Monday, July 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The precious pearl of the kingdom should precede every other earthly good; we must put God first in our lives, prefer Him to everything. Giving primacy to God means having the courage to say no to evil, violence, oppression, living a life of service to others and in favor of the law and the common good...It requires you to have the courage to say no to any form of corruption and lawlessness, it requires everyone to be servants of the truth and to assume every situation in the style of the living Gospel, which is manifested in the gift of self and attention to the poor and the excluded."

--Pope Francis

Friday, July 25, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

--James 1:2--3

Thursday, July 24, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Two Victories in Georgia

Continuing with this ElectionWatch series, I'm delighted to announce two more victories for the Tea Party movement, both of which occurred in Georgia this past Tuesday. In close and competitive primary election races, Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk won Republican nominations to the U.S. House of Representatives for Georgia's 10th and 11th Congressional districts, respectively, defeating better funded establishment-friendly candidates. Hice and Loudermilk join the growing ranks of Tea Party House and Senate nominees across the United States. This grassroots movement is fueled by strong public dissatisfaction with our corrupt establishment politicians and a desire for return to the traditional values that made our country great: faith in God, respect for human rights (especially the rights to life and liberty), acknowledgment of the Creator's design for marriage and family life, and adherence to the moral law. Much as it did four years ago, the Tea Party movement is preparing to sweep Washington, D.C. and state governorships across the country, in spite of establishment attempts to hold it back.

In related news, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has endorsed Joe Carr for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee. This will be a closely watched race since Carr is competing against Republican establishment stooge Lamar Alexander, who has voted with President Obama 62 percent of the time. Everyone wants to see whether Carr will defeat Lamar. Palin's endorsement should be a big help for Carr, but of course Lamar won't go down without a fight.

Things are just getting warmed up. Stay tuned for further coverage of the Tea Party revolution of 2014.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Quote of the Day

"In the face of the weeds in the world, the disciple of the Lord is called to imitate the patience of God, nourishing hope with the support of an unshakable faith in the ultimate victory of the good, that is, of God."

--Pope Francis

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Catholic Church and Space Exploration


Today we celebrate the 45th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first-ever human persons to set foot on the moon. But did you know that three months after that great achievement, as part of their world tour, all three of the Apollo 11 astronauts got to meet the Pope? That's right: On October 16, 1969, Armstrong, Aldrin, and command module pilot Michael Collins and their wives had an audience with Pope Paul VI in the Vatican. In a brief address, Pope Paul lauded them for their courage in breaking a new barrier, and for the spirit of service to humanity and the spirit of peace in which they accomplished their scientific mission. He congratulated them on behalf of the whole Church and praised the "genius, dedication and perseverance" that went into "this magnificent undertaking." He also thanked the president and people of the United States for making possible this feat of exploration, "with typical generosity of spirit, for the good of man and the world." He prayed that such exploration of God's creation would enable us to more clearly see God's power, His infinity, and his perfection, and that this knowledge would draw humanity--His children--closer together "in fraternal love, in peace and in prayer." Finally, Pope Paul thanked God for the successful achievement of this space mission and for the astronauts' safe return to Earth, and invoked God's blessings on them and their families.

Some 45 years later, these noble words of Venerable (soon to be Blessed) Paul VI remind us of what the manned missions to the moon were really all about. God has put within man a natural desire to explore and learn about His creation. That's the whole point of science--it's a search for the truth about the natural world around us. The Catholic Church gave the world the principles on which true science rests, and it was a Catholic who invented the scientific method. Thus it should be no surprise that the Catholic Church is and always has been supportive of genuine scientific investigation, including space exploration, so long as it is conducted in the proper spirit and oriented to the true good of the human person and society.

Sadly, the generosity of spirit, nobility of purpose, and sound scientific principles that marked the Apollo lunar explorations are largely missing in the United States today, as our country continues to drift further away from God and thus from reality, as selfishness replaces a spirit of service, and as corruption and pseudo-scientific attitudes have diverted much of science and astronomy away from the search for truth and into the sustained defense of increasingly problematic--and often untestable and illogical--hypotheses that violate the laws of physics yet are widely accepted as scientific fact, such as the Big Bang, the Standard Model, constantly accelerating expansion of the cosmos, dark matter and dark energy, black holes, the "multiverse theory," and the random evolution of the universe and of life on earth over billions of years. Generally speaking, we've abandoned the scientific method and are living in a self-constructed house of mirrors. Given the abysmal state of so much of modern science, is it any wonder we haven't returned to the moon to build on the foundation courageously laid by the Apollo astronaut pioneers (and have no plans to do so anytime soon)?

