Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Digest of Today's Posts (30 June 2009)

  • Pope Greets "Hope"?

  • The American Catholic on America's Founding

  • Deacon Keith Fournier: "What Truths Do We Still Hold?"
  • Labels:

    Pope Greets "Hope"?

    My friends at Darwin Catholic just forwarded me this sickening piece of propaganda from Catholic Democrats:

    June 30, 2009

    Media Contacts:
    Ph: 617-817-8617

    Catholic Democrats Announces "Pope Greets Hope" Campaign to Support July 10th Meeting Between President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI

    Thousands of Catholics Signing Letter of Solidarity at http://www.popeandpresident.org/

    Boston, Mass. - Catholic Democrats, a not-for-profit national organization advancing a public understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and its potential to help solve the challenges confronting out society, is announcing today a new Web site - http://www.popeandpresident.org/ - in support of the upcoming meeting between President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI on July 10th. The site invites Catholics to sign a Letter of Solidarity with the Pope and the President.

    The letter outlines the mutual efforts of the pope and the president on a broad range of pressing issues, including:

  • building true understanding among nations
  • eliminating nuclear weapons
  • promoting economic justice and reducing the poverty that diminishes the dignity and potential of people across the globe
  • working toward the common ground of promoting the sanctity of all life [ED.: This would be laughably funny if it weren't such a pathetic misstatement of this President's intentions and if real lives weren't being lost due to his policy preferences]
  • encouraging the world's great religions to greater dialogue and understanding, thus promoting peace and tolerance
  • and supporting programs and policies that preserve God's creation

  • "As Catholics in America, we are gratified that you, our Pontiff, and you, our President, recognize the opportunity before you now to promote the common good. [ED.: What? The Vatican (under this Pope and previous Popes) and previous presidents didn't recognize previous opportunites to promote the common good? Only "now" this is happening? Spin, spin, spin.] You inspire our hope and call us to personal and social responsibility to help make the world a better place for our human family. We pledge to work with both of you in this effort and we pray that your meeting will lead to a new quest to establish peace, promote freedom, and enhance the dignity of all humanity," reads the Letter of Solidarity.

    "By meeting in the early days of this new administration, President Obama and Pope Benedict have signaled their intent to embark on a productive collaboration," [ED.: That's a somewhat presumptuous statement regarding the Pope's intentions, is it not?] said Dr. Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats. "At a personal level, these two men share an expansive intellect and a love of learning. But the real story of this meeting is the extensive common ground shared by the Vatican and this White House [ED.: That's the "real story", huh? Or is that the spin you'd like to put on the story in order to gloss over the GLARING differences between the Church and the President on life issues?] on confronting issues ranging from the devastation of poverty due to the world economic crisis, to healing the planet and promoting peace."
    The president and the pope will meet on the afternoon of July 10th at the Vatican, following the G8 Economic Summit in L'Aquila, Italy.

    "When popes and presidents meet, great things can happen," said Steve Krueger, national director of Catholic Democrats. "Given the global issues before us today, arguably the most daunting in generations, as well as the anticipated papal encyclical on economic justice, this meeting takes on added significance. It presents an historic opportunity for these two pivotal leaders to provide a vision of the possibilities to address the world's challenges from the common ground they share, including the hope that shapes their lives. We urge people to join us in offering their prayers and support for the pope and the president."


    About Catholic Democrats
    Catholic Democrats is an association of state based groups representing a Catholic voice within the Democratic Party, and advancing a public understanding of the rich tradition of Catholic Social Teaching and its potential to help solve the broad range of problems confronting all Americans. For more information about Catholic Democrats please go to www.catholicdemocrats.org
    (emphasis and editorial commentary added)

    My Comments:
    And before the "tu quoque" games begin, I defy anyone to find a similar statement regarding the Pope's various meetings with the previous occumpant of the Oval Office (especially one equating George W. Bush with one of the cardinal/theological virtues ... much less designating him as the embodiment thereof) coming from a prominent group of Catholic conservatives.

    The Cranky Conservative offers his take here: "Shameless".

    UPDATE #2 (1 July 2009)
    My post on the subject at First Thoughts:
    President to Give Author of Spe Salvi Pointers on “Hope”
    (hat tip to Christine for the idea)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    President Obama to Visit Vatican

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    The American Catholic on America's Founding

    In anticipation of this weekend's 4th of July festivities, my friends at The American Catholic have a series of posts on the subject of America's founding:

    Read The Declaration on the Fourth

    Pope Benedict XVI & John Paul II on America’s founding

    Uncomfortable Thoughts on the Declaration

    The Omega Glory

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    Deacon Keith Fournier: "What Truths Do We Still Hold?"

    Deacon Keith Fournier writes at Catholic Online:
    ... Those courageous men were influenced by the great treasury brought to Western Civilization by the Christian Church. They believed there actually were truths to be held and that those truths are self evident. Those truths include the existence of unalienable rights which are given to all men and women by a Creator. They believed that those truths and those rights can be discerned by all men and women because they are revealed by the Natural Law which is written on all human hearts and is a participation in God’s law.

    The question which we need to ask ourselves in the United States of America as we come to the celebration of our Independence is a sobering one, What Truths do we Still Hold?

    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 I will join with leaders from throughout the United States who represent broad sectors of the Christian community. We will gather in Washington, D.C. Together we share a common belief in what the late CS Lewis called “Mere Christianity.” The term is sometimes misunderstood to mean a kind of lowest common denominator approach to Christian cooperation. Lewis actually meant the basic “kerygma” of the Gospel message which all orthodox Christians should hold in common. That is what I mean as well.

    On Tuesday we will come together as a “Freedom Federation” not to form any new organization but to stand together as Christians who are Americans and pledge, as did the founders of this Nation, our life our liberty and our sacred honor. At the top of our list of common areas wherein we will try to work together are these commitments to common action:

    “To secure the sanctity of human life by affirming the dignity of and right to life for the disabled, the ill, the aged, the poor, the disadvantaged, and for the unborn from the moment of conception. Every person is made in the image of God, and it is the responsibility and duty of all individuals and communities of faith to extend the hand of loving compassion to care for those in poverty and distress;

    "To secure our national interest in the institution of marriage and family by embracing the union of one man and one woman as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family; to secure the fundamental rights of parents to the care, custody, and control of their children regarding their upbringing and education.; To secure the free exercise of religion for all people, including the freedom to acknowledge God through our public institutions and other modes of public expression and the freedom of religious conscience without coercion by penalty or force of law.”


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    Monday, June 29, 2009

    Obama Adopts Bush Policy of Indefinite Detention

    For the Catholics who thought they were voting for "hope and change" (or, at least, who claimed to believe that's what we were getting):
    ... Obama has essentially endorsed the detention policies of George Bush without the courtesy of apologizing for slandering him over the last two and a half years. Obama and his allies screeched endlessly about indefinite detentions, and not just in Gitmo, either. They specifically railed against the holding of terrorists without access to civil courts in military detention facilities around the world, specifically Bagram, but in general as well. Not even six months into his term of office, Obama realized that Bush had it right all along.

