Tuesday 18th January 2022

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A Beacon Of Light . . . The Ministry Of Jesus And The Anointing Of The Sick

January 18, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light . . . The Ministry Of Jesus And The Anointing Of The Sick

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + Our survey of the Catechism of the Catholic Church has allowed us to examine one of the sacraments of healing, namely, the Sacrament of Penance. Today we will discuss the second sacrament of healing, which is the Anointing of the Sick.
    The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick finds its origins in the ministry of Jesus. As Jesus journeyed with His disciples, He encountered many who were sick. The sick sought out Jesus because they heard of the many miracles He was performing. They heard of the blind man who could now see. They heard of how Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law. What if they could be the recipients of such a miracle? Imagine how their lives would be changed forever.
    There is a beautiful encounter of Jesus with a sick man in St. Luke’s Gospel. Do you remember the story of Jesus and the paralytic man? As Jesus was teaching in Capernaum, many came to hear Him speak. Some brought the sick to Him to be healed. There was a paralytic who wanted to be healed. His friends carried him on a mat and brought him to Jesus.
    When they arrived at the place where Jesus was, they could not even reach Him. There were so many people that even the door was blocked. They climbed the roof and made a hole in the tile above Jesus. Then they lowered the man on the mat. When Jesus saw their faith, He immediately healed the paralytic of his infirmities. He got up and took his mat and went home.
    Here is how St. Luke tells the story in chapter 5, verses 17-26:
    “When He saw their faith, He said, ‘As for you, your sins are forgiven.’
    “Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, ‘Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?’
    “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, ‘What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise and walk’?
    “‘But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on Earth to forgive sins’ — he said to the man who was paralyzed, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.’
    “He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.
    “Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, ‘We have seen incredible things today’.”
    All the encounters with Jesus, the Divine Physician, were met with great love and compassion because Jesus continually showed great love and compassion for the sick.

A Special Ministry

Ministry to the sick and dying is very special. I cherish my visits to the sick because every encounter is an opportunity to extend the healing hand of Jesus. When I was ordained, I could not wait to visit the sick!
I remember the first time I administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. I was in my first parish assignment and I had not been there very long. One night about midnight, the phone rang, and it was the local prison. There was an inmate in the infirmary who needed to see a priest.
I got myself ready and left for the prison. I was so nervous! I had never been to a prison before, especially a maximum-security prison! I thought to myself, What is Jesus leading me to experience? Was I going to minister to a murderer? I arrived and approached the guard house. I was led by two guards through the prison up an elevator, down dark hallways and up some stairs to a big metal door that was inscribed with INFIRMARY.
They approached one of these doors, opened it, and pushed me inside. Clank! I heard the door close behind me. I was shaking in my boots! I approached the sick man and we spoke. Soon I was celebrating the Sacrament of the Sick and hearing the man’s Confession.
It was a beautiful moment. I finished my visit and returned to the rectory.
The experience of ministering to a prisoner was very moving because it reminded me that all of God’s children are invited to experience the healing hand of God.
In the Gospel of St. Matthew, we read: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is Jesus’ way of fulfilling this very passage from St. Matthew’s Gospel. The Anointing of the Sick is the divine portal through which we receive healing, and we are touched by the hand of the divine physician! So often the faithful wait until the last moment to seek out this sacrament. I encourage the faithful to never wait! This sacrament is so important for the sick and dying. It is a sacrament of hope in healing, it is a sacrament of comfort in times of pain, and it is a sacrament of compassion and love.
What is involved in receiving this sacrament? First, and foremost, you need a priest. The priest is the minister of this sacrament. He is the instrument through which the healing grace of the Lord flows. The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has three parts.
First is the prayer of faith. The prayer of faith is so important because it is an action of the whole community of faith. Within the rite the people of God seek to implore the healing hand of God. The entire Church is represented in the anointing because the priest, family, and friends are assembled together to pray with the sick person.
Somehow, there has developed a strange custom where the family leaves the room during the anointing of the sick. The family, friends, doctors, and nurses are encouraged to gather together in prayer for the sick person. When someone is sick, everyone participates and benefits from the prayers the Church offers.

What Great Faith!

I am reminded of the story in the Gospel of St. Luke about the woman with the hemorrhage. This woman suffered greatly for twelve years with blood flowing continuously. She had great faith, however, because she said: “If I could only touch the hem of His garment; I will be healed.” As she drags herself through the dirty dusty streets of Jerusalem, she is considered unclean and pushed aside. She perseveres and finds Jesus in the large crowd.
Immediately she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and the flow of blood dried up. What great faith!
The second part is the laying on of hands. The Gospels are filled with moments in which Jesus touches the sick. The action of touching someone instills within them a feeling of importance. The laying on of hands indicates the central role the sick person plays in this sacrament. This action blesses the sick and helps to restore them to good health.
The third part of the sacrament is the anointing with oil. Anointing with oil is a sign of healing and signifies the Holy Spirit. Both the Gospel of St. Mark and the Letter of St. James instruct us in the importance anointing has in this sacrament. Both New Testament writers offer examples of anointing as signs of healing.
The prayer prayed during the anointing is very powerful: “Through this holy anointing, may the Lord in His Love and Mercy Help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”
When this prayer is prayed, the priest anoints the forehead followed by the hands of the sick person. Jesus touches them, blesses them, and heals them!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1523, describes the sacrament this way: “If the sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity, even more rightly is it given to those at the point of departing this life; so it is also called sacramentum exeuntium (the sacrament of those departing). The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it.”
Each time this great sacrament is celebrated, the divine physician takes hold of our hand and heals us of our infirmities. May all the sick and dying feel the hand of Jesus as He heals all their wounds! Do not wait until the last minute to receive this sacrament. The divine physician is waiting!

Social Justice Or Claptrap?

January 17, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Social Justice Or Claptrap?

