There is some anecdotal evidence to support the idea that priests and religious come from large families at a higher rate than small families. I bring this up because I heard a priest discussing vocations and one of the things he mentioned was that it was a sacrifice. For the priest or religious this is clear, but he further pointed out the difficulty it brings for the parents of the one accepting the call. Parents obviously want to see their children grow up and have children. I think of this myself even with having small children now. Fr. further stressed when talking about the external factors affecting those who answer the call is that of smaller families. It seems there is much greater pressure placed on those discerning from smaller families because in some cases this lessens or cuts off the possibility of grand children.
This got me to thinking. Larger families TEND to be more devout. In a culture that has sold its soul to avoiding children, doesn't it seem obvious that the newer priests are more zealous because they come from backgrounds where families often stress vocations and have less external pressure to carry on the family name than families with less children?
Backed by the full weight of President Barack Obama’s call to service and the institutional weight of the NEA, the conference call was billed as an opportunity for those in the art community to inspire service in four key categories, and at the top of the list were “health care” and “energy and environment.” The service was to be attached to the President’s United We Serve campaign, a nationwide federal initiative to make service a way of life for all Americans.
It sounded, how should I phrase it…unusual, that the NEA would invite the art community to a meeting to discuss issues currently under vehement national debate. I decided to call in, and what I heard concerned me.
We were encouraged to bring the same sense of enthusiasm to these “focus areas” as we had brought to Obama’s presidential campaign, and we were encouraged to create art and art initiatives that brought awareness to these issues. Throughout the conversation, we were reminded of our ability as artists and art professionals to “shape the lives” of those around us. The now famous Obama “Hope” poster, created by artist Shepard Fairey and promoted by many of those on the phone call, and will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” song and music video were presented as shining examples of our group’s clear role in the election.
Obama has a strong arts agenda, we were told, and has been very supportive of both using and supporting the arts in creative ways to talk about the issues facing the country. We were “selected for a reason,” they told us. We had played a key role in the election and now Obama was putting out the call of service to help create change. We knew “how to make a stink,” and were encouraged to do so.
Throughout the conversation my inner dialogue was firing away questions so fast that the NRA would’ve been envious. Is this truly the role of the NEA? Is building a message distribution network, for matters other than increasing access to the arts and arts education, the role of the National Endowment for the Arts? Is providing the art community issues to address, especially those that are currently being vehemently debated nationally, a legitimate role for the NEA? I found it highly unlikely that this was in their original charter, so I checked.
Another question for the gallery ... Is this image sufficient for a consecration/enshrinement/enthronement of our home to the Sacred Heart? It is a Divine Mercy image with a Sacred Heart in it.
I was asked whether this ceremony was being done for us by one of the Sacred Heart members or a priest. Our priest does it along with the Missionaries of Charity. Many of our friends have encouraged us to do this. We are supposed to pray a novena and then the priest and the sisters come out to our house for the ceremony. It seemed fairly straightforward although I must admit some confusion has arisen recently about what images are acceptable etc.
Yet the boycott doesn’t ring true to me. Beyond the obvious involvement of groups like Single Payer Action, an advocacy group that is pushing for a nationalisation of health care period, well beyond President Obama’s call for a government option, there is the insincere morality of those Whole Food shoppers who say they won’t frequent the store in the future.
The reasoning for the boycott is that John Mackey has political opinions that are right-wing, anti-union and obviously against true health care reform. Yet if shopping were all about lining up your own politics with the politics of a company CEO, then I would see many more men with ponytails and goatees cycling their way to Costco to pick up milk and organic, shade-grown, fair trade coffee beans (yes, they do sell them). A number of Costco stores in California and the American northwest are unionised and employees at non-union stores get the same wages and benefits as the unionised shops, including salaries of $40,000 or more, a large sum in retailing. It sounds like the type of employer those boycotting Whole Foods would want.
