Friday, March 20, 2009

Below is another clip from Australia's Cardinal Pell, courtesy of Catholic World News. Pell continues to graciously encourage things that modern society detests...the item below which really caught my eye is the bit on ad orientem worship, which means that the priest would stand with his back to the other words, he does not so much preside as head of a table, but rather leads a flock in a ritual sacrifice of worship to their God. It's ironic how many have called for a leveling of the clergy and laity, having the priest turn and face the congregation allegedly makes him more one with the people in some sense. Yet, in so doing the priest is becoming more prominent, sitting in a chair often right where the tabernacle belongs. It seems in taking away part of the priest's mystique and separateness they have made the priest a bigger attraction, forced to perform as he looks at the people. When the priest faces away, as leader of the sacrifice, the focus is more clearly upon God and not a man...I have heard many fault Catholic priests with the flippant aside, a priest is just a man like anybody else. I find the ad orientem posture far more conducive to theat thinking.
Cardinal Pell hopes for mandatory ad orientem worship, says Obama has ‘very slight curriculum vitae’
In a wide-ranging interview with the British Catholic Herald newspaper, Cardinal George Pell credited Pope John Paul II with preventing the Church in Australia from falling into a Dutch “ultra-liberalism’” and offered candid comments on a wide range of other issues, including the lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops of the Society of St. Pius X and the possible canonization of Pope Pius XII. Cardinal Pell also predicted that more accurate English translations of the Roman Missal will be implemented toward the end of 2010:

It's approved by the national hierarchies. The level of change now will be very small in comparison with the enormous changes that were foisted upon the people just after the Second Vatican Council. Undoubtedly there will be a small element which will try to resist them. I'm quite confident the overwhelming majority of Mass-going people will quickly learn to love them. The quality of the language there will emphasise that we're not talking to the bloke next door. We're worshipping the one true God. Not in old-fashioned, archaic language, but in beautiful, strong and appropriate language. I'm quite confident it will be successful.

Asked, “Where do you think the liturgical development is heading?” Cardinal Pell responded, “I don't know. I'm not a professional liturgist. I am keen that we strengthen the vertical dimension of the liturgy, if we can, in the popular understanding, so that it's very obviously not just community-centred, it's God-centred, it's an act of worship. I'm very sympathetic to that. I'm even sympathetic for the Canon of the Mass that the priest has his back to the people.” Asked, “As something obligatory?” he replied, “Yes. Now there's nothing like a consensus in favour of that at the moment. I think I would be in favour of it because it makes it patently clear that the priest is not the centre of the show, that this an act of worship of the one true God, and the people are joining with the priest for that.” Asked to comment on President Barack Obama, Cardinal Pell said:

[H]is record on life issues is very, very bad indeed. I'm still hoping against hope that he won't do the worst, that he won't bring in that Freedom of Choice Act. I wish him well, because so much rides on his decisions. But he's got a very slight curriculum vitae to be a president of the United States. He ran a brilliant campaign. I think he's an outstanding public orator. We've yet to see him really do anything that has significantly changed the situation for the better. But it's very early days yet. And he has inherited an appalling financial situation.

It's not that I look for things and ways to pile on Oh, Bama, they just keep coming to me. Beware of FOCA!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh, Bama fllippancy and foreign policy, according to Senik

A former Bush administration official has an op ed piece posted with RealClearPolitics.Com today.  Senik appears to be a self-confessed Neo-Con; a "school" which I constantly endeavor to separate myself with by a mental brick wall.  Senik is making an insider's comparison to the differences between the Obama Foreign Policy and the Bush Foreign Policy...aside from abysmal actions like the Mexico City Policy...Obama is making vast turnarounds from the goals, advances, and achievements of the last 8+ years.  Below are some of Senik's words.  I'll let you decide the validity of Obama's path v. Bush's path...

the Obama Administration’s attitude towards persecuted dissidents has been flippant [I embolden this to point out that, previously, I identified Obama's politics as 'Pragmatic-Flippancy.'] at best. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Beijing in February, she told her Chinese hosts that “Our pressing on [human rights] issues can't interfere on the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis." Translation: don’t think about standing in front of a tank anytime soon. While America’s economic dependence on China is undeniable given the profligate spending that we have indulged thanks to Beijing’s line of credit, voicing that reality out loud is destined to crush the spirit of the friends of liberty in the Far East. How many Tibetan monks will be able to take inspiration from the Declaration of Independence if they think it truthfully reads “all men are created equal ... but some hold hundreds of billions of dollars in American treasury bonds”?

