Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: Isaiah on The Coming of Christ (mas)

The birth of Jesus, which we celebrate today, was prophesied centuries before the event, most notably by the prophet Isaiah.  According to Wikipedia: :The oldest surviving manuscripts of Isaiah are two scrolls found among the Dead Sea Scrolls; dating from about a century before the time of Jesus, but those manuscripts have been dated to as far back as 408 B.C.  There are two well known and relevant quotes from Isaiah about today.

Here's the first:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.  
The second will be recognized from George Frideric Handel's Magnus opus, Messiah.
Here's the quote:
For unto us a Child is born,
 Unto us a Son is given;
 And the government will be upon His shoulder.
 And His name will be called 
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Paul VI: the Great Prognosticator

Pope Paul VI, wrote a landmark encyclical, which was promulgated on July 25,1968.  It was entitled: Humanae Vitae.  It was perhaps the greatest, and clearest (not to mention timely) encyclical written in my lifetime.  Unfortunately, it went mostly unread, and almost totally unheeded, thanks in large part to a failure on the part of clerics to fully support it.  There was a joke making the rounds at the time about an old Italian woman listening as the Pope discussed his encyclical from his balcony at the Vatican.  The woman supposedly spoke rather loudly: "He no playa da game; he no maka da rules."  She never obviously considered that the rules were not coming from him, and neither, apparently, did any of the clerics who disagreed with him.

Breaking from the usual format of providing one or two relevant quotes, herewith is a short summary of the Prophecies of Humanae Vitae, originally published by Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, on the Blog of The Population Research Institute. 

"On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae re-affirmed the Catholic teaching on life, love and human sexuality.  In that document, he listed the consequences of life lived outside Catholic teaching.  
"He predicted that:
1. Contraception would lead to conjugal infidelity.
2. Contraceptive practice would lead to a “general lowering of morality.”
3. Contraception would lead men to cease respecting woman in their totality and would cause them to treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners.
4. And finally, widespread acceptance of contraception by couples would lead to a massive imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments.  
"In other words, Pope Paul VI predicted that contraception would evolve from “a lifestyle choice” into a weapon of mass destruction.  How dreadfully his prophecy has been vindicated by population control and coercive sterilization programs, fertility reduction quotas and the promotion of abortion literally everywhere in the world.
"Contraception’s destruction of the integrity of the marital act—as unitive and procreative—has dire consequences for society and for our souls.  Contraception, in other words, is a rejection of God’s view of reality.  It is a wedge driven into the most intimate sphere of communion known to man outside of the Holy Sacrament of the Mass.  It is a degrading poison that withers life and love both in marriage and in society.
"By breaking the natural and divinely ordained connection between sex and procreation, women and men—but especially men—would focus on the hedonistic possibilities of sex.  People would cease seeing sex as something that was intrinsically linked to new life and to the sacrament of marriage.
"Does anyone doubt that this is where we find ourselves today?"
I read recently (wish I could remember where) that we have entered an age of hedonistic narcissism.  Can't argue with that.

The Bellarmine Forum is running a Campaign for Humanae Vitae on their Blog site, and you can sign the petition on the website.  

You can also listen to a Podcast by Dr. Christopher Manion of the Bellarmine Forum discussing the failure on the part of many clerics (including Cardinal Timothy Dolan) to address Humanae Vitae since its promulgation, by clicking Here.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Words of Relevance: Allan Bloom and Political Men

Allan David Bloom (September 14, 1930 – October 7, 1992), one of our great professors, philosophers, and classicists, is most famous for his magnus opus: The Closing of the American Mind.  His first book was a collection of three essays on Shakespeare's plays, entitled: Shakespeare's Politics (1964), and today's relevant quote is taken from that work.  Bloom is countering the idea that the family is not the most important aspect of politics (an idea espoused by Plato and others, who believed more in the "just city").  The quote is in his essay on "Richard II":

Here's the quote:

"…the exquisitely refined souls do not belong in the best political men."

