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Poll: Two-thirds of Kentuckians just rained on Rand Paul’s presidential parade

by Lisa Graas on September 2, 2014

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Some of you may not yet have heard that Kentucky law prohibits candidates from running in two races simultaneously. Because Rand Paul is up for re-election in 2016, he will have to choose between running for president in 2016 and running for re-election to the Senate. According to a new poll, two-thirds of Kentuckians are opposed to changing that law.

Kentucky.com:

Two-thirds of respondents did agree on one thing about the senator: They do not support changing Kentucky law to allow Paul to run for president and his Senate seat simultaneously in 2016.

As I understand it, Rand Paul legally can:

(1) Run for re-election to the Senate here, without his name on Kentucky’s ballot for President, but put his name on the ballot for President in other states,

or

(2) Sacrifice his Senate seat to run for president.

That would be legal.

The problem for Rand Paul politically is that the first option is a bit too much of an intricacy in the law for most people to know much about off the top of their heads. There is no way to fully predict how voters would react once it sinks in, if he picks that first option, but it’s an easy guess that Kentuckians wouldn’t take kindly to it.

The poll shows his favorable rating here in Kentucky is 7 points higher than his unfavorable rating. It’s not bad, but it’s nothing to brag about, either. I seriously doubt that people would go to the polls here to vote to re-elect him to the U.S. Senate if he were running for president in the other 49 states. He would most likely lose that election, particularly considering that he would have to remain focused on his presidential race in other states. He wouldn’t have time to campaign here and it would be an easy win in this state for a primary opponent or, in the absence of a primary opponent, the Democratic opponent in the general election.

Is Rand Paul willing to forfeit both Kentucky’s electoral votes in the presidential election and the Senate seat, to the Democrats, just to obtain more power for himself? My guess is, yes. He’s that arrogant.

Just a guess, mind you.

Faith is rooted in God – not human approval, Pope Francis says

by Lisa Graas on September 1, 2014

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Vatican City, Sep 1, 2014 / 10:32 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Faith is not founded upon human wisdom, but on the power of God, as made manifest in the Gospel. This was one of the main themes of Pope Francis’ homily on Monday morning, resuming daily Mass at the Santa Marta residence following the summer holidays.

Addressing the congregation, the Pope said that we do not read the Gospel simply to learn, but to find Jesus. This is “because Jesus is truly in His Word, in His Gospel.”

One ought to receive the Word “as one receives Christ: that is, with an open heart, with a humble heart, with the spirit of the Beatitudes, because Jesus came in this way, in humility. He came in poverty. He came with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.”

“The Word of God is Jesus,” the Pope said, adding that Jesus “is a source of scandal. The Cross of Christ scandalizes.”

“This is the strength of the Word of God: Jesus Christ, the Lord. And how must we receive the Word of God? As one receives Christ Jesus. The Church tells us that Jesus is present in Scripture, in His Word.”

Jesus is power, the Holy Father said. “He is the Word of God because He is anointed by the Holy Spirit. Also, if we want to listen to and receive the Word of God, we must pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for this anointing of the heart, which is the anointing of the Beatitudes. Such a heart is the heart of the Beatitudes.”

Reflecting on the first reading of the day, Pope Francis cited Saint Paul, saying: “But, I did come among you to persuade you with arguments, with words, or to make a good impression…No. I came in a different way, with a different style. I came to manifest the Spirit and His power.”

“Because your faith has not been founded upon human wisdom, but upon the power of God. So, the Word of God is something else, something that is not equal to a human word, to a wise word, to a scientific word, to a philosophical word…no: it is something else. It comes in a different way.”

This is what happens when Jesus comments on the Scriptures in the Synagogue at Nazareth, Pope Francis said. At first, the people of Nazareth admired him for his words, but then became angry and sought to kill him.

“They went from one side to the other,” he continued, “because the Word of God is something different from the human word.”

The Pope went on to encourage the faithful to read the word of God daily, even suggesting that they purchase a small pocket-sized Gospel to carry with them.

“We would do well today, throughout the day, to ask ourselves: ‘Yet, how do I receive the Word of God?” Do we receive the Word of God because the priest presents it in a way that is interesting, Pope Francis said, or “simply because it is the living Jesus, His Word?”

“We would do well (to ask) these two questions,” he said. “The Lord helps us.”

Source: Catholic News Agency, published with permission.

The Gordian Knot in Cuba

by Lisa Graas on September 1, 2014

Suffering

At the Miami Herald, we see that the Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba has some harsh words about the communist government of Cuba.

