Tuesday 29th November 2022

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A Beacon of Light… Preparing For The Greatest Gift

November 29, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon of Light… Preparing For The Greatest Gift

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn.)

  • + + How many of us enjoy receiving gifts? Receiving a gift is another person’s way of showing their love or appreciation for us. But a gift can only be received, fully received, according to what is in the heart and soul of the one who receives it.
    That being said, this past Sunday we began the Season of Advent. Advent allows us to set aside some much needed time to prepare ourselves to receive the greatest gift ever. During the Advent Season we journey with John the Baptist who preaches a message urging us to prepare ourselves to receive the precious gift that God gives us in the person of Jesus, the Christ.
    Sometimes we fail in allowing ourselves to prepare for the celebration of the Incarnation. John wasn’t interested in assigning blame and finger-pointing at the moral bankruptcy of the Pharisees and Sadducees; he was more interested in touching those who were listening to him with sincere hearts. Hearts fully aware of what human sin can do, but also, hearts that were aware of God’s merciful promise of a Savior who would, through our own conversion, deliver us from the power of evil.
    John wanted the people to convert, and with expectant faith, to receive God’s gift.
    If we look at human history, we can’t help but realize that humanity is weakened by our lust for power, money, and sexual exploitation of others. Is that God’s fault or ours? Some blame God for everything that has gone wrong both in their own lives as well as in our human history. But we must ask ourselves, did God create us to live in misery?
    The Book of Genesis gives us a different picture, a picture in which God created us to live in happiness. This is symbolized in the Garden of Eden. God’s primal intention was that we live in love, peace, and harmony, harmony with our world and harmony in our relationships with others. It goes on to present us with all that has gone wrong.
    And what has gone wrong? Our desire to decide for ourselves what is good and evil, what is right for us and what is wrong for us. We decide for ourselves, apart from what God wants for us.
    That lust for power is found in our DNA coding, in our blood, in our now weakened human spirit. It is important to bear in mind that sin has weakened us, sickened our souls, and diminished our love; our love of God and our love for one another. That condition is known in theology as “original sin,” our sinful rebellion that is found in our origins. We are born into human history and bear its weakness, a weakness so inherent in us that we cannot save ourselves.
    This offends our human pride. This bruises our egotistical belief that we can justify ourselves, save ourselves, and make ourselves whole again. The truth is only God can save us, only God can justify us, only God can restore us to wholeness — holiness.
    The only way up and out of the quicksand in which we find ourselves thrashing about is to reach up and take hold of God’s hand, God’s saving presence that comes to us in His Christ, the One who stands on solid ground, on rock; the One who offers us His healing strength in His Anointed One, Christ our Lord. He offers…nothing happens unless we respond.
    It is not the will of God to allow evil to triumph over us. God’s will is just the reverse. Evil has no power over us other than what we allow it to have. Evil has no power over us when God’s love for us in His Christ abides within us. God has limited evil’s reach. Satan’s power is not limitless, it is limited, and more than limited it is negated when we choose not to eat of the tainted fruit from the tree that stands in the middle of our world.

Abide With Us

It is so true that evil abounds in our world. We know of our concentration camps, oppressive political regimes, dictators, brutality, sexual predators, religious fanatics, and other agents of the Evil One. Totalitarianism in the forms of Nazism, Communism, unrestrained acquisition of money and power, and religious persecution have beset us in recent centuries.
They all have parentage found in earlier human history. All of these evils crucified Christ; all of these evils continue to crucify Him as He lives now within us in His Mystical Body. Nailing others continues to nail Christ to His cross.
What John the Baptist calls us to see is that religious persecution and systemic evils, as symbolized in the Pharisees and Sadducees, will beset us as long as we fail to recognize Christ our Savior living now among us. We need to recognize that Jesus Christ didn’t come among us 2,000 years ago and then leave. Not at all! In fact, God would not play that dirty trick on us. We need to see that God sent His Son among us to abide with us, not only among us but live within us. With Him we can overcome what original sin has done to us.
The path out of the mess of our lives is the path of personal repentance and conversion, a conversion in which we change our ways. These prepare the way for us to receive Christ, God’s gift to us. Repentance isn’t simply saying: “I’m sorry” and then moving on as if nothing has changed. Repentance involves recognition, becoming aware of our sins, something quite beyond simply feeling bad about what we have done. Nice sentiments are not the stuff of repentance. To be sure, God offers us His forgiveness, but nothing happens until we respond. But respond with changed patterns of behavior? That is true repentance.
You have all heard of the Twelve Steps set forward in the recovery program offered by Alcoholics Anonymous. Permit me here to substitute the word “sin” for the word “alcohol” found in just the first three of those twelve steps.
First: We admitted we were powerless over sin — that our lives had become unmanageable.
Second: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Third: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Recovery is hard work, you can’t just talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. That is what John the Baptist is telling us. The wonderful thing about Advent is that at the end we are given the certitude of God’s loving presence in our lives, God’s Holy Spirit abiding deep within our hearts and souls. Advent is all about expectant faith and hope found in the Gift of God, who loved us so much, that He sent us His very best….His only-begotten Son.
And if we receive Him in our hearts and souls, receive Him not simply with good wishes and nice thoughts, then the changes that we enter into will take us out of our weakness and into the certainty of God’s love abiding deep within us, empowering us to deal with our wounded selves and enjoy life as He would have us enjoy it.
He is our Savior; we are powerless to be our own savior. Advent affords us the opportunity to wait with expectant faith, to experience the love of God, made present in the world through the birth of our Savior.

