Tag Archives: Catholic

A Better Way

I’m sure a lot of Catholics and Christians, among people of other faiths, are upset about the election results. Some vote based on their one favorite issue, say right to life or traditional marriage. Actually, the president doesn’t do much with such issues. Change occurs in the state legislature or in the Supreme Court, which the President can influence in terms of whom he picks when there’s an opening.

Yet, while I understand and share your beliefs, I don’t think God only calls us to address these matters through the law. I think it’s far better to influence through fellowship, modeling, and compassion. Rather than having pastors exhort followers to vote one way or another, it’s much more powerful to urge us to live differently, to reach out to neighbors, coworkers and friends. To be so compassionate and wise that people notice, that they seek us out and when they do we respond with love and wisdom from the gospel. I think God can work miracles through each of us this way. It’s not easy to do, and I hope our churches help us change so that we can live our faith in a deeper way.


Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

On Wednesdays, Judy, creator of an inspiring blog, A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings encourages participants to list their blessings, to give thanks for the five things in the past week and then link to Judy’s blog.

Be sure to also check out her other blog and her website when you visit.
This week I am thankful for:

  1. My sister, nephew and niece are able to come visit us from out East.
  2. Great Expectations, this month’s online book club book. Such humor and terrific descriptions.
  3. The opportunity to have lunch with a group from my high school class. We went to a terrific all girls’ high school, that’s since closed. Marillac High School gave us so many good experiences and friendships within one of the best Catholic communities I’ve been part of. There are lots of Catholic groups, but they aren’t always a true community.
  4. Reconciliation, a.k.a. Confession. It’s one of the best things about Catholicism, a chance for a new start with some wisdom to push me in the right direction. I know that sometimes the sacrament can fall into a rut of formality. If it has for you find another priest, because this can transform you so much.
  5. A chance to meet my friend from Milwaukee and tour the Johnson Wax campus with it’s Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. Good buildings uplift a community.

From Commonweal Magazine

The Catholic magazine Commonweal has a good article by E. D on the presidential race in the U.S.

Romney & the Go For Broke Election

Here are the two great campaign mysteries at midsummer: Why does Mitt Romney appear to be getting so much traction from ripping a few of President Obama’s words out of context? And why aren’t Romney and other Republicans moving to the political center as the election approaches?

Both mysteries point to an important fact about the 2012 campaign: For conservatives, this is a go-for-broke election. They and a Republican Party now under their control hope to eke out a narrow victory in November on the basis of a quite radical program that includes more tax cuts for the rich, deep reductions in domestic spending, big increases in military spending, and a sharp rollback in government regulation.

In the process, the right hopes to redefine middle-of-the-road policies as “left wing,” thereby altering the balance in the American political debate.

What should alarm both liberals and moderates is that this is the rare election in which such a strategy has a chance of succeeding. Conservatives have their opening not because the country has moved far to the right but courtesy of economic discontent, partisan polarization and the right’s success in defining Obama as standing well to the left of where he actually does.

The Obama campaign is trying to disrupt this narrative on multiple fronts. Why did Obama respond so quickly and forcefully to Romney’s effort to use the president’s “you didn’t build that” quotation as a way of casting him as an enemy of small business? It’s not that the attack was true. In fact, it was blatantly false, given that in the same speech Obama praised “hard work,” “responsibility” and “individual initiative.”

The comments were good too. Especially this one:

Larry Weisenthal subscriber 07/30/2012 – 5:00pm

I’m frustrated that Obama did such a poor job with the point he was trying to make in the speech in question.  Progressive taxation (supported by notables from Adam Smith to Theodore Roosevelt) is warranted because, the higher one goes on the economic food chain, the greater the debt to government for financial success.

Businesses depend not only on roads and bridges, but an educated workforce, enforcement of contracts and protection of intelletual property, communications and shipping infrastructure, and an educated and successful base of clients and customers which has the cash to purchase goods and services from the businesses, among many other things.  These apply to even seemingly self-made, independent business people, from artists to contractors to professionals.