Monday, November 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: H.L. Mencken: Democracy and the Narcissistic Moron

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956), the "Sage of Baltimore," was a journalist, satirist, critic, and Democrat. He wrote many editorials while working for the Baltimore Evening Sun, nearly every one of which is a classic.

Today's quote is from the July 26, 1920 edition of the Baltimore Evening Sun and, although written and published 93 years ago, it could not be more relevant to our present time (and administration).

Here's the quote:
"As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron."

H/T: datansey00

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Words of Relevance: Gerhart Niemeyer on "Hope"

Gerhart Niemeyer (with his friend William F. Buckley, Jr.), was one of the greatest minds of our time, as attested by some of the other great minds of our time.  Dr. Christopher Manion mentioned him today in a post at The Bellarmine Forum, entitled: "Hope in the Rearview Mirror."

One of those other great minds of our time, Angelo Codevilla, wrote a tribute to his former teacher on The University Bookman after Niemeyer died, in which he said the following: "Niemeyer’s life embodied the Platonic lesson he passed on to us—that to grow in understanding is to grow closer to God."  

There are too many relevant quotes of Niemeyer provided by Dr. Manion in his referenced post to choose just one, so herewith more than one:
"...not only Communists but all other varieties of progressive have raised hope as the flag around which their supporters rally.”
“Christian hope is for things imperishable, not confined to this world – things promised by God and secured by Jesus Christ. With a view to this imperishable glory, the entire Christian life is illumined and transfigured by hope. Hope thus is an enduring quality of a Christian life, together with faith and charity.”  

But the true believers on the Left:
"have drawn their secular hopes not from Christian sources but from futuristic ideologies."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Words of Relevance: President Lincoln on The Virtue of Silence

On this the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, it's fitting to remember that the main speaker at Gettysburg that day was former secretary of state Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours on the events of the day.  Lincoln was asked only to say a few words to close the program.  He did that and much more.  His closing remarks: two hundred and seventy-two words, delivered in a littler more than two minutes, have gone down in history as one of the greatest political speeches ever delivered.  Members of our current administration, who did not pick up on the clear lesson imparted by President Lincoln that day, should pay heed to something else he said that is extremely relevant today.

Here's the quote:
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and to remove all doubt."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Words of Relevance: Two Popes and Relativism

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI began speaking out against what he called "The Dictatorship of Relativism" even before he was elected Pope on April 19, 2005.   He spoke of it often, and even Progressive Catholics understood what he meant even if they  did not agree with him on the severity of the problem.  During his papacy, he related how relativism tended toward political correctness and thereafter to intolerance.
Here's the quote:
“In recent years I find myself noting,” how the more relativism becomes the generally accepted way of thinking, the more it tends toward intolerance. Political correctness … seeks to establish the domain of a single way of thinking and speaking. Its relativism creates the illusion that it has reached greater heights than the loftiest philosophical achievements of the past. It presents itself as the only way to think and speak — if, that is, one wishes to stay in fashion. … I think it is vital that we oppose this imposition of a new pseudo-enlightenment, which threatens freedom of thought as well as freedom of religion.”
Pope Francis, on the other hand, has given unscripted interviews recently that have some members of the Church scratching their heads and wondering how the current pontiff feels about relativism.  There have been a number of interpretations rendered by various Catholic pundits on what the Pope actually meant when he said certain things, but what he actually said seems to indicate that he feels less inclined than his predecessor to encourage the faithful to guard against the cult of relativism so pervasive in our culture.  Those hoping for an acceptance by the Church of fundamental changes in Catholic doctrine, however, have been disappointed at every turn (so far) when Pope Francis confirms that doctrine at every opportunity.  They still, though, cling to certain utterances that give them hope.  Here's the quote:
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers."
Apparently some of our brothers take the absence of the word "repentance," and the failure to mention what we've always been taught: "Love the sinner; hate the sin," as an encouraging sign that Pope Francis is dismissing any such admonishments.  They shouldn't do that.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Words of Relevance: C.S. Lewis and The USCCB

