Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Catholic News Site: The Pulpit

Tito's latest blogging endeavor is a new Catholic news site:
I've launched a new Catholic Newsite that distinguishes itself from other Catholic news aggregaters in that it offers only the best in Catholic punditry. From Father Zuhlsdorf to Mark Shea and from George Weigel to Ross Douthat and everything in-between.

We scour the Catholic blogosphere for the most insightful and well written articles that affect us as Catholics.

We humbly beseech thee to tell your loyal and ardent readers to come visit us!

Well, I wanted to ask you if you could make a plug for it on your personal blog, Pro Eclessia.

Oh, we're called "The Pulpit", our URL is http://thepulp.it/

or if that doesn't work try CatholicPulpit.com.
Check it out.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sleepers Awake

"Sleepers Awake" by Johann Sebastian Bach

Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
~ Romans 13:11, 12

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.
~ Matthew 24:42-44

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The First Thanksgiving

(Originally posted 24 November 2009)

The "First" Thanksgiving at Plymouth, MA, in 1621

Every gradeschool boy and girl in the U.S. will confidently tell you that their history books say that the very first Thanksgiving on American soil took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621 when the English Pilgrims who had arrived the year before and the Patuxet Indians shared the food from their respective harvests in one great big happy feast.

As is often the case, however, the history books are wrong on this account.

The "First" Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation, VA, in 1619

In fact, every self-respecting Virginia lady or Virginia gentleman could tell you that the first ever "official" Thanksgiving on American soil took place in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation (a location which also lays claim to the perhaps-just-as-important distinction of being the site where Bourbon Whiskey was first distilled) along the James River in Tidewater Virginia. Witness:
The first Thanksgiving occurred when Captain John Woodlief led the newly-arrived English colonists to a grassy slope along the James River and instructed them to drop to their knees and pray in thanks for a safe arrival to the New World. It was December 4, 1619, and 38 men from Berkeley Parish in England vowed:
"Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God."
As is often the case, however, whenever citizens of the Old Dominion claim bragging rights over some matter or the other, the self-respecting ladies and gentlemen of Virginia are wrong on this account.

The REAL First Thanksgiving at St. Augustine, FL, in 1565

In fact, notwithstanding the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Thanksgiving myth that has pervaded celebrations of the holiday throughout this Nation's history, this is yet another matter for which we Catholics get to claim bragging rights. The first ever Thanksgiving in what is now the United States took place over 50 years before Berkeley and Plymouth - in 1565 - in St. Augustine, Florida:
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Forget the turkey, the silly Pilgrim hats and the buckles.

Forget Plymouth Rock and 1621.

If you want to know about the real first Thanksgiving on American soil, travel 1,200 miles south and more than 50 years earlier to a grassy spot on the Matanzas River in North Florida.

This is where Spanish Adm. Pedro Menendez de Aviles came ashore on Sept. 8, 1565. This is where he, 500 soldiers, 200 sailors, 100 civilian families and artisans, and the Timucuan Indians who occupied the village of Seloy gathered at a makeshift altar and said the first Christian Mass. And afterward, this is where they held the first Thanksgiving feast.

The Timucuans brought oysters and giant clams. The Spaniards carried from their ships garbanzo beans, olive oil, bread, pork and wine.

Eric Johnson, director of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche -- the site at which Menendez landed -- doesn't expect Americans to change their Thanksgiving traditions that are shaped around the Pilgrims' feast. But he, like other Florida historians, would like folks to recognize that the stories they learned in grade school -- the stories presented in textbooks today -- are wrong.

It all happened in this bucolic 300-acre Catholic mission and shrine that offers a quiet respite amid the frenetic tourist activity of St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States. A replica of the Rustic Altar sits next to the shore in the general area where archaeologists believe the Mass took place.

Michael Gannon, former director of the mission and University of Florida distinguished service emeritus professor of history, presented the celebration in his meticulously researched book, "The Cross in the Sand," in 1965 and has argued that this feast should be recognized as the first Thanksgiving.

"It is a part of history," Mr. Johnson said. "Our 450th anniversary of the founding will be held in 2015. Our hope is that between now and then people can learn more about the history of Florida and the establishment of St. Augustine."

Florida school teacher Robyn Gioia felt so strongly about this lack of recognition that she wrote a children's picture book, "America's REAL first Thanksgiving," in April 2007 that is helping to spread the word.

[Read more]
See also "Florida teacher chips away at Plymouth Rock Thanksgiving myth" and "Book: Thanksgiving began in St. Augustine".

But the story of the First Thanksgiving in America doesn't end there. There have been throughout American history a number of "first" Thanksgiving proclamations declaring a day of prayer and gratitude to Almighty God for His Divine Grace. The first of these proclamations seems to have been issued in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1676:
The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard...