Costco co-founders Jeffrey Brotman and Jim Sinegal are not only donors to the Democratic Party, but have been linked to left-wing advocacy groups like MoveOn.org and America Coming Together. Yet I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that Costco’s customer base includes a large number of Republicans and very few of the die-hard liberals calling for an end to Whole Foods over the politics of their CEO.
Of course the amazing support that some Republicans have recently shown for Whole Foods strikes me as similarly disingenuous. After all, Whole Foods supposedly supports Planned Parenthood (according to Life Decisions International) and there is no doubt what segment of the political spectrum Whole Foods typically panders to.
Mecatornet finishes up with
This incident is not only another example of the politicisation of food but of the growing partisan divide in America (and other countries); the divide Barack Obama was supposed to heal. How much longer can democracy survive if we cannot even have civil disagreements over how a political question should be solved?
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned
through my own fault,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord, our God.
I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done
and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
about health care from an executive branch web site I cannot help but wonder why people think it is a good thing that Big Brother Is Advertising.
Furthermore, how is this any different than Bush calling together prominent bloggers to deliver talking points to the masses about Iraq? It's not. A new administration doesn't immediately become unblemished or even credible because they operate in contrast on certain points to a previous untrustworthy administration. This is especially true in the face of what little has actually changed in Washington. Seriously, who is really in control here, the people or the ones we elected?
Sometimes I wish we had a king so we can all be united in praise of his benevolence or united in opposition to his tyranny. As it is, we are divided as to which form of tyranny we prefer.
Since your role in teaching your children the faith is so vital
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. ... The right and duty of parents to give education is essential, since it is connected with the transmission of human life; it is original and primary with regard to the educational role of others, on account of the uniqueness of the loving relationship between parents and children; and it is irreplaceable and inalienable, and therefore incapable of being entirely delegated to others or usurped by others. -- Familiaris Consortio
What about this is not a clanging gong as to why CCD -- even good CCD -- fails?
I mean, if the parents are not backing up at home what is being taught in the classroom then THEIR values are what is going to take root in the children. The Church rightly stresses this importance.
So shouldn't the parents thoroughly understand that simply dropping their kids off a few weeks a year is not going to turn them into devout Catholics without role models? Are there any parishes in this country that have come up with creative ways of getting the parents to understand this reality?
The current national debate about health care reform should concern all of us. There is much at stake in this political struggle, and also much confusion and inaccurate information being thrown around. My brother bishops have described some clear “goal-posts” to mark out what is acceptable reform, and what must be rejected. First and most important, the Church will not accept any legislation that mandates coverage, public or private, for abortion, euthanasia, or embryonic stem-cell research. We refuse to be made complicit in these evils, which frankly contradict what “health care” should mean. We refuse to allow our own parish, school, and diocesan health insurance plans to be forced to include these evils. As a corollary of this, we insist equally on adequate protection of individual rights of conscience for patients and health care providers not to be made complicit in these evils. A so-called reform that imposes these evils on us would be far worse than keeping the health care system we now have.
Second, the Catholic Church does not teach that “health care” as such, without distinction, is a natural right. The “natural right” of health care is the divine bounty of food, water, and air without which all of us quickly die. This bounty comes from God directly. None of us own it, and none of us can morally withhold it from others. The remainder of health care is a political, not a natural, right, because it comes from our human efforts, creativity, and compassion. As a political right, health care should be apportioned according to need, not ability to pay or to benefit from the care. We reject the rationing of care. Those who are sickest should get the most care, regardless of age, status, or wealth. But how to do this is not self-evident. The decisions that we must collectively make about how to administer health care therefore fall under “prudential judgment.”
Third, in that category of prudential judgment, the Catholic Church does not teach that government should directly provide health care. Unlike a prudential concern like national defense, for which government monopolization is objectively good – it both limits violence overall and prevents the obvious abuses to which private armies are susceptible – health care should not be subject to federal monopolization. Preserving patient choice (through a flourishing private sector) is the only way to prevent a health care monopoly from denying care arbitrarily, as we learned from HMOs in the recent past. While a government monopoly would not be motivated by profit, it would be motivated by such bureaucratic standards as quotas and defined “best procedures,” which are equally beyond the influence of most citizens. The proper role of the government is to regulate the private sector, in order to foster healthy competition and to curtail abuses. Therefore any legislation that undermines the viability of the private sector is suspect. Private, religious hospitals and nursing homes, in particular, should be protected, because these are the ones most vigorously offering actual health care to the poorest of the poor.