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

Maybe I’ve been laid-up a little too long from my stroke, but without the ability to read well I’ve been left with only two options to keep me busy: watching TV and thinking.
TV loses its appeal the third time you see the same rerun or the sixth time you are force fed your most unfavorite commercial. Since football is almost over, and watching the news raises my blood pressure higher than my doctors want it to be, I’ve reluctantly turned to thinking.
But thinking is not my first choice, since it hurts my head. I think it is because I have a four-cylinder brain while trying to do some eight-cylinder thinking.
So to stave off boredom, I decided to risk the effects of severe brain damage to try to delve into some of the major societal and philosophical questions of the day.
But grappling with these problems is harder than it looks and I still can’t solve the problem of plain vs. peanut, which has perplexed me for some time, even though I have to admit that I am partial to almonds.
But on the less significant questions of the day, I think I have made some progress. And on one I am prepared to announce my decision: I do not believe that “social justice” really exists.
Now, before you start calling me names and sending me nasty emails citing St. Matthew’s Gospel, Leo XIII, Pius XI, members of the current crop of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, or worse yet, Nancy Pelosi, give me an opportunity to explain.
Justice is a concept that I think most Christians and Americans understand. My dictionary defines it as “the principle or ideal of moral rightness; conformity to moral rightness in conduct or attitude.” While there may be slight differences in how we define the term, I think they all mean the same thing: giving to each person his due and living accordingly.
Understand, please, that this is not to be confused with charity, which my book defines as “an act or feeling of benevolence, good will, or affection; forbearance in judging others,” or more simply providing for the needs of others, especially the less fortunate in both bodily and spiritual means.
While the two terms are separate concepts, both are valuable concepts for society and for Christianity.
But they are separate concepts and they should in no way be confused or treated as synonyms. Of course both can be used to manipulate others, such as the phony charities that pop up every holiday season that are only rackets disguised as humanitarian enterprises. Just as claims of charity can be used for nefarious ends, so can justice; but true charity and justice are, in and of themselves, pure and true.
Hearing no objections (or booing) at this point, I’ll move onto my thesis: There is no such thing as “social justice.” In fact, the term is an oxymoron, it is self-contradictory and thus is a perversion of the term “justice.”
You see there is only one justice; there is no special justice. There is only justice and its lack: non-justice, or injustice, anything else is a false justice.
The examples that usually crop up are in the area of civil rights where they often involve attempts to use so-called social justice programs as remedial action to correct racial or gender imbalances in workplaces and college admissions. That corrective action almost always creates winners and losers by favoring some individuals over others according to their race or gender — and that now includes racial and gender identity.
So do the losers, the folks who watched others jump the line in front of them, get any justice in this situation? Of course not. And while there was no justice for the loser, what justice could the winner claim, for his “rigged” victory was truly undeserved.
And yet the “social justice warriors” will claim that this affirmative action was necessary to even the playing field for the “disadvantaged.”
Are they right? Of course not. If they were looking for true justice in education, for example, they would level the playing fields by fixing the inferior schools that the poor and minority students overwhelmingly populate, and provide remedial assistance to those found left behind. But certainly not by denying another the opportunity that was rightfully earned.
If they want true equal opportunity in employment, rather than juggling the numbers to an artificially arrived outcome, why not make a recruiting trip to Grambling, Alcorn State, or any number of other traditionally black and minority colleges, or to one of those high schools populated by the “disadvantaged” that liberals are always complaining about where there are eager minority students looking to land that first job on their own and not by a weighted system.
The point I am trying to make is this: Those who espouse “social justice” should think hard about what that means in the particular circumstance in which they are involved. Advocating for a certain quota system by marginalizing some students, for example, does nothing to solve the problem of inferior inner city schools, and it surely does nothing for the student himself marginalized by the artificial manipulation of the system.
The bottom line my feeble brain is suggesting is that the term “social justice” is too often used as a quick fix remedy, or charitable endeavor, rather than an attempt to permanently fix the problem at hand.
Once I represented a young lady who had bought a house only to find that the previous owner had paneled over and painted its basement walls to cover up water damage that posed a significant threat to the house’s foundation.
Social justice, it seems to me, is a lot like what was done to that house: the problem, hidden from sight, only appeared fixed. But, of course, it wasn’t. The water damage was still there festering out of sight.
Think about that the next time you hear someone put an adjective before the word justice. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because they are blind to the true problem or just don’t have the will to tackle it.
And finally, don’t ever confuse it with charity. It is not that, either.
(You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com and listen to him every Thursday morning at 9:30 on Faith On Trial on IowaCatholicRadio.com.)

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Corporate America’s Embrace Of Wokism

January 16, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic . . . Corporate America’s Embrace Of Wokism

By STEPHEN M. KRASON

We have observed the striking phenomenon of the American corporate community embracing the woke worldview. These are the corporations that the political left — now so firmly ensconced in the Democratic Party, which is perhaps the major institutional advocate of wokism — had for so long claimed were against the people and the good of the country. What has changed the character of corporate America? Why has it embraced wokism and thus seemed to side now with the left that for so long despised it?
While the left likes to think of wokism as being against racial discrimination and what it considers to be social inequalities — without, of course, ever analyzing what the latter means — what wokism means at bottom line is embracing the socio-economic-cultural-political agenda of the left and seeing the world the way it does.
Different writers have identified why wokism has advanced so strikingly in the corporate world. Michael Rectenwald, a former professor who has emerged as a major critic of the present-day “social justice” movement, has said that one of the major reasons is simply to pander to corporate clients.
Corporate decision-makers especially want to appeal to their customers with the most disposable income: those between 25 and 54 who live on the coasts. This, of course, includes millennials, who tend disproportionately to lean left.
Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute concurs, saying that corporate executives want to expend their customer base and these leftist younger people are concerned that their consumer decisions should reflect their politics. (Ah, how for the left politics affects everything!)
Conservative commentator Ross Douthat concludes flatly that executives conclude that taking the leftist position on social issues is simply a good corporate strategy to please not just customers but also their increasingly leftist employee pool.
Responding to the ideological preferences of clientele and employees is not the only reason for the leftist tilt of corporations. Rectenwald tells us that CEOs and other business executives went to university business schools that have become more left-leaning as a result of their professors being influenced by their colleagues in the humanities and social science who have long been mainstays of the political left. Gregg says that not only were they shaped by their progressive universities, but like so many Americans have been influenced by the monolithic leftist media.
It’s not only the executives who are responsible for the woke transformation of corporations, but also according to Dan McLaughlin on National Review Online their human resource personnel. He says that leftist activists have been attracted to such positions partly as a way to promote extreme notions of diversity and they have effectively raised the (overstated) danger of lawsuits against their companies as a way to get their executives to let them push their ideological preferences.
Wouldn’t one expect that a concern about economic self-interest — i.e., the bottom line — take precedence over political views for corporate executives? Gregg says not necessarily, that it’s not unusual for them to prioritize progressive politics over profits — even if the results are not positive for their shareholders. He says that it’s not necessarily just investors, stockholders, and even customers who are the ones to be attentive to; now executives have to be prepared to consult and effectively seek approval from many “constituencies” before acting. That obviously prominently includes leftist elements. They have to act like politicians, checking with the people back home.
Rectenwald says, however, that economic self-interest is not out of the picture for corporate leaders. He says that effectively their embracing of wokeness is a way to buy off — without having to make any financial commitment to do it — their increasing number of leftist employees and customers.
Identifying with the woke worldview seems to be more important to many in the latter groups currently than higher wages, increased benefits, and cheaper prices. So, it becomes almost another strategy for businesses to avoid their obligations under the very social justice the woke left claims it is promoting — and also their obligations under commutative justice and distributive justice (which is really what the left means by social justice, since in ethics distributive justice concerns society’s duties to individuals).
Then, not surprisingly, there is the desire to satisfy or at least stave off government. Rectenwald says that if corporations try to curry the favor of liberal legislators and government officials, they are more likely to get favorable treatment from them. That, he says, might mean that they can avoid excessive regulations or even anti-trust actions. Gregg seconds this and says that companies won’t have to work so hard to compete successfully in the marketplace if they can get special favors from regulators and others in government.
Finally, Rectenwald reminds us that globalist ideology can’t be ignored in all of this. The leftist agenda of extreme internationalism — to the point of the debasement of national sovereignty — gender ideology, anti-family views, and, of course, pushing Christianity out of the picture is in line with what he calls global corporate dominance.