    Did he even have the grace to admit that? No. Instead, the White House took the cowardly method of a late-Friday leak to let people know that Obama had adopted the Bush policy all over again. Barack Obama just appeared at a press conference this last Tuesday to discuss Iran, energy policy, and ObamaCare, where he could have told the national press that he had changed his mind on indefinite detention. Instead, he kept his mouth shut, and had his media staff whisper it into phones to a couple of White House favorites in the press.

    It’s a shameful performance, and the measure of the man in charge...

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    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (26 June 2009)

  • Yet Another Biden Gaffe: Calls Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine "Great Governor of New Jersey"

  • Gov. Palin: "John Kerry, why the long face?"

  • Catholic New Media Celebration Starts Today in San Antonio

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (25 June 2009))


    Yet Another Biden Gaffe: Calls Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine "Great Governor of New Jersey"

    What a maroon. Kaine also happens to be Biden's fellow Catholic Democrat and the Chairman of the Democrat National Committee. Fairly prominent figure for Biden, the smartest man in D.C., to have missed such a key fact.

    But it was Gov. Palin who allegedly wasn't ready to be Vice President?

    Because, you know, Holy Joe has done such a bang up job in the 2nd slot to date.

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    Gov. Palin: "John Kerry, why the long face?"

    LOL! Gov. Palin responds with humor to John Kerry's hateful "joke" about wishing she had gone missing:
    Senator John Kerry makes this joke..I don't know if you saw this...but he makes this joke saying "Well, shoot, of all the governors in the nation to disappear, too bad it couldn't have been that Governor from Alaska."

    Well, when he said it he looked quite frustrated, and he looked so sad, and I just wanted to reach out to the TV and say "John Kerry, why the long face?"


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Former Catholic Altar Boy John Kerry Says "Too Bad Sarah Palin Didn't Go Missing"

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    Catholic New Media Celebration Starts Today in San Antonio

    The 2nd annual Catholic New Media Celebration begins today down in San Antonio.

    Missed it by one week. I thought about staying over until this weekend in order to attend, but I think Sarah would've balked at being left for an entire week alone with the kids. Still, I wish I could be there in my favorite city.

    Hope all my friends in attendance have a great time. Be sure to head over to Mi Tierra in El Mercado for awesome margaritas, excellent food, and outstanding music (see below).

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    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (25 June 2009)

  • Farewell, Farrah

  • 15 Manly Smells

  • President Obama to Visit Vatican

  • Presidential Hypocrisy: "ObamaCare for Thee, But Not for Me and Mine"

  • Former Catholic Altar Boy John Kerry Says "Too Bad Sarah Palin Didn't Go Missing"
  • Labels:

    Farewell, Farrah

    Farrah Fawcett, a 1970s TV and modeling icon, a Texas native (from Corpus Christi), and a Roman Catholic, has died of cancer at the age of 62. She received the anointing of the sick shortly before she passed.

    She was my first movie-star crush. I would venture to guess that almost every young man of my generation had a copy of this iconic poster.

    Resquiescat in pace.

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    15 Manly Smells

    Courtesy of The Art of Manliness. An excellent list, which includes some topics we've discussed before here at Pro Ecclesia (and, for the record, I use Old Spice original scent).

    Hat tip to The Cranky Conservative, with whom I concur that cigar smoke, contrary to what the author of the piece linked above opines, is fairly close to pipe smoke in the category of manly smells.


    President Obama to Visit Vatican

    Chris Blosser has a good post on the subject at Catholics in the Public Square, in which he addresses the somewhat puzzling gloating of our old "friend" Michael Sean Winters over the prospect of this fairly routine visit by a head of state to the Vatican.

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    Presidential Hypocrisy: "ObamaCare for Thee, But Not for Me and Mine"

    Ed Morrissey reports at HotAir:
    Barack Obama got ABC to move their news division into the White House in order to make the big pitch for his egalitarian, everyone-gets-treated-equally ObamaCare push. Instead, Obama fumbled into a Michael Dukakis moment that exposed him as a hypocrite. ABC itself leads with Obama’s response that he wouldn’t stay within his own plan for his family:
    President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face...
    If ObamaCare isn’t good enough for Sasha, Malia, or Michelle, then it’s not good enough for America.


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    Former Catholic Altar Boy John Kerry Says "Too Bad Sarah Palin Didn't Go Missing"

    Stay classy, Lurch:
    The Bay State senator was telling a group of business and civic leaders in town at his invitation about the “bizarre’’ tale of how South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford had “disappeared for four days’’ and claimed to be hiking along the Appalachian Trail, but no one was really certain of his whereabouts.

    “Too bad,’’ Kerry said, “if a governor had to go missing it couldn’t have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin.’’
    Wishing Sarah Palin had gone missing, no doubt permanently. Hmmmm. Imagine the outcry, if you will, had the tables been turned and Gov. Palin said something like this: "Too bad, if Teresa Heinz had to lose a U.S. Senator husband in a tragic helecopter crash it couldn't have been the second one. You know, the one from Massachusetts."

    (Hat tip: HotAir)

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    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    Adopt a Catholic Member of Congress

    National group launches prayer campaign for ‘conversion of Catholic politicians’:
    MEDIA ADVISORY, June 22 /Christian Newswire -- In a spirit of hope and Christian charity, OneNationUnderGod is launching a yearlong prayer campaign specifically focused on the conversion of Catholic politicians to further foster a Culture of Life in our country.

    This effort will commence June 22, 2009 -- the feast day of St. Thomas More, whom Pope John Paul II proclaimed the patron saint of statesmen and politicians. A 16th-century English chancellor who refused to accept King Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England, St. Thomas More held a passion for the truth that enlightened his conscience and led him to know that, just as man must be one with God, so politics must be with morality.

    In the 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, John Paul II reiterates what the Catholic Church has always taught: that lawmakers have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that contradicts humanity's fundamental right to life.

    Months ago, we discovered that 50 percent of Catholic politicians serving in the 111th Congress have accepted large donations from pro-abortion lobby groups while reinforcing their support for abortion rights legislation. These elected officials are deeply confused about Catholic teaching on the morality of abortion.

    Catholic legislators who support abortion rights fail to recognize that legitimate social policy must be guided by absolute truth. Many of these legislators cite "primacy of conscience" to justify their support for abortion rights, embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia. However, a properly formed conscience recognizes the essential truth of Catholic teaching --that human life is sacred and inviolable from the moment of conception until natural death.

    Over the past few months, we contacted the bishops of these Catholic members of Congress, to shed light on their abortion rights voting records and the money they accepted from abortion lobbyists. We respectfully asked that they continue to minister to these lawmakers. Their spiritual direction gives invaluable insight to our Catholic legislators, reaffirming "that life is entrusted to man's responsibility."

    Through the spiritual gifts of our Catholic faith we invite you to join our Prayer Campaign for the Conversion of our Catholic Politicians who hold such great influence over the lives of the innocent.

    Specifically, we ask that you adopt a Catholic member of Congress and pledge a daily spiritual devotion for their enlightenment and for the continued inspiration of their bishop.

    Please go to our website to support this effort:

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    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (23 June 2009)

  • U.S. Bishops Praise Bishop D’Arcy in Wake of Notre Dame Scandal

  • Back from San Antonio
  • Labels:

    U.S. Bishops Praise Bishop D’Arcy in Wake of Notre Dame Scandal

    When my plane landed in San Antonio last Friday, I encountered several Catholic Bishops at the airport, which reminded me that the USCCB was holding its meeting in San Antonio last week.