In an unusual gesture for a member high in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy in Cuba, the Apostolic nuncio Bruno Musaro spoke openly about Cuba’s “extreme poverty and human and civil degradation.”

[...]

The Cuban people are “victims of a socialist dictatorship that has kept them subjugated for the past 56 years,” Musaro said, according to the Italian newspaper, Lecce News24.

“I’m thankful to the pope for inviting me to this island, and I hope to leave once that the socialist regime has disappeared indefinitely,” said Musaro, a Vatican ambassador living in Cuba since 2011. “Only liberty can bring hope to the Cuban people,” he said.

It is noteworthy that he didn’t say this on Cuban soil.

Musaro made his controversial remarks while on vacation in Italy after holding a Mass in the San Pio de Pietrelcina park, in the Italian municipality of Vignacastrisi.

Unfortunately, his “solution” is not the Cross, but escape from the Cross. Hence, he offers a Gordian Knot situation.

The Italian newspaper said his remarks were “a cry for help, a call to the weapons of conscience and common sense” made by the diplomatic envoy from the Holy See, who also said regarding Cubans, “The only hope for a better life is to escape the island.”

The only hope for a better life is to escape the island? Where to? America, I suppose. Why is America better than the Cross of Jesus Christ?

Are Cubans too simple-minded to hear about the Gospel? I don’t think so.

 

Santorum’s Immigration Policy: Enough to win the election in 2016?

by Lisa Graas on September 1, 2014

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Over at VDARE.com, Rick Santorum’s bold immigration stance, to limit both illegal and legal immigration to help the American worker, has earned some attention. Perhaps others will take note.

Rick Santorum, a once and potentially future candidate for president, spoke at the Family Leadership Summit, Ames, Iowa, August 10, 2014.

 

In the YouTube clip below, Rick Santorum actually talks about the damage done to American workers by immigration. He calls for lower legal immigration. He talks about the Great Wave of immigration in the past, and how it was stopped by the Immigration Act of 1924, which he does not condemn.

 

Talking about the fact that his grandfather immigrated in 1923, and his father had to wait until 1930 for family reunification, because there were quotas, Santorum doesn’t say we shouldn’t do things like that—he just reports that his father said: “America was worth the wait.”

I tend to agree with this assessment:

And it’s also enough to win an election in 2016.

Please do watch the video at VDARE.com.

‘I don’t hate gays but…’

by Lisa Graas on September 1, 2014

The New Civil Rights Movement is continuing to try to convince people that opposition to a particular behavior (in this case, sodomy), is “hatred.” I’m not sure how we can make this more simple, but let’s try. I assume the folks at NCRM are against ISIS beheading children in Iraq. Does this mean they hate the men of ISIS who are doing the beheading? Maybe. Maybe it does. If they cannot separate in their minds the behavior from the humanity of the person committing it, maybe they do hate the human beings who are beheading children in the name of Allah. I don’t. I don’t hate the people who are beheading children. I hate what they are doing. This is not rocket science, in regard to understanding the difference between hating people and behaviors. Further, it is the duty of every Christian to love everyone, despite the bad things that people do. This is BASIC Christianity. To say that it can only be “bigotry” to hate a behavior is simple-minded.

Below is NCRM’s simple-minded characterization of the Christian position. I’ll respond to each point.

I don’t hate gays but… I don’t think they should be allowed to marry.

Marriage is the state’s recognition of the celebration of the union of man and woman. Change that definition to something other than “man and woman” and you destroy the state’s celebration of the union of man and woman. It ceases to exist as a reality. “Gay marriage” is anti-marriage in the sense that it claims that the state’s celebration of, and honor for, the union of man and woman robs society of something. If upholding a particular thing as good is automatically bad, then we are left with the hopeless situation of never being able to uphold any good. This is the foundational argument of the “gay rights” community, that it is automatically “bad” for the state to promote a behavior as “good,” therefore the thing that most people consider to be a “bad” thing must be called “good” by the state, else there is “inequality.” This is completely irrational. If “marriage” can mean anything, then it means nothing at all.

I don’t hate gays but… I don’t think they should be able to adopt.

