As a child—never heard of the preferential option for the poor or anything about Liberation Theology.
We always had mite boxes every year for the poor in China and other Third World countries but never anything like what goes on today.
I am disturbed by priests and now even our new pope who want to eliminate poverty.
Isn’t poverty a relative term?
It is like trying to eliminate weather or disease…. Did Jesus say of the poor—they will always be with us?
The poor are part of the human condition…all derivatives of our fallen nature…that is original sin.
Remember also the beatitude is not blessed are the materially poor…but the poor in spirit.
When it comes to greed, the wealthy don’t have any monopoly on it!
Poor people can be just as greedy as any capitalist. Isn’t that what FDR’s New Deal was all about—soak the rich and class envy?
Isn’t it also true that in America we have the most obese, and over-fed poor in the world?
I would venture a guess that the poor in this country would be middle class in 90% of the other countries in the world. Many now live on an unearned income of $40,000 a year, which would put them in the hated 1% of the world’s wage earners.
Since Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, which was more a war on poor people, government has institutionalized poverty, totally impoverished the black family by replacing husbands with welfare checks.
In effect this will just level…not only the playing field but reduce everyone to bare subsistence. We have nearly 100 years of communism as empirical proof.
To the left the best way to eliminate poverty is to make everyone equal…equal in their poverty.
An expanding government sinks all boats.
This social-economic war has cost us approximately $17 trillion since 1965; we still hear that was not enough! The poverty rate is the just the same…yet they still want more.
In the Catholic Church talk of poverty leads to demands for justice…social justice. That’s another term I never learned in grade school or even in college.
Does anyone here really understand what the Church means by SJ? I have deleted several definitions from my paper because I didn’t understand any of them.
I don’t think it should mean being my Brother’s keep. Only slaves, prisoners and the mentally ill need keepers.
To me the only kind of justice we owe our neighbor is to give him his due by way of agreement, contract, handshake etc. and try to help those who cannot help themselves. Delegating this responsibility to Uncle Sam is NOT SJ. It is national suicide!
Neither social justice nor redistribution of wealth is in the Gospels nor the US Constitution. These are not religious ideas but Marxist ideas.
Jesus never said, Take from the rich and let the government redistribute it.
Take the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan chose to take it upon himself to help; he took on the bills himself. The government never told him to do it.
All these progressive ideas have come together under the mantle of Liberation Theology, which is a perversion of real Christianity. Liberation Theology is not a religion of love and sacrifice with salvation of souls as its goal but one of violence, oppression and eventually moral and economic slavery.
But before I get into an explanation of Liberation theology I want to take it a step…backwards!
They say success has many fathers while failure has none.
I guess that means that Liberation Theology is a huge success because it not only has an international parenthood from Moscow to Medellin but some grandparents and great-grandparents that date back to the French Philosophes and the French Revolution.
The Enlightenment was a cultural and intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, which was most successful in France in throwing off the yoke of several hundred years of Royal and Church rule.
Its purpose was allegedly to reform society using reason, challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and advance knowledge through the scientific method.
In effect it promoted religious skepticism, disrespect for order and intolerance of anything that did not fit its agenda.
Its ideas have masqueraded under many different names and labels since then— Free Masonry, Marxism, Communism, socialism, Progressivism, liberalism, and secular humanism,
They are all branches of the same poisonous tree.
What happened in the drawing rooms, libraries and coffee houses of 18th century France resembled in at least one crucial respect what happened in the deserts of Arabia in the 7th century A.D?
A new world religion was born—a secular religion of humanity.
At the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI echoed this idea when he said ‘the religion of God made man’ had encountered ‘the religion of man aspiring to be God.’
The Enlightenment gave rise to the bloody French Revolution with its liberation of all the rules, regulations and dogmas that had characterized Mother Europe since the beginning of the 2nd millennium.
In effect the Enlightenment evoked a new world order of slavery that took away man’s moral anchor and chained him to his passions.
Liberation Theology therefore is not a new idea but the new wineskin for the pernicious ideas of the Enlightenment.
In modern terms it is the new secular religion of men, a religion of the poor.
Liberation theology is the 21st century vehicle that portends to drive the French Revolution over the finish line. Its 250-year goal in the words of Thomas Paine is
To Build the World anew!
According to late mathematician and member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Igor Shafarevich to accomplish the collapse of Western Civilization, government has had to attack and dismantle the three major barriers to complete secularization of its population, that is…the Christian religion, the natural family and private property.
In essence this has been the nexus of the culture war—an attack on religion…the family and private property.
Just what is Liberation Theology?
It is a movement that sprang from late 20th-century Roman Catholicism and has found a particularly welcoming environment in Latin America.
By definition: Liberation Theology is not a theology but an ideological amalgamation of the spirit of Jesus Christ with the revolutionary tactics of Karl Marx.
It is rests on the belief that one’s eternal salvation is inseparable from the struggle toward social justice.
In America it emanated from the Progressive Movement where socialist Herbert Croly, the founder of the New Republic Magazine in 1907 made a similar amalgamation by melding the democratic and charitable spirit of Thomas Jefferson with the big government means of Alexander Hamilton and capitalism to give us the never-ending welfare state under which we suffer from today.
To them, the WORD oppression is a clarion call to assemble all like-minded revolutionaries who will work to undermine the traditions, morals and beliefs of the past…the so-called Democracy of the Dead of G. K. Chesterton.V
Memories have always been extremely important to both professional baseball players and their millions of fans throughout its long and variegated history.
To me baseball has always been the human game because it rightfully focused more on the players and not as much on their statistics.
