Saturday, April 28, 2012

The centrality of the “queen mother” in the Bible

Scott Hahn has been very good at explaining the importance of the mothers of ancient kings of Israel.  They were accorded more prominence than the many wives of the Davidic monarchs.  A queen mother wore a crown and sat on a separate throne at the right hand of her son.

The obvious question in light of that: why would some Christians scruple to give great honor to the mother of the King of Kings?

Professor Hahn points out that there is but a single chapter of the Bible written by a woman – the concluding chapter of Proverbs – and that woman is a Queen Mother giving advice to her son, King Lemuel.

An excerpt:

"Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves.  Protect the rights of all who are helpless.  Speak for them and be a righteous judge.  Protect the rights of the poor and needy."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The bell tower and local patriotism

"The local protective character of the American political system is a culture built not on family but on law and masculine adult agreements.  The Italians call local patriotism 'campanilismo' : seeing life from one’s own bell tower.

"Machismo and campanilismo are blood brothers.  The masculine inclination to form territorial groups is the biological basis of Aristotle’s contention that man is by nature a political being… Masculine patriotism needs a public manifestation in daily life.  Young men want to swagger.  Wise men will teach them to do it for the bell tower.”       

"Religion is the soil of democracy"

Dr. Pence writes:
"We must return our country to its spiritual heritage that we are one nation under God.  None of our ideals about man make sense if there is no God.  If there is no God, man lives under biological determinism; he is not free.  If there is no God, then the world belongs to the strongest; there is no equality.  If there is no God, then the strongest state shall rule; there is no limited government.  The American tradition is grounded, not in the sovereignty of the individual, but in the sovereignty of God...
"Christian men must be at the center of a renewal of American manhood dedicated to the protection of life and the sovereignty of God as the sacred centers of our culture.  We must not turn the flag over to those who would defile the blessings of liberty in pursuit of license.  We must not allow the discussion of the war against the Islamic jihad to be a debate between pagan secular warriors and feminized Christian pacifists…
"The American tradition is built on a masculine fraternity, just as the Church is... It is this protective fraternity that is the bedrock agreement that undergirds political life."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

This is what Minneapolis diversity looks like

Click on and ponder this photo of the Minneapolis City Council, with its lone black member; and recall the words from Pence’s book (2004):
"The moral capital of the civil rights martyrs was stolen by the white feminist and homosexual movements, which soon eclipsed in media and political influence their secularized and marginalized black partners… Adding first the baggage car of gender, then the braking caboose of homosexuality to the freedom train has depleted its fuel supply – religious tradition and natural law."

UPDATE –  Here’s a Pence excerpt that addresses the persistent claim of homosexual activists that they were born that way:
"Natural law is the way a personal God orders the world… Because something occurs with a certain frequency in nature does not mean it is natural.  There are all sorts of physical anomalies that babies are born with called birth defects or metabolic disorders.  They are known as disorders because there is a proper order that has been defined.  Something can be a disorder even if you are born with it if there is some definition of order that all creatures are meant for."

How the Democratic coalition busted up; or, “the ‘goo-goos’ are draggin’ us to perdition!”

James Piereson has penned a tribute to the recently deceased James Q. Wilson (the co-founder of the ‘broken windows’ theory of policing that helped turn New York City around).

Piereson does a good job of putting his subject into a larger context:
Professor Wilson lamented that the “urban problem” came to be defined in exclusively racial terms. He was also skeptical of the “new politics,” developed in tandem with the Great Society, that insisted that the way forward for minorities in the city was “to march on city hall” as opposed to completing school, learning a skill, and getting a job.
James Q. Wilson was a down-to-earth academic whose books, Piereson says, prove “his colleagues were mostly wrong and the ‘man on the street’ was mostly right”:
While intellectuals and federal policy makers were worried about poverty, inadequate housing, and civil rights, most residents of cities in the late Sixties were more worried about crime, pornography, the breakdown of public order, and disrespect for community standards. The rise of “amateurs” and the “new politics” were doing little to improve the quality of life in the cities.
R. T. Rybak (mayor of Minneapolis) and John Lindsay (NYC mayor in the 1960s) are the very models of the “good government” crowd:

To take one small example: contra that pair of goo-goo birds, Hubert Humphrey (Mpls mayor after WWII) and his police chief would have had no problem seeing the infamous "squeegee men" and today's freeway-exit panhandlers for what they are – big “broken windows”!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Radical idea: be the adult men in the room

All of us -- tinkers, tailors, soldiers, and bishops -- have to be serious in a new way.  The 1960s are over.