Everyone pays taxes.  The biggest part of government spending is entitlements.   Who pays social security/medicare taxes?  Everyone.  Even a great many “illegals.”  And it’s a monstrously regressive tax.  This regressive tax was raised, under Reagan, at the same time that the taxes for the wealthy were drastically cut.  So poor people subsidized rich people’s tax cuts, as social security was running a huge surplus at the time.

Obama wants to go back to the 1990s, to reduce the federal deficit, with regard to tax rates of the top 2%.  EXACTLY the position he took in his 2008 Presidential campaign. And those tax rates were the ones voted into place in the 1990s by the GOP congress.   Obama is not promoting “class warfare.”  He’s defending progressive taxation.  Just as Adam Smith did.  Just as Theodore Roosevelt did.  And he’s promoting the same top tax rates that the GOP voted for in the 1990s.

Can’t people in the Obama administration and Obama campaign figure out a way to communicate the above in a way which could be readily understood by the average voter?

“You didn’t build that” was an unforced error.  We are shocked, SHOCKED that Obama’s political opponents play gotcha games with it?

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA


Today the archdiocese took out a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune to convince people to support the efforts to stop Healthcare Reform or rather the part that the bishops object to.

Now I would like to know how Catholics in Europe, Korea or Japan have reacted when national healthcare came to their countries. That seems like the most relevant way to look at the issue.

I’m annoyed by this whole contention that the Church is being persecuted. That’s a bit much for me. After all, the church does get a lot of tax breaks and many clergy get full scholarships to universities like Northwestern since they claim their income as zero, yet their community feeds and clothes them in a comfortable style.

The issue seems politically and economically motivated. There’s something very hollow in the accusations of persecution or the inability to practice one’s faith.  The rabble-rousers in the clergy are hard to view as sincere. It really seems like a means of saving money, getting Catholics to feel attacked and thus active. It’s a way to build easy identity and distract people from the church’s desperate failings like the pedophile.

The president said that Catholic employers don’t have to pay for birth control, etc, rather the government would. So what’s the problem? This is want life is like in a pluralistic society.

The best way to convince people that your way is best is through love, forgiveness and humble dialog. Harping and kvetching aren’t anywhere as effective.

What the . . . ?

Commonweal‘s weekly email led me to an essay responding to a preposterous ad that aims to persuade liberal and nominal Catholics to quit the church because its teachings are “out of step with the times”. Is this for real?

Yep. As bizarre and poorly thought out as it sounds, these folks are for real.

I have to pity the people who put the ad out there to begin with.  They just don’t get that being Catholic or Christian or a believer of any faith is not the same as say belonging to a club like the Boy Scouts or Lions. Certainly, there are many with superficial faith, who did get a weak education or catechism, and they’ve got a slew of wrong ideas about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the church. That’s an issue the church needs to address, but I am glad that the church doesn’t just follow what’s popular and takes a long view.

I do agree that some changes need to be made in the church, but not based on this ad or the ideology of those who paid for it. The church constantly needs to strive for correct teaching. It’s not a job that’s ever done, but that doesn’t mean we need to fit in with the outside culture as it shifts and stumbles along.

Catholicism  goes deeper and it ought to. Yes, those who’s faith is like seed on rock may leave, but most of them left already, sadly. The church is not all about how many members there are. It shouldn’t be at least. Even if half the Catholics left, which I doubt would happen, this religion is here to stay. Every 500 years or so the church faces a major crisis and it looks like it’s in jeopardy, but it has always bounced back and grown.

Ironically, this little ad may wind up bringing people to Catholicism.

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

On Wednesdays, Judy, creator of an inspiring blog, A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings encourages participants to list their blessings, to give thanks for the five things in the past week and then link to Judy’s blog.

Be sure to also check out her other blog and her website when you visit.

  1. The perfect temperatures: not too hot, not too cold. Just right. I admit I’m a bit of a Goldilocks.
  2. The Catholic church in downtown Jinan. I went there for mass on Sunday. It was small and so cozy. The people there were very welcoming although we don’t share a language, there was a mutual understanding that we share a faith. I do with I could have spoken with them as I bet many had to suffer greatly for their faith in the past.
  3. For white mulberries. I’d never had them before and they’re delicious. Here I bought a small bag full for 18 cents more or less. An organic store in the U.S. sells them for $23.99 a pound. What a tasty bargain I got!
  4. For Adobe’s free trial for Illustrator, which allowed me to design a simple cover for my short story, “Mierna’s House” which I’m selling on Amazon.
  5. For my friend Sheila, who will visit China at the end of the month. I’m blessed to still be in touch with old friends from high school. Not everyone has that.