In watching the soon-to-be-completed meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I was reminded of something C. S. Lewis said in his great work: The Abolition of Man.  His prescient observations struck me in particular when the incoming USCCB president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, was interviewed last night by Colleen Carroll Campbell, on EWTN, about the infamous HHS mandate.  Sadly, he sounded more like a politician ( a pretty secular one) when attempting to answer her inquiry as to what the bishops intended to do when the mandate becomes binding.  He spoke blandly about the court cases (which he expects will find their way to the Supreme Court) and expressed the hope that they will, eventually, be resolved in our favor.  I kept waiting for him to say as forcefully as a bishop might (think St. Peter or Andrew), "In any case, regardless of the outcome of these civil maneuverings, WE CANNOT and WILL NOT COMPLY," but that would not be nice.

That is what brought to mind this relevant quote from C.S. Lewis.

Here's the quote:
"The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests.  It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as intellectuals.  This gives then the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks intelligence.  It is not so...It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out.  Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so."


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Leo XIII on Socialism

In the midst of all the media spin over recent candid interviews by our current pontiff, it might be instructive to go back to one of the lions of the Catholic Church for a clear understanding of the Church's position on socialism.

In his encyclical, QUOD APOSTOLICI MUNERIS (On Socialism),  promulgated on 28 December 1878, Pope Leo XIII denounced socialism as "a Satanic counterfeit of the Gospel." He had much more to say about it, but one particular quote stood out.

Here's the quote:
“...they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one's mode of life. . . .But the boldness of these bad men, which day by day more and more threatens civil society with destruction, and strikes the souls of all with anxiety and fear, finds its cause and origin in those poisonous doctrines which, spread abroad in former times among the people, like evil seed bore in due time such fatal fruit.”

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Words of Relevance: C. S. Lewis: The Greatest Evil

The oft quoted C.S. Lewis (29 November 1898 - 22 November 1963)
provides for us today one that is perhaps the most relevant of all his aphorisms.  It is especially relevant to those among us most negatively effected by the policies of our current administration.

Here's the quote:
“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Words of Relevance: Vladimir Putin: Religion and Political Correctness

Believe it or not, that's Vladimir Putin, president of Russia and Russian Patriarch Kirill I, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, with whom he has become quite friendly.
The following is from the Moynihan Report, Letter #94:

On September 19, Putin spoke at an annual gathering to discuss Russia's future in Valdai, Russia (near Novgorod).

"Putin urges Russians to return to values of religion," was the title of an AP report by Neil Buckley, present at the meeting. 

"Vladimir Putin called on Russians to strengthen a new national identity based on conservative and traditional values such as the Orthodox church, warning that the West was facing a moral crisis."
This is amazing stuff, and much of what Putin said at that gathering was extremely relevant here in the United States, but some of it hit like a ton of bricks.

Here's the quote:
“A policy is being conducted of putting on the same level multi-child families and single-sex partnerships, belief in God and belief in Satan. The excesses of political correctness are leading to the point where people are talking seriously about registering parties whose goal is legalizing the propaganda of pedophilia.  People in many European countries are ashamed, and are afraid of talking about their religious convictions. [Religious] holidays are being taken away or called something else, shamefully hiding the essence of the holiday.”

Here's an earlier post on Russian Patriarch Kirill I on "gay marriage" and political correctness:

And: Today, November 7, 2013, it was announced that Pope Francis will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vatican City, on November 25.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Words of Relevance: Blessed John Paul The Great

Blessed John Paul The Great, who reigned as Pope John Paul II from 1978 to 2005, was a prolific writer and speaker.  He has been credited by many (along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher) for bringing about the dissolution of Soviet Communism and its Evil Empire.  His relevant quotes could fill volumes, but one particularly stands out for us today.