Most baseball players, especially old ball players, thrive on telling stories, based on their long memories.
The more baseball transforms to a Sabermetrician mode of Moneyball, the less attractive it will become to fans like me.
I think this underscores the idea behind Roger Kahn’s historic 1972 book, The Boys of Summer.
What made Kahn’s book so enduring was that it did not focus as much on the individual playing careers of many of the 1952-53 Brooklyn Dodgers, a team that had teased its fans with pennants, only to falter to the hated New York Yankees in the October Classic.
To the contrary Kahn took the high road and looked at the players after the cheering had died down and they were left with declining health, old age and even ensuing death.
Kahn underscored this in his lyrical title, a phrase lifted from Dylan Thomas’ poem of I See the Boys of Summer… I see them in their ruin.
Kahn had stripped the players, especially Jackie Robinson, Clem Labine, Duke Snider and Carl Erskine of their uniforms, pretenses and defenses.
He showed them in their pure humanity with Robinson’s illnesses, Erskine’s handicapped son, Labine’s war-handicapped son and Snider’s ruinous business dealings.
To most of us this was a new and troubling side of players whom we had seen mostly in terms of home runs and box scores.
The ideas in Kahn’s book were reinforced for me years later at a card convention. I was walking among the crowd and I spied an old man sauntering about.
He was bald, round-shoulders with a protruding stomach. He was Enos Slaughter, the old Cardinal great, known for his mad dash from first base in the 1946 World Series.
To me he looked just like a little old man…like any other man of his generation I could see walking on any street in America.
I thought, so this is what happens to old ball players.
This reminds me of something Joe Garagiola told me when I interviewed on the set of his failed attempt to launch a pilot game show in 1974.
Sometimes the joke was on him!
His producer had quipped that Joe had shot down more pilots than the Luftwaffe in WW II.
Joe said that the people who had the hardest time in seeking a new profession were shepherds Vikings and old ball players.
I think there is an inherent wisdom in that because all players knew that their ticket would have to be punched sometime for them to get off the field.
I think that point is one of the underlying beauties of the St. Louis Browns Fan Club, which I started with Harmony Lineback in 1984.
Over these past 29 years I have seen so many of these players–Ned Garver, Billy Jennings, Don Lenhardt, Ed Mickelson and so many others in their tragic ruin. For most it has been the slow but steady decline or what a gal at the Mid-County Y had said to me after our workout class many years ago, the ravages of age.
I have seen it in its persistent sap the strength, cloud the vision and wobble the step of what were once hardy, muscular athletes. The inevitable scythe of death has cut down all but 27 of our Brownie players of the 796, who wore the colors since 1902.
For most of these surviving few their memories are all they have left.
It was this thought that prompted me to write my play, The Last Memory of an old Brownie Fan in 2007. My mother had died of Alzheimer’s in 2001.
Since then I have been deeply concerned about losing my own memory, which has been key to my joie de vivre. After a certain age our memories are really all we have left.
The play served as a cathartic metaphor for the similarities between baseball and the game of life.
Fortunately while their bodies have suffered their often painful and inevitable declines, the Browns Fan Club has given many of them a chance to renew old acquaintances but more importantly to relive their memories, entertain the fans, new and old with their innumerable stories of gags, games, and fights.
Absent cameras, writers with pen and pad, our many events have created a speaker-friendly environment where players can freely and without inhibition tell their stories, and their personal histories in for all of us to vicariously experience what they have kept alive in the mystic chords of their baseball memories.
In reflecting on all these years, I need only give one example to illustrate what I mean.
Babe Martin, who admittedly had a short-lived career, spent a lot of time in spring training, sitting on the bench or warming pitchers up in the bullpen. He hobnobbed with Ted Williams and other luminaries of the game.
At on luncheon he starting talking about his friendship with old Teddy Ballgame. I remember looking at his eyes. They weren’t focused on me or anyone else in the 110 people in attendance.
He looked over all of us…straight into space…trying to picture the frozen images of his memory from 60 years in the past.
It was as if he had suspended his mind, his feelings and emotions on the precipice of eternity and was viewing his life from the outside. His eyes saw something that only he could see.
His frozen moment in time transcended time and space and has become part of my memory trace and will be frozen in my own mind so that I can tune it in with clarity of detail anytime I want to.
That reality lives and breathes in the memories of all the millions of fans who have penetrated the mystique of a game played by boys in the hot summer’s day and now night.
And in the powerful words of Carson the rigid head butler on the immensely popular BBC production, Downton Abbey, the business of life is about the acquisition of memories and in the end that is all we have.
When I was in high school, I had my first introduction to the Ukraine as more than a spot on the atlas. Three of my freshman classmates at Xavier in 1957 were all from there.
One fellow Ihor Kotlarchuk replaced me as the class Beadle (read errand boy) after my early grades were dismal. The second guy was Jerry Karpinsky, who played in the school’s military marching band. I don’t remember the third boy at all. (See comments for corrections)
I wish I had the foresight to have asked them questions about their former homeland because I find it a very fascinating place.
My massage therapist, whom I have often mentioned is from there as is her husband. They arrived in St. Louis with only seven dollars in their pockets in 1991, the year that Soviet Russia’s economic and social empire imploded on itself.
She and I often talk about her former country, now know as simply Ukraine. I had never questioned its past nomenclature or even thought about it. I still find myself starting to include the word the. It made me wonder why anyone used the in the first place.
When I asked her that she really didn’t have any definitive answer. After all no one says the India or the Japan, so why the prior the?
But on the other hand we do say the United States, and the West Indies, primarily because we are speaking in the plural number. When I was in high school, the Ukraine was just one of several Soviet Republics.
