Daily Archives: May 14, 2009

Thank you, Fr. Jenkins and President Obama

You know, a few months ago, people were talking about how the pro-life movement needed “new strategy”, “reorganization,” etc. (some still are).

Whether one sees the Notre Dame Commencement controversy as primarily a “pro-life” issue or primarily a “Catholic identity” issue, it is definitely a “perfect storm.”

While the Left may try to dismiss the number of bishops who have spoken out, it is unprecedented, in my memory at least, to have so many bishops speaking so loudly for the cause of life.

Remember: one of the main reasons for the crisis in the Church over the past 40+ years has been the reluctance of many bishops to truly take a stand for anything too controversial.

Now, they’ll try to tell you that pacifism is “controversial” or that fighting for so-called “universal health care” is controversial, but not in the same way. The causes that liberals like to endorse are obvious “feel good” causses. But the basic approach of the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II” Catholics is to make everyone feel good, so long as the pews and collection baskets are filled.

And don’t forget federal funding for Catholic colleges and schools or for Catholic Charities. Water down the faith at those institutions as much as it takes to get the cash. That’s been the mode of operations for 40 years, and very few bishops have stood against the grain.

In the 1980’s, John Cardinal O’Connor and Bishop Thomas Welsh were just about it.

Then came Fabian Bruskewitz and John Keating. As the 90s progressed, we started seeing more of what were called “John Paul” bishops and archbishops: Eldin Curtiss, Charles Chaput, Francis George, John Francis Donoghue, etc. (Though they should probably be called “Agostino Cacciavillan Bishops”).

But, even on the more liberal causes where the US bishops are notorious for speaking out, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of quite so many bishops being outspoken as on Notre Dame.

This is a factor of several things. One, of course, is how the blogosphere has changed social discourse. Another is, as I’ve noted many times, how Pope Benedict has so obviously favored Archbishop Raymond Burke, and I sense that many bishops are simply reading “the signs of the times.”

However, all of this has been catalyzed by the current president, and especially by Notre Dame’s invitation.

But this has also brought a great unity to the pro-life movement. Fr. Frank Pavone, Norma McCorvey, Alan Keyes, and Randall Terry are among the “big names” converging on South Bend this weekend. Any one of them, even the rather imprudent Mr. Terry, would have been a far better graduation speaker for a Catholic university than Barack Obama.

If John McCain were president, it would have been “business as usual.”

God brings good out of evil. It was in responding to Malthus and Sanger that the Church gave us NFP. It was in responding to feminism that the Church came to talk about the true dignity of women. It was in responding to denial of Transubstantiation in the Middle Ages that the Church gave us Eucharistic Adoration and the Feast of Corpus Christi.

_Roe v. Wade_ gave us the pro-life movement. Barack Obama has given the pro-life movement a new vigor.

“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers,” sang Garth Brooks, and there’s a lot of truth to that. We prayed for Bush to win the 2000 contest, and what happened? 8 years of complacency and no action. Pro-life leaders so desperate for a step in the right direction that they drooled over the “partial birth abortion” law, applauded Bush for funding embryonic stem cells if the cell lines were from embryos “that we already killed anyway,” that they applauded _Gonzalez v. Carhart_, a decision that upheld _Roe v. Wade_ and said abortino is a fundamental right. . . .

If McCain had won, it would have been more complacency, and I always figured that. I’ve said many times that, to effect real social change, there needs to be a drastic change in the party structure. I’ve always known it would take a Barack Obama to mobilize pro-lifers.

So, thank you, Fr. Jenkins!

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Year for Priests Indulgence

In March, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, announced that there would be a special “Year for Priests”, beginning on June 19, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is to honor the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Marie Vianney, the “Cure of Ars,” patron saint of parish priests.

Besides being just one of the coolest saints who ever lived, St. John Mary Vianney is very important around these parts.

First, his name is John Mary, so he’s kind of a joint patron saint for us. Plus, we got married around the time of his feast day, and, had it not been for the school schedule that year, we *would* have gotten married on his feastday (August 4).

St. John Vianney, like Sts. Catherine of Siena, “Don” John Bosco and “Padre” Pio of Pietrelcina, had the gift of reading souls (I’m never sure of the technical name for it). There is an account of a famous actress of his time who had heard of his reputation as a Confessor, and she made a pilgrimage to see him. She got off the carriage and began to approach him. The saint repelled.

“Madame,” he begged. “Please keep away from me. The stench of your soul is so foul I fear I may vomit.”

I once had a dream in which I went to confession to him. It was one of those very realistic, even tangible dreams.

Also, there is a family-related story about his parish church. My wife Mary’s grandfather grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. Grandfather Barrett had a neighbor with a very interesting life. I forget the sequence, but he both served in World War II and at some point his wife and children all died. The fellow served in France in World War II, and one of the towns he served in was Ars. They took refuge in the very parish church where John Vianney served. Survived very miraculously in the bombed-out Church . Found a rosary hanging there and began praying it every day.

