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New CV Design Forthcoming!

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by CatholicVote
15 hours ago

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Vigilant readers may have noticed that things have been rather quiet on our end this weekend.

Well, no need to fear! A new CV design is forthcoming, and we have been as busy as bees behind the scenes to prepare for the transition.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to implement our new design and move over to our updated look.

If you have a moment to spare today, please say a quick prayer for a smooth transition!

Read Entire Post

Vigilant readers may have noticed that things have been rather quiet on our end this weekend.

Well, no need to fear! A new CV design is forthcoming, and we have been as busy as bees behind the scenes to prepare for the transition.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to implement our new design and move over to our updated look.

If you have a moment to spare today, please say a quick prayer for a smooth transition!

Will the Next Pope Be Pro-Life?

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by Joshua Bowman
3 days ago

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This is an absurd question of course, but that hasn’t stopped various media commentators from criticizing various papabili for being vigorous defenders of the unborn and the infirm. Several cardinals whose names seem to be hanging in the air have attracted predictable outrage from the left based on the flawed assumption that the Magisterium is somehow accountable to the whims and fancies of public opinion. It is not.

For example, Cardinal Ouellet caused an uproar in Canada when he stated that abortion is wrong even in the case of rape. As he said, “there is already a victim. Must there be another one?” Cardinal Burke of St. Louis attracted media scorn when he said of pro-abortion politicians, “as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion.” Both Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Canizares have been mentioned as papabili and have gotten in trouble with the liberal media for their comments on abortion.

These kinds of fundamental truths may be unwise or imprudent for a politician running for temporal office. Rape is a terrible crime and must be treated with great sensitivity. The majority of voters do not yet accept that abortion is a crime just as evil. However, this is what the Church teaches. Abortion is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. Holy men should not shy away from speaking this truth. As Christians, we all must answer to God who sits in eternal judgement with dreadful power, not to voters in the next election.

Even Christ encountered opposition to His teachings from the Pharisees and His own disciples! The Gospel of John, Chapter 6 tells us that many of Christ’s followers abandoned Him upon hearing the mystery of the Eucharist. If people would not listen to Christ, the Word of God made flesh here on Earth and accept His divine truth, we should not be surprised that they ignore the teachings of His Church today.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI since 2005) and Cardinal Franciszek Macharski on May 10, 2003, during the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Stanislaus in Szczepanów, Poland. Picture taken by Marian Lambert and released under CC-BY license by Szamil (www.szczepanow.pl).

Remember when this cardinal was too pro-life to be papabile?

No less a person than a certain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was at the center of controversy for his own comments back in 2004 regarding the duty of Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates. However, he was elected to the papacy not despite these comments, but precisely because his brother cardinals recognized that they should not be controversial in the first place. We cannot expect the whole world to embrace God’s truth. Such is our sinful nature. However, we should always expect the Vicar of Christ to embrace the truth and to proclaim it mightily and without fear to the whole world.

===

Joshua Bowman (@prolixpatriot) joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved from his beloved native Virginia to Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities in these pages and on his personal blog, The Prolix Patriot.

Read Entire Post

This is an absurd question of course, but that hasn’t stopped various media commentators from criticizing various papabili for being vigorous defenders of the unborn and the infirm. Several cardinals whose names seem to be hanging in the air have attracted predictable outrage from the left based on the flawed assumption that the Magisterium is somehow accountable to the whims and fancies of public opinion. It is not.

For example, Cardinal Ouellet caused an uproar in Canada when he stated that abortion is wrong even in the case of rape. As he said, “there is already a victim. Must there be another one?” Cardinal Burke of St. Louis attracted media scorn when he said of pro-abortion politicians, “as long as he continues to support legislation which fosters abortion or other intrinsic evils, then he should be refused Holy Communion.” Both Cardinal Arinze and Cardinal Canizares have been mentioned as papabili and have gotten in trouble with the liberal media for their comments on abortion.

These kinds of fundamental truths may be unwise or imprudent for a politician running for temporal office. Rape is a terrible crime and must be treated with great sensitivity. The majority of voters do not yet accept that abortion is a crime just as evil. However, this is what the Church teaches. Abortion is always wrong, no matter the circumstances. Holy men should not shy away from speaking this truth. As Christians, we all must answer to God who sits in eternal judgement with dreadful power, not to voters in the next election.