She also corrected me when I called her hometown, the current capital, Kiev (Key-ef), which is the Russian pronunciation. I now say Kiev or Keeve which is the way the Ukrainians say it.
That means that every one of the news commentators on radio and TV have been mispronouncing the capital for all these months.
One small thing I do for her and her husband is clip any relevant article on Russia, Ukraine or anything even close to them.
You might say I have been very busy clipping a lot of articles lately because of Ukraine’s inner turmoil. Her mother, a retired medical doctor, lives on the edge of the capital, and several of her family members worked for the former Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanakovich.
She recently told me three of her cousins were called up to the military. And of even greater concern is the fact that her Godmother now lives in Crimea and has not been heard from since the Russian invasion weeks ago.
All this saddens her very much. She is 100% American now but still has deep concern for her family in Ukraine. It pains me to see the fear and tension in her eyes as it bleeds past the stoicism in her soul.
Before clipping the articles I read some of them. You can say all you like about the politics of the New York Times, but they do have some of the best news writers and journalists in the world.
All their articles are , not only well-written but contain a broad spectrum of the issues, including background, profiles and many items of fascinating minutiae.
Our only Catholic newspaper, the St. Louis Review recently featured a marvelous story on its cover about Ukraine Catholics and their local Orthodox church as they prayed for their fellow Catholics in Ukraine.
All this, especially Ukraine’s geopolitical strategic location makes me think of the travail that Poland, another country with a long Catholic presence has undergone, primarily for its location.
Then Poland was the gateway to the East. Now it seems to be Ukraine.
This issue dates back to 2003 when Ukraine had its Orange Revolution. Since then the politics has , like those in the former Soviet Union vacillated between robber barons and oligarchic billionaires on the make as well as corrupt government officials..
No matter who has been in charge the common people always seemed to suffer in poverty and need.
In mid-March things started to really heat up as Putin sent 20,000 paratroopers to ensure the referendum in Crimea, a peninsula on Ukraine’s southern border would vote to secede from Ukraine. The country and the world has been on the brink ever since.
America’s feckless leader, Barack Obama has again shown his detachment from the grave issues of his presidency. His vacillation and lack of any evidence that he has a spine and other male essentials has done little to quell the simmering tensions.
More than likely Obama’s insouciance has not only encouraged Putin’s lust for reuniting the former satellites of the defunct Soviet Union but prompted his aggressive actions in Crimea.
During a recent trip to Chicago, where I gave an address on Liberation Theology at the 33rd Annual Mindszenty Conference, an organization I spent 11 years writing for, in the Q&A a woman asked me:
besides praying and fasting for the people of Ukraine what can we do to help these people?
I started by trying to explain the discordant realities of the situation.
Like Poland of the past Ukraine is important geopolitically for both West and East. Putin needs it as a buffer to allied intrusion in his plans for Russian expansion while the West looks more to the socio-economic advantages of having Ukraine as a full trading partner and maybe even a part of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The Bush administration had also recognized Ukraine potential military value.
According to Secretary of State John Kerry, Putin’s thinking was out of touch with the spirit of our times. Both he and President Obama accused Putin of living in the 19th century when might made right.
They reiterated that it was the 21st century where there would be no wars between democracies and all disputes would be settled like gentlemen.
No wonder the Russians are laughing at us. It is Kerry and Obama who are living in some sort of fantasy land.
Putin still believes in power politics and has the ability to drive home his point through the muzzle of a rifle or the hot warhead of a missile.
Unlike Hitler’s march through Central Europe in the 1930s when any sort of allied unity might have exposed the weakness of his forces, Putin has nuclear weapons and Ukraine doesn’t. Or should I say not any more!
The sad truth is that the West, led by Britain the United States convinced Ukraine to give up its sizable nuclear weaponry in 1994 in exchange for a promise of protection from the United States and its NATO allies.
At that time Ukraine had 1800 nuclear missiles, which made it then the third largest nuclear power in the world ahead of China, Britain and France.
Against the advice of its intelligence advisers Ukraine signed this dangerous document that has left it without any leverage 20 years later.
This is what happens when gun control is applied, not just locally but globally: the strong always have the guns and those foolish enough to disarm lose their freedom.
The Western powers and Ukraine say Russia has broken the agreement by invading Crimea. The Budapest Memorandum committed all parties to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. But the agreement was not a treaty and didn’t require any of the signatories to do anything in the event of violations.
To make matters worse the U.S. has recently refused to send any sort of military aid to arm the Ukraine reserves who have just been called to duty. But they did send healthy and sugar free snacks for its military.
So in a showdown between a weakened West with a struggling economic and a vulnerable but aggressive power like Russia, whose leaders have nothing but contempt for America’s leaders, the odds seem to favor Russia in both the long and short run of things.
It is Putin’s game to win or lose. Will his economy hold up under this aggressive foray deeper into Ukrainian territory or will the economic weight topple him as it did his predecessors in 1991?
Whatever happens one thing is for certain: the winds of war are again blowing strongly in Ukraine.
With Barack Obama at our helm prayer and fasting are likely to be ours and Ukraine’s best and only hope.
Just who is Michael Sam and why is everyone, including the Pope and Cardinal Richard Dolan talking about him?
For the uninformed he is a football player, who is an excellent defensive player who had a breakout year for the University of Missouri this past fall.
In anticipation of signing a professional contract with the National Football League Sam chose a prime moment to announce that he was a homosexual.
Many in the media have waiting for an anointed one to come along and break the sexual preference barrier, which to them, was just another human rights obstacle. Lost in their fifght is the fact that most detest football, as not only Neanderthal, barbaric but seriously homophobic. Sam stands to be their agent to make America the first Rainbow Nation.
