee hearing that legislators adopt an anti-bullying bill that does not single out any group for special treatment.
The suicide of the openly gay teenager who committed suicide in October at the age of 15 became a driving force for Bill 13 of Ontario's Dalton McGuinty government, which mandates student-led "gay-straight alliances" (GSAs) even in Catholic schools, and considers hatred of homosexual people to be a main cause of bullying.
"I ask you to protect every child equally," Ottawa City Councillor Allan Hubley told public hearings in Ottawa on two proposed anti-bullying bills: Bill 14 (renamed Bill 80) and Bill 13.
Hubley said his son was the only openly gay person at his high school. Having a GSA for just one student "would have made him a target."
The bullying Jamie endured began after he began figure skating at the age of 5. It was often by boys who played hockey, Hubley said. "He was picked on relentlessly."
His son would befriend those who were bullied or hurting, and that also brought attacks. He publicly admitted to his homosexuality in the months prior to his death and had the full support of his family.
Hubley played down the idea that the Rainbow Club Jamie set up was a GSA or had a homosexual activist agenda. His son saw it as a place for everyone who was bullied for whatever reason, he said.
Only it is not the midnight hour, but Sunday afternoon at the Plough & Stars in Cambridge, and the audience is decidedly tilted to an older crowd that may not rock like they used to, but won’t miss out on a thriving music scene they say keeps them vital.
For many boomers, rock music is a defining element of their generation and remains an essential source of both entertainment and inspiration. While rock may have started out as music by and for young people, just because they are older now is no reason for that generation to miss a back-beat.
While Griffeth is a dedicated walker - often circling the path around Fresh Pond - for him performing live is literally a healing proposition.
“I’ve gone on stage as sick as a dog,’’ Griffeth said between sets at the Plough. “But then I was cured when I started to sing. My sinuses cleared right up. I seriously believe in mind over matter.’’
Like Brebner, Griffeth too had his brush with big-time rock success - he was in the band Bagatelle that had national aspirations. Back then he remembers being more career-oriented with his music, “trying to cash in on popular trends to make some money. Now, I just do anything and everything that I love,’’ Griffeth added, “R&B, country, blues, gospel, folk, Cajun, soul, funk, standards - whatever. It’s a joy.’’
Fred and members of the Bagatelle were friends of mine back in the late 60s and early 70s. He is one of the few people from that era in my life with whom I am still in touch. Sometimes when I'm back in the Boston area seeing family, I have gone to the Plough and Stars to hear Fred and Gail sing. My brother sang with him for a while in an a capella group called No Visible Means. The others in this video were the former lead singers of the Bagatelle, which was a mixed race band. Here's a video of one of their songs. My brother solos at about the 1:20 mark. Fred is singing lead:
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
I hope Bill 13 is substantially amended or set aside in favor of the much superior Bill 14 (now Bill 80).
Bill 13 is dangerous and divisive and will only increase the bullying of those with traditional religious beliefs; it will do little to prevent bullying against anyone, but do a lot to destroy the Catholic school system and undermine the rights of parents to pass along their faith to their children.
When we turned onto St. Catherine’s Street, Bishop Lepine, the Archbishop of Montreal, held the monstrance high and quite bravely lead us down the middle of St. Catherine’s with 450 young people joyfully clapping, singing and bearing witness to Christ in the midst of the glamour, glitter and sensuality of St. Catherine’s night life as it unfolded.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
I told him I wish we could clone him and other bishops were as gracious and generous and kind as he is.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
It is awesome. And his daughter Kathleen Dunn sang at the March and sings beautifully. Kathleen does some of the commentary and I believe her brother Matt also does, too. Great work, really professionally done and quickly turned around.
I've posted excerpts and links at Foolishnesstotheworld.wordpress.com
Had an amazing couple of days. Today I attended part of the youth conference Campaign Life Coalition organizes in conjunction with the March. To say I was blown away by the conference is an understatement.
Pam Stenzel spoke and what a message she had about abstinence and the consequences of sex outside of marriage.
You can get an idea of what hearing her was like by watching this video on YouTube and there are more if you Google her name.
She also shared that her mother was a 15 year old rape victim who decided not to abort her, but kept her pregnancy to term, then gave her up for adoption.
It was thrilling to hear such a hard-hitting, sobering message delivered with great force and humor.
Also speaking were Raymond De Souza (no, not Fr. Raymond De Souza) but a man from Brazil now living in Australia who works for Human Life International (HLI), and the new President of HLI, the world's largest pro-life organization, Fr. Shenan Bouquet who found an eager and attentive audience among the 800 or more young people from all over who came for this event. Fr. Bouquet gave me an interview and he stressed civility in our pro-life message, that no matter how the other side behaves, we must always "take the high road, the narrow road."