The effect of “gay marriage” on children is to rob children of the right to a relationship with a mom and a dad. It cuts me to the heart to think of orphans in foster homes being robbed of the hope of having a mom and a dad. “Gay rights” activists seem to consider that kids have no rights when it comes to adoption by a mom and a dad. Kids who want a mom and a dad are told that this is an abnormal desire. How hypocritical of the “gay rights” community to tell kids that their natural desire for a mom and a dad is abnormal, or “hateful,” while claiming that we are hateful to say that their homosexual desires are abnormal. Kids should not have their hopes and dreams stepped on in this manner.

I don’t hate gays but… I don’t think school children should know they exist.

Many parents homeschool their kids because they don’t want their kids to be indoctrinated by public schools that a bad behavior is actually a good behavior. The “gay rights” movement wants to drive a wedge between parents and their children by indoctrinating kids against traditional values in the classroom. “Since 1999, the number of children who are being homeschooled has increased by 75%.” Part of the reason for the explosive growth in homeschooling is due to this type of indoctrination and the erosion of parental rights in education. I homeschool my children due to the indoctrination in our own local public school.

I don’t hate gays but… I don’t think they should receive healthcare benefits for their partners.

In like manner, I don’t receive health benefits through my brother’s employment. This does not mean that people hate people who have siblings.

I don’t hate gays but… I think an employer should be able to fire him if he finds out.

“Finding out” is one thing. Forcing an employer to acknowledge and accept the behavior as a “good” or “normal” thing is quite another. I doubt employers in general care about what goes on in your bedroom. No employer has ever asked me that question. I am personally celibate. If I demanded that an employer acknowledge and approve publicly of my celibacy, I think he’d rightly be creeped out by me and want to fire me. He would probably come up with some other excuse to fire me because it’s creepy in and of itself to make a federal case out of someone’s bedroom behavior.

I don’t hate gays but… I don’t think religious people should have to serve them.

This is a reference to participating in a “gay wedding.” If I do that, it’s a sin. You’re saying the government should compel me by use of force to commit a sin. If that happens, it’s not a free country for Christians because it would mean Christians would have to choose between obedience to God and obedience to the state. I’d choose God, by the way.

I don’t hate gays but…I think they should remain celibate.

Celibacy is great! I’m celibate and love it. Having said that, no one is asking for state-mandated celibacy.

I don’t hate gays but… I think they should stay in the closet.

Homosexual acts make me vomit. Yes, it’s true. I don’t want you to do that in front of me. It makes me puke.

And ya know what?  This. Because it is natural to vomit when you see a homosexual act.

everyone_thinking

 

Rick Santorum: Jihadists use different names, but their goals are the same

by Lisa Graas on August 31, 2014

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Rick Santorum has written an op-ed at philly.com about radical Islam: Face reality in the Mideast. Facing reality is always good advice, but particularly when so many lives are at stake. Let’s take a look at some key points in Santorum’s op-ed.

He writes:

It is painful beyond words to behold the bloodthirsty brutality of the jihadists in the Middle East right now. But perhaps even more disturbing is the sight of an American president unable or unwilling to accurately assess the magnitude of the threat to America and our allies, and taking hesitant, awkward, vacillating half-measures in response.

See Obama on IS: ‘No strategy’ remark reveals political truth, BBC. It is indeed heartbreaking.

The forces of radical Islam are on the move. In Syria, nearly 200,000 people are dead. Millions are on the run. In Iraq, the jihadists are slaughtering Muslims, Christians, and other minorities. In Gaza, the radicals have fired more than 4,000 rockets aimed at massacring Israeli civilians.

He didn’t even mention Boko Haram in Nigeria who have beheaded a 6-yr-old Christian child. They are being funded through Cairo, Egypt, by the way.

The jihadists may use different names (ISIS, Hamas, Islamic Jihad) and different tactics (rockets, tunnels, beheadings, crucifixions), but their goals are the same. Obliterate Israel. Topple our Arab allies. Establish an Islamic caliphate. Then launch a series of catastrophic attacks on the United States.

Rick Santorum has been saying for quite some time that neither previous administrations nor the current administration have had success because they misidentify the enemy. Here again he reminds us that it is futile to pretend that the enemy is under a certain name, like “ISIS,” or that the enemy is characterized by a tactic: terrorism. When we look at the goals of radical Islamists, we see the same things. The enemy is “the forces of radical Islam.” Not Islam in and of itself, mind you, but “the forces of radical Islam.” While the theologians among us should have the freedom to discuss whether Islam is an evil religion, in and of itself, governments have to take a more limited stance. That stance is to fight back against “the forces of radical Islam.”