As a nation, we're dropping the ball on scientific exploration here in the twenty-first century because 1) we no longer believe in God the Creator, 2) we see the universe He created as merely a random product of meaningless evolutionary forces, 3) we doubt that there is any such thing as objective and absolute truth except as determined by the individual person, and 4) we no longer care about the common good. America needs conversion! We need to be shaken out of this radically secularist mentality and get back to the basics about God and science. We need to recover the spirit of service to the common good and the genuinely scientific approach that made the Apollo missions such a remarkable success. May our recollection of those outstanding achivements and the sacrifices that went into them inspire us as Catholics and as American citizens to work together to support and undertake genuine scientific exploration in the footsteps of the Apollo astronauts for the glory of God and the good of the human family.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

"To always protect the common good: This is the vocation of every politician. It is an ample concept that includes, for instance, the protection of human life, of its dignity. Paul VI used to say that the mission of politics is one of the highest forms of charity. Today, the problem of politics – I don’t speak only of Italy but of all countries, the problem is worldwide – is that it has been devalued, ruined by corruption, by the phenomenon of bribery. A document published by the French Bishops 15 years ago comes to mind. It was a Pastoral Letter entitled: ‘Rehabilitating Politics’, and it precisely addressed this question. If service isn’t the foundation, it’s not even possible to understand what politics is."

--Pope Francis

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

“The best perfection is to do ordinary things in a perfect manner. Constant fidelity in little things is a great and heroic virtue.”

--St. Bonaventure

Monday, July 14, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Challenge in Mississippi

It's time for another ElectionWatch update! As you probably all know by now, the corrupt Republican establishment politician Senator Thad Cochran managed to narrowly defeat Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel by 6,800 votes in the Republican primary runoff election in Mississippi a few weeks ago on June 24. This was a minor setback for the Tea Party movement here in America, but the good news is that Chris McDaniel is fighting back. You see, the Tea Party Leadership Fund and Conservative Action Fund have investigated this election and uncovered evidence of widespread voter fraud in violation of Mississippi voting laws. For example, Senator Cochran convinced tens of thousands of registered Democratic voters in the state to vote for him in the runoff election, which is illegal because according to state law, registered Democrats who have already voted in a Democratic primary election are not allowed to cross over and vote in a Republican runoff election. So basically, Cochran stole this election and the result is invalid.

Now, Shawn McCutcheon of the Conservative Action Fund has filed an official complaint in Mississippi court on behalf of Chris McDaniel challenging Senator Cochran's illegitimate victory in the Republican primary runoff. I fully support this move on the part of the Tea Party leadership. Free and fair elections governed by state and federal law are a key cornerstone of American liberty, and any action or attempt taken to illegally subvert the democratic process in favor of a particular candidate must be firmly resisted. We can't allow the corrupt Washington establishment to get away with such an open assault on our civil liberties. Now the Mississippi court must do its duty to take action on this complaint and rule the election invalid. No doubt Cochran will attempt to influence the court's decision, using any means necessary to get it to give this stolen election a free pass. So let us pray that the judges be given the strength and courage to properly exercise their duty by upholding justice and the rule of law with regard to this clearly fraudulent election.

Chris McDaniel certainly should have won this election. Although Cochran outspent McDaniel nearly ten to one on his campaign, McDaniel was still the people's choice and the plurality of voters were not to be fooled. In the initial Republican primary election on June 3, McDaniel received the greatest number of votes--1,386 more than Cochran. In this position, and with the voters behind him, McDaniel should have won the runoff election handily. But Republican establishment heavyweights sprang into action to prop up their failing comrade Senator Cochran and do whatever was necessary to avert defeat. To their credit, they achieved their goal--but at what cost?

Senator Cochran's electoral "victory" was truly a Pyrric victory. Just look at what he had to go through to achieve it: recruiting two prominent and influential cronies, Michael Bloomberg and John McCain, to raise not just millions but billions of extra dollars for his campaign, and illegally recruiting tens of thousands of Democratic voters to vote for him because he couldn't win with Republican votes alone--and even with all that, he only won by 6,800 votes. This "victory" truly rings hollow, not only for Cochran but for the entire Washington establishment it symbolizes. This highly suspicious Republican runoff election in Mississippi highlights the ridiculous lengths to which the corrupt Washington political establishment will go to retain its illegitimate grip on power and prevent the Tea Party movement from gaining control of national politics despite overwhelming pressure for substantial change from the American people.