Even Christ encountered opposition to His teachings from the Pharisees and His own disciples! The Gospel of John, Chapter 6 tells us that many of Christ’s followers abandoned Him upon hearing the mystery of the Eucharist. If people would not listen to Christ, the Word of God made flesh here on Earth and accept His divine truth, we should not be surprised that they ignore the teachings of His Church today.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI since 2005) and Cardinal Franciszek Macharski on May 10, 2003, during the celebration of the 750th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Stanislaus in Szczepanów, Poland. Picture taken by Marian Lambert and released under CC-BY license by Szamil (www.szczepanow.pl).

Remember when this cardinal was too pro-life to be papabile?

No less a person than a certain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was at the center of controversy for his own comments back in 2004 regarding the duty of Catholics to vote for pro-life candidates. However, he was elected to the papacy not despite these comments, but precisely because his brother cardinals recognized that they should not be controversial in the first place. We cannot expect the whole world to embrace God’s truth. Such is our sinful nature. However, we should always expect the Vicar of Christ to embrace the truth and to proclaim it mightily and without fear to the whole world.

===

Joshua Bowman (@prolixpatriot) joined in full communion with the Catholic Church in 2010 after many years in the spiritual wilderness. He recently moved from his beloved native Virginia to Columbus, Ohio with his growing family and writes on religion, politics, history, and geographical curiosities in these pages and on his personal blog, The Prolix Patriot.

B16: No more church of what’s-happenin’-now.

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by Pia de Solenni
3 days ago

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I continue in my belief that Benedict’s decision to resign is a momentous time of reform and readying the Church for the modern age. Last week, B16 addressed the Roman clergy and gave informal remarks reflecting on Vatican II. They were in many ways a reiteration of his 2005 Address to the Roman Curia…which most of us didn’t notice.

The fact that he chose now to hit the same theme suggests that it’s important and tied to the legacy of his papacy. I’ve got an article on it here at National Catholic Register, which includes links to both addresses. At the very least, skim my piece. If you can, read both of his addresses. I see the potential for some great doctoral work here.

Key points:

  • The content of the faith is unchanging; the ways in which we communicate it might change due to circumstances. But it’s the same teaching
  • Vatican II got hijacked by the media. B16 says that there were two councils: The real on and the virtual one that was held by the media. The real one is prevailing. This has been his and JP2′s life work.
  • Life before V2 was not idyllic. The Church was facing a real crisis: “it seemed like a reality of the past and not the bearer of the future.”
  • The liturgy needed to be reformed.

Exciting times ahead, particularly as the cardinals prepare for the Conclave.

Read Entire Post

I continue in my belief that Benedict’s decision to resign is a momentous time of reform and readying the Church for the modern age. Last week, B16 addressed the Roman clergy and gave informal remarks reflecting on Vatican II. They were in many ways a reiteration of his 2005 Address to the Roman Curia…which most of us didn’t notice.

The fact that he chose now to hit the same theme suggests that it’s important and tied to the legacy of his papacy. I’ve got an article on it here at National Catholic Register, which includes links to both addresses. At the very least, skim my piece. If you can, read both of his addresses. I see the potential for some great doctoral work here.

Key points:

  • The content of the faith is unchanging; the ways in which we communicate it might change due to circumstances. But it’s the same teaching
  • Vatican II got hijacked by the media. B16 says that there were two councils: The real on and the virtual one that was held by the media. The real one is prevailing. This has been his and JP2′s life work.
  • Life before V2 was not idyllic. The Church was facing a real crisis: “it seemed like a reality of the past and not the bearer of the future.”
  • The liturgy needed to be reformed.

Exciting times ahead, particularly as the cardinals prepare for the Conclave.

Pope Benedict XVI: The Green Pope

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by Stephen Kokx
4 days ago

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Protecting the environment has been a consistent theme of Pope Benedict’s papacy. In my view, the Pope brought a much needed, clear-thinking perspective to a debate dominated by narrow-mindedness and special interests. I pray his successor continues in that tradition.

Though I’ve not had the pleasure of reading his most recent book on the subject, The Environment, his emphasis on the need to protect the environment has been deeply profound.

Too often debates about climate change devolve into a shouting match over whether or not Al Gore is a hypocrite. What ends up happening is that we fail to recognize that we live in a world of finite resources that are being consumed at an ever-increasing rate.

As Pope Benedict asked in his 2010 World Peace Day message:

Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?