A Major Player

I will just observe that it’s interesting that globalist corporate ideology wants to eviscerate the foundations of sound culture just as Marxism did.
So, the corporate community has become a major player for an assortment of reasons in the latest — and perhaps most sweeping and virulent — assault on the principles and practices of Western culture (or at least what’s left of them) that is represented by wokism.
The corporations have joined the left. Those who are inclined to rally to their side — because of a concern about free market economics and the like — need to wake up and see the realities and consider the serious implications presented by these developments.

  • + + (Stephen M. Krason is professor of political science and legal studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville, associate director of the University’s Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life, and co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. His most recent books are Catholicism and American Political Ideologies: Catholic Social Teaching, Liberalism, and Conservatism and a Catholic political novel, American Cincinnatus.)

Will Republican Victories Continue Beyond Virginia?

January 15, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Will Republican Victories Continue Beyond Virginia?

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

The January 15 inauguration of Republican Glenn Youngkin as Virginia’s governor marks a significant milestone in the efforts of families nationwide to restore their primacy of place in the education of their children.
In Virginia, the efforts have advanced significantly with recent events in Loudoun County, one of America’s richest counties and the home of thousands of powerful government employees, consultants, and contractors, along with the prospering infrastructure that supports them. (In fact, the wealthy counties surrounding the nation’s capital are uniquely immune to the economic hardships faced by the rest of the nation).
We recall that Loudoun was the focus of the rebellion by parents against the county’s school board and its efforts to advance the “gender” agenda, racist class content, and secrecy regarding the rights of parents to anything about their children’s public school experience.
That secrecy was shattered this week with the sentencing of a male teenaged student whose crimes on school grounds had been kept secret for months. The Loudoun School Board even had the father of one of the offender’s victims arrested and dragged by law enforcement from the school board meeting when he attempted to condemn the board’s outrageous conduct.
The tables have now been turned. We learned on Wednesday, January 12 that “The Loudoun County teenager charged with sexual assault at two separate high schools has been found guilty and sentenced to supervised probation in a residential treatment facility,” according to a Fox News report from outside the courtroom.
“The judge found the boy guilty on Wednesday, and ordered him to register as a sex offender, something she said she had never done to a minor before. He will be on supervised probation until his 18th birthday and placed in a residential treatment facility.”
“The judge told the boy that his psychological reports were scary and that he needed lots of help. ‘You scared me. What I read scared me,’ she said explaining why for the first time in her career she put a juvenile on the national sex offender registry for life.”
We withhold here the gruesome details of the crimes, but it is no surprise that the mother of one of the juvenile’s victims plans to file suit against the Loudoun County Board of Education. “Today is not just another day for our family,” she told Fox News through her lawyer. “It is a day that further vindicates my daughter against her attacker, holds him accountable for what he did, and helps advance the healing of both our daughter and our family from the suffering we have endured over these past months.”

The Big Picture

How did all this come to pass? Over the years, the Left has joined school unions to quietly fund the election campaigns of school board candidates who oppose parental rights while advocating radical programs designed to pervert the students morally, turn them against their parents culturally, and deprive them intellectually of any skills that might enable them to resist. As Hannah Arendt put it over seventy years ago, “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
The efforts of this powerful cabal feature expensive in-school programs and well-paid “experts” who concentrate not on thinking but feeling. “Feel good about yourself” is a universal mantra; “feel good” informs the sex-ed programs; and “feelings” rule when it comes to educational accomplishments.
That explains the quandary facing college professors. Various surveys over the years indicate that, while high school teachers consider the vast majority of their graduates to be ready for college, the profs teaching incoming freshmen say that most are woefully unprepared. But a majority of American “institutions of higher education” are desperate for paying students, especially those who have financed their schooling with college loans.
That’s why, once in college, soaring grade inflation has allowed the poor performers to stay in school and keep paying, while the majority of classes concentrate on perpetuating the “feelings” dimension, fomenting the “cancel culture” that forbids independent thinking while cashing those government checks.
The Left’s assault on education is just one facet of its overall offensive on American life, and the Biden Administration plays a central role. We recently covered the edict of Attorney General Merrick Garland, who sicced the FBI on parents throughout the country. We now learn that Garland’s effort, supposedly prompted by a complaint from the Nationals School Boards Association, actually originated with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
And that should come as no surprise. The Biden administration is using every possible effort to disrupt every aspect of American life, in order ultimately to control it. The “authorities” issuing such edicts seem almost random, but are carefully coordinated. OSHA’s threat forcing employers to fire unvaxxed employees has resulted in millions of layoffs and firings. Hapless Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joins in to augment the shortages in several entire sectors of the economy. Meanwhile, Biden’s Fed causes the highest rate of inflation in forty years.
Clueless Kamala cheers millions of illegals trafficked across the border and quietly transited to cities coast to coast by the USCCB’s secular NGOs in the middle of the night. The designed chaos on the border has now spread throughout the country. Monopoly school unions have never been so unpopular, but they are fighting back with walkouts that have enraged even Chicago’s Marxist mayor, Lori Lightfoot.
The list goes on, but all the while we note Hannah Arendt’s proper choice of terms: this myriad of government and cultural efforts constitutes a truly totalitarian campaign to seize and maintain power thoroughly and irreversibly. Last week’s hysterical performances by Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the “January 6th” Show Trial crew indicate that the Left will continue disrupting through spring, summer, and fall, aiming to seize control not only of state and local elections but of entire populations.

Looking Forward —
With Caution

Youngkin’s victory, and the Loudoun Left’s colossal collapse, are good signs, and the confidence of smart folks like Liz Sheld at American Greatness still abides: “As of today, it doesn’t look good for the Democrats’ plan to make it easier to cheat at voting. This is their last chance for a long time to transform the voting system since the 2022 election is predicted to be another shellacking.”
Ms. Sheld is right — if current trends don’t change.
That “if” spells out the Left’s marching orders. On Wednesday, Barack Obama stepped forward to support the faltering Biden and demanded that the Senate change its rules to allow the adoption of Pelosi’s election takeover legislation (in the past, both men supported the filibuster as senators when Republicans were in the majority).
We recall that it was Obama who promised “Change We Can Believe In.” Well, Joe Biden’s tanking in every poll, and that means that lots of folks don’t believe any more. To the Left, that simply demands more force, more suffering, more chaos, and yes, more “change.”
Remember: Attorney General Garland has declared “white supremacism” to be the most dangerous terror threat to America. Gen. Milley is busily cleansing the military of “resisters.” The January 13 London’s Daily Mail reports that “young Army soldiers will be battling ‘seasoned freedom fighters’ across two dozen North Carolina counties in a two-week ‘guerrilla warfare exercise’ where they attempt to overthrow an ‘illegitimate government’.”
“News of the training exercise comes just days after the anniversary of the Capitol riot and as the Justice Department announces the creation of a new ‘domestic terrorism’ unit to tackle what officials said is an ‘elevated threat from domestic violent extremists’.”
Nancy Pelosi’s Show Trial has forbidden any discussion of the possible role of the FBI in fomenting the January sixth occupation of the Capitol. Joe Biden’s Atlanta tirade this week made it clear that, if Congress doesn’t do as it’s told and pass Pelosi’s takeover of elections, well, he has something else in mind. Is Garland’s FBI going to help? Is Milley’s army?
“I will defend your right to vote and our democracy against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” Biden said. Curiously, the latter phrase is required in the oaths of every federal officer except the president. A year ago, Biden swore a different oath, swearing to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
This year we’ll find out if he keeps it.

