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.
Of course I know that our new pope’s name is Francis and not Vladimir!
I also believe that while this pope has the heart of an Italian and the soul of a Latin, he also has the paradoxical intellect of a Russian.
Did not Winston Churchill refer to Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma?
His multiple comments about homosexuality, abortion and his hope that mankind will eventually stop fighting and just get along sends mixed messages that the left has welcomed with open arms while the Church’s conservative faithful feel abandoned…at least to some degree.
Could his approach be a good thing or just a puffed-up false sense of hope?
The left sees his ideas as with a wink and a nod that imply Francis’ Church will not condemn any of its sordid behaviors and will look the other way when Catholic politicians, the so-called Cinos-–Catholics in name only–promote abortion, gay marriage and the moral and even financial collapse of Western Civilization.
Pope Francis talks about poverty a lot. He seems to believe that capitalism or what he calls unfettered capitalism is at the root of all poverty and maybe even all evil.
I don’t think anything could be further from the truth.
I stand that with those that believe work and capitalism is the best anti-poverty program humans have ever devised.
Give someone a job and watch him or her develop self-respect, learn valuable personal skills, self-discipline, self-reliance and pride in accomplishing a task.
The people the pope hangs with seem to want to give a man a fish every day instead of teaching him how to fish.
How come there is never a word about the dangers of an all-encompassing government that threatens religious and economy liberty and then calls it love of humanity?
Has his Latin environment with its dictatorships and social democracy blinded him to these painful realities?
Does he not realize that freedom is necessary for salvation and that all else is slavery that harms the soul as well as the body?
The pope attacks the structural aspects of poverty without focusing on its behavioral causes, such as early sexual activity, illegitimacy, failure to complete one’s education, laziness and class envy to name but a few.
As for evil this pope does not seem to mention the E-word at all.
While the pope does recognize that there is a culture war throughout the whole world he sees it strictly in medical terms.
He sees the church metaphorically as healers, offering a kind of moral wellness to all the sick souls that have been victimized by this eternal battle.
What about its warriors? Are we to lay down our verbal swords and our public witness and stand down? Are we to silence and quell our passion for the truth and stopping our witness to evils that the other side had perpetrated?
Does the pope believe that the other side will be seduced by his open arms and his therapeutic words?
Is the Pope Francis offering terms of a truce or is this an abject surrender?
Are we who recognize the evils of abortion, euthanasia and homosexual marriage to stifle our opposition in anticipation of a new approach?
Does the pope not recognize that this is an eternal struggle between good and the evil and that it will never go away while there is a mankind?
Does the pope not recognize that sin and evil are on th other side and though they have infected millions who do need his healing touch, without a dedicated opposition of the faithful their numbers will increase exponentially?
Does he not realize that preventive medicine is often the best kind of medicine?
Do not all people need an inoculation against the falsehoods of the left, the propaganda of the powerful and the sinister allurements of big government assistance?
Is he not aware that they seek, not the good of mankind, but absolute control over the minds, hearts and soul of all of God’s children?
Is it time to hang up our feelings for these issues? Is it time to rest on the laurels St. Paul who urged us to fight the good fight?
And finally I don’t remember Pope Francis talking about eternal salvation which to my mind was the whole reason for Christ’s coming and the establishment of His Church on earth.
But then again who am I to judge this pope?
I am tired of the angry bickering, the on-edge readiness whenever I am in polite company to defend the truth and plea for the unborn. I have fought the good fight the last 28 years and it is not only time-consuming but exhausting.
Maybe it is time for more quiet reflection and prayer.
Maybe this pope’s papacy will give all cultural warriors a bit of a respite to evaluate where they have been and where we are going. Pope Francis seems like a good and holy man. His words are perhaps more of style than substance. As the 265th successor of Peter he will not radically change anything. people will do what they will do.
More than any other pope in my lifetime and he is #7, no one has represented the mysterious and paradoxical nature of the Catholic Church and even Jesus Christ Himself more than Pope Francis.
Jesus also came to heal and to open the gates of Heaven to all of us.
One of His many appellations is Christ the Prince of Peace.
Here in St. Louis there is a Catholic parish with that name that Catholics affectionately call C-POP.
Yet in his wake there have been 2000 years of religious, economic and cultural wars that have cost millions of lives and left the world in a divided state that really does need spiritual healing.
Pope Francis just might be what the eternal Doctor ordered.