Unfortunately, many on the political left have appropriated Pope Benedict’s desire to protect the environment as a tacit endorsement of their extremist views.

Indeed, environmental activists and journalists like Nicholas Kristof have been more than willing to report on what they feel are contradictions in the Pope’s message while emphasizing the supposed positive effects contraceptives and population control can have on curbing climate change and encouraging economic growth.

These are misguided policies. As Pope Benedict pointed out in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate: “Our duties toward the environment are linked to our duties toward the human person…It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the others.”

Some environmentalists go so far as to blame Christianity for the degradation of the environment. Man’s dominion over the “fish of the sea and the birds of the air,” the argument typically goes, exemplifies a speciest, man-centered worldview that fails to recognize the value of the “natural world.”

This argument is false. For mankind is part of the “natural world,” and as author Colleen Carroll Campbell has written, if we “argue that our rights are based on something other than our shared human nature we can wind up elevating the rights of chimps and pigs above those of profoundly disabled or demented humans.”

Christian stewardship, therefore, is not a license to do whatever one pleases to the environment. “The environment is God’s gift to everyone,” Benedict writes in Caritas, “and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”

As creatures made in the image of God, we are called to advance our legitimate needs but only by using the planet’s resources in a responsible way. We are not called to be in kinship with our animal neighbors. As I have written about before, human life is not on par with a flock of geese or blade of grass. “It is contrary,” Pope Benedict writes, “to view nature as something more important than the human person.” For “human salvation cannot come from nature alone.”

Read Entire Post

Protecting the environment has been a consistent theme of Pope Benedict’s papacy. In my view, the Pope brought a much needed, clear-thinking perspective to a debate dominated by narrow-mindedness and special interests. I pray his successor continues in that tradition.

Though I’ve not had the pleasure of reading his most recent book on the subject, The Environment, his emphasis on the need to protect the environment has been deeply profound.

Too often debates about climate change devolve into a shouting match over whether or not Al Gore is a hypocrite. What ends up happening is that we fail to recognize that we live in a world of finite resources that are being consumed at an ever-increasing rate.

As Pope Benedict asked in his 2010 World Peace Day message:

Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?

Unfortunately, many on the political left have appropriated Pope Benedict’s desire to protect the environment as a tacit endorsement of their extremist views.

Indeed, environmental activists and journalists like Nicholas Kristof have been more than willing to report on what they feel are contradictions in the Pope’s message while emphasizing the supposed positive effects contraceptives and population control can have on curbing climate change and encouraging economic growth.

These are misguided policies. As Pope Benedict pointed out in his 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate: “Our duties toward the environment are linked to our duties toward the human person…It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the others.”

Some environmentalists go so far as to blame Christianity for the degradation of the environment. Man’s dominion over the “fish of the sea and the birds of the air,” the argument typically goes, exemplifies a speciest, man-centered worldview that fails to recognize the value of the “natural world.”

This argument is false. For mankind is part of the “natural world,” and as author Colleen Carroll Campbell has written, if we “argue that our rights are based on something other than our shared human nature we can wind up elevating the rights of chimps and pigs above those of profoundly disabled or demented humans.”

Christian stewardship, therefore, is not a license to do whatever one pleases to the environment. “The environment is God’s gift to everyone,” Benedict writes in Caritas, “and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole.”

As creatures made in the image of God, we are called to advance our legitimate needs but only by using the planet’s resources in a responsible way. We are not called to be in kinship with our animal neighbors. As I have written about before, human life is not on par with a flock of geese or blade of grass. “It is contrary,” Pope Benedict writes, “to view nature as something more important than the human person.” For “human salvation cannot come from nature alone.”

I do hope they exorcise the space before the next Mass.

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by Tom Crowe
4 days ago

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WARNING: Talk of self-abusive sexual activity in this post.

————-

Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has a chapel. Mass is offered there weekly for the Catholic students.

Recently it was the site of a seminar titled, “I Heart the Female Orgasm.”

They were not talking about a loving, committed, married couple who has great sex with regularity. No, they’re talking about masturbation.

That self-abusive act that takes the “other” out of sex and makes it a loveless, passionless, solipsistic entertainment.

The Pennsylvania liberal arts college’s Ford Memorial Chapel was transformed into a “boudoir of sorts” on Wednesday as sex educators Marshall Miller and Kate Weinberg advised students how to best touch themselves and others to reach orgasm, The College Fix reports.