    Among the items the Bishops took up at the meeting was the matter of pro-abortion politicians speaking at Catholic universities (specifically, Notre Dame's decision to invite Pres. Obama to speak at its graduation and to award him an honorary law degree). Not surprisingly, the USCCB decided to engage in a little "partisan politics":
    This makes it even harder for liberal Catholics to claim that the U.S. bishops who kept quiet about President Obama at Notre Dame represent a "silent majority" that's embarrassed by a minority of outspoken socially conservative bishops.

    At its General Assembly in San Antonio last week, the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops issued a statement applauding Bishop John D'Arcy—the Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind., bishop whose diocese includes the University of Notre Dame—for how he handled the school's invitation to Obama to deliver its commencement speech last month.

    After the invitation was made public, D'Arcy publicly blasted the university and boycotted Obama's appearance.

    This bishops just released this statement of solidarity with D'Arcy:
    The bishops of the United States express our appreciation and support for our brother bishop, the Most Reverend John D'Arcy. We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd.
    More from John Allen and from Whispers in the Loggia.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Catholic College Leaders Lobby Bishops to Withdraw 2004 Policy Banning Pro-Abortion Speakers [UPDATED]

    American Papist Issues Challenge to Left-Leaning Catholics: "No More Claiming US Bishops Are 'Partisan' on Abortion"

    Who's Really Playing a "Political Game" in the Notre Dame Imbroglio

    Of "Neo-Caths" and "Sharia Catholicism"

    Bishop D'Arcy Publicly Corrects President Jenkins' "Flawed Justification for His Actions" [UPDATED]

    Notre Dame's President Jenkins: "We Are Tremendously Proud" to be Acting in Defiance of the US Catholic Bishops

    Proof that the Group Calling Itself "Catholic Democrats" is More "Democrat" Than "Catholic" [UPDATED]

    Evansville Bishop Won't Attend Pro-Life Banquet with GOP's Steele as Speaker

    Bishop D'Arcy Speaks on Notre Dame and Obama; Bishop Will Not Attend Boycott Ceremony

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    Back from San Antonio

    I'm back in Ohio after a GREAT weekend in San Antonio. Here are a few photos of my trip:

    John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, TX

    Inside the John T. Floore Country Store in Helotes, TX

    Max Stalling was the opening act.

    Robert Earl Keen and the Robert Earl Keen Band

    Robert Earl Keen

    REK and me after the show.
    He was kind enough to take time to sign autographs
    and pose for photos with his fans.
    A genuinely nice guy.

    "Road Goes On Forever" 20th Anniversary
    commemorative T-shirt signed by REK

    "Road Goes on Forever" 20th Anniversary
    commemorative book signed by REK

    Mariachis at Mi Tierra in downtown San Antonio

    Floating the Rio Frio near Concan, TX

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    Monday, June 22, 2009

    A Man For All Seasons: Feast Day of St. Thomas More, 22 June

    “…it would be hard to find anyone who was more truly a man for all seasons and all men…”
    ~ Erasmus, 1521

    Today, 22 June, is the feast day of St. Thomas More, martyr and patron of lawyers, civil servants, politicians, statesmen, "difficult marriages" (and this blog).

    As he went to his death, ordered beheaded by Henry VIII for refusing to swear the Oath of Supremacy declaring the King head of the Church in England, More humbly stated that he would die "the King's good servant, and God's first."

    From the Patron Saints Index:

    Memorial: 22 June

    Profile: Studied at London and Oxford. Page for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lawyer. Twice married, father of one son and three daughters, and a devoted family man. Writer. Friend of King Henry VIII. Lord Chancellor of England, a position of power second only to the king. Opposed the king on the matter of royal divorce, and refused to swear the Oath of Supremacy which declared the king the head of the Church in England. Resigned the Chancellorship, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Martyred for his refusal to bend his religious beliefs to the king's political needs.

    Born: 1478 at London, England

    Died: beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England

    Canonized: 1935 by Pope Pius XI

    Patronage: adopted children, diocese of Arlington Virginia, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee Florida, politicians, politicos, statesmen, step-parents, widowers
    A Prayer to St. Thomas More:

    Thomas More, counselor of law and patron of statesmen, merry martyr and most human of saints:

    Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be able in argument, accurate in analysis, keen in study, correct in conclusion, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, trustworthy with confidences, courageous in court. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul.

    Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain -- their good servant, and God's first.


    "The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

    "What does it avail to know that there is a God, which you not only believe by Faith, but also know by reason: what does it avail that you know Him if you think little of Him?"

    "The things that we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labour for."

    ~ Saint Thomas More

    From the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:

    Thomas More, Knight, Lord Chancellor of England, author and martyr, Lay Franciscan

    Beheaded in 1535; head kept in the Roper Vault, Saint Dunstan's church, Canterbury, England; body at Saint Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London, England Beatified in 1886;

    Canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 as the "Martyr of the Papacy"

    Commemorated June 22, feast day formerly on July 6 (with fellow martyr, St. John Fisher)

    Patronage: adopted children, civil servants, court clerks, difficult marriages, large families, lawyers, politicians, statesmen, step-parents, widowers

    In art: English Lord Chancellor carrying a book; English Lord Chancellor carrying an axe

    SAINT THOMAS MORE, Martyr (1480-1535)

    Saint Thomas More, born in 1480, was the precocious and amiable son of an English magistrate. Very well educated and brilliant, when he was placed at the age of fifteen in the household of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he soon attracted the Archbishop's attention, and was sent by him to study at Oxford. He debated interiorly for a long time as to whether he should become a priest, but decided otherwise with the approbation of his director.

    The practice of civil law was not enough to absorb all his time or energy. The author of the famous satire "Utopia," wrote poetry while still young, in both English and Latin. He had completely mastered Latin, as he had also the Greek tongue, "by an instinct of genius," as one of his preceptors said. Saint Thomas in 1505 married a virtuous and beloved wife who, after bearing four children, three daughters and a son, died six years later. His second wife, older than himself, took excellent care of the household and of the children; but it was said she could not grasp the sense of her husband's subtle humor, which was a characteristic trait of his cheerful disposition.

    Saint Thomas came under suspicion by King Henry VII when he strove in the Parliament to reduce the burden of excessive taxes which the people bore, though he never spoke against the king. But his capacities were appreciated, and when Henry VII died, his 18-year-old son, who was to become Henry VIII in 1509, showed him great favor during the first twenty years of his reign. Saint Thomas was knighted in 1521, and was made Speaker of the House of Commons in 1523, High Steward of Cambridge University in 1525, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the same year. Nonetheless, the king's protege foresaw what could easily happen to anyone who did not agree with his sovereign; he said to his son-in-law in 1525, "If my head could win him a castle in France, it would not fail to go." In effect, when in 1530 the order was issued to the clergy to acknowledge Henry as "Supreme Head of the Church, insofar as the law of God would permit," Saint Thomas immediately resigned as Lord Chancellor.

    His resignation was not accepted. Two years later, in May 1532, after he had lost the royal favor on several counts — his reticence concerning the king's divorce, his non-attendance at the king's illegal marriage, and his formal non-recognition of any future children of Henry and Anne Bolyn as rightful heirs to the throne — he was permitted to retire. The king, the apostate Archbishop Cranmer, and Anne Bolyn were all excommunicated in that year.