Bits And Pieces

November 28, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Bits And Pieces

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

Well, we’re on to Christmas having now survived the Midterm Elections and Thanksgiving, which sometimes turns out to be family bickering day if, in fact, siblings have now ended up on opposite political poles. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to solve the problem you may have with your pesky relatives who refuse to believe your logically particular ideology. I, at least, am satisfied that this column was able to duck political and legal issues for two weeks while we celebrated All Saints and Thanksgiving.
But I can’t stay quiet about such things for too long, which is probably why my wife and I had to eat Thanksgiving dinner by ourselves. There’s not a whole lot I can dwell on at length this week, but I do have a few nuggets that I’ll pass on for whatever they are worth.
First some good, but not unexpected, news: Another federal judge, earlier this year, has ruled that “In God We Trust” is, in fact, constitutional.
The case in which our national motto was involved arose from a public charter school which had displayed a plaque or poster containing the motto in the school entrance. One Dustin Faeber, an attorney, filed the suit on behalf of his minor daughter. Evidently, the parents took umbrage over the plaque’s message that they saw while they were dropping their child off for her first day in kindergarten because they wished to raise their daughter in a non-religious manner.
Accordingly, the plaintiffs asked, on behalf of their kindergartener — who presumably could not even read the poster — for an order for the state to remove its display.
Judge Aleta A. Trauger rejected the challenge to the motto, citing a long line of cases which had supported it, and dismissed the parents’ argument noting: “The entire display in which the poster of the national motto is situated itself contains no religious symbolism or references and, as such, reflects no intention on the part of the School Defendants to establish or promote a religion. . . . It is not coercive; and it does not involve any excessive entanglement of a government institution and religion.”
One for the good guys.
In another case about public expression of faith, a school upheld a teacher’s right to paint her parking stall with a Bible verse.
In Wesley Chapel, Fla., the Wiregrass Ranch High School allows teachers to paint and decorate their parking spaces. Of course, that’s probably not as popular as Twitter employees getting free lunches and wine coolers on tap, but it was something nice.
Anyway, a teacher painted on her spot the words, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Hardly fighting words, but it did cause a ruckus. Apparently, an instructional assistant, Marina Gentilesco, did find offense in it. “I feel like it’s attacking me as a Jew,” she claimed.
She was quoted in the local press as saying, “It brings me to the verge of tears, because it brings me back to the six million that perished. Six million perished because of our faith — because we’re Jews.”
Apparently, those painful moments were just too much for Ms. Gentilesco, who opined that the Bible verse would not be offensive if found on a church building, but doesn’t think it belongs on school grounds.
The school officials looked at the issue a little differently, however. School spokesman Stephen Hegarty said the Bible verse was not a violation but a personal expression.
“There is no proselytizing going on,” he said. “It’s not compelling students to do anything one way or the other….It has nothing to do with instruction,” he said. “It’s just a teacher expressing themselves just like they might wear a crucifix on their shirt. Teachers and students are free to express themselves.”
Another one for the good guys. And some good legal news:
In Amarillo, Texas, a federal district court rejected the government’s interpretation of the word “sex” in federal law to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
The case, Neese v. Becerra, involved two physicians who challenged the Biden administration’s mandate in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that required them to perform medical procedures that violated the physicians’ religious or conscience rights. It also challenged the administration’s requirement that men (trans-women) be allowed to compete on women and girls athletic teams.
The court wrote in reference to female athletics: “Title IX’s protections center on differences between the two biological sexes — not SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] status,” the court wrote in its opinion. “Title IX expressly allows sex distinctions and sometimes even requires them to promote equal opportunity. . . . Defendants’ theory actively undermine[s] one of [Title IX’s] major achievements, giving young women an equal opportunity to participate in sports.”
The court ruled that the administration’s interpretation, or reinterpretation, of the word “sex” was overbroad and must be struck down.
But even with harbingers of good things to come I can’t overlook the fact that no sooner did we get rid of all those annoying political ads (except for Georgia — sorry about that), than we now have to listen to all those mind-numbing ads for Medicare annual enrollments. I don’t know which is worse. On second thought I do. It is the ads for Camp Lejeune victims that I now get every day in my email.
Finally, I know we’ll have a lot to say about the election — that is if we ever get all the ballots counted, but I do not understand how with all of our technology it takes us to Thanksgiving to count votes cast in early November. I have a solution. Get rid of all the electoral gimmicks in the law to streamline the process: ballot harvesting, jungle primaries, ranked-choice voting, and month-long mail-in voting.
Absentee and mail-in voting should be limited to just a few weeks and require signature matches. For in-person voting all should be required to provide a photo identification. I simply do not believe the Democrats who claim that minorities are under a hardship to provide the ID.
My one comment on the results: despite the overly optimistic advance claims by national partisans, I thought the election went well here in Iowa. We re-elected our pro-life governor, Kim Reynolds, by a landslide and turned out our longtime attorney general in favor of a pro-life Republican, Brenna Bird, who will, hopefully, be a counterweight to the newly elected George Soros funded Democrat county attorney.
I think I should just try putting my head in the sand for another few weeks.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday on Faith On Trial at https://iowacatholicradio.com/faith-on-trial/)

Biden’s Border

November 27, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Biden’s Border

By BARBARA SIMPSON

It’s hard to know just what to think about the whole issue of our border with Mexico. Some people — tongue in cheek, no doubt — even say there is no border because of the thousands of illegals who cross weekly. These people are not coming from Mexico — they are just using Mexico as their pathway to the U.S. border and entrance into our country. They are coming from countries all across the world — Cuba, Haiti, South America, and yes, even Asia.
It’s estimated that there were at least 11.4 million illegal aliens in this country as of January 2018. Who knows what is it is now? According to a report in Breitbart, just last month, the Biden Administration “welcomed” nearly 200,000 illegals into the interior of our country and from February 2021 to August 2022, 1.35 million illegals were released into American communities by the administration. By that, I mean not just allowed them across the border but provided them with transportation to communities across the interior of our country.
There are those who might ask, and in my opinion, rightly so: “whose side are they on?”
The man who was the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump Administration, Thomas Homan, has estimated that President Biden is deporting just one illegal alien for every 1,000 who enter the country.
The people who live at the border are the best judge of what it means to them and their lives. In fact, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, declared this past week that his state is the target of an “invasion” and that he would be taking “unprecedented measures . . . to keep our state and country safe.”
That his statement got lots of publicity and raised criticism from some should not be surprising. But the reality is that the American citizens at the border, not only of Texas but of all the states along the border, to say nothing of interior communities, feel and endure the negative effects of the yes, invasion. Never forget, we are talking about thousands of people every day!
Abbott wrote to county judges along the border claiming that the president has abandoned his responsibility to enforce immigration laws and Congress does not hold him to his responsibility.
What does Abbott plan to do?:
Deploy the National Guard.
Arrest and return border immigrants and arrest those who involve themselves in criminal activity.
Build a border wall
Deploy gun boats to secure the border Designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations
Enter a compact with border states to secure the border and provide resources to enable those activities to take place.
There is no doubt about it, the Governor of Texas has all his ducks in a row and he knows what he wants to accomplish for the benefit of his state and in fact, of the country as a whole.
What is astonishing about this is that while all this was taking place, the man who is the secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security that the border is secure.
On the other hand, Fox News reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray said: “What I would say is that we see significant criminal threats coming from south of the border — whether it’s guns, drugs, money, violence.”
That sounds like a pretty serious situation. The statistics reinforce that. Over 2.76 million illegals crossed the border so far in 2022.
So far this year, there have been 1,142 criminal non-citizens convicted of assault; 1,614 convicted of driving under the influence; 62 convicted of homicide; 365 convicted of sexual offenses; and thousands more convicted of other crimes.
Donald Trump, who this week announced that he plans to run for president again, says that he wants the death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers.
Trump says that over the course of a drug-dealer’s life, the dealer is estimated to kill about 500 people on average. He says that a more severe penalty will reduce drug distribution and reduce crime in our country by a minimum of 75 percent on the first day that this policy is instituted.
What do Democrats say? Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) calls on all Republicans to join Democrats in passing a pathway to citizenship for “all undocumented” people in this country.
He says he wants it done by the end of the year and that it is possible. Schumer says if he can get 10 Republicans to join the effort, it will happen.
Schumer says: It’s “the smart thing to do — the right thing — the moral thing — and the humane thing to do.”
Wow!
He says that “we will not stop fighting till we get a fix for DACA, a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and a pathway to citizenship for all undocumented.”
There’s no doubt this issue will be a major point of contention in the next presidential campaign, but it is a more vital one than that.
What Schumer and Democrats want is to open the borders and let the world in. Americans must look at the impact that would have on our country, and decide whether they want to so radically change the United States.
Again, I ask the question, whose side are they on?

Have Our Bishops Embraced The Schumer Doctrine?

November 26, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Have Our Bishops Embraced The Schumer Doctrine?