Here's the quote:
"We are standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced.  I do not think the wide circle of the American Society, or the wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully.  We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist.  This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence.  It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously..."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Words of Relevance: Dostoyevsky on Liberalism

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1861), Russian writer and philosopher (and one of the favorite authors of Pope Francis), was wont to share his philosophy of life through his characters.  
In one of his best novels: The Idiot, which he wrote in 1869, Dostoyevsky speaking through his character, Evgenie Pavlovitch, imparts some of his personal philosophy that certainly bears relevance to what we are faced with today.  

Here's the quote:
“This hatred of Russia has been mistaken by some of our ‘Russian Liberals’ for sincere love of their country, and they boast that they see better than their neighbors what real love of one’s country should consist in.  But of late they have grown more candid and are ashamed of the expression ‘love of country’ and have annihilated the very spirit of the words as something injurious and petty and undignified.”

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Words of Relevance: Machiavelli's Prince and Gun Laws

Today's quotes are from   Niccolo Machiavelli's classic: The Prince.

In the wake of the horrific event at The Navy Yard in Southeast Washington D.C., this past Monday, prepare yourself for the clarion calls from liberals for yet more restrictive laws against guns - laws that will be obeyed by the already defenseless law-abiding citizens, some of whom will be the future victims of these idiotic laws.

Niccolo Machiavelli, writing 600 years ago, penned words of relevance that are ignored by legislators at every opportunity in order not be labeled as something other than "compassionate" for the victims of gun violence.  We can pray that some day soon they (and the leadership in the Pentagon) will do the right thing and, at the very least, afford members of our military (whose job is using weapons to defend our liberty) to openly carry weapons at their place of work, and not depend on (less qualified) civilian police to come to their aid and assistance well after the fact.  Both quotes below are from The Prince.

Here are the quotes:
“To govern more securely some Princes have disarmed their subjects...but by disarming, you at once give offence, since you show your subjects that you distrust them, either by doubting their courage, or as doubting their fidelity, each of which imputations begets hatred against you.”    
     “The Swiss are well armed and very free.”  

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Words of Relevance: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn & Benghazi

Today's quote is from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Magnus opus, The Gulag Archipelago, and must be read as perhaps the most relevant collection of words to our present time, given what happened before, during, and especially after the tragedy in Benghazi (what difference does it make?).

Here's the quote:
“It is unthinkable in the twentieth century to fail to distinguish between what constitutes an abominable atrocity that must be prosecuted and what constitutes that "past" which "ought not to be stirred up.” 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Words of Relevance: Presidents, Strong and Weak

John F. Kennedy gave the strongest speech of his young presidency in 1962 during The Cuban Missile Crisis.  You can read the whole speech Here.

After the disastrous "Bay of Pigs" affair, Kennedy's credibility was in need of repair, but there was no feeling on the part of the American public that his speech, or the plans he outlined that night, were in any way political or self-serving.  The speech was full of memorable lines, some very powerful.

Here's the quote:
"We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth; but neither will we shrink from that risk at any time it must be faced...
"It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union."

Ronald Reagan gave one of the most memorable of his speeches at The Berlin Wall in 1987.  You can read the whole speech HERE.

One short admonition in that speech (written by Peter Robinson), was taken out and put back in by White House staff more than once, until finally President Reagan insisted that it stay in.

Here's the quote:
"General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

(If the video doesn't appear, you can watch on YouTube by clicking the below link:

George W. Bush spoke to the crowd gathered at the site of the fallen World Trade Center Buildings, three days after that horrific event of 9/11.  Here's the video of his short impromptu speech that rallied that crowd and the rest of the nation, a nation of which he was proud to be the president.

Barack Obama spoke to the nation, on September 10, 2013, to outline his plan to address the situation in Syria.  You can read the whole speech HERE.  There were many memorable quotes from that speech.