The college’s chaplain, meanwhile, defended the event’s location, characterizing it as “responsible.” A campus spokesperson said the event offered a “great message,” according to The College Fix.

A great message? Dear Lord, spare us. Masturbation turns one in on oneself, makes others nothing more than objects of fantasy and denies their real personhood, turns one’s own sexuality into an object of pleasure rather than a gift to give to a spouse, coarsens one in real relationships, rejects the unitive nature of sex, and becomes addictive.

If you are Catholic you reject masturbation as a grave offense against the gift of sexuality (CCC 2352), one of the greatest gifts given us by God, to enflesh the union of the spouses in Holy Matrimony and bring forth new life.

(The New Catholic Encyclopedia has a great article on the Church’s understanding of masturbation, the considerations of full consent of will, critiques of the Church’s position, and more, for those who are seeing red.)

Allegheny College’s website boasts (I am not making this up),

Allegheny is a unique place where students embrace the College’s total educational experience.  Our students have the uncanny ability to create unusual combinations of interests and talents.  These varied combinations enhance our students’ success here and ensure excellence in their future careers.

I’m not entirely certain where a self-abuse seminar fits into that unless they’re training porn stars.

But an important question at this point is whether the local Catholic pastor will allow Mass to happen in that chapel until an exorcism happens. This sort of seminar involves so much deception and evil influence that the space, not a truly sacred space to begin with, has been defiled.

Heck work it in before Mass begins, use the Latin rite, and if anyone asks just say it’s a variation on the opening of Mass—an extended and special Asperges.

And make sure you’ve got one of these:

St. Benedict Medal Cross

The St. Benedict Medal. It has an exorcism prayer right on it, in the initials "V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B," which signify a Latin phrase that translates to: "Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself"

Read Entire Post

WARNING: Talk of self-abusive sexual activity in this post.

————-

Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, affiliated with the United Methodist Church, has a chapel. Mass is offered there weekly for the Catholic students.

Recently it was the site of a seminar titled, “I Heart the Female Orgasm.”

They were not talking about a loving, committed, married couple who has great sex with regularity. No, they’re talking about masturbation.

That self-abusive act that takes the “other” out of sex and makes it a loveless, passionless, solipsistic entertainment.

The Pennsylvania liberal arts college’s Ford Memorial Chapel was transformed into a “boudoir of sorts” on Wednesday as sex educators Marshall Miller and Kate Weinberg advised students how to best touch themselves and others to reach orgasm, The College Fix reports.

The college’s chaplain, meanwhile, defended the event’s location, characterizing it as “responsible.” A campus spokesperson said the event offered a “great message,” according to The College Fix.

A great message? Dear Lord, spare us. Masturbation turns one in on oneself, makes others nothing more than objects of fantasy and denies their real personhood, turns one’s own sexuality into an object of pleasure rather than a gift to give to a spouse, coarsens one in real relationships, rejects the unitive nature of sex, and becomes addictive.

If you are Catholic you reject masturbation as a grave offense against the gift of sexuality (CCC 2352), one of the greatest gifts given us by God, to enflesh the union of the spouses in Holy Matrimony and bring forth new life.

(The New Catholic Encyclopedia has a great article on the Church’s understanding of masturbation, the considerations of full consent of will, critiques of the Church’s position, and more, for those who are seeing red.)

Allegheny College’s website boasts (I am not making this up),

Allegheny is a unique place where students embrace the College’s total educational experience.  Our students have the uncanny ability to create unusual combinations of interests and talents.  These varied combinations enhance our students’ success here and ensure excellence in their future careers.

I’m not entirely certain where a self-abuse seminar fits into that unless they’re training porn stars.

But an important question at this point is whether the local Catholic pastor will allow Mass to happen in that chapel until an exorcism happens. This sort of seminar involves so much deception and evil influence that the space, not a truly sacred space to begin with, has been defiled.

Heck work it in before Mass begins, use the Latin rite, and if anyone asks just say it’s a variation on the opening of Mass—an extended and special Asperges.

And make sure you’ve got one of these:

St. Benedict Medal Cross

The St. Benedict Medal. It has an exorcism prayer right on it, in the initials "V R S N S M V - S M Q L I V B," which signify a Latin phrase that translates to: "Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself"

Archbishop Chaput: “I Support the Marriage March”

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by Thomas Peters
4 days ago

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Archbishop Charles Chaput has expressed his support for the March for Marriage, asking his priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to “do all you can to promote it in your parish”.

