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‘When you feel the assaults of passion and anger’

by Lisa Graas on July 24, 2014


Words to remember, from St. Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionists.

“When you feel the assaults of passion and anger, then is the time to be silent as Jesus was silent in the midst of His ignominies and sufferings. O holy silence, rich in great virtues! O holy silence, which is a key of gold, keeping in safety the great treasure of holy virtues!”

Silence can be very helpful.


Rebecca Hamilton compares ‘demagoguery’ on the border issue to porn

by Lisa Graas on July 24, 2014


Rebecca Hamilton is comparing demands for a secure border to “demagoguery” and “porn.” I knew she was upset about this, so I knew immediately where she was going with it even before she explained her analogy.

As I explained here, it is important to uphold the rule of law. The rule of law not being upheld in Central America is ultimately the reason for the border crisis, though certainly the bishops’ language which indicates a moral obligation to defect to America is a factor, as is the president’s message that young people crossing illegally should receive amnesty. People get emotional that the rule of law is not being upheld, and when people are emotional in politics, you’re bound to see some hyperbole. You might even see calls for violence, though I haven’t seen any.

I am seeing people who don’t care so much about the gaping hole in the border demonizing people who are upset about that by accusing them of demonization.

I grow weary.

Let me say the same thing in another way. If you think people are demonizing people, demonizing those people doesn’t help your argument, especially when 80% of the public agrees with their premise.

This is akin to calling people “bigot” for defending true marriage. If that is your argument, you don’t have an argument.

I love Rebecca Hamilton. She’s one of my favorite Catholic bloggers. I can let it slide. You should, too. Still, I had to say something. Cardinal Maradiaga did the same thing. The USCCB blog has compared the border security crowd to people who dropped napalm on innocents in Vietnam. With all due respect, you aren’t convincing anyone. You’re only pouring gasoline on the fire when you demonize people whose positions are appalling to you because you think they’re demonizing people. It doesn’t add up.



Message of ‘Echoes of the Great War’ can help to prevent war

by Lisa Graas on July 23, 2014


Via Father Z.

Catholic News Service offers a video marking the anniversary of The Great War (World War One) that you should watch. It is less than 20 minutes long, entitled “1914-2014: Echoes of the Great War.” Having watched it, I think the message is one that can prevent unjust war if we all take it to heart. Too many today think of disagreeable speech as “war.” Speech is not war. Only war is war. In order to prevent unjust war, it is necessary to know history and it is necessary to maintain free speech. By “free speech” I refer to the ability of people to freely express their views, even if they are unpopular. If people grow so frustrated with disagreement that they punish disagreement, they are engaged in the precursor to war. This is even more dangerous when the state does so, for the state has a police force that, ultimately, uses the gun to enforce the law. With the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, the idea of disagreement through speech gave way, within the mind of their assassin, to violence. It was the same with the response to that assassination. Blogs are not “war.” Speeches are not “war.” Only war is war, and we must do what we can with our speech to prevent it. We must also spiritually discern the big picture, which includes knowing history and human nature, and not grasp at straws. We do well, too, to understand that people who engaged in wars of the past were not less intelligent nor less well-intentioned than we are, and we do well to understand that wars can break out and catch us up in them quite unexpectedly. No one is exempted from duty to prevent unjust war. Having said all of this, war is sometimes just and necessary. When it is just and necessary, it should be supported. This was pointed out by Pope Benedict XV and in this video.

Under Obama’s ‘LGBT’ executive order, the Church must choose Jesus or Barabbas

by Lisa Graas on July 23, 2014


At Aleteia, Steve Weatherbe sums up the bishops’ reaction to President Obama’s ‘LGBT’ executive order. In the legal sense, there is a core problem, and here it is.


The issue…is whether Christian pastoral agencies will be forced to either give up all federally-funded work or be forced to hire practicing homosexuals.


Because this is the choice the Church faces, the response should be for the Church to give up all federally-funded work. In a nutshell, the Church must decide whether to choose Jesus or Barabbas.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall at the USCCB discussions on this? The jobs of many laity at the USCCB are on the line here, because government grants keep many USCCB ministries running. Will they give up their jobs for Jesus? Or will they choose “freedom” for Barabbas?

Remember that Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we could be saved from God’s wrath, not so that we could be saved from Caesar’s wrath.

We’ll see, I suppose. Pray.