Peggy Noonan’s comments on the men of the Secret Service:
What's terrible about this story is that for anyone who's ever seen the Secret Service up close it's impossible to believe. The Secret Service are the best of the best. That has been their reputation because that has been their reality. They have always been tough, disciplined and mature. They are men, and they have the most extraordinary job: take the bullet.
Remember when Reagan was shot? That was Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy who stood there like a stone wall, and took one right in the gut. Jerry Parr pushed Reagan into the car, and Mr. Parr was one steely-eyed agent. Reagan coughed up a little blood, and Mr. Parr immediately saw its color was a little too dark. He barked the order to change direction and get to the hospital, not the White House, and saved Reagan's life. From Robert Caro's Passage of Power, on Secret Service agent Rufus Youngblood, Nov. 22, 1963: "there was a sharp, cracking sound," and Youngblood, "whirling in his seat," grabbed Vice President Lyndon Johnson and threw him to the floor of the car, "shielding his body with his own."
In any presidential party, the Secret Service guys are the ones who are mature, who you can count on, who'll keep their heads. They have judgment, they're by the book unless they have to rewrite it on a second's notice. And they wore suits, like adults.
This week I saw a picture of agents in Colombia. They were in T-shirts, wrinkled khakis and sneakers. They looked like a bunch of mooks, like slobs, like children with muscles.
Special thanks to the person who invented casual Friday. Now it's casual everyday in America. But when you lower standards people don't decide to give you more, they give you less...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shuttle's swan song over the U.S. Capitol

My brother in DC sent me photos this morning:

The guilty silence within the ranks of the American bishops

Longtime Catholic journalist Phil Lawler:
“Only a small percentage of the Catholic priests in the US were charged with abusing children, but a very large percentage of the country’s bishops (fully two-thirds, according to an exhaustive search through the available evidence published in 2002 by the Dallas Morning News) had been implicated in the cover-up…
“Priests who have been accused of abuse have been removed from active ministry, but bishops who were demonstrably guilty of protecting the abusers remained in office.”

A similar pattern can be seen in a recent case here in Minneapolis involving a retired chief of park police, who had a long history of sexually abusing boys.  He finally went to prison last week, but the elite prep schools and the YMCA camp that knew of his behavior many years ago are suffering no legal penalty -- or even public disgrace -- for their quiescence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Let’s move all our monuments to chivalry into mean little cul-de-sacs"

On this feast day of God’s greatest attribute, His Divine Mercy, let us also take stock of how a noble part of man – his chivalry – is faring in our brave new progressive world. 

A master geographer explains how Washington DC has dealt with a monument to the self-sacrifice of the male passengers of the Titanic:

APRIL 15 1912


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Let a hen be a hen; and a rooster a rooster

From the superb autobiography of Rev. Ralph David Abernathy (d. 1990), top lieutenant of M. L. King:
"The third occasion when we would have chicken was when my father would hear one of the hens attempting to crow.  A devout Christian who knew the Old Testament, chapter and verse, as well as the New Testament, he believed that men should behave like men and women should behave like women.  And he extended that law to include chickens.  If he heard a hen trying to behave like a rooster on our farm, she would be in the pot before the sun went down.  But her wicked pride was our good fortune, and we were always happy when one of the hens got out of line."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Connecting the dots from G Washington to BT Washington

Charles Murray has a fascinating comment on the Founding Fathers:
"The founders were unanimous in saying this Constitution will not work with just any kind of population. The population must possess certain virtues. This was not just one or two founders who said this. They all did. And they also focused on four that were crucial. All of them agreed. There were others that they had in the list. But these four were central: the integrity of marriage, industriousness, religiosity, and plain American honesty. And they said without those you cannot have a self-governing population."
Probably the most dangerous section of the Twin Cities in recent years is far north Minneapolis.  A cab driver was slain there a couple weeks ago; and on Monday evening at 8:30 a young man was bicycling some food to nearby friends of his parents, when he was confronted by three teenage boys who demanded his bike.  When he didn't stop, he was shot dead.