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has revealed a curious motive for his support of unlimited illegal immigration.
“Now more than ever, we’re short of workers,” he told reporters outside the Capitol on November 16. “We have a population that is not reproducing on its own, with the same level that it used to. The only way we’re going to have a great future in America is if we welcome and embrace immigrants, the ‘Dreamers’ — and all of them, because our ultimate goal is to help the Dreamers but get a path to citizenship for all 11 million or however many undocumented there are here.”
This palaver is nothing new from the Left. These champions of the Culture of Death have constructed a malevolent matrix with abortion at its core, and life in America as its target: feminism, the celebration of sodomy and its LGBTQ+ variants — they all aim to destroy marriage, the family, and ultimately, a free society.
In their years of cheering on the murder of the unborn, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have worked overtime to make sure that there will never be enough Americans.
Now they claim that there can never be too many illegal aliens!
With his dictum that “unlimited abortion and unlimited illegal immigration will save America,” Chuck hides murder in the disguise of a moral imperative.
Let’s call it the Schumer Doctrine.
One wonders: What do America’s bishops make of it?
Well, they’re all aboard the illegal immigration train. In fact, they support it so strongly that it’s become their Prime Mandate.
So they agree with Schumer on the desirability of illegal immigration, although we can pray that they don’t support his reasons.
But let’s face it — if they’re afraid to confront Joe Biden on abortion, they don’t dare confront “The Schume” either. So they remain silent.
Thomas Sowell’s masterful Migrations and Cultures details how America’s bishops welcomed legal immigrants over the past two centuries. But their current shift to supporting illegal immigration on such a massive scale is unprecedented.
What caused it?
Ten years ago, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez predicted a Hispanic “Next America.” And today, Hispanics constitute over half of American Catholics under the age of thirty.
Like the rest of the country, America’s Catholic population “is not reproducing on its own, with the same level that it used to.”
Why not?
Don’t ask your bishop.

Collision — Or Collusion?

In the past fifty years and more, America’s bishops have increasingly tended to make the optional magisterial, and the magisterial optional.
Today, their agenda features a vast array of government programs and policies as the authoritative teaching of “the Church,” while they fall silent on the magisterial teachings of Humanae Vitae on contraception, Romans 1:26-27 on sodomy, and Matthew 19:3-6 on marriage and divorce.
Admittedly, the alliance between Schumer and the bishops is peculiar. Here we have the most pro-abortion majority leader in Senate history saying out loud what the bishops will not say but apparently support: Americans are not having enough children, so we have to import someone else’s children.
The death knell for Catholic demographics came long ago, with the massive wave of opposition to Pope Paul VI’s promulgation of Humanae Vitae in 1968. Alas, the core of that opposition was within the Church herself, including the hierarchy. Opponents were so hateful that Cardinal Stafford later described those dark days as “Gethsemane.”
But even that opposition had precedents. Throughout the 60s, as historian Donald Critchlow recounts, America’s bishops had already refused even to oppose taxpayer funding of contraception in government family planning programs at home and abroad.
Their abdication of that consecrated duty persists today.
In 2010, Bishop Howard Hubbard, as chairman of the USCCB’s International Committee on Justice and Peace, joined with other secular lobbyists at the federal trough to support half a billion dollars in funding for contraceptives, and $65 million for abortion, in foreign aid “family planning” programs.
When I asked Hubbard how he could support such immoral initiatives, he assured me that Catholics could disagree with his decision after “prayerful consideration,” but he did not apologize for his position. And it is still official USCCB policy today.
Call it the “Hubbard Doctrine.”
Since 2010, Hubbard has admitted to covering up for sexual abusers of children, has been accused of child abuse himself, and, most recently, has now asked to be laicized.
Such sad news is profoundly disappointing, but hardly surprising.
Curiously, today Schumer embraces Hubbard’s goal — aborting the population of Third World countries, on the one hand, while welcoming to our shores millions of illegal aliens from those same countries.
Apparently, Chuck Schumer is just as confused as our beloved bishops are.
Indeed, while the USCCB publicly recognizes abortion as its “preeminent issue,” and relegates Canon 915 to a quiet footnote to its document on the Eucharist, we can safely predict that they will continue to do nothing about either.

Divided Loyalties

In their annual meeting this month, bishops reaffirmed their support for the Schumer Doctrine by electing Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso to head the USCCB’s Committee on Migration.
Bishop Seitz received 127 votes to 116 for Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.
Admittedly, there wasn’t much of a choice. Both prelates strongly support Schumer and are openly hostile to the Rule of Law.
We note that this is the same Rule of Law that protects the religious freedom of the bishops from the constant attempts by none other than Chuck Schumer to destroy it.
The Schumer Doctrine raises painful questions for Catholic bishops. Will they remind Schumer that the reason we have 50 million fewer Americans today is abortion?
More than likely, on that score we will see the same silence they have demonstrated for over fifty years, per the Hubbard Doctrine.
Bishops are plainly torn between their love of illegal immigration and their hatred of abortion. But why are they vocal on one issue — receiving millions in federal funding to perpetuate it — while giving the other only lip service? Is it because there’s no federal money in fighting abortion? Is that why they’ve left that battle to the laity for fifty years?
As my con law professor Charlie Rice said 50 years ago, mimicking this sort of amiable duplicity, “I’m not schizophrenic — neither am I!”

Meet The New Boss,
Same As His Old Boss

You can’t make this stuff up.
At their meeting earlier this month, bishops celebrated the twentieth anniversary of their adoption of the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.” They read aloud a letter to Pope Francis offering their continued “apology and vigilance” in their efforts.
That didn’t last long.
At the same meeting, they elected Richmond Bishop Barry Knestout to head their Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People.
Some twenty years ago, Knestout lived in the same apartment as then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and served as his secretary in the Washington chancery. When McCarrick was removed years later, Knestout wrote: “Throughout the time that I was in Washington, I can tell you that I was not approached by anyone with any allegations or evidence of sexual harassment or abuse involving the cardinal.”
Unfortunately for the bishop, the question in the minds of the people was, “But what did you know?”
Knestout recently removed Fr. Mark White, a pastor in the Richmond Diocese, criticizing “his scurrilous and public, published attacks on His Holiness, Pope Francis and other members of the hierarchy.”
Translated, Fr. White had criticized bad bishops for covering up their role in the scandals. One focus of his criticisms was Ted McCarrick — whose role especially troubled him, because McCarrick had ordained Fr. White years before.
That was too much for Knestout. He wrote the Vatican demanding that Fr. White be reduced to the lay state.
The bishops knew Knestout’s history. They voted for him anyway.
Nothing will change.

Justice Samuel Alito . . . Gets Standing Ovation At Conservative Event For Overturning Roe

November 25, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Justice Samuel Alito . . . Gets Standing Ovation At Conservative Event For Overturning Roe

By STEVEN ERTELT

WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — Justice Samuel Alito received a standing ovation at a Federalist Society event for authoring the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and allowed states to protect babies from abortions.
A Reuters report described it as the “loudest applause at the event.”
As Yahoo News reported, “The hundreds of lawyers and law students in attendance gave Alito another standing ovation when a speaker onstage, Stephen Markman, a former Michigan Supreme Court justice, praised his opinion in the June ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that had protected abortion rights.”
“I do not know of any decision on any court by any judge of which that judge could be more proud,” Markman said.
During his address to the group, Alito said its work is sorely needed because courts at all levels need more jurists who stick to the Constitution.
“And boy, is your work needed today,” he said.
Here’s more:
Three other conservative justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett — also attended. Barrett made brief remarks praising the society, saying she had “benefited immensely” from her association with it, and she got her own standing ovation when she took the stage.
She said it was nice to hear “noise not made by protesters outside my house,” presumably a reference to protests before and after the abortion ruling, a draft of which was leaked in May. She was part of the conservative majority that overturned Roe.
“Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each state from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” Alito wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”
Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Stephen Breyer authored a joint dissent condemning the decision as enabling states to enact “draconian” restrictions on women.
Polls show Americans are pro-life on abortion and a new national poll shows 75 percent of Americans essentially agree with the Supreme Court overturning Roe.
Despite false reports that abortion bans would prevent doctors from treating pregnant women for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, pro-life doctors confirm that is not the case. Some 35 states have laws making it clear that miscarriage is not abortion and every state with an abortion ban allows treatment for both.