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.
In 1782, near the end of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving to God for His deliverance of the newly independant Nation from her enemies:
IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf: Therefore the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:----- Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.

The first Thanksgiving Day proclamation in the newly established constitutional Republic, was delivered by His Excellency, President George Washington in 1789, following the precedent set by the Continental Congress in setting the date on the last Thursday in November:
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Finally, Thanksgiving Day became a permanent holiday in 1863, when President Lincoln issued the proclamation that set the precedent for its annual celebration:
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Many claims, then, to being the "first" Thanksgiving. But less important than primacy is the fact that throughout her history our Nation has sought to give thanks to the Almighty for the blessings and graces that He has bestowed upon her.

Thanks be to God, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.

(Hat tip: CovenantNews.com)

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Friday, November 19, 2010

St. Edmund of East Anglia, King and Martyr - 20 November

(Originally posted in November 2005)

"I have vowed to live under Christ, to live under Christ alone, to reign under Christ alone". - St Edmund, King and Martyr

Tomorrow, 20 November, is the feast day of the martyr St. Edmund, King of East Anglia. Many assume St. George is the patron saint of England. However, St. George is actually "Protector of the Realm of England" and patron saint of the English Crown. St. Edmund is the "real" patron saint of England. See also Joanna Bogle's excellent A Book of Feasts and Seasons where I first learned this particular piece of trivia.

On our trip to England a few years ago, during which my family spent a week in East Anglia - where Sarah's Granny was born, we learned quite a bit about St. Edmund. He has become one of my favorite saints. Unfortunately, a planned trip to the saint's final resting place in the town of Bury St. Edmunds and St. Edmundsbury Cathedral did not happen due to the demands of travelling with 2 toddlers. Oh well, hopefully, we can get there on another visit to the U.K.

The following details about the life of St. Edmund come from the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:
St. Edmund of East Anglia
Also known as Edmund the Martyr

Martyred by being beaten, whipped, shot with arrows and beheaded at Hoxne, Suffolk, England 20 November 870; buried at Hoxne; relics moved to Beodricsworth (modern Saint Edmundsbury) in the 10th century

Commemorated November 20

Patronage: kings, plague epidemics, torture victims, wolves

In art, he is shown with an arrow; king tied to a tree and shot with arrows; wolf; bearded king with a sword and arrow; man with his severed head between the paws of a wolf; sword

"The tree at which tradition declared Eadmund to have been slain stood in the park at Hoxne until 1849, when it fell. In the course of its breaking up an arrow-head was found embedded in the trunk. A clergyman who had a church which was dedicated to St. Eadmund begged a piece of the tree, and it now forms part of his communion-table. Another portion is in the possession of Lady Bateman of Oakley Hall" - Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, 1908-1909

Edmund the Martyr, King (RM)

Born 841; died at Hoxne, Suffolk, England, in 869 or 870. Feast day formerly November 2.

On Christmas Day 855, 14-year-old Edmund was acclaimed king of Norfolk by the ruling men and clergy of that county. The following year the leaders of Suffolk also made him their king.

For 15 years Edmund ruled over the East Angles with what all acknowledged as Christian dignity and justice. He himself seems to have modelled his piety on that of King David in the Old Testament, becoming especially proficient in reciting the Psalms in public worship.

From the year 866 his kingdom was increasingly threatened by Danish invasions. For four years the East Angles managed to keep a shaky, often broken peace with them. Then the invaders burned Thetford. King Edmund's army attacked the Danes but could not defeat the marauders. Edmund was taken prisoner and became the target for Danish bowmen.

In a later account in the The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, reputedly derived second-hand from an eyewitness, Abbo compared Saint Edmund to Saint Sebastien, and so he also became a saint invoked against the plague. The story goes that Edmund was captured at Hoxne. He refused to share his Christian kingdom with the heathen invaders, whereupon he was tied to a tree and shot with arrows, till his body was 'like a thistle covered with prickles'; then his head was struck off. He died with the name of Jesus on his lips.

The record continues that the Danes "killed the king and overcame all the land . . . they destroyed all the churches that they came to, and at the same time reaching Peterborough, killed the abbot and monks and burned and broke everything they found there."

Saint Edmund thus remains the only English sovereign until the time of King Charles I to die for religious beliefs as well as the defense of his throne. Edmund was quickly revered as a martyr and his cultus spread widely during the middle ages (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Hervey, Roeder).

King Saint Edmund is generally depicted as a bearded king holding his emblem--an arrow. Sometimes he is shown suspended from a tree and shot, or his head between the paws of a wolf. He is sometimes confused with Saint Sebastien, who is never portrayed as a king (Roeder).

He is venerated at Bury Saint Edmunds (Saint Edmund's borough), where his body is enshrined and a great abbey arose in 1020. Richard II invoked him as patron as to those threatened by the plague (Roeder).