The Archbishop goes on to say, “I realize the march comes at one of the busiest and most solemn times of the year [Holy Week]. But as Catholics we should avail ourselves of opportunities, whenever we can, to witness to the truth about God’s plan for marriage.”

The Archdiocese will be organizing buses for marchers from all five of its districts.

(full disclosure: I’m proudly part of the team organizing the March for Marriage through the National Organization for Marriage.)

Why the March for Marriage?

On March 26th the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Perry case, which will determine if Proposition 8 – the citizens initiative approved by the people of California in 2008 to protect marriage – is constitutional or not.

More importantly, the question of same-sex “marriage” and the right of Americans to protect marriage will be decided. It is imperative that political leaders, the media, and the culture see that we care about protecting marriage enough to stand up and march for it.

Already the March for Marriage has ten co-sponsoring organizations, including CatholicVote.org, the Manhattan Declaration, Human Life International and the Family Research Council.

If you are interested in learning more about the March for Marriage please check-out these resources (PDFs):

You can also join the March for Marriage on Facebook (up to 1,600 Likes!).

I hope you can join us in Washington, DC on March 26th!

Here is Archbishop Chaput’s letter:

Archbishop Charles Chaput Letter Promoting March for Marriage by americanpapist463

Read Entire Post

Archbishop Charles Chaput has expressed his support for the March for Marriage, asking his priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to “do all you can to promote it in your parish”.

The Archbishop goes on to say, “I realize the march comes at one of the busiest and most solemn times of the year [Holy Week]. But as Catholics we should avail ourselves of opportunities, whenever we can, to witness to the truth about God’s plan for marriage.”

The Archdiocese will be organizing buses for marchers from all five of its districts.

(full disclosure: I’m proudly part of the team organizing the March for Marriage through the National Organization for Marriage.)

Why the March for Marriage?

On March 26th the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Perry case, which will determine if Proposition 8 – the citizens initiative approved by the people of California in 2008 to protect marriage – is constitutional or not.

More importantly, the question of same-sex “marriage” and the right of Americans to protect marriage will be decided. It is imperative that political leaders, the media, and the culture see that we care about protecting marriage enough to stand up and march for it.

Already the March for Marriage has ten co-sponsoring organizations, including CatholicVote.org, the Manhattan Declaration, Human Life International and the Family Research Council.

If you are interested in learning more about the March for Marriage please check-out these resources (PDFs):

You can also join the March for Marriage on Facebook (up to 1,600 Likes!).

I hope you can join us in Washington, DC on March 26th!

Here is Archbishop Chaput’s letter:

Archbishop Charles Chaput Letter Promoting March for Marriage by americanpapist463

Thoughts on the Sequester Monster

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by Carson Holloway
5 days ago

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I am not an expert on the federal budget, so everyone should take what I say here in the proper critical spirit.  Nevertheless, even the non-expert can formulate some relevant questions on the numbers that are being talked about in relation to the looming sequester, the mandatory budget cuts, soon to take effect, that were agreed upon by Congress and the President in a deal in 2011.

Many people, and the President above all, are saying that these cuts will be devastating to government, society, and the economy.  It is hard to see how this can be.

Many of those who are worried about the sequester note that it requires $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts.  This is a lot of money.  Sometimes, however, they fail to observe that the $1.2 trillion is to be cut over ten years.  I gather the government will spend about $3.8 trillion dollars this year.  Project that over ten years and you get $38 trillion.  So, on these numbers, the dreaded sequester represents about a 3% decrease in federal spending.  Of course, however, the government in fact plans to spend more each year and not just the same amount that it spent this year, so the sequester will actually be even smaller than that.

What about the impact of the cuts to come now?  There are varying reports about how much they would be.  Some say $85 billion, but others say that in fact only about $40 billion could be cut in the first year.  Let’s take the higher number, just to make the effect of the sequester as big as possible.  It would amount to about 2% of the present spending.  Can 2% less spending in the present year really devastate the government?  Can $85 billion less in federal spending really materially hurt an economy of more than $15 trillion dollars?