The Forgotten Person

January 14, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on The Forgotten Person

By JOE SIXPACK

Everything in Catholicism, as in all Christianity, focuses on Jesus Christ. We focus on Him for a great variety of reasons: His sacrificial death on the cross, our redemption through Him, He’s the founder of the faith we profess….The list could go on and on.
The Mass, of course, is the highest form of worship of God. In fact, the Mass is the worship of God the Father with a re-presentation of the sacrifice of the Lamb (the Son) in atonement for the sins of man. So the Mass is, to most Catholics’ way of thinking, all about the Father and the Son. But when it comes to the Holy Spirit, most of us sort of neglect Him — He’s a dove in most of our minds, a sort of “holy flitterer.” Sure, we give Him lip service, because we think we’re supposed to. After all, the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. But most of us don’t really know much about Him or how we’re supposed to practice devotion to Him.
The Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son. He is indeed God, completely equal to the Father and the Son. Like the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is almighty, eternal, and infinite.
Although the Holy Spirit is alluded to all the way back in Genesis (1:2, 26), we learned about Him via divine Revelation from Jesus. When Jesus told us about Him, Christ placed Him on an equal level with the Father and the Son.
The Holy Spirit first manifested Himself in a visible way as tongues of fire over Mary and the apostles on the first Christian Pentecost Sunday. So great was this event and revered throughout history that Christian religions have been founded by mere men that are focused entirely on the second chapter of Acts, where the first Pentecost Sunday is recorded for Christian posterity. Through this manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the apostles received the light to understand all that Jesus had taught them. This new light, which is the power of the Holy Spirit, gave the apostles the zeal to preach what Jesus taught without fear.
The Catholic Church is a living, breathing organism, not merely an organization or denomination. Jesus Christ is her head, and we all are her members — Jesus and we make up the Mystical Body of Christ. In order for a body to live, it must have a soul. The Soul of the Church, then, is the Holy Spirit, making her holy by the grace of Jesus Christ. He enables the Church to teach all that Jesus taught without the possibility of error. He also transforms the members of the Church into witnesses of Christ, and He was sent by the Father and the Son to live in the Church until the end of time.
But what of our relationship to the Holy Spirit? How are we supposed to relate to Him? Whether we think of it or not, we have a relationship to the Father by the mere fact that we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Since we are Christian, we develop a relationship that can even be called a friendship with Jesus. But what about the Holy Spirit?
We all actually already have a lot more going on with the Holy Spirit than most of us think. That relationship started at our Baptism. Provided we are in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit dwells in our souls to make us holy with sanctifying grace. This Delightful Guest enlightens our minds to know God, strengthens our wills to carry out God the Father’s will, and He sets our hearts on fire to love God and neighbor.
Those are the “mechanics” of the Holy Spirit, but what else is there? We are taught throughout our Catholic religious education to develop a personal relationship with the Father and the Son. But is it possible to develop a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit too?
If you want to have a deep, abiding, and loving relationship with the Father and the Son, it is imperative that you first develop a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. As Christ described the Holy Spirit, He is pure love. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can love the Father and the Son…much less anybody else, for that matter. He transforms the heart of man into the heart of God.
The human heart longs for a holy, loving soul. That is our new nature after Baptism. The human soul that is holy and loves can only do so through a direct movement of the Holy Spirit, if we will let Him move. It’s up to us, as we have free will, and God in all three Persons will never force Himself on us. So we have to actively seek out the Holy Spirit to let Him know we want to grow in Him. That’s where it all starts.
I decided to write about the Holy Spirit today because of my own personal journey. About thirty years ago, over the course of two succeeding years, I made three consecrations: to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and to the Holy Spirit. I suppose every serious Catholic makes an act of consecration to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts at some point. At least I hope so. But relative to the number of people who make those acts of consecration, not too many people make an act of consecration to the Holy Spirit. I probably wouldn’t have either, except for one thing.
In the early 1990s, a book almost quite literally fell into my hands. It was a long out of print book written in the 1950s by Archbishop Luis Martinez (RIP) called The Sanctifier. That book about the Holy Spirit was so captivating and exciting, I read all 350+ pages in one sitting. When I finished, I read it all over again, but this time slowly and meditatively. When I finished, I’d made up my mind to do two things.
One thing I decided to do was find a way to bring this highly polished and nearly flawless spiritual diamond back into print. After all, with as much good as I got out of it, Catholics everywhere deserved to learn the benefits the book has to offer. But before I could claim the copyright and republish it, the Daughters of St. Paul at Pauline Books and Media brought it back into print (thanks be to God). And I highly recommend that you purchase and read this book. I’ve read over 1,000 Catholic books, and it’s rare that I go out of my way to recommend any of them, but when I discover a book so life-changing and exciting as this one, I can’t help but shout it from the rooftops.
The other thing I decided to do was consecrate myself to the Holy Spirit. Technically, you are already consecrated to the Holy Spirit by virtue of your Confirmation. The sort of consecration I’m referring to is an act of the will — spiritual and physical; the active affirmation that one devotes oneself to living for the one being consecrated to.
Recent events in my life made me realize that all three of my previously made acts of consecration mentioned above had lost some of their fire and zeal. So I decided to renew all three of those acts of consecration, beginning with the Holy Spirit. As a matter of preparation for the act of consecration renewal, I’ve recently reread The Sanctifier. I’ve got to tell you, this book is as awesome today as it was for me thirty years ago. Buy it!
The Holy Spirit is our link of divine love to the Father and the Son. Without Him divine love is not possible.

The Big (Almost) Return

January 13, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on The Big (Almost) Return

By DEACON MIKE MANNO

(Editor’s Note: The Wanderer is delighted to welcome Mike Manno back to our pages, and we ask our readers to continue to pray for his full return to good health.)