More on St. Edmund of East Anglia at:







The Edmund Prayer
Christ Jesus,
with the life and martyrdom of St Edmund,
King of East Anglia,
you inspired generations of pilgrims
in the way of love and hope.
Enfold your Church in the mystery of your life,
that we, in our own pilgrimage,
may be apostles of your wounded and risen glory,
who with the Father and the Spirit,
are present eternally. Amen.

More from Gerelyn Hollingsworth's blog at NCROnline:
Today is the feast of St. Edmund, King of the East Angles, martyred by the Danes in 869. His feast is celebrated by the Orthodox Church, the Anglican Church, and the Roman Catholic Church.

This icon illustrates various elements of St. Edmund's story. The Danes tied him to a tree and shot arrows at him until he "was all beset with their shots, as with a porcupine's bristles." They beheaded him and threw his head into the woods where a wolf guarded it until the King's followers came to retrieve it. In 1849 the tree that was believed to have been the site of Edmund's martyrdom fell down and was chopped up. An arrowhead was found at the heart of the tree.

Coins were struck in memory of St. Edmund within 20 years of his death. "The St Edmunds memorial coinage, current in East Anglia during the Danish rule, is a unique indication of the extraordinary reputation of Edmund, already recognised as a Saint."

His fame spread fast and far and echoes still. St. Edmund, King and Martyr: Changing Images of a Medieval Saint, edited by Anthony Bale, was published in August, 2009.
Some interesting links provided.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Jill Stanek Rips Dems for Life a New One

It's not that there's no such thing as a "pro-life Democrat", it's just that the "Democrat" part of the equation seems to ALWAYS come first.

(Hat tip: Creative Minority Report and JillStanek.com)

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Anatomy of a Bumper Sticker

The man in the black hat offers an analysis of a certain bumper sticker popular among the "progressive" crowd.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mr Duffy Goes to Washington [UPDATED]

At CatholicVote, Tom Peters reports on his recent meeting in D.C. with Catholic dad of six, Congressman-elect Sean Duffy, and his lovely wife Rachel Campos-Duffy:
Last night I had the opportunity of meeting Representative-elect (and CatholicVote PAC-endorsed!) Sean Duffy along with his awesome wife Rachel and their little baby Maria Victoria here in Washington DC.

My friend Eric spotted this wonderful photo of Sean as he “narrates and records a video for his Facebook page while walking around Statuary Hall inside the U.S. Capitol Hill” earlier in the day...
Meanwhile, Rachel blogs on their children's front-row seat to history and the challenges of parenting when one of the parents is in the middle of running for Congress:
On November 2, my husband, Sean Duffy, had the honor of being elected to represent Wisconsin's 7th District in Congress. In a decisive eight-point victory, our northwestern and largely rural district voted for a Republican candidate for the first time in 41 years.

Election night was the culmination of a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice. I can now say with absolutely certitude that unless you've been through it, it's difficult to understand the toll it takes on candidates and their families. It was probably a good thing that we didn't know what was in store for us in the 18 months following my husband's announcement.

As a spouse, the campaign transformed me from a
busy-but-happy at-home mother of five to a frazzled and often lonely single mother of six (we discovered we were pregnant three weeks after Sean announced his candidacy and we had our sixth child, Maria Victoria, on April 1). With my best friend and partner crisscrossing one of the largest congressional districts in the country to hit every dairy breakfast, polka Mass, parade and county fair, my workload doubled instantly.

May God continue to bless the Duffys as they begin this next chapter in their lives. And may Sean continue to be guided by his strong Catholic faith in his governing decisions. I'm looking for good things from Congressman Duffy. He has a bright future ahead of him.

Sean has added these videos to his Facebook page:

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Washington Post Profile of Catholic Father of 6 Running for Congress

Rachel Campos-Duffy: "Have We Become Too Casual? Why I Dress My Kids Up for Church"

Catholic Father of 6 Running for Congress Accused by Opponent of Being "Too Busy" With Kids to be Effective Representative

Rachel Campos Duffy: A Real Housewife of Wisconsin

Rachel Living in the Real World; The View Hags, Not So Much [UPDATED]

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Episcopal Smackdown

This is a thing of beauty.

God bless Bishop Morlino and the holy priests for whom he went to bat.

(Hat tip. Fr. Finigan)

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Cardinal George: Catholics Should Not Fear "Political Isolation"

From Catholic News Agency:
Baltimore, Md., Nov 15, 2010 / 01:40 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Francis George opened the annual U.S. bishops' meeting today by stressing that Catholics “should not fear political isolation” when upholding their beliefs in the public square.


The cardinal opened his remarks by recalling the bishops' public involvement in opposing President Obama's health care bill which passed this last March.

Although he called health care a “moral imperative,” he decried the removal of the Hyde Amendment from the legislation – a clause which bars federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother.