The best way in practice to approach this balance of public and private roles is to spread the risks and costs of health care over the largest number of people. This is the principle underlying Medicaid and Medicare taxes, for example. But this principle assumes that the pool of taxable workers is sufficiently large, compared to those who draw the benefits, to be reasonably inexpensive and just. This assumption is at root a pro-life assumption! Indeed, we were a culture of life when such programs began. Only if we again foster a culture of life can we perpetuate the economic justice of taxing workers to pay health care for the poor. Without a growing population of youth, our growing population of retirees is outstripping our distribution systems. In a culture of death such as we have now, taxation to redistribute costs of medical care becomes both unjust and unsustainable.
Fourth, preventative care is a moral obligation of the individual to God and to his or her family and loved ones, not a right to be demanded from society. The gift of life comes only from God; to spurn that gift by seriously mistreating our own health is morally wrong. The most effective preventative care for most people is essentially free – good diet, moderate exercise, and sufficient sleep. But pre-natal and neo-natal care are examples of preventative care requiring medical expertise, and therefore cost; and this sort of care should be made available to all as far as possible.
Within these limits, the Church has been advocating for decades that health care be made more accessible to all, especially to the poor. Will the current health care reform proposals achieve these goals?
The current House reform bill, HR 3200, does not meet the first or the fourth standard. As Cardinal Justin Rigali has written for the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-life Activities, this bill circumvents the Hyde amendment (which prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortions) by drawing funding from new sources not covered by the Hyde amendment, and by creatively manipulating how federal funds covered by the Hyde amendment are accounted. It also provides a “public insurance option” without adequate limits, so that smaller employers especially will have a financial incentive to push all their employees into this public insurance. This will effectively prevent those employees from choosing any private insurance plans. This will saddle the working classes with additional taxes for inefficient and immoral entitlements. The Senate bill, HELP, is better than the House bill, as I understand it. It subsidizes care for the poor, rather than tending to monopolize care. But, it designates the limit of four times federal poverty level for the public insurance option, which still includes more than half of all workers. This would impinge on the vitality of the private sector. It also does not meet the first standard of explicitly excluding mandatory abortion coverage.
I encourage all of you to make you voice heard to our representatives in Congress. Tell them what they need to hear from us: no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform. Insist that they not permit themselves to be railroaded into the current too-costly and pro-abortion health care proposals. Insist on their support for proposals that respect the life and dignity of every human person, especially the unborn. And above all, pray for them, and for our country. (Please see the website for the Iowa Catholic Conference at www.iowacatholicconference.org and www.usccb.org/healthcare for more information)
Populist Right Rising .... or Obama's problem, part II
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This plays into my earlier post about Obama's problem. Pat Buchananan points out even further evidence that Americans have all of the sudden become a little more conservative ....
But what are we to make of these "evil-mongers" of Harry Reid's depiction, these "mobs" of "thugs" organized by K Street lobbyists and "right-wing extremists" who engage in "un-American" activity at town hall meetings? Surely, all Americans must detest them.
To the contrary. According to a Pew poll, by 61 percent to 34 percent, Americans think the protesters are behaving properly. Gallup found that by 34 percent to 21 percent Americans identify with them. ... What President Obama is losing is not the far right but the center of the country.
You know the middle he moderated towards during the election. The middle that decides the outcome of midterms and future presidential elections. Or as I said in a comment of an earlier post
Taking an election that was not a landslide as a mandate is a mistake both parties have been prone to. You cannot just seize power and push your agenda. The most effective presidents in recent memory didn't drive the wedge. They worked with what they had and they tried to make small efforts to do the right thing rather than pushing rash legislation through against the concerns of large percentages of the American public (source)
So then, anyone who loves history knows that what is happening today in these two huge countries (FC: India and China), which together constitute almost one third of the world population, has always happened in the past, including in old Europe or in the New World. Up until the coming of Christianity.