Was he recruited for this role?
Of course the Catholic Church with its long and controversial history of opposing homosexuality was drawn into the fray.
The new pope, Francis who in one short year has shown an enormous capacity for being misunderstood and taken out of context probably had more clarifications than the last four popes combined.
In a broader context, the pope when asked about homosexuality in the priesthood said: If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge? He told reporters, speaking in Italian but using the English word gay.
Of course that might not apply to Sam who has been known to frequent Columbia, Missouri’s gay bars.
According to news reports the pope’s words could not have been more different from those of Benedict XVI, who in 2005 wrote that homosexuality was ‘a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, and an objective disorder.’ The church document said men with deep-seated homosexual tendencies should not become priests.
The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera last week published an interview with the pope in which Francis reiterated the church’s teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman while acknowledging that governments want to adopt civil unions for gay couples and others to allow for economic and health benefits, for example.
It was the first time a pope had ever held out the possibility of the church accepting some legal arrangement for same-sex couples, and the remarks prompted a wave of stories, some indicating that the pope had endorsed civil unions or was even signaling an acceptance of gay marriage.
Vatican quickly clarified that Francis was speaking in general terms and that people should not try to read more into the pope’s words than what has been stated.
But the Pope wanted senior Church leaders to look into the issue and to scrutinize the reasons why many countries have legalized same-sex marriages.
Former Missourian, Cardinal Timothy Dolan also was asked about Sam and his gay debut. Questions like these are often designed to evoke controversial or embarrassing remarks, given the Church’s recent history sex abuse by homosexual or pederastic priests.
Virtually echoing the sentiments of the pope, Dolan said. Good for him, Dolan replied. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya.
He also added I don’t think, look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us, well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, ‘Bravo.’
I thought the teaching was love the sinner…hate the sin. A Bravo for an active gay man does not seem much like pastoral advice to me.
The discussion also dug deeply into America’s contentious racial past.
Liberals were able to dust off the nearly forgotten memory of true pioneer Jackie Robinson and even the often-misunderstood story of Rosa Parks to bolster Sam bid for a larger payday.
Michael Sam has the opportunity to be the Jackie Robinson of the NFL, said professor Orin Starn, chairman of Duke University’s cultural anthropology department.
This is balderdash!
Viciously taunted, and sometimes threatened by players, fans and others, Robinson faced enormous pressure to not only play well, but to do so while restraining the desire to fight back.
Not only had some of his teammates submitted a petition in Florida, saying they would not play with him but during the season pitches under his chin or in his ribs, racial taunts–black cats on the field and the unmerciful heckling of managers, such as Philadelphia’s Ben Chapman made his maiden season a living hell on earth.
Not everyone thought this was an honest comparison.
Black columnist Larry Elder wrote: the attention and pressure on Robinson makes Sam’s future career look like a coronation. Robinson’s was a pre-television, pre-Internet, Jim Crow America, where sports fans really paid keen attention to only three sports – boxing, horse racing and America’s pastime, baseball. Most everybody was watching, many hoping and expecting him to fail.
In my opinion the only thing that Sam has in common with Robinson is the color of his skin. Homosexuality is an accidental, such as religion and hair styles, not something unchangeable such as race, DNA and eye color.
Sam has not and will not suffer even a modicum of the harassment and opprobrium that Robinson endured. He has a 100% support of the gay community and the weight of a godless secular society behind him.
And whoever might have the temerity to oppose or even criticize him and maybe even his abilities on the field will quickly become and outlier and even a pariah to the game they play.
I could not help but note how many of the commentators, especially the black ones, cowered before the question when asked for their opinion.
It has been my understanding from my days as a talk show host on radio that most of my black callers were offended by the notion that anyone of their race could be a homosexual.
Such an accusation might have easily unleashed the dread R-word in any conversation. Personally I think that such a comparison is an insult to what Jackie Robinson did for his race, America’s social morality and the game of baseball.
So I have no Bravo for Michael Sam.
From what I have read he might not have enough talent to be an everyday player. He is caught in the realistic squeeze of being too small for his college position on the defensive line and too slow for a linebacker in the NFL.
Will his coming hide these facts from his judges? I don’t know.
I do wish him well and wish that the mainstream media judge him only by his abilities on the gridiron and nothing else.
Of course I doubt that because as Al Gore has so profoundly told us a zebra cannot change its spots.
I have written about my deep interest in massage therapy several times before.
In an important way it has become a necessary function of my life as I get older.
I told my therapist that for this to have any real meaning for me it had to resonate in some way with my Catholic faith and it has.
It did not take me long to find a religious connection for the wonderful feelings that my therapists engendered in this old body. It was a rejuvenation and a euphoria that I want to continue for all eternity. I feel it every time she touches me.
This euphoria is what Heaven portends to be because a massage puts me in a short-lived state that approximates the best feelings I could ever have.
After a massage I am not only happier but I want to pass these feelings of love and peace to everyone I meet that day. It is like being in a Coca Cola commercial.
All these feelings inspired me to find out who was the saint of massage therapists was. Catholics have a saint for almost every country, profession, hobby and avocation. One can find a patron saint of architects, shepherds and chimney sweeps…but no massage therapists.
To my disappointment there was no saint listed.
I did find a reference to St. James without detail or verification.
One man submitted Sister Rosalind Genfre, whom I have mentioned a few times in these pages. She is the Minneapolis nun who started a chain of massage spas, for want of a better term in the 1980s.
