Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quote of the Day

"God is the author of the existence of our nature and, therefore, He must be our Teacher if we are ever to be wise, and He must be the Source of our inmost consolation if we are ever to be happy."

--Saint Augustine, City of God, Book XI, Ch. 25

Friday, August 22, 2014

Quote of the Day

"Mary is the Queen of heaven and earth and our Queen because she is the Mother of our Lord and because she cooperated in Christ's redemptive work of salvation. Since she was uniquely associated with Christ's suffering on the Cross, she was uniquely associated with His triumph and royal reign in the kingdom. Assumed into heaven, Mary entered the royal court of heaven and sits at the right hand of her Son, Christ the King. As our Queen, Mary directs us, protects us and intercedes for us."

--Edward Sri, Queen Mother: A Biblical Theology of Mary's Queenship (Steubenville, OH: Emmaus Road, 2005)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The quest for peace also represents a challenge for each of us, and in a particular way for those of you dedicated to the pursuit of the common good of the human family through the patient work of diplomacy. It is the perennial challenge of breaking down the walls of distrust and hatred by promoting a culture of reconciliation and solidarity. For diplomacy, as the art of the possible, is based on the firm and persevering conviction that peace can be won through quiet listening and dialogue, rather than by mutual recriminations, fruitless criticisms and displays of force.

"Peace is not simply the absence of war, but "the work of justice" (cf. Is 32:17). And justice, as a virtue, calls for the discipline of forbearance; it demands that we not forget past injustices but overcome them through forgiveness, tolerance and cooperation. It demands the willingness to discern and attain mutually beneficial goals, building foundations of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation. May all of us dedicate these days to peace, to praying for it and deepening our resolve to achieve it."

--Pope Francis, Address to Diplomats in South Korea, August 14, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

On the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Tota pulchra es, Maria! 'You are all beautiful, O Mary!' And there is in you no stain of original sin. Nor, by the special assistance and grace of God, did you ever commit the least actual sin...

"'Thou shalt not suffer thy holy one to see corruption' (Acts 13:35), says the Bible regarding our Lord Jesus Christ. These beautiful words also express God's will regarding His holy Mother...

"Ave Maria! Hail Mary! Mother of God, Virgin Most Powerful, Queen assumed into Heaven, Gate of Heaven, Ora pro nobis!"

--Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S.J., Raised from the Dead: True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles (Rockford, IL: TAN Books and Publishers, 1986), pp. 23, 24, 27-28

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Setback in Tennessee

On Thursday, August 7, longtime Tennessee Senator and establishment Republican-in-Name-Only Lamar Alexander cruised to victory over Tea Party challenger Joe Carr in the state's primary election. This is undeniably a setback for the Tea Party movement at the national level, although not such an utter failure for our side as the mainstream media would like us to believe. As Paul Harvey used to say, "You know what the news is. In a minute, you're going to hear the rrrrest of the story!"

So here's "the rest of the story." Yes, Lamar did win his party's nomination for another Senate term, but he did so with only 49 percent of the popular vote--the lowest winning percentage for any Republican Senatorial candidate in Tennessee history. Furthermore, his challenger, Joe Carr, received a very respectable 40 percent of the vote--the largest percentage for any Republican challenger to an incumbent Senator of his own party in the history of Tennessee. If Tennessee's primary election laws were the same as those in Mississippi, requiring a candidate to receive at least 50 percent of the popular vote to secure the nomination, Lamar would currently be in the same position as Tea Party rising star Chris McDaniel was after June 3, and he and Carr would now be headed to a runoff election. Additionally, if you look at the polls for Lamar and Carr taken over the past year and a half leading up to this primary election, you'll find that Lamar's popularity has been steadily declining over time while Carr's popularity has been just as steadily growing. In fact, just a year and a half ago, Carr was barely even considered a serious candidate for the Senate primary. If current trends continue, and Carr runs again in 2020, he'll probably win easily. And then there was the wild card factor of four lesser-known candidates who also ran in this election, taking 11 percent of the votes away from the two leading candidates, which particularly hurt Carr. Hypothetically speaking, if all those who voted for one of these lesser-known candidates had voted for Carr instead, he would have won the election with 51 percent of the vote.