    Saint Thomas lived in retirement from the age of 52, his revenues considerably diminished, and his health somewhat uncertain. When the king decided to require of the laity, as well as of the clergy, the oath supporting his alleged "supremacy," he wanted to obtain first of all the signature of Thomas More, to make of him an example. The Saint declined to sign the oath and thereby brought upon himself a sentence of incarceration in the Tower of London, and a short time afterwards, of death. He was beheaded in 1535, after having said, with his ordinary humor, that "he did not consider the severing of his head from his body as a circumstance that should produce any change in the disposition of his mind."

    Saint Thomas while in retirement continued to write a number of religious treatises of great value, including an unfinished one on the Passion. He was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and canonized by Pius XI in 1935, with Cardinal John Fisher, who was martyred like himself in the same year and for the same reasons. That year was the 400th anniversary of their death.

    "These things, good Lord, that we pray for, give us Thy grace to labor for." --Saint Thomas More.

    More on St. Thomas More at:

    Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, naming St. Thomas More the patron of politicians and statesmen

    Saint Thomas More - Open Directory Project (links to practically everything you'd want to know about St. Thomas More)
    Center for Thomas More Studies
    Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) - Luminarium
    St. Thomas More on The Franciscan Archive
    St. Thomas More on the Patron Saints Index
    The St. Thomas More Web Site
    Thomas More Online
    Sir Thomas More - Oregon State University Philosophy Dept.
    Thomas More Law Center
    Thomas More Society
    The St. Thomas More Society
    Amici Thomae Mori
    The Life of St. Thomas More by William Roper
    Saint Thomas More - The King's good servant but God's first! (The Angelus)
    "Thomas More For Our Season" by Judge Robert Bork
    Saint Thomas More: A Father for All Seasons - Essay on Thomas More as a model Christian father
    A Man For All Seasons (DVD available from Amazon.com)
    A Man For All Seasons Study Site
    Thomas More's England: A Guide Book (hat tip: Rich Leonardi)
    Chelsea Old Church - Sir Thomas More

    Prayer to St. Thomas More for Conversion of Pro-Abortion Politicians
    Litany of St. Thomas More, Martyr and Patron Saint of Statesmen, Politicians and Lawyers (pdf version here)
    Prayers of St. Thomas More (Psalm on Detachment; A Devout Prayer Before Dying)
    Novena to St. Thomas More

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    Friday, June 19, 2009

    Is Anybody Going to San Antone?

    Yep, me. Everyone have a great weekend and happy Father's Day!

    Texas Tornados, "Is Anybody Going to San Antone"

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    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (18 June 2009)

  • Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Disbands President’s Council on Bioethics

  • The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (17 June 2009))


    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Disbands President’s Council on Bioethics

    Joe Carter has the story at First Thoughts:
    Earlier this week, members of the President’s Council on Bioethics were told by the White House that their services were no longer needed. President Obama’s decision was made and implemented in his typical style—gracious, pragmatic, and imprudent. According to the New York Times, the council was disbanded because it was designed by the Bush administration to be “a philosophically leaning advisory group” that favored discussion over developing a shared consensus. The new bioethics commission appointed by Obama will have a new mandate to offer “practical policy options.”

    In other words, the Obama administration already knows where it stands on all those pesky moral issues like human cloning, chimeras, and euthanasia, and just needs a group to provide advice on how to implement its preferred policies. Whereas the previous councils wrestled with such questions as “What is the nature of human dignity?” the new one will most likely be addressing more practical policy options such as “How much should we pay women to harvest their eggs for cloning?”

    The previous councils appointed by President Bush were accused of being ideologically biased. And so they were. Most of the members appeared to have a bias in favor of dignity and against giving free reign to technological innovations that alter our identity as humans.* The new council, of course, will also be ideologically biased, though likely in a more narrow way that is in line with progressive bioethics. (To predict where the new council will stand you merely have to ask, “What would
    Art Caplan do?”)

    To the electoral victor goes the electoral spoils, so Obama’s disbanding is neither surprising nor unprecedented. It is, however, lamentable, if for no other reason than that they will no longer be producing rich, nuanced works of philosophical reflection. Bioethics commissions have been around since the mid-1970s but under Leon Kass and later Edmund Pellegrino the council created a new literary genre of government documents: pythonic guides to policy.

    [Read the whole thing]

    This Obama Culture of Death Update™ has been brought to you by Prof. Douglas Kmiec, Eric McFadden, all the fine folks at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good / Catholics United / Catholic Democrats, and countless other Catholics for whom "Hope" and "Change" trumped LIFE.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Advisor Says “It is Not Our Goal to Reduce the Number of Abortions” [UPDATED]

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Administration Now on Record That Promoting "Reproductive Health" Equals Promoting Abortion Abroad

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: President Lifts Ban on Federal ESCR Funding

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Obama Nominee for Deputy Sec. of State Says Taxpayers Constitutionally Obligated to Fund Abortion

    Moral Accountability . com

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Abortion Necessary to "Ensure Our Daughters Have the Same Rights and Opportunities As Our Sons"

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: "White House Web Site Becomes Pro-Abortion After Obama Takeover"

    Obama Culture of Death Update™: Among President Obama's First Official Acts is Promoting Abortion Abroad [UPDATED]

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    The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends

    Tomorrow, I am traveling to my home state of Texas to visit my best friend who lives in San Antonio. While I'm there, we'll be going to see one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Robert Earl Keen, in concert.

    Substantial cult following notwithstanding, Robert Earl Keen is not nearly as well known as he ought to be. Keen, who once shared a house with alternative country crooner Lyle Lovett while the two were at Texas A&M, has not met with the same mainstream recognition as his more famous college roommate (who, after all, has a failed marriage to an Oscar-winning actress on his resume). Instead, the unheralded but uniquely talented songwriter has had to settle for the status of Texas Music icon (which ain't a bad thing to have to "settle" for, especially when it means that a former Texas Governor and President of the United States is a big fan and it gets you a gig playing at his 2004 Presidential Inauguration).

    Keen, who has been referred to as "the godfather of Texas Music" (a title that arguably could be shared with such other singing/songwriting Texans as Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, and Jerry Jeff Walker), is enjoying an auspicious 2009. In addition to this fall's release of his new album, The Rose Hotel, Keen is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of his signature song, The Road Goes on Forever, which tells the story of the ill-fated romantic adventures of a modern-day-Bonnie-and-Clyde duo named Sherry and Sonny. The song strikes a chord with Keen's audience, and its appeal has led to recordings over the years by other artists such as Texas roots rocker Joe Ely and the country supergroup The Highwaymen (featuring Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and the late Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash). It's not surprising, then, that The Road's gala year is being commemorated with an anniversary tour, a new coffee-table-style book titled The Road Goes on Forever and the Music Never Ends, and a tribute album titled Undone: A MusicFest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen, which features some of the Texas music scene's hottest artists paying homage to their pioneering musical forefather.

    If you're not aware of Robert Earl Keen, or if you've heard of him but have never taken the opportunity to become more familiar with his amazing storytelling in song, this year may be the time you should take a listen. Although I've been a fan for many years, Friday will be the first time I've seen REK live, and I'm looking forward to it.