Biden Pulls A Fast One On The Kids

November 24, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Biden Pulls A Fast One On The Kids

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

CNN’s exit polls of those voting for Members of the U.S. House of Representatives found that Republicans won among those over 65 (+13 percent) and those 45-64 (+11 percent), while Democrats won among those between 30 and 44 (+2 percent) and those 18-29 (+28 percent).
Yahoo News reports that, two days after the polls closed, “Joe Biden thanked young voters for turning out in historic numbers. ‘They voted to continue addressing the climate crisis, gun violence, their personal rights and freedoms and the student debt relief,’ he said.”
Uh-Oh.
That same day, a Federal Court in Fort Worth, Texas, vacated Biden’s “unlawful” student loan payoff, calling it “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ legislative power.”
As U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman wrote:
“The Constitution vests ‘all legislative powers’ in Congress. This power, however, can be delegated to the executive branch. But if the executive branch seeks to use that delegated power to create a law of vast economic and political significance, it must have clear congressional authorization. If not, the executive branch unconstitutionally exercises ‘legislative powers’ vested in Congress. In this case, the HEROES Act — a law to provide loan assistance to military personnel defending our nation — does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program. The Program is thus an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ legislative power and must be vacated.”
Of course, Judge Pittman’s findings also apply to thousands of the Biden administration’s illegal mandates, executive orders, and policy perversions. Using these usurped powers, unelected Deep State bureaucrats have assaulted everything from the religious rights of pro-life medical personnel to the privacy rights of girls whose schools force them to entertain boys in women’s locker rooms.
But beyond Judge Pittman’s desperately needed civics lesson, consider the classic con that Biden has pulled on the millions of student-debt holders who voted for “Joe’s Free Money.”
Joe lied.
They aren’t going to get it.
He bought them — and now he’s sold them out.
This is not new.
In the “world’s oldest profession,” prostitutes are roped into squalor and slavery due to drugs, debt, or outright kidnapping by sex trafficking gangs like Mexico’s Coyotes.
In this unlovely business, the slavemasters are called “pimps.”
In Biden’s student debt forgiveness scandal, that role was adroitly and unashamedly played by the likes of Senators Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders.
For years these two multimillionaire socialists have bribed voters with promises of free money and free sex, all of it free of any consequences.
And that’s what prostitution’s pimps do too. In one North Carolina case, members of a motorcycle gang that runs the strip joint identify attractive women and lure them with free drugs and invitations to wild, all-night parties.
After thirty days of getting her addicted, the thug tells the target that now she has to pay for it.
“But I don’t have that kind of money,” she cries.
“Come on, honey, you can make that in two hours working at the club.”
And now Joe tells the voters, “Sorry, honey, now you gotta pay for it.”
This is what socialists always do.
So the gals wanted free drugs and suddenly discovered that they were prostitutes.
And the kids wanted free money and suddenly discovered. . . .

A Most Unhappy Anniversary

This coming Monday — November 21— marks the first anniversary of the terrorist massacre of participants in a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis. Darrell Brooks, a black racist and career criminal, killed six and wounded over fifty of the celebrants when he intentionally roared through the crowd in his sports utility vehicle.
News of the Waukesha murders — six fatalities, plus half a hundred wounded — quickly disappeared not only from the national media but even from the front page of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the major local paper in Waukesha. Joe Biden bemoaned the “horrific tragedy,” but like the BBC, MSNBC, and NPR, Joe couldn’t call it a hate crime or even blame the driver. Mimicking its secular colleagues, the USCCB’s own news service also blamed the racist massacre on “an SUV” in several stories.
Joe Biden’s “task force on domestic terrorism” paid the Waukesha mass slaughter no mind. And, while the police involved in the death of George Floyd were tried and convicted on Federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights, no Federal charges were filed against Brooks. Moreover, while almost 100 U.S. bishops issued statements condemning the racist murder of George Floyd, only Waukesha’s local ordinary, Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, spoke up at all about the dead and wounded.
“As the shepherd of the Catholic community of southeastern Wisconsin, I feel compelled to stand in solidarity with those who have been affected by this senseless act,” said the archbishop, who also led a prayer procession in memory of the victims.
In 2016, the USCCB appointed the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, with Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux as its chairman. One would think that Waukesha represented a classic example of a racist crime. However, when we asked his secretary if Bishop Fabre had made a statement regarding the massacre, we received no reply.
This past Thursday, a Wisconsin jury sentenced Brooks to six consecutive life sentences for the murders of Jackson Sparks, 8; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

Leftovers

Last month, an illegal alien attacked Mr. Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their home in San Francisco. The attacker, David DePape, has been charged with assault and attempted kidnapping in Federal District Court.
The investigation revealed that DePape is an illegal alien. Unfortunately, however, San Francisco is a “Sanctuary City,” so DePape was safe from being deported to his home in Canada.
California’s bishops unanimously support sanctuary cities, and so does Paul Pelosi’s wife Nancy. However, had officials been allowed to act according to law, he would have been deported to a mental ward in Canada long ago, and Mr. Pelosi would be at home in good health today.
On November 11, Peter K. Kilpatrick was installed as the president of Catholic University in Washington. In his inaugural remarks, he pledged to make the school America’s “premier Catholic research university,” and said that he’d work to double the size of the student body on both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Uh-oh.
Upon hearing the news, my first thought was, “He’d better read Charlie Rice’s What Happened to Notre Dame, because that’s what longtime president Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, wanted for Notre Dame as well — a goal whose fulfillment brought calamitous consequences to Our Lady’s University that [persevere] to this day.
But wait — Dr. Kilpatrick was dean of engineering at Notre Dame when Obama came to campus in 2009. So the question arises, does he already know what happened to Notre Dame? And is that what he wants for Catholic U?
The U.S. Senate passed a same-sex marriage bill Wednesday, November 16. Consequences?
The bill will allow the Internal Revenue Service (with its 87,000 new employees) to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches that discriminate against non-traditional marriage. Religiously affiliated adoption centers and foster care providers will also be challenged. Small business owners who choose to support only traditional marriage will also be liable to federal penalties.
Lawsuits galore will explode, of course, with Biden’s Department of Justice using unlimited taxpayer funds to attack groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, whose resources are severely limited.
Disastrous, of course — but who cares?
Twelve Republicans don’t. All of them has-beens, looking for million-a-year lobbying jobs that (ahem) don’t go to “homophobes,” they voted “aye.”
And so did eighteen Catholics.
And they have eighteen bishops.
Maybe their bishops will do something.