I’m sure there will be plenty of arguments at the USCCB in favor of Barabbas, even though his name won’t be mentioned. Again, pray.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama, who is ostensibly a Christian, took a “Pontius Pilate” position on moral issues during his 2008 presidential campaign. He said that whether unborn human life should be protected is a question that was “above my pay grade.” In signing the executive order that will force the Church to choose between Jesus and Barabbas, and given that if the Church chooses Jesus then there will be suffering for the Church, Obama appears to be completing his evolution as Pilate.


Rick Santorum ‘definitely considering’ another run for president

by Lisa Graas on July 23, 2014

Rick Santorum photo: Associated Press

Rick Santorum photo: Associated Press

Yes, Rick Santorum is “definitely considering” another run for president. He’s been saying this for months but several media outlets are reporting on this today, so I may as well mention it.


MECHANICSBURG — Rick Santorum is “definitely considering” another run for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, he said Tuesday in Mechanicsburg, but he won’t decide until after the 2014 election cycle.

The former Pennsylvania senator and 2012 GOP presidential candidate said he’ll decide “sometime next year,” and he’s not “doing anything inconsistent with running for president.”

If attendees of his book signing at Tremendous Life Books on North York Street listened to the content of his message, they might’ve been convinced he already was.

And if he were, the book he was there to sign, “Blue Collar Conservatives,” might’ve been considered the foundation of a platform.

In case you’re wondering if I have any “inside information,” the answer is no. He doesn’t ever say anything to me that he would not say in public, and generally his staff doesn’t either. What you see is what you get. I will say that there isn’t any such thing as “behind-the-scenes hand-wringing” with Rick Santorum or his staff. To the contrary, behind the scenes, remaining calm and hopeful about the future (and not just in the political context, but regarding life in general) seems to be the underlying theme for Santorum and the people around him. Santorum said, when he was asked in 2012 if he was “running” for president, “No, I”m not running. I’m walking.” That sums it up.

This atmosphere in the Santorum camp is a huge positive for me because hand-wringing has always been at least a minor part of my life, from time to time, due to my Bipolar Disorder. That’s why I call Shelley Ahlersmeyer, Santorum’s national grassroots coordinator, one of my favorite hand-holders. She has a huge obligation in her job, and has to juggle schedules, names of people, where people are, logistics surrounding events, etc., but she is always very calm about it. The Santorum Team never seems to get upset, in an anxious sort of way, about anything. It’s healing, and I happen to think America could use that kind of healing. They take everything in stride and don’t see anyone as an enemy. Rather, they see everyone as fellow Americans whom they hope will share this positive vision about the future. I know that sounds like a campaign commercial, but it’s the truth.

One final point. Rick Santorum was really robbed by the media in the 2012 election because his true identity was hidden and replaced with something they wanted people to believe about him. His message in Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works is really a testimony about who he is, as a political leader. Though all the issues are connected to each other in some way, which means that all of them rely on a core theme of the founding principles of our country, which will stand or fall together, his message is a blue collar message that is mainly economic because that’s what he knows and is most passionate about. He’s said to me more than once, in regard to that blue collar message: “It’s who I am.” That is a statement that should be taken to heart by anyone who wants to know who he is, because it’s the truth. If you read the book, objectively examine him as a person through his media appearances, and be honest with yourself about what you are hearing and seeing, I trust you will find that to be the case.

The bottom line is that no one should be left out of the picture when we discuss what is best for America. The politics of division (“war on women” and the driving of “phobia” rhetoric) is harmful to the country, but if we cling to our freedoms, and look out for the downtrodden at the same time, we will leave no one out. We will build a better country if we see our country as Americans joined together doing the right thing, as opposed to the message that we are just a bunch of groups and interests fighting against each other to gain power.

Again, maybe this all sounds like a campaign commercial, but if the truth sounds like lies to people, that is no reason to stop speaking the truth.




Cardinal Maradiaga says illegal child immigrants are being demonized

by Lisa Graas on July 23, 2014


Cardinal Maradiaga, president of Caritas International, says that “politicians” are demonizing children coming into the United States illegally in saying they bring the risk of disease. It is more than a little mind-blowing to hear an official of the Church, especially a Cardinal, say something so grossly contradictory to public health. It is not merely a political statement to warn of the danger of disease. It is the position of the medical community.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issues travel health alert notices due to the inherent health risks of travel, particularly to certain countries. Children being adopted from overseas are required to have medical exams, including screenings for serious diseases, in their country of origin before coming to the United States. These measures are taken in order to stop the spread of disease to children (and adults) in the United States.