    More about Robert Earl Keen from the June 2009 issue of Texas Highways:
    One of the first things you notice about Robert Earl Keen is that he talks the way he writes. The balladeer—whose iconic song “The Road Goes On Forever” marks its 20th anniversary this year—is sitting under a tree outside The Zone recording studio in Dripping Springs, some 100 miles east of his home near Kerrville. The wind’s whipping, the sun’s shining, and he’s reflecting on life, how good it is, and about the good, big year he’s living. As he talks, he spins yarns in his innately cadenced way, unfurling narrative as he goes.

    The 53-year-old Houston native is indeed having a good year. The University of Texas Press recently published his book The Road Goes on Forever and the Music Never Ends. Keen’s creative team is working on a documentary called The Year of the Road, which features fans’ own tales about “The Road Goes On Forever” and the song’s effects on their lives. In January, he saw the release of a two-disc tribute album (Undone: A MusicFest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen), recorded live in Colorado by a slew of new-generation songwriters who revere his music. And the songwriter garnered what you might call a Grammy-by-association in February, when George Strait’s Troubadour—which includes a song written by Keen titled “West Texas Town”—won Best Country Album.

    Keen is excited about where the road has led him: the 2009 tour, the ink from major newspapers, the outpouring of love from fans, and the record he’s working on with powerhouse producer and musician Lloyd Maines, due out sometime this year. Despite all that, one of the things Keen enjoys talking about most is Texas.


    An early, acoustic performance of "The Road Goes On Forever"
    from circa 1990

    A more recent performance of "The Road Goes On Forever"
    from the 2008 NCAA Final Four

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Robert Earl Keen [UPDATED]

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    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (17 June 2009)

  • Catholic College Leaders Lobby Bishops to Withdraw 2004 Policy Banning Pro-Abortion Speakers [UPDATED]

  • Closed on Sunday

  • A Fanfare for the Common Man (a.k.a. the Regular Guy)

  • On Loving/Hating Ulysses

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (16 June 2009))


    Catholic College Leaders Lobby Bishops to Withdraw 2004 Policy Banning Pro-Abortion Speakers [UPDATED]

    (Hat tip: Catholic Online)

    LifeSiteNews reports:
    June 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In the wake of the Notre Dame commencement scandal, Catholic college leaders representing some of the worst violators of the U.S. bishops’ 2004 ban on honoring public opponents of fundamental Catholic teachings are lobbying the bishops to withdraw their policy.

    Yesterday the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), which represents more than 200 Catholic institutions, released its summer 2009 newsletter, including a report on the ACCU’s board of directors meeting last week. The ACCU directors concluded “that it would be desirable for the [U.S. bishops] to withdraw” their 2004 policy, according to the newsletter.
    [ED.: Since we can no longer get away with twisting the policy beyond recognition now that the Bishops have called us on the carpet, it would be desirable for the policy to be rescinded altogether so that we can get back to the business of toasting our pro-abort buddies without all the discomfort of episcopal scrutiny.]

    The policy in question is found in the U.S. bishops’ 2004 statement “Catholics in Political Life,” which reads in part:

    “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

    The bishops gather today in San Antonio, Texas, for their biannual meeting.

    “Why is it so hard for Catholic college leaders to understand that a Catholic institution does great harm when it honors or gives speaking platforms to those who work against core Catholic values?” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

    “The more than 367,000 people who signed The Cardinal Newman Society’s online petition and the scores of American bishops who publicly criticized Notre Dame’s honor for pro-abortion President Barack Obama clearly recognize that such actions by Catholic colleges are scandalous.”

    The ACCU leadership suggests moreover “that juridical expressions of bishops’ or universities’ responsibilities should be kept to a minimum” in order to maintain a good relationship between the bishops and educators.
    [ED.: The chutzpah of these charlatans posing as "Catholic" educators to tell the Bishops in no uncertain terms that they should mind their own business and quit telling these institutions how to be Catholic.]

    Reilly surmised that, in other words, Catholic colleges and universities would prefer that there are no clear rules to govern their conduct. He also pointed out that the statement implies that the educators believe that the bishops, and not college leaders, are responsible for tensions arising from scandalous activities on Catholic campuses.

    “Catholic colleges and universities would like all of the privileges of being Catholic, but none of the responsibilities of being high-profile witnesses for the fullness of the Catholic faith,” Reilly said.
    [ED.: Exactly.]

    Allowing for the possibility that the bishops might not agree to simply eliminate the 2004 ban, but might instead draft a new policy concerning Catholic honors and platforms, the ACCU’s directors proposed that the policy “should acknowledge more clearly the differing roles of campus authorities and bishops.” [ED.: Again, Bishops, you do your job, which, apparently, doesn't include enforcing Ex Corde Ecclesiae, and let us "Catholic" educators do our jobs, which, apparently, doesn't include doing anything particularly Catholic that might distinguish us from any other secular institution.] Reilly said that this phrase appears to be an attempt to get bishops to refrain from commenting on internal decisions at lay-controlled Catholic institutions.

    In May, ACCU President Richard Yanikoski told the South Bend Tribune that he saw a “degree of ambiguity” in the bishops’ 2004 policy. He claimed that the Church’s canon lawyers disagree whether the policy applies to speakers or honorees who are not Catholic, regardless of whether those individuals oppose Catholic teaching. Several bishops strongly rejected that same argument when it was made by Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C., to defend his decision to honor President Obama.
    (emphasis and editorial commentary added)

    Meanwhile, Archbishop Burke is working in the opposite direction to prevent a repeat of the Notre Dame scandal:
    VATICAN CITY, June 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Archbishop Raymond Burke, the highest ranking American prelate in the Vatican has given an interview in a Catholic magazine, in which he says that Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama was not only “profoundly shocking,” but also underscores a grave situation requiring action to ensure the incident is never repeated.

    Burke is the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest court of appeal in the Church next to the Pope, and an outspoken advocate for life and family values. He has made headlines repeatedly for his insistence that ministers of communion should deny the sacrament to publicly and obstinantely pro-abortion individuals, especially politicians. He told the Catholic periodical, Inside the Vatican, that a number of lessons must be taken from Notre Dame’s high-profile conferral of an honorary doctorate on Obama, the most aggressive pro-abortion president in American history.

    Burke said that the “betrayal of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame University” grew out of the danger of “pursuing a kind of prestige in the secular world, which leads to a betrayal of the sacred aspect of its work, namely the fidelity to Christ and His teaching.”
    [ED.: In other words, exactly what the Catholic educators above are seeking more autonomy from the Bishops in order to do more.]

    “So I think everybody now realizes the gravity of the situation. Also I believe that the whole situation has sensitized more people with regard to the gravity of the practice of procured abortion in our nation, that is, they realize even more how far we have gone away from God’s will for human life,” continued Burke.

    “That the premiere Catholic university in the United States would give an honorary doctorate of law to one of the most aggressive pro-abortion politicians in our history is profoundly shocking.”

    “Now, we cannot forget what has happened at Notre Dame,” said Burke. “We need to take the measures that are necessary so that this is not repeated in other places.
    [ED.: Amen. Hopefully, the U.S. Bishops will come away from their meeting with a policy that has even more teeth in it, contrary to the hopes and dreams of the prestige-seeking "Catholic" educators who would like this whole issue to just go away.] If it could happen at Notre Dame, where else could it happen?”