How long can things go on this way? How long can these corrupt and arrogant Washington career politicians keep flaunting the rule of law and the will of the people and getting away with it? Hopefully, not much longer. The establishment keeps getting more and more corrupt, while the people are getting more and more fed up with it. Sooner or later, something has to give. Either the American people must give up and surrender to the corrupt status quo, or the establishment must topple and fall to the floor with a crash. We the people must never give up! Despite the difficulties we face, we must never abandon our quest to restore just and moral and honest government to Washington, D.C., for the good of all Americans.

The establishment has drifted so far from the real meaning and purpose of politics, which is service to the common good. We must recover the true meaning and goal of politics from the usurpers who are destroying our country for the sake of their own private enrichment. Real change is possible, but only with the help of God. So as we work to restore government of the people, by the people, and for the people, let's not forget to pray for our country and for all our politicians and candidates for public office. In a special way, let's keep Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party leaders in our prayers and wish them all the best as they mount their important legal challenge to the flawed election result in Mississippi.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Reflection on Today's Gospel

"Is the point of the Lord's parables to make his message inaccessible and to reserve it only for a small circle of elect souls for whom he interprets them himself? Is it that the parables are intended not to open doors, but to lock them? Is God partisan--does he want only an elite few, and not everyone?

"If we want to understand the Lord's mysterious words, we must read them in light of Isaiah, whom he cites, and we must read them in light of his own path, the outcome of which he already knows. In saying these words, Jesus places himself in the line of the Prophets--his destiny is a prophet's destiny. Isaiah's words taken overall are much more severe and terrifying than the extract that Jesus cites. In the Book of Isaiah it says: "Make the heart of this people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Is. 6:10). Prophets fail: Their message goes too much against general opinion and the comfortable habits of life. It is only through failure that their word becomes efficacious. This failure of the Prophets is an obscure question mark hanging over the whole history of Israel, and in a certain way it constantly recurs in the history of humanity. Above all, it is also again and again the destiny of Jesus Christ: He ends up on the Cross. But that very Cross is the source of great fruitfulness...

"The failure of the Prophets, his failure, appears now in another light. It is precisely the way to reach the point where "they turn and God will forgive them." It is precisely the method for opening the eyes and ears of all. It is on the Cross that the parables are unlocked...

"Jesus' disturbing explanation of the point of his parables, then, is the very thing that leads us to their deepest meaning, provided--true to the nature of God's written word--we read the Bible, and especially the Gospels, as an overall unity expressing an intrinsically coherent message, notwithstanding the multiple historical layers."

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (Doubleday, 2007, pp. 189--191)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Quote of the Day

“He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands.”

--Saint Benedict

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The Church is the people who serve the Lord. For this, it is the people who experiences his freedom and lives in this freedom that He gives. The Lord always gives true freedom. First of all, the freedom from sin, from selfishness in all its forms: the freedom to give of oneself and to do so with joy, like the Virgin of Nazareth, who is free from herself, she does not close in on herself in her condition – and she would have had reason! – but thinks of those who, in that moment, has greater need. She is free in the freedom of God, which is realized in love. And this is the freedom that God has given us and we must not lose it: the freedom to adore God, to serve God and to serve him even in our brothers and sisters."

--Pope Francis

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July

An elderly friend of mine passed this along via email. I haven't double checked to make sure it's all true, but I reckon most of it is. It helps you get into the proper spirit and remember what we are really celebrating today on Independence Day. Hope you enjoy it. Here it is:

JULY 4TH

Some interesting facts about our founders...scroll down for a little bit of history as we honor our nation's birthday.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence ?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKean was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, And poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home only to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: freedom is never free!

I hope you will show your support by sending this to as many people as you can. It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin, and the Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics, and baseball games.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two Important Victories for Life and Liberty

Thanks be to God and to His Holy Mother, Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the United States, for granting our nation two important victories for life and liberty at the end of last month. Both of these victories were decisions handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court during the third annual Fortnight for Freedom.