Here are a few:
"So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress...                                                                               
"My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo...                                           
"However, over the last few days, we’ve seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons...                                                                            
"I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path." 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Words of Relevance: The Bible and Syria

Today's possibly relevant quote is from The Holy Bible: Isaiah 17:1.

Here's the quote:
"An Oracle Against Damascus
'See, Damascus will no longer be a city but will become a heap of ruins.  The cities of Aroer will be deserted and left to flocks, which will lie down, with no one to make them afraid.  The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim, and the royal power from Damascus; the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the Israelites,' declares the Lord Almighty."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Words of Relevance: Planned Parenthood, "Abortion Kills the Life of a Baby."

Today's quote is from a pamphlet distributed by Planned Parenthood as far back as 1952 when they were pushing contraception and warning against the serious consequences of abortion.  The pamphlet was entitled: "Plan Your Children for Health and Happiness."  They've come a long way, and their position on abortion has obviously been mitigated to say the least.  The words used by Planned Parenthood in their pamphlet are very clear, and were brought to our attention by Charles Rice, who taught at the Notre Dame Law School for over 30 years.

 In his latest book: Right or Wrong,
Professor Rice provides the exact wording of the pamphlet (p 72), words that the current leadership of Planned Parenthood, and the perfidious politicians who support them, should find relevant.
Here's the quote:
"An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun.  It is dangerous to your life and health.  It may make you sterile so that when you want a child, you cannot have it.  Birth control merely postpones the beginning of life." 

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Words of Relevance: Ronald Reagan on Roe v. Wade

Today's quote is from a biography of the man closest to Ronald Reagan from his days as Governor of California to his two terms in the White House.  That man is William P. Clark, and the title of the book is The Judge; William P. Clark, Ronald Reagan's Top Hand.   You can order a copy for only $3.00 by clicking on the link.

After the death of President Reagan, the Left was obsessed with making us believe that were he still alive and of sound mind he would support funding for  embryonic stem-cell research.  Clark knew better, and to set the matter straight he penned a column for the New York Times entitled: "For Reagan, All Life Was Sacred."

This is from the New York Times piece:
Ronald Reagan's record reveals that no issue was of greater importance to him than the dignity and sanctity of all human life. ''My administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land,'' he said in 1983. ''And there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings, the right without which no other rights have any meaning.'' One of the things he regretted most at the completion of his presidency in 1989, he told me, was that politics and circumstances had prevented him from making more progress in restoring protection for unborn human life.
In the biography of Clark, there is an account of a speech given by Clark at the Center for Security Policy's "Keeper of the Flame" dinner in honor of Ronald Reagan, in 1995.  In that speech Clark refers to President Reagan's strong opposition to Roe v. Wade, using Reagan's words as spoken to Clark.

Hers's the quote:
"Human life legislation ending this tragedy (Roe v. Wade) will someday pass Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does."   

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Words of Relevance: Thomas Babington Macaulay

Thomas Babington Macaulay (25 October 1800 – 28 December 1859), one of the greatest essayists of The Victorian Period, in his essay on Lord Bacon, compared the philosophy of Lord Bacon with that of Plato. What Macaulay said in his comparison of the two should strike a chord with anyone living here today.  See if you can discern the relevance.

Here's the quote:
The aim of the Platonic philosophy was to raise us far above vulgar wants.  The aim of the Baconian philosophy was to supply our vulgar wants.  The former aim was laudable; but the latter was attainable. 

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Words of Relevance: Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko

Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a Plolish Catholic Priest was murdered by three agents of the Polish Communist Intelligence Agency, on October 18, 1984.  He was declared a martyr and was beatified, on June 6, 2010.  He was murdered because of his strong identification with the Solidarity movement in Poland, and because he spoke out publicly against the tyranny of the Communist regime ruling his country.  He was no shrinking violet trying to go along to get along with evil.