A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings

On Wednesdays, Judy, creator of an inspiring blog, A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings encourages participants to list their blessings, to give thanks for the five things in the past week and then link to Judy’s blog.

Be sure to also check out her other blog and her website when you visit.

This week I am thankful for:

  1. New friends, Kristyn and Bev, who went exploring the tea market with me on Saturday.
  2. New friend, Helene, who’s got a lovely spirit and lots of good stories. I also admire how she changed her life plans to take care of her granddaughter.
  3. A new semester, a new beginning.
  4. That I got accepted to the Marquette Masters of Educational Policy and Leadership, though I have to see if I get a fellowship.
  5. For Lent as I think we need a season to reflect and help us get a little more serious about what God wants from each of us.

Jumping into the Controversy

A controversy is growing as the Catholic Bishops in the US and some others contend that Catholic organizations should not have to pay for insurance that includes birth control and abortion coverage for their employees. It’s heating up in some circles, though from what I can tell most Catholics I know think its much ado about nothing. It’s not an attack on Catholics or other Christians that oppose these practices, but more the workings of Karl Rove or someone of his ilk to rile people up and win votes. That’s my take.

It’s odd to see Catholics who used birth control getting hot and bothered, but I have witnessed this. The people I have in mind are older and see Catholicism more as their social group, so to them their tribe is getting attacked. These are the sorts of people who don’t want to have a rational discussion.

Even if you disagree with my thinking that if you don’t like the mandate, protest by not paying in. Break the law, when it comes like pacifists who don’t pay their taxes.

Also I wish that more Catholics and others would not only defy and complain, but would act positively to show that their beliefs are life giving. Make it easier to raise a child in tough circumstances. Add to the number of Catholics and others who build quality homes for single pregnant women and who give showers to such women. Make it easier to walk through the hardship of some pregnancies so that abortion is just not appealing. It’s easy to complain and you might not get on Fox News for opening your home to a pregnant woman with no resources, but you should. Ideally, when you’re unhappy about and issue you speak out AND do the hard work of making things better for those who’re suffering.

One question I’m curious about is how did they handle these issues in England and Italy where they have national healthcare? Why not learn from them?

They’ve Got to Be Kidding

I used to go to a lively parish downtown that had great music and homilies. Then my visits tapered off as gas prices rose and parking got to be a problem. I live right by a seminary that offers good masses, yet I still like to check in with Old St. Pat’s.

Sometimes my friend Sheila and I would meet downtown, go to mass and have lunch. I saw Sheila last week and she gave me a bulletin from OSP. Whoa, I’ve been disenchanted with them as I feel they’ve gotten to be a rich people’s church. They do plenty for the poor, but in many ways I feel they’re a victim of their own success and don’t realize how they alienate people who aren’t wealthy. Case in point – I hunted through the bulletin looking for a spiritual program or talk I could attend in the next month. Nothing. There’s groups for various demographics, young adults, older adults, AA — all very worthwhile groups, but what about something for anyone in the parish? What about something like a Bible Study or prayer group? Last summer I enjoyed a weekly Catholic book group.

I did see one thing in the bulletin,something that shocked me. There will be a meditation series forming, but it’s $495! Are you kidding? I’ve participated in meditation groups in Japan, Korea and Texas and they were always free. I’ve led one based on John Main’s teaching. There’s no need for anyone to pay hundreds of dollars to learn to meditate. None.

How does a parish in this economy offer such a high priced series? It shows a disconnect.

I know January is a slow month, but I think a vibrant parish can do more to promote community.

World Youth Day, 2011 Madrid

Here’s a video promoting World Youth Day in Madrid. It looks like a cool event.

I took a look at CNN’s post on YouTube for this event and was saddened by the preponderance of rude comments. I flagged several as “spam” though I wanted to report the posters for abusive language.