Resurrection To Follow?. . . Analysis Begins On “Underwhelming” Midterm Vote Result For GOP

November 23, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Resurrection To Follow?. . . Analysis Begins On “Underwhelming” Midterm Vote Result For GOP

By DEXTER DUGGAN

PHOENIX — I recently noticed a man at daily Mass at my parish wearing a black hoodie with a large image of a skull on his back. What biker gang’s member was showing off its colors?
When I managed to read the words around the skull, it turned out not to be threatening a violent end to a gang’s enemies, but the classic Christian “memento mori” skeletal reminder that death comes to everyone, so be spiritually prepared for that day. If you’ve been good, resurrection follows.
Appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem.
Much analysis followed the November 8 midterm elections, including considerable surprise that the Republican Party didn’t do as well as anticipated.
During a November 16 interview on Phoenix-based KKNT Radio (960 AM), Cong. David Schweikert (R., Ariz.), a statistics guru, said it’s important to analyze the data, which could take weeks.
Still, when voters were mightily displeased during the first midterm elections of Bill Clinton (1994) and Barack Obama (2010), they soundly rebuked these liberal Democrat presidents. Clinton lost 54 House seats and eight Senate seats, while Obama lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats.
As bad as those presidents’ early years had been, there was no denying Democrat Joe Biden’s start in the White House, beginning in January 2021, had been astoundingly worse, with his policies intentionally inflicting immense suffering across the board on Americans in order to impose his far-left agenda.
However, as this was written overnight on November 16-17, the GOP had just hit the bare minimum for a U.S. House majority, at 218 seats, while other races still were being counted. Hardly a rout of Democrats.
Meanwhile, the Senate was at a 50-50 split, the same number as before the midterm elections, although a December 6 runoff is scheduled for one of the Georgia Senate seats.
It probably didn’t increase GOP activists’ enthusiasm around the nation, however, that generally passive Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, was reelected to that post on November 16 by a comfortable margin of 37 to 10 of his Senate colleagues, with one member voting “present.”
Nor was it inspiring that 12 Republican senators joined with Senate Democrats on November 16 to provide a filibuster-proof majority for a bill to codify “same-sex marriage” nationwide that opponents said threatened religious liberty.
With all of the nation’s frightening challenges, the best that a significant number of Senate Republicans could do, just a week after the midterm elections, was to boost a Democrat social-transformation priority?
The left-wing Los Angeles Times posted on November 16 to note “Republicans’ underwhelming performance in an election cycle when economic conditions, historical precedent and a sour national mood should have worked to their advantage.”
One major difference since Clinton’s and Obama’s devastating midterms was the introduction of mass mail-in balloting, supposedly as an emergency measure for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with countless millions of ballots being set afloat across the U.S. However, many states continued to use this system, which was regarded as a treasure to help Democrats.
The “Revolver” news and opinion site posted on November 12 that despite the many incentives for voters to repudiate Democrats, and the fact that the seriously stroke-impaired John Fetterman in Pennsylvania seemed all the more undesirable as a U.S. Senate candidate, 2022 was a new world in voting.
In Pennsylvania in 2018, the “Revolver” article said, “163,000 citizens voted early or by absentee ballot. In 2020, more than 2.6 million voted that way thanks to COVID and a borderline criminal effort to repeal Pennsylvania voting law by fiat.
“Crucially, though, Pennsylvania did not go back to normal afterwards,” the article said. “It kept the new mail-heavy approach, and so in 2022…close to 1.2 million Pennsylvanians again voted early or by mail-in ballot.”
Republicans remained focused on Election Day turnout, “Revolver” said, but Democrats mastered the opportunity to push people repeatedly for weeks to supply their ballots, even if they were unlikely voters or needed “hand-holding” to cooperate.
It said: “Could this involve fraud? Maybe, but even if there is no fraud at all, a superior early-vote operation gives Democrats an enormous boost. Instead of fretting about maximizing turnout on a single day, Democrats can use their ground game to harangue every likely supporter of theirs for weeks on end.
“They can knock on their door,” the article continued, “offer to ‘help’ them with their ballot, and in many states, volunteer to turn it in for them. By the time of actual Election Day, Democrats can focus all of their resources on whatever holdouts and marginal voters they still have.”
On the other hand, in at least some locations, Republicans showed they could play by these rules successfully, too. National conservative activist Charlie Kirk tweeted on November 16, “We will build the most sophisticated and aggressive legal ballot-harvesting operation in America and never let this garbage happen again.”
A few hours later, Kirk tweeted, “The House of Representatives is GOP-controlled thanks to how we performed in states with the most liberal ballot-harvesting and vote-by-mail laws — New York, Oregon, California. We can master this system. Democrats are praying that we refuse to try.”

A Banana Republic Dictatorship

The Wanderer asked three sources for their observations on the election results.
National conservative commentator Quin Hillyer replied: “The only place where questionable ballot processes might — repeat, might — have affected the outcome of an important race was in the Nevada Senate election. It’s long past time to put to rest the nonsense that the 2020 election was stolen, much less that 2022 was.
“These results were exactly what I expected all year,” Hillyer said. “Neither party gave voters reason to have confidence in them, so both parties, in essence, lost.”
Mary Ann Kreitzer, who runs the Virginia-based Catholic blog Les Femmes — The Truth, said: “I think the same steal we saw in 2020 was at work again with ballot harvesting, fraudulent ballots, counting for days after the election, and ‘discovering’ more ballots favoring Democrats until they got the desired Democrat win.
“Anybody who thinks Biden got more votes than anyone in history in 2020 or that John Fetterman won in Pennsylvania has to be as brain-damaged as those two,” Kreitzer said.
“The only results I trust anymore are in states with election-integrity policies in place,” she said. “Voter ID, in-person voting, same-day results, and no huge last-minute ballot drops. My bet is that most people in the country (besides the ideologues who, as long as they win, don’t care about election honesty) know the vote is rigged. Georgia will go to the Democrat just like the last runoff. It’s in the bag.
“Until we have serious election reform, which may never happen with the liars and cheaters running things, we can’t trust the election process,” Kreitzer said. “We are living in a third-world banana-republic dictatorship. I don’t see any way out, but I know there is no injustice that will not be righted in the end.
“I don’t put my trust in politicians, but I was sure disappointed to see a reformer like [Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate] Kari Lake taken out by the fraudsters. I think the focus at this point has to be on local elections, especially school boards, to rescue our children. It all begins there.”
Northern California commentator Barbara Simpson began her reply on November 16 by noting Donald Trump’s announcement the previous evening that he was running for the presidency again before she got to the topic of the “red wave” that disappeared.
“In a way, you have to feel sorry for Donald Trump,” Simpson said. “He’s loved and hated — seemingly in equal parts by Republicans and Democrats. You have to give him credit, he’s strong and goes ahead with what he believes — which is more than you can say about the average politician.
“What happened to the ‘red wave’? Nothing,” she said, “because it didn’t really exist and what did was trampled by liberal media. There is a lot of soul-searching going on but, bottom line, the future of GOP politics will depend on how the average American voter sees the future of this country.
“They don’t like what exists under Biden,” Simpson said, “and for them Trump is the future — like it or not, Democrats!”
The hosts of the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton national radio program on November 14 said Republicans actually won millions of more votes than Democrats in the midterms, but the votes weren’t evenly distributed and so didn’t bring a larger win of U.S. House seats.
A November 10 post at Breitbart news, citing the Cook Political Report, said: “Republicans have won nearly six million more votes nationwide in races for the House of Representatives, but have flipped relatively few seats, suggesting talk of a ‘red wave’ may have anticipated the overall mood of the country but not the final result of the election.”