And, capping off the conference, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth came to tell them about his Motion M-312 and explained that all he wanted to do was have a Parliamentary committee set up to examine the 400-year old definition of a human being found in the Criminal Code, in light of the latest scientific information.
The kids loved hearing him. And he didn't talk down to them. He explained that the biggest objection to his motion is this: that if people really examine this and figure out the baby in the womb is a human being then some Canadians might rethink their support for abortion. He also spoke about human rights as being inherent and inalienable and not something granted by governments or by the state that can be cancelled by fiat.
Great message. Shout out to all these folks and to Campaign Life Coalition (CLC). It's also great to see the young emerging leadership in the pro-life movement. Good things are on the move.
Oh, and last but not least, last night at the Rose Dinner, which also featured an outstanding speaker, Stephen Mosher on China's horrific one-child policy, CLC president Jim Hughes thanked Archbishop Terry Prendergast for the leadership he's shown in encouraging other bishops to participate in the March for Life.
That's why it is growing bigger every year, he said. Archbishop Prendergast received a well-deserved standing ovation. I'll post the picture when I download it.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
My father has Alzheimer's. It keeps him from saying everything he thinks, sometimes in mid-sentence, but we still get occasional puns and stories that our hearts gobble like truffles. Often his deepest communication, though, is non-verbal: the smile that says, "I know you" from across the room. It is enough.
My three-year-old has Down syndrome. When the rest of the world hears, "Ahhh. Rahh!" I know it means, "the dogs next door should come out so I can bark at them." Jumping up and down at the end of the driveway is his way of saying, "the bus is late and I want to go to school." Most of his communication is non-verbal; his actual words strike the heart. He says "IRUVYOU" at bedtime. He nods his head when we repeat it. It may never get clearer, but it's there and he means it with his whole heart. It is enough.
Because Alzheimer's can make my father absent, we are forced to be more present. When he sings snips of "The Wild Rover" and other favorites, those songs take on greater meaning. Watching him remember the rosary, the rhythms of the mass even as his brain is forgetting, these things stay in our hearts. While it is a long hard process, this dying, if we were impatient with death, we would forfeit time loving him, time we could be singing.
Similarly, at mass no one sings the Alleluia like my son. When the cantor begins, he chimes in. Sometimes he doesn't finish when she does and the church echoes with his joy. He's singing the Alleluia the way we're supposed to pray. His song-shy siblings sometimes join his choir. In his absence, fewer Alleluias would ring out.
Suffering is always an opportunity for grace but only after it has been picked up and embraced. The real goal of life is to keep expanding the heart, to grow it outward, for the life of the world.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
Monday, May 07, 2012
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
But twenty-first century progressivism is not aimed at political reform. There is no new effort at racial unity. There is not much realization that we are in a globalized, rapidly changing, high-tech economy or that race and gender are not as they were fifty years ago. Instead, progressivism has become a reactionary return to the 1960s—or even well before. The new regressivism seeks to resurrect the machine ethos of Mayor Daley, the glory green days of the Whole Earth Catalog, the union era of George Meany, Jimmy Hoffa, and Walter Reuther, the racial polarization of the old Black Panther Party and the old Al Sharpton, and a Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor, or Peter Jennings reading to us each evening three slightly different versions of the Truth.
Earth Day ForeverOn matters of energy, Obama has regressed to the Earth Day mindset of the 1970s, when we were reaching “peak” oil, and untried wind and solar were soon to be the new-age remedy for soon-to-be-exhausted fossil fuels. Add up the anti-empirical quotes from Obama himself, Energy Secretary Chu, and Interior Secretary Salazar (inflate your tires, “tune up” your car, look to U.S. algae reserves, let energy prices “skyrocket,” hope gas rises to European levels, don’t open federal lands even if gas reaches $10 a gallon, etc.) and, in reactionary fashion, we are time-machined back to the campus quad of the 1970s. In this la la world of Van Jones, evil oil companies supposedly connived to stifle green energy and hook us on fossil fuels, inferior energies that have nothing to recommend them. It is as if the revolutions in horizontal drilling, fracking, and discoveries of vast new reserves never occurred, as if Exxon and Chevron dodge taxes in a manner that Google and Amazon never would, as if efficient smaller gas engines, clean gas blends, and pollution devices have not made the American car both clean-burning and economical beyond our imagination forty years ago. The Obamians, frozen in amber, really believe oil is about to run out, “tuned up” internal combustion engines powering underinflated tires pollute as they did in the 1920s, and Teapot Dome U.S. oil companies need to be “crucified”—as regional EPA director and Obama appointee Al Armendariz, in fact, boasted. So we borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize money-losing solar and wind plants, while putting federal lands rich in oil and gas off-limits to companies eager to pay royalties, hire thousands, and supply the U.S. with its own energy—and all for a regressive ideology. Few see that Solyndra really is the new Teapot Dome.