George Weigel in a post today at First Things, tells of a contemporary Via Crucis in which figures from modern Polish Catholic history are “inserted” into the traditional Stations of the Cross. The bronzes themselves are well-done, but what is particularly striking about the Pasierbiec Via Crucis is the idea that animates these sculptures—the idea that we can, and should, imagine ourselves living inside the biblical story. 

At the sixth station there in the village of Pasierbiecin, Krakow, ...Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, the martyr-priest of Solidarity, relieves Jesus of some of the weight of the Cross while Veronica wipes the Holy Face; the message Father Jerzy preached during martial law in inscribed on the cross.

Here's the quote:
“Overcome evil with good”

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: Henry Kissinger

The quote today is from Henry Kissinger, considered by some to be one of the most erudite, and influential, men of our time.  The quote is being used because of its relevance to the debate on "same sex marriage."  It was used today by Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing Blog, to caution those who are ready to surrender on this crucial issue that history does not always turn out the way the "well informed" are sure it will.  So, those inclined to turn their backs on Church teaching, and accept evil because of its inevitability, should harken to the words of this man, who at least two American presidents relied so heavily upon.  The quote by Kissinger (which became an issue in the 1976 presidential campaign), in which he offered perhaps his least enlightened prognostication, is being used here to encourage the faithful who refuse to buckle under to the opinions being expressed in our secular society (even when those opinions are being offered by "experts").

Here's the quote:
“The day of the United States is past and today is the day of the Soviet Union. My job as Secretary of State is to negotiate the most acceptable second-best position available.” 
Ah, yes, BUT, on December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union was relegated to the "ash heap of history," as predicted by President Ronald Reagan, in 1982.

Robert Royal concludes his piece with this:
"The gay surge in the West may seem much less likely to be reversed. There are days we all feel that way. And it may be so. But there’s only one way to find out. And it’s not pre-emptive surrender."

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Words of Relevance: Malcolm Muggeridge Memories

Malcolm Muggeridge,  the British journalist, author, soldier and spy - and yet another intellectual who "crossed the Tiber" late in life and became a Catholic, was visited at his home two years before he died by author and editor George Marlin, who wrote about that visit today on The Catholic Thing Blog.  Their conversation included Muggeridge's impressions of: Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa, William F. Buckley Jr., and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  You can read the whole piece by clicking on the link above.

The conversation turned to social issues, and Muggeridge, never a fan of political correctness, spoke candidly about problems he sees prevalent in our culture (and this was back in 1988).  He would not be happy to witness the further deterioration of things since his death in 1990.

Here's the quote:
“Abortion and the homosexual rights movement are the two bad things in our time,” he said. I described New York City’s moral bankruptcy, and he replied:  “The Devil is a very big and clever person, particularly in New York. And he fools many New Yorkers by convincing them they are very smart.”

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Francis on "The Theology of Sin"

William Doino, Jr., writing today at First Things, talks about Pope Francis and the Theology of Sin.  He contrasts the views of the Pope with those of the secular world (the Pope's views, of course, are those of the Church), and seems to be addressing his comments to the "I'm OK, you're OK;" "It is what is is;" "We're all going to heaven as long as we love each other" crowd with the teachings of the Church through the centuries.  The concept of "shame" seems nowhere to be found in our secular culture, and that (pardon the pun) is a shame.  Here's Doino:
(Pope) Francis takes if for granted that sex outside of marriage (to cite only one sin) is gravely wrong; the world does not—and increasingly doesn’t even believe in the proper definition of marriage. The Pope maintains the urgency of confessing our sins; the world believes in celebrating and justifying them. The Pope believes it essential to acknowledge and promote a healthy Christian concept of shame; whereas the world mocks the very idea of shame. Perhaps that is why Francis, in his April address, reserved some of his strongest words for the “unashamed...”
Pope Francis, addressing his fellow Jesuits on the Feast of their Founder, Ignatius of Loyola, had much to say about the absence of shame in today's society, and one quote in particular stands out.

Here's the quote:
"I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country [Argentina] those who are never ashamed are called “sin verguenza”: this means “the unashamed,” because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed and to be ashamed is a virtue of the humble, of the man and the woman who are humble."