Something Is Severely Wrong

Citing this considerably greater number of GOP votes, Sean Hannity on his November 14 national radio program said former House GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich said this election defied all election models.
National radio talker Sexton said on November 15 that when Democrats could elect the worst candidate in the nation, Pennsylvania’s Fetterman, but Republicans couldn’t elect the best one, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Lake, “Something is severely wrong” with the election system.
There were significant questions about election integrity in the Grand Canyon State, where Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who oversaw elections and refused to recuse herself, was said to have beaten Lake by six-tenths of one percent, 50.3 to 49.7, as of November 16, before the vote was finalized.
Lake hadn’t conceded.
On November 11 the incoming Arizona Senate president, Republican Warren Petersen, told Phoenix talk host James T. Harris (KFYI, 550 AM) that the state-capitol establishment is “terrified” of Lake because she’s beholden to no one.
Like some other radical Democrats, the strongly pro-abortion Hobbs campaigned from her basement and repeatedly ducked debates, while Lake campaigned to crowds across the state and said she’d debate Hobbs anywhere, anytime.
Mechanical impediments to voting arose swiftly on Election Day.
Within minutes after polls opened at 6 a.m. on November 8 in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county by far, Lake received reports of numerous voting tabulators that didn’t work.
About 20 percent of voting locations reportedly had serious problems.
A video of a poll observer in suburban Scottsdale, east of Phoenix, showed him saying that in 42 years of voting, “I have never experienced such chaos, confusion, and voter suppression.”
He told of voters with looks of disbelief after they futilely tried to cast their ballots for more than a half-hour, after having already waited in line to vote for more than an hour — being told to try moving their completed ballots back and forth between tabulators that didn’t work, or to try something else.
A separate video showed a line of voters that was blocks long in the exurb of Anthem, north of Phoenix, waiting to be able to vote.
The Western Journal news site said it “received over 20 exclusive videos featuring Arizona voters explaining how difficult it was for them to cast their ballots. One voter had to wait in line for seven hours.”
It took a week of counting by Maricopa County before Hobbs was projected to be the gubernatorial winner. This echoed 2020, when the local uniparty establishment said Joe Biden won the presidential vote here. Biden had been endorsed by both the late GOP Sen. John McCain’s widow, Cindy, and unpopular former GOP U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.
In 2022, Republican Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates gave news conferences lecturing the public on the county’s noble work for the midterm. A key ally was Republican County Recorder Stephen Richer, first elected narrowly in 2020 as a reformer but who soon mocked voters.
On November 14 The Post Millennial website posted that in 2021, Gates and Richer “started a political action committee to stop MAGA candidates.” Their PAC’s website, the “Pro-Democracy Republicans of Arizona,” said they’re “fighting to keep our democratic institutions alive.”
Lake is regarded as a MAGA Republican.
The issue of abortion was on the ballots of five states in the midterms. In each case the pro-abortion side of the question won — even though strongly pro-life political candidates and incumbents also won.
I wasn’t in any of those states, but anyone can imagine the barrage of misinformation the pro-abortion side presented in advertisements with tens of millions of dollars in spending that matched the influence of pro-abortion dominant media.
Fifty years ago, in 1972, Michigan voters strongly rejected a pro-abortion ballot proposition. This year a majority approved installing the “right” to abortion in the state Constitution.
That shows what more than a half-century of pro-abortion propaganda dressed up as “news” can do to some people’s beliefs. But it won’t last forever. Even pro-abortion radicals can be converted to the side of mercy, as was militant twentieth-century national abortion champion Bernard Nathanson, MD, who became a strong pro-lifer.

A Beacon Of Light… The Family Is A Great Gift From God

November 22, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light… The Family Is A Great Gift From God

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON Jr.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn.)

  • + + One of the greatest gifts the Lord has bestowed upon us is the gift of the family. The family is an essential part of God’s plan of creation. It is here that future generations are formed, and the plan of creation is maintained.
    There does exist a problem, however, regarding the dignity of the family. In today’s society there is a problem that exists when the dignity of the family is under attack. This attack occurs from all sides and continues the deterioration of the gift that the family is to society. This shouldn’t be surprising, considering for forty years this country has had a total disregard for life, as seen through the horrific staggering number of abortions. Is there a solution to the problem of the destruction of the family? Yes, and the solution can be found in the example of the Holy Family as expressed in a quick review of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.
    Whenever we meditate on the mysteries of the rosary, we journey through the life of Christ. The joyful mysteries, however, focus on the journey with the Holy Family. Today’s world needs a shining example of good family life. This is so evident that the Knights of Columbus have begun a pilgrimage with the icon of St. Joseph. St. Joseph is considered the protector of family life, so the Knights of Columbus seek the intercession of St. Joseph for the renewal of the dignity of the family. The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary allow us to walk with the Holy Family and find the help necessary in today’s struggle of family life.
    The first joyful mystery invites us to celebrate the Annunciation through the yeses of Mary and Joseph to the Lord. As Mary was going about her business, living her simple life, the Angel Gabriel appeared with a message from God. Mary was asked to participate in the formation of the Holy Family. This required a response from Mary, and from Joseph too. It required a “yes” and trust in the Lord. Like Mary and Joseph, today’s families must say “yes” to the Lord and accept the responsibility they have received.
    This means husbands and wives must always be willing to follow the example of Blessed Mary and Joseph and trust what the Lord asks of them. Sometimes the request may seem unbearable, and we might not understand the message, but if Christ is always part of the family anything is possible. Mary and Joseph never thought they would be the parents of the living God, but they accepted the responsibility with all the love and trust needed. Today, men and women, husbands, and wives, must be open to whatever the Lord asks them to endure. It is not always easy but with Mary and Joseph as our guide, we too can say yes to the Lord.
    The second joyful mystery takes us to the moment in the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth during the Visitation. Elizabeth is found to be with child, that is, John the Baptist, and as the greeting of Mary reaches her ears the infant “leapt for joy.”
    The Visitation invites us to experience joy in family life. And yet, there is such a lack of joy in the family today. This is difficult, considering there is no more joy in the world. Every day we hear about war, violence, and the many injustices against family life. The family is being attacked from all sides. Whether it be from the attempts to destroy the dignity of marriage, or by subverting it to whatever one wants, it’s because families have forgotten to pray together and support each other. Whatever the issue is, we have to make families joyful again. We must break the bonds of division that threaten the joyfulness of family life. In our families we must leap for joy.
    The third joyful mystery invites us to Bethlehem as we celebrate the birth of Christ. The birth of a child is the most visible sign of the love that exists between a man and a woman, and husband and wife. Here we see the nucleus of family life as it is intended by God. Have you ever witnessed the birth of a child? The moment you hear the first cry is such a joyful moment. It is a reminder of the cry of Christ coming into the world to give us everlasting life. I’m reminded of the times I worked in the maternity unit as the hospital chaplain and was able to witness the moments of new life. Those moments of new life put everything into prospective, allowing us to see life as a gift from God.
    Today, however, we find ourselves still fighting the battle to recognize the dignity of the child in the womb. The recent overturning of Roe v. Wade is a sure sign that we are moving in the right direction. There is still much to be done, but if we remember to celebrate the birth of children with the same joy as that celebrated in Bethlehem, then we can win the battle and restore dignity to the gift of children in the womb.
    The fourth mystery is an invitation of thanksgiving to God for the gift of new life. By joining Mary and Joseph in the Presentation in the Temple, we see how their faith was central to how they lived their lives. As was the Jewish custom, Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem to fulfill the law by presenting Jesus in the Temple.
    Entering the Temple, they were met by Simeon who had been waiting for a long time for this day. He longed to see Jesus and experience this day, and now he could go in peace. Like Mary and Joseph, parents also experience the joy of thanksgiving as they see the hope of eternal life shine on their children. For them, this hope is manifested in the Sacrament of Baptism which they offer to their children.
    The Baptism of a child, or of an adult for that matter, is a participation in the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. In Baptism we present ourselves as an acceptable offering in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. We become members of the “divine family” of God. Here we receive the foundation needed to live our Christian lives. As Simeon rejoiced at the presence of Jesus in the Temple, so too we must rejoice in the presence of children in the family.