Her pastoral work was to elderly people in nursing homes in St. Paul, Minnesota. By accident she had discovered how favorably they responded to even the slightest touch. She and a few other sisters learned how to do massages and then started out by offering them to the elderly residents of the nursing home to ease the burdens of old age.
I know first hand the importance of touch. It is a form of personal validation and extension of one human soul to another just because we are all God’s children.
Well the local authorities thought otherwise. They thought she and her fellow nuns were offering the kind of massage one found at a massage parlor or a brothel.
When the sisters finally proved their legitimacy a new profession was born and older adults like me had another assistance in fighting the ravages of age.
But Sister Roz is very much alive and you have to be dead..usualy a long time..to become recognized as a Catholic saint.
That was a couple of years ago. Just recently I got the urge to try again. Maybe I missed something.
My search led me to Pam a massage therapist from Wheaton Illinois who writes a blog on massage issues. In 2012 she addressed the issue of a Patron Saint for Massage Therapists.
Her vote went to Saint Mary Magdalene, who is usually thought of as the second-most important woman in the New Testament after Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was present at Jesus’ two most important moments: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Within the four Gospels, the oldest historical record mentioning her name, she is named at least 12 times,more than most of the apostles. The Gospel references describe her as courageous, brave enough to stand by Jesus in his hours of suffering, death and beyond.
St. Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran churches—with a feast day of July 22. Other Protestant churches honor her as a heroine in the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of the Western Three Marys.
What is her connection to massage therapy?
According to Pam she anointed the feet of Jesus with oil. That in itself should be enough.
Mary Magdalene’s actions were judged and misunderstood by those around her and even later in the Catholic Church.
Many people just don’t understand massage therapists–they think they are a little out there and their actions are suspect…what is she REALLY doing with those naked people? Just like the Magdalene! People saw what she was doing and said, Wow–that’s really inappropriate. If Jesus really knew who she was, he wouldn’t let her touch him!
Since then many people from Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th century to director Martin Scorsese and writer Dan Brown have misjudged her and soiled her reputation. It was Gregory I who confused her with the woman by caught in adultery.
It is clear, brothers, that the woman previously used the unguent to perfume her flesh in forbidden acts. What she therefore displayed more scandalously, she was now offering to God in a more praiseworthy manner. She had coveted with earthly eyes, but now through penitence these are consumed with tears. She displayed her hair to set off her face, but now her hair dries her tears. She had spoken proud things with her mouth, but in kissing the Lord’s feet, she now planted her mouth on the Redeemer’s feet. For every delight, therefore, she had had in herself, she now immolated herself. She turned the mass of her crimes to virtues, in order to serve God entirely in penance.
Scorsese, a Catholic, vividly dramatizes in his controversial film about Jesus Christ–The Last Temptation of Christ. In addition Magdalene becomes jesus’ fantasy lover as well. In his 2003 novel, the DaVinci Code Brown raises her to the rank of Jesus’ wife who escapes with him to Southern France were their descendants start the Merovingian line of French monarchs.
Her sordid reputation sullied her memory until 1969 when Pope Paul VI exonerated her without commenting on his predecessor’s abject error. She whom Luke calls the sinful woman, whom John calls Mary, we believe to be the Mary from whom seven devils were ejected according to Mark. And what did these seven devils signify, if not all the vices?
Pam, who is a registered psychologist as well takes it even deeper. Because our society is physically and chronically disconnected from their own bodies and sexualize much of their somatic experience, people project and misinterpret the actions of others. People are unable to understand that massage therapists are able to communicate nurture, care and love through their work that is not sexual.
Jesus understood Mary’s desire to show her love for him the best way she knew how–honoring his body and person in a very concrete expression. Jesus told those around him to Leave her alone! She has done a beautiful thing for me! Jesus got it. He then said, Everywhere my story is told, hers will be too to honor her.
Thanks to Pam I can finally rest. I will start praying to her with extreme intensity to bless my therapist every time she lays her hands on me. I have felt for a long time that a massage therapist can serve as a transmitter of God’s graces and love. Massage therapists,especially mine, truly perform the touch of sainthood.
I can honestly say that what she does has the touch of sainthood in it. I also pray that I will be in some way be able to repay her for all she has done for me in what for many septuagenarians can be years racked me with pain and depression.
Imagine all this and Heaven too!
Author’s note: If you liked this one, check out the Fore-touch of Heaven from May 6, 2012. See the list to the right.
We have heard the new pope speak of his friendship with a few Marxists who he found were good men. I assume he has made these personal judgments based on the Marxists’ professed compassion for the poor.
Marxists and liberals always express their devotion to the poor, the downtrodden and the underclass. They expressively vow to use the powers of violence, revolution and eventually big government to right all the evils of nature, individualism and its economic expression capitalism.
Yet they generally do not believe in God, his teachings or his church.
So how can they be good?
Is a compassion for the poor all they need?
The pope has flirted with Liberation Theology. His native Argentina is riven with its thinking, so it is not a stretch to assume he has had some interest in its teachings, even though his two predecessors condemned it as inconsistent with Christianity.
These liberationisti believe that human salvation is collective and is attained primarily through a love of the poor.
What about the Nazis?
They were socialists just as the Marxists so why have we demonized them as the perfect historical ogres?
No, they did not express a specific love of the poor. To the contrary the poor of the world were probably lumped in with the useless eaters, those who were deemed unworthy of life.
But Marxists also have always had their death panels that were designed to terminate the people who stood in the way of the revolution. I am quite certain the religious poor would not be acceptable in their future earthly kingdom.
So killing people seems to be a useful method for both Marxists and Nazis though only the Marxists seem to be good.