A few years ago I was talking to a little girl who whimsically referred to her mom and dad as the love people.
The fact that both of them looked to the port side of every political issue has prompted me to think of the 1970 movie, based on Erich Segal’s book of the same name, Love Story.
In the movie the lead actress, played by Ali MacGraw became terminally ill.
Her lover, played by Ryan O’Neal fumbles around and beats his breast in sorry and apology, leading to her classic line, Love means never having to say you are sorry.
Just look back to the so-called McCarthy era when a politician seized on an issue of government disloyalty and infiltration of Communists into the very heart of the Democratically lead executive department.
In 1953 playwright Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible opened on Broadway.
The McCarthy period inspired him to write his play about the notorious Salem witch trials of 1696.
The term witch hunt emanated from this era.
This play gave birth to the term witch-hunt which has become a permanent fixture in the modern political lexicon.
For 70 years writers, politicians and pundits have lambasted any talk of disloyalty as a throwback to McCarthyism.
They even blame McCarthy for the blacklist and censorship of 10 writers and producers who would not admit their communist connections during, not of one of McCarthy’s Senate hearings, but before the House on Un-American Activities Committee, a totally separate investigation.
In truth it was one of the biggest canards and falsehoods ever inflicted on American history and still stands as the gospel truth for schools on all levels of education.
No one dare set the record straight despite the irrefutable evidence that there was hundreds of communist agents and sympathizers who had made it even into the Oval Office.
Had Henry Wallace not been removed from the vice-presidency for FDR’s fourth presidential campaign a Soviet sympathizer would have become president of the United States.
One need only consult the Venona Dispatches which appeared after the fall of Soviet Communism in 1991 when they opened the KGB and other archives.
The left’s protests against Republicans like McCarthy was disengenuous, deceptive and blatantly false.
The bold truth was that many communists had found a niche in the Democratic presidency of first FDR and later Truman.
Their Democratic defenders, like Obama on ObamaCare are either ignorant or bold-face liars.
Like today Democrats consistently violated the truth to protect their own petty political legacies.
To this day no liberal has ever admitted his wrong doing and in fact they still perpetuate the myth of McCarthyism.
Liberals never say they are sorry. And I mean never!
Like the parents described above liberals are America’s Love People.
Like Peanuts’ Lucy van Pelt, they love humanity.
It just is individual people that mean little or nothing to them.
The poor are mere cogs in the wheels of state that sometimes must be propelled under the bus in order for the power aggrandizement to progress forward.
Liberals have all been conditioned by the same-thinking marriage of Nico Machiavelli and Saul Alinsky who taught them how to get their own power and expand it when they were in control.
This is the motivation for the ACA and every other policy coming out of this White House.
There are no absolutes for liberals, except this self-serving dictum.
Truth and fact are only words that are to be nuanced, distorted or obliterated as each situation dictates.
While President Obama has offered the first two in what might become a weekly reality show of apologies for mishandling and even fumbling the ball with regard to his signal calling as the nation’s starting quarterback, he never has said he was sorry for all the lies, deception and prevarications that he put out publicly that has already negatively impacted millions of lives.
Were he a Roman Catholic and he told these sins in the confessional in the old church his penance would have been sack cloth and ashes.
In today’s kinder and gentler church I think his resignation would be required for atonement.
Of course he would have to promise to amend his ways to get absolution.
His resignation would be the only honorable thing.
Given the lack of character president in the Democratic Senate impeachment will never happen.
Nixon paid for his lack of trust in the American system with resignation only because of the character and leadership of several Republican leaders.
There are no such profiles of courage existent in the Democratic Party today…none whatsoever.
The last chapter in Obama Agonistes has not been written yet.
We will have to wait see if the events unfolding will eventually cause liberals to fully understand the meaning of sorrow for their political sins.
Recently I did something that I had not done since eating a rotten apple in 1962 at an orphanage where I was a weekly big brother.
I lost my lunch after I had eaten it.
Without going into any gross detail I was trying to avoid getting sick in my car. I got out without parking it but didn’t make it to the garage.
Losing one’s cookies as they sometimes call it is one of the most unpleasant things any human being can suffer through.
That’s why I vowed 51 years ago never to do it again. I guess never was too long a time.
I had an interesting vision during the grotesque episode.
A woman who assists my wife with Christmas decorations grabbed me from behind and positioned her knees to brace me as I leaned forward.