What about the effect on national defense?  A few days ago Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the sequester cuts would seriously harm our military.  About half the sequester is to come from defense, so make that about $43 billion.  That would come out of defense spending that is more than $700 billion per year.  That’s about 6%, and no administrator of anything in or out of government would want to try to cut that much.  On the other hand, the United States spends a lot more on defense than any other nation.  Is it likely that we are secure spending 5 times more on defense than Chine, but suddenly not secure if we spend only 4.7 times as much as China?

It is also interesting to think of these cuts as they would apply to a household budget.  The median household income in the United States is about $50,000.  If a family making that much money had to cut 2% this year, they would have to spend about $1500 less over the year, or about $125 less per month.  Any family would find this painful and sad.  But what would we say about a family that insisted that such cutbacks would devastate the household’s ability to perform its functions?  Would we not suspect that a serious part of their problem is not insufficient money, but excessive expectations and demands for consumption?

One last supposition.  Suppose the family in question already had a debt bigger than their annual income, and that they routinely spent about 23% more per year than they earned, or accumulated about $11,000 in new debt each year — again, on an income of $50,000.  Suppose further that they were asked to cut the $1500 per year as a first step towards getting their debt problem under control?  And suppose they insisted that they just could not do it?  Wouldn’t you wonder whether they were fundamentally unserious or in denial about their debt problem?

Read Entire Post

I am not an expert on the federal budget, so everyone should take what I say here in the proper critical spirit.  Nevertheless, even the non-expert can formulate some relevant questions on the numbers that are being talked about in relation to the looming sequester, the mandatory budget cuts, soon to take effect, that were agreed upon by Congress and the President in a deal in 2011.

Many people, and the President above all, are saying that these cuts will be devastating to government, society, and the economy.  It is hard to see how this can be.

Many of those who are worried about the sequester note that it requires $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts.  This is a lot of money.  Sometimes, however, they fail to observe that the $1.2 trillion is to be cut over ten years.  I gather the government will spend about $3.8 trillion dollars this year.  Project that over ten years and you get $38 trillion.  So, on these numbers, the dreaded sequester represents about a 3% decrease in federal spending.  Of course, however, the government in fact plans to spend more each year and not just the same amount that it spent this year, so the sequester will actually be even smaller than that.

What about the impact of the cuts to come now?  There are varying reports about how much they would be.  Some say $85 billion, but others say that in fact only about $40 billion could be cut in the first year.  Let’s take the higher number, just to make the effect of the sequester as big as possible.  It would amount to about 2% of the present spending.  Can 2% less spending in the present year really devastate the government?  Can $85 billion less in federal spending really materially hurt an economy of more than $15 trillion dollars?

What about the effect on national defense?  A few days ago Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned that the sequester cuts would seriously harm our military.  About half the sequester is to come from defense, so make that about $43 billion.  That would come out of defense spending that is more than $700 billion per year.  That’s about 6%, and no administrator of anything in or out of government would want to try to cut that much.  On the other hand, the United States spends a lot more on defense than any other nation.  Is it likely that we are secure spending 5 times more on defense than Chine, but suddenly not secure if we spend only 4.7 times as much as China?

It is also interesting to think of these cuts as they would apply to a household budget.  The median household income in the United States is about $50,000.  If a family making that much money had to cut 2% this year, they would have to spend about $1500 less over the year, or about $125 less per month.  Any family would find this painful and sad.  But what would we say about a family that insisted that such cutbacks would devastate the household’s ability to perform its functions?  Would we not suspect that a serious part of their problem is not insufficient money, but excessive expectations and demands for consumption?

One last supposition.  Suppose the family in question already had a debt bigger than their annual income, and that they routinely spent about 23% more per year than they earned, or accumulated about $11,000 in new debt each year — again, on an income of $50,000.  Suppose further that they were asked to cut the $1500 per year as a first step towards getting their debt problem under control?  And suppose they insisted that they just could not do it?  Wouldn’t you wonder whether they were fundamentally unserious or in denial about their debt problem?

Dolan.? The times and his contributions suggest it.

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by Tom Crowe
5 days ago

RSS

Cardinal-cardinalThe Holy Spirit will guide the conclave. Period. No doubt at all.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a peek at the signs of the times. I believe some of the signs point toward Cardinal Dolan.

John White wrote about this earlier tonight, but there’s more to the chatter than he touched on.

The notion of a pope from the United States would have been laughable when Benedict was elected in 2005. This is not 2005. Things have changed considerably, and one man has made it more possible (not necessarily likely, but possible) that an American could be elected to the See of Peter.