    (emphasis and editorial commentary added)

    UPDATE (18 June)
    At First Thoughts, Ryan Sayre Patrico puts it even more succinctly:
    Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities to USCCB: “Stop telling us what to do.”

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    Closed on Sunday

    Kudos to CatholicVote.org for this:
    ... starting this weekend CatholicVote.org will be closed on Sundays. You won’t be able to watch our videos, read our blog, or chat in our forums. In fact, you won’t even be able to donate to CatholicVote.org.

    Every Sunday our website will display this simple message: “Sorry, we’re closed on Sunday. Go to Church. Read a book. Take a walk. Call a friend. Celebrate life. See you tomorrow…” For a glimpse of our Sunday page – click here.

    In our hectic world, we at CatholicVote.org want to tell the world that Sunday is not simply just another day. As the Bible states: “The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the Lord,” (Exodus 31:15).

    A recent headline confirms the need for us to do something. The Annenberg Center for the Digital Future just announced that 28 percent of Americans interviewed last year said that they have been spending less time with members of their households. Only 11 percent said this in 2006. While the researchers in that study didn’t assign a culprit, they did note that the trend correlates with the rise in Internet usage and a boom in social networking websites.

    That’s why we’re encouraging people on Sunday to log off the Internet, Facebook and other sites. Of course, our Lord didn’t say ‘Thou Shalt Not Tweet on Sunday.’ But he did say, ‘Keep Holy the Sabbath.’ With this small step, we want to help reclaim the Lord’s Day as a day of worship and rest.

    Our decision may surprise some. But in many ways we believe this effort will be our most important initiative. By encouraging our visitors to avoid our site on Sunday, we hope to spark a movement across many sites on the Internet. Even a small movement to respect Sunday could have a profound impact on our culture. If you think about it, every effort to reform our country, our politics, and our culture begins with what we do on Sunday.

    The launch date of this new campaign is not coincidental. This new Sunday campaign is our way of honoring our Heavenly Father this Father's Day.

    Put Him first and He will take care of the rest.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    Family Time Eroding in US As Internet Use Soars

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    A Fanfare for the Common Man (a.k.a. the Regular Guy)

    One of our oldest blogging buddies, Regular Guy Paul, has tossed his hat in the ring for the Illinois General Assembly. Folks in Illinois' 62nd District, Paul is your man if you want a solidly conservative pro-life/pro-marriage candidate.

    Best of luck, Paul. And let us know if there is any way in which this blog can help out with your efforts.

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    On Loving/Hating Ulysses

    Yesterday was the 105th anniversary of Bloomsday - the fictional day in Edwardian Dublin described in James Joyce's Ulysses.

    Joe Carter of First Thoughts marked the occasion thusly: "Oh, How I Hate Ulysses (A Bloomsday Rant)".

    My concurring opinion, in which I confess (once again) my love/hate relationship with the novel is here: "RE: Hating Ulysses".

    See also from The Irish Independent: "A day to rejoyce for Ulysses fans ... But many say book is blooming hard to swallow".

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    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Digest of Today's Posts (16 June 2009)

  • Family Time Eroding in US As Internet Use Soars

  • Is “Reproductive Choice” Resulting in Fewer Girls Being Born in the U.S.?
  • Labels:

    Family Time Eroding in US As Internet Use Soars

    From USAToday:
    NEW YORK (AP) — Whether it's around the dinner table or just in front of the TV, U.S. families say they are spending less time together.

    The decline in family time coincides with a rise in Internet use and the popularity of social networks, though a new study stopped just short of assigning blame.

    The Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California is reporting this week that 28% of Americans it interviewed last year said they have been spending less time with members of their households. That's nearly triple the 11% who said that in 2006.

    Michael Gilbert, a senior fellow at the center, said people report spending less time with family members just as social networks like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace are booming, along with the importance people place on them.

    My Comments:
    That's why, in the Anderson household, I try to stick to my rule (although not always successful) of no blogging (or Facebook) at all on the weekends or on weekday evenings until after the kids are in bed. Still, one reason I have cut back on the amount of blogging I'm doing is out of concern that it was taking too much time away from other more important matters.

    In case anyone is confused by the fact that weekend posts often show up on this blog - such as the one this past weekend for Corpus Christi Sunday, in most of those instances, the blog posts were written ahead of time and scheduled to appear on a particular date.

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    Is “Reproductive Choice” Resulting in Fewer Girls Being Born in the U.S.?

    My latest post at First Thoughts: Is “Reproductive Choice” Resulting in Fewer Girls Being Born in the U.S.?

    (Hat tip: Dale Price)

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    Sunday, June 14, 2009

    Corpus Christi Sunday

    Corpus Christi Sunday is an auspicious occasion in the Anderson household. In addition to commemorating the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, for the Anderson family it also commemorates our communion with the Catholic Church.

    On Corpus Christi Sunday 5 years ago, Sarah and I entered the Catholic Church. It was an especially meaningful day for me to enter the Church because my decision to become Catholic had been guided by my belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

    And 3 years ago on Corpus Christi Sunday, our then-infant daughter Mary Virginia also entered the Church when she received the Sacrament of Baptism.

    May the Body and Blood of Christ bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

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    Friday, June 12, 2009

    First Thoughts

    I have been honored with an invitation to do some blogging at the First Things group blog, First Thoughts. I'm in good company, as our friends Steve Dillard, Chris Blosser, and Paul Zummo, as well as several other outstanding bloggers, are also participating in the effort.

    In addition to First Thoughts and the outstanding On the Square (begun by the late Fr. Neuhaus), the folks over at First Things have expanded their blogging "empire" by adding to the fold such established blogs as The Anchoress, Spengler, Secondhand Smoke, Postmodern Conservative, and Icons & Curiosities.

    I will, of course, continue to blog here at Pro Ecclesia at my usual once or twice per day clip that I have recently established. My blogging at First Thoughts will be much less frequent and less overtly political, as my most recent post over there indicates.

    Please do take a look at what's going on at First Things and its new stable of blogs.

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    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    Supreme Court Justices, Religion, & Anti-Catholicism

    See John Henry's post at The American Catholic: "Supreme Court Justices and Religion":
    To ask some questions is to answer them, and via Commonweal, I see that UCLA history professor emeritus Joyce Appleby has penned a lovely exercise in anti-Catholicism entitled, Should Catholic Justices Recuse Selves On Certain Cases?

    In response, David Gibson at Commonweal notes that he, as well as all of the Catholic Justices on the Court, would argue that the teachings of the Church have no bearing on their rulings. Nevertheless, Ms. Appleby apparently believes the Justices cannot be taken at their word on this matter. Catholic justices, it seems, can’t be trusted.

    What interests me about this line of argument is that both Mr. Gibson and Ms. Appleby implicitly assume there is something wrong with religious beliefs influencing Justices. And I am curious about what that something is. For instance, Judge Sotomayor is famously on the record for saying that a judge’s background (i.e. gender, ethnicity, life experience) influences their decision-making, as is Justice Ginsberg if I am not mistaken. Yet there have been no calls for the recusal of female (or male) judges from gender discrimination cases.