She is a very strong and athletic-looking beauty whose strength helped me find a small realm of security in the midst of my digestive distress.
I have repeatedly stated how much I enjoy movies.
I had this vision of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio on the deck of the Titanic in an enchanting scene from the movie of the same name.
He is holding her from behind as she leans forward over the rail and feels the power of the wind and the warmth of the setting sun on her face and upper body.
The only trouble with my vision was I was Kate and Tiffany was Leonardo.
That brings me in a circuitous route to ObamaCare.
I had really thought about calling this essay the USS Obamanic...a real disaster movie.
Obama would have the Captain Smith role as the valiant ship’s captain that went down with his ship of state while taking millions of us with him.
There is no way that will ever happen.
Our ship may sink but there is no way this leader will even be on board.
Many films have memorable lines that I often use to illustrate a point or enhance one of my stories.
In Sunset Boulevard with Gloria Swanson and William Holden, the deranged aging actress makes her final appearance near the end of the movie after having shot Holden’s real character to death and says:
All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.
I think William Shakespeare anticipated Washington D. C. when he wrote the world is a stage and we all must play a part.
I say this because I am convinced that Cecil DeObama has been directing everything that has happened to the American people with regard to its complicated health care system.
Of course at this juncture he seems a disengaged director who would rather be on the golf links than stuck in the oval director’s chair.
But that is part of his genius.
He is also the lead actor in this disaster movie.
Like Robert Redford, Obama has made the smooth transition from an actor impersonating a United States Senator to playing the most important role of his life and ours as well from behind the scenes.
The president’s highly touted health care system, aka ObamaCare has been a colossal failure from the start.
Obama looks the part of a buffoon…an ignorant fool whose right hand does not have any idea what his left-hand has been up to.
But that is all part of his script.
Despite his lack of any real academic achievement the man is a genius in manipulating people to perform just the way he wants…even if it is by misdirection.
This goes doubly for the Republicans.
It has not been his ignorance or disinterest that have created an untenable situation fraught with uncertainty, fear and broken lives.
These exchanges are doing just what they were designed to do—FAIL!
Obama has surrounded himself with political hacks, pettifogging lawyers, imbeciles–think Pelosi–and zombie-like thugs from the central casting division of the Democratic Party.
There is no way these disparate unprofessionals could construct or lead their way out of a paper bag, let alone absorb 16% of the US economy and make it a workable system.
A single payer system like Medicaid has always been his goal.
As the Wall Street Journal said on October 30th, Americans are losing their coverage by political design.
This could be the biggest act of overt political fraud in the history of the country.
Are Americans to blame for this public film?
Too many believed his calculated and repeated lies about keeping their insurance plans and their doctors but hopefully they will awaken from their slumber and realize this is what he wanted all along.
And they sadly bought his message, not once but twice.
None of this has been by accident but the coming home to roost of the liberals longtime goal that everyone has essentially the same health coverage and that government is the only institution that can ensure that it is done equally…except for them and their friends of course.
Such political and economic control is the driving force of the Affordable Care Act not the health and well-being of the American people.
Unless this monstrosity is pulled from the screens across America we can expect the worst to happen.
In two years when the deed has been done to us and we no longer have any viable health insurance and less actual care, he will be able to add an Oscar to his mantle right next to his Nobel Peace Prize.
Had Obama put as much effort into governing as he has done in playing politics with 300 million American lives he could have gone down as one of the great presidents of all times.
Sadly true historians will see him as an abject failure who had an epitaph penned for him by John Greenleaf Whiter centuries ago…
The saddest words of tongue and pen are what might have been.
Two of the more enduring images of the Bible are the gift of tongues and the Tower of Babel.
Priestly gifts and this would include Pope Francis have often been blessed with such spiritual and physical gifts as the gifts of speech, the gift of tongues interpretation and prophecy.
The Tower of Babel refers to a story in Genesis.
According to this first book in the Old Testament, Moses related the story that after the Great Flood, a united humanity appeared from a land in the east called Shinar that spoke a universal language.
They resolved to build a city with a tower whose top may reach unto heaven.
This way they could make a name for themselves lest they be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Because their intention was egotistically motivated because of the vanity of their nation, God came down from above and made their speech unintelligible.
Thus they were scattered over the face of the earth.
I think if a priest, especially a new and green pontiff were not extremely careful he could run the risk of turning discussion of the Catholic faith into an occasion of confusion and misunderstanding.