Laws “that have permitted now 50 million children of our country to be killed in their mother's womb” are “immoral and unjust,” he said. “They are destroying our society.”

Cardinal George then referenced challenges to “unity” within the Church on its position in the health care debate, saying there are “those who want to remake the Church according to their own designs or discredit her as a voice in the public discussions that shape our society.”

Catholic Health Association leader Sr. Carol Keehan and the social justice lobby of sisters called Network incited controversy this year for their public support of the health care overhaul in opposition to the bishops, a move that some have claimed was critical for the bill's passage.

Who “speaks for the Catholic Church?” the cardinal asked. “The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them.”

The role of Catholics in political debate was also touched on by Cardinal George, who called for “orthodoxy in belief” and “obedience in practice” from the faithful.

“Orthodoxy is necessary but not enough,” he said, “the Devil is orthodox. He knows the Catechism better than anyone in this room; but he will not serve, he will not obey.”

“We should not fear political isolation,” Cardinal George added, saying the “Church has often been isolated in in politics and diplomacy.”

“We need to be deeply concerned, however, about the wound to the Church's unity that has been inflicted in this debate,” he said, expressing his hope that “ecclesial communion” could be restored.


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Irony: Group Pushing for Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell Warns GOP Leadership to Stay Away from Social Issues

Same-sex-issues-obsessed group calling itself GOP Proud wants to use the federal government to push its social agenda while telling the Republican leadership to avoid social issues.

Not surprisingly, some of the more libertarian (libertine) elements of the Tea Party movement have joined them.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

The 8,011-Person Crisis: ObamaCare Proves to be Disproportionate Response to a Relatively Minor Problem

Quote of the day from Ed Morrissey:
375,000: The number of Americans with pre-existing conditions HHS said would apply for coverage in the first year of ObamaCare, one of the main political arguments for its implementation.

8,011: The number that actually did.


That comes to a success rate for that prediction of just under 2.2%. The Wall Street Journal points out that the program operates at a loss — which means that consumers who qualify for the program in essence have partial subsidies by entering it. And yet, despite the billions of dollars committed to funding it and the efforts of 27 states to duplicate it, only eight thousand people have bothered to apply for the program.

The Obama administration and its allies in the Nancy Pelosi Congress revamped one-sixth of the American economy, created new federal mandates, and created chaos in system that worked for the vast majority of Americans,
[ED.: Not to mention providing federal funding for abortion for the first time ever] just to deal with eight thousand people?

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Martin and the Beggar, El Greco

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In Honor of Those Who Served: "In Flanders Fields"

In Flanders Fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Digest of Today's Posts (10 November 2010)

  • GetReligion on the “Is Rubio Catholic?” Story

  • The “Stupak Sellouts” and How They Fared

  • “Mary’s Ultrasound” Ad Campaign Draws Criticism From Pro-Aborts in UK

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (9 November 2010))


    GetReligion on the “Is Rubio Catholic?” Story

    GetReligion has taken up the story of whether Marco Rubio remains a practicing Catholic. (One of the links in the post is to my own post on the subject last week.)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on the subject:
    Is Marco Rubio Still Catholic?

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    The “Stupak Sellouts” and How They Fared

    Below is a list of the "pro-life" Democrat "Stupak Sellouts" whose seats the GOP targeted and how they fared in last week's elections:

  • Alan Mollohan - DEFEATED

  • Baron Hill - DEFEATED

  • Chris Carney - DEFEATED

  • Ciro Rodriguez - DEFEATED


  • Dennis Cardoza - WON

  • Earl Pomeroy - DEFEATED


  • Joe Donnelly - WON (by 1.4% in 3-way race; Libertarian won 5%)

  • John Boccieri - DEFEATED

  • John Salazar - DEFEATED

  • Kathy Dahlkemper - DEFEATED

  • Paul Kanjorski - DEFEATED

  • Steve Driehaus - DEFEATED

  • Tom Perriello - DEFEATED
    (Given my ties to the Charlottesville area, my friendship with and admiration for the man Perriello narrowly beat 2 years ago to win the seat, Perriello's role in founding the Soros-backed Democrat front group Catholics in Alliance for the Public Good, and, last but not least, the consternation his defeat is causing all the "progressive" types both inside and outside the Church, Perriello's loss is the feather in the cap as far as I'm concerned.)

  • In total, the GOP picked up 12 of the 15 seats they targeted, and currently leads in a 13th. In addition, it should not go unmentioned that Bart Stupak RETIRED from the Congress just 20 days after his controversial flip-flop on ObamaCare, and his Michigan congressional seat ALSO FLIPPED to the GOP with the victory last Tuesday of pro-life Republican Dr. Daniel Benishek.

