Saturday, August 30, 2008


... can come even from anybody these days, including those on the Left. And from women too. Yes, Hillary Clinton pointed it out. Don't be surprised when you see more sexist attacks on Sarah Palin, particularly pertaining to her life before politics, or her motherhood.

And did the nutty National Organization for Women even bother to congratulate Palin, which even Obama, Biden, and Hillary Clinton took the time to do? No. All they care about is their agenda. Palin, a member of Feminists for Life, which actually carries the banner of the early American feminist movement, is too "out of touch" for NOW or Planned Parenthood.
Sarah Palin and Post-Denominationalism

McCain's VP pick is interesting from many angles.

NCR's John Allen on Gov. Sarah Palin and Christian post-denominationalism. Interesting thoughts on contemporary Christianity in America.
The initial confusion surrounding Palin’s denominational identity, therefore, has a simple explanation: She doesn’t have one.

Instead, Palin appears to be part of that rapidly expanding galaxy of “post-denominational” Christianity, where elements of Evangelical and Pentecostal styles of faith and worship fuse into a myriad of unique local combinations, and where old denominational loyalties are essentially dead.
Read more.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin and Feminists for Life

Just a couple of thoughts. There certainly is the question of her lack of extensive political experience, but I think that Sarah Palin is a fairly solid pick for an "outsider" VP candidate, someone who is willing to stand up to her own Republican party when necessary, as she did in Alaska. Yes, the executive experience is there. Alaska's population is small but not that small... it has more people than Vermont and almost as many as Delaware :)

But what I also think is of importance is that, as a public member of Feminists for Life, Palin can bring greater national visibility to issues that will really benefit women and children, with real solutions to eliminate the problems in our society that drive women to abortion as their "only choice". I'd like to think that Susan B. Anthony would have preferred Palin to Hillary Clinton, but who knows. Palin certainly has the credibility as someone who has had to walk the talk with her own experience of motherhood.

It's good to see a new face and not the same old Washington faces we're used to. Does that mean she has what it takes? Not sure. Alaskan resident and blogger radicalcatholicmom, who blogs at the (mostly) left-leaning Vox Nova blog, has this to say:
My husband and I volunteered on Palin’s Alaska campaign when she ran for Governor. Here are a few of my thoughts:

First: I have known Sarah Palin for years. How? I met her through AK Right to Life. She always came to our fund-raising dinners, she always came to pro-life events (even when she took time off from politics to be home with her children), and one of her kids became AK RTL’s baby mascot for our stationery. She is the real deal when it comes to pro-life matters. This became even more clear when at the age of 44 of this year, she gave birth to a baby with Down’s Syndrome. BTW: No one knew she was pregnant until 1 month before giving birth!

Second: She worked under previous (Catholic-pro-life) Governor Frank Murkowski’s Admin and ended up resigning because the corruption was so blatant and so bad she could not effect change. She gave up her 6 figure income to do so. This catapulted her into stardom for Alaskans.

Third: When she ran for Governor, she was up against the incumbent Murkowski (the least popular Governor in the nation at the time) AND against two-time former super popula,r Governor Democrat Tony Knowles. Husband and I both had deep respect for her so we decided to join her campaign. We were not the only ones. I have worked many a campaign before and this was the first time in my experience where normal, average, non-partisan types joined the campaign. When I decided to wave signs for her on street corners (with my baby strapped on my back), I was blown away by the hundreds of other Alaskans who had the same idea.

Fourth: When she ran for Governor, the AK Republican Party threw fundraisers for Palin’s Democratic rival! No joke! They hated her because she was the one who blew the whistle on their corruption. Big Oil hates her because she refused and refuses to be bribed. She had very little campaign money and her very few tv ads always said “Frugally paid for by the Palin Campaign.” Yet, she won, sweeping the State.

Fifth: I worked the polls on voting day and Democrats, Independents and non-voters alike came to vote for her.

My advice: Don’t underestimate her, my friends.

Last night my husband and I were convinced we would support Obama. Thanks to McCain’s VP choice, we don’t know now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Augustine and Dominic

Today is the glorious feast day of my patron, St. Augustine of Hippo.

The Church of St. Vincent Ferrer blog discusses today the role of St. Augustine in the Order of Preachers. The Dominicans apply the Rule of Augustine, which was seen as quite flexible for the life of the friars, as unlike other religious orders, they were not confined to perpetual life in the monasteries.
At the time, the bishops judged that groups were multiplying faster than the Church could assure their authenticity. They concluded, therefore, that any new association seeking approval from the Church would have to adopt one of the ancient monastic rules already in use. Among these were the Rules of Augustine, Basil, and Benedict...

After conferring with the brethren, Dominic returned to Rome in 1216 to inform Pope Honorius III (Innocent died just after the Council) that he and his followers had chosen the Rule of Augustine. For many reasons, the choice was a natural one. First of all, Augustine’s was the rule Dominic himself lived under as a canon of the Cathedral of Osma. He knew it by heart, and he understood its potential for forming priests in holiness.

Secondly, Augustine’s rule is one of the more flexible in the Church’s tradition. Unlike St. Benedict, Augustine did [not] use his rule to legislate the particular customs of a monastic community. Instead, he outlined only the general principles that should order a group of monks living together in charity. This flexible rule was more suitable to the new Order of Preachers, whose members would spend a lot of time traveling and preaching outside the priory. Their customs would have to adjust to space and time, all the while being guided by the lasting principles of Christian monasticism.