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Words of Relevance: Cicero (On Duties)

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C. - 43 B.C.), considered perhaps the greatest of Rome's orators, never missed an opportunity to castigate Julius Caesar, for what Cicero considered his unlawful ambitions and his demagoguery. Caesar, you will recall, was assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.,

Cicero wrote his great essay: De Officiis (On Duties), the last of his dogmatic works, in 44 B.C., the last year of his life.  The essay, which is divided into three books and written in the form of a letter to his son, contains many statements one could easily find relevant to our times.  He clearly had disdain for the "change" to the republic brought about by the reign of Caesar, and was not afraid to trumpet his feelings.  He even made clear what he thought about the successors of Caesar who implemented Caesar's policies after his death.

Here's the quote:
"For my part, when the republic was being run by the men to whom it had entrusted itself, I devoted all my concern and all my thoughts to it.  But then a single man came to dominate everything, there was no longer any room for consultation or for personal authority...I only wish that the republic had remained in its original condition, rather than fall into the hands of men greedy not merely for change, but for revolution."

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Words of Relevance: Sean Cardinal O'Malley on Abortion & Euthanasia

Relevance can work in both directions.  Yesterday's post on Hippocrates had relevance to what is happening today in the practice of medicine.  Today's post has relevance not only to the words of Hippocrates from 2500 years ago, but also to the wording of the current poor excuse for the Hippocratic Oath.  

Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and the most courageous of Catholic Bishops in America in defense of the unborn, spoke at this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C.  He linked the evil of Abortion with the upcoming threat of Euthanasia, already a reality in parts of Europe. 

Here's the quote:
"A society that allows parents to kill their children will allow children to kill their parents."

Here in America we rely (as usual) on one of our trusty euphemisms: we call it Physician Aid in Dying (PAD) or physician assisted suicide, already legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington and Vermont. 

Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini. 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Words of Relevance: Hippocrates & Abortion

Most of us are familiar with something called the Hippocratic Oath, which, unfortunately, is no longer administered in our medical schools.  Hippocrates, considered the father of western medicine, practiced and wrote during the Age of Pericles.  He lived roughly between the years: 460 B.C. and 370 B.C.  The oath attributed to him, which is not long, can be read HERE.  A modern version, HERE, currently in use has glossed over some of the proscriptions in the original and obliterated certain other parts (you can probably guess one of the parts that was obliterated even if you haven't seen the current version).  The conspicuous absence of the proscription against the taking of life could make one think there might just have been some heavy lobbying by the "pro-choice" folks who couldn't bear the language removed from the original.  The quote below is from the original, and is NOT in the current version:
"I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art."

It actually gets worse: language inserted into the current version is a clear start down the path to Euthanasia.  Here's that scary quote:
"Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick."

Nice to know they don't want to play God, but that "awesome responsibility" (to take a life) just might make it necessary, especially if the "illness may effect the person's family and economic stability."  Seniors beware!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Words of Relevance: Divine Creation and The Virgin Birth

Today's quote comes from Anthony Esolen, writing at The Catholic Thing Blog.  With help from Anne Roche Muggeridge, daughter-in-law of Malcolm Muggeridge, the Intellectual who came to the Catholic faith late in life, he deconstructs the arguments of those who want to play both sides of a question.  For instance, those who can accept that God created the universe, but cannot accept that He could cause a virgin to give birth.  He addresses those players of both sides by saying:
Or are we to believe that the God who created a universe from nothing cannot fructify the ovum in a woman’s womb?  This is another example of the mythologizing of the self-styled demythologizers, the bunko artistry of the debunkers.   
After inserting the knife, he twists it, and,

Here's the quote:
"It’s coherent to believe in both the divine creation of the world and the virgin birth of Jesus.  It’s coherent to believe neither.  But it’s incoherent to believe the first and that the second is impossible." 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Words of Relevance: Samuel Whittemore

Today's quote is about, rather than by, this oldest known (but not very well-known) combatant in the American Revolutionary War, Samuel Whittemore.  He was apparently more of a doer than a speaker, as nothing ever said by the man could be found.  His deeds, though, and the deeds of others like him, speak louder than the words of all the politicians that have followed them.  Without their selfless efforts, today's politicians wouldn't have a country to "serve."