Families Should Look To Jesus

The fifth joyful mystery is an invitation to keep our eyes on Christ and to always look for Him. This mystery, the Finding of Jesus in the Temple, encourages us to look for Jesus in the struggles of family life.
In today’s families there are so many obstacles. With the rise in divorce, there is such division in family life. Parents and children can find themselves on opposite sides where it becomes difficult to resolve differences. This often leads to children being used as pawns, to play them off each spouse.
Not to mention the disturbing transgender issues that are being forced upon the family. This causes lifelong damage to family life that can take years for recovery. In the end, where do we find the strength to deal with all of this? We look to the place where Jesus is and find Him in the Temple.
We need to support the dignity of the family and renew the importance of true family life. One way we can do this is by meditating on the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary to see how we are doing in living out the responsibility we have in family life.
Through the intercession of the Holy Family, may all families be renewed in the love of Christ Jesus!

The Catholic Roots Of Thanksgiving

November 21, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on The Catholic Roots Of Thanksgiving

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

As Thanksgiving approached I began thinking about what to write for a good Thanksgiving column, especially after last week’s column about my father, baseball, and youthful times in Philadelphia.
As I wracked my brain for an idea, I remembered a friendship I developed as an aspiring novelist with another writer looking for her first publisher as well. She and I met in an online writers’ group and while we never actually met person to person, we did develop a friendship which lasted several years.
She was a teacher and interested in children’s books and told me about the book on which she was working about the first Thanksgiving in what became the United States — it was not in Jamestown in 1619 as we all believed, but in 1565 in St. Augustine, Fla. So I did a little digging.
As I followed the corresponding links to her book, I found the story was much more involved than the place and the date: There was a real connection with the Catholic Church and the Eucharist which I had been unaware. For the first Thanksgiving was held in conjunction with a Thanksgiving Mass, Holy Communion, and a banquet to which the Spanish settlers in St. Augustine invited the local Tumucuan Indians to partake, which they did.
The Catholic connection to the Thanksgiving began when the priest, who was the chaplain to the Spanish Fleet, Fr. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, who also became the first parish priest in St. Augustine, planted a cross in the sand and celebrated the first parish Mass, September 8, the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady who ultimately became the patroness of the Americas. Fr. Lopez then celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving.
The Spanish expedition leader, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, with some 800 Spanish settlers, joined the celebration with their invited guests.
What we inherited from the later Jamestown Thanksgiving was a New England dinner, including turkey — which was not on the menu in 1619. Since it was their first harvest in Jamestown they probably ate vegetables, including cabbage, beans, carrots, corn, fruits including blueberries, plums, grapes, and cranberries, as well as fish, shellfish, mussels in curd. Lobster, bass, clams, and oysters were probably on the menu, too.
The Spaniards, by contrast, probably feasted on cocido — a stew made with salted pork and garbanzo beans, hard sea biscuits, and red wine. If the Indians brought their own food, the feast would have included turkey, venison, gopher tortoise, and seafood such as catfish, drum, and mullet. Also included might have been squash, beans, and maize (corn).
Now I must admit, today’s turkey with all the fixings, pumpkin pie, and football sound like a better mix . . . but I digress.
The meal was shared by all but no one really knows what the natives thought of the Mass. However, Fr. Lopez, in his journal, said they imitated all that they had seen. Interesting how we should imitate Thanksgiving in our lives, Mass and Eucharist, followed by a celebratory meal. Remember, the word Eucharist comes from the Greek Eucharistia, which means “thanksgiving.” Thus, the Body of Christ is the true Thanksgiving meal, which we should understand and imitate at every Mass we attend.
Obviously there were other celebrations of thanks for safe arrivals by many Catholic explorers, notably from Spain and France during that time period, including Juan Ponce de León in 1513. The difference between these celebrations was that they were not at a permanent settlement, as was St. Augustine. St. Augustine was important notably because it was the first community act of Thanksgiving in the first permanent European settlement in the land, according to Michael Gannon, in his book, The Cross in the Sand.
There is one other connection with the Catholic Church and Thanksgiving lore: This one is from the Jamestown settlement in 1619. The Native American who mediated between the English Pilgrims and the Indians to establish what is thought of as the original Thanksgiving, Squanto, brings a new religious connotation to the event.
Squanto had been enslaved by the British but was freed by the Spanish Franciscans, who converted him to Catholicism. Thus, it was a Catholic convert who, in effect, was responsible for the Jamestown Thanksgiving celebration we think of every year at this time.
But why don’t we think of the Spanish Thanksgiving and Mass in 1565? Did we lose it in history? Well, in a word, yes.
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the French, Spanish, and British vied against each other, seeking to expand their influence in the New World against the other nations. Unfortunately for the French and the Spanish, the British won the expansion battle and ultimately British history and traditions eclipsed the others, especially when the British began an annual reenactment of the “first” Thanksgiving in 1621. That reenactment survived to provide the historical genesis for the Thanksgiving tradition ultimately adopted by the soon-to-be independent United States, which inherited the traditions of the Mother Country.
Well, we’ve come a long way from the time of the first Spanish settlers and the Pilgrims. Thanksgiving customs and foods have changed, but the central idea has not: setting aside a day for giving thanks for what you have; a day to appreciate your family and friends, who, after all, provide for you the greatest joys in your life. And, of course, we should remember the Eucharistic roots of the day, especially as you decide whether or not to attend morning Mass that day.
So enjoy all the turkey and gravy and football. Have a peaceful and joy-filled day!
By the way, my writer friend and I both received book contracts. Her first was the children’s book America’s REAL First Thanksgiving, by Robyn Gioia. It’s still available on Amazon, paper bound and Kindle editions.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday on Faith On Trial at https://iowacatholicradio.com/faith-on-trial/)

A Brief Introduction To Plato

November 20, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on A Brief Introduction To Plato

By DONALD DeMARCO

Plato’s philosophy is both systematic and encyclopedic. He covers virtually all the issues that belong to the realm of philosophy. Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead pays tribute to him by stating that all philosophy after Plato is merely a series of footnotes to the great thinker.
Nonetheless, his philosophy is not difficult to grasp. I would like to exemplify this point by citing Euthyphro, one of his Dialogues. In this story, Socrates and Euthyphro meet at the courthouse. Socrates will be tried for corrupting the youth of Athens, while Euthyphro is filing a charge of homicide against his father. Socrates is a person who claims to know nothing, but is eager to learn. By contrast, Euthyphro, a soothsayer/theologian, is egocentric.
The charge of homicide is based on shaky grounds. Socrates questions Euthyphro’s certainty in the matter. He thinks that a person must have airtight evidence to charge his own father of homicide. Euthyphro tries to assure Socrates by claiming to be a soothsayer/theologian of exceptional ability. Socrates is not impressed and presents a series of questions to his newly formed acquaintance.
The essence of the questions boils down to this: Do the gods love what is holy because it is holy, or is something said to be holy because the gods say that it is holy?
Euthyphro does not understand the question, prompting Socrates to phrase the question in more understandable terms. He appeals to grammar. There is a difference between carrying and being carried. Euthyphro agrees. Carrying is an activity whereas being carried requires no activity on the part of the subject. The former is active, the latter is entirely passive. Being holy must be something active. If it were entirely passive, it would not qualify for being holy.
Euthyphro misses the point and continues to miss the point no matter how many examples Socrates offers. In the end, they part amicably, wishing each other well.
The question is one of the most basic questions in all of philosophy and has far-reaching implications. If something is good solely by virtue of its relationship to an external agent, it has nothing in itself that would make it good. When Dean Martin sings, “You’re nobody until somebody loves you,” he is addressing a fiction. There are no “nobodies” in the world. One loves another because he sees something good in the beloved. Love is a response to something that has the positive quality of being good. In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews can accept being loved because “deep in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”
This basic question has had application throughout history to the Decalogue. Did God issue the Ten Commandments because they related to the good of human beings, or did He issue them out of His own arbitrary power? William of Ockham, for example, argued that God could have issued His Commandments arbitrarily without any regard to what good they would serve. He could have commanded people to commit adultery, for example. Yet, the Bible, as well as common sense, maintains that God issued the Commandments motivated by love and not power.
Here we come to the distinction between the power of love and the love of power. Therefore, to answer the Socratic question, the gods love what is holy because it it holy. In order for something to have any claim to holiness, it must have some intrinsic merit that makes it holy.
Euthyphro never catches on to what Socrates is saying, though Plato makes the answer to the question obvious to the reader.
Concerning elections, does the mere fact that a person has been elected make him qualified? We see no end of examples where elected officials are anything but qualified. Being elected is something that is entirely external to the person who is elected. It implies nothing of his worthiness of being elected. A person should be elected because he is good, which is to say qualified for the position he is seeking. Caligula intended to raise his horse to political office.
Titles, awards, and trophies mean nothing unless they are earned. Ambition can be misleading when it covets honor but neglects moral rectitude. Let the honors come, but they must be earned. The gods love what is holy because it is holy. Plato, through Socrates, sets the order straight. First, there is goodness, then praise. Praise is meaningless unless it is directed to something good.
The Euthyphro dialogue is quite lengthy, but its essence is easy enough to grasp. An introduction to Plato can also be an invitation to explore his thought more thoroughly. The exploration can be an exciting and salutary adventure.