That one man? It’s not Cardinal Dolan. On his own he would continue to be the force-of-nature cardinal archbishop of New York, but would still have no chance at the papacy.

No, the one man who has made it possible for an American to have a chance is Barack Obama.

Religious liberty, culture-of-death here at home and abroad, gay “marriage,” women in combat roles, drone wars… The man basically embodies the “dictatorship of relativism” that then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned about in his homily at the Mass before the conclave that made him Benedict XVI.

The lasting changes Obama has brought to this country have made it far more possible that an American could be elected. In 1978 the Kremlin shuddered when the cardinal archbishop of Krakow, the young, charismatic, dynamic, Karol Josef Wojtyla was elected pope and sparked the cultural revival in Poland that ended Communist rule.

The effect on American Catholicism would also be epic if Dolan were elected. It would also be more problematic for the White House than they may realize at present.

On that score, Dolan would be an interesting choice, but that’s just one rather shallow level—there are plenty of regions of the world with conflict that would be fundamentally altered if one of their own were elected pope—Middle East, Egypt, China(!), Africa.

More tellingly, perhaps, are the address on The New Evangelization which Dolan was tapped to give to the college of cardinals the day before he was made a cardinal almost exactly one year ago, and the book he published toward the end of his time as rector of the North American College in Rome, Priests for the Third Millenium. This book was one of the first I purchased and read about the priesthood after I was accepted to seminary in 2005.

An invitation to address the college of cardinals is no small honor in itself. But what an address it was. The address (text here) is a tour-de-force of what it means to be a man of the Church in the era of the New Evanglization. He gives seven points concerning what is necessary, the last being preparedness to shed one’s blood for the Church. His characteristic humor and light touch are on full display. I highly recommend you read it.

The book he penned is a compilation of virtues and characteristics that a priest of the New Evangelization must possess. Each chapter was delivered to the men at the North American College as a rector’s conference during his time there and all are based in real-world experiences of living in this era of faith.

Ratzinger’s “dictatorship of reltivism” homily apparently led a number of cardinals to vote for him in the conclave, deciding that he was correct in his assessment and only he could lead the Church into that era.

Will Dolan’s New Evangelization address and excellent book be the items that make him the natural choice for the next phase of Church history?

Read Entire Post

Cardinal-cardinalThe Holy Spirit will guide the conclave. Period. No doubt at all.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a peek at the signs of the times. I believe some of the signs point toward Cardinal Dolan.

John White wrote about this earlier tonight, but there’s more to the chatter than he touched on.

The notion of a pope from the United States would have been laughable when Benedict was elected in 2005. This is not 2005. Things have changed considerably, and one man has made it more possible (not necessarily likely, but possible) that an American could be elected to the See of Peter.

That one man? It’s not Cardinal Dolan. On his own he would continue to be the force-of-nature cardinal archbishop of New York, but would still have no chance at the papacy.

No, the one man who has made it possible for an American to have a chance is Barack Obama.

Religious liberty, culture-of-death here at home and abroad, gay “marriage,” women in combat roles, drone wars… The man basically embodies the “dictatorship of relativism” that then-Cardinal Ratzinger warned about in his homily at the Mass before the conclave that made him Benedict XVI.

The lasting changes Obama has brought to this country have made it far more possible that an American could be elected. In 1978 the Kremlin shuddered when the cardinal archbishop of Krakow, the young, charismatic, dynamic, Karol Josef Wojtyla was elected pope and sparked the cultural revival in Poland that ended Communist rule.

The effect on American Catholicism would also be epic if Dolan were elected. It would also be more problematic for the White House than they may realize at present.

On that score, Dolan would be an interesting choice, but that’s just one rather shallow level—there are plenty of regions of the world with conflict that would be fundamentally altered if one of their own were elected pope—Middle East, Egypt, China(!), Africa.

More tellingly, perhaps, are the address on The New Evangelization which Dolan was tapped to give to the college of cardinals the day before he was made a cardinal almost exactly one year ago, and the book he published toward the end of his time as rector of the North American College in Rome, Priests for the Third Millenium. This book was one of the first I purchased and read about the priesthood after I was accepted to seminary in 2005.