Lastly, Augustine himself could serve as a saintly example for preachers dedicated to the study of truth. As the greatest of the patristic fathers, St. Augustine demonstrated in his own person that contemplative prayer, deep study, and pastoral care can all coalesce into one fruitful priestly life. His rule bears the marks of one who lived the mixed life perfectly.

For 800 years now, the sons of St. Dominic have lived also as the spiritual sons of St. Augustine.
Holy Father Dominic and my blessed patron, Augustine, intercede for me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Remember me at the altar of the Lord

Today is the Feast of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine of Hippo. Augustine records in his Confessions (Book 9, 10-11):
We were overwhelmed with grief, but she held her gaze steadily upon us and spoke further: "Here you shall bury your mother." I remained silent as I held back my tears. However, my brother haltingly expressed his hope that she might not die in a strange country but in her own land, since her end would be happier there. When she heard this, her face was filled with anxiety, and she reproached him with a glance because he had entertained such earthly thoughts. Then she looked at me and spoke: "Look what he is saying." Thereupon she said to both of us: "Bury my body wherever you will; let not care of it cause you any concern. One thing only I ask you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be."
Pray for us!
Bill Clinton prefers Candidate Y

This is why politics can sometimes be interesting - when the buzz words come down and there is insight into what politicians really think, even if you have to sift through it a little:
Speaking at a forum of ex-world leaders less than a mile from the site of the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton drew an analogy that had many wondering whether the former president had made peace with the idea of an Obama candidacy.

"Suppose for example you’re a voter and you have candidate X and you have candidate Y," Clinton said. “Candidate X agrees with you on everything but you don’t think that person can deliver on anything. Candidate Y disagrees with you on half the issues but you believe that on the other half, the candidate will be able to deliver.”

"This is the kind of question that I predict — and this heas [sic] nothing to do with what’s going on now — but I am just saying if you look at five, 10, 15 years from now, you may actually see this delivery issue become a serious issue in Democratic debates because it is so hard to figure out how to turn good intentions into real changes in the lives of the people we represent."
Mmm hmm. So is there an analogy here between candidates X vs. Y and Obama vs. McCain? Or is he merely speaking off the top of his head? Of course, this may have nothing at all to do with what Clinton actually says in his convention speech coming up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nancy Pelosi, and what did Augustine say?

Aliens in This World provides a very good analysis:
Nancy Pelosi’s people say that she’s studied the Fathers on abortion, and takes all her inspiration from St. Augustine. They said it was “On Exodus”, but that’s not what you want to look for. What you want is Quaestionum in Heptateuchum. Liber 2 is Quaestiones in Exodum. Go to Section 80. It’s about Genesis 21:22-25 — but a different version from the usual one.
Read the whole analysis.

During grad school, I led a special weekly "small group" at my university parish. I say it was "special" because it wasn't exactly like the other groups. A few students, no "year-rounders". The students who came to my group tended to be those who had considered leaving the Church. Sometimes they would bring their friends from the evangelical community (which I had been involved with as an undergrad, as a Catholic). The core purpose of the group was to discuss the Scripture readings for the next Sunday's mass. However, the staff had given me permission to use the group to present mini-lessons on the Catholic faith using the Catechism -- basic things. I'm not sure it had a lasting impact, but it was a good opportunity to talk about some things.

On one rare evening, nobody showed up. I hung around for a little while (I studied there typically, no big deal), when suddenly a guy my age came in and walked up the stairs to our lounge. I had never seen him before, and so I thought he was lost; and I suppose he was looking for one of the priests, but they weren't around the office that evening (they were working with RCIA in another room). He came in and sat down. We spent some time talking about life, and he mentioned that that night was the first time he'd set foot in a church in a long while; that he'd wasted the last few years of his life, and his time in college, indulging in the party scene. He revealed to me how something began to eat away inside of him, and he began to see himself as having value. He had realized the horrible ways in which he had treated women, and he knew that God had opened his eyes. He was yearning for the sacraments. I was a little uncomfortable at first, but seeing his sincerity, I couldn't help but see a moment of grace.

Another time I recall when none of the regulars showed up - the evening began the same way. Suddenly, a man, probably in his mid-40's, walked up the stairs and sat down on the couch opposite me. Indeed, he was a regular parishioner at the parish, but he needed to talk to somebody -- one person -- and the priests again weren't available. The man was utterly wracked with guilt. He had been involved in a car accident earlier that day, not too far from the church. The accident wasn't his fault, but it nonetheless resulted in the death of the other driver. I did my best to assure him of God's peace. We talked about life's simple moments, and of connections we make with others, with family, friends. I saw him several times after that night. He never said hello, but he knew who I was, and I knew who he was.

Those moments were so simple. Too simple, even. And yet, they were meaningful. Not only to those guys, but to me. And it wasn't even about me. They helped me. And I came to an even greater appreciation of grace-filled sacraments, and true freedom, holiness in Christ. For me, life is Christ!

Monday, August 25, 2008

From a father to his son...

From a spiritual testament by King Saint Louis IX to his son:
My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.

If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either though vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts.

Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation oas you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth.

Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father.

In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a sons. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him and praise him unceasingly. Amen.


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