In 2011, I warned that the president’s foolish and reckless Iraq policy – especially his inability to build an effective working relationship with the Iraqi leadership and his decision to precipitously withdraw all U.S. military forces by the end of that year – meant the United States would lose the war in Iraq, and create an environment into which other radical Islamic forces would be drawn. That now appears to be true.

Rick Santorum is by no means a prophet, but have you noticed that a lot of things that he has warned about have come true? One doesn’t have to be a prophet to understand the lessons of history and the workings of human nature. One only has to be schooled in these things. Lots of people are schooled on these things, and so lots of people could have predicted what Santorum predicted. The trouble is that many in the media have been schooled in revisionist history and many reject the basics of human nature, too. So, a lot of these warnings have fallen on deaf ears in order that their political agendas, that are not based in reality, will be satisfied.

Santorum offers seven recommendations for America’s security: Crush ISIS and prevent a caliphate; arm the Kurds; help the new Iraqi prime minister; stand with Israel; support our Arab friends; seal America’s southern border; turn up the heat on Iran.

So far, Barack Obama is failing miserably in all seven areas, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You’d be surprised at how quickly things could change for the better if he would do these seven things. Unfortunately, I do not hold out much hope because the president is following a political ideology that acts as an impediment to these things. It seems that he believes that if he does nothing, he cannot be blamed for any consequences, but the consequences of doing nothing are grave.

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God

by Lisa Graas on August 31, 2014

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In today’s readings, the prophet Jeremiah is feeling as though God has duped him because he had thought the life of a prophet might have been easier. Jeremiah has become an object of laughter and mocking, but though he must endure this mocking, he cannot endure the attempt to contain the burning fire within his heart.

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;
you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter;
everyone mocks me.

Whenever I speak, I must cry out,
violence and outrage is my message;
the word of the LORD has brought me
derision and reproach all the day.

I say to myself, I will not mention him,
I will speak in his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,
imprisoned in my bones;
I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.

This burning fire in the heart is attached to our thirst for God. In the Psalm, we read of King David’s thirst for God:

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

O God, you are my God whom I seek;
for you my flesh pines and my soul thirsts
like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

So it is that the faithful cannot deny what has become so dearly a part of us. The burning fire of God’s love in the heart and the soul’s thirst for God is satisfied only by more of God in our lives. When we are mocked by those who seek to humiliate us, to bring us into subjection to their will, we continue to cling to our Lord, for we cannot endure life without Him. Because He alone satisfies us, we thirst for Him. Because He alone loves us with perfect love, our hearts burn within us so that we cannot contain it.

This is what makes us less worldly, though we are in the world. This state of being less worldly does seem to set us apart from those among us who are clinging to the world and have no thirst for God in their souls. This subjects us to ridicule, such as Jeremiah experienced, but because God humbled Himself to become a member of mankind, as Jesus uniting Himself with mankind in the flesh, and because His Flesh was nailed to the Cross as the Sacrificial Lamb for our redemption, our own flesh is crucified with His, and our sufferings have become redemptive through Him.

So it is that in the Letter to the Romans, from today’s readings, St. Paul says:

I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age
but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
that you may discern what is the will of God,
what is good and pleasing and perfect.

Of course, as Christians, we don’t want anyone to suffer, but we must recall that it is not God who makes us suffer, but Satan. In His goodness, God has made our sufferings redemptive through His own suffering in Christ on the Cross. It is only this way that we can become what God desires for us, so when we deny the role of suffering, when we believe that to suffer is a “bad” thing rather than a means to our becoming saints, we are in league with Satan.

So it is that when St. Peter, the first pope, said to Jesus in today’s Gospel that Jesus should not suffer, Jesus replied to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan.”

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?

Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

Sometimes we bring sufferings on ourselves through bad conduct. A person who abuses drugs will endure the consequences of suffering that come from that, for example. Our role as Christians should be to alleviate suffering, but to understand that suffering has its role in our redemption and in the redemption of the world. He who suffers in innocence is, through the Incarnation, suffering along with Jesus on the Cross.