  • + + Well, I’m back.
    Sort of. You probably read in this space that I suffered a stroke last October. Fortunately, my wife took me to the hospital immediately and I missed the worst aspects of a stroke.
    For what seemed an eternity, people kept coming into my room wanting me to squeeze their fingers, and give them the date. It’s Halloween, I’d say, only to be asked a question I kept getting wrong: what year is it?
    Once they even asked me who the president was, when I gave them my answer they never asked that question again.
    Initially I couldn’t formulate my thoughts into words and only gobbledygook came out as I struggled to say something that made sense; I think I sounded like a complete idiot when my bishop came to visit and I couldn’t talk in coherent sentences. I’ve since seen him and I think he understands, about the stroke part, not so sure about the idiot part.
    I was in the hospital six days and with my speech returning, I made a case to the hospital to let me go home and put myself at the mercy of my regular doctor. The hospital doctors agreed and it has been doctor and specialists appointments ever since. I think I’m currently booked through February.
    Most of the effects of the stroke are gone: I have my balance, I don’t run into things anymore, I can navigate the stairs, go out for lunch, and attend Mass. What I can’t do is read or drive. Apparently, the specialists tell me, that what my eyes see is not registering with the brain (I really do have one), which hinders my ability to understand how the letters make up a word on a printed page.
    I’m doing what the doctors say, which is to try to read every day and hopefully the brain will reconnect with the eyes. It seems to be working and I am gradually getting through a book that I ordered just before my stroke.
    It does leave me with another problem, however. Since I cannot read without some difficulty, I cannot proclaim the Gospel at Mass, nor can I read the Prayers of the Faithful that the deacon is supposed to read.
    Since we have several deacons at my parish, I’ve been effectively “laid-off” for the duration, although I was on the altar for one of the big Masses for Christmas where I simply helped distribute Communion.
    The eyes/brain problem has also affected my peripheral vision. Until that clears I can’t drive which means I can’t do my home and hospital visits. How long it takes my eyes/brain to adjust and get back to normal no one knows.
    All I know is I’m working hard to get there, and I appreciate all the prayers on my behalf.
    I am restarting my radio program, Faith On Trial, as I write this (early January). After my stroke my friend and co-host Gina Noll took the reins the first week, but was notified that the show would be put on hiatus until I could return. The station manager did move my show from 10 a.m. to 9:30 Thursdays. I think that as long as I can get a ride to the studio, I can make this work.
    Additionally, I reported to the courthouse that I was unable to continue with the cases to which I had been appointed and the judge kindly removed me from all of them, which, of course, takes an enormous responsibility off my shoulders.
    So as I’ve been home recuperating, and due to my continuing eyesight difficulty, I’ve spent a lot of time watching the news on TV — okay, a lot of time with football, too — but the point is I’ve been frustrated that so many disgraceful things have been happening under the new administration concerning religious freedom and our rights under the Constitution and I couldn’t talk back.
    Now my wife worries about that because the neuro-specialists have warned me to keep my blood pressure in check lest I have another stroke. Fortunately, this column and my radio program give me a chance to vent that frustration and at least try to challenge the situation.
    So now this is no longer just a ministry; it’s my rehab therapy.
    For the immediate future you’ll probably be seeing a bit shorter column as it takes a bit longer to review court opinions and press releases. But, the important thing, at least for me, is that I’ll at least be back in the game, probably not as a starter, but I’ll be on the field again.
    And, good news for me, my wife will be retiring from her job later this month. That means she’ll shortly have all day to read court opinions and press releases to me. Nice how that is working out – not sure how she will feel about it, but I still have faith in my ability to sweet-talk her (by the way, don’t anybody show this column to her).
    And, of course, it’s important that we do what we do. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., recently opined to Tucker Carlson that during the past year nine of the Bill of Rights have been eviscerated, and only the Second Amendment — the right to bear arms — has been left intact. The nine he referred to include freedom of religion, free speech, and the right to assemble — all contained in the First Amendment.
    These are challenging times. Every voice needs to be heard and as long as I can write I intend to contribute.
    Oh, and don’t ask me about the president. You don’t want to hear a deacon use those words like the poor nurse at Mercy Hospital did.
    Thank you for all your well-wishes and prayers.
  • + + (You can reach Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com.)

Politics Promises An Interesting Year In Store

January 12, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on Politics Promises An Interesting Year In Store

By CHRISTOPHER MANION

It’s going to be a long year.
Most Americans today are working hard to recover from the China Virus and bring our resilient country back to its full potential.
Unfortunately, some folks have other plans.
A long time ago, a fellow named Rahm Emanuel, a senior adviser to Bill Clinton, laid down the law for the next generation of Democrat politicians:
“Never let a crisis go to waste.”
And for the past two years, the American Left has done everything it can to create an Emanuel-style “Crisis Syndrome,” and to perpetuate it as long as possible.
Yes, it started with the virus, but they don’t want it to end there. The year 2020 was full of mandates “to keep us safe” while Democrats fomented a summer of chaos, riots, and destruction that endangered the safety of millions. Radical district attorneys in Democrat-governed cities fanned the flames of chaos, looting, carjacking, crime — and even murders like those in Waukesha last November.
Democrats observed our reactions carefully. They discovered that millions of normally freedom-loving Americans were willing to obey almost any mandate if it was issued to “keep us safe.”
It worked! They watched us act like a defeated people.
Who but a nation of powerless losers would allow politicians to close our churches (but leave abortion mills open) for months in the name of “safety”?
Well, we allowed them, and we allowed everything else, and Democrats noticed. So for the past twelve months, Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats have done everything they could to make our lives more miserable.
A year ago, America was energy independent for the first time. Once in the White House, Joe Biden immediately shut down the Keystone pipeline and instituted a couple of dozen other policies that have raised energy prices by over thirty percent, exacerbating supply chain problems that affect every American family.
Millions of Americans lost their jobs during the 2020 lockdowns, but Biden’s vaccination mandates and those imposed by governors and private employers have required the firing of millions more. Even those in the Federal Civil Service, who are notoriously impossible to fire, are sent home if their vaccination cards are not up to date.
Putin and the Chicoms make their moves while our military throws in the towel in Afghanistan and searches for White Supremacists in the ranks. And Kamala’s border policy is continual chaos.
No, the Left doesn’t want America to recover. They want America to change. But this isn’t Obama’s “Change We Can Believe In” — quite the contrary. It isn’t just Biden’s approval ratings that have tanked, America’s economy is tanking too. That’s according to plan — loyal to Marx and Lenin, the Left wants to destroy America in order to save “democracy.”
There’s only one problem. There’s an election next November. How are they going to win it?