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    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    Feast of St. Columba of Iona - 9 June

    My Druid is Christ, the son of God,
    Christ, Son of Mary, the Great Abbot,
    The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

    ~ St. Columba of Iona

    O Columba spes Scotorum
    nos tuorum meritorum
    interventu beatorum
    fac consortes angelorum. Alleluia.

    O Columba, hope of Scots,
    By your merits' mediation.
    Make us companions
    of the blessed angels. Halleluia.

    ~ The Inchcolm Antiphoner, C13th

    St. Ephrem may get all the glory in the Roman Calendar, but in the Anderson household, the saint of the day on June 9 is St. Columba of Iona, also known as Columcille.

    Columba is my patron saint. Studying the life of this great saint (as well as honeymooning in Scotland, where we visited many sites associated with him) piqued my interest in the early Church and the spread of Christianity in the British Isles, and thus eventually led to my coming home to the Church. When Sarah and I entered the Church 5 years ago this month, I chose "Columba" as my Confirmation name.

    Among St. Columba's claims to fame - in addition to evangelizing the Picts in the land that eventually became Scotland, and creating on his monastic island of Iona a base of operation whereby Britain was re-evangelized after the native Celts were conquered by the pagan Anglo-Saxons - is that he is credited with one of the first recorded sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.

    The following history of St. Columba provides more insight into his colorful life:
    Columba was born into Irish royalty on or around 521A.D.. It is told there was a dispute over the name he was to be given. His mother choosing to name him Columcille (dove), and his father, Crimthan (wolf). Columcille, or Columba as his name was latinized, went at a very young age to study in the monastery at Moville. There he was brought up in the traditional monastic life of the celts. While studying in the monastery, he gained an appreciation for the arts, music (psalters), poetry, and writing. He was said to have been one of the best scribes of his time, writing many Psalters and poems. In 546 Columba founded the monastery in Derry, and later the one in Durrow (556). Columba came into a dispute with his former master Finian in 561, over a dispute of ownership of a copy of the Gospel. Apparently Columba had made his own copy of Finian's original, and when he would no release ownership, the case was taken before king Diarmot. Diarmot was a local King, from a rival clan of Columba's. When the case went before him, Diarmot made the now famous quote "To every cow it's calf, and to every copy it's original". Shamed and insulted by this, Columba called upon his father to rally his clan for possession of the book. What followed was one of the most bloody battles in Irish history "the battle of the books". Three thousand died in Culdrevne, and Columba won the book, but it cost him dearly. As a result, he was exiled by the church from Ireland as a penance for a monk taking up arms.

    Columba leaving Ireland in 563, with twelve fellow monks, landed on the isle of IONA. It was there, out of sight of beloved Ireland that he established his monastery in which he based his evangelical missions. Having established his monastery and removing the druid priests that were on the Island, by performing a miracle of healing on a crippled girl, he purposed to begin evangelizing what is now known as Scotland. Leaving in 564 and travelling up through the great Scottish Loches towards Inverness, he spread the gospel to all that would hear. Working his way to Inverness to witness to the pictish King Brude, he was once again confronted by druadic priests. The priests demanding that Columba take his God and his twelve fellow monks back to Ireland, declared that theirs was the true religion, and that Christ conflicts with the nature cycle. Claiming that the druid was said to have drawn the life circle in the sand. Columba in response took his staff and drew an intersecting cross within the circle promptly stating that God does not conflict with nature, but being the creator of it, compliments it. Stumped by this and frustrated because they could not shake Columba's faith they departed.

    Saint Columba then proceeded through Loch Ness, where his successor St. Adoman wrote of him : “At another time, when the saint stayed for several days among the Picts, he came to the shores of the River Ness. Reaching the shore, he saw some locals in the midst of burying some unfortunate man. They told him that they had seen a water beast snatch the man and maul him as he was swimming. Some of the men had set out in a small boat to try to rescue the man, but they were too late. They used hooks to retrieve his corpse from the waters. Columba, after being told this story, amazed the crowd by telling his companion Luigne to swim across the water and bring back a boat that was on the far shore. Luigne obeyed the saint without hesitation, removed his clothes except for a tunic, and dove into the water. The beast was at the bottom of the water, its appetite merely whetted by its first victim. Sensing the water stirring above by Luigne’s swimming, it suddenly rushed towards the swimmer with a great roar, its wide mouth open to its prey. The crowd on the shore, both Columba’s men and the locals, watched in terror. The blessed Columba raised his hand and made the sign of the cross, and calling on the name of God, spoke to the monster: ‘Halt! Do not harm the man! Retreat at once!’ The sound of the saint’s voice caused terror in the beast, and it fled so swiftly that it appeared dragged under with ropes. It had been but the length of a pole away from Luigne. Columba’s companions were amazed when Luigne returned to them in the boat, unharmed and safe." This incidentally is the first report of Nessie.

    Columba eventually reached inverness, and gained audience with the king, and while it was not recorded that king Brude was converted, he did institute Christianity over druidism. Columba gained a measure of favor with Brude, and involved himself to some extent in the politics of Scotland. Although exiled, Columba returned to Ireland many times to involve himself with the politics of home. Once returning to quench a suppressing of the bards by the Irish nobles. Columba died on his Island of IONA in [597]. Below is a prayer attributed to him.

    A traditional prayer for God's light

    O Lord, grant us that love which can never die, which will enkindle our lamps but not extinguish them, so that they may shine in us and bring light to others. Most dear Savior, enkindle our lamps that they may shine forever in your temple. May we receive unquenchable light from you so that our darkness will be illuminated and the darkness of the world will be made less. Amen.
    The Cathach of St. Columba

    Shrine of the Cathach

    Additional information from the Patron Saints Index:
    Also known as:
    Apostle of the Picts; Colmcille; Colum; Columbkille; Columbus; Columcille; Columkill; Combs

    9 June

    Irish royalty, the son of Fedhlimidh and Eithne of the Ui Neill clan. Bard. Miracle worker. Monk at Moville. Spiritual student of Saint Finnian. Priest. Itinerant preacher and teacher throughout Ireland and Scotland. Spiritual teacher of Saint Corbmac, Saint Phelim, Saint Drostan, and Saint Fergna the White. Travelled to Scotland in 563. Exiled to Iona, he founded a monastic community there and served as its abbot for twelve years. He and the monks of Iona, including Saint Baithen of Iona and Saint Eochod, then evangelized the Picts, converting many, including King Brude. Attended the Council of Drumceat, 575. Legend says he wrote 300 books.

    7 December 521 at Donegal, Ireland

    9 June 597 at Iona, Scotland, and is buried there


    against floods; bookbinders; diocese of Derry, Ireland; diocese of Dunkeld, Scotland; floods; Ireland; Pembroke, Ontario; diocese of Raphoe, Ireland; poets; Scotland
    See also the quite extensive entry on the life of St. Columba of Iona at http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0609.htm (scroll down to get to the entry):
    Ireland has many saints and three great ones: Patrick, Brigid, and Columba. Columba outshines the others for his pure Irishness. He loved Ireland with all his might and hated to leave it for Scotland. But he did leave it and laid the groundwork for the conversion of Britain. He had a quick temper but was very kind, especially to animals and children. He was a poet and an artist who did illumination, perhaps some of those in the Book of Kells itself. His skill as a scribe can be seen in the Cathach of Columba at the Irish Academy, which is the oldest surviving example of Irish majuscule writing. It was latter enshrined in silver and bronze and venerated in churches.

