Category Archives: Christianity

Filling the “God-Shaped Hole”

Sacred Heart of Jesus

Studies show there is a strong correlation between lack of religious attendance and illicit drug use and that religion also plays a strong role in effective drug treatment programs.

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I believe in God

Eddington Inner Light

The End of Prayer Shaming: Posted by East Catholic High School, Dec 22, 2015

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Speaker Ryan Invites a Social Doctrine Conversation

By George Weigel.

CNN is not the customary locale-of-choice for a catechesis on Catholic social doctrine. But that’s what Paul Ryan, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, offered viewers of a CNN national town hall meeting on the evening of August 21.

Challenged with a semi-“Gotcha!” question by Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Erica Jordan, who not-so-subtly suggested that Ryan’s approach to healthcare reform, tax reform, and welfare reform was in conflict with the Church’s social teaching, the very Catholic Speaker replied that he completely agreed with Sister Erica that God is “always on the side of the poor and dispossessed”; the real question was, how do public officials, who are not God, create public policies that empower the poor and dispossessed to be not-poor and not-dispossessed?

Congressman Ryan then laid out an approach to alleviating poverty and empowering the poor that seemed to me entirely congruent with the core Catholic social ethical principles of subsidiarity and solidarity. Solidarity with the poor is a moral imperative, Ryan agreed, but solidarity should not be measured by inputs—How many federal dollars go into anti-poverty programs?—but by outcomes: Are poor people who can live independent and fruitful lives being helped by our welfare dollars to develop the skills and habits that will enable them to be self-reliant, constructive citizens? The moral obligation of solidarity is not met by programs that perpetuate welfare dependency.

Speaker Ryan is a longstanding advocate of decentralizing and (as he puts it) “customizing” social welfare programs. That means abandoning one-size-fits-all attempts to address poverty and looking to the states, where a lot of the creativity in American government resides these days, for approaches that actually empower the poor, because they treat poor people as men and women with potential to be unleashed, not simply as clients to be maintained. Proposals to decentralize social welfare programs and give the states the funds necessary to conduct all sorts of customized efforts to empower the poor—crafted so that each “fits” the vast array of distinct circumstances we find in impoverished America—strike me as a sensible application of the social doctrine’s principle of subsidiarity. That principle, first articulated by Pope Pius XI in 1931, teaches us to leave decision-making at the lowest possible level in society, closest to those most directly affected by the policy in question. Paul Ryan thinks Washington doesn’t have to decide everything; Pius XI would have agreed.

The fact that poverty remains a serious problem in the United States after the federal government has spent $22 trillion dollars on social welfare programs over the past fifty years should have taught us all something about the complex problems of empowering the poor. No one with any sense or experience imagines that he or she has the silver-bullet answer to poverty in all its social, cultural, economic, and political dimensions; I know my friend Speaker Ryan doesn’t think he does.

But unlike those who insist on measuring an official’s or a party’s commitment to the poor by inputs rather than outcomes (an approach that tends to instrumentalize the poor and render social welfare policy a cash transaction rather than a human encounter), Paul Ryan and reform conservatives like him are willing to face the fact that there is no direct correlation between magnitude-of-dollar-inputs and success-of-human-outcomes when it comes to anti-poverty programs. Inner-city Catholic schools (the Church in America’s most effective social welfare program) demonstrate that time and again: They spend less than the government schools, and their students learn much more—and not just in quantifiable, standardized-testing terms.

America needs many serious conversations in this age of the demagogic tweet and the rabid talk-radio sound-bite. One of them is about the scandal of poverty amidst vast wealth and the empowerment of the poor. That conversation is not advanced when, as happened after the CNN broadcast, smug partisans attack a serious Catholic public official by suggesting that he’s deficient in both his moral commitment to the poor and his understanding of Catholic social doctrine. Paul Ryan is no more the reincarnation of Simon Legree than Sister Erica Jordan and her fellow Sinsinawa Dominicans are the reincarnation of Ingrid Bergman/Sister Mary Benedict in The Bells of St. Mary’s. Keeping that in mind would help foster the thoughtful debate that the Speaker, and the country, would welcome.

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

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Liberal Hypocrisy

2017_09 Amy Barrett

One of Trump’s nominees for appeals court is Amy Coney Barrett, a Notre Dame Law School professor and a Roman Catholic. Democrats Feinstein, Hirono, and Durbin made her religious convictions an issue during her confirmation hearing.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse noted that this line of questioning violated the Constitution’s religious test clause.

Durbin said that, because Barrett has been “outspoken” on the topic of “how a person with strong religious beliefs becomes a judge and looks at American law”, the questions were legitimate.

I think it’s more to the point to say that Democrats can’t stand conservative Christians, especially not the Catholic ones, and that they have zero qualms about making religion an issue when it suits them. You KNOW they’d be screaming bloody murder if Republicans asked a Muslim jurist how his faith would influence his judicial conduct.

Remember when long-time Leftist Sonia Sotomayor said she’d be a good SCOTUS judge, because she was a “wise Latina”?

Obama et al. didn’t care that she had never issued any important decisions, made a name for herself as a legal scholar or particularly respected jurist, and that 60% of her lower court decisions had been overturned on appeal. They only cared that she could be relied on to ignore the law in favor of promoting Progressive causes.

Barrett herself said, “It is never appropriate for a judge to apply their personal convictions, whether it derives from faith or personal conviction. My own personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge.”

Not that they believed her.  Personally, I think they assume everyone is as willing to prostitute themselves for politics as they themselves are.

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Filed under Ben Sasse, Christianity, Constitution, Democrats, Dick Durbin, Sonia Sotomayor

All Means All

All means All

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My Lord and my God

St Nicholas of Flue

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Don’t mess with God’s saints!

St. Katharine Drexel was the first person born a U.S. citizen to be made a saint. And what a saint she was!

When St. Katharine Drexel Defeated the KKK

Born into a wealthy family in 1858, when St. Katharine got older she took a vow of poverty, founded a new order of religious sisters, and devoted her great wealth to serving those discriminated against in the U.S., namely Native Americans and African Americans.

In the early 20th century, this got her into a lot of trouble, especially with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The KKK was not only notoriously anti-black, but also anti-Catholic. So you can imagine how they felt about Catholic sisters helping blacks!

One thing that St. Katharine’s order did was open up schools for Native American and African American children.

In 1922, a local KKK group turned against one of their schools in Beaumont, Texas and “threatened to tar and feather the white past[or] at one of Drexel’s schools and bomb his church.”

So what did the sisters do? They prayed, of course!

And here’s what happened, according to one telling of the story: “The nuns prayed and days later, a tornado came and destroyed the headquarters of the KKK killing two of their members.”

The result? “The Sisters were never threatened again.”

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Paganism Does Not Fulfill

Church hospital

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants his social network to fill the role that churches and social clubs once did in communities.

Uhhhhhhhhhhh … only if you think churches are just social clubs. Sheesh.

For an interview with Pastor Robert Jeffress about Zuckerburg’s ideas, see embedded video @ http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/06/30/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-can-fill-churches-role-bring-people-together-communities

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