Happy Talk And Hard Truths

The 2022 campaign is well under way, and Republicans are feeling good about their chances. My old sidekick David Bossie writes on Fox that “Biden’s first year has been the worst since Carter — midterms will be the cure for buyer’s remorse.” “Dems Face a Brutal Reckoning With Hispanic Voters,” writes A.B. Stoddard. A popular Tweet reports that “Biden White House Collapses, GOP 2022 Gains Likely.”
Democrats, however, aren’t overflowing with happy-talk. They’re full of hard-nosed advice, though — and all of it is telling Biden how to change.
“Democrats can win in 2022 — here’s how,” writes The Hill, an influential DC website. The leftish Salon says, “Regroup! 6 Reasons Dems Should Be Hopeful About 2022 Midterms.” Microsoft’s msn.com tells us “How Democrats can win in 2022 and beyond.” MSNBC confidently reports “How Democrats can win the Senate in 2020.”
CNN is dire but maybe not: “How Democrats can avert disaster in 2022,” says one story, while another tries to cheer us up: “Democrats may defy history and win the 2022 midterms!” The Nation tells us, “Here’s How the Democrats Can Win Back Rural Voters,” while Medium says, “Democrats Need to Go More Left!”
None of that is enough for the Guardian. It’s time to take the gloves off, the socialist standard-bearer insists. “Joe Biden needs to stand up and fight (West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe) Manchin like our lives depend on it,” it writes. Manchin is “a mulish egotist: a man who sticks to his guns, even when his guns are firing blanks.”
The response? Biden has to fire away with real ammo.
And those Democrats have a point. In our “divided nation,” why would any intelligent politician intentionally alienate millions of voters who had supported him in 2020? It’s pretty clear that Biden’s administration is intentionally impoverishing millions of Americans and needlessly harassing millions more. This is not the way that elections are won.
So what’s going on? Why are Democrats pursuing such counterintuitive policies?
First of all, they think they can rely on false narratives, and they are depending on their media and cultural allies to resonate them.
A minor but revealing example occurred earlier this week, when a Virginia snowstorm that would be considered modest anywhere else completely shut down traffic on a twenty-mile stretch of Interstate 95 between Richmond to Washington, D.C. Thousands of motorists were trapped in their vehicles for up to nineteen hours.
Immediately, the echo chamber went into action, blaming Glenn Youngkin, the Republican who shocked the Left by winning last November’s election for governor.
After the first barrage of complaints and finger-pointing, sensible people finally realized that Youngkin isn’t governor yet (he will be sworn in on January 15). But the repetition — “Impression Impression Impression” – set the tone for how his administration will be treated by the usual suspects.
That narrative of deflection also works in reverse. For the past year, many celebrated media and political critics have routinely blamed former President Trump for the mishaps that Joe Biden has visited on the country. It’s fake news, but the Left is counting on the expectation that the drumbeat will sound so familiar, a key portion of the electorate that Rush Limbaugh used to call the “low information voters” would believe it anyway.
Condescending? Absolutely. But the hubris of the elites seems to inspire this perpetual prevarication among the professionals. It calls to mind the motto of Monica Lewinsky, the former intern in Bill Clinton’s White House: “I’ve lied all my life.” And they share such a contemptuous view of the Deporables that they expect us to believe them.
Democrats must make things happen — or at least make us believe that they happened. Moreover, and equally important, there are things that have happened that they must make us believe didn’t really happen. Even with their mammoth advantage in messaging, they do not face an easy task.
False narratives are indeed effective, especially when they are delivered with the favorite slogan of the marketers — “Impression, impression, impression!” And that mantra works in both the positive and the negative directions.

So Will 2022 Be Business As Usual?

Democrats know they’re in trouble, and they know that crisis and chaos have always worked to their advantage. And, while “there is no such thing as the foreseeable future,” as historian Charles Burton Marshall said in 1980, history does tend to rhyme.
In April, Joe Biden can merely issue an executive order declaring Nancy Pelosi’s federal takeover of state and local elections to be law.
In July, Biden can issue massive restrictions — all to “keep us safe,” of course — that will create a public response of outrage similar to that which we have already seen in Canada, Europe, and Australia.
Then Attorney General Garland can send the FBI into the streets to arrest all those White Supremacists by the thousands.
In late September, Joe Biden can announce that he is permanently forgiving all student loans.
And of course, Big Biz Billionaires can pour another few hundred million in dark money to grease the skids in November’s vote counting.
Happy New Year!

A Beacon Of Light… Peace And The Sacrament Of Penance

January 11, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on A Beacon Of Light… Peace And The Sacrament Of Penance

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON JR.

(Editor’s Note: Fr. Richard D. Breton Jr. is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He received his BA in religious studies and his MA in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

  • + + We continue our survey of the Catechism on the sacraments, in particular, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick. This week’s article will focus on the Sacrament of Penance.
    In order to fully understand the significance of this sacrament, we need to return to the Garden of Eden. The fall of Adam tarnished humanity with original sin. Through the unconditional love of God, however, the process of redemption would begin. This involved the lifesaving sacrifice offered through Christ, the Son of God. Jesus took on our human nature, the very nature that was lost by original sin, restoring us to His Grace once again.
    We were left, however, with the effects of original sin. These effects include death and suffering, concupiscence, and the absence of sanctifying grace. The effects of death and suffering are linked to the death of the body, which is the punishment of sin and the death of the soul.
    The effect of concupiscence leaves humanity with an Inclination to sin. This is seen in our struggle with temptation. The father of darkness continually attacks us, beating us down, trying to draw us away from God. Baptism erases original sin, but the inclination to sin remains.
    Another effect of sin is the absence of sanctifying grace. This is the consequence of Adam’s sin. Adam, having received holiness and justice from God, lost it not only for himself, but for all of humanity. Baptism confers sanctifying grace, lost through Adam’s sin, thus eliminating original sin.
    We need God’s mercy and forgiveness in our lives. Where do we find it? We find it in the Sacrament of Penance. The Sacrament of Penance is a beautiful encounter with Christ. When a person approaches this sacrament, he opens himself to the healing and merciful love of God. Within the Sacrament of Penance there are four important moments the penitent participates in.
    The first part is contrition. Contrition is the most important part of this sacrament. Through contrition the penitent shows, or demonstrates, heartfelt sorrow for the sins he committed. This is seen in their resolve to sin no more. Contrition enables the priest to ascertain the genuineness of the penitent’s resolve to sin no more.

Venial Sins And Mortal Sins

The second part of penance is confessing one’s sins. In this part of penance, the penitent verbalizes, or confesses, his sins to God. The confessing of sins includes two kinds of sin. First we confess venial sins. These are sins like impatience, gossip, stealing, lying, selfishness, not forgiving others, and laziness. These venial sins, if not confessed, can lead us into committing the next kind of sins, which we call mortal sins. Mortal sins separate us from God’s love and can cause us to forfeit everlasting life.
A mortal sin is defined as a grave infraction of the law of God that destroys the divine life of the soul, and by doing so, constitutes a turning away from God.
There are three criteria necessary for sins to be mortal and these are: 1) the sin is of a grave matter, 2) we have full knowledge that the act is evil, and 3) we fully consent in our will to perform the act. Basically, the sin is of a grave matter, we know it is wrong, and we do it anyway! Some examples of mortal sins include: murder (including the abortion of a child in the womb), premarital sex (of both heterosexual and homosexual nature), masturbation, the use of contraception, missing Mass on Sundays and holy days, and any sin against the Holy Spirit.
The action of confessing our sins requires us to properly prepare ourselves by performing an examination of conscience. An examination of conscience is time we put aside, hopefully daily, to see where we have failed in living our faith by loving God and our neighbor. This examination is usually done by looking over the Ten Commandments as a guide. Every penitent should be fully prepared to confess his sins.
Sometimes we may forget some of our sins. In this case, we should end confessing our sins by adding a phrase like: and for all the sins I cannot remember at this time. In confessing our sins, we must make sure to mention the kind of sin (by saying what we did) and the number of times we committed the sin.
The third part of Penance is the act of penance itself. The act of penance is a sign of true conversion from the heart. The action of performing a penance for our sins is a remedy through which we are healed. When the priest gives us a penance, we are required to do it. Sometimes a penance can be either a prayer to say, or an action we are asked to perform. In any case, the penance is our way of making amend for our sins. After fulfilling our act of penance, we can forget the past and focus on the road ahead.
The fourth, or final, moment of the Sacrament of Penance is absolution. The action of absolution belongs solely to God Himself; however, the priest is the minister through which forgiveness is imparted. When we are absolved we hear these words: “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and Resurrection of His Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of our sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
The words of absolution are so important for us to hear! This is because they help us to know we have been truly forgiven. With these words the sacrament is concluded, and we are reminded to go in peace and sin no more.
So often penitents are afraid of confessing their sins. They fear that the priest will think differently about them. Sadly, this absurd mentality has caused a decrease in the number of people who make use of this sacrament.
When we come to the Sacrament of Penance, we are sitting or kneeling before Jesus Himself. The priest acts in the person of Christ, but it is Christ who is there in our midst as we confess our sins. Whenever I go to the Sacrament of Penance, I feel the loving hand of Jesus on my shoulder as I confess my faults and failings. I feel Jesus there helping me to make a good Confession of my sins. I don’t hear the voice of the priest, but, the voice of Jesus!
Reminding myself that it is Jesus speaking comforts me. As I admit my failings and confess my sins, I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Then it happens…I hear those beautiful words: I absolve you from your sins! When I hear those words, I feel like crying because I feel the warm embrace of Jesus as He reminds me of His merciful love. Why should we fear the Sacrament of Penance? It is Jesus we encounter!