An invitation to address the college of cardinals is no small honor in itself. But what an address it was. The address (text here) is a tour-de-force of what it means to be a man of the Church in the era of the New Evanglization. He gives seven points concerning what is necessary, the last being preparedness to shed one’s blood for the Church. His characteristic humor and light touch are on full display. I highly recommend you read it.

The book he penned is a compilation of virtues and characteristics that a priest of the New Evangelization must possess. Each chapter was delivered to the men at the North American College as a rector’s conference during his time there and all are based in real-world experiences of living in this era of faith.

Ratzinger’s “dictatorship of reltivism” homily apparently led a number of cardinals to vote for him in the conclave, deciding that he was correct in his assessment and only he could lead the Church into that era.

Will Dolan’s New Evangelization address and excellent book be the items that make him the natural choice for the next phase of Church history?

Cardinal Dolan…Pope?

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by John White
5 days ago

RSS

Habemus Gotham?

Is it possible?

According to this story, the New York prelate’s name is being mentioned with increasing frequency in Rome, as cardinals from around the globe begin arriving for the official farewell of Pope Benedict XVI next week.

Of course, speculation is just that – speculation.  Nonetheless, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica is reporting that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, one of the most seasoned and influential members of the College of Cardinals, is quietly promoting Dolan as a possible choice in the upcoming conclave.

Cardinal Dolan himself of course has displayed his usual humility and good humor, and responded to inquiries with typical candor:

You know, listen, all the cardinals are really embarrassed to talk about that, and we’d be uncomfortable talking about it, so I’ll leave it at that.

Of course, the conventional wisdom has held that the cardinals will not elect an American out of a reluctance to see a “super-power papacy.”  Moreover, Cardinal Dolan has only been a cardinal for a year, an historically very short time in the College to be seriously considered.

Young, full of energy and boundless joy, from an unlikely country…

Nah, can’t happen.

Read Entire Post

Habemus Gotham?

Is it possible?

According to this story, the New York prelate’s name is being mentioned with increasing frequency in Rome, as cardinals from around the globe begin arriving for the official farewell of Pope Benedict XVI next week.

Of course, speculation is just that – speculation.  Nonetheless, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica is reporting that Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, one of the most seasoned and influential members of the College of Cardinals, is quietly promoting Dolan as a possible choice in the upcoming conclave.

Cardinal Dolan himself of course has displayed his usual humility and good humor, and responded to inquiries with typical candor:

You know, listen, all the cardinals are really embarrassed to talk about that, and we’d be uncomfortable talking about it, so I’ll leave it at that.

Of course, the conventional wisdom has held that the cardinals will not elect an American out of a reluctance to see a “super-power papacy.”  Moreover, Cardinal Dolan has only been a cardinal for a year, an historically very short time in the College to be seriously considered.

Young, full of energy and boundless joy, from an unlikely country…

Nah, can’t happen.

Cardinal Arinze on the Pope’s Resignation

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by Carson Holloway
6 days ago

RSS

Here is a nice video of Cardinal Arinze talking about the Pope’s resignation.  He describes the reaction of the cardinals to the announcement and reflects on the meaning of the event for the life of the Church.  He also speaks about how the Pope’s decision gives us an opportunity to grow more mature in the faith.

Here are some good extracts:

  • “We love you, Holy Father.  We are near you.  We know you have done this because of your love for the Church.”
  • “I haven’t any doubt about his wisdom.  I have known him [too many] years to have any doubt at all.”
  • “He doesn’t rush.  He isn’t rash.  He is gentle, but he is clear-headed and firm.”
  • “He is not there for himself, or self glory, so his act yesterday was like saying: ‘I am a servant.’”
  • “The Holy Spirit does not go on holiday.”
Read Entire Post

Here is a nice video of Cardinal Arinze talking about the Pope’s resignation.  He describes the reaction of the cardinals to the announcement and reflects on the meaning of the event for the life of the Church.  He also speaks about how the Pope’s decision gives us an opportunity to grow more mature in the faith.

Here are some good extracts:

  • “We love you, Holy Father.  We are near you.  We know you have done this because of your love for the Church.”
  • “I haven’t any doubt about his wisdom.  I have known him [too many] years to have any doubt at all.”
  • “He doesn’t rush.  He isn’t rash.  He is gentle, but he is clear-headed and firm.”
  • “He is not there for himself, or self glory, so his act yesterday was like saying: ‘I am a servant.’”
  • “The Holy Spirit does not go on holiday.”

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