    About the time that Patrick was taken to Ireland as a slave, Columba was born. He came from a race of kings who had ruled in Ireland for six centuries, directly descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, and was himself in close succession to the throne. From an early age he was destined for the priesthood; he was given in fosterage to a priest. After studying at Moville under Saint Finnian and then at Clonard with another Saint Finnian, he surrendered his princely claims, he became a monk at Glasnevin under Mobhi and was ordained.

    He spent the next 15 years preaching and teaching in Ireland. As was the custom in those days, he combined study and prayer with manual labor. By his own natural gifts as well as by the good fortune of his birth, he soon gained ascendancy as a monk of unusual distinction. By the time he was 25, he had founded no less than 27 Irish monasteries, including those at Derry (546), Durrow (c. 556), and probably Kells, as well as some 40 churches.

    Columba was a poet, who had learned Irish history and poetry from a bard named Gemman. He is believed to have penned the Latin poem Altus Prosator and two other extant poems. He also loved fine books and manuscripts. One of the famous books associated with Columbia is the Psaltair, which was traditionally the Battle Book of the O'Donnells, his kinsmen, who carried it into battle. The Psaltair is the basis for one of the most famous legends of Saint Columba.

    It is said that on one occasion, so anxious was Columba to have a copy of the Psalter that he shut himself up for a whole night in the church that contained it, transcribing it laboriously by hand. He was discovered by a monk who watched him through the keyhole and reported it to his superior, Finnian of Moville. The Scriptures were so scarce in those days that the abbot claimed the copy, refusing to allow it to leave the monastery. Columba refused to surrender it, until he was obliged to do so, under protest, on the abbot's appeal to the High King Diarmaid, who said: "Le gach buin a laogh" or "To every cow her own calf," meaning to every book its copy.

    An unfortunate period followed, during which, owing to Columba's protection of a refugee and his impassioned denunciation of an injustice by King Diarmaid, war broke out between the clans of Ireland, and Columba became an exile of his own accord. Filled with remorse on account of those who had been slain in the battle of Cooldrevne, and condemned by many of his own friends, he experienced a profound conversion and an irresistible call to preach to the heathen. Although there are questions regarding Columba's real motivation, in 563, at the age of 42, he crossed the Irish Sea with 12 companions in a coracle and landed on a desert island now known as Iona (Holy Island) on Whitsun Eve. Here on this desolate rock, only three miles long and two miles wide, in the grey northern sea off the southwest corner of Mull, he began his work; and, like Lindisfarne, Iona became a center of Christian enterprise. It was the heart of Celtic Christianity and the most potent factor in the conversion of the Picts, Scots, and Northern English.

    Iona Abbey, Isle of Iona, Argyllshire, Scotland

    And finally, here is more on St. Columba from the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:
    St. Columba of Iona, Abbot, missionary

    Also known as Colum, Columbus, Combs, Columkill, Columcille, Colmcille

    Died 597 at Iona, and is buried there

    Commemorated June 9


    St Columba is a saint who still, after fourteen hundred years, exerts an appeal upon our imaginations. Born in Ireland, in Donegal in the year 521, he was of the blood royal, and might indeed have become High King of Ireland had he not chosen to be a priest. His vital, vigorous personality has given rise to many legends, and it is a little hard to sift fact from what is more probably fiction. We do know that he was a man of tremendous energy, probably somewhat headstrong in his youth, but with his tendency to violence curbed by a gentle magnanimity.

    It seems certain that he left Ireland as an act of penance, although it is less certain how far this was connected with his quarrelling over a copy of the Gospels he had made, a dispute that led to a bloody battle. He came from Ireland to Scotland, to the colony of Dalriada founded on the west coast by his fellow Irish Scots who were at that time somewhat oppressed by the dominant Picts. With twelve companions he founded his monastery on Iona in the year 563. These Celtic monks lived in communities of separate cells, but Columba and his companions combined their contemplative life with extraordinary missionary activity. Amongst his many accomplishments, Columba was a splendid sailor. He sailed far amongst the islands and travelled deep inland, making converts and founding little churches. In Ireland he had already, it is said, founded a hundred churches.

    Of all the Celtic saints in Scotland, Columba's life is much the best documented, because manuscripts of his Life, written by St Adamnan, one of his early successors as abbot of Iona, have survived. Iona itself remains a place of the greatest beauty, a serene island set in seas that take on brilliant colors in the sunshine, recalling the life and background of this remarkable man whose mission led to the conversion of Scotland and of the north of England, and indeed carried its influence far further afield. It later became the site of a Benedictine Abbey and of a little cathedral. These were dismantled by the Scottish reformers in 1561, and part of Columba's prophecy was fulfilled:

    In Iona of my heart, Iona of my love,
    Instead of monks' voices shall be lowing of cattle,
    But ere the world come to an end
    Iona shall be as it was.

    When Dr Samuel Johnson visited the island in 1773 he observed, 'That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona!'

    Columba was a poet as well as a man of action. Some of his poems in both Latin and Gaelic have come down to us, and they reveal him as a man very sensitive to the beauty of his surroundings, as well as always, in St Adamnan's phrase, 'gladdened in his inmost heart by the joy of the Holy Spirit.' He died in the year 597.
    More on St. Columba at:

    Adomnan's Life of Columba is available elsewhere
    in English
    and Latin

    Columba's famous rule is also online.


    Iona Abbey has their own page devoted to the poet, prophet, and sage


    Also Deacon Geoffrey O'Riada's Celtic Orthodox Christianity site


    the Ecole Initiative


    and an article on the history of the island.

    The Monymusk Reliquary, or "Brecbennoch" as it was called, dates from c. 750,
    and purportedly enclosed the bones of St. Columba,
    the most popular saint in medieval Scotland.
    It was carried by the Scots into the
    Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

    Recommended Reading:
    Life of Columba by Adamnan of Iona
    The Life of Colum Cille by Manus O'Donnell
    Colum Cille and the Columban Tradition by Brian Lacey
    The World of Colmcille, also known as Columba by Mairead Ashe FitzGerald
    The Illustrated Life of Columba by John Marsden
    Iona, Kells, and Derry: The History and Hagiography of the Monastic Familia of Columba by Maire Herbert
    The Legend of St. Columba by Padraic Colum
    Columba by Nigel Tranter
    The Magnificent Gael by Reginald B. Hale
    The Cathach of Colum Cille
    Patron Saints Index Entry for St. Columba
    How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill
    Wisdom of the Celtic Saints by Edward C. Sellner
    Sun Dancing by Geoffrey Moorhouse

    Children's Books About St. Columba:
    The Man Who Loved Books by Jean Fritz
    Across a Dark and Wild Sea by Don Brown

    "Columba, Most Holy of Saints - Medieval Scottish Plainchant"
    ~ Performed by Capella Nova, Alan Tavener
    "The Pilgrim - A Celtic Suite for Orchestra, Soloists, Pipe Band and Choir"
    ~ Composed by Shaun Davey

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