Jesus Is Waiting

In our earthly lives we see various doctors who help us to stay healthy. Many of us have a primary care physician who tends to our medical needs. In the spiritual life we also have a physician. Jesus is the physician on our spiritual journey. Everyone needs to be seen by the spiritual physician. Jesus is the remedy for healing our souls! Jesus touches us with His healing hand, and we are healed.
In the Sacrament of Penance, Jesus heals our souls from the grip of sin and restores us to sanctifying grace.
Through the comforting voice of the priest, we hear Jesus absolve us of our sins. If you have been away from the Sacrament of Penance, now is the time to return to the fount of mercy. Now is the time to seek out the love and mercy or Jesus!
Feel His healing touch! Hear His comforting voice! Listen as He says: Your sins are forgiven — go in peace! Jesus is waiting!

As Quiet Holidays Become History… It’s Back To The Loud Season Of Political Warfare

January 10, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on As Quiet Holidays Become History… It’s Back To The Loud Season Of Political Warfare

By DEXTER DUGGAN

Along with the spiritual blessings of the year-end holidays was the godsend of an absence of many of the daily headlines of political warfare.
Nerves had been jangled through much of 2021 as Democrat leaders launched assault after assault upon U.S. citizens, from diluting their votes to overwhelming their cities.
Encouraging vote fraud, penalizing freedom to work, worship, educate and move about, confiscating money to inflation and proposed heavier taxation, weakening protection against criminals both domestic and from elsewhere, threatening health with the unauthorized entry of numerous sick aliens — the list was lengthier than the Christmas wishes of a covetous brat.
The cacophony had been almost unbearable. Then the holidays arrived and Congress adjourned for the year. The Advent of Christmas was accompanied by an advent of semi-silence. No hourly update on Joe Biden’s crippling Build Back nightmares, nor Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s dreams to debilitate and suffocate conservative and middle-class Americans.
It was as if kids’ screaming from dawn to midnight around the house suddenly fell silent. It was such a relief. On the other hand, the eye of a hurricane is quiet, although the awful storm still swirls nearby.
Ask a parent. If children’s noise suddenly stops, is that a good sign? Or is it time to check for whatever guilty mischief they may be up to?
Everyone knew that political bigwigs actually hadn’t lost interest in their skulduggery. They were just doing more than the usual amount of it in back rooms over the holidays.
When a football squad goes into a muted huddle, have they lost interest in advancing the ball? Or are they just preparing for the next play?
After the waiter clears away the big guys’ dinnerware, that doesn’t mean nefarious activity won’t progress beneath the tablecloth.
With the arrival of January, all the noise returns.
Big-city Democratic machines traditionally have been associated with fraud, voting and otherwise.
Tragically, Chicago mayor and boss Richard Daley, a Catholic, may have manufactured enough votes in 1960 to put U.S. Sen. John F. Kennedy into the White House, and thereby unintentionally positioned the first Catholic president into a high profile that led to assassination in 1963.
The pandemic in 2020 was manipulated for sufficient chaos in key areas. Democratic strategists jumped in with both feet to shove election results their way.
Their favored tactics of widespread or universal mail-in voting, ballot harvesting, unmonitored public ballot drop-boxes, insufficient or nonexistent signature verification, unlawfully changed rules, prolonged late ballot acceptance, and billionaire funding of vote activity that should have been off-limits to private parties were important elements of an assault on voting integrity.
The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial on January 3 saying that although the November 2020 elections were more than a year in the past, “we’re still getting information about the huge private money that underwrote official government voting efforts in 49 states. Much is still unknown, but lawmakers already know enough to ban this practice.”
Whereas Americans otherwise could be subject to intense scrutiny in an evolving security state, verifying honest ballots was dismissed by the elite as something like bigotry or racism — the usual excuses when left-wingers’ demands are unjustified.
One of the reasons for Biden’s wild determination to rush as many illegal aliens into the U.S. as he could was their potential for casting votes. Conservative activist and radio talk host Charlie Kirk said on December 29, 2021, that so far in the expiring year, Biden’s open-borders strategy had added the population of two entire Montanas to the U.S.
The Montana.gov website lists the state’s population at 1,084,225 as of the 2020 census.
More than two million new voters in less than 12 full months, illegal or not, certainly could swing some elections. Especially when the Biden government was said to be sneaking many of them into Republican-voting areas.
You say that not all of the new aliens are of voting age? Did that ever stop fraud when the dead have cast ballots?
Normalizing the presence of illegal immigrants has been achieved in some ways in some areas including New York, such as giving them driver licenses. Another step is to start allowing non-citizens to vote with official blessing, which the Democrat-dominated New York City Council recently approved for local elections.
That means an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 additional voters there.
The New York Daily News posted on January 1 that the Big Apple’s new mayor, Democrat Eric Adams, expressed reservations about the bill becoming law. He soon would have to decide whether to sign it. In the November 2021 election, Adams had distanced himself from the left-wing extremism that often rules his party these days.
The Staten Island news site SILive.com reported on December 22 that Republican state Assemblyman Michael Reilly was one of those planning opposition to the measure. It quoted Reilly:
“Allowing more than 800,000 non-citizens to participate in electing the leaders of America’s largest city not only threatens the integrity of our elections, but also sets a dangerous precedent that challenges the concept of citizenship, as well as the rights and responsibilities afforded to citizens of the United States of America.”