    Those are devastating results for the "pro-life" Democrat contingent no matter how you cut it. The lesson is this: if you're going to call yourself "pro-life", then you damn well better not sell out on the biggest pro-life vote of our time. I would hope that the exact same results would accrue to GOP pro-lifers should they ever sell out on a key pro-life vote like this one was.

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    “Mary’s Ultrasound” Ad Campaign Draws Criticism From Pro-Aborts in UK

    Tom Peters reports at CatholicVote:
    I’m thrilled to see this ad campaign and welcome all the controversy it is causing:
    An ecumenical nonprofit in England has come under fire for their upcoming Advent campaign designed to put Christ back into Christmas. Their crime? Creating billboards and posters that show a Baby Jesus as an ultrasound, with a halo. The ads, created by ChurchAds.net say: “He’s on His way. Christmas starts with Christ.”

    … The “Baby Scan Jesus” ads are being placed on billboards and posters in churches, retail stores, bus shelters and homes. ChurchAds has also created two clever radio ads: one an airport announcement, the other a humorous telephone message from St. Joseph about the birth of his Son. [Tim Drake at National Catholic Register]

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    Tuesday, November 09, 2010

    Digest of Today's Posts (9 November 2010)

  • Jim DeMint: “You Can’t Be a Fiscal Conservative and Not Be a Social Conservative” [UPDATED]

  • I'll Take "Weepy" Over Wicked Any Day

  • (Digest of Yesterday's Posts (8 November 2010))


    Jim DeMint: “You Can’t Be a Fiscal Conservative and Not Be a Social Conservative” [UPDATED]

    Damn straight!

    Not surprisingly, the God-hating, same-sex "marriage" advocating, pro-abort libertarian over at HotAir doesn't like it one bit.

    At The American Catholic, my friend Paul Zummo echoes Sen. DeMint's and my acknowledgement that "conservatism" can't be compartmentalized and still be "conservative":
    Naturally this bothers AllahPundit and some of the other shrieking libertarians at Hot Air, but DeMint is of course right.

    First of all, anyone who has paid any amount of attention to politics over the past couple of decades should recognize that the people who label themselves fiscally conservative and socially moderate or liberal – let’s call them cafeteria conservatives – are the first people to betray the cause of limited government on economic issues. A prime example of this is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger...


    John Hawkins did a bit of analysis that shows a fairly strong correlation between fiscal and social conservatism. Though the measuring device is a bit crude, it shows that when it comes to economic issues, social conservatives are the most reliable votes in favor of fiscal conservatism.

    Second, it is simply illogical to divorce economic and social issues. As I’ve said in the past a conservatism that disregards social conservatism simply isn’t conservatism. If one approaches conservatism more as a general political philosophy rather than a political ideology, one realizes that social and cultural issues are the central core of conservatism. Conservatism is at root a belief in tradition, among other general beliefs... for the most part conservatism is about preserving the social order. If you eliminate social issues from the conservative creed, you’re left with nothing of substance.

    Finally, I think that there is great misunderstanding as to what social conservatism entails, especially as it relates to the concept of limited government. The notion that social conservatives want the heavy had of government involved in all personal matters is a bit of a strawman caricature.


    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    For All You Atheist Libertarian Types ...

    HotAir's Strange Assessment of the Virginia GOP Electoral Juggernaut [UPDATED]

    Pot ... Kettle

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    I'll Take "Weepy" Over Wicked Any Day

    The Associated Press has described Speaker-elect John Boehner as "weepy" (contrasting Boehner's style to the "steely composure" of outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi).

    Here is the devout Catholic John Boehner going "weepy" while talking about the unborn:

    And here is "ardent practing Catholic" Nancy Pelosi being "steely" while contradicting the Church over abortion:

    I'll take "weepy" over wicked any day.

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    Monday, November 08, 2010

    Digest of Today's Posts (8 November 2010)

  • Marco Rubio: The Most Important Freshman Senator

  • All the Proof You Need That the GOP Did NOT Get the Message ...
  • Labels:

    Marco Rubio: The Most Important Freshman Senator

    Stephen Hayes writes in The Weekly Standard:
    ... None of this was inevitable.

    Eighteen months earlier, Rubio had driven himself around the state doing “fundraisers” that generated so little cash they barely covered his expenses. In the first poll measuring support for possible Senate candidates, Rubio registered 3 percent. In the spring of 2009, when Florida’s then-popular governor announced that he was joining the race, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) immediately pledged its “full support” for Crist. Top Republicans in Florida and Washington rushed to endorse Crist and publicly urged—while privately demanding—that Rubio quit the race. Crist outraised Rubio by more than ten to one in the first quarter they were both in the race, and Rubio seriously considered dropping out.

    But Rubio stayed in, and several things helped him gain momentum—a guerrilla ad campaign that defined Crist at the outset, crucial early endorsements from Mike Huckabee and Jim DeMint, a well-timed cover story in National Review, and an unconventional low-dollar fundraising strategy. The most important factors were the candidate and his message.