Individual doctors are speaking out, not just “politicians.”

One News Now:

A physician questions if the Obama administration will be held accountable for its immigration policy that is illegal alien children to spread infectious diseases.

“This administration seems absolutely immune to the most lawless behavior that I’ve ever encountered in my life,” says Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a representative and past director of the Association Of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Vliet alleges the Obama administration is trying to hide the serious infectious diseases being discovered by healthcare professionals who are examining the illegal alien children being housed in detention facilities across the country.

Natural News:

All those illegal immigrant children being shipped into the U.S. right now by the federal government are bringing with them exotic diseases that threaten everyday Americans, suggests a board-certified otolaryngologist. Dr. Elaina George, who specializes in ear, nose and throat conditions, told Newsmax that illnesses ranging from the common cold to tuberculosis are spreading all across the country, and that the situation represents a serious public health threat.

As the alien invasion continues, children from south of the border are being shipped from detention centers in Texas and California to various locations throughout the country. Some are being transferred by bus, while others are being boarded onto commercial aircraft used by ordinary travelers who face exposure to unusual diseases that, prior to this event, were virtually non-existent in the U.S.

I want to support the Church on the issue of illegal immigration, but the messages that I am hearing are not rational and seem hypocritical. It would be rational for the Church to be honest about the health situation rather than to ignore it and claim that it is political and for purpose of demonizing children. This statement by Cardinal Maradiaga actually demonizes people who have reasonable concerns for public health, for the purpose of stopping the spread of serious disease.

It seems Cardinal Maradiaga is demonizing people by saying they are demonizing people. That seems hypocritical.

Hat-tip, Pewsitter.

Since the bishops have lost their political credibility; here is a video of slo-mo butterflies

by Lisa Graas on July 22, 2014


Conservatives are up in arms over the border. The bishops won’t get any outrage over Obama’s “LGBT” executive order from them. If they get any, it will be minimal. Since I have nothing to write about, here is a YouTube video of butterflies in slow-motion.

By the way, what would Rick Santorum say? He would say, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.” That’s a quote from St. Padre Pio, and it’s good advice.


Bishops: Executive order is flawed approach to discrimination

by Lisa Graas on July 22, 2014

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Washington D.C., Jul 21, 2014 / 04:47 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Leading U.S. bishops voiced strong criticism of an “unprecedented and extreme” new executive order, saying that it adds to discrimination problems rather than finding real solutions to them.

“In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination,” warned Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo.

“With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent,” they said in a July 21 statement.

“As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

Archbishop Lori is the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Malone chairs the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth.

The bishops responded to President Barack Obama signing a July 21 executive order prohibiting what was described as discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” The president signed the order after efforts to pass a similar bill – the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – in Congress had repeatedly failed.

Despite petitions from a wide variety of religious figures, the executive order did not include any religious exemption.

Concerns had been voiced by vague terms included in the proposed legislation, which did not define the phrases “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” As a result, religious groups are worried that they may be disqualified from federal contracts unless they affirm same-sex partnerships as marriages against the teachings of their faith and pay for employees’ transgender “transitions.”

The U.S. bishops are among those who have opposed the executive order, particularly due to its lack of a religious exemption. They have emphasized the important role of religious freedom in allowing faith communities to contribute to the good of society.

In their July 21 statement, Archbishop Lori and Bishop Malone emphasized that “the Church strongly opposes…unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination.”

However, they continued, the Church distinguishes between attraction and behavior. Catholic teaching opposes “sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman.”

The bishops cautioned that the “executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term ‘sexual orientation.’” This could result in exclusion from federal contracts for those employers whose policies include “moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.”

Furthermore, the federally unprecedented “gender identity” clause is based upon a false idea that “gender” is merely a social or psychological construct totally separated from notions of biological sex, they said.

In practice, this could result in problems of privacy and association, they added. “For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.”

Archbishop Lori and Bishop Malone pointed out that most states which have passed their own “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” statutes have included protections for religious employers, as did the U.S. Senate in its version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

“Indeed, all prior versions of ENDA had at least some religious liberty protections,” they said. “But the executive order is an anomaly in this regard, containing no religious liberty protections.”