On June 27, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled unconstitutional a law in Massachusetts that prohibited peaceful pro-life prayer warriors, protestors, and counselors from setting foot within thirty-five feet of an abortion clinic. No doubt strongly supported by Planned Parenthood, this so-called "buffer zone" law was a direct attack on freedom of speech. It was also an indirect attack on innocent human life, since its effect was to increase the number of abortions in the state of Massachusetts. Although the Court remained silent on the morality and legality of abortion, it had enough sense to clearly perceive the freedom of speech issue involved here. Now the pro-life movement in Massachusetts is free to do its important, life-saving work without interference from the state government. No doubt thousands of innocent unborn lives there will be saved in the coming years. Thanks be to God.

Then on June 30, the High Court handed down its widely anticipated decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case. By just one vote, the Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the Obama administration, striking down part of the HHS mandate within ObamaCare that requires owners of secular for-profit businesses to include abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives in their health insurance plans for their employees, even if this violates their religious beliefs and moral principles. The Court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1993, applies to owners of for-profit businesses, and that the federal government cannot force them to violate their consciences. This is a great victory for our First Amendment rights, for our right to act in accord with the law of God, and also for the unborn across our country, many of whose lives will be spared as a result of this decision. Moreover, this ruling has significant implications for what is left of the HHS mandate and ObamaCare, which are both looking more and more like Swiss cheese. If for-profit owners of secular businesses who object to providing abortifacients and contraceptives for religious and moral reasons are exempt from the anti-life mandate, then why shouldn't directors of religious and secular not-for-profit organizations who object to it for similar reasons be exempted as well? Why shouldn't EWTN and Catholic and Christian colleges and hospitals be exempted? Why aren't their CEOs legally free to follow their religious and moral beliefs in their administration of education and health care?

The Obama administration's exemption for religious institutions currently in force is based on a very narrow definition of "religious institution" as an organization that primarily hires and serves members of its own faith. That leaves out practically 99 percent of religious institutions in this country, most of which are not exclusive or cultist but part of the broader society, hiring and serving people of all faiths and none at all. Some of these religious institutions have rightly won their own exemptions from the mandate in state and federal courts. The remainder are still being coerced by the Obama administration against their religion and conscience, and against the First Amendment, into providing coverage for anti-life drugs that have no health benefits whatsoever. This has to stop. The Supreme Court must confirm the more than two dozen injunctions already granted by lower courts to dozens of religious organizations, and extend them to all religious institutions in America. The federal government has no right to pick and choose who can freely practice their religion and follow their conscience and who cannot. Our Constitution forbids the government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Therefore, the High Court must uphold the religious liberties and moral conscience rights of all Americans without exception. And that, necessarily, will mean the death of the HHS mandate and the demise of ObamaCare.

Once again, thanks be to God and His Holy Mother for these two victories for human life and liberty in our nation. We must keep praying and taking action to defend our God-given rights and liberties. Let freedom ring!

Quote of the Day

“God is bound to us, He chose us, and this bond is for ever, not because we are faithful but because the Lord is faithful and tolerates our infidelity, our slowness, our lapses. God is not afraid of bonding with us. He loves these bonds, he creates bonds; bonds which free, rather than constrain...

“[Today] fidelity is a value under threat, as we are induced always to seek change, presumed novelty, negotiating the roots of our existence, of our faith...

“Without fidelity to its roots, however, a society does not move ahead; it may make great technical progress, but not the full progress of all man and all humankind. God's faithful love towards His people was made manifest and fully realised in Jesus Christ... He remains faithful and never betrays; even when we err, He always awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father...

“We are able to experience and savour the tenderness of this love in every phase of life: in times of joy and of sadness, in times of health and of infirmity and sickness. God's faithfulness teaches us to welcome life as a manifestation of His love and enables us to bear witness to this love to our brethren in humble and meek service.”

--Pope Francis

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reflection for Corpus Christi

"Jesus' bread discourse, on one hand, points the main movement of the Incarnation and of the Paschal journey toward the sacrament, in which Incarnation and Easter are permanently present, but conversely, this has the effect of integrating the sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, into the larger context of God's descent to us and for us. On one hand, then, the Eucharist emphatically moves right to the center of Christian existence; here God does indeed give us the manna that humanity is waiting for, the true "bread of heaven" -- the nourishment we can most deeply live upon as human beings. At the same time, however, the Eucharist is revealed as man's unceasing great encounter with God, in which the Lord gives himself as "flesh," so that in him, and by participating in his way, we may become "spirit." Just as he was transformed through the Cross into a new manner of bodiliness and of being-human pervaded by God's own being, so too for us this food must become an opening out of our existence, a passing through the Cross, and an anticipation of the new life in God and with God."

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth--Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (Doubleday, 2007, pp. 269--270)