    While most establishment Republicans were seeking to expand the party and recruit moderate candidates, Rubio wanted to debate the direction of the party. And while many other Republican candidates shaped their message to appeal to Tea Party conservatives, Rubio didn’t have to. He had been a Tea Party conservative long before the Tea Party was born.


    Crist embraced the $787 billion proposal and literally hugged the popular president who had come to sell it. The crowd chanted “Yes We Can!” as Crist introduced Obama. “We know it’s that important that we pass a stimulus package. .  .  . This is not about partisan politics. This is about rising above that, helping America, and reigniting our economy.”


    Rubio’s ad team—Harris, Thompson, and Miller—had been prepared for Crist’s announcement and immediately released a web ad that sought to define the choice for Florida Republicans. Over kaleidoscopic images swirling on the screen a narrator intones: “An election coming into focus. A choice for Florida’s future. Some politicians support trillions in reckless spending, borrowed money from China and the Middle East, mountains of debt for our children, and a terrible threat to a fragile economy.” With ominous music in the background, the blurry photo of Crist with Obama comes into focus. “Today, too many politicians embrace Washington’s same old broken ways. But this time, there is a leader who won’t. Let the debate begin.” As the ad ends, “Marco2010” flashes on the screen.


    Within hours of Crist’s announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee pledged its backing. “While I believe Marco Rubio has a very bright future within the Republican party, Charlie Crist is the best candidate in 2010 to ensure that we maintain the checks and balances that Floridians deserve in the United States Senate,” said NRSC chairman Senator John Cornyn. “Governor Crist is a dedicated public servant and a dynamic leader, and the NRSC will provide our full support to ensure that he is elected the next United States senator from Florida.”

    It was a big blow. “The senatorial committee endorsed him within minutes of his announcement,” Rubio recalled recently. “Followed by a flood of other people.” They included former Florida senator Mel Martinez, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Senator John McCain, and Representatives Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who are, like Rubio, Cuban-Americans. Dozens of Florida Republicans jumped aboard the Crist bandwagon, eager to be on the winning team. Rubio won the endorsement of Mike Huckabee, but most people dismissed it as payback; Rubio had endorsed Huckabee in 2007.

    Rubio had known the NRSC endorsement was coming. Cornyn had reached out to Jeb Bush the previous night to give him a heads up, and, coincidentally, Rubio had a meeting scheduled with Cornyn in Washington on the day that Crist announced. “I went over to the senatorial committee, and Senator Cornyn was gracious enough to come over from the Capitol to the senatorial committee to explain to me their decision and their rationale. It was a very respectful meeting. I told them they were wrong. I told them that I was going to win and that they would be shocked in a year.”

    Rubio left the NRSC headquarters and walked three blocks to the Russell Senate Office Building for his next meeting. Heath Thompson, one of the political consultants who had met with Rubio back in January, was now working for the candidate. He had set up a meeting for Rubio with one of his previous clients, Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.


    DeMint was angry that the NRSC had supported Crist. “If you listen to what the moderates have said—we need youth, we need minorities, we need women. And here we have this young Cuban American who had proved himself as speaker of the House in Florida. And the committee was dissing him and ignoring him.”

    One month later, with continuing calls for Rubio to drop out, DeMint offered his endorsement. “This gave me some hope,” says DeMint. “We could recruit some people and help some people who could help turn this country around.”

    DeMint’s statement endorsing Rubio was a mixture of enthusiasm and frustration.
    For months now, Republicans have been looking around, asking everyone they meet who our next leaders will be. And somehow, inexplicably, many of us have grown blind to the diamonds all around us. There are already many young, conservative leaders ready to fight for freedom in Washington and in state capitals all around the country. But we’ll never find them if we only look for well-known politicians or choose our party’s direction based on the latest polls instead of timeless principles.
    Rubio says the endorsement was critical, maybe campaign-saving. “The fact that a sitting U.S. senator would endorse somebody who had only raised $250,000—long-term it’s proven to be a lot of support. But at the beginning it was a little dose of oxygen—just enough to keep you breathing for another couple of weeks.”


    Marco Rubio has gotten as much positive national media attention as any Senate candidate since, well, Barack Obama. There is a natural inclination to think that he has been overhyped. That’s certainly the assumption I took with me to Florida in late September for the first of two five-day stints with his campaign.

    It was wrong.

    If anything, Rubio is underrated. Some Democrats seem to understand this. That fact, probably more than anything else, explains why the White House encouraged Bill Clinton as early as last spring to use his influence to get Meek out of the race and clear the way for Charlie Crist to run as a Democrat.

    No Republican in the country offers a more compelling defense of American exceptionalism and a more powerful indictment of the Obama administration than Marco Rubio. He has had lots of practice. He ran against Obama more than he ran against either of his two opponents.