  • + + (Dr. Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus, St. Jerome’s University, and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College. He is a regular columnist for St. Austin Review and is the author of 41 books. He is a former corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy of Life. Some of his latest books, The 12 Supporting Pillars of the Culture of Life and Why They Are Crumbling, Glimmers of Hope in a Darkening World, and Restoring Philosophy and Returning to Common Sense, are posted on amazon.com. His most recent book is Let Us Not Despair.)

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While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

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Catechism

Today . . .

Cardinal Zen found guilty in Hong Kong trial

CWN Editor’s Note: Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired Bishop of Hong Kong, was found guilty on November 25 on charges of failing to register a charitable fund that provided legal help for defendants accused of violating China’s draconian new “security” law. The cardinal and five co-defendants will be required to pay a fine equivalent to $500. After his conviction, Cardinal Zen said that the case should not be seen as a violation of religious freedom.…Continue Reading

Kansas Judge Blocks State Law Banning Doctors From Providing Abortion Pills to Patients Online

A Kansas judge has blocked a state law that banned doctors from providing abortion pills through telemedicine. Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson granted an abortionists request for a temporary injunction

Archbishop Broglio elected USCCB president

BALTIMORE (LifeSiteNews) — Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, was elected Tuesday to serve as the next president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The U.S. bishops elected Archbishop Broglio, the current secretary of the USCCB, to a three-year term as president by a vote of 138-99.

Michigan Legalizes Abortions Up to Birth After Leftist Billionaires Spend Millions Buying Votes

Michigan will become the next state to legalzie abortions up to birth after voters approved the dangerous and radical Proposition 3 to would elimiate every single pro-life law in the state, including parental consent. The 55-45 result in favor of the pro-abortion amendment was not surprising given the millions of dollars leftist billionaires pooured into the state to buy votes with false and misleading television commercials that lied about the effects of the measure. Rich,…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider Restate Concerns About Restrictions on Traditional Liturgy

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Raymond Burke has questioned the basis of papal-led efforts to restrict and eventually eliminate the traditional Latin Mass, while Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said the “millennium-old treasure” cannot be destroyed, as it is the work of the Holy Spirit. The cardinal and bishop kindly shared their comments as part of a talk I gave the Latin Mass Society in London on Oct. 21. As concerns deepen over this pontificate’s

Divine Mercy Shrine In Wisconsin Defaced With Graffiti

By JONAH McKEOWN ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CNA) — A Catholic parish in southern Wisconsin suffered a graffiti attack overnight on Sunday, November 20, that saw a large tiled display of the Divine Mercy image defaced with green spray-painted letters.Run by the Stockbridge, Mass.-based Marian Fathers, St. Peter Parish is located in Kenosha, on Lake Michigan…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . Theism Reconsidered

By GARY BULLERT Paul Herrick’s latest book, Philosophy, Reasoned Belief, and Faith (University of Notre Dame Press, 2022, 459 pages, $45.00), constitutes the capstone of a forty-year career as an instructor, professional philosopher, and author. It augments more synoptically his earlier book, Think with Socrates: An Introduction to Critical Thinking. Like Socrates, philosophy is a…Continue Reading

The Blessing And Its Counterfeits

By DONALD DeMARCO The blessing, whether it is formal or informal, administered by clergy or laymen, performed in church or at home, is an everyday occurrence in Catholic life. It is a way in which God’s grace is invoked to benefit its intended recipient.We bless our house, our food, our religious articles, people who are…Continue Reading

Putin’s “Winter War” On Ukraine

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Winter has often proven an indispensable ally of Mother Russia.The impending winter of 1812-13 forced Napoleon’s withdrawal from Moscow, a retreat from which his Grande Armée never recovered.The winter of 1941-1942 sealed the ultimate fate of the invading armies of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.Vladimir Putin’s new strategy in the war he…Continue Reading

But The Catholic Bishops Just Rebuked Her… Nancy Pelosi Claims She’s a “Devout Catholic”

By STEVEN ERTELT WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeNews) — During her farewell address as Speaker to fellow Democrats on November 17, Nancy Pelosi called herself a “devout Catholic.” But nothing could be further from the truth.“I stand before you as Speaker of the House, as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a devout Catholic, a proud Democrat,…Continue Reading

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Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Conforming Ourselves To Christ

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Second Sunday Of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10Romans 15:4-9Matt. 3:1-12 In the first reading today, we hear about a shoot that will sprout from the stump of Jesse. Jesse, recall, was the father of King David. The promise made to King David was that one of his sons would sit on his throne in perpetuity.…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: This series on the Bible is from the book Catholicism & Scripture. Please feel free to use the series for high schoolers or adults. We will continue to welcome your questions for the column as well. Contact us at the addresses provided below. Special Course On Catholicism And Scripture (Chapter 8) To get the people away from worshiping…Continue Reading

When All Seems Lost

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK As I look around and survey the general situation, things seem very bleak, as I’m sure they do also for many others. The world is at war, fighting and killing consuming lives, as well as livelihoods, homes, and wealth. Civilization is lost under the rubble as barbarism reigns. A war is waged in the womb…Continue Reading

The Not-So-Nice Origins And Meanings Of The Word “Nice”

By MSGR. CHARLES POPE (Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this article on November 13 and it is reprinted here with permission.) + + Words can change meaning over time — sometimes dramatically. For example, “manufactured” originally meant “handmade” (manu (hand) + facere (make)). The word “decimate” used to mean “to reduce by a tenth” (decem = ten); now people…Continue Reading

A Very Blessed Place To Be

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5Romans 13:11-14Matt. 24:37-44 As we begin a new Church year today, we find ourselves balanced on the summit of a mountain. From our perch on this height, we look one direction and we see what is behind us, we look the other direction and we see what is…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Padre Pio And The Poor Souls

By DEB PIROCH Part 2 “Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in the most need of Thy mercy” — Fatima prayer. + + This week we continue to discuss the special closeness St. Pio had with the suffering souls in Purgatory. Yes, he…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Francis De Sales, Author And Apologist

By DEB PIROCH Anger is not a sin. It is how one employs anger that can lead to sin, but Christ Himself was justifiably angered when His house of prayer was transformed into a “den of thieves.” What did Christ mean?A church is for praying, for celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass, for the distribution of the sacraments. It is…Continue Reading

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