Yet maybe good is in the eye of the beholder and can have many different definitions that would qualify both the Marxist and the Nazi.
Their thinking seems predicated on what Pope Benedict called a dictatorship of relativity.
Most modern autocrats who despise Christian morality have to create a substitute morality to fill the moral vacuum they create when the old morality falls by the wayside.
They see the necessity to contrive a set of moral principles that would define good for that particular society whether it be Marxist, Nazi or even capitalist.
To the Marxist the main commandments would be a love of the Revolution and compassion for the poor.
But in essence that love for the poor seems to be just reserved for the generic poor.
One could say that like cartoon character, Lucy Van Pelt, they loved humanity but hated individual people.
If individuals, who happen to be poor do not accept the revolution and the party as their savior and lord, they will not live in its earthly paradise.
The same is true of the good Nazi. They believed passionately in the Vaterland and the purity of its blood. Theirs was a religion based on Land und Blut–land and blood, while the Marxists had their religion of man.
People who did not fit in had to suffer their wrath but they were good to their own kind. I have read stories about what good family men many of them were and even Hitler was kind to children and animals. He never smoked, was a vegetarian and believed in gun control for the masses.
These latter ideas are all part of what has become an emerging social religion in this country.
President Barack Obama has joined in this debate. Religion does not seem to be part of his make-up. During his peripatetic life he has experienced many kinds of religious influence, starting with the atheism of most of his immediate family.
In Indonesia with his mother and step-father as a young boy he studied Islam and even attended a Catholic school for a short time. In Chicago he joined the Church of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and his Black Liberation Theology was a mere subset of Marxist praxis and indicative of Obama’s deep commitment to racial socialism and Marxism.
I really don’t know how Obama could call himself a Christian when there was very little of Christ in Wright’s teachings.
It was Obama himself who said that the religion of America had become a practical atheism.
So to carry on with my theme can an American atheist be a good person?
I know many of them do think they are good people while they demonize Republicans, prolifers, anti-gun control advocates and anyone else who has the effrontery to challenge their moral and political system.
I might add that in my personal travels I have met a few self-admitted atheists who seemed at face value to be good people. But I doubt their goodness sprang from their denial of God’s existence. More than likely they had subconsciously adopted from either their life experiences or professional training.
One self-declared atheist in particular, who used to call my radio show years ago, was adamantly and intellectually convinced abortion was a moral good for women yet he would do chores and errands for his aging mother.
When I told him that I thought he was doing the work of sainthood, he thanked me for seeing some good in him. I surmise that would hold true of many others in his category as well.
Since the 1950s this kind of thinking, which harkens back to the French Enlightenment, has based morality, not on the ethos of Jesus Christ and his Church but on a self-contrived system of thought that has evolved from the science of man.
It was a 16th century renegade Catholic and a convert to Calvinism Pierre Bayle, whose writings argued that religion and morality should be separate. Bayle was not an atheist, at least not an open one, yet he believed that atheists though they might have a sticky time of it in the afterlife, could be as moral as anyone. I would also surmise that many Americans would second this idea.
His thinking fascinated many of the Enlightened thinkers into the 18th century, such as Hume , Voltaire, Spinoza and Leibniz.
According to Bayle all one had to do is be a good citizen to be a moral man.
This idea is certainly a dominant one in American society.
Many people, including millions of American Catholics would prefer be called Catholic Americans for their acceptance and even promotion of Obama’s secular values rather than American Catholics.
To Obama morality does not come from God or some other deity but from man, more specifically government men and by extension the culture they create.
So a society that reveres abortion on demand, promiscuous sex, drug use, divorce, and homosexuality can develop an ethos based on those life styles and actions.
This essentially had been the goal of the French Revolution, which first sought to destroy the Church, the crown and the middle class or bourgeoise.
Its progressive heirs, such as liberals and Marxists, have labored to destroy the family, the Christian church and private property or capitalism. It would seem that they are winning.
These targets are all the historic enemies and sinners against the new morality of big government.
Under the progressive aegis Marxists, abortionists and non-smokers can be considered good people. All others must bow before these secular demigods and ask for the government’s forgiveness for their sins.
Since Nazism has not been redeemed, even though many of its teachings have become part of the new culture, they could not be considered good by this relative morality.
However had Germany won the war instead of Soviet Russia than we would probably be talking about the Good Nazi instead of the Good Marxist.
1) The first item in the paper that you check each day are the obituaries to see if you are in them yet;
2) You pack more pills than clothes before going on a trip;
3) You choose the pat-down at airport security because you are starved for intimacy;
4) 30-year old women look like teenagers to you;
5) If you decide to get married again, you don’t look for beauty but care-givers;
6) You sympathize with any athlete needing performance enhancers;
7) Your get-up—and go leaves the bed 10 minutes before you do;
8) You don’t count the hairs on your head but individually name them;
9) You prefer fruit and fiber to steak and potatoes
10) Young women smile at you because you remind them of their grandfathers;
11) You have to go up one flight of stairs and you look for an elevator;
12) A pretty girl walks by and you don’t notice her.
Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the Borst home,
Bill could be heard muttering,
While writing his new tome.
“Why oh why can’t I figure this out?”
Was Bill’s lament as a paced all about.
When out on the lawn there arose such a din,
Disturbing the peace among the Borst kin.
Bill ran to the window and opened it wide,
And-wow-saw G. K. Chesterton on a sleigh outside!
He was dressed all in red like a rotund Santa Claus
And he puffed on his cigar without taking a pause.
“Now don’t you fret Bill,” he said with a grin,
“I brought you a present, just look in my bin.”
