Friday, November 21, 2014

Words of Relevance: Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks on Marriage

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, former chief rabbi of the United Kingdom, gave perhaps the most inspiring speech this past Monday at the Humanum colloquium on complementarity in Rome.  The colloquium was a "three-day gathering of scholars and religious leaders from numerous countries and faiths" focusing on the theme “The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” It was sponsored by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The colloquium concentrated on marriage between one man and one woman, and so was, and will be, excoriated by the sodomite lobby.  Without addressing that lobby or what it stands for, Rabbi Sacks spoke eloquently about "what he calls the “seven key moments, each of them surprising and unexpected” by which we can track the development of the institution of marriage."  (quotes are from Catherine Harmon at CWR)

The full text of his speech, as posted by Austen Ivereigh in Rome, can be found HERE.

The full text is something to be read when time permits, but in the meantime one particular quotes stands out.

Here's the quote:
[Our] compassion for those who choose to live differently should not inhibit us from being advocates for the single most humanising institution in history. The family, man, woman, and child, is not one lifestyle choice among many. It is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations and enabling children to grow in a matrix of stability and love.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Peggy Noonan: Obama & Mealy-Mouthed Filibustering

Peggy Noonan, who has occasionally worked both sides of the street since her days as a Reagan speechwriter, perfectly captured the essence of Barack Obama in a piece she wrote recently for the Wall Street Journal.  The piece was entitled "The Loneliest President Since Nixon," and today's quote, taken from it, will raise a chuckle in the mind of anyone who has been paying attention to the president during his not perfectly scripted interviews.

Noonan writes: I mentioned last week that the president has taken to filibustering, to long, rambling answers in planned sit-down settings—no questions on the fly walking from here to there, as other presidents have always faced. The press generally allows him to ramble on, rarely fighting back as they did with Nixon. But I have noticed Mr. Obama uses a lot of words as padding. He always has, but now he does it more. There’s a sense of indirection and obfuscation. You can say, “I love you,” or you can say, (and here's the quote)
“You know, feelings will develop, that happens among humans and it’s good it happens, and I have always said, and I said it again just last week, that you are a good friend, I care about you, and it’s fair to say in terms of emotional responses that mine has escalated or increased somewhat, and ‘love’ would not be a wholly inappropriate word to use to describe where I’m coming from.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Words of Relevance: MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber on The Stupidity of American Voters

That's Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and one of the architects of Obamacare.  By now most of the world knows of his candid - and honest - explanation of  how the Obama administration was able to get the (not so) Affordable Care Act passed.

His explanation provides a most interesting look behind the scenes at what was supposed to be the most transparent administration in our nation's history.

Here's the quote:
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass…" 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Words of Relevance: G.K. Chesterton on Tradition

G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the most prolific writers of his time, who wrote in virtually every genre employed during that era, had something very important to say about a topic that has taken front stage today: Traditional vs Modern.

Those who hold to Tradition today are called Conservatives, and those who oppose tradition are called Modernists or Progressives.  One can easily find support from a host of people for either of those positions, but Chesterton spoke eloquently in support of the position adhered to by Conservatives.

Here's the quote:
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors.  It is the democracy of the dead.  Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Words of Relevance: Jonathan Swift on Lack of Reason

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), one of the most eloquent writers of his time, wrote many things that are relevant today, especially concerning politics, politicians, and the people who vote for them.  With the just concluded mid-term elections, many voters are scratching their heads trying to understand, for instance, how anybody who values life could have voted for a politician who has promised time and time again that he or she steadfastly and forever will support a mother's "right" to kill her child.

How does one convince the supporter of such a politician that there is no such "right" in our Constitution or anywhere else?  Swift saw the hopelessness of trying to sway that supporter toward righteousness, and made his feelings very clear.

Here's the quote:
“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

Friday, October 31, 2014

Words of Relevance: Kate Bachelder: Top 10 Liberal Superstitions

That's Kate Bachelder, assistant editorial features editor of the Wall Street Journal.

She wrote an important piece today in the Journal, in which she lists the Top 10 superstitions, or myths, of the Liberal establishment, all of which are important to remember in these final days of the 2014 campaigning.

Herewith the list, which will serve as today's quote:
(1) Spending more money improves education.
(2) Government spending stimulates the economy.
(3) Republican candidates always have a big spending advantage over Democrats.
(4) Raising the minimum wage helps the poor.
(5) Global warming is causing increasingly violent weather.
(6) Genetically modified food is dangerous.
(7) Voter ID laws suppress minority turnout.
(8) Obamacare is gaining popularity.
(9) The Keystone XL pipeline would increase oil spills.
(10) Women are paid 77 cents on the dollar compared with men. 
Bachelder makes her compelling case for each of the above listed superstitions in her article, which you can read by clicking HERE.  (subscription required)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Words of Relevance: Fr. George Rutler: The Secularist and Islam

Father George Rutler wrote today at Crisis Magazine an essay entitled: Mad Intelligence: The Secularist Response to Islam.  In the essay, Fr. Rutler has nothing good to say about "public thinkers," who he says have been usurped by practical atheists who are politely styled "secularists.” He goes on: Essentially, the secularist is not without religion: rather, he has made a religion of politics and wealth, and rejects any religion that worships anything else...Secularists play down Islamist atrocities because they seek to eradicate the graceful moral structure that can turn brutes into saints.  Heinous acts are sometimes dismissed as “workplace violence.”  