One of the ideas that recur most in the writings of the first Christians is in fact their desire to frequently repeat one concept: we Christians are different from the pagans, in part because we do not kill our children, neither within our women's wombs or outside of them.
Which then goes on to produce some choice citations from the early church on the topic of abortion.
Which of course extends to contraception. Culture travels through those who have children. The surest way to win the battle against a world that hates children it to allow God to bless us.
Psalm 127:3 Children too are a gift from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward
since I hammered the gnashing of teeth by Republicans on side show items I figured I would give Democrats their own hammering ....
A short while back Mark Shea linked to a Tom Tomorrow comic lamenting the lack of action on certain promises that Obama ran on. See Can this marriage be saved?
This post prompted me to note a trend in recent weeks. There was much to be said of claims by partisan Republicans that Obama was inexperienced. This health care plan, for all of its possible merit, has driven that point home quite nicely. The problem is that most Americans do not deal in vague generalizations. They want to know details because, unlike congress, they have to balance a budget and keep food on the table. "Change" with vague promises is nice rhetoric. It sounds good and it tingles the soul. Details, however, are boring. How to pay for things and how to implement them within the legal system we have in the country are of paramount consideration when making campaign promises. From recent appearances Obama simply didn't do that. So what I want to point out is that people are starting to feel snookered.
Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.
The greatest peril for Obama, I think, lies in the question of whether he can produce the new, post-partisan, surmounting-special-interests politics that he envisioned during the campaign. In a month of raucous town hall meetings and stalled legislation, that hardly seems likely. The secret deal with Tauzin can only deepen the skepticism. Which leads to the core question facing the still-young administration: What happens when people start to wonder whether they can really believe in this change?
An important factor is undoubtedly the extraordinary influence of special interests at several points in the political system."Interests" - in this case health insurance, pharmaceuticals and private hospitals on one side, and trial lawyers and trade unionson the other - are able to exert three kinds of pressure (see JoeKlein, "Will Special Interests Stymie Health-Care Reform?", Time, 3 August 2009).
First, they target politicians directly with massive campaigns of televised political advertising of a kind that would not be permitted by law (on account that it skews public debate) in most other developed countries.
Second, they lean on politicians by contributing large sums to their re-election campaigns, or to those of their opponents. The fact that elections for the House of Representatives are held every two years increases the temptation and vulnerability of congressmen.
Third, the interests can support a vast network of advocacy-groups, foundations, lobbies and public-relations operations which all strive to frame the debate. This includes the often explicit aim of influencing media reporting. The success here is most blatant in the resulting distortion of Americans' perception of how healthcare works in other countries (for example, the canard that people in Britain or Canada are notallowed to choose their own doctor).
How is Obama going to change the culture in Washington when it is so clear that this health care plan intends very much to work within ideological support for certain special interest groups? This is what happens when you make a promise and leave the details to a very unpopular and highly partisan congress. You pick your lobbies when you vote for Washington politicians and you are not necessarily going to like either set. So much for change eh?
We are at each others throats slinging only carefully packaged bombs of partisan talking points delivered to us by whatever party we hold dear at any particular point in time (this was the reason for Obama wanting supporters to "turn-in" their friend's arguments). Never-mind that the Democrats have a good point on X and the Republicans have a good point on Y. We may never know what a good health care system is like because special interests are determined to screw up whatever the Democrats pass by controlling the debate and focusing it on short rhetoric and not basing it on facts, logic and legitimate REASONED and ad-hominem free discussion.
Giving a real statistic to what many of us have known for a long time
“We’ve heard anecdotally that the youngest people coming to religious life are distinctive, and they really are,” said Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. “They’re more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits.”
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.