Today's quote is from Wikipedia, and chronicles the retreat of British forces after the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  Here's the quote:
Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore loaded his musket and ambushed the British from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols and killed a grenadier and mortally wounded a second. By the time Whittemore had fired his third shot, a British detachment reached his position; Whittemore drew his sword and attacked. He was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen times, and left for dead in a pool of blood. He was found alive, trying to load his musket to fight again. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 98.
H/T: robpmck

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Words of Relevance: Homer

Those of you who have studied some Greek need no introduction to the blind poet of Ancient Greece.  Those of us who were briefly introduced to him in high school, or before if we attended good schools, are at least familiar with his two greatest epic poems: Illiad and Odyssey.

Writing about 800 years before the birth of Christ, Homer obviously spoke for generations to come in both of those works.  One living in the United States today would surely find relevance in much of what is said, for example, in Illiad. The poem covers only the tenth and final year of The Trojan War, but gives the reader a detailed account of that year.  One particular quote should strike us as prescience at the highest level.

Here's the quote:
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Words of Relevance: Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke, the irish statesman remembered chiefly for his support of the American Revolution and his clearly stated opposition to the French Revolution, wrote a piece entitled Reflections on the French Revolution in which he laments the loss of civility (to put it mildly) on the part of those responsible for the wanton slaughter.  Reading Burke it is easy to see why he is considered the father of modern Conservatism, and a representative of classical liberalism, which is the same thing.  There are several indications of his strong preference for Conservative principles throughout the piece, but one particularly stood out.

Here's the quote:

"When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss, cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment we have no compass to govern us; nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer."

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Words of Relevance: Winston Churchill, "Painting as a Pastime."

After the debacle known as the Dardanelles Campaign, in 1915, Churchill was forced to resign his post as First Lord of the Admiralty, and was in a bad way.  History has been kinder to him after many years, and much of the blame for that disaster, as it turns out, should more appropriately be shared with Field Marshall Kitchener and others.  In any event, before Churchill recovered and went on to save the world from Adolph Hitler, he needed something in his life to jump start his career and, indeed, his interest in a future.  He turned to something he had never before experienced: painting.  As was his wont, he could not involve himself in any form of endeavor without writing about it.  This endeavor was no different, and so we were blessed with his shortest literary work: Painting as a Pastime.

Here's Churchill in his own words:
When I left the Admiralty at the end of May, 1915, I still remained a member of the Cabinet and of the War Council.  In this position I knew everything and could do nothing.  The change from the intense executive activities of each day's work at the Admiralty to the narrowly measured duties of a counsellor left me gasping...I had great anxiety and no means of relieving it; I had vehement convictions and small power to give effect to them.
Fortunately for all of us, this "Last Lion" found something to bring him back from the abyss; he became a painter, and not just any old painter - he became a great painter whose paintings have been displayed in the finest museums in the world.  He begins his short book about this part of his life by, as usual, giving advice.

Here's the quote:
"Many remedies are suggested for the avoidance of worry and mental overstrain by persons who, over prolonged periods, have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale.  Some advise exercise, and others, repose.  Some counsel travel, and others, retreat.  Some praise solitude, and others, gaiety.  No doubt all these may play their part according to the individual temperament.  But the element which is constant and common in all of them is Change."
Of course he was talking about change on a personal level.  He would never have been presumptuous enough to call on the citizens of England to vote for change of his, and their, beloved country.

The Great Hall at Blenheim Palace (birthplace of WSC) by Winston S. Churchill.

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