Fr. Rutler explains why the secularists do not see the world as it is: The secularist makes a religion of irreligion, and is different from the saints who are “in this world but not of it” because the secularist is of the world but not rationally in it. This explains why the secularist’s solutions to the world’s ills are so destructive.  Today's quote provides an example of the destructive irrationality of the secularists.

Here's the quote:
There even are those in high places who pretend that Islamic militants are not Islamic and foster the delusion that false gods will not demand sacrifices on their altars.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Words of Relevance: St. Pope John Paul II: "Be Not Afraid!"

Today is the Feast of St. Pope John Paul II, who began his papacy, on October 22, 1978, with the now famous words: "Be Not Afraid!"  

In 1994, in his encyclical, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he recalled the words with which he began his papacy.

Here's the quote:
When, on October 22, 1978, I said the words "Be not afraid!" in St. Peter's Square, I could not fully know how far they would take me and the entire Church. Their meaning came more from the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, promised by the Lord Jesus to His disciples, than from the man who spoke them. Nevertheless, with the passing of the years, I have recalled these words on many occasions. ... Why should we have no fear? Because man has been redeemed by God. ... The power of Christ's Cross and Resurrection is greater than any evil which man could or should fear.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Words of Relevance: Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki: Synod's First Week Summary Unacceptable

The first encouraging sign for traditional Catholics since the beginning of the Synod in Rome came today from Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, the current Bishop of Poznan, Poland, who criticized the document summarizing the first week of the Synod.

The following was posted on the website Rorate Caeli today:

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the President of the Polish Episcopal Conference did not hesitate to say that this document departs from the teaching of John Paul II, and even that in it can be noticed traces of the anti-marriage ideology. According to Archbishop Gądecki, this text also highlights the lack of a clear vision for the synodal assembly.

Bishop Gadecki laments what the summary leaves out as much as what it does report which, he says, is not clearly focused on Truth. 

Here's the quote:
Speak about the practical exceptions, but we also need to present the truth. Also, the points that speak of children entrusted to same-sex couples are formulated somewhat as if this situation is being praised! This is also a defect of this text, which instead should be an incentive to fidelity, family values, but instead seems to accept everything as it is. It created an impression that the teaching of the Church has been merciless so far, as if the teaching of mercy were beginning only now."   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Words of Relevance: Don John of Austria: Leadership at Lepanto

Don John's victory at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was the cause for Catholics everywhere to celebrate tomorrow the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Before that famous battle, Don John whose forces were vastly outmanned and outmatched by the Islamic Turks, issued to each of his warriors, a rosary.  Pope Pius V, back in Rome, urged all the faithful to pray the rosary before the battle, and in his stateroom aboard his flagship Don Juan had mustered his admirals to go over the battle plan.  One of those admirals broached the possibility of further negotiation with the Islamic Turks, but Don John did not hesitate before making his decision clear.

Here's the quote:
"Gentlemen, the time for counsel has passed.  Now is the time for war."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Words of Relevance: Russell Kirk on Social Conservatism

Russell Kirk, who influenced the American Conservative movement more than any other man, is best remembered for his 1953 book: The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot.

In that magnum opus, Kirk provided us with the perfect definition of Social Conservatism, and in present day America that is a term that begs accurate definition since it is often used as a pejorative by those who consider themselves enlightened.

Here's the quote:
Conservatism is not a fixed and immutable body of dogmata; conservatives inherit from Burke a talent for re-expressing their convictions to fit the time.  As a working premise, nevertheless, one can observe here that the essence of social conservatism is preservation of the ancient moral traditions of humanity.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Words of Relevance: Anthony Esolen on The Illusion of Neutrality

Anthony Esolen, professor of English at Providence College, and prolific writer and translator, wrote a timely essay recently which first appeared on Public Discourse, and today was reprinted, with permission, on Crisis Magazine.  You can read the entire essay HERE.

Esolen makes the case for the deconstruction of the Liberal dictum that "the State must remain neutral as regards religion or irreligion."  He provides "two more fundamental reasons for rejecting the dictum.  One is that it is not possible.  The other is that it is not conceivable, even if it were possible.  It is a contradiction in terms." He goes into depth explaining the contradictions inherent in remaining "neutral" on important matters, and leaves us with a memorable quote concerning the "neutral position" regarding abortion.

Here's the quote:
You cannot say, as liberals try to say, that you will allow abortion for people inclined to procure one, and then pretend that that too is to remain blissfully neutral and tolerant, no more than if you tried to say that you would allow infanticide for parents who decide, after all, that the diapers are too messy, or the baby too ugly or too sickly or handicapped. A society that allows some people to kill babies is a society that does not protect babies, period.