Booker T. Washington is being proven right.  You can have black mayors and black presidents, you can have Supreme Court decisions and civil rights laws -- but politics and courtrooms only take you so far!

How does a young black man fill up his days with accomplishment and honor and pride?

Here is black professor (Vanderbilt Law School) Carol Swain: 
"The older I get, the more I appreciate Booker T. Washington’s educational philosophy of self-help and self-reliance for the masses of blacks... Washington wisely stressed the laudable virtues of personal responsibility, thrift, and hard work as the most effective means of achieving self-sufficiency and white acceptance by defying negative stereotypes. 
"I admire Washington for many reasons that extend beyond the fact that he was a fellow Virginian born about 20 miles from the hamlet where I grew up in rural poverty. Although Washington was born a slave on a large plantation, he managed to get an education, and he founded an institution designed to uplift other former slaves and their offspring. Instead of lecturing white Americans about the litany of injustices perpetrated against blacks, Washington appealed to their better natures and gave them an opportunity to use their money to help him establish and maintain Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Tuskegee taught black men and women mechanical skills and trades that would make them more valuable citizens... I have an abiding respect for Washington because he spoke for blacks from poor families like mine. W.E.B. Du Bois, his Harvard-educated counterpart, represented the needs and desires of a more elite constituency, as can be gleaned from his advocacy of a liberal arts education of what he referred to as the 'Talented Tenth' of the black race."                          

Friday, April 6, 2012

The panicked heart of one man in the wee hours of Crucifixion Friday

The cold deserted night and a plain-spoken servant girl were enough to terrorize ‘the Rock.'  By the third go-around with her, Peter was spitting nails:

But he began to curse and to swear, saying, “I know not this man of whom ye speak.”
And the second time the cock crew.
                                                     (St. Mark’s Gospel, chapter 14)

Bishop Fulton Sheen:
"Saint Thomas Aquinas said that everything increases its motion as it nears its proper place or home.  Saints grow rapidly in charity; wicked men rot quickly.  We can see the truth of the point if we compare Peter and Judas…

"Why is one at the head of the list and the other at the bottom?  Because Peter repented unto the Lord, but Judas unto himself.  The difference was as vast as the difference between the Cross and the psychoanalytic couch.  Judas recognized that he had betrayed 'innocent blood,' but he never wanted to be washed clean in it.  Peter knew he had sinned and sought Redemption."

“O Jesu, gone so far apart
  Only my heart can follow Thee,
  That look which pierced Saint Peter’s heart
  Turn now on me.”
                            (Christina Rossetti)

"Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it?"

Those are the words of Satan addressing God.

Saint Therese of Lisieux once wrote her sister Celine that our Lord wants us not to love him for his gifts -- but for himself:
"Jesus hides Himself; He wraps Himself in darkness.  Jesus is a hidden treasure... and the world loves what sparkles... To find a hidden thing, one must hide oneself... Ah, let us remain then very far from all that sparkles, let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit..."

[Two 19th-century Russian paintings: Job and his friends; the funeral of the first-born].

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Augean stables in Philly have been passing themselves off as the Catholic Archdiocese

"A thick smell hung over the entire Peloponnesus..."

King Augeas owned many herds of cattle, but his stables had never been mucked out.  When Hercules was punished, one of the twelve labors he had to perform was to clean the Augean stables in a single day.  He surprised everyone by diverting the neighboring river -- and the barns were washed out to a fare-thee-well.

The corruption and cover-up of Catholic priests in Philadelphia has been massive.  By not being vigilant guardians of the apostolic band of men under their charge -- allowing scoundrels, predators, and she-dogs to be ordained and then giving them free rein -- the Philly archbishops quenched the Holy Spirit.

Cardinal Krol (whose parents were Polish immigrants) was in charge from 1961-1988.  Then, Cardinal Bevilacqua (son of Italian immigrants) took over until his resignation in 2003.

Thus it falls to Archbishop Chaput to whip things into shape in Philadelphia.  Holy Spirit, give him resolve and let your cleansing River flow!