“In this way, the order, which is fundamentally flawed in itself, also needlessly prefers conflict and exclusion over coexistence and cooperation,” they lamented.

Source: Catholic News Agency, published with permission.

Vandals burn Bibles, carve ‘Hail Satan’ at Arizona churches

by Lisa Graas on July 22, 2014

Pages of a Bible ripped out and burned at Mesa Baptist Church. Source: Fox 10 News

Pages of a Bible ripped out and burned at Mesa Baptist Church. Source: Fox 10 News

From Reuters, via

Arizona authorities are probing a series of arson fires at suburban Phoenix churches as possible hate crimes after an apparent arsonist set Bibles alight on church doorsteps, police said on Thursday.

Authorities said up to six small fires were touched off at four churches in Mesa, Arizona, since mid-May by burning the books, said police spokeswoman Sergeant Diana Williams. The fires caused only minimal damage.

In one instance, a pastor said the words “HAIL SATAN” were carved into a metal gate near one of the burned Bibles. Police have declined to confirm the details of that incident.

Three protestant churches were hit: one Baptist, one Lutheran, and one Christian.

We’re all in this together, folks. Read the Catholic bishops’ statement today on Barack Obama’s latest attack on religious freedom.

Jews are feeling it, too. Click here for one of the latest examples of anti-Semitism.

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! – Psalm 133:1


Robert George: Today Barack Obama declared war on the Catholic Church

by Lisa Graas on July 22, 2014

Robert P. George

Robert P. George

Robert George is Vice Chairman at United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He posted this status on Facebook this evening, along with a link to USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented And Extreme’ Executive Order.

Robert P. George:

I have, up till now, avoided the “war on this,” “war on that,” rhetoric. But now there is no avoiding it. Today Barack Obama declared war on the Catholic Church and people of other faiths who hold to traditional beliefs about marriage and sexual morality. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the situation in a statement responding to the executive order the President issued today. There is no way for religious people to defend themselves against being reduced to the status of second-class citizens except by electing to office, first in 2014 and then in 2016, men and women who will repeal this executive order and other governmental acts that undermine their religious freedom and rights of conscience. But that is only part of the picture. The reason that Catholics and other people of faith seek government contracts is to carry our their mission of serving people in need, orphans, the poor, refugees and the dispossessed, persons suffering from afflictions and addictions. It is the people who are served who are secondary victims of this war on conscience when faith-based providers are forced out—as Catholic Charities was forced out of providing adoption services in Massachusetts, Illinois, and the District of Columbia. We must defeat the enemies of conscience—at the ballot box—not only to protect our own freedom and that of our fellow citizens, but also to protect the interests of those served so well by faith-based institutions. This is a war we must win for their sake as well as our own.

USCCB Statement:

WASHINGTON–The bishop-Chairmen of two USCCB Committees responded with great concern to President Obama’s July 21 executive order to prohibit federal government contractors from what the Administration deems “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination and to forbid “gender identity” discrimination in the employment of federal employees. The problems the bishops identify in the order relate both to the flaws in its core prohibitions, and to its lack of religious freedom protection.

Two USCCB Chairmen – Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth – together issued the following statement.

Today’s executive order is unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed.

In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination. With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent. As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.

More specifically, the Church strongly opposes both unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman. But the executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term “sexual orientation.” As a result, even contractors that disregard sexual inclination in employment face the possibility of exclusion from federal contracting if their employment policies or practices reflect religious or moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. This is a problem not only of principle but of practice, as it will jeopardize the privacy and associational rights of both federal contractor employees and federal employees. For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.

In an attempt to avoid these needless conflicts, states that have passed “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” prohibitions have overwhelmingly included protections for religious employers. When the U.S. Senate, which is controlled by the President’s own party, passed the similar Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last year, it included religious liberty protections as well. Indeed, all prior versions of ENDA had at least some religious liberty protections. But the executive order is an anomaly in this regard, containing no religious liberty protections. In this way, the order, which is fundamentally flawed in itself, also needlessly prefers conflict and exclusion over coexistence and cooperation.

Regarding federal contractors, the Executive Order will take effect after rules to be promulgated by the Department of Labor implementing the Executive Order become final. Regarding federal employment, the Executive Order is effective immediately.

Visit this statement on the USCCB website.