    Rubio’s promise means that the left will target him and the right will lionize him. On Election Night, as Rubio spoke in front of an array of American and Florida flags, Arianna Huffington tweeted that political strategist Matthew Dowd thought Rubio looked “like a Central American dictator.” Three days later, the Republican party chose Rubio to deliver its weekly address to the nation.


    “Marco Rubio is a natural leader and is likely to be a leader of our party,” says DeMint. “In five years, no one will remember Jim DeMint, and Marco will be president.”

    [Definitely read the whole thing]

    My Comments:
    Jim DeMint obviously has MUCH better instincts than John Cornyn and the rest of the RINO-establishment embiciles at the NRSC. If the GOP had learned its lesson, they would be making DeMint the next NRSC Chairman, rather than giving the underperforming Cornyn another shot at the role.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    All the Proof You Need That the GOP Did NOT Get the Message ...

    Is Marco Rubio Still Catholic?


    "Party Unity" is Only for Wing Nuts (Suckers)

    The Archbold Boys Go Off on the GOP [UPDATED]

    John Cornyn and the Rest of the Idiots at the NRSC Will Never Learn, Will They?

    The "Stupid Party" is All the More Stupid for Having John Cornyn Among Its Ranks

    Rubio Leads Crist in Florida

    Pro-Life Catholic Rubio Pulls Even With Crist in Florida Senate Race

    NY-23 a Test Case for 2010 Florida Senate Race [UPDATED]

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    All the Proof You Need That the GOP Did NOT Get the Message ...

    ... "After gains, Cornyn likely to stay on as head of NRSC".

    So, the guy who backed Charlie Crist (soon-to-be-unemployed RINO-to-"Independent" turncoat and shameless flip-flopper extraordinaire) over Marco Rubio, and who backed Arlen Specter (soon-to-be-unemployed RINO-to-Democrat turncoat) over Pat Toomey, and who sat by and did nothing while Princess Lisa (RINO-to-Write-In turncoat) overtook Joe Miller, gets to keep his job?

    Want additional proof that the establishment GOP is completely out of touch? Try this on for size:
    "Former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) has even floated Cornyn’s name as a promising presidential candidate in 2012."
    Idiots. The whole lot of them.

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    "Party Unity" is Only for Wing Nuts (Suckers)

    The Archbold Boys Go Off on the GOP [UPDATED]

    John Cornyn and the Rest of the Idiots at the NRSC Will Never Learn, Will They?

    The "Stupid Party" is All the More Stupid for Having John Cornyn Among Its Ranks

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    Thursday, November 04, 2010

    Bad Move, Dubya

    Both in authorizing it to begin with, and now in admitting it unrepentantly.

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    Why Is the Left Hostile to Vietnamese-Americans?

    On Tuesday, Congress lost its sole Vietnamese-American member, thanks in no small part to efforts by the left to target his Congressional district for pick up. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA), a devout pro-life Catholic, had became the nation's first Vietnamese-American elected to Congress in 2008 when he defeated nine-term incumbent William Jefferson who was facing federal corruption charges. Cao represented a majority-black district in New Orleans that has always been a traditional Democrat stronghold, so his ability to hold onto the seat was always going to be tenuous. But it wasn't hopeless, especially in a big GOP year like 2010.

    However, the Democrats and the far left made recapturing Cao's seat a top priority. In fact, President Obama during the 2010 election cycle cut exactly ONE ad for a Congressional candidate, and that candidate was Cao's opponent. This despite the fact that Cao had been anything BUT a partisan member of the GOP and had even voted for the House version of ObamaCare when it still contained the Stupak language banning abortion funding. Cao seemed a caught off guard and hurt by the President's decision to actively campaign for his opponent, given Cao's willingness to reach across the aisle and work with the President and the Democrats on certain issues.

    While I understand the Democrat impetus to pick up House seats where they could in a year that was going to be otherwise awfully tough for them, it does raise some questions (at least in my mind) that the President would be so glib about going above and beyond to defeat the country's lone Vietnamese-American member of Congress.

    And then there's the case of Van Tran. Van Tran was the Republican challenger to the truly repugnant California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez in Tuesday's elections. He lost to Sanchez, in no small part, because of blatant racial demagoguery. Sanchez, speaking to Spanish-language station Univision about her opponent, claimed that "The Vietnamese are after my seat":

    "The Vietnamese and the Republicans are, with an intensity, trying to take this seat from which we have done so much for our community — to take this seat and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic.”
    You may wonder how Van Tran, who immigrated with his family from Vietnam to the U.S. in 1975, could be "anti-immigrant". Well, that's because to the Democrat Party only certain kinds of immigrants "count" (that would be those who haven't fled from commie hell holes like Vietnam and Cuba). You see, this seat "belongs" to Mexican-American Democrats, which makes you automatically "racist" and "anti-immigrant" if you are trying to win it and you happen not to be a Mexican-American Democrat.