Pope Francis has said many thing since his becoming pope last April that have upset and even confused many of the faithful.
Of course his statements gave hope to the liberal wing of the Church.
Quite frankly I can understand the concern that many Orthodox Catholic have with his pronouncements.
The first statement that concerned me was when he told Catholics that as a Church we cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…
I hadn’t realized that was what we were doing.
In fact from the pulpit one hardly ever hears about the evils of abortion, euthanasia or homosexuality.
The pope did state that we had to talk about them in context.
I submit that is exactly what we are doing when we do talk about these issues.
The context is a culture war that was started by the Marxists, dating back to Sardinian communist, Antonio Gramsci, who ordained a long march through western culture in the early 1920s.
The advent of the culture war was predicted many years ago by Russian author Igor Shafarevich, whoreduced the Communist Manifesto’s 10 planks to three specific targets, which were private property, the Christian religion and the family.
The pope seems to have failed to note that these basic human institution that have provided the moral and physical glue for Western Civilization have been under vicious assault for many generations.
Another statement that turned a few devout heads was when the pope opined on women in the church.
Of course this is a loaded question that the last four popes have had to walk on cracked eggshells to address.
The pope suggested that the feminine genius is needed whenever we make important decisions.
While that sounds like a nice, even flattering thing to say about the gentle sex…especially the part about the feminine genius, what does it mean in the context of Church teaching?
Well for starters I am sure someone longing for a female priesthood could seriously reason that women should become ordained because they could then apply this genius, which I wish he had defined, to the important decisions that priests make each and every day.
Then the pontiff was asked what the Church’s role in the modern world.
He answered that what the church needs most today ability to heal wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful.
The pope offered the image of the Church as a field hospital.
I am not at all certain what he means by that but it does not seem to agree with mu childhood and adolescent understanding of the what the Catholic Church was supposed to stand for?
I guess I fear that we will fast become a church of social workers.
I have to stifle my urge to laugh or make a glib remark because he is our pope but I always thought that the church’s divinely ordained role was to lead the faithful to heaven.
Unless the pope is a believer in universal salvation, which was declared a heresy 120 years ago, that’s the only thing that counts.
As Hillary Clinton likes to say among the ruins of our foreign policy, what difference…does it make….if you gain or heal the entire world and suffer the loss of your immortal soul?
Nothing...nada...if the church is relinquishing this primary function why do we really need a church?
There are plenty of medical and psychology organizations who will heal wounds and warm hearts.
Then there is the issue of Liberation Theology.
I have written about it for the Mindszenty Foundation and am scheduled in March to talk about it in Chicago for them as well.
Basically it is a relatively new teaching about the poor, especially in Latin America where it originated well over 40 years ago.
It has led to such derivatives as the so-called preferential option for the poor and an obsession for helping the poor no matter what the means.
This has essentially led to trillions of dollars in spending that has been borrowed from America’s future .
This is standing G. K. Chesterton’s idea of the democracy of the dead where traditions and customs of the past must be recognized as still valuable.
With today’s leaders we have the tyranny of the living.
My additional research has uncovered the fact that Liberation Theology was essentially the idea of the KGB and the Soviet’s attempt to undermine its chief antagonist, the Catholic Church.
Personally I think you could trace it back to the ideas of the Enlightenment in the 18th century, which sought to do away with religion, royalty and the middle class.
Pope Francis is considered the pope of the poor.
So when he became pontiff many on the left assumed that he would jump right in on their behalf and support Liberation Theology.
My guess is that the only thing that has held him back is that its proponents make no excuses for the necessary violence that is left in the wake of this powerful abstraction.
Behind the growing skepticism is the fear in some quarters that Francis’s all-embracing style and spontaneous speech, so open as it is to interpretation, are undoing decades of church efforts to speak clearly on Catholic teachings.
Some conservatives also feel that the pope is undermining them at a time when they are already being sidelined by an increasingly secular culture.
Francis is certainly a lot different at least in the beginning than both of his predecessors.
During the previous three decades, popes John Paul II and Benedict had a similar focus. Each wanted to make orthodox teachings crystal clear so Catholics would not get confused or lost what Benedict XVI called the slavery of relativism.
That is precisely the risk Pope Francis has been running since his rise to the throne of Peter.
We all need to pray that his gift of tongues does not degenerate into a new kind of theological babel and misunderstanding.
The stakes are just too high!