Bill looked in the bin and to his surprise,
Saw a BAG OF BIG WORDS twice his size!
“Bill” he said “these REALLY BIG WORDS
Should last you a year or two.
So you can do away with those
SIMPLE WORDS that just won’t do!”
Then G.K. put his sleigh in drive gear,
And checked the sleigh traffic front and rear,
Away he flew with a hearty cheer,
Bellowing Happy New year and good luck with your career.
By Elaine Middendorf January 28, 2014
After reading a recent article on Fatima, in the St. Louis Review one of my most faithful readers raised some interesting questions about Fatima.
Fatima is the site of one the handful of approved Marian visions in the Catholic Church.
It was at the three appearances of the Blessed Mother to Lucia, Jacinto and Francisco— three small peasant children in the Portugal city where Mary chose to make her plea for the faithful to say the Rosary for the conversion of Russia.
My reader wants to know did Mary warn us that a Communist state would logically become a Godless state, with the government replacing the Church? .
When the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991 many Catholic adults felt that their prayers had been answered and the conversion of Russia would happen shortly.
That optimism was a bit premature. The efficacy of long-range prayer does not always work that fast.
It is difficult to undo the vestiges of 75 years of Communist rule when atheism was at the core of its religious belief.
The Blessed Mother wasn’t promising a miracle but more like a historical process.
But just what kind of country would replace this atheistic state when its conversion took place?
My reader raised this question in the context of the emerging reign of Pope Francis with a seemingly leftward tilt:
Would the Catholic Church grow best in a Socialist/Communist environment or a Capitalist environment?
In is his view that the Pope seems to fear Capitalism, with the apparent ‘worship of wealth’ more than Socialism, with the inevitable worship of government.
These are all very interesting questions.
Let me start with Our Lady’s promise of a conversion of Russia.
Russia has been ruled for centuries by the czars, a royalist form of government that the Western world had started to reject in the 18th century.
The repressive and inefficient government of the czars was no match for the philosophical and near-religious fervor of world communism.
From 1917 to 1991 Russia and its surrounding countries emerged as the imperialistic Soviet Empire with nuclear teeth.
Its rule was based on its twin principles of atheism and Marxist economics–later called Marxism-Leninism.
If Russia’s conversion were to eventually take place, it would have to be a complete social, economic and most importantly religious transformation.
Since Mary is an important figure in Catholicism I would think that a conversion would entail that Russia rejoin the Catholic Church it left in the 11th century.
Its economic conversion may be another story. It appears that there is a strong fervor of Marxist economics rampant in the Catholic Church. Russia has no history of democracy or self-rule.
While the pope denies he is a Marxist, he knows many and finds them to be good people.
But Marxism is primarily an atheist construct and so if they were good people, it would have to be more along the lines of secular humanism, which is fast becoming the choice religion of the elite, the well-educated and the politically minded.
At Notre Dame President Barack Obama opined in 2009 that practical atheism was the working religion of governments and by inference, economies.
What the pope does not seem to mention is that a socialist/Marxist kind of society denies personal freedom and responsibility for one’s life and by inference soul. That seems to me like a rejection of the Church he represents.
The pope need only to look to his own country of Argentina to see what big government interference does to a population.
It usually takes a long time to destroy the wealth of a nation according to the Wall Street Journal but after a decade of what the locals derisively call kirchnerismo, that is government by the late president Nestor Kirchner and his widow Christina seem to be accomplishing the job in record time. The country is on the brink of lawlessness and social chaos.
This kind of government violates virtually all of the Commandments of the Catholic Church, especially the 1st, 7th, and 8th.
A church that promoted this kind of wishy-washy faith would certainly be out of step with the Catholic faith I have known since I was a small boy.
Of course Capitalism without any sense of the moral order will turn into an environment where the survival of the fitness rules and most people are left by the wayside. No one but the most corrupt robber baron on earth would want that. To my mind this breed died out in the early 20th century.
What has emerged since their demise was the robber bureaucrat.
In the United States capitalism flourishes and all boats rise when there are logical and humane rules that limit the excesses of capitalism and promote more of the general welfare.
One might even borrow George W. Bush’s phrase of a compassionate conservative into a compassionate capitalism.
In this environment capitalists are free to innovate, create, expand and make as much money as their talents will allow but all within the framework of fair play and the just rule of law. This is a far cry from what e have now.
Government acts merely as a referee that sets fair and equitable laws that will not favor big business, big labor or big government.
For this to happen moral teachings will have to return to the classrooms so that our society stops producing atheistic-minded adults who fill the boardroom and the Senate chambers with the ideas, not of Jesus Christ but more of Nico Machiavelli and Saul Alinsky.
Will this ever happen in Russia? I think we will need to say more rosaries and have more faith.
But at least Vladimir Putin is at least a nominal Christian. That is better than we have in this country today.
I have painted my vision of the ideal state, though while not utopian, it is certainly more like things were 50 years ago.
What worries me is the fact that America is declining at Argentinian speed.
When a president starts talking about the evils of inequality it is a given that the country is on the road to tyranny and dictatorship because inequality is a fact of life, like poverty, disparities in height weight and intelligence as well as climate change and wealthy people—all common facts that the left will never understand.
Maybe too many opposite currents of thought have come down the pike since then but this is the way things ought to be and that’s what we can all hope and pray for, but not just in Russia.
I think maybe we should also pray for the conversion of America.
On the Feast of the Epiphany my wife and I decided to attend a different parish church. The pastor of this neighboring church has been a close friend for over 30 years.
We were there with him at the creation of the Foundation for Special Education of Children over 25 years ago in our current parish rectory where he was the Associate Pastor.