There are a lot of people who wish to think “as human beings do,” in the words of Jesus. They think that the worst thing that could happen is that someone should suffer. Like St. Peter in today’s Gospel reading, they cannot fathom the idea that suffering has some kind of value. Some wish to blame God for suffering. Others have no real answers for people who suffer and who wonder what God’s plan is in the midst of it. The truth is that Satan wishes us to suffer and he wishes us to think there is no value in that suffering. This is the hopelessness that Satan seeks us to embrace. When we embrace Jesus in His Cross, when we suffer, our hearts burn and our souls thirst for more of Him, for in His Cross is our redemption. In God alone is our hope

Not everyone will be so saintly as to see that to suffer is to know more the love of Jesus, because it is in His Cross and our participation in it that grace flows to us and to the world. St. Gemma, a Passionist saint, is one of the few who lived this in fullness. Until we can offer up our sufferings with Jesus in this way, we will suffer from some level of hopelessness, and that hopelessness is what Satan desires for us. God’s grace enables us to reach this point. He will help each of us become what He desires for us to be. St. Gemma was just more open to that grace than most people are.

See Salvifici Doloris, on the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering, St. John Paul the Great.

 

Bishop Galantino Translation Problems?

by Lisa Graas on August 30, 2014

divorce

Divorce breaks families apart.

On August 28, I wrote that Bishop Galantino should be removed due to remarks that he made which undermine marriage. I based this on an August 27 report at Catholic World News that included his remarks.

“Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice,” said Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano all’Jonio, who was appointed secretary-general of the Italian episcopal conference by Pope Francis.

According to Italy’s ANSA news service, Bishop Galantino went on to say that when couples in irregular marital situations are excluded from the sacraments, it “is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination.”

The report at Catholic World News quotes an August 27 article at ANSA. At both Catholic World News and ANSA, it is being reported that Bishop Galantino said that exclusion from Holy Communion is “an unjustified price to pay” among divorced and remarried Catholics.

Yesterday, August 29, Catholic News Agency reported something completely different.

He [Bishop Galantino] discussed how people in irregular relationships can feel this discipline as “very severe, not inclusive” and even “punitive” towards “the difficulties of marital life” or towards their choice to break up a relationship.

“Often many people perceive the Church’s attitude as more severe than what it actually is, since they feel the fact they are not admitted to Sacraments as an exclusion from ecclesiastical life,” the bishop said.

He said that Catholics should recognize that some of the faithful are excessively harsh towards those in irregular relationships and they erroneously see the Church’s discipline “as an exclusion of their brothers and sisters.” He said that some of the faithful sometimes look at people in irregular relationships “with a glance full of prejudice, as if their faith and their belonging to the Church was compromised.”

“In addition to the burden of their non-admission to the sacraments, there is an unjustified de facto discrimination towards them, as an added price to pay.”

“Even these people are Christian faithful, so they are part of the Church and in the Eucharistic assembly they are and they must feel at home,” the bishop said.

At first glance, I thought that he had backtracked, but then I realized that Catholic News Agency is quoting from the same speech that ANSA and Catholic World News are reporting from. So which is it? Does Bishop Galantino want divorced and remarried Catholics to be admitted to Holy Communion? Or not?

 

ISIS threat to Pope: Reports come from anonymous Italian, Israeli intelligence sources

by Lisa Graas on August 30, 2014

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Is ISIS targeting Pope Francis? The Vatican says news of an ISIS threat to the pope “has no foundation.” Given that these reports come from anonymous sources, it seems wise for the Vatican to downplay them, generally speaking, as unfounded rumors. Still, it does no harm to take a look at what is being reported.

Il Tempo, via Google Translate, edited to correct grammar.

Italy is the springboard of the mujahideen and the continual arrivals of immigrants serve as a basis for sorting the jihadists in the West. Our country [Italy] also has underestimated the presence of veterans of the war in Bosnia, who have never ceased to convey the jihadist message, even from prison, and who are now close to Isis. This is what Italian intelligence sources reveal.

 

The group of Islamic fundamentalists, led by Al-Baghdadi, also plans to raise the level of confrontation by hitting Europe and even Italy. In particular, Israeli sources believe that Pope Francis is also in the cross hairs of Isis [as he is] the greatest exponent of the Christian religion, [considered to be] the “bearer of false truth.”

That may not do much for Israeli-Catholic relations, but consider again that these are anonymous sources. They have to be treated as the Vatican has treated them, which is that they are unfounded rumors. Having said that, anyone who does not believe ISIS would target the Pope, especially given his recent remarks supporting the use of force against ISIS, must be living under a rock. Also, it is true that there has been a great deal of immigration into Italy from Muslim countries. This is not to suggest that Muslim immigration in and of itself would bring a terrorist attack, but the flow suggests a risk of terrorists slipping through.

In short, the reports should be downplayed, but the threat exists in some form and we should pray for the safety of Pope Francis and for all those who are near him geographically.

 

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