All of this goes to show that the Tea Party movement (symbolized by Carr) continues to grow steadily in strength and numbers, while the popularity of the corrupt Washington establishment (symbolized by Lamar) just as steadily continues to wane. It's important to keep the reality of these trends in mind as we move closer to the upcoming general elections this November, especially when we face a setback or two in the primaries. We're not going to win every single contest with our establishment opponents, certainly not even in the general elections, and we're not going to take down the establishment overnight. But the momentum is on our side, and the establishment is slowly but surely losing control of national politics and public opinion. The future of our country belongs to the Tea Party movement and to all Americans who share its ideals of Christian faith and morals, traditional family values, human rights and liberty, and Constitutionally limited government in accord with the intentions of the Founders.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Quote of the Day

"The news coming from Iraq leaves us in disbelief and dismay: thousands of people, including many Christians, brutally driven from their homes; children dead from thirst and hunger during the escape; women who are abducted; people slaughtered; violence of every kind; destruction everywhere, destruction of homes, destruction of religious, historical and cultural patrimonies. All this greatly offends God and greatly offends humanity. You cannot bring hatred in the name of God. You cannot make war in the name of God!....

"I thank those that, with courage, are bringing relief to these brothers and sisters, and I hope that an effective political solution on an international and local level can stop these crimes and restore the law...

"Let us pray to the God of peace, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary: Give peace, Lord, to our days and make us builders of justice and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us."

--Pope Francis

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reflection for Today

"The solemn proclamation of Sonship, however, is now followed by the command "Listen to him." At this point, we are reminded of the link with Moses' ascent of Mount Sinai, which we saw at the beginning to be the background of the Transfiguration story. On the mountain, Moses received the Torah, God's teaching word. Now we are told in reference to Jesus: 'Listen to him.' H. Gese has provided a perceptive commentary on this scene: 'Jesus himself has become the divine Word of revelation. The Gospels could not illustrate it any more clearly or powerfully: Jesus himself is the Torah' (Zur biblischen Theologie, p. 81). This one command brings the theophany to its conclusion and sums up its deepest meaning. The disciples must accompany Jesus back down the mountain and learn ever anew to 'listen to him.'"

--Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Part One: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), p. 316

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

ElectionWatch 2014: Ed Gillespie for Senate

I have decided to endorse Republican challenger Ed Gillespie for the U.S. Senate seat in Virginia currently held by Democratic Senator Mark Warner. A communications consultant and former White House aide, Gillespie is pro-life, will defend our Second Amendment rights, and will work to repeal ObamaCare, lower taxes, and reduce the size of the federal government, all of which will help our struggling economy to make a real recovery.

Over his past six years in office, Senator Warner has consistently failed to protect the rights of millions of innocent unborn children; has sided in favor of President Obama's sweeping gun control legislation (which thankfully never made it to his desk due to a storm of protest from liberty-minded Americans); voted for ObamaCare, an unjust and unconstitutional law, despite massive public opposition; and has consistently supported raising taxes and increasing the size of the federal government, both of which are negatively impacting our economy. For all these reasons, Senator Warner must be replaced.

I respectfully urge all my fellow Virginians to vote Ed Gillespie for Senate on Tuesday, November 4, 2014.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quote of the Day

"This son, so cruelly executed, was our loving Redeemer Jesus; and this mother was the Blessed Virgin Mary; who, for the love she bore us, was willing to see him sacrificed to divine justice by the barbarity of men. This great torment, then, which Mary endured for us--a torment that was more than a thousand deaths--deserves both our compassion and our gratitude."

--Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

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