Mail-In Voting

In addition, New York’s left-wing Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul — who replaced scandal-ridden Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo — said she plans to go ahead with pressing for universal mail-in voting for the Empire State in the 2022 legislative session, despite the fact that New York State voters themselves rejected that idea in the 2021 November election.
Nationally, Democrats in Congress have been pressing to loosen voting requirements significantly, with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer vowing to push ahead with these efforts in January.
The Wanderer asked two conservative Republican observers about these Democrat efforts.
National pundit Quin Hillyer said on January 4: “These Democratic attempts have nothing to do with voting ‘rights,’ but everything to do with undermining voting integrity. They are nefarious, and they should be blocked.”
Conservative Republican political strategist Constantin Querard said on January 4: “Both parties seek advantages when they pursue voting legislation. Republicans believe they do better when there is more oversight and certainty, Democrats believe they do better when controls are loosened and there is less oversight.
“Both parties are correct — which is why the GOP wants to make it harder to cheat and Democrats want to bring as much chaos into the process as possible,” Querard said. “In that context, the push for certain types of reforms by Democrats at the local, state, and federal level makes perfect sense.”
The New York Post posted an opinion column by Democratic former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine on January 2 warning that his party has to change emphasis fast.
Levine wrote: “With President Joe Biden’s approval ratings at a record low, crime waves wreaking havoc in Democratic-controlled cities, inflation at a nearly four-decade high and myriad foreign-policy crises tarnishing America’s global reputation, my party’s chances of preventing an electoral wipeout in Florida and across the nation look slim at best.”
He said Democratic candidates have to give a strong yes, not a “Yes but” or “Maybe” to five questions. 1) Do you support well-funded professional police departments? 2) Are you in favor of securing and defending the integrity of our borders with reasonable restrictions on immigration? 3) Do you agree that only U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote in U.S. elections including state and local?
Also: 4) Are you in favor of allowing parental participation in school curriculum and against Critical Race Theory in classrooms? 5) Do you disavow socialism and accept that America’s economic success is based on its capitalist system?
Even if New York City’s measure to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections were to become law, Levine said, “it will be struck down as patently unconstitutional.”
On the other hand, commentator Scott McKay warned at The American Spectator site on January 3 that proclaimed socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has been denied the Democrats’ presidential nomination in the last two cycles only because powerbrokers got together to direct it to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020.
McKay pondered if the ever-lefter Democrats can deny Sanders’ ambitions yet again in 2024.
“If Bernie is fit enough to run, or if Bernie can find someone plausible to carry his standard,” McKay said, “they’re going to have a real problem on the Democrat side in 2024. They’re likely to lose their party.”
If enough Democrats think liberal columnist John M. Crisp is the way to go, they’ll be as ill-informed as ever in planning their strategies.
In a column posted January 3, Crisp was sure that Americans yearn for lots of permissive abortion and stern gun control, so he was perplexed why they vote for Republicans who don’t support these.
He might ask himself that if this is so, why do Democrat leaders keep cloaking their goals with risible euphemisms like “the right to reproductive health care.”

In Mideast, Africa… Hungary Helps Embattled Christian Communities

January 9, 2022 Frontpage Comments Off on In Mideast, Africa… Hungary Helps Embattled Christian Communities

By JOHN J. METZLER

NEW YORK — The Christmas Season is still upon us. Seasonal cheer remains. Christmas trees, wreaths, and pine bunting yet abound. Lights and displays on stores and homes glisten. The smell of pine branches wafts throughout the city as our weary world celebrates its second COVID Christmastime.
While there’s certainly cause for celebration, let’s pause and take a somber look at the birthplace of Christianity — the Middle East where ancient but embattled Christian communities are facing decline amid the backdrop of terrorism, socioeconomic stagnation, and, in some cases, enduring civil conflict.
One bright star glistens in the turbulent Middle East. A small Central European country, Hungary, has selected a special mission to help embattled Christians in places such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.
The Hungarian Mission to the UN sponsored a high-level seminar, “Supporting Religious Minorities and Persecuted Christians.” It affirmed: “The recent and growing number of attacks against religious minorities by violent extremists and terrorist groups is an alarming trend around the world.” A briefing note added, “Hungary has therefore stepped in to fill the gap and defined it among its key national and foreign policy priorities to take action against the spread of intolerance and persecution based on religion or belief.”
Dr. Ferenc Dancs, deputy state secretary for Migration Challenges, stated: “Hungary is deeply committed to upholding freedom of conscience and religion and is an active advocate for persecuted Christians.”
He added: “The Hungarian humanitarian policy organization Hungary Helps pays special attention to Christian and other minorities persecuted on the basis of their religion.”
Given that Christians are particularly targeted for persecution and discriminated against globally, the Hungary Helps program has so far spent $50 million in humanitarian aid to assist them, mostly in the Middle East and Africa. The group focuses on rebuilding churches, schools, and hospitals.
Dr. Dancs told me, “Hungary Helps offers aid directly to bishops as they know the best for their communities and where to spend the funds. The money does not go into trust funds.”
“We choose to support Christians due to our own history and our Christian culture reflected in Hungarian history of 1,100 years. These civilizations are the most ancient and we provide our assistance to the Middle East.”
Even during the hard-pressed COVID period, the Budapest government gave $480 million in aid in 2020; a considerable increase from $140 million in 2010. Assistance is slated for 47 countries.
Dr. Dancs stressed that “instead of encouraging Christians to leave their home countries, we believe that such assistance makes it possible for them to stay.” Such sentiments were rooted in the massive 2015 migration crisis where more than a million Syrian and Iraqi migrants transited through tiny Hungary en route to Germany and Sweden.
“We face a very serious massive illegal migration in the modern age unfortunately in Europe which grows anti-Semitism,” he added.
Fr. Roger Landry of the Holy See UN Mission outlined the wider issues of Christian persecution in the Middle East. He underscored the extraordinary trip of Pope Francis to Iraq in March in which the Pontiff visited destroyed but rejuvenating Christian communities in the embattled country. The Pope visited ancient churches in Mosul which were destroyed during occupation of the ISIS so-called caliphate and affirmed that “fraternity is more durable than fratricide.”
According to the advocacy group Aid to the Church in Need, Christian persecution is rapidly rising globally: 75 percent of all religiously motivated violence and oppression is suffered by Christians. The group added: “Radical extremist Islam is responsible for the persecution of Christians in twenty-two of the worst offending countries.”
“The size of the Christian community in Northern Iraq could drop to just 23,000 by 2024; just 20 percent of the population on the Nineveh Plains before the Islamic State group attacked in 2014,” according to a report from Aid to the Church in Need. The report explained: “This would move the Christian community from the category of ‘vulnerable’ to the critical category of ‘endangered with extinction’.”
Edward Clancy, director of Outreach for Aid to the Church in Need, spoke of Christians facing persecution in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria. Currently in conflict-ridden Syria, the group has set up the Hope center in Damascus and Homs to try to build new lives that were shattered in the wake of war. Since 2010, Syria’s Christian population drastically decreased from 4 million to about 700,000.
Christian families are still leaving. Clancy called for “raising the voice of the disadvantaged.” Do we hear them during this Christmas Season?

  • + + (John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism: The Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China.)

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Catechism

Today . . .

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