Wednesday, March 30, 2016

On the Politics of Punishing Aborting Mothers

While Donald Trump was on a MSNBC Hardball Townhall with Chris Matthews, made some extraordinary ejaculations about abortion.  Pro-Lifers have been chary about Trump's recent conversion to being against abortion, especially as the Manhattan mogul had labeled himself as being "very pro-choice" in the past.  Moreover, Trump continues to speak highly of Planned Parenthood's contributions to womens' health during Republican debates, even after the Center for Medical Progress' investigative videos implicating Planned Parenthood Clinics trafficking baby body parts for sale and altering abortions to get the most optimal harvest.

Well, Mr. Trump may have overcompensated to ingratiate  himself with pro-life Republican voters for the Wisconsin Primary.  When Chris Matthews pressed Trump about the consequences of banning abortions, Trump proposed that women having abortions should suffer some sort of legal penalty for incurring an illegal abortion (but men would be alright).

More than just wanting to punish women for having abortions, Trump seemed to acknowledge that women would still seek out illegal abortions in unmonitored clinics. 

The public reaction to Trump's "modest proposal" was a swift and stern firestorm. The Hillary 2016 and Sanders campaigns immediately jumped on Trump's bold bluster to condemn this ham handed handling of womens' issues.  On social media, a Dominican Friar indignity opined that those who wish to punish women for having abortions have no idea about their psychological or moral pain he hears about in the confessional.

The Trump campaign twice tried to walk their man from off the abortion ledge. At first, Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks tried to pawn decision making of penalties off to the states.  But several hours after uttering this incredible idea, Trump took the counsel of his advisers and did an about face, walked back the punishing aborting mothers' idea to a more conventional Republican pro-life position of punishing the doctor and seeing the woman as a victim.

CNN noted that Trump took three abortion positions in one afternoon.   Former 2016 Presidential rival and now Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson explained away Trump's peculiar position on punishing abortion women.  Carson claimed that Trump (like himself) is not a professional politician and that he had been ambushed with the question. Judging from the three positions in a span of hours, Trump either had not thought much about the issue or needed to have some political sense knocked into him for the primary face offs.

This Trump gaffe created an opening for his Republican rival Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to issue a statement on the sanctity of human life and on affirming women.

Ted Cruz on the Sanctity of Life
In addition, Cruz had a previously scheduled rally to honor women on the same day of the abortion kerfluffle.

While Presidential candidates should not pick their positions on weighty moral issues on the weather vane of popular opinion, it is dubious if Trump's flip flops on abortion will help him with women voters.  According to the recent Marquette Law poll, Trump's support from women lagged 11% behind men.  Threatening to punish women for abortions will obviously alienate him with progressive voters who are pro-choice.  However, flip flopping on anti-abortion views within hours of each other impeaches his newly formed pro-life positions too.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rest In Peace Mother Angelica

Carl Anderson on Mother Angelica

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation  (nee Rita Rizzo), the Poor Clare nun who founded the Eternal Word Television Network, died on Easter Sunday at the age of 92.  Mother Angelica had suffered from a debilitating stroke in 2001.

Mother Angelica founded a monastery in Irondale, Alabama in 196 at a time when Catholics were only 2% of the population in the South.  .  As a charismatic speaker, Mother Angelica began to do radio shows in 1971 and she gravitated to hosting "Our Hermitage" for Christian cable television stations in 1978.

However, when the secular TV station where Mother Angelica recorded her shows planned to program "blasphemous" programs, the feisty nun protested.  The station manager ignored her complaints which resulted in Mother Angelica threatening to do her show elsewhere.  The station manager threatened: "You leave this station and you're off television."  Mother Angelica vowed: "I'll build my own."