    So, to the Democrat mindset, an ACTUAL immigrant fleeing communist oppression in Vietnam is "anti-immigrant" just because he is a Republican, while the pampered American-born child of middle-class Mexican immigrants who came to this country for economic opportunities automatically qualifies for the "poor oppressed me" club just because she is a Democrat.

    It seems somewhat odd that the party that calls itself the "party of immigrants" has NEVER had a Vietnamese-American among its Congressional ranks, and that the supposedly "anti-immigrant" party ran two such candidates in the 2010 Congressional elections. What seems even more odd is that the alleged "party of immigrants" would go to such extremes to oppose those two Vietnamese-American candidates. One might think that the left has a problem with Vietnamese-American immigrants. That's because they do.

    Recall what religious left icon Jim Wallis said about the Vietnamese Boat People:
    Following the 1979 refugee crisis in Vietnam, Wallis lashed out at the desperate masses fleeing North Vietnam's communist forces by boat. These refugees, as Wallis saw it, had been "inoculated" by capitalist influences during the war and were absconding "to support their consumer habit in other lands." Wallis then admonished critics against pointing to the boat people to "discredit" the righteousness of Vietnam's newly victorious Communist regime.
    Hmmmm. That's revealing. I can't help but think that the primary reason for the left-wing coolness toward Vietnamese-Americans is that this particular immigrant population serve as a constant reminder to us all of the devastating consequences suffered by the Vietnamese population as a result of the perfidious left's embrace of North Vietnam's communist oppressors who were trying to overrun South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

    How dare these Vietnamese immigrants prefer America to the Maoist utopia the left had given so much aid and comfort to creating for them back in Southeast Asia?!?!?

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    Wednesday, November 03, 2010

    Is Marco Rubio Still Catholic?

    Damian Thompson is reporting that Senator-Elect Marco Rubio attends an evangelical protestant church:
    I assumed until this morning that Marco Rubio, the pro-life new senator-elect from Florida, was a Catholic. That’s because I kept reading in articles that he was “a conservative Roman Catholic”. Then I came across this curious article from Politics Daily which (without apparently realising that it is doing so) reveals that he has abandoned the faith of his Cuban parents ...


    All very confusing: the author of the piece seems to think that attending Christ Fellowship Church is compatible with Catholicism. It is not...


    According to the St Petersburg Times, Rubio not only attends this evangelical church but gives generously to it...


    Conservative Catholics, in contrast – and they are a growing community, especially in Middle America, admire Rubio not only for his stance on life issues but also because they mistakenly assume that he shares their faith. I’m sorry to have to disillusion them. And I wonder why Rubio has not said, very clearly, that he is an evangelical, not a Catholic.

    [Read the whole thing]
    My Comments:
    An interesting revelation, and one that I assume will be fleshed out in additional detail on the Catholic blogs in the days and weeks to come.

    Is it relevant? I suppose it might matter to faithful Catholics to some extent. But I must say that one of the funnier comments I've read in response to Thompson's story is along the lines of "Get back to me when he claims to be a Christian but is actually a Muslim."

    Now that right there is funny, I don't care who you are. *

    * NB: For the record, I do not believe that any prominent U.S. politician claiming to be a Christian is actually a Muslim in disguise. But the meme is out there, and that's what makes this comment funny.

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    But a warning to the GOP from one its most promising newly elected up-and-comers:
    “We make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican party. What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.”

    ~ Senator-Elect Marco Rubio
    Heed the warning well, Republicans.


    Tuesday, November 02, 2010

    All Souls Day

    As we pray today for the souls of those who have gone before us, it is, perhaps, especially fitting on this Election Day that we remember those of the dearly departed who will be voting posthumously in certain precincts throughout the country.

    Somehow, I don't think that's what Chesterton had in mind when he coined the term "Democracy of the Dead".

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    Monday, November 01, 2010

    Ah, My Beloved Charlottesville [UPDATED]

    Carpetbagging lefties have turned this quaint, historic university town - the hometown of Thomas Jefferson - into a socialist canker in the middle of one of the most conservative regions of the Commonwealth of Virginia:

    And it's not just carpetbaggers who make my beloved C'ville what it is. Here are some of the homegrown variety of socialists that make Mr. Jefferson's city hostile territory for anyone to the right of Chairman Mao (LANGUAGE WARNING - NOT SAFE FOR WORK):

    Can't you just feel the peace and love?

    Ironically, you can't drive 100 feet in Charlottesville without seeing one of those insipid "COEXIST" bumper stickers on the back of some Volvo.

    (Hat tip: Shaun Kenney)

    Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
    An ObamaCare Catholic in Big Trouble in My Old Stomping Grounds

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