The usually branding conscious Obama Administration has yet to give a label to their foreign policy. Given where its priorities seem to lie, let’s settle on the “Tyranny Agenda” for now.

The Obama Administration has struttingly declared its fealty to realism, the only foreign policy school of thought so insecure that it seeks validation in its name. Over the past decade, realists have come to define themselves in opposition to “overly idealistic” neoconservatives, but that sells a proud tradition short. Historically, realists have provided a valuable service to the foreign policy community by relying on steely-eyed analysis and a focus on the national interest to cut to the quick of even the most vexing national security issues. But the diluted progeny of those realists past have polluted the legacy of their forebears. Steely-eyed analysis has given way to clammy-handed diplomacy. And the national interest has been supplanted by the least offensive consensus.

Thus, the Obama realists will have none of this dunderheaded democracy talk. Sophisticated nations, after all, thrive by starving the universal hunger for liberty and gorging the bloated enemies of freedom. At least, that’s the only intelligible way to understand President Obama’s foreign policy.

explain a presidential offer to barter away the missile defense of Eastern Europe’s young democracies in exchange for Russian efforts to slow Iran’s development of nuclear weapons? Were Obama’s offer tied to any tangible outcomes it could perhaps be justified on the coldest of realist grounds: between your security and ours, ours comes first. But a promise to talk, even if fulfilled, doesn’t disarm warheads. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My diocese is to close centenary churches by the dozens

For any who do not know, Cleveland is now home. Within the next 15 month something like 50 churches are set to be closed. Many of these churches are over 100 years old and are of museum quality...something you would not be surprised to see in Europe.

I recognize the given reasons for their closing...lack of priests, lack of money, and a basic lack of persons in the pews on any day of the week.

Over the years, I have come across many arguments on the importance of beauty in the life of man. Many people claim that good art uplifts mankind. I have even heard the argument that, in the end, it is beauty which will convert this earth to faith in God.

I have no sense of loss, shame, or remorse when a novel architectural sham of a round church is converted to a green house, parking lot, or trash depot. I cringe when I see some the truly magnificent churches of Cleveland on the verge of auction, emptiness, and/or leveling.

I'm very curious to hear from others: what role does art and beauty, particularly beautiful architecture, have in the day to day life of man? What role should art have in our daily lives? What does decidedly ugly architecture do to mankind?

Illinois' chief Clergyman pushes Oh, Bama for the Conscience Clause

Below is a clip from the Catholic World News daily headlines. Cardinal George, I thought, came to Chicago with much hype but has not always seemed to deliver as I had initially expected. On the conscience clause, however, he is right on. The word "despot" is certainly not one you just want to throw around! But if the president and legislature do away with conscience protections for nurses and doctors, and a bill like FOCA or even the allowance of hospital requirements that make the usefulness of FOCA moot-then a tyrannical despotism...that is, unjust illicit total control of a citizen's moral decisions...will be the fitting description of Obama.

Cardinal George warns US heading toward despotism, urges Catholics to lobby for conscience protection
Warning that the Obama administration’s proposed removal of conscience-protection regulations for health care workers “would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism,” Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Catholics to contact the Department of Health and Human Services before the administration makes its final decision. “We therefore need legal protection for freedom of conscience and of religion-- including freedom for religious health care institutions to be true to themselves,” Cardinal George said. He added:

Conscientious objection against many actions is a part of our life. We have a conscientious objection against war for those who cannot fight, even though it’s good to defend your country. We have a conscientious objection for doctors against being involved in administering the death penalty. Why shouldn’t our government and our legal system permit conscientious objection to a morally bad action, the killing of babies in their mother’s womb? People understand what really happens in an abortion and in related procedures—a living member of the human family is killed—that’s what it’s all about—and no one should be forced by the government to act as though he or she were blind to this reality. I ask you please to let the government know that you want conscience protections to remain strongly in place. In particular, let the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington know that you stand for the protection of conscience, especially now for those who provide the health care services so necessary for a good society.