After his wife and kids died, he went to St. Vincent’s Archabbey in Latrobe, becoming a lay brother and serving as the groundskeeper for many decades. When we visited St. Vincent’s during our engagement, we looked up his grave for Mary’s mom, and we have a picture of his tombstone somewhere.

Plus, St. John Vianney is often cited as one of the models for the bishop in Les Miserables (though the direct inspiration was a news story Victor Hugo read about a real life bishop who *did* let a parolee off of theft charges by saying he gave him the stolen items).

So ,the news today is that there will be a special plenary indulgence for this “year for priests” .

Here’s the text from Zenit, with some explanatory notes:

For the faithful, a plenary indulgence can be obtained on the opening and closing days of the Year for Priests [June 19, 2009 and, I presume, June 18, 2010], on the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean-Marie Vianney [August 4, 2009], on the first Thursday of the month, or on any other day established by the ordinaries [bishops] of particular places for the good of the faithful.
To obtain the indulgence the faithful must attend Mass in an oratory or Church and offer prayers to “Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal Priest, for the priests of the Church, or perform any good work to sanctify and mould them to his heart.”
The conditions for the faithful for earning a plenary indulgence are to have gone to confession and prayed for the intentions of the Pope.
The elderly, the sick, and all those who for any legitimate reason are unable to leave their homes may obtain the plenary indulgence if, with the intention of observing the usual three conditions as soon as they can, “on the days concerned, they pray for the sanctification of priests and offer their sickness and suffering to God through Mary, Queen of the Apostles.”
A partial indulgence is offered to the faithful when they repeat five times the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be, or any other duly approved prayer “in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to ask that priests maintain purity and sanctity of life.”

I am presuming that the partial indulgence is not dependent upon any day.

More on Fr. John Jenkins, CSC

I know what the usual suspects will say about this–“See–the Right Wing Extremists ™ are at it again! Trying to do everything they can to villify well-meaning Catholics!”

PewSitter.com and LifeSiteNews are reporting that Fr. John Jenkins, CSC, sits on the Board of Directors of Millennium Promise, a pro-contraception, pro-abortion “planning” organization:

A Millennium Villages handbook explains that “family planning and contraception services are critical to allow women to choose family size and birth spacing, to combat sexually transmitted infections, including HIV infection, and contribute to the reduction of maternal morbidity and mortality.”
It continues to explain that, “Services include: (1) Counseling; (2) Male and female condoms; (3) Pharmacologic contraceptives including oral, transdermal, intramuscular, and implanted methods; and (4) IUDs.”
The handbook continues with an encouragement for “safe” abortion: “In countries where abortion is legal, safe abortion services in controlled settings by skilled practitioners should be established.” (http://www.millenniumvillages.org/docs/MVP_Handbook_complete_18jun08.pdf page 92).
Fr. Jenkins has stated in the past that Notre Dame participates in the Millennium Villages Project via the Notre Dame Millennium Development Initiative (NDMDI). The efforts of the NDMDI focus on Uganda “where Notre Dame, through the Congregation of Holy Cross, has strong ties.”

Don’t believe it? Here’s the link to their Board of Directors page. Other board members include Jimmy Carter and Angelina Jolie.
Here are some of the Millennium Project’s Goals:
“GOAL 3 Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women”
Translation: Contraception
“GOAL 4 Reduce Child Mortality”, after birth, by reducing the number of children
“GOAL 5 Improve Maternal Health”: Reproductive Health: euphemism for abortion and contraception
“GOAL 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases” Combat HIV: with condoms

Here are the results of a site search for “contraception.”

Great piece from Creative Minority Report

“The E-word”: “Eugenics”; how those who advocate it are unwilling to admit that’s what they’re advocating

Here it comes: Say good-bye to your freedom

The Democrats are preparing their long-awaited “health care reform,” and are trying to pre-empt “Republican strategy” by saying their plan will emphasize “affordability and choice.” Yeah, right.

We already know that Obama favors health care rationing. Want to “fix” healthcare ? Get the government out of it altogether. Shut down the FDA.

Senators also are considering limiting — but not eliminating — the tax-free status of employer-provided health benefits.
Employer-provided health insurance technically is considered part of workers’ compensation, but unlike wages, it is not taxed. The forgone revenue to the federal government amounts to about $250 billion a year.
So even if they’re lucky enough to avoid going to the doctor or hospital, and never use their job-based health insurance, some Americans may find themselves paying taxes on at least part of its value.
. . .
[Max Baucus] also said that plans offering rich benefits — for example, no co-payments or deductibles — might be taxed once their value exceeded a yet-to-be-determined threshold.

So, as usual, the Democrats’ solution is not to raise everyone up but to tear down. They’ve gone from saying they want everyone “insured” to saying ,”If you have good insurance, we’re going to tax you for it.