Philadelpha Archbishop Charles Chaput on Mother Angelica

The Eternal Word Television Network started in the Our Lady of Angels Monastery's garage in 1981 on a budget of $200.  Today, EWTN is the world's largest satellite television religious network operating in Hanceville, Alabama. The EWTN media empire broadcasts Catholic programming for 11 channels  24 hours a day reaching 264 million homes in 144 countries as well as having a terrestrial radio network and shortwave service and employs 400 people. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has served on the EWTN board since 1995, recognizes how this Poor Clare nun in rural Alabama was able to do what US Bishops had been unable to do, namely effectively evangelize through the mass media in this day and age.

Mother Angelica expressed how she attributed all the success of her mission to emptying herself out to the Lord.

Despite her failing health, Mother Angelica proclaimed that she wanted to live longer. Such a proclamation may seem surprising coming from a contemplative and convicted religious.  But Mother Angelica reasoned that by doing so, she could suffer one more day for God and get to know Him better.

It seems fitting that as Christians celebrate our Savior's victory over death that Mother Angelica passed into to eternal life. Even Pope (emeritus) Benedict XVI recognized the divine "gift"  of Mother Angelica going to her eternal reward on the Church's most Holy Day. May Mother Angelica rest in peace.

H/T: Catholic News Agency

Zig Ziglar on God

Zig Ziglar on God

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Artistic Impressions of the Agony in the Garden

Agony in the Garden, studios of El Greco (c. 1590s), National Gallery of Art, London UK 

Could ye not stay awake with me an hour,
You who by your consent would die for me?
Could you not stay awake with me one hour?
Judas--do not not see how he does not sleep,
But hastens to hand me over to the Jews?
Why are you sleeping?
Arise, and pray,
Lest you fall into tempetation.
       ~Sept répons des ténébres (1962)
         Francis Poulenc 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Knights of Columbus Picks Up Its Crux

Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson on Saving The Crux

Recently  the Boston Globe indicated that it would be withdrawing its financial support for "The Crux", a website covering "All things Catholic", on April 1st 2016, citing a lack of Catholic advertisers.   But within a week, the Knights of Columbus announced that it would partner with the website so that the Crux could continue to be "Keeping its finger on the Catholic Pulse".

The Crux coverage featured veteran Vatincanista reporter John Allen, Jr., who was respected on both sides of the Catholic spectrum.  When it  began in September 2014, The Crux sought to cover all things Catholic, appealing to active Catholics, "casual" Catholics and those who were just interested in spirituality, religion and Pope Francis.

This new partnership between the Knights of Columbus and The Crux will allow esteemed Vatican reporter John Allen, Jr. and Ines San Martin to continue to report on the Holy See, the Church and religious liberty around the world.

The Knights of Columbus plan to merge their current Catholic Pulse web effort with The Crux.  The hope is that the combination of skills and resources will bolster informed, responsible and fair journalism that sets the tone for consideration of Catholic issues nationally and world wide.

The Knights of Columbus will become The Crux's main sponsor and advertiser but it will continue to solicit appropriate advertising.  There is some consideration that The Crux may allow for co-sponsorship on specific topics which align with the Knights of Columbus and The Crux mission.

When the Boston Globe announced its intentions to abandon The Crux, national reporter Michael O'Laughlin and spirituality columnist Margery Eagan decided to leave The Crux.  Eagan's departure may be fortuitous, as traditional Catholics have been irked by some of her thought pieces, particularly on homosexuality and the Church.

Card. Donald Wuerl dedicates JPII Shrine altar 10/02/15
This is not the only high profile effort the Knights of Columbus have done to preserve and spread the faith.  The Knights of Columbus bought the struggling  John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington DC  for $27 million in 2011 and converted it into the St. John Paul II Shrine, featuring Redemptor Hominis Church, featuring the mosaics of Fr. Marko Rupnik (also the artist of Pope John Paul's II's personal chapel).

I believe that it is good news that the K of C has picked up its Crux, as the New Evangelization requires re-introducing the faith and standing for religious liberty, alas neither of which will occur through the secular mainstream media.