The guiding and founding light of that foundation was Monsignor Elmer Behrmann one of the nicest priests I have ever been fortunate to meet. In 1950, Msgr. Behrmann founded the Department of Special Education, the first program of its kind in a Catholic diocese, at a time when persons with mental retardation were considered uneducable. He directed that department for the Archdiocese of St. Louis until 1989.
Msgr. Behrmann was widely recognized as a pioneer in the education of children with special needs. His expertise was acknowledged when he was invited to serve as an advisor to President John F. Kennedy on issues relating to persons with mental retardation. Monsignor Behrmann was the only cleric on the committee.
Our friend was the 3rd Director of the Foundation and now merely oversees its continual progress. The initial goal was for a foundation of $one million dollars which seemed like a large number in 1986.
Thanks to the generosity of the people in our parish is well over four million now. And over that time it has distributed another four million to special education in St. Louis.
Our friend’s sermon was ostensibly about giving.
To illustrate this theme Monsignor repeated a story he had told to the attendees at his Thanksgiving Mass—with an appropriate apology— concerning one of his special students.
The little boy in question was 10 years old and had a very difficult life. His mother was stricken with a fatal heart attack when he was just three, leaving his father with three little boys to raise by himself.
The story revolved around his class’ assignment to bring a dish for a Thanksgiving meal the class they were to prepare. He said his father did not have much time but would bake corn bread for the class.
Well when the eve of the class meal arrived his father had not been able to do it and the little boy was left with nothing to give.
So he got up very early and made seven pieces of toast for his classmates.
When he presented his gift with his father’s apology neither the teacher nor his classmates berated or made fun of his gift. They took it in the spirit of Thanksgiving and the Christmas season to come.
Monsignor’s story is reminiscent of another story, called The Gift of the Magi.
I remember the emotional response I had it reading what is basically a love story of the highest caliber.
The Gift of the Magi is a short story, written by O. Henry, which was the pseudonym for William Sydney Porter. It is the story of a young married couple, Jim and Della Young and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.
Its twist ending is generally considered an example of cosmic irony.
They each have only two possessions that mean anything to them. Della’s has beautiful long, flowing hair, almost to her knees, and Jim has a shiny gold watch, which had belonged to his father and grandfather.
On Christmas Eve, with only $1.87 in hand, Della sells her hair for $20 to buy a platinum fob chain for Jim’s watch for $21. She found the perfect gift at last and runs home and begins to prepare dinner, with $.87 left.
When Jim comes home, he is shocked at his wife’s short haircut. Della then confesses that she sold her hair to buy him his present. Jim gives Della her present – an assortment of expensive hair accessories useless now that her hair is short. Della then shows Jim the chain she bought for him, to which Jim says he sold his watch to get the money to buy her combs. Although Jim and Della are now left with gifts that neither one can use, they realize how far they are willing to go to show their love for each other, and how priceless their love really is.
This is what the Greeks and Christians call the deep and lasting love of agape.
The story ends with the narrator comparing the pair’s mutually sacrificial gifts of love with those of the Biblical Magi.
The magi, as you know, were wise men – wonderfully wise men – who brought gifts to the new-born King of the Jews in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.
In surfing the cable channels I recently stumbled over a recent allusion to this classic story with its own happy ending twist.
It begins with Ben Wrightman (Fallon) as a 7 year-old going to a Red Sox game with his Uncle Carl. Ever since that day, Ben became a die-hard Red Sox fan. Just about everything he owns bears the Red Sox name, emblem or the image of a Red Sox player. Ben inherited his uncle’s season tickets when he died. They became his most treasured possession.
He meets Lindsey Meeks ( Barrymore), a successful workaholic executive. When he first asks her out, she rejects him, but she later changes her mind and agrees to go out with him.
She becomes attracted to him because of his ability to show a passionate commitment to something. That spring, he later pretends he is proposing to her, but instead asks her to the Red Sox home opener.
Lindsey attends, but not being a baseball or Red Sox fan, she knows nothing about the Curse of the Bambino or even how to pronounce the name Yastrzemski.
The two continue to attend the games together until one summer night when Lindsey attempts to catch up on work by taking her laptop to the game. Not paying attention to the game, she is knocked unconscious by a foul ball. She eventually recovers, but stops going to the games.
As their absence makes them both miserably he decides to sell his tickets so they can be together. When she learns of this with an eager fan with check and pen in hand waiting, she tears up the contract as her gift to him and said that she could not let him do that for her.
His willingness to do such was love enough for her.
This was a mutual gift without the cosmic irony which would have been too deep for an American audience.
But the principle is not lost on the observant. Americans have always been a very generous people.
We pride ourselves on helping the poor and the downtrodden. Generosity is endemic to the American soul.
Wealth redistribution is not a problem unless someone else wants to confiscate our wealth and give it to their friends and cronies, depriving us not only of our largesse but the act of our generosity.
Businesses and businessmen as a whole are very giving and even caring. It has become the American way and transcends all social strata.
It is only the government that is trying to assume the role of Santa to all of the voters out there who eternize their power at the sacrifice of America’s soul.
Again I suggest that the pope, who says he is not a Marxist but has met many who are good people to him, starts meeting a few capitalists and learn what they are about instead of assuming like the social democrats that have surrounded him for his whole life that they are not as good and decent men as his Marxist friends.
That would make for a fairer and more balanced argument and it would temper his papacy with a broader vision than I think he has.
He might then realize that Marxists, like their liberal friends are very generous with other people’s money.
It is not the pope’s heart that concerns me but his intellectual eyesight.